The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom

The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom

‘Net neutrality’ sounds nice, but the
Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter
innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers.

Tomorrow morning the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking
an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by
attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will
circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.

How did the FCC get here?

For years, proponents of so-called
“net neutrality” have been calling for strong regulation of broadband
“on-ramps” to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable
or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the
Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from
thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.

David Klein

Nothing is broken that needs fixing,
however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off
from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse
and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to
protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and
the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation
was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet
technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband
companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the
perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising
operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain
that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules
anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data
driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the

It wasn’t long ago that
bipartisan and international consensus centered on insulating the Internet from
regulation. This policy was a bright hallmark of the Clinton administration,
which oversaw the Internet’s privatization. Over time, however, the call for
more Internet regulation became imbedded into a 2008 presidential campaign
promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama. So here we are.

Last year, FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski started to fulfill this promise by proposing rules using a
legal theory from an earlier commission decision (from which I had dissented in
2008) that was under court review. So confident were they in their case, FCC
lawyers told the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., that their
theory gave the agency the authority to regulate broadband rates, even though
Congress has never given the FCC the power to regulate the Internet. FCC
leaders seemed caught off guard by the extent of the court’s April 6 rebuke of
the commission’s regulatory overreach.

In May, the FCC leadership
floated the idea of deeming complex and dynamic Internet services equivalent to
old-fashioned monopoly phone services, thereby triggering price-and-terms
regulations that originated in the 1880s. The announcement produced what has
become a rare event in Washington: A large, bipartisan majority of Congress
agreeing on something. More than 300 members of Congress, including 86
Democrats, contacted the FCC to implore it to stop pursuing Internet regulation
and to defer to Capitol Hill.

Facing a powerful
congressional backlash, the FCC temporarily changed tack and convened
negotiations over the summer with a select group of industry representatives
and proponents of Internet regulation. Curiously, the commission abruptly
dissolved the talks after Google and Verizon, former Internet-policy rivals,
announced their own side agreement for a legislative blueprint. Yes, the effort
to reach consensus was derailed by . . . consensus.

After a long August silence, it
appeared that the FCC would defer to Congress after all. Agency officials began
working with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman on a
draft bill codifying network management rules. No Republican members endorsed
the measure. Later, proponents abandoned the congressional effort to regulate
the Net.

More on Technology

Still feeling quixotic
pressure to fight an imaginary problem, the FCC leadership this fall pushed a
small group of hand-picked industry players toward a “choice” between
a bad option (broad regulation already struck down in April by the D.C. federal
appeals court) or a worse option (phone monopoly-style regulation).
Experiencing more coercion than consensus or compromise, a smaller industry
group on Dec. 1 gave qualified support for the bad option. The FCC’s action
will spark a billable-hours bonanza as lawyers litigate the meaning of
“reasonable” network management for years to come. How’s that for
regulatory certainty?

To date, the FCC hasn’t
ruled out increasing its power further by using the phone monopoly laws,
directly or indirectly regulating rates someday, or expanding its reach deeper
into mobile broadband services. The most expansive regulatory regimes
frequently started out modest and innocuous before incrementally growing into
heavy-handed behemoths.

On this winter solstice, we
will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches
of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The
darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s
night for Internet freedom.

Mr. McDowell is a Republican commissioner of the Federal
Communications Commission.

Censors In, Liberty Out

Censors In, Liberty Out

Eileen F. Toplansky

We are learning that Elena Kagan would be quite comfortable subverting the First Amendment’s right to free speech.  In May of this year, activist Nat Hentoff, renowned authority on the First Amendment, sounded the alarm when he wrote that “last September, Kagan, then Obama’s solicitor general was asked to consider the government’s case for limits to corporations’ political speech rights (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).  During the oral argument, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Kagan how far the government could censor corporations’ political speech.  Roberts queried, “If you say you are not going to apply (censorship) to a book (about the candidates), what about a pamphlet?”
Kagan, a former Dean of the Harvard Law School replied, “I think a pamphlet would be different.  A pamphlet is pretty classic electioneering.”  So, in her judgment, the government could penalize such corporate speech.
American patriot Thomas Paine, author of the pamphlet “Common Sense,” and the “The Crisis” is turning over in his grave as is Samuel Adams, author of the pamphlet entitled “The Rights of the Colonists.”  The stench emanating from Obama and his cohorts is getting stronger by the day.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
“The [Obama] government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech.  It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their view on matters of public concern.

