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(This is a joint post by Democratic Leader Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman on the Online Freedom of Speech Act under consideration by the House tonight.)

We want to assure the blogging community that we are fully committed to freedom of speech on the Internet and do not support any attempt to subject every day bloggers to FEC regulations or silence the rights of Americans to go online and voice their opinion. We are equally committed to eliminating the corrosive influence of soft money in our political campaigns. That is why we both voted for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Unlimited and unregulated special interest dollars have no place in federal elections.

We have two issues with the Online Freedom of Speech Act. First, in the words of our colleague Congressman Barney Frank, this bill "defends free speech by not having any." This is an issue that must be fully discussed in open debate on the House floor through a process that permits amendments to be offered and voted on. The Republican Leadership brought this bill to the floor through the suspension calendar which does not permit such an opportunity. As a result, the House is being forced to consider a complicated public policy decision without the chance to discuss it or make appropriate changes. As the Democratic Leader, Congresswoman Pelosi has a responsibility to assure that the majority does not employ parliamentary tactics that curtail debate and restrict the rights of elected representatives of the people to improve this legislation.

Secondly, there are fears that wealthy special interests could exploit the Online Freedom of Speech Act as it is written as a backdoor to bypass campaign finance laws and coordinate and finance a candidate's online campaign advertising. As long as their coordinated ads do not directly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate, corporations and special interests will be able to spend all the money they want through this loophole.

We need reform that both fully protects free speech in the blogosphere while keeping soft money from so easily and unfairly influencing the political process. These goals are not mutually exclusive and Americans should not have to pick and choose between freedom of speech and the right to a fair and clean election process.

If this legislation is defeated tonight on the Suspension Calendar, it is not dead. It can come up under normal procedures at any time and the House can debate and amend it to ensure that it does not undermine political reform.

Originally posted to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:10 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (none)
    I've never been a fan of Mitch McConnell's attempts to defeat campaign finance reform.

    Evan Bayh 2008
    Miller for KY Governor 2007
    http://kydem.blogspot.com

    by dsolzman on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:11:58 PM PST

  •  Any time (3.26)
    Waxman is involved with internet legislation, I get very, very nervous. Because he is in the pocket of the corporations on this one, rather than defending the public interest.

    Some links:
    Peer2Peer Security Hearings
    Concerned about decentralization of publishing
    No file sharing on Federal Computers

    •  I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt (1.00)
      and rate this a 2 rather than a 1 for unproductive.

      You skate very close to the border of unproductive because I read the second and third links and saw nothing there to be upset about with regards to Waxman.  You really should have explained further, because at the moment from this and other posts you've made, it's easy to get the impression that you simply have a kneejerk negative reaction when it comes to any discussion at all of oversight, restricted access, and such - regardless of the situation and reasoning.  I don't believe in censorship, but there's also the old "you can't yell 'fire!' in a crowded theater for kicks" concept.  But I want to think that there's a much more solid foundation for your opinion that these links should be viewed as negative evidence against Waxman.

      •  The links are quite relevant. (3.92)
        If you disagree with me, that's another issue. Waxman is leading the fight against the personal right to publish online.

        If you look at all three stories, they are Waxman attacking peer to peer publishing from three different angles: 1., saying that it is full of security holes, 2., saying that it is full of pornography, 3., saying that government computers cannot be on peer networks.

        Peer networking is the whole point of the internet. Shutting down the tools for this puts control of the internet into the hands of the entertainment and publishing giants, who happen to be contributors to Waxman.

      •  If you can't see... (4.00)
        If you can't see the blatant anti filesharing propaganda in those articles, you are really beyond help. Waxman annd Friends engage in a very obvious game of fear, uncertainty and doubt.  The objective, of course, is undermining Peer to Peer technologies alltogether, at the behalf of their well known masters in the Music and Movie industries. To achieve this goal  they try to invoke the four horsemen of the internet, in this case evil pedophiles and evil hackers.

        Neither, though, is causally connected with Peer to Peer technologies. Unfortunately, Waxman can not abolish the Internet alltoghether (though I have no doubt that his corporate masters would jump at the occasion, came it along), and so he attacks the very service that most embodies the decentralized, democratic nature of the internet. Peer to peer technologies exclude the middle man, the central authority, the server, it is just Citizens interacting directly.

        Citizens interacting directly, though, is an enormous threat to corporate interests that rely on state sanctioned monopolies to squeeze money out of those citizens. It is no accident, that the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Industry is hardest hit by the internet, since it long ago stoppped creating value for their customers and instead relied on bribery, price fixing and third rate products to grow their revenue.

        There are interesting and legitimate discussions about copyright, its legitimate foundation and its  place in a new digital world. Mr Waxmanm, unfortunately, is not part of them, he, instead, is one of the congressional paid industry flacks and thugs for the music industry, whose strategy consists of nothing but criminalizing anything and anybody that threatens their oudated revenue model and their antiquated mode of businss.

        Mr Waxman, in the quoted articles, duly does his part in this charade by demonizing a neutral und very interesting technology. What's more, the blatant obvious nature of those attacks is an insult to all critical thinking citizens.

      •  its nice to see that (4.00)
        dkos is now up to at least 67,533 users.

        welcome black knight. if you have a disagreement, then argue your point - using the ratings system to hand out 2's is kinda tacky. as it is, peacemonger made a good comment. waxman will fuck up the internet if he's allowed to. why?

        for the '06 cycle so far, the tv/movies/music industry is waxman's 2nd biggest contributor (opensecrets.org, by industry). they were his 3rd biggest in '04 with $57k. (opensecrets again).

    •  Color me disappointed if Waxman's (none)
      a corporate crony.  But, I find it hard to swallow.

      Will have to read up on it.

      Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

      by bronte17 on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 05:19:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  agreed (3.66)
      waxman is not our friend on "intellectual property" issues either. i don't know why you are getting troll rated for stating the truth.
      •  yup (4.00)
        I love Waxman, but Hollywood's his district and he's just bad on the stuff.  I suspect he knows better on IP, but he can't escape what his constituents want.
        •  i don't think he even knows better (4.00)
          i remember reading about richard stallman's meeting with him where he said something like "if we reform copyright then nobody will produce anything"
        •  Same problem I have with my congresscritter. (4.00)
          My Congressman is Howard Berman. Thoroughly, completely, 100% 0wn3d by the RIAA and MPAA. The sponsor of the defeated "Hack back bill" which would have allowed hackers under payroll of the RIAA and/or MPAA to go into your computer on a search-and-destroy mission looking for files that look like contraband copyrighted material.

          However, he's been voting with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party lately, so I'm not as pissed at him as I used to be.

          Oh yeah, Senator Boxer and Senator DiFi are also watergirls for Big Media. A side of them I really don't like. sigh...

          Californians: Get Out And Vote 11/8!
          Econ: -4.63 Soc: -6.92
          "Upperdown" meme RIP 10/27/2005...

          by MamasGun on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 05:53:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Peace! (4.00)
      Black Knight and Peacemonger please shacke hands as true Kossacks, then remove the 2 from each other.

      Peacemonger you are right, Waxman is wrong on this one, but lets not put him in the same level with Tom Delay.  Waxman has to represent his district and let's not imagine it is only the Hollywood studios that are against file sharing, a lot individual artists and regular people are also agains it.

      Black Knight, before you give 2s, give warnings. Specially when dealing with established users.

      So let's make peace and aim at the common enemy.

      Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

      by Shockwave on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 11:39:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  grammar check (none)
    it starts in the 1st person then at the end of the 2nd paragraph it goes into the 3rd person with Pelosi talking about herself in that way.
  •  Congresswoman Pelosi... (none)
    ...Congressman Waxman, staff:

    You do your audience here a disservice by not acknowledging the work done by Kossack AdamB.

    He posts more insight and information on this issue here regularly. If you are not aware of it, read here rather than write.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:21:48 PM PST

  •  I'm not saying... (3.92)
    ...I'm just saying...

    As the Democratic Leader, Congresswoman Pelosi has a responsibility to assure that the majority does not employ parliamentary tactics that curtail debate and restrict the rights of elected representatives of the people to improve this legislation. [...]

    Sincerely,

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

    Sorry to be a buzzkill, I truly do appreciate more than you can imagine when candidates come here -- especially when it's a dialogue and not just a post and run -- but this is a pet peeve of mine.  I think the entire DKos community understands that Leader Pelosi is an extremely busy person and might not have the time to actually draft a post, submit it, and reply to comments, but it does frustrate me when a staffer posts something under their bosses name that they wrote.

