Friday, November 25, 2011

European court says ISPs can't be forced to monitor illegal downloads

Since the American Left just ADORES European precedents, this verdict might cause both the FCC and legislators to lose momentum in their attempts to impose internet filtering and control on American ISPs

Internet service providers cannot be forced to block their users from downloading songs illegally, as such an order would breach EU rules, Europe's highest court said in a ruling welcomed by a consumer group.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its verdict on Thursday in a case involving Belgian music royalty collecting society SABAM and Belgian telecom operator Belgacom unit Scarlet.

SABAM asked a Belgian court to order Scarlet to install a device to prevent its users from downloading copyrighted works. The court ruled in SABAM's favour and order Scarlet to install such a device. However, Scarlet then challenged the ruling, prompting the Belgian court to seek advice from the ECJ.

"EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files," the ECJ said.

"The filtering system would also be liable to infringe the fundamental rights of its [Scarlet's] customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information," the Luxembourg court said.

More here


I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday For a Tax Increase Today

By Ann Coulter

Bored with the Penn State scandal because it didn't implicate any prominent Republicans, the mainstream media have suddenly become obsessed with Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." They are monomaniacally fixated on luring Republicans into raising taxes.

If Democrats could balance the budget tomorrow and quadruple government spending, they'd refuse the deal unless they could also make Republicans break their tax pledge. That is their single-minded goal.

But the media are trying to turn it around and say that it's Republicans who are crazy for refusing to consider raising taxes no matter how much they get in spending cuts.

At Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate on foreign policy, for example, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates for the one-millionth time if they would agree to raise taxes in exchange for spending cuts 10 times larger than the tax hikes.

Terrorism can wait -- first, let me try to back you into a corner on raising taxes.

Amazingly, Blitzer cited Ronald Reagan's statement in his autobiography, "An American Life," that he would happily compromise with Democrats if he could get 75 or 80 percent of what he wanted -- implying that today's Republicans were nuttier than Reagan if they'd refuse a dollar in tax hikes for $10 in spending cuts.

Wolf should have kept reading. As Reagan explains a little farther in his autobiography: He did accept tax hikes "in return for (the Democrats') agreement to cut spending by $280 billion," but, Reagan continues, "the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts."

Maybe that's why Republicans won't agree to raise taxes in exchange for Democratic promises to cut spending.

For Americans who are unaware of the Democrats' history of repeatedly reneging on their promises to cut spending in return for tax hikes, the Republicans' opposition to tax increases does seem crazy. That's why Republicans need to remind them.

From the moment President Reagan succeeded in pushing through his historic tax cuts in 1981 -- which passed by a vote of 323-107 in the House and 89-11 in the Senate, despite Democrats' subsequent caterwauling -- he came under fantastic pressure to raise taxes from the media and the Democrats.

You will notice it is the same culprits pushing for tax hikes today.

So in 1982, Reagan struck a deal with the Democrats to raise some business and excise taxes -- though not income taxes -- in exchange for $280 billion in spending cuts over the next six years. As Reagan wrote in his diary at the time: "The tax increase is the price we have to pay to get the budget cuts."

But, of course, the Democrats were lying. Instead of cutting $280 billion, they spent an additional $450 billion -- only $140 billion of which went to the Reagan defense buildup that ended the Evil Empire.

Meanwhile, Reagan's tax cuts brought in an extra $375 billion in government revenue in the next six years -- as that amiable, simple-minded dunce Reagan always said they would. His tax cuts funded the entire $140 billion defense buildup, with $235 billion left over.

If Democrats had lied only a little and merely held spending at the same level, Reagan could have smashed the Russkies, produced the largest peacetime expansion in U.S. history with his tax cuts and produced a $235 billion budget surplus. (Jobs created in September 1983: 1.1 million; jobs created in September 2011: 150,000.)

But the Democrats not only refused to implement any budget cuts, they hiked government spending. To the untrained eye, that appears to be the exact opposite of cutting the budget.

