In case you missed it because of all the other Donald J. Trump related BS. The House just signed a measure to allow ISPs to sell your data w/o your permission. This rolls back work done by the Obama administrations FCC chair.
The chief argument you will here from the GOP is that regulations are bad and this creates a level playing field between Comcast, Verizon and say Google. However that argument falls apart for two reasons.

One, ISPs have a near monopoly. I don’t have the ability to choose an ISP that aligns more with how I want my data used.

Two, I can choose to block the data from Google or any other internet company with Ghostery or other ad blocking tools. Your ISP has access to every bit going in and out of your internet connection which is far more invasive then data you might give to Google.
I want to be crystal clear about this. There is no way this is good for you. Unless of course you think letting the ISP sell information about every single website you visit to the highest bidder – with your real world information too, is a good thing.


Estate Tax no gain? I disagree.

There is a debate raging in Washington about repealing the estate tax. I recently was forwarded a piece written by @StephenMoore

I take issue with a number of points that the author makes and want to share them here.

1 – The fact that he calls it a “death tax” makes this is a propaganda piece. “Death Tax” was coined by Andrew Mellon specifically to garner wider support for repealing the estate tax even though it didn’t effect most Americans.

2 – We should get rid of the tax because, you know, it doesn’t really effect the budget that much. If that is the standard by which our government makes policy why does the GOP go after planned parenthood with vicious regularity? I mean their budget is only about 300 million dollars. A mere pittance against a multi-trillion dollar budget.

3 – Warren Buffet?That money isn’t “sheltered” they are giving it away to charities. He’s pledged to give away 99% of his fortune. Bill Gates? Same.

If the Koch Brothers and the rest of the billionaires effected by the repeal pledged to give most of their money away they wouldn’t be affected by the tax anyway.

4 – “Wouldn’t the smart way to create jobs be to make sure that the next generation can grow these enterprises rather than sell them off at auction to pay this economically destructive and fiscally inconsequential tax?” It’s a really stupid argument. If I’m a business owner I’m not going to decide to hire more people because I pay less taxes. Who would do that? I’m going to hire more people because demand for my goods and services have outstripped supply. What causes demand to out strip supply? More capital to more people so they can actually spend it.

Yet that reality tends to elude conservative economists who keep talking about trickle down economics. As rich executives continue to make more money year over year that demonstrably has not turned into greater salaries for others as shown in the graph below.

Or put it another way, rich people spend less. You can only consume so much stuff. You’re going to hit a point with your income that you just can’t spend anymore of it without giving it away. So the rich aren’t pumping dollars into the economy.

But they are investing you say. Yes, they are so maybe some percentage of that is indirectly going to businesses that may or may not be operating in the US. However, it’s not a guarantee that a billionaires investments are even tied to on shore assets where as a single Mom making 40k a year is mostly likely putting all her money into the national economy buying the stuff she needs to live.

5 – the fact that we’re even having this debate is kind of ludicrous. Congress shouldn’t have spent time even bringing this bill to the floor since it only does effect a few thousand people. Shouldn’t the GOP led Congress be focused on more pressing things?


Schneier on Security: Over 700 Million People Taking Steps to Avoid NSA Surveillance


In 2011, the Pentagon released its first formal cyber strategy, which called computer hacking from other nations an “act of war,” according to the Wall Street Journal. In late June of this year, WSJ reported that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, released information alleging the U.S. government was hacking Chinese targets “that include the nation’s mobile-phone companies and one of the country’s most prestigious universities.”

So, does this mean we are at war with Germany?

via US government declares hacking an act of war, then hacks allies |


Great article from Mark Hertsgaard at Newsweek / The Daily Beast about the extent to which BP covered up their use of the chemical dispersant Corexit.

  • “Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.”
  • “That BP lied about the amount of oil it discharged into the gulf is already established. Lying to Congress about that was one of 14 felonies to which BP pleaded guilty last year in a legal settlement with the Justice Department that included a $4.5 billion fine, the largest fine ever levied against a corporation in the U.S.”
  • BP appears to have withheld these safety warnings, as well as protective measures, both from the thousands of workers hired for the cleanup and from the millions of Gulf Coast residents who stood to be affected.
  • [BP] had lied about how safe Corexit is, and proof of its dishonesty would eventually fall into the hands of the Government Accountability Project, the premiere whistleblower-protection group in the U.S. The proof? A technical manual BP had received from NALCO, the firm that supplied the Corexit that BP used in the gulf.

What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.


Crazy Conspiracy Theories People Still Believe

Public Polling Policy took the opportunity to poll a bunch of conspiracy theories. The results we’re a little shocking to me. Here are a few gems.

28% of voters believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order.  A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t

51% of voters say a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination, just 25% say Oswald acted alone

Voters are split 44%-45% on whether Bush intentionally misled about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 72% of Democrats think Bush lied about WMDs, Independents agree 48-45, just 13% of Republicans think so

37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is a hoax by a 58-25 margin, Democrats disagree 11-77, and Independents are more split at  41-51. 61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax

Conspiracy Theory Poll Results – Public Policy Polling.


There’s a certain lack of awareness that comes from a party who hasn’t had a president who passed balanced budget since Eisenhower pretending they’re “fiscally conservative.” But so much of what this GOP pursues seems designed just to inflict pain.

via The GOP’s biggest problem? Mean-spiritedness | Eclectablog.


In the burger master’s view, the government is forcing him to “pass on the costs to customers,” he said. But he already passes on considerable costs to customers who may never sniff a Five Guys fry. Because he doesn’t give his employees health care, they show up as charity cases at the hospital emergency room when something goes wrong. Last year, the uninsured cost the system $39.3 billion. Guess whom the expenses are passed on to?

via Burgers, Fries and Lies –


There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher.

via Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France.


The confirmation hearing of Chuck Hagel will likely wrap up next week. This despite a GOP filibuster of a cabinet position for the first time in our country’s history.

Jon Stewart tore into John McCain over his refusal to nominate Chuck Hagel because he wants more information about Benghazi, something Chuck Hagel had nothing to do with.

Look, I am all for have a real debate during the nomination process. I have serious concerns about CIA directory nominee John Brennan’s role in rendition and the escalating drone strikes. However, when you act as petty John McCain it really makes any legitimate argument you might have about a nominee easy to ignore.