Lawyers are the first refuge of the incompetent. And misery is the company of lawsuits. And a lawsuit ain’t nuttin’ but a slaughterhouse where you go in as a pig and come out of as a sausage. And now we have the FCC keeping net neutrality for only the rich who can drive in the fast lanes with their lawyers…

Uh-oh… Frankie was starting to make sense — again. Even the arch conservative, always-in-black Louie-duh-lawyer was conceding that he was glad he didn’t have to face Frank in court. You know: If you’ll be frank I’ll be glad — to just listen.

Anyway we were blowing illusions up each other’s discriminating noses down at the wonderful Twin Smoke Shoppe cigar den in South Philadelphia the other day. And we – particularly willowy, erudite, skinhead Frank — got to talkin’ bout duh government being led by a bunch of insipid lawyers who do not understand technology, or spread sheets… not to mention common sense. Nor fair play…

My-my-my. He articulates the screams on my unquiet mind. And Lou-duh-lawyer knows if he minds, it just don’t matter.

In other words Frank went on one of his vituperations to one of Louie-duh-lawyer’s truculent questions concerning the ‘free market’. I can’t remember which one Frank was precisely responding to at the time. We were covering a potpourri of issues from what is looking like less and less net neutrality; to technology catapulting at lightning speed to circumvent the cumbersome rules hindering a truly ‘free-market’; to 3-D printing that’s going to detonate all the rules so that most anybody will be able to reproduce most anything. And f—k the market.


In the vernacular I think it all got down to a person’s freedoms versus oppressive government regulations.

I would like to tell you that I listen to Frank because he makes a lot of money. Or at least a lot of ‘cents.’ And the truth is he does. But that’s simply because he labors at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

Nonetheless, effusive Frank is definitely one of those folks full of surprises. He says what is actually intelligible and learned. He is a pensive bloke who doesn’t quaff much TV. Reads in cultured abundance. And stares long into the questions of the night.

And Frankie was stipulating – to no one’s surprise — that our oppressive government acquiesces too much to the money-folks, the corporations and businesses. They get laws legislated telling us consumers what we can’t do. Such as those ‘illegal’ licensing agreements mandating that consumers have absolutely no right to download what they bought on the net and share it with more than one person.

Hmm… In Frankie’s simplified terms: ‘That’s like telling me I can’t loan you a book. Or a movie disc I bought. Or my car. Or my baseball mitt…’

In other words no oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority. (That’s a mind burp. So digest it twice.)

Furthermore, in catching and notifying us that we are ‘sharing’ our stuff with more than one person, it is illuminating the fact that more folks than the NSA are violating our privacy.

And meanwhile, or so Frankie stipulated, our Internet Service Providers (ISP) are ‘overcharging’ us for all this aggravation that was originally intended to be free.

Hmm…then again, with capitalism absolutely nothing stays free. The poetic irony of this occurred recently in Eastern Europe. A book publisher who still owns the publishing rights to Marx and Lenin manifestos sued some trenchant old communists in Russia for abundantly copying and giving their works away for ‘free.’

Such ribald audacity! Especially for the fathers of communism who roared that all property is theft.

Now this definitely would be a lawsuit in America. You know, lawsuits, the first refuge for the incompetent. Those legal machines where you go in as a pig and come out as sausage.

Anyhow in the ethereal mist of our cigar smoke, Frank came out with a disquieting thought that spread enough rock salt to melt even Louie-duh-lawyer’s frozen neurons. And that takes some serious defrosting. Louie is one of those neo-cons who growls about there being a liberal conspiracy over the melting polar caps.

But of course!

Meanwhile, Frank was wryly explaining greed and temptation and how most of us folks not only like, but want to be told what to do. You know: ‘This is a good deal for you – trust me.’ And he mentioned that gun manufacturers are coming out with a trigger that only fires on the owner’s fingerprints. Or something on that order.

And Frankie, extending it to the logical consequence of man’s absurdity, asked, rather frankly: “What if power tool companies decided to do the same thing?”


“And they promised that finger-print power tools would be cheaper…”

Hmmm… again.

“And safer…”

Hmmm… yet again.

“And they convince us that it is good for our well being…

You don’t say.

“Now that sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?” Frankie was smiling for all the idiots in the room.

But obviously nothing is what it seems at first…or later. I guess that’s another way of saying advertising is legalized lying.

“They’ll sell us a $140 power tool for $100 – at least at first. And the consumer thinks that is great,” continued Frank. You could tell he was a tad exasperated. His taut bald pate was glowing.

“But now you can’t loan out your own power tool. Or your kids can’t use it. So now the power tool company is selling the original tool a little cheaper. However, — and remember everything before ‘however’ is bullshit — they are selling five times as many as before.”

“And it’s all legal, because their lawyers have already convinced the courts – particularly some judge (just another lawyer in a bad bathrobe) — that it is in the public’s best interest. And they get the lawyers who are filling the legislatures to pass laws for public safety, and all that bidness, which is little more productive than creating more bidness for lawyers.”

Hmm… Where’s my elephant gun when I need it?

As my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy omnipotently exhaled more than twice to me: The American legal industry is a medieval guild in which the prosecutors, bar, and bench join hands to ensure that legal invoices are paid, no matter how excessive.

Whatever… Such pernicious thoughts only serve to cloudburst my screams. Put me in coach, I wanna kill my dinner!

Anyway, the end result is that the consumers haven’t saved any money. In fact it’s cost them a whole lot more. And the power tool companies and their shareholders have reaped enormous financial benefits.

No shit… It’s like gambling at the casinos.

And all this brought Frankie back and around to the internet ‘neutrality’ controversy. Or did he just cover that – also?

It all comes down to money. Greed. Obfuscation. The point is, as I have often noted, that light travels faster than sound. So something may look good until you finally hear the fine print. And remember, those who read the fine print get an education; those who don’t get an experience.

To break down the proposed new FCC rules: It provides faster lanes for the rich; and slower lanes for the rest of us hoi polloi. Which means — under American over-regulated capitalism — in the end the hoi polloi will be paying for it one way or another. That is sooner – as well as later.

Why? Because we are fat, dumb lazy and stupid. (I think Frankie said that. Or perhaps I was just screaming that at Louie-duh-lawyer. For a wise guy he certainly can be a tad dense of hearing.)

Hmm… All I can say is that most ambitions should be lawful. That is, except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. (That’s another mind grinder. Take your time – recline on it for a bit.)

In other words there’s a seat for every sucker.

As I understood Frank the Internet Service Providers such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and whomever hasn’t been merged and purged as of yet were already making a lot of money on what amounts to the infancy of the internet.

But then greed, avarice and their bitchy triplet – stockholders — got involved. And we consumers, once again, took our cache for granted just as we take for granted that our own government won’t shtoop us. So we don’t vote, or get involved. And the next thing you know we have the Patriot Act. Or some other Orwellian consequence.

And with our pervasive distractions such as foooootbawl and the T&A cheerleaders we blur and go hazy on what is really legal and not legal. We seem to misunderstand – or simply forget — that legal and illegal are political, and often arbitrary, categorizations. For instance, everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.


The fact of the matter is that the users of the internet are providing information. And the ISP’s are providing – for want of a better word – the ‘electricity,’ the juice to get it into our homes and offices. In other words they have become a utility. And, as such, should be regulated as most public and private utilities already are.

But such change always has its enemies and their lawyers as their first refuge.

Yet no matter what they scream, as Frankie aptly exhaled, they’re making plenty of money – much more profit than meets their needs — just not enough for their profligate greeds.

Louie-duh-lawyer, meanwhile, is all in favor of no government intervention and letting the marketplace decide. Louie must have been sick that day in law school when the future-legal-beagles went on a field trip to the casinos – to learn the house rules the market.

What I suggested was change the laws so they aren’t just benefiting the rich and powerful, the incompetent and their lawyers.

At that Frankie started anew, beginning with he doesn’t mean to disparage all lawyers….

Well, au contraire. Because I do…

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…


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