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Net Neutrality to Win Big on Capitol Hill?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-hope-in-sight dept.

The Internet 154

The New York Times has weighed in again on Net Neutrality, this time with a hopeful message of change in the near future due to the shift of power in the House and Senate. The opinion piece takes a look at Ron Wyden in the Senate and Edward Markey in the House who have both promised to lead the charge to pass a net neutrality bill in the coming months. Lessig, on the other hand, has a somewhat more cynical view of the new Congress.

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Balance of power (1, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451032)

From TFA from Lessig: "Radical" changes in Washington always have this Charlie Brown/Lucy-like character (remember Lucy holding the football?): it doesn't take long before you realize how little really ever changes in DC. The latest example is the Dems and IP issues as they affect the Net. Message to the Net from the newly Democratic House? Go to hell.

This balance of power of course is really what we want to happen in DC, and is just what has been out of whack since the Gingrich led Congress felt they had a mandate. Too much has been done in the name of fear and un-Constitutional powergrabs over the last little while and we need a re-balancing of power.

Years ago, when I grew up in Texas, our legislature only met every other year because every time they met, new laws got passed. This was what the state leadership was like at least under Ann Richards, and we did not have as many professional politicians, but I bugged out before the turn of the tide towards Bush and Co. so I don't really know if that is currently the system in our Great State.

Re:Balance of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451154)

Too much has been done in the name of fear and un-Constitutional powergrabs over the last little while and we need a re-balancing of power.


Did it ever occur to you that net neutrality legislation is also a power grab and is being done in the name of fear?

Re:Balance of power (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451274)

Did it ever occur to you that net neutrality legislation is also a power grab and is being done in the name of fear?

Please explain to me how legislation to protect equal access and prevent multi-tier implementations that favor big business and big government are a un-Constitutional power grab. After all, conceptually, net neutrality goes far back in US history to the mid 1800's to preserve equal access to telegraph lines with the only exception being made for war or emergency purposes. The purpose was to encourage impartial use of the new resource and promote economic development in a democratic manner. I think that perhaps you are confused about the status of the current proposal to break up limits on net neutrality.

Re:Balance of power (1, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451534)

Please explain to me how legislation to protect equal access and prevent multi-tier implementations that favor big business and big government are a un-Constitutional power grab.

You changed the meaning of his sentence by adding the word "un-Constitutional" in there. Of course it's going to be used in a grab for power. There is very little in congress that isn't misused and abused in that fashion. Unfortunately, there's no constitutional amendment against dirty politics.

After all, conceptually, net neutrality goes far back in US history to the mid 1800's to preserve equal access to telegraph lines with the only exception being made for war or emergency purposes.

And conceptually, tiered services go all the way back to the government's emergency services demands that prioritized switchboards to carry government calls over non-government calls.

Prioritizing traffic can be a good thing when properly applied. For example, VoIP services work much better when there is a guarantee that the packet will make it to its destination in a specified period of time. (A bit like how RTOSes guarantee a time slice to a program.) The only reason why we have a problem is because some telco exec got the bright idea of selling this prioritization service in a general-purpose fashion. (Thus negating the purpose of such a service. Genius, pure genius.) They then tried to ram it through as part of Senator Steven's Internet Consumer Right Bill thingymatube.

Meanwhile, the FCC has already declared that they'll fine any company that abuses their tiering abilities. So the situation is well in hand, but congress-critters are still trying to play the hero in... *gasp* a massive play for power on the Hill.

Pure and simple: The opposite of progress is congress. Don't let them do anything that can be handled without legislation.

Re:Balance of power (2, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452110)

Meanwhile, the FCC has already declared that they'll fine any company that abuses their tiering abilities.

Oh good, because the FCC is not completely owned by corporate interests...

How would they even know?

Finkployd

Re:Balance of power (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452300)

Okay, so what will prevent companies from abusing tiered service? The free market? There isn't one in telecom and there simply can't be one. Great example of a natural monopoly, no state required.

The FCC? Ah, isn't that part of the government? Who do you want making the regs, some unelected bureaucratic body, or your elected and (slightly more) accountable representatives? Without any special instructions from congress, what do you think the FCC will do, what is best for we, the people, or what is best for telecom fatcats?

The companies themselves? Why? You just know it's going to be, "Hey Google, those are some mighty nice lookin' packets ya got there. Be a shame if anything happened to them, capisce?" Wouldn't they be sued by their shareholders if they didn't screw people over this way? That's what capitalism is all about right, dog eat dog, devil take the hindmost, screw the poor and powerless neo-social-darwinism sort of thing?

In the free market, it's one dollar one vote. Theoretically in a democracy, rich and poor alike both have one vote. Sure, in practice it doesn't work like that, but who's fault is that? Show me the system of checks and balances inherent in the free market that will ensure justice and equitability? Or are those just outdated, antiquated notions now that we all worship on the altar of the almighty dollar.

Call me old fashioned, but I kind of like our Republic, with it's Houses and Executives and, you know, the Constitution? Maybe congress isn't the problem. Maybe we are. It's our government, after all.

free market and the internet (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453360)

Okay, so what will prevent companies from abusing tiered service? The free market? There isn't one in telecom and there simply can't be one. Great example of a natural monopoly, no state required.

No there isn't a true freemarket but there is some things that can be done without a new Net Neutrality law. First the landline telcos are regulated as common carriers and can't discriminate based on who the parties are. Then there's isps' clients such as you and me. If my isp tried to throttle some of the websites I wanted to visit I'd raise hell. I pay for my access and by slowing down any website I try to visit they are breaking their contract with me. Then there's those like Google who own lots of dark fiber, and WiMax. Wimax, Like cellphone service, offers people the option to switch providers. Actually my only phone service is cellphonee service, I pay less for it than I did for a landline. And if you combine dark fiber with WiMax businesses can go around isps who throttle traffic, Google is already setting up a wireless system in San Francisco though not WiMax.

As it is now I see no need for a net neutrality law. We don't need more regulations we need less. If only the FCC were to open up the airwaves even more would be able to offer wireless access. Better yet get rid of the FCC.

That's what capitalism is all about right, dog eat dog, devil take the hindmost, screw the poor and powerless neo-social-darwinism sort of thing?

No it isn't. Freetrade capitalism is all about improving everyone's life. To see what capitalism is about Adam Smith's, the father of capitalism, book The Wealth [online-literature.com] Of Nations [amazon.com] is good.

Falcon

Telco competition COULD be reality (2, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453540)

> The free market? There isn't one in telecom and there simply can't be one.

Agree with the part about a lack of a Free Market. I'm amazed anyone can call two government granted monopolies pretending to fight 'competition.' But you are wrong in that there COULD be competition.

A bold statement, right? Almost every tech savvy type has admitted that telco competition just isn't possible so we are going to have to take it in the pooper from the government, the telcos, big media or somebody. Wrong.

