The Plutocrat’s Instruments

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China, Rock 'n' Roll at 2:06 pm by George Smith

Today, more ridiculous advertising from the American guitar industry, one among many good examples of inequality, the abandonment of a middle class society, and the shift of domestic manufacturing to lavish goods for the one percent and their still employed white collar servants.

If you follow the rock instrument industry you run into hordes of American men who actually think these things are fine, to be coveted, great artisan examples from America’s top-of-the-heap craftsmen. And if you look for video tours of the Fender Custom Shop, you easily find hagiography in which the people who put together priced-for-the-aristocracy basic electric guitar models designed fifty years ago are called master builders. It’s to laugh bitterly.

Here, the eight thousand dollar Fender telecaster, customized until its original reason as an instrument for the Bakersfield country sound or weekend entertainment in the beach ballrooms of southern California.
Better, follow this link to pricing for crystal pickguards.

Fender is the choice for this lampooning in the Culture of Lickspittle because it is a company that continuously drapes itself in the glories of its decades past history when it no longer has any moral or legitimate connection to it other than the fact that the instruments look the same.

You can say many things about the two wine ads. What you can’t say is that they have something to do with the rock ‘n’ roll, only that the concept and spirit of it is demonstrably dead at Fender. When you’re a music equipment manufacturer passing off 35 dollar bottles of snob wine from Sonoma as something cool you deserve to be put down.

Readers may note that six bottles of said Fender wine cost 80 dollars more than a Fender telecaster, made in China, pictured below.

These advertisements are only small bits from the great national decline: Once justifiably famous businesses, places where things that changed the world for the better were made by everyday people, now corporations focused on making intelligence-insulting and/or idiotic luxuries for the top class who laughably think of themselves as rock n rollers.

Today’s face of American employment, what’s left for you when nothing else is available, the great innovation of crowd-sourced free-lance slave labor. May more soon be welcomed into it.

My account on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, the pay stub after a half day of work.


Postcards from WhiteManistan

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 10:10 am by George Smith

WhiteManistan’s Minister of Public Bigots, Ted Nugent, devotes his weekly column at World Net Daily to a bizarre shooting at a barbershop/gambling parlor in Detroit.

It’s the usual dog whistle for old white Republicans who just know, just know, that all cities are violent cesspools of African American gangsters made that way by decades of Democratic welfare programs.

But, to his best writing (“best” being an elastic and relative term) which signals the age of his audience:

“The AP reported that three Detroiters recently got more than a haircut at Al’s. Seems they ended up on a cold slab at the Motorcity’s cooler after a couple of hatchmen [sic — ‘henchmen’ or possibly, ‘hatchetmen’ ] with roscoes filled Al’s Barbershop with hot lead. Six or so other people were taken by the band-aid bus to the local hospital.”

The cooler! Roscoes! Hot lead! Band-aid bus! The first three are old noir gold but I don’t think ‘band-aid bus’ was ever popular in an Edward G. Robinson or Bogart movie.

“No one will say the trigger pullers are punks, thugs and urban degenerates,” writes Ted, but he will, many times in the space of a few paragraphs, god bless.

The best Ted prose delivers to the old peoples of WhiteManistan the same message, to them irrefutable logic, so in this the “hatchmen urban degenerates” of Al’s are only the essay’s conveniences:

“If Mr. Obama wants to blame something for this other than the punks who pulled the trigger, he might want to inform America that for the past 50 years social welfare programs designed, engineered and promoted by liberals have wreaked havoc on black families across America.”

I myself had to dodge a spray of bullets in Pasadena, just yesterday.

Sarah Palin kicked off her book tour in Bethlehem, WhiteManistan, where I used to live and work, a couple days ago.

From the local paper, where I also did stuff:

” ‘She is the embodiment of American exceptionalism,’ said Ronnie DelBacco of Easton … [Palin’s book] attacks the idea that modern, consumerist America is at war with the religious symbolism of Christmas and even the greeting, ‘Merry Christmas.’ Palin writes of Scrooges, who often exhibit liberal or left-wing tendencies, like listening to National Public Radio, and their failure to grasp the true meaning of the season.”

Scrooges of left-wing tendencies, as far as something from an American exceptional gold-plated dummkopf goes, is pretty good!

If I were still at the newspaper I would have lobbied to do a Nightclubbing on the event, considerably more amusing, and a guarantor of a bag of colorful hate-mail the next day.

Because as virtually all Americans know, when it comes to the work of Dickens, the most famous character is Ebenezer Scrooge, liberal Commie!


Liquidate your life in the sharing economy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:20 am by George Smith

The revolution of global networks is now in high gear developing those fabulous on-line bazaars where those with capital can leverage the desperation of the out-of-work or underemployed through the simple power of apps and smartphones. Obamacare will be a necessity in this new world, asserted NY Times columnist Tom Friedman over the weekend. This is because we’ll need subsidized healthcare when the winner-take-all national economy introduces almost everyone to pauperism.

