Pity the Billionaire, the song that never gets old

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 10:04 am by George Smith

If you don’t like my song you’re a moron and should not be reading this blog.

From CNN Money, Tom Perkins, who is now doing it just because it gets him video attention:

“The fear is wealth tax, higher taxes, higher death taxes — just more taxes until there is no more 1%. And that that will creep down to the 5% and then the 10%.”

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes.”

“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

I thought that last bit was already true. Many think the same, no?

This puts Perkins in company with others, notably Ted Nugent, who has lobbied twice for the reciprocal: denying the vote to those who allegedly pay no tax.

Nugent means the poor, the 47 percent, anyone on the left and everyone not-white. And they actually do pay taxes, lots of them. Payroll, sales, regular state-administered car fees, phone service taxes, etc.

From 2012:

“Let’s also stop the insanity by suspending the right to vote of any American who is on welfare. Once they get off welfare and are self-sustaining, they get their right to vote restored. No American on welfare should have the right to vote for tax increases on those Americans who are working and paying taxes to support them.”

And again, last year:

He’ll use his NRA clout to make it law that everyone who buys a gun at a gun show go through a background check if the rest of us will campaign for and help enact law that takes the right to vote for presidential and congressional candidates in elections away from people who pay no income tax.

In his blog, and today in his column at the New York Times, Paul Krugman has been working over the same issue:

In fact, the people who seem least inclined to respect the efforts of ordinary workers are the winners of the wealth lottery. Over the past few months, we’ve been harangued by a procession of angry billionaires, furious that they’re not receiving the deference, the acknowledgment of their superiority, that they believe is their due. For example, last week the investor Sam Zell went on CNN Money to defend the 1 percent against “envy,” and he asserted that “the 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.” Dignity for all!

And there’s another group that doesn’t respect workers: Republican politicians.

“[When] it comes to Americans down on their luck, conservatives become insultingly paternalistic, as comfortable congressmen (in this case, he specifically aims at Paul Ryan) lecture struggling families on the dignity of work,” Krugman adds.

And then there’s the whole thing of denying health care for the poor through the Medicaid expansion because of hatred of the president and … freedom.

The malevolence is personal.

Also by way of Krugman, an academic paper on factors causing rises in inequality, in this case, “capital account liberalisation,” aka rewarding money holders and the ease of sloshing it around the globe, and “fiscal consolidations,” aka policies of economic belt-tightening or “austerity:”

Last month’s World Economic Forum at Davos will be remembered as the one where the rich realised that incomes were unequal. One suspects the rich had always been dimly aware of this fact, but even they seem to have been astounded by the degree of inequality.

There is clear evidence that the decline in budget deficits was followed by increases in inequality.

Fiscal consolidations are followed by an increase in long-term unemployment.

The past three decades have been associated with a steady decline in the number of restrictions that countries impose on cross-border financial transactions …

What happens to inequality in the aftermath of these episodes? The evidence is that, on average, capital account liberalisation is followed by a significant and persistent increase in inequality.

It is a short and easy to grok read.

Sam Zell — from the archives.

Tom Perkins.


The Daily Hatemonger

Posted in Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 12:00 pm by George Smith

Missouri and Wyoming are considering bringing back the firing squad. Good. They’ve got good shots in those states.

There is no debate regarding “pain and suffering” and cruel and unusual punishment with a firing squad.

No link.

Once advocated shooting cats, too.


Finally, Obamacare

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath at 3:06 pm by George Smith

After years of having no health insurance, no health care of any kind, this week I was informed I would qualify for the Medicaid expansion, funded under Obamacare, in California. And I received my benefit identification card in the mail. Prior to the years of zero health insurance I had a junk insurance policy, sold by one of the big providers nationally and in the state. It paid only for some part of a catastrophic illness that would probably kill you within a year. It was the perfect example of a large predatory fee to the insurance industry for years, in return for absolutely nothing, a tremendous business model in American capitalism.

From Taibbi blog, no link, on the standard Republican/libertarian cant on Obamacare:

[You’d] have to be a complete sociopath to assert that expanding access to health care to millions of people doesn’t improve their health – and that the only tangible benefit of health care reform, in fact, will be taking money out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers like yourself, and redistributing it to the incorrigibly unhealthy.

Apparently low-income Americans will have no problem taking money from the affluent – the law will improve their “financial stability” …

Indeed, they are sociopaths.

The Republican Party, WhiteManistan, most of the citizens in the distant land where I spent over half my life, have devoted the last eight years to pushing a philosophy that makes it absolutely clear they want people like me to get sick and die.

They made it personal. And now they can boil in their own oil. I don’t live in WhiteManistan anymore. And the Republican Party in California is dead.

This is a tribe that because of two things, its towering hatred of the president and overriding desire to always malevolently strike at the less fortunate, has denied the service I will have to millions of their own.

It’s the Republican legacy and it’s unforgivable. They are demonstrably the worst.

Now you know why I did this. You write what you know, first hand.



At this point, the rise of the 1 percent at the expense of everyone else is so obvious that it’s no longer possible to shut down any discussion of rising inequality with cries of “class warfare.” Meanwhile, hard times have forced many more Americans to turn to safety-net programs. And as conservatives have responded by defining an ever-growing fraction of the population as morally unworthy “takers” — a quarter, a third, 47 percent, whatever — they have made themselves look callous and meanspirited …

Meanwhile, progressives are on offense. They have decided that inequality is a winning political issue. They see war-on-poverty programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and the earned-income tax credit as success stories, initiatives that have helped Americans in need — especially during the slump since 2007 — and should be expanded. And if these programs enroll a growing number of Americans, rather than being narrowly targeted on the poor, so what?

Still more Krugman, on the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare:

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned much, however, is that another aspect of recent developments — the rapid rise in Medicaid enrollment, despite Republican efforts to block it

Medicaid gets a bad rap. It’s a poor people’s program, and it’s widely assumed that this means poor care. In fact, there’s not much evidence that this is true, and claims that Medicaid patients can’t find care are greatly exaggerated. Beyond that, however, Medicaid is the piece of the US health care system (aside from the VA) that does the best job of controlling costs …

One way to think about this is that Medicaid is actually the piece of the US system that looks most like European health systems, which cost far less than ours while delivering comparable results.

Now, expanded Medicaid is a key part of Obamacare — and so far, despite GOP obstruction, Medicaid enrollments have outpaced insurance through the exchanges.

This comment from the blog post at the Times is worth a read.


2013 America: The gun freaks won & we’re all worse for it

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath, WhiteManistan at 3:26 pm by George Smith

One of the finest demonstrations of the malevolence afoot in American in 2013: The defeat of even slight national gun regulation and the actual loosening of gun laws and promotions of stupidity in the majority of the country, brought on by a horrendous gun slaughter right before Christmas of 2012.

Read the comments. Soak up the psychosis. Pictures of WhiteManistanis toting assault rifles in town became common, a new low. The worst in us won.

“Gun Crazy to the rescue! Gun Crazy to the rescue! Go Gun Crazy, go Gun Crazy! Got to buy a gun at Walmart!”

From the archives, January:

One of the common motivations now on display by the gun nut minority in WhiteManistan is the need to appear threatening. One must either appear on websites or on video, or in pictures, talking about killing others, revolution, or doing something that amounts to waving a gun or assault rifle in the face of average citizens.

Behaviorally, it’s profoundly anti-social, nothing an actual civil society would be proud of. It is not a demonstration of freedom. More accurately, it’s the behavior of people who are more interested in bullying entire swaths of society. And it doesn’t take a degreed expert in human psychology to get it.

The media mainstream has a hard time dealing with it because it comes almost exclusively from white male America, a demographic which has, up until now, been shielded from substantial and continuing pressure and criticism. It’s the equivalent of a symbolic pistol whipping, the behavior part and parcel with the surge in gun and ammunition hoarding, a retail arms-buying stampede in which it has not been difficult to find any number of belligerent white guys proclaiming they’re ready to offer the government armed resistance.

Those flaunting weaponry never admit to why they’re actually doing it. The service is always about generously educating others, allegedly furnishing some social good by showing the safe carrying of assault rifles.

As part of the social good campaign, they took their guns to Starbucks and Newtown.


The perfect ‘money’ for our time

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Fiat money fear and loathers, Psychopath & Sociopath, WhiteManistan at 12:50 pm by George Smith

The tech nuisance demographic that supports bitcoin is a subset of the right wing libertarian tribe. They view it as a way to do their part in destroying tyrannical government. Cody Wilson, for example, the young pest who was sure his 3D-printed plastic gun plans were a strike at government until the US ITAR rules shut him down has migrated to bitcoin wallet-making. (Feel free to add hilarious comments on the need for 3D printing plans for guns in America at the end of 2013.)

You find the same sentiments in old gold bugs, the old white guys of the Republican Party and the old white people known as “preppers.”

Bitcoin is just more high button. It’s literally a “money” for stroking the every-man-for-himself psychology, a “money” that’s perfectly fit to tech sociopaths.

The being said, another fair assessment is that bitcoin is certainly a money for our time.

Although it’s dressed up as being something good for the world in its way of undermining and destroying central banking, it’s really just something that allows some people, a very select few, to make fortunes without doing anything, more specifically, without doing anything that is even remotely a social good. Just like the 1 percent, or Wall Street, or much of corporate America.

