FROM Christopher Mitchell
Is "Net Neutrality" Essential to the American Way of Life? The Federal Communications Commission is faced with a crucial decision on open access to the Internet. A survey shows 80 percent of Americans want the FCC to prohibit providers from giving enhanced access to customers that pay more. Now the President agrees . But providers — like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T — say that will discourage innovations and investments that improve service for everyone. As the pressure rises for FCC action, will there be toll lanes on the information super highway.
And the Internet Goes to…the Highest Bidder? On May 15 the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to announce new rules for the Internet. The FCC is proposing new rules that would create a faster transmission for telecom giants who pay top dollar, like Verizon or Comcast, and a slower one for the little guys. Internet activists say that this two-tiered system amounts to a body blow to a long cherished philosophy of net neutrality – the idea that all data on the web should be allowed to flow from data servers to users without discrimination by the network middlemen. Is the agency giving control of our access to corporate interests, or might new regulations create a more competitive market and better service for consumers? Whatever happened to President Obama's promise of a free and open Internet? We hear about "pay to play" broadband and how it might affect innovation and free speech.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.