The party of “states rights” has decided that California can’t have a ‘net neutrality’ law.

CNN reports: [cnn]

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed net neutrality protections, the Trump administration took an unusual additional step: it made it specifically illegal for states to introduce their own net neutrality laws …

Several states ignored this and decided to act to restore net neutrality locally. New York found a workaround, withholding state contracts from violators, while Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and California decided to simply implement their own laws in defiance of the FCC ruling.

The California bill was signed into law yesterday, and the Trump administration wasted no time in seeking to overturn it, reports the WSJ.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill reinstating Obama-era open-internet rules in the state, and the Justice Department responded almost immediately with a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the federal government, not the states, should oversee the internet, and California had “enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”

It’s the endless pretending that tires me out. By now, nobody should believe anything that an American politician says about America – if Lindsey Graham tells you that water is wet, ask for the peer-reviewed studies and don’t settle for a tautology.

The premise, if you remember, is that government is supposed to exist for the people, as an emergent property of the consent of the governed. Instead we see something that more closely resembles a flock of sheep, at shearing-time; even the slightest attempt to struggle is fruitless.

“Regulatory Capture” or even “government capture” are terms that are bandied about now that we’ve entered late-stage imperial capitalism. The idea is that those who wish to circumvent rules simply take control over the rule-enforcers, then tell them to look elsewhere. Ajit Pai is a great example of regulatory capture: put someone in charge of the FCC who is part of the industry that he is supposed to regulate. There’s only one situation where that model works, and it’s worse than “regulatory capture” – it’s when someone takes control of a regulator so that they can weaponize it against their former enemies and current competitors. A good example of that would be when Joe Kennedy was put in charge of the SEC: everyone knew Kennedy would settle some scores, but it was acceptable as long as he only settled scores with his enemies who were as bad as he was. As tempting as it may be to say that the US has invented whole new kinds of political corruption, that’s not the case. The ancient Chinese bureaucracy had parasites that were vastly more subtle and evolved than the American ones. But, Pai and Sessions are a good example of a transitional form of political parasite.

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I’m not worried about net neutrality because I am confident that the invisibull hand of teh markitt is going to take care of it.

Oh, I crack myself up, sometimes. Admittedly, it was fun to see libertarians rushing to support net neutrality regulation and market-breaking when the ‘free market’ (as interpreted by Verizon and Comcast) began to look like it was going to interfere with their porn-streaming.

The whole “states rights” thing was just bullshit thrown up to protect slavery.


  1. komarov says

    Well politics of convenience are always inconvenient for someone. But usually it’s just voters so that’s alright. I’m sure all those pro-neutrality people simply have no idea what they’ve been missing out on and will change their minds soon enough. Besides, there are countries where facebook, of all things, is the internet, and they’re doing fine, barring the odd mob or genocide. Compared to that a slowdown connecting to [competitor’s service] is nothing.

  2. says

    Usually when the USA does some nasty things, it also hurts other countries. Hindering attempts to stop the climate change, monitoring and storing data about what people do online, making software less secure, waging trade wars, sending their troops abroad, dropping explosives on cities, hurting other countries’ economies. . . Usually it’s hard for me to just ignore all the USA antics, because their actions hurt also non Americans. But this time I’m happy, because I can do exactly that, I can ignore an American problem. This time Americans are hurting only themselves, because it’s only their porn-streaming speed that’s going to go down. As for me, this time I can happily not give a damn about yet another American problem, because my porn watching habits won’t be influenced. If only Americans could keep to themselves also all the other problems that they are unleashing upon the whole planet. . .


    States have a right to be racist; as for anything else…

    States also have a right to be homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic. Want to makes the lives of LGBTQ people harder? Sure, go for it. Want to hinder women from obtaining abortions. Sure. As for anything else. . .

  3. ridana says

    Trump’s EPA is also trying to force California to roll back its air quality standards because…they’re trying to choke us to death? I don’t know.
    See if you can figure it out.

    Something about making automaker’s emissions goals standard among all the states, plus attacking CA’s Zero Emission Vehicle program. It all just sounds like more of Trump’s vendetta against CA and everything Obama did.

  4. komarov says

    My previous post may not have been sufficiently sarcastic enough, or at least not obviously so. So I’d just like to point out said sarcasm. It sounds a bit like the classic (and silly) “first world problems” argument, which was not my intent. In short, removing neutrality is a terrible idea and some things should not be left at the mercy of commercial interests.

    Re: Ieva Skrebele (#3):

    I’d generally agree that this is, for now, a “local” problem for the US. But I’m also keenly aware that the US is a great exporter of terrible ideas. For instance the notion that extreme right wing politics are due for a resurgence, as exemplified by Bannon coming to the EU. Or how about the US ambassador to Germany loudly and proudly proclaiming he’d try to foster right wing sentiments in Europe, though he may have called it “conservative thought” or something like that? Bad ideas tend to diffuse across borders – in both directions. If there’s money to be made that can only increase the rate of osmosis.

  5. lorn says

    The current crop of ‘conservatives’ think that this sort of thing would be ideal:


    Forget the idea meritocracy, the rule of law in an impartial justice system, There are only two things that matter: wealth, and your loyalty to the leader and party line. And you won’t have wealth for very long is you are not loyal. The key test of loyalty is the public declaration or belief in, and willingness to defend to the end a profoundly absurd and obvious lie.

  6. Curt Sampson says

    The irony here is that this is a problem that markets can and are solving just fine, just not in the U.S., where markets and competition in this area have been crushed.

    Here in Japan I pay NTT about $50/month for my 100 Mbps fiber local loop. (Yeah, I know, but I got it back in 2006 so that’s why I’m not on gigabit fiber like everybody else. I can live with the slow speed.). That gives me access to at least twenty different ISPs, ranging in price from $5/month to as much as I care to pay. Switching is fast and trivial, so if one of my ISPs (I currently have connectivity through two, one for “home” stuff and one for my servers) started filtering me and I didn’t like it, I’d just hook up to someone else.

    Over in the U.S., where you’re forced to buy your Internet access from whoever owns the cable plant leading to your house, of course you get screwed. Wouldn’t take much regulation to fix that, but ha, like anybody at any level of U.S. government above the local would ever have the guts to tell corporations that live on rent-seeking to actually compete instead….