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A new survey shows what really interests 'pro-lifers': controlling women | Jill Filipovic | Opinion | The Guardian
The “pro-life” movement is fundamentally about misogyny.

A Supermajority/PerryUndem survey released this week divides respondents by their position on abortion, and then tracks their answers to 10 questions on gender equality more generally. On every question, anti-abortion voters were significantly more hostile to gender equity than pro-choice voters.

Do men make better political leaders than women? More than half of anti-abortion voters agreed. Do you want there to be equal numbers of men and women in positions of power in America? Fewer than half of abortion opponents said yes – compared with 80% of pro-choicers, who said they want women to share in power equally.

Anti-abortion voters don’t like the #MeToo movement. They don’t think the lack of women in positions of power impacts women’s equality. They don’t think access to birth control impacts women’s equality. They don’t think the way women are treated in society is an important issue in the 2020 election.

They don’t believe sexism is a problem, and they’re hostile to women’s rights. Pro-lifers are sexists in denial – yes, the women too

In other words, they don’t believe sexism is a problem, and they’re hostile to women’s rights. Pro-lifers are sexists in denial – yes, the women too.
culture  feminism  politics  society  abortion  **** 
7 days ago by gpe
Why Greta Thunberg Makes Adults Uncomfortable - The Atlantic
Though perhaps she is moderate in speech, she can be radical in action. Thunberg’s chosen form of protest—a school strike—is uncommon in the United States, though more popular in Europe. Americans think of school as something that chiefly benefits students, not society; comparing it to a job, where a labor stoppage is a recognized form of protest, is outside our ken. But if you come to see school as part of an intergenerational exchange of welfare—students go to school now, so that in 30 years they can get jobs and pay Social Security taxes—then it aligns well with Thunberg’s overall point, which is that older generations have betrayed young people today by failing to address climate change. This almost economic argument has the virtue of being accurate.

And when Thunberg talks about this, especially in private, she sounds a lot like … a teenager. “We are not the ones who are responsible for this, but we are the ones who have to live with these consequences, and that is so incredibly unfair,” she said at one point.

And this is the way to understand Thunberg that paints her as neither a saint nor a demon but that still captures her appeal. Thunberg epitomizes, in a person, the unique moral position of being a teenager. She can see the world through an “adult” moral lens, and so she knows that the world is a heartbreakingly flawed place. But unlike an actual adult, she bears almost no conscious blame for this dismal state. Thunberg seems to gesture at this when referring to herself as a “child,” which she does often in speeches.
activism  the.atlantic  ***  politics  climatechange  climate  protest 
9 days ago by gpe
Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy | Moira Weigel | US news | The Guardian
Trump drew upon a classic element of anti-political-correctness by implying that while his opponents were operating according to a political agenda, he simply wanted to do what was sensible. He made numerous controversial policy proposals: deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the US, introducing stop-and-frisk policies that have been ruled unconstitutional. But by responding to critics with the accusation that they were simply being politically correct, Trump attempted to place these proposals beyond the realm of politics altogether. Something political is something that reasonable people might disagree about. By using the adjective as a put-down, Trump pretended that he was acting on truths so obvious that they lay beyond dispute. “That’s just common sense.”

The most alarming part of this approach is what it implies about Trump’s attitude to politics more broadly. His contempt for political correctness looks a lot like contempt for politics itself. He does not talk about diplomacy; he talks about “deals”. Debate and disagreement are central to politics, yet Trump has made clear that he has no time for these distractions. To play the anti-political-correctness card in response to a legitimate question about policy is to shut down discussion in much the same way that opponents of political correctness have long accused liberals and leftists of doing. It is a way of sidestepping debate by declaring that the topic is so trivial or so contrary to common sense that it is pointless to discuss it. The impulse is authoritarian. And by presenting himself as the champion of common sense, Trump gives himself permission to bypass politics altogether.
america  language  politics  trump  ****  politically.correct 
august 2019 by gpe
Debunking the claim that "The KKK was founded as the military arm of the Democratic Party." | PolitiFact Wisconsin
In a June 10, 2013, PolitiFact Virginia article, Carole Emberton, associate professor of history at the University at Buffalo, noted that the "party lines of the 1860s/1870s are not the party lines of today."

"Although the names stayed the same, the platforms of the two parties reversed each other in the mid-20th century, due in large part to white ‘Dixiecrats’ flight out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," she said. "By then, the Democratic Party had become the party of ‘reform,’ supporting a variety of ‘liberal’ causes, including civil rights, women’s rights, etc. whereas this had been the banner of the Republican Party in the nineteenth century."
politics  history  republican  democrat  hate  racism  *** 
august 2019 by gpe
Fonts and Leading on the Campaign Trail : Type Magazine
The application of Gotham has quickly become rote as well, with the logos formulaically dividing names with either contrasting weights or two colors. The font’s G is clearly attractive to many gubernatorial candidates. In more than one state, the race for that seat is so crowded with Gotham and near-Gothams the candidates start to blend together.

We hope to never see Gotham again after researching this article.
design  politics  logo  ***  critique  typography 
january 2019 by gpe
Don’t Mourn, Repoliticize! | The Point Magazine
The Democrats’ withdrawal from the political arena may also be motivated by a sense that some of their opponents are simply too loathsome to engage. American elites have come to regard racism (and attendant evils like fear of Islam) as a sin for which nothing can atone. But their insistence on regarding racist attitudes as outside the sphere of politics has made persuasion impossible. A return to politics in the Schmittian sense would not mean minimizing the evils of racism. It would mean bringing racism down from the pedestal where it sits high above every other kind of iniquity in the American consciousness. In particular, it would mean bringing racism into the realm of politics, where it can be struggled against rather than blindly loathed. This is not a call for more discussion and debate, those venerable liberal tactics that failed so spectacularly this year. It is a call for us to acknowledge that we are fighting a culture war—but also that a culture war need not become the absolute last war of humanity.

As a matter of fact, much of the racism that swept Trump to victory is essentially political, by which I mean that it involves beliefs about groups in general and society at large rather than beliefs about individual people. Mistrust of Muslims or condescension toward black people can coexist quite comfortably with respect for individual Muslims and individual black people. Trump himself hires and befriends Latinos and Jews while spouting ethnic hatred at his rallies. And if his racism, and the racism that made his campaign successful, is political, it cannot be fought through appeals to supposedly universal values its supporters and enablers do not share. Entering a political fight is, of course, a risky proposition: you might lose, with catastrophic consequences. But it is becoming increasingly clear that Trumpism’s opponents have no alternative.
politics  theory  race  democracy  democrat  republican  trump  *** 
january 2019 by gpe
How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism) —Dan Wang “I consider Definite Optimism as Human Capital to be my most creative piece. Unfortunately, it’s oblique and meandering.”
Let’s try to preserve process knowledge. The decline of industrial work makes it harder to accumulate process knowledge. If a state has lost most of its jobs for electrical engineers, civil engineers, or nuclear engineers, then fewer young people will enter into these fields. Technological development slows down, and it turns into a self-reinforcing cycle of decline.

I think we should try to hold on to process knowledge.

Japan’s Ise Grand Shrine is an extraordinary example in that genre. Every 20 years, caretakers completely tear down the shrine and build it anew. The wooden shrine has been rebuilt again and again for 1,200 years. Locals want to make sure that they don’t ever forget the production knowledge that goes into constructing the shrine. There’s a very clear sense that the older generation wants to teach the building techniques to the younger generation: “I will leave these duties to you next time.”

Regularly tearing down and rebuilding a wooden temple might not sound like a great use of time. But I’m not sure if local priorities are entirely screwed up here. These people understand that it’s too difficult to write down every instruction necessary for building even a single wooden structure; imagine how much more difficult it is to create instructions for a machinery part, or a chip. Every so often we discover ancient tools of which we have no idea how to use. These shrine caretakers have decided that preservation of production knowledge is important, and I find that admirable.

Building a vast industrial base and practicing learning-by-doing used to be the American way. Brad DeLong again: “When the technologies of the second industrial revolution arrived, the United States with its cotton and wide market, and its rich natural resources, and its communities of engineering excellence, was able to leap ahead—and in fact greatly surpass Britain in manufacturing productivity pretty much everywhere. So that the 20th century became an American century, rather than a second British century, in large part because of the bets Hamilton had induced the United States to make on not simply following comparative advantage.”
ellul  industry  future  geography  history  futurism  *****  globalization  politics  technology  economics  trends  manufacturing 
august 2018 by gpe
Community Architect Daily: Where are your people, Baltimore? Part 1
Where are all your people, Baltimore? Anyone coming back from travel to cities such as Boston, New York, Seattle, San Diego, Zurich or Naples will ask this question. Public spaces in this city seem mostly deserted except for cars, even in downtown. In the few places where people routinely assemble, such as near the Lexington Market, police see them as "loiterers" and are doing everything to make their life of  miserable. Benjamin had admired the "porosity" of Naples which he saw then  of not having hard borders of confrontation and separation.

Its hard to see such porosity in Baltimore. In more affluent neighborhoods, such as Mount Vernon, special security details canvas the streets. In poor neighborhoods, such as on Pennsylvania Avenue near North Avenue, the sidewalks are busy but most city residents wouldn't  dare to go there. Parks, one of the classic urban commons,  such as Leakin or Druid Hill are beautiful, but remain devoid of people most of the time. All this stands in stark contrast to familiar photos of Baltimore's history depicting downtown streets bustling with life.
baltimore  urbanism  politics  lefebvre  cities 
july 2018 by gpe
Post-Authenticity and the Ironic Truths of Meme Culture
What I’ve sought to argue in this essay, then, is that we are indeed living in an a strange, surface-centric moment in popular, digital culture right now — where the original “essence of things” has indeed become somewhat unfashionable (or just less entertaining). Social and media technologies, optimised for the diffusion of highly emotive, reaction-generating content, encourage a rapid trade in attention-grabbing ideas over slower-burning systematic, contextualised thinking.
Yet, even as authenticity, both as a claim and an aesthetic feels outdated, deeper forms of realness in our communications still persist. People are still seeking to communicate their deepest personal truths: their values, hopes, and fears with each other. In sharing media, we’re still creating community.
Nonetheless, the kind of truth in play is changing form: emotional and moral truths are in ascendance over straightforward, factual claims. Truth becomes plural, and thereby highly contested: global warming, 9/11, or Obama’s birthplace are all treated as matters of cultural allegiance over fact, as traditionally understood. “By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half,” writer Kurt Andersen posits.
authenticity  ****  memes  medium  truth  news  future  politics 
july 2018 by gpe
Liz Jackson | 30 second pitches | CreativeMornings/NYC
This has a great bit about baseball as a sport whose overriding aesthetic is one of beautiful solutions to design for disabled people (see the baseball glove).


