Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

8

Like Franz, my brother took his life in April of last year. Rodney left no note, just several empty bottles of vodka. Until a few hours before he died, he had been two months sober, trying a keto diet, and going for thirteen-mile runs while working full time. As we later learned, the last thing he googled was: “does vodka have more calories than rum?” He was struggling to better himself until the last moment but came up against more powerful forces. It is not a unique story. These days, it seems as if everything in the world conspires against human flourishing.

Deaths like Rodney’s are now frequently called “deaths of despair,” a category that includes fatalities by overdose and from drug and alcohol abuse, but they don’t have a box for that on death certificates. I remember watching the funeral-home director type “suicide” into the form instead. Above him hung a page of Microsoft Word art, framed and drop-shadowed, informing us that payment is due at time of arrangement. A student-loan company called my mom the next day to ask about payment of another kind. “He’s dead,” she replied. The agent offered her condolences but explained that death did not alter the terms of their contract. Who owns the world, and whose tomorrow is tomorrow? For now, the answer is obvious. It belongs to a bunch of assholes. And I, for one, would really like to kick them all in the teeth.

—p.8 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago

Like Franz, my brother took his life in April of last year. Rodney left no note, just several empty bottles of vodka. Until a few hours before he died, he had been two months sober, trying a keto diet, and going for thirteen-mile runs while working full time. As we later learned, the last thing he googled was: “does vodka have more calories than rum?” He was struggling to better himself until the last moment but came up against more powerful forces. It is not a unique story. These days, it seems as if everything in the world conspires against human flourishing.

Deaths like Rodney’s are now frequently called “deaths of despair,” a category that includes fatalities by overdose and from drug and alcohol abuse, but they don’t have a box for that on death certificates. I remember watching the funeral-home director type “suicide” into the form instead. Above him hung a page of Microsoft Word art, framed and drop-shadowed, informing us that payment is due at time of arrangement. A student-loan company called my mom the next day to ask about payment of another kind. “He’s dead,” she replied. The agent offered her condolences but explained that death did not alter the terms of their contract. Who owns the world, and whose tomorrow is tomorrow? For now, the answer is obvious. It belongs to a bunch of assholes. And I, for one, would really like to kick them all in the teeth.

—p.8 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
10

The United States has seen more and more stories like my own. As inequality rose, so did its victims. Between 1980 and 2014, the income share of the richest 1 percent of American adults doubled, rising from around 10 percent up to 20, while that of the bottom 50 percent was halved, falling from around 20 percent down to 12. Research has shown that societies with high inequality are also societies with high levels of status anxiety — and for good reason: as inequality rises, one’s relative social standing comes to matter much more in determining one’s life chances. Yet as inequality rises, so does the fixity of the status hierarchy. Social mobility declines, so fewer poor parents have rich children, and fewer rich parents have poor children. The wealthy are piling into gated communities and closing the gates behind them.

In this context, people take risks to get ahead against increasingly impossible odds, and mostly they lose. That’s how risk works. And so, here, in the richest country in the world, we have rates of mental illness, drug use, violence, and homicide that are among the highest in the world. We have a massive prison population, facing much harsher sentences than prisoners in other countries. We respond to this drastic situation by giving up our lives. For fuck’s sake, life expectancy is declining in America. On a dying planet we are dying sooner. It’s like being in an otherwise quiet room with the loud ticking of a nearby clock. Can’t you hear it?

—p.10 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago

The United States has seen more and more stories like my own. As inequality rose, so did its victims. Between 1980 and 2014, the income share of the richest 1 percent of American adults doubled, rising from around 10 percent up to 20, while that of the bottom 50 percent was halved, falling from around 20 percent down to 12. Research has shown that societies with high inequality are also societies with high levels of status anxiety — and for good reason: as inequality rises, one’s relative social standing comes to matter much more in determining one’s life chances. Yet as inequality rises, so does the fixity of the status hierarchy. Social mobility declines, so fewer poor parents have rich children, and fewer rich parents have poor children. The wealthy are piling into gated communities and closing the gates behind them.

