The More I read About the US of A....
The more it appears to be devolving into a 3rd world country.
The controversial repeal of net neutrality rules in America will go to a formal vote in Congress after sufficient lawmakers backed an effort to scrap it. There are now more than 30 Senators that have cosponsored a resolution [PDF] under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the effort by the Federal Communications …
Don't understand the downvotes. Unless they take issue with "devolving" - like the USofA hasn't already devolved.
We served a good purpose for a couple of centuries. Old Europe and much of the rest of the world got to see democracy in all of its tarnished glory. Now it's time for us to generate some real culture instead of the ultimate crassness.
> "Don't understand the downvotes."
Let me explain. There happen to be a sizable contingent of people who actually don't despise Western Culture, and think overall it's pretty damn good. I know I know, how bizarre. But it's true!
Hope that cleared it up for you.
The longer I live the more I'm convinced we (the US) are becoming a third-world country. Out life expectancy dropped for the second year in a row: we are below the OECD average and well below countries such as France, Germany, and Britain, in fact, we rank right down there with Costa Rica. Infant mortality, income inequality, educational achievement, the list goes on and on; we have fallen backwards.
In fact, Big John, it is precisely because people like me like Western Culture that we despair of the drop in standards in our country. Letting our country become a corporate oligarchy is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
It makes more sense once you realise Republicans never *really* gave up on the whole slavery thing.
Identifying, labelling, demonising, and subjugating those not of your tribe, then taking their stuff, while extracting pleasure from their distress, is a Civilisation 101 "get rich quick" method, and it works nicely.
> "It makes more sense once you realise Republicans never *really* gave up on the whole slavery thing."
Funny, I seem to recall it was the the Republicans who took the slaves away from the Democrats. In fact the Republican Party was started specifically to end slavery.
Sad to see the Democrats' less-educated followers attempting to project that unsavory Democrat past onto the ones who thwarted them in the first place! Tsk.
You should know about less educated BJ. The party of Lincoln may have freed the slaves; but, ever since the Democrats under Johnson passed civil rights legislation the party playing to the latent racism of the unreconstructed south has been the Republicans. Election after election they play the not too subtle race card in any area of the country they believe poor, dumb whites such as yourself can be whipped into a frenzy about protecting their white heritage. I'm from a working class white background and the only thing threatening my heritage is the destruction of the basic liberties supposedly guaranteed in the Constitution and defended by the blood, sweat, and tears of my ancestors.
Might want to get your facts straight. Republicans were the ones that abolished slavery: https://www.cnn.com/2012/08/25/politics/cnn-explains-gop-party/index.html
Democrats were the ones that wanted to keep it going.
The current crop of Republicans are not about slavery or discrimination, what they are all about is pure, unfettered capitalism in the worst sense of the word. Free from any moral or societal concerns, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting screwed (which is their fault, 'cause they're, well, poor).
They are also cynically trying to bankrupt the federal government to justify massive cuts to anything than looks like income transfer from the rich to the poor, eg. social security, housing/food support or any sort of health care.
It's because of that scurrilous fable about all the racists moving from the Democrats to the Republicans in the sixties. In reality the Dems just decided to hide their racism behind a mask of self righteousness while accusing the Republicans of their own past crimes. Worked pretty well it appears...
>It's because of that scurrilous fable about all the racists moving from the Democrats to the Republicans in the sixties.
That 'scurrilous fable' is established, incontravertable history. Nixon's Southern Strategy is also established history. The Dixiecrats are gone, unmourned.
The Alt-right's attempts to cozy up to Lincoln (who they'd have cheerfully have shot) leaves a sick taste in the mouth.
100 years after the civil war ended the Democratic party passed landmark civil right laws in the face of violent, almost hysterical opposition from the Republicans. yes, BJ, the racists did simply switch parties beginning the 60's. If you were alive during that time, like I was, you would remember it clearly. If you were literate, you could research it.
I've been sat here with my popcorn reading all of the replies to my original comment and being highly amused.
So to pick a few replies to comments made... not going into the trolling side at all.
1: Don't hate western culture... I'm from the UK... we kinda invented it and then watched as the US perverted it for profit. :P
2: Brexit... I voted to remain... I think it's the dumbest thing to happen in this country for decades... and the same idiots who voted for it would probably have voted for Trump if they'd been born in the US.
You seriously want to rewrite history like this?
It's on the public record that politicians who had been Democrats switched to be Republicans and their voters went with them. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that this followed the passage of the voting rights act in 1965.
A short list of some of the national politicians who switched from D to R in the late 1960s / early 1970s
(the record has hundreds more - in NC, SC, AL, MI, GA ad other southern states)
Any idiot who claims that the southern Democratic party did not switch wholesale to R affiliation after the Civil Rights era is probably historically uninformed enough to claim that Nazis were socialist too.
Just because Fox News repeats this lie nightly doesn't make it true. And yes, I had heard that Senator Byrd was in the KKK - yawn. There are many republicans today that make the KK look like amateurs.
"Perhaps you are confusing them with the Democratic party and their offshoot the Ku Klux Klan?"
Depends. Did a democrat just pardon Joe Arpaio's racism conviction? Was Trump's father *not* arrested at a KKK rally? How far do black people get in the Republican party compared to the Democrats?
it appears to be devolving into a 3rd world country
True, but FWIW we prefer "banana republic."
With the Trumpublicans in charge, we are becoming more like Russia every day: a nuclear-armed state, run by a cabal that exists to further enrich both itself and the oligarchy that it serves.
"The floor of the Senate" (and/or the House of Representatives) is where all of this should have been decided in the FIRST place.
Having an executive branch LEGISLATE is JUST WRONG. That's effectively what 'net neutrality' was when Obaka's administration's FCC people tried it.
Bureaucracies are supposed to IMPLEMENT and ENFORCE, not legislate.
If the Senate and H.R. pass net neutrality, and Trump signs it, it will become law.
If they do not pass it, it SHOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED by the F.C.C. or any OTHER agency (thus circumventing the legislature).
That's how "separation of powers" are SUPPOSED to work. it's why I'm glad Pai SCRAPPED it.
""The floor of the Senate" (and/or the House of Representatives) is where all of this should have been decided in the FIRST place."
In theory yes, Bob, but the complexity of modern legal systems, taxation and so on is such that your elected representatives don't have time to consider even a tiny fraction of the laws that get passed. If you want them to focus on the "important" laws, someone else is still going to have to fill in the details. Even Appenzell, once the most democratic (and tiniest) State (in the US sense) on Earth unless you were female, delegates a lot of decision making to its executive branch these days.
Right, they don't even have time to read, let alone consider most of the proposals. When they are actually working, it is to increase their personal coffers.
And given the breeding stock that most of the new ones came from, most of them have about as much ability to read and comprehend as their Twit-In-Chief.
The congress is run by lobbyists, only. And many of the lobbyists are foreign agents, many non-registered. The rest are paid for by the plutocrats who have less than zero interest in the welfare of the population.
They were "IMPLEMENTing and ENFORCing". No need to shout, by the way.
They were implementing and enforcing the Telecommunicatons Act of 1996, which gives as its aim:
to provide for a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all telecommunications markets to competition
Now, you can quibble about the FCC's interpretation of its duties, and you can certainly argue about the appropriateness and proportionality of its requirements. But to imply that they had no mandate to do it because Congress had not legislated on the subject is just plain false.
They've abdicated their responsibility for dealing with a lot of things due to partisanship, so executive orders or rules/regulations issued by cabinet level bodies are the only way to get some things done. Or would you be OK if Trump's executive orders that weren't simply undoing Obama executive orders be nullified and require legislation to enact?
I think the executive branch exercises far too much authority and has done so since well before I was born. Laws passed by congress should be required to better spell out the limits of what the executive branch can and can't do. Unfortunately the courts have ruled over and over again that unless something is specifically covered in legislation, the executive branch has the power. Which is why Trump exercises more executive authority than Obama, who exercised more executive authority than Bush, and so forth, continually eroding the power of the legislative branch despite complaints from the out-of-power party about presidential "overreach".
Currently, the legislative branch is rendered impotent by the bitter factionalism that makes it politically toxic to try to reach any kind of accommodation with "the other side".
I'm not sure how much of that can be laid at the door of the executive branch. Certainly Trump personally has played a part, but more in his capacity as a media whore and talking head than as president. Opposition polarized pretty badly under Clinton and Bush, then the Republicans went absolutely apeshit against Obama, and the sentiment has been pegged in that position since.
Whether it would have been this way under a sane Republican president I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to suspect it wouldn't have been that different. Certainly the Reps showed no sign of softening towards Hillary, when they thought she was going to win - and I didn't notice the Dems giving much quarter to Cruz or Rubio either.
I'm not sure what the cure is, or if there is one. But if there is one, it will definitely involve major campaign finance reform.
Which is why, even though I'm not particularly a fan of Oprah and probably wouldn't be particularly a fan of her politics, I'd love to see her decide to run and beat Trump, just because the same moron breed of "oppressed white men" (i.e. the sort of people who refer to Obama as Obaka) who couldn't stomach a black man as president would really be driven over the edge by a black woman as president!
I wonder how they'd spell her name, if they'd start conspiracy theories about where she was born, or just go full tilt and make up crazy stories like she performed a secret back alley abortion on Gayle when they were kids.
They want to, there just aren't nearly enough of them willing to fight over it. The ones that would be willing to fight a war over it are the ones who showed up in Charlottesville chanting Nazi slogans.
The 49% who voted for Trump, or the 35-ish percent who still support him are not all angry oppressed white men. Most of them are just conservatives who tolerate Trump as a means to an end because they see democrats as worse.
It was said in some stories about why Pai decided not to show up for the "candid conversation" at the CES because of death threats.
If I'd just done something that millions of people had all commented against, that everybody except my corporate masters had rallied against, & that even members of my own political party were up in arms over, I might decide to hide as well.
You just know some little old lady will hobble up in her walker, ask to shake his hand, & hit him in the crunchies with a Taser the moment he extends his hand. "What part of NO MEANS NO did you not understand? You wanted to repeal, we said no, you did it anyway, so don't be surprised when the consequences of your actions come back to bite you in the ass!"
Dear Mister Pai. I hope they impeach you for treason against the very public you were sworn to protect. Then as a warning to the others I hope they force you to read each & every comment left in the FCC comment submission section... repeatedly. Until the message sinks in.
> "Repubs have made it a partisan issue..."
Yes, by not meekly going along with the Socialisation of the Internet. Better get used to it too. We intend to resist the Left's power grabs at every turn and watch the increasingly shrill screams with amusement. ;-/
"Yes, by not meekly going along with the Socialisation of the Internet."
OK, I don't get it. Was that some kind of satire?
You do know that the Internet is like roads, right? You know, those things you can use to go places. Socialist hell holes of snaking tarmac...
Socialisation of the Internet
I'm assuming that you are not talking about the rise of vapid, self-centred abominations like Facebook here..
(And FYI - what you seem to refer to a 'socialisation', the rest of the free world calls 'essential regulation to stop corporate monopolies breaking the internet'. There is a vast difference between regulation and state ownership..)
"Repubs have made it a partisan issue, so they will likely vote exactly along the party lines."
What ISN'T a partisan issue anymore? If one party want Charmin in the congressional bathrooms then the other is going to scream for Quilted Northern, and there will be a couple people off in the corner crying out for Angel Soft.
Yeah, Pai just wants to "return the Internet to the pee-ple." Yep. His actions have NOTHING to do with the fact that the big players all sponsor him or the fact that he's a whore for Verizion, Comcast, et al. Naw, he's doing it for the little guy. (Anyone who believes that, please contact me-I have a bridge for sale.)
Pai makes me sick. (Icon as close as I can find to puking.)
I doubt Congress will be able to do any good, but at least some in there are trying, which is something.
They are the case of the lesser evil in this. They want you consuming as much cheap bandwidth as possible to target more ads your way, and Concast and Derizon will charge you and them more for the the distracting kitteh videos.
At least you can ignore or block ads and use privacy filters with the Ad networks. The word Pigopolist that Orlowski used to use was invented for US Big Cable and Telco. Remind me was anyone actually jailed for the bill stuffing debacle?
Although as a RightPondian the whole furore over NN amuses, it's really just a US thing after all.
More precisely, they are the hidden evil, as I see no one but me even mentioning their names.
I'm not really sure why their names matter. Its a massive ad-hominem. Do I like Facebook? No, not really. Do I think they're on the right side of this issue? Yes. Just because they stand to benefit in this situation doesn't make them wrong, any more than the fact that the cable companies stand to benefit if NN is overturned makes them right.
It's not about what companies benefits from this - it's about how it ultimately affects the people. Handing more power to cable companies, who are already anti-competitive as hell, will do a disservice to their customers, and that's clearly bad for the end user, even if it goes on to benefit Google or Facebook, or any other giant business that I don't like very much.
Look, this legislation wouldn't even be relevant if there was a healthy market for ISP's in the US, but there's not. If there were we could indeed just let the market sort it out, and have consumers leave en masse from any ISP who tried to stiff them over pay-per-access pricing. We are all well aware however that there is NOT a competitive market for broadband in the US, and given the sheer size of the incumbants and the enormous barrier to entry cost for getting into the market in the first place (laying fibre isn't cheap, and if I own fibre, why the hell would I let a competitor use it without putting up a fight?) there's not going to be a competitive market any time soon.
Perhaps if something had been done about that problem at some point in the past then we wouldn't be having this fight over this one now.
Because it's off topic and your post is just shameless whataboutism. We are discussing Pai and his dismantaling of NN. If Google, Facebook, et al are an issue then that is something else that can be discussed later. Their sins (if any) do not excuse what Pai is doing so why bring them up? For more about whataboutism watch John Olivers segment about it.
There are somewhere between 4000 and 7000 tech companies in the US, all fighting for survival. Collectively, they are driving roughly 30% of the US economy.
That's what's at stake.
China will be perfectly to have said tech companies. They are already taking the lead in clean/green tech and free trade.
Just keep working at making China great again, because that will make great future for your kids.
All subject to the whims of some BUREAUCRAT deciding what you can watch, how much, and have the ability to insert ads.
Of course these aforementioned individuals are _currently_ in charge and probably have ways to influence the ISPs. But can you imagine if the twit is deposed and only gets 144 characters per week?
These senators must realise that at some point this is going to bite them in the ass, don't mess with peoples internet as it will harm your votes. Therefore I predict it will be kicked into touch.
That's my optimistic opinion.
Disclaimer: I'm not American but I see how we are never far behind with these things.
Epilogue: Pai is a d*ck.
"These senators must realise that at some point this is going to bite them in the ass, don't mess with peoples internet as it will harm your votes. Therefore I predict it will be kicked into touch."
The Internet as we know it is already gone, and people are congregating into easy-to-manage echo chambers where any sort of challenge is quickly shot down. Consider why so many Congressional elections are uncontested.
The one and ONLY reason ISPs want to be able to throttle internet access is money. Data flows via electricity and electricity flow at near light speed. The cost of switches and routers is still dropping and the ISPs pay even less than the general public thru economies of scale. The fact they can throttle internet speeds at will is proof enough there is no economic reason to do so except to squeeze the cajones of a captive market.
They along with smaller blue states will pass laws saying no state contracts can be given to ISPs that don't abiding by net neutrality within their state. Pai has stated the FCC will try to block such state level laws but it is unclear how he could do that (especially since republicans claim to believe in 'states rights' which this would be completely against) and even if he did I can't see how it would pass muster in court since the FCC can't regulate against states doing this any more than the EPA can block states from adopting more strict pollution laws.
So one of two things will end up happening. One, ISPs who operate in those states will abide by net neutrality across the US because they deem it not worth operating differently in blue and red/purple states. Two, ISPs will operate one way in blue states that pass such a law and differently everywhere else, and if those differences end up being noticeable and negative for consumers net neutrality advocates will make sure they become well known and public pressure for net neutrality will force congress to act.
"Pai has stated the FCC will try to block such state level laws but it is unclear how he could do that"
Simple. Internet traffic is normally interstate if not international in nature. He'll just invoke the Interstate Commerce Clause and cite that since most Internet traffic (like a lot of road traffic) is interstate in nature, the federal government is mandated to step in.
