WASHINGTON, D.C. – Soros, Google and Facebook are hard at work “Astroturfing” resistance to FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s proposed rule changes to terminate the “net neutrality” rules put in place by the Obama administration.
The staged event this time around is a “Forum on Net Neutrality” scheduled for Monday evening, June 26, to be hosted by Virginia’s Democratic House member Don Beyer, featuring former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and former FCC Counsel Jonathan Sallet.
Christie Lee McNally, executive director of Free the Internet, has written a letter to Beyer exposing the “Astroturfing” nature of his staged Internet forum.
In her letter, McNally highlighted soon after leaving the FCC, Mr. Sallet joined one of Silicon Valley’s largest lobbying and outside law firm Steptoe & Johnson as a partner.
“The law firm has received millions in lobbying fees from some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies including Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Google and their trade association, the Internet Association,” McNally wrote.
McNally pointed out that many of the firm’s partners and lawyers have worked almost exclusively on legal and lobbying matters directly related to significant policy matters affecting these companies including:
- Markham Erickson: Mr. Erickson currently represents Netflix on regulatory matters before the FCC including the net neutrality, video and broadband matters. Erickson also has a long history of working on behalf of Google, both as a partner at the Holch & Erickson (later McGuinness & Holch) law firm and later as the Executive Director of the Google-created Open Internet Coalition. In addition, Mr. Erickson served as the general counsel of the Internet Association – a trade association founded by Google, Facebook, Amazon and eBay in 2012.
- William Abrams: Mr. Abrams has served as counsel for Google in patent cases, including a Federal Circuit Court infringement case regarding software updates of the Chrome browser as well as patent infringement cases brought against the company over geolocation technology for mobile devices.
- Stephen Davidson: As chair of Steptoe & Johnson’s International Arbitration Group, Mr. Davidson has represented Google in litigation throughout the United States and abroad.
McNally pointed out that Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook today are three of the five largest companies in the world by market cap.
She continued to note that Silicon Valley monopolies are facing a litany of legal, anti-consumer and antitrust challenges around the globe: Google is facing record fines in Europe for anticompetitive behavior while Amazon’s recent $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods raises antitrust concerns here in the U.S. Notably, Silicon Valley’s own Congressman Ro Khanna remarked just last week that the Amazon/Whole Foods deal will likely decimate local grocers in his district.
McNally also stressed companies like Google and Facebook have come under increased scrutiny for arbitrarily banning and censoring users, manipulating content and using their unprecedented corporate power and influence over our nation’s independent media as well: Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post in 2013 for instance has raised extremely troubling questions about how Silicon Valley monopoly power is corrupting our free press.
“Free Our Internet — and we suspect many of your constituents – believes that the unchecked corporate greed of Silicon Valley behemoths has reached an inflection point: Left unchecked, the monopoly power of Google, Facebook and Amazon alone threaten to destroy a truly free and open Internet, and we are already seeing incidents of content discrimination, prioritization and blocking from these gatekeepers,” McNally wrote.
“In sum, we believe that having Mr. Sallet – a paid mouthpiece for the very corporations actively lobbying to keep the existing net neutrality rules they helped to craft under President Obama- participate in your town hall meeting raises questions about whether you are truly representing the interests of your constituents or the interests of rapacious Silicon Valley monopolies,” she continued.
“We feel you have a duty and responsibility to the public to disclose that Mr. Sallet is hardly an unbiased observer of Internet policy issues, but rather a partner at a lobbying firm representing some of the most powerful companies in the world today – companies that stand to benefit greatly from rules that protect their monopoly status, and allow them to escape any requirements to abide by the very principals of neutrality they say they support,” McNally concluded.
On Jan. 16, 2017, Rep. Beyer announced he would not attend Donald Trump’s inauguration, citing what he saw as a litany of transgressions by Trump that included lying without apology, mimicking the disabled and insulting women.
“His (Trump’s) values and his actions are the antitheses of those I hold dear,” Beyer told the Washington Post. “I would be the height of hypocrisy for me to pretend to be part of his inaugural celebration.”
As Infowars.com previously reported, Free Our Internet is a new group formed to expose the Soros-funded campaign to preserve the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that allow the gateway giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter to censor out conservative and libertarian sites like Infowars.com under their politically motivated “fake news” campaign.
Infowars.com has previously documented Google, together with George Soros’ Open Society Institution and the Ford Foundation, have spent more than $72 million dollars to non-profit leftist organizations that have been the most active in promoting the idea that the Internet needs to be regulated by the government as a “common carrier” public utility under the Communications Act – the same regulatory framework crafted decades ago to regulate the old rotary phone system.
Infowars.com has previously warned that Google and the largest communications giants on the Internet lobbied the federal government to define broadband under these 1930s-style regulations – a designation that would allow the government to regulate more rigorously the broadband providers that built the core network connecting users to the Internet as “common carriers.”
Of course, this exempts content monopolies like Google and Facebook from the strict regulations the FCC would apply to common carriers – a scheme that would allow Google, Facebook and the other Internet portal giants to censor conservatives as “fake news,” while demanding that “common carriers” like AT&T and Verizon have no choice but to carry their censored content.
The implementation of these 2015 Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations, which were heavily pushed by Google in hundreds of closed-door meetings at the Obama White House, carved out Google and the other Silicon Valley behemoths, and secured their position as absolute information gatekeepers.
Since these 2015 regulations passed, Google and Facebook have moved to become the judge, jury and executioner of the content we read on the Internet, under the guise of eliminating “fake news.”
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