Monday, July 03, 2006

John Kerry: blogmeister

highwayscribery certified John Kerry as a sort-of blogger quite some time ago.

Kerry, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, and the party’s most recent national candidate for president, has been working the Internet since his defeat in 2004. Kerry decided to maintain his e-mail list and keep them updated regarding his position on a number of issues. And that he has done.. A few weeks ago he convened some liberal bloggers in Los Angeles to hear them on the issues of the day.

Building on his yen for Internet organizing, he of the jut jaw just sent out a new e-mail regarding Internet neutrality.

the scribe is a member of the “Save the Internet Coalition” for which there is a button at right. Being a member, as far as we can tell, entails writing something about this issue now and again.

And so, using Kerry’s e-mail as a spark, here goes:

They are reorganizing telecommunications in the Senate, for the most part and a big bill is expected some time in the next year.

The larger companies, remnants from the dismembered AT&T system, want to charge all the countless and intermediary service providers that have sprung up in the wake of the Net revolution for using their networks - the cables and wires under- and above-ground, the satellites (don’t quote the scribe on this) they own and operate.

The search engines, the Internet service provides, cable service providers have all have functioned by grace of the reigning legislation, and allowed the Net to develop as a free highway for travel. This is largely because the larger companies have been ordered to provide access to their networks, not because they love the idea of it.

SBC used to have a commercial making fun of the “middle men” who don’t own their own networks. Now they’ve dropped comedy from something a little more effective. Lobbying.

They say, “we built them networks and we should earn from them.”

The other people say, “your pipes run through public lands and probably at little cost to you.” They say there are other telecommunications interests and that the big companies are acting like, well, you know, monopolies.

the scribe belongs to “Save the Internet” because he agrees.

For now, the monopolies are winning.

the scribe is not one-hundred percent clear on all the issues, but companies, Google being one of them, are looking for legislative language guaranteeing “net neutrality.”

Net neutrality means the request you make, with a click, to travel the information superhighway is no less important than any other click.

You ask, you get taken there, which is what you’re used to. The fear for bloggers and anyone else with a presence on the world wide web is that companies will be able to pay for preferential treatment or, depending on the economics, be shaken down in exchange for a little traffic.

That would make the Internet a lot like “The New York Times,” for too many writers: a place where influence and pedigree trump talent in the selection process. It would be a great loss, because the Internet is the closest thing to a level playing field we have: both as a commercial market, and one for ideas.

Kerry’s e-mail says that net neutrality’s chances are not looking good. (r)epublicans are in the majority and (r)epublicans have their corporate marching orders and they also have more votes and all of the relevant committees treating the legislation.

Here’s what an angry Kerry said after the Commerce Committee put an end to any talk of a net neutrality provision in the upcoming telecommunications bill:

“Free and open access to the Internet is something all Americans should enjoy, regardless of what financial means they’re born into or where they live. It is profoundly disappointing that the Senate is going to let a handful of companies hold Internet access hostage by legalizing the cherry-picking of cable service providers and new entrants. That is a dynamic that would leave some communities with inferior service, higher cable rates, and even the loss of service, not to mention inadequate internet service – in the age of information.”

Democrats, or some of them, are cast in the role of proponents for and the committee vote was 11 -11 along party lines. Sounds like a Republican crossed over to create the tie, which apparently, won’t due, for whatever it is they were trying to do.

Anyway, according to Kerry, the bill now goes to the full Senate where one of the members, a Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon as put a "hold"on the bill. Call him to say thanks: (202) 22405244.

Nonetheless, Kerry warns, “there will be a day of reckoning on this legislation soon.”

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