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January 15, 2014

Apple, Google, Adobe and other tech firms sued for conspiracy to suppress wages

It certainly looks like the tech giants met in secret to decide to keep wages low by not hiring each others' employees away. Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case as group- court | Reuters
Jan 14 (Reuters) - Roughly 60,000 Silicon Valley workers won clearance to pursue a lawsuit accusing Apple Inc, Google Inc and other companies of conspiring to drive down pay by not poaching each other's staff, after a federal appeals court refused to let the defendants appeal a class certification order. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late on Tuesday let stand an order by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California to let the workers sue as a group, and pursue what the defendants said could exceed $9 billion of damages. The case began in 2011 when five software engineers sued Apple, Google, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp and others over an alleged "overarching conspiracy" to suppress pay by agreeing not to recruit or hire each other's employees. These defendants were accused of violating the Sherman Act and Clayton Act antitrust laws by conspiring to eliminate competition for labor, depriving workers of job mobility and hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Class certification can make it easier for plaintiffs to extract larger awards, at lower cost than if they sued individually. It could also add pressure on defendants to settle.

Senate Republicans just cut off unemployment payments for millions of Americans during a recession

Why wouldn't the Republicans vote to piss all over poor people? That's *their* platform! Republican Minority In Senate Blocks UI Extension With Majority Support - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
The Senate’s effort to restore long-term unemployment insurance benefits for 1.3 million Americans sputtered Tuesday amid bitter procedural disagreements. Negotiators from both sides of the aisle had been working to get a deal to extend the jobless aid that expired at the end of last year. But after a promising vote to advance the legislation last week and optimism late Monday, a potential compromise unraveled when the two sides failed to agree on a process to consider changes to the legislation, including proposals for how (or whether) to pay for it. A vote to move the bill forward – requiring 60 votes — failed 55-45, and a separate bipartisan proposal failed 52-48. Negotiators say they are still working to find middle ground, although the Senate faces other urgent fiscal business before a scheduled recess next week.

January 10, 2014

The Libertarian endgame is slavery

It's always refreshing when ideologues stop tiptoeing around and just admit they want to bring back slavery as part of their Libertarian utopia. Ten Reasons Not to Abolish Slavery - Robert Higgs - Mises Daily
1. Slavery is natural. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way — for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting — will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard. Abraham Lincoln expressed this idea in one of his famous 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas: There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. 2. Slavery has always existed. This reason exemplifies the logical fallacy argumentum ad antiquitatem (the argument to antiquity or tradition). Nevertheless, it often persuaded people, especially those of conservative bent. Even nonconservatives might give it weight on the quasi-Hayekian ground that although we do not understand why a social institution persists, its persistence may nonetheless be well grounded in a logic we have yet to understand. 3. Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity. Perhaps, as one variant maintains, every society has slavery because certain kinds of work are so difficult or degrading that no free person will do them, and therefore unless we have slaves to do these jobs, they will not get done. Someone, as the saying went in the Old South, has to be the mud sill, and free people will not tolerate serving in this capacity. 4. The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves. This idea was popular in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries among people, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who regarded slavery as morally reprehensible yet continued to hold slaves and to obtain personal services from them and income from the products these "servants" (as they preferred to call them) were compelled to produce. It would be cruel to set free people who would then, at best, fall into destitution and suffering. . . .