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Seton Motley

Seton Motley is a consultant and the founder and president of Less Government.
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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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Congressman Kelly: Next Phase of IRS Scandal is Abuse of Our Data

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Breitbart News just spoke with Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Mike Kelly about what he thinks is next regarding the now roiling Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal.  From which:

“The information that the IRS has on file on people goes pretty deep into personal lives. It is being leaked out and given to people for very specific political reasons. I think this is something that should be the most chilling thing for Americans to understand. 

This is a branch of government and it is under the executive branch that can be used for a lot of different intimidation elements. Think of what these people have, think of what they have on everybody. If they leak that out to the right person at the right time in the right movement that’s looking to do something, they can completely destroy individuals.”

Kelly believes the revelation the IRS targeting of various conservative organizations was just the beginning of a larger scandal that will continue unraveling. Kelly sees this burgeoning scandal cutting to the core of the IRS as a whole, and likely tying in more prominent Obama administration officials….

Kelly, a second-term congressman who rose to conservative prominence a little over a month ago when he berated the IRS in a committee hearing, also said alleged audit power abuse is likely to become a focus, too. 

“Especially what we’ve seen happening now with the data collection and the depth to which the data collection is going,” Kelly said. “Who is getting this information? There were donor lists that were leaked out. Highly, highly sensitive and private information was leaked out.”…

“There’s a lot more to come,” Kelly said. “[Acting IRS commissioner Danny] Werfel was in last week or maybe it was a little over a week ago. One of the things he says is he thinks we’re a couple months away from really finding things out. When he came in, he gave us kind of an update with boilerplate stuff of what you would do if you were going in and what you were looking for and what your desired outcomes were. But he really didn’t give us an update or any specifics at all. It was just more or less that he was on the job now and that he was going to be working to get it fixed.

Kelly added that he thinks “there’s so much more there.”

Congressman Kelly and yours truly both spoke at the Tea Party Patriots’ June 19 “Audit the IRS Rally” at the Capitol.  At which yours truly said (in part):

“As we know they (the federal government) are collecting as much data on us as possible….

“They are collecting all this data so that they can use it against you.  As we saw with the IRS – with ‘Tea Party,’ with ‘Patriot,’ with ‘Conservative,’ with ‘Bill of Rights.’  How dare you all?

“So keep in mind – this (the IRS) is the chief enforcement agent for the government that is currently accumulating all of this data on you.”

We have also been warning of the very same thing in writing.

As Government’s Power Grabs Grow, Media’s Coverage Diminishes

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

With Tens of Millions of Phone Records Grabbed – It’s the Government, Stupid

Latest Big Government Data Grab: Justice Sues to Get It Without a Warrant

IRS-Conservatives, Justice-AP, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, HHS, EPA – This is Big Government

IRS Tea Party Scandal Shows Government Should Be Kept Away From Our Data

It is good to know that the House Republicans are on this particular very important trail.

Here’s hoping they head off a great deal.  It would be nice to return to the friendly confines of the Fourth Amendment.

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What’s Next for the Farm Bill? Free Markets, Perhaps?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 - by Seton Motley

The Farm Bill was voted down in the United States House of Representatives.

This was hay-yuge.  As best as many of us who follow this nightmare mess can remember, a Farm Bill has in fact never before failed to pass.

In large part because it was a graft harmonic convergence.

A political numbers-reality has existed throughout that has made (improving – let alone stopping the Farm Bill) impossible.

Nearly every Democrat will always be for just about any government program – of course including crop subsidies.  On principle.  It’s government – and they always want it to do more.

Then there are rural Republicans.  Whose states (Senate) and many districts (House) contain crop subsidies recipients.  So as conservative as they may be on most other things – and many of them are – they always have and likely always will be terrible on this.

This Democrat-Rural Republican block has remained immovable and unbeatable on crop subsidies.

And just to make sure the government gravy train kept a-rollin’ – for thus far nearly fifty additional years:

Food Stamps are the lions’ share of the Farm Bill money being spent.  Two-thirds of the 2008 Farm Bill was Food Stamp coin.  This year’s topped 80%.  Which begs a question – why is this gi-normous unrelated welfare program a part of the welfare Farm Bill?

Food Stamps Are Key Component to Getting Farm Bill Passed

“[Food stamps] should continue to be included purely from a political perspective. It helps get the farm bill passed,” (Mississippi Republican Senator Thad) Cochran said.

He went on to defend federal nutrition programs, including food stamps and subsidized school meals. “I come from a state where we have higher-percentage participation [than the national average]. It is part of my representation of the state that I make sure that those interests get represented,” Cochran said.

“I have never had to apologize in Mississippi for supporting it,” he said, referring to food stamps.

No one ever has to apologize to government-money recipients for defending their continued government-money reception. 

You get urban Democrats and rural Republicans voting together – you have the key to perpetual passage.

Until this year.  Why?  Because we’re starting to see cracks in the old Farm Bill welfare wall.

  • An attempt by the dairy industry (a government regulatory disaster if there ever was one) to impose strict supply caps – which would have increased prices – was in a lopsided vote stripped out of the bill.

A component of the Farm Bill mentality is anti-free market protectionism – but this year we saw slivers of light beginning to shine through there too.

  • An effort to impede imports of European olive oil was soundly defeated.

The marketplace for nearly all things is now global.  Few global markets are less free than agriculture.  Our ridiculous Farm Bill’s subsidized and protectionist-ed content is replicated in nation after nation.

