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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Tricounty DFA Update: Meeting Reminder, Net Neutrality & Murphy, more
Hello Everyone!

In this update for June 1, 2010:

1. Glens Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday
2. Scott Murphy, Net Neutrality & HR 4213

1. Glens Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday
We will be having our usual monthly meeting of Democracy For the Greater Glens Falls Area this Wednesday, June 2, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls. This should be a fairly important meeting relative to our agenda for the fall, given the following items that we have to discuss. If you haven't been in awhile, I would urge you to attend to discuss this.
The Cafe is located on the corner of Elm and Exchange Streets and Hudson Avenue in downtown Glens Falls, one block west of the roundabout.

2. Scott Murphy, Net Neutrality & HR 4213

There are a pair of news items about Rep. Scott Murphy that everyone should be aware, but has not hit the general news media, at least not yet.

First, late last month Rep. Murphy was one of a group of Representatives who signed a letter to the FCC opposing Net Neutrality.

Firstly, I think most of us are aware of the issue known at Net Neutrality. Historically, the Internet has grown up as a free open space where users could transmit information without restriction. The entire rise of the progressive movement since Howard Dean stood up in early 2003 with his famous "What I Want To Know" speech would have complete impossible without Net Neutrality. Indeed, the Dean campaign and others based on small donations would probably been impossible without Net Neutrality.

There is now a serious effort by major media companies including some major internet service providers to change this, and allow Internet companies to control and "regulate" the information, programs and data that flows over their network. Supporters of Net Neutrality maintain the internet at all levels should be like the old phone system, with providers like common carriers, and everyone being able to say or send anything they want over their line. In effect, the Internet companies want to transform themselves from being common carriers to something like broadcasters who provide and control the content that goes out over their transmitters or cable connections.

The issue is, in a nutshell, the right to free speech in the digital era. Do we want to see the "Fox News"-ification of the Internet?

This Spring, the FCC issued new proposed rules that would give the companies what they want. There was a storm of protest. Like many groups and people across the country, we passed a resolution at our last meeting opposing this change, which I cc: to our congressional delegation. The FCC seems to have backed down.

However, late last month Rep. Murphy was one of a group of Representatives who signed a company backed letter to the FCC supporting the companies' position and against Net Neutrality.

Why any Democrat of any political persuasion would sign such a letter is hard to understand-- can anyone really believe these companies are going to be friends of Democrats in the future? If Net Neutrality is lost the companies will have the right and power to restrict access to any information they want, whether websites, YouTube feeds or whatever. Don't think it can't be done. They are doing exactly that, right now, in China, and in some cases these internet companies are doing it for the Chinese. It can be argued that right now there is no more important issue for the future of democracy itself than Net Neutrality.

So, Murphy's extraordinary signing of this letter, and our position, and what we do, will be our main agenda.

Some of Murphy's votes are good, for instance last week he voted to make good on Democrat's long overdue promise to abolish Don't Ask Don't Tell. But then Friday, according to information in the Post Star and online, he voted against HR 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act , which would have extended unemployment and COBRA coverage, tax breaks for small business, the standard deduction for state and local property taxes, and the deduction for state and local sales tax, among other things. The bill was strongly supported by most Democrats and passed basically on a party-line vote.

The bill would have been financed in part by a measure to crack down on tax breaks given to ultra wealthy hedge fund managers that allowed them to claim certain income as a capital gain, which is taxed at a low rate. For more:

Does he really think that, in effect, tax breaks for the super rich gamblers who helped wreck our economy are more important than the unemployed or people with COBRA medical coverage here in the District?

So, we have much to discuss.
See you all Wednesday!


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