Activism All Writing Mental Health Politics Prose Response Thoughts Transgender

Carrying on

Good morning friends. I am in a very contemplative state this week, but especially today. Today being election day in the US. We have a very broken system, that cannot be denied. The powers that be tell us it is a Democracy, which is nothing but a pipe dream, we are much closer to an Oligarchy, and our current President would have it be a Monarchy or a Facist state with him and his family as the “Dear Leaders.”

There are so many human rights that are being put on the ballot with this election…which, to be perfectly frank, is a load of bullshit. Human rates should not be up for debate, they should not be along party lines, or linked to politics at all. They should just be standard. If you are an human, you get the same rights. This, however, is not the case, at least in the US.

If it were, there would not be this massive dread and (as) extreme polarization between Democrats and Republicans. I am not going to use left and right, because, while that may have been the case in the past, decades of the right moving further right, and the left bowing and scraping and making nice has moved them out of “The Left,” and deep into centrist territory. I am not a Democrat, haven’t been in a very long time, but at least their main party lines don’t want me dead and forgotten.

Onto the human rights that are on the ballot today. We have so many that are being infringed upon, as the BLM protests, Children in cages, families being separated (and parents not being able to be found), rape and molestation victims being forced (in some states) to carry a literal reminder of one of their greatest (if not the greatest) traumas to term and care for it…

But that is not the ones that I am going to focus on. As I am trans and a lesbian there are more than enough rights that may be ripped away from me and my siblings.

The LGBTQIA+ community has been a focus of this administration literally from day one, starting with removing all references to us from the White House website the day Trump was sworn into office in 2017, and many more, including trying to make it illegal for same sex couples to be able to adopt.

However, the focus of this piece is going to be on the transphobic bigotry that will likely become legal if Trump is elected for a second term, as these will directly affect me.

One of the biggest human rights violations that this administration has tried to push through was allowing healthcare workers to deny care to trans people. Whether this is because of their religious beliefs, bigotry, or any other reason, this is scary, and a very slippery slope. If I am in a car accident and need lifesaving care, and the EMTs don’t want to save my life, I don’t want to suffer the same fate as Tyra Hunter did in 1995 in Washington DC.

She was a Black Trans Woman whose car was hit by someone that ran a red light, and the EMTs stopped working on her when they realized that she was trans, even with bystanders yelling at them to help her. She only received care after the supervisor arrived, over 5 minutes after they had stopped administering care. She ended up dying an hour after arriving at the hospital, and was misgendered even on being admitted as a “Justice Doe.”

This could become the norm if Trump’s administration had their way and he is re-elected. Go to the hospital with heart problems, cancer, or a broken bone, they find out you are trans and will not treat you. They will not directly kill us, but allowing people’s bigotry and religious conviction be the guide will kill a lot of trans (and intersex) people.

In addition, if this administration had their way, we would be placed in lockup/jails/prisons with people of our AGAB (Assigned Gender At Birth), having to use the wrong bathroom, etc. even after legally changing our name, gender, and medically transitioning. They use the Transphobic Dog Whistle that “Biological Males,” in a women’s space (completely disregarding trans men and non-binary people) are going to rape/attack other women. The facts of the matter are that trans women (especially black trans women) are sexually assaulted in higher percenta(by a huge margin) than our cisgender counterparts, and if a cisgender man wants to rape a woman, he is not going to bother dressing up as a woman, he is simply going to rape her. A sign on a door is not going to stop him.

Being able to have stable housing and income is something that everyone wants and works towards. This administration does not want that for trans people. Removing gender and gender identity as a protected class in the DOJ gives them an edge to do it nationally, and gives them (and others) precedent. Most states in the US do not have protections for their trans workers. If someone wants to fire you for being trans (or LGBTQIA+ at all), there is not a damn thing you can do about it. SCOTUS did rule that being LGBTQIA+ people are protected from workplace discrimination, however if you are not a part of a union (which most people are not) they can make up other reasons or just fire you because “It just isn’t working out,” or “you just aren’t a good fit,” even if there were no problems with your work, you could be fired for being trans, without being fired for being trans.

This extends to housing. Most states (the only one that I know of that does have protections is NY state) have zero protections for being evicted for being trans. In addition to that, HUD (With Ben Carson at the head) proposed a new rule that would allow emergency shelters to not allow trans people to be housed with people of their gender (using the same transphobic dog whistle as prisons/bathrooms), instead forcing them to be housed with people that have the same AGAB, or deny service completely.

All of this is completely outside of the realm of the very real threat of sexual or physical assault or murder which trans people (Black Trans Women, in particular) face for just being themselves. There have been 35 murders of trans, non-binary, and Gender Non-Conforming people in the US in 2020 so far (more than any year before with 2 months left in the year), and that is not counting the ones that are mis-identified and mis-gendered in death or their families do not allow them to be identified as trans. The number is probably much higher than that.

In addition, the Gay/Trans Panic defense is still a valid legal defense in 39 states. This basically states that finding out that someone is gay or trans can be so shocking that you go off the rails and react violently. It is essentially saying that because of the cishetnormativity of the world, being outside of that is so earth shattering that violence and murder are valid reactions. It is also continuing the rule of victim blaming and excusing white cis men’s behavior (the majority of the people that kill trans people are from that demographic) that our country has made the rule in assaults, no matter the victim.

With Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court, there are a lot of rights which would be able to be ripped away, not the least of which is for Gay/Bi/Lesbian people to marry (if it is a same sex marriage). I am a lesbian, and I am legally Female, so I could personally be affected by this when I am ready to marry another woman. It is also important to note that the right to marry was only given to LGBT+ people five years ago.

This may sound dramatic, but given this administration’s push this summer to ban same-sex couples from adopting children, I do not believe that it is a far leap from that to removing the ability to get married.

So, when people say “Agree to disagree,” or “Different political opinions,” I cannot take them seriously, and know that they are just so privileged that they have never had to deal with their rights being ripped away and their existence and human rights being made into a political tool that can change with every administration.

This administration has done absolutely everything that it can to reduce our ability to live happy, productive lives.

So, this article has been all gloom and doom, and what might happen, and for some people, that might send them into a place where they are unable to move/act. That is not the case for me, and I hope for you. I am MORE incensed to push for change, to hold people (locally, regionally, nationally, and globally) accountable for their atrocious and abhorrent behavior and treatment of trans people (and LGBTQIA+ people as a whole), and to be even more visible, out and proud. I don’t want one more person killed because of who they are or feel that there is no hope for them and end it all because they see the bigotry rampant in our world, whether it is because of the color of their skin, their sexuality, or their gender.

If you are trans, you know most of these things already, as you live it. If, however, some (or all) of these things are surprising/shocking to you, I have a challenge for you.

  1. Reach out to your LGBTQIA+ friends and family, make sure that they are OK.
  2. Stay informed about the laws that are being passed/debated (both in your state and nationally).
  3. Call your elected officials and tell them that you do not support (or you do, if they are protecting rights instead of stripping them away) this particular laws.
  4. Hold these officials accountable to their campaign promises, and do nopt back down.
  5. Support your LGBTQIA+ friends and family as needed. They may not feel comfortable with opening up to you, but they may. I know that having people that actually give a shit has been so important for me when these atrocious laws are being passed and these abominable bigotry and fake science is being spewed from elected officials and people that have no idea what being trans is, and think it is a kink or has anything to do with sexuality.
  6. Hold your friends and family accountable and correct them when they parrot the vitriolic garbage that transphobes want people to think is fact.

We are tired of having to defend our identities and our right to exist. Please, just help us.

Let this inspire you and incite you to help us, and help yourselves.

I will leave you with this:

~Justice Faye Dazzle


All Writing Family Mental Health Politics Prose Response Suicide Thoughts Transgender

I am a Trans Woman, and this is why

So, a friend asked me today why I identify as a trans woman instead of as just a woman, because it seems like I am separating/sub-categorizing  myself. I could have just commented, but instead, I decided to write it out thoughtfully. There are many reasons, and it is a choice I made, and make on a daily basis to continue.

Preface: This is only my experience and opinion. I do not speak for every trans person that identifies this way, simply for myself.

That being said, here goes:

Trans is an adjective, like tall or smelly. It is a descriptor of the kind of woman I am. I use Trans Woman as my descriptor/identity for a multitude of reasons. They are many and varied. I will attempt to list them all out in the best way that I can.

First, because I don’t have the same experiences as an AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) Woman, it feels like I am taking something away from myself and my identity if I drop the Trans. Also, because I didn’t have those experiences, I feel more like I am an awkward 13-16 year old girl in a 34 year old’s body.

I didn’t get to experiment with makeup, dish and giggle with the girls about the stupid things the boys did that day, grow into my body in the way that they did, etc. I also didn’t have to worry about someone assaulting me, following me home, having my keys in my hand walking across the parking lot, not going certain places after dark, having a code word with friends when going out, etc. These are all things that separate my experience from an AFAB women’s.

I also don’t feel that I am fully worth of the “title,” of just woman. Most of the strongest people (and most of my heroes) are women who have been through uninimaginable horrors and trauma that were inflicted upon them by people that have bodies that are like mine (at least until I started on HRT [Hormone Replacement Therapy]).

Even though I never did those things, or ever even related to Men’s ways of thinking or acting, I have the same body, and got the same treatment  that they did for my entire life up until not that long ago. It feels like I am taking something away from their experiences and struggles if I claim the identity of Woman.

In addition, I had to work so hard and do so much soul searching, deal with the pain that I did, make myself a limited version of myself, and finally get to a point of breaking out of my cute boy shaped costume in order to get to this moment.

That is not the experience that a cisgender woman had or ever will have. That separates us in a way that I cannot ever traverse (no matter how much I wish I could sometimes). I am a woman forged in fire, pain, loss, struggles, and rebirth in a way that a non-trans woman will ever experience. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just the fact of the matter.

Also, because I am strong enough. I don’t say that out of ego, I have had a rough life, and a lot of people would not have survived to get to this point. I put myself in a lot of dangerous situations that should have killed me because of the pain I was in. Most people have 1 or 2 situations that they could or should have died…I can’t even count them. They probably number in the hundreds. I beat my body up for years in a multitude of ways, actively had a death wish for about 5 years, acted without thinking because I just didn’t care whenther I lived or died, told people to shoot me or stab me (they didn’t), spent time with severely unhinged people that had done serious time for intense violent crimes that they had no remorse over, and many other dangerous situations that your average person wouldn’t have ever thought about putting themself in, let alone actievely sought them out. I was also actively suicidal for significant periods of time. I never did anything about it, because I couldn’t force myself to do it, but there were months where I thought about killing myself every day.

So, I am strong enough to take it. Anything that bigots and transphobes  care to throw at me is nothing to compare to what I put myself through.

I do this, and am as visible as I am for many reasons.

First, for every person that doesn’t know a trans person and judges them, makes fun of them, laughs at them, etc. Maybe if they see me or talk to me, I can change their mind.

Secondly, for the trans people that have to deal with bigots and transphobes in every aspect of their life. If they can see me living my life 100% authentically, maybe it gives them the strength to hold on long enough to live their lives without fear and get out of the oppressive  situations that they are in currently.

Thirdly, because of white privilege. Trans people as a whole are one of the most victimized, brutalized, and oppressed people in the world, second only to Trans People of color. Because of the color of my skin, I can say things, do things, and be safe in situations that my siblings cannot. If I were to ignore that, I would be willfully ignorant, and I don’t know if I could ever forgive myself for doing that.

