Dr. Sebastian Gorka, chief strategist for the MAGA Coalition and former deputy assistant to President Trump, told SiriusXM hosts Steve Bannon and Raheem Kassam on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily that Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama Senate primary “changed American politics.”
.. For me it’s a reassertion of sovereignty and a reassertion of democracy, where the wishes of the people are actually expressed in a way that the money and the influence of the establishment totally fails.”
.. “When you look at, what’s the latest count? $30 million spent by the Swamp. For the local people’s voices just to reject that attempt by the establishment to hijack that primary, I think it really, truly is a revolutionary moment in American politics.”
.. “If you think that the Swamp is going to give back our nation without a fight, then you’re sorely mistaken.”
.. this isn’t just about the lobbyists. It’s not just about the people on Capitol Hill. The Swamp – I don’t like the phrase ‘Deep State’; I like the phrase ‘the permanent state’ – is also largely about the bureaucrats who just think they know better than anybody else,” Gorka said.
.. When you’ve got somebody who’s a GS-14 who thinks, ‘Nope, I’ve been here for 20 years, I’m going to be here after the president leaves, and I know better, and I’m just going to do my own thing,’ that’s what we have to fight as well – the idea that there’s this entrenched political elite that’s not just politicians, but also bureaucrats that think they know better,” he said.
.. Gorka agreed with Bannon’s critique that too much of the Republican consultant class thinks big campaign money is the only necessary ingredient for political victory.
“They think the politics of personal assassination, of political assassination and triangulation, is it,” Gorka said. “They’re just going to throw more money at it. They don’t need to convince you of anything. They don’t need to argue their policies. They just wish to destroy you. They just don’t get it.”
.. “As long as they don’t understand that, we are going to win every single time because you cannot buy Americans.”
On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.
.. I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.
.. Upper management told me that he “was a high performer” (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.
.. I was then told that I had to make a choice: (i) I could either go and find another team and then never have to interact with this man again, or (ii) I could stay on the team, but I would have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that.
.. One HR rep even explicitly told me that it wouldn’t be retaliation if I received a negative review later because I had been “given an option”.
.. As I got to know them, and heard their stories, I was surprised that some of them had stories similar to my own. Some of the women even had stories about reporting the exact same manager I had reported, and had reported inappropriate interactions with him long before I had even joined the company. It became obvious that both HR and management had been lying about this being “his first offense”, and it certainly wasn’t his last. Within a few months, he was reported once again for inappropriate behavior, and those who reported him were told it was still his “first offense”. The situation was escalated as far up the chain as it could be escalated, and still nothing was done.
.. Myself and a few of the women who had reported him in the past decided to all schedule meetings with HR to insist that something be done. In my meeting, the rep I spoke with told me that he had never been reported before, he had only ever committed one offense (in his chats with me), and that none of the other women who they met with had anything bad to say about him, so no further action could or would be taken. It was such a blatant lie that there was really nothing I could do.
.. It seemed like every manager was fighting their peers and attempting to undermine their direct supervisor so that they could have their direct supervisor’s job.
.. We all lived under fear that our teams would be dissolved, there would be another re-org, and we’d have to start on yet another new project with an impossible deadline. It was an organization in complete, unrelenting chaos.
.. According to my manager, his manager, and the director, my transfer was being blocked because I had undocumented performance problems.
.. I pointed out that I had a perfect performance score, and that there had never been any complaints about my performance. I had completed all OKRs on schedule, never missed a deadline even in the insane organizational chaos, and that I had managers waiting for me to join their team. I asked what my performance problem was, and they didn’t give me an answer.
.. finally I was told that “performance problems aren’t always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life.”
.. It turned out that keeping me on the team made my manager look good, and I overheard him boasting to the rest of the team that even though the rest of the teams were losing their women engineers left and right, he still had some on his team.
.. He said that because there were so many men in the org, they had gotten a significant discount on the men’s jackets but not on the women’s jackets, and it wouldn’t be equal or fair, he argued, to give the women leather jackets that cost a little more than the men’s jackets. We were told that if we wanted leather jackets, we women needed to find jackets that were the same price as the bulk-order price of the men’s jackets.
