Grassroots to AT&T: Are you feelin’ us now?
"Net neutrality" is a concept that is still unfamiliar to most Americans, but it keeps the Internet democratic. Cable and telephone companies that provide Internet service are talking about creating a two-tiered Internet, in which Web sites that pay them large fees would get priority over everything else. Opponents of these plans are supporting Net-neutrality legislation, which would require all Web sites to be treated equally. Net neutrality recently suffered a setback in the House, but there is growing hope that the Senate will take up the cause.
One of the Internet’s great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft’s home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like.
That would be a financial windfall for Internet service providers, but a disaster for users, who could find their Web browsing influenced by whichever sites paid their service provider the most money. There is a growing movement of Internet users who are pushing for legislation to make this kind of discrimination impossible. It has attracted supporters ranging from MoveOn.org to the Gun Owners of America. Grass-roots political groups like these are rightly concerned that their online speech could be curtailed if Internet service providers were allowed to pick and choose among Web sites.
Tell us again, Mike you lying sellout, how we online activists are just a bunch of clueless, uncouth whiney kids. . . with whom the New York Times apparently agrees. Chris Bowers exposes the lying bullshit about netroots activists you, Joe Klein and your other pecksniff power pimp sellouts keep hawking at the corner of 17th and L.
Let’s have a look at the names in your lobbying firm, shall we? Oooh, Randy Tate, one of the founders of the Christian Coalition. Tell me again, Mike, about your Democratic bona fides, how we should all be civil and moderate in tone? Let’s check out your clients. Oooooh. . . the Republican National Committee! Well, how-dee-doo! And the Lincoln Chaffee endorsing Sierra Club makes an appearance here, as do both the ACLU and the Department of Homeland Security. Interesting! Would any financial supporters of the ostensibly progressive groups on this list like to send a little note to them about Mike’s firm’s conflicts of interest?
And what does this ultimate insider’s lobbying club call itself? Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the pinnacle of insider DC hubris and deception: the "Grassroots Enterprise." (Mike, if you were not a target already, guess what?) Seems the New York Times and a couple of hundred million Americans might take issue with that name. But I digress. I need to address the genuine grassroots members out there.
We’re making real progress on the Internet Freedom front, and the bad guys are definitely dazed and wobbling on the canvas. We delivered a hard, unexpected punch on the Markey Amendment last week but still need to finish the fight. Rep, Markey has introduced new Net Neutrality legislation in the House, just moments ago. Here’s what you can do today, courtesy of Matt Stoller at MyDD (updated to reflect breaking developments):
1. SIGN a Net Neutrality petition to Congress.
2. CALL Congress now. Especially, tell your representatives in the House to support Markey’s Net Neutrality Act of 2006, but educate your senators on this issue too, as the fight will soon move there.
3. WRITE A LETTER to Congress.
4. MYSPACE: Add "Save the Internet" as a friend.
5. Check out the BLOG RESOURCES about this issue, including "Save the Internet" logo.
6. VISIT the SavetheInternet coalition Web site for more information.