Lastly, for trans kids. I do what I do so that they will live long enough to become beautiful, strong, and vibrant Trans adults. Full fucking stop.

I have no bones about knowing that me being as visible, outspoken, proud, and happy as I am angers some people, and some of them may wish me harm, pain, and death. That’s fine. I don’t like it, don’t accept it, and will not let it stop me from living my most authentic life.

If one trans person lives to die of old age, and not murder or suicide, because of my actions and visibilty, then it is 1,000,000,000% worth it.

I am also, not blind to the fact that I may be the victim of a transphobic  hate crime because of my visibility, outspokeness, authenticity, words, and actions. I may be killed or brutalized  at some point. I have made my peace with that.

One of my (blood) siblings said that they (not their pronouns, but to protect their anonymity, I am using gender neutral pronouns) were worried I would die within 5 years. Honestly, when I read that message, I thought to myself, 5 years of finally living as myself and being happy? Instead of the 30+ years of pain and suffering that I had prior?

There is no comparison to my life today to what it was even 5 years ago, and I would die peacefully knowing who I am.

So, to my friend, and anyone who read this far, those are the reasons that I identify as a trans woman instead of a woman.


– Justice Faye Dazzle

All Writing Poetry Politics Random Response Thoughts

The Modern Day Philosophy

This is a poem that I wrote for my Critical Thinking class that I took back in 2006. Originally posted on my DeviantArt.

People today don’t like to think
No one uses their brains anymore, in fact, they’re starting to stink,
Everyone watches the TV news,
Hell! The U.S government gives her citizens their views.

Bush and his lackeys tell us what to believe,
That should be reason enough to grieve,
The information that we receive,
Is given to us, only after it has been filtered through a sieve.

In order for us to find out the truth
We must all get out of our personal soundproof booth,
And find out all the sides of the issues,
We must pick and choose,
To glean the truth out of the subterfuge, of our government,
To fix the huge hole that has been rent,
In the real truth of the matter in our society;
To bring about in our world a sobriety,
We need to cut through the web of falsehood,
To decipher the full picture, we must experience both bad and good.

How do we solve this quandary???
We need to pull out our dirty laundry
And air it out in the bright sunlight,
To find the truth, you need both wrong and right.

Our world as a whole, as I am sure you know,
Has sunk to a blissful new low.
Can we stop this flood of ambivalence?
Is there any way to help it all make sense?

There is a way to remove this poison that we
Have been drinking,
The antidote is a splash of Critical Thinking,
A buoy is rising, helping us float,
Lifting us high enough to grab this monster by the throat.

Get behind it, give a twist,
Until its head begins to list,
Pull out your knife, give a slice,
Until its skin feels like ice.

But Wait! Before this evil is laid to rest in his eternal bed,
There is one more thing to do to make sure that he is dead.
Jump upon him
As his eyes become dim
Open your mouth, take a bite,
You have become the victor of this fight
As you sit there, you feel a warm, invigorating rain
For in your teeth, you hold the monstrous beast’s most vital jugular vein!

All Writing Politics Prose Response Thoughts

Response to 2015 State of the Union

As most of you are aware, last night was the President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. It was filled with hope, togetherness, and some new ideas. It was, however, also ridden with inaccuracies. I am not going to say that it was incorrect in its entirety, or that Obama is living in a pipe dream, as some others have, but there were some key points that were mis-represented. Those are the things that I am going to focus on. I will not simply paraphrase his words and state an opinion based on that, I will directly quote from the transcript, which can be found in many locations across the web. If you want to read it for yourself, here is where I read it and am copying it from.

Here goes:

The first point that stood out to me was the example he used to about the family that went through hard times.

“America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.” While that is great, for this family, what about all of the other families who when this kind of financial insecurity hits, they end up homeless, having used up all of their unemployment, or, still have unemployment, but it isn’t enough to get by? I have known many people who, the only reason they are on the street is because of one big, unexpected emergency expense or lay off. While this is a touching story, it is not even close to being representative to what happens in a situation like this.

Next, we have education. Obama talks about our improvement, “We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.” While that may be true, I, personally wouldn’t be bragging about being 14th in education, as a whole, 14th in math, and 25th in reading, respectively. This is not something to be shouting from the rooftops about. Who is #1, you may be asking? None other than South Korea. This is a country that, in the 1950s was one of the poorest in the world. in about 50 years, they have gone from bottom of the barrel to top dog (at least in education).

The next point Obama talked about that is not completely valid is his statement, “Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts.” What he is talking about, I believe, is the Dodd-Frank Law. This is a law, passed in 2010 that, supposedly, will make taxpayer funded bailouts a thing of the past, and “Too Big to Fail,” a relic of the past. There is, however, language that gives banks and other corporations plenty of other tools that give them advantages over your mom and pop shops. The other options they have include “liquidation, receivership, a division of the institution into a good and bad bank, with the former to be run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), selling the good bank to another bank or recapitalization. Fears of counterparty risk and former bondholders carrying equity of questionable value could engender a sale of its and its competitors’ shares.” (Via Investopedia) This “New Tool,” is more a new tool for big corporations to keep their money and avoid failure, while giving the illusion of limiting them.

Going right into his next point, “Middle-class economics works.” First off, Middle-Class economics is something that the current administration pulled out of thin air a short time ago. It sounds good to blue collar workers, because it makes it seem as if their representatives have them in mind, but even if you use the definition that Obama used last night, it has failed before it was even a term. “The nation’s median income remains lower than it was when the Great Recession ended, $52,000 at the end of 2013 compared to $54,400 at the end of 2008 in today’s dollars.” (Via The Washington Post) The fact remains, the United States Government is giving more priority to business, and exactly the same to their constituents.

“We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.” While, that is great, and thanks for that, what about large businesses? They get larger tax breaks, they have legislation that will protect them, they outsource manufacturing to China and Singapore, where is their plan to raise wages?

While there were lots of good ideas, and pipe dreams being touted and spouted last night, I didn’t hear any solutions…did you? What do you think? Did I miss something? Let me know.

-Wiggums, The Wanderer

All Writing Politics Prose Random Thoughts Uncategorized

From the Archives: Why Marxism Failed

This is a paper that I wrote in College, originally posted on my LiveJournal on April 5th, 2005


Karl Marx believed that man, when civil society is abolished will be in a perfect free state, namely, that of Communism. For Marx, all of humanity is altruistic, a devotion to others or to Humanity (The New Webster Dictionary), and will do what is right for the other members of a society. Marx must have simply been ignoring what was staring him in the face, as both the state of affairs in Germany at the time he was writing and World History were the complete opposites of altruism. Man is selfish and egotistical. The Communist society, which is based on the idea that man is altruistic, would never and will never work anywhere except in the theoretical realm of Marx’s mind
Marx states that once distribution of labor is destroyed and a Communist state comes into being,
Society… thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic. (Page 160)

