Broadband as Today’s Electricity

Here are nine minutes well spent with Susan Crawford, formerly President Obama’s Special Assistant for Science Technology and Innovation Policy, who’s just written a book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Gilded Age. Two points in this interview stood out, at least for me. First, Internet providers are being treated the way that power companies were once treated — as independent monopolies with vast power, free to set prices and determine service levels in the areas they control. Just as those power monopolies were brought under control by government regulation, the Comcasts and Time-Warners of the world need a good dose of regulation so we aren’t stuck with a second- or third-world Internet infrastructure. Second, she’s given up on Congress and is looking to mayors to set the standard for dealing with Internet monopolists by installing community fiber.

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141 replies
  1. 1

    comments are borked on Richard’s post, DPMM

  2. 2
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    If we weren’t paying rents on every damn thing, how would America’s rentier class survive? Who will think of the skimmers?

  3. 3
    Zifnab25 says:

    Second, she’s given up on Congress and is looking to mayors to set the standard for dealing with Internet monopolists by installing community fiber.

    I don’t think you’re going to be able to escape Congress on this. We’ve already seen states willing to step in and outlaw municipalities from installing independently managed lines.

    Like in NC

    And Minnesota

  4. 4
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Thanks, I fixed them.

  5. 5
    Cacti says:

    OT, but since it involves the blog’s favorite topic:

    Federal district court judge in NY finds the telephony metadata program lawful and constitutional, giving us our first split of authority on the issue.

    Link to opinion.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Content should be wild and woolly, free market rulz, dudes!

    Connectivity infrastructure, OTOH, must be heavily regulated and profits rigidly controlled as they were back in the Ma Bell monopoly days. Ma Bell was the stock your grandmother invested in…low return, but steady, and non-volatile.

    The 1983 ruling that broke up Ma Bell didn’t work as planned. Most of the baby bells are again under one corporate masthead…ATT, which itself was swallowed by a baby bell. The old USWest/Qwest territory remains independent because of the vast distances and low population density of the territory…not of any interest to the new ATT.

    The infrastructure of connectivity needs to be treated as a public utility, Right now, Sweden is working on fiber optic connections to the entire country. Not so here, as the telcos/cable companies are loathe to invest in infrastructure because, yes, you guessed it, outlays for that impact negatively on the short term bottom line, which rules the world of the vile creatures known as MBAs.

  7. 7

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix): Thanks for yr IT support and work around here. It’s greatly appreciated. Even by dead-enders.

  8. 8
    Tommy says:

    I could rant on this topic for hours.

    Just a little story. My small rural town of 5,500 got a grant (via the Stimulus act) with matching funds from the state to create a fiber optics backbone and wire every public building (town hall, schools, library, Post Office, et al) with fiber. The money also came with funds to conduct a study to see how much business development could be done if we offered free fiber to current and new businesses.

    The report is ongoing, but our City Council wants to start to offer both fiber access to the ENTIRE city and free wireless.

    We’ve done the research and we know that Verizon (local phone company) and Charter Communications (cable/Internet access) would take us to court.

    I said my town is 5,500 folks. That was in 2000. In 2010 we were 7,876. We have a town folks want to live in. Schools. Parks. Lower taxes. Offering fiber and free wireless, well I assume we’d keep growing.

  9. 9
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @Zifnab25: Yep, she acknowledges that some states that have passed anti-fiber bills will be a problem. But I think the MN example you cite ended up as a win for the community.

  10. 10
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Cacti:

    Hoocoodanode?

    Oh, yeah…I knew.

    Going to pre-derp this thread.

    Glorified Reddit commentor muckymuck, somethin..somethin. Wr0ng way Cole. Going to Tim Horton’s for a donut now. So long, suckers.

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    Haven’t had a chance to read the opinion yet. SDNY’s website seems to be lagging, almost certainly from the extra traffic this opinion generated.

    ETA: The caption is ACLU v. Clapper.

  12. 12
    Tommy says:

    In the last stats I saw the US is 28th in the world in high-speed Internet access. We also pay about 2-3 times more for slower connections.

    I can’t find the link, but Sweden did something amazing a few years ago. Their ISPs were talking about wiring houses direct with fiber (not cheap). Sweden told them if they wried the home, but left open a large part of the bandwidth to third parties (insert competition), they’d give said companies huge tax breaks.

    Those companies said, well we can do that.

  13. 13
    cmorenc says:

    @mistermix, aptly paraphrasing Susan Crawford:

    Second, she’s given up on Congress and is looking to mayors to set the standard for dealing with Internet monopolists by installing community fiber.

    Several cities in North Carolina (particularly Wilson, NC) did exactly that, and the big telcoms responded by prodding their cronies in the NC legislature to pass a law prohibiting any further municipalities within North Carolina from building or providing their own internet structures (claiming the rationale that in doing so, municipalities had an unfair advantage in competing with private telcos in so doing). And this happened even before the GOP took over control of the NC legislature. Doubtless, this is the tactic the telcos will aggressively attempt to pursue in any state where municipalities attempt to erect their own superior internet infrastructure or provision.

    Edit: I see Zinfab already mentioned this above.

  14. 14
    askew says:

    @Cacti:

    And digby is already attacking Joy Reid over the ruling. There is an ugly strain in the left blogosphere towards minority politicians/pundits. Pretty ugly.

  15. 15
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @cmorenc:

    …municipalities had an unfair advantage in competing with private telcos

    Look at it from Comcast’s perspective — competition is impossible in the presence of competition.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @askew:

    What did Reid have to do with anything?

  17. 17
    Joey Giraud says:

    nearly all major fiber deployments around the globe have had government backing or serious support. The payback on such schemes tends to be too far in the future for companies that have to answer to shareholders on a quarterly basis.

    The whole reason for creating corporations was provide liability protection for risky ventures that benefit society.

    If government has to step in to do this, then the corporate charters of these telecoms should be revoked.

    The liability and asset protections of the corporate charter are pretty sweet privileges.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cmorenc:

    This is a very important point. Local governments who act like governments, on the behalf of the entire populace, take these initiatives and the incumbent net providers can’t stand the competition. It drives them fucking bonkers that probably superior service is being delivered to more people at lower cost, because the provider (the local government) isn’t paying executives outrageous salaries, and siphoning off funds in excess of operating costs to rent seeking douchebags, but instead to upgrading the infrastructure itself.

    Parasitism is rampant in this country, and it needs to be brought to a fucking halt.

  19. 19

    @Baud: She had the temerity to not fully fellate Greenwald and Gellman today.

    Her tweet: The NSA should hire Joy Reid as a spokesperson. Her energetic hostility to the press on this subject is palpable.

  20. 20
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @cmorenc: Yep, and as I mentioned above, she acknowledges it as an issue.

    I still think the politics of going to the mayors is smart. If a few big cities launch their own fiber initiatives, and people like it, the horseshit fear mongering of the cable companies will be shown to be false and there will be public pressure by have-not cities to be like the haves.

    It’s also a social justice issue because inner city residents in my area can’t afford the 40/month nor survive the credit check needed to get cable internet. A fiber build out could support a number of alternatives for universal access, starting with free or super cheap very basic service, or using the fiber infrastructure to support a free, public WiFi network.

    I’m not suffering under the delusion that it will be easy but given the current political environment it’s the best strategy available.

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Did you see the interview on MSNBC?

  22. 22
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @askew: I don’t know about anything having to do with her attitude towards minorities, but finding a way to be mopey and doom-y about something while resenting those who are neither mopey nor doom-y about it seems like the Tao Of Digby.

  23. 23
    askew says:

    @Baud:

    She had the audacity of saying disagreeing with the rest of MSNBC on how Snowden is the greatest hero ever, so the white bloggers/Greenwald groupies are attacking her.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    Apparently I am stuck with AT&T no matter how much they suck.

    Actually my only complaint is that I don’t have fiber optic cable like the subdivision not 100 yards away from my house. Call me just another whiner. Some cheese to go with that would be nice.

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud:

    What did Reid have to do with anything?

    Well, for one thing she had Michael Eric Dyson on as a guest.
    Somebody call Mr. Cracker! Betty’s going to need her fainting couch post haste!

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @kindness:

    “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”

  27. 27

    @Corner Stone: Yeah. I don’t think that she was as antagonistic as Digby did. Gellman seemed taken aback by the fact that there was any criticism at all.

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ranchandsyrup: IMHO, but IANAL, the data collection is probably constitutional because of that third-party element that mitigates privacy rights (the “pen register” analogy and such) but there should be a bunch of new laws about digital privacy that the NSA would be violating if they proceeded as they have been.

  29. 29
    askew says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s just a continuing trend in the blogosphere since Obama won. There’s been a lot of attacks on minority pundits and pushes to discredit them for disagreeing with the white blogosphere’s current cause. They never go after white pundits who disagree with them in the same manner so I find it unsettling.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    Entire decision for ACLU v. Clapper is front paged on LGF.

    53 pages

    Ruling issued by Judge William H. Pauley, III (Clinton appointee).

  31. 31
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @askew:

    That’s because white pundits are in the dudebro club. It’s the new Old Boys’ club.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I saw Reid and Steve Clemons on Lawrence O’Donnell last night, and there was a bit of a similar dynamic, where Reid wanted to talk about Snowden’s exaggerations and Clemons wanted to talk about the general issue of surveillance. It’s hard to have a dialogue on a news/talk show when the two people are on different wavelengths and probably would agree if the topic were kept steady but disagree about what the topic should be.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @askew:

    They buy into the meme that the minority pundits will side with Obama because he’s the Great Black Hope, and for no other possible reason.

    The meme is copyright 2008 the Teahadis, all rights reserved.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: She seemed to “Lean In”, IMO. It seemed overtly bracing to me, and that was my impression at the time.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @cmorenc:

    claiming the rationale that in doing so, municipalities had an unfair advantage in competing with private telcos in so doing

    Wait just a doggone minute! I thought private enterprise was inherently superior to the government at doing everything and that was the justification for not letting government do anything. Now they’re saying that there are some times when government is better than private enterprise and we have to prevent it from getting involved so private businesses can compete. It’s almost as if the answer is “keep government out” and they’re looking for whatever argument backs that conclusion without regard to consistency.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    The Founding Fathers had very strong feelings about corporations, having dealt with the “Honorable East India Company” for decades.

  37. 37

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m right there with ya. I think it’s a reasonable position.

  38. 38
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Are we really turning another thread into a Whitey Hatefest?? We’re here, we’re not near or queer, get used to it!

