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Republicans Politics

Republicans Create Rider To Stop Net Neutrality 528

Posted by Soulskill
from the congress-shall-make-no-law-respecting-the-tubes dept.
99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) submitted a rider yesterday to a bill on military and veterans' construction projects. The rider would, 'prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards.' It is co-signed by six other Republican senators. We all knew this was coming after the last election removed most of the vocal supporters of net neutrality and supplanted them with pro-corporate Republicans."
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Republicans Create Rider To Stop Net Neutrality

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  • by sethstorm (512897) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:09PM (#34593460) Homepage

    Think again.

    They just want more freedom to screw you over, lie to you about jobs, and bring back the days of Compuserve.

    • by Surt (22457) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:19PM (#34593622) Homepage Journal

      Who on earth thought GOP/TP represented regular people?

      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:39PM (#34593856)

        Aye. Jeez, they openly joked and boasted about the wealthy being "their base".

        One guy a few days ago on a conservative talk show host said he was about to lose his unemployment benefits and with that, his house, car, probably family. Conversion story, right?

        Nope-- he felt he did the right thing on principle to slit his own throat, even tho the wealthy will be walking away with $100,000 in tax savings alone.

        It is going to take hard poverty to break these folks from the fox news and radio talk show host brainwashing. They literally identify with billionaires while they are losing everything and being tossed out to starve. When do they wake up and start voting in their own self interest?

        Or will they just bypass that step entirely and go straight to violence in a couple years.

        • by brainboyz (114458) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:29PM (#34594562) Homepage

          So, what you're saying is he should be greedy and vote for whichever politician will give him the most benefits as opposed to who he believes will do the best job running the country and handle issues in a fair and constitutional manner (as much as can be expected from a politician, anyway)? Voters like you scare me. What do you plan to do when you run out of other peoples' money?

      • by interval1066 (668936) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:11PM (#34594280) Homepage Journal

        "Who on earth thought GOP/TP represented regular people?"

        I'm guessing the same pack of idiots who think the Democrats represent regular people.

      • by moortak (1273582)
        The people who voted for them.
  • Not pro-corporate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:10PM (#34593470)

    To call those against Net Neutrality as "pro-corperate" is a terrible mistake, because a lot of large companies back net neutrality - including Google and Amazon.

    The reality is that companies want regulation passed that benefits that company - that is the point of lobbying after all. So that is why the only position you can possibly support if you are "anti-corperate" is no regulation at all.

    Seeing as that is the position the Republicans are taking, those who claim Republicans are acting on behalf of corporations need to think about who THEY are actually supporting through these accusations, and what we lose when the truly open internet becomes beholden to the whims of the FCC.

    • by spidercoz (947220) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:13PM (#34593526) Journal
      I'd take the whims of the FCC over those of AT&T and Comcast any day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google and Amazon don't control the pipe, though. Republicans are helping Comcast and TimeWarner. You may not like the idea of the FCC being able to enforce net neutrality but at least putting the FCC in charge gives the people someone to complain to. Try telling Comcast you don't like their draconian control, or at least their attempts, over the internet. They'll tell you to fuck off and to thank their dear friends, Republicans!

      But I'm sure you liked warrantless wiretapping. The TSA pat downs are God's gif

    • by qeveren (318805)

      Why don't we just call it what it is? Corruption.

    • Re:Not pro-corporate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:19PM (#34593616) Homepage

      Yes and no.

      First off, AT&T and other telecoms are larger campaign contributors than Google, Apple et al, so this is pretty much a done deal, will of the people be damned.

      Secondly, all corporate players generally recognize that a net neutral Internet could become potentially democratic (small d intentional here), which is not in their best interest. They'd much rather the Internet be a somewhat more interactive broadcast medium like television than they would have it be a truly horizontal distributed network, because the more broadcast-like it is the easier it is to control what is said or heard on it, and the harder it is to compete with established players.

      Thirdly, most Republicans and Democrats could accurately be described as pro-corporate.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      We don't have a truly open Internet.

      At any moment TWC could start throttling my connections to netflix, just to get me to buy their cable service.

      The reality is we need to regulate internet providers into not also being content providers or cable operators. These conflicts of interest must be removed.

      • by spidercoz (947220)
        Damn yous The Weather Channel!!! Keep offa my Netflix!
      • by MrShaggy (683273)

        Your point over Netflix is right.

        However you can always just download the torrent's of your favorite shows.

        Yu can even set it up automatically.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I could, but I am trying to meet these media assholes halfway. I used to do the whole torrent + rss thing, when I was in college. It was great, but now I am trying to do it a little more legally.

      • At any moment TWC could start throttling my connections to netflix, just to get me to buy their cable service.
         
        At any moment TWC could shut down your service altogether, increase the price one hundredfold or only allow you to have Internet on Tuesdays and only while you wear a french maid outfit. Damn, you are right, we really don't have an open Internet!

    • Pro big donor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:23PM (#34593658) Journal

      The Republicans want absolutely no regulation of anything. Net neutrality is regulation. Without net neutrality regulations, the 'truly open Internet' becomes beholden to certain corporate interests. I would rather the Internet be beholden to the FCC, which is at theoretically accountable to US citizens, than to a few large media companies.

      Regulations are like guns. They are tools. They can be used to protect or to harm. They are neither evil nor good, in and of themselves. We should never seek to get rid of all regulations, only the bad ones. Without 'regulations' the little guy is at the mercy of the rich and powerful. I support the right of the little guys of the world to band together and enact laws to protect themselves from exploitation.

      You basically bring up the FCC as a sort of scary specter, "Ooga booga booga! FCC gonna getcha!" without saying what, exactly, you fear the FCC might do.

      Net neutrality regulations are necessary to keep the Internet open. It will either be regulated by the FCC, or it will be controlled by a handful of huge media conglomerates. It will not stay the unregulated, anything goes wild west it is today. Either the landlords will move in and Enclose the open Internet, or we, the citizens, decide that we do not want to let them wall off the Internet, and we pass laws to stop them.

      • Re:Pro big donor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:34PM (#34593790)

        Bullshit, ask them about corn subsidies.

        Republicans love regulation, regulation that moves money into the welfare queen red states.

        • by spun (1352)

          Bullshit, ask them about corn subsidies.

          Republicans love regulation, regulation that moves money into the welfare queen red states.

          Oh, I know that. I just didn't feel like muddying the waters of the debate. I was going to go there, thus the title of my post, but thought better of it.

      • Re:Pro big donor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mike449 (238450) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:36PM (#34593816)

        The Republicans want absolutely no regulation of anything. Net neutrality is regulation.
        While they are at it, they should un-regulate the right of Cox to dig my property (private and public). If they want free market, let me name the conditions on which they can lay their cables.
        So they actually want regulation, but only when it suits corporate interests and not public interests? This exposes them as shills and hypocrites.

      • Without 'regulations' the little guy is at the mercy of the rich and powerful.

        Since the "little guy" cannot lobby and the rich and powerful can, I'd wager your statement is wrong 100% of the time.

        I'm not for forgoing all regulation. But because there has been no demonstrated need for network neutrality regulation (as in: Not one thing has happened to date that network neutrality regulation would have prevented) then why even have it?

        You stated regulation is like a tool. That is correct. But it's also co

        • by spun (1352)

          Who says the little guy can't lobby? How did Obama get elected? It was the little guy. Okay, yes, Obama then proceeded to piss all over the little guy, but we DO have a democracy, and ultimately, the little guys control the government.

          You act as if there has not been a problem that net neutrality will fix, that it is hypothetical. But that is not true, there have been several instances of companies throttling speeds to competitor's data. They have been reported right here, and I know you read Slashdot.

      • Re:Pro big donor (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:15PM (#34594344) Homepage

        Unfortunately the FCC has proven more often than not to be an advocate of communications rather than a regulator of it. Same as the FAA in many ways - if the airlines suffer the FAA isn't doing their advocacy job.

        So it is very unclear what the FCC might actually do that would harm a major ISP like Comcast when there was a public outcry.

        A large part of the problem is that the whole artifical monopoly which isn't tariffed like the telephone companies were but instead enforced through franchise agreements. There is no law that says there can only be a single cable provider but there are agreements in place that a municipality will contract with one and only one provider. The franchise agreements do get renewed but the scale of the physical plant that is required pretty much eliminates the possibility of a new player coming in and taking over the installed system - they would need to come in with a newly built head end. Sure, the municipality owns the cables, the nodes and the amplifiers (more or less), but the franchise agreement specifies how this equipment can be conveyed to someone else. And it isn't simple.

        But nobody would make the investment in any of the physical plant without some sort of agreement that said how they were going to get paid for it all.

        So whatever laws you might like are going to have to first of all not contravene existing franchise agreements. Nationwide. Each one independently negotiated with each municipality. Because should a law be proposed that nullifies some part of a franchise agreement in Chicago but not in Phoenix there is going to be nothing but trouble.

        And you didn't think they would actually just pass a law forcing neutrality without things like must-carry and municipal access did you?

      • Re:Pro big donor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rakarra (112805) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:45PM (#34594790)

        You basically bring up the FCC as a sort of scary specter, "Ooga booga booga! FCC gonna getcha!" without saying what, exactly, you fear the FCC might do.

        I would very much worry about the FCC trying to screw up Internet content the same way they screwed up broadcast television. The FCC has a history of looking to expand its powers and influence, and I don't think, if it could get its hooks into the Internet, that it would stop at 'merely' Net Neutrality.

    • The correct term should have been pro-telecom. And the republicans are acting on behalf of corporations, just not all corporation, only telecoms. Telecoms have the most to gain from destroying net neutrality and they can bring the most pressure on the senate, as they already have more ingrained lobbyists than the various internet companies.

    • by oGMo (379) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:24PM (#34593670)

      The reality is that companies want regulation passed that benefits that company - that is the point of lobbying after all. So that is why the only position you can possibly support if you are "anti-corperate" is no regulation at all.

      False dichotomy; companies want regulation passed that benefits them, but this is not the only possible regulation. Therefore the only "anti-corporate" choice is not "no regulation." This is especially true since "no regulation" highly benefits another subset of companies (namely certain large ISPs like Comcast) who hold local monopolies, and already want anti-individual/customer/citizen measures which will raise prices and reduce quality.

      Indeed, regulation that benefits individuals is "anti-corporate," or at least corporation-neutral and anti-monopoly-abuse, which is the real purpose here. Knee-jerk reactions to anything labeled "corporate" (or "regulation") aren't the answer. Preventing the abuse of individual customers is.

    • by mike449 (238450)

      In this particular case, interests of some corporations coincide with interests of the public, and the parent is trying to muddy the waters using this fact.
      I don't actually care if Republicans are acting on behalf of Comcast. All I care is that they are acting against public interests.

      At least they selflessly protect the right of Americans to organize into a well-regulated militia bearing arms. That will take care of everything, right? RIGHT?!!!

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:29PM (#34593726) Journal

      To call those against Net Neutrality as "pro-corporate" is a terrible mistake, because a lot of large companies back net neutrality - including Google and Amazon.

      It's more accurately "pro-big-corporate". Sure, Google and Amazon kvetch about net neutrality, but the reality of the matter is that they are big enough that they aren't really affected. Comcast would never make YouTube unusable because their customers would burn the place down. And even in the worst case, YouTube et al are forced to mirror high bandwidth content using services like Akamai, which they can readily afford to do.

      The folks who are penalized by lack of net neutrality are the small businesses---the next Facebook or Amazon or Google or YouTube. By limiting access to the free and open internet and essentially mandating the much more expensive distributed delivery of content, the entrenched big businesses become nearly unstoppable. Thus, although those big companies may complain about net neutrality, they're unlikely to do all that much to try to enforce it. After all, the anti-net-neutrality crowd is working in their best interests, too, at least when it comes to long-term profitability.