The AT&T breakup was bungled because everyone missed the real monopoly and broke them up into the wrong pieces. AT&T's 'monopoly' on long distance didn't matter. The Baby Bell's monopoly on local calling was an annoyance at best and only because of the limits in the numbering plan. The monopoly was and is on the physical plant, the most importantly, the WIRES.

Imagine a new breakup order that took that reality into account. And we are going to have the opportunity because look out, Ma Bell is back and she is large and in charge again. Break them up into two parts, one part regulated as a utility that would own the wires, poles, right of ways and the central offices. This part would be a boring dividend paying entity, just owning and maintaining the wires and selling access at mandated rates to any and all who wished access. The second half would own the switches, dslams and the current customers and pay the first entity for the wires to get at them and rent for the facilities to house their switches.

Then impose a similar breakup on the other monopoly, the cable companies where once part keeps the monopoly right of way grant but looses the right to put a signal down the wire.

In the world I just described net neutrality would arise as a consequence of the Market because customers would have a choice.

Re:Balance of power (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452510)

Prioritizing traffic can be a good thing when properly applied. For example, VoIP services work much better when there is a guarantee that the packet will make it to its destination in a specified period of time. (A bit like how RTOSes guarantee a time slice to a program.) The only reason why we have a problem is because some telco exec got the bright idea of selling this prioritization service in a general-purpose fashion. (Thus negating the purpose of such a service. Genius, pure genius.) They then tried to ram it through as part of Senator Steven's Internet Consumer Right Bill thingymatube

Net neutrality legislation isn't fighting against prioritization of service types (e.g. VoIP versus HTTP). here is not and should not be any legislation preventing giving VoIP traffic priority over bulk traffic. Similarly, net neutrality is not fighting against the notion of tiered service classes (e.g. someone paying more for 3Mbps than for 1.5Mbps).

No, the reason we have a problem is that the telco execs got the bright idea to try to extort money out of content-providers (who are not their customers) under threat of degraded performance when their content is downloaded by the telco's customers. The goal of net neutrality legislation is to prevent prioritization of services in an unequal way depending on which non-customer entity is sending/receiving it.

For example, Skype might pays protection money to Comcast, so their VoIP traffic gets priority, while Vonage doesn't pay them protection money, so their traffic gets prioritized somewhere just below bittorrent downloads. Since neither Skype nor Vonage are customers of Comcast, that sort of behavior would be highly inappropriate, and the people who would inevitably lose in this example would be Comcast's customers. Worse, since most parts of the country are only served by one or two high speed internet providers (and satellite internet is not particularly viable due to extreme latency), many of those customers could not reasonably avoid such harm. That is the scenario that net neutrality legislation is trying to prevent.

Re:Balance of power (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452542)

Oops. Typo. There is not, and should not be...

Re:Balance of power (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453630)

For example, Skype might pays protection money to Comcast, so their VoIP traffic gets priority, while Vonage doesn't pay them protection money, so their traffic gets prioritized somewhere just below bittorrent downloads. Since neither Skype nor Vonage are customers of Comcast, that sort of behavior would be highly inappropriate, and the people who would inevitably lose in this example would be Comcast's customers. Worse, since most parts of the country are only served by one or two high speed internet providers (and satellite internet is not particularly viable due to extreme latency), many of those customers could not reasonably avoid such harm. That is the scenario that net neutrality legislation is trying to prevent.

However as one of the customers of my ISP I would raise hell about them degrading my connection in breach of contract. Then when it came tyme for my cable co, I have cable access, to have it's license renewed by the city I'd raise hell there too. They'd get the message, my voice may not be loud but combined with others it would be. They'd also have to deal with competitors. Yes, currently most people don't have a choice in who provides service but with technologies like WiMax they will.

Falcon

Re:Balance of power (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453414)

The opposite of progress is congress. Don't let them do anything that can be handled without legislation.
Problem is, internet providers can only exist because Congress lets them. So with that must come strings so that the ISPs have responsibility with their power. The second an ISP can get an internet connection to people by only going through private property and they have negotiated prices and terms with every single owner of the private property, then they can be free without restrictions from congress. But while ever they use public areas, the people will grant them that ability, with a couple of limitations, which will be enforced through congress. Net neutrality is one of those limitations.

Re:Balance of power (1)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453850)

Prioritizing traffic can be a good thing when properly applied. For example, VoIP services work much better when there is a guarantee that the packet will make it to its destination in a specified period of time. (A bit like how RTOSes guarantee a time slice to a program.) The only reason why we have a problem is because some telco exec got the bright idea of selling this prioritization service in a general-purpose fashion. (Thus negating the purpose of such a service. Genius, pure genius.) They then tried to ram it through as part of Senator Steven's Internet Consumer Right Bill thingymatube.

But the telcos don't really want to do that, though that IS their cover story.
What the telcos actually want is to delay every fourth competitor's VOIP packet 950 ms, so the competitor's service would be unuseable. When you call and complain about the performance of your data line they would just say "switch to our VOIP service and it will work great, you will get great service if you switch to us."
What this actually means is they would stop tampering with your data if you deal with them for your VOIP. It's mischief they want to do.
But they couldn't really admit that.

I wrote all about it HERE [slashdot.org] .

Remember, their copper plant isn't really theirs, it's ours, the ratepayers. We hired them to build it. The CO was built the same way, with our money at our request.
There's really no competition and there never will be as long as the telcos (the former (sic) regulated utilities) are in control of the critical infrastructure.
The whole idea of "Net Neutrality" is a bogus argument, and basically wrong.
You shouldn't ever have to argue for "Net Neutrality". You are paying them to deliver your data, what you do with it is not anyone else's affair, surely not the regulated monopoly's. They have plenty of capacity, and they got most of it for free, when they were regulated monopolies.
The idea of "hands off the internet" is also a completely bogus argument dredged up mostly by the same phone companies.

If I sound like I consider the telcos a bunch of crooks, well, that's not inacurrate.

Remember MCI, who had their programmers tamper with billing packets so as to cheat the other phone companies out of revenue they were owed [slashdot.org] ?

Why the programmers would have done it I will never know. I never took a job for an employer that required me to lie, cheat or steal for THEM. But I bet that kind of thinking is not unknown in the telco industry. They would call it "strategy".

Re:Balance of power (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451190)

Years ago, when I grew up in Texas, our legislature only met every other year because every time they met, new laws got passed.

It's still that way, it's always been that way, and for the foreseeable future I think I can safely say that we're still not going to trust them enough to let those rascals get together any more often than that.

Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451248)

I would thoroughly support a Constitutional amendment that did something like this for the Federal legislature; there's no reason those people need to be sitting in the same room together more than once about every five years or so. Maybe ten. At least then, by the time they got around to making laws, they'd have a nice thick stack of citizen complaints to work though and problems to solve. The real problems always seem to occur when you have politicians looking for things to do, to make themselves look useful.

It's ironic that although the Founders of this country realized the dangers that having a standing Army presented, they evidently never realized those posed by a sitting Legislature.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451868)

It's ironic that although the Founders of this country realized the dangers that having a standing Army presented, they evidently never realized those posed by a sitting Legislature.

