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.
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.
McChesneyUnfreesays Adam TherierTechLiberation
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 McChesneyAlinsky–style
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.”