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  (Source: ScienceProgress.org)
Verizon triumphs over the FCC, the question is whether policy change or a Supreme Court appeal is in store

Amidst the fallout of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) domestic spying scandal, President Barack Obama (D) isn't exactly earning high praise from internet activists these days.
 
I. FCC's Net Neutrality: Protection or Market Manipulation?
 
But one policy he and former U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chief (FCC) chief Julius Genachowski pushed through does remain popular to this day among internet activists -- net neutrality.  In its current form, the rules -- set forth in Dec. 2010 -- ban large cable internet providers like Comcast Corp. (COMCSA) from forcing individual websites to pay "tolls" to have their data reach customers and/or make users pay a separate toll to receive the data.
 
Net neutrality, however, is not without its critics.  Spammers, for one, hate it as they say their email is being "discriminated" against and should not be exempt from the protections.  And some members of the U.S. House of Representatives claim net neutrality regulation is anti-capitalist.  These politicians complain that net neutrality regulation is preventing telecoms from aggressively pursuing monetization schemes, such as a charging users per website visit.

Pay per page visit
The FCC proposal is unpopular among some politicians and ISPs, who complain it would prevent a "free market" in which carriers could charge users per-website usage fees. 
[Source: Fierce Wireless Semina via Wired]

One had to wonder how long the FCC's bid to block Verizon and others from such schemes would last given the strong opposition.  After all, Comcast already sued the FCC and won in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
 
Verizon Inc. (VZ) piled on, suing the FCC in DC federal court in Oct. 2011 (Verizon v. FCC).  The irony here was that the FCC's proposed guidelines -- while very dissatisfactory to pure cable service providers like Comcast -- were actually relatively close to the suggestions brought forth by wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T Inc. (T) in the sense that it was lenient towards mobile throttling, given the higher costs of mobile internet service.  Verizon hired Helgi G. Walker, the Washington D.C. attorney who won in the prior Comcast challenge to earlier FCC net neutrality policies.


Comcast Xfinity
Comcast sued to block FCC net neutrality rules in 2010 and won. [Image Source: Zachary Kaufman]
 
In fact, the proposal was so lenient that public activist group Free Press also filed suit against the FCC [PDF] because its plan was too much like the plan Verizon proposed, providing exemptions for mobile.  In other words, the FCC was living in Goldilocks land: one entity was suing it for too much net neutrality, the other was suing it for not enough net neutrality.
 
The FCC did its best to try to block these proposals.  In an Oct. 2011 counterfiling to Verizon's suit it claimed that Verizon lacked the jurisdiction to file the complaint against the so-called "Open Internet Order" (the net neutrality policy announced in Dec. 2010).
 
II. Understand the FCC's Power -- and its Nebulous Nature
 
To understand the debate over the FCC's power you must first look at the laws involved.
 
The FCC -- which governs wireless spectrum use, as well as wired communications in the U.S. -- was created by The Communications Act of 1934 [PDF], which replaced two federal agencies (one of which regulated radio, the other which regulated telephone) with a single agency empowered by bill of rights, interstate commerce, common defense, and other Constitutional clauses.

FDR radio
The FCC was created under President Roosevelt, merging two previous regulatory agencies, with power over radio and telephone communications.
 
To get to the meat of the bill you must go to the U.S. Code of Law, specifically 47 U.S.C. § 151 (Chapter 5, Subchapter I).  The text stated:

For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority heretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is created a commission to be known as the “Federal Communications Commission”, which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

In plain English, Congress -- and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) who signed it in to law -- claimed that in order to ensure Constitutional freedoms, promote national security, and ensure free trade; there must be strong centralized federal/national regulation of the communications industry.
 
That policy sat unchanged more or less 62 years, as telephone, radio, and (later) broadcast television remained America's primary sources of media.  But by the 90s the internet, cellular networks, satellite television, and cable television had come along.  Communications had became much more complicated, so it was time to rethink the FCC's long-in-the-tooth current authorities.  The result of that rethinking was the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
 Fiber optic cable
The FCC's authorities were modernized in 1996. [Image Source: Guardian UK]

Passed by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate, the new bill was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton (D) in 1996.  While Republicans in Congress today have been among the fiercest opponents fighting to cut back on the FCC's authority and eliminate net neutrality, they actually championed the precursor to that policy in the form of universal services support provisions, which cracked down on "communications discrimination" such as fees for intercarrier calling on cellular networks, excessive long-distance charges, or charges for users in urban areas.
 
Overall the 1996 bill added some controversial provisions (such as the censorship of profanity and sexual content in cable television) and some less controversial ones (such as the regulation and sale of wireless spectrum).
 
But the crucial language at stake comes from 47 U.S.C. § 230 (Chapter 5, Subchapter II), which states:

(b) Policy
It is the policy of the United States—
(1) to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media;
(2) to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation;

What does that mean? 
 
Like an increasing number of laws that are today being plugged into the U.S. Code of Laws, the terms are so nebulous and ambiguous that it's basically an arbitrary call as to what the law is authorizing.  How does one define a "vibrant and competitive free market"?  And how does one enforce that definition?  It's an exercise in arbitrary governance, even if the policies enforced at times deliver positive effects.
 We The People
Vaguely worded laws make for arbitrary interpretation of the Constitution in the digtal age.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Because U.S. politicians were too unwilling to sit down and negotiate with all parties -- civil liberties advocates, communications companies, etc. -- that negotiation process had been transferred, in effect to the courts who are left to determine whether the FCC's actions are in the spirit of the law (an arbitrary interpretation) and the Constitution (somewhat arbitrary, but hopefully more of a concrete target).
 
III. Judges Shoot Down Net Neutrality Rules Do to Arbitrary Enforcement
 
The arbitrary language prolonged the legal battle between Verizon and the FCC for some time at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
 
Meanwhile the FCC continued to try to enforce its controversial policy, filing throttling complaints against AT&T for blocking FaceTime, and over other "data discrimination" incidents, as it saw fit.  In some cases these complaints worked -- perhaps on the grounds of generating publicity over controversial business policies as much as by the FCC's weak enforcement mechanisms.  AT&T, for example, dropped its exclusion of FaceTime on cheaper data plans.
 
But on Monday (Jan. 14), a trio of federal judges -- Circuit Judges David S. Tatel (appointed by President Clinton in Oct. 1994) and Judith W. Rogers (appointed by President Clinton in Mar. 1994), plus Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Hirsch Silberman (appointed by President Ronald Wilson Reagan in Oct. 1985) -- at last ruled on the legality of the policy after over a year of court hearings.

Judge Hirsch
Senior Judge Laurence Hirsch [Image Source: Getty Images]


 
Judge Judith Rogers
Judge Judith Rogers [Image Source: Georgestown]
 
The ruling should be viewed as much of a surprise. After all, Judge Tatel sat on the three-judge panel in the Comcast case and was in the majority ruling that the FCC lacked the authority to enforce net neutrality.  Back in the same court (regarding a similar case) he hardly rethought his decision and his two colleagues largely were unanimous in agreement, save for some minor points of debate.
 