    I just wish they would do what many have begun to do here, and that is say something like, "Hey you, congresscritter such and such wanted me to let you know how he/she feels this way about issue x. I'll monitor the thread and be sure to discuss what went down here with him/her -- sincerely, staffer y"

    Flame away.

    Tim

    Join Sherrod Brown and "Grow Ohio" from the grassroots.

    by ttagaris on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:24:07 PM PST

    •  hit on this above (none)
      but you did it better. I just felt like calling it out quick.
    •  asdf (4.00)
      I was wondering why Rep. Pelosi refers to herself in 3rd person, and then I noticed Rep. Waxman also signed the post.

      Evan Bayh 2008
      Miller for KY Governor 2007
      http://kydem.blogspot.com

      by dsolzman on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:27:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  who cares (4.00)
      I could care less who wrote it or posted it for Congresswoman Pelosi.

      Bush is given speeches so that he talks in a coherents sentence. Big woops!

      and every person in congress have people who work on speeches and letters - and it isn't a secret.

      I don't understand why people get caught up in the minutia when there is a real issue on the table and she is engaging all of us.

      It drives me nut how petty people get over the littlest things...

      Ms. Pelosi, I thank you again for engaging and I could give a shit who posted your letter or if it changed from 1st to third person in one sentence.

      "I got a letter from the Republican Party the other day. I wrote back, 'Go fuck yourself.'" - Bette Midler (Rolling Stone, 9/18/2005)

      by GregNYC on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:40:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's a big thing. (none)
        that's why. Tim is right. it doesn't take any more effort for some staff wonk to say, "hey, this is Rep. Pelosi's staff wonk chiming in on what Rep. Pelosi thinks about... "
        it may be a "little thing," but it matters.
      •  the bigger who cares (none)
        I'm sorry, but just because we used the internet to converse doesn't mean that people here care more about "online issues" than the core issues facing the party today.

        Rep. Pelosi, it's your job to herd the cats by making sure that all our dem reps fall in line and tote the line, which incidently is the only time we win in the current situation. Come back when you ready to talk about democratic unity and the so-called "democratic contract with america" that rumour has is sitting in a draw somewhere.

        You're supposed to be our leader, so try acting like it.

        A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there --Charles R. Darwin

        by as is on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 09:42:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  grrr (none)
          I hate when I hit the post button too fast just to find grammar mistakes all over the place. At least I didn't make a snarky comment about the bad grammar in the post ;).

          A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there --Charles R. Darwin

          by as is on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 09:49:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (none)
    Thanks for reaching out Congresswoman, staff., etc.

    I am a bit more Libertarian when it comes to government regulations. I get nervous when regulation curbs freedoms and doesn't result in real improvements.

    But, I'm happy you are engaging in the debate with the online community and am willing to be persuaded if the argument makes sense.

    I'm still on the fence with this issue.

    "I got a letter from the Republican Party the other day. I wrote back, 'Go fuck yourself.'" - Bette Midler (Rolling Stone, 9/18/2005)

    by GregNYC on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 04:33:54 PM PST

  •  Thank you for posting Leader Pelosi (none)
    I must agree with you on this one. I'm sad to see so many bloggers supporting the bill in it's current form. The Shays-Meehan substitute is much more balanced and reasonable and I really think progressives should be embracing that version.

    I think we can all agree that the suspension calender is not a good place for bills like this.

  •  Here's the cream... (4.00)
    We need reform that both fully protects free speech in the blogosphere while keeping soft money from so easily and unfairly influencing the political process. These goals are not mutually exclusive and Americans should not have to pick and choose between freedom of speech and the right to a fair and clean election process.

    I am tired of some of the knee-jerk opposition to anything perceived as unfriendly to blogs. If there is not some kind of oversight, the same big media conglomerates that dominate conventional news, will dominate new media. Take a look at who already owns the top online news sites:

    That's 9 out of 11 owned by the Corporate Media.

    Sensible legislation can protect us from the wealthy special interests and still preserve free speech. Like Pelosi said, "These goals are not mutually exclusive..."

