No, Your Router Isn’t Broken. It’s Just Internet Slowdown Day
No, Your Router Isn’t Broken. It’s Just Internet Slowdown Day
Major websites are protesting against an Internet fast lane.
On Wednesday morning, if your early-morning visit to Reddit, or Etsy, or Netflix (or Pornhub – hey, we don’t judge) seems a little slow, don’t bother resetting your router or attempt to navigate Comcast’s Kafkaesque customer support. The cause of the issue is probably just Internet Slowdown Day.
Hundreds of sites, ranging from giant news aggregator Reddit, social media hubs like FourSquare and Vine, web streaming giant Netflix and, yes, several large adult-content sites, are intentionally pretending to slow their connections and temporarily hide their content, in a move that is eerily similar to the large-scale Internet blackout that occurred during the SOPA deliberations in 2012. Other notable sites participating include Etsy, Fark, Tumblr, Upworthy and Vimeo.
The participating sites will be showing a looped “loading” animation in order to simulate what the Internet will be like if the FCC’s proposed rules regarding “paid prioritization” are allowed to pass. The animation will also inform the site visitor as to how to contact the FCC to make a statement on the issue.
Critics say the FCC’s proposed rule would effectively end “net neutrality” — a first come, first served system that allows everyone the same access to broadband delivery of their content. The new rule allows broadband providers to prioritize traffic to and from sites that pay a premium over others, acting like a “fast lane” on a freeway.
Instead of the current proposed rules regarding broadband Internet, many advocates like the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) propose that broadband providers be reclassified as telecom services, subject to common carrier standards including regulation, government oversight and price caps.
In addition to a tiered Internet’s impact on free speech, there is the concern that new online startups will be unable to pony up the ISP’s required high-speed fee. This, critics argue, would erode the uniquely equitable nature of the Internet, allowing already-established corporate media giants to crush smaller startups underfoot and either force them to shutter their doors or move their businesses offshore. Both scenarios would likely have a negative impact on job creation and the U.S. economy. Many of the big names on the list of participants were fledgling sites only a few years ago, and it is certainly possible that they would be defunct by now had tiered Internet been in place when they started.
While the pending legislation has received plenty of coverage, like on comedian John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight – which called on its viewers to officially submit their personal comment to the FCC, ironically crashing the site in the process – many, including Fight for the Future, the grassroots organizer of Internet Slowdown Day, worry that the implications of the proposed ruling are not immediately obvious to the average person.
The potential impact of SOPA was only obvious once it could be seen in action, with Wikipedia blacking out its articles and Reddit hiding its content; the 35 advocacy organizations participating in Internet Slowdown Day hope that tomorrow has the same effect on the public perception of Net Neutrality.
“The ISPs have invested tens of millions of dollars in their effort to undermine Net Neutrality,” said Demand Progress executive director David Segal in a press release, “but we still have a chance of defeating them — because the overwhelming majority of Americans stand with the Open Internet. September 10th represents a chance for us to make that fact impossible to ignore.”
Corruption investigations, and a conviction, dim GOP hopes for the White House in 2016
A week is a long time in politics, as British Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously observed.
Only a year ago many Republicans were touting Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as a front runner in the 2016 Presidential nomination stakes. Some liberal commentators were complaining about some sort of bribery scandal but these were nothing to worry about.
Not any more. McDonnell has just been found guilty of accepting $165,000 in loans and bribes from ‘businessman’ Jonnie Williams. William’s firm Star Scientific started out making cigarettes, and switched to making tobacco based ‘nutritional supplements’. It has been losing money for a decade and is itself at the center of a securities investigation.
The scandal unfolded after Todd Schneider, the executive chef at the governor’s mansion fell out with the McDonnells and was charged with stealing food from the kitchens. Schneider told investigators that Williams had paid the $15,000 cost of catering McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding. Further investigation quickly uncovered numerous unreported gifts and loans.
McDonnell is hardly the first state governor to be convicted of corruption. Four Illinois of the last eight governors have been convicted of fraud after leaving office. But none of those were considered serious Presidential challengers. Today three of the top contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination are more likely to serve jail time than in the oval office.
Photo by Dave Weigel.
Chris Christie (photo by Dave Weigel).
New Jersey governor Chris Christie is currently under investigation for misuse of public office in the Bridgegate scandal, and for using federal disaster recovery grants given to aid hurricane Katrina victims to pay for what were in effect Chris Christie campaign commercials.
Don’t let the apparent pettiness of Christie’s alleged involvement in the closure of the toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge, for a traffic study now known to be fake, distract you. The closures took place the same week that the city of Fort Lee was attempting to close a round of funding on a billion dollar development on land next to the toll booths. The plots of land have remained undeveloped till now because of a previous scandal in which the New Jersey mob attempted to bribe a previous mayor of Fort Lee to approve a development of their own.
First recall effort against WI Gov. Walker launched—by Walker supporterWisconsin Governor Scott Walker is also at the center of a criminal investigation of alleged illegal coordination between his campaign and special interest groups. Although the prosecutor has stated that Walker himself is not a target in the probe, legal maneuvers by Wisconsin Club for Growth challenging the constitutionality of the law should ensure that the case gets prominent media attention throughout the 2016 campaign season.
Emails sent by Walker campaign managers show them openly touting the use of the fund as a way to make unlimited covert contributions to his 2012 campaign against recall. And the favors returned by Walker are hardly inconsequential, Gogebic Taconite who covertly donated $700,000 to the Walker fund received approval for the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine shortly afterwards.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is also in serious legal trouble after he attempted to use a line item veto to veto funding for the Travis county public integrity unit. While Perry had the right exercise his veto, threatening to do so if District Attorney Lehmberg did not resign was unambiguously illegal.
rick perry brokeback
Rick Perry’s got a problem.
While Perry’s action is the easiest to explain to voters, he faces two major problems that make his position much worse than Christie or Walker. His first problem being that he has already been indicted and by a Republican prosecutor to boot. The second problem is that Rick Perry has already established a reputation as being astonishingly stupid. His attempts to brush off his indictment by pretending it was for ‘bribery’ rather than threatening a public official only remind people why his last campaign crashed and burned.
The Presidential nomination race is an elimination game of course. But most Presidents are former Vice Presidents or State Governors. Senators do win their party nomination fairly often as John McCain, John Kerry and Bob Dole prove. They all lost. Obama is the first President to come from the senate since John F. Kennedy. And JFK was the only man to make that move in the 20th century. And significantly, Obama and Kennedy both won the nomination in a field led by other senators.
The only living Republican Vice Presidents are Dick Cheney, Bush the Elder and Dan Quayle. So a state governor has to be their best chance of winning the WhiteHouse. With McDonnell, Christie, Walker and Perry mired in criminal investigations, the Republican party is starting to run out of choices.