04.25.11

Nugent does his Ayn Rand for the outdoorsman shtick

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 6:34 pm by George Smith

What Ted Nugent should have done was use his column at the Washington Times to review Atlas Shrugged.

Of course, to do it would have required taking a week night or afternoon off between rides to the rib shacks and rodeo barns in Texas at the beginning of his summer tour.

So, instead, he repeats the sub-Ayn Rand-ian lament about the iniquity of punishing the “producers” for the benefit of all the rest of us parasites.

From the WaTimes:

Punishing the producers by taking more of their wealth and giving it to others who have done nothing to earn it is anti-American, historically counterproductive and by all accounts, brain-dead. Additionally, punishing the producers will cause the economy to continue its swan dive into the street.

Last time I looked the Great Recession the John Galts of Wall Street caused the “swan dive into the street.” It wasn’t people on welfare who shipped all the jobs to China in the last ten years.

If you want to read something good and amusing on the adolescent temper-tantrums coded into the DNA of the “producers” who feel put upon by the “parasites” and their theology of the wealthy as supermen, go here

Reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead will help you understand the deep cheap level of attraction for Rand by the intellectual lightweights of the far right,” it informs.

I guess you could call Nugent an intellectual lightweight.

The photos at the top are priceless. Ayn Rand in a snood. Haw!

If you’ve been following Nugent’s columns, either he’s censoring himself or WaTimes editors have cut down his real estate. Recent columns are running at about half the wordage of a couple months ago.

Or there’s this great comic explaining it, republished at Pine View Farm.

Grand winner of GE Lickspittling contest announced

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:44 pm by George Smith

The grand prize winner of General Electric’s Good Time line dance exercise in corporate lickspittling was announced by the company, to little fanfare, Friday.

It’s here.

Even during its own pr stunt, General Electric couldn’t resist putting fingers on the contest scales, just like it puts its fingers on the scales of its corporate income tax bill in the US.

The majority of the winner’s views, according to the video’s own statistical breakdown, came from embedding on property run by GE’s pr effort Without the cheating, the entry would have been less popular, in line with much of its competition.

Which is to say, despite the big pr effort and presence on YouTube, these things were not popular at all.

Had DD’s “GE & Jeff (Taxavoidination)” been in the contest, by numerical count, I would have won.

As part of the astro-turfing campaign, GE paid for fluffer videos from some of the most subscribed to young entertainers on YouTube, pop artists like David Choi and the group, Boyce Avenue.

The promotional videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times. None of it rubbed off. In fact, they look brainless and phoned in for the cash, like this example by Choi.

“This contest is here to promote clean-ness in the world,” says Choi in the video. “That’s a great cause. Who doesn’t like clean stuff?”

He meant clean water. However, apparently, to GE’s dismay, Choi really wasn’t paying attention after he got the check.

Choi apparently has about 800,000 subscribers on YouTube, an astonishing number and an obvious reason why GE solicited him.

It didn’t help. GE’s Ecomagination winner was viewed over 1300 times, nowhere near the return one might expect after pushing by various YouTube celebrities.

Achievement of corporate joy through celebrity and employee pimped astro-turfing — major fail.

As for the “clean stuff,” the company could just have given the bottled water away to the impoverished and skipped the volunteer employee advertising.

Did Jesus ask the crowd for a line dance and some props before he healed the lepers?

Economic Treason: Evisceration of US economy, in a graph

Posted in Made in China, Permanent Fail at 8:42 am by George Smith

Taken from data provided by the US Census Bureau, the above is DD blog’s graph of the increasing trade imbalance with China, plotted over twenty years.

The horizontal axis starts at 1991. The vertical axis tops out at just below three hundred billion dollars for 2010, the number that results after you subtract US exports to China from the stuff we buy from that country.

When I read stories in the news today, you still see politicians, generals, pundits and wealthy celebrities who still either lie about the nature of this disparity. Or who are simply ignorant of reality because only servants do their shopping.

