Minus The Nemesis
A Collaboration of Some of the Finest Thought on Today's World


Tuesday, May 31, 2005
More of our freedoms are on the chopping block today with another push towards government regulation of speech.

Here we go again with this loophole idea:

Advocates for rules say they are necessary to prevent groups such as corporations and labor unions from exploiting loopholes.

What "loophole?" None other than that pesky First Admendment John McCain and co. tried to kill a few years ago.

What is a labor union? I think a reasonable, if vague, definition would be a collection of individuals united in some sort of common goal. Do those individuals sacrifice their civil librities for participating in such a group? Can they no longer speak without government approval?

How about that dreaded entity the "corporation?" Individuals trying to-- ghasp-- make money. Well, its obvious those individuals shouldn't be allowed to comment on politics without heavy government regulation.

The draft FEC rules reportedly say that:

These rules would not affect citizens who don't take money from political action committees or parties.

Bullshit. That promise is a deception of Orwellian proportions.

Lets say, very hypothetically, that this blog accepts a blogad from lp.org, the national Libertarian party website. And, we get paid .0000015 cents per click. Are we, Minus and Nemesis, no longer allowed unabridged free speech? Must we now apply for waivers and special interest group status to avoid violation of federal election laws? Is our content now fair game for Government censors?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

The FEC and Congress need to stop trying to tell me what the Constitution doesn't say.


I know that this law is reminiscent of Woody Allen's tyrant in Bananas who outlaws underwear. Even if the law is widely unenforceable-- which it surely would be-- there is still a real danger in it. Even if they don't always abide by their better judgement, both Conservatives and Liberals argue that unenforceable laws, among other things, engender a disrepect for all laws and make heros out of law breakers. That, and I wanted to reference Woody Allen because I know Minus just loves him so much.

That's it; Woody Allen is going on the Pro Idiots page. Thanks for reminding me.

As far as the FEC: "I think FEC needs to regulate ordinary people as lightly as possible," I do believe that this says it best. Furthermore, do people not realize this is a conservative/libertarian attitude? They should.

Given the circumstances surrounding the labor union 'loophole' I think the FEC is off base on that one. I would tend to modify your definition a bit though; it is vague.

Typically, their representation is by their union reps. My question is this: with unions, you negotiate a union contract, that being a binding agreement between management and labor. Who is management: Corporations? Government?

In any case, I think that what you have postulated about the groups/unions giving up their civil liberties is valid reasoning. If anything, I think that the civil liberties of a union should be at least amplified in the form of the union contract. This should be the job of the union representative though. When labor doesn't pony up their guidelines, then management won't suggest them on behalf of an inept union representative unless it's in their best interest. I bet they, (management) love that guy.

In your opinion, is the FEC gaining ground on an anti-capitalist viewpoint? Seems that way. At any rate, I agree that the FEC and Congress need to not tell me what the Constitution doesn't say.


When one states "I think the FEC needs to regulate ordinary people as lightly as possible" they are not making a conservative or libertarian statement. A conservative or libertarian would first ask, "why does the FEC need to regulate ordinary people at all ?"

The government saying "look, we're gonna go ahead and make unconstitutional laws but, we promise, we'll take it easy on the regular guy" is not very reassuring. If the government gets into the business of regulating what people can and cannot say on the internet, no person's freedoms are safe-- ordinary or otherwise.

Additionally, I think its absurb to argue that because Joe Citizen is a member of Pipe Fitters local 201, he no longer has the same freedom of speech other citizens enjoy. I'll save my feelings on unions for another post, but its bewildering that some lawmakers feel that union members should have their speech regulated.

In deference to your conservative/libertarian comment; I believe that what you are suggesting is that the FEC does not exist. It has to exist in my opinion, but in a limited context (hence the conservative/libertarian limited government reference). They should not extend their tentacles to the layman as they are suggesting.

'Ordinary' people stopped being ordinary when they decided to delve into the region of campaign finance. You can be ordinary and should still be able endorse someone without (and that as I understand it, is our argument against the FEC), being affected by the FEC.

Well, of course I accept that the FEC exists. I'm not even arguing that it shouldn't exist. What I'm saying, is that it is frightening that the FEC is considering regulating political speech on the internet.

You argue that "ordinary people stop being ordinary when they delve into the region of campaign finance." I don't think you understand how broad a definition is given to "campaign finance." The FEC defines a contribution to a campaign as anything of value. Thats not just money-- thats endorsements, favorable reviews, advertising, etc. Things that every political blog does in some way or another. So the only "ordinary" people out there by that reasoning, are those who choose not to voice an opinion on politics. Which amounts to the only people being allowed free speech by the FEC, are those who choose not to speak.

Further, do we really want the government deciding who is ordinary and who isn't? Thereby creating a class of those who are allowed unregulated free speech and those who aren't? All at the government's discrection?

You know, the founding fathers had a solution to this problem. They said "Don't fuck with free speech."

I clearly understand the concept of campaign finance within the scope of the article you provided. It states that the bloggers who don't take money from political groups won't be affected. That's easy and does not affect blogs such as ours. Even if we were to openly endorse a candidate on a personal level, that does not warrant the suggested regulations either.

"These rules would not affect citizens who don't take money from political action committees or parties."

For their respected views on this matter, I give the knucks to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Carol Darr (for not wanting FEC intervention of the internet). I don't respect the decision of US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for her trying to apply the internet in the same realm as TV and radio.

The internet may end up being the final frontier in your freedom and exercise of free speech. With every rule there is an exception, and here is mine: instead of governing everyone on the internet as a punishment of a select few, try and crack down much harder on pedophiles and stalkers and their related ilk.

You're right, the article I linked to is not nearly descriptive enough of how devastating this bill would be. For more information check out www.redstate.org for the full picture. And, as loathe as I am to say it, knucks of respect to Harry Reid.
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