Posts tagged ‘Judiciary Committee’

Putting Crosshairs on the Succesful

Google is starting to discover that all its smug leftish do-gooder aura is not going to stop the government from trying to take it down merely for being successful.

Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the top lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee's antitrust subpanel, are urging Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz to take a hard look at whether Google is engaging in anticompetitive business practices....

"Given the scope of Google's market share in general Internet search, a key question is whether Google is using its market power to steer users to its own web products or secondary services and discriminating against other websites with which it competes," the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent Monday.

Two quick thoughts

  1. Further proof that, long ago, anti-trust actions dropped any hint of being about the consumer and have become completely about protecting competitors with connections in Washington from getting their butts kicks by a stronger company.  Look at some of the last suits - Microsoft, now maybe Google - both are actually about stopping companies from offering consumers free stuff.
  2. Isn't Google being accused of doing exactly what, say, NBC does all the time?  NBC loses money on the Superbowl and the Olympics, but uses the huge audience to cross sell its other shows and offerings.

Why Libertarians Aren't just Republicans Who Smoke Pot

Because we also think this kind of intrusion by the state is offensive.

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a “data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”

It really pisses me off that the Republicans wrap themselves in the mantle of individual liberty when challenging Obama over insane spending levels, but then, simultaneously, do this kind of crap.

When Allies Are Worse Than Your Enemies

Back in college, I burned a lot hotter on a variety of political issues.  I would argue with about anyone, and often did.  The dinner table was almost always the venue for some political fight.  During those arguments, I quickly discovered something -- people nominally on my side of the argument were sometimes my biggest problem.  I remember any number of times telling some person to shut up and let me argue the point.  People email me all the time asking me to ban some idiot commenter trolling in opposition to all my posts.  I tell them I am much more likely to ban an idiot commenter nominally supporting my point than the other way around.

Which brings me to Eric Holder:

"I've just expressed concerns on the basis of what I've heard about the law. But I'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is," Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.

This weekend Mr. Holder told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the Arizona law "has the possibility of leading to racial profiling." He had earlier called the law's passage "unfortunate," and questioned whether the law was unconstitutional because it tried to assume powers that may be reserved for the federal government.

Rep. Ted Poe, who had questioned Mr. Holder about the law, wondered how he could have those opinions if he hadn't yet read the legislation.

"It's hard for me to understand how you would have concerns about something being unconstitutional if you haven't even read the law," the Texas Republican told the attorney general.

I have never been totally comfortable with the Democratic support of immigration anyway.  The party, particularly under this administration, seems to take the position that the government can be as authoritarian as it likes, as long as it does not discriminate racially in doing so.  This post hypothesizes that the Democrats' support for immigration is political rather than principled, a desire to create the next new underclass that can be exploited for political points, and I can't really disagree based on past history.

Readers know I support open immigration.  I see immigration restrictions as government licensing of who can and can't work (and who can and can't be hired) -- an intrusion Conservatives would likely reject in any other context.  Since I am opposed to immigration limits, I am opposed to giving government extra powers in the name of enforcement, in the same way I oppose, say, asset seizure laws originally aimed at enforcement of drug prohibition.

I acknowledged that the law is less onerous in its amended form (because, you see, I actually read the whole thing, here and here for example), but what the law's supporters fail to deal with in claiming the letter of the law will not be enforced in a racist manner is how even existing law is being enforced here in Phoenix by Joe Arpaio in a racist manner.  When Joe goes into a business, and handcuffs all the people with brown skin, releasing them only when a relative or friend races to the police station with a birth certificate, it is an ugly, un-American scene (here or here or here).  I would take supporters of the bill more at their word as to how the law will actually be used in practice if they were not the same people actively cheer-leading Joe Arpaio at every turn.

All Your DNA Are Belong To Us

Boy, I totally missed this, and I live in Arizona.  Not until Reason highlighted the case was it even brought to my attention.  Apparently, Arizona is going to collect DNA samples from many of the people they arrest:

State lawmakers voted Tuesday to expand the state's DNA database
dramatically by requiring all people arrested for certain crimes to
provide DNA samples for state records whether they are convicted or not.

Conservative and liberal lawmakers alike raised alarms that the measure
would violate the civil liberties of people never convicted of a crime
and set a dangerous precedent for government collection of sensitive
genetic information.

"I think it is egregious," Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, a conservative
Republican from Gilbert and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
said on the House floor Tuesday. "It tramples on the liberties and
freedom of the people."

Apparently, the change is sneaking through buried in a budget bill.  And there are people our there who still trust the government?

 

Am I Going to Jail?

Per Reason's Hit and Run:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who never
saw a criminal penalty that couldn't be improved by making it harsher, has introduced a bill that would impose a three-year mandatory minimum sentence
on anyone who, with an expectation of financial gain, "assists, encourages,
directs, or induces" two or more foreigners to illegally reside in the U.S. The
penalty rises to five years if the encouragement leads to a crime punishable by
more than a year in prison. Families Against Mandatory Minimums notes that "the five-year mandatory minimum will nearly always
apply because the bill would also increase the maximum penalty for illegal entry
to a year and a day and provides mandatory minimum penalties of one to 10 years
for those who reenter the country following deportation." Sensenbrenner's
committee is scheduled to vote on the bill today, without any hearings.

So if I accept paid advertising on my blog, and then I publish this, am I a felon?