ISPs are the New Secret Police
ISPs Are the New Secret Police, Says Report
More and more European Union member states are delegating online policing to private companies and Internet service providers, according to a report released Wednesday.
Where law enforcement agencies would traditionally have tackled the problem of illegal online content, more powers are being given to ISPs in the name of industry self-regulation, according to a study by the organization European Digital Rights (EDRI). That trend is likely to become stronger with increasing “extra-judicial sanctions” against consumers, EDRI said
Read more at www.pcworld.com
“The European Commission appears far from perturbed by the dangers for fundamental rights of this approach and appears keen to export the approach. This process is gradually strangling the openness that is at the core of the Internet. This openness has enhanced democracy, has shaken dictatorships and has boosted economies worldwide. This openness is what we will lose through privatized policing of the Internet by private companies,” said Joe McNamee, Advocacy Coordinator at European Digital Rights.
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Why Your Dishes Won’t Come Clean Anymore
Why your dishes won’t come clean anymore
Consumers are turning to a list of remedies now that many dish detergent makers have eliminated a key ingredient.
TAMPA - Charles Yezak keeps a secret stash hidden in the kitchen. He can’t buy any more. It’s illegal in many states now. So he only dips into his stockpile on special occasions.
Not fine wine. Not Cuban cigars. It’s dish detergent. Not just any dish detergent.
“This is the stockpile I bought before the changeover,” Yezak confesses with a hushed voice while shopping the cleaning supply aisle at a Walmart Neighborhood store in Tampa. “It actually works – not like the new stuff.”
Turns out, they really don’t make dish detergent like they used to. And that’s causing something of a disaster for everyone who gets stuck doing the dishes.
It began last July when Cascade and most other detergent brands eliminated a key ingredient from their formulas, phosphate.
Now people are finding their dishes covered in a white gunk that just won’t come off, and some are tossing out sets of dishes and replacing their dishwashers – only to find the gunk appear again in a few days. PTA meetings, cul-du-sacs and soccer practice fields are abuzz with the calamity, and sales are skyrocketing of any product that promises to fix the problem.
Phosphates work fabulously in dish detergent, experts say, helping soap break up grease and suspending the naturally occurring minerals found in hard water so the minerals flush away.
Unfortunately, phosphate is also a wonderful fertilizer for agriculture. That means every load of dishes also poured phosphates into the drain water, ultimately reaching lakes and oceans and encouraging huge algae blooms that plagued sea life.
With that in mind, detergent companies years ago eliminated phosphates from laundry detergents. Last July, 16 states jumped on board and banned phosphates in dish detergent. Even though Florida didn’t join the ban, it must use phosphate-free detergent since manufacturers eliminated the substance in all their products.
Shortly thereafter, consumers began to notice.
On Cascade’s own online forum, one customer vented. “I had 20 guests in my home from a wedding, and was embarrassed with glasses, dishes, pans and silverware, all covered with white film.”
Another consumer posted “Cascade is ruining my silverware and coffee cups – huge residue. FIX IT!!!”
That white film on dishes is mainly made up of magnesium, calcium and aluminum – the elements that help make water “hard.” The stains don’t easily rub off, even with soap. Over time, that gunk can build up in dishwashers, DiChristopher said, clogging motors, sprayers and bearings. Given enough time, a dishwasher can become useless.
While those minerals are common in many foods, Cascade officials published an online FAQ about the problem and said “we always recommend that consumers wash any residue on dishes before using them again.” In other words, rewash the dishes you just washed.
While Cascade officials say dishwashing represents just 3 percent of the phosphate in the environment, “Cascade is doing its part,” and removing it.
anies aren’t likely to go back to including phosphates unless current l
Detergent companies aren’t likely to go back to including phosphates unless current laws change.
Read more at www2.tbo.com
But in another layer of irony, the phosphate ban doesn’t apply to commercial facilities like restaurants or hotels, so bulk packages of detergent are available at supply companies. Restaurant Depot in Tampa sells a box of professional detergent with phosphate, for $7.95, or a case of six boxes for $45.31.
