Supposedly smart people over the age of 11 who have never heard of the failures of the FCC, the FDA, the old ICC, the CAA, the federal ETC, ETC, are running around the USA calling for things like a total government takeover of health care.

Others equally naive and historically challenged on the subjects of government regulatory agencies and nature of public utilities are crying because the FCC under Dear Leader Trump is going to roll back net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration in 2015.

Treating the phone industry like a public utility and outlawing competition and innovation for nearly a century meant every American had at least one of these 8-pound black beasts occupying a table in their home.

I’m too old to do it, but …

Someone really needs to write a counterfactual about how the Internet was taken over by the federal government in 1983.

… And tell how government-issued, VW-sized community computers built by General Dynamics and linked to copper Ma Bell land lines were placed in municipal buildings across America and available to the adult public on weekdays between 10 and 4 (parent-accompanied children over 8 were given an hour of computer time for lessons by the municipal Internet Control Officer on Saturday mornings).

… And how citizens were required to fill out FOI-like requests to use their TC (town computer), disclose what they were using it for and put their names, addresses, party affiliations and Social Security numbers on the publicly posted user’s board.

… And how the content on the computers was text only (Helvetica) and was monitored by an elected commission made up of the local librarian, the township supervisors and the zoning board that met once a month to hear public comments & complaints.

… And how the network TV/Knight-Ridder/Time Inc.- dominated Federal internet Communications Commission outlawed private computers and modems, prohibited the re-transmission of news, images and sound, determined industry technical standards and licensed new software and innovations after an average of six years of study.

… And how the FCC’s Fairness and Niceness Doctrine was used to determined what political issues could be discussed on public computers.

… And how words like crap or pimp or commie or liberal that were deemed offensive or insensitive by the principal of the local Catholic elementary school or the Federal Department of Internet Decency and Political Correctness were automatically removed.

… And how by 2000 the U.S. Department of the Internet had 5,000 employees in its building in Washington.

… And how in 2017 President Trump’s administration was fighting with Congress whether to allow the maximum internet bandwidth to be raised to 56 kbit/s and to permit trillion-dollar computer monopoly General Dynamics to equip its TCs with some gadget invented by an aging California hippie in a garage called “a mouse.”

Leave a Reply