Why I won’t buy another Apple product

I’ve used the impressive iPhone 4 for some months now and I have to admit that I truly enjoy the integrative features.  But because it was an Apple product, there was only one reason, however, that I bought the iPhone 4 over other products and that is because Logos Software has an “App” that works with it, and that gives me access to an extensive theological library.  But here are my beefs with Apple, things that make the beefs that people had with Microsoft pale by comparison, at least at the retail level where I live.

(1) The iTunes store is monopolistic.  It is a real time monopoly on the sale of applications and no other retailers are allowed to sell.   I shudder to think of what I would do if I wanted to resell an app.  I’ve only ever purchased a single app at $2.99 and iTunes so bungled the sale that I would never ever buy an app from them again.  Here is what happened.  They quoted a US price.  So I used my TD US Visa.  Then, iTunes charged my card in Canadian $$ and my credit card charged me in US dollars. So I was charged three times for the exchange rate (once by iTunes, by Visa, and by my bank when I went to pay).  I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANY THING EVER AGAIN FROM THE ITUNES STORE.  A $2.99 app cost me $3.49 CDN.  I don’t know how many laws they break every day at the iTunes store, but I will not allow myself to be treated like this ever again.

(2) The people who make the iPhone must be democrats.  You know the kind that don’t believe that want to ban the incandenscent light bulb.  I cannot delete a song from the iPhone itself.  I cannot delete it from iTunes on my computer either.  Why?  Because a few weeks ago I gave away my old computer to which the iPhone was “synced”.  I’ve become physically ill trying to get this damn thing just to delete a song from the iPhone.  I never had a problem like this with an MP3 player, and I’ve own several.  You can change things on MP3 players from any computer–most store the songs as a universal USB storage device.  Even the Creative Zen allowed you to sync with more than one computer.  I don’t know what kind of sick Nazi control-freak mentality goes into restricting clients from deleting songs from the iPhone, but this is something that I just can’t live with.

When this iPhone dies, I won’t be buying another unless Apple fixes these problems.  But then I don’t hold out any hope at all.  But by the time this phone dies, Logos software will be available on other smart phones.  I honestly don’t understand the Apple craze.  Sure the product itself is nice and reliable.  But I can’t be treated this way.  Yet millions of people who are repeat customers are like lemmings walking into the sea, compliant customers who allow a company to mistreat them.

Au revoir Apple.

Pacifistic Redistributionism, Or, Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

[This was cross-posted at City of God.]

I have a confession. I don’t understand something about some anarcho-socialists whose writings I follow semi-regularly.

I don’t understand how someone can simultaneously believe that Jesus took a principled stand against all violence in his life and death, and yet at the same time believe Jesus’ call for justice requires the state to violently expropriate and redistribute property. Sometimes, such proponents will go even further, and suggest that a truly free (i.e., non-violent) market would result in oppression of the poor.

Just to give an idea of what I’m talking about, here are two snippets from the writings of Brian Walsh. Walsh is not the only example of this kind of thinking I have seen, he’s just the person I have heard most recently express it, and whose writings I was able to search through most quickly. Firstly, an example from a meditation on Colossians:

If the gospel was not about the reconciliation of ‘all things’ in Christ, there would be little biblical basis for the transformation of cultural life. It is precisely such comprehensiveness that we meet in this poem.

But how is reconciliation accomplished? Note how the poem ends: God was ‘pleased … to reconcile to himself all things … by making peace through Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross.’

The irony of these words is deep. Jesus brings peace – one that goes infinitely beyond the Pax Romana – but does so through crucifixion at the hands of the imperial powers.

This is the ultimate subversion. It is not imperial political, economic and military power that brings about reconciliation but suffering love.

So here, Jesus’ politics is explicitly opposed even to bringing social harmony through “…economic…power…”. And yet, here are some comments made about tax systems in the context of the recent Canadian federal election:

So where is Jesus on the question of taxation? Let’s be clear, taxation that favours the rich and the powerful to the detriment of the poor is always unjust taxation. So any political party that advocates tax cuts for the rich in a society where there remain deep economic divisions between the very rich and the very poor is a political party that knows nothing of the way of Jesus.

When Zacchaeus met Jesus he not only abandoned the practices of an oppressive taxation, he engaged in a radically generous act of wealth redistribution. Giving away his wealth and repaying those who had been oppressed was an act of deep faith and profound economics.

At its best, taxation is a means of redistributing income to create a more level economic playing field. At its best, taxation is the way that we all contribute to the common good. In a radically individualist culture, the notion of something that is “common” is difficult to imagine. But if we root our lives in a commitment to love our neighbour, then progressive and responsible taxation could be one way that we seek justice and promote the common good.

I honestly cannot understand how these two positions fit together. I would appreciate some help.

Bin Laden dead

For a few years now I’ve thought that Osama bin Laden has probably been pushing up daisies.  But today Obama has announced that he has slain Obama.  If this is so, I congratulate the American military for killing the greatest enemy of America.

Yet I remain skeptical, for the body was immediately buried at sea.  Where now is the proof of his death, and if there are doubts expressed, who will be able to prove that this was the true bin Laden?  The media has not challenged the Obama narrative–but don’t expect them too.  It comes at a time while Obama’s ratings are plummeting and it looks like he will be a one-termer.  Obama needs to kill Osama to boost his ratings.

Well, there is no way now to prove that Obama is not the great slayer of terrorists and other enemies of freedom.  The only way to challenge it is to find the Osama alive and well, retired in Nashville alongside Elvis.  Problem is that bin Laden may have been dead for quite some time now, and his demise in the news today is a ruse.

Didn’t these people in the media ever see “Wag the dog?”.  They just accept like lap dogs whatever this president tell us.  And yet the quick disposal of the cadaver of the most notorious terrorist of our times has permanently erased any further possibility of verification.  How convenient!