Liberalism and the Internet

old car photo So, in a display of a very slight drying of the wet noodle he has for a backbone, Zerobama now — after being careful not to mention the topic during the recent The Bi-Annual Election Show — “asks” that the FCC classify internet service provision as a common carrier. Of course, not only is this an “ask,” but Prez Z specifically also says the FCC should, despite the proposed new (but long overdue) classification, continue “forbearing from rate regulation.” “Forbearing from rate regulation,” of course, means renouncing price controls.

The unregulated regime of corporate capitalist-dominated internet service provision in the United States imposes an indefensibly but predictably slow and expensive internet infrastructure. Yet, even if the FCC were to ignore its corporate masters and grant Zerobama’s humble request, he asks that they do so only if they render themselves unable to use the main benefit of common carrier designation — price control!

Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service wastes away in the desert, dabbing at its shrinking, rusty thimbleful of water droplets. Imagine what the corporate profit ranchers would do to prevent us from upholding the U.S. Constitution and allowing the USPS to deliver the modern mail at the lowest possible cost and with the best modern technical standards.

Of course, liberals have always favored regulation over public enterprise, for the all-too-obvious reason.

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!

FCC Surpasses Orwell

orwell-truth Zerobama promised his suckers constituents net neutrality. They are getting the exact usual. Per The Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Communications Commission advanced new Internet rules that would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but allow them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment.

So, those who own the roads can’t slow somebody down, but can sell access to faster routes? Only in America, folks, does such blatant DoubleThink get reported straight out, without the slightest snicker or blush.

Of course, how do Comcast and its soon-to-be-acquired “rivals” own the road? Graft, pure and plain.

And check out the ultimate Obamian trick the FCC is now using to finish sealing the deal:

The broadband providers have signaled that they can live with Mr. Wheeler’s approach as drafted.

Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn joined Mr. Wheeler in voting to advance the notice of proposed rule-making, which will now be open to public comment for 60 days, followed by another 60 days for replies.

Observers expect unprecedented engagement during the comment period, but it remains to be seen how much the final proposal shifts from what Mr. Wheeler has already proposed. Mr. Wheeler’s proposal assumes a strong FCC would aggressively police deals between providers and content companies.

Yes, it certainly does remain to be seen. Any wagers?

Meanwhile, here’s what the WSJ says about the Democratic Party:

Democrats are largely in favor of net neutrality but still divided on the best approach, with a few favoring reclassification and others still on the fence. Mr. Wheeler’s approach also has found favor with some Democrats who worry reclassification would kill investment in broadband deployment.

Translation? Five words: “The Democrats oppose net neutrality.”

A Rare Opportunity

The remarkable conquest of discretionary behavior by commercial television has to rank very high on the list of ruling-class victories in all of that class-divided phase of human history we are taught to call “civilization.”

Think of it: In the United States, we thoughtlessly squander the great bulk of our precious free time coming home and looking at a box that not only puts us into a mild catatonic state and makes us its addicts, but does so in order to implant mental and behavioral prescriptions designed to make the rest of our free time comport with the priorities of our super-rich corporate capitalist overclass.

Stalin, Hitler, and the other state-totalitarians never dared dream of enjoying such a dreamy arrangement.

Well, dear readers, here is something truly rare: In order to substantiate claims of legitimacy, the Federal Communications Commission is traveling the country holding hearings about the upcoming give-away of more parts of the ether to the market-totalitarians.

While I hold no illusion about this being anything other than a series of show trials, I still urge everybody to go out to your local FCC tour stop and let the assholes know what you think about sacrificing our democracy and the Earth so that the sponsors of things like Axe Deodorant Body Spray can keep their “third homes” and private jets.