The U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on one of the most important issues that most folks aren’t well tuned into: Net Neutrality. If this vote goes badly, or if Barack Obama fails to veto the result, that will be the end of the Internet as we know it, because the Internet will become much more like cable television, with corporate controlled options regarding permitted websites and acceptable software and devices.
Free Press is offering a basic Q & A on net neutrality here.
Net Neutrality is not about government takeover of the Internet. This claim of a government takeover is a lie being spread by Republicans who have taken steps to give the big telecoms control over the kinds of programs you can make use of over the Internet and the kind of content that is freely accessible.
Please, take a only a minute or two, to join me and take action on this critical issue. Your voice is needed to counteract AT&T’s annual $15 Million in campaign contributions, and 93 full-time lobbyists.
In this video, Senator Al Franken explains net neutrality, using YouTube as the perfect example. I’ve been following this issue closely for several years, but I’ve never before heard net neutrality explained more clearly than Senator Franken explains it here:
Do you remember the way candidate Obama spoke out fervently in favor of net neutrality throughout his campaign? Check out this video compilation of some of his many pre-election pro-net-neutrality pronouncements.
Guess what? Now that Google and Verizon have decided that a multi-tier non-neutral arrangement will help their profits statements, Obama is unwilling to fight back. Just as he failed to do regarding single payer health care. Just like he failed to do when Wall Street “reform” failed to address too-big-to-fail and failed to reinstate Glass-Steagall (and see here). Just like he did when the military-industrial complex insisted on ramping up U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. Just like he fail to do as he continues to drag his feet on Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. Now Obama is unwilling to fight back in support of net neutrality: “President Obama campaigned on net neutrality, and yet the White House has been surprisingly quiet on the issue since the breakdown of FCC negotiations and in the wake of Google and Verizon’s joint policy proposal.”
President Obama has lost his voice regarding net neutrality even though
Joel Kelsey, political advisor with nonprofit media-reform group Free Press, “said the proposal would create “tollbooths on the information superhighway.”
“It’s a signed, sealed and delivered policy framework with giant loopholes that blesses the carving up of the Internet for a few deep-pocketed Internet companies and carriers,” he said in a statement.
In the midst of all of this hypocrisy, Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs unloaded on the “professional left,” insisting that ” “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”
How about this, Mr. Gibbs? Barack Obama has repeatedly proven that he would rather have any sort of deal than a deal that achieves the principles Mr. Obama announced in his campaign speeches.
Obama achieved some good things too, but how is anything mentioned at the top of this post differ from anything john McCain would have done? Except, perhaps, when he called the health care bill “reform” instead of calling it the “send gushers of tax money and forced clientele to the health insurance industry.”
The above-described failures didn’t occur in a vacuum. We also seen his refusal to bring American torturers to justice. We’ve seen expansion of off-shore oil drilling. He’s authorized remote-controlled drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, where these are conducted by the CIA, and in which numerous civilians have been killed, and we have good reason to believe that many other deaths of innocent people have been covered up.
I voted for Barack Obama, but I’m sorely disappointed. Not that there was any other reasonable place to put my vote. From now one, though, I am going to judge Barack Obama solely by what he does, not by his elegant campaign speeches.
For additional trustworthy information on the Google-Verizon deal, see this list of articles at Free Press.
Please watch Senator Al Franken explaining why Net Neutrality is one of the most important issues of our time:
Josh Silver of Free Press is reporting terrible news on the issue of net neutrality:
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Communications Commission is expected to abandon its pledges to protect Net Neutrality and to ensure universal, affordable broadband. The story cites anonymous insiders confirming that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is “leaning toward” siding with the most powerful phone and cable lobbyists on a crucial decision: whether the FCC will have any authority to protect an open Internet and make it available to all.
It is a testament to the phone and cable industry’s overwhelming influence that they seem to have convinced the nation’s communications agency to swear off authority to protect Americans’ right to open communications. But it is stunning that Genachowski would even contemplate allowing it to stand, given President Obama’s repeated pledge to ensure fast, affordable, universal Internet broadband for every American.
In early April, a a federal appeals court ruled that, based on decisions by the Bush-era FCC, the agency lacks the authority to regulate broadband providers. In so doing, the court effectively handed control of the Internet to companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon — allowing them to slow down or block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a congressional campaign. The FCC no longer has the power to stop them. Fortunately, the FCC does have the power to easily fix the problem by “reclassifying” broadband under the law. All it would take is a vote by its five commissioners — and Genachowski already has the votes.
This is your chance to take action–it will take you 3 minutes to write to Chairman Julius Genachowski–remind him that he represents the People of the United States, not the telecoms. Or as Art Brodsky of media public interest group Public Knowledge says,
The telephone and cable companies will object to any path the chairman takes . . . He might as well take the one that best protects consumers and is most legally sound.
Glen Lyons of Salon describes the state of the national media:
The average citizen hardly knows what to believe anymore. Due to the parlous state of professional journalism; the Internet; cable TV “news” networks and talk radio shouters; and the ceaseless din of the right-wing noise machine, the public is daily confronted with make-believe news, doctored quotes, fake history and phony data.
In my opinion, Lyons has it about right. Most people I know don’t want to spend immense amounts of time picking through the “news” to figure out what they should actually believe. Out of fatigue and frustration, they tend to lock on to one or two sources of information, despite the fact that most media sources are not motivated to be trusted as sources of information. Rather, based on what they are actually reporting, and how they are reporting it, they are primarily motivated to make money. Hence, Tiger’s affairs get much more coverage than critical national issues and contentious sound-bites are offered to us instead of careful analysis of issues.
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The largest telephone and cable companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of a level playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those of big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road. As you would expect, they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk. Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers that ask advocacy groups or candidates to pay to join the “fast lane.”
We need to make Net Neutrality the law of the land to ensure that all networks are open and free from discrimination. That’s why the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458) (introduced by Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)) is so important. Take action today to pass this bill and to make Net Neutrality the law. This is not a bill you should fear. It is a 13-page bill written in plain English and it will protect your rights. No need to trust me on the interpretation of this bill. Take ten minutes and read the entire bill yourself. It is loaded with protections for all of us who believe in the freedom to use the Internet without interference by a telephone or cable company.
It’s time to tell the telecoms that they shall not be the Internet gate-keepers. You can do this by signing the SavetheInternet.com petition. Tell Congress to pass Net Neutrality legislation today. Here are the FAQs regarding net neutrality. More than 1.6 million people have already called for Congress and the FCC to support Net Neutrality. It takes only a couple minutes to add your voice too. You’ll be part of the team that is about to send a resounding message that Washington won’t be able to ignore.