A Net-Neutrality Win for California!

Roaring Twenties Reprise
A Net-Neutrality Win for California!
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Net-neutrality is the most important First Amendment issue of our time. It is the principle that all information, moving throughout the internet, should be unfiltered, unimpeded, and equally accessible to consumers. Broadband providers are specifically prohibited from blocking or degrading content. This includes sites and services that compete against their own services.

California enacted a law in 2017, that reinforced this principle after Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai, a former in-house Verizon attorney, rolled back federal net-neutrality regulations. The Trump Justice Department immediately sued California to overturn its law. Broadband providers, through their trade groups, followed with a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the California law while the lawsuit wound its way through the courts.

Biting the Hand

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Biting the Hand
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As federal, state, and local governments take a new look at what companies should have access to public easements and utility rights of way, they really should consider all the angles. Especially since common carrier, public utility, or natural monopoly status may actually be in flux. One factor to consider might be the array of cases where a part of our essential communications infrastructure, specifically Internet Service Providers (ISPs), have sued municipalities that wanted to deliver their own Internet services. Two of the biggest, most self-serving ISPs, the ones that orchestrated an attack on net-neutrality, and thereby the First Amendment, should re-commit to serving the public interest as common carriers.

They should obtain this re-classification in an above board manner. Not by means of the usual political sophistries, that only serve to make our “elected representatives” even less representative. In the meantime, they should not enjoy a presumption of unfettered access to public utility easements or rights of way without the common carrier classification.

Defining Common Carriers

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Defining Common Carriers
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The first railroad chartered in the United States was the Baltimore and Ohio. Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, turned the first spadeful of earth on July 4, 1828. On May 10, 1869, the last golden spike was driven into the newly completed transcontinental railroad built by the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific.

Freedom of the Press

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Freedom of the Press
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From an early age we were taught that one of the unique values for our country is “Freedom of the Press.” Of course, from the time of this country’s inception, until very recently, freedom of the press was only available for the privileged few that own a press. The traditional understanding of what constitutes “editorializing” was, in ages past, based upon what appeared on the opinion page.

Today we understand that every decision by a publisher is an editorial decision.. Whether a story runs above the fold, at the beginning of a newscast, or if it runs at all is based upon the opinion of someone. To those of us who thrive within a world of competing ideas, this is entirely ok as we can always engage in channel surfing.

Pandemicide

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Pandemicide
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Sir Francis Galton introduced the term “eugenics,” meaning well-born, in 1883. His emphasis was on encouraging healthy and capable people, of above-average intelligence, to bear more children, with the idea of building an “improved” human race. The eugenics ideologies that are typically associated with the first half of the twentieth century are much older though they persist, even today. Now they are simply manifest in a different way.

While an individual may reasonably consider what their children might look like upon choosing a mate, a couple would likely be ostracized for using abortion for purposes of selecting a child based upon, say, hair color. In May of 2019, a Supreme Court opinion described abortion as a potential “tool of eugenic manipulation.” The opining Justice was referring to an Indiana abortion law that bans abortion motivated solely by the race, sex or disability of the fetus. He used the history of the eugenics movement to explain why “the use of abortion to achieve eugenic goals is not merely hypothetical.”

Between Wishy and Washy

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Between Wishy and Washy
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On February 13th 2021, a pathetic minority of United States Senators landed decisively somewhere between wishy and washy on the question of autocracy versus democracy. As they were feigning reverence for the Constitution of the United States, they inadvertently highlighted the most fundamental problem facing the USA. It is a problem that has plagued civilization from the time of its inception and, from the looks of things, it’s not going away anytime soon.

When a democratic republic tolerates a reckless indifference to the truth by people occupying positions of honor and trust, it is hardly authentic. When we value government of, by, and for the people does it make sense to retain elected representatives who routinely engage in barratry, deceptive practices? Would an honest person take an oath as a juror and, while the trial proceeds, act as co-counsel for one side in the controversy? Would a judiciary willfully convert a whirlpool of information into a cesspool of disinformation through its lack of forethought and intellectual rigor? Would a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shrink from his constitutional obligation to preside over an impeachment trial?

Intentional Consumerism

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Intentional Consumerism
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Intentional Consumerism is, first and foremost, about expressing consumer preferences that are informed by the behaviors of those with whom we do business. It is how we vote every day with every dollar we spend. It is how we move towards a promising future, with each and every transaction. It emphasizes free trade together with fair trade. It demonstrates the power of a more proactive variation with respect to the doctrine Buyer Beware.

There is real potential in such an exercise of ethical consumerism, sometimes called consumer sovereignty; from the super- charged data driven boycott, to the casual expression of preferences. Intentional Consumerism is, to some extent, rooted in the indignation of thinking men and women.

Parasites by Proxy

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Parasites by Proxy
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Andrew Jackson, with his forced march of the Cherokee along the Trail of Tears is no darling of humanitarians. He did, however, get one thing right. Upon closing the Second Bank of the United States, he correctly accused the bankers of having privatized gains while socializing losses. He recognized, two hundred years ago, what many of our most revered economists fail to acknowledge today. Many of our nation’s largest enterprises are leveraging the worst aspects of both capitalism and socialism.

There is a big, big difference between the entrepreneurial business person that can create something of value from almost nothing, and the custodial CEO, who’s chief talent is sticking it to taxpayers in parasitic fashion. There is a stark contrast, between the custodial management that persuades constituents and investors to expect every indulgence, as opposed to those highly disciplined entrepreneurial leaders who exude a spiritual idealism, one that has the awesome power to take an enterprise and even a nation from one level of attainment to the next.

21st Century Enterprise Architecture

Roaring Twenties Reprise
21st Century Enterprise Architecture
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When most people think about the Roaring Twenties, the highlights quickly come to mind. Women in the U.S. gained the right to vote in 1920. People of that era also witnessed the advent of broadcasting, a steady climb-out from the post Word War One recession, and a shift in emphasis, from wartime production, to a new mass production that yielded an abundance of consumer goods. In our reprise one century later, we hope to tap the enthusiasm that characterized the twenties of a century ago as we also consider ways to avoid the pitfalls.

We the People versus The Foreign Potentates

Roaring Twenties Reprise
We the People versus The Foreign Potentates
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In the first week of this year, we saw just how fragile even a mature, constitutionally grounded democratic republic can be. As we reached out to family, friends, and colleagues, we got the sense that we, as individuals, are just as siloed as our media. We finally came to realize how about six hundred billionaires control the information flow for a country of three-hundred and thirty-one million citizens within the United States. And to our dismay, it was revealed, that the most privileged among us have become even more enriched, while the marginalized and powerless are dead, dying, or stewing in hormones of stress.