FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Is Leading An Incoherent, Facts-Optional Last Minute War On Net Neutrality...For The American People

from the revolving-door-dysfunction dept

Over the last few months we've discussed how FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has been waging a one man war on net neutrality and Title II using what can only be described as an increasingly aggressive barrage of total nonsense. Back in January Pai tried to claim that Netflix was a horrible neutrality hypocrite because the company uses relatively ordinary content delivery networks. Earlier this month Pai one-upped himself by trying to claim that meaningful neutrality consumer protections would encourage countries like Iran and North Korea to censor the Internet.

Now on the surface, it appears that Pai just doesn't understand technology very well. Of course, once you understand that he was once a regulatory lawyer for Verizon, you realize he's simply dressing broadband duopoly profit protection up as some kind of deeper, meaningful ethos. As such, lamenting that Title II is "Obamacare for the Internet," is just political theater designed to rile up the base to the benefit of the broadband industry.

With net neutrality set for a vote this week, Pai has accelerated his master plan to make the largest number of inaccurate net neutrality statements in the shortest amount of time possible. For example, Pai co-wrote an editorial in the Chicago Tribune last week that tries to use Obamacare fears to insist Americans will lose the right to choose their own wireless plans if Title II based rules come to pass:
"If you like your wireless plan, you should be able to keep it. But new federal regulations may take away your freedom to choose the best broadband plan for you. It's all part of the federal government's 332-page plan to regulate the Internet like a public utility...take T-Mobile's Music Freedom program, which the Internet conduct rule puts on the chopping block. The "Un-carrier" allows consumers to stream as much online music as they want without charging it against their monthly data allowance."
Except as we've noted recently, classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II absolutely does not involve "regulating ISPs like utilities." In fact, Wheeler's stripping away many of the tougher aspects of Title II, something you'll see immeasurably annoy consumer advocates when the full rules are released later this week. And while I personally think zero rated apps like T-Mobile's Music Freedom plan set a horrible precedent and should be reined in by the rules, the FCC's made every indication that they see usage caps and zero rated apps as "creative" pricing models that won't be touched.

Meanwhile, both Sprint's and T-Mobile's COOs have said absolutely nothing should change with their wireless plans under the new rules. Are we noticing a disconnect between Pai's rhetoric and reality yet?

At the heart of Pai's assault on net neutrality has been an absolute flood of press releases and public speeches in which Pai insists that he's aggressively fighting consumer protections because he cares so very much about the little guy. His February 6 press release, for example, throws around his love of the "American People" and "small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs" like so much disingenuous digital confetti. Yet when you actually bother to ask said entrepreneurs -- like this letter (pdf) from 100 companies including Yelp, Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr and GitHub -- they unequivocally make it clear Commissioner Pai doesn't speak for them:
"We are the “small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs” that Commissioner Pai referenced in his February 6, 2015 press release about the FCC’s impending net neutrality rulemaking, and we write to say unequivocally that his release does not represent our views on net neutrality. Quite the opposite, entrepreneurs and startups throughout the country have consistently supported Chairman Wheeler’s call for strong net neutrality rules enacted through Title II."
One marginally clever thing Pai's been doing is that he's been raising an absolute hysterical media shitstorm for weeks over the fact the FCC hasn't released the proposed rules ahead of Thursday's vote. And it's impossible to claim he's wrong: FCC restrictions bar the agency from publicizing drafts ahead of a vote, no matter which party is in power. That's something that's been the bane of telecom reporters (and public discourse) for years.

That said, as a former Verizon lawyer, Pai doesn't really give a damn about transparency. Phone and cable companies absolutely adore the lack of transparency that allows them craft abysmal anti-consumer regulations on the state and federal level every day. Similarly, were Pai's party in office pushing an agenda he liked (like oh, letting Verizon do effectively whatever it likes, no matter how anti-competitive) you can be fairly sure his love of transparency would be notably absent from the conversation. Still, Pai's attempting a futile Hail Mary attempt to delay this week's vote because he just loves transparency so much it hurts.

In short, you've got a former Verizon regulatory lawyer claiming to represent the interests of everybody except the companies he's actually busy looking out for. Layered on to that is a media that pretends it's not just a little bit absurd that a living, breathing example of revolving door regulation is claiming to be a champion of the American public. Pai knows the rules will be approved on Thursday; he's just hoping his theatrical performance wins him a chance to lead the FCC (and the likely destruction of these very same rules) should we see a 2016 party shift.

If those ambitions are unattainable, perhaps Pai can rejoin Verizon and contribute to the industry's legal assault on consumers and the rules more directly -- to the great and immeasurable benefit of puppies and school children everywhere.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 7:13am

    Almost funny

    You know, his complete, mindless panic would almost be funny, if I didn't know there are people clueless enough to fall for it. At this point I'm just waiting for him to pull out the 'Supporting Title II is supporting terrorists!' claim(oh, wait...)

    'former Verizon lawyer'... 'former Verizon regulatory lawyer'... 'perhaps Pai can rejoin Verizon'

    You say all these things as though he's not currently working for them. He may not be directly employed by them at the moment, but his actions leave little doubt who he believes he's working for, and it's not the public.

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    • icon
      ken (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 6:05pm

      Re: Almost funny

      This is about net neutrality like the Affordable health- care act was about affordable health-care. This is the nationalization of the Internet and imposing government control.

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 25 Feb 2015 @ 2:44am

        Re: Re: Almost funny

        That statement is so wrong it's ridiculous. It's actually just about making the telcos treat all traffic equally instead of gouging consumers at the last mile.

        You'll be claiming there's a free market next!

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 7:59am

    FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Is Leading An Incoherent, Facts-Optional Last Minute War On Net Neutrality...For The American People

    Should be...

    FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Is Leading An Incoherent, Facts-Optional Last Minute War On Net Neutrality... For His Future Seven Figure Salary

    Because that's the truth

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      Obvious corporate shill is obvious.

      Does anyone know if that is also part of the story, or if, aside from Techdirt, does the rest of the media not care?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:31am

    Ajit Pai.

    Finally, an answer to that age-old question - "What shall we do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?"

    Why, you make him an FCC Commissioner.

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  • icon
    John Snape (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:39am

    Too many laws

    "Net Neutrality" might be the best thing since sliced bread.

    However, as a citizen of this country, I'm just sick of so many regulations that a guy can write a book how every one of us is committing "Three Felonies a Day."

    Why can't we just clear out the hundreds of thousands of regulations and laws that are slowly killing this country before we start piling more onto the list?

    Or am I just being too libertarian?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:50am

      Re: Too many laws

      You can either have a decent amount of competition, monopolistic practices, or regulation to protect the individual; pick one.
      Unfortunately, with large corporations, having near monopolies, you can only hope for decent government regulations.

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

    • identicon
      S Palmer, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:57am

      Re: Too many laws

      Interesting that it's the regulations that you have problems with while the companies being regulated have been suckling off the public teat forever. Perhaps if these companies were subject to a free market and didn't rake in billions in government subsidies while utilizing public rights of way to provide their service I'd agree with you...

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:06am

      Re: Too many laws

      US Telecom really is a unique animal. Thanks to the duopoly stranglehold over the last mile, when you support regulators doing nothing, you by proxy support nothing changing. Because U.S. broadband is far, far from a free market; there is no deus ex machina coming out of the wings to resolve the issue organically.

      Then the choice ends up being: if we're going to have to have regulations: which would you rather have? Regulations that protect the greatest number of people and companies possible, or regulations protecting AT&T, Verizon and Comcast's competitive stranglehold over vast swaths of the country?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        Unbundling the last mile would've probably been 5x more effective than the rules they are going to adopt now. It was a shame to see Tom Wheeler actually promote not doing that as a "good thing".

        Competition would keep the big guys in check more faster than any of the restrictions will. Just look how they're acting in Google Fiber towns. You would've never seen AT&T and others say they are going to adopt Gigabit speeds as fast, under any government regulations, if not for the Google Fiber competition. Granted, they are still lying about their "Gigabit-but-actually-300Mbps-but-actually-it's-30-dollars-more-if-you-don't-want-to-be-spied-on" deal.

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        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

          I agree! None of this is ideal. We had unbundling in 1996 and it was gutted (and subsequently used to good effect in other locations like France). Net neutrality protections are our next best bet, since it's pretty clear nobody in government has the stomach to return to unbundling requirements or open access broadband models any time soon.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

            It's funny that all of the telcoms were all for ISPs being regulated under Title II back when traditional phone service was their biggest business and VOIP came along threatening it. Now that they are major players in that game they don't want it anymore.

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

            • icon
              Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

              Whether they like Title II literally changes by the week and depends on what hoops they're trying to get government to jump through...

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          • identicon
            Shmerl, 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

            On the other hand everyone was assuming that nobody had the stomach even for Title II. So I don't think we should dismiss unbunlding. It should be the next thing to push for after Title II is achieved.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        The best way to do that is to separate the ownership of infrastructure - which you then regulate - from the retail market - which you then deregulate to foster competition.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

          This. It's a shame that's not politically feasible.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

            It's been done (and worked) before in other industries that were as bad if not worse than Telcom.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deregulation_of_the_Texas_electricity_market

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

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

              Yes, I know. And when it was tried with telecoms, it failed miserably. That' not to say that it can't work in the future -- but first, we need to find a way to stop the corruption and collusion between the major telecoms and lawmakers.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                I wouldn't say that it failed so much as it wasn't a raving success. It's still there. You still have CLEC's out there operating. However, there is a distinct things to note about that. The telcoms were allowed to influence how it was structured that effectively hamstrung the effort. Although ILECs have to allow CLECS to operate over their network, the ILECs were still allowed to compete for retail business, instead of simply maintaining the infrastructure and providing access to the CLECS at fair, regulated rate. That is not the same at all.

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

                • icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:54am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                  Sorry, I was unclear. I meant that it was tried regarding internet access specifically. I wasn't talking about the POTS.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:14am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                    When?

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

                    • icon
                      Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:46am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                      Unbundling was part of the 1996 telecom act. And was gradually destroyed by telecom lobbyists, resulting in CLECs (with a few exception) dying off in droves and the duopoly logjam we enjoy today. France, in contrast, took our idea and made it work, resulting in many Parisians paying $40 or so for triple play services.

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

                      • icon
                        Derek Kerton (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:13pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                        Karl,

                        $40 would get you the quad play with cellular included.

                        Right now 20 euros will get you started on a triple play.

                        https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/offres-internet

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:57pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                        I know about the unbundling in the TCA of 1996. That was what created CLECs vs. ILECs in the first place. But that's POTS. He said that unbundling has been tried with regards to ISPs and failed. That was why I asked when?

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

                        • icon
                          John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 2:14pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                          Yes, sorry. Let me try again. Prior to the Telecommunications Act of '96, we had healthy competition and a choice of numerous different ISPs. It was actually a thriving market and competition kept some of the worse effects we see today from happening.

                          Due to heavy pressure from the major telecoms, the law included a disastrous provision that declared internet service as an "information service" rather than a communications service. This is not only logically untenable, but meant that the rules that were keeping the ISP business competitive no longer applied. The result is the near-monopoly situation we have now that allows the abusive practices we see.

                          The correct thing to do is to reverse that portion of the '96 law. However, the telecoms paid big bucks for that and they aren't exactly going to sit by and let it get fixed. I think that the stranglehold these companies have on the lawmaking process is such that they can hold their ground for many years to come.

                          So fixing the problem in the obvious way isn't feasible.

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2015 @ 8:16am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

                            The reason there was competition then was more technological than a matter of law. Back then the vast majority of people were connecting via a dial up connection that was an independent service that didn't require it additional infrastructure in place for providers to reach their customers other than existing POTS lines which most people already had. So starting an ISP was much easier and cheaper to do. To offer broadband it required either a significant upgrade or even new infrastructure to be built.

                            Part of the problem here is that regulation can be a two-edged sword. It's supposed to fight anti-competitive and abusive behavior but far too often it becomes the tool of the incumbent to prevent a larger barrier to entry for new competitors. The fear at the time was that small ISPs would be so encumbered with additional expense due to government regulation that their viability would become untenable which was a real possibility. Of course all of that expensive regulation came out of the anti-competitive actions of the big telcos in the first place but that was after they were already established enough to weather it.

                            Had ISPs had to be encumbered with the expense of the regulation that was in place for telcos at the time, either two things would have happened:

                            1. The telcos would have moved in to become the only ISPs available which would have at best left us at the same place we are today but with the strong possibility that broadband doesn't emerge as there would be no incentive for them to develop that technology. or...

                            2. The technology would have died as it would have been too expensive for anyone else to offer and again with no incentive to adjust their business, telcos would have simply gone on making their money selling POTS service.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:09am

      Re: Too many laws

      "Why can't we just clear out the hundreds of thousands of regulations and laws that are slowly killing this country before we start piling more onto the list?"

      Because the major corporations love the vast majority of those regulations and laws (that's why they pay so much to get them).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        They only love them once they can turn them into a barrier to entry for competitors to enter the market. Until then they hate them with a passion.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:13am

      Re: Too many laws

      Here's a novel idea. How about instead of regulating industries by based on the type of business, we instead regulate companies based on their previous history of anti-competitive behavior (including previous iterations of the company even if they occurred under different names or were run by different people.) Companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast have such a long history of anti-competitive behavior that should mean they should be subject to regulation even if they suddenly decided that they wanted to switch their business to one of holding a series of bake sales. And if you don't want your business to be shackled with burdensome government regulation, the choice is simple - don't engage in anti-competitive behavior and you won't be.

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

      • icon
        Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        Holding companies accountable for their track record when it comes to anti-competitive behavior and truth telling? What planet are YOU from?

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      • identicon
        PRMan, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        Or, you know, regulate them based on consumer complaints and if they are anti-consumer, break them up like is allowed by anti-trust laws.

        Given Time Warner and Comcast's current customer service scores, it seems like a no-brainer that they are anti-consumer monopolies and need to be broken into a company that owns the lines and a company that owns the content. (Hey, didn't we used to have laws preventing the ownership of both FOR EXACTLY THIS REASON?)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

          Having a sucky product and pitiful customer service shouldn't be against the law which is what you are suggesting. The market is supposed to take care of that. Limiting the market so that you can get away with it anyway is what is against the law.

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

          • identicon
            Pragmatic, 25 Feb 2015 @ 2:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Too many laws

            Yeah, but precious little is being done to enforce that law. I'm in favor of a freer, more open market. But that's the last thing they want.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: Too many laws

      Nope

      I agree, too many laws, too many regulations, too many policies.......whats it gonna be like ONLY 50 years from now.........were gonna end up being fined for letting one go in public .....criminal

      Its clear today that those behind the constitution understood the danger of this, in how and what and how much or how little they included in it........i think the leaders of the past were still in the mists of the END of an imperialistic reign, they understood freedom better, everybody was in the mist of a mature imperialistic reign, i think today, we have leaders that have lived in a world that holds no unavoidable hardships you'd find in a mature tyranny, neither thinks along those lines, nor associates the possible consequences of current actions to similar actions and its same consequences in the past

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      • icon
        TasMot (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:05am

        Re: Re: Too many laws

        Many of these laws are the result of the "must do something" mentality of a nanny state that doesn't feel like dealing with the big issues like the budget problem.
        It's just too easy to spend a lot of money to "save the victims" and "protect the little guy" (you know, from the big faceless corporations that we created).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:45am

    When Net Neutrality rules pass and the internet thrives, someone needs to rub this guy's nose in it like a puppy who piddled on the floor.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:52am

    Just doing his job - representing the people that funded his climb to power and not the American public.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:55am

    I would say, "Follow the money!", but it doesn't take much to connect A to B.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:10am

    ...For the American People*

    * Corporations are people, too.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:29am

      Re:

      with religious rights as well.

      I hope I never work for a corporation headed by Jehovah Witnesses. My health insurance will be worthless. :(

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      • identicon
        PRMan, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        They'll pray for you....

