FCC Net Neutrality Ideology Out of Step with Internet Reality


“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!” Apple advertisement, 1984.

There are now two Internets. The Internet envisioned by the ideology embodied in the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, and the Internet as it exists in reality. The “net neutral” Internet is “a garden of pure ideology” where content companies “are one people … with one cause” and network congestion is merely a figment of the imagination. The real Internet is different — congestion is commonplace and the interests of content owners are divergent.

Today in Liberty: Email Scandals, Threats to Signature Legislation, and Netflix’s Discovery That Big Government Is No Friend


Plenty of red meat in the news these days, from Hillary Clinton’s homebrewed email server to the US Ambassador to South Korea getting slashed in the face. Taken individually, these stories are just a fun diversion as part of surprisingly full news cycle. Taken together, however, they represent a potential sea change in how government functions — and how citizens and voters are reacting to it. Not surprising that things are changing in the time of NSA data gathering, a newly confident Russia, and the (continued) rise of the brutal Islamic State. So here’s a rundown for those seeking the little glimmers of liberty buried under the chaos.

CPAC happened last week and there was an air of excitement and momentum surrounding the incredibly deep GOP field leading into 2016’s presidential election. Scott Walker has ramped up his game and Jeb Bush tried to make the case that he’s not just the guy the Democrats would love to see make a run. And Rand Paul, as he usually does, won the straw poll largely due to the contingent of young voters who attend the annual gathering. A really great thing in fact because it means the millenials may actually be migrating to the right at a greater clip than anyone knew. But while Rand won the youth, social media and news data says that Scott Walker’s the one to watch…for now:

Profiles in Liberty: Steve Lonegan of Americans for Prosperity - New Jersey

Steve Lonegan runs the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity and is a former three-term mayor of Bogota.

During Mayor Lonegan’s time in office, Bogota’s municipal spending remained constant for all 12 years.  Lonegan stood up to powerful public sector unions while keeping debt and tax increases far below inflation, despite massive state mandates and aid reductions. Lonegan set the model for how conservative mayors across the country should govern.

In addition, Lonegan ran for Governor twice and was defeated in 2009 by current Gov. Chris Christie.

You can follow Lonegan on Twitter @lonegan.

Steve Lonegan

Matt Naugle: I first learned of you when you were Mayor of Bogota, New Jersey from the hilarious political documentary Anytown, USA. Did you like how you were portrayed in the movie and should people watch it on Netflix?

Steve Lonegan: This film gets a big “thumbs up!”

The moviemakers apparently intended to portray me as some kind of villain who was supposed to lose.  Instead I won a massive victory as a conservative Republican in a town that several years later gave Barack Obama 64% of the vote.  It shows that the way to win is to stand up for what you believe, not change your views based on what some pollster or political consultant says.

It should be required viewing for the Republican Party leadership.

MN: How did you become a conservative?

Netflix Admits Interconnection Costs “So Small” They Don’t Harm Consumers


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced last Friday that the agency would investigate whether consumers are being harmed by so-called “interconnection” agreements between Netflix and Internet service providers (ISPs). The Chairman stated the information is being collected to “find out what is happening”, and that the agency is “not suggesting that any company is at fault.”

Though this disclaimer was likely motivated partly by the recent kerfuffle over the Chairman’s initial net neutrality proposal, he has another reason “to be clear” that the agency is only “collecting information, not regulating”: Netflix has already admitted publicly that “interconnection” fees are “so small” that they don’t affect consumers.

At an Aspen Institute event held earlier last week in Washington, DC, Hal Singer, a Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, asked Netflix the following question:

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Said Something Dumb about ISPs

A version of this post originally appeared on George Scoville’s blog.


Courtesy of Politico Morning Tech, here’s a real doozie of a quote from the head of the world’s premier video streaming service:

Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can — they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay.

Woof. Charging a toll is exactly what ISPs are doing, not only because they can, but because they should:

Verizon can only supply a limited amount of mobile bandwidth on its 3G and 4G networks — just like a 12-volt battery can only supply a limited amount of power. When many users with no barrier to their consumption of data — or at least no barrier above a $30 per month fee — they have in effect incentives to over-consume the limited resource. This is a classic collective action/tragedy of the commons case, and the fact that, [when consumers face very low prices for network access], Verizon’s network experiences strain from lots of data-hungry consumers [and can’t keep up with demand], the current pricing system is inefficient.

Netflix teases documentary on Mitt Romney’s campaigns, family life


The new season of House of Cards won’t be only show hitting Netflix in the coming weeks. The on-demand giant teased the release of an upcoming behind-the-scenes documentary of Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

The trailer for the documentary, MITT, was unveiled by Netflix on Wednesday. It begins with a clip of Romney on election night asking for President Barack Obama’s phone number as he prepared to concede defeat in the 2012 election and offers glimpses of debate preparation.

The trailer also focuses on his family life, humanizing the two-time candidate who was frequently derided by President Obama and his supporters. “If you don’t win, we’ll still love you,” one of his sons says in the trailer. “The country may think of you as a laughing stock, and we’ll know the truth. And that’s OK.”

Netflix: FLIXPAC is Nothing For You to Worry About

Netflix fascinates me. How a company that has done such a great job of delivering a quality product to customers in an array of methods can get into so much trouble with its customer base is mind boggling.

Remember last year when Netflix raised prices and infuriated their customer base? Customers got furious. Then Netflix announced that DVD rentals would be going to a new service Qwikster. Separate web site, separate queues, separate credit card charges, incredibly stupid name…yeah, that sounds like a good idea. So Netflix announced Quikster. Then after customers responded in ways that could only be described as blowback, it backed off of the idea in a poorly written blog post from Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO.

Somehow after demonstrating amazing levels of stupidity time after time, Netflix has managed to keep customers. Sure, it lost some customers in the midst of that price change chaos, but the company is still doing just fine. This is probably because despite a history of poor decisions, the company really does deliver a quality product. So these poor decisions don’t really have too much of an impact on revenue.

But you can only go to that well so many times before it runs dry.

This week it was announced that Netflix had formed a political action committee (PAC). Immediately people all over the Internet were (rightfully) concerned that this company that supported that horrid SOPA/PIPA legislation was going to be pushing for its passage again.

Abolish public libraries

Writing for The Atlantic, Barry Greenfield makes the case for library rental fees:

In the early 20th century, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $50 million to build 1,700 libraries in the United States. There are now more than 9,000 public libraries, not including branches. Around 85 percent of library funding comes from federal, state, and local taxes. The majority (90 percent or more) of that comes from local property taxes.

At a time where the tax burden can often be onerous, doesn’t it make sense to ask library users to pay a nominal fee for a book rental? When municipal budgets are tightened, almost universally the library is left to hang by a thread. Amazingly, when library usage is at an all-time high, I read about library closings every week across this country.

But I never hear any politician or citizen’s group recommending a rental fee to support the library.

Why do libraries get the short end of the stick? For a multitude of reasons, but primarily due to changes in how people have been gathering since technologies like radio and TV came on the scene. Prior to their introduction, libraries were a community gathering place. That’s no longer the case, and in today’s computer-based home environment, the majority of taxpayers in a municipality do not use the public library.

The majority of taxpayers don’t use the public library anymore? So we can get rid of it now, right?

Does that mean we shouldn’t offer the service to the community? Of course not. Instead, the municipal government should give baseline funding to the library, with the remaining funding coming from operational revenue.

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