Net Neutrality Hating, SOPA-Loving Marsha Blackburn Pegged To Chair Key Technology & Telecom Subcommittee

from the rise-to-the-level-of-your-incompetence dept

If you were to sit down and consciously select a politician that best represents the stranglehold giant telecom companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have over the legislative process, you probably couldn't find a better candidate than Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. From her endless assault on net neutrality, to her defense of awful state protectionist laws written by ISP lobbyists, there has never been a moment when Ms. Blackburn hasn't prioritized the rights of giant incumbent duopolists over the public she professes to serve.

Blackburn has been fairly awful on technology policy in general, from her breathless support of SOPA to her claim that fair use is just a "buzzword" obscuring our desperate need for tougher copyright laws. As such, there should be little surprise that Blackburn has been selected to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The subcommittee tackles most of the pressing internet-related issues, with Blackburn replacing Oregon Representative Greg Walden.

Blackburn joins a growing chorus of GOP insiders who have made it a core mission to dismantle net neutrality protections, despite the fact that they have broad, bipartisan appeal among consumers. At least Blackburn has been consistent; she spearheaded the "Internet Freedom Act," which attempted to kill net neutrality by effectively codifying non-net neutrality into law and hamstringing any regulator that tried to protect it. According to Blackburn, this wasn't just because AT&T and Comcast are among her biggest campaign contributors, but because she really, truly adores "innovators":
"Once the federal government establishes a foothold into managing how Internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. My legislation will put the brakes on this FCC overreach and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations."
Blackburn has also gone out of her way to defend AT&T and Comcast's efforts to pass state-level protectionist laws. These laws, passed in more than nineteen states, prevent towns and cities from improving local broadband infrastructure -- even in instances where incumbent ISPs have refused to upgrade. According to Blackburn, these competition-killing laws -- which serve solely to protect duopoly revenues -- are somehow necessary to protect "free market competition":
"After witnessing how some local governments wasted taxpayer dollars and accumulated millions in debt through poor decision making, the legislatures of states like North Carolina and Tennessee passed commonsense, bipartisan laws that protect hardworking taxpayers and maintain the fairness of free-market competition."
Needless to say, Blackburn's home state of Tennessee consistently ranks as one of the least connected states in the nation as a direct result of her hard work. More recently, Blackburn went so far as to suggest that ISPs should be forced to remove "fake news" from the internet:
"If anyone is putting fake news out there, the ISPs have the obligation to, in some way, get that off the web. And maybe it's time for these information systems to look to have some type of news editor doing some vetting on that. Whether it's the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians or whomever. You do not want that out there because it's... because it's fake news!"
In other words, Blackburn doesn't believe in protecting a healthy and open internet, thinks letting incumbent ISPs write competition-killing protectionist law is somehow good for broadband competition, consistently complains about government overreach, and yet wants the government to force ISPs to dictate what is or isn't acceptable news, while dramatically expanding draconion and unnecessary copyright law. Clearly she's the perfect choice to lead tech policy toward the twenty-second century -- provided you like living in something akin to a poorly-written dystopian novel.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 11:08am

    It's not rising to her level of incompetence

    It's being appointed to her level of incompetence.

    Similar to people being promoted to their level of incompetence. Except an appointment means one was specifically selected for their incompetence in the role they will play in promoting the public good.

    (by public good, I mean corporate good)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 11:26am

    Ma Bell

    So we have a business ideal that there HAS TO BE competition..
    AS with MA BELL, we break up the BIG GUYS and help the smaller companies..

    NOW we want 1 Corp to OWN it all??
    There has to be Favoritism here..
    AS IN, How much free cable/net/phone service does this person get?? BET she is not in a Sub-line of the service she is on...

    IF you ever had to setup Internet for more then a FEW hardware devices ALL to run at the same time, With Kids an adults. YOU WILL FIND the many problems the internet has..

    IF' each ISP company had to pay ACCESS fees to any connection to Another ISP...this would go NUTS.. How many services do you THINK you hit, on the internet??
    EVERY HOP can be another ISP system..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 11:31am

    Where I love you Mike (maybe not in THAT way) but seriously, this is status quo for the Trump camp. Name 1 person in the Trump camp that is going to be good for Joe Q Public that will foot their bills for the next 4 years?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:00pm

    When it comes to the Internet, clearly the FCC shouldn't be deciding which content goes first, which goes second, third, or not at all. That decision should be left solely to AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

    At this rate, I expect Andrew Wakefield to be appointed head of the CDC. And maybe there's a spot on some science committee for Ken Hamm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      Poe's Law. Many are so crazy, they are difficult to parody and not come off as being serious. =b

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      That decision will be left to the consumer, who will not only have to pay for the content, but pay to have it sent to them, and pay for the privileged of looking at it, on top of paying to have access to the internet. See how good this is for business and jobs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 1:34pm

      The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

      When we talk about abuses of net neutrality we imagine what you are describing. Some web sites get more bandwidth and others get throttled.

      But imagine a new innovative approach to internet service. A fresh new pricing model without slowing down any web sites.

      Basic service lets you access:
      * Reedit
      * Bing
      * Yahoo
      * MSN
      * eBay
      * PayPal
      Only $9.95 per month. All web sites un-throttled at full 100 Mbps access.


      Standard service adds additional sites:
      * Wikipedia
      * Twitter
      * Instagram
      * Tumblr
      * Hulu**
      * IMDB
      * Microsoft
      * Apple
      * MSNBC
      Only $29.95 per month.


      Extended service adds additional sites:
      * Google
      * Facebook
      * Blogspot
      * YouTube
      * Netflix**
      * HBO**
      * Showtime**
      * CNN
      * FOX News
      Only $49.95 per month.

      Professional service adds additional sites:
      * Linked In
      * Amazon
      * DropBox
      * BBC
      * Pornhub
      Only $129.95 per month.

      Unlimited service adds all sites for only $299.95 per month!


      ** note some web sites may require additional fees beyond the ISP fee to access them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2017 @ 2:15pm

        Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

        we must make sure that type of "new innovative approach to internet service" never happens, most are against that type of model, but there never any ISP who has done that before and its unknown if they would do that, it will likely lead to outrage if they did

        we must fight to keep net neutrality, it will never be Trump Intarwebs

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 10 Jan 2017 @ 6:41am

          Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

          Every time I have come up with some paranoid, insane, or outlandish idea for how bad things could become, it turns out that either things are already worse, or things will soon get this bad.

          Every time.

          Insane? Yes. Could it happen? Almost guaranteed. Greed knows absolutely no bounds. Once you have a government system rigged with corruption, this is inevitable. It's because our government no longer functions. And we're individually powerless to stop the collective greed of the few.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2017 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

          if this happens, I would like to see a full scale REVOLT by the population

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

          "but there never any ISP who has done that before and its unknown if they would do that"

          That particular line of satire originated from a graphic that displayed the WWW as if it were a cable TV channel subscription pricing card. See the second image here:

          http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2014/08/holy-shnikeys-espn-contributes-6-to.html

          The ISPs ARE the cable companies. They HAVE done that before. And ISPs like AOL have done it before. And Telcos like France's Minitel system.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jano Szabo, 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:16pm

    Licensed Communications

    The picture's been misframed.

    The nation state first enforces the nationalization of language, speech, money, commerce, culture, etc. on its subjects and then demands that its nationalized "communications" be regulated so its licensed corporate beneficiaries won't monopolize the unnaturally overscaled crony system it created in the first place.

    Federal Communications is like licensed teaching. It institutionalizes - and often requires - participation in state controlled information networks, then advertises the default control as "free", "open", or "neutral."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:24pm

    Are we great yet? Still waiting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:24pm

    When the lobbyist provide Marsha Blackburn with more instructions, her only question is how wide to open her mouth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:26pm

    Wouldn't the biggest piece of fake news be that she knows what she is doing & has the public's best interests at heart?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 9 Jan 2017 @ 12:36pm

    But we've come so far...

    In just a few decades we have come from inventing the internet and just being the Top 1 in speed to being in the Top 5, then then Top 10, then the Top 20, and now we are proudly in the Top 25! Just give these folks a couple years and we'll make the top 100!!! We'll be really great then!

    /sarc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2017 @ 3:16pm

    Since when has virtually any politician actually worried about or bothered to represent those they are supposed to? If they don't get any 'campaign contributions, which normally don't come from the ordinary voter, they ignore them and go straight to those with the fat check book

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2017 @ 3:33pm

    Republicans and trump seem hell bent on putting people in positions in which their views are in direct conflict with the group they are in charge of

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:45am

    If Marsha does succeed in getting "fake news" off the web then a hell of a lot her speeches and articles are going to disappear"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Jan 2017 @ 4:46am

    Seems on par with every other indication so far. This government is already a parade of horrors before it started.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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