On this Independence Day eve it’s a good question to ponder. I believe being “American” means that one adheres generally to the values and spirit embodied in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution. We embrace personal liberty, tolerance, respect for property rights, rule of law, and equality under the law.
After 50 years the Grateful Dead, what is left of the Dead, is calling it quits officially. The music will stop at Soldier Field on July 5th. It’s a sad moment for me as there is no other band I have enjoyed as much over the years. Really no band comes close.
One of the main reasons for this is because there is so much material to discover. There are only so many Beatles albums to appreciate. With the Dead, the albums aren’t even the most important part.
The Dead openly allowed fans – deadheads – to record their shows from the audience. This stood in contrast to most music artists at the time. (And even now.) This openness resulted in a fascinating documentation of the band through the decades. For instance I can tell you within a few seconds if a particular song was preformed in the early 70s, late 70s, 80s etc and I am no where near the connoisseur that some are.
The band gave the music to the audience for a fee and the audience in turn took the product and spread the word. In time the Grateful Dead, a band which never had a number one song, would become the top earning act on tour for years. (Or close to it.) The Dead encouraged sharing. Really it deployed a kind of “freemium” business model – though they probably didn’t do it on purpose. The band was (is) a trailblazer in what would become today’s sharing economy. They were 25 years ahead of the curve.
Jerry and the boys were pioneering capitalists. (Though they might balk at the term – but maybe not.) And it’s one of the reasons, in addition to the music, that the Grateful Dead hold a special place in my heart.
The more complicated a government program, the more crony it is.
So let’s see…Obamacare has infused the health insurance companies with heaps and heaps of taxpayer dollars. Big Pharma has done almost equally as well under the cronycare regime. Premiums for terrible policies – which as I see it could largely be bought for the same or lower prices before Obamacare – are going up.
All of a sudden things have gotten very interesting in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary looks vulnerable. Soros is calling in the money cavalry for Ms. Clinton. The AFL-CIO is even afraid that local chapters are going to go rouge and start endorsing Bernie Sanders. Inevitability has given way to concern if not panic in the Ready for Hillary camp.
In 2009 I founded a company (of one, me) called Exleorix which focuses on how businesses (and others) can use social media effectively. It warms my heart to see this story.
Believe it or not we are just getting started with social media. There are many areas where it will grow further. Virtual reality plus social media is right around the corner.
The idea that social media can be used to cut through red tape is exactly the kind of idea which inspired me 6 years ago. We wish Jun the best of luck and hope that other towns will develop similar programs to cut bureaucracy. It’s still very early days, but we should be able to shrink government dramatically with current and future technologies.
Again, I ask. Why does anyone live in these cities? The governments are corrupt. They are violent. They are crowded. They are dirty. They are running out of money. They are dysfunctional. They are expensive. And yet people stay.
There are highways. You can leave. I don’t have much sympathy if you stick around and let the local government just abuse you.
Nuclear, though not widely known, is heavily underwritten by taxpayers. In the event of a catastrophic meltdown nuke companies are also only exposed to $10 billion in liability. The rest is on the taxpayers. That the nuke industry is subsidized by taxpayers abroad only makes “sense.”
And what’s funny is the nuclear industry wants to use the Export-Import Bank to underwrite the building of new nuclear plants in CHINA.
Yet another reason to make sure the Export-Import Bank dies.
You’ve got to hand it to Obama in a weird way. He does a good job of placating his populist flank while his administration does the bidding of large corporations. Obamacare is one example, net neutrality is another, the TPP yet another.
One of the reasons we have generally opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership, even though we are big fans of international free trade, is because the agreement is likely chock full of crony deals. There’s a reason why so much secrecy surrounds the thing.
But we have been getting glimpses of the paper beast. The most recent comes from Politico.
Looks like the drug companies are about to have a big (and ongoing) international payday. Thing is this payday comes not from innovation and the satisfaction of customers but from privileges written into the TPP for pharma. At least they appear to be in the agreement at this point.
Obama is arguably the best friend Big Pharma ever had.