Here’s how you know Obama’s net neutrality proposal MUST be great

November 11, 2014 Originally published on SFGate

Because corporations hate it. Because Comcast and Verizon (among others) immediately issued terse, whiny statements declaring how Obama’s better-late-than-never proposal to the FCC to make the Internet a pubic utility – that is, fair, open and affordable to all – would hurt business and turn babies gay and it’s not at all reasonable because, after all, it was corporations who built the Internet (!) and corporations who are American’s most valuable people, and therefore it is corporations who should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want and charge whatever they like, because to hell with lower-income people and students and working-class humans and schools and pretty much anyone not in the one percent, and liberals.

An exaggeration? Not by much.

Remember SF’s failed soda tax proposal from a few seconds ago? A mere two cents more for toxic, obesity-inducing sugary beverages, as proposed by Supervisor Scott Weiner, the proceeds of which would go to fund programs to fight obesity and ill health?

Much like Obama’s FCC proposal, Prop E was a damn fine idea, as evidenced by essentially the exact same corporate recoil: Big Soda wailed like a stuck demon, and then proceeded to spend a staggering 10 million dollars to defeat it.

It must be noted: they did not do this because they care about lower income families, or they really believed Prop E was a regressive tax, or because they think their products aren’t completely disgusting and if you were smart, you would never, ever drink them.

They did it because, like Ted Cruz, like the Republican Congress, they sort of hate you. Which is to say, they really only care about profits, and then profits, followed by profits, at the expense of, well, you name it: Human health. Social good. Diabetes rates. Children. The planet.

This, truly, is the measure of any really great idea: Who is decrying it the loudest? Who is spitting mad and spinning lies the fastest? Ted Cruz, Comcast, and Matt Drudge? Oh my. You must be on to something.

There’s another sort of fantastic aspect about Obama’s proposal, currently being heralded by consumer advocates and big content companies (Google, Netflix, et al) alike:

It proves he’s not done yet. It proves Obama still has some fire, some kick. The president everyone loves to blame for restoring the economy, ending the war, reducing the deficit, decreasing government spending, providing millions with basic health care, defending women and gays and generally making America far, far better than it was under the previous Republican regime, may still be able to do some real good.

This, despite being hammered in the mid-term election by a scattershot army of angry white conservatives (AKA the GOP “base”), scared, older males who just saddled America with an excruciating Republican congress, one that is already strategizing how to best show its contempt for climate science, decimate heath care reform, empower corporations even more and, if at all possible, hurl America back into as many of the same nightmarish, 2005-shaped holes as possible.

And leading the anti-Obama charge, once again, is Ted “Bite Me” Cruz, who took a pile of campaign cash from Comcast (then again, so have many Dems, socaveat emptor) immediately labeling the president’s excellent FCC proposal “Obamacare for the Internet.”

Isn’t that brilliant, in a 5-year-old-with-Tourette’s sort of way? Cruz’ idiotic tweet, currently going viral for its shameless, corporate-fellating audacity, is yet more evidence of the special dark magic the Republicans are so famous for: Making a hugely fair, smart idea seem poisonous, often to the exact demographics it would benefit the most.

Will Obama’s proposal make it through? Who knows. The FCC operates independently from Congress; Boehner and Mitch are powerless, in the legal sense, anyway, to stop it. Then again, as proven by last week’s toxic election, the rich, white overlords remain sort of masterful at convincing the easily confused that what they really need is the absolute worst thing for them. Now, who wants a soda?

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Mark Morford

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