Patterico's Pontifications

4/9/2015

Reason.com: “‘Net neutrality’ sounds like a good idea. It isn’t.”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:58 pm

This article at Reason.com about Net Neutrality is probably the best article I have ever read on the subject. I can’t sum it all up, and I urge you to read it all — but here is a nice excerpt describing part of the problem:

[E]ven without government’s guiding hand, neutrality has long been an organizing principle of the Net. The engineers who first started connecting computers to one another decades ago embraced as a first-cut rule for directing Internet traffic the “end-to-end principle”-a component of network architecture design holding that the network itself should interfere as little as possible with traffic flowing from one end-user to another. Yet the idea that this network “intelligence” should reside only at the ends of the network, has never been—and could never be—an absolute. Effective network management has always required prominent exceptions to the end-to-end principle.

Not all bits are created equal, as the designers of those first Internet software protocols recognized. Some bits are more time-sensitive than others. Some bits need to arrive at their destination in sequence, while others can turn up in any order. For instance, live streaming video, interactive gaming, and VoIP calls won’t work if the data arrive out of order or with too much delay between data packets. But email, software updates, and even downloaded videos don’t require such preferential treatment-they work as long as all the bits eventually end up where they’re supposed to go.

Anticipating the needs of future real-time applications, early Internet engineers developed differentiated services (“DiffServ”) and integrated services (“IntServ”) protocols, which have discriminated among types of Internet traffic for decades. The effect on less time-sensitive applications has gone virtually unnoticed. Does anyone really care if their email shows up a few milliseconds “late”?

But these are engineering prioritizations, and they come without an associated price mechanism. As a result, there’s little incentive for anyone to mark these packets accurately: In the face of network congestion, everyone wants the highest priority as long as it’s free.

Here, as throughout the economy, prices would make everyone reveal the value they place on a transaction, thereby allocating scarce resources efficiently. An Internet characterized by business prioritization, offering fast and slow lanes for purchase by end-users or content providers, could make all applications work better, significantly increasing consumer satisfaction while also promoting broadband adoption and deployment.

Wait, what? A price mechanism might allocate resources in the most efficient manner? Tell that to Chief Central Water Controller Jerry Brown! (But that’s another post, one I’m probably too weary to write. Anyway, the people at IBD.com already wrote everything I wanted to say about California water restrictions anyway.) Back to the Reason.com Net Neutrality article, the authors make the point that, if there is lack of competition, the problem (as usual) is government:

In fact, the real competitive constraints are usually imposed by local government franchise regulations, including the imposition of substantial build-out requirements and restrictions on broadband providers’ access to government-owned utility poles.

Read it all. Ted Cruz called Net Neutrality “ObamaCare for the Internet” — a quote that future Salon.com writer SEK, whom I blocked on Facebook tonight, mocked as being stupid, but was actually genius. Cruz was right. As the Reason.com folks say: “No decent person, in other words, should be for net neutrality.”

The fact that many decent people are just means they’re misguided, of course, and not indecent — but their ignorance is getting harder and harder to excuse.

Rand Paul’s Savannah Guthrie Moment and Other Thinking Out Loud

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

So Rand Paul had a tense moment with some reporter named Savannah Guthrie. It illustrated what I like about Paul, as well as misgivings I have about him. You can go watch the clip if you want. I like for him to bite back a little. I think that’s good. But then I think he goes on too long. These women got where they are in TV by being attractive faces with phony smiles, and when he goes on and on about the unfairness I personally think he comes off a bit grumpy. My reaction would be: bite back, but just don’t dwell on it so much.

But I like Rand Paul. I think he and I see a lot of things the same way. I even like his reluctance to be bellicose in foreign affairs, which is supposedly his big drawback with Republicans. (That’s one area where I’d like to see a Paul/Cruz Goldilocks “just right” sort of medium between tough talk all the time and a worry that maybe we’re being too naive about certain dangers.)

But I personally would rather see Rand Paul emphasize less of the lifestyle libertarianism that young irresponsible people love but old people don’t (like drugs and scaling back criminal laws), and see him talk more about, say, the free market. That said, he probably knows a lot more about being a retail politician than I do, and I think his instincts on the free market are just fine.

Getting back to dealing with the media, I think Ted Cruz handles criticism better. Here’s a decent and recent example.

But I like the two people in the race right now a lot.

Walter Scott Dashcam Video Shows Walter Scott Dashing on Camera

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 pm

Police have released the dashcam video of the stop of Walter Scott. It doesn’t show much, but it does show an officer stopping him in what appears to a routine traffic stop, and then shows Scott running away.

Not that it matters, really. Nor does it matter much that everybody and his dog has said in recent days that the guy had bought the car, but he tells the officer he hadn’t; he was in the process of buying it. Just goes to show you that you can’t believe everything you read.

Meanwhile, in this interview, the guy who made the video says the officer had Scott on the ground. He gives his opinion that the officer “had control” of Scott but that the officer then used a Taser and that Scott was just trying to get away.

He now has a lawyer. The Scott family has a new spokesman: Ryan Julison, a PR guy you might remember from such racial episodes as the Trayvon Martin shooting. That didn’t take long, did it?

Rand Paul Challenges Debbie Wasserman Schultz; She Responds; Media Ignores

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Rand Paul was questioned by somebody yesterday repeating DNC talking points about abortion. Paul turned around and told the media to ask the DNC what their position is.

Why don’t we ask the DNC: is it OK to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wassif she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that is just not yet born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to it.

It’s around 8:00 here:

CNN notes that Wasserman Schultz responded quickly:

Wasserman Schultz quickly responded, saying Paul should explain whether he believes abortion should ever be legal.

“Here’s an answer,” she said in an emailed statement. “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul.”

So in the view of Wasserman Schultz, apparently, if a woman can find a “doctor” to kill her viable baby for any reason at any moment before it is fully delivered, it’s A-OK. Will reporters ask Hillary! if she agrees with that? You let me know when that happens, OK?

This is a game that’s being played here, I think. My best guess is that Paul’s views are probably somewhat similar to my own and he doesn’t want to say what they are for fear of alienating religious conservatives. He probably thinks that generally classical liberals believe in freedom, but that one must also recognize that a growing human life has an ever-increasing insistence on our collective duty to care for it. That if you don’t take a hard-line view one way or the other — whether it’s a religious view that life begins at conception, or a wild DWS “stab ’em in the head at any moment before they come out!” free for all — that it’s a difficult question that does not open itself up to easy answers. That early-term abortions done for the right reasons are inferior to adoptions but may not demand state action. That rape and incest should be exceptions to any law prohibiting abortions. And that, no matter how difficult these questions can be early in the pregnancy, they become pretty common-sense once a baby begins to resemble a fully-formed human being in form and function. And that the hard-line Democrat DWS view is monstrous.

But Big Media ignores all nuance and wants to get him on the record because they know it will get him in trouble with the hard-line religious conservatives, whose views I respect and Paul likely respects, even if we might disagree with some of them in some particulars.

So they let the monstrous nature of the position of the DNC Chair slide. Hillary! will never be asked about it. Nobody will follow up with DWS and ask: “Do you really mean” x, y, or z. Just more pressing on Paul, because he seems evasive.

This is the game Big Media plays. We’ll see how well Paul continues to play it. So far, I think he’s doing OK.

Ted Cruz Raises Over $30 Million in One Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

Mark Halperin at Bloomberg:

Ted Cruz’s presidential effort is getting into the shock-and-awe fundraising business.

An associate of the Texas senator, a recently announced presidential candidate, tells Bloomberg that a cluster of affiliated super-political action committees was formed only this week, and among them they are expected to have $31 million in the bank by Friday.

Even in the context of a presidential campaign cycle in which the major party nominees are expected to raise more than $1.5 billion, Cruz’s haul is eye-popping, one that instantly raises the stakes in the Republican fundraising contest.

Nick Confessore at the New York Times says the sum “could upend expectations in the race for the Republican nomination and rewrite the political rule book for outside spending.” He adds:

The size of the contributions is likely to force backers of other candidates to rethink their budgets for the primary season; other super PACs lining up behind Republican candidates had planned to raise $20 million to $30 million over the course of the entire primary campaign.

“It’s unbelievable; I don’t think anyone expected it,” said Dave Carney, a Republican strategist who worked on the 2012 presidential campaign of former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. “I don’t think in the first round anyone would have expected them to raise that much. It is going to change everyone’s calculation.”

It’s a nice start. The media will play up the involvement of Super-PACs but the real story is the amount. It took some of the wind out of the sails of Rand Paul’s announcement, and makes Cruz a formidable contender.


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