Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good
is a phone call… if you are unable to speak?
Matrix, the movie
We hear that a Red Team is being created by the new administration to look at “climate science” again. But what good is a Red Team if it would be smeared and intimidated even before it starts its work? Then its conclusions will be buried under a mountain of lies by environmentalists and the fakestream media. Climate alarmists will also say something like “The Red Team, assembled from fossil fuel lobbyists and professional climate change deniers with intent to cast doubt on the climate science consensus has confirmed this consensus.” We need a red pill, rather than the Red Team. In other words, we need to break through the media blockade, created by Obama administration.
What good is our writing, if only a small percentage of the population can read it? What good is our work, if it is boycotted, shadowbanned, de-trended and otherwise hidden from public view by Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other Web monopolies? This problem has to be solved first if we want to defeat climate alarmism, cleanse the education and scientific institutions from pseudo-sciences and their promoters, and to stop certain groups from treating human breath as pollution.
This is why the subject of faux net neutrality is so important for climate realism. Also, the faux net neutrality agenda shares many attributes with climate alarmism. Both require understanding of technical or scientific details, which create barriers for public understanding. Both started with a legitimate, but small concern. In the case of “net neutrality”, the concern appeared when a Verizon executive floated an idea of shifting some of ISP costs from customers to content providers. In both cases, the concern received a broad bipartisan support, and has been exhaustively addressed. In both cases, the radical Left appropriated the issue after that, and used its label to push incredibly ambitious plans. In both cases, Obama administration readily accommodated radical plans. EPA made the infamous Endangerment Finding, arrogating to itself power to regulate carbon dioxide release. FCC issued FCC-15-24 order, arrogating to itself power to regulate Internet access, and, possibly other forms of press and speech.
There is also a large overlap between the contemporary bad actors behind the climate alarmism and the faux net neutrality agitation. But the faux net neutrality is an easy issue. I believe that observation of the bad actors’ behavior and broader social dynamics around faux net neutrality alarm also provides an insight into similar factors in the climate alarmism.
This completes the previous article on net neutrality alarmism. Despite the label, that agenda is not about net neutrality (FCC adopted net neutrality rules around 2006), regulation, the (fictitious) Internet service providers monopolies, or cable companies. Cable companies are not broadband Internet monopolies even now, and were not monopolies in 2009 when team Obama trained its guns on the budding broadband Internet industry. They compete against DSL, and most people could choose from multiple DSL providers. Customers could also choose providers of satellite Internet, or broadband over cellular networks. Wi-Fi and other fixed wireless broadband were offered in some markets, and new types of services were spreading. Alas, if FCC wanted to regulate monopolies or cable companies, it would have written that in the order. But it wanted to regulate the speech Instead, the FCC-15-24 order is applied to “any person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service” (para 21), and then more:
“25. The open Internet rules described above apply to both fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service. Consistent with the 2010 Order, today’s Order applies its rules to the consumer-facing service that broadband networks provide, which is known as “broadband Internet access service” (BIAS) and is defined to be: A mass-market retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding dial-up Internet access service. This term also encompasses any service that the Commission finds to be providing a functional equivalent of the service described in the previous sentence, or that is used to evade the protections set forth in this Part.”
Thus, the order covered all Internet access, except for dial up. Not satisfied with that, FCC included any “functional equivalent” of the Internet access, and endowed itself with the power to decide what constitutes the functional equivalent. In particular, the phrase “functional equivalent” dispenses with the physical limitations in the definition, such as “wire or radio.” Some people only read and write news and opinions on the Internet, using it as a functional equivalent of a newspaper. Under this definition, the FCC might regulate newspapers if Democrats come to power. The FCC might also decide to regulate coffee houses or places of worship if it “finds” that they are “used to evade protections” set by the order. If it sounds as a stretch, the CO2 Endangerment Finding by EPA is a live example that it is not. And potential FCC findings might be even correct in view of the history of this order. The order is intended to control political speech (see the previous article on faux net neutrality). Any service that provides an alternative platform for speech would probably “evade protections” of the order. I am not picking on the words here. This is the essence of the totalitarian ideology of the Free Press, which became the brain behind Obama’s FCC. For example, Timothy Wu, the Free Press Chairman, became a Senior Advisor to the FCC. His written words: “The idea that ‘speech is speech’ is persuasive, but also wrong” and “corporations hijacked the First Amendment”. In 2015, he became Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor to the notorious NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Timothy Wu is also a fellow at the New America Foundation, and a former Google fellow. Eric Schmidt is the Chairman of both corporations. As Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and their other icons, Free Press leaders want control over other citizens, and sell this control as “protections” against alleged power of corporations. They also anticipate that citizens would want to “evade protections,” and try to forbid us from doing that.
