Bernie Is Running, Thank God

Bernie Sanders finally announced his run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Even in a crowded field, I think he is the right person for the task of taking down Trump.

Meagan Day had a good article on his announcement and why we should support Sanders over at Jacobin:

Some progressive voters may want to gravitate toward another candidate in the crowded field. But don’t be fooled — if you seek economic and social justice, you should support Bernie Sanders for president.

Why? Because there’s a class war raging, and Sanders is the only one running who sees it, and who wants to build working-class forces to fight back.

Day also addresses this liberal desire to endorse someone plays more identity politics:

In a race where progressivism is in vogue, his platform will be hard to run against without changing the conversation. Other candidates and their proxies will argue that Sanders can’t represent the interests of women and people of color because he’s an old white guy. But whatever the importance of symbolic representation, the social-democratic reforms Sanders proposes would do incomparably more to materially transform the lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary women and people of color.

Yes, he’s old and white. He’s also been using the same language on class, corruption, and inequality for decades. We don’t need a symbol; we need a movement. With Bernie, the vestiges of 2016 and the enthusiasm around bold progressive ideas of this election cycle can leverage his campaign to be that movement’s electoral foundation. In a video announcing his run, he asks for one million volunteers. I think the Democratic Socialists of America will endorse him sometime, and there are ~50,000 members with real grassroots organizing power.

Go, Bernie, Go.

TV President

James Poniewozik on Trump’s tough guy fascination and Game of Thrones for the New York Times:

The president is a creation of TV and a voracious consumer of it, but his tastes are limited and specific. He likes cable news in general, and news about himself best of all. He became a star in reality TV, which relies on condensing human experience into catchphrases and simple, broad symbols, and he applied its lessons on the campaign trail by rendering the idea of security as a great big wall.

He has never, however, seemed to be much of a follower of scripted TV dramas, which at their best draw out life’s complexities.

Greta Thunberg’s Speech at COP24

Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland:

But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few. The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.

This simultaneously saddens me (since generations to follow have inherited our mess) and gives me hope for us to wake up, see this inexorable catastrophe that we are heading toward, and change our behaviors and politics.

Believable Over Precise

This bit in The Paris Review’s interview with Hernan Diaz is really interesting:

Interviewer: How did you balance that freedom from referential anchorage with the need to accurately represent the setting?

Diaz: My effort at all moments was to be inconspicuously accurate. I would always take believable over precise. And I tried very hard to make the novel not feel researched, a word I distrust when applied to literature. It’s awful when a novel feels googled—I didn’t want to know the exact name of the exact spur someone would have worn in Nevada in 1869. My intention was to convey a sense of pastness without fetishizing that past. I didn’t want to use props as magical objects that by merely being mentioned would summon the past into the present.

Hernan Diaz wrote a western novel about a Swedish immigrant in nineteenth-century Nevada heading east who does not speak English called In the Distance. While he purposely did not research certain aspects of his novel and relied more on feeling, he does have thoughts and reasons on subverting the western genre and it’s fascinating.

Reply All: Negative Mount Pleasant

This recent episode of Reply All from Gimlet Media highlights so much of the power imbalance between multinational corporations, especially tech giants, and local communities that are desperate to find new opportunities for employment.

Reporter/producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni with the math:

Wisconsin will give Foxconn almost three billion dollars in incentives, and then, Mount Pleasant itself will chip in another 760 million dollars.

…Foxconn says that they’re gonna create jobs that pay an average of 50k a year, but the state is paying them $200,000 for each one of those jobs.

There is also an interview with Sruthi on the Verge about everything.

The deal was made behind closed doors with the village council and Foxconn representatives, and many locals are livid. In the face of rising inequality, why do we let capital run roughshod over us?

In my milieu growing up, politics was something private and for election day. But politics, with the cognizance that real consequences and benefits are at stake, is the solution. A politics that doesn’t devolve into profit or growth but rather a system that elevates us all.