Why Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: ‘I’m disappointed in Obama’

By Katie Kieffer
Steve Jobs

Late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. Image credit: sarnau on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Two months before Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer, he told his biographer Walter Isaacson: “I’m disappointed in Obama.” President Obama disregarded Jobs while he was alive—while using Jobs’ iconic image and entrepreneurial success story to further his political interests. Now that Jobs has passed away (and is unable to defend himself), Obama continues to rip off Jobs—using him as a false poster boy for his socialist economic agenda. Jobs was a long-term Democrat. In practice, however, Jobs was a life-long capitalist—not a socialist like Obama. Isaacson writes in his best-selling book, Steve Jobs: “Communal economics were not for him.” Obama largely ignored Apple and dismissed Jobs’ ideas while he was alive. However, during his 2012 State of the Union address, Obama made a point of inviting Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, to sit in the First Lady’s box (along with token guests like Warren Buffett’s secretary). Obama never mentioned or honored Powell (who Jobs adored and whose persistent love enabled his work) within his speech. Instead, Obama repeatedly attacked the capitalistic tools that Jobs utilized to achieve the American dream. If Obama truly admired and respected Jobs, why didn’t he phone Jobs to congratulate him after he launched the iPad? Isaacson says the iPad was Jobs’ “pet project.” It was the culmination of Jobs’ life-long ideas, dreams and hard work and “it embodied everything he stood for.” When Jobs was just 26-years-old, he told a classroom of Stanford students about his vision to develop a book-sized computer. When Apple finally developed the multi-touch technology needed for a tablet, he decided to utilize it for the iPhone first because “Tablets appeal to rich guys with plenty of other PCs and devices already.” Upon its 2010 launch, 15 million iPads sold in just nine months and it is considered to be “the most successful consumer product launch in history.”