Even the gusher of revenue brought in by Reagan's tax cuts couldn't pay for all the additional spending piled up by double-crossing Democrats -- more than twice as much as Reagan's spending on defense.

Reagan's defense spending crushed the Soviet war machine. What did Tip O'Neill's domestic spending accomplish? (I mean, besides destroying the black family, increasing single motherhood and creating government bureaucracies that can never be eliminated.)

Unable to learn from the first kick of a mule, President George H.W. Bush made the exact same deal with Democrats just a few years later.

Pretending to care about the deficit -- created exclusively by their own profligate spending -- Democrats demanded that Bush agree to a "balanced budget" package with both spending cuts and tax increases.

In June 1990, Bush did so, agreeing to tax hikes in defiance of his "read-my-lips, no-new-taxes" campaign pledge.

Again, Democrats, being Democrats, produced no spending cuts, and within two years the increased federal spending had led to a doubling of the deficit.

The Democrats didn't care: All that mattered was that they had tricked Bush into breaking his tax pledge, which they celebrated all the way to Bush's defeat in the next election.

Democrats had effectively taken away the Republican Party's central defining issue -- low taxes -- and the Republicans got nothing in return.....

It's been 20 years since they pulled that scam, so Democrats figure it's time to make Republicans break a tax pledge again. As long as no one knows the history of these "deals," the media can carry on, blithely portraying Republicans as obstructionist nuts for refusing the third kick of a mule.

More here


President Obama Fails George Gilder's "Israel Test"

Hostility to Israel is a marker of hostility to freedom and civilization

In these days of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the U.S., it’s important to see what motivates Obama administration policies here and abroad. Mr. Obama, as a candidate, had to bat away accusations that he was close, too close, to Rashid Khalidi, a radical Palestinian Arab intellectual. Candidate Obama then soothed worried friends of Israel, by minimizing his intellectual fealty to Khalidi, saying merely that “[Khalidi provides] consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases” on matters related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. How humble. How becomingly modest.

Rashid Khalidi is a professor at Columbia University, Mr. Obama’s alma mater. Khalidi holds the Edward Said Chair in Modern Arab Studies at that distinguished Ivy League school. The late Edward Said (sigh-EED) gained respect among left-leaning intellectuals for his numerous writings on Orientalism, the notion that Western colonial powers viewed Arabs, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans as lesser peoples, as “others.” But Said was most famous—or infamous—for some direct action.

He was photographed throwing stones at Israeli forces as they departed South Lebanon in 2000. Harmless, Said claimed, he was only practicing with his son. But deadly stoning was the weapon of choice for the intifadas engineered by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas against Israeli soldiers. Arafat and Abbas knew that teenage boys throwing stones with lethal accuracy would play well in the Western media, including especially in the pro-PLO precincts of CNN.

At home, the Occupy Wall Street crowd quickly descended to anti-Semitism. They are protesting income inequality, they say, but their cry of 99% against the 1% is a veiled reference to American Jews, who constitute less than 2% of the U.S. population. More than a few anti-Semitic signs and demonstrators have been drawn to Zuccotti Park, in Lower Manhattan.

In Israel, author George Gilder points out, Arabs were wealthier on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in the Gaza Strip than any Arabs in the world. This, in territories administered by Jews that had no oil. From 1967, when Israel won the Six-Day War against four Arab enemies, until 1991, when Arafat instigated the first of his intifadas (stone-throwing riots by youths) and initiated suicide bombings as a terror tactic, Arabs working with the Israelis prospered and lived healthier longer lives.

Despite vast oil revenues in much of the Arab world, Gilder notes in his important book, The Israel Test, the Arab peoples who live in these countries are poor. We have only to contrast the vast wealth amassed by the late and unlamented Muammar Gaddafi (estimated at $200 billion) with the wretched state of the average Libyan to see this. This was equally true of Iraq. The Saudi people, while materially better off than many Arabs, nonetheless are denied religious and civil rights. Arab rulers keep their peoples at bay by blaming all their troubles on the Jews, on Israel.

