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Archive for the ‘corporate criminals’ Category

I already pointed out that the unique labor demands of growing and picking cotton led to slavery being extremely profitable in the pre-Civil War South, to the point where slavery would have never died out naturally until the advent of herbicides and mechanical cotton picker machines in the 1950’s. I mentioned how slavery was continued somewhat in the sharecropping system that arose after the war, and the system of segregation that insured that blacks had little choice but to work in the fields or starve since they were blocked from most other jobs by the segregation regime. I also mentioned that my grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side, both poor whites, were sharecroppers when they married, living in a one-room tar-paper shack with no indoor plumbing or electricity (the toilet was an outhouse) and working like dogs to grow and pick cotton, and how one of my mother’s least-favorite memories was picking cotton as a child.

So back to my question: Why are there so many uneducated poor white trash people in the South?

Well, it’s for the same reason that the South embraced segregation so heavily: by keeping most white people poor and uneducated, it meant that the Southern aristocracy could obtain cheap labor for their fields.

In short, Southern poverty was a deliberate decision of the Southern aristocrats who lost the military phase of the Civil War but won the peace afterwards. They deliberately organized their society so that schools beyond K-8 were too expensive for poor people. They deliberately kept industries that might have employed large numbers of poor whites in high paying jobs out of their states. It wasn’t until the mechanization of cotton production that desegregation could happen in the South, nobody dared push it before then because the South *would* have risen up again. It wasn’t until the surplus poor white population was no longer needed for cotton that industries like textiles and the auto industry were allowed to come to the South to employ the surplus poor white population, and the taxes to build good schools were never passed even then because educated people were a threat to the aristocracy.

The end result of that third world society — a sea of poverty and a small set of aristocrats on top — was that these states were poor. The aristocrats didn’t care. They could have had more money if they’d allowed the peasants to become prosperous and educated, but they cared more about being on top than about absolute wealth. It’s no surprise that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as the power of the old Civil War descended aristocrats collapsed, the affluence of the South grew immensely. Even into the 1980’s, it seemed that the South was going to rejoin the rest of the United States.

Then progress stopped. Because a new aristocracy arose. An aristocracy that, like the old one, also was more interested in maintaining their power than in absolute wealth, though in many cases, like the Koch brothers of Oklahoma, they do have immense absolute wealth. And maintaining their power is easier with an uneducated populace. Thus the constant attempts to prohibit accurate teaching of biological science in Southern schools (modern biology simply cannot be explained without the theory of evolution), the prohibiting of teaching critical thinking skills in most Southern schools, and so forth. By keeping the poors stupid, ignorant, and superstitious, the poors don’t look up at their aristocrats and start measuring the aristocrats’ necks for nooses. By keeping the poors fixated on guns, gays, god, and godless Liberals, the poors don’t notice that the aristocrats have been fucking them up every goddamn orifice for the past two hundred forty fucking years.

All in all, it’s a nice scam. But it *has* required that they shut down prosperity again, which they’ve done via de-industrialization, replacing high-paying factory jobs with low-paying service jobs. Yet the rubes still haven’t caught on: their poverty isn’t accidental. It’s planned.

And the motherfuckers who planned it are getting away with it. Again. Because turns out that not only are the majority of Southerners ignorant, they’re also stupid, lacking the common sense to realize that it’s no accident that the Northeast and the West Coast are affluent and prosperous while they are mired in poverty…

So it goes. As it was, it is again, yessiree. When you have an entire class of people that benefits from keeping the majority poor and ignorant, only an idiot would blame liberals for that. But idiots are one thing not in short supply.

– Badtux the Economics Penguin

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Libertarians who say we don’t need government police, intelligence agencies, etc. because private enterprise can do all of that forget that their proposal was the norm for the United States until after WW2. The reason why we quit doing that is that we learned that the private police and intelligence agencies were corrupt and selling their services on behalf of the highest bidder even if the highest bidder was asking them to violate the law, and in the process were harming innocents with no recourse.

Equifax is a perfect example of that. Equifax started out as sort of a private Stasi intelligence agency, gathering files of dubious integrity on people via various means both legal and illegal and selling them to the highest bidder with no regard for privacy or accuracy. If you wanted to make sure you weren’t about to rent an apartment to a gay or an atheist or a Communist, you paid Equifax to find out whether the renter was one of those things, and Equifax in turn paid your neighbors to inform on you, just like the Stasi did. And if a neighbor you had a feud with decided to tell them you were a Communist even if you weren’t, well, you had no way of knowing that this was why you couldn’t get anybody to rent to you, and no right to see what information they had on file on you and correct it.

It wasn’t Utopia, regardless of what the libertarians whine about, and that’s why the credit reporting agencies are regulated now and only allowed to collect financial information, not information about your politics or sexuality or religion or whatever, and why they’re required to give you access to your file and required to correct information if it’s incorrect (though you may have to sue them in some cases). Libertopia just *doesn’t work*. Invariably it ends up with corruption, thuggery, and fraud. The fact that corruption, thuggery, and fraud might work better than the former government of Somalia is not a rousing statement. Giardia is preferable to cholera too. But you don’t see me running out to contract giardia…

— Badtux the Non-libertarian Penguin

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“Reached by phone Tuesday night, Shkreli refused to say where he would donate the money or what he would do with the remaining cash. Instead he unleashed a string of expletives and then requested to engage in a lewd act with a reporter.”

Yep, that’s our old pal Martin Shkreli alright :).

Pharma Bro be selling his Wu-Tang Clan album. And it’s nobody’s business where the money is going, he said to a Fox News reporter, before “requested to engage in a lewd act” with said reporter. LOL.

– Badtux the “Have fun in jail, Marty!” Penguin

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Those motherfuckers at Wells Fargo are either incompetent, or thieves. Either way, they don’t deserve your business.

In this particular bit of thievery, they stole thousands of people’s cars and charged hundreds of thousands more customers for auto insurance they didn’t need. They claim it was incompetence on their part. But I got this to say: that’s a damn convenient line to spew. My bet is that they’re a buncha fucking crooks.

But hey, it doesn’t matter in the end. Incompetent assholes? Crooks? Whatevs. If you bank there, don’t. If your business banks there, don’t. There’s other banks, and while Bank of America is just as venal and Chase is just as incompetent, you don’t have to use the Too Big To Fail banks. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Credit-union-usin’ Penguin

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And they kicked a blind woman and her guide dog off a plane because they didn’t want to re-seat her to someplace where her dog could sit on the floor in front of her. Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act says they have to accomodate her and re-seat her if a seat can be found.

But they’re American Airlines, which has a long history of violating the law regarding service dogs. They regularly harass and bully people and claim impunity. They have even continued this conduct after signing a consent decree saying they wouldn’t do it anymore.

This is, of course, a blatant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but they don’t care about the law, because they don’t have to — a federal government that is 100% owned by big corporations is refusing to enforce the law against said big corporations.

So in short, American Airlines is a criminal enterprise that refuses to obey the law, and the government refuses to enforce the law against it. That’s the sort of situation that leads to massive lawsuits or, if lawsuits have been barred by law, eventually leads to violent revolution. And violent revolution never ends up well for the country that does it. I can’t remember one that turned out well, whether it was the Russian Revolution that put the Communists in charge, or the Egyptian Revolution that put the Islamists then the Army in charge, all that happens is that the most violent win and then impose their will upon the rest of the people at gunpoint.

— Badtux the “These people are criminals” Penguin

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Ro Khanna has received more money from Wall Street than any other House candidate in the United States.

Yes, the candidate claiming to be an “honest government” candidate has taken more money from the corrupt Wall Street establishment that bought laws that allowed them to crash the economy in 2008, then escape all consequences while getting billions in taxpayer bailouts for their corruption, than any other candidate in the entire United States of America. Even more than the New York City candidates who you would think would be the focus of Wall Street money.

This is why I can’t vote for Ro Khanna. He is a Republican Lite in the pay of the sleazy Wall Street types who crashed our economy in 2008 and then got paid to bail themselves out. I think Mike Honda has overstayed in the House, he is no longer capable and needs to designate a successor with similar ideals, but Ro Khanna is a dishonest sleazebag who has repeatedly made promises that he knows he can’t keep (because U.S. Representatives don’t have the power to fulfill promises such as “institute coding classes in all schools”) and Ro has repeatedly smeared a man who has served honorably in the House for almost as long as this sleaze has been alive. There are ways to run against an elderly man who served honorably in his day but is no longer capable. Dishonorable smear jobs and ugliness are not among them, and are what offends me most about Ro’s campaigns.

In short: Ro is *not* a suitable replacement for Mike Honda. Ro Khanna is part of the problem with our economy and our government (that is, pay for play politics), not part of the solution.

– Badtux the Santa Clara Penguin
Note: Yes, the San Jose Murky News endorsed Ro. They’ve never met a “pro business” (i.e., corrupt pay-for-play) candidate that they didn’t like. And your point?

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Wells Fargo is in trouble for illegally repossessing hundreds of cars from active duty military service members. Because Too Big To Fail is also Too Big To Prosecute.

Solution: Break up the banks. Again.

Again, you say? Yep. Prior to 1864, all banks were state-chartered banks that were only allowed to operate in a single state. In 1864, the National Banking Act of 1864 established national banks chartered by the Federal Government. Until 1927, they were required to operate within a single building. In 1927, the McFadden Act not only extended the Federal Reserve into perpetuity, but also gave national banks the right to open branches within the state within which they were chartered, to the extent allowed by their state’s laws. They were still, however, not allowed to operate outside the state in which they were chartered.

The net result is that until 1994, a bank could only fuck up the state it was operating in — it couldn’t fuck up other states. Needless to say, as banks in New York and San Francisco got larger and more powerful, this pissed them off. The first thing they tried to do was create bank holding companies that would own banks in multiple states. The Bank Holding Act of 1956 put these holding companies under the regulation of the Federal Reserve and forced them to divest non-bank enterprises such as other financial corporations, but the net effect was that you had interstate banking of a sorts. Bank A in state A was technically not the same bank as Bank B in state B, but they were both owned by the same holding company so could cooperate to do interstate banking for the large corporations that were spreading across America. The next thing that happened was when San Francisco based Bank of America (which has nothing to do with the current Bank of America, which is a descendant of Charlotte North Carolina based Nations Bank) created the first credit card (as versus charge card) in 1966: Bank Americard.

The problem with Bank Americard was that it could only be used in California, because that was the only place that Bank of America was chartered to operate. That is why the modern credit card clearing house system was created — banks in other states were given the right to issue Bank Americard credit cards too, and then a processing network was set up to handle the inter-bank transfers to get the money from customer account at bank A in state X to the merchant account at bank B in state Y. A couple of years later, banks feeling left out or that didn’t like Bank of America’s terms for licensing the Bank Americard name and access created the Mastercard network which operated the same way, except with no single bank dominating it like Bank of America dominated BankAmericard, something which eventually resulted in Bank of America losing control of its network, which became rebranded as Visa.

Finally, during Ronnie Raygun’s regime, we saw massive deregulation of the savings & loan industry that caused the collapse of both that industry and of many commercial banks. This caused the collapse of roughly 2,000 banks, resulting in a massive buy-out of the collapsed banks in many states by these bank holding companies and thus de facto interstate banking. In 1994, Democrats wrote and passed the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 which removed all restrictions on interstate banking, and President Bill Clinton both praised it and signed it.

The result? The number of banks drastically declined from 12303 in 1990 to 7752 in 2003. And to 5210 as of the second quarter of 2016. Furthermore, Federal Reserve regulations intended to make sure that banks are properly capitalized have had the practical effect of making it impossible to form new banks (note — because this is a Federal Reserve paper it doesn’t blame the Fed, but yes, it was the Fed). The end game is five banks owning half the banking industry. And as with all oligopoly industries, these banks copy each other’s efforts to improve their profits more than they compete for customers, and feel free to rip off customers because they feel customers have no real alternative. Well, except for credit unions, which is why the big banks are attacking credit unions and trying to get them banned.

The only realistic option: break up the banks by outlawing interstate branching again. Banks would be required to spin off as separate non-owned entities all branches, deposits, and assets in states other than the state in which they are chartered, and bank holding companies would face the same restriction — they would only be allowed to operate in one state. Furthermore, bank holding companies and banks would not be allowed to own non-bank businesses. Any insurance, securities, stock brokerage, etc. that they do would have to be spun off as independent companies.

So, some of the objections I’ve heard:

  1. “What about ATM’s?” Yeah, what about them? My credit union is not allowed to operate beyond my county. Yet I can still walk up to nearly 30,000 ATM’s nationwide and 5,000 credit union branches nationwide and do fee-free banking. Why? Because they’ve formed a cooperative network to reciprocally handle each other’s transactions. Banks can form cooperative networks just as easily as credit unions can — and in fact, have done so for ATM’s.
  2. What if you’re in another state and need to do business? Well, just as with the CO-OP network, if a bank is not allowed to do business in state B, that doesn’t prohibit the bank from forming a reciprocal agreement with a bank in state B to handle each other’s transactions. Nothing stops them from forming a cooperative network like the CO-OP network.
  3. But… I’m a multinational corporation, how do I issue checks?! Uhm, just like now — your HR department prints them out drawn on your bank of choice wherever it is located and hands them out, or does a direct deposit via the inter-bank transfer network.
  4. But… I’m a retail chain with stores in every state, how do I do my banking?! Well gosh, sucks to be you, Walmart! I guess you’d have to open deposit accounts with local community banks, and wire the money from the previous night’s deposits every morning to the Mothership. My heart bleeds, bleeds I say, for you having to deal with a locally owned business like the ones you previously drove out of business.

In fact, the biggest argument I can see is that this will tend to concentrate money in banks in major financial cities, meaning it won’t be available for lending to businesses in smaller states. If Bank of America in Charlotte has $5B on deposit from IBM, the Bank of America branch in Abbeville, Louisiana can lend some of it out so that Boudreaux can buy a new pirogue. On the other hand, there’s nothing to stop the Bank of Abbeville from borrowing money for Boudreaux’s pirogue by selling the loan to Bank of America. This happens all the time with mortgage loans — smaller lenders / loan sourcers regularly sell their loans to larger institutions that have a surplus of cash and a shortage of customers willing to borrow it. The banking industry would just need to go back to their roots again, back to the days when it was normal for big Wall Street banks to buy loans from smaller community banks.

— Badtux the Banking Penguin

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