RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the world?

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What is going on?

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Corporate exploitation of Africa[edit]

Somebody should make a page offering well-sourced and comprehensive coverage of the ongoing rape of the African continent, as well as the money trails leading from African dictators and warlords to banks and corporate robber barons. Something like this...

https://www.pambazuka.org/governance/multinational-corporations-new-colonisers-africa

But more in-depth, and with more sources and notes. Most citizens of the U.S. don't seem to know about this, and stereotypes about African poverty are frequently used by Alt Reich trolls to advance the claim that black people are "inferior" to insecure white idiots.Phantom666 (talk) 19:43, 2 October 2018 (UTC)Phantom666

Good idea, off you go. — Unsigned, by: 108.171.128.167 / talk

A very important message we need to see right now.[edit]

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/bulgarian-vigilantes-patrol-turkey-border-keep-migrants-out-n723481?fbclid=IwAR3HR-aB5lBwRvOBHCtGvXIVbhsuZDTDjEwbS9gjCpiU4m-yfQV24u8FMP4 — Unsigned, by: 1.152.104.79 / talk

Ralph Northam[edit]

Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam admits to being in a racist yearbook photo depicting a person in blackface and a Klansman. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html

Crappy Branson/Venezuela article[edit]

The recently added CNBC article about Branson planning a concert in Venezuela[1] gets almost its entire content from AP. So why not reference the original AP article, here? Is someone getting sponsorship money from NBC? --Annanoon (talk) 12:25, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Why are we even WIGOing a benefit concert? Avida Dollarsher again 19:37, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Education session on Political Action Comittees[edit]

Because a user incorrectly identified AIPAC as a super-PAC, I thought I'd talk about the differences and history of the term for education's sake. I'm going on my own understanding which may have gaps and errors.

Many people know that there are individual donation limits for elections in the US. This is nominally an anti-corruption measure. You can't owe any one rich person your entire campaign warchest, and thus quid-pro-quo concerns might be ameloriated, if not eliminated. This limit is currently $2,800 per election, more than most people could spare, but far, far, far less than a single billionaire could manage if they wanted. Corporations and other shared-trust ventures could not donate anything. At all.

Political action committees were invented(not actually why they were invented, but popularized) as a way of organizing around that limit. Groups with shared interests, such as unions, or in AIPAC's case, mindless adherence to alliance with a single country, could put their whole donation limit to an organization, and work together with many other people with those shared interests. This could then be leveraged to create an amount of money that could, in net, shift elections, and create incentives to pitch to the "party line" of the special interest. Businesses with political interests often have Corporation-namePAC that they "encourage" employees to donate to to inflate their maximum spending.

The nature of this made PACs increasingly align with individual politicians and promote their campaigns. Most had highly partisan characteristics.

Then came Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission, who had a supreme court case centered around the fact that they were running political ads not supporting any particular candidate(just an issue that exactly one candidate supported) and were being punished for it just because it exceeded donation limits. They declared that a violation of their corporate free speech, and the supreme court agreed.

This created an opening for SuperPACs, whose prime characteristics were: no obligation to disclose funding sources, no contribution limits, no prevention of corporate spending, and an arms-length prevision, saying they could not explicitly endorse a candidate in an election, communicate with that candidate in an election, provide support for that election process, or otherwise be explicitly partisan in an election. The net result was billions of dollars of "Jeb Bush is a great guy about this issue we invented to be the Bush superPAC, hint hint wink wink". It's bullshit and I hate it, money isn't speech. But there's a legal distinction there.

AIPAC is a traditional PAC. They love their close ties to individual candidates. They give them speaking engagements, they publicly endorse them, send them on free "friendship" trips to Israel(is that really legal?). I wouldn't be surprised if they have a legally dubious superPAC run by the exact same people who run the PAC itself, but AIPAC is a PAC. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:13, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

does the US have limits on how much can be spent on a campaign? AMassiveGay (talk) 20:45, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
No. Campaigns can spend as much as they receive. I believe they're even allowed to take on certain kinds of debt, but better ask a lawyer about that one. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:46, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
the money involved in us politics is obscene AMassiveGay (talk) 21:27, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Going on a bit of a tangent, corruption is literally the only crime where I personally feel the death penalty is warranted. When you're a regular person you capitulate to the social contract on the basis that without it you have no protection. Executing someone for deviating from it essentially bounds the limit of brutality to equal to not having it. It doesn't speak to a society being a moral improvement over Hobbesian chaos, just an alternative with different death dealing characteristics. But corruption speaks to an extra demand of social trust, you assert that you're not only bound by the social contract, but have the responsibility to maintain it. To sell that out for personal benefit is more profoundly broken than merely committing a murder. Cops, politicians, judges, anyone who asks that we trust them to mete out justice should be further subordinated to it. In that sense, I guess I'm pretty pro guillotine for these fucks who take the giant pond of political money. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:56, 25 February 2019 (UTC)