Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality: Don't Let the FCC Control the Internet!

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Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on May 19, 2014.

By the time you read this, the Internet—that glorious system of tubes that brings us everything from cat videos to free amateur porn to (trigger warning! NSFW!)free amateur cat porn—might already be dead.

That's the consensus from proponents of so-called net neutrality, who are alarmed and dismayed by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that might eventually allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge users different rates to transmit data across their networks.

The result could be that big companies with a lot of cash could use "fast lanes" to deliver content, while smaller, poorer outfits might be stuck in "slow lanes" that would turn off potential users and customers (who wants to wait for a site to load or a video to buffer?). Such "paid prioritization" would, we're warned, violate cyberspace's bedrock principle of digital non-discrimination, lead to the "death of the democratic Internet", and even kill "the dreams of young entrepreneurs."

Yeah, not so much. Reports of the imminent death of the Internet's freewheeling ways and utopian possibilities are more wildly exaggerated and full of spam than those emails from Mrs. Mobotu Sese-Seko.

In fact, the real problem isn't that the FCC hasn't shown the cyber-cojones to regulate ISPs like an old-school telephone company or "common carrier," but that it's trying to increase its regulatory control of the Internet in the first place.

Under the proposal currently in play, the FCC assumes an increased ability to review ISP offerings on a "case-by-case basis" and kill any plan it doesn't believe is "commercially reasonable." Goodbye fast-moving innovation and adjustment to changing technology on the part of companies, hello regulatory morass and long, drawn-out bureaucratic hassles.

In 1998, the FCC told Congress that the Internet should properly be understood as an "information service," which allows for a relatively low level of government interference, rather than as a "telecommunication service," which could subject it to the sort of oversight that public utilities get (as my Reason colleague Peter Suderman explains, there's every reason to keep that original classification). The Internet has flourished in the absence of major FCC regulation, and there's no demonstrated reason to change that now. That's exactly why the parade of horribles—non-favored video streams slowed to an unwatchable trickle! whole sites blocked! plucky new startups throttled in the crib!—trotted out by net neutrality proponents is hypothetical in a world without legally mandated net neutrality.

Apart from addressing a problem that doesn't yet exist, if you are going to pin your hopes for free expression and constant innovation on a government agency, the FCC is about the last place to start. For God's sake, we're talking about the agency that spent the better part of a decade trying to figuratively cover up Janet Jackson's tit by fining Viacom and CBS for airing the 2004 Super Bowl.

That the FCC ultimately lost its Nipplegate case doesn't make its Inspector Javert-like dedication to enforcing 19th-century female modesty any easier to take. Nor does the fact the FCC, whose early role in licensing radio and television stations and arbitrating spectrum disputes has faded as fewer and fewer Americans access TV and radio via broadast signals, has constantly tried to expand its role as a content regulator to cable and satellite. Because AMC, FX, and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim really need to be more like ABC, CBS, and NBC, right?

When it comes to new and emerging forms of media and communications, the FCC has a demonstrated record of stupidity and malfeasance. Although cable and satellite TV and radio are totally dominant today—just 7 percent of households rely on over-the-air signals—the FCC did everything it could to squelch the development of cable, despite having a shaky claim to any jurisdiction over it in the first place. As economic historian Thomas W. Hazlett has written, the FCC, always acting in the name of that ill-defined abstraction "the public interest," launched "a regulatory jihad" against cable television once it showed itself as commercially viable and thus a threat to the broadcast status quo.

"Starting with the so-called Carter Mountain decision (1962) and continuing through rulemakings in 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1970, the FCC handed down a series of regulations that placed onerous burdens upon cable operators attempting to do business in the top 100 U.S. television markets," writes Hazlett. Cable, you see, would allow viewers to opt out of local broadcast content and thus threaten existing VHF and UHF channels. Virtually the minute that the FCC was forced via legal battles and the deregulatory spirit of the 1970s to lighten up, cable became ubiquitous—and everything about television became much better.

In a 2012 interview with me, Hazlett, author of The Fallacy of Net Neutrality, argued that net neutrality is best defined as "a set of rules…regulating the business model of your local ISP." Thinking about it that way clarifies what's really going on.

By seeking to ban differential pricing and services among different ISPs, net neutrality backers are trying to maintain the status quo that's worked for them so well (many of the strongest proponents for net neutrality represent bandwidth-hogging companies and services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Skype that ISPs would likely hit up for extra fees).

Of course Netflix, say, doesn't want to have to pay Comcast or Verizon or whomever for special treatment. But if Netflix is increasing demand for bandwidth and it wants to ensure that its users' experience is fast, reliable, and glitch-free, why shouldn't an ISP tap them for extra money to build more capacity or help in managing it? (As a matter of fact, Comcast and Netflix have already done exactly this via an arrangement known as "peering," that elides most strict concerns about net neutrality.)

As Hazlett argues, "The [FCC] argues that [net neutrality] rules are necessary, as the Internet was designed to bar 'gatekeepers.' The view is faulty, both in it engineering claims and its economic conclusions. Networks routinely manage traffic and often bundle content with data transport precisely because such coordination produces superior service. When 'walled gardens' emerge, including AOL in 1995, Japan's DoCoMo iMode in 1999, or Apple's iPhone in 2007, they often disrupt old business models, thrilling consumers, providing golden opportunities for application developers, advancing Internet growth. In some cases these gardens have dropped their walls; others remain vibrant."

If letting a thousand flowers bloom online is a good idea (and it is), there's no clear reason that ISPs offering fixed and mobile Internet access shouldn't be allowed to experiment and innovate too when it comes to accessing and managing the Internet. It's a vast and completely hypothetical leap from Netflix paying for fast-lane access to declaring that "inevitably, a world without net neutrality wouldn't reward the most innovative website with the best services but rather the companies that are best at making deals, or the companies with the most money."

In a previous attempt to assert direct control over the Internet, the FCC lost in court. Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that the FCC did not have statutory authority by which to punish ISPs for slowing or blocking Internet traffic. As Berin Szoka and Geoffrey Manne wrote in Wired, the ruling "should worry everyone, whatever they think of net neutrality," because even though the FCC lost the case, it may have been granted a broader regulatory mandate; the full implications of Verizon v. FCC, et al (PDF) are still unclear). So it still remains to be seen not just what the final version of the FCC plan will look like after a 120-day public-comment period, subsequent revisions, and another commission vote, but whether the FCC does in fact have the authority to regulate the Internet in the new way that it is seeking.

But since the debate about net neutrality is all about what might be rather than what already is, we can certainly ask: What would likely happen if and when ISP X gives its own proprietary video streaming service priority or cuts a deal with Netflix or whomever in a way that alienates users and screws over other sites?

The affected groups will do one of two things: They will bitch and moan about it until something changes or they will create an alternative way to get and transmit content. Google and other companies have built various types of "third pipes," for instance. The speed of available American Internet connections continues to grow faster, and fully 80 percent of households have at least two providers who will deliver the Internet at 10Mbps or faster downstream, the FCC's top rating (see figures 1 and 5(b) in this FCC document (PDF)).

Such positive trends are not going to be threatened anytime soon, even if and when the Comcast-Time Warner merger happens. On the off chance that a single broadband operator manages to gain 100 percent market share in a given area, it will still have reasons to court its captive customers via better and more expansive service and prices. As Ohio State's John Mueller explained inCapitalism, Democracy & Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, that way the provider is "more likely to be able to slide price boosts past a wary public—that is, such moves are less likely to inspire angered customers to use less of the product and/or to engender embittered protest to governmental agencies."

Like everybody else, I've got exactly zero love for my local cable company (and in the past 12 months, I've had the dubious pleasure of having to deal with Verizon FIOS, Comcast, RCN, and Time Warner in different states as both a home and business user). But this much I know: Over the past couple of decades, my cable companies (which provide everything from Internet access to phone service to TV programming) have upped not just their prices but the amount and variety of services. Especially in an age of cord-cutting and cost-conscious consumers, they are doing what they can to keep customers satisfied if not over-the-moon happy.

For sure, I don't trust the good intentions or dedication to high principle of my local cable company any more than I trust my local congressman with the same. But I trust the FCC even less, especially given the proposed rules' reliance on vague terms such as commercially reasonable and the promise to adjudicate interventions on a case-by-case basis. At best, it's a slow-moving government agency with a proven record of clamping down on free expression, attempting to expand its power, and trying to stymie technological innovation. The less power it has to cover the Internet like it tried to cover Janet Jackson's right breast, the better off we will all be.

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on May 19, 2014.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on the Recipe for a Life Sentence in Texas: Mix Hash Brownies With Two Kinds of Prohibitionist Idiocy

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  1. The only reason I would trust my government more than my cable company is if there was a rival government they had to compete with.

    1. There is. A new one comes along every 2 years. Do you get to vote for the managers at your cable company?

      1. Which world do you live in? Its obviously not this one.

      2. If you buy stock in Time Warner, yes.

      3. I prefer to vote with my wallet, since I always get what I want when I do that.

        1. Well it is all about you.

          1. It’s almost like you get it.

      4. I said “rival,” not two versions of the same song and dance.

        1. Well there are actually about 200 of them.

        2. How many cable companies do you get to choose from?

          1. “How many cable companies do you get to choose from?”

            One. It’s a monopoly. I’d trust a city owned monopoly more. And the city electric utility is fiber to read teh meters and talk of allowing to sell city owned internet to consumers. I’d support that.

      5. That’s just like voting for one of the 435 board members at a company! And every other election, I get to vote for one more, and twice in every three elections, I get to vote for a third one!

        I may swoon, Tony, swoon over your grasp of analogies. That you think that’s a proper comparison says more about you.

        1. The issue is whether government has competition, assumed as a property necessary to improvement. Government does has competition, both on the global scale (more governments than cable companies for damn sure), and with itself, its entire composition and agenda subject to approval or rejection in regular elections. Pretty competitive, or have you never paid attention to an election?

          1. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “You know, upon further reflection, I realize that was a really shitty analogy.”

            Nothing wrong at all. Or you could double down on the stupid.

            1. Have you been here long? With Tony, it is always double down time.

  2. So the FCC wants to keep the relatively free Internet “free” with more regulation? Didn’t the founders try that with the so called constitution with the hopes of a free society? They didn’t really mean freedom or liberty. It’s whatever the politicians want it to be.

    It’s all good, they have to pass some bill before we see what’s in it.

    1. Congress has already approved the FCC’s Net “Neutrality” ruling. Congress must approved all FCC rulings.

  3. I get it now. The reason the HR lead-in to the article refers to
    Nick in the second person is because The Jacket wrote it. Kinda like a cool, magical, wearable, teleprompter.

  4. OT: Parents of IV shooter tried to intervene

    I find this article interesting. It of course makes multiple references to guns without acknowledgement that his first three victims were stabbed to death and a great deal of the injuries to others were from his car.

    But one thing that stood out is that when the sheriff visited him to interview, he wrote afterwards that he was relieved that they didn’t search his residence because they would’ve found the guns. Had they found the guns (or even bothered running a background check, since handguns are registered unlike rifles), they would’ve had greater reason for concern and might have actually placed him under a temp psychiatric hold. Seriously, cops will search everything, but the one time they have actionable reason to, they fucking don’t. All they had to do was discover these three guns and the multiple rounds of ammo, and combined with the parents concern over the youtube postings, and maybe some investigative work themselves, they may have actually done something to stop this.

    1. What are you even talking about?

      No one of any consequence gives two shits about mass shootings, crime, or citizen safety.

      The goal is to disarm the citizenry so that they are not a threat to the political class. That is all that matters.

      1. Larken Rose explains why gun registration is not meant to combat crime:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_efrJdyuwk

        1. This is one of those infinitely rare cases where California law requiring registration of handguns at the legal point of sale would have actually given some actionable information that could have prevented this massacre.

          The point is that this kid’s parents specifically called the authorities because they had seen some disturbing videos that hinted at a snap like this. While the sheriff’s did part of their due diligence in interviewing the kid, they should have either searched his residence or looked up his information on the handgun registry database in the state. Had they done that, voila, turns out he does have three handguns. At that point, the cops could have ascertained he was enough of a risk to place under a temp psych evaluation because, let’s face it, this kid doesn’t strike anyone as your typical sort of gun enthusiast. Combine that with the parent’s suspicions and some rudimentary due diligence, and they might have been able to act in a way that would have prevented this.

          My central point isn’t that registration of handguns is an unmitigated good (seriously, in the absence of a registry, they could simply search his residence and find the guns, as the killer confessed he was happy they didn’t execute a search). Its that the fact that he owned three guns should have prevented this tragedy, by providing any cop doing his due diligence with reasonable cause for alarm.

          1. I don’t know, Sudden. I just don’t think you can prevent someone who is determined to kill. Even if the police has confiscated his guns, and put him under observation, when Rodgers regained his freedom, he would have killed. Remember, 3 died from knife wounds, and three died by auto collision.

          2. Yes, but the police need a warrant and probable cause to search.

            I’ll be here all week. Tip the veal and try the waitress.

          3. At that point, the cops could have ascertained he was enough of a risk to place under a temp psych evaluation because, let’s face it, this kid doesn’t strike anyone as your typical sort of gun enthusiast.

            The police had a conversation with the guy and decided he wasn’t a risk.

            That was an error, but it’s still the determination they made.

            You’re basically saying that a gun registry would have changed their determination.

            The fuck is that shit? He’s either crazy or he’s not.

            You’re basically saying that in a situation where the police saw no danger, knowledge that the guy owned guns could have and should have changed their determination.

            That would make the exercise of an enumerated right an element of deciding someone is a risk.

            Fuck that.

            1. It’s not an enumerated right; it’s one created very recently by the Supreme Court.

              1. BAHAHAHAHAHA!

                Good one.

                Either way, it’s not an element of the evaluation.

              2. What the fuck are you babbling about?

                Herpity derpity derp.

              3. It’s not an enumerated right; it’s one created very recently by the Supreme Court.

                I’m always impressed by Tony’s ability to say really stupid shit without embarrassment.

                Apparently he lives in a universe where the second amendment does not exist.

                1. Apparently he lives in a universe where the second amendment does not exist.

                  “Nuh-uh! That’s not what it means! It’s not ENUMERATED! Nuh-uh!”

                  It’s like watching some guy get really angry about getting kicked out of a party. He’s all arguing and shit and you just sit there and laugh as he gets frustrated.

                  1. I also like that gun rights, which have their own amendment, are not an enumerated right, but something like free birth control is absolutely a right we should all respect.

                    Okay.

                    1. I also like that gun rights, which have their own amendment, are not an enumerated right, but something like free birth control is absolutely a right we should all respect.

                      If we can deal in facts for a moment, the right to own a gun for personal self-defense is most certainly not enumerated. Otherwise point me to the text I somehow missed.