Judge David Tatel
Judge David Tatel [Image Source: LegalTimes]

What was more interesting is why Judge Tatel, writing in the majority opinion, shot down the Open Internet Order.  He writes:

The Commission, we further hold, has reasonably interpreted section 706 to empower it to promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic, and its justification for the specific rules at issue here — that they will preserve and facilitate the “virtuous circle” of innovation that has driven the explosive growth of the Internet — is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence. 

That said, even though the Commission has general authority to regulate in this arena, it may not impose requirements that contravene express statutory mandates.  Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.  Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se [in itself] common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order
.

In other words the Federal Judge had no problem with net neutrality in principle and felt it was reasonable within the law even.  But because he took issue with the FCC refusing to classify broadband firms like a common carrier (e.g. land-line telephone services, such as AT&T), he says the FCC orders are arbitrary and unlawful.

IV. FCC, Verizon, AT&T, and Free Press React

Reaction to the ruling was swift.  The Free Press President Craig Aaron crowed:

The FCC — under the leadership of former Chairman Julius Genachowski — made a grave mistake when it failed to ground its Open Internet rules on solid legal footing.  Internet users will pay dearly for the previous chairman's lack of political will.

The Free Press is pushing the FCC to classify broadband ISPs and cellular providers alike as "common carriers" and set forth a less arbitrary single universal set of rules.  In the meantime, they argue, it's better to have no net neutrality, rather than a broken half-measure.

New FCC Chairman Thomas ("Tom") Wheeler -- himself a former wireless industry lobbyist -- would not rule out a possibility of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, writing:

I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment. We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans.

FCC Tom Wheeler
Chairman Wheeler (D) (seen to the right of President Obama) once worked for the CTIA.
[Image Source: WH.gov]

 
Comissioner Ajit Pai -- a member of the Republican minority -- comments:

For the second time in four years, the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the FCC exceeded its authority in attempting to regulate the Internet. It is time for the Commission to take no for an answer. Unless Congress acts, we should stay our hand and refrain from any further attempt to micromanage how broadband providers run their networks. We should focus on removing regulatory barriers to broadband deployment, not imposing unnecessary rules that chill infrastructure investment.
 
Ajit Pai
Commissioner Ajit Pai (R) [Image Source: arrl.org]

His Republican colleague, Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, was more measured in his criticism, writing:

Once again, the D.C. Circuit has confirmed that the Commission’s authority to regulate is not boundless. Rather than continue to test those boundaries with “prophylactic” regulations, the Commission should look for ways to remove regulatory obstacles to the broadband innovation and investment that will benefit all consumers.

 
Michael O'Rielly
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly (R) [Image Source: Flickr/Energy and Commerce Committee]

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the FCC, likewise differed a bit from her colleague.  She almost sounded to think the ruling was a good thing (perhaps for the same reasons as The Free Press).  She also notes that the Appeals Court did uphold the FCC's authority to regulate the internet in some cases.  She writes:

I support an open Internet that drives innovation, experimentation, and economic growth. I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit recognized the Commission’s authority to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure. I look forward to further studying the court’s opinion and working with my colleagues to ensure that the great ecosystem the Internet supports continues to create jobs, opportunity, and digital age prosperity.
 
Jessica Rosenworcel
FCC Comissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (D) [Image Source: Politico]

Mignon L. Clyburn, another Democrat, was also neutral in tone.  She reacts:

We must ensure that consumers do not become casualties in our efforts to balance competing interests.  Our actions should preserve consumer access to content of their choice, and our policies should advance competition, investment and innovation. The FCC’s public interest obligation requires us to seek solutions that are guided by these principles.  I look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler on next steps.

 
FCC Mignon Clyburn
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D) [Image Source: The Post and Courier]

Verizon interprets the ruling and reacts to it, stating:

Earlier today, the D.C. Circuit issued its much-anticipated decision in Verizon v. FCC. The court rejected Verizon’s position that Congress did not give the FCC jurisdiction over broadband access. At the same time, the court found that the FCC could not impose last century’s common carriage requirements on the Internet, and struck down rules that limited the ability of broadband providers to offer new and innovative services to their customers. The Court upheld the Commission’s disclosure rules.

 
It's the network
It's the network! -- Verizon Wireless

And it adds an insistence that it won't start charging "pay to play" fees for sites and services (see above) or discriminate against popular services (e.g. YouTube) in favor of its own lesser known alternatives.  The carrier -- which serves landline telephones, cable internet, and cellular customers -- writes:

One thing is for sure: today’s decision will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now. The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet. Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s decision.

We shall see if the carrier holds up that promise.

AT&T did not post a reaction to the decision, but at a panel Chairman and CEO Randall L. Stephenson commented:

This doesn’t really change anything for our business model or commitments we have made to deal with the FCC. We were part of that negotiating that arrangement when those rules were put into place and we said yesterday we will continue to abide by those rules.

 
Randall Stephenson
AT&T CEO and Chairman Randall L. Stephenson [Image Source: The Christian Scientist Monitor]

Other internet advocacy groups have yet to publicly blog or comment on the case.

Sources: U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Verizon, FCC, AT&T CEO comments



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/15/2014 3:54:37 PM , Rating: 4
That unbridled capitalism has consequences. In some cases, these consequences are severe. Capitalism must at the core have a means to keep it in line and check--to make sure the game is played fairly by all.




RE: History has shown...
By Samus on 1/15/2014 4:26:39 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't really a democrat vs republican (or vica versa) issue but it is a political issue.

Both parties are so fragmented that at least in regards to internet/communications regulation, you have a pretty even mix of supporters and non-supporters.

It really comes down to agenda. Unfortunately, the Bush and Obama administrations appear to have the same agenda: less freedom for Americans.


RE: History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/15/2014 5:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well right. Both parties are doing "it." And whatever they are doing (or lack of) is bad.


RE: History has shown...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/2014 4:27:41 PM , Rating: 4
And unbridled Government power has much much worse consequences.

I'm not opposed to Net Neutrality, mind you. But I'm getting tired of the Government, especially under this Administration, saying "we need to fix (insert manufactured crisis, so fu*k the law."


RE: History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/15/2014 5:01:58 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure which would be worse, honestly.

With unbridled capitalism you end up with Corporations controlling everything.

With what we have now--through regulation, the Corporations still control everything.

Both are bad. One thing is for sure and that is the Federal Government has far exceeded its intended powers.

I was thinking about my pay the other night and how much of my taxes go to the Federal Government and how little goes to the State. The disparity is rather big depending on where you live. There's a problem with that.


RE: History has shown...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/2014 5:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With unbridled capitalism you end up with Corporations controlling everything.


