From Business Week Online, a report on the court ordered FECkless attack on Internet free speech:
“I strongly believe that the online political speech of all Americans should remain free of government review and regulations,” said Michael E. Toner.
Toner argued that political activity on the Internet fails to meet the campaign finance law’s threshold to stop corruption or the appearance of corruption. Toner urged Congress to pass a law that pre-empts the court’s action and ensures that the Internet remains exempt from campaign finance rules.
Toner is right except –
A) he should not have qualified “political speech” with “online”. The original sin of McCain-Feingold is abrogating the First Amendment on behalf of incumbents. I assure you, the First Amendment did not mention the Internet, or bloggers, or newspapers as exceptions to McCain-Feingold. Can you believe a defense of free speech now has to mention a special group to be taken seriously?
The “defenders” of free speech are begging for crumbs when they should just reject the whole flawed premise.
B) he should have urged Congress to pass a law rescinding McCain-Feingold as an unworkable piece of neo-Stalinist hubris rather than ask, ironically, for a special interest exemption.
On what logical ground should bloggers get an exemption? On what logical ground should newspapers get an exemption? On what logical ground can we say neither will ever violate the vague “appearance of corruption” travesty foisted on us by Sandra Day O’Connor?
And who cares anyway? I’ll never believe a dollar of George Soros money wasn’t corrupt even before he donated it to some communist-front advertising agency. Let’s just level the playing field by getting the self-interested regulators out of it. Free market speech. You decide if it’s bullshit, not Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Antonin Scalia.
This, along with the suit against The Club for Growth, is the straw falling on the camel’s back while his nose is under the tent.
But Scott E. Thomas, the FEC commissioner, said his agency’s original exemption for the Internet was a mistake and the FEC should come up with rules for Internet campaign ads in light of the $14 million spent on Internet ads in the 2004 campaign.
$14 million? What happened to the rest of Soros’ money? I’d bring in the NRA money for balance, but they were prohibited.
At least Mr. Thomas is more logically consistent than Mr. Toner. He’s been ordered to write some rules and he’s an unapologetic administriviator.
Given his head, I’m sure he’d agree that we must apply “the rules” consistently – no discussion of politics, by anybody – 60 days before an election. Draconian statism is as draconian statism does:
Thomas said the FEC hopes to write its rules by the end of the year. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is reviewing the ruling and if it decides that the challenge to the initial rules had no standing, some commissioners may push to abandon the work on writing new rules, Thomas said.
If the Court of Appeals decides the challenge had no standing, which commissioners would NOT push to abandon writing new rules? Only those who enjoy writing rules for their own sake, one presumes. Mr. Thomas, for example, who is straight out of Kafka.
When we look at the original sinners we’ll find that Sen. John McCain has recently commented that he doesn’t think bloggers should be regulated at all, and that he was unaware of any attempt to do so. It looks like he is either a liar or does not know what his totalitarian legislation is actually regulating.
Paul Mirengoff, at Powerline, to whom Sen. McCain averred regulation of, well something related to the Internet, tells us:
Finally, having listened to Senator McCain answer questions on a wide range of subjects for about an hour at the end of a very long day, I can say for certain that he is no space cadet.
That’s nice. However, it does not mean McCain is not an insufferable egomaniac who cannot bring himself to question the pet project he nurtured to fruition: A piece of legislation that has increased the “problem” it sought to regulate and is having enormous, evil, “unintended” consequences.
The road to Hell is paved with whatever road is currently under “The Straight Talk Express.” McCain may be no fool, but he is a demagogue of the first water.
Finally, I am somewhat disappointed by this:
Michael J. Krempasky, director of the Web site RedState.org, said that if bloggers have to meet a government test every time they discuss politics, “the reaction will be completely predictable: rather than deal with the red tape of regulation and the risk of legal problems, they will fall silent on all issues of politics.”
I can understand why Mr. Krempasky might not threaten a Boston Tea Party/Civil Disobedience campaign while trying to persuade these idiots of the error of their very synapses, but I, for one, will not be silent about this.
I think that the FEC Enforcement Squad (that’s FECES) will have several million targets as we all ignore their anti-free speech edicts.
If it comes to it, I will be contributing to the legal defense of whoever they pick first, regardless of the politics of the blogger they attack. I think they will really be surprised at the concern with free speech demonstrated by the coalition of moonbats, wingnuts and even normal people who want to talk about politics on, or off, the Internet without the Federal Government telling us how to do it.
Update: 24-Sep 9:22AM Apparently, Senator McCain is ignorant of statements made in his name and over his signature, as Allison Hayward at Skeptic’s Eye (added to blogroll) reminds us here.
She also makes the excellent point that distinguishing blogging from the Internet is, at best, disingenuous. TOTH Powerline.