23 May 2013

Internet Link Sausages Made From Bleeding Hearts

And I do not mean "bleeding-heart liberals," either...

  • If it really was the tax code and not pure greed, Apple (and Google, and Amazon, and every other major corporation that has whinged about excessive taxes in the last week... or last millennium) wouldn't be pulling the same crap in other jurisdictions. Stop kidding yourselves: This has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual burden of taxation. It has everything to do with upon whom that burden falls... and the right answer is almost always "somebody else," no matter who is speaking. Indeed, that's the only reason that progressive taxation can ever be imposed — there are more voters whose relative burden is reduced by progressive, as opposed to flat-rate, taxes. These corporate interests are whinging about "double taxation" while forgetting to note that that "double" taxation is on their profits — not, as for individuals, on their revenues. The effective comparable-accounting-standard rate of taxation on a corporation seldom exceeds the US sales tax rate... which is still too much for some of these greedy bastards.

    As has been noted before by more-eminent speakers than I, taxes are the price one pays for civilization. I, for one, want more civilization... and as corporations (unlike natural persons) literally cannot exist without such silly civilized accessories as effective policing and courts and statutes and the rule of law, I find their complaints rather less than credible. My cartilaginous-ichtyhoidy heart bleeds for corporations that want all of the privileges of free speech and lobbying without paying for them; that seems almost socialist. It certainly doesn't make much economic sense; neither does it acknowledge that there's a word before "self-interest" in all non-internally-destructive conceptions of economics: "enlightened."

  • I can say only one thing about the Kindle Litter/SandboxWorlds program to "monetize" fanfic: OMFG is this ever going to lead to, like, totally extreme overstatements by, like, everybody in Encino! At least they appear to be smart enough to avoid improperly claiming that the fanfic is work-for-hire — although, not having seen the actual contract, that's not certain, either. Of course, I'm not the right person to ask about this sort of thing, given that I actually know something about the business practices of some of the companies involved and appear to have conflicts of interest...
  • Meanwhile, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France really does want that torch-and-pitchfork party at its gates; its most-recent arrogance is to require some rather ridiculous documentation to remove works it has stolen, and (as is usual for the French) it refuses to acknowledge that a substantial proportion of the authors in question are not native speakers of French. One might wonder whether the World Trade Organization would hear a complaint that this constituted unlawful nationalization of the intellectual property assets of non-nationals in violation of about six different treaties to which France is a signatory. Of course, one must also remember that only nations, not individual property owners, have standing before the WTO. Governments are too busy trying to collect taxes at the moment!
  • I have only two words to say about exactly why things are so f*cked up regarding GITMO, drones, the CIA, etc.: Posse Comitatus. And if you can't see how that little provision — one virtually unique to the US — makes it that much harder to extricate ourselves from the mess in question, you haven't been paying attention to who is doing what (and not doing what else). Nor, for that matter, paying attention to the loophole in the law that is big enough to pilot an aircraft carrier through, and explains a helluva lot about why it was a SEAL team that visited Abbottabad a while back (not to mention provides the sole operational justification for the continued existence of the Marine Corps).