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Mike Krempasky of Red State and I have jointly signed a letter (PDF) urging the U.S. House of Representatives to reject H.R. 4194 -- a stealth effort to regulate online political voices by pretending to defend them.

The letter, drafted by our own Adam B, is:

November 9, 2005
Dear Member of Congress,

As bloggers from the right and left, we don't often agree on much. But when it comes to free speech online, we couldn't agree more.

We urge you to oppose H.R. 4194, the Shays-Meehan "Internet Anti-Corruption and Free Speech Protection Act of 2005".  We oppose H.R. 4194 primarily because despite claims by its supporters - it does not in fact offer adequate protections for speech and political activity online.  In particular:

  • It would stifle technological innovation.  H.R. 4194 would not adequately protect Internet activity which is not "blogging", such as already-widely used technologies like podcasting, wikis and peer-to-peer networks, let alone the technologies of tomorrow.  In the face of regulatory doubt, no one will want to invest in emerging technologies to enhance citizen participation not clearly protected by the law; and
  • It offers no guidance as to the treatment of group political activity, potentially treating all group websites that discuss federal candidates as political committees, with voluminous filing and disclosure requirements, so long as members spent $1000 on server and other costs, an easily-reached amount;
  • Its alleged protection to incorporated bloggers offers no real protection.  In comments filed before the FEC, supporters of H.R. 4194 have stated explicitly that those websites which endorse, expressly advocate, and urge readers to donate funds to the election of preferred candidates do not qualify for protection under the law.  In other words, rather than protecting popular sites like DailyKos.com or FreeRepublic, H.R. 4194 would actually force them to seek counsel and comply with voluminous campaign finance law requirements, stifling and chilling grassroots political activity across the Internet.

For those members committed to extending the BCRA rules and regulations to the Internet, it would be preferable to pass no bill at all rather than H.R. 4194, which would only chill free speech and technological growth, and instead wait for the Federal Election Commission to complete its current rulemaking process.

Better still would be to pass H.R. 1606, the Online Freedom of Speech Act.  H.R. 1606 would preserve the status quo which governed the 2004 election cycle, during which none of the fears now trumpeted by H.R. 4194's supporters came to pass.  Moreover, as FEC Vice Chairman Michael Toner has stated, the charge that H.R. 1606 would somehow allow federal candidates to coordinate with corporations and unions to spend soft money funds to purchase Internet banner and video ads on behalf of candidates "has no legal foundation."  As he has explained:

The FEC's regulation exempting the Internet was based on its interpretation of the statutory definition of "public communications" in the McCain-Feingold law. However, neither the FEC's regulation, nor the Hensarling bill, in any way touches the broad statutory prohibition found at 2 U.S.C. Section 441b that bars corporations and unions from making expenditures in connection with federal elections.

The purpose of campaign finance law is to blunt the impact of accumulated wealth on the political process, but this does not occur online. While wealth allows a campaign or large donor to dominate the available space on TV or in print, there is no mechanism on the Internet by which entities can use wealth or organizational strength to crowd out or silence other speakers. Any citizen who wants to establish a website that discusses political matters can do so within five minutes, and their words are instantly available to hundreds of millions of users on an equal basis with every other site.

Moreover, one need not invest millions of dollars to reach people on the Internet. The most popular Web sites are often the cheapest ones, many using the free Blogger.com service to publish their thoughts at no cost at all.  Content is king on the Internet, and the idea that accumulated wealth could have a corrupting influence online demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of how the medium operates or how citizens approach it.

In sum, the Internet now fulfills through technology what the rest of campaign finance reform attempts via law - and this occurred under the legal regime which H.R. 1606 seeks to codify.  We urge you to proceed cautiously, and steer clear of additional restrictions like H.R. 4194 until real corruption becomes evident.  At that point, Congress and the Federal Election Commission will still be around, and can prevent actual problems, and not merely hypothetical ones.  

Before considering support for H.R. 4194, ask yourself this question: if everything its supporters are saying is true, why did no one take advantage of these "loopholes" in 2004?

We urge you to oppose H.R. 4194.

Sincerely,

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
DailyKos.com

Michael Krempasky
RedState.org


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:38 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh sure. (4.00)
    Mike stands up for free sppech NOW. I got banned from redstate in about 15 minutes!

    Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

    by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:41:18 AM PST

    •  I never got a password (none)
      when I signed up.  Maybe they assume I'd troll since I'm AnthonySF

      Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

      by AnthonySF on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:44:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  odd. (none)
        very odd indeed.

        I think they are pretty restrictive, I mean I was not trolling, just opining...and the banning came from one of the people who ran the site. Looking at their history, they ban oposing opinions pretty freely there.

        Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

        by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:48:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well . . . (none)
          You violate Mike's free speech by talking about things he doesn't like on a site he runs. :)
          •  Oh ..... (none)
            I get it. It's really an 'I agree with Mike' type of
            free speech.

            Gotcha ;)

            Actually I do see and understand the distinction. It's not my right to come into his space and talk my opposing talk. But it DOES say something about him that his ideals are so fragile as to not allow opposing views presented in a reasonable way.

            Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

            by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:57:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Um (none)
      red state isn't the government. Neither is Daily Kos. We ban rightwing trolls here.
      •  People Are Banned From DKos Because... (none)
        ...they're troll, not because of their opinions.  You've banned far, far more people who generally vote the same way you do than you've banned people who are conservatives.  

        Back whem people would go to Tacitus, it seemed like they would tolerate liberals and progressives if they behaved.  My impression has been that Redstate does not, and that they ban people who express liberal viewpoints, even if they're respectful in doing so.

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:03:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can you give me a quick (none)
          rundown of the whole Tacitus thing...who is he?  what the story is?  Why he left redtstate?  It was before my blogging life began.

          Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

          by AnthonySF on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:08:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pretentious Guy Who Fancied Himself... (4.00)
            ...as an erudite conservative capable of engaging liberals and progressives and prevailing without acrimony because of the brilliance of his overall arguments and willingness to admit some weaknesses in his arguments as long as it didn't undercut his wider points.  He would come around here occassionally, mostly pre-Scoop (such as Spring-Summer of 2003), and engage folks.  He would occassionally argue honestly and candidly, but usually when he would get squeezed into a corner he'd pull a "hey, gotta go do more important things than have the underlying weaknesses in my entire worldview exposed to me, but it's been nice besting you in intellectual combat, and here's one more thing so I can get in the last word!"

            He's a smart guy, and not a hateful guy, and he appears to have some political and moral standards that are offended by the current GOP.  He was usually fair in allowing people who didn't think just like him to post at Tacitus.  He's smart enough to know when someone has a good point, but imo not confident or intellectually couragous enough (at least yet) to follow the implications where they lead, even if it means having to admit that his faith in the GOP is largely wrong.  

            As to the blowup at Redstate, I kinda/sorta remember when it happened, but I can't remember the details.  

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:18:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  My Theory... (4.00)
          ...if you allow me (and I'll admit this might not go over well with RS readers who might, out of an obvious curiosity, peruse this particular thread) I think that their ideology cannot tolerate informed dissenting voices.

          For example, when your president and his cabinet and secretaries are all beating the war drum, and you know in the back of your mind that it is based on a tissue of lies; when, in fact there is evidence to counter their assertions of immediate danger of not going to war (Scott Ritter and Joeseph Wilson come to mind), if you are committed to supporting this, it is vital that dissent be crushed.  If however, you believe that you have the truth on your side which will generally win an honest debate, you will tolerate much more dissent.  Dissent in the latter case actually strengthens and inoculates your case, while in the former will destroy your carefully-constructed canard.  Therefore we, believing that we are in possession of the truth, can tolerate honest dissent, while they cannot.

          In my political arguments, I have always welcomed honest opposition.  And sometimes they make excellent points.  But - especially with this lying scoundrel president - mostly they are bluff and bluster, and very little substance.

          Maybe that will change soon.

      •  Kos is right (none)
        This issue is not about RedState or the DailyKos, it is about the internet.  You don't have to post here, or at any particular place, to have your opinion heard. Kos doesn't have to let you post on his site.  No one, but no one, stops you from posting your content on your own site.
      •  There's one part of your argument I don't (none)
        understand.

        You say accumulated wealth offers no advantage on the Internet.

        Really? Most of the top sites on the Web as a whole are also arms of major retail stores and news outlets. Major corporations spend millions marketing their sites through banners and e-mails, not to mention spending even more money offline with print, broadcast and direct mail.

        What's to prevent moneyed interest from using these techniques to drive traffic to a friendly site? They are hugely effective, and hugely expensive.

        •  No matter how big CNN.com gets (4.00)
          Daily Kos isn't crowded out. It isn't shut out. It isn't wiped off the map. There are no scarcity issues.

          People will go to the sites that give them value. Whether it's dKos, Red State, CNN.com, eBay, Amazon, or Halliburton Blog.

          For the record, organizational sites (like the Sierra Club, etc) have done very poorly online. They get some traffic, sure, but nothing to write home about.

          In fact, in 2004 Daily Kos had far more traffic than the official John Kerry website, and Democrats spent over $300 million promoting his campaign. And Daily Kos is now twice as big as it was last year.

          •  Why is this? (none)
            It seems counterintuitive to assert that money has no effect on traffic on the web just because of lack of scarcity.  

            People come to web sites from other sites.  Most people get to sites initially through Google or Yahoo.  You can pay for Google or Yahoo ads.  

            Money clearly affects traffic.

            Also, you say that kerry spent $300 mil on his campaign.  How much on the web site?  More importantly, how much did Google spend on it's web site business in the past 4 years, and was it effective? A: yes. That's why google is #1 - because it spent money on the problem.

            It seems to me that if you are honest about this, you either support Soft Money media expenditure limits, in TV, etc - or you don't.  The only difference between websites and TV in this discussion that I can see is that Kos is a website, so everyone here is worried about interference - what if Kos was a TV show?

            I am totally in agreement with almost everything on this site, but on this issue I really think you've got it wrong.  As a lifelong liberal I think McCain-Feingold helps the little guy by helping get big money out of politics.  We shouldn't undercut that principle.

      •  guess I should have added: (none)
        /snark.

        I think it's great that you are working together on this, and I made a more serious comment below.

        BTW. I wasn't trolling, and I do understand that it isn't my right to go over there and state my opinion (or here for that matter). I was just surprised at how easily it happened. The worst thing I said was that someone was wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses to say that Bush was doing well despite the 37% approval. For every opinion I stated, someone among the regular red staters agreed with me. But I was always on the left side (naturally) and that's what got me banned.    

        Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

        by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:06:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is This Historic? (4.00)
    A coming together of RedState and Dkos?

    Wow.  Politics and strange bedfellows, indeed!

    I look forward to a less bullshit-filled dialogue with redstaters in the future.

    You made Isthmus, Wisconsin's news, man.  Grats.  :P

  •  Booo Redstate (none)
    It's good that you guys are collaborating on such an important issue.  Maybe now people will take note...
  •  But seriously, (none)
    blogs are a populist inroad to the political process that desrves to be protected.

    Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

    by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:45:28 AM PST

  •  I hope enough of the idiot Congressmen (none)
    read it.  I'm not holding my breath that JD Hayworth will even be able to.

    The fight against Alito is the most important political fight of our time.

    by HillaryGuy on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:48:43 AM PST

  •  hmmmm Krempasky... (none)
    sounds a little... er... Red, to me anyway.  hehe.  kidding.

    - Redstate... communism... har har...

    nevermind.

    "Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drum." M.J. Keenan

    by Nite74 on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:49:31 AM PST

  •  RED STATE IS NOT FREE SPEECH (1.66)
    THIS IS FREE SPEECH. I HAVE BEEN THREATENED VIA EMAIL BY THE WEBMASTER OF REDSTATE. I WOULD SHUT DOWN KOS IF IT MEANT SHUTTING DOWN RED STATE.
  •  Was there any conflict (none)
    over whose name is listed first? Regardless, I'm glad to see Kos over RedState.

    When you consider something sacred, you will never pollute it.

    by Dmitri in San Diego on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:51:12 AM PST

  •  Should we really be trying to kill this now? (none)
    One of the primary complaints about 1606 was that it was brought up under suspension rules and could not be amendment. This bill CAN be amended. Why don't we lobby to turn this bill into something that will preserve free speech but keep corporate and government propagandists from taking advantage of it?

    There will be plenty of time to oppose this bill in its final form if we are unsuccessful shaping it to our liking. So why not take the lead now to craft the legislation we want?

    •  That's a good point (none)
      This letter refers to HR 4194 in its current form.  If it's amended to address our concerns, there would be more things to say.
      •  Do we have to wait until... (none)
        ...someone amends it? Kos wrote in an earlier post:
        The out-of-touch "reform" groups played the game like it's always been played in DC -- they have their lobbyists running a whip operation with their elected official allies. Bloggers don't have that. We're just regular citizens.
        Does that have to be true?

        We can lobby too. We can support groups that share our mission (i.e. FreePress). Maybe we could even form a fund for our own lobbist. This (unholy) alliance Kos has formed with Redstate proves that it's possible to join together and raise funds to pursue our goals.

        If we wait for someone else to do it, we'll still be waiting when ski season opens in Hades.

    •  I'm just a bill (none)
      What bill has ever actually made it into law that wasn't leg humped by special interests?

      Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

      by smokeymonkey on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:56:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Much as I despise (none)
    Redstaters and loathe freepers, freedom of speech is all-or-nothing, for all of us.

    Great letter. Will that be circulated as a petition? I'd like to add my sig, too, if I may.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:55:09 AM PST

  •  Tom Allen (D-ME) undecided (none)
    Well, according to an aide I spoke with, anyway.

    They're going to get back to me on it, though.  Yup, any day now.  I'll just wait here, holding my breath.

  •  few critical thinkers in congress (none)
    thanks Marcos for being on top of this because the internet is our best hope right now to protect this country against going fascist.

    If Bush could control all public communication, we'd be on our way.

    I don't think there are many in congress who think critically for themselves and understand how to craft legislation of this type that would continue the open, democratic nature of the internet.

    there's been a recent breakdown in the White House message because the MSM and people in congress are less afraid right now.
    why?
    I don't know
    maybe thanks to the courage of Pat Fitzgerald and Cindy Sheehan and others, the truth is spreading. free communication on the internet is a real threat to Bush. If Bush destroys the communication between people, it will be devastating.

     

  •  email is different, though (none)
    email inboxes have a "scarcity" (and  annoyance) issue associated with them. i think it is fair to regulate spam, because ti crowds my attention without my having solicited or provoked in any way.
  •  Grammatical correction (none)
    Not to be picky, but...part way through the letter this appears:

    "The purpose of campaign finance law is to blunt the impact of accumulated wealth on the political process, but this is does not occur online."

    Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it - Chinese proverb?

    by Jaime Schulte on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:11:22 AM PST

    •  fixed (none)
      Between the three of us and a professional author, no one caught that.
      •  You're welcome (none)
        In that case, I don't think we're in any danger of an actual congresscritter noticing the mistake either.  If they actually read the letter, they won't get that far through it.  More likely a staffer will read it and pass on that: "some bloggers think you should vote for 1606 instead".

        Nice job on the letter though.  Hopefully it helps!

        Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it - Chinese proverb?

        by Jaime Schulte on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:22:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Other conservative sites-- (none)
    Isn't there a way to get other conservative sites to sign on to this letter also?

    It appears that this legislation would affect many more sites, and the GOP majority is even more likely to respond favorably to our concerns about HR 4194 if many more join us in protecting free speech on the Internet.

    Hmmm...Solidarity on an issue that affects BOTH sides of the aisle...I like it when intelligent people on both sides of the political spectrum can agree on something this important.  Finally...an issue conservatives and progressives can agree on.

    Next thing you know both sides will be actually respecting each other's patriotism and love of country...wouldn't that be remarkable?

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:11:28 AM PST

  •  Now...I'm scared! n/t (none)

    Saying NO to corruption is honorable.

    by mattes on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:14:59 AM PST

  •  all who is reading this thread (none)
    While you're exercising your free speech to debate
    redstate versus dailykos and banning policy...

    ARE YOU GONNA MAKE THE PHONE CALL?????

    Come on this is very important!

    http://www.noslaves.com http://forum.noslaves.com

    by BobOak on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:19:18 AM PST

  •  Tech solution (none)
    I got the feeling the internet will create a broadcasting system under $1000 before all this bickering is over.

    Item #1, trackerless bittorrent.

    http://blog.bitflux.ch/...

    By the time lawmaker done bickering, somebody could broadcast real content to the world using laptop wirelessly over the network.

  •  Why would it be necessary (none)
    to hire full time counsel if this passes?  Election law is tricky, but once explained, it can be handled.  Isn't it usually a "finance" guy who certifies things anyway?

    I'm against the Bill too especially for the technicological reasons, but if it is just paperwork that is the main issue, how does that limit free speech?

    •  well (none)
      How many blogs have "finance" guys?

      And it's more than just paperwork -- DailyKos could not exist in its current form if 4194 passes in its current form.  It could not be incorporated.  Markos would have to reorganize it as a political committee, I guess.

  •  Can't We All Just Get Along? (none)
    This is the blogosphere's Rodney King Moment.

    How Low Can Bush Go? Take the Poll.

    by Night Owl on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:47:31 AM PST

  •  Just called Congressman (none)
    Mike Thompson's office with my opposition.

    Excuse my language, I've been hanging out at dailyKOS.

    by coigue on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:53:43 AM PST

  •  Massachusetts Kossacks, Do Your Part... (none)
    As a part-time resident of Massachusetts, I'm often frustrated that I can't influence Congressional votes with phone calls and letters because the entire delegation usually already advoctes my views.  I hear the same complaint from friends in other blue states.

    Now, however, we've got Marty Meehan co-sponsoring this ridiculous bill.

    All Massachusetts residents should call Meehan's office, your own Congressman's office and Senators Kerry and Kennedy. The MA delegation is in constant communication and the good Senators need to hear that their constituents don't approve of what Meehan is doing.

    •  an important note (none)
      It's the Democrats who actually need more of a push than the Republicans on this one.  I know that Rep. Meehan hoped that HR 4194 would be looked upon favorably by the blogosphere; we need the Members to understand just want kind of protection we need.
  •  Is it true? (none)
    I just searched on Thomas for the text of HR 4194 and found the bill to be just one paragraph.  Is that all it is?

    "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." -RFK

    by apmiller on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 01:26:10 PM PST

  •  Compromise? (none)
    . . . ''The Shays-Meehan bill would exempt from the campaign finance laws, in the same way that H.R. 1606 does, communication by individuals on their own Web sites, including individual bloggers who incorporate.''

    . . . ''The Shays-Meehan bill, however, unlike H.R. 1606, would not repeal the existing prohibition on Members of Congress and other federal candidates using soft money, in coordination with corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals, to buy ads on the Internet to support their campaigns. H.R 1606 would authorize this use of corrupt soft money.''

    . . . ''The Shays-Meehan bill, unlike H.R. 1606, would not repeal the ban on corporations and labor unions using their soft-money treasury funds in coordination with federal candidates to place ads on their Web sites to influence federal elections. H.R. 1606 would authorize this use of corrupt soft money.''

    . . . ''If H.R. 1606 were enacted it would produce this absurd result: A House Member would be prohibited from coordinating with a corporation, labor union or wealthy individual to use soft money to buy an ad on a television station or in a newspaper, but would be allowed to coordinate with a corporation, labor union or wealthy individual to use soft money to buy the same ad on the Internet.''
    . . .

    [ source ]

    The bill has support from Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen and US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).

    I find this whole thing somewhat strange.  Maybe I'm not idealistic enough to believe that in a system of anarchism / unbridled capitalism, the good money drives out the bad.  

    The bill that everyone here loved so much essentially said, "Do whatever you want on the internet.  There are no rules whatsoever."  This bill, on the other hand, protects free speech on the internet while closing the egregious campaign finance loopholes that would have resulted from 1606.  What is the problem, exactly?

    { previous comment here }

    "A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but does not have an Air Force" -- William Blum

    by ungeziefer on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 05:17:12 PM PST

    •  the answer (none)
      Is mostly contained in this diary.

      As to some of the specific charges made by Shays and Meehan in their new letter, I'll have a formal response soon.  In short, they still don't offer the same protections that they claim to (great -- so I can blog on my own site?  What about someone else's?), and they still posit a boogeyman who did not rise forth in 2004.

      I, for one, would be happy to work to close the loopholes so long as citizen speech was protected.  HR 4194 doesn't do that.  So I'd rather underregulate than overregulate.

      •  question (none)
        How is it that you're so sure that this boogeyman did not rise forth in 2004?

        The revelations about payments to Armstrong Williams didn't come out for some time.

        Are you so confidently cocksure that some outlet such as...say...gopusa.com didn't get paid to blog or push issues for corporations or political parties?

        And let's get this straight...this isn't a "free speech" issue...this is a campaign finance issue.

        There's quite a bit of difference between endorsing a candidate in a blog and raising money for a candidate through a blog no matter how y'all want to spin it.

        What we should be fighting for is stronger campaign finance reform because money infects the entire process.  

        •  three responses (none)
          1.  It is illegal for corporations to spend a dollar to promote federal candidates for election.  The illegality runs with the expenditure; it matters not where it goes.

          2.  Did the value of GOPUSA's speech depend on how much was spent on the site, or who paid for it?

          3.  How would you define, legally, the difference between "I think you should support this candidate every way you can" and "I think you should give this candidate money"?
          •  k (none)
            So...unless I'm misinterpreting...basically...it doesn't matter whether or not it happened in 2004 the way you see it....because it can happen anywhere?

            Why not go with that argument rather than the disingenuous one you are making?

            1).  Why is it just illegality that is of concern?  Paid political shilling that is legal still doesn't make it right.

            2). Hell.  I wish I could fully answer that question.  It's going to take a lot more work and a lot more time to figure out exactly what gopusa.com is/was all about.  But there is a difference between them doing something that they believe is right as opposed to getting paid under the table to do it...as I hope you'd agree.  

            3). I think any blogger has the right to say "i endorse candidate a?" and "i think you should give money to candidate a" but setting up places for people to send money at actblue or something is not the same.  I'm not saying I'm completely against that...I just don't appreciate the conflating of "free speech" blogger activism with activist soliciting.

            •  not quite (none)
              1.  There are three separate issues regarding soft money corrupting the internet 2004 -- could it have happened (legally, yes), did it happen (no), and even if it did, would it have been problematic (reasonable minds can differ).  But this is as opposed to corporate spending on candidates, which neither the status quo nor H.R. 1606 would allow.

              2.  When a candidate or other regulated entity pays a blogger, it already gets reported to the FEC.  The Thune campaign reported its payments in June 2004.

              3.  I guess the thing is that on the Internet, money doesn't buy you "more powerful" speech.  Who's got more impact -- Atrios or Arianna?

              4.  ActBlue is regulated by the FEC, because it actually handles money that goes to candidates.  As well it should be.  Separate the speech from the handling of money -- linking alone is not an issue.
              •  who's got more impact (none)
                Arianna, by far.

                Eschaton is hardly ever cited by the MSM...or even the Democrat Party.

                Daily Kos vs. Huffington would be a tougher call.

                As for #4: A blogger linking to a candidate's pac isn't the same as directing them to Actblue where all the donations are counted as coming from...say...Atrios' readers.

                Again...not saying I think that's necessarily wrong...just not the same as free speech.

  •  I'm glad to see (none)
    I thought it was a great letter. Bravo Kos for being aware and ever vigilant.I am surprised at how surprised I am each time they pull one of these little stunts. And I want to thank the RedStaters who realize that although we don't agree on most issues, when free speech is being threatened, by anyone, for whatever reason, we all need to stick together. Then we can go back to what we really enjoy. Attacking each other's opinions, freely.

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