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Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed 549

Posted by timothy
from the gov't-we-deserve-is-a-canard dept.
vvaduva writes "Florida Rep. Alan Grayson wants to see one of his critics go directly to jail, all over her use of the word 'my' on her blog. In a four-page letter sent to [US Attorney General Eric] Holder, Grayson accuses blogger Angie Langley of lying to federal elections officials and requests that she be fined and imprisoned for five years. Her lie, according to Grayson, is that she claims to be one of his constituents. Langley, Grayson says, is misrepresenting herself by using the term 'my' in the Web site's name."
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Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:32PM (#30526388)

    Where political speech can land you in jail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:32PM (#30526404)

    I've always been bothered by the idea that voters who elect representative officials are limited to talking to just those officials on matters that have national scale and scope... in other words, just about everything the federal government does.

    I mean, why shouldn't I as a citizen of the state of Abstraction be able to ask the Senator from the state of Facts to vote for a proposal that is in the best interests of the American people?
    g=

  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:32PM (#30526406) Journal

    Is lying, in a political context, a crime? If the Vice President lies about wmd in Iraq, is that a crime? If Monsanto lies about their political contributions, is that a crime? If a blogger lies about her relationship with a Congressman, is that crime?

  • Childish approach? He's just mimicking the Republican Standard Operating Procedure. Yeah I can see how that's childish.

    I'm not sure if you're trying to say that the Democrats are no less or more childish than the Republicans (if you are, I agree with you) but you do know that he's a Democrat with, of course, a history of controversies [wikipedia.org], right?

    You seem to be confused in thinking it's "Republican Standard Operating Procedure" when in reality it's "Politician Standard Operating Procedure."

  • by Orange Crush (934731) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:39PM (#30526534)
    She can say (just about) whatever she wants as a private citizen--constituent or not, but if she's taking political contributions as a PAC, she needs to play by the already much-too-lose campaign finance laws.
  • by eln (21727) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:48PM (#30526672) Homepage

    Interestingly, TFA is from Fox News, which pretty much NEVER fails to note the party of a political official in a scandal, regardless of the party they are in, including this one.

    Right, Fox News just lies [mediamatters.org] about what party the scandal-ridden politicians belong to.

    Seriously, after they repeatedly represented scandal-ridden Republicans as Democrats, and misrepresented footage from previous events as being from more recent ones (tea parties, Palin book signings) to make crowds look larger than they actually were, I don't know how anyone can hold up Fox News as a paragon of journalistic integrity anymore. And please don't trot out the old tired argument that "everyone else is just as bad or worse". The fact is Fox News routinely does this sort of thing, and acting like they're in any way "fair and balanced" is just absurd.

  • by Virak (897071) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:50PM (#30526704) Homepage

    And when there was the story a little while back about the Republican who raped his daughters and was trying to censor news about it where Slashdot didn't mention his political affiliation, that was a clear example of Evil Liberal Bias too, right?

    If this is what you mean when you're talking about "liberal bias" then it's no wonder everyone looks at you like you're a paranoid lunatic.

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the_macman (874383) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:51PM (#30526740)

    Yay. I'm with you on this one. At the moment Rep Alan Grayson is a champion of truth, justice, etc etc. All the qualities you'd actually LIKE to see in a congressional representative. So I was a bit surprised when I read the headline. Then I clicked the link and realized it went to foxnews.com. Fox News has been trying to paint Rep. Grayson as a nutjob for a LONG time. He gets in the way of their agenda.

    First line FTFA

    My, my, my. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson wants to see one of his critics go directly to jail -- all over her use of the word "my."

    A bit sensionalist don't ya think. I bet halfway through the article it talks about how he wants to kill babies and eat their brains. Well I chuckled, closed the link, and moved on.

    Nothing to see here folks.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:51PM (#30526748) Homepage Journal

    I am pretty sure the FCC is headed that way. Congress would just as likely modify their Congressional Incumbents Protection Act (McCain/Feingold) to keep any criticism of a sitting Congressman. Why not, its not like they care what you think until its time to vote.

    It all comes down to arrogance not seen since the late 1700s in France. The "ruling" class while "elected" has no problem in engineering a system by which they cannot be criticized (see McCain/Feingold) but will change laws to prevent people from voting against them (redistricting - Voter Rights Act - not prosecuting thugs at election sites - philly).

    Grayson is an embarrassment to his district, but like voters in Louisiana proved, money in the freezer does not mean your guilty, just stupid. Remember all Congressmen and bad except yours.

  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:52PM (#30526760) Journal

    Everything has a bias to it. Slashdot has a libertarian leaning bias, Dailykos has a left bias and Fox News is right leaning. It is the reader's job to look critically at what other people say and decide for themselves regardless of the political slant. As for leaving off the D-fla next to his name, I'd say that you could look at it two ways: 1) a party shouldn't be singled out in media or 2) party affiliation is irrelevant; the conduct of a particular congress critter is what is important. Mostly I'd say that 2) is most correct as much of the problem in politics is that people mindlessly vote along party lines eg. republicans/democrats as a whole are evillll instead of crosscritter X is specifically an arsehat. It's irrational.

  • by john82 (68332) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:54PM (#30526792)

    Childish approach? He's just mimicking the Republican Standard Operating Procedure. Yeah I can see how that's childish.

    Right. Just so we're clear about this...

    Democrat is to Republican as:

    C) Pot is to Kettle

  • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:54PM (#30526796)

    She's not a blogger but a former republican party official trying to raise funds to unseat Grayson.

    It strikes me that she's both. I mean, that certaily looks like a blog to me...

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:55PM (#30526812)
    Please enlighten us on what news source is not biased? Every professional news source is in the news management business as opposed to the news reporting business.
  • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by theascended (1228810) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:00PM (#30526884)
    The two (blogging and being a former R party official) are not mutually exclusive. Your assertion that she is being fraudulent is purely conjecture... just like Grayson's.

    It's a pity when sanity gets in the way of a good political snipe.
  • Likely reason (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:04PM (#30526954) Journal

    I suspect that a not-so-technically-savvy politician got pissed at the blog contents and then turned to his lawyer and said in a huff: "Find some way to shut that [bleeping] blog down! I don't care how you do it, just find a way."

    The result is a bunch of silly lawsuit claims that have a slight chance of tying up the blog and blogger for a while.

  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:06PM (#30526986) Journal

    health care == Holocaust??

    No, but denying health care to people resulting in the deaths of thousands sounds pretty close to me.

    You know what's gonna happen? This profit-over-human-life doctrine is eventually going to be abolished, and it will be remembered in the future the way slavery is remembered now. A small number of special interests and their hillbilly followers thought it was a great idea at the time, but eventually peoples' values changed and the full extent of the suffering and loss of life became clear.

    BTW, his use of the word 'holocaust' was entirely appropriate. 'Holocaust' is not a word that has been reserved exclusively for the Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. If people are dying in their hundreds every day at the hands of profit making health insurance extortionists, then to call it a holocaust is putting it fucking mildly.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ack' in gap]> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:06PM (#30526992)

    All Mr Grayson is doing is what Democrats should have been doing years ago. Republicans want to talk about death panels and pulling the plug on grandma? Fine, they should be prepared to listen to the other side using the same kind of emotional language.

    I typically vote for Democrats rather than Republicans because they don't do the same hyperbolic bullshit, or at least don't do it nearly as often. If they're going to start pulling this crap, then I'll henceforth start filing "voting for a Democrat" in the same category as "voting for Sarah Palin".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:09PM (#30527026)

    Holy shit, are your eyes really that crossed or is your brain damage that complete? I hope that some day you can step back and see exactly how incredibly backwards your statements are. I know you won't though, because you're just as blinded by ideology as the people you claim to be against. God bless you, and merry Christmas.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:09PM (#30527040) Journal

    Republicans have become masters of the art of pressing the emotional buttons over and over again even if their message is laced with lies and half truths

    What, and Democrats haven't done the same thing? Were you around for the debate on social security privatization? If you listened to them back then you'd have thought that the GOP was aiming to put America's seniors into concentration camps.

    As you can see from the 2000 and 2004 elections, the voters respond much better to emotional messages (particularly the emotion known as 'fear' as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney know too well) than they do to something as mundane as logic.

    And the 2008 election was immune? Barack Obama's entire campaign was one of sweeping emotion. Emotion that "change" was on the way, emotion that we'd be able to "rise above" our "petty differences", emotion that he would "transcend" race, etc, etc.

    You really can't claim that the Democrats are any better. Democrats and Republicans use the same playbook. If you think any differently then you must be a partisan for one side or the other.

  • That's the kind of thing a drunk guys says at a party to try to appear insightful. Actually, it's not. It's just plain stupid. A lack of diverse choice in political parties is not the same thing as having two equivalent choices.

  • by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:15PM (#30527132) Homepage Journal
    In your opinion. In my opinion the Democratic party is worse. Now, neither of us has any unbiased and reliable data to support our beliefs so who is correct? We cannot both be correct. Both parties could be similarly "repulsive", the Democrats could be worse, or the Republicans could be worse. But as it stands it is simply a matter of opinion.
  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:20PM (#30527200) Homepage Journal

    It's impossible to say one side is worse than the other without having the blinders of partisanship in place. They are all repulsive in the extreme and anyone who tries to argue that their party is "not as bad as the other guys" is deluded. That's not necessarily throwing up one's hands to let the problem continue, though it will continue as long as we keep letting these corrupt people into office.

    For every example of 'bad' behavior on the part of one party, there is a corresponding example from the other. How they keep so many people hoodwinked into think it is all the others groups fault is completely beyond me.

    Realizing that isn't giving up, it is necessary to get on track to take meaningful action rather than swinging back and forth between two 'options' that are just different sides of the same coin.