Image credit: “iPad with Dandilion” by JaredEarle on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Jobs “noted at dinner [on the night he publicly announced the iPad] that the president had not called him since taking office,” writes Isaacson. Obama delegated the apparently onerous task of congratulating Jobs on his historical entrepreneurial feat to his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. And Obama never made a personal visit to see Jobs in his home after he publicly announced his third and final medical leave from Apple in January of 2011; Larry Page, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton took care to pay respectful last visits. The reason Obama initially met with Jobs was because Obama’s aids thought that the meeting “fit into [Obama’s] new emphasis on competitiveness.” Jobs initially didn’t want to meet. He felt that the President should have personally requested the meeting and he said: “I’m not going to get slotted in for a token meeting so that he can check off that he met with a CEO.” It took five days for his wife to convince him to go. When they met for forty-five minutes at the Westin San Francisco Airport in the fall of 2010, Isaacson says Jobs advised Obama to reform education by busting up teachers unions. He also told the president that his anti-business regulations were forcing American companies to move manufacturing to China. He warned: “You’re headed for a one-term presidency.” Jobs became passionate about trying to teach Obama how to reform his policies and foster American innovation; he set up a dinner for Obama to meet with tech CEOs. Interestingly, the president’s “shared sacrifice” staff co-opted Jobs’ menu and insisted that the dinner include an extravagant “cream pie tricked out with chocolate truffles … [because] the president liked cream pie,” writes Isaacson. (Clearly, the First Lady of Nutrition was not in attendance.) Isaacson writes that Jobs offered job-creating advice to the President: ‘he stressed the need for more trained engineers and suggested that any foreign students who earned any engineering degree in the United States should be given a visa to stay in the country. Obama said that could be done only in the context of the “Dream Act.” … Jobs found this an annoying example of how politics can lead to paralysis. “The president is very smart, but he kept explaining to us reasons why things can’t get done. It infuriates me, [Jobs later recalled.]”’ At the dinner, Jobs also explained to the president that the reason Apple employs hundreds of thousands of people in China is because Apple couldn’t find “30,000” qualified American engineers. Jobs (a college drop-out turned billionaire) insisted that four-year degrees were unnecessary to train the engineers he needed. While Obama did call Jobs afterward to further discuss training engineers, he didn’t take actions to follow through on their conversations in a way that satisfied Jobs before he died.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs showing the new Apple Macbook Air laptop series during his keynote address at Macworld 2008 in San Francisco. Image credit: TechShowNetwork on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Jobs initially tried to make Apple “all-American.” For example, early on, Jobs held a global contest for Apple’s general designer and he flew to Germany to review designer Hartmut Esslinger’s proposal. He loved Esslinger’s idea to design Apple’s products with a “California global” flair and create a “born-in-America gene for Apple’s DNA.” However, Isaacson says Jobs would only hire Esslinger “on the condition that he move to California.” Apple has consistently tried to use American workers and facilities as much as possible, but it is no longer practical given the lack of skilled workers, excessive government regulations and the 35 percent corporate income tax rate. Apple is only profitable and successful because it currently does business in China. Without China, there would be no Apple. Contrary to popular opinion, technology companies spend more on materials than on labor overseas. For instance, rare-earths are key components to iPods and iPads that can cost up to $130 per lb. The U.S. used to lead the world in mining rare-earths through a California mine called Molycorp. However, environmental regulations sent this mine into extinction and the U.S. lost her competitive technology advantage. Today, China produces roughly 97 percent of all rare-earths. Jobs’ instincts were capitalistic. He was not a profiteer. Nor was he into sharing or redistributing; his goal was to transform the world by producing “insanely great” products that would allow the masses (not just rich people like Obama and Buffett) to access freedom-enhancing technology. As his wife told Isaacson, “…he cares deeply about empowering humankind, the advancement of humankind and putting the right tools in their hands.” Steve Wozniak was Jobs’ friend and initial partner in building Apple. Wozniak was the shy engineering genius behind Apple’s initial technology. However, without Jobs’ capitalistic instinct, Wozniak’s ideas would never have created a single job (even for himself). Wozniak told Isaacson, “I designed the Apple I because I wanted to give it away for free to other people.” Isaacson writes: “If it had not been for Jobs, he [Wozniak] might still be handing out schematics of his [circuit] boards for free at the back of Homebrew [tech information swap] meetings. It was Jobs who turned his ingenious ideas into a budding business.” 2011 was Apple’s last year with Jobs at the helm and Apple even outdid big oil (Exxon Mobil) in per employee profits, reports The New York Times. Profits allow businesses like Apple to create jobs, offer valuable stocks to millions of individual investors and provide millions of Americans with cutting edge technology tools like iPhones, iPods, iPads and MacBooks at the lowest possible prices. Ultimately, profit is the most powerful tool whereby businesses improve society.  In his 2012 State of the Union address, Obama promised to make things even harder for companies like Apple who are forced to do business in China, saying: “no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards [subsidizing the tax burden of smaller companies that only do business in America].” Obama said his socialist plan of “shared sacrifice” would result in “an economy built to last” that supports “everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.” And Obama “solved” Apple’s engineer issue by telling taxpayers to subsidize their educations: “Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need…” Meanwhile, he bullied taxpayers to subsidize costly four-year college educations: “Extend the tuition tax credit … States also need to do their part [by increasing college tuition subsidies]. Higher education can’t be a luxury—it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” Obama even bragged about how he’s going to crack down on piracy; I think he should start by walking the walk. Before daring to misrepresent and mooch off Jobs by mentioning his name in the same sentence as his anti-business agenda, Obama should read Isaacson’s biography. As Gov. Mitch Daniels diplomatically said in response to Obama’s speech: “…he must know in his heart that this is not true.” President Ronald Reagan bestowed Jobs and Wozniak with America’s very first National Medal of Technology. In contrast, President Obama largely ignored Jobs’ success and advice during his lifetime and then invited Jobs’ widow to hear him attack the capitalistic system that allowed Jobs to succeed. Obama has rejected Jobs’ pro-business ideas like lowering the costs of doing business (taxes), reducing regulations and reforming education. If Jobs is looking down on earth, I’m sure he is still “disappointed in Obama.” Key pages referenced from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson: 39, 61, 73, 107, 192-93, 490-491, 495, 496, 498, 538, 543-545. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.


