Net Neutrality – Nothing to be Neutral About

The Internet is the last frontier of free speech, Net Neutrality will be the end of that.

The Internet is the last frontier of free speech, Net Neutrality will be the end of that.

Something happened the other day that most people probably didn’t take much notice of.   The FCC declared the internet a utility.
Did you feel the earth just rumble? No. Neither did I, didn’t expect it to either. At least not yet, and trust me that is part of the plan.
Net Neutrality could be the most misunderstood subject to come up in recent years. It sounds like something you want, neutral; take no sides, no winners, no losers. Treat all equally. Sounds great.

According to the ACLU Net Neutrality will protect us from those evil corporate capitalists looking to make a profit on providing us the services we like. In order to protect us, claims the ACLU, we need government intervention. What? Yes, the ACLU, wants the government to get involved to protect citizens who voluntarily purchase a service.
The ACLU fears that telecommunication giants will scrutinize our data and communications. So, to protect us the ACLU wants the government to control the internet. This is the same government that has already admitted to collecting all our data and communications under the guise of keeping us safe.  Continue reading

Can Washington be Fixed?

Can Washington be fixed?

Can Washington be fixed?

As I sit here days after Election Day I’m reviewing the races and turn out and results. I think about things I’ve done and roles I’ve played. I think back on the campaigns and candidates I’ve worked for, doors I’ve knocked on, calls I’ve made, letters I’ve written, people I’ve spoken with. All on behalf of candidates I felt strongly about. All on behalf of what I believed to be best for our country, state, county, and city. Naturally when I lost I was disappointed but oddly enough sometimes when I won I wound up being disappointed as well. The times I’ve won and been disappointed have always been on the federal level. Continue reading

What is a Law ?

What is a Law?

– by Michael Loeb

What is a Law? And what happens when we fail to enforce them?

We need to understand what is meant by the term ‘law’.

Handcuffs

Handcuffs - some in government need them

There are the scientific laws encompassing the way the universe interacts within itself. There is ‘Natural Law’ things that are determined by nature. Laws of Economics, Laws of Physics, The Ten Commandments, the laws given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai after the Jews left Egypt on their way to the Promised Land, many of which have become the basis for civil society. Thou shall not kill; thou shall not steal, etc. You know the rest. However, the laws I am talking are the rules which a civil society lives by and why an uncivilized society is considered lawless.  Continue reading

Obama and Freedom of Religion and What is at Stake

Last week President Barack Obama made an error in injecting himself between a religious organization, their teachings and beliefs, and how they provide health benefits to their employees.  Making the Federal Government’s mandates more powerful than that of God’s.

Obama stepped back from that decision and split the baby (no pun intended) by forcing Continue reading

Witness Political Action

I don’t know how many of you followed last week’s January 18th Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA – US Senate bill) saga on the Internet last week.  PIPA (Protect-IP Act) was the companion US House bill.  January 18th was, I believe, an historic date, in which an epic political battle occurred between grassroots activism and the horde of media industry lobbyists who had lobbied (and influenced), the US legislature – both Senate and Congress.  Grassroots activism WON!

Here is the chronology:

  • Big media had lobbied and got Congress to introduce the SOPA and PIPA bills back in May, 2011.
  • Back in May 2011, there was only one US Senator publically opposed to SOPA.
  • As of December 31, 2011, there were only 6 Senators who had gone on record opposing SOPA.
  • At 8 AM, January 18, 2012, there were still only six US Senators opposing SOPA.
  • By 5 PM, January 18, 2012, there were forty two Senators publically stating opposition to the SOPA bill.
  • 5 PM, January 18, 2012, SOPA was dead, certainly in its present language.

What Happened?

3,000,000 emails were sent to members of Congress during the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM on January 18, 2012.  How did that happen?  A number of leading Internet websites, including Wikipedia, WordPress, Mozilla, Flickr, Craigslist, and thousands of other websites around the country participated in a 24-hour blackout of their sites.  Even Google blacked out its name, on the Google.com site.  I know.  I attempted to visit both the Wikipedia and the WordPress websites on January 18, 2012.

Instead of reaching those websites, I was redirected to a “Blackout” page.  One of those redirected pages, (I’ve now forgotten which one), offered me the opportunity to send an automated email message to my US legislators, which I did.  I had previously read some news articles about the “big brother” nature of SOPA/PIPA and the potentially destructive unintended consequences that this massive legislative over reach could have on the Internet, as we currently know it.  I was primed to act.  But I had not, up until January 18, 2012, actually taken any action in support of my then-formed opinion of the issue.

Being unable to instantly obtain the particular information, which I happened to be seeking that day, plus the instant opportunity to act on my general dislike of the pending legislation and my immediately unhappy mood, galvanized me to action.  I sent my automated emails to my legislators, and went on my way that day, resigned to waiting 24 hours for the opportunity to obtain my sought-after information.  That evening, I received an automated email from fightforthefuture.org informing me that the battle had been won.  Thirty six US Senators had reversed their public position on SOPA between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, and now were publically opposing the legislation.  The day before yesterday, I even received an email from Senator Marco Rubio’s office, my FL senator, telling me in a politically nimble fashion, how he was for SOPA before he was against SOPA.  Clearly even Marco was a bit flummoxed by the whole event.

Now, I do not agree with the much of the other advocacy positions that many of the groups, which formed this coalition, espouse – Michael Moore being one perfect example.  I relay this story simply to emphasize the significance of what can happen with a properly focused, brilliantly strategized, well organized, and smartly executed grassroots campaign.  Just think about it.  Can you imagine what it would take to reverse the public position of 36 US Senators over the course of 8 hours?  An act of war, perhaps. 9-11, certainly.  But I’m not sure anything much less poignant could make this significant an impact.  Many, if not most, grassroots campaigns are nowhere near this successful.  This battle is an incredible case study for grassroots activism, which must be carefully and thoroughly studied by anyone interested in grassroots activism.

Here is the Fight For The Future video educating about PIPA:

Here are a few news articles documenting how this effort took place:

This overall story is a wakeup call for me – about how we focus on issues, strategize action, and organize campaigns.  No grassroots campaign is alike, but much can be learned from this successful case.