FCC's Assault On Low-Income Broadband Program Is Making The COVID-19 Crisis Worse

from the pretending-to-care dept

While FCC boss Ajit Pai is best known for ignoring the public and making shit up to dismantle FCC authority over telecom monopolies, his other policies have proven to be less sexy but just as terrible. From neutering plans to improve cable box competition to a wide variety of what are often senseless handouts to the industry's biggest players, most of the administration's policies are driving up costs for the rural Americans and small entrepreneurs he so breathlessly pledges fealty to.

One of Pai's biggest targets has been the FCC's Lifeline program, an effort started by Reagan and expanded by Bush that long enjoyed bipartisan support until Trumpism rolled into town. Lifeline doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). The FCC, under former FCC boss Tom Wheeler, had voted to expand the service to cover broadband connections, something Pai (ever a champion to the poor) voted down.

Despite endless lip service to the "digital divide," Pai's tenure as boss has included a notable number of efforts to scuttle the Lifeline program that weren't paid much attention to -- until a pandemic came to town. COVID-19 has shone a bright spotlight on the fact that 42 million Americans still can't access broadband (double official FCC estimates), and millions more can't afford service because regulatory capture has helped protect natural monopolies and the resulting lack of competition.

The FCC Lifeline is literally the bare minimum we could be doing to help make broadband more affordable for the poor. Yet despite a pandemic, new data indicates the program has shrunk (by design) notably, and now serves around one fifth of the people it could be helping thanks in part to Pai's cuts:

"Less than a fifth of the 38 million households that qualify for the program are actually enrolled. And despite a recent uptick, enrollment remains down sharply from the Obama era. Starks and other critics lay the low participation rate at the feet of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Trump in 2017 to lead the commission."

Pai is, as you might have noticed, a big fan of the idea that if you pull back government oversight of telecom, magic happens (investment spikes, product improves, coverage expands, dogs and cats snuggle up). Except that kind of magical thinking has always been nonsensical in US telecom, given that when you scale back on regulatory oversight, giants like AT&T and Comcast, natural monopolies that they are, simply continue to double down on problematic behavior. That's best exemplified by Pai's promise that killing net neutrality would result in amazing investment, only for us to see investment cuts and mass layoffs.

This kind of ideology is a little harder to push when you're talking about gutting programs intended to help the poor (usually such efforts have to be disguised as "efficiency" and "reform"). Still, Under Chairman Ajit Pai's "leadership," the FCC voted 3-2 in late 2017 to eliminate a $25 additional Lifeline subsidy for low-income native populations on tribal land. As part of Pai's effort he also banned smaller mobile carriers from participating in the Lifeline program, a move opposed by even the larger companies (Verizon, AT&T) that stood to benefit.

Pai's attempt to neuter Lifeline in Tribal areas didn't go so well. The courts ultimately rejected the plan, politely implying in a ruling (pdf) that Pai and his staff not only pulled their justifications completely out of their asses, but failed to do any meaningful research whatsoever into how the cuts would impact poor and tribal communities:

"The Commission's adoption of these two limitations was arbitrary and capricious by not providing a reasoned explanation for its change of policy that is supported by record evidence. In adopting the Tribal Facilities Requirement, the Commission's decision evinces no consideration of the exodus of facilities-based providers from the Tribal Lifeline program. Neither does it point to evidence that banning resellers from the Tribal Lifeline program would promote network buildout.

Nor does it analyze the impact of the facilities requirement on Tribal residents who currently rely on wireless resellers. Further, the Commission ignored that its decision is a fundamental change that adversely affects the access and affordability of service for residents of Tribal lands. Similarly, in adopting the Tribal Rural Limitation, the Commission's decision evinces no consideration of the impact on service access and affordability. Its decision does not examine wireless deployment data related to services to which most Tribal Lifeline recipients subscribe."

Pai's rigid ideology doesn't leave much room for compromise or real-world data. And keep in mind: we're simply talking about a $9.25 subsidy that was created by Ronald Reagan that barely covers even the bullshit fees tacked on to your broadband bill. That should make it abundantly clear why more serious low-income aid programs (or efforts to simply improve broadband competition) are never seriously considered. To folks like Pai, turning the FCC into an AT&T ass kissing bobblehead doll is guaranteed to result in near miraculous outcomes, and any evidence to the contrary is simply ignored.

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Filed Under: ajit pai, broadband, covid-19, fcc, lifeline, pandemic


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 6:24am

    One time I almost married a Chinese lady, she was very rich. And she liked to donate to charity in a very sincere way. She would gather goods from her rich chinese friends, and then personally organize the delivery to low income families. And not just families, also medical clinics, dental clinics, orphanages, many others. She was a warrior. She did real good.

    You, on the other hand, seem to be whining and complaining. Why is that? Do you think it is good? My chinese girlfriend doesn't think so. Well, she's dead, actually, but sometimes she talks to me in my dreams. And she tells me a LOT about YOU that isn't VERY NICE. What a strange place this is. No morals. Not even traditional chinese morals. Well, she was from Taiwan, I went there once, I was very tall. So not actually China, like CCP China. Her parents, yes, but her, NO! She's not like the CCP, but YOU ARE LIKE THE CCP! SHE TELLS ME EVERY NIGHT!

    For obvious reasons.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 6:39am

      Re:

      WTF?????

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 6:46am

        Re: Re:

        I understand all of you leftie cowards hiding behind fake names. You are afraid that when society is organized by ability, you will be left out. That's right. That's how it is.

        You are losers, and are mal-contents, you are queers and racists and feeble minded idiots.

        And yes, we all understand why you have to band together into your ridiculous groups of BLM, AntiFa, Blah Blah Blah and Burn Burn Burn.

        You're losers. And losers need to have a place at the table. You're right. We don't forget the Frodos of our culture, we tolerate them. We send them scraps.

        So be happy with scraps, losers, because that's all you're ever going to get. If you're lucky. Because WE are tolerant. You losers are very close to evil.

        Amen, and God Bless America

        Trump 2020 Catholic Priests for Trump

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

        • identicon
          Rich, 7 Jul 2020 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I understand all of you leftie cowards hiding behind fake names."

          Said the person posting under "Anonymous Coward."

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re:

        Pay no mind to the racist loser, bigotry of every stripe is just their shtick.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re:

        He means that he's such a loser himself that this is the only way he can get any attention on the days he forgets his meds. Best to ignore him, but also note that this is often the best rebuttals we get here, indicting that same people agree with the main points raised in the articles.

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Gosh I think you just praised me, I never expected that.

          Maybe you're not a frustrated lesbian fat bitch crooked programmer and failed tech support idiot that rips people off and gets called out worldwide for your scummy and unethical behavior and has to hide under multiple names because YOU are hideously embarrassed of YOU, in real life.

          Maybe you're actually really nice and we can be friends.

          Friends? Best Friends?

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What's sadder than you being such a homophobic, misogynistic, hateful little shit, is the fact that you accuse others of "hiding" when you only post anonymously. Yet, you're so bad at it, everyone knows who you are regardless.

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So you're saying "no" to the friend request, right?

              Ok, whatever.

              Hello, everyone who knows who I am. Nice to meet you. Friends?

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

            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 9:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not only that, but Woody constantky makes fraudulent posts attempting to use the names of others, a behavior shared exclusively by the troll that lamely pretends to be Richard Bennett.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2020 @ 11:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm not sure you can pretend to be Richard Bennett.

                I've tried. I had to stop before my spine snapped from the effort of trying to suck my own cock.

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

        • identicon
          Not THAT AC, 7 Jul 2020 @ 8:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          … indicting that same people agree …"

          same? sane? some?

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      I have a friend who is the son of Taiwanese parents and spent his adolescence in Taiwan. I also took a college course on modern China. Even though they are called the Republic of China, Taiwan's stance now are of independence and they consider themselves a separate entity from Mainland China. The Guomintang don't have as much power there than after the civil war there 70 years ago.

      It says a lot about you that you called your ex-fiancée a "Chinese" lady and not a "Taiwanese" lady. Unless she was a member of the Guomintang, she probably considers (considered?) herself part of Taiwan and not China.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, she had her story, too. She looked Chinese, she sounded Chinese, but she was from Taiwan. She fled from China as a child with her parents. They built their first house, by hand, the three of them, from money they made by selling food. After they finished the house, the rented the majority of it for income to build another, and another. Big success, hard working people, very respectable. She was a warrior, her family, too. Hard life, worked until she died, dedicated a big part of her life to the betterment of others, I miss her. She taught me how to hide gold somewhere close in case you have to run for your life, like she did. You never know. You're right about how she thought about herself.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Okay, that does sound plausible. I'll have to give you the benefit of the doubt.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2020 @ 1:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I wouldnt bother if I were you. The posteris our regular troll. They're very easy to spot. The chinese stuff it wrote is pure troll.

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          For the record, although this has nothing to do with the article, it was explicitly elicited from a regular here, polite, plausible, and appears to be in good faith. I personally don’t think this comment should have been hidden.

          As for you, Mr. AC, I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt here and assume you are just new here and ignorant of what we as a community generally expect on this site from commenters. The line you crossed was that what you had to say at the start had nothing to do with this article in particular or even the general topics addressed within it. Please try to stay on topic.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 5:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The article was partially titled "assault on low income". My girlfriend did something positive for those with low income. She did not write about who was wrong, she righted wrongs with her time, energy, generosity, and warrior spirit of achievement.

            "We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences," "If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us."

            https://www.foxnews.com/media/liberal-writers-activists-open-letter-call-to-end-cancel-cul ture

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 1:34am

              We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences

              We can disagree with one another unless that disagreement centers on the oppression of someone else. And we can disagree in good faith when people express opinions in good faith — which you have never done.

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

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I’d just like to point out that you have said nothing about what, if anything, your girlfriend has done for those with low income, that this is the first you even suggested such a thing at all, that writing about wrongs is an important part of doing something by spreading awareness, and that writing stuff is part of that “good-faith disagreement”.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with the article here? This article is about the FCC, Ajit Pai, the Trump administration, the pandemic as it affects America, Lifeline, Native American tribal lands, and broadband. Nothing to do with China, Taiwan, or your late wife/girlfriend.

      And while I’m at it, a few other things:

      • Why did you feel the need to mention you were “very tall”?

      • What about “whining and complaining” suggests this is a “strange place” that has “no morals”?

      • You know they’re just dreams, right? Your girlfriend/wife isn’t actually talking to you in your dreams every night. And even if she was, I would find it far more odd that a) she feels the need to complain about this site’s morals and/or complaining and b) you still feel the need to come here and talk about it.

      • While different Chinese and Taiwanese people will have different morals from each other to some extent, “traditional Chinese morals” are generally quite different from most American moral systems. We value freedom of speech and the press in particular and individual freedoms in general far more than “traditional Chinese morals” do, for example. I mean no disrespect for your late girlfriend/wife, the Chinese, Taiwan, or women in general, but why you seem to think the morals and opinion expressed by the ghost of some random (to us) Taiwan-born Chinese woman should have particular weight for us baffles me.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re:

        The article was about how public policy affects those with low income.

        Why did I mention I was "very tall"? Go to Taiwan, you will feel the same.

        My point is that public complaining does little of value. Be the ball. Be the change you think needs to happen. Do something for someone else, don't just sit on your ass and bitch about it.

        The dreams are a literary tool to describe an obvious truth from a non-obvious perspective.

        I am not alone in critiquing the "cancel culture" on display here.

        https://www.foxnews.com/media/liberal-writers-activists-open-letter-call-to-end-cancel-culture

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I’m sorry, but you never said how any of what you said had anything to do with those with low income.

          As for “critiquing the ‘cancel culture’ on display here”, a) people have the right to critique that critique; b) nothing you said actually criticized “cancel culture” at all by any definition; and c) what is the “cancel culture” that is “on display here” which you’re referring to?

          Also, isn’t it hypocritical for you criticize others merely for criticizing something—anything, really—especially while you also profess to be criticizing “cancel culture”?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 2:11pm

      Re:

      The Chinese as a country don't speak Russian and use a Cyrillic character set. It's a PR, not an SSR.

      This, among other things, is getting boring and old. Like you, in general.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:20am

    Because it does

    To folks like Pai, turning the FCC into an AT&T ass kissing bobblehead doll is guaranteed to result in near miraculous outcomes, and any evidence to the contrary is simply ignored.

    If you stop giving him the benefit of the doubt in thinking that he's being honest about what his claimed goals are then his actions start making a hell of a lot more sense, because while gutting regulations and oversight most certainly does not result in 'miracles' for the public they absolutely do accomplish that for the companies in question.

    Killing regulations and oversight is incredibly effective, that's absolutely true, so long as the standards you use to determine 'effectiveness' are tuned to company success rather than public. It's similar to the con that is trickle-down economics in that sense, in that how effective it is at accomplishing the goal is entirely dependent on who you are really trying to help and who is merely being used as a PR shield to hide behind.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:25am

      Re: Because it does

      "tuned to Company success rather than Public". Those are your words.

      But what you mean is "tuned to the success of the Talented rather than the Loser class".

      Yes, we all understand you advocate on behalf of losers, and that is a noble profession. Well, for winners it's noble, for losers it's selfish.

      I'm guessing you're more selfish than noble.

      Which one is it?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 9:35am

        we all understand you advocate on behalf of losers

        I’d rather advocate for the losers who play by the rules and have a sense of moral fairness than for the winners who break all the rules (which can include paying off the people who make/enforce the rules) and whose only sense of morality is “fuck you, got mine”.

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:05am

          Re:

          One that can't win without breaking the rules is the true loser.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 5:45pm

            Re: Re:

            This from a gang of censors who has no regards to any form of rules. What are the rules here? What is the policy regarding censoring posts? What are the terms of service? No reply, ever. But you want to bitch about someone breaking rules that don't exist.

            Every society needs to organize around the common good. Whenever this happens, some people will be left out or left behind. OK, that's right, and it's fair to try to protect those who are left out or left behind or are basically "losers" with regards to a particular public good. I get that.

            But you have abanoned the public good altogether and instead promote the weak minded, weak charactered, lazy and impotent dregs of society as some kind of heros. That's just disgusting. You've gone from being Democrats to be tyrants with a shitty cause, the promotion of losers and mal-contents at the expense of the real public good.

            https://www.foxnews.com/media/liberal-writers-activists-open-letter-call-to-end-cancel-culture

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:45pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Evidence for any of your assertions would be good.

              As far as posting rules... the majorty voted against that which they did not like. You got "left out". Your protection as a "loser" is that you aren't banned.

              Grow the fuck up.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 7:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Look, people of good will have some basic things in common. We recognize the spark of divinity in each of us, even when we differ in view or expression. That's why we have elections. Each individual view is important. This is fundamental to our understanding of society and good and evil.

                Having the "majority" vote against the ability of a few to express themselves in public is just cowardly and has often been the tool of evil tyrants like Hitler and Stalin. We have seen the results in history of the "collective" dominating the individual.

                Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - Wikipedia

                We each carry the responsibility to be careful with our words and to say things that are not lies, to formulate our thoughts truthfully. Because if we don't, the results can be castastrophic, evil and akin to hell.

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

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 8:40pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Maybe Solzhenitsyn is a long read. Here is a shorter one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_a_Dog

                  In this book, the author portrays a local communist leader in the Soviet Union as a dog, that is, a dog that was transformed from being a dog into being a human.

                  The dog is missing the spark of divinity, but adjusted perfectly to the new communist order. Eventually, the disgusting animal is turned back into a dog.

                  Mike is the dog, Sharik. Everyone knows that. This site is quite similar to the Soviet Union, of old. The same collective mentality. The same godless souless justification of "legal means". Yes, as a corporation you can do what you want, the law cannot stop you. You should stop yourself because censorship often lead to abuse, even mass murder, in the past.

                  The point is that non-communist people, normal Amerians, for example, do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. We would rather have trans people dancing naked outside the white house than silencing them, because they have a divinity of their own, and so does their dance. Who are we to judge?

                  When you silence others, you look un-American. Not a good look. Read some Russian literature. It was not a very happy experience for the majority. I lived there, I know.

                  Don't censor. It makes you look weak, corrupt, and will likely lead to more evil.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:01pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You literally spent thousands of dollars to beg a judge so he would "cancel" Techdirt on Shiva Ayyadurai's say-so, Hamilton. You're in no position to complain because you got rejected by girls after you told them you support a man who "gropes women by the pussy". Like the previous poster said, grow the fuck up.

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

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:20pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Well, we all have our own view of the truth.

                      Yours is interesting. None of it factual, but interesting. I think it says more about you than me.

                      Truth does that.

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

                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  This is a privately-owned forum. No one—both you and myself included—is entitled to be able to say anything here, and certainly not whatever we want.

                  Also, since anyone can still read the hidden posts with little effort, no one is actually being censored or silenced here.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 11:47pm

              What are the rules here?

              As I understand it: Post pretty much whatever you want, but posts that are off-topic, spam, or full of bad faith arguments will likely be hidden.

              What is the policy regarding censoring posts?

              Techdirt doesn’t (and can’t) censor anyone. On the off-chance that a post is deleted by whoever handles that (which mostly happens to spam), the person who made the post is free to repeat it elsewhere. Same goes for hidden comments; “this comment has been flagged by the community” is a slightly longer way of saying “we don’t do that here”. If you don’t like how the community moderates shitposting, go shitpost somewhere else.

              What are the terms of service?

              You have the privilege of posting your inane, insubstantial, and ultimately irrelevant bullshit here without divulging your identity. In return, everyone else can choose to mark your post as either insightful, funny, abusive/trolling/spam, or any combination thereof.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2020 @ 12:06am

                Re:

                First principles - the thing that gives everything else meaning, and foundation, as opposed to chaos, and evil. For example, the dignity and inherent value of each and every human, both their physical embodiment and their mental framework. Their right to exist, to seek truth, to be corrected and applauded and emulated when appropriate. That's a good start. Respect for people other than yourself and respect for ideas that are other than your own, let's start with that. You can't treat yourself properly without that. You can't have a successful relationship with another person without that. You can't have a functional society without respect for the dignity and the inherent value of OTHER PEOPLE and OTHER IDEAS.

                The path that would silence divergent voices is the path of tyranny and evil, as practiced by HItler and Stalin, to name just two monsters. They silenced a lot of voices using very similar vague justification while so many remained silent.

                When you develop a sense of respect for OTHER PEOPLE, then you learn how to be HONEST. Why do we teach our children to be honest? It's not the easiest path, it's often a really difficult one - why does every parent teach their child to be honest? Because of our faith in OTHER PEOPLE and their dignity and their rights to OTHER OPINIONS (among other things) and our affirmation of their rights and how that affects OUR rights. It's mutuality, and respect.

                When you silence others, when you emulate Hitler and Stalin and then justify it by saying "well I have the POWER to silence others so I WILL", you are moving yourself and by extension society closer to evil and farther from good.

                First principles.

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 12:31am

                  Re: Re:

                  "Respect for people other than yourself and respect for ideas that are other than your own"

                  Respect is earned. You can maybe earn it by starting to present actual ideas rather than paragraphs of nonsense whining that people have told you that you have not earned their respect?

                  "When you silence others,"

                  Nobody's silenced. Least of all you, the loudest person in the room.

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

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2020 @ 12:40am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    No. The truth is that each of us makes a fundamental choice about how to relate to the world. We each hold ourselves accountable, celebrate ourselves, punish ourselves, and guide our lives with our beliefs, our First Principles.

                    Respect for others is akin to faith in a higher power. When you lose that respect for others, you can easily end up as part of a society that slaughters 6 million innocent men, women and children, like Nazi Germany. Those jews did not need behave in some certain way to deserve my respect. They were people, that is enough. Any other path or view can easily become dark and murderous.

                    We begin our understanding of the world and ourselves and society and relationships and family with respect for others, and we abandon that principle at the peril of becoming complicit in acts of unspeakable evils.

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

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 1:02am

                      Given how every argument you make starts from a place of bad faith, everything you just said has no meaning.

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

                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:11pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Respect for others is akin to faith in a higher power. When you lose that respect for others, you can easily end up as part of a society that slaughters 6 million innocent men, women and children, like Nazi Germany.

                      First off, we’re talking about two different levels of respect: the basic respect afforded to every human on a fundamental and largely unconditional level, and the kind of respect given to those we put higher than that. The latter must be earned.

                      Second, while I am a Christian, I don’t think that faith in a higher being is anything like respect for others. Also, plenty of Nazis and neo-Nazis were/are Christian and did believe in a higher being.

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

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 10:57pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        It's always amusing to me when someone tries saying "I'm a Christian" as if there's not a couple of millenia of examples of how that doesn't automatically make you a good person. Unless you really want to take part in the world's longest game of "No True Scotsman", it's not a good argument.

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

                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:11pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Also, literally none of that had anything to do with the moderation on this site at all.

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

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 11:01pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "The truth is that each of us makes a fundamental choice about how to relate to the world."

                      Yes, and you are now reaping the rewards for your choice.

                      "Nazi Germany"

                      The reich that has "God With Us" as its motto under a leader who promoted the "Positive Christianity" movement? Hmmm...

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

                  • icon
                    Toom1275 (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 10:05am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Everyone here starts out being treated with respect, but trolls choose instead to run permanent defecits by disrespecting the community with their bad faith.

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: Because it does

        But what you mean is "tuned to the success of the Talented rather than the Loser class".

        If you measure success by only looking at the most successful and not the failures or even the merely somewhat successful, then your results are going to be heavily skewed. Setting morals and ethics aside, you’re not going to get accurate or holistic data that way.

        And, bringing morals and ethics somewhat back in, the whole point of a democratic/republican government is to do what’s best for the nation as a whole, not just what’s more convenient for the top 1% or the top 0.1%. So again, when measuring the success of something, you have to take a holistic approach and look at both the successes and the failures. Doing otherwise would be burying your head in the sand and not addressing real problems.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 3:04am

        Re: Re: Because it does

        "Yes, we all understand you advocate on behalf of losers, and that is a noble profession. Well, for winners it's noble, for losers it's selfish."

        The fact that your "winners" only end up winners because they broke the rules tells us a lot. Not the least of which would be that you consider the honest people in the equation to be not only losers but that they deserve to lose.

        There was a time when a "republican" or a "conservative" meant "honest and law-abiding" and the debate was about when the adherence to law and order got in the way of actual progress. Today being a "conservative" or a "republican" apparently means "I cheat better than you do therefore I am teh greatest!".

        Grand. The modern conservative is the equivalent of a whiny neckbeard upset that people think him hacking his online game is "cheating".

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 7 Jul 2020 @ 8:19am

    "Pai is, as you might have noticed, a big fan of the idea that if you pull back government oversight of telecom, magic happens "

    A Libertarian wet dream. Huge company profits. Awesome for the mega-rich.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2020 @ 8:50am

    i have no doubt that this really is the case! however, as the likes of people like Pai are not in that position and they think that the position they are in makes them unlikely to become infected, i wonderhow they will handle things if they aren't so lucky? the first thing they should be considering is how they can help to curb the spread of this vile and deadly virus, not what they can do to please the Trump government and his (Pai's) major ISP paymasters! the second thing they should be aware of is that wealth dont stop them from becomming infected and if that happens, it also dont stop them from getting the ultimate end. death doesn't discriminate!

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

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 7 Jul 2020 @ 9:00am

    FCC = Fellating Communication Companies

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


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