Tag Archive | "Sales tax"

Tech at Night: FCC Budget battle ahead, Marketplace Fairness sales tax compact, Boo on Rick Santorum’s censorship


Tech at Night

The FCC may yet get what’s coming to it. It’s been going out of its way to get headlines as it tries to pick winners and losers in industry, but now the attention is coming from the House as the Appropriations Committee will discuss the FCC’s budget. Prepare for hysterical shouting on the order of the SimCity 2000 Transportation advisor if the Republicans threaten to cut funding.

Also, we’re back to discussing the Marketplace Fairness Act. As we’ve discussed before, this is a bill that would give Congressional approval to an interstate compact between the states to collect sales tax across state lines, requires member states to harmonize their tax rules to fit in with the interstate system. The bill is gaining Congressional support this time around. In theory I’m fine with this. It’s Constitutional and it’s reasonable. I disagree with Overstock.com’s complaints of complexity, because the compact imposes restrictions on the way the states can tax items, and also creates mechanisms to ease collection of the taxes.

All I would ask is that we get some safeguards in that make it impossible to include any sort of national sales tax in the system. We don’t want Canada-style taxation through the back door.

Also, Tech at Night is sending a raspberry to Rick Santorum for his Internet censorship plans. Are there legitimate social reasons to restrict pornography? Yes, just like there are legitimate social reasons to restrict alcohol. But regulating vice is not a Constitutional role of the national government. Keep it local, I say. If we can have dry counties then we can have clean counties. But the last thing we want is to empower the next Eric Holder to regulate Internet content, thank you very much.

The aftershocks of the end of the copyright infringement haven Megaupload continue to hit the Internet. The courts are pressing Rapidshare to take precautions, and a group of ISPs is preparing proactive steps to prevent abuse of their resources. Note that BGR refers to this as affecting ‘downloaders,’ but it’s likely that in truth his is going after copyright infringers, including BitTorrent users who are uploading and downloading.

More on copyright: Copyright troll Righthaven is being put completely out of business, as the courts are stripping it of its copyrights in order to pay off its bills. Game over.

Funny note: While Sprint’s given up on Lightsquared (though the firm itself has little choice but to fight on) and Chuck Grassley is demanding transparently about the relationship between Lightsquared and the FCC, Alan Nunnelee is sticking up for them. Look, in concept I agree with him. But I think we need to know more about what Grassley is investigating before we defend them. Too much smoke not to check for a fire.

PATENT WARS: A previous Apple win in Germany is rolled back.

You know how I keep saying Anonymous is not the mass, anonymous, nebulous movement it claims to be? They seem to have admitted it themselves by claiming that Anonymous OS is ‘fake’. It can only be fake if there’s a specific, defined group that makes up Anonymous.

Does Google’s envelope-pushing innovation, and the risks that innovation entails, run the further risk drawing justified government action? I sure hope not, and I disagree with those who would say that they deserve it. If you find them ‘creepy,’ then use somebody else.

Iran attacks the BBC online. Here, again, is a case where domestic regulation wouldn’t really help. We need aggressive action against the bad guys, though of course that’s hard to do when the attackers are abroad. But trying to regulate the victims at home is not a legitimate substitute just because it’s easier.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: FCC Budget battle ahead, Marketplace Fairness sales tax compact, Boo on Rick Santorum’s censorship


Tech at Night

The FCC may yet get what’s coming to it. It’s been going out of its way to get headlines as it tries to pick winners and losers in industry, but now the attention is coming from the House as the Appropriations Committee will discuss the FCC’s budget. Prepare for hysterical shouting on the order of the SimCity 2000 Transportation advisor if the Republicans threaten to cut funding.

Also, we’re back to discussing the Marketplace Fairness Act. As we’ve discussed before, this is a bill that would give Congressional approval to an interstate compact between the states to collect sales tax across state lines, requires member states to harmonize their tax rules to fit in with the interstate system. The bill is gaining Congressional support this time around. In theory I’m fine with this. It’s Constitutional and it’s reasonable. I disagree with Overstock.com’s complaints of complexity, because the compact imposes restrictions on the way the states can tax items, and also creates mechanisms to ease collection of the taxes.

All I would ask is that we get some safeguards in that make it impossible to include any sort of national sales tax in the system. We don’t want Canada-style taxation through the back door.

Also, Tech at Night is sending a raspberry to Rick Santorum for his Internet censorship plans. Are there legitimate social reasons to restrict pornography? Yes, just like there are legitimate social reasons to restrict alcohol. But regulating vice is not a Constitutional role of the national government. Keep it local, I say. If we can have dry counties then we can have clean counties. But the last thing we want is to empower the next Eric Holder to regulate Internet content, thank you very much.

The aftershocks of the end of the copyright infringement haven Megaupload continue to hit the Internet. The courts are pressing Rapidshare to take precautions, and a group of ISPs is preparing proactive steps to prevent abuse of their resources. Note that BGR refers to this as affecting ‘downloaders,’ but it’s likely that in truth his is going after copyright infringers, including BitTorrent users who are uploading and downloading.

More on copyright: Copyright troll Righthaven is being put completely out of business, as the courts are stripping it of its copyrights in order to pay off its bills. Game over.

Funny note: While Sprint’s given up on Lightsquared (though the firm itself has little choice but to fight on) and Chuck Grassley is demanding transparently about the relationship between Lightsquared and the FCC, Alan Nunnelee is sticking up for them. Look, in concept I agree with him. But I think we need to know more about what Grassley is investigating before we defend them. Too much smoke not to check for a fire.

PATENT WARS: A previous Apple win in Germany is rolled back.

You know how I keep saying Anonymous is not the mass, anonymous, nebulous movement it claims to be? They seem to have admitted it themselves by claiming that Anonymous OS is ‘fake’. It can only be fake if there’s a specific, defined group that makes up Anonymous.

Does Google’s envelope-pushing innovation, and the risks that innovation entails, run the further risk drawing justified government action? I sure hope not, and I disagree with those who would say that they deserve it. If you find them ‘creepy,’ then use somebody else.

Iran attacks the BBC online. Here, again, is a case where domestic regulation wouldn’t really help. We need aggressive action against the bad guys, though of course that’s hard to do when the attackers are abroad. But trying to regulate the victims at home is not a legitimate substitute just because it’s easier.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Ron Johnson backing GOP’s SECURE IT Act, Anonymous fails again


Tech at Night

Harry Reid may be on a mad dash to bring the radical Liebmerman/Collins/Rockefeller cybersecurity bill, but a broad spectrum of Republicans continue to fight. Democrats may have toned down its Internet Kill Switch provisions, but still is a massive power grab online, and the new SECURE IT act is a much better idea.

What I absolutely love about SECURE it is that it hits all the key points: It strengthens criminal penalties for breaking into servers. It strengthens criminal penalties for breaking into servers (Yes, I said that twice on purpose because it’s that important). It creates private sector information sharing incentives without regulating the private sector at large. It turns inward and gets government to audit its own practices.

These are all the right ideas and none of the wrong ideas. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is speaking only the common-sense truth when he says “This bill recognizes that industry is at the center of any solution. It’s a sensible step forward that allows industry to invest in innovation and job creation rather than compliance. Imposing a costly and bureaucratic regulatory regime is the wrong approach to national security. New regulations will slow down innovation and investment while companies wait years for the government to introduce outdated standards. The regulatory process simply cannot keep up with the rapid pace of technology.”

It tells you just how basic and correct this bill is when it has co-sponsorship from such a broad spectrum of the caucus: Ron Johnson as mentioned, John McCain, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chuck Grassley, Saxby Chambliss, Lisa Murkowski, Dan Coats, and Richard Burr.

Support Ron Johnson and the team. We want this bill passed. The common-sense alternative to the power grab cybersecurity bill.

Even extreme libertarians are cautious about the bill instead of strongly opposed, which I think we all can see is a big deal for a bill about strengthening national security. So it’s no wonder Harry Reid is promising to give the bill a fair chance. This could be the one that passes, especially if Greg Walden’s new House cybersecurity efforts make it clear that this is the one that can get through both chambers and to the President.

Criminal enforcement does matter. Why else would Anonymous online terrorists attack the Interpol webpage after an Interpol-led effort rolled up a 25-man Anonymous cell? When we arrest them and jail them, it hurts them. We need to do this more, and we need to make sure the penalties sting.

PATENT WARS: Well, again, this time it’s trademark wars. Apple is going after the EPAD in China after having won the iPad battle.

Why would we be in a rush to raise taxes on Facebook, an innovator and driver of job creation in this economy? Don’t believe me that they create jobs? Just look at Zynga and all the other companies around that exist because of Facebook and its popularity?

Should we have a whole FCC blackout regulation in place solely as a gift to major sports leagues that make billions of dollars? Probably not.

Kim Dotcom claims he’s as innocent as Saddam Hussein in defending his since-raided Megaupload operation. Look, the DMCA model of working with copyright holders is a reasonable one. If he wasn’t doing it, then he had it coming.

Thanks to George Soros, Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn, and the rest of the anti-AT&T/T-Mobile team, AT&T is now having to stab we (as I’m one) unlimited data plan holders with throttling and caps. Lack of spectrum hurts, kids. And yet some of these people are going to complain that AT&T is doing what it has to after being the target of a team effort by Barack Obama and George Soros.

And they’re going to target AT&T’s next plan, too which is very simple one. AT&T would like to give wireless App developers he opportunity to subsidize data use by their apps, calling it the ’800 number model’ applied to mobile data. Some people are scared to death of this, because competition could force some data-heavy services to consider data costs when designing their apps. But it’s a great, innovative, market-based way to help people on metered data plans manage their use. Government shouldn’t interfere.

Some say we need a national sales tax compact to keep states from having to raise other taxes as the sales tax model breaks down. I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing to just have a smaller, simpler tax code, but it’s a fair point to consider. Some states may overreact, using the sales tax situation as cover for raising revenue.

Tech at Night continues to be on a shifted schedule this week thanks to my being detained last Friday and Monday.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Ron Johnson backing GOP’s SECURE IT Act, Anonymous fails again


Tech at Night

Harry Reid may be on a mad dash to bring the radical Liebmerman/Collins/Rockefeller cybersecurity bill, but a broad spectrum of Republicans continue to fight. Democrats may have toned down its Internet Kill Switch provisions, but still is a massive power grab online, and the new SECURE IT act is a much better idea.

What I absolutely love about SECURE it is that it hits all the key points: It strengthens criminal penalties for breaking into servers. It strengthens criminal penalties for breaking into servers (Yes, I said that twice on purpose because it’s that important). It creates private sector information sharing incentives without regulating the private sector at large. It turns inward and gets government to audit its own practices.

These are all the right ideas and none of the wrong ideas. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is speaking only the common-sense truth when he says “This bill recognizes that industry is at the center of any solution. It’s a sensible step forward that allows industry to invest in innovation and job creation rather than compliance. Imposing a costly and bureaucratic regulatory regime is the wrong approach to national security. New regulations will slow down innovation and investment while companies wait years for the government to introduce outdated standards. The regulatory process simply cannot keep up with the rapid pace of technology.”

It tells you just how basic and correct this bill is when it has co-sponsorship from such a broad spectrum of the caucus: Ron Johnson as mentioned, John McCain, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chuck Grassley, Saxby Chambliss, Lisa Murkowski, Dan Coats, and Richard Burr.

Support Ron Johnson and the team. We want this bill passed. The common-sense alternative to the power grab cybersecurity bill.

Even extreme libertarians are cautious about the bill instead of strongly opposed, which I think we all can see is a big deal for a bill about strengthening national security. So it’s no wonder Harry Reid is promising to give the bill a fair chance. This could be the one that passes, especially if Greg Walden’s new House cybersecurity efforts make it clear that this is the one that can get through both chambers and to the President.

Criminal enforcement does matter. Why else would Anonymous online terrorists attack the Interpol webpage after an Interpol-led effort rolled up a 25-man Anonymous cell? When we arrest them and jail them, it hurts them. We need to do this more, and we need to make sure the penalties sting.

PATENT WARS: Well, again, this time it’s trademark wars. Apple is going after the EPAD in China after having won the iPad battle.

Why would we be in a rush to raise taxes on Facebook, an innovator and driver of job creation in this economy? Don’t believe me that they create jobs? Just look at Zynga and all the other companies around that exist because of Facebook and its popularity?

Should we have a whole FCC blackout regulation in place solely as a gift to major sports leagues that make billions of dollars? Probably not.

Kim Dotcom claims he’s as innocent as Saddam Hussein in defending his since-raided Megaupload operation. Look, the DMCA model of working with copyright holders is a reasonable one. If he wasn’t doing it, then he had it coming.

Thanks to George Soros, Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn, and the rest of the anti-AT&T/T-Mobile team, AT&T is now having to stab we (as I’m one) unlimited data plan holders with throttling and caps. Lack of spectrum hurts, kids. And yet some of these people are going to complain that AT&T is doing what it has to after being the target of a team effort by Barack Obama and George Soros.

And they’re going to target AT&T’s next plan, too which is very simple one. AT&T would like to give wireless App developers he opportunity to subsidize data use by their apps, calling it the ’800 number model’ applied to mobile data. Some people are scared to death of this, because competition could force some data-heavy services to consider data costs when designing their apps. But it’s a great, innovative, market-based way to help people on metered data plans manage their use. Government shouldn’t interfere.

Some say we need a national sales tax compact to keep states from having to raise other taxes as the sales tax model breaks down. I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing to just have a smaller, simpler tax code, but it’s a fair point to consider. Some states may overreact, using the sales tax situation as cover for raising revenue.

Tech at Night continues to be on a shifted schedule this week thanks to my being detained last Friday and Monday.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: France fines Google for giving away free maps, FCC reform, Pastrami


Tech at Night

Good news? I had a great Pastrami Burger tonight from a place called The Hat. Seriously: the pastrami itself is great, and I’ll probably go for the Pastrami Dip next time. Bad news? It was a busy evening and now I’m tired. The good news that wins out? Not much to cover tonight, so let’s go.

In France it’s illegal to give away free maps. Yes, Google is reportedly having to pay €500,000 because a French cartographer didn’t like the competition. Insane.

Reminds me of one of the times Rick Santorum made a point to stand up for big government: when he tried to get government out of the business of providing “free” taxpayer-funded competition to private weather services.

Of course, Google’s free services are under fire in the US, too, so we can’t get too smug yet.

The push for a sales tax compact marches on. I still say it needs more safeguards against ever-higher taxes, double taxes, a national sales tax, and other forms of expansion.

And yes, Republican FCC reform plans are pro-growth by checking the runaway FCC.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: France fines Google for giving away free maps, FCC reform, Pastrami


Tech at Night

Good news? I had a great Pastrami Burger tonight from a place called The Hat. Seriously: the pastrami itself is great, and I’ll probably go for the Pastrami Dip next time. Bad news? It was a busy evening and now I’m tired. The good news that wins out? Not much to cover tonight, so let’s go.

In France it’s illegal to give away free maps. Yes, Google is reportedly having to pay €500,000 because a French cartographer didn’t like the competition. Insane.

Reminds me of one of the times Rick Santorum made a point to stand up for big government: when he tried to get government out of the business of providing “free” taxpayer-funded competition to private weather services.

Of course, Google’s free services are under fire in the US, too, so we can’t get too smug yet.

The push for a sales tax compact marches on. I still say it needs more safeguards against ever-higher taxes, double taxes, a national sales tax, and other forms of expansion.

And yes, Republican FCC reform plans are pro-growth by checking the runaway FCC.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Darrell Issa gets clever against SOPA, Internet Sales Tax looms


Tech at Night

Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is using his committee to further his bill, SOPA. SOPA is very bad. It threatens due process and prior restraint of speech as it censors the Internet, and risks putting Internet-based business out of business.

Darrell Issa is leading House efforts to oppose SOPA. He’s on the Judiciary Committee, but he’s not in charge. However he does head the Oversight Committee. So guess what? Oversight is looking into the effects of DNS filtering, which is one of the more egregious provisions of SOPA. Nice play, Mr. Issa.

I love it when a conservative gets clever, because I hate that Republicans are looking to give more tools to the already out of control Obama regulators.

Here we go again with national Internet sales taxation. Nikki Haley has joined Haley Barbour in voicing support for a Congressionally approved interstate compact to apply sales taxes to interstate purchases. “Fairness” is the word that keeps being used, but it has nothing to do with fairness. Advertised prices by local retailers don’t include sales tax, so if online retailers are beating them, sales tax has nothing to do with it. Further, pushy sales pitches, ignorant salespeople, inferior selection, and a proliferation of used merchanidise have nothing to do with sales taxes, either.

No, these tax pushes are all about raising taxes without appearing to raise taxes. Especially for conservative governors like Haley and Barbour, that’s an attractive proposition. In the budget it looks like new revenue for free, which saves a state from having to make political decisions on what spending to cut.

Once we get a compact going on sales taxes, we’re one short step away from a true national sales tax. Even just half of a percent. Half a penny, For The Children™. Or To Combat Terrorism™. Or for whatever other reason. And once it’s there, it’ll be hard to get rid of, and run the risk of growth.

Leave interstate commerce untouched, I say. It’s a clear and defensible line in the sand against a Canada-style HST.

Some of us just don’t put information into Facebook if we don’t like how Facebook operates. Others use it to try to expand government. I guess personal responsibility is just too much to ask of some people.

Free markets frighten and confuse Senators. I don’t think Maine should be in the top three priorities for any given primary year, but whining like this makes it hard to say Olympia Snowe shouldn’t be on the list somewhere when her time comes.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Darrell Issa gets clever against SOPA, Internet Sales Tax looms


Tech at Night

Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is using his committee to further his bill, SOPA. SOPA is very bad. It threatens due process and prior restraint of speech as it censors the Internet, and risks putting Internet-based business out of business.

Darrell Issa is leading House efforts to oppose SOPA. He’s on the Judiciary Committee, but he’s not in charge. However he does head the Oversight Committee. So guess what? Oversight is looking into the effects of DNS filtering, which is one of the more egregious provisions of SOPA. Nice play, Mr. Issa.

I love it when a conservative gets clever, because I hate that Republicans are looking to give more tools to the already out of control Obama regulators.

Here we go again with national Internet sales taxation. Nikki Haley has joined Haley Barbour in voicing support for a Congressionally approved interstate compact to apply sales taxes to interstate purchases. “Fairness” is the word that keeps being used, but it has nothing to do with fairness. Advertised prices by local retailers don’t include sales tax, so if online retailers are beating them, sales tax has nothing to do with it. Further, pushy sales pitches, ignorant salespeople, inferior selection, and a proliferation of used merchanidise have nothing to do with sales taxes, either.

No, these tax pushes are all about raising taxes without appearing to raise taxes. Especially for conservative governors like Haley and Barbour, that’s an attractive proposition. In the budget it looks like new revenue for free, which saves a state from having to make political decisions on what spending to cut.

Once we get a compact going on sales taxes, we’re one short step away from a true national sales tax. Even just half of a percent. Half a penny, For The Children™. Or To Combat Terrorism™. Or for whatever other reason. And once it’s there, it’ll be hard to get rid of, and run the risk of growth.

Leave interstate commerce untouched, I say. It’s a clear and defensible line in the sand against a Canada-style HST.

Some of us just don’t put information into Facebook if we don’t like how Facebook operates. Others use it to try to expand government. I guess personal responsibility is just too much to ask of some people.

Free markets frighten and confuse Senators. I don’t think Maine should be in the top three priorities for any given primary year, but whining like this makes it hard to say Olympia Snowe shouldn’t be on the list somewhere when her time comes.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Stopping Net Neutrality in the Senate, National Sales Tax plan, CWA backs up AT&T


Tech at Night

Why can’t the news come in even intervals, instead of batching up all at once?

So yes, the Senate Net Neutrality vote is coming up. Credit where it’s due: Kay Bailey Hutchison moved the ball forward on this, no doubt about it. Credit also to Marco Rubio making headlines with his strong support of the repeal.

And Rubio is right: the whole thing is ridiculous. This regulation closes; it does not open the Internet. Which is why Obama is threatening a veto: can’t have the Congress undoing a regulatory power grab, can we? The representatives of the people, what do they know?

Don’t forget to tell your Senators, especially if they’re Democrats or Scott Brown, to vote for the repeal!

Remember the Dick Durbin Internet Sales Tax, the one I said could lead to a national sales tax in the form of the Canadian HST (combination Provincial Sales Tax and national Goods and Services Tax)? Well, Durbin has brought Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi into the picture, and they have a new plan. Essentially they want to create an interstate compact that, well, harmonizes (*cough* HST *cough*) sales tax systems for all states involved. The simplified system will then be collectable across state lines.

Further, the plan exempts businesses with less than $500,000 in remote sales. So while this turns Durbin’s talk about ‘fairness’ into a lie, it does show at least a willingness to ease the burden on small business.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think of the bill itself yet. I’m going to watch, and read, and make a decision as I gather more information.

Oddly enough, as that group of Senators tries to increase interstate taxation, Joe Lieberman and Dick Blumenthal want to reduce it. I imagine the goal here is to help Connecticut telecommuters dodge New York taxes. Works for me.

Remember the left trying to silence AT&T? Turns out the Media Reform crowd isn’t all that adverse to big money.

Yes, we need to end the Universal Service Fund, not reform it into a different kind of handout. Heritage takes on the topic.

Even lefty CWA says the AT&T/T-Mobile deal will create jobs. CWA jobs. So when the Media Reform crowd says otherwise… oops, too late for that lie.

AT&T seems to think the deal’s delayed, as the LTE network plans are now for 2013. Ah, government, saving us from that most frightening of things: more competition for Sprint Nextel to deal with.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Tech at Night: Stopping Net Neutrality in the Senate, National Sales Tax plan, CWA backs up AT&T


Tech at Night

Why can’t the news come in even intervals, instead of batching up all at once?

So yes, the Senate Net Neutrality vote is coming up. Credit where it’s due: Kay Bailey Hutchison moved the ball forward on this, no doubt about it. Credit also to Marco Rubio making headlines with his strong support of the repeal.

And Rubio is right: the whole thing is ridiculous. This regulation closes; it does not open the Internet. Which is why Obama is threatening a veto: can’t have the Congress undoing a regulatory power grab, can we? The representatives of the people, what do they know?

Don’t forget to tell your Senators, especially if they’re Democrats or Scott Brown, to vote for the repeal!

Remember the Dick Durbin Internet Sales Tax, the one I said could lead to a national sales tax in the form of the Canadian HST (combination Provincial Sales Tax and national Goods and Services Tax)? Well, Durbin has brought Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi into the picture, and they have a new plan. Essentially they want to create an interstate compact that, well, harmonizes (*cough* HST *cough*) sales tax systems for all states involved. The simplified system will then be collectable across state lines.

Further, the plan exempts businesses with less than $500,000 in remote sales. So while this turns Durbin’s talk about ‘fairness’ into a lie, it does show at least a willingness to ease the burden on small business.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think of the bill itself yet. I’m going to watch, and read, and make a decision as I gather more information.

Oddly enough, as that group of Senators tries to increase interstate taxation, Joe Lieberman and Dick Blumenthal want to reduce it. I imagine the goal here is to help Connecticut telecommuters dodge New York taxes. Works for me.

Remember the left trying to silence AT&T? Turns out the Media Reform crowd isn’t all that adverse to big money.

Yes, we need to end the Universal Service Fund, not reform it into a different kind of handout. Heritage takes on the topic.

Even lefty CWA says the AT&T/T-Mobile deal will create jobs. CWA jobs. So when the Media Reform crowd says otherwise… oops, too late for that lie.

AT&T seems to think the deal’s delayed, as the LTE network plans are now for 2013. Ah, government, saving us from that most frightening of things: more competition for Sprint Nextel to deal with.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

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