Historically that's not true. In fact it's very easy to look at a chart of the historical income distribution of this nation and gleam one indisputable fact: The larger and more powerful the Government has become, the more wealth is taken from the lower to middle class and the bigger the gulf between rich and poor is.

After 60 years of the New Deal and the Great Society, after 20 years of modern pro-socialist policies, and after 5 years of ultra Keynesian fiscal policies from Obama; the wealth distribution is at all-time high levels of being, well, fuc*ed up in favor of the top 10%.

People make Laissez-faire Capitalism out to be the boogeyman, and I'm not advocating for that, but you would be hard pressed to do WORST under that system than we are today with our centralized banks and everyone under the foot of Uncle Sam.

quote:
I was thinking about my pay the other night and how much of my taxes go to the Federal Government and how little goes to the State.


You know, I literally cannot look at my taxes anymore. I pay someone to do them for me. Because I would probably go on a shooting rampage if I had to come to grips with how much of our money is being stolen from us every year.


RE: History has shown...
By anactoraaron on 1/15/2014 6:40:39 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
After 60 years of the New Deal and the Great Society, after 20 years of modern pro-socialist policies, and after 5 years of ultra Keynesian fiscal policies from Obama; the wealth distribution is at all-time high levels of being, well, fuc*ed up in favor of the top 10%.


LOL WUT?

Are you really sitting here blaming this on why the wealth distribution is so FUCT up? What kool-aid are you on? Seriously you sound as ridiculous as TS on an apple article.

Did you forget...

Lobbying/bribing politicians for changes to the tax code to add loopholes.

AND...

4 decades of bank and wall street deregulation (deregulation on things made after the great depression, funny how after most of these regulations were removed we almost got there again huh? nah it was them socialists and kenyans)

Good great jeesuss...


RE: History has shown...
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/15/2014 7:09:04 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Are you really sitting here blaming this on why the wealth distribution is so FUCT up? What kool-aid are you on? Seriously you sound as ridiculous as TS on an apple article.

Did you forget...

Lobbying/bribing politicians for changes to the tax code to add loopholes.

AND...

4 decades of bank and wall street deregulation (deregulation on things made after the great depression, funny how after most of these regulations were removed we almost got there again huh? nah it was them socialists and kenyans)
I understand what he's trying to say.

I think the problem is each of America's once auburn political parties is ideologically bankrupt. So they borrow from earnest political thinkers, bastardizing their philosophies.

They're as much progressives or conservatives as Bizarro is Superman.

They assign positively perceived labels to themselves like "progressive" "socialist" "conservative" "laissez-faire" while utterly betraying their constituents and the philosophies they claim to represent.

The growing disconnect between terminology and reality is so severe terms like "moderate liberal" and "neoconservative" have been thought up to try to somehow fit a square peg into a round hole.

A balanced utopian government would balance a variety of competing idealogies including democracy, republicanism, communism, with a mixture of conservative and progressive idealogies. Such a mixture would be healthy as it would provide flexibility for different economic and social situations.

But the biggest thing is that every one of those philosophies in their pure, untainted forms is based on populism: enfranchisement of the masses.

Today's government is none of those things. It is a plutocracy masquerading under those things.

The goal is king-building.

Today's ultra-wealthy, like the NSA that many of them condone and support, are above the law. If you're ultra-wealthy and kill someone, you get probation on account of a bad case of "affluenza".

About the only thing that can hurt you is if your fellow elite turn on you (see: Madoff). But once you're part of the club, typically you can do whatever, so long as you back the tight circle progressively looting from everyone and tightening its grip on Congress and President.

If you're an average Joe and you try the tactics the elite use you're a "Wolf of Wall Street". They'll go light on you ... send you to white collar prison... they admire to an extent, I think, those few who are clever enough to rise up from poverty and use their own strategies against them.

But ultimately they'll beat you down and keep you down.

Their goal is a slow degradation of America's middle class into a serf/servant class.

Top players at Chase and other plutocracy-controlled entities regularly engage in tactics that would put the Wolf of Wall Street to shame (see: the London Whale). The government doesn't punish them. it rewards them with bailouts.

It does that because it is their employee. They are above regulation. They are above the law. They are these things because they are the law, they are the regulation.

They control when the hammer falls and on whom, so long as the people let them.

And if the people wise up these neo-monarchs likely won't go quietly. They will fight kicking and screaming, even if that means turning the police and military (which they are slowly replacing with robots that will obey unquestioningly) on the public.

I hope things will get better. But I believe that America's elite will one day kill many of us in a futile attempt to stop that from happening.

The savagery of man is hiding barely beneath the surface. Desperation is a dangerous thing.


RE: History has shown...
By anactoraaron on 1/15/2014 8:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
Be careful - truths like this will one day soon get you on a 'watch list' of some kind.

I get this, I just didn't get that out of the comment I replied to.

Sad, how day after day the plots of the would-be kings come to light (Bailouts, NSA, etc) and how no one can/will do anything to stop them.


RE: History has shown...
By inperfectdarkness on 1/16/2014 12:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
Where is the Social Darwinist Party, and how do I vote for them?


RE: History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/16/2014 12:33:51 AM , Rating: 2
^^^^ Truth

Well said, Jason.


RE: History has shown...
By ERROR666 on 1/16/2014 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, if I were you I would not say this in public. Well, unless you are ultra-wealthy..


RE: History has shown...
By EricMartello on 1/16/2014 10:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think the problem is each of America's once auburn political parties is ideologically bankrupt. So they borrow from earnest political thinkers, bastardizing their philosophies.


Or maybe it's that there's a bit too much "ideology" going around and not enough focus on pragmatic policies that are not cut-outs for a particular constituency, donor or bundler.

quote:
They assign positively perceived labels to themselves like "progressive" "socialist"


Neither of these labels are positively perceived; they both refer to oppression and totalitarian control, aka Europe throughout most of its history.

quote:
A balanced utopian government would balance a variety of competing idealogies including democracy, republicanism, communism, with a mixture of conservative and progressive idealogies. Such a mixture would be healthy as it would provide flexibility for different economic and social situations.


There is no such thing as a "balanced utopia" so put down the bong and shoot yourself up with a few doses of cold, hard logic.

The only factor that really determines the quality of life for people living under a particular government is the size and scope of said government.

Under a big, bloated left-wing government that has its hand in every pocket, social status largely freezes in place and middle-class upward mobility evaporates.

The USA was founded on the idea that each state would have the majority of governing power, while delegating some of that power to the federal government. This was a brilliant system that allowed our country to thrive. Today we have the reverse of this and we've taken a downward trajectory as a result.

quote:
Their goal is a slow degradation of America's middle class into a serf/servant class.


