Comey is a backdoor man

FBI Chief Comey blames Snowden for releasing info, ignores the fact that mass spying on Americans was illegal and anti-American and so the FBI’s actions essentially were the catalyst for the mass adoption of encryption to begin with. Wants the US to have an “adult” conversation about how math should work – sounds like a child whining that his homework is too hard. With all the hacks and leaks over the last couple years talking about making encryption weaker (or outlawing software that protects folks) seems ridiculous. There should probably be some minimum requirements for becoming the FBI director which are more rigorous than going to the right school and getting a degree in theology. Comey is a lawyer, not a technologist and it shows.

Why are we opposed to SOPA and PIPA?

There are many reasons so many folks who work the web are opposed to these bills. Beyond the fears of enshrining government sponsored censorship (ala China) which could easily kill your access to non-American news media (especially important in a crisis) and stifling innovation (by creating a precarious legal climate for startups), existing businesses models that allow users to link to content (youtube, twitter, flickr, imgur, you name it) could be put off the internet in one fell swoop at the whim of another industry. But theres another way to look at this issue – the economics of it don’t make any sense. All signs point to this as being a massive lobbying effort by the publishers and movie industry to break the web once and for all and theres a great article by Julian Sanchez (of the Cato Institute) on Ars Technia discussing the economics of piracy which goes into great detail exploring the claims of the RIAA and the movie industry for the supposed harms of piracy. 

Continue reading “Why are we opposed to SOPA and PIPA?”

Romney is a bad choice

According to Mitt Romney, Corporations are people1. Here is the clearest indication of why Romney is a bad choice for president. Corporations are NOT people, but they are being treated as people and have gained more rights than people through the action of elected people who also happen to have a vested interest in granting them more rights.

“Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?”

yelled Romney in response to hecklers in Iowa yesterday underscoring his position. If you work in manufacturing or business you know that corporations are sitting on their money right now. You can give corporations all the tax breaks you want, but until the people *buying* goods are willing to part with some of their relatively small earnings, corporations will hold onto their stash and neither hire nor invest. Ultimately everything corporations earn goes to *some* of the people, Mitt, and usually most of it to those running the corporation. In fact, the first thing I would do as president is put a cap on what a CEO can earn. They are just employees like the rest of us, but they happen to hold the purse strings.

According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. corporations held a record $1.93 trillion in cash on their balance sheets in 2010. But they are not investing to expand their companies, grow the real economy or create good middle-class jobs. Corporate CEOs are literally hoarding their company’s cash—except when it comes to their own paychecks.2

Romney is at the head of the charge for less taxes and more corporate welfare repeating the mantra of “supply side” (trickle down) economics. Many economists agree now that “Trickle down economic theory” (giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations in the hope that they will act as “job creators”) has at best a very slim (and most likely no) effect on the overall health of an economy, yet we continually hear rich capitalists (and Romney is happy to remind his constituents that he made a lot of money as co-founder of an investment firm) trotting out this old mantra (originally penned by Will Rogers, not Reagan – neither of whom were noted economists, by the way).


Clinton on getting the economy going again

Bill Clinton on the Daily Show discussing how he would approach the problems in the economy. I hope the Dems are listening because everything he said makes sense. I definitely had a “Miss Me Yet?” moment watching this.

1. Focus on where the jobs are: small business, manufacturing, and clean energy
2. Figure out how to loosen the money in banks and corporations (banks and businesses are sitting on more than 3 trillion dollars right now)
3. Train people to do the jobs that are already opening (the cheapest and quickest thing to do)


Libya action another affront to the Constitution?

President Obama’s war in Libya, even if it is moral, prudent and legally authorized under international law by the Security Council, is plainly unconstitutional

Michael Lind lays out the case pretty well in today’s Salon article for why he thinks Obama’s order to assist in the UN action against Ghadafi is illegal. On the one hand I really believe it would be the height of hypocrisy for America to refuse to assist any movement of people living under an authoritarian regime to overthrow their oppressors when our very existence as a nation is the direct result of French assistance to us during our struggle against the English in our own War for Independence. It seems especially hypocritical considering the sheer volume of rhetoric we’ve thrown around for 40 years concerning democracy while silently propping up the very dictators we’re asked to remove now. But on the other hand, if the president doesn’t have the authority to order military actions (even if requested by allied UN nations and required by UN treaty obligations), then he doesn’t have it. If an act of Congress is required to authorize military action in support of a UN resolution under article 42 then Congress should be asked to authorize it. I understand the time-sensitive nature of the situation, and that swift action may have been required, but certainly there is always enough time to obey the law?
Continue reading “Libya action another affront to the Constitution?”