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Congressman Introduces Bill To Limit FCC Powers 176

Posted by timothy
from the but-regulators-are-perfect-and-righteous dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would limit the FCC's power to regulate ISPs in a supposed effort to keep the internet free. The bill's text is currently not available on the Library of Congress webpage or on congress.gov, but a purported copy has been spotted on scribd. Representative Latta's press release nevertheless indicates that the bill is intended to prevent the FCC from re-classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II. Latta is one of the 28 representatives who lobbied the FCC earlier this month and were shown to have received double the average monetary donations given to all House of Representative members from the cable industry over a two year period ending this past December."
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Limit FCC Powers

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  • Good Sign (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:26AM (#47135107)

    If one of the largest telecom shills in congress is introducing anti-FCC legislation, this means the telecoms might be fearing a potential turn-around at the FCC.

    Just a month ago it seemed like this was all but impossible to think - maybe some home for REAL net neutrality rulings from the FCC?

    • Re:Good Sign (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penix1 (722987) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:39AM (#47135147) Homepage

      I don't understand why Congress doesn't run afoul of the conflict of interest laws when they are allowed to write legislation that favors the ones funding their campaigns. It is a clear conflict of interest when you are writing laws that puts money in your own pocket. They should have to recuse themselves just like judges have to when they have a conflict of interest in a case. Can someone explain why this isn't a worse case than judges with a conflict considering how it is the law that judges are supposed to be interpreting?

      • Re:Good Sign (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sg_oneill (159032) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @09:05AM (#47135195)

        I don't understand why Congress doesn't run afoul of the conflict of interest laws when they are allowed to write legislation that favors the ones funding their campaigns. It is a clear conflict of interest when you are writing laws that puts money in your own pocket. They should have to recuse themselves just like judges have to when they have a conflict of interest in a case. Can someone explain why this isn't a worse case than judges with a conflict considering how it is the law that judges are supposed to be interpreting?

        In most european/aust/nz countries, most of asia and good chunks of south america and africa, it would be called "Corruption". Belesconi went down for stuff far *less* brazen than what some congress too.These people belong in prison, not seats of power.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          Belesconi went down for stuff far *less* brazen than what some congress too.

          Are you kidding? Berlusconi was charged with massive bribery, corruption, sex with underage girls, wiretapping, money laundering, using his media empire for defamation, and many other charges.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

          In the US, politicians wouldn't generally survive any one of these affairs. And in the US, these decisions are up to voters, as they should be, not judges or parliamentary majorities.

      • I don't understand how they are even allowed to receive money from non citizens. We would be all up in arms if Putin was financing some American politicians, so why do we allow multinational corporations to do it?

      • Re:Good Sign (Score:4, Interesting)

        by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @10:11AM (#47135441)

        I don't understand why Congress doesn't run afoul of the conflict of interest laws

        Conflict of interest laws apply to judges and civil servants because they are not elected.

        For elected officials, we have a much simpler and more direct way of getting rid of them: we vote for someone else.

        You want to get rid of some other district's elected representative because you don't like what they are saying or doing? Tough sh*t, democracy doesn't work like that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually, I just want a fair election for the ones in my district, not gerrymandered nonsense that flies in the face of common sense and clearly shows partisanship.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          The problem come in when the democratic process itself is corrupted. The most brazen in the States is gerrymandering but there are lots of other ways the American democratic process has been corrupted, witness the re-election statistics. When was the last time a party was wiped out due to perceived corruption? Here whole political parties have been wiped out due to perceived corruption. Unluckily they always come back with a new name and now have gotten wise to the idea of corrupting the democratic process

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            The most brazen in the States is gerrymandering

            Gerrymandering is a process by which political parties in power user their power to give them a slight advantage in future elections. It involves no "corruption" (i.e., exchange of money for political favors), and pretty limited in scope. It is also widespread in Europe, except Europeans don't know and don't care.

            But European parties in power have many more mechanisms to hurt their opponents and help themselves, and they use those mechanisms frequently. Again,

            • by dryeo (100693)

              The most brazen in the States is gerrymandering

              Gerrymandering is a process by which political parties in power user their power to give them a slight advantage in future elections. It involves no "corruption" (i.e., exchange of money for political favors), and pretty limited in scope. It is also widespread in Europe, except Europeans don't know and don't care.

              But European parties in power have many more mechanisms to hurt their opponents and help themselves, and they use those mechanisms frequently. Again, Europeans don't know and don't care.

              Why in a representative democracy should the party in power be able to fix things to give them a future advantage? Just the idea of politicians having power in how the electoral process works reeks of corruption. And no, corruption does not have to involve money. And why reference Europeans? It's a big place with a lot of different cultures and political systems. Perhaps we should also talk about Africa or S. America and do a lot of generalizing. It's America that pretends to be the bastion of freedom and i

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                Why in a representative democracy should the party in power be able to fix things to give them a future advantage? Just the idea of politicians having power in how the electoral process works reeks of corruption. And no, corruption does not have to involve money. And why reference Europeans? It's a big place with a lot of different cultures and political systems.

                We're talking about Europe because you made comparisons with Europe and said that gerrymandering is the most brazen form of political corruption in

                • by dryeo (100693)

                  Why in a representative democracy should the party in power be able to fix things to give them a future advantage? Just the idea of politicians having power in how the electoral process works reeks of corruption. And no, corruption does not have to involve money. And why reference Europeans? It's a big place with a lot of different cultures and political systems.

                  We're talking about Europe because you made comparisons with Europe and said that gerrymandering is the most brazen form of political corruption in the US. I pointed out that not only is gerrymandering common in Europe, European political parties have far more sinister ways of corrupting the political process.

                  I've reviewed the thread and can't find any references to Europe besides yours.

                  • by stenvar (2789879)

                    I've reviewed the thread and can't find any references to Europe besides yours.

                    Well, that's because you have been vague and evasive in your examples:

                    The most brazen in the States is gerrymandering ... Here whole political parties ...

                    You were talking about a party-based democracy in which (implied) significant political parties have disappeared, and you referred to Europe in other threads. In any case, it is also the proper counterexample, regardless of whether you were referring to Elbonia, Canada, or some

        • For elected officials, we have a much simpler and more direct way of getting rid of them: we vote for someone else.

          Unfortunately, the politicians in power can redraw the voting district lines to help prevent the opposing party from being able to overtake the incumbents.

          Not that the major opposing party is much better. All too often voting (for one of the major parties, putting third party candidates aside for the moment) seems like a choice between bad and worse.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Stepping a little back. While we get rightly frustrated at how much money plays a part in politics, lobbying itself, including funding campaigns, is not all bad. Generally people (and groups of people) want people in office who are sympathetic to the things that matter to them. So if you want change, you find candidates who seem receptive to your cause and expend resources to help their chances of getting into office.

        They can not recuse themselves because having interests is part of their job. They ar
        • by Imrik (148191)

          It'd be nice if there was a way to keep the politicians from finding out who was paying for their campaigns. Then the money would go to people with similar interests, but the politicians wouldn't be able to change their interests to match the money. Unfortunately it isn't really practical.

      • by Bartles (1198017)
        Yes, the same thing should apply to union contributions and labor law.
      • US campaign laws are tissue paper.
        SO thin you wouldn't want to wipe with them.
      • That just inocent lobbying, companies showing their support for democracy. I hope you're not implying that it's something like bribery [smbc-comics.com], are you?

      • when they are allowed to write legislation

        Or when they introduce legislation that has been completely written by the lobbyists who donate big sums of money to their campaign, treat them to "fact finding trips" to luxury resorts, and the like. Because nothing says "of the people, by the people" like having a giant corporation treat some Senators to a trip on a yacht so that they can push for a bill that the giant corporation has completely written to become law.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        The theory is that this is just one guy. He can introduce all the legislation he wants but requires over 200 others to also be on his side. A judge, by contrast, holds unique power in the room (or at least, one of a very small number).

        In fact, given the difficulties in trying to reach a 60 vote threshold in the Senate, which has become essentially mandatory, the odds of this legislation going anywhere are extremely low. If it gets anywhere at all, it will be subject to the votes of the rest of the Congressm

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      It means they will just buy the law and neuter the FCC.

  • by Kuroji (990107) <kuroji@gmail.com> on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:26AM (#47135109)

    The congresscritters are owned by lobbyists at this point, without question. Lock, stock, and barrel.

    Even if things don't go the way they want, they'll just keep introducing legislation to try and get what their masters want. CISPA is the most blatant example of this.

  • by Greg666NYC (3665779) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:52AM (#47135173)
    Power and Money have no borders. USA, North Korea or Russia makes no difference for oligarchs. They want it all and don't care where the peasants live. As long they are compliant, work hard for a small change and don't ask too much in return. Welcome to XXI century where oligarchs around the world hold hands together.
  • This is not going to end well.

  • I went to his Facebook page and it looks the like comments on this issue are about 30:1 against his position. He's really being hammered there as a sellout. Yeah, I know, he really doesn't give a damn, but I'm glad people are speaking up.
  • Isn't it sad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @09:25AM (#47135277)

    Be honest now. When you read this, and how a congressman was trying to limit the power of the FCC, the entity that tried to eliminate net neutrality just recently, did you think "yay" or was your first thought "now how is this going to be used to fuck us over"?

    Am I the only one who feels like ANY kind of law being introduced today is aiming at screwing the average voter over in favor of the interest of a few corporations?

    • by Xyrus (755017)

      Well, now that money == speech politicians are deaf to all but the wealthiest.

      We have legalized bribery and all but legalized corruption with ever more sweeping powers being granted to the executive in an effort to ensure "peace and security". This does not bode well.

    • by Imrik (148191)

      Well, as far as how it would screw us over. If the FCC loses the power to regulate ISPs, net neutrality is gone. The only thing protecting it is the FCCs regulation that they tried to change.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      If you change "corporations" to "entities", then yes.

  • Look, if Ben Franklin had understood this "electricity" thing better, he'd have defined the Post Office program -- that allowed "a Republic, if you can keep it" to work, by putting every citizen within equal reach of every other citizen -- to include it explicitly.

    That's Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, that gave us the Post Office.

    In his day, they did it with horses.
    Now, we do it with electronics.

    Same difference. Ought to be the same anyhow.

  • IMHO this is yet another example of the national Republicans being out of touch with real people on Main Street (unlike the 'true' Republican party that existed for decades.) They are listening to the lobbyists for the big cable providers, etc. - those whose present business model is based on having local monopolies, while being allowed to act as if they were in competitive markets. This even extends to liability for content - these companies are arguing on the one hand that they are 'common carriers' and s

    • by swb (14022)

      I'm not convinced the Republican Party "of old" was ever all that much better although I could be swayed by the idea that they're a lot more brazen in their willingness to embrace just about any corporate proposal. I'm especially unconvinced the Democrats are any better,

      Lame duck like Obama, you'd hope he'd use the FCC/FTC/Justice department to lean on the cable companies, block their merger attempts, get the DoJ to issue opinions in favor of municipal broadband and raise anti-trust investigations over mar

      • I'm not convinced the Republican Party "of old" was ever all that much better although I could be swayed by the idea that they're a lot more brazen in their willingness to embrace just about any corporate proposal. I'm especially unconvinced the Democrats are any better,

        The original GOP, recall, was essentially created to end slavery. Had Lincoln not been elected, it's possible that the war might not have happened. In the 1880s (IIRC - may have been earlier) the GOP entered a Civil Rights bill that was essentially the same as the one that finally got passed in 1962 - and THAT one was passed with 80% GOP support, only 66% Dem support even though it was sponsored by the Dem administration. Even then, the Dems only came along after much arm twisting and 'incentives'.

        From t

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      I don't see the issue with duplication of infrastructure anyway. It's like when people complain about multiple brands of conflakes on the supermarket shelf and the associated advertising costs. It totally fails to account for the value proposition that competition brings.

      Sure, no one wants a dozen fiber optic cables strung down the street (though I wish the US would bury the cables but that's another discussion) but that's not likely to happen anyway. The issue is that if you allow competition, the maximum

      • Yes, there's a happy medium.

        The history of AT&T is most interesting. At that time (late 1920s IIRC) there were hundreds or thousands of phone companies. AT&T was the biggest. AT&T used both technical arguments and outright bribery to establish the phone monopoly. It argued that with all these companies competing - mostly for the "last mile" - the country would suffer with too many conflicting technologies and incompatibilities, and price competition would prevent spending the money for the r

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          But it's also possible that the other path might have resulted in much faster development - we'll never know.

          True, it's impossible to be sure but one might attempt to measure it up to the growth of the internet which has, in a decade or two since it became consumer ready, brought us vast information resources at a cheap cost and has, in the process, totally buried some technologies that telcos were attempting to bring us in their half-hearted locked-in manner (Video calls, information services etc).

  • He's working hard to justify that bribe he received.
  • Contact Bob Latta (Score:5, Informative)

    by whistlingtony (691548) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @11:59AM (#47135959)

    http://latta.house.gov/contact/ His number is Washington DC is Phone: (202) 225-6405. His Ohio toll free number is 800-541-6446.

    Send him an email, or ring him. Please be polite.

  • With an election due later in the year, this guy is presumably up for re-election. Is there anyone here who can comment on how hard it would be to vote him out? Anyone know who his opponent is and what their position on net neutrality is?

    • by mysidia (191772)

      this guy is presumably up for re-election.

      It would seem so [wikipedia.org]:

      Latta was re-elected in 2012. He beat Democratic nominee, Angela Zimmann and Libertarian nominee, Eric Eberly. He was endorsed by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the NFIB, the NRA and National Right to Life.

      2012 U.S. House of Representatives Bob Latta Republican Votes: 201,514 (57.27% )

      Angela Zimmann Democratic Votes: 137,806 39.16%

      Eric Eberly Libertarian Votes: 12,558 3.57%

      Ballotpedia: 2014 candidates: Ohio's 5th Congressional [ballotpedia.org]

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