Hearing On New Net Neutrality Law Once Again Conjures Up A Greatest Hits Of Nonsense

from the round-and-round-we-go dept

As we previously noted, Democratic lawmakers recently just proposed a very simple, three page law. The Save The Internet Act would simply reverse the Ajit Pai repeal of net neutrality, and restore the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules. It would again classify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecom Act, but, as an act of Congress, couldn't be repealed by the whims of future FCCs. It also locks the "forbearance" part of the original rules (which prevented the FCC from using Title II to regulate broadband rates) into permanent law.

Unfortunately at House Communications Subcommittee hearing for the new bill on Tuesday, all the stale tropes resurfaced, despite the countless years spent debunking them. Representative Bob Latta, for example, trotted out the longstanding claim that classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II is some kind of fringe, extremist position:

"[I]nstead of engaging with us to try to solve the problem, my colleagues have retrenched back to the most extreme position in this debate. The idea that only Title II is a real net neutrality is dangerous and wrong," Latta said. "You have heard over and over again that we need to protect consumers from blocking, throttling and internet fast lanes. That sounds reasonable enough. Well, we can easily do all of this without giving the government free rein through the specter of Title II."

Except there's nothing "extreme" about Title II. As we've noted countless times ISPs have been classified this way on and off for many years, including the earliest part of the internet when broadband growth was the most intense. Many ISPs have actively sought this classification when it provides tax benefits or when it suits a specific legal agenda. It's yet another "debate" that isn't really a debate, exemplifying how no matter how long we bicker over net neutrality, the same debunked falsehoods simply won't die.

All the other claims against net neutrality made their obligatory appearance at the hearing, including the industry-repeated claim that Title II and net neutrality "stifled broadband industry investment." It's a claim easily disproved by SEC filings, ISP earnings reports, and even the public statements of more than a dozen telecom CEOs. Yet, like so many of these arguments, it somehow never dies, thanks to telecom lobbyists eager to mislead via repetition, and cultivate a general sense of futility and fatigue among debate observers.

We've long noted how framing net neutrality as a partisan thing is stupid. There should innately be nothing partisan about basic rules that prevent monopoly telecom operators from using their power as internet gatekeepers to harm competitors. And the FCC's 2015 rules were crafted after decades of hearings, countless debates, and numerous court battles already. But despite the bipartisan majority of Americans supporting the end result, ISP lobbyists have been very successful in framing the issue as partisan to stall consensus.

For their part, Congressional Republican opponents to net neutrality continued to insist that despite overwhelming public support, this bill isn't a good idea and a new "compromise" was needed:

"It's time for bipartisan legislation that could actually become law," Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, said at the hearing. "Unfortunately, my friends on the other side have decided not to work with us." Bob Latta, a Republican from Ohio and a ranking member on the committee, accused Democrats of retrenching "to the most extreme position in this debate."

One problem is that the FCC's 2015 rules, crafted over the better part of two decades, are the compromise. The other problem is that Walden's and others' preferred alternative "compromise" legislation has proven to be anything but. Most of these alternative proposed bills have been little more than bad faith gambits; net neutrality in name only. More often then not, these alternative bills have been industry-supported efforts packed with countless loopholes designed specifically to do one thing: prevent tougher, better state and federal laws from being passed.

As it stands, the Save the Internet Act has a solid chance of passing the House. It has an uphill climb in the Senate however, and would still need to somehow avoid a veto by Donald "Net neutrality is the fairness doctrine" (for the record it's not) Trump. Even if it fails to pass, it will serve another function: provide a handy scorecard ahead of the 2020 elections clearly highlighting lawmakers who think AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon's quest to behave anti-competitively is more important than the will of the public or the health of the internet.

Filed Under: broadband, congress, fcc, net neutrality


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 5:32am

    'I want to torch kittens, yet they refuse to work with me...'

    "It's time for bipartisan legislation that could actually become law," Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, said at the hearing. "Unfortunately, my friends on the other side have decided not to work with us.""

    Well when the 'compromises' put forth have essentially been 'give the ISP's everything they want, while pretending to do otherwise in a way that's so transparent it's see-through', yeah, they have grounds to refuse to 'work with you'.

    Bob Latta, a Republican from Ohio and a ranking member on the committee, accused Democrats of retrenching "to the most extreme position in this debate.

    Many ISPs have actively sought this classification when it provides tax benefits or when it suits a specific legal agenda.

    Yes, how 'extreme' to treat ISP's as what they claim to be when it stands to benefit them. Beyond that I'd say it's worth pointing out, again, that one of the driving forces behind re-classifying ISP's under Title II was the lawsuit brought by one of them where it was ruled that under the laws at the time the FCC couldn't restrict them from what they wanted to do, and if they wanted to change that then Title II was required.

    Well, we can easily do all of this without giving the government free rein through the specter of Title II."

    Yeah, the 'Title II is a government takeover of the internet!' garbage really needs to die and/or be called out as laughably wrong every time it's brought up, though the fact that it keeps being brought up nicely highlights how utterly lacking in factual arguments the anti-network neutrality side has.

    If the goal was to tell companies to limit access to the internet, either in whole or in part, you could make the case that it was the government making a power-grab over the internet using companies as proxies. However, telling companies that provide access to the internet that they aren't allowed to limit access for arbitrary(generally profit driven) reasons is the exact opposite of that, and is instead the government working to prevent private parties from having 'free reign' over internet access and use.

    And just to save people some work and answer the question before it's asked, OpenSecrets has Comcast as the #2 donor to Greg Walden for the 2017-2018 period, with AT&T being the #1 donor for one Robert E. Latta(which I'm guessing is the full name for Bob Latta) in the same period. As always, pure coincidence though I'm sure.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 6:57am

    "government takeover of the internet!"

    as if private business owns it or something
    paid for by taxpayers, developed by government program, supported by countless volunteers and yet business thinks it belongs to them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2019 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      Making laws that cannot be later repealed is not the American way. This really shows who is running this government. UNAmerica is running this government.

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:49am

        Re: Re:

        Making laws that cannot be later repealed is not the American way.

        This isn't a law that can't be later repealed.

        It can be repealed by Congress, the same as any other law.

        It can't be repealed by the FCC, an Executive Branch agency.

        I think that if you read the Constitution, you'll find that giving Congress, and not the Executive Branch, the power to pass legislation is very much the American way.

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

  • icon
    Jay Fude (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 7:12am

    Bought and paid for

    Using the great little browser add on, Greenhouse, lets see why some of these "representatives" are saying what they are saying:

    Bob Latta's #2 donor, at $80K is ... wait for it ... telecom!
    Greg Waldon's #1 Donor at $183K is ... shocking ... telecom!

    So, who are they representing? Not you dear voter, but the people that cut the checks. Shockingly enough, old Greg's #3 Donor, at $152K is TV/Movies... I wonder what his stance on copywrong is?

    Here is an idea, any ISP that doesn't have a minimum of 1 gigabyte connection offered at < $100 per month, all in (no "fees" or other extra charges) is a common carrier. This means if there is one house in the area that they "serve" that can not get this rate/price point, the entire area is regulated as a common carrier.

    This would spur actual growth of real internet, not the current crop of make-believe, pass-by counts as good enough, and give the carriers the option of being common, or uncommon.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 7:13am

    Let's see what open secrets has to say:
    Bob Latta $12,000 from Comcast Corp, $11,500 from Telephone & Data Systems Inc, and $11,500 from Verizon Communications.
    all total the Telecom Services gave him $88,150 in 2018.
    He is working hard to earn all that cash.
    But Greg Walden is bringing in the big bucks with $107,637 from the National Assn of Broadcasters, $39,400 from Comcast, and $26,600 from Dish.
    I'm sure there is no conflict of interest going on here and that they are serving the voters the best that they can.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 15 Mar 2019 @ 7:15am

    Bob Latta, a Republican from Ohio and a ranking member on the committee, accused Democrats of retrenching "to the most extreme position in this debate"

    There's only one way this statement makes sense: Bob Latta's actual constituency are his financial backers with their votes weighted by their contribution.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 7:30am

    "It's time for bipartisan legislation that could actually become law"

    It's a shame how some people have not only turned this into a partisan issue, but fail to recognise why the other "team" refuse to get involved. Bipartisanship only helps if both sides have reasonable demands and flexible approaches. If one "side" is proposing a nice bowl of soup and the other side is proposing to stir in a cup of cat urine, the reasonable compromise is not to reduce that down to the soup with only a half cup of cat piss.

