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The Great Net Neutrality Debate (Oct 11th, 2014 in NYC)

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Visit http://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/events/208198102/ to Join and RSVP.

Background: All of us rely on the internet for various aspects of our lives. However, the internet, as we know it, may soon be changing. Although not many people are well-versed in this topic, it’s not overly complicated — it isn’t as highly-technical as it appears at the first blush.

Wikipedia defines it as “it is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content . . .”

This debate has been brewing for the past decade and now it’s heating up in light of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet. The FCC deadline for a public comment period ended on September 15, 2014.

The FCC will then review the comments and make adjustments (if any) based on the input they’ve received from the businesses, lobbyists, and the public interest groups.

Next, they’ll put the rules on their open meeting agenda for an official vote. The FCC is expected to make their final decision by the end of the year. With that being said, the time is ripe for us to debate this topic.

The debate subtopics will include:

• Is net neutrality a “free speech” issue of our time?

• Should the internet be considered as a “public utility”?; similarly, should the internet service providers (ISPs) be considered as a “common carrier”?

• Do you support the prioritized “tiered-service” system?

• Should the mobile devices and smartphones be subject to the same net neutrality rules?

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Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege? (August 30 in New York City)

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Join the 3pm conversation at Bryant Park in NYC on August 30, 2014

At the heart of the health care debate in America lies the perennially-thorny issue regarding the proper role of the government. In its landmark case, Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Business V. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Individual Mandate penalty under the Affordable Care Act is a tax and it constitutes a valid exercise of the Congressional authority.

So it logically follows that health care is a “good” or a product that can be taxed and regulated — but can it also be a “right”? For that question, let’s examine the philosophical notions of:

• What is a “right“?
• What is a “good“?
• Are both mutually exclusive?
• Or is it a false logic to describe in such absolute terms?

These questions pose a moral dilemma, as we grapple with the competing notions of:
1) the economic, social, and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health; versus
2) the traditional limited role of the government with respect to resources and entitlements.

This contentious and important public policy will be discussed on August 30, 2014. This event is held in conjunction with the Conversation Day celebration at the beautiful Bryant Park in New York City.

RSVP (required to reserve a place) to grossassoc [AT] aol.com and RSVP to http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/events/176390172/