The Next Turn of the Ratchet

Creeping up on little cat feet is the war on access to the internet. The rulers don’t like that people can speak to other people freely on-line. They really hate that people can talk about the rulers on-line, without fear of prosecution. So, they want to regulate the Internet, which means shitting down open debate.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants to give federal regulators sweeping new powers over Internet access.

The move is necessary, she said Monday, to save net neutrality and protect Internet users. But Republicans and business groups warn that applying utility-style regulations to the Internet would strangle economic growth and ultimately mean worse Internet service.

“I oppose special Internet fast lanes, only open to those firms large enough to pay big money or fraught enough to give up big stakes in their company,” the California Democrat wrote in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, urging him to classify broadband as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act.

Pelosi is the latest—and highest-ranking—Democrat to back the controversial regulatory maneuver. Her position puts more political pressure on Wheeler and the other commission Democrats to invoke the powers.

Supporters argue that using Title II is the only way to enact net-neutrality rules that can hold up in court. In January, a federal court struck down the old net-neutrality rules, which were based on weaker authority under Title I of the law.

Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Wheeler prompted a major backlash earlier this year by proposing new rules that would allow broadband providers to charge websites for faster service in certain cases.

As soon as you tell providers that they cannot discriminate as to who they allow on their networks, the Feds can start telling them who they can allow on their networks. The Left can hoot and holler all they like about equal access, but what they seek is something like the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet. Regulators can then tax speech they don’t like by telling ISP’s they have too much or too little of certain content.

Virtually all Democrats support net neutrality, but only some of them have explicitly called for the FCC to reclassify Internet providers. So far, 14 senators and 37 House members have backed the controversial option.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to defend the agency’s rules, but he hasn’t taken a position on which regulatory provision the agency should use. President Obama has said he opposes Internet fast lanes, but has also been silent on Title II.

Republicans and broadband providers, however, have promised to do everything they can to stop the FCC from using its Title II powers on the Internet. In a May letter to the FCC, House GOP leaders warned that applying “antiquated regulation on the Internet” would “needlessly inhibit the creation of American private-sector jobs, limit economic freedom and innovation, and threaten to derail one of our economy’s most vibrant sectors.”

You see the classic recipe for a break of the walls. All of the Democrats are for it and the Republicans are mounting a disorganized defense. That’s probably why the Left is feeling cocky enough to offer up an amendment to the Constitution that repeals the First Amendment.

Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political
equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral
process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits
on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to
influence elections.

The Citizen’s United case has sent the Left bonkers because it breaks their lock on campaign financing. If you look at the big money operations in politics, they tilt Left. A little math shows they get 72% of the money from the top-10 donors. The Democrats have been the party of plutocrats for decades, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Citizens United lets the GOP target rich individuals and corporations to try and even the playing field, which is why the Left is going crazy trying to repeal the First Amendment.

Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement
and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may
distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other
artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such
entities from spending money to influence elections.

The last part, “influence elections” is where the real mischief lies. Limiting how much a candidate can spend or how much someone can give to a candidate is odious, but not lethal. Once you allow the regulation of influence, you have a licensing regime for political participation. Since just about anyone could influence an election, everyone will need permission from the state to participate in politics. This would extend to the media, even though they say it does not.

Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant
Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the

News companies are corporations and the people who work there are natural persons. If you can pass a law banning corporations from influencing elections, then you have effectively banned the New York Times from editorializing about campaign or endorsing candidates. Since I’m a human and this blog is written by me, Harry Reid could ban me from blogging about the campaigns. If you don’t think that’s how it works, just consider how the court has pretended the health care mandate is a tax.

Harry Reid will not live to see this pass, but that does not mean it will die with him. This time it will fail but they will come back with something else. They will keep trying until they find some way to get greater control political speech. Today it sounds absurd, but a generation ago it was absurd to think bakers would be forced at gun point to make cakes for homosexuals. Yet, here we are.

4 thoughts on “The Next Turn of the Ratchet

  1. Section 1 scares me the most Z-man. It enshrines democracy and political equality (whatever that means) as the cornerstone of American government rather than representative government and federalism. The words “democracy” and “democratic” currently appear nowhere in the Constitution or its amendments.

    Making the U.S. a democracy is always the goal.

  2. No need exists to repress what is already the most effective propaganda arm of the Cathedral, but the internet on the other hand is a vexing problem indeed, or, at the very least, a constant source of embarrassment.

    An eloquent Republican (I kid) would connect the dots for the millenials, who are outraged, however incoherently, over the talk of abridging their rights to read or publish. But I expect that the left will in time be successful in spinning the issue for them, because they are already children of the left.

  3. That’s cute: It doesn’t give congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press, but it does give congress the power to arbitrarily define who’s included in “the press”.

  4. At what point does the USA collapse from this fiddling with the machinery of government and culture?

    Dan Kurt

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