Friday, July 12: Philadelphia, PA 4:15pm - At Netroots Nation
Location: PA Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
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Net Neutrality Means You Can Have The Internet Your Way
The international order is changing as a result of populism, and I would argue that the populism is a response to the disintegration all around the world in developed countries of the middle class, as the predatory class, the over class, the top 1% keeps taking more and more and more.
And one of the ways that the top 1% are going to cement their control, and certainly have in countries like China and Iran and Saudi Arabia, is by locking down the internet.
If you lock down the internet, you shut down the lines of communication. You can make it harder for people to use social media, you can limit the reach of social media, you make it harder for people to get their message out. You can even read everybody's email, you can track everything everybody's doing, you know all about them by what they're searching on.
There's so much you can learn about individuals that you can use against them or that you can keep them from knowing if you can control the Internet.
And that's why when President Obama was president, Tom Wheeler, his FCC Commissioner, said we are going to establish that the Internet is a public utility and we are going to regulate it under the same provision that we regulate telephone companies.
So, if I call Louise, my phone company does not have the legal right to listen in on my conversation, they don't have the legal right to say, "hey, they're talking about business, we're going to raise the cost of that call, we're going to start charging them 3 cents a minute." They don't have the legal right to say to me, if I'm going to call my wife versus somebody else who I know, that call is going to cost more than this call, or that call is going to go faster, this call is going to go slower, that kind of thing.
They don't have that legal right because they're regulated under title 2 of the Telecommunications Act, phone companies are, and what Tom Wheeler said was internet companies will be regulated under that too. Internet service providers, the equivalent of the phone company, the company that brings the Internet into your home, they cannot mess with your internet. They cannot monitor your internet. All they can do is charge you for how much of it you use, just like the phone company can charge you for how much you use. Arguably most of them have gone to unlimited minutes, but they can charge you for how often or how long you talk. That's it.
And of course Ajit Pai, the former Verizon lawyer who is now the chairman of the FCC, blew that up and said no - Comcast and AT&T and every other company, they can do whatever they want, they can throttle you, they can jack up your price, they can slow down your service unless you pay extra.
And there is a way out of this. And the way out of this is by having Congress overrule the FCC Commissioner and it takes 51 votes in the Senate and 218 votes, I think, in the house. That's all it takes. And the votes are there. Susan Collins just provided the 50th vote in the Senate and in the House, it would be every every Democrat and probably a third if not a half of the Republicans.
But Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are refusing to bring it - it's called a congressional resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. Congress can reverse the actions of any of the departments in the executive branch, including the FCC. They can simply say, "Ajit Pai, we don't like what you did, it's undone. We go back to what we had the rules that we had under Tom Wheeler."
And I think it's really interesting that this is picking up so much steam now, that big transnational corporations like Burger King are jumping on the bandwagon, trying to explain net neutrality to Americans. In this new ad that Burger King has rolled out, it blows my mind that that net neutrality has become something you can sell Whoppers with.
In this new ad they start out by asking a bunch of people, what do you know about net neutrality? And of course, every single person has no idea what net neutrality means. And then they do to burgers what Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and whatnot want to do to your internet, which is you pay more, you get you get it faster. If you pay less, you get it slower. We're going to filter this.
And then at the very end, of course, everybody says, "oh, now I get it." And it's just great.
And this is what we need to be doing, contacting our members of Congress. Now, like I said, we've got enough in the Senate but Mitch McConnell won't allow a vote because the Republicans are in the pockets of the big corporations. Big corporations are making them rich. Mitch McConnell won't allow a vote, Paul Ryan won't allow a vote.
We need to absolutely raise hell about this because it will pass. It would pass right now. Congress would overturn Ajit Pai, the Verizon lawyer who now runs the FCC.
Trump is putting industry people in virtually every every position. They just made the head of HSS the guy who used to run Eli Lilly. It's just pick an industry. If you've got a regulatory agency that overlooks coal and oil, they put a coal and oil executive in there, or somebody beholden to one. And on and on it goes. They did the same thing with the FCC. It's so corrupt.
The Trump administration is blindingly corrupt. They are more corrupt even than the most corrupt administration in the history the United States - the Reagan administration, that had more senior officials prosecuted and convicted for crimes than any other Administration in the history of the United States.
I predict that the Trump administration is going to beat Reagan's record in terms of corruption and the only thing frankly that I believe that we can do is to push back at the level of our politicians, which means calling your members of Congress - calling your members of the House and calling your members of the Senate - and saying we want that vote on that resolution for disapproval. Vote to bring back net neutrality.
This is the phrase: vote to disapprove the FCC under the Congressional Review Act.
It's Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell blocking this thing. Give them a call and just say we want net neutrality. This is like the last media thread that is hanging before basically everything is overwhelmed by basically six companies who right now own the vast majority of the newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations and networks in the United States. Six corporations, and in the internet world it's basically three large corporations. Probably one day soon it'll be two or one. But basically even when you're down to three that's functionally a monopoly if it's not literally a monopoly, a triopoly.
There's no competition there.