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#Brexit, appliances, eucatastrophes and GoT crackpot theories


What has the EU ever done for us?

Hi everybody, I have to go mow the lawn. It’s a nice day out today and I want to get it over with so I can do more fun things. But first, some thots about Brexit.

David Cameron is a ditz. He called his voters’ bluff one too many times. Unfortunately, the people who voted for exiting the EU are dragging all of the young and well educated with them. It’s funny how this turned out to be a referendum on immigration and all those furiners taking jobs. Why is it that the well connected who are making out like bandits in the globalization deal escape scrutiny time after time?

I blame Rupert Murdoch. Wherever his “news” channels are strongest so is the redirection of righteous indignation onto the backs of the people who are least able to defend themselves.

Anyway, I wanted to point out that this globalization meme is truly stupid and well-meaning politicians should stop cuddling up to the propagators of this nonsense. Instinctively, we know that globalization is the excuse that is being used to tear down social safety nets. The reasoning is that goods for Americans, for example, are cheaper when they are made elsewhere. But is that really true?

Here’s a challenge: next time you’re in Lowes or Home Depot, go visit the appliance department. Try to figure out which refrigerators and ranges are made here in the US and which are made in Korea by price. There are brands that are made here in the US but they do not carry a premium price. In fact, the most expensive appliances, the ones that everyone wants and needs, are made in Korea. Not only that but sales reps will tell you confidentially that the current generation of those $3200 refrigerators are not supposed to last more than 7-10 years.

That’s globalization for you. And people buying new appliances know this in their bones. They know they’re being conned. What can you do? You can’t let your food spoil. But you gotta wonder where all the cost savings went. If the appliances are no longer cheaper but the labor is, then the difference is pure profit and it’s going into someone’s pocket. Not ours, obviously.

Globalization as we know it is really about a global casino, shareholder value, 401K’s. Did you notice that on Friday when the market dropped, we were all told not to look at our 401Ks? That’s what the gamblers would prefer. They don’t want you to look at how the value of your hard earned money, your retirement plan, is taking a plunge and will continue to do so. “Leave it alone, don’t think about it” is the message we get. Otherwise, you might get angry and they don’t want you to get angry and pull YOUR money out of THEIR market. Don’t look until we have to retire and find that all these monumental shocks left us with a lot less than the financial consultants said. They won’t promise you a guaranteed rate of return or even that you’ll have any principal left.And it’s all up to you. If you don’t plan, if you’re not playing the game correctly, well, it’s you’re fault for not being them.

I don’t buy the idea that nothing can be done about this kind of globalization. As Larry Elliott writes in his post in The Guardian:

The risk is that if the mainstream parties don’t respond to the demands of their traditional supporters, they will be replaced by populist parties who will. The French Socialist party has effectively lost most of its old blue-collar working class base to the hard left and the hard right, and in the UK there is a danger that the same thing will happen to the Labour party, where Jeremy Corbyn’s laissez-faire approach to immigration is at odds with the views of many voters in the north that supported Ed Miliband in the 2015 general election, but who plumped for Brexit last week.

There are those who argue that globalisation is now like the weather, something we can moan about but not alter. This is a false comparison. The global market economy was created by a set of political decisions in the past and it can be shaped by political decisions taken in the future.

A smart politician is one who will see Brexit as the eucatastrophe it is, no pun intended. It might be too late for a do-over in Britain, but the American election is months away. It is not too late to turn this ship around. Even if Hillary is ahead of The Donald, she should take a good look at how the landscape has changed and take advantage of it to craft new policies, policies that will ensure lasting political change. Obama failed to take advantage of his opportunities from 2008-2010. Hillary should sieze on hers now even at the risk of offending some of her donors in Silicon Valley.  The pressure on regular non-rich Americans has been building for years now. It got significantly worse in the last 8 years as the finance industry and big business benefitted from lax oversight to push more and more people into a Gig Economy. That’s where you’re valuable when you’re young and single and willing to job hop. But as soon as you grow up and want a steady job and a family and a house, the jobs mysteriously dry up.

Brexit shows us what can happen when voters have a chance to express themselves. Voters are angry and they are motivated and they want to make a point. David Cameron thought throwing them a bone of a referendum would be just another Scotland independence vote where the whiners and complainers would get trounced and shut up about it already. But he seriously misread the electorate. They’re sick of being taken advantage of and if they’re going down, they’re going to take everyone else with them. And just like the UK, we have a bunch of angry white guys with big erections that they are going to parade all the way to the voting booth. The economy is not booming, we aren’t doing well and unlike the angry Bernie supporters, who at least know who to blame, the Trump supporters will lash out at anyone who isn’t a white male American.

Better to give them policies that will curb the malefactors of great wealth and stop expecting the working class to foot the bill all time than to see us all wake up after the conventions feeling like we’ve been thoroughly f^&*ed.


Tonight is the season finale of Game of Thrones. Here are my crackpot theories about how what’s going to happen:

  1. We will find out tonight just who was the recipient of Sansa Stark’s letter and plea for help. Everyone assumes it was Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. But I think Sansa has grown a clue in the last six years. She made a deal with someone in the Vale. Was it Lord Royce or SweetRobin? In any case, Littlefinger may be losing his edge. If you’re planning to come to someone’s rescue, make sure you get the specific reciprocal rewards on paper, preferably signed in blood.
  2. Whatever Sansa does, there will be a faction of fans who will be critical. They’ve been complaining for years now that she’s been too much of a passive pushover. But since she started taking control of her life this season and making some controversial decisions, they’ve become even more hostile and critical that “She’s doin’ it wrong”. Also, there are some fans who are very negative that she might be losing her girlish innocence to be replaced by a calculating survival mode. Thus Game of Thrones continues to reflect current political realities. Even in the fantasy realm, Cenk Uygar is tiresome, sexist asshole. The pattern is obvious, Cenk. Your slip is showing. Calm your tits already.
  3. What is in the crypts of Winterfell? I mean, seriously, there’s some secret lurking down there that we don’t know about. And why is it that “there must always be a Stark at Winterfell”? The first book opened in the crypts when Ned took Robert down there to check out Lyanna’s grave. But various characters are always finding some excuse to go down there and light some candles. Maybe this is what Littlefinger is truly interested in. Sansa’s just the cheesecake dessert.** Whatever is down there is what he’s really after.
  4. Tonight, we will probably get confirmation that R+L=J. Was Jon reborn last week under a bleeding star of the circular pattern of dead and dying bodies? Was the “salt and smoke” from the Ramsay’s burning victims and the sweat of battle? Will Melisandre be the ultimate sacrifice? Will she finally understand the signs she sees in the fire?

Add your own crackpot theories in the comments.

* *  Here’s another crackpot theory. We all know how Ramsay Bolton had a thing for cutting off various body parts from his victims. What if Ramsay did a bit of FGM on Sansa? I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones to even be imagining this but I could see him doing it, considering what he cut off of Theon Greyjoy. In that case, Sansa may decide to become a born-again virgin and get her kicks from wielding power instead. Oooo, Cenk isn’t going to like that.


25 Responses

  1. I would really love to know what you, RD, would see as acceptable if Hillary takes “a good look at how the landscape has changed and take advantage of it to craft new policies, policies that will ensure lasting political change.” What would that change look like to you? I ask seriously as I know you have thought about the details.

    Bernie has been given a lot of his demands in the newest version of the Democratic platform but is now saying that he wants the rest of his ideas included and, if not, he will “take it to the convention.” Should Hillary scrap her platform and use only his even though she clearly has the delegates and votes to not feel threatened by him and his supporters? The items he mentioned were free college and health care for all (Medicare). I forget the third or fourth things he listed.

    I hope that Hillary stands her ground on the rest of the issues. I do want good health care for all, that pays for standard needs (such as hearing aids, for pete’s sake). But who is going to vote for a 50% tax rate? Especially if you include free college. Oh, the other was climate change and I surely agree we need to get busy with that. But I don’t see Hillary as being anti-climate change so I want BS to shut up about it.

    And, not one interviewer ever challenges Bernie on how his ideas could be put into place and paid for. I am really sick of them treating him like a “god” who can’t be challenged.

    Sorry, these are two different issues but I think related. If she looks like she is afraid enough to accept all of Bernie’s platform, even if she agrees in principle, I don’t see how that helps in the election. Oh, help, here comes Nina Turner. I have to change the channel.

    • 1.) Phase out the 401K.
      2.) Reverse incentives for gigging the job market
      3.) Reinvest government money in our scientific infrastructure
      4.) Dump the shitty idea about profit sharing. No one would prefer a fleeting, flimsy share of the profits to a long term job
      5.) Replace H1-B visas with unrestricted time limited green cards. That’s right, treat truly talented people like human beings, not exploitable cheap labor who can be shipped back home when business slacks off.
      6.) Enforce the employer mandate for Obamacare and introduce a public option capped at no more than 10% gross income including deductibles.
      7.) Allow student debts to be discharged in bankruptcy court.
      The biggy, imho, is getting rid of the 401K. It will have to be phased out over many years. Every company should be required to offer a pension plan. They’re going to shriek like burning swamp monsters over that but the 401k is a ponzie scheme that only benefit investment managers who socialize their own risks and make us foot the bill. The 401k is the root of many evils. The more complicit we are, the more exploitable we are, the more checked the economy and any true innovation will be. It’s got to go. Period. That’s what I want to hear. I’d like to hear Hillary bring it up without having her feet held to the fire.

    • Bernie no longer matters. He’s become the crazy guy wandering in the desert shouting at clouds demanding they answer him. His demands on Hillary reminds me of the old hippie sexism of how the “old lady” was supposed to do the bidding of her master.

  2. Aye on the Globalization Con. Nay on Sansa The Cunning. And Hell Nay Don’t Even Got There on FGM. (Though I could see GOT doing it– they’ve gotten me many times int eh past.)

    • Oh, yeah, Sansa *is* cunning. She’s been that way all along. You just didn’t notice it before because she was at the mercy of too many violent and manipulative men. Go back and read the first book. The germ of Queen Sansa first of her name was there from the very beginning. Now she sees how the game is played. She’s going to play it.
      Littlefinger messed with the wrong girl.

  3. I think Brexit is going to be the biggest move towards anti-globalisation so far. Great post. Though I have to skip about Game of Thrones as I haven’t seen last week’s yet. I predict that we need Jon Snow to guard Hadrian’s Wall

  4. OK, RDs list is different from Bernie’s and I can agree with all that I understand. I know some but not enough about 401k or profit sharing to opine but do trust your knowledge.
    I especially think your #6 would go a long way towards helping low income folks get more affordable health care. Your plan could be paid for easily if the whole cost of services issue, and services offered, were revamped. One tiny example: Medicare requires that a wheelchair (basic for $99 at stores) be “rented” over a year (paid by Medicare) so that the medical supply house gets many times $99 for the wheelchair. True for many durable goods. And yet, neither Medicare nor Medicaid will pay for any portion of a hearing aid for someone who is deaf without one. So, the whole medical supplies issue is a ripoff of taxpayers. I am not sure that even a Dem congress would tackle it though.

  5. Since the Brexit is one of the subjects:

    I guess this was inevitable. NSFW due to four F-bombs. 😈

  6. Meanwhile, genuine neo-Ratzis clashed with counter-protesters at a neo-Ratzi rally in Sacramento. 😮

    Hey, GOP and fat cat backer $#!+heads: “Do you still think you can control them?” 👿

  7. “…a bunch of angry white guys with big erections…”

    Are you perhaps being overly generous with that adjective “big”? 😈

  8. Why did you have a lawn to mow?

    I thought you lived rent-free in certain people’s heads. 😉

    • Lolololol!!! That’s the funniest thing I e read in a long time. It’s a virtual lawn at my villa in Sardinia. I gave Antonio the day off and decided to give it a trim. Then I hung out at the beach people watching and snorkeling.
      You know, just another day in other people’s heads.

  9. I’m not sure all of Brexit was about globalization. It was also about the austerity pushed on the British by Cameron. Also Nigel Farage lied to the voters saying if they got out of the EU they could fund the NHI which has been subject to cuts. Now the irony is the austerity is going to be much deeper and much worse for the British after Brexit. This is what happens a lot of time too when people just lash out without thinking about anything.

  10. Not that logic has anything to do with it, but if most of those anti-immigrant voters are “older,” they probably wouldn’t want or be able to do the work of a full time job. (Speaking as an adjunct prof with my hands full teaching one course).

    • I guess I fit into that “older” category even though I am a tail end baby boomer.
      The stereotype you just wrote has been the single most destructive attitude to me personally to getting another full time after my layoff five years ago. We’re either not interested in working or too old to be technologically savvy (this is laughable. I run circles around the young whippersnappers here in the tech area) or I’m overqualified or, what I really think is hurting older women, someone else will take care of me. People just assume I have a husband or partner who will allow me to coast.
      Don’t go there. It enrages me that I and other women my age are in danger of sinking into poverty and homelessness because the rest of the working world refuses to get a clue.
      We need to make a living too and we work hard.

      • Totally agree. 2 jobs, social science, very qualified husband can find only part time work. “Older” people may not WANT to work full-time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t HAVE to.

        Everyone’s looking for a scapegoat.

  11. NSFW for an F-bomb.

    Patrick Stewart in “What Has the ECHR Ever Done for Us?” :mrgreen:

    I’d love to have heard him say that to Tomalak or Q. 😈

  12. Spammy’s being an @$$ again. 😡

  13. Nice one. Great points about globalization and the angry people. The system is out to destroy itself from greed, and those in charge, including the politicians, are playing the same tunes, oblivious to what’s happening.

  14. Voters are angry, indeed… Tonight, I read that, whereas after he left office, Pres. Carter supported Amnesty Int’l, and Pres. Clinton started the Clinton Foundation, Pres. Obama plans to join a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Not that we are surprised…

    • LOLOLOL!!!
      {{catching breath, wiping tears from eyes}}
      I call them “vulture capitalists”. In Silicon Valley, the payoff may be better for the inventors. But in science, it’s just a way for private companies to get thei mitts on potentially valuable patents while offering to payoff the substantial debts accumulated by the researchers who did the actual work.
      What was the name of the villain in “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Yeah, him. Great vulture capitalist.
      Nothing surprises me anymore. But I am looking forward to the Obot contingent trying to justify it and the tech companies that will be exploiting the foreign workers here on H1-B visas.
      If this is true, then there’s no wonder the economy never boomed after he took office. It wasn’t supposed to.

    • I’m surprised. He isn’t qualified compared to others I have read about here over the years. Resumes are studied carefully, not like someone signing up for the Dem Presidential nomination–in that case, one just has to switch to Dem before the deadline to get “free publicity.”

      I guess Obama can hang around with Condi Rice and George Schultz and the Hoover Institute at Stanford. To be honest, Silicon Valley is kind of boring. Being a VC is probably hard work. Not sure he’d want to stay around long if perfecting his golf game in important.

  15. http://the-toast.net/2016/07/01/a-note-on-the-toast/

    I just learned about The Toast, but Hillary writes a beautiful send-off. See above link. It’s a site where Hillary supporters could feel safe to share their comments.

    I miss the Confluence Friday cocktail parties. Those were such fun in 2007.

    I also don’t think Obama will find life as a VC in Silly Valley very exciting. To me, it’s rather boring, but can be lucrative. I guess one can hang around with Condi and George Schultz at the Hoover Institute. The golfing might not be up to Obama’s standards.

  16. http://the-toast.net/2016/07/01/a-note-on-the-toast/

    Farewell The Toast, sorry to have never known you. Hillary writes a beautiful sendoff. Sounds like it was a safe place to be a Hill supporter. Some of the writers are working on her campaign now.

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