Internet

No Thanks, Net Nannies

The FCC's proposals for new Internet regulations are based on bad data and bad assumptions.

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In the summary of its recent notice of proposed rule-making, the FCC praised the Web's success as a platform for innovation and expression and declared its intention to "seek the best means of preserving a free and open Internet." 

This opening statement of intent was meant to introduce the commission's proposed new net neutrality rules for Internet service providers. Instead, it serves to undercut them. Isn't it usually true that the best way of preserving a system that's almost universally agreed to be working quite well already is to leave it alone

Proponents of net neutrality would likely respond that it's necessary to preserve the Web's long-standing openness. Without tougher regulations, they might say, we could end up with a corporate-controlled Internet that stifles free speech, hurts innovators, and denies the public its rightful access to a powerful communications tool. And they might point to studies they argue prove their points.

But key reports being used to bolster the cause of net neutrality are flawed and unconvincing. And neutrality advocates have precious little in the way of hard data to back up their worries about an Internet broken by corporate control. 

Before announcing its proposed net neutrality rules, the FCC commissioned a study by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The 232-page report, which was recently released in draft form, examined global broadband policy, ranked outcomes by country on a variety of metrics, and reported that "the lowest prices and highest speeds are almost always offered by firms in markets where, in addition to an incumbent telephone company and a cable company, there are also competitors who entered the market, and built their presence, through use of open access facilities."

But according to George Ou, policy director for Digital Society, a tech-policy-focused non-profit funded by tech-industry group Arts + Labs, the report, which places U.S. broadband performance in the middle of the pack, relies heavily on misleading and likely erroneous data. 

For example, one metric ranks countries by fastest broadband speed offered by an incumbent provider. But the ranking relies on OECD reporting about the providers' advertised rates, which aren't always comparable across national borders. Residents of Japan, for instance, may have access to connections advertised at an ultra-fast 100 mbps, but, based on real-world usage data from Akamai, one of the web's leading providers of data storage, those connections frequently deliver actual speeds far slower than advertised.  

FCC officials have also reportedly cited another report showing numerous instances of blocking by ISPs. But according to Richard Bennett, a longtime software engineer and networking consultant who now serves as a tech-policy research fellow at the Information Technology and Information Foundation, the tool used to gather information on ISP blocking activity is unreliable, producing false positives on multiple tests.  

Indeed, although net neutrality advocates frequently insist that strict rules are necessary to prevent blocking and other bad behavior by ISPs, reported instances of troublesome blocking are few and far between. Moreover, they're unlikely to ever be a serious problem.

As economist Ev Ehrlich, who served as under secretary of commerce for economic affairs in the Clinton administration, recently pointed out, such accusations beg serious questions:

Who would possibly subscribe to an Internet provider that limited what content its subscribers could see or what innovations it could access? Who would buy broadband from a provider that announced "On my service, you can only trade with Schwab or buy music of iTunes or books from Amazon?" …Who would ever do business with a grinning-idiot provider who only let you get your content from sites that met with Fox's or MSNBC's approval? Why piss off half your customer base to keep the other half?"

And even if an ISP wanted to block political views, it simply wouldn't be possible to do so in any sustained way. As the libertarian Cato Institute's Tim Lee wrote in a 2008 paper on Net neutrality, "network owners have neither the technology nor the manpower to effectively filter content based on the views being expressed." Yet as Erhlich says, "that's the argument—that providers will do stuff like this that nobody wants and make it stick."

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Good Lord, what a disaster of a column.

    “network owners have neither the technology nor the manpower to effectively filter content based on the views being expressed.”

    Have they not heard of the Great Firewall of China?

    The ISPs are trying to batter companies like Google so they get paid on both ends of the connection. They’re also working on sneaky stuff like the ESPN/Verizon connection where only customers of some ISPs have access to certain parts of the web. That’s really kind of a stupid idea, but trying to graft a cable company rate structure on something like the Internet could end up with the cable company deciding that you can only see websites from companies your ISP has established relations with.

    1. The Great Firewall of China is a government entity, not a private one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G…..l_of_china

      If you’re referring to the ESPN website that you can watch live sports on, it’s not so much limited by your provider, but whether or not that provider would have the television broadcast rights for a given event.

    2. And if they do, you will leave to find another ISP. And enough will that the company will be forced to stop or go out of business. Thus, no one will bother doing it.

      Again, a problem the market will take care of WITHOUT costly government intervention.

  2. OMGosh there is NOTHING worse than a Net Nannie

    RT
    http://www.complete-privacy.at.tc

    1. Spambots.

      Next question…

  3. If anonymity guy really is the embryonic Singularity, at least we’re training him well.

  4. http://gizmodo.com/5391707/los…..e-scenario

    The problem with high speed internet is the lack of free market compeition. In my area, there is only one cable internet provider and from what I have read this is usually due to monopolistic deals with local municipalities. If internet service was a free market, net neutrality wouldn’t be an issue and we would all have Gigabit connections.

    1. The problem is customers that can’t differentiate between the Internet and their own Internet Service Provider.

      If you want to bitch about poor customer service from your local ISP which is in many ways related to local monoplies, then do so.

      But go somewhere else and don’t pollute a net neutrality discussion with your bitching.

      1. I have the whole internet on my laptop.

    2. You can buy satellite if anything, that;s always an option, they can’t block the sky.

      Complain to your local politicians that passed laws favoring the one company that operates. Hayek pretty much proved that monopolies are always the result of government interference in a market, and the forces of competition will destroy any monopoly. Esp for things like this, where more companies are going wireless and you don’t need to build a costly infrastructure, just like undeveloped world phone companies.

      1. Satellite is ridiculously slow and does not have the capacity to stream and download data. as for wireless, there are so many things that can cause RF interference (such as your microwave)that it is not 100% reliable. cable is still the best way to go.

  5. I thought the whole point of a distributed network like the internet was that it routed around damage.

    This whole conversation is bizarrely Orwellian:

    State control is freedom.

    1. Yup, the internet routes around damage. But strangely enough, so does technology in general. We’re on the verge of spontaneously emergent anonymous high speed wifi networks. That’s going to make the whole Net Neutrality argument pointless… Unless the government steps in to stop it. And sometimes I suspect that’s the secret goal of Net Neutrality…

      1. catMoze made a comment about WiMax a few months ago. That seems to fit in pretty well too.

  6. I’m not interested in regulation to protect me from a possible future boogie man. What needs to be done, is to get government regulation out of the picture to allow for competition that is currently stifled. Although, innovation is still finding ways around the regulation, if slowly.

  7. Obama Wish List

    Investment firms – check
    Banks – check
    Auto Companies – check
    Healthcare – developing…
    Internet – developing…

  8. CATO’s version of freedom strikes again.

  9. You’re out of your element, Tony.

  10. Reason’s online presence would be crushed if Peter Suderman got his wish, so I’m almost tempted to agree with him.

  11. I have to say that this the whole argument is ridiculous. 15 years ago, we all used to live just fine with little or no actual internet to speak of. Corporations then got in on the game, most of them offering pay by the minute plans for a 56k connection and limited connectivity (AOL), but most were then quickly forced to abandon that approach entirely. Since that point, “always on” internet has become the norm, and speeds have shot up exponentially. We’ve already faced and killed this boogeyman.

    Am I the only one who actually remembers paying by the minute for internet?

    1. No. I remember those painful days. Telephone service was expensive then too.

    2. Am I the only one who actually remembers paying by the minute for internet?

      You’re misremebering Internet service with phone sex.

  12. Wouldn’t it make sense to charge the greediest users of bandwidth the most to increase proper investments in infrastructure? It seems to me that net neutrality advocates want the internet to become like the insurance industry and water utility combined! Why shouldn’t the ISP’s be able to use their networks for what THEY want? Even if a company stupidly wants to offer limited service plans, shouldn’t that be their choice?

    1. There are typically tiered pricing structures based on connection speed. The thing is they aren’t THEIR networks. ISPs only provide a gateway to the internet. If they want to provide craptastic service that is their right, but they also shouldn’t be able to use agreements with local municipalities to create impenetrable barriers to competition.

      1. Two satellite service providers in place right now; multiple 3G cell service providers now; with 4G starting to roll out now.

        The only thing that local municipalities control is rolling out wire or fiber through public right of ways.

        Go bitch about your ISP somewhere else.

        1. I didn’t realize it was possible to troll someone while simultaneously agreeing with them, I would love to experience that kind of reasoning for a few minutes just for the insight.

          It will indeed be a great day when we can get 100 Mbit/s up and down from satellite. It will also be great when cars fly and we all have fusion generators in our homes so we don’t have to rely on any infrastructure whatsoever.

        2. Have you looked at rates and speeds available over a satellite or 3G connection? They are about as competitive with land lines as bicycling is with a car for a 40 mile commute.

    2. What happened though is that people payed for a certain amount of bandwidth and then they (gasp) used it, all of it. The ISPs didn’t actually expect people to use all the bandwidth for which they paid. They based their business model on this erroneous assumption. Then they realized that the few people that were fully utilizing their bandwidth were using bittorrent and they could detect and limit that by either dropping a connection or limiting throughput. People were mad that they weren’t allowed to use all the bandwidth for which they had paid. I don’t have a problem with ISPs limiting bittorrent as long as they are not deceptive about it. Comcast lied to its customers for years about throttling. That said, word about the ISPs that didn’t throttle spread like wildfire when this first started happening. I’m sure there was plenty of migration from limiting ISPs to open ISPs.

  13. Still no mention of 50 years of infrastructure from a government-granted monopoly. Phone lines and cable lines, all placed there with the kind assurance that rates would be stable and no competition would be allowed. And now those companies want to leverage the gains from that monopoly, and Peter Suderman calls it freedom.

    1. So what’s the solution in your eyes? Give some other company 50 years of monopoly to make it even?

      Maybe the solution is less of what caused the the current situation in the first place.

      1. Yeah, we’re all really tired of things that work well. I’d rather everything worked poorly yet still fit into my goofball philosophy.

  14. “So what’s the solution in your eyes?”

    True broadband via satellite or cellular networks will solve the problem of monopoly infrastructure just like satellite and cellular networks introduced meaningful competition in the telecom industry. The telecoms are still regulated, but the regulation is much lighter and could very well die out in the next 20 years.

    1. So, in other words, no need for the guvmint to meddle in this industry with their silly, ideological rules? From what you say, the market will work this out in the end.

      1. I think the market will work it out in the end. But I also think that net neutrality is a necessary evil in the interim.

  15. Why would the Federal Committee to Undertake Net NeutraliTy (hereinafter, “CUNNT”) be the first regulatory agency not to be captured by the industry it sets out to regulate?

    Why shouldn’t we confidently expect CUNNT to extend its purview to cover satellite/cellular/broadband access and subject it to the same regulations/burdens that the quasi-monopolistic wire-based services will labor under?

    Why wouldn’t CUNNT, as the captive of the status quo ISPs, become a major barrier to the development of truly open and competitive, at all levels, internet access?

  16. The solution is for the FCC to finally allow high power ultrawide band broadcasting. If they would allow high power UWB we’d all have gigabit speed internet everywhere in the country.

  17. I think the market will work it out in the end. But I also think that net neutrality is a necessary evil in the interim.

    “Just one more hit of regulation, dude, and then I swear, I am off the stuff forever”

    OR

    “We had to destroy freedom in order to save it”

    It’s the same old stuff. I suppose you’re in favor of reparations too?

    1. Well, there’s plenty of regulatory bong water still out there that makes it difficult. Net neutrality, if implemented, should have an expiration date such that competition can be reviewed every 2 or 5 years.

      1. Yeah sunsetting worked well for the Patriot Act. Politicians are so willing to give up power.

  18. I can’t wait to see how much it will cost for our brilliant folks at the FCC to “fix” the Internet. What will also be interesting will be WHO they hire (at great expense) to do the fixing. The end product will be a watered-down version of what is now a great success with a huge bureaucracy (at great expense) to regulate it.

  19. This is one of the worst written articles I have ever read on net neutrality. The whole thing is premised on specious arguments and empty phrases. Furthermore, only half of it speaks to net neutrality, a definition of which I found from Wikipedia in two seconds: the idea is that…the networks aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally.” (timwu.org)

    Let’s take one of the few examples cited – Japan’s 100 Mbps speeds. If their speeds are 90% less than what’s advertised, that is still faster than most of the US. I doubt their speeds are 90% less than what’s advertised. By the way, the actual rates that we get using US ISPs are also often much lower than what’s advertised (especially on cable and DSL). Why would you even use this logic at “Reason”? What does this have to do with net neutrality? You’re talking about an entirely different issue (this applies to paragraphs 5-7).

    What about the claim: “the tool used to gather information on ISP blocking activity is unreliable, producing false positives on multiple tests.” First, the link doesn’t work. Second, there have been instances of ISPs blocking content. Third, the technology clearly exists. Comcast recently got in trouble for inserting reset packets to disrupt “file sharing” traffic. ISPs have deployed deep-packet inspection. ISPs can block IP addresses or IP ranges. Filtering content isn’t exclusively about political views (though it’s quite incendiary, so that’s probably why you cited it as an example). Filtering content can also include blocking traffic types like streaming video traffic, VoIP, or services that might be using too much bandwidth.

    All of this being said, I’m not a big fan of net neutrality regulation, but it kills me when I read an article like this. There are a whole host of arguments one could make about how net neutrality would benefit free markets and entrepreneurship. You have no idea about the issue and were obviously too lazy to do some research. You’re contributing nothing by writing an article that only tries to promote your political viewpoint, disregards any and all nuance, and involves absolutely no research.

    Why don’t you spend the time to look into this issue, apply some “Reason,” and rewrite this article? Either that or quit writing. Or better yet, apologize to everyone that read this article, admit you know nothing about this topic, then go and do research. You probably just created 15 sheep that are going to parrot your empty arguments.

    1. I’m gonna ignore this post, since otherwise I’d get blitzed from all the drinking game violations …

    2. Wonderful post. There are very good reasons to want net neutrality – no one would be pushing for this regulation if there had not been documented cases of ISP’s discriminating against protocols and content. Every action taken by an ISP in this realm has been decidedly anti-consumer.

      The real question at stake here is whether the risk of allowing the FCC to say it has control over the internet is worse than ISP’s selling crippled internet access.

    3. I’m not a big fan of the legislation either, but I kind of felt this way about the article as well.

  20. Why should the FCC be involved in the internet?

    BTW… STFU, Tony.

    1. Lefty wants it because he can’t bear the idea of anything being free of his interference and right now his people are in power. Obviously he’s incapable of even thinking ahead, or learning from the past, since who is in power comes and goes like the tides, and it’s nothing but bawling when the other ‘team’ is in power and is making use of what they put in place to begin with.

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  22. Sorry, but Suderman and Reason Magazine are totally uninformed on this one.

    This all goes back to China. In the late 90s, when China started taking the Internet seriously, they wanted a way to control what kind of information their citizens had access to, and they bankrolled the development of a technology called Deep Packet Inspection.

    Deep packet inspection works about like this: When a router forwards information, it actually teases apart and reads the information and decides whether to let it through. It’s a little bit like the postman reading your mail and deciding whether it’s permissible.

    China’s motivation in acquiring the technology was political suppression, but soon companies like Comcast and Qwest realized they could benefit from the technology too: By unnaturally slowing down their networks and taking bribes from certain content providers to speed up their packets at the expense of the rest of the Internet.

    This presents a problem: As an entrepreneur, I already pay for bandwidth — both in terms of bandwidth and latency. Now the ISPs are trying to find a way of charging me twice — first in the form of my bandwidth bill, THEN in the form of a “toll lane” on the consumer’s modem.

    And this isn’t speculation: Comcast and Qwest have already approached Yahoo and Google with proposals to slow down their competitors. Fortunately, Google and Yahoo took the high road and are asking the FCC to ban these kinds of abuses.

    Too bad Reason Magazine hired someone who has no concept of how technology, the Internet, and business work. Reason should apologize for publishing such rubbish and Suderman should stop pretending he has any idea what he’s talking about.

    1. If municipalities didn’t give out virtual monopolies on access those schemes wouldn’t matter, you could easily go to a competitor. The answer is not more regulation, and more power to a few select companies, but less, and removing the government favoritism given to companies that would let them get away with those schemes.

  23. Let’s say that a hamburger provider spends 17 cents on the materials in a burger. But there are other costs: employees’ salaries, training, rent, building maintenance (cleaning and repairs), insurance, taxes, and so on. With all of this considered, they sell each hamburger for six dollars.

    Traditionally hamburger providers followed the practices of other businesses and charged their customers on a _metered_ system. This meant that each time that you asked for a burger, you were charged six dollars. But, another scheme emerged: In order to get hamburgers, you must sign up for a monthly plan. Every hamburger subscriber pays the same price, say $60 a month, regardless of how many burgers they eat over the course of any given month.

    A hamburger provider actually accrues some cost benefits by charging their customers this way. As the burgers are not metered, there is no need for a cash register. The number of non-cooking employees (and their level of training) is reduced. They need only to identify that those people walking into the establishment are paid-up customers.

    Let’s look at two customers, call them Granny and Nephew. Granny doesn’t think that hamburgers are particularly healthy, but every couple of weeks she craves one. There _are_ other ways to obtain them, but it’s just convenient enough that she signs up. Granny pays $60 for each 17 cent hamburger that she eats.

    Nephew has different ideas about health and he knows a bargain when he sees it. Not only does he eat each meal of his three or four daily meals here, he has at least three burgers each time he visits. Nephew pays 50 cents for each 17 cent hamburger that he eats.

    Hamburger providers start to see a ramp-up in customers like Nephew. They study the effects of this trend on their bottom-line. (By the way, such analysis, performed by highly educated employees, is one of the legitimate costs that turns 17 cents into 6 dollars.) Panic ensues.

    Dropping the extended metaphor, telecoms have gotten themselves into a sweet position through lobbyists and lawyers. If they were to meter usage, they would have 79 cent/month users and the BitTorrent people would *freak*. But if they can continue to charge _everyone_ $60/month and find a “technological” solution to thwart the high end users, while still boggling people who kinda’ understand TCP/IP … win, win, win.

  24. what is especially gaulling about this is that the crappy service and pricing we get by having local govt grant monopoly rights to the “tubes” is that the real tards act like this has anything to do with a lack of regulation.
    Another sad fact is that most of Europe is much more free market in their telecom services, and they actively discourage local monopolies. If only the American Socialists wanted to copy the Euro model for telecoms!

  25. this article really does miss the point. The internet isn’t even moderately close to a free market without net neutrality. NN is about regulating the natural abuses that arise from government created monopolized industries. If you want to argue about ways to create a free market, you’ll have to look much deeper than this.

    I’m really disappointed that Reason magazine would publish such an ill informed, disruptive argument that will only serve to cloud people’s understandings of both the net neutrality debate, and what free marketeers solutions for the world really mean.

  26. I beg you: no more quotes from Ou. The guy dismissed latency as a comparative measure of ISP quality because the speed of light is a constant. You don’t do that unless you’re incompetent or profoundly dishonest. The “clap louder” approach to defending the state of the US broadband industry isn’t going to convince consumers to ignore their own lyin’ eyes.

    As for Bennett — I can’t speak to the quality of the Glasnost tool, but it’s hardly the only source being relied upon to demonstrate Comcast’s use of forged reset packets. Have a look around broadbandreports.com and you’ll find plenty of documentary evidence.

  27. The article had the prerequisite anti-government, libertarian slant so it must be true, right?

    Also, why is this such a common rebuttal on this site? Is there anyone on this site that is now out of college?
    “I’m gonna ignore this post, since otherwise I’d get blitzed from all the drinking game violations … “

  28. If only we relied more no renewable waterpowers and stuff instead of all the metoo goings on.

  29. Regulation and government interference are usually bad but there is the rare occasion when they get something right. This is one of them. We really don’t want Deep packet inspection like the Chinese do to allow certain packets to go in the carpool lane while dumping the rest on a Los Angeles freeway at 5 pm on a Friday. I would think that one of the main objectives of a magazine called reason would be to analyze anything in a purely objective manner. This sounds more like glenn beck hysteria.

