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.”
I think I finally have something worth turning into a sticker.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. […] You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
– Lee Atwater, former Republican strategist and national chairman
I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable.
– Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin county or Ohio Republican Party
The voter suppression tactics to disenfranchise minorities and the elderly across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida is just so goddamn transparent it’s not even funny.
There is something seriously wrong when condemning one of the seven deadly sins is a taboo. Why? Evangelical preachers don’t want to alienate wealthy donors. In other words, they want the money that’s used to line their pockets. Maybe it’s because I grew up Catholic, but I never trust anyone that says he’s doing “God’s work” and doesn’t take a vow poverty. Or as George Orwell said, saints should be considered guilty until proven innocent. Personally, I blame the the Prosperity Theology and the canard that Mark 10:25 actually doesn’t mean what it says.
Bonus points for the article quoting the right winger that says that envy is the real problem.