U.S. House of Representatives

Help Determine the Future of the Internet – FCC Chair Appointment Due

Should broadband Internet service be treated as a basic utility in the United States, like electricity, water, and traditional telephone service?

Most of the time people want to speak to their government about the decisions being made – Most of the time we don’t get a chance.  Here is a chance to have your voice heard.

The FCC – your phones, your TV, your radio, your internet, community broadband.

This is the big stuff, important stuff, the big dollar stuff we use daily and you can possibly make a difference by signing a petition.

Most times the voice of the public is ignored in the area of appointments – where the voices of the billionaire telecoms get their way.

Most times the voice of the public is ignored in the running of the FCC – where the voices of the billionaire telecoms get their way.  Much of that problem stems from who is running the FCC – which is usually executives pulled from the large telecoms or lobbyists who worked for the telecoms.

A new appointment to chair the FCC is coming up and we have the chance to let the White House know who we want considered for the position.

I am asking that you look at the information that I am giving you below and hopefully, you will agree that signing the petition is the thing to do.

Please read the snips I have provided, then read the articles and after that – please consider signing the petition.

 

White House.gov Petition Text:

Appoint Susan Crawford as FCC Chairman.  America is ranked #16 in the world for broadband penetration, speed and price. Where high-speed service is available, it is often expensive and unreliable — and frequently there is only one monopoly service provider.

The United States needs new leadership at the Federal Communications Commission to help establish a competitive regulatory climate and to encourage new entrants into the market. Susan Crawford has spent her career studying the global telecommunications industry and has a keen sense of the history that brought us to this point.

Ms. Crawford would facilitate changes at the Federal level which could help America become the leader in global telecommunications innovation again. President Obama, please appoint her as FCC Chairman in 2013

100,000 signatures are needed.
Please consider signing the White House Petition


Susan Crawford
is the (Visiting) Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. She was a board member of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from 2005-2008, and served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy in 2009.

Here’s one of many articles about Susan Crawford’s beliefs about broadband:

Should broadband Internet service be treated as a basic utility in the United States, like electricity, water, and traditional telephone service? That’s the question at the heart of an important and provocative new book by Susan Crawford, a tech policy expert and professor at Cardozo Law School. In Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Guilded Age, released Tuesday by Yale University Press, Crawford argues that the Internet has replaced traditional phone service as the most essential communications utility in the country, and is now as important as electricity was 100 years ago. “Truly high-speed wired Internet access is as basic to innovation, economic growth, social communication, and the country’s competitiveness as electricity was a century ago,” Crawford writes, “but a limited number of Americans have access to it, many can’t afford it, and the country has handed control of it over to Comcast and a few other companies.”

SNIP

By taking on one of the most powerful industries in the United States, Crawford knows that she will not endear herself to the CEOs of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and Verizon. “I’m not going to be on their Christmas card lists this year,” she quips. And given the entrenched influence of these companies in Washington, D.C., many — if not most — of her policy prescriptions seem a tad far-fetched. Is the U.S. government about to mandate low-cost broadband Internet access for all Americans? It’s not likely any time soon. But her book does provide a vivid and eye-opening description of what ails America’s cable and telecom market, and for that reason, it should be required reading for anyone interested in tech policy. Crawford’s book also lays out a road-map for solutions, quixotic as they may be. But, as Crawford says: “There is always hope.”

And there is this – from a piece from muninetworks.org

What is our FCC Chair doing about this problem? He helped Comcast to grow even bigger, with more market power to crush those rivals that he is calling on to build gigabit test beds.Chairman G wants to spur hundreds of David’s while refusing to curb Goliath’s power. Bad news, Mr. Chairman, Goliath actually wins most of the time. Rather than doing his job, Genachowski is begging others to do it for him.

More and more, he sounds more like a cable lobbyist than a public servant. This is actually a pattern: the head cable lobbyist in DC is a former FCC Chief himself and a recent FCC Commissioner left for a job at Comcast just months after pushing for the Comcast/NBC merger.

The revolving door helps to explain why the FCC has refused to take meaningful action that might threaten the cozy relationship between supposed competitors that have divided the market to their benefit.

SNIP

We need an FCC Chair that will wrestle with the real problem: far too much of our essential telecommunications infrastructure is controlled by de facto monopolies unaccountable to the communities that depend upon them.

Having Susan Crawford as the Chair of the next FCC would do wonders to making the FCC responsive to the needs of all America, not just the cable and telephone companies.

Snips from an older piece from Susan’s blog on HuffPo

“The television is just another appliance — it’s a toaster with pictures.” That statement was made by Mark Fowler, Ronald Reagan’s FCC Chairman who spearheaded a deregulatory trend that has continued for over three decades.   …  Fowler and the FCC have one thing right: with markets like these, consumer choice is toast.It’s as if we’ve allowed General Electric to have a monopoly on selling electricity to your home and then allowed them to leverage this advantage into the market for their toasters. Imagine the spiel: “If you buy our GE toaster, you get higher-speed electricity that will cook your bagels faster. But only our bagels fit in the GE toaster.” Today, rather than tangling with your tastebuds, Comcast is making decisions that affect what your ears hear, what your eyes see, and what your keyboard can reach. Comcast can give its own video on demand service an advantage via its Internet connections by removing it from the constraints of a monthly data cap. But unaffiliated content like Netflix – that’ll cost you extra. It’s the price you’ll pay because you like a different brand of bread.

We are stuck in this primitive state with company lobbyists who are buttering up policymakers just to jam consumers.

Read another of her many articles here:

The House GOP Plan to Gut the FCC
By Susan Crawford | 03.22.12

Surely we shouldn’t slip farther behind as a country to serve the interests of a few large companies.

In 1901, Republican Theodore Roosevelt took on another utility industry that had consolidated and was gouging Americans. “The railway,” he said, “is a public servant. Its rates should be just to and open to all shippers alike.  The government should see to it that within its jurisdiction this is so and should provide a speedy, inexpensive, and effective remedy to that end.”

Leadership within the FCC and oversight by Congress will provide those remedies. Strangling the FCC’s ability to regulate will drive us backwards.

She was on Obama’s transition team  for the FCC.

Susan Crawford, Kevin Werbach Named Obama’s FCC Review Team Leads
Nov 14, 2008

And finally here’s  a snip from the NY Times– please take the time to read the whole thing.

Op-Ed Contributor
An Internet for Everybody
By SUSAN CRAWFORD
Published: April 10, 2010

…But if the F.C.C.’s labeling of high-speed Internet access providers undermines its ability to tell them what to do, how can it ensure that consumers get the information they need about real speeds and prices? How can it ensure that basic communications services — which, these days, means Internet access — are widely available?

The F.C.C. has the legal authority to change the label, as long as it can provide a good reason. And that reason is obvious: Americans buy an Internet access service based on its speed and price — and not on whether an e-mail address is included as part of a bundle. The commission should state its case, relabel high-speed Internet access as a “telecommunications service,” and take back the power to protect American consumers.

After all that reading –
ask yourself the question –

Who do we want for the Chair of the FCC?

  • An executive from Comcast?
  • A lobbyist for the telecom industry?
  • A white haired old guy who doesn’t understand technology?
  • A white haired old guy who doesn’t care what the public wants or needs?

OR

  • Someone that just might be a real public servant?
  • Someone who apparently understands the needs of the public?
  • Someone like Susan Crawford.

100,000 signatures are needed.
Please consider signing the White House Petition

If you choose to sign it – please re-tweet to all your friends and family suggesting that they do the research and possibly sign it also.

THANKS!!!

posted by MNDem999 .  VLTP takes no official stand on this petition, and has published it as a courtesy.

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and the Great Recession – Section II, ALEC

note:  this is the third in a series of articles published by the University of Toledo Law Review written by Ellen Dannin

PRIVATIZING GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE ERA OF ALEC AND THE GREAT RECESSION

II.   THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL (ALEC)

The American Legislative Exchange Council was, until recently, a little-known but very powerful and influential organization.  ALEC’s most important role is drafting model legislation. 20   According to ALEC, it “has nearly 1,000 pieces of model legislation.” 21   More than 200 of ALEC’s model bills were enacted in 2009. 22   Until April 17, 2012, ALEC’s model legislation was developed and promoted by nine national task forces.  On that date, ALEC announced that it was eliminating its Public Safety and Elections task force in order to focus on economic issues.23   The remaining task forces are Civil Justice; Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development; Communications and Technology; Education; Energy, Environment and Agriculture; Health and Human Services; International Relations; and Tax and Fiscal Policy. 24

According to ALEC, its task forces “also commission research, publish issue papers, convene More →

ALEC Now Sponsoring Overtly Political Events with the RSC

GOP’s corporate front group

The revolving door between Capital Hill, the lobbying sector, and corporate jobs is out of control. Unaccountable corporate lobbyists write laws, draft budgets, and create policies that protect personal and business interests.

…But perhaps it is no surprise that the federal Republicans and ALEC have finally gotten a room, and that it’s at the Heritage Foundation. Republicans and ALEC have long held similar beliefs and worked together on the state level. President Bush and other top Republican leaders have spoken to ALEC. The group, which used to be a nonpartisan corporate front group, happy to advance legislation to either party, as long as it served its corporate backers, has increasingly become the state-based arm of the Republican Party’s progressively more conservative legislative agenda.

To read all of this extensive and in-depth report, please click here

House Republicans Perpetuate Voter Fraud Myth, Fine With Disenfranchising Voters

“House Republicans criticized the Justice Department for challenging voter ID laws. The critical lawmakers believe that DOJ is acting in a partisan manner and that DOJ’s actions show that the Obama Administration is more concerned with winning in November than protecting against election fraud.”

That’s correct folks, Voter Suppression is just fine with Republicans in Washington.  But, of course it is.  ALEC Alumni Messrs. Boehner and Cantor are in charge.  And what Republican is looking forward to a visit from the “muscle” of the Cabal–a Tea Party challenger in the next primary.

But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. Please click here to read the extent to which the radical right will go to win this next Battle of the War for Control of the Government*–disenfranchise those who would stand in their way at the polls.  Prevent the Justice Department from doing it’s job.  What else is a House Republican to do?

*engaging Organized Labor early and get them to spend all of their money fighting for survival in WI, MI, OH, and IN, was the first skirmish of the war.

Monsanto Crop Bans by Courts Would Be Reversed in Bill

[Apparently unable to find a friendly court, Monsanto has apparently called in its “friends” at ALEC to resolve this problem in Congress. – Ron]

A House of Representatives committee voted to let farmers grow genetically modified crops developed by Monsanto Co. (MON) and its competitors during legal appeals of the approval process.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would be required to permit modified crops to be planted and sold into the food supply after the agency’s approvals have been invalidated by a court, under a provision in the fiscal 2013 agriculture spending bill approved by the House Appropriations committee today.

The one-paragraph provision in the the 90-page bill would circumvent legal obstacles that have slowed commercialization of engineered crops, sometimes for years, benefiting Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company. Planting would be permitted until USDA completes any analysis required by a judge.

To read this entire sorry tale of pay-to-play legislation at ALEC, please say “Jack Abramoff” 3 times and click here.