August 6th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

Daily Stormer

I highly recommend Right Wing Watch. It’s this website which does a round-up of stuff around the internet that is right-wing content. I’ve pretty much wanted to do the same kind of stuff since I saw it.

Stormer article on a video that Molyneux put out. Couple of thing that stand out here. The first is where Molyneux fits into this entire narrative. He does share some alt-right views, but there’s a curious kind of vague, mystical tone to what he says. Though, fundamentally, he’s a guy who stands against what the alt-right considers the whole “politically correct” SJW brigade, whatever that means. In the video, he talks about what he considers his “red pill” moment. For him, it was the fact that a democrat and a liberal (Clinton) got away with what most considered sexual assault. He thought that since Nixon got his reputation muddied because of Watergate, Clinton should have too. This is something that often gets repeated by alt-right individuals. The fact that they feel that feminists and liberals have a double standard.

The second that I would like to point out is the fact that the article boasts about the fact that the alt-right is winning the war on the internet. I would agree with this, even though I personally don’t like it. You just have to get on Youtube or Twitter to see the kind of disparity that exists between liberals and the number of nationalists/alt-right individuals. This applies to India too. It’s like they’re fighting for their lives. I have never seen an individual as motivated as a right-wing troll.

Race

Bradford Delong

Extremely interesting article on negotiations and the creation of a contract. I think we would all agree that is the model for how a constitution is created. You have various interest groups and then they for the most part agree on this legal document. Except, like the author points out, the slaves were never considered to be of equal standing and so were never really part of the negotiating process of creating the constitution. I haven’t done any more reading on this, so I’m going to trust what the author says as being true (that black people were in no meaningful way consulted in the initial drafts of the constitution), and that I interpreted it correctly. What this implies is very interesting. Once they were legally on equal footing, after the whole civil rights movement happened, you have an entire group of people, who were retroactively added to the constitution (which they were never a part of in the first place). If African Americans took this to court, they would win.

Internet

Cyborology

Article on cam models (by a cam model) on ideas of consent on the media that you create, and ownership of said media.

Zoey Foxx (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Zoey Foxx (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

August 5th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

Breitbart

Steve Bannon found a guy who managed to find his way to the white house with a book. He also endorsed him in a photo that’s doing the rounds. A lot of people were mad because this was like the Ivanka Trump endorsement fiasco, except with a poorly written book. In this excerpt from Breitbart, the author makes his point about how the left is the real bastion of fascism. I really hate reacting emotionally to stuff that I write about and I usually try as best as I can to avoid berating people and using emotive language to describe something that somebody wrote and clearly believes in, but this is the most patently absurd idea that I have ever heard.

He also gets it ass backwards by trying to explain why nationalism does not get to the core of what fascism means.

You can be nationalist without being a fascist, but fascism has always needed nationalism, ethnicity and religion, as a means to mobilize people. This isn’t particularly difficult to see. Literally every time this has happened in the history of the damn world, you can observe this pattern.

I’m not going to get into this in detail here, first because I don’t have the time and second because I really don’t want to engage with an idiot who can’t figure this out.

Steve Bannon (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Steve Bannon (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Race

Pharyngula

Coates on the series that the GoT writers (I think?) are going to make. Alternate history shows are fascinating as an idea, but Coates makes some very good points. It’s one thing to have an alternate history show where Nazi’s have won. Nazism in America obviously does elicit the kind of response that Confederate causes do. Nazis were tried and executed for their crimes. Confederate generals are still seen as an integral part of southern (white) history.

Unions

Splinter News

Slate’s staff are trying to unionize and apparently the management are against it. They have their reasons and the staff obviously have enough incentives to want to unionize. The language that the management are employing to dissuade them is really dodgy though.

August 4th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Opioid Crisis

Vice

Very thorough article on the nature of what we call the opioid epidemic in the United States and the fact that it’s really about more than just opioids and it’s a lot deadlier than people think. It’s also true that this affects poorer people disproportionately. Most people agree that middle America is already having a tough time with the exodus of manufacturing jobs. Those started leaving in 90s, I believe.

Jobs

Washington Post

Manufacturing jobs might not be dead in America. They might have just migrated to the coast. Trump also said that he wanted to make encouraging people to move, a part of the outreach to his voter base. He wants to send the message that if you want jobs, you might have to move for it. There’s a hitch though (it’s also mentioned in the article). The 2008 mortgage crisis made the homes of individuals worthless. Most of them lost their homes. Some of them managed to pay off the debt, but are stuck with homes that nobody wants to buy. That’s an enormous sunk cost to just leave lying around.

LGBT

Vice

I think that is we have a romantic view of what it might be to part of communities such as the furry community. It seems to be a way for people to connect sexually in a manner that makes them feel more comfortable. For young LGBT kids, as the article points out, the furry community can be very important. I get all of that, and I think that it’s pretty great, but I can’t help feeling like our sexuality is slipping further and further into the realm of the imagination. Our ideas of sexuality have changed so drastically over the past century. Just think about that for a second. In all the years of human existence, even modern human existence, we haven’t seen a period of such rapid change. There’s no way all of this will turn out to be positive in the long term.

Dutch Furries Gorichem (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Dutch Furries Gorichem (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Real Estate

Richard Green

It is not that difficult–if you have access to capital.  Here are the steps:

(1) Buy an apartment complex for $10,000,000 at a 4.5 percent cap rate with a 35 percent downpayment; finance $6,500,000 with an interest only loan at 3.5 percent that comes due in five years.

(2) Let’s say 35 percent of the value of the property is land and the remainder is improvements. Improvements on apartments are depreciated on a straight line basis over 27.5 years.  So taxable income is

450,000-227,500 (interest) – 236,363 = -13,863 or a taxable loss.

Meanwhile, cash flow is 222,500 per year.  So one gets cash while taking a tax loss.

(3) It gets better.  Suppose when refinancing happens in five years, the property has gained 20 percent in value.  Now one gets a 65 percent LTV loan on a $12,000,000 property–and gets to pull $1,300,000 out of the property.  Suppose NOI has also gone up 20 percent.  Sow now taxable income is

540,000-273,000-236,363 = 30,636.

Assume that the owner’s all in marginal tax rate is 50 percent.  In exchange for a one time $1,300,000 in cash and cash flow of $267,000, the owner pays a little over $15,000 in taxes and 3.5 percent in interest on the extra money.  No matter how one looks at it, this is a tax rate on cash of less than 10 percent.

It keeps going for 27.5 years, at which point the owner can defer taxes via a like-kind exchange. All of this is perfectly legal.  And it explains why salaried workers pay more in taxes than owners of capital.

Race

Vice

Affirmative action is controversial in any country that it is practiced in. In India, it’s a bit (very) different. Government institutions have quotas to fill. Also, we deal with caste, and not race. Very different monster, but that’s a story for another day.

I know you’re not a lawyer, but what’s your sense of how this might play given the Supreme Court has repeatedly said some consideration of race is kosher?
It’s very difficult to know what the Supreme Court would decide given the recent personnel changes. But even before, it’s a very divisive topic. One judge could change the ruling. And the Supreme Court has already made it more difficult for institutions to implement affirmative action. They want some more accountability. So an institution cannot just say they gave admission to a minority student because they want diversity. That’s not enough. The institution has to bring evidence that it tried every other option available that is race-neutral to increase racial and ethnic diversity, like implement various programs, before they started using affirmative action. The court sees the benefit of diversity but would prefer that people achieve that with race-neutral means. Of course, that’s quite impossible. And that’s a very important point to keep in mind. But the institution has to prove they tried.

So the University of Texas did a great job demonstrating they had these programs, which is why the court granted them the option to continue with Affirmative Action. There will be another institution that is less diligent in designing race-neutral admissions policies before they do racial preferences. I don’t know what the court decision will be then.”

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

United States

Zero Hedge

A poll conducted by Delphi Analytica concluded that Kid Rock had a slight edge over the incumbent democrat who occupies the Michigan senate seat that he is apparently going to contest. An absurd 44% of those who were polled were undecided. It seems ludicrous that someone like Kid Rock could win a senate seat, but stranger things have happened. The Dem’s blue wall fell in 2016 and I don’t see any real effort by them to repair the damage done by Clinton. Everybody seems to think that Trump is doing irreparable damage to the Republican party, but having Clinton as a candidate has done untold damage to the democratic cause. We’ll have to wait for the mid-terms to see if the democrats can make some gains off the fact that the Trump presidency has been doing nothing more than fending off allegations of Russian influence, though I’m not too optimistic about their chances to do that.

Kid Rock (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Kid Rock (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

The Hill

In what might be its biggest move yet, the House passed bipartisan legislation that would impose sanctions against Russia for its role in the 2016 elections. The bill also extends to Iran and North Korea.

Race

Article by Joan who was born in Africa and moved to America when she was very young. She speaks of the troubles of being African and struggling to hide her “African-ness” from others. Interesting thoughts on integration and holding on to what you would consider central to your identity.

Philosophy

Aeon via 3quarksdaily

Author (Robert Hartman) evaluates our response to a hypothetical situation of drinking and driving. He points out that we feel, for some odd reason, that someone who drinks and drives and does not end up killing anyone is better off morally than someone who does end up killing someone. Luck, then, ends up being a part of what we would consider right or wrong. Which then leads him to consider different ways of reacting to stimulus and whether or not it matters.

Finance

Motherboard

The United States Securities and Exchange commission has stated that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), might be considered securities under certain circumstances and would thus be subject to laws that govern securities. I’m not a finance guy so I don’t really know how this would impact cryptocurrency or its value, but I do know that part of the charm of digital currency is the fact that it is completely anonymous. You don’t have to reveal your identity if you don’t want to. You have a digital wallet that has a unique identifying code and that’s all you need to reveal for transactions. Digital currencies till now have not been very heavily regulated, but governments will try to cash in on this as and when they can. If the SEC considers certain types of ICOs to be securities then the companies in question would have to reveal the identities of those involved in the transaction. Apart from this, I’m sure that the US government would also like to tax these transactions more and also regulate it if possible. You can still be taxed for digital currencies now. Right now, it’s treated as an asset and you still have to report capital gains and losses that you make. Just like any other financial instrument.

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

The US Embassy in Khartoum called for the Sudanese Government and the Sudanese Liberation Army to allow the UN to establish an UNAMID mission in the Jebel Marra town.