LiberHomo's recent activity

  1. Comment on 'We Pray For The Caliphate To Return': ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps in ~news

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    This implicitly assumes an ethnonationalist attitude that multiple cultural groups cannot peacefully coexist under one government. I agree that there are game theoretic reasons why people turn to...

    libya's borders are basically arbitrary like most african countries, and they compact in a lot of competing factions that probably do not have business sharing a country in the way they do

    This implicitly assumes an ethnonationalist attitude that multiple cultural groups cannot peacefully coexist under one government.

    gadaffi's authoritarianism was not particularly palpable, of course, but when your colonial-established borders completely upend how things have worked for literally hundreds of years (the ottomans ruled a very, very devolved libya) and everybody underneath you is killing each other pretty regularly in sectarian or racial conflict, there's not really much you can do but lead like an authoritarian, because if you don't you tend to also get murdered (ask many an african leader). this is basically how authoritarianism established itself in large swathes of africa, and it's pretty much how it established itself in libya. whoever ends up winning the civil war will also probably be an authoritarian.

    I agree that there are game theoretic reasons why people turn to authoritarianism, and I appreciate your use of the grim calculus of realpolitik. But you're trying to eat your cake, by decrying brutal dictators associated with the US to assert moral superiority of your desired system of political economy, and still have it too, by writing apologia for even worse dictators (for example Assad, who's significantly worse than someone like Pinochet -- that I assume you rightfully loathe -- by far) who adopt the label of "anti-imperialist".

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    You're both so catastrophically wrong and smug. You give no citations to your assertions, and simply regurgitate 'woke' crap. Please go read actual scholarly work about urban/rural poverty in...

    it is basically the norm, lol

    You're both so catastrophically wrong and smug. You give no citations to your assertions, and simply regurgitate 'woke' crap. Please go read actual scholarly work about urban/rural poverty in 1950. It was both worse and more common than poverty today.

    my grandfather was actually one of those least fortunate people you talk about, seeing as he lived literally for the first thirty years of his life without power, was well behind the curve on getting a television, and his family wasn't that well off financially. he still went to college, still became a respectable businessman, and retired pretty comfortably despite all of that because you simply did not need to be nearly as well off as you are now to buy a house or a car, or get luxury items you describe like a television set, or go to college.

    Not having power was roughly normal then. Not 'least fortunate'. Just use common sense: why are kids now taller and healthier than kids in 1950? At least 60% of people didn't even finish high school in 1950. ~20% of people lived below the poverty line, and there would be pretty much no available medical care in these areas. Yes, we can do more for the poor now, but it's still better than it was then.

  3. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    First, using John Oliver as a source is ridiculous. Read a book. An academic book, not pop history crap. You could read the academic articles linked/referenced by the , and if you find serious...

    First, using John Oliver as a source is ridiculous. Read a book. An academic book, not pop history crap.

    And I'm sorry I'm not taking Vox and the University of Chicago's word for it that our democracy is working.

    You could read the academic articles linked/referenced by the , and if you find serious problems you could publish a refutation. But your real problem is you've already decided the facts and are unwilling to accept the possibility you're wrong.

    Second, populism is mostly about framing, not necessarily the actual policies. Even something like rent control isn't inherently populist, it's just that in the wild it's generally sold by populist leaders. None of the things you listed are inherently populist, and as far as I know the populist part of those movements wasn't integral to their success. 8 hour days took decades to become law and it wasn't until it was actually economically feasible that they did. Unions were 'made legal' by court rulings, not legislative action. Reagan nationalized a few banks.

  4. Comment on 'We Pray For The Caliphate To Return': ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps in ~news

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Maybe the decades of rule by dictatorship has something to do with the country going insane after it was removed. Your post comes off as kind of implicitly racist. Also Saddam had been turning to...

    Maybe the decades of rule by dictatorship has something to do with the country going insane after it was removed. Your post comes off as kind of implicitly racist.

    Also Saddam had been turning to religious populism to shore up support after his failures in the First Gulf War. He may have once been a secular dictator but not so much by 2003. IIRC the Fedayeen Saddam had actually 'pioneered' some of the public spectacle style executions later performed by IS(e.g. throwing gay men off buildings).

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Yes but there are significant changes in quality and availability of both college education and housing. Those things were still not accessible due to availability issues, so I don't think it's...

    Yes but there are significant changes in quality and availability of both college education and housing. Those things were still not accessible due to availability issues, so I don't think it's fair to call it the norm.

  6. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Insulin is one example where the cost is far higher now in the US. But you're implicitly portraying it as the norm. Yeah, if you don't have laundry facilities it's rough, but people used to have...

    oh, my mistake, i misspoke--in the opposite direction you're implying, though. nowadays, you can have all sorts of fun trying to buy a 200 dollar shot of insulin because drug companies are exploitative as shit even though insulin is deathly cheap to make, or you can also look forward to living in an apartment with no laundry facilities because a lot of them either don't have them or have them in very limited, shared capacity. these aren't exactly problems our parents had.

    Insulin is one example where the cost is far higher now in the US. But you're implicitly portraying it as the norm. Yeah, if you don't have laundry facilities it's rough, but people used to have to hand wash and hang dry everything. It takes hours of involved work to wash laundry. You're again and again taking the perspective of the most fortunate in the past and comparing it to the least fortunate of today. That is deeply disingenuous.

    the biggest commonality of households that are able to do things like extensive cleaning and cooking basically from scratch is that they're upper middle-class or upper-class white people.

    You're delusional. I grew up around a lot of poor undocumented people and that's how many of them get by. It's easier and cheaper than ever given that you can get slow cookers for like $30 now. I am just astounded by how ridiculously privileged your attitude and beliefs about life are.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    I find this disingenuous. The qualitative changes are massive. If we're talking from 1950: telephones, electricity, gas stoves, medicine, roads, washing machines/driers, roads, ... No. Maybe this...

    because the "qualitative changes" you talk about have absolutely no bearing on the issues being discussed here

    I find this disingenuous. The qualitative changes are massive. If we're talking from 1950: telephones, electricity, gas stoves, medicine, roads, washing machines/driers, roads, ...

    my grandparents could buy a house, go to college, and live their lives pretty well just by getting a minimum wage job

    No. Maybe this was true for a very small portion of people, but it was never the norm. I just learned of a 'fun' fact: when Ladybird Johnson was touring the US to evaluate the school systems she ran into areas where the kids had never seen a book before going to school, hadn't been socialized with non-family members etc. You're taking an extremely rose-tinted view of the past that never applied to more than a tiny fraction of Americans. This is exactly what I meant when I asked why people thought the 1970s were better.

    it's a very real issue that our money simply does not go as far as it used to because everything is several orders of magnitude more expensive today than it used to be even with inflation accounted for, and that wages have not risen in a way that reflects that, even though on the whole people are getting richer and median incomes and whatnot are going up.

    Please make a more specific claim here. I can appreciate cost of living changes, but those aren't a nationwide thing. Further the links I posted are CPI adjusted, not just raw inflation adjusted. It's certainly not perfect, though. Cost of living is very high in CA, OR, DC, and most of New England and I can appreciate that life might be much harder in these areas. But I would argue that that's largely due to local politics being dysfunctional, and that it can really only be solved by fixing local politics. On the non-sympathetic side of things: in the past when people were priced out they just moved, and they moved between states far more often than we do now.

    it doesn't really matter if a generation gains an additional $5,000 in average wealth on their parents if they have to spend literally doubt or triple that amount just to live like their parents did.

    People don't live just like their parents/grandparents did, they consume far more and do far less domestic labor in cleaning and food preparation. You can still live like that and do a lot of cleaning and food prep by hand, in fact millions of Americans already do. There's even a group of people who live community oriented lives and work in trades, shunning consumerism and individualism and are apparently happier for it.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    His book is pretty plainly polemical, IIRC. When I say "little I know about history" I mean trying to read academic papers and professionally done historical books.

    His book is pretty plainly polemical, IIRC. When I say "little I know about history" I mean trying to read academic papers and professionally done historical books.

  9. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    I agree it's a problem. We could raise taxes and fund elections federally, but the question immediately becomes arguing over who actually foots the bill. Plus there is a problem with the symbolism...

    Congress members spend a lot of their time soliciting donations and little of their time speaking to people in their districts.

    I agree it's a problem. We could raise taxes and fund elections federally, but the question immediately becomes arguing over who actually foots the bill. Plus there is a problem with the symbolism of federally funding an election campaign for some of the loonier politicians, e.g. Steve King. I actually would be in favor of federal funding of elections, but I want higher taxes in general.

    The pass boilerplate legistlation written by a corporate lobbying group called ALEC.

    This sounds like a conspiracy theory a la 'AIPAC controls US foreign policy'.

    Studies of policy preferences of voters and the voting records of elected representatives show that what the people want is not what legislators pass in to law.

    Well, my first objection is that there is no well defined notion of "what the people want". You have to drink the Rousseaultian flavor-aid to believe in it. People's desired and preferences can change drastically on the same issue depending on wording. A more direct response is that things are not as bad as you might expect. Politicians seem to generally do what they believe is best for the long term health of their constituency, and constituencies generally vote for people whose beliefs largely agree with their own.

    Are you familiar with where the 40 hour/5-day work week comes from? The legalization of unions? Women's suffrage? Black suffrage? All of these are progressive populism in action. Again, not sure why you are on the fence about this but I am more than curious.

    I wouldn't call any of those populist actually. To me populism is about demagoguery and rhetoric of elites vs 'the people'. So I'd consider Sanders populist but not Warren, for example.

    When I think of left wing populism I don't think of labor rights or unions, but e.g. rent control / price controls in general, anti-trade policies, nationalizing industries, the "70% tax rate" thing.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Robert Reich: Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy in ~talk

    LiberHomo Link
    I'm not liking it. I actually agree with a lot of the principles he's talking about but I think he makes a very weak case for them, and suggests a few bad policies. Offhand I think a job guarantee...

    I'm not liking it. I actually agree with a lot of the principles he's talking about but I think he makes a very weak case for them, and suggests a few bad policies. Offhand I think a job guarantee is almost certainly a mistake, a progressive wealth tax might be good (for example, if it were a land value tax) but the actual proposals he'd make are probably bad, and I'm a little iffy about 'breaking up' Google/Amazon/Facebook. I can definitely see arguments in favor, but I'd need to do more research.

    I'm not sure where's he's getting the "median wages haven't rose" numbers from, here's Real Median Personal Income in the United States and here's Real Median Household Income in the United States . That's certainly not the full story as healthcare costs have gone up, but the story is just complicated. I'm not sure why everyone has convinced themselves life was better in 1970/1960/1950 than it is now. We certainly have problems, but even if it were true that your real income or compensation has stagnated since 1979, there are still loads of qualitative changes that would make your life marginally better (or substantially better if you have a disease that is now curable or treatable).

    I also don't really find the "money in politics" thing wholly convincing. It's an easy thing to blame, and it sure feels right to me, but I want to stay skeptical here. In 2016 we saw every candidate who spent the most money lose: Jeb in Florida, Bernie in the Dem. primary, and Hillary in the general. Clearly there's a relationship, but it's complicated.

    Regarding the "only alternative to authoritarian populism is progressive populism": 2018 was essentially a landslide for the Dems, but it wasn't the progressive populists who won all those seats, it was mostly moderates and generic Dems. I do think we need a better social safety net, but what little I know about history doesn't inspire me with confidence in populism (whether progressive or nationalist).

    3 votes
  11. Comment on Muon: a modern low-level programming language in ~comp

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Fair warning: I like C++. C++ is the survivor of roughly twenty to forty years of battle in determining which language is the portable extension to C. Swift actually ends up visually looking a...

