Analysis of Supreme Court’s Ruling on Google’s Copying of Oracle’s Computer Code

“A battle of Big Tech giants came to an end this week when the Supreme Court decided Google v. Oracle, the biggest copyright case in decades. The decision in favor of Google, which copied over 11,000 lines of Oracle’s computer code when building its Android operating system, will set the standard for copyright protection of code in the Digital Age. Our panel of intellectual property (IP) experts discuss and critique the Court’s decision and Justice Thomas’s dissent, as well as the decision’s likely impact on IP law, innovation, and the software industry.”

A panel consisting of Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Zvi Rosen, Assistant Professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Steven Tepp, President & CEO of Sentinel Worldwide, moderated by Curt Levey (moderator) of the President of the Committee for Justice analyzes the meaning of this ruling.

What is the Purpose of a Business? Objectivist Yaron Brook Debates “Conscious Capitalist” John MacKey

From the description:

At each of Whole Foods Market’s more than 500 American stores, managers ask every team member—from the meat clerks to the baristas to the janitorial staff—to orient their work around a shared purpose, which is to make natural and healthy food widely available. This goal, according to Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey, is in no way inconsistent with maximizing shareholder value, often seen as the essential purpose of a corporation.  As Mackey writes in his new book about leadership, “At the heart of Conscious Capitalism is a radical refutation of the negative perceptions of business, and a rejection of the split between purpose and profit.” Mackey believes that this is the key to defending capitalism against those who condemn it for having no inspiring ideals.  At a Reason-sponsored Soho Forum debate held on February 18, 2020, Ayn Rand Institute Chairman of the Board Yaron Brook challenged this view. He believes that maximizing profit should always be the primary goal of companies, and it’s that focus which explains why capitalism has lifted the broad masses out of poverty. That’s the message businesses should be emphasizing, he said, and it’s inspiring enough.

Darwin and the Discovery of Evolution

In this talk, Dr. Keith Lockitch of the Ayn Rand Institute explores Darwin’s life and work, focusing on the steps by which he came to discover and prove the theory of evolution by natural selection:

The theory of evolution is often disparaged by its opponents as being “just a theory” — i.e., a speculative hypothesis with little basis in hard, scientific fact. But this claim carries with it the implied accusation that Charles Darwin was “just a theorist” — i.e., he was merely an armchair scientist and that his life’s work was nothing more than an exercise in arbitrary speculation. A look at Darwin’s pioneering discoveries, however, reveals the grave injustice of this accusation. Darwin was not “just a theorist” and evolution is not “just a theory.”

Charles Darwin on the Grandeur of Evolution

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” —Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species

Interesting enough the word “evolution” does not appear in Darwin’s work, though the last word is evolved:

“From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” —Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species

Apparently Darwin preferred the phrase “descent with modification” to describe his theory. From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“Charles Darwin used the word in print once only, in the closing paragraph of The Origin of Species (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the discarded 18 [century] homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762) and in part because it carried a sense of ‘progress’ not present in Darwin’s idea.”

 

BGI Documents $5.7 Billion To Green Political Pressure Groups

WASHINGTON, DC (April 8, 2021) – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released another update to its Big Green, Inc. (BGI) database adding documentation of $476 million in grants moving between innocuous-sounding foundations and powerful special interests in Washington DC. In total, BGI has documented $5.7 billion fueling today’s green lobbying and grassroots pressure groups. That figure only includes the giving history of seventeen major foundations and there are hundreds of foundations and organizations actively connected to the green movement.

This latest BGI update pulls from 2018 tax filings, only recently made available, revealing a disturbing trend among several foundations that the database tracks. Among the latest round of grants, $14.25 million flowed from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the Energy Foundation and ultimately to an organization called Energy Foundation China, just as tensions between the U.S. and China are mounting.

  • The Energy Foundation received $21 million “for general operating support” from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as grants totaling $14.25 million for “Energy Foundation China,” and $1,065,000 in “additional grants.” Together, these grants amount to nearly half of the foundation’s $81,940,531 net assets at the end of 2018.
  • The Energy Foundation appears to receive money from organizations like the Hewlett Foundation and passes it through to Energy Foundation China so that it doesn’t show on Hewlett’s tax documents directly.
  • Energy Foundation China lists several other BGI organizations like the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John. D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation among its key funders.

These donations coincide with a major shift in policy direction by the Biden Administration away from America’s newfound energy independence (built on traditional energy sources) towards wind, solar, and electric vehicles, all of which are primarily manufactured in China and require Chinese-controlled rare earth minerals. Numerous media outlets have highlighted the rush by the green lobby to push Congress to again extend the wind and solar tax credits for a 13th time, this time for 10 years. The wind and solar industries claim they are now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the U.S. and the fastest-growing, yet they appear to be unable to survive without assistance from U.S. taxpayers. There’s little doubt these tax credits would greatly benefit Chinese-owned or controlled companies.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was also a big beneficiary of BGI grants in 2018, receiving 11 grants totaling just shy of $4.7 million, including $500,000 for their own China energy program. This is on top of a pledge by Jeff Bezos to provide the NRDC with $100 million. Bezos has committed $791 million to 16 environmental organizations as a part of his widely publicized $10 billion Earth Fund, despite the fact that Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 15 percent in 2020. Some have charged Bezos with trying to buy off the environmental community with their grants while doing very little in terms of active lobbying for climate regulations that would negatively impact their business.

Gina McCarthy, the former CEO of the NRDC turned Biden National Climate Advisor, is in a powerful position that circumvented Senate confirmation process. In this role, McCarthy is largely shielded from transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act and has direct access to the President.

Upon the release of today’s BGI database update, IER President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“This latest update to the Big Green Inc. database is further evidence that the green left has more interest in protecting the interests of its funders and the global renewables industry than they do the environment. Thanks primarily to America’s shale revolution, America has become energy-independent and at the same time has been leading the developed world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. And yet, the greens would prefer that we give up that newfound independence and instead rely on China for our future energy needs.

If Congress were serious about transparency and the influence of special interest money in politics, Big Green Inc. is the first place they should be looking, especially the connections between left-leaning foundations, the Biden White House, and China.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020 was the year America realized energy independence for the first time in 62 years, producing more than we consumed. Thanks to the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, production in the oil and natural gas industry increased a combined 11 percent in 2019. Total U.S. energy production increased by 5.7 percent in 2019 while U.S. energy demand decreased by 0.9 percent. The United States produced 101.0 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of energy and consumed 100.2 quads last year. Natural resources accounted for 80 percent of both energy consumption and production in 2019.

About Big Green, Inc.

Big Green, Inc., a project of IER, catalogs the influence of the deep-pocketed left on energy policy in the United States. The online map enables users to navigate the various foundations that spend billions of dollars supporting aggressive climate litigation, the promotion of uneconomic renewable energy sources, and overburdening regulations. Their influence has helped foment the anti-market sentiment that dominates energy policy in the United States and has played a major role in limiting economic growth in recent years.

Three important takeaways from the information presented in Big Green, Inc.

  1. Environmental groups have crafted a narrative that depicts their efforts as a “David vs. Goliath” battle against those who would like to see U.S. energy policy move in a free-market direction. This narrative is false. Environmental groups outpace conservative and free-market groups both in terms of funding and organizational capacity.
  2. There is an overwhelming, well-coordinated and deeply funded sweeping influence of environmental activism, and information within this database provides insight into how groups target the gatekeeping institutions of our society. As the database illuminates, environmental funding has been directed toward policymakers, journalists, academic institutions, the offices of elected officials, government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as international institutions such as the World Bank.
  3. This complicated system of financial transfers muddles efforts to reveal the sources of this funding, which has been linked to individuals who stand to benefit financially from the adoption of various environmental policies as well as foreign actors trying to influence energy policy within the U.S.

C. Bradley Thompson: “Common Good” Theory of Politics is a Fraud

Writing on his blog C. Bradley Thompson opines on the “common good,” channeling many of the same arguments used by philosopher Ayn Rand.

He reviews “six problems with common-good politics.”

First, all versions of the common-good school of thought assume, without proof, that there is one, absolute, universal, eternal, knowable “higher” or “common good” that should guide public policy despite the fact that there are innumerable and competing definitions of the “common good.”

[…]

Second, the very real practical problem with “common-good” politics becomes manifest when rival factions compete with one another for political power in order to impose their view of the “common good” on society as a whole.

[…]

Third, until recently, Left- and Right-wing proponents of the “common good” were reverse mirror images of each other. Liberals typically wanted social freedom and command-style economics, whereas conservatives typically wanted economic freedom and command-style morality.

[…]

Fourth, does anyone seriously believe that Harvard professors, the Vatican’s College of Cardinals, or Deep State bureaucrats actually know what is best for ordinary Americans better than ordinary Americans?

[…]

Fifth, virtually every tyrant throughout history has used the “common good” to justify acts of violence and oppression. Jacobinism, socialism, fascism, communism, and Nazism all claimed to serve the common good.

[…]

Sixth, common-good harpies of the Left and Right misunderstand what virtue and moral action are. They fail to understand that to be moral requires uncoerced, free choice. Coerced virtue is not virtue; it’s obedience.

Thompson adds:

In the end, the promises of the “common good” theory of politics is a fraud. This is because the idea of a “common” or “highest good” is an undefinable concept, particularly when governments attempt to define it, which is exactly what we’re talking about.

There is no such thing as a “common good” (at least as the concept is typically used by its Left- and Right-wing proponents), unless one is speaking of an ant colony or a bee hive. But man is neither ant nor bee. To the extent that the idea of a “common good” has any valid philosophic meaning, it can only be the sum of the interests or goods of all men and women in a particular society, and the primary “goods” common to all men are freedom, justice, safety, and the rule of law that protects them.

Read the whole article.

Hat Tip: @JWoiceshyn

 

 

Innovation and The History Vaccines

Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom writes on the history of vaccines and how this scientific breakthrough was brought to the attention of the Western World not by scientists and professors, but by a black slave and woman. Ridley also discusses the fierce opposition they faced:

At a time when the miraculous success of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has transformed the battle against the pandemic, it is fitting to recall that the general idea behind vaccination was brought to the attention of the western world, not by brilliant and privileged professors, but by a black slave and a woman.

His name was Onesimus and he lived in Boston, as the property of Cotton Mather, a well-known puritan preacher. Her name was Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, the literary wife of the British ambassador to Constantinople.

Some time around 1715 Onesimus seems to have told Mather that back in West Africa people were in the habit of deliberately infecting children with a drop of “juice of smallpox” from a survivor, thus making them immune. Mather then came across a report to the Royal Society in London from an Italian physician, Emmanuel Timoni, working in the Ottoman court in Constantinople, which described the same practice in combating smallpox. The Ottomans had got the idea from either China or Africa.

Six years later, in April 1721, when smallpox reached Boston in a ship called the Seahorse, and efforts to quarantine its crew proved in vain, Mather wrote to 14 doctors begging them to try inoculation. Thirteen ignored him but one, Zabdiel Boylston, did not. On 26 June 1721, almost 300 years ago, Boylston deliberately scratched the skin of his six year old son with a needle dipped in the pus from a smallpox survivor’s spots. He then did the same “variolation” to his slave and his slave’s two-year-old son. Imagine how brave, even foolhardy, this act was.

All three survived after mild bouts of the disease. Boylston then began inoculating other volunteers, and by November he had variolated 247 people. Six of these died. On 25 November he inoculated 15 members of Harvard University. The epidemic was by then raging in Boston, over 400 people having died in October alone.

News of Boylston’s experimental treatment caused fury among the Boston townspeople. Doctors denounced him. “Some have been carrying about instruments of inoculation, and bottles of poisonous humor, to infect all who were willing to submit to it. Can any man infect a family in the morning, and pray to God in the evening that the distemper will not spread?” thundered one. The Boston city council summoned Boylston to account for his crime and the mob descended on him. He hid in a closet for nearly two weeks to escape lynching. It is not easy being an innovator.

At almost the same time in Britain, a brave woman pioneer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, was introducing variolation to London society, having learnt of the practice while in Constantinople as the wife of the ambassador. She too was the subject of fierce denunciation.

Read the rest at Warp, on The unexpected history and miraculous success of vaccines.

 

 

Amazon Stands Up To The Fascist Senator Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren threatens to confiscate additional profits of the most successful companies by eliminating “loopholes.”

Warren threatens to break up companies that dare to question her.

 

Amazon calls out Warren’s fascism. After all, if a billion-dollar company cannot speak against Warren what chance does a lone individual have?

 

Related:

 

Biden Administration Cancels Freedom of the Press on The U.S. Border

Getty photographer John Moore writing in WaPo, of how he was able to cover border control encounters with migrants under President Donald Trump, but not so under Biden.

Writes Moore:

For the past four presidential administrations, I have accompanied U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and photographed their encounters with migrants as they enforced immigration policy. No longer. Last week, when I documented migrant detentions in El Paso, I had to do so from the Mexican side of the border, taking long-range shots. Until now, journalists haven’t had to stand in another country to cover what is happening in the United States.

Most asylum seekers cross the Rio Grande into South Texas on land controlled by federal agents. For decades, the U.S. government has let journalists accompany Border Patrol agents and other officials as they surveil the land. But since the change in administration, those agents have been physically blocking journalists from the riverbank. For example, after being turned down for official access on a trip in February, I followed a Border Patrol transport bus in my own vehicle to where agents were detaining migrants. They stopped me before I got close enough to take pictures. They called a supervisor, and ordered me to leave immediately.

We have gone from the Trump-era “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants to a Biden-era “zero access” policy for journalists covering immigration. This development is unprecedented in modern history. (While the Trump administration reduced access somewhat when the pandemic began, for defensible reasons of safety, the Biden administration has gone much further and eliminated it altogether.) [“I’m a photojournalist. Why is the administration banning me from border facilities?“]

This begs the question: what is the Biden Administration have to hide?

Alex Epstein Interviews Patrick Moore: Fake Invisible Catastrophes

Patrick Moore, pro-human ecologist and co-founder of Greenpeace, talks with Alex Epstein about his new book, Fake Invisible Catastrophe and Threats of Doom:

On this week’s Power Hour Alex Epstein interviews ecologist Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace and author of “Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.”

In his book Moore thoroughly debunks 11 alleged current or imminent catastrophes, from mass species extinction to ocean “acidification” to the near-death of the Great Barrier Reef.

In this interview, Alex asks Moore about the false assumptions that drive our propensity to believe in “fake invisible catastrophes,” including the assumption that human impact is inevitably destructive because it disrupts an alleged perfect, delicate balance of nature.

Moore debunks this “delicate balance” idea thoroughly with numerous examples, above all with CO2 levels–which, he argues, were on a natural and deadly downward trajectory toward mass plant death until human beings restored some of it to the atmosphere.

 

 

Abigail Shrier: Equality Act is Based on ‘Misogyny In Progressive Clothing’

Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, argues that the so-called “Equality Act” is nothing of the sort:

“Members of the Committee, if your daughter or granddaughter was the top high school tennis player in her state, and then five biological boys suddenly decided, at the age of 17, to identify as female — should she drop overnight to number 6? Should she lose her college scholarship to a male-bodied athlete who would never have qualified on the boys’ team? Does that strike any member of this Committee as fair or just?”

“If a woman in your state commits a crime, should she be put in a correctional facility with biological males, some of whom are sex offenders? Some of whom may have only begun identifying as female weeks earlier? All of whom could easily overpower her.”

“The plain truth is that it is not sensible, not safe, and certainly not just, to end these hard-won protections for women and girls in the name of equality.”

[…]

“Most would never think of stealing women’s scholarships by forcing young women into demoralizing contests with male bodies. But Gender Ideology, which is at the heart of this bill, is misogyny in progressive clothing. Gender Ideology tells women and girls they are not entitled to their fear or their sense of unfairness as their protective spaces are eliminated.”

[…]

“If you vote to take away those rights, don’t pretend you’ve achieved a civil rights victory. In the name of inclusivity, you’ll have made life far less safe, far less fair, and far less inclusive for America’s women and girls.”

Related: Abigal Shrier: Biden Rule and Boys (Who ‘Identify as Female’) On Girl’s Sports Teams