Tech at Night

So much going on suddenly this week. Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s DoJ has decided to come after AT&T for its plans to merge with T-Mobile, possibly doing the bidding of donors while hindering jobs growth in America as well as nationwide 4G wireless Internet competition. Sprint’s not doing much to keep Verizon in check; we need AT&T to have the spectrum needed to do that.

So Holder wants to drive Gibson manufacturing out of the US, and to keep T-Mobile in German hands, and prevent AT&T from bringing jobs back to America. Do I have that right? It’s no wonder people rate the Internet and Telephone industries much higher than they rate the government.

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DoJ targets AT&T: The story behind the story [Updated]

On August 31, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens

Updated below…

Today it was announced that the Department of Justice will attempt to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile. The deal is needed for technical and regulatory reasons to allow AT&T to compete in the 4G wireless market with Verizon, Sprint/Clearwire, and with the upcoming competitor LightSquared. So why is the Department of Justice calling it bad for competition?

Enter R. Gerard Salemme. It’s not a well-known name, but it’s been an important one in the Obama administration. It’s also a name that often comes up in the ventures of one Craig McCaw. Craig McCaw is an equal opportunity donor who gives to anyone who looks likely to win, including Gore 2000, Bush 2004, and both sides in 2008.

That $2,300 donation to Obama sure is paying off.

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Tech at Night

As is usual, tonight I’ll give priority to the things we had posted at RedState, and mention those first. Especially My own post on the latest on the California Amazon Tax referendum, and more specifically on the plans of Democrats to nullify the constitutional referendum process, in service of their unconstitutional Internet sales tax. We need to pressure Republicans to vote the right away, at least.

We also have a post by streiff on regulation, and how we need to do something about it. He asks a great question, on the relative levels of oversight the Congress gives to the military and to the post-New Deal alphabet soup: “So why should the commissioning of a lieutenant or the promotion of a mid-grade officer merit positive action on the part of Congress but an EPA regulatory regime that seems focused on making the use of coal illegal allowed with no action?”

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In the big budget deal this year was a provision known as the Amazon Tax or the Internet Sales Tax. Officially it’s an expansion of the Use Tax. Whatever you call it, it’s an unconstitutional* cash grab, attempting to force out-of-state Amazon to pay California sales tax.

The tax has already killed businesses in California that depended on revenue from Amazon and other affiliate program hosts, who were forced to shut out California residents in response to the tax. Even though the tax itself is set to take effect January 1, out of state retailers needed to take action to protect themselves in advance. So as a result, state revenues have been reduced, not raised, by this bill. The already lagging state economy has been worsened.

So a referendum will be put on the ballot by the people, to be voted on by the people, to stop this harmful, illegal tax. It could pass, too. Early polling hasn’t been bad. So the Democrats are going to try passing a new bill, starting in the Senate, to change the tax to make it take effect immediately.

The trick is that by passing the tax as urgent, it will nullify the referendum under the state Constitution. And worse, to get support for this, Democrats have effectively bought off eBay to turn on Amazon, by making tweak to the bill to exempt eBay from having to collect tax. Convenient, huh?

So, California, it’s time to take action and defeat this attempt to nullify the referendum.

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Tech at Night

Hey look, it’s Tech at Night before midnight Pacific time. Guess who’s got two thumbs and is finishing the week early? This guy.

The FCC is creating yet more new regulations. The Obama Administration just can’t get enough of these things. I didn’t know if anyone would have noticed it happen, but The Hill caught it as well.

Meanwhile the FCC slowly moves to increase national 4G competition in America by moving inch by inch toward approving the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, over the continued whining of Al Franken. Franken says he is “very suspicious of consolidation of power.” Yet, he won’t lift a finger against large unions, and he voted for Obamacare. Hmm.

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Tech at Night

Even as the FCC hems and haws about AT&T’s quest for spectrum via T-Mobile, new evidence has come out that we simply need more spectrum for wireless Internet. The overload of the wireless networks in the parts of the east coast the felt the Virginia earthquake says it all.

And remember: new spectrum means new investment to use that spectrum, which means jobs and economic growth.

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Tech at Night

What would be a Monday without Democrats wanting to expand government by passing new laws and regulations? Some people aren’t careful with their things and/or their data, so Chuckie Schumer thinks there oughta be a law. I like CTIA’s response to that:

CTIA understands that when consumers have their mobile devices lost or stolen, it is an unfortunate situation as they often contain a lot of personal information. We urge Congress to not impose unnecessary regulations on the wireless industry that would cause unintended consequences.

To prevent your device from being lost or stolen, we recommend the following tips:

  1. Know and use the security features on your device (e.g. password locks).
  2. Use the personalization feature and put your name and a different phone number (and/or email address) so if someone finds your device, they can contact you to return it.
  3. Download an app that allows you to track and lock your wireless devices remotely.
  4. Keep a back-up of your contacts, calendar, etc somewhere else (e.g. computer).
  5. Never leave your device so that it can be easily picked up and don’t give your device to a person you don’t know.
  6. If you are a person who has a tendency to lose things, you may want to consider mobile device insurance. Make sure you know what the insurance plan does and does not cover.

You can’t legislate good sense.

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Tech at Night

Happy Friday. We’ll start off this edition with Marsha Blackburn’s own post at RedState. There’s a reason I would like to see her rise higher on Energy and Commerce: she knows her stuff and is a fierce proponent of conservative values. I agree with her: government is not the solution to the privacy problem.

I don’t agree with Joe Barton, whose plans for heavy-handed regulation make me glad he didn’t get the chairmanship. “There oughta be a law” is no way for a Member of Congress to think.

As frustrating to me as Barton is Lamar Smith’s plans to push yet another bad Patrick Leahy bill, PROTECT IP, through Judiciary. I’ve covered that bill in this space extensively. We don’t need, and can’t benefit from, a national censorship blacklist online. The guilty won’t be affected much and only the innocent will work. It’s like gun control, up to and including the unconstitutionality.

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Tech at Night

No really, Governor Haslam, you do not want to bring California taxation to Tennessee. Have you seen our unemployment? That’s why we just might defeat it at referendum.

PETA people are hijacking phones, sending malicious messages without consent, and running up text message bills. People need to be careful about what they install, but this sort of thing needs to send people to jail, as well. We don’t need more laws and regulations, we need more enforcement against the bad guys.

How badly do we not need more laws and regulations? Even the Progressive Policy Institute’s Michael Mandel thinks so, calling on the President to lead in the direction of less regulation and pro-growth change.

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Tech at Night

Hello again to those I saw in Charleston over the weekend, and hope to see you next time to those who weren’t able to make it!

While I return to California and get settled in again, it seems that some are leaving the state for good, and the hostile business climate is why. This includes the punitive Amazon Tax which has made it impossible for Amazon and others to host affiliate programs in California, destroying small businesses, slashing profits, and killing jobs. And this is a story we’re seeing again and again, up and down the state. New and higher taxes, even of the unconstitutional variety, kills jobs.

So my message to Tennessee’s Governor Haslam is don’t do it. Don’t be like us. Create a job-friendly environment, or you will only compound whatever revenue problems you have.

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