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Oregon Senator Stops Internet Censorship Bill 315

Posted by timothy
from the west-coast-style dept.
comforteagle writes "Senator Wyden of Oregon has objected to a bill in committee that if passed would have given the government the ability to censor the Internet. His objection effectively stop its current passing, forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is to continue — which it may not. Oregonians, please send this man pats on the back."
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Oregon Senator Stops Internet Censorship Bill

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  • by kaptink (699820) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:40AM (#34291640) Homepage

    The free world thanks you Senator Wyden of Oregon. Senator Stephen Conroy of Australia, take note.

    • I live in New York and plan on sending a letter of thanks to Sen. Wyden (even if I'm not convinced of his reasons for stopping this, it still desperately needed to be stopped) as well as letters to my own Senators. Will it do anything? No, of course not. Will it have an impact if many of us do? Probably not, but it's certainly worth a few minutes of each of our time to at least try.

      The decline into an Orwellian state has been slowed down, at least a little.

  • Anbody want to (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Compaqt (1758360) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:40AM (#34291648) Homepage

    trash talk the filibuster [wikipedia.org] now?

    • Re:Anbody want to (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sprouticus (1503545) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:44AM (#34291664)

      "George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to "cool" House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea. "

      http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Created.htm [senate.gov]

      • Re:Anbody want to (Score:5, Interesting)

        by causality (777677) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:11PM (#34291830)

        "George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to "cool" House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea. "

        http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Created.htm [senate.gov]

        Yes, but remember that originally the House was elected by popular vote while the Senators were appointed by the legislatures of their respective states. The "cooling" effect had a lot to do with being unconcerned with things like winning campaigns, ensuring that campaign contributions keep flowing, popular trends, and knee-jerk emotional issues (like fear-based security theater). Senators had more of a free hand to do what they personally believed should be done, compared to representatives in the House who always had to wet their finger to see which way the wind was blowing.

        That purpose is largely defeated by having the senators elected by popular vote. Now they have to represent their campaign donors and supporters more than they represent their states, same as the House.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cwix (1671282)

          That is the first time Ive seen anyone ever explain that. Thanks, I think anything that removes political contributions to elected officials is a good thing.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by falconwolf (725481)

            I think anything that removes political contributions to elected officials is a good thing.

            So you don't believe in the freedom of speech? Because that is what barring contributions is, silencing speech. As a low income individual I don't enjoy as many ways to spread my speech as others but if I can join others who feel or think the same then we can all contribute pooling our resources to get our message out.

            Falcon

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              It's bribery, patrone. Please remember that as a self-described low-income individual you and any coalition will never be able to overcome the campaign contributions made by high-income individuals, coalitions, and organizations. Influencing your elected representatives should be a simple matter of writing a letter and nothing else.
              • by Teancum (67324)

                Having even been a politician running for office, I can't think of any way that campaign contribution != bribe.

                It really is the same thing. I would love to learn how to run a political campaign without either stealing taxpayer money (aka "publicly financed elections") or straight out bribery.

                On the positive side, most small time elections end up costing so much to run a campaign that the contributions to help run the campaign are incidental and most of it comes out of your own pocket. Then again, that ens

                • I can't think of any way that campaign contribution != bribe.

                  You then need to learn the definition of "bribe". That definition [onelook.com] is "to give money or presents to someone so that they will help you by doing something dishonest or illegal".

                  Falcon

                  • by Woodmeister (7487)
                    "to give money or presents to someone so that they will help you by doing something dishonest or illegal"

                    Oh. Such as either voting for what the people of the state believe or truly need, instead of bending over backwards for the major campaign contributors, screwing the people of the state over?

              • It's bribery (Score:3, Insightful)

                by falconwolf (725481)

                It is not bribery when one person helps another person get elected. And yes, a pool of low income individuals can help a candidate get elected. Obama was elected relying on many small donations.

                Influencing your elected representatives should be a simple matter of writing a letter and nothing else.

                And if they do a good job helping them get reelected. But if they don't then help get someone else elected instead of them, even if that someone else is "none of the above".

                Falcon

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Cwix (1671282)

              Money is not free speech as far as I'm concerned. I think that no one person/organization/corporation should not be allowed to give more then 50 dollars to a politician, and no more then 300 a year total.

              It would be even better if there was public financing for all politicians.

              How come you believe that I should have to give money to get my voice heard. Why should I bribe my politician?

              It turns the measure of my voice into the amount of money I have. Which means that corporations have a much louder voic

        • by Reziac (43301) * on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:24PM (#34291904) Homepage Journal

          The bigger question is, how the hell do we get rid of the elected-senator system and go back to how it was before?? I can't see much chance of repealing the relevant Amendment. You'd hear all manner of propaganda wailing about how those evil pro-appointed-senator freaks wanted to take away your right to vote and to thereby "control" the gov't.

          Remember too that the Founders *designed* the system to promote gridlock, under the excellent and well-demonstrated theory that gov't rushing into ANY action was a Bad Thing. Having the entire system dependent on campaign strategies and contributions defeats that all by itself (everything is pulling in the same basic direction: getting re-elected).

          • by hedwards (940851)
            The answer is a constitutional amendment that changes it back. Personally I don't want it to go completely back, I'd like to see the constitution changed to allow each state to decide whether to have the Senators appointed by the house delegation from the state or elected via popular vote.

            For states such as CA, TX or NY et al., it would make it a lot harder to buy Senators, but in cases of states like Wyoming it's actually harder to buy a Senator now than it was prior to the 17th amendment being enacted.
            • by fyngyrz (762201)

              The answer is a constitutional amendment that changes it back.

              Yeah, first you have to get them to pay attention to the constitution, though.

            • by Teancum (67324)

              In theory, the U.S. Senate was seen as a sort of continuation of the Continental Congress, where it was a meeting of the states and the House was a meeting of "the people". In that sense, having senators as representatives of the state legislature made a whole lot of sense. In that situation, I think it might be a good idea to go back to that original system.

              The problem is that as a matter of practice it really didn't end up as a contest within the state legislatures (even if it there always a formal vote

          • by fyngyrz (762201)

            Remember too that the Founders *designed* the system to promote gridlock, under the excellent and well-demonstrated theory that gov't rushing into ANY action was a Bad Thing.

            Yeah... but also remember that one of the first things done was an usurpation of power, an end-run around article V, in the first congress - the authorization of border searches outside the bounds of the enumerated powers (and just a few years later, also in violation of the 4th amendment.)

            The problem with the constitution is (a)

            • by Reziac (43301) *

              The lack of enforceability and teeth is indeed a problem, perhaps THE problem, unless you define a violation as treason. I'm not sure that's a bad solution, actually.

              • by ultranova (717540)

                The lack of enforceability and teeth is indeed a problem, perhaps THE problem, unless you define a violation as treason. I'm not sure that's a bad solution, actually.

                It is, for two reasons:

                1) It won't solve the problem. Who's going to prosecute those who violate the Constitution - you?

                2) It makes the definition of "treason" somewhat arbitrary. We've already seen that Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is; do you really want treason to be whatever the Supreme Court says it is?

                I'm of the opin

                • by Reziac (43301) *

                  Well, there is that, but ordinary courts can be a great deal more arbitrary and capricious than SCOTUS. So that's not really a good solution either.

                  But what I had in mind was that Congress passing a law that isn't directly founded in the Constitution could be defined as treasonous (ie. as working against the country's best interests) and that incontrovertable support for such laws (ie. voting for same) might be sufficient as evidence.

                  Yeah, that's a broad brush, but I think one of the issues we're seeing is

          • The bigger question is, how the hell do we get rid of the elected-senator system and go back to how it was before??

            No, the bigger question is: "How do we get people to read history books?", so they understand why the old system was worse than what we have today. Democracy is not perfect, but if you really think that eliminating it is a good idea, you are an idiot. Please name a single country without an elected legislature where the citizens have greater rights than Americans.

            • by Reziac (43301) *

              Balancing democracy with something to prevent mob rule, which is pretty much what we've come to today, is hardly "eliminating" it. If you think pure unfettered democracy is itself such a good idea, you need to find yourself, as the old saw goes, in the position of the sheep when it and 3 wolves are voting on what's for dinner.

          • We can't really go back to the Founders' patrician system because "duty" has become completely meaningless to the moneyed/political class. Term limits are a better solution for moderating such morally and intellectually weak material.
            • by Reziac (43301) *

              Term limits haven't been such a great success either. In California, they've led not to a betterment of the system, but rather to a great deal more gaming of the electorate.

              And I'd daresay the average moneyed class member has a better grasp of duty than does the average dole-collector. But we have about 2% moneyed class and 40% dole collectors, so given that all their votes count equally, guess who's really in charge.

          • gridlock (Score:2, Troll)

            by falconwolf (725481)

            Having the entire system dependent on campaign strategies and contributions defeats that all by itself (everything is pulling in the same basic direction: getting re-elected).

            If you believe gridlock is good, and I agree it is, then with the new congress next year we may have gridlock, see how Republicans gained control of the House? Now how did they do that? By those campaign strategies and contributions you deplore.

            Falcon

            • by Reziac (43301) *

              And the whole damned system is a mess, on both sides of the aisle -- so yeah, I want BOTH sides out of the contribution/re-election treadmill.

              Returning to a part-time Congress might help, too. Who said "politician" was supposed to be a career choice??

              [Sorry someone modded you troll; it's a good point. Almost everyone in D.C. is guilty on these counts. Unfortunately, in today's political world you don't really have a choice.]

        • Yes, but remember that originally the House was elected by popular vote while the Senators were appointed by the legislatures of their respective states. The "cooling" effect had a lot to do with being unconcerned with things like winning campaigns, ensuring that campaign contributions keep flowing, popular trends, and knee-jerk emotional issues (like fear-based security theater). Senators had more of a free hand to do what they personally believed should be done, compared to representatives in the House wh

          • by decoy256 (1335427)

            I appreciate your out-of-the-box thinking, but your specific suggestion for changing the way the president and vice-president are elected is problematic at best. This would lead to horrendously confusing presidential elections. For crying out loud... we have problems choosing ONE president... now you want us to rank among numerous candidates? You'll have situations where one candidate will get the majority of "5"s, but another will get more "4"s and when all the numbers are tabulated, the guy with more 4s w

            • we have problems choosing ONE president

              Nothing changes, only one person will be president. And second place is the VP.

              You'll have situations where one candidate will get the majority of "5"s, but another will get more "4"s and when all the numbers are tabulated, the guy with more 4s wins.

              Citation needed.

              I say we keep the electoral college

              The electoral college is not needed. The only reason it was created is because most Founding Fathers didn't think the average person was educated enough to make an inform

          • Great Idea. Also, ban all the people who don't understand the system after it is being explained to them for 5 minutes and you will have best electoral system ever.

        • No, that purpose was entirely defeated by endemic corruption in the selection of Senators by state legislatures: buying off 50 to 100 part-time local legislators is actually far cheaper and easier than buying off 50%+1 of the voting public. Direct election of Senators was a necessary solution to a problem the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate.

          For a modern example of how things would work, but perhaps with more hair than normal, just Google 'Blagoviech.' [google.com]
        • That purpose is largely defeated by having the senators elected by popular vote. Now they have to represent their campaign donors and supporters more than they represent their states, same as the House.

          That said, the primary reasons the 17th Amendment passed, which mandated election of senators by popular vote, were repeated bribery scandals and deadlocked state legislatures, causing some states to go years without one of their senators. Even before the 17th Amendment, some states used referenda to direct the legislatures as to who should be seated in the Senate, so some senators who were ostensibly chosen by the state legislatures were actually elected by popular vote.

          At any rate, my point not that you a

    • One good use among the thousands of abuses is not enough justification to allow it continue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The fillibuster is an essential mechanism in Congress to keep the government gridlocked. That's a much better scenario than a government that's free to do as it pleases.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hedwards (940851)
          But, the congress isn't free to do as it pleases, the President can veto anything he wants, and the courts can set aside things as unconstitutional. It's only in recent times that the filibuster has become such a significant factor in the legislative process, and I doubt very much that using it to prevent much needed healthcare reform is really what it was intended for.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lgw (121541)

            Using the fillibuster to prevent veyr much unneeded nationalization of our healthcare system by a bill that no one even bothered to read before voting on it was exactly what it was for. Sadly, it didn't happen. The Senate was supposed to allow cooler heads to prevail - to slow down the process enough to at least read a bill before voting on it (the healthcare bill accidentally removed all medical insurance for congress and their staffers unti 2014, which is about a clear as it can be that no on read it).

    • by kramer (19951)

      trash talk the filibuster [wikipedia.org] now?

      Except it wasn't a filibuster, or even close. It was killed in committee.

    • This wasn't a filibuster. This was a committee member filing an objection in such a way that it will require the committee to bring it up again.

      Which they very well might. It was mostly the timing (at the end of a congressional session,) that made the objection "fatal" to the bill.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:44AM (#34291662)
    This commendable Senator took care of the first half of the problem. The second half of the problem is more institutional in nature. It grants one hell of an advantage to those who view various forms of freedom as an inconvenient hinderence to their goals.

    All oppressive laws have this in common: those who push for them view a defeat like this as merely a delay or minor setback. They can keep trying to get them passed, over and over, through defeat after defeat, until finally they find a Congress more willing to be swayed by their arguments. They understand that once they get the law passed, it will stay on the books forever and will never be repealed. Agencies, bureaucracies and contractors will form around it and give it even more inertia. After a generation or two people will grow up knowing no other status quo.

    What's a good, simple, robust solution to that?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Burning it all to the ground?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's a good, simple, robust solution to that?

      Revolution.

      • second that. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:03PM (#34291784) Homepage Journal
        it took a revolution in 1774, and then another in 1789, and then a few more others in 1848s to establish the fundamentals of the modern liberties and freedoms, and all human rights we take granted now. apparently, we need a few more in order to get one step further.
        • by Cruciform (42896)

          And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

          • by fyngyrz (762201)

            And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

            Hasn't worked in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, and it won't work here, either. Furthermore, in those countries, they weren't destroying their own lines of supply and alienating their own countrymen. I don't think the military would be all that willing to act decisively against the US population.

            I also don't think violent revolution is a good answer. Just that if it happened, the military

            • by Ironchew (1069966)

              And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

              Hasn't worked in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, and it won't work here, either.

              If I recall correctly, none of those countries have strategic weapons (read: nuclear). If the entire country revolts against the government, the military will be deployed. This will cause many soldiers to defect, as others have discussed, but the higher-ups will use nuclear weapons against us and they will win, no matter the cost. Violent revolution is not an option.

          • Re:second that. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @01:44PM (#34292342)

            And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

            Revolution does not necessarily mean "violent uprising." Which is good, because it seems to me that the people most likely to take arms up against their government right now would be MORE in favor of censorship and less personal rights.

            Hell, the RIAA and MPAA might decide to sponsor the armed revolution through Fox news.

          • by ultranova (717540)

            And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

            Whereas the citizens aspiring for freedom will utilize the guillotine.

            Meanwhile, the rest of us will simply use various forms of encryption and steganoragphy and escape your notion. We already are [freenetproject.org], as it happens.

            Basically, fuck you. Fuck your master. Fuck anyone who claims control over anything for any reason. I'm already a part of the global community, and will only care about my own country (

          • And all of those cool military gadgets we ooh and ahh over will be deployed against citizens aspiring for freedom.

            Like so many others, you're making the same mistake believing the US military will fight against it's own citizens. It didn't work for the Chinese [nytimes.com] during the Tiananmen Square protests and it won't in the US. See the party bosses in Beijing feared local army units would join with the protesters if ordered to fire on them and fight against other army units. There were even reports of some army [gwu.edu]

    • Nuke it from orbit?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "After a generation or two people will grow up knowing no other status quo." - Exactly. I have seen that happen in my own lifetime, on multiple fronts, and I am only 52.

      Sooner or later, we end up where Mr. Orwell predicted. It's only a matter of when.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Some sort of national initiative/referendum process, perhaps? Many states have it, and while imperfect in its own ways, it does tend to keep in check the worst abuses. Of course, sometimes people pass spectacularly popular but spectacularly stupid laws, too.

      But the main thing to that is to get corporate cash the hell out of politics. Amend the Constitution to specify that corporations are not "persons" with the same rights as real people, including the right to participation in the political process. Then s

      • by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:28PM (#34291914) Homepage Journal
        There's only one problem with this approach: the media companies. You see, they get to talk right up until the end. They get to say whatever they want. And if they don't like you, you're toast. (To take some older examples, think of Dukakis or Quayle.)

        So now you're telling people that they can't say what they want, with their own money, unless they happen to own a newspaper, or a TV or radio station. Do you really think that will bring us a better political class?

        If you want the money out of politics, you have to take the politics out of money. Quite a few libertarians have been advocating this for a long time. Otherwise, the money will always be there, and all you're doing is ignoring the First Amendment in order to try to score political points.
        • I'm not sure how prohibiting bribery is a violation of "free speech". I can't legally bribe a cop, a judge, a building inspector, hell, the dogcatcher. I can't do that in cash, and I can't do it "in kind"-paying for things on their behalf or that benefit them even if I never directly give them the cash.

