Archive for the ‘big-ass banana republic’ Category

Here’s the problem: Social media isn’t a charity. It’s run for profit.

There’s an interesting anomoly here: The most heavily curated social media, like Nextdoor and Facebook, is also the most overrun by racist science deniers.

Which doesn’t seem to make sense. If you have moderators who are overseeing the site, how come they don’t deal with racism and science denial when they see it?

Well, there’s two kinds of moderators, both of which are cheap (or even free) and are used in order to save money. The first kind is volunteers. And volunteers swing towards those who have the most time to volunteer: Old white people. Old people of color are busy raising their grandkids (raising the kids is a community affair there), while younger white people generally don’t want their racist conservative old folks involved in raising their kids. 

So the volunteers tend to overlook much of the racism on these sites, because hey, they came of age when the n-word was in daily use amongst white people and everybody “knew” that those “porch monkeys” were just inferior to white poeple, so they just don’t see racism as, well, racism. And when it comes to science, well, they just don’t understand all that newfangled stuff. So they go with whatever Faux News says, since they’re also a demographic that heavily watches Faux News.

The second kind of moderators tend to be poorly educated white Southerners. They’re hired because they’re cheap. You can go into someplace like Jacksonville Florida and hire a whole building full of what we’d call “poor white trash” back in the day for less than it’d cost to hire that same building full of people in India, once you consider training costs and the extra costs of dealing with bribes and bad infrastructure in India. Thing is, they’re even more poorly educated than the Indians would be. And racist. And don’t understand anything about science, so they go with whatever right-wing media says, since they’re also a demographic that is heavily viewers of white-wing media.

So that’s the dillema. We want accurate science on social media. We don’t want racism on social media. But the most heavily curated social media is the worst social media *because* it’s most heavily curated — because the curators themselves are racist science deniers due to social media hiring the cheapest labor they can find. The end result is that anti-racist voices are drowned out, and pro-science activists are actively censored on those platforms. Because. Money. Money trumps all. The good of society…. bah, when did that ever make investors rich?!

  • Badtux the Gresham’s Law Penguin


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Before WW2, a house was something you lived in. There were no 30 year mortgages — there were one year personal loans backed by property, which had to be renegotiated each year. These loans were for only up to 50% of the price of a home, so you had to save up at least 50% to buy a home. The end result was that most homes owned by regular working people were modest and often built by the people who lived in them. In the big cities, most housing was rental housing, though the burgeoning middle class could afford the new brownstone townhouses that were being built in places like New York City because they were relatively affordable.

Before WW2, once you bought a home, you expected to live in it for the rest of your life. You didn’t want its value to appreciate because that would result in higher property taxes. Houses were not piggy banks. They were not a savings instrument. They were a place to live.

Starting after WW2, you had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA loans and VA loans and so forth. The 50% deposit before the war became a 20% deposit, or even less with the FHA and VA loans. What this caused was housing inflation. With more money going into a fixed stock of housing, the price of housing rose. This in turn encouraged builders to build more housing, often better housing than the existing housing stock, which encouraged people to sell their current house and buy a bigger / better house. People started wanting the value of their home to appreciate because when they sold their current home and bought up to a better home, that meant they could buy a bigger / better house. Then once people reached retirement age, it meant they could buy a smaller house in a cheaper part of the country and bank all that appreciation as income for their retirement.

Sometime in the 1970’s, people who owned houses realized: If we don’t allow more houses to be built, demand for our houses will go up, and then we will be able to get more money when we sell our house! This realization didn’t happen nationwide. It happened mostly in affluent cities like San Francisco and New York City. NIMBY-ism became predominant in those cities. Anything that could cause a decline in the price of a house became basically illegal — including the construction of high density housing, the construction of housing for the poor or mentally ill, and so forth. And as the price of housing increased every year but no new homes were built, the poorest of the poor started being thrown out on the streets and told “Sorry, the American Dream is not for you. Live like a stray dog, not like a human being.”

So now the streets of major cities are clogged with homeless people, a large number of whom are mentally ill, who use the sidewalks as toilets because there are no public toilets, and the homeowners in these cities are outraged, outraged I say. But for some reason, their own part in this outrage never seems to occur to them. Strange, that, eh?

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The next 40 years

This is the main reason that Kavanaugh had to be confirmed immediately, before the Democrats got control of the Senate and could block apartheid supporters. The fact is that white people are becoming a minority within America. When that happens depends on who you ask, but it is happening, and will happen.

Given that, the only way that angry white males, of which Kavanaugh is one, can retain power is via apartheid — by taking away the vote from populations that, well, aren’t white. They dream of a return to the pre-Voting Rights Act segregated South, where black people were denied the vote by any number of means from poll taxes to lynchings, except nationwide and applied to non-whites across a broad spectrum. They really don’t have any choice. George W. Bush had made outreach to Hispanic populations, but Donald Trump has done nationwide what the California Republican Party did two decades ago — via racist acts against Hispanic populations, especially by kidnapping and losing children at the border in order to punish parents, they’ve lost the Hispanic vote for a generation.

The thing about apartheid, however, is that it is not a long time stable situation when it’s the majority of an entire nation that is being suppressed. South Africa and Rhodesia found that out the hard way, they managed to keep their non-white populations suppressed, but the violence needed to do in the face of guerilla warfare by the majority resulted in international repulsion and eventual collapse of their economies and the army of suppression that was funded by their economies. But our angry white male leaders think they have the answer to that — our current cradle to grave police state that tracks everybody from birth to death will allow them to take out the leaders of any opposition with ease, while also being used to remove information about them from the Internet so that angry mobs that wish to hang them from the nearest lamp posts won’t know where to find them.

But of course police states aren’t stable either. They can be maintained for a long time, but only at the expense of collapsing the economy and the impoverishment of the nation, because smart people don’t like police states. Smart people flee police states, or tuck their heads down and refuse to do the sort of entrepreneurship and innovation needed for an economy to thrive for fear that they might attract police state attention. But perhaps the angry white males view being on top of an impoverished failed state is preferable to being ruled by non-whites.

Given how many guns there are in the United States, I am not seeing any way that this situation does not result in bloodshed. Apartheid worked in the American South only because those being suppressed were a minority in the nation as a whole. But I cannot believe that the majority in states like California that are already “majority-minority” will sit by idle while their brethren elsewhere are being suppressed. Either there will be bloody military suppression of resistance, or secession followed by war. All I know is that a hard rain’s gonna fall.

— Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

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What does it say about America that I read about yet another mass shooting and I just shrug and say “another mass shooting” and don’t even bother mentioning it for over a day? I mean, it’s not as if we’re going to do anything about it. We sorta decided that after Sandy Hook, when we decided that the bodies of 1st graders were less important than making sure that every gun fetishist could have as many guns and as much ammunition as he wanted. If we do jack shit when little kids get sprayed-and-prayed, why would adults getting sprayed-and-prayed make any difference?

As far as “thoughts and prayers” goes, I’ll just quote Pope Francis on that one: “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” I.e., “thoughts and prayers” without action are just meaningless hypocrisy. So it goes.

One thing I’d like to note, while we’re at it: the murder rate in the US is far lower than during the bad old days of the crack epidemic in the 1980’s. But more of those murders are spree killings, and the drug related killings tend to be more targeted and less spray-a-riffic. That makes it feel less safe today, though every number says objectively not the case. That, and $3, will get you a cup of bad coffee at Starducks….

– Badtux the “Yeah, so?” Penguin

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Louisiana Supreme Court states that the right to an attorney only applies if you state a request for an attorney in standard English. Speak Spanish? Tough shit. Speak vernacular Creole? Tough shit.

I mean, look. Gotta send them darkies to prison, y’all. You know they’re all criminals, after all. As for the Constitution? Yeah, well, according to the U.S. Constitution, the amount of justice you receive isn’t supposed to be different based upon the language that you speak (that whole “equal protection of the law” thingy in the 14th Amendment). But hey, the Constitution is just a piece of paper, right? Right?!

And people wonder why I would never move back to Louisiana even if I had a million bajillion dollars and was wanting to start up a business… shit, their “justice” system is so goddamn corrupt, it’s worse than India. Like in India, if the rich and powerful who control the state decide they want your shit, they’ll use corrupt D.A.’s and judges to take it. At least in India the judges will take bribes to stop the process. In Louisiana, the judges are basically selected by the rich and powerful, so they just rubber stamp whatever the rich and powerful in the state want rubber stamped. It’s a “justice” system, not a justice system.

– Badtux the Corruption Penguin

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Facebook bans Jim Wright due to complaints from Nazis that he was being mean to Nazis — *AGAIN*.

In this case, Jim Wright reported someone to Facebook who made a death threat — and Facebook kicked *him* off, rather than the Nazi.

