Not long after FCC chairman Tom Wheeler swore that the FCC takeover of the Internet wouldn’t result in new taxes or fees, it appears likely that new taxes will show up on Internet bills in the near future.
In mid-March, Wheeler told a House panel that he couldn’t, in fact, rule out a new Internet fee to help pay for the government’s “Universal Service Fund” (USF).
By shoving the Internet into the agency’s Title II regulatory scheme — which was set up 80 years ago to regulate the telephone monopoly — Wheeler made it possible to do so.
He said a special board representing federal and state governments was weighing whether to impose that tax. Right now, the USF is paid for by a tax added to long-distance bills.
“How they resolve things in the future I do not know,” he told the House committee.
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These are Democrats. They never met a tax they didn’t like. Or one they couldn’t increase. You’d have to be an idiot, or an Obamabot, to pretend otherwise.
And The Los Angeles Times is calling the FCC out.
The Los Angeles Times doesn’t seem to think so. An article published Thursday leads with: “Recently adopted net neutrality regulations soon could make your monthly Internet bill more complicated — and potentially more expensive.”
It quotes Hal Singer of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute, who figures the USF fee and various other charges that state and local government are likely to add to Internet bills will cost consumers around $11 billion a year.
Not exactly chump change, eh?
And remember, back in December Wheeler bumped the current USF tax by $1.5 billion so he could spend more on subsidies for broadband in schools and libraries.
Handing out free internet to his homies has always been one of Obama’s policy goals. Now he’s got 11 billion reasons to add an ObamaNet subscription to every ObamaPhone out there.
If you like your internet service, you can keep your internet service. You’ll just be paying a lot more for it. Which doesn’t sound all that “neutral” to me.
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Sorry Net Neutrality knuckleheads, don’t say we didn’t warn you. But now it’s too late to be complaining about how when the jackbooted thugs of the FCC take aim at the internet they’re gonna squash your hopes and dreams too.
Netflix CFO David Wells, in comments at an industry conference, said the company’s preference was that broadband Internet service should not be regulated by the U.S. government as a telecommunications utility — appearing to backtrack on Netflix’s previous stance on the issue, although the company later said that its position remained unchanged.
Last year, Netflix urged the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecom service, under Title II of the Communications Act. In a July 2014 filing, Netflix said that “Title II provides [the FCC with] a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. Opposition to Title II is largely political, not legal.”
But Wells said that the FCC’s adoption of Title II regulations covering broadband was not, in fact, Netflix’s preferred outcome. On Wednesday, Wells — speaking at the 2015 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco — said that, while the streaming-video company wanted to see “strong” net neutrality measures to ensure content providers would be protected against ISPs charging arbitrary interconnection fees, Netflix ultimately wanted the situation resolved without government intervention.
“Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not,” Wells said at the conference. “We were hoping there might be a non-regulated solution.”
Translation? We didn’t expect the FCC to regulate us, just all those other guys.
Yeah, tough noogies numbnuts. The Title II ship has sailed, thanks in no small part to you and your company’s mendacity. You asked for it, you got it. Now live with the consequences.
Net neutrality and 5G may be on a collision course as the mobile industry tries to prepare for a wide range of mobile applications with differing needs.
The net neutrality rules passed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last week have raised some eyebrows at Mobile World Congress this week. The full text of the rules isn’t public yet, but mobile movers and shakers are having their say. The latest questions involve 5G, the next-generation standard that everyone here is trying to plan for.
The most common thing they think 5G will have to do is to serve a lot of different purposes. Regulators’ attempts to ban “fast lanes” and other special treatment might make that impossible, people who’ve been thinking about 5G said Wednesday.
Industrial sensors, self-driving cars and other emerging uses of the Internet have needs that can’t be met by a general-purpose network, Ericsson Group CTO Ulf Ewaldsson said during a panel discussion. That’s driving a global discussion on a so-called “industrial Internet” alongside the regular Internet that’s grown up around the Web and other consumer activities, he said.
Regulatory efforts like the FCC’s rules don’t see a distinction, Ewaldsson said. He didn’t slam the agency for this but said the mobile industry needs to do a better job of explaining what it’s trying to do. Most importantly, it’s not trying to block or throttle people’s access to the Internet, he said.
Gee, a law written in 1934 isn’t compatible with the technology of 2015. Who’da thunk it! And when it turns out that government is incapable of accommodating nuance, yeah that’s not exactly a News Flash either. Except, maybe, to the starry-eyed utopians who put their faith in bureaucracy instead of the free market.
Forget visions of “half fast” internet. Those days are gone now.
Henceforth the internet will run at the speed of government.
And the government will decide who can connect.
The government will decide how you’ll connect.
A bureaucrat will determine if your internet usage is in “the public interest.” And fine you if it isn’t.
How many of you are old enough to remember when the FCC regulated telephone service? I am.
We could have any kind of telephone we wanted, so long as we wanted a black rotary dial desk phone.
We could call anywhere in the world we wanted, so long as we scheduled all “long distance” calls in advance and paid upwards of $20 per minute.
And we could connect anything we wanted to our telephone line, so long as we submitted it to the FCC first so they could “certify” it, a process that typically took dozens of years.
In 1982 Judge Harold Greene nuked the FCC’s control over the telephone system. He ordered the breakup of AT&T, and he initiated a technological open season which in a few short years brought us the iPhone, FiOS, Wi-Fi, Google, Amazon, and yes, the internet as we knew it.
Yes, knew, past tense.
Because today Barack Obama’s lackeys on the FCC turned back the clock. The internet will henceforth be classified as a “telecommunications service” as defined in Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Back in 1934 telegrams were what passed for email. Back in 1934 the computer hadn’t been invented yet. Back in 1934 a Sears Catalog was as close as anyone got to online shopping.
By invoking that archaic law, the FCC gave itself broad power to control every aspect of your internet experience. To pick the websites you’re allowed to visit. To restrict which devices can be attached to your home network. To block “harmful” protocols like bittorrent. And of course to restrict anonymity via internet drivers licenses.
My friends, this is tyranny, pure and simple. And it came at the direct orders of Barack Hussein Obama.
Oh, and one more thing today’s action gives the FCC — the power to tax the internet. Ever notice the lines on your landline phone bill for “Universal Service Fund” and “FCC Subscriber Line Charge”? Go look for them. Look at how much of your bill they represent. Then get ready to see the same charges on your internet bill, because the main thrust of Title II isn’t regulation. Oh sure, Title II gives the FCC the authority to regulate. But it also gives the FCC the ability to impose fees on regulated “telecommunications services.”
Fees, just another name for “taxes.”
Barack Obama loves taxes.
Once the government imposes a fee it takes an Act Of God to rescind it. Did you know that until 2006 you were paying a 3% surcharge on your phone bill? And you’d been paying that 3% surcharge since 1898 when it was imposed “temporarily” to help pay for the Spanish-American War? That was one of those “tax the rich” chimeras by the way. Back in 1898 only “rich people” had telephones.
It took 108 years to get rid of that “temporary” tax.
Wanna bet FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a similar plan to tax your broadband service so he can give internet access to everybody who signed up for an Obama phone?
Ronald Reagan once famously tried to explain government’s world view, and I agree with him. However, I do believe that the modern Democratic Party has perfected the practice.
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – Ronald Reagan
Government Internet takeover is coming
We do not have much time left to stop this gigantic government takeover of the Internet. The FCC is voting on February 26th and the Left is mobilizing to support their effort to do so.
And of course, it is one of the favorites of the Tea Party that is taking this issue head on, NOT one of the “GOP-Good ‘Ole Boys” establishment types.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is stepping up his criticism of President Obama’s plan to regulate the internet, warning that new rules will lead to the types of taxes and fees slapped on telephones and cable service.
“Under this new regulatory regime, Internet service providers will be subject to these fees as well, and then pass them on to you, the consumer,” said Lee. “This is essentially a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on,” he added.
Lee’s warning comes in a new letter asking supporters to sign a petition demanding that the president withdraw his plans to reclassify the internet as a public utility. It follows other warnings from Lee on the issue.
Today Barack Obama’s hand-picked FCC chairman laid out his rational for taxing and regulating the internet. It’s because AOL’s Steve Case ate his lunch back in the 80’s.
I personally learned the importance of open networks the hard way. In the mid-1980s I was president of a startup, NABU: The Home Computer Network. My company was using new technology to deliver high-speed data to home computers over cable television lines. Across town Steve Case was starting what became AOL. NABU was delivering service at the then-blazing speed of 1.5 megabits per second—hundreds of times faster than Case’s company. “We used to worry about you a lot,” Case told me years later.
But NABU went broke while AOL became very successful.
Steve Case built a better mousetrap. Tom Wheeler went into government.
Vengence is mine, sayeth the Obamabots.
Tom Wheeler failed at business. So he’s going to punish everyone who has managed to succeed.
That’s the whole story. Sour grapes. Because the thing is, the problem Tom Wheeler’s 1980s company encountered won’t be alleviated by his definition of Net Neutrality.
My proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling.
Can you guess what NABU needed to make its cable internet venture successful?
Last mile unbundling.
Tom Wheeler needed the government to seize the private property of cable operators to make his dreams a reality. He needed free access to the wires coming into your house so he could put his magic gizmos on them. The very thing he’s saying he won’t demand.
But the fact remains, he didn’t want to pay for those wires. He didn’t want to rent those wires. He wanted them to be handed to him, on a silver platter, for free.
So why isn’t he now requiring last mile unblundling as part of his Net Neutrality initiative?
Because regulating the internet is only the first step. Nationalizing the internet is his, and his president’s goal. Total government control of what you download, what you see, and where your surf. For your own good, of course.
We used to call that censorship. Now it’s called Obamunism.
Imagine if the internet was an actual highway. (Remember Al Gore and his “information superhighway?”) Along the highway are billboards. Some of those billboards are bigger than others. Some are brighter. Some are closer to the road. Tom Wheeler’s billboard is in the next county. Nobody sees it. So his “solution?” Force you to drive on a 2 lane dirt road just so you do see it.
That’s Net Neutrality. Every billboard is equal.
Except, that’s not how America works.
Net Neutrality means everybody’s internet is equally slow.
You want to pay for faster internet? Sorry, you can’t. Because some schlub in Cleveland might be sad if he finds out his internet is slower than yours.
Adding insult to injury — the 16.1% tax Tom Wheeler is going to impose on your monthly internet bill.
Think of of it as Obamacare for the internet. He’ll tax you to subsidize broadband for “the underserved.” I’ll leave you to imagine how the population of the underserved intersects with the population of slacker Obama voters.
They want free internet. And Tom Wheeler and Barack Obama want you to pay for it.
There’s the dirty secret behind Net Neutrality. You pay. Obamabots get free downloads.
And Tom Wheeler gets to use his government position to stick it to Steve Case’s progenitors, so he can exact his pound of flesh and pretend he “won.”
The thing is, Steve Case did more to build and perfect the internet than Tom Wheeler ever could. And in 1,000 years, when history looks back at this era, Steve Case will be lauded as a visionary, while Tom Wheeler and Barack Obama will be forgotten, if not vilified and ridiculed for their pettiness.
Small comfort, for sure, when you and I are writing the checks.
Despite the shellacking they took in last week’s elections, the progressive power-grab continues unabated. Obama’s FEC is already debating how to regulate what you say on the internet. Now he’s demanding FCC regulation of what you can see on the internet too.
President Obama threw down the gauntlet Monday with cable companies and Internet providers by declaring they shouldn’t be allowed to cut deals with online services like YouTube to move their content faster.
It was his most definitive statement to date on so-called “net neutrality,” and escalates a battle that has been simmering for years between industry groups and Internet activists who warn against the creation of Internet “fast lanes.” The president’s statement swiftly drew an aggressive response from trade groups, which are fighting against additional regulation, as well as congressional Republicans.
“We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme” regulation, said Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the primary lobbying arm of the cable industry.
Obama, in his statement, called for an “explicit ban” on “paid prioritization,” or better, faster service for companies that pay extra. The president said federal regulators should reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.
Back in 1934 the internet was merely a gleam in Al Gore’s father’s eye. But the FCC was doing a bang-up job regulating its phone company predecessor — AT&T. You could have any phone you wanted, so long as it was a black rotary-dial desk phone. You could call anywhere you wanted, at $8 per minute for long distance. You could even get a mobile phone.
Like the telephone companies of old, broadband providers would be required to file a “tariff” at the commission, meaning they would submit mountains of paperwork and ask the government to approve the prices they intend to charge for services. The bureaucrats would then consider whether the prices are fair. FCC bureaucrats would also hold sway over plans to expand or build digital networks. Under such conditions, who would invest to build the next generation of broadband technologies?
Let’s have a show of hands? Who wants to trade their iPhone 6 for a 1946 Western Electric model 41A?
Didn’t think so.
It took deregulation of AT&T to give us the phone and internet choices we have today. So why would Obama want to put it all back under the government’s bureaucratic thumb?
Control. The progessives want to control what you say, see, and do. The internet is already “neutral,” anyone can log in, anyone can create content, and anyone can view anything.
Statists don’t like that.
So they create straw men, obviously ridiculous arguments designed to sway an unwary public into accepting their supposedly benevolent hegemony.
Comcast might prevent you from accessing Google!
Time Warner could slow down Netflix!
Trust me, these doomsday scenarios are pure fantasy. Comcast and Time Warner do not want to face the wrath of their subscribers. Just look at the hullabaloo that already occurs when FCC-regulated TV channels demand higher subscription fees from cable operators, and the cable operators turn them off. Consumerscomplain, because FCC “must carry” regulations interfere with the free market and the end result is higher prices for cable TV.
The internet doesn’t need the FCC telling them what to pipe into your home.
You should get to decide that, not lobbyists and bureaucrats.
And if you want to pay Netflix, and if Netflix wants to pay Time Warner to give them a faster path into your home, why is that anybody’s business but yours?
The idea that the internet has always treated all content equally is a bald-faced lie. Internet operators discriminate every day. They have to. Some data is more important than others. The concept is known as QoS — Quality of Service. Without it, the internet would be unusable.
Asking Netflix to pay for a connection to the internet is no different from asking you to pay for a connection. But Net Neutrality mavens believe Netflix should get a free ride. Why? I dunno. Maybe Netflix has great lobbyists, or maybe Netflix hires cool kidz and lets them play XBox all day. Whatever the reason, the progressives are insistent that Netflix, and all the other content providers, should get a free pathdirectly into your PC.
I happen to have some experience with running a network and delivering content. Many years ago, before home broadband, there was dialup. And my day job set up a dialup service for insurance agents to access policy and claims information electronically.
It took the agents about 15 minutes to discover they could also use the dialup service to download pornography. Lots and lots and lots of pornography. It got to the point where the pornography ate up all the available bandwidth (download speed) we had. And thus no insurance data was able to get through.
I blocked the pornagraphy sites. Yeah, that’s right, I violated Net Neutrality. Because the people paying the bills wanted to get what they were paying for. And, I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, the pornography sites weren’t willing to pay me.
Now imagine Obama’s FCC telling me I couldn’t do that. Imagine me being forced to carry all the pornography the insurance agents wanted. Because right there is the essence of Net Neutrality. Everything is “equal.” It’s also the core maxim of communism by the way, except you quickly learn that under communism some people are more “equal” than others. So it will go with FCC regulation of the internet. The government will pick the winners (and the losers).
Here’s a tip, when the government is involved, the winners never include you.
And ever since, the government has been trying to control it, if not ban it outright. The proliferation of news sources since the onset of the internet has been a thorn in the side of our statists since day one, and they aren’t going to stop. Just think about it; the internet did for news what the printing press did for knowledge itself. It increased accessibility to a world of news and information that was previously inaccessible. Governments don’t like that-it pokes holes in narratives.
Well Congress is at it again. They’re trying to ram through a bill called the “Marketplace Fairness Act” and it’s anything but fair. It’s a bill that would fundamentally change interstate commerce by imposing tax burdens on Internet-based businesses while not applying the same burdens to brick-and-mortar companies. It’s extremely discriminatory by its very nature. Representative Mike Enzi (R, Wyo) tried to introduce this flawed bill back in February, but it met stiff opposition in committee so Enzi was forced to shelve it. Two months later it has been restructured so that it qualifies for a Senate rule that allows Harry Reid to bypass committee debate and bring it straight to the floor. This is how Congress rams through unpopular/controversial bills it doesn’t want examined or debated with a critical eye. Representative Enzi should be ashamed of himself for advancing it in this manner. Didn’t he learn anything from the passage of ObamaCare and all the procedural chicanery that took place to ram it through? It just goes to show you there really isn’t much difference in the two parties anymore. They both support the growth of government and will use the system to achieve this goal. In the end it’s American people who continue to get screwed by these hacks.
If ever there was an example of “Crony Capitalism” this is it. Investopedia defines Crony Capitalism as;
A description of capitalist society as being based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.
Try and guess who the bill’s biggest supporters are. If you guessed big retail chains like Wal-Mart and state and local governments then you are correct. Most big retailers support this bill being rushed through the senate because they know it adds an extensive layer of bureaucracy on the backs of their internet competitors. This will achieve their goals of putting their competitors at an unfair disadvantage because the tax reporting burdens don’t apply to them. State and local governments see it as a way to squeeze more revenue out of the tax payer without looking like they’re raising taxes. And finally Amazon supports this bill. Why does Amazon support this bill you ask? Well Amazon just happens to have a tax compliance service that they are ready to sell to other companies and with the passage of this bill it opens up a whole new market for them. It’s eerily similar to the reason why AARP threw its support behind ObamaCare. When ObamaCare cut $400 billion from Medicare, AARP had the inside track on the Medi-gap insurance needed to make up for the shortfalls that people would feel because of the Medicare cuts. Like Amazon they saw a new market opening up for them with the passage of ObamaCare. This is the game being played in Washington these days and it sucks for us.
So as you can see this comes down to dirty politicians on both the federal and state level in bed with big retailers and Amazon to advance a bill that is mutually beneficial to both and one that screws the little guy. There are a few politicians that see this for what it is and they’re trying to slow it down.
Some of our conservative friends are backing this Internet tax raid as a way to raise revenue to avoid more state income-tax increases. More likely the new revenues will merely fund larger government. Republicans who are realists about government would be wiser to join Senators Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), who are leading the opposition.
I encourage you to contact your elected official and let them know you don’t support this bill. It’s a bad bill that smells of “Crony Capitalism” and that’s why they’re trying to ram it through in the name of fairness. This bill is anything but fair and I’m personally tired of these phony politicians always giving the little guy the shaft.
The subject of sales tax on internet sales is something to which I haven’t paid much attention. From time to time some of the conservative blogs I follow have written on the subject and invariably they are dead set against the idea. Frankly, I have been left scratching my head as to why. So, I am hoping that you, dear readers, can help educate me on this. I have some questions.
Why is “state” sales tax an issue for the federal government?
For the record, you’re supposed to pay sales tax for online purchases (assuming you live in one of the 45 states with a sales/use tax) when you file your state tax return, but most people don’t. Well, soon you may not have a choice in the matter.
The House Judiciary Committee recently held hearings on the Marketplace Equity Act of 2011 (H.R. 3179) – in fact, there are actually three federal bills relating to internet sales taxes floating around Washington, D.C. At the same time, Amazon seems to have dropped their vehement opposition to online sales taxes.
So, my confusion begins. There are three bills floating around Congress and I don’t understand what the federal government has to do with sales taxes that are applied in various states.In the first paragraph of the above quote, it says that if you live in one of the forty-five states that have a sales tax, you are already, in theory, supposed to be paying your states sales tax on all internet purchases. WHAT? This then leads me to my second question.
Why is sales tax on internet purchases an issue at all?
Apparently, states are claiming that if their resident make an internet purchase from any other state, the purchaser must pay sales tax to their state of residence. THIS IS INSANE! Why would they believe that?
The issue of sales tax on internet sales seems very clear to the simple mind of this humble observer. States that have sales taxes apply the tax to every retail outlet in their state. If I am a resident of Missouri and I am in Minneapolis, Minnesota for some and make a purchase there, I would expect to pay what ever state and city sales taxes that they have. Upon returning to Missouri, I sure as hell would not send a copy of my receipt to the state of Missouri along with a check for Missouri sales taxes. That would be nonsense. No retail transaction took place in Missouri. So, it seems to me that when an internet purchaser buys something that is shipped from another state, the internet retailer should collect the sales tax for his/her state just like any other retailer in that state. Large internet retailers like Amazon, I would assume, have warehouses in different strategic states with each warehouse making deliveries to certain states. It seems to me that it would not be that difficult for Amazon to have software embedded on their web page that asks the purchaser to enter the name of the state to which the purchase is to be delivered. The software would recognize which of their warehouses services that state and would calculate for the customer the sales tax that applies. If states like California think their residents should pay California sales taxes on purchases made in one of the other 49 states ( or is that other 56 states?), that is totally illogical, in my opinion.
So, dear readers, what am I missing? Why do states think they have a right to collect sales tax on purchases made in other states? And, for the love of God, what possible involvement is there for the federal government in this issue? I am confused. Am I over simplifying the problem? Honestly I don’t see why there is even a question of whether there should be a sales tax on internet purchases or a question about which state should collect the tax. To me the tax applies at the point of the retail sale.
Well, that is what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
Apparently, some governors are seeing dollar signs with online purchases. The bigger problem? The GOP seems to be on board. Big Government has more…
Small companies who want to sell their products online are in real trouble. Some Republican governors, eager to enrich their thinning state coffers, are endorsing a tax that would be imposed on products sold online.According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Strapped, states could reap as much as $23 billion in new annual revenue.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently agreed to allow Amazon to collect sales taxes on his state’s online purchases if they located distribution facilities there. He called taxation of online sales “an important issue to all the nation’s governors” and endorsed federal legislation that would allow states to tax online purchases.
One of the obvious benefits of on-line purchases is the fact that you don’t have to pay taxes on the purchases. In fact, feel free to check out that fact in the sidebar. However, it’s rather infuriating that Republicans are proposing to raise taxes at all, and especially on purchase. So, let’s say it does reap 23 billion-that’s 23 billion that comes out of our pockets. All that money is NOT going to spent at retailers-online or otherwise. None of that money will be used to pay for any service, or even be saved. It’s going to go to government, where it will likely be wasted, lost, or go to the politically connected. It’s like connecting a vacuum to people’s wallet’s, and pumping directly into a cesspool.
And, does anyone still think that Christie is still “conservative?”
Late last week, our “progressives” went on a rampage or irony that had me tied in knots. It’s literally taken me a couple days to get all the information together to write this post, as well as yesterdays look at Think Regress.
Facebook has become an important tool for democracy and human rights activists and it needs to do more to protect them, including allowing the use of pseudonyms, a US senator says.
“Recent events in Egypt and Tunisia have again highlighted the significant costs and benefits of social networking technology like Facebook to democracy and human rights activists,” Senator Dick Durbin said in a letter to Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
“I commend you for providing an important tool to democracy and human-rights activists,” the Democrat from Illinois said.
“However, as millions of people around the world use Facebook to exercise their freedom of expression, I am concerned that the company does not have adequate safeguards in place to protect human rights and avoid being exploited by repressive governments,” Durbin said.
“Facebook has facilitated efforts by activists to organize demonstrations and publicize human-rights abuses,” he said.
“At the same time, the Egyptian and Tunisian governments have reportedly used Facebook to monitor activists, which is surely aided by Facebook’s refusal to allow activists to use pseudonyms,” the senator said, citing Belarus, China, and Iran as other countries using social networking to track activists.
I certainly agree with this. Anonymity is one of the key means to insure that ideas, even unpopular ones, can be discussed. Yes, it opens the doors for trolls, bullies, and other bottom feeding denizens of the Internet, but you can’t throw out the baby with the bath water. If you want free speech, you do have to tolerate speech you might not like.
But, our “progressives” don’t seem to understand, or desire that level of freedom.
Also, we have the “Disclose Act.” This is the legislation (thankfully failed) that was proposed, falsely, to control the influx of foreign money into political advertising. Before we go any further, allow it to be said that the “foreign money” angle is completely untrue, and he was have no greater authority that SCOTUS Justice Alito.
Once that false argument is removed from the debate, we can see that there is another motive for this legislation; to identify any and all contributors to any campaign or political organization. And what is to be gained by discovering the donors to different campaigns or organizations? Well, let’s take a look at what happened to people that were found to have made donations to efforts that “progressives” do not like. First, here is some details that I covered last year.
No matter that Prejean was representing California, majorities of whose voters have twice voted to enshrine in their constitution the exact belief Prejean articulated on stage.
The real apology needed to come from homosexual activists who, immediately after more than six million Californians voted last November to uphold the traditional definition of marriage, participated in riot-like protests across the nation.
Conservative churches were picketed and vandalized, and church services were disrupted. Envelopes containing white powder were sent to several Mormon temples. And a postcard sent to the homes and businesses of many financial donors of Proposition 8 read: “If I had a gun, I would have gunned you down along with each and every other supporter.” Other donors were forced to resign from their jobs after they were revealed as contributors to the Prop 8 effort.
This may seem like a harsh reaction to democracy in action. But the gay rights movement has always had an erratic relationship with basic democratic values.
Last May, gay activists shut down an American Psychiatric Association panel because two evangelicals were scheduled to appear. Ahead of the California vote, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared that same-sex marriage was coming to California “whether you like it or not.” Recently, a student at Los Angeles City College sued the school after a professor called him a “fascist bastard” and refused to allow him to finish a speech against gay marriage during a public speaking class.
More to the point, what Eightmaps intends to accomplish happened to me and my famly last year. And it was terrifying. Here’s the story:
Someone got my address from publicly available sources, made a malicious flyer with that information on it, went to the city’s homeless shelters and passed it around (the police told me that someone on staff at a shelter told them he saw a stranger distributing the flyers). The flyer told the homeless that if they came to my house, we’d give them money. This person did not care that it was summer, and he was tricking the poorest of the poor to a four-mile walk from the downtown shelters to my house. All he cared about was striking out at me.
We knew something was up after the second rough-looking person showed up demanding money, and got angry when he was told we had no idea what he was talking about. (All this happened when I was at work; imagine your wife opening the door to confront a homeless man who has just learned from her that he’d walked all that way in the heat for no reason). But we could tell they had some sort of flyer with our address on it. We called the police, who advised us to stall the next person who showed up, then call them on 911. That we did. Julie phoned me at work one day to say a scary-looking guy was at the front door with one of the flyers, and that she’d just called 911.
By the time I got home, the police were there questioning this guy, who looked like he’d wondered what the heck he’d gotten into. The cops said that this guy meant no harm, that he’d been the victim of this prankster just as we had. They also said he was a registered sex offender.
Several individuals who supported Proposition 8 reported receiving harassing telephone calls, e-mails, and mailings. Prop 8 supporters have reported receiving phone calls and voice mails calling them “bigot” and using vulgar language. Sometimes harassers called at work. A public relations firm hired by the Yes on 8 Campaign received so many harassing phone calls from one person that the sheriff’s office became involved. Other Prop 8 supporters received e-mails, letters, and postcards using vulgar language and offensive labels like “gay hater.” Through the contact form on his business’s Web site, one individual received an e-mail stating “burn in hell.” One e-mail threatened to contact the parents of students at a school where a particular Prop 8 supporter worked.
Harassment sometimes took other forms. For example, two women painted an arrow and the words “Bigots live here” on the window of an SUV and parked the vehicle in front of a household that had supported Prop 8. In another case, an individual who supported Prop 8 found himself the subject of a flyer distributed in his town. The flyer included a photo of him, labeled him a “Bigot,” and stated his name, the amount of his donation to Prop 8, and his association with a particular Catholic Church. At the University of California, Davis, a Yes on 8 table on the quad was reportedly attacked by a group of students throwing water balloons and shouting “you teach hate.” A professor at Los Angeles City College allegedly told students in his class, “If you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist [expletive deleted].” One Prop 8 supporter received a book, sent anonymously through Amazon.com, that contained “the greatest homosexual love stories of all time.”
This, my friends, was/is the real purpose of the Disclose Act. While it is dead, we have to assume that it will re-emerge, renamed, and in a slightly altered form. The intent is clear-it is meant to enable leftist groups to engage in intimidation against anyone who donates to a cause the “progressives” don’t like. So, they aren’t about to give up on the “unholy grail” of silencing dissent. Expect this to resurface.
Former Federal Election Commission chair Bradley Smith lays out other arguments in favor of anonymous political speech in a contemporary context:
[Election] disclosure regulations are some of the most burdensome. Disclosure limits free speech because it allows the government to retaliate against people. The Supreme Court has consistently held that people do have a right to anonymous speech. The cases speak for themselves.
The most prominent one is probably NAACP v. Alabama (1964), when Alabama wanted to know who was funding the NAACP’s activities. We can see how that would be intimidating. Then there’s McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995). McIntyre was doing anonymous brochures against a school tax, which all the school officials supported. She had children in the schools who needed grades and access to such things as athletic teams and bands. She didn’t necessarily want her name known, even though it was important for her to fight this issue. Another major case was Brown v. Socialist Workers ’74 Campaign Committee (1982). The socialists rightly said, “If we have to reveal our donors, they won’t give us money. They will get harassed. Their businesses will get blackballed and that sort of thing.” Disclosure can be more inhibiting than people think.
Which is something to think about when people already in power push legislation such as The DISCLOSE Act, which would force groups to list donors and reveal their names in advertisements. The DISCLOSE Act is in part a response to this year’s controversial Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission ruling by the Supreme Court. Hyperbolically likened by critics to the infamous Dred Scott decision, Citizen’s United dealt with a documentary film censored by the government and broadened the speech rights of corporations, unions, and nonprofits. Far from opening American politics up to undue influence by unspecificed foreigners (as President Obama has charged), the ruling makes it easier for smaller groups and individuals to spread their messages.
In the end, this is meant to stifle dissent by allowing the left to use their typical thug/Alinsky tactics on those that disagree with them, and use donations to support Conservative causes. Again, the foreign money issue is a red herring. It’s a distraction from the fact that the purpose of the legislation is to intimidate you. They won’t have to go after everyone, just enough to send the “message” to the rest. If they harass a few people, threaten their families, vandalize their property, and cost them their jobs, others might think twice about donating, or speaking out.
Exactly as the “progressives” want.
This makes the “progressive” calls for anonymity ring hollow, does it not?
Doug over at the Resistance posted this yesterday, and I thought it needed the good old CH treatment. For this post, I will fire up the CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE Translation Matrix. For those of you that were around for the original incarnation of this blog (hell, only Snarky read it back then), you’ll remember that it is a device that translates liberal into reality, often with amusing results.
Over thirty organizations want the Federal Communications Commission to open up a probe on “hate speech” and “misinformation” in media. “Hate has developed as a profit-model for syndicated radio and cable television programs masquerading as ‘news’,” they wrote to the FCC earlier this month.
CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE TRANSLATION:Holy Sh*T, they’re exposing our agenda!
As for the Internet, it “gives the illusion that news sources have increased, but in fact there are fewer journalists employed now than before,” they charge. “Moreover, on the Internet, speakers can hide in the cloak of anonymity, emboldened to say things that they may not say in the public eye.”
CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE TRANSLATION: If we knew who they were, we could send the SEIU to beat the hell out of them!
“Hate speech against vulnerable groups is pervasive in our media—it is not limited to a few isolated instances or any one media platform,” NHMC warned the FCC in 2009. “Indeed, many large mainstream media corporations regularly air hate speech, and it is prolific on the Internet. Hate speech takes various forms, from words advocating violence to those creating a climate of hate towards vulnerable groups. Cumulatively, hate speech creates an environment of hate and prejudice that legitimizes violence against its targets.”
CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE TRANSLATION: Only we’re allowed to do that! Those dirty Teabaggers! We ought to beat up more black teabaggers while calling them the “n” word!
The coalition has asked the agency to request public comments on hate speech in the media, inquire into its extent, explore “the relationship between hate speech in the media and hate crimes,” and look into options “for counteracting or reducing the negative effects of such speech.”
CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE TRANSLATION: WAAAAAAAHHHH!!! Censor anyone who disagrees with us!
We know that among the goals of Marxism, Fascism, or “progressivism,” control of information is among the highest priorities. Imagine if the bloggers, talk radio, and FOX would have gone away in 2009. Would you know about what is in ObamaCare, and the results that are already occurring? Would we be paying $7.00 for gas because Cap and Trade passed? Would we have card check and people being beaten daily because they didn’t “sign the freakin’ card?” All of us had a great deal to do with stalling Obama’s agenda, and the left does not like it a bit.
Let’s face it, all through that article; the left accuses us of doing what they do. The MSM have lied through their teeth about every single issue. They smeared patriotic Americans that chose to disagree with the messiah. It is the left that has had violent protests, yet we are blamed with no physical evidence. They smeared us again when we pointed out what was in ObamaCare, and ignore the fact that every bit of what we said is coming to pass. The created narratives then changed them again and again. And none of it stuck. If they had control of the media, it would have.
They know November will end badly for them. Unless, that is, they tilt the playing field in their favor. If they take out our ability to communicate or share ideas, they can do whatever they want in November, we’d never know about it. Then, it’s game over.
Better start harassing your local congresscritter.