        Actually, given the poor state of medical care in this country where people die from infections because some patient-pusher can't wash after going to the bathroom, you might be better off with just the prayers.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or a doctor pushing antibiotics for things that don't need antibiotics, leading to resistant strains like MRSA.

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

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:30am

    For example, Pai co-wrote an editorial in the Chicago Tribune last week that tries to use Obamacare fears to insist Americans will lose the right to choose their own wireless plans if Title II based rules come to pass:


    Everybody repeat after me: "Conflation is our enemy's best friend".

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    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      Great. Now I'm looking forward to Pais' next tirade about "Internet connection death panels" and how violent illegal immigrants will enter the country unimpeded via internet tubes under net neutrality.

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

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 9:31am

    A New Mantra in the Net Neutrality War....

    Move along, these are not the facts you are looking for......

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:00am

    Yet when you actually bother to ask said entrepreneurs -- like this letter (pdf) from 100 companies including Yelp, Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr and GitHub -- they unequivocally make it clear Commissioner Pai doesn't speak for them:

    "We are the “small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs” that Commissioner Pai referenced in his February 6, 2015 press release about the FCC’s impending net neutrality rulemaking

    Which, exactly, of those major websites is a small, independent business again?

    Just saying...

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  • icon
    ken (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:12am

    We are being hoodwinked

    Oh please people please wake up. The FCC and Obama is doing this in secret. We have no idea what is in this. It is just like TPP. It is all being done out of our sight.

    As with Obamacare it is going to have to be passed before we know what is in it and probably will not know until we see the effects.

    What Obama means with Net Nuetrality in not what we think as Net Neutrality.

    We are all being howdwinked.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:02pm

      Re: We are being hoodwinked

      Obama does not run the FCC, so it's a bit weird to try and lay this in his lap. That said...

      "What Obama means with Net Nuetrality in not what we think as Net Neutrality."

      Since, as you admit, we don't have the text of the proposed rules, you have no way of knowing this.

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      • icon
        ken (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 6:02pm

        Re: Re: We are being hoodwinked

        Obama has been in the thick of this. The chairman is Obama's man. So we have 300 pages to tell ISPs they cannot throttle traffic and must treat all packets equally?

        Just like TPP this is being passed in secret with no public input. We will not know what is in this till it is already implemented.

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        • identicon
          Pragmatic, 25 Feb 2015 @ 4:50am

          Re: Re: Re: We are being hoodwinked

          You do know the GOP is trying to give the president Fast Track Authority, don't you?

          This is not a partisan issue. Wake up!

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  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:30am

    "Of course, once you understand that he was once a regulatory lawyer for Verizon, you realize he's simply dressing broadband duopoly profit protection up as some kind of deeper, meaningful ethos."



    But of course, because none of the people who disagree with the arrogant blowhards on this site could possibly be doing so in good faith. It must necessarily be related to some nefarious underlying profit motive.

    In regard to the corruptocrats on the FCC pushing this bullshit, that sentence could just as easily read "Once you understand he is a lifelong government bureaucrat, you realize he's simply dressing up burdensome government regulation and overreach as some sort of deeper meaningful ethos".


    When it comes to the issue of "net neutrality", the "authors" at this site may as well be wearing tin-foil hats, because that is how asinine some of the bullshit sounds. It's every bit as ludicrous as the conspiratorial nonsense John Oliver was spouting about tobacco companies that this site found to be so fucking profound. If the "debate" goes on long enough, it will only be a matter of time before the Illuminati replaces Verizon as the bad guys in all this.

    I hesitate to call this a debate because, in breach of the law, the FCC refuses to make public its proposed rule changes for public comment, yet I have read nary a fucking word of complaint from the very people who usually claim such an offense is the worst threat to American democracy, whenever some other unelected federal bureaucracy does it, of course. Refusing to abide by the rules is clearly A-OK as long it is in the service of "net neutrality". Meanwhile, anyone and everyone who criticizes FCC overreach and its usurpation of authority it simply was never given by any legislative body is accused of being on Verizon's payroll. It has become a fucking farce. Evidently a large percentage of the people commenting on this issue are being secretly reimbursed by Verizon, as if Nick Gillespie, for instance, is somehow analogous to Clarence Beaks and Verizon is Duke & Duke. But he, and everyone else opposed to "net neutrality", must be on Verizon's payroll. How do I know? Because, clearly, disagreeing with the snide pricks who run this site is evidence enough.