As usual, Friedman was developing this wisdom in the best place in the world in the wart on the tip of Malaya known as Singapore (no link):

AT the recent New York Times forum in Singapore, Eleonora Sharef, a co-founder of HireArt, was explaining what new skills employers were seeking from job applicants, but she really got the audience’s attention when she mentioned that her search firm was recently told by one employer that it wouldn’t look at any applicant for a marketing job who didn’t have at least 2,000 Twitter followers …

For the masses of Americans, uncompetitive, unskilled and without a huge count of social media bootlicks, Obamacare will cushion the fall as they try to accumulate income by renting themselves and their possessions out to the upper class and their toadies at economy prices:

This could mean leveraging your skills through Task Rabbit, or your car through Uber, or your spare bedroom through AirBnB to add up to a middle-class income.

Since many, if not all, of the new poor and about to be so are renters, unless they sub-let, renting the extra bedroom may be hard. Or it may be out of the question because one is already living in a small space, perhaps something formerly called a big closet, with three or four others, not your family.

The only good thing about Friedman’s column was that the comments were uniformly unkind, many people now being wise to the frauds passed off as innovation in the sharing economy.

Today on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an hour of work netted not even a penny.

Three “human intelligence tasks” were returned when it was discovered they either required one to write an essay about one’s life or solve a very long series of word puzzles, taking at least an hour, delivered with threats that one better not cheat or no payment, a big fifty cents, would be rendered. Direct as well as veiled threats in job listings for work that pays a few dimes are common on Mechanical Turk.

More common tricks now used by a variety of American corporate and academic chiselers on Mechanical Turk include not describing exactly what the “human intelligence task” is until it is accepted. The reasoning here is recognition that even very desperate people won’t take some jobs because they are exceptionally losing propositions. And that by not describing such shit sandwiches, the worker can be enticed into accepting them. There is then a random chance the worker will complete the job rather than throw it back in the employer’s (requester’s) face.

Last week the Culture of Lickspittle trumpeted Google’s latest attempt to impoverish more masses of people by finely polishing the winner-take-all economy. The new thing is called Google Helpouts.

I excerpt from one of the many intelligence-insulting things written of it, a blurb entitled “The new killer app is a real human being”:

What’s really great about the expert help movement is what it does for the economy. Right now, there is an unknown number of people with enormous amounts to offer to the world, but no way to offer it. Retired people who spent a lifetime accumulating knowledge, for example, are living without income right now, just as people are out there wishing they could learn from somebody who knows.

People without good healthcare insurance and who can’t get to a doctor can get medical advice inexpensively.

Others who want to start a small business — say, a consulting company — can start with Helpouts, then grow their clientele into a full-fledged consultancy.

These new services connect the demand for help with the supply. Because it’s all online, each party can live anywhere. People in small towns can both get expert help and give it…

I don’t know about you, but I’m really loving this new trend.

Let’s dissect the claims of the moron.

“Right now, there is an unknown number of people with enormous amounts to offer to the world, but no way to offer it. Retired people who spent a lifetime accumulating knowledge, for example, are living without income right now, just as people are out there wishing they could learn from somebody who knows.”

If you are an old retired person, “without income,” it is unlikely you will be able to suddenly monetize yourself through high-definition on-demand video telepresence through Google’s Helpouts. In addition, everyone is still stuck with the same central problems of the winner-take-all environment created by Internet search. No one who isn’t in the top page of returns exists. No one without, say, “2,000 followers,” exists.

From destitute retiree to Google Helpout paid Internet consultant star makes a nice story, a fib to be passed off on fools. What manner of asshole believes Google will turn the economy into a paradise of paid video-advice giving free-lancing?

People without good healthcare insurance and who can’t get to a doctor can get medical advice inexpensively,” continues the imbecile.

How does allegedly cheap medical advice, given in a Google Helpout, treat someone with throat cancer, who lacks insurance?

It’s not a theoretical question.

In yesterday’s New York Times, one read of many working poor people turned away from healthcare in the state of Georgia because they could not afford it.

To be cured of disease still requires a visit to the doctor’s office or a stay in the hospital, not Google technology.

“On a recent afternoon, Dr. Wade Fletcher, who practices at the hospital, thumbed through a stack of patient intake forms,” reads the Times. “The sections on payment contained the same refrain: No insurance. No money.”


Bad stats: summary

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:19 pm by George Smith

Thanks to all who posted to the original. It was enlightening.

I encourage you to post comments more often, as anonymously as you like. One tip: If you use a constant ID once I approve your first post, technically all subsequent answers should go through automatically unless caught by my handmade nuisance word filter.

