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This week Net Neutrality was once again placed on notice. The door is being opened to a privileged network in which those with money may be afforded smooth, speedy access to the Internet while those without will be doomed to marginality. The Internet is an integral part of American life—itt is how we communicate, how we entertain ourselves and others, how we do business. It is a utility and should be regulated as such, with equal access for all.

The encroachment on our liberty continues. This is not one of the standard right-wing tea party “don’t tread on me” baseless phrases. This one is real. It is not the government overtly treading on us—it's government policy paid for by the plutocracy, legalizing the theft of our democracy by all means necessary. It is the rebirth of the American oligarchy.

Follow below the fold to learn more.

It is no longer just a feeling or conjecture that we are losing our democracy. This week the Washington Times reported about a new study that revealed as much.

In the study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens,” researchers compared 1,800 different U.S. policies that were put in place by politicians between 1981 and 2002 to the type of policies preferred by the average and wealthy American, or special interest groups....

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” the study found.

The study also found that “when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.”

JP Sottile, writing for Consortiumnews.com, puts it even more gravely:

These findings are more daunting when we consider that the study’s data-set ends before Citizens United, the sanctification of money as constitutionally-protected speech and the growing post-crash spike in inequality. But one word the authors did not use to describe the ruling class was “oligarchy.”
Americans want a democracy. Americans believe they still live in a democracy. They believe this because those who control the airwaves, the print media and most means of communications continue to promote that fallacy. Inasmuch as most Americans know there is something wrong, they cannot grasp it. The traditional media as an arm of a plutocracy won’t tell them the truth.

The implicit loss of freedom based on a void of causal information is a house of cards for the middle class. At the end of their struggles, there is nothing left and most do not know why. That is what the plutocracy depends on.

A few months ago I co-authored a Move To Amend piece with Keyan Bliss titled “Is Net Neutrality Really Necessary? You’re Damn Right!” In the piece we stated the following.

News channels on both radio and television inundate Americans. Yet, on any given day, the political narrative on every TV and radio station seems to follow the same narrow topics. Where are the stories about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, China’s investments in Africa, the persecution and death of Aaron Swartz, the continuing fallout from Fukishima, and dozens of other under-reported or ignored stories?

When six corporations control more than 90% of media communications, the media does not inform, it indoctrinates. Corporate media provides selective information, often unreliable, for the express purpose of controlling public opinion, rather than informing it. The mainstream corporate media giants cannot be trusted to accurately report political corruption or collusion.

Many view the channelization of the Internet between premium traffic and standard traffic as yet another income stream for big business. Others actually support it under the flawed belief that one should have the right to pay for faster and more reliable service if they so desire. That is flawed thinking if one considers the Internet a road. Would you want to force poor and middle class people to drive 40 miles an hour when the rich are afforded unlimited speed? More time forced to be on the road is less time available to amass income and wealth, a self-perpetuating demise of progress. The same applies to the Internet.

There is however a more sinister concern, the distribution of news and information. Now more than ever Americans are responsible for finding their own sources of fact-based information. Most of this information can only be found via independent websites and blogs. These alternative sources provide non-corporate news, podcasts and videocasts. The Internet is their basic transport.

The tenets of Net neutrality are vital. All data packets must be treated equally throughout the Internet. Specific services like streaming and file transfers must not be restricted. Websites cannot be blocked by ISPs.

People’s movements are dependent on the Internet and social networks, using video and audio communication tools like Skype and Maestro. They transmit live feeds via tools like UStream. The world was provided video in real time from Occupy Wall Street, the Iranian Green Movement and the Arab Spring. The potential change in regulations put these all at risk. These efforts will be futile unless the Internet is recognized for the utility that it is and places ISPs under the same scrutiny as telecommunication utilities. Absent this, it is not democracy at risk but the end of democracy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by 11111000000.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Obama screwed up big-time on this one (16+ / 0-)

      It is all about rent-seeking by the incumbent providers, period. They were doing the same thing until Vaughn Walker broke up AT&T in 1980. This single decision made the Internet possible. The flowering of innovation and the creation of an entire new sector of the economy is now at risk. 'Congestion' does not exist on the Internet. The system is not a zero-sum game and is infinitely expandable. This decision has the potential to strangle the economy and America's ability to technologically compete for the rest of this century.

      Big whiff by the Obama Administration on this - and final proof that his is an administration of corporate Democrats. Obviously they are ignorant and incompetent, for why else could this be happening? Putting a former telecom CEO and lobbyist in charge of the FCC? Are you kidding me?

      •  Europe has the answer (0+ / 0-)

        They saw this coming and the Europeans have been working on developing a separate system which would isolate the US from international traffic. It would require a completely separate and totally freed-up system based in and controlled by European overseers. Want to sell Fords in Germany? You would need a server and a presence IN germany and it would not be able to gain traffic from the US without special dispensation (because our system would block the German firms which didn't pay the premium.) Which of our feet should we shoot now?

    •  What (7+ / 0-)

      did they think we weren't going to notice this time?

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:17:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No battle is ever over (28+ / 0-)

    with Movement Conservatism.

    Not child labor laws, not voting rights, not even the existence of a minimum wage.

    Time to get busy, indeed.

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:48:13 PM PDT

    •  If only they were the problem. (16+ / 0-)

      Not so here.  Old media - Comcast, Verizon, etc - wants to kill net neutrality because they don't know how to thrive except as monopolies.

      And they influence office holders across the political spectrum.

      •  I do see them as the biggest problem (7+ / 0-)

        and I am not so quick to dismiss the role of Movement Conservatism, a failed ideology having the incredible benefit of being an unrebutted failed argument by non-Conservatism, in these recurring issues of malignant bar lowerings.

        They influence pols across the spectrum, but the own the current American Right. I see that as an important distinction in fighting the creeping erosion of our rights.

        Feel free to disagree. Fine.

        But I see theaters of the battle in the same war.

        Movement Conservatism being un-discredited is a big part of how these companies keep being able to re-set the game back to zero and start over when they lose previous battles. Conservatism fails, but gets to reboot without penalty for a reason. It always skates. Or gets off because it's direct role in how this keeps happening gets dismissed or diminished. To me, it's why you can never mistake winning a battle with winning a war.

        Shitbag Democrats don't happen in a vacuum. They are a symptom. One of many. Democrats believing in canards and phony memes and narratives about what is good for business and the bottom line has a lot to do with their being corrupt, but the culture of corruption and letting the bar be constantly lowered is a product of Movement Conservative thinking and influence dominating in the service of the new Gilded Age-ers.

        I see fighting Movement Conservatism, and checking crap Democrats and stopping the Oligarchy as branches of the same war.

        The Corporations dole out the cash, the pols take the cash, but the culture being a constant state of bar lowerings and letting these corporations regulate themselves and dictate their own rules benefits enormously from how much Movement Conservatism influences our politics and policy-craft.

        Movement Conservatism being an unrebutted political cult with a history of failed outcomes and epic disasters is what allows the CorporaDems and DLC Third Wayers to continue to survive and thrive post-epic fails and meltdowns of their own. It's why Democrats who should know better listen to people it should be obvious they shouldn't even be in the same room with.  

        The Oligarchy and would-be New Gilded Agers have a cult that does its bidding, and useful idiots and bought and paid for tools outside of the Right who supplement them.

        Yes, the Corporations do have minions across the political spectrum, but the ones that I can't make an argument to are the ones who are on the Right. I can mobilize Democrats who are on the fence. I can join efforts by Democrats who are on my side to make it politically impossible to pass such guttings of good public policy.

        The only option I have with the Right is to discredit them and get them removed from office as a tactic. I argue with Democrats I disagree with. I debate with liberals I don't see eye to eye with. I am in a Culture War with Movement Conservatism.

        Also, I can walk and chew gum at the same time, try to lessen the influence of the Harold Ford wing of my party, while trying to discredit the Right and try to cajole my party into moving left, or at least joining me and millions like me in leaning towards more progressive outcomes.

        But its the greater fight that moves the needle and makes the outrages possible, even likely.

        If I didn't think there was a pathway to victory, or to change, because I thought I was hopelessly and permanently outmanned and outgunned because of the Corporate Cults money, and it's octopus-like grip across party lines, I wouldn't believe that politics would or could make a difference.

        “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

        by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:39:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  lol (6+ / 0-)

      Those dang Movement Conservatives, appointing a telecom lobbyist to head the FCC!

      Wait, what?

    •  They will take my internet... (0+ / 0-)

      ...from my cold dead hand!

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Facebook serves as a very good example... (10+ / 0-)

    Their "pay for exposure" (to your own damn friends list!) is exactly what the entire internet will look like, if net neutrality goes the way of our democracy.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:50:41 PM PDT

  •  smash plutocracy (13+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:52:14 PM PDT

  •  Seems the idea is… (10+ / 0-)

    Seems the idea is to keep this form of communication as one that can be broken on command.

    So the next time the People take to the streets, no social media to aid in planning.
    There will be an "outage" but, it's just a coincidence!

    Smells like FREEDOM*!!!

    *if freedom smelled like dead skunk on hot asphalt in the noonday sun after it rained.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:56:17 PM PDT

    •  roninkai you got that right (0+ / 0-)

      A variant of this comment was previously posted elsewhere when the net neutrality issue first stirred public debate in 2014.  FYI it’s been tweaked a bit and the second-to-last paragraph is a new addition.  Anyway it's fitting that I share the comment here so here it goes.

      ----------------------------------------------------------

      It is right that this move against net neutrality generally has the populace up at arms.  Unfortunately people who (a) haven’t been subjected to wrongful stifling, (b) haven’t learned the dangers of limitations on free speech by studying history, and/or (c) aren’t critical thinkers might not see the potential dangers in this type of move until it is too late.  This should be ended posthaste…and I don’t state that on a whim.  History is full of bad acting influential entities that have abused power that they should have never had in the first place.  Think about these couple of scenarios:

      1)  A startup launches and its success is highly dependent on its ability to deliver various web content to the masses.  However, a direct competitor owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”).  No problem…just have the delivery of the startup’s web content degraded and/or charge the startup an exorbitant dollar amount.  Ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification.  That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a startup that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in its business model.

      2)  A group is fighting against influential wrongdoers and the group is effectively and rightfully utilizing the internet during the course of their warranted and rightful battle.  However, one or more of the wrongdoers owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”).  No problem…just have the delivery of the group’s web content degraded and/or charge the group an exorbitant dollar amount.  Again, ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification.  That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a movement against wrongdoers that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in the movement.  

      Those who have a problem visualizing the scenario outlined immediately above need do nothing more than look at corruption-plagued countries that are built upon cultures where censorship is par for the course.  Of the many things that this net neutrality move might be, one of the things that it definitely is is a gateway to the implementation of an alternative form of censorship.  I’ll repeat that so that it will sink in…a gateway to the IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF CENSORSHIP.

      There are probably multiple other scenarios that could be listed above but the given scenarios are sufficient to make my point.  Again, this is not the right move and IT SHOULD END POSTHASTE.  Even if there are conceivably some significant benefits (not that we’re necessarily of the mindset that there are) the very real risks far outweigh any potential rewards.  And just in case anyone is saying “if you’re in one of the two groups listed above then sue”, you are naïve.  The victims—and make no mistake about it, in the scenarios outlined above they are VICTIMS—indicated in the above two scenarios are already fighting against nearly insurmountable odds and they don’t need any other problems piled on.  In other words, in a manner of speaking they are already “down” and don’t need anymore “kicks” such as having their web content interfered with and/or being faced with exorbitant costs.  Although some things are right about America, some things are definitely going in the wrong direction.  People such as Hitler, those who conducted the Tuskegee Experiment, and those whom were responsible for disseminating smallpox infested blankets to Native American Indians (just to name a few) would have a heyday with this move if they were alive and engaging in their bad acts today.  Reason being, it goes without saying that as it stands the internet is the average joe’s most efficient form of a mouthpiece.  And let us not forget that in America (as well as in the rest of the world) some of the greatest achievements have been accomplished by determined average joes who spoke out to the masses as efficiently as was possible.  Rest assured that this move will make influential bad actors everywhere rejoice…they are likely already planning ways to exploit it (assuming that they haven’t already planned a plethora ways).

      In case anyone somehow thinks that I have no idea what I’m talking about.  I will state that I most certainly do.  I am personally involved in a long-running, massive, warranted, and rightful fight against epic public corruption.  I can tell you that it is an undeniable fact that that warranted and rightful fight has been plagued by civil liberties infringements carried out via wrongful attempts by bad actors to stifle our free speech.  For the record the fight is called GATORGAIT and those who are unaware of it can find out more information at the damning, truthful, and lawful website www.gatorgait.com .  Also for the record, the complete website and all of the website’s extensive content works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post (i.e. 04/26/2014).  Additionally, there has been various other truthful and lawful Gatorgait-related content that has been posted online by us justice seekers and which has remained not interfered with…that content also works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post.

      As the net neutrality proposal involves revenue generation I’ve included this paragraph.  Any “additional billing”, if any, for internet content received through “the internet pipelines” need only be on the end of the content recipient.  Great power for abuse lies in that little area of the unknown created by the uncertainty bred  by billing from “both ends”.  In the proposed new internet model when your internet account (as a content recipient) is in good standing and lawful content you seek out is delivered in a slow and/or buggy fashion—assuming you can access said desired content at all—your natural response will likely be “oh, the content provider’s account with the ISP must be in ‘bad standing’”.  But what if the content provider’s account is not in bad standing and the provider’s lawful content has merely been inappropriately interfered with or censored?  No problem, you’ll know that’s the case right…W-R-O-N-G!!!  You will likely have no idea of the truth behind the content delivery issue for it goes without saying that any notice posted by the content provider regarding the interference or censorship would likely be posted on the very same sabotaged website (and thus not be viewable or be difficult to view) and/or posted on some other distinct high visibility webpage that would itself likely subsequently be targeted and relatively quickly interfered with or censored.  The only thing you could ever be certain of is the good standing or bad standing of your own personal internet service account.  Rest assured that bad actors who would abuse the power granted by this assault on net neutrality know these things and are praying that the citizenry (1) has it’s blinders on and (2) is flush with apathy in regards to the matter.  Those bad actors’ prayers must not be answered for history has shown time-and-time again that when warranted vigorous opposition is left undone when faced with intentionally-implemented incremental, but significant, wrongful acts (if not outright evil acts) what soon follows is sweeping persecution.   If the additional revenue is so necessary—and for the record I’m of the mindset that it likely is not necessary—with all the years that the internet has been operational ISPs have the data available to classify the data volume and speed requirements of the median internet account (as in the median content recipient’s internet account).  Using that data, after possibly incorporating a few infrastructure changes, pricing models could be established and tiered as needed…kinda like with cell phones.  But with that the following must be stated.  In my opinion the anonymity offered by the internet is an awesome thing…sure that anonymity can be abused but it’s my personal opinion that anonymity’s resultant long-term good far outweighs its resultant long-term bad (FYI bad actors who’ve been placed under scrutiny online, to their dismay, know this as well).  Having stated that, I prefer the current pricing models where the ISPs calculate acceptable and reasonable profit margin targets and charge their customers that are generally in the same class pretty much the same thing across the board.  As long as the ISPs meet their targeted profit margins all is well…that is until greed, corruption, etc. steps into the picture.  It is my personal view that anything—that is anything besides the slander and libel remedies already in place and other public-driven backlash—that potentially pushes people towards self-censoring is problematic.  And should this revamp of net neutrality be enacted that is exactly one of the things that would likely happen because the proposed billing would likely usher in closer monitoring of people’s internet usage…in other words more surveillance would likely ensue thanks to internet billing that is less standard (at the expense of being more individualized).  But obviously this time the arena targeted for surveillance would be, reminiscent of CISPA, the internet.  Sure the internet might be a more cordial place for it, but the cost for that is way too high.  Thankfully the ol’ saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is true in a significant number of cases.  When the day comes that America’s leaders (1) are by and large above reproach, (2) consistently show that they are more concerned with serving the interests of the common man than they are with serving themselves and/or elitists whom they’ve embraced, and (3) consistently act with integrity I think we will be able to enact policies that don’t account for dissension (including anonymous lawful dissension).  Unfortunately that day hasn’t yet arrived…thus the right to dissent must receive the utmost protection.

