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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

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07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

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07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Print view: Net Neutrality Threatened (Part II)
COMMENTARY:

Net Neutrality Threatened (Part II)

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 18 December 2010
If Genachowski's proposal is adopted, Net Neutrality will be compromised. Cable and telecom giants will take control, and another Obama promise will be broken.

Three earlier articles addressed the issue, here's the most recent: Net Neutrality Threatened (Part I).

Net Neutrality is a defining issue of our time. It's essential to keep the Internet free and open, letting users access all content without restrictions, limitations, or discrimination, maintaining an online level playing field for everyone.

It's the essence of democratic free speech. Without it, the Internet will resemble cable TV, letting corporate predators game the system, deciding what web sites, content and applications are available at what price and speed.

Giant cable and telecom companies are lobbying Congress and the FCC furiously for that right. A leaked September 2010 House Energy and Commerce Committee draft bill, if enacted, will let them establish higher-priced premium lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, compromising the last free and open space. New FCC provisions may do the same. More on that below.

An October 2007 global measure, overriding national sovereignty, also threatens Net Neutrality, consumer privacy, and civil liberties. Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), secret negotiations seek to subvert them, ostensibly to protect copyrighted intellectual property, including films, photos, and songs. ACTA remains a work in progress, but developments going forward bear watching, especially if a global agreement is reached.

New FCC Proposal Threatens Online Freedoms

In early December, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed new regulations to be voted on December 21 saying:

They're "consistent with President Obama's commitment to keep the Internet as it should be - open and free." As a candidate, he pledged it. As president, he consistently yielded to big money demands and appears ready now to surrender Net Neutrality. Genachowski's plan is a scheme to subvert it. More information on it can be accessed, just click here:

However, according to Save the Internet Coalition, his proposal:

"is riddled with loopholes, and falls far short of what's necessary to prevent phone and cable companies from turning the Internet into cable TV: where they decide what moves fast, what moves slow, and whether they can price gouge you or not - a shiny jewel for companies like AT&T and Comcast." Specifically:

  • it doesn't restore FCC authority over Internet service providers (ISPs);
  • it lets cable and telecom companies split the Internet into fast and slow lanes;
  • it lets ISPs charge content providers more for faster movement across the Internet than others; and
  • it excludes wireless service, giving providers full control over customers with regard to pricing and conditions of operation.

If Genachowski's proposal is adopted, Net Neutrality will be compromised. Cable and telecom giants will take control, and another Obama promise will be broken, sabotaging the last free and open space, subverting digital democracy for profit and the ability to block unwanted content.

The 1934 Communications Act "regulat(ed) interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges...." It established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "execute and enforce the provisions of this Act."

Key to Genachowski's scheme is not classifying broadband Internet service under the Communications Act as a Type II telecommunications service that would subject it to tighter control. As a result, any FCC action may be legally challenged and will be if unfavorable to industry giants. In addition, as mentioned above, wireless service would be exempted from most new rules, a serious flaw given how fast it's becoming the most popular Internet access method of choice.

Corporations and lobbyists responded favorably to Genachowski's plan. National Cable and Telecommunications Associations President Kyle McSlarrow said that previous negotiations had "produced a rough consensus on a number of points, which we believe are reflected in" his proposed rule changes.

The CTIA Wireless Association added:

"While we maintain our belief that any action in this area is unnecessary in the dynamic and rapidly evolving wireless environment, we understand and are pleased that the proposed rules have moved away from broad Title II regulation and toward a more tailored approach that recognizes the unique nature of wireless services."

Telecommunications giant AT&T was practically jubilant saying:

"While any final statement of position by AT&T must await a careful reading of the actual order and rules when issued, we are pleased that the FCC appears to be embracing a compromise solution that is sensitive to the dynamics of investment in a difficult economy and appears to avoid over-regulation."

The five-member FCC is composed of three Democrats and two Republicans firmly opposed to regulation. If a majority backs Genachowski, Net Neutrality will be seriously jeopardized unless a groundswell of consumer opposition demands the administration and Congress prevent it.

Report Saying New Rules Will Be Approved

On December 15, Reuters headlined, "Approval of Internet traffic rules likely - analysts," saying:

Genachowski's proposal will likely "be adopted without radically veering from a proposal unveiled earlier in the month, telecommunication policy analysts said on Wednesday."

They expect Democrat commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps will back Genachowski, believing "There aren't really any better options (despite) their preference for tougher rules."

Another analyst agreed, saying at most minor modifications might be made but no major ones. December 21 is decision day. With little time left, it's crucial that consumers act, demanding Congress and the Obama administration preserve Net Neutrality and not allow Genachowski's proposal.

Free Press.net Letter to the FCC

On December 10, its five commissioners were sent a letter to "preserve the Open Internet, promote universal broadband access, and protect consumers in a concentrated (industry dominated) marketplace." Doing so is essential "for democratic participation, commerce and innovation."

The FCC itself acknowledged that "The Internet's openness, and the transparency of its protocols, have been critical to its success." It's time to show it by enforcing Net Neutrality rules.

"However, adopting limited protections while giving tacit approval to other harmful practices will not adequately preserve the open Internet. If the current draft Order is adopted without substantial changes, (ISPs) will be free to engage in a number of practices that harm consumers, stifle innovation and threaten to carve up the Internet in irreversible ways."

Moreover, the Order is legally shaky, undermining not only Internet policy, but also "the Commission's entire broadband agenda."

Free Press listed five specific problem areas:

  1. Paid Prioritization: It's "the antithesis of openness. Any framework that does not prohibit such economic discrimination arrangements is not real Net Neutrality." Unless these practices are prohibited, ISPs will exploit the rules to their own advantage, effectively creating two Internets.
  2. Adequate Protections for Wireless: Earlier, Genachowski himself said, "It is essential that the Internet itself remain open, however users reach it." Yet his proposal "leaves wireless users vulnerable to application blocking and discrimination....permanently enshrining Verizon and AT&T as the gatekeepers for all new uses of the wireless Web."
  3. Loophole-Free Definitions: "The draft Order's definition of Broadband Internet Access Service could easily be exploited by ISPs seeking to evade or exempt themselves from the rules....Reasonable network management cannot be a loophole used by network operators to evade the rules."
  4. Specialized Services Cannot Undermine the Open Internet: Last summer's announced Verizon-Google agreement "met with fierce public backlash in part because the deal would have allowed ISPs to split the public, open Internet into two 'pipes' (by) creat(ing) a carve-out from Net Neutrality rules for so-called 'managed' or 'specialized' services." If they're offered, they should be separate from Internet ones.
  5. FCC Broadband Policy Must Be Based on Sound Legal Footing: Genachowski's proposal violates the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit's "rejection of the FCC's use of Title I ancillary authority in Comcast v. FCC." He wants new authority around the ruling, instead of protecting consumers and Net Neutrality as a fundamental right in new policy.

Each of the above items demands fixing. Failure to do so "will jeopardize the Internet's historic openness and (will) undermine Obama's promise to deliver meaningful, real Network Neutrality protections." However, his failure to publicly endorse this shows another promise made may be broken, the latest in a long disturbing list affecting everything vital to working Americans.

Nineteen supportive digital democracy organizations joined with Free Press in opposing Genachowski's proposal. It bears repeating. Otherwise, Net Neutrality will be irreparably compromised.

A Final Comment

On December 8, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Corynne McSherry cited the following Net Neutrality and Genachowski proposal concerns:

  • fear that open-ended FCC Internet regulatory authority may "create barriers to entry for the next generation of....innovators," especially for wireless now getting much attention;
  • whatever's suggested in principle, the devil lies in the details, "especially exceptions and loopholes for non-neutral behavior that may be" broad enough to subvert a larger proposal; and
  • Genachowski's plan is especially worrisome; so far, it's details are confidential, "which itself doesn't bode well" and might be a dagger in the heart of Net Neutrality.

When his proposal in full is released, it will be crucial to examine destructive loopholes and exemptions. For example, will "managed services" or "additional online services" subvert a free and open Internet? Will wireless exemptions be as bad? Will other provisions effectively gut Net Neutrality freedom so essential to preserve?

After the December 21 FCC vote, we'll know more. But advance word suggests cable and telecom giants won at the expense of free speech, Net Neutrality, and the public interest. Stay tuned, and demand Congress act quickly during the lame duck session to reverse all destructive FCC provisions approved. It's our Internet and our choice about its management, functions and freedoms. They're too important to lose.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 18, 2010.

 

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