Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh
Chairperson, District of Columbia Committee on Transportation and the Environment
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Via e-mail

Dear Chairperson Cheh:

MediaFreedom commends the District of Columbia for its patient and thoughtful examination of the issues surrounding the deployment of new wireless infrastructure, such as for 5G broadband services, within the city. MediaFreedom recognizes the important needs of the community to maintain its roads, facilities and other public spaces safely, efficiently and with proper visual aesthetics in mind. That said, as the District manages the shift to 5G, we urge it to adhere to an infrastructure siting process which keeps obstacles to entry low, expeditiously and transparently approves permits, and minimizes non-related fees or other requirements for those building-out the new and necessary infrastructure required by 5G.

(See full filing here)

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Fundraising for a lost cause.

No, the fundraising action alert pictured at left is not an example of hopeful optimism. Asking for money from unwitting Net Neutrality supporters to pass a pending Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution reinstating Net Neutrality is an outright scam, pure and simple.

It stands ZERO chance of passing.

The organizers, and the reporters pushing this charade, know this – but they won’t let their supporters / readers know it (which is ironic, since they’re all about keeping the Internet “free and open” to combat censorship, “misinformation,” etc.).

Why let facts get in the way of a good pledge drive, eh?

Here’s Fight for the Future’s plan to pass the CRA into law:

“The FCC killed net neutrality, giving companies like Comcast and Verizon the power to control what we see and do online with throttling, censorship, and expensive new fees. But Congress can still reverse that decision using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Senate already passed a resolution, but now the House is running out of time to do the same. We’re focusing all of our energy on key lawmakers who are facing tight races, making them the most likely to listen to constituents…” (Emphasis added)

Really, that’s all it takes to bring Net Neutrality back – that is, the House passing its CRA?

Umm, no.

Sadly, purposely, you won’t find the following “disclaimer” / finer points / facts in any of their “we can pass it!” marketing / propaganda:

At last count, there are only 177 supporters of the House CRA – all Democrats, and one Republican. To put the CRA on the floor for a vote, it needs 218 votes to discharge it from Committee. That means Net Neutrality activists need to pick-up 41 “votes” for discharge, including House D’s that haven’t signed on, and at least 22 House R’s. Even after November’s mid-term election, CRA movement has remained stock-still. But, for argument’s sake, let’s assume supporters discharge the CRA from Committee. From there, it would proceed to debate and a floor vote, and, if successful, it would then be presented to President Trump before the end of the 115th Congress for his signature. That last step is the most daunting of all, given that President Trump / his administration is against Net Neutrality.  Consequently, the CRA would be vetoed, and, because of time constraints and lack of support, the veto would not be overridden.

This means the CRA is a dead letter, and the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality remains the law of the land.

Of course, the CRA tactic was always ever a losing game – a PR stunt. What a waste of time and effort, though.  Democrats could have worked with Republicans to resolve the Net Neutrality debate once and for all, but they chose politics and skenky fundraising instead.

The bogus pledge drive must end.

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Last week, “media reform” group Free Press joined a coalition run by the Southern Poverty Law Center to censor online “hate.” As Free Press notes:

“While a free and open internet creates immense social value, it can also be used to engage in hateful activities on a large scale. White-supremacist groups and other organizations inciting hate are using online platforms to organize, fund, recruit supporters for, and normalize racism, sexism, religious bigotry, homophobia, transphobia and anti-immigrant animus. This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life.” (Emphasis added)

So, they’ve come up with a set of policies for online providers to police (censor) “hateful activities,” which they define as:

“…[A]ctivities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I abhor hateful speech.  But, quite frankly, this all looks like a fishing expedition, designed primarily to shut down and chill the free expression of the new “other.” That is, the “deplorable,” conservative (Caucasian) individual.  Sadly, it won’t be limited to stop bogus “hate speech.” It will someday extend to climate deniers, or ObamaCare skeptics, or NRA members, or anti-vaxxers, or Pro-Lifers, or anyone and cause that falls out-of-sorts with the progressive PC police who need to limit “bad speech” to arrive at “good speech” for the “collective.”

Right now, the guidelines are not a First Amendment issue because they involve only private actors. Moreover, there is no so-called “hate speech” exception in the First Amendment, which would allow overt prior restraint or punishment of “hate speech.” But, give it time. Senate Democrats like Virginia’s Mark Warner are working in overdrive to exploit the current spate of “fake news” speech controversies as perfect justification for Congress to act (that is, censor) “bad actors” on the ‘Net to protect our much beloved “Internet openness.”

Groups like Free Press have long been working toward this ideal. You know, where elites, not the marketplace, decide what’s “appropriate” to telecast, upending the clear restrictions on government censorship enshrined in the First Amendment. They were integral in helping the Obama FCC impose Title II Net Neutrality on the Internet, which stripped away the First Amendment rights of broadband providers and their partners in order to protect “Internet openness.” If they come back into fashion with an FCC like the previous administration, most assuredly they’ll work to re-impose Title II Net Neutrality (or some variant of it).

More than ISPs will be in the crosshairs if this occurs.

The way Net Neutrality was purposely written – with its “independent grant of authority” to nurture “openness” and protect the Internet’s “virtuous circle” of development – many experts believe this construct cannot be constrained to regulate only network providers. That means Free Press’ dreams of censorship can easily make their way to punish most any activity, service or practice in the ecosystem (like Alex Jones’ Infowars, or Drudge) that an FCC somehow deems “harms” the Internet’s “virtuous circle.”

At this point, Free Press and its “media reform” comrades can only shame edge providers into censoring “hate speech.” If they had the power, they’d take it further.  Consequently, expect this blueprint for censorship to encompass the entire ‘Net – not just “evil” ISPs and cable companies – with a progressive in the White House and his / her control of the next FCC.

That “media reform” nocturnal emission was always ever the design of Net Neutrality.

___________

Remember to vote on Tuesday!

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ArsTechnicAnimus

by Mike Wendy on October 23, 2018

A revealing editorial choice.

The picture above (from this Ars Technica story), taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, is a statement which did not just occur through an algorithm, or AI, or autopilot. No, the angry writer and his publisher purposely, willfully, consciously chose it.

Die Verizon Die.

Yes, it’s true, Verizon has been behind the eight-ball lately in getting the Florida Panhandle back on its feet with cellular service. But, they’re working 24/7 to make things whole again for residents down there, and, as this story begrudgingly admits, the company has turned the corner, surmounting the tough circumstances.

So, really, is the picture and its text needed?

Apparently.

As I see it, the writer and his publisher seem to have it in for ISPs like Verizon; it’s their schtick, their revenue model. Hurricane Michael is just one of an endless stream of fake news opportunities for the editorial crew to give ISPs like Verizon a black eye. A more even-handed publication would have had the lede: “After early stumbles, Verizon re-establishes wireless service to storm-torn area.” But, no, the real lede and underlying sentiment for this Ars Technica story is: Die Verizon Die.

Hey, I get it. It’s fine to have bias. It differentiates you from the others. If you own the press, it’s better that you make that call instead of Uncle Sam. I am totally hip to that.

But, having watched this writer and his publisher for years, let’s just call it for what it is: Animus, which reflects not journalism, but rather, a track record of advocacy pushing the anti-ISP “cause.”

That’s their brand. There isn’t much more to it.

Know that if you have to read their lobbying talking points.  And then move on.

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Sears’ Demise Reveals Yet Again U.S. Favoritism of E-Commerce over Traditional Retail

October 15, 2018

You may have heard that Sears just filed for bankruptcy, setting in motion a last-ditch attempt to save itself from erasure from the American retail landscape. The odds seem stacked against the company, as one story notes: “Reorganizing Sears will not be easy. The company’s e-commerce business has only a tiny fraction of the sales […]

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Congress Must Put to Rest the Net Neutrality Resistance

October 11, 2018

I wrote the following piece, which appeared originally in Newsmax on October 3, 2018 (published here): Congress Must Put to Rest the Net Neutrality Resistance On Sunday, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, signed Net Neutrality legislation into law. Its progressive supporters rejoiced, calling the new law the “gold standard” for preventing ISPs from throttling, blocking, prioritizing […]

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Statement: FCC Infrastructure Order Will Upend Local Throttling, Blocking of ‘Net Growth

September 26, 2018

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org: Alexandria, VA, September 26, 2018 – MediaFreedom applauds today’s FCC action which will help upend a major impediment to the growth of new broadband wireless services such as 5G: the local regulatory extortion racket, which throttles and blocks new wireless infrastructure until proper […]

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Santa Clara “Net Neutrality” Throttling “Violation” Goes Up In Smoke

August 29, 2018

Last week, when several states filed their joint brief urging overturn of the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIF), a fire storm broke out. In it was the declaration from Santa Clara County fire chief, Tony Bowden, that his department’s efforts to stop the Mendocino Complex fire were hampered by Verizon’s throttling of a wireless […]

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Bloomberg Toys ‘R’ Us Article Wrongly Blames Private Equity, Ignores Systemic Favoritism of E-Commerce

August 17, 2018

The media is nothing if not a basher of private property owners and anything corporate that somehow affect “their” Internet. A prime example of this can been in a recent, shamelessly misinformed article on Toys ‘R’ Us workers’ efforts to claim severance pay from the remnants of the toy seller. Bloomberg mystifyingly laid the blame […]

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Senator Bill Nelson Should Avoid Hypocrisy, Politics in Tomorrow’s FCC Oversight Hearing

August 15, 2018

Tomorrow, the Senate is going to hold an FCC oversight hearing, which in all likelihood will touch upon a recent FCC IG report that was critical of the agency’s handling of a purported DDoS attack on its ECFS comment system in May of 2017, during the run-up to its Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIF). Of […]

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