[Plura-list] Someone Comes to Town Part 30; Unidirectional entryism; The good news about vaccination bad news

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Mon Feb 1 11:48:52 EST 2021

Today's links

* Someone Comes to Town Part 30: Nearly finished podcasting my 2006 novel!

* Unidirectional entryism: Why aren't there more RINOs?

* The good news about vaccination bad news: Attributing to malice AND
incompetence (not intractability).

* This day in history: 2011, 2016

* Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current
writing projects, current reading


🌈 Someone Comes to Town Part 30

This week on my podcast: part 30 of my serialized reading of "Someone
Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town," my 2006 novel that Gene Wolfe
called "a glorious book unlike any book you’ve ever read."


This week's installment features a cameo from Clifford Geertz's classic
"Thick Description":


You can catch up on the other installments here:


and subscribe to my podcast feed here:


Here's a direct link to the MP3 (hosting courtesy of the Internet
Archive; they'll host your stuff for free, forever, too!):



🌈 Unidirectional entryism

2022 is shaping up to be a bloodbath. The Trump census cooked the
numbers to advantage Republicans, and GOP statehouses are poised to
redistrict in ways that will hand potentially permanent minority rule to
the GOP in Congress.

There's a potential way out: HR1, an omnibus bill of electoral reforms
that would create durable, structural protections for voting rights and
a level playing field for campaigning.

To get a sense of how urgent the looming crisis is - and of how
important HR1 is - listen to Ryan Grim interviewing Jon Schwarz and Rep
John Sarbanes [D-MD] on this week's Intercepted.


In theory, HR1 could be blasted through - Dems control the Senate,
Congress, and the White House, and the future of the party depends on
it, but I'm far from confident that they'll find the discipline and
political will to make it happen.

The Democrats keep squandering their majorities and wasting
opportunities to make real change - changes that are must-haves, not
nice-to-haves; changes needed to head off existential threats to the
nation itself.

Take the stimulus, which every Republican will vote against, which will
only become reality if the Dems use their majority. Why are they
bargaining themselves down?


Yes, as Bernie Sanders says, the Dems "have the votes" for a larger
stimulus, but only if they use it, and everyone understands that they
won't - not if it is bold, and reflects the will and priorities of the
people, rather than the donor class.


That's because the Democrats - like the Republicans - are a coalition,
not a party, but there's a fundamental difference between the two
coalitions. The GOP coalition is between finance ghouls, religious
maniacs, white nationalists and paranoid latter-day Birchers.

Whereas the Democrats are a coalition between leftists, liberals...and
Republicans. The party establishment includes figures whose policies are
squarely in the GOP mainstream - if they were on the other side of the
aisle, they be "hard liners," not "moderates."

I'm not talking about people like Pelosi who want to reform a system
governed by 80 rich old white men by replacing half of them with women
and people of color.

I'm talking about Joe Liberman. Dan Lipinski. Michael Bloomberg. Richie


But while the right has been doing entryism into the Democrats for a
generation-plus, there's no reciprocal left-entryism into the GOP.

In states like California where Dems have solid majorities, Republicans
join the Democratic party and primaries are the real elections.

It's not even subtle! In NYC, 1.6m independent and GOP voters just
switched their party affiliation to Democrat and lifelong Republican
hard-liners are running for mayor as Democrats.


It's a completely understandable urge. If the real contest over policy
is intra-party (whoever wins the primary wins the election), then you'd
expect people who care about policy to form a faction in the party,
irrespective of whether their politics align with the party.

But it only seems to go one way. When Ontario shifted for the NDP, Bob
Rae stood for leader and governed like he was from the Liberal party
(which he later joined and spent the rest of his political career in).

Blair and his cohort were Tories who took over the Labour Party. The
safest Labour seats are also the most anti-Labour - thinking of my MP,
Meg Hillier, who could easily have served as a Thatcher back-bencher.

Why is there no left-entryism into right parties? In part, it's got to
be because there's no business-model for it. Lipinski and Lieberman and
Ritchie absorb titanic fortunes in corporate money.

There's no comparable source of money for leftists who join the Missouri

Maybe that's all there is to it: the GOP - the right - stands for the
rule of the few over the many, whether that's billionaires, white
people, men, Christians, or the US empire.

The people who support this position have power, which means they have
money (power can be converted to money and vice-versa) so they can fund

But it's weird to think that a RINO is "a Republican who isn't racist or
conspiratorial enough" while a DNO is "a Democrat who supports the
unchecked power of wealthy people and multinational corporations."

You know, a Republican.


🌈 The good news about vaccination bad news

Silver linings pop up where you least expect 'em. Like you, I've been
worried about the chaos in vaccine distribution.

I'm not talking about the maniacs who blockaded Dodger Stadium to
prevent vaccinations:


Or the guy who literally thinks the sky is a hoax who destroyed 500
vaccine doses:


Nor the man-child who turned Philly vaccinations into an incompetent grift:


I mean the common, garden variety clusterfuck of the parts of the
vaccination process that *aren't* being actively sabotaged - the parts
that are being run by people who are trying their hardest, who want to
succeed, and are failing anyway.

After all, this mass vaccination is just the latest in a string of
first-in-history long shots. The development of the vaccines was an
incredible feat, but maybe we used up our supply of moonshot successes
and we're gonna regress to the mean during the distribution.

Or maybe not! Silver linings are weird. It turns out that Trump's top
Health and Human Services officials lobbied against giving the states
any money to help with vaccine rollout. The harder they begged, the
louder the no.


The mass murderer Paul Mango served as HHS's deputy chief of staff for
policy under Trump, and he was convinced that the states were faking it
- that they were only begging for vaccine rollout funding to cover
shortfalls in their general treasury.

He insisted that they should just vaccinate millions of people, all at
once, without access to federal funds. Just, you know, figure it out.

Here's why this is a silver lining: it's evidence that the problems with
vaccine rollout were the result of sabotage after all.

That as difficult as this first-of-its-kind vaccination program is, the
reason it's been failing isn't that it's impossible - it's that Paul
Mango and his co-conspirators did everything they could to make it fail.

And *that* implies that now that Mango has been replaced by someone who
doesn't want to murder millions of people, we might start succeeding!

After all, the NHS just vaccinated 1.2% of the entire population of the
UK *in a single day*. Coordinating mass vaccination is hard, but it's
looking more and more possible.


I'll take my silver linings where I can get 'em.


🌈 This day in history

#10yrsago If London’s police were in charge of Egyptian crowd-estimates

#10yrsago Harper’s publisher rejects $50K worth of pledges, will lay off
staff anyway

#10yrsago IPv4 is exhausted

#5yrsago Hollow rock turns into a router full of survival info when you
build a fire beside it

#5yrsago UK Snooper’s Charter is so broad, no one can figure out what it


🌈 Colophon

Today's top sources: Naked Capitalism (https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/).

Currently writing:

* My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and
reconciliation. Friday's progress: 522 words (105202 total).

* A short story, "Jeffty is Five," for The Last Dangerous Visions.
Friday's progress: 252 words (2395 total).

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 30)

Upcoming appearances:

* Launch for the young adult edition of Edward Snowden's memoir

* Boskone, 58, Feb 12-15, https://boskone.org/

* Keynote, NISO Plus, Feb 22-25,

Recent appearances:

* Monocle Reads

* Hedging Bets on the Future (Motherboard Cyber):

* Applying the Pandemic Mindset to Climate Change:

Latest book:

* "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone
technothriller for adults. The *Washington Post* called it "a political
cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution
and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies

* "How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet
analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a
(print edition:

* "Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new
introduction by Edward Snowden:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies

* "Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime,
gender, and kicking ass. Order here:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed
copy here:

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"*When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla*" -Joey "Accordion
Guy" DeVilla

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