Gag the Internet!

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DrKrbyLuv's picture
DrKrbyLuv
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 1995
Gag the Internet!

AN OBAMA OFFICIAL'S FRIGHTENING BOOK ABOUT CURBING FREE SPEECH ONLINE

When it comes to the First Amendment, Team Obama believes in Global Chilling.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them.

"Although obscure," reported the Wall Street Journal, "the post wields outsize power. It oversees regulations throughout the government, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Obama aides have said the job will be crucial as the new administration overhauls financial-services regulations, attempts to pass universal health care and tries to forge a new approach to controlling emissions of greenhouse gases."

Sunstein was appointed, no doubt, off the success of "Nudge," his previous book, which suggests that government ought to gently force people to be better human beings.

Czar is too mild a world for what Sunstein is about to become. How about "regulator in chief"? How about "lawgiver"? He is Obama's Obama.

Sunstein also believes that - whether you're a blogger, The New York Times or a Web hosting service - you should be held responsible even for what your commenters say. Currently you're immune under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. "Reasonable people," he says, "might object that this is not the right rule," though he admits that imposing liability for commenters on service providers would be "a considerable burden."

He alludes on page 3 (and on page 13, and 14, and 45, and 54 - the book is only 87 pages) to the supposedly insidious lie that "Barack Obama pals around with terrorists." Since Sunstein intends to impose his Big Chill on such talk, I'd better get this in while I can. The "rumor," i.e., "fact," about the palsy-walsiness of Obama and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers (Ayers referred to Obama as a "family friend" in a memoir).

Sunstein calls for a "notice and take down" law that would require bloggers and service providers to "take down falsehoods upon notice," even those made by commenters - but without apparent penalty.

Consider how well this nudge would work. You blog about Obama-Ayers. You get a letter claiming that your facts are wrong so you should remove your post. You refuse. If, after a court proceeding proves simply that you are wrong (but not that you committed libel, which when a public figure is the target is almost impossible), you lose, the penalty is . . . you must take down your post.

"We could also imagine a future in which those who spread false rumors are categorized as such, discounted and marginalized . . . people would approach rumors skeptically even they provide comfort and fit their own biases." But if his chilling wind doesn't work, Sunstein may try to make good on the implicit threat that runs through his book: that he would redefine libel as the spread of false information and hold everyone up the ladder responsible.

If this happened, the blogosphere would turn into Pluto overnight. Comments sections would slam shut. Every writer would work on a leash shorter than a shoelace.

Sunstein is an enemy to every news organization and blogger. We should return the favor and declare war on him.

Our governBank is out of control.  Time and time again, they take drastic measures to "protect us" (from truth) while simultaneously taking our constitutional rights...which is illegal!  The imperial presidency now has czars to control all phases of our lives. 

Larry

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2259
Re: Gag the Internet!

Hey Larry-

   If anyone tries to put a curb on free speech on the internet, it wouldn't be us that they are trying to protect from the truth!

   -pinecarr

Tim_P's picture
Tim_P
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 23 2009
Posts: 298
Re: Gag the Internet!

Excellent post Larry.  It does not seem that a day goes by lately that we're confronted with yet another act that, only a year ago, would have been unthinkable.  I wonder if this is what Germany was like in the 30's.

Tim

DavidC's picture
DavidC
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 243
Re: Gag the Internet!

To me it's an indication of how absolutely petrified they are of the system failing.

The ironic thing is that, in general, people are more interested in American Idol and Big Brother than they are in the economy or how much $1 trillion really is (let alone $14trn or $54 trn!) and it's only a small percentage who are really interested in 'the truth'. And if there's something that is a rant or that requires checking one can choose to ignore it or check the facts by utilising other sources that rationally appraise things - for example, PeakProsperity.com.

DavidC

DrKrbyLuv's picture
DrKrbyLuv
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 1995
Re: Gag the Internet!

Tim said:  It does not seem that a day goes by lately that we're confronted with yet another act that, only a year ago, would have been unthinkable.

Tim, I agree it is very bizarre to watch things change so dramatically right before our eyes.  It's bad enough that we are suffering from the financial crisis, but we are also facing a constitutional crisis which is destroying our republic.

DavidC said:  To me it's an indication of how absolutely petrified they are of the system failing.

Interesting take.  They know what's coming better than us so if they are ratcheting things up, you just have to wonder.  There is a huge conflict of interest, is survival of the status quo more important than the survival of a nation?

Larry

becky's picture
becky
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 8 2009
Posts: 113
Re: Gag the Internet!

This is frightening.  And what baffles me (I'm baffled but, sadly, not surprised) is that those on the Left are all rah rah over people like this and completely disparaging of anyone who complains ("obstructionist Republicans" etc).  And yet, if the previous administration had proposed such things, these same people would be screaming their heads off.  It seems that it's just a bunch of "us vs them" and in my opinion,such people are behaving with way less intelligence than the ones who sit in front of the television voting for their favorite singer.  It's the ones who treat the people who are supposed to be governing this country like they're singers on American Idol that bother me.

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