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Half a Worm

When the CEO of Apple, Inc., gave the keynote address last week at a conference in Wuzhen promoting the Chinese government’s style of Internet management, he added a line to what is now a long and dishonorable history of his industry’s engagement with China.

In 2002, Cisco Systems made a pitch (later leaked, to the company’s embarrassment) to Chinese officials in which it listed as a selling point the fact that its routers could be programmed with filtering and logging software to combat “the evil religion Falun Gong.” Though the company disclaimed responsibility, the Great Firewall, that vast engine of censorship and surveillance, arguably bears the Cisco trademark.

Between 2003 and 2005, Yahoo! handed over customer email data enabling the conviction and imprisonment of four dissidents for activities that would not be considered criminal in any free country.

Mark Zuckerberg, whose company remains banned in China while a local Facebook lookalike flourishes, has told President Xi Jinping that he keeps a copy of the President’s collection of speeches, The Governance of China, on his desk—fawning, in other words, with less dignity than one would expect from a 19th century rickshaw puller.

Under Tim Cook, Apple has removed from its online store in China any software that the government tells it to remove. At the end of 2016, the axe thus fell on an app that makes it possible to read the New York Times (in Chinese or English). The Times website had been blocked by the Great Firewall ever since its 2012 revelation about the billions of dollars (that’s billions with a “b”) amassed through uncertain means by the families of senior members of the Chinese Politburo. Notably, however, the removal of the Times App came only days after the paper ran a story exposing the enormous subsidies that Apple’s manufacturing operations were receiving in China.

In late July of this year, at Beijing’s request, Apple pulled from its store hundreds of VPN’s, which are software programs enabling “virtual private networks” with which people in China can penetrate the Great Firewall and access blocked sites. Because the App Store is the only source of approved software for Apple devices, and because Apple will allow a person with a Chinese billing address to place orders only through the Chinese App Store, this move seriously limits the options of people in China who use Apple devices. And in every such incident, the company has declined to state exactly what regulation or law the software fell afoul of, so the injured party has no basis on which to appeal the decision with the government.

It is doubtful, in fact, that legal formalities are observed—“We don’t need no stinkin’ injunctions.” I suspect that to get software pulled from the App Store, nothing more is needed than a phone call from a mid-level official of the state.

Not that Cook has been spineless through all this. Here is a statement from him:

At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation—wherever it emerges.

Oh, wait. He said that in opposition to a state-level initiative in the United States upholding religious freedom (in the bake-me-a-cake imbroglio).

There are three possible interpretations.

One is that, even if Western businessmen uphold a moral code in which freedom (especially of trade and information) ranks high, when they operate abroad they must take the local politico-legal environment as a given. They can comfort or defend themselves with the thought that their engagement will have beneficial effects even if it is marked by moral compromises.

Or, Western businessmen are myopic and amoral. Vladimir Lenin joked that capitalists would sell him the rope with which he would hang them. Since the human rights issues for which tech multinationals have drawn criticism involve selling the Chinese Communist Party the rope with which it hangs someone else—usually a Chinese citizen—the companies’ cooperation should not surprise us.

Or, the leaders of the tech industry are steeped in Progressivism, in whose value system any freedom other than sexual freedom ranks very low. These leaders also—to a greater extent than earlier generations of business titans—see themselves as an elite both qualified and entitled to determine the conditions under which millions will live their lives. They are therefore naturally sympathetic to the CCP, which likewise devalues freedom and conceives of itself as a paternalistic meritocracy.

Many years ago, a wise man told me that when an organization pursues a consistent policy, there are always three reasons for it. The first is the reason that is given as a matter of public relations. The second is the reason invoked in internal discussions. The third is the real reason.

There you have it.

Reader Discussion

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on December 11, 2017 at 09:02:50 am

Ausgezeichnet! ("Excellent" but said in German the adjective becomes onomatopoeia.)
And it's appropriate, too, that a site called "Law and Liberty" should post an article damning America's "crony commie capitalists."

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and their myriad Silicon Valley, multinational corporate ilk are to liberty in the 21st century what Krupp Industries was to peace in the 20th century, except they are more deadly.Theirs is a power far greater than that of the Krupps who, by comparison, fielded only the power to manufacture and sell arms to war-mongers, now a seller's potency as commonplace as the ordinary evildoers who buy it.

But the "crony commie capitalists" wield a near-monopoly power, a power unmatched in history, to create "facts," define "truth,'' disseminate information, "educate" populations, shape law, sway nations and destroy liberty. Orwell's totalitarian Ministries of Truth, Peace, Love and Plenty were founded on the power of Doublethink. America's "crony commie capitalists" have the power to create and sustain Doublethink, and they have shown their willingness to use it.

That these amoral, unprincipled "crony commie capitalists" share many of the utopian goals, embrace key ideological tenets and embrace some of the "progressive" politics and tactics of the amoral, unprincipled Chinese Communist Party and our Democrat Party, that they employ their sui generis technologies so as to empower both of these political parties and that, with their limitless wealth, they fund destructive wars on liberty, Judeo-Christian religion and the values of western culture is more than "a fire bell in the night." It is the smell of a civilization burning.

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timothy
on December 11, 2017 at 14:26:53 pm

"...in whose value system any freedom other than sexual freedom ranks very low."

Funny thing, as I recall Mr Cook was "on the outs" with Apple for poor performance, until one day. lo and behold, he "came out" as gay; talk of his corporate demise soon abated.

Perhaps, if one embraces this peculiar conception of liberty quoted above, one's corporate acumen is thereby increased proportional to the level of commitment to the new value system.

Of course, it evidences nothing about one's willingness to practice corporate / moral hypocrisy.

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gabe
on December 11, 2017 at 15:16:21 pm

Got Old Perverts? "B-b-b-b-but tax cuts for billionaires!" "Neil Gorsuch!" Any suggestion that there is even a penumbra of morality in the modern GOP can only be processed with a pint of tequila.

There is little difference between Putin, Xi, and the modern GOP leadership: They all want to make the world safe for oligarchy. Russia would make Paul Ryan and his owners Charles and David Koch multiorgasmic: lt has a 13% flat tax on income and no social safety net (Ryan has already said that he is coming for Social Security and Medicare), gays are openly persecuted, and business owners can force their religion on their employees.

And of course, the Progs are always the bad guys. Tribalism at its worst.

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Trevor Chase
on December 11, 2017 at 17:11:23 pm

Good Gawd, Dawg, you certainly are a font of the most favored sound bites of *received wisdom*, aren't you.

Yep, a case may be made for the *apparent8 (political) stupidity of some aspects of the proposed changes to the IRS code(s) - BUT to assert that Paul ryan is "owned" but the Koch brothers is downright silly.
And here is the funny thing: Recent news indicates that the Koch brothers are *teaming* up with Silly-Con(men) Valley on several initiatives.

And just Whiskey Tango foxtrot does Neil Gorsuch have to do with anything?

C'mon - make a case on policy prescriptions - not sound bites. As for Xi (China) and Putin (Russia) and the dopes in the GOP, why would you not also include the Dems who appear to be engaged in a race with the Russkies and Chinese to see who can most effectively stamp out free speech, both political and religious.

Ya disappoint me, Dawg. For some reason, I expect more from you than that - but I am an optimist when it comes to human intelligence as I wait for it to prevail.

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gabe
on December 11, 2017 at 17:16:50 pm

Prefatory to complaining about tax breaks for the rich, Trevor asks? whether the Republican Party has "Got Old Perv's?" I know of no relationship between tax breaks and sexual perversion, but perhaps Trevor is aware of a statistical correlation suggesting that bigger tax breaks means more "Old Perv's"

Yet, I would ask in reply: In light of the Lefts' decades-long, ongoing, politically-motivated, self-serving manipulation and deconstruction of self-evident standards of public decency and sexual morality, can anyone nowadays reliably answer the question, "What is sexual perversion?" without provoking an ad hominem attack from members of the Democrat Party? Organized political activist psychiatrists and psychologists (rewriting their ever-changing "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders") and Leftist courts sounding the depths of life's mystery have, for decades, continuously altered and all but destroyed traditional understandings of normal sexual behavior (derived from genetics, biology, psychology, anatomy, law, religion, morality and ethics) so as to facilitate the metastasis of the cancer of political correctness.

Nowadays, society's answer to "What is sexual perversion?" depends pretty much on the Democrat Party's assessment of its prospects of gaining voters. And that is pretty much the standard for that Party's judgement on every other important question of morality, law and science.

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timothy
on December 11, 2017 at 17:55:22 pm

"And that is pretty much the standard for that Party’s judgement on every other important question of morality, law and science."

One may add that it is also the license and justification that the loonies on the left employ for their execrable behavior as evidenced by the following, wherein a donut shop is excoriated for linking with the Salvation Army to provide assistance to a needy family during the Christmas Season - Yep, Dawg, it IS the Christmas Season.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/09/liberals-attack-doughnut-shops-good-deed-what-in-sweet-name-santa-claus-is-wrong-with-them.html

The problem is that we are no longer able, or more precisely for an ever growing segment of the population, or willing to recognize and distinguish the "high" from the "low".

Or as Dawg acknowledges in the Masterpiece essay comments, we simply go along with where society, i.e., the mob, decides to go.

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gabe
on December 11, 2017 at 19:42:03 pm

gabe: "BUT to assert that Paul ryan is “owned” but the Koch brothers is downright silly."

Beast: "GOP Donors To GOP Lawmakers: Yeah. We Will Cut You Off Absent Tax Reform
Members of Congress have warned that the money will dry up if they can’t move their top legislative agenda item. They’re right!"

WaPo: "Graham has been the most frank spokesman for how vital this tax bill is to the future of the Republican Party. Donors (who would benefit from this bill) would just stop giving to the party,"

Globe: "“This is the crux issue,” said Chris Wright, a Koch donor and CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services in Denver. He predicted that Republicans would “pay a heavy price” in the 2018 midterm elections if the effort fails, explaining that donors and activists alike would walk away from the party."

HuffPo: "“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), himself a millionaire, said on Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Thursday that a failure to pass tax reform would fracture the Republican Party and lead to more far-right wing primary challengers. “The financial contributions will stop,” he added.

It isn’t often that politicians admit that their failure to pass legislation will impact their ability to collect money for their campaigns. They usually try to avoid an appearance that campaign contributions are linked to specific legislation."

Blackmail. Plain, simple. and out in the open. Ryan, McConnell, Graham-- all owned, and they are actually admitting it.

Forbes: "GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington"

When you lose Steve Forbes....

And Gorsuch lS the reason for the Got Old Pervs? Party's support of Moron. Zero morality.

Really, Gabe! l thought you were more astute than that.

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Trevor Chase
on December 11, 2017 at 20:27:42 pm

T: " I know of no relationship between tax breaks and sexual perversion"

Morality -- or the shocking lack thereof. R ConMen admitting up front that they are being blackmailed, and don't have the 'nads to do anything about it. The agenda means that they will accept anyone-- including Judge Mohammed Roy Pedophile, who really likes them on the young side-- who will advance it. ZERO MORALlTY.

T: "self-evident standards of public decency and sexual morality,"

Self-evident?!? To whom? OT sexual morality was well-designed for a society whose most pressing concern was in maintaining a stable population in the face of war, famine, disease, and pestilence, and who didn't understand more than the mere rudiments of reproductive biology. Women were mere chattels, betrothed to older men and made into baby factories as soon as possible. The "sin of Onan"? Wasting seed. Sex during menses? Again, wasting seed. Gay sex? Again, wasting seed. And of course, a man could have multiple wives; King Solomon could barely keep count.

Nothing in biblical sexual mores is self-evident, or even makes sense in 2017. Do you at least concede that none of that ancient tribal garbage is "self-evident"?

And what is public decency? Masai women don't wear bras. Muslim women wear chadors. And why shouldn't Xian men cover up their man-boobs?

Nothing about either is "self-evident."

T: "can anyone nowadays reliably answer the question, “What is sexual perversion?”

l would love to have you provide an objective answer. What is intrinsically wrong, for sake of argument, with oral sex? According to studies (this one blew MY mind!), anal sex more reliably produces female orgasms.

And why are women multiorgasmic? Could it be that they were designed to have multiple partners at the same time? And why do alternate forms of sex produce orgasms? Biology is a slim reed on which to base your position.

The legal standard is one of consent. Under Jewish law, sex with a 2-year-old was "no harm, no foul." Horses can't consent, unless your partner is the famous Mr. Ed. :) Kissing without consent is even over the line today -- and you'll remember how Kobe learned that "the first sl*t is the cheapest." :) Why can't we use that one, instead?

T: "And that is pretty much the standard for that Party’s judgement on every other important question of morality, law and science."

Personally, l regard telling others what to do as a violation of my moral code. But you seem to want to be the bedroom police. Why is your morality superior to mine, and on what basis do you rest that opinion?

As far as science is concerned, you are the Luddites. Wouldn't go there, if l were you. Planet is already on fire.

And with respect to law, what is the compelling State interest in banning SSM? You had ~100 courts in which to make your case, and failed spectacularly. As a real originalist, l can say that the Framers' COTUS is far more libertine than you think.

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Trevor Chase
on December 11, 2017 at 20:53:00 pm

gabe: "Yep, Dawg, it IS the Christmas Season."

Christmas was stolen from the Pagans. lt is also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the time of the Saturnalia. l think Ramadan is in the summer, but Hindus have a festival a week.

gabe: "the license and justification that the loonies on the left employ for their execrable behavior"

What makes it "execrable"? Your disapproval?

gabe: "wherein a donut shop is excoriated for linking with the Salvation Army"

....which is notoriously anti-gay. l honestly don't understand why you faux-Christian types hate gays so much. These are your tactics (remember Anita Bryant?), used against you.

Your problem seems to stem from the fact that you think that your own side's sh*t doesn't stink. Lots of bat-guano on both sides of the ball.

gabe: "The problem is that we are no longer able, or more precisely for an ever growing segment of the population, or willing to recognize and distinguish the “high” from the “low”."

With Emperor Gabe as the final arbiter, no doubt.

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Trevor Chase
on December 11, 2017 at 21:19:34 pm

One of my points is the chaotic, rapidly changing state of what is considered sexual perversion. NAMBLA is a good example of this chaotic state of sexual perversion standards brought about by the Left. The ACLU is said to have defended the right of "man-boy love." Roman Polanski would likely support legalizing Man-Girl Love. (Maybe even Perv Roy would do so, although having Gloria Alred as her advocate could be considered res ipsa loquitur on the matter of the accuser's credibility.) The same chaotic eroding process that the Left incited with gay marriage is now underway with respect to the Left's advocacy of "man-boy love," of transgender "right to choose" (haha) public bathrooms, the selective "right" of government-funded sex change surgery and the Left's growing demand for the "right" of sexual self-identification (imposing on all others a legal duty of PC speech using the chosen pronouns.) Indeed, if memory serves me, homosexuality ("Not that there's anything wrong with that.") was widely legally considered to be sexual perversion and medically defined as mental illness as recently as the1970's.

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timothy
on December 12, 2017 at 00:51:11 am

"In 2002, Cisco Systems made a pitch (later leaked, to the company’s embarrassment) to Chinese officials in which it listed as a selling point the fact that its routers could be programmed with filtering and logging software to combat “the evil religion Falun Gong.” Though the company disclaimed responsibility, the Great Firewall, that vast engine of censorship and surveillance, arguably bears the Cisco trademark."

Censorship and surveillance of social media by social media?

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Nancy D.
on December 12, 2017 at 00:55:42 am

Please remove the obscene comments to this post.

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Nancy D.
on December 12, 2017 at 08:28:15 am

To: Mr. Trevor Chase

Your comment provides readers with an example (hotel rooms denied because of race compounded by use of insulting language) that has been condemned and rejected by all Americans "of good will". But what is "good will"?

I understand that, although you accept many "authorities", the bishops of the Catholic Church are not among those accepted authorities.

Even so, and in that context:

From "Gaudium et Spes", a document of the Second Vatican Council:

"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, tells him inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His dignity lies in observing this law, and by it he will be judged. His conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."

Just saying ...

(I am not suggesting that this teaching be imposed on everyone or on anyone. It is a proposition, offered to all, as you and your authorities offer yours. People of good will understand this.

Also: Please read "Is Liberty 'Natural'" posted at this site today: Hans Eicholz

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Latecomer
on December 12, 2017 at 09:41:30 am

Finally,Trevor and Timothy have agreed (on a few things.)
Hallelujah! (Or is the ring of that exclamation too religious for you, Trevor?)

Perhaps, then, I should simply repeat what the late, sweet Steve Irwin always said when he was excited: "Crikey!"

