Crony Capitalism

Hurricane Irma seems to have blown everything else out of the news. And one thing that it blew away was the move that Donald Trump made late last week. Unable to get the Republican-controlled House and Senate to enact the agenda on which he was elected, Trump has turned to… the Democrats. And did a deal with them instead. Rush Limbaugh:

I can’t tell you the number of people asking, “When did Trump become a Democrat overnight? What just happened here? Trump’s talking a…” I was faced with a monumental task last night of trying to explain this to them…

…he’s had nothing but trouble from his own party. He’s had nothing but obstruction, nothing but disrespect, nothing but a bunch of lying. On Obamacare repeal and replace, on tax reform, on whatever it is, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate has told Trump to go to (Raspberry!), and they haven’t done (Raspberry!) for him.

Looks like a very smart move to me. He can’t do deals with the people he’s supposed to be able to do deals with, so he does a deal with somebody else instead. Why not?

I wonder if this has got anything to do with the turnabout on Antifa by the Democrat leadership, which they started condemning last week for the first time ever. And I wonder what the Democrat grass roots think of the Democrat leadership, cosying up to a Donald Trump who they’ve been comparing to Hitler? Is the liberal media going to follow suit? Trump seems to have wrong-footed everybody with this move. And he’s done it under cover of Irma, knowing that the media are fixated on that.

The Telegraph has a video of what looks like it might be part of Richard Branson’s mansion on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which Irma passed directly over as a category 5 hurricane last week. It looked like all the windows blew out. Those windows probably all had storm shutters on them, and they didn’t hold. But the building is still standing, with the roof still on it.

Other pictures from the British Virgin Islands showed scenes of similar devastation (click to zoom in):

All the leaves and branches have been stripped from the trees. Part of one building has lost its roof, and had its windows blown out, and maybe even had brick walls blown down. But the other part seems intact. The building in the background seems to be intact. The car looks like it’s as good as new, and probably wasn’t parked there during the storm. In the distance there appear to be large intact buildings, and even radio/electricity pylons. In the foreground there seem to be a few pieces of corrugated iron that could be recycled.

“This is very serious. Parts of the island are still inaccessible, people are unaccounted for and can’t be searched for until roads are clear. In some places, there are just no more roads.

“Most of the island and all of the other islands are without communication – comms blackout.”

They’re all going to have to work very hard to get back to their former idyllic island existence.

I was chatting on Skype with Legiron last night. I was also recording it, and hope to post up an edited video later this week. One thing that set me thinking was when he said that he thought that maybe pharma companies didn’t want to cure people with their drugs, because healthy people don’t need drugs. If they cured them, they’d stop buying their product. So they sell them stuff that doesn’t work – e.g. NRT products that don’t work.

Is that a viable economic model: keeping people sick so they carry on buying your medicine? Wouldn’t that be like arranging for the British Virgin Islands to periodically be demolished by hurricanes so that you can keep selling the islanders new bricks and glass and roof tiles to replace the broken ones? Or maybe selling them low quality bricks and tiles which need to be replaced after a few months? That’s a bit like those (possibly mythical) firefighters that start fires so that the need for a firefighting service can demonstrated once again?

Right now bricks and glass and roof tiles are for the Virgin Islands what paracetamol and penicillin are for sick people: they’re both forms of remedial medication. And right now the Virgin Islands are in much greater need of roof tiles than paracetamol. But would clay roof tile manufacturers try to sell them tiles that didn’t work too well, and got blown off by Category 1 storms instead of Category 5 storms like Irma, just so that they could keep selling them lots of tiles every year?

Wouldn’t competitors start making high quality tiles that didn’t blow off so easily? The only way to stop that happening would be to arrange a monopoly so as to prevent competitors selling a better product. Maybe that’s what crony capitalism is all about: organising monopolies so that you can sell people expensive, low quality products that don’t work.

Maybe the “swamp” that Donald Trump is trying to drain is actually a monopoly organised by crony capitalists to sell Americans expensive, low quality products of every kind. And the job of Congress and Senate is to make competition illegal (e.g. by banning smoking so that they can sell people NRT products that don’t work).

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About Frank Davis

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18 Responses to Crony Capitalism

  1. Rose says:

    Planned obsolescence
    2009

    “Planned obsolescence is a business strategy in which the obsolescence (the process of becoming obsolete—that is, unfashionable or no longer usable) of a product is planned and built into it from its conception. This is done so that in future the consumer feels a need to purchase new products and services that the manufacturer brings out as replacements for the old ones.”
    http://www.economist.com/node/13354332

    • Frank Davis says:

      I suppose Microsoft Windows is an example of planned obsolescence. After a while you have to buy a new version of Windows to have new code run on it. For example, when I looked at Fitbit fitness trackers, they only worked on Macs and Windows 10 – the latest version of Windows.

      • Rose says:

        2016
        “They don’t make ‘em like they used to,” as the idiom goes. So it would seem for the Centennial Light. An astonishing, record-setting 115 years after someone first flipped it on, this light bulb is still faintly shining in a fire station in Livermore, California. ”

        “The business model changed, however, as the light bulb customer base grew more mass-market. Greater sums of money could be reaped, companies figured, by making bulbs disposable and putting replacement costs onto customers. Thus was born the infamous “Phoebus cartel” in the 1920s, wherein representatives from top light bulb manufacturers worldwide, such as Germany’s Osram, the United Kingdom’s Associated Electrical Industries, and General Electric (GE) in the United States (via a British subsidiary), colluded to artificially reduce bulbs’ lifetimes to 1,000 hours. The details of the scam emerged decades later in governmental and journalistic investigations.”
        http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160612-heres-the-truth-about-the-planned-obsolescence-of-tech

        Oh my goodness, it seems to be true!
        http://www.centennialbulb.org/cam.htm

        I must show my husband, he gets understandably agitated every time a light bulb blows – and has even been known to blame me. ( I get shocks off car doors)

        • beobrigitte says:

          http://www.atdhomeinspection.com/advice/average-product-life/
          Don’t tell me about light bulbs!!!

          Planned obsolescence affects about every every household gadget:
          Until about a year ago I had a gas cooker I inherited 31 years ago from a lady who bought it in the 1950s. Needless to say, parts for repair have ceased to exist a long time ago.

          Not to mention the biggest money spinner mobile phones. Here planned obsolescence has been taken to the next level!

        • Joe L. says:

          Not to mention the biggest money spinner mobile phones. Here planned obsolescence has been taken to the next level!

          Absolutely. Unlike the light bulb, mobile phone manufacturers can continually modify your phone after you’ve purchased it via over-the-air updates. All they need to do is push an operating system update that requires more CPU or RAM than the previous model can handle, and voilà–instant obsolescence!

          Apple is notorious for doing this. Every model of iPhone seems to get noticably slower right around the time the next model is released.

  2. Joe L. says:

    The car looks like it’s as good as new, and probably wasn’t parked there during the storm.

    Actually, that car looks like it received a fair amount of damage. The front bumper is entirely missing, the rear bumper is half torn off and the passenger-side rear window appears to be completely blown out.

  3. Clicky says:

  4. beobrigitte says:

    The Telegraph has a video of what looks like it might be part of Richard Branson’s mansion on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which Irma passed directly over as a category 5 hurricane last week. It looked like all the windows blew out. Those windows probably all had storm shutters on them, and they didn’t hold. But the building is still standing, with the roof still on it.
    It’s no problem for the “adventurous” Richard Branson. He’ll have it fixed before the last dead are found.
    It is much different for the small community on Marco Island who provided a feed via mobile phone to the weird streaming site “Trumpet News” right past the eye of the storm until their feed was lost. They had all gathered inside the solid brick house on the hill in the neighbour hood, got some food and drink in and started feeding Trumpet News once the eye of the storm approached. A lot of them watched their houses’ roofs fly off.
    This kind of feed continued until after Irma hit Naples and it was these feeds that showed Irma was changing it’s path slightly away from the coast. Unfortunately, shortly after, all feeds had disappeared.
    For me personal, Irma is past the point that worried me. Awaiting more details when the damage is sorted.

    O/T
    Thanks, Emily for the interview with Christoph! I have been asked in the smoky-drinky bar about Germany and the smoking ban. To some questions I had to say that I’m not sure, so I’m glad Christoph brought me up to speed, too!
    https://smokydrinky.wordpress.com/portfolio/226/

    • Dmitri says:

      Hello, dear Beobrigitte, have you got my column for your website via personal mail? Sent it yesterday.
      Sorry, people,for using Frank’s blog for such purpose, but maybe the letter got itself dissolved in the mail, or something…

    • Emily says:

      Thanks! Christoph had a lot to say so I’m hoping to have him on again soon.

  5. Frank Davis says:

    I used Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on Jost Van Dyke as the first backdrop for the Smoky Drinky Bar. I used to watch its live video feed from time to time. It was like visiting the Caribbean.

    According to its website, it no longer exists. Hurricane Irma blew it away. I’m not surprised, because it was just a roof over a bar and a few tables. There weren’t really any walls at all. I used to wonder what would happen when storms hit. Now I know.

    The website now has a humanitarian aid link for donations. They’ve raised over $50,000 in 4 days. I chipped in a bit too, figuring that i owed them a bit, and the money would go directly to Jost Van Dyke. I hope I’m right.

    Jost Van Dyke Humanitarian Aid

    P.S. One evening a very pretty girl came into Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, and I watched her talking to people at the bar. When she left it occurred to me that I could have got a video clip of her, but now the opportunity had passed. But just as I was looking at the live feed, she walked back into view, this time to take snapshots of the bar. Here she is:

    • beobrigitte says:

      But just as I was looking at the live feed, she walked back into view, this time to take snapshots of the bar. Here she is:
      That was me!! (Just kidding) 40 years ago, maybe…..

      … told her Sunday that residents and tourists are in shock. “They don’t know what to do. The island was wiped out. It’s like the walking dead down there.”
      The cotton-wool-wrapped tourists won’t be either, nor use or ornament. They just have experienced a REAL threat to life and maybe come back home and start asking much needed to be asked questions?

      I meant to add this in my comment above but was side tracked …
      Maybe the “swamp” that Donald Trump is trying to drain is actually a monopoly organised by crony capitalists to sell Americans expensive, low quality products of every kind. And the job of Congress and Senate is to make competition illegal (e.g. by banning smoking so that they can sell people NRT products that don’t work).
      The objective of ANY pharmaceutical company is: MAKE MONEY. NRTs are useless, often DANGEROUS (i.e.Champix) CHEAP products of previously conducted and FAILED research for something else.
      I don’t want to scare people but antibiotic research requires to be ahead of the bugs and is very expensive as most of the concoctions the pharmaceutical companies come up with end up in failure sooner or later.And they are increasingly more toxic.
      We have not many effective antibiotics left, btw.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Washington Post:

    On St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, “people there are roaming like zombies,” said Stacey Alvarado, a bar owner who managed to leave for the mainland. Her husband, who is still there, told her Sunday that residents and tourists are in shock. “They don’t know what to do. The island was wiped out. It’s like the walking dead down there.” Other islanders sent social media messages pleading for help, decrying looting and a series of armed burglaries.

    “We need help,” wrote St. John blogger Jenn Manes. “We need the United States government to step up. We need military. We need security.”

    • waltc says:

      Wonder if they want the same cops to save them that they otherwise want to “fry like bacon” and the same militarization they otherwise decry as fascist. Meanwhile, Trump has ordered that all that help is sent to the US Virgin Islands. As he should

  7. Joe L. says:

    For anyone who still believes in the phony left-right dichotomy of today’s politics–remember, Progressives/Globalists/Authoritarians come in all shapes, sizes, colors, political affiliations, and religions. Don’t be fooled.

    John McCain and the Pope Slam Trump over Climate Change on the Same Day

  8. garyk30 says:

    Crony is just a way of saying ‘corrupt’.
    The term can also be used to describe some activities in socialism, feudalism, and communism.

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