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Comment: Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (Score 2) 202

That is a load of horseshit!

Or let me be clear. That is a load of horeshit technobabble meant to obfuscate and mislead. Level 3 was pretty clear the other day when they offered to spend a few thousand dollars to upgrade their links to Verizon. Level 3 is a backbone Internet provider. There is no reason that any link between it and another network should remain saturated if both sides are acting in good faith to serve their respective customers, especially when L3 was willing to pay the costs to upgrade Verizon's own equipement to handle more traffic which it shouldn't have had to do because it is Verizon's customers who are requesting and already paying for the content in the first place.

Verizon is choosing to not upgrade its connections to shake down Netflix, and thus pass those costs on to Verizon customers. Period.

Comment: Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (Score 1) 202

More like "Payola" than anything else. You subscibe to their service and then they are shaking down the content providers for bribes in order to give them higher speeds to you, while they are telling you that you are getting a certain speed and lying about the reasons why you are not getting content at the speeds you are paying for. Seems like the anology of radio stations taking bribes to feature certain content without informing the consumers of that relationship is most appropriate.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 185

a serious competitive disadvantage to entities like Comcast

Oh no imagine what we would lose if Comcast and Verizon had to compete with real fiber service providers... all that bandwidth which now goes to aimlessly broadcast things like Golf TV or five hundred niche channels that make the companies more money than allowing you to do what it is you actually would want to do with the bandwidth.

Comment: Re:Vote (Score 2) 185

Often this is called a "Monopoly" by the ill informed, but it's anything but that.

Was with you up until that point. Maybe when these "burdens" in return for a franchise were conceived they were considered onerous, but now with regulatory capture they really do result in local monopolies and are often in effect exclusive of competition. And basically all the companies have to do is pick and choose which communities they serve and then the burden is something like providing the local schools and the Town with free connections and maybe they will throw in some money for a local access cable tv station where the local politicians get to give some friends, family and their kids air time on local tv. All that "burden" is just passed along to the local subscribers as either extra fees or built into the cost of the service.

Comment: Re:5 billion per launch already looking optimistic (Score 1) 128

by bigpat (#47534013) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short
I hear NASA planning meetings go something like:

Hey we need to accomplish A Mission, what are all the ways we have done something like that before? blah blah blah mission X, Y, Z blah blah blah. Great! Some of those were great successes. Now let's brainstorm a completely new way of doing something like this that nobody has every thought of before....

So.... NASA isn't good at perfecting technology, making it efficient and cost effective because that is iterative and evolutionary, but if you need to dream up a new way to land on Mars or do a one-off science experiment, then they have the brain boxes to do it.

Personally I'd rather see NASA funding other people and institutions doing much of the science and setting some higher level requirements for systems and missions and seeing what different companies can come up with to meet those requirements. And then if it turns out that two cheap 50 ton launch vehicles are better than a 100 ton launch vehicle that costs ten or twenty times as much and another decade to develop, then adapt the mission requirements and assemble in orbit or figure something else out. Be nimble and adapt to what the technology makes possible, don't just dream about the impossible like it is some grudge match or some academic thesis where you have to be "original" to a fault.

Comment: Re:surpising (Score 2) 167

by bigpat (#47531597) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

They don't care about customers. Not making a profit is a ruse that many companies pull to avoid tax and be creative with accounting.

Bingo! I was looking to see if anyone else made this comment. As long as Amazon isn't just adding fat to the organization, but is actually reinvesting in growth which will otherwise be profitable, then not making a taxable profit is the best thing an American company could do with its money. Especially if they expect corporate tax relief in the future.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 610

by bigpat (#47508117) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Nonsense. Read your Marx. Communism and Socialism don't even remotely resemble one another. The only reason people get them confused is that Communism, as defined by Marx, was the ideal human goal and has never actually existed.