Are you kidding? It's already there and largely has been in the post-depression era. When you tally up the taxes that most people pay:

- Federal Income Tax 20%
- State Income Tax 5%
- Medicare / Medicaid 3%
- Social Security 3%
- County/City Wage Tax 2%
- Sales Tax 7%
- Property Tax 10%

Total: 50%

You can see that they're not really living for themselves. Their efforts largely serve to the benefit of others.

quote:
Top players at Chase and other plutocracy-controlled entities regularly engage in tactics that would put the Wolf of Wall Street to shame (see: the London Whale). The government doesn't punish them. it rewards them with bailouts.


The problem with this is really the apathy of the people. Most people will not do much more than complain as long as, for the most part, they live what they perceive to be a relatively good life.

If most people knew how much better things could be for themselves right now, versus how they actually are, I think there would be a healthy uptick in true republicanism.

quote:
If you're an average Joe and you try the tactics the elite use you're a "Wolf of Wall Street". They'll go light on you ... send you to white collar prison... they admire to an extent, I think, those few who are clever enough to rise up from poverty and use their own strategies against them.


Sorry but you're attempting to sell a "lie from the left" here. Despite the steady dissolution of American virtues at the hand of the left-wing cancer, America still has the best opportunities and possibilities for the ambitions and tenacious.

Don't spew this garbage that there's some sort of glass ceiling that cannot be breached regardless of effort. If you want to make it, you can. The opportunity to do so exists for all Americans but the outcome is not assured...and not because someone stops you, it's because somewhere along the line you decide success is impossible and give up.

quote:
I hope things will get better. But I believe that America's elite will one day kill many of us in a futile attempt to stop that from happening.


For things to get better politically or policy-wise, the majority of governing power needs to be returned to the states and the amendment that made the federal government the central planner needs to be purged from the constitution.

quote:
The savagery of man is hiding barely beneath the surface. Desperation is a dangerous thing.


They are afraid and I am glad they are.

If you saw any news footage from Times Square in NYC this year, you will notice that there were many police officers armed with AR15s, in body armor and riot gear.

The story was that they were there to prevent any acts of terrorism. False. The perceived enemy is not some random muslim who wants to detonate a bomb in a crowd of people - the government and the powers that be are very fearful any time a large group of US citizens congregates.

Think about it - if someone wanted to set off a bomb in NYC, how is a militarized police force going to counter that in any way? They can't. That show of force wasn't to deter "terrorists" it was to "keep the people in line".


RE: History has shown...
By KITH on 1/15/2014 7:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
The greater the regulation on business the higher the cost of doing business and the higher the cost of entry.

This supports larger and larger corporations which can afford to absorb these costs while putting smaller companies out of business and preventing new businesses from entering the market.

Government policies like 'quantitative easing' dumping money borrowed from the future taxpayers into the stock market to prop it up are also generally helping the rich, not the poor.

So you have government regulations and spending redistributing wealth, but it does not help the poor at the cost of the rich, but rather, it is more likely to hurt the middle class to further enrich the rich.


RE: History has shown...
By half_duplex on 1/16/2014 11:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
You appear to have a sever lack of understanding on a few things. I highly doubt you have any facts to back up your comments.

quote:
Lobbying/bribing politicians for changes to the tax code to add loopholes.


The lobbying and bribing of politicians has only come about with the growing power of those politicians. In America today, you MUST grease their palms if you want success, and this is all the way down to the local level. LOL and you want to give them even MORE power.

quote:
4 decades of bank and wall street deregulation (deregulation on things made after the great depression, funny how after most of these regulations were removed we almost got there again huh? nah it was them socialists and kenyans)


Please describe these bank and wall street deregulation you speak of. I'm guessing you may mention the Glass-Steagall (or maybe you just Googled it) and I'm also guessing you will not mention any of the affordable housing mandates pushed on mortgage giants, which contrary to the wiki, was a major factor.


RE: History has shown...
By anactoraaron on 1/16/2014 2:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The lobbying and bribing of politicians has only come about with the growing power of those politicians. In America today, you MUST grease their palms if you want success, and this is all the way down to the local level. LOL and you want to give them even MORE power.


To me, this is a chicken or the egg argument. One can't exist without the other one being there first. The money came in to the politicians to make the government larger for those paying people to gain more influence over our country. But you can't have the corruption and the ever increasing reach of government without the wealthy overlords wanting to be 'kings' of sorts first. And you can't have the bribery if the politicians aren't devoid of morals, etc. See? Kind of a chicken or the egg thing. The problem is two-fold. Actually worse than since the only folks that can afford to run for office are just talking heads funded by those would-be kings - meaning no one will ever get elected to actually serve the people now.

quote:
I'm guessing you may mention the Glass-Steagall

That's part of it, there was a reason this legislation separated banks, investment banks and insurance companies to begin with (changing your structure changes which agency has oversight). Mainly the deregulation/lack of regulation issue is with the enforcement of law as it pertains to abuse of the system. There's no reason to not game the system.
Look at the LIBOR scandal. Make 200 billion, pay a 40 million fine. No jail time. Who wouldn't do that (besides someone morally grounded)? There's your reasons for a wealth gap right there....

Also you can't mention the affordable housing mandates without mentioning Credit Default Swaps. CDS was the main reason (my opinion) why mortgage institutions were ok with those affordable housing mandates as they saw an opportunity of sorts (if what amounts to legalized fraud can be classified as a 'opportunity'). Maybe more than deregulation as the reason - more like general buffoonery and greed. Regulation and laws are needed to bring these buffoons to justice, instead of giving them repeated slaps on the wrists. Jason said it best on another post that these folks are in fact above the law.

Also to add to my original statement, lack of regulation on wall street (hedge funds, supercomputers making 4 trillion trades a day, CDS, etc) is worse than anything deregulation can do.


RE: History has shown...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: History has shown...
By anactoraaron on 1/16/2014 2:29:02 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So some tax code and "deregulation" (that you people claim but can never cite) are why we're in this mess? Really?


If you also factor in lack of regulation (CDS are the hot money makers being abused now) and lack of prosecution for those doing these bad things well yeah. Look at the LIBOR scandal. Make X amount of money. Pay fine equaled to 1-5% of money made. Done on a massive scale. (there's your wealth gap right there) Engage in a CDS. Pay off company to default. Collect insurance money. Christ, it's like the mortgage bubble without having to hope folks default. Why rely on folks defaulting when you can just do the same thing on a bigger scale and pay the company to default? That's banks making money off the backs of you and me - a 'trickle up economics' of sorts.
quote:
That's just party-line Liberal propagandist bullshit without anything to back it up.

Who said party line Liberal BS? Clinton pushed for the repeal of Glass-Stegall right? Aren't Liberals/Democrats equally to blame here? This isn't a one side is wrong argument.


RE: History has shown...
By EricMartello on 1/16/2014 10:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Are you really sitting here blaming this on why the wealth distribution is so FUCT up? What kool-aid are you on? Seriously you sound as ridiculous as TS on an apple article.