      Generally speaking I have lost faith in man’s ability to consistently do what’s right.  Over hundreds of years of bad practices and policies promulgated largely by those who have wrongfully and shortsightedly used their gift of intelligence to increase their power and “line their pockets” at the long term expense of mankind and the world we have, as a whole, lost our way.  Let’s see where this recent net neutrality move takes us.  Just as we opposed the most recent attempt to pass the far too intrusive CISPA and the recent tentative decision regarding search engine censorship we strongly oppose this net neutrality move.  Pay attention…close attention.  As indicated above I’m jaded; therefore, I have no confidence that if there isn’t an abrupt about face that bad acting men and women won’t ensure that action becomes warranted.  It may be soon or it may be later, but rest assured that serious action will become necessary.

      Best wishes to all,
      SB

      “Some people see a problem and do something about it.  Others do nothing but sit on their a$$e$ and complain.  Be a doer.”

  •  Now we're at risk? (8+ / 0-)

    There have recently been a number of articles stating how the US is no longer a functioning democracy.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:56:20 PM PDT

  •  Been reading the WSJ on this. They (of course) (17+ / 0-)

    don't see the problem, and consider the FCC proposals a middle-ground approach, market forces and all. Once again, they re-define "middle."

    Some actually propose this too, in a way:

    Would you want to force poor and middle class people to drive 40 miles an hour when the rich are afforded unlimited speed?
    We've seen proposals that would allow those who can pay to drive in HOV lanes with one person in the car, thus defeating the principle behind carpooling and clogging up the HOV lanes for those who do carpool. But, hey, ka-ching!!

    T&R.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:59:59 PM PDT

  •  "the first amendment issue of our time" (19+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:00:30 PM PDT

  •  It's similar to Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (11+ / 0-)

    On Wall Street where a few have been taking advantage of how tiny microseconds of time translates to multi-millions of dollars in profit to a few in on it.
    The law is slower than technology and those that have a will and a way to take advantage of it at the expense of everyone else.

    Call them out.

  •  I thought this a good essay on the issue (23+ / 0-)

    The Day The Internet Died: Why The FCC Is Killing Net Neutrality

    I’ve been attempting to explain the importance of net neutrality for years now, foretelling a world wide web where only those companies who pay to be seen will actually be seen, but I was never really able to get through to anyone. Now, the FCC has put forth a proposal to do what they have always done when it comes to regulation, repeating history in the worst possible way and for all the wrong reasons. I hate to say it, but the internet that we used to know is about to die.

    The FCC’s latest proposal for net neutrality will give Internet Service Providers the ability to charge companies for preferential treatment, as long as they are willing to offer that treatment to all interested parties for a “reasonable” price.

    How is this neutrality? Simple. ISPs will still have to provide access to their services to everyone, but they can now charge a price for preferential treatment. It’s neutral because access still exists – for a price.

    If you’re a company like Netflix, these new rules will allow individual service providers to charge you for better access to their customers. Considering how many providers exist in America, this would mean paying a big bill to several different sources to ensure that there isn’t an alteration in quality based on the manner in which your customer chooses to access your content. Suddenly, the cost of running a business online just got a lot more expensive (and yes, this is why your Netflix bill may rise alongside their own). But why? What is the reason for charging a company more for access to your ISP? Well, to understand where these kinds of regulations come from, it’s important to look at the history of the Federal Communications Commission.

    •  Thanks for the link. Great article. (11+ / 0-)

      This is my favorite part.

      In 2014, the only congestion that exists on the internet is a series of smoke and mirrors created by the Internet Service Providers themselves. They have the money and the capability to fix their own problems in this area, but instead they are looking for the FCC to solve all of their issues by making upgrades unnecessary. In other words, all of those people who claim that Net Neutrality got in the way of the free market are just wrong, because in a free market, a company would be forced to blaze their own trail by using their own profits to improve their service over time. By killing Net Neutrality, the FCC has made it unnecessary for ISPs to use their own money to solve their own problems, effectively disrupting the free market.
      This is about using the power of the FCC to protect greed and sloth.
      Our beloved oligarchs are a bunch of lazy, unimaginative and frightened idiots.

      -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

      by pat bunny on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:22:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Access existing for a price is not access (4+ / 0-)

      Nor is it 'neutral'.

      Ronald Reagan gave us our new Gilded Age. The American Trust Barons are screaming in Hell, trying to warn the present-day Uber-Rich that they are going too far, trying to help save them from their fate.

      And as always, they are not listening.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:53:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps a simpler explanation is needed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Elwood Dowd

    I can quite tell what the author supports or doesn't support in legislation (or no legislation?).

    •  How I think of this issue: (6+ / 0-)

      It goes back to the railroads and concerns about "vertical monopolies."

      If a railroad owner could also own steel mills, or cornfields, and carry his own goods cheaply while charging everyone else a hefty premium, the railroad owner would quickly become the top steel and corn provider.  And when the competition died off, the railroad owner could jack up prices of steel and corn.

      Internet access lines are like railroads.

  •  Dunderheads like Biden. (10+ / 0-)

    The sorts of anti-average American policies like those put forward by the not-very-bright Vice President Biden.  Bought off by the lobbying salary paid to his son, he injects poison into government policy by adapting all of the warped ideas propounded by copyright holders and pointlessly attacks the file-sharing guy in New Zealand, Kim Dotcom, because they want his pelt to put it on display, although Dotcom is/was a pretty good person in the file-sharing field, legally speaking.

