I’m an empty suit sellout.
Remember Mike McCurry? Bill Clinton’s former press secretary? He fought the good fight as the impeachment years took off, before handing over the reins to Joe Lockhart. The press liked him, even though he used to run circles around them. Now he’s selling his charm and verbal gymnastics to the telecom industry, and he wants to destroy Internet Freedom. Because hey, it’s a paycheck.
The Internet began with regulations that blocked providers from favoring access to one site over another. That’s Internet Freedom, a.k.a., "Net Neutrality." That means you can access what you want when you want, and anyone can create a web based destination. Phone companies were set up along similar lines: they are not allowed to block you from calling any number you choose. Cable companies are different. They steer you where they want and charge you what they like for the privilege. Mercenary Mouthpiece Mike McCurry and his telecom pals want to make your Internet like cable, changing it from its free state.
Why does this matter?
Have your cable rates gone down lately? Can you always get the channels you want? Is there content you would like to get on cable but cannot? Do you think monopolistic control of cable has left you with a 500 channel wasteland? Do you like to shop for out of the way bargains online? Do you like to get unbiased medical information online when your kid is sick? Do you think online political organizing has been good for free speech and the country? Do you think that innovative small businesses, who create most of the country’s jobs, should have access to customers the big players want to own outright?
Are you getting the picture? Mike McCurry is spinning, deceiving and cashing checks to get your representatives to sell you out.
Enough, already! These craven Clinton era consultants have to be stopped. They are cashing in at your expense and running the party into the ground.
Today is a big day on the Hill. The following comes from an email sent by a contact on the Hill:
As I think everyone knows, net neutrality/COPE Act is being marked up in committee today. Net neutrality is in Title II of the bill, so we likely won’t get to that part of the markup until mid-afternoon. Barton, of course, scheduled the opening statements last night (the part of the markup that CSPAN usually covers).
Pelosi has come out strongly in support of Net Neutrality and there’s a citizen co-sponsorship effort on the Markey amendment. Markey’s going to announce how many citizens have co-sponsored this afternoon. The co-sponsorship can be found here.
Go here for Markey’s opening statement last night. Representative Markey’s office will be updating his site throughout the day with clips and such.
There are Democrats already on the wrong side of this issue, because we have not been watching closely enough. Bobby Rush of Illinois, a key vote on Internet Freedom, sits on the board of a charity that has gotten over one million in cash from the telecom industry. Guess whose side he’s on:
An Englewood community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a key player on telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation’s largest phone companies.
The chief of a congressional watchdog group says Rush’s ongoing association with the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation and his role in shaping telecommunications law as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee is a conflict of interest. Using charitable giving as a backdoor way to curry favor with lawmakers is coming under increasing scrutiny, figuring in controversies associated with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who was forced to temporarily step aside as the ranking Democrat on the Ethics panel.
On Wednesday, the energy and commerce panel on which Rush sits is set to vote on a controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rush and backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television companies.
This is not an overnight fight. The Markey Amendment will not win today in committee, but the vote count matters. The time to put pressure on our representatives is now, so we can build momentum to save Internet Freedom.
And get the word out: Mike McCurry is lying, and he needs to be stopped. He deserves piñata status.
See also Taylor Marsh’s excellent post and compendium of links on Internet Freedom here.