I can't remember where I first was referred to this, but according to various blogs, there's an amendment to a bill in Congress now, Section 220 of S. 1, though "on hold," that would basically require anyone writing about Congress to register quarterly with Congress. WTF? Insane. Both left and right bloggers and organizations seem to be complaining, but there's not as much chatter about this, or media attention, as I would expect. I looked further and found this on the SF Bay Times site:
Checking the actual text of Section 220, a laborious exercise indeed, I find that the text requires that third parties who pay money in order to engineer what might appear to be a grassroots lobbying effort must declare themselves. I also learn that the tactic, presumably one close to the heart of James Dobson and Focus on the Family, is called “Astroturf lobbying.”Ok, so this doesn't seem to be the fundamental threat to free speech that some are saying. Plus, even if it passed, how would one ever enforce it? wouldn't it be hard to prove in court that something "appears to be a grassroots lobbying effort?"
Posted by steev at Enero 21, 2007 08:57 AM
But speaking of taking away freedoms, I found a really great video by an indymedia videographer named Flux Rostrum, about the NYPD attacking him and stealing his camera at a protest in NYC. The irony is that the protest was a Oaxaca/Brad Will solidarity protest at the Mexican Consulate, protesting the murder of a videographer by government/PRI/paramilitary thugs. Flux ends his narration poignantly when he says, holding up the lens of his camera that stayed in his hand when the cops ripped the rest of it away, "how many years before they just shoot us here, too?"