The fact that you believe wealth is or should be "distributed" highlights the core problem with any idiot who believes socialism is a 'good thing'.

Wealth is not distributed. It goes to the highest bidder, and to bid for it you have to be willing to sacrifice.

quote:
Did you forget...

Lobbying/bribing politicians for changes to the tax code to add loopholes.


So you advocate a big-government system like socialism and then cry when the same system you champion allows for abuse? You really aren't the sharpest tool in the shed are you?

quote:
4 decades of bank and wall street deregulation (deregulation on things made after the great depression, funny how after most of these regulations were removed we almost got there again huh? nah it was them socialists and kenyans)


Our banking system has been socialized since the federal reserve was implemented, allowing the government to seize control of monetary policy rather than letting economic forces play out on their own.

The regulation that is largely responsible for the obamaconomy was borne out of the flawed liberal idea that all people should have a house regardless of whether or not they can actually afford it.

To enable banks to make risky loans, Clinton repealed the glass-steagall act, enabling them to do so. The side effect of "easy mortgages" was that both consumers and banks started taking on large liabilities; banks were making bad loans and people were taking on mortgages they couldn't afford with the expectation that real estate values "only go up".

While this was not the only contributor to the 2008 meltdown, its effect was among the largest in significance. Following the events that took place under obama, rather than allowing the banking institutions to fold as he should have, he relied on fear mongering to convince people that a bail out was a better course of action.

Too big to fail? Once you think you are too big to fail you already have.


RE: History has shown...
By KITH on 1/15/2014 7:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
In case it wasn't just a typo, the word is glean, not gleam.


RE: History has shown...
By headbox on 1/16/2014 3:54:52 AM , Rating: 2
No, you do NOT end up with corporate monopolies. But that is what they want you to believe. In a true free market, a corporation will become too large and inefficient, so a smaller startup can swoop in and offer products/services for a better deal. In our highly managed market , the mega-corporations have manipulated a tax system that lets them write off a massive number of costs so that they operate at a "loss" and pay little tax, no tax, or even receive government aid. This allows them to undercut competitors and remain a monopoly. The USA has not had anything close to "capitalism" for over a hundred years.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use the internet as it was intended: watching girls like this take their pants off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r30ZVU61eFM&feature...


RE: History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/16/2014 11:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
If you're yearning for capitalism from 100 years ago, you are forgetting several things from history.

There were these guys called "Robber Barons" and were called such for good reason. They exploited the people to the fullest to shovel as much money possible in their pockets. They built entire business empires and monopolies during this time and the harm to the average citizen was noticeable.

Among many things, the one item I would like to cherry-pick from all of that period is company provided settlements and stores. See, back in the 1800s, America was still expanding. Many times when these Barons setup a new operation, there were no people living in the area. So they built towns for their workers to come and live in. These towns were basically full of shanties and were patrolled by company henchmen. At the proverbial heart of every one of these towns was the company store. See, given the remoteness of these locales, there were no other stores for the workers to buy anything from so they had no choice but to buy from the company.

Well, the company took advantage of the worker in every way they could. They sold goods at cutthroat prices, oftentimes reclaiming entire weeks or months pay for purchases. They fleeced their workers for the money they paid them and took it all back. The wealth at the top grew exponentially as a result, not having to pay fairly for anything.

Then there was the issue of child labor and unlimited work weeks. See, prior to 1840, Americans worked 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. It wasn't until Martin Van Buren issued an executive order that this was reduced to 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

But, even then, it wasn't until 1919 that the maximum 48 hour workweek was established. It would not be until 1838, almost 100 full years after Van Buren that Roosevelt issued the fair labor act in which the 8 hour, 5 day a week standard was passed into law.

So, things right now at least work-wise are far better than they were in the 1800s. The only reason they are this way is due to the Government reigning in what companies can demand from their workers.

If you allow Capitalism to thrive alone without any limits, all sorts of nasty things begin to happen. The worst one of all is the commoditization of labor. If this were allowed to happen freely, those in power with all the money would ultimately set the net worth of any labor as close to zero as possible. Given they hold all the money, they could buy and pay for whatever they need to secure this foothold. Power and Greed corrupt and don't think for a minute, it wouldn't.

Our primal urges are survival. Humans have a nasty habit of harming whatever gets in their way of making it up to the top of the food chain. That means if another man tries to stop them, the other man is killed, hurt or sacrificed so they may do so. There are many of us that believe one another to be "civilized," but in a pure free-market world, they would be the victims crying in the streets led to the slaughter by those who don't care. Believe me, there are plenty who don't. While psychology might call them sociopaths or psychopaths, they're very real on they would conceivably be the ones running everything (if many of them aren't already).

Until mankind advances beyond our primitive system of "currency," which we must to succeed beyond the reaches of our Solar System, capitalism governed by modest policy proves so far to be the greatest inspirer of innovation and creation. Remember, we're all primal at our core and money feeds these urges. We're a product of our evolutionary environment which just so happened to be quite hostile and nasty one on this world. The symbiosis of organisms was quite small. Whoever controlled the organic matter the best, won.

I'm happy we have some laws watching over all this. I do feel we probably have too many in some areas, for sure. There's a fine line between what is "enough" and what is "too much." Legislate or manipulate too much and you begin to strangle business; not enough and you watch the people strangle under the might of the machine.


RE: History has shown...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 12:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There were these guys called "Robber Barons" and were called such for good reason. They exploited the people to the fullest to shovel as much money possible in their pockets.


Yeah and that's just unheard of today. Good point....

lol moving on.

quote:
If you allow Capitalism to thrive alone without any limits, all sorts of nasty things begin to happen.


If I had the choice between that and Government tyranny, I would take my chances. You're only focusing on the negative aspects of Capitalism. There are NO positive aspects of rampant Government control.

The Founders of this country would tell you we are already living under tyranny. I would agree with them.


RE: History has shown...
By MrBlastman on 1/16/2014 12:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, you know me well enough that I'm absolutely against a large Government. ;)

I'm pretty disgusted by how the entire Federal system is at the moment. And you are right, there are no positive aspects of unbridled Government. None.

Communism and Fascism have shown us the endgame there. Look no further than Nazi Germany or Joseph Stalin/Nikita Khrushchev in Soviet Russia for that.

We absolutely are living under tyranny now. They disguise it well, however. They've the media in their pocket. It is appalling what you see on 7 PM news if you ever bother watching it. I do sometimes and the disparity between what I hear about over the airwaves and what I read in print is huge. Most Americans don't read their news. I get about 99% of my news from multiple print sources so for me, it is very easy to find.

The puppet media only strengthens the grip that both our Government and those behind the strings' control. The big question though is who is pulling the strings. Someone in the end is netting all the power and it sure as hell isn't the people.


RE: History has shown...
By Lerianis on 1/20/2014 9:02:03 AM , Rating: 2
You are kidding, right? At least on the Soviet Russia thing, you have to be.

Soviet Russia was NEVER communist. By the number and in reality, it was ELITIST, where a few people were held above all others.

Same thing for 'communist' China today, they are elitist as well.

We need to realize that having a big government is not a bad thing and yes, the robber baron era is coming back! You can see that by the WIDE DISPARITY and INCREASING DISPARITY between the income of the rich and the income of the poor and middle class.


RE: History has shown...
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/15/2014 6:32:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And unbridled Government power has much much worse consequences.

I'm not opposed to Net Neutrality, mind you. But I'm getting tired of the Government, especially under this Administration, saying "we need to fix (insert manufactured crisis, so fu*k the law."
That's my general feeling too.

Most of my friends who are of libertarian or freedom-leaning Republican/Democratic mindsets tend to all agree on this.

The thing is these corporations like American Telegraph and Telephone only arose out of government handouts, unequal taxation, a blind eye to illegal behavior, and attempts to squash public-private partnerships that enable small firms to be raise project capital.

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

This has been going on for nearly two centuries now, arguably, but for a while the pace of conquest territory-wise and the march of technology outpaced the government corruption issues. Over the last two or three decades that situation began to reverse as government corruption grew so malignant that the U.S. went from a balanced budget to literally trillions in yearly debt.

The issue is the consolidation of wealth and blatant bribery that runs U.S. federal politics today. It's like the mafia times 1000.

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

The root of that issue is, and has long been, unequal justice and regulation.

The Democratic and Republican parties today are more or less colluding to impoverish professional working class Americans. Sure one is playing good cop and the other is playing bad cop (who's playing what is open to interpretation), but at the end of the day they're both working for the same special interests.

The Democrats are pushing a supposedly "progressive" agenda, but when in place these changes are almost always diluted and burdened by unequal enforcement/regulation. The big guys are often exempt.

The Republicans are pushing for a supposedly "conservative" agenda, but when in place these changes are almost always diluted and burdened by unequal permissiveness/deregulation. Again, the big special interests are exempt.

Each party is a wolf in sheep's clothing. They've betrayed the ideologies of the systems and political philosophies they've come to represent. They're anti-freedom and anti-populist. They unilaterally oppose meritocracy and puff plutocracy

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

That's why the government is spend (wasting) billions without miraculous improvements in U.S. prosperity -- they've combined the worst parts of two political ideologies that each have some merits. This is of course all driven by the fact that it's impossible to get elected to Congress unless you happen to be a millionaire, or (in most cases) accept millions in special interest payouts.

There should be basic regulation based on sound science, economics, and political philosophy. But rather than basing enforcement on logic, science, and careful study for the public good, enforcement is arbitrary and cronyish.

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

A good case study is the FDA.

90 percent of what's legal for drug companies to do and sell is illegal for you or I to do or sell. And not because we'd harm consumers necessarily -- because big pharma regularly harms, even kills people.

The FDA in many cases denies perfectly viable drugs leaving some patients to die of cancer, while letting drugs from companies like Pfizer go through the cracks even when people literally go insane and kill themselves after taking them. It's legal to have cocaine and speed, but only if you're white collar doctor says it's cool and you get it from a big pharmaceutical company. If you buy it from Joe the street dealer you've committed a federal crime and you go to federal prison, helping to spend yet more billions of taxpayer dollars a year.

Clearly the FDA is the biggest cartel in the Americas.

We may have given Mexican cartels guns, but even better we've shown them how to really take over -- bribe politicians. Mexico's cartels are carefully emulating this model, looking to go semi-legitimate. Much of why the U.S. is stepping up law enforcement efforts is because they're stepping into the U.S. drug dealers' (e.g. pharmaceutical companies') turf with factory level painkillers, sleeping aids, and other popular prescription meds.

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

When it comes to the special interests, they're a self-created problem. You've built these huge corporations and now you claim you need massive regulation to stop them... but those regulations always get magically perverted or go unenforced nine times out of ten.

Some regulation based on careful, independent study is warranted to protect investors and consumers. But the problem is absolutely not the free market.

The problem is that the market has been manipulated and continues to be manipulated in the favor big special interests.

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

The U.S. IS NOT a free market. It's arguably as "unfree" as China, or more so.

Sometimes I honestly wonder whether who has the more corrupt, less capitalist government. From the mass media view the answer is of course China, but when you step back and see the things our government does, you can almost always find as bad or worse acts by the U.S. gov't.

Each supposed side (I say "supposed" as they basically function as a single party system these days to disenfranchise Americans) continues to seek to manipulate it in their own favorite ways under the guise of a "solution". Don't kid yourself. They're not interested in helping YOU.


RE: History has shown...
By Dr of crap on 1/16/2014 12:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
VERY well said.
Too bad not many agree with you.

Well I have to go back and put on my leg chains, that is work, to pay my money to the big brother that is the govt.


RE: History has shown...
By Solandri on 1/15/2014 8:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That unbridled capitalism has consequences. In some cases, these consequences are severe. Capitalism must at the core have a means to keep it in line and check--to make sure the game is played fairly by all.

This isn't a capitalism issue. This is an overregulation issue.

If we had unbridled capitalism in the ISP market, there would be dozens of ISPs for you to pick from. Any ISP that tried to throttle websites unless they paid a toll would die a painful death as subscribers fled from them for ISPs which didn't throttle.

The only reason Verizon et al have a shot at pulling this off is because they've been granted a monopoly in the ISP market for a region by the local government. Even if they screw with your web site access, you can't do anything because there's no other ISP to switch to or the only other ISP is also doing the same thing. Never forget that. We aren't talking about natural monopolies (where the "unbridled capitalism" argument applies). We're talking about government-mandated monopolies, which are a product of overregulation.


RE: History has shown...
By Lerianis on 1/20/2014 9:57:02 AM , Rating: 2
Solandri, no, there would not be 'dozens of ISP's' because the fact is that the INFRASTRUCTURE that would be NECESSARY to be an ISP takes SCADS OF CASH.... which no startup could ever get in the real world.

Regulation in the telecommunications (that is what ISP's are in the real world) is necessary because in the real world, no small name guy is going to be able to get into the business unless we do one thing:

Mandate linesharing.

If we mandated that, then a small name ISP would be able to get into the market.


Nightmare
By Motoman on 1/15/2014 5:48:42 PM , Rating: 2
...not having a functional Net Neutrality regulation in play could, and almost certainly would, quickly become an abject nightmare for American citizens. Although not surprisingly there's a number of people out there stupid enough to think we don't need it, or that Net Neurtrality is a bad idea.

Here's what can happen without Net Neutrality:

1. Your ISP can throttle content from certain providers...say, especially if they themselves have an interest in a competing service. Like, Verizon could choose to throw a switch making Netflix all but unusable, while boosting throughput on Redbox Instant - which is a joint venture between Verizon and Redbox. What's that? You're a Netflix customer and suddenly you service sucks? Awww...maybe you should switch to Redbox!

