Today is Wednesday, and time for my weekly “Good People Doing Good Things” feature. I apologize, but I am delaying that feature until tomorrow (Thursday) morning. As I mentioned yesterday evening, I planned one more post in my series about the most important and imminent issues facing us this week, and this one is about net neutrality. Since the vote is to be tomorrow, I felt it imperative to get this post out as early as possible, and I knew I could not do both posts by 3:00 a.m., for I have indeed promised that I would have an early bedtime tonight. So, I hope that you will understand my decision, and I do promise the ‘good people’ post on Thursday.
This year, the federal government under Donald Trump and a republican-led Congress, has a theme. The theme of 2017 is: Robbing Hood: Rob From The Poor, Give To The Rich. If there is any way for the wealthy and big corporations to squeeze another nickel from We The People, they are going to give it their best shot. They came for our healthcare, they’re trying to raise our taxes, and now they are coming for our internet. Time to fight back, folks.
The vote on reversing net neutrality rules is scheduled for tomorrow, December 14th, and it is almost certain to pass along party lines. Let us start with some basics.
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is a term used to describe a set of regulations that ensure all information flowing over the internet is treated equally. It means companies cannot block websites or offer certain companies faster loading speeds for money. In a simple sentence, the reversal of net neutrality will mean corporate domination of the internet, pure and simple.
The FCC under President Obama implemented the set of regulations known as net neutrality.
Who is the FCC?
The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, is made up of five commissioners appointed by the sitting president. The current chairman is Ajit Pai, who was appointed to the commission under President Obama at the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell. Trump appointed Pai to the position of Chairman after taking office in January.
What does it all mean for me and you?
Example: You want to watch the movie Lord of the Rings on Netflix. Simple, right? You pay a flat monthly fee, usually either $7.99 or $8.99, and in return you can watch unlimited movies, television shows, etc., free of commercials. Not a bad deal … certainly better than the $120 we used to pay for satellite service and still had commercials! So, you go to Netflix, select Lord of the Rings, and sit back to watch your … hey, wait a minute … why is it taking so long? Oh, there … now it’s starting. The credits roll and … it freezes up and there is an annoying circle going round and round in the center of the screen. You give up and call Netflix. They tell you that they are working on the problem. The first of the month comes, you receive your Netflix bill for $18.99 … and … WAIT A MINUTE!!! That’s $10-$11 more than I agreed to! Well guess what. In order to stream your movies at the speed that actually allows you to watch them, Netflix had to pay millions of dollars to Verizon and/or Comcast, and so they are now passing that cost on to you the consumer. You’ve been ROBBED.
Or … that app I have called Mighty Text, that sends all my phone notifications such as text messages, Twitter messages, Facebook notifications, chat & email notifications, along with phone calls and text voice mail directly to my computer screen so that I can read and respond on my laptop where I can see them better? Um … I cannot access it any more because the developers of Mighty Text were small potatoes and couldn’t afford to pay AT&T to keep it accessible, so AT&T blocked it. I have been ROBBED
The internet survived without net neutrality before net neutrality, some would argue. I would agree but … we are living in a different world than we were five years ago, a different universe, as it were. Corporate greed has become the numero uno killer of common sense in the U.S., and where there can be found another way to enrich the already-rich at the expense of the poor and working class, the elderly and the infirm, they will find it and they will use it. Before I close, let me give you one more example.
You want a new pair of Skechers running shoes. You know exactly what you want, you know precisely what size you want. You work all week, clean house all day Saturday, and who feels like going shoe shopping on Sunday, right? But who needs to, for there is the internet and there is nothing that cannot be found on the internet. So, sit down, Google “Skechers running shoes turquoise size 6 women’s”. You get a number of hits within moments, and you go to the first one. Wow … I don’t remember them costing that much when I bought the last pair, but that was 5 years ago. Check out the 2nd and 3rd hits, still over $60. So, pick one and order the shoes … $60 won’t break the bank, now will it? No, but guess what, friends? You’ve been ROBBED. For there were a number of online stores that sell those exact same shoes for $39.99 plus tax, but Google did not direct you to those stores, for they did not pay for the privilege of being ranked high enough to show up when you searched.
I wrote about the reversal of net neutrality in July in a piece titled TRUMP & PAI SET TO WRECK THE INTERNET I was concerned then, and I am more so now, for I have seen the current administrations cold lack of concern for We The People in other areas, and I have received the message loud and clear that, “You The People” do not matter. Our future on the internet boils down to five people tomorrow:
- Ajit Pai – Chairman
- Mignon Clyburn – Commissioner
- Brendan Carr – Commissioner
- Michael O’Rielly – Commissioner
- Jessica Rosenworcel – Commissioner
George Orwell thought the world would change in 1984. It would actually happen 33 years later, in 2017, and not for the better. I cannot say how much, if any, good these online protests do, but in this case, I’m willing to make the effort, to take the 60 seconds to fill in my name, rank & serieal number, if it sends my currently barky voice straight to the ear of Ajit Pai and presents my message loud and clear, so I include this link for any who are interested.
Thus concludes my “List of Four” hard-hitting critical issues of the week. Thank you for your patience, my friends, thank you for listening, for acting where you could, and for sticking together. We are, in fact, all of us in this together and we must … we simply must … continue to make our voices heard, else we have lost before we left the starting gate. Love ‘n hugs, my friends. Love ‘n hugs.