December 14, 2011

Obama Crony-Run LightSquared’s Network Now Shown to Disrupt Plane Safety Gear; How Long Will Media Continue to Ignore?

LightSquaredLogoLate Friday afternoon, Todd Shields at Bloomberg News broke a story about some guy, who happens to be an Obama and Democratic Party donor (but not disclosed), against whom the Securities and Exchange Commission is formally considering an enforcement action (also not disclosed, though it was noted at the New York Times’s Dealbook Blog five hours before Shields’s report), whose “wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test.” Though it generated a fair amount of center-right blog discussion over the weekend, the establishment press largely ignored the stunning result.

Earlier this evening, Shields and Alan Levin reported even more troubling info (as carried at the San Francisco Chronicle; bolds are mine throughout this post):


Improving the Horrifying Heritage Chart

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:53 pm

Doug Ross has published “The Horrifying Chart That Democrats and RINOs Don’t Want You to See,” based on work done by Heritage.

If they don’t mind (I’m sure they don’t), I believe it would be helpful to identify who is responsible for the surpluses and deficits charted therein:


In 1997 and 1998, current Ohio Governor John Kasich and Newt Gingrich, followed by House Speaker Denny Hastert, set the nation on the course towards a balanced budget and the surpluses identified above. President Bill Clinton merely signed the bills, and would never have initiated any kind of meaningful improvement without the GOP Congress’s efforts.

George W. Bush’s debt and deficit responsibility began on October 1, 2001 after the end of fiscal 2001. He received substantial “help” from a GOP Congress which, though nowhere near as reckless as the Democratic Congresses of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in the final years of his second term, largely functioned as RINOs during his terms (the only real exception being fiscal 2007). His share of responsibility for the fiscal 2009 deficit obviously excludes all of President Obama’s stimulus plan, but does include most of the rest of the deficit incurred during that year.

Barack Obama owns most of the fiscal 2009 deficit and all recorded and projected deficits from that point forward. And yes, as illustrated, he took the promised “one-time” stimulus plan and added it to (as far as he and his party are concerned) the permanent spending baseline as far as the eye can see. Obama lied; the country’s financial well-being died.

Obama’s argument that we are enduring our current economic difficulties because of what he likes to call (paraphrasing) “the policies of the past” is a sick joke. Americans should not buy it. This is all on him, his policies, and his party.

Steve Chabot Must Renounce His Co-Sponsorship and Oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

Well, this is a slap in the face.

My “new” congressman, thanks to Ohio’s convoluted redistricting (latest version, hot off the presses, is here), is co-sponsoring a bill which could lead to “an Internet without uploading,” i.e., it would gut the Internet.

OH-01′s Steve Chabot, whose sensible conservative cred was pretty high during his seven previous terms in Congress, who embraced the Tea Party movement in its early stages, and who regained his seat by defeating incumbent Steve “Sore Loser” Driehaus in 2010, inexplicably became one of the early co-sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (link is to large PDF of the original bill) back on October 26.

(Before getting into specifics, Steve, you and other Republican co-sponsors need to buy a clue based solely on a few of the other co-sponsors who have since come on board: John Conyers (D-MI), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL and DNC Chairwoman), and Melvin Watt (D-NC). You should know better than to associate yourselves with anything these folks get behind.)

Bill Wilson at Americans for Limited Government succinctly states the potential harm the legislation would do in its current form, even after main sponsor Lamar Smith of Texas’s “manager’s amendment” (bolds are mine throughout this post):

… It doesn’t come close to addressing all of the concerns with this legislation. In fact, it doesn’t appear to have changed much about it at all.

This legislation will still give government the power to censor the Internet in the name of protecting copyright. It will still threaten any website that allows users to upload content with being shut down, including social networks and search engines.

It still takes the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and throws them in the garbage. Those safe harbor provisions have for years protected websites that provided easy takedown procedures for potential infringing materials, and already had a system in place for their removal under current law.

The bill will still allow copyright holders to pursue private actions against alleged infringing websites with the force of law behind them, including seeking the termination of advertising and payment services, whether the site is foreign or domestic.

Finally, even with its so-called “savings” clauses, the manager’s amendment will still risk placing unfeasible, court-ordered technology mandates on Internet service providers requiring websites to somehow prevent their services from being used to post infringing material, even if doing so is technically impossible. To avoid litigation, Internet companies will simply stop allowing uploading and file sharing all together.

That is the greatest danger of all. That, in the name of protecting copyright, this bill bring about the end of the Internet as we know it.

More from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds:

It’s a terrible bill. Simply by introducing it, the sponsors — including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) have violated their oaths of office. In a moral society, they would immediately resign and commit honorable suicide. Since this isn’t such, we must hound them and humiliate them as best we can. They’ll probably try to make that illegal next.

Memo to Steve Chabot: I’m trying to come up with a reason why the “honorable resignation and (career) suicide” option shouldn’t apply to co-sponsors. I can’t.

Eric Schmidt of Google (yes, I know he hasn’t been the best of examples throughout his own career, e.g., the Great Firewall of China) has also weighed in:

Google chairman says online piracy bill would ‘criminalize’ the Internet

An online piracy bill in the House would “criminalize linking and the fundamental structure of the Internet itself,” according to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt said the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would punish Web firms, including search engines, that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. He said implementing the bill as written would effectively break the Internet.

“By criminalizing links, what these bills do is they force you to take content off the Internet,” Schmidt said, calling it a form of censorship.

… I understand the goal of what SOPA and PIPA are trying to do,” Schmidt said of the Senate counterpart bill, the Protect IP Act. “Their goal is reasonable, their mechanism is terrible. They should not criminalize the intermediaries. They should go after the people that are violating the law.”

If you’re wondering why the legacy media outlets haven’t been all over this (e.g., searches on various terms at the Associated Press’s main national site yielded only one November 30 story about Schmidt’s outlook), it’s simple: If bloggers and others can’t excerpt or potentially even link to others’ content without running afoul of fear-driven ISP policies, the establishment press would regain near-total control over the news narrative — especially in the early stages — that they have substantially lost during the New Media age. Other than having an improved ability to complain to each other, we’d be back to the 1950s, just like that. They would consider that a feature, not a bug.

Getting back to Chabot — Steve, if you didn’t have your previous track record, I would disown you on the spot. As it is, you have a limited amount of time to regain your sanity and renounce this bill. Waiting …


UPDATE: Especially offensive is the bill’s frequently repeated inclusion of provisions that no matter what the Attorney General does or how wrong he may be about whether a site has actually committed any of the offenses indicated, he and the government are immune from liability.

UPDATE 2, 8 p.m.: I called the Congressman’s Washington office shortly before 6 p.m. and was promised an email response, which I have yet to see.

Regulation Nation

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:08 am

RegulationsOver100mil2001to2011The graphic at the right tells most of the story.

The Wall Street Journal’s accompanying editorial this morning gets to much of the rest, but leaves a few holes which really require fill-ins, the most important of which leads to the graphic near the end of this post.

Here are excerpts from the editorial:

Regulation for Dummies
The White House says its rule-making isn’t costly or unusual. The evidence shows otherwise.

To answer the most basic question—has regulation increased?—we’ll focus on what the government defines as “economically significant” regulations. Those are rules that impose more than $100 million in annual costs on the economy, though there are hundreds if not thousands of new rules every year that fall well short of that.

According to an analysis of the Federal Register by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the Cabinet departments and agencies finalized 84 such regulations annually on average in President Obama’s first two years. The annual average under President Bush was 62 and under President Clinton 56. [1]

Cass Sunstein, the director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has been shopping around lower numbers that selectively compare Mr. Obama’s first two years favorably with Mr. Bush’s last two. [2]

Now to the hole-filling:

CumulHiCostRegs1995to2011[1] — A relatively minor detail is that more regs may have pushed over the $100 million threshold during the Obama years because of inflation.

[2] — Far more important, Sunstein’s comparison to Bush’s last two years is disingenuous, because during those last two years Democrats controlled Congress. Bureaucrats knew they could run rampant (this was doubly true in 2009 and 2010), because congressional oversight was essentially AWOL.

[3] — What the editorial completely fails to communicate is the fact that this is all cumulative. I know it doesn’t mean to, but the analysis makes it appear as if each president starts out with a clean piece of paper and no regs. We should be so lucky. With rare exceptions, old regulations, though they are often revised, don’t go away.

To elaborate on item [3], the roughly 540 regs with economic burdens of over $100 million issued under Obama in 2009 and 2010 ADDED to the burdens imposed by the roughly 2,300 regs issued from 1995-2008. Thinking longer-term, on top of all of the regs issued from the time of FDR until 1994, the participants in the economy now have about 2,850 MORE high-impact regs to worry about thanks to the regulatory zealotry of the past 16 years.

At some point, the pile of regs accumulated over decades (don’t forget what states and localities also add to the mix) gets to the point where businesspeople, investors, and entrepreneurs throw up their hands and say, “This is too much. I can’t possibly learn all of this, let alone comply with it. I’ve had it. I’m outta here.” Or maybe they decide not to expand or not to explore a new product line. The economy-inhibiting impact should be obvious.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121411)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.