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The Life of a Bear (and an Old Woman)

What Net Neutrality Means to Your Online Life

We have been through this before and here we are again: someone in government wants to make it hard, maybe impossible, for startups and ordinary people to get online without paying a whole lot more money that we do now.

This time it is Ajit Pai, a former attorney at Verizon, appointed to chair the Federal Communications Commiussion (FCC) last January by President Trump. Read what he wrote [pdf] about how wonderful life will be when, if he has his way, net neutrality is repealed in December:

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”

That statement is so deeply disingenuous that it bears no resemblance to what Pai intends which is to allow internet providers to make even more billions of dollars than they already do.

Trying to read the dry details of net neutrality can make you cry so I spent a good deal of the weekend looking for the best short explanation I could find for us.

After watching more than a dozen videos from the big guys in TV news and other name-brand online sources, this segment from the local news at WDIV, Channel 4 in Detroit did the best, clearest job.

Don't let the length, 6:44, deter you. It is all you need to know and as it was first broadcast yesterday, it is up to date with the latest information:

Google, Netflix and some other large tech companies oppose repealing net neutrality as do many of our representatives in Washington. Although the millions of apparently false comments being left by robots at the FCC website (referenced at the end of the video) in support of repeal may derail this next step, the FCC is set to vote on the proposal on Thursday 14 December.

You can read more about fake comments at Salon.

President Trump supports repeal of Net Neutrality. So just to add a little levity or even schadenfreude to this issue, here is a warning tweet from Wikileaks' Julian Assange addressed to Trump:

Assange Net Neutrality


Once again from this administration and its appointments, we're seeing policies for the priviledged, the corporations, those who, with politicians, are running this country. For their benefit. No mention of the poor, the struggling.

With Sinclair winning their bid for Northern California-Southern Oregon airwaves, major purchase of Time, People & other popular magazines and now possible elimination of net neutrality, I fear for the loss of "freedom of information" abilities. Alarming how this compares to the 1930-40s in Germany. Control of communication is #1 step.

*Rump and Bannon, with Koch Bros and the US government Cabinet, etc., are looking to change this country, eliminating those "inconviences," known as free thought, expression and gathering. And they're cold and ruthless.

Repealing Net Neutrality is a massive assault on our rights, as they will make it as they want it to be, with little to no regard for most of the world (and ALL of the world will be affected), but giving corporations AND government the power to overwhelm, outrageously charge and control the information highway, all probably with insignificant regulations.

I hope people take to the streets over this issue, now. Better yet, we need wide scale boycotts.

OK, please pardon the rant - this is making me lose my sense of humor and disrupting my comfort zones.

I live in another country, but can imagine that the effects of the repeal will reach us here in Canada. As a long-time user, and a blogger, I value my freedom and access to the internet. The desire of corporations and others to seize power over everything that can potentially make money for them is frightening!

Thank you so much for bringing this up and for including the useful TV clip.

I've just filed an "express comment" to the FCC on this subject. The "comment period" is closed, but the public comment system is still accepting these messages, there are nearly 200,000 people who have used this method in the past 30 days. Millions participated before that. (See https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=17-108&sort=date_disseminated,DESC)

In my comment, I suggested that basic fairness demanded the FCC delay any decision until the investigation of the fake comments/poll has been completed and until the FCC can manage a clean and open comment period and poll in another setting.

Let 'em know what you think!

FYI: your comment will be reviewed and, barring any problems, it will be posted on the FCC site with your name. I think the "problems" would relate to appropriate language.

A clearer case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" I have never seen.
And BTW, How did the FCC get its anal retentive fingers mixed up in the internet anyway?

If you value your internet, call and/or write your representatives in Washington and let them know that net neutrality is IMPORTANT. Most people in the US have only one internet provider. If that provider decides to charge them more, or throttle their connection, or even cut them off entirely, they (we, you, me) will have no alternatives. You don't have to be a geek to understand that net neutrality means equal access for everyone; loss of net neutrality means the corporations call the shots.

You have to admire the Republicans. When something is defeated or they experience a set back, they do not say --oh well the public is against it.

They regroup and come back at it in stealth mode or from another direction until they win. They are so organized it is too frightening.

I think we should be afraid.

Here's a cheat sheet for how to leave a comment with the FCC. It takes about three minutes to access the Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS) and leave a comment:

* On your computer, not your phone, go to: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
* Enter Proceeding 17-108
* Fill in the required name and address fields
* In comments, say "I support Net Neutrality, Title 2 oversight of Internet Service Providers" or whatever else you want to say. I think a direct statement of support makes it easier for them to tally the comments.

Do this now if you support net neutrality!
Fill the form in carefully; they've made it less friendly and impossible to fill in by phone, on purpose, because the new FCC head does not want to hear from you. Fcc him! Spread this message!

Shoot, I messed up that link. Click here:

Thanks for the link. I just emailed. The gall of these Repugs has no equal. They are sneaky, dishonest, nasty people. To them "fair" is a 4-letter word in more ways than one. Deplorables for sure!

On the other hand, the idea of slowing down (or, in the best of all worlds, even totally blocking!) The Orange Apparition's tweets IS rather appealing. However, I totally support net neutrality even if it means tRump can continue making a fool of himself online as well as in all the other ways he already does so.

Oh, I really love tRUMP. Beautifully put. Thanks for all of this fantastic information. What is happening to our country? I can only hope that those other than our group here, are getting the message. Cheers to all and Ronnie, you are the BEST! Keep it coming. We love and need you.

Thanks, Frank, for FCC link and info. Had hoped I wouldn’t be writing more on my blog to preserve net neutrality but could see where we were headed with this new director — sickening and dangerous for our nation’s freedoms.

News, as is truth, in this nation is being swallowed up by forces that do not have the best interests of the ordinary American in mind, or ordinary people around the world. Also, Rupert Murdoch, aligned wth our Prez, has a corrosive agenda at work to subvert real news as his employees demonstrated by their previous actions in Great Britain’s media, government and politics. Currently, recommend reviewing Murdock efforts to purchase satellite TV Sky in G.B. — we know how Fox TV news has benn manipulated beginning with illustrious friend, advisor, confident Roger Ailes, now deceased, with our Prez.

If people and the Democratic party don't start blasting this from the housetops, along with all the other outrageous things being done by this administration and wake the gullible loons up soon we will find that we have lost our form of government that our forefathers fought to give us.

I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg unless Mueller cane bring these power mad b-----rds down before we find we are living in Nazi Germany redux.

Nearly half of the voters have been convinced that the free press is publishing fake news, while FOX strengthens it's power to brainwash the Luddites. With the Internet gone, the police departments militarized, and the right wing conservative religious tribe taking over religion, and the Republicans stealing the vote by gerrymandering they will have demolished the 4 freedoms and it will be too late to object.

Am I being an alarmist? Possibly, but if I'm not rise up now and make your voices heard.

I just got a disingenuous mailing from my Rep in the House, Martha McSally extolling the wonderful benefits of the tax cut. May she be roundly defeated when she runs for election. And I got another e-mail from my conservative friend titled "Fight On - Magnificent Warrior " (Rump). I have tried bombarding him with the facts, but he is one of the the tone deaf idiots.

I am so angry right now that I fear I am not being coherent , but I am posting this anyhow.

Thank you, Ronni ... and Frank, too. Another good piece on the subject on "Wired". The number of disastrous decisions/proposals being thrown our way every day is mind-boggling ... and made with the purpose of numbing us to the core. I am beyond grateful to all who continue to find the energy and strength to keep on fighting.

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