However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith…
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Record Labels Rightly Sue Abusive AI Music Generators

However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith can agree that it mustn't become a tool for brazen copyright infringement.  Artists who pour their (sometimes literal) blood, sweat and tears into their creative works shouldn't have those works stolen and exploited by AI bots.

That is particularly true as it relates to AI music generators specifically created for that exploitative purpose.

For that reason, we should all welcome and applaud major record labels for their decisive lawsuit against AI generators Suno and Udio, whom they accuse in their complaints of copyright violation on an "unimaginable scale."

The complaints make for gripping reading unlike most legal filings, but we're not talking here about sampling various songs…[more]

July 02, 2024 • 06:30 PM

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Biden Gas Tax Proposal Deepens His Energy Mismanagement Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 23 2022
High gas prices remain a problem for which Biden bears primary responsibility, and gimmicks like his gas tax vacation proposal won’t help.

It’s not often that Barack Obama provides persuasive authority on an issue of economic debate.  

As Joe Biden advocates a foolish temporary gas tax holiday, however, he would be wise to listen to his former boss.  

Back in 2008, Obama rightly ridiculed a temporary gas tax suspension as a “gimmick”:  

I know that we’re having a debate right now about the gas tax holiday.  I know how brutal this is on folks right now, and I know they need relief…  But for us to suggest that 30 cents a day for three months is real relief, that that’s a real energy policy, means that we’re not tackling the problem that has to be tackled.  We’re offering gimmicks…  That means we’re not presenting a truthful response to the challenges we face in America.  We can do better than that this time.  

Obama isn’t the only member of Biden’s own Democratic Party dumping cold water on the desperation gas tax proposal.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D – California) labeled the gas tax holiday idea a “con,” while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D – Maryland) swiftly dismissed the proposal by saying, “I just don’t know that it gives much relief.”  Similarly, Biden’s home state Senator Tom Carper (D – Delaware) said that, “suspending the primary way that we pay for infrastructure projects on our roads is a shortsighted and inefficient way to provide relief,” adding that, “We should explore other options for lowering energy costs.”  

With its trademark stubbornness, however, the White House nevertheless plows forward with Biden’s plan, scapegoating Vladimir Putin as usual:  

Today, he is calling on Congress and states to take additional legislative action to provide direct relief to American consumers who have been hit with Putin’s Price Hike…  Right now, the federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and a 24-cent tax per gallon of diesel.  Those taxes fund critical highways and public transportation, through the Highway Trust Fund.  But in this unique moment, with gas prices near $5 a gallon on average across the country, President Biden is calling on Congress to suspend the gas tax for three months – until the end of September – to give Americans a little extra breathing room as they deal with the effects of Putin’s war in Ukraine.  

Biden’s own Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, however, shot down Biden’s “Putin Price Hike” rationalization.  

Testifying this week before the Senate Banking Committee, Chairman Powell was asked by Senator Bill Hagerty (R – Tennessee), “Given how inflation has escalated over the past 18 months, would you say that the war in Ukraine is the primary driver of inflation in America?”  Chairman Powell bluntly replied, “No.  Inflation was high before, certainly before the war in Ukraine broke out.”  

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the objective analyses in the debate support the skeptics, not Biden.  For example, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) studied the issue in March of this year, and reported that Biden’s gas tax proposal would “hurt federal finances in no small way” while offering trivial benefit for consumers:   

[A] federal gas holiday would have a minimal impact, according to a study by experts at the Penn Wharton Business Model (PWBM), a nonpartisan research group that avoids policy advocacy…  The PWBM analysis assumed that 80% of the benefit from a tax holiday would be passed on to customers, or 14.72 cents a gallon.  From that math, it estimated that spending the federal gas tax from March to December this year would lower average per-capita gasoline spending by $47.  Under the alternative assumption that 41.2% of the tax decrease falls on consumers, the average decrease in gasoline expenditure per capita would be $16.  “Consumers would benefit from the drop in gasoline prices, but the effects are small,” the study stated.  

High gas prices remain a problem for which Biden bears primary responsibility, and gimmicks like his gas tax vacation proposal won’t help.  Throughout his campaign, Biden promised to end domestic fossil fuel use entirely.  Upon entering office, Biden proceeded to halt oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on U.S. lands and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline.  In ensuing months Biden continued to heap an array of new regulations and costs upon domestic energy producers, while begging the same Saudi Arabian regime that he promised to make a “pariah” in his presidency to drill more, which would in turn make us more energy dependent upon foreign nations.  

That sort of rhetoric and those policies naturally created a chilling effect on U.S. energy sector.  Accordingly, to improve the situation Biden must reverse his destructive policy choices, and abandon the gas tax holiday idea that even his former boss Obama rightly labeled a “gimmick.”  

Notable Quote   
 
"President Biden's high-stakes press conference at this week's NATO summit was a triumph -- for his challenger, former president Trump.Why? Because Biden's performance did nothing to resolve the Democratic Party's dilemma over his status as its 2024 presidential candidate. The press conference supplied Biden's internal critics with ammunition against his candidacy, such as when he misidentified Kamala…[more]
 
 
— Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon
 
Liberty Poll   

Will President Biden be the 2024 Democratic candidate for president following the Democratic National Convention in August?