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

    • identicon
      #2020-Boot-the-incumbents, 15 Mar 2019 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      It's time for everyone to stop saying "BiPartisan" - it's not a two party system.

      Start voting for anyone other-than those two party candidates.
      It might feel wierd, but it is what needs to happen to put an end to all the greed and corruption in office.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re:

        It's time for everyone to stop saying "BiPartisan" - it's not a two party system.

        Why, because there are 2 independent Senators (and zero Reps)? Sounds like you just wish it were not a two party system (so do I).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        I doubt your approach would be fruitful.
        To address the problem, I prefer ranked voting.

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

  • identicon
    #2020-Boot-the-incumbents, 15 Mar 2019 @ 8:53am

    Send a letter to your congressional critters

    Let them know that if they do not back the 2015 Net Neutrality reversion, then their services are no longer required.

    At that point, vote against every incumbent in every office.

    The only way to make corruption die is to make it too expensive for corporations to buy them, ie if they have to buy them anew every term.

    If every incumbent in every office gets the boot, until they start abiding by their constituents' ideals/morals/beliefs, (not those held by greedy corporations), they might get the fucking clue that should have been obvious from the day they decided to run for office.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 9:51am

      Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

      The only way to make corruption die is to make it too expensive for corporations to buy them, ie if they have to buy them anew every term.

      Don't they have to do that anyway? I doubt these guys stay bought for life with just one campaign contribution.

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

      • identicon
        #2020-Boot-the-incumbents, 15 Mar 2019 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

        Not really, the cost of buyout goes down as the "leverage" (evidence of corruption/collusion) goes up.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 12:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

          That's why they were not passing out checks right before the vote ... I think McConnell was told to pass out checks off camera in the future.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 12:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

          Not really, the cost of buyout goes down as the "leverage" (evidence of corruption/collusion) goes up.

          I doubt it. Campaign contributions are out in the open - anyone can see how much money the politicians get and from whom. Considering how cheap and effective that is, I don't see why anyone would resort to anything illegal.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 9:53am

      Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

      The only way to make corruption die is to make it too expensive for corporations to buy them, ie if they have to buy them anew every term.

      There are other perhaps more important ways to address said corruption:

      • Campaign donations completely anonymized. Donations become donations to candidates who stand for what you believe in rather than purchases of those candidates. If the candidates don't know where the money came from it's a lot harder for them to pander to those special interests.

      • Eliminate lobbying entirely. Enough said.

      • Laws put before the government to be written by that government. It would be nigh impossible to prove where new laws originated but if it's made illegal at least there is the specter of being caught taking a law from a special interest.

      • Limit campaigning to a 90 day period prior to the election. No commercials or other adverts prior to that. Not even an announcement of candidacy. And for that 90 day period incumbents cannot collect a government paycheck -- they're not doing government work while campaigning. Use of government property (jets, staff, etc) related to campaigning would be strictly prohibited. Even their Secret Service detail must be paid for out of their own pockets/campaign funds while campaigning.

      And more.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

        Eliminate lobbying entirely.

        This would be unconstitutional, as the 1st Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government.

        Limit campaigning to a 90 day period prior to the election.

        Also possibly an unconstitutional restraint of speech. I like your ideas though.

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

        • identicon
          #2020-Boot-the-incumbents, 15 Mar 2019 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

          1st ammendment only applies to people.

          Companies/Corporations are NOT people, regardless what the Corrupt SCoTUS ruling states.

          Money is NOT speech, again, regardless of what the Corrupt SCoTUS ruling states.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 11:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

            1st ammendment only applies to people.

            Yes and no. Companies are run by people, the people in charge of the company have a right to speak under the 1st A and determine what their company can and cannot do. That includes things like sending people to lobby the government on their behalf.

            Companies/Corporations are NOT people

            Actually, I would argue they are. Not in the traditional sense that people are considered people, but companies and corporations wouldn't exist without the people who start/found them and continue to work under their banner. If you say that XYZ company can't say this or that, what you're really saying is no one at that company can say this or that. And that's violating their 1st A. rights.

            But for the sake of argument, let's say you're right and somehow we get legislation passed that says companies can no longer lobby the government, but individuals still can (which is not at all certain because everyone works for a company so how do you tell if they are speaking on behalf of the company or on their own?). All companies have to do is pay an outside contractor money to go lobby the government for them. Or hire an employee as a "Special Interests Director" who gets paid to work from home and do nothing for 8 hours a day. Then, once he's off the clock, he heads to DC as an "individual" and lobbies the government for whatever the company wants him to but does it as an individual.

            Congratulations, you've now passed a useless law that has accomplished nothing except greater obfuscation and less transparency of who is lobbying for what policies. Instead of knowing that Comcast spent $1.3 million dollars to lobby for the rights to abuse their customers, now, at best, you see that Joe Schmuck spent a bunch of money lobbying the government.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 12:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

              Not if lobbying itself is outlawed at the same time. These measures are not intended to be taken in isolation, but in conjunction with others. But with companies being seen as people, how do you prevent them from abusing that status? And how do you make individuals get the same voice and power in government as a corporation? Your approach gives all the power to companies and anyone with a lot of money and does nothing to address the systemic corruption caused by these very companies and their influence on the government.

              Just as church and state had to be separated, so too must business and state also be separated. Completely, and forcibly if need be. They are a virus, consuming everything they encounter and existing only for their own survival and benefit.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 1:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional crit

                Not if lobbying itself is outlawed at the same time.

                And this goes back to nasch's point that that it's unconstitutional. The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to petition the government. You can't have it both ways. Either NOBODY gets to lobby the government (which is frightening) or everybody does.

                These measures are not intended to be taken in isolation, but in conjunction with others.

                What other measures would do what you want it to do? You want lobbying to be both legal and illegal at the same time.

                But with companies being seen as people, how do you prevent them from abusing that status?

                Well, you could limit how much money companies are allowed to spend on lobbying or set up other rules governing the specifics without banning the whole thing outright. There are lots of things that can be done without trampling over people's individual rights to contact the government.

                And how do you make individuals get the same voice and power in government as a corporation?

                As one suggestion, you could set up an online form and only allow admissions from one unique physical address. In-person lobbying could be limited to a certain number of visits, or congress critters could be restricted from taking any money over a certain amount for lobbying and/or campaigning.

                Your approach gives all the power to companies and anyone with a lot of money and does nothing to address the systemic corruption caused by these very companies and their influence on the government.

                Meanwhile your approach takes away the right of the people to contact their representatives in government and sets the stage for a dictatorship. I'm sorry you don't understand the concept of freedom of speech.

                Just as church and state had to be separated

                This is a myth. Church and state are not separated in government. Government is restricted from interfering in people's religious practices, but there is no law that says religion cannot be a part of government. What you are referencing was written in a letter, it was never part of our government structure. Or do you think that Presidents being sworn in with their hand on a Bible is not in any way related to religion?

                Completely, and forcibly if need be.

                You advocate for violence, up to and including civil war then?

                They are a virus, consuming everything they encounter and existing only for their own survival and benefit.

                Seriously? Are you deranged? If businesses did not exist, where do you expect people to work to earn a living? Should we all go back to being hunter/gatherers, living off the land and living in mud huts because there are no construction companies to build and repair houses? Who will manufacture all the nice technology like cars, beds, and clothing that we consume on a daily basis that makes life better for everyone?

                Try thinking, just a little, before you spout off something this idiotic.

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

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 4:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional

                  If businesses did not exist, where do you expect people to work to earn a living?

                  You don't have to have corporations to have businesses. But there are good reasons to allow incorporation.

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

                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 15 Mar 2019 @ 7:26pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressio

                    Out of curiosity, what would those be? I'm guessing more resources to be able to do stuff with?

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

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 16 Mar 2019 @ 7:09am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congre

                      Sort of. The biggest one is limited liability. It's possible to raise money to start or expand a business without risking personal assets. This leads to more businesses and more economic activity. I'm sure there are others but somewhat less central.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2019 @ 2:34pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your co

                        A big advantage of incorporation is the corporation owns all the property, avoiding all sorts of problems in the event of the death of any of its officers. Shares are part of peoples estates, but the business itself is not.

                        For a small business, limited liability offers some protection in the event of the business being sued, in that the business assets are all that are available to pay any awards, but less so for loans, where banks can require that personal property is put up to secure the loan.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:54am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressio

                    You don't have to have corporations to have businesses.

                    Technically true, but, as you said, there are lots of advantages. And you can have a corporation that consists of one person, it's all in the way your business is set up.