  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:20PM (#30527202)

    BTW, his use of the word 'holocaust' was entirely appropriate. 'Holocaust' is not a word that has been reserved exclusively for the Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. If people are dying in their hundreds every day at the hands of profit making health insurance extortionists, then to call it a holocaust is putting it fucking mildly.

    Yeah...paying for services and free emergency room service for everyone who can't is a true holocaust. Way to put it "fucking mildly."

    Getting sick and dying is natural.

    Gassing 6 million scapegoats is not.

    Get some perspective.

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:20PM (#30527214)

    Why?

    Because they admit they intentionally deceive their viewers [wikipedia.org], and they fund and promote [mediamatters.org] anti-democrat political protests.

    Should anything the New York Times reports on a Republican also be assumed to be false?

    Only if you can show any evidence that they intentionally deceive their readers, and have funded anti-republican protests. I await your citations.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:22PM (#30527246)

    Not true. Democrats have stood idly by for too long while Republicans get up in the House and make hyperbolic speeches about 'death panels' and 'socialism' while the Dems have just tried to be Mr Nice Guy in the hope that the voters will reward them.

    Yep. I mean, something like comparing opposition to a bill to being in favor of slavery. A Democrat would NEVER do something like that.

  • Give specifics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:35PM (#30527476)

    Any example you can give of Republican malfeasance can easily be matched by a similar Democratic one.

    You simply choose to have selective blindness as to which malfeasance you remember.

    When you just throw up your hands and say they're all like that you basically let the problem continue.

    You do the same thing by pretending one side is altruistic while the other is Satan. Actually, you do far worse - you encourage the side you have a blind spot for to escalate behavior.

  • by magnusrex1280 (1075361) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:38PM (#30527530)
    Oooh, I get it. You thought he was being literal. You're right, there are SOME black Republicans.
  • childish? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sunfly (1248694) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:38PM (#30527542)
    So.... Apparently the site is dead on with this "childish" claim?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:40PM (#30527562)

    Are you saying that someone was prevented from getting chemotherapy because they had cancer? That makes no sense, given that chemotherapy is worse than useless to people that don't have cancer.

    Oh. Wait. You are upset that someone else won't pay for it. Not the same thing at all.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:41PM (#30527600)

    Yeah, totally new idea.

    It's not like some dude named Bill was regularly lambasted for him hammy appeals to emotion. Back in like, 92. Totally never happened. People still to this day don't say things like "for the children" and "i feel your pain" in a poor impression of some guy named Bill in an ironic manner.

  • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:41PM (#30527604) Homepage Journal

    The issue here, though, is not what the blogger has a right to say, but what a registered PAC has the right to say. In return for PACs being granted a special status in tax law and election law, they have to follow certain rules. Most PACs have found ways to bend the rules to the point of silliness, but still follow the letter of the law. This site explicitly states that the group was created solely to battle a single politician, so it really shouldn't be a PAC.

    Note that I don't know or care about the folks involved in this situation, just trying to point out that this is not simply a freedom of speech issue.

  • by tibman (623933) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:42PM (#30527616) Homepage

    That depends on what your definition of "is" is

  • by Stradivarius (7490) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:43PM (#30527640)

    No, I don't buy that. When you just throw up your hands and say they're all like that you basically let the problem continue. You have to hold people and groups accountable for their actions.

    We should hold people accountable for their own actions. Holding someone accountable for someone else's actions is a totally different beast.

    If you fail to pay your taxes (e.g.. Obama's Treasury Secretary Geitner) or accept a bribe (e.g.. Democratic Congressman Jefferson), you should pay the consequences, not me. Even if we're the member of the same political party. Sharing a view on foreign policy, bank bailouts, or job creation doesn't make someone responsible for another's transgressions.

    Part of why we have such rancor in our politics is that people are willing to believe this idea that the folks who disagree (namely The Other Party) must be evil or unethical or uncaring or bought off. Most people are not these things, they just have genuine differences of opinion on how to solve problems or what problems government ought to be solving. All these personal attacks are a just a distraction from the real issues at hand.

    Personally, when a politician starts spewing personal attacks, I start wondering what problems in their own policies they're trying to distract us from. That rule of thumb seems to have worked well for both parties over the past decade or so.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:43PM (#30527642)

    I think it's high time we started shunning both parties and voting for independent.

    Both parties are corporate vetted.

  • by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:48PM (#30527758)

    which isn't exactly balanced reporting (if any of them are)

          Nah. IMO, "balanced reporting" died when Walter Cronkite retired.

  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:51PM (#30527818) Homepage Journal

    I think we need to come up with better candidates that aren't a part of either party and vote them in. I haven't been crazy about independent choices up until now either, so I think the solution begins with finding good candidates. Though I have voted independent in the past because I am so fed up with the whole current regime.

  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:54PM (#30527864) Journal

    It's impossible to say one side is worse than the other without having the blinders of partisanship in place. They are all repulsive in the extreme and anyone who tries to argue that their party is "not as bad as the other guys" is deluded. That's not necessarily throwing up one's hands to let the problem continue, though it will continue as long as we keep letting these corrupt people into office.

    For every example of 'bad' behavior on the part of one party, there is a corresponding example from the other. How they keep so many people hoodwinked into think it is all the others groups fault is completely beyond me.

    Realizing that isn't giving up, it is necessary to get on track to take meaningful action rather than swinging back and forth between two 'options' that are just different sides of the same coin.

    People seem to be missing the point. First of all I never said one way or another whether it's good or bad that politicians campaign using emotional language. Is it good? Is it bad? Who cares? In my opinion it doesn't get 'bad' until you start adding lies into the deal.

    Secondly, what I'm saying is that Republicans have been masters of emotional campaigning for ages and Democrats never really caught up until the Obama era, and Alan Grayson takes the emotional message to the same kind of extremes that Republicans have been doing for years. Sarah Palin talks about 'death panels?' Nobody bats an eyelid. Conservatives refer to the inheritance tax as the 'death tax' (misleadingly implying that we all have to pay it since we all die)? Nobody bats an eyelid. Alan Grayson reads out the numbers of people who have died from lack of health care coverage? Whoa! What's going on here? A Democrat using emotionally charged language? What's going on? This is new!

    Take Dukakis. He thought he could respond to emotionally-charged questions, like on the death penalty, with facts and figures. The voters dumped him because he didn't connect with them on an emotional level and because he looked ridiculous being driven around in a tank.

    Take Gore. Bush's quirky human interest stories were a much bigger hit than Al's not inconsiderable intellect.

    John (yawn) Kerry? Don't get me started!

    Compare those old Democrats with their facts and statistics to the emotional intelligence of Obama and Grayson. It's a considerable difference.

    And by the way, I reject your assertion that for every lie told on one side there must be an equal and opposite lie told on the other. We're not talking about Newton's laws of motion here. That's just another lazy assessment, the same kind of attitude that leads to the 'equal time to nutjobs' approach that some media organizations use. If one party is lying more than the other, it's okay to say so.

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:57PM (#30527908) Homepage

    The AP and Reuters are pretty unbiased, mostly because they tend to omit anything that would involve opinion of any kind. They aren't the most in-depth or interesting reads, but if you're looking for just-the-facts reporting they are usually pretty good. Basically, the wire services will tell you what happened. Period. End of story. They won't tell you much if anything about why it happened, how it happened, who will benefit from it happening, who didn't want it to happen, and so on, but if all you want to know is what happened, they're a pretty good place to start.

    The trouble is, if you're looking for all the stuff the wire reports leave out, the people who are most willing to talk to a reporter about that issue are those with an axe to grind about it. If they're academics, then their careers are staked on particular sets of theories, so any answer they give will ensure that the universe changes to conform to their theory. If they're a think tank or non-profit, they will attempt to match the views of their donors. If they're a politician or one of his aides, then they're going to be going with whatever will improve their chances of reelection. If they're a business, they'll go with whatever will make them the most cash. And so on.

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:01PM (#30527986) Journal

    MSNBC might be a bit closer, but then again I can't think of who their equivalent of Glenn Beck is.

    that's easy: Olbermann.

    Show me the batshit insane crying clip and I'll believe you.

  • by Bruha (412869) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:01PM (#30528008) Homepage Journal

    Yes because he made up the recession, the job losses, the high health care bill, the war dead and wounded, the ballooning deficit and the general disdain that other countries have for how we were doing business with the rest of the world.

    He won because he was the only politician who was willing to accept the vast MAJORITY of his funding from the American public, say he was going to fix the issues that the MAJORITY of American's cared about. His predecessor was elected twice on the narrowest margins in history and it's arguable that he stole these elections both times.

    Personally I'd rather have a bad president who earned his way into the office, than a morally bankrupt president who cheats his way into the office. Go ahead keep blaming presidents for our problems.

    The problem is, has, and will always be congress and political parties and our campaign finance system. Ban political parties, ban corporate donations to candidates, and make a limit on donations to 1k no matter your income per family. Things would change.

  • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:02PM (#30528010)

    Yep. I think the action of trying to put someone in jail for 5 years for creating a blog criticizing you, will have great consequences for the congressman. Hopefully people will get fed up at our leaders recommending draconian punishment for the most trivial of things.

    Before you comment about this from a political perspective, think about the kind of punishment proposed by the congressman within the context of a "three strikes" IP law that everyone seems to be clamoring for.

    If super punitive punishments for things like this gain a foothold, look out, because they'll be coming into every aspect of your lives.

  • by ravenshrike (808508) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:04PM (#30528054)

    Pretty much attributable to LBJ and the fact that he more or less hoodwinked them into thinking that the Democrats were responsible for the 1964 CRVA(They weren't, the Republicans were) And then giving them a straight up bribe that was entirely a poison pill in his Great Society. Oddly enough, pretty much the moment that passed, the poverty rate stopped declining.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:06PM (#30528074) Journal

    It's older than Nixon. Johnson did it [wikipedia.org]. Those before him did it to. There probably hasn't been a President since George Washington (the only guy who didn't want the job) who hasn't used these types of techniques.

  • Big pharma is making a killing right now. I think healthcare has had all the "innovation" it can take. Doctors don't know how much the drugs really cost, so they prescribe the newest patented combination drugs. Patients don't know how much the drugs really cost, so they get the best they can get for a good price. This is of course by design. Insurance rates skyrocket, insurance companies rake in the dough.

    The average consumer does not understand that the patented combination drugs they take are horrifically expensive and taking 2 or more generics would be quite a lot less expensive. Even if they did, they would probably naively choose the combination drug because the "oh well the insurance pays for it", not understanding that it has a direct effect on their premiums.

    Healthcare needs massive government intervention. Way beyond what either party is proposing. In theory a free market would remove these types of inefficiencies, but healthcare is the least free market I can think of. It's heavily regulated.

    As far as emotion goes, I think there should be a little emotion in such a fundamental topic. Without compassion for your fellow citizenry, nationalized healthcare doesn't make sense. Then again, without compassion, social security and a host of other programs don't make sense either.

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:25PM (#30528386)

    Republicans have become masters of the art of pressing the emotional buttons over and over again even if their message is laced with lies and half truths

    True - they have.

    But maybe you forget the whole "feeling your pain" thing that some dude leveraged to win the Presidency back in 1992? Appeal to emotion is a key tactic for many many politicians. It just tends to be that people don't notice when "their side" does it.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:29PM (#30528446)
    You seem to be saying that defamation laws should not be a limitation on free speech (but that people should choose to avoid it as it is unconvincing). I don't agree with that, although I suspect we do agree on the point that saying that any particular poiltician "is nuts" should not constitute defamation.

    Defamation must be harming, and it's a defense if it is true. Is saying "he is nuts" harming? Because "nuts" doesn't imply any specific action or pattern of action, I wouldn't think it to be saying anything other than "I don't like him." Also, is it false? How do you measure the "nuts" quotient of a person. I don't think there is any specifically defined measure that anyone could argue about. I would expect that 101% of the population is nuts. Additionally, anyone choosing to be a politician is nuts. So to prove "nuts" is false and harmful would be pretty much impossible. That won't stop a lawsuit, but it should prevent a win.

    I think it's shady to call a congressperson other than the one for your district "yours"... but all else being equal, I don't think it's a crime.

    He isn't "my representative" but he is definitely in "my Congress." Whether he's "my Congressman" is something that I think could be argued, and I think is less deceptive than the average action of the average politician...
  • by prgrmr (568806) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:32PM (#30528488) Journal
    it looks to me that he actually has a valid complaint, however minor that complaint might be.

    Only if you buy into his premise that the name of the PAC is the sole criteria that defines the PACs scope and purpose, and it's not. As for the rest, all she has to do is give money to more than one candidate and she's off the hook. The fact that she's not raised a ton of money is an unavoidable practical defense on her part with regard to that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:34PM (#30528520)

    I typically vote for Democrats rather than Republicans because they don't do the same hyperbolic bullshit, or at least don't do it nearly as often. If they're going to start pulling this crap, then I'll henceforth start filing "voting for a Democrat" in the same category as "voting for Sarah Palin".

    Democrats are every bit as emotional and idiotic as Republicans. They constantly run adds "about the children", they constantly talk about "fascism" and "nazis", they constantly try to limit free speech when it is for the common good or involves things they don't agree with (e.g. hate speech). Don't get me wrong the GOP is certainly no better but the days of rational debate on either side is long gone, neither party holds to the principles of individual freedom and equal treatment, and emotion is all any of them go after. And the reason is it works on way too many people who can't be bothered to educate themselves.

    Now if you want to compare who does more of it I would suggest we look over time at who is the majority and who is the minority party. I'm guessing you'll find that the minority is nearly always the more hysterical and emotional of the two as they're trying to break the status quo and it requires more energy to get people to go out and change things.

    Oh and this guy is an idiot...way to teach me your name Mr. Grayson and way to show me how little you actually value the basic principles of this country. Regardless of the letter of the law regarding PACs (and I have no idea what it is) the fact that you want to put a critic in jail shows me that you're not suited to represent anyone in a country that supposedly values free speech and criticism of its rulers. Given the chance I will gladly vote against this guy in any future elections.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:39PM (#30528582)

    Nice institutional racism.

    http://www.nbra.info
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_Republicans

    Dems are the biggest racists on the planet. Keep people dependent on you forever.

    Teach a man to fish and eats for a lifetime, Give a man a fish every day and you have a voter for life.

  • by TheRealRainFall (1464687) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:45PM (#30528664)
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860) "Concision means you have to be able to say things between two commercials. Now that’s a structural property of our media—a very important structural property which imposes conformism in a very deep way, because if you have to meet the condition of concision, you can only either repeat conventional platitudes or else sound like you are from Neptune That is, if you say anything that’s not conventional, it’s going to sound very strange." -- Noam Chomsky
  • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klaun (236494) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:51PM (#30528738)

    According to the article, the blogger criticized the congressman for his "childish approach" towards governing.

