Frank La Rue, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression who made summer headlines when he proclaimed Internet access as a basic human right, conducted his research and delivered his conclusions with the support of organizations funded by liberal financier George Soros, The Daily Caller has learned.

La Rue’s statements on Internet freedom caused alarm among conservatives who believe “net neutrality” is a vehicle for a government takeover of the Internet.

Advocates of net neutrality, a position championed by the billionaire Soros and by the U.N., argue governments must regulate private censorship and bandwidth online to ensure it remains open and free. Soros, a philanthropist known for supporting liberal causes, has articulated his belief in the need for greater U.S. government regulation of the Internet.

While Soros is known among supporters as an advocate of pro-democracy causes, critics see the Open Society Institute — which he founded and chairs — as his instrument for funding and supporting his preferred causes.

For example, Canada’s Adbusters Media Foundation, credited for initially organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests, has benefited from the Tides Foundation, a frequent Open Society Institute grantee. Tides is organized in a fashion that typically obscures the relationship between incoming and outgoing philanthropic dollars.

Read more here.

Meet the FCC commissioner who wants to control the news

In 1949, the Federal Communications Commission
created a rule requiring broadcasters to cover issues that the government deemed important, and to do so in a way that the government found “honest, equitable and balanced.” If a broadcaster did not agree to abide by this rule, the FCC reserved the right to revoke the station’s broadcasting license. This rule was called the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC abandoned it in 1987. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a socially conservative Democrat appointed to the FCC in 2001, would like to bring it back.

Copps has a long history of advocating for government control of media, dating to the beginning of his tenure. But it wasn’t until last week, after Copps spoke to the BBC and an audience at Columbia University, that Congress decided to look into the commissioner’s philosophy against private media companies.

“We are going to be pretty close to denying our citizens the essential news and information that they need to have in order to make intelligent decisions about the future direction of their country,” Copps told the BBC. Media outlets are not “producing the body of news and information that democracy needs to conduct its civic dialogue.”

Copps went on to criticize his Republican colleagues at the FCC, who he claims, “eviscerated just about every public interest responsibility that generations of reformers had fought for and won in radio and TV.” In other words, the FCC folded the Fairness Doctrine in the 80s when it should have been cooking up legal justification for applying it more widely.

Read more here.

The Left’s War on Free Speech

By Bruce Walker

The left pretends to be the biggest champion of free speech. When the New York Times wrote articles about how our government was tracking the activities of terrorists, journalistic behavior which directly endangered the lives of Americans by providing intelligence information to those terrorists who are at war with us, the sanctimonious left insisted that this newspaper was simply exercising its constitutional right of free speech and free press.

In 1977 and 1978, Illinois Nazis planned a march Skokie, Illinois. That predominately Jewish community was home to many Holocaust survivors. The city, noting the intentionally provocative and malicious nature of this march, adopted ordinances to prevent the march. The perennially leftist ACLU took the side of the Nazis, citing the First Amendment rights of these disruptive goons.

The left at Berkeley in 1964 rallied around the “Free Speech Movement,” which was intended to be disruptive. By 1965, this movement had become known as the “Filthy Speech Movement,” because it asserted the right of students on campus to yell obscenities with impunity. The left had no problem with that at all, even when the speech inspired — almost called for — riots that destroyed property, frightened people, and produced numerous minor crimes. Hear what one of its “heroes,” Mario Savio, said at the time: “Government insults its citizens and denies their moral responsibility when it decrees that they cannot be trust to hear opinions that might persuade them to dangerous or offensive conduct.”

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, every effort to impose restrictions upon pornography met with loud screeches of censorship by the left. Even when government funds are used to create “art,” like crosses in glasses of urine or nude women smearing chocolate over their bodies before audiences, the left sighs and tells Americans that this is the price of free speech.

All this devotion which the left pretends to have for free speech is just like every other profession of values by the left: it is pure fraud, smirking lies, and measured injustice. Consider the position that Elena Kagan has taken toward free speech. She wrote in 1996 that free speech could be restricted if it directly or indirectly incited people to do harm, and Kagan noted the famous example of someone yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. She equates that with the notorious “hate speech” invented by the left.

The arguments of the left are always specious. The person yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is protected if he believes that there is fire. It is only if he lies — if he knows that there is no fire but yells “Fire!” anyway — that his speech is restricted. So-called “hate speech” is precisely protected because the speaker believes what he is saying. Kagan may think that he is wrong; you or I may think that he is wrong; our opinions do not matter: the expression of honest belief or opinion is absolutely protected by the First Amendment, with no exceptions at all.

What this deformed interpretation of the First Amendment means, in fact, is that Americans are forced into silence, or worse, into lying about their beliefs. The channeling of expression into politically correct ravines means that the entire purpose of the First Amendment, which is to have speech that is the product of free minds and consciences, is lost.

The left displays a very curious attitude toward the rights of different sorts of speakers. “Hate speech” is almost always directed against the lonely individual conservative, who has no wealth or power to protect him. Conservatives have been noting for forty-one years that government licensed television network channels lie about conservatives, defame conservative leaders, and construct crude caricatures of conservatives as a group. Worse, for most of those forty-one years, the networks scrupulously avoided criticizing each other for ideological bigotry, acting like a true monopoly. The left defended the right of multi-billion dollar corporate giants to savage the lives of conservatives by malicious mendacity. The left never said a word about these mammoth business empires hurting the public.

So when does the left get concerned about opinions reaching tens of millions of Americans? When someone like Rush Limbaugh takes the largely ignored and financially modest medium of A.M. talk radio and, against a torrent of abuse and many boycotts, finds a profoundly resonating voice among the conservative majority of America. Then — only then! — the ancient “Fairness Doctrine” rears its peculiar head. When the identical triplets of CBS, NBC, and ABC had the same news, the same entertainment slant, the same everything — which meant conservative ideas and beliefs were scrupulously purged, the left thought the Fairness Doctrine something akin to censorship. Only when the other side gets heard does the doctrine have meaning.

The left is utterly wedded to thought control. Like all sibling totalitarianisms, the left in America is addicted to power and repelled by truth. The creation of officially defined oppressors and officially defined victims determines who has rights and who does not. The totalitarian narcotic of “Social Justice,” the drug of choice for Hitler, Stalin, Father Coughlin, and Sir Oswald Moseley, dulls the people into a twilight land in which “Freedom is Slavery” and free speech too.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.

“Think Progress” Blog and George Soros

by Brian Garst

“Astroturf” is one of those common refrains used by the left when they want desperately for opposing views to be discredited. The George Soros funded mouthpiece non-ironically lobbied just that charge at a new, anti-net neutrality website called NoNetBrutality.com this week.

Think Progress claimed the website was part of a “secret plan to attack net neutrality.” CNET News showed otherwise:

On its Think Progress blog, the liberal advocacy group announced it had “obtained” a PowerPoint document “which reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net neutrality” through a pseudo-grassroots effort. The story was echoed on Slashdot, Boing Boing, and innumerable pro-regulation blogs.

There’s just one problem with Think Progress’ claim: It’s not, well, accurate.

In a case of truth being stranger than astroturf, it turns out that the PowerPoint document was prepared as a class project for a competition in Florida last month. It cost the six students a grand total of $173.95, including $18 for clip art.

And just how secret was this nefarious plot?

Not only was the PowerPoint document presentation no secret, but it was posted publicly on the competition’s blog, along with an audio recording of the event in Miami where the student contestants presented their ideas to the judges.

The online liberal echo-chamber then picked up the false story and ran with it.

Big government regulation supporters also descended upon the social media promotion efforts of NoNetBrutality with some brutality of their own. They declared everyone who doesn’t want government involved in regulating internet speech to be “corporate shills” and otherwise engaged in ad hominem attacks. One emailer to the website even suggested that it was surprising anyone supporting “such obvious transparent moral poverty” wouldn’t want to cut their throat any time they looked in the mirror. These guys really take their government regulation seriously.

