Patterico's Pontifications

11/20/2014

Emperor Obama Amnesty Lies Open Thread

Filed under: General — JD @ 5:06 pm

[guest post by JD]

I listened for 2 minutes. Then barfed.

Discuss

—JD

“Net Communism” — A “Net Neutrality” Rant

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

It seems to me that the Net Neutrality proponents are trying to repeal the laws of supply and demand through legislation. Such efforts always end badly. We should re-label the effort “Net Communism.” Let me explain.

The Internet promotes this illusion of a Shangri-La world of unlimited access to unlimited data for free. Of course, we all realize (if we think about it) that this isn’t quite the case. You have to pay at both ends of Al Gore’s information superhighway.

On the receiving end, whether you access the Internet through your phone or your computer, you typically have to pay an ISP for access. You could go to a Starbucks and grab their free WiFi, but somebody has to pay for that access (hint: it’s Starbucks). They pay for it, and provide it to you for free, to lure you there and sell you overpriced coffee-style drinks and pastries. But someone has to pay.

On the serving end, you must pay as well. As you have probably noticed (since you’re here) I have a Web site. I pay to maintain the URL, and I pay hosting fees to a company that hosts the site on a server. Because I don’t pay thousands of dollars every month, the server capacity I can purchase is limited. I share a server with several other sites that also typically do not need a dedicated, gold-plated server. This arrangement typically suits my needs, but the site is not necessarily able to sustain a link from Matt Drudge. (I have found this out before.)

If I am dissatisfied with this state of affairs, and wish to have a site that can easily withstand a Drudge link, I will have to pay more. There is good reason for this: bandwidth, like most resources, is scarce. If a Drudge link hits my site while my site is on a shared server, it slows down traffic for all the other sites. If I pay more money to the hosting company, they can now afford to invest in capital (a new server) that can help them better satisfy my needs. If I don’t pay them more money, they are typically going to choke off some of my traffic, to ensure that all the other sites don’t go down.

But what if I could somehow convince the government to order the ISP to treat my Web site “equally” — even though I don’t pay more? Then, instead of having an incentive to increase capacity (you pay us more and we’ll give you more bandwidth), the hosting company would have no choice but to allow that Drudge link to pound the shared server, melting every site on it.

That’s because the government’s order to the hosting company would be a price control. In effect, the government would be ordering the hosting company to provide $10,000 a month worth of access for $80.

And what happens when price controls are instituted? If you answered: “shortages” you get the gold star.

Without the ability to charge higher hosting fees, our hosting company has no incentive to produce more bandwidth, and the Internet will slow to a crawl for any company (or other Web site) on that server.

Then, if history holds, all the Web sites on that server harmed by the government’s actions would . . . complain to the government, which would announce New Regulations to Solve the Problem.

My understanding of Net Neutrality, and you can correct me if I am wrong, is that ISPs would be disabled from doing exactly what the hosting companies are doing in my example. You have these companies like Google (which owns YouTube) or Netflix, which are cramming the tubes of the Internet with their bandwidth-hogging video content. But they don’t want to pay the ISPs the necessary fees to make sure their massive amounts of content get delivered. They want to have the government regulate the tubes, and tell the ISPs “you have to treat us equally, even though we are overwhelming your bandwidth.”

If Google and Netflix had to pay the ISPs fees that correspond to the degree that they are flooding the tubes with their high-bandwidth content, that would provide an incentive to the ISPs to provide more bandwidth. If these companies don’t pay extra . . .

. . . well, someone is still going to have to pay. Either this situation is going to result in 1) higher fees by users to access the Internet, or 2) less bandwidth, and slower service to everybody. If we’re lucky, maybe both!

And then, we will need to complain to the government, which will then announce a new round of regulations to address the problem.

And, if history holds, you’re gonna love those regulations. Mr. Glenn Reynolds, we have determined your Web site is too popular. In the interest of fairness, we need to make sure that these statist leftist bloggers over here will have the same “access” to the Internet that your site does — meaning we are going to order the ISPs to open up the pipes for those lefties, or subsidize their content, all in the interest of “fairness.”

