FCC Commissioner Pleads With Public To Stop Them From Killing Net Neutrality

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-rosenworcel-fcc-net-neutrality-repeal-20171122-story.html

by Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner

Right now, you can go online and connect with friends, watch videos and read the news. There’s a good chance you are reading this online right now.

We do much more on the internet than consume content, however. Increasingly, the internet is also where we create. We use online platforms and digital services to develop, share and spread ideas around the corner and around the globe.

This is the open internet experience we all know, and it’s a big part of why America’s internet economy is the envy of the world.

But this week, the leadership at the Federal Communications Commission put forth a plan to gut the foundation of this openness. They have proposed to end net neutrality, and they are trying to force a vote on their plan on Dec. 14.

If the idea behind the plan is bad, the process for it has been even worse.

It’s a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.

Net neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content.

Proponents of wiping out these rules think that by allowing broadband providers more control and the ability to charge for premium access, it will spur investment. This is a dubious proposition.

Wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create.

This is not the internet experience we know today. Americans should prevent the plan from becoming the law of the land.

There is something not right about a few unelected FCC officials making such vast determinations about the future of the internet. I’m not alone in thinking this. More than 22 million people have filed comments with the agency. They overwhelmingly want the FCC to preserve and protect net neutrality.

At the same time, there are real questions about who filed some of the net neutrality comments with the FCC. There are credible allegations that many of the comments were submitted by bots and others using the names of deceased people. What’s more, some 50,000 recent consumer complaints appear to have gone missing.

As he announced this week, New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman has been investigating these apparently fake comments for six months. The Government Accountability Office is also looking into how a denial-of-service attack may have prevented people from getting their thoughts into the official record.

In short, this is a mess. If the idea behind the plan is bad, the process for commenting on it has been even worse.

Before my fellow FCC members vote to dismantle net neutrality, they need to get out from behind their desks and computers and speak to the public directly. The FCC needs to hold hearings around the country to get a better sense of how the public feels about the proposal.

When they do this, they will likely find that, outside of a cadre of high-paid lobbyists and lawyers in Washington, there isn’t a constituency that likes this proposal. In fact, the FCC will probably discover that they have angered the public and caused them to question just whom the agency works for.

I think the FCC needs to work for the public, and therefore that this proposal needs to be slowed down and eventually stopped. In the time before the agency votes, anyone who agrees should do something old-fashioned: Make a ruckus.

Reach out to the rest of the FCC now. Tell them they can’t take away internet openness without a fight.

Jessica Rosenworcel is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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White House Happy To Change Subject From Russia

Stephanie Miller show. Great progressive radio not available over the broadcast airwaves in Iowa.

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Monopoly Money In Iowa’s Third District

Congressman David Young And Candidate Theresa Greenfield Cash Big Checks From Monsanto

Winterset – According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Monsanto is playing both sides in the race for Iowa’s Third District Representative. A Monsanto PAC has maxed out on contributions to Republican incumbent David Young, giving the Congressman $5,000, while a major lobbyist for Monsanto has maxed out on primary contributions to Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford, the principal in Crawford and Mauro (formerly Crawford, Quilty and Mauro) has given $2,700 to Greenfield’s campaign. The Crawford firm has been paid more than $2 million by Monsanto since 2010 according to OpenSecrets.org, a public interest watchdog group.
Neither Representative Young nor candidate Greenfield has opposed the merger of agricultural giant Monsanto and German conglomerate Bayer, as Bayer-Monsanto seeks to become the world’s largest seed company.

“I’m seeing this pattern of corruption that made me want to get into this race,” says IA-03 Democrat primary candidate and former U.S. Department of the Treasury economist Austin Frerick.

“Who’s going to look out for the farmer who’s facing rising seed costs when an incumbent congressman is beholden to Monsanto’s political action committee and the establishment Democratic candidate is getting campaign contributions from one of Monsanto’s biggest lobbyists?”

Frerick is not accepting contributions from corporate lobbyists or corporate PACs.

“I call on both Theresa Greenfield and Congressman Young to return these contributions and oppose this merger,” Frerick says. “You simply cannot be for rural Iowa and family farms if you take this money.”

Crawford has made only 2 reported federal contributions this election cycle: Greenfield and Ed Meier in TX-32. In both of these races, there are Democrats in the primary who oppose Monsanto’s merger with Bayer (the other opponent to the merger besides Frerick is Lillian Salerno).

