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Seton Motley

Seton Motley is a consultant and the founder and president of Less Government.
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(At Least) Three Reasons Why Government Being in the Broadband Business is a Terrible Idea

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Seton Motley

Likely the least regulated private economic sector going into the Age of the Barack Obama Administration – at least at the federal level – was the Internet.  Which is largely why the Web has become an ever-evolving, free speech-free market Xanadu.

This Administration views this is a tremendous failing – that they are rushing to rectify.

Just after this last election, the President’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – at the interloping behest of the President his own self – imposed two huge Internet power grabs.

There has been much examination of the ridiculous Network Neutrality grab – where the Feds will now slam down onto the Net the ridiculous tax and regulatory superstructure that is 1930s landline telephone laws.

Let’s look at the other.

FCC Overturns State Laws Limiting Government Broadband

How’s that for federalism?  Where in the Constitution is the federal government empowered to do that?

Why are there twenty states with laws limiting their local governments from getting into the broadband business?

Reason 1: Government stinks at doing…well, just about everything.

Government couldn’t make money selling sex.  So it probably shouldn’t be in the business of trying to be a business.  ObamaCare, anyoneVeterans AdministrationPostal serviceTrains?

The federal government is over $18 trillion in debt.  It clearly stinks at doing…well, just about everything.

Twenty states watched local governments throughout the nation fail spectacularly over and over again at being Internet providers.  Often residents of entire states end up on the hook to bailout the failed local government attempts.  So these twenty decided to pass laws to limit the damage.

The only question is – what are the other thirty states thinking?

The Administration, of course, steamrolled the states showing eminently good sense.

Government getting into the Internet business is an egregiously bad idea in at least two other ways.

Reason 2: Government is the referee – and playing for the opposing team.

Far and away the biggest impediments to private Internet providers being Internet providers – are local governments.

Local governments and their public utilities charge (Internet Service Providers) ISPs far more (for building rights) than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction….

These (government) incumbents – the real monopolists – also have the final say on whether an ISP can build a network. They determine what hoops an ISP must jump through to get approval.

This reduces the number of potential competitors who can profitably deploy service.… The lack of competition makes it easier for local governments and utilities to charge more for rights of way and pole attachments.

It’s a vicious circle…(A) system of forced kickbacks….(also) includ(ing) ISPs…building out service where it isn’t demanded, donating equipment, and delivering free broadband to government buildings.

Think about these local governments – which hold the fate of every private Internet provider in their greedy, giant hands – also competing with them as Internet providers.

Think the government shakedowns are bad now?  Think its hard to get the government to grant you permission to do business now?  Wait until the government is trying to sell what you’re trying to sell.

And government can ultimately do this:

The Postal Service (USPS) has a legal government monopoly on delivering first-class mail…. (Prospective competitors) are required by law to charge a high minimum price and cannot undercut USPS rates.

Reason 3: Government is taxing private providers – and using that money to fund competitors to these private providers.

Imagine if Office Depot could tax Office Max – and use that money to fund Office Depot.

Nearly every local government taxes Internet providers (I’d bet it’s every – I’m playing a safety).  Which means Internet providers that pays taxes to local governments that are in the Internet provider business – are funding competitors to their businesses.

All of this is a lot of things.  It certainly ain’t fair – and it certainly ain’t additionally competitive.

For these reasons – and many, MANY more – governments should as always rigorously adhere to the Yellow Pages Rule:

If you can find it in the Yellow Pages, the government shouldn’t be doing it.

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GOP Sacrifices Property Rights to Win Over Silicon Valley

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 - by Seton Motley

As an adult, watching a fifth grade boy who obviously likes a fifth grade girl is at once amusing – and nostalgically bittersweet.  The shyness, the awkwardness, the indecision.  But mostly, it’s the limitless lengths to which the boy will go to try to please the girl.

Hopefully, we as men and women grow out of this – and at least get a little better at wooing others.  Sadly, the Republican Party’s crush on Silicon Valley has not advanced past the elementary school stage.

The GOP wants the Silicon Valley’s love.  And by love we mean the millions of donation dollars that currently go mostly to Democrats.  And sadly, it appears some Republicans will go to nearly any length to curry some of that coin.

Including giving up core conservative principles.  Currently on the Win Your Love sacrificial altar – private property rights.

Behold Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s latest love missive to their Valley Girl.  Published in the Valley’s Tiger Beat - Wired.

It’s Time to Kill Patent Trolls for Good

Since 2011, Overstock.com, from my home state of Utah, has been targeted by 28 so-called patent “trolls,” seeking to enforce vague patents.

Patents are private property – and deserve all the protections a personal parcel of land does.

If a patent is vague, that is the fault of the U.S. government – the Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) – for approving it.  Once the USPTO approves, though, that patent is private property – with all the ownership rights pertaining thereto.

If Overstock doesn’t like it – work with Congress to tighten up the USPTO’s approval process.  Don’t get government to undermine a fundamental component of our intellectual property system.

Behold the fundamental issue in this whole “patent troll” discussion.  We don’t need “patent troll” reform – we need Patent Office reform.

Often these trolling lawsuits come from shell corporations that don’t make or sell anything.

“Shell companies” – otherwise known as property owners.  These companies in many cases purchased the patents from those who invented the patent-able product – the people from whom sprung forth the miracle that is creation.

Inventors often have zero desire to actually implement their ideas.  Their joy is in the inventing.  They are often more than happy to sell an idea (to a “shell company”) – to fund their work on their next idea.

This is an amazing, virtuous cycle of innovation.  Why would we want to fundamentally undermine it?

(P)atent trolls are crippling growth across all sectors of our innovation economy – from small businesses to America’s largest companies.

There’s a very easy way to avoid this litigation, Ladies and Gentlemen – pay the people whose property you are using.  Or don’t use it.

If I were squatting in your office building and renting the space out – would you be pleased if I got Congress to outlaw your ability to collect rent or evict me?  You absolutely would not.  Congratulations – you’re an “office troll.”

This is the Silicon Valley looking to “rent seek” – which means getting government to pass laws that tilt the playing field in their favor.  And, of course, getting favors from government costs money – otherwise known as political donations.

Of course Democrats are – as always – for Crony Socialist sale.  It’s disheartening when the allegedly free market, private-property-protecting Republicans are too.

Hey GOP – sometimes the girl ain’t worth it.

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Obama’s Other Internet Power Grab Is to Expand Policy

Monday, March 9th, 2015 - by Seton Motley

February 26 was a particularly terrible day – in a six-plus year history of terrible Barack Obama Administration days.

That is the day the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – without benefit of Congress – unilaterally imposed on the free Internet the uber-heinous regulatory nightmare mess that is Title-II-Reclassification-Network Neutrality.

But that’s not all the FCC – without any actual authority – did to the Web.

FCC Just Overruled State Laws That Were Blocking Municipal Broadband

How very authoritarian of them.  Federalism, anyone?

When you hear “municipal broadband” – think “government broadband.”  It’s governments attempting to be in the broadband business.

Which means governments tax private broadband companies – and use the money they’ve taken from private broadband companies to fund government competitors to private broadband companies.

Which means governments are umpires – and playing for the opposing team.  To do business, private broadband companies must every day play “Mother May I” with governments and their many, many regulations.  If the government regulator is also a competitor – how amenable to its private competition is it going to be?

Seton Motley | PJ Media | PJMedia.com

This Administration’s Hand Wear of Choice

President Obama steamrolled nineteen states’ laws – to clear the way to again ramp up federal spending on government broadband.  Again – because the 2009 $787 billion “Stimulus” had $7.2 billion for government broadband.  How’d that go?

The Utter Failure of Government ‘Stimulus’

Update: The Utter Failure of Government ‘Stimulus’

Yet Another Terrible Internet ‘Stimulus’ Project

How good are governments at providing broadband?  ObamaCare good.  Post office good.  Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) good.

Municipal Broadband’s Record of Failure

For Taxpayers, (Government) Broadband ‘UTOPIA’ Anything But

UTOPIA has been a failure and a thorn in the side of Utah taxpayers from the beginning. Since 2004, UTOPIA was running operating losses for nine years straight. According to UTOPIA’s own financial reports, at the end of FY 2013 UTOPIA had net assets of negative $146 million.

Despite asking local governments for $13 million in sales taxes annually, UTOPIA has struggled to stay alive over the past decade. As if that wasn’t bad enough, UTOPIA has accrued more than $500 million in debt for Utah taxpayers with no path to success in sight.

How good is the federal government at handling the money for government broadband?

The Government Loan Program With a 116 Percent Default Rate

What caught my eye was the default rate for an Agriculture Department program called Broadband Treasury Rate Loans: 116.37 percent.

A default rate above 100%? Was that a typo?

It was not a typo.

The crazy number was apparently produced by flawed execution of a flawed model of a flawed program….

Administration officials couldn’t pinpoint the actual default rate….

Last year, a Government Accountability Office review of the broadband program’s first 100 loans, totaling almost $2 billion, revealed serious problems; 18 had already defaulted….

The feds had lost $78 million on a single 2008 loan to Open Range Communications, a wireless provider that went bankrupt in 2011.

And the GAO found that the Agriculture Department had no idea why its loans were going bad or which kind of loans were likely to go bad in the future; it didn’t even have performance measures to determine whether the program was achieving its goals.

Hmmm – I wonder why nineteen states would pass laws to prevent more of this?

In reality – one has to wonder why it was only nineteen.

And at this point, sadly, we need not wonder why – despite this all-encompassing mega-failure – President Obama’s FCC just unilaterally steamrolled these states so as to force feed them more government broadband.

It’s what authoritarian, government-does-everything regimes do.

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‘Cap and Trade’ Is Alive and Well – Despite Having Never Passed Congress

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 - by Seton Motley

Remember “Cap and Trade?”  The anti-market allegedly “market-based” “solution” to man-faked global warming climate change?

A central authority (usually a governmental body) sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that may be emitted.

The limit or cap is allocated and/or sold by the central authority to firms in the form of emissions permits which represent the right to emit or discharge a specific volume of the specified pollutant.

Permits (and possibly also derivatives of permits) can then be traded on secondary markets.


Cap-and-Trade Schemes Are Not Markets

Only if (you) want government to raise energy prices, make coal uneconomical as an electricity fuel, or restrict Americans’ access to carbon-based energy.…

“Cap and trade” is a policy so disastrous it couldn’t pass a Democrat-majority Congress – with Democrat President Barack Obama eagerly waiting with pen at the ready.

(Democrat) Ben Nelson: Cap-and-Trade Will Not Pass This Congress

Cap and Trade is Dead (Really, Truly, I’m Not Kidding)

Except with this President, no terrible idea dies just because the Constitutional process demands it.

(Environmental Protection Agency) EPA: If Congress Doesn’t Pass Cap-and-Trade, We Will

And so they have. Here’s the EPA’s “Cap and Trade” page.

And in government, terrible ideas are like kudzu – they rapidly, illegally spread everywhere.

USDA, EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced an expanded partnership to support water quality trading….

Oh look – the government is assaulting our farmers’ water supply.  Where else have we seen that?

The EPA is Turning Water on Farms Into a Weapon Against Farmers

The EPA exists to assault the private sector.  And it is teaming up with other government departments to maximize the damage.

The USDA is a complete waste of money, time and space.  Humans have engaged in agriculture for 10,000 years – we did so for 9,900 of those years without a government department.  I think we’ve got this.

And, of course, there is zero Constitutional authority granted to the federal government to have a USDA.

Having no useful purpose, the Department of Agriculture works day and night to make private agriculture more difficult and expensive.  Which raises our food prices – and makes our farmers less competitive on the now-global market.

These government-inflicted regulations and costs – by a department that shouldn’t exist – foster other government programs that shouldn’t exist.

Like the horrendous Farm Bill.  Government makes it nearly impossible for farmers to turn a profit – then subsidizes them.

Like Food Stamps.  Government jacks the price of food – then buys tens of millions of people food at the government-inflated prices because they can no longer afford it.

The Obama Administration is assaulting the private sector with every department, agency, commission and board at its $4-trillion-a-year disposal.  Including unilaterally imposing “Cap and Trade” across multiple agencies.  And what has transpired during the Obama Administration’s tenure?

14 Million More on Food Stamps Under Obama

Food Stamp Growth 75X Greater than Job Creation

It would seem there is a correlation there.

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How The Government Is About to Make a Big Power Grab For the Internet on Thursday

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - by Seton Motley

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 7.49.03 AM

Thursday is for freedom a very bad day. That is the day the free speech-free market Xanadu that is the Internet will be unilaterally seized by the Barack Obama Administration.

Per the President’s demand, the allegedly independent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pretending to be Congress – and writing new Web-regulating law for themselves. And on Thursday they will vote on it – and thereby grab expansive, broad and deep overlording powers.

The President influencing the FCC is at the very least problematic – if not illegal.

House to Probe White House Role in FCC’s ‘Net Neutrality’ Proposal

Senate Investigating Whether Obama Meddled with the FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan

In defense of the Commission’s apparent lackey-esque capitulation, Special Counsel for External Affairs Gigi Sohn “reassured” us:

“There are…places where our proposal is actually stronger than President Obama’s proposal.”

“Our power grab is even worse than President Obama’s” isn’t very reassuring:

Obama’s One-Man Rule Amounts To A ‘Gradual, Quiet Coup’

President Obama’s Immigration Plan: Rewriting the Law

Obama Rewrites The Law Again, IRS Waives Obamacare Subsidy Clawback Penalties

Obama Rewrites ‘No Child’ Law

Obama Proposes Massive Gun Ban by Regulation Fiat

The FCC is allegedly an “expert agency“- and they will apply this expertise to their command-and-control of the Web.

Government Agency That Wants To Commandeer The Internet Just Had Their Website Crash – Twice

Oops. Well, perhaps the combined technological expertise of the entire $4-trillion-a-year federal government will help.

Technology Failures Grow All Too Common in Government Projects

High-Risk List: Government IT Projects Fail ‘Too Frequently’

Traffic Didn’t Crash the Obamacare Site Alone. Bad Coding Did Too

Three Months Later, State Department Hasn’t Rooted Out Hackers

Not so much. Well at least they’re experts at other things – maybe it will rub off.

Why Does Government Fail So Often?

A Fatal Wait: Veterans Languish and Die on Veterans Administration Secret List

Why Are We Not Talking About the Federal Government’s $123 Trillion In Unfunded Liabilities?

Not so much. Well they don’t wield well their massive power – but at least they don’t abuse it.

Constitutional Experts Call Obama’s Abuse of Power Historic

New IRS Scandal Revives Past Allegations Against Agency

Gov’t Obtains Wide AP Phone Records in Probe

Obama’s ‘Abuse of Power’ Argument on Recess Appointments

Not so much. Is our data safe in government hands?

‘Thousands of NSA Analysts Can Listen to Domestic Phone Calls,’ Read Emails, Texts, IMs

Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes ObamaCare Hub

Confirmed: US Counterterrorism Agency Can Amass Data On Any Citizen

Not so much. Are they at least honest and transparent with us?

Obama’s “Keep Your Plan” Promise Labeled “Lie of the Year”

Obama’s ‘Blame the Video’ Fraud Started in Cairo, Not Benghazi

EPA Chief’s Secret ‘Alias’ Email Account Revealed

Jon Stewart Accuses Kathleen Sebelius of Lying to Him About Obamacare

Not so much. Do they at least want to correct things – and admire and appreciate those inside government who point out this endless stream of abuses and failures?

The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers

Obama has Prosecuted More Whistleblowers than All Other Presidents Combined

Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 25 Times the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents Combined

Not so much. Do they at least want to work with the media – you know, “The most transparent administration in history?”

President Obama Promised Transparency and Open Government. He Failed Miserably

Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists

New York Times Reporter: Obama Admin “Most Closed, Control-Freak Administration I’ve Ever Covered”

Not so much.

Does the FCC behave any differently than any other tentacle of the Leviathan?

FCC: Lifeline Program Fraud and Abuse Surpasses Two Million Subscribers

FCC Admits CableCARD a Failure

FCC Votes Itself 17.2% USF E-Rate Tax Increase

The FCC’s Plan To Steamroll State Laws Against Government Broadband

Not so much. And what of the FCC’s looming Net Neutrality power grab? Can we get a peek – in the interest of transparency?

(Obama-Campaign-Cash-Bundler FCC) Chairman Wheeler Won’t Release Net Neutrality Draft

Not so much. Why not?

“What you have suggested in terms of releasing the preliminary discussion draft of the Order runs contrary to Commission procedure followed over the years….”

Their defense of their anti-transparency – is years and years of precedent anti-transparency.

Speaking of anti-transparency – and abuse of power, and silencing critics, and…:

Top Pai Aide Says Press Release Was Blocked

Matthew Berry, chief of staff to FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, took to Twitter earlier this week to suggest “FCC leadership” was attempting to prevent the commissioner from posting a press release excerpting critics of network neutrality regulation.

Pai has been extremely outspoken in his criticism of chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan—he calls it the President’s plan—to reclassify ISPs under some Title II regs as a way to support new network neutrality rules.

Asked what Berry meant by a Feb. 18 tweet saying “FCC leadership now trying to block Commissioner Pai’s press releases from FCC website. So much for Open Internet!,” Berry said that the FCC’s Office of Media Relations “told us that the Office of General Counsel had directed that our statement be removed from the website.”

So the FCC is just like every other federal Department, Agency, Commission and Board – hopelessly incompetent, abusive, dishonest and anti-transparent.

And they’re about to commandeer control of the Internet.

Well, the web was fun while it lasted.

Next up: The conga line to the courthouse – to sue to undo this egregious overreach.

AT&T Ready to Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality

NCTA Will Probably Sue FCC Over Title II Regulation

Smaller Cable Companies Hint They’ll Sue the FCC on Net Neutrality, Too

What we can do: Call our respective Congressmen and Senators and tell them to do everything in their power (there’s quite a bit, actually) to rein in the rogue FCC: (202) 224-3121.


image illustration via shutterstock /  

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From a Terrible President Obama Asia Trip – Some Actual Good News

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

President Barack Obama’s recent Asia trip was – like much of his presidency – very often disastrous.

Some things are more disastrous than others.

A Look at What the US-China Climate Deal Means for the Fight Against Global Warming

China, whose emissions are rising as it builds new coal plants to fuel its economic growth, set a target for its emissions to peak in 2030 or earlier….

The U.S. set a goal to make its 2025 emissions between 26 and 28 percent lower than they were in 2005.

Get that?  China gets to grow unfettered for another fifteen years.  (And that’s if we can trust them at the end of it all to do what they say they will – a dubious bet at best.)

We would have to in ten years undo all of the growth of the last ten – and then lop off an additional quarter.

Not exactly an equitable arrangement – cut to address fictitious “problems.”

Global warming is a Left-concocted con and farce – ClimateGates 1 & 2, anyone? – to (not-so) stealthily attack capitalism.  (Vladimir Lenin’s birthday was chosen for Earth Day – not-so-stealthy.)

And global temperatures have since 1998 flatlined – despite huge global increases in carbon dioxide output.  CO2 these Leftists have ridiculously dubbed a global warming-inducing “pollutant.”

Ask the world’s flora – that inhales carbon dioxide – if they think it’s poison.  Rather than hug a tree, extrude some CO2 – the arboreal appreciation will be far greater.

President Obama did secure a deal that is actually good for Americans – and the planet.

U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products

The U.S. and China reached an agreement to drop tariffs on a wide range of technology products, in a deal that its backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade and that marks a significant accomplishment amid strained ties between Beijing and Washington.

The two countries late Monday reached a deal to expand the Information Technology Agreement, a global technology trade pact, to cover semiconductors, medical devices, Global Positioning System devices and other newer products, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday in Beijing.

The deal–reached late Monday after marathon negotiations and more than a year of stalled talks–could be ratified in December by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Less taxes on trade?  Excellent.  Less tension between two tense-together nations?  Excellent.

As “West Wing” fictitious employee Toby Ziegler factually noted:

You want the benefits of free trade?…

Food is cheaper, clothes are cheaper, steel is cheaper, cars are cheaper, phone service is cheaper…. It lowers prices, it raises income….

Free trade stops wars. And that’s it. Free trade stops wars. And we figure out a way to fix the rest.

Figuring out the fix for the rest isn’t that difficult.  Much of it involves the aforementioned WTO – a global entity with an actual useful purpose (as opposed to, say, the United Nations).

The WTO should approve this agreement – and take notes.  Because we need a whole lot more of these deals – with as many nations and in as many economic sectors as possible.

The WTO should be not just ratifying them – but fostering their development.  For instance:

The world’s sugar-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then we do it for clothes.  And steel.  And cars.  And….

We get the idea.  Here’s hoping the WTO and the world’s nations do.

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Internet Reclassification: President Obama Tosses Another Grenade After Second Election Shellacking

Monday, November 10th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

President Barack Obama this morning released a statement calling for his administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – allegedly an independent agency – to execute a unilateral, complete rewrite of existing law.

He wants reclassification of how the Internet is regulated — so as to then impose network neutrality.  Twice before the FCC has tried to impose net neutrality — twice it was unanimously rejected as overreaching by courts.

The law — the 1996 Telecommunications Act — classifies the Internet as lightly-regulated Title I, and does not authorize the FCC to impose net neutrality.

The president wants his FCC — all by itself — to shove it under uber-heavily-regulated Title II, which applies 1934 Telecom Act land line phone law and regulations to the future-forward World Wide Web.

This is the second end-run around Congress the president has threatened in the six days since he and his Democrat Party were thoroughly rejected in the midterm elections.  He also said he plans to go ahead with unilateral illegal alien amnesty.

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If You Like How the Government is Handling Ebola…

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

…you’ll love how they’ll handle the Internet.

The late, inordinately great Ronald Reagan rightly observed:

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

So when the federal government says about Ebola “We’ve got this” – people have a problem believing it.

Obama Underwater on Ebola Response

Ah, the Barack Obama Administration – which has been caught lying over and over and over again.

Many Voters Say Obama Lies to the Country on Important Matters

81 percent of Americans believe that Obama lies to them at least “now and then” on “important matters.”

The Obama Administration has again and again offered Ebola assertions and assurances that Reality has subsequently demonstrated were…wanting.

The President has asserted Ebola isn’t transmittable beyond direct body fluid contact.  That’s not true.

In one of the most breathtakingly on-its-face anti-Reality statements ever, the Administration asserted a flight ban from afflicted countries would INCREASE the spread of the disease.

The American people think otherwise.

67% of Americans Support a Travel Ban From Ebola Affected Countries

Democrats are blaming the Administration’s Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s serial Ebola incompetence – the CDC being the government’s alleged “expert agency” on, well…disease control – on budget cuts.  That’s not true either.

At $7 billion, the Centers for Disease Control 2014 budget is nearly 200 percent bigger now than it was in 2000. Those evil, stingy Republicans actually approved CDC funding increases in January larger than what President Obama requested.

The CDC has spent their titanic tally on just about everythingexcept disease control.

So the American people can be forgiven for arriving here:

Trust in Government at All-Time Low

Trust In Government Problem-Solving Reaches New Low

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is gearing up to unilaterally commandeer control of the Internet.

