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Banning Political Blogs?

This would actually be fun to watch...

The coming crackdown on blogging

Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

Let me be the first to predict "The Mother of All Blogswarms™."

While it could happen, it won't. The genie is out the bottle.

(read the whole thing anyway... just in case)

[Kevin adds] RedState is keeping track of the reaction (left and right) in their FEC archive. If it is to be the "The Mother of All Blogswarms™," then let it be aimed properly - repeal McCain-Feingold!!!


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Banning Political Blogs?:

» Blind Mind's Eye linked with I told everyone it would happen

» Cadmusings linked with FEC v Free Speech

» Slant Point linked with Dark Days for Political Blogging?

» Hold The Mayo linked with I Knew This Was Going to Happen

» The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill linked with Pride goeth before the fall?? Or bring that shit on????

» Blind Mind's Eye linked with I told everyone it would happen

» Pajama Hadin linked with The Coming Crackdown on Blogging

» The House Of Wheels linked with The McCain/Feingold crackdown on free speech

» The Unrepentant Individual linked with Free Speech - Except About Politics

» Vote for Judges linked with It's speech, dammit!

» JackLewis.net linked with Fool me once, shame on you...

» Illuminaria's Voice linked with Extremely Easy for Blogs to Violate BCRA

Comments (47)

The one thing that may happ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

The one thing that may happen because of this would be that those lefty sites funded by Soros might finally have to come clean. Not to name any names, but there are several that deny it that assuredly are.

No wonder why Hillary wants... (Below threshold)

No wonder why Hillary wants felons to have the right to vote. They'd be the only ones left on the streets by 2008 if the FEC is going out and arresting bloggers for linking to campaign sites.

There's room for a Scrapple... (Below threshold)
Eric:

There's room for a Scrappleface parody here, with the FEC banning political conversations in workplace hallways, or something similar.

This is great news! Let's g... (Below threshold)
DBub:

This is great news! Let's get back to the good 'ol days where you needed to be a billionaire or file for a 501c to influence the outcome of an election.

If those bloggers want to run wild and unrestricted and do whatever they want make um buy a newspaper or major television network.

Actually, reconsider the im... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Actually, reconsider the implications here. It COULD be a good thing...as per what bullwinkle wrote (^^).

But, the blogswarm response would be, yes, immense. From everyone, all political angles.

What I'd like to see is some improvement with websites as to whose property and work they actually are. Many so-called individuals pose as lone bloggers but represent a commercial effort, even campaigns themselves, which is not only misleading but dishonest in the odd "non reported" information (as in, it suggests an intentional mislead).

And, Soros and various on the left created a great deal of influence by using that very tact last Presidential election and probably are still doing so...I'd like to see some requirement for publishing on the internet, that at least requires a name, address and commercial vs. private enterprise acknowledgement. Something that prevents the many posers who can and do mislead, distort even, information.

I'd be fine with not linking to campaign sites, as long as a site's contents could continue to share and promote issues and candidates and link to and from others doing likewise, or to critique those not doing so...

As I wrote, this could be a good thing, not necessarily assumed to be nefarious. Improvements can always be made and who funds what and where is something the public, where elections are concerned, have at least some right to know.

DBub: we could always just... (Below threshold)
-S-:

DBub: we could always just "ban" the words, "Soros." Next might be "Teresa Heinz." It'd be a great start.

The media influence by those two alone is something most of us lone citizens can hardly begin to comprehend, I venture to write here.

Hillary wants felons to vot... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Hillary wants felons to vote because so many liberals are convicts. The left eats it's own, all those aborted babies presumably were the offspring of liberals also, more than enough would have been voting age in the last election to swing the vote and most likely would would have voted for Kerry. Gays in general don't reproduce, feminists avoid it for the most part, so they have a declining support base factored into their ideology. Gotta Eureka! to be them. Their heroes in socialist Europe aren't breeding either, you'd think that they would have the sense to watch the decline of natives and the necessary influx of radical Islamic immigrants and the resulting problems that is causing to see their own future. They're liberals, they don't....

This would be interesting t... (Below threshold)
cole:

This would be interesting to watch in a law-of- thermodynamics sort of way, re:

For every crackdown, there is an equal and opposite crackback.

The combined mass of the political blogsphere (left+right) traveling at the speed of the internet creates enormous momentum. I wouldn't want to stand in its way.

This has nothing to do with... (Below threshold)

This has nothing to do with being on the left or on the wrong side of the line. Even those on the wrong side were linking during this last election. So dont' make yourselves out to be so high and mighty.

And it would never work. The internet cannot be regulated. There are just too many hands touching it. And you cannot silence people from their opinions. It's that simple. People will find a way to have their say.

How about defunding the FEC... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

How about defunding the FEC?

Don't worry, the FEC is tot... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

Don't worry, the FEC is totally ineffective, and it won't improve.

"And it would never work. ... (Below threshold)
Keith:

"And it would never work. The internet cannot be regulated."
Angie, China does quite well at it as far as their population is concerened. (I almost used the word "citizens" there).
ISPs are the "choke point" that's vulnerable to government busybodies. No need to attack individual bloggers, just require the ISP to enforce a usage policy that will do their dirty work for them.
A compliant, activist Supreme court will be a huge help there. They seem to have total contempt for the Constitution.

What about non-Americans? ... (Below threshold)

What about non-Americans? I doubt the FEC is going to find a way to get their hands on foreigners' blogs. So the whole point of such legislation is, well, pointless. You'd just be finding campaign links on non-American blogs (assuming foreigners really care about American politics, of course).

I'd like to see them try, f... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

I'd like to see them try, for all sorts of reasons.

Look at the bright side.... the blogosphere might stop bickering and work together for a while. Heh.

One question that this brin... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

One question that this brings to mind is do the party sites really need a blogger to do their mass mailings? Do they really need bloggers to provide links to their sites? They have the money to advertise their sites, and no need to. How many times did we hear that weasel Kerry say, "just go to johnkerry.com" in response to questions asked by MSM reportersas in ,"all my military records have been posted on johnkerry.com, it's all laid out there for the public to see on johnkerry.com"? Don't both parties already have email lists numbering in the millions? Are they going to regulate the news and make them edit those free ads out?

This is not about the FEC a... (Below threshold)
Christopher Rake:

This is not about the FEC as much as it is about Mc-Cain Feingold. The 527s that managed to circumvent its outrageous free-speech restrictions are just slightly ahead of line in front of us, and blogs are next.

Nothing is inevitable, but this is no time for blogger triumphalism. I never thought the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the McCain-Feingold gag order, but they did.

RE: SilverBubble's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: SilverBubble's post (March 3, 2005 04:30 PM)

...I doubt the FEC is going to find a way to get their hands on foreigners' blogs. So the whole point of such legislation is, well, pointless...

+ICANN, under increasing demand and some political pressure, creates top level domain (TLD) .blg.
+Blog sites restricted to .blg domains.
+Blogs required to register into some category; politics or campaigns, i.e.
+Bloggers failing to register properly temporarily blacklisted via DNS block until intermediary resolution finalized
+Resolution completes with permanent domain name (DN) withdrawal, temporary DN withdrawal, or normal return to blogging
+Political blogs not following campaign law blacklisted

This is top of the head stuff with lots of probable flaws, but it is a conceptually "doable" model. The internet's ubiquity does not mean that choke points do not exist. Keith mentioned China's fine job of filtering. Where there's a will, there's a way. Getting the system up and running is much harder than tearing it down - chaos theory in action.

Gotta hand it to McCain for... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Gotta hand it to McCain for authoring one of the absolute dumbest campaign finance laws ever.

I don't think the FEC will succeed-the revolt would be huge on all sides of the political spectrum

Anonymous Drivel, I reckon ... (Below threshold)
Keith:

Anonymous Drivel, I reckon that's the course they'll take.

We will win this if it happ... (Below threshold)

We will win this if it happens -- we may, however, need to change out of our pajamas to do it.

Which is to say, it'll take some RW action to do the requisite ass-kicking and name-taking.

Once again, I am glad that ... (Below threshold)

Once again, I am glad that I did not vote for Bush in 2004. I predicted this a while ago. Of course, none of the Bush supporters I knew thought it would happen since bloggers aren't mainstream media. My how the chickens come home to roost.

MikeF, given the records of... (Below threshold)
Keith:

MikeF, given the records of lefty/totalitarian governments the world over, it's a bit rich to imply that the Dems would have no interest in censoring blogs.
The Supremes upheld the McCain Feingold monstrosity and they're predominently left-leaning.
The Dems don't strike me as ardent supporters of the First Amendment.

With the idiocy that is ca... (Below threshold)
Red:

With the idiocy that is campaign finance, Mc Cain thinks he is going to run for President. For what Party? For what country?

Campaign finance has turned into Hillary Healthcare, just no damn purpose.


I post nicknonymously on a ... (Below threshold)

I post nicknonymously on a server in Australia with a domain registered in the middle of nowhere. How, exactly, are they proposing to silence me? The true name behind my current identity could be determined thru sufficient research; if I need to come up with another no clues will be posted.

Once again, I am glad th... (Below threshold)
Christopher Rake:

Once again, I am glad that I did not vote for Bush in 2004. I predicted this a while ago. Of course, none of the Bush supporters I knew thought it would happen since bloggers aren't mainstream media. My how the chickens come home to roost

Well, you need to travel in broader circles, because many of the people I know on the right were screaming about McCain-Feingold all the way to the Supreme Court. And the three commissioners or whatever you call them on the FEC most interested in extending the free-speech gag are Democrats. There is plenty of shame to go 'round on this one, politically.

It's not like this was a big secret--National Review Online bashed Bush about this when it was happening.

As for posting anonymously with an IP in the middle of Nowhereistan, that's great. But most successful, influential bloggers post under their own name and for goodness' sake in the United Freakin' States we should not have to mask our identity to exercise free speech.

RE: triticale's post (March... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: triticale's post (March 3, 2005 06:40 PM)

Your individual post would not be traced (or it would be very unlikely due to cost) or even need to be traced. The point of action would be much higher up the chain, in this case at the hosting/blogging site. Assuming a blogger changes stripe in midstream, say from cooking advocacy to Democrat advocacy, and assuming the hypothetical I proposed earlier, a blogger could receive sanction for allowing your post and other "non-topicals" like it. I'm guessing a Republican or other opposing party advocate would spot your new advocacy quickly enough and "report it to the authorities".

Further, to have any real influence, one needs staying power and a following. If one must become a fly-by-night operation to skirt official channels, retaining a receptive audience would become quite difficult. Expenses would escalate considerably as well thus diminishing the appeal of using a blog in the first place. C Rake alluded to some of this already.

Keith,Where did I ... (Below threshold)

Keith,

Where did I imply that? The Democrats don't make themselves out to be the part of limited government, the Republicans do. If Kerry or Gore signed this, then it'd be obvious why, but a Republican president is not supposed to do this. The reality is that this was a bipartisan effort, and that Bush could have taken a principled stand and shot it down, if he were a conservative or libertarian. Compassionate conservatism isn't conservatism, unless your archetype of conservatism is closer to a benevolent, pro-democracy Mussolini than Goldwater.

When I think conservative, I think Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, two men who would have almost shot the messenger from Congress out of principle for bringing such a horrid piece of legislation to them. Those men and women of integrity have been all but purged from the Republican Party, hence why a FDR-leaning candidate like Bush got to be called the "heir to Reagan."

The reason I voted libertarian was to send a message that no, I don't agree with some of the party's positions, but at least I am not going to give you the feeling I support your politics to Bush. The truth is, that Iraq notwithstanding, Kerry, Bush and Gore are hardly much different. There are so few differences that you could flip a coin at the ballot box and get about the same responses to Congress and current events for the next 4 years regardless of which side it landed on.

Christopher,

The President is supposed to filter out the s$%^ from Congress with the veto power. Bush has literally never used his veto power and almost takes that as a badge of pride. A Congress that never gets slapped around from time to time with vetos of big bills is a Congress that will devolve quickly into a rich insane assylum situated between Virginia and Maryland.

I know that there were a number of people who criticized him for that, but how many of those people "held their nose and pulled the lever" in 2004? Quite frankly, those people deserve the President they got and if he takes their uncritical support for him as a moral mandate and goes whole hog on tearing up the few scraps of the USBoR left, what can they expect? Kerry would not have been better than Bush, but I think at least Kerry would have gotten the Republicans pissed off enough to be contrarian about supporting him on the very issues they unfortunately support Bush on right now. I mean honestly, how many Republicans would have the balls to support the illegal amnesty and Law of the Sea Treaty if Kerry and not Bush were pushing it?

MikeF, I take your point ab... (Below threshold)
Keith:

MikeF, I take your point about the current Republicans not being true conservatives and yes, Goldwater would have been horrified by this piece of crap legislation.
And I cannot for the life of me understand why Bush didn't veto it.
But "my how the chickens come home to roost" implies a real alternative was available to Republican supporters and I just don't believe that to be the case. Better for those of us on the right to attempt to bring the party back to its core principles than to change horses in the vague hope of something better.

We will win this if it h... (Below threshold)
julie:

We will win this if it happens -- we may, however, need to change out of our pajamas to do it.

Are you proposing a nude sit-in akin to the ones the moonbats are so fond of?

Keith,Neither the ... (Below threshold)

Keith,

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats were founded on "conservative values." The Republicans were founded to be a pro-central government, proto-fascist party. Unfortunately, the history of the Republican Party is that people like Reagan and Goldwater have been the exceptions and not the rule. Real conservatives have always been a minority in the Republican Party, part of the reason why the Constitution Party is necessary.