2. Your ISP can *sell* their throughput to given providers that have lots of money to burn. So, when CNN.com for example winds up being painfully slow, you start looking around and discover that FoxNews.com is super-duper fast! Huh...that's weird.

3. Realistically, your ISP could effectively just shut you out of some provider they don't like. Let's say that, for example, you get internet via satellite in conjunction with your DirecTV service. Then DTV gets in a fight with the Weather Channel, and replaces their TV stations with some other weather programming. And then on top of that, they just flat-out shut off access to the Weather Channel website too...and if you try to go there, they redirect you to some other weather website.

Imagine that Steam gets bought by Time Warner. Unlikely, sure...but go with it for a moment. All of a sudden TWC decides to use Steam as leverage to get people to buy internet from them, and makes Steam unavailable via any other internet service. Can't get TWC cable in your area? Well...why do you live there?

You know Google does that free internet thing in some locations, right? Well I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that ISPs like Comcast don't like the idea of people getting internet for free. So just to be d1cks about it, maybe Comcast decides not to route email to or from any free Google internet customers. Because, f%ck 'em.

So on and so forth. Not having Net Neutrality is pretty much the worst possible thing that could ever happen to the internet...aside from it actually disappearing for some reason. Your ISP will own you. They'll own what you can actually get to on the internet. They can prohibit you from accessing information and services that you might want, and they can force you to accept their own substitutions for those services. In very realistic terms, it would be the end of the internet.




RE: Nightmare
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/2014 5:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well I guess you can call me stupid, because we've NEVER had Net Neutrality laws before and the Internet absolutely thrived! Didn't it? I mean, with barely ANY forced rules by Governments, the Internet became the most transformational and prosperous and free technology we've ever seen.

quote:
Here's what can happen without Net Neutrality:


And for the most part, none of those things ever DID happen. And probably won't.

Most of your examples would ALREADY be illegal under existing anti-trust competition laws. Hello? Why would we need Net Neutrality laws to prevent them?

quote:
In very realistic terms, it would be the end of the internet.


That's just absurd fear-mongering.

Again I'll repeat: We've HAD de facto Net Neutrality since day one on the Internet. Just because some Government didn't put it in writing, doesn't mean we haven't been enjoying an amazingly robust and FREE online experience.

I love the concept of Net Neutrality. What I DON'T support, is basically putting the Internet into the hands of the Government (any more than it already is).

So I don't know Moto, put that in your elitist pipe and smoke it I guess.


RE: Nightmare
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/15/2014 6:48:13 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Well I guess you can call me stupid, because we've NEVER had Net Neutrality laws before and the Internet absolutely thrived! Didn't it? I mean, with barely ANY forced rules by Governments, the Internet became the most transformational and prosperous and free technology we've ever seen.
Don't get mad at each other!

You're on the same side, based on what comments I've read!

I think you both are both hitting on different sides of the same truth.

Regulation is like a gun or free speech -- a weapon for freedom or a tool for oppression depending on whether the public chooses to actively participate and responsibly govern.

If entrusted to a vigilant, responsible, educated, free thinking public it can be a powerful weapon to protect freedom, ensure economic prosperity, and ensure meritocracy.

Responsible regulation is compatible with every political ideology aside from utter anarchy.

The issue is when you give guns to the Taliban or free speech to Stalin (to avoid the more used Germanic analogy) you've turned a powerful weapon for freedom into a popular weapon to crush freedom.

Under the current government where billions is spent yearly on bribing politicians who turn around and lavish special interests with trillions in money that is "borrowed" from a bottomless bank with the taxpayers charged with the interest payments, it is virtually impossible to have positive market regulation.

It's really a damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Deregulation is selective. Regulation is selective. It's all designed to kill meritocracy and preserve plutocracy at the end of the day.

The folly of the American masses' political thinking is that Democrats tend to believe that regulation guarantees meritocracy, whilst Republicans tend to believe that deregulation guarantees meritocracy.

Both side is oblivious to fact that that either strategy becomes a weapon for evil when you put it in the hands of evil, selfish people (the President, Congress) work for even more powerful evil, selfish, people (banks, hedge funds, etc.).

No matter which "direction" the government goes in, it will use its tools to screw you over.

As long as the American public remains oblivious to the grow stench of treasonous plutocracy and blatant bribery, corruption will continue.

That corruption is slowly destroying the Constitution and our economy.

I know each of you meant no slight to the other, but I think you both realize the truth about our government. The government is counting on us turning on each other. So long as we turn on each other, we won't turn on it.

We need to recognize we stand for the same values -- freedom, economic prosperity. We are united in opposing a government that is both fiscally and morally corrupt.

We must recognize commonality. We must find solutions. We can not let our special interest oppressors divide and defeat us.


RE: Nightmare
By Dr of crap on 1/16/2014 12:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
So your also ok with the NSA stuff?
These things can/will happen now that there are big money at stake.


RE: Nightmare
By ebakke on 1/15/2014 6:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
Your calamitous predictions would be much more impactful if you could've listed a single instance of something terrible happening at any point when Net Neutrality rules weren't in effect. Let's not forget that Net Neutrality (as defined by the FCC) has been absent from the internet for the vast majority of its life.

Further, I'd say any of your examples (if they even happened in the first place) could be sufficiently countered with information. If you feel the need to do something, I'd be content forcing ISPs to publicly list in clear language when/why/how often/etc they systematically throttle, ban, or otherwise inhibit data flow. That way if Verizon wants to block or severely throttle Netflix, I'm aware that it isn't just some congestion on the 'net today but rather is a business decision by Verizon and I can choose a different provider (if I care to).


RE: Nightmare
By Motoman on 1/15/2014 7:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for one thing Comcast already got caught throttling P2P stuff quite a while ago. Also, the business world is continually changing...a couple years ago Verizon had no interest in streaming video - now it does.

Also, the whole thing is compounded by:

quote:
That way if Verizon wants to block or severely throttle Netflix, I'm aware that it isn't just some congestion on the 'net today but rather is a business decision by Verizon and I can choose a different provide


Maybe, maybe not. How many different broadband providers are available to you where you live? The cable and DSL companies live in oligopolies, if not outright monopolies, in various regions throughout the country. Your choices are horribly limited as it is...and sure, if all you have access to is Comcast for real broadband and you don't like their policy, technically you could switch to cellular or satellite. And then be capped to ~10Gb per month anyway, which probably precludes just about anything you wanted to do in the first place.


RE: Nightmare
By Motoman on 1/15/2014 7:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Nightmare
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2014 7:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe, maybe not. How many different broadband providers are available to you where you live? The cable and DSL companies live in oligopolies, if not outright monopolies, in various regions throughout the country. Your choices are horribly limited as it is...and sure, if all you have access to is Comcast for real broadband and you don't like their policy, technically you could switch to cellular or satellite. And then be capped to ~10Gb per month anyway, which probably precludes just about anything you wanted to do in the first place.


