File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

Liberty Update

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Taxes & Economy
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151 America’s 30-year-old Tax Code, Now Serving: No One

With our two major parties holding conventions this month and setting agendas for the next four years, now is the perfect time for Americans of all political persuasions to come together and urge comprehensive tax reform. Reforming our outdated tax code is a rare policy that maintains significant bipartisan support. Regardless of political affiliation…

152 A Builder or a Blabber in the White House

On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen gave a somber assessment of the current jobs market, throwing cold water on President Obama's election-year messaging. President Obama has been bragging that America has "the strongest" economy in the world. Right, and pigs can fly. GDP growth under Obama has averaged a stagnant 1.7 percent…

153 The $16 Billion Tax-Credit Black Hole

President Obama and GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan want to expand it. Tax preparation companies and illegal immigrants are cashing in on it. Fraudsters have found bottomless ways to exploit it. The earned income tax credit, a bipartisan-supported "anti-poverty" benefit, is robbing honest, law-abiding Americans blind. Originally intended to…

154 No, Obama Didn't Prevent the Next Great Depression

"Saving the economy from a great depression."  That was Barack Obama's response when asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to identify his "biggest accomplishment."  In Obama's defense, it's not as though he enjoys a Reaganesque litany of accomplishments from which to choose - winning the Cold War, reversing a…

155 Obama's Killer Economy

Middle-aged people laid off and unable to find work are taking another way out. They're killing themselves. Suicide rates are soaring, according to federal data released last week. Especially in economically depressed states and job-starved regions like upstate New York. People in need of work are twice as likely to take their own lives as employed…

156 Tax Week: Bernie Sanders Didn't Practice What He Preaches

Bernie Sanders asserts with religious fervor that "the rich" must pay more in taxes.  Except when it comes to Sanders himself, apparently.  It all makes for a satirical tale paralleling George Orwell's "Animal Farm" in which "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."  Sanders…

157 IRS Data: Wealthier Americans Actually Pay More Than Their "Fair Share"

Do you or anyone you know insist that wealthier Americans should pay their "fair share" of the nation's taxes?  If so, then there's good news:  They already do.  In fact, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, they pay far more than their fair share.  The IRS recently released its annual summary of tax data…

158 CFIF Print Ad Urges Congress to “Get to Work” on Tax Reform

The Center for Individual Freedom last week ran a full-page print advertisement in The Weekly Standard and Washington Examiner urging Congress to “Get to Work” on passing business tax reform. “With a 35% business tax rate - the highest among the OECD nations - U.S. businesses of all sizes are suffering,” the ad reads. &ldquo…

159 Puerto Rico’s Untold Tale of Corruption

By now, many Americans are familiar with the public debt fiasco that plagues Puerto Rico. The issue has steadily risen in prominence as the gravity of Puerto Rico’s debt load sets in on the American public. Certainly, the island’s economic mismanagement has taken center stage in Washington, as Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla…

160 As Our Economy Continues to Stagnate, the U.S. Falls Again in Annual Index of Economic Freedom

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that our economy grew just 0.7% in the final quarter of 2015.  Days later, the annual Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom revealed that our standing once again declined last year.  Adding particular poignancy is the way in which those two measures tragically…

161 Powerball's Biggest Winner: Government

Ka-ching! Wednesday's Powerball jackpot soared to $1.5 billion as get-rich-quick mania seized America this week. But you don't need to wait for the drawing to know who'll score the royal payoff. The biggest winner of the multistate numbers game is — drumroll, please — Uncle Sam. Powerball is a government-sponsored gambling racket…

162 Paul Ryan Starts Off on Wrong Foot With Budget Deal

Grass-roots conservatives have many unrealistic expectations and political objectives. And then sometimes they have a good point. The new budget deal arranged by John Boehner and Democrats -- approving $50 billion of additional spending in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017 -- will be split between domestic discretionary programs and defense. Cuts will…

163 Liberals Once Cared About Deficits, Until Obama Multiplied Them

Back when George W. Bush was president, liberals ceaselessly condemned his comparatively mild budget deficits.  When Barack Obama became president and proceeded to compound those deficits, however, they conspicuously went silent.  Recall what candidate Obama had to say about the issue on July 3, 2008.  On that date, the most recent…

164 Politicians' Words

At the recent televised debate among candidates for the Democrats' nomination for president, Hillary Clinton declared that "the wealthy pay too little" in taxes and "the middle class pays too much." Some people might wish to argue about whether that is true or not, but no rational argument can be made on either side of this issue…

165 Trump's Tax Plan: What's There. What's Not.

Donald Trump released his tax reform plan this week. Which is to say, this is Trump’s 2015 tax reform plan. His previous statements deriding Reagan- and Bush-era tax cuts, advocating a wealth surtax, and touting the virtues of a European-style Value Added Tax on goods and services should henceforth be considered null and void. Trump took to…

166 Obama "Recovery" Objectively Worst on Record

"Quarterly Increase in U.S. Worker Pay Smallest on Record"  So read the alarming headline of a Bloomberg Business report this past week:  "Wages and salaries in the U.S. rose in the second quarter at the slowest pace on record, dashing projections that an improving labor market would boost pay.  The 0.2 percent advance…

167 Free Trade: Congressional Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Legislation Merits Conservative Support

The post-World War II epoch has witnessed greater prosperity and economic growth than any in human history, due largely to free trade under American guidance.  In contrast, the years preceding World War II were characterized by the most severe global depression in history, as nations withdrew behind protectionist barriers.  Centuries before…

168 'Just Asking'

In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric -- and disregard of reality. One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to "ask from society's lottery winners" that they make a "modest investment" in government programs to…

169 Deficit Growing Again, Despite Record Income Tax Haul

So Americans paid $1.4 trillion in income taxes for 2014, a new record high.  For 2015, the expected total is even higher.  It is therefore unsurprising that a majority of Americans consider the amount of taxes they pay "too high" as opposed to "about right," according to a new Gallup survey.  Just 3% - perhaps the…

170 'Tis the Season

It's tax season again, and all across the country, taxpayers and tax accountants are feeling the effects of filing a return or an extension so they don't end up on the wrong side of the IRS, get audited or, worse, get put in prison. It's never easy, but this year is even more painful than ever. The U.S. tax code has become so complicated that taxpayers…

171 The Taxman Cometh

Rand Paul is usually a pretty politically savvy guy, but he made a mistake when it came time to announce his presidential candidacy. Had the Kentucky Senator really wanted to prime voters for his anti-government message, he would’ve waited a week and announced his candidacy on April 15: Tax Day. If, like me, you’ve spent the past few weeks…

172 Ruinous 'Compassion'

It is fascinating to see brilliant people belatedly discover the obvious — and to see an even larger number of brilliant people never discover the obvious. A recent story in a San Francisco newspaper says that some restaurants and grocery stores in Oakland's Chinatown have closed after the city's minimum wage was raised. Other small businesses…

173 White House: Obama “Very Interested” in Unilaterally Raising Taxes

If his press secretary is to be believed, President Barack Obama is considering whether to use executive actions to unilaterally raise taxes. “The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest…

174 Attention, San Fran Nan: Government Dependency Kills Jobs

Being a San Francisco liberal means never having to say you're sorry. Or wrong. Take Nancy Pelosi, please. Five years ago, California's genius Bay Area Democrat declared that government unemployment checks generate job growth. Yes, really. "Let me say about unemployment insurance," she told reporters, "this is one of the biggest stimuluses…

175 By the Numbers: Obama's Economic, Jobs and Deficit Performance Is the Worst On Record

Given what we know now, only Barack Obama could attempt to characterize his economic record as one of achievement rather than historic failure.  Only Obama could attempt to characterize his record on deficits, which dwarf those of any other president that preceded him, as a successful one.    And only Obama could characterize…

176 Paul Ryan Passes on Presidency to Focus on Reforming Government Now

On Monday, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he would not run for president in 2016. Instead he will focus on enacting policies to spur economic growth as the new head of the House Ways and Means Committee.  “After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to run for president,” Ryan said in a statement. “Our work…

177 Inversion: America Has Gone From Attracting Global Business to Penalizing It

Throughout our nation's history, Americans have taken justifiable pride in cultivating a domestic climate that attracts innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses from across the globe.  In recent years, however, our tax laws and federal regulations have eroded our international competitiveness.  Paradoxically, that has occurred during a period…

178 Warren Buffett Abandons Obama

Agitated by the predictable consequences of their tax and regulatory agenda, liberals and the Obama Administration condemn the "economic patriotism" of "corporate deserters" who seek refuge by relocating operations beyond U.S. borders.  This week, Burger King became just the latest target of their misplaced wrath, after announcing…

179 If Bush's $4 Trillion Debt Was "Unpatriotic," What Is Obama's $7 Trillion?

"That's irresponsible.  It's unpatriotic!"  So said Barack Obama on July 3, 2008, referring to the $4 trillion in cumulative new debt under George W. Bush:  "The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving…

180 Obama Administration Questions Others' Patriotism While Obstructing Bipartisan Corporate Tax Reform

It may come as a surprise to many, but the United States imposes the developed world's highest corporate tax rate, with a combined federal and state average of 39.1%.  Exacerbating matters, our corporate tax code is a hopelessly complex and convoluted one.  Among other defects, the U.S. code taxes not only domestic earnings, but overseas…

 
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Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
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