Theodore's World: Obama's Nominee For "regulatory czar" Wants Net "Fairness Doctrine"

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April 29, 2009

Obama's Nominee For "regulatory czar" Wants Net "Fairness Doctrine"

U.S. regulatory czar nominee wants Net 'Fairness Doctrine'

Cass Sunstein sees Web as anti-democratic, proposed 24-hour delay on sending e-mail



Barack Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar" has advocated a "Fairness Doctrine" for the Internet that would require opposing opinions be linked and also has suggested angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent by technology that would require a 24-hour cooling off period.

The revelations about Cass Sunstein, Obama's friend from the University of Chicago Law School and nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, come in a new book by Brad O'Leary, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech." OIRA will oversee regulation throughout the U.S. government.

Sunstein also has argued in his prolific literary works that the Internet is anti-democratic because of the way users can filter out information of their own choosing.

"A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government," he wrote. "Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom's name."
Sunstein first proposed the notion of imposing mandatory "electronic sidewalks" for the Net. These "sidewalks" would display links to opposing viewpoints. Adam Thierer, senior fellow and director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at the Progress and Freedom Center, has characterized the proposal as "The Fairness Doctrine for the Internet."
"Apparently in Sunstein's world, people have many rights, but one of them, it seems, is not the right to be left alone or seek out the opinions one desires," Thierer wrote.
Later, Sunstein rethought his proposal, explaining that it would be "too difficult to regulate [the Internet] in a way that would respond to those concerns." He also acknowledged that it was "almost certainly unconstitutional."
Perhaps Sunstein's most novel idea regarding the Internet was his proposal, in his book "Nudge," written with Richard Thaler, for a "Civility Check" for e-mails and other online communications.
"The modern world suffers from insufficient civility," they wrote. "Every hour of every day, people send angry e-mails they soon regret, cursing people they barely know (or even worse, their friends and loved ones). A few of us have learned a simple rule: don't send an angry e-mail in the heat of the moment. File it, and wait a day before you send it. (In fact, the next day you may have calmed down so much that you forget even to look at it. So much the better.) But many people either haven't learned the rule or don’t always follow it. Technology could easily help. In fact, we have no doubt that technologically savvy types could design a helpful program by next month."

That's where the "Civility Check" comes in.

"We propose a Civility Check that can accurately tell whether the e-mail you're about to send is angry and caution you, 'warning: this appears to be an uncivil e-mail. do you really and truly want to send it?'" they wrote. "(Software already exists to detect foul language. What we are proposing is more subtle, because it is easy to send a really awful e-mail message that does not contain any four-letter words.) A stronger version, which people could choose or which might be the default, would say, 'warning: this appears to be an uncivil e-mail. this will not be sent unless you ask to resend in 24 hours.' With the stronger version, you might be able to bypass the delay with some work (by inputting, say, your Social Security number and your grandfather’s birth date, or maybe by solving some irritating math problem!)."

Sunstein's nomination to the powerful new position will require Senate approval. He is almost certain to face other questions about his well-documented controversial views:

* In a 2007 speech at Harvard he called for banning hunting in the U.S.

* In his book "Radicals in Robes," he wrote: "[A]lmost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms."

* In his 2004 book, "Animal Rights," he wrote: "Animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives …"

* In "Animal Rights: A Very Short Primer," he wrote "[T]here should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, in scientific experiments, and in agriculture."

"As one of America's leading constitutional scholars, Cass Sunstein has distinguished himself in a range of fields, including administrative law and policy, environmental law, and behavioral economics," said Obama at his nomination of his regulatory czar. "He is uniquely qualified to lead my administration's regulatory reform agenda at this crucial stage in our history. Cass is not only a valued adviser, he is a dear friend and I am proud to have him on my team."

O'Leary disagrees.

"It's hard to imagine President Obama nominating a more dangerous candidate for regulatory czar than Cass Sunstein," he says. "Not only is Sunstein an animal-rights radical, but he also seems to have a serious problem with our First Amendment rights. Sunstein has advocated everything from regulating the content of personal e-mail communications, to forcing nonprofit groups to publish information on their websites that is counter to their beliefs and mission. Of course, none of this should be surprising from a man who has said that 'limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.' If it were up to Obama and Sunstein, everything we read online – right down to our personal e-mail communications – would have to be inspected and approved by the federal government."

Wild Thing's comment........

1st Amendment? Is that the one where we are supposed to have freedom of speech? Or is that for only people on the left?

This guy is another nutjob who believes Communism works. Then again he fits right in with the rest of the insanity in his administration and Obama himself.

"angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent by technology that would require a 24-hour cooling off period..."

I'd like to see that technology - this guy is pure kook.

“A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government”

Can’t have freedom of individual choice now can we? Oh like COMMUNISIM! So when Obama said "Yes we can.", "we" didn't include the citizens.

LOOK at this from Wikipedia:

"Sunstein’s 2006 book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge, explores methods for aggregating information; it contains discussions of prediction markets, open-source software, and wikis. Sunstein’s 2004 book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, advocates the Second Bill of Rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Among these rights are a right to an education, a right to a home, a right to health care, and a right to protection against monopolies; Sunstein argues that the Second Bill of Rights has had a large international impact and should be revived in the United States. His 2001 book,, argued that the Internet may weaken democracy because it allows citizens to isolate themselves within groups that share their own views and experiences, and thus cut themselves off from any information that might challenge their beliefs, a phenomenon known as cyberbalkanization."

Wow, well we have the head Vermin to thank for all the rest of the vermin is coming out of the woodwork. What a bunch of flaming Reds Obama has on staff.

Taking a deep breath, well I can't help it , I still faith in Americans. We love our liberty and will not relinguish it easily.


....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 05:46 AM


The Fairness Doctrine isn't fair and that's just the sticking point. If we wanted to hear liberal bashing, we'd have listened to it, but we don't want to. We want to hear good things--that America is still a great place to grow up in and raise a family. That we are strong and brave. Liberals don't do that. They scare me. They scare my kids.
If we wanted to hear all that crap, Air America wouldn't have gone bankrupt. Why should I listen to uneducated village idiots when I have Rush, Hannity, Levin (God I love Mark Levin!), Steyn and Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham?

Posted by: Lynn at April 29, 2009 08:21 AM

Well, I wondered how they would regulate the Internet. Now I know and under the banner of civility. Under Sunstein's plan, I could't send this comment until tomorrow and Wild Thing would have to link this post to opposing sites. How crazy!

Sunstein hates the first two Amendments and fits right into Obama's band of communist brothers.

Posted by: TomR at April 29, 2009 12:18 PM

Tom you are wrong. It is not the first two amendments that Sunstein hates but all rights. We also need a new name for these people. Reds does not cover them. Not even Pol Pot had aspirations like these freaks.

I actually do not do a good job of filtering my reading and spend too much time reading drek. This means I have read some of the writings of Sunstein and friends! These people want to reshape the human species with genetic engineering and selective breeding. Over the last six months, they have been going on about "over population." Their environmental doctrine calls for cutting the world population to one tenth of what it is today or about half of a billion people. There have been discussions of how to reshape the publics opinion to come to accept the "necessary measures."

That Obama would pick this guy to oversee regulation of communications is scarier than anything I have ever seen. He may be civil but so was Himmler and the only way to describe some of Sunstein's friends is as monsters.

Posted by: Avitar at April 29, 2009 01:47 PM

They both have the same mentality on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The see the Constitution as too restrictive and too many rights for the 'People'. They believe that the government is all knowing and all giving.

Ole, Sunshine here, thinks the 2nd Amendment was meant only for the Militia and not the right of the people. Again the first Amendment grants the people too much freedom. It allows them the right to their own opinion and the right to argue with the likes of these current nitwits who have bought and cheated their way into office. The only difference between this twit and obama. Obama's ears are bigger otherwise they are both dyed in the wool leftist, half wits Who dream of remaking the country in their own perverted image.

Posted by: Mark at April 29, 2009 04:04 PM

Lynn, I agree with you, yes those are
all good and Levin is awesome.
The first time I heard of Mark Levin
was during Bill Clinton's era.

Talk radio helps keep me sane, when I get
really upset about politics I can listen
to talk radio and they will either make
me laugh or know they are ticked at the
same thing. Plus I love talk radio just
because hahaa but it is a plus in what
tomorrow brings.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 07:47 PM

Tom, I agree it is crazy. He should be
laughed out, at least that. I wonder
if they will let him have the job.
Obama sure likes nut cases and they are
scary nut cases.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 07:49 PM

Avitar, they do need a new name something
that says what they truly are.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 07:51 PM

Mark, you nailed it that is what they
want to do.

I just don't get their hate for our
Constitution, it benefits them as much
as it does all of us. If they live under
what they want to do they are not going to
like it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 07:54 PM