Tuesday, June 12, 2018

No More Net Neutrality-- But The Impact Won't Be Felt Until AFTER November To Protect Republicans


But will the issue persuade voters to defeat the GOP?

In 2005 the FCC had a Republican chair, Kathleen Abernathy, a Republican, but not a Trumpist crackpot like Ajit Pai, the current chair. Abernathy's FCC adopted the principles of net neutrality "to preserve and promote the vibrant and open character of the Internet as the telecommunications marketplace enters the broadband age." 18 years later and the Trumpist Republican Party is no longer remotely interested in preserving and promoting the vibrant and open character of the Internet. They're interested in seeing what they can squeeze out of the Internet service providers in bribes.
Between 2005 and 2012, five attempts to pass bills in Congress containing net neutrality provisions failed. Proponents claimed that these bills would preserve the open Internet that consumer groups sought, and to prohibit Internet service providers from using various variable pricing models based upon the user's quality of service level, described as tiered service in the industry and as price discrimination arising from abuse of "local monopolies enshrined in law" by some economists. Opponents claimed that these bills would have benefited industry lobbyists instead of consumers due to the potential of regulatory capture with policies that protect incumbent interests and that the bills were a transparent attempt to establish US government control over the Internet.
Pai's anti-net neutrality agenda went into effect yesterday, despite the fact that recent polling shows that 83% of voters support keeping the rules on net neutrality, including 75% of Republican voters, 89% of Democratic voters, and 86% of independent voters.

The last time there was serious consideration in the House in was Ed Markey's 2009 Internet Freedom Preservation Act (H.R. 3458). Boehner had it buried in Fred Upton's Energy and Commerce Committee so that it would never have to be voted on, and so Republican congressmembers would never be forced to vote against something the GOP base overwhelmingly supported, not to mention 86% of independents.

Last month the Senate voted, 52-47, Susan Collins (ME), John Kennedy (LA) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voting with every Democrat, to overturn the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which which went into effect yesterday, taking net neutrality rules off the books.

To make it work in the House-- where Paul Ryan opposes net neutrality-- a majority on the House would have to sign a discharge petition. meaning every Democrat (already a stretch in the House) plus 22 Republicans. And then it would have to be signed by Trumpanzee! Mike Doyle (D-PA) is leading the charge. Some of the worst and most corrupt Blue Dogs are dragging their feet, including many of the hardcore members of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party: Henry Cuellar (TX), Filemon Vela (TX), Jim Costa (CA) Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), bribe taking machine Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Tom Halleran (AZ) and Stephanie Murphy (FL). And, of course, no Republican signed on either.

Chuck Schumer, who personally recruited Blue Dog chairman Kyrsten Sinema, who refused to sign the discharge position and votes with the GOP most of the time, is seeking to profit politically from the disaster: "It's now as clear as day to every American that-- with the exception of three Republicans in the Senate-- their Republican representatives in the Congress chose to protect special interests and the biggest corporates over middle-class families, average consumers, entrepreneurs and anyone who relies on the free and open internet. Every Republican who opposed this vote will own any and all of the damaging consequences of the FCC's horribly misguided decision."

Yesterday Levi Tillemann sent this message to residents in suburban Denver where he's sunning for the seat (CO-06) occupied by GOP-tool Mike Coffman. "Today is a sad day for all Americans who care passionately about a free Internet. The Internet was the result of government investments in risky, cutting edge R&D-- investments that the private sector never would have touched. Well, Donald Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai just gave away the internet to special interests by ending 'net neutrality.' Net neutrality protects equal access to the Internet for all Americans-- not just those who can pay extra. When I go to Congress I’ll fight to roll back Ajit Pai’s disastrous policy. Help us fight for the future of the free internet by contributing today. (In case you're interested, here's a speech I gave at a rally for net neutrality from few months back.)"

We asked Mike DeVito, the progressive Democrat running for the Staten Island seat Dan Donovan is currently holding, how this plays out in his district. This is what he told us:
In areas of NY-11 (Staten Island and South Brooklyn), Charter/Spectrum is the only ISP game in town. That's the corporation that is trying to starve 1,800 IBEW Local 3 Union workers to death.  Our brothers and sisters walked out because of unfair labor practices, and have been out on strike for 441 days as of today.  But a huge aspect of the labor practices for which they walked out were about the company's lies to customers about Internet speeds and equipment capacity.

People want what they pay for and what they are promised. Net Neutrality is designed to protect people from deceptive practices like these.

It is no surprise that the sitting GOP Congressman in this district takes money from Charter/Spectrum. But when a Democrat also works against Net Neutrality, it's critical to hold him accountable. The Blue Dog Democrat who is my opponent in this race has an agreement with Joe Crowley and has taken money from the Joe PAC which also includes union busting Charter/Spectrum money.

The Blue Dog PAC which gives money to the establishment Democrat in this race is also funded by the NCTA-- the Internet and Television Association, which is a trade group for telecom companies that promote anti-regulation, oppose net neutrality and used an Alec-written bill to lobby against municipal broadband.

As a progressive, I believe we need to move swiftly to municipal broadband. We live in an age where it is impossible to participate in society without regular, reliable access to the internet. Having to pay for access to vital information directly affects the economic stability and mobility of everyone who cannot afford it, perpetuating cycles of struggle and poverty.

Of course these huge conglomerates are not going to simply relinquish control, and there is only one way to take them out. That's to vote them out. Vote out anyone who can be confirmed to have taken a dime from a corporation, and put a stop to the election of any candidate who does likewise before they rise to make consequential decisions for the rest of us.

It is time to stop the hypocrisy and obstruction of progress. It's time to be better, and demand better.

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At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said this before and I'll say it now. IF the Internet becomes too inconvenient or too stuffed with ads for things I don't want and can't use, then I will stop using it and the corporate customers of Ajit Pai can go talk to him about why.

I once read that any individual represents 125,000 others. I'm going to guess that number has since arisen. So if I stop using the Internet, that should mean that at least another 124,999 others have as well. I'm not in the media advertising business, but I bet that amount would be noticed by the bean counters.

Call me when there is a majority in Congress to begin to charge the ISPs for using technology that my tax dollars paid for.

At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as with voter rights, the democraps have said and done nothing.

I would think that it might be difficult to endorse Comcast's checks with both thumbs up their ass.

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, 5:41. Checks that large require thumbprints, don't they? Feel sorry for the bank clerks who have to handle those documents!


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