Take for instance the sugar market.  It can not and will not be a free market if the U.S. – and only the U.S. – rids itself of its sugar silliness.

The European Union did, and

Brazil’s leading role as a sugar exporter was further heightened when the European Union (EU), which supplied as much as 20 percent of global exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005. This shift removed a traditionally important supply source from global markets and has made sugar importers more reliant on Brazilian exports.

Speaking of Brazil:

(The U.S.) sugar tariff regime is in response to ridiculously huge Brazilian subsidies – $2.5 billion worth last year 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.

(Translation: We’ll loan you money, and then walk away never expecting you to repay a dime.  Remember Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon?)

And the Big Government parade continues unabated.  Brazil just announced for 2013 $480 million in new sugarcane ethanol tax breaks and $1.9 billion in Joe Pesci ethanol loans.

All of this Leviathan largesse has led to Brazil controlling 50% of all the world’s sugar exports.

Does that sound like a free global market to you?  Me neither.

So before the House reconsiders any aspect of the likely-dormant-but-not-dead Farm Bill, they should perhaps rid themselves of their seventy-plus-year-old domestic-only perspective.

Acknowledging the global reality that now exists will lead to far better policy – both here and abroad.

Everyone’s Sugar Subsidies Need to Go

We should start there.

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Everyone’s Sugar Subsidies Need to Go

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

We compete on nearly all things in a global market.  In far too many instances, it is hardly a free one.

Taxes/tariffs on – and legal and regulatory roadblocks to – imports, and subsidies and other government props for domestic industries abound in nearly every nation.

The world of sugar is one of the worst.  We don’t exactly have free market clean hands, but:

Reality and Free Markets vs Brazilian Big Government

Our sugar tariff regime is in part in response to ridiculously huge Brazilian subsidies – $2.5 billion worth last year alone….

And the Big Government parade continues unabated.  Brazil just announced for 2013 $480 million in new sugarcane ethanol tax breaks and $1.9 billion in Joe Pesci-style ethanol loans.

All of this Leviathan largesse has led to Brazil controlling 50% of all the world’s sugar exports.

Protectionism on our part?  Sure.  But what would happen if we unilaterally disarmed?  The European Union did, and

Brazil’s leading role as a sugar exporter was further heightened when the European Union (EU), which supplied as much as 20 percent of global exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005. This shift removed a traditionally important supply source from global markets and has made sugar importers more reliant on Brazilian exports.

Well that’s not good at all.  Except for Brazil – which is hoping we’ll follow the EU’s lead.

Then there is Mexico – our chief North American sugar competitor.

The Mexican sugar industry is a nightmare mess (shocker).  Half of Mexico’s industry would’ve gone belly up in just the last ten years – had the government not stepped in and purchased poorly performing mills.  (See: The U.S. auto bailout.)

Today, the Mexican government still owns 20% of the industry – making it the nation’s biggest producer.  (See: The U.S. auto bailout.)

Mexican government sugar mills produce one million tons a year – just about exactly the amount Mexico exports to the U.S.  These exports raise prices in Mexico – while undercutting them here.  This price dynamic may be why U.S. companies are having such trouble sending their sugar to Mexico – which in turn helps Mexico maintain this price dynamic and their government-run industry.

See how warped a once free market can get when the government starts getting involved?

How do we straighten out this government-caused mess?  By getting it out – on all sides.

What we should…do now is zero-out our protectionist sugar regime – in exchange for Brazil (and Mexico, and…) simultaneously doing the same.

We can – and absolutely should – use all our considerable trade negotiation prowess to effect this regulations-and-subsidies clean slate.

We free marketeers have been trying for decades Sisyphus-style to get the United States to unilaterally pull the plug on our sugar protectionism.  We have gotten exactly nowhere.

And we now know that doing so EU-style would be devastating to our farmers and their industry.

We should instead return to an actual, across-the-board free market.  The good old days of no governmental impediments and cheap sugar.

How sweet would that be?

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IRS-Conservatives, Justice-AP, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, HHS, EPA – This is Big Government

Monday, May 20th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Just before this latest scandals avalanche, President Barack Obama urged a class of imminent college escapees – I mean graduates – to:

“Reject these voices” who “incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all of our problems…. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.”

Of what were these voices thinking?  The Scandal-Palooza Week that followed the President’s condescending remarks.  And the four-plus years preceding.  And the century-plus before that.

The Administration’s corruption-fests have now reached “Myriad” status – and it only keeps getting worse. An underlying theme in just about all of them is the abuse of power – to abuse its political enemies.  This is your government on “Stimulus” steroids – any questions?

So what we absolutely must not do going forward is give them more of our information – more fodder for them with which to work.  President Obama and his Democrats beg to differ.

The Future of Government Power Grabs? Our Digital Data

Like President Barack Obama’s illegal Network Neutrality order.  Which gives the government access to the Internet’s spine – and with it every website there is and all the data contained therein….

Like President Barack Obama’s illegal Cyber Security Executive Order.  The amount of data compiled in Cyber Security execution is massive – and Big Government wants at it….

Like the Obama Administration shutting down bailed out car company dealerships based upon campaign contribution data.  Like local governments in New York turning over for publication gun registration data.  Like then-President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton’s illegally obtained 900 FBI files getting him out of an impeachment conviction….

This President is in fact endlessly creative in coming up with data abuses and illegal fiats.

President Obama is considering an executive order that would force government contractors to disclose their donations to groups that participate in political activities….

The Left, of course, tries to turn every one of these abuse-of-power scandals into…a validation of their demands for more power.  The Left’s definition of government “reform” is always…more power for government.

Immigration “reform?”  Let’s put millions more on the government welfare (and Democrat voting) rolls.  Campaign finance “reform?”  Let’s allow the government to demand even more of your information.  So that it can then be used against you.

Romney Donor VanderSloot: I Was Audited Twice by IRS, Once by DOL & Investigated by Senate Staffer

IRS Asked Leadership Institute About Former Interns’ Current Employers

IRS: ‘Please Detail the Content of Your Members’ Prayers.’

The voting booth is sacrosanct – the government can’t know whom you support with your ballot.  Yet the government demands to know whom you support with your money.  The Leviathan knowing the latter sort of gives away the former, does it not?

Corrupt Democrat ex-New Jersey Governor John Corzine was one of President Obama’s top campaign coin bundlers.  Any doubt for whom he voted?

Big Government uses all of this data against you – if you stand for less government, or support those that do.  The crooked Corzine – who made $1.6 billion disappear – wasn’t harangued into oblivion the way Mr. VanderSloot was – for the “crime” of supporting a Republican.

The Leviathan’s warped political use of our data against us is all-encompassing.

Gov’t Obtains Wide AP Phone Records in Probe

HHS’ Sebelius Asks for ‘Donations’ to Promote ObamaCare from Health Companies She Regulates

Congressmen Demand End to EPA’s IRS-Like Bias Against Conservative, State/Local FOIA Requestors

The Obama Administration’s defense on all of these scandals?  We are completely incompetent.

Fast And Furious: Incompetence Is Always More Believable Than A Conspiracy Theory

Officials on Benghazi: Incompetence, Not Malice

White House Relies on Incompetence Defense as IRS, AP Scandals Grow

So big is Big Government that President Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod – one of the principal architects of the current, ongoing, gi-normous federal expansion – said:

Government ‘So Vast,’ Obama Can’t Know About Wrongdoing

With that testimony, your Honor, the less-government-prosecution rests.

Sinister or simply stupid, malfeasance or merely mishandling – this is Big Government.

The only answer – the real reform – is to reduce the Leviathan’s size, scope and sphere of influence.

The less sway government holds, the less it can lord over us.

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IRS Tea Party Scandal Shows Government Should Be Kept Away From Our Data

Monday, May 13th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Who saw this coming?

Late last week we learned that the Barack Obama Administration’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was subjecting conservative non-profit organizations to ridiculous levels of additional, extra-legal scrutiny.

IRS: We Targeted Conservative, Tea Party Groups With Extra Scrutiny — ‘Mistakes Were Made’

The Administration’s immediate, reflex response was to lie about it.

The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.

Except just “targeting” – may not be true.

IRS Accused of Leaking Confidential Tax Documents During Election

Except just “during the 2012 election” and just “low-level employees” – isn’t true.

IRS Targeted Conservatives as Early as 2010

Did the Administration tell the truth back then?  Not so much.

In (then-IRS Commissioner Douglas) Shulman’s responses, he did not acknowledge targeting of tea party groups. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.

“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people” who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.

These sorts of things are why my late, great Grandfather called the IRS “The Assassins” – and wouldn’t let you call them anything else.

This is one fundamental part of why we who want less government want less government – the less government there is, the less there is to be used against us.

The IRS is one of the most powerful agencies in the federal government, with fearsome powers that the Department of Homeland Security can only dream of having. (Does DHS subject Americans to mandatory annual questioning about their personal lives, family arrangements, finances, business practices, travel, etc.?)

It has a history of being used as a tool of political retaliation, not only by the Nixon administration but at least as far back as Franklin D. Roosevelt. An agency with that kind of power, with access to sensitive information on every individual, business, church, charity, and school in the country, must conduct itself according to the very highest standards. The IRS does not.

So this is great news:

IRS to Hire Thousands of New Agents to Enforce ObamaCare

All of which casts a sinister pall on this:

Obama’s Big Idea: Digital Health Records

The better for Big Government to eat you with, my Dears.  And will the Leviathan contain its overreach to the IRS?  Of course not.

The Future of Government Power Grabs? Our Digital Data

Because Congress in many areas hasn’t yet addressed the gaping hole of protecting our data from Big Government, we are left exposed and subject to hay-yuge, illegal power grabs.

Like President Barack Obama’s illegal Network Neutrality order.  Which gives the government access to the Internet’s spine – and with it every website there is and all the data contained therein….

Like President Barack Obama’s illegal Cyber Security Executive Order.  The amount of data compiled in Cyber Security execution is massive – and Big Government wants at it:

Part of the reason lawmakers have not passed even voluntary cyber reforms is that businesses and many Republicans fear optional measures eventually could become mandatory.

The executive order did not allay those fears… (T)he Republican head of the House Homeland Security Committee expressed misgivings about the policy’s potential for mission creep.

Another “good start” towards ever growing Big Government grabs.

A privacy section in the documents outlines steps agencies must take to protect personal information while carrying out these activities. When private sector information is collected and shared with the government, concerns often arise that customer information will be exposed or abused.

Like the Obama Administration shutting down bailed out car company dealerships based upon campaign contribution data.  Like local governments in New York turning over for publication gun registration data.  Like then-President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton’s illegally obtained 900 FBI files getting him out of an impeachment conviction.

And now the IRS’ panoply of assaults.

And does anyone seriously think that all of this is all there is?

