July 2017 Archives

making sausage

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Dylan Scott describes the Senate healthcare bill process:

As of Monday morning, nobody is even sure what the end goal for Republicans is: A bill to repeal and replace Obamacare or a clean (partial) repeal bill with no replacement.

Either path faces the same problem: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) needs 50 of the 52 Senate Republicans to back the plan under the special procedural rules Republicans are using to pass the bill with a bare majority. As of right now, the day before the expected first vote, neither bill appears to have the necessary support.

Scott points out that "McConnell has two Senate bills at his disposal:"

...the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, the clean (partial) repeal bill, and the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the plan to repeal and replace the health care law that Republicans have been debating for the last two months.

ORRA "would likely fail," he says, and BCRA "is also struggling to attract enough votes but has a more viable path to passage."

It's enough to turn people into political vegetarians.

The Nation explains that Net Neutrality is about more than the Internet:

Donald Trump's chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has repeatedly signaled that he wants to dismantle the net-neutrality protections that were put in place during the Obama years after a massive campaign by democracy advocates, consumer groups, and defenders of a free and open Internet.

If Pai's FCC votes later this summer for that dismantlement, the future of personal communications, education, commerce, economic arrangements, and democracy itself will be radically altered. The fight over net neutrality is about much more than the fight over whether telecommunications companies will be able to create "fast lanes" for paying content from corporations and billionaire-funded politicians while relegating the essential informational sharing of civil society to "slow lanes" on the periphery of what was supposed to be "the information superhighway." Because our lives are now so digital, and because they are becoming so automated, the fight over net neutrality is really the fight over the whole of the future.

It comes down to a simple question: Will that future be defined by civic and democratic values? Or will it defined by commercial and entertainment values?

The article cites a poll showing that "73 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents, and 80 percent of Democrats want to maintain the existing open-Internet rules," but will that be enough?

The issue that will be resolved in coming weeks is whether the voice of the people will be drowned out by a flood of corporate cash.

Only the loudest and most sustained objections will save the Internet as we know it--and shape a future in which the digital promise is shared by all.

The EFF has "created a special site called DearFCC.org where we'll help you write your own comment to the agency. We'll offer some suggestions to get you started, but you can say whatever you like. What's most important is that the FCC hears from you:"

Some large ISPs say they support net neutrality, but that they just want the FCC to go enforce it under a different legal provision, or have Congress pass a specific net neutrality law. But this is just a trick--they already know that if the FCC goes back to classifying broadband as an information service, its net neutrality rules will fail (just like they did last time). They also know that Congress isn't likely to pass a real net neutrality statute anytime soon, if ever, given the millions that telecom giants have invested in making sure they get to write any regulation of their industry.

If big ISPs win this fight, the next iteration of the Internet might look something more like cable TV, where providers have a great deal of influence over which messages their members hear--and they can deprioritize or even flat-out block content they don't like.

If you love the Internet the way it is, then speak out now.

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