Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Since Google will not let me put up any new posts on my old POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH site, I now have a new Political Correctness Watch site. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. It might be advisable, though, to keep a note of the Political Correctness Watch mirror site in case the new blog hosts go strange on me.
And since Google will not let me put up any more posts on my old EYE ON BRITAIN site, I now have a new Eye on Britain site. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. A permalink to any day's postings there can be obtained by clicking on "Leave a comment". It might be advisable, though, to keep a note of the Eye on Britain mirror site in case the new blog hosts go strange on me. I have chosen two different blog hosts this time in order to spread my risks.
Google undermines the Internet
“Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success” – Vint Cerf, Google Chief Internet Evangelist and Co-Developer of the Internet Protocol
Attention leftists: hypocrisy is not a failure to live up to one’s own ideals. Hypocrisy is a willful professing of a belief, that one that does not truly believe. An outspoken Christian who commits adultery is not a hypocrite. An outspoken atheist who prays is a hypocrite. In today’s extended lesson Google must either accept that it is undermining the Internet, or be a hypocrite.
Exhibit A: Google supports ‘net neutrality’, a movement which began as an argument against ISPs selectively filtering traffic, which is a legitimate fear in the face of cable and phone companies trying for a “triple play” of television, phone, and Internet service. The idea is that if a Comcast or an AT&T degrade or prohibit the use of other firms’ phone and video services, then you will be forced to use their own. Google, the firm, professes to believe in opposing this tactic.
Exhibit B: Google is set to argue against Apple’s blocking of Google Voice from iPhones to the FCC. This is the Net Neutrality prediction in action. Apple conspires with AT&T to block the use of a third party’s phone service over AT&T’s Internet connection. Google, again, supports this belief in neutrality.
Exhibit C: Google blocks Skype from Android-based phones. This is anti-Net Neutrality in action. Google conspires with providers to block the use of a third party’s phone service over the provider’s data connection.
On the other hand, it gets worse for Google. In its defense, Google claims that T-Mobile didn’t request the block. That would work, except that it could only mean Google is attempting to fight the market advantage of Skype by blocking that competitor and bundling Google Voice with Android. In its attempt to avoid the Net Neutrality hypocrisy and FCC attention for its actions (which “do not stand up to scrutiny,” which is what Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf said of all justifications for anti-Net Neutrality), Google confesses to doing what Microsoft was accused by the FTC of doing with its Internet Explorer and Windows releases against Netscape Navigator.
Steve Ballmer is laughing. So am I, only I’m laughing at all the people who pretend Google is anything friendly to ordinary Americans.
Update: Google has issued a rebuttal of the piece I linked to above, but they do not rebut my key point, which is that Google stands ready and willing to collaborate fully with anti-Net Netural policies of their business partners, even as they run to the State like good little fascists if their competitors try the same policies. The key quote is that “individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered if they violate their terms of service,” and in fact the T-Mobile terms of service are not net neutral, banning any uses not ‘explicitly permitted by your Data Plan,’ instead requiring you to use T-Mobile provided media options. Additionally, T-Mobile Germany has already banned Skype on the iPhone. So, of course T-Mobile USA is going to make the same ban, and according to Google’s own words, they will be complicit in that ban.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
For the Children
Hey kids. I know you're not all that interested in politics, and you don't like to read too much. But, God bless you, you vote. That's understandable. It's hip to vote. P. Diddy urges you to do it. Most of the doors in your college dorm are adorned with Obama posters and news clippings. In 2008, the 18-29 age group voted 2-to-1 for Obama. And your college campus went wild the night he won.
But before you vote again, please consider reading the rest of this article. I'll try to make clear points and keep the paragraphs short. It's OK to listen to your iPod while you read.
Politics is actually kind of important. There are about 200 countries in the world; 200 different governments. In some countries, like North Korea, people have died by the millions due to starvation in just the last few years. In others, like the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and others, people have died by the millions due to civil war or mass murder - again, in only the last few years, while you've been alive. Yet in other countries, like the US, obesity is considered one of our worst problems. Whether the worst problem you face is being overweight or hacked to death with machetes depends much on your country's politics.
No one has it figured out yet. Humans have been around for thousands of years, yet we still have hunger, poverty, disease, war, racism, hatred and all kinds of things that have made life miserable over thousands of years. So when some politician tells you he can get rid of all of these problems in the next 4 to 8 years, or they would go away if we could just get rid of his political opponents, he is being what is called "less than truthful."
But we're not totally stupid, either. We actually have made great progress in eliminating hunger, poverty, disease, etc. Do you know that from 1900 to 2000, for example, life expectancy went from 47 to 77 in the US? Yet in other countries, like Zimbabwe, the life expectancy today is just 46. You have to believe we did some things better in the US over our history, and we are doing some things better than Zimbabwe today.
Freedom is good. We actually have a good idea of what makes these kinds of differences among countries: freedom. Countries where people can own property and are free to buy and sell what they want, are the countries that are much better off. (Some people call this "capitalism", but it is really just freedom.) Countries where the government has more control over what you can have, buy and sell, do worse. For more reading on this, go here.
Communism is bad. Communism is not just another "ism." In the last 100 years, Communism killed about 100 million people. While I'm sure you heard of Nazism's Jewish Holocaust of 6 million, you probably haven't heard about this 17-times-bigger Communist holocaust. But it's documented in the Black Book of Communism, and the numbers are not really disputed, just ignored. Also, communist countries like North Korea and Cuba kill citizens who simply try to leave the country - today. Communism, along with Nazism and fascism, represent one end of the political spectrum -- the one where government makes most of the decisions, or the opposite of freedom. For more reading on this, go here.
What to fix? Many of us want to make the world a better place. Where would you start: in one of the richest countries on earth where people live fairly long, like the US, or in one of the poorest countries where people die fairly young, like Zimbabwe? It seems kind of dumb to me that the first place we would try to change the most would be the US. It seems to me we should try to change the places that are the most miserable, like North Korea, Zimbabwe and a bunch of other countries on earth. Also, in a place already doing pretty well, like the US, should we try changing everything at once, or try just a few things at a time and see if they work out before we try the next things?
The US is really pretty good. You can convince yourself of this by looking up data like wealth and income statistics, life expectancies, number of patents, etc., not to mention putting man on the moon. Or you could travel. Here are some tips for things to look for when you travel: can you drink the water without getting sick? Do they have toilets, and if so, where does the stuff go when you flush it? The biggest boosts to life expectancy are clean drinking water and a good sewage system. It ain't rocket science, but there are many places on earth where it would be a good idea to bring your own bottled water and TP.
Why the stimulus flopped: “I don’t know why one of the least fiscally debauched states in the Union needs funds from ‘the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ to repair random stretches of highway, especially stretches that were perfectly fine until someone came along to dig them up in order to access ’stimulus’ funding. I would have asked one of those men with a shovel, as depicted on the sign, but there were none to be found. Usually in New Hampshire, they dig up the road, and re-grade or repave it, while the flagmen stand guard until it’s all done. But here a certain federal torpor seemed to hang in the eerie silence. Still, what do I know? Evidently, it’s stimulated the sign-making industry, putting America back to work by putting up ‘PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK’ signs every 200 yards across the land. And at 300 bucks a pop, the signage alone should be enough to launch an era of unparalleled prosperity, assuming America’s gilded sign magnates don’t spend their newfound wealth on Bahamian vacations and European imports. Perhaps if the president were to have his All-Seeing O logo lovingly hand-painted onto each sign, it would stimulate the economy even more, if only when they were taken down and auctioned on eBay.”
Yahoo wins US court ruling over webcasting fees: “A federal appeals court in New York ruled that a Yahoo Inc Internet radio service is not required to pay fees to copyright holders of songs it plays, a defeat for Sony Corp’s BMG Music. … The three-judge panel said the service is required only to pay licensing fees set by SoundExchange, a nonprofit that collects royalties on sound recordings. It was the first federal appeals court to decide the issue. Friday’s ruling is a setback for record producers that have struggled with slumping sales as customers increasingly obtain music online or through other means.”
KY: Republican pol raises $436k in one day with “money bomb”: “Rand Paul, son of Republican Presidential Candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, has raised $435,000 in one day through a moneybomb The Kentucky Republican Senate Candidate, Rand Paul, raised a substantial amount of $436,450 over a 24-hour period on Thursday, according to Run Rand Run.”
Millions face shrinking Social Security payments: “Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975. By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.”
Gitmo detainee with bin Laden links to be freed: "A Yemeni man’s family ties to Osama bin Laden and admission that he met with the terrorist mastermind in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks are not enough to continue holding him at Guantanamo Bay, a judge wrote in an order released Friday. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that Muhammed al-Adahi, 47, must be released after seven years at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba.”
