Free speech and the free market took a huge hit yesterday when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in sweeping new government regulations of the Internet. The 3-2 vote was on straight party lines. Championed by The Man Who Would Be King, the new rules are popularly known as “net neutrality.” According to The Hill:
The FCC’s new rules reclassify broadband Internet from an “information” service to a “telecommunications” service under its rules, essentially reversing an FCC policy that dates back to 2002. By making that move, the FCC will be able to exert more authority over people’s access to the Internet, similar to its treatment of utility services like phone lines.
… The regulations will also cover wireless Internet accessed by people over their smartphones and tablets — which were exempt under the FCC’s 2010 rules.
Finally, they will empower the FCC to police “interconnection” arrangements that companies make to hand off traffic on the back end of the Internet.
What is “net neutrality”? Here’s the short version. (Note: I don’t usually recommend InfoWars. But they got it mostly right this time.)
Great. Just great. The same geniuses who gave us government-regulated healthcare regulating the Internet.
Laid out by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, the “net neutrality plan” is 317 pages, down from an original 332 pages. Nervous yet? You may also want to know that Hillary Clinton has enthusiastically backed so-called “net neutrality.” And George Soros and the Ford Foundation have shoveled nearly $200M into “net neutrality.” Feel better?
Also, the plan was aided by a push from President Obama in November. Inquiring minds may rightly wonder why the White House is putting pressure on the FCC to act in accordance with its royal wishes. Don’t think about that too hard. You may figure it out. Meanwhile, remember how that “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it” thing worked out?
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has made some last-minute revisions to his net neutrality plan after Google and public interest groups pressed for the changes, according to sources at the commission. Google, Free Press and New America’s Open Technology Institute last week asked the commission to revise language they said could unintentionally allow Internet service providers to charge websites for sending content to consumers. Such a scenario could open the door to an avalanche of new fees for Web companies and threaten their business models.
And guess who gets to pick up the tab for those new fees? Yeah. End users. Consumers. You and me.
What we’re looking at, folks, is the very real possibility that Internet access and usage may become a “playground of the rich and famous” only. Contrary to what La La Land proponents propelled by the usual class envy arguments allege, these new regulations may mean the little guys – you and me – get priced out of one of the most powerful information and communication tools ever launched. And how would you like to have your Internet content and access filtered by Big Brother? How ’bout getting a *license* from the government to operate your website?
Can you say, “China”?
What’s mind-boggling here is that Big Government proponents were able to pull the wool over so many eyes. Proving yet again that the American public will swallow just about anything if couched in the language of “fairness” – whatever that means – the tactic net neutrality supporters knowingly or dumb belling-ly deployed was vintage Obamanian: We need to keep the playing field fair. We need more government regulation to keep you safe. To make the big boys play nice. We need to *regulate* the Internet to protect you poor little citizen peons from those big, eeeevil corporations cable companies.
Check this out: President Obama’s Plan for a Free and Open Internet. Sound familiar? Like “free and open” healthcare?
Supporters tried to paint the new rules as “50 shades of fairness” (not goin’ there). But anyone who’s not a useful idiot sees it differently. Said Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the commission:
“The commission’s decision to adopt President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future of the online world.”
The head of the USTelecom trade group agreed. Organization President Walter McCormick said:
“It redefines the Internet, inserts the federal government deeply into its management, and invites other countries to do the same,” added. “In reversing longstanding bipartisan precedent, and imposing public utility regulation on the most dynamic sector of our nation’s economy, the FCC is adopting policies that were not designed – nor ever intended – for the Internet.”
Republicans have begun drafting legislation to enshrine some net neutrality protections in legislation while limiting the FCC’s powers in other ways.
Oh yeah. Obama’s pick to replace outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch (aka: Holder Lite) cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Next, her nomination goes to the full Senate for confirmation. Read more about that here.
Meanwhile, the FCC’s adoption of the new rules boils down to: If you like ‘affordable’ healthcare, you’ll love ‘affordable’ Internet.
Cheer up. I’m told there’s a twofer sale on chocolate eclairs going on somewhere…