Tech at Night

Why the Marketplace Fairness Act is looking inevitable: We’re up to about a third of all GOP governors backing it, and there’s a reasonable probability of a former GOP governor becoming President with an all Republican Congress.

Broadening the tax base without actually raising taxes. It’s the Holy Grail for a conservative governor. I expect it’ll get done in 2013.

Riddle me this: If the US government perpetrated Stuxnet and its successor, why do the attacks justify US government action domestically?

If we don’t fix the spectrum crunch, we won’t like the consequences. And that’s why we need government out of the way of the secondary spectrum market, starting with Verizon/Comcast.

Guess what: Internet bill of rights only if it’s like the original and is only a list of restrictions on the Congress.

Tech at Night

I’m seeing some real panicked shouting online about CISPA, a new bill that some are calling “the new SOPA.” It’s absurd. The bill may not be perfect. It could have flaws. But the argument being hammered against CISPA again and again is that it may be used against copyright infringers who abuse networks. So? The only reason to oppose that is if you wish to destroy copyright property rights entirely, as the radicals do.

I warned about this way back during the SOPA debate. I predicted that the left side of the anti-SOPA coalition would try to hijack the movement into a general one against copyright, as the anarchists over there tend to do, and the shrieking over CISPA is proving me right. CISPA is not a bundle of mandates. It is an avenue to information sharing. Note that everything in CISPA is “totally voluntary,” per The Hill.

If someone and disprove that, and point to one or more mandates in CISPA, I’d like to know. Until then, the burden of proof is on the radicals to prove they’re not really out to protect Anontards and copyright infringers.

For now, it’s looking like CISPA is a solid response to The plans by the President and Democrats to expand government online, by regulating the Internet. Double regulating in fact, as every ‘critical’ industry is already regulated. So this whole “critical infrastructure” thing is more pretext than anything

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Tech at Night

The FCC may yet get what’s coming to it. It’s been going out of its way to get headlines as it tries to pick winners and losers in industry, but now the attention is coming from the House as the Appropriations Committee will discuss the FCC’s budget. Prepare for hysterical shouting on the order of the SimCity 2000 Transportation advisor if the Republicans threaten to cut funding.

Also, we’re back to discussing the Marketplace Fairness Act. As we’ve discussed before, this is a bill that would give Congressional approval to an interstate compact between the states to collect sales tax across state lines, requires member states to harmonize their tax rules to fit in with the interstate system. The bill is gaining Congressional support this time around. In theory I’m fine with this. It’s Constitutional and it’s reasonable. I disagree with’s complaints of complexity, because the compact imposes restrictions on the way the states can tax items, and also creates mechanisms to ease collection of the taxes.

All I would ask is that we get some safeguards in that make it impossible to include any sort of national sales tax in the system. We don’t want Canada-style taxation through the back door.

Also, Tech at Night is sending a raspberry to Rick Santorum for his Internet censorship plans. Are there legitimate social reasons to restrict pornography? Yes, just like there are legitimate social reasons to restrict alcohol. But regulating vice is not a Constitutional role of the national government. Keep it local, I say. If we can have dry counties then we can have clean counties. But the last thing we want is to empower the next Eric Holder to regulate Internet content, thank you very much.

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Tech at Night

Good news? I had a great Pastrami Burger tonight from a place called The Hat. Seriously: the pastrami itself is great, and I’ll probably go for the Pastrami Dip next time. Bad news? It was a busy evening and now I’m tired. The good news that wins out? Not much to cover tonight, so let’s go.

In France it’s illegal to give away free maps. Yes, Google is reportedly having to pay €500,000 because a French cartographer didn’t like the competition. Insane.

Reminds me of one of the times Rick Santorum made a point to stand up for big government: when he tried to get government out of the business of providing “free” taxpayer-funded competition to private weather services.

Of course, Google’s free services are under fire in the US, too, so we can’t get too smug yet.

The push for a sales tax compact marches on. I still say it needs more safeguards against ever-higher taxes, double taxes, a national sales tax, and other forms of expansion.

And yes, Republican FCC reform plans are pro-growth by checking the runaway FCC.

Tech at Night: SOPA day wrap-up, and the next fight: taxes

On January 18, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So, Erick Erickson decided to make a big push against SOPA today, again bringing out the primary threat card. I also had a post on SOPA and PROTECT IP today.

We were heard. On the House side, Speaker John Boehner echoed Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and said the committee needs to find consensus before the bill can get a vote. And again, conservatives like Darrell Issa, Justin Amash, and Jason Chaffetz aren’t going to lie down and quit. So as long as Boehner and Cantor are true to their words, SOPA is dead in the House this Congress.

