Hidden Clause in Democrats’ Infrastructure Bill Could Potentially Threaten Americans’ Financial Privacy

A cryptocurrency tax reporting requirement tucked inside the $1 trillion infrastructure bill threatens Americans’ financial privacy and constitutional rights, Rep. Warren Davidson warned.

An amendment to section 6050I of the U.S. tax code, buried deep inside the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act currently pending in the House, would impose new surveillance and reporting requirements on individuals trading cryptocurrencies.

The requirements would subject certain individuals transacting in “any digital asset” to a provision in the U.S. tax code requiring businesses that receive more than $10,000 in a single transaction to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the person from whom the funds were received.

“This is just another example of Democrats trying to pry away financial privacy from Americans in a completely unrelated piece of legislation,” the Ohio Republican, a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and proponent of legislation favored by the cryptocurrency industry, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Several cryptocurrency advocates drew attention to the requirement Friday, with a report by Abraham Sutherland of the cryptocurrency advocacy organization Proof of Stake Alliance first publicizing the reporting mandate.


Boeing Investigating After Discovery on New Air Force One Jet

Sutherland said the amendment would be a “disaster if it becomes law,” arguing the tax code provision does not cleanly accommodate the unique nature of cryptocurrencies.

Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at Coin Center, argued in a Friday article that the requirement would infringe on American citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights by requiring individuals to collect and report their counterparty’s sensitive information to the government without it obtaining the necessary warrant.

Does the Democrats’ bill go too far?

“If this provision becomes law, it will be ripe for a constitutional challenge and Coin Center is prepared to take on that challenge,” Valkenburgh wrote.

“The law’s relative clarity and limited applicability in the case of old-fashioned cash does not translate to digital assets,” Sutherland tweeted. “Compliance can be impossible.”

Traditionally, the federal government can collect financial information provided to banks without a warrant under the “third-party doctrine,” which exempts information voluntarily given to third parties, such as banks, from Fourth Amendment protections.


Sen. Joe Manchin Reportedly Calls for a ‘Strategic Pause’ Through End of the Year on One of the Democrats’ Biggest Policy Agendas

However, many cryptocurrency transactions do not use a third party, instead storing financial information in a distributed ledger.

“Like other reporting provisions, this reporting requirement makes Americans’ personal data more vulnerable to breaches in cybersecurity and continues to abuse the third-party doctrine,” Davidson told the DCNF.

“Democrats need to learn that Americans want government to stay out of their financial affairs and stop using lazy requirements to circumvent the constitutional right to privacy.”

The reporting requirement is the second cryptocurrency provision in the infrastructure bill to attract controversy, with the Senate approving a last-minute amendment backed by the Treasury Department to the bill in August that expanded who has to report personal information to the Internal Revenue Service.

Davidson voiced his opposition to that amendment as well, declaring the provision a means of stifling the cryptocurrency industry and expanding the Treasury Department’s ability to surveil financial transactions.

Content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of the DCNF’s original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

A version of this article appeared on the Daily Caller News Foundation website.


Congress, Constitution, Democratic Party, Democratic policy, Democrats, money, politics, taxes, unconstitutional, US news, WJ Wire

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There’s a Government Hall of Fame – but Government Is AWFUL at Everything – RedState

Barely-there President Joe Biden is arguing that the federal government should spend over $6 trillion next year — a more than 20% increase over the titanic $4.8 trillion spent this year.

But that ain’t nearly enough for government’s crony-self-dealers.  They are now debating $5.4 trillion of additional spending on an endless array of fake “infrastructure” slush funds.

The only actual argument to be made against this idiocy is almost never made anywhere by anyone.  And that is: Government is AWFUL at everything.  Having them try to do anything at all ain’t very bright.  Having them try to do…everything is really very stupid.

This job requires me to consume mass quantities of political media.  Which I am sure is penance for major sins committed in this or a prior life.

Of course, most media outlets offer a broad range of perspectives  — from hard-Left to very-hard-Left.  So they are always waving their Big Government pompoms — and less politely mass-reprising the role of Oliver Twist.

But even on the non-Left outlets, those offering (often token) opposition to the endlessly increasing avalanche of government cash?  Do so in the mildest, meekest, and weakest of ways.

Arguing that we can’t afford it clearly doesn’t resonate.  We’re almost $30 trillion in debt.  Almost no one cares.  In the very near future, the debt ceiling must be yet again raised.  The last time a small contingent of sane members of Congress tried to make the debt ceiling raise an issue — rather than a perfunctory afterthought — they were roundly attacked by everyone — including lots of Republicans.

Arguing against the tax increases alleged to offset the spending clearly doesn’t work either.  The Left’s “tax the rich” idiocy has made us the most tax-the-rich country on the planet.  The top 1% already pay 40% of the taxes.  How much thinner do you want to shave the pointy end of our economy’s upside-down pyramid?  Besides which, all the REALLY rich bribe government to exempt them from the increasingly absurd “tax the rich” rates.

Very few even argue the private sector can do things better than government — which is inching towards the never-used “government is awful” argument.  And they do so as a throwaway line rather than mining the Mariana Trench-esque vein of government idiocy.

If non-Left media types started relentlessly saying government sucks — and listing government’s endless misfires — those arguing for more government would begin to look more and more and more ridiculous.  Quite rapidly, all those not arguing for a trillion-direction rollback of government would begin to look more and more and more ridiculous.

Well, maybe.  It may already be too late.  In which case — what the heck do we have to lose?  Let it fly.

Government dangles promise after promise after promise — that they never, never deliver.

On health insurance….

Obama – If You Like Your Healthcare Montage

Obama Promises to Lower Health Insurance Premiums by $2,500 Per Year


Millions Have Lost Private Insurance Under Obamacare

Obamacare Has Doubled the Cost of Individual Health Insurance

Obama’s ‘Keep Your Plan’ Promise Labeled ‘Lie of the Year’

Government is awful on health care in totality.  You want government-only medicine?  Medicare-for-All, perhaps?  Well, we’ve had government-only medicine for almost two hundred years — it’s called the Veterans Administration (VA).  How’s that been going?

VA History and Failures

307,000 Vets May Have Died Awaiting VA Care

VA Bonuses Were Incentive to Hide Wait Times

Veterans’ Group Charges VA With Failure to Fix Health Care System

Speaking of Medicare – and its bastard stepchild Medicaid.  And while we’re at it — our government retirement program Social Security….

Social Security & Medicare Shortfalls Exceed $100 Trillion Over 30 Years

More Physicians No Longer Seeing Medicare/Medicaid Patients:

“A combination of constant battles over reimbursement rates, red tape and payment below what services actually cost has simmered for a long time.  Medicare now faces the same tell-tale signs of trouble as Medicaid, the low-income health program.  One-third of primary care doctors won’t take new patients on Medicaid.”

And as the government-only VA has demonstrated for two centuries….

Medicare for All: Bad for Doctors and Patients Alike

How about government picking and choosing which energy sources we can use…?

Even Michael Moore Now Knows: ‘Green Energy’ – Is Neither Green Nor Energy

We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Renewables Make Energy Expensive Since That’s Always Been The Greens’ Goal

The Dark Side of Renewable Energy: Negative Impacts of Renewables on the Environment

The ‘Green Energy’ Lobby is About Cronyism – Not Polar Bears

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill: Green Handouts for the Politically Connected

Government can’t do ANYTHING.  Those of you still rooting for that massive “infrastructure” spending…?

Federal ‘Infrastructure’? State-Local Government and Crony Bail Outs and Slush Funds

Obama Admitted $787 Billion Stimulus Was Utter Failure – ‘There Were No Shovel Ready Jobs’

And of course — government awfulness in general….

50 Examples of Government Waste

Bizarre Examples of Wasteful Government Spending

The Poison of Government Corruption and Abuse of Power

So when government promises this….

Infrastructure Framework Has $65 Billion for Universal Broadband

Oh look — it’s government-only Broadband-for-All….

Meanwhile, in Ways and Means:

“House Ways and Means Committee Democrats tucked in a proposed tax credit for local governments that run their own broadband networks, which Democrats say are better attuned to local needs. Republicans and the telecom industry broadly oppose municipal broadband projects, complaining local governments lack the scale and expertise for network building.”

Oh, look — Republicans timidly saying “local governments lack the scale and expertise for network building.”  That’s an inch in the direction of “government is AWFUL at everything.”…

Broadband Boondoggles:

“For decades, local governments have made promises of faster and cheaper broadband networks. Unfortunately, these municipal networks often don’t deliver or fail, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Explore the map to learn about the massive debt, waste and broken promises left behind by these failed government networks.”

Because government is AWFUL at everything.

And, oh look — this government trip is totally unnecessary:

“(A)ccording to the Federal Communications Commission, 99.99% of the U.S. population has access to one or more internet service providers offering cable, DSL, fiber, fixed wireless, satellite or another type of internet service….”

We’re already there.  Thanks exclusively to the private sector — and not at all to government.

We’ll end this ceaseless cavalcade of soul-crushing government idiocy – with this….

Government Hall of Fame Inductees to Be Unveiled Next Week:

“Dr. Anthony Fauci. Colin Powell. Madeleine Albright….

“These are just a few of the luminaries who have been inducted into the Government Hall of Fame in the two years since Government Executive created the prestigious honor.

“Now we’re about to unveil this year’s class, along with the visionaries, directors, pathfinders, partners and defenders whose outstanding achievements have made them the winners of this year’s Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards.”

And no, most unfortunately — that isn’t the Babylon Bee.

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Biden To Nominate Privacy Advocate for FTC Leadership Spot

Alvaro Bedoya is the latest big tech critic tapped for the agency

Alvaro Bedoya (YouTube)

Santi Ruiz • September 14, 2021 1:30 pm

President Joe Biden will nominate privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Trade Commission, a move signaling the administration’s intent to crack down on big tech.

A professor and founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University, Bedoya has criticized big tech and called on Congress to regulate facial recognition technologies commonly used by law enforcement. His nomination signals the Biden administration’s willingness to expand the scope of the FTC, an independent federal agency that enforces antitrust and consumer protection laws. If confirmed, Bedoya will solidify a Democratic majority on the Biden FTC, which voted in July to expand its authority to go after big tech.

Newly installed FTC chair Lina Khan has called on the agency to target powerful tech companies, even if they don’t technically qualify as monopolists. In her brief tenure as chair, Khan has moved to consolidate power at the FTC. Earlier this summer, Khan successfully pushed to make it easier for just one commissioner to open an investigation into corporate practices, meaning commissioners can pursue pet enforcement projects without buy-in from other commissioners. She has also instituted a gag order on FTC employees, saying the agency’s resources are too strained to justify external speaking engagements.

These changes give individual commissioners greater authority to target companies directly. Bedoya and Khan have both publicly criticized major tech platforms, and Bedoya’s work has focused on facial recognition and drone tools. Bedoya has been particularly critical of companies that provide tools for immigration enforcement, calling them the “technology behind ICE’s brutality.” FTC commissioner Rebecca Slaughter has focused on curbing race and gender bias in commonly used algorithms.

Some antitrust lawyers worry the FTC’s attempts to reign in big tech are out of bounds. Khan has pursued a lawsuit against Facebook that some more traditional antitrust experts have called an overreach.

Bedoya has served as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law and worked for Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.). If confirmed, Bedoya would replace Rohit Chopra, an aggressive antitrust advocate who has been nominated to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Democrats currently hold a 3-2 majority on the FTC board of commissioners.

House Democrats last week proposed increasing the FTC’s funding by $1 billion to support a new privacy division, which Bedoya would likely be involved in.

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Not All Business Is Good Business – RedState

One thing some on the Right REALLY need to get over in a hurry is their knee-jerk defense of any business anywhere no matter what.

Just because some amalgam of humanity has filed for a Corporation or LLC designation doesn’t mean they are always and forever good.

Never has this been more applicable and important than now.  Big Government has never before been bigger — or more for sale by the pound to Big Business.

Some past Republicans have intimated at least some understanding of at least some aspects of this.

“You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” 

— Ronald Reagan

Left out of the Gipper’s list — is Big Business.  Like Big Government, Big Businesses take on gravitational pulls of their own.  They become sclerotic, bureaucratic messes — like Big Government.

And Big Business — like every organism, including Big Government — will do any and everything to survive and thrive. No matter how corrupt it all may be.

Most unfortunately, Big Government and Big Business have formed a corrupt symbiosis to ensure their combined, ever-growing dominance.  This has nigh always been defined as corporatism — or a corporatocracy:

“A system of government that serves the interest of, and may be run by, corporations and involves ties between government and business.

“Where corporations, conglomerates, and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country, including carrying out economic planning notwithstanding the ‘free market’ label.”

Starting to sound familiar?  It should, because it is not the first time in human history this has happened:

“Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy….

“(A)n economic policy component of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and ‘30s as ‘corporatism,’…was an essential ingredient of economic totalitarianism as practiced by Mussolini and Hitler.

“So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a ‘model’ by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe. A version of economic fascism was in fact adopted in the United States in the 1930s and survives to this day.”

This is from Leftist Wikipedia, so they incorrectly ascribe fascism (and, bizarrely, Hitler’s National Socialism) to the “far-right.”

All of this should sound really familiar – because it does indeed survive to this day in the US.  This from 2012:

“The old story that the interests of big government and big business collide is antiquated and outdated—a product of a less sophisticated age when mainstream debate still had relevancy, the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ had concrete definitions, and the people who wore those terms had real arguments about the substance of governance.

“Recent revelations and ongoing developments prove that, with few exceptions, there is no collision between big business and big government. There is collusion. Their interests often coalesce, and together they form a nexus of centralized power.

“A bureaucratized billionaire Goliath then swings his club against the David of human scale community—the David whose job at the slingshot factory was outsourced years ago, and whose rocks were confiscated by the State rock collecting agency.”

All of this should sound REALLY familiar.  This from 2013….

Big Data, Big Business, Big Government, Bigger Brother:

“Now, combine those corporate Big Data resources with the real possibility of the government being able to access them…and throw in a generous helping of mission creep and what have you got? Bigger Brother on steroids.”

And this from January….

The New Cronyism: Big Tech Censors Conservatives – Democrats Deliver Crony Policies

Now all of the above has arrived — only bigger and worse than anyone envisioned.

Big Tech and Big Business are in each others’ hip pockets.  Between the two fly endless supplies of personnel swaps, political contributions, crony policy paybacks, and corporate political impositions.  One giant hand washing the other.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

This is great for Big Government and Big Business — the aforementioned twin Goliaths.

This is awful for us Davids — and the now-hollowed-out nation Big Government and Big Business have made for us.

Again, the problem isn’t Big Government versus Big Business.  It’s Big Government and Big Business versus us.

Attempts at addressing this unholy alliance by having one crony punish the other — like, say, via government antitrust action — is deeply flawed wishful thinking.

That’s having a corrupt prosecutor investigate…the criminal who most contributed to his corruption.  How’s that going to go?

Big Government has made a lot of noise about bringing Big Tech to heel.  BG will loudly launch many investigations of BT…all of which will silently result in absolutely nothing happening.

If we are to have any hope of unwinding this unholy alliance, we must divide to conquer.  We must address the Big Government cronyism that allowed Big Tech to become Big Tech.

How Did Big Tech Get So Big? Massive Government Cronyism – Like Section 230:

“Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996…provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an interactive computer service who publish information provided by others….

“A person who works for one of the biggest of Big Tech companies – a conservative I’ve known for years…turned to me and whispered something along the lines of:

“‘If you get rid of Section 230 – it will kill these companies.’

“Really?  Many of these near-trillion companies got to be near-trillion dollar companies – almost solely because of Section 230?

“And they can’t exist without it?

“That sounds like the quintessential definition of government cronyism.”

Big Tech: We Keep Ignoring the Blatantly Obvious:

“(Section 230) is anti-Fourteenth Amendment un-equal protection before the law – that no one else in the history of the country has ever received….

“Why do the biggest and richest companies in the history of Planet Earth get government-imposed blanket third-party-action immunity?”

Of course, we know why Big Tech gets this cronyism.

Because they are the biggest cronies in the history of cronyism — of the biggest government in the history of government.

Cronyism isn’t going to address itself.  Big Government “investigating” Big Tech will get us absolutely nowhere.

To address cronyism we must address it for them.

Section 230 has got to go.

Note: I realize I am asking a lot of a corrupt and largely inert Congress — also mostly bought-and-paid-for by Big Tech.  But my solution has at least two things going for it:

  • It is the correct remedy and an actual solution, and
  • We elect Congress – we do not elect bureaucrats like antitrust officials. We can actually apply direct pressure to that particular fetid, festering body politic – in the hopes of getting it to do something.

So there’s that….

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Man busted for hiding camera in bathroom during pool party

A Missouri man hid a video camera in his bathroom during a pool party at his home, recording several guests — who confronted him about the depraved act a day later, authorities said.

Kyle Jon Vandermolen, 40, of St. Charles, was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of invasion of privacy after a woman using a bathroom at his home during an Aug. 29 pool party found a “covert video surveillance camera” pointed at the toilet, according to charges filed by St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar.

Cops said in a probable cause statement that about 20 people were at the gathering. The woman who allegedly found the device removed its memory and told her husband, as well as Vandermolen’s wife, before taking it home with her, authorities said.

The memory card had 11 videos on it that were taped earlier that day, including two clips of the hubby of the woman who discovered the hidden camera using the bathroom that showed his penis in the reflection of a mirror, charges show.

“The other videos show four different females enter the bathroom, remove their swim trunk bottoms and sit on the toilet,” the probable cause statement continues. “One of the videos is of a 4-year-old boy urinating in the toilet.”

One day after the party, the woman who found the camera and other neighbors confronted Vandermolen at his home on Ashley Place, where he confessed to placing the “covert camera” in the bathroom, authorities said.

Kyle Vandermolen remains free after posting $10,000 bond and intends to plead not guilty.

“Kyle Vandermolen blamed it on his ‘drinking,’” the probable cause statement continued. “Kyle Vandermolen advised that he had Googled counselors.”

Vandermolen apologized to the woman and the other neighbors who confronted him and recorded the interaction, a recording which was later turned over to investigators, police said.

Vandermolen, who remains free after posting $10,000 bond, declined to speak with detectives following his arrest, cops said. His attorney told The Post Tuesday he intends to plead not guilty.

“My client asserts his innocence,” attorney John Schleiffarth said while declining to speak directly about the alleged video clips. “There’s plenty of time for additional evidence to come to light. I would encourage the public not to jump to any conclusions.”

Vandermolen faces up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted, a spokeswoman for Lohmar’s office said.

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Everyone’s Favorite Four-Letter Word – RedState

I am of course referring to “free.”

Everyone loves things that are free.  Because human nature.  Because duh.

“My favorite thing is free stuff. I’ll take anything.”

— Cindy Margolis

“I’ll do anything for free stuff.”

— Sandra Bullock

The contrast of free versus not-free has energized the human mind – since there were humans and minds.

 “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.”

— Coco Chanel

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”

— David Lee Roth

But almost nothing in life is actually free.  What we almost always really mean is free TO US.  We want it — we just don’t want to pay for it ourselves.  Because human nature.  Because math.  Because duh.  Except….

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

— Milton Friedman

“Nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for. For every profit in one thing, payment in some other thing.”

— Ted Hughes

Of course, since there’s been government, it has known of — and exploited — our fascination with “free” stuff.  Some of us have long been warning the rest of us.  Not that most of us were listening.

“Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefit from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship….”

— Alexander Fraser Tytler

“(I)f you like a Washington that offers free stuff…that’s what you get.”

— Nina Easton

And here we all are — in the United States in 2021.

The biggest deliverer of “free” stuff in the history of humanity is the US federal government.  In 2022, President Joe Biden and his DC comrades propose a budget of $6.011 trillion.  A busted budget filled-to-the-brim with “free” stuff.  This is a huge pile-on atop the $4.829 trillion 2021 budget.

Two years — nearly $11 trillion.

But for DC, even that is not enough “free” stuff.  Democrats also currently propose we spend $5.4 trillion on two additional explosions of “free” stuff masquerading as “infrastructure.”

Is DC any good at doing any of the stuff they’re doing for “free?”  Of course not.

The New Deal Made the Great Depression Worse. Let’s Not Repeat It


We Lost the War on Poverty: Why Welfare Keeps Poor People Poor


Where has this near-century of government “free” stuff failure gotten us?

Our national debt is hurtling towards $30 trillion.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg….

Behind CBO’s $100 Trillion in Projected Deficits Over 30 Years

We’re all The Titanic now.

As of last year, DC had cumulatively spent $22 trillion on The War on Poverty.  Spread out over nearly sixty years.

DC is proposing we spend nearly $16.5 trillion in Biden’s first two years.

Because many millions more of us than ever before are voting for “free” stuff.

Our slide down history’s razor blade increases in speed as we hurtle ever closer to our inevitable collapse.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”

— Ariel Durant

The best way to destroy ourselves from within?  Just the sort of socialism in which we have long engaged — and which we are obscenely accelerating even as I type.

Socialism being the redistribution of “free” stuff:

“A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.”

In other words?  Someone else pays for stuff — and you get it.  “Unequal distribution of goods” means “free” stuff.

In other words?

 “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

— Karl Marx

We’ve been here before.  Over and over again.  For many, many millennia.

How Imperial Socialism Shattered the Roman Empire

Why Socialism Failed: Soviet Union

Cuba: A Story of Socialist Failure

Venezuela: The Bankruptcy of Socialism

I can assure you with absolute moral certitude: this time in this country won’t be any different.

Government can’t do anything well.  Government does almost everything awfully.

The Catastrophic Impact of Covid Forced Societal Lockdowns

Declassified Files Expose How US Officials Saw Collapse Coming After 20 Years of Failure in Afghanistan

But like a gambling addict who is WAY upside down, the worse DC does, the bigger they subsequently go.

Spend two years destroying society in the name of the China Virus?  Spend two decades failing in Afghanistan?  Spend nearly a century watching your “free” stuff socialism fail?

Go bigger:  $16.6 trillion in spending in two years.

And of course, contained therein is a LOT of ridiculous “free” stuff universalism.  To wit:

Biden Promises Broadband for All:

“The president’s plan calls for $100 billion over eight years to ensure every American has broadband access.”

Except the private sector has already done that:

(A)ccording to the Federal Communications Commission, 99.99% of the U.S. population has access to one or more internet service providers offering cable, DSL, fiber, fixed wireless, satellite or another type of internet service of 4 Mbps or higher.”

We don’t need the government to “ensure every American has broadband access.”  Because every American already does.

This is a perfect encapsulation of the failure of socialism — versus the success of capitalism.

The government promises to do something which can be much better done by the private sector.  Especially so in this case — because it has already been done by the private sector.

But none of that seems to matter.

Government is by now reflexively predisposed to propose maximum “free” stuff socialism.

Because too many of us have been voting for it. For too many decades.

We are Rome.  And Russia.  And Cuba.  And Venezuela.  And….

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Christopher Yoo, “The First Amendment, Common Carriers, and Public Accommodations: Net Neutrality, Digital Platforms, and Privacy”

The last article the free speech and social media platforms symposium in the first issue of our Journal of Free Speech Law; you can read the whole article (by Christopher Yoo, Penn) here, but here’s the abstract:

Recent prominent judicial opinions have assumed that common carriers have few to no First Amendment rights and that calling an actor a common carrier or public accommodation could justify limiting its right to exclude and mandating that it provide nondiscriminatory access. A review of the history reveals that the underlying law is richer than these simple statements would suggest. The principles for determining what constitutes a common carrier or a public accommodation and the level of First Amendment protection both turn on whether the actor holds itself out as serving all members of the public or whether it asserts editorial discretion over whom to carry or host. This gives putative common carriers and public accommodations substantial control over their First Amendment status. The jurisprudence on privacy regulation, quasi-common carriers, non-common carriage services, and public accommodations confirms that the First Amendment protections they enjoy are substantial.

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Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Fiasco Threatens DC’s Domestic Expansion Agenda – RedState

President Joe Biden’s addled idiocy in Afghanistan has forced DC into self-protection mode.  A mentality about which we have long spoken and written:

“Government is just another organism. Just like any other other organism, its first priority is self-preservation.

“Its second – is to grow. The most it possibly can. It wants to be bigger, do more – control more.

“There are more than four million humans who work in just the federal government. Most of them see preserving and growing government as in their interest. And see those who want Less Government as the enemy.

“The allure of the More Government mantra is strong – too strong for most of the humans who join the Borg.  Even for many of the allegedly Less Government Republican Party – they too too often succumb to More Government’s siren song.”

How did we get here?  How did we get stuck with a President Biden and his ongoing, rolling nightmare mess?

The Left in 2020 cut a deal with Biden, Inc and the Democrat Party.  The Left would ignore Biden’s clearly deteriorating mental capacity — and Biden’s more-cognizant handlers would impose the most radical Leftist agenda in US history.

Of course, the Americans who actually voted for Biden voted for a “return to American normalcy” — not a Leftist revolution.

But Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco is threatening the entire mass-expansion agenda DC is in the process of implementing.

How can DC sell itself doing everything?  When Biden is nakedly demonstrating that DC is incapable of doing anything?  And that they incessantly lie about every thing they undertake?

Make no mistake:  Afghanistan is MUCH more than just Biden’s calamity.  Afghanistan is a twenty-year, $2.2 trillion, tens-of-thousands-of-lives-lost-and-devastated entirety-of-DC disaster.

DC spent the last two decades lying their faces off about the incredible new Afghanistan they claimed they were creating.  If you listened to DC unquestioningly, you may have thought Afghanistan would any day now apply for US statehood — so great was this new thing DC had built.

Biden’s disastrous withdrawal revealed the totality of the failure of DC’s missionary war democracy project.

Afghanistan Collapsed Because Corruption Had Hollowed Out the State

The Afghan government immediately imploded — and its alleged president fled the country with $169 million of our money.  A government we had built entirely in the Left’s image:

““Ahmad Samim Hoshmand, who served as the national ozone director in Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency until the (Taliban) takeover….”

The Afghan economy is almost totally medieval.  But our government was paying for their government to have a “national ozone director in Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency.”

The U.S. Ignored Corruption Within the Afghan Government. Did That Lead to Its Fall?

Gee…I wonder….

The alleged military and police forces we had spent decades and hundreds of billions building?

Afghanistan Military Plagued By Corruption, ‘Ghost Soldiers’

Ineffective, Unprofessional, and Corrupt: The Afghan National Police

Five seconds after we began withdrawing, Afghan forces happily shook hands with and handed arms to the Taliban.

Oh: Rank-and-file US soldiers spent the entirety of the process telling us it was a titanic waste of everything.  Here’s a December 2009 news report in which a US soldier describes the Afghan training problem:

“They’re not very intelligent.  The common sense factor is lacking a lot.  They, uh…ummm…it’s like teaching a bunch of five-year-olds.”

Again, this was way back in 2009.  Yet we thereafter wasted another twelve years.

I’m sure it was a two-decade running joke amongst the rank-and-file US soldiers in country.  I’m sure they and their superior officers incessantly reported the folly up the chain of command.  But their Reality Reports ended up in DC — where Reality goes to get murdered and openly defied.

To protect Big Government, Big Tech, Big Media, Big Hollywood, all the other Bigs are now circling the wagons — with Biden on the outside.

They’re intentionally muddling the Afghanistan message.  Using Biden’s incredibly inept withdrawal to paper over DC’s incredibly inept and corrupt twenty-year Afghanistan idiocy.

Because while Biden accidentally reveals DC’s foreign ineptitude, DC is working on mass-expanding its domestic ineptitude.

To wit:  DC is working on spending an extra $5.4 trillion this year — on top of the $4.5 trillion it is already spending this year.  And the point of all of that extra domestic money?

Federal ‘Infrastructure’? State-Local Government and Crony Bail Outs and Slush Funds

Biden Celebrates $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Says It ‘Will Transform America’

Biden: $3.5 Trillion Build Back Better Bill Is ‘Going to Transform America’

Of course, the Americans who actually voted for Biden voted for a “return to American normalcy” — not an American transformation.

And DC’s “experts” have been issuing ever-expanding China Virus edicts.  Vaccine-and-mask mandates and societal lockdowns — to which DC never subjects itself.  Predicated upon DC “science” that has been repeatedly contradictory and at its best opaque.

So when DC casually asserts something absurd like this….

Striking a Deal to Strengthen Broadband Access for All

Really?  DC is going to connect everyone to the Internet?  Yes, just like they turned Afghanistan into a 51st state.

DC’s fake “infrastructure” bill will waste $65 billion having governments pretend to be in the broadband business.

DC doesn’t tell you governments have already spent a quarter-century and $100+ billion in more than 400 failing attempts to do that.

DC insists government must be expanded here too — so it’s once more into the breach, dear Comrades, once more.

And just as in Afghanistan, the number of grasping hands out for free government money is always unlimited:

“Demand outstrips supply: More than 230 communities across 49 states and U.S. territories are seeking their slice….”

The federal government doesn’t have to balance its budget — which is why and how it is nearly $30 trillion in debt.  Local governments have to balance their budgets.  So they’re lining up for free money from The Feds — to engage in Afghanistan-esque broadband folly.  Just as they have for about a century.

Because of course, DC and its down-ballot government minions will all be just as riddled-with-corruption-and-ineptitude as they have always been domestically.  Just as they have been in Afghanistan.

But DC won’t let any or all of this stop them.  Or even slow them down.  Nor will any of the state or local government federal-handout-seekers.

We’re all Afghanistan now.

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Another Big Tech Crony Free Ride That Needs to End – RedState

Big Tech is titanically huge.  Behold some market caps….

Microsoft:                                $2.29 trillion

Alphabet (Google/YouTube):  $1.85 trillion

Amazon:                                  $1.62 trillion

Facebook:                               $1.01 trillion

And Big Tech uses its hugeness to purchase metric tons of crony government policy.  Behold some 2019-2020 federal lobbying and contribution tallies….

Alphabet (Google/YouTube):  $49.06 million

Amazon:                                  $48.31 million

Facebook:                               $44.36 million

Microsoft:                                $40.79 million

That is a monstrous amount of money in DC — even by corrupt DC’s corrupt standards.  But it is a tiny pittance to these monstrous corporate monstrosities.  Pocket change from the world’s deepest pockets.

Should Big Tech ever not get all the crony policy they want?  They have metric tons of additional money they can pour upon the problem.

The policy dynamic Big Tech’s crony dominance has developed is patently absurd.  Big Tech is totally absolved from all sorts of very expensive government programs — and VERY expensive private sector investments.  Thanks to some very stupid, VERY crony government policy.

We’ve much discussed lots of crony policies Big Tech purchases.  To revisit but one….

How Did Big Tech Get So Big? Massive Government Cronyism:

“Net Neutrality is a stupidly huge government imposition in the Internet – specifically on the ISPs.  A whole host of regulations restricting just about everything (Internet Service Providers) ISPs do to provide us service.

“ISPs ask governments – to leave them alone with this Net Neutrality nonsense.

“Big Tech demands government impose Net Neutrality – because it guarantees them huge government-mandated benefits.

“To name but one:

“As mentioned, Big Tech consumes way more than half of all US bandwidth.  Net Neutrality – mandates they not be charged any money for any of it.

“We the Little People would pay MUCH more for our service – to subsidize the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google.

“Net Neutrality is massive government regulation – to impose massive Big Tech cronyism.”

Why do ISPs — and us — get the short end of the government stick?  Because ISPs are so much smaller than Big Tech.

Comcast:                                $272.68 billion

Verizon:                                   $229.86 billion

AT&T:                                      $196.85 billion

Charter:                                   $145.97 billion

So ISPs can’t fend off the Big Government cronyism Big Tech buys.

Here’s another Big Tech crony benefit that we haven’t addressed in more than a little while.  Behold the Universal Service Fund (USF).

What is the USF?:

“(A) system of telecommunications subsidies and fees managed by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intended to promote universal access to telecommunications services in the United States.”

“Fees” – ???  Government never wants to call its taxes “taxes.”  And the USF taxes are MASSIVE.  We addressed this in September 2017….

More Broadband Access for Everyone? Get Rid of the Massive Government Taxes and Fees:

“On wireless, there is the Universal Service Fund (USF) tax. Which is currently a monstrous 18.1%. And it goes up automatically every three months. And can also be raised whenever by three votes from unelected Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bureaucrats.”

That tax rate has become an even more monstrous 33.4% in the second quarter of this year.  And it’ll be even higher this quarter — because it goes up every quarter.  This is simply ridiculous.

Guess who gets taxed?:

“Telecommunications companies must pay a percentage of their interstate end-user revenues to the Universal Service Fund. This percentage is called the contribution factor.”

“Contribution” – ???  Government never wants to call its taxes “taxes.”

And did you note who pays — and by omission who doesn’t?

ISPs pay.  And by extension, we do.

But monstrous Big Tech doesn’t pay a dime.  How’s that for even more cronyism?

Some of DC is finally attempting to rectify this ridiculousness.

Senate Republicans Propose Making Big Tech Pay For Internet Infrastructure:

“The Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable Contributions Act…directs the (Federal Communications Commission) FCC to consider collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from Big Tech companies ‘such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google,’ the lawmakers announced in a statement Wednesday.”

And now behold perhaps the understatement of all-time:

“‘For too long, Big Tech has been able to profit off of the critical infrastructure used for common day-to-day activities while not helping at a sufficient level to improve those capabilities with broadband investment….’”

When I write, as I write, I of course do lots of live-time research.  When I write, I first write a working headline — which may or may not be changed by the time I’ve finished researching and writing.  The writing process doesn’t always end where it began.

Again, I chose as today’s working headline “Another Big Tech Crony Free Ride That Needs to End.”  The absolute last thing I came across online as I was finishing this article?

Ending Big Tech’s Free Ride

By FCC Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr.

Great minds think alike…:

“(T)he FCC’s current model for funding internet builds. Many consumers are unaware that the federal government collects roughly $9 billion a year through a tax on their monthly bills for traditional telephone service—both wireless and wireline. The FCC then uses that pot of money, known as the Universal Service Fund, to support internet builds in rural areas and on other efforts to close the digital divide….

“Big Tech has been enjoying a free ride on our internet infrastructure while skipping out on the billions of dollars in costs needed to maintain and build that network. Indeed, one study shows that the online streaming services provided by just five companies—Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Microsoft—account for a whopping 75 percent of all traffic on rural broadband networks.

“The same study shows that 77-94 percent of total network costs are related to adding capacity or otherwise supporting the delivery of those streaming services. Ordinary Americans, not Big Tech, have been footing the bill for those costs.

“Yet Big Tech derives tremendous value from these high-speed networks. Indeed, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google generated nearly $1 trillion in revenues in 2020 alone—an almost 20 percent increase over the prior year.

“It would take just 0.009 percent of those revenues to eliminate entirely the unsustainable 30 percent tax that currently hits consumers on their monthly bills….

“Ending Big Tech’s free ride on the internet would represent a long-overdue return to the historic compact under which the businesses that benefit from a network pay their fair share for it. It would lower monthly bills for millions of Americans.”

Big Tech’s USF funding exemption is yet another example of We the Taxpayers augmenting Big Tech’s MASSIVE profits.

For what would be a tiny pittance of these monstrous corporate monstrosities’ profits.

This crony nonsense absolutely has to end.  Because it’s ending US.

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