Some Internet Language We'd Like to See in the GOP Platform
Here's some language we'd like to see in the appropriate section of the GOP platform. In case anyone's interested:
The Internet is a platform for disruption, allowing individuals, private enterprises and entrepreneurs to communicate and engage in commerce in new ways, breaking down walls of distance, size and established power. Regulators and tax collectors, threatened by the disruptive Internet that empowers people and private businesses, are pushing for their powers to regulate and tax to grow in the same way, across borders and reaching every corner of the Internet. The Republican Party should consistently support Internet policies that allow people and private enterprise to thrive, without providing new and expanded powers to tax and regulate so that the Internet does not become the vehicle for a dramatic expansion of government power. Maintaining fundamental principles of limited government in an increasingly Internet-enabled world is a critical role for the party that puts people ahead of government bureaucracies and regulators. Read More >>
The Problem with Chaffetz as Speaker
You could hardly have a more fluid situation than what is going on right now with regard to future Republican House leadership, so this blog may be out of date before it’s finished. But as I’m writing, several people are maneuvering for leadership positions, and the general grassroots mood is that they want a “real conservative.”
(Of course, what a “real conservative” is differs literally from activist to activist. If they agree with you down the line on every single issue, they are a “real conservative,” and if they disagree with you on anything, they are a RINO. Apparently. Which is the biggest problem the conservative movement has right now. It’s principles, people. Anyway . . . )
One candidate who some feel is the “real conservative” for Speaker of the House is Jason Chaffetz from Utah. Chaffetz is an interesting case. Is Chaffetz the “real conservative” option?
Well, yes, the Obama administration doesn’t like Chaffetz, but that’s largely because he chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and thus has been looking into Executive Branch.
But conservatives mostly define themselves by their principles, and one of the pretty bedrock principles is constitutional federalism. On that front, Chaffetz is troubling, for at least two reasons. Read More >>
State of Tennessee vs. Federal Communications Commission
I've just received a copy of the lawsuit from the State of Tennessee against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the FCC's order that attempts to overturn laws passed in states regulating municipal broadband networks in those states.
The argument is pretty clear and straightforward, as indeed I think it is. This is a most blatant violation of federalism. There is no constitutional grounds for a federal regulator to think it can overturn laws passed by the duly elected legislatures of the states.
In the Order, the FCC preempts Tennessee law pertaining to the operation of municipal electric plants, including the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, an instrumentality of the City of Chattanooga, created and controlled by the State of Tennessee. In doing so, the FCC has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State's own political subdivisions. The State of Tennessee, as a sovereign and a party to the proceeding below, is aggrieved and seeks relief on the grounds that the Order 1) is contrary to the United States Constitution; 2) is in excess of the Commission's authority; 3) is arbitary, capricious and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedures Act; and 4) is otherwise contrary to law. . . . Accordingly, the State of Tennessee respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside the Order, and provide such additional relief as may be appropriate.
Amen. Read More >>
Good Riddance, FCC Blackout Rules
This morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to eliminate its sports blackout rule, which helped the NFL justify blacking out the broadcast of NFL games that were not sold out.
The blackout rule was always a case of the FCC getting government involved in the business model of a company/league, which is always a mistake. Policy and business models should never be confused. Government sets policy, and then people go out and create business models. Government should not be creating or distorting or assisting anyone's business model. Read More >>
"Welcome to the Stupid Internet" Still Holds Up
This past week I filmed an episode of the McCuistion program, a public affairs TV show that airs around the country, and the topic was net neutrality. It should air in a couple of months.
The program began with Tim Wu's definition of net neutrality, which is essentially the principle of non-discrimination: All bits have to be treated the same, with no discrimination. Essentially, the "dumb pipes" argument all over again.
This emphasis on non-discrimination reminded me of the first op/ed I wrote against net neutrality way back in 2006, in the early days of the net neutrality debate, entitled "Welcome to the Stupid Internet."
The piece is no longer archived on the San Jose Mercury News site, so we keep it archived here.
It's interesting to me that we are still at non-discrimination after all these years.
Here's what I think is interesting: For those eight years, we did not have net neutrality regulations, and the Internet blossomed. So . . . doesn't that mean that net neutrality proponents were wrong, and that the Internet was just fine without net neutrality regulations?
Oldie but goodie.
Video of Tom Giovanetti Speaking on the U.S. Relinquishing Control of Internet Root Zone Functions
I was honored to speak at a panel discussion on Friday sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee on whether transferring control of the Internet root zone functions from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce to some yet-to-be-determined multistakeholder organization is a good thing.
No Clear Cut Winner From DC Circuit Net Neutrality Decision
As an early opponent of network neutrality regulations, it’s tempting for me to characterize as a victory today’s DC Circuit Court decision throwing out some of the FCC’s network neutrality rules, and indeed it is a victory—in part, and for now. It’s true that the court threw out the most onerous rule on anti-discrimination, while also tossing out a symbolic anti-blocking rule that market proponents understand was completely unnecessary.
But the Court agreed with the FCC on its authority to regulate broadband services, which means Verizon lost on its core assertion that the FCC had no statutory authority to regulate broadband networks. This is underscored by new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s triumphalist reaction to the case. Everyone spins the results of important court decisions such as this, but the early social media reactions that “Verizon won and the FCC lost” were an uninformed oversimplification. Read More >>
A worthy amendment to limit NSA spying
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” –Thomas Jefferson
Conservatives get off track on issues like privacy when they lose sight of the fact that government’s first priority is NOT to protect Americans’ security, but is rather to protect Americans’ freedom. If you assume that government’s first job is to protect national security, you are already on the thinnest end of the wedge that eventually leads to a surveillance state, which is simply the last bus stop just before a police state. Our system, including the justice system, by design correctly values freedom over security anytime the two come into conflict, which as it turns out is pretty often.
So public horror at the disclosure of widespread data collection on the activities of ordinary Americans by the National Security Agency is entirely warranted. People realize that, while there is always going to be a tension between security and privacy, discovering that the federal government is building massive databases of our phone communication, Internet activity, credit card transactions and God knows what else suggests that the government has crossed the line and is prioritizing security over freedom. Read More >>
Supreme Court rules in favor of FCC vs. City of Arlington
There has been a huge problem over the past few years with municipalities dragging their feet on approving permits to allow cell phone towers to be constructed, or even to allow new transmitters to be added to existing towers or to buildings.
Municipalities have been doing this on purpose, largely at the urging of consultants, who suggest the delays at least in part as a way to extract concessions from the wireless companies. It’s been a big problem, with municipalities complaining to the wireless companies about poor service coverage and then at the same time unnecessarily delaying permits to address the problem.
IPI has written about this problem several times, and one of the solutions we suggested was that municipalities should be put on a shot clock and given only a limited amount of time that they could delay such applications.
Which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did.
Upon which action the City of Arlington, Texas, which is just about 30 miles from where I sit, challenged the regulation, claiming that the FCC didn’t have the authority to regulate how they approved applications for cellphone towers. Read More >>
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