Call to Support Net Neutrality (again)

If you live in the US, call your reps and let them know you support net neutrality. Go to this site, put in your phone number and they'll call to connect you with your reps. It took me 3 minutes. It's also good practice talking to your government.

Do it. I don't want to live in a world where my only ISP option presents me with a screen like this:

I've written about this before. Attacking net neutrality attacks both my values as well as my employment. The free market can't help when there's no competition. It's also really scummy that they're trying to use the Thanksgiving holiday as cover for this. Please don't let them hide. Call your reps.


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My Net Neutrality Letter

[Below is the letter I sent to my representative, my senators, and the FCC. Well, I will send it to the FCC when their site stops being overloaded. It seems that John Oliver told the entire internet to Go FCC Yourself and they did. And then someone also spammed the site with purloined identities and anti-Net-Neutrality comments. So the FCC site is a little slow right now. But once it gets back on its feet, this baby is headed right there too.]

I want to voice my support for Net Neutrality. I am a software engineer in your district, and make my livelihood on the open internet.

I can appreciate the concerns of people opposed to Net Neutrality. I agree with them that efficient markets generally provide better outcomes than centralized control for most people. I can sympathize with the attraction of “zero rating” – letting people use some services without counting against their bandwidth. Ideally we should be able to continue to benefit from the phenomenal economic growth that the internet has provided.

Internet service is not an efficient market today. Until it is, we need Net Neutrality. I am fortunate to have 2 high-speed ISPs available to me, which makes me part of the only 10% of Americans with that choice. Markets don’t work when 90% of the consumers don’t have a choice. This Econ 101 principle is clear in an industry that is both highly profitable and consistently hated by their customers.

Net Neutrality also ensures that the internet can stay fertile ground for new businesses. If ISPs are allowed to provide incumbents with exclusive traffic, the cost to disrupt goes up. Would Google or Facebook have been able to grow if they had been crushed in their infancy by Alta Vista and MySpace? I want to ensure that the services I love 10 years from now are able to start today.

Net Neutrality is a key piece to the internet’s economic engine. Please keep the internet a Title II service.

[The John Oliver piece is below, I imagine the FCC is already aware of it so I chose not to include it.]

Entrepeneurs on Obamacare

If you aren’t aware of how the Affordable Care Act makes small business and startups possible, you might want to read these testimonials from Y Combinator startups. The ACA makes entrepeneurship easier. It is a job creator.

Our tax dollars should go to healthcare not just because it is the compassionate thing to do, but also because it is cheaper and more efficient than medical bankruptcies (which we wind up paying more for).

Even if you don’t have a marketplace insurance plan, the ACA has provided some important benefits.

If you oppose the repeal of the ACA, please call your representative and make your voice heard.

If you are indifferent, ask your friends and family whether any of them are at risk of dying or bankruptcy if the ACA is repealed. You may be surprised to learn how important it is to those with pre-existing conditions. I can name a handful off the top of my head that are at risk of never having health insurance again due to pre-existing conditions.

The ACA isn’t perfect (or even that great, compared to most first world countries), but it is better than the Make America Sick Again plan of repeal. Let’s improve it instead of turning back the clock. After all, isn’t iterating & improving what great entrepeneurs do?

Liberals: Stop Whining

I have a few friends on Facebook who are asking something from the anti-Trump crowd: stop whining. Trump won, Hillary lost, so shut up for the next 4 years.

I disagree with Trump’s 100 day plan. I disagree with appointing a climate change denialist to the EPA, the agency leading the charge against the biggest refugee crisis of the 21st century. I disagree with taking health care coverage away from millions of Americans (something considered a right in most of the world). I disagree with a president-elect who thinks so little of the American people that he refuses to answer our questions. I could go on… (I didn’t even mention nuclear weapons)

You are right though, and I agree to stop whining.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to shut up. I will still speak up when I disagree (after asking myself these three crucial questions). But I will also act. Action – that’s the difference between whining and change.

The Indivisible Guide has been a great place to start. It stresses organizing to hold your congressional reps accountable (which includes celebrating them when they do right), and making phone calls.

To that end I’ve also just signed up for Daily Action. I hear good things about it and am eager to see what kind of actions they offer. I think I can guess today’s action, since the new Republican Congress’ first order of business was to remove independent ethics oversight.

Finally, I’ll be taking care of myself. I remember the Bush years and outrage fatigue is real. That means working on myself, spending time with my family, friends, and hobbies, and remembering that politics is a means and not an end. We can still be friends even if we disagree.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum