Category Archives: Business

UPDATED: Boycott Bean-Burning Big Brother STARBUCKS (Corey DuBratha)

Business, Free Markets, Race, Racism

Unless you like your java beans burned, Starbucks makes crap coffee. You don’t burn your food; why would you burn the building blocks of a wonderful beverage?

Now there’s another reason to hate STARBUCKS: The company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, and his moronic minions—among them Corey duBrowa, the company’s Senior Vice President of Global Communications—suffer the kind of hubris that has allowed them to instruct their baristas (mere babes, no doubt) to lecture YOU the customer about race.

Corey duBrowa has since deleted his twitter account because, boy! did people talk to him about race. Using #RaceTogether, they gave duBrowa hell.

Patronizing. Condescending. Inappropriate. Unprofessional. Harassment.

Show bean-burning Big Brother STARBUCKS who is the boss in the only authentic democracy: the free market. Deny these busybodies your democratic vote. Put Starbucks in its place. Remind them of their role in your life.

STARBUCKS is supposed to please you, not preach to you.

The wonder of the market is that you have alternatives; there’s the competition. This corporate brain child is not legislation. It can and will be repealed.

May I suggest that you vote (with your dollar) for Tully’s. Unlike Starbucks, this coffee maker has mastered the art of roasting, not incinerating, its coffee beans. Tully’s coffee is rich, strong and sweet, just the way coffee is meant to be.

UPDATE: CEO Schultz’s minion, Corey DuBrowa, should change his name to Corey DuBratha, written in Ebonics, of course.


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Blessed Are The Burgerflippers

Business, Capitalism, Economy, Labor

By Myron Robert Pauli

So I see that Portland OR has raised the minimum wage to $15/hour and the rest of the state may soon follow.

Years back, I did some minimum wage work at a chemical-spectroscopy lab in New York – not particularly lucrative or enjoyable but it paid money. The company mostly hired college graduates from the Philippines (probably with some H-1 visa) because they were cheap. Not surprisingly, companies pay workers at little as they can get away with. Workers, in turn, are right to grumble and are free to seek out higher paying work (or at least better conditions – that lab was rather unsafe). Most people do not work for some great satisfaction – most jobs range from somewhat stinky to complete stinky. Who the hell wants to pick crops in the hot summer or climb up cleaning gutters in winter? Workers primarily work for one primary motivation – money.

The $15 minimum wage will be a boon to developers of automated burger-flippers. Not only do they not get the $15, the robots don’t need Social Security, W-2 forms, OSHA inspectors, Obomney-Rombama care, paid vacations, sick leave, and those other things that raise “overheads.”

Anyone who has studied the history of labor in the 19th or 20th Century should be aware of the Luddites who went around smashing machinery. I would not be surprised if some restaurants not only take reservations online but orders as well – press the steak icon and it will ask rare through well-done. This should not be too hard to code and people can pick up their orders cafeteria style. Or a robot can probably deliver the gourmet food to the table. The chef can be well paid, but who goes to the restaurant for the waitresses (excepting, perhaps, Hooters)? Four star pre-ordered robot delivered gourmet meals with profits shared between consumer and restauranteur.

However, let me put on my Samuel Gompers hat when it comes to the anti-worker rant of Jennifer Harris. First of all, workers have every right to be greedy and should be free to strike (but not destroy property or resort to violence) – with the flip side that the employer can find replacements. If I choose to “refuse” to be locker-room attendant for the Russian Women’s Volleyball Team for less than $1500 an hour, perhaps the team owner can find someone who will work for less pay!

The second point of Harris’ rant is how the troops are “getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt?” The first part about being shot in hostile environments is perfectly true. As to the second part: How are these “troops” protecting the butt of anyone, skilled or unskilled, other than the military brass and politicians who sent them in to be 21st Century IED-fodder? I know what benefits I get from the grocery clerk and the restaurant waiter and the guy who cleans my gutters. (Or from Edward Snowden.) Does the average American get protected when some troops “engage” Sunnis who are shooting at Shiites or Shiites who are shooting at Sunnis? Harris makes fun of “Sally McBurgerflipper” and “Johnny Fry-Boy,” but they enable Mom to save a day of cooking and let the brats play at the McSlides. What great “service” did anyone get out of Petraeus and that neo-con phony “surge,” other than some titillation concerning lover Paula Broadwell? Yet, “conservatives” deify Petraeus and sneer at the gardener.

In that sense, I can neither endorse the leftist desire to ignore the realities of labor markets, nor these rightists who extol senseless, pointless, endless killing over honest backbreaking work. Maybe the poor schlub mowing your lawn will motivate his kids to get a real education (not modern “liberal arts”), and that kid might invent a new “smart lawnmower.” Anyway, the poor shlub is doing honest work.

Blessed are the Burgerflippers – may they profit both themselves, their employers, and their customers for they are the Children of Peace.

******
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


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Evocative Ad That Wouldn’t Wash At The ‘Toilet Bowl’ Halftime

Aesthetics, Art, Business, Film, Music, Technology

It’s a beautiful and evocative ad, which explains why you didn’t see it during the ‘Toilet Bowl’ halftime.

Music makes an event, an ad, a movie, even a marriage. Who among us oldies can forget the sound track to the French film “A Man And A Woman,” directed by Claude Lelouch? Not me. This dates me—both as an oldie and an incorrigible romantic.

The fact that I identified the voice and song of Edith Piaf in “The Daring: No Regrets,” a new ad for the 2016 Cadillac CT6, dates me too. The text is good, the sound track beautiful—I can’t believe I used to mock Edith Paif’s overly emotional delivery. I guess it takes decades of Beyonces, Jay-Zs, Madonnas, Iggy Azaleas, Katy Perrys, and Coldplays; a Nicki Minaj, a Kanye West, and a Missy Elliott to make one appreciate a tune, a voice, instrumental proficiency; chord progression and composition, in general, to say nothing of the emotion music is meant to evoke.

Enjoy the music and the message. Steve Wozniak makes an appearance to drive it home. A shame that the slogan, “Dare Greatly,” comes courtesy of statism by FDR. To be expected, I suppose.

As expected, Cadillac has taken the next step in rebuilding its image by releasing a new ad entitled The Daring: No Regrets. First airing during the 87th annual Osca

BRAVO.


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Inspiration From The Art Of The Amerindians

America, Art, Business, History

A PLEASANT DISTRACTION.I happened on a high-end, all-American business which has been going strong since 1863: Pendleton Woolen Mills. The reason for this happy find was my disdain for the ugly, fussy things called duvet cover sets. Offered up across department stores to cover bedding, the fabrics are horrid, the whole production fluffy, fussy and feminine—with cushions and other ugly accoutrements that spell nonstop work. In Israel, I used bedspreads in striking patterns, made locally in the Druze villages.

And this is precisely what Pendleton Woolen Mills specializes in: The family produces Indian blankets and has introduced,

new designs, colors, and patterns to their product line. They also changed the construction of the mill’s Indian blankets. Prior to 1909 the blankets had round corners. The Bishop blankets featured square corners. Pendleton round corner blankets are highly coveted by vintage Indian blanket collectors. The company expanded their trade from the local Indians to the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest. They also copied the multicolor pattern found on Hudson’s Bay point blankets for their Glacier National Park line of historic blankets. The Pendleton blankets were not only basic wearing apparel, but were standards of trading and ceremonial use.

(Wikipedia)

Woven in an eastern Oregon mill, the blankets make for stunning bedspreads. It has been a while since I felt the thick, rough, yet unscratchy texture of pure wool; saw the label “Made in the USA,” and not China. Needless to say the blankets—art really—do not stink of chemicals impregnated in fabric made in China.

The online images of these Amerindian-inspired blankets do not do them justice.

Micmac Quill Basket Blanket:

Navajo Newspaper Rock Blanket:

Eagle Saddle Blanket:

MORE.


