How Some Black Members of Congress Are Selling Out to Telecom Companies

Big phone and cable companies are attacking the free and open Internet – and some Black members of Congress are helping them do it.

Black members of congressTen members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) recently signed a letter to the FCC attacking net neutrality, the principle that prevents Internet service providers from discriminating online. All of these members have taken thousands in campaign contributions from the telecom industry.

We’ve seen this before – but this summer is a crucial time when the FCC will choose to either protect Internet freedom, or allow phone and cable companies to take unprecedented control over what we see, do, and say online.

We need to hold these representatives accountable, and make sure the FCC and other members of Congress know they don’t speak for Black people on this issue.

Join us in calling out the Black members of Congress doing big telecom’s dirty work.

What’s at stake

Net neutrality has made the Internet a level playing field for all voices, allowing Black bloggers, activists, and entrepreneurs to flourish online despite being blocked out of ownership and participation in traditional media. Now, these CBC members are using deceptive arguments to help giant corporations attack net neutrality, and claiming that they speak for Black America.

The FCC is now considering reclassifying Internet service as a public utility, which would give it strong authority to enforce net neutrality for the public good.1 Thankfully, some Black members of Congress are fighting to protect net neutrality — Rep. Keith Ellison co-authored a letter to the FCC supporting reclassification, and it was signed by Reps. Barbara Lee, John Lewis, John Conyers, Donna Edwards, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charlie Rangel, Bobby Scott, and Andre Carson.2

But the phone and cable companies are fighting this tooth and nail, calling in favors from organizations and members of Congress they’ve supported financially for years. Sadly, some civil rights organizations and Black members of Congress are attacking net neutrality with dishonest and deceptive arguments handed to them by the telecom lobby. Ten members of the CBC recently signed Rep. Gene Green’s letter to the FCC attacking reclassification (Reps. Bobby Rush, G.K. Butterfield, Sanford Bishop, Corrine Brown, Lacy Clay, Alcee Hastings, Gregory Meeks, David Scott, Bennie Thompson, and Marc Veasey).3 The letter claims to support Internet freedom while doing everything it can to undermine it.

Dishonest and deceptive arguments against net neutrality

The telecom lobby, echoed by some Black members of Congress and civil rights organizations, has argued that net neutrality rules could limit minority access to the Internet and widen the digital divide. They say that unless we allow Internet service providers to make bigger profits by acting as gatekeepers online, they won’t expand Internet access in under-served communities. In other words, if Comcast — whose broadband Internet business was recently earning 80 percent profit margins4 — can increase its profits under a system without net neutrality, then it will all of a sudden invest in expanding Internet access in our communities.


This argument has been debunked5, 6 — it doesn’t make any sense from a business or economic perspective, and it doesn’t reflect history. Expanding access to high speed Internet is an extremely important goal, and we are fully in support of it. But allowing the phone and cable companies to make more money by acting as toll-takers on the Internet has nothing to do with reaching that goal. Businesses invest where they can maximize their profits, period. Internet service providers are already making huge profits,7 and if they believed that investing in low-income communities made good business sense, they would already be doing it. The idea that making even more money is suddenly going to make them care about our communities is ridiculous.

The truth is that reclassifying Internet service as a public utility would actually help the FCC close the digital divide by allowing it to subsidize Internet access for low-income Americans.8

 Buying the support of Black members of Congress

All of the CBC members attacking net neutrality have taken large amounts of campaign money from the telecom industry, with some taking tens of thousands of dollars in just the last two elections.

And it’s not just campaign money — since just 2008 the telecom lobby has spent millions on donations to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI), nonprofit organizations associated with the CBC.9,10 These organizations claim that their purpose is to provide scholarships, educate the public, and develop new leaders. But the corporate money also funds lavish galas to honor members of the CBC,11 and top lobbyists from the telecom industry sit on the boards and committees of the CBCF and CBCI.12

This year, the CBCF “honored” Comcast with its “Distinguished Corporation Award”;13 last year, it was Time Warner.14 Comcast touted its award to Congress earlier this year while seeking approval for its merger with Time Warner.15

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen CBC members carry water for big telecom corporations. Many of the CBC members who signed Rep. Green’s recent letter to the FCC have signed similar letters before, and cast votes against net neutrality. And many of these members have been loyal allies to the industry on other issues as well.

    • In October 2009, Congressman Gregory Meeks collected 70 signatures from his colleagues on an industry-backed letter designed to weaken support for Internet freedom.16

    • In 2011, Congressman G.K. Butterfield worked with Congressman Gene Green to organize Democratic support for AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile.17

  • Congressman Bobby Rush has attacked net neutrality many times, since at least 2006.18 And in addition to campaign contributions, Rush has taken more than $1.7 million from the telecom lobby through his charitable organizations.19 $1 million of that money came from AT&T and was supposed to support a technology center in Rush’s district. Rush has recently come under scrutiny because that money is now gone, with no tech center to show for it, and Rush unable to explain where the money went.20

These are just a few of many examples.

We’ve called out these members for their attacks on Internet freedom. In 2010 we ran a similar campaign demanding that CBC members stop attacking net neutrality. And we’ve made progress — fewer Black representatives are now carrying water for the telecoms.

In 2011, thousands of ColorOfChange.org members signed petitions and made phone calls asking House Democratic leadership to prevent Congressman Rush from securing a key committee position that would have allowed him to do even more damage to net neutrality.21 Because of our actions, Rush didn’t get the position.22

Nevertheless, Rush and other Black representatives have continued to use their status as members of the Congressional Black Caucus — which is supposed to advocate for the interests of Black America — to attack net neutrality. It’s unacceptable and dangerous: not only does this kind of influence peddling threaten the Internet as a medium where Black voices and ventures have an equal shot; it also undermines the credibility and power of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has historically been a critically important voice for Black America.

Now is the time to raise our voices again and make it clear that these representatives don’t speak for us on this issue. If enough of us speak out, we can make sure that all Black representatives know there will be a price to pay for betraying Internet freedom — and that if they fight for net neutrality, they’ll have our support. And by speaking out now, we can make sure the FCC knows how important net neutrality is to Black America.

Join us in calling out the CBC members attacking Internet freedom.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Aimée, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 1st, 2014

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

References

1. “Net Neutrality and Reclassification: A Fact Sheet,” Voices for Internet Freedom, 2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3594?t=7&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

2. “Ellison, Grijalva Lead Letter to FCC Chairman Demanding Net Neutrality,” Press Release from Office of Rep. Keith Ellison, 5-14-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3595?t=9&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

3. “Green letter warns against destructive consequences of a Title II reclassification,” The Citizen, 5-14-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3596?t=11&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

4. “When Is the Cable ‘Buy’ Set to Come?” Wall Street Journal, 4-3-2008
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3631?t=13&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

5. “Why Consumers Demand Internet Freedom,” Free Press, 5-2006
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/181?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=33&t=15&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

6. “Finding the Bottom Line: The Truth About Network Neutrality & Investment,” Free Press, 10-2009
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/182?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=35&t=17&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

7. “AT&T’s Earnings Rise 26%, Driven by Wireless,” New York Times, 1-29-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/183?akid=1422.539090.Ickxtj&t=37&t=19&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

8. “The Truth About the Third Way: Separating Fact from Fiction in the FCC Reclassification Debate,”
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3597?t=21&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

9. “Telecom Giants Paid Millions To ‘Honor’ Minority Lawmakers Before The Merger,” Huffington Post, 2-22-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3598?t=23&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

10. “AT&T enriches lawmakers’ pet charities,” Politico, 6-1-11
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3599?t=25&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

11. “In Black Caucus, a Fund-Raising Powerhouse,” New York Times, 2-13-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3600?t=27&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

12. See reference 10.

13. “CBCF Honors Rep. Eva Clayton, Comcast NBCUniversal and LBJ Library,” Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 2-26-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3601?t=29&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

14. “Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Honors Time Warner,” Time Warner, 3-1-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3602?t=31&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

15. Comcast and Time Warner Joint Statement to the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, 5-8-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3603?t=33&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

16. Rep. Gregory Meeks’ 2009 Letter to FCC, 8-15-2009
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3604?t=35&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

17. “Did AT&T Lie to Your Representative?,” Free Press, 8-23-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/950?t=37&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

18. “Buying Bobby Rush,” Republic of T, 9-21-2006
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3605?t=39&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

19. “The Utility Man,” Better Government Association, 12-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3606?t=41&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

20. “The Million Dollar Question,” Better Government Association, 12-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3607?t=43&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

21. “Net Neutrality Group Slaps Back at AT&T-Funded Lawmaker,” Wired, 11-22-2010
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3608?t=45&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

22. “Accountability: Who Else Will Go the Way of Congressman Bobby Rush?” ColorOfChange.org Founder James Rucker in Huffington Post, 1-26-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3609?t=47&akid=3446.1597183.Ls3jqW

Editorial: Why Keith Olberman’s Ouster is Good for Progressives

Keith Olberman‘s ouster is Good for Progressives… This is what author Hadji Williams aka Black Cansenco notes in this editorial as he brings to light a stewing concern amongst many people of Color and their relationship with the Progressive Left.  Are they really listening and should we continue to go along to get along?…This essay brings some heat and will make many feel angry or uncomfortable, but will be cheered and embraced by many more. -Davey D-

WHY KEITH OLBERMAN’S OUSTER IS GOOD FOR PROGRESSIVES

by Black Canseco

http://www.hustleknockin.com/hustleknockin/2011/01/down-for-the-count-olbermann-meant-so-much-to-progressives-and-thats-the-problem-blackcanseco-ive-seen-probabl.html

I’ve seen probably a terabyte’s worth of corporate layoffs and firings in my time—including a couple of my own. And the only time somebody gets shown the door in under a couple hours’ notice Keith Olbermann was is when it’s part of massive layoffs, outright firings due to insubordination, or to distance the company from impending illegal action or perceived emerging PR nightmare.

Now at this point, I’m not accusing Comcast or @KeithOlbermann of any of the above. In fact, I’m content to take the word of all involved that this is nothing more than a straightforward business decision—a numbers’ game (salary + ratings not adding up) and a mutual parting of the ways.

My real concern is the pitchforks ‘n’ torches mentality that mushroomed seconds after Olbermann’s final sign-off. Within hours, Twitter, Facebook and every left-wing online community was filled with OMGs , SMDH, *facepalms*, WTFs and F**k Comcast!… Online petitions to boycott Comcast and MSNBC and get Olbermann back on the air had hit my in-box by dinnertime Friday. Online groups and pages were formed to @draftOlbermann to run for US Senate out of Conneticut. (I’m sure the boys at Bristol would be his biggest campaign donors.) Folks are even being asked to pressure our congress reps to launch an investigation and to determine if Olbermann’s ouster is related to media monopolies or Net Neutrality. Folks are even wondering if Rupert Murdoch somehow cut a backroom deal with Comcast to get Olbermann canned. (Why else would Comcast merge with NBC Universal but to fire Olbermann?)

Are you effin’ kidding me?

I swear haven’t seen White Liberals this wound up since Conan left NBC. (Word to #teamcoco.)

Lookit: I’m an independent; but on most issues, I’m probably about as left as it gets. But now way in hell am I strapping on sandwich boards and cocking back my bullhorn just because a loud snarky white guy with a guaranteed $14 million salary for 2011 and more job offers than all the unemployed folk I know combined just lost his op-ed show.

And it’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I don’t care enough about one guy to canonize him as our Obi Wan Keith-nobi. (And for a guy not shy about his atheist leanings, Olbermann probably finds all this secular sainthooding thing we’re doing a little childish.) And this is a major problem with Dems and so-called Progressive Liberals. For all our self-sanctimony about big tents, inclusion, coalitions and dialogue, we actually idolize and demagogue way more than we educate and engage.

In the last five years, the Left’s increasingly myopic pedestal-erecting, starfucker mentality has reduced most discourse on our own side to only what the current holy trinity of Olbermann, Maddow and Jon Stewart acknowledge. And now that “they” “got” Olbermann, we’re in mourning like he caught a couple rounds while on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. (I guess you could sub Bill Maher for Keith, and add Stephen Colbert and Arianna Huffington or Joan Walsh to round out a Prog Fab Five.)

As someone whose family descends from slavery and knows the civil rights struggle fairly intimately, I (along with most African Americans) have long accepted something that very few White Liberals understand: “Never hitch everything you ride for on one horse—because sooner or later, they’ll (figuratively or literally) shoot that horse.”

Again, I’m not saying that anyone was out to get Olbermann. Not at all. What I am saying is this is a great opportunity for the Left to learn from the right and broaden the number and range of voices and views that we cleave to.

