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View Diary: Corrupt Democracy 21 (155 comments)

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  •  I agree with every single point you make here (none)
    This is not the point of contention.

    This is not a fight to regulate speech on the internet.  It is a fight to decide whether corporations should be allowed to spend unregulated, unreported, unlimited funds to raise money for the candidates of their choice, just because that effort is done on the internet.

    If so, then all campaign finance regulations should be scrapped and we should have a Wild West free-for-all, where anyone can give as much as they want to any federal candidate they want.

    All the screaming rhetoric that Wertheimer hates freedom ignores, or is unaware of, this point.

    •  The problem is.... (none)
      ...as Adam B, Kos, Atrios, and many others (including Congressman John Conyers) have stated, over and over and over again, we HAVE tried being nice and polite and reasonable, and explaining our position nicely, politely, and reasonably.

      BUT THEY WON'T LISTEN.  THEY REFUSE TO LISTEN.

    •  No. (none)
      No no no.

      Corporations cannot spend any funds for the candidates of their choice, online or offline.  2 USC 441b.  Wertheimer is deliberately wrong.

      •  So what do you think his motivation is, Adam?? (none)
        I understand the point about the corporate prohibition remaining in place.  

        But I am experiencing cognitive dissonance.  I reviewed your recent work supporting the bill cosponsored by Conyers and opposing the new Shays/Meehan bill regarding online activity.

        It looks to me like I am more or less in full agreement with you.  Especially with regard to sites in and of themselves.  No matter how much money is put into a site to make it look appealing, the audience has to actively choose to open the link and read the contents.  There just seems to be no threat to the basic regulatory regime, even if it doesn't fit within the old definitions of what constitutes an "expenditure," etc.

        The concerns I have would be banner/pop-up ads and unsolicited e-mails and who pays for them and whether they are coordinated with a candidate, and non-candidate sites that solicit and/or collect money for candidates.  

        What are the scenarios Shays, Meehan and Wertheimer envision where a basic, across-the-board press exemption for blogs and the like will be abused by nefarious, wealthy, corporate entities?  It just doesn't make sense.

        •  not a psychologist, and (none)
          I've never talked to him.  So I'm not going to speculate on his motivations.

          One of their fears, clearly, is the "Haliburton blog", which is just silly.  And I just think generally, it might be a fear of the unknown.

          But here's the thing, and it's a point I've made repeatedly, so I'll quote myself from when I think I said it best:

          In sum, the Internet fulfills through technology what campaign finance reform attempts via law. It magnifies the power of each citizen's voice to equal that of large corporations. Any speech, whether from a campaign, a wealthy PAC or a news report, can be immediately countered by any ordinary citizen-as the Internet's uncovering of the "Rathergate" scandal showed. . . .

          Wealth loses its corrupting power online because it cannot silence the opposition. If reducing money's influence on politics is the FEC's command, a vibrant online marketplace of ideas is the solution.

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