People Actually Care About Net Neutrality? Ok Then

If you’re wondering what this Net Neutrality thing that people are going bonkers over is about, don’t bother. It’s mostly a gaslighting campaign to convince people that a 2-year-old regulation is somehow essential to the health of the Internet. It’s not. I’m in the business, and I figured it would be a ho-hum story only nerds would care about. I forgot the media/entertainment companies are on the content provider (Netflix) side, and they’re very good at running propaganda campaigns, so it blew up more than I expected. If you really want to know more, keep reading…

Net Neutrality (NN) was basically Obamacare for the Internet. It was an idealistic (sort of) attempt to provide a product (Internet data) free (as in free speech, not free beer) and unrestricted for people, without much consideration for who would pay for it or whether it was sustainable in the long run. So just as Obamacare got upside down fast, NN was bound to do the same over time. Here’s why.

The bottom line is that data coming to your computer or device, whether it’s a tiny email or a huge movie stream, is electrons, radio waves, or light pulses being pushed from the source to you. That pushing requires energy, so it costs money. It costs a very, very small amount per chunk, but we keep using more chunks, so the cost of “using the Internet” has stayed about the same or risen over the years.

When I first got online, most of the data was plain text, which is tiny. The whole Bible in plain text is something like four megabytes. Then the web brought us formatted text with fonts and colors, which was several times larger. Then we started adding pictures, which are exponentially larger. Then audio, even larger, then video, much larger yet. Video resolution keeps getting better, requiring more and more data. The bottom line is that I probably use more data in a day now than I did in a year in 1997.

Video uses so much more than anything else normal users do, and there’s so much demand for it with people running Netflix all day long like TV, that it’s dwarfing everything else and growing. NN said the people who move the data from one place to another couldn’t treat that video data (or any kind) differently from other data. They couldn’t make it second-class, so that other data like email could get through first if there was a bottleneck. They couldn’t sell you a cheaper no-streaming package or a light-streaming package, that would let you move all the data you liked except for streaming content like movies. Everything had to be treated the same, no matter how much some data bloated and drove up costs for the data movers.

Ending NN — going back to the olden days of 2014 — means the data movers have options to deal with the glut, and they can give their customers more options besides more or less total data. Options are good.

There are two objections to ending it. The first is that most people get their high-speed broadband Internet from one of four big companies, thanks to consolidation during the Bush/Obama years. (Around here you don’t have to; call Adams.) Many people only have one of these companies to choose from. So the concern is that if your only choice is Comcast, Comcast will start charging you $25/month to use Netflix, $5/month to use YouTube, $10/month to use NFL.com, etc., and end up charging you a lot more than you pay now. But if you’re stuck with one provider, they can already charge you more, they just have to do it on the total package, not on individual types or sources of data.  Stuck is stuck.

So that’s not much of an objection, since the same thing that stops them from charging you $300/month for Internet now will stop them from getting carried away with specific prices: you do have other options. You can get your Internet through your phone, or by satellite, or use the free Internet at the library. None of those give you a big, cheap, fast pipe for watching loads of movies, but that’s kinda the point: there’s no civil right to watch HD movies all day on the cheap. If you want the best, the best usually costs extra.

The other objection comes from free speech advocates, and I have more sympathy for it. Their concern is that these four companies could start blocking access to certain sites or certain types of information. The left-wingers think right-wingers will buy them and block left-wing sites, and the right-wingers think the opposite. That is possible. I don’t think it’s a serious threat, though, because the companies that move data have never cared about its content, only about how much of it there is. Because there’s a ton, and when your job is to make sure it gets from one place to another as fast as possible, you really don’t have time to be opening up packets to see what’s in them. They don’t care whether you’re watching Snow White or an NFL game or Japanese tentacle porn; they only care how much data it uses.

That could change, but they never did what’s feared before 2015, so I’ll worry about that problem if it develops. If the fact that there are only four companies dominating an industry is a problem, the answer to that is anti-trust law and breaking them up anyway, not NN. I don’t like the fact that all US media is owned by six companies either, but the answer to that would be breaking them up and encouraging competition again, not having the government tell them what they can and can’t report.

Also, there are already some very large companies that are blocking access to content they deem unacceptable: Google (YouTube), Facebook, Twitter, and other search/social media companies. They are doing it now, and they’ve openly stated their intent to step it up. They can’t totally block access to a site, but they can make it invisible to the vast majority of users who find everything through them.  Net Neutrality didn’t affect them one way or the other. So I’ll worry about the threat to free speech that’s in my face right now, rather than the one that might emerge someday.

I think that covers it. Thanks for reading, and if you got this far and you have questions, email or message me.

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Stupid News

I meant to post this earlier in the week when I saw it, because it made me laugh.

The biggest political news out of Sunday/Monday was the discovery of a direct connection from the FBI to Fusion GPS, the Russian-founded company that provided the infamous dossier.  One of the FBI agents who has now been demoted is married to a woman who worked for Fusion GPS.  So there’s one of the connections documented.  There will be more.  The increasing possibility that FBI agents were conspiring with foreign agents against one of the presidential candidates seems like big news, doesn’t it?  Especially since we’ve been told all year that it would be impeachment-worthy if anything like that were discovered in the other direction?  Dunno, seems like something the news networks could make some time to discuss.

Well, not CNN.  CNN was busy talking about the president’s diet (see the picture below).  Which itself is mildly interesting, maybe worth a quick mention at the end of a show.  (He should give it up; that crap is terrible for you.)  But it was a big story for them.  And the funny part is check out how they strung 12 sodas out in a row, the way you never ever see them, so it looks like a ridiculous number.  It wasn’t enough to sit a 12-pack on the desk, or just say “12 Diet Cokes” and trust that we all know what that looks like.  They had to go full propaganda with it, brooding importantly with a real live Doctor over their long line of Cokes.  Cokes for jokes.

The problem with them and the other MSM outlets (including Fox, most of the time) isn’t so much the stories they do run or the bias they put on them.  That’s annoying, but everyone except the most devout leftists recognizes it now.  Their public trust level is under 10%.  The bigger problem is the news they wall us off from, so no one sees it unless they go hunting off the beaten path, usually to sources that the MSM has done its best to discredit.  Today the story they’re probably not covering is the texts between the two FBI agents having the affair, where they talked last year about how they didn’t think Trump could win, but just in case he did, they needed to be in a position to do something about it.  And they ended up on Mueller’s team.  Handy, huh?  Another huge reveal of corruption that the MSM won’t touch until they have to.

When will the MSM be forced to cover this news?  Probably not until the Office of the Inspector General reports on their investigation going back to January.  Maybe not even then, if they stick together, maybe not until the president takes it viral.  That should be fun.  I’d say what else to watch this week, but I don’t know because there are too many possibilities.  Maybe New Jersey politicians, or Chuck Schumer.

Are Guilt and Innocence That Hard To Keep Straight?

Let’s talk about guilt and innocence in America, since it seems like some people have forgotten how they work. If you’re accused of wrongdoing, you have a choice:

You can admit it or be convicted of it, at which point your guilt has been settled, and all that’s left to decide is your punishment, what to do about it. You can apologize, make excuses, beg forgiveness, try to make a deal, etc. But your guilt is settled. If you were accused of theft, for instance, it’s settled that you thieved. If being guilty of that wrongdoing disqualifies you for a job, you’re out.

Or you can deny it and demand your day in court (legal court or the court of public opinion). In this case, it becomes the responsibility of your accuser to come forward and face you with the charges and any evidence they have. In the meantime, you are innocent until proven guilty. The right to face your accuser speedily is a fundamental right in America because until you can do that, accusations just hanging around without hard evidence damage your reputation without giving you a way to fight back against them.

