The OTHER big news of the day

In stark contrast to Glenn Greenwald's front page story on a major Democratic failure, the Dems on the House Judiciary Committee united in support of internet freedom today -- aka: net neutrality.

A recent NY Times editorial put it this way: "Cable and telephone companies that provide Internet service are talking about creating a two-tiered Internet, in which Web sites that pay them large fees would get priority over everything else.

All but three of the committee's 17 Democrats voted for the bill (two abstained and one voted "present") with six Republicans joining the Dems -- including James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin who wrote it.

The vote came just a day after Craig of Craigslist calmly and carefully took apart the arguments of paid lobbyist Mike McCurry during a Wall St. Journal-hosted online debate. Hat tip to Adam Green for the following excerpts:

On toothless laws...


Mr. McCurry: doesn't the FCC have authority already to step in and act if necessary?

Mr. Newmark: There's a big difference between the FCC having power to do the right thing... and then failure to execute. It's like "you're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."
On AT&T's "trust us, we'd never hurt the Internet" argument...
Mr. Newmark: sorry, but the members of [your] coalition routinely break their commitments. Consider the last no show for your home phone repair. Consider the wireless coverage maps in their ads... and then check the maps they really use, if they'll show you. What's the deal with the wiretapping thing?

Mr. McCurry: I'll stick to net neutrality for this discussion.
Ceremonial tip of the hat to Stephen Colbert...
Mr. Newmark: I realize you're cleverly using Colbertian "truthiness" and I just can't compete with that. Nerds are notoriously literal.What we're looking for is just fairness, a level playing field, no regulation or stuff like that.
Mr. McCurry: We have no clear evidence that content is being discriminated against...We think the advocates of regulated net neutrality have not pointed to a problem that needs a solution.

Mr. Newmark: FYI, Bellsouth guys have admitted that they don't intend to play fair [according to a December 2005 Washington Post article]: "William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc."
Free Press offers a fact sheet (PDF) rebutting some of the lies and distortions disseminated by those who stand to gain from a tiered internet...

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