After becoming disabled in 2012, Liz Jackson began to wonder why her eyeglasses were fashionable when her cane was not. This question ultimately led Liz to found The Disabled List, a disability self advocacy organization that focuses on design. The Disabled List is a curated list of creative disabled people who are available to consult, collaborate and support brands that are interested in reaching their disabled consumers. The DL is shifting the disability narrative by ensuring disabled people are treated as the experts in disability. And through a program called WITH, The DL is creating new pathways into design for disabled people.
politics  empathy  design  ****  video  disability  accessibility 
july 2018 by gpe
I am sick of these kids demanding safe spaces - The Washington Post
If we let these kids have their way, soon there will not be danger anywhere. They will be able to go to school in the morning and feel confident that they will be able to come home in the evening. This is a radical thing to ask. I remember no such certainty. It is, therefore, undesirable. These children are weak. I do not want my children to live in a better world than the world that I grew up in, or the one we live in now. That would be to admit that things have progressed, and I do not admit that.

That is what conservatism means to me: the ability to pass the dangers and privations of my life on to the generation that will come after. The hope that their lives will be, if not actively worse than mine, then certainly no better. The idea that I suffered not because there were no better choices but because the suffering was inherently good.
age  trump  ***  politics  children  visibility 
july 2018 by gpe
Laura Kalbag – The cost of access
Why has surveillance capitalism become so prevalent? It’s because the cis straight non-disabled white wealthy men who control the majority of technology are the least vulnerable to the monetisation of their personal information. They can afford special security and privacy measures. They can afford to pay for expensive access rather than being forced to sell their personal information.
I often try to sell accessibility by explaining that making the web more usable to people with disabilities, you invariably make the web more usable for everyone. The same goes for our ethical alternatives to mainstream technology. If we make, participate, support and fund inclusive alternatives, we will all benefit.
design  information  accessibility  ***  access  data  surveillance  capitalism  politics 
july 2018 by gpe
Things are... not good - Lawyers, Guns & Money
To continue with this theme, it is simply becoming impossible to ignore that American political institutions have already entered a pivotal phase—a critical juncture. The unravelling of the Civil War and New Deal reorganizations of the American political system is well underway. The Supreme Court may be the major player here, but the other branches of government are doing their part. In general, we think about this in strictly ideological terms: ‘this is bad for liberal policy preferences, good for conservative ones.’ I think this is too narrow a perspective.

We are talking about the potential for significant decentralization that precludes country-wide policy coordination, even more extensive local variation in political systems between “Red” and “Blue” states, and attenuation of the fiscal capacity to engage in national projects. This kind of system might work for a nineteenth-century federation largely shielded from great-power competition (although, in truth, it careened from crisis to crisis and its survival only looks inevitable in retrospect), but it is likely ill-suited for twenty-first century challenges: environmental, national-security, and economic. Moreover, deregulation of campaign finance, among other things, leaves the country vulnerable to globalizing authoritarianism.
politics  institutions  crisis  usa  ****  2018  trump  failure  democracy 
july 2018 by gpe
The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border
What changed was the administration’s handling of these cases. Undocumented immigrant families seeking asylum previously were released and went into the civil court system, but now the parents are being detained and sent to criminal courts while their kids are resettled in the United States as though they were unaccompanied minors.

The government has limited resources and cannot prosecute every crime, so setting up a system that prioritizes the prosecution of some offenses over others is a policy choice. The Supreme Court has said, “In our criminal justice system, the government retains ‘broad discretion’ as to whom to prosecute.” To charge or not to charge someone “generally rests entirely” on the prosecutor, the court has said.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for Nielsen, said the administration does not have a family-separation policy. But Waldman agreed that Trump officials are exercising their prosecutorial discretion to charge more illegal-entry offenses, which in turn causes more family separations. The Obama administration also separated immigrant families, she said.

“We’re increasing the rate of what we were already doing,” Waldman said. “Instead of letting some slip through, we’re saying we’re doing it for all.”

Waldman sent figures from fiscal 2010 through 2016 showing that, out of 2,362,966 adults apprehended at the southern border, 492,970, or 21 percent, were referred for prosecution. These figures include all adults, not just those who crossed with minor children, so they’re not a measure of how many families were separated under Obama.

“During the Obama administration there was no policy in place that resulted in the systematic separation of families at the border, like we are now seeing under the Trump administration,” said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. “Our understanding is that generally parents were not prosecuted for illegal entry under President Obama. There may have been some separation if there was suspicion that the children were being trafficked or a claimed parent-child relationship did not actually exist. But nothing like the levels we are seeing today.”
***  politics  migration  family  trump  washingtonpost  immigration  2018 
july 2018 by gpe
Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight? - The New York Times
Some people think that dialogue and debate can help the United States defeat its current tribalism. If only we could calmly talk about our differences, the argument goes, we would reach some compromise. But not all disagreements are bridgeable. The Union and the Confederacy did not resolve their differences through dialogue; it was a civil war that put an end to slavery. Jim Crow laws were defeated through mass protests and civil disobedience. Schools were desegregated though a Supreme Court decision, which had to be implemented with the help of the National Guard. The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed as a political necessity during World War II. Some fights are not talked away; they are, in the end, either won or lost.

This is not to say that tribal impasses of the moment can’t be broken. But it is generally not a good idea to expect people on the receiving end of brutal policies — like families broken apart by police violence, immigration raids, travel bans or anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination — to hash out a compromise over sweet tea. “Maybe we pushed too far,” Barack Obama is quoted as saying in a new memoir by Benjamin Rhodes, one of his closest aides. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.” What the ever-compromising Obama doesn’t consider is that resolution sometimes requires pushing even further.
politics  2018  ****  nytimes  compromise  nyt  tribalism  trump  usa 
july 2018 by gpe
The Socialist Case for Gun Control
The argument, made by some that gun control must be opposed because the criminal justice system is irremediably racist, is untenable. It has been argued that the implementation of laws governing sexual assault and domestic abuse are often racialized. Yet few make the case that the state should therefore no longer criminalize sexual assault. The anti-gun-control position assumes that because the racism of the criminal justice system is immutable, it trumps all possible gains of gun legislation. But if its advocates wouldn’t make the same argument about homicide, sexual assault, robbery, etc., the argument is inconsistent. If in the cases of those laws, the answer is to challenge racist implementation, rather than the laws themselves, the same holds true for gun control laws.

Given the history of racialized policing, the call for unarmed police, especially for police on patrol, is certainly one progressives should push. Countries like the United Kingdom, Norway, and New Zealand offer successful instances of the practice. Linking this demand to a wider call for gun control is one way to get it into popular consciousness.
socialism  gun.control  politics  2018  race  gender  policing  **** 
april 2018 by gpe
The President of Nowhere, USA - POLITICO Magazine
Through it all, Buttigieg established himself as a Democrat worth tracking, at a time when the party was desperate for fresh faces, particularly between the coasts. Howard Dean has called him “the face of the first global generation.” Frank Bruni, the New York Times columnist, wondered after a 2016 South Bend visit whether he had just met the country’s first gay president. And speaking to the New Yorker three weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, Barack Obama name-checked four gifted pols he trusted to lead Democrats into the suddenly terrifying future. Three were U.S. senators, all in their 50s. Then there was Buttigieg, a boyish municipal servant with a Maltese last name nobody can quite pronounce. (It’s Boot-edge-edge, though South Bend residents just call him Mayor Pete.)
***  future  trends  2017  politics  indiana  local.government 
march 2018 by gpe
Who Works for the Workers? | Issue 26 | n+1
Union opponents think this quiescence means workers don’t want to fight. Romantic union supporters, perhaps including the people at the conference, tend to think that workers are ready for a struggle but held back by conservative middle-class leadership. Neither account fully contemplates the idea that the struggle between labor and capital might more simply reflect the balance of power. The union movement’s problem, in other words, isn’t that workers don’t want to fight; it’s that they don’t want to lose.
economics  **  labor  politics 
february 2018 by gpe
Two Cheers for Polarization | Boston Review
In my new book, The Polarizers (2018), I highlight the specific actors who helped bring this change about. In the early postwar years, for example, a group of political scientists led by Wesleyan University’s E.E. Schattschneider provided intellectual ballast for the project by reviving a Progressive-era doctrine called “responsible party government.” Proponents of responsible party government sought to nationalize the party structures that had long been patchworks of state and local organizations. They promoted programmatic parties, organized around substantive issues rather than ties of tradition, patronage, or personality. And to secure democratic accountability, they sought to ensure that the two parties’ respective programs were at once coherent and mutually distinct. The goal, as a famous Schattschneider-led committee of the American Political Science Association (APSA) wrote in 1950, was a system in which the parties “bring forth programs to which they commit themselves and . . . possess sufficient internal cohesion to carry out these programs.”

Most of these scholars were themselves frustrated liberal Democrats, just as Roosevelt had been, and they found an eager audience in the ranks of organized postwar liberalism. Officeholders like Hubert Humphrey engaged with responsible-party scholars and championed party discipline in speeches. Ideological advocacy groups like Americans for Democratic Action featured discussions of the doctrine in their literature while the progressive wing of organized labor took up the cause of cohesive party discipline. Meanwhile, an ascendant generation of issue-driven “amateur” activists—thrilling to Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaigns in the 1950s—battled to wrest control of Democratic organizations from traditional machines in the north while attacking the outsized national power of the conservative leaders in the south. They valorized party discipline in Congress and majority rule within national party affairs, hoping that many disempowered southerners would leave the party.
2017  democrat  ****  postwar  democracy  republican  party  boston.globe  history  politics  inequality  polarization 
february 2018 by gpe
Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge
Nothing prevents us, therefore, from lining our criticism with a criticism of politics, from taking sides in politics, i.e., from entering into real struggles and identifying ourselves with them. This does not mean that we shall confront the world with new doctrinaire principles and proclaim: Here is the truth, on your knees before it! It means that we shall develop for the world new principles from the existing principles of the world. We shall not say: Abandon your struggles, they are mere folly; let us provide you with true campaign-slogans. Instead, we shall simply show the world why it is struggling, and consciousness of this is a thing it must acquire whether it wishes or not.
communism  letter  ***  struggle  socialism  critique  politics  marxism 
february 2018 by gpe
I'm Fine How I Am | Boston Review
Kennedy affirms respectability as a strategy for blacks and black success, thus as a thing peculiar to blacks’ conditions. I, on the other hand, affirm this as a general human requirement of virtue—blacks should embrace friendship, courage, temperance, and justice as virtues, just as whites should.

In a truly liberal society, these virtues can take many forms as required by real conditions in neighborhoods, courthouses, employment offices, hospitals, and schools—all environments and institutions that put forth distinct challenges for blacks’ everyday lives. To say that blacks should act proper on account of respectability politics is to confuse the ethical question, “What ought I do?” with, “Why is it a good thing for me to do?” Blacks shouldn’t act well to put on a show for whites; rather, they should act well because doing so is a fine and respectable thing. I listen to my music loud not to disrupt others’ lives. Rather, I like to do so and doing so in a nice car was part of my inner-city socialization. If I should choose to act otherwise, it will be because I think my behavior is out of step with being a fine person—which is why I lower the music when I pass small children—and not because I perceive it as out of step with whites’ ideas of what it would mean for me to be a fine person. Once blacks—elites, non-elites, intellectuals, and lay persons— fully embrace this basic insight without tactical distractions, we can turn our gaze in the morally urgent direction and ask whites, rather, where is your “politics of respect” for our black lives? That is the only progressivism worth speaking of.
****  politics  race  black  white  clothing  music 
february 2018 by gpe
The Commons are Rumbling | Maximillian Alvarez, Ben Becker, Jodi Dean, Karina Garcia
Elite rhetoric is always designed to split and distort, to mystify things. The election made this painfully clear. The whole distinction we hear about between “working class issues” and “identity issues” is nonsense and usually based on the false notion that the working class is comprised of white men—as if Black and Latino communities aren’t overwhelmingly working class, as if women don’t occupy the lowest rungs of service work and as if LGBTQ people aren’t facing “working-class issues.” People who have actually organized at the grassroots know better than to accept the media’s articulation of these issues, and the DNC’s narrative around them. Usually it’s just a subtle way of downplaying the struggle against bigotry and special forms of oppression.
leftism  trump  interview  politics  organization  ***  the.baffler 
february 2018 by gpe
Republican war on Millennials looks like a suicide mission
In a new NBC News/GenForward poll, only 19% of Millennials identified with the Republican Party, and 71% said the GOP does not care about people like them.

Sure, there are still warning signs for the Democrats that Republicans’ collapse with young voters won’t translate into electoral gains. The same NBC News/GenForward poll found that 71% of Millennials want a third party, and in 2016 white Millennials voted more like their parents than their multiracial peers.

Even so, there isn’t a third party yet on the horizon, and the Millennial generation will be the most diverse America has ever seen. And for now, their No. 1 issue is health care, according to that NBC News/GenForward poll. They seem much more worried about the government coming for their insurance than their guns.
millenials  republican  taxes  boomers  politics  *** 
february 2018 by gpe
Gen X and Millennials Will Pay for the GOP's Tax Plan - The Atlantic
The baby-boom generation, which has voted reliably Republican in recent years, has been the largest generation of eligible voters since 1978. But in 2018, for the first time, slightly more Millennials than baby boomers will be eligible to vote, according to forecasts from the Center for American Progress’s States of Change project. Higher turnout rates among baby boomers will preserve their advantage among actual voters for a while. But sometime around 2024, Millennials will likely surpass them. The post-Millennials, Americans born after 2000 who’ll enter the electorate starting in 2020, will widen the advantage. This generational shift will trigger a profound racial change: While about 80 percent of the baby boom is white, over two-fifths of Millennials and nearly half of the post-Millennials are not.

This transition looms over the tax debate. To fund its benefits for the wealthiest families and business, the GOP congressional plans raise taxes on so many subgroups of Americans that no generation emerges as an unequivocal winner. But the evidence suggests that those who gain the most—top earners, business owners, corporate shareholders—are concentrated among whites in the baby boom and the older members of Generation X. And from several angles, younger generations loom as the plans’ biggest losers. “What’s very clear through all of this is that the group that most pays are the younger people,” Eugene Steuerle, the co-founder of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, told me.

People in the top income brackets will gain the most from the bills’ cuts in individual tax rates. Data from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors show that over one-third of households headed by someone age 45 to 59 earn more than $100,000 annually. Steph Curry and Taylor Swift notwithstanding, that’s true for less than one in 12 adults under 30. Likewise, the share of whites earning that much is roughly double that of African Americans or Hispanics.

People who own corporate stock and/or their own businesses will gain the most from the plans’ cuts in business taxes. Fed data again show that whites are twice as likely as non-whites to own one or the other—and that older adults are more likely to do so than younger people. Overall, the tax bills reward wealth, and wealth accumulates with age: Households headed by people between 55 and 64 years old have an average net worth that’s 15 times that of households headed by people younger than 35, the data show.
politics  the.atlantic  taxes  boomers  millenials  ***  wealth 
february 2018 by gpe
Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton thinks we're asking all the wrong questions about inequality — Quartz
To Deaton, there are other economic and social processes that propagate inequality, and they’re unfair.

Healthcare financing. Each year, the US wastes a trillion dollars ($8,000 per family) more than other wealthy nations on healthcare costs, with worse outcomes. Healthcare jobs grew the second fastest in 2017, but wages were largely flat, leading hospital workers to unionize for higher pay. Healthcare financing cuts wages for the average American too—most employer-sponsored healthcare benefits are actually taken out workers’ paychecks (paywall), not a pure company perk.

Mergers. Many industries, like tech, media, and healthcare, are now run by a few, large companies. But mergers rarely boost the wages of workers. Because of hospital mergers, hospital prices have risen, while hospital wages have not (even during a decade-long shortage of nurses). Big companies have an easier time manipulating public policy to accrue profits, instead of making money through innovation and investment.

The sluggish federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, hasn’t budged since 2009. According to a 2017 YouGov Survey, 66% of US adults would like to see the minimum wage raised to $10.10. But the policy change usually faces resistance in Congress, where wealthy firms and donors exert disproportionate influence.

Diminishing worker power. Twenty percent of workers sign non-compete clauses, which prevent them from taking on side-hustles, reducing their incomes and bargaining power. What’s more, over half of non-union, privately employed Americans—some 60 million people—have signed mandatory arbitration agreements, which means they can never sue their employers.

The rise of temps. Companies are increasingly replacing full-time, salaried workers with contractors. Janitors, servers, and maintenance staff who once worked for wealthy companies now work for independent service corporations that compete aggressively against each other over pricing. Contractors often live paycheck to paycheck, without benefits, and with little opportunity for promotion.

The growth of the stock market. While the stock market rewards innovation, it also incentivizes companies to shuffle resources from labor to capital. As median wages have stagnated, corporate profits relative to GDP have grown 20% to 25%. That number would be even higher if executive pay was tracked as profits instead of salaries.

Corporate wins in politics. “We have entered a period of regulatory bonfires,” writes Deaton. Both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation are under attack. Trump plans to gut 75% of regulations, and may roll back a rule that requires money managers to prioritize their clients’ interests. All the while, the US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can act as political entities—spending unlimited amounts to support candidates and the lax legislation they will eventually push.

Deaton takes heart from these problems. They’re not a consequence of seemingly unstoppable forces like globalization and technology, but of a dysfunctional economy.

And with the right policies, they can be reversed.
economics  politics  inequality  policy  *****  interview  questions  globalization  corporation 
february 2018 by gpe
How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America - Vox
Bruce Gibney

Right. Starting with Reagan, we saw this national ethos which was basically the inverse of JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This gets flipped on its head in a massive push for privatized gain and socialized risk for big banks and financial institutions. This has really been the dominant boomer economic theory, and it’s poisoned what’s left of our public institutions.
Sean Illing

So what’s your explanation for the awfulness of the boomers? What made them this way?
Bruce Gibney

I think there were a number of unusual influences, some of which won't be repeated, and some of which may have mutated over the years. I think the major factor is that the boomers grew up in a time of uninterrupted prosperity. And so they simply took it for granted. They assumed the economy would just grow three percent a year forever and that wages would go up every year and that there would always be a good job for everyone who wanted it.

This was a fantasy and the result of a spoiled generation assuming things would be easy and that no sacrifices would have to be made in order to preserve prosperity for future generations.
culture  politics  history  20thcentury  ***  vox  millenials  boomers  economics 
february 2018 by gpe
How to Be an Anticapitalist Today
There is thus an inherent tension between the real and the utopian. It is precisely this tension which the idea of a “real utopia” is meant to capture. The point is to sustain our deepest aspirations for a just and humane world that does not exist while also engaging in the practical task of building real-world alternatives that can be constructed in the world as it is that also prefigure the world as it could be and which help move us in that direction.

Real utopias thus transform the no-where of utopia into the now-here of creating emancipatory alternatives of the world as it could be in the world as it is.
leftism  capitalism  politics  cooperatives  wikipedia  cooperative  *****  jacobin  library  policy  socialism  utopianism  ubi 
january 2018 by gpe
Welcome to the World of “Soviet” Feelings
And what about the U.S. these days? American children, en masse, have been taught to look up to the country’s Presidents, even if in many instances those children’s parents had nothing good to say about a given President, considering him (not incorrectly, perhaps, but that’s not the point) a misguided idiot or a shill for corporate interests. Still, that was within the normal scope of societal discourse, no matter how heated and vitriolic it got at times. It was understood, generally, or at least grudgingly accepted and admitted, that the U.S. President, whether he was right or wrong, smart or stupid, had the country’s best interests at heart, to the best of his—frequently warped as all hell—understanding of the country’s good.

But Trump? Trump is a distinctly ugly thread in the narrative of the American Presidency, a human disaster unto itself. What are responsible American parents supposed to say to their children about Trump? “Sorry, kids, America has screwed up bigly this time around”? This sort of national calamity wasn’t supposed to happen in America. This is the Soviet kind of narrative, if you will: the rulership of the worst sort of people—the reckless, the ignorant, the avaricious, the lethally indifferent. That danger presented by Trump, the precariousness of U.S. democracy—that’s something, possibly, to tell one’s children. And to tell them, also, that it might be best not to talk about any of that with strangers. This is the end of American-bound innocence for the new generation of America’s children—and for their parents, too. Welcome to the world of “Soviet” feelings.
soviet  trump  history  ***  russia  usa  nytimes  politics 
january 2018 by gpe
The Political and the Technical
Rebutting the latest anti–Medicare for All nonsense.
medicare  ****  jacobin  usa  leftist  leftism  politics 
january 2018 by gpe
Understanding liberals versus the left – Elizabeth Bruenig – Medium
But we shouldn’t assume that today’s American socialists — the likes of DSA or Jacobin, or to put a finer point on it, the people Chait is generally arguing with— are anti-liberal in the sense of some of those socialists listed above. Rather, today’s socialists tend to approve entirely of the norms of liberalism — like liberty, rational inquiry, egalitarianism, and so forth — they just feel that the economic aspects of liberalism (free or freeish market capitalism) create material conditions that actually make people less free. Their argument is not, generally, that liberalism’s aims are bad; it’s that the economic application of liberalism prevents people from actually being free persons expressing and developing their capacities.

So everyone involved in this debate is almost assuredly a liberal. And everyone involved in it sees themselves as members of ‘the left,’ as the american left consists of that big, fractious group even the slightest tick to the left of the right-Republican caucus. The effort to draw distinctions here is a political one, with the pro-radical-change-in-political-economy group trying to distinguish itself from the remainder in order to argue against its most proximate barriers to power, i.e., the not-so-pro-radical-change group.

As all this confusion hopefully demonstrates, it seems a little ridiculous at this point to reject a distinction between these different factions altogether. Doing so is only creating a rhetorical black hole where words are losing and gaining meanings in unhelpful ways, and people have a hard time following important arguments as a result. If the US had a parliamentary system where smaller parties with less dramatic but still relevant political differences could name and define themselves, this might not be a problem whatsoever. To ease up the confusion, I’ve begun thinking of our two party system as sort of a sham myself; there are really at least four to six parties there, forced to caucus together.
leftism  liberal  politics  ***  medium  jacobin 
december 2017 by gpe
The Boring Story of the 2016 Election – MattBruenig | Politics
So the overall story the data tells us is that Trump won with less white support than Romney because he managed to hold strong enough with female and nonwhite voters and because Clinton was so unpopular that she bled a significant enough portion of Obama’s coalition into the abyss.

The lack of attention to this story of Trump’s win makes sense because it is satisfying to basically nobody.

Liberals do not like it because they want Trump to mean some of their identitarian arguments are true and because it is extremely humiliating to the liberal establishment in general that their hand-picked candidate was world-historically weak. After writing delusional arguments saying the plain fact of Clinton being bad at politics (something Clinton herself admits) was actually wrong, it’s easy to understand why the post-election truth that Clinton lost because she’s very bad at politics is not one they rush to embrace.

Conservatives do not like it because they want Trump to mean at least something about how voters are not happy with liberal overreach.

And leftists do not like it because they want Trump to mean at least something about how the Democratic party’s refusal to embrace a transformative economic message is dooming it.
politics  2016  trump  clinton  election  counterintuitive  *** 
october 2017 by gpe
How the Republican party quietly does the bidding of white supremacists | Russ Feingold | Opinion | The Guardian
Words mean nothing if the Republican agenda doesn’t change. Governors and state legislatures were so quick to embrace people of color in order to avoid the impression, they too share Trump’s supreme affinity for the white race. But if they don’t stand up for them they are not indirectly, but directly enabling the agenda of those same racists that Republican members were so quick to condemn via Twitter.

Gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement are all aimed at one outcome: a voting class that is predominantly white, and in turn majority Republican.

The white supremacist chant of, “you will not replace us,” could easily and accurately be the slogan for these Republican politicians. Their policies will achieve the same racial outcome as Jim Crow – the disenfranchisement and marginalization of people of color.
conservative  republican  politics  racism  ***  usa  2017 
october 2017 by gpe
Why America needs a socialist movement
Mainstream liberalism is simply not equipped to fight back against this sort of thing. Liberals are palpably wrong-footed — isn't winning the election enough? Good heavens, when will they stop? When will Republicans settle down and respect the legitimacy of democracy? The answer, at least in operational terms, is obvious: never.

Now, to be fair, there are a great many people doing all they can on the ground in North Carolina and elsewhere. (The Moral Mondays movement is half the reason Cooper got elected in the first place.) But nationally speaking, there is nothing on the left like the conservative movement. That's how Republicans have won the presidency, Congress, and the vast majority of state-level political institutions despite their president-elect, their party, and their agenda being very unpopular.

What Democrats need is a fighting spirit to put some energy behind their own popularity advantage. Socialism — the democratic variety, not Marxism-Leninism, of course — is just what the doctor ordered.

First, it is substantively in the right ballpark. Leftists can and do argue all day about what precisely a socialist program should be, but it seems inarguable that liberal capitalism is failing a huge fraction of American citizens. Hillary Clinton ran a status quo campaign and lost; a systemic critique acknowledging that America is not already great will channel the energy of disaffected young and working-class people. Just look at who flocked to Bernie Sanders campaign — the most politically successful socialist in American history.

Second and perhaps more importantly, socialism is forthrightly radical. None of this trying to adopt new monikers like "progressive" because conservatives turned "liberal" into a smear. Instead, adopt an older term of abuse whose viewpoint has been massively validated among young people by the 2008 crisis. Socialism communicates confidence and vision. Build, organize, and fight on democratic freedoms, universal social programs and massive wealth redistribution, not fiddly little tax credits.
socialism  liberal  2017  politics  ***  the.week 
october 2017 by gpe
The Case for Single-Payer
At the core of the problem is a basic fact: it’s not profitable to insure people who are sick or likely to get sick. Without massive government subsidization (or, in the case of Medicare or Medicaid, government financing and cost regulation), profit-seeking insurers, with relatively small pools of customers among whom to spread costs, are compelled to restrict coverage, increase premiums, illegally coerce sick people to drop their plans, or abdicate their responsibility entirely and push the costs of care onto their customers.

People end up spending money they don’t have on health care services they can’t afford — but also can’t afford to live without. All the while, health care costs soar, outpacing both inflation and US insurers’ ability to stem their ascent. These forces pervert the notion of “health care” itself, transforming it into a transaction between a customer and an insurance company rather than a relationship between a person, their body, and their doctor. Profit, not human need, is the governing principle.

Single-payer is a very different model. By making the federal government the country’s health insurer, it would make it possible to bring down costs while ensuring everyone gets the high-quality care they need — especially those people the market deems “unprofitable.” It would reshape the relationship between industry, the state, and patients — laying the groundwork for genuine health justice.
health  healthcare  government  bernie.sanders  single.payer  insurance  politics  2017  ***  jacobin 
october 2017 by gpe
ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"? : explainlikeimfive
Imagine that you're sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don't get any. So you say "I should get my fair share." And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, "everyone should get their fair share." Now, that's a wonderful sentiment -- indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad's smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn't solve the problem that you still haven't gotten any!

The problem is that the statement "I should get my fair share" had an implicit "too" at the end: "I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else." But your dad's response treated your statement as though you meant "only I should get my fair share", which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that "everyone should get their fair share," while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

That's the situation of the "black lives matter" movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.
racism  2010s  reddit  ***  politics  blm 
october 2017 by gpe
Trump’s Ugly Flag Football Game - POLITICO Magazine
If you love liberty and free thinking, the NFL protests should be received as a blessing. The alternative that Trump proposes, compulsory patriotism, all but defines totalitarianism, as the Supreme Court eloquently expressed in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, a landmark case about whether a school can compel students to pledge allegiance to the flag.

In 1943, in the violent throes of the global struggle against fascism, Justice Robert Jackson wrote for the court: “To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.”

As for those who would say today that the kneelers are offending a sacred American symbol, Jackson had words for them, too. “Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much,” he wrote. “That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.”
patriotism  trump  politics  ***  supreme.court  quotation  freedom  usa 
september 2017 by gpe
Keep Your Identity Small
More generally, you can have a fruitful discussion about a topic only if it doesn't engage the identities of any of the participants. What makes politics and religion such minefields is that they engage so many people's identities. But you could in principle have a useful conversation about them with some people. And there are other topics that might seem harmless, like the relative merits of Ford and Chevy pickup trucks, that you couldn't safely talk about with others.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it's right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.
identity  culture  philosophy  politics  religion  *****  bias 
september 2017 by gpe
Why Autocrats Fear LGBT Rights | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
With few exceptions, countries that have grown less democratic in recent years have drawn a battle line on the issue of LGBT rights. Moscow has banned Pride parades and the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” while Chechnya—technically a region of Russia—has undertaken a campaign to purge itself of queers. In Budapest, the Pride march has become an annual opposition parade: many, if not most, participants are straight people who use the day to come out against the Orbán government. In Recep Erdoğan’s Turkey, water cannons were used to disperse an Istanbul Pride parade. Narendra Modi’s India has re-criminalized homosexuality (though transgender rights have been preserved). In Egypt, where gays experienced new freedoms in the brief interlude of democracy after the 2011 revolution, they are now, under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s dictatorship, subjected to constant harassment and surveillance and hundreds have been arrested.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel is a telling exception to the rule: the government has touted its record on LGBT rights precisely to assert its otherwise tattered democratic credentials—a tactic the writer Sarah Schulman has termed “pinkwashing.” In other words, queer rights are anything but a distraction: they are a frontier, sometimes the frontier in the global turn toward autocracy.

