Category Archives: Media

Online Freedom of Speech Act — Delayed?

I posted about how important of a vote this was on Wednesday, in anticipation of it happening yesterday. Looks like the vote didn’t happen, and the House isn’t in session today. According to the schedule, this should be the first order of business on Monday.

Now, there are two possible explanations. It looks as though they were following the schedule, and that they may have simply run out of time. On the other hand, they could be stalling for a chance to let the lobbyists come in, so they can do some backroom negotiating between HR 4900 and HR 1606. It’s unclear which is occurring, but the added time gives our Congress the option of doing the latter, even if that was not the cause of the delay.

What’s the difference between the two? HR 1606 says the internet will be free from regulation under BCRA. HR 4900 says that the government has the legitimate purpose of regulating the internet, but tries to set the limits of regulation such that it won’t affect most individuals. As I do not recognize their right to limit freedom of speech in this area, I choose HR 1606. As I know that regulations have a tendency to widen over time, I also choose HR 1606, because I know that narrow regulations today will be wide regulations in the future. It’s time to make sure our Congresspeople know where we stand.

A Tale of Two Bills

Using the near-impossibility that any bill entitled “ethics reform” will be rebuked, House members have proposed campaign finance restrictions be rolled into ethics reform:

House Republicans launched an election-year drive Wednesday to rein in political groups that operate with looser restraints than candidates and their parties, an attempt to blunt the activities of liberals such as billionaire George Soros.

Wealthy supporters, who make donations of $1 million or more to such groups, could contribute no more than $30,000 under the legislation, according to Republican officials. The organizations would be subject to more frequent disclosure requirements.

House Republicans indicated late last year that they wanted to limit the activities of loosely regulated political organizations, trying unsuccessfully to attach legislation to a must-pass bill setting overall policy for the military. They retreated under bipartisan fire.

At the time, the chairman of the House GOP campaign committee said the effort was designed to close “a loophole that is allowing big donor money into the process.”

How did freedom of speech become a “loophole”? Is that similar to how when they give us a tax cut, they count that as an “expenditure”? It used to be that individual rights were something inherent, and which were not to be infringed by the government. Now they’ve taken the stance that they’re the arbiters of all that exists, and they’ll parcel out to us those rights which they think we’re worthy of being granted.

The Bipartisan Incumbent Protection Act of 2003 is designed for one thing, and one thing only: to keep the message in the hands of people that don’t want to rock the boat. But as with anything, when there is that much power at stake, people will find a way to be heard, and 527 organizations fit the bill. Yet from a government standpoint, it was at least an improvement. While they couldn’t silence everyone, they were able to make sure all except the very powerful remained quiet. The powerful have an incentive to keep the status quo, lest they lose their power.

But some voices are bucking the trend. George Soros* has an established fortune (i.e. little fear of losing it, being fired, etc), and an agenda. To our government, Soros is simply too unpredictable and uncontrollable to be allowed to continue operating. They are desperately trying to continue their ability to control the message, and will take down the “whales” of political donations if necessary.

When you see that, you wonder whether our Congressman really want any part of the Online Freedom of Speech Act, set to come up for a vote tomorrow:

Redstate: We’ve been working for a long time on HR 1606 – The Online Freedom of Speech Act. It will come up for a vote on the floor of the House TOMORROW but as you read this – the campaign regulation community is hard at work – working the halls of Congress, lying about not only our bill – but “their” bill as well. And as far as their intentions go – well, I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to THEM bragging about protecting free speech – they are not to be trusted.

Of all the work you’ve done on this issue – no day is more important that today. Start with this list. Call the Republicans that wobbled last time 1606 was on the floor. And don’t stop there.

Congress doesn’t want bloggers speaking freely. They accept us grudgingly, although I’ll bet some of the lesser known folks on the hard-right, hard-left, or libertarian ends of the spectrum giving them assistance (as I think the blogosphere tends to be populated by ends of the spectrum, rather than the middle). But the vast majority see us as a threat. They saw the Patterico Pledge, and they understand the power of the press, even if it is simply online self-publishing.

It’s a sad day when freedom of speech has become a battleground. But it’s a battle we cannot afford to lose. Liberty must constantly be guarded, as there are always forces ready to snatch it away. Let’s make sure that if it goes, it goes with a bang, not a whimper.

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Eric Raymond on the Media

WASHINGTON — Media analysts sounded an increasingly gloomy note today following news that a full-scale outbreak of civil war in Iraq had been averted. “The prospects for regime change in Washington seem increasingly remote,” said one senior White House reporter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hah! Read the whole thing.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

It Must Not Be Important

Interesting that this story is not at the top of the headlines in the country. Iraq is close to exploding into civil war, a scenario that many opposing the Bush Administration’s actions in Iraq predicted would come about. Yet, Google’s current “Top Stories” don’t include it, it’s not on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle or the Sacramento Bee. We have more than 100,000 American military in the country who are, potentially, about to be embroiled in an outcome that was predicted by many, yet it’s not leading the evening news. Nor is it the hottest topic for blogs, which currently appears to be reserved for a story that looks like a dud to me, the UAE port maintenance deal. Side note on that, the UAE company that won the contract will NOT be providing security, regardless of what you read on dozens of blogs out there.

So, what’s the deal?

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

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