making a living off the arts is like winning the lottery.
There's too much free/discounted stuff out there for the masses to want to pay top dollar for something that can be easily acquired for free.
Just because there's free art out there doesn't mean that's why people aren't buying. I don't buy CDs or books because I find them inconvenient, but that doesn't mean I'm replacing them with something that's free. I don't buy paintings either, because I don't find them interesting. In fact, there's a lot of 'art' (be it a painting, book, film, photograph, song, poem, etc.) that gets produced that nobody finds interesting. The reason it's hard to make a living as an artist is the same reason it's hard to make a living as an actor - many people try, very few people are actually any good at it. I'd bet that more than 99% of the art that's produced each year couldn't be given away for free. Just because an artist likes their own work doesn't mean anyone else would be willing pay for it, no matter the condition of the market.
Believe it or not but the US does have valid national security concerns that need to be dealt with so unfortunately the NSL and FISA programs are needed unless someone can come up with a better way to handle threats to national security.
The Stasi had a huge number of spies watching for dissident activity. A system like that would be more effective at protecting national security than one that focuses on digital communications. These people watched practically everything their neighbors did, and reported it to the state. Stasi agents would enter people's homes at will. Surely, that would make it easier to stop terrorism.
Now do you understand that national security is not the only metric by which we measure a policy?
P.S. and yes, parallel construction. Criminals (a surprising number of whom seem to work in law enforcement) always get greedy.
The devil is in the details. What is the interest rate on that credit card?
Why, why, why would you ever borrow money on a credit card? I mean, I'll admit I took a balance transfer to fund a move once, but that was $5000 for a 3% up-front payment and no interest for a year (by which time I paid it off). Normal "purchase" interest rates on a credit card are insane. Looking at my cards, the range on purchases is 14-24%! The rates are there basically to punish anyone who tries to use a card as a credit facility rather than paying it off every month.
Some payday operations are legal. Some aren't, a few advertised on TV have recently been found to be illegal, and others have been found to be breaking other laws, like those which prevent them from offering loans to soldiers. None of them should be legal, but even if they are, Google (a private entity) is free to refuse to do business with them. Now, if Google was doing this to lock out competitors that would be different, but Google doesn't compete with payday lenders.
The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold