Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    I see there's a massive conspiracy being proposed, backed by shady foreign governments.

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    I did once tend to believe in a few of them, but then, you know. What if Russian nationalist internet trolls are just the same as USian nationalist internet trolls and do very similar stuff in large groups all at the same time because it's the zeitgeist.

    Like gamergate, which was thousands of men who set about harassing female game journalists for a year or more, and it turned out to not be a conspiracy as such, just a bunch of assholes who all happened to believe the same thing (and probably all voted Trump), that women should not be listened to, and a bunch of people got caught up in it to various extents.

    Or like Whaleoil here, who sort of had a massive collection of politicians and political aides and media people at his beck and call but actually was maybe one politician really feeding it and maybe one journalist really driving it as accepted news and that was pretty rare anyway and as far as it went, everyone else was just there at the same time doing some of the same things sometimes, while a lot of other people were highly critical.

    Those things are genuine problems too. Fake news ... well, there's always Fox News, it's not like it has to come from Russia to make USian people stupid about the world at large.

    And there are actual conspiracies. The actual evangelical Christian religious conspiracy in the United States to dumb down science education and "teach the controversy". Or the actual political conspiracy of the Republican party to tell a lot of anti-abortion lies in order to secure that same high-turnout religious vote, because it only hurts women. You've heard of them from first-hand sources, because you always do with real conspiracies. People are proud of that organisational shit.

    When George W. Bush was conspiring to invade Iraq on a bunch of lies, the western media mostly parroted them, but there was also leaks from inside and criticism against and the biggest protests against it ever seen around the world. There's plenty of people still believe Iraq was about WMDs and ISIS is a natural result of Islam, rather than the invasion was a conspiracy of lies and ISIS appeared out of the horrific lack of care shown for the population after it. The real world being more complicated still.

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    So there are massive state conspiracies for wars and stuff. And there are massive numbers of people on the internet sometimes go do the same horrible thing just for kicks without any sort of conspiracy. It seems fair to just accept that if it is profitable to lie to US Republicans for the add money, then a lot of people will totally lie to US Republicans for the add money. Just like Fox News does.

    Also 6 crazy things you'll never believe will help you lose weight overnight. Those are also profitable, and everyone is doing that without conspiring to do that.

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    And yes, google does not respect the truth of things, only their popularity, and only then relative to people it considers similar enough to you, thus feeding your preconceived beliefs in a way that makes your happier to buy stuff. TV news is much the same, when you think about it, they'll tell you all week about a grisly double murder but nothing of the thousand other people who died that week, a good few after all too much consumption of the sponsor's products.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Long, Strange Trip, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I get not diagnosing people. I do, it's unfair and improper in general and it's unfair to Trump, but it helps me understand the world, so here it is.

    When people say that Trump is just a bad person and racist and misogynistic and so on, that he's a failed businessman or all sorts of things, but to me that's like saying people with Asperger's are rude and deliberately offensive. You're missing the point. It's also failing to be predictive, understanding Hitler as a megalomaniac helped other nations prepare for War against him, and helped defeat him in very specific ways (like at the battle of Minsc).

    Like with Trump, to say he's gone bankrupt a lot, and so is bad at business. Clinical narcissism makes life a different experience for people, Trump's business don't go bad because he makes mistakes, it just lets him rip off his investors, who are suckers, it completes that social transaction for him where he took all their money and kept it. That's how Narcissists relate to people, when he says "when your wife gets old you get a new one", like she's a piece of furniture, he's not kidding.

    Because everyone is furniture. Just things to be shuffled around and used, unless they challenge him, and then they may be like him and see the world the way he does and must be removed as a threat. Narcissists in positions of great power are very dangerous. Trump is now very dangerous, for real.

    When he says he's going to do something and get someone else to pay for it, he's not kidding, at all, because he is awesome and everyone must do what he says (and when they do he will rip them off). He will economically punish any nation on earth that fails to follow his demands, with tariffs and mass visa cancellations and monetary restrictions, like he said he will already. US cities and states that fail to comply at their own cost with him whims will have all federal funding cut for everything. He has said that and is not kidding at all. That will ruin economies the world over and he will love that shit because he did that.

