By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’m pretty sure this place use to be a democracy. Not America. Contrary to what Broadway may have told you, even our saintly Founding Fathers were little more than racist neocons in pantaloons. I’m talking about the fucking internet. The Anarchist’s American Dream. A brave new world wrestled from the savages of the military industrial complex who birthed it and wilded into a stateless candy land of endless possibilities by fuzzy little daydream believers like Steve Wozniak and Richard Stallman. The place that gave us Linux and Anonymous and Napster. That land of a million possibilities where no kink was left without a chatroom and a 12 year old hacker in Ethiopia could take down the American Federal Government just for the lulz. That glorious pirate utopia of temporary autonomous zones foretold by Hakim Bey, where only censorship was taboo and any lunatic with a Commodore could say whatever the fuck they wanted about the latest twat in the White House and the only recourse was to bitch and troll. Even a confirmed Luddite like myself couldn’t help but to look upon this satanic majesty and swell with pride at the seemingly inevitable supremacy of raw chaos.
By Don Fitz
When Stan Cox was writing his book, The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can, he scripted these prophetic words: “The oft-predicted national decline in use of fossil fuels is nowhere to be seen, and it is unlikely to occur on its own, at least until the next economic meltdown.” He became one of those few people who dare predict the future; but it was unfortunate for humanity that his prediction came true. Between the time that Cox foresaw the conditions under which fossil fuel usage would go down and his book appeared in print, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, production crashed in country after country, and CO2 emissions dropped even more than they did during the 2008 financial crisis.
The super rich are a whole lot richer than they were two months ago. Twenty five of the wealthiest people on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires are worth a whopping $255 billion more than when the U.S. stock market hit a mid-pandemic low on March 23.
Together these 25 folks–Forbes looked at just those on the list with fortunes tied to public stocks–are worth nearly $1.5 trillion, which is about 16% of the total wealth held by the world’s billionaires.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the biggest dollar gainer among this rarified group. Facebook shares surged nearly 60% over the past two months, hitting a record high on Friday May 22. Investors responded positively to the Wednesday debut of Shops, Facebook’s effort to host digital storefronts for small business owners. Zuckerberg, now worth $86.5 billion, has become the fourth-richest person in the world, up from the No. 7 richest on Forbes’ 2020 list of the World’s Billionaires, published in early April. The 36-year-old is now richer than Warren Buffett, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega and Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison.
By Libor Jany
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday after the detention and death of 47-year-old George Floyd — a scene that unfolded in a Facebook video showing a white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded with police, “I can’t breathe.”
Floyd died at Hennepin County Medical Center soon after the incident, which started when police detained him Monday evening on suspicion of trying to pass a fake $20 bill at a convenience store.
The FBI launched an investigation Tuesday, as the Minneapolis Police Department fired the officer as well as three others who were at the scene.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” a visibly shaken Mayor Jacob Frey said. “For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he had stayed up all night wrestling with his decision to terminate the officers. Arradondo said he couldn’t say much about the case — either about the FBI’s investigation or a parallel probe by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) — but added that “sanctity of life” has always been and remains a pillar of his department.
By Bryan Doherty
In a day-long virtual meeting, after four ballots, the 1,035 delegates assembled for the Libertarian Party’s online convention selected Jo Jorgensen as their presidential candidate.
She won with slightly over 51 percent of the vote (not every delegate voted in every round) on that fourth ballot, with 524 votes. Jacob Hornberger came in second, with nearly 28 percent of the vote. Vermin Supreme came in third, with 20 percent of the final vote.
This dude is as narcissistic as Trump which is quite an accomplishment.
Krystal and Saagar discuss Charlamagne Tha God’s interview with Joy Reid, saying that we should not place the burden on black voters to show up for Joe Biden, but put the burden on Biden to show up for black voters.
This is some pretty good commentary. I disagree with some of this but I do agree that the state everywhere is the enemy. Although some of his arguments would be stronger if he embraced Hardt and Negri’s “Empire” thesis.
Marianne moves to the left of AOC. Interesting. Although endorsing social democrats rather than neoliberals is not exactly revolutionary.
This is funny as hell. Jeff Sessions was one of the first RepubliCONS to opportunistically attach himself to Trump in 2016, only to be used, abused, and discarded by the Orange Man.
Saagar Enjeti discusses the significance of Trump’s endorsement of Tommy Tuberville, who hired the chief GOP aide for Mark Zuckerberg’s organization dedicated to lobbying Congress to import foreign workers.
I actually feel somewhat sorry for folks whose vision is so limited that “To vote Biden or not to vote Biden?” actually seems to them to be a profound question. Though I’m glad to see Kyle and Krystal taking the attitude that Biden can go fuck himself.
Krystal and Saagar discuss the twitter spat between Host of the Kyle Kulinski Show, Kyle Kulinski, and The Young Turk’s, Cenk Uygur, over voting for Joe Biden.
Big Weed. It had to happen. The US is moving away from Prohibition, but only one step down to crony/state-capitalism. True “legalization” or “decriminalization” would simply mean that whoever wants to farms marijuana and sells it whoever wants to buy. Those who want to smoke will smoke and those who want to abstain will abstain.
By Ben Shreckinger and Mona Zhang
The warm California sun shone down on Adam Bierman as he stepped up to the ceremonial ribbon strung across the entrance of his latest triumph: a new store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, the hottest retail strip west of the Mississippi.
Bierman stood facing a pack of clamoring photographers. Behind him, inside the shop, were besuited politicians, including Congressman Ted Lieu, who had come out to show their support. The actress Rosario Dawson, now known in Washington as Cory Booker’s girlfriend, was also on hand, recording the scene on her iPhone.
A heroine for our time.
By Jeff Maysh
Sandeep Kaur pulled on a wig and adjusted her designer sunglasses in her rear-view mirror. June 6, 2014 was a typically sunny afternoon in California’s Santa Clarita Valley and a quiet one, except for the screams of passengers on a nearby roller coaster. Thirty-eight miles northwest of Los Angeles, the First Bank sits in a hamlet of Spanish-style shops just off Magic Mountain Parkway. The busy road leads to Six Flags, a theme park billed as the Thrill Capital of the World.
Kaur, 24, had been using her iPhone to research bank robberies. It was clearly a high-stakes pursuit. Some robbers escaped with fortunes, while others were captured or even killed by police. She opened the car door and stepped out into the mid-afternoon heat. At just five feet three inches tall, the slender Indian nurse did not boast the muscle of typical bank robbers. She had no weapon or getaway driver. Instead she gripped a hurriedly written note that read:
TICK TOCK. I HAVE A BOMB.
People are realizing that wage slavery actually kind of sucks.
By Sam Blum
Amid the pandemic, workers whose jobs once defined their lives are questioning what it was all for.
Nina Rudnick sometimes dreams of an escape. As a director at a psychological research nonprofit, Rudnick, 37, is beholden to an inescapable reality: Work — and the feeling that she must remain constantly immersed in it — never ends. On a typical day, she’ll herd her 3-year-old son out of bed and to day care before commuting to a nine-hour day at the office. Often, she’s back at her computer after putting him to sleep. As she continues to ascend the ranks of her field, the impulse to work beyond the hours of a normal day only grows.
But since the Covid-19 pandemic, life has slowed down. Rudnick no longer rouses her toddler in the morning and rushes to the office in a harried frenzy. She is still working, but productivity in front of a computer is making way for more sentimental moments with her son. She doesn’t want it to change.
“The last two years, I’ve been working so hard for so many hours and lamenting the fact that I’m away from my kid so much,” she says. But in isolation, “I’ve had so many incredibly sweet moments with him.”