For example: when it comes to news sources, the Left is still way to myopic and homogenized—both ideologically and culturally. Short of Tamron Hall, MSNBC’s formula seems to be “White, snarky Liberal host + Favored Person Of Color Of The Moment as guest sidekick.”

Just because Obama’s in office and Oprah started a network doesn’t mean Black, Hispanics, Asian, and other People of Color should be relegated to playing rotating Robin’s to whichever White Liberal Batman (or Batgirl) the networks prop up.

But it’s not just MSNBC that’s guilty of this. All the major channels operate this way, with nary a peep of objection from the masses of White Liberal/Progessive Democrats.. And this blind spot extends online.

The great irony of social media’s explosion is how anti-social and homogenized the Left’s presence is. If your information or perspective isn’t co-signed by the likes of DaliyKos, HuffPo and Salon or even TPM, you have little or no voice among Progs/Democrats. And if you run a blog that seems to highlight issues disproportionately affecting Liberals of color—gentrification, inner city education, crime, prison reform, jobs, discrimination, lack of representation in Congress, etc.—White liberals tune you out. (It’s no secret that one of Obama’s biggest hurdles in a probably re-election bid his long-dwindling support among White self-identified Liberals and Independents.)

And before anyone pulls the “I Voted 4 Obama!” card, Obama is just one guy. That you helped elect him doesn’t mean you get to ignore the voices and issues relevant to over 100 million Americans of African-, Hispanic-, Asian-, Native-, and Middle Eastern descent. But with very few exceptions, this is exactly what the Left is doing and has been doing for a quite while now.

Until so-called Progressive and Liberal Democrats diversify our own range of voices, discussions, influencers and leadership at every level—politically, economically, digitally and journalistically, we’ll never be mobile enough, flexible enough, resilient enough to be effective in 2012, 2014 or any year any time soon.

Then again we could ignore all this and just focus on important questions like “How long before Maddow and Stewart get canned?” and “When will Obama get mad at the right instead of his base?”

Here are the Civil Rights Orgs that Sold Out the People to the Big Telecoms on Net Neutrality

We were sold out to the telecoms by those who were supposed to protect us!

Below is a list Anti-Network Neutrality filings by Civil Rights groups and organizations of color that sold out the community and backed the big telecom companies..We included their letters to the FCC that were requested on behalf of the big telecom companies.. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.. These telecom companies spent almost a billion dollars in lobbying efforts..

These groups encouraged the telecoms to create a situation where the internet will no longer be an even playing field, but now its those who are rich, well connected and have political priviledge will have complete access and fast speeds while the rest of us will not..

When cell phone bills go up and you find that you have to pay extra money for what used to be basic services, be sure to remember these groups that sold you out big time.. Know their names.. Send them your bills and mark this date December 21 2010.. This is the day that the people were ‘snookered’ by those who were supposed to look out for them..

Lastly  words cannot began to express the profound disappointment with President Obama. He came out the box swinging on protecting Net Neutrality. H campaigned on protecting it.

 One of the reasons he won was because he was able to use the internet and reach young voters in a skillful way.. He instructed his FCC chair to back off a bit because the telecoms were applying pressure.  He basically sold us out big time and threw all those media advocates under the bus..

 Just so there’s no confusion, which is the game that many of these groups like to play … Here’s the deal.. The FCC agreed to keep Net neutrality in place for regular computers.. They agreed to let the wireless world be a place that is unregulated and will no longer have Net neutrality protection.. Why is this a big deal? because most people and especially poor people are on wireless communications..Here’s an article that explains how African Americans use the Internet

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/07/pew_african_americans_wireless_webs_pace_setters.html

 This means if I have a website and i wish to make it accesible to you on your cell phone.. I now have to pay each of these big telecom companies.. If you wish to use Facebook, Youtube or Twitter, they need to pay the telcoms and you the user needs to pay them..  It goes down hill from there..

Here’s a short video explaining Net Neutrality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jHOn0EW8U 

When reading these letters dont get fooled by the flowery talk about providing access for all.. That was the buzz word to stiffle opposition and keep people confused. Similar language was used in 1996 with the Telecom Bill when Big media companies wanted to consolidate.

They said it would be a good thing and make radio and TV more accessible? We all see that hasn’t happned.. With respect to the Internet the Real Accessibility is being able to obtain information from wide variety of sources.. Basically these Civil Rights Groups sold us out and said we’ll leave the sources of News and information to come from hand picked sources by the  telecoms and maybe a few of these groups…Same deal was said about the Telcom Bill.. you see where that got us..   

 Urban League Chapter
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408309
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400790
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400568
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408157
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400510
 
National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408718
 
 
Hispanic Federation
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408716
 
LISTA
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408720
 
Latino community Foundation in San Francisco
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408354
 
 
Native Americans
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408711
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408291
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408712
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408704
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408709
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408717
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408708
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408713
 
 
NAACP in California
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408307
 
Rainbow Push
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408211
 
Texas State Rep. Robert Alonzo
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408179
 
MANA, A National Latino Organization
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400566
 
100 Black Men of South Metro
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400798
 
100 Black Men of Mobile
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401015
 
100 Black Men of Greater Mobile
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401015
 
ASPIRA
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400339
 
 
100 Black Men of Tennessee
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400506
 
100 Black Men of Orlando
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400502
 
 
 
HTTP
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400970
 
Hispanic Interests Coalition of Alabama
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401020
 
 
SER: Jobs for Progress
 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400060
 
NAACP Mar-Saline Branch
 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399888
 
Japanese American Citizens League
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399819
 
Organization of Chinese Americans
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399334
 
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies
 
Rep. Yvette Clarke
 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399667

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Mobile Carriers are Moving to Charge per page view as Net Neutrality Vote Awaits

For the past 5 years.. we’ve been relentless about getting information out to our community about Net Neutrality. We’ve written lots of articles and posted up lots of videos on the subject. We know it’s not a sexy subject and for many its hard to understand, yet it’s the most important thing effecting Free Speech. In a nutshell, large corporate interests are on a mission to suppress the flow of information from the masses.

The topic of Net Neutrality being confusing, boring and off-putting has been deliberate. There’s lots of money.. we’re talking billions of dollars if Net Neutrality is deaded. This is why the  big telecoms like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have spent almost a billion dollars lobbying  to get rid of it.