Yes go read Marx. Marx described a transition to communism in which there would be a dictatorship of the proletariat... which in effect is still a dictatorship. So, technically you are correct in that the end-goal of communism was an idealistic society based on free-will and free-participation, but in order to get to that promised land Marx also described what was in effect a brutal transition period where force would be used in order to level the playing field and bring production up to levels that would eliminate scarcity. Laudable end goals in some respects, but terrible means which did in effect play out in countries claiming to be communist... countries which ended up stagnating in what was supposed to be the transition state of repressive dictatorship because they never got past scarcity of resources and because it is human nature for some people to want to hang on to power over others when they are given that power. Giving communism a pass simply by saying that the end goals justify the means is not realistic. Maybe those countries weren't in an end-state communist society, but some of them were at least initially following the Marx playbook for a transition to one.

In other threads I have been arguing along those lines in defense of libertarianism, which if implemented gradually and as something to be striven for in degree and not absolute or immediate, then I argue that moving towards libertarianism can lead to a more prosperous and freer society.

But communism doesn't call for a gradual change towards a communist society and doesn't really allow for a peaceful transition. It just says step 1 dictatorship of the proletariat (which in practical terms means the proletariat chooses representatives to act as dictators on their behalf), step 2 dictatorship declares end to need for dictatorship after redistribution of wealth and re-education of population and end of scarcity, step 3 communist utopia. Getting stuck at step 1 seems like it is always going to be the most likely outcome of that plan.

Compare that with Socialism and libertarianism which in practice can be implemented in more of a matter of degree of moving towards those respective value systems since they don't prescribe a means of transition. Where communism envisions a transition period of dictatorship which is fundamentally unlike the end state of a communist society that is envisioned.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 777

by bigpat (#47507611) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Do libertarians believe that something other than physical force can be coercion? Historically and currently, it appears that individuals who can exert some form of coercion, economic, physical, or other, frequently will.

The issue of economic coercion is a tough one to reconcile. Because not all trades of goods and services are really free exchanges and could be considered more akin to physical force when one party is holding the other person's life or livelihood in the balance. I think there is a good argument to be made that someone not acting in good faith in the market, creating a monopoly on some essential good and service and then hording it and withholding it is an act of force in the similar way to the way that an embargo or trade sanction could be considered an act of war. In that way I think the government has a legitimate role to play in ensuring a well functioning free market with competition. So I fully support antitrust laws and it is one area where I wish the government were more active in breaking up (or otherwise restricting when a break-up is not desirable) large companies which are exercising monopolies in essential goods and services.

But the there has to be some clear relationship to physical harm for economic "coercion" to be regulated and prohibited by the government. Simply offering someone a really high salary could be considered economic coercion, but as long as there is a plentiful job market and there is no other threat associated with that offer, then that is a willing transaction. The essential part of evaluating whether a market is free is whether the participants are willingly engaged in commerce. So, for instance I disagree with laws and regulators that tell individual farmers what they can and cannot grow on their land, but I see a legitimate role for government to try and keep large corporations from buying up too large a percentage of land so that they restrict production in order to raise prices.

But in that example the government should be focused on the return to a free market with competition rather than just shrugging and accepting the monopoly and using it as an opportunity to expand its own powers to regulate that market. Essentially using the growth of monopoly as a symbiotic excuse to grow government oversight and control rather than honestly seeking to restore more balanced free market conditions. I think that is where we are now. Government agencies are allowing corporations to grow too big and using those unhealthy market conditions to justify expanding their own powers rather than honestly trying to address the core problem of loss of competition in the marketplace. Put simply instead of creating barriers to entry for small businesses, government regulation should be focused on creating a steeper curve for the largest businesses.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 777

by bigpat (#47503227) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Very few people argue for more taxes than necessary, or more government restrictions than necessary. In that sense, we're all libertarians. We differ widely on what's "necessary".

I am perfectly content to define everyone who would prefer less taxation and fewer government restrictions as libertarian. I think in a broader and practical sense that is an accurate description. But the fundamental underpinning of libertarianism is the ideal of a society that only uses government force and coercion in order to counter force and coercion.

And although therefore libertarians traditionally view just defense, police and the courts to be absolutely necessary to the function of government most libertarian leaning leaders are usually just seeking modest reductions in taxation and spending as a gradual approach to reverse long term trends.

Since the libertarian viewpoint is based on freedom, prosperity and reducing the use of force and violence in society then it isn't good to go cold turkey on government programs which could result in violence in society as people's lives and livelihood's are disrupted. Merely shifting the use of coercive force from government to individuals isn't a net gain. When it regards dismantling social programs I think it is up to libertarians to demonstrate that non-governmental charities and individuals are up to the task of that transition before we phase any of these programs out completely unless we are talking about merely shifting resources to demonstrably more effective programs.

What I do disagree with those that are critical of libertarianism is on the ideal of a libertarian society. Whether practically achievable or not to its fullest extent, to me the ideal of libertarianism is an inherently good value to strive for. And it is a given that this assumes a healthy society where charity and free will have picked up the slack in areas of social good. To me the libertarian ideal is simply like saying better parents don't beat their children, or we should treat others as we wish to be treated. The point is that you have some ideal to strive for and a system of government to perfect.

And conversely that having a society which is based on the growing use of coercive force against its own people to achieve very narrow partisan political gains is a very unhealthy path to be on.

Comment: Re:Short-Lived? (Score 1) 777

by bigpat (#47495921) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

If you read the rest of the summary, they do make the note that while they can't say that that growth is the result of increasing the minimum wage, it doesn't negatively affect it either.

Correlation is not causation. There are real numbers to look at here, but just saying that the minimum wage was increased and the economy is still growing in these states is a very coarse and misleading way of looking at it. The minimum wage hike affected very few people in most states, so I wouldn't expect it to impact the overall numbers... Raise it to $15 or $20 and then I think it would have more noticeable effects. Or find a number that 20% of the workforce is under and raise it to that wage then it would be a real experiment. Giving a few thousand people $20 or $40 or even $80 more per week might allow those people to afford more things, but it probably won't show up as even a blip in the aggregate economic numbers. I support a higher minimum wage, not because I think it will help very many people or address issues of inequity in society, but because it will help some people.

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 1) 777

by bigpat (#47495753) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

I heard it argued recently that capitalists aren't interested in increased economic activity, only in increasing their share of economic activity. Suppressing labor markets and high unemployment helps.

Capitalism is most efficient when capital is not concentrated into a just a few hands. The principle at the heart of the idea of capitalism being more efficient than other economic systems is the same as the principle of democracy, that decisions made by many people are usually better than decisions made by few people.

Both self described capitalists and those who oppose the concentration of wealth and ascribe the term capitalist to those who concentrate wealth often seem to lose sight of the fact that capitalism is and was supposed to be a form of economic liberalization which was about the equitable distribution of capital. The over concentration of wealth is a failure to maintain a capitalist system rather than the natural result of one. In its original form capitalism and the free market simply mean that people themselves instead of governments get to decide what is of value in the economy.

So for example, while kings and tyrants might not bother themselves with the adequacy of the toilet paper supply when they can employ any number of butt wipers, people willing to spend money on toilet paper and people willing to make toilet paper will usually figure out a way to make it happen. This is a real example from the days of the Soviet Union... ample trees to make paper products, just not enough toilet paper and it just was never a priority high enough for the limited attention of central planners.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 777

by bigpat (#47495653) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

And intelligent and rationality requires education on mass, which libertarians also don't want to pay for, making libertarianism a self-defeating system.

And Democracy will always fail when people vote themselves largess from the Treasury. And Monarchies will always fail when the king inevitably decides to have sex with whomever he chooses or gets drunk and decides to invade France... blah blah blah. You can attack any ideals with extreme examples.

Liberty is a good ideal to strive for and that just means seeking a system of government which supports as much freedom as possible. But all sorts of practical things get in the way like taxes and wars and natural disasters and things where it may be easier and more practical to pay for with common taxation. Libertarianism just means that people recognize that it would be better if we could just have a more free and prosperous society which paid for things based on individual free will instead of forced taxation and dictatorship. There is nothing impractical about an ideal... Like basing society on mutual respect and treating others like you would like to be treated... it is an ideal which we are bound to fall short, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good which is worth trying to perfect to the extent that it is practical.

Comment: Re: From one extremist in Liberty to another (Score 1) 261

by bigpat (#47488497) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights
Lincoln also pushed for passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in 1864 and 1865. Yes, it may have taken the pressure of the 1864 presidential campaign to make it a top priority, but regardless of how he got there in the end he really did push to end slavery.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!