Regulation by any name is still regulation, even when it is corporate regulation. And the telecom corporations want legislation that allows them to utilize the public Internet to create a two-tiered system filtering access based on how much money they get paid. And one of Tennessee's House members, Republican Marsha Blackburn, wants to see corporations filter what we download.
The telecom bill, which gained passage--as I told you last week--from a subcommittee thanks to the corporate-driven desires of certain house members like Blackburn, was passed (vote: 42-12) by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee this week. The net neutrality amendment, which would have protected the rights of internet users against AT&T's plans to filter out certain sites downloaded, took a second hit from the full committee (vote 22-34). Only one Republican crossed over to vote to protect Internet users, and that was New Mexico's Heather Wilson. So, our little Vol, Marsha Blackburn once again voted on the side of the corporate telecoms. To make matters worse, several Democrats, especially those whose districts headquarter the telecoms and those who get paid on the sly by the telecoms, joined the Republican majority in torpedoing net neutrality protection. We need to come up with a new name for this committee; how about the "The Committee for Lackeys and Yes-men to Upper Class Twits"?
With the No Neutrality Telecom Bill now headed for the House of Representatives, I have to wonder how the rest of the Tennessee delegation is going to vote. I am particularly interested to see how Democrat Jim Cooper will vote, since AT&T has purchased BellSouth and will claim the Batman Building as booty. I wrote him a little letter on behalf of net neutrality via Common Cause, and I await a response. Hopefully, he won't Blackburn us.