I mean have you really already forgotten the stink over google trying to ram G+ and real names down on YouTube? From Google Drive to even spying on kids emails the simple fact is Google is all about connecting the dots, its what they do, where their income is coming from, and the more they can gather on you the more money it can make from its REAL customers, the advertisers.
Because a lot of it was profit-shifting.
Starbucks UK would send all its profits to a European arm, and then claim that the amount of licensing paid to that European company to "use the trademarks", etc. was EXACTLY the same as their profit each year.
It's hard to legislate against that without another such scheme popping up almost instantly.
The blanket tax/law is designed to be a catch-all - we don't care how you did it or what clever workaround you find... if you think you're still doing this, we'll charge you more tax that ordinary corporate tax. This stops people finding clever loopholes, stops the government wasting time legislating over those loopholes (and that costs a LOT, takes a long time and means you're still losing that money in the meantime), and means that if you're in any doubt you can charge them 25% and then they can argue in court later - but you have their money FIRST and then they have to argue later to get it back if they find a loophole that allows them to.
Given that Amazon et al were collectively making BILLIONS of tax fly out of the country, this law has already paid for itself, and more, and any hassle they might get if the law is challenged. It's such a seriously huge amount of money for the country as a whole that this law is going to affect the way these companies do business in the UK almost instantly and people were actually scared that many such businesses would disappear entirely.
But, then, if we're not seeing tax from them, that's not a big deal - putting any similar-sized company in their place paying even 1% tax is an improvement over the current situation where they're paying almost zero tax. The odd lawsuit can easily be funded and put off for decades with those billions of pounds owed.
Honestly, they are taking the piss and fighting the 25% tax law against just paying 20% tax legally? One of those is so much easier a option that companies with BILLIONS of pounds of lawyers available will cave and pay the tax legally, especially in the face of public opinion.
"as little as 32 MB of RAM, for example"
I'm getting old.
My first full PC had 2MB of RAM.
My first computer had only 48Kb of RAM.
Hell, I have an "computer" next me to capable of connecting to the Internet (even to act as HTTP server, DHCP client, NTP client, etc.), controlling relays, performing some computations, etc. It has 32Kb of Flash, 2Kb of SRAM and 1Kb of EEPROM. It's called an Arduino UNO.
By comparison, then, 32Mb is over 1000 times more than needed for IoT crap.
Marriage pre-dates religion.
And we'll force them to comply with the law. If they want to "marry" people (I know churches in the UK generally DO NOT, that's for the marriage registrar, not the church), they have to comply with the law.
In the same way that just because a religion believes it can stone adulterous women still can't do that if the law says it's not allowed.
However, as noted above, churches do NOT marry people. They perform a religious ceremony that some people call a wedding. That's very different to an actual "marriage".
Hint: Most people who disagree with religion or who do not want some religious arse telling them whether or not they can marry, they won't be going to that church or wanting that dickhead to ruin their day anyway.
However, that said, recently an Irish company was sued for failing to produce a cake promoting gay marriage. They lost. The argument was that they were a business and a business can't be religious or discriminatory - even if the owners are. That's the shape of the future for you.
Hey, did you know that Mother's Day was supposed to be to celebrate your Mother Church and nothing to do with your biological mother? Things change. And slowly religion stops being relevant.
First reaction to your post: Ahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha!
"never define marriage as anything but between a man and women."... or a man and several women. Or a man, several women and a "boy". Whose purpose was... buggery, basically. You really need to pick up a history book sometime.
And even if "every" civilisation in history had condemned this - THEY ARE FUCKING HISTORICAL CIVILISATIONS. Until a couple of hundred years ago (yes), people were still shitting in the corner of the room in some countries, and shirt-tails were to wipe your arse on.
Welcome to modern civilisation. Where we look at shit and don't necessarily just do it "because my ancestors did". It's not perfect either, but hopefully our kids will look at our own cock-ups and say "Fuck doing that, just because my predecessors did, it's obviously fucking moronic."
When I'm writing something, I like to run it past somebody who disagrees with me, to see whether I got anything wrong.
If this is the worst that you and jmac_the_man and cold fjord can come up with, I'm confident I got it right.
Many thanks for this very informing post. One follow-up question, what news sources (online and offline) would you recommend as alternatives to the (pre-Murdoch) WSJ? What is your opinion on the FT?
I don't know of any substitute. The nice thing about the WSJ was that I could get a complete overview of everything important in one place. You could read the front page of the WSJ every day in 5 minutes, and at least be aware of everything important.
The most important thing was that I could trust them to give it to me as straight as they could. If I read a story in the WSJ that a job training program wasn't working, I'd see right there that the reporter talked to people on all sides, looked at the evidence, and the evidence was that it wasn't working. It wasn't because one of the publisher's right-wing editors decided to attack job training programs.
(The NYT had those very problems of advertisers and publisher's calling the shots. For example, their second-biggest advertiser was the automobile industry. The publisher, AO Sulzberger, actually ordered his editors to run stories about how auto safety and pollution regulations were destroying the economy. He wrote a memo that got out. And they did a lousy job of covering the Vietnam war.)
I don't want to make it sound like I let the WSJ do my critical thinking for me, but they did a lot of the preliminary work.
So now I'm back to reading news media on all sides, and evaluating each story myself on a case by case basis. If I read the NYT, and Democracy Now, etc., with some effort I can figure out something close to the truth. I know the FT has a lot of fans, but I don't read it regularly so I can't evaluate it.
I mostly follow medicine right now, and the professional journals, like Science, New England Journal of Medicine, etc. do a pretty good job. Once in the while, the editors will go too far, and get fired, which is what happened at Journal of the American Medical Association and Canadian Medical Association Journal. Maybe that's proof that the editors are willing to push it as far as they can.
But there was a time when I could tell a college student, "Read the WSJ every day and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's going on in the world." I can't say that any more.
In the broadest scope I've never understood why there has to be laws concerning marriage. It's a private contract. There shouldn't be a question of can two people of the same sex get married - the question should be why we need to regulate this at all. If some regulation is found to be useful, what should it be? I'm not happy about "The State" getting that far into my business.
It's not the state getting into your "business", it's your business getting into the state. Marriage predates nation-states by millennia. And as a practical matter, I'm glad I didn't have to get a lawyer and sign a 500-page contract in order to get married, and I'm glad that other people don't need their own lawyer to go over such a contract in order to recognize my marriage.
Great post. Moderators take note.
But I'm a bit confused by the last paragraph of the article you quoted. Why would the new WSJ not embrace "death tax" if it was a dog-whistle for its opponents?
My sense is that Murdoch wants to use the WSJ for his propaganda, but he wants to maintain the pretense that it's still an accurate and objective newspaper, so he can't overdo it. Calling inheritance taxes a "death tax" in the news pages was overdoing it.
I remember when they printed that article, and people were complaining in the comments pages that the story was propaganda. The reporter apologized.
I disagree entirely.
We've been systematically exposed to murder, rape, fraud, theft, and every other crime imaginable since the day we were born. Tom and Jerry, Wile E Coyote, etc. used to "kill" each other with mallets, dynamite, whatever was to hand. Games have gone from pixels touching to realistic 3D representations of killing prostitutes while the in-game characters whine about how they got in their way, "bitch".
And yet STILL, roughly the same percentage of people ever commit those kinds of crimes. Still, in some countries, crime figures are going DOWN per person, not up.
My grandfather's generation witnessed wholesale murder and genocide the same as I do - they were sent to deal with it, unprepared and unaware, and many of them never returned from battle the same. The same could be said of their grandfathers. And the same could be said of the war in Iraq, the war on terror, Vietnam, whatever war you want to pick.
Death is a horrible, but inevitable, part of life. Witnessing death may allow you to cope with further death more easily, but it does not turn you into a murderer on its own. I'd hate to know that a kid who lead a sheltered life and never experienced violence throughout it is suddenly thrown into even a street mugging without knowledge of how that might go. It can destroy people - I've seen it happen.
Yet those who suffer the most gory of horror films, witness the worst of the Internet, actively plough through it and seek out something that others might find abhorrent? They are not automatically immune to the effects of such things happening in real life yet can cope with it much easier if it happens.
Children who have NEVER been exposed to swearing form their own. Swearing is as natural an outburst of suppressed frustration as crying. People who do not swear are, in my head, either a) lying or b) scare the absolute fucking shit out of me.
People who aren't exposed to rudeness cannot understand that it's possible, or how to deal with it, or why they should play the game that others - now demonstrably in front of them - have never.
People exposed to violence are no different. I grew up not in a ghetto with bullets whizzing past my head, but in a rough area of London. I grew up with fights in the playground, and outside it, as a natural part of childhood (for that area). I, however, am a well-adjusted adult. I work for schools (and, therefore, have not committed these kinds of things as an adult). I can sit through the goriest of movies (whether it's actually just gore, however, and boring as fuck, or the gore is just part of the otherwise-good movie is a bigger question to my entertainment of it). And I've seen violence.
The thing it does is allows you to deal with it. It does not numb you to it. And, to be honest, I'm probably one of those people who could quite easily be numb to it - I'm probably high up on the autism scale and, as my friends and family would agree, it's so obvious I don't need to go and be diagnosed as such. But, still, real-life violence is abhorrent and scary to me, even if "fake" violence in movies and games is - actually - quite humorous and blasÃ© to myself.
Yet, when there's blood, and violence in real-life, it's me that ends up phoning for help, stepping in, acting with a clear head. Everyone else is too shocked to do anything about it in time and just wants to get away from it. A good survival tactic, maybe, but not the way to handle it.
As stated for everything from your parent's smoking (my mother smoked incessantly basically from her pregnancy with me to today), parent's drinking (my father worked in a brewery and used to be paid in beer tokens so we were never without alcohol), your friend's jumping off bridges, your video games depicting violence, your movies trivialising abhorrent crimes, etc. JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL DO IT.
You have to be seriously maladjusted for something you witness to cause you to perform that same, or similar, acts as an adult. Children, possibly, but that's why we insulate children from these things and clarify the boundaries of real life versus what's acceptable in video games. However, seeing it can make you deal with it much better - in the same way that going on a first aid course will NEVER prepare you for your first blood-soaked granny lying on the ground. But see enough of them, and it becomes "just another patient".
Humans can be fucks. They can also possess empathy like no other species is capable of. No other species will organise and rally round after a single member of theirs is captured by an "enemy" in order to return them to freedom, no matter how many years it takes. No other species.
Humans, by their greatest power and possession, have the ability to reason through situations and distinguish reality from falsehood. Swearing in front of child does not make it a swearer - you know what does? Acting like it's the worst thing in the world that they've picked up a word they don't know the meaning of. THAT's what gives them the knowledge that it has power, and will encourage them to use it.
For millions of years, humans have done all these things. Never before have we ever had so many humans, so close together and so little crime (proportionally). Because we are now able to simulate situations to such an extent that we don't have to imagine the consequences, we can see them for ourselves. And that same horror translates into our brain as it would after the first PHYSICAL viewing of such events, which gives us a headstart.
Seriously, blaming the media is an easy target. The real culprit is "humans" however, and you're one of them. There are parts of that to be ashamed of, sure. Inevitably. But people watch these things because their minds want to watch them. And people have gloried in the macabre and obscene since they first learned to walk. But it does not make them murderers, attackers, rapists, violent or insensible. It just helps them deal with those who are.
If I wanted ritual in my life, I would have become a priest and pursued my career with extreme political ambition so I could vote for the freaking pope.
I guess you've never read an article in your life about mobilizing the voters who are too lazy (or metabolically downtrodden from their Cheetos and Coke diets) to physically show up at a polling station?
Paper is a physical token. Reliably obtaining exactly one unambiguous, untamperable physical token with confidentiality from each adult member of society—the vast majority of which are collected on the same day—hasn't exactly proven to be an easy problem, especially when broadened to include public trust—that every voter understands and believes the process to have all of these properties (to at least a substantial degree).
Electronic voting vastly reduces the complexity on the collection side, but then the tamperability problem looms supreme, but this could almost be solved with enough crypto cleverness, except that the public trust story then requires a tiny bit of numeracy beyond grade six math.
Ritual, however, is accessible to a four-year old.
The same four-year olds who are unfortunately not yet equipped with fully functioning batshit detectors.
I don't want to abolish ritual. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.
And a significant portion of the population is now an ex-prisoner or ex-felon. "In 2008, about one in 33 working-age adults was an ex-prisoner, and about one in 15 working-age adults was an ex-felon. Among working-age men in that same year, about one in 17 was an ex-prisoner and one in eight was an ex-felon." http://www.cepr.net/press-cent...
It's dramatically worse for black men. In some cities, a third of the young black men are in jail or otherwise in the criminal justice system. That seriously affects the marriage rates among black women.
A criminal record takes away opportunities for work, education, housing, and welfare.
It's like bringing back slavery.
No other country imprisons as many people, either absolutely or per capita, and most other countries have far less violence than we do. And don't think we have less crime because of the prisons.
The criminologists say that there's an aggregation phenomenon -- when you put criminals together in one place, they encourage and teach each other to become criminals. Go to prison and you'll learn how to steal a car.
That's why those boot camps didn't work. They would take young offenders, put them together, and have some father figure yell at them like an army sergeant. But when they put young criminals together, they actually taught each other that crime was acceptable. They wound up with higher re-arrest rates than offenders who didn't go through boot camp.
A lot of times you had some kid who was busted for grass, together with kids who had been committing car theft, burglary, robbery, etc. And they would fight.
Well for one thing, the population of Denmark is 89.6% Danish. Finland is effectively ethnically homogeneous as well.
Homogeneity breeds better understanding and better community outcomes. Less fear of the other, more ability to emphasize with your neighbor who happened to get in trouble.
In other words, nothing like the United States. Make no mistake, immigration and diversity have good effects, but it has some pretty breathtaking challenges as well.
They are also economically homogeneous. That is, they have almost no poverty.
I've compared the distribution of income in US and Scandinavian countries. You can divide US families into 5 levels based on their income. In Sweden, the bottom 2 levels are missing.
Swedes have the same income as the middle and two upper income levels in the US. They're all middle class and upper class, without the poverty.