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Obama & McCain Conflicting On Net Neutrality

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the of-course-they-do dept.

Government 427

longacre writes "For all their incessant bickering in the first two presidential debates over conflicts of interest and government regulation, PopMech columnist Glenn Derene is puzzled that the candidates have yet to be challenged on a vital issue directly related to both those topics: Net neutrality. John McCain and Barack Obama have stated elsewhere their opposing views on the issue, with McCain being opposed to Net neutrality and favoring light regulation of the Internet, while Obama is in favor of neutrality and seeks Government involvement. In any case, since there is no standard accepted definition of 'network neutrality,' until the candidates elaborate on their positions (which they both declined to do for this piece, nor anywhere else so far, for that matter), 'both sides can make a credible case that they're the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication.'"

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Both sides... (5, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 6 years ago | (#25313201)

Obviously. Both sides refuse to clearly state their positions so that they can define them... after the election.

"Of course we mean X. We always meant X. Why, did we ever say otherwise?"

Re:Both sides... (2, Informative)

iplayfast (166447) | about 6 years ago | (#25313365)

Obama has already started changing his position on the topic.
Then denied it.
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/09/techies-keep-an.html [wired.com]
Keep a close eye on this one.

Re:Both sides... (5, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#25313641)

Oh, you meant "that one" [google.com] . Or did you mean the other McCain slur, "The One" [youtube.com] ? More Slashdotty.

We do have to keep our eyes on all these politicians. They will all change their terms after getting power if we can help it. It's pretty clear that with McCain, he doesn't even have to "spend any political capital" to side with the telcos against Net Neutrality: he's already against it, and fully lobbyist compliant.

Obama has made a couple of statements on his website that only support Net Neutrality, which is the position he's taken all the times he's mentioned it in public. If he'd made a simple statement, then changed to the more detailed one, people would say "he's just changing an easily identified opposition to a load of complicated doubletalk so he can weasel out later". That article you linked to is complaining about "changes", when it's the same policy, just stated in under 50 words as the website's traffic grows heavy with the mass of people who tune in late in the campaign to the more easily understood message, rather than the wonky details the earlier audience of more political consumers wanted. The campaign, when asked, confirmed that the policy hasn't changed. The activists for Net Neutrality of course have the earlier rendition of the policy in full detail, and aren't complaining. Because it hasn't changed, it's just being communicated to a wider audience.

By all means keep a close eye on both of them. But with Obama, you can actually watch him support Net Neutrality. Especially if you actually vote for him for president. With McCain, all you'll get is the short end of the stick: he's never even offered anything else.

Re:Both sides... (3, Informative)

mccoma (64578) | about 6 years ago | (#25313903)

The selection of Biden with his Hollywood lobbyists doesn't bode well. Look up the kinds of net / technology bills Binden favors and get a taste of the future.

Re:Both sides... (4, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | about 6 years ago | (#25313947)

I agree. That link iplayfast has given is basically FUD started by a FUD article here on /. http://news.slashdot.org/news/08/09/22/0526237.shtml [slashdot.org] . Notice that the original /. story was updated to say that while the main page for Obama's plans has been cut down the original information remains unchanged and is in PDF form.

Re:Both sides... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25314017)

I have to wonder how much longer people are going to insist on calling Obama "liberal."

Re:Both sides... (3, Informative)

wclacy (870064) | about 6 years ago | (#25314167)

Obama will always be called a liberal because he is.

McCain should never be called a conservative because he is not.

Re:Both sides... (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | about 6 years ago | (#25314185)

He's less conservative, that's liberal enough for America.

Sadly enough, for any real liberals, our choices are to vote for Obama, and hope he wins, or vote for someone else, who will not win, and will possibly get the worse of the two elected.

From a liberal point of view, Obama is infinitely better than McCain, for the same reason that one meal a day is infinitely better than none. It might not be the best thing, but it is better than nothing.

Re:Both sides... (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25313959)

maybe you should have read the entire article (including the PDF link at the end). i agree that removing the detailed tech plan from the web page was a questionable decision, and supporters were very right to be concerned. however, upon closer inspection it seems that Obama's web staff simply trimmed down on the text displayed directly on the page, but the original tech plan remains available for viewing. and if you look at the Versionista Page comparison and the PDF still linked to on the web page, all of the text discussing Net Neutrality are indeed still intact.

it's more likely that Obama's campaign staff simply decided to cut down on the amount of text on the website while making updates to the content. perhaps it's meant to make the site more accessible to people too impatient to read the entire text, who knows? but even the new page directs people to a PDF link of the full tech plan at the bottom.

Re:Both sides... (1)

supersnail (106701) | about 6 years ago | (#25314099)

Jeez. If politians are going to get involved in defining the IP protocols and traffic management algorithms. Maybe they should talk to the inventor of the "Information Superhighway" as Al Gore would know all the technical details.

Put it simply "net neutrality" is an idealogical battle between engineers, who would like to define a workable scheme for traffic management, and idealogs, who think the internet is a wonderful tool for freedom but have no idea how it works.
 

