Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Company Can Always Fire Employees But Government Can Not Fire Americans as Citizens and Therein Lies the Difference Between Business and Politics


Paul Krugman and David Brooks at the New York Times have both just published comparable takes on businessman Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign, from different political standpoints, of course.

We need in any case to remember that the last businessman to be elected President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, led the country straight into the Great Depression and in his attempt to get the country back on its feet utilized many of the instruments touted today by some conservatives as solutions....

-- they all failed.

See Paul Krugman in America Isn’t a Corporation

See David Brooks in The C.E.O. in Politics

What pro-business people sometimes fail to realize is that it is easy to slim down any corporate operation by firing half the employees. But that puts people out on the streets as inescapable problems for someone else, and usually it is the government that must handle the problem, because the government can't fire ITS citizens, it has to take care of everybody.

That is one message we would DRILL into political campaigns and into candidates.

You want to run the country?
Fine.
I personally do not care what party you represent.

But you must take care of EVERYBODY, not just a chosen few.
That is what makes it all so difficult to be a capable President.

Discount Shopping in the USA


I found a useful page at TripAdvisor
on discount shopping in the USA:

see United States: Discount Shopping

The Euro, The U.S. Dollar and Money Speculators: Why Do Economists Not Concentrate on the ESSENTIALS?


John Rosenthal has posted at The Weekly Standard, "The Blog" about

German Euro-Deputy: S&P Downgrade Part of American ‘War Against the Euro’

There is no question of course that money speculators and speculating financial institutions have their hands in the till whenever there are large and fast swings in currency exchange rates, as currently, where the Euro has lost substantially against the U.S. Dollar in a very short space of time.

On the other hand, one could look at COMPARATIVE PRICES to pose some questions about what realistic exchange rates should actually look like.

Our experience recently was that a laptop (notebook) personal computer (PC) sold on sale this summer at Walmart in New York was ca. HALF the price of that notebook in Germany calculated in Euros. That is quite a spread in purchasing power, even if it was a sale item, because we have never seen a lower price for that notebook in Europe, on sale or off.

Our experience a few years ago was that a top brand blazer bought at SteinMart for $250 cost 600 pounds sterling (ca. $1000) some months later on Bond Street in London, United Kingdom, a price differential of about 1 to 4.

Take a look at house prices in the UK at Globrix.com and Zoopla.co.uk and compare them to U.S. house prices at Zillow.com, which might lead one to ask whether a similarly large comparative discrepancy exists between the price of housing in the US and the UK.

House prices in continental Europe are definitely more realistic than in the United Kingdom, but even here, housing is vastly over-priced because of real estate investment in residential properties, which drives prices far beyond where they should be in terms of their actual value as places to live.

Inflated inequitable incomes also drive housing prices up beyond sensible levels. Many people who work in Luxembourg, for example, live in neighboring Germany, Belgium or France, because the cost of housing in high-income EU institution-rich and banking paradise Luxembourg is prohibitive.

What the economists should be giving us is the price of an average home as a function of the minimum wage in each country under discussion, or even better, they should be telling us the number of hours in a lifetime an average citizen must work to pay for a standardized house, nationally, AND globally, including mortgage costs of course.

THAT would be a revelation, you can be sure. Many citizens in the UK could work a lifetime and never pay for many of the houses on the UK market, a market which mirrors disproportionately the top wage earners and the wealthy. In the UK as a general rule, as you can see at THE WEEK (just search there for "properties"), outdated properties in sometimes terrible condition command outrageously high prices because a small minority of home buyers have a disproportionate share of wealth and income.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.


Apple Headquarters Like a Religious Sect?


The LawPundit belongs to a generation that personally saw some of the first digital bitmaps ever (human profiles), as they were drawn "on the sly" at SLAC, the then so-called "Stanford Linear Accelerator Center", in 1968.

The importance of SLAC in the development of Silicon Valley and the digital era is often underestimated. In fact, as written at the Silicon Valley Visitor:
"SLAC hosted the first webpage in the U.S., and the above-ground klystron gallery atop the beamline is the longest building in the United States. It can be seen from I-280, which overpasses the beamline." [emphasis added]

The early invention date of at least 1968 for bitmaps has not kept the clueless USPTO, however, from granting all kinds of subsequent bitmap patents for obvious further developments of the state of the art based upon that prior art, even though no one holds a patent on basic bitmap technology.

These bitmaps at SLAC were at that time done using x's and blanks arranged in lines and columns, sort of like a drawing on graph-paper, and they were "contraband work" at SLAC, since computer operators were not suppposed to be playing with the expensive equipment designed for electron research -- such as occurred in 1968 in finding in the field of physics at SLAC the first evidence ever of quarks, the year in which the LawPundit also saw those bitmaps displayed at SLAC.

Simple "play" was at the root of the invention of bitmaps, which invention surely preceded even their use at SLAC, and that is the case for many modern inventions in the digital world. Most things were invented or anticipated by prior art long before currently and erroneously patented "alleged" inventions ever saw the light of day.

Hence, whenever I see a company trying to monopolize any technology via patents -- rather than patenting a specific invention -- red warning flags go up, and that has been the case ever since the Apple firm was founded. It is one red flag after the next for a company run by a recently deceased CEO who was quoted as saying in "The Seed of Apple's Innovation" in Business Week (12 October 2004):
"I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do."
Owning and controlling primary technology has nothing to do with inventions and discoveries. It has to do with the ruthless pilfering, acquisition, development and monopolization of the countless ideas of others for the purpose of domination of them.

If you know nothing about the true history of the Apple firm, and most people do not, then it is instructive to read  "Creation Myth: Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation" by Malcolm Gladwell at the New Yorker, an article published in the May, 2011 issue. Then you will know more about what really happened at Apple and who invented what.

We particularly get "activated" to set the record straight about Apple when reading stories such as at CNN Money Fortune Tech, by Adam Lashinsky, Sr., editor at large, who has an article titled The secrets Apple keeps, in which he refers to the Apple firm as the world's [allegedly] most admired company.

Admired by whom?
Not by this writer.
Never.

Never bought an Apple product.
Never will.

Apple buyers are paying a premium for hype, for the value of "envy" and for feeling like elitists, i.e. "I have it and you do not" is the main reason people buy such outrageously overpriced products.

There is a sucker born every minute and he can often be found buying these overhyped, vastly overpriced products from Apple, many of which are based on technology stolen from others, all the while monopolizing all the technology they can for themselves, and selling products, as we have previously written,
often produced by suppliers egregiously violating basic human rights.

That the conditions of secrecy prevailing at Apple headquarters make the entire operation seem like a prison-like environment with a sect-like atmosphere is not surprising.

Timothy Stagich writes in The Price of Freedom: The Purpose and Power of Free Choice:
"Giving in to the trappings of competitive society makes us submit to the domination of the small group of the elite whose primary interest is enhancing their own positions at the expense of others.

Competitive society is an elitist society with domination as their game and self-interest the aim of a small group of privileged participants."
Anyone using the Apple company as a role model for anyone in democratic society is in our opinion greatly mistaken and knows not whereof he speaks.

Even Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief inventor and former "friend" of the former CEO, has stated that:
former CEO "Steve Jobs stole my ideas".
That was and is the modus operandi of Apple.
NOTHING to be admired there.

See also

Apple Inc. - A Monopolist in Action: YOU Belong to US

The Good The Bad and the Ugly-est Apple of All


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