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: @askew: Yeah, I don’t know about that. I see it as part of the performance of Permanent Critique: “we’re still no one’s patsies! Not like you, who became a Reflexive Defender!” So I would say their ax to grind is with people they perceive as Reflexive Defenders, not with minority pundits in general, except where (they think) those categories overlap. Now, I myself don’t think there are that many Reflexive Defenders to speak of, but I get called one plenty around here, so I’ve got some mileage on these tires…

  40. 40
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    probably would agree if the topic were kept steady but disagree about what the topic should be.

    You mean like when someone starts a thread about the NSA spying on your daughter’s bath but all the regulars want to say is “Greenwald is a douchebag!”

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Well, there’s this entire “white person’s idea of a existential threat” problem that ignores just going to the grocery store to buy bread.

    Too many in the progressive blogosphere jump up and down over the idea that the NSA is collecting metadata, but can’t seem to generate the same outrage over say blatant, above board attempts to revoke the franchise from groups that don’t regularly vote Rethuglican.

    It’s all a matter of what personally gores you, I think, and having a very narrow perspective about immediate dangers to yourself, not society as a whole.

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ranchandsyrup: IOW, it’s not unconstitutional for them to do this, so let’s make it illegal.

    And I kind of think Obama would be down with that himself, but, you know, Reflexive Defender speaking.

  43. 43

    @Corner Stone: Lulz at lean in. I can see where you’re coming from. Gellman and Digby seem to be operating from the belief that the snowaldian viewpoint is unassailable. I don’t agree.

  44. 44
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: Something like that.

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Are we really turning another thread into a Whitey Hatefest??

    Did you get lost on your way to Free Republic?

  46. 46
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: To be fair, almost no one in the blogosphere defends stop and frisk or abridging voting rights, so the issue where people disagree vehemently is more likely to produce feedback loops and escalation and other incentives to keep writing and commenting energetically.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Greenwald’s main problem is that he is a self-seeking, self-publicizing douchebag. It’s so blatantly obvious that it’s self promotion and he’s seeking to cash in, while at the same time trying to project this air of concern about the NSA snooping on you at all times, with not a smattering of concern about corporations snooping on you at all times. It’s bad for a public sector entity to do this, but the private sector, with fewer checks and balances on ethics-free behavior? Not a problem!

  48. 48
    HinTN says:

    @Tommy: I am stunned that my really red state has not done something similar but the horse is out of the barn now. Tullahoma (small city) and Chattanooga (4th largest) have municipal fibre systems and the public weal seems no worse for it. Out in the country, otoh, we are doomed to satellite at best for at least a generation.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Fair point.

    It is, after all, about the clicks, and about grabbing people’s attention. This is reality.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I disagree with that summary. I didn’t see Gellman as surprised by Joy, in fact, he had a small wry smile (my opinion) when she started at him.
    Gellman’s kind of a funny bird sometimes, so he’s hard to read. I only spot read Digby but I disagree with the contention that she thinks the position is “unassailable”.
    As for my personal impression, Joy does that a lot in interviews.

  51. 51
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Cacti: What’s that?

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @Cacti: “Whitey Hatefest”
    Is that where Whitey(s) hate on everybody else or where everybody hates on Whitey?
    I just want to be clear. Either one could work for me. That Boston mobster was a baddie.

  53. 53

    @FlipYrWhig: That’s the conversation I’d prefer to have. Too many easy pivots–as discussed above. I try to refrain (sometimes even successfully) from pejorative greenwaldian bashing. I very much dislike the pejorative use of the issue against the Kenyusurper for a bunch of reasons.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I don’t think Greenwald is only fake-concerned about these things. I think he’s actually concerned about them. It’s just that he doesn’t have enough mental settings other than “everyone who disagrees with me one iota is a lesser being and a dupe of The Regime.”

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    The dudebros have already taken to attacking Judge Pauley’s wikipedia page:

    “William H. Pauley, III (born 1952) is a United States federal judge, terrorist, enemy of the people, and the Constitution of the United States.”

    Good thing we have heroes like former Iran-Contra and Whitewater, House Republican counsel Richard J. Leon to protect us.

  56. 56
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Call-back to Wordsworth? Nice! Bliss it was in those days to be alive!

  57. 57
    BGK says:

    I guess I don’t see municipal fiber as being a cure-all. If the city or some similar agency runs fiber loops and does drops to every house, that will get everyone in town an obscenely fat pipe, but that’s not an end in itself. Said agency will still have to pay some commercial carrier out the buttox for backbone bandwidth. As in, the part which actually delivers the content, which probably comes from elsewhere.

    Maybe having been in the dreary ditch of having done this for years for the company for which I work has colored my perspective. We have basically two last-mile carriers here, and both have fiber at the curb for anyplace that’s worth having a business. One can get everything up through a dedicated fiber pair, capable of many gigabits, for pretty cheap. Either carrier will cross-connect to any of the half-a-dozen different backbones at their COs. That, however. seems to be where one gets the rape-job.

    Economies of scale don’t necessarily work, as home users are getting to be bigger per-capita bandwidth consumers than many businesses. While the municipal network can spread the cost of backbone bandwidth around to a larger pool, they’re also going to need more of it. Assuming one even gets the actual rated bandwidth, as problems with that usually devolve into a finger-pointing match between ISPs.

    I hate everything.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: “Down with Mopes! Up with Hope!”