There’s also huge opportunity to make a small handful of anointed people and organizations gilded information gatekeepers or the beneficiaries of huge sponsorship for conventions and other projects provided they saddle up with the telecoms and use their political and social capital to make this a non issue, keep folks in the community confused or in some cases aggressively advocate.

For years one of the strongest supporters of Net Neutrality was Google.. They had promised to never be an ‘evil company’. A couple of months ago they stunned everyone when they sat down with Verizon, one of the strongest proponents of ending net neutrality.. The pair came up with a proposal to bring before the FCC in a last-minute attempt to scuttle a vote by congress on the issue.

In the proposal Google said it was important to keep Net Neutrality in place on PCs, but it was every man  or this case every company for itself in the wireless world.. They proposed getting rid of this protection.  Their proposal drew widespread criticism and set off a firestorm of protests including one that drew several hundred in front of their Mountainview Headquarters. Google insisted that their proposal would work great. Some wanted to believe.

Here we are the day before a historic vote by the FCC to decide whether or not to keep Net Neutrality and now the longer game plans of the telecoms are coming to light. They are already drawing up pricing schemes to start charging cell phone users usage by the page view and by the use of certain features  like using Youtube, Twitter or Facebook. We’ve already seen companies saying they are dropping unlimited data packages. This is why.

The argument these telecoms have put forth has been too much bandwidth is being used.. Thats BS.. What’s their seeing is all these new , faster, more efficient applications being used and the potential for a handful of companies to score big..

we encourage everyone to check out this article laying out some of the details..from Wired Magazine

Sadly deading Net Neutrality goes beyond money. It’s also about maintaining power and influence which has led companies like Google to quietly do things like create a tier system for news and information. Long time Tech columnist Zennie Abraham of Zennie62.com pointed this out a few weeks ago when he pointed out that ‘legacy’  (corporate) news outlets were pressuring telecoms and companies like Google to separate their product from blogs who were beating them to the punch in covering and uncovering many stories.

Zennie pointed out that almost overnight thousands of blogs not only lost their traffic, but revenue as Google moved to place corporate backed news operations on the front page of their search engines and blogs and other entities in a another section not readily available or known to the general public.  What’s crazy is that you cant even pull up the several columns that Zennie actually wrote on his own blog. It only shows up on outlets that picked up the story such as Seattle PI which links to this story.

Overnight you found topics that were almost exclusively driven by bloggers disappear only to see corporate back outlets take their place. So take a topic like ‘Oscar Grant‘. You look up his name in Google News and all you see are the mainstream media who was the subject of harsh criticism and even protests by community members for with holding crucial information, demonizing Oscar, being embedded with the police during protests and in recent days being a cheerleader for Johannes Mehserle, the former cop convicted of killing Grant. Almost overnight we no longer saw in Google search engines outlets like Indy Bay which was by far the most popular go to place for Grant information.

The Final Call which covered this extensively disappeared. My two sites disappeared as well as Youth Radio, Oakland Local, Oakland Seen, Block Report, Black Hour and about half-dozen other sites that were doing round the clock coverage.  What get eliminated from the discussion is the investigative work by these independent journalist that discovered Mehserle’s violent past which was pretty much ignored by Mainstream Outlets. What was missing were the stories of innocent people arrested and roughed up by police  who were out during the protests and were umbrelled as rowdy destructive people..

The blogs and independent stories told the harrowing stories experienced by people like Civil Rights attorney Walter Riley and community elder who was arrested in front of his office or Joseph Anderson a journalist who was recently arrested without warning while actually on the air reporting. Those and many other stories disappeared.

Suppression and omission of information is what’s going on as we move in a direction of deading Net Neutrality. If the FCC votes to give control to these corporate giants we can expect to see this increase even more.  Today its the bloggers doing politics, but soon if not already it will be independent artists, whistleblowers and any number of folks who feel they need to get information out  but find themselves handcuffed. This is happening now.. We hope folks pay attention to tomorrows vote there’s a lot at stake.

Be the first to know. The SavetheInternet.com Coalition has set up a streaming website where you can witness the vote as it happens, beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 21:

Watch the vote on Net Neutrality:www.SavetheInternet.com/FCCmtg

Join us online to watch the vote and connect with others. We’ll be hosting an online conversation with hundreds of other Net Neutrality supporters who are working together to protect the open Internet.

Let the FCC know that we’re watching: www.SavetheInternet.com/FCCmeeting

If you plan to be in Washington on Tuesday, you can come to witness the vote in person. It’s open to the public. I will be outside the meeting with other Free Press staffers to meet with Net Neutrality supporters and pass out information. Come see us and get an “I Support Net Neutrality” sticker to wear into the meeting:

What: FCC Meeting on the open Internet
Where: Room TW-C305
445 12th Street, S.W
Washington, D.C.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time

(If you plan to attend in person, please come early. We expect a full room.)

More than 2 million people have urged the agency to create real and lasting Net Neutrality protections. We can’t let FCC commissioners turn their backs on us and vote with Comcast and AT&T.

written by Davey D

Pres Obama’s FCC Throws Another Constituency Thrown Under The Bus-Big Showdown Dec 21

After campaigning as a champion of network neutrality, President Obama has decisively broken yet another promise. The FCC votes December 21 on rules proposed by the president’s FCC chairman which will begin the transformation of the free and open internet into somethning much more like cable TV, with corporate control over content, and hundreds or thousands of “channels”, but not much worth watching.

President Obama’s FCC Sells Out on Network Neutrality – Another Constituency Thrown Under The Bus

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/president-obamas-fcc-sells-out-network-neutrality-%E2%80%93-another-constituency-thrown-under-bus

Bruce Dixon

Never mind the big tent,” declared a cartoon by the artist Mike Fluggenock during the 2008 presidential campaign. “There’s room for all” the caption declared “under Obama’s Big Bus.” A full two years after that historic election, it’s hard to name any part of the Democratic party’s base constituencies that President Obama has not decisively betrayed. Last week gays, women, blacks, Latinos, the environment, the peace movement, labor, the unemployed and a host of others were joined beneath the speeding wheels of the Obama bus by those millions of Americans who believe greedy corporations should not control what we see, hear, write and communicate over the internet.

President Obama campaigned on the promise that he would take a back seat to nobody in guaranteeing the free and open internet. Two years out, it’s abundantly clear thatu the president lied to us, and to the American people on network neutrality.

