We know the new proposed rules being placed on the Internet total 332 pages. So far, that is about all we know. This week the FCC voted to adopt those proposed rules (3 yea – 2 nea). As yet they have not published those rules.
A number of pundits on the Right are claiming the failure to publish the 332 pages is a continuing cover up. Well… yes and no. But, I am disinclined to believe those claiming this publishing delay is a big deal.
The first fact in the continuing debate about publishing the rules is about bureaucratic life. Understanding government processes used by bureaucrats gives a rational answer. The adopted rules, all 332 pages, were a draft proposal. In other words, these are the rules written as a statement of principles. They aren’t the formalized version of the principals written in the legalese necessary for implementation. We will now go through weeks if not months of process to formalize the rules.
While Chairman Wheeler’s refusal to published the rules before the vote is highly suggestive something unpleasant is coming and something that departs from all the public feedback given to the FCC in past public comment periods, a refusal at this point is sort of the norm.
Chairman Wheeler has the authority to release a draft before or after the vote. But, it is not uncommon to withhold a draft after a vote. After all this isn’t an election where a vote is a clear decision, or can be. I’ve heard this vote described as being more like a supreme court decision. The formal written verdict in complex cases is not immediately released as there is a preparation process. In lower courts they immediately announce the courts finding ‘favor’ for the plaintiff or defendant, guilty or not guilty. But, it still may be some time before the final ruling is edited into legally precise language and published or a sentence imposed.
A part of the FCC’s process is to answer the objections of the dissenting minority before publishing the final rules and include them in the document.
This FCC vote is the culmination of a decade of effort by the far Left to sell the idea of controlling the Internet. Estimates are the Pro campaign has cost US$196 million paid by people like Soros (about 50%) and other ‘liberal’ organizations.
As I looked to see how much Anti-Neutrality people spent I come up with a number around $80 million, but I think that is low. Interestingly that number is first reported by the Sunlight Foundation and the numbers are subsequently used on most of the leftist side outlets of the media… most media. But, they only list the Pro-Neutrality spending in the area of $25 million.
The Sunlight Foundation (Funding) was founded by Zephyr Rain Teachout – Democrat, Duke and Yale educated, director of Howard Dean’s Internet election campaign, involved in Occupy Wall Street – definitely on the Left side.
See: Left-wing foundation influence disclosed among FCC rule-change petitioners – Daily Caller
The majority of the media is simply not honestly reporting how much was spent by either side. I’ve taken the numbers for the Anti-Neutrality people from the Leftist media and Pro-Neutrality from the conservative sites. But, all I can say for sure is both sides have spent tens if not hundreds of millions.
Also, influence in the final months has come from the Whitehouse applying pressure to the FCC. Enough so that many feel the President has overstepped laws and rules limiting his influence and they are starting an investigation. I doubt any actual laws were broken, but the FCC is supposed to be politically neutral and politicians are supposed to keep hands off. (WSJ) For more details of who is pushing Net Neutrality see the National Review: The powers behind the FCC’s muscling of the Internet. Socialists and radicals are the leaders of this movement. (Reference)
The political pressure to control the Internet has radically changed under Obama. Under Clinton, he and Internet pioneers worked together to promote a government hands-off approach to the Internet. Currently the founder of the M.I.T. Media Lab and the One Laptop per Child charity, Nicholas Negroponte, believes the idea of Net Neutrality makes no sense. I agree and the problems he points out are worth serious consideration.
Even the head of the Progressive Policy Institute, Will Marshall, has said Net Neutrality is a backward looking policy that will apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.
It is Robert McCheseny, co-founder of the Free Press, a liberal lobby group, that clearly states the goals of those pushing Net Neutrality, with the Free Press being a MAJOR player. The goal is to remove free market propaganda from the Internet. (Media Freedom) The National Review interviewed Mr. Chesney and he admitted he is a socialist and would ‘hesitate’ to deny he is a Marxist.
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
(Media Capitalism, the State and 21st Century Media Democracy Struggles: An Interview with Robert McChesney – The Bullet Socialist Project, August 9, 2009)
Net Neutrality is a step in a battle between the ideology of total government control socialists and free market proponents. Those that think Net Neutrality is about fairness have bought into the Alinsky style propaganda from the Left.
The courts have ruled against similar FCC actions in the past and when these new rules come before them they will likely rule against them again. So, all is not lost… yet. But, don’t expect these people to give up.
Congress, the people’s representatives, has refused to go along with the President by about a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate since well before the 2014 elections and the Republican takeover. Not being able to get his way via public debate in Congress and have a new law based on the debate, he has taken Executive action to by-pass Congress and the people. The President is helping the Free Press organization’s and the Left’s movement take control of the Internet. Their stated purpose of eliminating free speech on the Internet fits with this administration’s general anti-transparency stance.
We’ll see how bad… or good, things are in the next week or two when the rules get published. A short time after release they will publish the finalized rules in the Federal Register. Usually about 60 days after that they go into effect. I expect someone to take them to court before they go into effect.
Whatever the case, big money is in play and it should be obvious this is a battle of ideologies much greater then being about ‘fairness’ of Internet service. It is socialism verses the free market, at least according to the big money players. The idea that Neutrality is any part of this debate/process is a blatant misrepresentation of the goals and facts.