"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Future of Europe at a Crossroads? Helmut Kohl Raises Some Tough Issues

Helmut Kohl, former German Chancellor at the time of the German reunification, has written a striking piece at Europe is at a crossroads: will we push forward a united Europe of peace and freedom?

The Great Land Grab in the West Needs to be Stopped - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich Has it Right at the NY Times

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich has it right at the New York Times in The Land Grab Out West.

We have written previously at Home Ownership, Elites, Wealth, Congressionally Plundered Federal Lands and a Polarized Society of Haves and Have Nots about how vested interests over the centuries have pilfered national American land from its citizens for ultimately private gain.

If all of this land still belonged to the people, as it should and as it originally did, there would be much less national debt and much less taxation of the people. Now the people who have acquired that land want to keep all the loot and pay no taxes. That is not going to work.

Ideally, the federal government represents everyone in the country.

By contrast and by definition, individual U.S. States are minority-run collections of vested local and regional interests and it is hard to make a case that they have done anything useful in American history that could not have been done better federally.

The Interstate Highway System is one example. Just imagine all U.S. roads being solely in greedy and selfish individual State hands. That used to be the case in Europe, for example, and still is to some degree, though Germany led to and served as the model for the greater "Autobahn" idea to get rid of the old toll road practices, where you had to pay tolls and other private subsidies to use the roads, thus greatly diminishing freedom of movement. Things have greatly improved in Europe since the beginning of the European Union, which is the antithesis of the former selfish war-torn Europe of individual greedy States.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Irishman and New EU Ambassador to the USA David O’Sullivan Presents European Union Credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama and Tweets it at Twitter

In a diplomatic position enabled by the Treaty of Lisbon,
the
New European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan
this week
presented his EU credentials
to U.S. President Barack Obama.

As written at the website of the
Delegation of the European Union to the United States:
"Ambassador David O’Sullivan presented his credentials to President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony today [November 18], formally assuming the role of European Union Ambassador to the United States.... Ambassador O’Sullivan is only the second diplomat to hold the position of EU Ambassador to the United States, established when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force on December 1, 2009." 
The Irish Times elaborated as follows in
Irishman formally becomes EU ambassador to United States:
"[O'Sullivan] succeeded Portuguese diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida in the role and follows in the footsteps of former taoiseach John Bruton who was the EU’s representative to the US from 2004 to 2009.... Mr O’Sullivan announced he had officially taken up his job in Washington with his first message on social media website Twitter.“Happy to send out my 1st tweet as EU Ambassador to the US after having presented my credentials to @BarackObama @WhiteHouse today,” he wrote in the message."
For Twitter, see:
@EUAmbUS - European Union Ambassador to the United States
@EPWashingtonDC - European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC

New Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford University to Study the Problem of Deficient Science Research and Optimize Practices

John P. A. Ioannidis at the Scientific American in Science Research Needs an Overhaul writes that he has co-founded a new center at Stanford University -- the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) -- to deal with the costly problem that most mainstream research is wasted, for example, 85% of medical research, according to The Lancet. He writes that the METRICS center:
"[W]ill seek to study research practices and how these can be optimized. It will examine the best means of designing research protocols and agendas to ensure that the results are not dead ends but rather that they pave a path forward. The center will do so by exploring what are the best ways to make scientific investigation more reliable and efficient."
We applaud this development.

We have been confronted for years by gullible, uninformed, and opinionated people in and out of science proclaiming the near infallibility of mainstream ideas and research methods.

Having taught research ourselves at the university level, we know from experience, of course, that exactly the opposite is true.

Most of what is researched in science and published as a result is a costly waste of time and often leads science in the wrong direction.

One main reason for these follies of "scientific research", as we have written time and time again, is that science in the past has been predominantly "authority-based", whereas "evidence-based" research must be given priority.

Outdated memes must be abandoned.

That is our quest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Common Sense and Innovation Prevail in Ultramercial III: Is Federal Circuit Finally "Getting" the Supreme Court Patent Decision Reasoning in Alice etc.?

As written by James M. Singer, Fox Rothschild LLP, at Mondaq.com,

Federal Circuit Reverses Course In Ultramercial v. Hulu;
Finds Method Of Delivering Advertisements To Be An Abstract Idea
.

At Patently-O, Dennis Crouch posts on the Federal Circuit decision in

"Ultramercial III" at

Novelty in Implementation of an Abstract Idea Insufficient to Overcome Alice.

Daniel Nazer correctly cheers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in

Victory! Court Finally Throws Out Ultramercial’s Infamous Patent on Advertising on the Internet that:

"This is a big victory for common sense and innovation."

Absolutely.

Due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 573 U. S. ___ (2014), the "Ultramercial III" case referred to above finds the Federal Circuit NECESSARILY reversing its path on a case in which it was twice previously and horrendously on the wrong side of understanding patent law.

Judge Lourie, who wrote the majority opinion in the latest and last Ultramercial decision,  reluctantly overturned the sinking ship of previous Federal Circuit patent decisions, a general patent-friendly reluctance he previously voiced in a previous Ultramercial concurrence:
"It is our obligation to attempt to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance in Mayo rather than to set forth our own independent views, however valid we may consider them to be...."
Judge Lourie -- a 1970 Temple Law School graduate -- will be 80 in January and it is surely high time that not only he but all other judges on the Federal Circuit acknowledge that they must follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents, a general jurisprudential and hierarchical truth presumably learned by every first-year law student in all law schools. That this kind of "sour grapes" judicial thinking about precedents still exists in higher court opinions among those who should know better is astonishing.

Judge Haldane Robert Mayer (J.D. 1971, Marshall-Wythe School of Law of The College of William and Mary) in concurring writes in his opinion what we consider to be the future of the patent law world, that:
"The Supreme Court has taken up four subject matter eligibility challenges in as many years, endeavoring to right the ship and return the nation’s patent system to its constitutional moorings.  See Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2357 (concluding that “generic computer implementation” did not bring claims within section 101); Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107, 2117–18 (2013) (“Myriad”) (concluding that claims covering naturally-occurring DNA segments were patent ineligible); Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1302 (concluding that claims describing a natural law but “add[ing] nothing of significance” to that law fell outside section 101); Bilski, 561 U.S. at 611 (concluding that a method for hedging against economic risk was a patent ineligible abstract idea).  Rejecting efforts to treat section 101 as a “dead letter,” Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1303, the Court has unequivocally repudiated the overly expansive approach to patent eligibility that followed in the wake of State Street, 149 F.3d at 1373.  See Bilski, 561 U.S. at 659 (Breyer, J., concurring in the judgment) (explaining that State Street “preceded the granting of patents that ranged from the somewhat ridiculous to the truly absurd” (citations and internal quotation marks omitted))."
That is correct.

Slowly, but surely, the sinking patent ship is being righted, even if it is against the reluctance of some Federal Circuit judges to follow judicial precedents and against the myopic reluctance of many legal beagles -- just read the comments at Patently-O -- to understand the enormity and importance of swinging the patent pendelum in exactly the oppposite direction of the last 60 years.

Millennials Shaking Up Legal Profession as Digital World Confronts More Traditional Views

Claire Bushey at Crain's Chicago Business reports on
How millennials are shaking up the legal profession.

The amazing thing is not that this is happening.
The amazing thing is that it is happening so late
-- years AFTER the applicable technology has been in place.

On the other hand, when push comes to shove,
nothing beats personal contact,
regardless of the digital tech available.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Users Expect Legislation Rather Than Technology Tools to Protect Privacy Rights

The message to the U.S. Congress, American state legislatures and other parliaments and legislative bodies of the world is clear.

BBC News reports at Americans have 'no control' of data that most people expect legislation to be the solution to privacy rights protection, rather than improved technology tools directed to that same problem.

Our legislatures are full of people who want to "run" things, rather than doing their job, which is passing sensible and timely legislation to deal with modern problems.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The "Frivolous Nine" ? Is The United States Supreme Court Abetting Radical "Political" Attempts to Damage Obamacare

From our politically centrist podium, we think that institutions of government in any country, to obtain the proper consent of the governed that is necessary for any long-term success in governing the masses, must manifest a seriousness befitting the respective office.

Especially the U.S. Supreme Court can not afford to be viewed as a playground of political frivolity or as a handmaiden to politically-motivated abuses of the courts.

Jonathan Chait's piece at New York Magazine is representative of the low to which the "frivolous nine" appear to have sunk, aptly titled:

Newest, Craziest Legal Challenge to Obamacare.

Who will take this body seriously in the future if they are not "above" it all?


Friday, November 07, 2014

What Effective Tax Rate Do American Corporations Pay and How Does it Compare to the Other Major Developed Economies of the World?

Procon.Org writes that few U.S. business ever pay the full corporate income tax rate due to exemptions, preferences, deductions and other benefits.

The right measure of corporate taxes is the effective corporate tax rate, and there the United States is roughly on the same level as the average of the six other large developed economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK), at about 30%. America has no tax-based competitive disadvantage against such countries.

Procon.Org writes in fact that the larger the corporations are, the less effective corporate taxes that they actually tend to pay, noting:
"Of the 500 large cap companies (a market capitalization value of more than $10 billion) in the Standard & Poor (S&P) stock index, 115 paid a total corporate tax rate – federal and state combined – of less than 20% from 2006-2011, and 39 of those companies paid a rate of less than 10%."
All this talk about reducing corporate taxation and thereby stimulating employment and the economy is just mostly nonsense.

The USA does of course have a problem when competing with slave-labor-like nations, and the solution there is to forbid the outsourcing of manufacture to such nations or the import of products made under slave-labor-like conditions.

Make mass foreign labor exploiters such as the Apple firm produce their wares in the USA and/or forbid the sale of their slave-labor-like produced products domestically. It is an easy legislative solution.

Reducing America to a slave-labor-like nation by increasing the already massive national inequality of income and wealth by pandering tax-legislatively to the benefit of the corporate exploiters is not the right solution by any means.

About that Yarn That Reducing Corporate Income Taxes Decreases Unemployment and Spurs the Economy

Many erroneous ideas are at the root of prevailing evidence-unsubstantiated political and economic memes in Washington D.C.

Concerning the issue of more or less corporate taxation, the hordes of uninformed people in the U.S. Congress might consider examining the following:

Also in Law, The Rich Get Rich and the Poor Get Poorer as Law Schools Continue to Churn Out Too Many Too Highly Indebted Graduates

At the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin has the story in Law Schools and the Legal One Per Cent.

The solution (tongue-in-cheek here of course) is to adopt the same awesome logic we now find being bantered about by those caught in the thrill of the Republican win of the majority in the U.S. Senate, whose first "cause" seems to be to reduce corporate taxes, thus allegedly opening the floodgates of employment.

Analogously, what one needs to do then is to reduce the taxes of corporate law partners around the country, and the number of new hires of law graduates will arguably increase astronomically via the increased "in pocket" partner income....

or in the case of corporations, the equally gullible view that outsourced, expatriated and off-shored companies such as Apple and Google and similar, who, we have read online, pay only about 2% corporate income tax in the USA, will thus suddenly be induced to repatriate onto American shores by the reduction in the corporate tax rate from let us say the current 35% (which few pay) to 25%. It is not going to happen.

Such is the empty, vapid intelligence that guides the many economically confused heads that are being elected to U.S. Congress, and their uninformed supporters.

See our next posting.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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