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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,505

Journal Archives



Bitcoin 'rarely' used for legal transactions, on 'road to irrelevance', say European Central Bank

Source: Tech Crunch

European Central Bank officials alleged on Wednesday that bitcoin is “rarely used for legal transactions,” is fueled by speculation and the recent erosion in its value indicates that it is on the “road to irrelevance,” in a series of stringent criticism (bereft of strong data points) of the cryptocurrency industry as they urged regulators to not lend legitimacy to digital tokens in the name of innovation.

The value of bitcoin recently finding stability at around $20,000 was “an artificially induced last gasp before the road to irrelevance – and this was already foreseeable before FTX went bust and sent the bitcoin price to well down below $16,000,” wrote Ulrich Bindseil and Jürgen Schaaf on ECB’s blog.

The central bankers argue that bitcoin’s conceptual design and “technological shortcomings” make it “questionable” as a means of payment. “Real bitcoin transactions are cumbersome, slow and expensive. Bitcoin has never been used to any significant extent for legal real-world transactions,” they wrote.

Bitcoin also “does not generate cash flow (like real estate) or dividends (like equities), cannot be used productively (like commodities) or provide social benefits (like gold). The market valuation of bitcoin is therefore based purely on speculation,” they wrote.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2022/11/30/bitcoin-rarely-used-for-legal-transactions-on-road-to-irrelevance-say-european-central-bank-officials/

Twitter 2.0: Our continued commitment to the public conversation

Twitter’s mission is to promote and protect the public conversation--to be the town square of the internet. We have always understood that to reach this goal we must give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information, instantly without barriers. Today, we are a new company embarking on a new chapter, but our steadfast commitment to this mission has not changed. In fact, we are better positioned to realize our ambitions than ever before.
We’ve always understood that our business and revenue are interconnected with our mission; they rely on each other. Brand safety is only possible when human safety is the top priority. All of this remains true today.
What has changed, however, is our approach to experimentation. As you’ve seen over the past several weeks, Twitter is embracing public testing. We believe that this open and transparent approach to innovation is healthy, as it enables us to move faster and gather user feedback in real-time. We believe that a service of this importance will benefit from feedback at scale, and that there is value in being open about our experiments and what we are learning. We do all of this work with one goal in mind: to improve Twitter for our customers, partners, and the people who use it across the world.
As we carry out this work, we want to assure you of a few things:
First, none of our policies have changed. Our approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.
Our Trust & Safety team continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter's rules. The team remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse.
When urgent events manifest on the platform, we ensure that all content moderators have the guidance they need to find and address violative content.
As we improve our policies and processes, bad actors will also develop new methods of disruption. This is not new. Our team of experts is constantly adapting to identify and defuse threats, and we are proud of our early results: impressions on violative content are down over the past month, despite the growth in overall usage on the platform.
Finally, as we embark on this new journey, we will make mistakes, we will learn, and we will also get things right. Throughout, we’ll communicate openly with our users and customers, to get and share your feedback as we build.
We remain committed to providing a safe, inclusive, entertaining, and informative experience for everyone. We will continue to be transparent as we move through this transition period. And we will listen to you, the people who make Twitter what it is: the town square of the internet.
The Twitter Team


'Battleground' leadership position


Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) is pushing for House Democrats to add a Battleground Leadership Representative to the party’s top ranks.

Lee, a Frontline Democrat who survived a tough reelection campaign, said in a letter that Frontliners deserve a seat at the Democratic leadership table.

The Battleground Leadership Representative would be elected by Frontline and newly elected Red-to-Blue members and mentor new battleground members, according to Lee’s proposal.

Lee’s push comes after a cycle when many Frontliners felt frustrated with Democratic leaders. Frontliners continuously called on leadership to bring more bills dealing with inflation and crime to the floor ahead of the midterms. There was also widespread consternation with DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who steered resources into his own race during the home stretch. SPM eventually lost to a GOP challenger.

America's sudden change of heart on same-sex marriage


Compared to the decades and decades it took to dismantle Jim Crow laws or secure women's right to vote, America's about-face on same-sex marriage happened in the blink of an eye.

The big picture: Just 27% of Americans supported same-sex marriage in 1996, the year President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages.

That's flipped on its head: 71% now tell Gallup that same-sex and opposite-sex marriages should have the same legal recognition.

