Capitalism

Bill Gates Sides with FBI Against Apple and It Is No Surprise

Bill Gates

If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.

No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.

Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.

Red Starbucks Cups: A Story of Viral Outrage Marketing

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Everything on the internet is a lie, especially anything you hear about a “movement” or “boycott” or “outrage”. This is one of those.

On November 5, Josh Feuerstein, an Arizona preacher, Facebook vertical video ranter, and Fred Durst-style backwards cap-wearer, basically a Christian version of Howard Stern, posted a 1-minute 18-second video about a red-hued mass-produced beverage receptible. You see, he went to Starbucks to get his morning cup of coffee and was handed a simple red cup. He immediately felt triggered by this holiday-colored but not holiday-decorated design, so he retreated to his safe space of portrait-oriented internet video and expressed this offense to the world.

And horrifically, the world listened. As of this writing Feuerstein’s video has 12,247,900 views, 153,895 likes, 447,838 shares, and 36,094 comments. Normally I don’t recommend reading comments on internet posts, but in this case it’s illuminating.

The first three comments on Feuerstein’s post are from Feuerstein himself. First, he urges his viewers to use a specific hashtag when discussing the issue on social media. That helps people discussing it connect to each other and helps the topic trend if enough people use it.

The second comment is Feuerstein linking to his own blog post at theradicals.com about the topic. That gets people to his own advertising-supported website, putting money in his pocket with each hysterical pearl-clutching click. The third comment is Feuerstein tagging at least thirteen other mostly Christian conservative outrage-mongers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Breitbart in an effort to get their social media managers to talk about the post and link to his website (*click*click*ka-ching*ka-ching*).

We Should Defund Planned Parenthood, But Not Over Abortion

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In case the headline wasn’t clear enough, this post is not about abortion. That sentence may be the only time I use the word at all. But this is definitely about Planned Parenthood and why it should not be federally funded, regardless of what goods or evils it may provide.

Planned Parenthood Federation for America, Inc. is a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation, so it doesn’t pay any income tax on its revenue or profits like most other private health care providers do. It received a total of 1.3 billion in revenue in the most recently reported year, 2013. Just under half of that was from government funding, $528 million.

So not only is Planned Parenthood not paying any taxes, they’re also receiving almost half their total income from your tax dollars. There’s a term for this (and no, it still has nothing to do with the “A” word). It’s corporate welfare.

Who Does the Chamber of Commerce Work For?

shocked george

Hero to libertarians everywhere Justin Amash has been taking the Chamber of Commerce to task on Twitter over the organization’s very real tendency to prop up crony capitalism, this time by openly supporting the Ex-Im bank (make sure you go down the rabbit hole of retweets to get the full effect):

 

It’s good to have people on the Hill pointing out that those with access in DC are the ones who really do pull the policy strings, for better or worse. And the Chamber definitely has that access, one of the largest lobbying groups, and reportedly the largest spender yearly on behalf of its members. So, it’s easy to find fault with with them. They epitomize those “special interests” that all who disapprove of big government complain about. But then, sometimes they go and do things like this:

For several years, Josten has pressed the case that the federal debt, and in particular the tab for retirement programs, is an urgent concern for business, even if executives don’t see its effects firsthand the way they do for more traditional business worries such as taxes or regulations.

Dependency, Work Incentives, and the Growing Welfare State

    This was orginally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty. It is particularly relevant as we watch the un- and underemployed vent their frustrations in Baltimore. ~ Ed.

     

    A nation’s prosperity is determined by the quantity and quality of labor and capital that are productively utilized.

    Which means that it doesn’t make sense to have policies that penalize either saving and investment or working.

    Yet that seems to be the favorite hobby of the political class.

    And there are real consequences. A new study by a pair of economists, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has some interesting findings on the link between redistribution programs and labor supply.

    It’s a bit wonky, given the way academics write, but they produce some important data on the negative unintended consequences of government dependency.

FCC Net Neutrality Ideology Out of Step with Internet Reality

monopoly

“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!” Apple advertisement, 1984.

There are now two Internets. The Internet envisioned by the ideology embodied in the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, and the Internet as it exists in reality. The “net neutral” Internet is “a garden of pure ideology” where content companies “are one people … with one cause” and network congestion is merely a figment of the imagination. The real Internet is different — congestion is commonplace and the interests of content owners are divergent.

