Guerrilla street art appeared all over Washington D.C. today with a special message for FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.
Here's a close up of the poster:
It shows Wheeler's face with the words "Boot Licker" in bold and the words "Obama's Bitch" in the background.
Bumper stickers were also placed on stop signs around the capital to create the phrase "Stop Wheeler Don't Break The Internet":
They were both placed in front of Wheeler's Georgetown home, as well:
This is in front of the FCC's headquarters:
The context is the FCC's pending decision on net neutrality rules that is expected on Thursday. The controversial regulation has been subject to significant industry and political criticism.
Earlier this week two GOP FCC commissioners formally requested that the vote be delayed thirty days and that the entire document be released for evaluation. They are in the minority, however, as 3 seats are held by Democrats as the 3-2 split is customarily given to whichever political party controls the White House.
In their statement they said:
“We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it. Then, after the commission reviews the specific input it receives from the American public and makes any modifications to the plan as appropriate, we could proceed to a final vote.
With the future of the entire Internet at stake, it is imperative that the FCC get this right. And to do that, we must live up to the highest standards of transparency. Transparency is particularly important here because the plan in front of us right now is so drastically different than the proposal the FCC adopted and put out for public comment last May.”
Right after receiving this request, Wheeler answered by tweeting this:
FCC received more than 4 million comments on #OpenInternet during past year that helped shape proposal. It’s time to act.— Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) February 23, 2015
On Wednesday, Wheeler also refused to appear before the House Oversight Committee to testify on the subject. For an administration that has boasted about being the most transparent ever, they certainly won't be pointing to this issue as an example.
Perhaps the best and most meaningful argument on behalf of full disclosure came via Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) quoting then-Senator Barack Obama, commenting in 2007 on the FCC's ruling on media ownership rules and asserting that public disclosure was essential.
At the time, Obama wrote this:
“Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate.”
Obviously, there's a tremendous conflict between the positions of Obama eight years ago and that which he is holding today. That conflict has landed at the feet of the FCC commissioner, whose role was rightly and humorously pointed out for passersby to see.