For Republicans, stripping away consumer protections and handing over the internet to big business is just one big joke.
Overseeing the Federal Communications Commission's historic vote on Thursday to strip away consumer protections for Internet users, Donald Trump's handpicked FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, seemed to view the exercise as something of a back-slapping joke.
After listening to Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn eviscerate the Trump administration's plan to essentially hand over the keys of the internet to corporate America — and specifically telecommunication companies AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon — that will soon be able to pick and choose which content is more easily accessible, Pai mockingly announced he was going to "mark you down as a no."
He then started laughing at his own juvenile joke — while chairing a far-reaching FCC vote.
CLYBURN: What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you. But what I am pleased to be able to say today is that the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. The agency does not have the final word. Thank goodness for that. And as I close my eulogy of the 2015 net neutrality rules, carefully crafted rules that actually struck an appropriate balance in providing consumer protections and enabling opportunities and investment, I actually take what I'll just call ironic comfort in the words of then-Commissioner Pai back in 2015 because I believe this will ring true about this destroying-internet-freedom order. "I am optimistic," he said, "that we will look back on today's vote as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path that has served us so well. I don't know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered." Amen to that, Mr. Chairman. Amen to that. Thank you.
PAI: Thank you, Mr. [sic] Clyburn. I'm going to mark you down as a no. [laughs]
American consumers, including three out of four Republicans, are overwhelmingly opposed to the move against net neutrality rules. Just 16 percent approve of the move.
Meanwhile, it was uncovered that millions of bogus comments were filed with the FCC in support of gutting the net neutrality rules over the months when the commission was asking for public input.
Pai's FCC refused to investigate the massive fraud scheme.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman immediately announced that he will sue to stop the "illegal rollback" because "New Yorkers and all Americans deserve a free and open internet."
The ACLU has also vowed to fight "in every possible arena to restore these crucial protections."