Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What 92% of Americans consider ideal is only possible under socialism

This is a few years old, but I happened on it again today, and was struck by this: The distribution of wealth that 92% of Americans want is impossible under capitalism, but very possible under socialism.

Here's the reality:

In case you missed it:

Monday, April 14, 2014

I just figured out how to do racial reparations!

I'm a great fan of Matt Bruenig's work, but I was disappointed with Glaring limits of the Civil Rights Act: We need to redistribute wealth. He says, "Ideally, we could work towards reparations in the form of redistributing wealth along racial lines."

In the comments, I said,
How do you redistribute along racial lines? Do you exclude the descendants of black slaveowners? And when you do the redistribution, what do you do about the white poor? Should one racial group suffering from generational poverty be helped and another ignored? In 1967, Martin Luther King said something that's still true today: "In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike."

I like King's solution, Universal Basic Income, for a lot of reasons. One reason is that it doesn't try to examine the many reasons different groups are poor. It cuts to the chase and eliminates poverty.
But thinking about it a bit more, I tweeted Bruenig:
So how do you implement reparations for black folks? Give money to everyone who checks "black" on the census?
He replied:
Yeah I think that would work.
I tweeted back:
Cool! End of US white majority overnight! (And I like the idea that white racists would pay for their commitment to whiteness.)
And then:
Okay, if you said people had to stick with what they put on the last census, I guess that'd work.
But there would still be the biggest problem with racial reparations: How do you justify giving nothing to the white poor? Very, very few of them are descended from people who owned slaves, and the argument that the white poor benefitted from slavery is hard to make if you know history: the US's free poor of all races competed with slave labor, and the ones who benefitted were the rich of all races.

As for the notion the free white poor got to feel superior to someone, that worked both ways. From White trash:
In 1833 Fanny Kemble, an English actress visiting Georgia, noted in her journal: "The slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as 'poor white trash'".
So I guess the title of this post is a lie. But I came closer to figuring out the "how" of racial reparations than anyone else I've noticed discussing the idea.

ETA: In the discussion, someone wanted to keep the focus on black injustice, so I asked this:
Let's say you're only interested in African American unfairness and not interested in Hispanic American, American Indian, or Poor White American unfairness. How do you set up a reparations system that only benefits black Americans? How do you justify giving money to Herman Cain instead of a homeless white veteran?

An essential point about averages

At Are Americans really jingoistic yahoos? A cautionary statistical tale, Gibby the Fifth commented, "My boss taught me another lesson about averages – always look at the range as well as the mean. To illustrate, he pointed out that the average American has one tit and one ball."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a bad day for feminism and social work, and a fine example of fooling a mob

via Sociopath woman pushes a man off a ledge, then gets cheered by a crowd for the deed:

MTSU student jailed in assault of preacher: "A female Middle Tennessee State University student was booked for simple assault at the Rutherford County jail Tuesday after a confrontation with a visiting preacher a few hours earlier at the university. Michaela Morales, a junior social work major, according to Sidelines newspaper, faces charges after visiting preacher John McGlone fell in an altercation with Morales at MTSU. McGlone was being treated at MTMC emergency room where he was in stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said."

MTSU Student Accused Of Assaulting Preacher includes the most important detail:
"From what we saw, we felt that she crossed the line," said Lt. Jim Fanguy, MTSU police department. "She was making comments that she was being inappropriately touched. However, the video showed otherwise."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Regarding Damien Walter's "Science fiction needs to reflect that the future is queer"

At Science fiction needs to reflect that the future is queer, I left this comment: "I'm surprised Walter thinks SF didn't get to the subject until the 1960s. Theodore Sturgeon's "The World Well Lost" is from 1953."

I read Sturgeon as a kid. Maybe he made me think the field is more accepting than it is, but Sturgeon seemed to set the tone for the field as I have known it all my life. I rather like Tom Cram's comment on the article:
Sci-Fi has been at the forefront of exploring/exploding gender roles since its inception. The future of Sci-Fi isn't "queer," the entire history of Sci-Fi is "queer." 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

simplifying my online life

I'm doing a little online life simplification. I'll confine link-sharing to my twitter account. My G+ and Facebook accounts will be for interacting there—and I don't plan to do that much. This blog will be my only active one, and what it'll become, I dunno. I suspect I'll be focusing more on basic income, which I continue to like because it's a program that capitalists and socialists can support.

ETA: And there will be dancing—because Emma Goldman was right.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Would Basic Income administrators become corrupt?

At reddit, historyandproblems noted, "That is a LOT of money feeding through the system to tax and then distribute a basic income to everyone."

Indon Dasani ansered,
You know what part of the US government has very little problem with corruption? The Social Security Administration. You know what part of the US government is rife with corruption despite there being far less money passing through it? The Department of Defense. Basic Income is less prone to corruption than the average government program, because it's simple, easily trackable, and it goes straight into people's pockets already. Stealing that money is magnitudes more difficult than getting a defense contract that doesn't do anything useful, because someone's probably going to notice they're not getting money anymore.

Monday, April 7, 2014

this week's quote on the state of the plutocracy

“Since the 1960s, the richest one-thousandth of U.S. households, with a minimum net worth today above $20 million, have more than doubled their share of U.S. wealth, from around 10 percent to more than 20 percent. Take a moment to process that. One-thousandth of the country owns one-fifth of the wealth.” —Jordan Weissmann, The Shocking Rise of Wealth Inequality: Is it Worse Than We Thought?

why you should doublecheck your Google directions

Let's say you're planning to take the light rail to the Mall of America to see Captain America today, so you google the directions. Google says you'll arrive at the Transit Station and take 8 minutes to walk 0.5 miles to the Mall of America.

That's because Google thinks you're drunk: