03.29.12

Art = life

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 12:25 pm by George Smith

Music for the unpleasant themes of our time. No Norman Vincent Peale-isms, love songs, homilies or uplifting messages. Get your hate on because it’s good for you, a sane response to the condition of living in the USA.


“Apple’s reasons for hoarding so much of its money also raise questions … Apple executives said this week that they had lobbied Washington for tax concessions that would relieve them of much of their tax liability if they repatriated the cash. That smacks of corporate welfare and hardly induces sympathy for a company that is minting money, particularly at a time of such big fiscal deficits.

“More broadly, Apple has come to exemplify the conspicuous wealth – both corporate and personal – that is coursing through Silicon Valley.

“The social obligation this creates has so far been ignored … Apple and its peers stand apart in their financial resources yet with their extended global supply chains, they have multiplied jobs abroad rather than at home. Silicon Valley’s success has largely failed to reverberate to the wider benefit of the society that created it …

“[Apple’s] wealth throws into sharp relief the conditions endured by workers at its Chinese suppliers.” —from the Financial Times

From the Financial Times, a compendium of book reviews on national decline and losing it to China:

Americans seem to want to read about national decline. The more dire the prediction, the more heated the prose, the more colourful the book title, the better. Conservative commentator Mark Steyn’s jeremiad After America: Get Ready for Armageddon made it to number four on the New York Times’s bestseller list. Peter D Kiernan’s Becoming China’s Bitch briefly topped the Amazon chart …

The book’s title [Becoming China’s Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now] might lead the reader to expect a provocative tract on US-Chinese relations. In fact, this is just one of a huge number of topics that the writer yokes together under the general theme of impending catastrophes that threaten America. In a losing battle to structure his thoughts, Kiernan makes a great many lists. He starts with “five factors that freeze us”, preventing America from dealing with its problems. These are the media, lobbyists, think-tanks, religion in America and its political parties – which seems pretty comprehensive. He then moves on to 10 “impending catastrophes” that he would like to see dealt with, only the first of which concerns America’s relationship with China. This he describes, obscurely, as “a co-dependency which is decoupling”.

Kiernan’s writing is dazzlingly bad …

Travelling around the world as a reporter and columnist, I have found that an erosion of US economic and political power, and a shift towards China, is already palpable … Europe’s leaders are appealing to Beijing, rather than Washington, for emergency financial assistance. In Africa, a continent is being transformed by Chinese investment. Even in the Americas, Chinese influence is growing: Brazil now does more trade with China than with the US.

From a Reuters poll:

The most common reason cited by voters of all political stripes for the rising cost was oil company greed.

Overall, 36 percent of respondents said “oil companies that want to make too much profit” deserve the most blame for higher energy prices. Twenty-eight percent of Republicans said so, as did 44 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of independents.

Twenty-six percent of all respondents said a range of factors was equally to blame, including oil companies, politicians, foreign countries that dominate oil reserves and environmentalists who want to limit oil exploration.

From The Daily Ticker today:

“There is no justification for the current gas prices. This is all about speculation by the people who are speculating on the price of oil and gas,” [says an ex-Senator]. “We could shutdown excess speculation in commodity markets. This government should do that.”

[Then he peddles his book.]

Former Senator Dorgan, a long-time clean energy advocate, joined The Daily Ticker’s Aaron Task to discuss U.S. energy policy (or lack thereof), which is the subject of his new fictionalized thriller, Blowout. It is the first in a two-book series, which the senator calls an “eco-thriller.”

The premise: “What if we were right on the edge of discovering a new source of energy that costs very very little, who would try to stop it and why and how,” he explains.

In “Blowout,” Dorgan writes of a team of scientists who are testing microbes that “eat their way” through coal, leaving dirty waste and methane behind. If successful, coal could be mined and produced without the polluting the atmosphere, which leads to climate change.

[“A Congressional Research Service report] observes that oil companies do not obey market economics and that the ‘oil market … is difficult to fit into the model of free market adjustments.'” — DD blog.


There was an album including all these tunes. But I didn’t have enough money to put it on CD. iTunes, and all it’s second tier imitators, require tithing — more accurately, micro-bribes.

Paying Apple anything to dispense rock n’ roll is anathema. And I’m hardly the only person who thinks so.

Lots of people used to wish for the end of the rule of big record companies. They were granted their wishes. But the result has been like getting what you want in Wishmaster.

There was no real practical option but to give the last record away free, too. Because Steve Jobs and Apple destroyed the album market at a fundamental level, redirecting the profit stream of popular music from recording giants to Cupertino nerds through their technologies of iKit mediated theft creative destruction. Jobs was not innovative in this. He did not create the digital music file format. Jobs’ gift to consumers was a mass storage device for a higgledy-piggledy collection of tunes as a consumer bauble pretty enough for people to covet above everything else. Vulture capitalism and algorithm-greased cutting of throats in the recording industry came built-in with the iPod.

As a bonus, they helped take out the pleasure of going to record stores and few ten thousand businessmen and employees who made, on average, modest livings.

In 1985 I was able to make a record and sell it.

Now a patronizing random asshole gives it away on the Internet, too. (It’s the first link in Google!) Go to the link and leave him some superciliousness in the comments section for me.


1 Comment

  1. Chuck said,

    March 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Here’s one worth a giggle. Both of the following articles arrived in this morning’s email:

    China’s tough times could mean 3 million more employed in the US:

    http://www.manufacturing.net/articles/2012/03/report-china-exodus-could-create-up-to-3m-us-jobs

    On the other hand, 750K jobs lost to outsourcing by 2016:

    http://pddnet.com/news-research-forecasts-offshoring-of-750000-more-jobs-by-2016-032912/

    The first article seems to be viewed through overly rosy glasses and almost religious hope. The second seems to state the obvious: business as usual.

    I’ll believe the first when I can build an electronic device, such as an iPad, using US labor and exclusively US components. Uh huh.