In a speech at the Akron Sportsman’s Lodge, Republican House Speaker John Boehner promised local game stalkers that he would soon be taking up legislation to remove snipes from the endangered species list. This action is a prerequisite for granting permits for snipe hunts. Boehner told the appreciative audience that he has long advocated this measure and that he believes there is no justification for continuing to protect the elusive snipe.
In other legislative news, Boehner told the National Religious Broadcasters convention that the House would act to pass legislation that would ban any attempt to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. He told the NRB gathering that…
“…some members of Congress and the federal bureaucracy are still trying to reinstate – and even expand – the Fairness Doctrine. To them, it’s fair to silence ideas and voices they don’t agree with, and use the tools of government to do it. [...] Our new majority is committed to seeing that the government does not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.”
Speaker Boehner did not name any of the congressmen or bureaucrats that supposedly want to reinstate the Doctrine. He did not inform the group that there have been no bills introduced or hearings scheduled on the subject. He also did not mention that both President Obama and FCC Chairman Genachowski are both on record opposing reinstatement of the Doctrine. So Boehner is taking a courageous stand in opposition to something that nobody has proposed or is working on.
Boehner also spoke to the NRB about his opposition to Network Neutrality, or as he called it, “the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet.” In the process he repeatedly mischaracterized the matter as a “government takeover of the Internet.” His remarks were somewhat confusing as he sought to define the issue:
“It’s a series of regulations that empower the federal bureaucracy to regulate Internet content and viewpoint discrimination. The rules are written vaguely, of course, to allow the FCC free reign. The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller.”
Of course the truth is that Network Neutrality has nothing whatsoever to do with “content and viewpoint discrimination.” In fact, it is just the opposite as it’s only purpose is to preserve a purely non-discriminatory environment on the web. Not only does it not designate the FCC as a “traffic controller,” it prohibits the corporations who presently have that power from abusing it. Boehner’s position is to deny the FCC a magisterial role that isn’t in the initiative, but allow it for AT&T and Comcast.
To recap: Boehner wants to stop an Internet policy from doing something that it doesn’t do. He also wants to block a broadcast doctrine that no one is proposing. Those are tall orders that should keep him busy in the coming weeks and months while the nation is struggling to recover from an economic calamity and is crying out for solutions to stubborn problems like unemployment, the national debt, and enduring wars.
At least we can wish Boehner well on his snipe hunt – something with which he is apparently well acquainted.