Sorry, but not being a US resident (I am British, for the record) I do not understand this with regards to the army. You have a larger, better equiped armed forces than any other country in the entire world.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451922)

Until more than a century after its founding, America had no standing army. The closest we had were state and local militias. I believe the major changeover happened around the time of the civil war.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

orielbean (936271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452716)

What about the Mexican War? That was before the Civil War.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453008)

I'm no historian, but I believe the war with Mexico was fought with a volunteer army. In other words, we had no army, we decided to fight Mexico, people said "Yes, I'd like to fight Mexico" and we did that.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453060)

Until more than a century after its founding, America had no standing army. The closest we had were state and local militias. I believe the major changeover happened around the time of the civil war.

Actually the US did have a standing army, the Marines. As President, Thomas Jefferson [wikipedia.org] , one of those against having a standing army, sent them on the US's first foreign adventure. He sent the Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates [wikipedia.org] in the Mediterranean based in the ports of Morocco. This was the First Barbary War [wikipedia.org] . A bit over 100 years later Teddy Roosevelt did the same.

Falcon

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

mrbooze (49713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451996)

Congress only meeting once every 10 years would certainly solidify the majority of government power in the president's hands. Why, he could invade a country, and not have to get congressional approval for nine whole years!

To compare with the Texas situation, is Texas not a place where the governor has fairly limited power? I think I'd be concerned for a place with a rarely-involved legislature but a strong powerful executive branch.

In other words, I don't think we should consider scaling back the power/involvement of the legislature without also thoroughly shackling the executive branch.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452162)

No Congressional legislative action or Congressional oversight for ten years? Sounds like a great idea. You could fit two whole presidential terms in there!

If the country were only facing Texas-sized problems, this would be a good idea. Unfortunately our real problems are bigger than the ones they have in Texas.

The real problems always seem to occur when you have politicians looking for things to do, to make themselves look useful.

Look at us right now. We currently have a lot of stuff that needs doing. No politician needs to be looking very far. Just think of all the things we need to get moving on yesterday- federal budget deficits, global warming and environmental issues, water shortages, accelerating economic stratification, trade deficits, housing bubbles, energy crises, a pending transition from an oil-based economy, etc. And what has Congress been up to during this time?

This is what the 109th Congress thought was important:And that's not even counting their legislation that actually addresses real problems but incompetently, like the Medicare prescription drug bill. The problem isn't that we have a Congress in session; it's that we elect Congresses that like to pander to us on stupid issues while Rome burns.

But the 109th Congress shares your opinion that the 110th Congress is best tied up. So they closed their doors after the election without doing their mandated job of closing out their own spending bills. They left behind a half-trillion dollar mess of budget bills so that the next Congress will have to waste time unraveling all of it. Good work if you can get it.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452218)

It's ironic that although the Founders of this country realized the dangers that having a standing Army presented, they evidently never realized those posed by a sitting Legislature.

They did ... our elected representatives were supposed to be cycled through on a regular basis (a civic duty akin to serving on a jury) and then leave, go back to their jobs and live under the laws that they themselves imposed.. The Founders essentially placed a negative-feedback loop into our legislative system ... brilliant, when you think about it. I might add that it worked well for a long time, but like most other aspects of our Federal Government it too eventually got subverted by the power-hungry.

Truly, the desire to have power over others, merely for the sake of having power over others (i.e., because it makes one feel good in and of itself) should be classified as a mental disorder and treated as such. It should also disqualify you from holding a position of power or authority until you've been cured and can prove it.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453434)

They did ... our elected representatives were supposed to be cycled through on a regular basis (a civic duty akin to serving on a jury) and then leave, go back to their jobs and live under the laws that they themselves imposed.. The Founders essentially placed a negative-feedback loop into our legislative system ... brilliant, when you think about it. I might add that it worked well for a long time, but like most other aspects of our Federal Government it too eventually got subverted by the power-hungry.


From my understanding of the origins of the government in the United States of America there was never supposed to be a professional political class making a career of serving in the congress, senate, or office of the president.

Re:Government is a puppy: Dangerous when bored. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453476)

there's no reason those people need to be sitting in the same room together more than once about every five years or so. Maybe ten.

I'm sure Bush would agree with you:

an end to those inconvenient checks and balances woven into the Constitution, unlimited power to the Executive.

It's ironic that although the Founders of this country realized the dangers that having a standing Army presented, they evidently never realized those posed by a sitting Legislature.

The first concern of the Founders was to make damn sure that there could never again be a dissolution of the Legislature. Their second concern was to keep this new limited government quick, strong and agile.

The Bill of Rights is passed.

But the Whiskey Rebellion is decisively suppressed.

Jefferson believes in a small Republic of independent farmers. The Commerce Clause, as interpreted by a Federalist Court, and his own Louisiana Purchase end that world forever.

Re:Balance of power (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451436)

look how kewl i am, i wrote 'bush and co'.

ever notice how republicans have the 'company', the 'war chest' and the 'machine'? while democrats are all 'grass roots'. wtf?

Re:Balance of power (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452066)

Too much has been done in the name of fear and un-Constitutional powergrabs over the last little while and we need a re-balancing of power

Uh, yeah, whatever. I'm sure you weren't thinking this way when KKKlinton and his goons were raping middle america in the name of the children. Fucking hypocrite.

And look! a new wave of demodicks in office, getting ready to chisle away more of middle america in the name of progress. fucking assholes.

Re:Balance of power (2, Insightful)

24-bit Voxel (672674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452224)

I think the problem with idiots such as yourself is that you never seem to realize that both sides are screwing you equally. The GP makes a general statement about politics and you turn around like the retard you are and make it an us vs. them partisan debate.

The best part is that idiots such as yourself always seem to point at the other side as to why things don't get done, regardless of who controls the government at any given time.

And to make matters even worse you wasted a mod point on your real account modding up an AC comment. A real winner you are sir!

Stay out of politics, you don't have the head for it. Stick to things you have the brain for, like Jenga or American Idol.

Re:Balance of power (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452402)

I agree. While I did not care for impeached ex-President Clinton as a person, there were periods of time when he had a great presidency simply because there was gridlock (Gridlock is Good) or the Congress and Senate were too busy trying to gun him down. I do not expect a Democrat run congress to do anything particularly useful, but I do hope we start getting a lot of vetoes again. I'll vote for Hillary in '08 for the same reason if she is held in check by a Republican Congress and Senate. Better to have them doing nothing at all than passing tons of really bad laws.

Re:Balance of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453310)

And to make matters even worse you wasted a mod point on your real account modding up an AC comment.

Moderation is designed to make the best comments more visible, not to backslap fuckface, pusspricks like yourself. Two improvements two the moderation system would be the abilitity to see comments by total and/or absolute moderation activity. Instead, what you have is somewhat the antithesis of mod neutrality. You, are getting rewarding for registering, providing an email addresss, being easily tracked by a 3rd party, and inflating the worth of the parent company. I - the reader - am getting punished because you - A FUCKTARD - are at +3 and easier to find that +1 & +2 ACs.

