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.
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.
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.
There's very little personal, corporate, and government responsibility and accountability- everything in America is based around a short term / quarterly fix. From the fast food eaten to satisfy the moment, without thought of how it may affect the individual later- so much to the extend that major cities have had to restrict, outlaw and ban products because people are incapable of moderation or rational decision making. To the instant gratification and celebritization of talentless reality TV inspiring no story telling, character development, or providing content for later reflective contemplation. To our society continuing to perpetuate an oil based industrial complex because renewable energy takes considerable time, effort, and toppling barons of establishment to develop. And lastly, our nation's economic allegiance lying alongside insider trading brought together by an unregulated stock exchange closely resembling a gossip addled high school cafeteria that is purely in existence to boosters profits by any means necessary for shareholders today, neglecting to deal with the lost jobs, homes, environmental impact, and health issues of tomorrow- of course, only after said investors have sold their cooked book failing shares to the unsuspecting public.
There is no long term solutions or vision for America's future. Integrity holds less value than the dollar, which became meaningless after it went off of the gold standard and is laughably over inflated due to the Federal Reserve.
If we don't look at ourselves objectively as a whole, correct some of our major social issues, these school and theater shootings and terrible acts will never subside (and only get worse). Individuals are shaped and are products of their environment- the trickle down effect is inevitable. Our society needs to be reevaluated and reformed, in doing so creating and inspiring new citizens to perpetuate the cycle by managing upwards.
It starts with personal responsibility and accountability. Leaders must execute an ethical plan of change that answers only to integrity- remembering that pride, honor, and trust can never be bought but are simply expressions of a job well done.
Blame for horrific acts cannot be placed upon violent movies, video games, music, or even guns- sadly, a growing portion of our society isn't intelligent or emotionally mature enough to rationally handle this type of entertainment. It's impossible and illogical to ban ideas and stories or make everything illegal that may harm someone- critical thinking education is needed to teach people how to appreciate these complex themes responsibly. The individual's ability to think critically, understand symbolism, and reflect rationally as whole is the problem (along with a completely outdated mental health system). The impressionable feed upon ignorance.
America's average reading comprehension among adults, the ability to analyze and understand what they have just consumed, resides at a Jr. High level. That's 12 to 14 years old. As we all know, the themes in many movies- even late night TV are not things we want our young teenagers watching. The point is, these TV-MA guidelines are not there to protect our children's innocence or to promote Judeo-Christian values, but act as a barometer of the level of critical thinking and emotional maturity it takes to responsibly comprehend the mature themes about to be watched. A specific age doesn't qualify you for viewing, but the general aptitude that is required of the viewer for analytical process.
Many adults do not understand the concept of symbolism, have difficulty differentiating between fact and fiction (reality versus virtual reality, or reality TV which is not a documentary), and lack the ability to objectively reflect on subjective material. Again, our Nation's comprehension level is that of a Jr. High student. That means half of us are above that, and half of us are below that but yet we all watch the same Rated R blockbuster hits.
The problem with Tipper Gore and her crusade "to save the children" from mature themes in music wasn't that vast majority didn't agree that a guideline should be in place to help parents. It was because she made it about morality, taste, and what she deemed ethical. Cooler heads in John Denver and others prevailed and brought the issue back to its root, education. With proper education people can differentiate between the strong emotion a song can stir inside oneself but also understand the consequences of acting upon that impulse. People can decide for themselves what they feel is morally acceptable, but educated people are able to handle strong themes and still walk away intact due to their ability to think critically.
In Tipper's case, as noble as she thought her cause was, she was giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish. That is the precise problem that is plaguing our society and the reason our leaders are failing miserably, they are failing to empower the people. If you're a politician, that's a scary notion. If your constituents were as well educated and knowledgable on issues as you, they wouldn't have much use for you... Is how a Jr. High student would process that statement. Without more in-depth critical thinking you wouldn't be able to seeing the benefit of a highly educated and balanced society working towards the greatness for all and how there is always a place for everyone in that society.
Accidents will happen in all societies and people will die- that's what happens when you have soft gooey tissue and live on the planet Earth. While tragic, our society is okay with that and understands and accepts "accidents." You don't see anyone lobbying to take cars off of the street which have caused exponentially more deaths than all of the public shootings combined. It's the unimaginable, malicious, premeditated violence without a cause or apparent reason that our society can't grasp. Our culture doesn't seem to mind violence, war, or brutality- it just doesn't like it when there isn't a mission or understandable motive behind it.
From the genocide of Native Americans to our country being involved in a major military conflict at least every 20 years since its inception, to dropping the first and only nuclear bomb that held no prejudice between common men, women, and children of Japan, to the war on terrorism reaching across any border; killing in the name of a cause is quite common to us. Theater shootings are not.
However, perhaps public displays of violence are a perfect example of the ailing American condition? Instantly gratifying, self-centered, lacking vision and honor, without regard to the long term affects it will have on yourself, the individuals, community, and nation. There's no personal accountability or responsibility as movies, video games, or product manufacturers are blamed. The abusive sense of entitlement that just because you're powerful enough to take, means that you do regardless of the consequences.
No. I refuse to accept that. There's not a shred of me that believes we are that far misguided as a people.
Tragically, some of the world's greatest minds have also been the most maliciously violent and brutal. In the case of the theater shooter, he was well educated. He certainly could understand complex symbolism and critically reach conclusions of the media he was saturated with. According to those he surrounded himself with, he was fairly emotionally stable. There were no outright red flags, no fingers to point, no one to place blame- he was an abnormality. These types of individuals have plagued humanity since its inception and will continue to do so until its extinction. There is no possible way around such tragedy and loss. However, not succumbing to the fears they create by limiting freedoms and continuing to strive for societal improvement is the only way to move forward.
What happened in that movie theater and what has happened a handful of times over the last few decades, what will occasionally happen in the future, is not a product of America but being human. We are all aware that our society, our culture is confused at the moment but we also know that's not who we are. None of us were raised that way, none of us aspire to be a psychopath... But it happens, and we as humans at this point in our evolution cannot genetically manipulate mental health. All we have is research, education and treatment that can help correct issues and prevent some tragedies. Just as we've been able to save some people through cancer treatment.
The traditional nuclear family is anything but traditional or normal, it was an ideal. Norman Rockwell personified his imagination of America's greatness, what he wanted mankind to be- it wasn't nonfictional portraits. Sure, it's a nice thought but it's not reality. We have problems, we don't all get along, and the majority of us have to split holidays with several families. That doesn't mean we've failed, it means we've changed. The children have adapted and made the best of the situation, in turn becoming the glue holding these families together. These same children will continue to adapt, accept the new challenges of our country, and provide solutions that will accommodate us all. The game isn't over but the level of difficulty has risen and the competition is tougher.
America is no longer a power among nations but a leader in a global community. Understanding that the only true asset a country has is its people is the next great step in political evolution. The first country to be able to balance freedom, choice, and expression but also wholeheartedly invest in lifelong intellectual capital and wellbeing will create a society of empowered citizens turning out unprecedented national gross product. The monetary value of the country along with the quality of life for it's people will be unlike anything the world has ever seen. No amount of oil, gold, farmland, or manufactured goods can rival human ingenuity, spirit, and desire.
Fundamentally we are a country of greatness and at this current moment there is no nation filled with more opportunity and ability than this one. What are we going to do with it? It is up to our political figures to seize this moment and provide the people with direction, trust, and hope. To lead them with ambition, competence, and integrity. It's no longer enough to do things right, but we need leaders doing the right thing.
I am the bloodline decedent and some have claimed I am the Sir Rockabuilt Von Jagger second coming. I say that is hogwash. I am my own man and always have been. I was born prematurely at 13 pounds 7 ounces when my Mother forced the doctors to induce labor because my man-child beard was rubbing her womb raw. Feeling terrible for causing her so much pain, upon delivery I fired the entire doctor staff for not inducing sooner. They never worked in medicine again.
I had a typical childhood- an occasional mission to the moon, a few OSCARs for my various works in all-time-best box office sellers, and a Nobel prize or two. By 13 I had ventured to the furthest reaches of the world in search of spiritual enlightenment where I perfected the art of reaching Nirvana. Sharing my secret with the good people of Bonawitisika, they made me their king (It's more of a figurehead position, I don't do much ruling).
My teenage years were full of championship rings, war metals, and honing my superb sexual prowess. I once made the Queen Mother blush by simply acknowledging her presence. At 17 I taught Stephen Hawking quantum physics. At 19 I had to refuse to give Slash guitar lessons due to the abnormal mating habits of the humpback whale.
The escapades of my twenties have been classified due to both national security and out of respect for Steven Spielberg as he's trying to culminate his career by making a trilogy of my life. I assure you, these years have been equally as impressive.