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FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match

Mushroom

They can lose 99 votes, but only have to win one to get what they want.

They got it, now we're screwed. Democracy just slipped a little closer to oblivion.

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Facepalm

so much angst over a complete mis-interpretation of the situation.

(You voted for Mrs. Clinton, didn't you?)

Doom, gloom, end of the world, the sky is falling, help me Mr. Wizard, oh my freaking god, dogs and cats living together...

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Anonymous Coward

so much angst over a complete mis-interpretation of the situation.

I think it's more a case of realistically assessing where this will lead instead of starry-eyed belief in whatever bullshit they decide to feed you today.

Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, Bob.

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Unhappy

"Democracy just slipped a little closer to oblivion."

People often don't realize just how much of the US system was modeled on Ancient Rome.

Specifically how much power (and responsibility) is placed in the hands of individuals.

This requires a very high standard of individual to hold those posts otherwise the system is basically owned by whoever puts their man into the post.

And in this case it's Big Cable/Telco.

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Free Markets or Price Control?

The FCC is weak compared to the FTC and is not the correct agency to enforce anti-trust laws. "The antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power. be. " This is the domain of the FTC.

In the short run, high speed access prices may increase, but excess profits lead to competition, lower prices, and better service in the long run. If it does not, these companies can get busted by the FTC, which can break them up (ma Bell - AT&T). The FCC does not have that kind of power. Maybe that is why some of these large companies prefer FCC control?

Analog to Digital television conversion a few years ago freed up broadcast frequencies. Free markets with high speed will lead to a lot of innovation, and I expect wireless high speed will be the future, not coax cable television. Not very long ago the experts said that the poor voice quality of VoIP would keep it from ever being a threat to the telephone companies. LOL My second (free) phone line on my cell is a google phone number.

Truly Free Markets will always beat price controls in the long run. The most recent example is Amazon Alex devices and Google Home. If the FCC told Amazon that is must price it's new "communications device" the Dot at $40 last year instead of $50, Amazon may have cancelled it all together.

But at $50, Google saw it could make a profit for its Google Home, and even cut the price to $29, the voice competition is on.

Amazon cut its price and actually improved the Alexa functionality at the lower price.

Free up high speed streaming and let the competition begin!

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The FCC is reversing a policy forced through by the previous FCC commissioner, under the direction of the previous president, in contravention of existing law regarding the 'net.

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Re: Free Markets or Price Control?

"Truly Free Markets will always beat price controls in the long run."

Maybe so, but that's irrelevant to internet connectivity -- there is no free market there. That's the whole problem. Allowing ISPs to more completely abuse their customers wont' change that.

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Re: Free Markets?

Business and industry has learned long ago there is far more profit in buying the system, corrupting the system, than competing or allowing free markets. I wonder about the sincerity of anyone making any references to "free markets" or democracy.

When was the last time any major Western democracy put the needs and rights of citizens and their dreams of increased standards of living before that of profits for the few? For those that think free markets and democracy has been the case consider the increase in productivity vs the increase of standards of living over the last several decades. Democracy is not consulting or listening and then doing as paid. Even the pretense of consulting has been lost in most Western Federal Democracies.

IMO anyone suggesting there are free markets or democracies are trying to be sarcastic or are advancing damaging and deceptive political ideologies. Does anyone other than the most superficial of us think we have any reasonable form of democracy or capitalism? Even after 2008? Not likely. Democracy and free markets sounds great, maybe we should try them, they seemed to have worked for some past generations.

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Re: Free Markets or Price Control?

The big problem with those that highfrive this decision as a win for competition, is that most US households only have access to one or two ISPs. So if Comcast decides to inflate their prices unrealistically, you have someone like ATT to turn to. And if you don't think that once one big player jacks up their prices, the other won't follow, then you live in fantasy land.

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Feet of clay.

The "Big Players" are not the leaders in destructive innovation. Let's see: NetFlix vs Blockbuster?

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Unhappy

Black arm bands for everyone

How did we ever manage to survive up until just two years ago, when Net Neutrality finally, at last, was declared law by the FCC? Talk about last second saves! Who cares that their right to do so was very hazy, the important thing is they did it by ghod, and saved us all from a horrible end!

But now the barbarians are not just at the gate but past it, and ravishing our young innocent daughters! Oh the humanity!

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Holmes

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

We survived, John, because under the previous administration (you know, the one that you continuously put down) the Big Telco/Cable Cabal knew they couldn't get away with attempts to monopolize the Interwebz. Under the Lügenführer administration, they have been explicitly told that, for the low, low cost of a few greased palms, they can do whatever the fuck they want, without even the slightest hint of resistance.

Next question?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

I was going to insult you but I'm better than that so I'll ask you a question.

Who does net neutrality benefit?

Does it benefit the people who don't have connections to services slowed down?

Does it benefit cable companies who can't charge extra dollar?

and finally here's the fun final question I know you won't answer because you is chicken boy like that big white rooster in them cartoons.I say, I say, Big John Chicken cracking that corn.

If net neutrality didn't exist two years ago and nothing changed then why remove it now if nothing is going to change? Seems a waste of money and time to me.

Boom, I lied chicken boy.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

But what about during the years before the Obama administration? Online services expanded significantly during that period (2001-2009) - it's when most people started getting broadband access, NetFlix started streaming services, Amazon moved past being just books, BitTorrent got started, the list goes on. With no laws in place, and in a lot of cases no options for consumers.

I'm not trying to say that what happened today is good (it's not), but I also don't think it's the end of the internet. The US political system is rocking back and forth harder and harder (the whole "if they like it I'm against it" paradigm), and this is just one more example of it. The good news is that people are seeing it, and are getting tired of it, and hopefully won't keep tolerating it. So I hope there will be some changes in how both parties behave in the next cycle.

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Devil

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

> Next question?

What's the point of arguing with BJ? I'm asking this seriously. OK, as serious as I can be on this board.

It's not like you can change BJ's views with facts.

The more facts you throw at BJ, the more he'll retreat in his own imaginary world of constant oppression that must be countered by canned propaganda slogans, presented as Alternative Facts, and prepared for public release by Kellyanne Conway & Co.

In that mindset, Alternative Facts are just like Real Facts. Real Facts that contradict the Alternative Facts narrative are proof of oppression.

That's how Trump got elected, and that's how Ajit Pai got to be FCC Chairman.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

In the years before? No-onBUFFERINGe remembBUFFERINGers tha

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

@ST

I would never try to change BJ, I'm just trying to get him to answer a question however the questions I ask can't be answered by BJ.

It's fun because every time I ask a question and he doesn't answer it weakens his viewpoint, I'm sure he must be aware of this.

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Next Question? Whens the Investigation start?

The actions of the FCC Head and the Republican Members of the commission smacks of colusion with the ISPs. Perhaps Mueller should include Pai in his investigation, as well as Verizon to see exactly how much of the Russian Interference in the election was was encouraged and abetted by the ISPs to get Pai into the FCC chair via a Trump Victory.

As I stated here previously the net neutrality extermination plan was a done deal, the public comment period was tainted before it began and the millions of False Anti-net neutrality comments had to be pushed by the ISPs as anything can be tracked- except them?

Face it, this process on the face of it looks like a classic case of a public official being purchased.

The Special prosecutor may find the smoking gun he seeks simply by digging into this rather unlikely looking agency action. This is the spot where they would make major mistakes, not on Facebook, not on social media, but in the secondary effects of Trumps election. Could be an electronic trail that would point them onto the real evidence they seek. Maybe that is why Pai and the FCC are so adamant about not letting the states investigate the fake comments as the y fear that it will lead to a major breakthrough in Russia gate.

Maybe everyone should start pressing for an investigation to be initiated by Mr. Mueller in parallel with the current ongoing investigation.

They might find that a few of the ISPs knew what was going on with the Russians and actively participated in it with the goal of ending net neutrality as part of the payoff of Trump being elected.

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Angel

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

> [ ... ] every time I ask a question and he doesn't answer it weakens his viewpoint, I'm sure he must be aware of this.

Sadly, I don't think he is aware of it.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

Why are you applying logic to BJ?

"It's fun because every time I ask a question and he doesn't answer it weakens his viewpoint"

No his belief system lets him ignore you as an idiot.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

OK Johnny boy, lets show you what will happen with the end of net neutrality, because the scum sucking corporate overlords have done it before. Its all public record, and available for you to research for yourself.

2005: Madison River Communications blocked VOIP services as they were competing with traditional voice services.

2005: Comcast blocked p2p services.

2007-2009: AT&T blocked Skype and other VOIP services because again, it was competing with their own voice services.

2011: MetroPCS tried to block all video streaming except for Youtube, and then tried to sue the FCC when they were told to stop.

2011-2013: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked access t oGoogle Wallet as it competed with their own products.

2012: Verizon was demanding Google block tethering apps on Android, as it would allow people to avoid using Verizon's $20 tethering app.

2012: AT&T tried to block Facetime unless customers paid more for their plan to "allow" Facetime.

2013: Verizon stated that it was only the Net Neutrality rules that was preventing it from offering teired services.

So go ahead Little John, be a cheeto cheerleader and welcome your corporate overloards to charge you extra for varying services that, until now, were protected and treated as equal goods.

Perhaps a car analogy would help you wrap your mind around it.

Government does deal with a road building company, and a car manufacturer. From this day on, only Ford are allowed to do the maximum speed limit of 65mph, with all other manufacturers relegated to only 35mph, unless the car owner pays extra to be "allowed" to travel at 65mph.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

@MrDamage: Good write up. You obviously missed quite a few, like AT&T blocking all VPN ports in the entire state of Washington in order to force people to use AT&T's VPN software.

People must seriously have a short term memory.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

But what about during the years before the Obama administration? Online services expanded significantly

The real problem shows up when the people who own the lines going into your house have control over the content you want to access. If you have little or no choice in who that line provider is, then Freedom of Choice doesn't exist.

The real solution here would be to bar the actual line providers from also being content providers. Which, interestingly enough, by classifying them as Common Carriers pretty much did.

Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"In the years before? No-onBUFFERINGe remembBUFFERINGers tha"

Sure I do. Sharing 10Mbps with the whole neighborhood stank, especially with someone pulling everything they could off of Usenet/Napster/BearShare/BitTorrent. Or using that 512Kbps DSL line - 9x faster than 56K dialup, but at least it was dedicated to just you!

Were you seeing a lot of BUFFERING 2 years ago? Nope. Did you see a lot last year? Nope. Do I think ending government mandated net neutrality is going to break the internet? Nope.

I am disgusted by how everything is now so partisan that any ideas are going to be judged based on who had them and not on their merits.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet."

That's a great example - I believe that the people will go berserk if the ISPs start messing with access to sites or services. And I have no doubt that people will be watching very closely for it to happen, too. And the outcry will be much more powerful of a deterrent than any slap on the wrist the government would issue.

I'm much more concerned over HOW the decision was made, and how partisan the whole process was. And how partisan everything is becoming these days. It doesn't seem like we aren't too far away from where a Republican suffering a heart attack would reject care from a EMT who is a Democrat, or a Democrat would refuse to drive on a road named for a Republican.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"... Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. ..."

There is a precedent:

In 1888, Almon Brown Strowger, a Kansas City undertaker, discovered that one of the operators at the local, manual telephone exchange was diverting callers who asked for "an undertaker" to her husband (a rival undertaker).

His response was to invent the Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"His response was to invent the Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange."

Interesting, but I believe you're dangerously close to invoking the Broken Window Fallacy.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

How's it going in Olgino? Still looking forward to trumping everyone in the golden showers, when you get to Lyudmila?

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

The first automate telephone switch was invented because the switchboard operator in a small town was married to an undertaker. Whenever someone died (not uncommonly at home back then), someone would ring the operator and say, "Connect me up to an undertaker." She always put the call through to her husband. The inventer of the switch was his competitor, another undertaker.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

What did you expect when the last administration told Republicans they would sit in the back of the bus if they wanted to participate in crafting new legislation? A stake was driven through bipartisanship seven years ago. If the Democrats had won, the UK would be at the rear of the queue for a trade agreement because of Brexit. Obama and his followers did not play well with those who did not agree with their ideas.

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Devil

@2Nick3 -- Re: Black arm bands for everyone

It doesn't seem like we aren't too far away from where a Republican suffering a heart attack would reject care from a EMT who is a Democrat, or a Democrat would refuse to drive on a road named for a Republican.

Not too long ago, in the last Republican administration, a group of history-rewriting zealots wanted to put Ronald McDonald Reagan's sorry puss on the dime, replacing FDR's puss. I decided that I would reject any dime given in change that had the visage of America's First Acting President on it.

So, guilty as charged, then?

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

Also during that time, there hadn't been a major concentration of ownership of media creation and delivery companies. And the end of that period is *precisely* when ISPs started fucking around with people's traffic - there are many good articles detailing this, if you're actually interested in facts - which is precisely where the whole concept of net neutrality originated: we only had to define it, give it a name and start pushing for it to be public policy *when ISPs started fucking with it*. Before that, there was no need.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"A stake was driven through bipartisanship seven years ago."

Christ on a bike, do you actually *believe* this garbage? The Obama FCC ran like...a regulator should. They ran a public comment period, and actually read the comments. They ran public meetings. They listened to ISPs...*and* other tech companies, *and* subject matter experts. They debated their proposals in good faith, and actually modified them (the final NN rules contained several compromises from the initial proposal).

By comparison, Pai decided what he was going to do before he ever got the job, doesn't consult anyone but ISPs, makes *video skits with ISP executives*, trolls anyone who disagrees with him, and explicitly states that his FCC ignores public feedback.

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Facepalm

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"Next question?"

you actually BELIEVE that? *sigh*

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Devil

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"That's how Trump got elected, and that's how Ajit Pai got to be FCC Chairman."

Actually Trump got elected because people in the USA are *SICK* *AND* *TIRED* of politicians promising one thing and delivering something completely different, particularly when it comes to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, and REPEALING OBAKA-CARE.

So Trump is doing what we want him to do: de-regulate, un-do Obaka's "legacy", follow the Constitution, drain the swamp, LOWER tax rates, bring business back to the USA, show STRENGTH to our enemies (like Iran and N. Korea) instead of bending over and apologizing to them, etc.. - Make America Great Again. So simple, yet so profound! And it involves CONSERVATIVE principles, not liberal stupidity.

Freedom works EVERY TIME IT IS TRIED. All gummint needs to do is keep the playing field level by preventing the situation that created the 'Robber Barons' of the late 19th and early 20th centuries [keep in mind Teddy Roosevelt was a REPUBLICAN] and let the people do what they do best. It works EVERY! TIME! IT! IS! TRIED!!!

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

>> "Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet."

>That's a great example - I believe that the people will go berserk if the ISPs start messing with access to sites or services. And I have no doubt that people will be watching very closely for it to happen, too. And the outcry will be much more powerful of a deterrent than any slap on the wrist the government would issue.

The only issue is that of 'what good does going berserk do?'

As I understand it there is negligible competition in last mile broadband services in large parts of the US.

So as a USian you have the choice of broadband with all your Netflix requests rerouted to Prime, or not having an internet connection...

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

There was an interesting reason for AT&T not being broken up during the cold war. Theirr importance in the US C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence) and COG (continuity of government) was vital. The defence department amongst others lobbied strongly not to break up the company.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

[Edit] I see a couple of people mentioned undertakes before me. I'll leave this post up anyway.

@Bob Dole (tm)

Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut.

We don't have to imagine because something very much like that happened back in the very early days of POTS.

Back in the 1880s, an undertaker named Strowger became convinced that one of the operators of the completely manual telephone exchange was routeing calls meant for him to another undertaker (who happened to be her husband). So he invented the automatic telephone exchange.

These days a similar thing could all be done in the routeing s/w of the exchange, which is why regulations exist to prevent that happening. They're enforced by the FCC.