  •  Thanks. (4.00)
    I can't wait to see you addressed as the Speaker of the House of Representative on the United States in 2007.
  •  Thanks you Represenatatives (4.00)
    I'm glad you let us know your commitment to this cause.  I sincerely hope your votes match your words on this very important issue.  It would be contrary to logic to shut down this new medium for political speech and action which has engaged so many voters who previously felt disenfranchised.

    Congressperson Pelosi's words are not always consistent with her votes (i.e. Iraq issues), but I do hope this is one of those times where she remains steadfast both in words and action.

  •  It's a shame.... (4.00)
    It's a shame that Leader Pelosi and Rep. Waxman have taken this position on the bill.

    I was Chief of Staff to Senator Carnahan during the BCRA debate.  She was a strong supporter, as was I.  It is not necessary to regulate blogs to preserve the critical provisions of BCRA.

    In fact, the most important thing we can do to further reduce the influence of money in politics is to promote a vibrant civic space on the Internet.  Blogs are a CRITICAL piece of that.

    Here's some info from Perkins Coie, the single most influential law firm in Democratic campaign finance circles, on why H.R. 1606 poses none of the risks suggested by the opponents:

    http://www.moresoftmoneyhardlaw.com/...

    And here's some info on the shortcomings of the Meehan substitute:

    http://www.moresoftmoneyhardlaw.com/...

    And here's a post of mine on this topic from earlier today:

    http://www.firedupmissouri.com/...

  •  dumb (4.00)
    We want to assure the blogging community that we are fully committed to freedom of speech on the Internet and do not support any attempt to subject every day bloggers to FEC regulations or silence the rights of Americans to go online and voice their opinion.

    Well consider me not assured.

    Secondly, there are fears that wealthy special interests could exploit the Online Freedom of Speech Act as it is written as a backdoor to bypass campaign finance laws and coordinate and finance a candidate's online campaign advertising. As long as their coordinated ads do not directly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate, corporations and special interests will be able to spend all the money they want through this loophole.

    Yes, exactly, FEARS.  Nothing rational, nothing backed by evidence, just a bunch of 'reformers' fighting an old fight out of habit.  I wish they would move along to something important and let us go about building internet politics in peace.  Instead we get diaries full of stupid logic above, with the 'let me assure you that I'm not going to do x' followed quickly by the 'and that's why it's so important for x to get done'.

    It reminds me of my Dad, who used to say 'I'm not lecturing you, but' and then he'd proceed to lecture me.

    If you vote this down, ok, the first rationale holds water.  The second one is stupid.  Just dumb.  There's no evidence AT ALL that the internet needs this regulation.  NONE.  ZERO.

  •  Frank (none)
    Can anyone clarify what Barney Frank meant by that comment?  I so don't get what he means.

    Also, can any of the bill defenders weigh in with reassurance on exactly how the bill protects against the campaign finance loophole that Pelosi and Waxman are concerned about?  Or, other reasons why it may not be an issue?

    Pelosi and Waxman may not be reading this thread, but I'm still interested.

    •  Still in the room (none)
      As staff for Rep. Waxman, I'm following this thread and will report back to him.
      •  it would have been nicer (4.00)
        Had you been here over the past week as we've been discussing it here.  

        You knew where this site stood -- my LTE in the Washington Post regarding HR 1606 ran two weeks ago.

        Please report to Rep. Waxman that we are disappointed.  Regulation is not the answer to every theoretical corruption.

        •  Regulation (none)
          'Regulation is not the answer to every theoretical corruption.'

          Aye to that! Instead of expanding regulation on theoretical problems I would prefer Dems go to the mat defending critical existing regulation with broad support (less mercury in my water, more defense for my pension, do your oversight on Iraq). Instead the House leadership has managed a Quinella of pissing off libertarian Democrats and high tech Democrats in one shot.

          As for the procedures of the House it's clear that the GOP is limiting debate (hat tip to Louise Slaughter for her great study documenting the depths of GOP abuse). But is this bill really the way to call attention to those abuses? The Senate Democrats were universally praised for their actions in closing the chamber and forcing action on Iraq. This diary posts sounds more like Bill Frist's whining than Harry Reid's nutcracking. That's not a good thing. For all House Dems, please stop complaining about procedural matters and making protest votes. People want firecrackers, not figleaves. I know the House is harder to manipulate throw the rules process. But that doesn't excuse whining about procedures. Get creative, kick some ass, and quit complaining so much about what the GOP is doing. I want to hear the GOP complaining about what you are doing to them, capiche?

