Freedom to browse


We often speak of “mobilization” of public opinion, or a centralized and organized effort to achieve an objective. Public opinion by itself, fragmented and isolated, is worthless. Such a mobilization battle has been going on against the FCC, a body now entirely dominated by Obama appointees, and who seem intent on yielding to industry on the matter of “net neutrality.” Obama the candidate was resolute on the issue. His appointments to FCC have belied his sincerity. If ever there were a case of “regulatory capture“, this is it.

“Net neutrality” is probably not a good battle cry, as most people do not understand it. “Net freedom” or “freedom to browse” or “equal access to the web” would be more informative. But we seem stuck with that phrase.

It’s on now. Industry, it is easy to see, has employed the public relations industry, our clever professional liars, to muddy the waters. Their strategy is becoming apparent: steal the flag, co-opt our noble word “freedom” from the side of actual freedom, for use by the telecoms. Senator Al Frankin had to explain to Senator Ted Cruz what net neutrality means. This is a very bad omen, as it appears that prominent Democrats are taking the lead on this battle. They are very good at losing. Look for a meek response to the intense industry effort to bring the FCC to heel.

In the meantime, our intellectually crippled friend Swede predictably popped up with the image up above over at 4&20:

This image is laden with archetypes, from the word “Nyet” to the image of Stalin (Russians are currently being demonized in our propaganda system). It looks clumsy, even stupid, but is clever, calculated, and a sign of an ugly campaign ahead from the yapping jackals of the advertising industry. (The beating heart, the vital center of every ad agency is a behavioral psychology department.)

Swede’s ad originates at this place, The Peoples Cube, most likely chosen (or created) as a vehicle by the ad agency employed by the telecoms to lead this ugly campaign. The website appears crazy and incoherent. That’s how Our Kwyjibo found it. Don’t be fooled by its rube appearance. It is slick and professional.

The battle for web freedom is now a right-wing talk and scare phenomenon. This poster is a seed. This is where the rest of the battle will be fought. How to fight back? Stay mobilized behind organized groups like Electronic Frontiers, or Free Avoid Democrats, who will figure a way to lose. Obama’s recent strong words on net neutrality may be real, but might also be a means of castrating the movement by ceding leadership to Democrats. Given his appointment of Wheeler, he is not to be trusted. (What to trust: Words, or deeds?)

Knuckle down and fight back, or knuckle under.

4 thoughts on “Freedom to browse

  1. Net neutrality… another huge battle. I debated a Bresnan VP during a panel on net neutrality at a major documentary film festival 6-7 years ago. Very interesting experience. I pretty well had him on the run, as I knew more of the technical details of what the telecoms can do do IP traffic than he. He was just a PR flak, with a nice suit, smiley face and glad-handing behavior.

    Of course, we lost our $10k/year sponsorship of the event from them the following year, and had to sue Bresnan to get some other promised resources. That’s how they roll. We had the temerity to challenge them in public, and we paid for it. Literally.

    The free marketers are going to have a hey day with net neutrality, as it is a classic case of who gets to control the public commons (most IP traffic runs along public utility corridors and rights of way). And of course, any attempts to regulate are going to be met with huge resistance.

    But what people need to know is what happens when you let businesses control the internet. It would be like letting Walmart control the main road systems in your town. Everything is fine if you’re going to Walmart. Try to go to Costco, and it takes forever, if you can get there at all.


  2. While the “owner” of the “People’s Cube” was a propagandist he’s not one now.

    “Oleg Atbashian: Before moving to the U.S. in 1994, Atbashian lived in Ukraine where he sometimes worked as a propaganda artist for the old Soviet Union, creating agitprop posters for the local Party Committee in a small town. During that time, Oleg says he “witnessed the transition of Republics of the Soviet Union from corrupt socialism to corrupt kleptocracy.”

    When he arrived in the U.S., Atbashian was puzzled by the “level of delusional affection for all things Left among the ‘liberal’ intellectual elites who take America’s exclusive well-being for granted.” At that time Oleg dismissed this “delusional affection” as silly and of little consequence.

    Then 9/11 happened. Oleg witnessed that day from the base of the Twin Towers. “I’m still haunted by the horror I came to be a witness of,” says Atbashian. “The subsequent blame-America attitude among the intellectual trend-setters enraged me; ‘liberalism’ no longer seemed laughable. It was dangerous suicidal madness that had to be confronted. I took up political activism.”-Wiki.


    1. Getting a healthy scent of bullshit here.

      I can believe that the Soviets were corrupt, and know of the kleptocracy Wall Street brought in post-1990. No problem.

      It is his arrival here in the US, his claim to be at the base of the WTC’s (the area had been evacuated), and now his decision to devote his efforts to agitprop for American corporations that want to control the public space called the Internet.

      Yep. Bullshit. Thru and thru. Bullshit.


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