The Truth About the Communication Decency Act

The CDA, the so-called Communication Decency Act, is finally being stripped of its pretense as anything but a cover for deregulating the entire communication system in America. I find it appalling that not only does Congress pass such miserable fabrications but that the major media, the same media labeled "liberal" by every right wing conservative with a pulpit, has ignored the truth of this act.

That portion of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the CDA, had been enacted many times since the late 1800's and struck down each and every time by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was copied nearly verbatim from these prior failed attempts to over ride the First Amendment to the Constitution and, I believe, was never intended to actually be enforceable. Rather, it created exactly the response that its authors expected, the full-scale frontal assault on the obscenity portion of the act and the fundamental neglect of the rest of this Corporate favor. The CDA attempted to exert Congressional control over the communication rights of everyone on this entire planet and was the disguise under which the rest of this new Corporate Welfare plan could quietly be bestowed upon the already wealthy corporations.

It was even written with the attitude that the more rights the obscenity portion stomped on, the better chance it had of becoming the focus of the entire act. To single out abortion and completely criminalize any positive mention or description of it as an option in a woman's life or even its existence in this world, while the procedure is legal and available all over the nation, could only serve to mobilize the massive percentage of Americans dedicated to free speech. To provide protection to anyone who restricts access to constitutionally protected material was intended to be a red flag waved in front of every librarian.

It even goes so far as to state that it "Prohibits using a telecommunications device to: (1) make or initiate any communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person; (2) make or make available obscene communication; (3) make or make available an indecent communication to minors." Can you find any part of this which defines the words "obscene" or "indecent" or "lewd", etc.? What in the world does "annoy" or "abuse" actually signify in this regard? Don't you think that the writers of these particular passages were just baiting anyone who had even a passing interest in free speech? Shoot, I find telemarketer's phone calls annoying and abusive of my telephone equipment and obscene in that they invade my privacy at any time. The definition of obscene is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Well, gentle readers, the subterfuge worked exactly like it was designed to do. The Congress has quietly given the major players in the television broadcast area over $70 billion in a one time gift of your airwaves in exchange for services that the broadcasters never intended to provide. These same airwaves are now being leased to other communication corporations by the broadcasters, which provide exactly zero income from your investment into your treasury.

These backdoor policies also have resulted in removing your right to have a say in the prices cable TV providers charge as well as removing most of your rights in the pricing of telecommunications in all areas. That, folks, is what "deregulating" means to you, the consumer. As I've warned you before, whenever your representative begins explaining the benefits of any deregulatory plan, just hand him your wallet and eliminate the suspense.

While the Telecommunications Act is a prime example of the government's habit of hiding their Robin Hood in reverse, smoke and mirrors style of corporate gift giving, it is assuredly not the only example. The "opinions" of the majority of Americans are formed, not by the accumulation of information but, rather, by the manipulation of emotions and the shrouding of truth in misleading words and legislation. The "leaders" of this nation are very aware that the title of any legislation is far more potent than the actual substance since very few Americans will ever learn the truth about what the law will mean until it is too late. The dreaded "liberal" media is simply too busy airing commercials to give any news story more than its allotted 30 seconds of time.

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Copyright 6/28/97