Trump’s Appointed Head of FCC, in Investigating a Comedian Mocking Trump, is Rolling Back 1st Amendment

Trump’s appointed head of FCC, in investigating a comedy mocking Trump, is rolling back First Amendment

The FCC has promised to investigate Stephen Colbert for Monday’s rant about Donald Trump,, Forbes report. Stephen Colbert is a late night host and his show is not within the 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. “safe harbor” zone.

“Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine,” Colbert joked in his Monday monologue. “You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.”

About the First Amendment:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights was originally proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson‘s correspondence to call for “a wall of separation between church and State”, though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.

About Trump’s Appointed Head of FCC:

Ajit Varadaraj Pai (born January 10, 1973) is the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He is the first Indian American to hold the office. He has served in various positions at the FCC since being appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012,[1] and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a five-year term.[3] In January 2017, President Donald Trump elevated Pai to Chairman of the agency.[4][5] In March 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would renominate Pai to serve another five-year term at the FCC, which will require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.[6] Before his appointment to the FCC, Pai held positions for the Department of Justice, the United States Senate, the FCC‘s Office of General Counsel, and Verizon Communications.

Pai has been an advocate for less regulation during his tenure on the FCC. He is seen as a closer ally to broadcasters than other members of the FCC.[13] In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on July 10, 2012, he warned about the dangers of regulatory uncertainty and the need for the FCC to keep pace with the dynamic communications sector.[14] Pai also asserted that by reforming the way the commission works, the agency can facilitate the provision of new and better services at lower prices for American consumers.[14]

Pai gave his first major speech since taking office on July 18, 2012 at Carnegie Mellon University. He discussed how the FCC can help promote economic growth and enhance job creation in the information and communications technology field[15] by adhering to three basic principles: (1) the FCC should be as nimble as the industry it oversees; (2) the FCC should prioritize the removal of regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment; and (3) the FCC should accelerate its efforts to allocate additional spectrum for mobile broadband.[16] Pai called for a reinvigoration of Section 7 of the Communications Act, which gives the commission a one-year deadline to review proposals for new technologies and services. He introduced the idea of creating an IP Transition Task Force to expedite the country’s transition to all-IP networks. He urged the commission to settle the nine-year-old contributions reform proceeding for the Universal Service Fund by the end of the year. Finally, he advocated for completing the rules for the AWS-4 spectrum band by September 2012 and conducting the broadcast spectrum incentive auctions by June 30, 2014.[16]

Pai wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in 2014 criticizing a proposed FCC study of the news-gathering practices of media organizations.[17][18] In another 2014 letter, Pai criticized Netflix, writing that their Open Connect caching tools effectively secure fast lanes for its traffic.[19]

As chairman, Pai scrapped a proposal to open the cable box market to tech companies such as Google and Amazon.[20]

On May 5, 2017, Pai stated he would investigate comedian Stephen Colbert for his statement during a monologue on his show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in regards to President Donald J. Trump: “The only thing your mouth is good at is being [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

Net neutrality in the United States

Pai voted against the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which served as the basis for net neutrality regulations.[21] He said in December 2016 that he believed net neutrality’s days were “numbered,”[22] and was described by the New York Times as a stickler on conservative interpretations of telecommunications law and the limits of the FCC’s authority. As chairman, he also closed an investigation into zero-rating practices by wireless providers T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.[23]

First Amendment issues

Pai highlighted First Amendment issues on the commission, citing them as a significant reason for voting against net neutrality. He called the Open Internet Order’s declaration that Internet service providers have no freedom of speech an attempt to weaken the “culture of the First Amendment,”[24] and said it was “conceivable” the agency would seek to regulate political speech offered by edge providers such as Fox News or the Drudge Report.[25]

Prison inmate telephone calling costs

Pai argued against[26] adoption of the FCC 2013 analysis[27] and proposed rulemaking regarding the high cost of inmate telephone calls, referred to as Inmate Calling Service (ICS) by the FCC. He submitted his written dissent in which he argued that the nature of the exclusive single carrier contract between private ICS providers and prison administrators, meant inmates cannot “count on market competition to keep prices for inmate calling services just and reasonable.”[28] (ICS has become a $1.2 billion telecommunications industry and the two largest providers in the United States were private equity-backed companies).[29][30]:23 Prior to the FCC’s imposition of rate caps on interstate prison and jail phone calls in February 2014, the largest ICS provider Global Tel-Link (GTL) – which has been profitably bought and sold by private equity firms such as American Securities and Veritas Capital – charged some of the highest rates in the US – up to $17.30 for a 15-minute call.[31] The 2013 FCC analysis,[27] described how, in some cases, long-distance calls are charged six times the rate on the outside.[26] Pai opposed the FCC imposition of “safe harbor” of 12 cents with a cap of 21 cents on private ICS providers like GTL and CenturyLink Public Communications, arguing instead for a “simple proposal to cap interstate rates, with one rate for jails and a lower rate for prisons” that are cost-based to protect providers and ensure “some return on investment.”[28][32] In 2015, Pai again opposed rate caps on in-state inmate calls with families paying up to $54 a phone call.[33] He raised concerns about the increased use of contraband cell phones in prisons. In November 2016, the ICS provider won a halt to cap the rates. Pai criticized Democrats for appealing and the courts for intervening on ICS rate regulations. [34] Shortly after his January 23 confirmation as chairman, Pai withdrew support for the FCC case involving GTL and CenturyLink set for February 6, 2017 which had called for curbing phone call prices.[20][35]

Lifeline Program

In 2016, Pai called for an investigation of potential fraud among beneficiaries of the agency’s Lifeline subsidy for telecommunication services, contending that “apparent duplicates” who had signed up for the program improperly received $476 million annually.[36] He rescinded permissions for nine broadband providers to participate in the program after becoming agency chairman, stating those providers had not followed FCC guidelines requiring them to coordinate with the National Tribal Telecommunications Association in order to participate in the Lifeline program, and arguing the rules had been improperly circumvented by the previous Democratic commission.[37]


Forbes Report (source)

FCC To Investigate Colbert Over Trump Joke Referencing Putin

The FCC has promised to investigate Stephen Colbert for Monday’s rant about Donald Trump. Many are calling parts of the joke homophobic and others calling it insensitive. Stephen Colbert is a late night host and his show is not within the 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. “safe harbor” zone.

“Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine,” Colbert joked in his Monday monologue. “You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pledged to “take the appropriate action” even though he has been known to take a “lighter touch” on regulation. It appears that President Trump is strong arming Pai to, at least, speak out, against anyone who would dare make the man in the oval office the subject of an obscene joke.

“I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints — and we’ve gotten a number of them — we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” Pai told Philadelphia’s Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

Even though Stephen Colbert is on CBS, he is a late night host and the FCC very rarely takes action in instances like this. Even if the FCC levies a fine, it will be appealed and possibly even dropped. It appears that Trump, through Pai, is sending a message more than anything else. Although indecent, Colbert’s rant probably does not rise to the level of obscenity.

“Broadcasting obscene content is prohibited by law at all times of the day. Indecent and profane content are prohibited on broadcast TV and radio between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.”

President Trump does not like to be mocked and we might have to put up with him fighting back like this for the next few years. Either that or he’ll have to lighten up a bit.



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