Is Google's Cash Pile a Sign of the End of Technological Progress? Peter Thiel Says Yes

Very depressing analysis from Peter Thiel--investor in immortality, nanotech, seasteading, and libertarian politics--about our immediate technological horizons. Especially grim for those of who read too much Robert Anton Wilson in the early 1980s and began beliving in a "jumping Jesus" phenomenon in which our knowledge and mastery of the world would begin doubling in quicker and shorter increments, and whose retirement plans thus depended on the allegedly around-the-corner world of endless techno-wizardry that make energy production and matter manipulation as cheap as a value meal. 

Thiel was debating Google's Eric Schmidt at the "Fortune Brainstorm Tech" conference in Aspen the other day. Thiel is making a dog-that-didn't-bark argument, basically saying that if there were rich horizons for technological progress, shouldn't Schmidt's Google be using its huge cash piles to explore them?

I'm Libertarian, I think [technological stagnation is] because the government has outlawed technology...I think we've basically outlawed everything having to do with the world of stuff, and the only thing you're allowed to do is in the world of bits.  And that's why we've had a lot of progress in computers and finance.  Those were the two areas where there was enormous innovation in the last 40 years.  It looks like finance is in the process of getting outlawed....

[Google]has 30, 40, 50 billion in cash.  It has no idea how to invest that money in technology effectively.  So, it prefers getting zero percent interest from Mr. Bernanke, effectively the cash sort of gets burned away over time through inflation, because there are no ideas that Google has how to spend money....

if we're living in an accelerating technological world, and you have zero percent interest rates in the background, you should be able to invest all of your money in things that will return it many times over, and the fact that you're out of ideas, maybe it's a political problem, the government has outlawed things.  But, it still is a problem....

the intellectually honest thing to do would be to say that Google is no longer a technology company, that it's basically ‑‑ it's a search engine.  The search technology was developed a decade ago.  It's a bet that there will be no one else who will come up with a better search technology.  So, you invest in Google, because you're betting against technological innovation in search.  And it's like a bank that generates enormous cash flows every year, but you can't issue a dividend, because the day you take that $30 billion and send it back to people you're admitting that you're no longer a technology company.  That's why Microsoft can't return its money.  That's why all these companies are building up hordes of cash, because they don't know what to do with it, but they don't want to admit they're no longer tech companies.

Technologists and business analysts who can poke holes in Thiel's pessimism, please do. Schmidt didn't do a very good job at that, in my reading.

Link via Marginal Revolution.

Reason on Peter Thiel.

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  • sticks||

    cash in in any business is a good thing. keeps the smart investors happy. not sure what that has to do with future of tech.

  • John Thacker||

    Why, exactly? Couldn't the smart investors just hold cash or cash equivalents themselves instead?

    Sure, maybe the company is an awesome investor, so that would be an argument. Still not clear why people wouldn't prefer a dedicated financial professional in that case, instead of bundling.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep, what Theil is really saying is that the super smart people running google and apple can't figure out what to invest in but they refuse to release their cash hordes to the rightful owners, some of whom would inevitably find more productive uses for it.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Well, if they think the problem is political rather than physical, maybe they're hoping the situation will change soon.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I think that it's more of a problem of scale, which Ken discusses at length below and centralization, ie a million small investors are going to see a plethora of opportunities that a few whales will miss.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Believe me.

    As an AAPL investor who got in on what many would consider the ground floor, I'm happy to have them horde all of what is, as you put it, rightfully mine.

    They have exploded in value more than I could have dreamed of doing on my own.

    Either way, I don't buy that shit tons of cash = no more innovation. AAPLE has had tens of billions in its coffers for years, with no debt, and they're innovating at a very rapid pace.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Innovating on what? A marginal OS update in Mountain Lion? A marginal iOS update in 6? Finally almost catching up to the competition with a bigger iPhone screen? Finally getting 1080 on Apple TV, with little content compared to competitors?

    OK, the Retina display on the MacBooks is nice.

  • Rasilio||

    This, Apple hasn't really had an innovative breakthrough since the iPhone. Even the iPad was really just an upgrade over tablet computer designs that have been around for more than a decade

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You mean the same tablets that never sold any units to make a difference and were well on their way out of existence except for in niche circles?

    Oh.

    The iPad, and subsequent generation of tablets, are NOTHING like those pieces of shit. Like the iPhone, the iPad changed the game for what tablet computing could be.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Changed == past tense.

    Innovating == present tense.

    What are they innovating now?

  • John C. Randolph||

    A marginal OS update in Mountain Lion?

    I can tell you, speaking as a long-time software developer on the Mac platform, that ML is no "marginal" update. It's amazing what they got done in just a one-year development cycle.

    -jcr

  • The Hammer||

    Have they fixed the double posting problem?

  • John C. Randolph||

    A marginal OS update in Mountain Lion?

    I can tell you, speaking as a long-time software developer on the Mac platform, that ML is no "marginal" update. It's amazing what they got done in just a one-year development cycle.

    -jcr

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Maybe they're just hiding the good stuff for later. Apple is talking about Reminders, Notifications, and some other stuff they're moving over from iOS. Tweaks to iCloud. Facebook integration. Finally unifying the search and address bar in Safari.

    Tell me about the amazing innovations.

  • The Hammer||

    Guess not.

  • johnl||

    That's why AAPL is starting to pay dividends.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I can't find the link right now, but those dividends won't put even a small dent in what Apple has in the bank. At most it will keep their money from growing as rapidly, but when they send out those checks, their coffers will have even more money in them by the next quarter. The dividends are a small drop in the huge tub of Apple cash.

    That said, it will be EXTREMELY nice to start getting some of that cash back. I've got private school to pay for!

  • Tman||

    Hasn't Moore's law pretty much begun to plateau? I thought that the whole "singularity" stuff coming so soon was a tad bit unrealistic, but it was based on solid technology. Now I'm beginning to wonder if we've hit another dead valley in terms grand advancements.

    A sign that it's at least moving away from the US is CERN, for example. We should've finished the one in Texas but Congress axed it in the 1990's.

  • SIV||

    There is something to the "outlawing stuff" argument. Look at the shitty glass they are using in apochromatic lenses these days. Or try getting parts re-chromed.

  • Paul.||

    The "singularity" shit has always rung very "Paul Ehrlich" with me. I mean not in a negative way, but in a not-going-to-happen way.

    Of the prediction has enough wiggle room that Kurzweil (like Ehrlich) can claim that it is "essentially" true. And I say this knowing they're doing some amazing research with brains being linked to computers. I just don't think it's going to happen in our lifetime.

  • John Thacker||

    On the bright side, I do like many of the Vernor Vinge novels, so it's got that going for it.

  • robc||

    And he writes on both sides. A Deepness in the Sky is based on the premise of "failed dreams". AI doesnt happen, the singularity doesnt happen, etc, etc. Heck, they are still using unix time.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    There is huge potential in quantum computing.

  • ||

    *ding*

    A computer that will be able to say: 'maybe'

    The easy stuff has been rapidly resolved, so the next easy thing is better/faster/more.

    The grand innovations that might wow us bored 21st centurions are far more difficult. Nano/Quantum

    3D printers combined with actual nano tech with actual quantum computers is a fucking replicator.

    Maybe we'll figure out how to encapsulate ourselves in a Higgs Field bubble that lets us flit about space like photons.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Higgs Field Bubble = Inertial Dampener

    ???

  • ||

    I meant a bubble to deflect/counter act the field. I'm still working on it.

  • Aresen||

    No. It just means that the companies that have the huge piles of cash haven't any good ideas for new products.

    It doesn't mean that other companies with new ideas won't come along.

    Numerous companies in the past have had huge piles of cash but are no longer on the leading edge of the economy. (US Steel, GM, Ford, IBM, Xerox, AOL, etc.)

  • John Thacker||

    GM and Ford were doing more with their cash than most of those others. For a while they were investment banks that sold some cars and trucks on the side.

  • Paul.||

    No. It just means that the companies that have the huge piles of cash haven't any good ideas for new products.

    Yeah, this whole post smacks of "Facebook (or Google) is the Internet".

    And to think, I remember a time when no technology, company or idea could challenge Microsoft's dominance.

    One of the few old predictions I seem to be getting right: Microsoft will be challenged, and it will come from where we least expect it, and no one will beat Microsoft at their game, they'll simply be made irrelevant.

  • ||

    Kitchener-Waterloo had Electrohome, then it faded. It has RIM now....

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Did not MSFT post a quarterly loss this week?

  • Mo||

    Thiel is way overblowing the issue. We've always had big, growing, innovative companies sitting on piles of cash. Whether it was car companies at their peak, Xerox, IBM and MaBell in their Labs days or Microsoft, Intel and Sun during the tech boom, etc. This analysis is meaningless without a historical comparison of Google's war chest and old time industry leaders. As any (venture, pe or mutual) fund manager will tell you, it's a whole lot easier to find something to do with tens of millions of dollars than tens of billions. Otherwise you end up distorting the market too much to do anything meaningful.

    As for Google, they are working on self-driving cars and asteroid mining, they're developing a babelfish and they're about to go to market with advanced wearable computing. I mean, I wish they were blowing some cash on jet packs and transporters, but you can't say they're not working on cool far-out shit. At the end of the day, you still have shareholders to answer to and can't piss all of the cash away on sci-fi dreams. Apple and Google are just making cash way too quickly to do anything useful to it at a rate that puts a dent in their war chests.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Exactly. I am long Google's brains and cash. They are unmatched.

    And they are liberal/libertarian in their investments. Their co-founder's wife has begun a successful genomics company. And Google has overtaken Apple with Android phone sales for the internet.

    Thiel is bright but overmatched by Google.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I am long Google's brains and cash.

    Here's why I never invested in Microsoft: if they were sitting on $70 billion dollars in cash, circa the end of 2003, and their p/e ratio was up over 50?

    How the hell are they going to grow that company to justify a p/e ratio up over 50, when they can't think of anything better to do with their cash than collect interest in the money market?

    Some people justified the valuation because they said MSFT was effectively a monopoly at the time. Your local utility is a monopoly, too--does it have a p/e ratio up over 50?

    At that valuation, I'd rather own the electric company's cash.

    Now, Google's p/e ratio isn't as bad as that--but still. When you show me a growth company that can't figure out what to do with its cash--it's like telling me to invest in a company when the people who run it won't invest in it themselves.

    If they'd rather collect interest in the money market than invest it in their company--why would I take my money out of my money market fund and invest it in their company?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Fine, but GOOG is to earn $50 in 2013 and has a foward P/E of 12.

    And they bought the best of Motorola. They don't miss.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Forward p/e?

    You mean it has a p/e of 18, which isn't terribly high, but it is higher than average for the SP 500.

    I bet lots of other SP 500 companies wish they could get a higher valuation for stuffing cash under the mattress, too!

  • Mo||

    If other companies grew revenue and earnings at 20% YoY, they'd get that sort of valuation too. Google's "problem" is that they're earning money faster than they can spend it. This is a good thing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    And show me a utility without a pile of debt.

    GOOG.

  • Nyarlarrythotep||

    Well, yeah, but if -Google- is now a "utility", like a power company, then that supports Thiel's point, which is that maybe they're not a tech company anymore.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And if you're worried about any one of them? Go look at a high volume utilities ETF. Here's the SPDR utilities index...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=XLU

    It's paying a 3.78 percent yield, and if I sell covered calls on it right now? The bid on the September call with the strike price at the current market price is paying $0.45 a share. That means the annualized call price is at 7.2% of the market price, if I bought it and sold calls today.

    So tally that up, that's...carry the one...that's an 11% return for holding a utility index for a year!

    If I can resell covered calls on a high volume utility index for the next year at today's price, I'll make an 11% return--even if the stock doesn't rise an inch from where it is now.

    Or I could invest my money in Google's business despite the fact that Google's executives are choosing not to invest the company's own money in...

    Good luck with that. ...and I mean it.

  • Overt||

    Google has lots of money because it is easier to buy the next business, rather than research it. (Note that getting a whole business is much different than researching a new technology)

    It is very difficult to invent the next Yahoo, Google, Facebook or whatever. For every facebook, there are a bunch of MySpace's, Friendsters' and other sites that didn't succeed. It took a lot of good decisions to create google or facebook, and that is difficult to do again and again at one company.

    And so, Google has a giant warchest so that they can buy the next facebook when it emerges.

    That said, google also spend craploads on RD. But that stuff is risky, so they don't blow the entire bank doing it.

  • John Thacker||

    Thiel, as a VC, is saying "why don't they buy the next Facebook before it emerges?" They don't even have to run it themselves, just invest (the way that McDonalds did with Chipotle.)

    Perhaps they're so large that there's nothing that they could invest in and still be able to be liquid, but it seems unlikely.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Google bought Android in 2005 (zero sales) and now they sell 900,000 devices a day.

  • Sudden||

    No, they license 900,000 devices a day, but don't charge a single dime so you can hardly say they "sell" them.

  • ||

  • Overt||

    "why don't they buy the next Facebook before it emerges?"

    Well, why didn't you pick the numbers from the last SuperBall Jackpot before they fell out of the ball? Obviously, because it is a lot harder than you think.

    People don't recall that less than 4 years ago, it was MySpace that was supposed to rule the roost. And there are countless other social websites, including Friendster, Classmates and even Blogger, which google did purchase. Picking a winner isn't easy.

    Even so, google IS invested all over the country. But they could seed 100 companies for around a billion dollars (unless they are a government-sponsored solar company) and it wouldn't dent their holdings. Are people really going to suggest that google invest in 3000 companies? That's silly.

    It's much better to sit on your warchest, waiting for the next play and snatch it up, before a competitor does.

  • John Thacker||

    It's much better to sit on your warchest, waiting for the next play and snatch it up, before a competitor does.

    OK, but you agree the longer that Google goes with having a enormous warchest earning basically nothing, and not actually spending it on snatching up this next big play, the better the argument that they failed and paid a big opportunity cost?

    Are people really going to suggest that google invest in 3000 companies? That's silly.

    Why not, if they could earn a better return on their money? Certainly you can see why a VC like Thiel would think so. Shouldn't there be 3000 companies out there to invest in?

    Are you arguing that they *really* couldn't find the liquidity to snatch up the next big play if they didn't have the warchest of cash that they do?

  • John Thacker||

    It's exactly as hard as I think. But that's the reason why it has a better return, leveraged over many plays.

    Picking a winner isn't easy, but picking a winner after it's obvious isn't a big money-making play either.

    Maybe it's the best play for assuring the Google the corporation stays on top and stays big, but it's not the best play for Google's stockholders if they could earn better return some other way.

