Watering the grass roots with cash

Did you know Google is Moveon.org’s biggest supporter? read The American Spectator:

Google has become the single largest private corporate underwriter of MoveOn. According to sources in the Democrat National Committee, MoveOn has received more than $1 million from Google and its lobbyists in Washington to create grassroots support for the Internet regulation legislation. Some of that money has gone to an online petition drive and a letter-writing campaign, but the majority of that money is being used to fund their activities against Republicans out in the states.

For example, MoveOn is said by one DNC source to have funneled at least $100,000 “Net Neutrality” money to its operations in Pennsylvania (where MoveOn is organizing against Sen. Rick Santorum). It has also sent funds to Florida, Ohio, and Missouri.

MoveOn is also using the funds to help Democrats, including House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state. “A month ago, Representative Pelosi didn’t know what Net Neutrality was, then she heard that Google and other Silicon Valley firms wanted it. Now it’s one of her top issues. What Silicon Valley wants, Silicon Valley gets,” says a House Democrat leadership staffer.

Maybe it’s time for a little anti-trust action against Google.

9 thoughts on “Watering the grass roots with cash”

  1. Rich, thanks for your post on my blog: http://www.redbanktv.org. As a point of clarification are you in favor of the Tiered Access Model or are you just against federal interference?

    My view is that I don’t think the Tiered Model is good for continuing the innovative spirit that we have seen on the net. I’m not sold that market forces can’t bring about Net Neutrality and that the only answer is new legislation.

    I am trying to tell my town and other towns that they should consider Verizon’s future plans for the internet when it comes time to approve IPTV cable franchises. If my town thinks that Verizon’s plans will cost the town, due to potential loss in tax revenue, down the road then they should decide to turn down Verizon’s application.

    I want towns and states to consider Net Neutrality when it comes time to approve IPTV cable franchises; hopefully the free market affect of towns turning down, or at the least questioning, Verizon’s application would result in a non-tiered level playing field of an internet that we have see spark so much innovation.

    Thoughts? — Tom

  2. What on earth could possibly be wrong with offering users different levels of service? Every transportation company in the world does this already and it’s a great system that allows rich people to maximize their comfort and poor people to travel at subsisdized rates.

    Throwing out tiered pricing is like throwing out capitalism, simply insane.

  3. So Tom thinks that by elimination competition, we can help sceure net neutrality? It is a “free market effect” to encouarge government to clamp down on new technologies? Are you a Comcast employee, Tom? Just kidding… Sorta. But seriously, Google’s sway over so-called “independent” political groups undermins the credibility of those groups. Is Moveon simply doing Google’s bidding? If so, why should we be concerned with what they have to say?

  4. My take on Tiered Access is that it is bad for competition. I don’t really care about the google we currently have, I’m worried about the next google or yahoo or microsoft. We don’t know where that next big American internet company is going to come from. All of the big internet companies that have helped drive innovation on the internet have come from very humble roots, college dorm rooms or garage offices etc. I bet the next great American success story is out there somewhere right now and my take on tiered access is that it could stifle that company’s growth. If I’m an elected official I’ve got to consider that the next great idea could come from within the area I represent; wouldn’t it be irresponsible for me not to be in favor of the Internet as a Level Playing field?

    So to Richard, I would say I don’t think Tiered Plans are pro-capitalism I think they are the opposite of capitalism. The Internet as a level playing field is the best example of free markets and capitalism.

    To everywhere, am I Comcast employee, nah; if I wouldn’t be responding now, I would be giving you a window of between 12 and 5 pm next Thursday during which you can sit at home and wait for my response ;-). I do live in a town that Verizon targeted for a fake Astroturf faxing campaign, so I am no stranger to big companies using money to influence telcom issues. (see: http://redbanktv.org/blog/2006/04/faking_the_count.html )

    Again, I don’t think Federal Legislation is the best or only way to go if you support Net Neutrality. I think if we can look at towns and states as consumers of cable tv technologies than these consumers have the right to decide if they want to grant AT&T or Verizon new IPTV cable franchises. One of the factors I think they should consider is the IPTV provider’s stance on Net Neutrality. While more cable TV providers will increase competition by providing more cable TV options, telco’s who plan for a Tiered Access will in the long be detrimental for competition and it’s worth calling them on it.

    — Tom

  5. If net neutrality means mandatory equal treatment of transmissions that have unequal tolerance for jitter and packet loss, why in the world does anyone support it? It’s like saying that it would be “non-discriminatory” to mandate providing the exact same access to public facilities for people in wheelchairs that is provided to people who walk unassisted. It’s an absurd definition of “neutral.”

    It seems that people are so fearful of possible illegitimate uses of network management capabilities that they are willing outlaw the capabilities themselves. That’s practically a luddite position. It makes more sense to permit the use of sensible engineering practices but enforce competition laws (like antitrust) if you observe illegitimate use of those practices.

  6. This seems to go behind the idea of capitalism. I mean, net neutrality is put in place, it feels like socialism. Isn’t the motivation to have more money, and thus more pull? If even the little guys are treated equal, it takes away some of the power that the big guys have worked for.

  7. At least we’re getting Tom to agree that legislation isn’t the answer – do you really trust Congress to make this work? But like it or not, tiered access exists just about everywhere – and people get what they pay for. Dial-up or DSL, Business Class or Economy, Basic Cable or Digital Plus. I think we should wait and see how something like that develops before we reflexively reject it. It might play out to everyone’s advantage.

  8. Oh yeah – forgot the original reason I wanted to post something 🙂 With all the money involved in politics these days, it’s up to Google how they spend their money and to whom they donate, but let’s keep in mind that this is the same Google that worked with the Chinese government to censor the Internet over there. It’s probably not pure altruism that is motivating them to support MoveOn.

  9. Anti-trust legislation isnt a must, but it IS imperative that we see through the smokescreen that Google and others are trying to put out there. They are lobbying for what would make them the most money, and one can hardly fault them for that. It is up to the consumers to stand up and demand what is best for them.

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