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Dan Jacobs
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Dan Jacobs

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Forget all the bullshit antics people use quadcopters (aka "Drones") for, this is where it's at! 
Ryan Deboodt combines a love of caves, photography, and drones in this amazing video taken inside Vietnam's Hang Son Doong, the world's largest known cave.
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Dan Jacobs

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#netneutrality  Some folks (like The Oatmeal creator Mathew Inman, see: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/net_neutrality) would have you believe that the Internet is not good enough without government regulation.  As the idea goes, companies will screw the consumer over because they're greedy and want more profit.

As usual, the topic is a bit more nuanced than a very creative (and funny) individual can stuff into an Internet-attention sized page.  But of course, that doesn't stop the Oatmeal from taking what is obviously either an elitist-level condescending or abjectly-purile viewpoint.  Here is some nuance:

1) The government doesn't have the best track record of "managing" utilities, unless of course you find no problem with legally-enforced monopolies (it would take an entire ECON degree to examine the damage these do to consumers and the market). A solid read on the topic can be found here: https://mises.org/daily/2028/Why-Public-Utility-Monopolies-Fail 

I'm trying to think of a successful government monopoly but can't.  I asked Google, my Fu isn't strong enough.  I can find out what the government does to people who challenge their monopoly with a better product: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Letter_Mail_Company

2) Nothing is free.  You and I already pay for Internet access, and we already pay for faster service: I pay $35/mo for the best connection I can get, which is completely horrible, from a completely horrible provider.  I would gladly pay twice as much for FiOS if I could, and would definitely leave Verizon altogether if I could.  Also, Netflix and Amazon Prime Movies all cost money... We already pay.  If cable companies created a scheme which would cost more, let them.  The market will decide if it's too much.

The "nothing is free" mantra goes as well for the Government.  If the FCC were to accept the Internet as a utility, it would tax it as such. That tax currently sits at 16.1% (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/haroldfurchtgottroth/2014/10/12/fcc-plans-stealth-internet-tax-increase/)  So guess what?  In order to not have your data plan or your Netflix account go up in price, you pay the government to manipulate the market by force of law.

Yes: that's how NET NEUTRALITY ACTUALLY WORKS.

So, instead of letting Inman take you on a fantasy ride about how Google.com will probably not get blocked, take a broader view and realize the only common denominator here: money.

Unregulated Internet = maybe more money to access, maybe not.
Regulated Internet = definitely more money to access.

Oh, and don't get me started in Internet Sales Tax... I suppose some other funny comic would have you believe that Amazon would shut down unless we pass sales tax legislation for the Internet... tools.
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Dan Jacobs

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I wrote a missive about this yesterday.  Obviously, CATO is much better at fact generation (and knowledge provision) than I.  Why don't you give this a watch? 

FULL DISCLOSURE: it's deeper than what the pundits would have you believe.
 
The debate continues over whether "net neutrality" is the equivalent of old-school utility regulation of telecommunication firms. The President and others are now asking the FCC to treat telecom firms in the same ways telephone companies were treated decades ago. Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, comments. http://j.mp/1xiqC1L
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I'm not troubled by the non-profit claim. I am troubled by the claim without transparency, through. First, to take issue with the "non-profit" title assumes the IRS is the sole arbiter of the legitimacy of a non-profit organization.

I don't make that assumption.  

I assume the IRS wants tax revenue from any/everyone they can get it from.  The only people who pressure the IRS are politicians, and I don't believe politicians care to have apolitical (or even libertarian, or free thinking) tax-exempt "think tanks" spouting off rhetoric which would undermine their (politician's) power.

Take a look at 501 and you'll fine extremely narrow contexts in which an organization can claim exemption.  TechFreedom isn't in any of those businesses.

That doesn't mean TechFreedom makes a profit: it simply means TechFreedom isn't a 501 organization.  They are not mutually exclusive: you can have a non-profit which is not a 501.  Which brings me full circle (and us to agreement, I think): if you want to call yourself a non-profit, your bookkeeping should be transparent.  Whether it's to the IRS, or to everyone, it needs to be transparent.
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Have him in circles
88 people
Mark Novak's profile photo
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