Say Goodbye To The Real Internet
'www.handsoff.org'... The giant telecoms have come up with a brilliant strategy to ensure they can create a partitioned-off, for-profit Internet, and they're implementing it now. The above website is your introduction to a world of bullshit that I promise you will mark the successful corporate takeover of the Internet. Mark my words --but do it fast, because they won't be here for long, unless the telecoms are stopped.
On left-of-center (or middle of center) outlets like Salon.com, they're putting up folksy banner ads that look like a kid drew them, with pitch-perfect hokey Flash animation and everything, that state the government is trying to regulate the Internet, as if this means regulating what's on the Internet. Handsoff.org sounds so people-friendly, like moveon.org, doesn't it? The real issue is not the content on the Internet, but who gets to put content on the Internet, and how much they will have to pay to do so. But the giant telecoms and their fake grassroots campaign aren't going to let you know that.
And of course as usual the good guys have utterly failed to frame the issue, using the abysmally shitty term 'net neutrality', which means nothing to the casual observer. Uh, guys? USA PATRIOT Act. Get it? They should be calling this vitally important keep-the-Internet-democratic-and-free legislation something catchy and inspiring like 'Internet Freedom Forever', not 'net neutrality'. Who came up with that clanker, John Kerry?
Albert Camus said, "Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty." What the telecoms (the same telecoms that sold your name and phone records to the NSA) are capitalizing on is the most pernicious parasite draining the blood out of our American freedoms today: the idea that all liberties boil down to the freedom to make a profit. It is the rotten idea that everything should be owned by whoever has enough money to buy it, and thereafter it is their privelege to sell it back to us at whatever price they wish.
More than rotten, this is an evil idea; when the fresh water is owned by somebody else, when the parks and wilderness are no longer public, but private, when information and ideas are ordinated by their monetary value and doled out according to profitability, not merit, we are made slaves.
So here's the playbook: the massive telecoms are right now showering your legislators with hookers, cash, and trips to golf courses. You are being sold out cheap. Meanwhile the telecoms are filling stupid people's heads with lies that sound scary enough to merit a phone call to these legislators, which will then be spun by the telecoms as evidence of a popular groundswell of support for their nasty proposals. At least enough to give the lawmakers political cover.
In a brief while, our representatives will duly vote to create a tiered, pay-to-play Internet in which all the cool, personal operations that give the Internet its richness and power, from politics to entertainment, from sex to literature, will get stuffed into a kind of made-up 'slow lane' designation that renders them sluggish, low-bandwidth, and worthless, while big corporate operations get 'fast pass' access, because they can afford it, so the electronic lemmings will visit their sites instead.
Think it won't happen? Look at what went down with public broadcasting. They rewrote the rules so there are now commercials in public radio and television, and the content is as sterile as the Chernobyl swim team. Look at Internet radio stations. There were tens of thousands of independent online broadcasters, until our representatives handed the entertainment companies what they wanted. Now there are a few dozen independent online radio outlets left; the rest are simulcasts of traditional radio stations or nonprofit college operations.
So not only will this Internet crackdown happen, it is already on its way. Soon it will come into being. Then people like me, who use the Internet as a platform to reach a potential audience of hundreds of millions (and an actual audience of about thirty), will be silenced. And for big corporations and a Big Brother government working in lockstep, that's an ideal situation.
A.J. Liebling said, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
We're about to lose this great, glorious free press called the Internet, kiddies. Then it's back to the mimeograph. Unless you do something about it right now. My suggestion? Check out the fake grassroots corporate front handsoff.org, and then do the opposite of whatever it says.
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