Nadir Week?

Never say nadir, or, that is, never underestimate the power of the overclass.

In any event, as Killary Klinton trundles on, promising to deliver even more rightist fantasy outcomes for her constituent dupes, Russia is 100% responsible for the war crimes committed by those it clearly trained, armed, funded, and more-or-less controls. Meanwhile, Israel is defending itself against senseless external terrorism. USA? Not involved. Go back to watching your “American Idol” episodes and thinking about how free and peaceful you/we are. There’s troubles, but it’s all Russkies and Arabs. Nothing to lift a finger about.

All the while, where is good old self-righteous, super-radical Occupy? Oh, right, they have become wiser and are now helping people in Brooklyn grow sunflowers.

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Another Reason to Tax the Rich, and Hard

Adrian_Grenier_Vertu There is, of course, no such thing as a $6,200 cell phone. Except, of course, that there is. It’s called the Vertu Constellation. It’s made by Nokia, and has apparently sold more than 300,000 copies.

Mental illness is obviously as epidemic as ever within the overclass.

It’s also something of an IQ test, this Vertu geegaw. See if you can spot the pseudo-intellectualisms, flatteries, and effete product differentiations in this promo blurb:

Constellation is the first handset with a full touch screen from Vertu. Designed with simple elegance at its core, each Constellation is handmade using state-of the art technologies and manufacturing techniques including 8 megapixel camera with ruby surround, hard worked leather and our unique high fidelity sounds system. With one delicate touch you can navigate effortlessly and intuitive [sic] to explore the exclusive services available and a range of carefully curated apps providing bespoke services and information at your fingertips.

Lulz and barfz.

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TCT’s Annual Black Friday Post

consumer slave A website aptly named Slave Consumer World is as good a source as any for this year’s news on the unceasing expansion of the marketing trick known as “Black Friday”:

Toys-R-Us opens at 10pm on Thanksgiving, Kohl’s at 3am, and Sears and Target at 4am on Friday. Wal-mart (WM) will open at 12:01am Friday with all its Black Friday deals except electronics which go on sale at 5am.

For those readers who avoid the mass media in the United States, “Black Friday” is modern-American “Christian/Christmas”-based talk for “loss leader.”

The phenomenon and its constant creep forward in the calendar speak in many directions about the nature of our market-totalitarian society and culture.  Not least of the thoughts that occur to me is this:

“How would you like to be one of the ‘employees’ who have the delightful privilege of going to work at 9:00 p.m. on ‘Thanksgiving’ (i.e., the gustatory launch-event for the yearly Xmas credit-card binge), or, worse, 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. on Loss Leader Day itself?”

If you are one of the chosen few, you might enjoy the lovely holiday tradition of administering CPR to a dying trample victim.

But don’t feel bad if you are not among those lucky enough to be called into work ringing up electronic picture frames in the dead of night:  Maybe you can just focus on the pleasures of achieving 99er status during this season’s glorious profit-gushing “jobless recovery.”

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American Math: Where 74 = 19,000,000

In the United States in 2009, there were 151 million people who received wages. As reporter David Cay Johnston has begun to explain, there is a rather amazing collection of statistics being kept in this crucial area by the Social Security Administration.

Johnston explains some of the shocking, if not at all surprising, facts revealed by a bit of analysis:

[These statistics] do give us a stunning picture of what’s happening at the very top of the compensation ladder in America.

The number of Americans making $50 million or more, the top income category in the data, fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 last year. But that’s only part of the story.

The average wage in this top category increased from $91.2 million in 2008 to an astonishing $518.8 million in 2009. That’s nearly $10 million in weekly pay!

You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008. And even though their numbers shrank by 43 percent, this group’s total compensation was 3.2 times larger in 2009 than in 2008, accounting for 0.6 percent of all pay. These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers.

And remember: This comparison includes federally taxable wages only. It says nothing about stock options, expense accounts, or benefits.

And single-year wage data also say nothing about wealth distribution, which, in a capitalist paradise like the United States, is far more unequal than the income structure.

wage pyramid Finally, I would invite people to just goggle these stats. Contemplate, for instance, the pyramidal structure of the wage system. By far the most densely populated wage segments lie at the low end of the scale. And the slots get almost precisely less-filled as they ascend into the unconscionable stratosphere.

Likewise, one might examine these numbers and ask “our” politicians why the fuck they never shut up about the so-called “middle class.” Aren’t the bottom and the top really the overwhelmingly important issues? And, even without knowing the facts Johnston discusses, aren’t people thirsty for some leadership and meaningful choice in this area?

Alas, few topics are more off-the-table in our market totalitarian society. The mass media are owned by corporate capitalists who enrich themselves by serving the other corporate capitalists who are the sponsors of their fare.  The ruling (R) v. (D) junta, the money-grubbing Business Party duo-mono-poly, a.k.a. our “serious” policians?   The same.

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Dawn of Death: The Apex of Shamelessness

Partly for intellectual/political reasons and partly because I grew up on the habit, I still watch some television. Last night, I nearly choked on my frozen yogurt when I saw this especially stunning mind-rape come on:

Now, I’m no greenhorn when it comes to the mega-chutzpah that goes into the planning and production of corporate marketing campaigns, which, with the possible exception of organized monotheism, are far and away the most carefully considered and lavishly funded form of dishonesty in human history.

But this just takes the fucking cake, here, folks.

What is the point of de-oiling animals after they have been exposed to petroleum leaks? The Procter and Gamble (Dawn is a P & G brand) ad above would have you believe that it is a simple rescue mission that yields lovely, happy-bunny outcomes. Wash the oil off the feathers or fur, and the critter goes home just fine and dandy. Maybe even cleaner and better!

Let’s leave aside the obvious question of going home to what — the same ecosystem in which they just got oiled, the one to which they were born and are adapted?

At the level of the animal itself, petroleum-soaked feathers or fur, serious as it is, is only the secondary problem. The primary problem is oral ingestion or dermal absorption of oil. Swallowing or soaking in petroleum is a catastrophe to the organism:

Because birds preen themselves meticulously to maintain their insulating air layer, external oiling almost always leads to some oil ingestion. Once oil is ingested, it can cause direct damage to the gastrointestinal tract, evidenced by ulcers, diarrhea, and a decreased ability to absorb nutrients. If the volatile components of the oil are inhaled, it can lead to pneumonia, neurological damage, or absorption of chemicals that can lead to cancer. Metabolism of the oil components by the kidney and liver can lead to extensive damage to those organs as well. Lastly, oil (and the stress of being oiled) can cause birds to have significant anemia and the lack of blood cells that combat infection.

The impact on bird eggs and bird and animal babies is worse.

p and g hq

P & G HQ

So, what is the above advertisement for Dawn dish soap? It is a knowing lie, designed to get people to pay a premium for Procter and Gamble’s heavily advertised brand of liquid soap. As all marketing planners know, “a sure-fire way to get consumers to pay more for our products even in these difficult times is to make some ‘green’ claims.”

In reality, then, the above ad is nothing more and nothing less than this: the use of the gargantuan, heart-rending, only-just-begun biological destruction from the Deepwater Horizon blowout as a photo-op for raking in more profits for P & G shareholders, all while sowing Satanic disinformation about the very reality troubling the very victims of the scam.

And, of course, it gets worse. Serious studies of bird survival after petroleum exposure show that “rescuing” birds ranges from being somewhat helpful to being utterly futile and inhumane.

And guess which organization is working to sell the rosiest possible view? That’s right: The International Bird Rescue Research Center, the very group to which P & G sends money as part of this marketing scheme.

The very group whose executive director writes letters of praise to P & G.

The very group that says this on its FAQ page:

Q: What do you use to wash birds?

A: We use “Dawn” dish washing liquid. IBRRC has conducted research on most of the commonly available cleaning agents and “Dawn” meets all the criteria we have established for appropriate cleaning agents. Those criteria are the ability to remove most oils, effectiveness at low concentrations, non-irritating to the skin and eyes, rapid removal from feathers (rinsing), and is easily accessible. Procter and Gamble now donates all “Dawn” detergent to IBRRC and other rehabilitation organizations.

The very group that answers another key FAQ thus:

Q: What is your survival rate?

A: The survival rate will differ with each oil spill because of all the factors that effect it. Some of those factors are the toxicity of the oil, how rapidly the birds are collected and stabilized, what condition the bird was in before it was oiled, and the species involved. We have had release rates as high as 100% and as low as 25% in the early years. We now average about 50% to 80%. Again, it depends on many variables and cannot be predicted.

Did you catch that liar’s shift? What is your survival rate? We won’t say, but here are some statistics about our RELEASE rate.

In other words, the IBRRC is a Procter and Gamble front, a mere pimp for P & G’s “cherished strategy of introducing increasingly sophisticated — and increasingly costly — household staples.”

By the way, a regular 24.0z bottle of Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent presently sells for $5.49, or 22.9 cents per ounce on drugstore.com. I guarantee you that the dollar stores my grandmother frequents sell an indistinguishable product for one dollar.