Why states may legalize drugs

By Katie Kieffer
Cannabis plant

Image credit: “Cannabis sativa L.”by Lollyman on Flickr via Creative Commons.

I believe that states have the constitutional right to legalize drugs. For, the Constitution is silent on the federal government’s ability to regulate or ban substances that adults choose to digest at their own peril—or medical relief. The Constitution is so silent on this matter of individual liberty (choosing to digest or use drugs) that in order to ban the sale of alcohol during the Prohibition era, we passed the 18th Amendment. When we wised up and realized that banning alcohol doesn’t work, we repealed the 18th Amendment via the 21st Amendment. I contest that federal drug laws are unconstitutional because they do not stem from a constitutional amendment. Since the Constitution defines our freedoms negatively, states and individuals retain all rights that are not explicitly delegated to the federal government. The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, because the Constitution is silent on drugs, states alone have the constitutional power to regulate drugs. Voters in states like California have exercised their constitutional right to legalize drugs, specifically medicinal marijuana to help cancer patients and those suffering from chronic pain due to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Californians aren’t flower power hippies. These voters realize that if it’s constitutional for individual Americans to binge on four-to-five alcoholic drinks in one sitting—drinks that incidentally do nothing to relieve chronic pain—it makes sense to legalize a far less lethal substance like marijuana with verified pain-relief benefits. A prestigious medical study published by The Lancet in November 2010 reveals that alcohol is more lethal than heroin and crack cocaine and drastically more harmful than marijuana, ecstasy and LSD. On Jan. 6, 2012, The Lancet reaffirmed these findings with a global study revealing that: “marijuana was the world’s most widely consumed illicit drug … [and] the least likely of all illicit drugs to cause death,” as The New York Times relays. We have not amended the Constitution to outlaw drugs. Nor did the war on drugs germinate in Congress. Instead, successive court rulings and executive orders have unconstitutionally banned drug use at the federal level—even to the point of overriding the sovereignty of states that explicitly legalize drugs.
Medicinal marijuana supporter

Medicinal marijuana supporter. Image credit: NoHoDamon on Flickr via Creative Commons.

‘And when the court decides to apply the Bill of Rights to state law, it winds up trampling … on the most important safeguard of our liberties: the division of power between the federal and state governments. … By the middle of the twentieth century the “due process” clause within the Fourteenth Amendment had come to be seen as the catchall phrase for federal intervention,’ writes author Jason Lewis in “Power Divided is Power Checked.” Today, the Federal government, via the Department of Justice, has violated the separation of powers that the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution. Federal agents allege that medical marijuana dispensaries and growers violate “federal law”—ripping out medicinal cannabis plants and destroying legitimate livelihoods overnight. The New York Times reports: “Federal law classifies the possession and sale of marijuana as a serious crime and does not grant exceptions for medical use, so the programs adopted here, in 15 other states and in the District of Columbia exist in an odd legal limbo. … federal prosecutors have raided or threatened to seize the property of scores of growers and dispensaries in California that, in some cases, are regarded by local officials as law-abiding models. At the same time, the Internal Revenue Service has levied large, disputed tax charges against the state’s largest dispensary, threatening its ability to continue.” The war on drugs began when President Richard Nixon bypassed Congress and declared a war on drugs on July 17, 1971. He said that drug abuse was a “national emergency” and America’s “public enemy number one.” He signed the “war” into law on January 28, 1972. By unconstitutional executive order, Nixon created the first drug czar and also created an extra-congressional agency to regulate drugs called the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Successive Presidents have sustained this war. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress (not the president) the “Power … To declare war.” Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton further explains the Constitution’s checks on executive reach in The Federalist No. 78. He says the president publicly declares and enforces the laws Congress makes and the decisions or appointments Congress approves: “The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community.” Some might object that America’s forty-year-long and over $2.5-trillion fight against drug abuse isn’t technically a “war.” But that’s a hard position to defend when scores of innocent Americans and Mexicans have died throughout our combat with brutal Mexican drug cartels. Since 2006 alone, when President Felipe Calderón declared his own war against drugs, between 40,000 and 50,000 people (depending on your source) have died in this conflict. Moreover, the right to own your entire person is a fundamental human right and it is foundational to the Constitution. Unless you use wrongful force against another person or their property, you retain full ownership over your body. As John Locke points out, reason tells you that you fully own your body. No one else owns your body—not your neighbors, your family or the government. Presidential candidate and physician Rep. Ron Paul explains: “All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.” Freedom is the power to choose between good and bad options for our own private property and body; freedom is the power to opt for healthy behaviors like prayer, aerobic exercise and strength training over unhealthy behaviors like self-mutilation, chain smoking, binge drinking and inhaling paint thinner. I think the federal government needs to respect individual freedom by deferring to the states in matters like drug use where the Constitution is silent. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.


Capitalism (That’s What I Want)

By Katie Kieffer

Image credit: “Enjoy Capitalism” by Isaías Campbell on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The Beatles once rocked America with their cover version of “Money (That’s What I Want).” Today, I’ll rock you with my version. Capitalism don’t get everything it’s true. What it don’t get I can’t use. Now gimme capitalism (that’s what I want). Anti-capitalist sentiment is creeping into American culture and we need to immediately halt this trend. Even Republican presidential nominees Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are plunging toward the vortex of need-based morality by aggressively attacking Mitt Romney—not for his socialist slips like RomneyCare—for his businesslike communication style and his record as co-founder of Bain Capital Ventures. When Romney recently said: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” he inadvertently gave his rivals fuel to attack him as a profit-hungry job-killer. Santorum preaches that Romney fosters social division by using the widely accepted term “middle class” instead the politically correct term “middle income.” Gingrich calls Romney a “looter.” And Perry quips that Romney is a “vulture” who pursued “get-rich schemes.” Bain invested in a steel mill (GS Technologies) that eventually failed; layoffs ensued and Bain relied on help from the U.S Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to fulfill pension obligations. What Perry, Gingrich and Santorum fail to point out is that absurd union demands and government regulations (not warped capitalism) were largely responsible for the downfalls at GS. It’s very dangerous to attack capitalism and capitalists for American job losses because, as economist Peter Schiff explained on Fox News, our own government played a major role in steamrolling corporations and contaminating the financial markets: “This wasn’t created by the free market. All this excess leverage is there because of the government; it’s there because of the Fed. They did this; they infected us with this disease. The fact that all these companies are now dying … what they did is they provided Wells Fargo and all these companies with free money and let them go up and leverage it up. And it’s like, I use the analogy, if a kindergarten school teacher … passes out Pixy Stix and soda pop and then leaves the classroom and she comes back and the kindergarteners have wrecked the place, who do you blame?” In 2009, economist Jim Grant pointed out the Fed’s role in ravaging America’s free market system. He said on CNBC’s Squawk Box that inflation: “is based principally upon the rate of money-printing. … Inflation is too much money. …  [And, with low interest rates, the Fed] has embarked on a vast experiment and moral hazard.” The vulture comparison reflects Perry’s misunderstanding of both capitalism and vultures. Ron Paul points out that businesspeople routinely reorganize their companies in order to operate efficiently within the free market and, in the long run, reorganization can create jobs. In nature, vultures operate by eating and safely disposing of toxic carcasses. Vultures never intentionally infect healthy creatures with toxic waste and then feed off them (that’s closer to how the Communist Party of China operates, not vultures.) The problem with painting rich businesspeople like Romney as evil is that money and capitalism are not evil. Rather, I contend that socialism is toxic. For, socialism is irrational; it denies man’s inherent right to own private property by using “need” as the standard for morality. Socialism also leads to communism, as seen in the land of America’s Communist Sugar Daddy: “In China, the government can force farmers to sell their land to developers, often at rock-bottom prices, to fuel a state-run real estate machine that disproportionately enriches the elites. But rural folk, who have rising expectations for a better life, are pushing back, as evidenced by a highly visible battle over a landgrab in the fishing village of Wukan, where a local leader recently died in police custody. This is just one of thousands of protests in China every year—about 60% of them related to land disputes, according to Ran Tao, a senior fellow at the Brookings-Tsinghua Center. … [China has] hundreds of millions living on less than $2 a day—and cheap land to exploit, particularly in the West, ” writes Rana Foroohar in TIME Magazine. If you define morality on the basis of need, bullies rule society. Might makes right and politicians will seize land, power and wealth for themselves because they supposedly need it more than commoners who scrape by on $2 a day. When need is the standard of morality, you lose control over your livelihood. Any powerful bureaucrat can take your money or property and call himself “Robin Hood” but you can’t get mad or call the cops or take him to court because he’ll just say he “needs” your property more than you do.
Now gimme capitalism (that’s what I want). To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.


The real Ron Paul stands up

By Katie Kieffer
Ron Paul delivers the key note address at the Republican Liberty Caucus of California held at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles

Ron Paul delivers the key note address at the Republican Liberty Caucus of California held at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. Image credit: Michael Villarmia on Flickr via Creative Commons.

May I have your attention please? Will the real Ron Paul please stand up? I repeat, will the real Ron Paul please stand up? I keep hearing the same three rumors about Paul: He blames America for 9/11, he’s anti-Israel and he’s pro-Iran. So, who is the real Ron Paul?

Does he blame America for 9/11?

No, he’s very patriotic. Bob Schieffer recently interviewed Paul on CBS Face the Nation: “I wanna ask you some questions … and I wanna start with foreign policy because your statements over the years … suggest that you believe that 9/11 happened because of actions that the United States took. Is that correct?” Paul answered: “Well, I think there is an influence. And that’s exactly what, you know, the 9/11 Commission said, that’s what the DOD has said and that’s also what the CIA has said and that’s what a lot of researchers have said. … America is you and I and we didn’t cause it, the average American didn’t cause it. … I’m saying [American foreign] policies have an affect but that’s a far cry from blaming America.” Chalmers Johnson, CIA consultant from 1967–1973, concurs with Paul: ‘The suicidal assassins of September 11, 2001, did not “attack America,” as our political leaders and the news media like to maintain; they attacked American foreign policy.’ Johnson says the CIA coined the term “blowback” as “a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities that have been kept secret from the American people.” You might ask: Blowback? For what? Isn’t America “a beacon for freedom” as President George W. Bush said immediately after the 9/11 attacks? Certainly our Constitution is a beacon for freedom. Paul simply maintains that the unintended consequences of our current foreign policy are that we provoke violent retaliation while we accrue substantial debt and lose precious American lives. The final 9/11 Commission Report validates Paul’s concern about blowback: ‘Defense Secretary William Cohen told us Bin Ladin’s training camps were primitive, built with “rope ladders”; General Shelton called them “jungle gym” camps. Neither thought them worthwhile targets for very expensive missiles. President Clinton and Berger also worried about the Economist’s point—that attacks that missed Bin Ladin could enhance his stature and win him new recruits. After the United States launched air attacks against Iraq at the end of 1998 and against Serbia in 1999, in each case provoking worldwide criticism, Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg added the argument that attacks in Afghanistan offered “little benefit, lots of blowback against [a] bomb-happy U.S.”’ Moreover, if Paul’s foreign policy is anti-America, why has he outpaced McCain, Romney and Gingrich in individual active military contributions? Timothy Egan writes in The New York Times: “Not even a full 1 percent of Americans are active-duty military. … Yet, these soldiers, sailors, air men and women, and assorted boots on the ground know the cost … of going to war far more than the 99 percent not currently serving. Where they put their money in a campaign … says a great deal.”
Ron Paul

Image credit: “Ron Paul” by Ryan Lµdwig on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Is he anti-Israel?

Hardly. Paul wants to improve America’s foreign policy to suit Israel’s best interest. Cato Institute research fellow Leon Hadar advised Paul on foreign policy during his 2008 campaign. He recently wrote in Israel’s news source Haaretz that Paul: “has a profound knowledge of Jewish history, admires Israel and follows its political and economic developments with great interest.” Paul told NewsMax: ‘Stop and consider America’s policy: We give $3 billion a year to Israel in loans; and we give $12 billion or more in assistance to Israel’s self-declared enemies. Some of these are countries that say they will drive Israel into the sea. … Foreign aid does not help Israel. It is a net disadvantage. I say to them that “the borrower is servant to the lender” and America should never be the master of Israel and its fate. We should be her friend.’ He added: “In October, 1981, most of the world and most of the Congress voiced outrage over Israel’s attack on Iraq and their nuclear development. I was one of the few who defended her right to make her own decisions on foreign policy and to act in her own self-interest.” Says Michael Scheuer, the former CIA chief who led the unit tracking Osama bin Laden: “until we accept that our support of the Saudi police state, our military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq and Yemen, our support for the Israelis – until we understand that those policies are the main recruitment tools for the enemy, we will never get a grip on the size, the durability and the potential of that enemy.” Paul’s foreign policy positions and his call for neutrality toward Israel stem from his awareness of analyses from America’s most experienced terrorism-fighters like Scheuer. Ultimately, I believe Paul sees neutrality as the best route to prioritize America’s economic and security interests, prevent global “blowback” and respect Israel’s sovereignty.

Is he pro-Iran?

No. He is concerned that current U.S. foreign policies may aggravate Iran toward asymmetric vengeance, yielding blowback rather than security for America. Paul’s preference for leveraging amicable neutrality and aggressive diplomacy tactics toward Iran is often construed as supporting Iran. He simply questions how realistic a nuclear bomb threat is from Iran. He told CBS, “Iran doesn’t have a bomb; there’s no proof, there’s no new information regardless of this recent [U.N.] report.” Indeed, the U.N.’s report only relayed vague suspicions regarding Iran’s nuclear projects and an unclassified “Report on Military Power of Iran” from our own Department of Defense dated April 2010 conveys that Iran’s nuclear goals are defensive rather than aggressive in nature: “Iran’s principles of military strategy include deterrence, asymmetrical retaliation and attrition warfare. Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy.” Paul also believes that “sanctions are the initial step to war” and we risk blowback by levying heavy sanctions on Iran based on our fear of their nuclear projects. Indeed, no sooner had the Obama administration prepared harsh economic sanctions than Iran retaliated by vowing to close the gateway for nearly one fifth of the world’s oil supply—the Strait of Hormuz. Misconstruing Paul’s foreign policy views and leveling him with ad-hominem attacks is intellectually intolerant and nonstrategic if we want to defeat Obama’s socialist policies in 2012. For, the GOP nominee (whoever they are) will need the support of the independent voters who embrace Paul’s philosophy. Let’s follow Reagan’s example by setting rumors aside, focusing on our goal, and ceasing groundless attacks on one of our own. Now, will the real Ron Paul please stand up?
A supporter shows off her Ron Paul yard sign.

A supporter shows off her Ron Paul yard sign. Image credit: Michael Villarmia on Flickr via Creative Commons.

To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.