Senator John Thune is an asshole. Youll have to pardon my profanity, but the most transparent scam in US political history is unfolding in front of us and its difficult to parse information coming out of the post-truth world that Washington D.C. has become. CNBC liked TNW Conference that muchLet me start over: The US Senate today voted 52-47 in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the repeal of net neutrality. But according to Senator John Thune, if it were to miraculously make it to the House (which is likely to simply refuse to hear it) and even more incredulously pass there, it will be vetoed by the President. This isnt a win folks. Weve said it before: net neutrality is dead and its time to move on. Because the real fight isnt for Obamas net neutrality, its against Marsha Blackburns. Before we move on, its worth pointing out that the following GOP Senators voted to send the resolution to the House: Susan Collins, John Kennedy, and Lisa Murkowski. Kudos to them for caring about the problem. But, today isnt about solutions: its about drama. In the hours leading up to todays vote, Senators on both sides were called upon to debate the idea of net neutrality. When I started writing this, Id been listening to the debate for approximately three hours. Heres the three reasons why most of the GOP Senators urged the Democrats to vote against the CRA, according to Thune (paraphrased for brevity). First: Net neutrality made it harder for ISPs to provide broadband access to rural areas. This is demonstrably false. Its shocking to think anyone on the planet buys that line, because of how… many… times… this has been shown to be an outright lie. But Thune says it with great passion, and thats enough to convince some people. Second: It was based on Depression Era rules for phone companies. He says regulations from the 30s implemented during the Great Depression to keep Ma Bell from having a telephone company monopoly dont apply in todays modern world. He finds it incredible that anyone would think they do. Really John? You cant believe that people care about laws, rules, and regulations that are older than the technology they refer to, even if you cant explain what about them is outdated? On the one hand, hes an asshole. Heres a flowchart I made to demonstrate as much: And on the second of three hands (theres too much stupidity for just two), hes even more of an asshole. Protecting consumers never goes out of style. And furthermore the 2015 net neutrality bill was based on those same protections, but obviously terminology was updated — terms like throttling and fast-lanes didnt apply to Ma Bell. Small bookstores in the 30s werent concerned that the phone company would slow down the words coming out of their phones in exchange for more money from Amazon. But, if you look on the third hand, maybe hes got a point. By his logic, the second amendment is pretty damn outdated. It could use a new glance-over by some sober minded people who arent avowed firearms enthusiasts. Whats that you say? Its a non-starter? Oh goody, thats how we felt about net neutrality. Third: Cmon. Eh? Cmon! Trust us. Seriously, look at our face: why would Verizon do something that would hurt its customers just for more money? Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Never gonna turn around and desert you. Seriously, Thune said the reason net neutrality should be repealed is because telecommunications companies have promised not to throttle, fast-lane, block, or prioritize legal internet content, so theres no reason to enforce regulations. Trust them. Wink. The reality is: even though John Thune cant give one truth-based reason for supporting the net neutrality repeal, he has 928,428 – each of them dollars. It would have saved the taxpayers a lot of time and money if he and the other GOP majority-voters, rather than spend their half of the debate talking (lying), just dumped bags of money on the floor and pointed at the cash. The Next Webs 2018 conference is almost here, and itll be . Find out all about our tracks here.
Todays the big day for the Senates big push to undo the FCCs Restoring Internet Freedom order nullifying 2015s net neutrality rules. A vote is scheduled for this afternoon on whether to repeal that order, though as of this writing the coalition is still one vote shy of making it happen. The vote is an application of the Congressional Review Act, which as you might guess from the name allows Congress to review and if necessary undo recent regulations enacted by federal agencies. Its been seldom used for decades but the current administration has been very free with it as a method of squelching rules passed in the twilight of the Obama era. Today Senate Democrats strike back with the same weapon. A simple majority is required, but right now only a single Republican Senator, Maines Susan Collins, has courageously stepped across the aisle to join the Democrat-led effort. One more would pass the bill, though it would still have to get through the House and the presidents desk, making its prognosis poor. The FCC just repealed net neutrality. What happens next? That matters little, though: until today, many senators will have been able to largely stay silent on the issue, and a vote to support this highly unpopular rule may come back to bite them come midterms. Net neutrality may very well be an issue constituencies care about, or at least thats what Democratic challengers are hoping for. On the other hand, a Democratic-led CRA is a direct, partisan attack on the administration, which has supported this FCCs actions, and would cause return to Obama-era rules, which few Republicans would relish. Will any Republican senators see the writing on the wall and flip? Or will they stick to the party and leave it to be decided by a tie-breaker vote almost certain to go in their favor? Tune in to the Senate webcast to find out; the vote should happen around 3PM Eastern, but as always in government timing is only approximate.