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The Almighty Buck Transportation Politics

VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage 683

theodp writes "Valleywag reports on legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins' WSJ op-ed on class tensions, in which the KPCB founder and former HP and News Corp. board member likens criticism of the techno-affluent and their transformation of San Francisco to one of the most horrific events in Western history. 'I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich,"' Perkins writes. 'There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay...This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?"'"
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VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

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  • Brazil (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sobolwolf ( 1084585 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @09:44AM (#46072251) Journal
    I have lived in Brazil for quite some years now. Here the gap between rich and everyone else (there is no middle class here so to speak) is to such an extent that if you have money you are a target. This means that you must live in a gated community in constant fear that you or your kids might be kidnapped. You need to own a cheapo car so you won't stand out too much when driving around. Of course you will have a nice car too, but this is only for weekends or maybe travel to places where other rich people go. In the end it is easy to become a prisoner of that wealth that is supposed to make you more free. I would prefer to live middle class in a 1st world country than rich in Brazil. The sad thing is that the erosion of the middle class in the 1st world countries means that they soon might resemble Brazil, and this is not good, even if you are rich.
  • perspective? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @09:47AM (#46072263) Journal

    Somehow I think that actual holocaust survivors would be insulted by this comparison. Also I think the yahoo has lost all sense of perspective and proportion.

    I think what angers everyone else is that "the rich" are playing by a different set of rules. Fix that and you'll fix most everything else.

  • by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:00AM (#46072349) Homepage

    I do agree that the "99% versus the 1%" movement in American politics has some striking historical parallels. However, I don't think that Nazi Germany is the best comparison. A more appropriate historical equivalent would be the Bolshevik/Communist movement that culminated in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolshevik_Revolution).

    The contemporary rhetoric from the left wing of America politics: i.e. "the 1%", "make the rich pay their fair share", etc... Is nearly word-for-word the same rhetoric heard on the streets of Russia, adjusted for a century's worth of elapsed history, urging the "proletariat", the working people to rally against the "bourgeoisie", i.e. the rich, and the "kulaks", the ultra-rich. Led by the Bolshevik movement, it culminated in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. The word "Bolshevik" is directly translated as "ones belong to the majority". In other words, "the 99%". All the great unwashed I saw on the boob tube at various "Occupy " events, in the last couple of years, are the sons and daughters of the Bolsheviks a century ago. Whether they realize it, or not.

  • bah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by skipkent ( 1510 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:13AM (#46072443)

    at a time when income disparity is at an all-time high in about the last 100 years. tom perkins is worried about some future backlash against the rich, while the political system has already sold out most of the public if anything does happen, when push comes to shove, he'll be able to take his money with him to singapore or hong kong like the russian oligarchs took theirs to london.

    lol, he's written books
    http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Sing... [amazon.com]
    how self-absorbed do you have to be to write this?

  • Oy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:19AM (#46072469)

    Taking this a bit personally, are we?

    For one, the protestors are just going after an easy target - the employees of the companies that were using the public bus stops as their own private stops. If those protestors could, I'm sure they'd rather go after Perkins and his buddies.

    These protests are just a symptom of the anger the lower classes at the fact their real incomes and standard of living is declining while being told that they're too stupid to work in the well paying fields while people like the op-ed author are actively lobbying to bring in people overseas that are really no better than they are. (Please, I''ve personally had to train H1-Bs on what a pointer was and what memory locations are. Don't give me this BS that they are smarter or better trained than we are.)

    We have an upper class that is trying to turn our education system into a jobs training program for their exploitation. Our education system is for having an educated electorate and not about creating worker drones. Our kids should be learning reading, writing, math, science:chem,phys, biology, critical thinking skills - NOT how to be a code monkey; which is all high school level CS classes teach.

    In short, these corrupt people are trying to force THEIR training expenses onto the public while PROFITING off of the potential results.

    We DO NOT need more programmer we NEED more people who can think and communicate. And with this World getting more and more integrated, our kids need to learn foreign languages MUCH more than a computer language that will go out of style in a few years.

  • Holy shit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:19AM (#46072471)

    I'm Jewish, and even I, or actually exactly because of that, am appalled!

    What happened in the 3rd Reich was a low point in human history. Maybe _the_ lowest point, in that all semblance of humanity and compassion were foregone.

    What's going on in California is class warfare with some misguided tactics. I can't blame the residents of the neighborhoods that fear from gentrification, even though I may (or may not, I can't really say for sure, as I don't have a better idea, to be honest) or may not have used their tactics.

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:37AM (#46072539) Homepage

    Specifically, how are the "technology workers" a "corrupt overclass"? Again, how come working for Google is "working against the common good"?

