Yarpb’s Weblog

Reality Made Simple

Net-neutrality — Why It’s Bad

I’ve seen a number of people posting about net-neutrality in the past few months and have managed to keep my opinions quiet. It is obvious that the people supporting the net-neutrality movement have no clue how the Internet works. Every time I see someone speak up for net-neutrality, it completely sickens me.

When I was 13 years old, I started studying computer communications. By the time I was 17, I had a business selling Internet services. These unregulated services allowed an intelligent, experienced, young, entrepreneur to start a business selling Internet service to customers. The year was 1993. That was 15 years ago. Fifteen years ago, few people owned a computer, let alone knew what the Internet was.

The argument today is that we should regulate the Internet providers to ensure free access. There are some serious issues with this. The first issue is, with regulation, I would never have been able to start my business. I offered a service that my customers wanted. That service was unfettered by the US Government. Enacting legislation on these businesses prevents people like me from filling a void. In my case, the void was that the Internet did not exist.

The second issue is that if the major companies regulated Internet access the way the pro-net-neutrality advocates claim, I would restart my business of free Internet access in a heartbeat. I’ve done it before. I’ll easily do it again. It is not hard to purchase free Internet access. While your residential access may be limited by your phone/cable companies, free (i.e. unregulated) Internet isn’t hard to come by. I could easily sell service to my region and compete directly with the MAJOR players by offering non-tiered service.

This is how the free market works. Just because you don’t understand how the Internet works doesn’t mean you should vote for the government to regulate it. If the government DID decide to regulate it, I wouldn’t be able to compete as an individual any longer. The costs would be too high to be profitable and I would never be able to start the competition against the larger companies to fill a void.

Net-neutrality is anything but neutral. It is direct involvement of the government in business. It undermines the very idea of free enterprise and the only people that lose are the “netizens.”

The bottom line is this: The Internet is not broken. Do not try to fix it.


February 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Bush Discusses Iranian Threat

Bush has this to say regarding Iran:

Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program. — CNN

My shortest blog post in response ever: Pot… Kettle…. Black

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paul Reading Ahmadinejad’s Press Releases

Mitt Romney made the following statement at the January 10th, 2008 SC republican primary debate:

I think Congressman Paul should not be reading so many of Ahmadinejad’s press releases

The President of the United State of America should, in fact, be reading all of our “enemy’s” press releases.  Believing them is an entirely different story.  I think the idea Romney was trying to make was that Ron Paul shouldn’t be believing Iran’s press releases.  I’ll assume this is what he meant, because Romney is not a fool, and only a fool would make that statement.

The problem is that you also cannot believe the Bush regime’s press releases as well.  As a people, we must take into question everything that comes from the Bush press releases with a grain of salt — as we should with Irianian PR, as well.  As everyone should know, there are three sides to every story:  my side, your side, and the truth.  I truly believe that the Bush propaganda machine is attempting to fuel a war with Iran.

I don’t believe that there is some elaborate conspiracy Bush is using to get us into another war.  I do think, however, that Bush is intentionally releasing this information in attempts to bolster pro-war election sentiment.  Iran says that these incidents happen all of the time.  I am inclined to believe that statement.  The geography of the Straight of Hormuz puts US warships within 15 miles of the Iranian coast.  It would be irresponsible of a sovereign nation if they did not inspect and identify all traffic near their waterways — especially considering the intense negative relations between our two countries.  If the US had such proximity to a trade route, also used by warships, we would be incredibly upset if our government was not protecting us.

 Back to the point about Romney’s comment.  If Romney believes everything that is given to him by the Bush administration, it is obvious, to me, that his foreign policy doctrine includes a “shoot first, ask questions later” clause.  Intelligence, as this very incident shows, can be incorrect.  The Pentagon is not even sure if the threatening transmissions came from the boats in question.  Before you beat the war drums, you need to know all the possible scenarios.’  Diplomacy is more important than revenge.