    He's not blustering, this isn't fake. It is helpful for people to understand that. Everyone to him is a threat to him, or something to be used for his personal aggrandisement. To hear people cheering his name is why he became President, and now everyone will have to do what he says, or he will ruin them.

    He's not a failed businessman who says mean things because he's a cool anti-establishment guy. He's an extremely skilled manipulator of investors and lawmakers and the wider population who likes to completely screw people, both those who support him and those who oppose him, just to prove to himself how great he is. And now he's going to be the President of the United States and he will not listen to anyone about anything ever again.

    This is a very bad thing. He's not just a bad guy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: No, there isn’t a popular…,

    Clinton's policies would've been of huge benefit to the white working class in the US. Trump's will be a disaster.

    You say Democrats should support unions and collective agreements, they already do, especially in the states they control, high minimum wages, good working conditions, decent hours, collective bargaining, all of it, but they can't force that on Republican controlled states, where the media play blames it on Washington elites and nefarious Asians rather than their own ruinous Republican state government policies.

    What I see repeated, from the soft US left, is that they didn't trust Clinton. They thought she wouldn't really do the things to help them that she has always done to help them, and that her policies would really just help out the wealthy bankers instead. Trump hammering on about the "criminal" emails, as the wikileaks emails detailed campaign finance bargaining. After Bernie ranted about it because his campaign fucked up their own finance applications. That's why they didn't vote. The news, even the FBI, said she was a crook, a patsy for the elite, and maybe there was something in that, so they stayed home.

    They didn't block Bernie. He got in, and he lost. He was even less popular with the Democrat base, even in those swing states. They picked the best candidates they had, and Hilary was the best of them. The attacks on her resonated with Democrats, maybe because eight years of hope with Obama just didn't really come true.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Long, Strange Trip,

    Well. That was unfortunate. Apparently a near-plurality of USians would like their country to go die in a fire now, thanks, OK, bye.

    He's not the first bloke like this to be elected in recent years, just the one put in the most powerful position.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

    Seems he will make for very interesting days, will President Trump. What with his rather constant insistence that people will have to listen to him once he's President, in that he will not have to listen to anyone, because he is so smart, and anyone disagreeing is just out to get him, which is basically terrorism once he's the President. And so many people needing locked up before he even got there, like his political opponents.

    But man, when he turns off the people's shiny new healthcare, and shuts down abortion, and locks up all the minorities even more, and installs trade tariffs and makes prices go up, and guts environmental regulation like it's the 1960's again and river fires are good family fun, and blocks all the renewable power initiatives because it's a scam by China you know, and cuts back on immunisation programs, ... fucking hell.

    Like, people's life expectancy back then was pretty shit. He's going to kill a lot of people, in the USA, let alone anywhere he decides to nuke.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Short circuiting the…,

    National's ballot stuffing became an embarrassment. Opposition parties wanted the private members bill time for more useful things, National wanted to be not continuing to embarrass itself.

    Could have been done better, yes, in the past. The alternative at this point seems to be continuing to waste parliament and select committee time on non-controversial statute amendments in a way that also bought parliament into disrepute.

    So hopefully we can get some useful non-government legislation before a select committee instead now. Because it's not just law changes that are a bit dodgy sometimes, but also the laws as they stand.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Meth houses and stigma,

    Rosemary: when the police talk about changing people's habits, they mean coercively, that police will decide who you get to talk to and where you get to be.

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    But it's nice to see this particular brand of bullshit might actually end. Though really, unless there's a political acceptance of wrongdoing, they will just produce a test that finds 2µg more often so they can sit the house in limbo for six months and then sell it for being empty.

    Because again, Housing NZ is required to return a large sum of money to the government, and the only way they can legally do that is to turf people out and keep the houses empty and then sell them. Meth contamination is just the tool they needed to fulfil the idealistic requirements placed upon them from above, of less need for state housing.


    Much like Dunedin Hospital solved the waiting room time problem at weekends by partitioning off a bit of it and calling that bit the triage room instead. So they let you into the "waiting room" when they're ready to see you, and then you don't wait very long in the waiting room. Box ticked, ministers happy, stats looking good come election time.