Obama faces hard choices on Afghanistan war plans: “As public support for the war in Afghanistan erodes, President Barack Obama soon may face two equally unattractive choices: increase U.S. troops levels to beat back a resilient enemy, or stick with the 68,000 already committed and risk the political fallout if that’s not enough. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is completing an assessment of what he needs to win the fight there. That review, however, won’t specifically address force levels, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Bastiat on the Bay: "Warren Buffet opposes lower taxes on dividends and supports collectivist politicians. George Soros espouses all kinds of statist nonsense. Alan Greenspan, until retirement touted as the most powerful libertarian in government, now seems to think that insufficient regulation was responsible for the current Great Recession. Hasn’t anyone noticed that the industries suffering spectacular collapses because of bad risk management are two of the most heavily regulated industries in the country — banking and insurance? Think that’s a coincidence Today the rich and powerful take communism with their caviar and liberalism (the modern, debased kind) with their limousines. This is depressing. Shouldn’t productive, successful people be natural libertarians, or at least small-government Republicans? I recently witnessed some encouraging evidence that many of them are.”
Why people blame the free market: “Our financial collapse, many claim, was the result of an ‘unregulated free market.’ Facts and common sense tell us it was neither unregulated nor a free market. We can also point to other causes — the malinvestment directly caused by the government-controlled Federal Reserve System, fraudulent fractional-reserve banking that a government which is actually interested in protecting rights would prohibit rather than protect, and runaway government debt. Likewise, many claim the ‘free market’ is to blame for America’s health care woes, even though government already pays for more than half of it and controls much more through regulation. Charity clinics are even outlawed in most states, and hospitals are disallowed from posting the prices of their procedures. Yeah, some ‘free market’ system this is! But I’m afraid such arguments explaining that we have no ‘free market’ at all will fall on many deaf ears.”
Clunker of a policy? Yup: “As I am not a contractor, banker, hedge fund manager, government insider, or political activist, I didn’t expect to benefit personally from the various bailouts and stimulus programs out there. Then came the ‘cash for clunkers’ program. Although not as outrageous as about half the projects in the stimulus package, it doesn’t do much to stimulate the economy or to improve overall gas mileage. Still, the program proved so popular that they’re having to pull the plug on the program on Monday when it runs out of money. Who wins? Middle-class folks like my wife and me who can afford a new car and happen to have an inefficient trade-in receive a $4,500 subsidy to do what we would eventually need to do anyway. This benefits car dealers, also, but the losers are charities that benefit from car donations and less well-off people who rely on a stock of solid older cars for their transportation. When these are crushed and melted, there will be fewer choices and the price of the remaining vehicles will rise.”
The end of privacy: “Privacy advocates who enjoy focusing on issues like browser cookies, behavioral advertising, database privacy and deep packet inspection can just throw in the towel if anything approaching HR 3200, the current draft of the health care bill in the House of Representatives, becomes law. Because HR 3200 contains the most egregious violations of Americans’ privacy imaginable. Indeed, one way to characterize HR 3200 is as ‘The End of Privacy.’ The bill creates a ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ (henceforth sarcastically referred to as the Health Choices Commissar), and, of course, the Commissar needs to be able to pry into your finances.”
A loyal opposition: “It’s not simply that key and noxious elements of Obama’s legislative agenda are in serious trouble. It’s not simply that his approval numbers are down. It’s not simply that the evidence is increasingly conclusive that 2008 didn’t mark a sharp break to the left on the part of public opinion, and that ‘conservative’ remains a term of approbation for much more of the electorate than ‘liberal.’ And it’s not simply that the term ‘Republican’ is less poisonous than many feared (or hoped): The GOP has recently improved its comparative position in most 2010 generic congressional polls. The most heartening development in the Age of Obama so far is this: the impressive behavior of conservatives and Republicans. They have been principled in their major domestic and foreign policy positions, have opposed Obama and advanced their own agenda in a savvy and sensible way, and have begun to find new and fresh spokesmen.”
Big government, big recession: “‘So it seems that we aren’t going to have a second Great Depression after all,’” wrote New York Times columnist Paul Krugman last week. ‘What saved us? The answer, basically, is Big Government … [W]e appear to have averted the worst: utter catastrophe no longer seems likely. And Big Government, run by people who understand its virtues, is the reason why.’ This is certainly a novel theory of the business cycle. To be taken seriously, however, any such explanation of recessions and recoveries must be tested against the facts. It is not enough to assert the U.S. economy would have experienced a ’second Great Depression’ were it not for the Obama stimulus plan. Even those who think government borrowing is a free lunch can’t possibly believe the government has already done enough ’stimulus spending’ to explain the difference between depression and recovery.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:36 AM