.. The HR rep began the meeting by asking me if I had noticed that *I* was the common theme in all of the reports I had been making, and that if I had ever considered that I might be the problem.
.. I pointed out that everything I had reported came with extensive documentation and I clearly wasn’t the instigator (or even a main character) in the majority of them – she countered by saying that there was absolutely no record in HR of any of the incidents I was claiming I had reported (which, of course, was a lie, and I reminded her I had email and chat records to prove it was a lie).
.. When I pointed out how few women were in SRE, she recounted with a story about how sometimes certain people of certain genders and ethnic backgrounds were better suited for some jobs than others, so I shouldn’t be surprised by the gender ratios in engineering. Our meeting ended with her berating me about keeping email records of things, and told me it was unprofessional to report things via email to HR.
.. Less than a week after this absurd meeting, my manager scheduled a 1:1 with me, and told me we needed to have a difficult conversation. He told me I was on very thin ice for reporting his manager to HR. California is an at-will employment state, he said, which means we can fire you if you ever do this again. I told him that was illegal, and he replied that he had been a manager for a long time, he knew what was illegal, and threatening to fire me for reporting things to HR was not illegal. I reported his threat immediately after the meeting to both HR and to the CTO: they both admitted that this was illegal, but none of them did anything. (I was told much later that they didn’t do anything because the manager who threatened me “was a high performer”).
a particular generational promise—given to those who were children in the fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties—one that was never quite articulated as a promise but rather as a set of assumptions about what our adult world would be like.
.. Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now?
.. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick felt that a moviegoing audience would find it perfectly natural to assume that only thirty-three years later, in 2001, we would have commercial moon flights, city-like space stations, and computers with human personalities
.. The usual move in science fiction is to remain vague about the dates, so as to render “the future” a zone of pure fantasy, no different than Middle Earth or Narnia, or like Star Wars, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
.. The movie was terrible, but I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the quality of the special effects.
.. They thought we’d be doing this kind of thing by now. Not just figuring out more sophisticated ways to simulate it.”
.. The technologies that have advanced since the seventies are mainly either medical technologies or information technologies—largely, technologies of simulation.
.. The postmodern sensibility, the feeling that we had somehow broken into an unprecedented new historical period in which we understood that there is nothing new; that grand historical narratives of progress and liberation were meaningless
.. all this makes sense in a technological environment in which the only breakthroughs were those that made it easier to create, transfer, and rearrange virtual projections of things that either already existed, or, we came to realize, never would.
.. The postmodern moment was a desperate way to take what could otherwise only be felt as a bitter disappointment and to dress it up as something epochal, exciting, and new.
.. End of work arguments were popular in the late seventies and early eighties as social thinkers pondered what would happen to the traditional working-class-led popular struggle once the working class no longer existed. (The answer: it would turn into identity politics.)
.. What happened, instead, is that the spread of information technologies and new ways of organizing transport—the containerization of shipping, for example—allowed those same industrial jobs to be outsourced to East Asia, Latin America, and other countries where the availability of cheap labor allowed manufacturers to employ much less technologically sophisticated production-line techniques
.. an uneasy awareness that the postwork civilization was a giant fraud.
- .. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic
- .. or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).
.. the United States and the Soviet Union had been, in the century before, societies of pioneers, one expanding across the Western frontier, the other across Siberia?
.. If it wasn’t unrealistic in 1900 to dream of men traveling to the moon, then why was it unrealistic in the sixties to dream of jet-packs and robot laundry-maids?
.. Future Shock argued that almost all the social problems of the sixties could be traced back to the increasing pace of technological change.
.. by roughly 1850, the effect had become unmistakable. Not only was everything around us changing, but most of it—human knowledge, the size of the population, industrial growth, energy use—was changing exponentially. The only solution, Toffler argued, was to begin some kind of control over the process, to create institutions that would assess emerging technologies and their likely effects, to ban technologies likely to be too socially disruptive ..
.. One of Gingrich’s first acts on winning control of the House of Representatives in 1995 was defunding the OTA as an example of useless government extravagance
.. Auguste Comte, who believed that he was standing on the brink of a new age—in his case, the Industrial Age ..
.. The Industrial Age had developed its own system of ideas—science—but scientists had not succeeded in creating anything like the Catholic Church. Comte concluded that we needed to develop a new science, which he dubbed “sociology,” and said that sociologists should play the role of priests in a new Religion of Society that would inspire everyone with a love of order, community, work discipline, and family values.
.. The old, materialist Industrial Society, where value came from physical labor, was giving way to an Information Age where value emerges directly from the minds of entrepreneurs, just as the world had originally appeared ex nihilo from the mind of God, just as money, in a proper supply-side economy, emerged ex nihilo from the Federal Reserve and into the hands of value-creating capitalists.
.. existing patterns of technological development would lead to social upheaval, and that we needed to guide technological development in directions that did not challenge existing structures of authority—echoed in the corridors of power.
.. Marx argued that, for certain technical reasons, value—and therefore profits—can be extracted only from human labor. Competition forces factory owners to mechanize production, to reduce labor costs, but while this is to the short-term advantage of the firm, mechanization’s effect is to drive down the general rate of profit.
.. Back in the fifties, in fact, many United States planners suspected the Soviet system worked better. Certainly, they recalled the fact that in the thirties, while the United States had been mired in depression, the Soviet Union had maintained almost unprecedented economic growth rates of 10 percent to 12 percent a year—an achievement quickly followed by the production of tank armies that defeated Nazi Germany, then by the launching of Sputnik in 1957, then by the first manned spacecraft, the Vostok, in 1961.
.. We are used to thinking of the Politburo as a group of unimaginative gray bureaucrats, but they were bureaucrats who dared to dream astounding dreams.
The dream of world revolution was only the first.
.. most of them—changing the course of mighty rivers, this sort of thing—either turned out to be ecologically and socially disastrous
most were not military in nature: as, for instance, the attempt to solve the world hunger problem by harvesting lakes and oceans with an edible bacteria called spirulina,
- or to solve the world energy problem by launching hundreds of gigantic solar-power platforms into orbit and beaming the electricity back to earth.
- .. American victory in the space race meant that, after 1968, U.S. planners no longer took the competition seriously.
.. the direction of research and development shifted away from anything that might lead to the creation of Mars bases and robot factories.
.. the United States never did abandon gigantic, government-controlled schemes of technological development. Mainly, they just shifted to military research
.. by the seventies, even basic research came to be conducted following military priorities.
.. One reason we don’t have robot factories is because roughly 95 percent of robotics research funding has been channeled through the Pentagon, which is more interested in developing unmanned drones than in automating paper mills.
.. the technologies that did emerge proved most conducive to surveillance, work discipline, and social control.
.. provided the means by which employers have created “flexible” work regimes that have both destroyed traditional job security and increased working hours for almost everyone.
.. what will the epitaph for neoliberalism look like?
.. a form of capitalism that systematically prioritized political imperatives over economic ones. Given a choice between a course of action that would make capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and one that would transform capitalism into a viable, long-term economic system, neoliberalism chooses the former every time.
.. There is every reason to believe that destroying job security while increasing working hours does not create a more productive .. workforce.
.. It’s possible, in fact, that the very dead weight of the apparatus created to ensure the ideological victory of capitalism will sink it.
.. choking off any sense of an inevitable, redemptive future that could be different from our world is a crucial part of the neoliberal project.
.. the change shifted government-directed research away from programs like
- NASA or alternative energy sources and
- toward military, information, and medical technologies.
.. the preferred weapon almost everywhere remains the AK-47, a Soviet design named for the year it was introduced: 1947.
.. private enterprise is now funding twice as much research as the government
.. “Basic,” “curiosity-driven,” or “blue skies” research—the kind that is not driven by the prospect of any immediate practical application, and that is most likely to lead to unexpected breakthroughs—occupies an ever smaller proportion of the total
.. The Human Genome Project .. has mainly served to establish that there isn’t very much to be learned from sequencing genes that’s of much use to anyone else
.. Research and development is still driven by giant bureaucratic projects.
.. The increasing interpenetration of government, university, and private firms has led everyone to adopt the language, sensibilities, and organizational forms that originated in the corporate world.
.. the last thirty years have seen a veritable explosion of the proportion of working hours spent on administrative tasks at the expense of pretty much everything else.
.. In my own university, for instance, we have more administrators than faculty members, and the faculty members, too, are expected to spend at least as much time on administration as on teaching and research combined.
