Jan 22, 2018

Corporate Giants Have Too Much Power

There has never been a time when so few companies controlled such a large portion of the US economy. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have a market capitalization of nearly $4 trillion. Apple is set to become the first company in history to reach the $1 trillion milestone.

As these firms get bigger and bigger, they are rewarded with a huge valuation for monopolizing various markets. Google drives 89% of internet search; 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product; and Amazon now accounts for 75% of electronic book sales. Those firms that aren’t monopolists are duopolists: Google and Facebook absorbed 63% of online ad spending last year; Google and Apple Inc. provide 99% of mobile phone operating systems; while Apple and Microsoft supply 95% of desktop operating systems.

I remember early interviews with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He was always laughing and telling reporters how his company was going to revolutionize the shopping experience. Today, Bezos has become the world’s richest man, and his company has expanded into dozens of retail categories. Amazon makes very little money because its main goal is to grab market share from other smaller companies. Amazon has 75 massive fulfillment centers around the country, which makes it nearly impossible for a new company to enter the field.

In the early stage of a monopoly, the consumer generally wins with cheaper prices for products. Back in the early 1900’s, Standard Oil controlled 87% of the oil market. Over a 30-year period, the price of oil used in lamps dropped in half. When the federal government sued to break up Standard Oil, the Supreme Court acknowledged the benefits generated by the company. The forced split of Standard Oil was ordered because of clear evidence of a single-minded determination to drive others out of the market.

A research paper by Mike Scherer, a retired Harvard economist, found that Standard Oil was a prolific generator of patents in its early years, but that slowed once it achieved dominance. Around 1909 Standard’s Indiana unit invented “thermal cracking” to improve gasoline refining to meet demand from automobiles, but the company’s head office thought the technology too dangerous because it involved heating heavier oils into a vapor. After the Indiana unit was spun off in the 1911 breakup, it commercialized the technology to enormous success.

In the 1990’s, the Department of Justice filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. One way that Windows got loaded onto most of the world’s computers is that Bill Gates made arm-twisting deals with computer makers. He had contracts that required companies to pay Microsoft based on every computer they built. In special cases where a firm used a different operating system, they would still have to pay for a Windows license. It was because of a fat and happy attitude that caused Microsoft to lose its way in the internet search and smartphone market.

I think the greatest danger from these oversized companies is the politics they promote. Every one of these firms is run by people who support the Democratic Party. They use their power to promote the leftist cause. Twitter has 100% monopoly in the tweet market. For years, it’s been accused of having an institutional bias against conservatives. Twitter would shadow-ban accounts by blocking the public from seeing posts. Scott Adams, creator of “Dilbert,” said Twitter was restricting his traffic over his outspoken Trump support.

I sometimes go to President Trump’s twitter page and noticed that Twitter’s “Who to Follow” recommendations at the top of the third column is always showing Hillary Clinton, CNN, and Barack Obama. On Hillary Clinton’s twitter page, the top recommendations are Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chelsea Clinton. The President’s name is nowhere to be found.

I spoke with several congressional aides about this bias against people on the right, and they always say we can’t do anything because they are a private company. If Twitter and Facebook said we will only have White people as members, a dozen federal agencies would be on their case. The same rules that protect racial and sexual groups from discrimination need to be expanded to conservatives.

More and more people are calling for antitrust action against these corporate giants, but I don’t think anything major will happen. Bible prophecy warns that the last days will resemble an Orwellian police state. I believe we are very close to the tribulation hour, so I think our only hope for deliverance from persecution is the rapture.

“… you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:9-13).


Sounding of Sirens

When that funny, irritating noise coming from your TV set goes off, what is your reaction? I’m talking about that grating   OINK!…OINK!…OINK! sound that disrupts whatever program you are watching or happen to have the television on while you do other things.

The noise is followed by an announcement: This is a test. This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency… Well, you know what I’m talking about.

When that goes off, what is your reaction? I must admit that my first, instantaneous, thought is still: Could it be a nuclear attack?

This automatic reaction comes, I have little doubt, from the time of “duck and cover!”–the warning/instruction that dominated my days as a kid. We were told to get under our desks if at school, should the sirens sound announcing nuclear attack. We were told to jump off our bikes and try to get under something, get flat into a ditch, or  hide behind anything available if we were out and about.

I’ve mentioned before in this column that when I was a sophomore in high school, the rumor had it that atomic war with the Soviets would happen on a certain Friday. It was cause of angst for some, but not all paid any attention to the rumor–or to the warnings to “duck and cover,” for that matter. I guess I’ve always been a bit geopolitically sensitive…

So it was that I tried to imagine what the people of Hawaii must have experienced when their devices and televisions announced there were incoming nuclear missiles. The announcement said this wasn’t a test–everyone should seek immediate shelter.

There was crying and gnashing of teeth, if I might use biblical language. People got under mattresses with their families or boarded themselves in garages. One grandfather herded his grandchildren into a sewer manhole. It was a time of anxiety far beyond anything I experienced as a child or have experienced since.

We think of how, if it had been an actual nuke headed to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, there would be no beauty remaining following the impact. It is almost unimaginable as to what that part of the islands would have looked like. But, it isn’t beyond our imaginations, because we have the films of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs to graphically remind us of the results of such weaponry. We have the films of the Bikini tests in the 1950s that demonstrated the horrific destructiveness of nuclear devices far more powerful than the bombs used on Japan to end the war.

Thankfully, the feared attack on Hawaii was a false alarm. The  people between the mattresses, in their garages, and in the manholes could emerge to consider how things could have ended so differently. We can hope that the accidental siren alert will serve as a wake-up call to everyone of just how short a time (less than twelve minutes from time of the alert) such devastation can come upon us.

There is devastation coming that has a much, much shorter time of arrival than 10-12 minutes upon a totally unsuspecting people. There will be no alert to forewarn those under this incoming destruction. That is, no OINK!…OINK!…OINK! will disrupt TV programs or announce on various devices what is about to occur.

However, the siren is blaring, warning that the catastrophic impact is about to take place. The siren has been sounding for some time. As a matter of fact, this column and a number of others have been sounding the siren alarm.

The devastation will far surpass what that nuclear-tipped missile would have caused, had it been an actual attack. The sirens of Bible prophecy have been sounding–especially in these end of days the secularists call the end times. The devastation, following this imminent, catastrophic event, will result in as much as three-fourths of people on earth perishing over a period of seven years.

Those upon whom this calamity is about to fall are oblivious to the sirens of warning. It’s sad to say that many who should know about the coming time of destruction and should be issuing the warning refuse to do so. Not only that, they refuse to believe the impending disaster is a prophetic fact. They even make fun of the notion.

I’m referring, of course, to the preachers who claim to name the name of Jesus Christ, but who don’t believe He is returning in a catastrophic way to planet earth.

These, if they have any opinion or care one way or the other, believe Christ will return and take over from the Church. The Church, they believe, will have made worthy His Kingdom, over which He will then reign.

Only, that’s not what the Bible says. That Revelation 19:11 return is to a war-torn planet where most of its inhabitants have died in the violence and wrath of seven years of Tribulation.   

Many of these type theologians will tell you they don’t believe the book of Revelation even belongs in the canon of Scripture. There is, they will say, no Rapture–no time of great trouble ruled over by somebody known as Antichrist. That stuff is all to somehow be taken in a spiritual way, not literally.

Jesus will indeed come back to rule and reign over a planet that is much like it was in the time of Eden before the fall of man. But, He–not the theologians who think they will prepare the way for Heaven on earth–will do the restoration. When Christ calls all believers to Himself at the Rapture, that very moment devastation will begin to fall. It will be just like in the time of Lot, when he was removed from Sodom. (Read Jesus’ words in Luke 17:26-30).

So, the siren of Bible prophecy goes unsounded, unheard by the vast majority of humanity. But, that siren is sounding more loudly every day in the Christ-sensitive ears of those spiritually attuned. That’s why we present these commentaries. We want to sound the siren a devastating time is coming–and it could come at any moment.

One siren-signal is most prominent. Israel is being forced by Satan’s globalist minions to give in to demands to divide God’s land further. The Lord is on the cusp of taking the Church Home with Him. He will then again begin dealing with His beloved Israel. It will be a time of His wrath, while He purges those who are rebellious earth-dwellers and rescues for Himself a people to populate the millennial earth.

The sirens are sounding!