Rest In Peace, Mr. Spock...
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
From 1978 to 1981, Mr. May served as Assistant General Counsel and Associate General Counsel at the Federal Communication Commission
* * * * * *
This Thursday, Feb. 26, will be a fateful day for the future of the Internet. In the nearly 40 years that I have been involved in communications law and policy, including serving as the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) associate general counsel, this action, without a doubt, is one of the agency's most misguided.
The sad reality is that, without any convincing evidence of market failure and consumer harm, the FCC is poised, on a 3-2 party-line vote, to expand its control over Internet providers in ways that threaten the Internet's future growth and vibrancy.
Here is the nub of the matter: By choosing to regulate Internet providers as old-fashioned public utilities in order to enforce "neutrality" mandates, the commission will discourage private-sector investment and innovation for many years to come, if only as a result of the litigation that will be spawned and the uncertainty that will be created. And the new government mandates inevitably will lead to even more than the usual special interest pleading at the FCC, as Internet companies try to advantage themselves and disadvantage their competitors by seeking favored regulatory treatment.
From all indications, the FCC contemplates that the new rules will be sufficiently burdensome and costly — and sufficiently ambiguous — that affected parties will be invited to seek exemptions from the new mandates through "waiver" requests or other administrative mechanisms.
* THINK OBAMACARE...
* THINK THIRD WORLD "BARTER" ECONOMICS AND CORRUPTION AND THE LAW BEING WHATEVER THE OFFICIAL GETTING PAID OFF SAYS IT IS AT ANY PARTICULAR POINT IN TIME!
But this likely flood of waiver requests should raise serious questions concerning the lawfulness of the agency's mode of operating. As Philip Hamburger discusses in his book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?, one of our Founders' objectives was to control, if not eliminate, what in England was known as the "dispensing" power. Simply put, the dispensing power — which is much discussed in English constitutional history — was a form of exercise of royal prerogative under which the king could excuse himself or his favored subjects from complying with particular laws enacted by Parliament. As Hamburger explains, today's administrative agencies, in essence, have resurrected the dispensing power by the way they so often use waivers to grant favored treatment.
Here is the way Hamburger puts it:
After administrators adopt a burdensome rule, they sometimes write letters to favored persons telling them that, notwithstanding the rule, they need not comply.
* YOU'RE READING THIS - RIGHT, FOLKS...?!?!
In other words, the return of extralegal legislation has been accompanied by the return of the dispensing power, this time under the rubric of 'waivers.'
* AGAIN... THINK OF OBAMACARE...
And then he goes to the heart of the matter:
Like dispensations, waivers go far beyond the usual administrative usurpation of legislative or judicial power, for they do not involve lawmaking or adjudication, let alone executive force. On the contrary, they are a fourth power — one carefully not recognized by the Constitution.
* CAREFULLY... NOT... RECOGNIZED... BY THE CONSTITUTION...!!!
Now, seeking and receiving waivers of FCC rules (regardless of the precise name applied to such administrative dispensations) is an established part of the commission's practice. In some instances, such waivers, in light of unique circumstances or special hardships, are no doubt justified. But I am convinced that under the new Internet regulations about to be adopted by the commission, we are likely to witness the exercise of the agency's dispensing power — this power the Founders wished to eliminate — in ways, and to an extent, that accepted rule of law norms will be called into serious question.
* FOLKS... UNDER OBAMA... THERE REALLY IS NO "RULE OF LAW." NOT IF OBAMA REALLY WANTS SOMETHING...
* AND THIS IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY IS ONLY GOING TO GROW IN POWER - UNDER BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS - IF "WE THE PEOPLE" DON'T SOMEHOW WREST CONTROL OF OUR COUNTRY BACK!
As the agency gains even more control over various participants in the Internet marketplace, pressures will increase for it to use its dispensing power to grant this or that company (or particular market segment) favored treatment. The commission already has announced it will adopt a so-called "good conduct" rule to assess Internet providers' practices. Under such an inherently vague standard, the agency necessarily will be granting dispensations to some firms and not others based on the exercise of discretion untethered to any intelligible standard in any law enacted by Congress.
