Archive for ‘Politics’

October 19, 2022

Let’s Go Brandon

Brandon Brown

Let’s Go Brandon is a political slogan and Internet meme, used as a substitute for the phrase ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ in reference to Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States.

Chants of ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ began during sporting events in early September 2021. On October 2, 2021, during a televised interview of the Sparks 300 race winner Brandon Brown at Talladega Superspeedway, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast incorrectly described the chant in the background as ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’ which sparked the meme. The slogan has become well known through use by Republican politicians and critics of Biden. The phrase quickly spread to popular culture.

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October 17, 2022

Obama Tan Suit Controversy

Obama

The Obama tan suit controversy refers to a live, televised press conference on August 28, 2014 where U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was increasing the military response against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria while wearing a tan suit. His suit choice sparked significant attention and led to media and social media criticism. The issue remained prominent in the media for several days with the issue being particularly widely discussed on talk shows.

A light-colored suit is considered casual summer wear and such attire was seen by conservative media outlet Fox News as inappropriate due to the gravitas of the subject matter. The controversy was seen in the context of the slow news season before the run-up to the 2014 election campaign. The suit received mixed reviews from a fashion perspective.

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October 16, 2022

Deflategate

Deflategate

Deflategate was a National Football League (NFL) controversy involving the allegation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the Patriots’ victory against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015. The controversy resulted in Brady being suspended for four games, while the team was fined $1 million and forfeited two draft selections in 2016.

Brady appealed but eventually agreed to sit out the first four games of the 2016 season, which concluded with the Patriots winning Super Bowl LI and Brady being named MVP. The season also saw the NFL change the procedure for monitoring football pressure.

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September 15, 2022

Pretendian

Playing Indian

pretendian (portmanteau of pretend and Indian) is a person who has falsely claimed Indigenous identity by claiming to be a citizen of a Native American or Indigenous Canadian tribal nation, or to be descended from Native ancestors. The term is a pejorative colloquialism, and if used without evidence could be considered defamatory.

As a practice, being a pretendian is considered an extreme form of cultural appropriation, especially if that individual then asserts that they can represent, and speak for, communities they do not belong to. It is sometimes also referred to as a form of ethnic fraud or race shifting.

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September 12, 2022

Mr. Big

Rafay

Mr. Big (sometimes known as the ‘Canadian technique’) is a covert investigation procedure used by undercover police to elicit confessions from suspects in cold cases (usually murder).

Police officers create a fictitious grey area or criminal organization and then seduce the suspect into joining it. They build a relationship with the suspect, gain their confidence, and then enlist their help in a succession of criminal acts (e.g., delivering goods, credit card scams, selling guns) for which they are paid. Once the suspect has become enmeshed in the criminal gang they are persuaded to divulge information about their criminal history, usually as a prerequisite for being accepted as a member of the organization.

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June 28, 2022

Democratic Backsliding in the U.S.

Democratic backsliding

Democratic backsliding has been ongoing in the U.S. since the late 2010s. The V-Dem Institute’s electoral democracy index score for the United States peaked in 2015 and declined sharply after 2016, for which year it was also downgraded to ‘flawed democracy’ by the Economist Intelligence Unit in its annual ‘Democracy Index’ report. Both V-Dem and Freedom House downgraded the United States in 2018.

Iranian–German sociologist Behrouz Alikhani cites the government following the interests of global corporations rather than citizens and loosening of campaign finance laws, especially the ‘Citizens United’ decision, to enable the wealthy greater influence in politics. Political scientist Wendy Brown argued in 2006 that the United States was de-democratizing because of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. In a 2021 book, historian Karen J. Greenberg argued that policies adopted during the war on terror enabled later democratic backsliding under the Trump administration.

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May 23, 2022

Socialist Fraternal Kiss

My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love

The socialist fraternal kiss was a special form of greeting between socialist leaders. The act demonstrated the special connection that exists between socialist countries, consisting of an embrace, along with a series of three kisses on alternate cheeks. In rare cases, when the two leaders considered themselves exceptionally close, the kisses were given on the mouth rather than on the cheeks.

The fraternal kiss became famous via Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev, who were photographed exercising the ritual. The photograph became widespread and it was subsequently reproduced into a graffiti painting on the Berlin Wall named ‘My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love.’

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April 27, 2022

Edge Sorting

Edge sorting

Edge sorting is a technique used in advantage gambling where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high at casino table games by observing, learning, and exploiting subtle unintentional differences on the backs of the cards being dealt.

Applied by poker player Phil Ivey and subsequently challenged in court by the casino in which he did so, the UK High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court ruled that the technique, which requires the player to trick the dealer into rotating specific, high-value cards, is cheating in civil law, and that a casino was justified in refusing payment of winnings. This ruling would not be applicable if the player simply took advantage of an observed error or anomaly in the deck for which he was not responsible.

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March 21, 2022

Show Trial

Moscow trials

show trial is a public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt or innocence of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal the presentation of both the accusation and the verdict to the public so they will serve as both an impressive example and a warning to other would-be dissidents or transgressors.

Show trials tend to be retributive rather than corrective and they are also conducted for propagandistic purposes. When aimed at individuals on the basis of protected classes or characteristics, such trials are examples of political persecution. The term was first recorded in 1928.

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March 6, 2022

Kremlinology

Alexander Zinoviev

Kremlinology is the study and analysis of the politics and policies of the Soviet Union while Sovietology is the study of politics and policies of both the Soviet Union and former Communist states more generally. These two terms were synonymous until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In popular culture, the term is sometimes used to mean any attempt to understand a secretive organization or process, such as plans for upcoming products or events, by interpreting indirect clues.

During the Cold War, lack of reliable information about the country forced Western analysts to ‘read between the lines’ and to use the tiniest tidbits, such as the removal of portraits, the rearranging of chairs, positions at the reviewing stand for parades in Red Square, the choice of capital or small initial letters in phrases such as ‘First Secretary,’ the arrangement of articles on the pages of the party newspaper Pravda and other subtle signs to try to understand what was happening in internal Soviet politics.

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February 14, 2022

Dixie Mafia

Pete Halat

The Dixie Mafia is a criminal organization composed mainly of white Southerners and based in Biloxi, Mississippi, operating primarily throughout the Southern United States since at least the 1970s. The group used each member’s talents in various crime categories to help move stolen merchandise, illegal alcohol, and illegal drugs.

Unlike members of the American Mafia, the members of the Dixie Mafia were not connected by family or country of origin. They were loosely connected individuals of many nationalities with a common goal – to make money and wield control over illegal moneymaking operations by any means, including influence peddling, bribery of public officials, and murder.

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January 7, 2022

Birds Aren’t Real

Conspiracy theory

Birds Aren’t Real is a satirical conspiracy theory which posits that birds are actually drones operated by the U.S. government to spy on American citizens. In 2018, journalist Rachel Roberts described Birds Aren’t Real as ‘a joke that thousands of people are in on.’

The movement argues that all birds in the United States were exterminated by the government between 1959 and 1971 and replaced by drones (the specifics of these theories as reported in news articles are not always consistent, not unlike actual conspiracy theories). They claim that birds sit on power lines to recharge themselves, and that bird poop on cars is a tracking method.

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