Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Conservatives and paying

Friday, April 9th, 2021

So, I’ve been pondering Trump (for example)’s tendency to rob his supporters, stiff his vendors, and whatnot. I then started to realize that every time anyone has in any way messed with my paycheck, they have been politically conservative. Politically conservative people are more likely to delay paychecks, fail to pay, pay less than what was invoiced, etc.

I was realizing that this makes sense. Conservative politicians are generally the ones who say we should not have safety nets, not support our neighbors, etc – this makes sense, they are dishonorable in the sense that they want the advantages of being part of a group (see Resource Allocation As A Group) without being willing to pay their share. They’re like the people who want to use open source software but keep their bug fixes as proprietary instead of contributing them back to the open source project.

I wonder if they realized that if *everyone* behaved as they do we would all be much worse off as a species? I suspect some of them know this but are too hooked by the money and power being the biggest asshole is gaining them, while others of them are genuinely deluded into believing that being conservative (in the sense of going back to times when we were more selfish and/or awful) is a winning move.

The awfulness of conservatives (A recurring theme)

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

At one time, I thought that conservatives provided a balancing effect on our viewpoints and we’d make worse decisions without them.

I’ve come to believe that no, in fact, we’d be a lot better off without their influence on the systems of power and in fact they are just awful, possibly even evil.

Look at recent events. They want to ban providing food and water in lines for voting while they deliberately reduce the number of polling places in liberal areas. This is called cheating – and it is something they do often otherwise we wouldn’t be burdened with them at all.

And, of course, they want to ban children – which they include 18-to-21-year-olds-in – from getting health care if they are transgendered. THis is a impressive level of awfulness. It does represent the truth that conservatives do not want us to be free – they want billionaires to be free and everyone else to be enslaved, and if at all possible they would like the Christian equivalent of sharia law. But not for them – after all, look at Matt Gaetz – only for everyone else. They have basically no moral compass – they are convinced a abortion is murder but bombing people who happen to believe in a different way of allocating resources is A-OK – in fact bombing people just because they happen to have oil is A-OK, or even just because we’d like more profits.

They generally care more about money than continued survival – they’ll defend fracking because it’s fine if our children have bizarre cancers and no water to drink as long as they can continue to have dirt cheap electricity and gasoline now – and they’ll also defend preserving stupid investments – we will tax the wind turbines because they’re competing unfairly with coal, we will block new solar installations because it might make fracking irrelevant.

They will of course find epic new ways to be racist. When Trump ran on a platform of racism, they loved it. Bring back the Klan!

And, they’ll argue for finding ways to make it look like humanity is barely holding on when in fact we’re fantastically wealthy. They’ll demonstrate the ultimate in fiscal irresponsibility, designing a awful resource allocation system and then insisting we stick to the paper accounting system when the reality is we have tons of food and tons of land and houses.. but the paper accounting system says we don’t have enough so we need to make people starve to death.

They will game the system whenever possible, and they’ll encourage the tyranny of the ultraminority – after all, the majority of people were not conservative even when the conservatives manage to capture both houses and the presidency. The conservatives are just willing to do more awful things – as they demonstrate day after day

They also repeatedly lie using their media and then claim that it is the liberal media that is lying. It’s demonstrable that they lie, but their followers just carefully forget all the lies. I am sure there’s a fair amount of brainwashing / emotional illogic agreeing that goes on every time their followers listen to Fox And Friends or Rush – and of course a lot of their followers carefully ignore any data point that indicates they are wrong.

The question is just, is there any way to totally disempower them or at the least ensure they only have as much power as a fair vote would grant them? The problem here is they are willing to do awful things – probably eventually including calling for the murder of liberals – in order to get their way. They need spanked, badly, but I am not sure how to spank them. They *want* a civil war – they would love to shoot millions of us. There’s no reason to think either side would win in a civil war, either – it’s something everyone would lose.

The irony is they are the people that talk the loudest about words like ‘Freedom’ – but of course that only means you are free if you think like them. And they wrap their authoritarianism and willingness to cheat in the flag – just look at Mitch claiming all his awfulness is patriotic.

Down With Apps

Monday, March 8th, 2021

So, one of the things that really irritates me is when a company only offers functionality via apps. This is especially a problem with IOT devices, most of which will end up in the dump in a few years when there’s no way to install the app that enables them to be configured any more, but it’s also a problem with functionality in general.

There’s some major problems with requiring functionality to require a app to be installed

A: There’s some serious privacy concerns. Most people don’t read the list of privileges the app will have, and they can easily include access to the camera, filesystem, radio modem, etc. Even if the app just sends TCP traffic, the user seldom has much control over what that traffic includes, and that traffic can definitely be identifying

B: It is yet another way that the modern world tries to get you locked into upgrade train. At some point the app developers will stop supporting older operating systems and you will be forced to buy a new phone just to run a app you’re required to have in order to access $FUNCTIONALITY.

C: It is yet another way the modern world tries to get you locked into the throwaway economy, in that the manufacturers will stop maintaining apps for devices and they will become unavailable, at which point the devices will be unconfigurable and have to be replaced.

D: Most of the apps I’ve seen are ridiculously bloated. Taco bell needs 100 megs so I can order a taco? Many of them are also massively wasteful of CPU and/or poorly written. Most of them have at least one bug that will crash the app.

E: As a side effect of #D, there’s no chance that the developers know all the library code that’s in all the apps, or that the end users do. So, the apps also act as a security concern in that they may include libraries with security weaknesses that not even the developers are likely to know about

F: Apps are – generally – not friendly to the blind. There’s also the question of whether we should *require* people to have a smartphone in order to participate in the modern world. A particular company I’d like to underline who has done this but has absolutely no excuse for it is Venmo, who has chosen to remove the payment functionality from their web site in order to force users to install their app – probably partially because they can then sell private data about those users. I have reported them to the ADA in the hopes that it gets them forced to return the functionality to their web site.

In general, I am against the idea of installable apps in favor of web sites. A lot of apps are really just web sites wrapped, and with html5 increasingly we can get access to specialized hardware like GPS and video cameras without needing to install anything.

It strikes me as a dystopian world that requires people to own, not just a smartphone, but perpetually newer models of smartphone in order to participate. I think as end users we should collectively refuse to install apps whenever possible.

Another subject of dystopia that I should discuss in the future is the forced “upgrade” to newer and often worse versions of user interfaces.

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

So, one thing I forget that a movie I was watching reminded me of – the USA and the USSR are in essence holding a gun to the head of every person on the planet. If we were to ever have a nuclear exchange, the resulting nuclear winter would kill most of the people here. And we, of course, are selfish enough to think that capitalism and our perverse, twisted variant of Christianity are worth threatening everyone in the world.

We should voluntarily put down our gun.. but we won’t, because if there’s two defining traits of the USA’s military machine, they are selfishness and stupidity.

This is part of why I have so much trouble when people post their “if you like your freedom, thank my daddy” memes. Because the US army doesn’t fight for freedom – they fight to perpetuate slavery. We’ve overthrown free democracies in order to install our preferred autocratic leaders, we’ve killed millions of people in wars that were started over lies so our war machine could profit. I don’t understand how people can remain blind to all this.

Immigration : the big lie

Friday, February 26th, 2021

So, one of the standard lies that conservatives push is that illegal immigrants “steal jobs”. This is a convenient thing for the conservative leaders to have gotten them to believe, but it doesn’t hold a lot of water. The same people are still doing the same jobs they always have.

What’s actually going on is that the US has carefully restricted immigration while continuing to advertise for i.e. farm workers in other countries, *knowing* that some would be desperate enough to become “illegal” and therefore have a major lack of rights. The existence of “illegals” does in fact hurt US workers insofar as the bosses are always going to choose a employee they can abuse over one they can’t – but in fact the best solution is just to grant citizenship to all of them. They’re not stealing jobs US workers are likely to take or even have the skills to take – and allowing them to bargain for better working conditions is to *everyone’s* advantage (see repeated discussions about how the rich do not actually understand how money works / are apparently morons or incapable of really large scale thinking). If these people have more money, they are not likely to hoard it, they will spend it – either by sending it home or by spending it in the USA. Either way, it will be increasing the velocity of money and therefore increasing the number of good things that get done.

If Joe Sixpack would like to look for who has “stolen” his jobs, he should probably look towards advancements in manufacturing and automation.

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

So, one thing I should probably be more clear on. While I rant repeatedly about republicans here, for the most part I mean the people actually in power. Granted, I am also sad at the people who put them there, and I do feel as if *real* conservatives have been totally deplatformed. I don’t agree with real conservatives, but I don’t think they’re evil. They just have a different definition of utopia than I do, which is kind of a one man’s heaven is another man’s hell sort of thing. The people who I loathe are the people who have risen to the top of the republican party, and who show a distinct delight in dirty deeds, a willingness to cheat, a complete lack of honor or morals, and that kind of thing. Not the man on the street.

