FCC Net Neutrality 15

How does the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling affect us? It affects our basic internet connectivity, what we pay, and who sets the price. With this ruling the Federal Government is now regulating the largest and most innovative platform in centuries.

It is pretty much guaranteed that the cost of our individual internet will increase because of the ruling.

The ruling puts ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) into the same regulatory framework as telephone companies, which laws have root in the Communications Act of 1934. Yes, we now have our grandfather’s rules to stifle the internet just like they did telephone innovation for over fifty years.

The internet infrastructure is financed by large companies who invest hundreds of millions of dollars in building and upgrading the system. ISP’s like ATT, Earthlink, Sprint, Verizon, etc. make these huge investments, and get a return by selling connectivity to consumers, businesses, and content providers. Some of these content providers use large amounts of bandwidth by streaming movies and program content to individual consumers, and right now, these customers are not really paying for the bandwidth they receive.

Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are the ones streaming high bandwidth video over the internet, posing a problem for the internet suppliers. ISP’s have to invest additional millions of dollars in upgrading the system, and would like to charge the Netflix’s of the world for that bandwidth.

Some ISP’s have penalized Netflix and other video streamers by slowing the data streams to their customers. This has raised a howl from Netflix, etc. To pay for the increased demand for their services, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc., do not want want to raise their price to consumers because they, too, are in a competitive market.

That’s where the government comes in to “take the part of the consumer”. Now, the ISP’s are not allowed to treat any one customer differently from any other. Every customer on the internet is entitled to the same bandwidth as any other customer for the same price. This means that the ISP’s will raise their prices on everybody to pay for the increased investment, and we all will pay for the bandwidth for people addicted to Netflix and Amazon streaming services.

There is a danger the ISP’s will dig-in and not fund the massive investments necessary to upgrade the internet to handle all that streaming traffic. Innovation can plummet just like when the US  Government backed the AT&T telephone monopoly for over fifty years.

Do you think there will be additional “fees” on your internet statement, now that the Federal Government has decided to regulate what we read, think, say, and pay?

Left alone, the market would solve the problem. People would pay for their movie watching thrills, and others would pay for the bandwidth they use and generate. For some reason the government does not like that.

Net Neutrality is not neutral. It is an attack on the freedom of the internet to give away services to those who do not want to pay. Does this sound familiar?

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Deaths Could Have Been Prevented Reply

I went to bed last night having seen hour after hour of news coverage on the Garner killing in New York City, and more updates on the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The similarities are striking, and neither was about race.

Both men were giants, and could handle an average man like a your mom swatting a fly. In the convenience store robbery of Michael Brown, we saw on the store video that he was indeed a giant. He swatted the store clerk like he was flicking a fly off his arm. That’s how big this guy was.

Michael Brown was high on marijuana and stole some packages of Swisher Sweets cheap mini-cigars. They don’t get  much cheaper than Swisher Sweets, and they are often one of the most popular smokes for teenagers, homeless people, and other bums. Maybe Michael Brown wanted something sweet in his mouth to assuage his humongous case of the munchies. Who knows why he did what what he did?

Enter the Eric Garner story. Here, too, is a story about tobacco and a giant of a man.

Eric Garner was involved in the crime of selling cigarettes single. He would buy a pack of cigs at a store, and stand outside that store selling the cigarettes one at a time. There’s a law against this in New York City originating from store owners who sell cigarettes by the package and carton.

So, how much did Eric Garner pay for a pack of cigarettes in New York City, and how much was he charging for each cigarette he sold?

Let’s ask Google and Wikipedia.

According to The Awl’s annual cigarette price check, for which they call delis in each state and ask how much a pack of cigarettes costs, New York clocks in with the most expensive, at more than $14 a pack.

The same package of cigarettes cost about $5.00 in North Carolina. See what the power of government is to tax and change the behavior of people?

Yes. Some changes need to be made in how police subdue people for minor crimes. Some people will always fight the police, and we need to know that they will not die for their bad decision.

The government needs to get out of peoples lives, like telling people what they can smoke, and trying to change behavior. There are always downsides to government policies. The death of Eric Garner is one of those.

Addendum: Take a look at this story in Time. http://time.com/3618279/eric-garner-chokehold-crime-staten-island-daniel-pantaleo/

The medical examiner ruled in August that Eric Garner’s cause of death was homicide. This does not mean murder. Homicide can be justified, and many are. However, it must be remembered that Garner was committing a trivial crime, and although there should have been some punishment for breaking the trivial law, he died. This should not have happened. Garner was fighting off the police while they were trying to bring him down, and a choke hold was used. The officer applying the choke hold killed Garner, but the grand jury looked at the evidence and decided to not indict the cop.

I honestly don’t know what all the evidence is, but I do know that a man should not die because of a street confrontation with the police. Period. The police need better ways to subdue a wild man, even if he weighs 360 pounds and has a record of multiple assaults. The guy was dangerous, but supposedly there are ways to handle this situation without people being killed.

Big Data And The Federal Government 6

All my life I have been thankful to be living in the United States of America. From my earliest memories when my mom tried to force me to eat liver by telling me of all the starving children in China and India, to the Patriot Act which collects personal data on potential terrorists. Well, that’s what I thought it did.

This week we learned that the Patriot Act is a bit more invasive than initially indicated. The Federal Government is accumulating macro-data on most American citizens through their telephone call records, their Internet activities, and their credit card records.

Folks, that’s a LOT of private information being snooped in these programs and that is in addition to the IRS exclusively investigating conservative groups in support of the Obama Re-Elect campaign. This is the worst nightmare you can imagine.

Server Racks In Data Warehouse

Server Racks In Data Warehouse

Here’s the way things work. The FBI will go to a FISA Court judge and get a subpoena to collect data on an individual, or set of individuals. After getting the subpoena, they then collect the information from the telephone companies and give it to the NSA. The NSA will dump all this data into their system, and crank-up their data mining programs.

The NSA uses this macro-data, information about the underlying data, to make connections and assumptions about your usage of the telephone networks. This is double jeopardy. First of all, your private communications habits are being reviewed constantly, depriving you of privacy. Secondly, no matter what criteria are used in their pattern searches, there is a chance that you will wind-up being personally investigated. There will be FALSE POSITIVES. Their big dragnet will always come up with candidates as suspects whether they have done anything or not to deserve the attention. There may be no terrorists uncovered by this data, but the Feds will likely investigate every person who bubbles up in their statistical scheme.

The horror story is not over.

Another onerous NSA program has been uncovered called, PRISM. This is a program to accumulate your personal data from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, etc. Since Google is constantly having bots read your email, this means that the government has access to what you have been talking about. If Google can tailor ads to your interests, then the Federal Government can deduce your political views, buying habits, sexual preferences, and other things you think are super-secret because all these big internet companies have privacy policies. Well, that’s what they tell us.

Oh, ignorance is bliss.

Enter Big Data and the 2012 Presidential Election. The Obama campaign used data mining techniques to acquire the votes to put Obama over the top. The campaign knew down to an individual who had to be convinced, and personal phone calls and visits were made to get the job done. This knowledge came from the data mining effort.

Google’s Chairman of The Board, Eric Schmidt, bankrolled a data-mining operation called Civis Analytics, after the campaign. In addition to doing commercial work, Civis will consult with Democrat political candidates in the next election. No Republicans will be helped. He claims that he did not furnish data for the campaign effort, but the Obama campaign knew pretty much how everybody would be voting, and how to deploy their resources to influence votes.

Eric Schmidt is a personal friend to Barack Obama. Does it not make you wonder if you Google searches are unbiased by their algorithms? So, did Eric Schmidt have anything to do with giving data accumulated by Google to the Obama Administration? Inquiring minds want to know.

I am not so sure I want to keep my email account with Google, anymore. Well, maybe I should extend that to Yahoo, also. Oh, my Microsoft email account and Skydrive cloud storage account are under surveillance, too. What can I do? Who can I trust?

That’s the question, isn’t it? Who can you trust?

I don’t trust the Government of The United States. I don’t trust anybody, anymore.

Who do you trust?

