President Asshat Attempts Internet Power Grab… Again

Obama’s Internet Power Grab – Canada Free Press

In a completely unsurprising development, one of the two Republican Commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made it clear the Obama administration’s effort to regulate the Internet is nothing more than another government power grab.

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“President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet,” said a statement released by commissioner Ajit Pai. “It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”

Pai continued:

The plan saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get.

Pai’s statement was a response to an op-ed column in Wired magazine by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. He believes “a modernized version” of Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, used to break up AT&T into four distinct Bell companies, should be applied to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Title II originally came into being under the Communications Act of 1934. Part of it prevented phone companies from engaging in “unjust or unreasonable discrimination” when it came to providing service for their customers. “Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC,” Wheeler wrote last Wednesday. “These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.”

Wheeler, Obama and the rest of their Democratic Party allies want to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and regulate ISPs like utility companies, or “common carriers,” rather than “information services” that fall outside FCC regulatory power. The ostensible purpose of the change is to implement “net neutrality” rules. Net neutrality is about preventing ISPs from blocking, slowing down, or diminishing the quality of applications and websites, from charging them higher prices for providing prioritized access, aka “fast lanes,” or giving preferential treatment to their affiliates.

Wheeler has drafted a 332-page plan to address the issue. He denies that it imposes new fees or price regulations. It will go to a vote on Feb. 26, and it expected to pass by a margin of 3-2 when the agency’s two Democrats side with the Chairman. Yet there is a telling indication that Wheeler is being less than forthcoming: just as the Democrats did with ObamaCare, the FCC won’t release the actual text of the plan until after they vote on it.

That doesn’t sit well with Pai. “I believe the public has a right to know what its government is doing, particularly when it comes to something as important as Internet regulation,” he said. “I have studied the 332-page plan in detail, and it is worse than I had imagined.”

He further explained that the part of Title II whereby the FCC is granting itself the authority to determine whether a variety of practices are “just and reasonable,” does give the agency the power to raise prices. “The claim that President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet does not include rate regulation is flat-out false,” Pai declared. “Indeed, the only limit on the FCC’s discretion to regulate rates is its own determination of whether rates are ‘just and reasonable,’ which isn’t much of a restriction at all.”

Republicans are also incensed. Committees in the House and Senate initiated investigations to determine if the White House improperly influenced the FCC proposal. On Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Wheeler asking him to explain his decision and produce documentation regarding communications and meetings between the White House and FCC officials. Johnson informed Wheeler he was concerned about “apparent pressure exerted on you and your agency by the White House.”

Johnson further noted the plan is “not only a monumental shift from Chairman Wheeler’s original net-neutrality proposal but also a large deviation from the light regulatory touch applied to broadband services since the Clinton administration,” Johnson said in releasing the letter. “The decision is wrong, and the process raises serious questions about the president’s inappropriate influence over what is supposed to be an independent agency that derives its authority from Congress and not the White House,” he added.

Last Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, expressed similar reservations, and also requested “all documents and communications” between the FCC and the White House.

And although the president appoints the FCC Chairman as Obama did with Wheeler in 2013, the agency is in fact supposed to remain independent. Wheeler, however was a major fundraiser for the president. Furthermore, Johnson and Chaffetz cited a Feb. 4 Wall Street Journal article reporting that, back in November, the White House’s top economic advisor gave a “heads up” to Wheeler about Obama’s intention to regulate the Internet like a public utility, an idea the president himself announced four days later. “The prod from Mr. Obama came after an unusual, secretive effort inside the White House, led by two aides who built a case for the principle known as net neutrality through dozens of meetings with online activists, Web startups and traditional telecommunications companies,” the Journal stated. Johnson asked Wheeler if the FCC was aware of that secretive effort.

Gigi Sohn, the FCC’s special counsel for external affairs, tried to downplay the connection. “I think what the president’s statement did was, rather than force the chairman’s hand, was give him cover to do something he already was thinking about doing,” Sohn said in an appearance on C-Span’s “The Communicators” series.

Forcing anyone’s hand at this point is highly problematic. If the FCC passes its proposal, there is little doubt ISPs and broadband carriers would initiate litigation to prevent it from going into effect. The FCC’s track record in court is not promising. In 2007 the agency responded to a complaint that Comcast was restricting customers’ ability to access certain peer-to-peer networks by issuing an order claiming the cable giant violated federal policy. Three years later, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the order, finding that while the FCC is permitted to take action reasonably ancillary to its statutory mandate, the FCC could point to no such authority in this particular case.

