politics

War is about Money. Simple as that.

The little-publicized helicopter scandal was one of many investigated by John Sopko, who, as the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, has served as the Cassandra of the Afghan war. Since Congress created his office in 2012 he has been diligently relating details of the colossal waste associated with the war in handsome full-color annual reports, but with little effect. ‘It was a disaster ready to happen, and it happened,’ he told me a few years into the job. ‘We wasted a lot of money. It wasn’t that people were stupid, and it wasn’t that people didn’t care; it’s just the system almost guarantees failure.’

Source: How the US military got rich from Afghanistan – The Spectator World

Next up, the price of heroin will go up internationally until the Taliban gets all its ducks in a row. Then the world will be flooded with opium and its price will crash. The entire time other drugs will take its place, including fentanyl.

That’s just on the drug front. There’s also arms sales to training camps that are yet to be established.

Vacas flacas

La sequía que azota México es un fenómeno recurrente que con cada visita deja una estela de emergencias y daños. El 84% del territorio sufre sequía en diferentes intensidades, agravada por la falta de lluvias de los últimos meses, según se desprende del Monitor, el organismo de Conagua que la vigila. Pese a que estaba previsto y la evolución histórica del clima en el país lo contemplaba, la sequía sorprendió a Ermenegildo Martínez, un pescador de Veracruz que ha visto como en los últimos ocho meses la laguna donde pescaba se ha secado. “Medía 13 metros de profundidad y ahora apenas le quedan 10 centímetros, en menos de una semana la habremos perdido del todo”, describe. A 1.300 kilómetros de allí, en Sinaloa, el agricultor Gumaro López se contagia del pesar del pescador. Al igual que Martínez tendrá pérdidas en su producción y alerta de que subirán los precios. Ya pasó en 2011 y 1996, los otros dos episodios de sequía extrema que golpearon a México y de los que, ha quedado claro, no se ha aprendido lo suficiente.

Source: La sequía que abrasa México, una tragedia predecible y devastadora | EL PAÍS México

Every Mexican president ignores the lessons learned by their predecessors. This drought will likely drive migration north, which is already a flash point due to the pandemic.

The Water Wars might start much sooner than anyone thought and that is worrying.

Always has been the same lie

No one I’ve talked to in Texas has mentioned the government. They know better than to expect anything from it. Anyone who has lived in Texas for any period of time and experienced any kind of dire need knows that the government is not going to help you. It’s controlled by men who care more about their pockets than their people. It’s one thing to come to terms with that level of neglect when it’s being enacted in the service of denying people individual rights to decisions over their body, or ensuring that everyone can carry a gun at all times. But it’s something else to see the consequences of the government’s callousness borne out in the crashing of a power grid. Even libertarians think that the government should make sure the roads are safe and that people can heat their homes.

Source: It’s Always The Same Lie | Defector

And that’s why it’s usually people high up in Texas government that are the first to pipe up about seceding. For the same reason Texas gave up this bit of land:

Map of Texas pointing to the no-mans-land that became the Oklahoma Panhandle

That bit of land is north of the Missouri Compromise line. Texas gave up this land because it wanted slavery more and secession would certainly give them a way to bring it back.

They won’t call it that outright. They’ll call it something nicer than “indentured servitude” though.

Sitting in the dark watching the screen, somewhere

Will young people — trained during the pandemic to expect instant access to new movies like “Hamilton” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — get into the habit of going to the movies like their parents and grandparents did? Generation Z forms a crucial audience: About 33 percent of moviegoers in the United States and Canada last year were under the age of 24, according to the Motion Picture Association.

Source: Hollywood’s Obituary, the Sequel. Now Streaming. – The New York Times

Millenials and Zoomers have a little problem though… we haven’t got any money to spend. Even if there is an economic boom we will not benefit from it unless there is systemic change at all levels of government, business and society.

The cost of a single movie at the theatre will get us an entire month of streaming. The math isn’t hard.

Oh, you want to setup a neighborhood network? They’ll throw the cops at you for that

Stephen Milton, who helped to design and build the Gigabit Now service in Sea Ranch, California explained that his company had to obtain permission from 23 separate local, county, and federal granting agencies to get the new project up and running. Broadband provider Sacred Wind out of New Mexico wrote in a filing to the FCC that an application involving one landowner and one authorizing jurisdiction commonly takes 2–4 years to complete, while something more complex, that involves more than one piece of land spanning multiple authorizing jurisdictions, can take anywhere from 4–8 years to complete. Slow response times translate into delays and adoption lags.

