May 17

The FCC Issues its Proposal on Net Neutrality as Protesters Are Tossed from Hearing (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 16, 2014):

As spring unfolds here in the Northern Hemisphere, the future of the free and open Internet hangs in the balance. As such, I strongly believe everyone should have at least some understanding of what is at stake. When most people hear or read the words “net neutrality” their eyes glaze over with a feeling of confusion and despair: “I can’t remember, am I supposed to be for or against this?” This is exactly how the lawyers and lobbyists in D.C. want it, but unless the citizenry is informed we could lose the most important weapon of free speech in the history of mankind.

Recognizing the convoluted nature of the subject, I did my best to lay out what “net neutrality” is and what is at stake with the current FCC rule-making process in my recent post: Say Goodbye to “Net Neutrality” – New FCC Proposal Will Permit Discrimination of Web Content.
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Apr 25

Everything You Need To Know About The End Of Net Neutrality (Huffington Post, Updated April 25, 2014):

It may be the end of the Internet as we know it.

That was the reaction from consumer advocates and some websites after the Federal Communications Commission announced new rules governing Internet service on Thursday. The rules effectively put an end to net neutrality, or the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally.

“Definitely, consumers are the losers,” said Todd O’Boyle, a program director at Common Cause, a left-leaning public interest lobbying group. “The sites they rely on on a daily basis may not work in a way they’ve come to rely on.”

The FCC insists, however, that the new rules would not harm Internet users. In a blog post Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said there had been “a great deal of misinformation” about the proposal, which he said would not permit “behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet.”

Here are some key points to understand regarding the changes:

What is net neutrality and why is this happening?

Net neutrality is the idea that your Internet provider must treat all Web traffic equally. A court decision in January struck down FCC rules meant to ensure that Internet providers do not discriminate by blocking or slowing certain content.

That decision opened the door for Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut deals with content providers, which would pay to stream their content in an Internet “fast lane.”

After the ruling, the FCC said it would revise its rules. That’s what happened Thursday.

What do the new rules say?

The new rules would allow companies like Netflix to pay Internet providers to stream their videos and other content more quickly. That could create two lanes on the Internet, fast super-highways that big tech companies can afford and a bumpy backroad where less fortunate websites dwell, consumer advocates say.

Verizon, which sued the FCC for the right to cut such deals, said Thursday that it had no intention of preventing customers from viewing certain sites.

Verizon and other Internet providers “have always made clear that we support an open Internet and we have publicly committed to ensuring that customers can access the Internet content they want, when they want and how they want,” the company said in a statement.

The FCC said these deals would still be fair because Internet providers would be required to reveal how they handle traffic, how much they charge companies for access to fast lanes, and whether they’ve given preferential treatment to their own content.

That last part could become especially important as Internet providers are increasingly becoming entertainment companies. AT&T said this week it plans to launch a new online video service. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which includes 30 cable networks, 26 local TV stations and part of the streaming service Hulu.

Internet providers would be required to act in a “commercially reasonable manner,” according to the FCC, which will vote on the proposed rules later this year.

What could that mean for me, in English, please?

First off, the web could get more expensive. The impact on the average Internet user will likely not be felt right away. But over time, websites would probably pass on to consumers the costs of paying for high-speed access, according to Harold Feld, a senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge.

In addition, it could become difficult to view certain websites owned by companies that can’t afford to pay for access to an Internet fast lane, Feld said.

On top of Internet users potentially paying more, they would also be more confused, Feld said. Under the proposed rules, people would need to make sense of a fragmented Internet landscape where the time it takes to load an online video would depend on whether that website paid extra to their Internet provider. Consumers may start choosing their Internet providers based on which websites they like to visit.

Feld compared the situation to the exclusive deals that AT&T and Apple once made that only allowed AT&T subscribers to purchase the iPhone.

This sounds pretty frustrating.

It would be. Under the FCC’s proposed rules, the quality of online streaming services like Netflix or HBO Go would depend on whether those services are paying your Internet provider or not, Feld said.

“It will become more fragmented and more frustrating,” he added.

The proposed rules could affect not just entertainment, but also education. If schools use an online curriculum made by a company that cut a deal with Verizon, students who subscribe to Verizon’s Internet service at home would have an advantage over other students who subscribe to another provider, Feld said.

