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Marion, Indiana and Mitt Romney front and center again with this new ad:
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Marion is a microcosm for exactly what's wrong with this country. NAFTA gutted the entire town.
Formerly, the biggest employers were General Motors and RCA (Thomson Consumer Electronics), and both places paid a good middle clas wage for their manufacturing jobs and made cars and television sets in Marion. (Thomson also had a factory in Bloomington, Indiana).
When NAFTA got shoved down our throats with, like everything that has really screwed over the American middle class working families, it was with "broad bipartisan support".
Whenever you hear the phrase "broad bipartisan support", be very afraid. Something like NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, the DMCA, or SOPA is coming...
Now that NAFTA has passed, Thomson Consumer Electronics alone has fired over 12,000 people in Indiana (about half in Marion, and half in Bloomington), and exists only to license "brand names" (which, for the more intelligent among us, means nothing all by itself) and so-called "intellectual property" (see Doctor Richard Stallman's essay about why you should not use the term "intellectual property"; - https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html -).
Thomson's main business in the United States now is paying groups of lawyers to disassemble products made by other companies (such as ipads, iphones, Android tablets and cell phones, etc.) to see if they can sue that company and extract money for "patent violations".
The term for a company that does this is "patent troll".
They are no good for our economy, and I would say we'd be better off if companies like Thomson went ahead and went out of business completely, if not for the fact that someone else would just buy all their patents at fire sale prices and continue suing innovative companies with them.
"Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria." —Richard Stallman
As for Government Motors, well, we all know what happened with them. They make most of their cars out of Mexican parts in Canada, and the American taxpayer got to pay to bail them out and save all those Mexican and Canadian jobs.
Marion, Indiana is now just a horror story. That DAMNED IDIOT Wayne Seybold (Is he still running for Congress? God help us!) has turned Marion into what George Carlin described as follows. I've commented out the swearing.
"Only a nation of unenlightened half-wits could have taken this beautiful place and turned it into what it is today — a shopping mall.
A big #$%@ing shopping mall! You know that? That's all you've got. That's all you've got here folks. Mile after mile of mall after mall. Many, many malls.
Major malls and mini malls. They put the mini malls in between the major malls. And in between the mini malls they put the mini marts. And in between the mini marts you've got car lots, gas stations, muffle shops, laundromats, cheap hotels, fast food joints, strip clubs and dirty bookstores.
America, the beautiful. One big transcontinental commercial cesspool. And how do the people feel about all this? How do the people feel about living in a coast to coast shopping mall? Well, they think it's just #$%^ing dandy!"
If Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney get to pass the euphemistically titled "Path to Prosperity" (also known as the Paul Ryan budget), it will shut down Social Security, Medicare, and food stamps to make new funding for more Cold War-era weapons systems (including more tanks and fighter planes the Pentagon doesn't even want*), and if you thought Marion, Indiana was bad before, YOU JUST WAIT until the Republicans are in charge of this country.
The bottom will finish falling out of many thousands of cities across the country so they can give your retirement money to their criminal friends on Wall Street and to the arms dealers.
To four more years of Obama? (*sigh*)
In the 1970s, we had a name for politicians with policies like Obama's, they were called Republicans. That wasn't bad enough.
Now we have a description of modern Republicans. Insane, stupid, and/or TOTALLY corrupt.
July 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Oh, one more thing, Thomson owns most of the "MP3 Patent Pool" in the United States and sneaks in its patent fees into every device you buy that can play MP3s, every video game or software title that uses MP3s, and every MP3 file you buy at an MP3 store.
The prices they sneak in are as follows:
An extra 75 cents for every player sold (software).
An extra $1.25 per hardware MP3 player sold. (This includes portable media players, some television sets, and every Blu Ray and DVD player, and many car stereo decks, among other things.)
Computer Games and PC software: $2,500 a title, plus $1.25 per sale for the decoder patent license, plus a minimum license fee "schedule" of $15,000 a year. (This stops if the software in question is no longer getting updates, so it motivates the company to abandon their software or get you on some kind of plan where you pay for it again every year or so.)
MP3 stores like Amazon: 2% of every sale goes to Thomson for MP3 patents. Minimum licensing fees of $2,000 a year.
That's just to give you a good idea of how patents make every product you buy more expensive than it needs to be.
As for what Thomson did to invent MP3? NOTHING. Absolutely Nothing!
And you have to buy a separate license for patents from the troll that calls itself Sisvel.
There's a group of patent license extortion lawyers called the MPEG-LA (Licensing Authority) that handles MPEG-4 codecs like ASP ("divx" video), h.264 (video), and AAC (Audio, iTunes store sells these, the licensing is much worse than for MP3, but since Apple is part of the MPEG-LA troll they get a discount. So does Microsoft.)
This is why I don't have MP3 files, not a single one.
I use Free (as in freedom) and open source, open specification audio and video formats called Ogg Vorbis (audio), FLAC (lossless audio), and VP8 (video).
Google is backing an open standard, patent-free, royalty free, open specification for web video and audio which uses VP8 and Ogg Vorbis, the result is called WebM.
Firefox, Opera, and many other browsers support WebM, and Google has released a plug-in to add support to Internet Explorer 9 and Apple Safari.
We should only support open specifications. There's too many doc(x), xls(x), ppt(x), MP3, and divx/h.264 files on the web as it is. We should reject these and replace them with open standards.
When Microsoft and Apple get together to determine what specifications for data storage are, it only benefits them, and the cost is forcing users to go out and buy Windows or OS X as well as a laundry list of needlessly expensive software like Microsoft Office. (People should use LibreOffice here)
A lot of data is held hostage by closed formats like Microsoft's Office formats and MPEG codecs, including information archived by government agencies who waste your tax dollars on licensing fees. It's unfortunate. We should say something when we see them doing it.
Next time a politician asks you for more tax money, you should tell them to stop wasting the money you already gave them on proprietary software licenses.
July 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM
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