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Google, the Barack Obama Administration – and Even More Questionable Policy

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

This One Apparently
Doesn’t Detect Buses

Almost inarguably, no private entity is more enmeshed with the Barack Obama Administration – than is Google. This has been – in way too many ways for an allegedly free market economy – the Google Administration.

Google has met with the White House just about once a week – every week since President Obama took the oath. Think tanks usually staff administrations – Google and this administration have been swapping (often very high-level) employees throughout.

And as we know, personnel is policy. So time and again this administration has (often illegally) jammed through awful, anti-capitalism policy – because Google asked for it.

Sometimes the cronyism is so overt – it’s darkly comical. Like when the administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally imposed Google’s preferred (and really idiotic) Network Neutrality.

The Commission’s two Republicans weren’t given an advance draft of the order – but Google was. And then the Commission’s Obama-appointee chairman – altered the order at Google’s request.

And now we have Google’s foray into driverless cars. Cars that can drive themselves – and thus must detect all manner of things stationary and mobile around them. There are many components incorporated in making that a possibility. And each sliver of every component – requires a patent. More

Washington DC: Don’t Just Do Something – Stand There

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Congress Should Take Notes

There is a warped Inside-the-Beltway fetish with “getting things done.” Warped – because of what many of those “things” consist. Most members of both political Parties (and the bulk of the Chattering Classes) want things – that most of We the People do not. So DC tries to distract from their terrible products – by obsessively fixating on the process.

Behold but one heinous example. Chattering Class-member The Washington Post on December 17, 2015 extruded Paul Ryan Notches a Big Victory, but the True Test May Come Next Year: “The House is expected to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill Friday that will remove any threat of a government shutdown, keep the government funded into the fall of 2016, and notch a signature win for new House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.)”

This “big victory” blew up the “Sequester” spending caps – the only (tiny) such constraint placed on DC in decades. And it funded President Barack Obama for basically the rest of his administration – which means the illegal unilateral actions in which he has endlessly engaged will be from now on unimpeded by Congress’ power of the purse.

That’s a DC “signature win.” Remember this – and an endless cavalcade of similar “signature wins” – when you next hear how important it is for DC to “get things done.” (Remember it all – when you wonder how Donald Trump is doing what he’s doing.) More

Another Presidential Legacy: Several American Presidents Were Also Inventors

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Mount Invent-more

Last Monday was Presidents Day. But that holiday is relatively new – an amalgamation of the birthdays of George Washington (President #1, February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (President #16, February 12). It is now a day set aside to celebrate all American Commanders-in-Chief.

Since yesterday was Washington’s actual day of birth (and he is thus far my favorite president) I think we should look at another, lesser known contribution he and several of his successors made to our nation. They were inventors.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Washington replied “As a farmer.” And it was in all things farming that he was constantly tinkering – and inventing. And he understood the vital import of people with the capital to invest – to invest in inventing. “Washington recognized that experimentation was anathema to all but the most forward looking farmers. Instead, Washington believed that it was the responsibility of wealthy farmers to undertake experimentation, as failures would be inevitable and losses would have to be absorbed while new techniques were perfected.”

As my friend John Berlau exquisitely put it, “Washington was less a ‘gentleman farmer’ than an agricultural entrepreneur.” Washington was constantly looking to invent better ways to do things: “He tinkered ceaselessly but never aimlessly. A firm believer in experimentation, he tested tools with a view to their capacity to save labor and boost productivity. Among other cutting-edge technologies, he installed at Mount Vernon an advanced gristmill that allowed him to produce high-quality ‘G. Washington’ brand flour and even market it overseas.” Washington received a trademark for his flour – the better to protect his intellectual property with, both here and abroad. More

Inventors Pass Away – Let’s Make Sure Invention Never Does

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

So NOW Patents are Important?

Fame is a distorting and highly overrated quality – as the late, great David Bowie knew so well. Especially now in the Internet Age – when everyone shares publicly every tiny facet of their existence. Especially now in the Omni-Media Age – in which was born the phrase “Famous for being famous” (See: Kardashians).

But the things that allow people to achieve and maintain fame (and wealth, and freedom, and opportunity, and just about everything worth anything) – are for the most part invented by people of whom almost no one has heard. Inventors toil in anonymity – to make the famous possible.

But if you know any Inventors – you know that’s how most of them want it. And even the ones of whom we all have heard – we almost never think of as Inventors. The aforementioned Bowie was world-renowned as a musician, fashion icon and actor. But Bowie was also a really creative, innovative inventor. And lest we forget – he invented his songs and various personas.

Billions of people knew Bowie as an innovator – but didn’t think of him as an Inventor. Which is a shame. Because you can’t innovate – without first inventing.

Artur Fischer just passed away at 96 years of age. He was not famous. But he did more to improve our lives than just about anyone in the 20th Century. Because he was an Inventor – par excellence. He had more patents over the course of his life – than did the famous Thomas Edison.


After DC’s Snowmageddon – Some Things Should Stay Buried

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Just Because You Can’t Touch It – Doesn’t Mean You Can Take It

Due to this weekend’s torrential winter downpour, we are currently in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Uh oh. We’ve been told so often by so many that a government shutdown will shake the Earth from its orbital path and send us careening into the Sun. So far, thankfully, that has not occurred.

Despite our promised fiery demise, we have begun to excavate DC (…wait a moment, what’s the rush?). DC is doing what anyone does in such situations. You triage – you prioritize what gets attention in what order.

There is oh-so-much that should just stay buried. Not physically (I guess) – but metaphorically. There is oh-so-much DC is doing – that it absolutely shouldn’t. And there is oh-so-much more DC wants to do – that it absolutely shouldn’t.

Amongst the myriad latter are two bills currently under consideration: The House’s Innovation Act and the Senate’s PATENT Act. Bills that – no matter the expressed intent – will fundamentally undermine the ability of people with ideas to protect their ideas with patents.

Sadly, in a Republican-controlled Congress – there are Republicans pushing these bills. They do so in the alleged name of “tort reform” – to attack and undermine “patent trolls.” When you rightly oppose their attempts to fundamentally transform how we handle intellectual property – you are accused of being on the side of the trial lawyers and their disruptive “patent troll” clients. More

David Bowie Understood the Vital Import of Intellectual Property

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

He Wasn’t Posing –
He Was Thinking

David Bowie passed away on Sunday. To say he was an innovative guy – would be the largest of understatements. He created, imbued and embodied multiple music personas – reinventing himself over and over again. He parlayed his multiplicative rock music success into fashion icon status – and numerous Hollywood and Broadway gigs.

All of which barely touches on his inventive approach to the business of being David Bowie. He was an avant-garde entrepreneur – who saw around the curve of the Earth just a little bit further than most people. He created out of whole cloth ways to make being David Bowie even more highly lucrative – and allow others to share in the earnings. And he intuitively understood how technological advances would help – and hurt – the business model of music and all things intellectual property.

Did you want to invest in…all things David Bowie music? Bowie made that not only possible – but profitable. And in the process lock-down-protected his music rights. More

Just Because It’s Easier to Steal – Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Stealing

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

The Face That
Launched a Billion Thieves

Back when I was a musician – writing songs rather than things like this – I was just about the only one I knew who wasn’t stealing music via the heist website Napster. And I lived in Austin, Texas – the “Live Music Capital of the World.” I knew a LOT of musicians.

Napster was “originally founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service that emphasized sharing audio files, typically music, encoded in MP3 format. The original company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement….”

Translation: People downloaded music – for which they never paid. Hence the “legal difficulties over copyright infringement.” Napster was a monster music shopping mall – without the shopping.

The arguments in defense of this theft were (and remain) patently (no pun intended) absurd. Some of the absurdest: More

Why Are So Many on the Right Helping the Left Undermine Our Patent System?

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Woefully Off the Mark

It is disappointing to see so many people who usually reside on the Right – go screaming Leftward on an issue so fundamental to all-things-free-market as private property protection. In this particular case – patent protection.

All sorts of things that in every other instance the Right loves to excoriate and ridicule – these Converts-to-the-Left must ignore or accept as a part of their effort to undermine the patent system. Do these Converts mean to undermine the system? I doubt it. But we do know that’s what the Left wants to do (Hello, Google) – and these Converts are helping them do it.

One of the things these Converts have to ignore is something that is ordinarily their bread-and-butter: government incompetence. Lots and lots of government incompetence. Congress is rife with it – but these Converts suddenly have in it profound confidence. To with exquisite precision delineate between patent lawsuits they deem worthy and patent lawsuits they deem unworthy.

Which in the absolute best of circumstances – is nigh impossible. Because legislation and law don’t work that way. If a law makes something difficult for someone – it makes it difficult for EVERYONE. Yet somehow this time we’re going to write legislation that can so pristinely discriminate? Our Congress? Threading that stack of needles? I don’t think so – and I don’t know how anyone on the Right could. More

Government Choosing Businesses for Preference or Punishment is Always Wrong

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Only for Turkeys

President Barack Obama has dramatically ramped up the Washington, D.C., giant Crony-fest. Where economic sectors and companies Obama and his Democrats like get the gold mine – and the rest of us get the shaft. For instance, there was $80 billion for “green energy” in the awful 2009 “Stimulus” bill – 80% of that coin went to Obama donors.

And since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) emanates from this president and this vile -ville – much of it is a Crony nightmare mess. With all sorts of special treatment – good and ill – for all sorts of trade items. To wit:

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is continuing his efforts to oppose a potential tobacco carve out in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, sending a letter yesterday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in which Tillis makes clear that any agricultural carve out would directly threaten the ratification of the trade pact. 

In recent days, Tillis has been meeting with his Senate colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, to share his concerns that a tobacco carve out would violate provisions contained in the trade promotional authority Congress granted to the President and would risk opening the door to choosing more “winners and losers” in future trade agreements. 

“…In my conversations with other Senators who would otherwise be inclined to support the TPP, I have emphasized the dangerous, precedent setting nature of a carve out and the fact that inclusion of such a term would run counter to the explicit instructions set forth in the TPA,” Senator Tillis wrote to Ambassador Froman.

“A number of my colleagues share my view that the TPP can be a net positive in the long run. I am confident, however, that the path toward ratification will be significantly endangered if the administration or one of our trading partners impose their biases by targeting specific industries for exclusion.” More