Controlling Our Brave New (Digital) World

Now that Net Neutrality rules have been eliminated by Trump’s FCC, the question is: how will the repeal affect ordinary Americans? What consequences will be seen by the millions of Americans who turn increasingly to the Internet for everything from information to entertainment to commerce?

The Brookings Institution has at least a preliminary answer.

On June 11, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Open Internet Order—the net neutrality rules—went into effect. In the wake of this change, Americans are wondering how the repeal will affect them, and what it means for the future of internet access. Though consumers may not see changes quickly, the shift on net neutrality undermines the nation’s history on network regulation, creating a new era in how these networks operate in America.

So–in this brave “new era,” what can we expect?

The “quick and dirty” answer is: it depends. For one thing, there is a pending court challenge to the FCC’s authority to repeal Net Neutrality. For another, the Senate has passed Senate Joint Resolution 52, officially disapproving the repeal.  (Under the Congressional Review Act,  Congress can undo recently created rules by federal agencies.)

It still has to pass in the House, and then be signed by the president, which makes its prospects dicey, but perhaps Mueller will have completed his investigation…

That said, the need for a vote in the House should make protection of Net Neutrality an issue in the upcoming midterms. Every Congressional candidate should be asked whether they will vote to reinstate the rules. In December of last year, the Hill reported that 83% of Americans support Net Neutrality.

The pending court case is a consolidation of twelve separate challenges to the FCC’s authority to repeal the rules. The 12 lawsuits were filed by more than three dozen entities, including state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.

(If there is a Justice Kavanaugh sitting on the Supreme Court, and the case reaches the high court, its prospects dim: Kavanaugh is on record opposing Net Neutrality on the grounds that Internet providers are publishers, and protected from government interference by the First Amendment. Equating companies like Verizon and AT&T with media outlets like the New York Times requires some convoluted logic. )

More encouraging, a number of states aren’t waiting for Congress or the courts. California, not surprisingly, looks to be first out of the gate with a “robust” protection of Net Neutrality, but a number of other states are in the process of crafting similar bills.

The latest version of the bill restores provisions that would prevent broadband providers from exempting some services from customers’ data caps and would ban providers from charging websites “access fees” to reach customers on a network or blocking or throttling content as it enters their networks from other networks, according to a fact sheet released by Wiener, Santiago, and state senator Kevin de León.

The enumerated practices are those that big telecom companies are expected to engage in now that the FCC has repealed national protections.

The new version of the bill needs to be approved by both houses of the California Legislature, then be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. From there, it could face legal challenges from the FCC, which prohibited states from adopting their own net neutrality protections when it repealed the national net neutrality rules. During the press conference, Santiago said the California bill would stand up to legal scrutiny. Legal experts have told WIRED they are unsure whether the FCC has authority to preempt state law on the issue.

As 83% of Americans understand (at least in this context), this administration’s indiscriminate war on all regulatory activity more often than not just favors big business over the rest of us.


  1. Yes, it favors big business but guess who works with AT&T to spy on every phone call, text, and email sent and received?

    The Intercept recently outed the NSA and their large buildings in six US metropolitan areas. Very tall buildings without windows and just a few employees. Turns out they are all over the world.

    Now, why does our government need access to every American’s private property and I thought we had certain freedoms in this “free country” of ours.

    Let me remind you that the first job of AG Sessions was bringing to “justice” those “leftists” who organized Trump’s protest during the inauguration.

    For those on this blog who insist, “We must do something!”. “Take civil action!”

    Those who do take action like organizing DSA meetings and protests will find out exactly who’s in power and wants to stay in power. You’re not just fighting a corrupt government. The government is corrupted by the corporate sector who uses the government to oppress workers, citizens, etc.

    As one person yesterday snubbed the left…it is the left who is working around the obstructionist democratic party. We are fighting for the people.

    Joe Crowley tumbled in New York and now he says he’ll run as an independent. Diane Feinstein just went down in Cali. More coming…

    The television broadcasting pundits talk about “fringe left” or “marginalized left” as if it’s a radical element. It’s a people-centered element. Research the Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America. This is where the young people are taking us.

    Turn off your TV. The government and private sector aren’t spying on you because you’ve already been neutralized or neutered. 😉

    The young people use the internet exclusively which is why our Fascist government is clamping down. Don’t forget, we don’t have 80% of workers in a union today. The Fascists in charge killed off those things which unify us and gives us power against them.

    The sad part is watching the “crackers” on the right working for the slavemasters all over again to oppress people of color. Just like the good old days on the plantation.

    The role of the CIA, NSA, and DHS is to suppress insurgencies because they know what’s coming in this country and many others globally.

  2. The very sad part is that Todd is very likely right on all counts. The baton is no longer in our hands and very likely hasn’t been for a very long, long time. Just keep on pitchin’ Todd.

  3. From “Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy” by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt (RAND, Santa Monica,CA, 2001) pp. 158-162:


    Advantages of Using the Internet

    Case studies and an Internet activist survey indicate that the Internet, including electronic mail, the web, and its other facets, gives grassroots groups an important new tool for attempting to foster political change.

    Advantages: [Summary]

    1. The Internet is inexpensive and convenient.
    2. The Internet is an organizational tool “par excellence.”
    3. The Internet puts information in the hands of organizers fast.
    4. The Internet allows rapid replication of a successful effort.
    5. The Internet allows users to select their level of activity.
    6. The internet helps publicize the cause and the campaign.
    7. The Internet-based activists have a leg up on non-Internet based groups.”

    We better prepare for a sneak attack reminiscent of Pearl Harbor against the Internet. It is clear they’re making preparations for it right now. If Kavanaugh is seated on the Supreme Court we better not rely on the law to protect it.

  4. I like the internet, too, but let’s keep in mind what happened in 2016, when the internet was abused by Russian bots. These days, you have to know the rationale of those who post what you devour. You need to be wary of placing too much trust in any one source.

  5. gen5 wifi is here,lets now pay for it$$$,,mainly in texas.. like gas for your car, need, and its done, try and find a job,shop, state services,federal services, school,etc, you can not be informed,decide,or live without this median. industry has delibertly closed off normal avenues via,time and costs. immediate need is now the norm, after all,we need our pasafiers.. we can all say bad FCC,etc no donut,er gigs… again,need has overrun our desire to fight. if the industry demands us to,via your needs to comply, remember, the ads online,pay the CEOs. you know where im going.. boycott. my local ip is a phone company, 29 bucks,no limits. er, well if i want some socalled lightning speed gigs, wow,100 a month!!! how can ya go,wrong,yea right, its aready here,the screw.. you can buy it,but its not even connected to net neutrality. im now in a wonder,, i have directv ATTs owned(no wifi from direct) ,…. im also a ATT wifi, seems that, when im home, i search bing,only, im constantly dropping out,either via my local connect,or my ATT wifi. on the road, no issues,except, lack of area, or,,, when im in a truckstop,or,place where internet wifi is free,like a restaurant, ATT is dropping my connections,constantly reconnecting,i leave in that case,make that a point.., maybe trying to force me local,free access?..seems the games were already being played. now the FCC has a idea to charge the consumer,to file a comlaint…. we are being now goverened by the very corps we buy from,and no enforcement seems to be the new norm… boycott, vote em out..

  6. The FCC is a government department set in place to protect the public; it covers not only “All In The Family” and “I Love Lucy” sitcom reruns but benefits business in many ways. The benefit to businesses, including medical and pharmaceutical, it is a boon for handicapped Americans who are physically unable to use phones ti schedule appointments, order or cancel goods, pay bills, the list is endless. Being deaf and disabled my Internet access is as vital to my daily life as my cane and walker, the ability to text on my cell phone and read closed captioning to know all levels of news. It is more than big business making money; it has become a necessary form of communication for many Americans. We can contact elected officials with problems or thank them for assistance they have provided. The Internet, like every other beneficial source for the public is a target for criminal activity and those who have nothing better to do with their time than to hack or phish our private E-mail source.

    Just as any security service for our homes can be circumnavigated by criminals; criminals and government…and foreign entities…can circumnavigate any and all of our Internet security systems. We are not safe on any level of our lives; there is no guaranteed protection which cannot be bypassed to victimize us in all forms of our daily life. The air we breathe, food we eat, water we drink, et al, is losing what protection was being provided by the EPA to add to the dangers existing due to big businesses ignoring regulations and polluting our environment. The FCC has now been added – or deleted – from the list of our protective rules, ordinances, regulations and laws by our current government.

