The following shots, which I took yesterday, are of GW Parkway access to the Potomac – access controlled by administration through its NPS. The first shot shows blocked access to the river by the now infamous NPS barricades erected at all similar points along the parkway. The second shot reveals the absence of any barricades at a different location.
The two spots are separated by less than a 1/2-mile and four lanes of oftentimes fierce parkway traffic. Though on the same federal highway – which, among other scenic federal property, has been used to prove some who-knows-what-point by the administration during the Government Shutdown – they are treated completely differently.
Simply because the government can.
It’s intentionally flipped the bird in our faces, saying, “We’re going to remind you who’s in power. Too bad if the only access to government property is inconvenient and unsafe. You get what we give you and nothing more. And remember, if you become any more uppity with us, know that we can make this even more painful for y’all.”
Service with a smile, right (makes me wonder who the real customer is)?
Anyway, the Internet version of these poke-in-the-eye, “access denied” shenanigans can be seen through the FCC’s anti-public interest, convenience and necessity actions these past 4-and-a-half-years. Let’s recount some of the highlights. Since 2009, the agency has:
- Heavily conditioned the Comcast / NBC-U union with pages of dubious, unrelated merger requirements;
- Denied the AT&T / T-Mobile merger;
- Imposed data roaming price / other controls on wireless broadband carriers;
- Whipped up needless marketplace ire by repeatedly misrepresenting the true (and vibrant) state of communications competition in its yearly reports;
- Imposed illegal common carrier obligations on information service providers via its Net Neutrality proscriptions;
- Created an anti-consumer Internet bubble by subsidizing edge-providers at the expense of broadband access providers through its Net Neutrality rules;
- Interfered with states’ rights and the private marketplace by aggressively promoting municipally-provided gigabit services;
- Limited the growth of wireless services by its inability to get more spectrum into the pipeline; and
- Promoted declining expectations of Internet privacy by failing to fully investigate Google’s Wi-Spy wardriving.
All of these actions (and others not illustrated) are willful exertions of power designed to remind the marketplace that, like the pictures above, it can make things uncomfortable – at any point through any means, until it achieves, through regulatory extortion, its underlying goals.
Access denied! What a way to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.
Mr. President, tear down these barricades at the FCC!