In this context, people take risks to get ahead against increasingly impossible odds, and mostly they lose. That’s how risk works. And so, here, in the richest country in the world, we have rates of mental illness, drug use, violence, and homicide that are among the highest in the world. We have a massive prison population, facing much harsher sentences than prisoners in other countries. We respond to this drastic situation by giving up our lives. For fuck’s sake, life expectancy is declining in America. On a dying planet we are dying sooner. It’s like being in an otherwise quiet room with the loud ticking of a nearby clock. Can’t you hear it?

—p.10 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
11

A feature of the rise of social inequality in America has been the evaporation of public life, the decline in social experiences not organized around pay or profit. Networks of organizations, from trade unions to church groups to volunteer organizations to parent–teacher associations, have disappeared. Without these places, we all too often retreat into our respective corners, either to make plays at getting ahead, or to nurse our wounds when such risk-taking fails to yield results. People are tired of it all but find that they have no one to turn to: they are too suspicious of each other, too cynical about the motives lurking behind every attempt at fellow feeling and human connection. To get to the future we need, we are going to have to generate new collective lives out of the wreckage of neoliberal atomization. The easy part here is knowing why we need to fight; the hard part will be figuring out a way to come together.

—p.11 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago

A feature of the rise of social inequality in America has been the evaporation of public life, the decline in social experiences not organized around pay or profit. Networks of organizations, from trade unions to church groups to volunteer organizations to parent–teacher associations, have disappeared. Without these places, we all too often retreat into our respective corners, either to make plays at getting ahead, or to nurse our wounds when such risk-taking fails to yield results. People are tired of it all but find that they have no one to turn to: they are too suspicious of each other, too cynical about the motives lurking behind every attempt at fellow feeling and human connection. To get to the future we need, we are going to have to generate new collective lives out of the wreckage of neoliberal atomization. The easy part here is knowing why we need to fight; the hard part will be figuring out a way to come together.

—p.11 Who Owns Tomorrow? (6) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
18

A new California court ruling could upend these predatory practices. This landmark decision, known as the Dynamex ruling, makes it harder for companies to misclassify their workers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and benefits. It’s not just dancers who are misclassified this way but also Uber and Lyft drivers, construction workers, hairstylists, programmers, sales associates, dog walkers, journalists, truckers, janitors, warehouse workers, homecare workers, and many more. Since the 1970s, a wave of industries have reclassified their employees in this manner. The app-enabled gig economy has only accelerated the trend.

After the ruling, publications like Forbes touted the advantage of being an independent contractor. Their articles extolled the benefits of collecting untaxed wages — never mind that filing taxes as a freelancer remains an unparalleled nightmare — and “making your own hours.” As every stripper knows, however, making your own schedule is a ruse. I was attracted to stripping for its supposed freedom — I loved the promise of making my own hours. But as it turned out, flexibility didn’t actually mean freedom for me, it simply meant I had to match management’s shifting needs and expectations. Management will pressure you into taking the shifts they want covered. I was free to choose “weekend hours” as long as I picked up on the clues that I needed to work longer hours and take extra shifts during the week to keep my schedule. [...]

—p.18 Strippers on Strike (16) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago

A new California court ruling could upend these predatory practices. This landmark decision, known as the Dynamex ruling, makes it harder for companies to misclassify their workers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and benefits. It’s not just dancers who are misclassified this way but also Uber and Lyft drivers, construction workers, hairstylists, programmers, sales associates, dog walkers, journalists, truckers, janitors, warehouse workers, homecare workers, and many more. Since the 1970s, a wave of industries have reclassified their employees in this manner. The app-enabled gig economy has only accelerated the trend.

After the ruling, publications like Forbes touted the advantage of being an independent contractor. Their articles extolled the benefits of collecting untaxed wages — never mind that filing taxes as a freelancer remains an unparalleled nightmare — and “making your own hours.” As every stripper knows, however, making your own schedule is a ruse. I was attracted to stripping for its supposed freedom — I loved the promise of making my own hours. But as it turned out, flexibility didn’t actually mean freedom for me, it simply meant I had to match management’s shifting needs and expectations. Management will pressure you into taking the shifts they want covered. I was free to choose “weekend hours” as long as I picked up on the clues that I needed to work longer hours and take extra shifts during the week to keep my schedule. [...]