As far as the US middle class is concerned, this country makes virtually nothing non-military but cars, SUVs, wine, beer, prostitutes and high end goods for the plutocracy. Everything that was made here was shipped off by US multi-nationals to China. And that business took off during the Bush administration, slowing only momentarily in 2001 as a consequence of 9/11.

Readers will note it stumbled again in 2008-09 as a consequence of the Great Recession. Wall Street blew up the world economy and demand plummeted on main street in the face of mass layoffs.

If you stare at the graph long enough (a larger version is here), you must virtually arrive at the conclusion that it’s not fixable.

The bottom has been ripped out of the US boat. Full stop. And our leaders and businessmen, through a combination of greed, inaction and malfeasance did the job on us. China was just the enabler.

Look at the slope on the line. There’s no coming back from this level of disaster in our lifetime. What this means for the middle class is obvious.

The President and the ruling class’s pundits, as well as the apologists for the plutocracy, continually make assertions that the US must be retrained for manufacturing jobs of the future.

This is all bullshit. No one in China hired by US multi-nationals needs retraining in any plants making stuff for Apple, Boeing, or Fender and Gibson guitars.

It is, rather, a fob argument used to place the blame for economic evisceration on the alleged failings of the general populace.

The graph makes clear that the US sells minimally to China. Statistically, its insignificant in terms of the larger picture, so any additional arguments on opening up their markets, or the Chinese government allowing its currency to float freely, seem pretty much more bullshit aimed at covering up the underlying calamity.

We sell China some cars and SUVs, one supposes, perhaps meat, booze and some novelty candies.

You think perhaps they might be interested in Disney’s Civil War app for the iPhone?

The graph does not show US arms manufacturing. Outside of cars and jet engines, which are going away fast too as Boeing and GE continue to outsource overseas, weapons (as an exercise in socialism for the benefit of the corporate sector), are the only things this country now gives the world in terms of material goods.

This graph, however, published last year by the New York Times, does make a nice bookend to mine.

This was the “reprise” to China Toilet Blooz on US of Fail. Fashioned as a Captain Beefheart-like tune, the video is of Tom Friedman getting hit with a cream pie, overlain with his standard miscellaneous hogwash on the imagined virtues of China, other than cheap labor. In this particular case, as if it’s participating in some green revolution centered around plastics, to fight global warming.

The quotes were taken from a column in which he dug up one US businessman, who operated “plastic mines” in China, the poor man lamenting on how much he’d like to have jobs here but the US guvmint and people just won’t support him.

Lyrics:

I bought a new toilet
It was made in China
That’s were all the jobs went
Nothing could be finer

You buy that toilet
It was made in China

Crap in a hole!
Crap in a hole!
Crap in a hole!

Buy a bag of lime

They still make that here


This is what makes Donald Trump’s recent claims about fixing jobs lost to China so laughable.

Trump proposes adding a 25 percent tariff to Chinese goods. Since China makes everything the middle class uses as daily sundries, there are no options to “buy American” left here.

Such a step would immediately be felt as a big price hike aimed straight at the US middle class. It would be debilitating and would probably cause an immediate decrease in demand, putting even more people out of work. Of course, the economic contraction caused by this would also cause layoffs in China in the manufacturing sector.

But it would almost assuredly again tank the US economy, or the part of it still based on middle class consumer demand and not Wall Street financial products.


So, how about the jobs left, those in retail, selling all the Chinese-made goods we used to make.

A profile of Paul Krugman in New York magazine concludes in this manner:

“Suppose an alternative history in which big-box stores, Wal-Mart and others, were unionized,” he says. “You could easily imagine that you could have a large number of service-sector workers who were, if not like autoworkers, like manufacturing-sector union workers in the golden age of private-sector unions.”

But that’s impossible now. It doesn’t fit with the plutocracy.

Scapegoating: More grassroots change from the politics of resentment

Posted in Extremism, Permanent Fail at 7:55 am by George Smith

No surprise, anymore, the GOP is just about kicking down the disadvantaged, in their eyes, defending the wealthy from parasites –everyone else.

Nothing from the bunch startles. You expect regular bursts of crazy angry cruelty from the politicians swept into power as a consequence of despondence and Obama’s do-nothing political malfeasance in 2010.

