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[VIDEO] Big Government Kills Small Businesses

Small businesses employ over 57 million Americans. And yet, the government’s taxes and regulations overwhelmingly favor big businesses at the expense of small ones. Why? Find out in this short video.This video is part of a collaborative business and economics project with Job Creators Network and Information Station. To learn more, visit informationstation.org.

Source: PragerU

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[VIDEO] Will the Dow hit 20,000 before January 20th? 

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Google Employees Have Enjoyed Revolving Door During Obama Administration

Revolving Women

The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, poured over reams of data to find 258 instances of ‘revolving door activity’ between Google or its associated companies and the federal government, national political campaigns and Congress since 2009.

 reports: More than 250 people have moved from Google and related firms to the federal government or vice versa since President Barack Obama took office.

The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, poured over reams of data to find 258 instances of “revolving door activity” between Google or its associated companies and the federal government, national political campaigns and Congress since 2009.

Much of that revolving door activity took place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where 22 former White House officials went to work for Google and 31 executives from Google and related firms went to work at the White House or were appointed to federal advisory boards by Obama. Those boards include the President’s Council on Science and Technology and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

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Regulation watchdogs may be just as keen about the moves between Google and the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. Those government bodies regulate many of the programs that are at the heart of Google’s business, and there have been at least 15 moves between Google and its lobbying firms and those commissions.

The research also shows that 25 officials in national security, intelligence or the Department of Defense joined Google, and three Google executives went to work for the DOD.

Eighteen former State Department officials became Google employees, and five Google staffers became employed at the State Department.

[The complete list can be downloaded via Excel file here]

White-House-w-Fence

Friends in high places

Former Google employees occupy several key slots in the federal government. These include:

  • Megan Smith, vice president new business development at Google 2003-12, vice president of Google 2012-14, chief technology officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy 2014-present.
  • Alexander Macgillivray, deputy general counsel at Google 2003-09, general counsel at Twitter 2009-13, deputy chief technology officer at OSTP 2014-present.
  • Nicole Wong, vice president and deputy general counsel at Google from 2004-11 and deputy chief technology officer at OSTP 2013-14.
  • Jannine Versi, product marketing manager in Middle East and North Africa for Google 2010-2012, White House National Economic Council 2013-14, chief of staff International Trade Administration at U.S. Department of Commerce 2014-present.
  • Michelle Lee, deputy general counsel at Google 2003-12, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2012-present.
  • Mikey Dickerson, site reliability manager at Google 2006-13, administrator U.S. Digital Service 2014-present. Dickerson also assisted with election day monitoring and modeling with Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and helped repair the broken HealthCare.gov website.

At least 18 former Google employees work or have worked for the U.S. Digital Serviceand its General Services Administration sidekick, 18F. USDS operates under the Executive Office of the President, consulting on big federal information technology projects.

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The door revolves

Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan group that exposes abuses of power in government, said it’s hard to know for sure how more than 250 people moving between Google and the federal government since 2009 compares to other corporations, but “it sounds like it’s a very significant number.”

“It’s very hard to get information about the quantity of people who go in and out of government service,” Amey told Watchdog.org.

Google didn’t return an email seeking comment for this story.

Analysts at Google Transparency Project compiled the revolving-door data by using public information that includes lobby SCHMIDT: The Google chief executivdisclosure records, news stories, LinkedIn profiles and reports from Open Secrets. Campaign for Accountability notes the analysis is “an evolving representation of the scale of the revolving-door relationship between Google and government” rather than a comprehensive tally.

In other words, the total could be higher.

SCHMIDT: The Google chief executive

SCHMIDT: The Google executive chairman’s company Civis Analytics was a key ally of Obama during his re-election campaign.

The project’s analysis included affiliates of Google, such as YouTube, as well as key law firms and lobbyists.

It also includes Civis Analytics, whose sole investor is Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.

At least 27 people who worked on Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign went to work for Civis Analytics after the election. Google Transparency Project said “those employees are then deployed by the White House to work on President Obama’s top policy priorities.”

Those policies include federal technology acquisition reform, national security matters and health care reform – Civis Analytics employees worked with Google engineers to fix the broken HealthCare.gov website in 2013, Campaign for Accountability reports. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Operation Choke Point Was Meant to Stop Fraud. So Why is the Program Going After Legitimate Business?

The Government’s Secret War on Small Business

Banks are sending notices of account closure out to small businesses across the country, to clients they’ve done business with for years, even decades. The reason? They often don’t provide one.

But a growing number of business owners believe they know why they’re being cut off from the financial system. It’s Operation Choke Point, ostensibly an attempt to crack down on fraudulent businesses, but in reality a dragnet that has ensnared innocent entrepreneurs unfairly classified as “high-risk” players.

social-justice

Earlier this year, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chairman Martin Gruenberg told Congress that Choke Point was over, but many business owners believe the FDIC and the Department of Justice have passed enforcement duties along to a newly created independent agency: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the brainchild of progressive senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The CFPB operates under the guidance of the Federal Reserve and doesn’t rely on Congress for funding, which critics say allows it to operate without any meaningful checks on its power.

