Archive for April 2016

No Bueno

If Mexico is so great just head south kid.

The Council Has Spoken: April 28, 2016

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Council Submissions: April 27, 2016

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The Council Has Spoken: April 22, 2016

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Council Submissions: April 20, 2016

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The North Carolina Boycott – The HB2 Hypocrites

Update: Hey Bryan Adams, plan on boycotting Egypt now that your agent found it on a map? Egypt Jails 11 Men Accused of Homosexuality.

Here’s a list of companies and individuals boycotting North Carolina. As a libertarian living in the state who supports the LGBT+ community, I really think there are more important issues than who can use which bathroom. But boycotting an American southern state is easy to do, the economic equivalent of liking a Facebook page. It costs firms almost nothing yet gets them attention in the media and improves their branding with the relatively affluent gay community.

Ringo Starr – Every true Beetle fan knows shooting him would have impressed Jody Foster more.

Bryan AdamsNo problem visiting Egypt last month where gay sex can net you 17 years in prison. Adams said he “loves it here,” even after Egyptian customs officials vandalized his guitar. Adams also toured the Middle East in 2010 with dates in Qatar, UAE, and Damascus Syria – all places where homosexuality is illegal.

Deutsche Bank – “Deutsche Bank’s deep-seated belief in the necessity of companies contributing to the societies in which they operate” in the Middle East includes offices throughout the region including Riydah Saudi Arabia, where gay sex is illegal and the second offense will net automatic execution. Oh, and don’t mention the war.

Paypal – Operates offices in Malaysia which has imprisoned an opposition figure numerous times over the past 17 years for sodomy, a crime punishable by whipping and 20 years in prison. But Paypal cancelled plans to open offices in Charlotte NC where gay marriage as well as sodomy is legal.

Bruce Springsteen – In the 1980s I got beaten up by guys who listened to Bruce Springsteen and thought anyone who dared listen to anything not on local album rock station K-SHE 95 was a “f****t.” I thought his music was whiny neo-hippy shit then and I think it’s even more shit now. I can at least be proud that he’s about as popular today with millennials as penicillin resistant gonorrhea.

Michael MooreGolden Corral owners statewide are breathing a sigh of relief.

xHamster – I’m not surprised he’d oppose HB2 given his homoerotic-charged scenes with Oxnard.

Joel McHale – Didn’t he have his own navy back in the 60’s?

General Electric – From the China Post: “We think globally. The way we like to think about the shipbuilding industry is: we power, we propel and we position,” said Mark Hutchinson, president and CEO of GE Greater China. I guess Hutchinson doesn’t think globally about LGTB rights. Unlike North Carolina, gay marriage continues to be illegal in China. The same week HB2 boycotters made news, a high court in China ruled against a gay couple seeking to get married. Gay rights in China are abysmal in general even with a skewed population of men outnumbering women thanks to sex-selective abortion. Would GE pull out of China to protest the Chinese court decision? Nope. Why not? It would be too expensive. Boycotting a state of 10 million is cheap. Boycotting a nation of 1.4 billion is expensive.

Dow Chemical Company – Dow has a single location in Charlotte NC. Like GE Dow has an extensive presence in China. Shouldn’t it sacrifice that presence over China’s abysmal LGBT+ rights record?

Pepsi – The drinks company expanded its presence in Africa by opening a facility in Kenya. Gay sex there is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Hyatt – The hotel chain, partly owned by Obama Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, expanded its operations in several cities in Mexico in 2014. Although gay marriage is recognized in Mexico, gay bashing is still prevalent and rarely investigated by authorities.

Hewlett Packard – The company run into the ground by former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and her successor Mark Hurd, who left after being sued for sexual harassment, has extensive Chinese operations. See GE above.

Choice Hotels International – Who are these guys? They are the owners of a whole stable of hotel chain brands and are based in Maryland. Unlike NC, Maryland does all transgenders to use bathrooms of their choice. But Choice Hotels International hasn’t exported its homegrown anti-discrimination sensibilities abroad, operating hotels the Dominican Republic where same-sex marriage has been illegal since 2010.

Whole Foods – Not sure how these guys are boycotting NC. The store in Winston is open. Maybe by making the attitudes of the staff more rude. It will be a challenge given how high they set the bar before the boycott.

Levis Strauss & Co. – I’m a big Levi’s fan, which is why a quick check of my jeans reveals they were made in Indonesia. Yes, Indonesia – a bastion of tolerance in Southeast Asia. Actually no. Gay marriage and gay porn are both illegal, and gay sex is prohibited for Muslims. While transgenders are permitted to live as the sex they choose, “They must learn to accept their nature,” says Ichwan Syam, a prominent Muslim cleric at the influential Indonesian Ulema Council. “If they are not willing to cure themselves medically and religiously” they have “to accept their fate to be ridiculed and harassed.” That would include President Obama’s transgender nanny.

Boston – The band not the socialist utopia in Massachusetts. A 1970s creator of earworms who weren’t all killed in a small plane crash in Mississippi in 1977. Honestly I thought they were dead until a friend of mine on Facebook who happens to be a happily married gay man posted an article about the band cancelling a gig in the state.

Everyone has a right to come or do business in North Carolina as they see fit. If you want to avoid the state, go right ahead. Just don’t wrap yourself in some sanctimonious tortilla as you do so unless you are prepared to make changes that hurt. For individuals like Springsteen and Adams that would mean skipping the dough from sand-gigs in the Middle East. For large companies like GE, Paypal, and the like that would mean leaving China, a country they just can’t quit.

If this is all it has left, the gay community needs to declare victory and go home or export the fight abroad and change the world. There are gays abroad literally dying for being true to themselves in hell-holes from Tijuana to Riyadh, yet gays here would rather fight about bathrooms in North Carolina. Why? Because it’s easy and something they can do from their Macbooks during HGTV commercials.  As one commentator mentioned after the Supreme Court declared gay marriage the Law of the Land, Gays can’t take yes for an answer. As a long-standing LGTB ally and libertarian, leave my state alone and take your fight elsewhere.

The Council Has Spoken: April 15, 2016

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Council Submissions: April 13, 2016

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A Kurdish Teen

Wonder if her dad would be open to an arranged marriage with my son? He’d get her a better rifle than the Dragunov – like this Barrett.

The Council Has Spoken: April 8, 2016

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Paypal’s Gay Rights Hypocrisy

I live in North Carolina. I support LGBT rights. I also support the rights of a state’s elected representatives to make rules that I don’t necessarily agree with, such as the law mandating usage of public bathrooms based on the gender one was born with. To complete my libertarian perspective I also support private companies holding states to account for the decisions of their elected representatives, such as Paypal’s decision to boycott the state over the new law.

But when a private company does something like that and announces it for public relations purposes, I think it’s also appropriate to take it to task for blatant hypocrisy and showboating. Paypal does business in countries which treat members of the LGTB community far more harshly. Such as Malaysia. The Washington Times notes:

But Malaysia’s Penal Code 187 — which punishes homosexual conduct with whippings and up to 20 years in prison — did not stop PayPal from opening in 2011 a global operations center there that it estimated would employ 500 workers by 2013.

“We chose Malaysia because of its highly skilled, globally competitive and multilingual workforce, in addition to a world-class business environment and technology infrastructure,” John McCabe, senior vice president for global operations, said at the time.

Paypal and such companies like making popular statements because they enhance their brands with their customers at no cost. Just don’t expect jailed or whipped gays to stand in their way of cheap labor and profits.

Personally, I think the LGBT community in the USA has reached the point of diminishing returns in the USA. There are gays being thrown of buildings in the Middle East, or “non-existing” in Iran. There are plenty of LGBT rights to be gained outside of the USA, but fighting for bathroom rights in NC is laughable while millions of homosexuals still face death elsewhere.

Time to Outsource the CEO?

Workers in the industrialized world have been looking over their shoulders ever since the Industrial Revolution. First automation threatened their jobs. Then with the advent of globalization and the rise of free trade cheaper labor abroad either left them unemployed or kept a lid on their wages. More recently lax immigration law enforcement coupled with legal labor dumping through programs like the H-1b and J-1 visa programs have limited wages low paid hotel maids to high paying legal and computer jobs. Decades of this competition in which the American worker or professional feels as if she is running a Red Queen’s Race have fueled the support of anti-establishment, anti-trade candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. These workers and professionals are told that they must constantly upgrade their skills, change careers or uproot and move in order to earn a living, often by academics who are tenured and corporate executives whose jobs are secure against those same pressures.

Trump and Sanders peddle protectionist or tax solutions to decrease the gap between the rich and poor. But what if there was another way besides raising walls and taxes to level the pay gap between the average worker and the average corporate CEO?

What if business executives including CEOs and entire corporate boards felt that same pressure? Is it possible to outsource the corporate board, replacing it with a more effective and cheaper solution? After all, a company doesn’t exist for its workers nor for the benefit of society. A company exists to make money for its shareholders. Shareholders own the company not the CEO or the board of directors, so they work for the shareholders just as a minimum wage employee does. So why shouldn’t corporate officers face the same pressures as rank and file employees?

The Economist notes, “Boards are almost exactly as they were a hundred years ago: a collection of grey eminences who meet for a few days a year to offer their wisdom.”The past 100 years have witnessed assembly lines and mass production, automation, the rise of suburbia and the demise of rural life, free trade regimes, the death of labor unions in private industry and its expansion in the public sector, liberal immigration policies, offshoring, outsourcing, specialization and numerous other changes that have remade the American economy several times over. Yet corporate boards function as they did when most cars were hand built and women couldn’t vote.

Is this what our economy needs? Corporations run by boards packed with cronies like “the former headmistress of (former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s) children’s school and the man who designed his house.” Why shouldn’t the top leadership be subject to the same economic Darwinism of the lower ranks?

In the May 2014 issue of the Stanford Law Review Professors Stephen M. Bainbridge & M. Todd Henderson suggest shareholders replace their corporate boards with “board service providers.” They advocate that  outsourcing the board of a company “will increase board accountability, both from markets and from courts,” improve corporate transparency, boost efficiency and lower the cost of corporate governance. In summary outsourcing the board would deliver the same promised results as offshoring production or outsourcing departments. Bainbridge and Henderson believe that all it would take would be a simple change to state corporate law requiring directors to be “natural persons.”

There are times when companies have truly visionary CEOs. Apple’s Steve Jobs or Microsoft’s Bill Gates come quickly to mind. But most companies don’t have anywhere near that level of talent, and would do well with experienced, efficient and competent leaders who also happened to be paid far less than they were in the past. It’s easy for those of us who have worked in IT for a generation and seen the changes in the field brought by outsourcing and offshoring to support such a change as replacing the board of directors with a board service provider. If we have to look over our shoulders and constantly upgrade our skills just to remain employed at the same salaries, why shouldn’t the decisionmakers at the top?

Council Submissions: April 6, 2016

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The Council Has Spoken: April 1, 2016

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