US Congress

Net Neutrality: Stop Congress

Dan Massey
and I were there at the birth of the Internet, Dan directly involved in the research and development that brought it about. Based on the work of Alan Turing and others, the Internet was an expensive, tax-payer-funded, labor intensive product for the military. By the late 70s, it became a utility available to the public.

The great joy of its arrival in our home was supercharged by sharing the recognition throughout the world that for the first time in history everybody could be an author.

It changed everything.

That long ago, you paid for the creation of, and the permanent public access to, a neutral Internet. For sometime now it has been unfortunately embroiled in a cultural war with a small group of corporatist elites attempting to exploit this public resource out of greed, and, as always, at the expense of the 98%.

Flickr/creative commons

Flickr/creative commons

Think about it. There would be no Internet now if American taxpayers, your parents and grandparents, hadn’t paid for its development, decades ago. For all the activists who are working everyday to Save the Internet, along with anyone else who stops to think about it for 3 minutes, there can be no other premise:  This is a utility that should be treated NO differently that any other public utility such as water and electricity.

As you are probably aware, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has at last been indicating that its 5 commissioners are close to announcing their new rules, another attempt to split the baby, a hybrid that includes giveaways to those who would exploit it rather than organize it for the public good, so they can make money from something we now all share in paying for.

The FCC has been talking about these new rules ever since a Big Cable lawsuit against the FCC was successful in dislodging the previous set of rules which Big Cable found too restrictive. For the last two years, the FCC commissioners have been pressured, you can say assaulted by Big Cable lobbyists and their cronies in Congress, to allow these few huge companies to become the de facto self-regulators of the Internet. This will allow Big Cable to create fast lanes for a selection of their commercial clients/customers while shutting out the rest of us, making us pay more for diminished service in the slow lanes they will let trickle down. Small companies, schools and universities, whistleblowers and activists, non-profits, innovators, and on and on — all shut out.

On Tuesday, President Obama, in his State of the Union speech, made clear that net neutrality is important to everyone throughout the world, saying, “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.” And, yesterday, we urged you to call Senate and House committee members and their chairmen (who received massive donations from BC) to stop any legislation that would usurp the FCC in order to give the corporatists and the politicians what they want. Tens of thousands of calls and emails were received by Congress, yesterday, and we have to keep calling. Also today, launched 535 new websites to track all congressmen’s stand on the issue.

Keep the pressure up, and continue to educate yourself about this crucial, life-changing issue. Without a free and open Internet, we are surrendering to the thought police. Your voice and the voices of countless others will be silenced if you don’t act now.

Friday Postscript: The struggle to assure the Internet remains open and available is foundational to efforts to solve some other pressing problems, such as responding to climate change and stemming corporate attempts to capitalize the world’s resources. Soon your enslavement will include demanding you pay  for each quart of water you consume. Climate change is bringing the scarcity of goods, mass migrations, and droughts these profiteers will use to make billions, but only if we let them. 


Salutes and More Salutes


Naysayers who think that big marches don’t bring about real change fail to understand there is a pluralistic revolution already underway that will change the world whether they like it or not, divesting the world away from corporate rape of the world’s natural resources. (9/22/14)

People's Climate March New York City  September 21, 2014

People’s Climate March
New York City
September 21, 2014

People's Climate March New York City September 21, 2014 regram from @_sarahwilson_

People’s Climate March
New York City
September 21, 2014
regram from @_sarahwilson_

We have had time now to fully appreciate the impact of Sunday’s unprecedented People’s Climate March (400,000 souls in New York City, and millions in other American cities and in more than 160 countries), and to witness on Monday the hugely successful follow-up Flood Wall Street sit-in to demand corporate environmental responsibility. More than 3,000 protesters literally flooded Wall Street, without a city permit no less, shutting down a 10-block area despite police interference. All were trained in non-violent civil disobedience, volunteering to be arrested (100 were arrested and then all were released).

We had a big ruckus and showed ourselves to each other as a force ready and able to move forward on this uphill battle. And it is uphill, make no mistake, consider Exhibit A, if you will . . .

“I mean think about it, if your ice cube melts in your glass it doesn’t overflow, it’s displacement.”

This grade-school, startling, ignorant statement comes out of the US Congress, courtesy of Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) who sits, ironically and sadly, on our tax-payer funded House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. (Worth a watch: Jon Stewart skewering Stockman and similarly ignorant Republican brethren also serving on this committee.)

But, now for some good news.

This stupidity on display is a national embarrassment, yes, but it also gives us hope that we are closer, than ever before, to turning the corner of worldwide awareness of environmental issues. The more convincing the science, the more people stand up to share the voices and skills to educate others, and the more desperate the stupid climate-deniers become in putting their stumbling and bad thinking is on display to be widely ridiculed and more quickly repudiated by larger and larger numbers of people.

As we celebrate the sheer numbers of boots on the ground in the last 2 days, we are a witness to progress: the greatest number of people in history are today mobilized to do something to save our planet, whether in their own community or on the world stage.

But that’s not all, folks. Corporations are beginning to agree with us that non-renewable energy is a very, very bad idea. A fast-growing corporate divestment movement has now firmly attached itself to the cause, underscoring environmentalists’s demands with money. This is a very good thing, emblematic of true progress.


Information: How you can divest from the fuel economy.

More about the mechanics and built-in ecology of progress here.