Patterico's Pontifications


“Reassuring” Remarks on FEC Regulation That Should Deeply Trouble You

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Patterico @ 9:28 pm

Why should FEC regulation of the internet concern you? More importantly, why should we not respond to the threat by asking for an exemption from such regulation? For the answer, just read these allegedly reassuring remarks by Russ Feingold, with the troubling parts in bold:

The FEC must tread carefully in the area of political communications on the Internet. Political news and commentary on the Internet are important, even vital, to our democracy, and becoming more so. For starters, the FEC should provide adequate protection for legitimate online journalists. Online journalists should be treated the same as other legitimate broadcast media, newspapers, etc. and, at this point, I don’t see any reason why the FEC shouldn’t include legitimate online journalists and bloggers in the “media exemption” rule.

Are you comforted by this? Russ Feingold thinks you should be able to express your mind on the internet — if the government views you as a “legitimate” online journalist, that is. At least that’s Feingold’s view “at this point” — it could always change, you know.

Are you starting to get it? This is why you don’t ask the government for permission to express your views. Because if you ask, you concede that government has the right to decide what is deemed “legitimate.” And government might change its mind.

As Dan Lovejoy aptly says: “Creating an exemption recognizes the validity of the law in the first place.” That is why I have argued against signing the online petition asking our masters to grant us permission to speak.

When the Supreme Court upheld McCain/Feingold, I called it the repeal of the First Amendment. Many thought this was hyperbole. But it wasn’t. Everything we are discussing now flows straight from the law.

I think some people are getting it. Baldilocks quotes my recent rant and says:

I think you may have a point, Counselor. Most of us–left and right–are in agreement that McCain-Feingold is unconstitutional, but I think that we were beginning to resign ourselves to its existence, which is reflected in the letter. You may just be shaking us awake.

Excellent. That is exactly what I hope to do.

Baldilocks then says:

So now what? How do we legally dispatch McCain-Feingold?

You’re the lawyer, dude.


So: what do we do about it? I discuss that in the next post.

UPDATE: Welcome to Instapundit readers, and thanks to Prof. Reynolds for the link.

You Can Only Make This Mistake Once Twice Three Times

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 5:48 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

A gang member on trial for two slayings Monday spat a razor blade out of his mouth and used it to slash his attorney’s arm in a San Fernando courtroom.

What caught my attention was this quote from Lee Baca:

“I’m appalled and disturbed that a defendant was able to attack his attorney,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who is responsible for courtroom security. “We have to stop this from happening again. You can only make this mistake once.”

Huh? What mistake is that?? Allowing a defendant to attack his attorney? Does “this mistake” include allowing a defendant to attack a prosecutor? Because that has already happened, more than once. Does Baca not know this?

For example: about four years ago, a prosecutor buddy of mine was attacked in a Compton courtroom by a defendant with a shank, when the defendant was brought out to be sentenced on a murder case. The defendant lunged at my friend and got within a couple of feet of slashing my friend’s neck before he was wrestled to the ground by the bailiff.

Another colleague was attacked in a Compton courtroom by an out-of-custody defendant with a plastic knife, which he had smuggled past a metal detector. He had carved into the knife the name of the D.A. who had prosecuted him. After he was pronounced guilty by the jury, the defendant pulled out the knife and lunged at the D.A. in court — who, as it happened, was a different prosecutor from the one who had done the trial and whose name was carved into the knife. While one of the courtroom bailiffs was struggling with the defendant, another bailiff ran up and shot the defendant in the head, killing him. This all happened in front of the jury.

So this incident is hardly isolated. Someone tell Lee Baca.

Drought on Bono Editorials Ends

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor — Patterico @ 6:48 am

It has been almost three weeks since the L.A. Times ran an editorial about U2 singer Bono. This untenable situation ended today with this editorial. My favorite line:

And Bono, as anyone who has dealt with him personally knows, understands the issues. We still think he would have been a sound choice to lead the World Bank.

Translation: we met Bono! Isn’t that cool?!

But the United States should rethink its traditional claim to the job and look to some formidable candidates from the developing world, including former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and former Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso. They are highly regarded by the rich nations that contribute to the bank and would have more credibility in pushing reforms on recalcitrant developing nations than any U.S. official — even if they aren’t Bono.

Whoever wrote this editorial needs a sideline writing for the Onion. You just can’t make this stuff up.

More Reasons to Love Justice Scalia

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:34 am

Read this article. My favorite part:

Scalia made the case that his “originalist” jurisprudence should be welcome to all — even liberals. “I have my rules that confine me,” he said. “When I find it, the original meaning of the Constitution, I am handcuffed.” He said that’s why he allows flag burning “even though I don’t like to” and strong jury-trial guarantees. “Though I’m a law-and-order type, I cannot do all of the mean, conservative things I’d like to do to the society,” he said.

If you’ve ever seen him speak, you know that he is a very engaging man with a wry sense of humor. This is a good example of it.

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