Oh – and when the Leviathan isn’t taking our information, it’s using our coin to purchase it:

Do You Want the Government Buying Your Data From Corporations?

You want reform?  Reduce the size, scope and sphere of influence of government – and they won’t have the juice to do most of these sorts of things.

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VIDEO: Obama’s Private Sector – Winners Punished to Benefit Losers

Monday, April 15th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Welcome to inter-governmental ideological interloping.

The wireless smart phone Xanadu we are all thoroughly enjoying – requires spectrum.  Which is the airwaves our phones use to allow us to surf the Web, watch movies, text, telephone, etc. – all from the palm of our hand.  And we need much, much more of it in the hands of the people making all this possible.

But there’s good news: The President’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently preparing the rules for an upcoming spectrum auction.

And then there’s bad news: The President’s Justice Department late Friday demanded that the FCC rig the auction rules – and engage in government quota spectrum set asides rather than simply run a simple auction.

As this guerrilla video explains, this government-picking-losers-at-the-expense-of-winners is terrible for the future of our ongoing wireless revolution.

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VIDEO: Let’s Keep the Internet Regulation Free

Thursday, March 28th, 2013 - by Seton Motley
YouTube Preview Image

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio – and I – suggest that’s the way to go.

Versus Leftists who wish to regulate and tax the living daylight out of it.

The World Wide Web is here in the U.S. arguably the least regulated sector – and almost inarguably the most successful.

Coincidence? Unlikely.

And because the Web is a free speech-free market Xanadu, the Left is looking for any way possible to get the government’s hooks into it.

Let’s rage against the dying of the light, shall we?

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VIDEO: What a Government-Run Internet Would Look Like

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

It will look terrible.  And slow.  And shabby.  And expensive.  And broke.

Like the Post Office.  Or the TSA.  Or Amtrak.  Or Social Security.  Or Medicare.  Or Medicaid.  Or….

And it will be decidedly un-First Amendment friendly.

Which is just what the Left wants to see.

YouTube Preview Image

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SOTU: When the President Delivers Sound Bites, 140-Character Responses Come Easy

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Less Government President @SetonMotley (God bless Twitter):

On whether to watch the State of the Union:

#SOTU or hockey? Only one is guaranteed to have a lot of bad goals.

On anticipating the #SOTU content:

#SOTU = Illegal Executive Order announcement list. #Fiats

On the President’s assertion the #SOTU would be debt-free:

He’ll propose tax increases MT @amandacarpenter: Obama says his plans won’t increase the deficit “one dime.”

Tax deform RT @amandacarpenter: Repeat after me: Tax increases are not tax reform.

@BarackObama is the Oliver Twist of tax increases.

@BarackObama said #sotu wldnt raise debt. And #ObamaCare would lower costs. And he would 1/2 the #deficit in his first term. And….

On the President hailing the economic “recovery”:

Didn’t the #economy just contract?

On the minimum wage hike:

If you have to wait for the gov to force your employer to give you a raise, you’re doing it wrong.

Minimum wage hikes = killed jobs.

Want to know why gigs go overseas? Not fictional tax breaks. High taxes, and regs like a $9/hr #minimumwage.

On the President’s alleged debt reductions:

Not cuts. Promised future reductions in increases.

Net debt? +$5 trillion on @BarackObama’s watch.

2008 fed budget: $2.7 trillion. 2012: $3.73 trillion. #YesWeCan cut spending.

On his assertion that government spending cuts hurt the economy:

Gov borrowing less means job creators can borrow more. That’s how spending cuts create growth.

On ObamaCare reducing health insurance costs:

#ObamaCare is actually skyrocketing #healthcare costs.

On “lurching from crisis to crisis”:

How about passing a budget? Isn’t that perpetual “crisis?”

We haven’t yet recovered from the #Stimulus crisis.

Democrat slogan: Any storm is a port. #DontLetACrisisGotoWaste

On more (non-)green (non-)energy government spending:

#ClimateChange? #ClimateGate.

Translation: We will spend more real money on fake energy. #GreenEnergy #solyndra

Dept of Energy “jobs” = #Solyndra green “energy” nightmare messes. #CronySocialism

Solar energy is ridiculously expensive, and poisonous to the environment. #Win

Gov R&D stinks on ice. #solyndra Let the private sector do R&D instead.

On government money for roads and transportation:

Translation: #Bailout cities that have elected Democrats for decades.

High speed rail – nowhere to nowhere for billions of dollars.

Why should Topeka be taxed to build a road in Minot?

On Cyber Security and the Internet:

Bc it’s an opportunity for a huge power grab RT @DanIsett: Cybersecurity is pretty wonky stuff… surprised to hear it during #SOTU

I pledge #transparency the day before I issue an illegal #CyberSecurity #ExecutiveOrder.

#CyberSecurity – anyone notice that it’s the gov that is constantly being broken into? The private sector handles it mostly just fine

#CyberSecurity who would you rather have handling it? Comcast and Verizon – or the fed gov? #Outsource

Gov #Internet = #Amtrak #USPS

On voting:

Best vote system improvement? #PhotoID

On the First and Second Amendments:

What will the fed gov do w/ #BackgroundCheck info after you pass? #2ndamendment

If only her teacher had been armed, she would likely still be with us. #Newtown #2ndAmendment

They deserve to be able to defend themselves #2ndAmendment RT @owillis: They deserve a vote.

Bc we still like the #Constitution MT @markos: Why are Republicans so afraid to cast a “no” vote on sensible gun regulations?

We deserve our #2ndAmendment rights.

Doesn’t a #budget deserve a vote?

So we have to provide abortion pills – but not a photo ID when we vote?

Except for Christians and Catholics here. #ObamaCare

On immigration:

#BordersFirst - then get back to me on “comprehensive.”

#MeansTest all applicants for amnesty/citizenship/visas/green cards. If they’ll be on a gov program, they don’t get in.

On education:

#HeadStart has cost tens of billions of dollars – and done NOTHING to improve scores.

Studies show that #HeadStart preschool does NOTHING for kids. Obama Admin study says so.

More yrs of perpetually, titanically failed gov schools.

College prices skyrocket higher the more gov $ is available. To get an 18th Century Lesbian Poetry degree.

On things international:

More words about international security – when actions are required. #Benghazi

Egypt? Syria? Libya? Al Q seems to be doing fairly well.

In conclusion:

Impunity, actually #sotu RT @SeeTac7: Obama supporters think his message was about unity.

We aren’t citizens, we are subjects.

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[VIDEO] SOTU: Can Obama Be Even Worse for the Internet in his Second Term? Yes He Can

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

As terrible as President Barack Obama was in his first term, he can and will get worse.

When it comes to the Internet, the specter of his taxing it looms. Not to mention the scads of new regulations he will be illegally dropping anvil-style upon it.

As our video chronicles, great news abounds.

Please, enjoy. And let’s all work together to stop him.

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The Left’s Warped Definition of ‘Internet Freedom’ and an ‘Open Internet’

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 - by Seton Motley

The Left has long demanded the implementation of their definition of an “Open Internet” and “Internet Freedom.”  Sounds great, right?  Who could be opposed to that?  Then again, who could be against a “Fairness Doctrine?”  Or “Network Neutrality?”

All represent terrible government policy.  But the Left is very good at naming very bad policies.

The American people – as a general rule and principle – want less government involvement in most things.  The Left – wanting more in nearly all – must obfuscate their intentions.  Concocting innocuous names for noxious plans is a staple.

Here’s what lead Media Marxist outfit Free Press means by “Internet Freedom” – as described on their website SavetheInternet.com (get it?):

Internet Freedom means Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers (ISPs) may not discriminate between different kinds of online content and apps.

No ISP is currently doing anything like this – but that couldn’t matter less to the Left.  To “remedy” this non-existent problem, the Barack Obama Administration illegally imposed Net Neutrality – which makes the government the Regulator Overlord of every single website.

Since nowhere on the planet are governments messing with Internet freedom.

Internet Freedom means Mobile Rights

(T)he free speech rights of mobile device users are at risk. Private corporations and governments now have unprecedented control over the information we access and share via mobile networks, and too often this information is exploited.

As with Net Neutrality, private corporations have all along had this “unprecedented control” – and they haven’t exploited it.

And who invited the First Amendment-abusing government?  The Left – who now decries its presence.

Internet Freedom means Open Spectrum

While broadcasters and mobile phone companies have government-issued licenses for certain portions of the airwaves, other swaths are open, meaning that any company can develop a product —like a cordless home phone, Bluetooth headset, baby monitor or remote control — that utilizes this open space without any need for a government license.

Again, who keeps inviting the government?

To help the next generation of wireless technology take root, we need to ensure that spectrum held by companies like AT&T and Verizon is put to use in the public interest — and we need to make more spectrum available outside these companies’ control.

AT&T and Verizon – and T-Mobile, Sprint, Virgin, Cricket,… – desperately need more spectrum.  To serve the “public interest” – by giving the public in what they are interested: faster, better wireless service.

The Left would stiff these public interest-serving companies – to give away more of this preciously finite resource.  Even though there is already at public disposal more unlicensed spectrum than licensed.

For the Left, “Internet Freedom” means – free from charge.

Internet Freedom means Universal High-Speed Internet

(B)roadband access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of Americans still stand on the wrong side of the “digital divide,” unable to tap into the political, economic and social resources of the Internet.

This is fundamentally incorrect.

As of June, 2011, 95% of all Americans had access to broadband Internet from cable, DSL, fiber or other wired services.  That’s up from 15% as recently as 2003, and zero percent in 1996, when high-speed Internet didn’t even exist.

This seems to be fairly universal access achieved in a remarkably rapid manner.

The basically regulation-less Internet has become a free speech-free market Xanadu.  About as open as anything going – a bastion of freedom.

By Reality’s definition – not the Left’s.  For the Left, “freedom” and “openness” come from greater government control.

Warped, yes?

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A Particularly Weird Week

Friday, January 11th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

Centurions for Obama

We’re $16+ trillion in debt, no federal budget in nearly four years, $1+ trillion deficits each of the last five years – and a president who says “We don’t have a spending problem.”

So of course Item One on the Democrat agenda is gun control. Illegal, Executive Order gun control.

And the lead news item is Brent Musburger pointing out that Katherine Webb is attractive.

Bread and circuses. Welcome to Bizarro World.

But don’t worry – we’re going to mint a couple of $1 trillion coins, so it’ll be all good.

We are Rome.

And we have not yet had the second Inauguration – from which Il Capo di Stato is considering excluding the media.

It’s going to be a very long four years.

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Obama’s New Year’s Resolutions: Even More Power Grabs of the Internet — and Your Wallet

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 - by Seton Motley

It’s the New Year, the pre-dawn of President Barack Obama’s second term.  In which he is free to be more “flexible,” and is resolved to engage in even more illegal, unilateral power grabs.

Long on the Obama-Leftist power grab hit list has been the Internet.  Which pre-Obama was just about regulation-free — and thus became a free speech, free market Xanadu.

To paraphrase Apple, the president has a grab for that.  Many, in fact.  He spent much of his first-term non-golf-time illegally seizing large swaths of previously unregulated Internet space.  And looming large in early 2013 are new, major illegal moves.

One is building on an earlier grab.  The president’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2010 illegally imposed Network NeutralitySeveral plaintiffs sued to undo it – early this year the D.C. Circuit Court will rule.  No matter that outcome, the Obama Administration will likely overreach further still.

Should the court rightly dump Net Neutrality, the administration may absurdly begin regulating the Web as if it were landline telephone network — you know, that bastion of innovation lo these last seventy-plus years.

FCC Boss…May Push for Title II ISP Reclassification if Rules Overturned

Meaning – again, without any legal authority whatsoever – President Obama will move the Internet from Title I to Title II….Title II opens up the Pandora’s Box of uber-regulation of the Internet.  But wait – there’s more. 

Under Title II, President Obama can also begin to tax the Internet – just as the Feds tax landlines,  just as they already tax the living daylights out of your wireless Internet – checked your cell phone bill lately? It’s 17.4% – and climbing, an $8 billion total take in 2010 – and hurtling ever upward. 

And if the court wrongly rules in favor of the administration?

FCC’s Pai Warns that Net Neutrality is Only the ‘First Step’

Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, said on Thursday that a court victory for net-neutrality rules would embolden liberal members of his agency to adopt more Internet regulations.

“With a court victory under the Commission’s belt, I believe that the net neutrality order would be the first step, not the last, on our regulatory path.”

With President Obama, it’s “Heads I win – tails you lose.”

And how’s the president doing on Cyber Security?

Obama Likely to Issue Executive Order on Cybersecurity as Early as January

GOP members in both chambers of Congress fear the cyber order will pile new regulations onto companies that operate critical infrastructure, such as water plants, financial systems and the electric grid.They argue that boosting the country’s cyber defenses requires a permanent legislative solution, not an executive order….

Not to mention that the Constitution requires legislation duly passed by both congressional houses and signed by the executive – not yet another Obama fiat.

All of this illegal, authoritarian Obama action.  Only on the ‘Net.  And it only gets us through about February – just barely past his second Inauguration.

It’s going to be a very long four years.

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Plug-In Cars Don’t Resell – Because They Don’t Sell

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 - by Seton Motley

When the new plug-in sales share of the total market is only a pathetic 0.65%, this is hardly shocking:

Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf Prove Tough Resells – Used EV Market Less Than Booming

Fuel-frugality aside, it seems the 2013 Chevy Volt and 2012 Nissan Leaf are proving to be expensive long-term investments.

One of the main questions every new car buyer should always ask themselves is what is the depreciation of the vehicle and therefore its potential resale value?  Recent reports have suggested that electric cars don’t hold their value quite as well as their regular counterparts.

Of course all new cars lose roughly 20% of their value the moment they roll off the lot.  But there are a lot of used plug-in-specific problems.

You don’t get the $7,500 federal bribe on the used ones.

The very-much-higher up-front retail price is rarely if ever made up in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.

Americans Won’t Pay $40,000 for a $17,000 Car

The $40,000 Volt is basically a $17,000 Cruze – with a 500 lb., 25-mile range, eight-hour-to-charge battery. 

Speaking of the batteries:

(T)he vaunted Volt batteries are then (in used cars) closer to extinction….And how much does it cost to replace a plug-in battery?  General Motors (GM) their own selves say the Volt’s is in the $8,000-$9,500 range

And in case they’re fibbing (as post-bailout GM is wont to do):

Ford CEO: Battery Is Third of Electric Car Cost

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally indicated battery packs for the company’s Focus electric car costs between $12,000 and $15,000 apiece.

Plug-in cars are pathetic re-sells – because they are pathetic sells.

Good thing we’ve dumped more than $6.5 billion-in-government-subsidies-just-since-2008 into the plug-in car fantasy.

It’s working like a charm.

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‘Make Them Pay Their Fair Share?’ Taxes-Yes, Internet-No

Monday, December 17th, 2012 - by Seton Motley

In the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, we have heard ad nauseum from the Left about making “The Rich” – the 1% (oops, they now mean 2%) – “pay their fair share” of federal income taxes.

When it comes to the nation’s Internet bandwidth-using 1%, however, many on the Left are demanding the 99% pay for the vast majority of the Elite’s extravagance.

On taxes:

If the ‘Rich’ Are to Pay Their ‘Fair Share,’ They’re Due for a Huge Tax Cut

The wealthiest 1% of the population earns 19% of the income but pays 37% of the income tax. The top 10% of earners pay 68% of the tab.

Bill Gates and I each get one vote – it’s not his fault he earns more money than do I.  I don’t want him punished with a tax increase for his mistake of being successful.

Now, let’s look at who uses what percentages of Internet bandwidth.

Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth, and Gap Is Growing

The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic.

The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.

“The top 1% of data consumers…account for 20% of the overall consumption.”

Sounds a lot like the taxpayer breakdown.  Only here these people are consuming – not paying.  And here the Left gets decidedly disjointed.

Nearly everywhere on the planet, with nearly all things – if you use more of something, you pay more.  You can’t leave the grocery store with ten steaks and pay the same as the guy who left with two.

We in fact already have usage-based pricing in wired and wireless services.  You pay more for four hundred cell phone talk minutes than you do for forty.  You pay more for four hundred cable channels than you do for forty.

So it would make sense that if you use more Internet bandwidth, you would pay more.  You can’t let these 1%-er bandwidth hogs ride on the backs of the 99% – right, Leftists?

Free Press, Public Knowledge Pan FCC Chair’s Usage-Based Pricing Shout-Out

Well that’s confusing.  What does the Democrat Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman have to say about it?

(C)hairman (Julius Genachowski) pointed out that…charging more for more bandwidth also meant charging less for less, so it could be consumer-friendly as well as a driver of innovation and consumer choice.

If it’s one-price-fits-all, you have to keep moving the price upward to get closer to covering the 1%.  By so doing you price more and more of the 99% out of being able to get any Internet at all.

And why should a grandmother doing little more than emailing her grandchildren have her price hiked ever skyward – to supplement the selfish 1%?

All of this blatant obviousness is lost utterly on the Left.

(Public Knowledge Legal Director Harold) Feld said it was not an issue of only one model, but of whether “all the benefits of broadband Chairman Genachowski has articulated in the past ever happen in a world where broadband providers get a free pass on any pricing scheme or restriction….”

Free Press…Policy Director Matt Wood said that the FCC should be investigating (usage based pricing tiers), not endorsing them.

As rapidly amazing as has been the rise and evolution of the free speech, free market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web – imagine how much (even) better it would be were the purveyors of progress not constantly impeded by Reality-free Leftists.

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Shoving Us Over the Fiscal Cliff: Obama Blocks Tax Reform

Monday, December 10th, 2012 - by Seton Motley

President Barack Obama’s scant involvement with the Fiscal Cliff negotiations has been limited to his rigid insistence that the tax rate on the nation’s job creators be raised from 35% to 39.6%.

Tax reform – as a general principle and a way to raise revenue – is a presidential non-starter.

Now.  Last year, the president said this:

“What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates — but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.”

Funny, that’s what House Speaker John Boehner just proposed.  $800 billion over ten years in additional coin for the realm.  By loophole-eliminating, code-simplifying – and thus job creating – tax reform.  Not via job-killing tax rate increases.

And the President’s tax hikes will kill jobs – 710,000 of them.  While only raising the same $800 billion over the next decade.

Do not misunderstand – this is not a defense of Speaker Boehner’s revenue raise.  The Feds don’t have a revenue problem – they have a spending one.

2007 Federal Budget: $2.73 trillion.  Deficit: $161 billion.

Note: This was the last all Republican budget – the House, Senate and White House were at the time all run by the Rs.

2012 Federal Budget: $3.796 trillion.  Deficit: $1.327 trillion.

If we simply returned to 2007 levels of spending, our trillion-plus dollar annual budget deficits would all but vanish.

The fact remains – we desperately need tax reform.  The president used to agree.  The question is – what tax code status quo is the president trying to protect?

President Obama and his Democrats in fact love our arcane, bizarre, totally anti-Reality tens-of-thousands-of-pages tax code.  (And our millions-of-pages of laws.  And our millions-of-pages regulatory code.)

The harder it is for businesses to do business (and citizens to conduct their lives) – the better they like it.  And the cryptic, dense codified inanity creates tons of room for them to pick their preferred private sector losers at the expense of its winners – and slosh them hundreds of billions of Taxpayer dollars while they’re at it.

This isn’t Crony Capitalism – this is Crony Socialism.

To choose but one example, let us look at “energy” Crony Socialism.

Energy Subsidies Total $24 Billion, Most to Renewables

Renewable energy and energy efficiency accounted for $16 billion of the federal support, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while the fossil-fuel industry received $2.5 billion in tax breaks….

CBO said the $24 billion total is a small fraction of the hundreds of billions of the government’s various annual subsidies, which take the form of both grants and tax breaks.

[Excerpt emphasis ours.]

To one abysmal failure after another.

Since 2008, taxpayers have spent or provided loan guarantees of $6.5 billion for electric vehicles.

(There have been) more-than-$3 billion-in-federal-government-subsidies-alone for the Chevy Volt.

And the 2009 $787 billion “Stimulus” bill contained about $60 billion in additional “green” “energy” cash – ostensibly for “green” gigs.  But as Newsweek then reported (emphasis again ours):

The working definition (of “green job”) paints a broad stroke: a job that’s good for the economy while simultaneously healing the earth. But that leaves lots open to interpretation – natural gas is technically a cleaner fuel than crude oil, but it’s still unsustainable. 

Making it difficult, if not impossible, to measure whether eco-based jobs are being created and whether, as the administration has claimed, they’re the saviors of a sagging economy….

In large part, the very idea behind a green job ensures there will never be a full definition….

Well it appears the Obama Administration eventually arrived at a delineation.

Labor Dept. Counts Oil Lobbyists, Garbage Men, Bus Drivers as ‘Green Jobs’

This “green” “energy” government-money “investment” experiment has clearly been a multi-decade (ethanol, anyone?), trillions-of-dollars uber-failure.

Why would President Obama insist on job-killing, tiny-money-raising tax rate increases – while protecting such a gi-normous Taxpayer debacle?

80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

Oh yeah.

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I Owe You for the Presidential Election? Get in Line

Monday, November 12th, 2012 - by Seton Motley
Seton Motley | PJ Tatler

The New Normal

A Leftist friend just wrote me to gloat about the Presidential election – saying I owe him beer. (I don’t – I lost a beer bet to him on the 1996 Presidential election.)