McCarthy's math problem


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met on Tuesday with key members of his conference — including several right-wing detractors — as part of an intensifying effort to cobble together the votes he needs to become speaker.

Why it matters: McCarthy is at risk of a humiliating and potentially career-ending defeat with just five weeks until the Jan. 3 speaker election, as several members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus are still publicly vowing to deny him crucial votes.

Driving the news: Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) told Axios on Tuesday he’s a firm "no" on McCarthy after previously leaving wiggle room: "I will be voting for an alternative candidate. I will not be voting for Kevin McCarthy."

State of play: McCarthy will need a majority of voting members to elect him speaker. With a House Republican majority of just five or six seats, he will only be able to afford a handful of defections.

Herschel Walker Stumbles in Final Stretch

Political Wire

“As a surge of Georgia voters streamed to the polls this weekend, Sen. Raphael Warnock headlined a half-dozen rallies across metro Atlanta. Herschel Walker, his Republican opponent, was nearly invisible, without a public event for five days,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“The Republican’s campaign, once singularly focused on slamming Warnock’s ties to President Joe Biden, abruptly shifted to accuse Walker’s former football coach of not really being his former football coach after he endorsed Warnock.”

“And thanks to Warnock’s dominating fundraising advantage, the airwaves have been blanketed with Walker’s rambling stump speech gaffes, including a recent inexplicable analysis of horror movie villains: ‘A werewolf can kill a vampire, did you know that?'”

House January 6 committee chairman says panel 'close to putting pens down' on final report

Source: CNN

The chairman of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol said Tuesday that the panel is “close to putting pens down” on its final report, which is slated for release by the end of this Congress.

“The body of the report is complete and there is general agreement on that,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi told reporters.

The final report, he said, will include eight chapters.

In addition to focusing on former President Donald Trump’s actions around January 6, the congressman said the final report will “focus on some other issues,” including material the committee has not previously presented. “We are reviewing material on a daily basis,” he said, though he told reporters the panel has largely completed its interviews.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/29/politics/january-6-committee-report-thompson/index.html

Politico: Conservatives sharpen their knives as McCarthy works to peel off skeptics

“Knives Out” isn’t just playing on screen this week: Conservatives are digging in against Kevin McCarthy before the conclusion of a closed-door fight over consolidating the House GOP leader’s power.

As House Republicans keep debating their rules for next year’s majority, the Freedom Caucus — home to several members seeking to derail McCarthy’s speakership bid — is pushing for institutional changes that they argue will restore power to rank-and-file members. Before that debate Wednesday, McCarthy allies likely will move to scrap or neuter some of the Freedom Caucus’ dozen or so proposals.

Members of the pro-Trump group had clamored earlier this month to restore House members’ ability to oust the speaker, though that effort got silenced by a counter-proposal from Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) that requires a majority of the conference to back any anti-speaker vote. Freedom Caucus members accused leadership of lining up opposition to their initial round of changes while postponing more controversial ideas until this week.

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), who has a proposed rules change on the Wednesday agenda, said that “I don’t think the first [debate] was very productive” and that he hasn’t decided if he’ll back McCarthy for speaker on Jan. 3. Bishop added that he’s looking to see if Wednesday’s session will be “different in tenor than” the pre-Thanksgiving session, saying “I don’t think it has much utility if it’s not.”


Politico: The GOP's same-sex marriage evolution: A slow, choppy tidal shift

Thom Tillis has helped ink plenty of bipartisan deals over the past two years. His advocacy for protecting same-sex marriage rights still surprised some of his fellow senators.

“When people first saw me get involved, they were scratching their heads,” the North Carolina Republican said in an interview just before the marriage bill passed the Senate on Tuesday.

The second-term Tillis saw the opportunity to put his own mark on an issue central to LGBTQ rights just a few weeks after he leaped into summertime gun safety negotiations that divided the GOP. And he stuck out as a new face in the gang working on a same-sex marriage agreement, which included two longtime Republican advocates in Rob Portman of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine as well as Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

His decision to get involved was emblematic of a Republican Party that’s divided over how much to edge away from hardline positions on social issues as it tries to rebuild credibility with swing voters after a disappointing midterm performance. As much as some Republicans hope to counterbalance the chaos of the Trump years and a conservative Supreme Court majority’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, same-sex marriage still plainly splits the GOP: Tillis, Collins, and Portman joined just nine other Republican senators to ultimately support the bill.

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