Fear Not, Fair Internet

Fear not, fair Internet, for The Government is here:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski now has the three votes needed for approval, despite firm opposition from the two Republicans on the five-member commission. Genachowski’s two fellow Democrats said Monday they will vote for the rules, even though they consider them too weak.

After a federal court ruled that his Federal Communications Commission could not regulate the internet, Julius Genachowski did what a good Obama appointee does: regulate it anyway.

Yet many supporters of network neutrality are disappointed. Clyburn and the other Democrat, Michael Copps, both said the rules are not as strong as they would like, even after Genachowski made some changes to address their concerns.

You don’t have to be a kook like Michael Copps to worry about providers throttling specific types of content, or charging for services in a way specifically designed to screw customers over. I’ll be the first to say that Time Warner sucks, and though I’m content with Verizon I hardly love ’em. But let’s think about this whole “Net Neutrality” scam for more than fifteen seconds. Time Warner’s monopoly in Oxford was infuriating, so I’m now a happy Wide Open West customer. If I get sick of Verizon, I can dump them for AT&T, or T-Mobile, or Sprint. If the FCC regulates the tubes stupidly, guess what – we’re all stuck with those stupid regulations.

Companies sometimes do bad things. This is a fact that is well established. In some unfortunate circumstances, people have limited options for their home or mobile broadband service. If the FCC could predict trends, regulate wisely, and do more good than harm, that would be one thing. But where’s the evidence that the federal government is competent enough to regulate the industry? Genachowski wants all data to be delivered at the same rate, regardless of the content or how little the customer might be willing to pay for its delivery.

When I think of the government and I think of delivering stuff, I don’t get more optimistic.

Contrast packets of data with items delivered by mail: the USPS conducts business that’s not wildly different from when letters were carried by a dude on a horse. The internet is a global network of networks, supporting the creation of new technologies and businesses every day. The carriers selling access to this web of digital goods and services are continuously developing new ways to provide said access, from varying devices and at a wide range of price points.

Delivering letters is too complicated a process for the federal government. Think they’ll do a better job of regulating the internet? Maybe the USPS is an unfair example. After all, the last time Washington decided to take over a sixth of the economy, it went really well. When bureaucrats decide Americans have a “right” to a product, woe to the industry that produces it!

Hamas: Partners for Peace

An old story that tells itself, or would if Western media weren’t so dedicated to portraying Israel as the villain in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

“Let it be understood far and near that after the war, the siege, the internal and external plots: we will not recognise Israel,” he told the cheering crowds.

Who is Agence France-Presse quoting here, some fringe Islamist? An Iranian cleric, or one of Iran’s Hezbollah puppets? Nah, that’s just the senior leader of Hamas, the elected band of murderous lunatics in charge of the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of its anniversary celebrations, Hamas reiterated its aim to recover all of historic Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

“We will cede none of it, and we will not recognise the so-called state of Israel,” a statement said on Monday, adding that its aim was to make Jerusalem the “capital of the state of Palestine” and pledging to work against Israel’s “methods of Judaisation” in the Holy City.

In 1949 and 1967, Israel successfully defended herself from her Arab neighbors’ attempts to destroy the Jewish homeland drawn up by the UN after WWII. Refugees in the territory Israel captured have been used as poker chips by their leaders and other Arab leaders for the better part of a century. Responding to international pressure, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. How much goodwill has that resulted in, five years later?

Processing peace

Umm… that’s another Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, in an AP photo from Gaza City last week. Ol’ Mahmoud is celebrating the 23rd Hamasiversary by walking on an Israeli flag which reads “For sure will be destroyed. Israel” in Arabic. So far, the UN strategy of demanding that Israel give up ever more territory is working wonders! One snag: how brainless a diplomat do you have to be to work towards a “two-state solution” when one of those states insists the other cannot exist?

Little details to keep in mind when you hear about how Israel is stalling the Middle East peace process by not bending over far enough to accommodate the losers of a war that ended decades ago.