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Apr 24

The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality. Don’t get mad – get even (The Guardian, April 24, 2014):

The former cable and wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler is re-writing rules in favor of the telecom giants – not you, me or the internet. Here’s what you can do to stop him

In January, a federal appeals court rejected regulations designed to assure some measure of fairness in the way America’s internet service providers (ISPs) handle information traveling through their networks. The problem, according to the court, was not so much that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) couldn’t insist on what is called “network neutrality” – the idea that customers, rather than ISPs, should decide priorities for information they get online. No, the issue was that the FCC had tried to impose broadband rules under the wrong regulatory framework. And the court all but invited the FCC to fix its own mistake and rewrite its own updated rules.

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Apr 24

The FCC Wants To Break The Internet

Unless Defeated, New FCC Rules Will Put ‘Stake in Internet’s Heart’ (Common Dreams, April 24, 2014):

Critics of the new rules say that this could be the moment the internet as we know it will die if the people do not rise to its defense

Defenders of an open, innovative and fair internet are up in arms Thursday after learning the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rule proposals that will kill the online principle known as “net neutrality.”

The death of net neutrality—which has governed the equal treatment of content since the internet was created—will create, say critics, a tiered internet that allows major internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut special and lucrative deals with content providers who can afford to pay for special “fast lanes.” The result will be an internet that will incentivize slower traffic by ISPs and the creation of privatized, corporate-controlled “toll-roads” that will come to dominate a once fair and free environment.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst.”
—Todd O’Boyle, Common Cause

As reported by variousoutlets, the  new rules have been circulated by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to the other members of the commission and will be officially announced on Thursday.

“With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet,” said Craig Aaron, president of the media advocacy group Free Press. “Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls. These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.”

Chairman Wheeler defended the new proposals and denied the rule changes were an attack on the open internet, but Aaron rejected those claims and said that trying to argue these new rules protect net neutrality is an insult.

“This is not Net Neutrality,” he stated. “It’s an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise. The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law. Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won’t protect Internet users.”

“Everyday users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.”
—Craig Aaron, Free Press

Those who have fought hardest to protect the idea of a free and equal digital playing field for all users, however, said Wheeler’s claims don’t pass the laugh test and rebuked the Chairman’s proposals in the strongest possible terms.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, told the New York Times. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”

And speaking with Time magazine, Lauren Weinsten, a veteran tech-policy expert and prominent Net-neutrality advocate, said: “This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.”

She continued: “The nation’s largest Internet service providers have hit the ultimate jackpot. These companies keep secret all of the information needed to evaluate whether violations of Internet openness have occurred, and because the FCC moves so slowly, by the time it acts, a company that’s been victimized could be out of business.”

And Free Press’ Aaron put particular emphasis on the perverse incentives the new rules would create, explaining:

“This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.” 
—Lauren Weinsten, tech expert

The FCC apparently doesn’t realize the dangerous incentives these rules would create. The routing of data on the Internet is a zero-sum game. Unless there is continual congestion, no website would pay for priority treatment. This means the FCC’s proposed rules will actually produce a strong incentive for ISPs to create congestion through artificial scarcity. Not only would this outcome run counter to the FCC’s broader goals, it actually undermines the so-called Section 706 legal basis for these rules.

This proposal is short-sighted and should be strenuously opposed by the broader Internet community — including millions of Americans who have urged Chairman Wheeler and his predecessors to safeguard the open Internet. The only parties cheering this idea on will be the largest ISPs who stand to profit from discrimination. We urge Chairman Wheeler’s colleagues not to support this item as currently drafted and demand nothing less than real Net Neutrality.

Both Common Cause and Free Press have already posted petitions on their sites where concerned citizens can voice their opposition and join the fight to oppose the FCC’s new rules.

The Free Press petition states, in part:

People everywhere understand that the Internet is a crucial driver of free speech, innovation, education, economic growth, creativity and so much more. They demand real Net Neutrality rules that protect Internet users from corporate abuse.

But the Federal Communications Commission is proposing rules that would kill — rather than protect — Net Neutrality and allow rampant discrimination online.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one could do anything about it.

We must stop the FCC from moving forward with these rules, which would give the green light to ISPs eager to crush Net Neutrality.

The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by designating broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. Anything else is an attack on our rights to connect and communicate.

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Oct 24

11/9/2011 … what a perfect, appropriate date!

