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Thread: Net Neutrality

  1. #36
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I don't really like the internet all that much. Sure I use forums, but back in the days of the dial-up BBS you could still do the forum thing, but it had the benefit that it was selective. Only people who were willing to pay for long distance charges spent much time doing it, and that weeded out most of the noise. S/N was a lot better back then and you wasted a lot less time.

    What has the internet brought us? Really?

    I could live without electronic statements and e-bills, which only really benefit the company generating the statements by cutting their back office costs, and shifts the responsibility of fetching and printing the bill onto me. I'd prefer not to use email. Using it forces me to commit to another task every day; I've got enough things on my to-do list already and I don't like being bound to a desk, as if I'm an office worker who is obligated to answer emails. If I really want to talk to someone and be sure that I get an answer from them, then I use the phone. The phone is better -- it provides two way communication in real time, instead of a disjointed string of one-way communications that are spread out in time. If you want to have technical discussion, email just isn't a good vehicle for that. It makes the entire conversation stretch out so that a 5 minute conversation might end up taking days to complete. I think email is actually pretty lame as a two-way communication tool. I guess it's OK for one way information dissemination, but beyond that I don't find it all that useful.

    Unfortunately email is another way to subject yourself to push-marketing and I already get enough junk mail. Today everyone asks for your email, and if you give it out to a vendor you'll be forced to correspond via email with support staff that try to avoid actually talking to their customers.

    Then there's the password problem -- If we didn't have the internet then I wouldn't have to memorize hundreds of different online passwords and the crazy idiosyncratic password requirements that vary from site to site. And we wouldn't have such problems with identity theft. Or google tracking our every move for the rest of our lives. Or wholesale surveillance by government agencies in the name of patriotism.

    What good has it brought us, really? It's easier to find and pull down documentation when you need it. That's almost instantaneous compared to waiting a week for something to arrive in the mail. That's a big plus.

    The web has changed the face of shopping, though I'm not convinced that Amazon and Guitar Center are any better for us in the big scheme of things than when we had a viable Sears store and a hardware store in every town, and a local Mom and Pop music store.

    More than anything else I think the internet has become a vehicle for entertainment and media distribution. that's what most people use it for. I'm not a big consumer of that stuff -- I prefer to read and I don't really like to watch TV. I don't use NFLX and I don't have a youtube account. I could do without them. But some people are actually hungry for that sort of thing. They're the ones who are providing consumption and revenue for the media companies, so they're the ones driving the market. They are changing the world for the rest of us. Because of the mass consumption of cell phones you can't even find a pay phone any more.

    I guess we also have to consider that electronic technology has changed the way that spying is done, so that mass surveillance has now become automated. Basically if you choose to use electronic technologies then you're volunteering to be a part of today's surveillance society.

    I get by without a cell phone. I don't really need one. When I'm home I can use my land line, and when I'm out and about I don't feel the need to be in constant connectivity with the world. If the internet completely disappeared, it'd take me a while to adapt to the change, but I don't think it'd change my life all that much, and in some respects I think the change would be for the better.

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  2. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    What good has it brought us, really? It's easier to find and pull down documentation when you need it. That's almost instantaneous compared to waiting a week for something to arrive in the mail. That's a big plus.
    Interesting points all around, and I agree with pretty much all of it. One thing to me that the internet has done positive is to allow THIS PLACE. For over ten years, Ampage & M.E.F. were my only "social media." I cut my teeth here & learned just about everything I know. For THAT, I am extremely grateful.

    The internet has made it quite easy to pursue my hobby of AMP-building, even after all the brick&mortar stores within a hundred miles of my home have closed. That is also good for me. But as for the rest of it, it all turns out to be mixed blessing at best, and a curse at its worst...

    All well-stated, Bob.

    Justin

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon may soon be free to block content, slow video-streaming services from rivals, and offer “fast lanes” to preferred partners.

    So how is retricting what content I get and how past I get it, going to benefit me?

    It will probably make the big bigger, and the small smaller.
    For now I'm totally against doing away with net neutrality!
    https://www.wired.com/story/heres-ho...-the-internet/

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  4. #39
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    So how is retricting what content I get and how past I get it, going to benefit me?
    Some people will benefit from the changes, others won't.

