FCC Issues Secret Regulations for Internet
Anxious to rescue the Internet from what Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler called a "regime of anarchy," the FCC approved over 300 pages of new rules designed "to bring order to this disorderly segment of our society."
"Right now, pretty much anyone with access to the web can do or say whatever he wants," Wheeler pointed out. "This is very distressing to President Obama. At his urging we have adopted rules modeled on policies laid down by our agency in the 1930s."
While loath to go into specifics "so as not to lose the very useful element of surprise as we attack those who might abuse their liberty to deviate from what promotes the common good," Wheeler acknowledged that "folks can be reassured that we will prohibit any and every individual or corporate action that we deem injurious to the nation's collective well-being."
Criticism that this move is "Obamacare for the Internet" failed to faze the FCC Chairman. "We don't buy into the premise that Obamacare has been a failure," he countered. "Many people who didn't have health insurance before have it now. Those who have refused to obtain insurance are being punished. The health industry is being transformed. We'd be proud if we accomplish similar results in the field of communication."
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) expressed his doubts that "subjecting what has thus far been a very dynamic feature of modern life to oversight by nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrats will lead to good results. The pace of innovation is bound to be slowed by bureaucratic supervision. Lower quality and higher prices seem certain."
"Lower quality and higher prices are not the unmitigated evil that advocates of anarchy like Senator Lee would have everyone believe," Wheeler contended. "If the trade-off is a fairer system, I think the average person would gladly make that exchange."
President Takes Defiant Stand on Amnesty
President Obama announced that "we have expanded my authorities," and bragged that "my enemies are powerless to stop me from going forward with what is right for America."
One of the "enemies" the President cited with scorn "is that Texas judge who thinks a court order can prevail against me. If President Jackson could defy the Supreme Court why should I have to heed a mere district judge? I am Commander-in-Chief of the world's most powerful army. The nation's largest police force—the FBI—works for me. What resources does Judge Hanen control?"
Obama warned that "those who contradict my directives must know that they will face consequences for their disobedience. The excuse that my directives do not comply with existing statutes will not get anyone off the hook. Those who work for the federal government put their jobs at risk. Those who don't can still be harassed by the swarms of officers I can send to eat out their substance."
The President also dared Congress to "pass a law aimed at reining in my expanded authorities and I will veto it. My veto will not be overridden because a sufficient number of congressmen agree with the revisions I am making to existing laws. We are in concert that adherence to out-dated processes should not stand in the way of doing what is morally right. History will show that the bold leadership of one man is a simpler and more efficient way to run the country."
In related news, the Administration cited the President's newly expanded authorities in the disbursement of $3 billion to health insurers to help cover losses under the Obamacare program. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew explained that "an adjustment to the Affordable Care Act was necessitated by Congress' failure to fully indemnify insurers against losses under the program." Lew dismissed the objection that only Congress is empowered to appropriate federal money as "overly formalistic. Slavish devotion to arcane procedures shouldn't outweigh the responsibility to do the right thing. Fortunately, we have a president who understands this."
Departing AG Laments Difficulty of Making Case for Civil Rights Abuses
Citing the difficulties his office encountered in pursuing charges against George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson, retiring Attorney General Eric Holder urged that changes be made in order to make it easier for the government to bring and win civil rights cases.
"The 'beyond reasonable doubt' standard is too daunting," Holder complained. "Does anyone seriously doubt that there was an element of racial bias in the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown? In my opinion, centuries of the oppression of minorities in this country proves that racism is deeply embedded in the culture. It would be unreasonable to presume that racism did not play a role in the deaths of these two young men."
Holder suggested that "to better balance the 'scales of justice' we need to be allowed to look at the whole history of race relations in order to place recent killings of Black men into context. The long run conduct of whites toward Blacks establishes a pattern of behavior that could generally be described as criminal. Fitting the actions of Zimmerman and Wilson into this pattern proves that a lengthy criminal conspiracy by whites against Blacks is ongoing. It should have been Zimmerman's and Wilson's burden to conclusively prove that they are not part of this conspiracy to escape a finding that they violated the civil rights of Martin and Brown."
In related news, Holder's temporary grant of authority to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to seize and "administratively forfeit" property was made permanent. "Having to go to court to seize property is time-consuming and tiresome," Holder said. "Seizing property and forcing the previous owner to go to court and prove that it should not have been seized is more efficient. Many of those dispossessed will lack the resources or will to contest the seizure. Selling the seized property can provide revenue for the Agency without having to go through the cumbersome congressional appropriations process."
Executive Action Underway to Ban Bullets
President Obama has ordered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to write a regulation banning 5.56mm ammo. This is the type of bullet used in the AR-15 style semi-automatic—the top-selling rifle in the country.
BATFE Director B. Todd Jones characterized the proposed new rule as "pure genius on the part of the President. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. It doesn't say anything about ammunition. By going after the bullets we skirt all the arguments the NRA uses to block government's efforts to disarm the public."
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) called Jones' reasoning "lame. It makes no sense to separate the weapon from the ammunition. For the Amendment to effectively protect the citizens' right to self defense it must protect both the firearm and the bullets."
Jones attempted to rebut Goodlatte's argument by asserting that "the need for self defense in our modern society is taken care of by the police. Since the police will be exempt from the ban their ability to defend the general population will be unimpeded by the new regulation."
"The AR-15 is a particularly inappropriate weapon for ordinary citizens to own," Jones maintained. "It is the type of firearm that is more properly within the sphere of the military. If such weapons are in the hands of the general public it conveys a notion of possible opposition to the government in a quasi-military way. It could give people the idea that using these weapons to oppose their government is a possibility. The President was emphatic about derailing such an idea by any means possible. That's what we intend to do."
Lawyers for Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Demand Charges Be Dropped
Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the person accused of complicity in the Boston Marathon bombing, are demanding that charges against their client be dropped.
"The law guarantees every person accused of a crime will be judged by a jury of his peers," said Judith Mizner, lead attorney for the defense. "Mr. Tsarnaev's peers are his fellow jihadis. None of them can set foot in the courtroom without fear of being arrested. Consequently, Mr. Tsarnaev's fundamental civil right to a jury of his peers cannot be fulfilled. His indictment should be dismissed."
The federal appeals court in Massachusetts, though, denied Mizner's request. "Brought to its logical conclusion, the defense's argument would insist that only criminals could sit on juries hearing criminal cases," the Court wrote in rendering its ruling. "The 'peers' requirement is considered met as long as a jury can be randomly selected from a pool of citizens in the jurisdiction."
The Court's decision, though, was not unanimous. Judge Juan Torruella wrote in a dissent that "in light of the fact that the crime for which the defendant is being tried was a random attack in a public place, any member of the community may consider himself or herself a target. It is impossible to draw an unbiased jury from such a pool. Further, the crime is so notorious that it is unlikely that an untainted jury pool can be found within the United States. The request to dismiss the indictment and switch the venue to the Islamic State should have been granted."
In related news, Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for California's Eastern District, averred that "an anti-Muslim backlash is, in the Administration's view, a greater threat than terrorism itself. Our best estimate is that about 150 Americans have joined ISIL. In contrast, there are around 300 million guns in the hands of private citizens in this country. A significant percentage of these armed citizens are likely to harbor ill will toward President Obama. Dealing with this clearly has to take precedence over worrying about the comparatively smaller risk we face from Muslim extremists."