Selling a Blatant Lie

March 6th, 2011

Network neutrality has always been about fairness, freedom, and independence. Which is probably why Republicans hate it so much.

Network neutrality is about everyone being equal on an unfettered, decentralized frontier, intentionally left untouched by invasive rules or controls. It is akin to a free public space where people can do what they wish, no one given priority over anyone else. Currently, it keeps telecoms from taking what has been a public resource from day one, grabbing it as their private domain, and using it to squeeze as much profit from the public as possible. Again, reasons for Republicans to hate it.

Network neutrality has always been the rule of the Internet, you might say that’s a big part of what defines it. It’s an important reason why the Internet has been so successful, as a domain free from outside interference. Network neutrality opponents want to change things, they want to turn it into a privately-controlled commodity, in which corporations would have control over how fast you go, how much you pay, what you do, and how you do it–controls which the government has never tried to impose, a free and unfettered state of being that the FCC wishes to allow to continue.

And yet to hear Republicans talk about it, network neutrality is somehow a new idea, something which will change the Internet into an over-regulated quagmire–when the exact opposite is true.

To trash the idea of network neutrality, they throw vague and unsupported accusations that the concept is somehow connected to things Republicans hate–“government regulation” being the big one. In this case, however, the government regulation is not to stifle or control, but the exact opposite. It’s a regulation which would keep industry’s–and government’s–hands off.

However, here’s Boehner rattling on about the concept, clearly either clueless or an industry shill, but more likely both:

“’Network neutrality,’ they call it. It’s a series of regulations that empower the federal bureaucracy to regulate Internet content and viewpoint discrimination. The rules are written vaguely, of course, to allow the FCC free reign.

”The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller, and potentially running roughshod over local broadcasters who have been serving their communities with free content for decades.

No, it would empower the government to maintain the Internet as the government has maintained it from the beginning. It does not “regulate content,” it ensures that content will not be interfered with. It does not allow the FCC to be a traffic controller, it keeps the telecoms from become traffic controllers. In ensures that free content will be protected from the “local broadcasters” (read: big telecoms) who want to end the whole concept of free content.

Note the language, though. “They” call it that, as if there is some mysterious, nefarious “they.” “Regulations,” “empowering federal bureaucracy,” “regulate,” “viewpoint discrimination,” “vague,” and regulatory “free reign.” Almost every other word in that sentence is a carefully-crafted fright word intended to push scare buttons that the right wing has worked for decades to instill in the people. Almost his entire rant is chock-full of this crap.

“As far as I’m concerned, there is no compromise or middle ground when it comes to protecting our most basic freedoms.

”So our new majority in the House is committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight a government takeover of the Internet.

The government created the Internet, you ignorant sellout. He’s trying to make it sound like the Internet was created by the telecoms, so they should get to “keep” it. “Our most basic freedoms”? What the hell is that supposed to mean? How do you propose that allowing telecoms to control content, restrict the free use of applications, and segregate a public resource so it can charge a premium to users, will “protect our most basic freedoms”? Just the opposite–you and your patrons want to destroy the equality which has been the hallmark of the Internet since its inception. Your plans would open the doors, for the first time ever, to service providers censoring content and working to harass those they disapprove of, a state of affairs expressly forbidden by network neutrality.

“Already, the committee has held hearings to give FCC regulators a chance to explain the need for this intrusion. It won’t surprise you to hear they haven’t been able to give the American people a straight answer.

Again, ”committees,“ ”hearings,“ ”regulators,“ ”intrusions.“ Be afraid and do whatever we say, you dim-witted cattle.

And an ”intrusion“? How the flying frack is a set of rules which essentially says, ”hands off and allow people to do as they please“ an ”intrusion“? Especially compared to the corporate controls you want to institute, giving this massive thing of value to the telecoms for free.

Then Boehner uses a segue to his next line of spouted waste, drawing an analogy between network neutrality and yet another boogeyman of the far right:

”Congresswoman Blackburn has been a national leader on this issue, holding the FCC’s feet to the fire. She has called net neutrality ‘the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet.’

“The ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ that’s another threat to freedom with an innocuous name.”

Yes, heaven forbid that money not be allowed to buy a louder voice. What a travesty to plutocracy that would be. However, aside from the complete disconnect between the two concepts, the Fairness Doctrine is just yet another red herring, a fictional scare tactic, like Obama banning guns, or the return of the New Black Panther Party, or “death panels,” a false specter to galvanize the party faithful.

Even in this age where lies and corruption stand as the mainstay of Republican politics and policy, this outright fictional spew is galling. But this is what we have come to expect from this man–to sell out the American people for money and power. What else is new?

  1. Troy
    March 6th, 2011 at 12:50 | #1

    The game is being played one level down from the rhetoric.

    When net-neutrality goes, telecom monopolies will be able to more aggressively monetize their monopoly position in data traffic, and Republicans will get a cut of that action via campaign contribution kickbacks and even more enriching of the wealthy who own everything.

    Just one more brick in the wall. It’s going to have to get a lot worse here before it gets any better.

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