Category Archives: plus ça change plus c’est la même chose

Automation and Secularization

One of the reasons The Deplorables elected OMP was his promise to make America great again; in essence, OMP vowed to bring back back-breaking labor (coal/mining), manufacturing, sales and other menial jobs that require little education, something many of The Deplorables lacked. 1

Technology will put paid to that canard:

Automation is accelerating. The software powering these robots becomes more powerful every day. We can’t stop it. But we can adapt to it.

Bill Gates recommends we tax robotic workers so that we can recapture some of the money displaced workers would have paid as income tax.

Elon Musk recommends we adopt universal basic income and give everyone a certain amount of money each year so we can keep the economy going even as millions of workers are displaced by automation.

And I recommend we take some of the taxpayer money we’re using to subsidize industries that are now mostly automated, and instead invest it in training workers for emerging engineering jobs.

Truck Driving Man

As of 2014, “Truck Driver” is the most common job in almost every state in the US.

The Deplorables, like everyone else, will have to adapt to the inevitable.

Historically, however, the problem has always been that a certain segment of society, of which The Deplorables comprise a large portion, is resistant to change; they want things “just as they are” or “the way things used to be.” Even worse, many of them combine these Luddite tendencies with a dogged effort to defy the West’s ongoing secularization. This is especially true when egged on by foaming at the mouth religious zealots.

This does not bode well for the future.

Sure, the governments of the world could initiate long range plans of re-education/training of their populaces, along with providing monetary support in an effort to minimize the impact of the coming transition. That is, at least notionally, what governments do; provide for the welfare of their people.

But history teaches that what will most likely happen is dictators/autocrats/despots(and undoubtedly OMP) will instead use the attendant rising unemployment and dissatisfaction of The Deplorables as a tool to further inflame societal gulfs, while at the same time claiming that The Other is the root cause and we must engage them in The Forever War.

In other words, plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.

Wake up, people.

Automation and Secularization

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  1. Yes fear, xenophobia, misogynism and racism all played a part, but we’re not speaking of that at the moment.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Ticketmaster’s $400 million settlement over jacked-up fees for things like “order-processing” and shipping costs has been approved and finalized, more than a decade after the class-action suit — Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster — was originally filed.

To collect on the settlement, fans will have to spend more money on tickets.

You are one of the 50 million class members if you purchased a ticket on Ticketmaster’s website from Oct. 21, 1999, through Feb. 27, 2013. If you haven’t received an email notice yet, buyers are told to check their accounts on or around June 18 to retrieve discount codes — one for each transaction during the class period, with a cap of 17 — that are good for a $2.25 credit on a future online ticket purchase…

As part of the settlement, Ticketmaster changed the language on its website to clarify that order-processing and delivery charges may include a profit for the company. That said, Ticketmaster “denies any fault or liability, or any charges of wrongdoing that have been or could have been asserted” during the case.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2003, when Ticketmaster was part of IAC/InterActive Corp. Live Nation bought the ticketing firm for $2.5 billion in 2009.

Yet another reason why we can’t have nice things: Ticketmaster drug out a lawsuit for over a decade and managed to convince a judge to allow them to pay damages in coupons.

We wonder – were all the lawyers paid in coupons? 1 2

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

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  1. Hahahahahahaha! Just kidding; the lawyers were paid millions of dollars! You know, for getting you those $2.25 coupons.
  2. And, hey! Monopolies, amirite?

Twitter Party

Despite holding an office party with Twitter-branded beer pong tables and a sign in Greek- style lettering that read “Twitter Frat House,” Twitter’s male-dominated culture is nothing like that of an American college fraternity, says Twitter.

A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed that the company-funded frat party did take place, reportedly held for the alpha bros of the revenue team (naturally). But Prosser cleared up any confusion about whether or not Twitter was an actual fraternity, issuing a standard Silicon Valley apology.

There it is. Twitter is not a fraternity. It’s just a male-centric environment where dudes can play beer pong, do kegstands, and get in gender discrimination lawsuits.

For those of you not in the industry, “alpha bros of the revenue team” is code for “salesmen.” 1 Which is hilarious as I can’t figure out what Twitter might be selling to a ad-bocking community.

Tupperware, perhaps?

Twitter Party

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  1. Yes, this includes their ubiquitous bastard child, the “sales engineer.” This particular egregiously worthless lump of humanity knows nothing useful about the software he “supports” (much less is able to effectively assist you in debugging his company’s crap code) but will insist on taking up several hours of your time to tell you so.

Same Ol’ Story

We made a pit-stop in Salina last night 1, either at a Love’s or a Pilot’s truck stop: it is hard to differentiate since they’re both comprised of acres of concrete sprouting fields of gas pumps, as well as being home to the sort of gew-gaw selling, in-and-out stores (What the fuck is that? A billy-club? Who needs a 3′ billy-club to “check their tires”? And is that a shrunken head?! Jesus, Marge, let’s get outta here) that cause indigestion in the occasional bewildered NY or LA traveler.