For that matter, for all the denigration of the folks who broke into the capitol on the 6th – if the things they had believed were true, they would have been heroes. The real villians on the 6th where the lying president and the willing-to-cosign-his-BS republican leadership. The people who broke into the capital are mostly guilty of being gullible and easily lied to – something that we all have probably been a time or two.

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bakker, it’s amazing how much parts of the story remind me of Trump. I guess grifters gonna grift, and the grift has changed very little over the years. I hope that as part of Trump’s sentence, some of his grifted money can be taken and put to some use better than the ones he would think of to put it to. Then again, Trump’s faithful don’t seem to have objected to Steve Bannon being pardoned for stealing their money – I guess they just keep telling themselves it’s all fake news.

Republicans too awful for words

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

It’s kind of impressive, really. At this point the Republicans think cheating on elections is just dandy. Calling for violent overthrow of the government is fine. Trump should get a pass for that and the many felonies he’s demonstratibly committed (the washington post was kind enough to round those all up for us at https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/rap-sheet-trump-crimes/2020/10/16/c6a539da-0e61-11eb-8a35-237ef1eb2ef7_story.html). Of course, I’ve come to expect cheating from the republican party, I’ve come to expect voter disenfranchisement, and apparently in the new normal we can also expect violence from them. (To be fair, they did lots of false-flag violence while pretending to be Antifa during the summer, so this is just stepping up to committing violence in their own name)

I knew they were the party of corruption and lies, but I didn’t realize – and I should have, given how often they talk about how patriotic they are, something that they wouldn’t have to say if it were actually true – that they were the party of destruction of our democratic republic. If they can’t win elections fairly, they’d like to just get out the guns and stop having elections.

Of course, their almost-always-lying “news” sources (Fox, Breitbart, Rush) have whipped them up into a frenzy and made them believe some things which are *clearly not true* (look, if you are dumb enough to think there’s a conspiracy to change the election results that *every single judge* signed off on, including many appointed by the most recent administration – then I can’t help you, you’re dumb enough that you’re likely going to darwin-award yourself sooner or later anyway.)

I think a lot of what’s going on is many of the republican party members are going on, emotionally, what they’d *like* to be true – they want for more humans to be in favor of treating their fellow man awfully than to be in favor of sharing, because it makes their awful behavior more defensible (because everyone’s doing it)

And as far as the leaders, they’ve realized they can cheat and lie their way out of having been complicit in a attempt to overthrow a fair and free election, and they’re in favor of that.

We need to figure out some way to hold their feet to the fire, because it is clear that the party of lies, corruption, and “screw you, I’ve got mine” is going to continue to be as awful as possible for as long as they can, and that apparently includes giving Trump a pass for having deliberately created a violent attack on the capital because he’s such a toddler that he can’t cope with having lost a election.

Humanity possibly too stupid to live..

Monday, January 25th, 2021

So, you know those hollywood movies where there’s a alien invasion and humans defeat the aliens and the hero rides off into the sunset?

Yah, not what would really happen. The reality is, we’re the people who don’t have enough agility to make it through a minor pandemic without losing millions. We *politicize wearing masks* (and let’s not even get into the patheticness that is Q).

We are not good at truth, facts, or adaptability. We’re more in love with our economic system than we are in continuing to live (as Greta has reminded us), and let’s not even talk about some of the epic stupidity surrounding politics and religion.

I just heard rumors about a party where 10 people got COVID – that was thrown as a birthday party for a *cat*.

The sad thing is, if we could have just stopped everything for two weeks but real ‘essential operations’, we could have stopped COVID in it’s tracks. But in America, *every* job is a essential operation because if you don’t work you end up with no place to live and no food.

*sigh*

..

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Well, it’s over. Four years of a con man grifting as much as he possibly could, and watching some people unable to comprehend that everything he said was a lie and that he was destroying us.

Now i can go back to having my normal level of loathing for our government, which is still a very long way away from what you might expect to find in a utopia. This will leave me much energy to spend on other, more productive things. I can probably even return to facebook. I look forward to someday in the near future having no idea what the president is up to, and not needing to know.

I do note that not only did the Republicans bring us two of the worst presidents in a hundred years – dubya, who started a war over false pretenses and got a million plus people killed, and Trump, who drove a wedge into the already growing divide between left and right and hammered it repeatedly, lied, stole hundreds of millions of dollars, committed so many impeachable offenses (including ignoring the emoluments clause) that most of us have lost count, and was such a badly-behaved child that he couldn’t even accept losing reelection and lied repeatedly, causing a small insurrection that undoubtedly has done much damage to the thousands of fools who believed his lies and broke into the capital.

Both of them lost the popular vote, but were placed in office anyway. Perhaps we could learn from the mistakes of history and either do away with the electoral college, or make it true proportional representation. It’s already demonstrated that it does not perform it’s desired function of not allowing dictators and demagogues to ascend to the office of the presidency (largely because by the time such a person can get elected, the brainwashed faithful are everywhere)

A lot of this does underline the evil of people like Rush Limbaugh and stations like Fox News – who have been lying repeatedly because it makes money to lie – the more you rile the people up, the more the advertisers will pay you. Rush had better pray there is no such thing as karma.

Anyway, so, we have people living in two different realities. The one I inhabit seems to match observable reality, in which, for example, the COVID virus did *not* go away in the spring. The one in which people continue to support republican politicians requires being willing to ignore those lies. Heinlein had a story that I’ve referenced before, ‘pravda means truth’ in which he talked about how a important aspect of living in the USSR was a willingness to forget the previous “truths” told by the government whenever a new “truth” came along. This is definitely a requirement to live in the modern conservative party, and even more so if you want to for example be a Q or CCP conspiracy nut.

Will they ever figure it out, or will we have republican suicide bombers insisting that the election went for Trump (*common sense* will tell you why it didn’t – he *barely* made it in the first time in a perfect storm, and then he spent years pissing off just about everyone by being his awful self. But, if you believe every lie he told, which some people do, then you believe he’s the best president we’ve ever had and you’re puzzled as to why he was not reelecte)

The one good thing I will say for Trump is that he didn’t start any foreign wars. That still probably makes him a better president than Dubya. However, I think history is a lot more willing to forgive Dubya for being easily duped than Trump for being a asshole who couldn’t even handle losing and threw a trumper tantrum that involved a violent assault on the capital by his followers.

Hopefully it’s over. I don’t expect to love Biden – he’s a moderate in a era when what we badly need is a extremist extreme enough to do as much good for the nation (and heartbreaking to the republicans) as Trump was willing to do bad for the nation. Even Bernie is to the right of me, though. I would be working on redesigning the resource allocation system, I’d be disbanding almost the entire military and outlawing ever having a bigger military than the two other largest nations, I’d be working on universal health care, universal income, mass automation to ensure no one starves, 3D-printing houses for the homeless, and so on. But I could never be elected, because as we said, I’m to the left of Bernie. So Biden’s legalistic tendencies and beholdenness to the powers that be are likely to annoy the heck out of me. But at least he won’t be actively swinging a sledgehammer at everything that’s good about the country (Trump tried to destroy the *post office* in order to win) and there is some hope that Trump will start his ‘Patriot’s party’ and A: they’ll agitate for ranked choice voting, since it benefits them too, B: they’ll occupy the extreme right, letting the Republicans become moderates and the Democrats become left and C: hopefully for a while, they’ll help make sure neither they nor republicans get elected by splitting the vote.

As I said above, I’m looking forward to not *needing* to know what the idiot in the while house is doing. while Trump surrounded himself with criminals because he is, at heart, a con man, Biden is surrounding himself with smart and capable people. They may be way too in love with the awfulness that is the criminal justice system of America, they may be way too in love with the horrors that are capitalism, but at least they are not idiots nor grifters. It’s a step in the right direction.

I also appriciate that unlike Trump, who was always very clear about the fact that he didn’t care what the majority (Democrats) wanted, Biden does express a desire to work for all the people who are here. It is a long standing problem that my utopia and conservatives’ utopia would be two wildly different places.

So, here’s to moving forward, hopefully away from the wildly awful behavior of the right. I still hope we do the right thing and put Trump in jail – it is important that politicians see consequences for behavior like his, or we will see Trump after Trump, eventually from both the left and the right. Trump belongs in jail. Eventually hopefully we can make even the conservatives understand how many different horrible things he did. “Orange man bad”. I think history will decide that Trump cared only about Trump, and did much damage to the world.