Print Story Heroes of the Federation
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Feb 24, 2016 at 01:19:10 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching (all tags)
Reading: "Narcoland". Watching: "The Grand Budapest Hotel", "Snowpiercer". Links.

What I'm Reading
Narcoland by Anabel Hernández. Book about the relationship between the Mexican drug cartels and the state, that was a major bestseller in Mexico. Documents in painstaking detail how the cartels essentially control the state, bribing politicians from the top down. Even the apparent attacks by the state on the cartels were actually aimed at the rivals of the group called here "The Federation".

Has a lot of information on "El Chapo" Guzman, who was a central figure in the Federation and coordinated its relationship with the state. During his prison time essentially the whole staff of the prison was on his payroll, after the original governor and deputy governer were assassinated. Despite the myth of him cunningly escaping in a laundry cart, he apparently just walked out dressed in a police union while the guards looked the other way.

Also has some information on how during the Contra scandal the US overlooked the activities of the cartels in exchange for money going to their groups. Has a bit of information on how the cartels use mainstream businesses to launder their money. The main focus though is how through bribes and campaign contributions the cartels are able to control how the mexican state deals with them.

Overall the book is a bit heavy going if you're not too familiar with Mexico: there are a lot of names, and it seems to assume some familiarity with Mexican politics. The translation also feels a bit awkward, with some oddly literal translations, and some unevenness of tone as it switched betweeen formal and casual language.

Overall an informative book, but not light reading.

What I'm Watching
Saw The Grand Budapest Hotel on disk. Wes Anderson movie in his usual quirky vein, as a writer talks to a European hotel owner about his life story. Liked this one a lot though, there's a certain amount of tragedy mixed in with the comedy that keeps it from being too sentimental. Liked the vivid world building of the hotel and the period. Well worth seeing if you like any of his movies.

What I'm Watching 2
Saw the cult movie Snowpiercer on disk, about a dystopian future where the only living people survive aboard a train in a rigidly stratified society.

Has a few flaws, straddles an awkward territory where it's not quite believable but not quite in the Wes Anderson/Terry Gilliam area where it's plausible fantasy. Even so, thought it was worth watching for some wonderfully exaggerated performances, especially Tilda Swinton as the horrific henchwoman, and some nice visualisations of the future world.

Socioeconomics. Italy’s Banking Crisis Spirals Elegantly out of Control. Debt and ideology. UK's money laundering mess parts 1, 2, 3.

Video. Setting fire to 10,000 sparklers.

Pics. Women in old military uniforms. Stuck pets. London 1941.

Random. Military graphics: what they should mean. Rent a minority.

Politics. Eroding the State in Rojava How to Fund Basic Income in the UK. Scientists attack their 'muzzling' by government . End U.S. Support for the Indefensible War on Yemen. TPP full text revealed. Stop enabling the Democratic Party.

Articles. Tumblr teens. Global terrorism index 2015 (long report). TMZ and its founder. Dating and capitalism. Women in Guyana, via.

Sci/Tech. The Myth of “Mind-Altering Parasite” Toxoplasma Gondii? Early gene flow from modern humans into Neanderthals.

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Heroes of the Federation | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Once Trump builds a huge wall on the border by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Feb 24, 2016 at 07:36:11 AM EST
that Mexico pays for, the War on Drugs will be won, and the narcotic economy in Mexico will disappear.

those mil graphics by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Feb 24, 2016 at 11:35:32 AM EST
are 2525, probably D. It's a messed up thing.

Grand Budapest Hotel: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Feb 24, 2016 at 11:57:17 PM EST
I feel confident saying that Natalie Portman's smoking hot arse shifted a lot of units for the studio.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Agree with the general sentiment by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Feb 25, 2016 at 01:41:28 AM EST
But I don't think she was in it.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
My bad. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Feb 25, 2016 at 11:57:30 PM EST
I was thinking of "Hotel Chevalier" and Ms. Portman's arse.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Money laundering by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Feb 25, 2016 at 07:13:15 PM EST
(Not having read all of the parts yet)

Not sure if you ever read Private Eye (I have a subscription) but it's a topic that they have been hot on. The UK does seem to be a haven for dirty money. A cynical person might even think that the government doesn't even want to stop it. And yes, I am a cynical person.

It seems really odd (or even sick) that we should be expected to admire something like The Shard when the people behind the funding are also supporting Daesh.

Also everyone gets on their high-horse about corruption in third-world governments, but we're happy for the proceeds of this corruption to be put into inflating the London property bubble.

I suppose that it all just shows that people with a lot of money can do exactly as they please. Living the Libertarian Dream.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Corruption is just part and parcel of being a Tory by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 02:48:32 AM EST
Want to know how stupid they think you and I are?

They spell it out for us right here:

In public, right there on their fucking own website: fifty k is the snuggling-up price of access to Dave & co.

I'm not making an argument against political donations or that - it's just, like, you fuckers, do you really have to rub our noses in it like this?

Fucking drives me wild.

[ Parent ]
Well by Herring (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 11:26:41 AM EST
I suspect that Labour were similar up until recently. While Googling for party memberships it pointed me at an old Spectator article. It's a bit out of date since the Corbyn Bump has pulled Labour membership back up around 400k while the Tories are now under 150k.

The message is that politics is no longer of the people for the people. Even "popular" movements like UKIP rely largely on a small number of rich donors.

While typing, I just came up with an alternative funding model. Every registered voter is given a small nominal sum which they have to put towards a particular party. They can change their registered allegiance whenever they want and can opt for a "none of the above". That is the only funding that political parties are allowed.

State funding of parties based upon seats in the commons is horribly biased as we saw in the last general election. This would be fairer.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Party funding by Oberon (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 12:20:45 PM EST
A version of your idea which is actually in use (think it's in Germany?) is on the ballot, where you have one box that registers your vote, and another that directs some small sum of government cash to the party of your choice. This means that you can vote tactically but support the party you'd like to see do better in general.

And yes, if that was done then other sources of funding should definitely be banned, or at least restricted. (There would need to be some provision for starting a new party too).

How now, mad spirit?
[ Parent ]
There's somewhere in the US that's using it too by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Feb 27, 2016 at 06:27:51 AM EST
Not at state level, for something smaller. Maybe even for a school district elections. I'm either picturing it as northern California or one of the Dakotas, but I can't remember where at all.

[ Parent ]
Heroes of the Federation | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)