Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Death of a Good, Independent News Site,

Image [found here along with bottommost pic]

Rob Kall recently posted a plea to ask for donations to help save his creation, I posted the below as a comment:

Loss of Jobs, Loss of Donors

Many of us who want to donate have lost their jobs. I owned rental properties and had a contracting business before 9-11. After being blacklisted in Connecticut, I got prison. Many would be donors could be victims of job losses and/or for their political activities or Free Speech. I have fears this site and others on the Internet will be censored or driven out of existence with the Google Verizon merge, not that there wasn't enough funding.

Google currently offers "free" blogs and "free" video uploads. Since they have a monopoly, they weren't charging anything to prevent any competition from rising up, so would be competition can't afford to not charge anything for a number of years.AOL tried to be the only gateway to the Internet, we could have a worst disaster than that looming. Home Depot when they first started moving up into New England, were offering a five gallon bucket of joint compound for less than $5. I was paying $14 at my paint supplier at the same time. Doing that is called offering a "Loss Leader". It is unfair as a business practice. Good local businesses are now dead. Just more proof that the US government is for corporations, not us.

Google and Verizon have become the biggest gamblers at the poker table. They've offered free food and a dazzling show. That is the Internet. Now Google and Verizon will shut off Free Speech, free content, and no competition can come up to undo their damage. Opednews could just be another "Mom and Pop" shop eaten up in the New America where small business and the individual is dead. Getting contributions in may help this site and others, but it is a band-aid on a worn out tire. We the people need to stand up against the world tyranny and take over. We either stand up now, or forever we will be like coal miners having to use script at the company store. The Google Verizon, Bankster, War Corporation World Government will issue us paper money that we will owe interest on for life. We are slaves. Let's have a slave uprising.

Rob's plea, re-posted [from here]
This is how progressive sites die.
Diary Entry by Rob Kall (about the author)

I don't check our numbers every day, not even every week, because generally, our readers generously support our relatively minimal financial needs. But I just checked and while we're about halfway into the month, we have raised less than $250 in contributions-- and that includes one donation for $100. We really, urgently need your help this month.

We need to raise about $4000 a month in contributions to pay our costs and we're not even close. Remember, other sites are reporting that they're paying their top people $500,000, $220,000 a year-- $18,000-$40,000 a month or more. Wow!! That's not happening at OEN.

That $4000 a month covers a lot of our expenses that ads don't.I took under $25,000 in pay last year. OEN is the most efficient high traffic progressive site on the planet, but we still need your help.

I know that together we can get through these tough times. Please don't assume someone else will step up to the plate. If you can't afford to contribute, we still value your support as a reader and commenter. You can still click on ads and tell others about us.

No, we're not going to die tomorrow, but it's my job to keep the site afloat financially. I do it by reaching out to our readers. Even our conservative readers give to the site because they know really is committed to open, vital, truthful discussion of the widest range of issues. I think OEN is worth supporting. I hope you'll take a few minutes to show you do too.

Another way you can help is to leave a comment on why you value OEN.

Thanks to those of you who responded to a shorter version of this message sent out in yesterday's newsletter.

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of more...)

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Has there been a corporate take-over of the Internet?

The below [found here]

Net News: Will Google Verizon Deal End The Free Web?

By Analee Newitz, Earlier this week Google and Verizon pledged to uphold a set of network principles that could transform the internet into a husk of its former self. Let’s look down the barrel of the Googlezon* future. {Click On Image For Full Story}

The Original Article Appeared On

Keep in mind that the two-page Googlezon proposal, which you can read here, isn’t law, though both companies have requested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) turn it into a formal regulation. Even if it isn’t law, though, Googlezon has stated it will follow the proposal’s principles. And mostly those principles are harbingers of a dystopian media future.

Quick backgrounder on net neutrality
The Googlezon agreement was written partly in response to public interest groups and lawmakers lobbying for the US government to mandate “net neutrality.” In a nutshell, net neutrality means that internet service providers like Verizon have to deliver everything – data, services, whatever – in a “neutral” way. For example, if we had net neutrality laws in the US, Verizon wouldn’t be allowed to do things like make Gmail run faster than Facebook. Neither would Verizon be able to “prejudice” its consumers against certain services, for example by making any peer-to-peer traffic run really slowly.

How the Google/Verizon proposal could kill the internet in 5 years Google has always been a staunch supporter of net neutrality, since its income depends on people being able to access the company’s services quickly online. Imagine if Verizon demanded that Google pay extra to prevent YouTube from giving you the annoying twirly circle. Google’s business model would be crippled, and you would probably have to start paying for YouTube access.

But nobody has successfully implemented net neutrality laws in the US. So if Google wants to protect its business, it has to make deals with companies like Verizon. And here’s where things get ugly.

The internet becomes a pay-to-play medium
The the Googlezon agreement includes a section where both companies pledge to keep the “public internet” completely neutral. Verizon says it won’t privilege some services over others (unless they are “special services” or “mobile services,” but we’ll get to that). And for its part, Google pledges that it will keep all of its services on the public internet.

But what the hell is this “public internet”? Isn’t all of the internet public? Obviously there are internal business and government intranets that are private, and pay-to-play services, but the internet itself is by definition public. So why all this talk from Googlezon about how they’ll keep the public internet neutral?

One simple answer, my friend: Googlezon is redefining the internet as a tiered service, like cable. And this new thing called the public internet is the lowest tier. Kind of like network television is the lowest tier in your television service options. From here on out, you will start to see the internet equivalent of cable service online: For an extra ten dollars, you can get the “movie lovers” package, where your ISP privileges Netflix and Hulu traffic, giving them to you super-fast. For another ten dollars, you can get the “concerned parent” package, which blocks peer-to-peer traffic as well as websites that they consider to be pornographic. And so on.

The “public internet” is for the poor
Pledging to keep the “public internet” neutral is great, but what happens when companies stop wanting to offer their services on it? Googlezon has the answer: In their proposal, they say that it’s perfectly OK for companies and consumers to buy non-neutral, non-public “special services” online. If you’re a media company that streams videogames, for example, your customers want a guarantee that the game won’t stall out because of a crappy “public internet” connection. So you make your game available only to people with the special service “gamer package.” Your customers pay you; you pay Googlezon; now there’s a superfast connection for the privileged few with money to burn.

And what happens when news websites start delivering their pretty pictures and infographics in 3D? Verizon has already suggested 3D is a perfect “special service” to deliver in a non-neutral way. In five years, the public internet is going to look boring and obsolete. Where’s the 3D? Where are all the cool games and streaming viddies? The public internet? Yeah, that’s just for poor people.

But guess what’s going to remain on the public net, the place where you go when you don’t have money? Certainly there will be educational resources like Wikipedia. But mostly it’s going to be advertisement-saturated free content from major entertainment companies. And of course there will be many opportunities to give your personal information to Facebook, or gamble away your non-existent savings on Zynga games. (Sorry – did I say gamble? I meant “pay for premium poker game content.”) Put in brick-and-mortar terms: There won’t be any produce markets on the public internet, but there will be plenty of liquor stores.

Big corporations truly rule the web
Though few businesses start without any seed money, it is still possible for a somebody with a good idea to launch their project online and attract investors once it becomes popular. When the internet is a tiered service, however, this will no longer be possible.

As Columbia law professor Tim Wu points out in the New York Times:

Just consider the power and public role of firms like Verizon or Google (especially if they work together). Sitting atop the web, they can influence what firms succeed or fail — by making sites load faster or slower, or end up on page 10 of search results. It goes further — in subtle ways, the information carriers have the power to influence elections and even censor speech they don’t like.

What he’s suggesting is that Googlezon will be a gatekeeper not just for new web services but also for content. The companies can choose to support services from any small business they like, and block others. Same goes for sites providing news or entertainment. Googlezon might make an agreement with the New York Times to load its pages faster than the Washington Post. And Googlezon might not load io9 at all, unless of course you’re reading this blog via the Google Reader (as part of the “special service” package called “blogs and podcasts”).

Googlezon could even strike a bargain with democratic political candidates to carry only their websites and block others. They could justify this by saying that people who want to get political information from conservatives can switch to another network that doesn’t block them – or they can subscribe to the special “conservative service” package.

Your mobile is a battleground
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Googlezon agreement is the companies’ statement that there will be no net neutrality on mobile networks. Given that mobile networks are the future of how most people will go online, this section of the agreement is the most pertinent to any prediction about how this agreement will affect the internet.

Quite simply, the Googlezon agreement means that if you access the internet via your Android phone (or other mobile device), there will be no public internet at all. Your access to the web will be determined by your carrier, who may or may not offer special services – and who may decide to block any content it likes.

Googlezon proposes that every carrier or ISP will have to be transparent about what services it’s privileging or blocking. But that doesn’t mean these companies won’t obfuscate their policies behind legalese. And even if your ISP honestly says, “We are blocking all websites run by Republicans,” you may be locked into a three-year contract with them already.

Consumer choice when it comes to mobile networks is almost non-existent. Yes, you can sometimes switch networks, but in many areas of the world there is only one network that has coverage in your area. Besides, even if you research the local networks and choose the one whose policies fit your needs, there is no guarantee they won’t change what they block once you’re locked into a contract. And you could get locked into hardware platforms too – “get our movies and games package at half price when you buy a Droid!”

A burning vision of the internet in 2016

Map Of The Internet

The public internet is basically overrun with 4Chan-like social networks that run very slowly and are drenched in advertising and spyware. You can watch some TV on the public internet, if you’re willing to wait through long “buffering” times and bad commercials. You can play casual games, especially if you want to fork over a few bucks. There’s webmail, though sometimes all your saved messages disappear – for “guaranteed backups” you need to subscribe to the special mail service via Googlezon. Plus, the only way to get to the public internet is with an unwieldy laptop, which sucks.

Most people go online with their mobiles. Anybody who wants to get access to games, movies, news, or other services online has to buy separate “special service” packages to make sure they run fast. Premium services guarantee you can watch movies on your Droid, or do your mail and calendaring on your Nexus SE234. An informal market in special service minutes springs up anywhere that people are too poor to get a mobile that does more than make phone calls.

Ironically, the public internet is the least public place online: It’s an antisocial space, a crumbling, unsupported legacy network, full of ads and graffiti. Googlezon has succeeded in creating a caste system in the online world, and the public is the lowest caste of all.

For The Original Article Click Here.

* Google’s blog post on the proposal is here.

The Googlezon proposal also includes a lot of suggestions for changing the role of the FCC in regulating the internet, which EFF’s Cindy Cohn explains admirably here.

Ars Technica has done a terrific job summarizing how the Googlezon agreement destroys net neutrality.

There is a great collection of opinion pieces on the agreement at the New York Times (which you can still access without the “special news service” package).

*Many years ago, futurists Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson made a video called EPIC 2014 about how media culture would be destroyed after Google and Amazon joined forces and became Googlezon. Today we face a similar threat, from a slightly different pairing – but the mashup name of the two companies remains the same.

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At the same time I posted the above, I watched these videos:

The Other US Eco Disaster: Mountain Top Removal (Part 1)

Text with video:
RussiaToday | August 15, 2010

(Part 1 of 2) A multi-award winning film, Mountain Top Removal documents one of the greatest environmental and human rights catastrophes in American history. In the coalfields of Appalachia, West Virginia, individuals, families and entire communities are being driven off their land by flooding, landslides and blasting resulting from mountain top removal coal mining.

A film by two-time EMMY winner Michael Cusack O'Connell.

Awards won by Mountain Top Removal - Charlotte FF, Mion Solutions Environmental Film Award, Wild & Scenic FF Award, Reel Current Award, Woods Hole Film Festival Award, Appalachian FF Award and Indie Grits FF Award.

The Other US Eco Disaster: Mountain Top Removal (Part 2)

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The West Virginia Coal Wars (1920-21), also known as the Mine Wars, arose out of a dispute between coal companies and miners. It represents one of the first times that the United States Federal Government violated the Posse Comitatus Act of 1874 [1].

On May 19, 1920, a shootout in Matewan, West Virginia, (known as the Matewan Massacre) between Baldwin-Felts detectives and local miners, who were to later join the United Mine Workers of America, sparked what became known as the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest insurrection in the United States since the American Civil War.

Every year, the shootout is re-enacted in Matewan, West Virginia.

These events are dramatized in John Sayles' 1987 film "Matewan".

[edit] References

  • Corbin, David Alan. Life, Work, and Rebellion in the Coal Fields: The Southern West Virginia Miners, 1880-1922. New ed. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981. ISBN 0252008952
  • Corbin, David Alan, ed. The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology. Charleston, W.Va.: Appalachian Editions, 1990. ISBN 0962748609
  • Laurie, Clayton D. "The United States Army and the Return to Normalcy in Labor Dispute Interventions: The Case of the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, 1920-1921." West Virginia History. 50 (1991).
  • Lee, Howard B. Bloodletting in Appalachia: The Story of West Virginia's Four Major Mine Wars and Other Thrilling Incidents of Its Coal Fields. Morgantown, W.Va.: West Virginia University Library, 1969. ISBN 0870120417
  • Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21. Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1990. ISBN 0822936348
  • Scholten, Pat Creech. "The Old Mother and Her Army: The Agitative Strategies of Mary Harris Jones." West Virginia History. 40 (Summer 1979).
  • Shogan, Robert. The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest Labor Uprising. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2004. ISBN 0813340969
  • Sullivan, Ken, ed. The Goldenseal Book of the West Virginia Mine Wars. Charleston, W.Va.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1991. ISBN 0929521579


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Anonymous SorinPLATON said...


I saw yesterday (in a Romanian/Europe Cinema Multiplex Mall) the INCEPTION, and what I can say,.. by my opinion this movie is a really bullshit, a "something" wich affect in same time and equal amounts our IQ & souls ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:32:00 AM  

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