In summary, the blog’s readership is completely distinct from people on Facebook who look at my posts. And almost never do the two show similarity.

I also did not know that the TOR and Privoxy proxies were blacklisting the blog. I have no idea why.


The Plutocrat’s Telecaster

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Made in China, Rock 'n' Roll at 3:53 pm by George Smith

Originally designed and made by Leo Fender, in southern California, as the first mass-produced electric guitar for the working musician. Now part of the bifurcation in US society, marketed for the 1 percenters, corporate fascists and their yet un-obsoleted upper middle class servants, the $3,700 Fender Telecaster. (By contrast, the “crafted in China” — really, that’s what it says on the headstock — Fender Squier Telecaster, recently on sale at Guitar Centers nationwide: $119.00.)

That’s an order of magnitude x 3 times difference in cost, the latter item — an electric guitar originally a southern California icon, sent back across the Pacific to its ancestral origin in a container ship. (And if you think there’s an order of magnitude difference in the sound and quality, you need to be put to death.)

The travesty of this is easy to grasp.

Global trade, what once was a good idea, or could have stayed an at least tolerable idea, is now twisted well into the bad.

There is no way to reverse conditions other than the very unlikely institution of a global minimum wage, mandated elevation of US wages, or imposition of tariffs on things like entry of container ships into US ports, tariffs to be paid as dividends to taxpayers, like oil or geologic asset revenue sharing. The latter would be reasonable under the thinking that it was the conditions in post WWII America that allowed for the creation and development of goods, desired around the world, that were domestically produced and then moved overseas. In all these cases more money must be put into the hands of everyone but the top tier types.

Until then, it remains one of the many and growing consumer choices in the new Culture of Lickspittle

Previously — Rock n Bluesmen for the Plutocracy.


Tech Minister of the Culture of Lickspittle

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:47 pm by George Smith

One in the endangered species of billionaire internet iconoclasts.

Multi-billionaire and founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, thinks he can help to reverse the Culture of Lickspittle, one of the foundations of his tech business success, with a revival of “long form” writing.

At the New York Times, unintentional hilarity, as Williams passes off the obvious as gnomic:

Mr. Williams is a contemplative 41-year-old Nebraskan turned billionaire, at least on paper, as of Thursday when Twitter went public. If Twitter redefined the frontier of communications, Medium is trying to reclaim some of the lost territory.

Broadly speaking, Medium is a blogging platform, meaning it’s a place for people to write and read posts. And Mr. Williams, as its C.E.O., hopes that it will allow thoughtful, longer-form writing to flourish …

“In the early days, I bought into the idea that the Internet would lead to a better world, that the truth was out there and that we didn’t need gatekeepers,” he said. The idea that he and many others embraced was that an unfiltered Internet would create a democratic information utopia. “Now,” he continued, “I think it’s more complicated than that.”

[He realized] that the Internet wasn’t changing the world as he had once idealized, but that, far less romantically, it had come to be little more than a “convenience.”

“I want to give rationality a fighting chance.”

His solution? A new blogging platform called Medium, one that’s the same as the old new stuff, the model that believes you don’t have to pay writers anything for good writing and that software algorithms can be used to choose and amplify the best of it.

Along with Jeff Bezos, Williams and the Twitter-ization of the web and eyeball chasing, welcome to the new world’s digital giant hogweed. The drawback is that, in the real world, it’s possible to control hogweed so everything is not ruined.

The Times’ Matt Richtel describes the scintillating brilliance of Medium: It allows writers to collaborate with each by “sharing posts privately” before they appear in absolutely spellbinding categories like “Adventures in Consumer Technology,” or “Best Thing I Found Online Today.”

“[Medium’s] algorithms … are designed to cut through the noise to the music worth hearing [through measuring] things like the items people read and recommend the most,” reads the Times.

Boy howdy! That’s worked out well so many times.

Google made the winner take all society in which no one exists outside the first page of search returns. Twitter made the sub-society in which the digital news world stops for famous people with no sense of self-restraint in 140-character blurts. Also, Williams helped cement the gold standard where the judgment of worth is made simply by comparing the numbers of accumulated bootlicks and rewarding those with the most.

Medium provides digital tools so that “posts” can be added/mentioned on Reddit! Such innovation leaves one breathless.

If it weren’t for the space conferred by coverage in the NYT, Williams’ new hobby (a repackaging of everything many good people are still trying to do) wouldn’t mean anything at all.

For the ever-growing Tech Museum of Great Ideas: Don’t pay people for good writing and work hard to publicize why that is so, just give them digital widgets to “share” it to places where it will be ignored, just like everything else without celebrity, or hundreds of thousands of “likes” or “followers.”

Obligatory biographical information: Williams is from Nebraska, where it was tough to be a nerd, but he embraced it anyway, passed on football and became a vegan, also an iconoclastic thing to do because everyone ate beef.


Keith Alexander Posable Action Figure

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 4:13 pm by George Smith

NSA Spy Kit — by Fiore.

Getting his ticket punched at an arms manufacturer in 2014 won’t come too soon. Do watch it.

When you’re a regular caricature in editorial cartoons and animation, there’s no room for delusion about legacy and how the agency’s work is broadly misunderstood.

Rock & Bluesmen for the Plutocracy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail, Rock 'n' Roll at 4:03 pm by George Smith

In the mail today.

Price: $1250 before tax, per.

Made in low employment density custom-shop America, for the [1 percent and their not-yet-obsolete upper middle class servant] people. Bifurcation of US market into domestic manufacturing for the haves, offshore or nothing for everyone else.

More instruments for corporate fascists, to reference last week.

The virtual tip jar. Micro-payments accepted. Everyone should get used to it, because when you finally get to the Amazon Mechanical Turk model, you won’t be given a choice.


Compile the errors

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 10:34 am by George Smith

There are a number. Why would there by a likelihood of shiga-toxin producing E. coli in your hamburger? Even if you wiped your ass with it, it wouldn’t be what was mentioned.

Pandering to the worst parts, ignorance, cheap point-of-view hand-held camera-shot pseudo-realities as “documdrama.”

Ah, for the days of simple fare like The Toolbox Murders. Somewhat unbelievably, the unpleasant fantasies weren’t embedded as a national group psychosis.

Which is better? Not a trick question.


We had it coming

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 6:06 pm by George Smith

Good work, Keith Alexander and national computer security contractors. (Readers should repost and re-mail this pic, it’s great stuff. Pariah is exactly the word to describe a growing and indelible image.)


Revelations about the scale of U.S. spying on the Internet have badly damaged the country’s negotiating power in international talks on cyberspace regulation and law enforcement, analysts and industry leaders said at a conference on Tuesday.

Disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the vast scale of the intelligence agency’s data collection also are undermining U.S. efforts to maintain the Internet as an entity loosely governed by a mix of national, private and nonprofit forces.

“We’re losing leverage internationally” to China, Russia and other countries that want to give more authority to the United Nations and governments, Hoover Institution professor Abe Sofaer …

Remember how the national security Wurlitzer was cranked up to ten on Chinese cyber-spying and cybersabotage?

Digital Pearl Harbor, not a case of if, but when?

From June:

If you’ve been following along it’s no secret the US government and the national security industry have been waging an increasingly concerted campaign to increase cyber-defense spending. The linchpin of the strategy is the relentless argument that Chinese hackers, under the guidance of its government and military, are into all American corporate business, military networks and the nation’s infrastructure. Because of this catastrophe looms …

Well, there is a loud call for mounting a big defensive and offensive military cyberwar capability, claiming that the cybersecurity threat facing the nation is equivalent to, or even more serious and complex than, things like mounting strategy against the German U-boat campaign in WW2 and the achievement of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War …

I’d link to all the stuff I’ve written about but … you can pick your favorites or greatest hates. Put ’em in the comments, if you like.

“The U.S. always reserves the right to overdo things. That’s the legacy of the last 10 years,” [George Smith] said. “And to the world at large, it’s viewed as a nation that sees every potential problem as a nail to be hit with the hammer of the military and/or security contractors.”

So could Smith think of any possible cyberattack that would warrant military response? Blacking out the entire Eastern Seaboard? Opening the floodgates on the Hoover Dam?

“I’m not really in the business of making predictions, particularly here. Too many variables, and the intelligence on such matters is always fuzzy,” Smith replied. “I’m going with a conservative ‘no.’”

From US Exceptionalism

It’s the NSA’s world, we only live in it

When you let the people in the biggest cyberwar machine in history have whatever they want the only thing left is to turn it on everyone. If the power and resources are there to do it, it is done. Because they can.

Which is what has happened. There’s little to add except that through Edward Snowden’s documents and their delivery via the Washington Post and the Guardian, one sees the world Alexander has created. It’s one that cements the global perception that people in the US computer security industry (government and private sector allies) are an untrustworthy lot, predatory and needing close oversight.

The Edward Snowden affair demolishes US cyberwar hype

The piffle of cyberwar

Touching off cyberwar.

Digital 9/11 gall.

The greatest transfer of wealth in history

Our cyberdefense shoe-shine boys

Expose the US virus war machine

The Bogometer is blinking red.

Cyberwar rent-seeking

Aspen Security Rent-Seeking Forum

Useless tool of cyberwar journalism

Cyberwar shoeshine drill

It goes back years.

A great working example of what happens when US journalism almost entirely gives up questioning its sources and leaders on national security matters.

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