      Don't get me wrong, in principle, Akamai is a good thing, particularly for multimedia content, as it reduces load on the backbones, reduces latency, and reduces jitter in data delivery. However, if non-Akamaized services are not merely less then ideal, but rather unusable, that tips the balance in a way that is completely unacceptable, and Comcast and cronies should be rightfully spanked with fines or, if the government is unwilling to do so, lawsuits.

    • google and amazon are just two major corps among the few corps supporting net neutrality.
    • So that is why the only position you can possibly support if you are "anti-corperate" is no regulation at all.

      You realize that no regulation means no net neutrality, right?

      But at this point the only solution that's anything more than the shoddiest of quick fixes is to take the Internet out of both government and corporate hands, to go to a community-run Internet. That means forking the infrastructure, switching to decentralized protocols and services, adopting universal encryption and ubiquitous support for anonymization, and replacing the IANA/ICANN with a democratic leadership:

      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid= [slashdot.org]

  • Tought it was "Republicans create cider to stop net neutrality"

    I'm thirsty now, made me want to get a bottle of Rekorderlig [rekorderligcider.com]
  • Nobody outside the US gets a vote on this stuff, yet we all get affected by the Republican nationalist, conservative stances. Liberalism isn't the answer to all humanity's woes, but neither is what the Republicans and other similar right-wing parties in the world are constantly doing.

    Come on, Republicans, turn the Internet into mess for everyone else, too.
    • by speedlaw (878924) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:28PM (#34593710) Homepage
      Please. It's not even like they are a majority. They just have party cohesion which the Democrats lack. Indeed, with all three parts of the government, they STILL kowtowed to the Republicans, but really, as the Dems are also feeding at the same trough, there is little difference. The Dems don't apoligize to BP for inconveniencing them, like the Repubs, but it's still close.
  • Well how about we create a bill banning all private internet service providers and transferring that service to a socialist government organization, per clause in the US Constitution establishing a government-run mail (communications) service?

    The best government is a socialist government that fights the libertarian ideals of established corporations.

    The whole point of competition is to eliminate competitors to gain monopoly status.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      That takes time. Removing neutrality from the table is the first step.

    • just like how law bans any private judiciary, any private legislative body, any private army and any private police.

      the stuff that are the means to basics of life, communication should never be private.
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Well how about we create a bill banning all private internet service providers and transferring that service to a socialist government organization, per clause in the US Constitution establishing a government-run mail (communications) service?

      You're half right. The government should own the last mile wire infrastructure, and should lease access to ISPs that want to provide service. Those ISPs can then lease backbone services from long haul wire providers, provide routing infrastructure, etc. By doing tha

    • by thethibs (882667)
      I guess all those collapsing socialist governments in Europe just aren't doing it right, then?
  • So contact your representatives and voice your opinion. If you don't have their contact info it's easy enough to look up online or if you happen to have an android phone download the "Congres" app. It will give you the contact info of your local congressional representatives. Part of the reason that lobbyists have so much power is that ordinary people don't inundate their reps with opinions and facts the way that special interests do. So contact them and express your opinion. They won't completely ignore it
    • by qeveren (318805)

      Part of the reason that lobbyists have so much power is that ordinary people don't inundate their reps with opinions and facts the way that special interests do.

      Replace 'opinions and facts' with 'money' and you're getting closer to reality.

    • Re:Vocalize (Score:4, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:38PM (#34593844)

      Bullshit, I used to call all the time. Not letters call. You get some staffer who does not care and an email that says they agree with you and support $the_opposite_of_what_you_said 100%.

      These assholes are bought and paid for. They should at least wear patches like race car drivers so we can clearly see who they work for.

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:17PM (#34593576) Journal

    This is Kay Bailey Hutchinson proving her conservative bona fides after the shellacking she got from the 2010 Texas Republican Gubernatorial primary. Too bad she's decided to take sides against consumers to prove that she's a good party member.

  • I seem to recall hearing quite a bit about how much the Texas conservatives hated her and were working to unseat her in the 2010 election cycle. Of course, losing your reelection (even to someone from your own party) doesn't mean you can't do anything in your last two months of your term, but if she lost she doesn't really represent much at this point.
  • It isn't like Democrats had control of Congress and the White House for the last two years to do anything. Just like Don't ask Don't tell - they could have done something, but it is better to do nothing and create a campaign issue.
    • by spidercoz (947220)
      They were too busy cowering in fear of the almighty FILIBUSTER to actually do anything. So terrifying a weapon, the Republicans didn't even have to use it, just say it. Buncha useless bastards.
  • by citylivin (1250770) on Friday December 17, 2010 @06:31PM (#34593752)

    KENT BROCKMAN: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.
    SPEAKER: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of--
    CONGRESSMAN: Wait a second, I want to tack on a rider to that bill - $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.
    SPEAKER: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?
    FLOOR: Boo!
    SPEAKER: Bill defeated.

    Can't believe you guys haven't fixed this yet. How can a completely unrelated thing be tacked on like that? is it really just a congressmans whim? Everytime i hear the word "rider" in american politics, i think of that simpsons skit.

    • by spidercoz (947220)
      Yes. It is actually that bad.
      • by iksbob (947407) on Friday December 17, 2010 @08:12PM (#34595122)

        It's worse actually. In the simpsons skit, they vote down the bill over the rider. Very few real life congress critters have the integrity to do such a thing, no matter how ludicrous or unrelated it may be.
        Without riders, there would be no way for politicians to get their selfish and/or unpopular bits of legislation passed. Thus, the rider problem never gets fixed. Riders are a tool of corruption IMO. As long as corruption prevails, riders will continue to be tacked on to otherwise useful bills. Since governance is power and power corrupts (or at least draws the corrupt), I expect riders will be a problem until some form of major upheaval pushes these individuals out.

    • by Tom (822)

      Yeah, same sentiment here. I can't believe that kind of crap is not only legal, but in fact quite common.

      It's as if they had intentionally built in predetermined breaking points into their democracy.

  • Riders are an appalling and ant-democratic in practice. All this talk about ear marks that people are up in arms over should really be focused on riders. They serve only one purpose and that is to confuse an issue with unrelated issues. They take advantage of the all or nothing system so that a minority of legislators can force through an issue that would not pass on its own merit.

    The biggest problem in government we have to day is this practice of riders and omnibus bills. Legislation should not be tho

  • I'm in an odd spot on this one. I'm against any net neutrality legislation or regulation by the FCC, but I don't want to see congress acting on net neutrality either (even to prevent future regulation). I'd rather the government just stop and wait and see if any big problems arise. Don't legislate to prevent a future problem. I have trouble believing players like Comcast have dramatically more power than players like Netflix and Google. People won't be happy if their Netflix streaming doesn't work right on

  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:11PM (#34594290)

    "They have promised to repeal regulations such as open-Internet rules that they say would harm the communications industry's growth and ability to create jobs."

    Translation: "They are making good on promises to corporate campaign donors to foster legislation which allows wresting every farthing from an increasingly disenfranchised populace, continue outsourcing of any jobs to better the quarterly profit statement, while pay lip service that this benefits the public."

  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday December 17, 2010 @07:15PM (#34594350)
    Don't Americans notice the Republicans keep throwing wrenches into all the worthwhile legislation and promoting issues that are not in the interests of the majority of Americans? It goes beyond pulling the wool over peoples eyes, you have to be out right stupid not to see that they are not acting in the interests of the vast majority of the American people.
    • by hey! (33014)

      No. We're too busy worried about Obama's birth certificate to pay attention to things like corporate control over access to information.

    • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:04PM (#34596470)
      The Republicans noticed two facts:

      1. The USA is a democracy and you hold power by getting most of the voters to vote for you.
      2. McDonald's is the largest and most successful restaurant chain in the USA, yet the food is utter crap and kills the customers.

      After they put these two facts together, they figured out that if they use mass advertising campaigns and catchy slogans to appeal to emotion with a pack of lies, they can hold power while simultaneously raping and pillage The Middle Class and The Middle Class would thank them and ask for some more. Ya gotta hand it to them, since Reagan started it, they've been remarkably effective while the Democrats have better, more honorable ideas, they are completely ineffective mass communicators.

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