March 24, 2014

Sometimes I Understand Why People Don’t Want to Follow Hard News

This is one of those times.

Just three stories did it to me this morning, in this order:


Long story short: Two Washington Post reporters published a pack of Koch Brothers-related lies, proven beyond doubt. Not only have they not corrected their work, they apparently have no intent to. They’re essentially giving the finger to those who have called them out, and daring someone to do something about it. If the Post won’t, its reputation will be in tatters. Imitators will come out of the woodwork with a disinformation campaign at the level of Tass, Izvestia, and the old Pravda.

That’s obviously very bothersome, but not enough to send one over the edge.

The next item got me much closer.

2. At Pando: “Revealed: Apple and Google’s wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees”

If you can stand it, read the whole thing. It presents overwhelming proof that there has been a clearly orchestrated scheme to suppress wages and prevent “poaching” of high-tech talent for nearly a decade. It should deservedly tarnish the reputations and legacies of virtually every industry pioneer during the past decade, from Steve Jobs at Apple to Google’s founders to Meg Whitmnan, Michael Dell … it goes on an on.

The idea that over a million workers deliberately had their wages suppressed and lost opportunities they had sought to improve themselves, while hosannahs have rained down on the companies and founders involved, should be very tough to take.

Here’s the one that finished the job.

3. At the UK Telegraph: “Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals”

The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as ‘clinical waste’ by hospitals in Britain with some used in ‘waste to energy’ plants

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The health minister’s outrage can only rise to the level of “totally unacceptable”? I’m still waiting for “savage,” “barbaric,” or even “abhorrent.”

So what’s next? Fetal remains as food? Fetal blood for transfusions?

I wish I could just go back to bed, wake up, and pretend I didn’t see these three things … obviously and especially the third.

Unfortunately, they, and their separate implications relating to the state of what we still bravely call “civilization,” will still be there.



  1. Tom, I understand you outrage at the last one. Likewise, I wish I didn’t know about the connection between fetal remains and their use in taste-tests for Pepsi and cosmetics in France IIRC. And then there’s the whole fetal remains used to develop lines of vaccines. It’s all very horrible, to say the least.

    Comment by GW — March 24, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

  2. You’ll probably going to howl and jeer at me, and accuse me of justifying something bad but sorry I totally disagree about the second item being so nefarious.

    So what? Why aren’t companies allowed to make deals with each other? Don’t private individuals have that right? People make deals with each other every day. This is why so-called “antitrust” laws are such complete BS. They are really “anti-basic rights” laws. Companies should have the right to cooperate or come to decisions with each other. You don’t have to like it, just as you don’t have to like how someone exercises their free speech, but it should be their decision. And if employees don’t like it quit or change industries. Or better yet start up your own company and adapt different policies.

    And the idea of “suppressed wages” is stupid in so many ways:

    1. It used to be that everyone complained that tech industry was too mercenary and too much poaching, and it was driving up costs for the consumer and stifling innovation (why start big projects if the people on it can bolt anytime or hold it hostage by threatening to leave unless paid more?) but now they cry about this too. Can’t have it both ways.

    2. If it was not for the companies and their leaders the opportunities and the jobs wouldn’t exist *at all* to begin with.

    3. It assumes the employees would have done better if allowed to “roam freely” when in fact unless you have a crystal ball you don’t know that. Could be they’d end up working for a company where they would be paid less, receive less benefits (both material and otherwise) and/or be less happy.

    4. So I guess wage cuts, lack of raises and the like are also “wage suppression” and should be criminalized too. Cripes, how much someone should be paid is a very subjective judgement, but now we are lead to believe it’s somehow actually an objective process.

    5. “Cartel?” That’s an absurd comparison. A cartel is a group that agrees to conspire to keep other companies or whatever out of the industry or prevent any outside control at all. The so called “high tech cartel” prevented and forbade none of these things. Competitors weren’t prevented from existing or at all competing, and in fact were in full control of whether they wanted to agree to the anti-poaching deal or not and could readily court other companies employees if they so desired.

    Again, sorry but respectfully disagree.

    Comment by zf — March 24, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

  3. Also, I don’t find people being willfully uniformed and ignorant of hard news just because the news is sometimes harsh and nasty a valid excuse for such avoidance. That’s life, folks, sorry.

    Comment by zf — March 24, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

  4. Oh, I think you’d agree that if Mickey D’s and everyone other fast-food joint agreed not to pay any employee more than $8 an hour, it would be wrong and illegal.

    I think the analogy fits here.

    The no poaching agreements are an illegal restraint of trade in human capital, a direct affront to the free market in goods and services … and obviously illegal.

    Comment by Tom — March 24, 2014 @ 11:27 pm

  5. #2, it is an issue when Apple and Google IMPORT foreigners to do jobs Americans could have and should have done. The handling of guest worker visas by the government is contrary to our national interests in so many ways just to be sold out by those who benefited greatly by our society so they could enrich themselves at the expense of citizens. This import of foreigners was pulled off via legal trickery using the visa process by claiming falsely that domestic talent did’t exist in the numbers needed. This was written about by Phyllis Schlafly years ago how our engineering schools were mostly foreign students and why.

    Here is a recent article:

    Apple, Google and others conspired to manipulate the visa system which put American citizens at a disadvantage. If illegal immigration upsets you, then the legal trickery used to staff up the tech giants is no different.

    Apple and Google were within their rights to develop their products and services “off shore” as opposed to importing cheap talent here however, as we all know or at least should surmise, the infrastructure in foreign countries is not developed enough to cheaply invest some minimal additional money to make that development cost effective.

    What Apple and Google did was to have their cake and eat it too, they brought in foreign talent on the cheap and then cheaped out by not having to spend the money to build the infrastructure because we Americans created it and paid for it HERE. You see the problem with this kind of predatory behavior? It puts everyone at a disadvantage both here and abroad. Either develop the product and service here using the already existing capital cost that “we” paid for the infrastructure at current domestic wages OR invest capital to upgrade the deficient infrastructure off shore to take advantage of their cheap labor. You can’t have both without damaging both. India should have an infrastructure to support high tech industries, by poaching their talent to come to America Apple and Google has denied all the people of India advancement into the 21st Century. Conversely, by denying Americans jobs that are located here domestically by using foreign workers you artificially lower the wages for many inappropriately. This is the worst kind of cherry picking that harms everyone.

    I am all for Mexicans building products in Mexico for importation to the US, because Mexicans must first invest their own capital in their own infrastructure to create/facilitate those products in the first place. I am completely against allowing Mexicans to willy nilly immigrate here just to take a job from American citizens because they are cheap labor since we Americans invested (we paid for it) capital in our infrastructure. Allowing illegals to skip into this country not only deprives Mexico of workers but also allows companies to skip the necessary step of investment to produce their product. Mexico is a 2nd world country precisely because of illegal immigration and not investing domestically in capital projects themselves as a result. You see the point?

    Comment by dscott — March 25, 2014 @ 9:50 am

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