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  5. #40
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    We've already discussed in this thread that net neutrality can mean many different things, depending upon how you define it. I'm still waiting for an operational definition of what "net neutrality" actually means in this legislation. Can anybody fill that gap?

    I'm all for the idea of having QoS thrown away and all traffic being treated with equal priority, if the condition is met that people are made to pay for the amount of bandwidth they actually consume. I don't have any problem treating it like a metered utility. You use X amount of bandwidth, you pay for X amount of bandwidth. Paying by the byte provides the consumer with an incentive not to waste bandwidth. The fact that bandwidth is being given away at flat rates ends up causing a lot of the network bottlenecks. When a commodity is free there is no incentive for people to conserve it, so consumption rises to the point that the commodity becomes unvalued and gets wasted. A prime example of this is that people are inclined to stream youtube and neflix and walk away from the PC when they become distracted. They leave the stream running, wasting bandwidth, and then when they come back if they're still interested in the show then they'll rewind it show and stream the same block of data all over again. People wouldn't waste bandwidth like that if they had to pay for those wasted bytes.

    If it weren't for streaming video would bandwidth even be important?
    Bob, my internet service has a monthly bandwidth cap and if I exceed that amount I am charged extra. From your post I get the impression that your internet provider does not have a bandwidth cap. In the interests of a free market I think it best to leave that decision up to the internet provider and that we as the end user decide if we want a provider that has or doesn't have a bandwidth cap.***

    The cellphone plans that offer unlimited bandwidth usually have a cap on 4G or 3G access. Once you exceed that cap your Internet connection is much slower. Or so I have heard (my cellphone plan does not include data.) One common complaint is that you can't choose when to use the 4G or 3G network, like if you wanted to save it for when you really want or need a fast connection. Not an option, the first bytes you use are 4G or 3G and once the cap is reached you get slower access.

    Steve A.

    *** It would also depend if you get your internet access through cable or through DSL on your phone line. With cable the pipe delivering your internet service is shared with all of your neighbors so if everybody is streaming video during primetime your connection slows down. With DSL the pipe delivering your internet service is not shared.

    So with cable access it is like water rushing down a river. Whether or not you decide to divert some of that water for your own personal use does not change the amount of water coming from its source. I believe that the main reason for the bandwidth cap is for the benefit of the lower bandwidth customers so that their internet access is not slowed down by the bandwidth hogs. The ISP is pushing out so many bytes per second to be shared with all of the customers on that pipe. However, like the electric utilities, if there is a demand for more total bandwidth then they must build a bigger pipe so it is only fair that the bandwidth hogs help pay for that. So yes, there are some mixed issues here — it is not strictly black or white.

    This was in the paper the other day...

    Pai suggested Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission, not the FCC, should be responsible for policing the industry and protect consumers.
    • “As a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015,” he said in a statement. “Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.”
    • Proponents of net neutrality say the FTC is ill-equipped for the task. For one thing, it’s not clear whether the FTC even has the authority to regulate companies that offer both phone and Internet service. And the agency can only issue enforcement actions on individual cases brought by consumers against companies.
    • In other words, the burden falls onto the consumer to alert the agency about wrongdoing.
    • “The average American is not going to be familiar with the process,” Falcon of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. “It’s a lot of work to file a complaint with the FTC.”
    • Moreover, the FCC can issue rules that the entire industry must follow, which would prevent fraud. The FTC doesn’t have such broad power, which means the agency can act only after a company commits a violation.
    • “These cases would have to be brought one at a time, which favors the broadband providers,” Anant Raut, a former FTC attorney and antitrust lawyer in the Justice Department, wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill, “as opposed to the consumer-friendly way it works now, when the blanket prohibition prevents the activity from occurring in the first place. Eliminating net neutrality’s bright-line rules would shift the burden of enforcement against multibillion-dollar corporations onto beleaguered consumers.”
    FCC chair?s plan to undo Internet rules flies against today?s reality - San Francisco Chronicle

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  6. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Some people will benefit from the changes, others won't.
    Overheard at a press conference:

    "Some" people (none of you regular schmoes) will "benefit" (wink wink) (from us telling you what you want and need) from the "changes (that were part of the Original Plan anyway, but we knew you'd never swallow THAT!) ," others won't." (turns around and winks to fat cat suit guys behind, "don't worry, we gotcha!")

