McCain and Reid are giving America away

Senators John McCain (R) and Harry Reid (D) have turned anti-American, supported by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) from Tennessee. It is as plain as that.

In pure Washington underhandedness, they have cosponsored a bill called the “Internet Freedom Act,� which like the Patriot Act before it, is a name-it-white-to-disguise-its-black-heart bit of politics, with one purpose and one purpose only: to remove your free access to the Internet and to stop the Internet being an open, democratic, innovative platform for everyone.

Worse than any danger from al-Qaida, the anti-environmentalists, the take-your-guns lobbyists and bigots and racists, the bill these two support will kill small business, stifle American innovation (like Google, Twitter, Facebook and a host of new companies coming along) and may put you out of work or, at least, may put you back into a cubicle, chained to your computer desk for life.

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Here’s the how and why of what they want to do:

They want to kill the Federal Communication Commission’s recent “Net Neutrality� policy whereby anyone, any single person, shall have unfettered, open, clear, free access to the Internet, period.

The FCC basically says that your Internet service provider (ISP), like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, Optimum, AT&T, and so on — cannot screen or block your access to any Web site you want to go to, any service you want to use (like Skype, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Google, Vonage, MySpace, etc.), nor can they stop you hosting your own web site, nor can they stop you inventing any conceivable network application and spreading it as a new business, an American business.

Currently, Comcast is really angry about this; it claims Skype’s 6 million users alone are “denying� it revenue in the billions of dollars. How? Because many Comcast customers use Skype instead of paying another $24.95 a month on top of their Internet access fee of $65 to have a telephone number from Comcast.

Comcast wanted to block Skype. The FCC said no, you can’t, it’s un-American to restrict free and open business across the Internet — the Internet infrastructure which was paid for with taxpayers’ money.

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Comcast and other cable companies are determined to stop the FCC because they also know all TV will, in the near future, go through the Internet, not the cable. That means they will lose your $100 a month for cable TV subscriber fees as well.

They rode that pony for billions based on a monopoly connection to your home. They want to preserve that (never mind you, the taxpayer, paid for that connection in the first place). Congress and local and state governments gave them that monopoly and they want to hold on to it. With the Internet, and streaming video, they have competition and stand to lose their cash cow.

So they are putting up a fight. How do they do this? With big bucks and lobbyists —  and clever people like McCain who know how to disguise evil plans with clever patriotic names.

Here’s a cute Washington trick by McCain: He named his bill the exact same thing a bill going through the House was named — only the House bill was to promote open Internet access for countries such as China and Vietnam.

So McCain’s bill —so evilly named “Freedom� (I’m surprised he didn’t pin an American flag to the cover to disguise it further) – will do the exact opposite: while we say we want China and Vietnam to have uncensored access to the Internet, he’s proposing killing the FCC’s “Net Neutrality� and allowing your ISP to restrict what you can see, what you can get access to and, most importantly, stifle small business in favor of the big boys, the big boys who fill his pockets.

Are you going to trust your future to Verizon or Time Warner? AT&T is telling its employees to contact their members of Congress in favor of McCain’s bill.

Cable companies have sent out misleading notices to subscribers telling them that they need to call Congress in support of the bill so that they can continue to provide TV access.

If you care about innovation, you need net neutrality. If you believe in American freedom, you need Net Neutrality. If you care about democracy, you must champion Net Neutrality.

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When you call your mom, using Google Voice and get told you cannot access her because Comcast does not allow non-Comcast calls —then what will you say? Gmail may not work with Yahoo mail, Optimum mail may not be read by MSmail —this could set America back 15 years or turn us into China or Burma. And if McCain takes our freedom away, how hard (how much harder) will it be to get it back?

McCain took $894,379 from the telephone companies last year (Comcast, Verizon, Quest, PacBell, etc.), more than twice the amount taken by the next-largest beneficiary, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. ($341,089).

How do these people sleep at night? They don’t need to make so much money, to line their pockets while they corrupt the American free system of the Internet. How does an American “hero� go from protecting our freedoms to giving them away to fat-cat greedy business for pieces of silver?

I think the maverick is showing his true spots. Someone needs to go on a hunting expedition and kill this bill before we all need to fight, once again, for our forefather-given freedoms.

Former Amenia Unionite Peter Riva lives in New Mexico.

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