(*NODDING WHILE BITING MY LOWER LIP*)
I'm gonna post some newsbites. For ME.
While I appreciate the few "fans" I have, in the end I'm either "preaching to the choir" or to "a brick wall."
Ultimately... this blog is nothing more and nothing less than I've always claimed it to be - a record of the decline and fall of America... bit by bit... day by day... year by year.
Anyway... off to "work" I go!
Monday, February 23, 2015
Gordon Crovitz writing in today's WSJ
* * *
Critics of President Obama’s “net neutrality” plan call it ObamaCare for the Internet.
That’s unfair to ObamaCare.
Both ObamaCare and “ObamaNet” submit huge industries to complex regulations. Their supporters say the new rules had to be passed before anyone could read them. But at least ObamaCare claimed it would solve long-standing problems.
ObamaNet promises to fix an Internet that isn’t broken.
The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week.
On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities.
No one, including the bullied FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, thought the agency would go this far.
The big politicization came when President Obama in November demanded that the supposedly independent FCC apply the agency’s most extreme regulation to the Internet.
(A recent page-one Wall Street Journal story headlined “Net Neutrality: How White House Thwarted FCC Chief” documented “an unusual, secretive effort inside the White House . . . acting as a parallel version of the FCC itself.”)
Congress is demanding details of this interference.
* SCREW "DETAILS." STOP IT! CONGRESS MUST STOP OBAMA!
In the early 1980s, a congressional investigation blasted President Reagan for telling his FCC chairman his view of regulations about television reruns. “I believe it is imperative for the integrity of all regulatory processes that the president unequivocally declare that he will express no view in the matter and that he will do nothing to intervene in the work of the FCC,” said Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat.
* FRANKLY I DISAGREE. I HAD NO PROBLEM WITH PRESIDENT REAGAN "SHARING HIS VIEWS" AND I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA DOING LIKEWISE. BUT "SHARING ONE'S VIEWS" IS WHERE IT MUST STOP! ONLY CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO PUT THE INTERNET UNDER REGULATORY REGIME - AND AS FAR AS I'M AWARE THEY HAVEN'T DONE SO!
* NEITHER THE AGENCY NOR THE "CHIEF EXECUTIVE" HAVE THIS UNILATERAL POWER!
Mr. Obama’s role raises legal as well as political questions. Those harmed by the new rules could argue in court that political pressure made the agency’s actions “arbitrary and capricious.”
The more than 300 pages of new regulations are secret...
* THIS IS INSANE...!!! FOLKS... THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE READING...!!! THIS IS INSANE; THIS IS NOT AMERICA...!!!
...but Mr. Wheeler says they will subject the Internet to the key provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, under which the FCC oversaw Ma Bell.
Title II authorizes the commission to decide what “charges” and “practices” are “just and reasonable” — an enormous amount of discretion. Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has found 290 federal appeals court opinions on this section and more than 1,700 FCC administrative interpretations.
Defenders of the Obama plan claim that there will be regulatory “forbearance,” though not from the just-and-reasonable test. They also promise not to regulate prices, a pledge that Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has called “flat-out false.” He added: “The only limit on the FCC’s discretion to regulate rates is its own determination of whether rates are ‘just and reasonable,’ which isn’t much of a restriction at all.”
* FOLKS... THESE IDIOTS ARE GOING TO DESTROY THE INTERNET!
The Supreme Court has ruled that if the FCC applies Title II to the Internet, all uses of telecommunications will have to pass the “just and reasonable” test. Bureaucrats can review the fairness of Google’s search results, Facebook’s news feeds and news sites’ links to one another and to advertisers.
(BlackBerry is already lobbying the FCC to force Apple and Netflix to offer apps for BlackBerry’s unpopular phones.)
Bureaucrats will oversee peering, content-delivery networks and other parts of the interconnected network that enables everything from Netflix and YouTube to security drones and online surgery.
Supporters of ObamaNet describe it as a counter to the broadband duopoly of cable and telecom companies. In reality, it gives duopolists another tool to block competition.
