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Morning Reads: Corporate Interests Prepare to Make the Internet Less Free; GOP Prepares Media Overload Strategy on Cabinet Nominees

A roundup stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Corporate Interests Hope to Make Internet Less Free

Ivanka Trump and Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch leave Trump Tower in New York on November 18, 2016. Murdoch is reportedly helping Trump find a new chairperson for the FCC. (Photo: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Net neutrality is in danger, again –> Net neutrality is a concept many find dull, but the basic premise is simple: Internet service providers — the company that sells you your internet — should not block any sites or slow down traffic to any sites.

Corporations have lobbied the government to overturn net neutrality, so far unsuccessfully. But now that could change. “The FCC advisers on Trump’s transition team have been staunch critics of Wheeler’s work as FCC chair, which included historic new protections for net neutrality. Trump’s incoming chair will likely seek to reverse those protections, although it’s still unclear how difficult that process will be,” Russell Brandom reports for The Verge. New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports that Trump has asked Rupert Murdoch to help him find Wheeler’s replacement.

Jam them through –> Senate Republicans have a plan to make sure the public doesn’t pay much heed to the various conflicts of interest posed by Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees: Hold hearings for six of them on the same day, Igor Bobic reports for The Huffington Post.

Also on the same day, Donald Trump will hold his first press conference since his victory and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will also hold votes to begin the process of repealing Obamacare on that Wednesday. Amid all the noise, Republicans hope the president-elect’s nominees will slide through without any one of them drawing too much public outrage.

Democrats, meanwhile, have decided to focus their energy on opposing eight of Trump’s nominees: But without a majority, it’s unlikely they will be able to block any of these nominations, but they will be able to drag out the vetting process, and hope to do so until March.

Fired –> The Trump transition team ordered all Obama-appointed diplomats to step down by Inauguration Day, Julia Hirschfeld Davis reports for The New York Times. “The mandate — issued ‘without exceptions,’ according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain.”

One way to shrink government –> When setting rules for the new session of Congress this week, Republicans revived a measure that allows any member of Congress to propose legislation to cut an individual federal employee’s pay to $1, write Jenna Portnoy and Lisa Rein report for The Washington Post. “[O]pponents and supporters agree that the work of 2.1 million civil servants, designed to be insulated from politics, is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.”

Surprise: Mexico is not paying for the wall –> Instead, Congress will foot the bill by authorizing funds to pay for it. Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan report for Politico: “Republican leaders, in tandem with Trump’s transition staff, are considering using a 2006 law signed by former President George W. Bush that authorized the construction of 700 miles-plus of ‘physical barrier’ on the southern border. The law was never fully implemented and did not include a sunset provision, allowing Trump to pick up where Bush left off — with the help of new money from Congress.”

Sanctuary campuses –> Many schools — including Trump’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania — have declared themselves sanctuary campuses that will protect undocumented students from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At the moment, however, these proclamations don’t mean much. At Mother Jones, Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn explains how schools could take further steps to protect their students.

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Karin Kamp. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.