Democrats Letting Net Neutrality Die

New Bosses Same As the Old Bosses

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Here was what was supposed to happen: With telco-friendly Republican Congress members swept out of the way, Democrats would usher in legislation enshrining Network Neutrality principles and give the FCC the power to enforce them.

Here’s what happened (is happening) instead: The most powerful Net Neutrality supporters (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton) are kicked upstairs while cable-and-Hollywood-friendly Democrats are killing Network Neutrality legislation in committees.

Meanwhile, both telecom and cable companies are emboldened by the legislation’s quiet death, the deafening sound of non-action covered up nicely by the economic crisis, and both industries are soothed by interim FCC commissioner Michael Copps’ toothless proposal for a fifth unenforceable principle regarding network discrimination.

Joe Barton
Joe Barton

The Democrat rope-a-dope strategy of the last few years is coming back around to kill Net Neutrality. The initial plan was simply to let Republicans have enough rope to hang themselves. Congressional Democrats ignored calls for investigations and impeachment of members of the Bush Administration because doing so allowed them to drop all blame square on their opponents’ shoulders for everything without putting themselves under undue scrutiny. A few years of doing absolutely nothing was tantamount to lying low while Republicans destroyed themselves so Democrats could take over…and continue to do nothing.


Henry Waxman
Henry Waxman

It’s a genius plan until people start watching and learning about the new bosses and start understanding how much they look like the old bosses. The Internet Freedom and Preservation Act of 2006, 2007, 2008? All killed by assassins with supposedly opposing goals.

The Senate version is suspicously stuck in a committee of formerly staunch proponents. The House version is under the committee supervision of net neutrality opponent Joe Barton (R-TX) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), who represents West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.


Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein

We’re not surprised by Barton, a Texas Republican funded by Comcast and AT&T—that’s historical par for the course. But Waxman’s a Democrat, and Democrats are supposedly pro-net neutrality. Meanwhile, we should also be surprised by Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) lame and failed attempt to sneak in “reasonable network management” provisions into the economic stimulus package as Waxman looked the other way.

So what’s going on with our supposed neutral net champions? The answer lies in the other industries opposed to net neutrality, namely the Entertainment industry, the principals of which happen to live in Waxman’s and Feinstein’s districts and donate heavily to their campaigns. Waxman gets lots of money from the cable industry, including TimeWarner and Disney. Feinstein’s donors include Time Warner and Disney as well, but also Qualcomm and GE (which owns NBC).

In the earlier days of the Net Neutrality debate, the argument centered on very technical issues lost on the general public and focused heavily on telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T, and some on Comcast. (Though Ted Stevens famously issued a net neutrality push poll asking constituents if they wanted more TV or less TV.)

As it progresses it becomes less about network issues (as if it ever really was about network issues) and more about Web video. Right now, very large, very wealthy, very powerful entities are battling for control of what will become the new TV (and radio and newspaper). It’s not about bandwidth or network operation. It’s about controlling Web media, especially video.

Recently we learned from the CEO of a cable company who says American cable providers won’t allow speeds they’re capable of delivering because they’re afraid people will cancel their cable TV subscriptions. TimeWarner, a maker of films and television content as well as a cable Internet and TV provider, is toeing the line with download caps limiting how much video consumers can download.

John Conyers
John Conyers

AT&T on the other side, quietly updated its terms of wireless service to prevent video transfers. AT&T, of course, is also getting into the video content delivery game with its U-Verse. Despite these most recent instances loudly protested, legislators have cited lack of complaints of abuse as the reason why they’ve backed off. Even former neutral net proponent John Conyers (D-MI) suddenly thinks it’s a non-issue. It’d be nice if we could look at his top donors and not see AT&T, TimeWarner, Sprint, and Cable, but sure enough, there they are, as predictable as the sunset.

You might have also noticed, like we have, that while anything the RIAA and the MPAA want goes right through Congress like crap through a goose, network neutrality legislation (wanted by the people who currently have no money) languishes and dies in committee.

With a setup like this, good luck getting net neutrality legislation passed this year or the next. Maybe in 2010 the country will suddenly favor independents and third parties so the do-nothing bums still remaining will be thrown out. But that may be overly optimistic—the people will likely still be broke by then, and its money that wins elections, and apparently what runs Congress.

Democrats Letting Net Neutrality Die
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  • http://msgrantrave.proboards18.com Markus

    Well, I am glad to see that many posters that damn Democrats are also damning Republicans. Possibly because of how easily accessible information is via the Internet, we the People know more of the little nuances of our elected officials that they themselves know! This way, as much dirt as you can drum up about Democrats, you can find about Republicans.

    They’re ALL corrupt! One is synonymous with the other like America and apple pie, bacon and eggs, and… politics and corruption.

    However – because of the nature of politics (especially here in the good ‘ole USA) – even if the majority of the voting public were to come out in force and vote Independents into office, you would still get the corruption that runs rampant in our two-party system creep in to the legislation of a third or fourth-party dominant government.

    Why do I feel that way? From the words I heard of many years ago that I’ve never forgotten (I forgot who wrote them, but I didn’t forget the words):

    “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

    Nuff said!

  • http://www.FarLeftRx.com Gary

    Whoever it is who came up with that July Fourth pitchfork parade idea is brilliant. I love it!

  • net neutrality like transparency

    military industrial complex of 60’s
    phrase in 2000’s — entertainmnet industrial complex

    hollywood entertainment in your article is wrong
    and separates politicians from it

    politicians mentioned work with oprah
    own studios, direct movies, insert things into movies/tv/songs
    revolution studios owned by politicians from from 1990’s

    they own stock in newspapers, tv stations, stations you think have opposite view points have politicians owning thier stock and giving them news to use as porpoganda

    they control internet
    what results search engines give, who you can get email from,
    what info they want in their databases at facebook for use by entertainment industry in the next 10 years.
    my space, facebook, twitter– giant government databases of private infromation, peoples diaries online for politicians and business to sift thru.

    that politicians you say supported it to get elected and in reality abused people online, and are letting it die is because they make too much money in entertainment and cable

    your article offers proof that most people did not realize the democrats are same as republicans. that is why people were saying democrats and republicans were the same party.

    Before 9/11 the 1990’s leaders were trying to get more informaiton on the public, then they pushed thru their legislation as being needed because of security. They want information so they can make entertainment money, steal business ideas, have info on potential people to use to help them get elected.

    i am not writing negative about politicians. If you want that search for anti-whatever politician you are interested in. I think that politicians are politicians who have been doing what they do for years. Read any US history book and you’ll see the corporations and billionaire/multimillion dollar people of the past all have the politicians in common as making money in their company business dealings.

  • Guest


    I bet you voted for B Hussein Obama and the Democrat gangsters in congress. You believed the media hype that there was going to be change.

    When is the American electorate going to get wise to the coup d’etat on the United States by Obama and the Democrat congress?

    If you think that this bad, wait until you see what’s coming.

    • Pearl

      Simply put – you are a dumb ass. keep watching your fox news and shut it—you don’t have a clue what is going on. No there is no point in explain to someone like you.

      • Lauren

        DITTO Pearl…….DITTO!

      • Guest

        I can’t believe this guy/girl could actually add the captcha to allow the post! GOBAMA!

      • Guest

        Try looking in the mirror to see the real dummy looking back at you!

      • B-Bo

        Great rebuttal….. classic left argument. “you are an idiot, i can’t hold a real debate with you, so i will call you an idiot”. Sure your opinion matters, but isn’t taken very seriously when you have nothing to back it up but more opinion. That is what makes America great, even people like that get to vote….

    • Lauren

      Keep talking out your ass, Guest. You don’t even have the stones to enter your name. Probably because even you know you don’t know what you’re babbling about. Yeah keep up that undying support for YOUR ELECTED Commander In Chief. So….we’re not supposed to get behind the President of our nation unless we voted for him/her? Oh, that’s brilliant! I bet YOU voted for George W in 2004, after he had us well on the road to hell. Great choice, Guest!
      I just love “Americans” who think they know exactly what we need. You most likely think we need another 4 years of Bushism. I’m so sick of you and your other like minded’s self righteous bullcrap. Better stop babbling Guest, your ignorance is showing.
      You like minded’s always have to say Barack Hussein Obama, as if that makes any difference. Again…..ignorance.
      I’m elated that this time, my vote counted and the best man won.

      • Loren

        I have never really understood why the progressives hated Bush so much. The only difference between Bush and a progressive is a few social values. Other than that Bush was one of you all. As a matter of fact that seems to be about the only thing that separates progressives and conservatives on Capitol Hill these days. I do not even like calling them conservatives anymore. More Bush was not what we wanted. Hell, we did not even want McCain for that matter. What we really want are real conservatives with conservative values. I am happy that the republicans finally took a stand and did not support the so called stimulus package. Of course the biggest “RINO’s” among us went ahead and voted for it so it could not be blocked and pared down to what it should have been.

        So, Lauren, let me see if I got this straight, you and all the other progressives love America, true? Then why is your mantra, “If you love America, come join us and help us change it.” I can tell you right now, that line would never fly if I were talking to and about my wife. And no matter whether you talk til you are red or blue in the face that statement alone has me convinced you do not love America, you only love progressivism. I know many progressives feel this is so cool because they are giving the nasty old conservatives a good old fashioned beatdown. Well guess what, government never stops once it has power. When they are done beating down conservatives they will come for you. As for rights and freedom, the more you empower government the less of those you will have. Now before you start in about all the rights abuses by the Bush admin please stop and think for just a minute. The so called abuses will be infinitesimal compared to what this admin and this progressively controlled congress want to do to. How many people do you know that were wiretapped, waterboarded, or otherwise had any rights infringed upon? Maybe you do know some, I sure don’t. Waterboarding was used 3 times over 5 years ago and more likely than not saved thousands of lives. I would not necessarily condone widespread torture especially given many prisoners were “little guys” and probably did not know anything anyway. But when it comes to the materminds of terrorist attacks, I want to know what he knows and I got no problem waterboarding him to find it out. I know, you probably just had a heart flutter hearing me say such a thing. War is War, and these nutjobs do not have any clues about the Geneva Convention. Now if you want to consider beheading as a none torture, I would simply ask, “How do you know? You ever had it done to you?” I will take your word for it, no matter what your answer.

        You progressives must be ecstatic that you finally got your government run healthcare legislation passed. Let me tell you a little secret. Do not get a chronic disease. I have one and although I am close to the end of dealing with mine you will be just starting with the new government healthcare system. I hope you have done all your homework on this. When you reach a certain age they (the government) may just decide it costs the sytem to much to treat you anymore. As Tom Daschle once said, and I paraphrase, “Older citizens will just have to accept the problems that come with age”. Basically it is too big a burden on the sytem to keep older people alive. How long will it be before they begin to look at babies with defects that will require lifelong care as “expendable in order to benefit the whole.” What about those with terminal cancer? Should we just not bother to treat them and extend their lives 2-3-4 years because we know they will not be cured and they will die anyway? Maybe we should at least demand that government put a limit on it, say if only has 2 years to live with treatment then do not treat. Hell, let’s go even father, since we know everyone is going to die anyway, we should never interfere by treating for life threatening injuries or diseases. Should we announce to othe African American community and white women that they will probably suffer the most injustice from this. Those two groups have the greater incidence per capita of cancer. If you honestly believe these things will not happen then you are only fooling yourself.

        Lauren, are you of the ilk that one who makes $1,000,000.00 per years should only be entitled to $100,000.00 of it? Do you agree with a 90% tax rate for the wealthier among us? If not, then what would you consider fair? I mean, an employer determines that someone’s job is worth $1,000,000.00 a year, what makes you think government should have the right to decide that is not correct? I suppose that would be one way to get rid of the wealthy. That is the goal, right?

      • James

        Do you really believe that your vote counts. Ever since I was a teenager I suspected that votes never really counted like the government would have you believe. Once George W. Bush was elected for a second term of office, I knew I had been right. Their are a lot of unintelligent people in this country, but come on people!!!

        Just like every other election, we as “voters” did not put George W. or Obama in office. The ones with the most money or “powers that be”, as I like to call them, are the ones who decide who is elected. In turn they use this “leader” to mold the laws to suit their interests. It has been this way since the beginning of time and will remain that way until the end of the world.

        Net Nuetrality, supported by those of us without money, never stood a chance. Net Nuetrality like a “free country” is just a great idea. There is only one being worse than any politician and that is the devil itself!!!

  • http://hughzebeezlaughs.blogspot.com Hughze

    I always laugh at people blame a specific political party for pushing the death of net neutrality. The truth is, it has always been in both major parties, it’s still in both major parties, and will be as long as we allow it.

  • http://www.shanehaithcock.blogspot.com Shane Haithcock

    As an independent, I see something that never ceases to amaze me. I see Republicans dealing out blows to individuals and then I see Dems calling the republicans names. Can’t dems ever articulate their position? It’s like they get frustrated that they can’t win the argument and resort to name calling.

  • Zaphod

    You’re just NOW figuring out that the “blame republicans” crowd lied to you? Hello, Dems have controlled congress for TWO YEARS!

  • http://www.syndicat.com Niels Dettenbach

    …im from germany and here we got a hard discussion about internet filters, blocking and sniffing laws over the lat years. The politicans means that the techies which are complaining about the new filter ideas are just technicans – “usually far from each reality”.

    Many politicans – driven by the typical lobbyists (i.e. copyright industry, religious groups a.o.) tried to bring in such filters into our internet – ideally build a “german net” instead of an internet.

    The last and newest coup had worked. “We need internet filters against child porn sites” to “hit the child porn industry”. That internet filters are the very wrong concept to investigate and fight child porn makes no sense, but each people who would discuss this in the public would be called a “direct helper in child porn scene” – this seems to work and so we got our long awaitet filters readily now.

    After China and Iran are filtering their IP we have to do this too… shure, i understand!

    A friend of mine – which is serving the page “wikileaks.de” was investigated now by our police and would be faced to judge because of “nothing” (nothing real what is to be found in our existing law) – someone has published the australian list of their filtered URLs.

    If someone would fight truly against the child porn industry they have to go to the hosting providers (>80% of the sites are in europe and ins the US) and the providers would put off such sites instantly after a mail from the court or – even better – to the credit card companies (most guys are paying by card on such sites). This companies are really inolved into the system as they make real money with that, or not?

    It seems no one really would (or understand) network neutrality here – just a few “idiots” like me plus the child porn guys.

    One of the politicans oof the filter comission which was against the filters – now he would be jugded for holding child porn on his cellphone (required for his work, as he told). As fun beside – he got this from a “porn dealer” which is selling child porns by MMS (not to his customers – not over the public internet…

    So – as a next required step – let us close the cellphone companies / mobile operators?…

  • Larry

    How in the world can anyone suggest our Washington representatives would tell you what you want to hear during their election campaign.

    BTW, what pork can I bring home to you?

    Can you say Tea Party?

  • http://ripsychotherapy.com Mike A.

    While from time to time I enjoy a good political bashing, I’m afraid I don’t know enough about the issue to take a side. A bit more factual history on net neutrality would have helped me out.

    • http://www.AlsitZ.net jamman

      It’s an important topic. You go to a search engine and type in your keyword. Let’s say it’s “Net Neutrality”. The search engine returns a set of links to yoru screen. Does your ISP have a right to modify or control the list you are seeing?

      The ISP’s (ie..Big Cable) say you are ‘their’ customer. Therefore they have a right to perfhaps modify your seearches to show you “their” perferred (i.e. paid for by their advertisers) content.

  • http://pyranexus.com PyraNexus

    We have no representation in Washington. Ours, like all Governments of the world are owned and operated by the Banking Military Industrial Complex. We are only given the illusion of a Representative Republic. Net Neutrality, i.e. Free Speech will go the way of the dinosaur with the full implementation of the National Security State. The Boys at the Top don’t want people getting too familiar with the fact that $Trillions of TaxPayer money is being secreted offshore. In the mean time, neither Democrats or Republicans read the legislation that the Banksters write and bring for vote. Needless to say, they’ve been eliminating the Bill of Rights & Constitution for our own good, ‘to protect us’. For further info and discussion go to: http://redpillmedia.blogspot.com

  • Guest

    Didn’t Waxman play the part of “PigMan” on one of the Seinfeld shows? He should look into a face transplant.

  • Old Patriot

    It amazes

  • Josh

    I agree with the idea of net neutrality, and I appreciate Jason’s input on the subject. I do find it just a bit ironic that while he’s opposing telco influence on the subject his article is surrounded by AT&T visa Card ads.


  • Bored

    Nothing will ever change the way “the people” want it to. There is too much money, and too much corruption in all parts of our government. Nothing will get done because as politicians, they have successfully divided our nation, and therefore conquered any real opposition by a majority of people. As both sides bicker back and forth, Dems, and Reps are basking in their glory knowing “we the people” don’t have the balls to do anything about it. I would suspect this is going to go on for a while. This is the beginning of the end of our great nation.

  • http://www.dogseizures.net Sam@dogseizures.net

    In any places, there are so many issues like this. I agree with those comments below. Once a person becomes powerful, his or her ability to corrupt increases.

  • http://www.bellajewelz.com bella

    The government was created “for the people by the people”. This is n longer true, both sides constantly lie and push the blame to the other side. They only work in their best lobbying and pocket interest and not the peoples. I really wonder how long it will take to stop believing what they say when they campaign or when they are the minority. Its always LIES.

  • Bob

    So the author (Miller) believes the Democrats are pro-net neutrality. What a sucker. Democrats are for whoever gives them the most dollars and power. If people are helped by them, that’s nice too. Of course the Dems AREN’T interested in net-neutrality. There are no dollars or votes in that. Face it, the Democrats are the party of Big Business and have been for decades.

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