Reverse Psychology, Or Something

I tend to look at things in a fairly simplistic manner: if what we in the U.S. are doing is pissing off the EU, then we’re doing the right thing.

I’m just pleased to see that I’m not the only one who thinks this way, at least in the case of the new law which lowers corporate tax rates, and which has caused the EU to whine:

The GOP tax plan will cause companies to flee Europe and return to the US.
The plan will cause companies to move operations to the US, creating jobs for American workers, creating more demand for American labor. And in increase in demand invariably (this is really basic economics here) drives up the price meaning American workers, on balance, can be expected to be paid more.

More companies doing their business in the US rather than overseas is almost by definition growth in the US economy. And economic growth means a larger base for the taxation that remains which offsets the reduced rate.
In short, what Europe is complaining about is that the tax reform will do exactly what the GOP promised for it. The Democrats can scream about “the one percent” and “tax breaks for the rich” (tax break, as a percentage is actually mostly on the middle class, but they never let truth stop them, neither the Democrat politicians nor their cheering section in the major media). Meanwhile finance ministers in Europe fear not the claims of the Democrats, but that it will actually do what the GOP promised.

So there ya go. Trump/Republican tax plan 1, EU 0.

 

Cult News

My hostility towards Apple (the company and its poxy little products) is a well-known fact of this blog. It dates back to when I first used an Apple IIe — I was the very first person at the Great Big Research Company to own a personal computer, back in the early 1980s — and discovered that while the Apple was a fun toy, it clearly lacked the serious horsepower to perform any complex or large data management/manipulation. And that situation never changed.

Along the way, though, Apple developed into a cult: first of personality, through its founder/tinpot dictator Steve Jobs, and then its ethos, through its “cool” design and cutesy, “user-friendly” operation.

The writing was on the wall, though. For such a cool company, Apple was always remarkably totalitarian — closed operating systems, inflexible programs, antagonistic towards non-corporate developers and hostility to DIY improvement and maintenance by its users — witness the “unlocking” commotion when the iPhone originally mandated AT&T phone service with its product. Without the logo and corporate blessing, it seemed, everything was pretty much streng verboten — but implicit with all this, as with so many totalitarian systems, was the promise of “Trust Apple”.

So much for trust. It appears that Apple has been caught with its grubby little fingers in some pretty shameful corporate skulduggery, slowing down the operating system of its older iPhones to “persuade” users to upgrade to newer (and, of course, more expensive and more profitable) models:

Apple has long inspired an almost religious devotion among customers and tech aficionados — but it just seriously undermined its fans’ faith and loyalty.
The company on Wednesday acknowledged what some people have long suspected: that it has been secretly stifling the performance of older iPhones.
Critics have accused the company in the past, based on anecdotal evidence, of purposely slowing phones to compel users to upgrade to the latest model.
While Apple admitted to the practice on Wednesday, it sought to underscore that it had done so for a purely altruistic reason: to prevent older phones from shutting down unexpectedly.

Yeah, of course you only had good intentions, you bastards. That’s like telling the judge you raped the woman not for your own benefit, but so that she could have an orgasm.

And this is not the usual weasel “some rogue employees done it” bullshit: this was corporate policy. Management had a meeting, and decided on this action.

There are two lessons to be learned from this little bit of malfeasance. The first is for Apple users: your little idol has not only feet of clay, but claws under the velvet glove. (Non-Apple users like me have known this for some time, but all we got was abuse from Apple acolytes and groupies.) Enjoy your pain and disillusionment.

The second lesson is a broader one for all of us: Never trust a corporation, no matter how altruistic they may sound, even when — and maybe especially when — their corporate mantra is “Don’t be evil”. Your benefit is not their primary concern; their primary concern is either market share or profit, or both.

I’m not saying that this is a Bad Thing, necessarily; profit is the sole purpose of a corporation, after all. Just don’t let them fool you into thinking that your benefit won’t get compromised if it interferes with their ultimate goal (see: Microsoft, elimination of Outlook Express, MS Paint, etc., to name just one other example).

And cultists are always easiest to fool because all religious adherents are easier to fool, by whatever deity they follow, be it companies like Apple, charities like the United Way, or Big Government.

Don’t be gullible, don’t be fooled by the marketing and the PR, don’t follow the herd, don’t be loyal. Trust no one, and  especially do not trust institutions created by men for motives of profit or power, because ultimately, you too will get “throttled”.

Beta Royale

And so it begins… the pussification of Harry.

Prince Harry will not be taking part in the traditional royal Boxing Day shoot because he doesn’t want to upset his fiancee Meghan Markle. The 33-year-old was just 12 when he took part in his first festive shoot but has pulled out because Miss Markle is a keen animal rights campaigner. Miss Markle, 36, doesn’t like hunting and Prince Harry is said to have shocked gamekeepers at Sandringham after he informed them he won’t be there on December 26.

Couple of points need to be made, here.

I have it on good authority that Harry is an excellent shot, and as the article indicates, he’s been doing this for two decades — i.e. most of his life. Why should he care what this totty thinks about hunting? He’s a bloody royal, FFS, and she’s the one who gets the most out of their upcoming nuptials. Hell, he can get pretty much any woman he wants — and better-looking than her, for sure. (He certainly has in the past; here’s Cressida Bonas, for one.)

So why he has to accommodate this Markle woman’s silly nonsense is beyond me.

She’s a “part-time vegan” and an animal-rights activist, according to reports. Oh, isn’t that special. Well, he’s a member of a royal family, a decorated war veteran and a keen birdshooter, which I think is a lot more special than some two-a-penny divorced actress.

I never cared about this relationship one way or the other, because it’s none of my business and celebrity stuff bores me to tears. But I get truly irritated when a woman comes into a family with traditional values — and it’s hard to think of a family with more traditional values than Harry’s lot — and wants to make everyone change around her. Arrogant bint.

I always used to think that the penchant for royals to marry other royals (or at least nobility) was silly. But the more I see of it, the more I think it makes sense: the odds are always better if you marry into your own class. No good is going to come of this marriage; you heard it here first.