    It is hard to say which is more pathetic: the casual smears directed at anyone who dares disagree with the fuckwits who run this site, or the absolutely fucking hilarious belief that increased government regulation, regardless of how it is dressed up, is somehow not going to be burdensome and stifling. Because I know that when I think of increased government oversight and regulation, I immediately think innovation and efficiency.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      "Because I know that when I think of increased government oversight and regulation, I immediately think innovation and efficiency."

      I think of the European situation of where they have competition resulting in lower prices, better services due to government regulations.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 12:58pm

        Regulation is not evil

        Myself, I think of the FDA and how our meat quality vastly improved after the agency's implementation.

        We just need to find ways to slow or regularly reform function creep and regulatory capture.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      "But of course, because none of the people who disagree with the arrogant blowhards on this site could possibly be doing so in good faith."
      Yes and sometimes a duck is a duck. A Verizon regulatory lawyer now arguing Verizon's intentionally false points verbatim as a regulator...is a huge, ugly duck.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:22pm

      Re:

      ...as if Nick Gillespie, for instance, is somehow analogous to Clarence Beaks and Verizon is Duke & Duke...


      And we all know what happened to them, right?

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

    • icon
      legalcon (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      Two thumbs up for this comment. I am often appalled that a site that purports to be a serious news site can publish such garbage. The ad hominem attacks are tolerable, if completely childish, but the utter lack of substance in this "debate" is shameful. Net neutrality is more like a religion to people than policy. Those who disagree are just heretics...

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re:

        "I am often appalled that a site that purports to be a serious news site can publish such garbage."

        Then let's engage in a dialogue: what about this piece do you disagree with? Just calling it "garbage" without saying why is entirely devoid of meaning.

        Oh, also, this is a commentary site, not a news site. It does commentary.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2015 @ 5:03pm

        Re: Re:

        You two IP addresses need to get a room, seriously.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      Wow, lots of emotional smearing here but nothing to support your accusations.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 4:01pm

      Re:

      How did you manage to use so many words to say so little? You offer not a shred of counter-argument, just a bunch on name-calling surrounded by a lot of blah-blah. Sounds like the criticism hit a bit close to home for you...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2015 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      You might want to invest in a mirror.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:36am

    best place for him to go is to his native country. see how 'neutral' that is!

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

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:42am

    Government in Internet is bad... PERIOD... End of Story

    The government turns everything it touches to sh*t. Everything the government has gotten involved in ends up costing more and ends up stripping rights and freedoms.

    The government is good for things like national security where the great hulking behemoth is slow to move but large and intimidating. It has NO ability to turn on a dime... something absolutely REQUIRED for something as highly evolving as the internet.

    Sure... it starts with the promises of equality and savings but ends in cost increases and less choice. ObamaCare is the PERFECT example... I pay more now for my insurance than I did before... MUCH more... and I have a higher deductible. Why? Because if my employeer hadn't have stripped down our plan, they would have been taxed for offering their employees a "cadillac" plan. And my mom was dropped from her insurance (she's 63) and currently has NO INSURANCE, because any plan close to what she had is twice as much money with twice the deductible. Yah... the government screws things up. PERIOD. No matter what they say or promise now, remember, that can all be changed once it's implemented - just like ObamaCare. Remember... if you like your plan you can keep it and you like your doctor you can keep them? All BS.

