Tag Archives: They are all a bunch of bastards

Songs of Innocence – The Real Reason Apple Users Should Be Upset | Peter Mehit

bonoapple

As part of the roll out of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, Apple announced that it was adding U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ to every Apple iTunes library automatically as a ‘gift’.  There was an immediate uproar from Appleland that became so raucous that eventually Apple created a page to tell people how to remove the album from their accounts (yes, there’s an app for that), culminating in Bono himself apologizing for the entire fiasco.

The main complaint of the Apple community was that, a) they didn’t want Apple deciding what takes up space on their iTunes account and, b) they hate U2.  There was a lot of counterpoint from Apple / U2 loyalists that thought Apple had done a good thing.  ‘If some gives you a gift, you say thank you.’  The response from the aggrieved was ‘If someone gives me something I don’t want, it’s not a gift.’

To be sure, the bundle fest that was the iPhone 6 launch was intended to be a slick cross marketing event.  A ‘free’ gift, it was not.  U2 were well compensated for the release rights of the album.  In addition, everyone that isn’t an Apple customer will pay for it.  Apple gave it away for marketing purposes.  The question is why would Apple want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do this.

bono1I believe what makes Bono (and, hence, U2) relevant is his continuous presence on the world stage as a humanitarian.  At this point, nobody can seriously call U2 ground breaking.  But Bono is omnipresent.  You can find pictures of him with Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, George W. Bush and other luminaries.  He, for some reason that escapes me, is at the World Economic Summit.  His efforts on behalf of Amnesty International and many causes in sub-Saharan African are legendary.  He is a one-man force that is identified with human rights, liberty and environmentalism.  Whether or not you like his music, he has, on the surface, attempted to be a force for good.

foxconn1Then there’s Apple, whose products are produced, in part, at the Taiwanese company, Foxconn.  Its expensive phones and gadgets are made by workers who toil in walled campuses for ten or more hours a day.  Off work, hours are spent in crowded common areas or sleeping in a room with eight to ten other workers.  Workers are rarely allowed to leave the plant for fear that they will not return.  They endure this for $0.35 per hour, and they have to pay for their food and lodging.  Suicides occur with regularity.

Apple has faced criticism for this practice.  Their justification is that their expensive phones would cost even more if they made them in labor fair countries.  Any sentient being would see the lie in this as their net income is $37BN in 2013.  This 18% bottom line is produced not by the pirate raider, Goldman Sachs, but by the cool, trendy, we want everyone to be happy and love each other, Apple, Inc.  Being socially responsible would cost them money.

bono2Instead of doing what, based on their image, would be the right thing by paying fair wages, they engage in a piece of truly cynical marketing.  Pay one of the world’s most famous humanitarians millions of dollars so you can give his work away on the hope that resulting aroma will cover the stink of your own business practices.  There are no innocents in this situation, just Apple and Bono in the perfect embrace of hypocrisy.

foxconn2Think differently, Apple.

RISE of the Criminals | Peter Mehit

RISE of the CriminalsIf you happened to have had a bad day during the Great Recession, the odds are you’re rebuilding your credit. If your credit score took a major hit, or if you’ve filed bankruptcy, it’s quite possible that you’ll get an offer in the mail from a company that wants to help you on your financial ‘comeback’. The company will tell you they “think a loan should be convenient and on your terms”, and they’ve “changed the way you borrow money”. Rocky Balboa’s face, strong and determined, is prominently displayed in the advertising copy.

You can start your comeback by filling out a simple application for a pre-approved $3,500 loan. This money will be deposited directly to your bank account. The rate may be steep in the beginning, but it will decrease as you show your ability to make payments. After all, there is a risk to providing you credit, but the company wants to help restore you as a respected member of the financial community.

The company dying to help you is RISE, a brand of Think Finance, who packages itself as an ‘emergency non-bank lender’. This is just double speak for a sophisticated form of predatory lending. The APR on their loans range from 36 to over 360%. A recent offer carried an interest rate of 199%. For the privilege of receiving $3,500, you’ll pay back $10,800 in payments of $289 made every two weeks.  Instead of Rocky Balboa, their promotional icon should be Tony Soprano.

Continue reading

Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair | Reuters

“Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 ‘maritime companies’ and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,”

Read Article.

iNflation: Americans Spend Less On Food, Movies To Pay For Soaring Cell Phone Obsession | ZeroHedge

That trend is evident in the home of 40-year-old Scott Boedy, a neighborhood service representative for a cable company.

Mr. Boedy said he and his wife now pay $200 a month for cellphone service, up by about $50 from early last year, even as they have managed to cut spending on groceries by shopping at discount chain Aldi and on “fun stuff” by going out to dinner and movies less often.

Looking over the family budget on Sunday night, Mr. Boedy said, his wife marveled at how much of it was going to the phone company.

“It stinks,” Mr. Boedy said. “I guess it’s the cost of modern-day America now.”

No Scott, it isn’t. It’s the consequence of your choices. But as long as one has the ability to do what every other borderline insolvent entity in the world does, namely to “charge it”, sweep it under the rug.

Read Article.

Get ‘em When They’re Young! | OnlineDegrees.org

Guess what?

You can become a debt slave on autopilot as part of your college education. Institutions of higher learning have partnered with banks to dole out Pell grant and student loans through debit cards that double as student identification cards.

Now you can get a degree that you can’t pay off and be nickle and dimed to death doing it.

It up to us to stop this.

Click on image at left to enlarge.

Gold Counterfeiting Goes Viral: 10 Tungsten-Filled Gold Bars Are Discovered In Manhattan | ZeroHedge

The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars — made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten — were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan’s Midtown Diamond District. The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers — or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.

Read Article.

Make sure you read some of the comment thread. Some of it’s hilarious, some if will make you think. Some of it’s offensive and some of it’s NSFW. – Ed.

How Alcohol Companies Are Targeting Kids | BusinessNewsDaily.com

Parents might do their best to shield their kids from advertising related to alcohol, but alcohol marketers are doing their best to reach them anyway. That’s the finding of new research that discovered that the content of alcohol ads placed in magazines is more likely to violate industry guidelines if the ad appears in a magazine with sizable youth readership.

The research, which was done by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that ads in magazines with a substantial youth readership (15 percent or more) frequently showed alcohol being consumed in an irresponsible manner.

Read Article.