  59. 59
    muricafukyea says:

    Why no breathless spittle on screen posts about the NSA program being rule legal glorified reddit poster muckymux?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  60. 60

    @Corner Stone: Fair enough, CS. I twitter twattered with Digby about it and she clarified that she thinks Reid was “overly” antagonistic. Still, the implication that she should be the spokesperson for the NSA is a bit too far.

    I guess after Glennzilla’s comparison of his sticking up for Snowden = MSNBC sticking up for the Obungler! there is a new front on the great emoprog/glibertarian v. obot media war so this was to be expected.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    Holy Crikey but Ylan Mui is smokin’ hot.

    Am I allowed to say those kind of things? Do I have to balance it out by also noting the Daniel Craig is pretty hot, as well?

  62. 62
    Cacti says:

    @catclub:

    Is that where Whitey(s) hate on everybody else or where everybody hates on Whitey?

    It surely can’t be the former. As the entire history of the US has been one of those, and one of our major political parties is dedicated white racial resentment.

  63. 63
    Cacti says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    I guess after Glennzilla’s comparison of his sticking up for Snowden = MSNBC sticking up for the Obungler! there is a new front on the great emoprog/glibertarian v. obot media war so this was to be expected.

    He also criticized MSNBC for undermining the Republican agenda.

    Just like you’d expect from any true progressive.

  64. 64
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Corner Stone: Power to the people unconcerned about a rogue spy agency!

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I’m not really happy overall with MSNBC’s editorial slant. But as background noise, what else am I going to have on? CNN is dreadful and I can’t even make my fingers press the numbers for FoxNews or CNBC.

  66. 66
    Hill Dweller says:

    @FlipYrWhig: The government will ask the telecoms to keep their call records longer, and give them money to cover the cost. That should eliminate the government’s need to store the records. In addition, they’ll narrow the government’s access to said records.

    Keith Alexander, who is untouchable, is leaving the NSA early next year. That will be the Obama admin’s chance to change the NSA.

  67. 67
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Corner Stone: Ylan looks Thai hot.

  68. 68
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: Entitled and privileged can’t help themselves. Sometimes you just gotta lean back and hope they text themselves into the back of an unoccupied bus.

  69. 69

    @Corner Stone: I switched to a daytime diet of Steve Wilkos. For the life lessons and background noise. STEEEEEEVE! My brother in law put on MSNBC this morning to troll his FNC loving dad. Good times.

    @Cacti: I don’t know why that aspect of Glenzilla gets mostly ignored.

  70. 70
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    In other words, a standard issue crusader.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: I used to go to a Thai food truck. They sold a dish called the Crying Tiger, Thai hot, no complaints, no refunds. I got it a few times. My half-Dominican friend said it should have been called the Weeping Caucasian.

  72. 72
    catclub says:

    @BGK: “Assuming one even gets the actual rated bandwidth, as problems with that usually devolve into a finger-pointing match between ISPs.”

    I am thinking about a connection speed monitor application. I suspect mine has slowed down, but it could be my patience has just worn too thin. Also, I want a way to throttle the connections of all the OTHER devices on the network. Not sure how to do that.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: As Betty asked Cacti in another thread when he tried to troll with that garbage:
    “Do you think that means Greenwald accidentally admitted his support for the Republican agenda? ”

    Because it was clear, if you saw the interview, he was asked about his agenda and crossing lines. His answer was pretty straightforward, and was not an endorsement of Republicans.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: The crusading part is annoying, but that’s why the synonym is “gadfly.” It’s supposed to be annoying. But the braggadocio and condescension aren’t standard-issue for crusaders. (Is Scahill like that? Is Bill McKibben like that?). You don’t have to be a preening narcissist to be a crusader. When you’re both, that’s on you.

  75. 75
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I don’t mind the mouth hot or tears. It’s the stomach cramps later and me sitting on the toilet eating an ice cream cone yelling “Come on ice cream!”

  76. 76
    Cacti says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Because it was clear, if you saw the interview, he was asked about his agenda and crossing lines. His answer was pretty straightforward, and was not an endorsement of Republicans.

    And right on cue, the fanboys chime in to defend the chief dudebro, and patron saint of Libertarian Juice.

  77. 77
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Cacti: ETA: The caption is ACLU v. Clapper.

    So with this and the conflicting District Court decision last week that found the collection illegal, does that mean it’s Clap On, Clap Off?

  78. 78
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    On an initial, quick reading the opinion appears thorough and thoughtful, with one notable exception.

    The discussion of the waiver of sovereign immunity contained in Section 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act overlooks one important factor, i.e., that orders under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act are issued by a court. Judicial review under Section 701 of the APA extends only to “agency action,” and “courts of the United States” are specifically excluded from the APA definition of “agency.” This makes me wonder why the APA is even relevant to the conversation.

  79. 79
    kdaug says:

    We’re getting Google Fiber in a couple months.

  80. 80
    Cacti says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    So with this and the conflicting District Court decision last week that found the collection illegal, does that mean it’s Clap On, Clap Off?

    *rimshot

    Seriously though, a split of authority between District Courts in different circuits doesn’t mean much at this point. Both cases will be appealed. If the appellate courts split their decisions, then it will end up in SCOTUS.

  81. 81
    MomSense says:

    My experience in this “debate” over the NSA is that there is little room for the idea that one can have concerns about FISA, the NSA, the Patriot Act AND simultaneously not trust Greenwald or Snowden. Also, too saying that one is not surprised by the extent of the capabilities is not endorsement of the NSA.

    There is a lot of conflict and very little dialogue on this subject.

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cacti: I prefer accurate reportage, and not the bullshit you try to dudebro troll with.
    If you like lying about people why don’t you go back to Free Republic, Dudebro?
    If you have to lie to attempt to make your case or argument then shouldn’t you fit right in at RedState, Dudebro?

  83. 83

    @Corner Stone: That needs to be unpacked a bit. First, I didn’t explain clearly enough that I don’t believe that Greenwald’s agenda and the republican agenda are 100% aligned or that he “supports” it in toto. I do think that there is an argument to be made (and I see people frequently make it) that his agenda is anti-Obama. I see some of that (but don’t agree 100%) and I’m curious as to why that is. He uses some goper tactics, though.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    No, it means we’re all coming down with the Clap(per).

  85. 85
    Cacti says:

    @burnspbesq:

    For all the noises the right makes about Democrats appointing “activist judges” that “legislate from the bench” the concluding paragraph in his Smith v. Maryland analysis puts that one to bed:

    “But the Supreme Court did not overrule Smith and the Supreme Court has instructed lower courts not to predict whether it would overrule a precedent, even if its reasoning has been supplanted by later cases. “The Court of Appeals should . . . leave to the Supreme Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.” Agostini v. Felton, 521 US 203, 237 (1997). Clear precedent applies because Smith held that a subscriber has no legitimate expectation of privacy in telephony metadata created by third parties. Inferior courts are bound by that precedent.”

    Looks like the activist Clinton appointee saw the metadata issue as a clear cut case of stare decisis, that it’s up to the SCOTUS to overrule.

  86. 86
    Joey Maloney says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You don’t have to be a preening narcissist to be a crusader. When you’re both, that’s on you Ralph Nader.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup: It’s your understanding that Greenwald has an anti-Obama agenda or personal animus against President Obama?
    The positions he takes/supports come from a place of personal loathing against the current president?
    And his agenda, while possibly not aligned perfectly with Republicans, does comport to his anti-Obama viewpoints?

  88. 88
    Ash Can says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s a good summary.

    ETA: Although I do think his primary personal animus is against the US government in general, and against Obama secondarily.

  89. 89
    Cacti says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    You don’t have to be a preening narcissist to be a crusader. When you’re both, that’s on you Ralph Nader.

    In Ralph’s defense, he actually accomplished some objective good as a consumer rights attorney.

    St. Greenwald of the dudebros was primarily known for defending the first amendment “rights” of a white supremacist to solicit the murder of a federal judge.

  90. 90
    Another Holocene Human says:

    1. I blame Bill Clinton’s FCC (& a goodtime Charlie congress that gave telecoms like Verizon billions without any oversight)

    2. Mayors are powerless when telecoms can just send 200K lobbying firms to your state capitol to get your corrupt lege to pass preemption. Which is exactly what happened in Florida. Thanks, Republicans.

  91. 91

    @Corner Stone: I honestly would only be speculating. Sometimes it seems that way with the choices he makes. He strays from the merits of his position re: the NSA to intersperse his feelings about Obama and I think that it detracts from the conversation for me but I can see that it would benefit him with others that are not similarly situated as me.
    As to yr 2nd question, the answer is again, sometimes. I fully admit my obottery bias in this as well.
    ETA: I don’t know what drives it. Disappointment? True personal animus? Ideological differences? Most likely its a combination of those and/or others.

  92. 92
    RSR says:

    Comcast is the shadow government here in Philly.

  93. 93
    cmorenc says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix):

    I still think the politics of going to the mayors is smart. If a few big cities launch their own fiber initiatives, and people like it, the horseshit fear mongering of the cable companies will be shown to be false and there will be public pressure by have-not cities to be like the haves.

    Oh, I agree it’s smart politics, but not necessarily winning politics in far too many states against the cynically smart politics of the telcos in persuading free-market ideologues and buying off enough of the rest to pass prohibitory legislation (as in North Carolina) or resist repeal of same where already established. In particular, the prohibition of further expansion in North Carolina seems to be in little jeopardy of any successful citizen uprising, despite the inarguably successful example of Wilson and a small handful of other towns. This is hardly a problem unique to telcos and the internet; the same dynamic of corporations trumping citizen wishes with (in far too many cases) too little electoral pushback from citizens at the ballot box and powerful electoral support pushback from corporations against those who oppose them. Take fracking, for another example of corporations successfully gaining widely unpopular power to impose secrecy on toxic ingredients injected into aquifers and put them at risk of toxic contamination, with formidible legal and financial obstacles imposed against people demonstrably harmed by such operations.

  94. 94
    Roger Moore says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Holy Crikey but Ylan Mui is smokin’ hot.

    You aren’t the only one who thinks that way. When I tried to confirm or deny your claim by doing a Google search for images, one of their suggested subcategories was “hot”. Unfortunately, from her bio:

    Ylan is proud to say she now lives in Northern Virginia — outside the Beltway — with her husband and daughter, two cats and an exceptionally large dog.

  95. 95
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    If we weren’t paying rents on every damn thing, how would America’s rentier class survive?

    Saw a fascinating graph of the 1% and 99%’s proportion of the national income for a hundred years in the US. The 1% took the smallest portion in the late 1970s (stag-flation years) and their revenge was swift, brutal, and all-encompassing. 30 years of stolen wages. 30 years of the masses tossed overboard into poverty. 30 years of throwing whole generations of young men into prison, of dismantling social programs, of criminalizing the mentally ill, of destroying affirmative action, of taking apart public schools piece by piece, of housing costs soaring, of healthcare falling apart, of infrastructure disinvestment. Oh, they went Galt all right. If by going Galt you mean stealing all the sweat of other men and women’s brows and gambling with it in the Wall Street wheel of fortune while refusing to pay any taxes, ever, and turning the back on the civil society that made their fortunes possible.

  96. 96
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    I fully admit my obottery bias in this as well.

    Ya think?

  97. 97
    fidelio says:

    @HinTN: I’m not sure the Tennessee state lege is bright enough to figure out that this might be a problem. Also, they’re too busy passing laws against the use of the word “‘gay” and arguing about whether legislation preventing PDA between teenagers is needed. Plus other important moral issues of the day. Then too, the internet is on the list of Scary Modern Things that keep us all from living next door to Ward and June Cleaver and their two boys (plus the Nelsons and their sons, and Fred MacMurray and his boys), so it’s something they want to pretend does not exist.

    So an issue that requires actual technical know-how to grasp is probably out of their league.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    That was a bit of a smackdown to Judge Leon, I think.

    Will be interesting to see the legal academy start to weigh in. Volokh, Lawfare, and Just Security should be fun on Monday. Greenie should be good for comic relief.

    Final point, which shouldn’t have to be reiterated but here goes anyway: “stupid,” “pointless,” “ineffective,” and “bad policy” are not synonyms for “unconstitutional.”

  99. 99
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Not so here, as the telcos/cable companies are loathe to invest in infrastructure because, yes, you guessed it, outlays for that impact negatively on the short term bottom line, which rules the world of the vile creatures known as MBAs.

    It interferes with the good work of laying off all unionized, licensed linemen and other craft workers.

    In the future, signal will be beamed to deserving households by Galt satellite.

  100. 100
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Final point, which shouldn’t have to be reiterated but here goes anyway: “stupid,” “pointless,” “ineffective,” and “bad policy” are not synonyms for “unconstitutional.”

    That reminds me when you used to defend the MOTU by telling us that immoral !== illegal.

  101. 101

    A few years ago here in California, the legislature and governor decided to privatize our electricity and let me tell you, boys and girls, it was a fucking disaster. Remember Enron? Most of the money they stole came directly from the pockets of California utility customers.

    I was lucky — the city of Los Angeles did not privatize, so I didn’t have my electric bills double or triple in a single month. People in areas with So Cal Edison weren’t so lucky.

    So I’m all in favor of taking broadband away from private companies and making it a municipal service. Private companies have already proven to my satisfaction that they can’t be trusted to provide necessary utilities.

  102. 102

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: I know, isn’t admitting one’s biases in an effort to further the conversation just the worst? Not nearly as valuable as telling people to fuck off, I know. I’ll have some time to think about it in jail, apparently. Could someone bake me a cake with a file in it?

  103. 103
    burnspbesq says:

    One final final point: the procedural posture of the case matters.

    What Judge Pauley did was grant the United States’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. In ruling on such motions, the court is required to assume that all of the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint are true. This isn’t “on balance, plaintiff, you lose;” it’s “plaintiff, getouttahere, you got no case.”

  104. 104
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @ranchandsyrup: You attempting to answer it as if it was perfectly reasonable to be discussing whether a person you don’t even know loathes another person you don’t even know shows that you folks aren’t moored into reality. You Obots are like the Juice Villagers.

  105. 105
    burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    I’m not surprised. Nuance has never been your strong suit.

  106. 106

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Aren’t we all speculating? I admitted that I was and I didn’t know–but that his actions can speak for themselves. It’s as reality-based as you can get when you’re speculating……something we all engage in (gasp, even you!). Is that not allowed any more here?

  107. 107
    burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Actually, the words I used in those ancient posts were “unconscionable” and “despicable.” And if you read those comments as defending the actions I was calling “unconscionable” and “despicable,” I can only conclude that your understanding of the word “defend” is deeply flawed.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @Roger Moore: Alas, my love to go unrequited, yet again.

  109. 109
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @burnspbesq:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2397164

    Thanks for playing.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    his feelings about Obama

    Obama the person, or decisions Obama the President has played some part in?
    It’s an interesting lens.

  111. 111
    Chyron HR says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    One presumes that Mr. Greenwald is intimately familiar with every single Obama supporter. Certainly a man as reasonable as he would never accuse anyone he hasn’t met of “mindlessly worshipping dear leader”, for that would betray an unacceptable lack of reality-mooring.

    (Bonus points for the idea that the plebeians who dare to speak disrespectfully of a world-famous political commentator are the real “villagers”.)

  112. 112
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Chyron HR: Ah, the Head Villager speaks up. Tell me something Dowd-like about Obama’s critics.

  113. 113
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @burnspbesq:

    “stupid,” “pointless,” “ineffective,” and “bad policy” are not synonyms for “unconstitutional.”

    The same kinds of methods (USPS, rather than the NSA) were used to apprehend Shannon Richardson so not necessarily pointless, or innefective.

  114. 114

    @Corner Stone: that’s a fair clarification and I mean the latter. I freely admit that I sometimes want to leap to the former, but I don’t see any concrete evidence to support it. GG goes to great lengths to dispel the latter in his writings and interviews. It frustrates me that I want to make that leap but, you know, personal failings are what they are.

  115. 115

    @ranchandsyrup: oops, I mean that GG goes to great lengths to dispel the notion that it is personal animus. Mixed up my former and latter. I’m so unmoored.

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    I, for one, am disappointed at the ruling made by Judge Pauley. From a cursory reading it appears he used the 9/11 Keep Us Safe thought process to guide through his decision making.
    However, I am pleased that the case actually made it to a court for a ruling and am interested to see what happens moving forward. For some reason I have the feeling Congress, no matter it’s partisan divides, will soon come together to retroactively make any actions or activities expressly legal, and not just murkily, arguably legal by some overly broad reading of some really bad legislation.

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    but IANAL

    Man, the Advancing the Gay Agenda thread is two before this one.

  118. 118
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    I was lucky — the city of Los Angeles did not privatize, so I didn’t have my electric bills double or triple in a single month.

    And now TBTB in the LA area have apparently decided it’s time to screw the DWP workers. I’m frankly amazed at how much animosity for them there is all the time in the news; there’s clearly a concerted campaign to attack them as an excuse to cut their pay and/or pensions. Somehow, though, there’s never any comparison between DWP and other utilities. You’d think that if DWP workers were so badly overcompensated, it would be easy to show it with the obscene rates DWP is charging compared to other utilities and/or by showing how crazy their employees’ compensation is in comparison to other utilities. That nobody ever comes out and does such straightforward comparisons is enough to convince me that there’s nothing there and this is just an attack on public sector workers for the sin of being well paid on the public dime, not anything about their pay actually being objectively unreasonable.

  119. 119
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    For some reason I have the feeling Congress, no matter it’s partisan divides, will soon come together to retroactively make any actions or activities expressly legal, and not just murkily, arguably legal by some overly broad reading of some really bad legislation.

    Well, that’s where the politics comes in. If that happens, kick up a ruckus. Tell the civil libertarians in Congress, of all stripes, from Wyden to Leahy to the Udalls to Paul, that you’re watching and you don’t want to be any more pissed off than you are already. If there’s as much discontent out there about surveillance and civil liberties as it seems there is in the blogosphere, this should be a great opportunity to make progress, especially as we head into a presidential campaign season in which contenders in both parties will be looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the pack or the frontrunner. It’s a tailor-made issue for the blogosphere and civil libertarians, no? I can be a fatalistic person myself but this seems like an opportunity, not a Slough of Despond.

  120. 120
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @fidelio:

    So an issue that requires actual technical know-how to grasp is probably out of their league.

    This goes almost without saying, but needs to be said.

    There are technical issues here that unless you’re predisposed to have interest in are just pure wonkery that tends to put most legislators to sleep.

    The telcos and cable companies count on that as part of their strategy for creating what amounts to an unregulated monopoly, which is wholly in the business of rent seeking.

  121. 121
    Burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    No, thank you for further reinforcing my point about your issues with reading comprehension.

  122. 122
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    I fully admit my obottery bias in this as well.

    I think your frankness in admitting that is admirable, actually. Several others could benefit from taking your lead.

    Many of the most virulent Greenwald/Snowden hating posts here seem to me to be almost entirely based on defending Obama, by people who would be doing no such defending were Bush still President and the one being criticized by Greenwald. Criticizing Bush is something Greenwald did, by the way, just as vigorously as he criticizes Obama, a simple fact that puts away any idea that Greenwald is advancing a “Republican” agenda.

    I don’t agree with either GG or Obama all the time. I think President Obama has shifted quite a bit in recent years, but during his first term, if you asked whether Obama or Greenwald were acting more like a Republican, I would have said Obama. However I found the “Obama is a right-wing Republican!” labeling by people at FDL to be just as annoying as the more extreme Obama defending that went on here.

    Debating the merits of someone’s argument is far more worthy of respect IMO than just trying to put the person in some little box and engaging in name calling and labeling.

  123. 123
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Corner Stone, have you considered contacting your Congressperson?

  124. 124

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Thanks and agreed re: pigeonholing, namecalling etc. I also freely admit that I do those things. The interesting angle for me is why I do those things.

    What I notice when I’m engaging in those behaviors (and when others do it) is that I’m likely limiting the scope of a discussion and/or arguing with the worst possible incarnation of someone’s argument. Unfortunately those are rather effective tactics.

    Re: the shifting, I think there are tactical rationales for why Obama has moved. Getting reelected, battles with congress to advance agenda, attempting to balance security and privacy, the fact that is much easier in governing to fuck something up than unfuck it.

    I’m rambling….

  125. 125
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: What? Why would I do that?
    I’ll have to think about this for a bit as the thought hadn’t occurred to me until you said that very thing just now.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Burnspbesq:

    No, thank you for further reinforcing my point about your issues with reading comprehension.

    This still makes no sense as a rebuttal. I must be incredibly dense. Explain it to me like I were you.

  127. 127
    Bill Arnold says:

    @MomSense:

    My experience in this “debate” over the NSA is that there is little room for the idea that one can have concerns about FISA, the NSA, the Patriot Act AND simultaneously not trust Greenwald or Snowden. Also, too saying that one is not surprised by the extent of the capabilities is not endorsement of the NSA.

    My attitude as well. I am more than concerned, closer to profoundly disturbed, by the state surveillance apparatuses (not just U.S.) aided and abetted by moore’s law and compliant legislatures and courts. And also very disturbed by the cavalier attitudes toward security and privacy in corporate America and in the legislature. And a little disturbed that every president in my politically aware lifetime (Reagan+) was apparently co-opted by the NSA and other security agencies somehow, yes including Obama. Maybe it’s just the briefings….

    Many of the leaks published are unrelated to the privacy of U.S. citizens, so they can be interpreted as an attempt to damage the U.S. and its standing/interests internationally. (The intent may not be there, and the intent has been denied. The interpretation is at least reasonable so it can’t be avoided easily.)

  128. 128
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Many of the leaks published are unrelated to privacy of U.S. citizens, so they can be interpreted as an attempt to damage the U.S. and its standing/interests internationally.

    I disagree that’s a fair interpretation, in any respect. If I lived in some other country, wouldn’t I want to know? And wouldn’t that disclosure be a service to me?
    How did it become that we are the final arbiter of what is right/correct for citizens around the world? And if revealing broad spectrum surveillance damages US interests, then what does that say about us, our decisions and our policies?
    If we spend umpty billions of dollars year in and year out and our best response is to target every single person in the industrialized world – then I suggest we are doing it wrong.

  129. 129
    karen says:

    It’s just a continuing trend in the blogosphere since Obama won

    It’s not a coincidence that PUMAs were the first birthers. It’s not a coincidence that the PUMAs scream about how hawkish Obama is and that he’s WORSE THAN BUSH! Yet, they seem to forget that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, she had a lot to do with Obama’s foreign policy and that she’s even MORE hawkish. And it’s not a coincidence that they complain about everything Obama does in a way they never did with Clinton.

    To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn’t afraid of attempts on Obama’s life from Teapublican scumbags. I expected a disillusioned PUMA to do it.

  130. 130
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Burnspbesq: I guess when yer a shit-for-brains tax-evasion lawyer, evasive behavior just comes naturally, huh?

  131. 131
    J R in WV says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Okay, another dead thread, but I was in town getting a blown up tire fixed, I hit a serious pothole the evening of Xmas day, on the way home from a pot luck dinner at a friend’s house. It blew up a tire that only had 650 miles on it ;-( so sad.

    I once ordered a chicken vindaloo, Indian hot. The waiter, aka owner, looked at me and said “Indian hot??” and I said yes. So he wrote it down like that.

    After he brought the food, I noticed the kitchen staff was holding the swinging door open, looking out to see what this stupid white guy was gonna do with the hottest dish they could make back there.

    I ate the whole thing, and it was good. Really hot, but tasty. The waiter/owner stopped by every 2 minutes, to make sure I wasn’t about to expire on him. I answered that things were good when he asked how we were. From time to time I ordered more Sam Adams, or a dry napkin, as the sweat was dripping off my ear lobes! FSM that stuff was HOT!!… but good.

    I don’t ask for it Indian hot any more, nor do I ask for it Thai hot either at those places. I get it hotter than any other white bread guy…. And I eat the whole thing, usually.

    We need broadband too. This county is mostly Armstrong Telephone, a family owned phone provider from long ago, that never sold out. All my friends who live a little further into the county have DSL hi-speed internet. I have a sat dish that we share with friends, and we can’t watch video even late at night.

    Frontier and Verizon never offered any kind of high speed internet service, but Armstrong just ran away from their lame corporate decisions and did it right. Bot we can’t get the Public Service Commission to make Frontier do it right.

    There’s fiber just a mile from our phone drops, but will they run it the extra less than a mile? Hell NO!!

    They got a grant for $120 Million dollars, it’s all spent, and we still don’t have hi speed connectivity. AT all.

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @karen: Honey, I love you, but you scare me sometimes.

  133. 133
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, it was a whole paragraph full of coded language indicating some sort of us v. them mythology. It was like encountering the Japanese solders on the island, still fighting WWII.

  134. 134
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @J R in WV: I would Like your comment, if we had that capability.

  135. 135

    @Corner Stone: @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: She’s pretty much nailed the PUMA response since the 2008 primaries forward. The dismissiveness towards her point is, sadly, the expected response now among “allies” rather than the exception.

  136. 136
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Sounds like you are in her tribe and know all the old legends.

  137. 137

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Don’t know if I’m in her tribe or not – I’ve just been paying attention.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): I honestly don’t even know what this means. Karen’s ceaseless claims of PUMA power (rawr!) have borne out to be completely off base and irrelevant.
    How does anything she claims actually comport with recorded history of the last 5+ years?

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): For God’s sake she just said she expected a former Hitlery Clinto supporter to assassinate the president.
    To you that equates to her “nailing” some analysis?
    What the hell?

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    @karen:

    they seem to forget that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, she had a lot to do with Obama’s foreign policy and that she’s even MORE hawkish

    Jesus Christ, Honeybadger.
    Hitlery was the SoS implementing the foreign policy of one PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!!
    If you and Little Benny Cisco want to make the argument that HRC went rogue on Barack’s ass FOR FOUR FUCKING YEARS then please do so.
    Otherwise, shut your fucking stupid pieholes.

  141. 141
    Tripod says:

    The warehouse club solution to network capacity – I don’t need that giant block of cheese, but I sure do want it.

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