Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 4, Episode 11 - Net Neutrality 2 - full transcript

John Oliver points out that Net neutrality is under serious threat again and that all concerned should raise their concern to the respective authorities at all platforms.

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Season IV
Episode 11

Welcome to Last Week Tonight.
I'm John Oliver.

Thank you so much for joining us.
Let's get right into it,

there's a lot to get through,
and let's begin with New Zealand,

home of the planet's
most worthless bird.

You are nothing. Look at me.
You are nothing.

The ruling party has been at
the center of a ridiculous court case.

The high court has been filled
with the sounds of bad boy Eminem.

He accused the National Party
of ripping off one of his biggest hits.

Here's Eminem's "Lose Yourself".

This is National's advert.

As we have mentioned before,
New Zealand's National Party has been

accused of ripping off Eminem,
or as they call him: "Iminim".

And it is unquestionably
the lamest rap beef

since Lil Wayne's five-year
feud with William H. Macy.

National Party's defense is
that they used a different song.

The name of the song used
by National was "Eminem Esque".

It's true: the track they used
is literally called "Eminem-esque".

If you are going to rip off
someone else's work,

don't include the name
of the person you're ripping off.

Call it "This May Or May Not Be
Copyright Infringement",

"Please Don't Tell Anyone About This",

or "Blurred Lines".

I am thankful that neither side
backed down on this,

because this court case has been
everything I needed right now.

this moment from the trial.

I'm now going to play
the sound recording,

which embodies
the musical work "Lose Yourself".

That's the greatest thing
I've ever seen.

Some define comedy
as "tragedy plus time".

For me, the purest definition
is "a middle-aged Kiwi in a robe"

"playing Eminem's 'Lose Yourself'
to a motionless courtroom".

My favorite thing about that
is this woman's reaction.

She is questioning every life
choice that led her to this moment,

and hopefully not regretting
a single one of them.

That lawyer for Eminem's
music publisher

offered his own deep interpretation
of the song.

The idea of losing yourself
in the moment

and not missing opportunities
in life is closely associated

with the guitar rift
at the beginning of the song

and is why the song appeals
to both the public

and those who wish to influence
the public by advertising.

I now want to hear him describe
every single iconic rap song:

When the artist Juvenile uses
his incessant drum pattern,

it underlines his central thesis:
that the young woman in question

appears pleasing to the eye,
and that he, the singer,

would very much appreciate it if she
were to back that ass up.

There is nothing I want more
than to spend the whole show

breaking down what is
projected to be a six-day court case,

but we must move on to
the US House of Representatives.

Basically, 434 dorks
and Virginia's Don Beyer.

The guy is a fucking baller.

Look at him, he knows.
This week, the House made big news.

The House has passed a bill to repeal
and replace Obamacare.

The vote was tight:
217 for and 213 against.

The US House passed the American
Health Care Act by a whisker.

They were so desperate for votes,
Chaffetz flew in following foot surgery

zipping around like a corgi
with hip dysplasia.

Changes were still being made
to the bill this week

and CBO, which estimates the cost
and impacts of proposed laws,

hadn't even had time
to score the final version.

Members of Congress admitted
they hadn't read the whole thing.

Did you read this entire bill ?

Yeah. I wouldn't say every, yes.
I turned through every page.

As to whether or not I, I got through
some of the details, no.

But, yes, I attempted
to read the entire bill.

You turned through every page ?
That's not how you read a bill,

that's how you check for spiders.

I can't say whether this bill will
cause millions to lose insurance,

but it does have the Mark Sanford
no spiders guarantee !

In fairness,
as Chris Collins pointed out,

it's not essential that representatives
read every single word of a bill.

We rely on our staff
and on our committees

and I'm comfortable that I understand
this bill in its entirety,

without pouring through every word
and I'm just being quite honest.

That is actually fair. What matters
is that politicians like Collins

fully understand
the contents of this bill.

But when the Buffalo News asked him
if he knew that it would cut funding

for a program providing insurance
to over 600 000

low and middle-income people
in New York State,

including over 19 000 people in two
counties that he represents parts of,

he indicated that he didn't, and said:
"explain that to me".

I can explain that to you now:

this bill could cause
many of your constituents

to get thrown into an individual
marketplace they cannot afford

and when they realize that, they
are going to be furious with you.

You fucked up. Here is the amount
that you fucked up shown graphically.

Here is shown in a scatterplot.
Here is a Precious Moments figurine

explaining exactly
what you just did.

Clearly enough ?
Maybe ask your staff

to read what she's holding
and tell you what it means.

We talked about everything that
was bad with the previous version,

a bill that was estimated to result
in 24 million fewer Americans

having insurance after ten years.

The bill that passed had all the bad
things about the last one,

with an unpleasant addition.

Republican bill would roll back
the Affordable Care Act's protections

for patients
with pre-existing conditions.

Health insurers would
have to cover them.

The bill includes a mechanism

allowing insurance companies
to raise rates on those patients.

They took a bad thing and
managed to make it even worse.

Like watching
Mariah Carey's "Glitter" and saying:

You know what this needs ?
Jar Jar Binks.

Republicans are saying
that no one can be denied coverage

for pre-existing conditions
under this bill.

But if you have one, and there is
a gap in your coverage for any reason,

you could be charged more,

potentially so much more that
coverage becomes unaffordable.

It's like if your daughter asks:
"Can I have a cookie ?"

and you say: "Sure,
that'll be $1.5 billion, Katie".

You have not been denied this cookie !
You still have full access to it,

should you choose to become
successful enough to afford it.

Now get out of my sight.

This bill heads to Senate,

who are expected
to write their own version.

While it may be
slightly more moderate,

that could still amount to basically
cutting a shit sandwich in half.

And if any bill gets
to President Trump's desk,

we already know he will sign it.

This guy would sign a live snake,

as long as it had
"Obamacare Repeal" written on it.

So it is dangerous to assume that
this bill will die on its own.

Your senators are incredibly
important now.

You need to let them know
how you feel about this.

You only get one shot at this.
One opportunity.

And I know the perfect song
to pump you up,

but as New Zealand has shown me,
we cannot legally play it.

We can play you "Eight Mile Thug",

an actual Eminem-Esque-esque
song that we found.

The point is, if I may,

you gotta lose track of yourself
in the tune, the minute...

I'm not doing this.
Call your senators. And now, this.

To celebrate
their engagement this week,

a look back at the romance between
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

That's like the fourth time.
We get the point.

No, you don't. You're the last
person on the face of the Earth

that appears to get the point.

I need to talk. Hold on.

- I'd like you to answer...
- It's silly. I'm answering.

- The horse is on the screen.
- It's not what you said.

You don't have to be so snotty.
You don't have to be so rude.

Let me say this, because it means
nothing coming from you !

You're being chauvinistic right
now and you need to stop.

Stop the apologizing.
Who would like politics...

- I haven't seen any evidence.
- Do you want me to talk ?

You got your cheap shot in.

No, I would not be quite so smug.

Bring it down and relax a bit.

- You're mad at me ?
- A little bit, yeah.

- Shut up.
- No, I'm wondering.

So that they can say anything
they want, and answer questions.

Okay, there you go.

Moving on. Our main story tonight
concerns the internet,

repository of knowledge and videos
of goats singing Taylor Swift songs.

Come on !
The internet is an incredible place.

We need to talk about an issue that
is impacting it: net neutrality.

We talked about it
in our fifth-ever episode,

three years ago, a piece that
got a weird amount of attention.

Last Week Tonight languished
in relative obscurity since its debut,

but this week, an Oliver diatribe
about net neutrality went viral.

Fuck you, lady ! I didn't
languish in relative obscurity.

I thrived in relative obscurity.

Relative obscurity
is my middle name.

Being negged by WGBH Boston

was not the weirdest bit of attention
that segment attracted.

That would be this.

It's comedian
John Oliver in New York !

They did a big piece on net neutrality
and the FCC.

He directed everybody to go
to the FCC website

and leave hateful comments.

It turns out it totally worked !
The FCC's web site crashed !

I didn't do anything. People did it.
I merely pointed out a problem.

That is a quintessentially
British excuse.

Can't hold me responsible for what
masses decide to make a fuss about.

Run along, scallywag. I said
good day to you. Good day, sir !

The reason for our segment
three years ago

was that the future of net
neutrality was in question.

The FCC took steps to safeguard it.
And if you're wondering

why I'm even bringing up a problem
seemingly solved, this is why.

The Trump administration announcing
plans to roll back Obama-era

net neutrality rules on equal access.

Of course.
It seems that the Trump era

will control-Z everything
that happened on Obama's watch.

I would not be surprised if one night,
Trump went on TV just to tell us

he killed every turkey
Obama ever pardoned.

But the point is, once again,
net neutrality is in trouble.

And if you need a refresher
on what it involves,

let the star of the 2007 viral smash
video "Chocolate Rain"

explain it to you in thirty seconds.

Net neutrality is the idea that
your pipe to the internet,

whether that is your
cable internet connection,

your LTE wireless internet connection,
however you are receiving information.

That pipeline to the internet is not
allowed to arbitrarily pick favorites

in terms of the content
that you consume.

If you like to use Google search and
your roommate likes Bing search,

your internet service provider
can't say:

Bing is paying us a lot of money,
so we're gonna slow down Google

and Yahoo and their other
competitors to make Bing load fast.

He's right. Although, that's
obviously just a hypothetical.

There is no such search engine
as "Bing". Or maybe there is.

There's only one way
to find out, and that's by Googling it

and that's kind of the point.

Net neutrality is about
more than just speed.

It is the principle that internet
service providers, or ISPs,

should not be able to engage
in any sort of fuckery

that limits or manipulates
the choices you make.

It also helps ensure
a level playing field,

so that big companies cannot
undermine small companies

before they can take off.


Net neutrality is boring. And that
used to work to ISPs' advantage.

But more people know
what it is now,

which is why some companies
have started putting out statements

trumpeting their support for
a "free and open internet".

Verizon created a video to calm
any concerns that you might have.

Jeremy here with Craig Silliman,

our general counsel
and leads our public policy group.

Is the FCC going to kill the open
internet rules or net neutrality ?

The FCC is not talking about killing
the net neutrality rules,

not we nor any other ISP
are asking them to kill the rules.

They're looking to put the rules
on a different legal footing.

Sounds reasonable. Why wouldn't
you trust the commitment

to open access of a man sitting
at a table blocking a hallway ?

But while "a different legal
footing" sounds pretty benign,

it is not.

It's worth understanding how neutrality
landed on its current legal footing,

because it involves Verizon,
so let me explain.

I have to introduce you to two terms
more boring than "net neutrality".

Title I and Title II of the
Communications Act of 1934.

The equivalent of chasing an Ambien
with a shot of chloroform.

Here is what happened:
back in 2010,

the FCC wrote net neutrality
rules governing ISPs,

which were regulated
under the less-strict Title I.

The companies found those rules

Verizon sued the FCC, arguing
it didn't have enough authority

to enforce those rules,
and the court ruled

that if the FCC did want strong,
enforceable net neutrality,

their best option would be
to reclassify ISPs under Title II,

which allows for stronger oversight.

So the FCC did that.
And the fact they did was huge.

So when Verizon claims:
"We love the open internet !"

But why don't we just put it
on a different legal footing ?

It's basically OJ Simpson asking

why you won't let him hold
any of your samurai swords.

C'mon, Juice. You know why.
You, if anyone, should know why.

The ISPs now have
a powerful ally on their side,

Trump has appointed a new head
of the FCC, and it is this guy.

Ajit Pai is known for being
anti-regulation, pro-merger.

He said he wanted to take
a weed whacker to current FCC rules

and predicted net neutrality's,
quote: "days are numbered".

"Days are numbered" and "take a weed
whacker" are serial-killer talk.

When the code of federal regulations
looks out its window at night,

there's just Ajit Pai,
standing silently,

holding his weed whacker,
waiting for his chance.

The dangerous thing about Pai
is that he presents himself

as a fun, down-to-Earth nerd.

The kind whose Twitter feed is full
of quotes from "The Big Lebowski".

He quotes it all the time.

Quoting "The Big Lebowski"
is fine in certain contexts,

if you're an actor and it's 1998

and you're filming the movie
"The Big Lebowski".

It is intolerable
in any other context.

That's not his only fun guy
at the office trait.

Watch his very first
press conference.

I will be happy to take
your questions from the panel.

Monty Tayloe, Comm Daily.
How do you plan to examine...

Ajit Pai is the kind of guy who has
a fun, oversize novelty mug,

and he is proud of it.

Here he is showing it off to
a reporter, to his Twitter feed.

In his first speech
as commissioner, he said...

I love walking into my office,
pouring a gallon of coffee

into my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
mug, and starting my day.

He described his own mug
as "infamous," which is offensive.

At no point should you be describing
your own "fun" mug,

aloud, in the company
of other adults.

It's a fucking mug.
Calling a mug "infamous"

is like calling your Neti Pot
a "real panty-dropper".

In no context
can that be remotely true.

But for all of Pai's doofy,
"I'm just like you guys" persona,

there are some things about him
that you should know:

he is a former lawyer for Verizon
and despite being a smart man,

he sure loves to play dumb over why
ISPs were ever moved to Title II.

For decades before 2015,
we had a free and open internet.

Free and open internet flourished
under light-touch regulation.

We weren't living in some digital
dystopia before the partisan imposition

of a massive plan hatched
in Washington saved all of us.

2015 was not a digital
dystopia for anyone,

with the possible exception
of pizza rat.

Because the internet
put that rat through hell.

One cheat day in three months
of eating Paleo

and she never hears
the fucking end of it.

I said she. Hashtag greasy
filth monster, hashtag feminism.

But Pai's larger argument
is deeply disingenuous.

He has to know that Verizon,
his ex-employer,

won a lawsuit that meant
if the FCC wanted strong protection,

its only real option
was to re-classify the ISPs.

He cheerily insists,
under questioning,

there is no evidence cable companies
were engaging in rampant wrongdoing.

Let's say Comcast created
a new TV series,

and it happened that competed
with a Netflix series similarly.

If these rules go away, how
is there not an incredible incentive

for Comcast to slow Netflix down
coming into my house

and make their video
very robust ?

One of the things that's important to
remember is that it is a hypothetical.

We don't see evidence of that
in the marketplace on widespread level.

There are multiple examples
of ISP fuckery over the years.

A few years back,
Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile

shut out "Google Wallet"
from their phones,

a product that coincidentally
happened to compete

with their own
mobile-payment app.

An app that had
a significant flaw.

It's a little subtle,
but see if you can spot it.

Following in the footsteps
of PayPal and Google Wallet

is a virtual mobile wallet app
called ISIS.

That is incredible. If only because
it means that at some point,

someone's mom probably
sent a text along the lines of:

"How do I make a payment
to ISIS ? Love Mom."

PS: let me know about Passover.

When people complained that they
couldn't use Google Wallet,

T-Mobile sent out tweets
like: "we're supporting ISIS",

"we're really loving ISIS" and
"we have chosen to work with ISIS"

"and hope to roll that out
to everyone very soon."

Despite T-Mobile's
vocal support for ISIS,

which is all you should ever think,
when you hear the word T-Mobile,

or ISIS,
they're essentially the same thing,

Pai's main argument is that we don't
need Title II to have net neutrality.

Some of his ideas for what to have
instead are laughably lax.

He floated having ISPs voluntarily
agree not to obstruct

or slow consumer access
to web content,

by putting that promise
in their terms of service.

The things that no human being
has ever read

and that can change whenever
companies want them to.

That would make net neutrality as
binding as a proposal on The Bachelor.

Vanessa, I determined you to be
better for my brand than Corinne,

but I reserve the right to change
this agreement in the future,

should ABC ever offer me
a slot on "Fuck Pile Island".

Pai's other big argument
to remove ISPs from Title II

is that it places too great
a regulatory burden on companies

and that it's caused them to scale back
investment in broadband networks.

The economics are simple.

The more heavily
you regulate something,

the less of it you're going to get.

What happened after the FCC
imposed Title II ?

Infrastructure investment declined.

What he is essentially suggesting
is that as soon as Title II came in,

companies said: investing in
infrastructure is too difficult.

We're not doing it anymore.

Pull the cable out of the ground,
we're going back to the telegraph.

Infrastructure investment is harder
to measure than you think.

Pai's numbers are in dispute. Several
companies have gone on the record

saying their business has largely
been unaffected by Title II.

The best way
to gauge Title II's impact

is to listen to what cable companies
told their investors,

to whom they are legally
obligated to tell the truth.

Here is what Verizon
told its investors in 2014

about what the switch
to Title II would mean.

This does not influence
the way we invest.

We'll continue to invest in our
networks and our platforms,

both in wireless and wireline Fios
so nothing will influence that.

Doesn't sound like net neutrality was
jeopardizing investment at all.

That was a phone call.
And it was Verizon.

So it's entirely possible
that every other word was dropped.

Title II is the most solid legal
foundation we have now

for strong
net neutrality protections.

So Pai saying: "let's have
an open internet without it"

is like me saying:"how about
you have a gallon of coffee,"

"without your stupid
fucking mug ?"

Pour it into your hands and trust
you won't get burnt.

I know you're thinking:

"You're making fun of my mug
because you're jealous of it."

To which I would say:
why would I be jealous ?

Your mug's not that big.

You want to know
what I'm drinking ?

The blood of smaller mugs.


ISPs will tell you net neutrality could
be protected by an act of Congress.

But I do not trust this
or any Congress

to get something as complicated
as this right.

I wouldn't want
the current president involved,

as he doesn't seem to have
any idea what any of this is.

Trump once tweeted
back in 2014:

Obama's attack on the internet
is another top down power grab.

Net neutrality is Fairness Doctrine.
Will target conservative media.

That's the opposite of what it did !

Trump could not have
been more off base if he'd tweeted:

"Net neutrality is Monroe Doctrine.
Will target the Wu-Tang Clan."

We the people must take
this matter into our own hands.

The FCC are, again, going to invite
public comment on their website.

The process is actually a lot
more complicated this time

slash lower-case ecfs,
slash search, dash proceedings.

When you get to this page,
put in the proceeding number, 17-108,

then hit search
and on the next page,

"restoring internet freedom"
should be the only result you see.

Click on the link that says "express"
and then can you leave your comment.

And if you're thinking:
"Too complicated, I'm not doing it."

We bought the URL
"go FCC yourself" dot com

and if you go there, it will
land you straight on this page,

where all you have to do is hit
"express" and comment,

telling Ajit Pai that you support
strong net neutrality,

backed by Title II oversight of ISPs.

Every internet group needs to come
together like three years ago.

Every subculture must join. Gamers,
YouTube celebrities, Instagram models,

Tom from MySpace,
if you're still alive.

We need all of you !

Even Donald Trump's internet
fans on sites like 4chan and Reddit:

the most powerful
online trolls of all.

This subject is one of the few
things that we really agree on.

So express yourselves and harness
the rage you reserve for me.

The rage that you used
when you said I'm:

"genuinely one of the most visually
and intellectually repulsive people",

with "oddly long thumbs",
"batshit crazy eyes"

and a "mouth that looks like
a cemetery after an earthquake".

That's pretty good.
Everyone needs to get involved.

Comment now and again once FCC
makes its proposal official.

Call your representative
and your senators.

Do not tell me that you don't have
time to do this.

Internet is evidence that we have
way too much time on our hands.

I'm talking to you, those who posted
"May the 4th be with you"

for "Star Wars Day" this
and every fucking year.

I'm talking to you, everyone
who posted on Facebook about:

"ten concerts you've
seen and one you didn't".

And to you, everyone who did it
ironically and added a joke twist,

because you are exactly as bad.

You cannot say that you are too busy
when 540 000 of you

commented on Beyonce's
pregnancy announcement

and 673 of you took the time
to review the Grand Canyon on Yelp

seven of whom
gave it a one-star review.

What is wrong with you ?

I'm specifically looking at you,
person on Amazon

who gave "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
one star because, and I quote:

"there were
no wolves in the movie".

And to you, the 31 people
who took the time to say

they found that review helpful.

I'm looking at the frankly
surprising number of people

who, for some reason, keep tweeting
"choke me, daddy" at the Pope.

You're wasting your time.
He's not going to choke you.

The optics would be very bad.

I'm calling upon all of you,

the internet's time-wasters
and troublemakers,

to join me once more, in just five
to ten minutes of minor effort.

I need you to do this ! Once more
unto the breach my friends !

Go to this URL and tell the FCC to
preserve net neutrality and Title II !

Once again, commenters,
America needs you to rise

or remain seated in front
of your computer screen.

So please, fly my pretties !
Fly once more !

That is our show. See you next
week. Good night. Fly away !