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Archive for the ‘crony capitalism’ Category

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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A spoon, you say? A spoon with spaghetti sauce residue on it? What’s that got to do with the drug war, you say?

Ask Ashley Gabrielle Huff about that.

After a spoon was found on her during a traffic stop, a spoon she insisted was last used to eat Spaghetti-O’s at the office for lunch, Ashley Gabrielle Huff was kept in jail awaiting trial on bogus meth charges due to astonishingly high bail despite the fact that she had no criminal record, was married, had children in the schools, and otherwise was no flight risk. She was ready to plead guilty and forever give up her voting rights just to get out of jail if they gave her time served. Then the lab results came back, months after the spoon had been submitted to the state crime lab: Spaghetti sauce.

Just as she’d insisted from the beginning.

Our drug war is ridiculous. A spoon? That was all they had, a spoon, and purported residue on said spoon? Yet that was all it took to deprive her of her rights and put her in a cage for months.

The reason I bring this up is because there is now a widespread movement amongst progressives to reform the bail system to do away with injustices like that. Bail bondsmen in the state of California are outraged about it, but the fact of the matter is that most people in jail are not there because they’ve been sentenced for a crime. They’re there because they can’t afford bail. And while they’re in jail, they’ve lost their job, their children may be in foster care, their home was repossessed or they were evicted with no ability to retrieve their belongings, their college kicked them out for non-attendance and kept their tuition money, and otherwise had their lives destroyed.

It’s one of the few things that the progressive Left and the libertarian Right agree on: the bail system is broken, it enriches bail bondsmen and local sheriffs who run jails at the expense of poor people and taxpayers, and needs to be fixed so that people who aren’t a flight risk have bail set according to their income, not according to some fixed schedule writ in stone.

Which means: entrenched people who benefit from the current system are keeping it from happening.

For now.

— Badtux the Criminal Injustice Penguin

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In Thailand, a corrupt official was found guilty of human trafficking.

Seems pretty straightforward, if unusual. How often do corrupt officials end up going to jail, anyhow? Not darn often.

But reading more on the case, I found out something interesting: In Thailand, if you are a government official and are convicted of a crime committed while in office, your punishment is automatically doubled. We need a law like this here in the United States. Maybe that would keep some of our corrupt politicians from going bad so fast.

Of course, first we would have to actually have convictions for our politicians who are corrupt…

– Badtux the “Well, there goes THAT suggestion!” Penguin

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This seems to be a thing with the Trumps. Fucking over Veterans, I mean.

In this case, Trump funnels money into one of his own golf courses at the expense of a veterans program for disabled veterans that uses the Potomac River for kayaking. It turns out you don’t need legs to kayak. Who coulda thunk?! So anyhow, Camp David has a world-class golf course maintained at taxpayer expense and is a thirty minute helicopter ride from the White House, but Trump golfs at his own golf course instead, forcing the Secret Service to lease the golf course for a day and close the nearby river in order to secure the President. Free government money into Trump’s pockets! What a deal — for Trump. Not for anybody else.

Needless to say, nobody’s calling this outright corruption what it is — outright corruption. Trump could do like Ike and Gerald Ford and golf at Camp David. Ike built a pretty good golf course there, Gerald Ford renovated it to be world-class. But that wouldn’t funnel money into his own pockets. Fuck the taxpayer, right? And fuck those veterans too.

– Badtux the Corruption Penguin

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That’s what the fraud “voter fraud commission” claims. See, the Privacy Act requires that government bodies do certain things, like tell people what data they’re collecting, how it’s going to be secured, and so forth, in a process laid out in the law that includes notices, hearings, and so forth. This fraud “voter fraud commission” did none of that before starting to collect data from the various state voter registrars who agreed to cooperate.

So now they’ve been sued, and stopped collecting data (for the moment). But I have something to say about their argument “we’re not a government body so we don’t have to comply with the Privacy Act”: If they’re not a government body, then WTF are they doing collecting all these records anyhow? What, they’re going to set up a private business, “Voter Suppression R Us”, to use this data to strip voters off the voting rolls? And if they’re not a government body, who the fuck is paying their salaries? Whose computers are they using to hold these records? Who is paying the electric bill for these computers?

Sounds like some fraud is going on, all right. But it ain’t by the voters, folks.

– Badtux the Fraud-smellin’ Penguin

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Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed.

— — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the Dartmouth College Commencement Exercises, Hanover, New Hampshire. June 14, 1953

That was back when Republicans (at least some of them) were defenders of liberty. Today, the most fervent defenders of the Republican administration are also today’s most fervent book-burners.

Today’s book burners don’t use matches. They use false reports of “violations of community standards” to Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Whether it is Jim Wright that the book burners are going after on Facebook, or haters maliciously flagging entire Youtube channels that have content that offends their political sensibilities or simply mention them in the context of false flagging, book burners today are more active than they ever were in the supposed bad old days of Joe McCarthy’s America, the days in which President Eisenhower was speaking above to college students.

What’s different today is that book burners can bring together entire electronic lynch mobs via platforms like 4chan or Reddit or the Daily Mail to burn people’s electronic books. And unlike in the past, where stalwart librarians were fierce in defense of the authors of the books in their libraries, Google (or Facebook) doesn’t care, because they don’t have to. It would cost money to defend content creators, so they won’t.

And that, my friends, is the problem with the fact that we’ve privatized our “libraries”. When book burners show up, what do Google or Facebook do? They just let the book burners burn books. Because there’s no profit in stopping them by putting a human in the way of letting the book burners burn books, indeed, it costs money. They have no stern librarians with horn-rimmed glasses saying “you will burn books in my library over my dead body.” They just shrug and say “the machine did it, not me.” And don’t lift a finger.

And what kind of society we will have, when we can have any book burned at the whim of practically any special interest book?

Not much of one. As we’re seeing now, I suspect…

– Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

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