I swear, do we gotta just call it goddamn fucking Fascistbook, already? It’s getting to be about as useful as tits on a goldfish, what with all the trolls and their troll farms making sure to get anybody who is anti-Nazi kicked off of the platform.

I don’t get it. What does Facebook get out of pandering to fucking Nazis? Eyeballs, you say? So apparently Facebook thinks that Nazis are more appealing to advertisers than Jim Wright’s followers, and thus if it comes down to Nazis vs Jim, they side with the Nazis every time? Why they came to that conclusion, I don’t know. Jim’s followers are highly educated and probably relatively wealthy compared to the average Nazi loser. I mean, all the Nazis really buy is Nazi paraphernalia, hardly a huge advertising market. But that’s what Facebook is doing — siding with a bunch of losers over a bunch of winners.

I don’t get it. I really don’t. You’d think that someone with a name like Zuckerberg would side with anti-Nazis rather than with goddamn fucking Nazis, given that the Nazis would like nothing better than to shove his rich Jew ass into the nearest oven and turn it to “Roast”. But maybe it’s all the goddamn fucking Nazis they got working for them like Peter fucking Thiel, who is probably the only motherfucker in the whole goddamn Silicon Valley who is more vile than Venod Khosla (the rich motherfucker who desires to steal California coastline for his own private beach, despite the fact that California beaches have been public property for over 40 years). At this point I doubt Zuck knows — or cares — what’s going on with Fascistbook. I mean, he’s got his bajillions of dollars. He don’t care. He doesn’t have to.

So there we go. Our President is a goddamn fascist Nazi sympathizer (“and some of them, I’m sure, are good people” my ass). The biggest social network is, as far as I can tell, run by goddamn fucking Nazis. The Republican Congress don’t seem to care about any of that. Shit, why don’t rename the United States the 4th Reich and get it over with, already?!

– Badtux the Grumpy Penguin

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Canada’s CBC News warns Canadians not to carry much money south of the border because the police will steal it.

Used to be, only corrupt 3rd world nations had police that would just blatantly steal your money. Guess that means we’re one of those, now. The problem is, corruption on that scale is bad for business. Tourists decide to take their money elsewhere, somewhere where it won’t get stolen. Businessmen whose businesses churn a lot of cash decide to invest their money elsewhere, not in the United States. And so forth.

The modest reforms that Congress is proposing will not end the corruption, but will at least reduce some of the incentives behind it. In the end, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to rule that the 4th Amendment is, in fact, the 4th Amendment, and prohibits seizing things without a warrant and probable cause. Until then, police departments will continue to steal more money than thieves.

Yeah, well, I’m not holding my breath on that one, not with this Supreme Court…

– Badtux the 3rd World Penguin

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So a New York housing development that is half-financed by HUD is up for sale and Trump stands to get millions if the sale goes through. And who approves the sale? Well, Donald Trump’s HUD, of course. Nope, no possibility of corruption there, nosirree!

All of this could have been avoided if Trump had sold his properties and interests in properties and put it all into a blind trust that invested it in an index fund before running for President. But he couldn’t do that, because he’s insolvent — he owes more on his properties than they’re worth. He claims all these billions of assets, but what he doesn’t tell you is that every single one of them is mortgaged to the hilt.

Which of course is why he ran for President in the first place — as a scam to get money out of people. Then his ego wouldn’t let him quit when, to everybody’s surprise, he won the Republican nomination. And then with a little help from his Russian friends and Wikileaks plus a little help from FBI director James Comey (who got fired by Trump for his help in electing Trump), he got elected President. And now he can really run some scams…

– Badtux the Corruption-smellin’ Penguin

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SNORK!. Turned out that one of the councils, the Manufacturing Council, voted to officially disband before Trump’s tweet saying he was disbanding them. And then Trump said “you can’t quit, I’m firing you!”. ROFL.

This White House has become so toxic that even right wing business leaders don’t want to associate with it. And we have 3 1/2 more years of this — maybe 7 1/2 more years, depending on whether Trump manages to get us into a war.

We are so fucked….

– Badtux the Waddling Penguin

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An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

Trade shows, conventions, and other events with international participation are about to move outside the US because nobody from outside the US can get a visa to attend them anymore. Yay, this is going to do our convention business *so* much good…

Way to be pro-business, Cheeto Mussolini!

– Badtux the Perplexed Penguin

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