Re:Balance of power (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453836)

I'm sure you weren't thinking this way when KKKlinton and his goons were raping middle america in the name of the children.

What, exactly are you referring to here?

Re:Balance of power (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452970)

What an anti-political message. Face it, Larry: You pretent to be a loser. And you think that attracts support. Nice try. Lessig is a loser priest because he thinks like a loser.

When you approach politicians with a big guy small guy scheme, you are lost. Because politicians side always have to side with the big guy. And all sympathy goes to the small guy, that is you.

Now Larry Lessig, what if you represent the "big guy"? The big guy is the one who always wins. So tell them that you are the "big guy", stupid.

We really should start thinking of the 'net... (5, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451084)

...as less a commercial/military enterprise and more as a public utility that everyone should have a right to access, just like water or electricity.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (4, Insightful)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451288)

And the phone and cable companies too? Like how the government essentially creates monopolies through subsidies and then 20-30 years later decides that the monopolies are bad and to disband them to create actual capitalistic competition again? Keep the government away, please.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451320)

That doesn't happen in every case. The highway system has not been privatized, for example, as many libertarians would like it to be. Thank god they're not and probably never will be in charge.

Arguably, the phone network would never have been built if not for the subsidies and government-granted monopoly.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451434)

Well this is now off-topic but there are private highways near where I live and they are better-maintained and if you added up how much of your income/state/sales/fuel taxes go to roads and such you might be shocked at your return on investment.

Although your point about the phone network is possible, there are other ways to subsidize than to create monopolies.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451526)

Well this is now off-topic but there are private highways near where I live and they are better-maintained and if you added up how much of your income/state/sales/fuel taxes go to roads and such you might be shocked at your return on investment.

The problem, of course, is graft. I live in California which seems to have the worst roads in the nation. This is especially pathetic because most of California doesn't have the extreme weather problems that account for road problems in much of the rest of the US. Furthermore, I live in Lake County which has the worst roads I have ever seen anywhere. There are residential streets on a grid in Clearlake (city of) that are unpaved, ungraveled, and have potholes large enough to lose a small vehicle in. Main street in Lakeport, which really is the main street, has actually gotten MORE lumpy each time I've seen them surface it - which has been about four times in the last twenty years.

I don't think the answer is to privatize. I think the answer is more transparency and citizen oversight. Citizen oversight works - but first you have to be able to institute it. Santa Cruz, for example, has long has a citizen's police review board, but here in Lake county there's just no fucking way it could ever happen and if it did, it wouldn't be effective. I've personally been arrested for vandalism in Lakeport by a cop who was later cited for statutory rape - he was demoted slightly, but not canned, and this is hardly the first time he's been caught being naughty. Mind you, I wasn't vandalising anything. He was just a power-abusing asshole.

As citizens we must demand transparency and oversight. Everything else is just jerking off because let's face it, there's no real difference between democrats and republicans. They're both populists.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451692)

The problem, of course, is graft. I live in California which seems to have the worst roads in the nation.
I'm not sure that's true, but I'd agree that California seems to have a problem here: I expect that, as you note, inadequate "transparency and citizen oversight" plays a role, not because California is structurally worse, in outline, than other states in that regard but simply because that a state level bureaucracy like Caltrans is inherently more opaque and distant than a structurally identical organization would be in a smaller state.
As citizens we must demand transparency and oversight. Everything else is just jerking off because let's face it, there's no real difference between democrats and republicans. They're both populists.
There is certainly a difference between the beliefs, interests, and values of people who are committed Democrats and those who are committed Republicans, though there is certainly a continuum in between (and of to the sides, and...) But, of course, without effective transparency and oversight of what people in government are doing, the views of the people won't be reflected in what politicians do.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451528)

Although your point about the phone network is possible, there are other ways to subsidize than to create monopolies.

What the government should have done is install and maintain conduit, which would have solved the "natural monopoly" problem in the first place by providing ample space for X companies to run N strands of wire/fiber/whatever without the "oh noes, my road is being torn up every three months" syndrome of letting them run the wire themselves.

But hey, this way they could get megabucks from corporations in return for promising them the ability to deliver shitty service.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451808)

Well this is now off-topic but there are private highways near where I live and they are better-maintained and if you added up how much of your income/state/sales/fuel taxes go to roads and such you might be shocked at your return on investment.

Private highways work well in certain cases. The problem is that they want every road in every neighborhood to be privatized. As in, you need to pay a toll to go from your house to the grocery store. A toll back. Basically, since everything would be private property, you have would have no right to travel unless you could afford to pay.

This actually neatly summarizes the problems with Libertarians in a nutshell. They simplistically assume what's a good idea in one case is applicable to every case (e.g., self-defense is good, therefore, personal nukes must also be good. Low taxes is good, therefore, no taxes must also be good. Etc.)

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452426)

This actually neatly summarizes the problems with Libertarians in a nutshell. They simplistically assume what's a good idea in one case is applicable to every case (e.g., self-defense is good, therefore, personal nukes must also be good. Low taxes is good, therefore, no taxes must also be good. Etc.)
The problem is, you're wrong. Libertarians, in general, and as per party platform, support national defense and support minimal taxation. Most probably support local, community roads. They do not support personal nukes.

As in, you need to pay a toll to go from your house to the grocery store. A toll back.
You already have to do that. The difference is now, if you don't pay, rather than being unable to use the roads, your home is taken from you and possibly your car too. And even if you don't use the roads, you have to pay.

I have no problem with public roads, but neighborhood roads could probably benefit in many cases by being cooperatively owned by those who live on them. Cities with tens of thousands of people simply aren't going to pay much attention to 30 people who live on some little poorly maintained road, even when their taxes pay for their road and many more.

privaized raods and Libertarians (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453852)

Private highways work well in certain cases. The problem is that they want every road in every neighborhood to be privatized. As in, you need to pay a toll to go from your house to the grocery store. A toll back. Basically, since everything would be private property, you have would have no right to travel unless you could afford to pay.

This actually neatly summarizes the problems with Libertarians in a nutshell. They simplistically assume what's a good idea in one case is applicable to every case (e.g., self-defense is good, therefore, personal nukes must also be good. Low taxes is good, therefore, no taxes must also be good. Etc.)

I don't know where this comes from, I have never heard a Libertarian say all roads should privatized. Can you provide a link, or is this smoke?

Falcon

Re:privaized raods and Libertarians (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453958)

I don't know where this comes from, I have never heard a Libertarian say all roads should privatized. Can you provide a link, or is this smoke?

Right from the Party Platform [lp.org] :

All public lands and resources, as well as claims thereto, except as explicitly allowed by the Constitution, shall be returned to private ownership, with the proceeds of sale going to retire public liabilities. Resource rights shall be defined as property rights, including riparian rights. All publicly owned infrastructures including dams and parks shall be returned to private ownership and all taxing authority for such public improvements shall sunset. Property related services shall be supplied by private markets and paid for by user fees, and regulation of property shall be limited to that which secures the rights of individuals.

Ah, you have to love those crazy Libertarians. :) There's all sorts of great nuggets in the platform. I also like the fact that this also says your neighborhood park will be turned into condos. I have a theory that only about 5% of people who style themselves Libertarian actually know what the party believes.

libertarians and privatizing the highways (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453798)

That doesn't happen in every case. The highway system has not been privatized, for example, as many libertarians would like it to be. Thank god they're not and probably never will be in charge.

Not all Libertarians want to privatize the highways, I am one of them. Libertarians want the government to follow the Constitution of the USA and it specifically gives the federal government the authority to run the highway system. There's at least two places it gives the authority, one where it says the government is responsible for postal sytem including postal roads. And the second is the interstate commerce clause.

Arguably, the phone network would never have been built if not for the subsidies and government-granted monopoly.

This is one place where I disagree with some Libertarians, the phone networks. Instead of being owned by companies who have a natural monopoly, I'd have it so the local comminuties own the infrastructure. Whether it be nonprofit organizations or the government, they would own physical infrastructure but would then have the system open so anyone who wanted to offer any services that could be provided are able to.

Falcon

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452430)

Ordo policy is what is needed, not laissez-faire.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451478)

Oh, yeah, because I'd really rather get my Internet service from PEPCO [blogspot.com] instead of Comcast. No, thanks. First you subsidize the hell out of the service and grant it a monopoly, until it's the only game in town. Then you ratchet up the rates -- and why not? It's not like people are going to go somewhere else.

At least now I can maybe choose who I get screwed by: the phone company or the cable company; that's more of a choice than I have about my water or gas.

The solution to a dearth of competition is not to eliminate it altogether. It's the special monopoly status that municipalities gave away to cable and telcos that's the root cause of a variety of problems (plus the same companies' bald-faced interference in politics in order to maximize profits and reduce competition).

There is definitely a public interest in developing infrastructure, but just saying "it's a right" and attempting to force companies to roll it out isn't the way to make it happen. There might be some situations where it could be beneficial for a municipality to pay for the deployment of, and subsequently own, the 'last mile' fiber infrastructure, and then allow ISPs to use this to deliver services to customers. However even then, I'd be wary of whether the municipality would actually use its infrastructure as a level playing field that companies could compete on for customers, or whether it would just engage in exclusive sweetheart deals, serving up the now-captive customer base as a burnt offering to a buyer for the right price.

In short, I don't trust Comcast further than I can throw all of their collective corporate assets. But I trust my local municipal government to not fuck up my Internet even less.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451494)

a public utility that everyone should have a right to access, just like water or electricity.

Read up on Enron, and you really wouldn't want the net manipulated in the same way that they screwed with the west coast power access.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451748)

Sure, but that was made possible as a direct result of the privatization of the electrical grid in California, so I don't know if you're agreeing or disagreeing with the OP. The tone of his point seems to indicate he is not in favor of that sort of privatization, for exactly the sort of reason you mentioned.

Re:We really should start thinking of the 'net... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451956)

Great sig... conspiracy nutjobs indeed!

Nobody knows/cares (2, Insightful)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451094)

It is sad but true that most people dont even know what net nuetrality is or they dont care if they do know. There are a ton of people that all they know is that there are gays out there, somewhere, in some city, and they dont like them getting married. This is a topic that will effect MANY people who are mostly oblivious to the topic.

There is a lot of money AGAINT net nuetrality and not enough for it. On an issue that the average person doesn't care about few senator's are going to give up their potential re-election money just for a few informed techies. I am pessemistic about this like Lawrence Lessig, very fews things change in congress.

Re:Nobody knows/cares (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451552)

When it comes to technical issues most people assume, "Eh, those who know about it will figure it out." Actually that's probably true for most topics. It's simply assumed that those who are knowledgeable will be involved and make the right decisions. Too bad they're often wrong.

Re:Nobody knows/cares (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452020)

The cablecos/telcos are still running that incredibly deceptive anti-neutrality ad, too.

Good point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452694)

If the faggots of the world could stop their degeneracy for just 2 seconds maybe people would focus on real problems. Unfortunately for everybody the queers put their disgusting prolapsing anuses above their country.

Vetos (4, Interesting)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451104)

This president has used the veto less than any other president in history. I suspect that's about to change, now that Congress isn't his lap dog but the loyal opposition doesn't have veto-proof majorities. Don't get your hopes too high for massive changes. If anything, the biggest changes are likely to be in Congressional hearings - we might actually see some committees try to hold some of the "deciders" accountable for their decisions.

That's because of signing statements (5, Insightful)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451232)

He doesn't have to veto, as he uses signing statements as a pseudo-line-item veto.

More signing statements in history than any other president, including gems such as (paraphrased) "I'm signing this bill into law but I don't like it so it won't be enforced"

I'm probably way off on grammar as the statement shouldn't be in quotes as it's not exact. . . but the gist is there.

Re:That's because of signing statements (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451972)

I'm probably way off on grammar

Nope, that sounds like something our president would write.

Re:That's because of signing statements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452916)

He doesn't have to veto, as he uses signing statements as a pseudo-line-item veto.


He can write all the signing statements wants. It doesn't matter---they have no Consitutional meaning. All that matters is whether he signs or vetos the bill.

Re:Vetos (5, Informative)

almeida (98786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451334)

This president has used the veto less than any other president in history.


Wikipedia says you're wrong [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Vetos (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451696)

Maybe the grandparent poster meant "approximately less". If somebody told me that one was approximately less than zero, I'd approximately believe them.

More or less.

Re:Vetos (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451762)

Wikipedia says you're wrong.

Wikipedia now says he is right. You're welcome.

One veto?!? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451862)

Wikipedia says you're wrong.
Gee... assuming that article is up-to-date GWB has got exactly one veto to his name so far. I'm not a GWB fan by any stretch of the imagination but this is hairsplitting. GWB may not be everybody's idea of a good president but he has a looooooong way to go before he tops Franklin D. Roosevelt's grand total of 635 vetoes. GWB will have to veto at the rate of almost one bill per day if he want's to beat good old FDR before the 4-11-2008 presidential election and god help the USA and for that matter the whole western world if GWB and the US Congress have them selves a veto war. The last six years of ideological feuding between Europe and the USA have been bad enough.

Re:One veto?!? (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452386)

It would be very tough to beat FDR's record, however. FDR was president for four terms, from 1933 to his death in 1945. That's over twelve years. The US Constitution now limits the president to two terms. 635 vetoes in 8 years is very difficult to achieve.

Re:One veto?!? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452454)

Actually three terms plus a tiny sliver of a fourth before he died.

Re:Vetos (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452030)

Wikipedia says you're wrong.

The is quite interesting if you look at the history. Most of the early vetos were made on constitutional grounds or to protect the constitution.

Now vetos are just for politicking.

Re:Vetos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452068)

According to the page you linked, GWB's single veto puts him immediately behind a seven-way tie of 1800s-era presidents that includes a bunch of guys who died in office and the flagbearer of the Know Nothing Party. So I guess you're technically right, though I wouldn't call that a stirring defense.

Re:Vetos (0, Troll)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452756)

Wikipedia says you're wrong.

I just went and changed it, so he's right again.

Re:Vetos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452942)

He may be technically wrong, but it's not much of a point when you have to reach back to the time of James Garfield to prove your point (0 vs. 1), and Garfield was assassinated. So then we have such noteworthies as Millard Fillmore...

The only president in the last 100 years who had anywhere close to Bush's record on vetoes was Warren Harding, who had 6. There's still time to turn that around with the Democratic Congress in the last two years, but I'd hardly see that as a good thing.

Oh, and what's the one bill that came before our great leader that he felt warranted his veto stick? Stem cell research. Heck, the new Congress might even be able to override a veto on that, although I doubt it. More moderate Republicans lost seats than the conservative wing.

Re:Vetos (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451384)

This president has used the veto less than any other president in history...
(that you know of, anyway)

A little research:
Some Presidents who never vetoed a bill (in months):
Thomas Jefferson: 96
George W. Bush: 62
John Adams: 48
John Quincy Adams: 48
Millard Filmore: 31

Re:Vetos (1)

pthisis (27352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451760)

Some Presidents who never vetoed a bill (in months): ...
George W. Bush: 62


No longer true as of July 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5193998. stm [bbc.co.uk]
"US President George W Bush has vetoed a controversial bill which would have lifted a ban on federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research."

Add Taylor, Harrison, and Garfield to the "no vetoes" list.

Re:Vetos (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453194)

I suspect that the Republicans will "play nice" with the Democrats now that they have subpeona power. More important than selling out to a lobbyist, is keeping their own prescious rears out of prison -- that is a powerful bit of persuasion. It all depends upon if the Democrats are serious about their real job; Restoring Democracy, Honor, and Sanity. Or they sell out indictments for pork. We shall see.

I'm hoping for a lot of arrests, myself.

Re:Vetos (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453748)

> It all depends upon if the Democrats are serious about their real job; Restoring Democracy, Honor, and Sanity.

I don't know whether to laugh in your face or pat you on the head and send you on your way, as one would a child who still believes in Santa Claus.... at the age of fifteen.

The Democrats will be doing their "Real Job" with gusto, consolidating and keeping POWER. For Democrats it means creating more dependency on government, enlarging the set of people who 'vote for a living', threatening the corporations into contributing money and power to Democrat enhancing causes and throwing a bone to the hardcore nutjobs who send in money and volunteer for campaigning. In approximatly that order. After all, what the hell are you moveon types going to do, vote Republican?

When the Republicans have power they do likewise, although since they have different ideas about power and what it should be used for they serve different masters. But the idea is very similar, keeping the seat is job one for ANY politician.

I see little change coming (1)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451134)

I don't like to agree with Lessig but in this case I feel I must. Congress will go the way the money and influence leads them, and I fear this will not be in the best interest of the internet user and consumer. Corporations will eventually have things their way - the way that will produce the best quarterly profits and earn them the most power and control.

Re:I see little change coming (2, Insightful)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451216)

That goes with what I've said for years: party doesn't matter when they are all bought and paid for. There isn't one 2 term Democrat that is any cleaner than any 2 term Republican. In the first term a minority of politicians think they can actually change things, by the end of their second term, they know better. The system is so bad that it corrupts everyone sooner or later. Every now and then someone stays straight but is ignored by the media and their peers and dissapears into the corner of irrelevance.

Re:I see little change coming (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451392)

The system is so bad that it corrupts everyone sooner or later. Every now and then someone stays straight but is ignored by the media and their peers and dissapears into the corner of irrelevance.

Welcome to the kleptocracy. This is of course what many of us have been saying all along. It's impossible to fight the system from within because - gasp - you're PART of the damned thing. You have to fight it from without.

What does that actually mean? It means making yourself as independent from all things government-regulated as possible. Carry out all of the exchange of work you can by barter instead of through cash - that's a great example. Work as little as possible! That way you pay the minimum amount of taxes. Run your vehicle on waste vegetable oil or biodiesel produced from same. Roast your own coffee. Hire mexicans out of the parking lot at home depot whenever you can.

This is the biggest single threat to the system because the system depends on bleeding you dry for the benefit of the rich. The vast majority of U.S. military actions have been to secure financial interests, starting with sending ships down to south america to bombard towns with cannon fire to force them to continue to sell fruit to the United Fruit Company. I won't even go into the whole middle east issue.

The only way to fight the system is to make it irrelevant.

Re:I see little change coming (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451646)

The only way to fight the system is to make it irrelevant.


If I were you, I'd quit making sense. You don't want to know what happens to people who make sense and actually get people to listen to them. ;)

Re:I see little change coming (2, Insightful)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451734)

There is another way. Starting at the local level only elect people to office that have done real work. Doctors, nurses, teachers, contractors, anyone who has actually had to pay bills with what they earn. No more Ted Kennedys who have never had a real job in their life. No professional politicians of any kind at any level. The intent of the Consitution was to have a CITIZEN legislature that went to Washington, got the job done and returned home to the jobs that allowed them to survive. We were not supposed to have a permanent ruling class. Start at the state level, get the legislature to pass a Constitutional ammendment that makes the pay for members of the House & Senate the median wage of the country. It only takes 37 states to make the change no matter what the clowns in DC say about it.

The problem is defective Citizens (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453844)

> Starting at the local level only elect people to office that have done real work.

Good idea.... but if you plan on trying em out a term or two and send the better ones to higher office, by the time you get to high statewide office you are talking about electing people who won't have worked in the private sector for at least a decade. By the time someone 'worked their way up through the ranks' to the US Senate they would have probably been a politician long enough politics would BE their career.

> Start at the state level, get the legislature to pass a Constitutional ammendment that makes the pay for
> members of the House & Senate the median wage of the country.

And that would accomplish the exact opposite of your intended goal. I'd like more doctors, scientists, etc to run for and hold elected office. It is enough to ask them to put their career on hold for a decade, but to also impoverish their family is too much to ask. And we already have countless examples of the idle rich spending tens of millions of their own cash to win a job that pays a fraction of that. So your hatred of those who work hard and earn a good living would simply bar the middle and lower upper class from public service and leave it as the exclusive playground of the idle rich. Even worse than just the blueblood 'landed gentry' patrician politicians of yore.

Nope, the problem isn't in Washington. The problem is thee, me and the three hundred million government schooled morons who elect politicians on the basis of a thirty second commercial slagging their opponent. Solve that problem and the quality of pol in DC will rise to match the better Citizens.

Russ Feingold (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451638)

That's who I thought of when I read your last sentence. The only Senator who stood up and said "Hey guys, maybe we should, you know, read this so-called USAPATRIOT Act before voting on it?" Of course he was ignored. He has gotten involved with various committees and bills, like McCain's campaign finance reform bill, but yeah, a single Senator can't really change much.