                      Free birth control, similarly, is not enumerated. But liberals understand that the constitution doesn’t impose a restriction on the creation and protection of new rights, as you guys think it does, all the while singing the praises of the 9th Amendment.

                2. The Second Amendment has existed since it was ratified. It used to mean that you have a right to bear arms in support of a well-organized militia you’d be automatically a member of. Now it means fuck-all because of the fact that we don’t conduct armed defense that way anymore. Or it would, had the Supreme Court Republicans not decided to invent law out of thin air declaring that it means a right to own a gun for almost any purpose. It’s just judicial activism, nothing to be ashamed of. Both sides do it. (Only one side practices self-righteous hypocrisy about it.)

                  1. “[The 2A] used to mean that you have a right to bear arms in support of a well-organized militia…”

                    No it didn’t you mendacious twat. A plain reading of the 2A is that a properly functioning (that’s what well-organized meant to the Founders) militia was necessary and that a properly functioning militia relied on the citizens owning, and being able to use, firearms. Nothing more, nothing less.

                    “Now it means fuck-all because of the fact that we don’t conduct armed defense that way anymore.” Oh? Armed defense of what? Do you think the armed populace of the US is not a deterrent to invasion?

                    “Or it would, had the Supreme Court Republicans not decided to invent law out of thin air declaring that it means a right to own a gun for almost any purpose.” That didn’t happen and you are an idiot and/or a liar. Probably both.

                    Your grasp of the 2A is hopelessly backward and you have proven, yet again, to be the worst sort of pissant troll.

            2. You’re basically saying that a gun registry would have changed their determination.

              California already has a handgun registry. Assuming he purchased in state instead of in Vegas, they needed only check the registry to learn he did own three weapons. That would seem a reasonable step given the nature of the parent’s request.

              You’re basically saying that in a situation where the police saw no danger, knowledge that the guy owned guns could have and should have changed their determination.

              Yes. I think its unquestionable that person with a firearm is more potentially dangerous than that same person without a firearm. Especially in the case where even the parents were imminently worried about him snapping.

              1. That would make the exercise of an enumerated right an element of deciding someone is a risk.

                That enumerated right exists precisely because it does make a person a risk, though the purpose of that risk is to guard against the greater risk posed by government. Having said that, I don’t think merely having those guns makes one a risk. But if one’s own parents are legitimately concerned about a pyschotic break, inform the police that he’s seeing multiple therapists, and provide the cops with any specific postings or videos that demonstrate some underlying risk (which he took down from his youtube, presumably because they might have been damning enough), adding ability to wreak havok to the equation can also impact an assessment of one’s willingness to do so.

                1. But if one’s own parents are legitimately concerned about a pyschotic break, inform the police that he’s seeing multiple therapists, and provide the cops with any specific postings or videos that demonstrate some underlying risk (which he took down from his youtube, presumably because they might have been damning enough), adding ability to wreak havok to the equation can also impact an assessment of one’s willingness to do so.

                  Sure, but you’re still missing the point. The cops didn’t think there was any legitimate danger of him doing anything. They went to him, interviewed him, and concluded he was not a threat.

                  After they concluded he was not a threat, why should his ownership of firearms be relevant? If he’s not a threat, then he’s just like every other law abiding American gun owner and should not have his rights taken away from him.

                2. Sudden is quite the statist when things hit close to home. “If the cops had just abrogated his 2nd Amendment rights, something something!” Do you even have a discernible point?

                  1. Jebuz fucking Christ.

                    I started this all by saying that, contrary to the progressive bullshit line that if he didn’t have guns none of this would’ve happened, I said that the very fact he had guns is what should have made this preventable.

                    His parents called the SB county sheriff a month ago because he posted youtube videos (which he took down after the police interviewed him) before his originally planned April 26 massace (which he postponed because he got sick) that suggested an imminent snap.

                    Had the authorities merely searched his residence (they could’ve obtained a warrant in advance of the interview, with his parent’s testimony providing reasonable cause for a judge to grant), and found the three handguns (including two identical sig sauers, cuz what fucking genuine gun owner doubles down on the exact same model that early in a collection?), they might have had cause to re-evaulate their determination of his level of threat.

                    1. “(including two identical sig sauers, cuz what fucking genuine gun owner doubles down on the exact same model that early in a collection?), ”

                      WTF does that matter?

                      Really you are a twit

              2. Assuming he purchased in state instead of in Vegas

                As a California resident he couldn’t legally purchase a handgun in Vegas without it being transferred through a California FFL.

              3. California already has a handgun registry. Assuming he purchased in state instead of in Vegas, they needed only check the registry to learn he did own three weapons. That would seem a reasonable step given the nature of the parent’s request.

                Okay, but they interviewed him and said there didn’t seem to be anything wrong.

                If they didn’t think there was anything wrong, then why would the fact that he owned firearms matter? The only reason legal gun ownership should be in any way relevant is if they have reason to suspect you’re actually planning to commit a crime.

                1. It’s not that simply possessing such firearms makes someone a imminent danger, but someone who has his own goddamn family worried sick that he’s about to snap may be deemed more likely to snap once there is evidence that he is in possession of the means to do so.

