Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Terrifying Future That's Almost Here

As we look ahead to the fall elections, and the 2016 elections beyond, both the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions from this current excuse for a Supreme Court are weighing heavily on our minds. What's weighing even more heavily is that Americans soon may not have any serious access to honest media - and might only have propaganda from the new American oligarchs instead.

We wish we could say that our comments this day were hyperbole, that looking into the near future of political campaigns in America wasn't like staring into a magic mirror that only spouted lies and a fog of obfuscation.

We can't say that, though.

Just look at the news. Since the Supreme Court effectively removed any serious limits on political campaign financing earlier in the year, the hugely wealthy Koch Brothers and their ironically named political advocacy group "Americans For Prosperity" have spent more than $35 million, just on negative TV ads, trying to slur, slam, and denigrate just four Democratic candidates.

We're not exaggerating when we say that the Koch Brothers and those who stand with them will stoop to any level. The latest example of this was an AFP ad aimed at Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall from Colorado. That ad used a picture of President Obama and Senator Udall, taken from the dark days after the Aurora theatre massacre. The ad creators then photoshopped out the background and used the photo in a totally unrelated and negative context.

Surprisingly, the Koch-backed group was actually able to be shamed enough by the families of the Aurora victims that the Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity changed the ad - but not by much.

You might have heard about this disgusting display on the news or on the internet - though you may not have even that option in the near future.

Even as Comcast is desperately scrambling to sell off assets, so that the Federal regulatory agencies might allow the Comcast/Time Warner merger to slip through, the FCC is also proposing the gutting of Net Neutrality.

That would mean that Internet Service Providers would be allowed to charge higher rates for different kinds of traffic online - effectively legalizing internet highway robbery. The recent dispute between Netflix and Comcast is a perfect example of how a telecom corporation can virtually hold up whomever they want in a world without Net Neutrality, and suffer no consequences.

Under a system without Net Neutrality, if you want to watch a TV show or news program owned by Viacom - for example Comedy Central or the new series on Showtime,'Years of Living Dangerously' - and the only choice for high-speed internet you have is Comcast (who owns NBC), that internet service provider may have the right to slow your viewing access down to a crawl. Unless, of course, you pay whatever extra access fee they decide to charge.

If you thought the recent study that proved that America has become an oligarchy - a nation where only the richest will have any opportunities - was a joke, as we assured you when we first saw it, that fact is indeed very serious, very sad, and a very real indictment of the way our U.S. government is currently working (or not working).

While we can't eliminate the oligarchs today, if you'd like to do something to help keep Net Neutrality alive, we recommend you send your scathing comments to the FCC as soon as their public comment period opens on this issue.

Just don't be surprised if, in the near future, the only ads on your television, tablet, phone and computer are political propaganda filled with hate and lies - and that's the only programming you get on those devices that actually runs smoothly, as we've all come to expect online.

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