Archive | Politics

Obamacare for the Internet

Writes L. Gordon Crovitz on From Internet to Obamanet – WSJ:

The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week. On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities.  […] The more than 300 pages of new regulations are secret, but Mr. Wheeler says they will subject the Internet to the key provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, under which the FCC oversaw Ma Bell.

It easier for three dictators — I mean regulators — to pass regulations that no one has read apparently.

Title II authorizes the commission to decide what “charges” and “practices” are “just and reasonable”—an enormous amount of discretion. Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has found 290 federal appeals court opinions on this section and more than 1,700 FCC administrative interpretations.

“Discretion” of a regulator as opposed to protection under a rule of law is the mark of fascism and dictatorship.

Defenders of the Obama plan claim that there will be regulatory “forbearance,” though not from the just-and-reasonable test. They also promise not to regulate prices, a pledge that Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has called “flat-out false.” He added: “The only limit on the FCC’s discretion to regulate rates is its own determination of whether rates are ‘just and reasonable,’ which isn’t much of a restriction at all.”

How will such a ‘just an reasonable’ test apply in practice?

Bureaucrats can review the fairness of Google [1] ’s search results, Facebook [2] ’s news feeds and news sites’ links to one another and to advertisers. BlackBerry [3] is already lobbying the FCC to force Apple and Netflix [4] to offer apps for BlackBerry’s unpopular phones.

The FCC takeover is a naked violation of property rights of those who own the hardware and software behind the internet.

Returning to Mr. Crovitz:

Supporters of Obamanet describe it as a counter to the broadband duopoly of cable and telecom companies. In reality, it gives duopolists another tool to block competition. Utility regulations let dominant companies complain that innovations from upstarts fail the “just and reasonable” test—as truly disruptive innovations often do.

AT&T [5] has decades of experience leveraging FCC regulations to stop competition. Last week AT&T announced a high-speed broadband plan that charges an extra $29 a month to people who don’t want to be tracked for online advertising. New competitor Google Fiber can offer low-cost broadband only because it also earns revenues from online advertising. In other words, AT&T has already built a case against Google Fiber that Google’s cross-subsidization from advertising is not “just and reasonable.”

Utility regulation was designed to maintain the status quo, and it succeeds. This is why the railroads, Ma Bell and the local water monopoly were never known for innovation. The Internet was different because its technologies, business models and creativity were permissionless.

Don’t let it go.

Keep the Internet free.

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Justice For Zimmerman

cap mag slider trayvon zimmerman

From DOJ won’t charge George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing | WashingtonExaminer.com:

George Zimmerman will not face federal charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, nearly three years after the killing. The Department of Justice said Tuesday it has closed its investigation into the death of 17-year-old Martin, who was shot dead by Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012.

[…]

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.”

Apparently he would be guilty under no or low standards?

“We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

One step would be to tell the future Trayvon’s of the world that before you violently punch and assault someone you make sure they are not armed.

Federal prosecutors would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman intended to kill Martin because he was black in order to bring federal hate crime charges against him.

[…]

“Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.”

Proof is a terrible thing for the Zimmerman lynch mob.

Considering Zimmerman’s heritage is part black this is a good call. Considering that Zimmerman — whatever you think of him and the many poor decisions he made — he is not racist.

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Why Children Died From Measles: “Jesus was my doctor”

From What Would Jesus Do About Measles? – NYTimes.com:

Two fundamentalist Christian churches — Faith Tabernacle Congregation and First Century Gospel Church — were at the heart of the outbreak. Children had not been vaccinated, and when they became ill, their parents prayed instead of taking them to the hospital to receive the intravenous fluids or oxygen that could have saved their lives of those with the worst cases. “If I go to God and ask him to heal my body,” said a church member, Gordon Korn, “I can’t go to a doctor for medicine. You either trust God or you trust man.”

Public health officials turned to the courts to intervene. First, they got a court order to examine the churches’ children in their homes, then to admit children to the hospital for medical care. Finally, they did something that had never been done before or since: They got a court order to vaccinate children against their parents’ will. Children were briefly made wards of the state, vaccinated and returned to their parents. At the time, a religious exemption to vaccination had been on the books in Pennsylvania for about a decade.

To prevent doctors from violating his church’s beliefs against vaccination, the pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Church asked the American Civil Liberties Union to represent him. It refused. “There is certainly a free exercise of religion claim by the parents,” said Deborah Levy, of the Philadelphia chapter of the A.C.L.U., “but there is also a competing claim that parents don’t have the right to martyr their children.

When spring came and the epidemic faded, C.D.C. officials published the results of their investigation. Over a third of those infected — 486 of 1,424 — belonged to one of those two churches, as did six of the nine dead children.

At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, we saw more than 200 children in our emergency department and admitted about 40. Children would come in, covered in rashes, squinting in the bright light (a side effect caused by eye irritation), struggling to breathe and often extremely dehydrated. It was like being in a war zone. When I asked their parents why they had done what they had done, they all had the same answer: “Jesus was my doctor.”

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Obama’s Agenda

From Don Watkins at Voices for Reason | The Ayn Rand Institute:

For Obama, the government’s role is to set our goals, determine our priorities, and centrally plan our lives so that we achieve these priorities. […] Obama’s agenda comes down to taking a bunch of money from us, directing it to purposes he thinks we should value, and using the power of government to coerce individuals and businesses to act in the way he thinks they should act. […] Is that really a worldview consistent with the founding ideals? [Sorry Obama, We Aren’t Family]

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Obama, Communism and Cuba

From As a Cuban exile, I feel betrayed by President Obama – The Washington Post:

While much attention has been paid to President Obama’s Cuba policy speech, hardly any has been paid to dictator Raúl Castro’s shorter speech, broadcast in Cuba at exactly the same time.

In his spiteful address, the unelected ruler of Cuba said that he would accept President Obama’s gesture of good will “without renouncing a single one of our principles.”

What, exactly, are those principles?

Like his brother Fidel, whose name he invoked, and like King Louis XIV of France, whose name he dared not mention, Raúl speaks of himself as the embodiment of the state he rules, as evidenced by his mention of “our principles,” which assumes that all Cubans share his mindset. Raúl claims that he is defending his nation’s “self-determination,” “sovereignty,” and “independence,” and also dares to boast that his total control of the Cuban economy should be admired as “social justice.”

In reality, he is defending is his role as absolute monarch.

Cubans have no freedom of speech or assembly. The press is tightly controlled, and there is no freedom to establish political parties or labor unions. Travel is strictly controlled, as is access to the Internet. There is no economic freedom and no elections. According to the Associated Press, at least 8,410 dissidents were detained in 2014.

These are the principles that Raúl Castro is unwilling to renounce, which have driven nearly 20 percent of Cuba’s population into exile.

Unfortunately, these are also the very principles that President Obama ratified as acceptable, which will govern Cuba for years to come.

Although President Obama did acknowledge the lack of “freedom and openness” in Cuba, and also hinted that Raúl Castro should  loosen his grip on the Cuban people, his rhetoric was as hollow as Raúl’s. He didn’t make any demands for immediate, genuine reforms in Cuba. Equally hollow was his reference to Cuba’s “civil society.” He made no mention of the constant abuse heaped on Cuba’s non-violent dissidents, or of the fact that the vast majority of them have pleaded with him to tighten rather than ease existing sanctions on the Castro regime.

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Searchable Index to Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s Podcasts

“The title for each episode is a link to the full episode page for that podcast on Dr. Peikoff’s website. The time marks, with a few exceptions, link to the single question pages on Dr. Peikoff’s website.Credit goes to John Shepard for creating the original idea, the original list, and helping to maintain updates. Neither Dr. Brook, nor Yaron Brook are involved in the creation of this list.”

http://peikoffquestfinder.metaofphysics.com/

 

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Black Residents Defend White-owned Store in Ferguson with Guns

From Black residents protect white-owned store in Ferguson | Las Vegas Review-Journal:

…The unrest surrounding Brown’s death has underscored the often-tense nature of U.S. race relations. But the gas station has stood out as a beacon, literally and figuratively, as nightfall has descended and chaos has reigned around it.

On Tuesday night, as police and soldiers took up positions in the parking lots of virtually every strip mall and big box store around it, the forecourt of the brightly lit gas station was busy with customers.

One, a 6-foot-8-inches man named Derrick Jordan — “Stretch,” as friends call him — whisked an AR-15 assault rifle out from a pickup truck parked near the entrance.

Jordan, 37, was one of four black Ferguson residents who spent Tuesday night planted in front of the store, pistols tucked into their waistbands, waiting to ward off looters or catch shoplifters.

Jordan and the others guarding the gas station are all black. The station’s owner is white.

Ferguson has seen a stark demographic shift in recent decades, going from all white to mostly black. About two-thirds of the town’s 21,000-strong population are black. By some accounts, the Brown shooting has heightened racial tensions in the city. But not at the gas station.

“We would have been burned to the ground many times over if it weren’t for them,” said gas station owner Doug Merello, whose father first bought it in 1984.

Merello said he feels deep ties to Ferguson, and if the loyalty of some of his regular customers is any indication, the feeling is mutual.

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The Case for Police Reform

Writes Conor Friedersdorf in The Case for Police Reform Is Much Bigger Than Michael Brown:

As a longtime proponent of sweeping reforms to the criminal-justice system, I’m extremely apprehensive of the impulse to treat the killing of Michael Brown as a focal rallying point, even granting that the case has mobilized people and attention. His death is a perfect illustration of the need for dashboard cameras on every patrol vehicle and lapel cameras on every police officer in America. The way officials in Ferguson reacted to the protests over his death did illustrate the alarming militarization of U.S. police agencies. But when it comes to the problem of police officers using excessive force, including lethal force, against people they encounter, there are scores of cases that better illustrate the problem.

Why not start shifting focus to them?

[…]

One needn’t deny the disproportionate harm police abuse does in minority communities to see that it’s inaccurate to say that police abuse of whites isn’t a problem, too. Racism is far from the only factor here, and eliding that fact is surely counterproductive for reformers. Whites would be obligated to help reduce police abuse even if they were never subject to it, but the cold political reality is that people of every race have a purely selfish incentive to rein in law enforcement—even white people, whether they’re being assaulted by police with pepper spray or high-powered pepper plume or tasers … or literally beaten to death.

So what specific reforms are needed? Too many to list them all in this article. But here are a few measures, beyond video cameras, that would improve policing:

  • Decisions about when to charge officers should be made by independent prosecutors, not regular district attorneys, who rely on police to testify in most of the cases they bring. That gives these district attorneys a perverse incentive to refrain from aggressively prosecuting misconduct.
  • Police unions should be able to negotiate salary, benefits, and nothing else. Firing an abusive police officer should be easy.
  • All police departments should have strong civilian oversight.
  • The War on Drugs should end.
  • Most military-grade police equipment should be returned to the federal government or destroyed.
  • Civil asset forfeiture should be reformed.
  • No-knock raids should stop in almost all cases.

The movement that grew in the wake of Brown’s death will need to pursue concrete, specific goals like these if their anger and outrage is to serve any purpose. Supporters with constructive criticism might improve the odds of success. The present course probably isn’t sufficient, despite the rhetorical support it enjoys.

Well said.

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Brittany Maynard and Anti-Life Conservatives

From Peter Schwartz at The Huffington Post:

Conservatives largely oppose right-to-suicide laws. Many criticized Brittany Maynard’s decision. A Vatican official, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, called it “an absurdity,” declaring that suicide “is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and towards those around us.” The National Right to Life organization quotes a woman condemning physician-assisted suicide because “it does not strengthen the common good, but only alienates, separates and dismantles us as a people who truly care for one another.”

Here’s a radical thought for conservatives: Brittany Maynard has a right to life — to her life. And a right to one’s life requires, as an inseparable corollary, the right to terminate it. What else is a right to some action if not the freedom to choose whether or not to engage in it?

Read the whole thing here.

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CROSS: IRS Punishes Tea Party Groups; DOJ Rewards Left Wing Ones

From Holder Cut Left-Wing Groups In On $17 Bil BofA Deal – Investors.com:

Extortion: Radical Democrat activist groups stand to collect millions from Attorney General Eric Holder’s record $17 billion deal to settle alleged mortgage abuse charges against Bank of America.

Buried in the fine print of the deal, which includes $7 billion in soft-dollar consumer relief, are a raft of political payoffs to Obama constituency groups. In effect, the government has ordered the nation’s largest bank to create a massive slush fund for Democrat special interests.

Besides requiring billions in debt forgiveness payments to delinquent borrowers in Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago and other Democrat strongholds — and up to $500 million to cover personal taxes owed on those checks — the deal requires BofA to make billions in new loans, while also building affordable low-income rental housing in those areas.

[…]

In effect, lenders are bankrolling the same parasites that bled them for the risky loans that caused the mortgage crisis. With new cash, they can ramp back up their shakedown campaign, repeating the cycle of dangerous political lending that wrecked the economy.

These settlements have little, if anything, to do with “justice” or restitution for innocent victims. In its 30-page “statement of facts,” Justice couldn’t provide a single shred of evidence of fraud against BofA. Nor could it ID a single “victim” by name.

The attorney general is actually perverting justice by extorting billions of dollars from the largest banks in the country and giving it away to the president’s political friends and favorite political causes.

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Shoplifting the Creator’s Spirit

“Mark Zuckerberg is a techie wiz who got lucky one day” — they say while using for free a remarkable achievement created by Zuckerberg (and his talented team).

This is the same parasitical mentality the pirates music and movies, that loots corporations to support third-world dungeons, that agitates for a “living wage,” that compels those who make money to pay for their “free” education, that credits God (but not the doctors) for a successful operation, that announces to the world: “You didn’t build that.”

What surprises me is the good people who remain silent in the face of such spiritual shoplifting. The formula is simple: If you want Creators in your midst, then defend them — give them the credits and rewards they have earned. — Voltaire Press

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DOLLAR: Crush Hamas

From Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas – The Washington Post:

“Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.

And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.”

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