    Of course that's the rub. The article and the Slashdot summary misrepresent the complaint that is in the letter. It is actually about the Political Committee the woman organized to raise funds to support election campaigns. And while she is referred to here as a blogger, she was a former employee of the Republican National Committee. One of the things Congressman Grayson points out in his letter is that it seems a bit disingenuous of her to claim to just be a "private citizen" unconnected with any other political organization when she formerly worked for the RNC.

    Further, the fraud he accuses her of is related to raising money for supporting a candidate in an election. Her claim to be his constituent is criminal, not because she is criticizing him, but because she is using it to raise money for an election campaign. At least that is what the congressman is asserting. Further, despite what the summary indicates, it is not his only or even his chief complaint. Rather the chief complaint is that she claims that her organization is a PAC (and raises money for multiple candidates in several campaigns) but in fact appears to only be concerned about one campaign. This would effect who could donate to her committee and how much. It is certainly not a trivial accusation, and there are really laws that govern how much money you can contribute to politicians and political committees.

    Whether Congressman Grayson's accusations have merit or it is all a ruse to silence a vociferous critic, I can't say. But I'm very leery of anyone who starts down the path of criticizing someones actions by first misrepresenting what they were. (Why didn't the submitter include a link to the letter [foxnews.com] [primary source] as opposed to, or at least in addition to, a rather opinionated report on it?)

  • by chris mazuc (8017) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:57PM (#30528846)

    Did you even bother to read the complaint?

    From the complaint: Moreover, in the Fox 35 interview, when the interviewer said "so your goal is to unseat him [meaning Grayson]" Ms. Langley's response was "absolutely, that is our entire goal"

    If you can provide reference to one single instance of that PAC promoting any candidate instead of tearing down Grayson (which is easy to do, the guy is a moron) I will concede your point. But as of right now, Mycongressmanisnuts.com promotes no candidate. Besides, what politician would want to be affiliated with Mycongressmanisnuts.com? Someone not familiar with the controversy would definitely get the wrong idea.

    As for the rest, all she has to do is give money to more than one candidate and she's off the hook.

    Somehow I doubt that. The FEC sent them a letter requesting clarification [nictusa.com]. You would think that if they were going to change things, the would have done it by the deadline on that letter, which is the 17th.

    The fact that she's not raised a ton of money is an unavoidable practical defense on her part with regard to that.

    I fail to see how that applies to misrepresenting the purpose of the PAC.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:06PM (#30528970)

    Yeah, because Media Matters is a bastion of impartiality who never take anything out of context and never blow anything out or proportion.

  • I think it's valid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CranberryKing (776846) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:11PM (#30529088)
    And whether or not you agree with the method, Grayson's position on issues (unrelated in this context), or whatever, this shouldn't have been tagged as censorship. They could have said 'that' senator is nuts.

    Separately, I think the Constitution should have a provision that states that no one in Congress (or any federal position for that matter) should have any legal recourse against anything stated about them other than their own explanation or response. A person whom voluntarily steps into public service, should not only NOT have a MORE privileged status than the common citizenry, they should have a LESS privileged status.

    However currently, there are no such laws.

  • by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:19PM (#30529204)

    That might work, or we might end up with a Congress full of people like Joe Lieberman. I wouldn't want that.

    In fact, I haven't looked very closely, but can you say for sure that independent politicians are "better" by some metric than partisan ones?

  • by jkauzlar (596349) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:20PM (#30529216) Homepage
    Shouldn't the title of this article be "Florida woman attempts to fraudulently raise campaign funding"?
  • by uncqual (836337) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:22PM (#30529248)

    no benefits for people who don't need them

    Ah, that would be called "welfare". We already have that program so we can just wind SS down (contributions stop today, everyone gets benefits based on creditable quarters to date).

    Making SS highly "needs based" (it is somewhat today in the sense that some SS benefits become taxable if you have enough other income) will cause support for it to drop quickly. It's pretty hard to justify taking 12.4% of a person's salary through their entire working career just for a welfare program which they will likely see no benefit from. It also discourages people from saving for their own retirement -- "Let's see, I can save this $2K into my retirement nest egg and end up getting less SS because I have income from that $2K or I can buy that neat big screen TV and keep my SS payments up -- hmm... let me think about this one - Not."

  • by cheshiremoe (1448979) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:25PM (#30529292)
    Anonymous Coward does not live in his district either.

    I have as a semi fix for campaign finance by corporations/special interests: No funding sources from outside of the applicable district. So if you live outside of Mr. Grayson's District then you can't contribute to his or his opponents campaign and only companies that are headquartered there could contribute either.
  • by uncqual (836337) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:31PM (#30529362)
    Too bad you don't want to...

    But I wish you'd tell us who you are so I can sell you stuff you don't need at inflated prices and you won't care.

    Do you eschew markets when you buy or sell things (used cars, new cars, houses, your labor etc...). Do you willingly sell well below "market" price or refuse to accept "market" price (meaning you never find a buyer)?