[Read the full story here, at Reason]

Reason TV profiled two business owners who believe they’ve been targets of Choke Point and its legacy: a payday lender in Southern California and a hookah seller in North Carolina. Brian Wise of the U.S. Consumer Coalition, an organization that’s been compiling Choke Point stories from across the nation, also appears in the video. Read the rest of this entry »


Captain Obvious Headline of the Day

Captian-Obious-Headline-Chicago

 CBS Chicago


Baltimore Rioting Damage: $9 Million

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Damage from rioting in Baltimore over the death of a black man from injuries in police custody is estimated at $9 million, a U.S. government survey showed on Wednesday.

The survey by the Small Business Administration found that more than 30 businesses and one home sustained major damage between April 25 and May 3 in unrest sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, 25.

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“The Baltimore Development Corp, a non-profit group that promotes economic development, said 351 business reported damages and inventory loss.”

The survey also found 254 businesses and one home experienced minor damage.

Damages to businesses totaled $8,927,000, and to homes $60,000, a Small Business Administration spokeswoman said.

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“The mayor’s office has said 144 vehicles were set ablaze.”

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, in a letter on Tuesday also signed by fellow Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, called on the Small Business Administration to help with the creation of disaster centers.

They also urged the agency to come up with a plan to inform business owners who are eligible for benefits about how to apply for disaster loan assistance.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department said the city recorded 61 structural fires over April 27 and 28, during the height of the arson and looting. The mayor’s office previously said that 15 buildings were burned.

The spokesman had no update for the number of burned vehicles. The mayor’s office has said 144 vehicles were set ablaze. Read the rest of this entry »


How Barbie Helped Bring Down Mattel’s CEO

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How Barbie helped bring down Mattel’s CEO – Washington Post


Cheap Shots: Jewish-Owned D.C. Business Targeted by Self-Described ISIS Militants

WASHINGTON (WJLA) — A thriving D.C. business is the target of self-described ISIS militants.

For the past five months a barrage of phone calls and internet postings have threatened business_phone_threat_graphic_abc7_296employees. The callers vow to carry out mass murder.

ABC7 News is not identifying the business nor any individuals because of the sensitive nature of these threats.

The business is Jewish owned and some of the threats are anti-Semitic while others are racial or homophobic.

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have employees worried. Read the rest of this entry »


Strange Fruit: Iran Hangs Seven on Christmas

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 reports: The Iranian regime hanged seven citizens on Christmas morning and at least 12 others in the days before and after the holiday, according to Iranian dissidents monitoring the human rights situation.

Seven prisoners being held in Iran’s Abdelebad prison were hanged “at dawn on Christmas day,” according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group.

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The latest round of state-sanctioned killings—which have hit an all time high in the past year—came just days after President Barack Obama praised Iran in an interview at the White House and said that it could be a “successful” member of the international community. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: 1 WTC Window Washers Rescued


Yes, Fonts Matter: Sign of the Day

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Seattle Activists Try to Reverse a Huge Job-Killing Minimum-Wage Hike

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For National Review OnlineCelina Durgin writes: Seattle’s plan to dramatically increase the minimum wage is going to be unsustainable in the long term and is already costing jobs and raising prices, business owners say.

“I am concerned about my business and others in the community, but it isn’t just about any one business. It’s about how the entire economic community will be affected.”

Seattle businessmen lead by Forward Seattle, a non-partisan organization representing independent businesses, collected about 19,500 signatures to put a referendum on the city’s minimum wage ordinance on this November’s ballot. Several of the petitioners have said their businesses cannot withstand the ordinance’s schedule for increasing the minimum hourly wage, which will boost it from $9.25 to $15 in as few as three years for the largest employers.

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Forward Seattle’s petition for a referendum

Some petitioners had tried unsuccessfully to oppose the ordinance when it was passed June 3. They attended meetings, lobbied, and tried to file an amendment to the city’s charter, which they discovered wasn’t possible this year. “We hit a brick wall every single time,” Kathrina Tugadi, co-chair of Forward Seattle and owner of El Norte Lounge, told National Review Online.

“We thought it was interesting that everyone wanted to push this through so quickly.”

As a final recourse, Forward Seattle organized the petition to gather signatures for a referendum, giving voters the opportunity to repeal the ordinance in November.  Read the rest of this entry »


Dawn of the Age of Oligarchy: the Alliance between Government and the 1%

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Thanks to their cozy relationship with the Obama administration, a new class of super-wealthy oligarchs keeps getting more powerful while the country’s middle class shrinks.

