BREAKING: FCC breaks Obama’s promise, allows corporate censorship online with fake Net Neutrality

[Ed. note: Please note the request for help at the bottom of this post. Thanks.]

Minutes ago, the FCC passed new rules — written by corporations — that will end Net Neutrality. For the first time in history, the U.S. government approved corporate censorship of the Internet, putting the future of online free speech at risk. Unbelievably, the person leading the charge was Obama appointee Julius Genachowski (known in some circles as Judas GenaComcast for his historic sellout and notorious industry-friendly attitude).

These rules also violate President Obama’s campaign promise to protect Net Neutrality and appoint an FCC Commissioner who would do the same, but some media are reporting the corporate spin that this is a “Net Neutrality compromise.” The White House is trying to convince us this isn’t a sellout as well with their wholly supportive statement.

This is not a compromise and it doesn’t fulfill Obama’s campaign promise — not even close. There’s no such thing as half a First Amendment and no such thing as prohibiting “some” corporate censorship. In reality, these rules are what Senator Al Franken said they are:

The FCC’s action today is simply inadequate to protect consumers or preserve the free and open Internet. I am particularly disappointed to learn that the order will not specifically ban paid prioritization, allowing big companies to pay for a fast lane on the Internet and abandoning the foundation of net neutrality. The rule also contains almost no protections for mobile broadband service, remaining silent on the blocking of content, applications, and devices. Wireless technology is the future of the Internet, and for many rural Minnesotans, it’s often the only choice for broadband.

Today was another historic sellout to big corporations by the Obama administration, not some kind of “win.” We need to set the record straight.

I’ve put together a page with three clear reasons why today’s rules are a sellout, allow corporate censorship, and end the Internet as we know it. I’ve also copied them below. Can you share this page with our friends so we can get the word out?  . . . (more…)

FCC Chairman won’t stand up to Comcast, proposes garbage “net neutrality”

photo: Gavin St. Ours via Flickr

When President Obama was campaigning for his job, he didn’t mince words on the importance of the free and open Internet.

Here’s a video of him saying, “I am a strong supporter of Net Neutrality,” and, “As President I’m going to make sure that is the principle that my FCC Commissioner is applying as we move forward.” (Here’s a compilation of a few more.)

The FCC Chairman he appointed as President, Julius Genachowski, didn’t mince words either [pdf].

He said things like, “It is essential that the Internet itself remain open, however users reach it.” and:

“Broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. This means they cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks, or pick winners by favoring some content or applications over others in the connection to subscribers’ homes. Nor can they disfavor an Internet service just because it competes with a similar service offered by that broadband provider.”

But today, Genachowski proposed rules that wouldn’t protect the Internet and net neutrality — most importantly, instead of stopping corporations like Comcast from discriminating when they try to block Netflix unless Comcast gets paid big time, the proposed rules would give control of the Internet over to big corporations.

In one swoop, Genachowski is poised to break Obama’s promise and give the Internet away to big corporations like Comcast, to block and discriminate and extort as they see fit.  . . . (more…)

Obama’s Choice: Fix Problems or Hold Them Accountable

If you’re leading the party in power — controlling both the House, the Senate, and the Presidency — and your country is facing the most serious economic crisis in a generation, you have two options. You can either fix the problems, or you can make clear to the American people why you can’t, and who’s stopping you.

Both options would have required bold action. President Obama, aided and abetted by conservatives in Congress, did neither. The electoral consequences are plain to see.

Having been elected on a platform of change, President Obama could have fixed our deep problems. There are numerous examples of how he didn’t.

The stimulus was too small. Though it goosed GDP and shaved points off our skyrocketing unemployment numbers [pdf], unemployment remains at 9.2%, with real unemployment in the double digits. By giving in to Senate Democratic and Republican “moderates” to keep the size of the stimulus down, President Obama failed to fix the problem.

The banks weren’t broken up. Instead, they continue to pay out record billions in bonuses and continue to threaten our economic future with their size. The problem was not fixed.

Foreclosures were not stopped. Instead of allowing homeowners to rewrite mortgages to allow them to stay in their homes, the administration has repeatedly aided banks in foreclosing, driving down income, driving up dissatisfaction, and again failing to fix the problem. . . . (more…)

Will Henry Waxman sell out the Internet to big corporations? Worse than Google/Verizon?

Press reports are circulating that the Democratic Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman from California, is preparing to introduce legislation that would — if press reports are to be believed — give the Internet over to corporate control and kill free speech online.

Reportedly, the bill would be even worse than the backroom deal Google made with Verizon last month (emphasis added):

According to Hill sources who were not authorized to speak publicly, the committee staffers have gained momentum in recent days on a narrow proposal that would give the FCC authority for two years to enforce its four open Internet principles.

But discussions have moved away from rules against paid “managed services” – where a company can pay for prioritization on a network – and a rule against discrimination. A provision that would include wireless services is still being hotly debated, according to one source. Some lawmakers, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have vocally opposed legislation that doesn’t pertain to mobile technology networks.

The talks could still fall apart, though lawmakers hope to get a bill together by next week to make it available for vote in his Congressional session.

“This would be a big win for the Bells and cable,” wrote Rebecca Arbogast, head of tech policy research at Stifel Nicholaus. “The strategy appears to reflect a strong stance by House Republicans, and an effort by the Democrats to obtain a minimum level of protection that would get the support of both the Republicans and Democrats.”

Why is Henry Waxman, a champion for progressive causes in the past, driving this awful legislation? According to sources I’ve spoken with, the forces behind a bill like this think this is the "best they can get" and the goal is to "avoid a fight" over Internet freedom.

Only in the hallways of Congress is a "fight" to protect the First Amendment of the Internet controversial or undesirable. Outside of Washington, DC, voters love the Internet that has been governed by Net Neutrality since its inception, until recently challenged by phone and cable companies that are willing kill free speech and innovation online in order to make a buck. There’s no excuse for someone like Waxman to do anything other than unabashedly fight for the people.

(more…)

VICTORY!! Progressive beats Blue Dog in New Hampshire Primary!

Hey everyone, my colleague Stephanie Taylor at the PCCC sends along this post:

4992013456_e2fefa9f26.jpg We did it!! No, wait…WE DID IT!!!

Just minutes ago, bold progressive Ann McLane Kuster defeated Joe Lieberman’s presidential campaign co-chair Katrina Swett in tonight’s New Hampshire congressional primary (NH-02).

Annie ran a superb campaign — and netroots supporters in the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America made thousands of phone calls and chipped in nearly $100,000 toward her people-powered victory.

The PCCC was formed to achieve big progressive victories just like tonight’s. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Can you chip in $4 so the PCCC can continue helping progressive candidates win in 2010? We need your help to win more elections in November.

(more…)

ACTION TIME: Closing the “Enthusiasm Gap”

Hey FDL, this is Jason Rosenbaum from the PCCC and Levana Layendecker with DFA.

You can’t seem to turn around lately without someone asking us about the ‘enthusiasm gap.’ It looks like Democracy for America and Progressive Change Campaign Committee volunteers didn’t get that memo, because our ‘phonebombs’ for key challenger races across the country are going great. When bold progressive candidates stand up, our members will stand with them. The exciting news with our new virtual phone bank technology is that even if you live in a place where you don’t have a progressive Democrat to volunteer for, you can still talk to like minded voters and in key districts — and help bold progressives win.

Two bold progressives — David Segal in Rhode Island and Ann McLane Kuster in New Hampshire — have their primaries next week – click here to volunteer from home with us and help them get out the vote!

(more…)

StuffAlanSimpsonSays.com – Can you tell real quotes from fake?

Hey everyone, long time no speak! I’ve got something I’ve been working on at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee for you to check out.

I want you to meet Alan Simpson. He really (really!) wants to gut Social Security. And he’s in charge of a commission determining the future of Social Security [the so-called "debt commission"].

How did that happen? Well, President Obama appointed him to be in charge. Why did Obama do that? I have no idea.

Simpson has a lot of power over the future of Social Security, Medicare and the like. And he also says really crazy things. So today, we launched a new website: StuffAlanSimpsonSays.com

It’s a little bit of a quiz — can you tell which Alan Simpson quotes are real and which are fake? I have a hard time myself and I helped create the website! I bet you can’t get all of them right — seriously, try it.

We might be having fun here, but the point is very serious: Everyone in America (and everyone in Congress) needs to know just how crazy and un-credible the entire commission is. They need to really understand who’s leading it and the seriously unhinged thinking going on behind those closed doors. The commission is a joke, a bad idea, completely undemocratic, and entirely unworthy of serious consideration.

It’s up to us to spread the word.

(more…)

StuffAlanSimpsonSays.com – Can you tell real quotes from fake?

Hey everyone, long time no speak! I’ve got something I’ve been working on at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee for you to check out.

I want you to meet Alan Simpson. He really (really!) wants to gut Social Security. And he’s in charge of a commission determining the future of Social Security [the so-called "debt commission"].

How did that happen? Well, President Obama appointed him to be in charge. Why did Obama do that? I have no idea.

Simpson has a lot of power over the future of Social Security, Medicare and the like. And he also says really crazy things. So today, we launched a new website: StuffAlanSimpsonSays.com

It’s a little bit of a quiz — can you tell which Alan Simpson quotes are real and which are fake? I have a hard time myself and I helped create the website! I bet you can’t get all of them right — seriously, try it.

We might be having fun here, but the point is very serious: Everyone in America (and everyone in Congress) needs to know just how crazy and un-credible the entire commission is. They need to really understand who’s leading it and the seriously unhinged thinking going on behind those closed doors. The commission is a joke, a bad idea, completely undemocratic, and entirely unworthy of serious consideration.

It’s up to us to spread the word.

(more…)

Farewell

The Seminal is a project near and dear to my heart. I started it with Lance Steagall, Alex Thurston and Vassar Oenbring while I was still in school, six years ago. It’s grown from a small underground printed newspaper about Chicago hip hop to a music promotion company to a nationally known political blog and now to a vibrant community in the Firedoglake universe. Over the year we’ve officially been part of Firedoglake, I’ve enjoyed writing here, reading what you have to say, and engaging in some great discussions along the way. Blogging is the foundation of my political activism, and so it’s with a heavy heart that I have to say farewell today.

I’ve taken a new job at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. I’m working closely with progressive candidates, and the PCCC is a federal PAC like the one Firedoglake operates. All this means I will no longer be able to write for The Seminal as an independent voice while I’m employed in this capacity.

The rest of our authors here are, naturally, continuing on with their writing. And we’ve brought in Rayne, a longtime Firedoglake hand, to be the chief editor here along with Bill, Ruth and Jim.

I will still be an avid reader of what you all write, and I’m sure I’ll be engaging in discussion as well. And I may get the chance to blog here in the future as an official PCCC spokesperson, letting you know about the great things we’re doing.

Thank you for the last year, and keep up the great work fighting for progressive change. We have a long road ahead of us. I’m sure I’ll be in touch.

Coming up on Food Sunday or Saturday Art

Coming up this weekend on Food Sunday and Saturday Art:

  • On Saturday Art, Mitchell Frye has work entitled "Texas Corral"
  • Bill Egnor has the latest from his novel
  • Jake Remington has "redhanded"
  • masaccio writes about David Hockney’s American Collectors
  • And Art Threat has a post on art and urban revitalization
  • On Food Sunday, Bill has a recipe for chocolate bread
  • alanaclaire will teach us to make corn on the kabob
  • And Toby Wollin has the news!

If you’ve got art to share or discuss, post with us on Saturday. Got a recipe? Post Sunday. Either way, bring your eyes and your stomachs and join us this weekend for wonderful food and art!