Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Eternal Idiots of Cruelty: The Prophecies of Oswald Spengler or, He Wasn’t Wrong … Just Early

I wasn’t going to blog about just a good speech. It had to stand out, strike me as different, authentic, not repetitive, or predictable but a speech that delivered those new wrinkles on ideas that I had never heard before.

found that gem. It was given this year  by the governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, for the graduates of Northwestern University.

All cruel managers at 255 George can dish it out but they can’t take it

When the going gets tough, the cruel idiots go running.

“Whenever I’m about to do something, I think ‘Would an idiot do that?’ and if they would, I do not do that thing.” 

– Dwight Schrute

"The smartest person in the room is the kindest one. The idiots are the cruel ones". JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois.

... Secret Formulae to spot an idiot!

“You may think I’m uncool or just trying too hard. Well, that’s fine. I don’t care. I’m a Dad. We try too hard every day. We don’t care if you don’t think that we’re cool. We are determined to plunge ahead anyway. We, Dads, didn’t start out cheugy. You made us that way. If you think your parents are crazy, it’s important you understand that you made us this way.”

“If you want to be successful in this world, you have to develop your own idiot detection system. The best way to spot an idiot — look for the person who is cruel. Let me explain. When we see someone who doesn’t look like us or sound like us, or act like us or love like us or live like us, the first thought that crosses almost everyone’s brain is rooted in either fear or judgement or both. That’s evolution. We survived as a species by being suspicious of things that we aren’t familiar with. In order to be kind we have to shut down that animal instinct and force our brain to travel a different pathway. Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being. They require the mental capacity to step past our most primal urges. This may be a surprising assessment because somewhere along the way, in the last few years, our society has come to believe that weaponized cruelty is part of some well thought out masterplan. Cruelty is seen by some as an adroit cudgel to gain power. Empathy and kindness are considered weak. Many important people look at the vulnerable only as rungs on a ladder to the top. I’m here to tell you that when someone’s path through this world is marked with acts of cruelty, they have failed the first test of an advanced society. They never forced their animal brain to evolve past its first instinct. They never forged new mental pathways to overcome their own instinctual fears and so their thinking and problem solving will lack the imagination and creativity that the kindest people have in spades. Over my many years in politics and business, I have found one thing to be universally true: The kindness person in the room is often the smartest.” 

— Governor J.B. Pritzker

From Governor JB Pritzker

“Today, graduates, I want to invoke a seminal piece of twenty-first-century culture to help send you forward on the right path in life,” Pritzker said. “I am, of course, talking about the Emmy award-winning sitcom known as ‘The Office’—which in its two hundred episode run gave us all the wisdom you need to make your way in this world.”

His speech was based on six quotes from “The Office.” (The last one comes at the speech’s conclusion.)

“PowerPoints are the peacocks of the business world; all show, no meat.” – Dwight Schrute

“Having a baby is exhausting. Having two babies? That’s just mean.” – Jim Halpert

“I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” – Michael Scott

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

– Andy Bernard

Illinois governor's ‘Office’-themed 'Idiot' commencement speech is actually a lesson in kindness

 The Prophecies of Oswald Spengler or, He Wasn’t Wrong … Just Early Black Box Site 

Dick Smith issues a wake up call for Anthony Albanese - and the dire warning he wants every Australian to read: 'Living like battery hens'

Recent data from US cybersecurity firm Cloudflare states phishing — the use of scam emails, texts, or other communications designed to trick people into handing over sensitive information — is both the most dominant and fastest-growing form of digital crime.

ATO issues fresh scam warning over fake myGov messages


Section 353-10 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) provides the Commissioner of Taxation (Commissioner) with the power to furnish a notice requiring that the recipient give any information to the Commissioner; attend and give evidence before the Commissioner; and/or produce any documents to the Commissioner under the taxpayer’s custody or control.

It is a tool used frequently by the Commissioner, with the following statistics showing a trend of increasing use of formal notices: See the latest Australian Taxation Office’s Annual Reports.

Court limits ability for taxpayers to challenge the validity of formal ATO notices


We only issue formal notices to taxpayers to obtain information as a last resort; where a cooperative approach is no longer productive or where a taxpayers’ circumstances, history or behaviour warrant the use of our formal powers.

Will Day

Western Firms Should Leave China Now Project Syndicate 


Chinese warships visit controversial Cambodian naval base for joint exercise South China Morning Post

The circle of life. Stores fail for complex reasons → retailer quietly posts accurate analysis of its own mistakes → retailer loudly posts press release blaming shoplifters and gangs → media likes that story a bit too much for comfort → earnings season approaches forcing retail lobbyists to admit they were lying about the shoplifters and gangs → stores fail for complex reasons.

U.S. retailers admit they lied about shoplifting, again

Project Do It Lessons Learned

The Doom Loop Phenomenal World. The deck: “Insurance markets and climate risk.”

* * *

Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuelsGuardian. Clarifying!

Exclusive: Top development banks at COP28 vow to up climate game, quiet on fossil fuelsReuters

Open secret at climate talks: The top temperature goal is mostly gone Politico

Migration crackdown which would stop Brits earning less than £38,000 from bringing foreign husbands and wives to UK ‘could be blocked by human rights laws’ as experts warn it could lead to a wave of cancelled weddings Daily Mail


UK interior minister signs new Rwanda treaty to resurrect asylum plan Reuters 


Boris Johnson considered ‘raid’ on vaccine plant in the Netherlands Guardian

Arab Funding of American Universities: Donors, Recipients and Impact

Arab Funding of American Universities: Donors, Recipients and Impact By Mitchell G. Bard, Ph.D. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (May 2023): “…Up until 2020, the DoE paid little attention to university compliance, and institutions did not report many of the gifts. That year the DoE began to investigate whether Yale and Harvard were complying with reporting requirements. Earlier, it launched inquiries regarding Cornell, Georgetown, Rutgers, Texas A&M, MIT, and Maryland. 

The DoE also published a report on the failure of many institutions to abide by the rules. It was especially interested in contributions from China for both security and political reasons, but also highlighted unreported gifts from Arab governments. [see also Outsourced to Qatar – A Case Study of Northwestern University-Qatar]

The DoE found that some of the foreign sources of funding that are hostile to the United States “are targeting their investments (i.e., “gifts” and “contracts”) to project soft power, steal sensitive and proprietary research, and spread propaganda.” The higher education industry’s solicitation of foreign sources, it disclosed, “has not been appropriately or effectively balanced or checked by the institutional controls needed to meaningfully measure the risk and manage the threat posed by a given relationship, donor, or foreign venture.” “There is very real reason for concern,” the report concluded, “that foreign money buys influence or control over teaching and research.” The department expressed particular unease about reported donations listed as anonymous from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia which totaled more than $1 billion since 2012.”