By: Jeanine Molloff
A “Net Neutrality’ Primer
Today the concept of an uncensored open internet came one step closer to extinction. The rule of ‘net neutrality’ has been dealt a fatal blow as FCC rules were on their way to the circular file. The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee has voted to throw aside new Federal Communications Committee (FCC) rules which, though anemic, still protected the concept of Net Neutrality. The vote was predictably along party lines (15-8) with Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon presiding. After this vote, the issue will bounce back to the parent committee, namely the House Energy & Commerce Committee chaired by ‘Tea Party darling’– Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).
Rep. Fred Upton’s Record Regarding Political Transparency…
“Upton ‘s largest campaign contributor is none other than–Koch Industries. (Source : http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fred_Upton) This is the same Koch Industries that has been exposed by the alternative online news media as purveyors of climate change denial, and major sponsors of the Tea Party movement–while the mainstream media more interested in ‘infortainment’ –(MSM) ie. CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, etc.), happily ignored the pregnant corporate elephant in the room.
(Source : Greenpeace, “Koch Industries Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine,” March 2010)
Besides being in the climate change denial business; Koch Industries has been cited as one of the top 10 air polluters in the US. (Source: “Toxic 100 Air Polluters,” http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic_index)
Like the Koch’s and the Tea Party movement they bankroll; Upton has not met a Koch sponsored corporate agenda–he didn’t like. Not only is Upton the recipient of Koch monies, but seems to sympathize with the ‘climate change denial’ machine Koch vigorously pushes.
So, ironically as Upton’s home state of Michigan is the scene of the most recent oil disaster–the Enbridge Lakehead 6B Pipeline Rupture–Upton worries about the nasty open internet and the danger of free speech and free press. Rather than find some help for his own fellow citizens in Michigan; Upton wants to make the internet safe for corporate propaganda and infotainment along the lines of Simon Cowell’s latest sneer fest. A free and uncensored internet and the alternative press it engages has covered the Enbridge disaster and similar subjects– while the mainstream press is busy yawning.
The Enbridge disaster was the result of a 6 foot rupture in a pipeline carrying “tar sands’ oil. The rupture created an environmental crisis which dwarfs the BP Gulf incident, mainly due to the fact that tar sands oil is far more dangerous than normal crude, and the rupture occurred along a corridor which supplies drinking water. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanine-molloff/koch-industries-keystone-_b_829262.html) You would think Rep. Upton would have requested a federal investigation–but he merely remains silent. Now, we are told to “trust’ that Upton will maintain an honest hearing–in spite of his link to the Kochs.
This is the same Rep. Upton who is sponsoring a bill to effectively dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)by forbidding any oversight over greenhouse gases as proven pollutants. This bill comes straight from the climate change deniers handbook and is little more than an Easter gift for Koch Industries. The bill is HR 910 or The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. HR910 as explained in the ‘Open Congress Summary’ ..
. “Amends the Clean Air Act to state that greenhouse gases are not “air pollutants” and therefore cannot be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.”(Source:http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h910/show)
In spite of the Enbridge disaster–Upton is disregarding the wishes of his constituents, and now we are expected to trust his integrity. First, he ignores the toxics pouring into Michigan’s water, now he tells the uber-polluters that it’s ‘open season’ on clean air–for the entire country. It seems there is no set of regulations Upton won’t try to dismantle. As for his integrity–I’d sooner trust Charlie Sheen to become the latest poster boy for mental health.
This vote is important because it can set the stage for the end of an open internet–to be replaced with corporate gatekeepers acting as a for-profit “Nanny-Gate.’ Here is what I would call a “‘net neutrality primer’ for any conflicted public officials.
1.) Definition: Net Neutrality simply means that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner CAN’T CENSOR OR BLOCK WHAT YOU SEE ONLINE.
2.) ISP’s are companies who own the cables and/or phone lines that serve as the means of transmission for Internet use, since the government doesn’t act as an internet provider.
3.)The Internet as it is known was created and developed on OUR TAX DOLLAR, NOT THE CORPORATE GIANTS WHO WANT TO CENSOR OUR ACCESS.
4.) Corporate internet providers or ISP’s generally censor or limit content unbecoming a corporate player usually by slowing service to a virtual crawl unless the customer pays a higher price in the form of an online tax to travel down an online “toll road;’
5.) Or by “interfering with service so the content won’t load or”
6.) An outright DENIAL OF SERVICE.
The Committee, Their Names and the Congressional Switchboard”
Since this is such a critical vote, a vote which could abolish independent non-corporate media–the public has a right to know the names of the committee members, and how to contact the congressional switchboard.
Here are the names of the Republicans:
Chair : Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan),
Chair Emeritus : Rep. Joe Barton (Texas),
Rep. Cliff Stearns (Florida),
Rep. Ed Whitfield (Kentucky),
Rep. John Shimkus (Illinois),
Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (Pennsylvania),
Rep. Mary Bono Mack (California),
Rep. Greg Walden (Oregon) (Subcommittee Chair),
Rep. Lee Terry (Nebraska),
Rep. Mike Rogers (Michigan),
Rep. Sue Myrick (Vice-Chair)(North Carolina),
Rep. John Sullivan (Oklahoma),
Rep. Tim Murphy (Pennsylvania),
Rep. Michael C. Burgess (Texas),
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee),
Rep. Brian Bilbray (California),
Rep. Charlie Bass (New Hampshire),
Rep. Phil Gingrey (Georgia),
Rep. Steve Scalise (Louisiana),
Rep. Bob Latta (Ohio),
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (Washington),
Rep. Greg Harper (Mississippi),
Rep. Leonard Lance (New Jersey),
Rep. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana),
Rep. Brett Guthrie (Kentucky),
Rep. Pete Olson (Texas),
Rep. David Mckinley (West Virginia),
Rep. Cory Gardner (Colorado),
Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kansas),
Rep. Adam Kinziger (Illinois),
Rep. Morgan Griffith (Virginia).
The phone number for the congressional switchboard which will connect you to any member of congress is: 1-202-224-3121. Let these members of congress fully understand that corporate censorship is as egregious as government censorship. Make them understand clearly that CENSORSHIP IS NOT AN AMERICAN VALUE.
Why is this important? As most of us cannot saunter into Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue and buy a “rock’ the size of J-Lo’s ego–very few of us could pay the higher toll when competing against corporate Goliaths. Consequently, most of us unwashed slobs would be discriminated against, as we watched our content of choice travel at a snail’s pace, or just being flatly “blocked’ to any audience in favor of increased corporate propaganda”I mean “public relations'”no–I mean propaganda. In short, without Net Neutrality most of us would be at the mercy of a corporate “Nanny-Gate,’ deciding what we may see and write online. This type of corporate censorship would probably destroy the alternative press (or at least until we find another ISP). It was the alternative press which broke stories such as the lies Bush and co. told to begin an illegal and immoral war of empire. Without the vigor of an alternative press, we are reduced to the intellectually bankrupt antics of Snookie or Rush Limbaugh.
While this doesn’t represent the obvious government censorship practiced in communist China or other totalitarian dictatorships–IT IS CENSORSHIP–just accomplished by a “corporate coup’ courtesy of the political whores in the GOP.