Last night the gas oasis was host to a tidy caravan of Tom Joad’s decedents, the sparkling cabs of their Ford F-150s stuffed with random dogs, dirty children and smaller household goods, with the larger pieces – plasma TVs, barcaloungers and settees and such- piled high back in the truck beds. Headed east they were, escaping the state before Brownback launched another offensive against them: the latest rumors spreading among them concerned a tax on beards, scutage (it is said that Brownback intends to make enlistment in the state’s National Guard mandatory for all adults…unless you pay the annual scutage) and a new tax on pissing in any public place. No one was sure how this last, Vaspasian notion would be enforced (metered urinals?) but it spoke volumes that everyone took the possibility seriously.

While the adults browsed through the store’s unlimited supply of crap food for their journey, a handful of the dogs (and two or three of the littlest children) were busy scarfing up the plentiful cicadas. Seriously, covering what must have been an actual section of unrelieved concrete, with nary a tree, shrubbery or dirt clod in sight, there must have been several thousand cicadas walking, crawling and semi-flying about. It was an amazing sight. 2 Disgusting, but amazing.

These folk were all from central Brownbackistan, too far from the state’s borders to shop elsewhere. Western Brownbackistanis can just drive to Burlington, CO, for their shopping – tax rate: 4.9%. Those on the northern edge of Brownbackistan can cross over to to towns like Du Bois, Nebraska – tax rate 5.5%. Even those Brownbackistanis on the southern and eastern edges can find some relief by shopping in Oklahoma and Missouri. But central Brownbackistanis don’t have any options but to stay…and pay. And pay…and pay. Or to migrate to a new home. So it was round ’em up and head ’em out time for these besieged people.

Many of them were headed to New Hampshire, others to Wisconsin, with few of the more hard-headed among them migrating all the way to Maine. They were all cheerful enough. As one woman put it “Hell, at least we won’t have to pretend any more. You know how hard that is, defending someone like Brownback? When you know he’s nothing but a jackass slurping up the Koch brothers spunk and pretending it’s all for our own good? Damn hard, I’ll tell you.”

She lowered her voice some and leaned closer to me.

“Don’t let it slip but we and a couple of other families have had enough – we’re headed for Vermont. Bernie Sanders just makes more and more sense. I’d rather live someplace where the politicians don’t try and rape you on a daily basis.”

Which was our introduction to what Brownback had got up to while we were away. Jesus H. Fucking Ke-rist; it’s plus ça change plus c’est la même chose, regardless of the century, amiright?

Same Ol' Story

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  1. Yes, we’ve returned from the mountains; apparently one of us still has to work for a living.
  2. Nope, have not seen even 1 cicada about the Charles manse or anywhere on the grounds – apparently it hasn’t yet been hot enough to bring the little buggers outta their holes. We’ll see what the coming week’s hot weather brings.

Loretta Lynch

38. As United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, you helped secure nearly $2 billion from HSBC over its failure to establish proper procedures to prevent money laundering by drug cartels and terrorists. You were quoted in a DOJ press release saying, “HSBC’s blatant failure to implement proper anti-money laundering controls facilitated the laundering of at least $881 million in drug proceeds through the U.S. financial system.”

You stated that the bank’s “willful flouting of U.S. sanctions laws and regulations resulted in the processing of hundreds of millions of dollars in [Office of Foreign Assets Control]-prohibited transactions.” Still, no criminal penalties have been assessed for any executive who may have been involved.

a. Did you make any decision or recommendation on charging any individual with a crime?

i. If so, please describe any and all decisions or recommendations you made.

ii. Please explain why such decisions or recommendations were made.

b. If you did not make any decision or recommendation on charging any individual with a crime, who made the decision not to prosecute?

RESPONSE: On December 11, 2012, the Department filed an information charging HSBC Bank USA with violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and HSBC Holdings with violating U.S. economic sanctions (the two entities are collectively referred to as “HSBC”). Pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”), HSBC admitted its wrongdoing, agreed to forfeit $1.256 billion, and agreed to implement significant remedial measures, including, among other things, to follow the highest global anti-money laundering standards in all jurisdictions in which it operates. As the United States District Judge who approved the deferred prosecution found, “the DPA imposes upon HSBC significant, and in some respect extraordinary, measures” and the “decision to approve the DPA is easy, for it accomplishes a great deal.” Although grand jury secrecy rules prevent me from discussing the facts involving any individual or entity against whom we decided not to bring criminal charges, as I do in all cases in which I am involved, I and the dedicated career prosecutors handling the investigation carefully considered whether there was sufficient admissible evidence to prosecute an individual and whether such a prosecution otherwise would have been consistent with the principles of federal prosecution contained in the United States Attorney’s Manual. 1

I want to reiterate, particularly in the context of recent media reports regarding the release of HSBC files pertaining to its tax clients, that the Deferred Prosecution Agreement reached with HSBC addresses only the charges filed in the criminal violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for failures to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program and for sanctions violations. The DPA explicitly does not provide any protection against prosecution for conduct beyond what was described in the Statement of Facts. Furthermore, I should note the DPA explicitly mentions that the agreement does not bind the Department’s Tax Division, nor the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division. information, which are limited to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for failures to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program and for sanctions violations. The DPA explicitly does not provide any protection against prosecution for conduct beyond what was described in the Statement of Facts. Furthermore, I should note the DPA explicitly mentions that the agreement does not bind the Department’s Tax Division, nor the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division.