I can only quote, once again, from the late Robert L. Heilbroner:

At a business forum, I was once brash enough to say that I thought the main cultural impact of television advertising was to teach children that grown-ups told lies for money. How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?

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Orwell Would be Unpublished Now

I swear, the most skilled dystopian novelist couldn’t make this stuff up:

Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan 17, 2010 – Nominees, presenters and performers arriving to “The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” will have an opportunity to help raise money for Haitian relief efforts with a simple signature. Positioned at the entrance of the Beverly Hilton Hotel is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, Olivier Francois’ personal car, a Chrysler 300C. Francois donated his vehicle so that attendees to the ceremony could place their signature upon the sedan which could then be donated for auction to specifically raise money for Haiti relief efforts.

“Looking at the devastation this catastrophe has caused to an already impoverished country,there is no doubt that we have a social responsibility to assist in any way that we can. This will not be the only funding we will provide to this country on behalf of the Chrysler Brand and Chrysler Group LLC, there is more to come.”said Olivier Francois, President and Chief Executive Office – Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “We are pleased to join hands with Hollywood to offer this gesture as part of the relief efforts toward Haiti. And, to my colleague, Dodge Brand President and Chief Executive Officer, who is of Haitian-descent, and to all Haitian-Americans with family in Haiti, our thoughts are with you.”

The Chrysler 300C that will be donated for auction is expected to raise approximately 1 million dollars.

Chrysler Joins Stars for a Cause to Auction Chrysler 300 “eco style” Edition Vehicles
The Chrysler brand, together with Dick Clark Productions, has also partnered with Stars for a Cause to donate six eco-friendly accessorized vehicles that will be auctioned off to select celebrity charities.

Nominee Meryl Streep, presenters Christina Aguilera, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Felicity Huffman and actor Colin Firth will arrive to the Golden Globes in their select Chrysler 300 eco style limited edition vehicle, which will be donated and auctioned to the charity of their choice.

Based off of the Chrysler 300C, the most-awarded vehicle in the industry, the eco style edition vehicles are accessorized with eco-friendly materials such as cork, bamboo, recycled jute carpeting and suede seat inserts and feature refurbished wheels while providing high-end luxury and elegant design. The vehicles feature a refined interior, premium technology and offer fuel-efficient performance and excitement.

Each of the celebrities will arrive to the awards in their select vehicles:

* Presenter Christina Aguilera’s Chrysler 300 eco style vehicle features a water-based Vanilla exterior color. On the inside are cactus-colored seat-inserts with bamboo applique placed on the door trim and center console
* Presenter Leonardo DiCaprio’s vehicle has Cream exterior and Aqua-blue seat inserts, a hydrographic water-themed applique is subtly placed throughout the interior
* Actor Colin Firth’s vehicle features a stately and sleek Black exterior color with Black Bamboo interior accents
* Presenter Tom Hanks will arrive to the awards in an elegant Black Chrysler 300 eco style edition vehicle with Curry seat-inserts and organic appliques
* Presenter Felicity Huffman will arrive in a Dark Cordovan vehicle with a stained Cordovan cork interior color
* Nominee Meryl Streep’s vehicle features a Platinum exterior and on the interior are Cumin-colored seat-inserts along with natural mat and cork materials

Recycled materials are used within the interior of the vehicle. Recycled ultra-suede seat inserts are used for the front and rear-passenger seats and are soft to the touch and durable. Hydrographics patterns are used to place organic themes on the center console and door trim of the interior compartment. Water-based paints are used on the exterior of the vehicle.

And here’s the kicker:

Under the hood is the 5.7-liter HEMI® engine with Muliti-displacement System (MDS). MDS seamlessly alternates between smooth high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is needed. MDS optimizes fuel economy without sacrificing vehicle performance.

If you know anything about physics, you know that a 5.7-liter engine is a huge motor. If you know that, then you won’t be surprised by the EPA mileage rating of this “eco-style” engine: 15 city/23 highway!

This is the “new” stuff that’s being peddled, after Obama’s automotive bailout, after the arrival of supposedly better European managers…

And, of course, don’t you just want to weep with gratitude at the sacrifices that were made all around for the people of Haiti?  As part of being honored from churning out yet another year of unwatchable pablum about cops and robbers and saints in surgical garb, the attendees at one of the multiple versions of the Hollywood Employee of the Year Banquet “raised” perhaps 1/10th of what was spent on the “awards ceremony” — “for Haiti.”  All, of course, while pimping for Chrysler’s deranged ecocidal waste-pushing.

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