“Google Inc has agreed to pay 5 million to settle a US government investigation into the Internet search leader’s distribution of online ads for Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to American consumers,” it reads.
Click through the TradeTang ads leads to sales carts for a host of fake American guitars including Gibson and Paul Reed Smiths.
DD has observed that many of the ads for these counterfeit goods are distributed through Google’s AdSense/AdWords/AdChoices services.
Another inescapable character in the pantheon of GOP/Tea Party extremism is the lightbulb nut.
Michele Bachmann, Ted Nugent, etc.
Today, NBC distributes a story straight on a hoarder of incandescent lightbulbs.
To show us how apparently lots of people believe you might be able to sell them on eBay for big bucks as a scarce commodity in the near future. And because it’s a fight against modernity creeping unconstitutional state totalitarianism.
“These edicts always come from the government. It’s an attack on civilization. It’s a condemnation on our standard of living.”
DeCoster has collected hundreds of bulbs in her basement, not only because she hates the alternative, but also because she considers it her “social obligation.” Hoarding bulbs is her form of peaceful rebellion against what she sees as an unconstitutional measure forcing Americans to change the way they have lived for decades.
[Actually, 14 million unemployed and 48 million on foodstamps is a change in the way people have "lived for decades" but, what the hey!]
Light bulbs have even become a 2012 campaign issue. GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has repeatedly spoken out against the new standards on campaign stops and supported a failed last-minute effort in the House to repeal the mandate for the more-efficient bulbs.
“I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the light bulb …”
“This is how liberty dies,” reads one quote, attributed to Rush Limbaugh.
Barack Obama and, probably, lots of people think presidential debates are good.
“How so?” DD asks.
When the people you debate don’t respond to logic, facts or reason, how can one win even a semi-intellectual contest with them? You’d have better luck arguing with a wooden table.
Toman is a local Tea Party man running for a position on the Bethlehem Public School District board. Over the last couple of years published material on the blog has made it clear he despises public education.
His extremist views make him unfit for any elected office in a modern democracy.
In the last week he has mused about how the United States ought to be a theocracy.
I believe separation of Church and State with its doctrine will be placed on center stage in 2012 with the Christians again showing their ignorance of scripture and the Biblical teachings. They will be supporting some Heathen claiming to be a Christian; all the while the so call Christian Voter ignores the Constitution and the essences of Romans 13:1-6 and what the civil magistrate should be doing.
The understanding of the Bible and God’s law is imperative if we are to know how to separate church and state, and knowing the true meaning of what a theocracy is. Neither the church nor the state can take away conscience or man’s right to property as given to him by God. All spheres of life are under God and owe their boundaries, as fixed, by Him and His sovereignty; this then becomes a true theocracy under Godly men …
As we drift away from God and His law we see 70 years later, the devastation done to the social fabric, the people and their freedom.
It remains for us to rightly divide the Word if there is going to be a correction and that correction will only come if God has mercy on us if we understand salvation is through Jesus Christ, and not the State …
It’s incomprehensible that any concerned parent (who is not a fundamentalist religious extremist) would vote onto a school board anyone who held such views.
However, toxic extremists get elected when the local news media refuses to do its job.
GOP Presidential hopeful from Michigan, Thaddeus McCotter, continues his under-appreciated guitar-slinging meet-the-people tour at the New Hampshire Young Republican Lobster Bake and Straw Poll last weekend. There can be no doubt the man’s dedicated.
McCotter also extends the tradition of GOP men fond of milchtoasty interpretations of classic rock tunes.
The Young Republicans of New Hampshire could do with a little less melted butter on those lobsters. Whoa, boys and girls!
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired a prominent Washington criminal law attorney to defend him against any charges resulting from government investigations into the financial crisis.
Blankfein, one of the most prominent and successful figures on Wall Street, retained Reid Weingarten, an attorney known for representing clients in high-profile cases of alleged corporate wrongdoing …
The decision to bring on a top legal name such as Weingarten suggests how seriously Blankfein is taking the investigation and that there could be a new push to investigate the firm and its executives on criminal grounds.
“He’s got an incredible amount to lose, and there’s a lot of anger out there,” said Philip Hilder, a criminal-defense attorney in Houston …
In case you’re late in on this series, the banner ad above the opinion piece is for a Chinese internet trading site selling counterfeit American electric guitars. The opinion is a Congressional politician’s complaint about Chinese counterfeiting.
The guitars are sold out of Beijing with many of the ads spun out on Google’s AdWords/AdSense business.
Clicking through the WaTimes ad takes you to a page selling fake Paul Reed Smith guitars. Paul Reed Smith’s are made in Maryland and are the very high end of domestic electric guitar manufacturing.
When DD blog first noticed the made-in-China counterfeiting business, its ads were on the Washington Post and pointed to sales for faked Gibson guitars. I notified Gibson and the Post and the ad was changed to specifically advertise “Made in China.” And the Post ad also switched clickthrough to fakes of the product of the much smaller company, Paul Reed Smith, the company victimized today.
If there ever was a time to get serious with China, now is the time. The recent news of fake Apple and Ikea stores is almost too absurd to be true. But in China, the rules don’t apply. Brand name and innovation mean zip. Intellectual property is free game. Anything is up for grabs, and if I were a betting man, I’d bet that the government is getting a nice cut out of it all. But that’s communism, right? It’s a system in which your ideas are my ideas, your success is my success …
I also met Jim D’Addario, CEO of D’Addario Guitar Strings, an instrument strings manufacturer based in New York. This business, family-owned since the 1600s, has spent millions to stop the manufacture of counterfeit guitar strings in China. Mr. D’Addario has watched several coordinated raids on manufacturing facilities in China that exist solely to make counterfeit copies of D’Addario, Fender, Martin and other American companies’ guitar strings. On a website, it’s hard to tell the difference between a counterfeit and a legitimate D’Addario guitar-string set. As with the Chi flatirons, the packaging looks identical, but the fake package of guitar strings contains a hologram sticker – just to trick you – and the product inside is horrendous. It is that unbelievable.
“So what do we do?” asks the politician, “Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, was a prosecutor and judge in Houston [and] serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.”
Nothing. “Get tough on China.”
American businesses, including guitar manufacturers, downsized and outsourced their manufacturing to Asian labor, effectively turning their US facilities into artisan custom shops for the plutocracy. In this bargain, repeated all across US non-military domestic production, the American companies gave up intellectual property and trained the Chinese to make their goods for the sake of the short term bottom line.
The Chinese are not better workers for the modern and future world economy and they do not have schools where people were trained to make electric guitars. This, lack of training and education, being the argument/excuse/insult so often used to explain why Americans are laid off and obsolete.
The problem is bilateral in its perfidy. China’s leaders are afraid of mass unemployment. They must keep people working and the way to do that is to sell all dry goods to the US middle and lower class. And US corporations have no interest in American labor because, being more expensive, it impinges on profits to the shareholders. They’re content with the US government ignoring mass unemployment.
So now it is only logical that some Chinese, maybe many, would see no point in maintaining licensing agreements with American multi-nationals once they were capable of copying the goods, or making cosmetically adequate facsimiles, on their own.
Comments left on the Chinese sales site, and many YouTube vidoes, show young American men who have no problem buying fakes of US premium goods. Since middle class wages have been destroyed this is a logical development, too.
And American companies, individually and collectively, whether they have engaged in short-sighted predatory behavior or forced into it by the competition, do not have the resources needed to combat the problems brought upon us by the great trade imbalance.
This post has been updated for clarity.
Google is not your friend
Google is responsible for distributing many, if not all, the ads mentioned in this series. In so doing it makes easy money from the benefit of selling counterfeit American products. But there is little any individual company can do by itself to rectify the matter. Google is so powerful it can simply ignore you.
Google Inc, which has agreed to pay $500 million for accepting ads from Canadian pharmacies to sell in the United States, said in a statement that it should not have allowed the ads in the first place.
The U.S. Justice Department, which announced the settlement on Wednesday said that it represented all of Google’s revenues from Canadian pharmacy advertisements and was one of the largest ever in the United States.
Google said in a brief comment that it had banned advertising of prescription drugs in the United States. The announcement was made in a February 2010 blog post.
“However, it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place,” the statement said.
