01.17.17

Inclusive inequality

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

From the wires:

World leaders gather this week at the Swiss ski resort to discuss how to make globalism more inclusive in response to the rising tide of populism.

As part of that agenda Chief Operating Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation Antonio Zappulla has suggested private and public sector leaders be encouraged to be more “inclusive” of LGBT staff.Breitbart


China’s President Xi Jinping will promote “inclusive globalization” at this month’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and will warn that populist approaches can lead to “war and poverty” … Reuters

Your head just exploded.


For the past 20 years, CEOs have been largely positive about the contribution of globalization to the free movement of capital, goods, and people. However, this year’s survey respondents are skeptical,” the survey, released on Monday evening at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said.

The results come after a tumultuous 12 months for politics with the election win for Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the U.K. Leading analysts to believe that voters are beginning to question globalization and current socio-economic models. CNBC


In an interview with The Independent, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Labour government minister who helped found the BSDC, said the 21st century was shaping up to witness a clash between two great political ideas: nationalism and globalism.

Saying he was speaking personally, rather than as the BSDC’s chair, he admitted that globalisation “hasn’t really worked for many people …”

“Don’t throw globalisation out with the bath water as Trump and some components of the Ukip unit of the Brexiteers appear to have done. But instead embrace globalisation 2.0, or whatever you’d call it …” Lord Mark Malloch-Brown said. — the Independent


Progressive plutocrats, with whom Ms. Freeland seems to feel some kinship, are now catatonic in the face of a Trump presidency. Davos will never be the same. There was always something surreal about the Davos plutocrats and their hangers-on gathering in splendid isolation to decry rising income inequality. In the Trump era, they will seem even more hopelessly extraterrestrial.

While the Davos crowd was making its usual calls for “inclusive growth” and climate accords, the masses had other things on their mind, such as the utter repudiation of the experts in business and politics … — Globe and Mail


Supporters of globalization need to develop a new way to promote open markets that relies on smaller trade deals and helps people who are feeling left out, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

“I certainly hope there is not a move toward deglobalization,” Lagarde said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait in New York. “I equally think we have to move toward globalization that has a different face, and which is not excluding people along the way.” — Newsmax


The current new mediocre

Overall, and this is a point I made in my speech in Chicago a few days ago, we see growth as too low for too long and benefiting too few.

In and of itself, it is not good news, but it is also fertile ground for political dynamics that can depress global growth even more. We believe that countries can actually move from the current new mediocre, move from that current new mediocre to a new pact …

We believe that more can be done to raise growth now and to make it more inclusive. Again, having a determination to include all in the social contract is great, but there has to be growth in order to allocate among everybody

But it needs to be slightly different. It cannot be that push for trade as we have seen it historically. The inclusiveness, the determination to make it work for all, and to pay attention to those that are at risk of being left out, whether it is as a result of technology, digital economy, or international trade by modification of supply chains, that factor has to be taken into account …

In this context, I am pleased to note that our Board recently approved the extension of zero interest rates …
Christine LaGarde, International Monetary Fund managing director


You need a smartphone to join the world

Selah!

Trump & the lashing of the lickspittles

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:40 am by George Smith

Witnessing Donald Trump tweet bully American and foreign businesses is inspiring.

Four years from now the net result might be zero but he’s the 1st president in my memory who actually relishes scaring/humiliating corporate CEOs publicly.

Since our CEOs are primarily lickspittles and bootlicks (to shareholders, Wall Street, money, power, etc) some are trying to be apple-polishers already. They wish to get ahead of the game. ‘[Many] companies fear being lashed by Trump,” reads Fortune today. “Everyone is trying to curry favor with the new administration,” parrots someone at the LA Times.

Take Walmart, which today announced it’s going to create “10,000 new jobs” this year after decimating American employment and communities to China for profit in the last three decades. Of course it’s nonsense.

Just like the company’s assertions that it sells more stuff from America these days.

Reports Reuters: “Walmart’s job announcement follows the retailer’s decision in January 2016 to announce the closing of 154 poor-performing U.S. stores, which affected 10,000 U.S. workers.” That’s what you call a zero-sum game. Literally.

Walmart also is promising to open “training Academies around the country” to provide “specialty training” to its employees because everyone knows the real reason they’re been cut loose from the economy in the last decade is their LACK OF TRAINING, particularly the kind you need to work in retail!

Training academies! It sounds so special.

