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Friday, June 09, 2006

 

The end of the internet as we know it -- and the whores who got us here

I hate to be the bluestocking in the thick glasses and the dowdy clothes to start talking politics at a party, but this is too important an issue not to post.

It looks like the time is coming very soon when Verizon, Earthlink, Comcast, and Cablevision will have the power to decide which sites you have access to when you use the Internet.

Do you order flowers online from your local florist? If he doesn't pay up, you won't be able to -- you'll be directed to a national online site that did.

Are you looking for information on sexually-transmitted diseases and how to prevent them? If right-wing Christian groups successfully lobby the service providers to deny you access to sites with such information by using their wallets as weapons, you'll be denied access.

Do you like to get your news from many sources with varying points of view? Soon you'll be limited to only those sites the service providers want you to see -- whether because of the political views of the providers' executives, or because only conservative sites pay up.

Do you use the Web as a user interface for your critical systems? Perhaps your ordering system or help desk software or collections system is web-based? Your systems will be placed in the slow lane unless you pay up.

And if you are a frequenter of gay sites, well, forget about it. They may either be blocked or load so slowly so as not to be accessible, depending on the religiopolitical views of telecom executives.

Yesterday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 269-152, largely along party lines, to reject an amendment to telecommunications legislation that would have ensured your equal access to any site you wish to visit.

If you had any doubts that politics in Washington are entirely controlled by corporate dollars, here is Exhibit A. Even Republicans give lip service to small businesses being the backbone of economic growth in the 21st century -- and yet here they are, enacting legislation that will cripple the efforts of any small business to use the internet to build its revenues -- unless it can afford the same fees as the big players in their industries.

This telecommunications bill will pass because people don't understand what net neutrality is or why it's important -- or why allowing the telecom companies to charge fees to those serving content over the web will not only stifle free speech, but also cripple the very small businesses Republicans pretend to want to help.

I urge you to think about how YOU will be affected and either post it in the comments here at ModFab, or spread it as a blog meme on your own blogs.

So who brought us to this point? Certainly it's the usual suspects in the Republican party, who never saw a giant corporation's campaign contribution that they didn't like. But it's not just Republicans to blame. One of the leading figures helping Big Telecom get its way is none other than one Mike McCurry, who used to be Bill Clinton's press secretary. McCurry has been particularly loathsome in this effort in his role as lobbyist for the telecom industry, including a completely misleading web site called, ironically, Save the Internet running blog ads like this, and pissing and moaning at Huffington Post.

McCurry's connection with the telecom industry and his disdain for anyone who disagrees with him is a particular problem for me this year, because the Dweeb-Boy that the NJ 5th District Democratic bosses have decided to run for Congress this year calls Mike McCurry "a good friend". Indeed, McCurry has been the "special guest" at a Paul Aronsohn fundraiser. Does this necessarily mean that Aronsohn, who has about as much chance of being elected this fall as I do, and I'm not even running, will vote with Big Telecom? No; after all, Frank Pallone, who accepted $28,000 from telecom interests for this year's campaign, just voted FOR the Markey Amendment. But when the ONLY statement Aronsohn has made about net neutrality was a terse statement, "I support net neutrality" on Blue Jersey in the comments section of a post on why net neutrality is important, and when the ONLY photos Aronsohn has on his site are of him shaking hands with political hacks rather than real people, well, color me skeptical. Aronsohn has a long way to go to convince me that he even understands the issue, let alone is willing to go to bat for the people on this issue.

To see which Democrats sold you out, here is the vote. Scroll down to the "Noes", to see who voted AGAINST the Markey Amendment that would ensure internet neutrality. If you see your Democratic representative on the list, call him or her and ask the reason for the vote. Then start finding an alternative for 2008, because these people have just let you know where their loyalties actually are -- and they are NOT with you.

Meanwhile, the issue now goes to the Senate, so there is still time to stop the wholesale turnover of the Internet to Big Telecom. Please get on the phone with your Senators TODAY and let them know where you stand.

(Cross-posted, with some variations, at Brilliant at Breakfast)

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