    I apologize for my cynicism... But not really.

    Justin

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  7. #42
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I don't really like the internet all that much. Sure I use forums, but back in the days of the dial-up BBS you could still do the forum thing, but it had the benefit that it was selective. Only people who were willing to pay for long distance charges spent much time doing it, and that weeded out most of the noise. S/N was a lot better back then and you wasted a lot less time.
    I only used the BBS's and other services which had local phone numbers. I remember paying $12.50/hr for Compu$erve. One night I fell asleep at the computer and when I woke up 6 hours later I was freaked out over the $75 session... yikes! Fortunately Compu$erve ended the call after 15 minutes on inactivity. Whew!

    I get by without a cell phone. I don't really need one. When I'm home I can use my land line, and when I'm out and about I don't feel the need to be in constant connectivity with the world. If the internet completely disappeared, it'd take me a while to adapt to the change, but I don't think it'd change my life all that much, and in some respects I think the change would be for the better.
    I have a Lifeline cell phone which is free for low-income people like me. In California we get unlimited calls and texts. Whoopie!

    I am still disabled so I need to take a cell phone with me whenever I drive anywhere — if my car breaks down I can't just walk a mile or two to reach a phone as I used to be able to do.

    My Lifeline plan does not include data so I am not connected to the internet when I am out and about. I usually bring my Samsung tablet with me but I can only connect to the internet through wifi.

    I have become completely dependent on the internet to keep informed - I have digital subscriptions to many newspapers and magazines. I have always been very inquisitive... "how does THAT work?" so I'm always looking things up when I have a wifi connection.

    Not to mention music... I am very dependent on the internet to learn songs. I'll find the lyrics and chords on the Ultimate Guitar site and listen to them on YouTube. No need to hunt for illegal MP3's on sleazy internet sites any more...

    I almost forgot to mention internet shopping... rather than driving around looking for hard-to-find items (or good prices) I see what is available on Amazon or eBay. And I do pay practically all of my bills digitally - no more hunting for stamps!

    Steve A.

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 11-27-2017 at 08:13 AM.

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  9. #44
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Mark. Unfortunately, that article seems to be written by someone with a political axe to grind, and it was so brief that it didn't bother to answer any of my questions. Looking at Tom Wheeler's service dates, it appears that he's Obama's former FCC chairman; it's obvious that he would not favor anyone overturning his decisions. Unfortunately that's not quite the objective spell-out that I was hoping for.

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    How is it that anyone serving under the previous administration could NOT be neutral, and supporting principles that supercede partisan factors? Indeed, he argues the view that previous Democrat AND Republican administrations have fought for the principles he is advocating. To simply chalk this up to "sour grapes", somehow, betrays little understanding of how public bureaucracies work.

    I will concur wholeheartedly that the piece is rather brief, and assumes a degree of knowledge about both existing oversight mechanisms, and those proposed, that many of us likely don't have. But his central thesis is one that I see coming up again and again under administrations that cleave towards the wishes of business, under the banner that it will all eventually somehow benefit the little guy. "this proposal raises hypocrisy to new heights. They are “protecting consumers” by disavowing responsibility to do just that. They are providing for “better regulation” by giving authority to the FTC which has no regulatory authority. " That is, take authority away from those with expertise in the subject matter and give it to those without any relevant expertise or authority. Would you accept giving authority over consumer-protection matters to the FTC?

    Still, it's clear that the proposal has made the writer pissed, and in an accusatory mood. Of course, when you lead a federal institution and all the skilled folk who serve under you and believe in the mission, and see their authority simply taken from them in carte blanche fashion, you tend to get a little testy. You can't have a functioning public service that works hard because they believe in their mission if the folks above them don't. The response such manouvers is likely to elicit from FCC employees is "Fuck it. Why should I even care any more?" Now there's value for the tax dollar!

    I see this in multiple jurisdictions. Politicians motivated, and sustained, by anger come in with a head full of steam about what they want, with precious little idea about how anything actually works, when it works properly, or how it would need to work in order to achieve the public good.

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  11. #46
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hammer View Post
    How is it that anyone serving under the previous administration could NOT be neutral, and supporting principles that supercede partisan factors?
    I look at it from a different perspective. I don't see how anyone serving under the previous administration could possibly be neutral, considering first that the objectives of this administration and the previous one are at odds, and second that the bureaucrat responsible for enacting the Obama administration's stance could not possibly be unbiased in critiquing the present administration's efforts to undo what he himself worked hard to create. There's no objectivity there. There can't be. Anyone who expects objectivity in that context is a fool.

    Still, it's clear that the proposal has made the writer pissed, and in an accusatory mood. Of course, when you lead a federal institution and all the skilled folk who serve under you and believe in the mission, and see their authority simply taken from them in carte blanche fashion, you tend to get a little testy. You can't have a functioning public service that works hard because they believe in their mission if the folks above them don't. The response such manouvers is likely to elicit from FCC employees is "Fuck it. Why should I even care any more?"
    Believing in the mission means you've taken a political stance, which IMO is a no-no for anyone working in a low-to-mid level in a bureaucracy. Their job is to execute the mission to which they've been assigned, without having their ability to perform their jobs becoming impaired by conflicts that may arise with their personal beliefs. "Fuck it" is clearly an inappropriate response.

    You work in the Canadian bureaucracy, so maybe you're familiar with the concept that the government was not created to exist for it's own self interest. The government exists to serve the People, and when the People have elections that bring in new administrations with new ideas and objectives, it's the bureaucrats' obligation to stifle themselves from saying "Fuck it", to bite the bullet, and to serve the needs of the electorate without complaining about having to change gears.

    Sure, it's inconvenient to change directions and doing so makes you waste a lot of time and effort by recovering old ground as you've moved from Point A to Point B and you're your forced into making your way back to Point A all over again. But maybe, just maybe, recovering that old ground isn't a waste of time. Maybe the waste of time occurred in covering that ground in the first place and moving to Point B was a mistake. (I'm not particularly referring to this specific instance, just to direction changes in general.) Or maybe the moves back and forth between Points A and B just illustrate vacillation in the will of the People. Maybe that inefficient waste of time and recovering of the same ground is the price that We the People in the United States have to pay for the freedom to choose to redirect out government. Administrators have no business complaining about being inconvenienced by the Electorate's change of heart. The bureaucrats' job is to buck up and do their job without complaining about politics. Taking a job in the bureaucracy involved knowing that these kinds of things can and will happen. It's the norm. "Fuck it" is an inappropriate response that comes from administrators who are considering their own inconvenience rather than the inconvenience of the people they serve. They have their perspective all wrong.

    If the bureaucrats who work in government aren't capable of adapting to the changing will of the People then those people in government need to get out of government, they don't belong there. Their positions are made available to them to serve the will of the People, as manifest by the administrations that the People elect to power. Bureaucrats have no business having opinions contrary to the folks above them. Their job is to serve them, and if they can't serve them they they have become an impediment to progress and they need to get out of the way.

    I see this in multiple jurisdictions. Politicians motivated, and sustained, by anger come in with a head full of steam about what they want, with precious little idea about how anything actually works, when it works properly, or how it would need to work in order to achieve the public good.
    Yeah, it must suck to have a job in that environment. I never had any interest in it.

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  12. #47
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    IMO, your post highlights exactly the problem- politics before policy. If party "A" believes "this", party "B" must believe "that", regardless of policy or practicality of policy. The good of the country is second to getting reelected. Every idea is assigned a "D" or an "R" and turned into political fodder- even those ideas that have little or nothing to do with politics.

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  13. #48
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    of course. If you're happy with the current policy, then you're all about making it perpetual. But what if you're not happy with the current policy, and you're one of those people who thinks that the ship has been headed in the wrong direction for a long time? Perpetual consistent policy above politics means that the ship can never be steered because the system of checks and balances imposed by the electorate has been usurped in the name of consistent policy. Without the ability to change government, what good is government to us? If we can't change it then we become victims who are oppressed by it. The machine is just going to keep operating the same way, discriminating against one group in favor of another just like it always has been. Serving the will of the constant policy machine is a Kafka nightmare in action. Politics has to define policy, policy can't exist on it's own or else we as people end up becoming vassals of the state with no independent will and we're stuck serving a machine that we are powerless to change.

    Sometimes a little chaos is actually a good thing.

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    Last edited by bob p; 11-28-2017 at 03:03 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Thanks for the link Mark. Unfortunately, that article seems to be written by someone with a political axe to grind, and it was so brief that it didn't bother to answer any of my questions...
    Here is a basic explanation of net neutrality from one of the Chronicle's columnists that might answer some of your questions:

    Net neutrality is a concept that requires companies that provide Internet access like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to treat all content equally.
    • In 2015, the Obama a dministration issue d rules that legally codified net neutrality. Advocates feared that big corporations could pay Internet service providers to transmit their content at greater speeds. Therefore, smaller companies, which can’t afford to pay such “tolls,” would be shut out. But some major Silicon Valley companies fear that they too may have to pay more to get their content streamed quickly to consumers. And consumers, for their part, may lose out because they can’t get access to information, or could have to pay more to watch shows, advocates say.
    • Opponents of the Obama-era rules say they were unnecessary and would stifle innovation.
    • On Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission C hairman Ajit Pai said he plans to repeal those rules. The commission is expected to vote in December.
    — Thomas Lee
    FCC chair?s plan to undo Internet rules flies against today?s reality - San Francisco Chronicle

    For a more thorough explanation you might want to dip your toes in the Wikipedia entry (I got up to the middle of page 2 in the 25 page PDF file I created.)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

    If anyone wants to study it off-line I attached a PDF of the Wikipedia article:

    Net_neutrality.pdf

    Steve A.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    if it represents the right, it probably represents the rich.
    If the right likes it, then you can probably bet it is a policy to help the rich get richer.
    Like the Tax cuts, that boils down to more money for the top.
    Can you believe they are trying to sell the old Trickle Down, again?
    So much for this new regime being for the working guy!
    If you disagree that's fine.
    That's my two cents!
    T

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    edit: @ bob p (I took too long to type)

    I think you missed my point. It's not about "perpetual policy". I wasn't advocating changing or not changing anything. I'll try again.
    Speaking broadly, there are fewer "thinking voters", IMO. For instance, I myself am a registered Independent- a sort of Conservative Democrat, if you can fathom it. When considering voting, I ignore D's and R's. I look at policy- what does the candidate intend to do and do I agree with it? I will read about and study issues. By contrast, there are many happy to go down the ballot and simply check all of the R's or D's with no regard to how that effects them. In turn, the elected legislate policy to get reelected- that policy which is inadvertently decided by those who have no idea what the policy is except that it had a "D" or an "R" associated with it. It's a vicious, stupid, self destructive cycle.
    Again, I stipulate that this is broad and vague. One could go down to the trees and pick it apart, but looking at the forest, that's what I see.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I'm sure it's going to surprise you guys to hear that I'm a registered D. Dude, I don't vote straight ticket either, except in the primaries where we don't have any choice but to press the All-D or All-R button. Me, I'd prefer an L-button (or better yet an A-button) but we just don't have those.

    Steve, thanks for posting that PDF. It's a great read. I think I'm in favor of a dumb pipe that doesn't understand QoS, and making people pay for the amount of water they take out of the pipe. I guess that means I'm for NN as long as there's a meter on peoples' consumption of the resource.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    bob, your argument assumes that EVERYONE in government is an ideologue. They are not.

    I think vaccination is good and important. I do not think this because I am a "liberal", I think this from knowledge of biology. If I were working in the CDC, and the new regime comes in and decides that vaccination is not important, I oppose that. Not because they are the other party, but because I think they are wrong. If "my party" decided to go against vaccination, I would oppose them as well. I am not unique in this.

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  19. #54
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    That is a great example of what I was getting at, Enzo. The point being that there are fewer elected practical moderates and seemingly more (both) right and left wing extremists. Although they aren't all ideologues, many will vote with the ideologues to gain reelection.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Vaccination is an interesting example. It should be offered, but it shouldn't be forced upon people.

    The problem is that for all of those people who are spared from a debilitating disease by vaccination, there are those one in a million people who will suffer a crippling adverse reaction to the vaccine that destroys their lives. The problem isn't whether vaccinations are good or bad. The problem is that there are people in government who think they are so smart that they know what's best for everyone else, and they're so arrogant that they intend to impose their will upon other people. They take independent choice away from people, forcing their will upon people because they think they know what's best for them. Knowing a little bit about biology isn't the end in and of itself, and it certainly doesn't trump a person's right to self-determination.

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  21. #56
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    However, what should trump a person's "right to self determination" is the risk of endangering others, especially if the vaccine risk is small (and it must be for approval of the vaccine). In the case of smallpox, it was about one in 10 million who had medical issues with the vaccine. Is it fair to put the entire school at risk because of one family? The government requires many things that some might consider to infringe upon "right to self determination". Most often, those things are to protect the rest of us. "Broke Joe" down the street thinks it's his right to drive without the legally required insurance, but what if he runs into a bus and maims 68 school children. Should they have to pay for their own medical treatment so that Joe's rights are protected?

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  22. #57
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    SO which is your point, that we shouldn't require anything of the people or that I am an ideologue for thinking we should have it?

    We know for fact that in areas where anti-vaccination feelings have reduced vaccinations, there have consistently been increases in the diseases the vaccines fight. If we do not have vaccinations at herd-immunity levels,then the measles will romp back. Your desire to non-vaccinate then threatens the health of my family. it isn't as simple as rights.

    But the original point I thought you made was if I worked at the CDC during Obama, I couldn;t have any view but the Obama line, and couldn;t be anything else.

    And why the ad hominem arguments in the first place. One can disagree with a policy without deciding those in favor are "arrogant" and "think they are so smart". The CDC people are doctors, not guys sitting around the bar after work. If your doctor tells you you need to cut lactose from your diet, or gluten, do you assume he is just trying to "tell you what to do", taking your freedom, and "thinks (he) is so smart"?

    Why can't I make an independent choice to drive on the wrong side of the interstate if I want to?

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  23. #58
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I'm sure it's going to surprise you guys to hear that I'm a registered D.
    For the record and for clarification, when I said, "......I myself am a registered Independent- a sort of Conservative Democrat, if you can fathom it......", I meant nothing directed at you specifically. The meaning was that, these days, few can comprehend such a point of view. You've got to be one or the other. I want to be sure you understand no ill will was intended.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Politics is a bit like the internet. It is the noisy people who have to be one or the other. There is a WHOLE world of people out there who are not wrapped up in polar politics. it is like the kid who writes in to say he sees a half dozen threads online about some make and model amp and assumes they are not reliable. he ignores the thousands and thousands of amps that did not have the problem. Likewise Trump may have his 25% hard core, and Obama may have his, but there are lots of folks who don't think "I'd rather have a child molester than a democrat."

    You DON'T have to be one or the other. That is just how it plays out in the arena.

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  25. #60
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    The mission and mandate is influenced by whoever forms the government of the day, and tailored to whatever challenges are faced by the nation at the time, but at its heart it exists apart from that administration, both before the current and previous administration, and superceding any subsequent administrations. That is, such agencies were created in law to serve a set of enduring challenges and goals. Career public servants often have careers that straddle multiple administrations and have a duty to serve the enduring mission that forms the beating heart of the agency. They are not simply tasked with doing whatever random job the boss assigns without considering its alignment to the mission and mandate.

    The EPA and FCC were created because both of those areas (environment and communications) require ongoing oversight. It CAN happen that agencies and their respective missions and mandates are restructured if the legislative bodies concur that those missions and mandates can be more effectively served via that restructuring. That's how DHS was created, for example. But that does not delete the mission/mandate. It simply shifts around the respective budgets, org charts, and reporting relationships for carrying out that mission/mandate. When someone at the top declares "Nah, you guys don't matter anymore. We've decided to sidestep your agency and go with something different.", however, "Fuck it, why bother anymore" IS often the expected and appropriate response. Exactly what is supposed to guide their actions from this point on? Are they supposed to sit by the table like a dog, waiting for whatever scraps of orders fall down? Or should they have a clear sense of the mandate and mission, and work to serve it faithfully and impartially, even when the leadership is busying themselves with other things? That doesn't mean they are supposed to make all decisions independently. They still have a requirement to loyally serve the government of the day. But that government also has a duty to consult the bureaucracy for their best advice, consider that advice, and then act within the guidelines of the respective agency mandates and missions to serve those missions. Wheeler is pissed because this administration decided that traditional contract on which the bureaucratic-legislative relationship is based didn't matter any more. Just one more manifestation of this president's mistaken belief that he ran for position of "boss" and not for national leader.

    When I retired recently, at the party I left my former coworkers with the following message: "Always remember that you don't work for your manager. You don't work for their manager. You don't work for the VP or President of our organization, or even the organization. You don't work for the central agencies, or the Minister and you don't work for Parliament or the Prime Minister. You work for the same boss that they all do, which is everyone out there - the Canadian public. I've driven from coast to coast several times, and they're wonderful people. They deserve your very best. Make sure you always give it to them."

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  26. #61
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    So today's the big day when the meetings start. The vote is coming soon.

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  28. #63
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    they did it today.

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  29. #64
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    I have little knowledge of this whole issue. However, I don't really have to go out on a limb here to conclude we'll all get to pay more for shittier service. (funny, the spell check was fine with that once I put a double t there )

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  30. #65
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    Here's a rather impassioned brief podcast about the mechanisms and history behind the abandonment of net neutrality.

    https://www.brookings.edu/podcast-ep...dead-now-what/

    The bureaucratic aspects may be lost on those with minimal policy-wonk inclinations. It was reminiscent of something I was involved in, within the Canadian government, for a little while at my previous job. We were working on pay equity - specifically the methodology/measurement aspect - under a piece of legislation the Conservative government of the day had passed, but had never implemented. One of the key aspects that led a subsequent multi-partite parliamentary committee to recommend replacing it, a few years later, was the fact that the government moved adjudication of pay disputes from the Human Rights Commission to the Labour Relations Board. That government was obsessively preoccupied with cutting costs and delivering on a zero-deficit budget promise just in time for the next scheduled election. (They actually did a bunch of dumb things in order to make good on that promise which are turning into HUGE costs now, but we'll set that aside for the moment.) The basic point was that they viewed the Human Rights Commission as too costly (in fairness, the HRC does have a history of being rather generous in its rulings and awarded penalties), so they were eager to move pay-equity disputes out from under the HRC. Trouble was, they moved it to an agency which had a) NO expertise in assessing compensation, collective agreements or value-of-work, and b) had a history of ruling in favour of the employer (because they simply applied the rules and the rules were set by the employer). In other words, rather than looking at the matter through the lens of what mechanisms and institutions would provide the best oversight, they appeared to have looked at it through the lens of "What have we got in place that's probably cheaper for us?". Principles were made subservient to perceived re-electability.

    This particular Republican administration appears persuaded of the long-discreditted notion of "trickle-down economics", and tends to favour those mechanisms and shifts that will advantage business. Some may view this through the more conspiratorial lens of establishing and entrenching an oligarchy. I prefer to see it as simply an underinformed notion of what makes a nation work well and live up to its promise. That turns into public policy, as developed by MBAs and IT people, rather than folks who devote themselves to effective public policy serving enduring long-term goals (of course, that shouldn't surprise us, coming from a White House with negligible experience in public policy, but way more interest in business). Hence, the moving of Internet matters from out of the FCC to under the FTC affords the large ISPs opportunity to be more profitable, is interpreted as somehow translating into more choice and better competitive prices for consumers. That sounds great in theory, but I think the problem is that a) in the contemporary corporate world, we can expect to see larger companies buying up smaller ones to create monolithic content production/distribution machines that establish de facto monopolies in many parts of the country, and b) removing regulatory oversight from anything that citizens depend on rarely, if ever, works out well for citizens in the end. The oversight does not need to be heavy-handed or costly, but it needs to have as many suitable teeth for task as possible. As the podcast speaker notes, the FTC does not have those authority-teeth.

    Again, in fairness, a commentator I heard on radio the other day noted that content providers had a legitimate complaint that things they needed to monetize to stay afloat were being freely accessed via BitTorrent and Pirate Bay, under low all-you-can-transfer ISP rates. Is the solution to that problem "throttling"? It's certainly one solution, but maybe not the best one. One wonders how long until someone at a major ISP decides to throttle sites of their political enemies. Or conversely, what if everything government related loaded lightning quick but everything news or entertainment-related was slow? Once the mechanisms for throttling are in place, and especially as citizens come to depend on the internet for nearly everything in their lives, then hacking into, and hijacking such mechanisms is not far away. Best, then, to not even have throttling mechanisms of any type in place, and removing net-neutrality eliminates that possible stopgap.

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  31. #66
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    EDIT: duplicate post, sorry.

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  32. #67
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I don't think any of this is at all surprising. Businesses exist to make money, they are not charitable organizations.

    We've talked about the drug dealer metaphor before. your first ride is free, afterwards you have to pay for the ride at high prices. As an example: We all got used to getting free service from photobucket, then photobucket pulled out the rug. What a surprise, their business model didn't involve giving their services away for free forever. Eventually they wanted to be paid for the services they provided. People who were accustomed to feasting on the free lunch became outraged!

    Net neutrality may end up being the same thing -- in the beginning every ISP gave away the internet for free, just to get everyone addicted, and now they're pulling out the rug. Now people have to pay... a lot. It's as if they're tightening their grip now to make up for years of under-priced servicing.

    Of course this isn't going to be popular. But you have to consider that if we were given the pay to play paradigm when the Internet first came along, many of us would have turned away. But the fact that everyone gave away the store for nothing at first made us more interested. Well, now the free lunch is over. While it was free they got us addicted. Now we have to pay for the high.

    We can whine about it, or we can think about what a great deal we got in the past, where we basically got a free ride. Whine all we want to, the facts are that things are going to be different in the future. It looks like our only choices now are A) continue to whine, or B) adapt to our changing environment.

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  33. #68
    Senior Member potatofarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    We can whine about it, or we can think about what a great deal we got in the past, where we basically got a free ride. Whine all we want to, the facts are that things are going to be different in the future. It looks like our only choices now are A) continue to whine, or B) adapt to our changing environment.
    I've never gotten a free ride. I paid for dialup from '94 to around '05, then had Comcast for the next decade or so and now have FiOS. I don't remember much about my dialup ISPs but Comcast never delivered what I was paying for. They advertised 25mbps down, 2mbps up and I was lucky to get half of that. If you tried to use 75% of what you were paying for, they'd throttle the connection down. Great way to keep people from using VoIP - as soon as you make a call, throttle the speed down until it drops. "Ah, vonage must be terrible." That got me into dd-wrt at least, so I could make sure I never used more than 70% of what I was paying for.

    It's like going to a restaurant that advertises an "All You Can Eat Steak Buffet!!" Then you pay to get in, and there's only half of a hamburger on the buffet.
    "Where's the steak?"
    "Hey, blame the guy that came before you in line. I only take your money to let you in (and keep the guys in the kitchen from bringing out more food.)"
    "That greedy S.O.B.!"
    "Yeah, and about that... you're getting a pretty good deal here, so we're gonna have to raise the price. Also I'm gonna start getting kickbacks from the guys in the kitchen."

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  34. #69
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    The concern is not so much that people won't be getting a "free ride". The concept of "neutrality" was that the cost and level of service was completely divorced from the content. If one was a government agency, a marketing consultant, an academic botany researcher, a person posting a how-to-fix-your-amp video, a local abandoned-pet-rescue organization, an escort service, or whatever, the speed and cost of data transfer would be the same. If your local ISP charged an arm and a leg for lousy service in one's rural area, so be it; but the quality of service was entirely independent of the content.

    The removal of net neutrality could easily mean that when another Murdoch scoops up businesses (including news outlets) and ISPs, the relative accessiblity of the content could depend on decisions the owner/board makes about that content and what to prioritize.

    That's the problem. As some have bluntly stated, if you want to see what the absence of net neutrality looks like, look no further than China.

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  35. #70
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    According to Tom?
    5 things we just lost!
    https://www.tomsguide.com/us/net-neu...ews-18792.html

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