Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Net Neutrality — Again…Still…

It's the battle that won’t die. If you spend much time online, you’re probably familiar with the term Net Neutrality. This is the idea that telecom companies have absolutely NO right to give preferential treatment to certain Internet customers — a Fast Lane for their highest-paying premium clients and the Slow Lane for the riffraff.

Since there are literally billions of people using the Internet, this seems like a no-brainer. And the good news is, only a few people actually think it’s a bright idea to allow a few telecom executives to play God with the world’s Internet traffic.

The bad news is: these few people are Republican prostitutes legislators who have taken hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes from their johns in the telecom industry. And yesterday in Congress, these Republican skanks did some major trick-turning.

The funniest (but not ha ha) part of yesterday’s debate was FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s argument for why Net Neutrality is unnecessary. He said the FCC has the authority to crack down on telecom companies that try to give preferential treatment to one customer over another; and he promised that the FCC will assert that authority as needed. “Trust me” (picture Jack Nicholson’s shit-eating grin).

Kevin Martin thinks we need MORE media consolidation: there are too many small news organizations out there, sharing the pie; it would be so much nicer if two or three mega-monoliths were in control of everything. And this is the person who wants to be the one and only referee — the Decider — whenever there’s a dispute between a telecom company and its customers.

To make everything even murkier, the telecom companies are insisting that the FCC does NOT have the authority to prevent a broadband provider from relegating certain customers to the Slow Lane. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like the exact reason that we NEED a law to enforce Net Neutrality.

Think about it: would you rather have a clearly-written law prohibiting murder? Or would you feel perfectly secure if your local police chief said “don’t worry, I have complete authority to protect you and your loved ones. If you think you or a family member is in mortal danger, just give me a call. Ahem — now, uh, you HAVE made a contribution to the Policemen’s Charity Fund now, haven’t you?”

Also in the Funny But Not Ha Ha department: Republicans. When it comes to invading other countries, spying on millions of Americans, bailing out large corporations every time a bad decision was made, regulating everyone’s private life — they’ve never met a big expansive government program they didn’t like. But when it comes to preventing a consortium of mega-corporations from squashing their customers — “Government regulation??? [gasp] oh dear.”

And now: Ted Stevens. He’s probably in the twilight of his senate career — he’s old enough to make John McCain look like a tireless 2-year-old running around the house — but he won’t fade away any time soon. He’s already segueing into his second career as a rapper. He’s channeled his ideas about Net Neutrality — he’s agin’ it — into a kickass techno-rap video.

Check it out: the badass 2 Live Ted-Z. Betcha can’t sit still for this one.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

First of all, how can the Decider-In-Chief decide anything about the internet when I bet he can barely operate a computer? I bet Cheney gave him an Etch-A-Sketch and told him it was a laptop.

And seriously, how can we still be having to fight the two-major-media-companies-is-a-bad-idea thing? How can people still be pushing consolidation? Do they not realize that when the other party gains control--and it will eventually--that the system they put together could be used against them? And that's why we like lots of media outlets in the first place? If you only want one source of news, check out how great it was in the USSR back in the day.

April 23, 2008 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: Yeah, I can't believe this same thing is being argued again and again. But I guess there's been progress. When the idea of Net Neutrality first got introduced in Congress, it was before the '06 election and Republicans were still the majority. Every time a Net Neutrality bill got introduced it would die in committee. So maybe one of these times it will actually get passed.

You're right, that media consolidation the FCC wants is just like what the Soviet Union had up until 1989. Pravda was working great for them, and maybe soon that's what we'll have here.

April 23, 2008 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

They won't stop until this freedom is stripped away like they have done all the others.

April 23, 2008 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: They only want freedom for VIPs, and a straitjacket for everybody else.

April 23, 2008 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

The idea of net neutrality is a crock of crap. The idea that the big users, who pay the big bucks aren't entitled to extra bandwidth is a joke, they pay for it. In fact, they subsidize it so that the "riff raff" (guys like me in their robes in the morning) can have cheap access.

If we tried to apply this concept to autos everyone would have fits. If we tried to apply it to airlines (everyone has to have a first class seat) we'd have no airlines.

It's a joke of an idea, with the little guys not realizing that the "big bad companies" paying more for net access are the only reason they aren't still stuck in dial up land with a 19.2k modem.

April 24, 2008 at 3:42 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

The next time a Republican says they want the entire governmental process replaced by a king will be the first time they've ever told the truth.

That video is totally tubular. Stevens is so old he remembers when the O.G. was still a zygote.

April 24, 2008 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Crazy Politico: I'm familiar with your argument but I don't buy it.

I took a brief glimpse at your blog (I'm sort of rushed this morning); I couldn't tell if you're Republican or Libertarian. Libertarians are consistent at least when they talk about "limited government." They actually mean it. Republicans on the other hand, they want a vast unlimited smothering nanny state for regulating people's private lives; but they have a totally hands-off approach towards multi-billion dollar corporations whose decisions affect millions of people.

Randal: Republican and truth in the same sentence -- talk about an oxymoron. Yeah, that Ted Stevens video is a riot.

April 24, 2008 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

I trust the telecoms to self regulate the internet as much as I trust Rush Limbaugh in my medicine cabinet.

April 24, 2008 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: LOL, good analogy. I can't believe the rightwing "logic" that large industries don't need to be regulated, that they should be counted on to just voluntarily police themselves.

April 24, 2008 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Kevin Martin is a fucking idiot, and the FCC is as inept and inefficient as any federal agency. Having spent 21yrs working in Coast Guard communications, I had many dealings with the FCC. Nearly every encounter I had with the FCC was dissatisfying. Their field offices contain the most incompetent, don’t-give-a-shit workers I’ve ever encountered in my life.

After you elected Martin as Douchebag of the Year last year, I wrote my congressmen about this shit – I just got done writing them again, urging them to support net neutrality and to squash Kevin Martin’s consolidation ideas. What a piece of shit that guy is.

270 Days

April 25, 2008 at 3:31 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: 21 years of dealing with the FCC, yikes. That sounds like one headache after another. They have to be one of the most inept 2-faced agencies of all. They look the other way when a huge corporation gets a stranglehold on the "public" airwaves. But if somebody says a naughty word on the air, or somebody is operating a 100-watt radio station from his basement -- BAM! They're on it like stink on shit.

April 25, 2008 at 10:11 AM  

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