* THAT'S SURE HOW IT SOUNDS TO ME... BUT I'M THROWING IT OUT TO FRIENDS WHO KNOW MORE THAN I DO... WHAT DO YOU FOLKS HAVE TO SAY?
Utility regulations let dominant companies complain that innovations from upstarts fail the “just and reasonable” test — as truly disruptive innovations often do.
AT&T has decades of experience leveraging FCC regulations to stop competition. Last week AT&T announced a high-speed broadband plan that charges an extra $29 a month to people who don’t want to be tracked for online advertising. New competitor Google Fiber can offer low-cost broadband only because it also earns revenues from online advertising. In other words, AT&T has already built a case against Google Fiber that Google’s cross-subsidization from advertising is not “just and reasonable.”
Utility regulation was designed to maintain the status quo - and it succeeds. This is why the railroads, Ma Bell and the local water monopoly were never known for innovation. The Internet was different because its technologies, business models and creativity were permissionless.
This week Mr. Obama’s bureaucrats will give him the regulated Internet he demands.
Sung to the tune of "The Mickey Mouse Club theme:
Who's the Greatest Husband that the world has ever seen,
Billy Barker! Billy Barker! That loving husband who makes his wife beam...
(OK you pervs... YES... "beam"... as in SMILE...)
(Dirty minded little...)
(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)
Anyway... ended the weekend by purchasing The Poops a new jacket... PURPLE... her favorite color... regularly $100 - final markdown... $20.
(Folks... you know my theory on Kohl's, right? It's not really a department store, it's a retail "front" for the drug cartels... they use it to launder money...)
(*GLANCING AT MY WATCH*)
Well... enough chit-chat! On to newsbiting...!!!
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Well, folks... a day late and $150 short... (inside joke; fagetaboutit!)
Listening to Armadillo World Radio...
Had a kick-ass dinner on Friday at Il Capriccio... including a bottle of Ripassa, Superiore Zenato, 2010...
(*LICKING MY LIPS WHILE RUBBING MY BELLY*)
Oh... and as my Facebook "followers" and certain friends already know, the Poops and I have booked our NEXT vacation adventure - Nashville, Memphis, and... one night at an as yet "undiscovered" location.
All in all... a damn good weekend!
Friday, February 20, 2015
Via today's WSJ
* * *
Among recent secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.
* AND I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THIS! INDEED, THIS WAS PART OF HER JOB!
At the same time, those companies were among the many that gave to the Clinton family’s global foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
* WHICH BRINGS US TO THE COMPANIES THAT THEN-SECRETARY CLINTON DIDN'T CHEERLEAD FOR...
* WERE "WINNERS" vs. "LOSERS" DETERMINED BY WHO COUGHED UP WHAT IN BRIB... er... "DONATIONS?"
At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public and foundation disclosures.
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to embark on a race for the presidency, she has a web of connections to big corporations unique in American politics...
...ties forged both as secretary of state and by her family’s charitable interests.
* "CHARITABLE" INTERESTS... OR SELF-INTERESTS?
“To a lot of progressive Democrats, Clinton’s ties to corporate America are disturbing,” says Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College who once worked for congressional Republicans. Mrs. Clinton’s connections to companies, he says, “are a bonanza for opposition researchers because they enable her critics to suggest the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
* I'M NOT CONCERNED WITH "APPEARANCES," I'M CONCERNED WITH REALITY.
The Wall Street Journal identified the companies involved with both Clinton-family charitable endeavors and with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department by examining large corporate donations to the Clinton Foundation, then reviewing lobbying-disclosure reports filed by those companies. At least 44 of those 60 companies also participated in philanthropic projects valued at $3.2 billion that were set up though a wing of the foundation called the Clinton Global Initiative, which coordinates the projects but receives no cash for them.
* NO CASH, PERHAPS... BUT WHAT OF PERKS...??? WHAT OF COMBINING PLEASURE WITH "BUSINESS" AND HAVING THE ENTIRE TAB "TAKEN CARE OF" WITHOUT THE CLINTONS OPENING THEIR WALLETS?
Mrs. Clinton’s connections to the companies don’t end there. As secretary of state, she created 15 public-private partnerships coordinated by the State Department, and at least 25 companies contributed to those partnerships. She also sought corporate donations for another charity she co-founded, a non-profit women’s group called Vital Voices.
* "VITAL VOICES...???" (VITAL VOICES FOR HILLARY CLINTON? VITAL VOICES WITH HILLARY WRITING THE SCRIPT?)
(*SCRATCHING MY HEAD*)
Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman, Nick Merrill, says: “She did the job that every secretary of state is supposed to do and what the American people expect of them — especially during difficult economic times. She proudly and loudly advocated on behalf of American business and took every opportunity she could to promote U.S. commercial interests abroad.”
* REMIND ME... WHAT IS IT THAT THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE IS SUPPOSED TO DO...??? (NEVERMIND...)
Corporate donations to politically connected charities aren’t illegal so long as they aren’t in exchange for favors. There is no evidence of that with the Clinton Foundation.
* JUST LIKE THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE AL CAPONE RAN THE CHICAGO MOB - IN THE END THE FEDS GOT HIM ON TAX EVASION! (AND CERTAINLY NO ONE EXPECTS TODAY'S FEDS TO GO AFTER MADAM CLINTON AS THEY DID AL CAPONE...)
In some cases, donations came after Mrs. Clinton took action that helped a company. In other cases, the donation came first. In some instances, donations came both before and after.
All of the companies mentioned in this article said their charitable donations had nothing to do with their lobbying agendas with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.
* AS OPPOSED TO...??? ("YES! THE DONATIONS WERE BRIBES!")
President Barack Obama’s transition team worried enough about potential problems stemming from Clinton-organization fundraising while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state that it asked Mr. Clinton to quit raising money from foreign governments for the Clinton Global Initiative and to seek approval for paid speaking engagements, which he did. The transition team didn’t put limits on corporate fundraising.
The foundation resumed soliciting foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton left the State Department.
The official name of the foundation was changed to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Mrs. Clinton became a director. All told, the Clinton Foundation and its affiliates have collected donations and pledges from all sources of more than $1.6 billion, according to their tax returns. On Thursday, the foundation said that if Mrs. Clinton runs for president, it would consider whether to continue accepting foreign-government contributions as part of an internal policy review.
* FOLKS... OVER THE YEARS I'VE ADDRESSED THE MALFEASANCE WITHIN THE CLINTON "FOUNDATION." I URGE YOU... GOOGLE... BING... READ THE EXPOSES THAT EVEN THE LIKES OF THE NYT, WASHINGTON POST, AND ABC NEWS HAVE RUN ON THE CLINTON'S "CHARITABLE" EFFORTS AND HOW THEY AND THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY HAVE BEEN PERSONALLY ENRICHED VIA FOUNDATION "WORK."
In her book, “Hard Choices,” Mrs. Clinton said one of her goals at the State Department was “placing economics at the heart of our foreign policy.” She wrote: “It was clearer than ever that America’s economic strength and our global leadership were a package deal.”
Matthew Goodman, a former Clinton State Department official who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, says Mrs. Clinton is the first secretary of state to make economics such a focus since George C. Marshall, who helped rebuild postwar Europe.
* AND AGAIN... NO ONE IS CRITICIZING HER FOR HAVING MADE ECONOMICS A FOCUS! (IT'S THE INTERMINGLING OF WHAT'S BEST FOR "AMERICAN BUSINESS" WITH WHAT'S BEST FOR "THE CLINTON FAMILY BUSINESS" - POLITICS - THAT REASONABLE PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT!)
That approach, which Mrs. Clinton called “economic statecraft,” emerged in discussions with Robert Hormats, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and became an undersecretary of state. “One of the very first items was, how do we strengthen the role of the State Department in economic policy?” he says.
"... who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations..."
* THE OLIGARCHY LIVES, MY FRIENDS!
Early in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, according to Mr. Hormats, Microsoft’s then Chief Research Officer, Craig Mundie, asked the State Department to send a ranking official to a fourth annual meeting of U.S. software executives and Chinese government officials about piracy and Internet freedom. Mr. Hormats joined the December 2009 meeting in Beijing.