    You really think that earning no return on cash is better than spreading it around a bunch of companies? So you also have your investments in cash instead of in, say, mutual funds?

    I can see one way to believe that, but it involves believing in a current stagnation.

  • affenkopf||

    Read the comments of the Marginal Revolution post. Some good rebuttals to Thiel there.

  • Sudden||

    I think the thing that everyone here seems to be missing is that last paragraph of Thiel's rant. Google is a search-engine, not a tech company. In spite of their forays into the tech space, their primary revenue generation has and will come from the search engine. Their contributions to broader technology have been either a) unprofitable in a strict sense (although one could argue something like google earth or android are intended only to strengthen Google's hold on the search engine dominance) or b) not particularly revolutionary or tech-advancing. Perhaps the self-driving car and wearable computing will be, but I'll admit that I don't see either of those being particularly well received broadly. Asteroid mining OTOH would be revolutionary. The way I see it, the computing space is largely saturated and will continue its advances to some extent in line with it's last 20 trajectory, but that won't be anything revolutionary per se. It's utilizing those advances in pursuit of nanotech, energy, and space exploration/exploitation that will be the principal technological advances of the coming century.

  • JD||

    You could argue Google is mainly an advertising company.

  • BigT||

    By that logic you could say the NFL is basically an advertising company. Advertising follows products, attaches itself to popular items. But the product is the product. Google is an information delivery company.

    It seems that only Apple has managed to really launch new products recently, but even these are variations on the same theme. It is rare that a company has more than one blockbuster product that is not related to previous products.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Advertising is information, and Google delivers it. They place billions of ads every day. Furthermore,companies are much more willing to place ads with them because it's far easier to track if they lead to sales.

  • Mo||

    I would say none of the big "tech companies" are tech companies. For example, Facebook is a media company.

    Their search engine works because they develop awesome, leading edge hardware and dB technology to run it. If you tried to run Google on SQL, it would grind to a halt, so they developed BigTable.

  • ||

    [Google]has 30, 40, 50 billion in cash. It has no idea how to invest that money in technology effectively.

    So?

    That money would not exist without Google. The premise being made here is because Google is holding back its money it is holding back innovation. This is idiotic.

    Anyway this is absolutely true:

    I think [technological stagnation is] because the government has outlawed technology...I think we've basically outlawed everything having to do with the world of stuff, and the only thing you're allowed to do is in the world of bits.

  • Obese American||

    Theil's not saying Google is holding back innovation, just that they aren't innovating themselves.

  • Fluffy||

    That's not the premise.

    He's actually got the exact opposite premise:

    He thinks that the fact that Google isn't investing in innovation means that innovation is now impossible. Because if innovation was still possible, Google would be investing in it.

    I think his error is assuming that the guys running Google are smart enough to recognize the next great innovation opportunity.

    Being able to identify a way to create a great search engine really doesn't help you identify, say, the next great breakthrough in memory, or in quantum computing. Lots of very, very smart people go through their whole careers only having one really good new idea. Asking them to keep hitting innovation home runs isn't realistic.

  • ||

    I think his error is assuming that the guys running Google are smart enough to recognize the next great innovation opportunity.

    I stand corrected. Still he is right that government is holding back innovation.

  • John Thacker||

    I think his error is assuming that the guys running Google are smart enough to recognize the next great innovation opportunity.

    It's a pretty good rhetorical technique if you're debating stagnation with a Google guy.

    He's deploying a Morton's fork, trying to get Schmidt to either admit that technology is stagnating, or the guys running Google aren't smart enough. If Schmidt won't admit the latter, then he admits the former and Thiel wins the debate.

  • John Thacker||

    And Schmidt won't admit the latter, because it would damage Google's claim to be a growth technology stock, as Thiel mentioned.

  • robc||

    I do think, even if he didnt say it directly, that he got one thing right.

    If you are gonna sit on that cash and not invest it, return it as dividends so that the people who were smart enough to invest it in YOU will invest it in the next big thing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just because Google has achieved remarkable scale, doesn't mean there aren't any significant opportunities on the horizon. It may just mean that the innovative companies aren't like Google--they're small. ...and they already have all the cash they need!

    Microsoft had the same problem. They carried mountains of cash for decades! Back in 2004, since they hadn't been able to figure out what to do with all that cash, they did a $75 billion dividend and stock buy back program...

    Over the previous decade, just because Microsoft was a victim of its own scale, that didn't mean there weren't any innovations worth investing in between 1994 and 2004.

    Short story, when you get to be the size of Google, scale makes you stop innovating in the same way you did when you were a smaller company.

    Mountains of cash don't mean there aren't any innovations on the horizon. It may just mean Google's too big to waste their time sweating the small stuff--and the small companies are where the big innovations happen.

  • Sudden||

    If you own a small company that is making big innovations, you didn't build that.

    Cordially,

    Barack Obama

    P.S. Please send 45% of your income to us immediate. ALL YOUR BIG INNOVATION ARE BELONG TO US.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, except Google founders and execs are big Obama supporters. Perhaps they don't listen to redneck AM radio.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    So they've paid to not be bothered - "sir, your winnings". How shocking that Googlogues would be part of the "Techno-Rent-Seeking Complex".

    Shocking.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    yeah Google = rentseekers.

    Kochs and their lobbyist army = not.

    Same old wingneck shit.

  • wareagle||

    there is quite a good deal of similarity among the chieftains - each supports his version of big govt as a means of stifling competition. They all talk a good game about markets and such, but the Fortune 500 types are just lip service. Own enough politicians and you can keep interlopers out of your industry, or at least raise the bar to entry high enough to scare a lot of them awya.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    For once we agree.

    And Willard Romney is just a rent-seeker too.

  • Almanian 1||

    Where did I say that?

    Oh, nowhere.

    Nice putting of words into others' mouths, dickface.

  • ||

    Shrike, what's it like inside Sarah's ass?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I say they give me the money, and I'll build a missile defense net in space.

  • ||

    You'd just piss it away on hookers and blow.

    Oh wait, that's what I would do. Never mind.

  • John Thacker||

    Over the previous decade, just because Microsoft was a victim of its own scale, that didn't mean there weren't any innovations worth investing in between 1994 and 2004.

    Sure. But it does mean that Microsoft then, and possibly Google now, couldn't figure out what they were.

  • Sudden||

    More than that. When Microsoft did that, the ROI on that idle capital was considerably better than the ROI of idle capital in today's environment.

    Granted, $50 billion is a lot to throw at various investments (unless of course you're Obama, in which case $50 billion is nary a week of spending fun). But you'd still think they'd be committing a bit of capital here and a bit of capital there to all sorts of promising ventures. Sure, the risk is that 9/10 don't pan out, but the one that does covers your losses and then some.

    There are two reasons that wouldn't happen: 1. the ideas don't exist or 2. you're not actually a broad tech company, you're a search engine that dabbles in tech the way I'm not a poker player, I just fuck around with it every once in a while.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Part of it is scale. If Google is sitting on $50 billion in cash, and they invest $5 million in a company or innovation that returns 500% on their investment over a period of two years--then that's a waste of time for them.

    That means they spent their time on an investment that netted them a one tenth of one percent return on their equity. And that's if they hit a home run!

    Huge large cap mutual funds have the same problem, where they all end up mimicking the SP 500, more or less.

    Because even if they did find a small $10 million company to invest in that blew up ten times its size in less than a year, how much would that contribute to their bottom line on a percentage basis--when they're like PIMCO and they've got a $160 billion under management?

