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  • Will your blog be banned?

    Congress is rushing to pass another poorly-thought-out bill ostensibly to silence corporate lobbyists, but more likely to chill any political speech online:

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/1...ks-to-banning/

    The bill, however, would radically redefine how the FEC regulates political commentary. A section of the DISCLOSE Act would exempt traditional media outlets from coordination regulations, but the exemption does not include bloggers, only “a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication…”
    The Times editorial board expressly advocates the election or defeat of candidates, acts of political speech worth thousands of dollars, yet it is exempted from similar regulations imposed on other companies wishing to speak out about candidates. The Times also writes unsigned, anonymous attacks, yet the DISCLOSE Act would compel the political speech and identification of nonprofit groups: a bulky, filmed disclaimer estimated to be 2-3 times longer than candidates’ disclaimers.

    All this hasn’t stopped the Times and other dead-tree media outlets from enthusiastically endorsing the DISCLOSE Act. Perhaps the Times scribes wouldn’t be so rah-rah about these regulations if they realized they would give government the power to regulate political speech on the Web and determine which companies are “media”—meaning exempt from regulation—and which are “political”—meaning heavily regulated.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

  • #2
    Re: Will your blog be banned?

    I don't agree.
    You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
    So that when they turn their backs on you,
    You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Will your blog be banned?

      Ok, you've convinced me. Our blogs are all safe. What a relief! :p
      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Will your blog be banned?

        I couldn't find anything about blogs in the bill. Perhaps it's changed since then or I missed something along the way?
        http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h5175/show

        On the up side I never liked my 1st amendment rights anyways.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Will your blog be banned?

          Originally posted by scratchmonkey View Post
          ok, you've convinced me. Our blogs are all safe. What a relief! :p
          lol!
          |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
          ..now where did I put my keys?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Will your blog be banned?

            I meant I don't agree with the regulations.
            Your blog is not safe.
            You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
            So that when they turn their backs on you,
            You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Will your blog be banned?

              I agree with the regulations per the text of the bill, since it all applies to organizations or individuals with interest in government contracts and simply requires them to note who paid for/sponsored the ad. So if the Republicans have a campaign about candidate X doing Y they have to disclose that they funded or organized the ad/communication.

              I don't see how this applies to individual bloggers at all, unless it is assumed that enforcement of the law will be levied against individual non-profit bloggers to chill their speech and to be honest, I don't foresee that happening since the cost of going after individual bloggers for a suspicion of belonging to an organized campaign would be prohibitive. More likely, the disclosure requirements will simply push more of that deceptive information to blogs and email instead of TV, which is still an improvement.
              |TG-6th|Snooggums

              Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Will your blog be banned?

                If the bill isn't supposed to chill blogs, then why are there explicit exemptions for large media corporations? This is yet another way for the big incumbent (say, the NY Times) to kill its upstart competition (blogs).

                The bill, however, would radically redefine how the FEC regulates political commentary. A section of the DISCLOSE Act would exempt traditional media outlets from coordination regulations, but the exemption does not include bloggers, only “a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication…”
                This exemption needs to be extended to cover the Internet and anyone publishing handouts on their home equipment, or it's just another way to chill the small activist.
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Will your blog be banned?

                  This is like how helmet laws apply to motorcycles and not cars, an exemption for adult helmet use doesn't have to specify an exemption for car drivers as well as motorcycles when they aren't subject to the laws in the first place.I don't see how that summary is describing the bill. I read the bill, and I'm not making the connection between a media corporation being exempted from the rules that the bill addresses for corporations and groups and blogs by individuals that are not part of a corporation or group.

                  The quote notes that the exemptions are for printed/televised/other permanent publication. All of those will have been recorded in a way that the internet is not, either the broadcast can be recorded or a hard copy stored. An internet page for a corporation is not exempt, logically, because it could be edited or made unavailable at any time, which means not only blogs but also the magazine's internet page would not be exempt.
                  |TG-6th|Snooggums

                  Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Will your blog be banned?

                    Blogs aside, while companies that do business with the government will be stuck with these regulations, unions are exempt:

                    http://www.ethiopianreview.com/news/124985
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Will your blog be banned?

                      From the Law itself:
                      To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.
                      This law does not address blogs. It does not address individuals. It does not address Unions because unions are not businesses and represent the employees instead of the company. Could the union and company interests coincide? Sure, but so could the opinions of the employees who are represented by the union. Note: I think most unions are pretty much worthless in the majority of cases in the current age so I'm not really voicing support for them, just a reasons why they would be exempt from a prohibition on advertising just like other citizen groups like political parties.

                      The point of the bill is to restrict funding by companies who work for the government (ie Haliburton) and to force people who spend a lot of money outside that group to reveal who they are and their affiliation, and not just have some made up Citizens for Patriotism BS temporary corporation to hide that they are just a wing of one of the parties. Is the bill perfect? Nope, but it isn't an attempt to chill free speech of the voters. It might be a run around on corporate speech, which was a BS decision by SCOTUS anyway and at worst will simply send the issue back to the SC.
                      |TG-6th|Snooggums

                      Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Will your blog be banned?

                        Re unions, from the article:

                        A series of amendments were offered to the bill in the House Administration Committee by Republican members that would have applied some of the requirements of the bill equally to labor unions. They were all defeated. For example, the bill prohibits government contractors who receive government contracts above a certain amount from spending any funds on political advocacy. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) offered an amendment that would have extended that prohibition to unions in representational contracts with the government. If one believes that government contractors have some kind of “conflict of interest” because they are receiving government funds, then the same conflict of interest would apply to unions who represent government workers who are also receiving government funds. But that amendment was defeated in a vote on party lines, as was an amendment by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) that would have extended the same ban to any other recipient of government grants.

                        Similarly, the bill prohibits companies with a certain percentage of foreign shareholders or officers from engaging in independent political advocacy. Yet an amendment offered by Rep. Lungren that would have applied that same ban to unions that receive dues from foreign nationals was again rejected. Of course, this should surprise no one since, for example, The Hill newspaper is reporting that just one union alone, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, plans to spend in excess of $50 million during the 2010 campaign, part of which will fund “a massive incumbent protection program.” Is it any surprise that the incumbent sponsors of this bill want to exempt unions from many of its provisions? That is why former FEC Chairman Brad Smith calls it the “Democratic Incumbents Seeking to contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections” Act.
                        California's budget shortfall is apparently largely from a massive over-extension of benefits owing to union control of the California government.

                        Why shouldn't a union of government workers be treated as a "government contractor"?
                        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Will your blog be banned?

                          Teacher's unions and their members would be covered by the law if it applied to unions, teachers are not members of for profit companies but are paid in part by federal dollars in all public schools.

                          Workers that want to support the candidate opposed to the company's supported candidate because they differ on worker's rights issues would be restricted because they are part of a union and work at a plant that builds army vehicles.

                          Why shouldn't a union of employees at a company that receives government funds be able to promote their cause when their members are not direct government contractors any more than teachers and may have differing views than the company itself?
                          |TG-6th|Snooggums

                          Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Will your blog be banned?

                            Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                            Teacher's unions and their members would be covered by the law if it applied to unions, teachers are not members of for profit companies but are paid in part by federal dollars in all public schools.
                            But that's precisely what Lungren's amendment was calling for that got shot down.
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Will your blog be banned?

                              I'm saying that they shouldn't be considered government contractors although they are a union of employees that receive government funds, it's not like they receive an exclusive company contract like Haliburton and teachers should be able to feel free to have input on government decisions.
                              |TG-6th|Snooggums

                              Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                              Comment

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