    Why do people reject markets - are they scared of them and trust politicians and the electorate to treat them more nicely? If you're 60 or 70 years old, maybe you can get away with that as you will probably die before the SS system collapses under its own weight (coupled with a general permanent decline in the US economy now that we have exited the "Century of America" and move into the "Century of Asia"). If you're 30 or below, the older folks will "own" your paycheck by their voting power through much of your career - get used to it.
  • It's hard to justify already. I'm 28, so I will reach todays retirement age in 39 years, which assumes it isn't raised before I get to 67.

    According to a recent GAO study, SS will be insolvent before I reach that age. In effect, I'm already paying tax into a program I will receive zero benefit from. My tax dollars are support YESTERDAYs retirees. It's a ponzi scheme. Always has been. You need massive inflation growth or people to die much faster to keep it solvent.

    Let me invest that tax money the way I see fit in my 401k and I guarantee you I will do better than the SS program will do for me.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:09PM (#30529876) Journal

    Ban political parties

    As much as I may agree with George Washington's sentiment on the issue, I do presume you've heard of the 1st amendment, right?

  • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:18PM (#30529986)

    Rhetoric was his entire campaign. . . It's not because people knew or particularly cared about his policy plans. In fact, now that he's in office with huge Democratic majorities, people seem to be genuinely baffled at the "change" they voted for. They thought "change" meant "a pretty new face."

    He had more the Rhetoric. He ran on changes that he would make (Pulling us out of Iraq, Focusing more on Al Qaeda & Afghanistan, Overhauling the Healthcare system, etc.). The problem is, Change sounds fine and dandy, until it starts to happen and everyone wants it done a different way.

  • Faux News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:31PM (#30530154) Homepage

    Notice that the story, complete with the completely false, yellow journalism, headline, is only being run by Fox News. I saw the story on Google News earlier, and wanted to read the actual facts. However, so far no reputable news organization has bothered to report it. Something to keep in mind.

    What seems to be the actual story is that the Congressman sent a rather routine notice to the FEC about a likely violation of PAC status and election law. All the "trying to send to prison" bit is just a deceptive way of saying that, well yes, laws do have legal force (including ultimately penalties).

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:45PM (#30530338)

    The linked article is by Fox News, the media arm of the Republican party. That alone should make you question every word of the article.

    If you don't question every word of every article, why bother to read them at all? Just because Fox News is decidedly Neo-Con, doesn't mean that every other news outlet is automatically trustworthy. Everyone who's ever used print to communicate has 'intentionally deceived their readers' by some definition or another. Your brain is supposed to be in the 'on' position when you deal with important topics. Personally I have found that most people are smarter than you seem to be giving them credit for...

    ...unless you're using this sense of outrage against their accuracy to silence them for political reasons. If that's the case, carry on. You're entitled to your political opinion.

  • by uncqual (836337) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:52PM (#30530446)
    "Banks" are regulated and the amount of money thay can "create" is limited, in part, by government mandated reserve requirements. And, yes, we do know this.

    Indeed, the government can just "print" money to pay for social welfare programs. However, the result is a highly regressive "tax" in the form of inflation (it hits everything, including necessities such as food and transportation). Such inflation causes interest rates to climb -- and makes it even harder for people who really need loans (to buy a used car so they can get to work for example) to get them. The interest rate increase also means that the cost of servicing the US debt would go up - in a vicious cycle... Hyper inflation is a really bad thing which wipes out people's nest eggs -- resulting in more people needing more benefits, resulting in "printing" more money, resulting in more inflation and higher interest rates, resulting in .... well you get the idea.

    Unfortunately, the United States has decayed into a culture of lazy, undeserved, luxury in the past 75 years or so -- now it's up to the next couple of generations to pay for it and fix it. It won't be pretty, maybe after India and China have standards of living as high as the US (which will might be in the next 100 years as the US standard of living declines and the standard of living in China and India improves), the US can try again for first world status.
  • blah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:57PM (#30530502)

    I really do respect Rep. Grayson however I do believe he is wrong on this one. He should back down.

  • by black88 (559855) <passonno&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:03PM (#30530556) Journal

    Actually, it is true, and the fact that you are clinging to childish dualities, left/right, them/us, good/evil, and refuse to see the Democrats are just as corrupt and stupid as the Republicans tells me that the we're fucking doomed.

    And that you are either blind, stupid, or willfully ignorant of this fact.

  • by scot4875 (542869) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:05PM (#30530580) Homepage

    Yep. I mean, something like comparing opposition to a bill to being in favor of slavery. A Democrat would NEVER do something like that.

    It's called an analogy, and the analogy was that the conservative forces in the US have historically opposed many things that, in hindsight, turned out to be good. (IIRC, it was actually the democratic party that opposed banning slavery, with democrats being the "conservatives" of the time and the republicans being the agents of change)

    How is it that the entire conservative base seems to have so much trouble understanding analogies? Are you one of those morons that also thought that "lipstick on a pig" was insinuating that Palin was the pig?

    --Jeremy

  • by pHus10n (1443071) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:15PM (#30530700)
    You assume the people that voted for him were idiots. I take offense; I voted for Pres. Obama specifically because of his policy suggestions. If you disagree with those policies, fine --- but don't try to lump everyone together and say we're blind. *I* am not.
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:41PM (#30530948) Homepage Journal

    Healthcare needs massive government intervention. Way beyond what either party is proposing. In theory a free market would remove these types of inefficiencies, but healthcare is the least free market I can think of. It's heavily regulated.

    How does this make sense? You're right that heavy regulation and excessive government intervention has all but eliminated free market pressures from keeping prices in check. But how, then, do you come to the conclusion that the solution is ... more government intervention?

  • by liquibyte (1151139) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:46PM (#30530996)
    I too would like to apologize to all the dead people. I am sorry that I let democrats take away your right to defend yourself and kill you by depriving you of your second amendment rights, and your dignity just because your state representatives happened to be democrats. I am so sorry that so many policepersons stood by while democrats cozied up to hysterical soccer mommies, allowing them to send your rights into the null and void of irrelevancy, and helping them kill you. I'm sorry that democrats are such nice and cozy people, and that we've allowed them to destroy our country due to a need to control the populace so that they themselves don't have to die when accountability comes due. It's about time that more peple started saying things like this. It's our nation, and our world. On the line here. I know I'm neg-karma but ideology doesn't help in a police state. Congratulations America, apathy is our new anthem.
  • by liquibyte (1151139) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:56PM (#30531508)
    Son, if anyone in his right mind thinks that voters did "not come out of the woodwork" because he was even perceived to be a little bit black, anyone would be deluded. The only change that was promised was "it ain't whitey". God Damn I hate every one of you for thinking otherwise. When did this stop being a country of ideology and start being a country of nascent race. No white man would have ever been able to pull off the level of bullshit this man didn. You know it, I know it. They don't know it. Sotomayor anyone? Say goodbye to your civil rights all in the name of the good cause.
  • by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:47PM (#30531806) Homepage

    Every indication is that SS is going to be completely dried up well before you or I reach retirement age. A very low-risk 401(k) is almost certainly going to do better than 0, and in the long run, most of the higher-risk investments will probably do so as well. No guarantees, but that's life. As it stands now, paying into social security is quite literally as effective as flushing your money down the toilet. Hell, even savings bonds are a better investment - and they won't even match inflation.

    I happen to be going down a MUCH higher risk/reward route (probably 2-3 orders of magnitude more than even the riskiest 401k), but I've got plenty of time to deal with it if things don't work out. And I'll know the results within five years, which is all the better if it takes a turn for the worse since I'll still have a good 40 years to figure it out.

    Granted, most people would treat the "extra" income that they'd have if they didn't have to pay into SS as just that - extra income. Suffice to say, it probably wouldn't go towards a retirement fund. But you're still better off putting that money towards a new TV than dumping it into a black hole.

  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:47PM (#30531812)

    Democrats get us through the recessions but then don't put that money into paying off deficits instead increase spending even more.

    Actually, when we had those nice surpluses under Clinton, he and Gore were saying we should use the surpluses to start paying down the national debt. It was the Congressional Republicans who torpedoed that idea.

  • by BoberFett (127537) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:21PM (#30531950)

    People are certainly free to create parties, but there is no reason they need to be officially recognized by the government. Why should parties be listed on an official ballot so that idiots can easily vote straight ticket? If you aren't informed enough to know the name of the person you want to vote for, you aren't informed enough to vote.

    Can you imagine if every name wasn't followed by (R) or (D)? People might actually have to listen and learn rather than just wait for the right letter to appear before knowing whether to boo or cheer!

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:28PM (#30532262)

    Dems are the biggest racists on the planet. Keep people dependent on you forever.

    I find it cute that this opinion is consistently voiced by people who are well beyond middle-class in status, or who chose to disregard the many ways in which they receive support from others.

    It's a nice cop-out, and makes it impossible to have a rational discussion about the matter. After all, anyone who supports any type of social services clearly just wants to keep the black man (and woman) in poverty. /sarcasm

  • by Zordak (123132) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:32PM (#30532600) Homepage Journal
    I never said he didn't have policy. In fact, he was quite clear about what his proposed policy was. It's why I didn't vote for him, despite his awesome rhetorical powers. But you and I are not the people he was campaigning to. You and I were already sold one way or another. There was nothing he could do to win my vote short of changing his policy, and there was nothing he could do to lose your vote short of changing his policy. He was campaigning for people in places like Virginia, Iowa, and Colorado---folks who were used to voting Republican but who were tired of all the Republicans' shenanigans. That's where the rhetoric came in. The Republicans had made asses of themselves (take that remark any way you please), and Obama was Different. So they voted for him. But now that he's aggressively doing all the stuff he plainly said he was going to do, suddenly his approval rating is plummeting, like people are surprised at what he's doing. To quote Agent Kay, "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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