Basically Drudge’s big stories of the day, but today the FCC chair refused to testify before congress about net neutrality, The Hill looks at the new arbitrary ability for the FCC to impose internet regulations and asks if it’s outright lawless, and the lefty “Electronic Frontier Foundation” suddenly realizes that big government might not be the best thing to have on an internet that’s supposed to be free.

There are several problems with this approach.  First, it suggests that the FCC believes it has broad authority to pursue any number of practices—hardly the narrow, light-touch approach we need to protect the open Internet. Second, we worry that this rule will be extremely expensive in practice, because anyone wanting to bring a complaint will be hard-pressed to predict whether they will succeed. For example, how will the Commission determine “industry best standards and practices”? As a practical matter, it is likely that only companies that can afford years of litigation to answer these questions will be able to rely on the rule at all. Third, a multi-factor test gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence.

A leftist push for more control really might mean cronyism for their politically aligned friends?  Naw… you don’t say.

The internet will grind to stagnating European halt.

In a joint column, Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai and Federal Election Commission member Lee Goodman, leveled the boom on the Obama-favored regulations, essentially charging that it will muck up the freedom the nation has come to expect from the Internet. …

“These Internet regulations will deter broadband deployment, depress network investment and slow broadband speeds. How do we know? Compare Europe, which has long had utility-style regulations, with the United States, which has embraced a light-touch regulatory model. Broadband speeds in the United States, both wired and wireless, are significantly faster than those in Europe. Broadband investment in the United States is several multiples that of Europe. And broadband’s reach is much wider in the United States, despite its much lower population density,” the two wrote. …

“Internet freedom works. It is difficult to imagine where we would be today had the government micromanaged the Internet for the past two decades as it does Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service. Neither of us wants to find out where the Internet will be two decades from now if the federal government tightens its regulatory grip. We don’t need to shift control of the Internet to bureaucracies in Washington. Let’s leave the power where it belongs — with the American people. When it comes to Americans’ ability to access online content or offer political speech online, there isn’t anything broken for the government to “fix.” To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, Internet regulation isn’t the solution to a problem. Internet regulation is the problem.”

I’d file this entirely under the part of the cycle of the anointed being wrong where Thomas Sowell says “the critics’ concerns are dismissed”… which comes right before the “solution” is implemented and causes the exact problems the critics fortold.

There is always the inexorable push by leftists for more controlIt’s what they do.  It’s all they do.

This is a long march for them, and they will always be working to take your rights away.  That’s their focus, their reason, their essence, and their firm belief.  Any means necessary, any backdoor way, any subtle move, any overt move.

More Jersey Injustice

Posted: February 17, 2015 by ShortTimer in Government, Guns, Second Amendment, Tyranny
Tags:

Among other places, via HotAir, from NRA News:

Shades of Shaneen Allen’s tribulations in Jersey.

This kind of thing is just a reminder that Chris Christie is not a viable candidate for anything outside of New Jersey.

Brian Williams’ Downfall

Posted: February 11, 2015 by ShortTimer in Humor, Leftists, Media

HT Jawa Report.

ISIS and a Peculiar Media Bias

Posted: February 4, 2015 by ShortTimer in Iraq, Media, terrorism
Tags:

Yesterday I watched the video of the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh be burned alive.  It could be found a handful of places on the internet, though it really should be shown on TV.  One of the reasons 9/11 had such a big impact on the American psyche is because it was seen live, unedited.

Similarly, actually seeing it prevents linguistic tricks like what I read today in Reuters.

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan vowed a “strong, earth-shaking and decisive” response to Islamic State killing’s of a Jordanian pilot whose death was announced on Tuesday, the government spokesman said a statement.

Islamic State earlier released a video purporting to show the pilot being burnt to death.

Purporting is a very interesting word.

Look up the definition of purport and you find something like this, first from Google, second from Dictionary.com (emphasis mine):

pur·port
verb
gerund or present participle: purporting
pərˈpôrt/

appear or claim to be or do something, especially falsely; profess.
“she is not the person she purports to be”

verb (used with object)
1. to present, especially deliberately, the appearance of being; profess or claim,often falsely:

a document purporting to be official.
2. to convey to the mind as the meaning or thing intended; express or imply.

In fact, by typing in the word “purporting” into Google, you get this response today (2/4/15):

jordanian pilot purport

What a specifically strange choice of words.

Two More Gas Tax Opinions

Posted: January 28, 2015 by ShortTimer in Energy, Tax, taxes, Tyranny

The first via The Federalist:

You can understand it only if you understand that in some minds there is a constant imperative for the expansion of government. The only question they ask is whether they can get away with it. When gas prices are low, they think they can, so that is what they advocate.

That summarizes the whole argument for.

The second is Charles Krauthammer’s opinion piece advocating a gas tax, titled “Raise the Gas Tax.  A Lot.

For 32 years I’ve been advocating a major tax on petroleum. I’ve got as much chance this time around as did Don Quixote with windmills. But I shall tilt my lance once more.

The only time you can even think of proposing a gas tax increase is when oil prices are at rock bottom.

32 years of advocating for a tax that no driver wants.  He’s got a much better chance that Don Quixote, because things like the gas tax end up with “bipartisan support” of big government activists on both the left and the right.