          If it's not a violation of free speech to say you can't directly or indirectly bribe those officials, it's not a violation to say you can't directly or indirectly bribe others. I can still speak on their beha

          • by the gnat (153162)

            Nor can I use my newspaper or TV company to stump for them, any more than a newspaper could give free classifieds for a year to the local fire marshal in exchange for, or hopes of, "forgetting" the fire inspection. That's not free speech. It's bribery.

            Bullshit. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for

          • If it's not a violation of free speech to say you can't directly or indirectly bribe those officials

            No but it is a violation to stop a person from exercising their speech, and that includes paying for it. On the other hand corporations shouldn't have the same rights and shouldn't be allowed to donate to any political campaigns. Neither should unions or trade groups.

            Falcon

        • by PPH (736903)

          So now you're telling people that they can't say what they want, with their own money, unless they happen to own a newspaper, or a TV or radio station. Do you really think that will bring us a better political class?

          What are these things called newspapers, radio and TV stations of which you speak?

    • by Reziac (43301) * on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:15PM (#34291862) Homepage Journal

      Solution? A requirement that all laws have a sunset provision, to include all agencies and regulations promulgated by said law.

      Of course, some Congressional genius would then pass a law that would sunset the sunset law.

    • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:19PM (#34291874) Homepage

      Pass a constitutional amendment that strips Congress of civil immunity for their unconstitutional laws. Let them get sued for lost wages, profits, trebble damages and emotional distress and suddenly we'll have 535 originalist legal scholars.

    • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:54PM (#34292052) Journal

      Well me and a number of other people would like a Constitutional Amendment requiring all future laws in the US code to have a sunset date. Congress would have to than re debate every law periodically to determine if it should be renewed. There are varying opinions about how far out the maximum sunset can be. I personally think 30 years makes sense, that is four senate terms plus one to cover the other thirds not up for election at the end of term 1. This way most of the original people who debate the law will be gone from the senate, and folks with a fresh perspective would be able to consider it on its merits. Also having to take an issue up once every thirty years should not be two burdensome. The vast majority of expiring codes probably won't be controversial at all and could get taken care of with a quick up or down direct to floor vote in the first days of each congressional session.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:51AM (#34291704)

    Dude, I appreciate that you may want the pageviews, but consider linking to the source next time. It's how it's done in the Big Leagues.

  • Huh (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:51AM (#34291706) Journal

    His objection effectively stop its current passing forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is continue.

    English, please?

    • Instead of rubber stamping it, it has to be brought up again (With far more people paying attention, making it more likely that protests will have effect).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)

      His objection effectively stop its current passing forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is continue.

      English, please?

      His objection effectively stop it's current passing forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is continue.

      • by fyngyrz (762201)

        Nope:

        His objection effectively stops its current passing, forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is to continue.

  • yay common sense! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695)

    Give this guy a cookie, and re-elect him please.

  • ... it might be nice if the government had the ability to copy-edit the Internet, or at least slashdot story summaries...

  • by Covalent (1001277) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:14PM (#34291854)
    Do the editor stop check for subject verb agreement? Me am curious.
  • I commend you sir! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalPhant0m (1424687) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:16PM (#34291866)

    I usually sway to the Red, however I must say that this Senator has earned my respect by standing up for what do you call it? You know, that thing this country was supposedly built upon and champions, oh yeah Freedom!

    Thank you!

  • by fyrie (604735) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:27PM (#34291908)

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101118/10291211924/the-19-senators-who-voted-to-censor-the-internet.shtml [techdirt.com]

            * Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
            * Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
            * Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
            * Dianne Feinstein -- California
            * Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
            * Russ Feingold -- Wisconsin
            * Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
            * Arlen Specter -- Pennsylvania
            * Jon Kyl -- Arizona
            * Chuck Schumer -- New York
            * Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
            * Dick Durbin -- Illinois
            * John Cornyn -- Texas
            * Benjamin L. Cardin -- Maryland
            * Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
            * Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
            * Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
            * Al Franken -- Minnesota
            * Chris Coons -- Delaware

  • by going to http://wyden.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm [senate.gov]. Send the Senator a letter saying thank you.

  • by mr_death (106532)
    ... a Senator with a clue and some balls. What a rare combination these days.

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