Net Neutrality
Bumped to the top because it's so important--Brian

I don't post a lot of straight-up activism, but if you're reading this, you're on the internet and you read small blogs, which means you've got a stake in this, and you should do something about it.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, introduced the bill to promote the principle, known as ''Net neutrality,'' of treating all Internet traffic equally.
You need to contact your congresspeeps and let them know that this is a high priority for you. Find some online organizations like Save the Internet and sign their petitions. If your congresspeep is a conservative, contact him/her anyway: they're getting as much pressure from right-wing blogs and religious websites as the more liberal congresspeeps are getting from leftyblogs and progressive sites -- not to mention the viewers and readers of these sites. Time to bring the pressure! This bill has corporate opposition, and you all know what that means:
The Hands Off the Internet coalition [aka the leggo your eggo so I can eat it instead of you beeatch coalition], whose members include AT&T, Qwest Communications International Inc. and others, said Markey's bill leaves regulatory fingerprints, regardless of what he calls it.
But all the bill does is defend the status quo in the face of companies like these creating internet ghettos out of small, personal websites, small business sites, etc., where it will take longer to download a page and access its content -- meanwhile Fox and CNN download in a flash!

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., requires the Federal Communications Commission to assess whether broadband providers are ''blocking, thwarting or unreasonably interfering'' with consumers' rights to access, send, receive or offer content, applications and services over networks.

Even with this bill passed, we're still operating in this country under a corporate-controlled FCC, the same FCC that just went around the country pretending to listen to people's concerns about media consolidation, and then green-lighted it, without a single regard for innumerable citizens who'd come out in passionate, and reasoned, opposition. And this bill does in fact demand another "FCC tour":

The bill also requires the agency to hold at least eight summits around the country to get input from various groups about Internet service competition and services.

An FCC spokesman declined to comment on pending legislation.

Well 8 more opportunities to excoriate these bastards is certainly nice. But what we really need is a new FCC, one that regards the public space of the airwaves and cyberspace as property of the citizens of the USA, not as property of the highest bidder. (This leads to a discussion of the meaning of "patriotism" and "treason" in the context of the commons, but that's for another day.) What we really need is a whole new administration, Clinton or Obama, and all the new appointments that come with it, to get these corporate tools out of there and put our own citizen's tools in... hammers and nails to rebuild and repair the freedoms these people have destroyed. In the meantime, please write your representative! Let's make sure they all know how important this is!

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