Patriot Post – Digest For Wednesday
Failing at health care, foreign policy, border security, national debt, labor force engagement, and oh so many more things, and in denial over the resounding defeat of his policies on Election Day, Barack Obama this week took aim at one of the only arenas in which he hasn’t yet wreaked havoc: the Internet.
Since its “invention” by Al Gore, the Internet has inarguably catalyzed the greatest flow of information the world has ever seen. Absent government micromanagement, ingenuity and entrepreneurship have flourished, innovation has thrived, and investment in online infrastructure has grown. Basking in the benefits of a relatively free market, service providers have competed to bring customers the fastest connectivity at competitive prices. Consumers have benefited, and the U.S. has become the global leader in digital advancement.
Naturally, such success needs just one more thing: government regulation. And that’s exactly what Obama is hoping to bring to the Wild, Wild Web. This week, he asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from “information services,” their current classification under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934, to “telecommunications providers” under Title II — in essence, making the Internet a public utility.
At first glance, this may sound harmless. But when was the last time anyone raved about the opportunities and innovations of their heavily regulated public utility?
As The Wall Street Journal explains, “Like the telephone companies of old, broadband providers would be required to ‘file a tariff’ at the [Federal Communications] commission, meaning they would submit mountains of paperwork and ask the government to approve the prices they intend to charge for services. The bureaucrats would then consider whether the prices are fair. FCC bureaucrats would also hold sway over plans to expand or build digital networks.” With this kind of “freedom,” who needs tyranny?
Yet, this past week, Obama said the Internet needs to be something that “works for everyone” (because apparently now it works only for some), and he claimed the only way to keep the Internet “free” is to regulate it. But of course. Regulation has long been the bastion of freedom. Just think of ObamaCare.
In a video statement, Obama said, “Ever since the Internet was created, it’s been organized around the basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom. … This set of principles, the idea of net neutrality, has unleashed the power of the Internet and given innovators the chance to thrive. Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the Internet as we know it.”
Not surprisingly, when it comes to “abandoning” the principles of openness, no one credible is actually talking about doing this — no one, that is, except Obama and his lackeys who want to use fear as the catalyst for government intrusion.
Also, it’s important to note that, while predicated on openness, the Internet has never been completely “equal” anyway, and this is what has helped it thrive. As Reason’s Peter Suderman explains, “[B]ig content providers with big data transmission needs have always wrangled service deals with big Internet carriers; billions of dollars are already tied up in these sorts of bargains. Not only have these deals not ruined the Internet experience for the average person, they’ve enhanced it, allowing traffic-intensive services like streaming video sites to purchase enhanced capabilities.”
In an ironic closing to his video message, Obama emphasized that “the FCC is an independent agency and ultimately this decision is theirs alone.” Ah, yes, nothing like appointing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to his job, telling hundreds of millions of Americans what he should do, and then saying, “Oh, but it’s really up to him.” Wheeler says he’s his own man, but he also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s presidential campaigns.
The FCC was originally expected to issue new rules for “net neutrality” by the end of this year, but now the more likely date is sometime in 2015. Should the FCC side with Obama and move to stifle the greatest explosion of information freedom in history, Congress has the authority (and, after last week’s election, the mandate) to halt the president’s overreach through the power of the purse.
Whatever happens, though, don’t worry — one thing is absolutely guaranteed. If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.
For more, visit Right Analysis.
My Opinion: Hell, Yeah! Obama has done so well with Obamacare that I’m sure he’ll treat the Internet the way it ought to be treated! Not! Unable to find his ass with both hands, a compass, map, and written directions, he’s taken a shine to controlling the information you receive through the Internet. How long do you think it’ll be before “The Government” censor’s the Internet? Go on. Take a guess. Remember: this is the “most transparent government” in our history.
It’s already hard enough to “speak your mind” in your personal blog or other online forums, etc. How much harder when the Government is watching and arresting for “offenses against the State” by speaking your mind about Big Government? Censorship because you “might” offend someone?
But, I do happen to think access to the Internet should be free. Oh, I understand that DSL/Cable companies have to make their few bucks for providing the equipment for us to access the Internet, but I don’t think they should have the right (although they have the ability) to control speeds or content. They definitely shouldn’t be acting as Nanny. Nor working for the MPAA Nazis.
And why does some Bushman in the wilds of Africa have better (faster) Internet and cell phone connectivity, than I have here in Belfair, WA?