We’ve fallen for this before America.  If we do not learn from our previous mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.  It is a hard call to make.  The protection of life is the key factor.  While I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of sailors to affirm that Iran is making a hostile attack against our ships — in international waters no less — I’m hard pressed to believe Iran actually wants a war with the US.

January 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collectivism, Racism, and Ron Paul

The National Review has posted a number of newsletters bearing Ron Paul’s name that contain disgusting, racist ideas.  It’s been pointed out by a number of people that the timing of the release of these documents was purposefully before the major primary races.  It has also been pointed out that Paul should have known about the content of these newsletters.

There are many valid arguments on both sides of the scandal — and yes, it is a scandal.  The bottom line is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on all matters, including this one.  Personally, I think the comments and themes of those newsletters are incredibly disgusting.  I think almost everyone agrees with this.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a card carrying libertarian (most of the time).  I’m truly excited that libertarian ideas are more mainstream than ever, because Ron Paul has brought them to a national audience.  This latest revelation, which originally was revealed about 15 years ago, can only hurt the libertarian cause.

Ron Paul is right about a few things when it comes to racism, though.  It is not possible for a libertarian to be a racist.  Racists see people as groups: black, white, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and so on.  Libertarianism transcends that thought.  Libertarian principle asserts that all people are individuals, regardless of any collection to which they may belong.  It is the greatest message of civil rights and liberties for all people.

There are inherent problems with this idea of libertarianism.  If everyone has an individual right to free speech, you will, undoubtedly, come across speech that you find offensive.  The very nature of free speech protects the ideas of the bigot, no matter how much society perceives them to be unwholesome.  If we defined free speech as “speech that is accepted by society,” we are fundamentally limiting the right of free speech.  There is no way around that.

With bigotry, it is incredibly obvious why it is so sickeningly wrong.  It is easy to argue that a person is a person, and that all are equal.  It is easy to denounce bigotry and show valid reasons racist speech should be ignored.  People that spout forth racist words should, indeed, be shunned by the enlightened.  But limiting speech to societal acceptance is a dangerous idea.

One need look no further than the Ron Paul Campaign itself.  Ron Paul is putting forward ideas and concepts that are not the normal, acceptable republican (or democrat) concepts.  People latch on to his ideas for many reasons.  Maybe they want the government out of their personal lives (as I do).  Perhaps, they think the economy is falling into disarray.  Maybe, they don’t want to pay taxes.  Maybe, they want to spout their racist hate.  For whatever reason, a group of people have all come to support a man for Presidential office.

The societal response has been:

  • Name calling: paulites, paulistinians, paultards — the list goes on for a long time
  • Slander: kooks, nutjobs, whackos
  • Ignorance: media blackouts, lack of press

If you have done any of the above, you are just as prejudiced as the person you are alleging to be racist.  It is collectivist thought to demean any group of people for one or more traits.  Ron Paul, not believing in collectivism, denounces that behavior as well.  But, he does not, and will not,  prevent you from expressing your ideas.  Your first amendment rights give you the ability to call people “paultards.”  I’d assert that a “paultard” would take as much offense to that as some racial slur you could throw at any minority.

I condemn the vile hatred contained in those newsletters.  It is a black eye on the face of Ron Paul — and more importantly, libertarianism.  At the same time, I know those are not the ideas of this man.  I fault him for letting this happen, but I cannot let that deter me from the message.

January 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iran vs. US Warships

Everyone has heard about the Iranian speedboats moving around the US warships in the Straight of Hormuz.  There’s a couple of things to take out of this.  The US first released video of the event along with the threats from the unidentified boats.  The Iranians, at first, said that this is normal.  After a day or two, they said the event was fabricated.

There have been a good number of “tinfoil-hatters” discussing the war-drums into Iraq and others hailing back to the Gulf of Tonkin incident which got us into Viet Nam.  I don’t believe these theories.

However, the sad part is, I really, truly had to think about it.  Had this happened 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.  Why would my government lie to me?  After the Iraq disaster, you have to think twice.

 But the real issue in this is neither the conspiracy theory or the provocation.  If we reverse this issue, what are we left with.

On October 14th, 1962, the Soviet Union parked some nuclear missles a few miles off the coast of Florida in Cuba.  We still have embargos against Cuba for that one.  We have our warships parked less than 15 miles off the coast of Iran.  It’s probably a safe guess that we have nuclear capable submarines ready to fire as well.  If Iran, which we have threatened and bullied for years, parked a bunch of warships off our coasts, we wouldn’t be sending out speedboats — we’d be shelling and/or invading them.

 This all comes back to the same point.  If we were not over there, surrounding their country with our military power, relations with Iran would probably not be this tense.  There are conspiracy theorists out there that say we are intentionally surrounding Iran with military power (look at Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan on a map).  I don’t believe this for a second.  But imagine if Iran invaded Canada and Mexico.  We’d probably be a bit worried as well.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Symptom vs. Problems

As a doctor, Ron Paul understands the difference between the symptoms and problems.  The flu virus is a problem.  A sore throat and cough is a symptom.

These are also simple concepts.  Every person on the planet knows — or should know — that there is no cure for the common cold.  We have medicines such as NyQuil that help alleviate the symptoms of the problem.  NyQuil does not cure the cold.  Our own body cures the cold, and during that process, we use NyQuil to help alleviate the symptoms, such as a fever, to make the process tolerable.

 Most politicians are interested in attacking the symptoms of a problem.  They are the political equivalent of NyQuil.  For some examples, let us look at some issues:

  1. Islamic jihadists want to attack us
  2. Health care is not attainable for all citizens
  3. There are a lot of illegal immigrants

The fact that Islamic radicals want to attack the United States of America is a symptom of a problem.  All current candidates want to treat the symptom, by attacking other countries and defeating terrorists.  The problem is that the symptom is caused by foreign policy.  When the world resents our foreign policy, we push people to radicalism.  In order to prevent radical Islam attacks, you must first understand the problem.

Next, health care is expensive because the purchasing power of the dollar is very weak.  The global economy says that health care costs X amount of money.  If the dollar is weak, health care costs more money, so that “X amount of money” keeps growing.  Giving the government the power to control health care treats the symptom of this problem, but not the problem itself.  The end result of the falling dollar will be that health care costs too much for the government to support  — and no matter how you look at it, means higher taxes.

Lastly, illegal immigration is, in itself, a symptom of a problem.  We already promise healthcare to all persons.  If immigrants know they can get free health care, free schooling, and free money from the government, we’re not only ignoring the symptom, we’re supporting it.  In the case of the common cold, this would be the equivalent of injecting different strains of flu viruses into an already sick patient. 

 The bottom line is this: you cannot attack a problem unless you know what the source of the problem is.  This is the fundamental concept of problem solving.  The first step in problem solving is to identify the problem.  Until the problem is identified, there is no point in spending any money or time working on solving it.

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Taxes

Dr. Ron Paul has made a number of statements about abolishing the income tax.  Many have laughed at him for those statements.  Some other candidates agree with him that the income tax is a bad thing, but it needs to be replaced with an excise tax of some sort.

In order to understand this position, you need to look at the foundation.  Many politicians discuss the symptoms of problems without discussing the cause.  Dr. Ron Paul attempts to discuss the cause of these problems, which results in confusion among the other candidates.  This confusion leads to strawmen arguments and ad hominem attacks.

Let us examine the claim that taxation restricts liberty.  This is a very simple concept to understand, and it can be broken down in three simple steps:

  1. You work for money.
  2. Some of your money goes to the government.
  3. You work for the government.

The more taxes you pay, the more you work for the government.  Ron Paul has said that taxation is a form of violence.  Posit for a moment that your neighbor is on welfare.  With that, this argument requires more steps:

  1. You work.
  2. Some of your money goes to the government.
  3. You work for the government.
  4. The government gives some money to your neighbor.
  5. Your neighbor has your money.

In this situation, the government has taken your money, by force, and given it to someone else.  This is thievery, which is a violent act.  Any time you take money from one person and give it to another one person, it is theft.  The federal government is not allowed, by the Constitution, to do this.  In fact, the government is strictly prohibited from doing this.

All of the other candidates have no plans to lower taxes.  The democrats, in fact, plan to raise taxes.  The only way to provide any type of socialized health care is to raise taxes.  This, conveniently, is left out of the debates on socialized health care.  Some republicans have plans to change taxes, but amount of taxation will probably be the same for the common taxpayer.

The only way to reduce taxes is to cut the federal budget.  That is the only way it can be done.  You cannot add government programs and cut taxes.  You cannot keep the current programs and cut taxes.  If you bring the federal government back to its Constitutional provisions, you can cut taxes.

January 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oil Prices for Dummies

In last night’s ABC debate, the concept of high oil prices came up.  Only one person, Ron Paul, gave a coherent response to the question.  Pretending that the only factor driving the price of oil is supply and demand is simply ignorant.

Facts: The concept of currency value can be somewhat complicated.  The oil market can be somewhat complicated.  The gold market can be somewhat complicated.

 All of these things are related to one other in a web of complication.  You don’t need to be an economist to figure this out.  It is actually quite simple if you take the pieces apart.  But to start, here are some facts:

  1. All oil is traded in US dollars — even on the London oil bourse.
  2. The dollar fluctuates in value against foreign currency.
  3. The dollar has no finite backing, other than oil (a.k.a. the petrodollar)

Let us assume, for this example that one eurodollar is equal to one dollar.  That means if I go to Europe and buy a gallon of gas (yes, I’m aware they’re sold in liters in Europe) for 3 euros, I have bought a gallon of gas for 3 dollars.  Now, let us look at the real value of the euro vs. the value of the dollar.

As of today, 1 euro is equal to about 1.5 dollars.  So if I buy a gallon of gas for 3 euros, I’ve bought a gallon of gas for 4.5 dollars, because 3 times 1.5 is 4.5.  This is an example of exchange rates.

Now, as the dollar falls in value, the oil exporting countries raise the price of oil to compensate for the falling dollar.  Remember, all oil is traded in US dollars.  So if 1 euro is equal to 1 dollar, and a barrel of oil costs 30 dollars, a barrel of oil is 30 euros.  But if the euro is equal to 1.5 dollars, the oil countries have to charge 45 dollars to make that same amount of money in euros.  The actual pricing of oil is much, much, more complex, but for the sake of simplicity, this explanation is fair.

Add to all of this that the dollar is not backed by anything (except oil, which is really nothing).  So if you create new money (a.k.a. no gold standard), you’re devaluing the dollar vs. oil.

Let us assume that the dollar is backed by a jug of milk and that there is a total of 100 US dollars in circulation.  If we all of the sudden decide that there are now 200 dollars in circulation, while we only have one jug of milk, the price of that jug of milk immediately doubles to 200 dollars.  This is how the gold standard works.  This is a 10 year graph of gold prices:

The US is, in fact, on a gold standard of sorts.  The problem is that we keep increasing the amount of US dollars, which increases the price of gold.  Instead of backing the dollar in gold, we changed to backing it with oil.  And the amount of oil produced does not correlate to the amount of gold available.  As such, the value of the dollar fluctuates in regards to the value of gold — but the value of gold has never really changed.

If you don’t believe that the US dollar is backed by oil, you can look at the value of the dollar vs. the value of the currency of oil exporting countries:

When Ron Paul discusses topics like this, the other candidates attack.  The fact of the matter is they don’t understand the complexity of the global market, so they react the only way they know how, which is ad hominem attacks.  Here is Dr. Paul’s rational explanation:

January 6, 2008 Posted by | Economy | Leave a comment