Poverty + poor diet + crummy healthcare=more diabetes/circulatory disorders/amputations
By Lizzie Presser
It was a Friday evening in the hospital after a particularly grueling week when Dr. Foluso Fakorede, the only cardiologist in Bolivar County, Mississippi, walked into Room 336. Henry Dotstry lay on a cot, his gray curls puffed on a pillow. Fakorede smelled the circumstances — a rancid whiff, like dead mice. He asked a nurse to undress the wound on Dotstry’s left foot, then slipped on nitrile gloves to examine the damage. Dotstry’s calf had swelled to nearly the size of his thigh. The tops of his toes were dark; his sole was yellow, oozing. Fakorede’s gut clenched. Fuck, he thought. It’s rotten.
Fakorede, who’d been asked to consult on the case, peeled off his gloves and read over Dotstry’s chart: He was 67, never smoked. His ultrasound results showed that the circulation in his legs was poor. Uncontrolled diabetes, it seemed, had constricted the blood flow to his foot, and without it, the infection would not heal. A surgeon had typed up his recommendation. It began: “Mr. Dotstry has limited options.”
A description of life under the military dictatorship in Argentina during the 1970s.
By Uki Goni
New York Review of Books
The white supremacists chanting “blood and soil” as they marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 were probably unaware that the leading Nazi ideologue who used the original slogan of Blut und Boden to promote the creation of a German master race was not himself a native German. Richard Walther Darré, who proclaimed the existence of a mystic bond between the German homeland and “racially pure” Germans, was actually born “Ricardo” on the other side of the Atlantic, in Argentina’s prosperous capital, Buenos Aires.
Sent by his German immigrant family to the Heimat for schooling at the age of nine, Darré later specialized in agriculture, the logical choice for someone with an Argentine background at a time when the succulent beef and abundant wheat of Argentina’s pampas made the country renowned as the “breadbasket of the world.” For a while, during the 1920s, he contemplated returning to Buenos Aires to pursue a career in farming, but that was before his writing caught the attention of Adolf Hitler’s rising Nazi Party. His 1930 book A New Nobility of Blood and Soil, in which he proposed applying selective cattle-breeding methods for the procreation of perfect Aryan humans, dazzled the Führer.
An interesting article about the death penalty in Texas.
By Pamela Colloff
Hi, if you are reading this then they killed me. I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed talking to you, you seem like a really great lady. I’m sorry we didn’t meet under different circumstances. . . . Thank you for your kindness. Have a wonderful day.
—Letter from death row inmate Robert Coulson, June 25, 2002
Early one morning in April, Michelle Lyons pulled up outside her daughter’s elementary school in Huntsville, seventy miles north of Houston. Set deep in the Piney Woods, Huntsville—which is home to no fewer than five prisons—is a company town whose primary industry is confinement. Many parents who were dropping their children off at school that day worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville’s largest employer. Michelle, who sat behind the wheel of her blue Chevy sedan nursing a travel mug of coffee, had worked for TDCJ herself for more than a decade. She had been the public face of the agency, a disarmingly friendly, upbeat spokesperson for the biggest prison system in the nation. Though she had left the position two years earlier, she was still well-known around town, and several mothers waved as her car idled in the drop-off line. “Have a beautiful day,” she murmured when her nine-year-old leaned in to kiss her goodbye.
I generally agree with David’s analysis of what Trump’s 2nd term would be like. He would mostly govern like a normal Republican while using his position to attack his rivals in the state, among the politicians, and in the media.
For those who care about the Democrat vs. Republican thing, I guess that’s a bad thing. For those who don’t care, like myself, it’s a matter of indifference.
For those who think divisiveness among the elites is a bad thing, like David apparently, I guess that’s a bad thing. For those who favor divisiveness among the elites, like myself, it’s a good thing. Either way, a Trump 2nd term or a Biden administration will be hilarious, I’m sure.
A Biden administration will essentially mean government by the CIA-FBI-DNC-MSNBC-Facebook axis (i.e. the alliance of the Deep State with the rising ruling class of techno-oligarchs and the new clerisy, with the Likudniks at FAUX News as the token “opposition”).
