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Signs of calculated retreat by net neutrality proponents at House hearing on Markey Bill?

I have to admit that I was surprised by all the back-pedaling and calculated retreat by net neutrality proponents at the House Internet Subcommittee hearing on Chairman Markey's net neutrality bill HR5353.

Net neutrality proponents were clearly on the defensive, proactively responding to criticisms of the bill and not spending much time touting its benefits.

  • Chairman Markey obsessed on the issue that he nor no one on the Subcommittee supported illegal content in any way and that his Internet Freedom bill provided no aid or comfort to copyright infringers or child pornographers.
    • The Chairman stated emphatically that everyone on the Subcommittee supports enforcement of copyright.
    • The Chairman also tried to appear solicitous to the big network companies by acknowledging that there was a legitimate need for some network management, and that he didn't "want to impose excessively burdensome regulations."
    • Clearly Chairman Markey's supporters got his talking points because many echoed his line that network management was a legitimate practice in concept.   
  • Rep Pickering, the seventh-ranking Republican on the Subcommittee and the lone Republican in the House supporting Chairman Markey's bill, tried much too hard to position the bill as bipartisan and a good compromise that groups from opposites sides of spectrums supported.
    • Rep Pickering undermined his cause by admitting: "to be honest, we are not seeing many problems on the Internet"; and by describing the Senate net neutrality bill, Snowe-Dorgan, as a "very regulatory" approach. 
  • Even Ben Scott of FreePress joined in the attempted "reasonable-fest" going on at the subcommittee hearing and actually extolled the virtues and importance of a "free market Internet" in the Q & A. 
    • The most hilarious line I heard at the hearing was from Ben Scott of FreePress, who said straight-faced that:
    • "I am amazed why this bill has not attracted more support." (Please indulge me for a short digression while I explain to Mr. Scott why his Markey net neutrality bill has not attracted more support.)
      • First, no one was fooled by the buzz-word blackmail title "Internet Freedom Preservation Act;" it's obviously another attempt to regulate the Internet when all the exact same net neutrality supporters are extolling its virtues in the same way as before. 
      • Second, FreePress,, SavetheInternet, and Chairman Markey have cried "wolf!" so many times on net neutrality... that no one believes what they say anymore.
      • Third, the underlying problem/premise is bogus; consumers know they are getting more and more choices and benefits on the Internet for less and less and that they are not getting harmed by the absence of net neutrality regulation.
      • Fourth, the movement's prime slogans have proven flat wrong on the facts:
        • there can't be a "First Amendment" of the Internet when the Internet has no Constitution;
        • net neutrality can't be about restoring regulation to the way it always was when the net neutrality word was not even invented until 2002; and
        • arguing against the creation of a "two-tiered Internet" is ludicrous when consumers see multiple Internet tiers everyday in dial-up versus a wide variety of broadband speed tiers.
      • Fifth, this has proven to be a fringe political issue and a factional business dispute; it also has proven to not be sound Democratic policy nor sound Republican policy.
      • Sixth, most people involved in the process appreciate that Chariman Markey and FreePress seldom really compromise so they take the claim that this bill is a true bipartisan compromise with a dose of very healthy skepticism.
      • Finally and most importantly, most every politician worth his or her salt, is interested in addressing the real and pressing issues that American voters care about today, the economy, jobs, the War, gas prices, health care, etc. not some activist-technical-chicken little-problem that most all Americans have never heard of.  
      • In short, Mr. Scott, this bill has not attracted more support becuase it is not worthy of more support.
        • It's a bad idea... based on a bogus premise... that has been badly misrepresented and over-hyped.
        • As the old saying goes: "This dog can't hunt."  

FYI: The link for my letter to the subcommittee is here and the link to my press release is here.