21 May

Schumer wants to Schut down Flopping Aces [Reader Post]

                                       

One of most ironic and stupid things about Congress is its propensity to name bills in a manner that has nothing to do with the substance of the bill. One example is the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009. It had nothing to do with responsibility. The newest boondoggle is a monstrosity called DISCLOSE. It stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, or DISCLOSE Act. It won’t strengthen democracy and it wouldn’t cast light on anything. An analysis reported in the WSJ shows how wrong things would go.

The Disclose Act exacerbates many of these problems and is a blatant attempt by its sponsors to do indirectly, through excessively onerous regulatory requirements, what the Supreme Court told Congress it cannot do directly—restrict political speech.

I believe this is anything but a mistake. I think Schumer has every intention of limiting free speech. Some of the language is plainly stupid:

For example, companies such as Verizon Wireless, a Delaware corporation headquartered in New Jersey with 83,000 U.S. employees and 91 million U.S. customers, would be silenced because of the British Vodafone’s minority ownership in the corporation. But competing telecommunications companies could spend money to influence elections or issues being debated in Congress.

But here are the real threats:

While the Disclose Act does include an exemption for major media corporations, it does not include websites or the Internet, which means the government can regulate (and potentially censor) political dialogue on the Web. Additionally, the law would require any business or organization making political expenditures to create and maintain an extensive, highly sophisticated website with advanced search features to track its political activities.

So there it is. This bill is about shutting down the opposition on the web- meaning all of us.

It is a truly audacious effort on the part of Democrats when you remember that Barack Obama disabled the Automatic Verification System during the campaign so that he could collect millions of untraceable dollars from overseas contributors and probably dead people as well (he is from Chicago).

So the next chance you get, make a call to Chuck, and tell Schumer to Schove it.

About DrJohn

DrJohn has been a health care professional for more than 30 years. In addition to clinical practice he has done extensive research and has published widely with over 70 original articles and abstracts in the peer-reviewed literature. DrJohn is well known in his field and has lectured on every continent except for Antarctica. He has been married to the same wonderful lady for over 30 years and has three kids- two sons, both of whom are attorneys and one daughter on her way into the field of education. DrJohn was brought up with the concept that one can do well if one is prepared to work hard but nothing in life is guaranteed. Except for liberals being foolish.
This entry was posted in Congress, Politics, Privacy Issues. Bookmark the permalink. Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 1:20 pm
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17 Responses to Schumer wants to Schut down Flopping Aces [Reader Post]

  1. John Cooper says: 1

    Your link was to the wrong bill. The legislation in question is S. 3295 DISCLOSE Act. I really hate it when the media (or FA) refuse to mention the number of the bill so we serfs can look it up and read it for ourselves.

    Not having read the text of the bill yet, I have a couple of comments. Until recently I was the Treasurer of a local PAC. The rules governing disclosures are state, not federal. Do we have another federal takeover going on here?

    Secondly, there are strict state rules governing advertisements on radio and TV, and in print. You know those “I’m Foghorn Leghorn and I approved this ad” statements? The state requires them and in my state, they must be spoken by either the chairman or the treasurer of the PAC, or the candidate himself if a candidate committee.

    But there are no rules whatsoever on Internet ads or websites…yet.

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  2. Mon says: 2

    Will Unions be forced to post opposing views on their web sites?

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  3. John Cooper says: 3

    OK, I skimmed S. 3295, the DISCLOSE Act, and didn’t seen anything in there about the Internet being regulated. Neither is there anything about the $50,000 corporate limit.

    I have to assume that S.3295 has been modified and included in some other bill (maybe the one in the original link?)

    I give up. When someone posts the actual wording of the bill, we can discuss it (not that it makes any difference).

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  4. Curt says: 4

    This is a good article on how and why this could impact bloggers

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/18/from-banning-books-to-banning

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  5. John Cooper says: 5

    Curt–

    From the article you linked:

    The House version of the DISCLOSE Act, expected to be marked-up next week, includes the definitions “communication” and “covered communication,” which differs from the term “public communication” adopted by the FEC in a 2006 rule exempting online speech from government control.

    Two things: 1. There’s a House version (which I didn’t know), and 2. They plan to add restrictions on the Internet.

    We’re making progress here, maybe. On a cursory search of Thomas, I find no relevant House bill containing the keywords “DISCLOSE” or “campaign finance”, or “covered communication”. So I’m still befuddled.

    But thanks for the heads up. Maybe we’ll get this sorted out.

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  6. Mon says: 6

    Two versions, Senate and “little bro” House Bills is the new trickery and gimmick.

    Remember HR 3200? The original House Healthcare bill? When public got wind of the contents, Pelosi said: “Oh no, no, no, that bill has been scrapped, there is a totally different bill”… Contents of “new bill” was hidden until hours prior to voting. Mean while, HR 32 was 1,018 pages and morphed into a bigger monster.

    Senators deflect criticism from pending House Bills saying “I am a Senator, that is the House Bill” and visa-versa. It is collusion. To have two bills with the same ” intended outcome” but with either different wording, or an outrageous item to draw “focus on”, then attention is drawn to reconciling the bills where false promises are made. Some gullible lawmakers fall for it and they hope the electorate will as well.

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  7. DrJohn says: 7

    The link (the first one) to the fiscal bill of 2009 bill was done as an example of stupid names- the Fiscal Responsibility bill was anything but Responsible. It was illustrative.

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  8. DrJohn says: 9

    I think the legisation itself is HR 5175

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  9. John Cooper says: 10

    @ DrJohn

    Eric at Redstate nailed it. The offensive language is in H.R. 5175, introduced on 4/29/2010 by Rep Chris Van Hollen [MD-8].

    Here’s what my State currently defines as “Communication”:

    Refers to broadcasting stations, carrier current
    stations, newspapers, magazines, periodicals,
    outdoor advertising facilities, billboards,
    newspaper inserts, radio ads, TV ads, sound-truck
    advertising, airplane streamers, portable signs,
    pamphlets, fliers, mass mailings (over 500 pieces),
    cards, or any person or individual whose business
    is polling public opinion, analyzing or predicting
    voter behavior or voter preferences.

    Note that E-mail, Blogs, and Websites are not regulated as of 2010.

    If H.R. 5175 passes, and Federal law supersedes state law, then the Internet will be included and any blogger who supports or opposes a candidate will have to file with the FEC. Another definition that comes into play here: Independent Expenditure:

    An expenditure that is made to support or oppose
    one or more clearly identified candidates without
    consultation or coordination with a candidate or
    agent of a candidate that the expenditure
    supports, or whose opponent’s nomination or
    election the expenditure opposes.

    So if a blogger – without coordination with any candidate or political committee – decides to post something favoring or opposing a candidate, he or she will be required to disclose his or her funding sources (Section 201).

    In addition to Federal contractors, this bill also totally muzzles any company which received TARP funds.

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  10. DrJohn says: 11

    That’s pretty much what it said in the post as well;

    Additionally, the law would require any business or organization making political expenditures to create and maintain an extensive, highly sophisticated website with advanced search features to track its political activities.

    The important point is that there is no doubt that this is meant to muzzle political bloggers.

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  11. John Cooper says: 12

    I found the section of H.R. 5175 requiring that disclosure information be posted on-line; It’s Section 327, which states:

    If a covered organization maintains an Internet site, the organization shall post on such Internet site, in a machine-readable, searchable, sortable, and downloadable manner and through a direct link from the homepage of the organization, the following information:

    `(i) The information the organization is required to report under section 304(g)(5)(A) with respect to public independent expenditures.

    `(ii) The information the organization is required to include in a statement of disbursements for electioneering communications under section 304(f)(6).

    Curiously, there IS NO SECTION 304 in the bill. Check it out for yourself. The Table of Contents jumps from Section 301 to Section 327, with nothing in between. (I wonder what they’re going to sneak in there at 3AM the night before the vote…)

    I’m guessing that every donation to the tip jar over a certain amount will have to be reported, along with the name, address, and occupation of the donor. Here in my state the limit is $50.

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  12. ditto says: 13

    @John Cooper

    No doubt Section 304 is part of the “double-secret” “to be disclosed later” portion of the bill in the style that this Democratic leadership is so fond of.

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  13. John Cooper says: 14

    We’ll have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it?

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  14. The first step, and some say the most important, in creating a Socialist state is to control the press. I suppose technically the Internet is not the “press” it serves the same function: to inform the public.

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  15. A_Nonny_Mouse says: 16

    #14 John Cooper May 22nd, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    “We’ll have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it?”
    ——————————–

    All-in-all, I think I’ll decline. (But thanks for the offer.)

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  16. A_Nonny_Mouse says: 17

    By the way, at Schumer.senate.gov, the press release announcing the DISCLOSE act says he wants to get it passed by July 4th so if can be in effect for the November 2010 elections.

    ReplyReply

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