The appeal of autocracy lies in its promise of radical simplicity, an absence of choice. In Trump’s imaginary past, every person had his place and a securely circumscribed future, everyone and everything was exactly as it seemed, and government was run by one man issuing orders that could not and need not be questioned. The very existence of queer people—and especially transgender people—is an affront to this vision. Trans people complicate things, throw the future into question by shaping their own, add layers of interpretation to appearances, and challenge the logic of any one man decreeing the fate of people and country.

One can laugh at the premise of the Russian ban on “homosexual propaganda”—as though the sight of queerdom openly displayed, or even the likeness of a rainbow (this claim has been made) can turn a straight person queer. At the same time, in Russia queer people make an ideal target for government propaganda because the very idea of them serves as a convenient stand-in for an entire era of liberalization that is now shunned. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, queerdom was unthinkable. Afterward, it became possible along with so many other things: the world became complicated, full of possibility and uncertainty. It also grew frightening—precisely because nothing was certain any longer.
politics  liberal  lgbt  homophobia  trump  authority  *** 
august 2017 by gpe
White Supremacy (Overt & Covert) – Radical Discipleship
A helpful visual on race floating around social media. [pic on site]
race  racism  ***  politics 
august 2017 by gpe
The Problem Is Capital —Jacobin Magazine “Dave Center / Flickr The United States is an enormously wealthy country. In 2015, total household wealth stood at $71.3 trillion.”
If we want to get serious about creating a fair and egalitarian society, we must confront capital directly. Wage levels are important. Benefit levels are important. But getting those things right will not be enough so long as nearly one-third of the national income flows out passively to a handful of people at the top of society.

Current liberal efforts to tackle wealth inequality are woefully inadequate. Policies aimed at building the assets of low-income families, the typical approach to this issue, rarely succeed on their own terms and even if they did succeed, would only be an insignificant drop in the bucket. For wealth and capital income to become more fairly distributed throughout society, the ownership of existing assets must be reordered toward that end.
jacobin  wealth  ****  politics  inequality  economics  capitalism 
august 2017 by gpe
From Trumpcare to Transformation —Jacobin Magazine “An anti-Trumpcare rally on June 28 in Washington DC. Wikimedia Commons Republicans’ hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with some draconian alternative are dead — at least
The outpouring of opposition to the GOP’s plan helped generate a positive feedback loop: bad press for McConnell and his ilk forced them to push through legislation using the least democratic means imaginable, generating even more enmity. The apex of this trend came last Thursday, when Republicans released a bill hastily drafted by a handful of GOP leaders after sundown and tried to ram through a vote the same night. The result was still more public outrage.

So what lessons can be drawn from organizers’ success in stymying the GOP’s push to repeal Medicaid? And how can they be applied to other fights ahead?

For one, direct action is key.

It’s worth remembering that Medicaid probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the decade of militant, disruptive activism that preceded its implementation. Medicaid and Medicare were each passed into law through the Social Security Amendments of 1965, just a week before the Voting Rights Act.

Campaigners like Martin Luther King had pushed to desegregate hospitals, and he and many other organizers saw the right to health care as a crucial front in the struggle for civil rights. Organizations like the NAACP and the National Medical Association, a black professional organization that split from the then-segregated American Medical Association, were vocal advocates for health care reform, using every tactic from lawsuits to civil disobedience. As Vann Newkirk III reported in the Atlantic last month, NMA head W. Montague Cobb was the only leader of any medical association to speak out in favor of the two programs.
health  disability  politics  republican  protest  2017  resistance  civil.rights  healthcare 
august 2017 by gpe
This is Not a Simulation —The New Inquiry “ASK a liberal who is to blame for Trumpism and guilt falls everywhere but on their own shoulders.”
Whether true or false, the simulation hypothesis changes next to nothing about life on earth, and therein lies the theory’s appeal for the liberal elite: it’s futurism without a substantially different future, progressivism sans meaningful progress, a flash forward to the end of history that bypasses suffering through the present. Simulation theory is the eternal continuation of the same system that entitles Elon Musk, a billionaire seventeen times over, to stop his factory workers at Tesla from forming a union. It empowers Condé Nast, the multinational media corporation who signs Adam Gopnik’s checks, to exist in a perpetual state of layoffs. Why would the few who benefit from this bankrupt arrangement ever want it to end? So far, the aliens that developed the simulation of this world have rigged the game in their favor
neoliberal  theory  Liberalism  politics  *****  progressive  conspiracy  technology  simulation 
august 2017 by gpe
Don’t March, Organize for Power —Jacobin Magazine “Alec Perkins / Flickr With the sudden and unexpected expansion of socialist organizations like Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in the wake of the 2016 elections, socialists finally have the o
In her book No Shortcuts, Jane McAlevey distinguishes between organizing and mobilizing.

Leftist organizing — the work it takes to build a labor or tenants’ union — addresses itself to the apolitical, the disillusioned, or those actively hostile to the Left and attempts to persuade them to join organizations and take collective action for their own betterment. Mobilizing, in contrast, seeks out those who already agree and asks them to make their support visible.

Organizing brings new constituencies into the Left, while mobilizing demonstrates existing support. The characteristic culmination of organizing is something like a strike — an action that requires majority support within a specific constituency. The protest is the characteristic culmination of mobilizing, and it draws a self-selecting minority of activists to show up and demonstrate support.

Both forms of activity have their uses, but, as McAlevey points out, mobilizing comes with sharp limits: in the US today, there are not enough leftists or progressives to win the necessary fights. The Left must bring in new people, which means organizing.

Organizing, however, is hard, resource-intensive work that takes years to accomplish, so leftists will always be tempted to take the “shortcut” and mobilize existing supporters. But, the same historical conditions that make marches so seductive — the Left’s lack of local organizations with ties to a larger base as well as its inexperience in building effective campaigns for power — are the very conditions that make mobilization the wrong strategy.

They also happen to be the very conditions that the DSA is meant to — and must — change.
politics  ***  organization  healthcare  movement  democrat  socialism 
july 2017 by gpe
The Politics Trump Makes | Online Only | n+1
“Nothing exposes a hollow consensus faster than the exercise of presidential power,” Skowronek writes. In the coming days, we’ll see if he’s right. But lest Trump’s opponents on the left draw too rosy a conclusion from Skowronek’s analysis, The Politics Presidents Make suggests a worrying word of qualification. Though disjunctive Presidents like Carter—and, maybe, Trump—are politically weak, they are Presidents, with considerable resources and powers—some quite violent and coercive—at their disposal. Constrained politically, they are prone to rely on the tools of their office and the executive branch. They compensate for their political weaknesses with robust exercises of state power. If Trump manages to put into effect much of his agenda despite the disjunctive political moment, it may be through the raw force of the executive branch rather than the alliance with the Republican Congress being tested out now.
n+1  trump  history  jimmy.carter  *****  politics  corey.robin 
july 2017 by gpe
Turning Progressive Activism Into a Winning Social Movement - BillMoyers
To contend with Trump’s junk reactionary populism, we need a bold progressive populism. But we have to do this in a new way. In 2017 what we don’t need is people thinking that to have a compelling economic populism means you don’t talk about race, or you don’t talk about gender, or you don’t talk about sexuality. We have to center all of those struggles.

That’s the big challenge of our times. When you think about it, it’s a central challenge of progressive movements throughout American history: how to have a uniting populism that speaks to people’s economic interests and that frames a big and broad we — like the 99 percent against elites — but that doesn’t throw other struggles and identities under the bus in order to do so.
2017  local.government  resistance  progressive  protest  interview  democracy  politics  astra.taylor  trump  *** 
july 2017 by gpe
Beyond Resistance
Our unwillingness to admit our own weakness is the flip side of not having a clear set of principles that can serve as the basis for a mass movement. Instead, we give ourselves the appearance of unity and purpose by resisting evil and by taking our collective “No” out into the streets. We find comfort in knowing that we are not them, that at least we are doing something. Trump is immediate and present, the evils are right in front of us, numerous, and ready-to-hand.

There is no doubt that some protests have a marginal and valuable effect, most visibly in the case of the partial reversal of the immigration ban. And all protest provides the frisson of doing something against policies that are inarguably wrong. But that sense of purpose is not the same as a positive principle or an organization that you are winning people towards. It is, instead, an appeal based on fear, on resisting evil.

fear  freedom  politics  *****  movement  trump  usa  democracy  leftist 
july 2017 by gpe
Democracy Without the People | Online Only | n+1
EMPHASIZING INSTITUTIONS and norms as the essence of “democracy” has a history—one that comes from denying other, more radical definitions of the concept. The idea of democracy as an elaborate system of checks and balances enforced by a combination of constitutional law, informal norms, competing interests, and the distribution of socio-economic power across a plurality of groups, first crystallized in the 1930s. This was when American political scientists felt the need to define a uniquely “American” model in explicit contrast to “totalitarianism.” But for subsequent elaborators, this model (referred to as “pluralism” or “liberalism”) also could provide an alternative to democracy in the robust sense of “rule by the people.”
In 1956, Robert Dahl’s seminal A Preface to Democratic Theory coined the term “polyarchy” in explicit contrast to “populistic” theories of democracy (consisting of “political equality, popular sovereignty, and rule by majorities”). In Who Governs? (1961), an empirical study of polyarchy at work in New Haven, he deployed the concept to argue against the notion that the United States was ruled, as C. Wright Mills and others had put it, by a “power elite”—and that the stability of American polyarchy was in part due to the disengagement of American citizens. Dahl’s conceptualization accustomed countless students of democracy to insipid pluralism, handily justifying existing power relations and institutions. It remains pervasive in comparative studies of democracy and in the measurement of democratic consolidation. Witness the political scientist Jan-Werner Müller, who in his recent essays on populism for the London Review of Books and the Guardian, has defined the essence of democracy as “presenting citizens with options.” Meanwhile populism gets branded as “principled antipluralism."


our critique of Trump, and our determined political resistance to Trumpism, should not rest on venerating an ideal democracy we have never really achieved.
trump  democracy  *****  counterintuitive  politics  history 
july 2017 by gpe
Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of -
One of my podcasting friends told me that he does stick up for women in challenging situations, like testosterone-soaked comedy green rooms, for instance, but complained, “I get mocked for it!”