Or I could simply paraphrase MLK Jr. (a sinner aspiring to sainthood, yes; adulterous, yes; an "Old Perv," no; whom we both? admired,) "Agreed at last, agreed at last, thank God Almighty, agreed at last!"

(But "there (I) go again" with that God-stuff:)

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timothy
on December 12, 2017 at 10:03:53 am

Dawg:

You are quite insane, I think.

You assert that which must be proved: " l honestly don’t understand why you faux-Christian types hate gays so much."

MY concern is with the response of those whose demand for tolerance for their behavior MUST BE HEARD, while simultaneously shouting down any who may harbor a different viewpoint and consequently must be labeled as haters, etc.

AND YES, Dear Dawg, there is a "high" and a "low" - sadly, we have now come to a place where we exalt the low and claim moral rectitude in the act.

The execrable behavior is the relentless hounding of fellow citizens who do not share their *advanced* views of human intercourse - or for that matter human - non-human intercourse. I suppose that you will soon be purchasing the latest sexbot - I mean after all, there is no longer any need to preserve "seed" is there? Ha!
Which would you say is the "high" and which is the "low" in the human vs sexbot situation.

My Gawd, you people are obsessed with sex - It is indeed the new sacrament of the left. Whereas, (if i recall) the Catholic church claimed seven sacraments, the left now claims an innumerable number of sexual sacraments - LGGBTAAPPQOS and on and on. And may no one interfere in these Holy celebrations.

I myself have made no claims, no arbiter am I; rather, I ask questions or raise issues of hypocrisy. YOU, Dear Dawg are the one asserting the *privilege* of moral certainty while proclaiming the certitude of unencumbered license.

One wonders, is there any connection between this "license" and the whole phenomenon of "me-too"
I suppose it means that self serving, self important, moral onanists of the Left and the Right may now be free to exercise their ability to "waste seed" on the targets of their amorous intents.

A Pox on all of them!

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gabe
on December 12, 2017 at 10:25:17 am

"Yes, to no one’s surprise, Gloria Allred’s extraordinary incompetence helped complicate one accuser’s story, but the fact remains that now two women have come forward with remarkably similar inscriptions from Roy Moore that appear to date back to their teen years. Other evidence — like court dates, contemporaneous, corroborating witnesses, and widespread knowledge of Moore’s dating habits — bolsters the stories of Moore’s multiple accusers. Simply put, the evidence is so strong that no meaningful number of Republicans would give Moore the benefit of the doubt if he were a Democrat."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454542/roy-moore-election-conservative-case-against-him

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Alana
on December 12, 2017 at 18:14:15 pm

Well, speaking of the Judge Moore silliness, here is something to review, wherein it is revealed that the good Judge "apparently" signed his name in Ms Nelson's yearbook using a black pen for his first name and a blue pen for his last name.

My Gawd, if the man cannot control his megalomania enough to sign his name with only ONE PEN, he is unqualified for election. What did he think this was a bill signing ceremony at the White House? .

https://pjmedia.com/trending/moore-accuser-still-lying-forged-yearbook-signature/

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gabe
on December 13, 2017 at 17:22:14 pm

I recall someone commenting in this link that NAMBLA was not an issue. Well, Hollywood's on board with Man-Boy Love and with NAMBLA, and I say it will not be long before the gay lobby starts to push yet another aspect of its special definition of constitutional liberty:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/12/call-me-by-your-name-adult-teen-love-film-raises-h/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTkRRd1pqWmxZVEpsWWpjeCIsInQiOiJCN1JyNWpIQ3BjQWxkejBwbUloUWFJRXpuTFRhXC9ETUoxTmwxaDcwSzBYQ0R4cFV3UDd0TzNPVzR1WlRXU3o5dTNRRGpKZ2E4cUx0S2JEVGRDa1RqYUsyZWJpYjlndHJVNkt2WlduTHNIaWR3MnFIMVZpSnBVU0lySExVOVFxMk8ifQ%3D%3D

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timothy
on October 11, 2019 at 06:17:09 am

[…] of information. That Apple CEO, Tim Cook, in December of 2017, praised the Chinese government’s internet management practices, is further evidence of how truly hollow our new corporate elites are. But this form of […]

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The Blowback Dividends of Woke Capitalism

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