THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

STOP! WAIT! COME BACK!

“The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage. But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction. We are moving forward. ; And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.”—President Barak Obama, July 23, 2010 in weekly address

In a four page article in National Review Online, William Voegeli systematically argues that Liberalism is dangerous.

If politics is defined as “the way power is organized”, American power was conceived to be essentially organized by individual citizens in a free market who then delegated a portion of that power to duly elected representatives.  Voegeli makes the point that power thus organized is responsive to the electorate, because their positions depend on the support of the electorate.

As the result of Liberalism, we now have a system in which Congressional power is largely (mis)placed in a myriad of Government Agencies: SSA, EPA, US Department of Ed., etc., etc. who can regulate extra-legally.  These unelected bureaucrats are not responsive to citizens, because citizens have no power to fire them.  Thus, the individual is diminished and devalued by huge, faceless Government machinery.

America originated with the idea of an individual with natural, God-given, inalienable rights. This idea preceded laws, regulations and policies.  The rights of an individual citizen of the United States were not changeable, could not be abolished, nor could they be bestowed.  Humans possessed these rights by virtue of being created in the image of God.

Today housing, jobs, health care, transportation, food, childcare are identified as “rights”.  They are not. Furthermore, when we treat them as such, we are treading into an extra-Constitutional boggy swamp.  “Rights” that are invented and then distributed “fairly” after taking money from other citizens to pay for them are simply favors give to specific groups at the expense of individual citizens.

These Leftist ideas should alert us that our Country is traveling into an uninhabitable landscape.  Indeed Voegeli concludes his article with a plea to “turn around and go back”—wise words to cling to during this “Summer of Recovery” when we continue to hear that we cannot “go back”.

Voegeli’s summary is below.  Take the time to read his entire article.  It is well worth it.

“C. S. Lewis wrote that since progress means getting closer to your goal, when you’ve taken a wrong turn and are getting farther and farther from your destination, the truly “progressive” response is to turn around and go back to the right road. Most conservatives believe that America took a wrong turn in 1932, one that has led us farther away from the goal of preserving and strengthening republican self-government. Self-styled progressives talked us into that navigational error, and in the subsequent 78 years their liberal disciples have continued on the wrong road, superintending a rolling regime change that has steadily hollowed out our constitutional republic and replaced it with an administrative state, one increasingly indifferent to ordinary citizens’ concerns and insulated from their opposition.

The conservatives now reviving constitutionalism are rightly insistent on the need to retrace our steps, and to undo the mistakes that have supplanted limited with unlimited government. The point is not to go back to 1932 and stay there, compiling a list of things government cannot do and problems it cannot address. The point, rather, is to resume progress on the road not taken: toward a government that is both limited and vigorous, scrupulous about upholding the principles of republicanism but energetic and prudent about working within the framework created by those principles to respond to economic and social changes with policies that advance the people’s prosperity and security.”

— William Voegeli is a contributing editor of The Claremont Review of Books and a visiting scholar at Claremont McKenna College’s Salvatori Center.

Filed under: big government, , , , , ,

THE PYRRHIC VICTORY OF “OBAMACARE”

Cartoon by Erin Bonsteel

On National Review online, Jeffrey H. Anderson has written a piece called, “The Battle Is Lost, and the War Has Begun”.  His views are worthwhile to read on this day after our hard fought battle against Obamacare has ended in defeat.  Mr. Anderson is right, I believe, concerning the conflicts to come over this Bill that was narrowly passed in the House last night. Obamacare is not the last word on our health care system.  It will not stand, but neither will it have its legs cut off in quick fashion.  And, let us not lose sight of the fact that this is only the opening gambit in a war against the American people and their Constitution.  Obama and his soldiers will not long linger on this victory.  They have immigration “reform”, Cap and Trade, card check, regulation of the airwaves and internet, among other things, still to accomplish.

It is important for us to ensure that the passage of this Bill is simply a “Pyrrhic Victory”.  Read its definition:

The phrase is named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. After the latter battle, Plutarch  relates in a report by Dionysius:

The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war.-Wikipedia


Obama has expended tremendous political capital, as well as financial capital, to pass this very unpopular Bill—the thing that will define his Presidency.  We, on the other hand, are like the Romans that Pyrrhus describes, “not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war”.

Ben Stein offers these words of comfort and encouragement in the aftermath of this exhausting contest:

For those of us who still believe in the Constitution, I offer the words of the great civil rights anthem, “We shall overcome, ” and “We are not afraid.” In that spirit, we continue the fight for the return to Constitutional government. Loyal to the nation and the Constitution, but most certainly opposed to the subversion or either.

As Churchill said, “In war, resolution. In defeat, defiance.” And this is a war for Constitutional government. A war of words, to be sure, but a war we must win.

For those of you who have read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, (or have at least seen the movies), remember that the Balrog did not pass Gandalf on the bridge, but took him into the void using one last desperate lunge.  However, even then Gandalf did not stop fighting it, and in the end the Balrog was defeated.  May this be a parable for our own circumstances and give us true hope.

Hang on until November, and during the ensuing 7 months let our battle cry be, “Resist.  Roll back. Repeal.”

God bless you.  God bless our beloved America.

Filed under: healthcare, LEGISLATION, liberal activism, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , ,

U.S. (SLAUGHTER) HOUSE

Well, what will they think of next?  I am utterly amazed, though perhaps I shouldn’t be, at the lengths that Pelosi, et. al. will go to in order to force the passage of the immensely unpopular Obamacare bill.  The most recent shameless tactic is being designed by Rep. Louise Slaughter, hence its name the “Slaughter Solution”.  If used, it will definitely live up to its name!

Mary Katharine Ham at the Weekly Standard sums up the measure below:

Symbolism: Dems Mull Ramming of Health-Care With ‘Slaughter Solution’
3:21 PM, Mar 10, 2010 ·
BY Mary Katharine Ham


Congress Daily reports today that the Senate may try to find a way to pass the Senate bill without a final House vote. Sounds improbable, but Rube Goldberg would be proud.

I present to you the Slaughter Solution, devised by Rep. Louise Slaughter. (What Sen. Death Panel was not available to put his name to it?). Via Congress Daily ($):

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. “Once the CBO gives us the score we’ll spring right on it,” she said.

NRO: “Crucially, it gives the lie — in a big, big way — to the Democratic narrative that health-care reform should and will be finished via simple “majority rule,” and not bound up in the arcane rules of the United States Senate.”

From the GOP Leader blog: “You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply ‘deeming’ the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.”

The blogosphere has been replete with analysis of using this twisted tactic.  At the Foundry Blog there is a very good description of the strategy, the implementation process and its Constitutional problems.  An excerpt follows:

Procedurally, this would happen in the following order.  The House Rules Committee would approve this self-executing rule.  The House would vote on the rule that allows this scenario.  Then the House will vote on the reconciliation measure.  Upon passage of the reconciliation measure the Senate Obamacare bill will be deemed to have passed the House and the reconciliation measure will be sent to the Senate.  This so called “Deeming Resolution” is a trick that allows the House to pass a bill they never voted upon.  Therefore, the real vote on the pro-abortion Senate passed bill will be the vote on the rule to allow this scenario to roll out on the House floor.

One provision that may make the rule is a provision that does not allow the House to report the Senate passed Obamacare bill to the President until the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.  Bills are enrolled before being sent to the President for his signature and the House can prevent the enrollment and delivery of Obamacare to the President until the Senate completes work on the reconciliation measure.  Sound complicated?  Yes and it is supposed to so the American people can’t understand that the House is on the verge of passing an unpopular Obamacare bill, yet they are reserving the right to claim that they did not vote for the Senate passed bill.

For a more complete understanding of the “Slaughter Solution” and its consequences for passage of Obamacare, take time to read the entries from the New York Post, Red State, American Thinker and Big Government.

This is Chicago slaughter house politics at its best, or worst depending on how one looks at it.  “If they bring a knife to the the fight, we bring a gun”, our Dear Leader has said.  The “Slaughter Solution” is not a gun, it is a nuclear bomb.


Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , ,

GOVERNING WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

These days I often feel just plum tuckered out.  Keeping up with the dreadful tactics of the Washington machine is like chasing after a rather committed arsonist.  There is always a fire to manage and, hopefully, extinguish.  But, what is downright exhausting is that these pyromaniacs continue to ignore the screaming of us firefighters to STOP SETTING FIRES!!  The “consent of the governed” that is supposed to supply the power to our Government is simply being ignored.

The Rasmussen tracking polls for yesterday, January 12, 2010, reports 55% opposition to the Congressional Health Care Plan.  Presidential approval ratings are also taking a hit, now standing at –14, or stated in a different way, a 46% approval rating. Yet, President Obama and his cohorts carry on playing with fire.

And, it is not that we are not screaming loudly enough.  The machine apparatchiks seem to either, a) not believe the poll numbers, or b)  not believe that people really are against having their country torched.  Consider the video below from the recent Town Hall that Senator Feingold held in Wisconsin, where 95% of the audience opposed the Congressional Health Care Plan.

And, if we are silly enough to think that we would be safe should the current legislation, through a benevolent act of God, be defeated, Big Brother has yet another box of matches up his sleeve.  SusanAnne Hiller at Big Government.com published a report exposing two other bills, S.B. 1110 and H.B. 2718, (also known as “MedPAC reform”), that backstop the Congressional Health Care Bill should it fail.  Basically, these bills amend the Social Security Act to take control of Medicare guideline and rule-setting processes from the Legislative branch and place it in the hands of the Executive branch.  The article is definitely worth a slow, careful read.

No wonder we are exhausted!  Some days it appears that there is surely not enough water in our wells to keep fighting all these fires.  Some days it even seems preferable to simply let everything “burn baby, burn”.  These are indeed, in George Washington’s words, “the times that try men’s souls”.  However, even as gold is purified by fire in the crucible, I must continue to believe that these fires will produce more than ashes.  Remember, too, that the word “fire” has more than one meaning–enough said.   Soldier on, Sparrows.  God willing, we will prevail.

Filed under: LEGISLATION, liberal activism, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , ,

‘TIS THE SEASON

A couple of days ago, I posed a question that, in part, observed that the POTUS leads in the exact opposite direction that he proposes to go.  In this piece from biggovernment.com, the author asks, “Is it opposite day?”

Scare Tactics: Obama Says USA Will ‘Go Bankrupt’ if Senate Bill Not Passed

Nowadays, my strategy when listening to anything coming from the Left is to remember the famous words of Willie Wonka, “Strike that.  Reverse it.”  Then, surprisingly enough, they actually make sense.

Turning to the continuing fallout from “Climategate”, Icecap has reported that Russian climate data on temperatures was manipulated by the Hadley Climate Center.  A good, but fairly distressing, read.

Finally, since “’tis the season” for gift-giving, here is a list of books that make great presents for you, someone else and especially for your “Progressive” friends and family. HO! HO! HO!

Economics

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek

The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes

Climate Change and Green Policies

Climate Confusion by Roy Spencer

The Deniers by Lawrence Solomon

The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism by Charles T. Rubin

Red Hot Lies by Christopher Horner

Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death by Paul Driessen

U.S. Constitution and Capitalism and Socialism

Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin

How Capitalism Will Save Us by Steve Forbes

The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen

Witness by Whittaker Chambers

U.S. Supreme Court

Men In Black by Mark Levin

My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas

Obviously, there are many great books out there.  However, these are the ones that I know first-hand from reading them myself.  Each has helped to broaden and shape my reasoning, as well as deepen my thinking beyond a “talking-points” mentality.  All are an antidote to the constant “Progressive” rhetoric of the current day.  It is not enough to be against a position, policy, bill, etc.  Not only do we need to know why we are against something, but also why we are for something else instead.  I highly recommend that you treat yourself, or someone you love who shares well, to one or two of these this Christmas to make it a merry one.  Remember, our New Year, with its promise of the 2010 elections is fast approaching!

Filed under: cap & trade, climate change, constitution, economy, healthcare, liberal activism, personal, POTUS, SCOTUS, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , , ,

TERRORIST TRIALS IN N.Y.C.-what could possibly go wrong?

Photo by Park Foreman

Andrew C. McCarthy, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 WTC bombing, has written his analysis of specific weaknesses in Holder’s decision to try terrorists in NYC.  Mr. McCarthy bases his analysis on his own personal experience and in terms of Mr. Holder’s testimony in Washington, D.C. today.

There was also a well-thought-out response to the various arguments made by the Administration in the Wall Street Journal.  It gives a good synopsis of the Senate hearing today with Atty. General Holder.  (BTW, by my reckoning, the amount that NYC will need to be “reimbursed” by all of us could run upwards of $300 million based on the $75 million per year expense over approximately the four years that the trials could take.  Hope the Chinese are cool with continuing to loan us funds.)

Finally, check out this link.  Mr. Goldberg, as always, gives a thorough treatment to the decision to bring terrorists back to NYC.

It’s No Way to Fight a War on Terror by Jonah Goldberg on National Review Online.

What do we sparrows think about all of this?  Let me know.

Filed under: constitution, national defense, , ,

VUNDERFUL, VUNDERFUL COPENHAGEN

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about the Global Climate Treaty that will be considered in Copenhagen this December.  The last I heard, the POTUS was not planning to attend the Copenhagen meeting, since he will be busy picking up his Nobel Prize in Oslo, and so he has no plans to sign on to the Global Climate Treaty.  In the near future, however, (probably after we have finally cleared the Healthcare Hurdle), Climate Change will take center stage in the Congress.  If the Congress passes some sort of “Cap and Tax” scheme, I think that the road will be paved for the POTUS to argue that he has the “mandate” to sign onto the Treaty.

So, why should we be concerned at this point about the Copenhagen gathering?  Because forewarned is forearmed.  Lord Monckton, a well-known British “climate change” critic, recently sounded a warning about the ratification of this Treaty.  I, like Steven Groves at the Heritage Foundation, think that perhaps Lord Monckton has over-stated the issue somewhat, however, there is good reason to believe that the Treaty could compromise U.S. sovereignty, as well as act as a vehicle to globally redistribute wealth.  (Remember the Global Anti-poverty Tax that Obama supports?)

After you have the opportunity to read the articles linked above, you will want to watch the videos below that describe the contents of the Treaty.   What are your thoughts about this?

Filed under: cap & trade, constitution, INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE, LEGISLATION, liberal activism, POTUS, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , ,

LIBERAL FASCISM

Liberal Fascism

“Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all these aspects of fascism.”
From introduction to Liberal Fascism byJonah Goldberg

I read (waded through) this book earlier this year.  Not for the fainthearted, it is an educational project to be sure, however, it is well worth the effort.  If you are concerned about the direction of the present Administration, this book will not only confirm this concern, it will also tell you why these concerns are real.  I welcome comments from any of you who have read Liberal Fascism, and for those of you who haven’t, I highly recommend it.

Filed under: brainwashing, indoctrination, language, liberal activism, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , ,

FCC POISED TO ACT ON “NET NEUTRALITY”

Below I have excerpted important information about the concept of  “net neutrality” and what Government regulation of the internet would involve.  Since the FCC will be taking a vote tomorrow, Thursday, October 22, 2009, it is important for each of you to read through this information.  Then check out this link to further understand the impact of this kind of regulation.  Finally go here to comment to the FCC prior to their vote.  Let’s make our voices heard on this important issue.  We certainly do NOT need additional Government interference in the private sector.  Chirp on, Sparrows!!

Hold Off On Net Neutrality

By David Farber and Michael Katz
Friday, January 19, 2007
Washington Post
The Internet needs a makeover. Unfortunately, congressional initiatives aimed at preserving the best of the old Internet threaten to stifle the emergence of the new one.

The current Internet supports many popular and valuable services. But experts agree that an updated Internet could offer a wide range of new and improved services, including better security against viruses, worms, denial-of-service attacks and zombie computers; services that require high levels of reliability, such as medical monitoring; and those that cannot tolerate network delays, such as voice and streaming video. To provide these services, both the architecture of the Internet and the business models through which services are delivered will probably have to change.

Congress failed to pass legislation amid rancorous debate last summer, but last week a group of senators reintroduced several initiatives under the banner of “network neutrality.”

Network neutrality is supposed to promote continuing Internet innovation by restricting the ability of network owners to give certain traffic priority based on the content or application being carried or on the sender’s willingness to pay. The problem is that these restrictions would prohibit practices that could increase the value of the Internet for customers.
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Traffic management is a prime example. When traffic surges beyond the ability of the network to carry it, something is going to be delayed. When choosing what gets delayed, it makes sense to allow a network to favor traffic from, say, a patient’s heart monitor over traffic delivering a music download. It also makes sense to allow network operators to restrict traffic that is downright harmful, such as viruses, worms and spam.

Pricing raises similar issues. To date, Internet pricing has been relatively simple. Based on experience in similar markets, we expect that, if left alone, pricing and service models will probably evolve. For example, new services with guaranteed delivery quality might emerge to support applications such as medical monitoring that require higher levels of reliability than the current Internet can guarantee. Suppliers could be expected to charge higher prices for these premium services.

Blocking premium pricing in the name of neutrality might have the unintended effect of blocking the premium services from which customers would benefit. No one would propose that the U.S. Postal Service be prohibited from offering Express Mail because a “fast lane” mail service is “undemocratic.” Yet some current proposals would do exactly this for Internet services.

We’re not saying that all discrimination is good or that the market always gets it right. Some forms of discrimination can be harmful, especially when service providers have market power. For example, if a local telephone company that is a monopoly provider of both broadband access and plain old telephone service for a community blocks its broadband subscribers from using an Internet phone service offered by a rival company, this discrimination can harm both competition and consumers.

Public policy should intervene where anti-competitive actions can be identified and the cure will not be worse than the disease. Policymakers must tread carefully, however, because it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine in advance whether a particular practice promotes or harms competition. Antitrust law generally takes a case-by-case approach under which private parties or public agencies can challenge business practices and the courts require proof of harm to competition before declaring a practice illegal. This is a sound approach that has served our economy well.

The legislative proposals debated in the 109th Congress take a very different approach. They would impose far-reaching prohibitions affecting all broadband providers, regardless of whether they wielded monopoly power and without any analysis of whether the challenged practice actually harmed competition. If enacted, these proposals would threaten to restrict a wide range of innovative services without providing any compensating customer benefits.

Does this mean we believe that we should place all our trust in the market and the current providers? No. But it does mean we should wait until there is a problem before rushing to enact solutions.

David Farber is distinguished career professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Michael L. Katz is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Gerald Faulhaber, a professor at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania’s law school, and Christopher S. Yoo, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, also contributed to this article.

Excerpts from Jan 15, 2009 CNET

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10144035-38.htm

The Bush administration has taken a dim view of Internet regulations in the form of Net neutrality rules, warning (see #1 below) last year that they could “inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation, and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of ‘neutrality’ would do just that, with respect to the Internet.” A report (see #2 below) from the Federal Trade Commission reached the same conclusion in 2007.

In addition, a recent study (see #3 below) from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that the absence of Net neutrality laws or similar federally mandated regulations has spurred telecommunications companies to invest heavily in infrastructure, and changing the rules “would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy, investment, and innovation.”

#1 The Bush administration believes that government regulators should be “highly skeptical” of Net neutrality regulations and instead rely on competition to protect consumers.

The comments came in a public filing that the U.S. Department of Justice sent on Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission, warning against the adoption of extensive Net neutrality rules.

“However well-intentioned, regulatory restraints can inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of ‘neutrality’ would do just that, with respect to the Internet,” the comments say.

(The comments aren’t very long and are really worth reading yourself.)

This shouldn’t really be a surprise. The Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras, was almost as skeptical last year, and a formal report from the entire FTC in June came up with the same no-new-laws-needed conclusion.

Public Knowledge, which supports giving the FCC more power to regulate broadband providers, critiqued the Justice Department’s filing thusly: “Perhaps the (Justice Department) does not recall that there is very little in the way of market forces to protect consumers. Perhaps the department has forgotten that many consumers have little or no choice at all for their high-speed broadband services. A more vigorous antitrust analysis would have recognized there is a market failure and would have resulted in conditions on the AT&T takeover of BellSouth that would have benefited consumers and Internet companies.”

#2 The lifelong bureaucrats at the Federal Trade Commission are hardly a bunch of Hayek-quoting, Ron Paul-voting libertarians.

Which is why it’s worthwhile to note the conclusion that the FTC reached on Wednesday about Net neutrality: No new laws.

It took the FTC a mere 169 pages to arrive at that result in its new report on the topic, probably one of the most exhaustive treatments of Net neutrality to date. It concludes: “We recommend that policy makers proceed with caution in evaluating proposals to enact regulation in the area of broadband Internet access.”

Translated from government-speak, that means there’s no need for extensive regulations of the sort that the Republican-controlled Congress considered, and rejected, last year. The Democrats have not tried to resuscitate the legislation this year.

The FTC says, sensibly enough: “Industrywide regulatory schemes–particularly those imposing general, one-size-fits-all restraints on business conduct–may well have adverse effects on consumer welfare, despite the good intentions of their proponents.”

True to form, the FTC isn’t recommending a hands-off approach. The staff report notes that it shares antitrust enforcement with the U.S. Justice Department and is “well-equipped to analyze potential conduct and business arrangements involving broadband Internet access.” It also says that “current federal consumer protection law” can address deceptive marketing practices by Internet service providers.

Commissioner Jon Leibowitz, a Democrat, published what amounts to a dissenting opinion He said that existing antitrust law may not be “adequate to the task” of Internet broadband regulation.

The report drew praise from Tim Muris, who was forced to be circumspect while heading the FTC but can speak speak more freely now that he’s back teaching at George Mason University’s law school in Arlington, Va.

“Net neutrality is a meaningless term, lacking a rationale or analytical basis to impose new regulations on the Internet,” Muris said. “Some government actions, while seeking to help consumers, harm them instead. As the FTC report today detailed, robust competition and dynamic business models pervade the Internet.”

In contrast, pro-regulation groups, who would like to see the Federal Communications Commission receive the power to enforce Net neutrality rules, attacked the FTC report.

It “falls far short in its analysis of a competitive market and the related issue of Net neutrality,” said Public Knowledge, which has pressed Congress to give the FCC that authority.

The Bush administration believes that government regulators should be “highly skeptical” of Net neutrality regulations and instead rely on competition to protect consumers.

The comments came in a public filing that the U.S. Department of Justice sent on Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission, warning against the adoption of extensive Net neutrality rules.

“However well-intentioned, regulatory restraints can inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of ‘neutrality’ would do just that, with respect to the Internet,” the comments say.

(The comments aren’t very long and are really worth reading yourself.)

This shouldn’t really be a surprise. The Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras, was almost as skeptical last year, and a formal report from the entire FTC in June came up with the same no-new-laws-needed conclusion.

Public Knowledge, which supports giving the FCC more power to regulate broadband providers, critiqued the Justice Department’s filing thusly: “Perhaps the (Justice Department) does not recall that there is very little in the way of market forces to protect consumers. Perhaps the department has forgotten that many consumers have little or no choice at all for their high-speed broadband services. A more vigorous antitrust analysis would have recognized there is a market failure and would have resulted in conditions on the AT&T takeover of BellSouth that would have benefited consumers and Internet companies.”

#3 Broadband development should not be stifled by federal regulation that intends to make networks more “neutral,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is arguing through two papers released Monday.

The papers, the first in a series of five that will examine the impact of broadband on certain user groups and for certain purposes, argue that the federal government’s current loose regulatory structure has enabled broadband to become a “life-altering tool” both for the general population and for senior citizens specifically.

“An estimated $60 billion has been invested in broadband infrastructure by the communications industry this year,” William Kovacs, the U.S. Chamber’s vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, said in a statement. “Given these turbulent economic times, federal policy must continue to support this high-level of investment. This will spur job growth, innovation, and consumer choice.”

The lack of Net neutrality laws or other federally-mandated regulations has spurred telecommunications companies to heavily invest in broadband infrastructure, according to the first paper, “Network Effects: An Introduction to Broadband Technology & Regulation.” (PDF)

“Moving away from a pro-investment model would halt this organic progress and would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy, investment, and innovation,” it says. “Moreover, policies aimed at management practices are unnecessary and would serve only to chill innovation at the network level and at its edges, resulting in net consumer welfare losses.”

Network owners need to be able to manage content flow in order to prioritize important data like 911 voice over IP calls, according to the paper, authored by Charles Davidson and Michael Santorelli of the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute at New York Law School. The need to manage networks will only grow as the amount of services offered online grows, it says.

“A variety of proposals have been put forward to regulate the broadband sector under the guise of making the physical infrastructure more ‘neutral’ to the data flowing over it,” the paper says, but such regulations would lessen incentives for investment in broadband and slow the development of content and applications.

The paper recommends legislators focus on targeting broadband funding in regions where it is most needed, reforming the Universal Service Fund, and embracing public-private partnerships to promote broadband deployment.

The second paper, “The Impact of Broadband on Senior Citizens,” (PDF) recommends similar support for broadband deployment as well as educating seniors on the usefulness of broadband and expanding their options for getting online. If obstacles for adoption are removed, the paper says, broadband could transform senior life and senior care, just as the senior population is set to expand significantly.

The chamber will later release papers examining the impact of broadband deployment on telemedicine, education, and people with disabilities.

Filed under: constitution, media, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , ,

ARIZONA HEALTH FREEDOM ACT

This article from Reason Magazine is worth a thoughtful read and additional contemplation.  The Arizonans, as well as the five other states that are also considering this type of legislation, may be onto something that may, at the very least, form the basis for a Constitutional challenge to the State mandates that are presently in all of the Health Care Reform bills.

Filed under: constitution, healthcare, LEGISLATION, SCOTUS, ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905

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