“Its theory, if accepted, would empower the Government to prohibit newspapers from running editorials or opinion pieces supporting or opposing candidates for office, so long as the newspapers were owned by corporations-as the major ones are.  First Amendment rights could be confined to individuals, [thus] subverting the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy.”

Thus, as Anthony G. Martin has opined, it is clear that the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court is intended to bolster the Obama’s intention to censor anything he chooses.  Obama, the dictator would come full circle.
Why aren’t the journalists up in arms about this?  Don’t they see that this is yet another of Obama’s serial double-crossing strategy? He smooth talks a group, invites them into his lair, and then tears them apart when they are no longer useful to him. What is blinding reporters who cannot perceive the end result of the ill-named Fairness Doctrine, a tactic of Obama who has publicly stated that he wants to suppress and control conservative talk radio, for starters?
In his book entitled Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel, Anatoli Kuznetsov writes,
“…books are always being burnt.  The library at Alexandria went up in flames, the Inquisition had their bonfires…books were burnt under Stalin; there have been bonfires in the squares under Hitler, and there will be more and more of them burnt.  There are always more people to burn books than to write them…this is the first sign of trouble-if books are burned, that means things are going wrong.  It means that you are surrounded by force, fear and ignorance, that power is in the hands of the barbarians.”
Of course, Mr. Obama, the genteel, would never actually stoop to burning books — yet!
But censorship has always been the prelude to the bonfires.
The fact that a Jewish woman would even consider censorship makes this all the morevile.  She, of all people, should recall “a rule worth remembering:  Wherever hatred against Jews became inflamed, Jewish books or Jews or both were burned.  Such events took place in pagan Rome in the first century of the Common Era, in Christian Spain in the fifteenth century and in Nazi Germany in the twentieth century.
Nine years before the furnaces in Auschwitz and other death camps were lit, Jewish books were consigned to the flames in Germany.  The flames that burned the portrait of Albert Einstein became the signal for the first bonfire.  Jewish history shows that side by side with their books, especially the Talmud, Jews themselves were burned as well.  This occurred in Paris in the thirteenth century, in Rome and in Holland in the sixteenth, in Poland in the eighteenth.  As People of the Book, Jews and their books suffered a common fate.
That Ms. Kagan would give a scintilla of aid to bolster the Obama Administration’s intention to undo the First Amendment is a terrifying attack on American liberties. 
Eileen can be reached at

SCOTUS theater: Kagan kabuki

Lead Story

SCOTUS theater: Kagan kabuki

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 28, 2010 04:12 AM

Places, places everyone.

Today, the curtain officially opens on the Senate “battle” over Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. “Battle” gets ghost quotes because all the poohbahs on Capitol Hill are already treating her confirmation as a “foregone conclusion.”

Beltway Republicans will put up just enough of a fight to placate grass-roots conservative activists on Kagan’s radical social views, while the nutroots will pout (but not too loudly) that Kagan isn’t enough of a liberal activist for them. And GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham, after several minutes of obligatory grandstanding mixed with obsequious suck-uppage, will cast his vote with Kagan and Obama — as he did with Sonia Sotomayor (whom he praised as “bold” and edgy”).

Here’s one MSM list of the “5 things to watch out for” during Kagan Kabuki.

I would add:

Will Kagan impersonate Goodwin Liu? Confronted with his radical writings and speeches, Obama’s far Left 9th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee cut and ran from his long-held political beliefs on everything from the welfare state to racial quotas to the role of the judiciary.

Will Kagan impersonate Joe Biden? Kagan’s hostility to the 2nd amendment is certain to be raised by Republicans. When faced with criticism from gun-owners regarding his boss’s views, Biden turned into a gun-slinging cowboy — and attempted to assuage self-defense activists by bragging about his own shotguns and Berretta.

(Speaking of guns, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling today in the gun rights McDonald v. Chicago case.

How many times will we hear the Kagan=”everyday people/compelling personal story” meme before the hearings are through? Hey, it worked for Sonia Sotomayor

– How quickly will left-wing WaPo fashion writer Robin Givhan (who bashed Bush-nominated Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’ children’s clothes) crank out a piece praising Kagan’s sensible, down-to-earth, common people style?

– How many times will we hear Democrat Senators vouch for Kagan’s commitment to social-engineering “diversity” at Harvard?

How many Senators have actually read through the 44,000-plus pages of Kagan-authored legal memos, analysis and other documents during the Clinton era just released less than two weeks ago. Answer: ZERO.

Americans United for Life has a Kagan backgrounder and questions for the nominee has a rundown of today’s events:

Lee Ross at

Monday’s kickoff will be the most scripted day of the confirmation hearing that is expected to last all week. The day is dedicated to opening statements from the 19 Senate Judiciary Committee members (12 Democrats and seven Republicans) and the nominee. Kagan will be presented to the committee by Massachusetts Senators John Kerry (D) and Scott Brown (R). In between her work in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, Kagan was a professor at Harvard Law School outside Boston. It is customary for nominees to be presented to the committee by their home state senators, though Kagan was born and raised in New York City and once taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

Kagan’s statement to the committee will not come until late in the afternoon and will end the hearing’s first day. It will mark the first substantive remarks from her since the May 10 nomination announcement at the White House. In the weeks since, Kagan has met with 62 senators and more recently has spent several hours each day preparing her answers to questions she expects to hear.

Here’s a brief summation of conservative concerns about Kagan from Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch. I know. I know. It’s Senator Open Borders Hatch. But at least he’s right about this:

“Judges who bend the Constitution to their own values and who use the Constitution to pursue their own vision for society take this right away from the people and undermine liberty itself.”

Jewish Clergy Group: Elena Kagan Isn’t ‘Kosher’ to Serve on Supreme Court

Jewish Clergy Group: Elena Kagan Isn’t ‘Kosher’ to Serve on Supreme Court
Friday, June 25, 2010
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America. (Photo courtesy of the Alliance)
( – Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is “not kosher” — meaning she is not fit to serve on the court — according to more than 850 Orthodox members of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. That’s the term the rabbis used about Kagan in a press release issued Thursday, saying “Elena Kagan is not kosher. She is not fit to sit on this Court — or any court.”
Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the alliance, told on Thursday that “a great deal has been made about the fact that she would be the second Jewish woman on the court, and we want to signal to people across the country that we take no pride in this.” 
Levin said most people are happy when “one of their own” is nominated to such a high position. But, he added, “We feel that Elena Kagan turns traditional Judaism on its head – from a concept of a nation of priests and holy people, she is turning it into, ‘Let’s homosexualize every segment of society. And by the way, partial-birth babies have no right to be delivered.’”
In a statement issued Thursday, the rabbinical alliance called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to refuse to confirm Kagan to succeed the outgoing Justice John Paul Stevens.
“It is clear from Ms. Kagan’s record on issues such as abortion-on-demand, partial-birth-abortion, the radical homosexual and lesbian agenda, the “supremacy” of the anti-family panoply over religious liberties of biblical adherents, et. al., that she will function as a flame-throwing radical, hastening society’s already steep decline into Sodom and Gomorrah,” the rabbis said in the statement.
Levin told that his fellow rabbis – and hundreds of thousands of Orthodox and traditional Jews – are puzzled at the president’s choice of Kagan.
“What exactly was Obama thinking, President Obama thinking, when he nominated Kagan? Because eventually, down the road, someone — or some group — is going to ‘take the hit’ for the crazy decisions that Kagan is bound to make. So we would have much preferred if President Obama had given this ‘distinction’ to another minority group, instead of singling out the Jews.”
Barring a rebuff from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Levin told that the rabbis want someone in the Senate to launch a filibuster to stop Kagan’s nomination from coming to a vote.
‘We’re waiting for the more courageous, decent senators – whether it’s a (Sen.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) or a (Sen.) Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) or a (Sen.) Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) – we’re looking for them to stand up and filibuster this embarrassing endangerment of a nomination,” Levin said.

Confirmation hearings for Kagan begin Monday at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) nor  Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) — both members of the committee, known Kagan supporters and top Jewish members of the Senate — responded to calls for comment on this story

EXCLUSIVE: Documents Show Kagan’s Liberal Opinion on Social Issues

EXCLUSIVE: Documents Show Kagan’s Liberal Opinion on Social Issues

June 4th, 2010

by Jan Crawford, CBS News

Elena Kagan has kept her cards so close to the vest that in the days after President Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court, some on the left worried she was too moderate to replace liberal Justice John Paul Stevens.

But in documents obtained by CBS News, Kagan–while working as a law clerk to the late Justice Thurgood Marshall – made her positions clear on some of the nation’s most contentious social issues.

The documents, buried in Marshall’s papers in the Library of Congress, show Kagan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the liberal left, at a time when the Rehnquist Supreme Court was moving to the conservative right.

They also provide a remarkably candid picture of her opinions, including on the most controversial issue Supreme Court nominees ever confront: abortion.

Although Kagan’s confirmation has thus far been an all but foregone conclusion, sources say these documents will give Republicans a few cards of their own to mount a strong fight against her.

And they will only heighten demands for more information on her views–including interest in her papers in the Clinton Library. Some of the Clinton Library documents, which cover her time working in that administration, could be released as early as Friday.

Read More

Elena Kagan Qualifications (the cartoon)

Obama; Free yourself from distractions – like information

Obama; Free yourself from distractions – like information

Cindy Simpson

Obama’s “million-mouthed dog,” Organizing for America (OFA), was especially busy the week leading up to Obama’s commencement address at Hampton University on May 9, in which he bemoaned information technology as “a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment.”

On May 6, the OFA blog encouraged its 13 million supporters to engage in the “fun” technology of the President’s twitter account:

One of the great features of Twitter is the ability to create lists of people or organizations you follow. It’s a fun and useful way to organize the jumble of information that arrives in your Twitter home page each day and to find new accounts to follow based on common interests or associations.

Currently President Obama’s Twitter account includes a list that links you to the local Organizing for America accounts for all 50 states. You can find a lot of helpful information here to get involved in supporting the President’s agenda for change, tailored specifically to your home state…

More than 66,000 Twitter users have added President Obama to their lists. If you haven’t already, add @BarackObama to one of your own.

Then on May 7, OFA director Mitch Stewart asked members to “speak out” with a bark “too loud to ignore,” saying:  “We want to overwhelm the phone lines of Republican senators, who are threatening to stand in the way of Wall Street reform.”  With a click on a link and the input of a zip code, members could easily locate phone numbers, view a suggested script, and report back to headquarters on their progress.

OFA threw a bone (or perhaps a tug on the leash?) to supporters the day before the commencement on May 8 with another weekly, specially-produced video address by Obama entitled:  “Heath Reform Starts to Kick In.” As a special treat, slow-learners could read along with the captioning provided at the bottom of the screen.

Obama, in his commencement speech, warned graduating Hampton students:

…[Y]ou’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — (laughter) — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of [epantsapation].

Recall back in the early days of this never-ending campaign how strongly Obama feels about these “distractions.”

Obama further counseled Hampton graduates:

With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not.

Americans must need a “Truth Czar,” like Cass Sunstein, to ensure this information is provided by only approved and licensed breeders.

In the meantime, we can only hope that pesky teleprompter receives better spelling training.  Unless “epantsapation” was just some sort of distracting computer glitch.

Following his Hampton address, Obama emailed another special video message to the kennel to ask for support of his nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Heel, America.


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