    It's idiots like Biden and the copyright-holders he loves that makes creative works constantly disappear, never to be seen again.  I'd love to own DVDs of all of the seasons of all of the international iterations of "So You Think You Can Dance."  Legal DVDs of that will never exist because of the expensive deals demanded from the holders of musical rights, and because producers treat TV shows--still, today--as ephemeral nothings.  Even when they recognize the value of shows, they often let them die in vaults, eventually getting literally destroyed in most cases, because they want that elusive BIG FINANCIAL DEAL.  So they'd rather the things they own die, rather than sharing them, even when the producers are making NOTHING.

    Copyrights should last for the lives of individual creators, and for 10 years in the case of corporations.  Ten years was the original term for copyrights and still, today, in most, most, most cases, there just isn't going to be money coming in after 10 years.

    Anyway, that's one example of the sort of dumb elite, rich folk-centric policies that we're getting.

  •  The attack is multi-pronged (15+ / 0-)

    Between Obama's Fast Tracked and secretive TPP maneuvers  and it's harmful effects on an open internet, and his hack lobbyist gutting Net Neutrality, what's not to love?

    I am trying to imagine what a Republican President would do differently, but I got nothin'.

    I guess we'll just have to enjoy the Wild West Internet while it lasts, because obviously the Adults in The Room don't like it as it is.

  •  Animal Farm (9+ / 0-)
    Some are more equal than others.
    ...so say the pigs. Orwell's target was Stalin's Soviet Union, but isn't it interesting how, communism or capitalism, it's the same. A few greedy a-holes obsessed with acquiring money and power always show up after the revolution and want to be more equal than their fellow human beings.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:18:29 PM PDT

  •  Too bad the Democrats couldn't put some one in the (8+ / 0-)

    White House in the last two elections.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:25:11 PM PDT

  •  If an Industry Lobbyist, heading the FCC, can't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, quill, 420 forever

    protect us from Industry's onslaught against us, who can?

    Damn the Judiciary and the Republicans, AmIRight?

    Clearly, what we need, are More and Better Industry Lobbyists on our side.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:26:30 PM PDT

  •  Shorter: (9+ / 0-)

    It's the monetization of a public utility by private industry.

    This is not uncommon in the US, where the natural resources belonging to US citizens (such as oil or the AM radio broadcast bands) are monetized, and the people do not share in the profits. The fabulously free windfall of exploitation goes into the pockets of the Plutocrats.

    USians consider this exploitation of their commonwealth a perfectly natural thing, although it is generally unthinkable in the rest of the world. It's sad.

    In any event, the UN has declared full access to the Internet to be a human right -- and most nations have signed off on that.

  •  Children, children... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Krush, NonnyO, SixSixSix

    I'm one Gloomy Gus these days...but does anyone here really believe that 'we' will 'win' this battle? Anyone? Anyone?

    Not me.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:46:32 PM PDT

  •  From Charles Ferguson, creator of the "Inside Job" (7+ / 0-)

    Charles Ferguson: The Financial Crisis and America's Political Duopoly

    "...My answer is this: far from being in an era of brutal partisan warfare, as convention­al wisdom holds and as watching the nightly television news might suggest, the United States is now in the grip of a political duopoly in which both parties are thoroughly complicit. They play a game: they agree to fight viciously over certain things to retain the allegiance of their respective bases, while agreeing not to fight about anything that seriously endangers the privileges of America's new financial elites. Whether this duopoly will endure, and what to do about it, are perhaps the most important questions facing Americans. The current arrangemen­t all but guarantees the continuing decline of the United States as a nation, and of the welfare of the bottom 90% of its citizens.

    [snip]

    People who should be aligned in calling for fairer taxes, campaign finance reform, stricter financial regulation, better public education, and investment in America's infrastructure are instead divided by their opposing views on gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. It is a strategy that has worked remarkably well for both parties.

    Even so, the American people have begun to sense that the system is rigged, and the recent election results are partially a consequence of this.

    The USA Bankers Magazine famous quote :

    “If we can divide the electorate this way, we can have them expending
    their energies fighting amongst themselves, over issues that for us,
    have no meaning whatsoever"

    That was from the USA Bankers Magazine, "August 25, 1924" , Yes 1924

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:51:30 PM PDT

  •  Data Are Fucking 30-40 Years Old. (3+ / 0-)

    It's not as though this hasn't been explicitly pointed out and well documented every God damned month since Disco.

    The Internet is going down. I explained on the Dean blog long before his candidacy collapsed that society has never allowed the people to communicate freely in significant numbers. We don't have laws, customs or authorities to keep the Internet open any longer.

    As an academic study will doubtless show 40 years after the fact, around the time Wall Street is beginning its relocation to higher ground.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:53:48 PM PDT

  •  This is indeed the issue of our day (2+ / 0-)

    namely, are the poor going to get equal access to Netflix-streamed movies as the poor?

    Hopefully we do better on this than a generation ago when only the affluent had access to things like HBO and Showtime premium content.

    •  Backwards (2+ / 0-)

      This isn't about the people having access to the services. This is about the services having access to people. The real goal here is make it unbelieveably expensive for a web site or service to reach many people. If you web site is only read by a few thousand people a month, it will be cheap to host it. But if it becomes popular, has thousands of hits a day, or thousands an hour, it will cost you thousands a day to host it.

      You and your browser will still be able to visit any site you would like (in theory), but only the rich will be able to afford to keep a site up and hosted if it has many visitors.

      This will silence voices and will kill innovation that isn't backed by big capital. This will end the internet as we know it.

      I write software for a living. I think it is time to move away from HTTP and it's client-server model. We will need a way to distribute HTML using a torrent-like structure where all of us who broswe also serve, and "web sites" can be spread all over the net, with no central presence at all. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking about this with this disaster looming...

      •  My comment (errors and everything - (0+ / 0-)

        for example I meant to say rich when I said poor the second time) was more meant to illustrate my personal annoyance at having to subsidize those who use massive amounts of internet bandwith (eg. by streaming Netfix movies, something I never do).  

        Really, why should I be expected to do that?

        •  Which is my point! (2+ / 0-)

          Consumers will pay more, but not really directly. The size of your internet pipe and the pricing of it is unlikely to chaange much. You will pay the price in higher prices for services you access (Netflix users will pay more for that service, you won't since you don't use it), but you will pay. You will pay in the disappearence of unique innovtive sites. You will pay in the form of sites like this either having to demand payment, increase advertisements, or disappear. This is about "raising the barriers to entry." This is about transforming the Internet from a network (which carries an implication that every node is of equal value) to a much more traditional media/broadcasting model where there are providers (who pay a lot) and consumers (who don't pay a lot, but are simply the targets of marketers). This is a horrible perversion of what the whole system was meant to be.

          •  Of course, who really know what this is!) (0+ / 0-)
            This is a horrible perversion of what the whole system was meant to be.
            I mean really, when Al Gore initially envisioned the interent, was his intent to proved cheaply streamed Netflix Movies?

            Or to further facilitate the goals of the MIC???

            (keeping in mind that his was a self-proclaimed Iraq War Hawk - seriously, if you don't believe me, Google it!)

            •  So, your take is that we are (0+ / 0-)

              not "all in this together"? You only care about issues that affect you directly, or only those that you think are important/worthwhile? Wonderful.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:10:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Internet was "invented" by BBN for DARPA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              The primary contractor that "developed the Internet" was a company called Bolt, Beranek and Newman, later a subsidary of Raytheon, as a research project into reliable communications over unreliable communications channels. It was a contract under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Common lore says it was for military purposes, but it really was to allow collaboration between research computers generally. DARPA funded it because these institutions did a lot of fundamental research that DARPA funded and used. The first IP message was sent in October 1969. So these protocols and technologies are much older than most Internet users realize. And in those days, the whole purpose was the most basic sharing of data and time sharing of computer resources.

              But when I talk about a perversion of whatthe the sytem was meant to be, I am not talking about what people do with it. I am talking about HOW it works. The protocols used today treat every machine with an IP address equally. Traffic from one address is treated and handled in basically the same way as any other traffic (we can get into QoS routing, but right now this happens mostly on private edge networks, not on the "backbone" or so-called "common carrier" networks). What is being talked about here is allowing the telecommunications companies to be able to take any given packet on the network and make decisions about how quickly to send it on or even whether to send it on based, basically, on how much the sender of that packet PAID.

              How well the network works will be based on how much you pay. Not on how well the network works technically, or how much capacity actually exists.

  •  And the service providers' argument is a lie (6+ / 0-)
    The ISP is the post office. We are paying for 50mb/s. That is our stamp. We are paying for the postage. We are totally covering the cost of delivery. AT&T wants to have us pay for "postage" and then have Netflix pay for their trucks. That's like someone shipping you a package and then the USPS man demanding gas money upon delivery.
    AT&T: We're Calling You Out For Lies Against Humanity
    By Logan, tek syndicate, 2014-03-24

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:00:55 PM PDT

  •  What replaces the Samizdat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    If Net Neutrality's gone?

  •  A messaging suggestion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny

    Not Net Neutrality.

    My suggestion: OPEN NET

    Nobody knows what Net Neutrality means.
    It's painful just to say it.

    Let's not saddle ourselves with yet another correct, yet stupid, name.

    Open Net says it all in three syllables. It's a positive term.

    The average schmoe on the street can get it - and that's what counts.

  •  Toll roads for all of us, it's so very easy with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    the technology we are so happily developing. Tracking every move we make, every breath we take, and once it's all reduced to "ownership," so easy to CHARGE for every jot and tittle.

    We are now supposed to be concerned, and rightly too, about the plutokleptocracy “taking over the internet.” Important consideration and awareness, to be very sure. But there's of course more to be concerned about, when it comes to the depredations of the people who run the Market-Based Economy and Reagan's vaunted Ownership Society that too many of us thought was just a peachy concept.  

    The general opinion about the PPACA, “Obamacare,” seems to be that “we” should be supporting it whole-hog, cheering every increment of a million who have “signed up” for the programs. People come up with “success stories” about folks who are now “covered” who weren't before, and poke holes in the Reds' BS fables about “Obamacare failures.” Great! And we are to console ourselves that “it's only a first step toward single payer or Medicare for All.” And that in time we will come to that happy vale where there's actual health care, not Medical Unsurance, for all of us. The wealth is there to accomplish that, along with lots of other stuff that makes life for us ordinary people bearable, and maybe even comfortable, sustainable and responsible. Anyone argue with that truth?

    Regarding the PPACA, let me start by saying I'm just a little office nurse in a small practice that provides care to people with chronic traumatic and chronic physical problems. We track their condition and progress in rehabilitation or just coping with their challenges, arrange therapies and medications, stuff like that. The patients have Medicare, Medicaid, Medipass, workers comp, and private Unsurance. I call it UNsurance, because there's never any moment for the patient that's free of anxiety that they won't be able to make their co-pays and deductibles, or that coverage will even be allowed. A huge part of the practice, like everywhere, is devoted to dealing with the UNsurance overhead.

    I spend a big part of my work week dealing with “prior authorizations” for prescriptions written by my doctors for their patients, figuring out ways to get around the increasingly “market-driven” limitations and restrictions and roll-backs in “coverage.” Take medications: all our patients take some, some take many, and rely on them to keep themselves going. Every year, and more often for some UNsurance machines, “the formulary” changes, and some privatized death panel types decree that a patient who has been stable on a medical regimen for years, regularly reviewed by our doctors, now has to “fail” one or two or three other lower-cost, higher-profit medications, meaning take it/them for a month or two to prove that the original was the best. Or, our doctors need to spend lots of time filling out justifications or enduring “peer-to-peer” browbeatings from corporate “doctors” who, with about zero knowledge of the patient, make judgments about what's the best treatment for them. That's just one tiny part, of course, of all the profitably wasteful lost and duplicative and wasted motion in the whole spindizzy apparatus, of course. It's too complicated for almost anyone to keep all the parts in mind when thinking about what's so terribly wrong.

    I've just finished a little article over at Truthdig by Margaret Flowers, a doctor who as some of you know has been active, outspoken and ready to put her person on the line to get the rest of us to see the real nature of what the “Affordable Care Act” really is. I hope anyone interested in the issue of one of the major parts of our collective life as citizens will read the whole thiing, and if I'm violating fair use, do what you have to but read the article. If you are not one of the Blessed Few, you ought to learn some important stuff about the Act, and I can tell you already that where I work, we are seeing people who are suddenly discovering that they can't be seen by our doctors any more, since private-pay, even at the fair rates our doctors have to get to stay open, is way beyond their means. For them, that morning existential question about whether to go on living is getting harder and harder to answer with an affirmative. Read it all, please. There's no remedy for the biggest part of what's going on, the throttling and toll-booth theft of yet another monetizable, securitizable, leveraged Public Good:

    As the March 31 deadline to purchase health insurance or face a penalty approaches, the public debate is focused solely on enrollment numbers. Great efforts are being expended to compel people to buy insurance. The “Young Invincibles,” a term created to misrepresent uninsured young adults, are being marketed heavily. And Enroll America, a coalition of advocates and health industry executives, is working overtime to encourage volunteers to be creative in the ways they locate and convince people to purchase insurance...

    The mass media and politicians are constantly talking about the health care marketplace. We are being indoctrinated with market rhetoric. Patients are called consumers and health insurance plans are called products. The problem with this is that health care doesn’t belong in the marketplace whose logic dictates that care should be denied if a profit cannot be made. Health care is a public good and something that everyone needs throughout their lifetime.

    ...
    As Kevin Zeese and I wrote last fall, the ACA is one of the biggest insurance scams in history. It has made the already complex American health system, which spends over a third of health care dollars on insurance-created bureaucracy rather than care, much more complicated. It is based on principles that are the opposite of what are proven to be effective. Instead of being universal, everybody automatically enrolled as we did for seniors when Medicare started in 1965 and as most other industrialized nations do, we created a conservative, means-tested system that depends on individual income.

    And instead of creating a single standard of care, so that everyone has access to the health care they need, the ACA locked into law a tiered system of coverage based on different metals: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Though they may sound good, it turns out that the upper tier plans are not any better than the lower tier plans in terms of what services are covered or where patients can go for care. The major difference is whether a person chooses to pay more up front in higher premiums and pay less when they need health care (upper tier plans) or chooses to gamble on staying healthy and pay less up front, risking higher out-of-pocket costs if they need care (lower tier plans). This is essentially a pay-now-or-pay-later scheme.

    And it is a scheme, because there are no guarantees that people who have insurance will be protected from financial ruin if they have a serious health problem. It is essential to remember that nothing about the basic business model of insurance companies has changed. They exist to make a profit and they are very good at it. While they complain about the ACA, because its regulations require more work on their end to find ways around them, it has been very lucrative for them. Health insurance stock values have doubled since the law passed in 2010.

    https://www.truthdig.com/...

    There's so much more, in just two easy to follow pages.

    People who point out the problems seem generally to be sort of marginalized and shouted down here, in a kind of residual leave-it-to-Obama-and-The-Democrats-to-fix-it-over-the-next-decades, “we have to have his back” miasma. I don't know it all, but I do know from 50 years in the “job market” in government and private employment as a lawyer, retail manager and now nurse, that it's getting to be inarguable that business-as-usual and moreandbetterDemocrats is unlikely to work much GOOD change, and will inarguably be leading to tighter and tighter squeezes of the ropes around our ordinary-people necks.

    Don't tell me that this is the best we could do. We have been “HAD,” well and truly had, by the Few, as we are about to be done to via that Transpacific Partnership “Free Trade HAWHAWHAW Agreement,” and maybe Keystone XL will get the chop but the Kochs will still get that bitumen "to market" with their and their retainers' busy work-arounds, and are about to be done to by the long game and subtle perversions and theft of legitimacy that's leading to turning the internet into just another toll station for the Overrich.

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:17:08 PM PDT

  •  Yikes! (5+ / 0-)

    What a lotta pessimism among the comments, along with the only slightly-less-helpful "defining the problem."