True; but, the key is how the states go about it. If they try to directly regulate the ISPs within their state boundaries they could be over ruled. However, if, as the original poster suggested, they refuse to do business with companies that do not follow a set of rules they prefer that may pass muster. States are still allowed to choose who they do business with. And, there is always repealing the monopolies many ISPs have to operate.
So what if they just take the "from the outside in" approach and become interstate businesses by default? Then fed regulations can kick in and trump the state ones. When it comes to loopholing, business are if anything cleverdicks (or as we Americans term them, smartypants).
Doesn't matter if they are regulated solely by the Feds, the states can still choose what companies to award their contracts to and the federal government has no way of interfering. A company like AT&T or Verizon can't afford to shut itself out of lucrative state government markets like California or New York.
There's no way Pai could stop that. The only thing that could would be if Congress passed a law making net neutrality or lack of a "protected class" similar to discrimination on the basis of sex or race...good luck with that!
New York and California are historically Democratic states. Congress is currently Republican-led with a Republican president. They can easily paint is as a case of the Big Dems trying to take freedom away from the rest of the country. Don't count it out.
So the "Network Neutrality" rules that Google wrote to benefit itself is a good thing?
And their repeal, which would just roll things back to the original state, is the end of civilization and democracy?
My guess is that the majority of commenters - and the author of this column - have no clue what was encompassed in those rules, who were "exempt" and who stood to benefit.
I'm outta here.
> My guess is that the majority of commenters - and the author of this column - have no clue what was encompassed in those rules [ ... ]
How true. We did not and do not have a clue what's in those rules. We're all a bunch of unwashed illiterate peasants. Most of us can barely read.
Fortunately, we have your brilliant mind to guide us towards the light.
Teach us, O Enlightened One!
When any part of the US government gives something a name or acronym that purports to guarantee, provide, or restore freedom / liberty / democracy / etc., you can be sure that it is in fact designed to do the opposite.
c.f. USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism); USA Freedom Act (which codifies indefinite detention, secret searches based on secret "warrants" that are rubber-stamped by a secret kangaroo court, secret and gag-ordered warrantless electronic searches via National Security Letter, etc.).
Now add the "restoring internet freedom order" to that list; except in this case, it's expanding the censorship and taxation powers of private companies instead of the government.
"When any part of the US government gives something a name or acronym that purports to guarantee, provide, or restore freedom / liberty / democracy / etc., you can be sure that it is in fact designed to do the opposite."
George Orwell's estate will soon be calling you to remind you that 1984 is still in copyright in the US.
"The controversial repeal of net neutrality rules in America will go to a formal vote in Congress after sufficient lawmakers backed an effort to scrap it."
Scrap what? The repeal? Or net neutrality rules?
What is "sufficient lawmakers"? Do you mean "a sufficient number of lawmakers"? (As opposed to sufficiently fat ones, for example.) Also, clarify what "lawmakers" are.
He has actually got Congress talking about doing their job on this issue. This is something they should have done years ago. If memory serves the current Chairman of the FCC has stated this is something Congress needs to address. I know the Supreme Court has used the Interstate Commerce Clause to take more and more power for the Federal Government, including locking up Hemingways cats, but this really is a Federal issue and not one for the states.
America, where everything has a price and selling is job 1 through 1,000. Watching commercials on TV is the hard sell. "Medicine One is new. It treats mental illness and stupidity. See your doctor and ask if it is right he/she prescribe it for you!" It is a socially failed experiment no matter how many billionaires it makes through lop sided taxes.
Interesting pattern about when the data dumps arrive at the troll headquarters and the WH.
Their algorithms need to be tweaked a bit to make it appear that the messaging is not coming from the chasm that separates real humans and lots of silicon.
Maybe the twitchy nature of the US profiteer-in-chief and the scripted/mechanic nature of the entourage suggests that finer tuning is necessary.
Wanna bet? Cable companies STILL won't let you buy third-party converter boxes (like the OLD AT&T days when you couldn't buy a phone, only RENT them). And before you say "Switch ISPs," (1) most places only have ONE ISP due to infrastructure issues, and (2) those with more than one can easily choose to act in cartel.
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