FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Real Net Neutrality Astroturfers
The left is at it again. They know that in a straight-up battle of ideas, their socialist perversion of Net Neutrality could never win out. Nobody but the most blindly partisan supporters of Barack Obama wants a government takeover of the Internet, because everybody knows that when government takes something over, freedom in it tends to die.
That is why Save The Internet is resorting to dishonest smear campaigns in an attempt to shout down and discredit their opponents. They want to win by driving all opposition off the field, turning this debate into the Internet equivalent of the streets of Berlin in Weimar Germany. They must not get away with it.
Save the Internet is a diverse coalition of mostly radical socialist groups like SEIU, ACLU, PIRG, select AFSCME locals, PETA, Democrat Underground, MoveOn.org, AfterDowningStreet.org, and Common Cause, but also a number of corporations and ISPs both foreign and domestic, and even foreign interest groups. There are some mistaken right-wingers and libertarians in there like Glenn Reynolds, the Christian Coalition, and the Gun Owners of America. I would urge them to leave, because the movement has been hijacked, ladies and gentlemen. You are now being used to promote a radical left wing movement.
Their website is full of blatant lies. They claim that Net Neutrality would not be a new regulation, when in fact the whole point of the push is to get new regulations in place backed by the so-called Internet Freedom Preservation Act currently in the House. Obama’s FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also made that much plain in a recent speech, that he wants the FCC to be an active, aggressive force on the Internet, picking winners and losers in private network policy disputes.
Further, they blatantly lie about who’s on their side, claiming that big corporations are only on the side against Net Neutrality. And while it’s true that the socialist vandals of Save the Internet want total state control over the multi-billion dollar private investments made on the Internet (including Two billion or more that AT&T, Verizon, and others will spend deploying LTE and WiMax high-speed wireless Internet), the fact is there are dozens of corporations part of their coalition, and by their own admission some titans of the Internet are on their side. “Amazon.com, EBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Skype, and Yahoo” are all on their side. Some of those are small companies, but Intel and Microsoft are members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Microsoft’s market capitalization stands at over 220 billion dollars today, and Intel’s at half that, $106 billion. The big, bad AT&T itself is only worth $1.2 billion, or about half of one percent of Microsoft. Google, Amazon, and EBay are also featured in the Fortune 500. You cannot tell me only side has the big bucks in this fight for state control over the Internet.
But despite such blatant falsehood, Save the Internet presses on to accuse its opposition of being ‘astroturf,’ that is, fake grassroots involvement. Now I would love for someone to accuse me of that, because I and anyone familiar with my financial situation would never stop laughing. Of course, they don’t mention the Open Internet Coalition backed by the above Internet titans, oh no. Only opponents like Broadband for America, a group promoting greater Internet access across America, gets that tag. I mean sure, when I think ‘corporate astroturf’, I think of BfA members like the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Child Safety Task Force, Hispanic Leadership Fund, the Livestock Marketing association, and the Jewish Energy Project. That’s just the corporate Axis of Evil right there, Save the Internet wants you to think.
I do disagree with some of its members, notably AT&T which wants to exclude its wireless Internet from the same rules that wired Internet providers would have to play by. This even though the FCC severely limits competition with its wireless services, and grants legal protection to its broadcasts from interference.
LTE and WiMax are most likely a glimpse of the future of last mile Internet into American homes. And while I don’t think its government-backed (by FCC or by franchise monopoly) providers should be able to set network policies to harm competitors such as Skype or YouTube, I think competition in that field is vital to our well being. The last thing we need is competition-killing regulation of every router and wire in America, increasing the costs of business high enough that only the richest companies can compete, and paving the way to the Socialist dream of Single Payer Internet in America.
So we all need to look hard at just who is pushing this agenda, and note that every time they point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at themselves.