04.23.16

The Cyberwar Boogie

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Rock 'n' Roll at 12:18 pm by George Smith

From a long time ago and what seems very far away, the only rock song to feature former US Cyber-Czar, Richard Clarke.

“They’ll also launch a big ol’ DOS,” he “sings.”

Taken from a conference call between him, the bosses of the biggest anti-virus companies, and some government officials on what was to be done during one of the big network virus/worm scares (Code Red, 2001, specifically) of the time. “A big ol’ DOS,” or denial-of-service attack was what the virus was going to launch.

At the time, the biggest anti-virus software developer in the US recommended disconnecting the US from the internet. Absolutely true.

“Cyberwar Boogie” is/was a jaunty ditty about trouble on the frontier in cyberspace from someone who was there. I even threw in some poor man’s Jimmy Riddle.

Seemed appropriate for a lazy Saturday.

It’s here. Do give it a listen.

The Poseur

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:08 pm by George Smith

Inevitable as the cicadas every 17 years in eastern Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton is delivering her shtick in my old home state, only she’s been on an eight year cycle. There’s a big difference, of course, between her and the cicadas. The insects actually do live in the ground there.

“I want to be really clear about this, because I learned how to shoot a gun behind our cottage in Lake Winola,” Mrs. Clinton said, somewhere near Scranton. “And I know how important gun ownership and particularly hunting is here in northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Has Hillary Clinton ever struck you as a hunter? About as much as I’m a gun owner, I think.

Clinton is from Pennsy, from Little Rock, from New York, from DC, from everywhere. The geography is changeable, much like her politics.

“[A registered nurse], was not moved by Mrs. Clinton’s old-time recollections” at the rally in Dunmore, read the Times. But she would vote for Clinton, anyway, it was said.

04.16.16

Have a song for every third person

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 1:54 pm by George Smith

Bill Clinton’s legacy is trashed. Out on the stump he’s been dogged by protesters who’ve pointed out his tough-on-crime administration led to an explosion in the prison population, ruining the lives of millions of black Americans. So he loses his temper, wags his finger and looks worse. Others point out his trade deals and bank deregulation accelerated inequality and the destruction of middle class jobs.

So the Big Dog is now a bit rabid. He jJust can’t accept others don’t share the belief he’s the American hero he thinks he is.

Campaigning yesterday, he tried to make a joke:

“One of the few things I really haven’t enjoyed about this primary: I think it’s fine that all these young students have been so enthusiastic for [Hillary’s] opponent and [he] sounds so good: ‘Just shoot every third person on Wall Street and everything will be fine.'”

Probably not something to say when Bernie Sanders just got after his wife for her three-quarters of a million buck speeches to Goldman Sachs. Again.

“The inequality problem is rooted in the shareholder-first mentality and the absence of training for the jobs of tomorrow.” This is Bill Clinton’s answer.

Yes, absence of training for the jobs of tomorrow, jobs that somehow never arrive or that pay almost nothing, or that rewire you to sell off your life in pieces through an iPhone app. Everyone has to go back to school four or five times in life and become innovative or die. Heard it before, dozens of times. This is the only answer the modern Democratic Party has for, well, just about everything outside of endless war (which it largely supports, anyway).

Anyway, I had a song for that a couple years back. It never got old which shows how much progress there’s been.

And as for whatever diet Bill’s on, he can quit now.

For your Saturday reminisce.


Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal!, a new book that takes apart the Democratic Party for its failure to stand up for its former base in the working class, takes it to Bill Clinton in the Guardian:

When I was researching the 1994 crime bill for Listen, Liberal, my new book documenting the sins of liberalism, I remember being warned by a scholar who has studied mass incarceration for years that it was fruitless to ask Americans to care about the thousands of lives destroyed by the prison system. Today, however, the situation has reversed itself: now people do care about mass incarceration, largely thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and the intense scrutiny it has focused on police killings.

All of a sudden, the punitive frenzies of the 1980s and 1990s seem like something from a cruel foreign country. All of a sudden, Bill Clinton looks like a monster rather than a hero, and he now finds himself dogged by protesters as he campaigns for his wife, Hillary. And so the media has stepped up to do what it always does: reassure Americans that the nightmare isn’t real, that this honorable man did the best he could as president …

For one class of Americans, Clinton brought emancipation, a prayed-for deliverance from out of Glass–Steagall’s house of bondage. For another class of Americans, Clinton brought discipline: long prison stretches for drug users; perpetual insecurity for welfare mothers; and intimidation for blue-collar workers whose bosses Clinton thoughtfully armed with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

04.14.16

Let them eat cake

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 1:04 pm by George Smith

A recent article from the New York Post on profits from digitized music, here, presents us with a “let them eat cake” moment, courtesy of Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer.

YouTube is vilified because it returns zero to little profit in its glued-on advertising/revenue sharing schemes. “The main concern is the fact that ad revenue is not climbing in line with views,” one industry source says to the Post.

Kyncl, so it says, countered:

“free is the future, ad supported is the future …” on YouTube’s scheme known as “monetization” and “revenue sharing.”

“Only about 20 percent of people are historically willing to pay for music. YouTube is helping artists and labels monetize the remaining 80 percent that were not previously monetized.”

Let’s roll out what this really means.

What Google/YouTube does is what’s known as a “winner take-all” system. While YouTube, Apple iTunes, Spotify, etc have demolished barriers to entry in putting out music, the data is in on the results over the last ten years and, invariably, what is returned is highly unequal economics.

And it’s described by what’s known as a long-tail distribution. Martin Ford, in his recent book, “Rise of the Robots,” describes it like this:

“[The ubiquitous] long-tail distribution is central to the business models of the corporations that dominate the Internet sector. [These companies] are able to generate revenue from EVERY POINT on the distribution.”

It’s become obvious, though, that YOU (meaning the majority) cannot.

Ford goes on:

“Markets in goods and services [books, music, for example] that are subject to digitization inevitably evolve into winner-take-all distribution. Sales of … books and music are increasingly dominated by a tiny number of on-line distribution hubs …

“The long-tail is great, if you own it. [Like YouTube, or Spotify]. When, however, you occupy only a single point on the distribution, the story is quite different. Out on the long-tail, incomes from most on-line activities rapidly drops to zero.”

It’s not an opinion, it’s supported by all the data on sales and profits now in.

So when the Google YouTube montebank says this, “YouTube is helping artists and labels monetize the remaining 80 percent that were not previously monetized,” you’re only getting part of the story.

What you’re getting is more like the pic of an iceberg, with a little showing above water, and the rest of it, that which is going to rip a hole in your bottom, unseen.

See – almost 100 percent, or eighty percent, or 50 percent of almost zero, which is what Google\YouTube returns to you, is still almost zero. And 80 percent of even 100 almost zero streams is still pennies. You only make money if you own a piece of ALL OF IT, globally. Which, in the case of YouTube music, Google/Alphabet/Whatever does.

No amount of wishful thinking about turnarounds and the sun coming up in some near future can change any of it. The installed system has you screwed. Period.

What’s Der Fuhrer About?

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Phlogiston at 12:25 pm by George Smith

Look Who’s Back is a rather on-the-money movie considering our fractured times. It’s based on a best-seller in which Hitler magically appears in modern Berlin with no idea about the intervening time between now and his last day in the bunker. He can’t get anyone to believe he really is himself. Instead, he’s taken as a fabulous method actor who never drops character, winding up sold as a comedian on a TV show called Whoa, Dude, hosted by another funny man made-up to look like Barack Obama.

In the movie, Hitler upstages everyone on the ridiculous show, ignores his joke lines about the “Salafists” and instead delivers Hitler-esque stem-winders drawn from his speeches and Mein Kampf. He tells the audience they’re fools for watching reality shows about cooks and that television has them looking into the abyss. Hitler will save them, Deutschland, from that abyss. It’s so successful he’s put on every show run by the network, generating an immense following.

Oliver Masucci, an Italo-German, plays the Fuhrer. And while you could comb the dialog at length for laughs, the most indelible parts are those in which Masucci is driven around Germany as Hitler. You will not be entirely surprised that, even when in the presence of the impersonator, it’s easy to get some people to let their real selves out. “We need labor camps,” says one, in open resentment over the refugees. Hitler agrees, he can do that. He asks another man, “Will you do whatever I ask of you when the time comes?” The man instructs the camera to be turned off, which it isn’t, and says he’s ready.

At the end we have Hitler riding through modern day Germany in full regalia. He’s in an open top limousine with his agent, a blonde woman who looks a little like Eva, juxtaposed with video from news clips on the rise of fascist parties in Europe and ongoing protests and violence against refugees and immigrants. It’s not exactly the kind of product placement Mercedes had been hoping for.

Of course, if you want slapstick, there’s that too. A segment in which Hitler is pepper-sprayed auf dem Platz in front of the Brandenberg Gate is hysterical.

Look Who’s Back is only a movie, bitingly amusing, but it would be lost on most Americans. First of all, we’d have to read the subtitles and get the jokes, which we can’t because of large gaps in the knowledge of that history. But, mostly,we’re just incapable of seeing bits of ourselves and what we can easily become reflected in parts of it.

I howled with laughter through most of it. However, if the YouTube videos of Hitler ranting in the bunker about being locked out of video games are your cup of tea, maybe not so much. Not accidentally, I’m sure, Constantin owns Downfall and Look Who’s Back, giving it something of a lock on the global Hitler market.

04.01.16

Bernie or Bust is Bonkerz!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:36 pm by George Smith

Here, a set of cartoons for the daily mix of stories, all from the Democratic Party, on how the supporters of Bernie Sanders are mentally ill in their ineradicable opposition for Hillary Clinton. If we don’t come to our senses …

This.

And here.

Don’t forget this one!

Feel free to share. None of my “friends” would on Facebook. Being all upper middle class good liberals, this is anathema.

TRUMP … MUST … NOT … WIN … OR

As explained from the wires, by Hillary Clinton in Purchase, NY, yesterday:

AP: Clinton said she regretted that the young Sanders supporters “won’t listen to anybody else” and didn’t want to hear “the contrast between my experience, my plans, my vision, what I know I can get done and what my opponent is promising…”

“I just wish that there were an opportunity to actually talk and listen to each other because we’ve got to unite when this primary contest is over.”

Explain it a few more times. I still don’t get it. Include more slurs and aspersions as to personal character.

Obsolete

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 12:23 pm by George Smith

April Fool’s Day is long obsolete in the country where every day brings a fresh bounty of reality-based jokes. What follies we commit, gifts to everyone.

Everything in this, the honest-to-God truth. Trust me, I’m the professional when it comes to the matter.

Your select choice

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:16 pm by George Smith

Earlier this week, something wonderful happened!

Colt 45 is targeting its glory days with the return of its iconic ’80s spokesman Billy Dee Williams.

The Brian’s Song and Star Wars actor served as the malt liquor’s brand ambassador for five years starting in 1986, when Colt 45 was the biggest name in malt liquor. Now Williams, 78, appears in a new 15-second video, released Monday, that teases an upcoming TV, print and online marketing campaign in which he is the star …

“It works everytime,” he said. From my perspective, 24 ounce cans.

Continuing:

In his ads, Williams holds a 16-ounce can. But malt liquor is also sold in larger sizes, such as 40-ounce bottles, which were made popular in the ’90s, when rappers such as Ice Cube served as spokesmen for various brands, including Pabst-produced St. Ides.

Researchers at UCLA and elsewhere have found that malt liquor marketing targets minority consumers, including blacks and Hispanics. The 2005 paper titled “Malt Liquor Beers, And The People Who Drink Them, Are Different,” published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research journal, found that malt liquor drinkers in L.A. were more likely to drink more alcohol, be homeless, unemployed and receive public assistance than other types of drinkers.

Ice Cube turned out pretty good. And, yes, it’s true, I have been known to be unemployed. FU, kindly.

They should have me as an endorser, too.