Later in 2010 the FCC adopted the “Open Internet Order,” broadly imposing net neutrality rules, but stopping short of imposing the Title II reclassification of ISPs they are currently seeking. They cited section 706 of the Telecommunication Act of 1996 whereby the FCC “shall encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans” as the basis for their statutory authority.

In 2011 Verizon sued the FCC and once again, in January 2014 the DC Circuit Court struck down parts of the Open Internet Order. They vacated the FCC’s anti-discrimination and anti-blocking policies, but maintained the requirement that carriers notify their customers regarding what traffic can be blocked and/or run faster.

Hence the FCC’s current effort to impose Title II common carrier regulations, one Pai doesn’t believe will go anywhere. “Courts have twice thrown out the FCC’s attempts at Internet regulation,” he explained. “There’s no reason to think that the third time will be the charm. Even a cursory look at the plan reveals glaring legal flaws that are sure to mire the agency in the muck of litigation for a long, long time.”

Given the Obama administration’s appetite for unassailable power, that is a good thing. Moreover, the Internet has done quite fine without the heavy hand of a federal government that, far more often than not, seeks to “solve” a problem where none really exists. Moreover, lost in this argument is the reality that private enterprise has invested billions of dollars in bringing an invention to people so all-encompassing, they now consider Internet access a “right,” even though it is nothing of the sor and even though Internet providers have adhered to a number of regulations already providing virtually unlimited access to this technology. Yet in their effort to impose greater controls, the Obama administration has embraced one of the American left’s most vexing beliefs: The pernicious notion incentive and coercion are interchangeable terms.

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Fox News Stomps Competition Into The Dirt… Again

Boom: Megyn Kelly And Fox News Have Just Buried Their Competition In The Trash Heap – Western Journalism

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It was a little more than a year ago – in October 2013 – when Fox News boss Roger Ailes made what many at the time thought was a bold and risky programming move.

Ailes changed FNC’s primetime lineup, a schedule of shows that had been mostly unchanged for the prior 11 years. And quite an 11-year run it had been because in that time, Fox News remained a solid No. 1 in the cable news category in both total viewers and the core adult 25-54 demo.

The biggest change the channel made some thirteen months ago was the primetime addition of a brand new program in the 9pm hour. Where “Hannity” once held forth, Megyn Kelly brought in “The Kelly File,” whose soaring success since its launch has been simply stellar.

Megyn Kelly had risen to fame as an anchor on FNC’s dayside news coverage. A lawyer with a quick wit, a sharp mind, a tenacious interviewing style, and an unforgiving refusal to accept bloviating – plus the ability to hold her own with the likes of Bill O’Reilly – Kelly soon caught on and climbed high.

Now, her climb has reached a notable peak. For the first time ever, reports ratings tracker mediabistro.com, “The Kelly File” was the No. 1 show on cable news in the coveted 25-54 demo.

Megyn Kelly is becoming what many in the biz call a “category killer.”

The last time a host other than Bill O’Reilly has won the demo was in Oct. 2012, when the 10pmET hour, which included presidential debates, was No. 1. Fox News has now been the No. 1 cable news channel for 155 consecutive months in total viewers.

As for the standout performance of the Fox News Channel overall, FNC in the month of November was the second most-watched cable channel, topped only by ESPN.

FNC delivered its highest rated month since May 2013 in total viewers and April 2013 in the A25-54 demo, when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred.

Below is a chart that graphically illustrates the outstanding ranking of Fox News in all of cable…and the absolute dominance of the channel in the cable news category.

You”ll note that CNN and MSNBC are nowhere to be seen seen, as MSNBC placed 26th in primetime and 27th in total day; CNN placed 25th in primetime and 20th in total day.

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*VIDEO* President Asshat Caught Being A Lying Sack O’ Crap… Again


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Obamacare Architect Caught On Tape Again Saying Subsidies Are Only Supposed To Go To State Exchanges (Audio)

Obamacare Architect Says Again That Subsidies Were Only Supposed To Go To State Exchanges – Daily Caller

While Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has brushed aside a video of himself arguing that Obamacare subsidies are only allowable in state-run exchanges as a “speak-o” – or verbal typo – a second audio tape has now emerged of Gruber making the very same comments yet again.

“That is really the ultimate threat – will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens,” Gruber says in the audio clip, resurfaced by Morgan Richmond and John Sexton. “So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to do to set it up.”

Gruber made the comments in a public appearance at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in January 2012. Gruber’s argument in the clip is even stronger that only state-run exchanges will be given premium tax credit subsidies.

At issue is a phrase written repeatedly in the Affordable Care Act that allows premium tax credit subsidies only for exchanges “established by the state.” Two appeals courts split earlier this week on whether the phrase makes subsidies in the 36 states that didn’t create their own exchanges illegal. Gruber, a chief author of the law, has repeatedly called the cases “nutty.”

But the audio recording is the second to emerge this week that shows that before the lawsuits were brought against the federal exchanges subsidies, Gruber appeared to believe that only states that ran their own exchanges would receive the payments.

In response, Gruber said his comments were a “just a speak-o – you know, like a typo.”

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Newest IRS Targeting Scandal Documents Show Obama Regime Lied… Again (Video)

New IRS Revelations, And What The Obama Administration Is Doing Behind The Scenes – The Foundry

Could the IRS do anything to make itself more unpopular? Apparently, things are far from over with the agency’s targeting of conservative political groups.

Emails obtained by Judicial Watch and released yesterday indicate that the Obama administration lied when it tried to pin the scandal on IRS employees in an Ohio branch office. In fact, the Washington, D.C., office of the IRS was coordinating with the employees to hold up tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status and subject them to extra scrutiny.

At the heart of the controversy is Lois Lerner, who was head of the division that approved nonprofit applications at the time.

“This latest revelation by Judicial Watch showing that the IRS targeting of conservative organizations was being run by its Washington office demonstrates that the House acted correctly when it held Lois Lerner in contempt,” said Heritage legal expert Hans von Spakovsky.

The House voted last week to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the IRS scandal. But it’s up to Attorney General Eric Holder to take any action – the first step of which would be forcing her to testify – and that hasn’t happened.

Von Spakovsky said:

Lerner claimed that this problem originated in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, so it is pretty clear she was misleading the public and congressional investigators. The contempt citation needs to be enforced and if the Justice Department refuses to do so, it will be another example of unethical behavior by a law enforcement agency that has repeatedly failed to adhere to its duty to enforce the law on an objective, nonpartisan basis.

In other words, the odds aren’t great that Lerner will face real consequences.

But perhaps the worst news is that the Obama administration has been working behind the scenes to change the rules for political activism – permanently.

In a new paper, von Spakovsky details how the administration has proposed rules for the IRS that “appear to be an attempt to implement the ‘inappropriate criteria’ used by the IRS to target tea party and other conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status.”

Turning the IRS’s targeting of these organizations into actual rules, he explains, would:

* ignore Supreme Court precedents and the Internal Revenue Code;
* fail to provide clear guidance to citizens and organizations attempting to comply with the Code and accompanying regulations; and
* threaten to restrict or violate the First Amendment rights of Americans.

The IRS scandal has become a bipartisan concern, as evidenced by a number of Democrats voting to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress and voting to appoint a special counsel to investigate the scandal.

But the administration’s effort to rewrite the rules for political activity is an even more serious threat that must be stopped.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Leftist Incompetence Update: Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating… Again

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again – Big Government

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Less than a year after suffering a major investment downgrade, Chicago has been downgraded again. Moody’s Investment Services announced Tuesday that it was lowering Chicago’s rating from A3 to Baa1, three levels above junk bond status.

Last July, Moody’s downgraded Chicago from Aa3 to A3. President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown now has the lowest municipal bond rating of any city in the U.S. except bankrupt Detroit.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as White House Chief of Staff for President Obama from 2009 to late 2010, and who is close to Bill and Hillary Clinton, has struggled to tackle the city’s looming pension crisis.

Through he reached an agreement with sanitation workers to reform the city’s garbage collection system, he has struggled to work with teachers’ unions and has not been able to rally the city behind broader municipal financial reforms.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Is Back

The Hydrogen Car Is Back… Again – Popular Mechanics

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The basic principle behind hydrogen fuel cells is fairly simple: Hydrogen atoms are stripped of their electrons to generate electricity and then combined with oxygen to form water as a by-product. Mainstream deployment of fuel-cell vehicles, though, has proved to be complex. Compared with liquid fuels, hydrogen is tough to transport and store. And without a meaningful number of vehicles on the road, there’s been no incentive to build hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Now new initiatives in California and across the U.S. are pushing for a long-awaited expansion of the refueling network. And with the debut of three promising hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles from Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, consumers will have new options beginning in 2014. Are we finally seeing the dawn of the hydrogen age? Not so fast.

WHY NOW?

The current hydrogen push has less to do with consumer demand than with government incentives that treat fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) as equal to or better than electric vehicles. In California the combination of 300-mile range and fast refueling gives fuel cells the maximum available zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credits. That makes it easy for a manufacturer to meet the state’s ZEV mandate with fewer cars. On the federal level, both FCVs and EVs get an EPA credit multiplier of 2.0 beginning in 2017, which means that sales of either type of car confer a disproportionate benefit on the ledger for an automaker’s entire fleet. In response, manufacturers have formed several high-profile partnerships, including Ford/Daimler/Renault-Nissan, BMW/Toyota, and GM/Honda to develop the vehicles. On the fueling side, a recent infusion of $20 million of funding per year has expanded the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s plan to 100 statewide refueling stations. The Department of Energy’s H2USA organization wants to use California’s efforts as a blueprint for the rest of the nation.

CAN I BUY A FUEL-CELL CAR?

In the past, fuel-cell vehicles have only been available in the hundreds. The three new FCVs slated for production this year and next will increase the volume to thousands, but they will be available primarily in California, where most of the country’s hydrogen stations exist. According to Alan Baum, an automotive analyst at Baum and Associates, even if the stations proliferate, fuel-cell vehicles, like EVs, won’t dominate the market. “It’s not going to be a widespread technology, and for that matter it doesn’t need to be,” he says. “We’re doing an all-hands-on-deck strategy.”

ARE THE PRACTICAL?

Not according to Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who says fuel cells are more of a marketing ploy than a realistic solution. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn agrees: “Knowing all the problems we have with charging [EVs], where is the hydrogen infrastructure?” Both men have a bias toward electric vehicles, but the infrastructure issue is a big one. With the current cost of a hydrogen filling station at more than $1 million, neither the government nor the corporate world has any plans for a rapid expansion of the filling network. “We’ve got electricity everywhere,” Baum says. “Putting in 240-volt charging units requires some effort and expense, but it’s not game changing. Putting in hydrogen is.”

WHERE DOES THE POWER COME FROM?

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Here’s the abridged version: Compressed hydrogen from the storage tank (A) is stripped of its electrons in the fuel-cell stack (B), creating electricity. A power-control unit (C) orchestrates the flow of energy from the stack to the battery (D), which powers the electric motor that moves the car. The battery ensures full power during acceleration until the fuel cell reaches peak voltage. Got all that?

ARE THEY SAFE?

Yes. Stringent requirements established by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) ensure that the technology is safe. Automakers are required to build robust hydrogen storage tanks that not only hold the fuel at up to 10,000 psi but also withstand arcane-sounding trials such as “bonfire” and “gunshot” tests by the DOT. Tanks are usually made of several layers of carbon fiber wrapped around aluminum or polyethylene liners, and many are also protected by external layers of steel. Regulations covering PRDs (pressure-relief devices) govern both temperatures and pressures at which gas is released, typically well below what is standard for safe operating conditions.

HOW GREEN ARE FUEL CELLS?

It depends on where you look. The only tailpipe emission from an FCV is water, but the process of creating hydrogen fuel – just like that of formulating gasoline or generating current for an electric vehicle – has an environmental impact. More than 90 percent of hydrogen today is created using a natural-gas-reforming process involving steam and methane, which reduces CO2 emissions from “well to wheel” by approximately 60 percent, compared with the process of creating gasoline. So, carbon dioxide is still released into the atmosphere – it just happens before the liquid hydrogen gets to your tank. Incentives and mandates encourage a cleaner hydrogen-creation process: The state of California requires that 30 percent of H2 supplied for transportation come from renewable sources, which can include wind, solar, and biomass material.

WHAT ABOUT REFUELING?

One advantage of FCVs is that they can travel farther and restore range faster than most current EVs. Refueling is simple: Once a nozzle with a snap collar is securely mated and locked to your car, the transfer of hydrogen begins with a brief hissing sound, followed by a 3- to 5- minute fill-up. However, it takes considerably longer for a filling station to restore the pressure required to service the next vehicle, so current setups can only refuel six or so cars per hour.

SO, IS HYDROGEN HAPPENING?

“When you have several major carmakers saying we’re going to invest in this, that’s significant,” Baum says. But vehicles are just one piece of the puzzle. Every other player in the hydrogen supply chain, such as the service station industry, needs to invest heavily. Until then, refueling options and vehicle choices will remain extremely limited, with no guarantee of expansion. Which is to say that hydrogen-fuel-cell cars will be a minor footnote in terms of overall vehicle sales for the foreseeable future. For all but the earliest of adopters, hydrogen as a prominent fuel alternative remains somewhere on the horizon.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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