Ajit Pai Thinks he Didn’t Lie about Cyber Attack

Ajit PaiIn the IT world there’s been a heated and interesting debate going on for over a year about a denial of service attack Ajit Pai claimed happened to the FCC after his Net Neutrality announcement. The veracity of the attack has long been doubted and now Pai finally admits the truth but he is, of course, innocent of all wrongdoing.

I wrote an article detailing the entire episode which you can read to learn more about the actual events but what I’d like to focus on today is the smug expression of joy that Pai utters in assuring us he did nothing wrong. I’m pleased that this report debunks the conspiracy theory that my office or I had any knowledge that the information provided by the former CIO was inaccurate and was allowing that inaccurate information to be disseminated for political purposes.

I suppose there is some chance Pai is an abject moron and wasn’t suspicious about the claim of an attack and therefore passed along the information in all honesty but I find that all but impossible to believe. Pai is an intelligent man whose parents are both doctors. He got an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Chicago. There is no possible way he is moronic enough to have believed the lies told to him by the former Chief Information Officer of the FCC. Certainly, he wanted to believe those lies because they made his own announcement regarding the ending of Net Neutrality apparently less controversial.

Those lies served his purpose quite well but there is no way he didn’t at the very least recognize the statements he was making were highly improbable. What a person of integrity does under such circumstances is wait before publicly repeating the lies. A person with character interviews other people and makes a determined effort to find the truth rather than immediately disseminating the information for political gain.

Pai is not any of those things. He is a self-serving punk who is now patting himself on the back because technically he didn’t lie. He repeated things that were almost certainly lies without making any effort to find the truth. If I do him the disservice of believing the statement he didn’t suspect something was wrong, then I’ll apologize for calling him a lying punk, he’s just a complete and utter moron. But, I’m fairly certain that’s not the case.

It’s this kind of delusional thinking that is destroying our country. Well, technically I didn’t know it was a lie therefore I’m in the clear. Please, don’t inform me of any important facts because then I’ll know the truth and I’m so much happier simply not knowing anything because it gives me plausible deniability. What a leader! Isn’t this the kind of person you want in charge?

Tom Liberman

$375,000 Fine from FCC for Fleeting Porn

wdbj7-tv-stationA lot of my Libertarian friends are up in arms about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Net Neutrality these days but I spotted another story that, to my mind, illustrates a more significant problem. The FCC has just laid out a $375,000 fine against a television station in Roanoke, VA for accidentally displaying pornographic material, in the very corner of the screen, for about three seconds during a newscast.

The FCC was created in 1934 for the following purpose:

Regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority theretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is hereby created a commission to be known as the ‘Federal Communications Commission’, which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this Act.

It was amended in 1996 so as to have jurisdiction over the Internet as well.

What’s important here is that the FCC was created to help spread television to the people of the United States. The ability to communicate broadly across the country was seen as advantageous and the FCC was created to try and help in that process. Somewhere along the way it has become an agency which decides what is decent and what is not.

I have an enormous issue with this. If a television station wants to broadcast something they should be able to do it. If an audience doesn’t want to watch it they don’t have to watch it. If a station deceives and shows something lewd when they promised not to do so then they should lose advertisers and viewers who are outraged. It’s not up to the government to protect our precious little ears and eyes from things we don’t want to see. It’s up to us.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say they do have such a right. Within their own guidelines the base fine for indecency is $7,000. So exactly how and who came up with $375,000? It’s smacks of the arbitrary arrogance of unchecked power. Rules? We make the rules says the unanimous vote of both Republicans and Democrats on the FCC.

When you don’t follow your own rules then there are no rules.

Good luck finding their salaries. I couldn’t. The commissioners and their deputies get feted in fancy dinners paid for by various media companies. This is, of course, but the tip of the graft iceberg. I’m quite certain the commissioners and their families are well-taken care of by the various lobbying groups when it comes to vacations, sporting event tickets, and much more.

The bottom line?

This is the agency we created to help spread communication across our great country. Communication has spread. Their job is done.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

I Hate the NFL Blackout Rule – But I hate the FCC More

NFL Blackout RulesI just read an interesting story about how the Federal Communication Commission thinks they need to be involved in deciding when the National Football League broadcasts its games.

The NFL has a series of rules in which if the home team does not sell a certain number of tickets then the game cannot be broadcast in the home team’s market. This blackout includes fans who paid for the NFL Season Package either through their cable provider or internet provider.

I’m of the opinion that the NFL policy is misguided because they should desire to expand their audience, not decrease it. Even when most games were not televised on multiple outlets I think the rule was a mistake. The idea of the blackouts are to promote ticket sales by forcing people to attend the game. In the modern age the NFL is essentially shutting out a large segment of potential viewers when they do this.

The NFL is coming around to my way of thinking and has reduced the sellout rule down to 85% sales of what are called non-premium seats. They also now allow the selling of blocks of tickets at discounted rates to avoid the blackout. These new rules have meant that not a single game in the NFL has been blacked out this season. This is capitalism at work.

So now the government is getting involved. A year ago Senator John McCain of the Grand Canyon state of Arizona originally proposed a bill to force the NFL to televise all games and now the FCC is getting involved. The FCC’s argument is that those who cannot afford tickets should not be punished. What, what, what?

Those who cannot afford tickets don’t attend games, that’s the law of economics. If the NFL wants to prevent people from watching the game on television then that’s their own, misguided, business decision to make.

If a person can’t afford to see a first run movie should the studio be forced to televise it? If I can’t afford to get HBO should the network be forced to show the program over the airwaves? This is government nonsense at its worst.

Don’t mistake me, I think the NFL is better off showcasing its game on as many outlets as possible. I think content providers should release their media as broadly as possible so as to have more people watch it. This builds a loyal fan base who will watch content, buy merchandise, and see advertisements. The only reason I know about Australian Rules Football, Archer, and 20/20 Cricket is because they were released on Hulu and ESPN3.

When content providers practice to limit their audience they hurt only themselves. That being said, it’s not the government’s job to prevent a company from making stupid business decisions. When the AFL pulled their games from ESPN3 they lost me as viewer. Likewise when FX pulled Archer from Hulu. That’s their decision to make.

We Libertarians often get criticized for hating government meanwhile happily enjoying roads, appreciating teachers, police officers, firemen, parks department employees, electricity, plumbing, and many of the other things governments provides.

We don’t hate government, we just want to see it limited to the areas of its purview. When it gets involved in things like this the end result is usually bad for everyone. This NFL Blackout/FCC story isn’t the most egregious of violations but it is typical of an overreaching government that tries to right all wrongs.

Maybe they’ve got better things to do?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne