California's Quest For Tough Net Neutrality Not Dead Yet

from the try-and-try-again dept

Last week, AT&T won another major victory for itself by scuttling California's attempt to pass tough new net neutrality rules. The proposed law, pushed by State Senator Scott Wiener, was heralded by the EFF as a good state-level proposal that eliminated a lot of the loopholes in the FCC's now-discarded 2015 rules. But AT&T and Comcast lobbyists convinced California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago to introduce a series of last-minute secretive Tuesday night amendments gutting numerous, essential components of the bill. Those amendments were then quickly rushed through a vote without any debate.

Wiener initially pulled his bill, arguing it no longer protected consumers. But he has since indicated that he plans to spend this week working with Santiago to see if they can resolve their differences:

"We've agreed to make a good faith effort to make amendments to the bill in order to pass strong net neutrality," he said in an interview. "But as I've made clear in the past, there are some protections that must be in the bill. Without them, this would not be real net neutrality."

Needless to say, Santiago, a consistent recipient of AT&T campaign cash, has since been widely vilified by net neutrality activists. And for good reason; not only did Santiago help circulate misleading, AT&T-backed studies ahead of the vote (one tried to claim that AT&T's anti-competitive abuse of usage caps would somehow aid minority communities), he tried to railroad the bill changes through without any meaningful dialogue, while hiding from numerous reporters trying to shine some light on his proposed changes the evening before the vote.

After taking a press beating for much of last week, Santiago issued a statement that tried to spin what happened, claiming he was just following procedure in a quest for a "serious policy conversation":

"I laud the Senator's passion, his drive, and the integrity of his work. As Chair of the Committee, I wanted to engage in a serious policy conversation and deliver a bill that could withstand legal challenges from the telecommunications industry – an industry that sued to block implementation of the 2015 FCC Order implemented under President Obama; most definitely an industry that will sue to block implementation of landmark net neutrality protections in California."

So one, the bill in question was already resilient to ISP lawsuit, that was the whole reason the EFF backed this version and not a weaker, earlier incarnation. And again, by "serious policy conversation" Santiago means rushing through numerous terrible amendments (amendments only the ISP industry had been asking for) without any conversation whatsoever. For his part, Santiago then spent some time complaining that he and his family received death threats from net neutrality advocates angry at his attempt to neuter the bill without any substantive dialogue:

"All through this time, the flash messaging on this measure has been easy. It’s sensational, and anger-inducing. “He gutted the bill!” “SB 822 was eviscerated!” “Santiago killed net neutrality!” But none of those things are true. That level of rhetoric has created a firestorm. I have received threats and my wife has been harassed. My personal family pictures have been stolen from my social media platforms and used to create memes. Really? Using pictures of my kids? This is a new low. Progressives don’t behave that way. We expect this type of disrespect, fake news, and insults from Trump -- not those who support dignity and progressive values."

So one, it should go without saying that threatening a lawmaker or his family for tech policy is just stupid. It's something we also saw with Ajit Pai, and it's not helping anyone. In fact, it simply makes the problem worse by shifting the conversation away from policy, cronyism, regulatory capture and corruption, and toward the idea that these lawmakers are the unfair victims of entirely-unreasonable hordes of mean activists.

That said, those lobbing these kinds of threats are in the vast, vast minority. And lawmakers bear some responsibility for the backlash by engaging in the tech policy equivalent of a giant middle finger aimed squarely at already-angry consumers. Survey after survey shows massive, overwhelming bipartisan support for net neutrality, yet time and time again lawmakers tasked with representing the people keep siding with some of the most-hated, least-competitive companies in America on issues that will shape the internet for decades. Downplaying that anger only adds insult to injury.

For what it's worth, Wiener seems hopeful that his bill isn't dead, and debate should be occurring as of this writing. That said, Wiener's also well aware that if he can't get the bill past Santiago with important restrictions on things like zero rating and interconnection intact, he'll likely have to try again post midterms:

"...if a deal still can't be hammered out, Wiener said net neutrality will have to wait until next year. But he said Californians need those protections now, especially since the FCC's rules have officially come off the books and AT&T has completed its megamerger with Time Warner.

"We are in the danger zone," he said. "If I am forced to pull the bill and try again next year I will. But we don't have time. We need to pass a strong net neutrality bill this year."

Since net neutrality violations are just a symptom of limited competition (a problem most in government refuse to acknowledge even exists, much less want to fix) this isn't a fight that's going to end anytime soon. In fact, by the railroading of federal rules and consumer opinion, ISPs have only really galvanized the opposition, ensuring a tougher fight ahead and a backlash that's going to reverberate in tech policy circles for the better part of the next decade. Should voters dramatically reshape the political field in the midterm and thereafter, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter aren't going to enjoy the end result.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 5:40am

    'And if you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale!'

    "We've agreed to make a good faith effort to make amendments to the bill in order to pass strong net neutrality,"

    Yeah, after his actions and pathetic defense of them I don't believe for so much as a second that Santiago has any intention or interest in 'good faith efforts' at actual network neutrality rules, rather than hole-filled useless ones that his owners will abuse. He made crystal clear who he's interested in serving, and it's not the public.

    Santiago has demonstrated himself a liar and a sell-out, and while it's nice that Wiener is trying again any bill he has to get past Santiago would require more holes than substance, such that it probably will take replacing Santiago with someone actually interested in solving the problem, rather than dancing to AT&T's tune.

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    • identicon
      Iggy, 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:31am

      Re: 'And if you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale!'

      Lets not forget the 8 other committee members (4 republicans and 4 democrats) who voted on this

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: 'And if you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale!'

        If by 'this' you mean the amendments to gut the bill, then absolutely, they deserve a good heaping share of the blame as well for selling out.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 10:15am

        Re: tl;dr

        4 republicans and 4 democrats

        Huh?

        It was 7 Democrats (Miguel Santiago, Sabrina Cervantes, Eduardo Garcia, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Evan Low, Sharon Quirk-Silva, and Freddie Rodriguez) and 1 Republican (Brian Maienschein).

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        • identicon
          Kevin Schmidt, 27 Jun 2018 @ 2:53pm

          Re: Re: tl;dr

          Heh... So hard to tell the difference these days.

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          • identicon
            Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

            It's really not.

            Federally, in both the FCC and Congress, net neutrality support breaks down on partisan lines, with Democrats for and Republicans against.

            A single committee in a single state assembly does not generalize. What happened to the California NN bill is infuriating, but it does not justify the conclusion that Democrats and Republicans are indistinguishable.

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 27 Jun 2018 @ 6:49am

    Hope he resigns

    While I disagree with the threats made to Santiago, I do hope he gets run out of office. AT&T is so far up his ass, he can connect to the internet without a device.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:15am

    "After taking a press beating for much of last week, Santiago issued a statement that tried to spin what happened, claiming he was just following procedure in a quest for a "serious policy conversation": "

    Sucks when one of your own talks at you folks the way you talk at others... he just wanted a "serious policy conversation".

    Here is to hoping the D's clean up some house for a change... it would be most welcome! Let's see what happens!

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:20am

      Re:

      ... what?

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      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:44am

        Re: Re:

        Looks like he's trying to push the "both sides are the same" fantasy.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nah, Chip's just angry that other people are cutting into his natural monopoly to be condescending.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think the fantasy is yours.

          One party wants to throw you in a vat of acid.
          The other party wants to throw you in fire pit.

          Are they different? Sure they are different... to an idiot. A wise person soon figures out that all those differences are only superficial... when the end goal of both is your subjugation, only an idiot thinks there is a difference!

          Welcome to being an idiot! I doubt I am the first to tell you this!

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 2:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "A wise person soon figures out that all those differences are only superficial"

            No, a wise man would realise there are way more than 2 choices available. The idiot thinks is a 2 team sport. The wise man would probably also go with the fire pit guys if forced into a binary choice, while working among themselves to raise the people with access to enough resources to put the fire out before you get burned.

            The fool is the one who refuses to vote but then mocks those who did so, or complains about the result.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Sucks when one of your own talks at you folks the way you talk at others

      And how is that again? Do you mean a "serious conversation" just like how Comey and the FBI want a "serious conversation" about encryption? Or, more related, how Pai wanted a "serious conversation" on net neutrality, then proceeded with a facts optional agenda and ignored everyone who actually tried to engage him? Please do go on, explain to me how that is exactly the same as everyone here, and elsewhere who supports NN, trying to engage these people with actual facts and hard data.

      May I interest you in a class on the difference between honesty and lies?

      If he was really interested in a "serious policy conversation", he wouldn't have rammed the changes through WITH NO DEBATE. Contrast that to Wiener's original bill that's been debated for the last how many months now? Sucks when your own point comes back to bite you in the butt, doesn't it?

      Newsflash for you, this isn't R's vs D's, this is corporate interests and their sellouts vs the American public. It doesn't matter who is an R or a D (except for the weird fact that more D than R politicians support NN, since their constituents are bipartisan in their support of NN). Wiener and Santiago could have both been R's and it wouldn't have changed a damn thing.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 8:25am

        Re: Re:

        lol, don't run off and get your panties in a wad.

        You are mistaken to think that I agree with Comey or Pai either.

        "May I interest you in a class on the difference between honesty and lies?"

        May I interest you in a calls on deductive reasoning? Just because I do not serve on your team, does not mean I automatically serve for the team directly opposite to you.

        "Newsflash for you, this isn't R's vs D's,"

        Oh no... that is where you are wrong. It is R's vs D's, but you are correct about the "this is corporate interests and their sellouts vs the American public." It's just that the R's vs D's is the foil by which that corporate interests keep you occupied. You have proven my case for me already.

        "It doesn't matter who is an R or a D (except for the weird fact that more D than R politicians support NN, since their constituents are bipartisan in their support of NN)."

        It does not matter until you need it to mater right? I understand... hypocrisy is a nasty business after all.


        "Wiener and Santiago could have both been R's and it wouldn't have changed a damn thing."

        You don't say...

        I think the "whataboutists" and handwringers that think the parties are actually different could learn a lesson from you.

        You have good potential to at least figure out that their political party really would have made zero difference. Someone many others fail to understand around here!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are mistaken to think that I agree with Comey or Pai either.

          I didn't state that you did, I asked you if the "serious conversation" mentioned was the same as what Comey and Pai wanted. Because that appears to be exactly what Santiago meant. You are the one who said Santiago was saying the same things we are. If you don't like it, be more clear.

          May I interest you in a calls on deductive reasoning? Just because I do not serve on your team, does not mean I automatically serve for the team directly opposite to you.

          Please show me where I accused you of being on the "opposite team". My comment was meant as a snarky way of saying Santiago has no intention of having a serious conversation, while NN supporters do. And as long as we're on the subject, what teams are you talking about?

          Oh no... that is where you are wrong. It is R's vs D's

          Only in so much as when we are talking about political figures. Yes, if you only look at political figures, it is RvD (which I acknowledged by the way). If you zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture, it's, as you said and I stated, corporate interests vs the American public. The majority of R and D VOTERS fully support NN. So no, NN is not an RvD issue, political figures have just decided to fight about it along party lines. But to everyone else, it has nothing to do with politics or what party they generally vote for.

          It does not matter until you need it to mater right? I understand... hypocrisy is a nasty business after all.

          I don't even know what you're trying to imply with this. Read my statement and try again.

          I would recommend you work on improving your English comprehension, as well as actually writing in proper English, since you apparently had problems correctly understanding what I said and communicating what you meant. It likely would have saved us both a post or two.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 10:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I didn't state that you did,"

            Show us where I stated that?

            "You are the one who said Santiago was saying the same things we are. If you don't like it, be more clear."

            Okay, I can accept that your misunderstood my obviously sarcastic remark. I stated...

            ---Sucks when one of your own talks at you folks the way you talk at others...---

            This is a general reference to how Democrats generally talk at people instead of too them, and yes republicans too, but we are currently discussing a democrat in response to democrats at this time, hence the exclusion of the other party.

            ---he just wanted a "serious policy conversation"---

            This was just offering up a "sarcasm". I certainly agree that BOTH sides use this bullshit rhetoric as a safe-space defense. But mine was just intended for pure sarcasm as I pointed out some hypocrisy and a reference anything specifically said by anyone even though it is specific in the context of this particular case.

            "Please show me where I accused you of being on the "opposite team"."

            That was made clear by you immediately dragging people from a different party into the conversation... remember we were just talking about the democrats treating their own the way they treated others until that point.

            "And as long as we're on the subject, what teams are you talking about? "

            The usual teams, Republicand and Democrats. Since I am independent I am frequently accused of being on the "other" team whenever I am pointing out hypocrisies and things of this nature. I hate both parties, but since TD "attracts" a certain party more than others, I wind up having to address democratic hypocrisies more than republican ones... TD usually does more than enough of a good job pointing out republican corruption. They even point out a few from the democrats too, but only in "tokenism" way though. The rhetoric accompanied is completely different in shrill levels depending on which party is targeted here.

            "Yes, if you only look at political figures, it is RvD (which I acknowledged by the way)."

            You specifically said "Newsflash for you, this isn't R's vs D's," and I complete disagree, I think it is disingenuous to try to walk that back now. If I am missing context please clarify, I can accept if I misunderstood something.

            "So no, NN is not an RvD issue, political figures have just decided to fight about it along party lines."

            That is not how this works. You can "say" anything you want. But you if your "actions" keeps a politician in power so they can do nothing more than just pay you lip service then you get what you get and lose the moral grounds for complaining about it. You made your bed... lay in it!

            "I would recommend you work on improving your English comprehension, as well as actually writing in proper English, since you apparently had problems correctly understanding what I said and communicating what you meant. It likely would have saved us both a post or two."

            I doubt that... I tend to focus on the nuance far more than most. You, like many others here, will improperly miss-word things and then say "you know what I mean" when you get called out on it. Some of them do it on purpose... maybe you are too.

            Like I said... it does not matter until you need it to matter! That is when it matters for you, which is fairly typical of your types.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 1:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Show us where I stated that?

              Here:

              You are mistaken to think that I agree with Comey or Pai either.

              Apparently you also have a short term memory issue.

              That was made clear by you immediately dragging people from a different party into the conversation...

              When did I drag ANY party into the conversation, other than to state it's not an RvD issue, except between actual politicians?

              The usual teams, Republicand and Democrats.

              Congratulations. You've successfully projected something on to what I said that I never said, nor even intended, and made wild assumptions about my political leanings. And you say everyone else on here can't get away from red team/blue team nonsense. If I were to talk about any kind of teams, it would be those who support NN and those who don't. If you don't support NN then yes, you're not on my team.

              You specifically said "Newsflash for you, this isn't R's vs D's," and I complete disagree, I think it is disingenuous to try to walk that back now. If I am missing context please clarify, I can accept if I misunderstood something.

              Well for starters you apparently didn't even read the rest of my statement so there's that for context. Here's the relevant part of my statement after that:

              *...this is corporate interests and their sellouts vs the American public. It doesn't matter who is an R or a D (except for the weird fact that more D than R politicians support NN, since their constituents are bipartisan in their support of NN).*

              Does that clarify it for you?

              But you if your "actions" keeps a politician in power

              Considering I didn't vote for any of the relevant idiots in power, I'm going to go out on a limb and state I have the moral high ground to complain about it. And even if I did vote for them, I can also complain that they are not properly representing me. Your argument is invalid.

              I tend to focus on the nuance far more than most.

              If by nuance you mean completely misread and not understand, then yeah.

              You, like many others here, will improperly miss-word things and then say "you know what I mean"

              So far I have not said that in any of my posts here on TD. In fact I have taken the time, such as now, to engage with people, like you, who do not properly comprehend English to make sure they understand they have completely and totally misread mine and others' statements. I'm not the one with grammar problem here.

              Like I said... it does not matter until you need it to matter! That is when it matters for you, which is fairly typical of your types.

              This still makes no sense in context to anything we have talked about.

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  • identicon
    Iggy, 27 Jun 2018 @ 7:25am

    There is nothing to debate about the new bill. The overwhelming majority want the bill passed as originally written. The only thing up for debate is whether or not Miguel Santiago is a puppet and if so, then he needs to step down or be voted out in favor of someone who represents the voters.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 8:25am

    Death threats

    Is anyone else getting sick of public figures playing the "I've received death threats" sympathy card to deflect attention away from their actions? While I in no way condone such threats, I also have very little patience for people making vague, unverifiable claims to try to play on the audience's emotions and distract them from substantive matters.

    Here's an idea: if you don't want to receive death threats, don't do things that will harm enough people that some of them are likely to feel justified in taking action against you in self-defense! And if you are going to do such things, you should be aware that this is a possibility. So whining about it should garner exactly as much sympathy as whining about burning your hand after grabbing something you knew was very hot.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

      Re: Death threats

      Eh, that's a little victim-blamey for my tastes.

      Public figures get death threats from unhinged people for all kinds of shit that doesn't actually hurt anybody. There are restaurant owners currently receiving death threats for refusing to serve Sarah Sanders (or even for having a restaurant with a similar name to the one that refused to seat her). Comic book writers get death threats for writing stories some fans don't like. Video game critics get death threats for criticizing video games some people really like. Getting a death threat does not logically imply that you did something wrong.

      In this particular instance, yes, Santiago did do something wrong. But that's not why people are threatening him. People are threatening him because they are angry and unstable.

      Santiago deserves to be excoriated by the public. I think he deserves to be voted out of office. But separate out the death threats from his doing the wrong thing. Sometimes people get death threats for doing the right thing, or for doing nothing at all.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: Death threats

        Dammit Thad, I rarely agree with you but you have posted twice today where you are on target. Stop that shit or my respect for you will grow!

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re: Death threats

        Which is why I said that I don't condone the threats, for pretty much all of the reasons you listed. But since we live in the reality we live in, and not in an ideal world, people need to be aware of that. My point was that I'm getting sick of people who *have* done something wrong making claims (which I'm just cynical enough to point out are entirely unverifiable and may or may not actually be true) that they've received death threats over the thing they did wrong, to try to garner sympathy and deflect attention away from the fact that the thing they did was wrong.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Death threats

          Yeah, I'll agree with that.

          The threats made against, say, Pai and his family are reprehensible. But that doesn't make Pai any less of a smug vulture.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 2:17pm

        No one properly fears the Sword of Damocles anymore.

        Crazy people making death threats with absurd justifications is a phenomenon, yes, but the threat of reprisal in retaliation to cruel or corrupt policymaking remains one of the last remaining elements that encourages our officials to do right by the public.

        Otherwise -- and we're seeing this more and more -- our officials put all their energy into simply campaigning, and don't bother with attempting good governance, choosing instead to focus entirely on placating their contributors occasionally throwing their base a bone.

        Things may soon going to get scary along the lines of the French Terror looking at the situation with SCOTUS. During the Terror, many aristocrats and officials were executed not for specific crimes but because their purge served the people of France. King Louis XVI was one such victim for whom it was simply decided he needed to die for France.

        Similarly, now that Gorsuch's bench was stolen from Obama and Garland (as many Americans still interpret it), we're seeing a number of rulings that have been dominated by the not-impartial-at-all conservative majority in the Supreme Court of the United States. If the 2018 election turns the balance on the Senate, it would take only two more retirements to tip the balance of the Supreme Court, and the people have no other way affect what is a powerful ruling body except by the cold brutality of rendering judges incapable of service. Indeed, some of their rulings already are heartless and inhumane and a cause of mass suffering, so this is an instance where well-targeted assassinations might save the lives of countless others.

        Getting back to Santiago, his corruption is evident, whether or not he can be prosecuted through due process for it, and California needs to protect itself from corrupt legislators willing to capitulate to the ISP oligopoly.

        And if we were to make a gruesome example of him (say, for a dozen of his Assembly peers to shank him in the Capitol office) it might discourage others from similar behavior.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 3:42pm

          Re: tl;dr

          Crazy people making death threats with absurd justifications is a phenomenon, yes, but the threat of reprisal in retaliation to cruel or corrupt policymaking remains one of the last remaining elements that encourages our officials to do right by the public.

          Bullshit.

          First: Name one example of a corrupt politician reevaluating a policy position because he received a death threat. Modern history, please, not 18th-century France.

          Second: You're suggesting that the people issuing death threats get to decide who's a corrupt political figure. That's nonsense. Lincoln and MLK (the latter not an elected official, but certainly a political figure) weren't merely threatened, they were actually assassinated for their political positions. Would we have been better off if they had moderated their political stances to appease the deranged lunatics who were screaming for their blood?

          Take a look at the civil rights protests in the 1960s. Look at the people who were issuing death threats and the people who were receiving them.

          Hint: it wasn't the good guys sending the death threats. It was the segregationists who not only threatened their political enemies, but actually made good on those threats. They threatened black students who went to white schools. They threatened protesters who arranged sit-ins at lunch counters. They beat people who stood in line to register to vote; they killed MLK and Medgar Evers and four little girls in a church.

          No sir, I am not a fan of using terrorism to affect political change. Or using terrorism for anything, really.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 5:06pm

            I didn't say the good guys would threaten force...

            I was saying that force is commonly threatened and that administrators respond to it.

            The United States in the 19th and 20th centuries was legendary for its big stick and gunboat diplomacy heavy-handed methods, e.g. death threats. It's one of the sharpest tools in the CIA arsenal when taking control of the Americas and assuring that none of the South American and Central American states could be influenced by the Soviet Union (it didn't hurt that Habsburg Spain already conditioned the new world governors with consistent paychecks and threats, so they were well used to this playbook). Regents who failed to endorse US policy would be stricken with fatal diseases, or would find a rival warlord suddenly very influential and very well armed, ultimately, if they weren't shot, they were drawn and quartered or tied to an anthill. The CIA made harsh examples of those that didn't cooperate.