    $20 million divided by $160 billion? That's a .0125 of a percent difference on their annual return. It's a complete waste of time and effort.

    When Google's looking at what to do with their mountain of cash? They've got the same problem.

  • Sudden||

    I can tell I've been reading too many White House press releases when $50 billion not only doesn't seem like a mountain of cash, but seems like a drop in a bucket.

  • John Thacker||

    Fine, so they can't earn better than the market on it. That still doesn't answer the question of why they don't return it to the investors, who might prefer to own other equities rather than the bundled bonds that come with a share of Google.

  • robc||

    If Google is sitting on $50 billion in cash, and they invest $5 million in a company or innovation that returns 500% on their investment over a period of two years--then that's a waste of time for them.

    But it wouldnt be for their investors...so pay it out as fucking dividends and let the people for whom small risks are worthwhile take those risks.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's what they'll probably do--eventually.

    But if they did that right now? That would be admitting they weren't really a growth company!

    In other words, their p/e would fall. The market would slash the company's growth projections. Their stock price wouldn't get the multiple it got before.

    The earnings of companies that are expected to grow are given a higher multiple. When kissing that higher multiple good-bye and paying out dividends or doing stock buybacks, or something else, is better than having that higher multiple on their earnings keeping their stock price up?

    Be sure, that's when Google will start paying high dividends. But generally speaking, if I'm holding Google, finding out tomorrow that the market is giving my stock's earnings a lower multiple?

    Is not a good thing for me.

    Maybe if you buy in after that change in perception happens. But the best time to buy into a stock probably isn't just before the company decides to broadcast that it isn't really a high growth company anymore.

    And that's what they would be doing by paying all that out in dividends right now--capitulating.

  • Mo||

    Google has a PEG under 1. That tells me that they're still a growth company, dividend or no.

  • Ken Shultz||

    By the way, Google is in Las Vegas testing out its driverless car technology.

    They mentioned giving that technology away at one point!

    Just because there's more cash in the world than world changing innovations doesn't mean the innovations aren't out there.

    It's like that in commercial real estate, too. Great deals don't usually have trouble finding cash for very long. Sometimes the banks have plenty of money to lend, but becasue of market conditions, or whatever, there just aren't many loans worth making.

    It's the same thing with industry changing innovations.

    There will always be more cash than industry changing innovations--and Google's mountain of cash may just be a testament to that fact and nothing more.

  • Sudden||

    Are you in the CRE industry Ken?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've been in commercial real estate for a long time.

  • Sudden||

    You're in Southern California right? I'm an appraiser, and trying to find a new direction within commercial real estate in Southern California. I've been looking into REITs, private equities, etc. Obviously, not the ideal time to be searching for new employment. You know of any companies out there hiring CRE Analysts?

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's a long, hard, ugly road to hoe in California right now.

    Email me. I'll keep it in mind, and if I hear about anything whatsoever, I'll let you know.

    Everybody's dyin' out there right now. Me included. When it starts coming back, appraisers will be some of the first at the table.

    In the meantime, whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might. Et Illegitimi non carborundum!

  • Sudden||

    Well, I had a phone interview yesterday with a global engineering and broader consulting firm that has recently acquired a number of companies and resulting real estate portfolios and are seeking a Sr Portfolio Manager to make recommendations on properties to keep and properties to dump. So ideally I'll get a follow up interview on that one if all goes well. But the hedge funds and PEs and REITs haven't been the most promising as of yet. Looks like they're all seeking MBA or MBA candidates and I haven't the resources to sink into the higher ed bubble for now.

  • wareagle||

    sudden,
    I hate to tell you but the lack of that paper is going to be a serious hindrance to you, if it is not already one. I am wrapping up an MS this December, and that's in the marketing/pr/corporate comm arena, not even a hard science or something that requires post-grade learning.

    Go the student loan route if you have to but get those initials. Unless you have an inside connection somewhere, having/not having a Masters is a screening criterion companies use to whittle down the pile.

  • Sudden||

    The goal is to get one. It's one of those situations right now where I'm trying to find my way into a company that either pays better or provides some level of tuition reimbursement in order to mitigate that debt load.

  • ||

    Would the government actually allow driverless cars on the roads?

  • nicole||

    I believe it's currently only legal in Nevada (and possibly that it is only so because they legalized it for Google), and that is why they are testing the technology there.

  • Whahappan?||

    I think California also recently took some steps in this direction also.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They're already on the street in Las Vegas.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2012-0....._s=PM:TECH

  • Mo||

    They've been driving around DC, too.

  • robc||

    Then pay dividends and let the guys that funded you fund a bunch of other small guys.

  • Jerry on the road||

    I guess Google is sitting on so much cash because it's too damn expensive to pay it out to shareholders.

  • Sudden||

    It's a lot cheaper now than it will be on 1/1/2013. Right now qualified dividends are taxed at 15%, starting on the first, the dividend tax goes up to match marginal income tax rates.

  • Jerry on the road||

    How much will it cost Google in taxes to get cash from its foreign subsidiaries?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Google and the cash under its mattress may not be the best weathervane of technological advancement potential. The guys who brought us a groundbreaking search algorithm didn't have the personal fortunes to spend their time playing and marketing.

    Some dude in his basement or garage is right now developing a computer system that will give you a handy while it finds the Brazilian fart porn you love so much. Or something.

  • ||

    Not everyone craves Brazilian fart porn as much as you, FoE.

  • Joe R.||

    He doesn't need everyone to crave it, just enough-one.

  • Sudden||

    I, for one, am intrigued and would like to subscribe to the newsletter.

  • RandomJackass||

    It all comes back to copyright abuse and patent trolls. Google is sitting on not only a stockpile of cash, but also a stockpile of "weaponized" patents, along with all its competitors. If Google does something too innovative, any of its competitors will jump up with trivial patents and claim they are protected ideas and sue for damages. Likewise, if any of Google's competitors get too clever, Google will send its attack-lawyers armed with Google patents to do the same back. It is a mutually assured destruction. Meanwhile, any smaller company with a new idea is afraid to mention it, because they cannot afford to spend years in court fighting frivolous patent claims. So it's a stalemate until we can get back to some rational form of patent and copyright that does not inhibit innovation to such a great extent.

  • ||

    This is an interesting take on it. However, Google knows what patents are out there and has an army of lawyers and researchers. It would be interesting if they managed to get around the patent issue by coming up with brand new ways of doing shit that used to be covered by a patent.

  • Juice||

    How is google not innovating and expanding?

    Try going an entire day without interacting with google in one way or another. Good luck.

    If you have an android phone it's nigh impossible.

    And yeah, Android and Chrome are two recent big things that google has done. I don't see how anyone can say they aren't continuing to innovate (and gobble up smaller companies).

  • Name Nomad||

    https://duckduckgo.com
    That goes a long way towards not interacting with them.

  • Old Mexican||

    Thiel is making a dog-that-didn't-bark argument, basically saying that if there were rich horizons for technological progress, shouldn't Schmidt's Google be using its huge cash piles to explore them?


    Not if spending cash for the higher-hanging fruit means having the returns confiscated by Obama's government. Thiel must be living in la-la land.

  • ||

    Technically he did say:

    I think [technological stagnation is] because the government has outlawed technology...I think we've basically outlawed everything having to do with the world of stuff, and the only thing you're allowed to do is in the world of bits.

    Making taxes on innovation prohibitory high I think falls under outlawing it.

  • Libertarius||

    It sounds like the kind of half-baked junk arguments you hear from anti-IP folks (which include leftist moochers and "anarcho-capitalists" alike).

    IP is based on the moral principle of a man (or a business) being able to own the products of their work. In the absense of property rights, most crucially including IP, the incentive to invest in innovation is mitigated.

    IP does not "prevent innovation"; it encourages it. If one man or company invents and patents a mousetrap, there is nothing stopping a competitor from inventing and patenting a better mousetrap.

  • Paul.||

    It depends on how IP law is structured. Currently, there's something very broken about IP, which is why you now have companies throwing billions into "patent portfolios".

    A company comes up with an innovation, and some small player in an unmarked office in Topeka, KS claims a patent infringement, and whammo, billion-dollar lawsuits are filed.

    Our patent laws are broken, and they need to be fixed because I believe they do stifle innovation. Especially because nearly everything on the internet arguably falls under a 'look-and-feel' type scenario.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Who cares about inventions, it's all about time to market. And the shorter that time the better.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    IP is based on the moral principle of a man being able to tell other people what they can and can't do with their own property, because that man once had a "novel" idea. It's completely incompatible with actual property rights.

  • np||

    Leaving aside the more philosophical debate about IP and property rights, just on the issue of whether it prevents innovation or encourages it:

    If one man or company invents and patents a mousetrap, there is nothing stopping a competitor from inventing and patenting a better mousetrap.


    Except everything about IP/patent law is the complete antithesis of that. It is purposefully and successfully used to stop competitors from inventing a better mousetrap.

    Even if you are pro-IP, an objective look will show you the vast majority are bullshit, in terms of the legal requirements of originality and non-obvious to those versed in the arts, as well as failing Constitutional requirement of "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts", as I've stated in terms of eliminating competition above.

    While bullshit patents are prevalent in the tech sector, especially with software, it can be found most anywhere, from "design patents" to "business methods" including a recent case:

  • np||

    Judge blasts colleagues for defying SCOTUS, allowing financial patent


    The Federal Circuit is going back to allowing patents that are not only abstract, they are "literally ancient," notes Prost. The type of "financial intermediation" described in the patent—basically a form of escrow providing for trusted transactions—dates back to the early Roman Empire.

    The decision, CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. (PDF), pushes against recent Federal Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have blocked patents for being too abstract. Now the case will head back to a district court in Washington D.C. for continued litigation.


    and Alice Corp itself actually has product or service using that financial patent. Its business model revolves around filing and licensing patents

  • np||

    - "has no product"

  • robc||

    IP is based on the moral principle of a man (or a business) being able to own the products of their work.

    Bullshit. IP is the exact opposite of that.

    IP restricts me from using the products of my work, if you happened to do it first and register it first.

    If it comes from my brain or my body, its MINE. That is the moral principle. Anyone who supports patents or copyrights supports slavery, as you are claiming the product of my brain and my work doesnt belong to me.

  • ||

    Off the top of my head, I can name at least two areas of technological innovation that the government has essentially regulated to death.

    1. Nuclear energy.
    2. Crop biotechnology

    It's like whenever the economy craps out, the government begrudingly allows development in one one new area of technology at a time.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, that's the flip side of what Obama said the other day, Hazel.

    If you've got a business that was strangled to death by regulation, the government did not build that-–somebody else made that happen.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    I have been a land developer for a number of years. I can think of at least two instances in which i came up with a marketable subdivision and not a year or to later county staff used those as examples of why what i did needs to be made illegal.

    i also know one developer in my area made who individual dry wells to control storm water. Dry wells essentially allowed the developer to make smaller lots and not having to waste land on giant ugly weed infested fenced storm ponds. After the developer did that the county prohibited them.

    I also know there are septic systems that only release clean water that is potable...this essentially does away with the need for a drain field and would allow for much smaller lots where sewer is unavailable...the local health department has made them illegal as well.

    The scope at which the government stops any innovation to solve real world problems is all pervasive. Not merely limited to nuke power and biotech.

  • ||

    Think of the boom we would have in the agricultural sector if the potential of genetic engineering were fully unleashed.

    It would be a fucking stampede. You'd end up with awesome shit like kiwi-flavored seedless oranges which take months to rot.
    Brocolli that comes off the plant pre-flavored with garlic and salt.

    There's so much potential for innovation that is being stifled it makes my brain hurt.

  • ||

    Think of the boom we would have in the agricultural sector if the potential of genetic engineering were fully unleashed.

    It would be a fucking stampede. You'd end up with awesome shit like kiwi-flavored seedless oranges which take months to rot.
    Brocolli that comes off the plant pre-flavored with garlic and salt.

    There's so much potential for innovation that is being stifled it makes my brain hurt.

  • Ted S.||

    I believe reason's server squirrels are genetically altered.

  • ||

    Always wanted an apple sized cherry.

    Medicine is screwed up too, research/service/drugwar/shortages- back to nuclear with isotopes

  • ||

    Lets not get into who has the biggest government dick block argument.

    My point is that innovation is being stifled all over the place.

  • ||

    I agree. I'm just musing on the general topic.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just for the record, I think Thiel is right about the government basically killing the financial industry; I'm just not sure Google is a good example.

    What's really going to get hurt by what the government has done to the financial industry is the problems it gives to old brick and mortar type industries.

    If you're talking about real estate, the amount of technological innovation Thiel is talking about may not drive your business directly, but sometimes the ability to innovate novel financial solutions is the difference between a booming industry and one in the doldrums.

    Despite what you may have heard, it isn't like regulation can ever stop the next downturn from happening anyway. But people do need different innovative financial solutions at different points in the economic cycle.

    The financial services industry used to innovate us out of downturns. Creative destruction is real, and it's often largely responsible what makes the inflection point on the down turn happen so that we can really start growing again.

    They killed the goose that lays the golden eggs, but we can resurrect it...

    Once we get that jackass Obama out of office (and if we can keep his crony Warren quarantined in Massachusetts), it may be hard to keep consumers and entrepreneurs away from the financing they so desperately want--no matter what the stupid politicians did in a few years ago.

  • ||

    If you're talking about real estate

    The amount of things that are prohibited by zoning and building standards and yard set backs would blow your mind.

  • ||

    here is a pretty good one covered by reason two years ago:

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/06.....aterless-u

  • ||

    Bonus that it was Doherty who wrote it.

  • ||

    Preach on brother.

  • ||

    He's got absolutely the right point about the investment climate though.

    People have no idea where to put their capital. There aren't any burgeoning new fields of development to sink your money into, so they keep putting it into internet companies. Which is why facebook is worth a billion dollars and Google has 50 billion dollars lying around that it has no idea what to do with.

    What are you going to invest in? medical devices maybe? Biotech (of the non-crop variety) is already flooded with investment too.

  • PapayaSF||

    Apple seems to refute Thiel's point: They are are innovating very well, thank you, with the iPhone and iPad transforming the smartphone and tablet markets, and also have a pile of cash, which they use for such things as funding suppliers to expand capacity.

  • Sudden||

    The iPhone is now 5 years old, the broader smart phone 10 years old (and predating Apple). The iPad is nothing but an enlarged iPhone and hardly revolutionary in that regard. And beyond all that, Apple is largely the Japanese style of innovation: take an existing product, make it's interface more intuitive and user-friendly, slap a sleek design on it, and sell it to hipsters without their acknowledgement of the irony of it. That kind of innovation hardly pushes humanity to greater heights of dominance over the physical world, it has it's place and it's revolution isn't the technology itself but popularizing it, but it's not the forefront of pushing the envelope.

