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It's Not Over

The fight against the FCC's benighted decision has moved into the courts and into Congress.

December 14, 2017
 
 

The split vote the five FCC commissioners held today that rolled back net neutrality rules turned out as expected. Three men voted in favor of large vertically-integrated telecom companies having a free hand. Two women voted for continuing the consumer protections that have been in place (well, in various places) for some years.

I could only listen live to part of Thursday's FCC hearings before I had to go to a meeting. The second commissioner to speak seemed to blame all of the problems on Obama for imposing new and burdensome regulations (nope, the regulations have been around for quite a while, but the courts ruled they had to be shifted from Title I to Title II to be enforceable) and described the majority opposed to deregulation as "hysterical" (we librarians have heard that one before) and called it a "witch hunt." (Of all the phrases in all the halls of power in the world, it has to walk into this gin joint, too).

But first I heard the statement by commissioner Mignon Clyburn. She was fierce. She was passionate. She was on point and on fire. You can read it here, but I was lucky to hear it in her voice.

The lawsuits are being filed now by states and organizations. A bill is being introduced in Congress. It's not over.

As Commissioner Clyburn put it:

What saddens me is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is abandoning you, but what I am pleased to be able to say is the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness.

What strikes me most, though, is how strangely indifferent to the will of the people this administration is. The tax bill being rushed through Congress is opposed by a majority of Americans, and members of Congress have straight-up said they're passing it because their donors won't give them money if they don't get it through. People aren't fooled anymore by that trickle-down nonsense, and they know it. They hardly bother. Same for this unpopular net neutrality decision. Hardly anyone believes that giving Comcast and Verizon more power to extract money from us will result in a better internet. The only beneficiaries of abandoning any means of controlling the greed of giant mutli-tentacled telecoms are those very same octopi. There's massive bipartisan popular opinion that this is a raw deal for America. Yet here we are.

Still fighting.

 

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