10.30.16

The legitimate exercise of revenge

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Shoeshine at 9:19 pm by George Smith

From the Out & About in the Pasadena Neighborhood desk: An old pick-up truck driven by an old man, older than me, with a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker. The truck, which sags a little in the mid-joint, is kept spotlessly clean. Someone appears to live out of it much of the time. I see it almost everyday. It has a little American flag hanging from the back.

The Trump voter is definitely not just in the heartland or the deep South, or rural, as broadstrokes from the media have it. They’re not hard to find. And they’re not only the uneducated but still well off. Believe the line the well-educated are only a little bit of it? And misguided, too? Surely there can be no one with advanced degrees who can’t see how deadly Trump would be to the world!

But from Thomas Edsall at the NY Times a week or so ago:

“Trade comes with no assurances that the spoils will be shared equitably. Across much of the industrialized world, an outsize share of the winnings has been harvested by people with advanced degrees, stock options and the need for accountants. Ordinary laborers have borne the costs and suffered from joblessness and deepening economic anxiety … failed to plan for the trauma that has accompanied the benefits of trade. When millions of workers lost paychecks to foreign competition, they lacked government supports to cushion the blow. As a result, seething anger is upending politics in Europe and North America.”

Globalization has not just damaged making things. It’s converted survival into a winner-take-all, make artisanal goods or crawl grub street economy. Make high-end trivialities and conveniences for the upper classes, do an endless succession of no-win freelance gigs for about nothing, or liquidate what you have left in an internet buyer’s market. It’s had a widespread effect, the cost of which to the non-select — diminished lifespans, widespread narcotics addiction, suicide, to name a few things in the news — is finally being measured.

You want to write off tens of millions of people who you don’t agree with on much of anything because we believe them to have made poor choices, not be educated the right way, or because they are bigots?

I can’t do it and believe me, I’m acutely aware I did more than my share For Escape from WhiteManistan. No one deserved what bad national leadership and economic policies favoring the elites did to them or people they knew or more distant family members over the past few decades.

I recently saw Michael Moore’s Trumpland. It’s a hurried-up release of his live show put on in Wilmington, Ohio, in Trump territory although I’m not sure there were many Trump voters in the theatre crowd. Part of his monologue, the backdrop of which is large hanging photos of Hillary Clinton from various stages in her life, centers on that Moore doesn’t believe Trump voters are all racists. In Michigan he’s talked to Trump supporters and tells the audience they they know the guy’s odious.

Reading from a notebook, Moore recognizes this is a revenge vote. He gets it, he says. His first and best doc, Roger & Me, went deep into the why that’s only become worse.

Moore goes onto say this is the dying white middle class’s (the 2nd America as the LATimes patronizingly put it last week) chance to throw a bomb into the “establishment.” Trump is “your Molotov cocktail,” and they can deliver the “biggest F— you ever recorded in human history” to those who’ve been running the country.

“[He’s] the human hand grenade they can legally throw into the system that’s stolen their lives from them,” Moore continues.

Moore thinks the anger justified. So do I. I want to throw the bomb.

But in the end he implies Trumpland ought not to do it because it will only feel good for “a day, a week,” “possibly a month.” And they would regret it, at which point the movie goes back to some comedy, spoofing a Trump inauguration.

And this is something our six figure explainers haven’t been able to do. HRC hasn’t done it. She won’t even go near the territory unless you count a paragraph or two from a speech to bankers she tried to keep secret.

Moore riffs on a Trump rally where the candidate tells his audience and Ford Motor Company directly that if the manufacturer moves production to Mexico, he’s imposing a 37 percent tariff on their cars. With Trump it’s balderdash. But it’s something Moore points out you’d never hear from any other politician.

There’s been nothing for the Trump voter or anyone who believes Hillary Clinton’s blandishments and “Stronger Together” motto are empty pandering. And in the context of the election’s daily spew such things have become progressively more intelligence insulting. What together, precisely? Define your terms.

There’s only been a slow grudging admission that globalism has largely screwed Americans, except for the top and their educated shoeshiners, the alleged meritocracy, now frantic to suppress the revolt. They brought fossilization to the economy, a condition in which wealth and corporate power chisels whatever it can from everyone else stuck in it. And that they might have to pay for it in a way they hadn’t planned on has them all at the barricades.

You see, they say in opinion after opinion, you just don’t see that globalism is always good, perhaps it needs only some tinkering, and there’s nothing to be done, anyway, wouldn’t be pragmatic, not prudent. But, jeezus, everyone has to keep that guy out of office because he’s not who we are.

Few of our influencers, certainly Hillary Clinton, will never come right out and admit there’s a rightness to “they’ve had it coming,” to a satisfaction in the chance she would be denied what she believes to be destiny. Clinton hasn’t had to answer to it (only in polls which her show virtually as disliked as Trump) because she’s running against Trump where a strategy of phoning it in worked. (I’ve read her promises and policies book. There’s no need to go into the details of how empty it is once you get past the language of uplift.)

For her entire career she’s been at or near the epicenter of grasping American wealth, rule by the boilerplate from elites, and war without consequences for those who’ve made all the mistakes.

There’s been no discussion of issues this cycle. Zero on global warming. And Clinton has fobbed off any anger at her and government by blithely saying that such an emotion doesn’t solve anything. Neither has she. It’s all been verbal kung fu to the miscues and unfolding sordid biography of Trump: theatrical eye-rolling, jeering laughter, blaming the Russians, Julian Assange, now the FBI, always someone else in league with the enemy, and a “I’m the only one standing between you and the apocalypse” joke.

Hillary Clinton has more than done her part to earn the biggest election F— you! in history. The dilemma is in resolving the delivery of a share of it, of belief in the legitimacy of revenge, and conscience.


The emails never bothered me much, but Hillary’s statement urging all the parties involved at Standing Rock — protesters and pipeline company — ” to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest” fills me with revulsion. This as the soldiers and cops closed in on on the tribespeople. — Barbara Ehrenreich, Facebook, 10/30

From Thomas Frank, whose arguments in Listen, Liberal have only had exclamation points added to them by the election, today at the Guardian, on the Meritocracy of the Swells and their Heimdall/fixer, John Podesta:

The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn’t have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

Add the latest to Old White Coot

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 2:09 pm by George Smith

From the archives, the old field recording of Link Wray’s Rumble. Listen close for the smashing of the trash cans and screams of pain.


I win at Google Fu.

10.26.16

The quality of liking is strained

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:27 pm by George Smith

Support “like” factories in the Indian subcontinent. Thank you web economy! From Soundcloud:

“Hi, Ddestiny We checked out your music on your profile. We like what we heard. We can get your latest songs thousands of hits from real people within hours. Oh, and we usually do this for 300 but for you we’d be doing it for only $10 Our way of giving back to the music scene! Sleep on it, think on it. If you’re down, your code is hits10 and it will drop the price :)”

Praise be! I also have celebrity singer and digital parasite John Legend attached to autoplay after my tunes, free!
Also Biggie Smalls. The man’s been dead since 1997.

Also see Nosedive.

Orwell Cat

Posted in Decline and Fall, Phlogiston at 12:53 pm by George Smith

From the novel of dystopia USA, Big Fuzzer is Watching You: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Get Bumble Bee tuna.”

10.24.16

Take that, ISIS!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 11:56 am by George Smith

From here.

“World War III is already here, and it’s happening on the internet,” [a] hacker said.

And now you know why the mockery hee laughter and wowowowows are in “Cyberwar Boogie.”

10.23.16

Dean Baker

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China at 3:40 pm by George Smith

Dean Baker, founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has been explaining how the economy has been rigged for some timee, eloquently so. And he has a new book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, that puts it all in one place.

Here Baker spends time discussing trade-agreement (or government granted) patent monopolies, one direct result of is which Americans pay usurious/ridiculous prices for life-saving drugs. Over the past year, it’s a topic he’s addressed again and again, and what to do about it.

I’ve cited him here — frequently. And I’ll be reading the book.

The old white coot

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:32 pm by George Smith

Blind Poison Castorseed.

Global warming good for unusual disease

Posted in Bioterrorism at 12:11 pm by George Smith

From the Washngton Post on Vibrio vulnificus:

A recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that “rising ocean temperatures related to global warming “is strongly associated with spread of vibrios, an important group of marine prokaryotes, and emergence of human diseases caused by these pathogens.”


“In eight out of nine regions of the North Atlantic, the study found that as temperatures warmed, numbers of vibrio bacteria also grew,” The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney wrote in August. Furthermore, it also showed a relationship between growing vibrio numbers and growing vibrio cases in humans, a relationship that was particularly pronounced during heat waves.

Way back when I was the scientist who discovered a particular protein-dissolving enzyme, a collagenase, that helped explain why it does what it does.

V. vulnificus — from the archives.

10.22.16

The latest add to Old White Coot

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:41 pm by George Smith

An old but fun one from the archives. The namecheck of towns in Pennsy Dutchland always made me laugh. I easily amuse myself. Ever been to Dunkertown? Thought not.

10.21.16

Bomb Russia

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Shoeshine at 1:44 pm by George Smith

“A massive cyberattack is blocking your favorite websites,” blares the LA Times, right now.

Twitter, Tumblr, Netflix and music-streamer Spotify, the discussion site Reddit, Airbnb and the Verge. Imagine not being able to hear your fremium music, or tweet or watch Netflix.

The attack was “impactful,” said a comsex expert to the LAT.

You realize cyberwar could cause the empire to fall over. The Department of Homeland Security is “investigating.” The government is looking for someone to retaliate against, probably Russia, because an attack in cyberspace is just like an attack in the real world, according to the debate. Arch-fiends!

So listen to “The Cyberwar Boogie,” featuring ex-cyberwar czar Richard Clarke, saying, “it’s big ol’ DOS,” which is what it was. Today. Poor man’s Jimmy Riddle-eafing included.

Sidebar related story: Cybersecurity expert [name redatced] was silenced by a huge hacker attack. That should terrify you.

Terrify.

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