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llinois Democrats Pass Huge Tax Increase - via Britta Rivera
IL STATE TAX APPROVED, 66% INCREASE-and I’m pissed!
CAN WE FIRE THEM ALL NOW! The votes are in, and we will pay the new 5% state tax for individuals, and 7% state tax, for business owners, in the upcoming year. Are they all crazy? THIS IS THE LARGEST INCREASE IN HISTORY. While I understand the state in a serious crisis, and owe billions of dollars, don’t they realize the public is in a crisis of their own? We have also gone through a “recession” and are feeling the pinch. We just made adjustments to our spending, we did not ask for a raise. Why can’t they cut spending, and stop paying huge salaries to useless family members, and city worker’s on the payroll for pretend jobs?
GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!
Rejecting pleas that Illinois is headed down a destructive path, the Illinois House has approved one of the largest tax hikes in state history, boosting the individual income tax from 3% to 5%, and the corporate rate from 4.8% to 7%.
The action by the lame-duck House sent the bill to the Senate, which is expected to approve it and send it to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature before the new Legislature takes office at noon on Wednesday.
But Republicans focused on the fact that, though the bill also includes spending caps, state spending would still rise at least from $36.8 billion in fiscal 2012 to $39.1 billion in fiscal 2015. They unanimously voted no.
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1933 Again - Will the US Government Confiscate Your Gold ?
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 12:48
“Executive Order 6102”, issued by the Roosevelt administration on April 5, 1933 commanded U.S. citizens to turn over all of their bullion holdings, with a few limited exceptions. The official exchange rate for all gold confiscated was $20.67 US, which was the official, fixed price for gold at that time.
Here, we must remember that the global monetary system was firmly tied to a gold standard at that time. Thus the only way in which the U.S. government could rapidly increase its money supply to finance its military without shattering the gold standard (as Nixon did in 1970) was to find a way to significantly (and quickly) increase its gold reserves.
Confiscating the gold of its own citizens was clearly the easiest way to accomplish this. A very nice article on this period by Bullion Vault points out another interesting aspect to this episode. Immediately after confiscation, the U.S. government “revalued” gold against the dollar (i.e. it devalued the dollar) to $35/ounce – netting the U.S. government an immediate 50% profit on the gold it had taken from its citizens. But that was literally only half the plan.
Certainly the U.S. is experiencing severe economic problems, indeed its economy is hopelessly insolvent – with the key word here being “hopeless”. Some readers have feared that gold confiscation would be seen by the U.S. government as a means to “stop the bleeding” of the U.S. economy. Such fears are misguided.
Read more at www.bullionbullscanada.com
With the U.S. federal government having $14 trillion in current debt, plus another $70 trillion in “unfunded liabilities” (which now must be funded), the $100’s of billions it could net by making another clean-sweep of its domestic gold holdings are totally irrelevant in economic terms. Thus, if the U.S. government were still to engage in gold confiscation, it would be nothing less than a blatant act of theft by the U.S. government.
FCC Bureaucrats Will Seize The Internet Tomorrow
The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom
‘Net neutrality’ sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers.
Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.
Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.
In May, the FCC leadership floated the idea of deeming complex and dynamic Internet services equivalent to old-fashioned monopoly phone services, thereby triggering price-and-terms regulations that originated in the 1880s. The announcement produced what has become a rare event in Washington: A large, bipartisan majority of Congress agreeing on something. More than 300 members of Congress, including 86 Democrats, contacted the FCC to implore it to stop pursuing Internet regulation and to defer to Capitol Hill.
Facing a powerful congressional backlash, the FCC temporarily changed tack and convened negotiations over the summer with a select group of industry representatives and proponents of Internet regulation. Curiously, the commission abruptly dissolved the talks after Google and Verizon, former Internet-policy rivals, announced their own side agreement for a legislative blueprint. Yes, the effort to reach consensus was derailed by … consensus.
To date, the FCC hasn’t ruled out increasing its power further by using the phone monopoly laws, directly or indirectly regulating rates someday, or expanding its reach deeper into mobile broadband services. The most expansive regulatory regimes frequently started out modest and innocuous before incrementally growing into heavy-handed behemoths.
On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.
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