The hike should not be 10 cents but $1. And the proceeds should not be spent by, or even entrusted to, the government. They should be immediately and entirely returned to the consumer by means of a cut in the Social Security tax.

And that’s where Krauthammer’s entire idea fails.  “We’ll raise one tax so we can drop another” will never, ever, ever happen.  The first tax will be raised, the second will never go away.

The rest of his math is based on “savings” to an “average driver” that probably makes sense to someone from the east coast or DC who only has to drive a few minutes to work if at all (in Krauthammer’s particular case, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drive anymore at all).  It’s a massive burden on people who live in geographically larger states.

It’s win-win. Employment taxes are a drag on job creation. Reducing them not only promotes growth but advances fairness, FICA being a regressive tax that hits the middle and working classes far more than the rich.

So “fairness” is to tax the provinces while the capital feasts?  Also, when has the tax system ever been about “fairness”?  If that were the case, we should get rid of all “sin” excise taxes right now, because those are made to modify behavior based on government using force to manipulate the economy.

A $1 gas tax increase would constrain oil consumption in two ways. In the short run, by curbing driving. In the long run, by altering car-buying habits. A return to gas-guzzling land yachts occurs every time gasoline prices plunge. A high gas tax encourages demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Constrained U.S. consumption — combined with already huge increases in U.S. production — would continue to apply enormous downward pressure on oil prices.

A tax is the best way to improve fuel efficiency. Today we do it through rigid regulations, the so-called CAFE standards imposed on carmakers. They are forced to manufacture acres of unsellable cars in order to meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “fleet” gas-consumption average.

This is nuts. If you simply set a higher price point for gasoline, buyers will do the sorting on their own, choosing fuel efficiency just as they do when the world price is high. The beauty of the tax — as a substitute for a high world price — is that the incentive for fuel efficiency remains…

His FICA argument is nonsense because no tax cut will be passed.

His “altering car-buying habits” argument only works if you accept the basic premise – that people need to be forced to not buy “gas-guzzling land yachts”.

Also, there’s already a tax on buying anything that doesn’t meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “gas guzzler” gas consumption decision:

Not that welfare recipients would be buying a Shelby.

Krauthammer’s argument is that we need to raise taxes to punish the consumer even more for personal decisions that Krauthammer’s decided are bad decisions.  Yay big government.

And finally, lower consumption reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. The reduction of traditional pollutants, though relatively minor, is an undeniable gain. And even for global warming skeptics, there’s no reason not to welcome a benign measure that induces prudential reductions in CO2 emissions.

Except it’s not a benign measure.  The power to tax is the power to destroy.  This is a tool to force people into what DC wants you to drive, not what you want to drive.  Their reasons hinge on the idea that you need to be coerced into their worldview.

If given the choice between a work truck that gets 12 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg, where all other features are the same, a business or an individual will take the one that gets higher mpg because it already benefits them.  Doesn’t matter if it’s $4/gallon or $2/gallon.  If given the choice between a performace car that gets 15 mpg and one that gets 35 mpg, other factors being the same, they’ll take the one that gets 35.  It still benefits them.

Some DC thug hitting them with yet another tax to tell them what to buy is only a good idea if you’re in favor of the DC thug hitting them with another tax.

Sorry, Chuck, the reason why people oppose it is because they understand it.

OPEC’s “Weaponized” Oil Prices

Posted: January 12, 2015 by ShortTimer in Economics, Energy, Middle East

Despite discussing the potential for a bust a couple days ago, I’m not worried about the sky falling yet:

If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that the group won’t curb output to halt the biggest drop in crude since 2008. Qatar’s estimate for the global oversupply is among the biggest of any producing country. These countries actually want — and are achieving — further price declines as part of an attempt to hasten cutbacks by U.S. shale drillers, according to Barclays Plc and Commerzbank AG.

See, there’s also the fact that Russia was their primary target:

Vladimir Putin faces a catastrophic shortfall of at least $80bn (£51bn) in oil export revenue over the next year, after Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia signalled there will be no easing in the price war it has launched to recapture market share.

According to US Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures, oil and gas shipments accounted for 68pc of Russia’s total $527bn of gross exports in 2013, when Brent crude – comparable to Russian Urals – traded at an average of $108 per barrel.

US frackers are the secondary target.

And it will take a while to crush them all.

breakeven oil prices bus insdr

Those are older breakeven prices.  There are other figures that say numbers are closer to $50 for Bakken and Permian, and as low as $28 for Marcellus.  Technology has gotten better, American ingenuity has made this development possible (in spite of the current administration), and provided investors don’t totally lose their minds, it would be possible to ease off production while letting the Saudis basically support broader US economic interests due to reduced energy costs.

OPEC thought it had a monopoly.  It didn’t, and now it’s cutting prices to force out the upstart.  Except the upstart doesn’t have to stop, it can just hold those resources as a threat that will ultimately drive the price down for everyone.

I think the only way there will be a true bust is if the US government gets involved.  If it leaves US energy interests alone, they’ll reallocate capital for a while (there will be regional busts where rigs are mothballed), but those rigs will go back active any time the Saudis start getting sad that they can’t buy a new Rolls every month.  They’ll also be there to come back online if the Saudi’s export of Wahhabism that eventually spawned ISIS comes back to bite them in the ass, as the world will look for a more reliable source of oil.