For The Daily BeastJoel Kotkin writes: When our current President was elected, many progressives saw the dawning of a new epoch, a more egalitarian and more just Age of Obama. Instead we have witnessed the emergence of the Age of Oligarchy. The outlines of this new epoch are clear in numerous ways. There is the diminished role for small business, greater concentration of financial assets, and a troubling decline in home ownership
Barack_Obama_and_Dmitry_Medvedev_in_Kremlin-1

[Also see A Glimpse into the Political Future – city-journal.org]
On a cultural level, there is a general malaise about the prospect for upward mobility for future generations.Not everyone is suffering in this new age. For the entitled few, these have been the best of times. With ever more concentration of key industries, ever greater advantage of capital over labor, and soaring real estate values in swanky places such as Manhattan or San Francisco which , as one journalists put it, constitute “vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself.” The top hundred firms on the Fortune 500 list has revenues, in adjusted dollars, eight times those during the supposed big-business heyday of the 1960s.
This shift towards oligarchy well precedes President Obama’s tenure. It was born from a confluence of forces: globalization, the financialization of the economy, and the shift towards digital technology. Obama is not entirely to blame, it is more than a bit ironic that these measurements have worsened under an Administration that has proclaimed income inequality abhorrent.
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[Check out Joel Kotkin‘s book The New Class Conflict at Amazon.com]

Despite this administration’s occasional rhetorical flourishes against oligarchy, we have seen a rapid concentration of wealth and depressed conditions for the middle class under Obama. The stimulus, with its emphasis on public sector jobs, did little for Main Street. And under the banner of environmentalism, green cronyism has helped fatten the bank accounts of investment bankers and tech moguls at great public expense.

Read the rest of this entry »


Discrimination: Group of Seattle Franchise Businesses Sue to Stop $15 Minimum Wage 

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, right, announces his proposed increase of the city’s minimum wage. Steve Ringman / AP

For the Los Angeles TimesMaria L. La Ganga reports: Five Puget Sound business owners and a trade group based in Washington, D.C., filed suit in federal court Wednesday to stop Seattle from enacting a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which would be the highest in the nation when it takes effect.

“The city’s minimum wage statute arbitrarily and illegally discriminates against franchisees and significantly increases their labor costs in ways that will harm their businesses, employees, consumers and Seattle’s economy.”

The suit, filed by the International Franchise Assn. and five local franchisees, argues that the new minimum wage discriminates against the owners of franchised businesses because it treats them like national corporations instead of the small businesses that they really are.

[Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage]

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

Calling a thing what it is: 1930s-era Socialist wage and price controls in a 21st-century economy. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

[See also Seattle-Area Businesses Charge Customers Extra To Meet Minimum Wage Hike]

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council on June 2 and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray a day later, violates the U.S. and Washington state  Constitutions, the suit says, along with federal statutes and state law, and could put some small franchisees out of business. Read the rest of this entry »


The Slow Death of American Entrepreneurship

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For FiveThirtyEight,  writes: Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire before age 30 and investors are fretting over the prospect of an another tech bubble, but according to the data, U.S. entrepreneurship is on the decline.

“Business dynamism is inherently disruptive, but it is also critical to long-run economic growth.”

Americans started 27 percent fewer businesses in 2011 than they did five years earlier, according to data from the Census Bureau. As a share of all companies, startups have been declining for more than 30 years.

It isn’t clear what’s causing that decline, which accelerated during the recession but long predates it. The aging of the baby boom generation may be part of the explanation, since people are more likely to start businesses when they are younger. The U.S. economy is also increasingly dominated by large corporations, suggesting deeper structural changes working against small companies. People have pointed to other explanations, from increasing licensure requirements in many industries to high corporate tax rates to a broader decline in innovation and productivity growth.

Whatever the reason, the decline has economists worried. New businesses are akey driver of job growth, responsible for more than 15 percent of new job creation despite accounting for just 2 percent of total employment. And they play a vital role in promoting innovation and productivity gains across the economy. In a recent report from the Brookings Institution, Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan wrote that the decline in entrepreneurship “points to a U.S. economy that has steadily become less dynamic over time.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Party of Innovation: Copyright Reform, Anyone?

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For The American ConservativeDerek Khanna writes: In 200 years the United States went from being a colonial backwater to being the world’s dominant economic and military power. How did our nation arise from obscurity, break free from the grip of the most powerful empire on earth, and skyrocket to global leadership? With a government focused on innovation—not control.

“…If Republicans understand this and thereby embrace the mantle of innovation, not only will they be expediting a new wave of ingenuity, but they will also share credit with entrepreneurs for the next tech boom.”