On the Senate side, of the 16 Republicans co-sponsoring PROTECT IP, I’ve received word of six of them changing their minds. Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and Marco Rubio are dropping their support. Moe was keeping track, but I think Ayotte flipped after the posted.

The threat of electoral consequences is all a politician will listen to. Democrats know that the online left won’t lift a finger, so Democrats are still backing SOPA and PROTECT IP, much to Markos Moulitsas’s disappointment. We stood on principle, while Daily Kos just whined. We got results, he got blown off.

Erick even tried to make this a bipartisan thing, where both sides would primary the SOPA and PROTECT IP supporters, but he got crickets.

Lamar Smith remains primary target number one though, as he does his best impression of the Saddam Hussein Ministry of Propaganda. The Allies are not in Iraq! SOPA is still in control of the country! It’s all lies! Also, Lamar Smith is himself an E-PARASITE. Will he resign and report to prison?

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Tech at Night

Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is using his committee to further his bill, SOPA. SOPA is very bad. It threatens due process and prior restraint of speech as it censors the Internet, and risks putting Internet-based business out of business.

Darrell Issa is leading House efforts to oppose SOPA. He’s on the Judiciary Committee, but he’s not in charge. However he does head the Oversight Committee. So guess what? Oversight is looking into the effects of DNS filtering, which is one of the more egregious provisions of SOPA. Nice play, Mr. Issa.

I love it when a conservative gets clever, because I hate that Republicans are looking to give more tools to the already out of control Obama regulators.

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Tech at Night

Internet access is not a human right. It’s not me saying that, either. It’s Vint Cerf, Google’s Internet Evangelist.

ESA May be backing SOPA, but we’re seeing developers themselves such as Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios come out against it. But support for the OPEN Act is growing, as it protects American rights without trying to censor the Internet or impose destructive burdens on Americans online.

Defeat SOPA. Pass OPEN. Everyone wins. Even if the RIAA and MPAA think they’d benefit from government picking winners and losers.

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Tech at Night

Top story is easy to pick tonight. The legislation that’s been known in the Senate as PROTECT IP, the Internet censorship blacklist bill that promises to make a huge power grab online, Communist China-style, has come to the House. They’re calling it by two different names: E-PARASITES and Stopping Online Privacy Act, but by either name it’s just as bad.

Even as the current laws do work, this bill expands government, and puts the government’s thumb firmly on one side of the scales balanced by the DMCA. Current law attempts to provide a balance between the rights of all of us online, and the rights of copyright holders accusing others of infringement. PROTECT IP/E-PARASITES/SOPA would give copyright holders private nuclear options to knock sites offline, and government would enforce it.

No, really, how bad is it? It threatens, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, three critical tools used by conservatives and Republicans against this administration, and this House bill would arm this administration against them. It’s insane. It’s just so poorly thought out. PROTECT IP also removes safe harbor concepts critical to the DMCA that gave ISPs reason to be fair to the little guy when pounded on by the big guy. No more, should this pass.

PROTECT IP. SOFA. E-PARASITES. I don’t care what you call it, creating national censorship blacklists to be enforced by law by all ISPs is just a terrible idea. Censorship by its very nature hinders public oversight of that censorship. In fact, some of the first things they censored in Australia’s version were lists of things censored, which meant when the censorship expanded to other topics, any discussion of that was threatened with legal action.

Kill this bill.

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Herman Cain: Read His Lips

On October 16, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens

I made another video.

Tagged with:
Tech at Night

Friday has come and gone at last, and in fact we’re well into Saturday now unfortunately, due to my needing to have covered so much this time.

Additionally, at long last it looks like the ongoing saga of California vs Amazon is coming to an end. Amazon had already floated the idea of compromise with the Democrats on their unconstitutional plan to try to bully Amazon with respect to California’s high sales tax rates.

But now it looks like the firm got cold feet. Having already put itself on the line with a plan to lobby for a national law on the matter, with a promise to pay the tax if now law is passed in two years, they caved and cut the “safe harbor” down to one year. As you might guess from how I said that, I disagree that Amazon was wrong to play hardball. I think Amazon was wrong to give in after playing hardball, because if things go wrong they risk victor’s justice.

Joe Mathews says Amazon has given an example of “how not to do business in California.” At this point, I don’t see why anyone should do business in California, with all the corruption and corporatist socialism going on in this one great state.

This matters if you don’t live in California, by the way, because of the next steps.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.