.. The growth of administrative work has directly resulted from introducing corporate management techniques.
.. everyone winds up spending most of their time trying to sell things: grant proposals; book proposals; assessments of students’ jobs and grant applications; assessments of our colleagues; prospectuses for new interdisciplinary majors; institutes; conference workshops; universities themselves
.. No major new works of social theory have emerged in the United States in the last thirty years. We have been reduced to the equivalent of medieval scholastics, writing endless annotations of French theory from the seventies, despite the guilty awareness that if new incarnations of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, or Pierre Bourdieu were to appear in the academy today, we would deny them tenure.
.. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers.
.. Jonathan Katz
.. You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.
.. tell those same people they will receive no resources at all unless they spend the bulk of their time competing against each other to convince you they know in advance what they are going to discover.
.. the spread of the corporate ethos within the academy and research institutes themselves has caused even publicly funded scholars to treat their findings as personal property.
.. Those thinkers most likely to make a conceptual breakthrough are the least likely to receive funding, and, if breakthroughs occur, they are not likely to find anyone willing to follow up on their most daring implications.
.. the United States and Germany, the two rival powers that spent the first half of the twentieth century fighting two bloody wars over who would replace Britain as a dominant world power—wars that culminated, appropriately enough, in government-sponsored scientific programs to see who would be the first to discover the atom bomb. It is significant, then, that our current technological stagnation seems to have begun after 1945, when the United States replaced Britain as organizer of the world economy.
.. the moment we stop imagining bureaucracy as a phenomenon limited to government offices, it becomes obvious that this is precisely what we have become.
.. cemented the dominance of conservative managerial elites, corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implications of any kind.
.. No population in the history of the world has spent nearly so much time engaged in paperwork.
.. we need to rethink some of our most basic assumptions about the nature of capitalism. One is that capitalism is identical with the market, and that both therefore are inimical to bureaucracy, which is supposed to be a creature of the state.
.. they were right to insist that the mechanization of industrial production would destroy capitalism; they were wrong to predict that market competition would compel factory owners to mechanize anyway.
.. the current form of capitalism, where much of the competition seems to take the form of internal marketing within the bureaucratic structures of large semi-monopolistic enterprises
Defenders of capitalism make three broad historical claims:
- first, that it has fostered rapid scientific and technological growth;
- second, that however much it may throw enormous wealth to a small minority, it does so in such a way as to increase overall prosperity;
- third, that in doing so, it creates a more secure and democratic world for everyone.
It is clear that capitalism is not doing any of these things any longer.
.. many of its defenders are retreating from claiming that it is a good system and instead falling back on the claim that it is the only possible system
.. they mean to convince us that technological progress is indeed continuing, that we do live in a world of wonders, but that those wonders take the form of modest improvements (the latest iPhone!)
there’s the problem of trying to convince the world you are leading the way in technological progress when you are holding it back. The United States,
- with its decaying infrastructure,
- paralysis in the face of global warming, and
- symbolically devastating abandonment of its manned space program just as China accelerates its own,
.. it will not happen within the framework of contemporary corporate capitalism—or any form of capitalism. To begin setting up domes on Mars, let alone to develop the means to figure out if there are alien civilizations to contact, we’re going to have to figure out a different economic system.
.. whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework.
“To change anything in the Navy is like punching a feather bed. You punch it with your right and you punch it with your left until you are finally exhausted, and then you find the damn bed just as it was before you started punching.” — Franklin Roosevelt, 1940 San Diego — What the former assistant secretary of the Navy said is descriptive of the entire military. Each service’s culture, and interservice rivalries, and bureaucratic viscosity are resistant to reform. Which is why the next secretary of defense, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, has the most difficult management challenge in American government.
.. For about $500,000 in expenditures, the 9/11 attackers did over $2 trillion in damage to the United States and the world economy. The linked physical and cyber infrastructures of complex societies are vulnerable to such asymmetries.
.. The nation just experienced a raucous presidential campaign during which there was silence about the crisis of the entitlement state — an aging population’s pension and health-care entitlements swallowing government resources, with alarming national-security implications. But technology, pursued determinedly, has the potential to make peace through making deterrent strength less expensive.