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In today's Vice.com Lee Fang has an article that explains clearly what is going on at the FCC and it has the clear marks of corruption.  The FCC current staff appear to be attorneys who worked for communications corporations like Comcast CTIA, TDS.  Fang's article is entitled Former Comcast and Verizon Attorneys Now Manage the FCC and Are About To Kill the Internet

More below the elegant Cheese Doodle.

Fang names names.  The list is like a Monty Python sendup of corruption but it is not funny and what I don't ken is how comes it that this is all legal and how come no-one has previously reported this. But here we go anyway.

Like so many problems in American government, the policy shift may relate to the pernicious corruption of the revolving door. The FCC is stocked with staffers who have recently worked for Internet Service Providers (ISP) that stand to benefit tremendously from the defeat of net neutrality.

The backgrounds of the new FCC staff have not been reported until now.

Take Daniel Alvarez, an attorney who has long represented Comcast through the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. In 2010, Alvarez wrote a letter to the FCC on behalf of Comcast protesting net neutrality rules, arguing that regulators failed to appreciate “socially beneficial discrimination.” The proposed rules, Alvarez wrote in the letter co-authored with a top Comcast lobbyist named Joe Waz, should be reconsidered.

Today, someone in Comcast’s Philadelphia headquarters is probably smiling. Alvarez is now on the other side, working among a small group of legal advisors hired directly under Tom Wheeler, the new FCC Commissioner who began his job in November.

As soon as Wheeler came into office, he also announced the hiring of former Ambassador Philip Verveer as his senior counselor. A records request reveals that Verveer also worked for Comcast in the last year. In addition, he was retained by two industry groups that have worked to block net neutrality, the Wireless Association (CTIA) and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

In February, Matthew DelNero was brought into the agency to work specifically on net neutrality. DelNero has previously worked as an attorney for TDS Telecom, an Internet service provider that has lobbied on net neutrality, according to filings.

Around the time of Delnero’s hiring, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a former associate general counsel at Verizon, announced a new advisor by the name of Brendan Carr. Pai, a Republican, has criticized the open Internet regulations, calling them a “problem in search of a solution.” It should be of little surprise that Carr, Pai’s new legal hand, has worked for years as an attorney to AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, and the U.S. Telecom Association, a trade group that has waged war in Washington against net neutrality since 2006. A trail of online documents show that Carr worked specifically to monitor net neutrality regulations on behalf of some of his industry clients.

I recommend Fang's article, and maybe somebody here has the chops to amplify this story to where corruption can be checked. .
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

    by marthature on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:25:00 AM PDT

  •  Nothing like playing with a marked deck of cards. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, Stude Dude, OHdog, unfangus

    So, why should the commissioners be considered impartial!

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:51:07 AM PDT

  •  Fox, Henhouse, Chickens n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog, unfangus

    • "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine
    • "The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." Stephen King
    • I am the 99%

    by Tommymac on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:02:26 AM PDT

    •  Your implication is right re: foxes & the henhouse (0+ / 0-)

      A variant of this comment was previously posted elsewhere when the net neutrality issue first stirred public debate in 2014.  FYI it’s been tweaked a bit and the second-to-last paragraph is a new addition.  Anyway it's fitting that I share the comment here so here it goes.

       ----------------------------------------------------------

      It is right that this move against net neutrality generally has the populace up at arms.  Unfortunately people who (a) haven’t been subjected to wrongful stifling, (b) haven’t learned the dangers of limitations on free speech by studying history, and/or (c) aren’t critical thinkers might not see the potential dangers in this type of move until it is too late.  This should be ended posthaste…and I don’t state that on a whim.  History is full of bad acting influential entities that have abused power that they should have never had in the first place.  Think about these couple of scenarios:

      1)  A startup launches and its success is highly dependent on its ability to deliver various web content to the masses.  However, a direct competitor owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”).  No problem…just have the delivery of the startup’s web content degraded and/or charge the startup an exorbitant dollar amount.  Ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification.  That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a startup that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in its business model.

      2)  A group is fighting against influential wrongdoers and the group is effectively and rightfully utilizing the internet during the course of their warranted and rightful battle.  However, one or more of the wrongdoers owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”).  No problem…just have the delivery of the group’s web content degraded and/or charge the group an exorbitant dollar amount.  Again, ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification.  That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a movement against wrongdoers that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in the movement.  

      Those who have a problem visualizing the scenario outlined immediately above need do nothing more than look at corruption-plagued countries that are built upon cultures where censorship is par for the course.  Of the many things that this net neutrality move might be, one of the things that it definitely is is a gateway to the implementation of an alternative form of censorship.  I’ll repeat that so that it will sink in…a gateway to the IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF CENSORSHIP.

      There are probably multiple other scenarios that could be listed above but the given scenarios are sufficient to make my point.  Again, this is not the right move and IT SHOULD END POSTHASTE.  Even if there are conceivably some significant benefits (not that we’re necessarily of the mindset that there are) the very real risks far outweigh any potential rewards.  And just in case anyone is saying “if you’re in one of the two groups listed above then sue”, you are naïve.  The victims—and make no mistake about it, in the scenarios outlined above they are VICTIMS—indicated in the above two scenarios are already fighting against nearly insurmountable odds and they don’t need any other problems piled on.  In other words, in a manner of speaking they are already “down” and don’t need anymore “kicks” such as having their web content interfered with and/or being faced with exorbitant costs.  Although some things are right about America, some things are definitely going in the wrong direction.  People such as Hitler, those who conducted the Tuskegee Experiment, and those whom were responsible for disseminating smallpox infested blankets to Native American Indians (just to name a few) would have a heyday with this move if they were alive and engaging in their bad acts today.  Reason being, it goes without saying that as it stands the internet is the average joe’s most efficient form of a mouthpiece.  And let us not forget that in America (as well as in the rest of the world) some of the greatest achievements have been accomplished by determined average joes who spoke out to the masses as efficiently as was possible.  Rest assured that this move will make influential bad actors everywhere rejoice…they are likely already planning ways to exploit it (assuming that they haven’t already planned a plethora ways).

      In case anyone somehow thinks that I have no idea what I’m talking about.  I will state that I most certainly do.  I am personally involved in a long-running, massive, warranted, and rightful fight against epic public corruption.  I can tell you that it is an undeniable fact that that warranted and rightful fight has been plagued by civil liberties infringements carried out via wrongful attempts by bad actors to stifle our free speech.  For the record the fight is called GATORGAIT and those who are unaware of it can find out more information at the damning, truthful, and lawful website www.gatorgait.com .  Also for the record, the complete website and all of the website’s extensive content works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post (i.e. 04/26/2014).  Additionally, there has been various other truthful and lawful Gatorgait-related content that has been posted online by us justice seekers and which has remained not interfered with…that content also works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post.

      As the net neutrality proposal involves revenue generation I’ve included this paragraph.  Any “additional billing”, if any, for internet content received through “the internet pipelines” need only be on the end of the content recipient.  Great power for abuse lies in that little area of the unknown created by the uncertainty bred  by billing from “both ends”.  In the proposed new internet model when your internet account (as a content recipient) is in good standing and lawful content you seek out is delivered in a slow and/or buggy fashion—assuming you can access said desired content at all—your natural response will likely be “oh, the content provider’s account with the ISP must be in ‘bad standing’”.  But what if the content provider’s account is not in bad standing and the provider’s lawful content has merely been inappropriately interfered with or censored?  No problem, you’ll know that’s the case right…W-R-O-N-G!!!  You will likely have no idea of the truth behind the content delivery issue for it goes without saying that any notice posted by the content provider regarding the interference or censorship would likely be posted on the very same sabotaged website (and thus not be viewable or be difficult to view) and/or posted on some other distinct high visibility webpage that would itself likely subsequently be targeted and relatively quickly interfered with or censored.  The only thing you could ever be certain of is the good standing or bad standing of your own personal internet service account.  Rest assured that bad actors who would abuse the power granted by this assault on net neutrality know these things and are praying that the citizenry (1) has it’s blinders on and (2) is flush with apathy in regards to the matter.  Those bad actors’ prayers must not be answered for history has shown time-and-time again that when warranted vigorous opposition is left undone when faced with intentionally-implemented incremental, but significant, wrongful acts (if not outright evil acts) what soon follows is sweeping persecution.   If the additional revenue is so necessary—and for the record I’m of the mindset that it likely is not necessary—with all the years that the internet has been operational ISPs have the data available to classify the data volume and speed requirements of the median internet account (as in the median content recipient’s internet account).  Using that data, after possibly incorporating a few infrastructure changes, pricing models could be established and tiered  as needed…kinda like with cell phones.  But with that the following must be stated.  In my opinion the anonymity offered by the internet is an awesome thing…sure that anonymity can be abused but it’s my personal opinion that anonymity’s resultant long-term good far outweighs its resultant long-term bad (FYI bad actors who’ve been placed under scrutiny online, to their dismay, know this as well).  Having stated that, I prefer the current pricing models where the ISPs calculate acceptable and reasonable profit margin targets and charge their customers that are generally in the same class pretty much the same thing across the board.  As long as the ISPs meet their targeted profit margins all is well…that is until greed, corruption, etc. steps into the picture.  It is my personal view that anything—that is anything besides the slander and libel remedies already in place and other public-driven backlash—that potentially pushes people towards self-censoring is problematic.  And should this revamp of net neutrality be enacted that is exactly one of the things that would likely happen because the proposed billing would likely usher in closer monitoring of people’s internet usage…in other words more surveillance will likely ensue thanks to individualized internet billing.  But obviously this time the arena targeted for surveillance will be, reminiscent of CISPA, the internet.  Sure the internet might be a more cordial place for it, but the cost for that is way too high.  Thankfully the ol’ saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is true in a significant number of cases.  When the day comes that America’s leaders (1) are by and large above reproach, (2) consistently show that they are more concerned with serving the interests of the common man than they are with serving themselves and/or elitists whom they’ve embraced, and (3) consistently act with integrity I think we will be able to enact policies that don’t account for dissension (including anonymous lawful dissension).  Unfortunately that day hasn’t yet arrived…thus the right to dissent must receive the utmost protection.

      Generally speaking I have lost faith in man’s ability to consistently do what’s right.  Over hundreds of years of bad practices and policies promulgated largely by those who have wrongfully and shortsightedly used their gift of intelligence to increase their power and “line their pockets” at the long term expense of mankind and the world we have, as a whole, lost our way.  Let’s see where this recent net neutrality move takes us.  Just as we opposed the most recent attempt to pass the far too intrusive CISPA and the recent tentative decision regarding search engine censorship we strongly oppose this net neutrality move.  Pay attention…close attention.  As indicated above I’m jaded; therefore, I have no confidence that if there isn’t an abrupt about face that bad acting men and women won’t ensure that action becomes warranted.  It may be soon or it may be later, but rest assured that serious action will become necessary.

      Best wishes to all,
      SB

      “Some people see a problem and do something about it.  Others do nothing but sit on their a$$e$ and complain.  Be a doer.”

  •  That's what happens when Democratic fundraiser, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, antirove, thomask, meg, unfangus

    CEO of Comcast and Pres Obama golf buddy work for the common good. Their common good.  

    Diary is missing any criticism of the Obama administration that caused this to happen.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:23:02 AM PDT

  •  Regulatory capture is the name (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog, solublefish, unfangus

    for this type of corruption and it goes on all the time. Here's another take on the FCC, from James Kwak ☛ The Baseline Scenario

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 10:47:51 AM PDT

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