Sunday, July 05, 2015
In the Section III. Report and Order on Remand: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet of the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, they claim that their famous Carterfone decision freed up technological innovation and helped create the Internet later on. The Carterfone was a device that bridged two-way radios to each other over a phone line, greatly extending their reach beyond the range of a typical consumer radio-signal broadcast. In the 1960s, AT&T was the largest telephone company in the United States and provided most of the physical telephone lines for communication. But AT&T created a rule that banned any non-AT&T device from connecting to their phone lines, thereby preventing their customers from using devices such as the Carterfone on AT&T telephone lines.
In 1968, the Federal Communications Commission ordered that AT&T’s ban was unlawful, thereby, by federal government decree, allowing these and other acoustic coupling communication devices such as fax machines and modems, to connect to AT&T phone lines. Win for the consumer, right?
Well, not so fast!
While the FCC was patting itself on the back for outlawing an AT&T business practice that gave their customers more freedom, we must go back to what allowed AT&T to create and enforce such a ban to begin with, a rule that was clearly unpopular with their own customers.
AT&T, like other local telecommunication companies, had long been in bed with local governments that gave them government-protected monopolies in nearly all areas of the United States, preventing pretty much any competition from starting up where AT&T was the de facto telephone provider. AT&T claimed that the initial investment into the telephone infrastructure (the phone lines and switching equipment) would not have been profitable if other companies were allowed to build their own networks alongside AT&T (or use AT&T’s infrastructure).
This, of course, was nonsense. This government-protected monopoly almost guaranteed AT&T’s profits for decades by reducing their costs and allowing them to not have to worry about competing. And when a business doesn’t have to worry about competing, they are free to provide poor products and services, enforce high prices, and threaten to cut off their customers altogether from using telephones at all.
It was this GOVERNMENT-PROTECTED MONOPOLY that allowed AT&T to ban customers from using non AT&T devices on their telephone lines. If AT&T did not have a monopoly then competitive telecommunications products and service providers would have been able to swoop in and fill in the gaps that AT&T left, such as the Carterfone.
So in reality, what we had was the government getting in bed with a huge business to protect their monopoly, then later government comes in to “save” us from the monopolistic business practices that they helped create.
It never seems to occur to government officials to just stay out of our business to begin with, does it? Let us choose a telecommunications provider on our own. Let us choose our own telecommunications rules, products, services, restrictions, and freedoms.
It’s important to understand that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights was written because our founding fathers recognized that the only way our freedoms could ever be taken away was by government, and the Constitution was a required guideline to follow to prevent the government from taking our freedoms away.
Businesses cannot take our liberties with government assistance. If you ever feel as if your rights are being trampled on by a business, look closely and you will find government regulations giving them that authority to do so.
That being said, government is not our savior from ourselves or each other. They have no power to “grant” us freedoms, only to take them away. If you ever hear a government official talk about giving us liberty, rest assured they were responsible for the loss of that liberty to begin with. Every time.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
If Net Neutrality is supposed to save the Internet and maintain its “openness” for decades to come, as the FCC claims, then why did they exclude dial-up ISP’s from the new regulations?
From their own rules: II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, A. Strong Rules That Protect Consumers from Past and Future Tactics that Threaten the Open Internet, 4. Scope of the Rules, #25, definition of "broadband Internet access service", they explicitly exclude dial-up ISPs:
“A mass-market retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding dial-up Internet access service.”
The U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the enactment of new laws that target specific individuals or companies. It’s illegal. But it’s become obvious from the FCC’s own words that the Net Neutrality regulations were specifically written to target Comcast, because of their publicly known battle with Netflix.
What the FCC is doing is Unconstitutional on many levels, but this may be their worst violation. They are breaking the law with the writing of these new regulations, and the American people are not even aware of what’s going on.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
I read an article a few weeks back that noted the seemingly impossible survey results that in several 3rd world countries, more respondents indicated that they used Facebook than the number that used the Internet.
Impossible. Right? After all, Facebook EXISTS on the Internet. One cannot access Facebook.com, the Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger app, Facebook Desktop Chat, Facebook mobile site, and more without Internet access. And that is true.
