[...] at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole internet safer and more secure. We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people’s services.[...]
This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.
The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.
I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.
Russia’s escalating intervention in Ukraine once again confronts Barack Obama with a foreign policy crisis over which his options are painfully limited, forcing him into a reactive posture that relies on tough, but largely hollow rhetoric.
Appearing on short notice in the White House briefing room yesterday, Obama warned Russian president Vladimir Putin that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Within hours, Putin had requested and received from Russia’s parliament the authority to use force in its western neighbor, whose capital city Kiev saw an uprising against Moscow last month.
Putin appears to have calculated that the benefits of maintaining control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, home to a large ethnic Russian population and a major naval base, would outweigh any costs that Obama and the West can impose.
He’s probably right.
Republicans are now focused on fixing Obamacare rather than repealing it.
Republicans have shifted their strategy on ObamaCare. Weeks ago, many Republicans — including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) — said ObamaCare was too broken to fix. But now, the GOP is drafting legislation that aims to do just that. The GOP wants to rebuild its political capital and public credibility by solving ObamaCare’s implementation problems. This pivot comes after Republicans took major hits in polls following the government shutdown. The House this week will vote on a measure called the Keep Your Health Plan Act. It aims to do what the president promised years ago: If you like your healthcare plan, you can stay on it. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing for a vote in their chamber. That measure has already attracted Democratic support.
Due to the insurance market and ObamaCare mandates, millions have recently lost their healthcare coverage. Many of these dropped people will obtain coverage through the new ObamaCare health exchanges, but some, if not most, will pay higher premiums. After their costly political strategy to defund ObamaCare, GOP lawmakers are more willing to support measures that will repair the president’s signature healthcare law, political science Professor Jack Pitney said. “Republicans took a look at the polls. They finally realized that defunding ObamaCare was unpopular, but a measure like this [is] very popular. They realized that, despite all the brave talk, that the shutdown did not work to their advantage, and now they are trying to get on the right side of public opinion,” he said.
Some Republicans believe that with full enactment of the law — and the inability to defund it — the party won’t be hurt politically with attempting to solve the problems arising from ObamaCare. “Before [ObamaCare] went into effect, the only goal is to stop it; now the goal is still stop it, but I don’t want to treat people harshly,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) explained. The House legislation that is scheduled for a vote this week is sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). More than 100 Republican lawmakers have already endorsed it.
Of course, what they don’t understand is that they are playing right into the Democrats’ hands – the Democrats election strategy is to admit that ObamaCare has flaws, promise to repair them and argue that Republicans will only make things worse. (See link I will post in first comment). Once the public sees that both Republicans and Democrats accept Obamacare, acknowledge its flaws and seek to fix it, t…here will be no compelling difference between the parties this November and no reason to vote for Republicans over Democrats. And worse: Democrats will always club Republicans by saying or implying that Republicans’ secret desire is to repeal Obamacare, whereas the Democrats want to “protect” it and “reform” it.
The GOP leadership is on a suicide mission. — Ed Mazlish
“Today’s announcement reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day,” wrote Pai. “In the wake of a court defeat, an FCC chairman floats a plan for rules regulating Internet service providers’ network management practices instead of seeking guidance from Congress, all while the specter of Title II reclassification hovers ominously in the background. I am skeptical that this effort will end any differently from the last.”
“I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the Internet,” said O’Rielly. “As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.”
The D.C. appeals court that overturned the anti-blocking and nondiscrimination portions of the FCC’s 2009 Open Internet order did concede that ISP’s have the ability and incentive to discriminate against edge providers in the provision of competing data or video services, and the power to regulate broadband in the interests of deployment if it concludes such discrimination would discourage that deployment.
“It appears that the FCC is tilting at windmills here,” said O’Rielly. “Instead of fostering investment and innovation through deregulation, the FCC will be devoting its resources to adopting new rules without any evidence that consumers are unable to access the content of their choice.”
The criticial issue is to prevent the FCC from regulating internet content; which would be the next step in principle once the FCC is in control of the internet infrastructure which is presently the property of the ISPs who built and maintain it.
For more on “net neutrality” see:
Interesting comparisons of the revolutions going on in Ukraine and Venezuela:
Both Venezuelans and Ukrainians showed unusual courage against their rogue states — at least four Venezuelans were killed — but by Wednesday, the EU had declared sanctions against the Ukrainian regime and the U.S. announced it would follow suit. Venezuela got nothing. The crowds thinned and everyone went home.
Why the difference?
Though not quite as disgraceful as last week’s article promoting an alliance between social conservatives and Muslims in order to promote bans on abortion and same sex marriage.
Nowhere in this article is there even a mention of the enormous damage George W. Bush did with 6 years of GOP control of Congress. No mea culpa is offered for the damage done by Bush and the Republicans between 2000-6. No mention is made of the similarities between what Obama is doing and what Bush and the Republicans did. And most importantly, not a single word offered as to how to prevent the disasters of the Bush Administration in a future GOP administration.
If National Review, The Weekly Standard and Commentary Magazine want to advocate this kind of nonsense in Blue states, fine. But to advocate it as a national strategy is beyond asinine: it is pre-emptive surrender to Obama’s evil.
With “allies” like this, send me my enemies. Please. — Ed Mazlish
Writes Harry Binswanger at Forbes:
Statism, the concentration of power in the government at the expense of individual liberty, cannot be sold to the American people. The statists in this country have always cloaked their agenda, marching us blindfolded toward the elimination of our freedom and our rights.
Statists do not dare announce: “The individual must be subordinated to the state, rights be damned.” Instead, they change the meaning of old terms and introduce new ones to disguise the nature and meaning of what they advocate.
President Obama has developed this perversion of language into an art form.
His first campaign spoke of “Change we can believe in” without once explaining change from what and to what. He couldn’t, because the change he sought was from semi-freedom to unfreedom.
He spoke of “hope” without once naming what was to be hoped for. He couldn’t, because, for him, the object of that hope was government handouts funded by money taken from those who had earned it–legalized plunder, in the well-turned phrase of Frederic Bastiat.
“We’re all in this together,” the President repeatedly says–without telling us what “this” is. The woozy, undefined “this” turns out to be a package-deal of the voluntary cooperation of free men and the forced regimentation of rightless serfs of an omnipotent state.
As an aid to those who treasure their freedom, I offer this dictionary of Obamaspeak, so that they may know what they are actually up against.
Read the rest of A Dictionary of Obamaspeak.
Is today’s government dysfunctional? Of course. But not because it can’t get things done. The problem is that it does so many things that it shouldn’t.
Happiness, prosperity and innovation aren’t gifts from politicians. They are achievements of the free human mind. We need government to protect that freedom. When it instead tramples on individual rights in pursuit of whatever politicians feel is in the public interest, it abandons defined limits and becomes an enemy of freedom and progress.
The op-ed then goes on to list a plethora of government interventions which have nothing to do with protecting individual rights.
The question we need to ask, however, is not whether the government should do more or less, but what should it do.
For our money, that answer has already been supplied by thinkers such as Ayn Rand and the Founding Fathers.
“The sum of good government,” said Thomas Jefferson, is “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
WritesTom Perkins founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Letters to the Editor – WSJ.com:
I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. [Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?]
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” ― James Madison, Federalist Papers
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”
“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
“Democracy is the most vile form of government.”
Harry Binswanger utterly demolishes Obama’s Rawlsian inspired egalitarianism in his epic op-ed President Obama: Stop Damning The Achievers For Their Virtues. Some of the highlights:
Egalitarianism is not the (proper) advocacy of “equality” of rights. It is true that everyone has the same rights, whether a government recognizes them or not, because those rights are based on the nature of man. The same, one standard applies to every human being. What the egalitarians demand is not equality of rights but equality of condition. No one, they say, should be better off than another.
On “equality of opportunity”:
It is pointless to try to distinguish inequality of outcomes from inequality of opportunity. There is no more right to “equal opportunity” than to “equal outcomes.” An American child of wealthy parents has more opportunity than a Cambodian child of destitute parents. Does that mean the American parents must sacrifice their child’s future to increasing the opportunities open to Cambodian children? Yes, say the egalitarians. No, said the Founding Fathers, to the equivalent question in their time. And that “No” is why America is the wealthiest nation in the world. Only the protection of individual rights unleashes the productive energies of the wealth-creators, on every level of ability. That’s the lesson not only of American history, but of the more recent rise of the Pacific Rim countries, and the still more recent amazing growth of India and China, caused by their turn away from communism, socialism, and other forms of statism.
On the communist inspired collectivist “common pot” mentality:
The “gap” in the condition of the rich and the poor, says Obama, has widened. “The top 10 percent no longer takes in one-third of our income–it now takes half.” Note the language. He first describes income as being “taken in” and then slides into describing income as “taken.” The top 10 percent . . . now takes half.” “Half”–of what? The response would be: “Well, of the nation’s income, of course.” And thus what began as a simple statistical calculation comes out the other side as pure communism: collective ownership. The national income is regarded as a common pot. Then some groups “take” from that pot more than their share. In Obama’s world, if farmer Fred harvests 4 pumpkins and farmer John harvests 2, Fred has taken two-thirds of “the harvest” for himself. He should be ashamed. It’s unfair. It’s a crisis. Something must be done: “it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people,” says the President.
…and later he explains why those who are more productive should be admired. imitated and left free to produce:
Productive strength is a value to everyone. Weakness and self-defeat is not in anyone’s interest, neither the weakened one’s, nor that of anyone dealing with him. It is in your interest that other men be smart, healthy, productive, and free–not stupid, sick, lazy, and enslaved. To take a more realistic example, would you be better off if Thomas Edison had been stupid, sick, lazy, or enslaved? Would you be better off if the comer newsdealer were? It’s a man’s actual, non-comparative level of wealth that matters, not the existence of others with more than he. Except that he is better off to the extent those with whom he deals have money to burn.
…and the reason why the moral reason why the egalitarian hates the productive:
Other’s wealth can only benefit one in practical terms, which takes us to the reason why the campaign against inequality is vicious. The egalitarian hates inequality for a non-practical, non-venal reason: the sight of the successful and the happy stands as a reproach to him. It brings him face to face with his own failure and inner emptiness. Psychologically, emotionally, a man who is inferior can seethe with resentment at the sight of his betters.
Egalitarianism is a rationalization for the lowest of human emotions: envy. Not envy for what others have, but something much uglier: hatred of anyone for having achieved anything. Not “I’m upset because you have what I ought to have,” but “Punish those whose success makes me know I’m a loser.”
The Germans call it “Schadenfreude.” The French call it “ressentiment.” Ayn Rand called it: hatred of the good for being the good. The inequality that the egalitarians actually hate and fear is moral inequality. They rebel against the idea that they are responsible for their own acts and for their own moral character–or lack of it. “Inequality is unfair” is the coward’s cry against the brave, the slacker’s cry against the producer, the hypocrite’s cry against integrity, the conformist’s cry against the man of independence. The demand for the wealth they didn’t earn is only the outward symbol. The root is the demand for virtue they didn’t earn.
He then goes on to quote Ayn Rand’s identification of John Rawl’s motive and error:
If you wish to know the actual motive behind the egalitarians’ theories–behind all their maudlin slogans, mawkish pleas, and ponderous volumes of verbal rat-traps–if you wish to grasp the enormity of the smallness of spirit for the sake of which they seek to immolate mankind, it can be presented in a few lines:
“When a man thinks he’s good–that’s when he’s rotten. Pride is the worst of all sins, no matter what he’s done.”
“But if a man knows that what he’s done is good?”
“Then he ought to apologize for it.”
“To whom? ”
“To those who haven’t done it.” (Atlas Shrugged)
Read the rest of President Obama: Stop Damning The Achievers For Their Virtues.
Dr. Harry Binswanger makes a clear case for Monetary Freedom over at Forbes where he argues that “There is no justification for the Federal Reserve System or for any government intervention regarding money. The government should neither impose gold nor forbid it.”
In fact he goes on to say…
How far would I take this line of thought? All the way.
A case in point. I agree with Jean Baptiste Say, the great 19th century economist, that we should not use national currencies, or even introduce words to canonize them. There is no rational need for the terms “dollar”–or “franc” or “peso” or “shekel.
We call a bushel of wheat a bushel of wheat. We call a pound of butter a pound of butter. We can call an ounce of gold an ounce of gold. A car’s price could be 10.30 gold ounces. Or, because gold has such a high unit value, we could use the gold gram, and quote the price as 315 gold grams.
A gold gram is a gold gram whether it’s used in America, France, Mexico, or Israel. Nor does an ounce of silver vary with lines drawn on the map. And when people are free to choose their money, gold and silver win the market competition. (If, in the future, something else wins, so be it.)
So one reason why the government should not “define the dollar as a certain weight of gold” is that we should jettison the term “dollar.” It’s an obfuscatory term. “Dollar,” “franc” and the like inject into men’s thinking an intermediary between money and the money commodity. That paves the way for government debasement of money.
Let Washington try to declare that an ounce is now four-fifths of an ounce.
Monetary freedom is the only sure means of protecting the integrity of our medium of exchange and store of value. Freedom in general is the only sure means of protecting the integrity of our lives–our ability to act on our own best judgment.
Read the full article Free Money! Then Free The Rest Of The Economy – Forbes.