The world has tried a system where government claimed to make everyone equal, and removed all market incentives in the process. It was called “communism,” and it failed. Communism created a political elite that was better off than the rabble, and a miserable rabble that suffered from socialism’s basic inability to calculate profit and loss and thus properly allocate resources. Black markets sprang up everywhere, but it wasn’t enough to alleviate the suffering, and the system collapsed — but not before millions died in the name of dictators like Stalin who claimed to pursue “equality.”

TANSTAAFL. (Google it, while you still can.)

To me, “Net Neutrality” is really “Net Communism.” I plan to start using that term to describe it, and I encourage readers to do the same.

11/19/2014

Jake Tapper: An Actual Reporter Explains Grubergate Effectively (Video)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:04 pm

What’s this? He actually thinks it’s a real story, explains why effectively, doesn’t pull any punches — yet is not a GOP shill? Just an honest reporter?

What??

Jake Tapper deserves our thanks.

UPDATE: Interesting that Tapper uses the term “ObamaCare” in the video (three times, by my count). Remember when he banned the term from his blog?

Bill Cosby Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

Open thread because I really haven’t followed this story, being too busy at work — but I sense it’s a Big Deal and that people may want to talk about it.

That said, the whole thing makes me sad. It certainly does not sound good at all. Sometimes you have a mental picture of who a person is, and then you find out they aren’t that person. That is often a sad experience. But I don’t want to make assumptions.

Obama To Give Prime Time Address On Topic That Ranks Around 8th In Importance To Electorate.

Filed under: General — JD @ 1:12 pm

[guest post by JD]

The lesson from yet another electoral shellacking? Run even further left. Obama had a chance to do this when the Dems controlled all of DC, but lying about healthcare was a more pressing priority. Now, in a lame duck session 6 years into his failed Presidency, now it is urgent?

At the very least, this will distract from the upcoming riots in Ferguson, and the ongoing revelations of their perfidy on ObamaCare.

He really is a noxious small man.

—-JD

ObamaCare Shilling: L.A. Times Describes Near-Doubling in Premiums as “Fairly Stable”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

The L.A. Times recently ran a Page One above-the-fold piece that claimed:

In California’s marketplace, rates have remained fairly stable for the second year. The average rate increase statewide is 4.2%, according to the exchange. Some people will pay more — 13% of exchange customers face an increase of 8% or more.

The notion that health care rates have “remained fairly stable” for the last two years would probably come as a surprise to the people at the L.A. Times who published this story on July 29: Health premiums soared, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says.

The cost of health insurance for individuals skyrocketed this year in California, with some paying almost twice what they did last year, the state’s insurance commissioner said.

Mmmm . . . skyrocketing costs? Almost double for some? Can’t you just smell the stability?

At a news conference Tuesday, Jones said individuals this year paid between 22% and 88% more for individual health insurance policies than they did last year, depending on age, gender, type of policy and where they lived.

The increases did not affect poor people, whose policies are heavily subsidized, Jones said. The study results released Tuesday did not include group policies such as those offered by employers.

Nothing says “stable prices” like a one-year increase of 22% to 88%.

Do these people even read their own newspaper?

Thanks to Gary H.

11/18/2014

All of #GruberGate in Two Minutes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Gruber seems a bit chipper in the clips, doesn’t he? Maybe it’s the happiness that comes from finally being able to reveal to the world just how clever and smart one really is.

–Dana

Dems’ War On Jobs Continues Apace – Keystone Vote Fails 59-41

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by JD]

The Hail Mary pass for Sen Landrieu fails as the Dems express the bought and paid for solidarity with Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett’s billions.

Discuss.

—-JD

Washington Post Warns of a President Cruz Empowered with Obama-Like Kingly Powers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am

It’s amusing that they’re using the specter of an UNTRAMMELED TED CRUZ! as a scare tactic — but if that’s what it takes to get through to Democrats, so be it:

DEMOCRATS URGING President Obama to “go big” in his executive order on immigration might pause to consider the following scenario:

It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a “broken” health system.

That is not a perfect analogy to Mr. Obama’s proposed action on immigration. But it captures the unilateral spirit that Mr. Obama seems to have embraced since Republicans swept to victory in the midterm elections. He is vowing to go it alone on immigration. On Iran, he is reportedly designing an agreement that he need not bring to Congress. He already has gone that route on climate change with China.

I don’t agree with everything in the editorial, but it’s refreshing to see a Big Media mouthpiece come out and actually point to the damage Obama is about to do to the separation of powers. It’s also nice to see them quote Obama from the past saying he can’t do this:

Three years ago, when advocacy groups pressed him to take such a step, Mr. Obama demurred. “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting,” he said. “Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

True enough. Good on the Post for noting it.

Thanks to Ed Morrissey.

P.S. The polls are ever-so-slightly against Obama taking this breathtakingly unconstitutional action: 46-42. Yes, fully 42% of those surveyed say: make up your own law, Obama, because who needs Congress? That is a testament to Big Media silence on the sweeping implications of this action, and a further indication that the WaPo editorial is a small but critical corrective to the general lack of focus by Big Media on this issue.

Patterico “Evolves” on the Judicial Filibuster

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
– Rush, “Freewill”

It is always amusing to watch people cynically change their views on the filibuster. We saw an example of that recently with the New Republic, which ran a gazillion pieces decrying the filibuster and praising the nuclear option — right up until the last election, at which point they displayed a Strange New Respect for the filibuster.

But people’s views can indeed honestly evolve, and I think it might be useful to disclose one way in which my own views have evolved — and to announce it at a time (now) when it doesn’t help my side ideologically in any way. Indeed, it could hurt it.

So, apropos of nothing, let me summarize the change in my opinion, which has to do specifically with judicial filibusters, and not filibusters generally.

OLD POSITION: The judicial filibuster is constitutionally infirm because the “advice and consent” clause requires an up or down vote for any nominee. The “nuclear option” is constitutionally required for votes on judicial nominees.

NEW POSITION: The Senate has the right to set its own rules. A majority of Senators has the power to do anything it wants, including honor filibusters, reject filibusters, or change filibuster rules. Thus, the “nuclear option” is not constitutionally required for votes on judicial nominees, but it is always available to a majority.

As you can see:

1) This has nothing to do with the traditional filibuster.

My view on that has never changed: if the Senate wants to use the traditional filibuster, it can. My view on the judicial filibuster is now in line with my long-held view on the filibuster generally.

2) The only difference is that now I don’t think the nuclear option for judicial nominees is constitutionally required.

Ideologically, this should make no difference at a time like now, when the party most in line with my views is about to control the Senate with fewer than 60 votes, at a time when the opposing party controls the Presidency. The only way it could make a difference is in this incredibly unrealistic scenario: Obama nominates someone so awesome from our perspective that a majority of the GOP wants to push the nomination through, but the Democrat minority wants to filibuster the nomination. In that unthinkable scenario, I could not (consistent with my new position) advocate that the nuclear option was constitutionally required, but merely available to the majority.

So you see, I am actually changing my mind for principled reasons: namely, I have thought about it more. Let me explain.

When I previously advocated that the nuclear option was constitutionally required, it was because I believed that the “advice and consent” clause required an up-or-down vote from the whole Senate. Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, there was always a voice whispering: doesn’t the Senate have the right to set its own rules? Usually, I think, I would discount that by pointing out (correctly) that the current Senate is not bound by rules that it did not adopt.

And I still believe that. The main difference in my thinking, and it is a subtle one, is that a majority of Senators may behave as if they are bound by those rules.

In my view, the majority can do whatever it wants, but is not required to. The majority is not bound by any tradition of filibusters, which tradition is inconsistent in any event. Nor can a majority be bound by rules that say they need a supermajority to change the rules. However, a majority can choose to behave as if they are bound by these traditions, if they choose to do so for institutional reasons.

As the quote that opens this post implies, even if a majority of Senators chooses not to decide — i.e. chooses to allow a filibuster to go forward — they still have made that choice. And as long as they recognize that they have the power to change it, they may, for institutional reasons, choose not to exercise it.

This is going to come up again, and there will probably be times that my position slightly hurts me ideologically, and other times when it helps me a little. I figured I would say it now, when it doesn’t matter, so I wouldn’t be like those New Republic hypocrites.

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