If I go around telling all your friends that you stole money from me, but I run away every time you try to confront me and demand evidence and details, there’s nothing you can do except to keep stating your innocence while the rumors build. If I’m rich enough to pay 5, 10, 20, or 100 other people to falsely accuse you of stealing, but none of us come forward and press charges or show specific evidence you can fight, many people will believe it on the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” principle. You won’t be able to do anything about it, even though you’re still innocent. In theory, you can press defamation charges, but that’s tricky. It’s expensive, and you have to be able to show not only that you didn’t do it, but that the charges harmed you, usually financially. If you’re a politician, you would have to prove that they cost you an election. Difficult. And all the time that you’re doing that, you’re keeping the rumors stirred up. In almost all cases, people who are accused decide it’s not worth it. When someone like James Woods does, it doesn’t earn him much love.

Weinstein, Schwarzenegger, Franken, Hastert (note the bipartisanship): accused, admitted it or were convicted, and judged and treated accordingly. Roy Moore: accused, denies it, and the accusers are dodging and refusing to face him or to let the evidence be judged (the yearbook, their Exhibit A, was such an obvious fraud that the owner had to change her story and admit she wrote a lot of it herself), because they hoped the accusations alone would torpedo his campaign. He’s still innocent until proven guilty, and Alabamans (Alabamians?) fortunately still understand that.

You can base your vote on whatever you want, of course. Many votes get cast for the better-looking candidate. You can vote against a man because you don’t like his ties. But I don’t think many people who take their vote seriously want to be manipulated by hit-jobs which appear a few weeks before the election with unprovable allegations and then fade away as soon as it’s over.

Al Franken shouldn’t have agreed to resign, by the way. What he did was stupid and creepy, but he was a stupid and creepy comedian at the time, not a US senator. It shouldn’t be a career-destroyer (unless there’s worse that I haven’t heard about). He should have to let the women he creeped on line up and slap him one after the other, apologize to them, and then go on with his life. He only agreed to resign because Democrats were trying to sucker Republicans into a trade: Franken resigns and Moore drops out. But Moore isn’t an idiot, and Republicans aren’t suckers since Trump reintroduced them to their spines. Franken was already being pushed out by his female colleagues anyway, so there was nothing to gain by taking the deal. I expect after Moore wins Tuesday, Franken will have a change of heart and decide to stay, because he’s a weasel. He should stay and keep being the embarassment he has been since he was elected, until Minnesotans vote him out in shame.

Careful with That Fake News

Friday’s news about Don Jr.’s email was better than I realized. I thought CNN just misunderstood the purpose of the email. It’s more than that.

They actually understood the purpose, but they thought the date on the email was Sept. 4, 2016, which would have been 9 days before Wikileaks released the same info to the public. (More below on why that wouldn’t matter anyway.) The true date on the email was 9/14, the day after Wikileaks’ public release. What’s interesting is that the copy of the email that they had was apparently the same one I posted, which only shows the body, not the headers including the date. So someone told them the date was 9/4. In fact, CNN claims they verified the info with multiple sources. They won’t say more than that.

So someone who had access to the emails leaked the body of the email to CNN and said, “Hey, he got this on 9/4, check it out.” Then they contacted at least one more source (possibly on the same committee) who confirmed that was correct. Then they went on air with it and tweeted it out like it was a smoking gun, other media picked it up and retweeted it repeatedly, and it was everywhere within minutes. Now, according to MSNBC, they also confirmed the info with multiple sources. It seems likely they’re all sharing the same sources — nothing wrong with that, necessarily, except that if one of them gets duped, they all do.

Several hours later, they had to admit they were wrong. But why were they wrong? If they didn’t simply make up the date — and that would be too stupid even for them — their sources gave them the wrong date. Did multiple sources actually read it wrong? Or did someone feed them bad info? Are they lying about having multiple sources, since the last person to run with a single source is the guy serving an unpaid 4-week suspension at ABC?

Say you have a committee, and you think you have a leaker among the members. One way to find the leak is to intentionally release bad info, but give everyone a different version. So let’s say you tell the committee about this email, and the reports you pass out to the members are all identical except that they have different dates. When the leak comes out with 9/4 as the date, you know which one leaked it.

That’s one way. If it was really confirmed by multiple sources, you’d have to do something more sophisticated. But that’s the sort of thing that’s going on in the information war we’re in. CNN won’t name their sources, of course, because they don’t want to burn whoever it is, in case they haven’t been caught yet. Interesting stuff.

Why does this matter? Because the initial false reports go out to millions of people. The retractions — when they make one at all — do not. So there are millions of people who only hear the first Fake News report, and never hear when it’s taken back or corrected. It’s no wonder there are a bunch of people who think impeachment is right around the corner. Gaslighting large sectors of the public is a bad thing. The other reason it matters is that, as I’m coming to understand it, holders of broadcast licenses are expected to do their best to be truthful in what they present as “news.” They can put whatever they want under the “opinion” banner, but they’re expected to do due diligence on news. Mistakes are inevitable and understandable, but should be retracted (not deleted, by the way, which they like to do when tweets become embarassing. A retraction leaves the original in place and explains what was wrong). Flat-out lies, or too many mistakes through not even trying to be truthful, are a problem.

A note on Wikileaks: Wikileaks is no more an arm of Russian intelligence than my dog is. That’s just become a catch-all for the establishment: everyone they hate is working for the Russians. Julian Assange is an Australian computer/Internet guy like me (though more skilled) who had a brilliant idea around 2005: a web site where people who wanted to be whistleblowers but were too afraid to go public on their own could safely and securely get the info to someone who could handle it for them. That’s all it is. If you want to blow the whistle on someone, and you’re afraid you’ll end up in a river tied to a concrete block, contact Wikileaks, and they’ll help you get set up to transmit the data to them in a way that keeps you safe. Then they release the data, or if there are legal implications, they hang onto it until those can be worked out. Everything is keyed so the original source can always authenticate it (or prove if it’s been tampered with), and Wikileaks can prove their copy hasn’t changed.

So if Wikileaks did send Don Jr. some info before they released it to the public, there wouldn’t be anything illegal about it. It would just mean someone at Wikileaks wanted to give him a peek. The media could scream and call it a huge scandal (as they did Friday), but there wouldn’t be anything to accuse anyone of.

The CIA hates Wikileaks, for the obvious reason that Wikileaks has embarassed it by releasing documents from CIA whistleblowers. Remember what I said a few weeks ago: the Age of Secrets is over. The CIA runs on secrets (and drugs, but especially secrets). Wikileaks is a direct threat to them — but not just Wikileaks itself, the whole idea of citizens coming forward and exposing corruption at a higher rate all the time. So when someone says Wikileaks is Russian or calls them terrorists, that person is simply parroting a lie from the CIA.

What is Pizzagate – Very Short Version

(This is actually a comment I wrote for another blog, but it went kinda long, so I thought I’d stick it here and link to it.  I’m not going to bother rewriting it to be more like a blog post, because I know it would balloon up to several thousand words.  I’ll save a full treatment of the topic for another time.)

@vicci, I’ll try to keep this short and I’ll only say it once because I know the tinfoil hat stuff bothers people, but it’s going to keep coming up in blinds like this.

It depends on what you mean by “pizzagate.” If you mean allegations that powerful people were selling/sacrificing children in the basement of Comet Ping Pong, then it’s almost certainly false. The place probably doesn’t even have a basement, even though the owner once said in a foodie interview that they store their homemade canned tomato sauce there. But that’s the definition that everyone in the MSM and Wikipedia used to discredit it.

To me, as someone who was involved in the digging early on, “pizzagate” means a huge web of circumstantial evidence: disturbing pictures involving children; influential people with a lot of connections to known, convicted pedophiles and human traffickers; symbols showing up not far removed from those people which the FBI says are used by pedophiles to mark friendly locations (which doesn’t mean the same symbols can’t show up innocently); and so on.

It’s like on an old cop show when they’ve got boxes and boxes of evidence that they’ve hauled in from various locations, pictures pinned to the wall with strings pulled between them to show connections, maps with lines drawn all over, and people being brought in to do lineups and police sketches — and they’re sorting through all this mess looking for the pieces of hard evidence that will make the case. They get to do that behind closed doors in a police station, and then go to court with just the key pieces they need. Pizzagate doesn’t have the behind-closed-doors option, so all that is being done in the open online. A lot of what’s out there probably won’t turn out to be hard evidence of anything, just as most of what the cops sort through doesn’t, but it’s all part of the mess in the meantime.

It started with John Podesta’s hacked emails, some of which really didn’t make sense. We wondered if they were using a code, since this was his Gmail account, not exactly secure, so it would make sense to talk about secret things in code. No one had a clue what the code might mean yet. Researching other people in the emails led to things like Spirit Cooking (don’t look it up while you’re eating), Podesta’s “art,” and pictures of children that might have been passed off as odd-but-innocent until you started putting them together with the rest. It grew from there.

So that’s pizzagate: an open investigation by citizens who were convinced the authorities wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. (There were rumors that the FBI and/or NYPD wanted to do it in the fall of 2016, but they were backed off.) Now this year human trafficking arrests are way up, multiplied several times over previous years, so I think they are doing it now, quietly. Maybe our research is helping; I hope so.

By the way, when I say I was involved in it, it doesn’t mean any more than that.  I’m not a leader — there are no leaders — and there are a lot of people more knowledgeable about it than I.  I’m just someone who got interested, took one piece of evidence, did searches for connections to other pieces of evidence.  That’s how it works.  Get enough people doing that, it produces results.

Last note: some people think we should drop the “pizzagate” term because its been so effectively demonized, and use something like “pedogate.”  Maybe I’m stubborn, but I’m not so sure.  “Pizzagate” catches the imagination.  A lot of people are already aware of it, and although the demonizing may have kept them from looking into it themselves, they may be curious.  People didn’t have to believe in aliens to enjoy the X-Files.  When related news breaks, like another pedophile outed in Hollywood, and we say, “Pizzagate proven right again,” it will tell people there’s good info out there that they were manipulated into avoiding.

Watch the Hands, Not the Cards

So, on Jan. 13, the FBI interviewed General Mike Flynn and told him that the conversations he had with the Russians had been cleared of any wrongdoing. (He’s being charged with lying to them about it, not for what he lied about.) Then on Jan. 14, he lied to VP Mike Pence about the conversations. Why, when they’d been cleared?

Consider this. You’re an investigator, and you want to question several low-level and mid-level mob members, without alerting the high-up bosses that you’re looking into them. How do you do it? If they see their employees stopping by the courthouse, they’ll know something is up.

Consider this too: People who serve in government positions where they may handle classified data are generally required to sign non-disclosure agreements, and may be given gag orders when they leave service. The only way they can ever talk about what they know is to be subpoenaed and required to speak under oath, perhaps under immunity. That’s what happened with the FBI informant I mentioned a couple years ago, who had to have his gag order lifted before he could testify (behind closed doors) about his knowledge of the Uranium One deal. The only other option is to go whistleblower and end up in asylum somewhere like Snowden.

So if you’re the investigator, you have to bring them in and get them under oath, and do it in a way that doesn’t let their bosses catch on. You do it by hauling them in for something else. You have to make it convincing, though. Like with a huge investigation that takes months that everyone thinks is all about the president. You can bring all sorts of people in, put them under oath in private, question them about whatever you want, and then gag them again.

That’s (I think) what’s been going on since January, when the Office of the Inspector General started an investigation that we don’t know the details of yet. Investigating the election at the same time made it possible to bring in all sorts of people who knew about other things. Several have already plea bargained and given evidence, as they work their way up to the bosses.

That’s why Sessions always said he couldn’t comment. It wasn’t because he recused himself, but everyone assumed that’s what he meant. One time he slipped and said he can’t comment on ongoing investigations, but only a few people caught it. Most had already gotten used to discounting him. While they ignored him and watched Mueller, he was busy at work.

Now it’s come out that Strzok was even the one who interviewed Flynn. That means they’ll dismiss his one charge of lying to the FBI. You can’t have that; it’s likely entrapment. It would be like a cop interviewing you about spousal abuse when he’s having an affair with your wife. And of course Flynn lied to the FBI! He knew they were infiltrated top to bottom, and that they were bugging his call! And now he’s going to get to testify to all that. Flynn will come out of this exonerated.

But I still haven’t answered my first question: why lie to Pence, when Flynn knew there was nothing to hide? Because now Pence can be questioned too. Again, a lot of the machinations of the past 11 months have been about getting access to people for questioning without tipping off the targets. Like I said yesterday, now it’s on a platter; they’ve arranged the justification to question everyone involved, as either witness or suspect. They just have to take it.

I didn’t figure all this out for myself; the general theory has been floating around Internet backwaters for months. It explained some things the mainstream assumptions couldn’t: Why is Sessions acting like such a wuss? Why did Flynn want to testify, and why didn’t they let him? Why did Trump interview Mueller for the FBI Director job when he couldn’t take it because of term limits? And so on. But it wasn’t until Strzok got busted that I really believed it, because I could finally see how they get from here to there.  At least enough to start outlining it.

It’s so beautiful I almost tear up a little thinking about it.

Naughty, Naughty Agents

I didn’t think much would happen over the weekend after Friday’s events, but boy howdy.

It turns out that two of the investigators on Mueller’s team, including a Mr. Strzok who led part of it for a while, were sending anti-Trump, pro-Clinton texts back and forth. Oh, and they were having an affair. Mueller found out about one or both of those things and fired them, one in August and one a month later, but never told his bosses in the Dept. of Justice about it. The DoJ got wind and investigated, and yanked their clearances yesterday, effectively firing them from government work. You’re not really allowed to have an affair with a coworker when you deal with classified information every day. (They’re so strict.)

So a lead investigator on Trump and a helper were so anti-Trump they couldn’t keep it to themselves. That completely discredits the whole investigation, at least the parts they worked on.  Everyone has biases, but if you can’t even keep them to yourself, you can’t be objective enough for that job. Not that there’s much to discredit, since they’ve spent ten months and who knows how many millions of dollars to find diddly squat.

But it gets better. The Congressional oversight committee noticed the unexplained firings and has been trying to find out what’s going on. They’ve been demanding answers from the DoJ and the FBI for at least a month, and been blown off. They have a right to know what the DoJ and FBI are doing. So they just told them they expect full answers on their desk by the end of Dec. 4 (Monday), or they could hold them both in contempt. If Congress holds you in attempt, they can send some police (not sure which ones) to haul you in and lock you up until you cooperate, just like a court can. So they want to know what was going on with these two, and why they were secretly removed.

But it gets better. Agent Strzok was also the lead investigator on Hillary’s illegal email server (busy guy). He interviewed her about it, and did not put her under oath or record the interview. The other official present was a DoJ lawyer named David Laufman, an Obama donor. Since it wasn’t recorded, the result of the interview was up to the word of two Clinton/Obama supporters. Comey closed the investigation a few days later.

But it gets better. The Steele/Fusion GPS dossier on Trump, which the GOP establishment had fabricated and then passed to the Democrats who paid for it, came into the FBI through Strzok, and was then used as justification for the illegal bugging of Trump Tower, as well as the FBI probe that led to the investigation of possible collusion over the election in the first place.

I don’t know if it can get any better than that. It’s all on a platter for Congress now — Uranium One, Fusion GPS, the Awans, Benghazi, Fast & Furious (the scandal, not the movies), the still-missing emails, Seth Rich and so many other victims, basically a decade or two of corruption involving both parties as well as some foreign governments. If recent FBI director McCabe is called to testify about his problematic agents, he can be questioned about what happened in Vegas. With Flynn, we might even be able to go back to 9/11, since he did the investigation of why there was no military response that day.

It’s all up to Congress, because they can put people like Flynn and McCabe under oath and require (or allow) them to talk about things that are classified. Might be public testimony, might be private, but either way that’s the only way to get testimony from them. If Congress doesn’t pussy out (always a strong possibility), we’re about to have a wild ride. If they do, I guess we keep investigating and pushing to get the truth out there.  We have far more of the full picture now than we had a year ago, and it keeps coming a little clearer.

Here’s the question for going through the looking glass tonight: why did Flynn lie to VP Mike Pence? The FBI had already said his actions weren’t a problem; he’s only being charged with lying about them. So why lie to Pence about something that wasn’t illegal? No one knows. I think if we knew the answer to that, a lot of things might come clear.

Best timeline ever.