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The internet is fucked (again)
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-07-12 13:37:27

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is fond of saying that "the internet was not broken in 2015" when he argues for repeal of our nation's net neutrality rules. This is particularly funny to me, because in 2014 I literally wrote an article called "The internet is fucked".

Why was it fucked? Because the free and open internet was in danger of becoming tightly controlled by giant telecom corporations that were already doing things like blocking apps and services from phones and excusing their own services from data caps. Because the lack of competition in the internet access market let these companies act like predatory monopolies. And because our government lacked the will or clarity to just say what everyone already knows: internet access is a utility.

Most of these things are still true, even after the Obama-era FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler reclassified internet access as a Title II telecommunications service and imposed strict net neutrality rules on wired and wireless internet providers. And most of these things will get even worse when Pai pushes through his plan to rescind Title II and those rules, despite widespread public outcry.

Hey look, another case of corporations actively working to undermine society by bribing politicians with huge amounts of money that individuals would never (or only rarely) have access to. As long as politicians' power is derived not from the people, but from money, shit like this will continue to happen. Trying to stop Pai's obviously horrible and destructive anti-consumer plans is a noble goal, but these plans are only a symptom, not a cause. We're playing whack-a-mole, while they are playing Jenga.

These corporate criminals and their political lapdogs will keep throwing money at the wall until it breaks - and they have more money than we have bricks and mortar.

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Comment by Phloptical
By Phloptical on 2017-07-13 16:29:28
The fascists are winning. In America and the world.

Good luck, and good night folks.
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Why stop at condemning capitalism?
By CaptainN- on 2017-07-13 17:20:37
Capitalism, a term initially coined as a critique of the American system, is all about giving power to those who own things - the capitalists. The basic idea is that you get to do what you want with the things you own. It's no surprise then that capitalists try to assert that power over the political realm, which is ostensibly about democratic power, and not capital power.

What I don't understand, is even when we understand this truth, and it is clear Thom's post that he understands it at some level, we still can't bring ourselves to speak out against the system of capitalism. Why is that?

Do we need an alternative first? I would offer democratically (and worker) owned capitalist institutions as a way forward (this is generally called "democratic socialism", but I think that's incorrect - it's more like "democratic socialism", because while it distributes decision making power democratically, it still relies on the basic capitalist way of determining power is allocated - through ownership).
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RE: Why stop at condemning capitalism?
By Alfman on 2017-07-13 18:41:19
CaptainN-,

> What I don't understand, is even when we understand this truth, and it is clear Thom's post that he understands it at some level, we still can't bring ourselves to speak out against the system of capitalism. Why is that?

Do we need an alternative first? I would offer democratically (and worker) owned capitalist institutions as a way forward (this is generally called "democratic socialism", but I think that's incorrect - it's more like "democratic socialism", because while it distributes decision making power democratically, it still relies on the basic capitalist way of determining power is allocated - through ownership).


I can relate to all of that, but I think the problem is that those with political power can use it to gain economic, and those with economic power can use it to gain political power, and it leaves the working class with no power.

It's always been like this to a point, the "robber barrons" treated workers extremely poorly, some were even compensated with company money that couldn't be spent elsewhere. But after the government began enforcing worker protections and gave workers a right to unionize, many of those jobs became good middle class jobs. These were the golden years for the middle class.

However two things changed:

1. the affluent have become more politically powerful and have used their power to push their corporate agendas at the expense of society as a whole.


2. automation, increased productivity, and global consolidation lead to redundancies and much weaker demand for labor in the workforce. This lead to wage stagnation, cut back in benefits, etc.


#1 might be solvable if we could rid politics of corruption and get representatives who actually represented their constituents, but how? People will vote for what they want to believe (like draining the swap), even if it was all lies. It would be one thing if politicians were held accountable, and I think they should be, but at least here in the US they have no accountability. They are free to lie as much as they want to get elected with no repercussions at all.


#2 isn't strictly driven by malice, being more efficient is ostensibly a good thing and we shouldn't discourage efficiency. The problem is that nearly all of the gains in efficiency have gone to benefit the owners rather than the workers. Obviously we need an economic model where benefits reach everyone.

Solutions should be feasible, but it seems rare for those in power to be willing to cull their own economic advantages over others.

Edited 2017-07-13 18:45 UTC
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RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
By JLF65 on 2017-07-13 20:24:06
> Then the proper thing to do, is to cast an empty ballot.
SHOW UP. Abstaining on a vote actually is _counted_. They see those numbers. Represent your refusal to vote for shitty options by showing up, and refusing to vote for shitty options.


Electronic voting machines cleared up THAT pesky problem. You CANNOT cast an empty ballot on eVoting machines. There is only one state (Nevada) that includes a "none of the above" entry on their ballots. California tried to get a similar law in place, but it failed. In all other states, you vote for someone on the list, or you don't vote at all.
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RE[2]: .
By JLF65 on 2017-07-13 20:38:09
You're distorting the truth, which was that Tom Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.
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RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
By grandmasterphp on 2017-07-13 21:05:41
> Direct voting on Policy is what led to Brexit. Most people are idiots and they vote accordingly.

Switzerland has a referendum on everything, and it one of the best countries in Europe.

Most people in the UK wanted out of the EU for years for various reasons. Attitudes like yours that assume that everyone is stupid and doesn't know what is best for them is a pure demonstration of haughtiness.

If the conservative government at the time didn't promise a referendum, UKIP would have become quite a powerful force in UK politics and we would have had a referendum anyway.

The EU as an economic block is failing, year on year their percentage of world trade falls.

https://fullfact.org/europe/eu-ha...

Most of the poorer countries are satrapies of Germany anyway. So there is a situation where most of the North European countries are paying for the southern and eastern European countries.
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RE: Why stop at condemning capitalism?
By grandmasterphp on 2017-07-13 21:18:15
> Capitalism, a term initially coined as a critique of the American system, is all about giving power to those who own things - the capitalists. The basic idea is that you get to do what you want with the things you own. It's no surprise then that capitalists try to assert that power over the political realm, which is ostensibly about democratic power, and not capital power.

That isn't right unfortunately. You are explaining Corporatism which is essentially corruption.

Capitalism is "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state."

The UK and the USA are certainly not capitalist, but more corporatist unfortunately.

"Democratic Socialism" is basically marxism which doesn't really work

http://www.pragcap.com/a-cheat-s...

Edited 2017-07-13 21:21 UTC
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RE[3]: .
By rhavenn on 2017-07-13 21:35:56
or maybe as a lobbyist he did his job and then as FCC chairman he did his job.
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RE[3]: .
By Alfman on 2017-07-13 21:46:10
JLF65,

> You're distorting the truth, which was that Tom Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.

You know, I often feel that government appointments and policies are far disconnected from the voters at the ballot box. Both parties are corrupt as hell. Both have very strong ties to corporate and especially wall street interests. I wish we could get rid of them both.

However I still think fmaxwell's point is valid too, the trump administration's appointments are especially unqualified for and hostile to the departments they head. It's no coincidence that his appointments have been so bad, trump doesn't have the right to change the laws he disagrees with, so the next best thing for trump was to appoint people including FCC chairman ajit pai to undermine his own department at every turn.

Edited 2017-07-13 21:50 UTC
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RE[3]: .
By fmaxwell on 2017-07-13 23:17:16
JLF65 wrote: > Wheeler was PURE LUCK. As a lobbyist for cable/telecom companies, Wheeler was appointed because they expected him to continue supporting cable and telecom at the expense of the public. NO ONE had any hope of him standing up for the people, and were pleasantly surprised when he did. The Democrats TRIED to sabotage the FCC and it backfired on them, so you can't now turn around and claim they intended that the whole time.
No, JLF65, you are the one distorting the truth. On November 10, 2014, the Obama White House put out a press release:

> President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules
Summary: President Obama asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.

After the FCC passed strong net neutrality rules, Republicans were livid, claiming that Obama had pressured Wheeler to support net neutrality. They disclosed that Wheeler met with top White House aides nine times while the net neutrality rules were being formulated. When Wheeler denied discussing net neutrality at those meetings, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said “You meet with the White House multiple times ... and we’re supposed to believe that one of the most important things the FCC has ever done, that this doesn’t come up?” Telecom lobbyists also accused the White House of inappropriate involvement in rule making at the FCC.

This is a classic example of Democrats standing up for U.S. citizens against powerful corporations, leaving Republicans furious.
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