George Allen's Weasel-like Embrace of Discrimination on the Internet

Reader AM sent me a link to this statement from Senator George Allen.  It's a really interesting statement, because it makes you think as you read it that he supports net neutrality.  Only, as you get further into its winding sentences, you begin to realize that his position is more about incoherent run-on sentences and obfuscation (perhaps this is Ted Stevens's and his moral influence).

Senator Allen supports (and voted yes on) the Internet Consumer Bill of Rights Act, which addresses the issue of Net Neutrality in a way that promotes Internet freedom by keeping government regulation at a minimum and protecting the rights of unfettered Internet access by consumers.

Allen goes on state that he endorses the provisions in Ted Stevens' bill, which he suggests protects net neutrality, but in fact do not.  What I find fascinating is not just the obfuscation, but the nervous tone of the position statement.  

In addition, this measure requires that the Federal Communications Commission report to Congress annually on Net Neutrality and ensure that the Internet remains a vibrant and competitive free market of ideas and innovation.

Again, Allen is leading the reader to think that he supports net neutrality.  Only he very much does not, as his vote indicated.

I find it interesting that Allen's statement leads you to think that he supports something he in fact voted against.  I wonder if his telecom lobbyist bosses dock his campaign contributions, or if they understand that he's just playing politics.

George Allen's already made his bed. Let's make this an electoral issue. Call Allen's Senate opponent, Jim Webb, and ask him to support protecting net neutrality.  The Webb campaign office can be reached at (703) 778-4080.

Tags: George Allen, Jim Webb, net neutrality, Senate, Virginia (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Re: George Allen's Weasel-like Embrace of Discrimi

Obfuscation has been the number one strategy in this debate since the beginning. The telecoms label their solution as free and unfettered internet because they know that these days few people look past the label to the content. Making the argument look muddy and complicated is calculated to turn off the brains of voters. That's why the job of the Net neutrality proponents from the beginning has been a simple clear message distributed as widely as possible. I really think we have done a far better job than the Telecoms/business/elite special interests ever thought we would. I am still not sure it will be enough however.

by TimThe Terrible 2006-07-06 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: George Allen's Weasel-like Embrace of Discrimi

I received this reply from George Felix Allen when I requested he support the Snowe-Dorgan Net Neutrality amendment.  In it he completely ignores my concerns that the government is handing telcoms license to shove their fists into my wallet.

From Senator George Allen:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue of Net Neutrality and the need to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. I appreciate your comments and value the opportunity to respond.

As you may be aware, the Senate Commerce Committee has recently considered and voted on various provisions in the Consumerâ€<sup>TM</sup>s Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006. I agree with many of the individuals who have contacted me or whom I have spoken with, that there is a need for telecommunications reform. Thoughtful telecommunications reform legislation will greatly benefit consumers by increasing competition and, therefore, consumer choices for communications services such as video, voice and broadband. During the debate over telecommunications reform, Net Neutrality has emerged as a major focus and an important issue that must be addressed.

The Internet is the greatest invention since the Gutenberg Press. I have long characterized the Internet as an â€oeindividual empowerment zoneâ€<sup>TM</sup> in need of Congressâ€<sup>TM</sup> protection from taxation, regulation and interference. So far, we have been successful in shielding the Internet from meddlesome governmental involvement and allowing it to mature into an incredible engine for economic growth, innovation and individual empowerment. The Internetâ€<sup>TM</sup>s ability to remain a virtual space where all consumers have the ability to freely access information and services has been one of the cornerstones for its remarkable growth and importance in our daily lives.

Among the measures I supported was the Internet Consumer Bill of Rights Act, which addresses the issue of Net Neutrality in a way that promotes Internet freedom by keeping government regulation at a minimum and protecting the rights of unfettered access by consumers. The Internet Consumer Bill of Rights Act protects consumers by requiring Internet service providers to allow each subscriber to:
· Access and post any lawful content;
· Access any web page;
· Run any voice, video or email application, software, or service;
· Run any search engine;
· Run any other application, software or service;
· Connect any legal device to their Internet access equipment; and
· Receive in clear and plain language information on estimated speeds, capabilities, limitations, and pricing of any Internet services.
In addition, this measure requires that the FCC report to Congress annually on Net Neutrality and ensure that the Internet remains a vibrant and competitive free market of ideas and innovation.

While I voted against the Snowe-Dorgan Amendment, I firmly believe that the principles of Internet freedom, as I have explained, were properly addressed in the underlying bill. Under the legislation, all Internet users are guaranteed to have access to any application or service within their bandwidth. Before any additional government action is taken, we must be absolutely sure that it is necessary. Continued investment in and innovation on the Internet should not be stifled by needless, burdensome federal regulations.

Please know that I will keep your thoughtful comments in mind as this measure is debated on the Senate floor; and that I will continue to be an ardent supporter of the Internet, working to ensure that everyone has affordable access to this important tool. You may be interested to know that I offered an amendment to the Consumerâ€<sup>TM</sup>s Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 to permanently ban State and local taxes, which could average 18 percent, on Internet access. My amendment was adopted with a 19-3 vote and will now be part of the legislation moving forward. I look forward to continuing to work towards final passage of this vital legislation that protects Internet users from harmful State and local government taxes and also protects against any interference with their Internet access by network operators.

Please feel free to contact me again about issues important to you. If you would like to receive an e-mail newsletter about my initiatives to improve America, please sign up on my website (http://allen.senate.gov). It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate, and I look forward to working with you to make Virginia and America a better place to live, learn, work and raise a family.

With warm regards, I remain

Sincerely,

Senator George Allen

by RJ 2006-07-06 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: George Allen is an Air Head

Don't bother calling Allen's office -- it won't accomplish anything. I once in a while get a chance to interact with environmental lobbyists working here in the DC area. Common theme: even though Sen. Warner may not agree with your position, at least you're engaged in a conversation with a sensient being. Allen always has that deer in the headlights look.

I can't wait for a debate between Webb and Allen.

by Bob Miller 2006-07-06 06:19AM | 0 recs
Allen is Beyond Hope, Webb Needs a Push

Gosh, George Allen is such a weasel.  If you like George Bush, you gotta love George Allen.  We just has to beat Allen in Virginia this year lest he be a strong candidate for President in 2008.  Yes, it could happen here.

I'm confident that Webb will support true net neutrality but it's a good idea to give him a push.  Webb is playing catch-up on some issues like this.  Let's make sure he knows just how important it is.  Webb will need independent swing voters in tech savvy Northern Virginia.  Webb needs these voters to turn out as never before.  A strong stand in favor of net neutrality will help Jim Webb take the fight to the smirking weasel George Allen.  Jim needs to fight Allen on this one.

by howardpark 2006-07-06 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen is Beyond Hope, Webb Needs a Push

I hope Felix has a new job in mind for January 07.

by Virginia Blogger 2006-07-06 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: George Allen's Weasel-like Embrace of Discrimi

I called the number listed for Webb. No immediate answer known by volunteer. The gentleman will research and reply. I'll post result.

by almostboiledfrog 2006-07-06 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: George Allen's Weasel-like Embrace

I disagree; I think it's well worth one phone call to tell Allen's staff that you're not fooled and you know he didn't vote for Net Neutrality.  I think the reason he (reportedly) looked nervous when he was voting was that he knew he was voting against the wishes of many constituents who had cared enough to call.  And not just individual net-heads and people who'd vote against him anyway; when I called I specifically mentioned the importance of Net Neutrality to Internet-based small businesses in Virginia (since I work for one.)

Usually when I write to Allen (which I've only bother to do when he's automatically included in some email campaign), I get a response that says, in essence "you'll be pleased to know I voted for blah blah blah" when I urged him to vote against it.  The fact that he's weaseling so intensely and in such detail on this issue tells me he's actually worried about it.  We need to feed that perception.

I certainly don't think it's likely, but I do think it's possible that when he's just one of a hundred senators on the floor, instead of in the spotlight as the swing vote on a committee, he just might vote the right way.

by Redshift 2006-07-06 08:44AM | 0 recs
The problem with the bill George Allen voted for

...the Internet Consumer Bill of Rights Act, is that it bans ISPs from blocking websites, but not from making them painfully slow.

by EricJaffa 2006-07-06 10:08AM | 0 recs
If George Allen has his way, then...

...AT&T can still demand that Google pay it protection money.

AT&T can make a Google search take an HOUR instead of a SECOND if Google refuses to pay.

AT&T just can't completely block Google.

by EricJaffa 2006-07-06 10:18AM | 0 recs
The GOP Hypocrisy

And the GOP jumps on John Kerry for his "I voted for it before I voted against it" comment.  At least, he (Kerry) was being honest.

by Nick A 2006-07-06 12:35PM | 0 recs

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