      •  So let's talk Amendments. (none)
        What specific problems do you see in the current version of the bill? What Amendments would you offer if it's on the regular calendar?

        A Senator YOU can afford
        $1 contributions only.
        Masel for Senate
        1214 E. Mifflin St.
        Madison, WI 53703

        by ben masel on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 05:47:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What are Waxman and Pelosi's positions (none)
        on this?
        Entitled the "Analog Content Security Preservation Act of 2005," this bit of MPAA-drafted work will have a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.
        ...
        In plain English, this means that your recorded program, should you start watching it an hour after it's done recording, will start to delete itself 30 minutes later. Think of the fun you and your family can have trying to keep ahead of the deletion queue!
        •  the bill is even worse than that (none)
          It applies to all high-end video cameras, attempting to restrict their sale to professionals and not to the general public if they provide a resolution better than VGA (640 by 480 pixels).  It could also mean the banning of open source digital video editing software.  Any congressman or senator who votes for any "close the analog hole" bill needs to be run out of office.  The measures needed to enforce such a bill would create a police state and destroy my profession.
          •  this kind of anti-tech law (none)
            is a major reason why I'm not all that optimistic about America's future even assuming Democratic landslides in 2006 and 2008.

            The devices that the MPAA bill will make illegal will still be developed, built, and sold. Everywhere that the MPAA is prevented from corrupting the political process.

            Do the Democrats in Congress really want to live in a nation where all the cool new tech happens somewhere else? And perhaps more to the point, a country where all those new high-tech jobs connected with this cool new tech happens someplace else?

            I'm already telling kids who want technological careers to start their country shopping NOW so they know what foriegn languages to study and which foriegn corporations to try to get intern gigs with in college.

            If the "Analog Content Security Preservation Act of 2005" passes, that's just another example.

            Perhaps it's possible that our legislators don't know that bad laws endanger the future of technological development in America and among the worst are those backed by the MPAA and RIAA. Personally, I think that they know and don't care, because Hollywood provides the campaign money and high-tech industries don't.

            If America becomes part of the Third World, it'll be a bi-partisan failure, and one of the areas where historians will harshly judge Democratic elected officials will be over allowing the entertainment content cartel to write America technology and computer law. (e.g. the DMCA)

            Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

            by alizard on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 02:09:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and on Frank (4.00)
      With his comments on how this bill "defends free speech by not having any," he was referring to the bill's being consider under a suspension of the rules -- which limits debate, the offering of amendments, that sort of thing.
  •  Can understand what you're saying (none)
    on one hand, but on the other, Medicare was a complex issue, to say the least, yet far too many Democrat Senators signed onto that bill in the 'fall' of 2003.  Perhaps these bills need to be aired in the public more thoroughly, especially since apparently, those voting on them, don't necessarily even have the time to read them!

    What an excellent day for an Excorcism... SCI/Kenyon

    by DianeL on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 05:28:29 PM PST

    •  Should have added this: (4.00)
      Reps' John Conyers Jr. and Ron Paul sponsored, H.R. 1606, the Online Freedom of Speech Act.

      I'll go with them for the time being. (While I don't agree w/Republican Ron Paul's fiscal policy, he's an excellent barometer for LIBERTY, and anti imperialism.)

      thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR01606:@@@P

      Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 6/22/2005
      Rep Boucher, Rick [VA-9] - 5/16/2005
      Rep Cannon, Chris [UT-3] - 5/12/2005
      Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 5/4/2005
      Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 4/20/2005
      Rep Kennedy, Mark R. [MN-6] - 6/7/2005
      Rep Musgrave, Marilyn N. [CO-4] - 4/20/2005
      Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 4/20/2005
      Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 4/20/2005

      What an excellent day for an Excorcism... SCI/Kenyon

      by DianeL on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 05:39:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  regulation should be last resort (4.00)
    this is what gives democrats a bad name.  when in doubt create a bureaucracy to tell us how to do someththing. quite frankly, i am getting sick of it.

    if there is a problem, fix it, but don't preempt a it with a "solution" that may be worse than the "problem"!

    we don't need a nanny, we need a referee.

  •  Okay, then. (4.00)
    We have two issues with the Online Freedom of Speech Act. First, in the words of our colleague Congressman Barney Frank, this bill "defends free speech by not having any." This is an issue that must be fully discussed in open debate on the House floor through a process that permits amendments to be offered and voted on.

    The bill was introduced in April.  There were full hearings in September.  At the same time, the FEC has had extensive hearings and a volumnious record on the topic, which you have been free to examine.
    Secondly, there are fears that wealthy special interests could exploit the Online Freedom of Speech Act as it is written as a backdoor to bypass campaign finance laws and coordinate and finance a candidate's online campaign advertising.

    Fears?  Sure.  Reality?  No.
    As long as their coordinated ads do not directly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate, corporations and special interests will be able to spend all the money they want through this loophole.

    This does not square with 2 USC 441b, as Bob Bauer has made clear.  See also 11 C.F.R. § 109.20.
    We need reform that both fully protects free speech in the blogosphere while keeping soft money from so easily and unfairly influencing the political process. These goals are not mutually exclusive and Americans should not have to pick and choose between freedom of speech and the right to a fair and clean election process.

    Please understand, for the reasons here, that the Shays-Meehan substitute is not such a reform.

    The low cost of entry and infinite bandwidth of the internet only serves the values of a fair and clean process.

    If this legislation is defeated tonight on the Suspension Calendar, it is not dead. It can come up under normal procedures at any time and the House can debate and amend it to ensure that it does not undermine political reform.

    So, please, tell us what protections you would support.  Specifically:
    • how would you protect group websites from being characterized as political committees?
    • how would you protect incorporated sites?
    • will you allow internet sites to qualify for the press exemption?  Under what circumstances?
    • what about volunteer activity, and the "safe harbor" rules for computer use in the office?
    • what about internet uses that aren't weblogs, like wikis or podcasting?
    The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy21 aren't your constituents -- we are.  And if you're not going to show up here until after the debate is over, some answers about solutions would be helpful.
    •  Thanks for that, Adam B (4.00)
      Great job you are doing on this topic.  As you point out, there are far more holes than there are answers and technology is only going to increase the number of holes in tandem with the sophistication of technology.  As long as ease of entry and access increases with technological change, regulation of internet may be unwarranted.

      And my add-on question to Senators Waxman and Pelosi: If the real problem is corporate money buying undue and manipulative influence, doesn't it make more sense to concern ourselves with known problem areas?  What are the media that the most frequent and consistent voters consume?  Newspapers and broadcast, not internet.  What reduces diversity in these media?  Concentration of corporate ownership.  More specifically, what media most influenced the run-up to the Iraq War?  Newspapers and broadcast, not internet.  More specifically, what media most influenced the outcome of the 2002 and 2004 elections?  Newspapers and broadcast, not internet.  

      For these reasons I would like to see more effort spent on 1) reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine in broadcast media, since airwaves are publicly owned; 2) evaluation and possible changes to regulations on media ownership to encourage diversity.  Rep. Louise Slaughter's (NY-28, D) efforts with the FAB Act under the 108th Congress were a start in the right direction; could we see a similar bill from the Senate?

    •  My goodness (none)
      Thank you for being so on top of this issue, counselor.
  •  So everyone knows (4.00)
    The vote was 225-182 in favor, but two-thirds were needed to approve.

    Forty-six Democrats voted in favor, and they deserve your full support.  The other 143 owe us answers and solutions, which the Shays-Meehan alternative is not.

  •  why are you really not you supporting this? (3.75)
    you say you are protecting us from "wealthy special interests". who are these "wealthy special interests", and since when have you guys really been concerned about "wealthy special interests", you've been feeding in the trough of "wealthy special interests" for decades now.

    leave the internet alone.

  •  In a nut shell what is the opposition to this... (none)
    Is this a hollywood protection problem against the weblogs? Is this a campaign money issue. I will read adams post but anyone want to explain this in simple terms..

    Thanks ... Da

    Lots of people see the world in Black and White. It is mostly just shades of grey.

    by Davinci on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 06:09:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks (none)
    For letting us know what's going on, and that you care enough to do so.