Since 2005, Microsoft has given the Clinton Global Initiative $1.3 million, in addition to free software, according to the foundation.
In 2011, Microsoft launched a three-year initiative coordinated by the Clinton Global Initiative to provide free or discounted software and other resources to students and teachers — a commitment Microsoft estimated to be worth $130 million.
* QUESTION: $1.3 MILLION PLUS $130 MILLION EQUALS $131.3 MILLION IN "DONATIONS." WHAT PORTION OF THIS IS A TAX WRITE-OFF FOR MICROSOFT? (JUST CURIOUS...)
Mr. Hormats says there was no relation between Microsoft’s donations and the State Department’s participation in the China conference.
* ONE WOULD THINK MICROSOFT WOULD BE A PERMANENT PARTICIPANT...
(*SCRATCHING MY HEAD*)
In 2012, the Clinton Foundation approached GE about working together to expand a health-access initiative the company had launched four years earlier, says a GE spokeswoman. That same year, Mrs. Clinton lobbied for GE to be selected by the Algerian government to build power plants in that country. She went to Algiers that October and met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. “I saw an opportunity for advancing prosperity in Algeria and seizing an opportunity for American business,” she explained in her book.
A month after Mrs. Clinton’s trip, the Clinton Foundation announced the health-initiative partnership with GE, the company’s first involvement with the foundation. GE eventually contributed between $500,000 and $1 million to the partnership. The following September, GE won the contracts with the Algerian government, saying they marked “some of its largest power agreements in company history.”
Mrs. Clinton championed U.S. energy companies and launched an office to promote overseas projects. Many of those efforts were focused in Eastern and Central Europe, where she saw energy development as a hedge against Russia’s dominance in oil and gas. Companies that had interests in those areas included Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp. One effort, the Global Shale Gas Initiative, promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique perfected by U.S. companies.
In 2010, Mrs. Clinton flew to Krakow to announce a Polish-American cooperation on a global shale-gas initiative, according to her book. At the time, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted abundant deposits of shale gas in Poland.
After pursuing shale-gas projects in Poland, Exxon Mobil gave up a few years later, and Chevron said late last month it would abandon its Poland project.
In 2012, Mrs. Clinton flew to Sofia, Bulgaria, and urged the Bulgarian Parliament to reconsider its moratorium on fracking and its withdrawal of Chevron’s five-year exploration license. A few months later, the government allowed conventional gas exploration, but not fracking. Chevron left Bulgaria in 2012.
Both Exxon and Chevron are supporters of the Clinton Foundation. Chevron donated $250,000 in 2013. A Chevron spokesman said the Clinton charity “is one of many programs and partnerships that the company has had or maintains across a number of issue areas and topics pertinent to our business.”
Exxon Mobil has given about $2 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, starting in 2009. Since 2007, Exxon Mobil also has given $16.8 million to Vital Voices, the non-profit women’s group co-founded by Mrs. Clinton, according to the group’s spokeswoman. An Exxon Mobil spokesman said the donations were made to support work on issues Exxon Mobil has long championed, such as programs to fight malaria and empower women. “That is the sole motivation for our support of charitable programs associated with the Clintons,” he said. “We did not seek or receive any special consideration on the Shale Gas Initiative.”
* AND I SUPPOSE YOUR LOBBYISTS DON'T SEEK ANY SPECIAL CONSIDERATION EITHER...
In October 2009, Mrs. Clinton went to bat for aerospace giant Boeing, which was seeking to sell jets to Russia, by flying to Moscow to visit the Boeing Design Center. “I made the case that Boeing’s jets set the global gold standard, and, after I left, our embassy kept at it,” she wrote in her book.
About seven months later, in June 2010, Russia agreed to purchase 50 Boeing 737s for $3.7 billion, choosing Boeing over Europe’s Airbus Group NV.
Two months later, Boeing made its first donation to the Clinton Foundation — $900,000 to help rebuild Haiti’s public-education system.
* AND BY THE WAY... HOW'S THAT BEEN GOING...? (WHERE DID ALL THAT MONEY GO...???)