Blessed are the job creators

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail at 3:34 pm by George Smith

They can always hire way more waiters. Except when they don’t, which is often.

Credit: Mark Smollin.

From the Financial Times, the bogroll standard ‘blessed are the job creators’ shtick:

This urge to punish business with hysterical campaigns is not always driven by pure intentions. The main facilitators are lawyers, often joined by anti-capitalists of one type or another – unions, Occupy activists, leftwing agitators. All tend to have dubious motives, cloaked in weasel words such as “holding the powerful to account???, “fairness??? and “preventing exploitation???.

The BP Gulf oil spill of two years ago cost the business perhaps $40bn in fines, clean-up expenses and payments to various sufferers. No doubt a high proportion of that cash will end up in the hands of law firms that specialise in getting money out of big companies in class action lawsuits. It was certainly a tragedy, with 11 deaths on the rig. Management clearly made serious mistakes. But the west needs oil and drilling for it is inherently dangerous. Are we not all at least partly complicit, by virtue of our addiction to cheap petrol to fuel our consumer lifestyles? (Yes, it’s a shame about all the deformed crabs and things.)

Diverting money from industry that would otherwise be invested to create jobs can only make nations such as the US and Britain less competitive

Companies are sometimes guilty of boasting too much in their advertising, and promising goods they cannot deliver. And occasionally rogues work within organisations, behaving badly in various ways. But if we persist in bashing and suing business like a competitive sport, then how can it grow, generate jobs and help maintain our standard of living? And who would want to be a business leader?

Cue the movie trailer for Atlas Shrugged.

“The writer runs Risk Capital Partners, a private equity firm …” reads the tagline at the FT.

“Anti-capitalists” and “left wing agitators.” I like that. Could be a title for
a song if there weren’t too many syllables. I can make it more groovy: “Hippies and Commies are Harshing My Day.”

On the other hand, from Business Insider, a concession that economic austerity measures, layoffs and paying people in gum hasn’t worked:

Companies like Starbucks could help stimulate the economy, too–by giving their low-wage employees a raise …

Our corporations are as profitable now as they have ever been. So I’d like to see a lot of them voluntarily decide to invest more and pay their low-wage employees more and hire more employees. They can afford it, and “cash flow” isn’t the sole objective or reward of running a business.

Starbucks paying its wait staff more. Yeah, that’ll happen. When Hell freezes over. On the other hand, Starbucks is a perfect company for the demographic of shoe-shiners to the 1 percent.


So much for the US of Awesome Possibilities

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 10:39 am by George Smith

Readers will recall the absurd public relations program launched a month or so ago, one designed to increase tourism and therefore spur economic growth and jobs in the hospitality industry.

You see, it’s recognized we have a bad rep. Lotsa people don’t wanna come here anymore. They don’t dig being run through the anti-terrorism infrastructure.

So the public makeover was sold as a rebranding — visit the United States of Awesome Possibilities.

From a newspaper, as mentioned here in November:

Say hello to “the United States of Awesome Possibilities??? as it looks to visitors from abroad to help lift it out of the economic doldrums.

By soft-pedaling patriotism, the newly-formed US national tourism board tasked with getting more tourists — and their money — onto US soil is reinventing the nation as a hip new land of diversity and possibilities.

“We’re rebranding America for the first time,??? said Jim Evans, chief executive of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, ahead of the World Travel Market that opened Monday in London.

“Over the last 10 or 12 years, people have seen America as unwelcoming as we’ve focused on security …

Today from the wires, two young Englishes, refused entry at Los Angeles International because of exuberant Twitter tweets reported on the national anti-terror tip and squealer network.

From the wire:

A pair of U.K. tourists were arrested after landing in Los Angeles on terror charges after joking on Twitter they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe.’

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was detained last Monday after landing in Los Angeles with his friend, 24-year-old Emily Bunting, according to the British Daily Mail.

Bryan was flagged as a potential threat after tweeting this message about his upcoming trip to Hollywood “@MelissaxWalton free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America? x???

