Net Neutrality Rules Tucked Into ‘Stimulus’ Bill

Once again our illustrious Congress is reportedly rushing illicit legislation through without much debate and no time for anyone to read it: legislation regarding Net Neutrality rules are buried inside the 258-page  legislation (PDF) of the proposed “Stimulus” bill.

With the typical propagandic reasoning utilized with scare-tactic manipulation, backers of the $825 billion legislation that is allegedly intended to “stimulate” the economy are claiming (PDF) that speedy approval is vital because the nation is in “a crisis not seen since the Great Depression” and “the economy is shutting down.”

This is reminiscent of the fraudulent Financial Bailout that was rushed through Congress under the threat of Martial Law being imposed if it wasn’t passed. Few had time to read or comprehend the illicit legislation before it was ramrodded down their collective throats. Inserting sneaky, deceptive requirements into legislation while rushing it through for a vote has been one of the standard operating procedures in Congress for the past several years.

IRS Snooping, Internet gambling restrictions and library filtering laws are among the many results achieved in that manner.

Included in the “stimulus” package are billions of dollars worth of grants for broadband and wireless development, primarily in “unserved” and “underserved” areas. The U.S. Department of Commerce would give money to eligible recipients — including telecommunications companies, local and state governments, construction companies and any other businesses — that are interested.

Naturally, there are strings attached. The Commerce Department is required to ensure that the recipients of these grants “adhere to” the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2005 broadband policy statement (PDF) that the FCC claimed at the time was advisory and not enforceable. The same statement that is the subject of a lawsuit before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

Net Neutrality Laws Are Not Necessary

The U.S. Federal Government is notorious for loosely defining terms such as “oversight,” “adhere to” and “terrorism.” As noted by CNET, one interpretation of the “adhere to” requirement is that companies like AT&T, Verizon or Comcast who take “stimulus” dollars to deploy broadband in Nebraska must abide by these rules nationwide — it’s like the state of Nebraska demanding that a broadband provider filter out porn nationwide in order for them to receive a lucrative government contract.

Recipients of the grants in the “stimulus” bill will be required to operate broadband and high-speed wireless networks on an “open access basis” that the FCC will define. In keeping with tradition, Congress failed to include a definition of “open access basis” meaning there will be no oversight or regulation.

The Bush administration warned against internet regulations in the form of Net neutrality rules, saying that they could inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation, and diminish consumer welfare, and that there is reason to believe that broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of “neutrality” would do just that in regards to the internet. In 2007, The Federal Trade Commission reached a similar conclusion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that Net neutrality laws would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy, investment and innovation in a recently released study.

It’s time to quit rushing deceptive legislation through Congress. It needs to be made a law that all members of Congress actually read the legislation before it comes up for a vote. The “stimulus” bill is supposed to be voted on next week.

Many of the problems we’re faced with today are because Congress has been doing this for years. OUr new Congress is picking up right where the last one left off. Deceptive politics have already cost this country too much. It needs to stop.

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