I am not a fan of Jacobin boys like Michael Brooks and Ben Burgis and their left-statist/social-democratic/reformist/Berniebro perspective, but I would have to share their disdain for the “Intellectual Dark Web.” The problem I see with the IDW people who are more leftward in their origins is that they seem to be following the same trajectory as the neocons (i.e. former leftists who became Republicans or conservatives because the left became “too left” on certain things, like anti-Zionism, anti-Cold War, or Third Worldist). At this point, the former liberals and leftists around the IDW seem to have moved into the orbit of actual neocons like Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro, although there also seems to be a conflict between the neocon/corporate libertarian/liberal wing of the IDW and the more Alt-Right-leaning sectors of the IDW. Ultimately, this kind of stuff merely blends into Trumpism (and Dave Rubin, whose show is kind of the nexus of the IDW, even had Donald Trump, Jr. on his program which couldn’t have been done for any other purpose than to brown-nose Trump himself).
Of course, that’s what government is for. What does anyone expect?
Apparently, Andrew Cuomo was shipping COVID-19 victims off to nursing homes. Genius idea, Andrew.
Kyle takes his stand with the 46%.
Between the 46% who either don’t vote or vote third-party, the 67% of voters who constitute the “exhausted majority,” the minority of Blue Tribers and Red Tribers who are tired of the bullshit, and former establishmentarians who see through it all (the Carne Ross-types), we anti-Systemists or System-skeptical folks are a super-majority, even if we don’t agree on anything else.
Of course, what Kyle wants is not to disengage from or overthrow the System. What he wants is to merely vote for a Bernie Sanders-type. But for refusing to vote for either Trump or Biden, he’s at least moving in the right direction, much to the consternation of Blue Tribe fundamentalists like Cenk Uygur (who strikes me as a major douchebag).
This is an interesting video where Kyle explains why he is a reformist-social democrat rather than an anarcho-syndicalist or libertarian socialist like Noam Chomsky (who engages in way too may reformist deviations of his own). Basically, he says he “just doesn’t get it.” Fair enough. That’s what many libertarians and anarchists have said about my positions, lol. Interestingly, in many European countries, and some Latin American and Asian countries, Kyle’s positions would be considered “center-right.” The way he describes his views, he basically sounds like a Christian Democrat or an Ordliberal.
This discussion is somewhat interesting but kind of sad. Krystal says her favorite presidents were FDR and LBJ. No surprise there (“Welfare Statism Uber Alles”). For Saager, it’s John Quincy Adams, Lincoln, Grant, and FDR. Sounds rather neoconnish. I guess that’s what passes for “national-populism” nowadays.
My favorite President was William Henry Harrison. The aspects of American history that I admire are not the deification of state leaders, but the long history of farmer rebellions, slave revolts, labor uprisings, resistance by Indian tribes, tax protests, rent strikes, anti-draft riots, prisoner uprisings, etc.
According to Saager, a “national-populist” economic approach would involve trade protectionism, revising the tax code to incentivize family and community values, immigration restriction, and (maybe) antitrust action. Basically, Tucker Carlson/Pat Buchanan-type stuff.
This week on #RisingQs hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti answer Rising fans’ questions on how Progressives can actually achieve the policy priorities they lay out, what would be in a national populist agenda, and who is the most underrated U.S. President.
The purpose of the state is as follows:
1. Maintaining a monopoly on violence.
2. Monopolizing territory and resources.
3. Exploiting subjections while protecting, enriching, and empowering an artificially privileged elite.
4. Expanding its own power and realm of influence.
5. Maintaining a self-legitimating ideological superstructure.
My best guess is that virtually everything in this is probably correct.
By Nexus X Humectress
The following is a thought experiment imagining what the most effective response could have been, keeping in mind that the infection rate is determined by the intensity of exposure to virus particles times the duration of exposure. I think these tactics could have greatly reduced the incidence if they began doing this on February 1st.