Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The First Amendment Blues
By Alan Caruba
“Congress shall make no law, respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” - First Amendment, U.S. Constitution
What part of the First Amendment does the Federal Communication Commission, led by Chairman Julius Genachowski, and three of its five appointed commissioners, not understand?
If the Internet is not about free speech, then nothing is.
For the record, the two Republican commissioners voted against “Net Neutrality”, an expansion of the FCC’s original 1934 mission to regulate radio. In May, more than 300 members of Congress, including 56 Democrats, contacted the FCC to urge that it stop pursuing Internet regulation.
Need it be said that President Obama made it known that he supports “net neutrality” as “an important step in preventing abuses and continuing to advance the Internet as an engine of productivity growth and innovation.” Blah, blah, blah.
Dictators hate any form of mass communication they cannot control. Consider the news in early December that Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, was defending plans for a law that would, according to the Washington Post, “impose broadcast-type regulations on the Internet, saying Sunday that his government should protect citizens against online crimes.”
In Venezuela, criticizing Hugo Chavez, who has just been granted power to rule by decree, will no doubt be considered an Internet crime. Chavez thinks Obama is the best thing that ever happened to America and so does Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
Even a small step toward the regulation of the Internet is a very big step toward curbing free speech and free access to information of all kinds, good, bad or just plain evil. In America citizens are expected to sort out lies and make their own judgments. That’s why a million of them showed up in Washington, D.C. in March to demand Obamacare be rejected.
Nor is this to suggest that there aren’t plenty of laws that exist to protect consumers. The FCC decision, as one of its members, Robert M. McDowell, noted recently, ignores the fact that “the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.”
In the same fashion that the lame duck session of Congress has been used by largely defeated Democrats to push through legislation that had been either long delayed for political purposes, such as a budget for the government or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, the Democrat-controlled FCC has used the week leading up to Christmas to push through a measure that is universally condemned.
“The rules the FCC will impose are unenforceable without Congressional approval—as a federal court made clear in April,” notes Bruce Walker, managing editor of The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News. ”The FCC has now only prolonged the regulatory uncertainty its net neutrality threats originally created. This will negatively impact jobs and investment in the Internet industry.”
This is not the end of this abomination, but it is a loud signal and indication of the way the leftist administration of President Obama has striven to harm the economy, imposing huge debt, grasping control of the healthcare sector, the financial sector, major auto manufacturers, the insurance industry, and now the power of the Internet to inform Americans against its tyranny.
The November midterm election results rejected those efforts and, no doubt, a House controlled by Republicans and a weakened control by Democrats of the Senate, will seek to obviate these treacherous attempts to destroy the economy.
It is, however, the FCC’s attack on free speech and freedom of the press via the Internet that tells Americans everything they need to know about President Obama and his lackeys.
© Alan Caruba, 2010