Net Neutrality

One of the more obtuse political footballs this winter has been “net neutrality.”  Whatever that is.

The general idea intrigued me, so I attempted to do a little bit of research about it.  First thing I note is that it’s hard to find arguments in favor of removing net neutrality.  The second thing I note is that the arguments in opposition to removing net neutrality made no real sense.

Here are some examples.

A man says he came to America from a country in South America, and when he lived there he had to pay before he was allowed to tweet and he was protesting to avoid that happening here. 

Does he not pay for his internet access here in America?  I pay for a cellular data plan on my phone, I pay again to have internet at home and again at my office. The only way I tweet for free is if I find a public wifi, in which case someone else is paying for the connection, but that is not the same thing as it being free.

A common illustration is that net neutrality prevented people, and corporations from creating fast lanes which get all the service while everyone else is crowded into slow lanes.

I pay extra for fast internet at my house.  I used to pay a little less and eventually decided to upgrade hoping the speed would make life easier.  Companies pay according to the amount of bandwidth and speed they want.  I started this plan long before net neutrality was repealed, and it has always the case that better service costs more.

Another argument is that large corporations will be able to force out smaller businesses by controlling how others access them on the net. 

I have a friend who had a profitable small business.  He was proud of the fact that in the narrow market that he served he would show up on the first page of most search engines. Then suddenly, he stopped showing up at all, and he stopped getting new orders.  He learned that google had caused this calamity by changing their ranking algorithm.  There was nothing he could do about it quick enough to save his business. This also happened before net neutrality was repealed.


I think the people who were against repealing net neutrality would probably call me an ignoramus and say that I just don’t get it. I would ask if they are sure they get it.  If they do get it, why have they not found a way to express the problem in something other than the above non-sensical arguments.

I think the real problem is that we have become a nation of near sighted sheep who are too easily led. The right spin can rally people to a cause and they don’t have to understand the issue.  These citizens will act as instructed, simply because of their blind allegiance to political parties, news outlets, and social media.


Abortion Clinic Standards

Recently the motel I was staying at dropped a USA Today on my door. One of the sidebars on the cover stated, “Court may face abortion rematch: Justices to decide whether to address state restrictions.”

In the article itself the first paragraph discussed how long it had been since the court took up an issue on abortion. The second small paragraph mentioned that both this instance and the last were during presidential elections. And then in paragraph three, it finally gave the gist of what was going on.

Quoting the article, the court may choose to “hear a challenge to tough new limits placed on abortion clinics and doctors in Texas.” Notice the word tough and the word limit. This implies to me limitations that some kind of unreasonable restrictions, but that wasn’t what I found in the article.

The effects of the law were discussed in two parts, the first of which is the new requirements and the second is the result on clinics. The two new requirements are that the doctors must have admitting privileges, for patients who have complications, to a local hospital and that the clinics must measure up to outpatient surgery centers.

What this article communicates to me is that clinics are currently staffed by hacks who do not care enough to have recourse to with deal the difficulties that arise from their procedures and the facilities they do these procedures in are substandard. I would not describe these laws as tough, but as common sense. Anyone opposing them would fit my description of taking advantage of and endangering women. But in today’s climate the idea that abortion clinics be made safer for the women who visit them is filed away as part of a war on women.

The second effect of the law discussed is that it would leave the state with only 10 clinics. The article didn’t say how many clinics will be forced to close, but they implied it was enough to restrict access. They didn’t seem to consider the possibility that these clinics would raise their standards.

How did abortion become such a sacred cow that the clinics need to be protected more than the women who enter them? When abortion was first becoming legal, one of the arguments was to get rid of dirty back alley locations staffed by ill trained workers. Now that abortion is legal the arguments are somehow in favor of these conditions.