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How SOPA Threatens Net Neutrality

November 15, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

In just a few days, the FCC's net neutrality rules are scheduled to go into effect, banning internet service providers from discriminating against web services base on content. If, as expected, Congress passes the Stop Online Piracy Act (a.k.a. #SOPA), the rules will soon have a giant loophole drilled into them.

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The Real Problem With Funding the Government

April 7, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

After meeting late Wednesday night with House Speaker John Boehner [R, OH-8], Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid [D, NV] took to the floor this morning and said that agreeing on a topline budget number isn't the thing blocking a deal on preventing a government shutdown Friday night, it's social policy. “Our differences are no longer over the savings we get on government spending, Reid said. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

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The open amendment process that House Republicans used to create their 2011 budget bill had its benefits. For example, it allowed a bipartisan group of rank-and-file Reps. to stand against party leadership and strip out funding for a costly alternative engine program for a fighter jet that the Air Force itself says is unnecessary. On the other hand, it gave members who were looking to fulfill promises to powerful political interests a platform to do so. The policy riders that were added to the budget bill are keeping Congress bogged down with stopgap funding to keep the government from shutting down and preventing them from engaging in serious negotiations over funding levels for the rest of the year. That in turns means there's no time to work on other important issues, like job creation and long-term debt reduction.

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The Federal Communications Commission doesn't have a great record when it comes to protecting net neutrality, but they're still our best line of defense against a telecom industry that's hell-bent on creating a tiered internet that restricts how people who can't afford premium access can use the web. Republicans in the House, however, are looking to take the FCC off the beat entirely and leave all decisions concerning fairness and access on the internet up to the telecoms and Congress.

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Please take a moment to read this urgent essay by Josh Silver, President of Free Press, called The End of the Internet as We Know It. Key excerpt: We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry.

If you enjoy using the web to keep in touch with friends and use it to conduct business, you should join us in supporting net neutrality. To fight for internet freedom and keep the Internet the amazing powerful open-access technology we know today, head over to Save The Internet -- sign the petition, spread the word, and get involved. As part of your activism, you can research campaign contributions to any senator or representative here on OC on every member's profile page, under the tab for "The Money Trail". Click through for more info...

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