By: James Simpson
While the Obama administration appears to have used its power once again to force the issue of net neutrality, the FCC has been rebuked in the courts twice before, and is likely to lose on this one as well.
On Feb. 26, the five FCC commissioners voted 3-2 to place the Internet under strict common-carrier rules of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. It was a party line vote, with the three Democrats voting for and two Republicans voting against. The FCC kept the 332-page regulation under wraps before the vote. As with Obamacare, they had to pass it so we could find out what is in it. Chairman Tom Wheeler even refused to testify before Congress on the rules under consideration. Even though they have now voted, they have yet to release the document to the public.
The FCC is supposedly an independent body, commissioned by Congress, but in a public announcement broadcast on YouTube, Obama essentially ordered Wheeler to impose “the strongest possible rules” on the Internet. Nothing new for this president, but Wheeler himself had been initially opposed to this idea, instead working on a “third way,” which used some authority from the Communications Act but avoided the heavy hand of Title II. However, as so many others who find themselves at odds with the administration, he abruptly changed his tune and began promoting what appeared to be the Obama plan. Following its vote by the commission, Wheeler announced, “Today is the proudest day of my public policy life.”
If the FCC was voting under orders from the administration, then it has created a potential constitutional crisis. The FCC’s role as an independent creation of Congress has been usurped and it has for all intents and purposes simply become another arm of the executive branch. Internet Consultant Scott Cleland says the regulation is also on very weak legal grounds:
As an analyst, one does not have to see the order’s final language to predict with confidence that the FCC’s case faces serious legal trouble overall, because the eight big conceptual legal problems spotlighted here are not dependent on the details of the FCC’s order. After two FCC failed court reviews in 2010 in Comcast v. FCC and 2014 in Verizon v. FCC, and decades of multiple Title II definitional and factual precedents completely contrary to the FCC’s current legal theory, the legal field of play is much more clear than usual or most appreciate.
Wheeler defended the FCC decision in a Feb. 26 statement:
The Open Internet Order reclassifies broadband Internet access as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act while simultaneously foregoing utility-style, burdensome regulation that would harm investment. This modernized Title II will ensure the FCC can rely on the strongest legal foundation to preserve and protect an open Internet. Allow me to emphasize that word “modernized.” We have heard endless repetition of the talking point that “Title II is old-style, 1930’s monopoly regulation.” It’s a good sound bite, but it is misleading when used to describe the modernized version of Title II in this Order.
Contacted for this article, Cleland called FCC’s legal theory “a Rube Goldberg contrivance to manufacture legal authority.” Cleland said of Wheeler’s statement:
Making a claim to modernization by using a 1934 law is Orwellian doublespeak. The problems they cite as an excuse to impose these regulations are non-existent. With over 2,000 Internet Service Providers there have been only a handful of problems—all resolved without regulation. Wheeler is mischaracterizing the issue to mask a duplicitous, premeditated strategy of control. This is a power grab, pure and simple.
So how was this decision pulled off? For starters, with lots of money. George Soros and the Ford Foundation, two of the left’s biggest money funders, tossed at least $196 million into the effort. In addition, staff from the Center for American Progress, the Free Press and others obtained key positions on the FCC and in the White House to facilitate it. The Washington Examiner characterized it as a “shadow FCC” operating out of the White House.
As explained in an earlier post, the Free Press was co-founded by Marxist Robert McChesney, who wants to see the Internet become a public utility, with the “ultimate goal” being “to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” The former Free Press board chairman until 2011 was Tim Wu, who actually coined the phrase “network neutrality.” McChesney told the socialist 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.”
So there you have it.
In pushing this power grab, the Obama administration has wrapped itself in emotional buzzwords, characterizing net neutrality as a battle for free speech, or a method to achieve an “open Internet.” Cleland calls it “teddy bears and rainbows rhetoric.”
The Internet is the most open, most free, most innovative technological marvel of the modern age, and a rare bastion of free speech. The Obama administration is determined to smother it.
This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
By: Lloyd Marcus
Walking out to my shed to work on a project, I thought, what if I turn on the radio and Rush is not there. It was unsettling. Please forgive me folks. My intention is not to be morbid, but that day will inevitably come; prayerfully many years from now.
In the black church I grew up in, at funerals, someone always sang, “Give Me My Flowers.”
“Give me my flowers while I yet live so that I can see the beauty that they bring. Speak kind words to me while I can hear them so that I can hear the beauty that they bring.”
Folks, I just want to give Rush some flowers, to take a moment to thank him for the extremely positive impact he has had on my life and America. I still remember where I was the first time I heard him in the 80s. Who is this loudmouth guy? Where is my regular talk radio host Tom Marr? Shortly after that, I became hooked.
The major thing Rush did for me was to define the enemy; liberals and Liberalism. This knowledge opened my eyes to no longer be fooled by liberals’ compassionate-sounding rhetoric. Rush educated me to their snooty racist superiority and failed policies, which have devastated lives, particularly blacks’, for decades. While I instinctively knew it, Rush articulated why Conservatism is the best and most direct path for everyone seeking to achieve his or her American Dream.
Remember Dan’s Bake Sale? In essence, it was the first modern-day Tea Party rally. Dan Kay called Rush’s show. His wife said they could not afford the $29.95 annual fee for Rush’s newsletter. Rush was tempted to gift Dan a subscription, but decided it would stifle Dan’s drive to “be the best he could be” and make him a “dependent ward of the EIB radio network.”