He also says that you will go down to the factory and have the machine make shirts, pants, shoes and blouses as they are needed. Well this is all fine and dandy if everything goes according to the perfectly structured plan, but what if you have people that like hunting, fishing, rearing cattle, criticising, playing baseball, writing poetry or something else, and they really do not like cutting hair or plumbing? If this is a society of normal human beings, then he is going to do the thing that he enjoys and not the grunt work. As Marx says on page 156, “life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing, and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself.” So, once man is “Free,” then all he has to worry about is how to take care of these needs, and if man is the same as he was before the Communist revolution, then he won’t worry about everyone else, he will just look out for number one. He is going to do what he wants to and not worry about all of the other things that need to be done in order for the society to go according to Marx’s plan. If there is a society of one-hundred thousand citizens and eighty thousand of them would rather do what they want instead of what the guidelines for the society says that they should do, then we have a society of unequal citizens, or even, individuals. Marx seems to think that as soon as man is placed within the Communist society the entire race will change its nature and that once the Bourgeois is overthrown, they will not simply see this as an opportunity to grab property for themselves and not give it to the society. Marx thinks that Man is simply an economic being, and that once money and classes are done away with, people are going to want to be equal to everyone else, when, in fact, man is a being that always wants to have an edge over his fellow man so that he is thought better of, both by others and by himself.
Property is part of economy and, according to Marx, man is an economic being. So, Marx is mistaken that when the pecuniary aspect of economy has disappeared that man will not try to acquire as much property for himself as possible. There will always be more misers that do not want to give up all private property, because no man wants another to have an edge over him and that part of Human Nature will not be given up at the drop of a hat. It is the same with the government, if the government has all of the power in the society the control over every person, all property, and what they say goes, everyone will want to have a position in the government, as it gives the mass man all of the power that he could ever want. Once that power is gained, no one in their right mind would want to give it up. All that they would need to do is just not go and hunt or fish or go to the factory.
Marx states on page one-hundred sixty-one that, “Social power… they thus cannot control, which on the contrary passes through a peculiar series of phases and stages independent of the will and the action of man, nay even being the prime governor of these.” So if the social power, or the government is something beyond the mass man and in Marxist society all men are mass men then the government and the outlines of Communist society will be beyond everyone’s comprehension. This will, in turn, lead to a society in which everyone is free to do whatsoever they please, but no one knows the reason that they are in this government and social structures, or, indeed, no one knows what the government or social structures are anymore. So, there is no God to govern morality and there is no government to rule over what is correct and incorrect in the society as man, “cannot control,” and they are ignorant of the functioning of the government, or if it is functioning at all. So, by logical conclusion, if you take what Marx says, from a society that is Communist it disintegrates into Anarchy. As, part of the definition of anarchy is political confusion, and if confusion does not come from the loss of God, loss of class structure, loss of individuality, and loss of a government that is understandable, then I do not know what confusion is.
Order tends towards chaos and chaos tends towards order. These seem like two contradictory statements but they are two intertwined truths. As order is brought about, it gives rise to chaos and vice versa. A perfectly ordered society, like Communism, will lead to uprisings and discontent, and a society of discontent will tend towards an ordered system. A prime example is that of the society in Germany that Marx was writing against. Aristocrats, Bourgeoisie, and Proletariats; an ordered society that in its form at the time of Marx was ordered so that nothing should have gone amiss, but from the order…Chaos ensued.
Marx made a mistake that other political philosophers have made, namely, a reduction of man. Helvetius, Locke, Calvin, Hobbes and others all thought, along with Marx, that they could reduce man to one quality and make a perfect society for man. However, they could not have succeeded, as man is not simply a being with one quality, but hundreds. You cannot impose a new system upon man that only serves the purpose of one aspect of a complex race and expect that man will just fall into it perfectly content with the system. T. S. Eliot, in his essay, Tradition and The Individual Talent, talks about poetry, in the sense that you cannot have a complete break with Tradition and still be within poetry, tradition links the past, present, and future. Although Eliot was writing about poetry, you can apply this idea to political structures as well. A complete break with tradition cannot, and will not, work with either poetry or societies, as there is a reason that certain aspects of poetry, and of society hold through the ages. “These are principles that every man, of every race can embrace! (Boondock Saints – The Movie)” They are things that, in society, relate to the beggar, the shopkeeper, the public official, the business mogul, the C. E. O., and the leader of a nation. When Marx creates a totally new system, breaking irreparably with tradition, he also removes those qualities that people can relate to. That is why Communism will never work out and The United States, whose Declaration of Independence was written, “Of the people, by the people, and for the people,” this is a statement proclaiming that this nation’s laws are those that are for every American and that they can all stand behind. With Communism, there is nothing of the sort.
Communism was inherently flawed. What with altruism, reductionism, believing that it was for everyone, and its breaking with tradition, there is no way that Marx’s idea of the perfectly free society could ever work. Man is too complex a being to ever accept something so different. With Communism, you are free, but at the same time your Humanity is suppressed. Abolishment of civil society would also be an abolishment of the possibility of man’s changing and improving the world in which he lives.

