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Net Neutrality in Gravest Danger

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Cross-posted on OpenLeft.com

It is August of an even-numbered year, and I am trying mightily to shift my attention to the elections. I had planned to do a blog post today about House races, followed by posts about key races most of the rest of the days between here and the election; I have signed on with MoveOn to help them on their exciting new campaign to clean up the corporate corruption in DC; I am beginning to work with BlogPac, CPC PAC, and other progressive PACs on key races; I am keeping in touch with my progressive donor friends to move money into key races. I'm doing all the dutiful things any good Democrat should do as the election season comes upon us.

But when the Obama administration apparently is getting ready to screw the American people on net neutrality, or at best, let the American people be screwed by Verizon, Google, and other big corporations, they are making it damn difficult to focus on elections.

This is as core an issue as there is for everyone who uses the internet. Letting only the biggest companies and richest individuals have good quality service wreaks havoc with everything that is good about the internet: the freedom of speech, the ability to mobilize people, the entrepreneurial spirit that allows new tech companies to get started, the ability by charities and small business people to create low cost revenue streams. What the Obama administration is about to let happen is a stake in the heart of our democracy and the ability of small businesspeople and not-profits to provide the innovation of the future.

What is most tragic about this was that in the 2008 campaign, this issue of net neutrality and democratic media was where Obama was the most unequivocally good. His platform and speeches on this issue were clear as a bell, and left no room for error: he was on the side of consumers, activists, and entrepreneurs in fighting against the telecoms efforts to make the internet a playground for only those who could afford to pay the big bucks. Then he appointed a strong net neutrality advocate, Julius Genachowski, as the head of the FCC. I met Julius when I worked in the transition, and was delighted by the appointment, because I was under the impression he would be strongly on our side on this issue.

Now the administration seems to be walking away from all their promises. It is a bitter betrayal.

I am still going to help the candidates who are going to fight against these kinds of policies, but now that I have this betrayal to fight against, it sure does make it harder to focus on the work, let alone defend the Obama administration.

The FCC needs to get its act together, and stop the destruction of what's good about the internet.

Sign Free Press' pledge to save net neutrality.

Then post it everywhere you can.

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