Yes, I know you do. Welcome. Getting yelled at and made fun of is where many of us live all the time. Speaking up costs us friends, jobs, credibility and invisible opportunities we’ll never even know enough about to regret.

I know there’s pressure not to be a dorky, try-hard male feminist stereotype; there’s always a looming implication that you could lose your spot in the club; if you seem opportunistic or performative in your support, if you suck up too much oxygen and demand praise, women will yell at you for that too. But I need you to absorb that risk. I need you to get yelled at and made fun of, a lot, and if you get kicked out of the club, I need you to be relieved, and I need you to help build a new one.
nytimes  feminism  politics  **** 
july 2017 by gpe
Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.
*****  howto  politics  climatechange  climate.change  list  policy 
july 2017 by gpe
The 20 Best TV Episodes of 2016 – Variety
12. “Superstore,” “Labor” (NBC): In the NBC sitcom’s Season 1 finale, Cheyenne has her baby but doesn’t get maternity leave — and in trying to obtain it for her, her well-meaning manager Glenn is fired. Cloud 9’s employees, in solidarity, go on strike. Combining birth labor with a labor movement is savvy and smart — and the type of topical, balanced humor “Superstore” is so deft with. But above all, it’s wonderful for just how daring and bold it is, plunging into a thorny topic without a single glance backwards.
list  ***  ****  2016  politics  labor  best  television 
july 2017 by gpe
Dying before We Reach the Promised Land • Fathom Mag
The reason I consider opposition to Trump to be self-evident is simple: the things I oppose in him are cooked into my bones, and they have been since my childhood. They do not stem from a deep love of Hillary Clinton or a coastal disdain for the white working class of the rust belt. I neither loved Clinton nor do I live on the coast. 

Instead, my reasons for opposing Trump are drawn from the principles instilled in me by the evangelical culture that made him president.

The Day Evangelicals Embraced the Relativism They Warned About

When I was young, it was in vogue for youth pastors to caution their teen audiences against the fearsome march of relativism. This notion, largely popularized by popular author and speaker Joshua McDowell, was a soft interpretation of philosophical relativism that said America’s secular culture was literally losing its grip on reality, and its rejection of the Bible as the ultimate standard truth would eventually lead to a rejection of truth in general. “If we decide spiritual laws don’t matter,” the theory went, “what will stop us from deciding that other laws don’t matter?”

This sounded like the usual Christian wolf-crying even to my teenage ears. Who in their right mind would ever decide that the truth didn’t matter? I figured it was just another example of Christians fretting over the cultural boogiemen that were coming for them. I was being naïve, as it turned out, but my old Christian leaders were wrong on one point: this particular boogieman didn’t come for them, but from them.
christianity  religion  ***  fathom  trump  politics 
july 2017 by gpe
These Christians Are on a Climate Mission—and Winning Converts | NRDC
For decades now, the organized climate-denial machine in this country—largely composed of polluting billionaires, bought-and-paid-for government officials, spurious think tanks, and a colorful assortment of freelance cranks—has liked to think that the millions of Americans who describe themselves as evangelical Christians are totally on board. The relationship they’ve cultivated is founded on the presumption of shared mistrust. To evangelicals, climate deniers have essentially said: You don’t really think those pointy-headed scientists have all the answers about the origins of the universe or how life on earth began, do you? So why would you ever trust them on this?

It’s easy to see what the climate-denial machine has gotten out of the relationship (besides fossil fuel profits). First and foremost, evangelicals have long represented a reliable voting bloc that can generally be counted on to organize for candidates and show up on election day; having them in your column is extraordinarily helpful at the basic level of boots-on-the-ground political reinforcement. Secondarily, climate deniers benefit from the patina of righteousness that comes from their association with the devout. When the policies you endorse are demonstrably linked to increased death, devastation, and human misery, believing that the majority of America’s evangelical Christians are nominally on your side must offer some degree of conscience-easing comfort.

But that invites the question: What do evangelical Christians get out of this relationship? Right now, the younger ones, at least, are getting the sneaking suspicion that they’ve been had. It is their future that's at stake, after all.
climatechange  counterintuitive  millenials  ****  religion  christianity  climate.change  politics 
july 2017 by gpe
So Much for So Little - Wikipedia
So Much for So Little is a 1949 American short documentary film directed by Chuck Jones. It won an Academy Award in 1950 for Documentary Short Subject, tying with A Chance to Live.[1][2] As a work of the United States Government, the film is in the public domain. The Academy Film Archive preserved So Much for So Little in 2005.[3] Produced during the Harry S Truman administration, it attained renewed relevance during the Donald Trump administration nearly seven decades later.[4]
politics  usa  history  towatch  cartoon  film  animation  ***  healthcare 
july 2017 by gpe
Why We Need to Listen to Racists
Preaching to the unconverted — Hadley talks about “calling out” these voters — is a disastrous strategy. The following quote is from an interview with the sociologist Kathy Cramer, who has visited 27 rural communities in Wisconsin in an effort to understand white identity politics, and written a book about it:

“People are only going to absorb facts when they’re communicated from a source that they respect, from a source who they perceive has respect for people like them. And so whenever a liberal calls out Trump supporters as ignorant or fooled or misinformed, that does absolutely nothing to convey the facts that the liberal is trying to convey.”

In a broader sense, it’s now possible to see that the Clinton campaign’s strong emphasis on identity politics — on feminism, LGBQ rights, and racism — was preaching to the unconverted. It’s not that these causes are not just or important, but they weren’t meaningful to voters who weren’t already in the pews. In 2008 and 2012, Obama made a great play for white working class votes, and won a significant proportion of them. So did Clinton in the 2008 primary. In 2016 she barely bothered.

To state the obvious, if the left wants to displace Trump and the right more generally, it needs to work out how to bring some Republican (or in the UK, Tory or UKIP) voters over to its side, and that includes at least some of this group. One lesson of Clinton’s defeat, and of Brexit, is that while the left may never again win a majority of the white working class vote, it can’t afford to ignore it. Not if it hopes to win power again.
politics  race  2016  trump  election  racism  communication  *** 
january 2017 by gpe
Philosopher Richard Rorty Chillingly Predicts the Results of the 2016 Election ... Back in 1998 | Open Culture
As democratic institutions fail, he writes in the quote above:

[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words [slur for an African-American that begins with “n”] and [slur for a Jewish person that begins with “k”] will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
rorty  philosophy  politics  labor  *****  prediction  2016 
january 2017 by gpe
Management theory is becoming a compendium of dead ideas
The similarities between medieval Christianity and the world of management theory may not be obvious, but seek and ye shall find. Management theorists sanctify capitalism in much the same way that clergymen of yore sanctified feudalism. Business schools are the cathedrals of capitalism. Consultants are its travelling friars. Just as the clergy in the Middle Ages spoke in Latin to give their words an air of authority, management theorists speak in mumbo-jumbo. The medieval clergy’s sale of indulgences, by which believers could effectively buy forgiveness of their sins, is echoed by management theorists selling fads that will solve all your business problems. Lately, another similarity has emerged. The gurus have lost touch with the world they seek to rule. Management theory is ripe for a Reformation of its own.

Management theories are organised around four basic ideas, repeated ad nauseam in every business book you read or business conference you attend, that bear almost no relation to reality. The first idea is that business is more competitive than ever.
management  counterintuitive  critique  capitalism  politics  2016  economist  religion 
january 2017 by gpe
Why academics consulting with industry on health care may be an idea whose time has come
Perhaps ironically, the advent of the Trump presidency could signal an even greater role for academics in shaping public policy. The president-elect has set out an ambitious agenda, but with many details left to fill in, and congressional Democrats are preparing their opposition.

The likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act and continued angst over drug prices mean health economists like us will be asked to provide answers to inform policy debates. For example, a majority of American voters believe pharmaceutical prices are too high. Less clear is what to do about it. It is here academics play an important role, helping to evaluate the impact of policies ranging from federal negotiation of drug prices to finding alternatives to the Affordable Care Act.

So it is a good time to ask: How do we know what we say we know, and can we be trusted to steer through hyper-partisanship and corporate self-interest? Research in many areas, including health economics, features partnership and collaboration between industry and academics like us. Private firms face a range of difficult questions that need answers. Does a drug work? For whom is it most valuable? Academics are trained to answer important policy questions like these.
politics  academic  academia  consulting  ***  2016  industry 
january 2017 by gpe
Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV
Neil Postman provided some clues about this in his illuminating 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. The media scholar at New York University saw then how television transformed public discourse into an exchange of volatile emotions that are usually mistaken by pollsters as opinion. One of the scariest outcomes of this transition, Postman wrote, is that television essentially turns all news into disinformation. "Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing ... The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” (Emphasis added.) And, Postman argued, when news is constructed as a form of entertainment, it inevitably loses its function for a healthy democracy. "I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?"

The problem with today’s Internet, driven less by text and hypertext (hyperlink-enriched text), is that it not only shares many of TV’s ills but also creates new ones. The difference between traditional television and the form of TV that has reincarnated as social media is that the latter is a personalized medium. Traditional television still entails some degree of surprise. What you see on television news is still picked by human curators, and even though it must be entertaining to qualify as worthy of expensive production, it is still likely to challenge some of our opinions (emotions, that is).

Social media, in contrast, uses algorithms to encourage comfort and complaisance, since its entire business model is built upon maximizing the time users spend inside of it. Who would like to hang around in a place where everyone seems to be negative, mean, and disapproving? The outcome is a proliferation of emotions, a radicalization of those emotions, and a fragmented society. This is way more dangerous for the idea of democracy founded on the notion of informed participation.

Now what can be done? Certainly the explanation for Trump’s rise cannot be reduced to a technology- or media-centered argument. The phenomenon is rooted in more than that; media or technology cannot create; they can merely twist, divert, or disrupt. Without the growing inequality, shrinking middle class, jobs threatened by globalization, etc. there would be no Trump or Berlusconi or Brexit. But we need to stop thinking that any evolution of technology is natural and inevitable and therefore good. For one thing, we need more text than videos in order to remain rational animals. Typography, as Postman describes, is in essence much more capable of communicating complex messages that provoke thinking. This means we should write and read more, link more often, and watch less television and fewer videos—and spend less time on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
internet  media  2016  trump  politics  consumption  entertainment  *****  television  algorithm 
january 2017 by gpe
Hillary Clinton's autism platform is transformational – and empowering | Sara Luterman | Opinion | The Guardian
Hillary Clinton just made disability history. For the first time, a mainstream political candidate prioritized the rights and opinions of autistic people by embracing policies that autistic advocates and activists have rallied around for years.

