Weekend Update 1/21/12
A rainy Saturday in Los Angeles seems like a good time to put down some random thoughts.
The SOPA Battle
So SOPA is dead, and as I said earlier in the week, it was a fatally flawed piece of legislation. But before the Free Culture crowd gets too self-righteous, please consider your new hero and spokesperson, Kim Dotcom.
Kim’s a fun loving guy with 30,000 square foot mansions in three countries, a fleet of Ferraris all made possible by selling stolen content from artists around the world. A bunch of the musicians I worked with in the 1960′s and 1970′s, who made wonderful records that are still on everyone’s I Pod, have seen their royalties cut by 80%. Not enough for a retired 70 year old to live on. American’s are truly stupid when it comes to discussing this issue. The one thing we make that everyone else in the world wants to get a hold of–our music, our movies, our video games—the knuckleheads on the copyleft want to fight a death match to make sure they are free to the whole world. Of course these same people don’t mind paying an arm and a leg for their German car or their Japanese TV.
Hopefully saner heads will be able to coalesce behind Ron Wyden and Darrel Issa’s Open Act. To think that we need to protect Google’s right to make hundreds of millions in ad revenue off Pirate Web sites while artist’s starve is truly braindead.
Two articles in yesterday’s paper truly brought home the Joe Heller insanity of this war and the damage it is doing to the soul of America. First the news about the increasing number of killings of US and NATO forces by their supposed Afghan Allies.
American and other coalition forces here are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces, according to American and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, look at the self-destruction a ten year war is unleashing on our own troops.
Suicides among active-duty soldiers hit another record high in 2011, Army officials said on Thursday, although there was a slight decrease if nonmobilized Reserve and National Guard troops were included in the calculation.The Army also reported a sharp increase, nearly 30 percent, in violent sex crimes last year by active-duty troops. More than half of the victims were active-duty female soldiers ages 18 to 21.
After four French soldiers were killed this week by their Afghan allies, President Sarkosy suspended training and assistance to the Afghan Army and said he might withdraw all French troops from the war. Why isn’t Obama considering the same for our soldiers?
Department of “I Told you so.”
I know when ever I write about the stock market, I am guaranteed to get a lot of shit from the pitch fork brigade. But I do want to point out that three weeks ago, I suggested that the “sky is falling” talk from CNBC pundits was totally wrong and that the markets were headed higher. On that day the Dow stood at 12,140 and yesterday it closed at 12,720.
I’m convinced we made some hard choices in 2009 that have set the U.S. economy back into a real recovery. The Europeans failed to do the real write downs and are now suffering the consequences. Helped in part by a lower dollar and a higher yuan, American Exports are on track to meet President Obama’s seemingly outrageous goal of doubling in five years. And if innovation truly does flow (as I fervently believe) from a networked, bottom-up economy, then we have nothing to fear from China’s closed, top-down regime.