Behold my response:

Perhaps.

I definitely owe the Chinese and others at least another $6 trillion four years hence.

And I owe a bunch of money to about 20 million illegal aliens now ensconced in ObamaCare coverage. And more for their welfare checks. And more for the English-As-a-Second-Language government educations.

I owe even more for citizens who refuse to take responsibility for their lives, and instead voted for a man who promised to “spread the wealth around.” I owe for their waste-of-time-and-money “Women Studies,” “English,” Liberal Arts college educations. I owe for their abortion pills, birth control pills, and condoms. I owe for their Obama Phones, their food stamps and their Social Security disability checks.

I owe them my health coverage getting much more expensive and demonstrably worse so that theirs can be “free.”

I owe them my work and my money getting scarcer, because it must be regulated and taxed away to create their Dystopia Utopia.

I owe a lot of people. It’s a long line – you can get in it.

It’ll look a lot like the line for health care. Or the line for welfare. Or the line for food stamps. Or the line for the post office. Or the line for the DMV.

The government’s already out of money, so their lines don’t move so well.

I soon will be, so mine won’t either.

But congratulations – your guy won the election.

Cheers.

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Obama’s Post-Election Regulation Avalanche

Monday, November 5th, 2012 - by Seton Motley
Seton Motley | PJ Tatler

President Obama's Apparently Never Heard of Him

We just recently had the all-time greatest Uniter-of-All-Americans, President Barack Obama, offering up:

“Voting is the best revenge.”

Which goes along with President Bipartisan on Univision in 2010 offering up:

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends….’”

Which goes along with then-Candidate Bipartisan off the cuff on the campaign trail offering up:

“So it’s not surprising that they get bitter and cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren’t like them.”

What about Congress?  Forget about it.  President Dining-on-Dog offers up:

“Cap-and-Trade was just one way of skinning the cat.  It was not the only way.  It was a means, not an end.  And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

(Is he totally forsaking the Pet and Vet votes?)

Which goes along with President Pliable offering up to Russia President Dmitri Medvedev:

“On all these issues…this, this can be solved but it’s important for him (Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin) to give me space…. This is my last election.  After my election I have more flexibility.”

The Obama Administration’s first term has been terrible, and unilaterally tyrannical.

Network Neutrality: Like health care, the Tech sector is 1/6th of economy.  Unlike ObamaCare, Net Neutrality never passed Congress – the President just imposed it, in December 2010.  (Ditto the Administration’s power grab of wireless cellular phone networks, and a whole host of other unilateral Tech regulations.) 

Energy Sector regulations: The Greatest Fraud on Earth is alleged “global warming.”  Or “climate change.”  Cap & Trade never passed Congress – so Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency and Departments of Energy and Interior are imposing it as if it did. 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been a one-stop bureaucratic wrecking shop. 

  • Unilaterally making it much easier to form business-impeding, Democrat-supporting unions – and much harder to un-form them.
  • Telling Businesses Where They Are Allowed to Locate
  • Imposing Union “Propaganda” Mandates on Employers

Doubling car CAFE mileage requirements.

And on, and on, and on….

And how unilaterally terrible would a second Obama term be?

Obama Administration Sits on Key Regulations

Federal agencies are sitting on a pile of major health, environmental, and financial regulations that lobbyists, congressional staffers, and former administration officials say are being held back to avoid providing ammunition to Mitt Romney and other Republican critics….

The drop-off stands out not just compared to earlier years of Obama’s term but also compared to other years in which presidents are running for reelection….

Sources in regular contact with agencies say they’ve been told that new rules won’t resume until after the election, and many expect an avalanche of new major rules shortly afterward….

Much of the delayed regulation is tied to major Obama administration policies, not vestigial red tape. Both the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank require significant regulatory clarification in order to move forward….

Several people who work closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency at the Health and Human Services Department responsible for most of the outstanding health care regulations, say they’ve been told the delays are due to political considerations, not technical difficulties.

So a second Obama Administration term will have all the small-government, less regulation transparency and openness of the first – only more so.

With all of the success of the first Obama Administration term – only more so:

More than 23 million people are jobless or underemployed under Obama.

Report: Negative job growth under Obama

1,035,000 Construction Jobs Lost Under Obama

Tech (sector) layoffs hit 3-year high in first half of 2012; 260% more than first half 2011.

Obama closes more than 2,000 car dealerships; more than 100,000 let go

111 coal plants – more than 20% of US total – closed under Obama; more than 120,000 jobs lost

Government-land oil and gas drill permits down 36% under Obama.

Food stamp recipient number rises from 32 million to 47 million under Obama.

Record 5.4 million join (Social Security) disability rolls under Obama.

Welfare spending jumps 32% during Obama’s presidency

Health care premiums rise $2,370 per family under Obama.

Gasoline prices double under Obama.

What voter wouldn’t want more of all of this?

Note: The original version of this piece had a quote from President Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett that we thought we had verified, but ultimately did/could not.  It has been removed.

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President Obama is a Weapon of Mass Economic Destruction – He Must Be Decommissioned

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 - by Seton Motley

Let's Sequester Him

Less Government founder and president Seton Motley had this reaction to last night’s second Presidential debate:

“President Barack Obama is to economic recovery and growth a biological weapon of mass economic destruction. If we want an America that revives and thrives, this president must be decommissioned.”

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