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The Continued Assault on Freedom of Speech.

on November 6th, 2009 by admin

There is a pattern within our government that I find increasingly disturbing.  For example, I mentioned in a previous post of how dictatorship can happen in this country.  Reviewing Sinclair Lewis’s story It Can’t Happen Here, freedom of speech was the first casualty.  The administration has done its best to curb any organization who criticizes Congress or President Obama’s policies.  The most obvious is their bizarre attacks against Fox News.  And let us not forget the email address flag@whitehouse.gov  which was created for people to tell on anyone who was against the socialistic health care policy.  The Republican party’s inability to fight against this encroachment is due to their unwillingness to defend anything on principle, much less freedom of speech.  Only one Republican criticized this gross violation of freedom of speech.

The assaults keep coming.  The Federal Trade Commission, an administrative agency has new rulesregarding bloggers.  Yes, I know it is a long document.  I read it myself and as someone who has worked in the legal profession, it’s worse than legalese.  In a nutshell, the FTC wants to “protect” web visitors by requiring all bloggers to to disclose any financial gain from endorsement of products particularly books and electronics.  This rule ridiculous.  To give you an example of arbitrary nature of this rule, I’ll have the FTC’s own representative speak for himself.

Blogger Edward Champion interviewedrepresentative Richard Cleland.  This interview highlights bureaucracy in action.  This Cleland could not answer basic questions about this rule.  He couldn’t even explain why traditional print and television media are exempt from this rule.  If a blogger doesn’t properly disclose his relationship when endorsing products, he’ll pay a fine upwards of $11,000.  Can you believe this?!!

This rule takes effect December 1, 2009.  To me there are a number of issues that come up on a fundamental level that many do not understand.  Here’s my take:

  • Administrative agencies have tremendous power to legislate, despite not having any authority within the Constitution.  The rule is non-objective in its scope.  Will every blogger in the United States be policed?  Will the government patrol the web for any blog not in compliance?  And if so, will the blogger be notified?
  • This rule is a violation of the first amendment.  It’s a back door way to censor speech on the Internet.  It is also a violation of property rights.  A blogger has the right to use his own PAID blog as he sees fit. 
  • The nanny state mentality is alive and well in America.  This rule by the FTC considers people not as clear thinking individuals but as helpless, mindless drones who don’t know how to discern bogus information from fact.
  • Finally and most crucial, this rule will give government complete control of the Internet.  As with the so called Net Neutrality, government will finally put its tentacles into Internet commerce.  The reason for the success of the Internet is because it is not subject to government regulation.  Hence why it’s so successful.  Its advantage is with imparting news and events that mainstream media refuses to do. 

I will continue to do what I have been doing with my website.  I don’t give a damn about a bureaucrat who probably has never hosted his own website.  Read the interview I linked up to.  And don’t forget to read the comments. 

Bookish Babe

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