McCain-Feingold vs. bloggers


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Fletchette
May 25, 2005, 11:30 PM
I saw this article today, and immediately thought of the McCain-Feingold Insurrection.

Feds Shut Web Site in Piracy Crackdown (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/25/AR2005052501467_pf.html)

People trying to access the elitetorrents.org Web site on Wednesday were greeted with a warning about the penalties for copyright infringement, although officials said the investigation is focusing on those who originally offered the pirated materials.

The message also said: "This site has been permanently shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Individuals involved in the operation and use of the Elite Torrents network are under investigation for criminal copyright infringement."

Now, I am not against the Feds enforcing intellectual property rights, but this article shows how the Feds could crack down on bloggers if they feel that they are in violation of McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws by "contributing" to a particular politician by talking about said politition.

Doesn't look good... :scrutiny:

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beerslurpy
May 25, 2005, 11:47 PM
Yeah except "the l33t pir8 kr3wz" are easy to paint as being naughty. Plus, like 80 percent of the people doing it are in high school or college. The FBI or whoever will probably just shut down their site and warn them to behave in the future.

If the govt starts going after people for the terrible crime of political speech, they will look like chinese communists. Can you imagine John McCain having to deal with a flood of negative publicity on the eve of an election because he has the feds kick down some english major's dorm room door?

As the RIAA already found out with the mp3 lawsuits (the aforementioned grey category), these things usually pay very bitter dividends. Like when they sued an 8 year old girl living in the projects, or when they sued a 70 year old woman who doesnt own a computer. Etc etc.

We need to get rid of mccain feingold sometime in the next 10-15 years. Once we get used to its intended good consequences, then they will start weidling it like a club.

shermacman
May 26, 2005, 12:00 AM
That flood of negative publicity aimed at McCain needs to start...there is only a mere trickle of people that think McCain is The Manchurian Candidate, intent on doing even more damage to our Constitution. Right now he is basking in the glow of the media, taking credit for his latest "achievement".

Standing Wolf
May 26, 2005, 12:12 AM
Can you imagine John McCain having to deal with a flood of negative publicity on the eve of an election because he has the feds kick down some english major's dorm room door?

He'd simply ignore it. He can count on the national leftist extremist so-called "news" media to wave his flag long and hard.

mountainclmbr
May 26, 2005, 12:23 AM
This should also extend to politicians under Equal Protection. Any politician talking politics within the "window" should be punished 100% more severely than any ordinary citizen. John Mccain in jail again, but for life this time would send a very good message to the anti-freedom, pro communist crowd. At least they did not end up with a bullet in the head and buried in a mass grave like the left have imposed on us in the past.

beerslurpy
May 26, 2005, 12:36 AM
I think that this bill exempts broadcasters, so someone purporting to be "news" can be as partisan as they want. Obviously this law was crafted by the lefties way before the MSM began to fall to Fox, cable and the internet. Remember, this was something like a 10+ year effort starting back when Clinton's fireman was getting its helmet polished. They are still struggling to bend it to do something meaningful in today's media environment, but it is really a white elephant as currently crafted.

McCain Feingold was the main reason the NRA said that they would start a cable television channel. If they did it right, it would be pretty much exempt them from the requirements of MCF. And it wouldnt be that expensive either. 24/7 guns and shooting programming and news. Omg better than speedvision.

I dont think that the establishment will be able to put the genie back in the bottle. Lol prediction.

Nehemiah Scudder
May 26, 2005, 12:59 AM
I think they took the wrong tack.

There should be no limits on contributions, but there should be equal and free television and radio time for the top 4 parties. (Whatever they turn out to be.)

That way the money could be put to good use in campaign travel to the states.

jefnvk
May 26, 2005, 01:12 AM
To me, this is no different than shutting down a business that was dealing crack out the front door.

Fletchette
May 26, 2005, 01:45 AM
To me, this is no different than shutting down a business that was dealing crack out the front door.

This is why I had stated that I was not aginst the Feds enforcing intellectual property rights - this particular business does appear to have broken the law.

The point I was trying to make was that this incident illustrates how the Feds could enforce McCain-Feingold on bloggers. There would be no storming of bloggers in their bedrooms, the website would simply disappear.

This is what I find disturbing. Bloggers could start being silenced and the rest of the world would not even no it as the website simply disappears.

bjbarron
May 26, 2005, 02:40 AM
There is a proposed amendment (http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/4/13/164333/833) to exempt bloggers....

Paragraph (22) of section 301 of the Federal Election Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(22)) is amended by adding at the end of the following new sentence: “Such term shall not include communications over the Internet.”

Personally as a blogger myself, I feel this way about it.

http://www.the-trainer.com/blog/possible9.JPG

ravinraven
May 26, 2005, 06:26 AM
The Mc-F act [hmmm... McFact....hmmm.??.. I'd like FRENCH fries with that.] is a great treatment for the symptom, but it only drives fund raising/spending underground. Now it will be harder to see who is buying whom. Plus it gives the FEDs the ability to limit the activities of new folks trying to unseat a congressional homesteader. In fact this thing is called the incumbent protection act in some circles. And once the FEDs learn how to use the act relative to elections, how long will it be before any political opinion at anytime will be outlawed through interrpretation of the existing law. Statists are clever folks. That's why they need non-THR approved action taken against them to keep their genes from spreading.

I would propose that any pol can accept funds from anyone he/she/it wants to--even China and North Korea. The only stipulation would be that every dime be reported. A failure to report would bar that pol and his top dogs from all political activity, even voting, for life.

There would be a web site that these reports would be listed on complete with links to the giver and/or info about the giver.

So, Slickster gets a contribution from Kim Jung [?] Il. The web knows about it immediately. Reporters can get info and write a glowing account of the transaction showing how it is in America's best interest to arm the North Koreans and prostrate ourselves before their strange little dictator, etc.

rr

RealGun
May 26, 2005, 07:36 AM
There is a proposed amendment to exempt bloggers.... - bjbarron

Exempt from what? Not-for-profit status? Source of contributions?

geekWithA.45
May 26, 2005, 10:22 AM
http://mccain-feingold-insurrection.blogspot.com/

Fletchette
May 26, 2005, 10:06 PM
There won't be any newbies if were all muzzled...

bjbarron
May 26, 2005, 11:52 PM
Exempt from what? Not-for-profit status? Source of contributions?

Exempt from consideration as 'public communications'...rendering the FCC rules moot for blogging as it relates to campaign finance reform (McC-F).

The main problem is that if I ask people to vote for a candidate on my blog or link to a candidates' site, and get X number of hits...under McC-F I could be considered 'public' if the value(?) of my effort reached a certain amount. My posts might be seen as 'paid political advertising' for someone running and thereby subject to Mc-F.

How they were to calculate value is one of those 'to be named later' things. Under Mc-F I could be stopped from talking about candidates within a certain time window of the election...and be expected to keep records, etc.

RealGun
May 27, 2005, 07:52 AM
When do they ever do more than leverage tax exempt status? Isn't a blogger who doesn't take contributions free to post anything, anytime? If States collected taxes except for interstate commerce, and the Fed was dependent upon State contributions, Mc-F and all its ilk; for example state highway funding blackmail, Real ID, etc.; would be moot. Income taxes gave them more power than they were ever intended to have.

Waitone
May 27, 2005, 09:19 AM
Last election saw bloggers play a surprisingly significant role in that they participated in the sinking of a major candidate. It wasn't long thereafter that the Federal Election Commission floated a rule to bring blogging under FEC // Campaign Finance Control rules. I'm not surprised since the federales get uncomfortable with anything it can not control.

Campaign Finance Control has to be repealed. Won't happen because the whole package was bought into by both parties. This is not a democrat/spinelessrepublican issue. It is an Incumbent/Challenger issue.

ravinraven
May 27, 2005, 10:10 AM
"It is an Incumbent/Challenger issue."

And therein lies the whole reason for the act. It is unconstitutional, Dubya signed it and so far SCOTUS is letting it stand. This PROVES that the government is no longer "of the people." It is "against the people."

Question is: How much more do we take before we toss the tea into the harbor...again?

rr

bjbarron
May 27, 2005, 01:17 PM
Isn't a blogger who doesn't take contributions free to post anything, anytime?

Bradley Smith is one of the six Federal Election Commissioners tasked with extending the 2002 Campaign Finance Law into the Internet. Some of his thoughts and statements:

In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall (2004) overturned that decision. "The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines" the campaign finance law's purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Q: Would a link to a candidate's page be a problem?
A: If someone sets up a home page and links to their favorite politician, is that a contribution? This is a big deal, if someone has already contributed the legal maximum, or if they're at the disclosure threshold and additional expenditures have to be disclosed under federal law.

Q: How can the government place a value on a blog that praises some politician?
A: The FEC did an advisory opinion in the late 1990s (in the Leo Smith case) saying that if you owned a computer, you'd have to calculate what percentage of the computer cost and electricity went to political advocacy. It seems absurd, but that's what the commission did. And that's the direction Judge Kollar-Kotelly would have us move in.

Q: How about a hyperlink? Is it worth a penny, or a dollar, to a campaign?
A: I don't know. But I'll tell you this. One thing the commission has argued over, debated, wrestled with, is how to value assistance to a campaign.
Corporations aren't allowed to donate to campaigns. Suppose a corporation devotes 20 minutes of a secretary's time and $30 in postage to sending out letters for an executive. As a result, the campaign raises $35,000. Do we value the violation on the amount of corporate resources actually spent, maybe $40, or the $35,000 actually raised? The commission has usually taken the view that we value it by the amount raised. It's still going to be difficult to value the link, but the value of the link will go up very quickly.

Q: Then what's the real impact of the judge's decision?
A: The judge's decision is in no way limited to ads. She says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum.

Q: How do you see this playing out?
A: This time, we couldn't muster enough votes to appeal the judge's decision. We appealed parts of her decision, but there were only three votes to appeal the Internet part (and we needed four). There seem to be at least three commissioners who like this.

Senators McCain and Feingold have argued that we have to regulate the Internet, that we have to regulate e-mail. They sued us in court over this and they won.

Q: Why wouldn't the news exemption cover bloggers and online media?
A: Because the statute refers to periodicals or broadcast, and it's not clear the Internet is either of those. Second, because there's no standard for being a blogger, anyone can claim to be one, and we're back to the deregulated Internet that the judge objected to. Also I think some of my colleagues on the commission would be uncomfortable with that kind of blanket exemption.

Q: So if you're using text that the campaign sends you, and you're reproducing it on your blog or forwarding it to a mailing list, you could be in trouble?
A: Yes. In fact, the regulations are very specific that reproducing a campaign's material is a reproduction for purpose of triggering the law. That'll count as an expenditure that counts against campaign finance law.

bjbarron notes: I was part of a blog alliance that raised tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars last year for the military. There were blogs that did the same for political candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Under Mc-F, a complaint by a trailing candidate could, at the minimum, trigger the shutdown of your blog at your ISP...at worse it could lead to fines based on the amount of money raised by the leading candidate.

Would this be nearly impossible to enforce...yes. Would they care...no. They would just find some way to shut you down and make you spend the time and money to prove them wrong.

Note that both moonbat and wingnut bloggers are on the same side on this one...the first time I have ever seen that.

Link (http://news.com.com/The+coming+crackdown+on+blogging/2008-1028_3-5597079.html?tag=st.num) to the Smith Article

RealGun
May 27, 2005, 01:59 PM
She (Judge Kollar-Kotelly) says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum.


It seems from all this that the magic word is "coordinated". I am not reading that if a blog is nothing but a blog, thoughts, opinion, and news, there is any real restriction. Collect and donate money, suggest donations elsewhere, provide links to candidate sites, etc. and you are more than a blog. You become a substantial part of a campaign.

It may be hard to separate defending the freedom of blogs, accepting no argument, and being against the whole concept of CFR.

Waitone
May 27, 2005, 02:19 PM
Once the assumption is made government has an interest in controlling political speech, the lawyers, exceptions, qualifications, contributors, et al spring into action. Nothing is now clear. Any action is now subjection to second guessing.

Contrast the confusion with the clarity of no political speech control. In my ideal world there would be no limits but there would be instant and total transparency. All funds going into out of a campaign goes through a bank account. No money given to a campaign can be used until it is posted on a website. The website will contain complete information on donars. Who runs the website? Why the bank of course.

I have no fear of money used in a campaign. I am quite fearful of unattributed money. And that is why campaign finance control is so bad. It clamps down on what I can contribute but there seem to be no controls over 527's.

Rather than fix the problem our spinelessrepublicans seek to futher define what is banned. You can not tell me they are not in on the scam.

GlenJ
May 27, 2005, 04:39 PM
What is a Blogger???????????

Fletchette
May 27, 2005, 07:37 PM
Second, because there's no standard for being a blogger, anyone can claim to be one, and we're back to the deregulated Internet that the judge objected to.

"Anyone"?!? Even the proles?!? :eek:

GigaBuist
May 27, 2005, 09:05 PM
What is a Blogger?Guys like me, and GeekWithA45, and even more members of THR.

We're, admittly, opinionated, so we set up a web page where we write what's on our minds. For reasons beyond my comprehension people actually read what I write. Many forms exist, but every blog I read is political in nature.

Since it costs me money to do this, and there is some intrinsic value in me promoting a candidate (strange as that may sound) it's considered a donation to the campaign if you endorse a candidate.

Now, for a low traffic guy like me I don't see any way that I'd ever hit some Federal limit on donations from my blog. However, if you're one of the guys getting massive readership there's some serious value in your promotion of a candidate, theoretically.

Also, if I donate actual money to a candidate up to the federal limit (which I don't think should exist) and THEN I endorse them on my blog I've certainly given them at least a few dollars worth the value. That appears to be an instant violation of the law.

Cute, isn't it?

pax
May 27, 2005, 09:20 PM
Q: Then what's the real impact of the judge's decision?
A: The judge's decision is in no way limited to ads. She says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum.

Think about that.

... slowly.

pax

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything -- you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. -- Robert Heinlein

ravinraven
May 28, 2005, 09:35 AM
....oh, yes. It says right here in the first amendment. "...congress shall make laws limiting the freedom of the press, especially political ideas."

Come on, gang. It was there all the time except that it was written in invisible ink and McFact figured out how to make the ink become visible.

rr

shermacman
May 28, 2005, 10:13 AM
There is more invisible ink! Look what McVain found in the Second Amendment! Bayonet lugs, detachable magazines, solder temperature for flash suppressors, pistol grips; it is all there to read, we all missed it. McVain has done the nation a great service!

dustind
May 28, 2005, 09:10 PM
I can't even believe most of this stuff is being openly debated.

Anything else I could say on this issue would be a felony and get me banned.

pax
May 28, 2005, 09:38 PM
And yet, come fall of 2008, most the people on this board will vote for him and the other folks who did this.

Again.

:banghead:

pax

RevDisk
May 28, 2005, 11:52 PM
Q: Then what's the real impact of the judge's decision?
A: The judge's decision is in no way limited to ads. She says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum.

And people wonder why I'm so paranoid regarding my computer. I don't run a blog anymore. I just use my website as a dumping ground for photos, projects, etc. If I was intending on a political blog, I would not host it in the US and I'd take care to use anonymous means of controlling it.

There are dozens of relatively user-friendly crypto packages. Link 'em up through anonymous encrypted networks (Freenet, et al), and it's rather expensive to locate the blogger in question. Impossible? Nope. Just expensive. The point of practical cryptology is not to make information impossible to intercept and decode, but to make it cost prohibitive to do so.

In short, civil disobiedience.

Owen
May 29, 2005, 02:57 PM
Maybe I can say this because I am single with no kids, but Rev-Disk, isn't taking down your site, and essentially silencing yourself playing right into Mc-F's hands?

If they want to fine me for political activism, screw 'em. I won't pay the fine. If they throw me in jail for not paying the fine, I will happily go to jail.

Here, read this from the Gutenberg Project...

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=70887)

Sitting in your basement, muttering under your breath, typing cryptic emails only to people you know intimately is not civil disobedience when it's your right to PUBLIC speech that is being breached.

Sindawe
May 29, 2005, 03:45 PM
And yet, come fall of 2008, most the people on this board will vote for him and the other folks who did this. Not I. I'd sooner have a frontal lobotomy than vote for that peice of [CENSORED]

fjolnirsson
May 29, 2005, 03:53 PM
And people wonder why I'm so paranoid regarding my computer. I don't run a blog anymore. I just use my website as a dumping ground for photos, projects, etc. If I was intending on a political blog, I would not host it in the US and I'd take care to use anonymous means of controlling it.

To each his own. I started blogging, as did many others I'm sure, in response to McCain-Feingold. Granted, I seldom have the time to post much, but it's there for the world to see. If I'm silenced on the web, I'll take to the streets. I won't silence myself. I won't bow down to the government on this. As with many things, I have found my line in the sand. :cuss:
Complaining amongst ourselves doesn't do any good. Educating the "common folk" just may. I've run into a number of people who had no idea of what McCain-Feingold was, and were shocked to hear it may be applied to blogging.

Check out the McCain-Feingold Insurrection. I believe there's a link from Geek witha .45's blog.

MountainPeak
May 29, 2005, 04:54 PM
I will never vote for McCain. His attacks on the Bill of Rights are enough, but I honestly think the guy is also mentally ill!!

Fletchette
May 30, 2005, 02:58 PM
And yet, come fall of 2008, most the people on this board will vote for him and the other folks who did this.

Again.

Pax, how will we know this when there is no paper trail from the electronic voting machines? :scrutiny:

RealGun
May 30, 2005, 03:44 PM
And yet, come fall of 2008, most the people on this board will vote for him and the other folks who did this.Pax, how will we know this when there is no paper trail from the electronic voting machines?

I read that as just a backhanded plug for the LP.

RevDisk
May 30, 2005, 04:46 PM
Maybe I can say this because I am single with no kids, but Rev-Disk, isn't taking down your site, and essentially silencing yourself playing right into Mc-F's hands?

Pffft. I didn't shut down my blog out of fear of Mc-F's laws. I stopped updating it because I didn't care for the format. I am gonna switch over to writing more article styled system in December.

However, I do fully intend on being... careful in what I say. I have no intentions of becoming a Mark Lombardi.


"Pax, how will we know this when there is no paper trail from the electronic voting machines?"
I read that as just a backhanded plug for the LP.

Funny, I read it as a backhanded plug for http://www.blackboxvoting.com , for which I am fronthandedly plugging. :neener:

Jim March is still obviously hard at work, and went somewhat 'underground' because of certain activities he is engaged in.

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