                  Look, this kid would be out of place as a gun enthusiast. I’d hasten to say that very few students in Isla Vista have guns in their apartments at all (though some may have some at their parent’s residence). But from his demeanor and appearance, he certainly seemed an unlikely gun ethusiast. Moreover, his arsenal (3 semi-auto handguns) is more trademark of someone committed to street violence than sport shooting (especially since he had two models of the same gun, I don’t know a lot of akimbo ranges).

                  That alone doesn’t justify seizure of said guns or temp psych eval hold. But that combined with the reason they were visiting him would raise a few more red flags, even among any of us (and probably more so among us than a random person because we tend to know firearms and their general constituency).

                  1. “Oh, if only the cops were competent and used gun ownership to pre-crime someone, we’d live in a paradise!”

                    Are you fucking serious, dude? What the fuck is wrong with you?

                    1. The kid was clearly spoiled rich and entitled. Those kinds of parents don’t narc on their kids over meaningless shit. They defend them (Attias’ dad spent a fortune to get his son acquitted by reason of insanity, even after he killed four people).

                      That they were that concerned and that the police felt that concern legit enough for an interview (and this kid also had other interactions with the cops of the slightest bullshit, such as pressing petty theft charges for one of the roommates he killed stealing fucking candles) is one thing. Had they known he was also gathering the means to actually snap would have changed any reasonable person’s judgement of his threat level.

                  2. It’s not that simply possessing such firearms makes someone a imminent danger, but someone who has his own goddamn family worried sick that he’s about to snap may be deemed more likely to snap once there is evidence that he is in possession of the means to do so.

                    Alright, cool. If the cops weren’t fucking idiots and had spotted the warning signs and decided he was a legitimate threat, then the fact that he had guns would have been relevant.

                    But we’re back to square one. In order for the fact that he owned firearms to become relevant, the cops would have first had to designate him as a threat to carry out a crime. Without that, the fact that he owned guns was completely meaningless since the did not deem him a threat in the first place.

                    Furthermore, there are plenty of fucked up families who report members of the family for underhanded reasons or in which people overreact. Taking away someone’s legal property because someone in his family flipped out does not strike me as a very good way to defend the enumerated rights of the citizenry.

                  3. That alone doesn’t justify seizure of said guns or temp psych eval hold. But that combined with the reason they were visiting him would raise a few more red flags

                    You can dress it up however you like, but you’re still saying this:

                    Cops trying to determine if suspect is crazy.

                    Suspect: “X, Y & Z! Z, damn it!”

                    Cops: “This guy isn’t crazy. You’re free to go!”

                    Cops trying to determine if gun-owning suspect is crazy.

                    Suspect: “X, Y & Z! Z, damn it!”

                    Cops: “Well, it says here on this list that you own guns. So it’s off to the loony bin for you, motherfucker!”

                    1. I’ll make this my last point on this. The cops may not have actually thought this kid was hunky dory, but probably a) didn’t think such an effeminate little shit capable of genuine carnage and b) had limited ability to do really anything based solely on what they perceived helicopter parents’ concerns. Had they discovered the guns, they still might not have been able to do anything legally, but might’ve told the parents who may have been able to cut off the money or otherwise take actions of some sort. It may have changed their view of whether this kid was stable.

                      We’re gun people in here. How many gun owners do you know who buy identical handguns as two of their first three in a collection? Its an odd choice for a gun enthusiast. I’m not suggesting a person’s rights are subject to police deeming someone creepy, or that gun owners should be viewed as potential threats. I’m saying in this instance, discovering guns in the context of this visit may have changed their analysis. They might not have done anything using their force about it, but instead of calling the parents and saying “he seems like a normal kid” they might have called the parents and said “we cannot legally do anything, but we really think you should visit him/cut off money/or something.”

                    2. A kid who just seems socially awkward is one thing. A kid who seems socially awkward, has an internet footprint that they could view that might have raised flags, and on top of that has an arsenal that is atypical of a genuine gun fan might have just caused a different chain of events (not necessarily involving police force) to unfold.

                    3. I’m not saying that the cops should have any right to confiscate firearms absent violation of law, just because the parents are concerned or don’t like guns.

                      But try to seriously place yourself in one of those officers shoes. You go to interview the kid, based on the parents suspicions that he’s posted odd stuff on youtube. You visit the kid (we’ve seen his videos) he seems a bit awkward and a bit spoiled, but rather effeminate and harmless. Punchable even. But you execute a quick search based on warrant. You discover three handguns, two identical, and 400 rounds of ammo. The guns all check out as legally owned, but it seems a bit out of place. This doesn’t seem like your typical gun owner. You get back to the station and pull up the youtube channel that alerted his parents’ concern. Now all these dots are starting to look awry. Instead of calling the parents and saying “hey, just a normal kid” you call and say “he’s not violating any laws, there’s nothing we can do, but you should really come up and visit him, maybe cut the money off. He owns three guns and it seems a bit out of place for someone like him, especially the kind of guns.”

                      The parents take action and stop coddling the little shit. Demand the car back. Cut off the funds in exchange for inpatient treatment, turning over the guns, etc. All of a sudden, things unfold vastly differently because the officer saw the guns and realized it was out of place, and told the kids dad.

                  4. Maybe his friggin family should have had him locked up since they knew he was about to snap……

                    Why the hell do you think it needs to be the “cops” that do the locking up?

                    What part of you are responsible for you and you’re own don’t you understand.

        2. A derpetologist, eh? So you must be here to study Tony?

          1. Do derpetologists need licenses?

      2. And that’s the fact of it.

  5. Opinion troll, ah, poll – do you want the story about the Israeli President and his Palestinian counterpart accepting the Pope’s invitation to pray at the Vatican, or the Connecticut legislature sending a bill to the governor to ban chocolate milk in public schools?

    1. Chocolate milk, ’cause it’s ganksta…

      1. So it’s unanimous! Chocolate milk it is:

        http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com…..27741.html

        1. “What concerns me is that if chocolate milk is not one of the available options, then I believe students will decrease consumption of milk overall,” Burt said.”

          Nostradamus here predicts increased waste, the direct result of restricting choice to the unwanted alternative, when scrying into his crystal ball… And cooler heads prevail, for now..

          1. Chocolate milk, really? We’re kinda pampering our kids, aren’t we? What ever happened to the good old days when the hot lunch program was a pack of Lucky Strikes and a cup of coffee?
            It’s good the Guv backed down though, otherwise he’s just begging for a pouty-face Twitter campaign.

      1. Go ahead, throw your vote away!

        1. [Punches fist through “Perot ’96” hat]

  6. My brother tried to convince me about the glory of NN. He said that without it, my ISP could make it harder for me to view sites I like. Basically, his point was NN is the only thing stopping evil core-pore-ray-shuns from censoring content, and that’s why we need the FCC. Because the FCC never censors anything…

    1. evil core-por

      As I starting reading that, I thought I was about to learn about a whole genre of pr0n I never knew existed.

      Now I haz a sad.

        1. *headsmack*

          Idiots.

        2. I’m actually at work today, so I have an excuse to pretend that youtube content is NSFW and not click.

          Even though I suspect that it is safe for work, merely not safe for anyone with a functioning prefrontal cortex.

        1. Not again!

          1. At least he’s not posting Abraham Lincoln porn.

            1. Thank you, I almost forgot to post this:

              http://minutesofmayhem.com/sig…..y-was-gay/

  7. Don’t Let the FCC Control the Internet!

    Heh heh, such a sweet kid!

  8. Once in a while, derp throw me a curve ball. Here is Chomsky explaining why feminists and post-modernists are full of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjNJX64cBOE

  9. I used to work in the police department of a large state mental hospital. One of my duties was fire inspections, which I would often do on weekends. One weekend I was in the basement of the Administration building when the hospital asst. CEO showed up. When I asked him what he was doing there he explained that he was there to peruse the servers for the hospital computer system. He would look at every computer terminal and see if anyone had accessed forbidden content while at work on a state computer. That was his porn he said. Seriously, this guy would come on his time off and sit for hours in a musty basement trying to catch people accessing forbidden websites. It was his time off and that was not even in his job description.
    What a fucking creepy little weasel.

    How many people like that work for the FCC? How many of them peruse the internet and have conniption fits over the fact that people are on the net speaking freely, reading whatever they like?

    Those are the people who want power over the internet? Keep it free and open, my ass. They are orgasmic over the possibility of squashing it.

    1. Well, the ones that work at the NSA and FBI didn’t notice all the YouTube videos posted by a psychopath who killed a bunch of people, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much…

    2. When he said it was his porn, he meant that the porn belonged to him, not to the workers.

      My Dad was a building inspector in a small town, and I remember the time I visited a town informational meeting with my parents. It turned out to be so boring I inspected the fire extinguisher in the back of the room at the town hall, and noticed it hadn’t been checked in over a year. I asked Dad about it, and he commented that the town hall was one of the worst offenders when it came to code violations.

    3. When he said it was his porn, he meant that the porn belonged to him, not to the workers.

      My Dad was a building inspector in a small town, and I remember the time I visited a town informational meeting with my parents. It turned out to be so boring I inspected the fire extinguisher in the back of the room at the town hall, and noticed it hadn’t been checked in over a year. I asked Dad about it, and he commented that the town hall was one of the worst offenders when it came to code violations.

      1. I’ve been having problems with my mouse, so it’s probably an accidental double click that caused my fascinating comment to show up twice, and not server squirrels.

        1. It’s always the squirrels, Ted.

          1. Final solution for squirrels. http://www.asylum.com/2010/07/…..de-a-squi/

        2. Have you tried a mouse whip? http://www.zazzle.com/cat_of_n…..9392040819

  10. Not long ago, I believe it was when the Republicrats were in charge, the battle cry was “Hands off the Internet!!!” Now, under the false argument of packet equality, many of the same people are crying for regulation.