However, it’s still worth reprinting as an example of spite as political action:

Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.

Casswell, a Republican representing Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties, made the proposal this week, reports Michigan Public Radio.

His explanation?

“I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores.

The plan was knocked by the Michigan League for Human Services. Gilda Jacobs, executive director of the group, had this to say:

“Honestly, I was flabbergasted,” Jacobs says. “I really couldn’t believe this. Because I think, gosh, is this where we’ve gone in this state? I think that there’s the whole issue of dignity. You’re saying to somebody, you don’t deserve to go in and buy a new pair of gym shoes. You know, for a lot of foster kids, they already have so much stacked against them.”

Casswell says the plan will save the state money, though it isn’t clear how much the state spends on clothing for foster children or how much could be saved this way.

It would be dishonest not to mention that America has always been full of people like this. In the Seventies, they were plentiful where I grew up. This country has always provided a special fertilizer in the heartland for them — a mix of toxic Calvinism, twisted views of religion in which faith is recast as a set of rules and fables for the damnation of others, and civilization only a few hundred meters removed from Deliverance.

And so the pinched cruelty was a common thread over tense holiday meals in the Smith household, used for browbeating reflection on how the elders never had anything when they were kids and so etc…

The difference between then and now: The lunatics whose distinguishing features were stupidity, lack of perspective, dishonesty and a complete absence of charity weren’t massed and in power. They were just more assholes you knew sitting around a table and taking it out on family members and neighbors.

Like Wisconsin and a large number of other states, Michigan now has a good case of buyer’s remorse, one it can do little about. I don’t care to bet on the odds that 2012 will fix it.


Again, via Pine View Farm.

04.22.11

The Empire’s Dog Feces: The drones fly in, the drones fly out, the maggots play pinochle on your snout

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Permanent Fail at 3:27 pm by George Smith

In the empire the only businesses in growth are the peddlers of dog shit.

Arms manufacturing, General Atomics, Northrop Grumman’s pirate-shooting laser arm, etc.

On the day the Pakistanis give a purely for show ceremonial boot to US drones flying out of Shamsi in order to appease the angry locals, the American drone business gets a boost everywhere else.

Most famously, to Libya, drones now being the symbol of what American corporate military minds come up with when they’re engrossed in another war they hope to never end. Because people in the Middle East do so love the things.

Now, remember the crappy company near DD — Aerovirnonment — and its hummingbird drone? The one I likened to a flying toilet paper core painted green?

They’re one of the many small poxy faces of alleged American progress, or as I wrote:

One salient feature of the US press is the continued fascination with robots that aren’t quite as wonderful as described. The stories and people in them try to convey the impression that innovation and revolution in American technology are everywhere.

The world is always radically changed by the allegedly eye-popping robots and drones produced for the military.

For everyone else, though, it still pretty much sucks.

The economy may be stagnant, the AfPak war conducted forever with the enemy unimpressed and unmoved by US technological might, record numbers of people on food stamps. It’s a sci-fi dystopia from the world of paperback novels. But there are always some sucking off taxpayer dough …

From Reuters we learn that just as the Pakistanis profess undying hatred of US drones, we’ve sold them a bunch of toys, courtesy of AeroVironment. The better to spy on their own people, presumably, who do so love (shown by their many placard-carrying assemblages) made-in-America flying things over their heads.

It reads:

The United States will provide Pakistan with 85 small “Raven” drone aircraft, a U.S. military official told Reuters, a key step to addressing Islamabad’s calls for access to U.S. drone technology.

The official, speaking on Thursday on condition of anonymity, declined to disclose the cost of the non-lethal, short-range surveillance aircraft, which are manufactured by the U.S.-based AeroVironment Inc (AVAV.O) …

The Raven, according to the company website, has a wingspan of just 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) and a weight of 1.9 kilos (4.2 pounds). It can deliver real-time colour or infrared imagery, giving troops on the ground an edge on the battlefield. (Yes, it always sounds good. Repeat as necessary.)

