Tag Archives: Congress

Happy 4th of July!

independence_day_backgroundWe hope you enjoy the day off with friends and family. Before heading out to the BBQs, parades, and fireworks displays remember what the “Fourth of July” means to all Americans.

Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as Fourth of July or July Fourth in the USA, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the date on which the United States formally separated from Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States. Independence Day itself has nothing to do with the military, or soldiers.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on the holiday. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.

Title II Regulations a ‘Net’ Loss for Innovation and Consumers

The FCC’s move is especially regrettable because it is wholly unnecessary.

FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet

1930-ish-phone-copy

That little beauty to the right was the current state-of-the-art in 1937. That’s when what we call “toll quality” calling was supposedly set down as a standard.

The Federal Communications Commission approved an order urged by President Obama that imposes rules on broadband Internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph. The following statement should be attributed to Michael E. Glover, Verizon senior vice president, public policy and government affairs:

“Today’s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors. Over the past two decades a bipartisan, light- touch policy approach unleashed unprecedented investment and enabled the broadband Internet age consumers now enjoy.

“The FCC today chose to change the way the commercial Internet has operated since its creation. Changing a platform that has been so successful should be done, if at all, only after careful policy analysis, full transparency, and by the legislature, which is constitutionally charged with determining policy. As a result, it is likely that history will judge today’s actions as misguided.

“The FCC’s move is especially regrettable because it is wholly unnecessary. The FCC had targeted tools available to preserve an open Internet, but instead chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300- plus pages of broad and open- ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come.

“What has been and will remain constant before, during and after the existence of any regulations is Verizon’s commitment to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive broadband choices and Internet access when, where, and how they want.”


 

Many telecoms have acted poorly, but there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for 332 pages of new regulations that nobody was allowed to review before they were voted on. The FCC is not an imperial body, unaccountable to congress or anyone else – although clearly Wheeler thinks he is by snubbing a request to appear before Congress. This cloak-and-dagger approach is absurd, and if the entire Title 2 scheme falls (which it should), it will be in part because of the way Wheeler and the FCC acted – essentially as a mouthpiece of the Obama Administration – in regards to the process.

Wake up, people. The scope of what the FCC has now asserted they are authorized to control is far beyond what was intended when the agency was created. This has become true of far too many commissions, agencies and departments in the Federal government. I recommend “Is Administrative Law Unlawful” by Philip Hamburger. We have become so used to the massive scale of the federal government (particularly the power now concentrated under the executive branch departments and agencies), we barely realize that what we live with today wouldn’t be tolerated by any reasonable standard of limited, enumerated powers, judicial restraint and the concept of co-equal branches of government even 50 or 60 years ago, much less 100 or 200+ years ago.