Source: The curious case of Romanian broadband | by Will Rinehart | The Benchmark | Oct, 2020 | Medium

Here in the US most of these bumps are by design by way of from redlining, NIMBYism, and plain old lack of foresight from local governments. This in turn gave more power to state governments who in turn receive most of their regulatory guidelines from the companies they’re supposed to be regulating. A lot of states now explicily forbid cities, counties, and municipalities from even trying to enact their own regulations when it comes to broadband, specially publicly owned infrastructure.

Wealthy neighborhoods will always see at least two companies deal with the regulatory gauntlet as they know the profits to be made will be worth it, which in turn helps attract more wealthy people to the neighborhood. Poor neighborhoods have not seen that kind of investment in decades, and will likely never see it in the foreseeable future. Here in Minneapolis one company is rolling out fiber throughout the city and North Minneapolis isn’t even in the plan for them. This has been a historical goal of racist and classist local governments.

Should government at any level try to change the rules, companies involved in last-mile telecom duopolies will scream bloody murder and call up their wholly owned GOP subsidiary in Congress to keep the status quo.

Hoist the flag

Pirate Care is a research process – primarily based in the transnational European space – that maps the increasingly present forms of activism at the intersection of “care” and “piracy”, which in new and interesting ways are trying to intervene in one of the most important challenges of our time, that is, the ‘crisis of care’ in all its multiple and interconnected dimensions.

Source: Pirate Care – Pirate Care

This is a worthy goal. Piracy not for the sake of avoiding to pay for things, but rather as a way to learn about the world and its processes when the entities in power would prefer you not to— whether they be people, corporations, or governments. For these entities any form of non-compliance is to be crushed and its practitioners made customers of the carceral industry.

No change, no peace

As the historian Barry A. Crouch recounts in The Dance of Freedom, Ruby warned that the formerly enslaved were beset by the “fiendish lawlessness of the whites who murder and outrage the free people with the same indifference as displayed in the killing of snakes or other venomous reptiles,” and that “terrorism engendered by the brutal and murderous acts of the inhabitants, mostly rebels,” was preventing the freedmen from so much as building schools.

Source: What Black Lives Matter Has Accomplished – The Atlantic

The Orange Maggaot calls people who support BLM “thugs”, “criminals”, “terrorists”, saying he’ll impose Law and Order however necessary.

White people have always been the one to terrorize their communities, and those of people they don’t deem acceptable.

The cold cultural war heats up.

Y ora pa’onde?

No policy, though, would be able to stop the forces — climate, increasingly, among them — that are pushing migrants from the south to breach Mexico’s borders, legally or illegally. So what happens when still more people — many millions more — float across the Suchiate River and land in Chiapas? Our model suggests that this is what is coming — that between now and 2050, nearly 9 million migrants will head for Mexico’s southern border, more than 300,000 of them because of climate change alone.

Source: Where Will Everyone Go?

Mientras esto es lo que un modelo computacional prevee el Peje no quiere que le pregunten de nada a menos que sea sobre el avion.

Como emigrante leo esto y siento acongoje por el futuro que nos espera a todos. Mientras tanto, La Bestia sigue su implacable marcha.

Lapas con rifles

Source: Special Report: Drug cartel ‘narco-antennas’ make life dangerous for Mexico’s cell tower repairmen – Reuters

Ahora con eso que el mugre peje no quiere confrontación de cualquier clase con los carteles, que pueden hacer las empresas?

Si los empleados hacen algo mal, los matan. Si la empresa hace algo mal, la balean o secuestran. Mientras tanto los costos de energía siguen y siguen.

Mal asunto de cualquier forma que se mire.

Cognitive Dissonance 30 minutes out of downtown

The suburbs run on federal subsidies. Without them, America’s suburbs would have to become more financially productive. They would need to get greater returns per foot on public infrastructure investment. That would mean repealing repressive zoning regulations, allowing the market to respond to supply and demand signals for housing. It would also mean allowing the “little downtowns” Kurtz fears to form where demand for them exists. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen with self-government and local control?

Source: It’s Time to Abolish Single-Family Zoning | The American Conservative

To have a conservative person say this is quite strange. Few suburbs in all of the US actively try to compete with the cities they’re attached to, mostly because they only want to attract wealthier millennials who can afford the down payment on a house by way of the parents paying for it.

FTP now has a new meaning.

Black Lives Matter

Organize, provide mutual aid, help out with street cleanup.

Abolish the police.

In their current form, they’re a tool of oppression.

Defund the police.

Don’t want to go the full mile? I’ll meet you at the 900 yard marker. Them pigs do not need hand-me-down military weaponry.

Fuck The Police

The Rise and Fall of the American SRO – CityLab

The same cities that struggle to provide affordable housing today eliminated their critical-but-maligned flexible housing stock after World War II.

Source: The Rise and Fall of the American SRO – CityLab

This is important. I live by myself and I am paying over a third of my monthly income in rent and the housing situation in Minneapolis only keeps getting worse. It is likely I will not be able to afford purchasing a home within city limits for the next 10 years and landlords keep rising their rents, advancing the gentrification troubling my part of the city.

Heading towards el barranco

The government of Mexico has a new problem on its hands: what to do with the burgeoning ranks of state governors, current or former, that are facing prosecution for fraud or corruption. It’s a particularly sensitive problem given that most of the suspects belong to the governing political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000. It returned to power in December 2012 with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto. And it clearly hasn’t changed its ways.

Source: Mexico’s Economy Is Being Plundered Dry | naked capitalism

Who’d have thought? 

@morganmpage: Ten years ago I would not have predicted that geek culture would plunge the world into political chaos.

https://twitter.com/morganmpage/status/827725357704953856

I stopped feeling like one of these people long ago… Not because I grew out of gaming culture, but because I noticed those tendencies and could not put a name to them.

That and the simple lack of available time for gaming. Work is how you afford to have gaming time. The entire thread is so worth consideration. 

Extra! Extra! Fake news are real! Extra

In addition to doing more to weed out lies and false propaganda, Facebook could tweak its algorithm so that it does less to reinforce users’ existing beliefs, and more to present factual information. This may seem difficult, but perhaps the Silicon Valley billionaires who helped create this problem should take it on before setting out to colonize Mars.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg Is in Denial – The New York Times

El Zuckerberto wants all the money he can have so he can be on the third ship to Mars. The first one made it there, the second one brought all the toys, and the third is for the rich people who want off the planet.

At least on twitter it’s easy to look up and see what the others are talking about, even while mired in abuse.

Someone get me her book?

Since we seem to agree on the fact that Trump is a garbage monster, there’s no need to even go there. Instead, let’s talk about Hillary. First, allow me to reframe your assertion that she is monumentally corrupt. No, no. The system is monumentally corrupt, and Hillary is masterful at gaming it. I respect that. I don’t see it as a character flaw, because despite what Fox News would have you believe, Hillary really does have a conscience. She is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who still manages to get shit done in this grotesque plutocracy of ours.

Source: Dear Coquette

Coquette is the best.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

The Life of a Completely Blind Iranian Programmer

Source: How I got through Docker’s censorship – Parham Doustdar’s Blog

The most interesting part is being blocked by both the country government and the companies based in other countries. You not only have to develop ways to make packet traffic flow from outside the country into your own, but also to make funds available to you locally.

Not an easy feat.

Being Poor Is Too Expensive

Some think that being poor is simple. You don’t have enough money to buy a lot of stuff, so you’re forced to buy less stuff. But that’s not really how it works. When you’re broke, you can’t do all the little things that will improve your budget over the long run. It actually costs more to be poor.

Source: Being Poor Is Too Expensive

It’s been a long, long time for me to dig out of the hole I was in. While it was never that deep, you’re always uncomfortably aware how much you can fall in a really short amount of time.

Raising the minimum wage won’t solve this, no matter how much politicians assure everyone it is the magic silver bullet needed.

50 Years After the Moynihan Report, Examining the Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration – The Atlantic

A longform article in The Atlantic.

In Douglass’s time, to stand up for black rights was to condone black criminality. The same was true in King’s time. The same is true today. Appearing on Meet the Press to discuss the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani—in the fashion of many others—responded to black critics of law enforcement exactly as his forebears would have: “How about you reduce crime? … The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 to 75 percent of the time.”

The whole article is a very illustrating read on why things need to change.