All Writing Politics Prose Random Response Tech Thoughts Uncategorized

From the Archives: Net Neutrality Part 2

Originally Posted on Nov 25th, 2009.


So after I read that, this issue has consumed a good chunk of my waking hours. I cannot believe that this would even be an issue here in the USA, “The land of the free and the brave,” this would seem to be something more in line with The People’s Republic of China’s take on the internet (such as this interesting factoid, or even more disturbing, this act of censoring information). It seems, however that, because internet stores and businesses have surpassed physical locations, in revenue, especially internet advertising companies, as illustrated in this pdf, this is an issue that we must be concerned about!

As Paul Erdman once said “The entire essence of America is the hope to first make money — then make money with money — then make lots of money with lots of money.” This is true, at least in big business, and what better way to make lots of money than to make sure that your URL loads 10, 100, or 1,000 times faster than all of your competitors? I cannot think of one, for if your URL is the fastest loading, in this age of faster is better, then it won’t matter whose product is better, because people will not use the “other guy,” and soon, the “other guy,” will not exist to keep prices down.

If The Internet Preservation Act of 2009 does not pass, there are so many things that will crumble into rubble…I get depressed just thinking about it.

Please sign this petition to help stop Big Business from getting its way!


All Writing Politics Prose Random Response Tech Thoughts Uncategorized

From The Archives: Net Neutrality: Part 1

Originally Posted on Nov 25, 2009.


Last week, I discovered This page and immediately signed the petition, as this is something that is of the utmost import. For those of you who do not know what Net Neutrality is even about, I will begin at the beginning.


Taken from their FAQ:

What is this about?

When we log onto the Internet, we take a lot for granted. We assume we’ll be able to access any Web site we want, whenever we want, at the fastest speed, whether it’s a corporate or mom-and-pop site. We assume that we can use any service we like — watching online video, listening to podcasts, sending instant messages — anytime we choose. What makes all these assumptions possible is Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Net Neutrality simply means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

Net Neutrality is the reason the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation and free speech online. It protects the consumer’s right to use any equipment, content, application or service without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not to choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

Learn more in Net Neutrality 101.

Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality?

The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.

They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. And they want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking services offered by their competitors.

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of a level playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those of big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.

The big phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk.

Is Net Neutrality a new regulation?

Absolutely not. Net Neutrality has been part of the Internet since its inception. Pioneers like Vint Cerf and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, always intended the Internet to be a neutral network. And non-discrimination provisions like Net Neutrality have governed the nation’s communications networks since the 1920s.

But as a consequence of a 2005 decision by the Federal Communications Commission, Net Neutrality — the foundation of the free and open Internet — was put in jeopardy. Now, cable and phone company lobbyists are pushing to block legislation that would reinstate Net Neutrality.

Writing Net Neutrality into law would preserve the freedoms we currently enjoy on the Internet. For all their talk about “deregulation,” the cable and phone giants don’t want real competition. They want special rules written in their favor.

Isn’t the threat to Net Neutrality just hypothetical?

No. By far the most significant evidence of the network owners’ plans to discriminate is their stated intent to do so.

The CEOs of all the largest telecom companies have been clear about their plans to build a tiered Internet with faster service for the select few companies willing or able to pay exorbitant tolls. Net Neutrality advocates are not imagining a doomsday scenario. We are taking the telecom execs at their word.

So far, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. But numerous examples show that without Net Neutrality requirements, Internet service providers will discriminate against content and competing services they don’t like. This type of censorship will become the norm unless we act now. Given the chance, these gatekeepers will consistently put their own interests before the public good.

The cable and phone companies already dominate the broadband marketplace. And when network owners start abusing their control of the pipes, there will be nowhere else for consumers to turn.

Isn’t this just a battle between giant corporations?

No. Our opponents would like to paint this debate as a clash of corporate titans. But the real story is the millions of everyday people fighting for their Internet freedom.

Small business owners benefit from an Internet that allows them to compete directly — not one where they can’t afford the price of entry. Net Neutrality ensures that innovators can start small and dream big about being the next EBay or Google without facing insurmountable hurdles. Without Net Neutrality, startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web.

If Congress turns the Internet over to the telecom giants, everyone who uses the Internet will be affected. Connecting to your office could take longer if you don’t purchase your carrier’s preferred applications. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl. Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip, or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to pay-for-speed schemes.

Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips, silencing bloggers and amplifying the voices of the big media companies. Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers that ask advocacy groups or candidates to pay to join the “fast lane.”

What else are the phone and cable companies not telling the truth about?

AT&T and other telecom giants have funded a massive misinformation campaign, filled with deceptive advertising and “Astroturf” groups like Hands Off the Internet and

Learn how to separate the myths from the realities in our report, Network Neutrality: Fact vs. Fiction.

What’s at stake if we lose Net Neutrality?

The consequences of a world without Net Neutrality would be devastating. Innovation would be stifled, competition limited, and access to information restricted. Consumer choice and the free market would be sacrificed to the interests of a few corporations.

On the Internet, consumers are in ultimate control — deciding between content, applications and services available anywhere, no matter who owns the network. There’s no middleman. But without Net Neutrality, the Internet will look more like cable TV. Network owners will decide which channels, content and applications are available; consumers will have to choose from their menu.

The free and open Internet brings with it the revolutionary possibility that any Internet site could have the reach of a TV or radio station. The loss of Net Neutrality would end this unparalleled opportunity for freedom of expression.

The Internet has always been driven by innovation. Web sites and services succeed or fail on their own merits. Without Net Neutrality, decisions now made collectively by millions of users will be made in corporate boardrooms. The choice we face now is whether we can choose the content and services we want, or whether the broadband barons will choose for us.

What’s happening in Congress?

In August 2009, Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458). This landmark legislation would protect Net Neutrality under the Communications Act, safeguarding the future of the open Internet and protecting Internet users from discrimination online.

Urge your member of Congress to support this important piece of legislation today!

The coalition also applauds the recent passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The law, which allocates $7.2 billion to expand broadband access and adoption, attaches open Internet conditions to all broadband networks built with public funds.

But these conditions only apply to the broadband lines built with federal stimulus money. We need to make Net Neutrality the law of the land to ensure that all networks are open and free from discrimination. That’s why the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458) is so important. Take action today to pass this bill and to make Net Neutrality the law.

Who’s part of the Coalition?

The Coalition is made up of hundreds of groups from across the political spectrum that are concerned about maintaining a free and open Internet. Click here to see a list of coalition members.

No corporation or political party funds our efforts. We simply agree to a statement of principles in support of Internet freedom.

The coalition is being coordinated by Free Press, a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Please complete this brief survey if your group would like to join this broad, bipartisan effort to save the Internet.

Who else supports Net Neutrality?

The supporters of Net Neutrality include leading tech companies such as, EBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Skype and Yahoo. Prominent national figures such as Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig and Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps have called for stronger Net Neutrality protections.

President Barack Obama himself pledged to “take a back seat to no one” in his commitment to Net Neutrality. And the administration’s technology policies now posted on the White House Web site list Net Neutrality as the top priority.

Editorial boards at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Times, St. Petersburg Times and Christian Science Monitor have all have urged Congress to save the Internet.

What can I do to help?

Sign the petition and tell Congress to pass Net Neutrality legislation now.

Show your support for Internet freedom on your Web site or blog.

Tell your friends about this crucial issue before it’s too late