    Don't give me any of this benevolent government BS. I trust the government as far as I can throw them... which I can't, otherwise I'd throw them out.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:53am

      Re: Government in Internet is bad... PERIOD... End of Story

      This regulation is specifically applies to last mile providers and regulates the ability to treat all traffic equally. That's what the focus of this is. "The Internet" the actual internet which is backbone providers are not affected by this. Last mile ISP's are not the internet folks, they are just greedy folks that stand in the way of you and the actual internet.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 10:55am

      Re: Government in Internet is bad... PERIOD... End of Story

      So, since you can't support the notion that the government can fix the problems we have with the ISPs, what is your recommendation? Or are you simply saying that we're hosed and nothing can be done?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:04am

      Re: Government in Internet is bad... PERIOD... End of Story

      If you want to know why so much that the government touches turns to shit, it's because we allow corporate money to influence it to the point that it turns out that way. If corporate powers that be can't stop something from happening they will the corrupt it to the point that it becomes pointless or something that they can use for anti-competitive purposes. It's not government being bad so much as corrupted government being bad.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re: Government in Internet is bad... PERIOD... End of Story

      So wait, instead of judging each individual regulatory effort on its merits it's wiser to automatically assume that all regulation is inherently bad -- always? I hear this a lot and it doesn't get any better the more times it's repeated.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 2:10pm

      Yeah, no gummint has problems too.

      Personally, I like a defense against a Canadian invasion, or a Chinese invasion.

      I like having clean water and clean meat, and a cause for someone to think twice before killing me and taking my home.

      I like protection from fires, and response to hurricanes, and protection from joblessness and financial hardship.

      Or consistent communications encryption standards that aren't dependent on trusting Microsoft or Google or Apple, or that some expert is willing to volunteer his time to making it. I like that too. And I'm really pissed off that the NSA sabotaged that, due to funtion creep and conflicting interests.

      Government can serve some good uses. But it's also susceptible to certain ailments, and a drift toward a feudal dictatorship.

      I say we should have some ideas as to what we want to implement in the next iteration before we tear this one down.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Yeah, no gummint has problems too.

        Well said. This sort of discussion seems to devolve into binary positions: they government is either good or bad. The reality, as you said so well, is that it's both.

        Also, people forget that "the government" as a unified, monolithic entity doesn't exist. "The government" is more like the biomass in your gut: a collection of a large number of distinct entities, each with their own agendas, that coexist. Just like the fact that statements that include absolutes like "everyone", "always", or "never" are rarely correct, referring to "the government" as if it were an entity with a unified purpose or ability is rarely correct.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:13am

    Coming soon, to an FCC near you...

    IDIOT PAID STRIKES BACK!

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 11:38am

    No one does anything in Washington "for the American People"

    For the people is about as useful a term as for the children or because terrorists.

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

  • identicon
    Whoever, 24 Feb 2015 @ 12:37pm

    Corrupt or clueless?

    Are there any other possibilities?

    Can anyone believe that he is promoting his anti-network neutrality stance because he fully understands the issue and honestly believes that he is right on the subject?

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

  • icon
    Brett Glass (profile), 24 Feb 2015 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spect (just a little bit)

    How about showing a bit of respect for Commissioner Pai, who is not only a very smart man but is leading the charge for something that everyone should want: transparency at the FCC? You may not agree with him, but don't insult his intelligence.

    Besides, he happens to be correct. Title II regulation would be horrible for the Net and would harm Net users worldwide by paving the way for nations to block, throttle, censor, and overcharge.

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

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 25 Feb 2015 @ 4:54am

      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spect (just a little bit)

      Citation? Would you care to explain to us how Title II would achieve this?

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 8:38am

      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spect (just a little bit)

      "would harm Net users worldwide by paving the way for nations to block, throttle, censor, and overcharge."

      How would it do that? It's an odd thing to claim since companies are paving that road right now. The whole point is to stop that. So, even if your speculation is correct, it doesn't really make things worse.

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

      • icon
        Brett Glass (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spect (just a little bit)

        See, for example,

        www.wsj.com/articles/robert-m-mcdowell-and-gordon-goldstein-dictators-love-the-fccs-plan-to- regulate-the-internet-1424219652

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2015 @ 5:43am

    Looks like average_joe's IP addresses are out in full force today.

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

  • identicon
    Ben There, 25 Feb 2015 @ 2:03pm

    First They Came...

    First they came for Comcast, and I did not speak out,
    Because Comcast sucks.

    Then they came for the guy who warned us, and I did not speak out,
    Because he used to work for Verizon.

    Then they came for internet freedom, and I did not speak out,
    Because I fell for their ploy that it's just about net neutrality.

    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

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


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