03/1/15

Net Neutrality: “Young fool … Only now, at the end, do you understand.”

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton


Emperor Palpatine. Photograph: Allstar

We keep hearing, from the saviors in Washington, DC, how government regulation is the answer and how “evil monopolies” (created, incidentally, by other government regulations) are responsible for all our trials and tribulations and the “fundamental unfairness” of the Internet as she is currently wrote.

Obligatory movie quote:

“No. No government. I know those people. Absolutely not.” – Col. Ira Kane

Yeah, it’s a movie. It’s also absolutely right.

The founder of Broadcast.com, Mark Cuban, has recently been vociferous in his opposition to so-called “Net Neutrality” with his most recent public appearance on the subject in an interview where he breaks it down. His effort to “plain-language” the argument notwithstanding, and frankly, it’s a subject that should not be oversimplified, he laid out the unintended consequences dominoes and how this “everything is equal” push plays out in terms of common services.

Now, you might want to shrug Mark Cuban off as “some rich guy who owns a sports team” and clearly that’s being done a lot, but don’t forget how he got rich: he pioneered live broadcasting over the Internet. He’s not some political hack, evil cable company exec, or mushy thinking me-too “fairness uber alles” flag waver. He is, for once, someone who knows what the hell he’s talking about.

Net Neutrality, like so many political labels, is a “fair sounding” name that hides the actual motives and consequences of the real world implementations we will experience after the seemingly inevitable adoption of this latest government overreach.

It won’t be fair. It won’t be optimum. And the right answer will never even be mentioned, never mind entertained: deregulate the cable and broadband space to eliminate the protected monopolies.

The broadband space needs more competition, not less; needs less regulation, not more. Companies like Google laying fiber? Cox, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast suddenly no longer have a free pass.

Otherwise? The cynical and dystopian view?

One of the unavoidable dominoes will be broad censorship. Once the deprioritization of broadcast packets leads to the epic traffic jam that will reduce the Web’s US speeds to worse than those found in Europe, the government of the day will, once again, have to “save us” from this “unforseen” outcome and their clever plan will include limiting who can “legitimately” have bandwidth preferences, since clearly “legitimate” news outlets need to bypass the buffering jams that will afflict TV signalling and once dot-gov starts adjudicating who’s a “real” news or other “essential” service, licensing will naturally follow, and then “standards” of what is “acceptable” traffic.

At which point, whichever political party is in power at that time will have the distinct advantage of licensing whomever they deem to be more politically correct in their eyes. “Neutrality” on the ‘Net? Yeah, not so much.

We’re in the hands of fools and corrupt bureaucrats. Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission held a faux meeting on open Internet rules and access to broadband Internet. Commissioner Ajit Pai made a statement before the FCC vote to take unprecedented control over the internet with a secret plan. Yes, secret. Secret as in no exposure to the public or Congress prior to its enactment. What follows is the transcript of his comments – in echoes of Obamacare, this had to pass before we could know what was in it. Except, they are still keeping it under wraps. It must be very, very bad indeed.

From Breitbart:

“The Wall Street Journal reports that it was developed through ‘an unusual secretive effort inside the White House.’ Indeed, White House officials, according to the Journal, functioned as a parallel version of the FCC. Their work led to the president’s announcement in November of his plan for internet regulation, a plan which the report says blindsided the FCC and swept aside months of work by Chairman Wheeler toward a compromise. Now, of course, a few insiders were clued in about what was transpiring. Here’s what a leader for the government-funded group Fight for the Future had to say, ‘We’ve been hearing for weeks from our allies in D.C that the only thing that could stop FCC chairman Tom Wheeler from moving ahead with his sham proposal to gut net neutrality was if we could get the president to step in. So we did everything in our power to make that happen. We took the gloves off and played hard, and now we get to celebrate a sweet victory. Congratulations. what the press has called the parallel FCC at the White House opened its door to a plethora of special interest activists. Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Public Knowledge, just to name a few. Indeed, even before activists were blocking the chairman’s driveway late last year, some of them had met with executive branch officials.

“But what about the rest of the American people? They certainly couldn’t get White House meetings. They were shut out of the process altogether. They were being played for fools. And the situation didn’t improve once the White House announced President Obama’s plan, and ‘asked’ the FCC to implement it. The document in front of us today differs dramatically from the proposal that the FCC put out for comment last May, and it differs so dramatically that even zealous net neutrality advocates frantically rushed in, in recent days, to make last-minute filings, registering their concerns that the FCC might be going too far. Yet, the American people, to this day, have not been allowed to see President Obama’s plan. It has remained hidden.

“Especially given the unique importance of the internet, Commissioner O’Rielly and I ask for the plan to be released to the public. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune and House of Representatives Chairman did the same. According to a survey last week by a respected democratic polling firm, 79% of the American people favored making the document public. Still, the FCC has insisted on keeping it behind closed doors. We have to pass President Obama’s 317-page plan so the American people can find out what’s in it. This isn’t how the FCC should operate. We should be an independent agency making decisions in a transparent manner based on the law and the facts in the record.

“We shouldn’t be a rubber stamp for political decisions made by the White House. And we should have released this plan to the public, solicited their feedback, incorporated that input into the plan, and then proceeded to a vote. There was no need for us to resolve this matter today. There is no immediate crisis in the internet marketplace that demands immediate action. now. The backers of the president’s plan know this. But they also know that the details of this plan cannot stand up to the light of day. They know that the more the American people learn about it, the less they will like it. That is why this plan was developed behind closed doors at the White House. And that is why the plan has remained hidden from public view.

“These aren’t my only concerns. Even a cursory look at the plan reveals glaring legal plans that are sure to mire the agency in the muck of litigation for a long, long time. but rather than address them today, I will reserve them for my written statement. At the beginning of this proceeding, I quoted Google’s former CEO, who once said, the internet is the first thing that humanity has built, that humanity doesn’t understand. This proceeding makes it abundantly clear that the FCC still doesn’t get it. but the American people clearly do. The proposed government regulation of the internet has awakened a sleeping giant. I’m optimistic we’ll look back on today’s vote as a temporary deviation from the bipartisan consensus that’s served us so well. I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future commission, But I do believe its days are numbered. For all of those reasons, I dissent.”

Pai warned that the public and Silicon Valley were in for an unpleasant surprise. While that was being said, Demand Progress and Free Press, headed by Robert McChesney, flew a 2,000 square foot banner over the towering corporate headquarters of the cable giant Comcast, in Philadelphia, that showed Grumpy Cat and the legend: “Comcast: Don’t Mess With the Internet. #SorryNotSorry.” Referring to Pai’s comments, Evan Greer, Campaigns Director at Fight for the Future, had this to say: “What they didn’t know is that when they struck down the last rules we would come back more powerful than they could possibly imagine.” And that is exactly what happened – the Left surged, with Obama’s help and guidance and $196 million from George Soros, to come in and nationalize the Internet and communications. Obama has nationalized the banks, student loans, housing, healthcare and now the Internet. Americans walk around fancying that they live in a Republic that is no more. Marxism rules the red, white and blue now.

Not only will this stifle innovation and raise taxes massively, as well as costs… it opens us to UN intervention, which is exactly what Obama has in mind. You will see that basically your TV and Internet will become one as a utility. Higher costs, with slower speeds and horrid customer service await us. Not to mention, the Fairness Doctrine. Many of our blogs, such as this one, may cease to exist under these fascist rules.

Heed the words of Republican FCC commissioner Mike O’Rielly, when he states: “When you see this document, it’s worse than you imagine.” Of that, I have no doubt. I knew this was coming, but when it happened last week, a very cold shiver went down my spine. For the first time, genuine fear wormed its way into my being. I immediately squashed it and went back to work. I’m not that easily defeated.

The FCC on Thursday voted through strict new rules to regulate broadband and protect net neutrality – the principle that all information and services should have equal access to the internet. That is pure Socialism and worse. Few have seen the actual regulations – a number of Leftist organizations have, the White House who crafted this monstrosity in secret has, and Google who rewrote a portion of it has. We won’t get to see this baby until next week at the earliest.

From The Guardian:

Pai said the new rules would mean “permission-less innovation is a thing of the past”. The new rules will ban broadband providers from creating fast lanes for some or slowing the traffic of others for commercial reasons. They will also give the FCC the power to police conduct by broadband providers on a case-by-case basis.

Internet service providers will not be allowed to “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” consumers’ access to content and services.

O’Rielly said this would mean that any company looking to start a new service would have to seek permission ahead of time. He said anybody looking for new business opportunities in the document would be best off becoming a “telecoms lawyer”.

While the wording seems to confine this permission-first model to “services” such as NetFlix, Hulu, and things of that sort, what it will likely mean tomorrow, as scope creep is engaged, is that you would no longer just be able to start a new business or even a blog online, unless you get permission from the government. Is that the “change” everyone wanted? Well, here it is. This echoes the nationalization of the press in Venezuela and other dictatorial provinces.

From National Review:

Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.

The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.

It’s not just the conservative Right that now fears these moves… Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute, issued a statement that net neutrality “endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.” This will destroy the last domain of true freedom in America. Right on target for a Communist agenda.

Robert McChesney, the Marxist head of Free Press, made his stance on his goals crystal clear: At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website Socialist Project in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he told the Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” McChesney has come a long way… the Marxists know that if they get control of the military and communications, they can change the political structure of the US into a bonafide dictatorship. We’re here folks, they’ve done it.

We’re not done yet though… I suspect there will be a massive fight in Congress over this. If they can’t overturn it legislatively, they will try and starve it through funding. And the lawsuits and legal problems for the Marxists who have orchestrated this go on forever. The Republicans so far have been a massive, deadly disappointment. They better find their spines and stand against this. Between all the scandals, Amnesty, 2nd Amendment issues and this, the country is on the very edge of a civil uprising.

When the quislings in Silicon Valley finally wake up after this, they aren’t going to like what they have wrought. There will be unintended consequences galore and they’ll proclaim: “We couldn’t have seen this coming!” Oh, but you could have if you had any foresight at all. Quoting Emperor Palpatine, Republican Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said: “Young fool … Only now, at the end, do you understand.”

02/5/15

Can You Handle the Truth About Vaccines?

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

NBC accuses Republicans of accepting bad “science” on vaccines, while Fox News fires back, accusing liberals of spreading bad “science” on vaccines. Each side is trying to score partisan political points. The message from both sides is that vaccines are completely safe. But that message is absolutely and demonstrably false.

As I noted in a recent column, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists to compensate victims of vaccines. The latest Statistics Report shows nearly 4,000 claims were awarded financial damages.

Why do both sides of this “debate” pretend that vaccine-related injuries do not occur? Why not just report the facts? It doesn’t take a lot of work to dig them out.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) tells me that she has given more than 100 interviews in the last two weeks on the subject of the measles outbreak, but that the media simply will NOT report on the existence of this federal program and the implications for the subject of vaccine safety.

“Vaccines are the only pharmaceutical products that government mandates and completely indemnifies,” she notes. She is referring to federal legislation that takes legal responsibility for their actions away from the companies making the vaccines.

“I’ve been talking about it in every interview I do and I have been bringing it up. But whenever I talk about liability protection for the companies—that this is the only pharmaceutical product that is mandated by government and indemnified by government—they [the media] don’t want to talk about it,” she said.

Observers believe the glaring omission reflects the power of pharmaceutical companies or their advertising agencies in the major media. It is in the interest of these companies to make pariahs out of those favoring vaccine choice by playing down—or even suppressing—questions about vaccine safety.

Simply put, the evidence and history show that the vaccine makers have been given total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines. Vaccine safety is not “settled science,” as we have been hearing repeatedly in the media. To the contrary, for purposes of the law, vaccines are considered sometimes unsafe, even deadly.

