Thursday, January 4, 2018

Peter Thiel's Apocalypse

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"This is really a classic Berkeley event today—this is so cool,” said Peter Thiel from the stage at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, after a heckler stood up and shouted “Fuck you!” at him.

The billionaire venture capitalist, PayPal founder, and author of the New York Times bestseller Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future had been invited by a nonpartisan Cal student group to speak at the largest lecture hall on campus. Thiel’s appearance didn’t inspire a Milo Yiannopoulos–scale riot—such conflagrations were still two and a half years and a world-shaking presidential election away—but it was far from a harmonious evening. While a mob of protesters outside the hall pounded on the doors, others who had gained entrance, many of them veterans of the Occupy movement, grew angrier and louder. Toward the end of the evening, the doors burst open and a group of masked protesters, carrying a red banner and chanting, “Whose university? Our university!,” stormed down the aisles to the stage.

Like two mirrors facing each other, the audience pointed their phones at the protesters while the protesters pointed their phones at the audience. “No NSA! No police state!” the protesters chanted at Thiel. “Go home!” the audience chanted back. “Go home!”

But as the audience members and the protesters continued to yell at each other, the object of all the disruption was nowhere to be found. At some point in the confusion, Thiel had quietly slipped out a side door.

If the protesters were angry at and worried about Peter Thiel back in 2014, how should they feel about him at the tail end of 2017, now that he’s become indispensable to the Trump administration? In a word: terrified. For as effective as Thiel has been over the years at provoking outrage and then vanishing, only to rise again, ready to wage stealth war on another enemy, he has never known more power or been closer to creating global change than at this moment. If press reports are correct, President Trump is considering appointing Thiel to be chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board—a position previously held by such establishment sages as Brent Scowcroft and Chuck Hagel. This would make the 50-year-old entrepreneur one of the top executive branch advisers on America’s intelligence agencies. And it would be one of the most peculiar high-level appointments in American political history.  (more...)

H/T to Spitfire List


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