See also:

FEMA Plans First-Ever Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test


Did You Know Feds Will Temporarily Cut Off All TV and Radio Broadcasts on Nov. 9? (The Blaze, Oct. 22, 2011):

If you have ever wondered about the government’s ability to control the civilian airwaves, you will have your answer on November 9th.

On that day, federal authorities are going to shut off all television and radio communications simultaneously at 2:00PM EST to complete the first ever test of the national Emergency Alert System (EAS).

This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory. The upcoming test is posted on the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau website.

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Oct 21

… on 11/9/2011.


FEMA Plans First-Ever Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test (National League of Cities, Oct. 10, 2011):

On November 9, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), a test that will last for approximately three minutes.

The EAS is a system designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the public at the national, state, and local levels.

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Jun 18

Related articles:
FEMA: It’s Not About Floods, It’s About Martial Law

Where Is FEMA?

Police State 2008 Paul Craig Roberts, a Republican who worked in the Reagan administration:
“Homeland that is a Nazi term.”
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Back in the beginning of the Bushwhacker’s second coming, in the personage of the George W. Bush a gargantuan fraud was perpetrated upon the public. This was not a single deadly wound inflicted on society, but a thing that continues to kill us in a multiplicity of ways that has continued to deepen with every passing week. Even the name of this fraud is as deceptive, as are its purposes.

The program was called ‘HOMELAND Security’, and the name came straight out of Nazi manuals that were used in the late nineteen- thirties. To obtain passage of this Trojan Horse, FEMA was used as the excuse for the merging of 22 separate agencies into a single monster that, because of its size alone would be able to fix everything that threatened America or Americans. However once established, the Department of Homeland Security began to erase the individual reasons for the existence of each department that all 22 agencies had once been part of.

Like the viper that has two fangs to inject its deadly poisons, DHS itself is just another aspect of Doublespeak, because there is no “HOMELAND” in this country of immigrants and there can be no ‘security’ in a nation without laws. DHS is killing us with distortions and lies from each and every level of this massive bureaucracy, having turned the language itself on its head.

In practical terms, Homeland Security has sucked up all the social programming funding for itself, and recast those priorities into the servicing and maintenance of “War, War & Lots More War.” Every program that had to do with assisting the public to live well enough to succeed was plundered of its funds, stripped of its mandates, and reset to function a an agency dedicated to the destruction of the very things it was created to avert.

Environmental Protection became Environmental Destruction. Education became No Child Left Behind; as in: Everyone must be dumb enough to follow the leader without question. Child Care became Child neglect, no health insurance, no supplemental funds for food or medicine, shelter or job opportunities for the poor. And when violence or poverty kicks down the door of yet another family, Child Protective Services is there to take the children away and dump them into state institutions that will not care for them, but will instead insure that each becomes part of the next generation of failures: So much for protecting the smallest unit of any society. (1)

The same is true of every other government agency from the FDA and the FAA to the FCC ­ each agency is now dedicated to doing what each of these agencies, and hundreds of others, were created to prevent! A good example is the recent botulism in some of the food we eat. FEMA has taken over the control of monitoring where crops come from, and whether or not the foods in question are fit for human consumption. Many of the fruits and vegetables we consume come from beyond our borders, but neither the FDA, nor FEMA has any idea where these food products come from, or whether or not they are safe to eat. This is a concern given the fact that FDA has now allowed the use of non-potable water for agricultural uses. Hence among other abuses lemon skins now contain fecal matter that comes from this contaminated water: and that’s just one example.

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Apr 15

Fine print reveals that you have fewer rights than you might realize


The Comcast case is a rare example of the government getting into the ISP contract nitty-gritty. “There really should be an onus on the regulators to see this kind of thing is done correctly,” said Bob Williams, who deals with telecom and media issues at Consumers Union.

NEW YORK – What’s scary, funny and boring at the same time? It could be a bad horror movie. Or it could be the fine print on your Internet service provider’s contract.

Those documents you agree to — usually without reading — ostensibly allow your ISP to watch how you use the Internet, read your e-mail or keep you from visiting sites it deems inappropriate. Some reserve the right to block traffic and, for any reason, cut off a service that many users now find essential.

The Associated Press reviewed the “Acceptable Use Policies” and “Terms of Service” of the nation’s 10 largest ISPs — in all, 117 pages of contracts that leave few rights for subscribers.

“The network is asserting almost complete control of the users’ ability to use their network as a gateway to the Internet,” said Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Free Press, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group. “They become gatekeepers rather than gateways.”

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