This is what Obama’s FCC ordered under the pretext of “net neutrality” and Trump’s FCC is about to repeal. The Internet information gatekeepers — Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. — protest this repeal shoulder to shoulder with the Free Press and the rest of the radical Left. Their was doubt about extent of their knowledge in the climate alarmism. Was it ignorance of science multiplied by hubris, or the cold logic of political alliances in pursuit of financial gains? But there is no doubt that they have perfect knowledge of the net neutrality subject, of the lack of scientific or technical merits in Obama era Internet regulations in general, and of the last moment political twist that led to the FCC-15-24 order. They do not like that order themselves. But they publicly lie about it, about the current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and about Donald Trump with full knowledge, intent, and malice. They do that because they have chained themselves to the hard Left politically, and to foreign governments economically (Twitter, generating most of its revenues in the US, might be an exception). When those powers tell them to attack Trump, they attack Trump, using any pretext at hand. The same powers are involved in the climate debate and have much more at stake. Thus, there is no reason to think that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other large and sophisticated corporations behind climate alarmism are sincerely mistaken and would stop and reverse the course if they learn of their mistake. They just do their part in the alliance. (They might have been mistaken on the climate when they entered the alliance. Also, many individuals in those corporations might be sincerely misinformed. This is of little help, too.)
Mentioned Timothy Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School. He is an example of the co-optation of smart and decent men by the totalitarian Left in the first decade of this century. His 2013 article, “The Right to Evade Regulation. How corporations hijacked the First Amendment” (1), attempts to justify the denial of free speech to members of the productive class (from executives to engineers to blue-collar workers, including people whose life savings are invested in the stock of publicly traded companies — “the deplorables,” in the words of Hillary). As usual, this argument comprises two dishonesties: a) conflating the legal definition of a corporation (which includes universities, newspapers, and “non-profit” corporations), with the semi-pejorative use of the word ‘corporation’ in the current political discourse; b) rallying against “corporations,” while obscuring the fact that there are humans behind each operating corporation: workers, contractors, owners, and customers.
Quotes from the article:
“Once the patron saint of protesters and the disenfranchised, the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians and corporate lawyers who have recognized its power to immunize private enterprise from legal restraint. It is tempting to call it the new nuclear option for undermining regulation, except that its deployment is shockingly routine.”
Yes, it is deployed to undermine the regulation of speech, sometimes successfully.
“The idea that ‘speech is speech’ is persuasive, but also wrong. Contrary to Powell’s assertion, the First Amendment does actually care who is speaking.”
No, it does not. A professor at the Columbia Law School should be ashamed. On second thought, he shouldn’t. He fits there fine.
This is not an abstract debate. Democrats and trial lawyers’ interests conflated representations in commercial transactions (so-called “commercial speech“), which may be regulated, with political speech by representatives of commercial entities, which is protected by the First Amendment. Then they extended this free speech ban on almost everyone in the non-media businesses, whose speech they did not like. I can trace that phenomenon to the late 1990’s, and especially to what I call an extrajudicial tobacco precedent.
Using this precedent, the Left has removed from the climate debate the most knowledgeable and independent people – scientists, engineers, and executives from energy, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries. They are independent because they are valued for their knowledge and skills, not for the political views they express or defend. Such people can easily switch jobs in the unlikely case their employers attempt to punish them for inconvenient speech. How many liberal academics or journalists have such option?
Climate alarmists further exploited public confusion in this matter by smearing every climate realist who had ever came within three degrees of separation from “fossil energy interests.” The importance of the private sector in public debates is illustrated by the fact that the first exposure of outright fraud in the so-called climate science (the Mann’s “hockey stick”) has been done by Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mining exploration businessman. He was joined by Ross McKitrick, an academic scientist.
Disclosure: I hold short positions in GOOG, FB, and TWTR. I am not obligated to make this disclosure. I am not so sure about the foundations and other investors on the other side of the issues.
P.S. Greenpeace is known to actively trade public stocks and even stock options. I will be surprised if matching the timing of its smear campaigns with the timing of its trades does not uncover stock market manipulation. Somebody, call SEC and Trump-appointed prosecutors! The funders and leaders of “the resistance” to Trump do not tell their herd about the real reasons to worry about his presidency.
P.P.S. Just when I was wrapping the article up, Google (Alphabet) unveiled an energy storage startup (2) with the involvement of Robert Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics and a climate realist. It seems like Google is attempting to bribe him.
Thanks to H.J. for collaborating on this article.