Repealing Net Neutrality

Repealing Net Neutrality

The threat of losing equal internet access is impending.

"Net Neutrality," as it is so cleverly termed, is under threat of being repealed. When you peel back the layers of jargon that generally surround the issue, this is why it matters.

Net neutrality gives internet users equal access to the internet. Providers like Comcast or Verizon can’t determine what content users access. Any content creator is on an even playing field; the speed with which news from NBC can be accessed is no different from the speed with which news from ABC can be accessed.

While net neutrality benefits internet users, it can disadvantage certain internet providers. Comcast, for example, has an affiliation with NBC; as a business, it would be smarter and more profitable to push NBC’s content. Users could then lose the speed or ease with which they access other media sources, and consequently, the freedom to choose the sources they frequent. Steve Lohr of The New York Times explains the threat of “pay-to-play technology,” in which content creators would be required to pay to ensure that their content is quickly accessed. This could then be “prohibitive for start-up companies and new voices in the media and entertainment worlds.”

This is especially important in Trump’s America, where news media and journalism constantly fall under fire for being “fake.” We’ve enjoyed the liberty of choosing how to filter the information available to us, and receiving it from countless sources. This was threatened in 2014, and the backlash was overwhelming. Figures like John Oliver started micro-revolutions encouraging internet commenters to flood the website behind the control of net neutrality: the Federal Communications Commission.

Under the Obama administration, net neutrality remained protected, but on Tuesday, November 22nd, the FCC dismantled the regulations that otherwise protected it. Current FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, defended the decision, arguing that “What we wanted to do is return to the free market consensus that started in the Clinton administration and that served the internet economy in America very well for many years." Similarly, Comcast has provided that “We do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content- and we will be transparent with our customers about these policies.”

The viability of these claims is difficult to measure, given that the vote over net neutrality isn’t set to happen until December 14th. The most that can be anticipated is a heavy debate and further announcements from content creators like Google or Facebook on how they plan to proceed with potential changes. Remaining well informed is of more importance than ever; the information available is still on a guaranteed level playing field for three more weeks.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay / Pexels

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The West Virginian Teachers' Strike Demonstrates How Badly We Treat Teachers In America

The treatment of their workers reflects in America's underappreciated teachers.

Teachers hold one of the most important jobs in America. There aren't many people who have the effect on children like teachers do. They can inspire, support and protect us along with frustrating and annoying us. I cannot imagine being where I am today, doing the things that I am doing, without their help and their teaching. They deserve respect and support from their governments for the effort they put in. Slowly, parts of our nation will begin to realize that the way they treat our teachers is disrespectful to the kind of work they do. That's because teachers have begun to speak up.

Recently in West Virginia, teachers went on a strike, effectively winning a five percent pay raise by closing schools for nine days. This was due to a tax cut, which in turn caused budget cuts in West Virginia, including the education sector. West Virginian teachers are also paid some of the lowest wages for teachers in the United States. People took note of this strike, and teachers in other states are moving forward with their own strikes. States such as Oklahoma have so many budget issues, they needed to switch to a four day work week, and some teachers are getting part-time jobs to compensate.

We should all support teachers' strikes, even though yes, the schools might need to be shut down.

I'm not saying this because I'm a high school student, but because I believe teachers are underpaid. The salaries do not fit the needs of teachers nor the students, especially in rural areas where local funding cannot cover many costs as richer suburban areas. We should all care about these things, everyone should have access to proper education, which is one of societies greatest equalizers.

Teachers need to pay their bills, their health needs and the needs of their families. Not only that, some teachers salaries go straight back to the school to buy supplies for the students and the classroom. Most teachers also stay behind to lead clubs, sports and tutoring, which is essentially overtime. Not only are teachers underpaid but the fact that they need to supply their classroom reflects the under-funding that the schools receive. An unfunded facility and underpaid employees defeat positive attitudes and care for their work.

Educators who are extremely dedicated may see themselves fall short and may have a second job, which may steal energy needed to teach properly.

You cannot play with a student's education, it represents their future.

SEE ALSO: Dear America, If High Schoolers Cheat, There Is Something Wrong With Our Education System

Schools that have more money per student have a higher graduation rate, and we need to get more students, especially in rural and poor areas, into college. Most new jobs are in areas where higher education will be necessary, and that begins with K-12 education. Schools that are underfunded overall will end up with more students in prison or in poverty than students graduated and in college.

An education begins with a teacher, therefore, like any other worker, they must be paid for their service. If a better-paid workforce leads to a better education it is worth the short time punishment of a week out from school. The investment in teachers is an investment in the future and in your children. The West Virginia protests show us that the educational system can change. It can get better for everyone involved.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook / Viralists

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Illinois Republicans Just Gave A Neo-Nazi A Major Platform

As if having a raging racist for President isn't enough.
views defines a neo-Nazi as a person who belongs to a political organization whose beliefs are inspired or reminiscent of Nazism. We learned about Nazis in school; they were the notorious villains of the story who came to life in a terrible, disgusting way. We learned their absolute hatred for any other race besides their own, insomuch that they murdered those they hated.

It is always a bit of a surprise to me that people who believe in this kind of hatred still exist today, simply because it seems impossible to hate someone that much. Yet society is still plagued with them, and in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, they’ve been given a microphone to express their views.

The villains that many minorities fear and continue to fear are alive and well, spreading their narrative around like wildfire, destroying everything they come in touch with.

And Illinois just made one of them extremely comfortable in one of the most powerful state positions.

70-year-old Arthur Jones became the Republican nominee for Congress in Illinois on Wednesday, upsetting many who had vehemently campaigned against his placement. Tim Schneider, the Illinois Republican Party chairman seemed to have fought the hardest, saying Jones isn’t a “real Republican” but rather a “Nazi whose disgusting, bigoted views have no place in our nation’s discourse”.

While Jones disregarded the accusations of being a Nazi, he has been an active participant in the white nationalist movement for years. He ran for mayor of Milwaukee with the National Socialist White People’s Party and runs a campaign website that features a page that disregards the Holocaust completely.

While many continue to make excuses for Trump and his entirely questionable feelings toward minorities, Jones is a Nazi through and through.

Allowing a Nazi into a position of power like Congress invites many dangerous ideals and actions into society, similar to the rise in White nationalism following Trump’s win.

After Trump’s win in the Presidential Election, hate groups have increased by four percent and white supremacist terrorism has seemed to have erupted. The largest white supremacist demonstration, Charlottesville, brought terror to minorities as it seemed the villians were trying to “take back their country”. Trump has not only refused to denounce ties with white supremacists such as former Klan leader David Duke, but has also had the audacity to surround himself with advisors that have direct ties to radicalism.

Whether you choose to see it or not, almost every shooter that has destroyed communities of schools and concert goers was a white nationalist seeking to somehow purify America. The second you hear about a shooting or a homeland terrorism attack, the first thought that pops into your head is a white nationalist.

Giving yet another Nazi a massive platform to continue to spread this kind of hatred will make things worse. We step back into a history that offers no mercy for minorities, a history that seeks to purify the natural diversity of human nature.

While nearly everyone agrees Nazis are bad news, not everyone agrees to truly recognize it. We’ve become a society that shames those who simply want validation and equal treatment. We disregard it as over-the-top and too much to ask for.

The only way to fight this hatred is recognizing what is going on and taking action about it. Don’t elect neo-Nazis, for one, and don’t perpetuate the narrative that they are harmless. Choose to love, choose to be good, fight the better fight. It’s really not that hard if you put your mind to it.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Sun Times

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