Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rupert Murdoch hearings show generational split




If does not happen often, but as it happens it is a delight to read: a blogpost with an intelligent view point which makes the inner workings of the system a bit clearer. Wonderful, to make a comparison between the banking system and the media and that both are suffering from a generational conflict.

But...is the older generation so much wiser? Are our rulers young Jack Russells without any decency? If so, where is the older generation? Why do they keep their mouth shut?


The media industry is not much different from the banking industry



Generational Dynamics

Surely the most spectacular moment in the hearings on Tuesday occurred when Robert Murdoch's young 42 year old wife, Wendi Deng, got up and slugged an intruder throwing a paper plate full of shaving foam at her husband, according to the Daily Mail.

I have no way of knowing whether either Rupert Murdoch or his son James lied during the dramatic hearing on Tuesday, but I do know that Murdoch's testimony is completely consistent with the the culture of fraud and extortion that I've been describing for many years on my web site, among politicians, and in the financial and computer industries. (For the latter, see "Boomers and Gen-Xers: Dumbing down IT.")




The statement by Murdoch that most struck home, in my opinion, occurred when he was asked if he planned to resign, quoted by AP.

Now, you can that his answer is self-serving, but whether he had any other motives, I felt he was genuinely at what had happened, and his response describes a lot of what's been going on in the last decade:

"I feel that people I trusted, I'm not saying who, I don't know at what level, have let me down. And I think they behaved disgracefully, betrayed the company and me, and it's for them to pay. I think that frankly, I'm the best person to clean this up."
This is exactly what happened in the financial industries, where those tens of trillions of dollars of toxic assets still in banks' portfolios didn't just come from nowhere. They were created by Gen-Xers who poured out of colleges in the 1990s with masters degrees in financial engineering. Those people knowingly created these fraudulent securities, and sold them to investors knowing that they were defrauding the investors.

Their greedy, incompetent Boomer bosses went along with this, because they were making so much money by defrauding investors. The extortion came in when the bosses started asking too many questions; then the perpetrators threatened to go to another firm or create other problems. (See "BlogWatch: Yves Smith at 'Naked Capitalism' adopts generational model of financial crisis.")

These tens of trillions of dollars of fraudulent securities did not just come from the tooth fairy. Almost every major financial institution in the world was involved as perpetrator, and that could only happen generationally. That doesn't mean that every Boomer and Gen-Xer is a crook; quite the contrary, most people are decent, honest people.

But it's amazing how much the culture has changed since the 1990s, when the Silent generation was still in charge. In today's culture, unlike earlier decades, people who are willing to commit fraud and extortion are able to get away with it, and have a big advantage over people who are decent, honest, competent and professional.

The Rupert Murdoch scan exploded into world headlines only in the last couple of weeks, after it was revealed by the Guardian that reporters from Murdoch's News of the World newspaper had hacked into the cell phone account of a missing 13 year old schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, after she had been abducted in 2002.

The reporters actually listened to Milly's phone messages and deleted some of them, to keep other reporters from getting the scoop. Milly's distraught parents, not knowing whether she was alive or dead, discovered that the messages had been deleted, and assumed that Milly must have deleted them herself, meaning that she was still alive. Her decomposed body was found in the woods several months later.

At Tuesday's hearing, Rebekah Brooks, the editor of the paper at that time, described her reaction when she read the Guardian article two weeks ago, as quoted by BBC:
"The idea that Milly Dowler's phone was accessed by someone being paid by the News of the World, or even worse authorised by someone at the News of the World, is as abhorrent to me as it is to everyone in this room. ... I don't know anyone in their right mind who would authorise, know, sanction, approval, anyone listening to the voicemails of Milly Dowler in those circumstances. I just don't know anyone who would think it was the right and proper thing to do at this time or at any time."
Once again, I don't know what additional motives Brooks might have had in making this statement, but her anger and disgust is very credible to me, because there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who think that there's nothing particularly wrong with hacking into the cell phone messages of an abducted 13 year old girl, and there are people who think that no one in his right mind would do so, or who would go ballistic at learning about someone else doing it. I'm firmly in the second of these two categories, and I can easily believe that Brooks was also in the second category.