    Or how crime's down, because we cut all the resources off police that let them actually get convictions for minor offences, those non-essential legal type staff that just prepared the evidence and the charge sheets and stuff for court. So now a whole bunch of cases just get thrown out instead. Thus, less crime.


    But importantly, taxes are very low on very rich people, which would be highly inflationary if you actually funded public services properly at the same time. Also, the minister's spouse runs a non-profit charity that could do all that work much more profitably, for such a modest salary.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    That editorial is quite heart-warming, Alfie.

    Clinton is a presidential candidate; deliberate, serious, considered, and in a position to unite the country and make it stronger into a challenging future.

    Trump is none of those things. Arizona's a long shot to swing Democrat, about 10% or so yet, but little things like that, you never know. It's really nice to see serious folks in the US notice the same things the rest of the world does.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

    Just gunna leave that there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You might be reading too much into that Russell. Conservatives are always fearful about something or another, that's quite natural, the things those ones are afraid about are largely bullshit race and class issues because it's a pretty good country to live in with a massively powerful military and there's not any real problems for the majority to fear any more. That terrorism thing got old years ago, and everyone hates the security theatre surrounding it.

    Not that the actual race issues in the US are bullshit, they're terrible, but the way conservatives look at it over there is bullshit. Factually incorrect. Racist, if you will.

    But overall, it just looks like most conservative US voters aren't put off by his racism, because they're mostly racist, nor his foreign policy gaffs, because they can't even find their own country on a world map, nor his sexism, because they're mostly sexist, and so on.

    But the ones he is putting off, because not all conservative voters are any of that stuff, that's why he's still 7 points down rather than a couple points up that historical trends would put an average Republican at this point.

    He's not attracting people because he's racist, he's losing them, it just increases the relative concentration of racists that remain. Like the people at his rallies don't really give a shit what he's saying, because if you did you probably aren't at his rally.

    Take a group, exclude a sub section of it, remains of group seems to have more people not in that sub section. Really not more, just less of the excluded ones.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: The most important graph in the world,

    Percentage growth rates aren't particularly useful for understanding things like growth in wealth, in that 1000% of nothing is still nothing, the peak at 50% may well represent a much smaller net growth than the dip at 80%.

    Late 80's is also a weird start point, it's mostly going to capture the massive economic growth of China and India as they underwent their equivalent of the industrial revolution in combination with the digital revolution, with nearly half the world's population between them.

    While presumably the near-zero relative growth is for western countries who piled on the neoliberalism, cut taxes on the rich to nothing, smashed unions, and slashed social spending to pay for it all in the early 90's, along with getting rid of any notion that the state should provide for full employment and a rising standard of living (or much of anything else). We have 6% unemployment because that is government policy, to hold wages down: obviously that limits the growth of wealth for most people here.

    None of which really has anything to do with modern trade networks.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The war is still with us,

    The largest protests the western world had ever seen were on the streets of their major cities on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. There is almost no mainstream record of that. Millions of people marched, and it was ignored.

    The politicians, the press, they wanted a war. Anything said they shouldn't have a war was ignored, everything said maybe it was possible there was a reason to have one was seized on and played up endlessly, without any checking at all.

    The documents presented to the UN about WMDs were a from a decade old university thesis, everything else was thrown out because it didn't say what they wanted to hear. Carl Rove summed them up nicely, as described by a reporter. "The aide" is Carl Rove.

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works any more." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

    They don't actually believe in empiricism. Evidence, that's not how the world works any more. They know what it is and reject it. You just invade Iraq and make it work and then that's the new evidence, just because. When John Key talks about getting another scientist if you don't like the science, about how climate change isn't a problem because science will solve it (despite all of science pointing out what a colossal problem it is, and already having given them the solutions, which they ignore just because they're going to do that other thing and then you can study that instead), that's the same deal.

    They went to war in Iraq because it was going to be easy, and work really well, and be hugely profitable and help the people of Iraq too, because everyone saying otherwise just hasn't seen it happen yet. Just like that.

    Blair was the same, the war was going to go gloriously and promote Britain to being a new world leader and authority on all that is right and good, just because that's what they were going to do. When evidence means nothing, that's all there is left.

    Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

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