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Moveon.org 2nd largest PAC in 2006 -- the prime "mover" behind net neutrality

I always knew Moveon.org was a powerful political force, but I just learned how powerful -- Moveon.org was the second largest Political Action Committee (PAC) in the US in 2006, according to the Washington Post "In The Loop" column by Jeffery H. Birnbaum.

  • Moveon.org, with its 3 million person email list, was the second-largest PAC with $27.7 million, after Emily's List at $34.1 million. Political MoneyLine was the cited source. 

Moveon.org's political clout combined with its zealousness for promoting net neturality regulation and the front-loaded 2008 political process mean net neutrality will likely remain on the "techcom" political agenda as a key issue for the foreseeable future -- despite getting repudiated by the House, Senate, Supreme Court, FCC, FTC, NTIA, Maryland, Michigan to only name the most prominent forums that rejected regulating the Internet.

Frontline/Hundt's situational flip-flop on restricting spectrum for net neutrality

It is very interesting and ironic that when Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt was at the FCC he strongly advocated that "Spectrum Flexibility will Promote Competition and the Public Interest" in an article in IEEE magazine with Greg Rosston in the December 1995 issue.

  • "...we must stop over-regulating commercial uses of licenses for spectrum use."
  • "...in the digital age, innovation is far to rapid for anyone to predict accurately what the best use of the spectrum will be five years from now."
  • "The Commission should require that market failures be clearly shown and any restrictions on flexibility narrowly targeted to deal explicitly with the failure."

While I often disagreed with then FCC Chairman Hundt when he diverted from promoting market-based competition by picking winners and losers through hyper-regulation, I must commend Mr. Hundt's logic and policy explained in detail in his IEEE monograph in 1995.  

  • Its too bad that he no longer appears to support that pro-competition and pro-taxpayer stance anymore.

Ironically now, Mr. Hundt would financially benefit greatly, if the FCC rigs the 700 MHz auction to lower the value spectrum by requiring a license holder agree to net neutrality.

  • The taxpayer would be the biggest loser if the FCC decides to restrict and heavily regulate some of the 700 MHz spectrum up for auction with net neutrality.

The primary impetus behind the 1993 Democratic Congress that passed the law requiring spectrum auctions is that the taxpayer was routinely being fleeced by the FCC granting spectrum by other processes than auctions.

Podcast of my first NN debate with Craig Newmark of Craig's List fame

After almost a year of opposing quotes in articles on net neutrality, the NAM weekly radio show/podcast on business, finally afforded me the opportunity to debate Craig Newmark, the famous founder of Craig's List, one-on-one live.While

  • While I was looking forward to hearing his best arguments for net neutrality, it became clear from the outset that he did not want to debate the issue, but wanted to try and discredit me and my personal views from as far back as 1999.
    • It turned out to be a decent strategy for him because his knowledge of the issue was surprisingly thin and he obviously did not want to engage on the merits or facts of the issue

I said I was happy to discuss my current and past views with him because it was a tacit concession by him that the net neutrality side of the debate cannot win this debate on the merits and that their best chance is attacks on me as a leading spokesperson for the broadband sector on why the Internet should not be regulated.

Forbes cover story: proof the net is not neutral!

The people who still argue that the Internet is "neutral" have some explaining to do.

  • They certainly don't want you to read the super Forbes cover story on Akamai: "Video Prophet: How Akamai survived the dot-com bust to thrive on speed."
    • Check out these quotes from the article that drive home the point that the Internet has never been "neutral:"
    • ..."Akamai's big idea is that by rewriting the Internet's basic rules--making some computers smarter and more equal than others--it can let the Net grow infinitely large without breaking down."...
      • Horrors! Akamai is not treating bits equally! Someone call the Government!
    • ..."a basic idea: Connect computers to the far reaches of the Net, then program them to communicate with one another to spot better routes for getting e-mails, Web pages and other packets to where they needed to go."...
      • But the Internet is supposed to be a DUMB network! A "smarter" network would not be innovative...that can't be right...
    • ..."Eventually they refined a business idea: a service that essentially would be the FedEx (nyse: FDX - news - people ) of the Internet. People could always trust the public Net to deliver their information cheaply. But others might be willing to pay Akamai a premium to deliver their content faster and more reliably..."
      • Horrors again! Someone had the gall to think the perfectly "equal" Internet could be made better with a market concept of a tiered Internet... oh tell me its not true!
    • ..."Every few months the algorithm writers in Cambridge inject better software into the global network to make it shrewder at picking routes for Internet traffic."...
      • Egads! There are dark forces out there making the Internet less equal every few months!

I feel kinda bad that all those well-intentioned people that fell for the original slogan of "net neutrality" were suckered into assuming the Internet was "neutral" and needed to stay that way.

Save the taxpayer from the latest net neutrality spectrum scam

Today's WSJ editorial page hits the free-market nail on the head once again in its lead editorial: "The Spectrum Game"; it's about the FCC's upcoming decision on how to auction the 700 MHz of spectrum that is considered by the market to be "the Riviera beachfront property" of all spectrum potentially available.

  • WSJ: "... Like Mr Hundt, they know such conditions [like net neutrality] might scare off auction competition and increase the chances of Frontline grabbing the licenses for a song."

WSJ understands this is the most valuable spectrum the FCC has ever auctioned.

  • Naturally this valuable spectrum has spawned a cottage industry of policy entrepreneurs who want to figure out a way to divert the billions of dollars due the American taxpayer under the law -- to their companies' coffers. 
  • They try to justify this multi-billion wealth transfer from the American taxpayer to companies by saying it would forward a "popular" net neutrality mandate, a social-engineering policy which Congress specifically rejected mandating only last year.    

I hope the FCC is wise enough to see through this net neutrality spectrum scam, and not effectively bypass Congress' authority by effectively legislating corporate spectrum entitlements unauthorized by Congress.

To guard against charges that there is an-under-the-table transfer of billions of dollars due the American taxpayer under the law, the FCC needs to be completely transparent and upfront about the implications their decisions have on auction proceeds.

How Google-Double-Click is exploiting antitrust law's soft underbelly

The news of Google acquiring Double-Click prompted me to spend a good part of my weekend analyzing the competitive implications of this seminal proposed acquisition for the future of the Internet.

My analysis focused on answering the following key questions of interest:

  • What is Google's real competitive endgame with DoubleClick?
  • Why is this acqusition likely to pass antitrust muster?
  • Why will Google increasingly dominate Internet search?
  • What other anticompetitive behaviors by Google position Google to dominate Internet advertising?

Summary of my conclusions:

Comcast exec spotlights Google's hypocrisy on net neutrality

MultiChannel News has a great write up of a tough speech on net neutrality by David Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast.

  • “When you cut through the rhetoric, what they [Google, Yahoo] want from the federal government is new regulations that would guarantee them below cost-access to the broadband networks that carry most of the Internet content in this country,â€? Cohen said in a speech to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

Kudos to Mr. Cohen for taking the gloves off and saying what needs to be said.

John Edwards on Net Neutrality -- Lip synching the Moveon.org song

Moveon.org's SaveTheInternet blog is touting Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards' recent comments supporting net neutrality.

  • So why am I bringing attention to this win by the other side?
  • Well first I think its always important to genuflect to Moveon.org's prowess when they get people to lip synch their talking points "song."

We all know politics is often driven by fear and by creating boogeymen where none really exist -- and at that, Moveon.org is a master.  

The Bogus "Human Face of Net Neutrality" -- Moveon.org as top-down puppeteer

The Politico ran a story April 9th called the "The Human Face of Net Neutrality" that grossly exagerates the "net roots" involvement on net neutrality. 

The article implies that there is somehow a difference between the "Moveon.org net roots" and traditional broadband lobbying.

  • Give me a break.
  • Moveon.org's Free Press/SaveTheInternet is a very sophisticated Washington lobbying operation whose schtick is simulating "grass roots."
  • Lets be real.
  • Moveon.org is basically a 3 million person email list, where Moveon.org's Washington puppeteers pull the strings from the "top down" to "simulate" a "bottoms up" groundswell political movement on net neturality.   
  • I don't buy it.

All this Politico article reports is that Moveon.org was able to "top down" organize dozens of meetings during recess with dozens of members on net neutrality.

Save the taxpayer from the save our spectrum coalition

A group of liberal activists today announced yet another Save... Coalition -- this time a new "Save our Spectrum coalition" that seeks to impose net neutrality on winners of the FCC's upcoming 700 MHz auction.

  • What we really need is a "save the taxpayer" coaltion to protect Americans from bogus social engineering and corporate welfare ideas like net neutrality.

Ironically, these liberal activists want to totally ignore the law, a spectrum auction law that was passed in 1993 by an all Democratic Government!

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