Bruce A Dixon at Black Agenda Report refers to her as Condoleeza Rice with a law degree:

“In private practice Loretta Lynch was a “white collar crime specialist” keeping banksters, tax evaders and money launderers out of jail. She did exactly that at Obama’s Justice Department, passing get out of jail cards in the biggest money laundering cases in history. She’s pro-death penalty, against legalizing weed or demilitarizing cops, sees no evil in drone murder, war crimes or runaway surveillance. And she’s the next Attorney General….”

HSBC’s crimes were so transparently egregious thatat the time Matt Tabbi was aghast.

“You can do real time in jail in America for all kinds of ridiculous offenses,” Taibbi says. “Here we have a bank that laundered $800 million of drug money, and they can’t find a way to put anybody in jail for that. That sends an incredible message, not just to the financial sector but to everybody. It’s an obvious, clear double standard, where one set of people gets to break the rules as much as they want and another set of people can’t break any rules at all without going to jail.”

Lynch is the exact sort of Wall Street bagman that the lobbyists who run Congress love. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a February 26ote on her nomination, with a full Senate vote to come later. And while some of teh stoopids are threatening to suggested filibustering her nomination until president Obama does what they want (never gonna happen), the clued-in portion of the Republican Senate will smack these ‘tards (Crus et al) down…

Meet the new boss…
Same as the old boss

American Apocalypse

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  1. We emphasized this because it seems patently obvious Lynch, besides not answering a single question put to her, would gleefully continue the policies that brought the economy down about our heads back in 2007. And why would we, the American public, want anything to do with that?

Tripping Dinos

Tripping DinosThere are two ways to introduce this new joint study from Oregon State University and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The more accurate, and certainly more responsible, course would be to say that researchers have found a perfectly preserved amber fossil that contains the oldest grass specimen ever discovered, on top of which lies a 100 million-year-old form of the ergot fungus. The second—decidedly less responsible, but nearly irresistible—is that researchers discovered that dinosaurs may have been tripping on hallucinogens.

In 2001, German paleontologist Joerg Wunderlich discovered what he thought was a fossilized flower in the amber mines of Myanmar—an area where sauropods are known to have lived. He sent the sample to Oregon State paleo-entomologist Dr. George Poinar, who quickly realized that it was not, in fact, a flower, but instead a piece of grass—the oldest known grass in the world, at that. Even more remarkable, Poinar found that the grass was topped with this ergot-like fungus.

A version of the fungus responsible for LSD was present on the grass that the largest land animals in history were subsisting on. And, to think, dinosaurs were already terrifying.
Tripping Dinos

Teh Stoopid

Evidence of the KCPS board’s abiding love affair with the stoopid just keeps mounting.

We recently noted Dr. Green and the KCPS board had proudly pronounced a pyrrhic victory upon being gifted “provisional” accreditation by DESE, even while totally eliding the latest data documenting that fully 70% of KCPS scholars are not competent in either reading or mathematics. You know – the basics?

We admit, that was a ballsy move. Stoopid, but ballsy.

Comes once again the KCPS to announce their intent to further miseducate their scholars, this time via technology!

At Kansas City Public Schools, we know that we’re preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, every single KCPS student is being equipped with a laptop in order to ensure that they are fluent in technology by the time they go to college and launch their careers.

That’s right: KCPS is provisioning each and every student with laptops “to ensure that they are fluent in technology…”

Let’s get real, shall we? Giving children laptops to make them fluent in technology is akin to giving Hollywood starlets iPhones to assure their fluency in ‘cloud’ security. 1

Moreover KCPS’ promise of Pre-loaded e-textbooks and safety and security software and settings should strike fear into the heart of anyone remotely familiar with enterprise level LANs; expect the domain these devices are administered by to be totally pwned by Christmas.

Finally, what logic arrives at the conclusion a large number (approx. 10,000) of functionally illiterate children will gain technical fluency simply by using a laptop? To achieve A+ certification 2 requires basic literacy, something the majority of KCPS scholars can not claim.

Unless KCPS is using the phrase are fluent in technology to mean can use a laptop much like a television remote, they are just swimming in the stoopid.

But, hey! What do we know? After all, we haven’t been involved in the miseducation of Kansas City scholars for over forty years – maybe this will work. We mean…just LOOK at their video! Technology abounds…

Teh Stoopid

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  1. Though one could easily argue the outcome of the starlet/iPhone combination provides more overall benefit to society  than the scholar/laptop combination.
  2. Which is the bare minimum necessary to find and hold a Tier I Helpdesk position (on the night shift) earning no more that $24K a year.