October (Non)Surprise

fox with dead hen Guess what? That’s right. The Federal Communications Commission, after striking the pose that it would respect the results of a period of public comment, is going to preserve net non-neutrality! Internet access, one of our epoch’s most basic and simple services, will continue to be given over to the corporate profit ranchers who understand and use the gift as a license to steal.

Here is the scheme, as described by The Wall Street Journal:

Advocates of net neutrality say that the only way to achieve it is to classify the Internet as common carrier, or a public utility.

The broadband providers would like the FCC to keep them classified as information services, which makes the industry subject to far less regulation.

Caught in the middle, Mr. Wheeler is close to settling on a hybrid approach, people close to the chairman say. The emerging proposal is a departure from an FCC plan put forth last spring, which kept broadband classified as an information service, though Mr. Wheeler at the time made clear that he welcomed input on whether to go the common-carrier route.

The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content. The FCC would then classify the back-end service as a common carrier, giving the agency the ability to police any deals between content companies and broadband providers.

This of course, means that “consumers” will not be able to avail themselves of common carrier rights vis-a-vis the internet overlords. Only the FCC will have that privilege, and only as relates to backroom dealings. Anybody want to guess what that will mean? Take heart, o yearners for democracy and real economy: The fox is going to be watching (part of) the henhouse even more closely!

And, meanwhile, what a phrase, this “caught in the middle.”

On one side stand the overclass Robber Barons, with their sponsorship of the entire political show.

What’s on the other side, you might wonder?

Well, according to the Sunshine Foundation’s analysis of it, in the record-smashing public commentary to the FCC, “less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality.” Moreover, the Sunshine Foundation found it “actually surprising how many of the submitted comments seemed not to have been driven by form letter writing campaigns.”

Of course, this is “caught in the middle” quote, is quite accurate politically, despite the numbers of human noses on each side. Our mighty regulators are indeed stuck play-jousting in the spaces between the investing class and the 99 percent. At the ready they stand, on their golden leashes, armed with quivers of wet noodles!

3 Replies to “October (Non)Surprise”

  1. This is always heart-pounding stuff, fully informed and devastating. I wish TCT was the the Evening News, leading with these stories with crack reporters on the case before weather, but it’s not, nd never will be.
    I’m writing with a query – a game of One Degree of Separation from Fascists. I see you are writing for Counterpunch. Counterpunch publishes, now regularly, someone named James Bovard. He is advertised in my local weekly shopper as the headliner at something called the “Private Property Rights” fest occuring at some beer-hall in the New York Capital District. Also appearing, right before him? “Private Property Rights” from the “Heartland Institute,” the very think-tank of market totalitarianism. The speaker before will pound the lectern and gesticulate and spittle about this here “Agenda 21” and the agents of “internationalists.” Here’s the link: http://prfamerica.org/images/pdfs/AdvanceConferenceAnnouncement2014.pdf
    I contacted counterpunch to ask that they “deep-six” this fascist headliner on their rolls, but, no, I’m supposed to go fuck myself, after going to the beer-hall.
    What a joke.

  2. Martin, I know and like Jeffrey St. Clair, but haven’t had the chance to chat with him about the genesis of CP’s promotion of the thesis that there could be an alliance between the left and the “libertarian” right. I suspect Alex Cockburn developed that idea. In any event, I agree with Chomsky that “libertarianism,” at least in its (sponsored) American version, is very close to a mental illness. I don’t for a second agree with the left-and-right-against-capitalists trope. I think it’s a sign of the weakness and desperation of the left, in fact, and would be an utter disaster if it were anything but a hopeless paper tiger idea. (Ron Paul favors deploying “our troops” against workers trying to emulate capital and enjoy the freedom of movement between “Mexico” and “the United States,” by the way. There’s your actual content of “libertarianism!”)

    But I also believe in openness and “let a hundred flowers bloom,” so I’m not going to lose sleep over CP, silly as I think the inclusion of some crypto-fascist kooks is. (That could also be a clever way of trying to get those meatheads to think through their few decent positions with a bit more care. A way of reeling in some new lefties, that is…)

  3. That’s certainly a serious response, and I can see your points.
    I’m just not constitutionally of the “toleration” left – a hundred flowers can bloom but if you let the noxious weed of libertarianism get in the garden, watch out…
    Libertarianism is the eugenics of this era – how anyone can look at the state of the world and see the corporate supersystem as needing more “freedom” and “liberty” for its next round of expansion is hideous. This is no sleight-of-hand by counterpunch – it’s been on this conservative, libertarian road for ages, along with climate change denialism and abiotic oil and whatever else tickled Cockburn and St. Clair from the side you rightly call the “crypto-fascists.”
    Still, it’s your right to continue as you wish, and I know there can be virtue in being easy about some matters – thanks for the response.

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