Patterico's Pontifications

3/5/2005

Right On, Beldar

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Patterico @ 12:45 pm



I recently said that I am not going to look for loopholes to avoid a potential FEC attack on bloggers:

They’ll have to pry this keyboard from my cold dead hands before I am going to “register” with the government for permission to state my personal views without fear of prosecution.

I am heartened to see I have at least one comrade-in-arms who feels exactly the same way: Beldar.

I’m damned sure not going to change my blogging style, nor start running disclaimers every time I blog about a political issue or a politician/candidate. It’s business as usual at BeldarBlog.

If the F.E.C. wants to make me their test case — and a test case somewhere outside the Beltway may be appropriate, given the F.E.C.’s decision not to appeal Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s district court ruling to the D.C. Circuit — I’ll gladly waive personal service and/or arrest. I’ll meet ’em at the courthouse steps with my pocket copy of the Constitution in one hand and my keyboard in the other. Here’s my wrists, boys — cuff me if you dare.

Maybe I’ll beat Judith Miller and Matt Cooper to a jail cell. But I doubt it; and at least I’d have a genuinely principled reason for being there.

Damn right, buddy. I’m right there with you.

This is about as clear a test of our basic freedoms as I’ve seen. Freedom isn’t free. Sometimes you have to fight for it. This is a fight worth taking on, and I commend Beldar for having exactly the right spirit.

11 Responses to “Right On, Beldar”

  1. […] he other. Here’s my wrists, boys — cuff me if you dare. When I first read that, I said: “Damn right, buddy. I’m right there with you.” We need such a tes […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » What To Do About the Tyranny of Government Regulation of Speech (0c6a63)

  2. Perhaps we bloggers need to form a legal defense committee, or some other formal organization, and sue the FEC the moment they promulgate these proposed rules. Ghod knows we can find someone qualified to argue the case for expenses or “scale”, but there’s a lot of cost even with volunteer counsel.

    I don’t think we want to wait for investigations or procecutions, and we surely don’t want to wait for others to defend us. Any ideas how we get proactive on this?

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  3. Brave talk about keyboards in cold, dead hands.

    Type all you want. But does your keyboard connect to the internet? At my house that takes cable, or DSL, or a telephone. You don’t have a lot of choices – maybe 3 in Arizona. When the government tells them what to do your access to the net ends.

    No net. No blogs. Free speechify away. But the chance it will count is nil.

    I hope the net remains much as it is. But don’t count on it.

    Ken (0aa50d)

  4. Well, I sure hope we’re not headed down that road, because that could call for a revolution. We’re not there yet, but if the government tries to shut down our access to free speech, we will be.

    I don’t mean it to sound like brave talk, exactly. I just don’t think we should be cowed — putting disclaimers here and there when we discuss political matters. That shouldn’t be a “brave” position — it should be a commonly held one.

    Patterico (756436)

  5. Ken, it’s very unlikely that either your phone company or your cable company would take something like this lying down. Even if they did, some satellite companies provide Internet access, and if push came to shove, a non-U.S. company could offer it to every U.S. citizen who wanted it, and there wouldn’t be a f’n thing the FEC could do about it.

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  6. Ken, with satellite technology it would be very difficult to block us from access to the internet.

    So, Ken, you are just plain wrong…. and a defeatist. Perhaps you should quit now and just acquiesece to the partisan liberals of the FEC (Brad Smith and Ellen Weintraub).

    The MSM could not and cannot control the Blogosphere and they are losing readership, share and potential and real money big time. What makes you think that the MSM, especially the TV networks and major print media would not just love to see us go away?

    I won’t pick up a gun but I will pick up a pen and paper (keyboard, too)to fight this war.

    Bring ‘um (FEC) on!

    Flap (844756)

  7. FEC Internet speech controversy continues
    Last week, Federal Elections Commissioner Bradley Smith suggested in an interview that the FEC might seek to regulate personal Internet speech. A group advocating for campaign speech limitations challenged Smith's comments. Their press release sai…

    No Illusions (1f81d4)

  8. I drew flak for saying we can be cut off from the internet. My message was only “don’t be sure.”

    The truth is that satellite is a download technology for now. Besides you don’t launch them without government approval. And you can’t just use them – they are encrypted and their logic is controlled by big corporations.

    As for phone companies and cable. Exactly how many would refuse court orders to stop a service?

    The danger is not that the FEC will be able to stop free speech. The process, if it succeeds, will be by curtailing: political speech shortly before elections, speech which makes people uneasy or uncomfortable, speech which upsets ethnic groups (or their self-appointed leaders), speech that does not meet evolving standards of civility.

    The UN really wants to control the seas, international travel, establish a soverign court, and run world communications. And many feel they should. If this is achieved by treaty no national laws will matter.

    Don’t believe the MSM will help. They hate uncontrolled information because it has not been properly verified to exacting standards (I refer you to Rathergate.com). Geez! Bloggers can just say anything!

    I’m not especially gloomy about this. I just have a lot of faith in bad people – various forms of tyranny have survived far better than democracies, republics, and freedom.

    Doubters might read the old quotation about the pen being mightier than the sword and see what the writer really said.

    As for me giving up. I’m 79. They probably will pry my keyboard from cold, dead hands.

    Ken (0aa50d)

  9. You have more than just one comrade-in-arms.

    I have started my blog “RightNumberOne” for the express purpose of prodding the jackboots over at the FEC into attempting to regulate me.

    We’ll see just how far they get!

    slim999 (564c96)

  10. Fun with the FEC
    Captain Ed Morrissey found an item in the Rocky Mountain News (probably because he's in it) that suggests bloggers indeed have reason to think the Federal Election Commission will regulate private Internet speech. The first paragraph provides some…

    No Illusions (1f81d4)

  11. Permission to Speak Freely, Sir!
    Patterico has staked out his position as a lone voice in the wilderness against the online petition urging the FedEC to carve out a blogger exception to the McCain-Feingold monstrosity. His view is largely summed up in this post, where he famously pro…

    damnum absque injuria (38c04c)


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