Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spike in my veins

KoRn's "The Paradigm Shift" hit stores a few days ago.  After listening to it a few times, my opinion is the album is outstanding.  Lots of old-style songs, lots of new-style songs, some dubstep... hopefully, something to please everyone.  I know I'm pleased as punch, especially with "Spike in my Veins," which features a great vocal line, a Slayer-like riff, a Mushroomhead-like keyboard accompaniment, some timely dubstep, and a great chorus.  I can't wait to see them again when they tour.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I may or may not have ranted about this before, but in honor of our government’s failtacular shutdown, here goes.

I’m not sure exactly when the so-called American Dream mutated from “opportunity + hard work = success” into “ridiculous profits for 0.001% of Americans = thorough ass-fuckery for the remaining 99.999%.”  I do know what allows it to continue to occur unchecked, though: the “My party good, your party bad” rhetoric, our collective stupidity and refusal to understand that capitalism is a very broad term, and our government’s toothless and utterly pathetic acceptance of cronyism and lobby whoring.  I remember going absolutely bonkers when Governor Romney insisted on talking about “Chinese cheating.”  What the bloody hell is that?  I can’t stand this bullshit rhetoric of making other countries out to be cheaters and thieves when WE are the ones who empower them to do so.

Never mind the “Chinese cheating” horseshit.  The greedy pig attitude of most organizations is what’s wrong with this country.  One of roughly a million examples I could cite:  my beloved Converse, an American company with a perennially popular shoe made of rubber and canvas, manufactured in the U.S. by American workers, somewhere in North Carolina, if memory serves.  These shoes – Chuck Taylor All-Stars, aka Chuckies – used to be available for $20-$30 in stores, via catalog, on the web, etc.  Some five years ago, mega-giant Nike bought out Converse in a deal widely lauded as “a real coup” for Nike by Wall Street types.  America rejoiced.  “Capitalism at its finest!  Good for Converse for cashing in!”  Not really.  Nike proceeded to shut down the production facility in North Carolina, and Converse are now mass-produced in Vietnamese and Chinese sweatshops for roughly one tenth of the cost of manufacturing them here – and this cost includes shipping and distribution.  America rejoices still.  “Wonderful!  Trickle-down economics!  The cheaper cost will result in savings for the consumers!  Everybody wins!”  Wrong.  Finding Converse for less than $50 is an out-and-out miracle.  Thousands of Americans were laid off from work.  Vietnamese and Chinese children work outlandish hours for pennies in facilities so atrociously unsafe even the fucking rats won’t venture in.  Everybody loses... except for the Converse honchos who cashed out, and the Nike honchos who are cashing in.

Citing some arcane and utterly ridiculous Horatio Alger rags-to-riches bullshit cannot remotely come close to justifying or even explaining the uncontrolled avalanche of greed that has ruined this fucking nation.  The saddest part of the Converse example is people’s reaction to this type of chicanery.  “Well, you can’t blame the very rich for trying to become richer.  I would have done the same in their place!”  Not me.  There has to be some concern for the greater good.  There HAS to.  When one’s only driving interest is the bottom line at any cost, one becomes a pathetic sheep that lends his or herself to getting ass-raped by the very privileged few, all whilst mentally chuckling and patting the ass-rapists on the back.  It makes me fucking sick.

“But what about China?  By devaluating their currency they keep the cost of their labor lower than ours, making it advantageous to manufacture in China!”  Really?  Fuck China and its currency.  No one is twisting the Nikes of the world’s collective arms to manufacture their goods there.  Let the Chinas and Nikes do what they will... but offer sizable incentives / tax and tariff breaks to companies that manufacture their goods here, and raise taxes and tariffs on companies that whore out cheap labor overseas.  Let’s say an American company does some market analysis and optimization and determines it can charge roughly $100 for their product.  If the product is manufactured here, it’ll “only” yield a profit of $30 per item, but if it’s made in China, it’ll yield a profit of $80.  In this scenario, manufacturing the product in China is kind of a no-brainer for the bottom-liners.  But if manufacturing overseas were to yield a profit of only $15 per item because of taxes and tariffs, that $30 profit suddenly becomes the no-brainer.  Profits are still made, and jobs and an economy based on something other than fucking paper magically reappear.  Stop bickering about the fine print in some idiotic health care plan and make this happen, God damn it!