It takes N0 courage to “stand up to” bakers and florists who just don’t want to take part in gay weddings (although it gets you a lot of “trained seal applause” from other sanctimonious poseurs). Standing up to legitimately brutal regimes … that would be actual courage.
(See more here on the topic of Tim Cook and Saudi Arabia) Here is John Hawkin’s post about the letter which those at Gay Patriot signed on to — take note I am not important enough to be asked to sign the letter — feeling sad:
Last week, I got together with Bruce Carroll from Gay Patriot to write a letter calling on Apple to live up to its publicly stated principles by pulling out of countries that murder their citizens for being gay. After the letter was written, we asked some other conservatives to sign on with us. A full list of signatories follows.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook said,
“Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.
…This is about how we treat each other as human beings… Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”
Tim Cook’s message seems rather ironic in light of the fact that Apple willingly does business with some of the most virulently anti-gay nations on the planet.
According to their Islamic-based governments, homosexuality is punishable by death in Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran. So not only is it willing to “tolerate discrimination” in those countries, Apple is also happy to sell an iPod to the people who are murdering gays so they can listen to some cheery music when they’re done….
Tim Cook says that, “Opposing discrimination takes courage,” and we agree. We call on Mr. Cook to live up to our shared principles by pulling Apple out of Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran until they stop their official government policies of jailing and murdering gays and lesbians.
“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope… Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.” (Spectrum, via What’s Up With That)
Some people call it “renewable energy” but I prefer to call it “alternative energy” because that’s what it really is: an alternativeto energy that actually works (eg nuclear and anything made from wonderful, energy-rich fossil fuel.)
Now a pair of top boffins from uber-green Google’s research department have reached the same conclusion.
Ross Konigstein and David Fork, both Stanford PhDs (aerospace engineering; applied physics) were employed on a Google research project which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal. But after four years, the project was closed down. In this post at IEEE Spectrum they tell us why.
We came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.
Why is renewable energy such a total fail? Because, as Lewis Page explains here, it’s so ludicrously inefficient and impossibly expensive that if ever we were so foolish as to try rolling it out on a scale beyond its current boutique levels, it would necessitate bankrupting the global economy….
According to stats from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a number-crunching branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in San Bernardino County has produced only about a quarter of the power it’s supposed to, with both less than optimal weather and apparent mechanical issues contributing to the shortfall.
As Danko points out, Ivanpah’s owners have recently sought extensions on the repayment schedule for the $1.6 billion in government-backed loans that paid for Ivanpah’s construction, hoping to delay writing checks until the firms can secure a government grant they hope to use to pay down the loan….
So it seems that these more left leaning environmentalists think it is okay to spend billions of tax-payer money and regulate businesses on ideas that do not work anywhere but in Utopian dreams. Let’s end with WUWT quoting these Google Ph.D.s and then segway out with commentary:
“Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.”
I must say I’m personally surprised at the conclusion of this study. I genuinely thought that we were maybe a few solar innovations and battery technology breakthroughs away from truly viable solar power. But if this study is to be believed, solar and other renewables will never in the foreseeable future deliver meaningful amounts of energy.
Apple as well is struggling with it’s Utopian — only works on paper — dreams.
Powerline notes that “yesterday’s Wall Street Journalstory about the production difficulties of the Arizona supplier that Apple selected to make sapphire screens for the iPhone 6 was fascinating in its own right, but there was one little detail in the story that zipped by too quickly.” Continuing they quote the WSJ:
Mr. Squiller, the GT operations chief, told the bankruptcy court that GT lost three months of production to power outages and delays building the facility.
Whoa, show down there a moment: what’s this about power outages? I’d sure like to know more of the full story here. Was this simply bad engineering on site, or was there a problem with the local grid or the energy sources supplying the grid in that area? Grid stability is going to be a more serious issue going forward as we compel more and more “renewable” (meaning “less stable”) energy as part of the EPA’s mania to restructure the electricity sector through the Clean Air Act.
What many Democrats seem to forget is that the reason for Big Business to join forces with Big Government, is to run any threat of competitiveness out of the market. To MONOPOLIZE. Obama’s policies are proving that these Big Businesses are not altruistic in their reasoning for pursuing such causes like Obama-Care and raising of taxes and more regulatory conditions. From over Obama-Care 2,000 waivers, to the stories below, Obama’s policies are filling the rolls of LARGE insurance carriers and forcing small companies who cannot compete with large “Warren Buffett” type firms to move many of their full-time workers to part time. FAILED policies.
What is funny — to give one more example — a family member of one of the Gay Patriots told him he was voting for Obama because he thought Republicans wanted to cut Pell Grants. Sorry Charlie:
This cut in eligibility was never mentioned by President Obama during the campaign, and when he boasted about increasing funding to the Pell Grant program, CNN fact-checked his claim as true. While the amount of government funding to the program is going up in future years, CNN failed miserably by not pointing out the cuts in eligibility to students. The cuts could be a rude awakening to students who thought President Obama was expanding their educational opportunities.
Hollywood is another example of this hypocrisy of avoidance, proving, yes PROVING, the Republican position. Hollywood and most in it campaign for higher taxes. But what is wrong with this is that after these taxes hit, they leave California to shoot movies in other states with lower tax-rates. Here Adam Corolla and Dennis Prager talk about this:
Another example of what Democrats voted for, unlike Bill Clinton who, yes, raised taxes but REFORMED social programs and CUT spending at the time. Obama is offering another stimulus (more government spending) that is about equal to any forecast gain in tax increases/revenue — the exact opposite of Clinton!
Like medical giant, Stryker, one of Obama’s biggest financial backers, laying off almost 1,200 workers to prep for Obama-Care, and the falling revenue (33%) of the Californian government showing in the the micro what higher taxes and more regulation does to the engine of the economy. Here are more stories of failure, and how these higher taxes will hit the retired folks that worked hard their whole lives, just to see it disappear. Google and Microsoft are two of Obama’s largest financial backers (Bloomberg):
The company avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenue into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.
Governments in France, the U.K., Italy and Australia are probing Google’s tax avoidance as they seek to boost revenue. Schmidt said the company’s efforts around taxes are legal.
We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” he said. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”
The company isn’t about to turn down big savings in taxes, he said.
“It’s called capitalism,” he said. “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”
Google’s overall effective tax rate dropped to 21 percent last year from about 28 percent in 2008. That compares with the average combined U.S. and state statutory rate of about 39 percent.
Costco also was a huge supported of Obama and is borrowing money to avoid paying higher taxes on it now (WSJ):
When President Obama needed a business executive to come to his campaign defense, Jim Sinegal was there. The Costco COST +1.92% co-founder, director and former CEO even made a prime-time speech at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte. So what a surprise this week to see that Mr. Sinegal and the rest of the Costco board voted to give themselves a special dividend to avoid Mr. Obama’s looming tax increase. Is this what the President means by “tax fairness”?
Specifically, the giant retailer announced Wednesday that the company will pay a special dividend of $7 a share this month. That’s a $3 billion Christmas gift for shareholders that will let them be taxed at the current dividend rate of 15%, rather than next year’s rate of up to 43.4%—an increase to 39.6% as the Bush-era rates expire plus another 3.8% from the new ObamaCare surcharge.
More striking is that Costco also announced that it will borrow $3.5 billion to finance the special payout. Dividends are typically paid out of earnings, either current or accumulated. But so eager are the Costco executives to get out ahead of the tax man that they’re taking on debt to do so.
To sum up:Here we have people at the very top of the top 1% who preach about tax fairness voting to write themselves a huge dividend check to avoid the Obama tax increase they claim it is a public service to impose on middle-class Americans who work for 30 years and finally make $250,000 for a brief window in time.
If they had any shame, they’d send their entire windfall to the Treasury.
Other companies as well that bundled, supported money (and press time to) Obama are doing the same (Townhall):
One of the people who will benefit from this deal will be Costco’s co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal who owns more than two million shares of its stock and will collect about $14.4 million from the special dividend. Had he taken that next year, he could be slapped with a tax rate of 43.4 percent if Obama’s proposed tax increases become law (boosting the tax rate on dividends to over 20 percent and adding a surcharge tax on millionaires).
Instead, Costco decided to pay its stockholders before Dec. 18 so that the special payoff plus a regular quarterly cash dividend of 27.5 cents will be taxed at the current 15 percent rate under the investment tax cuts wisely enacted under President George W. Bush in 2003.
This means Sinegal, who gave a prime-time speech in behalf of Obama’s re-election at this summer’s Democratic national convention, would avoid paying about $4 million in higher taxes next year.
Costco is not alone in its early tax-avoidance payouts. Many American businesses, from Wynn Resorts to Tyson Foods, have also declared special dividends to avoid the higher tax rate if the Bush rates expire.
One of the most notable Fortune 500 companies to join the pack is the Washington Post who endorsed Obama for a second term and has warmly embraced his tax increase plans. The media conglomerate has announced it will pay its 2013 dividends “before the end of this year to try to spare investors from anticipated tax increases,” reports the Associated Press.
Among those who stand to benefit from the Post’s beat-the-tax-deadline — and pocket a bundle of money — will be stock tycoon Warren Buffet and his Berkshire Hathaway firm, the newspaper’s biggest shareholder.
How can governments stop people from doing this, besides the right thing and lowering taxes to increase the amount of businesses staying in our country and wanting to move their operations here? Why, enforce the law with threat of prison and fines! Here is an example from France, whom, you’ll remember, raised the top rate to 75%, here is a story from Libertarian Republican (“stopped at the border… ‘papers please'”):
The President of France, François Hollande, announced today the possibility of reviewing the existing tax treaties with Belgium to prevent welthy people from moving to the neighboring country in order to evade taxes. One of the most recent cases was that of the famous actor Gerard Depardieu, who decided to set his house in the Belgian town of Néchin, where other wealthy French citizens live in order to benefit from a more lenient tax regime. “Everyone should have and ethical behavior, regardless of his job,” Hollande told reporters. The tax exile of the highest paid actor in France was described as a lack of patriotism, especially since he always boasted of its popular origins and occasionally denounced social inequities.
What other option is there? If you are Big Government that is!
1) On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs;
2) Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church;
3) Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who acts as the bagman;
4) Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says;
5) Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.
If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft.
iSlam Muhammad apparently depicted images of the prophet Muhammad (forbidden by Islam) and outlined disturbing passages from the Qur’an. It’s surprisingly similar to BibleThumper, a Christian-bashing app that remains in the App Store…
What’s disappointing is that this points out Apple’s lack of consistency in approval of apps, as well as their inability to provide recourse to developers who have had apps rejected for seemingly weak reasons.
Yes, the BibleThumper app really does exist, although if there’s an uproar over the double standard here, Apple will likely cave and pull that from the app store too in order to be “evenhanded.” Which is precisely the wrong outcome insofar as it further rewards intimidation by expanding the zone of religious criticism that’s off-limits. That’s a potentially powerful weapon for Islamic zealots, as some believers of other faiths — not all or even most, but some — will take a free ride and applaud businesses for showing greater “respect” for religion by limiting attacks on it. Respect has nothing to do with it, of course; fear is the engine here. But some, in the interests of shielding their preferred belief system, will be happy to pretend.