Shades of Gray

Nobody Is Neutral About Net Neutrality

Posted in Free Choice, General, Government, Net Neutrality, Research by Wayland Abernathy III on December 14, 2017

Here is Ben Shapiro quickly discussing why Net Neutrality is not a good thing for consumers.

I do not understand the pro-Net Neutrality logic here. Ben explained this quite succinctly in the 2:35 video above. He has also tackled this issue at greater length in the recent past. Can anyone logically explain why this is getting so many panties and boxers all bunched up?

These “virtual monopolies” of ISPs are thanks to local and state governments that strike deals with these companies. I’m confused why it is no problem to pay extra if you choose to use more water and electricity and gas and groceries and clothing and housing. Folks are getting seriously bent out of shape because they might also pay more if they choose to use the internet more than their neighbor.

If I flush the toilet more than you do, I’m going to pay more for water than you do. If I leave all of my lights on 18 hours a day, I’m going to pay more for electricity than you do. If I eat out every night instead of cooking my own meals, then I will spend more money on food than you do. So it should come as no surprise that if I spend 4-6 hours a night streaming Netflix, I will pay more than you do for internet access.

Allow me to put it this way – people wouldn’t let their local and state governments allow Publix to sign a deal and become the sole provider of groceries for a specific area within city, county, or state limits. That’s crazy, right? Well, that is exactly what we allow to happen to public utilities, which Ben speaks to in the video. I prefer that _more_ competition exists, not less. This competition would provide all of us with more choices of ISPs in our neighborhoods. This competition would result in lower costs. To me, this is the core issue that folks are not even addressing.

And I will also point out that we already have the opportunity to pay more for faster internet speeds if we choose.

See here for a large array of bundles available:

Cox Cable is not at fault because they are the only provider I have access to in my area. I look to the folks responsible for allowing the deal to be done in the first place – local and state governments. Hell, the same business model is in place for water companies, electric companies, and gas companies. Gulf Power is it for me. If I want access to another company’s power, I am out of luck. Same for water – one provider. Why no boggled minds and lengthy posts complaining about such obvious monopolies? This is what we get when the government is left to “protect the people”.

If there was actual competition in the market between ISPs (like there is in South Korea, which has maintained its lead on the Top 10 list of world’s fastest average internet speed at 26.7Mbps for Q1 of 2017) then we would not have this conversation. Ever. Are you surprised that the U.S. entered the Top 10 on this list for the first time during Q1 of 2017? Latvia and The Netherlands got bumped out of the Top 10 by Denmark and the U.S. Yay, I guess.

Forgive me if I choose to disagree with all of the naysayers on this issue. Net Neutrality is not favored by large corporations like Facebook. ISPs favor it. No surprise there. Facebook would like nothing more than to be the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you check before you go to sleep at night. Keeping in mind that you pay for what you consume in all other parts of your life, why is it the end of the Internet that you would also pay more if you consume more bandwidth?

Why Can’t People Do Some Research?

Posted in General, Government, HUD, Research, The VA by Wayland Abernathy III on December 11, 2017

Recently a headline caught my attention. “Trump cuts funding for homeless vet program”. This seemed a bit wonky to me, so I clicked a few keys on my wireless keyboard and whattaya know – that headline is wonky. A lot.

While I’m not a lover of research, I do find it necessary in order to learn about a topic before I spout off about it. I am confused, though. It seems other folks in this world don’t share my desire to know something about a topic before they speak about it.

I just don’t get it. Maybe it is a time thing. Do people not have enough time in their day to pick up their phone and do a quick internet search for whatever it is that just triggered them? Or is it that people think their emotional response is more important than actually learning some new information? Learning is not for sissies, I’ll tell you that.

My 2 minutes of blistering research came up with loads of information. Some background: The HUD-VASH (here’s another link – from the VA – HUD-VASH) program offers vouchers to veterans to assist with housing along with other necessities. It is run by HUD, with case management assistance by the Veteran’s Administration. A Vet applies to HUD, they process the forms, and then ask the VA for their opinion. The VA does more paperwork and approves (or disapproves) the application.

The Trump administration simply reallocated the entire budget ($460 Million+) from HUD to the VA. The only stipulation being the money had to be used to alleviate homelessness among Veterans. The media (and aforementioned folks that didn’t bother to do anything beyond clicking the ‘angry’ emoticon) had a hissy fit.

Can anyone explain to me how eliminating red tape and placing the funding in the agency whose name actually has the word ‘Veterans’ in it is a horrible thing?