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Net Neutrality


Balsy
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Please note that I am not creating this post as to start a conversation about policy, rather as a means for others to go and research this topic and make informed decisions for themselves.  Though it is not ZIPS related, I do think it is an important topic for all members of online communities to be concerned with.

 

Today FCC Chairman Ajit Pai successfully overturned internet protections known as "Net Neutrality".  In a nutshell, the now overturned protections, prevented internet providers from selectively slowing down/limiting access certain websites.  Internet providers were required to provide an unimpeded access to all content available on the internet.  The minutia of this topic is incredibly boring to talk about at length or in great detail other than to say that it potentially an issue that will affect the internet as we know and currently consume it today.  

 

One other country of note, Portugal, has previous overturned it's protections on Net Neutrality and it's internet packages look something like this:

 

net_neturality1-e1509289851528.png

 

This obviously differs from how we currently consume the internet.  Where anyone of us, right now, can type any website into our browser and go to.

 

I am not creating this post to tell you what to think, or to create a ZipsNation vigorous debate that we've, thankfully, gotten away from over the last couple of months.  I would, however, feel amiss as a part of this online-community to not at least put this topic out there for those who may not know about it, so they can go research it for themselves.

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So what I think you are saying is you would still like to present your opinions but you would not like anyone to challenge you on them.  Gotcha.  Easy not to argue in this case because I agree with you, but if and when I disagree with your viewpoint, I promise to keep my opinions to myself.  Scout’s honor.

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41 minutes ago, Bruce Willis Drummond said:

So what I think you are saying is you would still like to present your opinions but you would not like anyone to challenge you on them.  Gotcha.  Easy not to argue in this case because I agree with you, but if and when I disagree with your viewpoint, I promise to keep my opinions to myself.  Scout’s honor.

 

You're right.  Challenging my opinion that people should go research the topic, and form an opinion for themselves deserves to be challenged.  :rolleyes:

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The very issues that NN will supposedly regulate are already being manipulated by the likes of Goggle and others. All NN does is let the government decide who the winners and losers will be instead of a free market. More lobbiests and bribes to politicians.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcampbell/2017/05/03/the-truth-about-net-neutrality-the-left-and-google/#185730fe3745

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What free market, Hilltopper? There is not a free market for ISPs. In a free market this would self-regulate, but for vast swaths of America there is only one ISP for people to choose from. People living outside cities are not at the mercy of their one choice of a company that connects them to the world, that allows them to find work and conduct business with anyone beyond their own town. You can't even get a fast food job without applying online anymore.

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1 hour ago, Balsy said:

 

You're right.  Challenging my opinion that people should go research the topic, and form an opinion for themselves deserves to be challenged.  :rolleyes:

I am so sorry and I was way out of line.  I connected your obvious anti-NN repeal sentiment and your disdain for vigorous debate and jumped to a false conclusion.  Please forgive me.

 

Is “let me start a thread that I want people to debate but I will say I don’t want them to debate” closer to the real message?  Asking for a friend.

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1 hour ago, ZachTheZip said:

What free market, Hilltopper? There is not a free market for ISPs. In a free market this would self-regulate, but for vast swaths of America there is only one ISP for people to choose from. People living outside cities are not at the mercy of their one choice of a company that connects them to the world, that allows them to find work and conduct business with anyone beyond their own town. You can't even get a fast food job without applying online anymore.

Where in the NN regulations did it say that multiple ISP's had to expand into underserved markets? If anything the NN rules discouraged expansion. Here is a pretty good explantion of both sides of the issue.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/11/28/one-law-professors-overview-of-the-confusing-net-neutrality-debate/

 

"The most notable aspect is that net neutrality has become a social justice cause. Progressive activist groups of all stripes have come to believe that net neutrality is essential to and allied with their causes. I do not know how this happened – but it is frustrating, because net neutrality is likely adverse to many of their interests. One hears lots of stories about how activists are using the Internet, and how small, typically minority-owned, businesses rely on the Internet and therefore on net neutrality. The reality is that there is exceptionally little reason to believe that any ISP would ever do anything to hurt these users. The general animating fear of net neutrality is that ISPs want to move to a “pay-to-play” model, charging those putting content online to deliver that content to users.

But there simply isn’t enough revenue to be generated from charging most of these users to make it worth the ISPs time (not the mention the political costs that ISPs would face if they did). Moreover most of these users do not deliver their own content, but instead rely on third party providers. There are many stories of people producing video content who are worried that net neutrality will make it impossible for them to reach users – despite the fact that most of them use YouTube to deliver the content. And, as I said above, if net neutrality rules decrease investment they hamper efforts to close the digital divide, harming already marginalized and disadvantaged communities.

The most frustrating of these stories, which relates back to the innovation theories above, is that there is a pervasive belief that net neutrality is needed in order for entrepreneurs to enter the market. The concern is that ISPs would charge start-ups a prohibitive amount in order to get access to ISPs’ customers on terms sufficient for start-ups to compete with firms such as Google and Netflix. This is tragic because almost all of today’s big content providers – the Googles and Netflixes – have invested massively in “content delivery networks.” These are networks that allow their content to bypass almost the entire Internet, dramatically improving performance. In other words, they have already paid for prioritization – they just haven’t paid ISPs for that competitive benefit. Start-ups don’t have access to (or need to pay a pretty penny for access to) services such as these. Allowing ISPs to charge for prioritized performance would give start-ups a lower-cost alternative to CDNs that could give them a competitive advantage (or help remedy a competitive disadvantage). The reality is that most start-ups don’t need that sort of performance assistance (so would not be harmed) – but those offering complex-enough services would have access to a valuable new offering.

It also must be noted that for many (most?) people net neutrality is about regulating ISPs. ISPs are reviled. They are known for bad customer service, they always seem to be too slow, they cost too much (especially bad since they’re mere middlemen, not providing anything of value – just access to content providers’ things of value), and when anything on the Internet isn’t working it’s their fault (e.g., if Netflix is down, users blame their ISP, not Netflix). In this context, “net neutrality” is about “having the FCC regulate Comcast so it will have better customer service and I’ll have someone to complain to when Comcast raises its rates.” Never mind that net neutrality has nothing to do with this. This is why many people are in favor of Title II, utility-style, regulation for ISPs. We don’t like ISPs so we should regulate them; end of story.

The last comment that I will make is how I think about this entire issue: it’s just the latest example of a fight between bilateral media oligopolists. “Big content” and “big distribution” have always fought over how to split the rents they extract from consumers, users have always distrusted distributors, and content providers have always used this to their advantage. From this perspective, the net neutrality rules are pure rent seeking by a content/edge industry that had largely captured the previous FCC."

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24 minutes ago, Hilltopper said:

Where in the NN regulations did it say that multiple ISP's had to expand into underserved markets? If anything the NN rules discouraged expansion.

 

NN didn't have anything to do with ISPs moving into under-served markets. But you're severely missing the point of what I'm saying. The internet is essential for participation in society and the economy. And the fact that there is only one choice for many people to connect to the internet, means that there needs to be some protection for those people to prevent ISPs from arbitrarily blocking certain parts of the internet or from performing certain actions. A choice of another ISP to connect to (you know, competition in a free market) would be that protection, but that choice doesn't exist for much of the American population. And so the NN rules were created so that ISPs could not prohibit internet traffic from any website. That's what was just repealed. If anything NN helps small websites, independent blogs, local businesses, and so forth, because the ISPs were forbidden from signing exclusivity agreements with large corporations to direct web traffic only to those companies that can afford to pay off the ISPs.

 

Your stance is completely backwards. What is it you think NN does, in your own words? Not linking me to some blogger's idea or posting a copies wall of text. What do you think?

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It disincentives the exact things you want it to do. There are already remedies available to prevent ISP's from blocking or throttling content. Lawsuits can be filed using existing FCC regulations that were in place before NN was enacted. If the ISP's try to throttle the public outcry will be tremendous. More government regulation is not always the answer to every possible issue in life. 

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5 minutes ago, Hilltopper said:

It disincentives the exact things you want it to do. There are already remedies available to prevent ISP's from blocking or throttling content. Lawsuits can be filed using existing FCC regulations that were in place before NN was enacted. If the ISP's try to throttle the public outcry will be tremendous. More government regulation is not always the answer to every possible issue in life. 

 

If those protections are already in place, I would be in agreement that the NN laws are not necessary. But they are not in place. There is no protection against selective throttling, paywalls for tiered content (think cable TV bundles for different genres of channels), code injection (where an ISP hijacks your web packets to insert or alter the information as they see fit), or back-end peering extortion (see Comcast charging Netflix to be streamed to their customers, even though both the customers and Netflix already pay their own ISPs to connect to the internet and transmit data across the backbone networks).

 

And so what if the public cries out? What are they gonna do? Switch to some other ISP? Even though they only have one in their area? Where will they cry out? Not the internet, because without NN the ISP can inspect their data and filter out anything that criticizes them from reaching its destination.

 

Regulation isn't the answer, eliminating geographic monopolies and allowing new ISPs to come in and compete is the real answer, but without NN, the existing mega-copr ISPs like Comcast and Verizon are now allowed to charge whatever they want if the other startup ISPs want to let their customers access websites that are on the big boys' networks. And so now without NN to enforce all packets as equal regardless of source, destination, or contents, the big ISPs can price out any new competition that tries to enter the market. NN isn't perfect, but it is a solution to allow new competition to enter the market. And now it's going away, without anything to fix the problem it is meant to circumvent.

 

And if you think there are remedies to prevent ISPs from circumventing or throttling traffic, you're wrong. Dead wrong. The big companies have incredible resources at their disposal, and configuring something like packet filtering or DNS redirection on their big routers is trivial. A VPN won't protect you, since they can just gouge prices to connect to all known VPN IP addresses.

 

Perhaps you would be inclined to speak with some of the professors at UA's Computer Information Systems program in the Polsky Building. They're easy to contact and all of them have years of industry experience working in computer networking.

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Thx for bringing this up Balsy..interesting discussion.   My simplified take on this is that if your local electric company also sold lightbulbs, it would be incented to have its lightbulbs get more electricity, and thus burn brighter, giving its lightbulbs an advantage in the market.   This would be fully realizing the benefits of vertical integration.   It would also be an unfair business tie-up and unfair to consumers.   In the absence of many competitors to provide the electricity, and thus balance the utilities advantaged position,  the utility should not be allowed to leverage its position to adversely impact consumers.   The role of government is to prevent things like this.    

I don't want to have tiers of websites like God awful tv bundles.   That's where this will lead.   

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I knew somehow that this would get back to defending the same liberal talking points that we've heard for decades.  We're hearing it today with the complaints about the new tax overhaul too.  

 

This country is seeing much higher GDP growth, stock market records, historically low unemployment, etc., because we have leadership in place that sees American's free market system the way it should be seen.  It's great to see us returning to those principles.  

 

 

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17 hours ago, skip-zip said:

 because we have leadership in place that sees American's free market system the way it should be seen.  It's great to see us returning to those principles.  

 

:rofl:

 

Ajit Pai doesn't care about the "free market system" or principles.  He got a handsome paycheck working at Verizon before becoming FCC chairman, and (mark my words) will likely get hired as a consultant by Verizon and get another fat paycheck after he's FCC chairman.  Verizon doesn't care about the "free market system" or principles either.  Verizon only cares about Verizon, and rigging the market for themselves.  Ajit Pai only cares about Ajit Pai.  And both sit back and collect bank while dismantling the free-market place of the internet, while apologists like yourself defend the illusion that a free market truly exists, as the people you profess to defend dismantle the one thing that actually truly resembles the free-market you profess to love so much.  Irony, at it's greatest.

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Just for shits and giggles, here are some more liberal talking points: Trump's first 10 months lag Obama's (first and second term) economic performance on most measures of economic performance (jobs created, stock market performance, etc)...

 https://seekingalpha.com/article/4115465-trump-bump-compare-obama-effect-stock-market?page=2

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4122338-trump-bump-vs-obama-effect-part-2

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/12/14/comparing-the-trump-economy-to-the-obama-economy/?utm_term=.4e900fc2f087

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johndorfman/2017/10/30/trump-ranks-sixth-in-stock-market-performance-behind-obama-and-clinton/#6162b3b6644a

 

To invert Zippy5's point, I don't think having NN in place since 2015 has damaged the internet has it?  It has allowed things like Netflix and Amazon to thrive which is good for consumers (and bad for the ISPs that have big investments in TV delivery...).   I agree that there is probably too much hyperbole about this-- overturning NN won't cause the downfall of the internet in the near term.  But, I know I don't want my access to data and content on the internet to be metered or priced by what I choose to watch or do, which is what NN protected us from.   

 

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4 hours ago, zippy5 said:

Am I understanding correctly that the laws that were just reversed were put into place in 2015? If so the internet was fine before net neutrality

 

Before that law was put in place, ISPs were considered Title I under the communications act of 1934. But then they challenged in court that the FCC had no authority over them under that classification, and won. So the NN law was passed to classify ISPs as common carriers of telecommunications under Title II. That is what was repealed. So yes, the internet was fine before it passed, but it wouldn't have remained fine because the ISPs had just established in court that they didn't have to treat their customers communications equally. They essentially were about to become a set of regionally exclusive Ma Bells thanks to regional monopoly rights granted to them by state governments in recent years. The only way it would continue to work as it had in the past is if they were classified as common carriers, or if the federal government were to eliminate the states' (and municipalities in cases where the states haven't yet enacted them) rights to create monopolistic contracts with single corporations. NN was the solution to preserve the internet as it had been before the court cases without trampling state rights. And now it's gone, pending a handful of legal challenges that will be interesting to follow as they dig through the FCC's mandated public comment gathering phase looks to have been rigged and abused from both sides, which could invalidate the entire thing since it was based on false information.

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On 12/15/2017 at 12:32 PM, skip-zip said:

I knew somehow that this would get back to defending the same liberal talking points that we've heard for decades.  We're hearing it today with the complaints about the new tax overhaul too.  

 

This country is seeing much higher GDP growth, stock market records, historically low unemployment, etc., because we have leadership in place that sees American's free market system the way it should be seen.  It's great to see us returning to those principles.  

 

 

Right.  The current leadership brought all that about?  Economy was and is humming along.  Corporations aren't suffering.  Tax cuts are historically used to help jump start a faltering economy.  Think about the late 90s and after some tax increases the country went on huge economic growth.   When the economy is going well, why the need to rush tax cuts through?   Why not drop corporate tax to 29% or 30%?  Where is this lost tax revenue going to be made up?  

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27 minutes ago, NWAkron said:

Right.  The current leadership brought all that about?  Economy was and is humming along.  Corporations aren't suffering.  Tax cuts are historically used to help jump start a faltering economy.  Think about the late 90s and after some tax increases the country went on huge economic growth.   When the economy is going well, why the need to rush tax cuts through?   Why not drop corporate tax to 29% or 30%?  Where is this lost tax revenue going to be made up?  

 

The average GDP growth under the previous administration was 1.5%. Already this year, we've seen 3% GDP growth quarters, and possibly 4% to end the year. Based on your argument, we should settle for the 1.5% growth and never strive for better. Furthermore, we are not intended to be a socialist nation, therefore taxes should always be as low as possible. Why are you looking at how to make up for lost tax revenue instead of where the current tax revenue is being spent? To boot, we're $20 trillion in debt (which is double the debt when the previous administration took over, I should mention), so what we are spending, we don't have. Hold our government accountable. Until our debt is ZERO, or at least until our debt clock is counting down instead of up, our economy cannot be considered "good" or "great". Our economy is currently improving, but has A LONG way to go. We need to get back to our capitalist roots and away from the socialist ideology that has doomed (and has never been successful) so many countries throughout our world's history. I digress.

 

Net Neutrality is simply government overreach, and was put in place to give regulatory powers to the government instead of letting the free market decide winners and losers, as Hilltopper previously mentioned. The law was put into place in 2015, 20(?)+ years after it was invented. The internet grew exponentially in that time frame, and was doing just fine. 

 

I am very pro small government. I think many of our issues in the present day USA begin with our dependence, as a society, on government. Therefore, anytime I read "repeal" when it comes to a government action, I'm usually pretty happy; actually, I can't think of a time I haven't been happy. History has proven that government ruins most things it gets involved with.

 

There are two fear-based arguments I've heard in defense of Net Neutrality: 1) ISPs will now have the power to regulate what each of us see, how quickly we see it, etc., supposedly infringing upon our First Amendment rights, and 2) ISPs will now be able to charge us for viewing internet sources. 

 

To debunk the defenses, here are my arguments.

 

1) - Regulation of source visibility has already been taking place, with Google and Facebook censoring Conservative sources. There have been numerous articles on this, and it's additionally proven when searching Net Neutrality via Google; the first "Conservative" source (which happens to be Fox News for me) doesn't show up until page 5. 

 

1) - ISPs would be taking huge risks if they censored certain content. Lawsuits would be abundant, not to mention a presumed huge drop in customers. 

 

2) - In regards to the ISPs charging for the use of internet sources, why shouldn't they be allowed to? The backbone of our capitalist economy is the free market. To apply it to this situation, let's say the only choice in your market is Spectrum. Say their business models show that raising their rates and charging for certain internet source packages is good for their business. That is their right. However, it is also your right to not pay for that service, or to create a rival company to challenge them. Additionally, if other existing companies (Comcast, AT&T, and local companies) see a high rate of customer dissatisfaction, they will probably be inclined to jump into that market and offer their services, thus creating competition and automatically driving down the rates, while improving the product/service quality. The inverse example would be our healthcare system, where there is virtually ZERO market, thus very limited or no competition, thus the incredibly high prices. Not to change the subject, but if health insurance were sold across state lines (like every other insurance is), the competition would drive prices down and improve the product/service quality. Without regulations, small business is allowed to excel, which will also help create competition. Should those companies fail, so be it. They are afforded the opportunity in this great nation to try and try again. Capitalism 101. 

 

2) - As companies such as Netflix and Amazon have been mentioned to have seen massive growth since Net Neutrality, it should be mentioned that these companies were doing just fine before Net Neutrality, which also had nothing to do with their spike in growth post implementation. The Netflix growth is due to multiple factors, including a change in their business model (producing their own movies/shows) and the economic freedom of millennials having the funds to purchase Netflix themselves. Amazon's growth was also based on adjustments to their business model and services, with 2-day shipping via Prime being the icing on the cake. Neither company's success can be attributed to Net Neutrality, but who knows if they could have grown even more under a Net-Neutrality-free, free market. 

 

2) - The fear of monopolies and/or oligopolies being created with the repeal of Net Neutrality are ill-advised fears. Monopolies and oligopolies can be created by the government just as easily, as seen with our healthcare system. This is very simple, and comes down to whether individual companies in a free market are trusted more than government. I, for one, find it very difficult to trust government. Period.

 

Don't look to government to solve problems. Look to government to protect and uphold the basic rights (Constitution) that afford each of us to solve problems on our own. 

Edited by lilroodude
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6 minutes ago, lilroodude said:

 

The average GDP growth under the previous administration was 1.5%. Already this year, we've seen 3% GDP growth quarters, and possibly 4% to end the year. Based on your argument, we should settle for the 1.5% growth and never strive for better. Furthermore, we are not intended to be a socialist nation, therefore taxes should always be as low as possible. Why are you looking at how to make up for lost tax revenue instead of where the current tax revenue is being spent? To boot, we're $20 trillion in debt (which is double the debt when the previous administration took over, I should mention), so what we are spending, we don't have. Hold our government accountable. Until our debt is ZERO, or at least until our debt clock is counting down instead of up, our economy cannot be considered "good" or "great". Our economy is currently improving, but has A LONG way to go. We need to get back to our capitalist roots and away from the socialist ideology that has doomed (and has never been successful) so many countries throughout our world's history. I digress.

 

Net Neutrality is simply government overreach, and was put in place to give regulatory powers to the government instead of letting the free market decide winners and losers, as Hilltopper previously mentioned. The law was put into place in 2015, 20(?)+ years after it was invented. The internet grew exponentially in that time frame, and was doing just fine. 

 

I am very pro small government. I think many of our issues in the present day USA begin with our dependence, as a society, on government. Therefore, anytime I read "repeal" when it comes to a government action, I'm usually pretty happy; actually, I can't think of a time I haven't been happy. History has proven that government ruins most things it gets involved with.

 

There are two fear-based arguments I've heard in defense of Net Neutrality: 1) ISPs will now have the power to regulate what each of us see, how quickly we see it, etc., supposedly infringing upon our First Amendment rights, and 2) ISPs will now be able to charge us for viewing internet sources. 

 

To debunk the defenses, here are my arguments.

 

1) - Regulation of source visibility has already been taking place, with Google and Facebook censoring Conservative sources. There have been numerous articles on this, and it's additionally proven when searching Net Neutrality via Google; the first "Conservative" source (which happens to be Fox News for me) doesn't show up until page 5. 

 

1) - ISPs would be taking huge risks if they censored certain content. Lawsuits would be abundant, not to mention a presumed huge drop in customers. 

 

2) - In regards to the ISPs charging for the use of internet sources, why shouldn't they be allowed to? The backbone of our capitalist economy is the free market. To apply it to this situation, let's say the only choice in your market is Spectrum. Say their business models show that raising their rates and charging for certain internet source packages is good for their business. That is their right. However, it is also your right to not pay for that service, or to create a rival company to challenge them. Additionally, if other existing companies (Comcast, AT&T, and local companies) see a high rate of customer dissatisfaction, they will probably be inclined to jump into that market and offer their services, thus creating competition and automatically driving down the rates, while improving the product/service quality. The inverse example would be our healthcare system, where there is virtually ZERO market, thus very limited or no competition, thus the incredibly high prices. Not to change the subject, but if health insurance were sold across state lines (like every other insurance is), the competition would drive prices down and improve the product/service quality. Without regulations, small business is allowed to excel, which will also help create competition. Should those companies fail, so be it. They are afforded the opportunity in this great nation to try and try again. Capitalism 101. 

 

2) - As companies such as Netflix and Amazon have been mentioned to have seen massive growth since Net Neutrality, it should be mentioned that these companies were doing just fine before Net Neutrality, which also had nothing to do with their spike in growth post implementation. The Netflix growth is due to multiple factors, including a change in their business model (producing their own movies/shows) and the economic freedom of millennials having the funds to purchase Netflix themselves. Amazon's growth was also based on adjustments to their business model and services, with 2-day shipping via Prime being the icing on the cake. Neither company's success can be attributed to Net Neutrality, but who knows if they could have grown even more under a Net-Neutrality-free, free market. 

 

2) - The fear of monopolies and/or oligopolies being created with the repeal of Net Neutrality are ill-advised fears. Monopolies and oligopolies can be created by the government just as easily, as seen with our healthcare system. This is very simple, and comes down to whether individual companies in a free market are trusted more than government. I, for one, find it very difficult to trust government. Period.

 

Don't look to government to solve problems. Look to government to protect and uphold the basic rights (Constitution) that afford each of us to solve problems on our own. 

I'm willing to see how it all plays out, but I can't debate this via my smartphone.  But what's rather cool is that while we diverge politically we both appreciate well-timed time outs and assistant coaches who actually coach!!!

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6 minutes ago, NWAkron said:

I'm willing to see how it all plays out, but I can't debate this via my smartphone.  But what's rather cool is that while we diverge politically we both appreciate well-timed time outs and assistant coaches who actually coach!!!

 

Haha. Yes we do! I like political discussions, and believe they are VERY important, but we've lost the ability as a society to have them rationally. 

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7 minutes ago, lilroodude said:

 

Haha. Yes we do! I like political discussions, and believe they are VERY important, but we've lost the ability as a society to have them rationally. 

I think gerrymandering has broken down our discourse.  As least on the representative level (obviously not senators) the election outcomes are pre-ordained unless there is a "wave" election.  What that means is that calling or emailing your representative is really of no use because they don't really need to be responsive to the public because the seat is "safe."  if districts were split 50/50 or 52/48, the discourse would vastly improve. 

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1 minute ago, NWAkron said:

I think gerrymandering has broken down our discourse.  As least on the representative level (obviously not senators) the election outcomes are pre-ordained unless there is a "wave" election.  What that means is that calling or emailing your representative is really of no use because they don't really need to be responsive to the public because the seat is "safe."  if districts were split 50/50 or 52/48, the discourse would vastly improve. 

 

The corruption level in our government is unreal. Hence why the slogan "Drain the Swamp" was/is so popular. 

 

I actually think the problems derive from the two-party political system our Founding Fathers warned against. We've been divided into Democrats & Republicans, and instead of focusing on the issues, we focus on the parties. Not really a discussion to have in this thread, but it certainly is an interesting one to say the least. 

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