Category Archives: Writings

Trump’s 5G plans aren’t free markets

It leaked last week President Donald Trump’s administration was considering a couple plans on 5G, including nationalization. I wrote about it at Hot Air, pointing out the dangers of both. Here is an excerpt from the piece

It’s not necessarily nationalization, but it depends on the language of whatever contract the government gives to this mysterious “company outside of the traditional bidders.” It also depends on how “separate” the tech company is from the government itself. I reached out to Ryan Radia at Competitive Enterprise Institute on the issue, and he’s got more concerns about the government-funded centralization.

“It might actually be worse if the federal government co-develops the network with a private firm that is the putative owner/operator, as compared to an outright nationalized network,” Radia wrote in an email. “The resulting entity might well be exempt from laws governing federal agencies, such as FOIA, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and so forth. And the network operator’s liabilities would presumably be considered off the government’s books for purposes of calculating federal liabilities.”

Read the rest here.

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On multiculturalism

I recently wrote a piece on multiculturalism at Hot Air. It’s an interesting subject which has a lot of definitions. Here’s an excerpt of the piece.

I was brought up by my parents in Texas to acknowledge and honor other people, regardless of their race, religion, sex, or political ideology. Every human I meet is a potential friend, not a probable enemy. There are certainly differences, but most of those get thrown in the garbage dump, even if a friend would prefer to listen to, say, Katy Perry or Britney Spears versus my own preferred musical tastes of Amon Amarth and Coheed and Cambria. It’s certainly an easier match with a potential girlfriend to share (or at least accept) my own political and religious beliefs, and share a like or four, but romantic relationships are give and take. Friendships are give and take, as well, which is a good thing because it allows me to learn more about others, and vice versa.

The rest can be read here.

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Burger King is now championing Net Neutrality

So Burger King is now championing Net Neutrality with a rather ridiculous Whopper Neutrality PSA. I wrote about it at Hot Air, and here’s an excerpt.

Burger King is completely missing the mark when it comes to criticizing no Net Neutrality. Proponents of Net Neutrality say the government needs to make sure there’ s a level playing field, because of huge corporations like Comcast, Charter, and AT&T. I’m no fan of humongous corporations, but giving heavy regulatory power to the government, which is already spying on innocent Americans through secret courts, seems quite hypocritical. There’s also the possibility big telecoms are the ones providing Internet because of franchise agreements made with local governments which slices and dices up cities for tech companies. The current system is sadly not quite “the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation,” as written in U.S. law. Alas, that’s something worth probing for another day.

There a certain irony Burger King’s decision to get involved in the Net Neutrality fight. FreedomWorks Director of Policy Patrick Hedger mentioned to me BK, “doesn’t sell Pepsi products, they have an exclusive deal with Coca-Cola. Not very neutral of them. How dare they block Pepsi’s market access on their infrastructure.”

The rest is here.

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Donald Trump is not a libertarian

My latest post at Hot Air looks at the ridiculous piece by Jonathan Chait at New York magazine suggesting the election of Donald Trump means the libertarian moment has “arrived.” Here is an snippet of the piece.

The preposterous allegation came as a bit of a jolt to yours truly, who has been a rather vocal critic of the President since his 2015 speech before a crowd in Arizona. It would be quite effortless to unleash a torrent of abuse and Viking berserker fury on Chait’s ridiculous notion alone. However, there are other libertarians who do a better job at using their “little grey cells,” to quote the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, to dispute and heap their own abuse on Chait’s gross distortion of our philosophy.

“I think there are a lot of dangers to liberty in Donald Trump’s presidency,” Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz told me, while also indicating his annoyance with the headline of Chait’s screed, “The idea that Trump is some sort of manifestation of libertarianism, I just think is poorly founded.”

The rest can be read here.

 

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On the media and #FISA702

My latest post looks at the horrible job the media did on covering #FISA702 earlier this month (they basically ignored it until after the fact). Here’s an excerpt from Hot Air.

The reauthorization of FISA was a blip on the radar in DC last week, with most of the media discussing the votes after the fact, or in reference to Sara Carter’s story on a possible House Intelligence report looking into FISA abuse. It’s an extremely frustrating and irksome reality for privacy advocates who have been discussing the problems with the spying program in the days leading up to the votes. Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Elizabeth Warren, and Ron Wyden should have been all over the media on Monday and Tuesday explaining why it was awful Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t allow amendments on the bill. The fact the Senate barely approved the legislation via procedural vote should have been the lead, or at least warranted greater discussion, especially since the White House had to send National Intelligence Director Dan Coats to Capitol Hill to twist arms.

But that didn’t happen. The focus Monday and Tuesday was on whether Trump actually said “sh*thole countries,” and then whether Trump was physically and mentally fit to be president. CNN had Dr. Sanjay Gupta discuss Trump possibly having heart disease, while Sean Hannity crowed on Fox News Trump was healthy and it was the media which needed to have its heads examined. The debate was on whether Trump weighed what he claimed to weigh, instead of issues which were more important…

The rest can be read here.

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Why Mitch McConnell should allow amendments on #FISA702

My latest piece at Hot Air looks at why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should allow amendments on FISA reauthorization. Here’s an excerpt:

FreedomWorks, which has really been involved in the #FISA702 debate and reform, is also prodding the Senate on amendments.

“Regular order should always be the standard in the Senate,” Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye told me, in a statement. “With such severe Fourth Amendment implications at stake, Leader McConnell, who swore an oath to the protect and defend the Constitution, has a responsibility to allow amendments offered by Sens. Lee and Paul that would eliminate the backdoor search loophole and ensure that ‘abouts’ collection can never come back.”

I’ve written about the FISA reauthorization over the last week, pointing out the Fourth Amendment issues, and what civil libertarianish groups are saying about the House passage. You’d think the upcoming Senate debate on the bill would be a bit of a hotter topic in the press, and with the American people.

Nope.

Read the rest here.

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What civil libertarian(ish) groups are saying about #FISA702 reauthorization

My latest at Hot Air looks at the House’s decision to reauthorize FISA, and the upcoming fight in the Senate on it. The piece features comments from FreedomWorks’ Jason Pye and Cato’s Patrick Eddington. Here’s an excerpt:

It appears the focus on killing the bill will be in the Senate, where Paul, Lee, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden have been fighting for reforms for years. Paul and Wyden have promised to filibuster, while Lee is teaming up with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on the USA Liberty Act. The latter are hoping Mitch McConnell will let them offer amendments to the bill, including their bill.

Ed pointed out this morning that Senate leadership may do their best to avoid another messy fight on FISA by connecting it with the omnibus spending bill. It’s good strategy but shows just what’s wrong with Washington by using cheap tactics to get something passed. Before people say, “Drain the swamp! Only Trump can save us!”, it should be pointed out the president endorsed the bill this morning despite an earlier tweet suggesting he wasn’t in favor of it. My guess is Chief of Staff John Kelly got in Trump’s ear and told him how “important” the bill was to Trump’s campaign promise of keeping terrorists out, even if it’s debatable whether NSA spying has really saved America from attack.

You can read the rest here.

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FISA reauthorization bill to be discussed Tuesday

My latest piece at Hot Air looks at the FISA reauthorization bill the House Rules Committee is scheduled to discuss on Tuesday.  It’s not a pretty picture. Here’s an excerpt:

The rules would allow the National Security Agency to restart collecting messages Americans send to foreign intelligence targets barely a year after ending the practice. The bill is promising lip-service to the Fourth Amendment by saying “The Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall adopt querying procedures consistent with the requirements of the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States for information collected pursuant to an authorization…” but CATO Institute policy analyst Patrick G. Eddington called the language complete make-believe.

“It’s meaningless because the AG and DNI are allowed to make up the rules and decide what the phrase “consistent with” means vis a vis the 4th Amendment,” the former CIA analyst told me. “If it isn’t one person/one warrant/probable cause only standard, it’s a sham.”

The Fourth Amendment is the key part of the Constitution which proclaims the federal government cannot violate the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and warrants can’t be issued without “probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The rest can be read here.

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The “saviors” of the GOP are not named Romney or Trump

My latest at Hot Air takes a look at Mitt Romney’s possible, and expected, entrance into the Utah Senate race, and the fact he and Donald Trump agree on a stuff a lot. Here’s a brief preview:

There’s a reason why Romney and Trump would probably work pretty well together…they actually agree on a lot of stuff. Yes, yes, Romney was one of the poster boys for parts of #NeverTrump, even if that placard of Romney and the horse wasn’t plastered all over my #NeverTrump apartment in 2016 (I went with Gary Johnson), but the ire could be more along the lines of character, with the occasional policy squabble. After all, Romney did push for American involvement in Syria in 2012, a plan Trump supported, even if the video of said endorsement mysteriously disappeared from Trump’s YouTube page sometime last year. Trump and Romney have similar views on immigration and China, something Romney fan Ross Douthat admitted in NYT by writing the ex-governor was more of a “restrained version of Trump’s nationalistic pitch.” Reason’s Matt Welch made a key point by reminding people Romney was able to push back against GOP primary opponents like Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry, by harping on their apparent softness on immigration. Both Trump and Romney are in favor of increased military spending, with Trump’s 2016 plan quite similar to Romney’s 2012 plan.

Read the rest here!

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The right and wrong of #Twitterpurge

Over at Hot Air, I write how First Amendment advocates can be in a bind over the #TwitterPurge. Here’s how I explain it.

The suspensions can put people who believe in absolute free speech into a bit of a bind. The social media giant’s rules are anti-freedom and censorship, but Twitter has every right to enact them because they’re a private company. It falls under the category of freedom of association aka “right of the people peaceably to assemble,” in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Twitter, much like GoDaddy and Google, who decided they’d had enough of a neo-Nazi website and punted them, can tell certain users to take a powder and not come back.

The question is, should they?

Read the rest here.

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