These days a similar thing could be done with internet routeing, and yesterday we lost the regulations to prevent that happening. They're no longer enforced by Eejit Pie.

Those who cannot remember the past are forever condemned to vote Republican. It's never worked in their interests before (I'm assuming the richest 0.1% of the planet are not amongst El Reg's readership) but that doesn't stop them believing the ideology.

To Bombastic bob and Big John, I make the following offer: buy me lots of expensive champagne and I'll give you a lesson in "trickle down." Not that it would teach you anything, because Republicans have already given you this lesson time and time again. Hint: even Bush-the-slightly-smarter condemned trickle down as "voodoo economics" but Bush-the-moron did it anyway.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"What's the point of arguing with BJ?"

It's not arguing with him that's the point; its the aggregate of those reading the debate between you and he that's important. All it takes it for one person to have their view swayed and you have contributed to the conversation and to the debate itself.

That person doesn't have to be BJ.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

" Trump got elected because people in the USA are *SICK* *AND* *TIRED* of politicians promising one thing and delivering something completely different, particularly when it comes to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, and REPEALING OBAKA-CARE."

And you think Trump is keeping any of his promises? Delusional.

Trump is lining Trumps pockets and nothing else.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

May I be the 93rd person to point out ...

"Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut."

Funnily enough, it was almost exactly that scenario that led to autoamtion of telephone exchanges in the first place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strowger_switch

Amazing how what goes around comes around (with maybe a few extra clicks and beeps)

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

OK you got there first - have an upvote!

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

"So Trump is doing what we want him to do: de-regulate"

"All gummint needs to do is keep the playing field level by preventing the situation that created the 'Robber Barons'"

Can you really not see the contradiction from one paragraph to the next? Do you want no regulation, or do you want the government to stop monopolies? AKA Regulation?

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

I hate feeding the trolls such your clown act and little john... but Teddy Roosevelt left the

republican party because it was too conservative for him (he was a progressive after all) and formed the Bull Moose party.

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Re: @2Nick3 -- Black arm bands for everyone

"Not too long ago, in the last Republican administration, a group of history-rewriting zealots wanted to put Ronald McDonald Reagan's sorry puss on the dime, replacing FDR's puss. I decided that I would reject any dime given in change that had the visage of America's First Acting President on it.

So, guilty as charged, then?"

No, that's just making things inconvenient for yourself - two nickels are the same as a dime, just not quite as convenient. Even 10 pennies isn't a big difference. But avoiding the most efficient route (wasting time and money), or risking life and limb, falls under the "cutting off your nose to spite your face" category of thinking.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

Does the phrase 'bollocks on stilts' mean anything to you?

Before 'net neutrality' investments were being made in the internet, both the physical infrastructure & the software driving it.

Since? Not so much.

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Facepalm

Re: ST Re: Black arm bands for everyone

".....That's how Trump got elected....." No, Trumpet got elected because Shrillay's team failed to understand the very basic concept of the Electoral College. And Shrillary's team and backers massively out-spent Trumpet's when it came to propaganda - sorry, I meant to say "informing the public".

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Re: Next Question? Whens the Investigation start?

Face it, this process on the face of it looks like a classic case of a public official being purchased.

But it isn't. Pai didn't have to be purchased by telcos as a public official; they've owned him since he was in the private sector. Verizon doesn't hire lawyers on the strength of their ethics or independence.

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Re: Black arm bands for everyone

If Trump is doing what he claimed, why is he raising income take rates for the middle class, meddling with the Middle East, failed to make any lasting changes on immigration, failed to replace Obama Care and completely failed to even start planning to build a border wall (which I feel like was his #1 promise).

There is a huge difference between Trump's platform and what's he's actually doing now that he's in office. No matter how you feel about the issues, I find it really hard to read comments like this were you claim Trump has delivered on any reasonable percentage of his campaign promises. Trump ran on a platform of change, and has solidly failed to effect any of his larger promises and has only delivered on a few token promises. He said he was a man of action, and he's looking more and more like a big talker every day.

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