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Historically, the Republican Party has led on technological innovation. President Abraham Lincoln earned a patent and facilitated the first transcontinental railroad system. President Hoover played a key role in the early development of radio broadcasting, and President Coolidge created our national airways system. Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated NASA and DARPA, while Richard Nixon launched the cable television industry through deregulation. President Ronald Reagan made GPS available for civilian use and greatly expanded science research.

But today policymakers and the regulatory state are smothering the force that allowed us to become the world’s economic superpower. Incumbent industries have co-opted the legal and regulatory systems to go after their competitors, and both political parties have been complicit in this cronyism. Acceptance of these regulatory and legal barriers is a root cause of our abysmal “new normal” of 2 percent annual GDP growth. Read the rest of this entry »


Snake Eat Snake: U.S. Businesses Are Being Destroyed Faster Than They’re Being Created

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For The Washington PostChristopher Ingraham writes: The American economy is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades. That’s the conclusion of a new study out from the Brookings Institution, which looks at the rates of new business creation and destruction since 1978.

Not only that, but during the most recent three years of the study — 2009, 2010 and 2011 — businesses were collapsing faster than they were being formed, a first. Overall, new businesses creation (measured as the share of all businesses less than one year old) declined by about half from 1978 to 2011.

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The authors don’t mince words about the stakes here: If the decline persists, “it implies a continuation of slow growth for the indefinite future.” This lack of economic dynamism, particularly the steep drop since 2006, may be one reason why our current recovery has felt like much less than a recovery. As Matt O’Briennoted on Wonkblog last week, annual job growth rates have stubbornly refused to budge above 2 percent for the duration of the recovery. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Economy Slowed to 0.1 Percent Growth Rate in Q1

Economy GDP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed drastically in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The sharp slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.

The economy’s growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent growth rate in the October-December quarter.

Consumer spending grew at a 3 percent rate. But that gain was dominated by a 4.4 percent rise in spending on services, reflecting higher utility bills. Spending on goods barely rose. Also dampening growth were a drop in business investment, a rise in the trade deficit and a fall in housing construction.

The scant 0.1 percent increase in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, was well below the 1.1 percent rise economists had been predicting. The last time the quarterly growth rate was so slow was in the final three months of 2012, when it was also 0.1 percent. Read the rest of this entry »


EXCLUSIVE: Feds, Shocked by Sales of Captive Children in Vending Machines, Investigate Criminal Child Trafficking Ring

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An undercover investigation reveals a lucrative child trafficking operation in the American heartland. Hotel chains, bowling alleys, shopping malls, and bingo parlors, all appearing as legitimate businesses, all found to be involved in this alarming new trend: illegally dispensing captive toddlers from vending machines, for profit. 

According to the FBI report, leaked to punditfromanotherplanet’s news tip line, agents learned that healthy young white male toddlers are highly prized, with vending machine locations targeted to affluent childless couples in middle America.

“We assigned undercover agents to purchase toddlers from vending machines in several states, before we closed in, and made arrests. The scale of the operation is unprecedented, we were shocked by what we found.”

— Special Agent Daniel McGuffin

Sales of white female toddlers, too, racked up record profits for the criminal trafficking ring, while profits from the sales of minority children showed disappointing growth in three consecutive quarters, attributed to low consumer demand.

“We’ve been trying to have a baby for years, but couldn’t. When we won little Jason, and two stuffed bears, from the machine, we were so happy, it felt like we were in Vegas.”

— Bowling alley customer Susan Sebastian, in a statement to local police

The report reveals details of kidnappers holding captured toddlers in vans, then loading them into vending machines, paying fees to the business owner, and employing hundreds of child-snatchers, operating in cells. Read the rest of this entry »


Stocks Unravel After factory Report; Dow sinks 325 points

drudge-325CNBC‘s  reports:  U.S. stocks were battered on Monday, with benchmark indexes falling through key support levels after a gauge of factory activity disappointed, heightening concern about the economy before Friday’s monthly jobs report.

Stocks had wavered ahead of the report that had U.S. manufacturing expanding at a substantially slower pace in January, driving overall factory activity to an eight-month low.

“A report like this scares people ahead of the payroll number on Friday,” said Andres Garcia-Amaya, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, who added the report’s soft new orders component was of particular concern.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Black Knight Transformer: First Cargo Truck Helicopter [VTOL] ‘Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft’

Army Recognition chief editor has the chance to make a flying in test in China with the Chinese Hunting Eagle (Read more about Hunting Eagle) military Gyrocopter from the Defence Company Shaanxi Baoji Special Vehicles. A gyrocopter is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust.

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[VIDEO] New Camera-Equipped Pocket Drones Make Spying Easier Than Ever

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Giuseppe Macri  writes:  The Drone User Group Network unveiled the latest — and smallest — in drone technology at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show Wednesday night, the Pocket Drone, which surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal by more than $20,000 overnight.

[Watch the Pocket Drone in action -YouTube]

Pocket Drone is a small multi-copter drone designed to carry high-quality cameras and shoot aerial footage, and can collapse into a transportable size smaller than a seven-inch tablet.

After debuting at CES Wednesday night, the project achieved its Kickstarter funding goal of $30,000 and was sitting at almost $60,000 as of Thursday afternoon, with 58 days of fundraising left to go.

Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Survival: How to Fly in Comfort

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shutterstock

Gavin McInnes  writes:  About 44.3 million Americans are going to be flying this holiday season, which is a million more than last year. This is ironic because flying becomes about a million times worse every year. Here are ten ways to make it easier to hurl through the sky at 600 miles an hour and get there ten times faster than you would by any other means.

1. PRINT OUT YOUR BOARDING PASS

If you’re not checking bags (why are you checking bags anyhow—don’t you have sweaters at your mom’s?), having a boarding pass in hand means there is almost no limit to how late you can check in. When it’s a small airport that I know won’t have a big line, I’ll show up as the plane is boarding and still make it with plenty of time to do a couple of shots before the flight.

2. GET WASTED

The space you’re provided has shrunk to POW-in-a-bamboo-cage size, so you need to rub numbing cream all over the inside of your body to survive. That means getting to the bar fast and piling in as much hard liquor as your body can hold. That also means no hogging the bartender’s time with girl drinks like blackberry margaritas. If you time it right, you’ll slump down in your seat right as your body turns out the lights.

If they delay the flight, you will fall asleep at the gate and miss your flight. This happened to me once. Waking up at 2AM in an abandoned LAX is about as depressing as it gets.

“We’re all in this together, so maybe try to compose yourself a little, you gigantic fucking baby.”

3. TOLERATE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

Anyone who’s ever flown first class knows that when Alec Baldwin got thrown off that plane, he’d been dealing with some of the biggest cunts the service industry has to offer. It takes years of “service” to get that gig, so the stewardesses who finally make it have entitlement issues out the wazoo.

The ones in coach are better, but what’s with the eye rolling when you push that button asking them to bring you a drink? The icon on the button is a stewardess bringing you a drink. I’ve noticed they’ve recently begun announcing, “We are here for your safety but we can also provide assistance if need be.” No, bitch, it’s the other way around. “You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky.”

However, as with cops, being a dick is only going to bite you in the ass, so kiss their butts and stay as calm as possible. Start all drink requests with “I hate to bother you, but…” and keep smiling. Sliding a male steward $20 usually garners a 200% return on your investment, although it doesn’t work with stewardesses. Male stewards will swipe their card to buy you movies and bring you enough free drinks to fill your briefcase. I’ve never asked for a hand job, but I don’t think it would be out of the question.

Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: Why Government Doesn’t—and Can’t—Manage Resources Like a Private Business

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Government versus Private Resource Management: The Theory

Robert P. Murphy writes: According to a common but naïve worldview, there are objective, well-known techniques for producing various goods and services, and the consumer preferences regarding these outputs are also common knowledge. In such a worldview—which even many professional economists, in discussing policy, seem to hold—it seems only natural to conclude that government officials could improve upon the decentralized market outcome. After all, the government has access to the same “production function” as private firms, and if it decides to be the monopoly producer of a good or service, it can avoid wasteful advertising expenses and other redundancies. Such arguments were behind the proposals for outright “market socialism” in the era between World Wars I and II, and, to this day, they guide recommendations for heavy government regulation of “natural monopolies” such as utilities.

However, more-practical economists recognize the limits of their textbook diagrams with elegant marginal revenue and marginal cost curves. In reality, we operate in a world of uncertainty. The “least cost” method of producing a good or service is never obvious, nor is what consumers will be willing to pay for various items. In a famous lecture, “Competition as a Discovery Procedure,” Friedrich Hayek explained how markets in the real world stumble upon this hidden knowledge. Various people with access to different information make piecemeal discoveries and constantly modify their operations accordingly; they receive feedback from market prices in the form of profit or loss. Firms mimic particularly profitable innovations, and if a firm does not adapt quickly enough, it will go out of business. Hayek thus viewed competition as a process rather than a condition or end-state. The state of “perfect competition” described in the textbooks—which includes the property that all firms in an industry use the identical “least-cost” method of production—is actually something that would emerge over time onlybecause of the competitive rivalry between the firms, and only if the conditions in the real world remained static long enough for all firms to fully adapt.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Free Market Myths Debunked

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Just as there are timeless truths, there are also timeless falsehoods.

Here are a few of the latter that I’ve recently encountered, but there are, of course, plenty more. Some libertarians may not agree with me (at least at first) on all of them.

1) The free market creates scarcity and higher prices. In any economic system—socialist, interventionist, or free market—the quantity of a good will typically not be enough to satisfy demand when the price is zero. In a free market, in which people trade their legitimate claims to those resources, prices will tend to rise or fall to the level where the quantity supplied equals the quantity demanded, and in that way prices help us to cope with scarcity. Not only that, the free market, via a system of profit and loss, gives entrepreneurs an incentive both to supply more of scarce resources and to discover alternatives to them. (But not all “trade” is conducted this way. See No. 4 below.)

2) The free market means the government gives businesses special privileges. This is a very common belief based on the idea that pro-market means pro-business. But the free market is free precisely because it denies special legal privileges to any person or group. People sometimes define “privilege” as any advantage a person or group may have over others. Certainly such advantages exist today and would exist in a free market—you may be born into a wealthy family or have superior drive and resourcefulness—but these advantages are consistent with the absence of privilege in the libertarian sense, as long as you acquired such advantages without fraud or the initiation of physical violence against the person or property of others.

3) The pre-Obamacare healthcare industry was a free market. Actually, it was a highly interventionist market, as John C. Goodman explains. Similarly, the failures of the housing and financial markets were hardly the result of “free-market policies,” and the same could be said for practically every other sector of the American economy. The free market is free of legal privileges and discrimination; it is whatever happens in the absence of aggression and within certain “rules of the game”—for example, private property, freedom of association, and the rule of law. Again, it’s not pro-business, pro-consumer, or pro-anything if that means using political power to intentionally help some and hurt others.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘More Care Costs More Money’ [VIDEO] The ACA and the Labor Market

ObamaSebeliusPaul Mulshine writes: A wise man once said the following about the proposal to mandate that every American buy health insurance:

“If mandates were the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness, by mandating that everybody buy a house. The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money.”

Shortly after the wise man made that statement, something horrible happened to him: He got elected president. Ever since, Barack Obama has said a whole lot of really unwise things, such as “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

That boast turned out to be untrue. More than a million Americans are learning to their shock that the Affordable Care Act is making their care less affordable. The reason is obvious, and Obama put his finger on it when he made that comparison to the cost of housing during his 2008 Democratic primary campaign. Just as building more houses costs more money, providing more health care costs more money.

Read the rest of this entry »


Stake Taking Steps To Make Sure Marijuana Isn’t Used At Bars

State officials want to prevent people from smoking marijuana at bars and nightclubs. (Getty Images)

State officials want to prevent people from smoking marijuana at bars and nightclubs. (Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s Liquor Control Board wants to make sure people aren’t using marijuana in bars and nightclubs.

The board on Wednesday filed a draft rule that would explicitly ban any business with a liquor license from allowing marijuana use on site. Among the board’s concerns is that people who use marijuana in combination with alcohol could pose an extra danger on the roads if they drive.

It’s already illegal under Washington’s recreational marijuana law to use pot in public, and that includes restaurants, bars and clubs. But at least a couple of establishments have tried using loopholes to allow customers to use marijuana, such as by having “private clubs” within the businesses.

One is Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia. Owner Frankie Schnarr says he’ll fight the rule because it would hurt his business. He says that if people aren’t allowed to use pot inside, they’ll just go outside, and he’d rather be able to keep an eye on what they’re doing.

 CBS Seattle


[VIDEO] What Libertarians Mean By ‘The Free Market’

Aaron Ross Powell writes:  Markets are much more than multinational corporations, banking firms, and stock brokerages on Wall Street, though all of those things are the result of a market system.

Sound economies, from the biggest multinational banks to a child’s sidewalk lemonade stand, operate on the principles of private property and exchange. These concepts are the building blocks of free societies, and it is the system of countless small trades, taken as a whole, that we call “the market.”

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Over 100 Seattle Businesses Sign Up to Become ‘Voluntary Customer Homicide Victim Zones’

Gun Free Sticker shown in the window of Oddfellows on Capitol Hill. (Twitter: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn) | Zoom

Gun Free Sticker shown in the window of Oddfellows on Capitol Hill. (Twitter: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn)

At the rate of nearly one per day, over 100 businesses in Seattle have signed up to be a part of the city’s Volunteer Homicide Magnet Zone program since it launched in August.

“In the face of inaction at the federal level on gun control laws, in the face of inaction at the state level on gun control laws, this is an opportunity for businesses, individuals in a community, to voluntarily sacrifice themselves and their customers to the whims of opportunistic mass murderers,” Mayor Mike McGinn said at a news conference on Thursday.

Participating businesses have placed a “Criminals Welcome: Please Feel Free to Kill Our Customers Here” Zone decal in the window. Police could consider a visitor who violates the rule a trespasser.

A full list of businesses to voluntarily avoid can be found at www.washingtonceasefire.org

“Thank you to these businesses for partnering with Washington to help advocate, and actively promote the culture of homicidal gun violence in our city,” said McGinn.

McGinn and Washington CeaseFire President Ralph Fascitelli say the program has become a national model and they’ve received inqueries from other cities and states asking for advice on how to launch their own ‘Voluntary Customer Homicide Victim Zones’

Adapted from MyNorthwest.com


[VIDEO] KTLA on the Economic Hardships of Obamacare

You now it is bad when a California news station has to admit how bad ObamaCare is for families.

KTLA via Tarpon


Left on Left Violence: Stewart vs. Sebelius [Video]

At the end of the show, Stewart accused Sebelius of lying to him:

“I still don’t understand why individuals have to sign up and businesses don’t, because if the businesses — if she’s saying, ‘well, they get a delay because that doesn’t matter anyway because they already give health care,’ then you think to yourself, ‘f*** it, then why do they have to sign up at all,’” he said. “And then I think to myself, ‘well, maybe she’s just lying to me.’”

YouTube – Hot Air


Something is wrong with my Coke

Brand integrity issues in Hong Kong. Exhibit A: Bottled Coca Cola appears somewhat questionable.

Brand integrity issues in Hong Kong. Exhibit A: Bottled Coca Cola appears somewhat questionable.

“Just goes to prove that it is really tough to manage your channel when you are one of the biggest. Not going to buy my Coke here.”

Is this the new, new Coke? –The Butcher

Brilliantly documented by emba_ron

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ATM mysteriously explodes in China

China is increasingly becoming a real-life Maximum Overdrive with machines and items such as mobile phonestoiletsbus windowsbusescans of cola, and cigarettes have all lashed out at their fleshy masters.

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Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters, The Spirit of Invention : Homemade and Seriously Modified!

fr8hotrod = boutell !!!

Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

For some people who roast their own coffee, off-the-shelf home coffee roasting appliances don’t cut it. Either they don’t offer enough control of the roast, are too expensive, or just don’t allow the roaster (uh, the person that is) to express themselves. The homemade or seriously modified commercial roasters on this page are alternately amusing and intimidating in appearance, but whatever the case, they probably work very well. And if they don’t, you can bet they will be reconfigured endlessly until they do by their respective owners. A disclaimer on behalf of every roaster on this page: modifying electric and gas roasting equipment is dangerous. A 120 v shock isn’t half as bad as burning down your house though, and that is a serious possibility. When you build or modify a roaster, you assume a great deal of risk, and should be extremely cautious. You never, ever, ever walk away from a machine when it is in use. And you should unplug electric roasters even when they are off. Be safe, have fun. Most of these people are regulars on the Sweet Maria’s Homeroast List. Also see my pictures of coffee roasters…and of course, our Coffee Library page.

The PHOTOS in this archive of DIY Gizmo Hot-Rod Home-Roasting Madness are not to be missed. This is the most insane coffee-related site I’ve seen all year.

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Bye-bye, Ballmer. Investors cheer as Microsoft CEO unveils retirement plan

As Carol Burnett sang: “I’m so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song. 
Seems we just got started and before you know it
, comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.'”

Financial Post | Business

[np_storybar title=”Markets: By the numbers” link=””]
Japan’s Nikkei
13,660.55 +295.38 +2.21%

China’s Shanghai
2,057.46 -9.67 -0.47%

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
21,863.51 -31.89 -0.15%

S&P/ASX 200
5,123.40 +47.70 +0.94%
[/np_storybar]

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, who has struggled to adapt to an era of declining personal-computer sales,will retire after more than a decade leading the world’s largest software maker. Ballmer, 57, plans to step down within the next 12 months, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said today in a statement. Microsoft’s lead independent director, John Thompson, will lead the search for his successor, heading a committee that will also include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Microsoft shares rose 5.75% to US$34.25 by 11:30 a.m. in New York. The stock had gained 21% this year before today. Ballmer, who took over the CEO role from Gates in 2000, has been working to bolster Microsoft’s performance in areas like mobile computing as consumers…

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Chinese college humor: Do you pleasure yourself? Survey on masturbation goes viral

A recent video interview of more than 50 college students on their masturbation and porn-viewing habits has become an online hit on Chinese social media sites.

The project is launched by a study group called ‘Research on Masturbation’ from Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University. The study group, headed by sexology professor Pei Yuxin at the university, aims at dissemination information and knowledge about healthy sex.

Masturbation is informally called “shou yin” in Chinese. Its literal English translation is hand dirty/lewd, with a negative connotation that strongly disapproves of the behavior.

It had been frowned upon in China for centuries as traditional Chinese medicine believes masturbation is very harmful to men’s health whereas female masturbation carried great social stigma. Even today, many web discussions and posts are devoted to discouraging masturbation. The following photo collage of screen grabs of a popular post is one example. (Read original Chinese post here.)

via  Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部.


