Recent Posts From Tom Knighton
Regardless of where you stand politically, you probably have some very strong feelings on the NDAA and it’s provision that will allow the government to indefinitely detain someone because they’re a “terrorist”. The NDAA managed to make it through both chambers of Congress (remember that one is controlled by Democrats, the other by Republicans) and was signed into law on December 31, 2011, effectively killing due process.
However, some politicians aren’t exactly done fighting this one. In Virginia, we have House Bill No. 1160. That bill reads:
§ 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or any member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, may engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States in the execution of 50 U.S.C. 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States in violation of Article I, Section 8 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.
I found myself over at Instapundit today after our own Nate Nelson’s post got a link (Congrats Nate!), and I came across a video where Glenn Reynolds is talking with the author of a book. The book is A Nation of Moochers: America’s Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing, and the author is Charles Sykes.
In his interview, Glenn says something that, frankly, I liked the way he said it. “Politicians have managed to convince people that everybody has some kind of special deal when, of course, really the house is always taking their percentage.”
He’s right. For example, take a government program designed to help with adult literacy and compare it with a non-profit set up with the same goal. Few will argue that adult literacy is somehow a bad thing.
Now, let’s say that both entities received $1 million dollars to operate in different medium sized cities. So, what is the difference between the two? Oh, that’s easy.
You see, the non-profit will generally try to operate as efficiently as possible. They know that $1 million may or may not be back, so they try to use it as judiciously as possible. They also know that results matter, so they make sure they can help as many adults read for that money as possible, primarily in hopes that the results will spur further donations. Any non-profit that fails to do that usually doesn’t get repeat donors and eventually has to close its doors. Sounds kind of free market-like, doesn’t it?
It was a magical day. Wikipedia, Google, and a host of other websites stood up against the United States government and said, “No!” to their attempts to control the internet in a vain attempt to combat online piracy. Sponsors of SOPA and PIPA began to jump ship like rats on the Titanic. Honestly, it was a great day to be a libertarian.
However, it’s important to note that the fight is far from over. Not only are SOPA and PIPA still around and far from dead, but there is another potential threat: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.
The ACTA may actually be worse than SOPA or PIPA. You see, ACTA isn’t a bill before Congress, but an international treaty. What’s worse, we’ve already signed it.
President Obama, acting as President of the United States, signed the treaty and has argued that ACTA doesn’t require ratification by Congress and is instead handled by a mechanism called “executive agreement”. Is this legal?
Well, my understanding of law is better than most, but I’m always willing to defer to people who clearly know more than me. From Legal As She Is Spoke:
Tim Thomas sure stirred up a hornet’s nest, didn’t he? The Boston Bruin’s goalie made a personal decision to not meet President Obama. He said his piece on Facebook about why he decided to forego the meeting. Fair enough. Of course, Governor Deval Patrick seems to feel that Thomas was lacking “courtesy and grace”:
Governor Deval Patrick struck a disappointed tone today as he commented on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’s decision not to attend a White House event earlier this week honoring the Stanley Cup champions.
“He’s a phenomenal hockey player and he’s entitled to his views, but it just feels to me like we’re losing in this country basic courtesy and grace,” Patrick said.
“I didn’t think much of President Bush’s policies – two wars on a credit card, prescription drug benefit that we couldn’t afford, deficit out of control – but I always referred to him as ‘Mr. President.’ I stood when he came in the room,” Patrick said in his monthly appearance on the “Ask the Governor” segment on WTKK-FM.
“There are rules to live by so I don’t want to make more of this than is deserving. I guess I’d prefer to pay more attention and offer more commentary when there are acts of grace as opposed to the reverse,” he said, moving onto the next topic.
Interesting. Please note the part in bold. Obviously, Thomas simply must have said something horrible. Luckily, we can go to the tape, so to speak…or at least Thomas’ Facebook page. There, Thomas says this:
PIPA opponents have been claiming that co-sponsors are jumping ship on the controversial legislation, and there certainly has been some senators bailing after the internet protest on Wednesday. The latest appears to be Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, who sent out this press release earlier today:
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) released the following statement today regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act:
“It was always clear that the PROTECT I.P. Act needed to be perfected, and that legitimate concerns needed to be addressed before this bill could move forward. Given this and my constituents concerns, it was my intention to vote against cloture of this bill. With the majority leader’s decision to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act, I am withdrawing my co-sponsorship to await the resolution of the outstanding issues. However, I still believe that online theft is a serious issue, and that Congress does need to make certain that our laws adequately protect the interests of rights holders. When $58 billion in economic output is lost to the U.S. economy annually due to copyright theft of movies, music, packaged software and video games, and about one-quarter of all internet traffic is copyright infringing, there is a real problem that needs to be dealt with. I have complete faith that we will be able to work out a compromise in the future that addresses this problem, while still promoting free and open access to the internet.”
Welcome news, so say the least. Yesterday, Chambliss was singing a much different tune however.
After years of hearing backlash against team names like Redskins and Braves, which opponents claimed demaned Native Americans, I thought we had kind of moved past this. I really, really should know better by now.
Sensitivity and political correctness regarding the names of athletic teams has officially reached a ridiculous peak.
KSTU-TV in Utah reports that a new high school’s hope to call its team the Cougars was rejected because … wait for it … the Victorian-minded members of the school board thought it would be offensive to some middle-aged women.
Cougar, of course, has become a working term for older women who chase considerably younger men. But long before that usage inspired Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town TV show the noble cougar served as a mascot for Washington State and the University of Houston.
First of all, most of the “cougars” I know are rather proud of the term, though I suppose there are some who aren’t. However, no one is painting a 40 year old woman in a slinky black dress holding a martini on a football helmet here. We’re talking about a large feline.
In this nation, people have a right to say they are offended by the name of a team, just like we have the right to mock them for that opinion if we so wish. However, people don’t have a right to not be offended, especially when it’s pretty damn clear that no one was referring to them in the first place.
While thousands of left-leaning folks took to the street last year to decry corporatism via the Occupy movement, many have managed to miss the corporatism of the left.
MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions from key industry groups to members of the U.S. Senate (July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2011) and found that:
- Entertainment interest groups that support these bills gave 7.2 times as much ($14,423,991) to members of the U.S. Senate as Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($2,011,332).
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has received 4.8 times as much from entertainment interest groups that support these bills ($571,500) as from Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($118,050).
Now, is’nt that just fascinating?
Politico is reporting that, in light of Wednesday’s massive protest against the Senates Protect IP Act, or PIPA, vote on that bill will be postponed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has postponed a procedural vote scheduled for Tuesday on the PROTECT IP Act, although he held out a glimmer of hope for a compromise in an online piracy push that many were proclaiming dead.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act,” Reid said in a statement.
Translation: We’re still going to try and screw freedom over…we just have to come up with a new way of doing it.
While some of my colleagues here at United Liberty may feel that the protests yesterday may be heralding a new age of libertarianism, I’m afraid I have a darker feeling. You see, yesterday, while the masses were arguing against a law that will create intense burdens on small websites, stifle the creative flow that makesup the internet, and ultimately throw us back about 20 years digitally, I saw only a handful of politicians leave the embrace of SOPA and PIPA.
Both of my senators have remained as co-sponsors of PIPA. Senator Saxby Chambliss tried to argue that he was best positioned to change PIPA because, as a co-sponsor, he would have more influence. Whatever.
After the NDAA sailed through Congress with remarkably little opposition, and I see little evidence that Congress has the testicular fortitude to say “screw the entertainment industiry’s money”, I’m forced to ponder as to whether we are at a tipping point in history.
Every society eventually falls. Freedom is and always has been an endangered species. It requires a great deal of vigilence for it to thrive. This nation is obviously incapable of providing that vigilence. Does this mean we are at a tipping point in history? A downward slide towards all out totalitarianism? Honestly, I don’t know. However, I do see some things that make me very concerned.
For example, there are people who honestly believe that getting a court order counts as “due process”. They thing that because a judge says something is acceptable, that is sufficient to meet the standards set forth in the constitution. They don’t understand that a law like SOPA or PIPA will have a negative effect on websites that have nothing to do with piracy.
Rick Perry just lost a big South Carolina donor to Mitt Romney, primarily because of Perry’s insistance on bashing Mitt Romney’s business record by calling it “vulture capitalism”. The criticism stems from Romney’s company, Bain Capital. The long story short version is this: Bain Capital would buy up companies, “loot” them, and then fire workers.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the practice. I’m also anything but a fan of Mitt Romney. However, on this one I’m going to defend Romney…I’ll take a shower later.
First, you can call it “vulture capitalism” all you want, but the fact remained that Bain Capital owned the company and could do whatever it wanted with it. If you believe in smaller government, then why denegrate someone who performs a business action that is perfectly legal under current law?
Capitalism isn’t always pretty. I have never pretended that capitalism was a utopian ideal that held nothing but sunshine and daisies. However, companies like Bain serve a function for their stockholders. Companies that are “looted” are often so screwed up that the companies assets are more valuable than the company itself. If that wasn’t the case, then these companies would get looted. They would, instead, be held together because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. No one would loot a company like that.
Did people lose their jobs? Unfortunately for them, yes. Is it their fault they lost their job? Probably not. But tell me why Bain Capital should keep employing people it has no use for? The idea that people are entitled to jobs, regardless of whether their employer needs them or not certainly doesn’t sound like a conservative principle. It doesn’t sound capitalistic either.