            Successful death threats don't reach the ear of the public. They don't get discovered easily by the press. We hear of the failed ones, Jeffrey Wigand's bullet, the threats against Martin Luther King Jr. We don't hear about the ones that successfully change policy.

            Frankly I can't imagine anything less would have pushed through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, given that subsections of the bill included elements regarded as inhumane by legislators that voted for it, at least when those same articles were introduced in prior bills. Where some GOP legislators had an inkling of personal integrity in early 2017 fighting the ACA repeal, they all knuckled under quietly and meekly for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

            Generally death threats don't decide who is corrupt rather they decide the allegiance of a corrupt official I agree with you that once an official is acting for his own self interest -- even if it's self preservation -- that they are then by definition corrupt.

            But then all of our officials have to be corrupt to function in the United States. They don't even get elected if they aren't.

            Regardless, it's folly to assume that the pillars that make the foundation of the United States have been forged with only good intentions. The US has been since its early inception a proud user of all the tools in the terrorist armentarium. The US continues to use terrorism to affect political change to this very day, and whether or not we like it (I sure don't) it's done in our name, and at the continued expense of American integrity.

            Though regarding Miguel Santiago, I'm at wits end. The FCC has demonstrated with its disregard of the public outcry to preserve net neutrality that the people have no meaning to the big ISPs or to their captured officials. I'm also troubled that despite what the public has demanded and defended time and again, it costs the last-mile companies a pittance of a bribe to block our efforts to defend ourselves. So I'm frustrated. How about you?

            Perhaps Thad you can advise us all as to what to do when all forms of peaceful protest have failed? Call bullshit on him and not bother to read things through? Please advise.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 8:40pm

            Incidentally...

            Thad you said that I was suggesting people issuing death threats get to decide who's a corrupt political figure.

            That's not what I said. I said that the threat of reprisal, that is, the general threat that one or more people of the public will act outside the law is, or rather was one of the elements that kept officials interested in good governance. That is not to say anything about death threats. But simply acts of assassination without forewarning.

            You maybe be right that in the twenty-first century that the threat of violent reprisal has become far removed. We'll assume that the plummeting interest by our representatives in actually serving the public is coincidental.

            So when they decide ultimately to ignore the people entirely, when net neutrality, abortion access, labor unions, open boarders and police accountability go entirely by the wayside, the right thing to do will be to write angry, strongly worded letters to our nearest blast furnace.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Thad, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:54am

              Re: Incidentally...

              You maybe be right that in the twenty-first century that the threat of violent reprisal has become far removed.

              I didn't say the threat was removed (maybe you could ask Gabby Giffords or Steve Scalise about that). I said that the threat does not change people's minds.

              You maybe be right that in the twenty-first century that the threat of violent reprisal has become far removed. We'll assume that the plummeting interest by our representatives in actually serving the public is coincidental.

              While I'll agree that there's an intractability to our current federal government that is new in its particulars, I think you're exaggerating the "interest in actually serving the public" that the US government has historically had. Over the past 229 years, we've had members of the executive branch kill each other in duels, civil war, Jim Crow, long, hard-fought battles for women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT people to get basic rights, Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran-Contra, to name a few -- and those were all before the current hyperpartisan era that's led to the Clinton impeachment, the Iraq War, the housing collapse, and mass surveillance.

              So when they decide ultimately to ignore the people entirely, when net neutrality, abortion access, labor unions, open boarders and police accountability go entirely by the wayside, the right thing to do will be to write angry, strongly worded letters to our nearest blast furnace.

              There's an argument to be made that the threat of violent upheaval makes peaceful solutions more palatable -- that Martin Luther King, Jr. became more appealing once people started seeing him as an alternative to Malcolm X and Huey Newton. I'll buy that. But I think it's pretty far removed from the subject of the article (a state assemblyman receiving death threats) or the kind of "acts of assassination without forewarning" that you're talking about.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 10:50am

                Also...

                I'm still waiting for my original response to be cleared. It hasn't and I've never had a post to Techdirt forums take so long.

                In response to your asking how death threats operated in modern times, I pointed to the CIA's standard operating procedures with other nations in the Americas to secure them from Soviet influence. I'm assuming the full response is stuck in the mail.

                It may be a Pirates and Emperors situation where we tolerate death threats and assassinations from large government institutions, but not from private parties.

                Also, given your response to my previous post TL:DR I'm not sure if you read it or would read my rant delving into twentieth century history.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 10:52am

                  And...

                  I'm not seeing a peaceful alternative that Assemblyperson Miguell Santiago's patrons will accept that leads to Net Neutrality protections for the California public.

