reddit, GamerGate, and brand image

Brianna Wu

For the last year, Reddit has had a female CEO named Ellen Pao. She has also struggled with high-profile sexism. Ellen, you have a hate group operating on your site called Kotaku in Action, creepily called KiA. This lunatic fringe of gamer doxxers who slanders us creates a culture that is making it impossible for us to do our jobs. Before this piece ran, I reached out to Pao, who said she wasn’t ready to talk about any plans publicly. I am calling on Pao and her Reddit admins to stop letting this hate group operate on their site.

Not long ago I advertised on reddit. Under the present circumstances I will not buy any additional advertising. I don’t like to be associated with violent mobs.

It won’t be long until politicians abandon reddit. In the past politicans have used reddit’s Ask Me Anything section to do virtual town meetings. I don’t think that will continue so long as reddit hosts a hate group on its site.

reddit is putting its entire brand at risk for a hate group. They need to jettison this toxic group before someone gets killed.

Anti-feminist purge at Wikipedia

Online encyclopedia’s highest court rules on more than 10 editors deemed to be breaking the site’s rules amid Gamergate controversy

Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, the highest user-run body on the site, has banned five editors from making corrections to articles about feminism, in an attempt to stop a long-running edit war over the entry on the “Gamergate controversy”.

The editors, who were all actively attempting to prevent the article from being rewritten with a pro-Gamergate slant, were sanctioned by “arbcom” in its preliminary decision. While that may change as it is finalised, the body, known as Wikipedia’s supreme court, rarely reverses its decisions.

I guess Wikipedia is free as in beer, not as in speech.

It isn’t just Wikipedia, Slashdot is also permitting the online mob to drive away feminists. Until a few days ago I was rated as having “excellent” karma at Slashdot. With two comments supporting Zoe Quinn I was troll rated and had my posting privileges revoked.

This is what happens to women in tech, we are attacked, and anyone who speaks out in defense of women is marginalized and ostracized.

Full FICA holiday NOW!

The American economy desperately needs a shot in the arm; but the results of the recent election make it very difficult for any traditional stimulus package to get passed. Therefore, what is needed is an untraditional spending stimulus. We need a full FICA holiday, where the federal government would cover the FICA payments for both employees and business, thus pouring billions of dollars into the economy. Congress could pass it in the lame duck session and Obama could sign it in time for it to be in effect for the Christmas shopping season.

Since this would be in effect a huge tax cut, it would be difficult for Republicans to resist, and since it would pour money into the pockets of America’s lowest paid workers, it would be difficult for the Democrats to resist. It would be a huge stimulus and just what the economy needs.

Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu

If you do not know about the online mob styling itself as GamerGate, here is the background information.

Currently Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu have been driven from their homes by the most vicious online mob I have ever seen. But at some point they will be able to return to making video games. Their next games will likely the most anticipated games in the industry. Not only will current players be interested in their next release, those of us who don’t play video games will want to see what they do.

This is a HUGE opportunity for the video game company with the wit to sieze it. True, any company who signed one or both is sure to be hit with a storm of protest from the GamerGate crowd; but as must be painfully obvious, the GamerGate crowd is on the losing side of history. Being attacked by GamerGate is a little like being attacked by Bull Connor.

In general corporations try to sidestep controversies; but this one represents a rare opportunity to generate a burst of publicity that will put that wise corporation in the forefront of the industry, leaving a positive glow that will last for decades. This the opportunity to be the Rickey Branch of technology.

In my opinion, Quinn and Wu should team up for their next release. I suggest they make a game called Socail Justice Warrior with Felicia Day as the lead. The logo could have a bald eagle holding a banner reading Social Justice Warrior.

John Andrew Rice

John Andrew Rice’s autobiography, I came out of the 18th century, has been reissued.

Rice is best known as the founder and guiding spirit of Black Mountain College. Rice gave Albers and many other Bauhaus artists their first job in the United States. The college had a huge impact on American art and poetry, so Rice’s book will be of great interest to art historians.

Rice was my maternal grandfather, so naturally I am delighted to see his book resissued. It is the story of growing up in the south in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Rice’s father, the Rev. John Andrew Rice, Sr., was a Methodist minister, and so the Rice family frequently moved from one parsonage to another. Rice was a toddler when his mother died, so he spent part of his childhood at Tanglewood Plantation, the home of his maternal grandmother. Readers are treated a witty view of the not always harmonious life of the Smith family. As Rev. Rice travels from one parsonage to another, readers are given a view of New Orleans, Tulsa, and Dallas in the early 20th century.

Rice recounts his education at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and then his career as a teacher, then college professor, to the founding of Black Mountain College.

It is a witty and fascinating view of the great intellectual and artistic currents in 29th century America and highly recommmended.

Be a production equipment sponsor for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today

We have decided to offer sponsorship opportunites to individuals or organziations who wish to be equipment sponsors for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today. We have established an Amazon Wish List for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.

We plan to make six pilot shows for YouTube and use them as a marketing tool. Production equipment sponsors will recieve acknowledgement in the program credits as will as links from the Real Fiscal Responsibility Today site. This will be true for both the pilot series and when we launch the show with whichever station picks it up.

This program promises to have an international and influential audience. This is a chance to raise your or your organization’s profile and bring it to the notice to the economic elite. If you have any questions about becoming an production equipment sponsor, contact me at marshall AT prestovivace DOT biz.

Real Fiscal Responsibility Today, progress to date, looking forward

As of this post we have raised $3,650 from 44 donors. With an average of $83 per donor, we will need 317 new donors within the next five days in order to make our original goal. These kinds of fundraisers often have spurts in the final days of a campaign and with your help we can meet our goal.

Even if we do not make our original goal we have made great progress. As of this posting we have sufficient funds for a single pilot, This is a major achievement, and we are grateful to all those who made it possible. We still hope to raise enough to make all six pilots, as this will help us demonstrate an audience for our show.

This effort has generated new interest in Modern Monetary Theory generally and in our project in particular. Because of this public show of interest, we have the possibility or raising the balance from other sources. This is why each new donor is so important. At this point the number of donors we have is more important than the amount given, because the number of donors shows public interest. Of course, if you are in a position to give a significant amount of money, we have some nice perks for you.

Please help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today!

How Real Fiscal Responsibility Today is changing the dialog

Recently Pavlina Tcherneva and Stephanie Kelton have been in the news. Warren Mosler Marshall Auerback have been interviewed on Boom Bust. It could be argued that all of these economists are news makers, and have been in the news before. Certainly they have all been in the news before, but never so many at the same time, never in so many publications, and never so prominently. So why now?

I put it to you that our fundraising effort for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today has demonstrated the popular appeal of Modern Monetary Theory. For weeks Twitter has been full of links from our supporters, and it has made a difference. Reporters love Twitter. Weeks of supporting tweets have had their effect, reporters and editors are paying attention to MMT economists in a way they have not before. Imagine what would happen if there were a weekly talk show! Help us make that happen, donate to Real Fiscal Responsibility Today!

How the Platinum Coin saved America and the Global Financial System

This time last year we were looking at the real possibility that the Republican controlled House of Representatives would refuse to raise the debt ceiling and force the US to default on its obligations. Had the Republicans succeeded in their purpose there would have been an unimaginable financial catastrophe.

Who would want such a thing? We only have to look at Greece and Detroit for the answer. The United States would have been forced to repudiate obligations to those too politically weak to defend their interests and sell off assets at fire sale prices to those politically strong enough to collect. No doubt that is what the plutocrats backing Ted Cruz had in mind when they put him up to it.

So what stopped it? In my never was humble opinion it was the platinum coin option. Matthew Yglesias gives us the short version:

It all goes back to sub-section (k) of 31 USC § 5112 “Denominations, Specification, and Design of Coins.” The opening subsections consists of boring specifications about the coins the United States issues. Subsection (k) says “The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

So there it is in black and white. Geithner can have the Mint create a $1 trillion coin. Then he can walk it over to the Federal Reserve and deposit it in the Treasury’s account. Then the government can keep sending out the checks—to soldiers and military contractors, to Social Security recipients and doctors who treat Medicare patients, to poor families getting SNAP and to FBI agents—it’s required by law to send—and the checks will clear. It’s a simple, elegant solution.

It all began with a comment on Brad DeLong’s blog from Beowulf, Joe Firestone took the idea and ran with it. With discussion centered at CorrenteWire, it spread across the Internet with the deepening of the fiscal/political crisis of threatened default. The platinum coin meme crested with a burst of #mintthecoin posts on Twitter. I came up with the idea of the #mintthecoin hashtag on an MMT Googlegroup, and Stephanie Kelton was the first to post it. From their the idea went into the mainstream press with even Krugman endorsing the idea to avert a default.

Presently we have no discussion of a default. Mitch McConnell has promised a government shut down if the Republicans take the Senate; but there is no talk of default. The platinum coin has made the threat to refuse to raise the debt ceiling an empty threat. This is what simple blogging has done. Imagine if we had a larger platform from which to speak. Imagine what we could do if week after week we could expose the hollow news-speak of our times. Help us do that, help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.

Modern Monetary Theory and the Overton Window

The Overton Window, Illustrated

Definition and discussion of the concept is below. The main points I want to convey with this image:

- There is, or there should be, a constant tug-of-war on the edges of the Overton Window on any issue.

- There is a place for everyone and anyone along the Left side of the rope, as long as we’re all pulling in the same general direction.

- The current location of the Overton Window is so far to the right of any objective political spectrum, that what are now considered Extreme Left Positions are really not extreme at all.

Our current political discourse is distorted by the false doctrine that some sort of purpose could be served by balancing the federal budget. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a country with a fiat currency, whose debts are payable in its own currency, there is no purpose in a balanced budget. Once ordinary citizens understand this, the public policy opportunities are dramatically shifted in favor of the people.

So how do we educate the public about fiat currencies? How do we open up the discussion? by creating a talk show where these issues will be examined story by story, week by week. Help us do it, help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility.