The Open Internet & the Freedom of Speech

Stop Washington from regulating Free Speech & Enterprise

FCC Regulation of the Internet

As an Americans for Prosperity activist, I am submitting the following comment regarding the matter of preserving the open Internet. GN Docket No, 09-191, WC Docket No. 07-52:

I am a former 3-term MI state legislator, 2-term County Treasurer and have been a small business owner of a financial planning practice with my wife for over 20 years. Currently, I involved in bringing new products and systems to the market, and am over several faith-based 501 (c) organizations one ministers to Native Americans and the other is a disaster relief group. I am also a FEMA certified trainer and have on the MI NFIB Leadership Council since 1992. The reason I listed all this is to let you know all of my contacts and business relationships are opposed to you in any way, shape and form regulating the Internet.

We are not interested in you asserting your set of values, beliefs and agendas over yet another free form of information exchange and commerce. Federal regulators and non-elected bureaucrats were never supposed to control and regulate communication and information exchange. Nowhere in the US Constitution are they given any authority to control or regulate free speech, free enterprise or free information exchange. In fact, it actually sets forth prohibitions against this.

Freedom is the choice of making good or bad decisions, it’s messy. It’s not supposed to be controlled or molded by our government or its unelected regulators. Small to large businesses are already suffering and a competitive disadvantage to their international counter parts, because of Washington’s insatiable desire to control and regulate everything. Our free enterprise system is continuing to diminish and Socialism is becoming the form of government and economic system which encumbers and defines us.

I oppose the attempt of the FCC and the Obama Administration to regulate the internet and free speech, for the pure and simple reason that they can't control the opposition to their policies and politics. Regulation of the internet will mean the media and the government will no longer have any truly free opinion exchange of an opposing nature. It will hurt American business making us less competitive than we are already. It will hurt and stifle American citizens who disagree with current party or administration in control, regardless of which party it happens to be. Finally it will hurt America by continuing to regulate and restrain free speech and making us less free and less the America we once were.

Fulton Sheen


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment

    These are completely false accusations about Net Neutrality. NN has nothing to do with regulating speech, it is about preventing ISPs from regulating content.

  2. Comment

    Paid speech is not free speech.

    Anyone against Network Neutrality must look forward to the day when America can match China. Instead of the Great Firewall of China, we will have the Great Paywall of AT&T.

  3. Comment

    Despite all of Mr. Sheen's background, he seems to have missed the whole point of this issue. He actually seems to have it backwards.

  4. Comment

    ascending is right the comments that Net Neutrality is a plot by the government to take away free speech or take over the Internet are false. By the way here's my take on Net Neutrality and why we really need it.

    Net Neutrality is the cornerstone of innovation, free speech and democracy on the Internet. We need open access to the Web to inspire positive change. With the recent MLK day now behind us I thought I'd share with you that some of us reflected on that day of the progress MLK helped bring when he led the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to end segregation in America. We should not allow ISPs to segregate the Web in the same way the country was segregated. We need to empower independent voices in the media and on the Internet. We need more participation with more diverse voices on the radio dial, TV and the Internet.

    After all the Web empowers and inspires creativity as long as it stays neutral -- don't allow ISPs to destroy the single most important and wonderful thing about the Web.

  5. Comment

    Net Neutrality would not regulate the Internet and free speech. Instead it Net Neutrality is to ensure the Internet remains Open and Fair, as it is, mostly, today. Net Neutrality encourages free speech. Letting a small group of corporations (the ISPs: ATT, Verizon, Comcast) control everything does not create an environment where free speech or fairness are guaranteed.

  6. Comment

    Net Neutrality is about nor charging us consumers more for a Hulu Gigabyte as opposed to a Gigabyte from AT&T's financial partners. Don't be naive. What are you talking about "the American we once were"? You are using emotion-based logic and should consult a therapist.

  7. Comment

    @FSHEEN: I think you are misinformed. I suggest you read the NPRM to understand what regulations that are proposed, the history of the regulations, and understand more background.

    Generally speaking, the NPRM is about 6 Principles for companies to live by:

    --> Users control content they send and receive

    --> Users may run applications and use services of their choice

    --> Users may connect legal devices that do not harm the network

    --> Users are entitled to competitive marketplace

    --> Nondiscrimination

    --> Transparency

    Some highlights:

    1) This has nothing to do about regulating speech. It is about regulating Internet Service Providers to prevent or limit certain predatory behaviors reminiscent of the original AT&T. Those behaviors are what led to the AT&T antitrust suit.

    2) The regulations being proposed were long standing rules with regard to telephone companies and telephone calls. They are now being applied to Internet access.

    3) This action is needed because of a) providers blocking or degrading traffic; b) lack of disclosure; and c) provide certainty to users and providers

    4) As with the original AT&T, market forces alone are unlikely to ensure that broadband Internet access service providers will discriminate in socially efficient ways. Absent regulation, discrimination will reduce competition and innovation. Providers with market power have incentives and the ability to reduce or fail to increase transmission capacity. Companies also have incentive to degrade competing applications in favor of their own application -- this was one of the issues with AT&T degrading MCI connections.

    In sum, these regulations are about requiring the companies who provide Internet access to play nice with consumers and potential competitors. As it is, most Americans have only one choice of broadband provider so we're mostly powerless to let our wallets do the talking. This happens to be a classic case of regulation being proper rather than too much, which occurs too often.

  8. Comment

    Like the others commenting here, and as a veteran programmer (28+ years) with over a decade of Internet programming - I must inform you that you have things a bit backwards.

    Understand that until 2002, we had legally binding Net Neutrality. Then some political appointees to the FCC moved to weaken its authority.

    We just want to get back to that.

    The big companies want you to believe that they have slipped up only twice - but actually - it has been more often and in one case - with far reaching ramifications. Had SBC not been seeking mergers at the time, the scenario would have played out more often. The FCC, seeing the Pandora's box they had opened, moved to threaten denial of mergers should another incident take place.

    What happened is this - one of the companies decided they did not have to pass the data originating on servers attached to another company's lines, without compensation from the sourcing company. It was akin to Verizon refusing to patch a call coming in from an AT&T connected phone to one of its end users. For more than 7 hours, a very large swath of the country was denied access to thousands of websites residing in another part of the country and those in the other part were denied access to servers in our part of the country.

    That really happened. The Federal government LONG ago enacted legislation that prohibited such blockages and, in 1934, transferred the enforcement authority from the ICC to the FCC while expanding the laws to cover telephony and radio transmissions.

    How many laws do you know of that The Christian Coalition, The ACLU and the NRA all back? These groups and many others are for enforceable Net Neutrality. I would direct you to the text of S2917 ( for an example of a one page bill that addresses the issue succinctly while DISALLOWING government intrusion.

    The Supreme court has already knocked down some laws (which you may have agreed with, as they were anti-porn) that attempted to throttle free speech online. The SC however, since 2001, will not supersede the so-called property rights of the disparate carriers.

    Understand - this has nothing to do with your local provider (unless they are a 'biggie') but because huge segments of the 'backbone' are controlled by disparate companies. There is no option to 'choose another'.

    Websites- if NN is not enforced, may become prohibitively expensive for small companies, charities and bloggers to afford. The effect would be devastating.

    Now - you say - but it is their private property! yes and no - they have more closely resembled public utilities owing to the size of the required infrastructure. Further - these companies have all made commitments in the past, in order to get tax abatements, deregulation of some rates and other tax payer funded subsidies yet have not fulfilled their obligations.

    This is to the tune of 320 Billion in favors versus 4% completion of their commitments. They began receiving these favors in 1994!

    Now you know why the USA is ranked way below Sout Korea and Japan in accessibility AND quality of service when it comes to the Internet.

    No one wants extreme regulation - we just want what we once had, back.

  9. Comment

    Without Net Neutrality, You won't have free speech in the internet.

  10. Comment

    First let me make you aware that "Americans for Prosperity" is a Tea Party front organization funded by the Koch brothers who's goal is to remove any constitutional protections that you have and place them into the unregulated hands of big business.

    Many people who fall for this sort of propaganda like to cite or freedoms as granted by our Constitution, but what they don't seem to understand is that the Constitution only protects us with regard to government and that you have no constitutional rights by way of corporations. They do not give you rights and you have no defense under the constitution when a private entity gets in the way of your freedoms.

    The first amendment can ONLY protect your freedom of speech on the Internet by enacting Net Neutrality, butting the FCC between your 1st Amendment rights and the actions of private corporations.

    If you give up a government protection of any kind you have also given up any constitutional protection of those rights.

  11. Comment
    Community Member

    Either this guy is massively confused or maliciously deceptive. Either way, he's using some breathtaking doublespeak.