Little Things Mean A Lot 6

This essay was inspired by a man named Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of a very famous book, “The Black Swan”.  This is not about the Natalie Portman movie, it is a very interesting book on where our financial experts went wrong leading up to the economic disasters in the last few decades. It is a bit mathematical, and certainly covers some philosophical points. It may be boring for some people, but for those who want to know how some things work, it is well worth the effort.

The term Black Swan  comes from the fact that for centuries, nobody knew there was such a thing as a black swan. All swans in the known world were white. One day, people went to Australia and lo-and-behold, what did they find but black swans. No longer were all swans assumed to be white.  The discovery of black swans was a totally unexpected event.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb took that idea, and describes the 9/11 terrorist attacks, hurricane Katrina, the US financial system disasters in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and the 2000’s as black swans. They were all big, life changing events, not predicted, and most people believe they should have been predictable if only we had connected the dots. That’s a black swan.

How do you make yourself ready for an unpredicted, really big, life-changing event? Think like a boxer. These guys work out extensively every day by doing calisthenics, getting punched on the body and the face, and by keeping to a training diet. When the big fight comes, their body is in condition, and they are ready for the big punches their opponent is certain to deal them.

Being able to handle all the little punches, adversities, and problems in everyday life is one way to be ready for the “Big One”. There are obviously many dimensions to this idea, and many are sound. Allergy shots are given everyday to inoculate the body from the really big shock of a heavy, Atlanta Georgia allergy season. Infants and toddlers should be allowed to crawl on floors, go to those pre-schools which are germ incubators, and to generally let their little bodies learn to cope with the little attacks of daily life so they can grow up prepared to handle the tough, and germ infested world.

Is there any connection with the economic world, i.e., government and other institutions?

Socialism, communism, and fascism try to insulate people from the economic travails of life, i.e., joblessness, bankruptcies, natural calamities, fraud, and greed. Instead of letting people learn to deal with joblessness and their own economic problems, the state tries to protect them. Inevitably, the government is going to screw up big time (lowering credit standards for home buyers), and a VERY BIG catastrophe will ensue. It is the big government-caused disaster that hurts people, not the little ones they have accustomed themselves to handle.

It is endemic to big government and big corporations that are “too big to fail” that really bad things will happen, on huge scales. If the government is limiting depositor risk in the banking system by bailing out big banks, all they are doing is transferring the bank’s risk of doing business to taxpayers. This should be considered criminal, it is certainly illogical, and in many cases, stupid.

We have heard all our lives, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I have extended it to, “Don’t let the little people get you down”. Now, the watchword is changing to, “Watch out for Big Brother”. He is here, he is malicious, and he is unrelenting. Look for more big problems, bank failures. crony-capitalism, and downright corruption in our government.

Corruption goes hand-in-hand with big government.

Who Pays For Scientific Research? 5

Every day we read news releases about new scientific developments, and about how the current administration is entranced with protecting the climate, and pushing “green” technology and jobs. The problem is that many of the news releases are just that, news releases meant for publicity and do not herald the great break-through they promise. You can know this by making a note of these extraordinary pieces of scientific news, and by consulting your notes six to twelve months after the news release. If you do a Google search you will learn that a significant portion of those announcements did not mature into their promise.

This is not unusual. Scientists, universities, foundations, and government officials who have approved massive funding for some of these projects are under pressure to produce, so they put the pressure on the institution that got the funding. From there, the scientists are pushed to announce something. Of course, these scientists are basically dishonest in the first place, and would do anything to keep getting government grant money for their nefarious and various projects. They have to make a living, too.

The Federal Government funds the lion’s share of scientific research. The following graph shows the Federal funding for research in fiscal years 1995 – 2011.

File:U.S. research funding.png

As you can see, the spending on research in 2011 was about $60 Billion. That spending includes Defense, NASA, National Science Foundation, and about a dozen other departments and offices of the United States Government. Most of these offices dispense these funds to other institutions like universities and think tanks in addition to funding internal programs.

The Federal Government supports a huge amount of university scientific research in this country. In 2009, that amounted to the Federal Government supporting about $33 billion of universities’ total annual R&D spending of $55 billion. As you can quickly calculate, this is sixty percent of the research done at our universities.  About seventy percent of science and engineering graduate students are funded by these Federal funds. This is an important fact.

President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget included $2.56 Billion for climate research. Since the science of global warming and climate change is settled (according to a large number of people in the research business), why does the Federal Government continue to spend billions of dollars in this field. Could it be that they still don’t know what is going on?

If you are a cynical character such as I, you will consider the facts as outlined. Climate scientists education are paid by the Federal Government. Climate scientists swear that global warming is a threat to society if we don’t do something about it. The Federal Government says it can do something about global warming by establishing carbon taxes and strangling the US economy by implementing inefficient energy sources, i.e., wind power and solar power. The Federal Government pays for climate science PhD’s education, and it gets the research it demands from the academic community. University programs cannot exist without Federal funding, and the Government cannot implement a carbon tax without the questionable climate research being done.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the university system and the Federal Government. This relationship results in an insidious culture with corrupt science, money, and the power.

I would be overjoyed for someone to tell me how government funding of science can have any good result. The fact is that the government simply cannot manage an economy, much less the broad and complex world of science. Do you remember Solyndra?

The citizens and taxpayers of the United States pay for all this research. Some of it is over the top. Some is useless. When the Federal Government funds academics, things are unavoidably political, and science becomes a charade that makes losers of us all.

Our Handicapped Society 4

There is a 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, that is about the future in 2081 when everybody is equal. They are not only equal in God’s eyes and before the law, but “equal in every which way”. I learned of the story from an article at the Cato Institute on Income Inequality.

To make people equal in every way, beautiful people had to wear masks, strong people had to wear pounds and pounds of weights to slow them down, and intelligent people had to wear radio devices in their ears that made loud noises whenever a thought would occur, keeping them from thinking.

To enforce equality, there was a Handicapper General to make sure that everybody was equal in everything.

Severe penalties were instituted for being unequal ( or superior), and not abiding by the handicaps mandated by the Handicapper General’s government department.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? We are seeing the beginnings of this Handicapped Society, now, as universal healthcare, income redistribution, and tax-the-rich ideas are being pushed by the Federal Government.  Universal healthcare means that everybody gets the same, inadequate healthcare. Income redistribution means that incentive is sucked out of society. Taxing the rich is a simple-minded way to even out the tax burden that doesn’t need evening out.

It is all about jealousy.

Why do some people want everybody to be equal in every way? We all know that this is an impossibility, so why strive for something that is not achievable or desirable?

Total equality in society necessitates handicaps. It is that simple.

How do you see this working out?

The War On Marijuana Is Lost 7

The government’s war on cannabis is basically lost. We should not be kidding ourselves about what is going on. I know that millions of people will not admit this fact, but it is true.

Medical marijuana is now legal to some degree in the following states and the District of Columbia.

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Delaware
  8. Hawaii
  9. Maine
  10. Michigan
  11. Montana
  12. Nevada
  13. New Jersey
  14. New Mexico
  15. Oregon
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Vermont
  18. Washington

Whatever reasons you have against the use of cannabis, the legalization of weed is gaining strength in the nation. I believe that in the next five years, marijuana will be legal in a majority of the states. A Gallup poll in 2011 showed that over 50% of people in the US favor legalizing cannabis.

Interestingly, a Los Angeles Times article recently reported that eighty percent of Californians support the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Yet fifty percent of Californians oppose the total legalization of the use of cannabis. In most polls the largest group of people opposing any use of cannabis is the Senior Citizens. Why do you thing that is?

There are several other states with legislation favorable to medical marijuana pending. They are:

  1. Illinois
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Missouri
  4. New York
  5. Ohio
  6. Pennsylvania

If the legislation passes in those states, there will be 23 states where medical marijuana is legal or decriminalized to some degree. The half-way mark for medical marijuana is only two states away from reality.

States where medical marijuana legislation has failed are listed below.

  1. Alabama
  2. Idaho
  3. Indiana
  4. Iowa
  5. Kansas
  6. Maryland
  7. Mississippi
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Tennessee
  11. West Virginia
  12. Wisconsin

This is one case where we should not be obsessing over the use of a drug. In my opinion we should totally legalize marijuana and take the criminal element out of it. It has never made sense to put people in prison for using drugs, and it makes even less sense putting people in prison for smoking marijuana. If somebody has an accident while high on a drug, then you can prosecute them as drunk drivers. It is the same principle.

It becomes a real problem for the federal government if most states legalize the use of cannabis. We will have to decide the wisdom and worth of the rights of sovereign states versus the right of the federal government to regulate. Interestingly, Attorney General Eric Holder’s policy is to not prosecute users, but to prosecute dealers. This is his way to not confront the power of the sovereign states, and to keep most of the Department of Justice out of jail.

According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the ACA case, the federal government does not have the freedom to regulate commerce as they once thought. It will be interesting to see a marijuana case before the Supreme Court, and what the liberal judges say about that. I believe they would vote to legalize pot because most of them lived on weed while in college and law school. That’s what liberals and lawyers do.

What do you think about legalizing marijuana, or any other drug?

Take The Long View 4

relief of Roman Soldires

Roman Soldiers conquered the civilized world.

Just like Obama said, whenever conservatives get upset, we cling to our guns and our God. It seems like the natural thing to do.

Since I believe in God, I have to cling to Him in good times and bad, praising him. There is nothing contradictory about that. It just underlines the severity of the difference in what the American people believe, and the actions and beliefs of our government.

It is interesting to think about how Jesus viewed the oppression of the Romans in His time. The Romans did not hesitate to tax their subjects. Plus, they would take what they wanted, counting that theft as spoils due to the victor. When asked a loaded question about the Roman government’s policy of taxing, Jesus basically pointed out that their nation had agreed to subjugation to the Romans, and could not refuse to give to the Romans that which they demanded. In Mark 12:17, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that as a mandate, the health care law would be unconstitutional. However, when viewed as a tax, it is acceptable under the Constitution. In plain language we have surrendered our wealth to the whims of a government by allowing them to levy taxes. Therefore, any tax we see now is justified under that principle.

We have made our beds, now we must lie in them.

Our salvation from this problem lies within ourselves. All we have to do is to vote the oppressors out of office.

In the short term we have a problem. In the long term, we can solve the problem.

Obama Care For Everybody 2

OK. I am going to tell you a couple of things you might not know. With the Affordable Care Act, there are lots of things we don’t know, and will not know until it is too late.

The Supreme Court made a big issue of the penalty tax in Obamacare for people who choose to NOT buy insurance. Out of 21,000,000 uninsured, there are bound to be people who will make that choice since paying the penalty tax is cheaper than the insurance. It’s a no brainer.

But, let’s take the case that there special classes of people who don’t want or need the health coverage. Just because they choose to not buy insurance doesn’t mean that they will have the penalty.

Keith Hennessey has written an article addressing this very thing. Please read his article for a better understanding.

Certain special people have waivers written in the law, and approved by Barack Obama.

  1. Illegal Aliens will not have to pay a penalty tax for not buying insurance.(do they get it for free?)
  2. Prisoners will not have to pay the penalty. (do they get it for free?)
  3. You are poor. (see reference for just who is considered poor)
  4. You are a member of an Indian tribe.
  5. You are not insured, and will not be for less than three months.
  6. Your religion does not buy into modern medicine or health insurance.
  7. You are in a labor Union that has a waiver from the HHS.

Now, all these waivers take in a lot of people. After the dust settles, there will be several million people still not insured.

One of my questions is, who gets their healthcare for free?

Any ideas?

Supreme Court Double Talk 8

Picture from Wikipedia of hanged men

Government Wins – Country Loses

We should have known. The long awaited Supreme Court came in today with a ruling, which in my opinion, is a bit on the contradictory side.

First of all, the so-called Affordable Health Care Act  is not constitutional as a mandate, which it is. Secondly, it is constitutional if it is a tax, which it is. Wow! It is two, two, two laws in one. Apparently the government can pick and choose its own definition, and win any case it wants by simply pretending.

The whole thing is double talk.  Apparently, the US Congress can pass laws that tax our pants off, but they cannot pass a law telling us what to buy. This still does not change the fact that we will be forced to buy the insurance whether the government calls it a tax or not.

So, want started out as a horse suddenly takes on a unicorn appearance. The law is all things to all people, constitutional or not.

The big lesson is to trust no branch of government.

They are all out to screw it up.