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Howl

Net Neutrality

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Howl

Hey, y'all.  Net neutrality is about to go in the toilet.  Liberal Redneck Trae Crowder tells how our internet lives are getting ready to turn into an Orwell novel.  Salty language for sure.  

 

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GreyhoundFan

John Oliver did a couple of segments on Net Neutrality. Here's the first one:

 

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Howl

Could John Oliver be even more brilliant?  Love that man. 

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candygirl200413

This plus the tax bill really got me down in the dumps right now :(. I've signed and called, will it be enough?!

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Spent
Destiny
Could John Oliver be even more brilliant?  Love that man. 

Paws off. He’s mine!
Seriously though, his piece is great and really explains why everyone should care.

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Howl
5 minutes ago, Destiny said:

Paws off. He’s mine!
Seriously though, his piece is great and really explains why everyone should care.

I know, right, because it's like letting a dingo babysit your baby. 

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onekidanddone
1 hour ago, Howl said:

I know, right, because it's like letting a dingo babysit your baby. 

The dingo is in the White House.

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ColeJo

As despicable as this Administration is, I wasn't worried about much. This and the tax bill is making me freak out a bit. 

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apple1

It is impossible to constantly remain outraged and maintain some semblance of mental health. For that reason, I have tried not to think about this - another assault on our population by the current administration.

But this is a very VERY bad idea.

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Howl

Well, here we go: 

FCC stonewalling probe of 'massive scheme' involving fake net neutrality comments, New York attorney general says

Spoiler

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released an open letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, accusing the agency of stonewalling his office's investigation into what he called a "massive scheme" to inundate the FCC's public net neutrality review process with fake comments.

"The process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities and the FCC has been unwilling to assist my office in our efforts to investigate this unlawful activity," Schneiderman wrote to Pai, a Republican appointed to head the agency by President Donald Trump. 

For full text, click title of article.  And yeah, as you read down, Russian bots are in there big time. 

This is horrible, but I'm more worried about MediCare under the new tax plan.  

I am so tired of people whining about corrupt government.  The best of our leaders have turned the tide against corrupt corporate interests going back to the railroad days.  We have anti-trust laws.  We have at least some form of protections from overweening corporate greed and bad actors (EPA, FDA, a consumer protection agency, a few banking regulations, and so forth).  We've had leaders and people in government (both elected and civil servants)  who wanted the best for Americans.  Because of this, we've not felt the full, unbridled force of corporate entitlement fuckery.  That's changed with this administration.  Once let loose, it will be very hard to close the lid on this Pandora's box.  It would take a progressive Democrat for president and a clear Democratic/Independent majority in both Houses to even start this process.   

Edited by Howl

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fraurosena

At least one Republican dares to stand up to the idiocy.

First Republican defies her party’s scheme to censor the internet

Quote

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins has no intention of aiding her party’s dangerous scheme to censor the internet and roll back protections for free and open debate.

Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Commission chair, recently announced a decision to do away with net neutrality rules, which serve as the “internet’s guiding principle” regarding free speech and open access.

As the Washington Post noted, this move would “give internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use.” And New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused the FCC of stonewalling his office’s six-month investigation into the agency’s “massive scheme” to sway public opinion on the issue their way.

Of course, the major broadband corporations — like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast — support such an anti-consumer move, as do many in the Republican Party.

But Collins has stepped forward to defend the internet and its users from this dangerous new policy — the first and thus far only member of her party to do so.

Collins’ spokesperson Annie Clark noted that the senator opposes the scheme to roll back net neutrality because it would allow internet providers to “manage their system in an anti-competitive way that limits consumers’ choices.”

Collins is also concerned that the FCC’s move would hinder the spread of accessible broadband in rural areas.

Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, an open internet advocacy organization, thanked Collins for “having the courage to speak out,” and urged her Republican colleagues to follow her example.

Collins has often diverged from her party when it goes too far to the right in ways that would bring serious harm to the nation and its people.

Protecting the crucial principle of free and open access to the internet is another example of Collins putting her own party on the spot when it comes to putting the rights of the people first.

1

 

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Howl

What's gnawing at my mind is the unholy alliance of $$$$$ and politics when corporations can do as they please with political speech, fake news, advertising for one candidate or another, blocking web sites -- you get the idea.  It's a Brave New World out there -- like we could end up with "Fair and Balanced Fox News" 24-7. 

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Howl

This came across my fb, but without attribution.  I have to agree with many of the points, though, so I'm sharing it here: 

Quote

"Cable companies are upset that people are ditching their cable boxes by the millions in favor of services like netflix and hulu where you can watch an entire series in a day, and watch whatever else you want, WHEN you want without taking breaks every 7 minutes for commercials and drawing a story out for half a year in weekly installments so they can sell you as many cars and fastfood meals and headache pills as you can stomach.

And since the vast majority of broadband users in America are using the cable companies to get online and then end up watching another company's content... they're upset. Cable and television are dying industries. They're not dead yet though, and will probably linger for another 50 years like radio has, but they're on their way out, and if being an ISP isn't profitable enough for Comast and Charter, they'll find new ways to charge you more money. And if you refuse to pay, they'll lobby the government to force it.

Well guess what? Sometimes government rules and control on private enterprise is necessary. Taking the government out of everything for that fabled "small government" fantasy libertarians masturbate to every night will lead us right back to the robber barons of the 19th century. People are greedy. It's why communism won't work, and it's why capitalism needs to be REGULATED or eventually, just like in the game of monopoly, all the money ends up in the hands of one or a couple people and now you're a despotism.

Right now you've got a couple cable companies pumping millions of dollars of bribe money into the pockets of a few regulators so they can pick and choose what you're allowed to see because they don't get a piece of the action. It's extortion. You're afraid of big brother but not big corporate? At least big brother pretends to care about you. Corporations make no claims to that effect.

These are the same cable and internet companies that took BILLIONS of dollars in government grants in the 1990s to expand our fiberoptic infrastructure across the country and instead, they pocketed the money and did NOTHING. That's why almost every citizen in Japan and POLAND AND HUNGARY have gigabit internet connections but we've barely got 100mbit in our most populated areas, and we INVENTED the fucking internet."

 

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Howl

And then there's this:   

Quote

Robert Reich: "Republicans in Congress love states’ rights as long as they don't interfere with corporate profits or the Trump agenda. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has slipped a provision into his proposal to eliminate Net Neutrality that would prohibit states and cities from protecting equal access to the internet. The order is so far-reaching that states wouldn't be able to enact any new regulations on internet service providers. We must stop this power grab. The FCC's final vote is in two weeks. If you haven't contacted your member of Congress yet, please do: www.battleforthenet.com"

 

Edited by Howl

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GrumpyGran
4 hours ago, Howl said:

This came across my fb, but without attribution.  I have to agree with many of the points, though, so I'm sharing it here: 

 

Uh huh, latest crisis in our house is the Shit that is TiVo. Apparently we'll have to devote a day or two on the phone to ???? to get out from under them. We are lucky enough to have an actual local provider so I don't care if I have to pay another 30 or 40 $$ a month if it means I can actually talk to someone.

This is where these mega-monopolies are taking us. This is truly frightening and another way they will make sure that "elections" go their way.

Oh, and @Howl, thanks for the heads up about Liberal Redneck. My husband is in love! I kinda like him too. For the rest of you, his stuff is pretty good.

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GreyhoundFan

"The FCC’s net neutrality plan may have even bigger ramifications in light of this obscure court case"

Spoiler

The plan by the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate its net neutrality rules next week is expected to hand a major victory to Internet service providers. But any day now, a federal court is expected to weigh in on a case that could dramatically expand the scope of that deregulation — potentially giving the industry an even bigger win and leaving the government less prepared to handle net neutrality complaints in the future, consumer groups say.

The case involves AT&T and one of the nation's top consumer protection agencies, the Federal Trade Commission. At stake is the FTC's ability to prosecute companies that act in unfair or deceptive ways.

The litigation is significant as the FCC prepares to transfer more responsibility to the FTC for handling net neutrality complaints. (Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers should not be able to speed up some websites while slowing down others, particularly in exchange for money — a tactic industry critics say could hurt innovation and prevent the growth of start-ups.) If AT&T gets its way in the case, the FTC's ability to pursue misbehaving companies — over net neutrality issues or otherwise — may be sharply curtailed.

The FTC has the power to sue misbehaving companies that mislead or lie to the public. But that power comes with an exception: It doesn't extend to a special class of businesses that are known as “common carriers.” This group includes not just telecom companies but also oil and gas pipelines, as well as freight and cruise liners. By order of Congress, the FTC is not allowed to take enforcement actions against these types of firms.

Thus far, the common carrier exemption has applied to a specific slice of the economy. But the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, FTC v. AT&T Mobility, could vastly expand the number of companies that qualify for the exemption. In an earlier decision in the lawsuit, a federal judge effectively said that any company that runs a telecom subsidiary is considered a common carrier. Previously, only the subsidiary would have been considered a common carrier — not the larger corporate entity. The case is being reheard, and analysts say a decision could come at any time.

The opinion last year from Judge Richard Clifton surprised many antitrust and telecom experts, in part because it could have important ramifications for net neutrality. A company that provides Internet access, such as AT&T, could seek an exemption from FTC net neutrality enforcement by pointing to its voice business and claiming common carrier status under the ruling. At the same time, the ruling could limit AT&T's net neutrality liability under the FCC, because the repeal of the net neutrality rules would mean the FCC would no longer recognize AT&T's broadband business as one that can be regulated like a telecommunications carrier.

In that scenario, neither the FCC nor the FTC would offer consumers robust protections from potential net neutrality abuses, consumer groups say. “A vote to approve the [FCC's net neutrality plan], followed by a decision favorable to AT&T Mobility by the Ninth Circuit, would therefore create a 'regulatory gap' that would leave consumers utterly unprotected,” Public Knowledge said in a letter this week asking the FCC to delay its vote.

The FCC responded to the letter by saying the vote will proceed as planned, but it did not address the issue of the potential regulatory gap. “This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled,” the agency said in a statement Monday to Ars Technica.

Some antitrust experts say the consequences of a ruling against the FTC could go far beyond net neutrality, opening the door to many more companies trying to escape FTC oversight by claiming they are common carriers.

“Companies whose common carrier activities represent only a minuscule portion of their business could bootstrap that status into an exemption from FTC oversight of even non-common carrier activities,” said Robert Cooper, an antitrust lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

Under Clifton's ruling, Google parent company Alphabet could theoretically claim to be a common carrier because one of its many subsidiaries is Google Fiber, a small voice and Internet access provider. Hence “every smart company” that could afford it would try to take advantage of the loophole by buying or launching a small telecom company, said David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau.

“The Ninth Circuit opinion threatens to carve out an enormous swath of the economy from FTC oversight,” Vladeck said. “Google's currently under two FTC consent decrees. Who knows whether those decrees would stand.”

Some analysts say the appellate court is unlikely to uphold Clifton's ruling precisely because of the potential for staggering consequences for the U.S. economy. But even if the court did uphold the decision, the analyst say, Congress could step in to address the issue.

“The legislative fix here could not be simpler: It would be a one-page bill to reaffirm the position taken by every FTC chairman and commissioner of either party for decades,” said Berin Szoka, president of the think tank TechFreedom.

The FTC and AT&T declined to comment on the case.

Yeah, Congress won't "step in to address the issue" because it would upset large corporations and help average Americans.

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EowynW
16 minutes ago, LeftCoastLurker said:

And it's down the toilet. 

I am so disappointed. I have many friends with small businesses who depend on the internet and social media for marketing. My husband and I use the internet constantly to research and learn because we cannot afford hands on classes for many of our interests. I have friends who are homeschooling (the correct non fundie way) and use the internet for a shit ton of classes, seminars and learning.

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WiseGirl
4 hours ago, LeftCoastLurker said:

And it's down the toilet. 

And how many more ways are they going to squeeze money those of us not in the top 1%.:my_angry: (Rhetorical question I don't really want to know. I'd like to keep my blood pressure down and my swear jar empty).

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Briefly
5 hours ago, EowynW said:

I am so disappointed. I have many friends with small businesses who depend on the internet and social media for marketing. My husband and I use the internet constantly to research and learn because we cannot afford hands on classes for many of our interests. I have friends who are homeschooling (the correct non fundie way) and use the internet for a shit ton of classes, seminars and learning.

We've always had side businesses, we did eBay for years and then my husband gradually got into repairing vintage pachinko machines.  He was laid off in April 2016 and our side business has become his job. We have a website and the majority of our business comes through that.  We've just now gotten it to the point where we think we're going to be ok if he does not have a full-time job.  Now this.  I'm trying very hard not to worry, but this has me really afraid.  I'm sure we are not the only ones in this position.

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GrumpyGran

My worry is that this will strangle availability of information across the board and make it easy for those who want to continue the brainwashing. We will never know what we never know is actually out there unless we know how to search under a rock for it.

Small enterprise will certainly be cut out of the picture. But larger internet providers are going to go where the money is. We know who has the money.

I think this is intentional and meant to target access to a broad range of ideas.

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candygirl200413

Some people are saying that many are prematurely upset because senate has to vote on it and I'm like you do remember who is in the majority right?

Also if you guys ever submitted or just want to check to see if comments were sent in your name via NY AG https://ag.ny.gov/fakecomments

My name is VERY unique and two people recorded my names.

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47of74

The creators of Harlem Shake are none too happy with Ajit Pai because he used it as part of his efforts to destroy the internet

Quote

The brains behind the viral hit “Harlem Shake” are threatening legal action against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai for his use of the song in an advertisement for the repeal of net neutrality rules.

After famed DJ Diplo tweeted at the song’s producer Harry Rodrigues ― a DJ better known as Baauer ― about Pai’s use of the song, Rodrigues tweeted on Thursday afternoon that he’d be “taking action.” 

In addition to Baauer, the record label responsible for “Harlem Shake,” Mad Decent, also tweeted that they do not “approve of the message contained therein” and would be pursuing “further legal action if it is not removed.”

Pai is your typical Republican - take what he wants and thinks laws are for other people.

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hoipolloi

IANAL, but think that this "repeal" is going to be an uphill battle for Ajit & his buddies.

With the exception of the idiots appointed by tRump, they're going to have a hard time in court because of their 'bad faith' approach to public involvement:

- publicly saying they'll ignore comments from non-lawyers, particularly if they're pro-Net Neutrality

- ignoring & refusing to do anything about the compelling evidence that there were over 2 million fake comments (with associated ID theft)

- Ajit Pai's making an offensive video in order smack down his critics.

All of the above adds up to bad faith on the part of a government agency and will NOT be ignored by the courts but will be considered just as tRump's anti-Muslim tweets damaged their "cases" over the travel bans.

Oh, and one of the Federal judges who will be hearing these suits is Merrick Garland! :dance:

 

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GreyhoundFan

None other than Luke Skywalker himself slammed Ajit Pai: "‘A Jedi You Are NOT’: Mark Hamill slams light saber-wielding FCC chairman over net neutrality"

Spoiler

Among the many potential consequences of the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality, perhaps none was as unpredictable as a “Star Wars” marquee actor questioning the Jedi worthiness of the commission’s chairman.

That’s exactly what happened Saturday when Mark Hamill, best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the space-movie franchise, took a shot at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who earlier in the week had dressed up as Santa Claus and filmed a bizarre video outlining “7 things you can still do on the Internet after net neutrality.”

The video, as dad jokey as they come, included footage of Pai reassuring viewers that they could still “gram” their food even without the Obama-era regulations that prevented Internet providers from speeding up some websites and throttling or blocking others. Among other head-scratching scenes, Pai also hugged a puppy and danced to the “Harlem Shake” to convince viewers that they could still “drive memes right into the ground.”

But the scene Hamill publicly took issue with was one in which Pai donned a black hoodie and swung a light saber around while the “Star Wars” theme played in the background.

“You can still stay part of your fave fandom,” the FCC chairman declared.

Hamill, well, struck back.

“Cute video Ajit ‘Aren’t I Precious?’ Pai,” Hamill tweeted sarcastically, along with a vomiting emoji, before declaring that the FCC chief was “profoundly unworthy” of wielding a light saber.

“A Jedi acts selflessly for the common man-NOT lie 2 enrich giant corporations,” Hamill wrote.

... < 1st tweet below >

Hamill also questioned whether Pai had paid composer John Williams any royalties for use of the “Star Wars” theme song in the video, which was published Wednesday by the conservative news site Daily C-ller. The video, which used music from several copyrighted sources, prompted an online protest led by producer and DJ Harry Rodrigues, who created the “Harlem Shake.”

Rodrigues (also known as Baauer) vowed to take action, and his record label, Mad Decent, said Thursday it would pursue legal recourse if the song was not removed. The video was briefly taken down from YouTube on Friday but restored later, with “Harlem Shake” still included.

... < 2nd tweet below >

It’s unclear whether Hamill was implying in his tweet that similar action would be taken for Pai’s use of the “Star Wars” theme. The 66-year-old “Star Wars” actor is known for regularly engaging with his fans on Twitter and has been an outspoken critic of President Trump and his administration’s policies.

Whatever his intention, Hamill, fresh off his appearance in “The Last Jedi,” finished his diatribe against Pai with a withering hashtag: #AJediYouAreNOT.

On Sunday, Hamill also had some fresh words for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who tried to compare net neutrality to “the dark side” in a tweet intended for the actor.

“Luke, I know Hollywood can be confusing, but it was Vader who supported govt power over everything said & done on the Internet,” Cruz tweeted. Unfortunately, he misspelled Hamill's Twitter handle.

Nevertheless, Hamill responded shortly afterward.

... < 3rd tweet below >

With his tweets, Hamill joined a growing list of actors, artists and musicians who have argued that the loss of net neutrality will be detrimental to those in a creative industry. Dozens of artists signed an open letter earlier this month arguing that gutting net neutrality would allow Internet providers to charge fees that would essentially act as a tax on the creative community.

“The medium that allows us to be great artists is under threat. Without a free and open internet, so much music, writing, film, art, culture, passion, and creativity would be lost,” the letter stated. “A few corporations will have control over what you see and hear, while independent and up-and-coming artists’ ability to make a living will be devastated. Without net neutrality there will be less awesome art. Period.”

That was, of course, before the vote last week. What comes next remains to be seen. As The Washington Post’s Brian Fung reported, several legal battles loom, as those who support Obama-era regulations on net neutrality have vowed to sue the FCC.

 

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