A senior U.S. defence official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Raven drone order is separate from U.S. plans to offer Pakistan much larger, longer-range surveillance drones, a proposition put forward by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a visit to Pakistan in January 2010.

That offer delighted Islamabad at the time but Pakistani officials say those talks have been held up over complaints about the cost proposed by Washington and a slow timeline for delivery.

The U.S. defence official suggested those talks were nearing conclusion.

“We’re in final discussions about which one they really want. They think they want the Shadow,” the senior U.S. defence official said.

Gates had originally offered Pakistan 12 Shadow drones, manufactured by AAI Corporation, a unit of Textron Systems (TXT.N).

AeroVironment stock finished only slightly up today. Wait until next week, maybe, although it’s still perceived to be generally worthless.

Textron stock has been flat, about the same virtually worthless place as AeroVironment.

From which we might deduce the Pakistani deal is the equivalent of giving them a load of flying metal gadget crap no one really cares about.

What, oh what, will the white flesh androids masquerading as people in America’s weapons shops come up with next to offset our very negative balance of trade in manufacturing!?

For the Delight of Adult Children

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston at 8:26 am by George Smith

For the delight of adult children, Michio Kaku is hard to beat. In the past couple of weeks I’ve seen him asked to bring light to the awfulness of the Daichi nuclear disaster on cable news.

It’s the way of the hosts and producers. If you smile a lot, tell wondrous stories and are glib — or are just wonderfully oily — you’re perfect for the jobs of science popularizer and explainer of all problems with a science component.

That’s Michi Okaku.

Earlier in the week, on discussion roped in for the one-year anniversary ‘celebration’ of the BP oil disaster, Kakio burst out:

“The solution for the pollution is dilution!”

Wow. Can’t beat that.

The adult kids who love Kaku need great stories, too. Preferably short, well-repeated ones, because they easily forget things.

“You’re the best guy to talk about this,” comedian Bill Maher says to Kaku before getting the skinny on the tragedy of Daichi, laughing it up.

First, Kaku compares the situation to nuclear facilities being run by a “Homer Simpson,” a rib-tickler he’s pushed for the past couple weeks. [Much audience laughter.]

“This is a science experiment and we are the guinea pigs!” Kaku adds.

The video of the segment is here. If you savor the image of turning a combined tsunami/earthquake/meltdown disaster into 90 seconds of laugh lines, then by all means, go – go – go!

Kaku knows that to keep the adult children cooing and clapping their hands in delight, you need money shots. Kaku’s money shots are his encapsulations, specifically this nose-gold:

“This is a science experiment and we are the guinea pigs!”

Here is Kaku last year, using it twice for the BP Oil disaster (the first incidence comes at about 5:30):


Good news, lads ! Good news! Olbermann may be gone but Michio Kaku ain’t!

A sampling of Kaku yields more riches:

On Daichi: And you begin to wonder, I mean, is Homer
Simpson operating this nuclear power plant?


Again on Daichi, this time on contaminated water leaking from the plant, for MSNBC:Well, think of the little Dutch boy facing all these cracks in a dike. This hole, that hole, that hole has to be taken care of.


For MSNBC, not Maher: We`re witnessing a science experiment with humans, us, as the guinea pig.


Kaku on the book he’s currently flogging, Physics of the Future:

The job market of the future will consist of those jobs that robots cannot perform. Our blue-collar work is pattern recognition, making sense of what you see. Gardeners will still have jobs because every garden is different. The same goes for construction workers. [Who will live in giant shanty towns because they’re only paid minimum for tending the gardens of the wealthy, like in California, now.]

The losers are white-collar workers, low-level accountants, brokers, and agents. Already when you book a flight, do you really talk to anybody? No. People involved in software, ideas, human values, leadership, and creativity will still have jobs in the future. [Like Michio.]

The military, of course, is pioneering this technology. They have a version of this now. I’ve tried it. Through a little eyepiece I saw an entire battlefield, with the positions of friendly troops, enemy troops, and tactics all marked.

Yes, the US military has these things which map out where all things is. That’s working well in [fill in the name of your favorite country we’re at war with.]

Our grandkids will lead the lives of the gods of mythology. Zeus could think and move objects around. We’ll have that power. Venus had a perfect, timeless body. We’ll have that, too. Pegasus was a flying horse. We’ll be able to modify life in the future.

Stoop and bend the knee.

04.21.11

More re YouTube and corporate lickspittling

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 8:53 am by George Smith

If you upload home videos to YouTube you notice the practice of corporate lickspittling attached to your page as monetization. This happens through the ‘promoted’ vids put at the top of your suggested viewing column.

Almost exclusively they’re devoted to corporate efforts, for want of a better description, GE “good time-y” excrement.

For example, lately I’ve noticed a piece from Wells Fargo Bank.

It’s hit count was unbelievable. Really, people click on some thing identified as being from a big corporate bankster?!

So, out of curiosity, I clicked on it to see that not only does the company pimp up the count but that it’s a large group of paid street performers the bank has hired to look like a “flash mob” in New York.

It’s eight minutes long, almost impossible to view for even two, unless you like watching generally no-talent highly contrived collections of people paid to look happy and staged in Manhattan for purposes of advertising.

Closer to home is previously mentioned General Electric’s obvious campaign to get employees (or any miscellaneous crowd of able bootlickers) to spam YouTube with videos of themselves happily line dancing in homage to the “Good Time” commercial.

(In related matters, GE’s Jeff Immelt is also spammed into YouTube by way of various deadening lectures where he’s given the baton of a master of the universe invited to speak before the country’s business schools. These appear to notorious flat tires. And also now magnets for random comments conspicuously hating on General Electric.)

Anyway, here’s country music superstar Alan Jackson — the man who does the “Good Time” tune — shilling for the man, stoking the employee base to upload its line-dancing videos pronto.


Good news, lads! Good news! Water for the poor if you’ll do a line dance!

Now you can still sort of think of it as just a bit of innocent fun. Except this is America in 2011. No big company does this shit just as innocent fun.

It’s squamous, transparently timed as it was in coincidence with the firm’s exceptionally bad image.

As a star of country music, allegedly an of-the-people heartland thing, Alan Jackson surely ought to have been less reptilian.

GE would give away bottled water to the world’s impoverished if American workers do this, Jackson said. Well, they could just have given away bottled water anyway without using it as a small carrot aimed at getting people to spam the happy GE country line dance for purposes of corporate p.r.

You can also make the argument, that corporate-wise, paying for all this, including the little bit of charity bottled water (which can be written off), was still a lot cheaper than paying a reasonable and legitimate corporate tax to Uncle Sam.

If you click on the “watch on YouTube” link you’ll notice the blandishment wasn’t nearly as popular as Alan Jackson’s name would seem to merit. Others seemed to perceive the mildly nauseating smear of corporate lickspittling coating the enterprise.


From Progressives United yesterday:

On Monday, Progressives United and MoveOn.org delivered our petition for GE C.E.O. Jeffrey Immelt to resign from President Obama’s jobs panel — along with your signature and over 200,000 others — to GE corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Because you joined us, we were able to change the debate in Washington. Instead of constantly conceding to corporate interests in order to be seen as “business friendly,” the discussion turned to what really needs to be done to fix our economy, create jobs, and improve our nation’s finances. As you know, the answer is not to give the largest multinational corporations everything they want.

04.20.11

Corporate sociopathy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail at 12:24 pm by George Smith

When the plutocracy and US big business come in for months of bad publicity, they just lobby for more bribes from the US government. And the US government caves in.

In the Middle East, they riot. What’s missing here? What’s been put in the water? It’s not the fluoride. For years after fluoridation the nation did all right with it’s middle class.

From the frontpage of the delivery edition of LA Times, above the fold, today:

U.S. corporations have enjoyed a two-year bull run on Wall Street. They are sitting on a record amount of cash and are back to paying bonuses that are the envy of executives around the world.

And the icing on the cake for many of them might be just around the corner: a tax cut that has bipartisan support in Congress.

As part of their budget plan passed last week, House Republicans want to cut the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%. The Obama administration and many Democrats also are looking to slice the current rate, but not as much.

Supporters of the corporate tax cuts say they’re needed to make U.S. companies more competitive with their foreign counterparts, and the administration and House Republicans say they want to offset rate cuts by eliminating unspecified loopholes and tax breaks.

Yet despite complaints that they fork over too much money to Washington, U.S. corporations have been paying an increasingly smaller share of federal taxes over the last half-century.

Nearly a third of all federal taxes came from corporations in 1952. Last year, they paid just 8.9%, according to government figures. Loopholes, credits and the ability to shelter earnings abroad have helped many of the country’s biggest companies pay far less than the corporate tax rate set into U.S. law.

Take Hewlett-Packard Co., which reported $11 billion in pre-tax earnings in 2010. Its chief executive for most of the year, Mark Hurd, earned $24 million in salary and other compensation, and three other executives earned more than $9 million apiece.

The company said it paid $2.2 billion in income taxes — a rate of 20.2%, well below the 35% U.S. rate.

(Note distinction as frontpage news in the delivery edition. On-line, the LA Times cyber-dummkopfs buried it.)

Big business ratchets up the class war against the middle of the nation. And then, except in Wisconsin and Michigan, the sound of crickets or huzzahs.

And from yesterday’s litany of corporate sociopathy:

This is a stark turnaround from the 1990s, when 2.7 million jobs were created in multinational units abroad while 4.4 million were added at home. All told, these major companies employ one-fifth of all working Americans, 21.1 million in 2009. The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The data provide fresh context to the tepid job growth experienced during the past decade even at the height of the boom. And while small businesses create most jobs, the larger corporations tend to provide higher salaries and better benefits for American workers. The strength of their domestic operations is also critical to small-business vendors.

No easy fix for this trend is to be found. The world is awash in cheap, high-skilled labor. The fastest-growing markets are in Asia. In China, especially, American corporations are pressured to set up factories and even research facilities there — not that they probably need much nudging. According to the Journal, 30 percent of GE’s business was overseas in 2000, while today 60 percent is. As a result, 54 percent of GE employees are located abroad vs. 46 percent in 2000.

The statistics are irrefutable. You give corporate America tax breaks, or allow it to abuse the tax code, it ships jobs overseas anyway. Lower taxes create no new jobs domestically. There is no trickle down.

The only thing that does happen is the the big business lobby runs another stick-up on the US government, threatening to shoot the dog it’s already shot a few times if it isn’t sufficiently bribed right away.

Could the news out of General Electric be any worse? Jeff Immelt could get caught tormenting the neighbor’s cat in video and the president wouldn’t get rid of him. However, the guy who speaks the truth about the treatment of Bradley Manning looking bad had to go.


Again, tipped by PVF.

04.19.11

Nugent ticked about Bryant fine, emits standard slurs

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 6:23 pm by George Smith

No surprise, Ted Nugent is an Islamophobe, a homophobe, etc. Like all the Teahadists, he’s a phobe of every human being not exactly like him.

So the recent fine levied against Kobe Bryant for calling a referee an effin’ faggot has put him in a tizzy.

So look out, he’s at his usual winning best in the pages of the Washington Times:

If the NBA had any true gay convictions, the NBA should host a Homosexual Night. During halftime, the homosexuals could come down on the court, hold hands and prance around the court to music by the Village People. The NBA could then give each homosexual a pink basketball as a symbol of solidarity.

Uncle Ted considers himself quite the humorist. But where was the copy editor for that lede sentence?

“Homosexuals are a protected class in America,” he adds. “If you think what happened to Mr. Bryant was a travesty, just wait until you see what homosexuals in the military do when they claim they have been mistreated because of their sexual orientation.”

Economic Treason: GE’s tax rate, from Mother Jones

Posted in Permanent Fail at 11:06 am by George Smith

As part of this blog’s economic treason discussions it is again emphasized that not only is General Electric a giant tax avoider … but that it also is not at all averse to taking lots of middle class tax dollars for GE Aviation
in its arms manufacturing business.

GE, along with Wall Street, corporate sociopath poster boys.

Only Little People Pay Taxes — at Mother Jones.

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