Pine View Farm pointed to another biting critique of bitcoin. Here is the link and an excerpt:

But someone’s already out there offering “Bitcoin mining computers,” which cost several thousand dollars apiece. (Notice that you can’t buy one with bitcoin … heh.) They’re selling you the dream of a “magical money-machine.” There’s a sucker born every minute, and that sucker … his “mark” … is you. Be aware. (One unit sells for $14,500.00 and “ooh, hurry up hurry up and buy one before they all get sold-out!”) You should know better. But they’re counting on you having gold-fever …

Another piece of the growing bitcoin scam is seen here, in a long advertorial aimed directly at the old people conned by the incessant ads for buying gold on Fox News and Glenn Beck’s Blaze website.

It’s a make-money-fast video and if you view it you’ll immediately notice the bitcoin name isn’t even uttered until you’re well into it. The revolutionary new money that’s shaking world government is initially referred to as the newest version of “Edison’s dollars.”

On bitcoin — from the archives.


The pure milk of American kindness

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath, WhiteManistan at 11:35 am by George Smith

The NRA filled everyone with hot lead.

Revisit the psychotic hate in the YouTube comments. And you begin to see why it’s turned out this way a year later.


WhiteManistan’s Minister of Fascism gets an idea

Posted in Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 10:44 am by George Smith

WhiteManistan’s Minister of Best Practices in Fascism, Ted Nugent has the cure for ailing America.

He’ll use his NRA clout to make it law that everyone who buys a gun at a gun show go through a background check if the rest of us will campaign for and help enact law that takes the right to vote for presidential and congressional candidates in elections away from people who pay no income tax.

“The voting ‘loophole’ needs to be closed in order to restore fairness in federal elections,” reasons Nugent. It’s not necessarily permanent, he says. If you pay income tax for three consecutive years, your voting rights will be restored. “[Let’s] get it on. We have a country to save.”

(He could also have tied disenfranchisement to enrollment in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. This would have had the added benefit of preserving some of the votes of poor white people in red states where Tea Party governors have refused to take government money for it.)

This isn’t new, only more formally codified. During December of 2012 he also campaigned for disenfranchising “welfare leeches.”

It seems that during the holiday season, one of the things on Ted Nugent’s cheery mind is taking away the vote from all the bloodsuckers, er — not white people, who don’t pay income tax.

No link, obviously.


Saint Paul is salvation

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath at 11:46 am by George Smith

From New York magazine, best headline for a song that just gets better and better:

“Paul Ryan: Poor People Need Jesus, Not Food Stamps”

Paul Ryan fights poverty by telling the poor they are so because the government gives them SNAP and healthcare and he will fix this by taking that away.

Republican Jesus! Hey, amen!

Today I’m announcing the New America Prizes in the war on poverty, eligible to all with like-minded wonderful ideas.

First Prize in the New America War on Poverty will be: A ride-along with Paul Ryan to “inner city neighborhoods” to pep up the poors on salvation! Second prize: Two ride-alongs with Paul Ryan to “inner city neighborhoods” to pep up the poors on salvation.

Want an MP3 for your device? Use this.


The pure milk of American spite — daily, now routine.


Disease is us. We like disease.

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China, Psychopath & Sociopath at 9:16 am by George Smith

From the Guardian, on capitalism and Walmart:

“The bigger question there is why employers feel entitled to employ people, often at low wages, without providing healthcare for them. Is the idea that when they get sick or die, they’ll be replaced like lab rats? That’s a pretty diseased view of how capitalism should work.”

To which I say: Disease is us. We like disease.

Adds the paper, “When Walmart is implicitly acknowledging that its wages won’t let people afford one good dinner, its financial issues are way beyond Obamacare.”

And here’s some discussion from DD blog comments yesterday, resurrected for further use:

We live in a modern Dickensian country, the big item yesterday being the news of a Canton, OH, Walmart store holding a food drive for its sales associates.

The picture [in the Plain Dealer] alone says it all.

Walmart is a company that’s deservedly earned (and earns) … loathsome press. Yet nothing is ever done and conditions never change.

One can think of a lot of creative ways in federal, even state, law could be changed to punish a predatory corporation that uses food stamp subsidy of its workers to keep wages down and enhance its bottom line. One could do a calculation of a business based on its payment of such workers, retrieve an estimated number of them, and deduce what their food stamp benefit would be, then hit the firm with a claw-back in the form of a tax plus a large penalty for victimizing its workers.

Such money, collected nationally, could be given back to workers by placement in a national fund from which they could extract their share by simply presenting proof of employment at Walmart and a photocopy of their latest SNAP card.