    I don’t know about you, but I really would like my phone calls, especially emergency calls, to take priority over your web rant. Someday we might have tele-surgery over the Internet. Should that be treated the same as my virtual afternoon delight with the Mrs?

    For 20 years now, every time there’s a bandwidth hogging application someone starts screaming about net neutrality. The last time it was the gamers and music downloaders, so no one paid any attention. Now that it’s people who vote and have money who can’t get cheap movies on their smart TVs, it’s got some traction. But like the last time, the ISPs will upgrade their lines, increase their bandwidth and solve the problem. It wasn’t that long ago that a 3Mbps connection was considered speedy. Today, Google Fiber runs at a gigabit and Cox has announced the same speed coming soon. Comcast hasn’t exactly announced it, but they’re likely to have 50Mbps be the standard tier by the end of the year, if not faster (and the backbone to actually deliver it too).

    1. No, it’s not about “People who vote and have money who can’t get cheap movies on their smart TVs” it’s about selling gigabit internet and more about building 5G infrastructure which will be enormously expensive and the cellular carriers can’t do it without charging a premium. The whole original hands off Net Neutrality ruling when the FCC was 3 to 2 democrat to republican was in response to a lawsuit but cell companies. Now with 3 out of 5 Republican FCC commissioners, there is a 180 degree about face.

  11. One more thing: The same people who see Snowden as a criminal would love to clamp down on the Internet. If that were allowed to happen, what would become of the next Snowden? Would we even know? Would the New York Times be held accountable for disseminating “illegal” information?

  12. “Now, several decades after the human rights movement traded its outsider status for influence in Washington, it is clear that this has produced negative as well as positive results. The movement has become a global behemoth. Sometimes it functions as a handmaiden to the power it was once dedicated to combating.

    “The most appalling result of this process in the United States is that some human rights activists now regularly call for using force to resolve the world’s problems. At one time, “human rights” implied opposition to war. Now some of the most outspoken warmongers in Washington are self-proclaimed human rights advocates.”

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opi…..story.html

  13. I’ll switch things up a little. For some reason, there many videos of Arabs arguing and throwing things at each other:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3wTaS9L4EY

      1. COEXIST

      2. “I am proud to an ignoramous”

        Islam in a nutshell.

        1. You’re an islamophobe, and therefore must lose your job.

          You have to everything! That’s how thing roll in America.

          1. “love” everything

  14. Net neutrality is one of the most clearcut derp litmus tests there is.

    If you say yes to net neutrality you are a classic useful idiot, and an overall dipshit to boot.

    1. Yes. It is literally the exemplification of idiocy to favor NN. If you do, you are too stupid to even be engaged with. Just go use a nailgun on your scrotum/clitoris and stop wasting time.

    2. I had a good laugh a few months ago when, at (I think) the AV Club, the discussion got around to net neutrality and some commentator said he didn’t think it was a good idea. The first response was, “Wow, I never thought I’d meet someone on the Internet that was against net neutrality.” A bunch of people liked and agreed with the response.

      You’d think it be the exact opposite, but nope. Lots of people out there think letting the feds regulating bandwidth is an obvious good.

    1. Pencil me in as suspicious.

      1. OSP cited Calhon for reckless driving, recklessly endangering three other people and assault.

        FFS.

  15. Proggy protesters disrupt Special Olympics ceremony:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcuqM1LEi5c

    1. Thistle.

      Her name is Thistle.

        1. And Mr. Veggie is the shining example of leftish thinking!

  16. Regulatory morass and long, drawn-out bureaucratic hassles is what we do together.

  17. Isn’t it fascinating that commies ALWAYS show up for proggy protests?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1LeqQbf4Rs

  18. My biggest fear of Democrats holding a majority for long enough is my one frontier of relative freedom would be compromised. Not that overall their establishment RINO collaborators would be much better in most areas. Nonetheless, the fever to inject big government control into the Internet is a phenomenon originating mostly within the party of jackasses.

    1. Oh, the pachyderms have a bug up their asses about online porn and gambling, and I’d guess about online pot sales in Colorado and Washington.

      There are probably other things too, but I can’t think of them right now.

      1. Valid points. The Dumbos’ efforts to attack “porn” and gambling had slipped my memory.

        Hang them all!

      2. While this is true, if the GOP get in power, suddenly everyone starts worrying about just that, so it cannot happen.

        Dems are much better at slowly, oozing in regs and rules without people noticing much.

    2. The jackasses will have plenty of help from the GOP establishment on any bill that attempts to restrict free speech on the internet.

      The political elite, at least the smarter among them, realize that the internet is the greatest threat to their power.

  19. Wow, a whole mob of socialists at a proggy protest. Give me a moment- I’m sure my shocked face is around here somewhere:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkw7n9Qagu8

  20. Even using the demented kind of logic that’s common in a regulated context, I find it incredibly difficult to see how Net Neutrality is “fair”.

    Why shouldn’t people who use a lot of bandwidth have to pay more for that?

    I think a lot of the people who favor so-called Net Neutrality know damn well that they are bandwidth hogs, and are counting on being subsidized by lower-bandwidth users.

    Why don’t we apply Net Neutrality principles to snail mail? Charge everyone a flat fee for access to the mail system. Keep that fee the same whether you send 3 pieces of mail a month or 300 million. Would that be fair?

    1. That’s a fantastic analogy.

    2. I imagine I use a fair amount of bandwidth. And I do pay for a higher tier level of service.

      Not sure why you’d chose to use the horrifically failing USPS as your example of a more model system.

      1. UPS and FedEx works the same way: larger parcels cost more to ship.

        1. True. Maybe it’s just me, but when someone says snail mail I usually think USPS.

      2. I’m looking at it from the perspective of the mail sender.

        We’re not really talking about consumers here; consumers already pay for tiers of service.

        The Net Neutrality question revolves around senders of data.

        How fair would it be if it cost you the same amount to mail three bills a month as it cost me to do a mass direct mailing to every address in the US?

        And the USPS may be failing…but how much faster would they fail if they weren’t allowed to charge me more, in that scenario, then they charge you?

    3. Remember that a lot of these same people will argue that Obamacare is necessary to make freeloaders pay for health insurance.

      Pretty sure Tony is such a person.

  21. I live in Los Angeles, they have regulated into a monopoly for the cable companies for high speed internet. U-verse and Fios are not available, because in the city gov’s infinite stupidity, they require ATT and Verizon to install fiber in the currently slowest (and poorest) DSL neighborhoods first – which the telephone companies can’t afford. So no fiber for anyone. FU LACG.

    1. It’s fairer that way.

      1. The nice thing about fairness is everyone not connected to the ruling political class gets pretty much equally fucked.

        1. Yeah, I was told by a Verizon installer the full reason. When I ask my ATT reps why they don’t supply U-verse in my area, they would just tell me that they have not been given the permits to put in the infrastructure. When I persisted, they recommended I contact the mayor and petition him to allow the permits.

          1. The mayor’s awaiting the vig from ATT.

  22. Chris Hayes very butt hurt about climate skeptics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx9I9L8lnNk

    1. 99 likes, 155 dislikes. Either the majority of viewers didn’t care for Hayes playing with the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of fools..or the 155 are total suckers who were upset by the video title.

    2. Michael Mann shows up for the last the fast minutes of it- don’t miss it!

  23. MSNBC anchor tries to make account on healthcare.gov; hilarity ensues:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtiLe8gyo54

  24. its awesome,,, Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out http://www.Fox81.com

    1. I think I can make more as a Net Neuterer.

  25. I think that we really do have a problem with ISPs holding their customers hostage for more money. Using the FCC is one way to attack the problem. We’d be better off to fix it by increasing the available competition. Then if you didn’t get great Netflix service you could call up one of the other ten ISPs and switch. Netflix itself could put up a banner telling you Comcast is the problem and who has the best service in your area. Comcast would fix it quick then. But right now you have the option of a cable ISP that sucks or a DSL ISP that sucks or a satellite ISP that really sucks.

    However, there is a classic problem here: cable/wire/fiber infrastructure is like roads. It is a natural monopoly. It is hugely expensive to run more cables and eventually you run out of room to put them.

    We should probably go with government or controlled monopoly installed fiber to the house and business and then allow anyone to hook in at the access points where it makes sense.

    Or sure, be libertarian and have a community owned organization build and own it. But that’s nothing more than a contractually formed semi-governmental organization like an HOA and I don’t see much difference between that and the official local government.

    1. “We should probably go with government or controlled monopoly installed fiber to the house and business and then allow anyone to hook in at the access points where it makes sense.”

      No, we shouldn’t. It will only give the government more control.

      1. Instead of giving mega corporations more control? I don’t think so.

    2. The only “natural monopoly” is government. All of your cable and internet providers are geographically duopolies because of government regulation.

      1. And they are(especially Comcast), a perfect and indisputable example of why government should never be allowed to pick winners and losers.

      2. So, the road system outside your front door is NOT a natural monopoly?

        It must be the government regulation that keeps a competing road system away and not the limited amount of space.

        I am not convinced.

      3. “All of your cable and internet providers are geographically duopolies because of government regulation.”

        Where I live I have two choices – copper DSL or fiber optic Comcast.

    3. God, no.

      Your line is messed up. Instead of calling Uverse, I have to call the DMV?

      No thank you.

      1. Your community pool has a burned out pump. Instead of calling your own pool guy you have to call the community pool management. Oh, the horror.

  26. That’s the consensus from proponents of so-called net neutrality, who are alarmed and dismayed by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that might eventually allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge users different rates to transmit data across their networks.

    I am assuming, by the phrase, “who are alarmed and dismayed“, and other phrases to that effect, that these so-called “proponents of… net neutrality” are… uhm… opposed to it…

    You keep using that word [proponents]. I do not think it means what you think it means.” ~ Inigo Montoya

    1. That’s due to a bait ans switch by the FCC. originally they passed a ruling on real net neutrality. Then they passed a ruling advocating corporate net opportunism but still called the ruling net neutrality. Intentionally confusing IMO.

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