But when the researchers dug further, they discovered that in some parts of the world where broadband Internet access is scarce, enterprising mobile phone providers had begun offering limited Internet access to their customers for a small monthly charge, a charge substantially lower than if they had full Internet access. This limited Internet on their phones often was only allowed to access Facebook and nothing else.
These customers’ experience with the Internet on a daily basis was strictly through the Facebook mobile apps. It was an affordable way for not only the mobile phone providers to offer some Internet, it was an affordable way for mobile phone users in these parts of the world to get on the Internet, even if it was only a tiny fraction of the Internet.
But the size of the slice of Internet they could access wasn’t really the point. The point was that they had Internet access. Finally. The free market worked. Consumers wanted Internet (mostly Facebook, it turns out), providers couldn’t afford to offer them full access, so they were presented with Facebook-only Internet. And it was a huge success. So Instead of “no Internet”, at least they had Facebook, which is a good starting point.
The free market delivered. Again.
Net Neutrality, however, makes it illegal in the United States to offer Internet access to any consumer that either gives preferential treatment to one site/content source or to block sites or traffic. ILLEGAL. If Net Neutrality existed in these 3rd world countries, millions of people who have limited Internet access today would have NO INTERNET access at all. Zilch.
As is the case with just about any federal government program that promises to maintain “free access” to whatever, it does just the opposite. Net Neutrality is the antithesis of the free market. It gets in between you, as a consumer, and the merchant (the broadband provider) and restricts a big, long list of terms that you are NOT ALLOWED TO AGREE TO within your contract with them. It is ILLEGAL to offer Facebook-only Internet access in the United States. Yes, ILLEGAL. Even if it’s 100% free.
You read that right. Net Neutrality makes it illegal to offer Internet access in the United States if it’s not 100% of the Internet. If the provider blocks porn, Nazi propaganda, Facebook, red high-heeled shoes, eBay Swahili, the Roman numeral ‘MMXCVIII’, photos of barns with purple polka dots, or 3-legged dogs, it’s illegal, even if this limited Internet access is 100% free.
Aren’t you glad you live in a country that’s so “developed” that it’s illegal for someone to give you something for free?
Sunday, March 22, 2015
In the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules,
II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, A. Strong Rules That Protect Consumers from Past and Future Tactics that Threaten the Open Internet, 1. Clear, Bright-Line Rules, 15. No Blocking:
Consumers who subscribe to a retail broadband Internet access service must get what they have paid for—access to all (lawful) destinations on the Internet. This essential and well-accepted principle has long been a tenet of Commission policy, stretching back to its landmark decision in Carterfone, which protected a customer’s right to connect a telephone to the monopoly telephone network.16 Thus, this Order adopts a straightforward ban:A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.
Spam, popup ads, and most malware are neither illegal nor harmful to your computer or mobile device; they’re just annoying. Some broadband providers, especially those that offer email services, provide this additional service to their customers to make their Internet experience more enjoyable.
But under the FCC’s new Net Neutrality rules, it may be illegal for ISPs to do this from now on, and we may start seeing lawsuits filed by advertisers and software companies that have had their ads or software blocked at the ISP before ever reaching the customers’ computers.
Read the Net Neutrality rules yourself, downloaded from the FCC’s web site in three formats: PDF | Word | Text
The FCC mistook special interest lobbies for well-informed public opinion when they considered the Net Neutrality rules
Congress could not have imagined when it enacted the APA [Administrative Procedure Act, 1946] almost seventy years ago that the day would come when nearly 4 million Americans would exercise their right to comment on a proposed rulemaking. But that is what has happened in this proceeding and it is a good thing. The Commission has listened and it has learned. Its expertise has been strengthened. Public input has “improve[d] the quality of agency rulemaking by ensuring that agency regulations will be ‘tested by exposure to diverse public comment.’” There is general consensus in the record on the need for the Commission to provide certainty with clear, enforceable rules. There is also general consensus on the need to have such rules. Today the Commission, informed by all of those views, makes a decision grounded in the record. The Commission has considered the arguments, data, and input provided by the commenters, even if not in agreement with the particulars of this Order; that public input has created a robust record, enabling the Commission to adopt new rules that are clear and sustainable.This is such nonsense. The FCC first passed a form of Net Neutrality 5 years ago and has publicly thrown its full support behind every measure they’ve considered. There was never any attempt to consider all viewpoints in their public forums nor closed-door meetings. Even worse, the public opinion which consumed their ears had a strong pro-Net Neutrality leaning, as it was led by anti-broadband and anti-business groups that lean hard to the Left.
These groups activated their support networks of like-minded individuals across the country and successfully lobbied on social media, television commercials, blogs, news columns, and interviews for Net Neutrality. And since they’ve always had the majority of the mainstream media on their side, they easily cast any opposition to Net Neutrality as shills for big business and broadband providers.
There was never any fair consideration of the free market opposition to Net Neutrality. The FCC had already made up their minds of which laws they were going to write, then went through the motions—as required under the APA—to make it appear as if they solely had the public’s interests at heart. But they’ve shown repeatedly they care much more about expanding their power base than allowing the free market to grow and prosper.
Download the Net Neutrality rules from the FCC’s Web site in three formats:
Saturday, March 21, 2015
The FCC falsely claims in their Net Neutrality rules that the Internet will only continue to expand if they clamp down on broadband providers by restricting their decision-making ability
From the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, section II. Executive Summary, #11, it reads:
Three overarching objectives have guided us in answering these questions, based on the vast record before the Commission: America needs more broadband, better broadband, and open broadband networks. These goals are mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. Without an open Internet, there would be less broadband investment and deployment. And, as discussed further below, all three are furthered through the open Internet rules and balanced regulatory framework we adopt today.
Again, this is ridiculous. The FCC is trying to claim that the only way for Internet access options and broadband performance to continue to improve is if they FORCE broadband carriers to cater to every whim of every content provider on the Internet and have no discriminatory powers over their own private networks whatsoever.
Take a retailer analogy. Under the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, every retailer in the United States would be required to resale every product from every single supplier and would have no legal right or recourse to either charge more to specific suppliers or ban a supplier altogether. That’s totally absurd.
It is BECAUSE retailers have the legal right to refuse certain suppliers or certain products that we have so many types of retailers today!!
Imagine a Wal-Mart in Honolulu being approached by a manufacturer of snow shovels. Under the FCC’s rules, that Wal-Mart would be required to stock those snow shovels on their shelves AND they would not be able to charge the snow shovel supplier a higher shelf rate than they charge other suppliers, nor would they be allowed to transfer those snow shovels to other Wal-Marts in colder zones where customers would actually buy snow shovels.
Wal-Mart would be required to stock those snow shovels…FOREVER. Even if a single shovel was never sold, Wal-Mart would still be required to let those dusty snow shovels take up valuable shelf or floor space in their store. Forever.
That is exactly what the FCC is trying to do with Net Neutrality.
From section II. Executive Summary, #8, the FCC wrote:
Threats to Internet openness remain today. The record reflects that broadband providers hold all the tools necessary to deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavor the content that they don't like. The 2010 rules helped to deter such conduct while they were in effect. But, as Verizon frankly told the court at oral argument, but for the 2010 rules, it would be exploring agreements to charge certain content providers for priority service. Indeed, the wireless industry had a well-established record of trying to keep applications within a carrier-controlled “walled garden” in the early days of mobile applications.
This is very dishonest and disingenuous by the FCC. Sure broadband providers hold all the tools necessary to “disfavor the content they don’t like”. As do cable providers, satellite companies…blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Reddits, Diggs, radio stations, TV stations, music halls, movie theaters, football stadiums, public libraries, churches, schools, even the town square. EVERYONE who controls a venue has that kind of power at the fingertips. And guess what: they all use it! All of them!! Even public schools, public libraries, town squares, sidewalks, streets, national parks, the U.S. Senate floor. NONE of these places allow 100% unfettered access WITHIN THEIR VENUES to say or publish whatever content you want. NONE of them!
