With the change in government earlier this month – that is, Senate and House controlled by solid Republican majorities – you’d think this would present an opportunity for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to avoid the nuclear option of Title II for the Internet.  He could easily stop where’s going and say, “Heck, if I want a lasting legacy, one of building the Internet rather than destroying it, maybe I should work with my bosses over in Congress to get this right?” But, recent news stories suggest that President Obama’s naive call for Title II has thrown a monkey wrench into Wheeler’s work.  Yes, the Chairman has said he’s slowing down the process.  But, all indications are that he’s still got some form of harmful Title II phone regulation in store to “solve” the government-made Net Neutrality “problem.”

The message in the short video below, featuring Less Government’s Seton Motley, is pretty simple: Mr. Chairman, don’t poison the well with your politically motivated, Internet power grab, and work with Congress on new, sustainable communications policy which avoids screwing up the Internet with your FDR-era phone regulations.



Hmmm, where have we heard this before?


Since at least 2010, those pushing the concept of Net Neutrality have sold it as “easy peasy,” because “[y]ou’re not talking about applying new, onerous regulations on companies and asking them to comply with a bunch of red tape…You’re essentially preserving the status quo.”

Um, sure.

On Monday morning, the President flat-out endorsed full application of Title II regulations on wired and wireless broadband providers, not a hybrid (or other approach) seemingly favored by the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  The President even began lobbying his own FCC on the matter.

Boy, did that set off a storm. At least one account had it that Wheeler looked, well, awkward and frustrated for potentially disagreeing with the President. Goodness, the head of an “independent agency” can’t let that happen, now can he?

This had Wheeler fretting some, with the Washington Post writing: 

Wheeler is well aware of concerns that ill-considered regulations could stifle innovation and slow the growth of the country’s broadband infrastructure…And he worries that the White House is being naive about the ripple effects of changing how a major piece of national infrastructure is governed.

Confirming the concern over the complexity of the challenge in front of the Chairman, the Huffington Post adds:

On Monday, Wheeler said in a statement that more time is needed. “The more deeply we examined the issues around the various legal options, the more it has become plain that there is more work to do,” the statement said. “The reclassification and hybrid approaches before us raise substantive legal questions. … We must take the time to get the job done correctly, once and for all, in order to successfully protect consumers and innovators online.”

Really? I thought this was all easy-peasy stuff. After all, it’s just “simple” Net Neutrality, right?

It seems that up until this time, the press and the Net Neutrality sycophants (sometimes the same thing) have purposely hidden how complicated the amorphous concept “known” as Net Neutrality really is. Until now, that is, when the FCC Chairman has been pushed up against the wall by El Presidente who wants a little love for his Silicon Valley campaign backers. Now, the gossip – which only hints at the complexity of the matter – gets some column inches.

My 18-year-old copy of the Comm Act, containing 90 pages of Title II - complex law that  is anything but easy to decipher.

My 18-year-old copy of the Comm Act, containing 90 pages of Title II – complex law that is anything but “easy-peasy” to decipher.

I’ll take that meager offering. But it makes me wonder. As I see it, maybe Senator Ted Cruz was right, even though he got tarred and feathered for it – that is, that Net Neutrality regulation really is “ObamaCare for the Internet.”


With Net Neutrality, government determines prices, terms of service, and what services make it to the marketplace, among other things. It’s in control, not the marketplace.

I don’t often read that in the mainstream press. Perhaps because, as ObamaCare “architect” Jonathan Gruber’s now infamous words instruct, if you want to get a complex idea through the sausage grinder, you have to sell it as something else.  Lie, that is.

Said Gruber (at various times) about passing ObamaCare:

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…

It’s a very clever, you know, [the] basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The same exercise seems to be happening here.

We hear the President blame the broadband providers for the supposed infirmities of American broadband. We hear the “public interest” advocates whine about the little guy inventing stuff in his garage, and how he could be thwarted – not now, but somewhere in time – by the evil IPSs blocking his Internet. We listen to Google and Facebook decry through their proxies how it’ll be the end of the Internet if any Silicon Valley company has to pay for access to Internet consumers. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And then they all in unison peddle a “solution in a can” – Net Neutrality. It’s so easy and great, and it will cure everything. Even stubborn acne.

But, it’s snake oil.

We never hear about how Net Neutrality’s mandated “zero-pricing” is, well, government-approved stealing of ISP property. Nor do we read about how regulation can actually inhibit investment in the Internet’s infrastructure, which Silicon Valley so loves but chooses itself not to build. Nor do Americans discover that the owners of networks have legitimate constitutional rights that can’t just be waived off because the “public” (a.k.a. Google, Facebook and Netflix) wants their stuff.

We don’t get that type of information because the (complicit) press knows that hiding that information is the only way to get Net Neutrality passed out of the FCC. Because, like ObamaCare, when you look at the ingredients (if you can), you’ll see an exceedingly complex system of regulation, one essentially designed to redistribute wealth and power from average consumers to…

…Silicon Valley.

And, Americans are smart enough to understand that, which would doom the plan.

The President exclaims “it’s common sense” ISPs shouldn’t have a say in how one uses the Internet, and that they shouldn’t charge extra if you use a service like Google, Facebook or Netflix.

If ISPs can’t determine what their networks do for consumers, and they can’t charge them for services they use as well as the costs imposed on the network from that, then broadband networks look more like communal property instead of private property.

Where’s the common sense in that?

Turns out free is politically popular. Imagine that? But, the President is telling a fib. Like ObamaCare, you can’t keep your same Internet if his version of Net Neutrality passes out of the FCC.

FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, at the FCC's Net Neutrality Roundtable Discussion, this September.

FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, at the FCC’s Net Neutrality Roundtable Discussions, this September.

It’s time for Tom Wheeler to shed his inner Jonathan Gruber and distance himself from the policy-Pinocchios. This Fall’s FCC Roundtables – streaming 24 hours of Net Neutrality debate – were a good start (after more than a decade of hiding in the dark). The “consensus” there was a lot of gray, however. Because it’s complicated, you see.

The public interest advocates, the techpolicy press, the Left-leaning policymakers all laughed at us who warned that the FCC’s prior Net Neutrality regulations were illegal common carrier rules. And then the court rejected them – again – because they were illegal common carrier rules. Why does anyone trust those Net Neutrality advocates now?

Man, this is difficult terrain. Chairman Wheeler knows that. The President should, but he sees a way to divide Republicans from the rest of America – not help build a sustainable, market-oriented Internet. That’s Gruber (the verb for BS, etc.) in my book.

Americans deserve a transparent sale on this complex policy. The President and his friends in Silicon Valley are selling snake oil.

It won’t clear up your acne.


The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, Director of MediaFreedom.org:

Washington, DC, November 10, 2014 – Today President Barack Obama released a statement that urges the FCC to reclassify wired and wireless broadband services as old-fashioned telephones. This request belies the nature of modern communications networks, and places the government in control of their growth through “mother-may-I” rules that will retard innovation and private investment. Consumers and society will suffer under the boot of such a stifling regime.

The Internet’s vibrant growth did not occur because of regulation, but rather in spite of it. Sadly, the President’s “eating-your-seed-corn” approach to Internet policy will achieve the opposite of his desired goal. Who will want to invest in networks when the government can willy-nilly strip that away? What diverse and truly free Internet speech will exist when it gets choked by “public interest” rules designed to protect it? How will average Americans afford the new taxes, fees and other costs brought about by new federal, state and international regulations to follow? How will Internet innovation thrive when its partner – the networks – have been hogtied by floating-goalpost rules?

The message from the White House is broader and more simple, of course: If we believe something is valuable and we want it, we shall take it. So, beware, America! Nothing you have of value is safe if Uncle Sam wants it. Nothing.

Clearly, the President did not hear the results from the midterm elections. Americans want less government intervention, not more. Quite simply, the President’s confiscatory policies will harm America and the world that follows our lead.



Statement: Election Results Will Force Much Needed Sunshine on Washington’s Tech Eeyores

November 5, 2014

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, Director of MediaFreedom.org: Washington, DC, November 5, 2014 – Last night’s election results will cast needed sunshine on the Tech Eeyores at the FCC, Senate and White House, hopefully improving their spirits and general outlook on life. Since 2009, these gloomy forces have gone out of their […]

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Statement: The Internet Should Reject FCC’s Lastest Title II Zombie Proposal

October 31, 2014

Washington, DC, October 31, 2014 – The Wall Street Journal reported last night that the FCC is about to offer a compromise proposal in its bid to curtail network providers’ provision of specialized service agreements for Internet consumers and edge companies.  According to the report, the proposal would separate broadband into two services: a consumer […]

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Campaign Finance Reform, Media Reform = Same Thing

October 28, 2014

Perhaps us “wingnuts” were right about the government trying to take over the Internet. First we warned that the radical, anti-property Left wanted the FCC to wrest control of the web through Net Neutrality – which looks like will happen in some form by the end of the year. And now it seems the FEC’s […]

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Stick It to the Man via Net Neutrality

October 20, 2014

The title says it all. So does this screen shot from a recent Twitter conversation I had on Net Neutrality with a “clicktavist” (pictured at right). Paraphrasing, me (@Polisoniccom): What do you want from Net Neutrality / Title II?  Clicktavist (@RavenWolf_Yula): To hobble corporations.  Me: That’s not the FCC’s job. This type of exchange on Twitter […]

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Utility Regulation Will Make the Internet Rusty

October 10, 2014

No one loves their public utilities. They’re slow, unresponsive to change, and only just good enough for government work, which isn’t saying much. If you’d talk to progressives working in the Internet space, though, you’d hear a different story. They think that utilities, and the 19th Century regulation used to control them, are the greatest […]

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MediaFreedom Asks FCC Inspector General to Look into “Unusual Collaboration” of FCC Staff and Title II Activists

October 8, 2014

Dear Mr. Hunt, A recent story in the Washington Post (“Inside the collapse of the FCC’s digital infrastructure – and the rush to save it,” by Nancy Scola) reports that in the run up to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s September 15th deadline for Net Neutrality Reply Comments, FCC staff and “grass-roots activists” supporting the […]

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