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Who You Gonna Call? Oath Keepers

Business, Free Markets, GUNS, Judaism & Jews, Private Property

If there’s something strange
in Ferguson
Who you gonna call?
Oath Keepers!
adapted from Ghostbusters

Sam Andrews, “Yale-educated attorney and former army paratrooper,” is the heroic founder of “The Oath Keepers,” which “claims to have active chapters in all 50 states, as well as an estimated 40,000 members – which,” according to Yahoo News, “would make it one of the fastest growing far-right organizations in the world.”

Sam and his merry men rescued damsel-in-distress Natalie DuBose, proprietor of “Natalie’s Cakes and More,” which “was broken into and looted” in Ferguson.

“I didn’t have the extra savings or extra money to replace everything that was destroyed,” she told ABC News following the vandalism. “The threat of not being able to take care of your children makes you feel like less than a human being.”
DuBose’s story caught Andrews’ attention. He was watching the news at home 40 miles away.
“I can’t even imagine a governor that would leave a woman like this and her business to burn, like they did,” Andrews said. “But I value this woman as much as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Dressed in full camouflage and armed with an assault rifle and handgun – [Sam] climbs to the roof of a dentist’s office to begin his nightly surveillance. … the Oath Keepers …is … taking up armed positions on the streets and rooftops with the intent of protecting local businesses.”

He says he’s here to defend “the best part of America, the creative part, the small businesses, the hardest working people in the United States of America. To defend them from arson.”

Oath Keeper Sam Andrews sounds right, not far right, as Yahoo “News” would have it.

… What separates the Oath Keepers from other militia groups is that they recruit men and women of the military and law enforcement – vowing to disobey “unconstitutional orders” from what the group sees as an increasingly tyrannical president and government.

But what do you know? More often than not, the police is not on the side of private-property owners and their protectors.

St. Louis County Police declined an interview with ABC News, but confirmed that it is investigating whether the Oath Keepers are breaking the law by providing security without a license.

This must lead one to a sneaky suspicion that with government controlled law-enforcement, serving and protecting private property is secondary to monopolizing the production of defense.

St. Louis County Police has an illiberal partner in who else but the “Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism.” It “called the Oath keepers an ‘extremist, anti-government group.’”

What’s new?!

“Everything that they say [they] stand for is based on this notion that the world and the government is going to become a dictatorship to try to prevent Americans from having their freedoms,” said director Oren Segal.

Blah, blah, blah.


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EU Government Is A Monopoly, Not Google

Business, Capitalism, Economy, EU, Europe

The economic sluggards of Europe don’t much like competition; it’s too much like hard work. Competition means that a business has to please the only real boss: a picky customer with many options. Google has raised the ire of the European competition and its proxy, the European Parliament, which “overwhelmingly backed a motion urging antitrust regulators to break up Google.”

“Google’s dominance,” writes Jörg Brunsmann for DW, “didn’t arise from the company employing unfair measures to push its competitors out of the market. It’s become a market leader because of its innovation.”

Put more precisely: Google has arrived at its market share by pleasing search-engine users.

I was part of a worthy group of Austrian economists who published “The Microsoft Corporation In Collision With Antitrust Law,” in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies (Winter 2001, Vol. 26, No. 1.). In section (4) for which I was responsible (“Economic Freedom, Monopoly and the Government,”), I wrote:

Antitrust legislation considers a large market share or a concentration in the market to signify both monopoly and predatory practices on the part of a company. As such, the antitrust chimera is based on discredited theories about competition. Relying as it does on a model of ideal or perfect rather than rivalrous competition, the legislation aims at a market neatly carved among competitors (32).

The principle applies to Google.

In Austrian economics, moreover, a large market share does not a monopoly make. “The only true monopolies are government monopolies. A company is a monopoly only when it can forcibly prohibit competitors from entering the market, a feat only ever made possible by state edict. In a truly free market, competition makes monopoly impossible.” (From “Media Concentration Is Not A Threat to Free Expression, Government Is.”)


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