    Fair warning: I like C++.

    C++ is the survivor of roughly twenty to forty years of battle in determining which language is the portable extension to C. Swift actually ends up visually looking a decent bit like modern C++, but I'm guessing it has less footguns (to be fair, most languages have less footguns). I haven't used them but D and Rust both seem solid. Rust was designed to avoid a lot of the footguns of C++, and I expect to learn it eventually, but I don't see a particularly compelling reason to switch right this second. D has better compile time, better safety than C++, and I'm told stronger abstractions. As for negatives, as far as I can tell Rust's abstractions are actually weaker (but more neatly delineated by syntax, whereas in C++ different abstractions are all class inheritance based); I don't personally like Rust's packaging system, for now it's effectively vendor-lock, per project version-specific dependencies make a lot of sense for enterprise level projects and API-stable libraries, but Rust's ecosystem is still young and API-unstable;

    What C++ really excels at is described by Herb Sutter as, “the programmer can always open the hood and take control.” Thread and memory safety are not impossible in C++, the problem is that because C++ is dangerous by default it means it requires a certain level of intentionality that is simply unrealistic to expect people to hold indefinitely. On the flip side I think that that intentionality is an important factor in learning systems programming.

    5 votes
  12. Comment on Why I Gave A Buck To Mike Gravel - Currentaffairs.org in ~news

    LiberHomo Link
    Ugh, he's worse than Gabbard. I'm a liberal, so YMMV, but I really detest the mindless dovism of these types, as if standing by and allowing dictators to brutalize their own citizens was not only...

    Ugh, he's worse than Gabbard. I'm a liberal, so YMMV, but I really detest the mindless dovism of these types, as if standing by and allowing dictators to brutalize their own citizens was not only morally superior to interventions, but as if it were obviously superior. As if blaming the US for murders of Iraqi citizens commited by insurgents was itself not implicitly denying the agency of those in the Global South. As if working to prop up brutal dictators like Assad (who has committed more war crimes in the last 20 yearsthan IS and the US combined) wasn't itself a different form of imperialism.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on Julian Assange arrested at Ecuadorian embassy in London in ~news

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Honestly I don't think the leaks he did were all that great, in retrospect. Wikileaks did not put forward an honest depiction of the events in the Collateral Murder video, for example, they gave a...

    Honestly I don't think the leaks he did were all that great, in retrospect. Wikileaks did not put forward an honest depiction of the events in the Collateral Murder video, for example, they gave a narrative that was plausible according to the publicly available information at the time, but that doesn't hold up anymore. And IIRC they knew facts that contradicted the narrative they put forward and didn't acknowledge them.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on “Just Switch to Linux” Is The Loser’s Game in ~tech

    LiberHomo Link
    I think there're two groups that comprise the majority of computer users: 1. Path-of-least-resistance types 2. Killer-app users I think there's a good opportunity to grab people in category 1 (and...

    I think there're two groups that comprise the majority of computer users:

    1. Path-of-least-resistance types
    2. Killer-app users
    

    I think there's a good opportunity to grab people in category 1 (and chromebooks are going after them), but people in category 2 are much harder. I'm a FreeBSD user, but the problem is the same as GNU/Linux: category 1 users never want to use TUI tools, and that means attracting them requires complete GUI wrappers built over these tools, and they need a consistent UI or it's confusing. That's a lot of work!

    2 votes
  15. Comment on Conspiracy Theories Can't Be Stopped in ~science

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    Offhand I'm thinking of Turkey, Russia, or China which to my knowledge are run by pretty authoritarian and abusive governments that are nevertheless pretty popular. I also regularly see people on...

    But I'd be interested in what/why you were thinking about here.

    Offhand I'm thinking of Turkey, Russia, or China which to my knowledge are run by pretty authoritarian and abusive governments that are nevertheless pretty popular. I also regularly see people on the far Left giving unwarranted benefit of the doubt to strongmen like Assad, how does your hypothesis jibe with that observation? Why do so many people put trust in someone whose politics they aren't involved in, and who is actively exploiting and controlling their own people?