Americans always need more training! And over the last 20 years the training and retraining has worked so well, now we have Donald Trump!

And here’s a skit/song about American training. It’s funny, vile and so apropos! As you know I’ve had it up to here with the Americans and their need for training meme.


Quotes

The rewards of retraining are highest for computing skills, but there is no natural pathway from trucker to coder. And even if there were, many of those already in the workforce lack both the confidence and the capability to make the switch …

There is much talk about lifelong learning, though few countries are doing much about it. The Nordics fall into this less populated camp. But it is Singapore [the wart on the tip of Malaya] that can lay claim to the most joined-up approach with its SkillsFuture initiative.

Given Singapore’s size and political system, this approach is not easily replicated in many other countries … —the Economist


“Regardless of what Trump says, coal and oil are not the future. Mining and drilling operations will shut down in the coming decades. A plan to educate or retrain those who will undoubtedly be out of jobs will be necessary in future.” — some letter-writer


But in an economy in which automation and globalization are rapidly changing and even eliminating certain jobs, American workers and companies might come to see education not as a life-stage, but as a way of living …

When The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels investigated ways for Democrats to help the Rust Belt economy, she reported that almost every economist she spoke with mentioned the same thing: worker training program.

But as Semuels pointed out, there’s just one problem with government retraining programs. They don’t really work. Workers are reluctant to attend them for fear that they’re crummy … — the Atlantic


Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind the slime of a new bureaucracy. — Kafka

01.16.17

Davos Man: Party like it’s the new Berghof

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:05 pm by George Smith

The heroism of the 1%: The NY Times reports that “one of the most popular events” at Davos is “a simulation of a refugee’s experience, where Davos attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies.” — Barbara Ehrenreich, today


Berghof Davos Men are a bit down this year

From the NYT’s secretary/groupie to Davos Men, Andrew Ross Sorkin:

It is this group of so-called plutocrats that largely failed to anticipate — and may have even unconsciously generated — the seeping anti-establishment movement across the globe …

“Success,” [Naomi Klein] wrote, continuing to describe the middle class, “is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.”

The United States ranked 23rd out of 30 advanced economies. In terms of wage and nonwage compensation, it ranked last; in social protection, it came in 25th. It also came in 25th on “intermediation of business investment” — in other words, the amount of money that goes into productive investments, such as research and development and infrastructure as opposed to share buybacks. (Norway ranked No. 1. Living standards there rose by 10.6 percent from 2008 to 2013 while the economy grew only 0.5 percent.)

A Davos forum executive, Adrian Monck, trots out the favorite globalist’s tale: Their work has lifted “billions” out of poverty:

“The benefits of globalization are there to see, in jobs in China, India and many emerging markets” …

Dean Baker, economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, as well as Bernie Sanders, have taken aim at this glib dismissal of the cost to Americans over the past 40 years.

Most powerfully, Baker kicks off his new book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, with a succinct takedown of the meme:

Their argument was that Sanders, by pushing trade policies to help U.S. workers, specifically manufacturing workers, risked undermining the well-being of the world’s poor because exporting manufactured goods to the United States and other wealthy countries is their path out of poverty. The role model was China, which by exporting has largely eliminated extreme poverty and drastically reduced poverty among its population. Sanders and his supporters would block the rest of the developing world from following the same course …

The story made a nice contribution to preserving the status quo, but it was less valuable if you respect honesty in public debate.

The problem in the logic of this argument should be apparent to anyone who has taken an introductory economics course. It assumes that the basic problem of manufacturing workers in the developing world is the need for someone who will buy their stuff. If people in the United States don’t buy it, then the workers will be out on the street and growth in the developing world will grind to a halt …

Baker continues, arguing that what the globalists contend is good for everyone constitutes abnormal economics:

[The] United States, Japan, and the European Union should be running large trade surpluses, which is what an outflow of capital means. Rich countries like ours should be lending money to developing countries, providing them with the means to build up their capital stock and infrastructure while they use their own resources to meet their people’s basic needs.

This wasn’t just theory. That story accurately described much of the developing world, especially Asia, through the 1990s …

Instead, we have the reverse in which the United States runs a huge trade deficit and millions of jobs have been sacrificed to Asia.

“In short, there is no truth to the story that the job loss and wage stagnation faced by manufacturing workers in the United States and other wealthy countries was a necessary price for reducing poverty in the developing world,” writes Baker. “This is a fiction that is used to justify the upward redistribution of income in rich countries.”

I can’t give it the justice it deserves. Best to read the book. Rigged will make you a believer.

It’s worth adding Americans were never asked whether they wanted to be a party to the process which started with the Clinton administration and continues to this day. They were just told to eat it, that there would be benefits, always vague, like better lives due to ubiquitous computing and always, cheaper stuff. You could go back to school or retrain and retrain again as you tumbled down your own personalized slope to total ruin.

But yes, indeed there is cheaper stuff, as a trip to a year or two shopping exclusively at any dollar store will show you. There has to be. Because the better jobs never arrived and dollar processed foodstuffs, candy, sundries, bathroom cleaners that don’t clean, plastic socks, tights and cowboy hats are all one can afford.

However, a referendum on the process, a rejection of the globalists’ Trade Treaty of US Versailles has come in. It’s the election of Donald Trump and the rejection of Clintonism. Whether this means anything other than a continued hardening of root hog or die as the prevailing system of all systems remains to be seen.

At Davos, they’re worried enough to come up witha new phrase — inclusive globalism. Like last year’s inclusive capitalism [1], it’s just pap.


[1]. 02/09/15 Which brings us to inclusive capitalism, a cloud of foul air described as new economic perfume, emanating from the camp of Hillary Clinton and her coterie of millionaire groupie economic advisers …

With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy [who are her major benefactors] …

Behind many of these proposals is a philosophy, endorsed by Mrs. Clinton’s closest economic advisers and often referred to as inclusive capitalism, that contends that a majority of Americans do not want to punish the rich; they just want to feel that they, too, have a chance to succeed.

Selah!

01.12.17

Short version of #Goldengate

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:06 pm by George Smith


Originally from A Scandal in Belgravia

Solid gold Culture of Lickspittle hit, hotcha!

01.06.17

Observation

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

“Trump’s twitter feed traumatizes Washington,” reads Politico. Nice alliteration!

And this is bad? Describe why.

All the important people who have led the country badly during the last fifteen plus years are being “traumatized” by pre-government through tweet.

Another new meme is how it’s so “alarming” to our “friends” and “emboldening” to our “enemies.” And, yep, maybe it will all turn out badly.

But if so it won’t be because they’ve been right about anything.

The alleged “traumatized” are an establishment that’s needed a kick in the teeth for a long time. And the millionaires in Congress and the agencies are so upset by some tweets?

Wait until the 20th. Get the tranquilizers. They just have to adjust to being lickspittles for a different crew.

Abandon ship

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, WhiteManistan at 3:36 pm by George Smith

The Democratic Party hasn’t begun to accept how badly the bottom has been ripped out.

Quotes from the New York Times, yesterday:

They are part of a growing movement in rural America that immerses many young people in a culture — not just conservative news outlets but also home and church environments — that emphasizes contemporary conservative values. It views liberals as loathsome, misinformed and weak, even dangerous …

While many blame poor decisions by Mrs. Clinton for her loss, in an environment like this, the Democratic candidate probably didn’t matter. And the Democratic Party may not for generations to come. The Republican brand is strong in rural America — perhaps even strong enough to withstand a disastrous Trump presidency.

Rural conservatives feel that their world is under siege, and that Democrats are an enemy to be feared and loathed.

Loathsome and loathed. There are no stronger words.

An interesting sidenote is that the column’s writer, Robert Leonard, references J. C. Watts, an exCongressman.

That’s Julius Ceasar Watts, an African American, who was a star football player for the Oklahoma Sooners.

There are two social tides running here, both bad for the Democratic Party.

If the Party ever sends its current staffers and stars, the people who were all inspired by Barack Obama, out to the heartland shires, they’re going to get fried. (Not literally. More a possibly permanent persona non grata-type thing, a shunning.)

Or if they think a coalition including a smaller number of the we/us college-educated whiteys from the right colleges can eke out a win if just enough of the rest of white America dies, they’re done, too.

Happy days here again. If you can’t count…

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:14 pm by George Smith

Your average NYTimes reporter lacks ability in arithmetic. Or is interested in distortion. Maybe it’s both. Still they earn six figures a year. It’s a good place to be.

So what’s wrong with this sentence from the NYT today?

“Leisure and hospitality workers, for example, saw hourly earnings jump 4.4 percent from a year earlier, equal to the increase enjoyed by employees in the hot technology sector.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the average leisure/hospitality worker earns 15 dollars and change per hour for an average 26 hour work week.

Hot tech workers: $90,000 – 100, 000 /year. Oof!

Happy days, here again.

The reporter, Nelson D. Schwartz finds an expert to waffle it:

“Strong economic growth doesn’t really matter if it’s not widely distributed,” Ms. Swonk said. “You can have a better economy but still not good enough for people who aren’t participating at all.”

Tweeting life in the rotting superpower

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 3:04 pm by George Smith

But while Americans feel justifiably angry at alleged interference with their political process, they have also been handed a mirror, and the reflection should disturb them …

Yeltsin relied on US political strategists – including a former aide to Bill Clinton – who had a direct line back to the White House. When Yeltsin eventually won, the cover of Time magazine was “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.

Without the chaos and deprivations of the US-backed Yeltsin era, Putinism would surely not have established itself.



NSA director Mike Rogers, reacting to Donald Trump’s “disparagement” of the intelligence services …

01.04.17

The freshest bullshit: STEMpathy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:53 pm by George Smith

Software, artificial intelligence and robots will never have what the Tin Man eventually got (or, rather, always had) in The Wizard of Oz. It’s Tom Friedman’s newest kick only he doesn’t have the Tin Man, he has a friend you’ve never heard of, “Dov Seidman, C.E.O. of LRN, which advises companies on leadership and how to build ethical cultures ..” That’s LRN, presumably pronounced learn, only like — shorter by two letters and in ALL CAPS.

“[What] will enable us to continue to create social and economic value?” asks Friedman. “The answer, [the LRNer told him], “is the one thing machines will never have: ‘a heart.’ ”

And the people who will win the jobs of today and tomorrow will be those who know science and math and who also have heart.

You see, I have science, math, and technology but no heart, presumably. Heart is rare and up until now thought not particulary necessary as a talent or skill. Right?

“I call these STEMpathy jobs,” continues Friedman in his dig for more of just the right nose gold. “[Jobs] that combine STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills with human empathy, like the doctor who can extract the best diagnosis from IBM’s Watson on cancer and then best relate it to a patient.”

STEMpathy doctor: “You have stage IV esophageal cancer, Mr. Schmidt. IBM’s Watson has poured over the result of our scans and the literature and the average prognosis is six to eight weeks. In that time we will first use whole brain radiation to slow the growth of metastatic tumors in your head so that they don’t interfere with two weeks of subsequent chemotherapy …”

All right, that example really isn’t a good illustration.

Perhaps Friedman has an even better one up his sleeve? Well, no.

The STEMpathy workers are represented as being about or in something called Paint Nite:

No wonder one of the fastest-growing U.S. franchises today is Paint Nite, which runs paint-while-drinking classes for adults. Bloomberg Businessweek explained in a 2015 story that Paint Nite “throws after-work parties for patrons who are largely lawyers, teachers and tech workers eager for a creative hobby.”

What the fuck?!

“Raise your glass to a NEW kind of night out!” it reads. “Paint Nite® invites you to create art over cocktails at a local restaurant or bar, guided by a professional artist and party host.”

What does science and math have to do with a snob drunk party with painting on the side?

Don’t try to understand it. That’s the gift of Tom Friedman, a terrible writer who uses his weekly column as a venue for a nincompoop’s vision of the future.

As Matt Taibbi put it in reviewing Friedman’s latest book:

No modern writer has been lampooned more. Hundreds if not thousands of man-hours have been spent teaching robots to produce automated Friedman-prose, in what collectively is a half-vicious, half-loving tribute to a man who raised bad writing to the level of an art form … We will remember Friedman for interviewing 76 percent of the world’s taxi drivers … and for his unmatched, God-given ability to write nonsensical metaphors …”

“Leaders, businesses and communities will still leverage technology to gain advantage, but those that put human connection at the center of everything they do — and how they do it — will be the enduring winners …”

STEMpathy at drunk amateur painter parties, innovation near you. Boy howdy!

Tom Friedman, skating along on a slippery cream pie mess that represents the future.


Tom Friedman and the full STEMpathy.

12.30.16

2016’s favorite tune from Old White Coot

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks, Rock 'n' Roll at 1:35 pm by George Smith

Real quote: “Our team got a kick out of the Ricin Mama song,” Assistant US Atty.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »