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Sen. Al Franken speaking at Senate Antitrust Subcommittee held a hearing on AT&T's plan to takeover T-Mobile. The hearing's title,

Congressional Democrats aren't letting up on pressuring the FCC to preserve real net neutrality. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont Democrats, held a standing-room-only field hearing on the issue last week, in which everyone who spoke opposed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's two-tiered internet approach. That includes Leahy and Welch. And on Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) spoke at a Free Press event and made sure the audience understands what's at stake in his fight.

“It is absolutely the First Amendment issue of our time,” Franken said at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by the advocacy group Free Press.

“Do we want deep-pocketed corporations controlling what information you get at what speed?” he added. […]

“This has been the architecture of the Internet from the beginning, and everyone should understand that,” he said.

“Some of my colleagues in the Congress don’t understand that. ... You just want to go ‘Oh, come on,’ ” Franken said. “'Really, don’t get up and talk unless you know something.'”

(I suspect that's the reaction Franken has to his Republican colleagues, on every issue.) The FCC has now received more than 625,000 emails and comments about net neutrality. Public comment on the current proposal by Wheeler for a two-tiered, pay-for-play internet ends next week, but the commission will accept responses on comments already made through mid-September, and won't decide on the issue before the end of the year.

If you haven't already, send your comments supporting net neutrality. You can use the FCC comments page; the inbox they set up specifically for this issue,; and with Daily Kos's petition.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 12:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (45+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 12:19:41 PM PDT

  •  Franken is right. Thanks for keeping on this issue (9+ / 0-)

    Joan McCarter. The US needs to advance on a lot of progressive fronts, and we need to keep the conversation and activism on the internet free and fair in order to push for those changes.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 12:33:09 PM PDT

    •  Wow, Al Franken is back (0+ / 0-)

      just in time to fundraise for re-election.

    •  An important First Amendment issue, to be sure. (4+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure that I agree that net neutrality is THE first Amendment issue of the times, however.  With the First Amendment rights of corporations given more weight than the rights of people, and religious nuts wanting to violate the establishment clause by teaching the Bible as fact, these are dangerous times for the First Amendment.

      •  It's not (0+ / 0-)

        I'm liberal on most everything else, but the Internet is a primitive which could be improved in a myriad of ways to fulfill it's hyped potential. Artificial price controls are like saying it is as good as it will ever get and it is precious to everyone just as it is. I for one am willing to pay more if it results in new profit motive for innovation. But if it's just about censorship then I'd be with the neutrality group.  I once pad $4,400 for a 386 computer with 80 meg hard drive. The monitor was another $750. Where would we be if people decided to project their politics on computers and stop development just because some people might get an edge over others?

        "Education Is Not the Filling of a Pail, But the Lighting of a Fire" W.B. Yeats

        by RareBird0 on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 10:45:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  netrality must/prevail! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 01:19:01 PM PDT

  •  Franken is correct. Meanwhile can you (0+ / 0-)

    please sign the petition to stop AJ videos from being blocked in the US?

    •  As important as it is... (0+ / 0-)

      it's not THE issue. Citizens United and Hobby Lobby are also First Amendment issues.  There are way too many "THE issues of our times."

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 02:10:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the battle was fought for the first time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp

    with the invention of the Printing Press. Printers were burning at the stake for releasing Knowledge to the Peasants in the form of books. the Monarchs saw this as a threat to their Power and control over there subjects.

    The Internet is the Milleniums Printing Press. You are talking about "Your" freedom of speech and press. this is the first real battle that your generation is facing that is worth fighting for.

    It is the only heritage that our Generation your Parents have left to you. You must protect it, it is yours and it has the power to create a truly Democratic world in the right hands.

    One among you has already given his life to protect it:


    The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz - Trailer from FilmBuff on Vimeo.

    Net Neutrality the War for Freedom of Speech in the age of the millenniums

  •  Couldn't state the issue any clearer! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BelgianBastard, cybersaur

    Without net neutrality we're screwed.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:39:06 PM PDT

    •  How long until the screwing starts? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      It's been nearly forty years now.

      •  That would be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, Stude Dude
        won't decide on the issue before the end of the year.
        ie soon after the midterms.  The Corporatists and Economic Royalists in both parties want to avoid electoral blowback as much as they can.  Tommy TelCo Wheeler knows the M.O.

        If only the guy that nominated Tommy TelCo could have seen this coming...

        The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

        by GreatLakeSailor on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:34:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well that depends on when we stop pushing our case (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... for starters.

        If you take the view we will lose no matter what, well, I have to honestly wonder which team you are playing for. You certainly aren't helping those of us who wish to maintain net neutrality.

        I ride the wild horse .

        by BelgianBastard on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:32:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't particularly care if you lose or not (0+ / 0-)

          I have no dog in a fight between Verizon and Netflix.

