Archive for the ‘libertarianism’ Category

There is an idiotic Libertarian saying, “democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner”. But there’s a whole lot more sheep than wolves. Around 7 million sheep in America, and 4500 wolves.
The reality is that there are *always* more sheep than wolves. That’s how predator-prey relationships work. Democracy is where the prey (sheep) vote that the wolf gets to eat grass. Unless the wolf gets them to vote to put sheep on the menu, it ain’t on the menu.
Now, the wolf whines that it’s tyranny that the sheep won’t put sheep on the lunch menu. He has a right, a right he says, to eat sheep. Which is why the predator is *always* against democracy. 1000 sheep and 1 wolf voting the dinner menu never works out well for the wolf.

Libertarians know this. But they think they are predators, so if they get to be in charge, they’ll have sheep for dinner. But of course they’re not predators. They’re deluded fanboy wannabes who have read too much bad fiction posing as “truth”, and if a predator ever comes to power, they’re going to be first on the dinner menu.

— Badtux the Realist 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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Researchers find that 40% or more of residents of a neighborhood in Lowndes County, Alabama, have or have had hookworm.

This is a disease of extreme poverty that results in anemia, confusion, extreme lethargy on the part of its sufferers. The end result was generations of Southerners stereotyped as lazy and dim-witted. It was eradicated, people thought, by septic systems and shoes. But now it’s back.

And don’t think this is just a disease of poor blacks. Some of my white relatives in Louisiana are living under similar conditions where they regularly come into contact with raw sewage pouring out from underneath their decrepit trailer homes. Really, they were living under more sanitary conditions before they got indoor plumbing — outhouses, at least, didn’t drizzle raw sewage onto the ground. But the Public Health Service that eradicated hookworm by building twenty million outhouses in the 1920’s and 1930’s is long gone. As are the outhouses, and people for some reason don’t want to go back to using outhouses, they insist on using the toilets that deposit raw poop straight onto the ground outside their decrepit trailer homes.

There are two other alternatives that at least sort of resemble a toilet in that you don’t have to go outside your house in the middle of winter and sit on a cold outhouse toilet seat — composting toilets, and the Incinolet. The wiring in many of these homes won’t support an Incinolet, and nobody is pushing or subsidizing composting toilets as a solution. Not to mention that composting toilets are rabidly opposed by the poor people who would use them, “we want to just sit down on our toilet and flush like you rich people, we don’t want to have to mess with throwing dirt in with our shit and turning a handle and such.” That’s if they even know composting toilets exist — most don’t, because we no longer have a Public Health Service that is focused on sanitation, and county health departments only fine people, they don’t educate people, so nobody contacts the county health department asking what they should do.

And the result of this Libertopia, where nobody enforces sanitation laws or helps poor people comply with sanitation laws, is the return of a parasite that plagued the South for centuries and led to all the stereotypes of lazy stupid Southerners… yay, Libertopia! But maybe that’s the point. If you keep them lethargic they won’t rise up in rebellion. If you keep them dazed and confused, they won’t vote for the Democrats who could help them. Why, if you’re a Republican, a hookworm epidemic or a brain-invading parasite epidemic is exactly what you want! Yay!

– Badtux the “Libertopians are idiots” Penguin

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Yeah, how’s that working out in California’s Central Valley?

Turns out that California’s regulators that were supposed to keep oil companies from polluting people’s water wells wasn’t actually keeping track of all the deep injection wells that oil companies were using to dispose of their wastes. As a result, injection wells got drilled too close to people’s water supplies, and too shallow. And nobody knows the extent of the problem because most of these wells are undocumented, like the farm workers that Trump expelled.

So not only can’t the Central Valley harvest its crops, it can’t drink its water either. Yet the dumb motherfuckers still insist, day after day, that the reason they aren’t rolling in dough is because of “too much regulation”. Dumbasses just had their water filled with fuckin’ arsenic and cyanide and shit, for cryin’ out loud, and they *still* are Libertopians who insist “surely no business would ever do evil if unregulated.” Talk about stupid motherfuckers.

– Badtux the Not-Libertopian Penguin

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Democracy is where 5,000,000 sheep and 4500 wolves decide what’s for dinner (note — the ratio of sheep to wolves is pretty much that worldwide, there’s a lot more sheep than wolves). The wolves end up eating a lot of grass.

Libertarianism is where each of those wolves decides for himself what’s for dinner. They eat a lot of mutton.

Clearly wolves prefer libertarianism to democracy. Which is why they spend so much time trying to tar democracy as somehow “wrong” or “evil” — it interferes with their mutton supply. And why they also spend so much time trying to convince sheep that they’re actually wolves. A lot of wanna-be wolves running around out there with hooves rather than paws, baaaa’ing rather than howling, thinking that if they vote for mutton for dinner, it’ll be someone else that gets eaten, not them.

In reality, of course, it doesn’t work that way.

Thus the epidemic of deaths of despair amongst less educated white people. They thought they were wolves. They voted for wolves. They were actually deluded sheep wearing a bad fake wolfskin. And now that they’re starving, they’re baaa’ing that it’s all the fault of demon liberal sheep who didn’t let them eat mutton.

– Badtux the Not-libertarian Penguin

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So yesterday I mentioned how the brown shirts err red caps were harassing people via the Internet and phone, even to the point of calling in false bomb threats in some cases. How can this be?

In a word: we fucked up.

By “we”, I mean those of us in the computer industry who thought we were building the technology of freedom. We tried our best to make the Internet so robust that dissidents could continue to communicate despite the best efforts of a dictator. We tried our best to make the Internet as anonymous and easy to access as possible so that future samizdat did not need hidden typewriters to spread information far and wide. We built anonymity into Internet telephony protocols so that phone calls could be routed across national borders and back in order to evade dictators. We reasoned, in our crypto-libertarian naivete, that this would prevent tyrannical nation-states from suppressing the people.

We fucked up. Instead, it has enabled hoards of brownshirts err red caps to attack and censor any who dare oppose their faction or even just random people they *think* might oppose their faction, hiding behind the anonymity that we built into these protocols. Denial of service attacks launched by red cap sympathizers knock liberal voices off the Internet. Anonymous phone calls wake them up in the middle of the night. Easily accessed hate media anonymously accessed dispatches the red caps against targets far and wide. All of this was enabled by our crypto-libertarian belief in the power of anonymity to fight dictatorial regimes. Anonymity which isn’t even *truly* anonymity — nation-states are quite capable of monitoring every single connection and knowing the contents of each and every communication — but which is impregnable to the average person without the means and capabilities to file lawsuits against dozens of “John Does” in multiple countries and issue hundreds of subpoenas against dozens of providers in multiple countries. In short, only a nation state can truly untangle what we wrought, and if the nation-state is ruled by the head of the red caps…

Talk about the law of unintended consequences — technologies we built to *resist* oppression, are now being used to *create* oppression! We were so naive, when we were young…

– Badtux the No-longer-crypto-libertarian Penguin

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Facebook suspends account of Jim Wright for calling a fucking Nazi a fucking Nazi.

Mark Zuckerberg is not sitting in front of a monitor in a bunker somewhere blocking accounts while laughing maniacally, throwing Nazi Salutes, and jerking off to pictures of Eva Braun. On the other hand, Zuckerberg seems quite happy with the fact that people who are laughing maniacally, throwing Nazi Salutes, and jerking off to pictures of Eva Braun are using his automated moderation system to shut down anti-Nazis like Jim Wright. Or at least he hasn’t said a peep about it.

Shall we start calling them Fascistbook, already? I mean, when the President-elect is appointing neo-Nazis to major positions within his government, maybe Zuck figures he’s just gonna throw in with the winners. I mean, having actual principles or morals might cost him money if President Trump deploys his legions of KGB hackers, neo-Nazi DDOS script kiddies, and, now, government regulators under his direct personal control, against Facebook. And that would make Ayn Rand cry.

Nope, Mark Zuckerberg is not sitting in front of a monitor in a Hitler bunker somewhere. Zuck is sitting in his own personal Galt’s Gulch making 70 page monologue speeches in his personal home theater about obscure economic theories that boil down to “greed is good” while jerking off to pictures of Ayn Rand. That’s his thing, not that crass Hitler stuff. At least, that’s my impression of him, based on his attempted solutions to things like the Norfolk schools disaster.

Or as John Rogers put it: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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There are about 350 wolves in Wyoming. There are around 355,000 sheep in Wyoming. If Wyoming was a democracy where wolves and sheep voted for what’s for dinner, wolves in Wyoming would be eating a lot of grass.

This is true of all predator / prey relationships — prey species are far more numerous than predators are. Otherwise the predators would exterminate the prey and starve to death.

It’s true of humans too. The vast majority of humans just want to raise their families in peace, they don’t want to do predatory stuff. They don’t want to deprive someone else of their worldly goods, they don’t want to hurt someone, they don’t like violence, they don’t inflict violence and they don’t want violence. Think about it — the city of San Jose has 9.1 police officers per 10,000 population. That means that most people in San Jose are nowhere near the eyesight of police officers. Yet the number of major crimes in San Jose is around 330 per 10,000 people. In other words, figuring that each crime was being done by a distinct person (which it isn’t, a lot is repeat crimes by the same group of people), that’s 3.3% *max* of San Jose’s population that is predators, and the rest just want to get along and live their lives in peace.

So democracy, in a human society, is the 96.7% of the population that is sheep deciding what’s for dinner, and the 3.3% of the population that is wolves getting upset that they’re eating a lot of salad. Then the wolves get the idea, “hey, why don’t we start spreading stupid stories painting democracy as bad! Like that two wolves and one sheep deciding what’s for dinner story!”. And so they do. And so they do.

Point: when Libertarians trot out that two wolves and one sheep story, they’re full of shit and deliberately trying to mislead people into believing something that’s not true. In any democracy, the number of sheep voting is far, far larger than the number of wolves voting. So you don’t have to worry about the wolves voting in mutton for dinner. In a true democracy, that is. Of course, we don’t live in such a thing, and never have. But that’s another story.

– Badtux the Numbers Penguin

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That’s what Donald “I love Salmonella” Trump said, folks. He may have walked it back now, silently disappearing it down the memory hole, but there it was on his web site for at least days, long enough for people to get screen shots of it.

Of course, he’s just repeating typical Libertarian claptrap about how the free market would punish companies who sold dangerous foods. Like it punished Bayer for marketing heroin to children. Or like it punishes the restaurants and companies who sell the food that sickens 48 million Americans per year, most of whom haven’t the slightest idea what, of the food they ate in the past three days, caused their illness and thus can’t punish the restaurant, shop, or food manufacturer that made them sick. Clearly the free market is doing a lousy fucking job of dealing with food borne illnesses given that 48 million Americans are getting sick every year. Of course, the same can be said about the FDA, but that’s another story.

So we don’t need the “food police”? Really? Sounds to me like what we need is not only the “food police”, but a better “food police”, one that can get out there and do something about these motherfuckers who keep poisoning Americans with their salmonella-laced “food” products. But hey, that’s just me using common sense, and as we all know, common sense ain’t so common…

– Badtux the Foodie Penguin
BTW, I don’t buy hamburger meat at the market anymore because it’s all so adulterated now that I’ll eat fucking black bean “hamburger patties” before I eat that bullshit. Just sayin’. They sell this pink slime bullshit as “food”. Really?

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Free Market Fairy strikes again!

Free Market Fairy strikes again!

Now, you or I, if we were involved in the theft of over a billion dollars that resulted in a $185M fine, we’d go to jail. No ifs, ands, or buts about that. But Carrie Tolstedt, the executive in charge of the Wells Fargo unit that opened more than 2 million phony customer accounts, leaves the bank with a $125 million golden parachute.

So now let’s talk about the Libertarian response: “We don’t need regulation! If you don’t like how Wells Fargo does business, move your bank account to a credit union and Wells Fargo will go out of business!” The problem with that statement is that Wells Fargo doesn’t make any money on our bank accounts. We’re a liability to them. Heck, look at their bank balance sheet, you’ll see us right there in the liability column. They don’t need our money deposited in the bank because they can trade some of the stuff in the “asset” column of their balance sheet to the Federal Reserve for cash at the Fed window at any time they desire. The only reason they allow us to open bank accounts with them is in hopes that we then do some of the stuff that *does* make them money — take out home loans and car loans, open credit card accounts with them, move our business accounts to them, and so forth.

So yes, I “bank” with a credit union, and have been doing so since at least 1999. And Wells Fargo doesn’t care. They make their money by making risky loans at high interest, loans that credit unions aren’t interested in making. By issuing credit cards with high fees and high limits, credit cards that credit unions aren’t interested in issuing because they’re not in the best interests of their customers. By issuing low-down-payment home mortgages to people who pass the “fog the mirror” test and selling those home mortgages to Fanny Mae, home mortgages that credit unions don’t want to issue because their customers would default on them or go bankrupt and that’s not what credit union are in the business of doing. Then there’s their business accounts section that processes those credit cards and handles moving money around for businesses. That accounts for half of Wells Fargo’s profits, and credit unions aren’t allowed to do any of that, and even if they were, the whole point of a credit union is that they’re *local* so they wouldn’t be able to do it for large corporations that operate in multiple states anyhow.

The reality is that the Too Big To Fail banks don’t care if we have our piddling little checking accounts with them or not. They know they have no real competition for the other services they provide, and credit unions only serve us little people, not the big fish they’re interested in serving. They know we’ll have to come to them when we want to open a business, or want a home loan that is too risky for credit unions to be interested in opening, or want a credit card with a higher limit than credit union are interested in issuing. So they don’t care that our $400 checking account just moved across the street to Local Credit Union. They don’t have to.

In short, the Libertarian notion that the magical Free Market Fairy will take care of the Wells Fargos of the world is just so much bullshit.

– Badtux the Banking Penguin

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