Net neutrality debate swallowed in political morass

Net neutrality, always a peripheral political football, has moved right to the 50-yard-line as the two sides in the contest cease any efforts to mask their partisan intentions.

For instance, a plan endorsed by Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) should have President Obama's support because it "fulfills the President's campaign promise of non-discrimination and transparency on the Internet," Tom Tauke, executive vice president-public affairs at Verizon told the Technology Policy Institute Forum in Aspen, Colo.

Meanwhile, a supposedly bipartisan group backing net neutrality lost the support of the Gun Owners of America (GOA) because of its association with liberal organizations such as ACORN and the ACLU. For some reason gun ownership and Internet regulation became intertwined when GOA became a charter member of the organization Save the Internet. But that was then, this is now.

"Back in 2006 we supported net neutrality as we had been concerned that AOL (NYSE: AOL) and others might continue to block pro-second amendment issues," said Erich Pratt, who shot off the comments as the GOA's communications director. "The issue has now become one of government control of the Internet and we are 100 percent opposed to that."

Finally, in something as rare in Washington as a day without humidity, a group of tech companies and cable and phone networks including, among others AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon, Skype and the NCTA are reportedly trying to work out a compromise at meetings hosted at the offices of the Information Technology Industry Council. Of course, there is no such thing as a day without humidity in D.C. so backers of the FCC "third way" regulation plan dismissed the talks as just more back-room dealing.

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