Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Does Net Neutrality Mean Much To You?


If more congressional candidates did this, many of the country's problems would vanish

I was listening to NPR yesterday on a long drive and they were interviewing two dullard Beltway operatives, a dumb Dem and an even dumber Republican. The dumb Dem, when asked about Net Neutrality's salience as an issue said no one cared much about it. And the dumber Republican went one further to say no one even knows what it is. These two fools and the idiots they work for may be in for a big surprise. Spectrum seems to already be slowing down website loading and is running frequent TV cable ads hawking speedier service if you pay a monthly fee. Anyone who thinks there's no salience in that as an issue is just so, so clueless.

Lisa Brown, the Democrat running for Congress in eastern Washington state, has a a net neutrality video as her pinned tweet. It's an important issue for her. She told us that her opponent, "4th- ranked Republican leader, Rep. McMorris Rodgers, actually 'applauded' the FCC for taking on the reversal of net neutrality, demonstrating how out of touch she is with the real needs of most Americans, especially the rural parts of eastern Washington. Not only will 'pay to play' internet hurt all consumers in the wallet, it will widen the digital divide, as ISPs compete by investing in big city technology upgrades and marketing, letting the rest of us languish."

John Culberson is one of the only members of Congress left in office who voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. Hopefully this will be his last year in Congress, replaced one of the best successful cancer doctores and researcher Jason Westin. Unlike Culberson, Westin is a proponent of new neutrality. " John Culberson has many flaws, but the gift of gab isn't one. The quote often attributed to Mark Twain may apply to Mr. Culberson: 'Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.' On Net Neutrality, he couldn't stay silent. On March 25, 2017 Culberson held his most recent town hall. It was a raucous affair and one of the questions was about if he'd support Net Neutrality. He tried 4 times to answer, and it was clear he'd never heard of Net Neutrality. But when I reviewed his voting record, he voted AGAINST Net Neutrality on April 15, 2016 (H.R. 2666, 114th Congress). This is an excellent example of why we need new leadership-- to have representatives who actually know what they are voting on."

Senate Democrats seem to understand how much net neutrality resonates and they're trying to force McConnell to allow a vote. Cecilia Kang reported yesterday in the NY Times that even if the Democrats win in the Senate-- and they're close-- the Republican-controlled House is unlikely to go along and Trump would veto it anyway.
Senate Democrats said on Tuesday that all 49 members of their caucus had agreed to sign on to a resolution that would overturn the F.C.C. repeal of net neutrality rules. They are using a tool of the Senate, the Congressional Review Act, which requires a simple majority to overturn a recent order by a federal agency.

The Democrats also have the support of at least one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine. So that leaves them searching for one more Republican to join their effort to get the necessary 51 votes.

...Many Democrats would like to turn net neutrality into a bigger political issue ahead of the 2018 midterms. The efforts to overturn the F.C.C. order are aimed to raise awareness about an issue that has broad interest, particularly among younger voters, Democratic lawmakers have said. Consumer advocacy groups like Free Press, Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, have been singling out lawmakers who have either supported the F.C.C. order or have not spoken up in favor of restoring rules.

“There will be a political price to pay for those on the wrong side of history. Momentum is on our side,” Mr. Markey has said.
Ryan, of course, will protect the swamp so it will take 218 signatures on a discharge petition to get around him. Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections and immediately got 81 co-sponsors. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) was one. "We can’t stand by," she said, "as the FCC and big corporations steal our right to equal access to the Internet. I am cosponsoring this resolution because we need to reverse the FCC’s shameful repeal of net neutrality protections. The FCC’s decision will allow Internet service providers to favor big businesses over startups, hurting New Hampshire innovators; it needs to be stopped.”

Last month, Shea-Porter sent a letter with the New Hampshire congressional delegation to New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Governor Chris Sununu, urging them to take action to protect Granite State consumers and small businesses from the negative impacts of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections. Shea-Porter and 118 colleagues also sent a letter asking FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay the scheduled net neutrality vote due to public comment irregularities.

Yesterday New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led 22 states in a suit against the FCC over its plan to rollback net neutrality, alleging that the FCC decision violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act as well as a number of state and local laws. And it isn't just the blue states. Kentucky joined as well. Attorney General Andy Beshear: "I’m opposing the repeal of net neutrality because of the destructive nature it will have on every Kentuckian from farmers to college students who use free and open internet to thrive and prosper. As a state and as a nation, we cannot turn our backs on the hard working people of this country by letting the federal government walk all over them and take away their level playing field."

Aside from New York and Kentucky, the other states who have joined the suit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Democrats would love to get Republicans opposing net neutrality on the record.

I reached out to Austin Frerick, a former Obama Treasury Department economist who is biding much of his Iowa congressional campaign on an analysis of corporate power and how it harms ordinary working families and how to rein it in. He told me that "Only 50% of rural Americans have Internet that meets the government standard of adequate serviced compared with 94% in urban area. The repeal of Net Neutrality will exacerbate the issue of unreliable broadband in rural areas. On March 31st last year, David Young received a $5,000 check from Comcast. I support Net Neutrality. He doesn't. This is probably why. Here's just another example of David Young putting corporate America's needs heads of everyday Iowans."

Goal ThermometerDerrick Crowe, like Frerick, is one of those forward-looking big thinker candidates-- he's running in TX-21 (super-literate and techie Austin/San Antonio)-- who understands very well how crucially important net neutrality is. Today he told us that "Net Neutrality is about stopping another massive corporate attack on our freedom. It's repeal lets huge corporations act as the gatekeepers of information, giving them enormous power to shape political debates and extort funds from subscribers. This is an issue that young voters and people about to be old enough to vote are intensely attuned to, and if our party doesn't vociferously defend true Title II Net Neutrality, we risk alienating an entire generation-- for good reason. We subsidize corporations like Verizon and Comcast to the tune of billions of dollars each year, and this move by them and their political enablers to restrict our freedoms in return is outrageous." You can contribute to their campaigns, and Jared Golden's, by clicking on the thermometer on the right.

Lewiston's Jared Golden is the majority whip of the Maine House of Representatives and is now running for the congressional seat held by Wall Street-oriented Republican Bruce Poliquin. Like Frerick and Crowe, he gets how important this issue is for Mainers-- even if his opponent doesn't. "Once again," he told us, "Bruce Poliquin is the only member of Maine’s delegation that’s failed to protect his constituents. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congresswoman Pingree all support restoring Net Neutrality but Poliquin supported getting rid of it. The network companies have local monopolies in Maine and they are making their own rules while consumers have little or no alternatives to choose from. The FCC is giving these monopolies free rein over consumers and small businesses and Maine’s economy is pretty much driven by small businesses. Not only should it bring back Net Neutrality but Congress should act to break up the monopolies and ensure fair competition instead of allowing these internet providers to operate like 21st Century Barons."

Katie Hill is the committed progressive in a race to replace GOP reactionary Steve Knight in a district that has been trending blue. She told us that "Without net neutrality, news is less available, citizens are less knowledgeable, and marginalized groups are even less powerful. Our discussions and democratic deliberations are weakened when telecom companies and internet service providers get to decide who is allowed to speak, whose speech will be taken seriously, and what issues are considered debatable. The free and open exchange of information is one of our last defenses against the political influence of big businesses and special interests; the fight to #SaveNetNeutrality is not one that we can afford to lose."

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At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another fine example of DINO-Whig compliance with Republican goals. Still want to reform the Party from within?

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of reviewing the STATED positions of your cherry-picked candidates, many of whom won't win, perhaps you'd be more accurate and useful to review the demonstrated position of the democrap PARTY, namely that of their leadershit.

You'll find that the democraps are, at best, indifferent to net neutrality. And that, at present anyway, their indifference is due simply to the ISP corporations not paying them enough to give a fuck. yet.

Should the democrap leadershit screw the pooch and actually stumble into a majority, you can bet the ranch that Pelosi and scummer will personally take a sticky note with a 9-figure number written on it into the offices of the ISP corporate lobbyists... and they'll leave with a check for that amount. And at that point they'll have to come up with a script to perform for the public that tries to convince us/US that they really want NN, but just can't do it because of the republicans.

Fortunately for Pelosi and scummer, the us electorate cannot make the line on an EEG make any little spikies.

Or does nobody remember obamanation and the 2009 "new deal" congress???


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