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This was a surprise.  Today the Federal Appeals Court ruled against the FCC, and for Comcast and Verizon and AT&T…….

If you’ve always loved your cable company, XOXOXO,  then have no fear.  But….if they have ever pissed you off in your lifetime, GRRRRRR, …be afraid, very afraid.

Essentially what this ruling “could do” is give them unlimited power over what you see, or not see on the internet….. As well as unlimited power over what they can charge for the privilege (no longer your right) to see what ever it is they choose to show you…..

The internet is set become another payola as was the radio….  no matter what station you tune, you hear the same 10 songs, unless of course, you always listened to WVUD….. And the reason you hear the same 10 songs, is because those record companies paid the 10 highest fees to the corporate entity overseeing the  music selection….

Now do you see where we are headed?

Ever heard of Netflicks?  Of course you have.  Dump your stock.  They will now be charged between $75- 115 million extra a year, just to have their movies carried by Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T..

Prefer to use Google over the Alta Vista search engine on the Comcast Site?  Expect to pay a premium.  Wish to see a video from your children in South Africa?  Expect to pay for it….  YouTube?  Will now be pay in advance….

At stake is “common carriage”.  It is a centuries old premise that if someone operates in the public arena, one must allow all the same option to use it.  One can’t for example, run a ferry and not allow his mother in law to cross, or Ted Cruz… If one is providing a public service, under common carriage principles he must not discriminate between parties….

This was one of the tenants that helped strike down bus segregation in the Old South, the fact that this age old principle was violated.

However… what happened…. was in 2005, the Supreme Court in their “Brand X” decision, decided that broadband (and wireless), was NOT a common carriage entity under existing law… Phones, yes; old cable, yes; but broadband… no…   The current court used that decision to say that since broadband was NOT a regulate common carrier provider (even though obviously it is), it did not have to comply with the common carriage principles every other entity has to follow….. Broadband is not a telecommunications network, and therefore FCC rules DO NOT APPLY.

The 2011 FCC rules being challenged in this court case, essentially state that broadband providers cannot block competing traffic on their network or discriminate against another company’s services that ride over its network in order to benefit its own competing services.

Here are the fears.

Net neutrality supporters have long worried that a broadband provider, such as Comcast, may purposely slow down traffic from an Internet company, such as Netflix, that uses its network to deliver services. In this case, Comcast could slow down the video streams of Netflix, making it impossible for Comcast broadband customers to use this service, which competes against Comcast’s own on-demand video service.

This happened immediately after the  decision.  Try going to the EFF site, Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization hostile to corporate takeover of the internet.  It takes 5 minutes to load each page, and all other sites take under a second.  I tried it repeatedly with always the same results.  Prior to the decision, it had always been in an instant.  So obviously now that companies can do what ever they want, any website critical or your cable company, is getting dissed…  (No wonder Chris Coons uncharacteristically is sucking up to the Cable Industry.)  If Christine O’Donnell runs again, she will be the only candidate in the race, according to the internet…. unless you do “their” bidding.

Broadband providers could create tiers of service that would require Internet companies trying to reach their customers over this infrastructure to pay a fee for a certain quality of service. For example, Amazon may pay Verizon to prioritize its traffic to ensure that its streaming services get a better quality of service or so that its Web pages load more quickly. Net neutrality supporters say such a system would relegate smaller Internet companies, which cannot afford to pay for priority service, to a slower and less reliable Internet. These Net neutrality advocates say this will stifle innovation.

The court ruling could pave the way for broadband operators and backbone Internet providers, which provide the nationwide infrastructure for the Internet, to create new revenue streams by charging Internet companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix fees for offer priority delivery of their content.

Mozilla responded with this…

“Giving Internet service providers the legal ability to block any service they choose from reaching end users will undermine a once free and unbiased Internet. In order to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Internet, Mozilla strongly encourages the FCC and Congress to act in all haste to correct this error.”

And that is the solution.  The FCC can simply redirect broadband and wireless to be back in the public domain, and net neutrality can continue.

Or Congress can pass legislation demanding he same.

Or the Supreme Court can overturn the Appeals Court’s decision.

It comes down to our rights  to free access of knowledge, versus a corporation’s right to make money.  As has been the trend lately, the Court decided the trump suit was a corporation’s right to make money….

I’m really sick today.. You see, when I was growing up, I was a history buff. I read childhood biographies of famous people, usually with the book behind the textbook while the teachers droned on and on, but once as a tyke, who upon seeing the obligatory National Park Film in the Williamsburg Visitors Center, after Patrick Henry sat down, I swore, I would always fight to protect the Constitution…. At that moment, even little as I was, I think I understood that I was temporary… But the Constitution like God, needed to be around forever…

With childish enthusiasm I imagined myself at times on the bridges of Lexington and Concord, roaming the swamps of South Carolina, and firing my muskets at King’s Mountain, and most importantly, crossing that line in the dirt on December 31, 1776 when no one else wanted to, to enlist till the end of the war.. . When it made the real difference, I said, I would step up at my own peril..

Today, I feel as George Washington must have, perched upon his horse on the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, watching the British inhabit New York and knowing there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it… Overmatched, the cause of freedom had taken a body slam.

Perhaps it is more like going back 2000 some years though. And being full of great optimism and hope for a burgeoning empire, a group of city states destined to prosper and rise, one whose morals would be impeccable, and suddenly without warning, ones best friend pulls out a knife and shoves it into your flesh and others pull out theirs, opening wounds where they can.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution states that …. oh damn, here it is in it’s entirety.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Granted there have been times, particularly at war, when protecting Americans meant going against the grain of this… If someone is about to shoot you, I mean, it certainly would help if you know about it first…..

The problem with too much accumulation of information, is that once you have it, it can be used. Assurances along the lines of “I’ll never do that”… always down the line get replace with platitudes of…. ” I did it because I could…” or… ” I needed to.”

So having every thing you’ve ever done electronically in a file instantly accessed by simply typing in your name, can be a bit disconcerting… It’s a catch 22. If you have not a single demerit because you lead such a bland life, you get castigated for being a wallflower and uninteresting. On the other hand, if you take risks to live life fully, you get castigated for the errors you made… Either way, those with the power will use it to castigate you for something…. And though disguised as their trying to put you in your place, it is really their effective attempt to prove to others they wield power…

Today’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to continue the FISA Admendments Act. Like ACTA or CISPA or any other internet freedom restricting acts, had opposition been organized, it may have demanded another outcome. But today’s bill arose out of nowhere, and leadership demanded it pass, and pass it did….

Numb today, I understand the implications. It is like we chose to keep Japanese interned in concentration camps after the war was over. It is that bad.. If we are doing it for the Japanese, eventually someone argues, why not anyone else? And really, how else can one answer such an argument except to expand the offense to a greater scale?

I didn’t find about the attempted coup until waking up 3 am today. I did see outrage that Zuckerman’s picture was Twittered off a private feed! The silence over government taking our freedom, and the outrage over the release of privacy, is a stunning comparison. It begs the question: what is wrong with all of us? Shouldn’t the outrage be the other way around?

For the first time that I can find, we as a nation, have chosen to continue a war-powers act, on into peace-time. 9/11 is gone. Bin Laden is dead. We’ve preditor’d out Al Qaieda’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, in command. We are out of Iraq. We will soon be out of Afghanistan. We are not in a war for our nation’s survival. So why does the government need access into every American’s email, facebook account, twitter, photo’s? Why does the FBI need to show up at your facebook friends home, with a letter stating that you are under surveillance and then asking questions of their relationship with you, then forcing their silence by telling them that they can be prosecuted themselves if they even reveal to you that they’d had contact with government officials? Gee, did you ever had a friend get weird on you suddenly, like for no reason?

Should our government be allowed to do that?

According to the text of the Fourth Amendment listed above…. Absolutely Not.

And it was over before the child in me could even get his powder cartridge out of his gunnysack…

So just putz, putz, putzing around the internet, all snug in the Holiday spirit, off a click of a click, I saw a heading saying something like “Wire tap bill moves to Friday’s vote…”

Wiretap Bill? Gosh, that is so far in back of my head, I really haven’t thought of wiretaps since… Cheney left?
Of course I’ve heard Obama hasn’t done much to mitigate, in fact he has made it worse, but wasn’t that set in stone back in 2008 or something?

No. The 2008 Bill expires 12/31/2012…. After that point, Comcast, Verizon, Facebook or any other telecommunication network, can no longer turn your information over to the government without a warrant…..

But wait. There is an attempt to sneak it through now, while no one is paying attention. Extending it for 5 years… Meaning is will expire after Obama has left office.

The bill was to come up today, voice vote and pass. However watchdogs (EFF, ACLU, Judical Watch, etc) caught it and scurried to get enough people to cause it to be debated. Tomorrow, our rights are on the line. It needs a lot of calls and every citizen who has any libertarian steak inside, needs to get really excited and call their Senators.. (The House version passed a long time ago on a perfunctory voice vote with no debate.)

It must be stopped in the Senate. If the vote to extend it fails. then by January 1, 2013. It is done.

This bill was enacted over the objections of Congress by executive order of George W. Bush. It was to expire in 2008 when it passed confirmation and became law for 4 more years.

9/11 is done. We have left Iraq. We are leaving Afghanistan. We do not need the government going through our private matters unless of course it has reason to… That will be decided by a judge… He will issue a warrant.

As an example of why we need this, the Obama administration has taken a position that makes the Bush administration pro-secrecy campaign seem pale in comparison: namely, that no one can challenge warrantless surveillance unless the government tells you in advance that you’re being surveilled—which national security interests prevent it from doing…

Which means, unless this law expires. it can’t be challenged.

Your voice is needed. The EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation is the easiest way to reach Carper and Coons. Type in your zip code and a form pops up which sends your message directly to their Senate office. Or the old fashioned way……

Sen. Tom Carper
Phone:(202) 224-2441
Fax:(202) 228-2190

Sen. Chris Coons
Phone:(202) 224-5042
Fax:(202) 228-3075

Debate begins at 11 am Eastern…. Vote is later this day….

I’ve always admired Chris Dodd, former Senator from Connecticut, in fact once praised him here on these pages…..

But something happened to change all that… He has gotten too old to lead, and is now being led with a ring in his nose being pulled by corporate powers who raised cash for his campaigns…. Basically he sold his name out for a pension.. by joining the MPAA.

I saw where Chris Dodd had called the blackout of the internet a “dangerous stunt”… I thought I was reading a news release from a website until I got to the bottom of the page… It was from the Motion Picture Association of America.

And not to bash Dodd too hard, because I could see how easily it could happen, even to someone like me… especially on a day I had a migraine and was just trying to get the minimum I had to do, to get home, lie down, take Advil, put on Ben-Gay, and sleep…..

One of my big financiers comes up, saying “can we have you sign this, Sir?” I glance over it, and it seems to makes sense, why should we shut down the entire internet over one measly bill in Congress? Sure, I’ll sign on, now get out of my face.

And so, we see sublined under the headline, that Dodd called the blackout a silly stunt…

Here is the caveat.

It totally destroyed any credibility that Dodd once had… It shows that the sickness, that corruption where any value for sale, as seeped into even a good man….

Chris Dodd. How could you support SOPA’s permanent fettering of the internet, one that would require YouTube to go off line, and yet call a one day protest that fetters the internet, … a stunt?

Do you not understand the word hypocrisy?

The sands have shifted. Chris Dodd is now standing under the approaching dune. Had he lived back on April 19th, 1775, it appears quite likely in his old age, he would have called the militia that hastily gathered on Lexington Green, another dangerous “stunt” as well.

Today MegaUpLoad sued Universal Music Group over copyright infringement.

Here’s the story. MegaUpLoad, a file sharing system, created an advertisement featuring some of the most famous artists of our time…

It is here…

Macy Gray sings parts of the song.. As the ad picked up steam, Universal Music Group, one of the major companies behind SOPA, which allows the shutdown of any website that portrays copyrighted information (ie, all of the internet), contacted YouTube with a Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown notice, claiming that the work infringed on their copyright and demanding that it be removed immediately, which it was.

There was a problem.

The composition was an original score, not copyrighted by UMG. Further, MegaUpLoad had signed contracts with the performers, who performed in the video. And when MegaUpLoad contacted Univeral Music Group, they were brushed off… in fact, some sources say laughed at haughtily.

“After this demonstration of the abuse of power by UMG, we are certain that such an instrument of Internet censorship should never be put into the hands of corporations,” the CEO David Robb concluded.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is catching a lot of heat these days. Even groups that supported the proposed law initially are now backing away, saying the legislation needs work…..

UMG’s takedown of Magaupload’s content isn’t the only incidence of large rights-holding companies asserting allegedly false copyright claims and issuing takedown notices to YouTube and other companies.

The average “YouTube” life of a Rick Perry “STRONG” parody is about 5 hours…. Try clicking down the list of YouTube thumbnails on the right side or the screen, and see just how many are now non existent?

Some may argue that slights and untruths should be taken down… They believe if it is untrue, it should not be said….

Were that the case, the Republican Debates could not be televised. They are so full of untruths it makes a normal American throw up in their mouth. Since our founding, Americans have had the right to view untruths, and make up our own mind, We do it every time we see a commercial on TV…..

Just think if you couldn’t challenge these Untruths?

1) The King knows what is best for his subjects. That’s why he’s King.

2) Every state is Independent. They need subject themselves to no Federal entity.

3) The African Race is genetically inferior to that of Whites…

4) Slaves lack the capacity to function in Free Society…

5) A women’s place is in the home.

6) A woman doesn’t deserve the compensation a man gets.

7) If a textile mill can’t employ underage children, it will go out of business….

Everyone of these was an untruth at its conception. Horror if the UMG had controlled Free Speech throughout our nation’s formation….

Call every Congressional person and tell them this is preposterous.

Remember the baby video maker who was sued because of the pop music playing in the background?

This is foolishness, and every Delawarean, yea, even every national, Congressperson needs to know it…

Perhaps, perhaps, if it is passed, Hollywood can sell a couple of more movies…. But if it is passed, it will be the death of the first amendment… you and me, are gone….. morte…

There can be never be censorship of the Internet… Never. and period….

Stop On-Line Piracy Act.

Is opposed by these companies: Google (GOOG), Facebook, eBay (EBAY), Twitter, Yahoo (YHOO), AOL (AOL), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, all opposed the measure.

Under the bill, search engines, ISPs, online advertising networks and payments processors would have to block “rogue” sites when ordered to do so by a judge. Along with tech companies, free-speech advocates have argued that this would lead to legitimate sites being blocked and could disrupt the Internet’s underlying technology. The fear is that arbitrary decisions about what is and is not a “rogue” site could lead to chaos.

How clumsy are the bill’s Congressional backers? On Wednesday a hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Committee included just one opponent of SOPA — Google lawyer Katherine Oyama. And she seemed to be there not so much to testify as to serve as a proxy for all those evil Internet companies that want to profit from piracy.

Internet companies worry that they could be held liable for the actions of people outside their control. Under the bill, Yahoo, for example, could be held liable if someone posted a copyrighted picture to that company’s Flickr site. And Google and other search engines would in effect be responsible for the actions of basically everyone on the Internet…

The entertainment industry is behind the pushing of this bill. This is business and none of the proceeds benefit any of the artists, actors, or writers of the products being sold. It is entirely greedy corporate money versus our rights to a trustworthy free internet.

Congress is getting bribed. The entertainment industry spent $279 million lobbying Congress. The tech industries spent on tenth less, $29 million.

“And when businesses are considering investing in a country with poor internet freedom, and they know that their website could be shut down suddenly, their transactions monitored, their staffs harassed, they’ll look for opportunities elsewhere” — Joe Biden November 1. 2011. The London Conference on Cyberspace.

The following people are opposed to SOPA… Who’s Who of tech giants—including Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, AOL and Mozilla,

Republican Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul

A group of over 100 distinguished Intellectual Property law professors updated their original letter from earlier this year about PROTECT-IP and expressed that the SOPA would not only hurt the economy, but is unconstitutional:

The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a detailed letter to the Judiciary Committee outlining their objections to each provision of SOPA and expressing the significant free speech concerns.

Dozens of groups from the international human rights community signed onto a letter to the House Judiciary Committee explaining how SOPA would destroy Internet Freedom worldwide..

The Global Network Initiative, a diverse coalition of organizations ranging from human rights groups to academics, investors, and technologists, urged Congress to re-examine the bill…

The Consumer Electronics Association, which comprises over 2,000 American technology companies, delivered a straightforward message about the disastrous consequences of failing to properly tailor the scope of the bill…

And those on record as in favor, or don’t know yet……

Senator Chris Coons

Senator Tom Carper

Congressman John Carney

You have a Herculean task before you… Essentially to clean up what Republicans have left behind.

However, it would be fair to warn you that my support for the Constitution of the United States of America, and my sworn duty to obey it to the best of my abilities, has me fearful of some the changes you propose for public safety. As an American, I have the right to live unsafely if I wish…

My ancestors had the same right.. They chose to come to America… and because of that… here we are today.. Our ancestors chose to travel west for opportunity, and because of it, here we are today.. Our ancestors chose to sign up and wear blue, to keep the grays from splitting us apart.. and because of that, here we are today…

I want that same right to maximise any opportunity that may present itself before me..

So, with fair warning, any criteria you propose to tame the Internet, which limits the right I hold so dear, the right to express my opinion with impunity, will cause you to lose the battle of public opinion… because I will fight you there..

The rules for engagement are as follows… YOUR PROPOSALS MUST FIT WITHIN THESE GUIDELINES… Once offered in high prose, but for everyone’s benefit today, I have put them in street language… For after all, that is where these values need to be upheld… on the streets of this great nation…

The ten basic rules are as follows…

1) You can’t tell me what to believe, or make me go home and shut up.

2) I’ll go armed and defend myself, thank you.

3) You can’t make me let someone else live in my house.

4) This is MY house; if you can’t demonstrate a compelling need to
snoop, stay the f*** out.

5) This is MY sh**; keep your greedy hands off it. And don’t go
accusing me of Evil without evidence.

6) If you’ve got evidence, lay it on the table. And no fair getting
a confession by pitchforking me in the ass.

7) I ain’t guilty just on YOUR say-so.

8) You can’t keep me in jail just because you want to.

9) As to the rest of my life, you can’t tell me what to do or not

10) And neither can your big fat uncle in Washington.

Keep these in mind.. As long as you remain within the parameter of what I have sworn to cherish and uphold, you will continue to have my support… especially the fourth, since it’s misuse directly applies to us bloggers….

The greatest criticism I always had with Republicans was that they failed to stand up to their friends…

I dropped this quote, which I have taken on as my mantra since hearing it, quite a few times upon them…

“It takes great courage to stand up to one’s enemies… It takes even greater courage, to stand up to one’s friends…”

Until hearing it, I never realized just how true it was… It really does take the ultimate courage available to call out one’s friends.. especially when they are truly loyal or if have deep affection towards them. But to put personal affection aside, and move forward toward the greater good, of which their friends have place themselves as a roadblock to it’s further progression, draws the best out of human existence…

Like Lawrence of Arabia, we sometimes have to put all that is personal aside, and fire all six bullets into the base of our friends skull, to keep the larger goal intact…

I have two friends.. One is the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the other is our recently sworn in president.. Barack Obama… They disagree… and I have to make a choice..

I have chosen to back the Constitution.. And right now, the Constitution is on the side of the EFF…

I thank the grace of God for giving me a lifetime of experiences… I have at times been on the side of information suppression… to keep control and discipline… and at other times, I have been involved with disseminating information ahead of all attempts to squelch me.. Through those experiences covering many different cultures, I must say, that when openness is the rule, far fewer stupid policies get mandated by those in power… In an open society, where criticism is harsh, only the good ideas survive.. However an idea that is not debated, usually is embedded with hidden flaws that its creator, also embedded with those same flaws, was blind to..

So if we are to progress into a world of the future, we can only do so where there are a billion eyes watching a billion transactions.. We can do so where if caught doing wrong, the culprit can be prosecuted… That fear of being caught, is what keeps honest people honest…

This nation was founded upon the idea of free speech.. We have done well as a result of that principal… The internet is just the same as speaking.. It can be spontaneous yet have long lasting implications… But like speech, it needs to be free.. If one is foolish to argue for violence against the United States, then because of the Internet’s openness, we can monitor it publicly and find out when and where that attack will take place..

Just as if we overheard them speaking in the bushes behind the park bench in across from the Smithsonian….

The internet is probably saving the world from its second global financial meltdown.. Information halfway around the world is instantly available, and many with money decided to ride the current, instead of close down their banks to save pennies on their dollars.. Having to wait for tomorrow’s paper, would have created so much doubt, that the financial cave in would have occurred…

Today’s financial crises has verified the Internets primary function as a global deliminator of information…

Email allows groups to grow from a dozen friends to a hundred hobbyists to a huge, national organization. Meanwhile, blogging is transforming journalism, and websites like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive are part of a new Library of Alexandria being built online.

In countless ways, the Internet is radically enhancing our access to information and empowering us to share ideas with the entire world. Speech thrives online, freed of limitations inherent in other media and created by traditional gatekeepers.

Preserving the Internet’s open architecture is critical to sustaining free speech. But this technological capacity means little without sufficient legal protections. If laws can censor you, limit access to certain information, or restrict use of communication tools, then the Internet’s incredible potential will go unrealized.

The government has time and again tried doing just that—indeed, censorship laws have often aimed at speech that could not be similarly restricted offline. And when old laws are not properly adapted to this medium, it’s all too easy for the government, companies, and individual litigants to undermine your rights.

If you weren’t aware of the assaults being made on this basic of our rights, free speech, here is a brief synopsis of what they are doing… fighting back…

Indymedia Server Takedown

Sapient v. Geller

Apple v. Does

First Cash v. John Doe

Online Policy Group v. Diebold

E. Van Cullens v. John Doe

Williams v. Donald

Eli Lilly Zyprexa Litigation

A brief review of these cases shows that our enemies are not insurgents willing to make war… They are government officials seeking to keep the media from finding and publishing those acts they hoped to keep in secret…

Obama needs to help the EFF open the internet up to free speech…

And the simplest method to do so, would be to put teeth into laws protecting individual freedoms… If someone is intent of destroying our Constitution by attacking our country, we should have the capacity to stop them… But, if someone, whether selfish or well meaning, is destroying the Constitution while representing this country, then we need to have the capacity to stop them too..

Even when that person is our friend….

Because that……. is what we do.