Surely Gonna Lose Your Mind

Here’s an interesting piece on how the FCC’s “Fast Lane” proposal, which shows how the 2010 FCC called and wants its Internet back:

But Wheeler didn’t deny that his new proposal will allow the types of “fast lane” arrangements that the FCC repeatedly warned against in its 2010 Open Internet Order. That order was recently struck down by a court decision, forcing the FCC to write new rules and justify them using different legal authority.

The FCC could have reinstated all the rules in that order by reclassifying ISPs as common carriers, but it chose not to. On the plus side, Wheeler says the new rules will prevent “blocking of lawful content” just as the old ones did. But payments in exchange for an Internet fast lane will be allowed as long as they’re “commercially reasonable,” a much lower standard than the one adopted in 2010.

A fair number of Democrats are complaining. Here’s a taste:

I don’t see the downside of Democrats having a fight over net neutrality. We need to give people reasons why Democrats controlling the House and more Democrats in the Senate would lead to better policy, and this is an issue that resonates with younger voters. And I don’t see how it’s a big blow to Obama, who can swoop in and be the hero by reversing the FCC who’s better off complaining than accepting the FCC’s decision.

45 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Legislation is the best solution here. But Democrats have been supporting net neutrality since like forever, and they haven’t yet been recognized for it. Hopefully, this time will be different.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Let’s not repeat this.

    The FCC’s push for Net Neutrality legislation suffered another setback on Tuesday, after 95 of the candidates who pledged their support for it lost their elections.
    The Progressive Change Campaign Committee site has had a list of 95 candidates, all Democrats, listed on as pledged supporters of Net Neutrality.

    But, as CNN Money reports, all of them lost.

  3. 3
    randy khan says:

    The FCC is an independent agency. President Obama cannot “swoop in” to reverse an FCC decision.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Obama, who can swoop in and be the hero by reversing the FCC.

    Say what?

  5. 5
    Judge Crater says:

    Are we heading for an internet that mirrors the stratification of the larger society? An internet for the one percent – high speed, profitable, reliable and secure – and an internet for the 99 percent that works like your old 5,600 baud modem?

    Or like our dysfunctional health care “system”? Great care for those at the top, but little or none for those at the bottom?

    Bandwidth (which is really what this is all about) will, like everything else, be divvied up according to “commercially reasonable”, i.e., free market prerogatives.

    What’s your guess?

  6. 6
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @randy khan: Yeah, my brain isn’t working this morning. I re-worded it. The basic idea is that Obama is better off separating himself from the FCC than supporting it.

    @Baud: 2010 was a progressive wipeout. You could make the same argument about any progressive position.

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Judge Crater: My guess is that is exactly where we’re headed.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    Sure. And that’s why it takes so much extra work to get Dems behind progressive positions.

  9. 9
    Walker says:

    I think Fast Lanes will cause the tech industry to slowly move overseas. This will be a massive toll on start-ups.

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    My guess is the average voter is not going to see the value in this fight, it is all esoteric to them. If I am wrong and a substantial number of likely voters do start caring there will be an easy avenue of attack for the Koch whores – these fine upstanding companies are giving away their only produce, bandwidth, for free. All these great bastions of American free enterprise are asking is to get a fair price for their product.

    And that would be a loser for Dems I am afraid.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Judge Crater:

    Bandwidth (which is really what this is all about) will, like everything else, be divvied up according to “commercially reasonable”, i.e., free market prerogatives.

    Commercially reasonable is not a strict as nondiscrimination, but it’s not pure free market. It does operate to constrain some pricing behavior and outright refusals to deal. And if the FCC couples its rules with more stringent disclosure requirements, we’ll at least know what those deals are, unlike in a real “free market.”

  12. 12
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Schlemizel: How about “Republicans want to let your cable company charge you twice for Internet service”. It doesn’t have to be esoteric.

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    It’s anecdotal, but all three of my grown kids are engaged on it. My eldest is getting married, so the three of them are planning a lot (they live in three different states). I was part of one planning session last night and they talked about this. Two are not just Democrats but die-hard liberals, and the third is sort of libertarian-curious and doesn’t state any firm political views, but they all vote. The eldest works in the industry so he was explaining the ins and outs to the other two. I didn’t understand it myself until I listened to his explanation.

    They see it as regulatory capture of an agency and another triumph for corporate interests over ordinary people, frankly, if I could summarize :)

    Democrats can’t take young people for granted, particularly if younger Republican electeds move toward the center on social issues, which I believe they will. Again, anecdotal, but I don’t think they believe they are being heard.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:
    Again, you assume a reasonable voter while I do not. I can hear the clowns on Fox saying things about “hair on fire, wild speculation about things that are not going to happen” that meme will be blended into the narrative and suddenly Dems will be forced to defend against those charges instead of discussing the rate increases. The majority of voters (those who hardly pay attention) will not have an opinion other than both sides do it. The whole “free enterprise and moochers getting something for nothing” argument probably sways the majority (maybe not a large one but majority) of the ones that actually get off the coach on election day.

    The majority of people who understand what is going on will certainly be motivated to work against it but we are not the majority of voters. Its like so much of the long-term damage done since St. Ronald,

  15. 15
    Judge Crater says:

    @Baud: I don’t want to be too cynical, but the FCC can only regulate within the constraints of legislative and judicial decisions. The internet as a tool for commerce and profit is so powerful that financial and corporate interests will go to the ends of the earth to control it. The coming merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable is sort of the canary in the coal mine. What Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast wants, is the original model of broadcast television imposed on the internet: bandwidth (television channels) and content (tv shows) controlled by a few large corporations. That’s exactly what the original broadcast networks had. They bought the tv spectrum and produced and sold all of the content.

    Obviously, the internet won’t be that black and white, but the monetary value of most of what goes over the internet will go to a few large corporate interests.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: Your kids’ reactions sound similar to what my teen and her pals have expressed on this issue. They care very much and see it as corporations sticking it to regular folks. Democrats should definitely get out in front of this issue and make it clear whose side they’re on.

  17. 17
    Lee says:

    What Obama could have done is nominate an FCC Chair that was committed to Net Neutrality not another industry shill.

    But he chose not to do that. Is this all his fault? No. Does he deserve some of the blame? Certainly.

  18. 18
    Lee says:

    @Judge Crater:

    This actually dates back a few years when the FCC decided not to classify ISPs as common carriers. What the FCC can (and should) do is classify ISPs as common carriers and solve this problem. But because of regulatory capture they have decided not to do that.

  19. 19
    Lee says:

    @Schlemizel: Actually the Dems have a very good talking point.

    “We want ISPs to be classified as common carriers, just like your phone is. That way your ISP cannot decide what content you get, just like your phone company cannot decide what calls you get.”

  20. 20
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s funny because the leader of the pack there (the eldest) is not really an egalitarian hero. He does pretty well financially . He teases my daughter about her hippie-ness. Thus, I agree with you that it probably resonates with that group, even among those who aren’t class warriors :)

    I was trying to understand it so I said “is it like a public park where no one ever designated the ground “public” and now someone has come in and made an offer on the land?” and I think he went along (generally!) with that comparison.

  21. 21
    Schlemizel says:

    @Lee: That might work although many will struggle with the concept of ‘common carrier’ and are not particularly fond of their phone company so its not great. Plus the cable co will say they are not preventing anyone from getting content, which would be just sorta true at first.

  22. 22
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    They’re different. They sort of take the positions on social issues for granted, with Democrats. They’re not handing out gold stars for ss marriage or contraceptives. They think those things are (or maybe should be) a given. They want more than that. I think it’s generally positive, although politically treacherous for Democrats because they aren’t going to get away with “we’re the Party that doesn’t hate gay people and women!”

  23. 23
    Lee says:


    That is why the talking point does not use the phrase ‘common carrier’. It just explains the result. If the person does not like the phone company it works even better since they can think “I hate my carrier, and I know they would blocks calls if the law allowed them”.

    Look it is a talking point, if you are going to restrict talking points to being 100% true for all past & future, the conservatives are going to continue to kick the liberal’s asses when it comes to messaging. It’s is true and it encapsulates the essence of the problem.

  24. 24
    Kay says:


    I agree. I have such strong feelings about it because it goes to credibility. My sense here is people are really fed up with what they see as capture and a revolving door, both Republicans and Democrats. It seems so easy for Democrats to avoid that, to accept the reality that people see this is as “corrupt”, not actionable, not the statutory definition, but “corrupt” all the same. Because they do. That’s how they see it.

    So instead of defending on it, just stop doing it. Stop corroding your own credibility, gubmint people! It’s dumb, and it will come back and bite you in the ass.

  25. 25
    Lee says:


    Well said.

  26. 26
    Served says:

    I think the generational gap between voters and our octogenarian overlords really shows here.

    Millenials grew up with the internet, and most don’t remember a world before it existed. They see it as a utility and a necessity, which they are right about.

    Corporations want to cut that right out before it gets too ingrained, but I think the cats out of the bag already.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Lee: Hear, hear!

  28. 28
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Appoint an industry lobbyist to chair the FCC. Lobbyist greenlights the industry’s dearest wish. Is anyone actually surprised?

  29. 29
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:


    Plus the cable co will say they are not preventing anyone from getting content, which would be just sorta true at first.

    And the rejoinder to that is that the Cable Companies are making companies like Netflix pay more, so you’re paying more. Yeah, Fox News and the Kochs and everyone else will try to spin a free market fairy tale but anything we can do to bind up Republicans with the cable cos will be a winner.

    Our messaging would be a hell of a lot better if we could avoid appointing corporate shills to important regulatory positions. The people who will be swayed by net neutrality, younger voters, get that. They don’t need an explanation – they will see Democrats’ role in the suck fest if net neutrality goes away.

  30. 30
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The biggest threat to the Internet, even from it’s inception, has always been the Free Market. Markets demands profits, year after year, quarter after quarter. The Market would love a multi-tiered Internet. More money to be made that way. And that’s what it basically boils down to. Large corporations with layers of management that do nothing yet takes home all the cash are always going to be looking for more rents. I’m afraid that you’re going to have to pay 5 bucks a month extra if you want Netflix to stream the way it used to, because Comcast’s Executive VP of Dynamic Marketing Outside The Box really, really likes hookers and blow.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Judge Crater: Yes.

    Pay to play.

    This shit needs to be stopped dead in it tracks. If it takes nuking the boards of directors of major telcos, so be it.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hunter Gathers: The “free market” only DEMANDS profits if the only thing it values are profits.

    Adam Smith didn’t believe in a Ferengi society where profit was the only goal. In fact, he argued the opposite in opposing monstrosities like the crown monopolies of the day. He actually talked of banks that, after paying for “reasonable expenses” (which I’m sure he would NOT include hookers and blow in) were there to facilitate economic growth for EVERYONE by efficient allocation of capital.

    We don’t have that. We have parasitic garbage sucking up resources for hoarding to prove that they’re the favored of an invisible sky buddy.

    And to flout their bling in the faces of the masses.

    This shit must stop. If it takes tumbrels to do it, then so be it.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Er, “flaunt” their bling. You “flout” a law, as Cliven Bundy is doing.

  34. 34
    beergoggles says:

    This just adds to the depression that nothing is really improving where it matters. If elected Democrats can’t won’t nominate someone useful to offices that determine policy there’s no point in voting for them. I’ve already threatened the last person who called me to fundraise that if Obama doesn’t come out against Keystone XL before the midterms, I’m not even going to bother voting.

    If you want your base to vote, give them a reason to. At some point saying “the other guy is worse” just makes them more attractive as a means to speed up the downfall of the republic.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beergoggles: If you don’t vote, the Rethugs win.

    Then things get even worse.


  36. 36
    Arclite says:


    Plus the cable co will say they are not preventing anyone from getting content, which would be just sorta true at first.

    Except they absolutely were preventing people from getting Netflix.

  37. 37
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Walker: It’s okay because the geriatrics who have all the moneys will be dead before that bitter harvest.

  38. 38
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I know a lot of young people who are all over the place politically but get really riled up about net neutrality.

    And don’t think they’ve forgotten that they have the shittiest internet speeds in the developed world.

    Trust-busting on this issue would play really well with young people. “The cable company wants you to pay twice for internet” will play well with middle aged people. They’ve had a lifetime of getting ripped off by those fucks.

  39. 39
    Socoolsofresh says:

    4000+ votes on reddit right now:

    Basically, another campaign promise upheld. I don’t know why people are upset with Obama!

  40. 40

    @Lee: You have totally nailed a liberal problem (and I work for a national liberal advocacy group) — this idea that if we don’t have every nuance of a given issue represented in our messaging then our messaging is not “true”. So, we never go for the emotional punch because it is not 100% truthful. And we keep getting our clocks cleaned because the other side doesn’t worry about truth and process, they worry about results. Yea, I know there is a slippery slope here, but at a certain point you need to win in order to not find yourself the one planted under that slope.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Socoolsofresh: You know, you’re still a worthless twit.

  42. 42
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Schlemizel: Seriously? We should only work on things that the majority of voters are motivated to work on? The majority of voters are trying to make enough money to not die. That gives us pretty slim pickings as far as things we can pay attention to by your rule.

  43. 43
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The argument that has enabled the Democratic Party to become identical in most ways to the Republican Party of the 1970s and even 1980s. ‘The other guys are worse, so you don’t have any choice but to vote for us, and we have absolutely no obligation to do anything that you actually want.”

    But, see, if they actually, literally destroy the ecosphere as we know it (or allow the oil companies to do so), I’m not really sure there is a ‘worse’ than a 10 degrees F climb and the largest mass die-off in the history of the Earth. Including the vast majority of the human race. And the only reason that the Democrats are in a position to even consider allowing this to happen and not being unable to be elected for a generation is because individual Democrats always allowed as how, ‘sure, my party is getting worse every year, but the other guys are getting EVEN WORSER’.

    Will it be a comfort when mass famine strikes that at least we didn’t let more Republicans get elected?

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Fred Fnord: When you start leading the vanguard of the Revolution, by all means, give me a call.

    Until then, don’t discard the tools you have now.

  45. 45
    Carolinus says:


    This actually dates back a few years when the FCC decided not to classify ISPs as common carriers.

    More than a few. 2002.

Comments are closed.