back to article There was yet another net neutrality hearing today in America, and it was all straightened out amicably and smoothly

If there was any hope that Congress will make progress on resolving the battle over America's net neutrality protections this legislative session, it was surely snuffed out during a hearing on Tuesday. Which is odd as the session centered on a new piece of legislation that already has more than 100 co-signers, and lawmakers …

  1. veti Silver badge

    It's so tempting to shrug

    "Business as usual", you might say.

    But really, it isn't. This kind of perpetual grandstanding is a relatively new phenomenon. As recently as the Clinton administration, legislators were capable of working together to actually legislate about things. (Usually the wrong things, but that's extra.)

    I blame 24 hour news, and Newt Gingrich. In that order. (24 hour news created the climate in which every viewer thinks they're some kind of fucking expert on everything they watch, and Gingrich weaponised that mass-Dunning-Kruger-effect to create the attitude that bipartisanship is basically treason. But if he hadn't done it, someone else would have. It's mostly crap journalism that got us here. Unfortunately, the WWW actively penalises every other kind.)

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: It's so tempting to shrug

      I'd add social so-so media to the list. All in all I'd say it's about even. Yes, things don't get done but at least we aren't dumping money on stupid things like the bridge to nowhere. Well, ok, not dumping money on as many stupid things like the bridge to nowhere.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: It's so tempting to shrug

        You mean, like the F-35, or the border wall, or a trillion-dollar tax handout to the obscenely rich, or...?

        Earmarks haven't gone away, they've just become a bit harder to isolate. Citation.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It's so tempting to shrug

      Holiday's Trust Me, I'm Lying is a good overview, with many specific examples that Holiday was personally involved with, of how the 24-hour news cycle, "citizen journalism", and web-media economics have corrupted journalism.

      It's tempting to say that news reporting has always been mostly rubbish, and point to "yellow journalism" and street rags and Early Modern broadsheets and all the rest. Holiday himself notes some of the historical parallels. But it's reasonable to argue that on the whole mainstream news reporting is much worse now than it was in, say, the 1980s, at least in the US.

  2. Someone Else Silver badge


    Not to be outdone, Greg Walden (R-OR) started his statement by pointing out that only one witness was a Republican and then – seemingly unaware of the obvious contradiction – complained that the Democrats on the committee weren't considering a bipartisan legislative approach.

    Typical Republicon -- never let the facts get in the way of a good party-defined-and-dictated talking point.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Typical

      I think that applies to both parties. I do, however, imagine that Senator Ron Wyden (R-OR) is shaking his head over this as he's been on the attack of the FCC over this issue. There's a few atypical political types in Congress but they seem to get ignored.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Typical

        Just FYI, Wyden is a Democratic Senator from Oregon.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Typical

        I think that applies to both parties.

        Yes, for the most part. It's difficult to get elected, particularly to the House with its disastrously short 2-year terms, if you're not going to grandstand (to appeal to your constituents) and toe the party line (to appeal to the party).

        There are exceptions. You mentioned Wyden, a Democrat; in the interests of fairness, I'll cross the aisle and mention Justin Amash (R-Michigan). I certainly don't always agree with Amash (though since I'm not in his district that's pretty irrelevant in practice), but he's famous for explaining his votes on his website - and I believe to date he's only ever missed one vote - and he's a stickler for his principles, frequently defecting from the party line.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business as usual

    Its America*

    He with the biggest / most brown envelopes wins

    *Now little more than a banana republic

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Business as usual

      Thank goodness you took the time to post a handful of uninformative clichés! Though perhaps spending a few more seconds punctuating them properly would have been good.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Congress is a joke."

    Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, told us that over 100 years ago. No one listened then and no one will listen now.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: "Congress is a joke."

      Oh I don't know about that. I think lots of people see Congress as a joke but the problem is they don't realize the joke is on them.

    2. Maty

      Re: "Congress is a joke."

      Mr Twain really did not like Congress. Among his more nasty remarks are:

      "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

      "Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can."

      "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

      1. Robert Halloran

        Re: "Congress is a joke."

        Another Twain quote on the matter:

        "Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason..."

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    If you know anything about US politics....

    ...then you will know that 'bi-partisan' means doing what the Republicans want. Which typically means doing what their sponsors want (many Republican legislators seem to be openly in the pocket of vested interests).

    There's probably a parallel in the UK. Especially as the Conservative Party and the Republicans seem to employ the same PR firms.

    1. FrozenShamrock

      Re: If you know anything about US politics....

      Both sides are to blame for this complete lack of cross aisle cooperation. I agree the Republicans started it with people like Gingrich, talk radio nut jobs, and now Fox News branding any attempt at reasonable compromise treason to the true cause; but, the Democrats learned well and are doing the same thing now that they have control of the House. There is no Center any more, only extremes.

      1. VicMortimer

        Re: If you know anything about US politics....

        Oh, bullsh*t. The BSAB crap isn't gonna fly any more. The Rethuglicans made that VERY clear when Obamacare, which was essentially THEIR plan, got no votes from them and they spent the next 8 years fighting it and failing to properly implement it.

        There's no compromising on needed tax increases with people who signed the Norquist pledge to never raise taxes. There's no compromising on healthcare with people whose healthcare plan for the poor is "die in the street, we'll have sanitation clean up the bodies". There's no compromise on voting rights with people who use disenfranchisement as an electoral strategy. There's no compromise on education with a president who literally said "I love the poorly educated." And there's no compromise on race relations when they literally say things like “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

        Those last two quotes aren't made up, they're very real. Take your center and shove it, there isn't one that includes Rethuglicans. The Democrats ARE the center.

  6. willi0000000

    my country is broken . . . sorry for any inconvenience for the rest of the world.

    some of us are desperately trying to fix it.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Have we tried turning it off and turning it back on again?

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