Useless Douchebag Hagel Forced By Useless Douchebag Obama To Step Down As Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel Forced To Step Down As US Defense Secretary – The Guardian

The US defense secretary has been fired after less than two years in office as the White House re-orders a national security strategy upended by the Islamic State (Isis).

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Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama’s third Pentagon chief and a former Republican senator, will leave the Department of Defense just weeks after his spokesman said Hagel was looking forward to serving “for the remainder” of the Obama administration.

Two senior administration officials told the Guardian on Monday that a New York Times report of his exit was “correct”, and said more details would be announced shortly by the White House.

Obama is expected to confirm his defense secretary’s departure in a “personnel announcement” scheduled in the State Dining Room at 11.10am ET. It was not clear if Obama would announce another change to his Iraq-Syria war strategy to correspond with Hagel’s departure.

The first national security casualty of Obama’s midterm elections defeat was one who, despite his Capitol Hill pedigree and Republican registration, never won the confidence of the congressional GOP, who considered him a water-carrier for the administration.

Before Obama’s announcement, a senior administration official praised Hagel as “a steady hand,” and said Hagel had been speaking with Obama in October about leaving “given the natural post-midterms transition time.” Hagel’s spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, told Pentagon reporters on November 7 that Hagel expected to stay on.

Hagel was out of step with the administration on Isis, having urged the White House to clarify its stance on ushering Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad out of power and bizarrely inflating the threat Isis posed, calling it “an imminent threat to every interest we have” in an August press conference. While the administration has publicly ruled out using US ground forces in combat in Iraq, Hagel and particularly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, floated precisely that as an option in testimony earlier this month.

A man who never quite found his footing as Pentagon chief, Hagel also testified that the US strategy against Isis – which focuses on Iraq primarily and Syria peripherally – was working, even as it undergoes frequent adjustment and revision.

Yet the strategy has come under criticism from hawks as well as doves. Hawks want a deeper US commitment of air as well as ground forces to beating Isis back, while doves are alarmed at the shifting of US war aims and commensurate resources. The next chairman of the Senate armed services committee, Arizona Republican John McCain, wants a more forceful US response to Isis and had long fallen out with his former friend Hagel.

In the five months since Isis seized Mosul, Obama has authorized 3,000 new troops to advise and train Iraqis, and expanded an air war into Syria. Pentagon efforts to field a Syrian proxy force have barely begun and are expected to take a year before yielding the first capable units.

Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran and a non-commissioned army officer, was not expected to be a wartime defense secretary, instead brought in to manage the downsizing of US ground forces and shore up the administration’s at-times uneasy relationship with the military. His Senate confirmation hearing saw the former senator rambling and unfocused; he mischaracterized the administration’s position on Iran. Amongst Hagel’s more forceful positions early in office was to warn against US involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Several oft-mentioned names to replace Hagel have already surfaced. Former defense policy chief Michele Flournoy, a figure deeply identified with the troop surge in Afghanistan, would be the first woman to run the Pentagon. The Times reported that Rhode Island Senate Democrat Jack Reed is in the running, as is Ashton Carter, a senior official noted for his management and budgetary skills who was Robert Gates’ acquisitions chief and Leon Panetta’s deputy secretary.

The senior official said a successor would be nominated in “short order” and Hagel will serve until his successor’s confirmation.

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*VIDEO* Obama Repeatedly Declares Executive Amnesty Unconstitutional… Then Grants Amnesty To Millions Of Illegals


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President Asshat Gives $3B To U.N. Climate Fund Run By Communist, Terrorist Nations

Obama Gives $3 Bil To U.N. Climate Fund Run By Communist, Terrorist Nations – Judicial Watch

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President Obama has committed a mind-boggling $3 billion to a new United Nations Green Climate Fund run by officials from Communist nations, a country that appears on the State Department’s list of terrorism-sponsors and an Arab oil-industry chief.

As if it weren’t bad enough that our commander-in-chief is giving away money while the nation suffers through a colossal budget deficit, there are countless reasons why this is a lousy idea. First of all, the United Nations is a famously corrupt organization that is already largely funded by Uncle Sam to the tune of billions annually. The exact figure is tough to nail down because the U.S. cash flows, not just directly to U.N. coffers from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but also from a number of other government agencies to the U.N. system.

The entire world body is well known as a pillar of fraud and mismanagement, but that hasn’t slowed the tide of American taxpayer dollars. Even the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, funded primarily by American taxpayers, is a huge joke. A few years ago Judicial Watch reported that the U.N. awarded a genocidal warlord indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity a seat on its laughable human rights council. His name is Omar Al-Bashir, a ruthless African dictator charged by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur for killing thousands of his own citizens.

The last thing we need is another global U.N. initiative looking for cash. The “urgency and seriousness of climate change” inspired the crooked world body to create the Green Climate Fund, which aims to help the international community combat global warming. Here’s the plan in a nutshell; the fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This will be accomplished by following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international environmental treaty that aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations.

Predictably, this can’t be accomplished cheaply and President Obama stepped up to the plate with the astounding $3 billion allotment. He made the announcement this month during a speech in Australia. “Now, today, I’m announcing that the United States will take another important step,” Obama said “We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change. So along with the other nations that have pledged support, this gives us the opportunity to help vulnerable communities with an early-warning system, with stronger defenses against storm surges, climate-resilient infrastructure.” The speech, delivered at University of Queensland in Brisbane, went on and on but the snippet is sufficient to relay its gist.

Now let’s take a look at who’s running this new Green Climate Fund that’s supposed to save the world from the ills of global warming. Among the board of directors is Yingming Yang, the Deputy Director General of Communist China’s Ministry of Finance and Jorge Ferrer Rodriguez, a minister in Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Communist island has for years appeared on the State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Another interesting board member is Ayman Shasly, an official in Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

The selection of Shasly as a top dog of a conglomerate looking to halt climate change is peculiar since the oil industry contributes the most greenhouse gas and is well known to have a negative effect on the environment because it’s toxic to nearly all forms of life. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is a government body in a country that happens to be the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil. In fact, it has a quarter of the world’s known oil reserves. Shasly’s efforts as a global environmentalist may seem like a conflict of interest, especially since his government has announced plans to increase oil production from around 8 million barrels per day to 12.

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According To The New York Times, Al Sharpton Owes $4.5M In Taxes And Steals From His Charities

New York Times: Al Sharpton Owes $4.5 Million In Taxes And Steals From His Charities – Downtrend

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Man, I really thought the race hustle was a lucrative line of work. You make up racism and guilty liberal assholes send you money. There’s really no overhead; just profit. It may be that race hustling is a good line of work, but apparently Al Sharpton sucks at it or at least the money management side of it. The New York Times is reporting that Big Al owes a ton in back taxes and “borrows” from his various charities to support his lavish lifestyle.

Last month I reported on Sharpton’s birthday bash, which was really just a fundraiser to pay down his debt. At the time, Sharpton’s people said they had a handle on the money he owed, but the NYT paints a much different picture:

Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.

Then there’s the stealing:

With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

Oh, and even more stealing:

Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition.

Sharpton is also likely guilty of campaign finance fraud:

With Mr. Sharpton focused on the 2004 presidential race, National Action Network’s finances were reaching crisis levels, tax documents and other public records show. The group’s revenues totaled just over $1 million in 2004, about half of what they had been two years earlier. Nevertheless, it picked up expenses from Mr. Sharpton’s presidential bid: $181,115 in consulting and other costs that should have been charged to his campaign, the Federal Election Commission later found.

More theft:

The group also faced court judgments for several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid office rent and hotel bills.

And tax fraud:

To stay afloat, the nonprofit became reliant on money that was supposed to go to payroll taxes, according to its financial statements. The amount National Action Network underpaid the federal government in taxes went from about $900,000 in 2003 to almost $1.9 million by 2006, records show.

In addition, Sharpton is constantly being sued by his landlord for not paying his rent. Since 2006 he’s been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars on properties he occupies but doesn’t pay for.

It’s probably not shocking to most who are reading this that Al Sharpton is a POS schemer and charlatan, but it is kind of surprising that the liberal PC New York Times has published a piece critical of him. Especially considering that Sharpton is a White House consultant and Obama’s go-to guy on race relations.

This article makes you wonder why anyone would donate to an Al Sharpton charity. As far as I can tell, the only purpose of his National Action Network is to keep him in the lap of luxury. You never hear about Sharpton feeding people, sending kids to college, or building homes for the underprivileged; just about him jetting across the globe to condemn the latest instances of made-up racial injustice.

So not only is Sharpton a race hustler, he’s a regular hustler too: defrauding his charities and the government for personal gain. It’s lucky for him he has friends in high places because anyone else in his position would be in jail by now.

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*AUDIO* Mark Levin: Worthless RINOs, Government Shutdowns, And The Power Of The Purse


PART 1

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PART 2

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Obamacare Architect Caught On 3 Different Videos Admitting The Regime Lied, And Calling Americans Stupid (Videos)

Megyn Kelly Shows 2nd Video Of Obamacare Architect Calling Americans “Too Stupid” – Right Scoop

Last night Megyn Kelly showed a 2nd video of Obama architect Jonathan Gruber talking about how Obamacare passed because Americans are “too stupid”:

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Clearly Gruber thinks he knows what’s best for us stupid Americans, just like Obama and Democrats believe they are our betters. So much so that they’d hide important information about a bill just to shove it down our throats.

Republicans have ammunition to fight this thing in the court of public opinion but so far I don’t see them doing much about it.

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Video: Interview Gets Tense In A Hurry When TV Hosts Confront Senator Over Obamacare Architect’s Revealing Comments – The Blaze

The hosts of “Fox & Friends” confronted Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) on Tuesday over one of the Obamacare architects’ controversial assertion that the health care law made it through Congress thanks to a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter.” The video of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber making the revealing comments at a University of Pennsylvania event in October of 2013 went viral this week.

King said he was unsure of what Gruber was talking about and made it clear he doesn’t “endorse those kinds of comments.” He then defended the way Obamacare was passed.

“Everybody knew that there were going to be additional taxes required to support the premiums under the Affordable Care Act. I don’t see it as any deep dark conspiracy,” he added.

“Really? Senator, he said he wasn’t transparent. He wasn’t telling the truth,” host Brian Kilmeade responded.

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The senator then seemingly downplayed Gruber’s role in crafting Obamacare. King was not in the Senate when the law was voted on.

“Who was he? I don’t know where he was in the process,” King said.

When co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle argued Gruber’s comments confirm the American people were purposefully not informed that Obamacare would “tax and penalize” people, King went slightly off topic and stressed the importance of having insurance.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Tax and penalize? Hold it, hold it, hold it,” King interjected. “We’ve got eight million people that have insurance now that didn’t before and don’t lecture me about this because 40 years ago, I had insurance. If I hadn’t had it, it caught a cancer that saved my life. If I hadn’t had insurance I’d be dead.”

“What does that have to do with it?” Kilmeade asked.

“It has to do with having insurance, man. If you don’t have insurance, it’s a high risk,” King shot back.

Confronted again with claims that Gruber’s remarks show “they lied about a health plan to the American people,” King asserted he was only “one guy” involved in the creation and passage of Obamacare. He then suggested the TV hosts believe “people shouldn’t have health insurance.”

“Are you that cruel? That is what you’re saying,” the senator added.

“Oh, my goodness,” a frustrated Kilmeade reacted.

Watch the video via Fox News below:

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In Third Video, Obamacare Architect Talks About ‘Basic Exploitation’ Of American Voters – Daily Caller

A third video has surfaced of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragging about pulling the wool over the eyes of the American public in order to help implement Obamacare.

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said during a speech at the University of Rhode Island in November 2012.

He was discussing what is known as the Cadillac tax and how it came into being.

In an effort to add a cost-control measure to Obamacare, former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who Gruber called a “hero,” successfully pushed through a 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies for plans that cost more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,000 for families.

This was an alternative to putting a cap on tax breaks employers provide employees for health insurance plans, which, according to Gruber, the public mistook for a tax increase rather than the removal of a tax break.

“You just can’t get through, it’s just politically impossible,” Gruber said during his talk.

The purpose of the Cadillac tax is to force the “overinsured” – people with expensive health insurance plans – to cut back on “excess benefits.” Many economists believe that such plans cause inefficiencies in the health-care system. The Cadillac tax, which will be implemented in 2018, is projected to save $250 billion.

Gruber has made remarks before in which he espouses a dim view of the American public while discussing the deception behind passing both the Cadillac tax and Obamacare in general.

The first instance came to light on Sunday when a video was published showing Gruber telling a University of Pennsylvania health-care panel that Obamacare was “written in a tortured way” and that it passed, in part, because it was difficult to understand.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass,” Gruber said at the November 2013 event.

The discoverer of the video was not a journalist or a political operative, but, rather, a financial planner who was one of the millions of Americans who lost his insurance plan last year despite President Obama’s pledge that “if you like your plan, you can keep it, period.”

Gruber, who was paid $400,000 to consult on Obamacare, backtracked from those remarks on MSNBC on Tuesday, saying that they were “off the cuff.”

But the randomness of Gruber’s remarks was cast into doubt Tuesday night when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly revealed a second video that also shows the professor discussing the Cadillac tax in a speech at Washington University in St. Louis in October 2013.

Gruber said that the kludge worked because “the American people are too stupid to understand the difference” between capping subsidies and taxing insurance companies.

Watch:

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Meet The Guy Who Found All Those Jonathan Gruber Obamacare Clips – American Thinker

The story about Rich Weinstein, an unknown investment advisor who poured through hours and hours of YouTube videos, radio interviews, and other media featuring Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber is both incredible and inspiring.

It is Weinstein who is responsible for ferreting out Gruber’s toxic comments about the “stupidity of the American people” and, more importantly, Gruber’s insistence that Obamacare subsidies were limited to state exchanges and should not be made available at the federal level.

Bloomberg:

A few days ago, Weinstein pulled a short clip from Gruber’s year-old appearance at a University of Pennsylvania health care conference. As a crowd murmured with laughter, Gruber explained that the process that created the ACA was, by necessity, obfuscated to pull one over on voters.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” said Gruber. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the America voter, or whatever.”

Weinstein’s scoop went around the world in a hurry. American Commitment, a conservative 501(c)(4) founded by Americans for Prosperity veteran Phil Kerpen, published the clip on its YouTube channel. Kerpen promoted it through tweets, which quickly became live coverage of the media outlets discovering Gruber.

The University of Pennsylvania actually pulled the clip for a few hours before a Tsunami of outrage forced them to put it back up.

Weinstein’s activism is the result of him losing his insurance in 2013:

Weinstein dates his accidental citizen journalism back to the end of 2013 and the first run of insurance cancellations or policy changes. He was among the people who got a letter informing him that his old policy did not meet ACA standards.

“When Obama said ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period’—frankly, I believed him,” says Weinstein. “He very often speaks with qualifiers. When he said ‘period,’ there were no qualifiers. You can understand that when I lost my own plan, and the replacement cost twice as much, I wasn’t happy. So I’m watching the news, and at that time I was thinking: Hey, the administration was not telling people the truth, and the media was doing nothing!”

So Weinstein, new plan in hand, started watching the news. “These people were showing up on the shows, calling themselves architects of the law,” he recalls. “I saw David Cutler, Zeke Emanuel, Jonathan Gruber, people like that. I wondered if these guys had some type of paper trail. So I looked into what Dr. Cutler had said and written, and it was generally all about cost control. After I finished with Cutler, I went to Dr. Gruber. I assume I went through every video, every radio interview, every podcast. Every everything.”

His second shot across the bow of Obamacare was an even bigger coup:

Weinstein dug and dug and eventually discovered the first Gruber quote, known in conservative circles as the “speak-o.” Gruber had been on TV arguing that the case against subsidies in non-exchange states was ludicrous. Yet at a January 2012 symposium, Gruber seemed to be making the conservatives’ argument. “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits – but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” said Gruber. “So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”

The investment advisor e-mailed this around. Nobody cared. Nobody noticed the clip until after the D.C. circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of plaintiffs who were suing to stop the subsidies. Weinstein clicked around for articles about the decision, and left a comment on The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, pointing to the clip. In short order, Ryan Radia of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute noticed the clip and promoted it. Within hours, Gruber’s “speak-o” had greatly muddied the liberal argument.

SCOTUS now has not only evidence of congressional intent to limit the subsidies, but also evidence that the people who wrote the law had the same intent. It’s going to be very hard for John Roberts to finesse this one, which probably means SCOTUS will uphold King and the subsidies gotten through the federal website will end.

That doesn’t mean the end of Obamacare. It is pssible that many states without exchanges will set them up to prevent the disruption in coverage for those in their states who got insurance through healthcare.gov. But Weinstein’s efforts have thrown a monkey wrench into Obamacare’s inner workings and whether the program can survive is open to question.

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President Asshat Resurrects Marxist “Net Neutrality” Scheme

Obama Urges FCC To Seize Sweeping New Internet Powers To Save Net Neutrality – National Journal

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President Obama leapt directly into the net neutrality fight Monday, urging the Federal Communications Commission to claim expansive new powers over the Internet to enact the “strongest possible” regulations.

“‘Net neutrality’ has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation – but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted,” Obama said in a video posted on the White House website. “We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.”

Under his plan, the FCC would classify broadband Internet as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, a provision the agency already uses to regulate telephone companies. His statement is a huge win for Internet activists, who have been warning the future of the Internet could be at stake unless the FCC invokes stronger authority to prevent abuses by Internet providers.

But broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon have been lobbying fiercely against applying the provision to the Internet, warning it would strangle their industry with utility-style regulations. Shares of major broadband providers sank early Monday following the announcement. Verizon issued a statement saying it supports an “open Internet,” but warned that Obama’s plan would face “strong legal challenges.”

It’s also a confrontational move against congressional Republicans, who just won control of the Senate last week. They consider Title II an archaic provision designed for a time when a single monopoly controlled all telephone service. They warn that using the provision on the Internet would destory jobs and mean slower Internet for everyone. The new GOP Congress will be sure to try to repeal any net neutrality rules the FCC enacts.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, tweeted Monday that net neutrality is the the “Obamacare of the Internet” and that the “Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” But Democrats, including Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Anna Eshoo, praised Obama’s statement and urged the FCC to enact the stronger rules.

In his statement, Obama noted that the FCC is an independent agency and that the ultimate decision will be up to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the four other commissioners. But his statement puts tremendous pressure on the Democratic appointees to seize the controversial new powers.

Wheeler thanked Obama for his input Monday, but didn’t explicitly say he would follow the president’s directions. The various net neutrality proposals raise “substantive legal questions,” Wheeler said, and he’ll need more time to develop rules that can hold up in court. The FCC chief had previously said he wanted new rules on the books by the end of the year.

Under Obama’s plan, the FCC would ban Internet providers from blocking websites, throttling Internet service, or creating any special Internet “fast lanes” for websites that pay more. The rules would apply equally to a home Internet connection and mobile devices.

He also said the FCC should consider applying regulations to the interconnection points on the backend of the Internet, which would help Netflix and other companies deliver large video files without having to pay Internet providers for better connections. Traditionally, net neutrality has only covered how Internet providers must handle traffic once its on their networks.

Title II would give the FCC a slew of new powers over the Internet, including the ability to control prices and determine which customers a company has to serve. Obama said the FCC should waive the rate regulation requirements and “other provisions less relevant to broadband services.”

Net neutrality advocates argue that Title II is the only way to enact rules that can survive in court. The FCC first enacted net neutrality regulations in 2010, but a federal court struck them down earlier this year.

Wheeler proposed new rules in May that wouldn’t invoke Title II and would allow for Internet “fast lanes” in some cases, but his proposal prompted a massive backlash and more than 3.7 million people filed comments with the FCC.

Although Obama has long supported the concept of net neutrality, Monday is the first time he outlined which specific legal authority the FCC should use.

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There’s Nothing Neutral About Net Neutrality – Jeffrey Eisenach

Despite what you may have heard, net neutrality is not about protecting consumers from rapacious Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It would not make broadband more available in rural America, or lower prices for small businesses. And it has nothing to do with protecting free speech or dissenting voices. Net neutrality is crony capitalism pure and simple – an effort by one group of private interests to enrich itself at the expense of another group by using the power of the state.

For all the arcane talk about “Title II” and “common carriage,” this is not complicated. The rules favored by net neutrality advocates would ban or restrict payments from one type of business – “edge providers” – to another type of business – broadband ISPs – while placing no limits on what ISPs charge consumers. It is easy to see why edge providers like Netflix would lobby for such rules, but difficult to understand how they would benefit consumers or serve the public interest.

Indeed, the arguments advanced by net neutrality advocates don’t withstand even momentary scrutiny. Do broadband providers enjoy too much market power – are they “monopolists”? Not according to the Federal Communication Commission, which waxes eloquent about the strong performance of the broadband marketplace, citing the billions of dollars invested each year and the rapid increase in speeds and performance. And while much is made of consumers’ limited choices, the broadband market is actually less concentrated than the markets for search engines, social networks, and over-the-top video services: discriminatory regulation of ISPs cannot be justified on the basis of market power.

Other arguments for regulation are just as flawed. For example, net neutrality advocates say that without new regulations, ISPs would discriminate against Internet start-ups. But such discriminatory pricing hasn’t occurred so far, and no one can explain why ISPs would want to impede the ongoing explosion of innovative content and applications that makes their services valuable in the first place – especially since such companies pose no competitive threat to the ISPs. Nor can anyone cite an example of an American (as opposed to Chinese or Russian) ISP muzzling a dissenting voice or limiting free speech. In fact, to the extent that any firms in the Internet ecosystem have issues with free speech, it is the content providers like YouTube and Yahoo, who are under constant pressure (which they mostly, and laudably, resist) to take down “offensive” material.

Finally, there’s the argument about fast lanes and slow lanes, or, in regulatory jargon, “paid prioritization.” The simple reality is that edge providers like Netflix require prioritization for their services to work. It’s just the “paid” part they don’t like.

The key to understanding net neutrality lies in the fact that broadband ISPs operate in what economists call a “two-sided market.” One side consists of consumers, who value access to content and applications; the other side consists of content and application providers, who value using the network to reach the customers. Such markets are not unusual: newspapers, for example, serve both advertisers and subscribers. The challenge for such firms is to set prices for each customer group in such a way as to attract the optimal mix: newspapers need enough advertisers to keep subscription prices low, but they don’t want too many ads because it would drive away readers.

The FCC’s primary theory of net neutrality regulation is that the edge providers generate so much innovation and other “external” benefits that they should be subsidized by the other side (that is, by consumers) through a rule that forces consumers to pay 100 percent of the costs of the network while edge providers pay zero. This is a fine theory – but there is not a scintilla of empirical evidence to support it. Indeed, academic research suggests the external benefits generated by ISP’s investments in broadband infrastructure are likely at least as large as the benefits from innovation at the edge.

At the end of the day, the one unarguable fact about net neutrality regulation is that edge providers, big and small, and those who fund them and profit from their success, have a powerful economic interest in getting the FCC to guarantee free access to the ISPs’ networks.

Many net neutrality supporters are no doubt sincere in believing regulation is needed to “protect the open Internet,” and there is nothing illegal or even immoral about wealthy and well-connected private companies seeking to advance their interests through the use of state power. But the results can prove highly damaging. In the case of net neutrality, the danger is that the dynamic, pragmatic, business-and-engineering-driven approach that has made the Internet such a remarkable success will be replaced by an inevitably static, bureaucratic, politicized regulatory regime, not unlike the one that oversees the U.S. Postal Service.

On the global front, a decision by the U.S. to embrace economic and political control of the Internet would legitimize the efforts of tyrants everywhere to impose far more repressive forms of statist intervention.

From a consumer perspective, net neutrality regulation is just one more government-mandated rip-off – another few bucks out of our pockets to subsidize a politically influential interest group. So, the next time you hear an over-the-top video provider arguing for net neutrality, keep this in mind: there’s nothing neutral about it.

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Net Neutrality Is A Bad Idea That’s Run Its Course – Richard Bennett

When the FCC isn’t protecting us from bad language, it concerns itself with markets created by and for communication networks. It allocates the airwaves used by old-school television, talk radio, mobile phones and Wi-Fi; it oversees mergers and acquisitions among communications companies such as NBC Universal, Comcast, AT&T, and Sprint; and in the current century it has expended considerable resources on micro-managing the technical operations and business models of broadband Internet Service Providers.

While the agency would seem to be plenty busy carrying out its statutory responsibilities with respect to spectrum and mergers, it has chosen to become embroiled in an extra-curricular affair of its own making, the “net neutrality” controversy. This kerfuffle dates back to philosophical meditations on regulation and innovation before the turn of the current century.

It got real in 2007 when self-styled public interest groups filed a complaint with the FCC alleging that Comcast was picking on piracy-oriented BitTorrent networks to protect its TV business. Although Comcast was actually protecting voice competitor Vonage, it stopped using the offending system as soon as it had a higher-quality alternative. The FCC rapped Comcast’s knuckles anyway, which led the company to give the FCC a shellacking in court. This in turn caused the agency to devise a new set of Internet regulations in 2010, only to have them vacated by the court this January.

Somewhere along the way, most net neutrality wonks stopped caring whether it was good policy for innovators or even what the term means: now it’s all about winning. The FCC has decided it can’t passively accept the status quo and has issued 100 pages of questions on various approaches it might take to satisfy the warring clans in the Internet economy’s Game of Thrones, none of which is broadly popular.

At the heart of the conflict lies a misconception about how the Internet works; this naturally leads to a series of counter-productive prescriptions. The very first of the net neutrality papers, “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination” by then-Virginia law professor Tim Wu, imagined a magical Black Box connecting ISPs with the Internet. Wu realized that the Internet is rife with “discrimination”, content and services offered at various prices with widely divergent levels of quality and utility. He also recognized that neighborhood broadband networks do a number of different things that depend on discrimination: in addition to connecting to the Internet, they supply cable TV and furnish telephone service.

Wu feared ISPs had incentives to degrade competitors, especially video and voice services that went toe-to-toe with core elements of their business model. So he took the unusual step of granting an effective monopoly to the ISPs for voice and video by making the Black Box favor web surfing over other uses. Wu may have sought to design a system that would make ISPs structurally incapable of bad behavior, but he ended up favoring the Web over emerging Internet applications. Banishing the devils has a way of eliminating the angels as well.

Given that it’s committed to making new rules for the Internet, the FCC has a choice between basing its authority on a terse direction in the law allowing it to promote investment in advanced networks (Section 706) or on another portion pertaining to the traditional telephone network, Title II of the Telecom Act. In either case, the agency seems convinced that the Black Box is a winner, at least at the ballot box.

Networks that can’t discriminate are incapable of supporting the wide range of uses that more agile networks can handle. A Black Box network must necessarily be tuned to a single, dominant application instead of being responsive to a diverse pool of uses. Whatever else we know about the future, it’s certain that the Internet will be expected to do more things for more people ten years from now as it was ten years ago.

If we’re going to have a robust and growing market for network applications in the future that improve quality of life and grow the economy, we’re going to need networks that can move information quickly or cheaply, reliably or pervasively, securely or accurately and in several other modes as well.

Consequently, the locus of concern for regulatory policy must shift from preventing the bad to promoting the good. The FCC can do this by drafting rules consistent with the desire to promote meaningful competition, network investment, and service diversity.

Most of the content we get from the Internet comes to us through a kind of fast lane known as a Content Delivery Network that accelerates our access by placing duplicate copies of the content around the web. It’s a law of engineering that short distances can always be crossed more quickly than long ones. It’s also the case that sensitivity to the fundamental elements of network service quality – information loss and delay – depends on the application in use. Backing up a hard drive is less time sensitive, more loss averse, and more data volume-intensive than making a phone call. Network systems such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and 4G/LTE wireless recognize this fact with built-in mechanisms to match network service to application needs.

The Black Box rules these adaptations out of bounds, effectively forcing applications to adapt to the whims of policy makers and an arbitrary network. This approach compromises innovation and economic growth, and ultimately erodes quality of life.

The business practices of network industries need the same sort of anti-trust scrutiny that every industry faces, but they do not need precautionary prescriptions that throw the baby out with the bath water. Twenty years of experience with the commercial Internet has proved that fast-lane services like CDNs are beneficial, so we should be looking for ways to grow the Internet economy by creating more services like them.

Network neutrality is simply a bad idea that has run its course.

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NET NEUTRAILTY RULING: THE INTERNET WORKS, DON’T ‘FIX’ IT

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HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON REGULATORY REFORM: NET NEUTRAILTY AND ANTITRUST LAWS

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