At the end of 2010 I made my list of the greatest threats to US national security for the coming year. They were all internal and the list is here.
The GOP was last but not least on it:
The Republican Party is a threat to security. And not solely because of its descent into right-wing extremism or its desire to torpedo a nuclear arms reduction treaty because it despises the president.
As the party that denies science, one that will put people in committee chairmanships overseeing science and technology issues in the House who are … opposed to science whenever it contradicts their political views, the GOP poses a threat to America’s future.
You can’t have a forward-looking and capable nation with people in power who truly believe global warming and evolution are hoaxes.
Today we have GOP Presidential hopefuls who proudly squawk their disbelief, even antipathy, towards science.
They don’t believe in global warming. They don’t believe in evolution. They don’t believe in science that studies pollution or the trouble with having dirty air and water because they believe regulating water and air so they’re safe are impediments to amassing great wealth.
You cannot shame or ridicule them on the subject. They’re impervious to facts and reasoned argument.
And Rick Perry, like Michele Bachmann, and the rest in a group that gets higher numbers than the non-existent John Huntsman, are psychopaths. Huntsman apparently refuses to act like a psychopath and is punished for it in the popularity contest.
Psychopaths are defined by their lack of empathy, continual lying, irresponsibility, poor behavior, gigantic egos and mercilessness.
And to win support from the Tea Party wing for the nomination, the GOP representatives must exhibit all these traits.
Even if, deep down inside, one of them actually believes throwing off all scientific thought because it’s all either hoaxes or socialist elite plotting is a bad idea, the front-runners would never admit it.
Many consider this a joke, a source for laughs. And I suppose it is if your belief is such people could never be elected president.
But they could. And here’s how it could happen.
It’s not unreasonable to think that Barack Obama will either choose to do nothing that matters on unemployment and the economy or will be stymied by the GOP.
And enraged by bad conditions, just enough of the voting public will act out of either stupidity or spite in a desire to strike back in the voting booth, that a GOP psychopath who doesn’t believe in science will get elected to the most powerful country in the world.
How could that be so bad? We elected George W. Bush and the country survived.
Well, it really didn’t if you look close. The place is wrecked. The government is paralytic, purposely so.
It is the desire of half of the Congress to smash any government action.
In the last couple months this blog has dealt, off and on, with the “cyberwar” word.
And one of the bits the fearmongers of “cyberwar” have glommed onto to is the meme that the financial system could be destroyed through cyberattack.
Well, the GOP threatened to make the nation default, the President gave them what they wanted, and a credit rating agency issued an opinion squarely blaming the Republican Party.
The stock market went volatile and in this financial system thousands have lost money, all as a result of a combination of obeisance to GOP psychopaths and a disintegrating world economy that needs to look to the US for some measure of stability.
The serious security threats from this country are not exterior. They’re all internal. The GOP has made itself over into one of them.
Paradoxically, Wall Street and the wealthy — always marked as the theoretical targets in discussions of cyberwar — went out of their way to guarantee the Tea Party would take control in 2008, so displeased were they with the alleged socialist in the White House.
And they’ve been damaged by their real world choices.
You put psychopaths in power, people who don’t believe in anything outside what is passed around their own warped cult, and you have the very strong although minority party in the US.
One wonders what the long view thinkers in the Pentagon make of it? Do they have any real long view thinkers?
Certainly no one in the parked in the public defense think tanks ever discusses the issue of a major political party morphing into a security threat.
What is the point of a mighty war machine when everything has been destroyed at home, when their is no belief in science or even logic, because it clashes with internal beliefs?
What do the Pentagon men do?
Just keep polishing and admiring their squadrons of flying robot drones?
Asim Kauser, 25, of Bardon Close, Bolton, is charged with four offences under the Terrorism Act relating to material found on a computer pen drive.
He is accused of having details likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
The judge remanded him in custody until a trial. The date is yet to be fixed.
Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said the case should be heard in Manchester.
Mr Kauser is alleged to have committed the offences between January 2009 and June 2011.
One of the charges relates to having “various instructions in how to make an improvised explosive device”.
Another relates to a recipe for the poison ricin.
