Saturday, February 28, 2015

'Comrades For Net Neutrality' - Things To Come



This development is as predictable as the day is long - as things become darker and darker in the shadow of the looming Tribulation:






Today’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.


“Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.


The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.


Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute (which was once a favorite think tank of Clinton Democrats), issued a statement that net neutrality “endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.”

But such voices have been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to manage the Internet to achieve their political objectives. The most influential of these congregate around the deceptively named Free Press, a liberal lobby co-founded in 2002 by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor.

His goals have always been clear. “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he toldthe Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” 

In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.

Despite his astonishingly radical goals, McChesney’s Free Press group was able to leverage foundation cash and academic “research” into an influential force behind net neutrality. Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s first FCC chairman, hired Free Press’s Jen Howard as his press secretary. The FCC’s chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, has co-authored a Free Press report demanding regulation of political talk radio. 


The battle for control of the Internet isn’t over. Over two-thirds of the House and Senate are on record as opposing FCC regulation of the Internet, and a new president could change the policy overnight in 2017 even if the courts don’t block it.



But for now, the “media reform” movement led by McChesney and his allies can claim bragging rights for their Saul Alinsky–style outflanking maneuver on Internet regulation. They financed the research behind the idea, installed their political allies in power, got the government to consider them experts on the issues they cared deeply about, and finally ran roughshod over both Congress and an initially reluctant FCC chairman. Conservatives should study how the Left won on this issue even as they acknowledge and fight the illegitimacy of many of the results.







In a vote along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved what amounts to a government takeover of the Internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his fellow Democrats, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, approved placing the Internet under Title II regulations. They will reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like utility companies, or “common carriers,” rather than “information services” that remain outside the agency’s regulatory power. Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissented, with Pai explaining that net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The arrogance of Wheeler and his allies has been evident for some time. The 332-page proposal they approved was never made available to the public or Congress prior to the vote, even as Wheeler ignored pleas by Pai and O’Rielly to do so. “We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it,” they said in a statement released Monday.

Wheeler also ignored a similar request Wednesday to testify before the House Oversight Committee, eliciting condemnation from Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “So long as the chairman continues to insist on secrecy, we will continue calling for more transparency and accountability at the commission,” Chaffetz and Upton said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”


The implications of this decision are more far-reaching than most Americans might imagine. 

On Wednesday Thune warned that the FCC’s move could make it harder to prevent authoritarian regimes like Russia and China from exercising increasing control over the Internet, using the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as their vehicle. 

It also allows the FCC to impose fines on companies found to be employing “unreasonable” business practices—as defined by the FCC itself. And while the agency promises it won’t impose price controls, Title II allows it to do so. In short, net neutrality is nothing less than the Obama administration’s determination to impose “social justice” on private companies because it would be “unfair” for them to treat some customers (read less profitable) less favorably other customers (read more profitable).

Democrats and their leftist media allies might say, the Internet has been a triumph of innovation and expansion for decades without the kind of limitations the FCC is now imposing. And that, in and of itself, is the genuine reality that grates against progressive instincts: there must be no such brilliance and innovation that remains beyond the yoke of government, lest the “greater good,” as it is defined by those very same statists, be so transparently threatened.

Is there anything more typically progressive than a system of governance that imposes “demands” on the risk-taking, hard work and innovations of others?

That mindset is illuminated in a column written by net neutrality advocate Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Oakland-based Center for Media Justice. It is entitled, “Only net neutrality can protect the internet from becoming like TV: white, middle-class and exclusive.” And like the reliable progressive she is, Cyril can’t resist framing the net neutrality issue in those oh-so familiar terms. “If we lose that vote, the most democratic communications platform the world has ever seen could become more like cable TV, a fairly scary place that reproduces the economic gaps and racial hierarchies of the offline world,” she laments. She goes on to insist that “equal representation in a digital economy and 21st century democracy demands net neutrality protections.”

In her remarks, Commissioner Clyburn said the “framers” of America’s Constitution “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. Really? A plan kept completely secret until after it was voted on? One that imposes government controls where there were none before? Commissioner O’Rielly was far more accurate. “I see no need for net neutrality rules,” he said, adding that the FCC’s decision amounted to a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”




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1 comment:

Nikki P said...

Please sign this petition at warehouse dot gov to save our freedom of speech on the internet.
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-net-neutrality/FtYbdSdB