Bryan and Bunting told officials the term “destroy??? was British slang for “party.??? Despite the explanation, they were held on suspicion of planning to commit crimes and their passports were confiscated, the Daily Mail reported.

Bryan was also questioned about another tweet quoting the animated show, “Family Guy:??? “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and digging Marilyn Monroe up!???

Bryan’s luggage was searched for spades and shovels as a result.

General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, he of the no-tax paying corporate multi-national, recommended boosting tourism, not terrorism, as a way of increasing employment:

Boost jobs in travel and tourism. This industry is one of America’s largest employers, but the U.S. has lost significant market share. By making it easier to visit the U.S. through improved visa processes, we can win back market share in travel and tourism and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

But as head of Obama’s expired jobs advisory council Immelt was nothing if not an odious fellow, unmoored from all reality except his own private Idaho.

Apparently homeland security and the TSA never got the memo and sent the Englishes home as undesirables.


What a decade of Homeland Security hath wrought

Posted in Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 2:19 pm by George Smith

Keep in mind while watching this that al Qaeda is, for practical purposes, non-operational after ten years of being pounded on by the US military and clandestine operations machines

TSA stops teen for gun design on purse: wavy.com

Arguing with one of our protectors in such matters is like arguing with a lampshade.

Hat tip to Pine View Farm.

Months ago I said the bad guys won. I stand by it.


OWS, social protest and quashing demonstration

Posted in Decline and Fall, Permanent Fail at 4:49 pm by George Smith

Unintentionally hilarious quote of day, from a San Jose Mercury News piece on OWS and a planned general strike in Oakland:

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce raised alarms about the continued economic impact. “There are a number of negative ramifications from these protests,” said Paul Junge, director of public policy with the chamber. “A number of local businesses are seeing sales drop off dramatically.”

The Fountain Cafe, in the Oakland City Center complex downtown, is among those that have already felt the bite of Occupy Oakland.

“The protests have hurt our business,” said Elias Salameh, owner of Fountain Cafe. “If it goes on any longer, I’m sure it will hurt more.”

Protests, by people demonstrating against mass unemployment (theirs) and economic inequality brought on by plutocracy, criticized for being bad for business.

A strike will hurt shopping and eating!

Missing from the news piece is that for strikes to be effective wounding business is often quite necessary. Or else authorities who believe protesters can be waited out or dispersed by police forces won’t change or be removed.

In this country it’s why private sector collective actions have essentially been squashed up until now. And, one is paying attention, why the GOP has gone after private sector unionization all over the country.

According to the newspaper, not all business is opposed to OWS:

Some businesses intend to close in solidarity with the general strike attempt. Berkeley-based Biofuel Oasis, a worker-owned collective that sells fuel and farming supplies, will shut its doors for the day.

“It’s all about local businesses keeping money in the community and supporting the local economy,” said Ace Anderson, one of the members of the cooperative. “We hope we won’t lose too much business by being closed. But it’s for a good cause.”

Some labor leaders called on their members to take time of work to support the Occupy event.

By contrast, in 2010 a general strike put a dent in business interests in France. It was countrywide and was enabled by unionized workers whose rights and powers were largely protected in ways that were erased in the US in the past decades.

From the New York Times:

The political scientist Jacques Capdevielle noted with surprise that while only 4 percent of French workers were unionized, credible polls showed that a majority of the French supported the [national] strike.

Jean-François Copé, parliamentary leader of Mr. Sarkozy’s party, said Wednesday that this was “the week of truth??? on the pension overhaul and emphasized “the cohesion of the majority and the government??? on the change, saying, “There is no other solution to save our pension system.???

He then criticized the opposition Socialist Party for promoting the demonstrations without a viable legislative alternative and for calling students, whose weeklong school holiday starts on Friday, into the streets. He said he was appalled that “a handful of people have taken the economy of our country hostage by blocking the fuel depots.???

While it did not bring about significant chance, it demonstrated that the French — or at least a good number of them — were willing to go into the street and oppose government austerity plans in a way that did achieve a slow down.

However, it is fairly inconceivable that American citizens and workers could strike and block fuel distribution in this country. But this is more of a reflection on how effective the corporatocracy has been at squashing the willingness to embark on such such things rather than on logistical problems with doing so.

Truckers, for example, could refuse to move fuel. And that would really hurt fast.

Damaging national interests and business through general strikes is a way to get around having to hope for political change through the ballot box. Corporate America destroyed private sector collective action first. And then it destroyed the power of the ballot by buying all candidates and gaining permission to anonymously give unlimited amounts of money to cut-out political agencies opposed to change. (In a manner of speaking, corporate America was given permission to do the kinds of things the CIA does to destabilize and undermine foreign governments and leaders — with the exception of supplying arms.)

Between elections this leaves only general strikes brought about by groups with substantial popular support, like OWS. Or, eventually, a rebellion.

If you take the long view, from the standpoint of security for everyone and stable government, it is better to enact positive change before the natives are so provoked they begin looting and burning.

At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi advocates OWS members withdraw their cash from Bank of America.

It’s fairly lame, although not entirely so, in light of how bad things are.
And it’s reminiscent of Bill Maher’s idiotic call, one nobody really remembers, to divest from big banks about a year ago.

I wrote about that here.

Paradoxically, one of the banks in Maher’s list of suitable new banks for holding your money was OneWest, an institution a few OWS members in Pasadena targeted a couple weeks ago.

On the other hand, OWS drawing attention to Bank of America as a very bad institution in the hopes that larger agencies and groups involved in doing business with will divest is an entirely … capital … idea.

Noted this summer: Installation of bullet-proof see-through polymer between tellers and clientele at the Bank of America at the corner of Colorado and Lake in Pasadena.

Scary Story: A stupid tale of our crap cowardly leaders

Posted in Bioterrorism, Decline and Fall, Extremism, Permanent Fail at 7:34 am by George Smith

Today’s top news item, a whoopie cushion expose in which the lousiest national leadership in national history, the GWB administration, believed it was exposed to botulinum toxin.

Why is it so bad? Well, our leaders — so benighted and fixated on the war on terror — were obviously too stupid to pick up the phone and get someone who would have told them right away that a detection was a false positive with absolute certainty.

Why with absolute certainty?

First — because bioterrorism detectors really don’t work very well. And they didn’t work at all reliably when this actually happened.

Second — there was no intelligence or evidence anywhere in the world that indicated al Qaeda or anyone, besides the United States biodefense industry, could make botulinum toxin into the potential weapon which the alleged attack would have represented. (In fact, there was only one company that leaked botulinum toxin during the height of the war on terror and it was here and on the inside of the homeland security industry. But the details aren’t important to get into for this post.)

The story reveals the absolute meretriciousness of so much American threat assessment. Identification of threats, not by way of any evidence, but by errant and lousy technology and potentials dreamed up by “advisors” and “experts” on what they think WE could do with all our resources.

From the wire:

It was just a few weeks after September 11, 2001 when Condoleezza Rice accompanied the president on a trip to China for the APEC summit. In Shanghai Vice President Cheney appeared on a secure video conference line and delivered President George W. Bush this message:

“The Vice President came on the screen and said that the White House detectors have detected botulinum toxin, and we were all– those of who exposed were going to die,??? Rice told me.

He said that?

“Yes, he said that. And I remember everybody just sort of freezing, and the President saying, ‘What was that? What was that, Dick?’??? Rice, who was the National Security Advisor at the time, said.

Botulinum toxin is, according to the Center for Biosecurity, the “most poisonous substance known??? and “extremely potent and lethal.???

The exposure time meant that she and those on the trip — Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card — were all at risk, Rice told me.

The next day, the poisoning was confirmed as a false alarm by whatever great national lab had been employed to find out. No test mice breathing cups of White House air had died.

Folks, this is nothing but pure proof of epic fail in leadership, a tale of our self-absorbed leaders who believed in nothing but their own idiotic ghost stories and the machine that supported them in that.