                    But, the comment I was replying to mentioned nothing about corporations. They were railing against all businesses (or at least those were the words they used).

                    To quote:

                    so too must business and state also be separated. Completely, and forcibly if need be. They are a virus, consuming everything they encounter and existing only for their own survival and benefit.

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

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 10:39am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congre

                      You're right, I kind of read the whole thing as being specifically about corporations, but if taken literally it is not.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 1:08pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your co

                        It's entirely possible that's what he meant but words have meanings and he continually uses company, corporation, and business all interchangeably. So I assumed he was generally referring to any kind of business.

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

                • identicon
                  TDR, 16 Mar 2019 @ 9:10am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional

                  Lobbying is not speech. It is legalized bribery. It is the exchange of money for votes or political favors. And that is what should be outlawed. Simply talking to your rep is not lobbying.

                  And what was meant by "in conjuction with other measures was this: outlaw lobbying as well as all mergers and aquisitions of any kind. Companies should have to stand or fall completely on their own. And also limit how large they can be. No larger than the local level. Without the ability to buy or merge with other companies, they would not be able to corner any kind of market or exert any kind of notable negative influence on government.

                  The American Revolution was fought not just against Britain, but also against the corporation that used Britain as a proxy: the East India Tea Company. Corporations were widely hated and mistrusted in colonial days, and with good reason. If a corporation were a real person, it would be a sociopath. It cannot feel pain, remorse, or any other emotion. It exists only for the sake of its own growth and does not care about the side effects of that growth whether positive or negative.

                  The simple fact is that a single individual has less power and speech in our government than any corporation simply because corporations have access to more money than most individuals do. Limiting donations only works if you also outlaw any means of skirting that requirement and subject said companies to strict auditing to confirm that they did not go over the limit.

                  But as I said, no such donations should be allowed in the first place, because that tilts the government's priorities and interests in favor of those giving it money and favors. That is why all such lobbying needs to be outlawed. To revise an earlier statement, corporations should not be allowed to have any monetary influence on government in any way. There is a difference between merely talking to someone and paying them to do what you want. The former is fine, the latter is not.

                  Congressional term limits are a good idea, though, as well as mandatory training seminars/sessions for understanding new tech at regular intervals and restriction from being involved in any policy involving such tech until both passing said seminar and demonstrating his or her understanding of the material. That same policy of mandatory tech training would be applied to judges as well, at least the ones that hear those kinds of cases.

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

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 16 Mar 2019 @ 9:32am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressio

                    Lobbying is not speech. It is legalized bribery. It is the exchange of money for votes or political favors. And that is what should be outlawed. Simply talking to your rep is not lobbying.

                    The dictionary does not agree with you.

                    lobby: "seek to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue."

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

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 16 Mar 2019 @ 9:54am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressio

                      You are talking about the variant of lobbying where the one doing the lobbying isn't offering "campaign contributions", the other kind of lobbying which is prevalent in the US is called "lobbying".

                      See, double-quotes makes all the difference...

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:51am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressio

                    Lobbying is not speech.

                    Yes, it is.

                    It is legalized bribery. It is the exchange of money for votes or political favors.

                    No, that's called bribery and donations in exchange for favors. That is not lobbying, though many companies engage in it as part of their lobbying efforts, but it is not explicitly and solely lobbying.

                    And that is what should be outlawed.

                    No arguments there. Giving reps money/bribes in exchange for favors or hoping that they will do what you want should absolutely be outlawed, and technically is, they just found a loophole. We should close that loophole, but that, in and of itself, is NOT lobbying. That's bribery.

                    Simply talking to your rep is not lobbying.

                    Yes it is. That is literally the definition of the term.

                    outlaw lobbying as well as all mergers and aquisitions of any kind

                    Mergers and acquisitions are not all bad. In fact many are good. To say otherwise shows you don't actually understand what you are talking about.

                    Companies should have to stand or fall completely on their own.

                    What does this mean? As far as I know, they do. Except when the government bails them out.

                    And also limit how large they can be. No larger than the local level.

                    What does this even mean? How big is "the local level"? Does that mean only selling to locals? ANY online business, or even a person who sells their creations/services/work online is AUTOMATICALLY bigger than the local level because they sell and cater to a global market. Please leave the 1800s and join us in the 21st century.

                    Without the ability to buy or merge with other companies, they would not be able to corner any kind of market or exert any kind of notable negative influence on government.

                    Really? You think that's the only way to corner a market or exert influence on government?

                    The simple fact is that a single individual has less power and speech in our government than any corporation simply because corporations have access to more money than most individuals do.

                    Not actually true. Sometimes true but not always.

                    Limiting donations only works if you also outlaw any means of skirting that requirement and subject said companies to strict auditing to confirm that they did not go over the limit.

                    Finally something that is actually grounded in reality.

                    But as I said, no such donations should be allowed in the first place

                    No, you said outlaw all lobbying, which currently does include donations but is not limited to just that. Mostly it involves communicating with your representative in some way shape or form. If you want to outlaw donations and bribes that's fine, but say that, not lobbying.

                    There is a difference between merely talking to someone and paying them to do what you want. The former is fine, the latter is not.

                    Indeed, the former is lobbying, the latter is bribery.

                    I'm not necessarily opposed to anything in your last paragraph, though it would depend on the specifics. I agree we definitely need more tech literacy in government.

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

            • identicon
              saywhat?, 17 Mar 2019 @ 3:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

              Seems a straw horse to argue that it's a 1st amendment violation. All the people who work at the company are free to express opinions and donate as individuals, giving them the right to do so collectively essentially is giving a company more weight as they get their individual rights AND their collective rights (and access to company coffers for donations), and this from companies that normally stomp on unions.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional crit

                All the people who work at the company are free to express opinions and donate as individuals

                Including the owner and CEO of the company. Which is basically then the company lobbying. Care to try again?

                giving them the right to do so collectively essentially is giving a company more weight as they get their individual rights AND their collective rights (and access to company coffers for donations)

                No. No one ever stated this is how it worked or should. Stop putting words in other people's mouths.

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

      • icon
        cattress (profile), 16 Mar 2019 @ 2:52am

        Re: Re: Send a letter to your congressional critters

        Please for a moment consider that you are saying that the NAACP should not have been able to lobby, and their donors should have been disclosed to the public.

        I don't like that the oil and gas industry can lobby for themselves, especially since they have so much money to do so. But cutting them off means cutting off any number of companies that I have a positive view of, along with non profits and charitable groups. And some of the biggest lobbying spenders are the unions, particularly the teachers unions.

        There is no way to get money out of politics without violating free speech rights of the individuals. Legislators are human beings, and as flawed people there is no way to eradicate corruption. I'm not being a fatalist, I just think there are better ways of combating the problem. And I agree that there needs to be more churn of incumbents, but term limits mean good legislators can't stay, and final terms have zero accountability to voters. Why vote the way constituents want if you can't be reelected, might as well vote the way a future potential employer would like.

        I love the idea of ranked choice voting. Neither of the two main parties represents me nor a growing number of other people. But neither party is going down, or even going to cede an inch of room for a third party with out an epic battle. Just like the Telecom industry the Rs and D's have a government enabled monopoly (well duopoly). Shaking this system up is going to take nothing less than a revolution. I don't necessarily agree with AOC on policy, but I respect and admire her and think we need a lot more game changers like her to spark real change.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 9:51am

    MAGA

    Microsoft
    Apple
    Google
    Amazon
    What's their stance on net neutrality? Oh yeah, and Disney?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 10:56am

    How is this not simple logic to everyone by now?

    If someone is spending hundreds of millions fighting a rule that basically says "Don't behave like an ass!"... it seems quite certain that they are going to behave like asses when they get their way.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 2:43pm

    Re: AFONKA IS A GENIE

    This post is indeed a work of genie.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2019 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Hi Jhon

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

  • identicon
    TFG, 15 Mar 2019 @ 3:27pm

    Re: AFONKA IS A GENIE

    Spamming since 2008, at least... and on a Funeral Home's guestbook? For shaaaaaaaaame.

    *Comment is based on google search results for afonka petrov

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

  • icon
    johnson871 (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:02am

    Hearing On New Net Neutrality Law Once Again Conjures Up

    Hearing On New Net Neutrality Law Once Again Conjures Up A Greatest Hits Of ... Vermont net neutrality law will be delayed until the end of federal legal battle.

    http://americanexpressconfirmcard.club/

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.