With a little thought there could be a lot of remedies like this. None of them could ever happen in our world, unfortunately.

Anyway, from this we can conclude that Walmart management, as opposed to its labor force, consists entirely of sociopaths and that is what they look for when hiring. In fact, we have a national corporate economy, a fascist one, that selects for and elevates sociopaths. It explains why everything continues to turn from bad to worse.

Since it’s been building for decades, a good portion of the voting populace has now been conditioned to view it as normal, even proper, or worse — to be applauded. This, in turn, explains the malevolent nature of modern America.

And here’s a respectable discussion on remedying the Walmart problem, one that also mentions the not-unique idea of using a claw-back:

“The next proposal is more severe: Charge back the amount of public assistance any employee receives to the company he or she works for. It would be separate from tax filings, and simply be a direct penalty charged to the firm. I doubt there is much political will for this proposal, but I can see some people — especially on the Left — supporting it … My politics are pretty middle-of-the-road, and I find myself offended by subsidizing profitable companies this way.”

Could substitute the Waltons for the Kochs. Let’s sing for economic blight. Just sayin’.

Someone should put my Culture of Lickspittle album out on iTunes, I’m telling ya. Then I could come to your town, maybe, and play it for you.

Thanks to those who kept the comments alive over the weekend, if you know who you are and I think you do. It keeps things interesting.


Post rescue: The Amazing Mr. Bezos

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath at 10:19 am by George Smith

Did you know that you can be unqualified for even the most elementary and miserly jobs on Jeff Bezos’ Mechanical Turk? Yes, you might be so lacking you can’t even be an automaton.

Proven again and again, you can apply for human intelligence tasks on Bezos’ digital work bazaar, none of which earn over a dollar and most much less, and find yourself unqualified for any number of reasons from demographic data to the general condition of your MTurk profile.

You can apply for jobs that bluntly state they will take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to complete, never for more than a dollar, and be told in menacing terms that if you do not answer correctly all of a number of trick questions embedded in the task to guarantee the worker is paying attention, you will not be paid. If you answer one of these questions wrong, even by mistake, you are dead.

You can figure out the hourly rate of pay yourself.

Bezos’ smiling face is frequently in the news. He’s lauded as someone who bought the Washington Post and will turn his mighty wealthy tech brain to solving the problems of American journalism. However, it is more helpful to remember Bezos’ big accomplishments are the global digital emulation of the Walmart business model and sharing economy sweat-shop operation. Plus, for well over a decade, Bezos has received the sweet deal of a huge government subsidy, delivered in the guise of escape from sales taxes levied on Amazon goods.

Some economists have even calculated the amount. Writes Dean Baker, “Amazon and Bezos effectively got a subsidy from taxpayers of more than $1.7 billion last year … This was a year in which Amazon recorded a small loss.”

Baker states that the subsidy to the Bezos empire dwarfs Amazon’s profits. He goes further, “[Amazon’s] sales tax exemption vastly exceeds the company’s cumulative profits. This raises the question of whether Amazon would even exist today without the generosity of taxpayers in being willing to subsidize Amazon’s business.”

Have you ever received such gifts?

What Jeff Bezos tech brain is perfect at is constructing and leveraging networked digital tools for corkscrewing others. Mechanical Turk, boiled down, is nothing more than use of desperation in labor and no oversight in creation of a free-lance workforce not even protected by the faintest concept of a minimum wage.

All of it in turn allows Bezos to turn his wealth to vanity projects, like the expedition that recovered the old Apollo 13 Saturn V engine. There is little that tech industry smarts and innovation cannot accomplish! With 100 more Jeff Bezoses, or maybe twice that, surely America would be an amazing place.

I forgot to mention Bezos is the true blue tech industry libertarian, interested in space flight, space hotels and colonization and the clock that’s supposed to run for thousands of years. Perhaps Bezos should be made Minister of Interstellar Exploration or the Secretary of Global and Forward Thinking Minds.

Remember, Kindle, the best thing since the vaccine for polio, too.

On Mechanical Turk Bezos invented the ineradicable “rejected” black mark for twenty cent jobs which fail to please the employer. He invented one click shopping on Amazon. In addition, he has Amazon running two tax avoidance/profit shifting shell companies in Luxembourg or Lichtenstein, one of the L’s.

He helped create the industry for fake book reviews. And this is a remarkable chart of Bezos’ great success, becoming one of the country’s wealthiest tech men while constantly losing money. It is surely worth a Nobel prize.

Originally, from Statista.

First published on my Facebook timeline. Go there, no one comes here.[1] There are more comments, readers and participation. Computer troubles have made blogging difficult.

1. Yep, Facebook is still a world of suck. But to paraphrase something from the Matrix, there are diminished conditions we’re willing to endure.

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