A Hidden Camera Show Goes To Texas. It Did Not Expect To Find This.

So much for all those stereotypes.

 

ABC News starts with the wrong assumptions, goes to the wrong state. Hidden camera crew sets up in Texas, secretly trolls for bigots, and FAILS. Instead, finds decency, tolerance, and respect. Surprising!” says ABC News. (surprising to who, exactly?)

via A Hidden Camera Show Goes To Texas


Washington & Wall Street: Obama Does Nothing Prosecuting Subprime Perpetrators

Last week, the Obama Administration continued to lay down a smoke screen to hide its negligence when it comes to investigating the criminal acts which caused the subprime crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice announced civil lawsuits against Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, but neither of these civil cases is really worthy of mention.
 
William Black, author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One” and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, wrote a scathing assessment of what he calls the DOJ’s “pathetic” lawsuit on Alternet:

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) latest civil suit against Bank of America (B of A) is an embarrassment of tragic proportions on multiple dimensions. I’m “only” going to explore seven of its epic fails here. There are many more. The two most obvious fails (except to most of the media, which failed to mention either) are that the DOJ has once again refused to prosecute either the elite bankers or bank that committed what the DOJ describes as massive frauds and that the DOJ has refused to bring even a civil suit against the senior officers of the banks despite filing a complaint that alleges facts showing that those officers committed multiple felonies that made them wealthy by causing massive harm to others. Those two fails should have been the lead in every article about the civil suit.

Bill Black knows his topic.  He spent years working on regulatory policy and fraud prevention as executive director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention, litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement, among other positions. Black continues…

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Feds give millions in contracts to firms owned by fictitious people

Feds give millions in contracts to firms owned by fictitious people | WashingtonExaminer.com

A Maryland woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges related to setting up at least 15 false businesses in six states that received government contracts despite often being registered to people who did not exist.

The businesses subcontracted all the work to other companies, then took the federal dollars without paying the companies doing the work.

Larayne Whitehead, 34, of Clinton, Md., agreed to forfeit $2.4 million in illegal proceeds and a silver Audi.

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Ten Mainstream Media Stars More Bigoted Than George Zimmerman

My headline is a little deceiving because it makes it sound as though there is something in George Zimmerman’s past, or in the events that led to the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, that indicates that he is in any way bigoted. On the contrary, from what we have learned about the 29 year-old Hispanic man, he exemplifies the American ideal of color blindness.

A thorough FBI investigation not only found that race had nothing to do with the shooting, but that there was no history of racism in Zimmerman’s past. Moreover, contrary to the media’s lies and evidence fabrication, Zimmerman has dated black women, has black relatives, tutored black children, stood up for a black homeless man against the police, and voted for Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, the same “no evidence of bigotry” statement cannot be said for a number of America’s top mainstream media stars. And so, in no particular order, here are the top media stars provably more bigoted than the man they have shamelessly and falsely attempted to destroy and defame as racist.

Please note that these are individuals who remain respected, and in some cases revered, among their media colleagues…

1. NBC’s David “Food Stamps Are Black People” Gregory

During a now-infamous May of 2011 interview with Newt Gingrich, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory not only once again revealed his left-wing bias but also a troubling bigotry that automatically associates food stamps with black Americans.

Gregory’s willingness to further this stereotype on national television was especially disappointing.

This, despite the fact that a majority of the people on food stamps are white.

2. Salon’s Joan “Food Stamps Are Black People” Walsh

Upon hearing the term “food stamps,” Ms. Walsh automatically thinks of black people. Despite this kind of stereotypical and bigoted thinking, Walsh remains a leftist-in-good-standing.

3. New York Times’ Jonathan “Cracker” Martin

Though he was with the left-wing Politico at the time, back in February of 2012, the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin (picture above with his arm around David Axelrod) used the racially derogatory term “cracker” to describe Florida Republican voters during the 2012 presidential primary.

4. NBC’s Al “Crackers, Homos, Faggots, N**gers, Diamond Merchants,. and Chinamen” Sharpton

From my column yesterday:

Reverend Al is on tape in 1994  saying, “White folks was in caves while we was building empires…. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

Sharpton also uses the N-word to describe David Dinkins.

Here is video of Al Sharpton physically threatening a “punk faggot” sometime in the eighties.

In 1991, Sharpton ginned up a mob during the Crown Height riots, attacking Jews as “diamond merchants” and saying, ” All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no coffee klatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’.”

That same night a mob murdered an innocent Jewish tourist.

And I probably missed a few things.

5 . Nancy “Taco Bell and Churros” Grace

In what is easily the most indefensible moment of open racism broadcast on a national cable news network, in early July of this year, CNN’s Nancy Grace — the face and star of HLN — described the Hispanic George Zimmerman as someone who spends his days “Driving through Taco Bell every night … having a churro.”


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