The Crazy Write Winger

 
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

If Republicans Lose Control in November



..it's because they've lost their freaking minds lately.

The FBI raided the house of Democrat Representative William Jefferson (La.) recently, discovering something like $90,000 hidden in his freezer.

With all the nonsense charges leveled at Republicans lately, you'd think Congressional Republicans would jump on this as evidence of the Democrat "culture of corruption." But nooooooo...

Instead, Congressional Republicans, up to and including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), are complaining about "separation of powers" and demanding the FBI return the documents found. Excuse me? There's far more evidence of wrongdoing here than there ever was during the DeLay fiasco. Republicans need to be calling for Jefferson's head on a platter and trumpeting his corruption loud and long, just like Democrats did to any number of Republicans. Republican voters are tired of listening to Democrat scandal-mongering, mudslinging and guilt-by-accusation against Republicans while sleazy Democrats involved in the same perfidiousness skate by without a peep from anyone. But when a Democrat hands them an ethics violation gift-wrapped on a silver platter, they act like THEY are the ones who have something to hide.

Demanding to be treated as if they are above the law is no way to win votes this November. By whining and moaning over "separation of powers," they're doing just that.

Friday, May 12, 2006

 

Supreme Court: It's Legal



There's been much ballyhooing over the USA Today story about phone companies turning over phone records to the NSA. They didn't turn over actual conversations (which the phone companies don't have anyway) but rather lists of what numbers were called. Predictably, Democrats and liberals are calling it illegal.

It isn't. The U.S. Supreme Court said in Smith v Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979):

[W]e doubt that people in general entertain any actual expectation of privacy in the numbers they dial. All telephone users realize that they must convey phone numbers to the telephone company, since it is through telephone company switching equipment that their calls are completed. All subscribers realize, moreover, that the phone company has facilities for making permanent records of the numbers they dial, for they see a list of their long-distance (toll) calls on their monthly bills. . . .


[E]ven if [a caller] did harbor some subjective expectation that the phone numbers he dialed would remain private, this expectation is not one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. . . . This Court consistently has held that a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties. . . . [W]hen [a caller] used his phone, [he] voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the telephone company and exposed that information to its equipment in the ordinary course of business. In so doing, [the caller] assumed the risk that the company would reveal to police the numbers he dialed.



It's legal. The Supreme Court said so. Time for Democrats and the media to tell the truth.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Net neutrality



I have to open this post with a disclaimer: I'm immediately suspicious of anything MoveOn.org supports.

MoveOn.org is one member of an admittedly odd coalition of advocates of what is known as "Net Neutrality" legislation. In a nutshell,they don't want ISPs to charge certain customers more because they use more bandwith. Neutrality proponents have mangled this into the accusation that service providers such as Verizon and/or Comcast will charge certain content providers a higher rate to ensure their data goes through faster, and degrade the service of competitors who don't pony up.

So for instance, they say that Verizon might enter a deal with Amazon.com to direct users to the Amazon website while simultaneously making certain rival Barnes & Noble doesn't load as fast, or may not load properly.

This is a business model already in place on the internet with no ill effects. On eBay, you can purchase various "upgrades" to your listing to make it look better and hopefully attract more customers. Most search engines have "sponsored links" which always appear at the top of the search page because the owner of that link paid for the service. Under "Net Neutrality" rules, such arrangements could be eliminated, thus denying the service providers a source of revenue. The providers would have to charge EVERYONE more for their services or simply not provide the service at all, nor would they have as much revenue to spend on developing new services.

To claim that ISPs will try and restrict content from competitors as a business model is absurd. It opens the door for acompetitor to advertise UNRESTRICTED access as a feature of their service, giving them a competitive advantage. So, if Verizon starts limiting content from competitors, then were I a service provider, I would offer unrestricted access for a similar price in order to lure users away. Verizon would be stupid to continue to limit content as a result. Thus, claims that service providers would block or limit competitors' content are unfounded.

Such a scenario already played itself out in the early days of the Web. On-line access and content was gained through companies such as Compuserve, Genie, Prodigy and others. In many cases, consumers paid per-minute for access and were restricted to the content provided by that carrier. Internet access was often an additional surcharge. Then providers started offering flat-rate,unlimited Internet and access and consumers flocked to it in droves, giving us the business model in place today without a single bit of government intervention.

There are also some beneficial effects of non-neutrality. Suppose someone wants to create a family- or kid-friendly ISP with access to certain things restricted? Parents might enjoy such a service as a way to let their kids surf the Web without having to constantly watch over their shoulders. Impossible under "net neutral" standards. Maybe an ISP could create a high-speed,entertainment-only ISP which only allows access to games and music for a reduced rate from full-access Internet?

In fact, netizens seem to have no problem with paying more for better, higher-quality data connections - something which Net Neutrality propponents say is a Bad Thing. You pay more for DSL or Cable internet access than dial-up, don't you? Why? Because it's better and faster. Net neutrality could eliminate this with the net effect of raising everyone's prices. If an ISP can't charge more money for a service requiring more bandwidth (which is exactly whatthe business opponents of Neutrality are saying they need to do), then they have to recoup the cost somehow by charging everybody the same rate fo rthe same service whether you need it or not. You will no longer be able to buy a lower-cost service with lower bandwidth and lower quality because that's all you need. You'll be forced into the high-cost, one-size-fits-all, "net neutral" service that subsidizes high-bandwidth users at your expense. This illustrates the difference between service and content.

In fact, during the late 90s, telefcoms were forced to open their networks to competitors' services at regulated prices. The idea was that the competing services, known as CLECs, would eventually build their own physical networks and become true competitors to the existing providers, called ILECs. This was called the "stepping stone theory."It was supposed to lead to increased competition and lower prices. Quite the opposite happened. Competition stalled and investment in telecomm companies faltered.

Then in 2003, telcos were finally released from the requirement to share their lines with competitors at regulated prices. Dire predictions of monopolies, less choice, limited content and higher prices for high-speed internet access abounded(sound familiar?). At the time, the mean price of DSL was over forty dollars a month, actually higher than faster cable internet access.

It is a matter of history that prices for DSL have dropped dramatically. It is possible to get DSL for under twenty dollars per month these days. Permitting telcos to charge competitors for use of their lines is no barrier to competition.

Proponents of "net neutrality" have engaged in little more than scare tactics and misrepresentation to advance their agenda, oddly one of attempting deregulation by regulation. The government needs to leave the internet alone.If people want to "save the internet," they should quit writing congressmen or signing internet petitions and start talking to their ISPs about what kind of services they will and won't pay for.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Here We Go Again...


Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster a judicial nomination.

It's time to nuke this ridiculous abuse of the filibsuter.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Iraq: The New Balkans



Senator Joe Biden thinks Iraq should be divided up into ethnic conclaves vis-a-vis Bosnia as a method of ending the violence and bringing the troops home.

"It is premised on the proposition that the only way to hold Iraq together, and to create the conditions for our troops to responsibly withdraw, is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds room to breathe in their own regions," he said.


What was it Santayana said? "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Various "partitioning" attempts throughout history: the Midle East, Germany after WWII and, by the way, the breakup of Czechoslovakia, have all resulted in abject failure as people who wound up on the wrong side of some politician's line either wanted to move to the other side of the line or tried to impose their will on the people living on the other side - sometimes both at once.

I'll Never Understand Advertising



Maybe I'm just getting old, but advertising is making less and less sense to me. There's a billboard near where I live that Abercrombie & Fitch uses for advertising. A&F, as I understand it, is a clothing store for the under-30 crowd. Funny thing is, I have yet to see any clothes on their billboard. That tells me they're either so ashamed of their product they don't want anyone seeing it, or else they think their clothes are so good you wouldn't want to ruin them by doing something as stupid as actually putting them on your body.

Say That Again, Harry?



Despite reports that the Social Security Trust fund is in even worse shape than first thought, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) seems to have found his rose-colored glasses:

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come. The real threat to Social Security comes from Republicans, most of whom support and voted for privatizing Social Security," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.


US Medicare fund 12 years from running out. - Reuters UK

Monday, May 01, 2006

 

After a too-long hiatus...



The Crazy Write Winger is planning to open up shop again.

Stay tuned, sports fans...

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

 

Much Ado About Nothing



To hear the media tell it, you'd think Valerie Plame was a deep-cover, 007-style CIA agent, in danger of life and limb every moment, traveling the globe to make the world safe for Mom, apple pie, and the American way until she was "outted" by poltical thugs working at the White House.

All this over a couple sentences in a syndicated opinion piece by Robert Novak entitled, "Mission to Niger":

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report.


Liberals have glommed onto this as "proof" that senior White House officials exposed Plame as a "covert CIA agent," jeopardized hundreds of lives and effectively ended her career. Horsepuckey. Anyone who has lived for any length of time in the D.C Metro area knows you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who works for some hush-hush government agency. I myself have held the resume of a man who was at one time an Assistant Director of Operations for Army Intelligence in what was then East Germany. The identification of Ms. Plame as an employee of the CIA is about as detrimental to national security or her career as it was for Sean Connery to play James Bond in the movies.

Liberals are all in a tizzy over the supposed disclosure of Ms. Plame's employer, yet seem to forget Mr. Novak is a syndicated columnist. His column ran without a problem in July in many of the same newspapers now harrumphing over this "security breach." Aren't those newspapers at least complicit in the crime if one were committed?

The real story here is Joseph Wilson and his left-wing liberal leanings. A former Clinton administration official, it was his wife, Ms. Plame, who suggested he be sent by the CIA to track down rumors of attempts by Iraq to purchase nuclear material from Niger. Mr. Novak's column, as well as one run three days prior in NRO by Clifford May, both questioned why such a liberal extremist was given the assignment. In fact, Mr. May admits in his piece that he, too, was aware of Ms. Plame's employer:

On July 11, I wrote a piece for NRO arguing that Mr. Wilson had no basis for that conclusion - and that his political leanings and associations (not disclosed by the Times and others journalists interviewing him) cast serious doubt on his objectivity.

On July 14, Robert Novak wrote a column in the Post and other newspapers naming Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.

That wasn't news to me. I had been told that - but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhanded manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of.


The righteous indigation of Wilson and liberals is merely an attempt to deflect any in-depth analysis of his political biases and incompetence in his supposed investigation in Niger. If Mr. Wilson wants to assign blame for the "outing" of his wife, he should begin with himself. Bob Novak's piece was published on July 14. On July 6, Wilson wrote an op-ed for the New York Times naming himself as the one who investigated the supposed Niger connection in February 2002 and found it wanting. Had he not engaged in his own spiteful pettiness, Novak would never have written his piece in the Sun-Times. Wilson himself outted his own actions, causing many to wonder and investigate why such a political hack woul get such a sensitive assignment. It only makes sense that when his credibility began to unravel that aspersions and accusations of wrongdoing must be leveled at the messenger and the White House in an attempt to deflect serious scrutiny of Wilson's own record of incometence and political left-leaning.

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come.."

-? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) upon hearing reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will go bankrupt even earlier than predicted.

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