Re:Both sides... (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 6 years ago | (#25313811)

Well Obama's a lawyer that took the RIAA's "free money" [consumerist.com] while senator.

He's a lawyer people. The RIAA regularly gives him a couple grand "for the kids". Let's not kid ourselves on his real positions. He's an enemy of fair use, an enemy of free speech on the web.

While McCain has Lawrence Lessig's blessing [lessig.org] and has worked to enhance fair use in the past according to Lessig, he's probably not a candidate that will make fair use a government priority either. But he may try and improve the situation a little.

Heh given Lessig's site, it's no wonder only Obama gets paid by the RIAA.

*sigh* I liked Obama for his "get out of Iraq" talk. He backtracked all those statements, now wants to remain there and spend even more than McCain (does he think that's a popular position ?). For every single other point I like McCain. *sigh*

I'm gonna go McCain. Yes he's Bush's successor, but at least he doesn't take "free money" from the devil. And it's becoming increasingly unclear on just what point Obama differs from Bush.

Re:Both sides... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 6 years ago | (#25313921)

Of course he backtracked those statements, the war is going ... better, don't want to use "well" because it's a war.

Re:Both sides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313993)

Can you site a source please that says Obama is going to spend more money in Iraq than McCain? I have a hard time believing it, but am receptive if you have hard evidence.

Re:Both sides... (3, Informative)

wclacy (870064) | about 6 years ago | (#25314295)

On Obama's website he says he is going to increase the number of overall soldiers in the armed services by 92,000. Personnel is one of the biggest expenses in just about anything, and in the armed forces you have to pay for their Benefits(Their insurance costs more than normal), Equipment, Travel, Housing, etc.

so just Salary alone 92,000 X $40,000(best guess average) = $3,680,000,000 per year not counting all the other expense which could easily double that number.

Re:Both sides... (1)

Retric (704075) | about 6 years ago | (#25314181)

If you really think politicians can be bought for 9k try it some time. Please step back and think about spending 200,000k on an election and then see how much it takes to be "bought".

I might vote for McCain if he showed some maverick ideas or even a few new ideas. So far he wants to cut 18billion from the 3,000 billion budget, but it's looking like the democrats are going to spend less money which is what I really care about. Obviously it's congress who controls the budget, however I still think the precedent could start with the DoD and then working though the less costly agency's.

come on (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#25313219)

This is a minor issue, not a vital one. I'm glad they don't waste debate time talking about it.

Re:come on (4, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | about 6 years ago | (#25313329)

This is a minor issue, not a vital one. I'm glad they don't waste debate time talking about it.

Debates are for people who think that watching them will somehow make them informed. I personally would like them to talk about net neutrality, just to get a good laugh about it. However, the audience of the debate probably doesn't know what net neutrality is, let alone the candidates.

Who ever gets into office will be told what to do about net neutrality by some unelected person behind the scenes. Their stances on net neutrality are vague for a reason, so they can change their minds at a moments notice.

Re:come on (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#25313415)

The debates would matter more if they didn't ask the same questions in all of them. I'm getting really tired of hearing about their healthcare plans, taxes, and Iraq/Iran/Pakistan over and over. There are so many other issues they could hit, if they refuse to answer questions on those issues them move on for god's sake!

Re:come on (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 6 years ago | (#25313625)

Who ever gets into office will be told what to do about net neutrality by some unelected person behind the scenes

This is true for McCain, but Obama seems to have a better grasp of technology. Anyway, his daughters are coming to an age over the next 8 years where they will have significant input into internet issues. McCain's daughter is a major in art history at Columbia, she might have some insight.

Re:come on (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 years ago | (#25314273)

If you're in a world where a President's daughters have more influence on him than the MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR TELECOM LOBBYISTS, stay there. I'm sure its a happy, happy place.

Re:come on (1)

truthsearch (249536) | about 6 years ago | (#25313347)

Agreed. With everything else going on only a tiny portion of the public would care to hear about this issue.

"Glenn Derene is puzzled"? Really?

Re:come on (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 6 years ago | (#25313483)

This has huge repercussions on my ability to torrent porn. I would not call this a minor issue.

Re:come on (1)

rishistar (662278) | about 6 years ago | (#25314305)

This has huge repercussions on my ability to torrent porn. I would not call this a minor issue.

Yes, I believe that both candidates are agreed that porn and minors are a no-no.

Parent is insightful, not funny. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313489)

Where I work, these are the primary concerns of your typical voter that is calling in:

  1. Debt.
  2. Their 401Ks losing their value.
  3. Being laid off - losing their jobs.
  4. Getting a loan or mortgage.
  5. Should they sell all their stocks.
  6. Is their bank still solvent.

Net neutrality? Huh. Not even on their radar.

Re:come on (1)

fractic (1178341) | about 6 years ago | (#25313685)

While it may be a minor issue, it is an issue that most people here find important. If we don't weigh this topic more heavily then the average voter then who will?

Re:come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313701)

This is a minor issue, not a vital one.

Yeah, let's forget about these tiny little details like regulation and the economy and go back to the vital stuff like abortion and flag burning that grip America's operation on a day-to-day basis.

Re:come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313835)

Or steroid use in baseball. Let's not forget how somehow the Pelosi-led single-digit approval rating House had plenty of time for hearings into steroid use in baseball. Why won't Barack campaign on that issue?

Re:come on (1)

longacre (1090157) | about 6 years ago | (#25314209)

The next administration will make decisions that directly shape the next several decades of how Americans communicate. The effects of these decisions will be more long-term than those made in regard to the economy or Iraq, but they are no less "vital."

My question is (1)

sadgoblin (1269500) | about 6 years ago | (#25313221)

Do they even care about net neutrality?

On the fence (4, Interesting)

bencoder (1197139) | about 6 years ago | (#25313239)

I personally am on the fence on this issue. As a libertarian, I am against government regulation and pro-free market and net neutrality seems to me to be a regulation against the telecom providers to do what they want with their lines. But on the other hand freedom of communication and open networks are definitely positive things, so I do wonder how an unregulated free market would handle this issue. It's somewhat off topic, but would be interested in your thoughts, especially if you also consider yourself libertarian.

Re:On the fence (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25313299)

Routers are private property, back off. Debating whether to commit a crime or not is almost immoral in itself.

Re:On the fence (5, Insightful)

Trahloc (842734) | about 6 years ago | (#25313305)

Free market, to me, gives me the impression that I have a choice among many competitors. Unfortunately where I live this isn't true. DSL doesn't work and I have only one cable provider to choose from. If this happens to be one of the ones that decides net neutrality is evil then I'm screwed. So the government needs to force a standard. I guess to me, as a self described libertarian, I see the government as a sort of ISO standard body with military backing. Perhaps I'm off my rocker with that idea.

Re:On the fence (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25313877)

...I see the government as a sort of ISO standard body with military backing. Perhaps I'm off my rocker with that idea.

No, you are absolutely right: Standards for sale to the highest bidder.

Re:On the fence (1)

SBacks (1286786) | about 6 years ago | (#25313919)

Free market, to me, gives me the impression that I have a choice among many competitors. Unfortunately where I live this isn't true. DSL doesn't work and I have only one cable provider to choose from.

You have plenty of other companies to choose from. However, they have deemed that your market isn't profitable enough for them to get in to. The market is still free and open, you just live in an area without enough people/net users to be profitable for competition.

The free market only means companies fighting for your money when your money is enough to be worth fighting fore.

To really get the free market to support net neutrality, you have to convince the consumer that net neutrality is something they should require in order to spend their money.

Re:On the fence (1)

louzerr (97449) | about 6 years ago | (#25314235)

I live in a metropolitan area, so I have all kinds of choices (and am very, very happy with my DSL, thank you very much), but for my dad, who lives in a more rural area, no such luck. At one time, his only choice was to have a digital line put in, and pay near $100/month for service. Now a company offers microwave ... but they do NOT know a thing about setting up networks, so he is constantly getting DDOS attacks at the ISP! (When he calls, they suggest he should buy a new network card for some reason). Not much of a solution!

Free market can only work if EVERYONE can get to the market! That's currently not the case, and without net neutrality, it could get a lot worse.

Re:On the fence (3, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 6 years ago | (#25313383)

the telecom providers to do what they want with their lines

Than stop worrying about it. Those lines are built on public land, and many of them became entrenched in their position due to government-granted monopolies. We have every right to tell them how to prioritize our packets.

Re:On the fence (2, Insightful)

iplayfast (166447) | about 6 years ago | (#25313405)

What makes you think that the lines are the property of the telecom providers?

I don't know myself, but I think I've heard that they were built with public money, and not owned by the telecoms.

Re:On the fence (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313827)

They weren't. The lines were paid for by the telecoms. They're owned by the telecoms.

The closest to "public money" you can get is the fact that frequently the lines run along public roads. In order to be allowed to use public space, the telecoms have to provide service to certain areas.

So there are already costs for using public spaces. But the infrastructure is owned and maintained by the telecoms themselves. No public money is involved.

You also might be thinking of the "billions of dollars" that were supposedly invested in improving US broadband. The thing is, these dollars don't exist. The telecoms didn't receive a thing from the government, not one cent.

Re:On the fence (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 6 years ago | (#25313945)

Actually, in the USA, a lot of ISPs pay money to the telecoms that own the lines. Where I'm from (Michigan) it's AT&T. That's who owns the lines. When you have a problem with your DSL, even if it's not through AT&T, chances are an AT&T tech will come out to fix it (if it's a line problem).

Re:On the fence (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#25314177)

That is incorrect, please tell me where you read this at? Trust me, the city is not laying out the enormous cost of the fiber optic cable & just letting the carrier place it & maintain it. The easements granted to the carrier & the taxes generated thus forth are the only thing the municipality is concerned about. Yes, AT&T, Verizon, etc pay taxes on every inch of the network they have in the ground on public easements. Well of course in the long run, *we* are paying those taxes, but you catch my drift.

Re:On the fence (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 6 years ago | (#25313425)

I am split on this as well. I am generally opposed to government involvement in a lot of these things as well. But aren't the companies that are pushing for priority routing, etc also subsidized, or given land by federal and state governments for the lines that this stuff is run over? I know the big telcos that grant access direct to the consumer. I'm not sure about the guys in the middle. Regardless, there is a price to pay for being a government granted monopoly.

Re:On the fence (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#25314233)

Granting an easement is not the same as "giving land away". Telcos pay taxes on anything they have in those easements as well. The system AT&T / Bellsouth has to track taxes on their plant is mind-numbing.

I can't believe I'm defending that bunch of assholes, but that is simply bad information.

Re:On the fence (2, Insightful)

TypoNAM (695420) | about 6 years ago | (#25313553)

That's the flaw in your logic, it isn't their lines! It is our lines, the public's, because they laid them with our tax dollars. Just what the hell did you think the billions of dollars were meant to be used for? Just because they control the lines doesn't mean they actually own or much less actually paid for them.

The really sad part is that we've been taxed twice for those lines. The first time the tax dollars the government gave them (or was it loaned, but we apparently haven't collected on that) and the second time in our service bill for using those lines.

Re:On the fence (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 6 years ago | (#25313589)

Just read the arguments. It should be an easy choice for a true libertarian.

The net neutrality people argue for nationalized/socialized/government ownership and control of the telecommunications infrastructure. That should be all a libertarian needs to hear to take the opposite position.

Of course "libertarian" seems to be a label you can buy at a discount these days. Lots of people say they're libertarians but really want the government to force people and companies to do things their way. To them, "libertarian" means "don't bother me with politics, just give me what I want".

Re:On the fence (5, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 6 years ago | (#25313597)

I personally am on the fence on this issue. As a libertarian, I am against government regulation and pro-free market and net neutrality seems to me to be a regulation against the telecom providers to do what they want with their lines.

I condider myself a libertarian, and am against regulation where truly free markets (or close approximations thereto) exist. However, in many cases, they don't, and this is an example. What you have is a very small number of players with a very high barrier to entry to the market. In that case, the equilibrium required for the operation of a free market simply doesn't exist. Because of the barrier to market entry, the actors can create a situation where a free market would demand competition to meet consumers' needs, but that no one can fill that need in any efficient manner because of the market barrier. In cases where such huge barriers exist and the actors seems to be colluding (explicitly or implicitly), I do think regulation is needed.

Re:On the fence (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 6 years ago | (#25314075)

Given the relatively frivolous "consumers' needs" in question, you seem to be selling out your libertarian ideals for a discount.

I don't "consider myself a libertarian" in the same way. But I'm for freedom for these companies unless it causes a huge problem. All the Internet whining doesn't rise to the level of a "huge problem" yet.

Re:On the fence (1, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 6 years ago | (#25314151)

When did "truly free markets" come to mean anything other than "each individual is free to do whatever he or she wants provided his or her actions cause no direct harm to others"?

So-called "barriers to entry", the number of "players", the existence of (unattainable) equilibrium -- these are all irrelevant. The market is free if and only if there is no systemic aggression (initiation of coercion; violation of others' property rights, including personal rights, or threats thereof).

The libertarian stance isn't really about the market at all; it's about aggression, and the correct response to it. In a libertarian society -- one which adheres to the Non-Aggression Principle and thus does not endorse or tolerate the initiation of force or fraud -- the free market is a natural byproduct.

Re:On the fence (3, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#25314071)

I'm a libertarian too (card-carrying) & I'd vehemently agree with you if the telcos weren't given a government mandated monopoly. Don't say "Oh you can just go put your own fiber down", because *you cannot* do this if the municipality in question will not permit you to do so due to municipal franchises & or kickbacks. The easements that communication fiber (& power, gas, water, etc) is placed in is granted by the city / county & some of it is still privately owned property. The whole system is in place to facilitate ease of record keeping & expanding / repairing the network.

Another good reason it should stay free & open regardless of whose glass it's running over is the fact that the whole thing owes it's existence to DARPA, a government body.

I do telecom design, & deal with the ins & outs of this everyday.

not suprised (3, Insightful)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 6 years ago | (#25313243)

Even if both of them were to give an answer it would be so vague that it would probably make no sense what so ever. Now if you go back and look at their advisors you may get a better idea.

McCain I blieve has former RIAA lawyer as his Tech Advisor
Obama has a professor from MIT as his

source from a prior slashdot article but it is to early and I haven't had my caffiene yet.

Dude, have you read Obama's page on this? (1, Informative)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | about 6 years ago | (#25313253)

There was a slashdot article on the changes made to Obama's IT page after he joined up with Biden, who's a bigger opponent of Net Neutrality than anyone.

Damn, man get your facts straight before you post this crap.

Follow the Bouncing Ball (1, Flamebait)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25313273)

Politicians typically utilize the most self-serving interpretations of their policies after the election, but my interpretation was pretty fluid on this subject.

I think this will play out as McCain wanting to shake down the pornographers and pedos, but also clamp down on anti-amerian sentiment on the net. Free speech has already taken a huge nosedive with the Bush administration at the helm. Many more years of that and everyone, not just the USA, is in trouble.

Obama seems to approve of funding to enforce net neutrality, something that maybe hasn't been considered. You have to pay people to go after those that would try to strip public privacy away or try to curtail democracy. Obama appears to want the USA to compete freely with other countries, but in a positive way. You can't enforce that unless you put money towards it.

Re:Follow the Bouncing Ball (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25313761)

I won't bother with your first point - I'm surprised people can't see Obama's hand at the back of your mouth when you say stuff.

But as for the second, "You have to pay people to go after those that would try to strip public privacy away or try to curtail democracy. Obama appears to want the USA to compete freely with other countries, but in a positive way." What on earth does that have to do with Net Neutrality in EITHER of it's interpretations?

Government Involvement? (0, Flamebait)

aardwolf64 (160070) | about 6 years ago | (#25313297)

McCain: "against" Net Neutrality, in favor of "light regulation"
Obama: "for" Net Neutrality, in favor of "more Government involvement"

The positions look the same to me, with the exception that Obama is lying about his position.

Saying you're for network neutrality but want more Government involvement is like saying I'm for legalizing pot but I think that police need to step up their enforcement of people smoking it.

Re:Government Involvement? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313421)

Posting anonymously because I modded in this thread.

You seem to misunderstand what Net Neutrality is. Net Neutrality is the principle that telecoms can't favor one type of net traffic over another. Since the telecoms are in a sense the gatekeepers of net access, then they have the technological power to do this.

The ONLY way to keep a business from doing something within its power is (obviously) to pass legislation against doing that thing.

Guess what? Legislation = "government involvement"

I'd be interested in knowing exactly how you'd MAKE Comcast stop downthrottling bittorrent without, you know, making them. Care to elaborate?

Re:Government Involvement? (2, Insightful)

aardwolf64 (160070) | about 6 years ago | (#25313585)

So explain to me how their positions are actually different?

Re:Government Involvement? (2, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | about 6 years ago | (#25313715)

you were right about that, what you were wrong about was which one was contradicting himself (I won't say lying about his position, because they are probably both doing that).

McCain claims he is against net-neutrality, but for regulation - they are the same thing. Of course, that could still be non-contradictory if you assume he is for regulation, but not the same type that net-neutrality would imply.

Re:Government Involvement? (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 6 years ago | (#25314259)

McCain isn't really against Net Neutrality (NN) per se, but rather against the idea of the government telling telcos what to do. Now, the consequence of that may be a temporary loss of NN, but that is where either an anti-trust case or a brave new provider (with $$ backing) steps in and suddenly we have choice again. Maybe. OTOH, regulate it now, and eventually we have government-controlled ISP. Wanna get taxed on your bandwidth usage? Personally, I don't know which is worse, but I don't either is better.

(off-topic wanring) Another approach to this issue is whether one thinks of Internet access as a right or a privilege. That's dissertation fodder right there. Access has become ubiquitous, so people expect it to remain that way. But that is a learned behavior. But given time some psychiatrist will find cause to label it genetic, and then they will be prescribing Internet access. Or 250kb of e-mail. twice daily until thoughts of cave-dwelling subside.

Re:Government Involvement? (2, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25313881)

"You seem to misunderstand what Net Neutrality is. Net Neutrality is the principle that telecoms can't favor one type of net traffic over another. Since the telecoms are in a sense the gatekeepers of net access, then they have the technological power to do this."

Thereby perpetuating the myth the Telecoms have been trying to spread.

Net Neutrality is NOT about discriminating against types of traffic, it's about discriminating based on the SOURCE of that traffic. It has it's seeds in comments made by ATT and others about how they own the pipes and how Google and other heavy producers should pay them for the privilege of their content traveling over ATT's lines.

Since this is nonsensical in it's face, the telcos and cablecos have spun it so that Net Neutrality is about "types" of traffic and managing QOS. This gave them natural allies in the **AA's, and set up the straw man where people who are arguing against net neutrality are just Bittorrent users pissed that their speeds are down.

And you've bought into it.

Re:Government Involvement? (1)

SBacks (1286786) | about 6 years ago | (#25314057)

I'd be interested in knowing exactly how you'd MAKE Comcast stop downthrottling bittorrent without, you know, making them. Care to elaborate?

By demanding they stop their anti-neutrality practices, then switching to a different provider if they don't.

And, don't give me that "but where I live there are no other options". If that's true, start petitioning other companies to provide service in your area, and start educating your neighbors about net neutrality and get them to support your demand for competition.

Re:Government Involvement? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25313515)

Supporting net-neutrality involves supporting the governemnt oblying the ISP to give it to you. The no-governemnt option is the current one, where the ISP collude and destroy net-neutrality.

That said, I have no idea if any of them support it or are lying.

Re:Government Involvement? (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 6 years ago | (#25313629)

Clearly you simply have no idea wtf you're talking about.

Net Neutrality == the idea that if I visit a website, that website won't get preferential treatment (in terms of bandwidth or latency priority) because they've paid my ISP for the privilege. Or: all content is created equal. Note: this does *not* rule out QoS to, for example, reduce latency for real-time applications, at the expense of increased latency for bulk transfers, as per Comcast's recent announcement, as that prioritization is not based on the source or destination of the data, but instead on the protocol being employed.