  • PapayaSF||

    Sorry, but you don't get Apple at all. Of course there were smartphones before the iPhone, but the iPhone revolutionized the field. (Same with the Apple ][, the Mac, the iPod, and the iPad.) Too bad you don't see how those things push the envelope and are more than devices with sleek designs "slapped" on them.

  • Timon 19||

    That's exactly what they are. The Apple Two is the closest to truly revolutionary, and even then I'm not so sure. I mean, at the same time we had the Apple Two, there was the totally awesome Commodore 64 and Amiga and similar things.

  • PapayaSF||

    It's trivially true that all innovations build on past ones, but anyone who doesn't see the innovation in Apple products is someone who doesn't really understand the process of design.

  • Timon 19||

    This is why Apple fanboys tend toward the insufferable.

    I'm sorry, but "you just don't get it" isn't much of an argument.

  • PapayaSF||

    If what Apple is doing is really so trivial and easy, why aren't other companies doing the same things, and just as well? And are there really hundreds of millions of "hipsters" buying all those products? The realities in the market refute your glib and dismissive clichés.

  • Timon 19||

    Wait, so "not so revolutionary == trivial and easy"? Nice false choice.

    And you might want to take up the "hipsters" comment with the person who actually made it, asshat.

    It's not worth arguing with fanboys whose main argument is "you just don't get it", speaking of glib and cliched.

  • DRM||

    Wrong order of magnitude. Not hundreds of millions, merely tens of millions. Number of devices sold over a multiple year period does not equal number of buyers.

  • Sudden||

    Did I meet you in Vegas this past weekend? Because I was at the Venetian and started arguing Apple with the guy sitting next to me at the sportsbook bar only to find out he was a libertarian. The field of libertarians is too small (I am the only true scotsman) for that to be anyone but you.

  • PapayaSF||

    Ha, no, but I will be there next month.

  • John C. Randolph||

    The iPad is nothing but an enlarged iPhone and hardly revolutionary in that regard.

    Oh please, not that canard again. That's like saying that a swimming pool is just an enlarged kitchen sink.

    -jcr

  • Sudden||

    With the greater size of a pool relative to a kitchen sink comes an entirely new array of functionality. I suppose the size of the ipad lends itself more to lengthy reading and some gaming, but aside from that, I fail to see how it exceeds the iphone in functionality.

  • Timon 19||

    It's like saying a basement utility tub is an enlarged kitchen sink. Except some kitchen sinks have a garbage disposal in them.

  • ||

    I see the iPad more as a laptop then a phone.

  • PapayaSF||

    The other issue is that it's known that the iPad was developed first, and the iPhone was a spin-off of that research that ended up ready for market first.

  • T o n y||

    The iPad was a tour de force of capitalism. Its success came in the form of a creation people didn't know they wanted; it was creator of its own demand.

  • ||

    it was creator of its own demand.

    Pretty sure iPads have been a staple of sci-fi for at least 50 years.

    Plus there was the Newton. And ebooks and that amazon reader thing.

    It was simply a matter of time when they got the price point and functionality right.

  • T o n y||

    You're right and it's likely that the concept was an inevitable transition. Selling it in a recession was the impressive part.

  • PapayaSF||

    The really impressive parts are designing it well, building it well, and selling about 60 million (so far) for $500 or so, and at a good profit.

  • Ted S.||

    aPple is an iCult.

  • PapayaSF||

    Libertarians should avoid throwing around the term "cult."

  • np||

    To be fair, he does make that point too:


    I think we've basically outlawed everything having to do with the world of stuff, and the only thing you're allowed to do is in the world of bits. And that's why we've had a lot of progress in computers and finance. Those were the two areas where there was enormous innovation in the last 40 years. It looks like finance is in the process of getting outlawed....

    if we're living in an accelerating technological world, and you have zero percent interest rates in the background, you should be able to invest all of your money in things that will return it many times over, and the fact that you're out of ideas, maybe it's a political problem, the government has outlawed things. But, it still is a problem....

    Personally I see his point and I also see merit on Google and other large companies sitting on cash, just for security. Like RandomJackass mentioned about patents, they are under constant legal threat with continuous litigation by other companies and the government.

  • np||

    .. that was supposed to be in reply to OM

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Google aside, I agree with Thiel's point about government meddling in the world of stuff vs. the world of bits. The internet is an (almost) entirely free market, and it rocks. That's why I am so strongly against net neutrality or any other bullshit regulatory scheme, no matter how benign.

  • OC in DC||

    The government created both the computer and the internet.... technology is an area where the private sector is a parasite to the government.

  • Greg F||

    The government created both the computer and the internet ...

    Historically challenged people believe this.

  • ||

    God damn you are an idiot.

  • John C. Randolph||

    the day you take that $30 billion and send it back to people you're admitting that you're no longer a technology company.

    Nonsense. The day you pay a dividend, you're showing that you're a profitable company and expect to remain so for the foreseeable future.

    Increasing shareholder value and paying dividends is the ultimate duty of any joint-stock corporation. It's high time we abolished the taxes that make it seem like a bad idea to do so.

    -jcr

  • ||

    FED created bubbles have done away with the need for public companies to give out dividends to attract investors.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The only bubble now- gold, was created by nutty Armageddon types and not the Fed.

  • ||

    nah gold is inflated by the fed as well.

    also you must have missed our current stock bubble:

    "U.S. Federal Reserve Delivers 50% Higher Stock Market 'Pavlovian Premium'"

    http://seekingalpha.com/articl.....an-premium

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    some goldbug spouting off his bullshit

  • ||

    some goldbug spouting off his bullshit

    The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York is a goldbug?

    Stock prices would be about 50 percent lower than where they were over a period of more than a decade or so without Federal Reserve action, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report finds.

  • ||

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/48165921

    CNBC says the same thing.

    But yeah i am pretty sure they are goldbugs as well.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But shrike says that QE doesn't lead to inflation anywhere.

  • ant1sthenes||

    For companies like Google, I imagine the main legal change that would make life easier for them would be shutting down the patent wars through extensive reform. In general, categories of tech that evolve rapidly, or are way too prone to prior art or multiple people coming up with similar things should not be allowed, and it should be easier to get crap patents revoked. Courts that are known for facilitating trolls should be shut down. Any patent that didn't lead to a product on the market within two years should be nullified. And genetic patents should be banned simply because gene-copying is natural and not necessarily controllable (and because if abused, they are incredibly dangerous to life and health).

  • T o n y||

    The stagnation of a private company doesn't mean technology has ended. Technological advancements proceed from research, and research has always been largely funded by government. How has government outlawed technology? I don't see that clearly explored here.

    When the basic motive of an enterprise is to generate profits, that doesn't always coincide with innovating. Think light bulbs and fossil fuel energy. The president is including defending science funding in his stump speech!

    I can't imagine even libertarians are so jadedly transnational as to not care that the big innovations in research are happening in Europe, and in technology have long been happening in Japan. None of it is due to capitalism alone.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Tony,

    NEVER attempt to run a business, particularly one that depends on technological advancement.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Actually, the current wikipedia article says that funding in the biggest countries (USA, China, Germany, Japan) is funded 65-75% by private industry, 18-30% by government. I have to get down to Italy before a country's government is funding more research than private enterprise. See "Funding of science." So, in what sense is research largely funded by government? Do you just mean that 15-30% is big?

  • ||

    Brian, Anthony doesn't require facts to make arguments. Talking points and straw men are his entire repertoire. Please don't confuse him with actual data, he will only ignore it.

  • ||

    $

  • OC in DC||

    Actually google has been dumping crazy amounts of funds into technology. It's just not things people can really see. But the micro improvements to android and other google items are there. In effect your phone, tablet, email, all of that knows where you are and what you are doing. Ditto for anything online or that has a groupon, facebook, whatever. And it then tracks you over GPS and peoples wifi around you.

    They are building this into internet enabled glasses where simply looking at a person or business dumps all their information straight onto your glasses so you can see their complete history.

    Not to mention google trying to take on MSFT and IBM as an email platform, and pushing out their OS as well.

    Theil is, as always, just trying to get people to gamble more of their money in the corrupt Wall Street Casino. The truth is that google, like apple, Microsoft, and other companies is really just a software company. This doesn't require tons and tons of investment in the same way a company producing hardware does. But they are moving forward rapidly.

    Oh, and you can use android phones as not only a google wallet but a credit card.

    So google is doing fine. Now, if you care that your entire life is now in googles hands and others can see it and everything you do is linked and anybody can track you... google is bad. But hey, it's not the government.

  • T o n y||

    Private enterprises can abuse your privacy too, especially in the absence of laws preventing it. And you don't get to vote for the board.

  • ant1sthenes||

    On the other hand, they usually use the invasion of your privacy to send unwanted ads your way, not unwanted bombs.

    And you don't get to vote for the Star Chamber. You don't even technically get to vote for the president (though that's a good thing).

  • OC in DC||

    They sell your information to ads, companies, and people. I can link every comment someone made on websites by their information and you can track people off android or iOS as well, as they move and find out where people live.

    Sure it's not a bomb, but your entire privacy is gone, google, apple, facebook, all of them, that's how they work. That's what they are investing in.

    You, and all your information, are now their legally owned product.

    As for unwanted bombs... I worry about crazy people the most here.

    Just don't make a mistake, big technology owns you, you don't own it. And unless you are typing through a computer you built, you installed .nix on, or a smart phone with (oddly enough) the NSA's secure android on it and going through multiple VPNs, you're an owned man to the bone being sold for a buck as we speak.

    But since it's all by contract and with private individuals I don't mind. I have no issues with companies owning people, just the government.

  • T o n y||

    I truly fear Mark Zuckerberg's personal philosophy on privacy. For that matter the Koch brothers' incentivized philosophy on private influence of policy. All I'm saying is private entities ought have no more authority to abuse basic rights than government.

  • OC in DC||

    Our government really only gives you laws and rights to protect you from the government, not from private actors. And a core part of conservative principles is the freedom to use your private power. Control of other people and ownership of their lives for profit is a true conservative ideal. Slavery was wrong because of abuse, but selling another human for profit and owning their life is not wrong. That's the core concept of freedom of contract and why we need to crush the unions and return control to investors.

    Google owns me, and I do not care. Also the Koch's kick ass, they fund Republicans, and let's be honest... libertarians has always been economic freedoms and rights first. Human and civil rights should never come before economic rights. And that's why liberals suck. We've put human rights as higher than economic rights for far too long in this nation. A solid roll back prior to the 1930's is what we need.

  • T o n y||

    I'm on candid camera aren't I.

  • OC in DC||

    No it's not a joke. The government doesn't have the legal authority to do what google, facebook, apple, et all are doing. Private companies do. This is all by freedom of contract.

    And the terms you agree to in each of their products combine to do this to you. Is it all bad, that's up for debate. Though I like being able to access information on a business or person they wouldn't freely give to me through these advancements. And guess what, that's legal as well for me to do, but not the government.

    My rights and googles rights would be infringed on if I couldn't get the information I wanted to on you.

  • T o n y||

    Then I suppose I'm rather grateful for the modicum of transparency required from credit card peddlers due to recent policy.

    Private abuse is the raison d'etre of government. That technology has made the definition of abuse more complicated only means public scrutiny must be more thorough.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Control of other people and ownership of their lives for profit is a true conservative ideal. Slavery was wrong because of abuse, but selling another human for profit and owning their life is not wrong.

    Thank Jezuz I'm not a conservative.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Or a nut like OC.

  • ||

    you are an idiot tony...it is not hard to not use apple/facebook/google products.

    If you do not want them knowing anything about you then don't use their products.

  • T o n y||

    If you don't want your government knowing anything about you then move to another planet.

  • ||

    I am working on it.

  • ||

    Tony said:
    "All I'm saying is private entities ought have no more authority to abuse basic rights than government."

    Based on your previous statements about government and how whatever's legal goes, I would say you're giving private entities a lot of leeway here.

  • Randian||

    Yeah, great, now we can get droned by DynCorp instead of DOD.

  • ||

    All I'm saying is private entities ought have no more authority to abuse basic rights than government.

    $

  • OC in DC||

    I don't care about corporate abuse, I care about government abuse.

    I can go off the grid completely, grow my own food, build my own house and largely be free of corporate issues. I can't say the same for the government.

  • T o n y||

    Shouldn't one want not to be abused by anyone?

  • T o n y||

    Or is the qualification "in accessible modern society" a license to sign it all away?

  • ||

    People can murder you, too, and it's even against the law. Who cares?

  • ||

    And you don't get to vote for the board.

    YES you do you stupid ass fuck. You don't buy their shit. You get to vote with your wallet.

    Last I fucking checked, unlike the government, corporations don't have guns to bend you to their will.

  • Killazontherun||

    Pffft -- Obamacare makes any private enterprise search for immortality obsolete anyway.

  • ||

    I think we're suffering from a lack of appreciation for the creative destruction of free markets. The big corporations of the year 1900 are gone, except for General Electric. That doesn't mean that innovation stalled between 1900-2000. Companies grow and decline, succeed, and fail. Rich get less rich, while others move up. I think we're falling for more of the 1%-99% "rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer" to expect something else.

  • ||

    a cop you will never read about at reason.

    andy conner. voted citizen of the year (2012) by the municipal league *yes cops are citizens*

    used his own time, and lots of his own money to found Genesis Project, a home where underage girls who have been trafficked for sex, and often forcefully addicted to drugs, can find shelter, drug programs, and all sorts of resources to help them escape their pimps.

    noted also, he;s assisted in helping bring about some massive underage trafficking cases. one recently got the highest sentence ever meted out for such a crime in WA state.

    cop and everyday hero.

    http://www.gpseattle.org/andycitizenoftheyear/

    facebook page for documentary that includes mention of genesis project

    http://www.facebook.com/RapeforProfitFilm

  • ||

    btw, contrary to the idiots who think the goal of a terry is to make an arrest, and an arrestless terry is a bad terry, this is a great example of getting enough RS to terry, not so you can arrest, but so you can investigate and help get this person off the street...

    the audio link is pretty good at this link

    http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11sid=608132#

    A young woman walks slowly down the Pacific Highway in SeaTac wearing white leather boots and a winter coat, lined with fake fur. She catches the eye of King County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Conner, who radios her location to undercover detectives.
    "There might be something up with this one," he says, an indication that he fears she is not just a prostitute, but a young victim of sex trafficking.

  • ||

    btw, contrary to the idiots who think the goal of a terry is to make an arrest, and an arrestless terry is a bad terry, this is a great example of getting enough RS to terry, not so you can arrest, but so you can investigate and help get this person off the street...

    the audio link is pretty good at this link

    http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11sid=608132#

    A young woman walks slowly down the Pacific Highway in SeaTac wearing white leather boots and a winter coat, lined with fake fur. She catches the eye of King County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Conner, who radios her location to undercover detectives.
    "There might be something up with this one," he says, an indication that he fears she is not just a prostitute, but a young victim of sex trafficking.

  • ||

    btw, contrary to the idiots who think the goal of a terry is to make an arrest, and an arrestless terry is a bad terry, this is a great example of getting enough RS to terry, not so you can arrest, but so you can investigate and help get this person off the street...

    the audio link is pretty good at this link

    http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11sid=608132#

    A young woman walks slowly down the Pacific Highway in SeaTac wearing white leather boots and a winter coat, lined with fake fur. She catches the eye of King County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Conner, who radios her location to undercover detectives.
    "There might be something up with this one," he says, an indication that he fears she is not just a prostitute, but a young victim of sex trafficking.

  • ||

    Detectives Brian Taylor and Joel Banks with the King County Street Crimes Unit spend time watching the girl's every move from their unmarked vehicle. At one point, the girl walks into a nearby gas station to speak with the clerk and charge her phone. Banks pulls in as if he's getting gas, then goes inside to "buy a candy bar" and monitor her conversation. He comes back with a Kit Kat.

    The men have reason to believe she is one of 300 to 500 minors in King County involved in domestic sex trafficking. Some estimates, however, put that number closer to 1,000.

    "They're just like the perfect target for these predators who are out there to force them out here on the street," said Detective Taylor, who is also a part of the FBI's Innocence Lost Task Force which works to combat underage prostitution. "I don't think people realize how close to home it's actually happening."

    But according to Taylor, at least 80 percent of the girls who work the streets of South King County are doing so against their will. Deputy Conner, Banks and Taylor knew they had to change the way they dealt with prostitutes.

    "Before, we'd arrest them for prostitution and throw them in jail. They would do a day or so in there and they'd be back out here," Taylor said. "We weren't really dealing with the core of the issues of why they were out here. Were they being forced out here?"

  • ||

    It was that realization that led to The Genesis Project, an operation to identify and rescue victims of sex trafficking, rather than arrest them. Spearheaded by Deputy Conner, the project allows the girls to be taken to a 24-hour drop-in center instead of to jail. There, they are provided access to food, showers, laundry, a place to sleep and counseling services. From there, non-profit partners extend services such as education and job training.

    The project starts on the streets where people like Detective Banks have to encourage young women to take them up on the opportunity.

    "We ask them do you have your GED? Do you have goals and dreams in life? We tell them, 'We can help you reach your goals," Banks said. "I look forward to coming to work everyday and hopefully taking another girl off the street."

    Since The Genesis Project first started in August 2011, 16 girls have been rescued from the streets of King County. And as the men hit the streets Tuesday night, on the eve of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, they likely saved number 17.

  • ||

    The young woman who entered the gas station on Pacific Highway turned out to be a 20-year-old prostitute. While she wasn't being forced to work, the team extended their services anyway.

    "I'm done with the excuses," she told the men. "Usually you don't have this interaction with police officers who want to help you."

    Their desire to help her would become even more apparent as the team escorted her back to The Genesis Project's center. She sat in the front seat of Deputy Conner's patrol car as Detectives Banks and Taylor went in ahead of them to turn on the fireplace.

    To learn more about The Genesis Project, visit gpseattle.org

    conner also has history as an elite athlete, a former NFL player and a great TF artist

    Seattle, WA. —

    Famed Yreka High alumnus, former Oregon star and NFL player Andy Conner will compete in the 2009 World Police and Fire Games (police Olympics) in Vancouver, BC, July 31-Aug. 9.
    Conner, son of Jean Whalen and Eddie Conner, will compete in the shot put, discus, and javelin events.
    At Yreka, Conner finished second in the nation for the high school Decathlon in 1987.
    Conner played football for the Oregon Ducks, graduating in 1992. He went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks in 1992-93 and the Rams in 1995.
    He has been a deputy sheriff for King County, Seattle since 1997.
    The last World games were held in Australia in 2007. These games are held every two years.

  • Randian||

    If we legalized prostitution, we wouldn't need to have this welfare program where we try to persuade adults from their chosen profession.

    *twirls finger* yippeeee...more dollars for 'victims'. If I hear one more word about 'trafficking' I am going to vomit.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Usually you don't have this interaction with police officers who want to help you."

    Way to try to cast the exception as the rule. Good job.

  • Coeus||

    btw, contrary to the idiots who think the goal of a terry is to make an arrest, and an arrestless terry is a bad terry, this is a great example of getting enough RS to terry, not so you can arrest, but so you can investigate and help get this person off the street...

    Common man, just submit. It's for your own good. Really.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    We don't want to harass people but we do it for their own good.

  • Randian||

    dunphy busted those terry detainees for drugs, despite his alleged anti-drug-war ramblings upthread.

  • Restoras||

    Hey, even a barrel of rotten apples probably has one good one. Maybe.

  • ||

    pacific cops arrest pacific mayor.. on video.

    drama

  • ||

  • SIV||

    If they failed to cap his dog it's a bad arrest.Time for some paid administrative leave.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sun, who was elected on a write-in vote by voters who said they wanted corruption cleaned up at City Hall, had been warned by police not to try and enter the city clerk's private office, where all the city's personnel files are kept.

    Hurray,

    Corrupt cops use violence to prevent an elected official from ending corruption.

    They're truly doing the Lord's (Obama) work.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Both the sheriff's office and prosecutor's office are investigating, but neither is clear whether the offices have any legal authority in this case.

    Why let a technicality like legal authority get in the way of cops protecting corruption, eh Dunphy.

  • Restoras||

    I wonder why they didn't just shoot him. Oh, right, he is one of the Circle of Cop Friends.

  • Coeus||

    Those fuckers still haven't shipped my nexus 7 yet, it's been in retail for a week and I ordered it on the 4th of July. The only reason I pre-ordered was because they said it would only be available from the damn play store.

    This google article just seemed like a good place to bitch about it. I've been using this site for catharsis for half a decade. Love this place.

  • Restoras||

    Carrying too much cash on the balance sheet is a drag on return the business should be generating. If it can't invest in projects that generate a return that exceeds the cfost of capital, it should pay that cash back out to shareholders.

    However, the current tax environment makes paying dividends economically/financially stupid (they are double-taxed). Throw in a heavy dose of uncertainty surrounding the future cost of doing business (what are health care/insurance costs going to be? what is our future tax rate going to be? what negative repercussions from European/American debt should we be prepared for?) and holding onto cash becomes wiser.

    Throw in the rapid pace of technological innovation occuring in the world we live in, a giant like GOOG or AAPL can suddenly be facing challenges they hadn't foreseen. Having the cash on hand allow greater flexibility to deal with that.

    Restoras out.

  • Steve D||

    I think Elon Musk might have some disagreement with this notion. I don't think there will be may rules preventing us from "making stuff" in/for space. Look to the heavens folks. It is the final frontier

  • ||

    Did Tony - OC try to out stupid each other up thread?

    Yep, looks like it.

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