And just like a coaxial cable line coming into your house, a broadband provides Internet access to you over their own private property, private network lines, private routers, switches, data centers, management hubs, employee labor, etc. They own these things. THEY PAY FOR THEM. So of course they should have the rights do decide what content flows through them! And they turn around and charge you as their customer to use their services. If you don’t like it, find another ISP. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. Every single square inch of the United States is covered by 1 or more Internet Service Providers. Everywhere.
For the FCC to say that a broadband provider shouldn’t have the rights to disallow certain types of content through their private property, that’s exactly the same as REQUIRING cable companies to carry every single channel in the entire world, regardless of whether they have a contract with that content provider or not AND regardless of the nature of the content. So the FCC, using the rules akin to Net Neutrality, world force Time-Warner Cable to carry a Nazi-propaganda channel piped out of Austria right into your living room or an ISIS channel that depicts the daily beheadings of Syrian Christians.
But no! The Internet will be slowly deteriorated by Net Neutrality as it seeks to quash the profits and legitimate business practices of Internet Service Providers. As the number of ISPs dwindle over the next decade, your speed, reliability, and price of Internet access will suffer. I promise you this.
Net Neutrality is bad for the Internet, bad for consumers, bad for Americans, bad for Internet Service Providers, bad for the economy, bad for our freedoms, and bad for the future of the United States.
Iraqi forces of over 20,000 have already lost over 1000 fighters in the now-stalled operation to retake the small city of Tikrit from ISIS. If this is any indication of how well things will go next Fall when they attempt an assault on Mosul, which was lost to the Islamic State last summer, that operation will need more than 1 million fighters and will result in some 50,000 military and civilian deaths, on the Iraqi government side alone. ISIS will likely lose at least 30,000 and will simply pull back farther into northern Iraq and Syria, mend their wounds, rebuild their ranks, and attempt to retake Mosul back from the Iraqi government within a year or two.
Thanks, Obama, for letting down our new allies in Iraq and making sure the 5000 Americans that lost their lives trying to secure that country died in vain.
Read more at the Post-Gazette
Thursday, March 19, 2015
"Just recently, a State Department official in the Obama administration said that Americans have remained safe in a nuclear age, not because of our own nuclear arsenal but because 'we created an intricate and essential system of treaties, laws and agreements.'
If 'treaties, laws and agreements' produced peace, there would never have been a Second World War. The years leading up to that monumental catastrophe were filled with international treaties and arms control agreements.
The Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War, imposed strong restrictions on Germany's military forces -- on paper. The Washington Naval Agreements of 1922 imposed restrictions on all the major naval powers of the world -- on paper. The Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928 created an international renunciation of war -- on paper.
The Munich agreement of 1938 produced a paper with Hitler's signature on it that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waved to the cheering crowds when he returned to England, and said that it meant "Peace for our time." Less than a year later, World War II began.
Winston Churchill never bought any of this. He understood that military deterrence was what preserved peace. With England playing a leadership role in Europe, 'England's hour of weakness is Europe's hour of danger,' he said in the House of Commons in 1931...
'Not one of the lessons of the past has been learned, not one of them has been applied, and the situation is incomparably more dangerous,' Churchill said in 1934. And every one of those words is more urgently true today, in a nuclear age."
Read more at Townhall.com
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
A 19-yr-old woman in Saudi Arabia was kidnapped along with a male friend, driven to a secluded location, then gang-raped by seven men. Her friend was also brutally attacked and raped by 3 men. While the rapists have received justice as well, the Saudi courts initially sentenced the victim to 90 lashes but later increased it to 200 + 6 months, supposedly for discussing the case with the media.
Her attorney's law license was revoked for the same reason, and he has been barred from defending her again.
The issue is Saudi Arabia's Islamic law and judiciary that bans women from being out in public with a male whom they're not related to, and then a harsh public sentence for violating their archaic "indecency" laws.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
A look at ISIS's growing struggles internally and with competition for control over its targeted territories, including Al Qaeda
Friday, February 20, 2015
“We cannot kill our way out of this war,” she said. “We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs….”Matthews countered that this isn’t a viable strategy since “There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join,” to which Harf replied that “We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”