    I first involved myself in efforts to preserve 'net neutrality almost a decade ago, during the Bush/Kevin Martin days. The fact that we're still having this battle means at least one thing: it hasn't been lost, as it well could have been back then...and on about a half-dozen occasions since.

    So here we are, having it again. As we will continue to do years hence. Unless, that is, we allow it to be lost for good and all this time around.

    Each time, it was citizen activism that staved off similar proposals, and you'd be surprised how few millions of voices accomplished it.

    Tell your reps in both houses; tell the FCC; tell the WH. Takes very little effort, and you can even continue to cling to your cynicism after you've done it, if that suits you.

    But I guarantee this: letting cynicism stop you will get you absolutely nothing.

    •  Rec for optimism & civic participation. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StevenWells, potatohead

      Damn straight. Now is the time for action, not snark or counsels of despair & Debbie-Downerism.

      Tell your reps in both houses; tell the FCC; tell the WH. Takes very little effort, and you can even continue to cling to your cynicism after you've done it, if that suits you.

      But I guarantee this: letting cynicism stop you will get you absolutely nothing.

      If we give up without fighting, we've already lost to the bastards.
  •  Net Neutrality is a bandaid. (3+ / 0-)

    And the most visible issues of it have less to do with who controls the Internet, and more to do with peering agreements between backbone ISPs and last-mile ISPs.

    Net Neutrality is worth fighting for, and I have no disagreements with the central theme of your article, Mr. Willies.  But Comcast/Netflix is a terrible example of a Net Neutrality case, and without reclassifying all Internet Services Providers over all mediums as common carriers and/or Internet connectivity as a universal public service like electricity, water, and phone, Net Neutrality will eventually be whittled away no matter what.

    I encourage people to read my recently-rescued/recommended Everyday Magic diary about that situation, it's the most recent one you'll see in the link in my sig.  Then, go out and verify for yourself that I'm not full of shit -- while I'm knowledgeable about the issue, don't just take my word for it because I do this for a living.   Trust, but verify and all that.

    Even ask one of us aloof, bus-riding techies about it.  Most of us will be happy to yammer your ear off about it!  :D

    Everyday Magic

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    -- Clarke's Third Law

    by The Technomancer on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:32:37 PM PDT

  •  more looting by kleptocrats and crony capitalists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, Brown Thrasher

    since bandwidth is not subject to scarcity

    Okay, I’ve probably gotten a little ahead of myself here – let me explain. Despite all of the claims that major ISPs might be making, our bandwidth is not “running out.” The problem they are running into is that all of the backbones in our country are a little outdated. Either they need to be upgraded, they need to be replaced, or someone needs to start building newer, better backbones. If we had more sources to pull from, we wouldn’t have to worry about bandwidth caps or anything like that, because high speed internet would be more easily accessible.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:34:00 PM PDT

  •  "Net Neutrality" is like OWS... (0+ / 0-)

    ...it seems to be whatever the person speaking wants/doesn't want it to be at that moment.

    It's quite naive, from a technical standpoint, to say:

    All data packets must be treated equally throughout the Internet.
    because there really are different levels of service appropriate for different needs. For example, real-time interactive video (where buffering interferes with the interaction) getting a higher QoS than, say, downloading a movie for later viewing (where a lot of buffering and jitter is acceptable) makes a lot of sense. To demand that every packet in a BitTorrent download of a indie movie for later viewing must be treated identically to a real-time interactive video packet just insures that we will not get as good service for real-time interactive video.

    We've long had "tiers of service". People who lived in big cities got more channels, people with better antennas got better reception, stations that paid for better transmitter locations gave better service, newspapers with morning and evening editions provided more current news on the average.

    Perhaps the consumer instead of the producer should be the one that somehow pays for the better service (just as they do now -- high bandwidth, uncapped connections cost more than low bandwidth capped connections). However, someone is going to pay.

  •  got a Rasmussen robo poll on net neutrality (0+ / 0-)

    today. when the computer got to the main questions, i.e. net neutrality, it asked if the solution to internet regulation was "more gov regulation" or
    something about the "market" - something, can't remember now but the equivalent of market based solutions.

  •  HONES in, not "homes" in (0+ / 0-)

    "Don't bring that horse in here!" -- Cassandra

    by tc59 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:33:56 AM PDT

  •  How can you "take over" what you already own? (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously.

    Reposted to 11111000000

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:50:59 AM PDT

  •  The Internet and Money (0+ / 0-)

    I began in the Computer Age in 1986, 2 years after teh Apple ad on the Super Bowl. It became frustrating and hysterically funny at the same time as I became "the Mac guy" at CompUSA and then in the IT Departments at a Daily Newspaper and then a giant Ad Company. Today it seems the short sightedness of the Business community has not been repaired. When net neutrality is gone in the US, and it will most probably go, we will have sliced off one more path to the future growth of our economy. Europe is, and has been developing a system to wall off the US portion of the internet so that European traffic will be separate and unaffected by our foolish greedy corporations. There will be a separate Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, and separate retail and corporate traffic. WHY? For the same reason that WE have the worst Cell Phone coverage, the worst Health Care, the most expensive prescription medicines and the most gas hungry autos. We just insist we are the best no matter what. We are going to export Oil and Gas now. Great - just as the rest of the world is going Solar and Wind and Geo-Thermal. We are going to choke the internet just as the rest of the world is developing free access for everyone. We have nobody in a position of power other then the Koch Brothers, The Waltons, and Sheldon Adelson. Great! With no middle class left and pundits worried mostly about THe Late Show and Cliven Bundy we really are irrelevant.

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