This definition says *nothing* how this fairness comes about. However, given the stances that telecom companies have taken recently, my belief is that the government may need to step in and impose regulation in order to ensure that net neutrality is preserved. And this just so happens to be Obama's stance. McCain, however, would prefer to leave private industry to sort things out on their own. 'course, given how that's worked for the financial world... well, colour me skeptical.

Re:Government Involvement? (1)

baker.alex (1381689) | about 6 years ago | (#25313983)

What happened in the financial markets is a result of government interference with free market capitalism, not a failure of self regulating private industry. Ideally we would have more choices for broadband providers, in which case regulation would not be needed because competition would keep the providers honest and the consumer would win.

Re:Government Involvement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313677)

You have that backwards.

Since the guys who own the pipes are against Net Neutrality, it will take "Government involvement" (aka "light regulation") to enforce it.

That's the Submitter's Opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313693)

That's just editorializing on the part of the submitter. In Obama's opinion statement the phrase "Government involvement" doesn't appear. So the submitter is "lying" or at least inserting their own spin on the facts.

We're all supposed to be scared of Government (with a capital G!), right?

Re:Government Involvement? (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 6 years ago | (#25313833)

If I read your post correctly, your logic works something like this: McCain says one thing. Obama says another. Ergo, Obama must be lying, and really agrees with what McCain said. That conclusion is not justified by your premises.

"More government involvement" in this case would be a regulation on telecom companies that requires them to treat all traffic identically or be liable for every byte of everything shady or illegal that traverses their network. This sort of regulation has come to be known as "net neutrality", and fits nicely into Obama's governing philosophy that government regulation often helps make markets operate more fairly.

"Light regulation" usually means an overall reduction in regulations on the theory that compliance with the regulations is putting too much of a burden on the businesses affected by that regulation. This fits nicely into McCain's governing philosophy that government regulation often prevents markets from operating as efficiently as they could.

Now do you see the difference?

They are never definite (1)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | about 6 years ago | (#25313319)

Both of them may talk about each other all the time. But they are never clear on what they *themselves* want to do as president. Both make ambiguous statements.

Regarding net neutrality, Obama is socialist, so he's talking about net neutrality.

McCain hasn't even used a computer, so he knows nothing about it.

Re:They are never definite (2, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | about 6 years ago | (#25313533)

Don't be absurd and call Obama a socialist, you'll offend real socialists.

Re:They are never definite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25314041)

I have no problem with that. I hate socialist and socialism.

Nothing is more evil than forcing others to support what they do not wish. It's the very opposite of freedom.

I can't take it anymore (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | about 6 years ago | (#25313323)

Please, stop with politics. With all the radio and TV adds, I just can't take it anymore. Just send the 25% undecided their share of the campaign money, the highest amount wins. The older I get the more cynical I become.

Re:I can't take it anymore (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | about 6 years ago | (#25313401)

We'd be a lot better off if the lowest amount won- we got the govt we have from the highest amount approach.

Constitutionality? (2, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | about 6 years ago | (#25313417)

What's the Constitutionality of network neutrality legislation?

IANAL, but I think it would be a hard sell to Constitution-following legislators (oh, how scant their numbers are these days). I think there could be some applicability for the Interstate Commerce clause (Art. 1, Sec. 8: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes), however intrastate networks would and should be unfettered by Federal law. It would be up to the several states themselves to enact neutrality legislation if they so desire.

Personally, I'm against Federal legislation for network neutrality, partially on principle, partially on the the grounds that I fear/know that the Federal government listens to lobbyists and corporations more than citizens who designed and currently use the thing.

I would prefer to see an easily-joinable coalition of Internet-based companies and ISPs which democratically--one vote per entity--chooses regulations in an RFC-like manner and punishes with disconnection/shunning any entity which violate these regulations.

Re:Constitutionality? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 6 years ago | (#25313673)

What's the Constitutionality of network neutrality legislation?

I fail to see how it doesn't *clearly* fall into the realm of interstate commerce.

Re:Constitutionality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313887)

I would prefer to see an easily-joinable coalition of Internet-based companies and ISPs which democratically--one vote per entity--chooses regulations in an RFC-like manner and punishes with disconnection/shunning any entity which violate these regulations.

I would prefer a world in which everyone lived in harmony with the fluffy bunnies and the daisies, but it ain't gonna happen. You can't just politely ask the ISPs to give up their power to throttle traffic as they please. And you can't disconnect Comcast without destroying the internet economy. This is why we have a government - to press the interests of the population at large. This is a valid use of government.

Re:Constitutionality? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 6 years ago | (#25314287)

And you can't disconnect Comcast without destroying the internet economy.

Can you explain how a (temporary, as there are other ISPs) loss of end-users causes the economy to become destroyed? It's not as if it's taking server providers offline.

Re:Constitutionality? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 6 years ago | (#25313937)

It's perfectly constitutional: Nearly all telecoms operate across state lines, and thus this falls under Interstate Commerce, specifically under the purview of the FCC.

Also, government money was spent to help build the telecom infrastructure, and telecom infrastructure frequently makes use of government right-of-way agreements, so the Feds have a certain amount of power of the purse and power of contracts at their disposal.

Re:Constitutionality? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | about 6 years ago | (#25314211)

If the Supreme Court thinks that growing wheat [wikipedia.org] on your own land for your own consumption is interstate commerce, then just about anything is.

Re:Constitutionality? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 6 years ago | (#25314253)

however intrastate networks would and should be unfettered by Federal law.

Except nobody's talking about 'intrastate networks', but about the Internet. The Commerce Clause clearly applies here.

Government will ruin the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313433)

The internet has the innovation and open communication precisely because it is the Wild West.

All the government lovers around here are simply wrong. The internet doesn't need more regulation. It needs to be left alone.

Any legislation proposed would be porked up with morality and do-goodery in addition to any possibly good technical standards.

Isn't it enough that all the wrong Democrats who have learned all the wrong lessons about the failures of the last 8 years get a filibuster-proof chance to ruin the economy and prove that Duyba is not the terminus of incompetence?

Do they have to ruin the internet at the same time?

And no this isn't a call for McCain who I won't be voting for.

moron predicting disempowerment of nazi execrable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313469)

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thanks! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313477)

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Freedom vs freedom (2, Interesting)

jandersen (462034) | about 6 years ago | (#25313509)

This issue is difficult because it is about the freedom of people to exchange information vs the freedom of the market. But in the current situation I think it is one of the very minor points; ensuring that not too many people lose their livelyhoods is the big issue now and will be so for some years.

Re:Freedom vs freedom (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 6 years ago | (#25313901)

This issue is difficult

Not really.

the freedom of people to exchange information

See, there's your problem. You're confusing freedom of speech with some sort of entitlement that forces private companies to provide some specific grade of tool to other people so that they can communicate in an easy way. You can walk right up to me and exchange all the information you want. Or you could build (or lease or buy, etc) any number of technologies that allow you to do it from across the street, or around the world. Practicality suggests taking advantage of a third party's infrastructure in order to make that more efficient. But it's not like they are obliged to give you access to their network, or to make their network available in any particular way to other networks (a la the internet). Of course they are obliged to do that if you've entered into a contract with them that says they have to as long as you pay your bill.

But there's the rub. They're trying to serve a wide range of customers, and not many people are in the mood for nit-picky metering of use. So they have to target typical use - both in terms of price, and in terms of performance. A very small number of users can have a huge impact on performance. If those users aren't in the mood to purchase a super-duper flavor of service (or hunt down or wait for a provider that offers one at a price they like), they can't complain and shouldn't be using political pressure to use the government to force the market to look like what they think it should look like.

Clamboring for more government involvement in what sort of packets a private network should favor is exactly the wrong thing to do when the government is using my credit card to get farther into the banking and insurance business for the next few years.

conundrum (4, Informative)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 years ago | (#25313521)

both sides can make a credible case that they're the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication

Typical...article going too far to look "balanced"...unfortunately, our standards for journalistic objectivity now require MSM to throw out all analysis and simply ask dimwitted questions and repeat the candidates talking points.

In this case, the article is really bending over backwards to make the false point that:

both sides can make a credible case that they're the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication

by saying that:

there is no standard accepted definition of "network neutrality,"

That statement is simply false [wikipedia.org] . Of course anyone could quibble over the definition of any word ad infinitum, but the general idea is no tiered service [wikipedia.org] .

This is where everyone who is in favor of John McCain flames me with how my links and definition of 'net neutrality' isn't exactly right..blah blah blah...I used to work in IT, and everyone...I mean everyone I worked with in our rather large company had the exact same basic understanding of 'net neutrality'...the wiki definition is as good as any and represents the general idea as it is understood in common usage

It's blatantly obvious that when it comes to net neutrality issues, Obama is the one who favors an internet unfettered by tiered service "packages" that do nothing more than deliver less for the same or more $$$. Why do we have to pretend that "net neutrality" is some nebulous, undefined thing that the candidates haven't talked about in enough detail...if you want more specifics, just look at the list of laws [wikipedia.org] that have tried to promote net neutrality and failed, then look who voted for or against them [votesmart.org]

Obama is best for net neutrality by a mile...

Re:conundrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313893)

Obama is best for net neutrality by a mile

What about Biden?

Re:conundrum (3, Insightful)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | about 6 years ago | (#25313965)

That statement is simply false. Of course anyone could quibble over the definition of any word ad infinitum, but the general idea is no tiered service.

I think it is more important for networks not to discriminate based on who sends the data, rather than how much they pay. It is certainly possible to have network neutrality even with tiered service.

In the real world, the post office is regarded as a common carrier but has still varying classes of mail (standard, priority post, next day service, etc). It is regarded as a neutral carrier because it doesn't discriminate based on who is sending the material. My letter being sent by priority post is treated no worse than one being sent by a major corporation.

Slashdot's McCain/Palin Advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313535)

Anyone else uneasy of the McCain/Palin ad [imageshack.us] above this story?

Re:Slashdot's McCain/Palin Advertisement? (3, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | about 6 years ago | (#25313653)

Exactly. The number one priority of being an informed voter is making sure we are never exposed to the other side.

</snark>

Re:Slashdot's McCain/Palin Advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25313825)

You must be a very sad individual if a political ad makes you uneasy....

Re:Slashdot's McCain/Palin Advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25314169)

Anyone else uneasy of the McCain/Palin ad [imageshack.us] above this story?

Obligatory:

Not me! I use Firefox with Adblock Plus!

Don't Expect To Hear Much (1)

camperslo (704715) | about 6 years ago | (#25313557)

Considering that most voters don't even know what net neutrality is, and considering the other major issues that do make the headlines, it's very unlikely that either of them will spend any time on the issue now.

There are other serious issues of a technical regulatory nature that also deserve attention.
Decisions made by the Federal Communications Commission affect such things as diversity and competition in ISPs, cellular providers, and broadcast stations.

The ownership consolidation that has taken place in broadcasting has reduced stations' serving local community needs. The F.C.C. even did a study proving that and then buried the results.

Much of the questionable behavior that our elected officials engage in is tied to campaign contributions. Most of that cash ends up flowing to broadcasters.
If broadcasters were required to provide political time for free, as part of their trustee of the public interest license responsibility, much of the corruption-fueling money could be removed from the equation. Of course details on how time would be given out would need to be worked out to ensure fairness and to ensure that the LOCAL community voices (from the communities of each license area) are heard. As with news coverage, fair-balanced political coverage is also more likely with increased ownership diversity.

Open and fair media are essential to the proper functioning of a Democracy. We should all press for improvements in this area.

Come on, please. (4, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | about 6 years ago | (#25313573)

While it's interesting to know where they stand on the NN issue, do you really wanna tell me *that's* what will determine to whom you're voting?

Neither side is highlighting actual differences... (3, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25313605)

because that might give something for an undecided voter to hold against them. And the news media is aiding an abetting - they can get more words out of a vague question than one that can be answered.

For instance, one of the topics where the candidates differ greatly is on firearms and 2A issues. But it has flat-out been ignored in this campaign. The liberal interpretation of this is that guns just aren't all that important with everything else going on; the conservative interpretation is that gun issues can only hurt Obama - there's a lot of pickup trucks out there with gun racks and union stickers - so the debate moderators aren't bringing it up. The more realistic interpretation is that guns have become like abortion - folks on both sides have hardened and are sure votes, and the general public has settled on a "fundamental right with restrictions" stance and just don't really care right now. They may care on an individual basis later, when Susie gets knocked up or Johnnie gets mugged, but as a whole the populace has reached equilibrium.

Or Net Neutrality is just too obscure for Jane "I just captioned my first lolcat!" Doe.
(Yes, that's an actual quote from my daughter. I died a little bit inside.)

Obama's Precise Policy on Net Neutrality (4, Informative)

DevanJedi (892762) | about 6 years ago | (#25313725)

This is what it says in his tech policy: "Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others." Go read it yourself: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/technology/Fact_Sheet_Innovation_and_Technology.pdf [barackobama.com]

Puzzled (4, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | about 6 years ago | (#25313905)

PopMech columnist Glenn Derene is puzzled that the candidates have yet to be challenged on a vital issue directly related to both those topics: Net neutrality.

Hm, what a coincidence, I'm puzzled that they have yet to be substantively challenged on any vital issue.

Old bumper sticker - (1)

mac1235 (962716) | about 6 years ago | (#25313971)

If voting could change the system it would be illegal.

McCain (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#25313991)

His website echos what I've seen him state several times, that like most other issues, he isn't a fan of government regulation in business. I've yet to see him say he is anti-net-neutrality, or that he wants government regulation.

Obama was very pro-net-neutrality, so he gets points for that, except the stance disappeared from his website, so the promise is less clear. This is also a guy who promised to vote against the FISA bill over and over again, even the day before the vote, and then voted for it.

With Joe Biden, the RIAA will have a big friend (4, Informative)

hessian (467078) | about 6 years ago | (#25314023)

By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10024163-38.html

Cmod up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25314029)

is part o7 t4e

No surprise (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 6 years ago | (#25314251)

McCain favored such de-regulation that lead to the collapse of our financial markets. Now he favors the least regulation possible of the internet. Already the telecom companies have too much power and control. They can arbitrarily declare what content we can and cannot get to. They can arbitrarily throttle competitors. The internet should remain neutral and such laws need to be passed to ensure this. Sorry, Ma Bell, you cannot get an extra million out of us for a tiered service.

moron attempts to 'privatize' social security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25314263)

that would have made the stock markup FraUD debacle (see also: 401 Kaput) even more damaging to the innocent hard working american.

hey mr. obama, please let us know what you know/think about the 'weather' manipulation/cloud spraying. almost everybody has seen it by now, it's just not a popular topic, probably because it would raise the question of where the real clouds have gone, & if/when they're coming back. thank you.

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