Guest Post - GameStop
Minivet writes: Here's a basic link.
Some of my thoughts, mostly assembled via Twitter scraps:
* I have a hard time imagining super-small-time investors are moving the market as the Robin-Hood narrative is implying. I suspect this is mostly people able to gamble thousands without risking a lot of their portfolio - e.g., millionaires or more. And there were also intimations that other big traders may have quietly been in on the scheme.
* Per the link, the app Robinhood was apparently selling data on its trades to another hedge fund that specializes in high-frequency trading, so at least one other big'un was probably cleaning up.
* Anarcho-capitalism is apparently rife on the subreddit at issue, and that's a pretty abhorrent/childish philosophy.
* There was a tweet with screenshots of some redditor using their new-found riches to pay off the debt of someone else online deeply in need, and that really smacks of propaganda targeted to keep up their Robin Hood narrative. (Not that it's necessarily a lie.)
* All that said, to the extent this mess is used to boost higher taxes on capital gains and/or high-frequency trading, great.
* To the extent it's "let ordinary people day-trade, you tyrants!", barf.
* How different was the original Reddit scheme from penny-stock pump-and-dump scams, except plotted partially in public?
Heebie's take: (First, sorry for not getting something up about this sooner. It's such a fun topic.)
Yesterday on Reddit, the place was flooded with posts about how Robinhood has shut down trading on Gamestop, and some of the posts were implying that they've only shut it down for small scale individuals, thus letting the hedge fund managers figure out how to recoup their losses, unperturbed. I don't know how true that last part is.
From Minivet's link:
It's somewhat questionable whether what the Redditors did is strictly legal, and Nasdaq has already vowed to halt trading on any stock linked to what it is terming unusual social media activity. On one hand, unlike what Melvin (and many other hedge funds) do, what the Redditors did was all done out in the open. On the other hand, if people who worked for an investment firm stated their intent to change the price of publicly traded stocks by buying them in specific ways, they would probably have gotten into trouble with financial regulators.
I'm having trouble seeing why there's any problem with what the Redditors have done. What qualifies as anarcho-capitalism and how does it play out in problematic ways? Does Wallstreet itself ever qualify?
Guest Post - Covid Survey
Minivet suggested that it might be interesting to survey and see in numeric form how we've all been affected, as a community, and put together the following:
Disclaimer: I'm thinking about how to make the results visible to all, so DON'T share your mother's PIN, Moby.
Check Ins, Reassurances, and Concerns, 1/27
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Link: They Hate Her Because She's Pretty
Charleycarp sends in AOC's Attractiveness Drives Us All Mad. It's fantastic and insightful.
Let me see if I can capture the gist of it:
1. AOC is gorgeous and it makes the right lose their mind.
2. If the author comments on this phenomenon, the left gets annoyed that the author is reducing AOC to her looks. She's also smart and well-educated, etc.
3. The lefty responders are operating from this stance:
Good people with good politics do not talk about how someone looks. It's one of the primary popular takeaways from second and third wave [white] feminism: do not comment on bodies EVER.
4. The author, however, feels like so:
I do not think AOC is just or only pretty. I am not going to defend myself on this. My track record on such things is public record. I let my archive speak for me.
I do think that we underestimate and misdiagnose the source of AOC's ability to drive the right absolutely nuts because we want to believe that they share the same values that we share.
5. I'll let her put her conclusions in her own words:
I believe that we ascribe "smart" and "intelligent" post hoc to power. I believe that powerful people, particularly white men, believe that their power is justified by their genetic endowments. I believe that they operate from the assumption that whatever wins, is also smart.
I believe that attacks on AOC's academic credentials are not evidence of deep feelings of inferiority. Power shapes emotions and emotional lives. Powerful people simply do not experience shame the way that we do and the way that we operate as if they do. It makes little sense that one who believes they are genetically endowed would feel shame when compared to AOC's superior intellect.
I believe that in this worldview, which is the dominant one, beauty is seen as the only legitimate capital that women are allowed possess. But beauty is supposed to serve power's interests. When beauty occurs in an "unruly body", such as a non-white person's body, then it is an existential threat.
In other words, they can't help but think she's beautiful, and so she possesses large amounts of the one currency that they actually grant to women. But she's not using her currency to shore up their status, and that makes them lose their fucking shit.
Guest Post - Apologies
Hydrobatidae writes: Mama-Instagram* is suffering the after effects of it coming out that one of the major stars was a Trump contributor** So far she hasn't offered an apology or even an explanation. I unfollowed her after some thought because I wanted to do my part not to support white supremacists. But I had to think about it because my follow/unfollow is insignificant in the Instagram environment and I wanted to follow the drama and see the response (I just search once in a while which is probably also helping her metrics).
Once I decided to unfollow I was wondering if there was anything she could say or do that would make me change my mind. And I realized, nope. I thought he was a horrible human while he was running for GOP leadership and that people who thought otherwise were idiots. Everything I've learned since has upheld that belief. If you thought otherwise or voted for him or gave him money (I cannot imagine), I think at best you are ignorant and can't really be trusted to parent, and at worst, you're evil. I've settled on kinda evil for most Trump voters***
Anyway, my question to Unfogged - what do we/I owe Trump supporters or donors if they apologize? I assume we'll get some in the next few years?
*my term for the white women who offer advice on baby and toddler behaviour including things like sleep, learning, and eating. I do think this broad group is pretty conservative and Christian but I try to find the non-evangelical ones
**a sleep Instagrammer. Had almost 2 million followers, down to 1.3 million. Husband is pediatrician, lives in San Diego, mixed race kids.
***I'm particularly bothered by the children separated from their parents at the border so this woman donating to a monster who condoned and encouraged that is just absolutely galling to me. I cannot think what is so important to her that she would choose to support him. I'm guessing it rhymes with shamortion.
Heebie's take: This is a topic I'm intensely interested in. I work and live among Trump supporters. They're not a majority, but they're not nothing. My guess is 25-30% of the people where I don't have a choice whether to associate or not with them probably voted for Trump?
So first there's a category of people where I think "You'll never apologize and we'll never address it, and my opinion of you is permanently damaged by my suspicions." Second there's a category of people where MAGA/Qanon will be an increasingly salient part of their personality. I imagine these people will become pariahs, and their bosses will quietly document justification to let them go from their job, and they will basically cease to be functional members of society.
So can a Trump supporter apologize and make amends? Maybe, but it would need to involve some serious soul-searching and a wholesale change in politics, I think, and a navel-gazing exposition of why and how they came to recognize the depth of their depravity. If it has even a whiff of "we went too far, but mostly let's agree to disagree" then they can fuck right off.
I've been thinking of a variation on this question too: how much compassion and sympathy is due to these families - everywhere! - who are losing their loved ones to Covid after the loved one and all their surrounding family members flagrantly and consistently disregarded all available safe modifications to their lifestyle for the past ten months?
I feel mixed. I'm sorry that you think scientists and leftists are annoying nerds who won't stop nagging, but you killed your loved one (or they killed themself) out of that belief. And contributed to the deaths of innocent people who were trying their best to stay safe.
Guest Post - Bananapants
Nick S. writes: This twitter thread is amazing . . . long but worth reading a more or less live-tweetstream of reading a batshit crazy legal filing (which, among other things, cites Gondor as relevant precedent):
This is a bananapants clownshoes performance. Except they're wearing the bananapants on their heads, the shoes on their ears, and nothing else.
Heebie's take: It starts off like so:
Good morning, post-election frivolous performative litigation followers - we've got another new filing in Seditionists v 117th Congress et al.
It's yet another motion for a Temporary Restraining Order - making it the 3rd in 3 days.
And it's a DOOZY.
And ends up finding excerpts like so:
OH.— Mike Dunford (@questauthority) January 22, 2021
They want the entire government (less the judiciary) placed into "a state of stewardship" on an ex parte basis *pending* actual proceedings.
I can't even. pic.twitter.com/oGpZFCMTWU
Jammies told me about some audio he heard from January 6th, where the mob makes it into the chambers and is like, "Where is everybody?!" Like, they're shocked that the politicians have been evacuated.
It's like they thought storming the capitol would be similar to when it was in vogue to open carry your most fearsome machine guns into Target. That everyone would continue shopping or carrying on with their business, but with more flinching and cowering, and you could demand to talk to the manager, and the manager might in fact come out and talk to you. It's just delusion piled on caricature, piled on meth-addled haze of taking apart the entire car to its nuts and bolts.