To be honest, I have for a while thought that Bush himself is probably not the problem, but rather the people who surround him. I happen to loath Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and if you look closely, you will see that many of the odious actions of the Bush administration come not from Bush, but the neo-cons he brought on board. According to WorldNetDaily, Cheney has been the one of the two driving forces behind the political support for the LOST within the Bush Administration, for example.

The "chickens are coming home to roost" comment was intended to be more of a "we are getting the type of government we deserve" sort of comment.

Hillary wants felons to ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Hillary wants felons to vote because so many liberals are convicts.

all those aborted babies presumably were the offspring of liberals also

MikeF, given the records of lefty/totalitarian governments the world over, it's a bit rich to imply that the Dems would have no interest in censoring blogs.

The Dems don't strike me as ardent supporters of the First Amendment.

Umm.....wow.

"And it would never wor... (Below threshold)
mantis:

"And it would never work. The internet cannot be regulated."
Angie, China does quite well at it as far as their population is concerened.

Actually, you're wrong there Keith. Having spent a bit of time in China, I can tell you their filtering is a joke. Sure they do arrest bloggers or pseudo-bloggers to make an example, though those usually have to do with indecency stuff. But as far as blocking websites, they do a piss poor job. Their strict anti-pornography laws are a joke now due to the internet. They do have the BBC blocked for accurately covering the Tiananmen Sq. atrocities, but you can access the Guardian, which is almost the same thing. However the Chinese people aren't dumb enough to criticize the government online, because the CCP does watch for that, so most of their internet use is apolitical. Chinese people use text-messaging to communicate when they don't want the government to know, they've become very savvy with cell phones.

If the FEC removes the inte... (Below threshold)
julie:

If the FEC removes the internet exception, then there is a challenge to 14 USC § 431 (9)(B)(I), which defines who and who is not the press in order to qualify for the “press exemption.”

Previously, the USSC has refused to define “categories of newsmen,” finding that to do so, wd be contrary to the 1rst Amend:

Freedom of the press is a 'fundamental personal right' which 'is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. . . . The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion. (Branzburg v. Hayes (1972) 408 U.S. 665, 704.)

"However the Chinese peopl... (Below threshold)
Keith:

"However the Chinese people aren't dumb enough to criticize the government online, because the CCP does watch for that, so most of their internet use is apolitical."
Well, Mantis it doesn't sound like the filtering/contol of the internet is exactly "a joke" to me. Seems to be working for the Chinese govt. just fine.
Which is the point I made.
As for banning the BBC but allowing the Guardian--what's the difference? both are anti-American and both about equally dishonest.

Are you proposing a nude... (Below threshold)

Are you proposing a nude sit-in akin to the ones the moonbats are so fond of?

Your place or mine?

I sort of think Bush voted ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I sort of think Bush voted for the stupid campaign finance bill, because he didn't think the Supremes would be stupid enough to not overturn the law. Dumb law, and dumb of him to sign it.

"Campaign finance has turned into Hillary Healthcare, just no damn purpose. "

Not quite, at least Hillarcare never got past the suggestion stage, McCain Fiengold not only go passed, the president was dumb enough to sign it, and the Supremes were too stupid to overturn it.

Cole, that's Fluids, not Th... (Below threshold)

Cole, that's Fluids, not Thermodynamics.

RE: mantis's post (March 3,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel's Shepherd:

RE: mantis's post (March 3, 2005 08:47 PM)
Having spent a bit of time in China...

Just curious, how long ago? They may have more/less filters in place now with the improved technology to intercept/block data.

However the Chinese people aren't dumb enough to criticize the government online, because the CCP does watch for that, so most of their internet use is apolitical. Chinese people use text-messaging to communicate when they don't want the government to know, they've become very savvy with cell phones.

Sounds like you have confirmed Keith's point regarding China. When China really wants to stop dissent, they manage quite well. Further, how much debate can you get using a cell phone's text messaging? I don't care how savvy one is with cell phones - if you are using it to "blog" or do anything in depth to present ideas and critique, you are hopelessly outgunned. Also, I'd love to see the bill... you better be on something more substantive than a "Family and Friends" discount.

---

RE: "julie"'s post (March 3, 2005 09:01 PM)
Freedom of the press is a 'fundamental personal right' which 'is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. . .. The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion. (Branzburg v. Hayes (1972) 408 U.S. 665, 704.)

Hmm. This sounds a bit like "MADGE'S POODLE, CITIZEN JOURNALIST".

Madge's Poodle CJ '02, are you posting under your nom de guerre "julie" again? Of course you know, you may now be risking your access to the President again. Better not let Kos or Atrios find out or there will be trouble. I suggest you start checking your chew-toy for "bugs".

AnonymousDrivel's Shepherd, Canine PI, Yesterday '05

Sorry, Keith, I misread you... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Sorry, Keith, I misread your post and was talking about how well they regulate the technology, but your right as far as the population is concerned.

AD,
I got back about 7 months ago, and as far as I know it's still the same there, but I could check with some friends. As far as the texting goes, it's pretty insane how much of it is going on. The gov't is trying to figure out a way to filter it all, but it's just too much. Sure, they're not blogs, and are mostly just used for organization and coordination when it comes to any underground political activity (I didn't witness any such activity myself, but friends have told me). I was there for the Tiananmen 15 yr. anniversary, but they had the area swarming with security to prevent any demonstrations. I heard about 15 people were arrested, but I didn't see them. But as far as controlling internet content coming into China, they are hopeless. A lot of younger Chinese are learning a good deal they otherwise couldn't from the internet.

AnonymousDrivel's Shepherd,... (Below threshold)
madge's poodle:

AnonymousDrivel's Shepherd, Canine PI:

Madge's Poodle CJ '02, are you posting under your nom de guerre "julie" again?

No. I was having trouble with my computer earlier, so she kindly allowed me to post from hers.

Better not let Kos or Atrios find out or there will be trouble. I suggest you start checking your chew-toy for "bugs".

Bigoted bastards! Hath not a poodle eyes? Hath not a poodle paws? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you throw a ball, do we not fetch? Fed with the same kibble as moonbats?

The threat to free speech o... (Below threshold)
Ken:

The threat to free speech on the internet is real. Never misunderestimate the hatred of governments for what they do not control.

First premise: divide and rule. The MSM doesn't like blogging much. So the MSM can be enlisted as useful idiots to attack blogging. Later the MSM's time will come.

I agree that ISPs will be the choke points. If you are blocked you don't exist. It will be tough to achieve but governments use your money and never sleep. Decapitate perhaps 1000 really talented bloggers and everyone else can be intimidated.

The likely vehicle will be a treaty turning over the internet to the UN. These faceless bureaucrats answer to no one and operate mostly in secret.

Another strategy would declare the internet obsolete, overburdened, passe. Start a new one for business and government with built-in monitoring and taxation. Require a license for individual use. Then turn the old net off.

Freedom will be defined as the right to not offend.

RE: madge's poodle CJ '02 p... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel's Shepherd:

RE: madge's poodle CJ '02 post (March 4, 2005 12:08 AM)
Bigoted bastards! Hath not a poodle eyes? Hath not a poodle paws? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you throw a ball, do we not fetch? Fed with the same kibble as moonbats?

Voof!

And if they wrong us, shall we not bite?

"Dog Bites Moonbat" will be our howl! Voof!

MikeF has rewritten history... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

MikeF has rewritten history, with one simple sentence:
The Republicans were founded to be a pro-central government, proto-fascist party.

How did Lincoln get credit for what was founded in 1919 by Benito Mussolini? Did Benito steal it, like Clinton stole welfare reform? It never ceases to amaze me the lengths a liberal will go to to support their dishonest ideology. I guess one lie leads to another then to another and pretty soon no lie is too ridiculous to tell. I've even heard that after a while you start to believe they are the truth....

Lincoln gave birth to fasci... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Lincoln gave birth to fascism by opening a portal to hell from inside his log cabin. Originally they fought crimes together but after he became president they drifted apart. Benito found it while riding a vespa to go pick up some oranges. It's ultimate purpose, unknown by both, was to annoy the hell out of everyone on the internet.

Ken, it seems to me that yo... (Below threshold)
Keith:

Ken, it seems to me that you've about nailed it. The U.N. has already been making noises about control of the internet and it didn't seem to ring any alarm bells. Which is amazing.
When you consider the number of supposedly democratic countries which have signed up to countless U.N. treaties and protocols without so much as consulting their citizens, the power that pack of scumbages have already is frightening.
And the U.N. never yet had a power it didn't abuse.

Just noticed there's a book... (Below threshold)
BR:

Just noticed there's a book called "Hillary's Secret War:
The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists". Has anyone here read it yet? I wonder if it was written before or after McCain-Feingold's campaign finance restriction law (pushed by Soros).

Agree with those above on McCain-Feingold. The root cause of this looming FEC trouble needs to be repealed.

Let's just hope they hire t... (Below threshold)

Let's just hope they hire the same people to enforce it as have been entrusted with enforcing the CAN-SPAM Act.




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