    The model I have in mind when I say this is an actually anarchistic nation like Rojava.

    I'm generally supportive of them, but also skeptical at how long it'll last. They've also been accused of ethnic cleansing by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. I've never really seen this addressed except people saying it's Turkish lies. Which, I wouldn't put it past Erdogan's government, but I haven't seen any connections there.

    After all real wages are stagnant since the 70s

    Depends what you measure. Real individual wages have been going up at most income levels since then, even for the people at the bottom. Real household wages have not, but that's not necessarily bad. More elderly people living independently would bring down household wages but does not automatically mean any individual is worse off. There's also a serious question to me of whether we should be looking at wages or total compensation. A lot of the compensation gain has "disappeared" into rising healthcare costs, but healthcare is also much better now than it was in the 1970s so there have been qualitative changes in that aspect of life.

    It's actually pretty hard to tell because you'd need to see the distributional information of wages for both households and individuals, but at best with easily available stats you get mean/median and maybe standard deviation. There's also a massive subjective component that isn't very easy to square with other's judgements.

    precarious employment and fake news

    But these are endemic to the human condition. People have been lying for personal gain for thousands of years, even on a large scale. People have also assumed for millennia that things wouldn't change only to find out that they are not truly in control of the world around them. All of the problems we're facing today are not new, in my opinion. They're ages old, and only the scale and velocity is new.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on What are you reading these days? #16 in ~books

    LiberHomo Link
    Just finished Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey. Picking back up on Society Must be Defended! by Michel Foucault, and I think once I finish that I'll either do more Foucault, Fukuyama's The End of...

    Just finished Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey. Picking back up on Society Must be Defended! by Michel Foucault, and I think once I finish that I'll either do more Foucault, Fukuyama's The End of History, Cormac O'Grada's Eating People is Wrong, Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War or maybe something else. I have an issue of getting halfway through a book and then putting it down for months though, so who knows!

    1 vote
  17. Comment on What song are you currently addicted to? in ~music

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    I forget exactly how I discovered Sons of Kemet, but I'm not particularly into or against Afro-beat and African jazz. I'm ignorant on the topic more than anything. But I'm enjoying this album a...

    I forget exactly how I discovered Sons of Kemet, but I'm not particularly into or against Afro-beat and African jazz. I'm ignorant on the topic more than anything. But I'm enjoying this album a good bit so far!

  18. Comment on What song are you currently addicted to? in ~music

    LiberHomo Link
    The "songs giving me life" (as NPR puts it) right now are probably Tiger by Sons of Kemet, and a live recording of One Word by Mahavishnu Orchestra.

    The "songs giving me life" (as NPR puts it) right now are probably Tiger by Sons of Kemet, and a live recording of One Word by Mahavishnu Orchestra.

    4 votes
  19. Comment on Conspiracy Theories Can't Be Stopped in ~science

    LiberHomo Link Parent
    I'm kind of sympathetic to anarchism (because I lean little-r-republican), but I think this is kind of a just-so explanation that isn't really provable. Offhand I can think of a few countries...

    People will only begin to trust the state once they are substantially involved in its affairs and no longer in a position to be exploited or controlled by it

    I'm kind of sympathetic to anarchism (because I lean little-r-republican), but I think this is kind of a just-so explanation that isn't really provable. Offhand I can think of a few countries where the government is far more exploitative and controlling than the US and yet huge numbers of people implicitly trust the government. I haven't looked up numbers, so this is speculation, but the popular imagination of the 1950s US holds that the majority of the population trusted the government far more than they do now, and I don't think you can make a serious argument that the US government was less exploitative or controlling then than it is now.

    As much as I love Foucault, I think trying to analyze history as solely a function of social power still doesn't really work when you push it to its limits. It's a useful abstraction sometimes, IMO more useful than class or race, but it's just another imperfect tool.

    1 vote