Astroturfing the Constitution: Grassroots Grafters and Government Godfathers

Media Citizen alerts us -- and many other blogs -- to the fact that the ad at the right for "www.dontregulate.org" is in fact a classic piece of astroturf: a fake "grass roots" campaign that is actually fronting for Big Telcoms like AT&T and BellSouth, who are trying to destroy one of the foundations of Internet freedom, "Net Neutrality" and replace it with a two-tier system that puts corporate favorites on the fast track and shunts all the rest of the rabble onto the horsepath to hobble along as they may. (Yes, this is the group that former Clinton mouthpiece Mike McCurry is shilling for.) So in the interest of free inquiry and all that, feel free to peruse their ad -- but know that they are trying to play with your head in a most cynical fashion. Go to MediaCitizen for the full story: Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon.

Meanwhile, here's a photo (right), dug up by Lambert at Corrente (which we got from Firedoglake via a steer from Sadly, No!), that illustrates perfectly what Big Telcom is really up to. It's George W. Bush at the NSA, "standing in front of a photo that shows all the internet 'choke points' that a program reading our emails would tap into," as Ms Hamsher puts it. Big Telcom (with the exception of QWest; go thank them here) has just shown us how very tenderly they regard the privacy of America's phone calls; no doubt they are equally solicitious of email privacy, and will never allow Bush and his Creepy Peepers access to those chokeholds. Right?

And by the way: does the news that the Bush Administration offered to cough up some dough to the Big Telcoms in exchange for their betrayal of their customers' privacy [from t
he original USA Today piece that broke the story: "The sources said the NSA made clear that it was willing to pay for the cooperation") remind anyone of this scene from The Godfather?

Don Barzini: A refusal is not the act of a friend. Don Corleone had all the judges and the politicians in New York and he must share them...He must let us draw the water from the well. Certainly, he can present a bill for such services. After all, we are not Communists...
***