By the time most you of are reading this, the Federal Communication Commission will have changed the rules regarding regulation of the internet, despite a survey showing 83% of registered voters oppose such a move.
Critics say FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan allows service providers to control download speeds, limit or block access to certain websites, and charge consumers extra fees for broader access.
Pai says rules restricting internet service providers (ISPs) enacted during the Obama administration treating the internet as a common carrier are unnecessarily heavy‐handed and stifle innovation.
He also says there is no evidence companies would take advantage of deregulation, despite Verizon (his former employers) having successfully sued to do just that, one of the things prompting the FCC’s move during the Obama administration.
As John Oliver pointed out in his 2017 HBO series NSFW rant on the subject of Net Neutrality, in 2011 the major carriers blocked access to Google Pay, a smartphone-based payment system, in favor of their own unfortunately named system called ISIS.
Pai has attempted to lighten up his image as a corporate tool, as this article on Vulture.com points out:
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a bureaucrat who revels in his nerd status. He sips coffee from an oversized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup mug, and also is out to slash net neutrality at its root, according to John Oliver. On Last Week Tonight, Oliver put Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, in his crosshairs in a follow-up segment to his viral net neutrality rant from 2014. Pai plays dumb when it comes to putting internet service providers (or ISPs) under stricter oversight from the FCC to ensure they enable users access to content from all over internet without bias.
“The dangerous thing about Pai is that he presents himself as a fun, down-to-earth nerd,” Oliver said. “The kind of guy whose Twitter feed is full of quotes from The Big Lebowski. He quotes it all the time. And look, quoting The Big Lebowski is fine in certain contexts, for example if you’re an actor and it’s 1998 and you’re filming the movie The Big Lebowski, but it is completely intolerable in any other context.”
There may be a darker side to the FCC chairman, one surfacing early on Thursday via Twitter. I’m not sure what all this means, other than an indication Pai likes to play with some not nice people with a track record of aiming to suppress free speech and supporting patriarchy.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s an explainer for the discredited PizzaGate conspiracy theory? (Which is why it’s no longer posted on YouTube)
Ajit Pai Wants The Internet To Know You Can Still Harlem Shake After Net Neutrality Is Gone pic.twitter.com/IvCXv1fEZq
— LB classic (@LydiaBurrell) December 14, 2017
Ha! Ha! Fun stuff, eh? Except that this video with the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission was produced and distributed by the Proud Boys.
In San Diego we know the Proud Boys from their disruptive and threatening activities at the July 2 Impeachment Rally at the County Administration Building, one of many around the nation:
The situation in San Diego at the County Administration Building was different, as Sheriff’s Deputies initially stood by idly and watched as members of the ‘Proud Boys’ disrupted, threatened and harassed attendees and speakers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center called this group an “Alt-Right Fight Club” in an article following the April street fighting in Berkeley, California. Many of the disrupters came down from Orange County. Some wore helmets and appeared as though they were ready for combat; others kept their battle gear tethered to their belts or hidden under American flag capes they wore.
Wired.com’s Handy Field Guide to the Many Factions of the Far Right, describes them as follows:
The Proud Boys, who claim to espouse “Western chauvinism,” are a fratty, white power-y redux of the Men’s Rights movement—except they say it’s not about race, and that honoring a traditional patriarchal domestic structure isn’t sexist. Less central to their beliefs but mostly just hilarious, their name comes from an *Aladdin *song called “Proud of Your Boy.” They also happen to be led by mustachioed Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes. And if the rumors are true, their initiation proceedings include getting a tattoo and abstaining from masturbation, getting jumped in in a ritual that looks a lot like a pile of puppies, and beating up an antifascist.
Other local activities I know of the Proud Boys engaging in include an attempt to disrupt a meeting held by supporters of then-candidate for the 50th Congressional District seat, Pierre Beauregard, and allegations they were the instigators of violence at the Border Wall Rally on December 9th.
The unbecoming activities of the Trump administration’s various appointees seem to be never-ending, whether it’s being indicted, being kicked out of the White House, or hanging out with extremists.
Coming back around to the issue of Net Neutrality and the FCC, Laura Flanders observations provide a historical context for the current schemes:
Let’s face it, the FCC’s mission, to regulate communications media in the public interest, has been beaten to a pulp by politicians of both parties over the last two decades. Now Trump’s FCC chair, Ajit Pai wants to kill the wounded agency off, and he may do it, to all intents and purposes, at the Commission’s meeting this December 14th.
The FCC date s back close almost a century to a time when new technology was bursting with potential and open to use or abuse, with devastating implications for democracy. Its mission was forged by movements who understood that the nation teetered on a brink. Would the US be the land of misogyny, white supremacy, militarism, anti-semitism and anti-immigrant bias, or something better?
Would monopoly capitalism accumulate unchecked? The social justice movements of the 1920s and 30s disagreed about many things, but they understood from experience that no one of them stood a chance of shifting power or displacing arrogance without a functioning public information exchange. The future of the nation would only go one way if only those who could pay could have a say.
As the subhead for above article at Common Dreams noted:
If we don’t start learning from our history and perhaps repeating some of it, we might as well start burning books.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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