The Monsanto Company Citizenship Fund has also made no contributions to federal candidates in Iowa except $5,000 to Representative Young.

About Austin Frerick:

Frerick is running as the first antitrust candidate in the country. He is an Iowa native and lives in Winterset. He has worked as an economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Policy, and at the Congressional Research Service in the Domestic Social Policy Division. He has published research on executive compensation, pharmaceutical corporate charity abuses, and the growth of monopolies in the U.S. economy.  He was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Grinnell College and completing his Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin La Follette School of Public Affairs. To cover his tuition, he took out student loans and worked four jobs, including as a Special Needs Care Provider for the Arc of East Central Iowa.

About Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District:
The 3rd Congressional District covers Iowa’s southwestern corner, and includes Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Warren, Madison, Adair, Cass, Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Taylor, Adams, Union and Ringgold counties.

Press for Austin Frerick
Candidate for U.S. Congress (IA-3)
Winterset, Iowa
www.austinfrerick.com

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Iowa Has Worst Medicaid Privatization of All 50 States

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As You Shop Next Weekend, Retailers Collapse

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As America heads into its annual shopping orgy there are troubling signs on the horizon for retail stores and malls. Conventional wisdom has decided the cause is simply the advent and maturation of online shopping. That is a very surface analysis and doesn’t account for many of the details. Earlier this week David Dayen of New Republic shed a great amount of light on the “retail apocalypse” that is coming.

As many here know long time retailers such as Sears (and its partner Kmart), Macy’s, Toys’r’Us, Payless and many others are on the brink of bankruptcy and going out of business. About a month ago Sears Canada announced that it would be closing all its stores in that country leaving some 12,000 unemployed.

Was this a product of Amazon and other online retailers? No, more likely it was the product of greed, poor management and that uniquely American creation known as the vulture capitalist. You may remember presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his bunch of vultures at Bain Capital. Their modus operandi was to find a company in trouble, sell off its assets, cut employee wages to the bone and raid any retirement funds involved, load the company with a huge amount of debt (that was often paid to the corporate raiders in the form of bonuses and fees) and then selling the bones of what was left.

And this has happened over and over again in the retail world.

From Dayen’s report in New Republic:

This story is at odds with the broader narrative about business in America: The economy is growing, unemployment is low, and consumer confidence is at a decade-long high. This would typically signal a retail boom, yet the pain rivals the height of the Great Recession. RadioShack, The Limited, Payless, and Toys“R”Us are among 19 retail bankruptcies this year. Some point to Amazon and other online retailers for wrestling away market share, but e-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2017 only hit 8.9 percent of total sales. There’s still plenty of opportunity for retail outlets with physical space.

The real reason so many companies are sick, as Bloomberg explained in a recent feature, has to do with debt. Private equity firms purchased numerous chain retailers over the past decade, loading them up with unsustainable debt payments as part of a disastrous business strategy.

Billions of dollars of this debt comes due in the next few years. “If today is considered a retail apocalypse,” Bloomberg reported, “then what’s coming next could truly be scary.” Eight million American retail workers could see their careers evaporate, not due to technological disruption but a predatory financial scheme. The masters of the universe who devised it, meanwhile, will likely walk away enriched, and policymakers must reckon with how they enabled the carnage.

Dayen then offers a brief summary of how the private equity (vulture capital) firms work. This is a general pattern, not always followed exactly.

The mismanagement of Sears reflects an ongoing pattern: private equity takeover artists that benefit from hobbling the companies they purchase. Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital, the two firms behind footwear chain Payless, paid themselves $700 million in dividends in 2012 and 2013, all on the back of the company. Payless filed for bankruptcy this year, closing 400 stores. Toys“R”Us filed for bankruptcy in September, unable to sustain between $400-$500 million in annual interest payments on $5.2 billion in long-term debt. Buyout managers, including Bain Capital and longtime firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, stripped out nearly $2 billion in cash while debt levels rose.

This is a robbery in progress. Private equity firms borrow massively to buy companies, and use corporate cash reserves to pay themselves back. Workers who supply the value to the business see nothing; in fact, to service the debt, companies usually cut staff. When the retailer collapses under the borrowing weight, all workers lose their jobs. And even when sales go up, like they have by 5 percent annually in the toy sector over the past five years, dominant toy sellers like Toys“R”Us cannot compete because of the debt burden. The company’s profitability was increasing when it filed for bankruptcy.

So if you can take a minute to reflect on our economic system that rewards the vulture and punishes those hard workers at the retail level who helped make the stores the success they once were only to see their jobs and their retirement stolen from them by the class that will be enjoying a huge tax break from Republicans this Christmas.

And you may want to take a close look at the store as you do your shopping. It may not be there next year. And you may want to consider why these retailers are going out of business. It is not because of the internet.

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Sunday Funday: “I Can’t Recall” Thanksgiving Edition

Robert Reich Resistance Report (22 minutes) weekly video:

 Imagine preparations for Thanksgiving at the home of AG Jeff Sessions.

“Did you get the turkey, Jeff?”

“I can’t recall.”

“How about the potatoes, did you get them?”

“I can’t recall.”

“Did you call the kids and tell them when to come over?”

“I – uh – I don’t remember.”

“Did you rent the hall so we will have a place to eat?”

“Why can’t you give me an answer on ANYTHING,  Jeff?”

“I did give you answers. Is it my fault they aren’t the answers you want to hear?”

We wish the Sessions and all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, once again I know of few people who can keep up.

1) How many teenage girls had Alabama senate candidate Doug Jones allegedly sexually abused as of Friday?

2) Speaking of AG Sessions, he is considering appointing another special prosecutor to investigate crimes by whom?

3) What other country beside the US celebrates Thanksgiving?

4) Considering the allegations of sexual impropriety against Al Franken, Senator Lindsey Graham said it was what?

5) In Iowa who is refusing to release the results of an investigation into the sexual harassment of a staffer for the Senate Republican Caucus?

6) November 19,1863. Pres. Abraham Lincoln delivers what two minute speech that garners little notice on that day?

7) The Republican Tax Cut Bill passed the house Thursday. How did Iowa’s delegation vote?

8) The latest sports championship team to refuse an invitation to the White House is what women’s team?

9) Right wingers were smashing what appliance across the country after the company pulled their ads from the Sean Hannity Show?

10) Our current president refused to broach this issue with Philippine President Dutarte, but Canadian PM Trudeau did. What issue?

11) When he was an Assistant DA in Gadsden County, Al., Roy Moore was banned from what public area?

12) GQ (Gentleman’s Quarterly) named who as their 2017 “man of the year”?

13) The jury in the corruption trial of Senator Menendez of NJ came up with what ruling in this case?

14) Janet Peterson is calling for the release of the investigation into the sexual harassment by the Republican Senate Caucus in Iowa. Who is Janet Peterson?

15) What character was the first balloon character in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

16) A major earthquake killing over 400 was located on the border between what two countries?

17) The mail-in referendum on same sex marriage is over in Australia. Which side won with over 60% approval?

18) The nominee as secretary of HHS was formerly the head of what drug company?

19) November 21, 1877 (140 years ago) who announced the invention of his “talking machine”?

20) The current administration lifted a ban on bringing what trophies to the United States?

Remember when you call Grassley and Ernst to oppose the tax bill that Trump has yet to release his tax returns.

Answers:

1) 0 – his opponent Roy Moore though has at least 9 allegations against him.

2) Hillary Clinton – what a surprise!

3) Canada – on the 2nd Monday of October (our Columbus Day)

4) If he thought he was doing something wrong would he have taken a picture?

5) Republican Senate Leader Bill Dix

6) the Gettysburg Address

7) Loesack, no. Blum, King and Young voted for the rich.

8) NCAA women’s basketball champion South Carolina

9) Kuerig coffee makers

10) human rights violations in the Philippines

11) the local shopping mall

12) Colin Kaepernick

13) deadlocked

14) The new leader of Iowa’s senate Democrats

15) Felix the Cat

16) Iran and Iraq

17) Same sex marriage was given the OK

18) Ely Lilly

19) Thomas Edison- the talking machine is now known as the phonograph

20) elephant heads that trophy hunters cut off when they slaughter an elephant (like the Trump kids)

John Fugelsang: If you want to turn away Syrian Refugees because you’re Christian and they’re Muslim, just know that you got the ‘they’re Muslim’ part right.”

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End Of Net Neutrality Nearing Just Before Thanksgiving

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(From OpenMedia)

The FCC is only 5 days away from announcing their plans for the future of the Internet, and the Net Neutrality rules that keep our Internet a level playing field for all are at stake.

We are running out of time — we must tell Congress to stand up for Net Neutrality by November 22nd!

SPEAK OUT NOW

This may be our last chance to stop Ajit Pai’s proposal to destroy the Internet as we know it.

I am counting on you to join us in the fight.

Katy, on behalf of the OpenMedia team

(See my original message below.)

All,

On November 22nd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is likely to announce the new rules they’ll use to end the Internet as we know it.1

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, along with a whole industry of telecom lobbyists, have been chomping at the bit waiting for this day. That’s why we need to turn to Congress NOW and tell them they can’t let this happen — they’re our last best chance to kill this terrible idea.

It’s essential that we don’t let Big Telecom destroy the Title II protections millions of Americans fought and won just two years ago.2 Without these safeguards, we’ll end up with an Internet that is more like cable TV than the democratized platform we have come to rely on to communicate with friends, access health care and participate in the new public sphere.

We can’t let Pai’s plan3 go through, Dave. Will you speak up to save the Internet?

STAND FOR AN OPEN WEB

Please take a minute now and ask your Congress representative to stand up for Net Neutrality and a free and open web.

The future of the Internet depends on this — can we count on you?

Yours for an open, affordable web,
— Katy, on behalf of the OpenMedia community

P.S. Help us stand for an open Internet. Even $10 goes a long way towards fueling the movement for an equal web.

Footnotes
[1] The Internet is fucked, again: The Verge
[2] The day the Internet stood still: TechCrunch
[3] F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules: New York Times

We are an award-winning network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
You can follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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Morality? We Don’t Need No Stinking Morality!

roy moore

Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore. Photo from NBC news

We’ll even turn the story around and make ourselves the victim and the victim the perpetrator!

Above is the poster boy for Republican ethics these days. This is the party that has bragged for decades about their “family values” and their morality. But behind the scenes they acted like a freshman boy his first year away from home. Some do what is right, but many party hearty and tell Mom and Dad fables of being good.

It is not the sexual stories only that offer the proof a real lack of family values. Those are the stories that get the headlines and get the tongues wagging. However, when you think about families and what they really value is where you can truly evaluate just how bereft of “family values,” or nearly any kind of values for that matter, the Republican party really is.

Let us start with the very core of family itself, the parents and the children. We are now nearing day 50 since the Children’s Health Program (CHiP) expired at the federal level. There has been nearly no movement in trying to restore the program. Within a couple of weeks funding at state level will begin to dry up. Like a slow tsunami states will be shutting down their children’s health programs unless something is don.

The Republicans in charge ignore that immediate fire to concentrate on their value which is to give massive tax cuts to the massively wealthy by Christmas. In order to pay for those tax cuts for the massively wealthy there will have to be cuts somewhere. Looks like health care programs that many Americans rely on – Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA – will be chopped bigly to get the rich their tax cuts. No sacrifice is too small for the Republican party.

When you think of families you think of food. No doubt Republicans will be thinking of food also as they cut into the SNAP program – or food stamps if you prefer – to make those tax cuts for the wealthy a reality. Rather than help poor folks directly they will soothe their consciences with stories of the fantasy of ‘trickle down’ economics that has never worked and never will.

While we are on the subject of children, let me remind you that Republicans are working their tails off to send DACA children to countries where they have never lived. Why? Because they can and it shows how tough they are. This won’t bring back jobs, in fact it will cause a loss of jobs. Also exiling children to an unknown country seems like one of the most morally depraved acts I have ever heard of. This is Republican family values.

Republicans have spent the better part of the past 50 years widening and exploiting divisions in this country. from the days of Nixon’s “southern strategy” to today’s alt-right marches and defense of treasonous “heroes” of the Civil War. They use people from foreign lands to promote fear. They raise hate for those in our midst who are a bit different such as homosexuals, transgendered, people of color, people whose first language is not english.

Women fall into a special category for Republicans. Women are treated as second class citizens. What morality Republicans claim to have is often expended in imposing values from the bronze age on women in the 21st century.  This is not morality. Instead it is an imposition of power on one gender over another in an age when equality is supposed to be the guiding principal.

Since we brought up equality, perhaps the largest fail in morality is the concentration of wealth and power in a few hands. The widening inequality in wealth and power (as evidenced by voter suppression laws and lack of transparent elections) is perhaps the most immoral actions of the Republican Party. Since day 1 of this new administration the focus has been on moving more and more wealth to those at the top. This is wealth that will come from those at the bottom of the economic and social scales, thus ever widening the inequalities.

The trump card that Republicans always pull out in their claim to moral high grounds is their opposition to abortion. That is a truly hollow and cynical ploy however when the baby that may be born may well come into the world in poverty with no access to health care, a good family, decent schooling or much of a future. As shown above Republicans have little desire to help that baby succeed. Instead they are more concerned with the exploitation of that child’s life.

The opposition to abortion has also added exploitation of religion to the Republican playbook. In so doing they also intertwined religion and government which has always been an explosive combination.

As if having little care for the individual babies after they are born isn’t bad enough, their disdain for these youngsters is grandly illustrated by Republicans drive to make a profit for today on such items as greenhouse gas causing products such as oil and coal with little regard to the consequences to the planet that children of today will have to try to survive in.

In the same vein is the glorification of the gun as the solver of problems instead of addressing guns as the problems they are. Instead of addressing the issue, Republicans once again divide the country to make profits today and sacrifice the safety of our children for those profits.

Morality does not come from religion nor does it come from any god or gods. Morality is probably best summed up in what most of us know as the golden rule. That is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Comparing the actual actions of the Republican Party to the simplicity of the golden rule one can see that in almost all aspects of morality, Republicans not only fall short but are often in direct opposition to morality.

So when their failings are made public, they very often turn to their favorite defense. That is to blame their failings on someone else. Usually a Democrat. Just like Roy Moore did this week by claiming he was the victim and his sexual harassment problems were caused by the then teen age girls. Or how Kim Reynolds claimed her failings as governor are being caused by “unhinged liberals” out to get her.

One of the other major claims that Republicans throw out all the time is that of personal responsibility. I can’t remember the last time I heard a Republican take responsibility for anything. So along with the humongous lack of morality in their party, there is also   a total lack of responsibility on their part.

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Republican hypocrisy, Republican Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why In Hell Do I Call Grassley, Ernst Or State Republicans?

5 minutes

Once again last week I engaged in one of the most frustrating exercises I have ever engaged in during my lifetime. And I am getting to be quite an old fart.

I often feel like I am pushing a chain up a hill.

What exercise is so frustrating that I’d almost rather drive bamboo strips under my finger nails? Glad you asked. I feel like venting!

Calling any Republican member of congress or the state legislature on almost anything, but especially on upcoming votes. 

Calling Grassley and Ernst is especially frustrating because a citizen knows that their votes are already bought and paid for and in the bank for their wealthy donors. Actually that is true for all of Iowa’s Republican congressional  delegation. In my case I am fortunate enough not to have to deal with the non-representation from Blum, King or Young.

Last winter we had the added frustration of trying to call or contact our local legislators as they rammed through union busting bills and voter suppression bills while voting to cut educational funding. After an initial response on one issue, my legislators seemed to cut off communication. It wasn’t like I was going to influence their vote anyway.

Every time I pick up the phone or write an email to contact a legislator at any level I think of the study that came out a year or two ago which is cited in the above video. In short the study says that members of congress – I would say based on my experience Republicans in particular – really don’t give two hoots in hell what you or I have to say about the bill.

If we were big donors, though, we would be getting red carpet treatment. And we would be listened to, very intently. There is also a very good chance that we would be successful in lobbying for whatever we wanted.

If there were ever a picture that illustrated exactly what I am talking about it what I refer to as the most obscene photo I have ever seen. Governor Branstad signing the major union busting act in private except for a representative from Americans For Prosperity. AFP is a front group funded by the Koch brothers.

Thus the state legislature ignored a mountain of calls and emails to pass a bill that was meant to please especially only two people who do not even live in Iowa. And our governor had so much disdain for the citizens of our state that he signed the bill only in the presence of the representative from the front group funded by the Koch brothers.

That is about as in your face as it gets when it comes to cynicism.

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Branstad shakes the hand of AFP’s Drew Klein after signing union busting bill

But don’t give up. Even though you know that calling Grassley and Ernst is spitting into the wind, keep it up. I like to think that it makes them squirm just a little bit every time I call simply because they know that what they are doing is wrong and can’t be justified through any moral system. I like to think that my email or call maybe makes them sleep a little less knowing that what they are doing is hurting the vast majority of Iowans.

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Charles Grassley, Joni Ernst, Republican hypocrisy | Tagged | Leave a comment