Gilder sees a direct link from attitudes toward Israel, attitudes toward Jewish excellence, and attitudes toward free enterprise itself. Occupy Wall Street today is protesting against income inequality. They have been embraced by President Obama, whose stated goal is to “spread the wealth around.” Asked by an interviewer if he would seek tax increases on the wealthy even if that meant lower tax revenues for the government, Mr. Obama said he would, for the sake of “fairness.”

From each according to his abilities to each according to his need: that’s the standard Marxist formulation. Left unsaid is that it is Mr. Obama and his administration that decide whose needs are met and how much to take from those with abilities.

Gilder challenges us to ask ourselves what we think about excellence—that of Jewish achievers and all those others who excel. Do we resent their achievement? Do we attribute it to some evil conspiracy? Do we want to drag them down? Or do we want to emulate them, study, work hard, invent, create, and share our own ideas?

Gilder writes: “With wealth seen as stolen from the exploited poor, the poor in turn [are given] a license to dispossess and kill their oppressors and to disrupt capitalist economies. This is the foul message of Franz Fanon, Hamas, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and the academic coteries of Chomsky, Zinn, and a thousand Marxist myrmidons across the campuses of the world. But no capitalist system can sustain prosperity amid constant violence. The idea that suicide bombing is a tolerable policy that can be extenuated by alleged grievances is preposterous. It is the violence that makes necessary the police measures that render economic progress impossible, particularly for the groups associated with the attacks. By justifying violent attacks on a civilized democracy -- and then condemning the necessary retaliatory defense -- leftists would allow no solution but tyranny.”

Gilder’s “Israel Test” is not one our Ivy Leaguer president can pass. Of course, Mr. Obama does not support terrorism. But he is giving $500 million this year to the PLO—which has simply deconstructed and re-defined its support for suicide bombers and stone throwers. The president simply shares the worldview of the academy—in which Israel is much to blame for “Mideast turmoil” as her attackers are. He believes that fairness requires redistribution of what he terms “the nation’s wealth.” He sees our Judeo-Christian heritage not as the bedrock of American Exceptionalism, but as merely one part of the broad tapestry of American life.

Barack Obama’s intellectual world is one in which Fanon, Chomsky, Zinn, and those neo-Marxist thinkers hold sway. Only free societies can create enough surplus wealth to support such dissident scholars and their “myrmidons” in the Occupy Wall Street Movement in their midst. But such societies—in the U.S. and Canada, in Western Europe and in Israel--will not survive if they do not understand and protect the very foundations of their own freedom.




There is a site here promoting an "Aftershock Survival Summit" that seems a bit overhyped to me but the present out-of-control Federal spending is certainly a huge threat to America's economic future. That the dire predictions come from an economist with an unusually good track-record of predictions is food for thought.

Norquist: GOP “won’t be fooled” into raising taxes: "As a Congressional 'super committee' tasked with cutting the deficit was on the verge of failure, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist insisted in a series of interviews Monday that it wasn’t his fault. Norquist told CNN’s Carol Costello that Republicans were willing to 'compromise' with Democrats as long as additional tax revenues were off the table. At least 279 Republican members of the current Congress have signed Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes."

Spain: Voters elect conservative in response to debt crisis: "Spanish voters kicked out the Socialist government Sunday in elections seen as a referendum on the handling of the European debt crisis, which has left Spain buckling under soaring unemployment, burgeoning debt and cuts in public benefits. It was the fifth European government -- after Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Italy -- to be brought down in the past year because of the debt crisis and the Socialists' worst result since Spain held its first democratic election in 1977 after a 40-year-long dictatorship."

Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol: "Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed, records show. At least two of the Mexicans carried their assault rifles “at the ready position,” one of several details about the attack showing that Mexican smugglers are becoming more aggressive on the U.S. side of the border. According to the indictment, the Mexicans were “patrolling the area in single-file formation” a dozen miles northwest of the border town of Nogales and — in the darkness of the Arizona night — opened fire on four Border Patrol agents after the agents identified themselves in Spanish as police officers. Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene came from the failed Fast and Furious operation."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


No comments: