Monday, June 26, 2006

Cognitive Diss has a pretty comprehensive breakdown of Schumer's political antics up on his site.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

First Hackett, now Lamont. Via this Kos diary from David Sirota, Time Magazine is reporting that Schumer is pressuring Lamont to drop out of the CT Sen race.

The money quote:

And Lamont says as recently a few weeks ago, even as he was investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign, Charles Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, asked him to drop out. Schumer has told colleagues he thinks that if Lieberman lost the primary, it would send a bad signal to moderate voters and might hurt the party's chances of winning Senate seats in places like Montana and Missouri in November.

Check out David's diary. There are other links and more analysis.

And I'd add just one other thing.

Schumer told AdNags that the races were gonna be run from DC:

"We'll give you money, but you have to hire a campaign manager, a finance director and a communications director who we approve," Mr. Schumer said. "They have to toe the line."

This is, of course, very ironic because Lieberman's latest lame line is that he will not toe the line--that he is a man of principle, a message dutifully echoed by Anne Kornblut on Press the Meat today. If you're for the war and you're Bush's favorite Republican, you're principled. If you take a stand against this insanity, you're toeing the blogger line.

(They've really gotta make up their minds. YearlyKos has put them into a spin--we're powerless yammerering losers, but we nonetheless draw lines that have to be toed. As I write this, I see Digby's Peter Finch picture in my head.)

Can somebody please tell me when we decided that elections were bad mechanisms to choose candidates? And also please tell me why Democrats from CT would prefer someone who shares fewer of their views on the issues? I mean, with Lamont you get all of Joementum's good votes, and some extras to boot. What's hard about this?

My note to Sam Schaeffer, who works at Schumer's Manhattan office. The video is long, but very good:

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about the Senator’s unwillingness to take a position on net neutrality Here’s the link I mentioned.

It’s long. The second half of Misener’s initial presentation contains the rebuttal to all the, frankly dishonest, arguments made by the telecom folks. Note also his key point that when the telecoms talk about a “free market,” they emphasize “free,” but, in fact, a duopoly (which is what consumers face) or an oligopoly (the backbone providers) is not a “market.”

The Q&A is also valuable.

But, Sam, bluntly speaking, as far as the public interest goes, this is a no-brainer. There is absolutely no benefit to the public to permit telecom companies to engage in packet discrimination. The only beneficiaries of the removal of net neutrality are the telecom companies’ management and shareholders. It’s shocking to me that this issue is even up for debate. It’s not shocking that Ted Stevens is carrying the flag on this, but for Schumer to even consider not representing his constituents on an issue this fundamental is very disturbing.

He may think his seat is safe, but so did Lieberman.

Friday, June 23, 2006

By RagingGurrl

Is this the reason Senator Chuck Schumer is still undecided about Net Neutrality? :
From 1998 to 2004 the Federal Election Commission’s contribution records conclude that Senator Schumer has received over $525,000 from the Communications Industry.

Here are his top five contributors:

Time Warner PayTV - Cable 111 $115,750

Viacom Inc. Broadcast 83 $78,700

General Electric Co. Broadcast 54 $59,000

Cablevision Systems Corp. PayTV - Cable 38 $50,590

Verizon Communications Inc. Phones 42 $46,550

News Corp Ltd. Broadcast 39 $40,500

So I called DC again and was told that Chuck had not taken a "public position" on net neutrality. Presumably he has actually decided how to vote, privately, but doesn't feel that it's his responsibility to tell us what his private decision is. Or, perhaps, he's still waiting to see whether he can get away with feeding the telcos--whether enough of us are angry enough to override the lobbyists. So keep making those calls.

I also called the staffer, Sam Schaeffer, we met during the Easter recess. He refused, quite strongly in the end, to engage in any substantive discussion, saying that he was not going to debate me on the merits of the isssue.

This is plainly because there are no merits--that there is nothing in the public interest in giving power over what content is presented to a duopoly (your phone company or your cable company). This is a rerun of the telecom bill of 1996, which gave concessions to the phone companies worth tens of billions of dollars, while allowing them to make service worse. Actually, this is worse. Reversing net neutrality would be taking something that has never been in the private sphere, never been dictated by corporate interests, and move it there, despite the enormous success of the current model.

Call Chuck. You'll get the tally response, or the hasn't decided response. Call nonetheless.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

by Joanne Lukacher of the NY Roots Project:

My first attempt at contacting Senator's Schumer's office concerning Net Neutrality was on May 2, 2006. I emailed the director of the senator's Hudson Valley office to alert her that this was an important issue which would be coming before Congress soon. I attached some articles, including one explaining the misleading semantics being used to cloud the issue. On June 12th I once again emailed the regional office as follows:

Hello Jean,

I wonder if you could clarify Senator's Schumer's position on a two items which are coming to the Senate floor soon:

1) Will he be supporting the Snowe-Dorgan bill on Net Neutrality?
2) Will he be working to see that the prohibition against permanent bases in Iraq is restored to the appropriations bill?

Although I have emailed Ryan McConaghy
[Foreign Policy Staffer in DC] independently twice since you first passed along my inquiry concerning the Senator's position on Iraq, I have not received a reply. Would he also be the person to tell me the Senator''s reason for voting for General Hayden to head the CIA? [Note: the Iraq question, more fool me, was whether he would support a Senate version of HCR391. I had first posed this question on May 6th and I was told on the phone that he probably knew nothing about it since he "didn't do foreign policy" but the message would be passed to the Washington office]

I would very much appreciate a response to all these questions.

Late the following day ( Tuesday, the 13th), after leaving a phone message, I received this:

In response to your questions, I have checked with our legislative staff and Senator Schumer has not yet taken a position on the Net Neutrality bill. There are hearings tomorrow, and we are getting calls and letters and advising him of the input from New York residents.
Our foreign policy staff member, Ryan, has left the staff and there is no replacement; I have not been able to get an answer to your second question yet.

My response:

I just sent you another article on Net Neutrality which I would appreciate your passing along to whoever in the Washington office will be advising on this. Senator Clinton has signed on as a sponsor of Snowe-Dorgan and last weekend Harry Reid declared that he was a strong supporter of Net Neutrality.

The broad spectrum of public support for Net Neutrality ranges, as you know, from the NRA and the Christian Coalition to and the National Library Association. Rightly or not this bland "hasn't taken a position" response from your office is being interpreted in the larger world as yet another example of "finger to the wind" politics, which is both ineffectual and embarrassing to the Senator's supporters.

A few weeks ago I was talking with someone involved in a video project relating to specialized cottage industries which have sprung up in the South. These are small businesses which are supplying jobs to former textile workers displaced by NAFTA. The businesses are entirely dependent on the internet to reach their markets. This is just one example of the kinds of enterprise which will be impossible if net neutrality is eliminated and only the large corporations can afford to pay for the competitive advantage of faster rates of service.

Thank you very much for getting this information to the decision makers in Washington.

And the reply:

I sent this with a note to Scott Sroka, Senator Schumer's Judiciary
Committee staff member handling this issue. Thank you for bringing it
to our attention

It is now Friday, June 16th. Other members of our Roots-NT group continue to receive the same "has not taken a position" response to their calls. I would encourage everyone to call the senator's DC office on Monday morning and ask when the senator expects to let us know his position. I understand a vote is scheduled for June 22nd.
If you do not receive a definitive answer, ask to speak to Scott Sroka . Ask if the senator favors net neutrality, that is, the free and open internet which we now enjoy or if he prefers limitations in service, the imposition of private tariffs, and a diminution of choice.

And share with us your experience.

Friday, June 16, 2006

While this has been widely reported elsewhere, for the sake of completion, from the Hotline:

Schumer said that the DSCC "fully supports" Sen. Joe Lieberman in his primary bid, and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.

There were degrees of independence, Schumer said. "You can run as an independent, you can run as an independent Democrat who pledges to vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader."

Schumer said he had neither sought nor recieved assurances from Lieberman that an independent bid would not ensue if Ned Lamont tightened the noose.

Schumer, quoting a national political publication, noted that the last two times the Senate flipped -- '80 and '86 , the House didn't follow suit. The Senate, he said, was more suspectable to waves than the House. "When I was a congressman, I knew a third of my constituents," he said. The distance most Senators have from the vast majority of their constituents makes them more vulnerable if voters are disilllusioned.

Questioned about the Democratic message, Schumer said that 75 percent of the electorate's decision will be a referendum on Pres. Bush and 25 percent will be predicated on whether Democrats present a compelling alternative.

So the DSCC isn't actually the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. It's the Incumbent Senate Campaign Committee. See, he knows Lieberman. Not only is Lieberman Bush's favorite Democrat, he's such a favorite of Chuck's Holy Joe's charm and personality trump disloyalty to the party, and a refusal to accept the will of the voters of CT in a primary.

Oh, and catch that last paragraph, which I hadn't seen elsewhere.

This is the DSCC's core strategy--get in your foxholes (h/t Russ Feingold), don't say anything quotable and hope that people express their displeasure with Bush by turning out in droves and supporting Bush's favorite Democrat Independent.

On Monday, I wrote to the NYC Roots Project contact person from Chuck Schumer's office. I was trying to contribute to Josh Marshall's Net Neutrality Tally. Contact person, Sam Schaeffer, didn't write back. So I called the Washington, DC office.

I was told he has no position, but that he is tallying responses from callers interested in the issue, and could she please have my mailing address.

It's now Friday, and Chuck still hasn't made up his mind whether the public interests or the telecom oligarchy is foremost in his mind. Do let him know that we care about this issue.

And watch this space. We'll be documenting Schumer's antics in the Beltway bubble.