Clinton’s autism plan, announced Tuesday, is well-informed and shows a grasp of the issues that few outside of disability rights circles have. If she wins the election and does even half of the things she promises, she could make an enormous difference in the everyday lives of autistic people. If she loses, she has still tremendously raised the bar on how presidential candidates can and should address autism.

Her plan focuses on necessary and sorely needed support programs for autistic people: improving employment opportunities and housing availability, significantly limiting the use of physical restraints, guaranteeing access to assistive communication technology for people who are nonverbal or have difficulty with spoken language and a specific call to do research on adult autism prevalence and needs. These issues are of vital importance to autistic people and our loved ones. No other major US presidential candidate has made these issues a part of his or her political platform.
Facebook staff reportedly pushed to delete Trump's 'hate speech' posts – as it happened
Follow along with the latest updates from the trail, as Facebook employees advocate for some of Donald Trump’s postings on Muslims to be deleted
Read more

Political discourse around autism in the US has followed a very different narrative over the past few decades: autism is a tragedy. Autism is an epidemic. Autistic children need you all to donate money to genetics research that will not help those currently living with autism in any direct or meaningful way.
clinton  autism  medicine  politics  policy  ***  disability 
october 2016 by gpe
Donald Trump is the least of the GOP’s problems
Trump is desperately trying to fashion a new reactionary politics out of the bits and pieces that are now left to it: a white nationalism that draws its animating energies from its hostility to a black president, immigration, and Islam. But the evidence is increasingly clear that that kind of politics simply does not possess enough appeal to propel him or any other similar candidate to the White House. Not, I would argue, because Trump is such a weak candidate (though clearly he is), but because these forces can’t supply the reactionary rationale for modern conservatism the way empowered and radicalized movements of workers, African Americans, and women once did.

It’s going to take a massive victory for the left—not at the polls but in the streets, as a comprehensive social movement of emancipation—for the right to recover its energy and animating purpose. Until that happens, the right might win an election here or there, but they’re essentially going to be in a free-fall.

Trump, in other words, is the least of the GOP’s problems.
politics  trump  2016  ***  corey.robin  election  conservative  republican 
october 2016 by gpe
The Latest Anti-Abortion Trend? Mandatory Funerals for Fetuses | The Nation
In 2016 alone, 28 states have introduced legislation relating to the disposition of fetal remains. Nine of these bills have passed; of these nine, five are in effect and four are being legally challenged. States are also using administrative bodies, like their departments of health, to lay down additional and unnecessary regulations surrounding what happens to fetal tissue.

These mandates fall into two main categories. The first restricts the donation of fetal tissue for research and experimentation, a practice that has contributed to lifesaving advances in scientific and medical research since the 1930s, and bans its sale—an unnecessary provision, since the sale of fetal tissue is already a federal crime. Today these bans may affect research into treatment for Ebola, HIV, and Alzheimer’s.

The second type of regulation governs how abortion providers dispose of aborted tissue that is unsuited to medical research. Clinics generally treat aborted tissue like other human tissue by contracting with medical-waste companies that dispose of it in a safe and sanitary way. Now states including Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio have gained ground with requirements that all aborted tissue be buried or cremated, so that “unborn infants” are afforded the same respect and dignity as human beings. These politicians want funerals for fetuses.
politics  2016  abortion  election  strategy  ***  the.nation 
october 2016 by gpe
Molly Crabapple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In September 2011, Crabapple was living in a studio near Zuccotti Park.[2] Occupy Wall Street protesters had begun to use the Park as a camp to stage their movement, artists began creating posters and Crabapple decided to contribute work and engage in the movement.[28][29] "Before Occupy I felt like using my art for activist causes was exploitive of activist causes," she told the Village Voice. "I think what Occupy let me do was it allowed me to instead of just donating money to politics or just going to marches, it allowed me to engage my art in politics."[30]

Artists and journalists who had come from all over the world to report on the protests were using Crabapple's apartment as an "impromptu salon" for the Occupy movement.[2][14][29] [Note 2] "I started doing protest posters," Crabapple recalled. "And in doing these, I found my voice."[28] Author Matt Taibbi called Crabapple "Occupy's greatest artist",[32] noting the use of the "vampire squid" theme in her Occupy artwork.[33] Crabapple, a fan of Taibbi's writing, had read his 2009 Rolling Stone article, "The Great American Bubble Machine".[34] In the article, Taibbi referred to Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."[35] When Crabapple used Taibbi's metaphor as a stencil depicting a vampire squid and released it for anyone to use, it went viral throughout the Occupy movement.[34]

On September 17, 2012, she was among a group of protesters arrested during a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. She wrote about her experience in a CNN opinion piece.[36] In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art acquired "Poster for the May Day General Strike, 2012" for their Occuprint Portfolio. The poster is a collaborative work by Crabapple, John Leavitt, and Melissa Dowell. The poster, which shows a woman holding a match, plays off the words "to strike" as a homage to the London matchgirls strike of 1888.[37]
wikipedia  occupy  ***  protest  illustration  politics  radical 
september 2016 by gpe
Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds | US news | The Guardian
he rate of Texas women who died from complications related to pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.

The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

No other state saw a comparable increase.
america  texas  politics  feminism  women  health  healthcare  **  news  guardian  statistics  birth 
september 2016 by gpe
Endgame | Boston Review
We thus face a dangerous situation. On the one hand we have neoconservative elites whose vision of American power is recklessly utopian, who seem increasingly disconnected from any coherent conception of the national interest. On the other hand we have a domestic population that shows little interest in this far-flung empire. The political order projected by Bush and his supporters in the media and academia is just that: a projection, which can only last so long as the United States is able to put down, with minimum casualties, challenges to its power. If this assessment is correct, we may well be entering one of those famed Machiavellian moments discussed by J.G.A. Pocock a quarter century ago, when a republic opts for the frisson of empire, and is forced to confront the fragility and finitude of all political forms, including its own.

We may also be seeing, and I suggest this only tentatively, the slow decomposition of America's ruling class. Ever since the end of the Cold War—some might even say since Vietnam—there has been a growing disconnect between the culture and ideology of American business elites and that of political warriors like Wolfowitz and other neocons. Whereas the Cold War saw the creation of a semi-coherent class of Wise Men who brought together, however jaggedly, the worlds of business and politics—men like Dean Acheson, the Dulles brothers, and Averell Harriman—the Reagan years and beyond have witnessed something altogether different. On the one hand, we have a younger generation of corporate magnates who, though ruthless in their efforts to secure benefits from the state, have none of the respect or passion for government that their older counterparts had. These new CEOs respond to their counterparts in Tokyo, London, and other global cities. So long as the state provides them with what they need and does not interfere unduly with their operations, they leave it to the apparatchiks. As one Silicon Valley executive said to Thomas Friedman, when asked how often he talks about Iraq, Russia, or foreign wars, "Not more than once a year. We don't even care about Washington. Money is extracted by Silicon Valley and then wasted by Washington. I want to talk about people who create wealth and jobs. I don't want to talk about unhealthy and unproductive people. If I don't care about the wealth destroyers in my own country, why should I care about the wealth destroyers in another country?"

On the other hand, we have a new class of political elites who have little contact with the business community, whose primary experiences outside of government have been in either academia, journalism, think tanks, or some other part of the culture industry. As corporate elites set their sights upon an increasingly global economy, the neocons have been given, it seems, the run of the farm. They traffic in ideas and see the world as a vast landscape of intellectual projection. Unconstrained by even the most interested of interests, they are free to advance their cause, in the Middle East and elsewhere. Indeed, according to press reports, most corporate elites in the United States and elsewhere, even in the oil industry, have been either uninterested in or firmly opposed to the Bush administration's expedition in Iraq. Like their corporate counterparts, the neocons view the world as their stage, but unlike their corporate counterparts, they are designing that stage for an altogether more theatrical, other-worldly drama. Their endgame, if they have one, is an apocalyptic confrontation between good and evil, civilization and barbarism—categories of pagan conflict diametrically opposed to the world-without-borders vision of America's free-trading, globalizing elite.
politics  economics  war  military  globalization  terrorism  conservative  *** 
september 2016 by gpe
A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse - David Graeber
Myself, I am less interested in deciding what sort of economic system we should have in a free society than in creating the means by which people can make such decisions for themselves. What might a revolution in common sense actually look like? I don’t know, but I can think of any number of pieces of conventional wisdom that surely need challenging if we are to create any sort of viable free society. I’ve already explored one—the nature of money and debt—in some detail in a recent book. I even suggested a debt jubilee, a general cancellation, in part just to bring home that money is really just a human product, a set of promises, that by its nature can always be renegotiated.

What would remain is the kind of work only human beings will ever be able to do: those forms of caring and helping labor that are at the very center of the crisis that brought about Occupy Wall Street to begin with. What would happen if we stopped acting as if the primordial form of work is laboring at a production line, or wheat field, or iron foundry, or even in an office cubicle, and instead started from a mother, a teacher, or a caregiver? We might be forced to conclude that the real business of human life is not contributing toward something called “the economy” (a concept that didn’t even exist three hundred years ago), but the fact that we are all, and have always been, projects of mutual creation.Labor, similarly, should be renegotiated. Submitting oneself to labor discipline—supervision, control, even the self-control of the ambitious self-employed—does not make one a better person. In most really important ways, it probably makes one worse. To undergo it is a misfortune that at best is sometimes necessary. Yet it’s only when we reject the idea that such labor is virtuous in itself that we can start to ask what is virtuous about labor. To which the answer is obvious. Labor is virtuous if it helps others. A renegotiated definition of productivity should make it easier to reimagine the very nature of what work is, since, among other things, it will mean that technological development will be redirected less toward creating ever more consumer products and ever more disciplined labor, and more toward eliminating those forms of labor entirely.
david.graeber  economics  revolution  politics  labor  *** 
march 2015 by gpe
Sara Haider on Twitter: "Jay Z's My President (2009) and Obama's speech in Selma (2015)"
Jay Z:
"Rosa parks sat so Martin Luther could walk
Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run
Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly"

"We honor those who walked so we could run.
We must run so our children soar."
race  politics  jayz  america  hip-hop  funny  quotes  speech  obama  via:tracychou 
march 2015 by gpe
Capitalism is an extremist ideology. We have forgotten this in America, where the economic system that’s stifled our democracy and bankrupted our communities is presented to us from birth as right, inevitable, enduring, and unquestionable.

For many, a just and well-functioned government is hard to imagine after years of political gridlock and corruption. I recognize that it’s asking a lot to imagine that things could be different, much less better. We’ve been conditioned to accept that the state is inherently incompetent, that free markets are inherently optimal, and that private wealth and consumption are the only drivers of growth. These pernicious fallacies are self-fulfilling prophecies. We must end them by ending our belief in them.
capitalism  socialism  politics  twitter  *** 
march 2015 by gpe
The case for faculty self-governance | An und für sich
As Gerry Canavan has eloquently pointed out, the perpetual crisis mentality of higher ed is an indication that the very large and expensive management class that has taken over universities in recent decades is an utter failure. Well-managed universities should not need significant “flexibility” in their course offerings semester to semester, for example, nor should they be blindsided by demographic trends that were easily predictable decades ahead of time. Gerry notes, of course, that the apparent “failure” of the autonomous administration class actually reflects a success on another level: they want to destroy the traditional university, and using constant crises to force budget cuts is a great way to destroy anything.
administration  management  public-policy  ****  politics  capitalism  crisis  academic-culture  education 
february 2015 by gpe
Tweet from @sarahkendzior :
Mr. Graeber, who says he gets along just fine with his colleagues in London—and, indeed, with most of his former colleagues at Yale—has his own take on what scholars mean by "collegiality": "What collegiality means in practice is: 'He knows how to operate appropriately within an extremely hierarchical environment.' You never see anyone accused of lack of collegiality for abusing their inferiors. It means 'not playing the game in what we say is the proper way.'"
***  academia  politics 
april 2013 by gpe
Making academic knowledge useful to policy : why “supply” solutions are not the whole story | Impact of Social Sciences
Slow policy. I like it.

"What determines the size and shape of the mail slot in British policy circles today? DBF points to a few, and I can add some more:

the extremely – ludicrously – short time frames that policy makers work to
the very narrow ways in which policy problems are identified and framed
the demand for instant solutions instead of long-term strategies
the lack of tolerance of doubt and risk in an inherently risky, uncertain world
the need to present an appearance of competence and confidence in the face of uncertainty
the deliberate sidelining of public sector experience and expertise
a cultural fascination with the quick, the new and the young over the slow, the old and experienced.
All of this combines to create an environment in which policy decisions are made by those with bags of confidence but little experience and little time to read, think, discuss.

This is a state I know well from my decade or so as a public relations and management consultant. It’s a highly addictive state: a perpetual adrenaline rush of crisis management, fire-fighting, brain-storming, midnight-oil-burning, high-speed commuting. It’s a state that the late management guru Stephen Covey called ‘urgency addiction’ and it’s incredibly damaging both to the people who suffer from it and to the organisations they work for, because it robs those organisations of the long-term view, both of the past and the future.

And that, as well as the packaging, is why academic knowledge can be hard to take up. It challenges standard models, it questions assumptions and narrow definitions, it calls for deliberation and slowness, as in the ‘slow policy’ movement called for by my friend and soon-to-be-colleague Mike Saward and fellow political philosopher Sheldon Wolin."
politics  policy  ***  counterintuitive  academic  knowledge  pragmatism 
september 2012 by gpe
Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War - By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy
"Lesson #1:  The United States lost. The first and most important lesson of Iraq war is that we didn't win in any meaningful sense of that term. The alleged purpose of the war was eliminating Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, but it turns out he didn't have any. Oops. Then the rationale shifted to creating a pro-American democracy, but Iraq today is at best a quasi-democracy and far from pro-American. The destruction of Iraq improved Iran's position in the Persian Gulf -- which is hardly something the United States intended -- and the costs of the war (easily exceeding $1 trillion dollars) are much larger than U.S. leaders anticipated or promised. The war was also a giant distraction, which diverted the Bush administration from other priorities (e.g., Afghanistan) and made the United States much less popular around the world.

This lesson is important because supporters of the war are already marketing a revisionist version. In this counternarrative, the 2007 surge was a huge success (it wasn't, because it failed to produce political reconciliation) and Iraq is now on the road to stable and prosperous democracy. And the costs weren't really that bad. Another variant of this myth is the idea that President George W. Bush and Gen. David Petraeus had "won" the war by 2008, but President Obama then lost it by getting out early. This view ignores the fact that the Bush administration negotiated the 2008 Status of Forces agreement that set the timetable for U.S. withdrawal, and Obama couldn't stay in Iraq once the Iraqi government made it clear it wanted us out.

The danger of this false narrative is obvious: If Americans come to see the war as a success -- which it clearly wasn't -- they may continue to listen to the advice of its advocates and be more inclined to repeat similar mistakes in the future. "
iraq  war  military  politics  usa  foreignpolicy  ***  2012  2003  afghanistan 
april 2012 by gpe
L.A. voters say Ontario should control its airport, poll finds
Weikel, 2012: "A clear majority of likely voters in Los Angeles favor transferring control of struggling LA/Ontario International Airport from the city to a municipality in the Inland Empire, a new public opinion survey shows.

The poll, which is part of a political strategy by the city of Ontario to wrest ownership of the facility from Los Angeles World Airports, is largely directed at Los Angeles City Council members and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who have resisted the idea in the past.

Pollsters found that 52% of city voters favor shifting control to Ontario, while 17% are opposed and 31% are undecided. After voters were informed about the details of the proposed transfer, the majority increased dramatically to 77% while the opposition shrank to 12% and the undecided category to 11%."
la.times  ontario  los.angeles  survey  politics  government  airport  *** 
february 2012 by gpe
More Human than Human: A field guide for testing if the San Francisco mayoral candidates are human or not.
"The only reliable method that we know of for sniffing out replicants is the Voight-Kampff Test, created by Phillip K. Dick in his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and later used by Harrison Ford’s character, Deckard, in the film Blade Runner. The test uses a series of questions to evoke an emotional response which androids are incapable of having. By the candidates’ responses to this line of questioning, we feel we can say with some certainty whether or not they’re replicants. However, we’re stopping short of recommending that you vote for them or not. After all, though a replicant mayor may be more likely to gouge a supervisor’s eyes out with their thumbs, they have another quality that could be great in an elected official: a four year life span."
politics  blade.runner  scifi  question  interview  sanfrancisco  **  funny 
january 2012 by gpe
Is Capitalism Fighting Back Against the European Union? - Heather Horn - International - The Atlantic
"One particular modification of Marxist theory that might apply to this case comes from an American academic named Immanuel Wallerstein. Wallerstein's idea of "world-systems analysis" is based on the Marxist notion that our political structures -- in this case, our entire system of states and international relations, our "world-system" -- are all driven by the capitalist "world-economy" we live in. In other words, the political system exists to serve the market system. International relations reproduce an international division of labor. Let's set this up and then return to David Cameron to see how it all fits together.

One common element between Marx and Wallerstein is that profit pretty much depends upon exploitation of some variety. Marx's argument, considerably simplified, includes the claim that once you get rid of technological advantage, the only way for a factory-owner to turn a profit while competing against other factory-owners is to squeeze so-called "surplus value" out of the factory workers, i.e. pay them less relative to what they are required to produce. What Wallerstein argues is that profit, on an international scale, depends upon temporary "quasi-monopolies" that allow a company or industry to squeeze some other element of the economy. You only get quasi-monopolies in strong states. Thus, the profitable industries get located in strong states, and in fact encourage the development of strong states. The truly competitive processes -- for example, cotton production in India in the 18th and 19th centuries -- get located in the "periphery," where weak or nonexistent state structures mean the territory is dominated by state or corporate agents from the core states."
state  politics  government  capitalism  critique  marxism  economics  globalization  ***  the.atlantic  2011 
december 2011 by gpe
Cheat Sheet: What’s Happened to the Big Players in the Financial Crisis - ProPublica
"’s a quick refresher on what’s happened to some of the main players, whose behavior, whether merely reckless or downright deliberate, helped cause or worsen the meltdown. This list isn’t exhaustive -- feel welcome to add to it."
economics  2008  2011  politics  finance  capitalism  usa 
december 2011 by gpe
The Future of the Left - We Go To Sleep And Drown Our Sorrows In Consumption | The European Magazine
From an interview:

The European: Let’s take labor as an example. For many, the labor movement seems to be an example of a force on the left that has lost its vision, and is desperately trying to sugarcoat the inevitable, to borrow your phrase. How should the progressive envision labor’s struggle?
Unger: The first problem is the denial to the majority of the labor force, even in the richest and most even countries, of access to the advanced sectors of learning and of production. Solving this problem requires a form of strategic coordination between governments and firms which is decentralized, pluralistic and experimental. A second step would be to innovate in the legal and institutional arrangements of the market economy so that it is not fastened to a single version of itself. Alternate regimes of property and contract coexisting in the same economy to the end that more people have more access to more markets in more ways.

And then, as the horizon, a fundamental change in the nature of work and production. All the liberal and socialist thinkers of the 19th century understood that wage labor is a compromise, and retains many of the aspects of slavery and serfdom. There are two other forms of labor, self-employment and cooperation, and combined in some way they could help solve the problems of scale and wage labor could become the residual rather than the dominant form of free labor. The other aspect of this yet distant change in the nature of work is a shift in the relation between people and machines. The whole purpose of having machines is that people can be different from machines. We ought to use machines to do for us anything that is repeatable, so that the whole of our lives can be reserved for the not yet repeatable.
politics  socialism  liberalism  progressive  europe  usa  labor  innovation  future  trends  democracy  government  interview  ****  capitalism  critique 
december 2011 by gpe
Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion - Bloomberg
"A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger. "
bailout  2008  economics  economy  usa  politics  corruption  foia  banks  **  bloomberg 
december 2011 by gpe
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