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Common Cause intimidation of free speech

Common cause just listed me and netcompetition.org in their latest report: "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing, Part 2: More Telecom Industry front groupss and Astroturf."

This is a not-so-veiled attempt at intimidating free speech that Common Cause doesn't like because it does not fit their Big-Government-knows-best policy view. 

I have fully disclosed who I work for on the site and in every one of the dozens of public forums in which I have debated net neutrality. Net competition is funded by broadband telecom, cable and wireless companies! It's no secret!

I have never represented myself or Netcompetition.org as a grass roots group. We are not a grass roots group. Just becuase we are a website/blog involved in the free and open democratic discourse of the Internet, does not make us a grass roots or astroturf group.

I thought Common Cause supported net neutrality to protect the free and open democratic nature of the Internet. How is trying to intimidate my/our free speech democratic? I have the right to my opinions just as you all do. I fully disclosed on my site and at my launch of Netcompetition.org that the companies did not recruit me on this, I sought them out because I thought net neutrality was a monumentally bad idea in the face of all the success in developing broadband competition, deployment and innovation. No one reviews my blog before its published its my normal pull-no-punches unvarnished views based on almost fifteen years as a respected telecom expert. 

You also need to review your Supreme Court decisions on free speech and learn that corporations have a constitutionally protected right to free speech too. The companies and industries I represent have over a million American employees who are consumers, citizens and voters too. Do they not have the constitutional free speech right like you do to have their point of view heard in the policy debate?  Net neturality could potentially have a devastating effect on their job and financial security.

If you look closely at netcompetition.org, (which you obviously didn't -- and you all represent yourselves as fair and thorough!) you will see that our site has a whole section on pro-net neutrality just below the pro netcompetition section. We are unafraid to link people to our opponent sites web sites (and do), SavetheInternet.org and Itsournet.org, because we are unafraid to have a free and open debate on the merits of net neutrality because we know that the facts and sound public policy is on our side. Please note that the pro net neutrality forces don't link to my site.  Very free-speech minded of them isn't it?

Common Cause should spend less time trying to squelch legitimate constitutionally protected free speech that you don't like and more time developing sound honest arguments why net neutrality is best for consumers, the American people and our economy. You resort to personal attacks and "astroturf" diversions because you can't win the public policy debate on the merits.
 
Quoting Jeff Chester that I am some sort of monopoly apologist is another clear misrepresentation. I have a long and well known reputation for speaking my mind and standing up against monopolist practices. Jeff remembers well that he and I were on the same side over concern about monopoly leverage over the nascent Internet several years ago. Why I differ from Jeff and the net neutrality movement now is that the facts have changed since then. We now have more than sufficient broadband competition to deter anti-competitive conduct and intermodal competition is alive and well and increasing every day. Unlike Jeff, my views are based on the facts as they develop, not virulently anti-business values that appear to never have a chance of changing. 

What Common Cause can do to redeem itself and truly work toward a free and open discourse, why dont you all host a net neutrality debate in September over whether or not there is enough broadband competition to make net neutrality unnecessary?

Shame on Common Cause for misrepresenting who I am and what I am doing. I have been very upfront that Netcompetition.org is funded by broadband companies, and it should be obvious to anyone who reads my blog that I personnally am very passionate in my personal opposition to oppressive regulation of the Internet. I won't be intimidated by Common Cause's misrepresentations.

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths