Tag Archives: politics

Antipope’s 19 Theses

Charlie Stross has written what he termed a new cluetrain manifesto, although it bears no relation to the original except in form. Instead of talking about businesses and marketing, his is about the relationship of labor, capital, and government in the early 21st century.

I don’t think most of his points are all that controversial, with notable exception of 14. I find the idea of mass civil unrest in the Western democracies laughably absurd. For the United States, it’s doubly absurd when it’s supposed to be the outgrowth of a populist economic revolt. As John Steinbeck put it, “[America’s] poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

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Invest in Pitchfork Futures

The Gaurdian:

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said.

This fear that the unwashed masses will soon rise up and overthrow their betters is a reoccurring theme with the ultra rich. It never happens though. Why? As Marco Rubio famously said, “We have never been a nation of haves and have-nots. We are a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, of people who have made it and people who will make it. And that’s who we need to remain.” As long as that lie keeps getting believed, the 1% will remain safe on their piles of money.

Forbidden Zones

Slate’s Vault highlights a 1955 map of forbidden areas for Soviet travelers. Like all good things from the Cold War, it’s born out the absurdity, childish tit-for-tat, and fear.

In 1952, the US passed a law baring pinkos from entering the country. The next year, the Soviets decided to how much better they were by letting capitalist pig dogs into the 70% of Soviet Union. So in 1955, the US decided to mimic the Soviet travel restrictions by opening up 70% of the US and 70% of cities of population greater than 100,000 to the Soviets. Ports and military installations were forbidden, but must of it is just arbitrary nonsense. You can visit Minneapolis, but not St. Paul. KCK is fine, but KCMO is not. Also, don’t even think about leaving Kansas City, Kansas. Texas Panhandle? Not a chance. And don’t even think about visiting Southern Illinois.

It’s just stupid.

This map held until Kennedy removed all travel restrictions in 1962.

Pope Emeritus

Well, we now have a “pope emeritus,” the first one since 1415. Now all we need is an antipope, and we’ll have everything. What I find interesting is speculation about Benedict XVI’s new title. I may not be a practicing catholic, but I am taken back that Benedict XVI is keeping his name, and the title of pope, and the vestments of office. He should revert back to wearing black, and not be called “pope” anything. The “former bishop of Rome” was a good compromise, since it’s a title that’s held by the pope in addition to pontiff, and sounds more pedestrian. Personally, I think “Ratzinger, emeritus bishop of Rome” would be perfect, but he apparently didn’t want to give it up. At least he’s traded in his pointy hat for a baseball cap.

Discouraging Voters

Emily Bazelon at Slate has written a short essay lamenting the fact that access to polls has become a partisan issue. In other words, the Republican Party is transparently engaging in widespread voter suppression.

I will never understand why someone would not want to make it as easy as possible to let people vote. There’s something wrong if you’re in politics and you depend on an unengaged electorate.