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In the News 11.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 11.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Can Democracy Survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Should It?

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Democracy is on its way,” concluded Dick Morris in 2001, in an article entitled “Direct democracy and the internet”. Five years earlier, John Perry Barlow, the founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, published a “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”. It began with suitably grandiloquent flourish: “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

The early years of the online revolution inspired considerable overt utopianism. Barlow’s internet activism emerged from the counterculture (at one time, he penned lyrics for the Grateful Dead). Morris, by contrast, was a former Republican strategist who became an advisor for Bill Clinton (before they spectacularly parted ways). In particular, Morris championed the so-called “Third Way”, in which ostensibly left-of-centre politicians such as Clinton assimilated rhetoric and policies traditionally associated with conservatism.

He was not, in other words, a traditional idealist – something that, in retrospect, makes his predictions even more interesting.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

The Preposterous Success Story of America’s Pillow King

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As so many great entrepreneurial success stories do, the tale of Mike Lindell begins in a crack house. It was the fall of 2008, and the then 47-year-old divorced father of four from the Minneapolis suburbs had run out of crack, again. He had been up for either 14 or 19 days—he swears it was 19 but says 14 because “19 just sounds like I’ve embellished”—trying to save his struggling startup and making regular trips into the city to visit his dealer, Ty. This time, Lindell arrived at Ty’s apartment expecting the typical A-plus service and received a shock instead: The dealer refused his business. Ty wasn’t going to sell him any more crack until he ended his binge. He’d also called the two other dealers Lindell used and ordered them to do the same. “I don’t want any of your people selling him anything until he goes to bed,” Ty told the dealers. When Lindell protested, he cut him off: “Go to bed, Mike.”

Many people would be ashamed by this story. Lindell tells it all the time. “I was like, ‘Wow, drug dealers care!’ ” he says. “That’s what it felt like, this incredible intervention.” The moment wasn’t the end of his drug abuse, which started in his 20s when he owned bars and stretched through the early years of MyPillow, the Chaska, Minn., company he founded in 2005 to fulfill his dream of making “the world’s best pillow.” It was, however, his low point. It was when he realized that abusing crack and running a business weren’t compatible in the long term and vowed to get better.

Read the rest of this article at Bloomberg

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The Young Trump

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Until very recently, and to all outward appearances, Jared Kushner was just another socially striving young businessman with inoffensively Bloombergian political values. But over the past year, something seems to have changed — in his beliefs, in his manner, in his relationship to his peers among New York City’s elite. On a frigid day in December, Kushner visited the Times Square headquarters of Morgan Stanley to address a private meeting that the Partnership for New York City, which represents the interests of the business community, convened to discuss the outcome of the presidential election. More than 400 executives, many of them CEOs of major corporations, crowded into the bank’s wood-paneled dining hall to hear first from Charles Schumer, soon to be the Democratic leader in the Senate, and then from Kushner, representing his father-in-law, Donald Trump, soon to be the most powerful man in the world.

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine

Inside New York’s Luxury Meditation Center

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To reach enlightenment, guests at New York’s newest luxury meditation center must first pass through the gift shop. The retail space at Inscape, which opened in the Flatiron District in November, offers “gifts for yourself and others to nourish your body and mind,” according to the sign painted above a scented-candle display. The airy white shop carries everything a Moon Juice–worshipping wellness enthusiast could want, including the full line of the cult Los Angeles juicery’s signature Chinese herb packets, called “dusts.” For junkies who have all of those already, there are other potions for sale, like manuka rose “cleansing grains” (for the face) and vegan chocolate made with kale (for the carefully monitored digestive tract). And, of course, there is oil. Lots and lots of tiny vials filled with healing, transformative oil. On my first visit, I weighed Uma’s Pure Rest Wellness Oil ($85) against Akaliko’s Rosehip Radiance Nectar ($65) against Lalun Naturals’ Astral Body Silver Moondrops ($65) against my future child’s college education. At Inscape, finding Zen and finding an aesthetically pleasing new candle is all part of the same journey. The actual meditation classes start at $18 per session.

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine

The Center Has Fallen, and White Nationalism is Filling the Vacuum

Racism has the power to transform both right and left.

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In 1992, a magnetic young Democrat swept aside twelve years of unbroken Republican rule by campaigning on a platform that seemed to cross the old left-right divide. Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, the first Democratic president elected after the Cold War, was the great prophet of the Third Way, a seemingly post-ideological marriage of “pro-growth” economic thinking and moderate social liberalism.

It was an idea whose time had come; with the dust still clearing from the collapse of the Berlin Wall, both market liberalism and political liberalism appeared to have vanquished their final great enemy. And in the 24 years since the end of the Civil Rights era, Baby Boomers had spawned an entirely new generation of voters — one that had never known life under Jim Crow. Third Way adherents branded themselves as heralds of a new political order, to replace the interminable squabbling between left and right that had marked prior generations. The same year that Clinton won the presidency, that view received some prestigious intellectual corroboration thanks to the publication of political theorist Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, a book that posited the world had reached “the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

But then another 24 years went by. Today, history has returned with a vengeance. The Third Way legacy is in tatters.

America’s next president will not be a centrist, managerial liberal in the Clinton mold. Instead it will be Donald Trump, an authoritarian demagogue who is in thrall to a league of white nationalists. Even before he won the 2016 presidential election, Trump was chipping away at bedrock democratic safeguards by flirting with political violence, casting doubt on the legitimacy of democratic institutions, and undermining the electorate’s perception of reality itself. “The final form of human government” is now in grave danger.

Read the rest of this article at Think Progress

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top image: @violetgrey, @alexsviewpoint, @areyouami