Ayn Rand and the Nature of Net Neutrality (Among Other Things)

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Most politically-minded people, from all corners of the spectrum, are familiar with Ayn Rand, particularly her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, where society’s “producers” drop out and create a new society distinct from the machinations and manipulations of the “looters”. In fact, the Occupy Wall Street group, in some weird parody of Rand’s ideas, tried to do something similar, if almost exactly inverse, to what Rand’s Galt’s Gulch group managed to achieve. They failed in New York, however, because they forgot the most basic rule: you can’t be a looter and achieve success on your own. Looters and moochers must, by definition, take from others. Hence, Occupy Wall Street, a dirty collection of the most useless layabouts seeking an easy way to be subsidized in their effort, was an abject failure.

Mark Cuban, inarguably an entreprenurial producer of high caliber, surely knows this. And so it’s a little surprising he’s a little surprised that the effort to regulate the internet and socialize online interaction looks so remarkably like what he’s read in Rand’s novels. Because, as Robert Tracinski of The Federalist points out, Net Neutrality is just the latest in a long line of regulatory regimes that Rand predicted with almost scary accuracy lo these many years ago.

There’s a major problem with arithmetic in the minimum wage debate

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The debate over Congress raising the minimum wage nationwide is all about numbers. What the rate should be, how many people it would help, how many jobs it would cost, how easy it would be if Evil Rich People just surrendered their money instead. But at least one of these numbers is horribly skewed, resulting in a false narrative about how many people are scraping by on pennies an hour.

The latest brick in this narrative construction project is a report from the Institute for Policy Studies showing that if all the bonuses given to Wall Street bankers were instead distributed among people working minimum wage full time, their income would double. Wow! Let’s do that! For the children! Quick, grab your pitchfork, I’ll get my torch!

Not so fast.

The report cites 1,007,000 as the number of people working full time making the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 or less. Is that right? IRS data for 2013 shows the number of people working 35 hours per week or more at or below hourly minimum wage to be exactly that number. But there’s a huge problem with that figure - it includes people who get tips.

Waiters and other tip-paid professions have a different minimum wage than most other hourly workers: currently $2.13. “What? How can anyone live on that?!”, you might gasp. They don’t, of course. $2.13 is only the base salary they are required to be paid. They are paid tips based on their performance on top of that, which usually adds up to much, much more than even the standard $7.25 minimum wage.

Nonprofits are stepping up to do what the VA system isn’t: Helping our brave veterans

VA Logo

The Texas Medical Association is stepping up where the Veterans Affairs system is failing.

The TMA announced this week they were starting a registry where private physicians could say whether or not they would accept veterans in their offices. The list would be given to community groups and VA health system officials. This is after The Daily Beast reported the Central Texas VA was being run like a “crime syndicate” so executives could get bonuses.

It isn’t the first time the non-profit group has suggested private doctors take care of veterans. They pressed the American Medical Association to tell President Barack Obama and Congress that military members deserved to have health care outside of the VA system.

Texas doctors aren’t the only ones doing this. Cooper University Health Care also announced this week they’d be starting a program to help veterans get access to care. Their “Cooper Veterans VIP Priority Program” is promising to deliver same-day service to veterans needing treatment. That’s down from the 25-day wait period veterans were having in the New Jersey VA system. Vets needing to see a specialist had to wait 45 days.

Obama’s economy: 63 percent of Millennials say the American Dream is impossible to achieve

For many immigrants, the American Dream has always meant living on your means and searching for your own happiness in an unrestrained fashion, like Americans always have been able to do.

While many often agree with that definition, they have started letting skepticism and pessimism bias get the best of them.

Can you blame them?

More than 480,000 people under the age of 25 left the workforce in April while Democrats celebrate the drop in the country’s unemployment rates. About 40 percent of college graduates are unable to find work and at least 29 percent of Millennials choose to stay home and live with their parents.

According to a poll carried out by CNN and ORC International, not even American exceptionalism is engaging citizens lately.

The results show that Americans are having a hard time agreeing that the American Dream is a possibility, whether they agree with the definition provided in this article or not.

A shocking 63 percent of Millennials, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, say that the American Dream has become impossible to achieve.

Some experts believe that the pessimism is the result of the harsh financial reality of many low- and middle-income Americans. Also, according to the poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the next generation will not grow up to be better off than their parents.

The grim outlook could simply mean that this generation is more realistic about their country’s economic reality, but it could also be a reflection of their ultimate disappointment in this administration.

President Obama made it to the White House with the help of Millennials who were simply tired of having their lives being held hostage by big government policies, but Obama is managing to disappoint everyone.


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