    Chickenhawk w/ dumplings. Yummy!

    by blackthorn on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 07:22:58 PM PST

  •  Thanks (none)
    You two don't need to explain yourselves to me. (Most of the time)

    Should we point out the irony in the fact that the Republicans are supressing free speech by denying debate while passing a law that claims to protect it?

    Where's my right to free speech that comes in the form of my elected Representatives speaking on my behalf?

    What do members of the Repub. leadership say when they bump into Pres. Bush? "Pardon me."

    by mungley on Wed Nov 02, 2005 at 10:04:19 PM PST

  •  Rep. Pelosi, on Democratic slogans + other matters (none)
    I would like to point out a recent diary I did here at dKos, where some useful conversation took place on various possible party slogans. Here is LINK, and please also visit the other crosspostings and links given in the diary post.

    You folks from the house, those from the senate and Gov. Dean from the DNC should really put out a comprehensive party agenda package sooner than later. And that should include a conrete Iraq quagmire resolution solution as well.

    And hope you will aggressively push Rep. Holt's voting reform bill H.R. 550 through the house before the holiday recess.

    thanks.


  •  The Internet is Fundamentally Different (4.00)
    Leader Pelosi, thank you for your posting.  Being from your home state, I really appreciate it.  My position is not the same as yours, but I can't dismiss your concerns.  Why the Republicans won't allow any debate or amendments on this bill is beyond any shred of reason.  Also your second point,

    [quote]Secondly, there are fears that wealthy special interests could exploit the Online Freedom of Speech Act as it is written as a backdoor to bypass campaign finance laws and coordinate and finance a candidate's online campaign advertising. As long as their coordinated ads do not directly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate, corporations and special interests will be able to spend all the money they want through this loophole.[/quote]

    also is reasonable.  It is not so inconceivable thaht as the Internet grows as a medium to reach voters, big moneyed interests will try to sabatoge as much of it as possible.  When (and yes I mean when, not if) Internet becomes the major news media outlet, moneyed interests will no doubt try to use their money to take control of the message.

    That being said, Madam Leader, the Internet is fundamentally different media than traditional print, radio, cable or satelite television media.  It is fundamentally different in two respects: (1) Active Audience.  One must actively seek out a website in order to view its contents.  It cannot simply be thrown in their face simply because they happened to turn on their computer and start their browser.  Because of this, a blog must keep its loyalty to its audience or people will just find a different one. (2) Low cost of entry.  To say that it's far less expensive to enter the blogosphere than to enter the market of print or other type of media is more than a gross understatement.  A website with millions of hits can be maintained with just a few regular contributions or ads.  This low cost of entry results in an abundence of blogs and independent media outlets, which, if bought, will lose their audience to another site which is not sold out.

    In a way, in the media market, the Internet is Adam Smith Capitalism in display in contrast with the oligopolies of other media.  In other words, there is an abundance of these blogs being offered, and no one of them - except by being exceptionally loyal and good on the issues their audience cares about - can project a monopolistic power and in the process limit the diversity of opinions.  There is also direct audience participation in forms of comments and diaries, and frankly anyone can start up their own blog for free.

    Therefore, the corporate interest can buy lots of websites and lots of ads, but the cost being so low and the traffic being controled by the people rather than the money, the effect of those funds is minimized.  When the costs are so low, ordinary people can compete against corporate money easily.  That's why we need the Internet to stay free from regulation, regardless of what moneyed interests will try to do. We can match them here, and surpass them, quite frankly.

    So please, the next time this bill comes up for consideration, allow it to pass.

  •  All paid political advertising should be banned (4.00)
    It is not necessary to allow paid political advertising. Freedom of speech is still preserved.

    Under this proposal, I can write, "VOTE FOR GUBHAGEN" or "MANDALAY FOR PRESIDENT!" as much as I want on my weblog, but I cannot accept money (or equivalent inducements) to do so.

    The same concept would apply to radio and television advertising of political candidates: it should be not be allowed.

    To keep the game fair, media outlets should be returned to the pre-Reagan rules: equal time for opposing points of view, and limitation of ownership of too many media outlets by one company or individual.

    Again, first amendment rights are not affected. Newspapers can still print editorials favoring specific candidates. Bloggers can still endorse politicians. People can still carry signs promoting their favorite candidates.

  •  The default position should be to keep speech free (4.00)
    I'm sorry to see Rep. Pelosi on the wrong side of this, even if for marginally sensible reasons. (I'm happy to see my own Rep. Lee got it right, and was not afraid to go against the minority leader.)

    On freedom of speech, even more than all other freedoms, it is essential that the default position be no rules, no regulations, no oversight, no censorship. It is always dangerous, and almost always dead wrong to start from the position of allowing regulation and restriction of speech, and hoping to correct or adjust that regulation later.  When restriction and regulation turns out to be absolutely indispensable, it should be done with great hesitancy, and always erring on the side of permissiveness.

    It is very sad to see the Democratic leadership failing to recognize this, and so many of the party failing to break with a leadership which has lost its way on this issue.

  •  Personally, I don't care who says or writes (none)
    what, as long as they're not telling lies.

    I do care, however, that, increasingly, all kinds of activities are defined as speech (dancing, flag burning, etc) which aren't speech at all, while the opportunity for people TO SPEAK is increasingly restricted.

    Most of the corporate media are geared to making people LISTEN to what their betters and their leaders and those who want to sell them something have to say.

    The problem isn't how much money is spent, but that the access to media is increasingly restricted.  The internet represents a challenge to this trend because, in effect, we are creating a civic media network which presents a challenge to the corporate media, not because it costs relatively little money, but because it provides real content.
    Politicians of all stripes who are convinced that their job is to dominate and only differ on whether they maintain their domination via threats or bribes are, naturally, not enthusiastic about being challenged.

    It wasn't the money Howard Dean generated for his campaign via the internet (on the cheap--just like that cheap trick Harry Reid just turned) but that he managed to get hundreds of thousands of workers for free, AND STILL DOES.  Fifty thousand signing a petition on the internet in two days is not much, when you consider that the percentage of the population that's inclined to provide input to the net is minuscule.  Even a minor state site will usually have 30-35 readers for every one who posts.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 05:37:00 AM PST

  •  So we're supposed to believe that Senator Reid (none)
    introduced this exact same Bill in the Senate because he wanted to help the GOP get around campaign finance laws?  

    Do the two of you take us for morons?  We already know that most of you think we're some sort of virtual ATM machine.  

    Reality is just... a point of view - Philip K. Dick; Beautiful thing, the destruction of words. (from Orwell's 1984)

    by LionelEHutz on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 06:26:21 AM PST

  •  It's not that simple (none)
    I'm somewhat surprised there aren't more diverging opinions about this.

    First of all, someone please explain to me how "communications over the internet" is not "public communication"?

    What if I was a multi-billionaire who really loved George Bush, and I placed "Cheney in 2008" ads on every web site, search engine, and blog I could find, so that 9 out of 10 web sites you visited featured these ads prominently?  What if I also paid off sites/webmasters etc. in exchange for their agreement not to run any ads for any other party except the Republicans?

    What if I pay a couple billion $ for search engine ads, so that no matter what you searched for, the first things you'd see would be my pro-Bush/Cheney ads?

    Or what if I decided to just buy out all the major search engines, and tweak the source code a little bit so that any information I didn't agree with would show up way, way down on the search results, if at all?

    Perhaps there are other laws prohibitting this already, I'm not aware.  But the notion that there should be no oversight or regulation whatsoever strikes me as myopic.

    My concern is that the internet NOT be controlled -- in the way that the media, by all accounts, is controlled, by 5 or so multi-billion dollar mega-corporations who buy and sell us (their viewers/listeners/readers) to advertisers.

    The internet is not as different as many people here seem to think.  The public owns the internet just as we (supposedly) own the airwaves.  Corporate encroachment is already beginning (Google is starting to look less and less democratic, in some ways, and more and more market/bottom-line driven).

    I think only a rigid libertarian idealist or free-market utopian can believe that the internet can remain both democratic and unregulated.

    Finally, I just want to note that I have very mixed feelings about this bill, which on the surface sounds like a good one.  My problem is that I think everyone should have [at least somewhat] mixed feelings about it, rather than stating unequivocal support and attacking any Democrats who voted against it.

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