  30. Net Neutrality is a must. Without it the Web as everyone knows it might end. The ease with which to reach your favorite sites is GOING TO END.
    ? The speed with which to reach those sites is GOING TO END.
    ? The ease with which you share videos with friends is GOING TO END.
    ? The freedom to access the site of any organization from Planned Parenthood to The Christian Coalition is GOING TO END.
    ? Access to the wide selection of web-series is GOING TO END.
    ? Access to the amazing choice of shopping sites is GOING TO END.
    ? Access to information from a multitude of educational institutions is GOING TO END.
    This is because:
    a) You are moving to China.
    b) You are moving to Iran.
    c) You are severing your ISP connection.
    d) The efforts of ATT, Comcast, Time/Warner Cable, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, The NCTA
    The correct answer is “d”. The list of restrictions above is currently the plan of the United States TELECOM COMPANIES, who are trying to erode a long-standing Internet principle ? Net Neutrality ? which keeps the Internet as an open platform. As it stands now, anyone can create and distribute content on the Web and anyone can access any number of sites at comparable speeds. Net Neutrality is what makes the Internet so great ? and so vital for innovation and creativity.
    These Telecom companies, the people who charge you every month for access to the Internet, have waged an extremely aggressive campaign against the very access for which you’re paying.
    They don’t like that they can’t tell you WHAT to watch.
    They don’t like that they can’t CONTROL the information you are accessing.
    They don’t like that with just a couple of bucks, you can build a website or a platform or a web-series that can garner the size of audience that ONLY THEY USED TO COMMAND.
    They don’t like that they can’t get A CUT OF ALL OF IT.
    They grew accustom to controlling your phone rates (Hello, Skype). They grew accustom to controlling what you saw on cable. They grew accustom to their arrangement with the studios and the networks. And they grew accustom to the manner in which they financially participated in those arrangements. Now, because of the Internet, we have a different media landscape.
    In Washington right now, the Federal Communications Commission is attempting to make Net Neutrality a hard and fast rule for the Internet. This would stop AT&T and other companies from destroying web content and your access to it. Because of this, the Telecom Companies have nearly 500 LOBBYISTS in place to steal your Internet freedom. There are only 535 members of Congress. That’s nearly one lobbyist for every member of Congress. The TELECOM COMPANIES have also (at press time) already spent nearly $75 MILLION dollars to convince lawmakers to restrict your unfettered Internet access.
    This is serious business. For them AND for us. A liberated Internet will continue to be a reality in your life (and in the lives of your children) if rules like NET NEUTRALITY are in place. Everyone has a say and the power to stop the telecom lobby — call and write the FCC; your Representatives and Senators in Congress and tell them you want strong Net Neutrality protections that put your interests first over the telecom and cable lobby.

    Net Neutrality is not just a progressive or liberal idea. Even the Christian Coalition has published an essay on The Conservative Case for Net Neutrality http://www.cc.org/commentary/c…..neutrality

    I understand some not endorsing Net Neutrality just yet have some concerns — they don’t want government to be able to censor what we do or say online — we need rules requiring ISPs to practice reasonable network management — the trick is how do you define what is or isn’t reasonable network management? That’s the rub where the FCC and Congress will have to tread carefully in explaining. However, we do need Net Neutrality (we’ve always had it the big telecom and cable lobby though want to get rid of it) which is why the campaign to defend it emerged.

    This is about whether to allow monopoly control of the Internet or public control. This is about open or closed communication. It is a battle between democracy and plutocracy. We must learn from history — every time a trans formative new technology emerged with the power to give a voice to the voiceless there was a great moment of hope. We saw it when radio was invented in the 1920s, Television in the 1950s, Cable Television in the 1980s, each time media moguls send their lobbyists to Washington to co-op and monetize the technologies before they get off the ground. Each time the public truly had a chance to reclaim the media it was sacrificed to corporate power. However, this time we stand at a unique cross road we have a tool that not only speaks truth to power it defends truth from power. We can use the Internet to save The Internet.

    We know the future will go down one of two paths — the first is the righteous path of openness and non discrimination where anyone with a good idea can make it big; the second is of a closed Internet that looks like cable TV and radio of today — Internet that is non longer a vibrant democratic equal town square for all of us but a cash cow for a few. An Internet where giant phone and cable companies get to decide what’s on, how much it costs and how fast it downloads. In the future of communications its all or nothing — open or closed; viable for the entire public or for just a few.

    We need Internet that works for everyone rich or poor, urban or rural. That is why I urge anyone and everyone willing to listen to join the movement for a better democratic Internet at SaveTheInternet.com, or go to anyone of the other websites with petitions for Net Neutrality like MoveOn.org, ACLU.org, Common Cause, or The Christian Coalition via http://www.cc.org/olcampaign/defend_net_neutrality

  31. When you look at a trade agreement like NAFTA, it’s about that thick (holds his hands about?

  32. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…

  33. useful article, thank you

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