On Ebola, the allegedly Disease Controlling Administration – in fine Kevin Bacon “Animal House” fashion – has been repeatedly proclaiming “All is well” as things continue to get worse and worse.

Conversely, the Internet has been since just about its inception a government-free zone.  And has a result become an ever-expanding free speech-free market Xanadu.

The Administration has been the Chicken Little of the World Wide Web.  Running around decrying a “problem” that does not exist – and demanding a Huge Government “solution.”

The fake “problem?”  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may – one day, someday, maybe – block you from websites.  Only they haven’t.  And they won’t.  Because they are in the customer service business – but won’t be for long if they refuse to serve their customers what they want.

The fake “solution?”

What’s Even Worse than Net Neutrality? Government Internet Reclassification to Do It

Reclassification will give the government the same regulatory stranglehold on the Web that it has had for seventy-plus years on landline phone lines.  Which is why landline phone lines have remained just about undeveloped since FDR.

Oh – and this:

Reclassification Net Neutrality Could Be a 16.1% Internet Tax

Now we know why the government has created a faux Web crisis – so as to not let it go to waste.

But fret not, the government tells us. They will wield just some – and not all – of their massive new powers. They will practice “forbearance.”

“(F)orbearance” refers to a special magic power that Congress gave the FCC…which gives the FCC the power to say “you know that specific provision of law that Congress passed? We decide it really doesn’t make sense for us to enforce it in some particular case, so we will “forbear” (hence the term ‘forbearance’) from enforcing it.”

Sure.  Because we can take the government at its word – right?

Like the CDC on disease control, the FCC is the government’s alleged “expert agency” on all things Internet.  Except:

Government Commission That Wants to Commandeer Control of the Internet Just Had Their Website Crash – Twice

So the FCC is just about as honest and competent as the rest of the government.

How about, then, they not take over the Web?

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Hong Kong v China – Less Government Is So Obviously Better

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Perhaps lost in the incessant, rolling bad news shuffle that is the Barack Obama Administration are the ongoing Hong Kong protests of rising Chinese domestic interference.

This is exactly the sort of thing we freedom lovers and free marketeers feared when in 1984 the British agreed to in 1997 hand over control of the island to the mainland Communists.

To alleviate the concern, the Chinese Communists pledged non-interventionism.

(T)he Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”

But we knew the Chinese Communist Party couldn’t forever resist assaulting the golden goose.

(S)tudent groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy….

Crackdown on Protests by Hong Kong Police Draws More to the Streets

Downtown Hong Kong turned into a battlefield of tear gas and seething crowds on Sunday after the police moved against a student democracy protest, inciting public fury that brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of a city long known as a stable financial center.

Sound familiar?

Chaos In Hong Kong Rivals Tiananmen Square Crackdown 25 Years Ago

And there is no question Hong Kong is a golden goose.  Left to its autonomous, less-government ways Hong Kong has become a free speech-free market Xanadu.

As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong’s service-oriented economy is characterized by low taxation, near free port trade and well established international financial market….

According to Index of Economic Freedom since the inception of the index in 1995, Hong Kong has remained the world’s freest economy. 

The economy is governed under positive non-interventionism, and is highly dependent on international trade and finance….

Hong Kong’s gross domestic product, between 1961 and 1997, has grown 180 times. Also, the GDP rose by 87 times per capita….

This policy has often been cited by economists such as Milton Friedman and the Cato Institute as an example of the benefits of laissez-faire capitalism.

Is the golden goose threatened?  The entire flock is.

Hong Kong Unrest May Shake World Economy

The Chinese Communists should understand this.  They have over the last couple of decades loosened ever so slightly their internal economic restrictions.  Which has allowed for some selective, amazing growthAlibaba, anyone? – of which those under the authoritarians could previously only dream.

So here we have perfect, evolutionary compares-and-contrasts.

Decades of on-all-fours, Huge Government China – resulting in horrendous human condition, tens of millions of deaths and abject destitution.

Slightly loosened Chinese government shackles – resulting in limited economic explosion.

And walking upright – sprinting forward, actually?  Minimalist regulation Hong Kong – whose free markets and free trade have resulted in the freest and best economy on Earth.

Which would you choose?

We here have the opportunity to learn these lessons – and make the right choices.  In sectors throughout our economy.

A horrendous example of de-evolutionary, destructive, China-esque domestic policy?

Over those seventy or so years, our anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market.  The world’s growers saw our bad moves – and matched them.  Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.

All of which can be simply fixed.

The world’s crop-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then we do the same with iPhone parts.  And cars.  And tires.  And….

China has slowly, selectively learned these lessons – and has begun crawling towards the triumphant Hong Kong free market model.  Even as they now look to rein in the visual aide.

We have spent the last decades too often assuming the Chinese-model fetal positions.

There’s an old joke:

Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor: “Don’t do that.”

It hurts when China does it.  It hurts when China does it to Hong Kong.

Why are we doing it to ourselves?  And thus the rest of the world?

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‘Local Choice’ — Let’s Roll Back Some Crony Socialism, Shall We?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Cronyism.  Or Crony Capitalism.  It’s actually Crony Socialism – because it actually has nothing to do with capitalism.

Crony Socialism is not an unfettered free market where the best ideas and companies win.  It’s the government warping and distorting the market: favoring with absurdly tilted policies some ideas and companies – and thus inherently dis-favoring everyone else in said sector.

How much you pay to watch TV has been a Crony Socialist nightmare mess since basically the creation of cable TV.  Thanks to government meddlesomely messing with the market.

The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (also known as the 1992 Cable Act) is a United States federal law which required cable systems to carry most local broadcast channels and prohibited cable operators from charging local broadcasters to carry their signal.

Get that?  Cable companies are required by law to deliver all local broadcast stations in every channel package.  Cable companies must then sit down with broadcasters and pretend to negotiate a “free market” deal for how much they pay for those stations.

If you and I sat down to negotiate a price for my widgets – after the government has mandated that you purchase my widgets – don’t you think I’m going to inflate the price of my widgets?

And broadcasters are thanks to government a monopoly – in the sense that they alone carry the product cable companies are mandated by government to purchase. And thus their prices are perpetually on the rise.

Of course the more cable companies pay for these local stations – the more we pay for them.

And cable companies—and thus you—are required by government to pay rigged prices for a product that you used to get for free with a rooftop antenna or a pair of rabbit ears.

Government mandates rarely go well.  Government is now mandating that everyone buy health insurance – how’s that going?

ObamaCare will increase average individual-market insurance premiums by 99% for men, 62% for women; ObamaCare will raise premiums for 65% of small firms; ObamaCare taxes add billion to rising premiums.

And broadcasters know: when your cable bill goes up, you don’t get mad at the broadcasters for overcharging for their channels – you get mad at your cable company for having to pass those costs on to you.

As sweet as this broadcasters’ deal is – it ain’t anywhere near all.

The Broadcasters are actually the beneficiaries of decades of government good grace well beyond the uber-tilted Cable Act.

They received free from government charge their spectrum – the airwaves they use to broadcast.  Surely something the cellular phone companies have eyed as theyve paid the government tens of billions of dollars for their spectrum.

And now we have the looming spectrum incentive auction.  Where Broadcasters get to sell their spectrum that they, again, received for free to the cell phone companies (via the government middle man).

Im sure a company like Verizon -  a cell phone company who with Fios is also a television Provider is thrilled to pay Broadcasters for spectrum the latter received for free, while also having the government tilt the Retransmission rules against them, in the Broadcasters favor.

The Broadcasters have a pretty sweet omni-directional Crony Socialist deal going.  Little wonder they are fighting so hard against any changes to it.

If we can get an injection of Free Market (Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval-pending) anywhere into this Crony Socialist organism – we should absolutely take it.  The “Local Choice” bill now before the Senate would do just that.

Taking a novel approach to broadcast retransmission consent, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) joined forces with ranking committee member John Thune (R-SD) in unveiling a proposal that would allow subscribers to multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services to select the local broadcast channels they want while permitting MVPDs to bill subscribers directly for licensing fees connected with the broadcast channels of their choice.

Any roll back of any Crony Socialism is a turn in the right direction.

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VIDEO: When Bureaucrats Determine Their Own Limits – There Are No Limits

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 - by Seton Motley

As the great P.J. O’Rourke said:

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

We have to give the Feds some – the Constitution requires it.  But in 1984 the Supreme Court threw wide open the doors to every liquor store and vehicle in the nation.

Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. was a case in which the United States Supreme Court set forth the legal test for determining whether to grant deference to a government agency’s interpretation of a statute which it administers.

Chevron is the Court’s clearest articulation of the doctrine of “administrative deference,” to the point that the Court itself has used the phrase “Chevron deference” in more recent cases.

What has that meant in thirty years of practice?

Supreme Court Rules Bureaucrats Can Set Their Own Power Limits; No Bureaucrats Find Any

Which brings us to the Obama Administration.  And its million-plus bureaucrats speeding and swerving from one adult beverage center to another – sloppily all over every lane of every highway and byway in the land.

And then we wonder why the economic “recovery” stinks on ice.

All of this egregious overreach, the ensuing woeful and unnecessary damage and more we discuss in the accompanying video.

Please press play – and enjoy.

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VIDEO: Obama Administration is Uber-Regulation, Inc. – And It’s Killing the Economy

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Is the Barack Obama Administration more than a mite out of control when it comes to imposing new regulations?  Indeed so.

Regulations Under Obama Cost Households $14,768 Yearly

Obama Hits the Gas on Regs

Regulations Take $1.8 Trillion Bite Out of Economy

Is the Obama Administration more than a little off on their regulations assessments?  Indeed so.

Obama Regs Cost 20-Times Admin’s Estimate

Twenty 9-0 Supreme Court Rulings Against (Administration)

Hundreds of Obama Administration Regulations Are Illegal

Speaking of illegal, let’s look at Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC has already twice imposed the Internet power grab that is Network Neutrality.  How’d that go?

(Unanimous) Court: FCC Has No Power to Regulate Net Neutrality

Court (Again Unanimously) Strikes Down Net Neutrality Rules

Have these rebukes stopped Obama, Inc.?  Of course not.

Government-Imposed Net Neutrality: Twice-Bitten, Not Shy About a Third Try

They are in fact contemplating an even bigger grab.

What’s Even Worse than Net Neutrality? Government Internet Reclassification to Do It

Obviously existing federal law doesn’t stop Obama.  Do multiple-state laws?  It appears not.

The FCC’s Plan To Steamroll State Laws Against Government Broadband

And even all of this is but partially representative of how far-reaching and omni-directional is the Obama Administration’s power-grab-intent.

The full scope – and deleterious effect – of which we discuss in the accompanying video.

Please press play, and enjoy.

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The 20th Was the Failed Welfare State Century – The 21st Must Be About Less Government

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The Twentieth was the Century of the Welfare State.  Governments the world over built and then continuously grew their domestic aid money delivery apparatuses.  Tens of trillions of dollars were spent in attempts to raise poor people up and out.

It’s been disastrous.

European Union and the Failed Welfare State

Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia

More Evidence of the Social Welfare State as a Failure

Much of the planet was dominated by the Soviet Union – whose satellites and clients were just welfare states under the Red umbrella.  Communism is the Welfare State in full bloom – and to say it doesn’t work is the century’s greatest understatement.  One hundred million people died – and billions more lived nasty, brutish and short lives in abject desolation and destitution.

The United States has on welfare spent more than $7 trillion – just in the last fifty years.

The Continuing Failure of America’s Welfare State

Why the Welfare State Is Doomed to Fail

And President Barack Obama has failed utterly to learn the last century’s lessons.  He is in his mere eight years set to more than double our disastrous outlay.

Obama to Spend $10.3 Trillion on Welfare

Some remain steadfastly impervious to facts.

With this unfathomable amount of money, our poverty level has remained virtually unchanged.  Oh – and we’re now almost $18 trillion in debt.

That’s just domestic.  Nations around the world – led by the U.S. – have spent trillions more making other nations around the world into Welfare States.  Which has for them been just as disastrous as it has been for us domestically.

The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid

Exploring the Failure of Foreign Aid

Africa has largely become a Welfare Continent.  It has received tons of free coin – and has been for the most part been mired in perpetual, dire malaise.

Why Foreign Aid Always Fails in Africa

Time for a Rethink: Why Development Aid for Africa Has Failed

Time for a rethink indeed – not just in Africa, but throughout the world.

U2 singer Bono – a decades-long global Welfare State promoter and believer – certainly thinks so.

“So some of Africa is rising – and some of Africa is stuck.  The question is whether the rising bit will pull the rest of Africa up – or whether the other Africa will weigh the continent down.  Which will it be? 

“The stakes here aren’t just about them.  Imagine for a second this last global recession – but without the economic growth of China and India.  Without the hundreds of millions of newly-minted middle class folks who now buy American and European goods.  Imagine that. Think about the last five years.

“Rock star preaches capitalism.  Shh…wow.  Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it.  But commerce is real.  What you’re about here – it’s real. 

“Aid is just a stop gap.  Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid.  Of course we know that.”

I wish we all did.  Global Welfare Statesmen – take note of the Rocker.

Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism practiced inter-nationally – between nations – is called free trade.  Utterly unfettered by the “assistance” of government.

You know who’s learning it?  More and more of Africa.

Africa Continues to Reap from US-Africa Trade Pact

“Trade lanes in Africa have increased significantly as a result of relieved trade barriers, which have had a positive impact on many local businesses. A key driver of this growth has been the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has stimulated trade and investment between Africa and the United States….

“Africa is the ‘last frontier’, the more we collectively focus on connecting it with the world, the more sustainable its economies will be and the more jobs we will create – creating a virtuous cycle of success.”

Rather than the 20th Century vicious cycle of Welfare State poverty.

Free trade allows peoples everywhere to lead exponentially better lives.

Governments need to do less – less free money-ing, taxing, tariff-ing, subsidizing and protectionism-ing.

And simply get out of the way – and let the magic of the marketplace clean up their messes.

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The Left is Aghast and Angry – WikiLeaks Leaks a…Deregulatory Trade Deal

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

No matter how many regulations exist – it’s never enough for the Left.  Regs are their Jell-O – they think there’s always room for more.

New EPA Regs Issued Under Obama Are 38 Times as Long as Bible

Since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued 2,827 new final regulations, equaling 24,915 pages in the Federal Register, totaling approximately 24,915,000 words.

As diligent as the Left is in trying to add to the government rule rolls, they get absolutely apoplectic when they lose any ground anywhere.

So when this happens:

WikiLeaks Leaks A Chapter Of A Global Trade Agreement That Deals With Financial Deregulation

 The Left rends garments and gnashes teeth.

A Plan Only Banksters Will Love: WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial Deregulation — Democracy Now!

(Said trade deal is the Trade in Services Agreement.)

Democracy Now! appears on a great many government-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) stations.

Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television…and on the internet.

Meaning we paid – and continue to pay – for this sort of brilliant, rational analysis.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:  According to the leaked text, the trade deal aims to cement the deregulatory model of the 1990s by forbidding countries from improving financial regulation.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to Denver, Colorado, where we’re joined by Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizens Global Trade Watch

LORI WALLACH: Well, we’ve known these negotiations have been ongoing, but no one knew exactly what they were up to until this leaked. And effectively, the text, if it were enacted, would roll back a lot of the re-regulation that followed the global financial crisis and basically handcuff us into the 1990s extreme deregulation model that we all recognize was the cause of the crisis.

Actually, over here in Reality we recognize something else entirely was the cause of the 2008 global financial crisis – really stupid government regulation.  Specifically, government mandating banks lend mortgage money to people everyone knew couldn’t pay it back.

New Study Finds CRA ‘Clearly’ Did Lead To Risky Lending

Democrats and the media insist the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the anti-redlining law beefed up by President Clinton, had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage crisis and recession.

But a new study by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds, “Yes, it did. We find that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks.”

Added NBER: “There is a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam. Moreover, the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts.”…

The strongest link between CRA lending and defaults took place in the runup to the crisis – 2004 to 2006 – when banks rapidly sold CRA mortgages for securitization by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Wall Street.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are huge government entities.  That bought up a great many of the bad mortgages the CRA mandated banks write – and guaranteed the rest.

So the 2008 global recession was a government-regulation-induced event.  Blaming the private sector – or free trade – is like shooting someone and then blaming them for bleeding on you.

And which economy would you rather have?  The 1990s (and 1980s, and most of the 2000s) Democracy Now! decries as a “extreme(ly) deregulatory” – or the 2010s so far?

Four Years Later, Obama’s ‘Recovery’ is Still Around the Corner (2012)

Chilly (2014) 1Q: U.S. Economy Contracts for First Time Since ’11

A little more from the Reality-challenged Democracy Now!:

What they want to tear down is the regulatory structure that was strengthened after the global financial crisis.

Yes, please.  That is in fact an outstanding idea – for every economic sector, because…

The Freer the Trade, the Better Things Get

Only the likes of the government-funded Left-Media can’t see that.

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Let’s Not Put the People in Charge of the Veterans Administration in Charge of the Internet

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The Veterans Administration (VA) has been a disaster since just about its inception.  Because it is government-only monopoly single-payer health care.  Championed by the exact same people dying to impose it on all the rest of us.

Then-Community Organizer Barack Obama: 

“I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer…universal health care plan.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately.  There’s going to potentially be some transition process.

Does that “transition process” look like this?

Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of ObamaCare

74% Of ObamaCare Sign-Ups Were Previously Insured

Meanwhile, the federal government is contemplating shoving the Internet under eerily similar government-managed monopoly regulations called Title II – so as to then impose Network Neutrality.

FCC Chairman On Net Neutrality: All Options Are On the Table

…(I)ncluding a reclassification of broadband services, something that commonly known as Title II reclassification.

About which a leading proponent says:

“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.

Sound familiar?  They want government-regulation-time-bomb destruction of the private sector Internet – to end up with a single-payer government-only Web.  Upon which the Feds have already put a down payment.

2009 Stimulus Bill Includes $7.2 Billion for Broadband

Which has worked with Veterans Administration-esque alacrity.

The Internet ‘Stimulus’-Just as Destructive as the Rest of the ‘Stimulus’

Yet Another Terrible Internet ‘Stimulus’ Project

Update: The Utter Failure of Government ‘Stimulus’

It’s been such an all-encompassing, unmitigated disaster that:

20 States Now Have Restrictions on Municipal Broadband

But will that stop the government’s roll to control?  Of course not.

(Federal Communications Commission) FCC Thinks It Can Overturn State Laws that Restrict Public Broadband

How’s that for respect for federalism – and the Constitution?  And the Supreme Court?

…(A) 2004 US Supreme Court decision…said the Telecommunications Act “allows states to prevent municipalities from providing telecommunications services.”….

Speaking of the Telecommunications Act – it was written in 1996.  Net Neutrality wasn’t even created as a concept until 2002.  It is utterly absurd to argue the law authorized something that didn’t even yet exist.

Has that stopped the government?  Of course not.  The FCC has already twice imposed Net Neutrality – and twice the DC Circuit has unanimously rejected it.

Court Backs Comcast Over FCC on ‘Net Neutrality’

Verizon Wins Net Neutrality Court Ruling Against FCC

And yet here we are.

It’s Groundhog Day – Again: Government Taking Third Stab at Net Neutrality Power Grab

Including the Title II Reclassification threat.

Title II is the uber-regulatory superstructure where landline telephones exist.  To think that the dynamic, interwoven, free speech-free market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web is JUST like the monolithic, monorail, virtually-unchanged-for-seventy-plus-years wired phone is…ridiculous on stilts.  And incredibly destructive.

The Leviathan is relentless.  It wants Reclassification because it would dramatically accelerate the “transition process” from a free market Internet to government-monopoly broadband.

The Court has already twice said the FCC overreached on Net Neutrality.  The FCC’s response is to consider an overreach light years beyond these previous power grabs.

The Leviathan is relentless.

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Rushing to Regulate: Democrat Rosenworcel is Right – So She Should Vote ‘No’ on Net Neutrality

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Democrat Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel yesterday made a very good point.

Rosenworcel: Delay Vote on Net Neutrality Rules

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to delay his planned May 15 vote on a draft of new network neutrality rules by at least a month….

“His proposal has unleashed a torrent of public response. Tens of thousands of e-mails, hundreds of calls, commentary all across the Internet….

“We need to respect that input and we need time for that input.  So while I recognize the urgency to move ahead and develop rules with dispatch, I think the greater urgency comes in giving the American public opportunity to speak right now, before we head down this road.

“I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his proposal.

She pointed out that the seven-day quiet period before the vote begins May 8. “That means we no longer accept public comment. I think it’s a mistake to cut off public debate right now as we head into consideration of the Chairman’s proposal. So again, at a minimum, we should delay the onset of our Sunshine rules.

So as of today, the FCC stops listening to what we have to say.  And Commissioner Rosenworcel thankfully wants to continue listening.

Chairman Wheeler, sadly, remains impervious.

 An FCC source speaking on background said the vote would go on as planned….

Commissioner Rosenworcel’s impression and instincts are exactly right.  And there’s a way she can get the appropriate delay – by voting “No” next Thursday.

Her Nay – combined with the likely Nays of the two Republican Commissioners – would be a majority three and stave off Net Neutrality’s imposition.

Would that mean Net Neutrality is dead and gone?  Of course not – its proponents are relentless.

Government-Imposed Net Neutrality: Twice-Bitten, Not Shy About a Third Try

It’s Groundhog Day – Again: Government Taking Third Stab at Net Neutrality Power Grab

Why Can’t the Government Take No for an Answer?

A Key Ingredient in the Left’s Wins: Persistence

What it would mean is We the People would have more time to weigh in on this huge government infliction on 1/6th of our nation’s economy.

Which is just what Commissioner Rosenworcel rightly wants.

Her No vote would give us that.

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The Impediment to Better Farm Policy? The Farm Lobbies – Here, and in Places Like Japan

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

We Conservatives rightly and righteously loathe our every five-year renewal of the Farm Bill.  It is a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-New Deal relic, filled to the rim with more protectionism than anyone not getting government checks could possibly stomach.

We just in February renewed this anti-free market folly.  So we’re again mired in this mess.  We thus need to spend the intervening years working to undermine the tenets of this legislative absurdity.

Since we’re locked down domestically, the way to do that is internationally.  Because what was in the 1930s merely a domestic policy disaster has become – with the explosion of a global market for all things – an international omni-pockmarked heinousness.

Protectionism begets protectionism.  Subsidies and tariffs are matched – and exceeded – by subsidies and tariffs.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  So let’s tear down these walls, shall we?

Except we’re running into some foreign obstinance.

Obama Suffers Setbacks in Japan and the Mideast

Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit.

Reminiscent of the right, righteous complaints we Conservatives have long had about our domestic Big Crops.  Because they have been terribly successful at protecting really terrible policy.

Take Big Corn – please.  Which has for decades protected an ethanol program – that requires more energy to produce ethanol than we would use if we just used petroleum.

Ethanol Production Consumes Six Units Of Energy To Produce Just One

But we continued the inanity because it was supposed to be oh-so-much-better for our Big Blue Marble.  Except….

Study Finds Cellulosic Ethanol Worse for Environment Than Pure Gasoline

Which leads anyone – whose thinking isn’t warped by Big Government Crony Socialism – to this inexorable conclusion.

It’s Final — Corn Ethanol is of No Use

Yet Big Corn and its omni-directional protectionism remains.  A Crony Colossus astride us still.

There is one Big Crop that has decided to stand down on protecting its protectionism – Sugar.  So long as other countries – like, say, Japan – stand down on theirs.  Which makes sense – unilateral disarmament is hardly ever a good idea.

Unilateral Disarmament: A Bad Idea With Nukes and Industrial Policy

And farm policy.

Negotiating With Yourself Doesn’t Work

Killing just our farm programs made much more sense when it was just us eating what we grew.  That has long since stopped being the case.  Now, if we just kill our programs, the uber-subsidized global market will kill our farms and jack up our prices.

The European Union (EU) with sugar tried such self-negotiation.  It didn’t end well.

(T)he European Union, which supplied as much as 20 percent of global (sugar) exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005.

Their reforms? Unilateral tear-down of their trade barriers – which sounds good. Except it allowed Big Sugar Subsidy Brazil to flood their market – and wipe out nearly all domestic production.

And now the EU is paying about 25% more for sugar.

So it would be inordinately nice if all of our Big Crops would get off the schneid, and work to make a better global market for their products – and everyone here who has the audacity to eat.

Rather than continue to circle the wagons around a ridiculous and ridiculously antiquated domestic Crony Socialist protectionism nightmare mess.

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It’s Groundhog Day: Government Taking Third Stab at Net Neutrality Power Grab

Friday, April 25th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

This is at once obnoxious and pathetic.

Wheeler Tees Up Net Neutrality for May Meeting

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that he would be circulating a draft of the FCC’s new network neutrality rules to the other commissioners Thursday (April 24).

This is their third attempt at this particular power garb.  It’s becoming fetishistic.

There was 2007.

Court Backs Comcast Over FCC on ‘Net Neutrality’

And there was 2010.

Verizon Wins Net Neutrality Court Ruling Against FCC

Yet here we remain – stuck in government overreach Groundhog Day.

We haven’t yet seen the Net Neutrality power grab order – but the fact that they’re trying again at all is at once obnoxious and pathetic.

Not yet having seen the order hasn’t stopped the Left from going apoplectic.  Because the Left never allows the facts to get in the way of a good beating.

The FCC Tosses Net Neutrality Out the Window

So This is How Net Neutrality Dies, Under a Democratic President

Thanks to the FCC Net Neutrality is Dead

Obama’s Second FCC Chairman Fails on Net Neutrality

Stop the FCC from Breaking the Internet

Not at all over the top.

To all of which I say:

It’s disappointing – but not surprising – that the Obama Administration is yet again going to impose the Internet power grab that is Network Neutrality.

The federal government is twice bitten – and not shy.  Having twice had their Net Neutrality impositions unanimously rejected by the courts – they remain undaunted in their desire to over-regulate the Web.

And it’s always a pleasure to watch the Leftist likes of Free Press and Public Knowledge preemptively freak out – over an order they haven’t even yet seen.

They are as always the perfect tool.  The Leftist screeching visual aides that allow an overreaching government to pretend “See, we’re finding middle ground – both sides are angry with us” as they grab even more Leviathan-sized hands-full of the once-private sector.

Don’t drive angry.

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VIDEO: The Government is a Horrendous Private Sector Prognosticator

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Seton Motley

We have before us – and the government – Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

Which the Leviathan and the Left view as an opportunity to outright blockade the free market.  Or, barring that, unilaterally impose many, many a la carte regulations – that they otherwise can’t get imposed – in exchange for Mother-May-I government-transaction-approval.

These are known as regulatory “concessions.”  Absurdly called that because we pretend the imposed-upon companies happily concede to these regulations – the same way I happily concede my wallet to the guys with the masks and the guns.

These “concessions” are imposed – they claim – to try to mitigate what they think will be market harm resulting from the transaction.

But really – who is LESS qualified to prognosticate what will happen in the market…than bureaucrats?

Sadly, this is where we currently stand.

In this video, we assess the situation – and implore the government to not yet again try to guess what’s going to happen, and preemptively regulate predicated thereon.

Soothsayers they ain’t.

YouTube Preview Image

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Crony Socialism: Let’s Not (Yet Again) Emulate Europe

Monday, April 7th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Crony Socialism is private companies using Big Government’s enormous power to better themselves – or to hobble their competition.

It is free market success stories – bailing on the free market once they’ve achieved a comfortable share of the marketplace.  Choosing instead to remain in sclerotic stasis, and have Big Government save them from themselves – and others.

Which is terrible for we consumers.  It is far better to have an unfettered market – where every company strives every day to improve.  It constantly makes things far better and much cheaper.

When some companies get Big Government to warp the market to protect their status quo, the market sags and lags – and we all lose.

Staying ahead of the curve is hard.  Continuing to create and innovate in the ways that first made you successful is a lot of work.  Long term, it is far easier to cop out and cozy up to Big Government as your protector – to become a remora on the bureaucracy shark.

Almost inherently, Crony Socialism is only a possibility for Big Companies – because only big companies have the financial wherewithal to entice the Leviathan to favor them with its largess.

By and large, the Mom & Pop Shops don’t have enough coin to get the government to do their bidding.  They are in fact often the targets of Crony Socialism.

Mom & Pops threaten the Big Cos – through their creation and innovation, which the latter have forsaken.  So the Big Cos have Big Gov tie them in knots – with miles and miles of regulatory red tape.

But Mom & Pops aren’t Crony Socialism’s only victims.  No one is safe when Big Gov plays favorites.

Netflix is looking to get Big Govs the world over to impose a whole new, ridiculously expansive definition of Network Neutrality.

Netflix Blasts Comcast and Verizon on Net Neutrality

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that “net neutrality must be defended and strengthened,” calling out giants like Comcast and Verizon for bad behavior.

Charging Netflix for their exorbitant bandwidth use isn’t “bad behavior” – it’s basic economics.  Imagine the government mandating that gas stations charge the same to fill up Escorts and Escalades.

If Netflix doesn’t pay for what it uses, all the rest of us do – in the form of higher prices for our Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Why should a grandmother who only emails her grandkids pay substantially more – to subsidize Netflix Ned and his twenty-movie-a-day download habit?

In Europe, Netflix just had their Crony Socialist wish granted.  Behold Escalade-for-Escort Net Neutrality:

Google, Netflix Protected from Telecoms Charges in EU

The European Union has ruled that telecoms operators cannot make data-intensive services such as Google and Netflix pay more for using their network.

And as promised:

Net Neutrality ‘Victory’ Could See Broadband Price Rises

(I)t could have the unintended consequence of higher prices for consumers – either through their ISPs or through services such as Netflix, because someone has to pay for traffic.

Someone does indeed – right, Grandma?

Our government has already twice imposed Net Neutrality.  And twice had it unanimously thrown out by courts.

President Barack Obama-appointee Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler remains undaunted – he has pledged to impose it yet again.

Thankfully, Wheeler appears unwilling to expand Net Neutrality to Netflix’s ridiculous limitlessness.

FCC Shoots Down Netflix’s Call to Expand the Scope of Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission made clear today that it won’t heed Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ call to expand the scope of net neutrality to regulate the way companies connect across the physical infrastructure of the internet.

We have spent the last half-decade emulating poorly-functioning Europe in myriad ways.

Glad to hear we’re not going to do it yet again with Net Neutrality – at least not down to the bizarre anti-free market levels those across the Pond are mining.

It would be better still if our Big Gov finally just gave up the Internet-uber-regulation ghost once and for all.

We already have more than enough Crony Socialism going on.

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VIDEO: Big Government Caused This – Bigger Government Doesn’t Fix It

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The solution to government – isn’t more government.  But that’s exactly what governments proffer all the time.

Local governments have imposed ridiculously high and expensive impediments to private broadband companies providing their residents service.

The federal government then decries the resulting local-government-created dearth of competition.  And uses it as an excuse to jam more government — government-provided broadband — down states’ throats.  Including the twenty states that have passed laws proscribing government broadband.

ObamaCare, anyone?  Federalism, anyone?

All of which, and more, we explain in the visual and audio medium located herein.

Please, enjoy.

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(And for more of this in the printed word, please go here.)



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Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Need to Lead to Fully Free Trade

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The United States and Japan are at the trade negotiation table – for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) is a trade agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore….

(T)he US joined the TPP in 2011…. The Obama Administration has begun talks with Asian and Latin American nations to enter into the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The talks with Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were originally initiated by the Bush Administration.

Absolutely excellent.  The freer the trade the better – the more the merrier.

Not everyone agrees.  Here is the nearly-always-ridiculous New York Times – proffering Joseph Stiglitz.

On the Wrong Side of Globalization

The conflicting views about the agreements are actually tearing at the fabric of the Democratic Party….

Good to see Mr. Stiglitz and the Times have their priorities in order.  “It may be great for the nation – but it really hurts our domestic politics.”

In his State of the Union address, for example, (President Barack Obama) blandly referred to “new trade partnerships” that would “create more jobs.

Most immediately at issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would bring together 12 countries along the Pacific Rim in what would be the largest free trade area in the world.

Negotiations for the TPP began in 2010, for the purpose, according to the United States Trade Representative, of increasing trade and investment, through lowering tariffs and other trade barriers among participating countries.

That all sounds very good to me.  Protectionism has been a problem for decades, both abroad – and here.

For years, (America’s) ridiculous, bloated subsidy-and-tax farm law was only terrible domestic policy.  But as a global farm market developed, it became yet another free trade impediment.

And it led other farm-exporting countries to erect their own free trade impediments.  Lather-rinse-repeat – decades later the we have turned the global market into an a la carte protectionism nightmare mess.

So far in TPP negotiations, Japan has been resistant to rolling back some of the government policies that impede free trade.

U.S. Fails to Get Japan to Budge on Tariffs for ‘Sacred’ Produce Items

The U.S. side has strongly demanded Japan remove tariffs on beef and pork in past negotiations. The other four products are rice, wheat, dairy products and sugar.

Which is not entirely non-understandable, given the terribleness our government just extruded.

After the Heinous Farm Bill – What Next?

What we need to do is go tit-for-tat with Japan.  Very vocally offer to axe protectionisms in our just-passed nightmare mess – and beyond – in exchange for the Japanese axing theirs.  Oh look – some key domestic players are looking to do exactly that:

US Farm Groups Puts More Pressure on TPP Talks with Japan  

While strong opposition to the TPP exists in President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party,…several farm industry groups are pushing for its approval.

There again is the always helpful Democrat Party.

Ag Groups Want Japan Trade Concessions

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and representatives of several leading farm groups said Thursday that the U.S. should not agree to a Japanese proposal to leave agricultural products out of the current negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would reduce tariffs among 12 nations.

“If they get their way, then every other country will suddenly have a list of sacred products that can’t be touched,” said Grassley….

They’re right – piecemeal freer trade is not free trade.

S.Korea Can’t Join Pacific Trade Talks Until U.S. Issues Fixed

South Korea will not be welcomed into a planned Pacific free-trade pact until all problems are resolved in carrying out an existing trade deal with the United States, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Two years after the agreement came into force, the United States was still trying to make sure promises to ease the path for U.S. exports into South Korea were fully met, the official said, pointing to problems with customs regulations and autos.

So let’s have everyone open up every possible free trade avenue – and let innumerable blossoms of capitalism bloom all over the world.

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Anytime is a Good Time to Remove Ridiculous Regulations

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Wednesday brings us a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).

You hear STELA, you think Marlon Brando.  But this mandatory renewal – the old law expires December 31 – is crucial to keeping satellite television subscribers connected to the shows they like.

And is a skirmish in a broader Crony Socialism war.  STELA in part addresses what is called Retransmission Consent.

Retransmission consent is a provision of the 1992 United States Cable Television Protection and Competition Act. 

(It) requires cable operators and other…distributors (like satellite) to obtain permission from broadcasters before carrying their programming.

In exchange, a broadcaster may propose that the operator pay cash to carry the station or ask for any other form of consideration.

As written, Retransmission Consent is hopelessly tilted in favor of the Broadcasters.

Balancing Retransmission: And the Data Says… Advantage Broadcasters

This go round, STELA’s renewal includes a provision to remove but one of these many advantages – the mandate that Providers cannot during Sweeps Weeks pull shows as a last-ditch part of Retransmission negotiations.

Don’t know when Sweeps Weeks are?  Neither do I.  Meanwhile, look what the Broadcasters can do:

Fox-Cablevision Dispute May Obstruct Customers’ View of World Series

The feud between Cablevision and the News Corporation has already resulted in an extraordinarily long blackout of programming. Now it threatens to shut Cablevision customers out of the World Series.

Get that?  Providers can’t block Sweeps Weeks – whenever they are – but Broadcasters can block things like the World Series and the Super Bowl.  They can – and they do.

Cablevision, Fox Continue Blackout Spat to World Series Start

At whom do customers get angry when they can’t watch what they want?  Hint: it ain’t the Broadcasters.  The Broadcasters know this – and they use it in negotiations to fleece the Providers.

And when the Broadcasters fleece the Providers – they fleece us.  The more the Providers pay for shows – the more we pay for shows.

So a little more balance would be helpful for everyone – except the Broadcasters, who want to keep every Crony Socialist break they have.

House STELA Draft Would Do Some Video Marketplace Remaking

…House Republicans are working on a rewrite of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act that would not be as “clean” as broadcasters would like….

You mean “clean” – like this?

Senate Democrats Warn Republicans Against Debt-Ceiling Wish List

House Approves ‘Clean’ Debt Ceiling Extension

Senate Passes ‘Clean’ Debt Ceiling Bill

Policy to emulate, to be sure.  But how “clean” is this?

After fierce lobbying by broadcasters, lawmakers abandoned the most controversial provision, which would have allowed cable providers to drop broadcast channels from their “basic tier” of programming.

Allowing cable providers to move broadcast channels into pricier tiers would give them more leverage in programming fights….

Only in Washington, D.C. is it “controversial” to not have the government mandate which channels go where.  Only in DC are all these one-sided government mandates considered capitalism – as the Broadcasters claim:

Allow Broadcasters to Continue Negotiating in the Free Market

The Broadcasters are actually the beneficiaries of decades of government good grace – well beyond the uber-tilted Retransmission laws.

They received free from government charge their spectrum – the airwaves they use to broadcast.  Surely something the cellular phone companies have eyed as they’ve paid the government tens of billions of dollars for their spectrum.

And now we have the looming spectrum incentive auction.  Where Broadcasters get to sell their spectrum – that they, again, received for free – to the cell phone companies (via the government middle man).

I’m sure a company like Verizon -  a cell phone company who with Fios is also a television Provider – is thrilled to pay Broadcasters for the spectrum the latter received for free, while also having the government tilt the Retransmission rules against them, in the Broadcasters’ favor.

The Broadcasters have a pretty sweet omni-directional Crony Socialist deal going.  Little wonder they are fighting so hard against even the tiniest of changes to it.

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Why Can’t the Government Take No for an Answer?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Network Neutrality is sadly, yet again back from the dead.  Because the Barack Obama Administration keeps insisting on resurrecting it.

Twice now the D.C. Circuit Court has unanimously thrown out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Net Neutrality power grab.  Have said grabbers been at all chastened by these rebukes?  Sadly, no.

Barely over a month after the FCC’s second rejection, we get this:

FCC Plans to Issue New ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules

Likely forcing yet another company or two to waste millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours suing to – hopefully – fend off the Leviathan.

Meanwhile, it’s time for Congress to rein in this Administration’s unilateral authoritarianism.  Cut the FCC’s budget – and refuse to restore funding until the FCC restores sanity and stops trying to illegally impose Net Neutrality.

After all, it is Congress’ job to pass Net Neutrality legislation – thereby creating the legal authority for the FCC to impose it.  Otherwise known as the cart-after-the-horse approach.

Congress should at the very least be offended by the FCC usurping their jobs right out from under them.

We are drowning in Obama Administration illegal power grabs.  Congress must finally do something to stop it. The FCC yet again assaulting with Net Neutrality about the only functional economic sector going is a great place to start.

Please Congress – throw us and the economy a lifeline.  Cut some of the many FCC purse strings – until they cut this stuff out.

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VIDEO — Is There Another, Even Larger Government Internet Power Grab in the Works?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Why does the federal government appear so adamant to again blatantly ignore the law, extend its power over the Internet, and re-impose Network Neutrality?

After all, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already tried it — twice. And been unanimously rebuked by the D.C. Circuit Court — twice.

Each time, the attempted power grab has grown in size and scope.

Now we hear they may go for Internet Reclassification – which is terrible, and a terribly huge-er new government power grab.

Where do we stand?  Where are we headed?  Please – push Play.

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No 1930s Regulations for the Internet – Let’s Modernize Instead

Monday, January 27th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The D.C. Circuit Court recently threw out the Barack Obama Administration’s huge 2010 Internet power grab – the all-encompassing uber-regulation known as Network Neutrality.

The Left has since been giving birth to herds of live bovines.

The Internet is Dead !!!! Government Kills Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Is Dead

Three judges in D.C. just killed Net Neutrality.  This could be the end of the Internet as we know it.

More than a little overwrought.  The ruling is now almost two weeks old – and the Internet is only better, stronger, faster.  Which is utterly unsurprising.  It’s been dazzling us for nearly thirty years without government-imposed Net Neutrality – we were only hobbled with it for three.

The first commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs) emerged in the late 1980s.  Congress in 1996 last addressed Tech law with the Telecommunications Act – in which they said the Internet was so new and nascent, they would leave it alone.

Net Neutrality was created out of whole cloth in 2003 – when the private Web was already at least fifteen years old.  And had been all along growing exponentially.

And it continued throughout the 2000s to be an ever-expanding free speech-free market Xanadu – all without government-imposed Net Neutrality.

Did that stop the Left from all along the way freaking out?  Of course not.

Network Neutrality – Broadband Discrimination (2003)

Communications regulators over the next decade will spend increasing time on conflicts between the private interests of broadband providers and the public’s interest in a competitive innovation environment centered on the Internet.

Google’s Comments on “Broadband Extortion” (2006)

If comments like that don’t tell you why principles of net neutrality must be codified, then I don’t know what will.

Net Neutrality: We’re Still Waiting (2010)

“It’s time for the FCC chairman to stop dithering….(T)he FCC must enact Net Neutrality rules that safeguard the open Internet for all users, no matter how they get online.

Post-removal of government-imposed-Net-Neutrality, we will get even more of the same Internet extraordinariness we got pre-government-imposed-Net-Neutrality – the Left’s histrionics notwithstanding.

Only now they want the government to overreach further still.

The Progressive response?  Go back in time to 1934 (and even before) – and impose landline telephone (Common Carrier) regulations on the Web.  The government regulates the daylights out of landlines – so Progressives want the government to jam the Web in there too.  Which would allegedly allow them to reimpose Net Neutrality – and tax the Net, and…. This move is called Reclassification.

The Left’s justifications for this are at best uber-flimsy.

ISPs still piggyback to a great extent on a government-built core infrastructure – thus the Common Carrier telephone regs should apply to the Internet.

A common carrier was when “Ma” Bell was a government-imposed landline phone monopoly, and everyone was forced to use them. Bell received a monopoly in exchange for adhering to the additional stifling regulations.

On the Web we have a free market-produced wide array of ISPs – myriad companies delivering service on multiple platforms (cable, wireless, satellite, etc).  No one is everyone’s “common carrier.”

ISPs have spent more than $1 trillion building the Web – they left “common carrier” regs in the dust hundreds of billions of dollars ago.

And the ISPs have over the years paid enough in taxes to buy outright a hundred (a thousand?) times over the government-funded infrastructure.

This would be like me saying I once lent Bill Gates $20, so I should have oversight over his entire fortune.

The industry is dominated by a few big companies, so oversight is needed to ensure that abuses are reduced.  

There are already laws to protect consumers from unfair Internet business practices – under the auspices of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to a lesser extent (God help us currently) the Justice Department. Should an ISP block content, existing law would have the FTC and Justice raining down upon it.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Net Neutrality would be totally redundant – in addition to being destructively preemptive rather than reasonably responsive to problems as they arise.

Especially when only four such instances have arisen – ever.  All of which were resolved by the respective parties – without any government involvement whatsoever.

You know what protects us from private companies?  The freedom to choose. If Comcast is blocking you, you can fire them and hire Time Warner.  Or Cox.  Or Verizon. Or AT&T. Or Sprint. Or T-Mobile.  Which is why Comcast won’t block you.

The only monopoly in this discussion is – government.  See: schools, postal service, passenger trains,….  And how are those services doing?  Compared to how the Internet is doing in private hands?

And the Left wants to invite in the incompetent former to preemptively, prophylactically lord over the dazzling latter?  Thank you, no.

Instead of going back to the Great Depression and imposing those fabulous policies,…:

Congressional Leaders Call for Communications Act Makeover

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) say it’s time to bring the 1996 law, which governs the nation’s communications networks, into the 21st century.

We can write a new, updated, forward-looking, free market law – or Michael J. Fox our way back to the Depression and crush the Internet with a huge, antiquated, completely inapplicable regulatory superstructure.

Said new law would (amongst many other things) (hopefully) prevent any more absurd, obnoxious government overreach power grabs.

Like beginning to regulate (and tax) the Internet like we once did a rotary telephone – or the one Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor had to ask Sarah to dial for him.

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The Global Farm Market: A Crony Socialist Nightmare Mess

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

Our Congress may be on the verge of extruding yet another terrible farm bill.  Which has been for seventy or so years a Government-Knows-Best train wreck.  To alter slightly Ronald Reagan’s line:

Government’s view of the (farm) economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Over those seventy or so years, our lather-rinse-repeat anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market.  The world’s growers saw our bad moves – and matched them.  Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.  For instance, sugar – we are the world’s fifth largest producer.  The four above us are at least as awful as are we.

1)    Brazil.

Brazil’s gi-normous sugar industrysubsidies: $2.5 billion worth (in 2012) alone….

Has Brazil grown their government-sugar industry with decades worth of these multi-billion dollar subsidies and regulatory mandates?  Yes….

Does Brazil cut direct checks to sugar farmers?  Yes….

Does Brazil give sugar farmers loans – and then forgive and forget them?  Yes….

Does Brazil give sugar preferential treatment in the country’s pension program – essentially giving the farm sector a special break on social security taxes?  Yes.

2) India.

India Poised to Boost Sugar Exports to Asia, Mideast

India appears set to increase sugar exports to Asia and the Middle East if, as expected, the government extends production incentives to cash-strapped mills….

Jonathan Kingsman, head of agriculture at data provider Platts, said there was market talk that the government could move to give incentives to mills equivalent to up to $50 per tonne (3,000 rupees) as long as the sugar is exported….

It is difficult to know how much of this has already been priced in the market,” Kingsman said.

(Indian) Cabinet Okays Guidelines for Interest-Free Loan to Sugar Mills

The government made it clear to sugar mill owners on Thursday that the interest-free loan of Rs 6,600 crore is meant “exclusively” to pay the cane price including arrears to farmers.

3) China.

Brazil’s Sugar Ship Line-Up May Signal ‘Surprise’ Chinese Demand

China brought in 3.8 million tons of raw sugar in 2012-13, estimates Kingsman SA, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc.’s Platts. That’s almost four times the amount a U.S. Department of Agriculture unit forecast at the start of last season. Purchases beat estimates as a government stockpiling program attracted more shipments….

China may phase out its stockpiling program and partially replace it with direct subsidies to cane and beet farmers as early as the crop starting October 2014, Zhao Lihua, a director at the economy and trade division of the National Development and Reform Commission, said last month.

4) Thailand.

(Thai) Sugar Subsidies Poised to Rise

Delayed reforms and the government’s plan to encourage farmers to switch from growing rice to sugar cane will drive up state sugar subsidies, says the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)….

“The prime minister wants farmers to switch to growing cane, hoping that it will ease the burden on state subsidies, but she does not know that in reality the reform is unlikely to happen this year,” said….

Subsidy Spotlight: Thailand

Price supports for sugar producers that totaled nearly $10 billion in 2010, as well as low-interest loans to sugar producers.

So we have Brazil dumping money into the sugar industry in a million different directions.  India uber-subsidizing production.  China gaming the system – stockpiling product, then shifting to direct payments.  And Thailand providing multi-billion dollar price supports.

All of this central-planned directing of farm traffic – Government-Knows-Best micromanagement of the sector.

And these are just some of the myriad ways these nations – and many others – are directly and indirectly manipulating the global market.  None of this has anything to do with a free exchange of goods.

The solution? Negotiate a global across-the-board reduction in government.

This is where the World Trade Organization, usually a colossal waste of space, can actually be of some good use….

The world’s sugar-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist sugar policies. And start horse trading.

Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.

Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then we do it on corn.  And rice.  And….

We get the idea.  Here’s hoping they do.

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Why Are the Media’s ‘Consumer Interest Groups’ So Leftist and Anti-Consumer?

Monday, January 13th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The Media’s double standard when describing political advocacy organizations is as obvious as it is unsurprising.

The Media rarely if ever identify Leftist entities as Leftist – instead assigning them non-ideological descriptives.  Often, it is the ridiculous “consumer interest group” – as if the anti-free market side of the equation is pro-consumer, and the defenders of freedom are against the purchasing public.

Never mind that no one is more pro-consumer than a private company – after all, they are the ones trying to please as many consumers as possible.  It would then stand to reason that the organizations defending private companies from government overreach are also pro-consumer.

Because these “consumer interest groups” are in fact “government interest groups” – every “solution” they push results in larger, more interfering government.  Which is about as anti-consumer as you can get.

How’s ObamaCare treating consumers?  The Veterans Administration?  The Department of Motor Vehicles?  Would you rather head there – or to Amazon.com or your neighborhood deli?

Meanwhile, the Media almost always identify Conservative groups as conservative – that is, when they mention them at all.  Often, marketplace political stories only quote Leftist groups – and company representatives.

Which is itself biased.  It depicts the debate as a struggle between the plucky little “consumer interest” groups (who actually often have very large [George Soros] money behind them) – and the evil Industry Titans.

There are perhaps dozens of conservative/free market groups out there – yet the Media often can’t seem to find room for any of them in their stories.

The latest bit of wireless phone news is a fabulous case study.

AT&T Dials Up Toll-Free ‘Sponsored Data’

The company on Monday introduced “Sponsored Data,” or data that is paid is for by a business that wouldn’t count against a subscriber’s capped plan. Think a toll free 1-800 number or free shipping for the delivery of data.

Here in Reality, this should be a non-news story – other than the good news for consumers.  They will be getting more data for the same money – which will in a great many instances allow them to actually purchase less data, saving them coin.

This model exists…well, everywhere.  As stated above, companies via 800 numbers pick up the tab for your call.  Many then after you call to place an order pick up the tab to ship it to you.  The examples of this free market paradigm are nearly endless.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless in particular have been aggressive in getting their customers to switch to tiered plans that require people to pay more to get more data.

Again, here in Reality when we use more – we pay more.  You pay more for ten steaks than you do for two.  It costs more to gas up an Escalade than it does an Escort.

So if the companies providing the biggest data-chewing content were to pay for it – it would in fact be a tremendous consumer boon.  Imagine car makers paying for your gasoline – oh wait, some do.  Isn’t Reality great?

But this is the Media and the Left – they don’t reside in Reality.

Consumer advocate group Free Press has already criticized the plan.

There are those magic Media words – “consumer advocate group.”  Never mind that Free Press was co-founded by a self-avowed Marxist – they are “consumer advocates.”  This story quotes Free Press and AT&T only – not a conservative group to be found.

Then there’s this:

AT&T Sponsored Data Plan Threatens Open Internet, Consumer Groups Argue

In which Free Press and their fellow Media Marxist joint Public Knowledge are quoted.  As is AT&T.  And that’s it.

FCC Ready To Step In On AT&T’s Sponsored Data Plan

Like a toddler with a pet dog, AT&T (NYSE:T) has a history of poking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) until it turns around and barks. And that’s just what it’s done now.

That’s an objective opening paragraph.  Keep in mind that the last time AT&T “poked” the FCC, it was when they wanted to buy T-Mobile.  The Media Marxist chorus screeched their opposition, and the FCC blocked the deal – issuing an error-riddled report in defense of its decision.

But this “news” story ignores all of this.  Instead it portrays AT&T as a serial government instigator.  And pretends the government’s bark is worse than its bite – when it’s chomping huge chunks out of the private sector.

A few months ago, ESPN was also discussing possibly paying for delivery of its digital content.

Why We’re Praying That ESPN Does Not Begin Subsidizing Wireless Plans

Handout recipients having their cell phones and plans (ObamaPhones) entirely paid for by a fraud-riddled government?  With money the government gets by taxing consumers’ phones?  Outstanding.

Consumers having their cell phone plans “subsidized” – incentivized – by private companies?  Awful.

This “news” story appeared (with apparently unintentional irony) at Consumerist.com.

The Media aren’t reporting on these choice-and-wallet-expanding possibilities – they are choosing the anti-free market side against them.  And providing cover for the government interest “consumer interest” groups lining up likewise.

The Media and the Left together pretend to look out for the Little Guy – all the while making it ever more excruciating for him.

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Countless Government Operator Errors – And Obama Wants to Give Us More

Monday, November 18th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

We are currently hobbled by a whole host of federal government debacles.  An endless litany of Government Operator Errors (GOEs).

Many are chronic.  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are staring down $84 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities – simply staggering, nationally debilitating GOEs.  And there is oh-so-much-more.

U.S. Postal Service Might End Saturday Delivery to Help Close $238 Billion Gap

Washington Spends $25 Billion Annually Maintaining Unused or Vacant Federal Properties

Amtrak Has Consumed $40 Billion in Subsidies Over Last Four Decades

And on.  And on.  And on.  And….

Many more GOEs are of the current Administration’s making.  There is of course ObamaCare – a slow motion train wreck that continues its shamble off the tracks into oblivion.  But that is not even close to all.

There is Benghazi, LibyaFast and Furious.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abuse of conservative and Tea Party groups.  The National Security Administration (NSA) spying on just about everyone on the planet.

And oh so many more….

The Administration’s asserted defense on all of these?  Incompetence.  They themselves say that this endless parade of horribles is solely the result of Government Operator Error.

Let’s for the sake of this exercise take them at their word – that this is just boobery, not (also) malevolence.  On one level, it certainly makes sense.  A $3.9-trillion-a-year federal Leviathan has miles and miles of room for Government Operator Error.

David Axelrod was a chief Administration architect of its $900-billion-per-year growth of government.  Who then said the government is “so vast” there was no way the President knew of any of his Administration’s myriad GOEs.

Sad, but maybe true.

True in part because of the Wallet Rule.  Which is: Imagine you go out on a Friday night with your wallet.  You then go out the following Friday night with my wallet.  On which Friday night will you have more fun?

With my wallet, of course.  It’s always a lot more fun to spend other people’s money.  You don’t expend nearly as prudently, wisely or well as you do when it’s your coin.  Government, of course, is always on other people’s money.

Another huge contributing factor is the Administration-admitted incompetence.  Government is made up of less talented people bossing around more talented people – from afar.

If someone is really good at the stock market – they’ll be doing it, not voting for or imposing Dodd-Frank to lord over it.  If someone is really good at health insurance – they’ll be doing it, not voting for or imposing ObamaCare.  As President Barack Obama himself just said:

“What we’re discovering is that . . . insurance is complicated to buy.

“We’re” not just discovering it, Mister President – YOU are.  We’ve known all along – because we’ve been doing it.

Everything in the private sector is complicated.  Our $16.6 trillion economy is a glorious, giant, intricate, complicated mess.  Remade anew every day by the ideas, decisions, actions, successes and failures of 300+ million people.

To think that the perpetrators of perpetual, countless GOEs can manage this cacophony better than those of us doing it – with actual skin in the game – is…absurd.

Yet these self-avowed failures are looking to control even more of it than they already flailingly do.  For instance, they are with great and growing intensity looking to GOE the Internet-Technology sector.

This Administration imposed Network Neutrality.  Because they will manage the complex, intricate World Wide Web’s wired networks much better than the people who spend hundreds of billions of dollars building, developing and maintaining them.

This Administration imposed cell phone price caps.  Because they will manage the complex, intricate wireless networks much better than the people who spend hundreds of billions of dollars building, developing and maintaining them.

This Administration asked Congress to insert it into what should be a private sector secondary wireless spectrum auction.  And is now contemplating the imposition of anti-free market rules on said auction.  Because they know how the spectrum should be bought and sold – and be used once it is purchased – better than the people buying and selling it.

How micro-manage ridiculous can government get?  It is picking local television station lineups and placement – over and over again.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Tells Comcast to Put Bloomberg TV Among News Channels

FCC Orders NFL Network Back on Time Warner

FCC Requires Cablevision to Carry WRNN in New Communities Reached by the Expanded WRNN DTV Signal

Court: FCC Can’t Force Comcast to Carry Tennis Channel in Cable Bundle

Our federal government is $4 trillion huge – and run by self-described Incompetents delivering avalanches of Government Operator Errors.

They need to be looking to do a whole lot less – not for other things to add to their To Undo lists.

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Negotiating with Yourself Doesn’t Work

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

We are into Week Three of the 17% federal government slowdown.  (If 83% of the nearly $4-trillion-a-year Leviathan is still open, it isn’t a shutdown.)

There is so little (to no) damage done by this, President Barack Obama has been creating as much artificial pain as possible.  Often illegally – and routinely absurdly.  His ridiculous attempted closures of open-air monuments and open oceans have cost the National Park Service $76 million a day – in addition to being capricious and obnoxious.

Before we even got to to the slowdown, House Republicans passed a bill funding every nook and cranny of the gi-normous government save for the incredibly effective and popular ObamaCare – the Democrats wouldn’t budge.

On both the slowdown and the debt ceiling, the President has throughout flatly stated “I will not negotiate.

If the guys and gals on the other side of the aisle won’t sit down at the other side of the negotiating table – that’s their failing, not yours.  Negotiation isn’t a one-way street.  Republicans – having no one else with whom to negotiate – have for weeks been one-way-street negotiating with themselves.

They want to repeal ObamaCare, but they backed off that position and started with an attempt to defund it.  The Democrats wouldn’t budge.

So Republicans self-negotiated away from that to a one year delay of the individual mandate.  In other words, a legal ObamaCare change – similar to the 1,200 or so the President has unilaterally, illegally imposed.  The Democrats wouldn’t budge.

So the Republicans self-negotiated away to (in at least one proposal) a repeal of the medical device tax.  For that the Democrats finally budged – further away from the Republicans, to a demand for even bigger government.

Insisting we get rid of the tiny sequester cuts as a part of any deal.  Because after President Obama increased spending by $900 billion, cutting $84 billion has been just too excruciating.

This isn’t negotiation – this is obstinate Donkey politics, with a Lucy-and-the-football chaser.  This is what you get when one side doesn’t move an inch – while watching the other repeatedly retreat.  Eventually, standing pat starts to look like not enough – and they demand even more.

The lesson from all of this is – don’t negotiate with yourself.

We have had since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt New Deal an absurd federal tariffs-and-subsidies farm policy.  Which has over the decades grew into an intransigent, nightmare mess.

All the while, the farm market became global.  So our dumb domestic policy begat a protectionism-on-steroids all-around-the-world anti-free trade nightmare mess.  With countries matching us and each other tariff-for-tariff, subsidy-for-subsidy.

Meanwhile, too many of us Less Government types here at home have adhered to the same unilateral let’s-get-rid-of-ours approach.  In other words – negotiating with ourselves.  We’ve had five such votes just since June 2012 – the last just this past Saturday.  All have failed.

Killing just our farm programs made much more sense when it was just us eating what we grew.  That has long since stopped being the case.  Now, if we just kill our programs, the uber-subsidized global market will kill our farms and jack up our prices.

The European Union (EU) with sugar tried such self-negotiation.  It didn’t end well.

(T)he European Union (EU), which supplied as much as 20 percent of global (sugar) exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005.

Their reforms? Unilateral tear-down of their trade barriers – which sounds good. Except it allowed Big Sugar Subsidy Brazil to flood their market – and wipe out nearly all domestic production. And now the EU is paying about 25% more for sugar.

The solution involves an entity I would like to see 90% closed – with the remaining 10% left for situations such as this.  The World Trade Organization (WTO).

The world’s sugar-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist sugar policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.” 

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Working together to tear down trade impediments makes a whole lot more sense than working unilaterally to continue building them.

And much more sense than negotiating with ourselves.  Again.

It appears the House Republicans have learned this lesson on farm policy.  Here’s hoping they start applying that knowledge to the budget and debt ceiling debates.

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Video: The Problems with Skill-less Government Involving Itself in Everything Requiring Skills

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

With the cataclysmic debut of the ObamaCare website, and the explosions at the National Security Administration (NSA) $1.2 billion spy-data storage facility – which they hid – and on and on, the federal government is proving itself just as technologically savvy as they are at, say, handling money.

($17 trillion federal debt; Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare facing $84 trillion in looming liabilities – and on, and on….)

So should the government insert itself further into the technologically sophisticated world of cell phones and the Internet?  Probably not.

As we discuss in the accompanying video.  Please enjoy.

An Agency (FCC) Has Got to Know Its Limits, with Seton Motley from Mike Wendy on Vimeo.

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The Left’s Latest Holiday from Reality on Net Neutrality

Monday, September 16th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

The Left created out of whole cloth the utterly terrible policy that is Network Neutrality.  They did so to undermine the private Internet – so as to ultimately strand you with the government as your sole Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Which would be a huge free market and free speech problem.

How do we know this is their Net Neutrality intention?  Because they say so:

“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

How very Hugo Chavez of them.  Translation: “Thanks for the trillion-plus dollar Internet investment – we’ll take it over from here.”

The Barack Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally imposed Net Neutrality on December 21, 2010.  Congress never authorized them to do so.  I’m fairly sure they’ve never passed any law that even contains the phrase “Net Neutrality” – let alone one specifically authorizing the Commission to pull the trigger.

Verizon Communications sued to undo the power grab.  Oral arguments for the case were heard by the D.C. Circuit Court last week.  In response to the judicial to-do, we here in (touch with) Reality were subjected to yet another round of Leftist Net Neutrality euphoric inanity.

There was a laugh-free mockumentary – a “leaked” look at the alleged failings and evils of a free market Internet.  A free market Internet which has already delivered us 98% access to high-speed broadband, $186,152,000,000 in online commerce just last year and a virtually limitless stream of news and information.  Those failings and evils.

Then there was the Reddit live-blog round robin put on by Media Marxists Susan Crawford, Larry Lessig and “Net Neutrality”-coiner Tim Wu.  Crawford “starred” in the aforementioned terrible flick.  She and Wu were once Obama Administration officials.  All three are (shocker) college professors.

The Fact-Free Three took questions from the Reddit audience – themselves mostly Fellow Travelers.  Thus most of the queries were Leftist-slanted softballs.  And the answers were just the sort of drivel one would expect.

Let us sample just a smidgen from the boob-erific buffet.

Q: What can we as consumers do to encourage lower TV/ Broadband Internet prices?…(I)t seems difficult for small innovators to start up and compete….

It’s difficult for the little guys to get bigger largely because of huge regulations and taxes.  The Universal Service Fund (USF) tax alone is 15.6% – on everyone’s bill.  The bigger guys are better equipped to absorb and handle the gi-normous cost of government.  But the toll damages and destroys the little guys – including We the End Users.  The bigger the government, the wider the gap between the big guys and everyone else.

(Crawford) A: Where the market fails, some towns can build or oversee municipal networks. There are currently about 400 towns in the US that have built municipal networks.

Again, broadband would be a whole lot cheaper were there a whole lot fewer taxes and regs on it.  And the private Internet is perhaps the greatest, most rapidly delivered achievement in human history.  But these people call it a “failure.”  Meanwhile they label as “successes” federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – which are currently facing unfunded liabilities of $84 trillion.

And the municipal networks Crawford cites are just more such government “successes.”

Municipal Broadband’s Record of Failure

The Costly Truth of Municipal Broadband Networks

Municipal Broadband “Wired to Waste”

In answer to the next question, Crawford responds (in part):

Given how expensive and second-rate Internet access in America is – and how many people we’re leaving behind – we really need oversight in this market.

Because nothing makes something better and cheaper than greater government oversight – like ObamaCare, right Ms. Crawford?  And again, 98% of Americans have broadband access – exactly who outside of mountaintop dwellers and survivalists are we “leaving behind,” Ms. Crawford?

The Cavalcade of Inanity went on for what appears to be hours, but you by now have the gist.  These people are willfully ignorant on stilts.  Tightly closed-minded ideologues who refuse to allow facts to get in the way of a good beating.

And it is these people to whom the Obama Administration has turned to drastically over-regulate and further tax the free speech-free market Xanadu that is the Internet.

Their prodigious absurdity is tempered only by the incredible danger they pose.

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A Chance to Undo an Illegal Obama Administration Power Grab

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 - by Seton Motley

We have been engulfed in a whirlwind of illegal Barack Obama Administration regulatory fiats.  Time and again the President has forgone the legislative process required by the Constitution – and impudently started imposing Leftist wish list items as if they were law.

Meaning unilateral imposition of ObamaCare changes.  The gutting of welfare reformCap and Trade.  Card Check.  And many, many others.

The Executive Branch Departments, Commissions, Agencies and Boards are actually creations and creatures of the Legislative Branch.  These entities can not begin promulgating rules and regulations unless and until Congress first passes law that tells  them to do so.

Only Congress can empower these entities and establish the parameters of the law – inside of which these entities must work. A regulatory agency operating without direct Congressional authority is unconstitutional – and dangerous.  These regulators and their regulations then have no legitimacy – and no limits.

It is this foundation of shifting sand lawlessness on which our woeful economic “recovery” is built.  When the government is constantly springing surprise regulations, the private sector dares not move – stifling freedom, investment and innovation.

A quintessential example of this Obama Administration overreach is its imposition of the absurd Network Neutrality.  On December 21, 2010, his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – via a 3-2 Democrat bureaucrat vote – illegally imposed it.

But Congress never passed a law authorizing the FCC to impose Net Neutrality.    For very good reason.  Net Neutrality is terrible, innovation-and-free-speech-stifling policy.  It is the government placing itself in all-encompassing regulatory authority over all the networks that make up the Net.

Net Neutrality guarantees everyone equal amounts of nothing.  In the interest of “fairness,” it mandates that every person get the exact same broadband speed – no matter what.  Meaning a hospital needing to rush-download an MRI for an endangered patient gets no more speed than the guy next door downloading the Panda Sneezes video on YouTube.

The Internet’s additional regulation – should any be needed – should be debated in and emanate from the People’s Congress.  Not imposed unilaterally by the FCC.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity to undo this Net Neutrality power grab heinousness.  Verizon Communications is suing to restore lawful order to the Internet.  September 9, the D.C. Circuit Court will hear oral arguments from Verizon and the FCC usurpers.  This is the same court that unanimously threw out the FCC’s last attempt to unilaterally impose Net Neutrality.

Here’s hoping that past is prologue.  And that sanity trumps inanity, and the rule of law rules the day.  We need more freedom and adherence to the Constitution.  Not more unilateral regulatory fiats imposed at the whim of politicians and bureaucrats – upheld by the third check-and-balance branch.

Here’s hoping this is the first of many roll backs of these myriad power grabs.

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The Solution to Government Snooping? Privatize Collection and Search of Data

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

It seems like every week since we first heard of Edward Snowden he delivers an even worse example of the federal government’s unconstitutional collection and abuse of our data.  Time and again the Barack Obama administration denies Snowden’s claims – even though time and again he has the documentation.

Snowden’s latest revelation is a program called XKeyscore (XKS).  Which allows low-level National Security Agency (NSA) analysts to:

Obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity….

XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant….

The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history….

This is just the latest incredible violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Thousands of government officials are searching the content of our phone calls, Web histories, emails, text messages, instant messages and video chats – without Warrants.

And the government is building an NSA storehouse that is seven times larger than the Pentagon:

“Communications about millions of innocent Americans are being stored for five years in a government database—whether or not there is any reason to search our call records, and I don’t think our Constitution allows that,” says Alex Abdo, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

He’s right.  This is the epitome of “unreasonable search and seizure.”

We encounter a similar problem with a government-first approach to Cyber Security.  The amount of data through which one must look to protect our networks is staggering.  If the government takes the lead, it totally bypasses the Fourth Amendment – leaving us open to exponentially more of the kinds of abuses Snowden keeps detailing in National Security.

So we should do with National Security for what we long ago called in Cyber Security – outsource the first line of defense.

The federal government absolutely should not be unilaterally seizing and storing this unfathomable amount of information.  Let alone allowing thousands of low-level staffers to search it whenever they alone decide.

The solution?  Rather than forcing communications companies to turn over the data – why not pay them to store and search it?

There is no Fourth Amendment violation until the government seizes it – this preempts that.  These companies already have it, so the government wouldn’t have to do something to get it like tap directly into servers – as they’re already doing with (at least) nine Internet companies.

Pro-data-grab politicians say the government uses the data and its search capabilities for things like finding American citizens who are interacting with identified international terrorists.  The private companies can easily do these searches when asked by the government.

If in their searches they find evidence of Americans connecting with said international terrorists, the companies and the government go to a judge and get a warrant to allow the companies to turn it over.

But it is a certain, proscribed, finite amount of information immediately relevant to a specific case – not five years’ worth of every last byte of our phone call and Internet data.

This ends the gi-normous Fourth Amendment problem – with violations now occurring every second of every day – while keeping us at least as safe.  If not safer – in whom do you have more confidence of proper execution: the private sector or the federal government?

Now, what else can we do for the nation?

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Video: A Test Case That Is Proving Free Markets Beat Government Regulations

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Fire Island is a tiny New York hamlet of about 200 full-time residents.  Whose 1930s old-school land line phone connections were wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

So wireless companies are — rather than rebuilding the very expensive, woefully outdated connections they had — switching them to a brand new, cutting edge Internet Protocol (IP) system.

This format is much, much better than the old-school system — in large part because it is far less regulated than the old-school system.

So the Left — which relies on regulatory regimes to impose their failed worldview and for their very existence — are freaking out.

All of this, and more, is explained in this guerrilla video.

Please, enjoy.

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