Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo’

While Boycotting A&E, You Might Consider this Intolerant Yahoo Too

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

It takes a real moron to top the idiocy of Drew Magary’s original GQ piece on the subject of Phil Robertson, but leave it to Yahoo News (a contradiction in terms if ever there’s been one) to dig up a writer who’s even more maniacally stupid than his peer at GQ.  Yahoo News posted a piece by Josh Barro, an editor at Business Insider,  proclaiming: “When you’re defending Phil Robertson, Here’s What You’re Really Defending.”  It takes approximately two minutes to read, but let me cut to the quick: It’s nonsense, like all that’s gone before, and only people detached enough from reality to get their information from Yahoo News are apt to be dumb enough to fall for his foolish premises.

He asserts the following, based on quotes from Mr. Robertson:

  1. Robertson thinks black Americans were treated just fine in the Jim Crow-era South, and that they were happy there. ” I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
  2. Robertson thinks the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they didn’t believe in Jesus. “A ll you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
  3. Robertson hates gay people. Robertson in 2010: ” Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.  They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

“This last one is key. My inbox is full of “love the sinner, hate the sin” defenses of Robertson’s 2013 remarks. But Robertson doesn’t love gay people. He thinks they’re, well, “full of murder.” His views on gays are hateful , inasmuch as they are full of hate.”

Let us tackle these assertions one by one.  In the first instance, Mr. Robertson’s view of the pre-civil rights era of the South is his own.  He’s clearly speaking from the experiences of his own life.  Perhaps Barro could consider, even momentarily, that in Robertson’s personal experience, maybe it wasn’t quite so bad as is widely believed particularly by people like Barro (or me) who hadn’t been born as yet. For a man born in 1984 (when I was a young private in the Army) to pontificate about the implications of Mr. Robertson’s statements about the South is approximately on par with my commentary on the social benefits of prohibition.  I know only what history records, but my knowledge is hardly exhaustive.  Neither is Barro’s. Nothing about Robertson’s remark on this topic suggest he’s a racist, but that is precisely what this Harvard-grad goof-ball wants you to believe.

His second assertion is that Robertson believes Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because they didn’t believe in Jesus.  That’s not what Robertson said, and while it stretches credulity to think he was saying that, what Barro tries to do here is to state the obvious: Japan wasn’t going to believe in Jesus in 1941, and one couldn’t imagine they would.  I think Robertson’s point was a bit more sophisticated than Barro’s tautology implies.  Robertson was merely showing that the mindset of Christians(believers in Jesus) has been rather non-violent in the last century.  The ethos of communists, Nazis, and so on have been rather less tolerant, and seemingly more inclined to violence.  Hitler’s gangs did all they could to discourage Christianity, as Barro is undoubtedly aware, and communism basically outlawed all religions.  In Islamic countries today, Christians and other non-Muslims are routinely persecuted and murdered.  This is not generally the case in modern-day countries where Christianity dominates.

He claims Robertson “hates gay people.”  He then goes on to list a litany of things Robertson said about unrepentant sinners, but present them in a way that implies he had said these things about homosexuals specifically.  Being as adulterers are in Robertson’s list of sinners, taking Barro’s view, one would suppose Robertson hates himself, having confessed to adultery in his own life.  No, this is a pathetic attempt to do what others have tried over the last several days: When Robertson is asked what are sins by Magary, he went on to list a bunch of sins, a list that looks remarkably familiar to anybody who has read 1 Corintheans.  He did not qualify them.  He listed them.

I realize I am not the most sophisticated fellow, but I am able to grasp the concept of lists.  If you ask me to list fruits, I might say “bananas, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, and grapefruit.”  This doesn’t say the first thing about which I like most or least, or which I consider the worst or the best.  It’s merely a list.  If you ask me to list vegetables, it will be much the same: “Corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and radishes.” From this list, you will not be able to discern much about my preference for vegetables. You won’t even know if the one I like most or least actually made the list. All you have is a list that may or may not be exhaustive or exclusive.

As if to underscore his lunacy and lack of context, Barro goes on…and on:

“As a side note, it’s remarkable how often these things come as a package. Robertson’s sincere doctrinal view about the sinfulness of homosexuality comes packaged with animus toward gays and retrograde views about blacks and non-Christians. It’s almost as though social conservatism is primarily fueled by a desire to protect the privileges of what was once a straight, white Christian in-group, rather than by sincere religious convictions.”

In any other political context, it might seem odd how this writer seems to ignore the “sincere doctrinal view” Robertson apparently holds about Communists and Nazis. Perhaps what Barro is really confessing is his personal alignment with those ideologies.  After all, Nazis all but invented the sort of propoganda Barro is spouting here, and no place more than Stalinist Russia exhibited his flair for the desire to silence dissent and create guilt by association.

“You might recall that conservatives are currently trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the Republican Party performs quite poorly with the growing share of voters who are not white, straight Christians. They think some of it has to do with economic issues. But then  they’re scratching their heads, trying to figure out how Mitt Romney lost the Asian American vote 3-to-1 even though, by Republican “maker-vs.-taker” metrics, Asian Americans are disproportionately likely to be “makers.”

I don’t believe actual conservatives have any problem figuring out what to do, although Republicans may. What Barro leaves unstated is that the Democrats have carried the Asian-American vote for generations.  Conservatism doesn’t have a problem with non-white, non-straight voters, so much as they have a problem with statist buffoons of the sort defined by Mr. Barro. He concludes with this bit of nonsense, in case you lost interest:

“Non-whites and non-Christians and gays keep getting the sense that, even setting aside policy, conservatives and Republicans just don’t care for them. The “Duck Dynasty” episode, with Ted Cruz and others rushing out to defend Robertson’s honor, is just another example of why.”

Mr. Barro, isn’t Ted Cruz non-white?  Isn’t Bobby Jindal non-white?  Isn’t Sarah Palin non-male?  Isn’t Tammy Bruce non-straight?  Haven’t all of these defended in some fashion the free speech and free religious thought of one Phil Robertson?  This asinine attack on conservatives because they defend a man for stating his sincere religious beliefs has been extended now into the preposterous scenario of a Harvard-grad, establishment-bound numb-skull professing to us what non-whites, non-males, and non-straights may think, even as they step forward to tell us that Robertson has every right to believe sins are what may be found listed in the Bible.

Any writer who so thoroughly debunks his own argument in the span of two sentences ought to be ignored, and truth be told, so should any “news outlet” that publishes his drivel.  Barro’s article drips with venom and hate, and yet he is able to imagine hatred into the heart of Phil Robertson, who actually expressed the contrary premise that he loves all people, even sinners like himself. Who’s the real hater, Mr. Barro? Apparently, I’m not the only blogger to take a dim view of Barro. That Yahoo News posts such bilge is evidence enough to click away from that site too.

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“All Restaurants Are Taco Bell”

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
What Kind of Monopoly?

Drudge is linking the story about Google considering joining in on a bid for Yahoo.  Some are already beginning to raise a flag about monopoly, as the two Internet giants certainly occupy some of the same market space.  Of course, they might be interested in acquiring it just to slice it up and sell it off, or it could be that like so many things, Google has gotten so large that it wants multiple big-name brands to capture more of the market.  Either way, it’s not necessarily a monopolistic move, but many will already see it as such.  Part of the thing that makes a monopoly is government authority.  You may remember the silly, poorly-made movie starring Sylvester Stallone titled “Demolition Man,” in which the recently defrosted hero discovers that “all restaurants are Taco Bell.”  This was something enforced on the culture by government.  That is a coercive monopoly, which is the only sort that should cause you concern.

One of the problems is that people don’t understand the concept of monopoly, because what the popular culture tells them is that all monopolies are bad. Far be it from me to defend Google here, or in any instance, but I think it’s important that we understand what truly constitutes a coercive monopoly, as well as understanding how the concept has been oversimplified into the more generic and misleading term “monopoly.”

A monopoly is said to exist when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity.  For instance, if you patent a new device, and have sole rights to produce or license the production of the device, you have a monopoly.  If you own the last ham sandwich on Earth, with no expectation of there ever being more, you have a monopoly.  Look down at your keyboard. If you own it,  you have a monopoly on its use.  In this very obvious sense, a monopoly isn’t necessarily bad at all.  Copyrights are another form of monopoly, as are trademarks.  We could not long function as a society if there was no concept of property and no attendant “monopoly rights” of ownership.  As you can see, the concept is an important a vital part of a capitalist society.

Now let us turn to the much more specific and problematic concept of coercive monopolies.   This form of monopoly is a good deal different, and it’s the sort of which we should generally disapprove. Like patents, trademarks, and copyrights, coercive monopolies are granted and enforced by government, however, with these, there is nothing to prohibit another person from providing a substitute product or service.  When government creates a legal coercive monopoly, it freezes out substitutions, and it reduces the provider of the goods or services to one entity.  Consider the municipality that provides a public water utility, but prohibits the drilling of water wells.  Consider the public garbage collection service, while the city that provides it prohibits the use of alternative collection services, or requires that you pay the fees irrespective of your usage of the service.

Think of the public school system that collects your money, in most places based on the value of your property, whether you have children or not, and without rebate if you send your children to a private school at your own expense.  Notice that in this case, they are able to extort the money from you on the basis of seizing your property.  These are the sorts of monopolies with which governments empower themselves, but they also empower others as well.

Consider Major League Baseball, that gets a specific exemption from the anti-trust statutes under the law.  You can’t simply go set up your own baseball league.  This institution is protected by exemption from anti-trust laws, in specific legislation by Congress, under the assumption that it’s somehow too fundamental to American culture to permit competition.  Let me suggest that the idiotic legislators who passed this exemption failed to recognize something much more fundamental to American society: Competition.  The irony of protecting a competitive sport from external competition is mind-boggling.  If you’re a pro quality baseball player, you can either accept their rules or give up your career. This has been done in the main to restrict players from being able to negotiate.  If there was another league paying better, or willing to allow the player to decide the cities with which he would negotiate, the value of baseball players would escalate.  Some people think they’re paid too much already, but the fact is that they should earn whatever they can negotiate that the market will bear.

Of course, there are other sorts of monopolies that government rigs all the time.  Back in the 1990s, Bill Clinton put a huge swath of territory in Utah off-limits to coal mining, allegedly on the basis that it was to protect the environment.  It was also one of the only known sources of clean-burning coal in the world, the other being offshore.  Guess who had been buttering Mr. Clinton’s bread?  Yes, this sort of game is played all the time in Washington, where effective monopolies are created by legislation, and it’s part of the entire universe of crony capitalism that so many have been lamenting recently.

The government has enacted anti-trust laws advertised as being used to break up monopolies, or to prevent their formation, but all too frequently, this is just an excuse for intervention in the markets used to extort money from companies.  The most egregious cases of this are when government imagines a monopoly into existence so that they can squeeze money out of them.  Consider the case of Microsoft, that in the early 1990s became the dominant player in desktop operating systems.  At the time, Microsoft didn’t have a massive lobbying operation, and Bill Gates ran his company, but once he started to really beat his competitors badly, his competitors cried foul and turned to government for relief.  The problem is that Microsoft wasn’t really doing anything illegal, despite all the posturing by its competitors, and such laws as could be stretched to cover its actions were miserable ideas born of crony capitalism.

Several companies, all competitors, went to politicians and lobbied them to take steps against Microsoft.  It was a bi-partisan lynching, and after the affair, I believe it signaled the beginning of Microsoft’s market-share decline.  Bill Gates learned from the experience, as did his successor, and you can believe that Microsoft now employs plenty of lobbyists to plead its case before government. Did consumers benefit?  No.  So who did?  It didn’t save Netscape, which had been one of the complainers, and the truth is that Microsoft’s market share had been the product of great marketing, a very good product, and good, old-fashioned competition.  In the main, it had been what is termed a “natural monopoly.”   People simply preferred their products.  In the end, the only beneficiaries of this fiasco had been government and its officials, its regulators, and of course, all the lobbyists who now rake in cash.

When somebody complains to you about the monopoly some company allegedly enjoys, you’d be right to consider just what it is that the term means in the context proposed.  Not all monopolies are bad, and some are even vital parts of our economic system, but the ones with which we ought to be most concerned are those created in the cloakrooms in Congress, in the old executive Office building, and in the White House.  It never fails to be the case that it is this sort that subjects us all to the greatest perils.