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Originally published February 25 2015

FCC internet takeover highlights total lawlessness of government regulators

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) You can now add the Federal Communications Commission to the list of "lawless" government agencies.

Last week, the FCC will vote on new rules that its majority Democrat members have crafted in secret and have yet to let anyone outside of the five-member commission see that will essentially transform the Internet into a public utility -- just like your telephone and electric companies.

And the commission is going to do it under the guise (the lie) of pretending to make the Internet "more fair" and "more even" for all.

The rules, known as "Net Neutrality," are the latest Obama Administration effort to extend federal government domain over yet another sector of the economy. Just like the healthcare industry before it, now the telecommunications and Internet-based economy will only exist at the whim and pleasure of a nameless, faceless, unelected and unaccountable (to you) bureaucracy.

Net Neutrality will immediately be enshrined in the "hall of fame" of examples of federal government lawlessness -- so says Randolph J. May, president of the Free State Foundation, an independent free market-oriented think tank located in Rockville, Md.

Writing in The Hill online, May noted:

In the nearly 40 years that I have been involved in communications law and policy, including serving as the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) associate general counsel, this action, without a doubt, is one of the agency's most misguided.

The sad reality is that, without any convincing evidence of market failure and consumer harm, the FCC is poised, on a 3-2 party-line vote, to expand its control over Internet providers in ways that threaten the Internet's future growth and vibrancy.

Arbitrary enforcement of rules like kingly "dispensing" of power

May breaks the issue down to its core.

"By choosing to regulate Internet providers as old-fashioned public utilities in order to enforce 'neutrality' mandates, the commission will discourage private-sector investment and innovation for many years to come, if only as a result of the litigation that will be spawned and the uncertainty that will be created," he wrote (and you can bet the telecoms and Internet companies have already been preparing their cases).

"And the new government mandates inevitably will lead to even more than the usual special interest pleading at the FCC, as Internet companies try to advantage themselves and disadvantage their competitors by seeking favored regulatory treatment," May noted further.

He also said that the rules were liable to be implemented arbitrarily -- much like President Obama has arbitrarily (and illegally) made decisions to delay implementation of Obamacare, as well as grant waivers for the individual and company insurance mandates, especially those of favored constituents (also called "donors").

And that, says May, goes to the core of one of our country's founding principles:

As Philip Hamburger discusses in his book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?, one of our Founders' objectives was to control, if not eliminate, what in England was known as the "dispensing" power. Simply put, the dispensing power -- which is much discussed in English constitutional history -- was a form of exercise of royal prerogative under which the king could excuse himself or his favored subjects from complying with particular laws enacted by Parliament.

Congress can address rules but not effectively

And, he says, today's vast federal bureaucracy -- consisting of agencies by various acts of Congress -- most certainly do possess "dispensing" power, granting waivers and such (as directed by the head of the federal bureaucracy -- the president), often on a whim.

"After administrators adopt a burdensome rule, they sometimes write letters to favored persons telling them that, notwithstanding the rule, they need not comply," Hamburger wrote, as quoted by May. "In other words, the return of extralegal legislation has been accompanied by the return of the dispensing power, this time under the rubric of 'waivers.'"

Congress has legislative tools to deal with out-of-control federal agencies like the FDA, USDA, DEA and FTC that frequently issue massive new rules. In 1996, the legislature passed the Congressional Review Act, which was signed by President Clinton; the act permits Congress to "disapprove a broad range of regulatory rules" by joint resolution, which only requires a majority vote in both chambers, according to a review by the Congressional Research Service.

The problem is that such joint resolutions must be signed into law by the president in order for the rule to quashed.

Since Obama wanted the Net Neutrality rules to begin with -- and since Republicans don't have veto-proof majorities in Congress -- there is little chance that a joint resolution would actually pass.


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