The pending merger between Comcast and NBC would create a gigantic corporation with both the motive and means to privilege the delivery of its own content over the enormous fraction of the internet that they own, and to slow down, inhibit, or apply surcharges to content originating from outside. Neither the administration’s Justice Department or FCC have lifted a finger to oppose it. So-called compromise rules announced last week by Obama’s FCC Chairman Julius Genachowki pay only the faintest lip service to the concept that the internet should be a common carrier available to all, and provide vast loopholes for internet providers to apply punitive charges to content and content providers they disfavor.

Thanks to the Obama administration, which once enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the media justice community, greedy telecom corporations will at last have their wish — that the internet will become a lot more like cable TV — five hundred, or five thousand channels, but nothing worth watching. The proposed FCC regulations will allow corporations even more power to control and restrict the content delivered via wireless broadband internet, thought to be the internet delivery technology of the future. Needless to say, the telecom and cable companies are well pleased. Their paid stooges at the Alliance for Digital Equality, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, LULAC, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation and the NAACP, and the Congressional Black Caucus are raking in telecom donations and cranking out press releases assuring us that giving their benefactors more control over the internet will create jobs and opportunities for all of us little people.

The five member FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed rule changes on December 21. Certainly chairman Genachowski will vote for his own rules. Amazingly, it is possible that the two Republican commissioners may not because they object to any regulation of corporations whatsoever. Commissioners Kopps and Clyburn, however, are still thought to be staunch supporters of network neutrality, and should be contacted by email, phone or fax and asked to oppose the Obama proposal to let corporations control what we see, hear and send over the internet. This is a case when doing nothing is better than anything already on the table. For more information on what you can do, visit www.savetheinternet.com That’s www.savetheinternet.com.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

What’s the Real Story Behind Home Land Security Shutting Down Hip Hop Websites?

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday something very disturbing took place… Homeland Security along with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) , the Department of Justice and the National Intellectual Property Rights Co-ordinating Center seized over 80 websites including popular Hip Hop websites RapGodfathers.com, dajaz1.com and Onsmash.com. These Hip Hop sites were accused of copyright violations, which is crazy, because their popularity rested in the fact that they mostly worked with artists to promote their work and help establish a buzz.

Was there anything on those sites in violation of copyright law?  The nature of any music site as robust as the ones mentioned, is you will inevitably find material. It might come in the form of someone posting a song on a message board or a video clip from a concert. It might be a link to a third-party site where folks can download a song, which was the case with the aforementioned sites. My experience over the years has been oftentimes its the artists themselves coming to sites asking for their material to be posted while the labels which also own part of the copyright objects.

In most cases if a site wasn’t blowing things up too much, most industry folks didn’t trip. in talking with label heads they note  that in most cases if a song or material was being highlighted prematurely or jeopardizing upcoming promotions a letter, email would be sent out or a phone call made asking for the files or links to be removed. Most sites comply without too much fanfare. It’s the way things have been done for years. It’s the symbiotic relationship that has long existed with record labels and media.

It’s important to note this practice of labels asking media outlets to stop playing or highlighting material has been around long before the internet. Working at a major radio station and several large music outlets, the name of the game  was for us to get material way ahead of its release date. Sometimes we managed to get a hold of a ‘press copy’ of a song given to magazines months in advance. Other times it was someone inside the label ‘leaking us a song’ which we would play for a couple of days only to get a letter from the record labels lawyers ordering us to cease and decease playing their material. Many of these stations including ours would post those letters up on the wall and even frame them. It was a source of pride and demonstrated your ability to have impact.

Granted the internet and us being in a digital world has allowed for unlimited copies of material to be distributed and there has definitely been rough patches with digital media and record labels, but at the end of the day all this boils down to relationships and the rule of thumb has been-know the people who run the sites and ask them to remove anything that was causing problems.

All these popular music sites were seized w/o warning

In the case of these Hip Hop sites, no warning was given. Not only that, but the entire websites were seized. In some cases we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of message board postings, articles etc. This wasn’t a shut down of a website. It was the shut down of a community and no matter how one feels about copyright law and how vigorously it should be enforced shut downs without due process should be disturbing to every last one of us.

What should be even more disturbing is how those shut downs took place. Who in Homeland Security was up on Onsmash.com enough to sit down and make a sound decision to shut down the site and seize its domain? How did they know the sites were in violation of any copyright? Was it the word of copyright owner? Did DHS check to get the other side of the story? Did the owners get arrested? Had they been fined or in trouble for any of this in the past?

Let me paint out a couple of scenarios that folks should consider before people start puffing out their chest and acting all righteous about websites breaking the law. First as mentioned earlier take down notices should be given thus allowing one the opportunity to straighten anything out. Thats first and foremost.

Second, oftentimes you have artists and even promotional folks at labels that will come along and give you material and a greenlight.  I could show you at least half a dozen emails that I’ve gotten in the past two weeks with folks asking how I can get material on my site. two have offered to pay. What many of us who do this work have discovered is that what the promo guys and the artists want may not always be in lockstep with what the lawyers or the trade organization for major labels (note I said labels not artists-remember that) the RIAA is pushing. The relationship with the artists and labels are fluid and informal while the relationship with the RIAA and lawyers for the label may be strictly by the book and to the letter of the law. One often has no idea what the other is doing. End game mass confusion.

The RIAA has railed against copyright infringement before there was an internet. They were mad about cassette tapes, then DATs, then CDS and now the web. This powerful lobbying group has always been a presence up on Capital Hill pushing for laws that would protect the interests and intellectual property rights of MAJOR record labels.  They definitely been up on the hill pushing and many say help right some of these new copyright laws, which leaves one wondering are they pointing out offending websites to Homeland Security?

That’s not a far-fetched notion and should have all concerned. Corporations sitting along side law enforcement to protect whose interest? All of our interests or just theirs?  Are the police and law enforcement following the dictates of corporations at everyone else’s expense. At the end of the day that’s called Fascism.

days after this photo was taken, editor Jason Chen got a vist from REACT

We saw blatant display of this earlier this year when a task force consisting of several police agencies called (REACT)  California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team went banging on the door of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen entered his house and took his computers to see if he was behind the leaking of Apple’s next-gen i-phones. The task force claimed they were investigating to see if a law was violated.

Initially some clapped and felt the police were doing their job, until it was discovered that Apple sat on the board that oversaw the new task force that took Chen’s computers. Did the police do this because of Apple’s initial complaints or because they sat on the board?

Fast forward to a troubling news story a few weeks ago here in the Bay Area where a young man had a computer stolen from his office. He had a tracking chip inside that took a picture of the thief, however local police did not immediately follow-up with an investigation. The man resorted to taking his story to local news stations and even then there was no action. Talk about an imbalance of power and influence.

We did an interview earlier this week with Peter Eackersly of Electronic Frontier Foundation which has been in the forefront of protecting internet freedoms. He noted that what took place was far reaching and will continue to be so, because now the US is shutting down sites overseas. he also noted that what took place here without due process appeared to be the first step in the government with the assistance of corporate interests seeing how far they can go before they get push back.

While following these cases keep a close eye on the types of steps and reaches made around the Wikileak saga. Whatever the government is allowed to get away with is gonna set a precedent. Thus far we’ve seen shut down attacks  and seizures take place. Even more disturbing has been American companies like Amazon taking down the Wikileak cables. They officially say it was because of terms of service violations, but most experts are noting they got pressured.

Senator Joe Lieberman has been threatening websites without due process

To show you just how far the government is going, look what Senator Joe Lieberman just did. He threatened a Seattle-based company called Tableau to take down information that was legal and not classified, but reported on and issued charts about who and what countries were discussing Wikileaks.. His actions prompted a scorching response from commentator Glenn Greenwald.

“Those are the benign, purely legal documents that have now been removed from the Internet in response to Joe Lieberman’s demands and implied threats. He’s on some kind of warped mission where he’s literally running around single-handedly dictating what political content can and cannot be on the Internet, issuing broad-based threats to ‘all companies’ that is causing suppression of political information.”

You can read the story HERE

Today its Wikileaks being taken down which one might accept it because arguments can made about sensitive material being revealed and national security at stake could be argued. But what happens tomorrow when its you or me, because we represent competition or hold political beliefs that aren’t agreed upon? What happens when its you or me and the justification is that we’ve always allowed government to take down websites without a day and court, why complain now?

During our interview with Eackersly he noted that it was important for artists and others in the Hip Hop community to stand up, be aware of what transpired and come to the aid of those Hip Hop websites and communities that were shut down especially if they meant something to you.

After our interview Eackersly wanted to know the type of support the seized websites were getting. In his mind, he knew such large outlets would have throngs of artists ready to go to war for them. I think he was a bit surprised to see that more of us were talking about Lil Kim vs Nicki Minaj then the undue processed seizure of music websites. Even sadder is that many have callousesly moved onto other sites as if the shut downs of Onsmash and RapGodfathers was no big deal and was just another day in the life. Mark my words not understanding this and being dismissive will come back to haunt folks.

Understand this.. the seizure of websites without due process, corporate interests lobbying and then writing laws that allow them to be the police and t personally enforce, the battle over net neutrality is all about concentrating power in the hands of a few. This is about controlling the flow of information and being a gate keeper in the communications arena. Its the first step in moving a democracy toward a dictatorship. The next step is getting a population to endure fianacial upheavels and hardships.

The internet was the most democratizing tool we’ve had in a long time and now those who hate having to share and be accountable are trying to shut things down.It’s a power grab of the highest order. Don’t ever get used to being oppressed..It’ll be your undoing for years to come..Stay alert be ready, because they coming for you next.

You can peep the full interview we did on Hard Knock Radio with Peter Eackersly of EFF right HERE

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/81785/

Also be sure to peep this excellent article on alternet about this topic..Here Comes the Homeland Security Internet Police

Lastly after printing this I just got wind of a story Democracy Now just ran…

State Dept. Bars Staffers from WikiLeaks, Warns Students

The U.S. State Department has imposed an order barring employees from reading the leaked WikiLeaks cables. State Department staffers have been told not to read cables because they were classified and subject to security clearances. The State Department’s WikiLeaks censorship has even been extended to university students. An email to students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs says: “The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. [The State Department] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Remember the Fight Against Radio Consolidation? Is Net Neutrality the New Consolidation Battleground?

Net Neutrality… This is the make or break issue of our generation much the same way the Telecom Act of 1996 was the make or break issue of the last generation..

Back in ’96, we heard all the same arguments being made by the corporate radio companies like Clear Channel that we are hearing from the telecoms like AT&T and Comcast. We heard people say that it was going to be better for the consumer. Radio companies made the case that if they were allowed to consolidate they would be able to diversify their content because there would be less competition. In other words they could have lots of niche stations that explored various genres of music because they wouldn’t be competing with other stations.

They also made the case that consolidation would be good for people of color because it would allow minority owners to better compete. The reason cited was that it would be easier for minority owners to sell ads when they had more than one station in a market vs one or two. Some of the larger stations came up with a scheme where they would help sell ads for small minority stations. This was done to get these small groups to go alone with the 96 Act. We now know back room deals were cut where small stations agreed not to adapt certain formats and be competition to the mega giant radio companies in the market. For example in LA the Black owned station would agree not to play too much Hip Hop or not go too deep into an oldies format.

Those minority owned stations that tried to tough it out were either brought out or smashed on. The most glaring case of this occurred in the Bay Area which is dominated by Clear Channel. When a small upstart station opened up in Oakland Power 92.7 FM they decided to fill a void and dwell deeper in the urban format. The first thing that happened was Clear Channel executives called the banks and tried to block the small station from getting financing.

Next my old boss Michael Martin sent out letters to the Black/urban departments of all the major labels threatening that if they supported this new station with servicing them new music,  artist interviews or even station ID drops that he would see to it they would not get any airplay on the other Clear Channel properties in this part of the country. The same message went out to local Bay Area artist. Many were scared to come on board and help out for fear of long term, far reaching reprisals. Eventually the station was shut down with a former Clear Channel executive purchasing the station.

I would encourage folks to read this article called Fighting the Power (Upstart rap station Power 92.7 had its eyes on big, bad KMEL, but didn’t watch its back)  written by fellow Bay Area journalist Eric Arnold. It gives you keen insight of what happens when consolidation in an industry we all engage is allowed to happen. Getting rid of Net Neutrality is the equivalent to media consolidation. Just like Clear Channel controls the airwaves as this article bares out, AT&T and Comcast will control the net.. Mark my words.

Back in 96, many of the corporate radio stations who were lobbying for consolidation approached some of the very same Civil Right leaders who the telecoms are approaching now. They promised them radio shows and syndication for shows that existed and assured us people of color would be more visible. President Bill Clinton also championed this bill for increased consolidation. The nations so-called ‘First Black President’  assured us this was needed in order for the Radio industry to grow…

Well since 96 what has grown? We know Clear Channel grew? We know Fox news grew. Meanwhile diversity and people’s satisfaction for radio has shrunk tremendously. By 2003 there were calls for boycotts against radio. The reason being was radio both White and Black owned were pushing a narrow corporate agenda and not responding to the widespread dissatisfaction people had with these outlets.

There were boycotts called for stations ranging from Hot 97 in NY to WJLB in Detroit to WGCI in Chicago to KUBE in Seattle to KMEL in San Francisco. etc. A tribunal addressing concerns about Urban radio in NY drew more than 2000 people to a church in Harlem where people launched blistering complaints for over 6 hours. People complained about the dumb down content, the same 10 songs being played day in and day out to lack of access for community voices and local artists. Many also complained about the increasing politically conservative ideals being pushed out. We saw news depertments shrink as consolidation meant that one person would handle duties over 3 or 4 different stations.

The FCC held hearings all over the country to standing room crowds when the industry attempted to get even more consolidation.. The radio companies made the claim that they needed to be allowed to own newspapers and more radio station in a market in order to grow.

Former FCC Chair Michael Powell

When I ran into FCC chair Michael Powell, at a Rainbow Push Conference in 2003, I told him about the tribunal that was held in Harlem the night before. His response was if people don’t like whats taking place on radio then they should go to the Internet. He felt the internet allowed for all those unhappy voices to be heard.

Fast forward to 2010, we now have the telecoms making the same claims as the radio giants from 13-14  years ago. We have some of the same ‘minority’ groups trying to curry favor with the telecoms just like they did with radio corps back in 96. We also have a public that finds the issue boring or extremely complicated just like in 96..If this Net Neutrality is allowed to be deaded on behalf of three telecom companies and the Civil Rights groups they been paying off, were gonna be moaning about the constrictions placed on the internet the same way we do radio.

-Davey D-

Telecom firms’ donations to minority groups criticized as FCC considers net neutrality rules

Key minority organizations are backing the carriers’ efforts to thwart net neutrality proposals. Critics say the millions of dollars and in-kind help the firms pour into the groups is a factor.

By Jennifer Martinez, Los Angeles Times

Some leading minority advocacy groups long have supported AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and other major telecommunications firms in the industry’s efforts to win approvals for mergers, get rid of old regulations and avoid new government rules.

And the telecom firms, in turn, have poured millions of dollars of donations and in-kind services, including volunteer help from the carriers’ executive suites, into charitable groups in the communities they serve.

Consumer and public advocates used to whisper about the possibility of conflicts of interest, but now they are openly critical as the battle heats up over proposed federal regulations over net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should not restrict content, programs and other uses on their networks.

Key minority groups are backing the carriers’ efforts to thwart the net neutrality proposals, which would, for instance, prohibit carriers from charging more to give some residential and corporate customers priority in delivering online content.

“When you give national civil rights groups millions of private dollars, there’s no firewall strong enough to keep that money out of their policy,” said Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice.

Cyril and other consumer and public advocates have been buoyed by comments from Federal Communications Commission member Mignon L. Clyburn, a prominent African American and daughter of Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).

She said in a speech in January that she was surprised that most statements and filings by “some of the leading groups representing people of color have been silent on this make-or-break issue” of net neutrality.

continue reading..http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-net-neutrality-minorities-20101005,0,5480002,print.story

The AT&Tea Party: We’re in the Business of Silencing People & Net Neutrality

These are indeed strange times we live in where even when we’re repeatedly told we should not be surprised as to what goes down, especially in the world of politics-goes down. It was surprising to learn that AT&T is one of the biggest backers of the Tea Party and together they are working overtime to try to get rid of the Democratizing concept that has made the Internet so powerful called ‘Net Neutrality‘.

I guess one shouldn’t be shocked at the hypocrisy of the Tea Party which claims it takes issue with big corporation but then generously supports their agenda. I’m more upset with Apple which uses AT&T and upset that my hard-earned money which pays for this Iphone is going to uplift a political party that many of feel are racist and in opposition to many of our concerns.

As for Net Neutrality, for those who don’t know about this concept, it essentially says all data is to be treated equal. This means the little blog in the middle of Iowa can be accessed just as easily as the NY Times in NY. All websites are essentially one click away metaphorically speaking.

What telecoms have been doing to the tune of over 100 million dollars in lobbying money in 2009 alone with AT&T leading the way is try to change the basic structure of the internet and re-create the very conditions that drove us away from traditional media to the internet in the first place.  Instead of everyone being ‘one click away’ they want to create a tiered system where websites and companies who pay top dollars are one click away while everyone else could be 2, 3, 4 or not even on the system at all.

This means if I am living in Oakland, California and wish to present additional information to the rest of the country about some important event like the tragic Oscar Grant shooting from 2009 I would no longer be on par with the mainstream outlets.  My information could be slowed down or even blocked.

Hence, someone in NY might click on the Oakland Tribune site and get the information immediately, but it might take a couple of hours or maybe even a day or two to be visible to on my website DaveyD.com or the websites Indy media SF, ColorlinesYouth Radio or the SF Bayview. The sad part is that person in NY might not even know this additional information had been slowed down or suspended by AT&T, Comcast or some other ISP that may have a political agenda that they want to carry out that is in stark contrast with your content.

The person on the receiving end of the information will do as they’ve always done since the internet been around and click on a link expecting to move seamlessly from one site to the next. When one site is slowed down or not accessible they move onto another. So again what AT&T wants to do is make sure the NY Times loads up quickly while the small blogger comes up slowly.

When one considers how so many people have been able to come up, challenge traditional media with other facts and various narratives to a story, net neutrality has leveled the playing field.  Unfortunately the big telecoms do not want this..and apprently neither do the Tea Party and several prominent gatekeeping civil rights orgs and politicians they have spent money on.

AT&T sponsored National Urban League Centennial Celebration. Was that part of their strategy to reach out to Civil Right orgs and get them to echo GOP talking points on Net Neutrality?

Initially the Net Neutrality debate was partisan with mostly conservative folks against it. AT&T decided that one of their strategies would be to use their money and influence to get key civil rights leaders to come on board. This may have included generous sponsorships they’ve given folks over the years with everyone from Jesse Jackson of Rainbow Push to Marc Morial of the National Urban League whose centennial celebration they recently sponsored.  Their defection and non-commital responses to supporting net neutrality was even welcomed and celebrated by top conservative bloggers like Andrew Breibart the man behind the Shirley Sherrod controversy .

Jackson has noted both in his statement to the FCC and publicly that he and Rainbow Push give ‘voice to the voiceless’. How does one have a voice without Net Neutrality protections?

Even more troubling is seeing members of the Congressional Black Caucus standing alongside the AT&T/Tea Party. How does this happen in 2010 where CBC members were just a couple of months ago complaining about racism where they were called ‘Nigger’ and being spat upon by the Tea Party members, are walking now hand in hand? Oh yeah that happens when big time lobbying money enters the picture. I guess folks can afford  to buy a clean handkerchiefs to wipe away the spit and ‘let bygones be bygones’ as far as the racial insults are concerned as they all stand under the money tree-lined umbrella of AT&T. Peep this article called ‘Hey, Capitol Hill: Who’s Your Daddy ? AT&T‘ to get a better understanding the pervasiveness of this telecom giant.

NAACP head Ben Jealous

AT&T and the telecoms even got Ben Jealous and the NAACP which relied heavily on the freedoms of the internet to launch a campaign to try to save Troy Davis from being executed to take a ‘neutral position on Net Neutrality. Remind me to let Ben know they spelled the word ‘endorse’ wrong in their clarification statement.

In recent days an online petition was put together by Color of Change pushing CBC members to step up and get on the right side of this issue. That would be away from the position of the huge telecoms.

It’s our hope that all of us stop and take a long hard look at what’s going on with Net Neutrality and not allow this important issue to get away from us the way it did when it came to media consolidation.  If you recall, back in the days leading up to that landmark telecommunications bill of ’96 we heard similar arguments from the big media corps on how giving them all this power would be a good thing for consumers. We also saw there were handfuls of Black and Brown folks who tried to jump in bed with the Clear Channels of the world. They were told they would have better opportunities. Have things gotten better since  the Consolidation? Turn on your local radio station and the answer is more than obvious-’Hell Naw’.

The ‘Clear Channeling of media has been horrific. Again, its the main reason so many of us fled to the Internet. We wanted something better. We wanted our individual voices to be heard.  If we allow the telecoms to gut Net Neutrality with the help of the Tea Party and a handful of civil rights leaders leading the charge we will be talking about what a big mistake this was 15 years from now. Don’t let history repeat itself.

written by Davey D

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

An Open Letter to HipHop America from Kevin Powell

In less than a week (Sept 14) folks in New York will have the opportunity to weigh in and put someone in leadership position who will hopefully make a difference. I think Kevin Powell will be that guy, especially over his opponent Ed Townes. Just on the strength that Townes is one of those Black leaders in Congress who took telecom corporate money  and is now running around saying we don’t need to protect Net Neutrality is reason enough to NOT vote for him and support Powell. Its a clear indication that Townes is leadership that is not only out of touch, but will go out of his way to support policies that are detrimental… That has got to change in 2010.. We should also note that Powell wrote a great article explaining why we should support Net Neutrality.

-Davey D-

Open Letter to Hiphop America

September 2010

Peace to all of you. I am writing this letter from Brooklyn, New York, where I am currently a Democratic candidate for Congress. For those who do not know, there are 435 United States Congresspersons in America, and 100 United States Senators, all based in Washington, D.C. when not in their home districts, and all of them together represent the 300 million Americans living in our nation. That is power. The power to provide resources, services, information, jobs, and loans for small businesses. The power to help people to help themselves.

That is why I am running for Congress. I come from a single-mother led househouse, I had no father figure whatsoever, and grew up in the kind of poverty, violence, and confusion I would not wish on anyone. But a few things definitely saved and empowered my life. One was a belief in God, instilled by mother. Second was definitely my moms and her giving me a love of education, in spite of she herself only having a grade school education. And finally it was definitely music and culture, especially hiphop as I came of age in the 1970s and through the 1980s.

I was a dancer and I tagged my nickname—“kepo1”—any and everywhere in my native Jersey City. I was at all the famous hiphop clubs of the 1980s, like Union Square, Funhouse, and The Rooftop. I helped to produce, along with youth activists like Sister Souljah, those big outdoor rap concerts on 125th Street in Harlem in the late 1980s. A writer since I was a child, I was a founding staff member at Vibe, and interviewed Tupac Shakur more than any other journalist when he was alive. And I was the curator of the very first exhibit on hiphop culture, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

I am hiphop. And I am also a public servant and activist for people, all people. For the past 25 years, in fact, since I was a youth.

That is why I am running for Congress. Not only would I be the first true hiphop head in Congress, but I also would be bringing a fresh take on leadership, blending the best of grassroots politics with Washington, D.C. maneuvering, all to that boom-bap beat.

And, as Dead Prez once famously said, this is actually bigger than hiphop. This is about my being a leader, a bridge-builder, and all of us weaned on hiphop music and culture understanding the power of this, the most dominant art form of the past 30 years.

If not us, then who?

Respectfully,

Kevin Powelll

Go to www.kevinpowell.net to contribute $1, $5, or $10 to Kevin Powell 4 Congress now by clicking DONATE at the site

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Free Press: Google-Verizon Pact Worse than Feared

Google-Verizon Pact Worse than Feared

In response to Google and Verizon’s “policy framework” unveiled today, MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Credo Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ColorofChange.org and Free Press, all members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, issued the following joint statement:

“The Google-Verizon pact isn’t just as bad as we feared — it’s much worse. They are attacking the Internet while claiming to preserve it. Google users won’t be fooled.

“They are promising Net Neutrality only for a certain part of the Internet, one that they’ll likely stop investing in. But they are also paving the way for a new ‘Internet’ via fiber and wireless phones where Net Neutrality will not apply and corporations can pick and choose which sites people can easily view on their phones or any other Internet device using these networks.

“It would open the door to outright blocking of applications, just as Comcast did with BitTorrent, or the blocking of content, just as Verizon did with text messages from NARAL Pro-choice America. It would divide the information superhighway, creating new private fast lanes for the big players while leaving the little guy stranded on a winding dirt road.

“Worse still, this pact would turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing complaints and unable to make rules of its own.

“This is not real Net Neutrality. And this pact would harm the millions of Americans who have pleaded with our leaders in Washington to defend the free and open Internet. President Obama, Congress and the FCC should reject this deal, restore the authority of the agency that’s supposed to protect Internet users, and safeguard Net Neutrality once and for all.”

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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