What's different about our culture now that's different from the 1970s, 80s and 90s is that today there are a lot more people in the first category. For these people, decency, honesty, competence and professionalism count for nothing.

We know that the culture of fraud and extortion permeates the entire financial industry, as well as the politicians in Washington and Brussels. We know that it also exists in the computer industry, and now we also know that it media.

This is not surprising. What WOULD be surprising is if anyone could name an industry which was not permeated by fraud and extortion in the last few years.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Exec. Order 13575: Janet Now Interested In Promoting Flowers Or Controlling Your Life. You Choose



Liberty

US Department of Defense & Homeland Security are going to promote rural development and economic growth in rural USA....huh?... Executive order 13575 is designed to begin taking control over almost all aspects of the lives of 16% of the American people. In the middle of the Anthony Weiner scandal, as the press and most of the American people were distracted, President Obama created something called “The White House Rural Council” (WHRC).
What has Homeland Security & Defense to do with fishing & hunting? No explanation given, just an "Executive Order" order by stealth while you were looking the other way. Janet Napolitano and her brainless thugs are now interested in promoting flowers or controlling your life. Read and judge for yourself.


Executive Order 13575 of June 9, 2011
Establishment of the White House Rural Council

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America and in order to enhance Federal engagement with rural communities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. 
Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.
To enhance the Federal Government's efforts to address the needs of rural America, this order establishes a council to better coordinate Federal programs and maximize the impact of Federal investment to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in our rural communities.

Sec. 2. Establishment. 
There is established a White House Rural Council (Council).

Sec. 3. Membership. 
(a) The Secretary of Agriculture shall serve as the Chair of the Council, which shall also include the heads of the following executive branch departments, agencies, and offices:

(1) the Department of the Treasury;
(2) the Department of Defense;
(3) the Department of Justice;
(4) the Department of the Interior;
(5) the Department of Commerce;
(6) the Department of Labor;
(7) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(8) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(9) the Department of Transportation;
(10) the Department of Energy;
(11) the Department of Education;
(12) the Department of Veterans Affairs;
(13) the Department of Homeland Security;
(14) the Environmental Protection Agency;
(15) the Federal Communications Commission;
(16) the Office of Management and Budget;
(17) the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
(18) the Office of National Drug Control Policy;
(19) the Council of Economic Advisers;
(20) the Domestic Policy Council;
(21) the National Economic Council;
(22) the Small Business Administration;
(23) the Council on Environmental Quality;
(24) the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs;
(25) the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs; and such other executive branch departments, agencies, and offices as the President or the Secretary of Agriculture may, from time to time, designate.
(b) A member of the Council may designate, to perform the Council functions of the member, a senior-level official who is part of the member's department, agency, or office, and who is a full-time officer or employee of the Federal Government.
(c) The Department of Agriculture shall provide funding and administrative support for the Council to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations.
(d) The Council shall coordinate its policy development through the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council.

Sec. 4. Mission and Function of the Council 
The Council shall work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to coordinate development of policy recommendations to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America, and shall coordinate my Administration's engagement with rural communities. The Council shall:
(a) make recommendations to the President, through the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and the Director of the National Economic Council, on streamlining and leveraging Federal investments in rural areas, where appropriate, to increase the impact of Federal dollars and create economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America;
(b) coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America;
(c) coordinate Federal efforts directed toward the growth and development of geographic regions that encompass both urban and rural areas; and
(d) identify and facilitate rural economic opportunities associated with energy development, outdoor recreation, and other conservation related activities.

Sec. 5. General Provisions. 
(a) The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information to the Council, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Council. Each executive department and agency shall bear its own expense for participating in the Council.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Signature of Barack Obama
Barack Obama
The White House,
June 9, 2011.