usa

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Modern right.

The problem is now that Americans don’t enjoy anything remotely close to the same rights as the rest of the rich world does. That is why their lives are so much more impoverished — not just financially poorer, but genuinely more deprived, whether of healthcare, happiness, savings, trust, or mobility. In that sense, American society is failing because its social operating system — its constitution — is badly obsolete. In the 21st century, people need healthcare and education to be rights a lot more than they need to be able to wield guns against bears and wolves .

umair haque on constitutional priorities.

2019-04-29T12:06:53+10:006th April, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

It’s the economy, stupid.

Americans have been taught — indoctrinated, perhaps — to think of the economy as capitalism. Quite literally: if capital returns are high […] then Americans suppose the economy is booming. But capital returns — profits, dividends, stock markets, GDP (or their opposites, deficits) — are not the economy at all. They are just the success of capitalists, at increasing their capital. Hence, the average American — who isn’t a capitalist, since the true capitalists, Bezos, Brin, Buffett, are tiny in number — is cheering on capitalists increasing their capital, but not his own income, savings, living standards, health, longevity, or happiness. […]

Americans think the economy is a set of abstractions about capitalism — more exactly, capitalists increasing their capital. But they have been systematically warned against thinking of the economy as them: the simple and daily realities of their very own lives — whether or not they can afford food, shelter, medicine, education, save, retire, create, dream, build, grow. Comrades — the victory of capitalism is the victory of us all!

umair haque on economies.

2019-04-29T12:06:50+10:0020th March, 2019|Tags: economics, politics, usa|

“Both” “sides”.

Reagan sold arms to the “mujahideen” that became Al Qaeda, and George W. Bush invaded Iraq for oil after 9/11. George H.W. Bush manufactured a recession out of the Gulf War. Democrats were forced to pick up the pieces, and we did. But we also made one big mistake, over and over.

We assumed the essential goodwill, the goodness, of Republicans and conservatives. We assumed they believed in something, if not the same things we did than something similar, something decent, something American.

The great accomplishment of Donald Trump has been to rip all that away and reveal the Confederate-like racism, and Hitler-like Fascism, behind the masks. Republicans built this era. They did it by gaming the system when they couldn’t win honestly, having Supreme Court justices lie to Congress routinely from Clarence Thomas on, stealing the 2000 election by halting the recount, and engaging in the Jim Crow Project years before Trump was elected, with Russian help.

They did this. Both sides don’t do this. They did all of this. Your neighbors. Your fellow Americans.

Dana Blankenhorn on suckers.

2018-11-26T08:22:27+10:0018th March, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

Cycles.

When I got home, where I should have felt safest, I’d find my father lying on his SEC filings. My mom and I were just supposed to look the other way. He’d buy my silence with extravagant gifts. I knew something wasn’t right. But when crime is all you know, how can you ever learn right from wrong? And who was I going to tell? All the dads on my block were in on it. They were the first gang I knew, but they wouldn’t be the last.

No matter what I did, I felt like I was destined to follow in his footsteps, first by attending Georgetown Prep and then — it seemed pointless to imagine an alternative — Yale. You think it’s hard to escape a cycle of poverty? You should try escaping a cycle of illegally-acquired wealth.

Jessica M. Goldstein on cycles of crime.

Obviously, this is satire, but… it also kind of isn’t, is it?

2018-09-10T14:42:22+10:0023rd February, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

Red hats (white hoods).

I’m saying that everyone who proudly wears the red hat identifies with an ideology of white supremacy and misogyny. Everyone who proudly wears those hats gives a tacit endorsement for the hatred and the violence we’ve seen these past few years.

When the Unite the Right chanted “Jews will not replace us,” the Red Hats were there.

When young children were being torn from their families at the border and forced to represent themselves in immigration court, the Red Hats were there.

When Muslims were banned from coming to live in this country, the Red Hats were there.

When there was a white lives matter rally, the Red Hats were there.

When black protestors were assaulted at a Trump rally, the Red Hats were there.

When the Proud Boys teamed up with Neo Nazis, the Red Hats were there.

When a terrorist mailed pipe bombs to prominent political leaders and activists, many of whom were Jewish, the Red Hats were there.

And when a boys school sent a group of students to protest against a women’s right to bodily autonomy, the Red Hats were there.

This isn’t like wearing the hat of a sports team you love. These hats symbolize hate. They signal to others an embrace of policies of discrimination, oppression and exclusion.

Alyssa Milano on identification.

2019-01-25T08:16:45+10:0025th January, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

“Normal Republicans”.

The problem with democracy is that its existence relies on everyone within it agreeing that it should continue.

For the record, democracies rarely end violently. Mostly they end with polities voting in nativist fascists who use the powers of the institutions they’re elected to to dismantle the very electorate itself. Usually while the opposition hand-wrings about let’s-just-be-civil-now. So just… yanno. About that…

2019-01-12T14:36:30+10:0012th January, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

Another airport altogether.

A friend of mine said to me, “The modern airport is the perfect metaphor for the class warfare to come.” And I asked, “How do you see it that way?” He said, “The rich in first and business class are seated first so that the poor may be paraded past them into economy to note their privilege.” I said, “I think the metaphor is better than you give it credit for, because those people in first and business are actually the fake rich. The real rich are in another terminal or in another airport altogether.”

Eric Weinstein on metaphors.

I have this theory that commercial air travel in the US is so freakin’ terrible because most of the actually affluent people there fly chartered. So even the “premium” offerings for US airlines are ratshit hellholes, which I know because I am, full disclosure, one of the “fake rich” and have travelled around the world in first and business.1

Also, did you know you don’t have to deal with the TSA if you fly chartered? Yeah. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about American air travel.

Incidentally, this is a quote from an interview with Eric Weinstein, a.k.a. the managing director of Peter Thiel’s investment firm. Yeah, that Peter Thiel. It’s actually… a pretty fucking depressing interview, in that humans-of-late-capitalism, please-save-us-billionaire-overlords kind of way. Which, yanno. Is how Weinstein sleeps at night, I guess.

  1. Shout-out in particular to: The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s first-class offering in Hong Kong; the massage spas at the Sydney and Melbourne Qantas first lounges; and those amazing fish cakes I had for breakfast in the first class airport in Dubai. []
2019-01-02T07:43:55+10:002nd January, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|