If you’re a young man or woman in Britain with dark skin and a “Muslim” name you can’t have this stuff. It’s a trip to jail if you’re caught, even if you’re only curious because you heard so much on them.
Flatten the area of Tripoli where it is believed he is holed up with a human shield surrounding him. Kill all those people and get it over with. Implement total war for a week, and cockroach Gadhafi will be entombed in a pile of rubble …
As of right now, no one knows what will be the result of the Mideast rebellions. No one knows – or is telling us – if Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the scenes bankrolling or fanning the flames of the Mideast rebellions to re-establish the Islamic caliphate …
The Obama administration is backing all of the Mideast rebellions. From Egypt to Libya, there’s not a word of caution from the Obama administration about these rebellions; not a word of caution about what the new political environment will be if the rebellions succeed. The president’s radical America-hating chums obviously continue to influence their community organizer.
Obama administration types are not just throwing caution to the wind by backing these rebellions. They are throwing the world into a potential hotbed of life-threatening extremism …
It would be wise to be very cautious and suspicious of the rebellions in the Mideast. Too many violent rebellions in that part of the world have led to brutal regimes who maintain power through genocide, societal destruction …
Wrong about everything. And stupidly so.
Worth reprinting because the GOP is the party of Ted Nugent. And it’s silent today, unable to react to Libyan news because it means the president’s policy, despite how much it hates the guy, didn’t hurt the situation.
The GOP hated the Libyan conflict because it was its leaders didn’t start and had no power over. And while it loves war in the Middle East, it’s internal logic and hatred of the president prevented it from having any view of events which made sense.
Interesting story from the Wall Street Journal, on the use of military hardware to hunt wild pigs in Texas.
It’s a Ted Nugent thing and illustrates the way the country has sorted itself, irrevocably. Pasadena isn’t anything like the places described in the piece. It might as well be another planet with alien locals and customs with which you’ve no desire to mix. The feeling’s mutual, I presume.
The men advanced in the sweltering, pitch-black night, scanning the landscape with night-vision goggles and armed with semiautomatic rifles fitted with silencers …
The prey in this high-tech hunt: feral pigs in pastures near Madisonville, Texas. Hunters Chuck Coiner and Frank Hahnel, clients of guide service Tactical Hog Control LLC, killed five wild porkers that June night, including a 30-pounder that took five bullets to finish off …
Tactical Hog Control, started in 2009 by Texas ranchers Clark Osborne and Mr. Dreher, is among a handful of next-generation outfitters across the South offering a new style of hog hunting designed to appeal to hunters’ inner commando. Each client on a nocturnal hunt with the two men suits up with roughly $40,000 of military-grade gear, including semiautomatic rifles like the DPMS AR-10 …
“I believe every man in the U.S. has a tactical gene,” said Rod Pinkston, an Army veteran and former Olympic sharp-shooting coach whose Jager Pro guide service conducts high-tech hog hunts in western Georgia. “They’ve always wanted to be a soldier, a SWAT team member. We’re the closest thing to combat that these guys are ever going to experience.”
Well, now, here’s the thing. All these guys, the salesmen and the hog hunters, could join the army. It’s not like opportunities to go overseas and get involved in the real thing are scare and limited only to a select cadre of Nick Furies.
This is Ted Nugent land, too, as the Journal piece makes abundantly clear.
Nugent runs feral hog hunts in Michigan for profit. And when that state moved to outlaw ownership of such hogs, which are deemed an invasive species, Nugent went to the governor to complain.
The ban on hog ownership hits him in the bank account.
The paradox, which Nugent has tried to obscure, is that some of the private hunts, those which keep the hogs on property, have contributed to the problem of hog control in the wild … which, in turn, has led to even more people offering wild boar hunts on their ranches. And to state laws calling for the eradication of the animals.
It’s the definition of a conflict of interest.
And it is here where the Michigan law banning ownership of hogs has struck at one of the planks of Nugent’s hunting business in the state.
Near the end of the WSJ piece:
Messrs. Osborne and Dreher have shot hogs on their East Texas ranches for two decades. Not until 2009 did they start enticing would-be Rambos. Their Tactical Hog Control offers hunters a six-hour hunt, beginning at dusk, for $500.