I was going to write Bill O’Reilly this evening and ask him why with the civil unrest in Yemen, Americans dying in a terrorist hotel attack in Libya, maybe a brief word on the genocide in Africa, and an all-female Ghostbusters cast being announced today he decided to spend the majority of his show speculating on which Republicans may choose to enter the Presidential race in 2016- without mentioning a single word about a possible Independent or Democratic candidate, besides Hillary Clinton, who was an assumed muppet. With almost 2 years before the election, eons in the political landscape, why was today’s real news ignored and how am I now a more informed viewer after watching?
My “Mad As Hell” letter to him was going swimmingly, I was patting myself on the back after several witty one-liners and pointed, legitimate questions concerning his journalistic integrity. In order to give my letter a shred of credibility and not be completely hypocritical, I jumped over to CNN to fact check a few of my statements. Then I went to ABC. Then I just said “fuck it” and gave up on the letter entirely. Bill O’Reilly wasn’t the problem, it’s our news. Executive producers, network presidents, and agenda driven ownership groups have stripped the slightest bit of journalism from our consumption.
I used to pour my guts out. Seems the only way I ever understood my feelings were to read them. The collection within these pages used to know me better than my closest friend. The writing used to be honest, uncensored, and unapologetic. I never considered what happened beyond the typing- there was a naive and innocent freedom in approaching a blank page without an agenda or audience. It was like I was screaming at the top of my lungs off of a cliff. It felt good to yell, to have my words bounce around the stone walls and echo back so I could hear them. No one else was around to hear what was going on, so it didn’t seem that crazy.
Recent legislation is changing the Internet in a way that you won't be happy with. Limited freedom of speech, limited access to pages you may want to visit, slower speeds, and a substantial price increase.
Lobbyist representing large Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have stifled a bill that would keep the internet open, free, and equal to all users (as we know it today).
As of 1/14/2014, ISP's no longer have to provide full and equal access all websites on the internet. For example, if an ISP has vested interest in a political candidate, it could block users on their network from viewing information / websites that oppose their view / candidate.
As of 1/14/2014, it is now legal for ISP's to charge specific websites for network usage (FaceBook, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube). Without websites paying a fee to the ISP's, content could be blocked, limited, or speeds slowed to the point of rendering them useless. These websites will now have to charge YOU a subscription fee or generate more ads to offset costs.
As of 1/14/2014, it will be impossible for the next entrepreneur or inventor to launch the new social platform without significant capital. Say you invent the next Twitter / Ebay / Google / FaceBook. Without paying the ISP (any fee they deem appropriate), your new website would never be able to reach the people.
The ISP- Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc now have the power to limit content, cripple bandwidth (slowing speeds rendering sites useless), and completely block any website from their network for any reason.
Ultimately this comes down to money. They already charge you a monthly service fee to access the internet, now they want to charge you to view the content on the network. Freedom of speech and civil liberties will only be given to the people who pay for them.
There is hope. There is a way to stop this. The FCC has the power to correct this injustice, but they need motivation to do so. They need to be encouraged, they need your support, and ultimately need to know that they will no longer have a job if they don't represent the will of the people.
Write your congressman, your senator- convince them to pressure the FCC into action. Email the Chairman of the FCC directly, Tom Wheeler, and let him know that this issue is important to you- to all of us.
Below is a letter I've written to Chairman Wheeler. I encourage you to copy and paste it, sending it to the Chairman. Manipulate a few words and send it to your Representatives as well:
Dear Chairman Wheeler,
I am greatly concerned over the court ruling of Net Neutrality. This decision could be one of the greatest abuses of freedom and free speech of the modern era. This ruling is the latest example of corporate lobbyist manipulating our judicial system purely for profit at the expense of our civil liberties.
The internet was created and based around the freedom to share information, a platform for free speech, and equality to any person that has access to it. The Revolutionary War was fought for the same principles and for a substantially smaller tax. Allowing ISP's to block or limit political points of view it doesn't agree with, charge higher rates to access content it didn't have a hand in creating, and stifling entrepreneurship and individual innovation by limiting new voices is not the will of the people.
We have a great thing- the internet is one of humanity's greatest achievements and needs to be protected. Citizens, the people, urge you to correct the course and represent us. Speak for us. Become an example that the rest of the world will follow.
Please reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. Please be a leader in this issue and preserve the zeitgeist of our historical age.
To learn more about Net Neutrality, read the new legislation in detail, and find out more ways you can help stop this unjust loss of freedom, visit www.savetheinternet.com.
U. S. Senator Mark Udall responds to my letter urging him to support Net Neutrality and help the FCC in reversing recent legislation:
"February 18, 2014
Thank you for contacting me regarding issues relating to "net neutrality." I appreciate that you took the time to share your specific views on this issue.
The principle behind "net neutrality" is based on the notion that network providers of Internet access should not detrimentally control how consumers use the Internet, nor should they be able to discriminate by providing different network access for one type of content or content provider over another. I support the principle of "net neutrality" because I believe that Internet subscribers should not be denied or have limited access to the content of their choice because of the commercial interests of their service providers. I do, however, believe that reasonable network management should be permitted when necessary. That said, I have always believed our telecommunication laws must support a competitive market that provides the most options to consumers at affordable prices.
As your Senator, I will continue to monitor the FCC's implementation of their regulations and will work with my colleagues - from both parties - to ensure that the laws regulating Internet providers strike the right balance between competition within the marketplace and protecting consumer choice. Please know that your thoughts will provide me important guidance along the way.
I will remain attentive to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not merely about supporting or opposing legislation, but also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov.
U.S. Senator, Colorado"
I do appreciate Senator Udall (and his office) responding. From the handful of letters I sent out, he is the only one to reply thus far.
While I ultimately do not have a lot of faith in my words having an impact, especially against all of the dollars that lobbyists are throwing at this issue, I do hope that they become buried in the subconscious of our leaders. I hope the voice of the people gnaws at them in their sleep and they make decisions based on honor, virtue, and justice regardless of politics and posturing… I hope.
I'm glad that Senator Udall is aware of Net Neutrality and has an opinion on the issue. I'm glad that he somewhat agrees with the principles of Net Neutrality and says he will protect the consumer above the commercial interests of internet service providers.
However, as per usual political rhetoric, he was also ambiguous and left the door wide open to "support the market" which would mean the ISP's and them driving towards capitalization of bandwidth.
I believe there needs to be much more compromise in our government, however our right to freely access information and our personal freedom within the digital world is not a compromisable situation. Compromising any civil digital rights would be the beginning of digital Jim Crow Laws, though instead of segregating the internet by race it would be by money.
I found my journal from exactly 10 years ago- talk about an eye opening read. I couldn’t put it down, not because it was particularly exciting or well written, but more like a ghost talking to you from the past.
I stayed up until 3:30 am reliving what seemed like a different story but with the same main character. Some things I couldn’t remember at all- especially things that seemed so important in the moment. Other things I remember happening, but the memory was like a news clipping of factual information- the journal filled in all the emotion and thoughts that had long since been forgotten. However, the strangest part is how little the main character has changed. I’m essentially the same person I was back then, just further along in the story- or maybe now in a sequel. For some reason I equated 10 years time to me transforming into a different person, maybe an adult. That I had emerged into a new, sophisticated version of myself keeping only my best qualities. The truth is, I still laugh at fart jokes. I’m still single for the exact same reasons. Money has never made me happy. My imagination is way better than reality. The only thing that has really changed is my friends, they did grow up.