The “Vaccine injury table” associated with the legislation includes a list of the injuries, disabilities, illnesses, conditions, and deaths resulting from the administration of such vaccines.

But why is it so difficult for the media to report on the existence of these health problems?

The vaccines that are covered include:

  • diptheria and tetanus vaccines
  • pertussis vaccines
  • measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines
  • polio vaccines
  • hepatitis A vaccines
  • hepatitis B vaccines
  • Haemophilus influenza type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines
  • varicella vaccines
  • rotavirus vaccines
  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
  • seasonal influenza vaccines
  • human papillomavirus vaccines
  • meningococcal vaccines

As I reported in my column, the one exception to this drumbeat of misleading and inaccurate coverage about “vaccine safety” is on the local level, where correspondent Michael Chen of ABC 10 News in San Diego, California noted a case of a boy who suffered serious injuries, including fever, seizures, nervous tics and autism, as a result of two vaccines. The mother, almost in tears as she described what happened to her son, was paid $55,000 in damages through the federal program. But the damage award didn’t cover the autism diagnosis. She said she wished she had more thoroughly researched the safety of vaccines.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program grew out of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Fisher explains what happened: “The companies threatened Congress that they were going to leave the people without any childhood vaccines if they did not get liability protection. The companies wanted this liability protection and it was mainly for losses at that time for DPT and oral polio vaccine. MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine at that point was a relatively new combination vaccine.”

The DPT vaccine had been associated with brain inflammation and brain damage, while polio paralysis can be caused by the vaccine.

Fisher explains what the federal protection means for the companies: “Nobody who makes or profits from the sale of the vaccine, nobody who regulates the vaccine, who promotes the vaccine, who votes to mandate the vaccine—nobody is accountable or liable in a civil court of law in front of a jury of our peers when we get hurt because we’ve been told we have to take it, or when the vaccine fails to work.”

The compensation program, with total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 2011 case in which vaccines were acknowledged to be “unavoidably unsafe.”

My column actually underestimated the total financial damages paid through the program. The figure is actually $2.8 billion to the victims or the families of victims themselves.

Liberal and conservative media are trying to make political points over who’s right and wrong about vaccine safety. But Fisher says people who support her group and vaccine choice come from across the political spectrum and include Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents. In the media, however, each side is trying to smear the other side, as if there is a partisan divide.

The coverage has led to cases of strange bedfellows, such as the George Soros-funded blog Think Progress running a story praising Megyn Kelly of Fox News under the headline, “Megyn Kelly Speaks Up For Mandatory Vaccination On Fox: ‘Some Things Do Require Big Brother.’”

Indeed, Kelly defended mandatory vaccines, saying, “…some things do require some involvement of Big Brother.”

What she and many others in the media have consistently ignored is the role of Big Brother in shielding the companies making the vaccines from the side effects of their products.

As I asked in my column: If there are no problems associated with vaccines, then why did Congress pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created a national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

The media on the left and right have no answer to this question. So they pretend there is no debate or dispute over the safety of vaccines. They simply point fingers about one side or the other being guilty of ignoring what they pretend is settled science.

The only thing “settled” about the science is that while vaccines work for a large majority of people, they can also cause serious health problems, even death, for some.

The commentators who ignore the truth are either lying or so utterly ignorant that they should not be in a position of offering “news” on a national basis. Whatever the case, the public is being denied the facts about decisions affecting the lives of their children. Fortunately, the public can go to sites like www.aim.org and the National Vaccine Information Center for information that is being denied to them.

A troubling aspect of the current debate is how people in the media act like experts on subjects that they know so little about. They seem to think that by huffing and puffing and sounding authoritative, they will be taken seriously. They have large staffs which seem incapable of making phone calls or doing elementary research.

If news organizations on the left and right can’t even dig out the facts in life-and-death matters involving children, then what can they be trusted to report accurately on?