Kristen McMurray, one of the six creators of the site, knows that all too well and wasn’t surprised by the pro-regulation tactics. “Labeling me a ‘corporate shill’ avoids any real debate on net neutrality,” she said, “so I’m not surprised it degenerated into name calling.” McMurray added, “Think Progress should have practiced good journalism and fact checked before reporting on our school project.” As the social media arm of an organization that claims to want to “shape the national debate,” Think Progress has a responsibility to ensure that it does so in an accurate and honest manner. It seems like good journalism, honest debate and big government advocacy just don’t go together.

FCC: Wholly owned subsidiary of Free Press

Posted by Neil Stevens

When I said that Free Press, the fringe neo-Marxist organization pushing Net Neutrality, has as an end goal the nationalization of the mass media in America, I suspect some people thought I was exaggerating the threat. But look at this Media Bistro report about senior FCC advisor Steve Waldman:

On Monday night the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) senior advisor to the chairman Steve Waldman tried out the agency’s “Reboot” message … One area that came up as a possibility is the expansion of public media: radio, TV, and otherwise. Could Waldman be hinting at a government subsidized, local market version of ProPublica to fill in the gap? He’s testing the message.

This is what a push for state run media looks like, folks. All coming from Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver, via TV News Check:

So let’s not be delusional and pretend that the commercial sector is providing the information and the quality educational and cultural fare that this democracy requires.

Soon you will have a “right” to state run media just as you have a “right” to Obamacare, if they get their way.

Net Neutrality War Heats Up

Joesph Smith

In a renewed drive to regulate the Internet, the FCC has announced scaled-back ambitions for Net Neutrality, but only after an appeals court ruling that the FCC had “overstepped its authority.”

To evade the court ruling, the FCC aims to impose Net Neutrality – equal treatment for all web traffic, compelled through government regulation – by “regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks.”

FCC Chairman and Harvard Law classmate of Barack Obama, Julius Genachowski, considers broadband to be a “hybrid” between heavily regulated utilities and unregulated information services:

“The chairman will seek to restore the status quo as it existed prior to the court decision,” a senior F.C.C. official said, “to fulfill the previously stated agenda …”

The legal basis for the move is not clear, and the major broadband providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, who have invested billions building digital networks, are expected to vigorously oppose the move, both in Congress and in the courts.

A May 5th letter from FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) outlines the history of Internet regulation since its privatization in 1996, noting a 2005 Supreme Court decision upholding the FCC’s historical regulatory treatment:

The Commission explained that it was unwise to subject enhanced service to common carrier regulation given the “fast-moving competitive market.” [emphasis added]

If it was unwise to regulate broadband five years ago, is it not the same in this era of rapidly evolving technology? Apparently not, for the enlightened ones in DC.

Mr. Waxman this week provided cover for the FCC power-grab, saying that he is “prepared to consider legislation to provide it.” While the term “Net Neutrality” is somewhat opaque and misleading, rest assured that if Mr. Waxman is on the case he is not promoting limited government and free markets.

The FCC foray into new regulation is not without added drama. Last fall Obama senior technology advisor Susan Crawford was shown the side door after the White House had to back away from her more radical Net Neutrality ideas.

Now comes news that Colin Crowell, a senior FCC advisor and a long-time advocate of Internet regulation, is resigning. Mr. Crowell is described in The American Spectator as

one of the most vocal advocates inside the FCC for regulating the Internet and imposing “Net Neutrality,” which is to the Internet what Socialism is to private property.

The Spectator further notes that rumors that the FCC may decide not to regulate broadband would if true “have left Crowell’s many friends on the extreme left very angry.”

The Wall Street Journal quotes an FCC statement that Mr. Genachowski intends to set “meaningful boundaries against regulatory overreach.” Oh really? As one analyst notes, “you could have regulators involved in every facet of providing Internet over time.”

Scaled back or not, Net Neutrality is the government foot in the Internet door, with ominous implications for future private investment as well as for the future vitality of the new media.

And so the Obama agenda rolls out, aided and abetted by the old-line, far-left, Democratic committee chairmen like Mr. Waxman. November can not come soon enough.