          •  You obviously have NOT dealt with VErizon (0+ / 0-)

            You obviously have NOT dealt with Verizon in an area where they are the SOLE carrier available.  

            Now I may not have all the facts on this but I DO deal with VZW here in Upstate NY and let me tell you it aint pretty.  

            They are fond of severe overcharges which they then will offer you a "voucher" for a fraction of the cost they are BILLING you for--when it was THEIR equipment failure that CAUSED the billing issues.   (AND I am taking a bill in the THOUSANDS of dollars)

            Then just when you thought you had FIXED that one they decide a few YEARS later that you once again owe that OLD OLD bill===or ELSE!  (Because they apparently updated their billing!)

            Then they cut OFF your service--even if you are current--to try and extract this YEARS OLD SETTLED BILL.

            We have been told that unless SOMEONE pays this they will NEVER allow SERVICE to this address again--even if we MOVE!  

            Now who knows if that would stand.  


            Heres the thing---

            We live in a VERY rural location.  Verizon ran our copper lines UNDER something called BEAVER BROOK.  Sound DRY to you?  Half the time when we HAD a land line you could not USE it due to wet wires.  Verizons ANSWER to this?  Get a cell phone!  This was back when cell's were NEW and they had NO TOWERS---and NO service at ALL out here.  Sooooo---

            There IS NO cable access out here--and NO the cable co is NOT interested in cabling on our road even tho there IS a line nearby.  

            We now have an independent  Net service THRU the old old copper wires---which half the time do not WORK.  See above!  

            And the OTHER people out here--many of whom are elderly and poor--if THEY need to call for 911---well--it's a good bet they will NOT be able to as the phone lines won't WORK.    Esp after a STORM.  

            Does Verizon CARE?  Don't make me laugh.  They want to rip OUT the old copper and replace it with some sort of "cell hub" in your house---except---cell service here is extremely spotty.  

            Can YOU say "Catch-22"?   Thought you could

            Don't do ANYTHING to increase the power and arrogance of ANY of these companies!!!!

            •  I have 3 current accounts with Verizon, thank you (0+ / 0-)

              And no, I'm not terribly pleased with them.  I'm not terribly pleased with AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, T-Mobile, or most last mile telcos.  I spent five years where we had nothing but Frontier and close to ten where Time-Warner was the only kid on the block. I wasn't terribly pleased with the dinky post-Bell ISPs from the 1990s either.  

              I note that you haven't once brought up net neutrality.  Your complaint is with shitty last mile service, which is entirely legitimate.  None of that has to do anything with peering arrangement Verizon settles with Cogent, which despite the throughput petabytes of traffic at stake has some people (with a terrible sense of scale) worried about a few lousy megs of text and images.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Verizon doesn't give two shits about DailyKos, RedState, HuffPo, Drudge, or your little blog.  It's piss in the ocean as far as they're concerned.

              You want to make a general stand against our crappy telecommunications policy, I'm all for it.  But net neutrality is little more than another #firstworldproblem pimped by big companies looking to gain some sort of social activist cred.

  •  Quick question everyone. Wasn't net neutrality ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    Quick question everyone. Wasn't net neutrality a much talked about subject a few years ago? I seem to remember an alliance between right and left bloggers working to preserve neutrality. I ask because I lurk ar red state and they are now against neutrality because it's some sort of communist conspiracy. Have they done a 180 on this issue?

  •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    Bigger than PIPA/SOPA?  Bigger than free speech zones?  Bigger than monopolistic content aggregators like Google? Bigger than broadband availability to the inner city or the deep country?  Hell, exactly what about net neutrality (or, more accurately, the decades old lack of it) implicates the First Amendment in any significant way?

    •  Error Correction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Net Neutrality is the long-established status quo; balkanization is a recent attempt at incumbent industry rent-seeking.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 05:11:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No shit (0+ / 0-)

        Of course net neutrality is the "long-established status quo."  And while I'd point out that for all intents and purposes it will continue to be that way (for both technical and business reasons, and despite the pissing contest between wealthy, corporate upstream and downstream peers), that is entirely irrelevant.  No American ISP is threatening the First Amendment for the simple reason that no one pisses in a pot over a few hundred kilobytes.

        Balkanization is hardly recent--it's as old as BGP and is considerably less worse, pound for pound, than it was twenty years ago.

        •  Your opinion is counterproductive to the point ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur, stevemb

          Your opinion is counterproductive to the point of opposition to this cause.

          You. Are obviously not our friend on this issue and I'd appreciate your absence from comments on this topic in the future.

          •  Sorry, not going to happen (0+ / 0-)

            Last I checked, there's no community standard proclaiming "thou shalt not speak ill of net neutrality politics."  

            This campaign is a clear distraction from the real issue, which is the lack of public sector connectivity to underserved areas.  It is, without a doubt, a pet issue of the privileged classes, rendered even more ridiculous by the fact that it is an obvious proxy fight between billion dollar companies.

        •  Let The Challenge Begin! (0+ / 0-)

          In this corner, rduran:

          net neutrality (or, more accurately, the decades old lack of it)
          And in this corner, rduran:
          Of course net neutrality is the "long-established status quo."
          If both survive the lirpa, combat shall continue with the ahn woon....

          On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

          by stevemb on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 09:44:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  the linchpin of a democratic public sphere (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Stude Dude, cybersaur

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:26:10 PM PDT

  •  Is it just me (0+ / 0-)

    or has Al Franken turned into one of the biggest progressive disappointments in either the House or Senate?

  •  Wow, Al Franken is a smart guy fighting for good. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who knew, except for people paying the littlest bit of attention?

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:22:23 PM PDT

  •  Obviously the FCC Is Second Tier (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, glbTVET

    Perhaps they haven't paid up, because their page has a blank area where proceedings are supposed to be.

    But they don't need to be in any doubt about my opinion. A two tiered approach is un-American.

    If I get the slow lane they will slowly be getting my comments into the next century.

  •  They're sure taking an awful long fucking time ... (0+ / 0-)

    They're sure taking an awful long fucking time to make an extremely simple decision.

    Tom Wheeler is like the middle aged asshole in line at the grocery store who has spent decades of life on this planet, presumably interacting with people,and still can't figure out that when you walk up to a register you should be ready to pay for your shit.

    Stop fumbling through all your canceled or overcharged credit cards you dumb fuck. The writing is on the wall. The internet MUST remain neutral. Net neutrality is not an option you have the luxury of making a decision on. Your career is over if you go against that grain. So pay the fucking price and move on. Quick looking for excuses to out this off. The line is backing up behind you and we're getting fucking pissed.

  •  Once again, we're bargaining from the middle (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, cybersaur, rduran

    Net Neutrality is the minimum we want. But what would be better? Breaking up all companies that provide both content and the actual data delivery service, and classifying the latter as utilities.

    Let's start with the breakup. Make the opponents feel like they've won by even getting to "just" net neutrality.

    •  I'd argue net neutrality is orthogonal to what (0+ / 0-)

      we want, which is public sector connectivity downstream.  I don't see any benefit to, as a matter of law, putting the thumb on the scale for one billion dollar company over another.

  •  BTW---LINK IS BROKEN TO FCC SITE n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Amen to that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Suppose you picked up your telephone and had to listen to an ad before you could make a call, or only got decent sound quality if you paid extra?  What if your car would only take you to specific destinations unless you spent more for a "special" license plate?  What if your electric bill was accompanied by a list of electrical devices you were allowed to use, or your water bill put a time limit on showers?

    We pay for Internet service.  It is a telecommunications service which is not merely interstate, but international.  Most of us have bandwidth limits, depending on how much we pay.  They are usually quite reasonable.  But we also pay for the speed we want.

    If a third party is imposing conditions on how fast the net will operate or which sites a user will be able to visit, it is stealing a portion of the money the user pays to his or her ISP.  Should some private concern wish to pay my Internet bill in exchange for whatever conditions they wish to impose, fine.  But that is not what is going on.

    •  Excellent comparisons, but I'd add (0+ / 0-)

      that after you bought your special license plate so you could go on certain roads, then some "person" (read corporations, because they are people, too <--snark) decided you could only travel at 2 mph, and every 8 miles you had to sit for 10 minutes without going anywhere just in case a preferred traveler wanted to pass you.

      This is the equivalent of a new company moving into a town that only had a small electrical grid.  Because the company is "special" they get to use all the electricity they want, and everyone else gets brown-outs.

      They preach free-market unless they want the government to grant special favors to only them.  They hate government and regulations, unless they want one that benefits only them.  And the kicker is that there aren't enough 4G towers built yet for most of their customers, and have data limits that make much of this moot.

  •  FCC: NN is not an anti-trust issue! (0+ / 0-)

    My letter to the FCC:

    Please do not let the anti net neutrality commercial interests confuse the public and thwart those of us who strongly believe that net neutrality is critical to maintaining an open internet for a functional democracy. If what I saw on a recent hearing on this subject carried by CSPAN is correct - that these commercial interests wish for you to shift the responsibility on what should be an FCC decision to the Commerce Cttee  anti trust legislation???? - this would be terrible. Net neutrality is not about anti trust. That would be a ruse to send it to the Commerce Cttee to foil what the FCC knows well is a very serious issue facing an open society.

    Please don’t let this happen.
    This should be decided on your watch, not shifted to Commerce.

    My concern is that information critical to a free society could be traded away for commercial reasons, keeping the public in the dark on matters that serve special interests, but should be known to the public. Information that gets to the public should not be triaged  for the benefit of commercial interests.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 01:55:51 PM PDT

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