Re:I see little change coming (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451856)

Every now and then someone stays straight but is ignored by the media and their peers and dissapears into the corner of irrelevance.
So every now and then you get a Dennis Kucinich.

Re:I see little change coming (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453944)

You... *don't* like to agree with Lessig? What kind of slashdotter are you? I'm hearby making a slashdot citizen's arrest and stripping you of your license to practice IP debate.

Vital to net existance (5, Insightful)

Warbringer87 (969664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451194)

2 tiers is a step backward, not a step forward. Internet companies didn't create this content, in fact the content is the reason people pay them, to be able to access it. If you couldn't access the net for the stuff that you want, why bother with it? Companies that do this run the risk of users migrating to companies that don't, but not everyone has an alternative(ie, the whole wikipedia/qatar thing recently)

From TFA
The cable and telephone companies have fought net neutrality with a lavishly financed and misleading lobbying campaign
A good reminder that every politician is in someone's pocket, regardless of political affiliation.

Re:Vital to net existance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452192)


It's an old myth that people pay to access "content" on the Internet, or any other communications medium. People want access to the net in order to communicate with each other, not Replace the likes of NBC with Youtube.

Edward Markey (3, Informative)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451342)

Certainly not that Edward Markey [iu.edu]
The FBI raided Soghoian's Bloomington apartment and seized computers, equipment and papers Oct. 28, a day after Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., called for him to be arrested for creating a Web site that let people create fake airline boarding passes. Markey later withdrew the request.

Money and visibility (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451404)

It's far too hard to explain to the voting public exactly what's good about network neutralily without making overbroad statements that the telecoms can (appear to) counter. In fact, I very much doubt that most folks in Congress have any idea what it's about except in rhetorical terms: as a matter of profession, politicians have a fine sense of how "net neutrality" plays versus "dumb pipes" or whathaveyou, while explaining source-based throttling or whatever would probably leave them shrugging.

So if they don't feel some simplified explanation of net neutrality will sell considerably better to their constituency, money is likely to make a much bigger difference to them. After all, how are they going to know who's right and who's wrong? I mean, they (contra many on /.) are not going to assume that the telecoms are always wrong because they're inherently evil.

Why Net Neutrality will remain. (3, Insightful)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451412)

All that is required for Net Neutrality to remain is for Congress to do nothing.

They are remarkably good at that, especially with the divided government we have now: remember, it takes 60 senators to pass legislation, and the dems only have 51.

Re:Why Net Neutrality will remain. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453018)

Actually, things in the Senate aren't as partisan as all that. It still only takes 50+1 votes (possibly including the VP's) to pass legislation in the Senate. You only need 60 senators to stop a filibuster by a "lunatic fringe" minority of one or more (which can vary depending on the issue), and often times some of the same senators who vote to end debate don't vote for the bill in question. They just don't believe it's an issue worth filibustering over.

I'm sure you'll see plenty of legislation passing this new Congress (if any does at all) with less than 60 votes in the Senate.

Still not a fan of the idea (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451622)

Net Neutrality is a solution to a hypothetical problem that could exist. Not one that does exist. And it's not even the right solution to it. The right solution is to increase competition. On the other hand, any legislation will risk unintended consequences.

I am never going to approve of stopping people from doing what we want them to do just to stop them from doing what they're not going to do.

Re:Still not a fan of the idea (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451702)

Actually, this is a current problem because it is well known that on comcast, vonage service suffers greatly. Conversely, vonage on Road Runner and FIOS is excellent. I believe there is already anti-competitive behavior going on. Legislation will keep the playing field fair and equal. Can you imagine a two-tiered Internet? It would be incredibly frustrating for the consumer. The only party that wins is the Telcom. Don't buy into the FUD compaign put out by the telcoms. Net neutrality is very important.

Re:Still not a fan of the idea (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451890)

Actually, you've got it backwards. Net neutrality is the "state of nature" for Internet services. Non-net neutrality is the hypothetical solution. The problem is imposing your choices on users so you can lock them into your proprietary services.

If you want to see how a non-neutral net works, look no further than your cell phone. Chances are it has a camera, and for many users the camera can only be used with your network provider's lame "picture mail" service. You may even access your own email service from your phone, but it still doesn't matter. You have to use their picture mail service to ship the picture to your regular email, then use your regular email to forward it to where you want it to go.

Try getting basic information on how to use your phone to give your laptop network access. Sure, it's on the feature bullet list, but if you call tech support to find out how, you'll get an earful of bad attitude. Seriously, I had to go through several levels of technical support to find out the number to dial to access network service, and the guy I got literally screamed at me as soon as the world "Bluetooth" was out of my mouth. Now at the time I worked for a company that resold this vendor's service, so I called a manager we worked with to report a serious breach of professionalism. As soon as he found out what it was about, his attitude was anybody to tried to access Internet services other than his company's was on their own, even though Internet data access was a listed feature of their cell service.

This shows you what the network provider's natural attitude is towards interoperability, when they start to get into the content business. They want to lock you into their inferior proprietary services, and put road blocks up to your accessing the services you want, then grudgingly allow you to use the services you paid for if you can beat the basic information you need out of them.

A non-neutral net is the beginning of the end of competition in Internet content services. It will soon become like broadcast radio: a wasteland of redundant "formats".

But isn't Net Neutrality... (0, Troll)

Kyru (836008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451764)

..a bunch of MuMbO jUmBo?

Net neutrality goes on the back burner (3, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451768)

The idea of losing net neutrality is nothing compared to the threat we face from Howard Berman's rise to power as chair of the IP subcommittee. He is fully in the pocket of the content cabal, and I suspect that that subcommittee will see a whirlwind tour of every draconian fair-use-revoking freedom-hating DRM-infested idea ever put to paper.

And to think we were so close to having Berman promote himself to where he wouldn't be able to do any damage by chairing whatever foreign relations committee it was he was looking at. We would have had Rick Boucher chairing this committee, which would have been a serious victory for fair use advocates worldwide.

I wonder how much the content cabal paid Berman not to take the better job.

Re:Net neutrality goes on the back burner (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452056)

Flood Pelosi and Berman with letters.

Now's the time to get very, VERY loud.

Good luck. (2, Insightful)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452050)

Pelosi says it'll be a 100 hours of legislation to get the country back on track. What every one forgets is that a) the President can still veto 2) even if the veto is overriden, who will enforce it?

First things first.... (1)

Audacious (611811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452146)

Until we rein in big business we will never get anywhere. I have advocated, for many years, a cap to the size of businesses in the US (and anywhere else for that matter). Too much power consolidated down to any one business is just asking for trouble because it is the nature of business people to do the same things that Microsoft, AT&T, and other businesses do - which is to drive your competition out of business so you have a monopoly and once you've established yourself as a monopoly to mistreat anyone who goes against you in a most unjust manner.

Our government is supposed to be absolutely, positively, without remorse, without regard to anyone - against allowing monopolies to exist. They are NEVER supposed to exist unless they are government run monopolies (like the US Mail originally was). Yet here we are, not much more than 200 years after these rules and regulations were set down on paper - with monopolies and our government is too much of a sissy to put them in their place.

Forget all of the other problems. Forget all of the other laws, the Sonny Bono act - all of it. If we split up our monopolies into multiple companies, then those other companies would fight to repeal most of the stupid laws because they wouldn't be able to exist with them in place. Which is to say that ALL of the major laws written in the last twenty to thirty years have been geared towards one thing - the creation of monopolies.

The idea is - if a company makes X number of dollars a year, then it must split up into two companies to maintain competition. From where I sit - the amount would be a billion dollars a year GROSS. Not net - gross. If this were done we would not have the problems we have now because all of the business people would be too busy fighting for market share to muck around with the government like they do now. The law would also have to be made so that it would require a 3/4 majority of everyone in the United States in order to modify and/or repeal the law.

There are two parts to any problem which infects a society. These are: 1)symptoms, and 2)causes. Everyone is being misdirected to look only at the symptoms and to try to fix the symptoms. Like a bad doctor who doesn't know how to treat an illness, the patient is saying "my head hurts" and so the doctor gives the patient some aspirin not knowing that the person actually has a tumor growing in their brain. The symptom is the headache but the cause is the tumor and if all you do is to try to fix the symptoms, then all you are going to get are more symptoms. Further, it is so much easier to fix a symptom than it is to fix a cause. That is why our government is working the way it does. The members of both houses are just slapping patches on to old problems in an attempt to make the symptom go away. But they do not address the cause of the problem and so the problems never get truly fixed.

It is why our tax system is so complex. It is why the books on taxation here in America takes up entire libraries. Because our government can't bring itself to fix the cause of the problem. Instead, they just keep slapping new laws on to the older ones in the hopes that it will make everything alright. The actual cause is that Congress just needs to say "Everyone has to pay X amount of what they make each year." One, simple rule without any clauses, subclauses, or hidden agendas. But they can't do it because they would rather fixate on the symptoms.

The problems with the net are no different. It isn't that the net has a problem; it is that the corporations want to own everything. That's because our government has said that businesses must make a profit every three out of five years or they are not considered a business. But businesses don't just want to make a profit - they want to make huge profits at your expense. They want you to pay for the water your drink, the air you breath, your usage of the net - everything. From birth to death. But there should be a limit and that (the fact that there are no limitations being put on to businesses) is a major cause of our problems.

You see, when there are no limitations put in place then there is nothing stopping someone from doing as they please. They can rape, rob, or even murder. So long as it is under the disguise of big business. Which is why there has to be something put in place that forces big businesses to break up into smaller businesses. So others have a chance to work, make money, and so forth. Think of this in the same way people have been talking about the Bizaar versus the Cathedral methodology in the software industry. It is the same paradigm only applied to how businesses function. One large monopoly is never as good as many smaller companies because all the one large monopoly wants to do is to stamp out all of the competition so it can charge whatever it wants for its products. Only when there are many smaller companies around all producing basically the same product do you have not only better products (because new ideas are allowed to reach the marketplace) but you also have lower overall costs because the companies are all competing with each other.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself: "There's no way anyone would every allow this to happen." That may be so - but the same thing was said to Mahatma Gandhi when he decided to go up against the British Government and look what happened there. "You have no hope of winning," they said. "You can not change what is," they said. I say, it is not so much that one person is willing to point out to you what is wrong but that now, knowing there is this wrongness, that you just sit there and do nothing about it.

Which are you going to be? A symptom or a cause?

So much wrong (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452662)

I don't know where to start. Well, I guess I do:
Our government is supposed to be absolutely, positively, without remorse, without regard to anyone - against allowing monopolies to exist. They are NEVER supposed to exist unless they are government run monopolies (like the US Mail originally was).


Not true. There are certain business practices that are illegal if employed by a company with monopoly power.


The idea is - if a company makes X number of dollars a year, then it must split up into two companies to maintain competition.


So you're basically against economies of scale? Pro work-duplication? I suppose this would be great for middle managers, but for everyone else it would suck. It would actually hobble competition because it would remove the incentive to grow.

One could go on, but I think the main idea is that radical anti-corporate action is neither as justified or as desirable as might seem to those who fear the power of big business. The saying is that Democracy is the absolute worst political system, except for all the others. Similarly, one should think carefully about the alternatives before assuming that some nice-sounding idea would be superior to what we already have, economically and socially speaking.

Re:First things first.... (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452758)

How do you propose to "rein in" big business?

Yeah...that's what I thought.

Didn't read past your first sentence...it was tantamount to saying "Until we all win the lottery, we'll always" or "Until we all ${other ridiculous analogy}". There's no practical way to rein in the government or big business. It seriously, literally is not possible to do; not in any meaningful way at any rate.

About taxation (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452764)

(Ignoring some of the other silliness above)

The reason the tax system isn't as simple as just taking a percentage of earnings is because anytime someone suggests such a thing it is met with howls of how it is "regressive" and what is needed is a "progressive" tax system. What that means, most people don't have a clue but it sounds nice.

The folks complaining about simplified tax systems are concerned because they think rich people should support poor people and people with high incomes can afford higher taxation so people with lower incomes can keep all their income. "Progressive" in this case is just a codeword for income redistribution - taking from those that have and giving it to those that have not.

What a simplified tax system would do is certainly put most accountants and tax lawyers out of business. And for the most part, they would gladly go. There is no "tax lobby" that tries to keep a complicated tax code. But there is a serious lobbying effort against any sort of "regressive" tax code that wouldn't redistribute income. Once you give in to the idea that you aren't going to have something all that simple, you get everyone coming out with their pet projects. The National Realtors Association fights for home mortgage deductions so more people can afford houses - supposedly. Education deductions help private schools and universities. Take away the deduction for being blind and people will howl that you are punishing blind people.

Yes, a much better system would be to take 10% or 15% of what everyone earns and leave it at that. The government would likely get more tax revenue this way, or from what I recall of previous studies, it would be at least neutral. Let the employers send it in so there is no more "tax season". But we aren't going to get there in any foreseeable future.

Re:About taxation (2, Interesting)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453056)

Congress just needs to say "Everyone has to pay X amount of what they make each year."

Wrong. [fairtax.org]

Dems other side of the same coin (1)

classh_2005 (855543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453090)

They bow down to different corporate masters occasionally, but their masters are corporations none-the-less. Spare me the rant about how the Dems care for "social issues" more than Repubs, they both want to see our jobs outsourced and our information DRM'd. And no, I'm not a Libertarian either, but those fools are starting to make more sense all the time.

What needs to happen is we need a mesh network for the people, and by the people, but of course the FCC would never allow such a thing to occur, because that would give the terrists a way to communicate safely. Business as usual, maybe some other country will get it right....

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