This is the real problem. There's little or no competition for your business. COmcast can get away with crappy customer service, data caps (even soft caps), and attempts at throttling because they have nobody else that can take you away from them. In many areas you either have a poor DSL service or a decent Cable service for internet. Most people will go with whichever is faster, usually that means Cable. I wish local and state governments would step in and begin working to get fiber available to the average home. We wouldn't need to bend over for the big telcoms like AT&T or the big cable providers like Comcast. They would not own the whole network and all the lines in your neighborhood anymore.


RE: Nightmare
By ebakke on 1/15/2014 8:35:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, for one thing Comcast already got caught throttling P2P stuff quite a while ago.
Fair enough. And, despite the uproar from a small minority of all internet users, no one cared. It certainly wasn't the end of the internet, or anything remotely close to that.
quote:
Maybe, maybe not. How many different broadband providers are available to you where you live?
I've responded to this about 48,327,571.139 times in DT threads, but I'll give it another go:

I always have a choice. I'm always evaluating different advantages and disadvantages of each purchase (or non purchase) I make. Internet service is no different. I currently weigh things like: availability, cost, speed, customer service, past experiences, payment options, etc. In this situation I'm merely adding another criterion.

So let's say Verizon throttles Netflix. If I like Redbox better than Netflix, I don't mind. In fact, I like it. I get more value out of the service Verizon is providing because now my videos stream faster. If I'm an avid Netflix fan, I might switch to another provider. Sure, it might be slower. It might even cost more. Those are things I'll have to weigh.

I might even (gasp) not have a suitable alternative and will either tolerate the changes, or go to a slower provider that can't provide fast enough service to stream, but at least I'm not supporting Verizon's policy that I disagree with. If I leave, that provides Verizon an incentive to change. If enough leave, that provides an incentive for other companies to enter the market or existing companies to alter their service and provide a competitive advantage (much like T-Mobile has altered their plans to offer unlimited data and no contracts while the other providers cap you and lock you in). In the case where new providers are prevented from entering the market due to local/state government regulations, that seems like a different, separate issue requiring less government involvement not more.

Ultimately it feels like your objection is that things might change. Well sure they can, and it's quite likely they will. I'm fine with that. And I'd greatly prefer it over those with the most strength attempting to force things to stay the same.


RE: Nightmare
By DiscoWade on 1/15/2014 9:15:08 PM , Rating: 1
The internet thrived without net neutrality because these douchebag ideas are fairly recent. And the internet has thrived because ISP's either didn't have the means or the guts to enforce data throttling.

The question you must ask yourself is: if internet infrastructure is getting cheaper, why are ISP's trying to make more money on something that becoming cheaper?


RE: Nightmare
By ebakke on 1/15/2014 10:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
So prior to now, no one had "d-bag ideas"? Lol. Ok. Perhaps they're just not that good of ideas. Perhaps they've been discussed at length within various ISPs and they decided it wasn't worth the cost. Perhaps we have no idea.
quote:
The question you must ask yourself is: if internet infrastructure is getting cheaper, why are ISP's trying to make more money on something that becoming cheaper?
Why must I ask myself that? I don't care what the answer is. The question and the answer are both irrelevant to me. ISPs, automakers, fruit growers, electricians, you, me, and everyone else is going to try to maximize their profit and maximize the value for each dollar spent.

The question I'm asking you and others is: why are you trying to dictate how a company wants to run its business?


RE: Nightmare
By drycrust3 on 1/16/2014 11:32:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Like, Verizon could choose to throw a switch making Netflix all but unusable, while boosting throughput on Redbox Instant - which is a joint venture between Verizon and Redbox. What's that? You're a Netflix customer and suddenly you service sucks? Awww...maybe you should switch to Redbox!

That is exactly why "Net Neutrality" is important! I'm old fashioned, and I think what you say on the telephone is your business, not the business of a phone company, and what websites you go to on the internet is your business, not your ISP's.
I think a whole lot of the demand for not having "Net Neutrality" comes from the suppliers of "unlimited data" broadband. There are costs associated with supplying internet (mortgages on buildings, mortgages on equipment, costs in linking to other telecommunication suppliers, staff, taxes, etc), and these have to be paid for. People that make full use of the concept of "unlimited" cost more than those that don't, which means the ISP isn't making a profit from their heaviest users, but they are the ones who need the service the most, and consequently should pay the most. This idea of charging people to visit particular websites is just the other end of the same stick: recovering costs generated by the heaviest data users.
To me the solution to this problem is simple: charge the heaviest users more. Yes, I know this will push up the cost of unlimited data broadband out of the reach of the regular users, that is the whole point: to push people into using capped data limits, where the user decides how much they can afford to pay and live within the limits that places on them. This isn't any different from having freedom of movement, but being restricted to how far you can go by the amount of petrol you can buy.


RE: Nightmare
By drycrust3 on 1/16/2014 11:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
Just as a point of clarification, I'm not opposed to the idea of some sort of distance charges, e.g. toll calls, long distance call rates, etc, what I am opposed to is the idea that the content of your phone call isn't private, i.e. that some marketing department can decide that you pay more or less because you use certain words or phrases. The content of your phone call should be private (security issues aside), and that the same applies to internet use.


Oligopolies
By toffty on 1/15/2014 4:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
If only cable providers were honest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ilMx7k7mso




RE: Oligopolies
By superflex on 1/15/2014 4:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
If only politicians were honest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGAdrQ2RpdM


Common carrier status
By msmike on 1/16/2014 10:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
Given that internet access is pretty much a requirement these days (yes, you can argue against that, but when my kids *have* to do their homework online, I consider it a requirement), what is the reluctance on the FCC's part to classify those businesses or those portions of businesses that act as ISPs as common carriers? Are there drawbacks to this?




RE: Common carrier status
By euclidean on 1/16/2014 12:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
By lagomorpha on 1/16/2014 8:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
a "free market" in which carriers could charge users per-website usage fees.


In a free market carriers that tried to charge per-website would have no customers. This sort of customer abuse is only possible when individual companies have staked out areas in which they can obtain monopolies. Maybe there should be some sort of addition to the anti-trust act to prevent this?




innovative services??
By Piiman on 1/18/2014 10:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon interprets the ruling and reacts to it, stating:

Earlier today, the D.C. Circuit issued its much-anticipated decision in Verizon v. FCC. The court rejected Verizon’s position that Congress did not give the FCC jurisdiction over broadband access. At the same time, the court found that the FCC could not impose last century’s common carriage requirements on the Internet, and struck down rules that limited the ability of broadband providers to offer new and innovative services to their customers."

Translation.
New and "innovative services" = More Fees and more ways to nickel and dime you to death




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