Bloggers will have to register with the federal government….

I read this on Slashdot, and it sounds so ridiculous, but in the climate in the US, i can quite believe it.

MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—The following is a statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com, regarding legislation currently being considered by Congress to regulate grassroots communications:

“In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, but isn’t, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress.

“Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.

However it looks like the amendment to the bill that will remove the problem may be removed.

Found via Slashdot (its funny how quickly nuclear weapons show up in the discussion below the piece….)

 

30 thoughts on “Bloggers will have to register with the federal government….

  1. Article: the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress

    What happened to freedom of speech?

    who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists

    We would lose anominity, police state here we come… glad I’m in the UK, hope it doesn’t spread

  2. MW: go fuck yourselves!

    Will do

    Brock: Don’t you feel just a tiny bit Punked, Gemma?

    That’s not what I intended to do

  3. How many dollars are they intending to throw at policing it?
    They haven’t thought this through at all.
    Sounds too similar to the War on Drergs with, potentially, the same result.  LOL

  4. Ah there is a simple way to combat the war on drugs – you can quite feasibly chemically bond an explosive to a narcotic – the market would be select but sneeked into the market you could ‘eliminate’ the problem. Would be useful for pest control on crops actually too, using insect feromones tagged onto explosives/poisons.

    Guess this gives spontaneous human combustion a new meaning

  5. distant claws: That’s not what I intended to do

    I’m confused. I was saying that I think Gemma might have been fooled. The story strikes me as a joke or an attempt to build animosity toward the Democratically controlled Senate.

    BTW distant claws, is the picture in your avatar of Frank the rabbit from Donnie Darko.

    (I’m STILL trying to figure that movie out)

  6. Brock – Ah OK I thought it was me that did the punking, I don’t always realise how what i say is interpreted. We’re cool.

    My avatar is indeed of Frank. DD is my favourite film because of the number of ways it can be interpreted, it’s linkage between science and religion, the possibility that what schizophrenics see may indeed be true and that maybe it’s the rest of society that’s mad. It would seem to me that frank wanted the world to end – he encouraged Donnie to do things that would complete the time loop, when that happened the world ended, when it didn’t the world didn’t end. Also if frank was trying to end the world and not save it, then because Donnie appears back at the beginning of the loop after the end of the world, something must have not allowed frank’s intentions to happen – this is allowed by the ideas in physics of superposition and a possible multiverse were partially created to deal with a paradox of time travel of ‘what happens if I went back in time and stopped myself from being born’ – the multiverse idea would give the answer that you were born in one universe and lived in another where you prevented one replication of yourself

    Thing is that although frank is made to look scary and may be trying to end the world, the film casts doubt on whether he really is evil – for one thing you are kept guessing at whether he really did want the world to end, another more significant thing that donnie later realises is that maybe the end of the world was an act of kindness, “when the world finally comes to an end, there will be so much to look forward to”. That could indeed be true, even if there is no afterlife, life can be a depressing slog where as an economic slave you work only for the privelige of being able to buy food and shelter only to live and work a little longer whilst subjected to the harshness of the world. On the other hand you can think your way out of depression and use the experience to help others, and make the world a better place because everyone you help and teach affects everyone they deal with, the effects snowball

  7. DC, thanks for the explanation of the movie.
    I’ve not seen nor heard of it – I lead a very sheltered insular life – Ida made a good American except that I don’t like guns.  wink

  8. You’ve really gotta see it, it’s my favourite, it’s a few years old but you may find it on p2p if it’s not in shops

  9. This law sounds a lot like a loophole law.  It doesn’t say “Bloggers must be treated like lobbyists” but it leaves it open so that they can.  It’s a lot like certain provisions of the Patriot act.  The government said “Oh I know that sounds vague, but we’d never do the kinds of things you’re scared of.  Trust us.”

    And look what they’ve done since.  They might not have even been thinking about it when they wrote the thing up, but somewhere along the way, someone who has something to gain by leaning on a particularly popular and annoying blog will look this up and say “Hey.. I know how we can get him.”

    The Military Commissions act lets the President choose the definition of torture.  You might have scoffed at the time and said “Yeah.. what’s he going to do, take waterboarding off the torture list?”

    Whoops!

    Seems like the fashion these days.  Don’t make a law saying “Were going to do these awful things”  Make a law that doesn’t expressly prohibit those awful things and then just keep smiling until you’ve got the votes to pass it.

    If this law passes, then they don’t have to actually call bloggers criminals, but technically, they will be.  If you have to get around certain laws like “Charge them with something or release them,” isn’t it handy when practically the entire internet population can ‘technically’ be charged with a crime?

    Oh that’ll never happen.  You can trust them.  They’re the government.

  10. Go on over to “The Questionable Authority” and see the posting on astroturfing. Mike Dunford did some digging around and found the real scoop on the bill.

  11. The pooka rabbits in Harvey and Donnie Darko are almost completely dissimilar starting with their heights and their demeanours.
    I think I’ll stick with Harvey – I don’t need any more crazy shit to dream about. smile

  12. (Bob Brashear) Go on over to “The Questionable Authority” and see the posting on astroturfing.

    Here’s a direct link to the post on TQA.

    this law is targeting people who are specifically paid to stir up grassroots support for a cause, it also shows that the only people who are required to file reports are those who have been paid quite a bit of money to stir up ‘grassroots’ support or opposition to a bill.

    The text of the law is available from here, just in case anybody wants to review the actual source material. I haven’t extensively read (or fully understood) it, but I’m all in favor of flushing astroturfers out in the open.

  13. That explains why the Dems voted not to strike the provision and why the Repubs voted yes.

    On the other hand, why would the democrats OR the republicans want to bring financial scrutiny onto their paid ‘grassroots’ efforts?  I’m amazed anyone voted no.

    Assuming that’s what the law really does.  I haven’t been able to see an in-context quoting of the relevant text of the bill.  I’ll have to look it up when I have more time.

  14. Swordsbane, while I consider all politicians as corrupt and morally bankrupt until proven innocent, astroturfing is something I associate most closely with Rovian machinations. Therefore…

  15. I’m all in favor of flushing astroturfers out in the open.

    Oh yes, the people are but sheep.  Those scoundrels that stir up the people, for shame, for shame. Sounds like fairly standard elitist position.  It explains a lot to this ol’ farm boy.

  16. I’m I the only one that’s confused. I’m reading on gopusa.com that this was all a Democrats idea to destroy free speach. Yet, when I look for who introduced the bill, I find it was a republican. Am I the only one that’s noticed that Congress has done more in the past 3 weeks than they’ve done in 6 years?

  17. Oh yes, the people are but sheep.  Those scoundrels that stir up the people, for shame, for shame. Sounds like fairly standard elitist position.

    What, that people are manipulable? Well, I speak for myself when I say “of course they are”. The Republican domination of the US gov’t until the most recent election seems a strong indicator that there are ways to inspire people to vote for you or against you. It’s just part of the power struggle. Even Billy Graham raised the question – was he being used by Nixon to appeal to the religious bloc? Elitist or not, I’ve little doubt that the assertion of manipulability is correct.

  18. I went over to gopusa.com for a look at what they’re saying about this issue.
    Following is a typical comment.
    It made me grin till I realised he was a typical GOP voter.
    Scary.
    I’d like to think Oz politics is not quite so lunatically polarised.

    studebaker51
    Junior Member   Join Date: Aug 2006 Posts: 24
    Re: Voices of the Grassroots Should Not Be Silenced
    —————————————————————————
    I’ve said it before: the Dimocrats will do ANYTHING to retain their power & positions…they know why they lost elections, & are moving to counteract the problem areas. Liberals are bullies…if they can’t win fairly, then they will change the rules so they can win…this is also why they are trying to re-enact the “Fairness Doctrine”. They know that conservative talk radio is a powerful opponent to their MSM….Any weapon that could be used against them will be systematically eliminated….just as they learned from their “Gods”, the communists…Hitler ,Stalin & Castro destroyed opposition before consolidating their power. The Dimocrats will use the law to silence their enemies…..just look @ most of their initial legislation
    These elitists scare me……time to increase survival supplies & buy more guns & ammo for the civil war that will come….after all, if the jerks won’t listen to the voice of the people that (stupidly) elected them, then the hot-heads will resort to violence to get their point across.
    Guess I’d better stop before this turns into a rant….

    I was surprised he didn’t mention his love for the one and only true god who is surely a GOP supporter.  LOL

  19. Swordsbane, while I consider all politicians as corrupt and morally bankrupt until proven innocent, astroturfing is something I associate most closely with Rovian machinations. Therefore…

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, the only difference between a democrat and a republican is the number of barbs on the rod they’re trying to shove up my ass.  I don’t for a moment think that the provisions worthiness can be judged by the fact that a lot of democrats voted against it.  It was simply in THEIR best interests.  Sometimes that is also in OUR best interests, but those times are getting fewer and harder to find.

    Be that as it may, the Democrats have a vested interest in looking busy, and at least appearing to be looking out for us.  I would venture to guess that this provision had nothing much to do with bloggers by design but COULD be used to screw us if the wrong people were interpreting it, but that’s only a guess.  That’s why it’s so important to know what the text of the bill says and not just a summary or someones opinion of it.  Especially if that someone is a republican or democrat.  The reps will always try to make the dems look bad and the dems will always try to make the reps look bad.  Truth be damned.

    As far as the bill goes.  Paid lobbyists are the governments ally.  The fact that they will have to report to the government doesn’t really do anything.  The government uses them.  Do you really think they will want to have a record that there may be something fishy with their favorite lobby?  I would venture to guess THAT’s why the provision was struck down, irregardless of what the bill does to unpaid lobbyists or bloggers.  The opposition might have been all democrats, but how many dems were among those who voted yes?

  20. To recap: the provision was a good thing aimed at treating lobbyists like lobbyists even if they were bloggers, and a Republican internet lobbyist though it would be clever to stir up some trouble by deliberately mischaracterising the entire thing as a 1984-style attempt to limit freedom of speech.
    Slashdot, with its penchant for swallowing things whole without examining anything at all, fell right into the trap and misreported the thing.

    And now, the provision has been stripped from the bill, because people are dense and can’t be bothered to actually read the bill, which is pretty straightforward, and because the Republican voting bloc still exists.
    A sad day for democracy.

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