—p.18 Strippers on Strike (16) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
40
  1. First of all, there is no housing crisis.

  2. Housing is not in crisis.

  3. Housing needs no trauma counselors.

  4. Housing needs no lawyers. Housing needs no comrades or friends. Housing needs no representatives. Housing needs no organizers.

  5. When we call this crisis a housing crisis, it benefits the people who design housing, who build housing, who profit from housing, not the people who live in it.

  6. It encourages us to think in abstractions, in numbers, in interchangeable “units,” and not about people, or about power.

  7. We don’t have a housing crisis. We have a tenants’ rights crisis.

goddamn

—p.40 33 Notes on the LA Tenants Union (40) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
  1. First of all, there is no housing crisis.

  2. Housing is not in crisis.

  3. Housing needs no trauma counselors.

  4. Housing needs no lawyers. Housing needs no comrades or friends. Housing needs no representatives. Housing needs no organizers.

  5. When we call this crisis a housing crisis, it benefits the people who design housing, who build housing, who profit from housing, not the people who live in it.

  6. It encourages us to think in abstractions, in numbers, in interchangeable “units,” and not about people, or about power.

  7. We don’t have a housing crisis. We have a tenants’ rights crisis.

goddamn

—p.40 33 Notes on the LA Tenants Union (40) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
45

Rent abolition takes for granted the basic principle of social housing: to provide homes for all, proletarians must collectively control land and housing. Rent abolition means ending land ownership in all its forms. The problem isn’t housing supply, but the entire social relationship — the relationship between proletarian tenants and landlords; between proletarian builders, plumbers, and electricians and the capitalist firms that employ them; between proletarians in general and the state. Abolishing these social relationships requires an offensive on two fronts: for free housing for all, and against attempts to profit from ownership, construction, and management. In a sense, the rent strike is not just a weapon in this struggle but the thing entire. We need a permanent rent strike. Until then, wherever people refuse to pay for shelter, wherever others join them in defense, we can see a path through the smoke.

—p.45 Rent and Its Discontents (30) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago

Rent abolition takes for granted the basic principle of social housing: to provide homes for all, proletarians must collectively control land and housing. Rent abolition means ending land ownership in all its forms. The problem isn’t housing supply, but the entire social relationship — the relationship between proletarian tenants and landlords; between proletarian builders, plumbers, and electricians and the capitalist firms that employ them; between proletarians in general and the state. Abolishing these social relationships requires an offensive on two fronts: for free housing for all, and against attempts to profit from ownership, construction, and management. In a sense, the rent strike is not just a weapon in this struggle but the thing entire. We need a permanent rent strike. Until then, wherever people refuse to pay for shelter, wherever others join them in defense, we can see a path through the smoke.

—p.45 Rent and Its Discontents (30) missing author 3 years, 5 months ago
49

Dotted with “death villages” where crops will not fruit, the region of Inner Mongolia where the Bayan Obo mine is located displays Chernobylesque cancer rates. But then again, the death villages are already here. More of them are coming if we don’t do something about climate change. What matter is a dozen death villages when half the earth may be rendered uninhabitable? What matter the gray skies over Inner Mongolia if the alternative is turning the sky an endless white with sulfuric aerosols, as last-ditch geoengineering scenarios imagine? Moralists, armchair philosophers, and lesser-evilists may try to convince you that these situations resolve into a sort of trolley-car problem: do nothing and the trolley speeds down the track toward mass death. Do something, and you switch the trolley onto a track where fewer people die, but where you are more actively responsible for their deaths. When the survival of millions or even billions hangs in the balance, as it surely does when it comes to climate change, a few dozen death villages might seem a particularly good deal, a green deal, a new deal. But climate change doesn’t resolve into a single trolley-car problem. Rather, it’s a planet-spanning tangle of switchyards, with mass death on every track.

not 100% convinced i follow this argument but i do enjoy the rhetoric flourish

—p.49 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago

Dotted with “death villages” where crops will not fruit, the region of Inner Mongolia where the Bayan Obo mine is located displays Chernobylesque cancer rates. But then again, the death villages are already here. More of them are coming if we don’t do something about climate change. What matter is a dozen death villages when half the earth may be rendered uninhabitable? What matter the gray skies over Inner Mongolia if the alternative is turning the sky an endless white with sulfuric aerosols, as last-ditch geoengineering scenarios imagine? Moralists, armchair philosophers, and lesser-evilists may try to convince you that these situations resolve into a sort of trolley-car problem: do nothing and the trolley speeds down the track toward mass death. Do something, and you switch the trolley onto a track where fewer people die, but where you are more actively responsible for their deaths. When the survival of millions or even billions hangs in the balance, as it surely does when it comes to climate change, a few dozen death villages might seem a particularly good deal, a green deal, a new deal. But climate change doesn’t resolve into a single trolley-car problem. Rather, it’s a planet-spanning tangle of switchyards, with mass death on every track.

not 100% convinced i follow this argument but i do enjoy the rhetoric flourish

—p.49 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago
50

Counting emissions within national boundaries, in other words, is like counting calories but only during breakfast and lunch. If going clean in the US makes other places dirtier, then you’ve got to add that to the ledger. The carbon sums are sure to be lower than they would be otherwise, but the reductions might not be as robust as thought, especially if producers desperate to cash in on the renewable jackpot do things as cheaply and quickly as possible, which for now means fossil fuels. On the other side, environmental remediation is costly in every way. Want to clean up those tailings ponds, bury the waste deep underground, keep the water table from being poisoned? You’re going to need motors and you’re probably going to burn oil.

—p.50 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago

Counting emissions within national boundaries, in other words, is like counting calories but only during breakfast and lunch. If going clean in the US makes other places dirtier, then you’ve got to add that to the ledger. The carbon sums are sure to be lower than they would be otherwise, but the reductions might not be as robust as thought, especially if producers desperate to cash in on the renewable jackpot do things as cheaply and quickly as possible, which for now means fossil fuels. On the other side, environmental remediation is costly in every way. Want to clean up those tailings ponds, bury the waste deep underground, keep the water table from being poisoned? You’re going to need motors and you’re probably going to burn oil.

—p.50 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago
50

To replace current US energy consumption with renewables, you’d need to devote at least 25–50 percent of the US landmass to solar, wind, and biofuels, according to the estimates made by Vaclav Smil, the grand doyen of energy studies. Is there room for that and expanding human habitation? For that and pasture for a massive meat and dairy industry? For that and the forest we’d need to take carbon out of the air? Not if capitalism keeps doing the thing which it can’t not keep doing—grow. The law of capitalism is the law of more—more energy, more stuff, more materials. It introduces efficiencies only to more effectively despoil the planet. There is no solution to the climate crisis which leaves capitalism’s compulsions to growth intact. And this is what the Green New Deal, a term coined by that oily neoliberal, Thomas Friedman, doesn’t address. It thinks you can keep capitalism, keep growth, but remove the deleterious consequences. The death villages are here to tell you that you can’t. No roses will bloom on that bush.

—p.50 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago

To replace current US energy consumption with renewables, you’d need to devote at least 25–50 percent of the US landmass to solar, wind, and biofuels, according to the estimates made by Vaclav Smil, the grand doyen of energy studies. Is there room for that and expanding human habitation? For that and pasture for a massive meat and dairy industry? For that and the forest we’d need to take carbon out of the air? Not if capitalism keeps doing the thing which it can’t not keep doing—grow. The law of capitalism is the law of more—more energy, more stuff, more materials. It introduces efficiencies only to more effectively despoil the planet. There is no solution to the climate crisis which leaves capitalism’s compulsions to growth intact. And this is what the Green New Deal, a term coined by that oily neoliberal, Thomas Friedman, doesn’t address. It thinks you can keep capitalism, keep growth, but remove the deleterious consequences. The death villages are here to tell you that you can’t. No roses will bloom on that bush.

—p.50 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago
58

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds here and lose sight of the essential. In each of these scenarios, on each of these sad, warming planets, the Green New Deal fails because capitalism. Because, in capitalism, a small class of owners and managers, in competition with itself, finds itself forced to make a set of narrow decisions about where to invest and in what, establishing prices, wages, and other fundamental determinants of the economy. Even if these owners wanted to spare us the drowned cities and billion migrants of 2070, they could not. They would be undersold and bankrupted by others. Their hands are tied, their choices constrained, by the fact that they must sell at the prevailing rate or perish. It is the class as a whole that decides, not its individual members. This is why the sentences of Marxists (and Marx) so often treat capital as agent rather than object. The will towards relentless growth, and with it increasing energy use, is not chosen, it is compelled, a requirement of profitability where profitability is a requirement of existence.

If you tax oil, capital will sell it elsewhere. If you increase demand for raw materials, capital will bid up the prices of commodities, and rush materials to market in the most wasteful, energy-intensive way. If you require millions of square miles for solar panels, wind farms, and biofuel crops, capital will bid up the price of real estate. If you slap tariffs on necessary imports, capital will leave for better markets. If you try to set a maximum price that doesn’t allow profit, capital will simply stop investing. Lop off one head of the hydra, face another. Invest trillions of dollars into infrastructure in the US and you’ll have to confront the staggeringly wasteful, slow, and unproductive construction industry, where laying a mile of subway can be twenty times as expensive and take four times as long. You’ll have to confront the earthen monsters of Bechtel and Fluor Corp., habituated to feeding at the government trough and billing fifty dollar screws. If this doesn’t chasten you, consider the world-historical inefficiency of the US military, the planet’s biggest oil consumer and, unsurprisingly, also the planet’s main oil cop. The Pentagon is an accounting black hole, into which the wealth of the nation is ploughed and from which no light emerges. Its balance sheet is a blank.

surely this leaves out the possibility of a subtle but important shift in systemic behavior due to changing social attitudes and legislation?

—p.58 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds here and lose sight of the essential. In each of these scenarios, on each of these sad, warming planets, the Green New Deal fails because capitalism. Because, in capitalism, a small class of owners and managers, in competition with itself, finds itself forced to make a set of narrow decisions about where to invest and in what, establishing prices, wages, and other fundamental determinants of the economy. Even if these owners wanted to spare us the drowned cities and billion migrants of 2070, they could not. They would be undersold and bankrupted by others. Their hands are tied, their choices constrained, by the fact that they must sell at the prevailing rate or perish. It is the class as a whole that decides, not its individual members. This is why the sentences of Marxists (and Marx) so often treat capital as agent rather than object. The will towards relentless growth, and with it increasing energy use, is not chosen, it is compelled, a requirement of profitability where profitability is a requirement of existence.

If you tax oil, capital will sell it elsewhere. If you increase demand for raw materials, capital will bid up the prices of commodities, and rush materials to market in the most wasteful, energy-intensive way. If you require millions of square miles for solar panels, wind farms, and biofuel crops, capital will bid up the price of real estate. If you slap tariffs on necessary imports, capital will leave for better markets. If you try to set a maximum price that doesn’t allow profit, capital will simply stop investing. Lop off one head of the hydra, face another. Invest trillions of dollars into infrastructure in the US and you’ll have to confront the staggeringly wasteful, slow, and unproductive construction industry, where laying a mile of subway can be twenty times as expensive and take four times as long. You’ll have to confront the earthen monsters of Bechtel and Fluor Corp., habituated to feeding at the government trough and billing fifty dollar screws. If this doesn’t chasten you, consider the world-historical inefficiency of the US military, the planet’s biggest oil consumer and, unsurprisingly, also the planet’s main oil cop. The Pentagon is an accounting black hole, into which the wealth of the nation is ploughed and from which no light emerges. Its balance sheet is a blank.

surely this leaves out the possibility of a subtle but important shift in systemic behavior due to changing social attitudes and legislation?

—p.58 Between the Devil and the Green New Deal (46) by Jasper Bernes 3 years, 5 months ago