I was deliberating what to write about this morning over my morning cup of coffee. A part of me wanted to write about Donald Trump as a way to compliment the article I wrote about Barack Obama two days ago. Yet another part of me wanted to steer clear of politics on Thanksgiving and write a more heart warming missive about the importance of being present for your family instead of buying presents. But after scanning the pages of the various corporate media headlines and realizing the scant attention that is being paid by the yellow journalists that populate mainstream media about the BIG news from last evening, I settled on the topic to write about today.
The BIG news from last evening is of course the fact that the FCC decided to end net neutrality and in the process take a Wall Street ax to free speech and free press. The dye has thus been cast, the vote coming up in December is nothing but a kabuki dance. Endorsed by the Verizon lackey and corporate whipping boy Ajit Pai, the death of net neutrality is the latest attempt by plutocrats to have an absolute monopoly on both the creation and dissemination of information. Six corporations, and by extension six people, already own and have direct control of more than 90% of the news and data the public consumes. Not satisfied with Joseph Stalin like level of info dominance, corporations are intent on hijacking the public square by any means necessary and killing off independent journalists and non-affiliated media outlets in the process.
There truly is no end to the vile of depraved men. Ajit Pai, who was a leading attorney and a General Counsel for Verizon who worked to further the interests of telecommunications giants before becoming a “public servant”, is the poster boy for everything that is debauched about our obscene federal government. There is a reason I put quote marks around public servant, in truth Ajit and the political class are more like pubic serpents; Washington DC is a conclave of snakish dicks who leverage their power to enrich themselves and their corporate masters. We are the generation that gets to witness our nation immolate itself as a bunch of greedy and self-serving pigs keep bleeding the public in order to serve the interests of corporations and the richest 1%—greed and hubris are the long knives they use to butcher lady liberty.
By the by, if you want to pay attention to the craven malice of bureaucrats and politicians in DC, keep your eyes and ears open to what happens right before holidays and on Fridays. Charlatans strike and unleash their most malicious acts on days when the citizenry are paying the least attention. It never fails, the most egregious news and unscrupulous behaviors are leaked out on Fridays or the day before big holidays in order to dissipate the outrage and vitiate the sheer gravity of these disclosures. By the time Mondays come or once the holidays are over, the public has moved on even as the noose around our necks tighten. I’m pretty sure the Ides of March happened on Friday.
I cannot overstate the insidious nature of Ajit Pai’s eradication of Net Neutrality and how much of a mortal blow against free speech, the public’s free will and free press it was. The internet, which once promised to Democratize media, is now being commandeered by the axis of greed as big government, big telecom and big IT conspire to censor and eradicate all but the content they want us to consume. What Ajit just foisted upon us is a paradigm where telecom companies can now delineate the internet into classes of service. By extension, companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast get to determine what is fit to broadcast. The information super highway is now a toll road that is reserved for the rich and powerful while little guys like me are told to take a hike and the public at large is told to consume only as the plutocrats like.My fellow Americans, wake up! The oligarchs are conspiring to eviscerate our rights and turn us into their indentured servants. It’s not enough that they are shipping off our jobs, spying on us through a mix of cookies and NSA intrusive technology and rigging elections so that only their preferred candidates have a shot. The aristocracy are now out to nullify free speech and the first amendment by introducing a Trojan horse that is aimed at the right of a free press to exist. Make no mistake about it, the death of Net Neutrality is a blatant attempt to curtail a free media and a conspiracy to abolish the little accountability the ruling elites have—they are turning our nation into the United Stasi of America.
I beg you stop viewing this issue through the lens of politics and partisanship. Donald Trump has become the very straw man the moneyed gentry wanted as a means to distract us into perpetual derangement. This issue is bigger than Trump; he is nothing more than a puppet and a smoke screen meant to give cover to the invisible hands who are ruling our government by fiat and choking life from our planet. Ajit Pai was appointed by Barack Obama and voted in without nary a no vote by Democrats and Republicans. For Bernie Sanders to take to the podium last night and bemoan Trump killing Net Neutrality while omitting the fact that Ajit was appointed by Obama or that Bernie and his crew voted for Ajit deserves the hypocrisy of the year award. The truth is that both parties and the plutocrat class are conspiring to chip away at our freedoms and turn us into appendages of corporatism.
For the record, Net Neutrality was never a panacea on its own. What we have been witnessing for the past decade was a proxy war between telecom giants and internet conglomerations. Both sides feign concern for openness and freedom as they equally drown our voices while elevating the infomercial of paying customers. I’ve written in the past of the pernicious practices that companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are engaging in as they use censorship and suppression based on algorithms to diminish our voices and elevate their corporate propaganda.
But, at least, the malevolent attempt by social media conglomerations to eradicate free speech and free press was contained to their ecosystems. What Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their ilk are coveting is something all together different. Giving the power to elevate or deselect content to internet providers is handing them the keys to monopolize the internet itself and dictate by corporate fiat what is or is not news. If this happens, you can wave goodbye to this website and countless others who are not owned and bought by corporate interests. This is what Ajit and the FCC has wrought us, he is trying to empower media despots. This is the evil of corporatism; publicly listed companies are willing to push the envelop and commit all kinds of iniquities in order to realize the next marginal dollar [read CorpXit].
Our government, which was supposed to be the guardian of the public good, has instead been co-opted by these corporate titans and turned into enforcers and capos of moneyed ruffians. What we just witnessed is one corporation win out not based on merit but based on the scale of bribery they are willing to commit in order to buy off politicians and bureaucrats. We are being undone by rent-seekers who use government to gain unfair advantages and exclude competition and the political class in DC who trade in their position with rent-seekers as they use our freedoms and rights as bargaining chips. But even by the standards of our nation’s capital, what Ajit is attempting to rig is one that is truly breathtaking. A former Verizon lawyer is heading an agency that is supposed to be keeping telecom companies honest and protecting the public’s interest. In truth, Ajit is nothing more than the rent boy of the telecom industry and the FCC nothing but a corporate front—the wolves are protecting the sheep from predators.
There is a poetic tragedy about all this. Ajit, an Indian-American, getting on social media last evening to commit a massacre against net neutrality—by extension take a machete to free speech and a free press—on a day before Thanksgiving is truly a sad irony indeed. Thanksgiving marks a day where “Indians” who were kind enough to offer the visiting “pilgrims” meals and friendship were subsequently rewarded with a continental genocide. Fast forward five centuries later and a true Indian-American, who cast his lot with corporate pilgarlics, has rewarded the naiveté of the public with an act of treachery that would make Rasputin blush. Welcome to Washington DC, where narcissists and gluttonous leeches go to feign service as they rain cash upon themselves while showering us with distress—DC truly stands for defrauders and criminals.
If this article sounds a bit jarring and a bit more emotive than the articles I normally write, it’s because this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I came to America as an immigrant at the age of seven fleeing despotism that was unleashed in my native land Ethiopia. This nation provided safe harbor when my birth land was being beset by the tyranny of madmen who used their power to terrorize the population and murder over 200,000 Ethiopians. An empire that existed in tact for more than 2,000 years was effectively garroted the year I was born as Mengistu Hailemariam gained power and used his authority to obliterate freedom and turn my once homeland into a wasteland of suffering and disunion. What was done to Ethiopia by one strongman is now being committed against my new home America by a coterie of rapacious plutocrats who are intent on turning citizens into the wardens of the corporate state as an orange neo-Nero Trump gives cover to their pernicious hands.
These actions of heinous oligarchs and their bought and sold puppets in DC only take place because we are too busy being distracted by false outrage and separable grievances. Yet, we are not helpless victims, we can affect change! If you want to get the attention of these louts and show them that we are not feeble, go up to the biggest bully and punch him directly in his nose. I’m not advocating violence here; trying to outgun those who have a monopoly of the gun is the height of lunacy. There is something else more effective than bullets and bloodshed; collective action and a coordinated campaign can slay giants. Let us use social media and collective action to punch a giant in the nose and get the attention of these unaccountable tyrants in DC and Wall Street by boycotting Verizon.The rich listen when you hit them in their wallets, I’m asking all of you—in the name of decency and freedom—to start a general boycott against Verizon. If you have a cell plan with Verizon, cancel it as soon as you can and go to their competition even if that means going to another corporation. If your cable plan is with Verizon, get DirectTV or any other alternative that is available in your area. Most importantly, if your WiFi plan is with Verizon, end your relationship as soon as you. If they ask you why you are terminating your plans, tell them you are doing so as part of the Boycott Verizon campaign. Let Wall Street know that we can only be toyed with so much before we wake up to their despotism. Use social media to spread awareness and use #NetApartheid to let others know to join in the effort. Or we can keep talking about the infantile ogre in the White House as America keeps getting turned into the ghettos of 1930’s Warsaw.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ John F. Kennedy
This exact message is what I was echoing in this interview with Tim Black that was conducted on his show a couple of days ago. Please listen and act before it’s too late to save America.
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.