MatrixLeaks: April 2014

Wake Up, Internet -- Time to Save Yourself

What if you had only three weeks before the Internet you know and love was about to disappear?

Would you spend your time binging on listicles or the final season of Breaking Bad? Or would you do something about it?

Would you email all your friends with the news? Blast your social media networks? Demand that Congress and the president keep this amazing invention from going away?

If the Internet had only three weeks left, would you take to the streets and raise hell?

I bet you would.

And here's your chance to prove it: Because three weeks from today the Internet as we know it may not disappear, but it could be a lot closer to the precipice.

On May 15, the Federal Communications Commission will propose a new set of rules that are supposed to stop big phone and cable companies from blocking websites or discriminating against apps and services they don't like. Only as written the rules would do pretty much the opposite.

According to numerous sources, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal would allow Internet service providers like Verizon or Time Warner Cable to charge extra fees to content companies like Google and Netflix for preferential treatment, guaranteeing their content reaches end-users ahead of those that don't pay.

In other words: Goodbye, open Internet. Hello, payola Schminternet.

Of course, big Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast love the idea of a pay-to-prioritize Internet. Instead of having to invest in upgrading their networks or responding to their customers' needs, they can profit from unnecessary congestion and artificial scarcity. Think about it: No one will pay for a spot in the express lane unless the main road is always jammed up.

Such pay-for-priority schemes would be a disaster for startups, nonprofits, independent content creators and everyday Internet users who wouldn't be able to pay these unnecessary tolls. And the stifling of future competitors and disruptive innovators would be a fringe benefit for the big ISPs as they line their pockets. The FCC proposal would even allow ISPs to favor their own content over all others.

This is not what Net Neutrality looks like. It's what the end of Net Neutrality looks like.

The FCC's latest botched attempt to make rules for the open Internet is the result of a federal court decision earlier this year. That ruling threw out the FCC's existing open Internet rules and sent the agency back to the drawing board. Wheeler insists the new rules "will restore the concepts of Net Neutrality consistent with the court's ruling in January."

But contrary to Wheeler's claims, the court didn't force the FCC to choose this path. After the ruling, the FCC had a chance to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality. Instead, in a moment of extreme shortsightedness, it opened the door to greater discrimination while taking a convoluted, case-by-case approach that likely won't survive a future legal challenge.

The court clearly told the FCC that if it wishes to ensure Internet users can send and receive information free from ISP interference, then the agency must classify ISPs as telecom carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

While reclassifying broadband wouldn't be easy politically given the clout of the big cable and phone companies (the same companies Wheeler used to lobby for, by the way), it would put the agency on much stronger legal footing. It's also the right thing to do -- really, the only thing to do -- to protect the public and safeguard the Internet's future.

Wheeler's draft is not the last word on the issue. He needs at least two more votes on the Commission before he can put the rules out for public comment. And final rules won't be issued until late summer at the earliest (and likely not until after Election Day).

But now is the time for action. The next three weeks are absolutely crucial to building the public pressure it will take to get the FCC to scrap this wreck and do what it should have done in the first place: reclassify broadband.

So sign a petition and spread the word. Call Tom Wheeler right now and remind him he works for you -- and that you won't settle for anything less than real Net Neutrality.

Start making plans to be in Washington, D.C., on May 15 to stand up for the open Internet. FCC commissioners spend too much time staring at lobbyists: They need to see our faces.

What if you had only three weeks to save the Internet? What would you do?

Whatever it is, you should drop everything and do it right now.

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How to Beat the Banksters

The tiny Nordic European island country of iceland is presently experiencing one of the greatest economic comebacks of all time. After the privatization of the banking sector completed in 200o, the economy was thrown into a tailspin when over a five year period, private bankers borrowed 120 billion dollars (10 times the size of Iceland’s economy).

A huge economic bubble was created, causing house prices to double, and making a small percentage of Iceland’s population rich enough to buy up overseas investments, mansions, yachts, and private jets, while leaving an absolutely un-payable debt for all Icelanders. Iceland was facing national bankruptcy.

In response to the failed banking system, in October 2008, Iceland’s revolution against this financial tyranny began, rather casually in the street, in front of the Icelandic general assembly.

In the duration of five months, the main bank of Iceland was nationalized, government officials were forced to resign, the old government was liquidated, and a new government was put in its place. By March 2010, Iceland’s people voted to deny payment of the 3,500 million Euro debt created by the bankers, and about 200 high-level executives and bankers responsible for the economic crisis in the country were either arrested or were facing criminal charges.

In February 2011, a new constitutional assembly settled in to rewrite the tiny nation’s constitution, which aimed to avoid entrapment by debt-based currency foreign loans. In 2012, Iceland’s economy is expected to outgrow the Euro and the average for the developed world, as estimated by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So how does a revolution like this take root and activate a citizenry to effectively respond to grand scale economic theft by bankers and politicians?

Hörður Torfason, a lifelong activist from Iceland, is credited with organizing the Icelandic ‘Kitchenware Revolution’, beginning with a simple vigil in front of parliament aimed at educating passersby and ridiculing the blatant crimes of the elite who worked there. When the foreign financial community (the IMF and the European Union) pressured Iceland’s Parliament to pass laws dictating repayment of debts privately incurred by bankers, the revolution was formally ignited and nearly turned violent when some Icelanders began throwing rocks at the capital, attempting to pressure the government for redress.

Torfason and his supporters knew that a non-violent approach would be more effective, and formed a “human wall” of clearly marked orange-vested citizens between angry rock-throwers and the police line. Torfason believed that in order for a movement to be effective, one must use reason and information, as well as peaceful demonstrations, to send a strong message to politicians that the people refuse to pay the bankers’ debts.

The end result of the peaceful resistance to economic tyranny is a model for all Western nations who are currently being gutted by a totally corrupt banking system.

This story is much different than what has happened in the US since the banking crisis began in 2008. Large “bailouts” were granted to the bankers, and none of the responsible parties have faced criminal prosecution. And it appears that we are still at the mercy of the currency cartel and the dollar faces total destruction.

In Iceland, the prime minister was indicted, over 200 criminal charges were filed against the bankers, and all of the former CEOs of the 3 biggest banks were arrested. The new government supported citizens by passing a banking remittance that forgave debt exceeding 110% of home values. As a result, “banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population.” (source:

Yes, the country continued to struggle economically after the 2008 revolution. But already today Iceland is thriving, with 2.9% growth in the economy in 2011, and 2.4% estimated by the OECD for 2012 and 2013.

“The lesson to be learned from Iceland’s crisis is that if other countries think it’s necessary to write down debts, they should look at how successful the 110 percent agreement was here. It’s the broadest agreement that’s been undertaken.” – Thorolfur Matthiasson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik  (source:

“This is about our life and the future of the children, of the generations, of the young people.” – Hörður Torfason  (source:

Can America hold out for a banking miracle like Iceland’s and somehow muster the fortitude to demand an end to economic corruption? Perhaps Hörður Torfason is available to help get American mobilized.

This video clip from the film Inside Job gives some background on what caused the financial crisis in Iceland.

Student Researcher:
- Pedro Martin Del Campo (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator:

- Ed Beebout (Sonoma State University)

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