Undercutting People-power

There are many ways to neuter people-power, and the reactionary corporate barons are trying them all.  There's the perpetual and dishonest smear campaign against Pelosi, there's the massive expansion of Democratic lobbying shops underway, and I'm sure there will be an attempted Democratic K-Street project of some sort.  But one of the most interesting cries you may start hearing is that of 'state's rights', or rather, the desire for states to handle matters traditionally managed at the Federal level.  This is because corporate money goes further in states than it does in a Democratic Congress, so that's where corporate lobbying is moving.

For instance, rather than wanting to face the new Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell, Verizon and company are trying to push to get state franchising laws in place that do not include net neutrality protections.  Last cycle, these companies worried that the process for passing Federal laws was too slow, and now they are trying to block Federal legislation so that they can get what they want at the state level.

Usually these companies try to get a bill passed in a state, and it doesn't protect net neutrality and it allows them to only serve certain communities with cable while bypassing others.  This is the case in Michigan, where the telcos are trying to design their futuristic bad-service-for-some/no-service-for-many network.  Savetheinternet.com was there to protest, the state Senate looks like it's going to have an important vote tomorrow.

Tuesday, a mix of Michigan consumers and diverse special interest groups held a rally at the state house in Lansing to protest a pending state law, the "Michigan Video Franchising Bill," which would allow phone companies to bypass cities and counties for TV service approval. The state's lower chamber passed the legislation last week, and the State of California passed similar legislation in October.

But opponents, including Google and consumer groups, say the bill will allow telecoms to sidestep consumer protections, cherry-pick which communities get high-speed broadband and video services, and ignore principles of "Net Neutrality" (which require Internet service providers to offer equal access to all Internet sites).

I'm going to have more soon about the immediate counterstrike against the recent populist elections.  For now, if you live in Michigan, use this nifty tool to call your state Senator.

And get ready to be really mad at the FCC and Kevin Martin.  These are some seriously bad people, and now that we won an election, we have some tools to make them face the music.

Tags: Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell, net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Dingell as enemy of the people

Jeez...the guy is a menace...his blocking CAFE mpg standards when Demos campaigned on cutting oil imports by 50% in 10 years.

His lobbyists best friend deal with Verizon which you outline.

Isn't Verizon non-union or anti-union vs. say Cingluar and isn't Dingell's claim on CAFE-mpg he's doing it to save UAW jobs.

We Ford and GM going bankrupt because of low US mpg standards ant resultant non-competitive products, Dingell's hurting the one's he "loves".

by BrionLutz 2006-12-04 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Dingell as enemy of the people

GM and Ford don't need a law to make them build competitive products. The fact is that customers WANT huge gas guzzling behemoths, GM and Ford are  losing that market to Japan also. One could make a case that CAFE standards are what got them to the state that they are in today. I wouldn't, because I think nepotism and corporate concentration is what did them in. CAFE standards would only accelerate the demise of the domestic industry by forcing everyone to buy the cars that Japan and Korea build best.

Besides, let's get away from this old left idea that government should put a gun to everyone's head and force them to live their lives as their rulers dictate. It's almost as distasteful as the new right idea that government should put a gun to everyone's head and force them to live their lives as the televangelist's dictate.

by antiHyde 2006-12-04 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Dingell as enemy of the people

"GM and Ford don't need a law to make them build competitive products"

Actually they do...if US regs. and low gasoline prices (both US policy decisions) create a huge market, GM and Ford can't ignore it so the build SUV's and pickups to suit home market they are in...just a business decision.

Euros and Japanese have to deal more with home and overseas markets that push efficient vehicles so US mfgs get caught in a time/technology warp created by government policy of high oil usage which is out of step with rest of the world.

Result...US auto mfg.s are dying and UAW jobs are dying even faster...which was Dingell's claim for fighting the CAFE/mpg standards.

We need articlulate person to lay out argument for higher mpg standards.

FYI..Obama voted for 40mpg bill. Hillary against.

by BrionLutz 2006-12-04 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Dingell as enemy of the people

Good for Hillary, we don't need micto-management of the market. And SUV's and pickups ARE the competitive market. Just look out your window as you commute. It doesn't matter that you hate them. I hate them too. The American public loves them. And if you succeed in banning them, they won't buy small cars from domestic manufacturers. They will buy small cars from Europe and Asia. They HATE American small cars. The Big Three sealed their doom with the crappy small cars they built in the '80s.

A 40mpg CAFE standard will cause Champagne corks to pop in Osaka and Seoul. It will also cause mass unemployment in Michigan.

by antiHyde 2006-12-06 12:09PM | 0 recs
Federalism and Decentralization

Just a point, with more and more gains being made at the state level, it's worth pointing out that netroots power should have increasing leverage locally. Corporate money goes further, but so does people-power, and there seems to be less institutional crapola to overcome at the state/local level.

Seems to me that the opportunities for real/lasting change at the federal level now are limited. It's important to hold the line there, roll back some of the worst of the past decade, but I tend to think that a decentralized movement takes a decentralized path to power and change, and that makes me bullish on the states in the long run. Maybe franchising fights are a good way to stimulate that process...

On the downside, there's more differentiation from state to state, and some places will probably get the screwjob as always.

by Josh Koenig 2006-12-04 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Undercutting People-power

Not all of the FCC = bad people.  Commissioner Michael Copps has been a leader in fighting media consolidation, and he supports net neutrality, which shares many of the same principles with the fight against media consolidation -- promoting localism, competition, and access to diverse points of view.

by Laurin from SC 2006-12-04 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Undercutting People-power

Sorry for the nonsequitur "reply to comment" comments.  I keep forgetting about the comment form at the bottom. :)

by Laurin from SC 2006-12-04 10:43AM | 0 recs

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