Poking fun at the Democrats’ encouraging elementary students to have bake sales to help Clinton pay down the national debt, Rush suggested a bake sale for Dan. Rush’s idea inspired his millions of listeners, making Dan’s Bake Sale an instant international phenomenon. May 22, 1993 upwards to sixty thousand Rush listeners from all over the U.S. and the world gathered in Fort Collins, Colorado to buy a cookie from Dan. The event was a powerful positive illustration of Conservatism. http://bit.ly/1ayiwsR
On a personal note, inspired by Rush and led by God, I became the tea party activist I am today. Back in the early 90s, for 15 years I was a graphic designer at a Baltimore TV station recently promoted to department supervisor. Every day I listened to Rush while working.
Companies were downsizing, and people were laid off. Rush encouraged them to shift their thinking and view the lay off as an opportunity to pursue their dreams. Well, I bought it. I was not laid off, but did not want to put in another 15 years to retirement.
I always wanted a career as a singer/songwriter which I pursued on weekends and vacations. Fired up by Rush’s optimism, upon getting the green light from my wife Mary, I gave the TV station my two week notice and began pursuing my dream full time.
It was an insane thing to do. I was in my late 40s. Rather than taking you through my entire wilderness experience, we became homeless for six months. During that time, God dealt with and matured me in many ways. As a P.K. (preacher’s kid) I grew up hearing people in church say, “Trust God.” For me, it was a Christian cliche. Several times in my wilderness experience when all appeared lost, God came through. Thus, I learned to trust God.
Trying to survive, I was grateful to get a job as a helper on a construction site. During my lunch break, I heard on the radio that a local radio station was hosting a support rally for our troops. I called the producer and asked if I could sing my original song, “Celebrate America”. Remarkably, never having heard of me, the producer said, “Yes.”
Folks, performing at that rally led to being asked to perform at major rallies hosted by Glenn Beck, G. Gordon Liddy and Gathering of Eagles which led to being invited to tour the country on the Tea Party Express. I have been on over a dozen national bus tours with Tea Party Express and other groups which led to my current position as Chairman of the Conservative Campaign Committee.
Rush often referenced the American Thinker website. As a writer, my style in the world of politics is somewhat unique. So when AT publisher Thomas Lifson e-mailed that they were publishing my article, Mary and I were ecstatic. That was many articles and a book ago (Confessions of a Black Conservative).
Over the years, the Democrats and Liberals won unfair evil victories. Millions of conservatives could hardly wait for Rush to come on the air to bring us back from the edge with his infectious optimism, faith and inspiration. Thus, the thought of Rush not being there was a little unsettling.
Praise God, Rush is still on the air. I would like to end my flowers for Rush with one of my favorite Rush parodies. Please enjoy, “Thank the Lord Rush Limbaugh’s On” performed by the Rush Hawkins Singers. http://bit.ly/1LVUntD
It would appear that the Obama back office is far more competent than its front office.
Lee Smith asks a logical question: “We’ve Known About Hillary’s Email for Years. Why the Hoopla This Week?“
…the public first became aware that Clinton was using her personal email two years ago, in March 2013, when a Romanian Internet activist using the nickname Guccifer hacked into Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL account and uncovered a trove of work emails between the two from and to her personal account…
So, why did it take the Obama Administration two years to admit to what was already known and to then suggest that Clinton’s behavior was reckless and may have even been criminal? And why did it take so long for a major news organization like the New York Times to come up with the big “scoop” it published earlier this week?
Or to put the question another way, why did Hillary Clinton become the Obama Administration’s bête noire this very week, the same one during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled all of the world’s focus onto the issue of the administration’s negotiations with Iran?
The answer is that the two are related: This week’s tarring of Hillary Clinton is part of the White House’s political campaign to shut off debate about its hoped-for deal. It’s not hard to see why they’re anxious. With Netanyahu’s speech forcing lawmakers and editorial writers to face up to the proposed agreement’s manifest problems, the administration fears the prospect of Democrats jumping ship and signing on to Kirk-Menendez sanctions legislation that also would give Congress oversight on the deal. So far, the White House has managed to keep Democratic lawmakers in line, no matter how much they seem to question the wisdom of the proposed deal. Hillary Clinton, gearing up for a 2016 run in which she is likely to put some distance between herself and Obama’s dubious Middle East policies, is the one major national Democratic figure who can give Democrats in Congress cover.
Did someone say “Menendez“?
The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors’ request to proceed with charges, CNN has learned exclusively.
Back in January, Sen. Menendez made headlines for blasting the Obama administration’s handling of the Middle East, saying that the White House sounds as if their talking points “come straight out of Tehran.”
The “timing” was noticed:
Let’s see. The DOJ has ignored a series of egregious felonies committed by Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Steven Miller, Lisa Jackson, and a host of others.
Why then, would it now attack Robert Menendez, Democrat Senator from New Jersey?
Well, just four days ago, the National Journal reported that “At AIPAC, Sen. Menendez Goes Head-to-Head With the Obama Administration on Iran”</strong>.
March 2, 2015 Sen. Bob Menendez takes joy in being on the wrong side of Tehran, and he’s not afraid of being at odds with his own party’s White House.
“When it comes to defending the U.S.-Israel relationship, I am not intimidated by anyone—not Israel’s political enemies and not by my political friends when I believe they’re wrong,” Menendez declared to an energized crowd at the AIPAC policy conference Monday evening… A call to action for his fellow members of Congress, Menendez vowed never to back down from a brawl to defend the U.S. and Israel’s “sacrosanct” and “untouchable” relationship.
Menendez’s speech marked a crescendo in a long and—at times—tense relationship with the Obama administration. As the White House seeks to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, Menendez has been the leading Democrat questioning the process. While President Obama has demanded cooperation from Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat sponsored legislation in December that aimed to bog Iran down with more economic sanctions. His intent was to put more pressure on the country to cooperate with the United States, but the White House claimed it undermined its months-long discussions.
Gee, but I’m sure all of these revelations and criminal charges are just a coincidence.
Hat tip: BadBlue News.