    Todd; if I turn off my TV I will become blind as well as totally deaf and the government provides no protection for the disabled…I have tried all the way through local and state officials to Health and Human Services, Civil Rights Office…and the FCC. As a country; Americans have not “already been neutralized or neutered” but we will be if we allow it by turning off our TVs, cancelling the Internet, end meetings and protest would put is in the same position as that age-old admonition about impending rape, “Just lay back, spread your legs and enjoy it” I REFUSE TO DO THAT.

    “As 83% of Americans understand (at least in this context), this administration’s indiscriminate war on all regulatory activity more often than not just favors big business over the rest of us.” We must continue fighting now on any level open to us before they are repealed; IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

  7. I read Jack Smith (July 14, 2018 at 9:25 am) and here he is again @8:12am. I have overlooked his stuff before; some needs decoding, time is scarce, but I now believe it is the cry of the working man and deserves the close attention of the liberals among us.

    Especially recommended are Jack’s concluding remarks today.
    VOTE November 6, 2018. Flip the current craven Congress, replace them all. Write to Sen. Joe Donnelly; tell him what you think of his GOP-Lite voting record.

  8. Pete’s comment on the 15th:

    “I believe that liberals in Congress which is almost exactly the same as Democrats in Congress have to DELAY, DELAY, DELAY this decision until 2019 if we are going to return the country to the Constitution of a LIberal Democracy as it was written. Unfortunately that still means it will be a political appointment, but one that makes the common sense of the court as a whole closer to common in the sense of broad representative of we the people.”

    At first glance, I didn’t take Pete’s advice. That’s my problem. Pete’s imagination beats mine. The reason we can’t delay the decision is that we have absolutely no defense, as I have been trying to explain. With an adequate defense in place which would allow for a counter-attack against this absurd nomination, we just might DELAY the decision to 2019. Let’s don’t give up the ship, just yet.

    It’s mainly a DESIGN PROBLEM. We need a crash program like the Manhattan Project to fix it. There’s still time.

  9. Our problems began half of our lives before now and will not go away in less time than it took to impose them on us. We need to conduct a war, not a battle, to win back what was taken away from us.

    Agent Orange is like Hitler, perhaps instrumental in our problems but not the one herding us into the showers.

    For others who might be WWII history buffs it revealed to me the complexity of victory in global war like it was. The planning, the logistics, the intelligence, the long term strategy as well as day by day changing reality, planning for after victory as well as before. Yet, we pulled it off under superb leadership at all levels.

    It’s so much more relaxing to sit at home just throwing words at the problem than to be on the front lines.

    The other thing my curiosity taught me about war is winning is founded on moving forward without certainty. Planning to win by not stopping ever no matter the news from the front. Every day a new day, as uncertain as yesterday but another in which to do something that could advance the cause. For the vast majority of the individual efforts that our victory was built on the key decision was the one to join the fight. Sorry mom and dad, I can’t sit this one out, it’s just more important than I am.

    I am not Eisnhower by such a long stretch but I can contribute. I can do something today and tomorrow and the next day and believe that the news on Nov 6 will indicate progress.

    That’s the least that I can do.

  10. I mistakenly posted comments on the wrong blog; please read my comments after Pete’s comments on “A Partisan Supreme Court”, I was unable to copy and paste it here. It is important on today’s blog and for my personal concerns regarding my post on Facebook. Thanks

  11. Todd @ 7:01 am >> Joe Crowley tumbled in New York and now he says he’ll run as an independent. Diane Feinstein just went down in Cali. More coming…

    The television broadcasting pundits talk about “fringe left” or “marginalized left” as if it’s a radical element. It’s a people-centered element. Research the Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America. This is where the young people are taking us.<<<

    You are correct the Corporate Establishment Press and by extension the Corporate Establishment Democratic Party is doing whatever it takes to shove candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Joe Crowley into the extreme left.

    Crowley managed a gig on"Face the Nation" on Sunday. As a contrast in reporting, see below.

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convened over the weekend, no news on CNN or MSDNC about it, just more on Trump, Trump, and Trump. Bernie Sanders spoke to the AFT, but in keeping with the Bernie Black- Out – No news on it in the McMega-Media. Sanders said among other things: "Giving tax breaks to billionaires, spending unlimited sums on the military, and telling us we do not have enough money for education [are] not the priorities that the people of this country want to see." " The top 25 hedge fund managers of Wall Street make more money than all of the kindergarten teachers in this country combined."

    Recently, I watched part of a TV program – Toothless in Virginia: Pain relief for the uninsured of America

    In the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, hundreds of people gather at dawn at a rural airport's parking lot, to be the first in the queue for free medical and dental attention at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) pop up clinic.

    They are people without insurance who in many cases have driven for hours just to relieve an unbearable toothache or heal infections that might've been there for years.

    They're greeted by hundreds of volunteers, doctors, dentists and even a Syrian refugee ready to help them.

    What News Network broadcasted it??? Well not FOX, CNN, or MSDNC but the BBC. A program about failed dental or medical care in America has to come from the BBC.

    Our McMega-Media here in the USA is a complete total failure as an information source of news, unless you are addicted to Trump News.

  12. The Trump speech today ridiculed and called his own country ‘stupid’, sending us quite a bit further down the river. Likely the Volga. Putin=100, USA=Zip. There must be a big dose of treason somewhere in that speech! He needs to go…today!

  13. Betty,

    What would be TREASON to many of us, is only the necessary process of establishing WHITE HEGEMONY to him and the vast majority of his followers.

  14. Marv, afraid you’re right, my friend. Dark day for us. Really dark. So far, nothing has been bad enough for the loyals. As I used to ask Dad on long trips, ‘Are we there yet?’ If we’re not there yet, we’re closer than we’ve ever been. The clock is ticking.

  15. Susan Brooks responded to my letter asking her to restore Net Neutrality by citing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Net Neutrality is harmful and these new rules are needed (also up is down and true is false).

    Telecoms have always wanted to own The Internet. In Europe, they tried to invent it, but each country’s telecom wanted ownership. In this country, the tax payers paid for it and it works. When Europe finally created a unified standard, we incorporated it to create one Internet for the world. And the telecoms still want control.

    Certain things that need to be standardized really shouldn’t be proprietary. If you switch Internet providers, you don’t need to buy a new computer; if you switch phone carriers, you might need a new phone. The World Wide Web was created with the idea that every web page could be easily read on any web browser. Not now. I work for a very large IT consulting firm and half of our internal sites work on one browser while the rest work on a different one. I often say that Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the web) would be turning in his grave — but he is still alive.

    As for California, remember that Republican adage: The government that is closest to the people governs best — as long as it is controlled by Republicans. They believe that the states should be free to experiment with stricter abortion laws and looser gun laws — but not the other way around.

  16. Betty,

    We both have strong BODILY-KINESTHETIC intelligence. It allows us to see the present political environment much better than most of the commenters on this blog for multiple reasons which I’m not getting into in this post.

    Theory of multiple intelligences
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    “The theory of multiple intelligences differentiates human intelligence into specific ‘modalities’, rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability. Howard Gardner proposed this model in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. According to the theory, an intelligence ‘modality’ must fulfill eight criteria.

    Gardner proposed eight abilities that he held to meet these criteria:

    intrapersonal, and

    Although the distinction between intelligences has been set out in great detail, Gardner opposes the idea of labeling learners to a specific intelligence. Gardner maintains that his theory should “empower learners”, not restrict them to one modality of learning. According to Gardner, an intelligence is “a bio-psychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture.” According to a 2006 study, each of the domains proposed by Gardner involves a blend of the general g factor, cognitive abilities other than g, and, in some cases, non-cognitive abilities or personality characteristics.

    Intelligence modalities:

    Further information: Gross motor skill and Fine motor skill

    The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one’s bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully. Gardner elaborates to say that this also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses.

    People who have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should be generally good at physical activities such as sports, dance, acting, and making things.

    Gardner believes that careers that suit those with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence include: athletes, dancers, musicians, actors, builders, police officers, and soldiers. Although these careers can be duplicated through virtual simulation, they will not produce the actual physical learning that is needed in this intelligence.”

  17. The unsubscribe button doesn’t work; it just “subscribes.” Just trying to reduce the amount of emails I get daily….

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