These were the kind of people you’d laugh at on the SyFy Channel if they were the poorly dressed moron freak show reality actors on Ghost Hunters, stumbling through old houses with their Radio Shack cameras and night vision goggles, wondering if the cold draft just felt or creak heard from a dark corner was evidence of something from beyond.

What’s the big difference between the Ghost Hunters crew and our old national leaders? Not a trick question. Answer: The Ghost Hunters didn’t have the power to wreck the country.

This story, if you’re asking, is apparently courtesy of Condoleeza Rice’s new book, something called “No Higher Honor.” No higher joke.

If you had a class at Stanford with this person you’d be moved to throw things.

Another sad part is that most journalists simply don’t know enough about such details from the war on terror to get they’ve been fed still another worthless but demoralizing turd wrapped in the shiny paper of a new book announcement.


Lloyd worries about lynching

Posted in Permanent Fail, Rock 'n' Roll at 8:16 am by George Smith

From the wire:

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired a prominent Washington criminal law attorney to defend him against any charges resulting from government investigations into the financial crisis.

Blankfein, one of the most prominent and successful figures on Wall Street, retained Reid Weingarten, an attorney known for representing clients in high-profile cases of alleged corporate wrongdoing …

The decision to bring on a top legal name such as Weingarten suggests how seriously Blankfein is taking the investigation and that there could be a new push to investigate the firm and its executives on criminal grounds.

“He’s got an incredible amount to lose, and there’s a lot of anger out there,” said Philip Hilder, a criminal-defense attorney in Houston …

Let’s Lynch Lloyd Blankfein — the song.


There is nothing wrong with your TV set

Posted in Permanent Fail, Phlogiston at 3:35 pm by George Smith

Readers may have noticed DD blog went wonk yesterday afternoon.

WordPress’s MySQL database handling on Yahoo is not particularly robust.

In fact, it’s a regular effort to keep the database from going bad. It’s just a matter of how bad things go and when the software decides to warn you by — soonest, or latest — by crashing.

Short story, the “post” table was corrupted, starting sometime earlier in the week. But it didn’t crash hard until Friday after the last Ted Nugent post.

This set off an immediate scramble to repair it, a task the administrative tools — which regularly work — politely declined to do.

So an emergency rollback restore from back-up was done. And that took the blog back to the 13th. Which isn’t a particularly big loss of data.

However, it’s annoying. And during the process of repairing it I was informed, rather helpfully — I might add, by Yahoo tech support that it’s not an uncommon problem with WordPress installations here. Which is why they have a good procedure to help people get back up off the ground.

Which surprised the heck at out of me. Because nothing like it was in place back when I first started using WordPress here and the blog editor crashed and couldn’t be revived, forcing a migration back to Blogger.

Which is another old painful story, recapped here.

Computing in the cloud. Fun, fun, fun ’til daddy takes the d’base away.


David Stockman calls Jeff Immelt a “crony capitalist”

Posted in Permanent Fail at 1:11 pm by George Smith

Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC was worth a cynical laugh just a few minutes ago.

David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s old Director of the Office of Management and Budget, was a guest and near the end of the show he lit inot General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, calling him a “crony capitalist” on the telephone crying to Bush Sec’y of the Treasury Henry Paulson for a government bailout of Wall Street.

This tableau comes from good boy Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail, now in movie form on HBO.

General Electric’s GE Capital division had gotten into the same toxic asset trouble as the rest of the Wall Street titans and the book (or at least the movie) have him on the phone with Paulson demanding a rescue of the system after the collapse of Lehman Brothers has caused a domino effect on Wall Street and runs on the investment giants.

Now Immelt is more famous as the CEO of GE, the country’s biggest corporate tax evader. And as one of the leader’s of President Obama’s Jobs and Economy advisory group who, last week, offered as an unemployment solution the boosting of tourism and encouraging more out-of-work people to return to re-education camp enroll in community college.

Immelt, in other words, is a major annoyance, a corporate enemy of the middle class, if average Americans know of him at all. (He’s a beneficiary of my Lloyd Blankfein Rule which stipulates your head is safe from the noose as long as most of the people don’t know who you are).

Paradoxically, GE’s p.r. arm, in an effort to make people feel good about the company, is pushing commercials featuring the company’s investment and financial services arm, GE Capital.

Reader J points out a belated article at the Register on Apple, Google and other big American companies demanding lobbying for a tax holiday on their overseas cash reserves, dangling the blackmail of “job creation” if they get a free pass to bring it back into the United States. (Aside: It’s difficult to muster up much personal enthusiasm for a Reg piece like this since the publication decided to up and ignore me after many years of contribution.)

Anyway, if you read this blog you know tax holidays for US corporations are just bribes. Bad bribes, actually, which don’t result in any of the benefit in job creation those who wish to be bribed promise.

Like, yeah, Apple — which produces all its iKit in every poorer places in the interior of China — is going to create lots of jobs in the US. Sure. Yeah, I hear they’ll be hiring hundreds of thousands of little nerd associates for the Apple stores real soon now.

Come to think of it, don’t read the Register piece. It points to a video the New York Times has made on tax avoidance and repatriation matters.

My video on GE is much much better. Plus, you get a good song for free.

The Empire’s Dog Feces: Arms manufacturing -is- entitlement spending

Posted in Permanent Fail, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 7:22 am by George Smith

A good deal of this blog has been devoted to the Economic Treason and Empire’s Dog Feces tags over the past twelve months. Both deal with the only area where American manufacturing jobs are protected: arms manufacturing.

The rest of the country has been allowed to wither. The primary US export to the world is weapons. The country now leads in very little except minor innovations in the fields of smart bombs and unmanned flying killing machines which are of no benefit to anyone except the CEOs of the companies that make the things.

Imagine! The nation that invented rock ‘n’ roll and the electric guitar shipped all that stuff away and fired most everyone involved in making the equipment for it.

But the M1 tank, the F-16, the MRAPS, all the flying drones and idiotic robots and pathetic ray gun test systems — all that stuff is protected labor for which any price will be paid.

Imagine! This is a country that spends more on its expanding killer drone budget for obliterating small numbers of paupers and the even more unfortunate around the world than it wants to expend on ensuring that our food and drugs are safe.

Pine View Farm tips us to an article on the same in the Asia Times today.

An excerpt from the A Times piece:

If [the weapons shops] were disbanded, the economy would be crippled by soaring unemployment, plant closures, and bankruptcies.

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power, writes:

Most politicians understand … that weapons production is currently the number one industrial export product of the US. They know that major industrial job creation is largely coming from the Pentagon. Thus most politicians, from both parties, want to continue to support the military industrial complex gravy train for their communities.

I’m considering starting a new blog category. Permanent Fail has filled up quickly. Now we’re into the Decline and Fall stage. It needs its own category.


Bombing Paupers: As a national strategy

Posted in Permanent Fail at 9:32 am by George Smith

I’ve started discussing the complete disconnection of the military and national security aims with anything remotely of interest or value to the welfare of the middle class.

For want of a better tag on the blog, I’m using “Bombing Paupers” to describe the goal. It is directly connected to only a certain slice of wealthy interests in this country and, from the outside, it now always looks like the haves attacking the have-nots.

The defending freedoms in the homeland (or any variation on it) shit just doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it’s as risible a statement as the assertion that Fox News is “fair and balanced.”

At EZSmirkz, on “decline and fall” of trust in American government:

It is easy to be against war because there are no real winners.

Whether one wins or loses the loss of life and treasure cripple both victor and vanquished, devastate economies and engender hatreds that last for generations.

America has seemed to have brought losing wars by a thousand cuts to an art form, articulating goals for military action that it is either unable or unwilling to achieve, and then going through a series of stop gap measures to preserve national pride in the face of inept leadership.

There are no strategic goals, that I have heard, for any of these current wars. Preserving democracy and freedom is a wonderful sentiment that has absolutely zero strategic implications. It is touchy feely. But there is absolutely no sense in what we hope to achieve strategically in either Afghanistan or Iraq. With Libya I can see two, the preservation of the Arab Spring, and the preservation of American power in the Middle East.

Much more of it here.

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