                  So I'm still concerned that out of this we're going to be stuck without it.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:11am

          Re: No one properly fears the Sword of Damocles anymore.

          Ah... bad idea. I seem to remember this not working well in the case of one Julius Caesar. Ditto Robespierre, etc., following the Terror.

          Okay, it solved the immediate problem of getting the jerk out of office but in the long term the shankers ended up joining the shankees in the Hereafter, and it took forever to settle the political mess; the Roman Empire experienced a sharp decline after the death of Caesar and France ended up with Napoleon.

          Better to uphold the rule of law via an informed populace. Okay, I accept that informing the populace will take a lot of work.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:36pm

            Why do I feel so black and blue?

            Here's where I am right now...

            That whole thing of discarding integrity and scruples entirely to get results is working. The GOP has discarded all pretenses of platform consistent principle, of rule-of-law, of interest in governance at all, and elected an unconscionable egomaniac as our president. And the GOP doesn't seem to care because they were voted for anyway.

            Remember that in the aughts, the GOP sent the US into an expensive war on false pretenses where we started hiring mercenaries to do our dirty work, and we started torturing POWs. And Americans to this day will argue that torture is somehow justified.

            And the people don't care. They still vote for the GOP.

            And right now, for the GOP's betrayal of all integrity, for voting for a liar, adulterer, rapist and thief, with hardly a peep from the Religious Right. The Republican Party is (or rather it's patrons are) getting everything they want though sheer dominance. And their voters are likely to forget all this too.

            And it's not like the alleged people's party has clung to its own integrity. It also resorts to soft money and corporate financiers that hold them to task, and we've seen that in the perpetuation of wars and IP maximalism. They have to expose themselves to coercion because otherwise, they couldn't compete.

            So from here where I stand, it seems that we can choose to go radical, to resort to assassination and sabotage and mischief, to continue politics by other means. Or we can accept that all of our rallying, our letter-writing, our protests, even our legal battles are going to fall on deaf or powerless ears While the tigers overrunning our position.

            Granted, I'm panicking under the blitz. We haven't seen the November blue wave. But we've had a recent election that black swanned on us. So I'm skeptical of the notion we can predict future elections. I think the blues are angry, but they're not angry enough to overwhelm the red hate-driven vote. I think they hate us more than we resent all their shit, and we always underestimate that spite.

            In 2016 63 million voters put Trump in office on a white nationalist campaign, and while I've seen a few individual examples of Trumpgretters or policy voters, but nothing to indicate team-Trump isn't largely the ones that talk in terms of SJWs and Snowflakes and think migrants are all rapists and animals.

            I'm okay with dressing in my finest and going down as gentlemen if that is what it comes down to. I won't be a front-line militant. But right now, for the people and for the reconstitution of democracy I see little that can be done between getting radical or waiting for them to come for the dissenters.

            Because right now we're not just in retreat, we're routed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Jul 2018 @ 2:35am

              Re: Why do I feel so black and blue?

              Again with this: http://on-t-internet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/come-revolution-good-luck-with-that.html

              I get your frustration but if you don't want to end up being treated like every other anti-government radical I would advise against violence. Meanwhile, we've had proof since SOPA that pressure works. My advice: organise and get behind some credible politicians who will (at least for the moment) do their damn job, i.e. represent the people who elected them.

              We have forgotten how to engage politically; mere protest at injustice is not enough. We need to have a plan and to follow it through. The GOP takeover was done in exactly that way, by mobilising grassroots resistance to perceived tyranny and that is what it'll take to dislodge them.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 2:32pm

        Re: Re: Death threats

        Yes, public figures get crazies sending them death threats.

        It's when the death threats stop coming from crazies and start coming from sane members of your constituency that you ought to reevaluate your position.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Jun 2018 @ 3:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Death threats

          It's when the death threats stop coming from crazies and start coming from sane members of your constituency that you ought to reevaluate your position.

          No, I think you need to reevaluate your criteria for determining that someone is sane.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 2:31pm

      Re: Death threats

      The frequent playing of the death threats card is why, as a matter of personal policy, the worst thing I'll suggest is being fed to a tank full of male platypi. It sounds amusing (akin to being nibbled on by ducks), is sufficiently unpleasant to be a strong deterrent, and is nonlethal.

      More commonly, I'll suggest people be dragged out into the street and heckled to death. Lifelong ridicule for their stupidity until the day they die sounds about right for a corrupt politician.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 27 Jun 2018 @ 8:29am

    "So one, it should go without saying that threatening a lawmaker or his family for tech policy is just stupid. It's something we also saw with Ajit Pai, and it's not helping anyone. In fact, it simply makes the problem worse by shifting the conversation away from policy, cronyism, regulatory capture and corruption, and toward the idea that these lawmakers are the unfair victims of entirely-unreasonable hordes of mean activists."

    When the townsfolk show up with torches and pitchforks, maybe it's time to reflect on your own actions rather than cry about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      If I may, politicians get threats of various kinds all the time. I respectfully suggest Assemblyman Mr. Miguel Santiago follow the usual procedure and notify the authorities. I know as a public figure you will find more support with them then a citizen walking into the station would.

      As to "stealing" pictures from his Facebook page and using them in mean MEMEs, I am sorry they were used against you, but that is politics and the internet. If a crime was committed, again please notify the authorities. I wonder though, are were the pictures marked private?

      You sir, are a pubic figure and the public can be mean and unfeeling. That is one of the prices of your position and your power. Sometimes the public, your supposed bosses, get upset. When they vent, some are not very nice.

      My apologies to the general public for even having to say any of this to a long time public figure. My sympathies to Mr. Santiago's family for the harassment by a few thoughtless bullies. One of the prices we all pay for our liberties and right of free speech.

      More to the subject, please do the right thing by your constituents and restore Mr. Scott Wiener's bill to its former strength. You are obviously the driving force on your committee and I hope you have the integrity to fix what you broke.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 3:00am

      Re:

      The problem with that is, it doesn't always take your actual actions to get that kind of response. Racism was far from the only reason Obama was criticised, but people were attacking him before he'd even been sworn in, let alone enacted any policy, and attacks on him were as much about the type of lettuce and mustard he was seen eating as anything substantial. Hillary had many reasons to be validly criticised, but people were regularly attacking her for things that were clearly outlandish fiction.

      They certainly should reflect when they are getting a lot of valid criticism and people are getting angry, but I'd assume most of them are shielded because they're being attacked for ridiculous stuff at the same time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GoodLuckToThem, 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:03am

    Irony

    So, if they don't pass a bill protecting NN, the voters will pass their own much more restrictive version.

    Anyone get the irony that lawmakers aren't doing what the voters have asked of them and that voters will put even tougher policy in place (in place of lobbyist guidance).

    Forget about which party, if politicians continue to listen to lobbyists and not the voters, politicians will be shown the door and a swift kick in the arse will follow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:18am

      Re: Irony

      "So, if they don't pass a bill protecting NN, the voters will pass their own much more restrictive version."

      Do tell, how exactly are the "voters" going to pass any laws of any kind?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:18am

      Re: Irony

      Can the voters still get a net neutrality proposal on the California ballot, or is it too late for the 2018 election?

      It's already too late to challenge these anti-NN people in primaries, though some of them (like Santiago) are facing a member of their own party in the general election under California's jungle primary rules.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bshock, 27 Jun 2018 @ 9:14am

    Mr. Santiago is disgusting, but he's merely a symptom. The real disease is his employer, AT&T, which has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated itself to be an enemy of the American people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kevin Schmidt, 27 Jun 2018 @ 2:52pm

    Santiago is a criminal

    "...Santiago helped circulate misleading, AT&T-backed studies ahead of the vote (one tried to claim that AT&T's anti-competitive abuse of usage caps would somehow aid minority communities)..."

    How the hell is this not a felony? Citizens should be up in arms and protesting outside his house with pitchforks and torches, so to speak.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2018 @ 4:49pm

    Death threats are wrong and should never be made.

    But that doesn't change the fact that Santiago is a thief and a con-man. He has the same job as his mother; getting on all fours for people with money. I wonder how many sets of kneepads he goes through on his trips to AT&T's offices?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 5:29pm

    Coalition Letter in Opposition to California SB 822

    I do seem to be the bearer of bad news lately. (PDF)

    CC: AT&T Successfully Derails California's Tough New Net Neutrality Law

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Jun 2018 @ 11:03pm

    Vast?

    That said, those lobbing these kinds of threats are in the vast, vast minority.

    vast: of very great extent or quantity; immense.

    I think you mean "tiny".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 5:23am

      Re: Vast?

      This is an idiom equivalent to "vastly in the minority", and I think it's becoming increasingly prevalent to the point of becoming standard/accepted.

      ISTR using, and arguing for, something quite similar to it myself at one point - on Usenet, of all places.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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