It’s a sad state of affairs when a country that touts freedom of the press depends upon cable TV comedy shows to hear the real news.
Recently, comedian John Oliver– formerly with The Daily Show and now with his own satirical “news” show– aired a 13-minute explanation of net neutrality, why we should all care, and, most importantly, what we can do about it (besides blog, whine, protest, etc.)
According to Oliver, the concept of net neutrality is too boring and complicated for mainstream news outlets to worry their pretty little heads about it, so many Americans are uninformed. In its current state, the Internet is one, big, messy democracy of loosely organized information– all traveling at the same speed to and from your computer. When you do a Google search, “news” (AKA spin) from multi-billion-dollar corporate giants can appear next to lowly blog posts dissing the same corporate giants. This is net neutrality. Thanks to social media and free blogging platforms, anyone with basic computer skills and time on their hands can be heard.
Telecom giants like Comcast and Verizon want to de-democratize the Internet by instituting two levels of access– the high-speed lane for corporate people with deep pockets and the slow lane for the rest of us. Verizon sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the net neutrality rules and won in January 2014.
Interestingly enough, multinational corporations like Google and Facebook (who would have to pay big bucks for that fast lane) are teaming up with everyday folks (who really want the Internet to be open to everyone equally and regulated like a utility) to fight for net neutrality. (Oliver says it’s like Lex Luthor teaming up with Superman.)
This is where you and the Internet trolls come in. FCC has opened up a comment period.
The Oliver video tells viewers to go here to send a comment to the FCC. The website was a bit hinky when I tried it. There is a pull down box for taking action and sending a comment; there is also a tab for sending email. The comment function didn’t work when I tried it– pretty bad for an agency that is supposed to oversee the Internet!
UPDATE #1: The FCC has created a special email address for comments about net neutrality. You can write directly to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at
(Hat tip to my fans who pointed this out.)
UPDATE #2: Apparently, the reason that the FCC website didn’t work properly because the FCC was flooded with comments after John Oliver’s call to action. :-)According to the story here, the FCC is not totally convinced that their system crash on Monday was due to Oliver’s call to action on Sunday. The FCC Tweeted this on Monday: “We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic.” Anyway, as noted above, you can now send them an email about this. Time to flood their inbox. As Oliver said in his video, having the cable companies and a 30-year telecom lobbyist (FCC Chair Wheeler) rule the Internet is like hiring a dingo to baby sit your infant.
Anyway, listen to Oliver’s video, read the related background articles on the court case and ramifications of letting Verizon and Comcast control the Internet and use it to line their pockets.
Think about all of the news that you read here on Blog for Arizona (or other non-corporate websites) that never appears in the mainstream media. Keeping the Internet open to everyone equally is crucial.
Real news is hard enough to find now; with a money-based system of information access you will be fed what they want you to know.
And, you know what, sometimes bloggers are the only people with the freedom and guts to tell you the truth. Our tiny voices– and yours– are important in a free society.
Related background articles:
Verizon Wins Net Neutrality Court Ruling Against FCC
Net Neutrality and the Future of the Internet
‘Net neutrality’ puts FCC at center of storm
What the FCC’s net neutrality ruling means for journalism
Original aritcle on Tucson Progressive
On Saturday, October 20, First Congressional District candidate Lesli Messinger visited Pin Point, Georgia and talked with locals about her candidacy and to listen to what issues those citizens believe are important.
Messinger has traveled through her congressional district for months since her qualifying back in late May and has touted a strong progressive message and has been able to build grassroots coalitions.
Progressive Democrats say Congrats to U.S. Congressional GA District 1 Primary Winner Lesli Messinger. Lesli Messinger has claimed the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday beating Nathan Russo in the Democratic Primary. Unofficial results showed Messinger with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Russo with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.
Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia. It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.
State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, has endorsed Lesli Messinger for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District.
Messinger, a Savannah businesswoman, is running against Nathan Russo, a retired St. Simons businessman, in Tuesday’s primary.
The winner will face Republican incumbent Jack Kingston, who is seeking a 10th term. Last year’s boundary changes left the district with a GOP tilt, but less pronounced than in the past.
The endorsement apparently is intended to buttress Messinger’s claim to be a stauncher Democrat than Russo and a loyal supporter of President Barack Obama.
Russo has argued that, to beat Kingston in the district, a Democrat must make a strong appeal to many independents and at least some Republicans.
Stephens prefaces his statement by saying he’s “a lifelong member of the Democratic Party for over 30 years.”
“Not only does Mrs. Messinger have fresh new ideas that I feel truly represent the people of our district, and the state of Georgia,” he said. “She is a proud supporter of President Obama’s policies. I know Messinger will stand with President Obama in Congress, on a true Democratic front with other members of Congress.”
Lesli Messinger moved to Skidaway Island four years ago, she says, to escape the “dark and dreary” environs of New Jersey. But Messinger says she found darkness and dreariness near the tranquil community where she and her husband, Nathan, relocated. She says she met women who couldn’t afford cookies for their grandchildren and people whose jobless benefits were expiring.