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Archive for the ‘crony capitalism’ 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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So: Comcast disconnected *my* cable drop and connected it to my *neighbor’s* drop because their technician apparently decided that the cable drop to my half of the building was just random abandoned wiring. And Comcast’s response to this for *three days straight* was to lie and say they were sending a technician out, when they never did nor had any intentions of doing so.

The resolution:

I went to Harbor Freight and bought this cable tracker:

WarbleWarbleWarbleWarble!

I already knew that my cable modem was receiving no signal, so I attached the alligator clips to the cable at my cable modem, and tracked the cable into the attic, and saw that it headed up to the front of the house, as I presumed based on the last time the cable guy came out. I then walked out my front door, and identified the exact cable.

The next part was a bit iffier. There were three cables there. One had no connector on it and appeared to go up to the attic. I decided to go up to the attic and look at the other cables there, and attached the warbler to one that looked like it might go to the front of the house. It hooked to a splitter. I attached the warbler to the cables that entered the splitter, and they went to the jacks in the back bedrooms of my house. I attached to the cable that went forward from the splitter, and it was the cable dangling on the front wall of the building with no connector on it.

So that wasn’t the cable I needed to hook up to. I checked each of the two other cables dangling on the wall *with* a connector by simply hooking them to the cable I’d identified as mine, and then waiting for my cable modem to detect signal on them. No signal. Or at least not one that my cable modem understood. I think one went to a satellite dish. My cable modem obviously doesn’t understand satellite signals.

So it had to be the one that was hooked up and going into the neighbor’s living room through the wall. Yep, the cable guy unplugged *MY* cable and plugged it into my *NEIGHBOR’S* wire!

One splitter later, and I’m back in business.

BTW, I did knock on the neighbor’s door to let them know I was about to unplug their cable for a minute to put the splitter. I got no answer, so clearly they weren’t in the living room using the cable. So I shrugged and put the splitter there. This is in their yard, the old lady of the house has all sorts of greenery there. I used to have more greenery on my side but I ripped most of it out because it was impinging on my jade plants.

Tomorrow I figure I’ll put a sign on my cable — XX50 XXXXX Street Do Not Disconnect”. I’ll put it in a zip-lok bag and use Guerilla Tape to tape it to the cable. I’ll also do the same to the cable drop that goes to the back of XX48 (it’s the cable drop for our entire building) so that they won’t disconnect my cable when the neighbor moves out, like they did once before when the previous neighbor moved out. Maybe that’ll keep the cable guys from disconnecting me again the next time they go to XX48 XXXXX Street to fiddle with the cable. We’ll see….

Meanwhile, a Comcast rep *finally* called me today and said, “do I need to send a technician out there?” I replied “No, I needed the technician two days ago, I already fixed your wiring goofup” and basically gave the story above.

So it goes.

– Badtux the “Comcast Sucks!” 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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So: NBC doesn’t own the trademarked name “Amazing Stories”. But they’re planning to introduce a show by that name. Without paying the guy who *does* own that trademark. And threatening to sue that guy if he doesn’t license the name to them under a contract where they haven’t met their own side of the contract by paying him.

Yeah, they’re willing to spend a million dollars per episode to produce the program, but not $40,000 per year to buy rights to use the name.

Evil, evil SOB’s.

– Badtux the “Fuck those fuckheads” Penguin

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I mean, look. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of torturing Hispanic people in his jails. Hundreds of Hispanic people hung themselves in his jails, basically tortured to death, costing Maricopa County bajillions of dollars. Then he defied a Federal court order to quit torturing them brown fellers, and got convicted of contempt of court for doing so.

So of course the Orange Racist Pussy Grabber pardoned him today.

It’s a twofer. Now people are talking about Trump, rather than about the hurricane. And, Trump lets all the racists, bigots, inbreds, Nazis, Klansmen, right-wing militiamen, rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, muggers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Southern Baptists know that their God-Emperor Donald the Trump has their back.

Of course, it’s a travesty of justice, and a preview of how Trump intends to deal with the convictions from the Russia scandal, the grand jury for which is still underway. But justice isn’t something that His Fraudulency Donald The Trump ever cared about. He has a life-long history of bigotry against black people, a life-long history of ripping off his contractors, bankers, and anybody else he could get away with ripping off (thus his nickname in New York City banking circles of “Deadbeat Donnie”, which is why he’s so in debt to the Russians), a life-long history of treating women like objects and treating people of color like shit. This is what he does, people. He’s a two-bit con man playing big man in the Oval Office. A two bit con man who has access to nuclear weapons and a pardon pen.

Which is why we are all so, so fucked.

– Badtux the Waddling Penguin

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The rats are surely deserting the ship.

Of course Trump has Mafia connections. He’s a real estate developer in NYC and New Jersey. He couldn’t do that if he didn’t have Mafia connections. All the real estate developers there are mobbed up, it’s how things are done.

The real story isn’t Trump’s Mafia connections. It’s about how voices on the right are now feeling their way towards directly criticizing Trump, rather than the sort of lukewarm faint praise that they previously gave him out of fear of Trump’s MAGAts. Apparently despite Charlottesville, the sharks are smelling blood in the water coming from the direction of the Trump administration. And where there’s blood, eventually there will be a feeding frenzy….

– Badtux the Swimming 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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