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“The result is that Americans don’t really enjoy utilities in the same way as the rest of the world at all: they are fleeced for the basics, by natural monopolies, who never lower prices, only raise them — and eviscerate the quality of what they are supposed to provide. Flint has no clean water. Puerto Rico has no power. California was sent into crisis by manipulated energy “markets”, which weren’t markets at all. America has no BBC or National Health Service, again because “competition will lower prices” — only there is no competition, and prices only rise, while quality falls. The invisible fist punches Americans over and over again, where it hurts most: for the most basic goods of life.”

- Why the Internet Should be a Public Utility (via azspot)


*realizing the irony of my inability to breathe as i laugh hysterically at the last panel*





Kevin Bridges: A Whole Different Story

…where’s the lie?

From a macroeconomics standpoint, Bridges is completely accurate.

The problem with most Tories (and many Republicans in the US) is that they either have big business interests at heart or have bought the lie that government is like a business. Government is not a business! Microeconomic principles, even ones that apply to entire industries, don’t apply to governments!

Here’s the fundamental macroecomic model of an economy:


(image from tutor2u)

Notice that the system is circular. The model shows that the economy inherently needs to be balanced. If some households are making hundreds of times the income of other households, they will put the vast majority of that money into savings and investment.

This is bad for the economy.

Some savings and investment is necessary. But too much means the little green arrows are siphoning off vast portions of the peach demand arrow (”purchases of goods and services”). This means that companies are fighting over a smaller and smaller pie. Even if you heavily fund those companies, many will collapse due to lack of demand for their products, unless they become monopolies and the sole practical source of their product. Monopolies are technically illegal in the US, but we have them anyway because of this problem (and a lack of enforcement).

The other way you can damage the demand arrow is by shifting the proportions of the purple income arrow. Most people make money from wages, so if you significantly decrease those relative to dividends, interest, profits, and rent, you’ll harm the majority of households. In turn, this again decreases the peach arrow because many households only need a set amount of a given product in a year. The fewer households that can afford the products, the lower overall demand, because the remaining households won’t buy up the difference.

Households with average levels of income spend far more money than they save, of necessity, and they do so at a relatively steady rate. This is good for the economy.

Households with incredibly high levels of income - millionaires, etc. - save far more than they spend. They tend to make their money off of dividends, interest, profits, and rents - not wages. Therefore, to improve the economy, including increasing tax revenues for the government, two basic steps are urged by almost all macroeconomists:

1. Increase wages, especially at the lowest end. This expands the tax base and drives up demand for basic goods and services, stabilizing the industries necessary to a decent quality of life: agriculture and food production, clothing, housing, education, transportation, etc.

2. Use progressive taxes, in which those who make the most money, particularly off of dividends, interest, profits, and rents, pay a higher percentage of their income as taxes. This allows that money to be spent directly on goods and services or to be redistributed to poor households, who will in turn spend it on goods and services. In both cases, money that would have gone into savings and investment instead goes into demand. This makes businesses more successful and a large number of households more prosperous. Society as a whole benefits from decreased crime, lower health problems, and improved public goods like education, roads, emergency response, infrastructure, etc.

Macroeconomics is the opposite of an individual business. Individual businesses study how to take the most pie for themselves and keep it. Macroeconomists - and governments - study how to make the pie bigger and distribute it in such a way that society as a whole benefits from the growth.

Conservatives: doing economics wrong for the past several decades by deliberately pretending that knowing how to run a business is anything like knowing how to run a government. Being fiscally cautious and being uneducated do not have to go hand in hand. (I’m both, for example.) But the rhetoric for slashing budgets has been laden with errors and ideology since at least the 1930s, and I’m tired of it.




Thank Your Local Republican!


Eat the rich

New York’s name comes from James Stuart, the Duke of York, who financed the expedition to seize New Amsterdam and the New Netherlands from the Dutch. During the third Anglo-Dutch war, an expedition financed by the Dutch William, Duke of Orange, took back New York and renamed it New Orange in his honor. The colony was given back and the name New York restored at the end of the war.

James Stuart, Duke of York, later became King James II & VII of England and Scotland. After Parliament deposed him for being a Catholic, they turned to his niece Mary and her husband to rule. Her husband happened to be William, Duke of Orange of the Netherlands, and they ruled together as William III and Mary II.

And so, England replaced a King New York was named after for another King New York was named after.

In spite of this, New York continued to be called New York. 

Neither James Stuart nor William of Orange ever set foot in New York.

“Furs had always figured importantly in the European luxury trades; beaver in particular was highly prized for both its soft, deep pelt and its alleged medicinal properties. As Adriaen van der Donck would explain midway through the seventeenth century, beaver oil cured rheumatism, toothaches, stomachaches, poor vision, and dizziness; beaver testicles, rubbed on the forehead or dried and dissolved in water, made effective antidote to drowsiness and idiocy.”

- Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Edwin G Burrows and Mike Wallace

Second European in New York

“One year after Verrazzano’s brief visit, Esteban Gomez, a black Portuguese pilot who had sailed with Magellan, ventured a fair distance up the Hudson (which he called Deer River) before concluding that it didn’t lead to China.”

— Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G Burrows and Mike Wallace










*does laundry but like in a punk way*


*does laundry but in a musical theatre way*


*does musical theatre but in a punk way*


*does punk but in a musical theatre way*

*does musical theater but in a laundry way*


this is my favorite post

i can’t not re blog this 

OK but someone do punk in a laundry way.


When I was young, I took it at face value when people would complain about affirmative action or talk about “states rights”. I thought these were legitimate issues they were concerned with, honestly pursuing fairness and justice. It was only when I started talking to people who made these kinds of statements, dug into their beliefs, that I discovered that beneath the veil what they really didn’t like was black people, and specifically black people having things.

The rise of Trump has only made this veil thinner and more porous. Now whenever I hear someone complaining about affirmative action or talking states rights or “thugs” or “reverse racism” or objecting to taking a knee or what have you, what I really hear is someone saying the n-word over and over. Because that’s what’s really going on.


I went off about this a bit on Twitter a few days ago, but just to make the argument without the constraint of breaking it into 140 character chunks, as it’s both important and unlikely to fit through the rapidly narrowing window of “stuff that makes it into NAB” (halfway through the TERFs essay, then one more - most of the editing is already done, so it’ll be fairly fast after that, though there’s still a few things that could go wrong - it’ll be out in 2017 if it kills me, and then Eruditorum 7 in the first half of 2018).


It’s increasingly clear that the most damaging legacy of Yudkowsky is that the popularization of his ideas (in part driven by people like Bostrom and Musk) has focused popular understanding of the dangers of AI on remote apocalyptic scenarios in a way that actively distracts from actually existent AI risk. The effects of, for instance, AI content moderation on social networks on discourse or of facial recognition that can’t handle black people are overlooked because they’re not the paperclip optimizer or Roko’s Basilisk. And these are real issues that are already happening and already dangerous. As algorithms and big data become bigger and bigger parts of decision making, the racial and sexual biases that are consistently baked into AIs by well-intentioned programmers with insufficient awareness of the limitations of their perspective are going to become bigger and more damaging. We’re already at a point where things happen like an AI used to predict recidivism rates being disproportionately likely to wrongly predict black prisoners as reoffenders and white prisoners as safe. The point where we get a massive AI-driven revival of redlining practices in housing is basically imminent if not already happening unnoticed. 

In the face of this, general theories of “AI friendliness” become painfully visible as an attempt to substitute an actual problem with one so hypothetical that literally zero progress has been made on the question “so what does this mean in terms of actual coding?” And what’s horrifyingly revealing about the LessWrong crowd is that by and large they don’t even seem to recognize racial and sexual bias in AI as an aspect of “friendliness” that’s actually on the table right now. Which, I mean, it’s hard to call that a surprise when you remember that neoreaction spawned out of basically the same pool of thought, or that Yudkowsky’s sugar daddy is Peter Thiel, whose company Palantir is a military AI contractor that I basically guarantee you gives somewhere between zero and negative fucks about the racial bias of its products.

But basically, if your notion of how to approach the problem of AI risks substitutes actual harm being done right now for entirely hypothetical framings of the problem despite the fact that the actual harm is clearly a specific instance of your general problem that demands immediate solutions, go fuck yourself sideways with a server rack.


By Lawrence Miles. Yes, that Lawrence Miles who wrote the Doctor Who novels and made the Faction Paradox series. Via his twitter:


imagine the Sixth Doctor accidentally wandering into a pride parade and of course everyone is super complimentary of his outfit and he’s like. MY PEOPLE. I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE.

(and then peri (or whoever) is like ummm doctor you know this is a GAY PRIDE parade right and he’s like EXACTLY.)

Headcannon accepted.


At its root, left wing antisemitism hates Jews for being flawed survivors instead of perfect corpses.

“The market is a good example of evolution in action; the try-everything-and-see-what-works approach. This might provide a perfectly morally satisfactory resource-management system so long as there was absolutely no question of any sentient creature ever being treated purely as one of those resources. The market, for all its (profoundly inelegant) complexities, remains a crude and essentially blind system, and is—without the sort of drastic amendments liable to cripple the economic efficacy which is its greatest claimed asset—intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between simple non-use of matter resulting from processal superfluity and the acute, prolonged and wide-spread suffering of conscious beings.”

- Iain M. Banks, source: Celebrating the Revolutionary Optimism of Iain M. Banks |






In 1989, George Bush gave a speech about crack. During the speech he pulled out a bag of crack and said “this bag was seized right across the street from the White House in Lafayette park.”
Turns out, his speech writers had the idea to pull out a prop during his speech and in order to make it believable they had the DEA plant crack on this random 18 year old black kid. They lured him there. He didn’t even know where the White House or Lafayette park was. When he got there, they arrested them.
The plot was discovered by a journalist.

What journalist

Gary Webb

And then Gary Webb killed himself after he revealed that the CIA let crack infiltrate black communities through drug cartels making deals with the CIA. His wife left him and his career was ruined for exposing the drug war as a war against people of color.

There’s a really well done movie called Kill the Messenger (x) I suggest everyone should watch. It was done in partnership with his family and details the events from beginning to end.







This isn’t because Burger King is nicer in Denmark. It’s the law, and the US is actually the only so-called “developed” country that doesn’t mandate jobs provide a minimum amount of paid vacation, sick leave, or both.

kinda debunks that claim that they can’t afford to pay their workers those sort of wages and still make a profit

Its corporate greed, plain and simple.

It is the same in Sweden. It is so funny every time an american company opens up offices here and then tries to do it the american way and all the unions go “I don’t think so”.

Like when Toys ‘r Us opened in sweden 1995.

They refused to sign on to the union deals that govern such things as pay/pension and vacation in Sweden. Most of our rights are not mandated by law (we don’t have a minimum wage for example) but are made in voluntary agreements between the unions and the companies.

But they refused, saying that they had never negotiated with any unions anywhere else in the world and weren’t planning to do it in Sweden either. 

Of course a lot of people thought it was useless fighting against an international giant, but Handels (the store worker’s union) said that they could not budge, because that might mean that the whole Swedish model might crumble. So they went on strike in the three stores that the company had opened so far.

Cue a shitstorm from the press, and from right wing politicians. But the members were all for it, and other unions started doing sympathy actions. The teamsters refused to deliver goods to their stores, the financial unions blockaded all economical transactions regarding Toys ‘r Us and the strike got strong international support as well, especially in the US.

In the end, Toys ‘r Us caved in, signed the union deal, and thus their employees got the same treatment as Swedish store workers everywhere.

The right to be treated as bloody human beings and not disposable cogs in a machine.

And now you know why unions have been systematically dismantled in the US. Because they get shit done.


I wish we still had powerful unions

Anya Elizaveta Rosenfield, born March 28th, 2017

Templeton smashed the door inward with a flick of his hand and a spark of magic. Simultaneously, Crowler motioned with her arms like two blades crossing over a throat, raising the ignition point of the gunpowder in the room.

The door slammed to ground in a cloud of dust to an applause of gun clicks.

The two agents rushed in like a tidal wave.

David Byrne’s Joan of Arc musical was a suprisingly straightforward retelling of the story that hewed pretty closely to the French contemporary version of the narrative. I expected a lot more critical a take; rather than nakedly presenting the French cause as right and the British as oppressive occupiers, they could have gone into the ways in which the Hundred Years’ War was kind of a big pissing contest between successive kings at massive cost of life, and how the Norman/English territories in France were taken away from the British in the first place. Instead we get British bad, French good (though the French king is shown to sacrifice Joan for political expediency).

Also the Church is portrayed in a strangely uncritical way. Instead of going into how they could be seen as collaborators with the British who burned Joan at the stake for political reasons, they portray the Church and the bishop who oversaw Joan’s trial as an essentially tragic figure trying to do what’s right. Considering as soon as the French were in ascendency again and the English driven out of France, the Church was quick to give in to political pressure and (postumously) nullify the charges against Joan, it seems like their callow opportunism could have been dug into a lot more.

Also, no interrogation at all of whether or not Joan was really crazy or actually talking to saints; the play plays pretty straight with her visions, and the French believe her the British and the Church don’t. She seems to never question it, even when she’s signing a confession that she lied under coercion. It’s kind of weird, especially given modern understandings of psychology.

All in all, even as the characters are dressed in modern leathers and singing rock, and despite a banner at the front of the stage before the show began that read “She was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless she persisted”, it felt like Byrne wasn’t interested in bringing any modern analysis of the events or politics (much less directly comparing them to any modern events ala Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Which feels like a bewilderingly huge missed opportunity.

Otherwise, the performances and music were top notch, and I liked most of Byrnes new compositions (even if some of the early music felt a little samey). The music especially picked up during the trial and interrogation, where I think Byrne really found the story compelling.