Currently making the blog rounds is the following story about a possible "crackdown" of political blogging.
The Coming Crackdown on Blogging
March 3, 2005, 4:00 AM PT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
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.
In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall 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.
First of all, the absolutely asinine McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance law, which has managed to achieve, well, NOTHING meaningful in terms of reforming campaign financing, is probably partly to blame for this latest round of stupidity emanating from Washington. You would think that with the Bill of Rights plastered all over the buildings in which all of the politicians work and do business in Washington that they might, you know, actually READ the damn thing. I'll spell this in bold for those from other countries just joining in-
First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech...."
That wasn't so hard, was it? Professor Bainbridge links some quotes from Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the 1st Amendment- this one is the keeper-
Without deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts, or whereases, freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they express, or the words they speak or write.
Rex Hammock thinks that this is probably more smoke than fire-
"I fear this meme is going to turn into a cause that's based on a strange headline of an interview of hypothetical conjecture. (Right up there with Congress is going to tax e-mail, or something) The exploration of a theory -- that blogger's links have some monetary value and should be treated as in-kind contributions -- is merely that, an exercise in hypothesis. Produce a member of Congress who says, specifically, they believe the practice of linking to a campaign website should be banned or fined or regulated, then I'm right there with you, brother. Hand me my picket."
And I'll be right next to Rex if this is in fact the case. But what kills me is that this is even being discussed. What the hell is wrong with the folks down in DC lately? Have they all been smoking the chronic or something? From the push to outlaw cable boobie to trying to regulate BLOGS for chrissakes- BLOGS!! it appears that many in congress picked a fresh juicy apple off the stupid tree and took a nice big bite.
Isn't it time for you guys to take a vacation or something? You'd think with the you know, WAR going on 'n stuff that these folks would have something better to do than worry about blogs and boobies.
You'd be wrong. They should put up this poster from Despair in the McCain and Feingolds offices instead-