Disgruntledpatriot's Blog

October 30, 2009

Freedom of Speech and Press Under Attack, Oh and Your Internet Too!

Sorry I have been slacking of late.  Illness, getting ready for the yearly Samhain bash, and issues with the child and his schoolwork have kept me swamped.  I would promise to do better, but I know Me so I will just say, I will try.  Now on to the fantastic world of ‘progressive media’ and ‘network neutrality’.

Alright, let’s start by saying, right now there is nothing currently in congress that I know of that will take away your right to freedom of speech or free press.  What we do have though, is more and more people in and around the administration that openly believe that free speech is too free, free press is too free, and internet isn’t free enough.  Let’s start with the first two, because they are interconnected.

From Mark Lloyd, FCC diversity czar…

It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

Now, we have talked about his views on the fairness doctrine, and how ‘it isn’t enough’ so I won’t revisit.  Bottom line, when ANYONE in government, or a government agency says that ANY right is an exaggeration we should be leary.  Will some creative people abuse a right, or misuse the constitution to their own ends?  Yes.  That is beside the point though, these rights protect vastly more Americans than those that take advantage of them.

How bout from Cass Sunstein?

“A legislative effort to regulate broadcasting in the interest of democratic principles should not be seen as an abridgment of the free speech guarantee.”
–Cass R. Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, The Free Press, 1995, p. 92

“I have argued in favor of a reformulation of First Amendment law. The overriding goal of the reformulation is to reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views. The First Amendment should not stand as an obstacle to democratic efforts to accomplish these goals. A New Deal for speech would draw on Justice Brandeis’ insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship. It would reject Justice Holmes’ “marketplace” conception of free speech, a conception that disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America’s founding document.”
–Cass R. Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, The Free Press, 1995, p. 119

“Consider the “fairness doctrine,” now largely abandoned but once requiring radio and television broadcasters: …[I]n light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals. It is past time for a large-scale reassessment of the appropriate role of the First Amendment in the democratic process.”
–Cass R. Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, The Free Press, 1995, p. xi

“A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.”
–Cass Sunstein, arguing for a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet in his book, Republic.com 2.0 (Princeton University Press, 2007), p.137

Heard enough?  Yeah me too.  What don’t these people understand?  Have they read the constitution?  It is pretty clear…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

What is so hard to understand about that sentence?  Do they need clarification?

“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” -Benjamin Franklin, writing as Silence Dogood, No. 8, July 9, 1722

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and cannot be limited without being lost.” -Thomas Jefferson

Pretty simple if you ask me.  Now the last thing I mentioned was Network Neutrality.  If you don’t know what that is check out Free Press and their site.  When you do you need to ask yourself a few things.  You see, they want the government to take control of the internet and make it free to everyone.  They think that content should be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’ (have we heard this before?  Oh yeah, the fairness doctrine).  Free Press believes in another welfare handout for everyone, the internet.  Now ask yourself, has any amenity that is offered free to everyone, ever been any good?  How do they think that the internet, and network technology has advanced as rapidly as it has?  It is because there is profit to be made.  Yeah I know, some people would like you to believe that profit is bad, and those who seek it are evil, but profit is also what drives innovation.  Does anyone really think that faster internet was developed out of the kindness of someone’s heard?  Does anyone believe that the personal computer was developed because a couple of geeks wanted to give everyone in the world a free computer?  If Network Neutrality is realized the government will have control over the internet.  This may give them the power to control what you see, what you can read, what you can post.  It will also put telecom companies out of business, and no matter how much we hate paying those bills, those bills are the reason that we have faster and faster internet.  One sure way to make internet a shining symbol of mediocrity is to make it free, and give control to our government.

Keep your eyes open, the more control we allow government to take, the more liberty we throw away.

October 7, 2009

Free Press and Net Neutrality

Filed under: Sick and Tired — Trever Bierschbach @ 5:27 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Wow all my years on the internet and I just heard about this group today while watching Glenn Beck.  Generally when he goes on about something that I have never heard of, or something that sounds little ‘crazy’ I tend to look it up.  Usually he is on the money but this time I think he let one issue, lead into another and taint it.  Let me explain.  He was talking about Mark Lloyd and Robert McChesney and their love affair with Hugo Chavez and Marxism.  He was discussing the threat on free speech from them.  He also mentioned Free Press because McChesney is on their board, and he had a guest that mentioned that net neutrality was some sort of socialist scam.  Well, I have read their site, and I know that usually isn’t all that indicative, especially if a group wants to hide their true intentions.  Not like they are going to post it for everyone to see.  From the explanation on their site net neutrality seems like a good idea, and it seems like something that should be protected.  That’s not to say my skeptical mind won’t continue to do some research, but as far as I can tell they were unfairly labelled by Beck’s guest.

Aha, when researching the topic while I was writing this I found what might be considered by some to be the socialism in net neutrality.

“The first issue is the Internet. The battle for network neutrality is to prevent the Internet from being privatized by telephone and cable companies. Privatization would give them control over the Internet, would allow these firms to privilege some information flows over others. We want to keep the Internet open. What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility. We want an Internet where you don’t have to have a password and that you don’t pay a penny to use. It is your right to use the Internet. The benefits of a public Internet are numerous. It would end the digital divide, which remains a very serious problem in the U.S. and worldwide.”  -Robert McChesney

Ok, first of all the internet is not a ‘right’ it is a service.  Same reason we pay for running water, cable TV, phone service, electricity and so on.  Having the internet requires a whole slew of equipment, and personnel to run, and it isn’t free.  While I agree that the companies that offer it should not be regulating traffic, or what sites are available, or how fast one site loads over another, I do not agree that we need another handout.  In everything we have, whenever it is given to us, instead of paid for, basically what we get is everyone having a whole lot of mediocrity.  The reason the internet keeps getting faster, and more powerful, and more widespread is because it is a business, and improving it means people will make money.  Take out that factor and where is the incentive to improve?  All you have to do is compare the cars built in capitalist countries like the U.S. or Japan to cars built in non-capitalist countries like Russia to see that if you take away the monetary incentive you are left with a product that no one wants even if it is extremely cheap or even free.  At least for something like Universal Health Care you have the argument that people will still do it out of the goodness of their heart, but for the internet, why would anyone care to develop new technology?

The words of Robert McChesney may not reflect what Free Press feels about net neutrality, because I could not find it anywhere on their site.  Granted I didn’t look at the whole thing, but I did read the page about what it is, and the FAQs about it.  With more research maybe I can pare out the difference between what their site says and what one of their board members seems to believe.

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