Last Thursday was an exceedingly dark day for our democracy, as net neutrality was repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, by a vote of 3-2. This despite the fact that Net neutrality is something that almost all Americans are in favor of, and consistently voice their support for.
Yet FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer appointed by the Donald Trump administration, who is acting strictly in the interests of the telecommunications lobby, pushed for and got what he wanted, despite the fact it flies in the face of the common interest.
The will of the people lost last week, and the Wall Street Journal was a huge loser as well. The WSJ verified what many of us had suspected for quite awhile- they are the platform for big business to espouse their corporatist propaganda unchallenged and unfiltered.
The Journal published Pai’s intellectually and morally bankrupt arguments, both before and after the net neutrality ruling, and with that the newspaper lost its credibility forever.
In case you missed it, Pai’s justification for the atrocity he committed was nothing much beyond your typical Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute “all regulation is bad, deregulate, let these companies be free to increase profits, and then they will innovate new things that make life better for you the consumer.”
It’s total b.s. and really nothing more than a remedial class twin brother to trickle down economics.
On a side note, the far right wing site The Daily Caller produced a horrid anti net neutrality propaganda video (no, we're not linking out to this) that features Pai dancing (if you could call it dancing) alongside the biggest and worst purveyor of that repugnant Pizzagate (a widely spread lie that actually resulted in a gunman shooting up the establishment) narrative.
So when you look at who Pai is hanging out with, and who’s on the side of this repeal, it tells you everything you need to know about this issue.
Watch that video only if you truly hate yourself.
(Still one of the greatest music videos ever made. 15 years later, Slim Shady as Osama Bin Laden doing the running man in Tora Bora while making a video for Al-Jazeera until he's captured by a cadre of hip-hop artists still holds up)
So where do we go from here?
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for a Senate vote that could reverse the deplorable FCC decision with just a simple majority.
Popular Mechanics writes that while the possibility is tantalizing, it could still be an uphill climb:
Schumer intends to force a vote this week using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives the House and Senate the ability to veto a regulatory body's decision within 60 days on a simple majority vote. Schumer said the following at a press conference, as reported by The Hill:
“One, this CRA doesn’t need the support of the majority leader. We can bring it to the floor and force a vote. So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed....It’s in our power to do that and that’s the beauty of the CRA rule. Sometimes we don’t like them, when they used it to repeal some of the pro-environmental regulations, but now we can use the CRA to our benefit, and we intend to.”
Of course, it’s not going to be easy, as ARS Technica points out:
“While a few Republicans in the House of Representatives either opposed or expressed skepticism about the net neutrality repeal, Republicans have a 239-193 majority in the House. Finally, President Donald Trump could veto a CRA resolution even if it passed both the Senate and House.”
While Trump has gone on the record and expressed support for the repeal of net neutrality, it’s also quite clear from the scarce public statements he’s made on the topic that he has no clue what it actually is.
However, undoing everything that Obama accomplished, mostly out of pure spite and pettiness, is certainly his m.o. Thus, he might actually be motivated to do his homework on this legislation.
Also, the victory by Doug Jones this past Tuesday night shifts the Republican majority in the Senate to just 51-49, with Susan Collins, the GOP Senator from Maine, publicly speaking out in favor of net neutrality.
Not to mention that the GOP is now extremely afraid of losing seats next November in the midterms, so they’re not exactly in a position right now to entrench themselves on the wrong side of history.
Additionally, net neutrality repeal will have to go through the court system, as numerous state Attorney Generals have declared their intentions of suing the FCC.
In other words, there are checks and balances against the unpopular action of one sinister super-dork.
You can text "resist" to 50409. Use the hashtags #SaveNetNeutrality #StopTheFCC and #NetNeutrality to spread word of your activism.
Let your voices be heard! Stand up for regaining net neutrality now! This fight is far from over.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.
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