    I believe the poster is talking about Perkins and the other 0.01%ers, not the 10%ers that ride the Google Bus. Perkins is disingenuously attempting to draw the technology workers onto his side by calling them 1%ers, but the reality is that very few of them are, or ever will be. The misdirected attacks by the uninformed lower class against the buses are a symptom of a very real problem that Perkins and his peers are creating (I actually believe their intentions are good for the most part, but exceedingly misinformed). Perkins is hoping to get some of the members of the labor class whose wages he and his peers have been intentionally, consciously, premeditatedly suppressing to join his side in the fight as a result of the misdirected but justified anger by the poor.

  • Re:Oy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:47AM (#46072597)

    Taking this a bit personally, are we?

    Not at all, I found myself genuinely puzzled. You know? Like any kind of person that uses a bit her/his brain to think (and affords to take a minute of time to think instead of reacting).

    For one, the protestors are just going after an easy target - the employees of the companies that were using the public bus stops as their own private stops. If those protestors could, I'm sure they'd rather go after Perkins and his buddies.

    So... making scape-goats from the technology workers. And this is not similar to Kristallnacht exactly how? (making jews a scape-goat just to vent the public discontent)

    We have an upper class that is trying to turn our education system into a jobs training program for their exploitation.

    True, but this is not something recent: this happened at least since 50 years ago [wikipedia.org].
    Question: why is it that only today that we see negative reactions?

  • From A Working Man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phmadore ( 1391487 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:49AM (#46072617) Homepage Journal
    Look, I've been, in one way or another, poor for most of my life. I have had money at various points and lost it doing stupid things. I intend to have money again now that I have a family. I believe that anyone with enough grit can make it. My wife and myself, we were both homeless travelling hippies when we met. In fact, she recently wrote a short blog [crunchymama.us] about this. We wouldn't have gotten off the street without some help from others, so I doubt we'll ever be as ungrateful as the typical wealthy are. I do not consider the rank and file at Apple, Google, or any other major tech firm to be wealthy, ruling class, or rich. These same progressives who are bitching about their perceived affluence would also shit their pants if these tech companies were to pay them wages comparable to the folks protesting. The more a company makes, the more a society makes, the more its lowest level members should make. That is the way capitalists have always said it should be, and it's really only when they pervert their own notion by giving CEOs 500 to 10,000% of what they pay their janitors that the corruption and bad decision-making begin to take place. Society rewards hard work but it too often rewards asskissing and outright lying, as well. Just my thoughts. I know my family will be fine no matter what; I always seem to figure something out. Still getting on our feet, now, but I'm willing to bet my income will be 300-450% of what it was last year. It takes faith, it takes grit. If I hadn't done it before, though, I don't think I'd feel equipped to do it now, so I recommend anyone who really wants to change their life to take a business class or something along those lines, because you will truly never break the economic chains as long as you have a boss profiting enjoying the fruits of your labor.
  • Re:Oy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sandertje ( 1748324 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:50AM (#46072633)
    Well, I think your kind of people are exactly the problem. Companies have been screaming for years that education does not align with the work field. It's all very nice for the student to learn how to write beautiful academic essays and what not, but that's all bullshit to companies. They just want people that know how to do X - without having to entirely re-educate these people. I think the western world has been living far too much in the "oh, i can do everything I want, and still be rich"-fantasy world. No, you can not become everything you'd like to. All very nice that you can perfectly communicate in esoteric ancient Babylonian, but it's not fucking useful!. The Germans have found an elegant solution to this problem, which is a win-win situation for all involved; they call it ausbildung: in stead of university, students take courses at a company for about 2 years. The company pays all the bills (the student even gets paid). After finishing the courses, the student is almost certainly guaranteed a job at said company, and the company has exactly the type of employee it wants/needs.
  • Re:Pathetic (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:56AM (#46072667)

    Again, how come working for Google is "working against the common good"?

    Collecting personal information on everyone in order to sell ads isn't exactly uplifting the human condition.

  • by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper@@@booksunderreview...com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:04AM (#46072727) Homepage Journal

    My 9 year old daughter is debt free, but doesn't really have any income. That places her as wealthier than 2 BILLION people (with negative net worth) using your methodology!

    There are "lies, damn lies, and statistics." Your use of statistics falls into that category.

    It doesn't matter how wealthy people are compared to each other, unless your overwhelming consideration is jealousy. It matters how wealthy people are compared to how wealthy they used to be.

    Also "the bottom 90 percent became poorer" is an inaccurate statement, unsupported by the data. If you took the people considered part of the "bottom 90 percent" in 2009 after the housing/financial crisis, those specific people have as a whole become wealthier. The current group of people (in 2014) they might rate as the "bottom 90 percent" are a significantly different set of individuals, many of whom were not in the "bottom 90 percent" in 2009.

  • 2. Joseph Stalin's mass collectivization
    3. Other policies of Stalin [ibtimes.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:18AM (#46072831)

    And this is not similar to Kristallnacht exactly how?

    That wasn't said because you originally asked -

    I fail to see how this would be a better comparison, would you be so kind to enlighten me?

    - when the GGGP mentioned that the French revolution was a better comparison.

    See, the Jews were just that - scapegoats - and did nothing to deserve the Holocaust. The French aristocracy, OTOH, were actively harming and exploiting the peasants. In the case of the French aristocrats, they were in fact (mostly) guilty of harming the lower classes. Which is what the upper 1%érs are doing to us by lying about American's lack of skills and lack of intelligence to justify their importing of workers from very poor countries to exploit the wage differential and to put downward pressure on local wages.

  • by fat_mike ( 71855 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:31PM (#46073239)
    So has Slashdot now become the Socialist News that Matters? This is utter bullshit. All those roads and bridges you all spout about, yes in some cases DOT's built them but most of the time the states realized they didn't know how to do it and hired private contractors to build.

    How did they pay those contractors or the DOT's that mostly fill potholes with asphalt....with my freaking tax dollars!

    The Federal government does not produce income without taking it from the people who work. These so called 1% are paying 55.85% of their income to taxes to San Francisco California and the Fed. You should be thanking them.

    Delude himself that it was his hard work.....I'm am just shocked at the amount of Socialist BS that is flowing in America. Yes, hard work is important. Were there roads before Ford built his first car? Were there bridges built by the government before the locomotive? Why do we have air traffic controllers and the TSA? The car, the train, the airplane...all built by capitalist individuals that then forced the government to respond. The private sector is always ahead of the public. You want a handout you take it...me, I'm going to work as hard as I can, learn as much as I can, help my fellow humans as much as I can and have my voice heard with my vote. The fact that this post got moderated as high as it did is very telling Slashdot.

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:34PM (#46073257)

    To the masses, they are the face they attach to the ruling class. It's the classic move by the ruling class to deflect the attention from themselves.

    Believe it or not, lessons from French revolution were taken very seriously at higher echelons of Western societies.

  • Re:Oy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:50PM (#46073845) Journal

    Well, I think your kind of people are exactly the problem. Companies have been screaming for years that education does not align with the work field. .....The Germans have found an elegant solution to this problem, ....The company pays all the bills (the student even gets paid)

    I think that you described what needs to change. Companies are not doing their part in creating an educated workforce. Instead of companies screaming that the education system isn't turning out the job-trained people they need, companies should pay to train the people they need .

    And then there are the unpaid internships, but let's not go there ......

  • by deconfliction ( 3458895 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:35PM (#46074555)

    So how is your average google engineer harming and exploiting "the peasants"?

    Dear God, it's sunday and here I am on slashdot, oh why, oh why?

    Short answer is probably mainly because I've been unemployed for years since I walked out on a six figure salary and a hardwalled office in the historic Xerox-Parc after I walked out on VMWare in January of 2009. Well, we'll set asside my educational 2 months stint working at Wendy's, which truly was more rewarding in every way other than financially than working for VMWare or others.

    Why did I do that? I did it because of GITMO. Which oddly enough, I'm going to stretch to being connected with SnowdenPRISMCrash.

    I wish I could better quote 'The Matrix' and the 'any one of them can be an agent' speech from Morpheus. But the spirit of those words is my answer to your question about how the 'average googler' is harming the 'peasants'. The fact of the matter is that the 'average googler' works for a system of control. That system of control, has been using the worst kinds of violations of human rights for the last decade to deprive us peasants of the ability to secure our networked digital communications. The 'average googler' has been parroting the party line for the last 10 pre-Snowden years about how - 'you are crazy and paranoid, and there is nothing to worry about, you have no idea how profoundly smart we are here at google and how we know what is best for you. Please, avert your eyes from the man with the NSA hat in the corner fiddling with those cables and that black box he is unpacking'.

    Sweet Jesus, don't you get it? Pick your pill. Red or Blue, it's your only choice.

    Now follow me as I stumble down the bunny trail...

    * note, while the timing of my departure from the realm of the highly paid was more about GITMO, it also was at the same time VMWare was trying to convince me that a non-smart-card fingerprint authd USB stick was sufficient security for the guest tools package signing key connected to an internet connected system. Yes, they wanted me to be one of 4 people whose fingerprint had auth to the guest tools rpm packages private key material. Later I would go on to spout my crazy 'build and signing systems should be airgapped from the internet' theories to ScientificLinux. They hounded me out of the community as a loon as many other communities have as well. Now I have the Snowden revelations to keep my spirit warm at night. Not quite the same warmth as the kind of financial security and ability to build and support and protect a family that the 'average googler' has, but it ain't nothin. Thanks God.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas