L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 75, June 5, 2000
Speech on Internet to be Subject to Whims of ISPs
This morning I sent out the following Press Release to over 1100 media outlets in the USA and English speaking world. I did this because what MindSpring is attempting to do deserves the attention of every person on the planet. If MindSpring is allowed to set the precedent they are trying to set, the Internet will become the private communication medium of those committed to overthrowing the knowledge of God on earth.
Read the press release: I think you will see my point. If you want to let MindSpring know what you think, which is always an excellent idea when what you think is the truth, you can contact them at the following points of entry:
Office: (404) 815-0770 or (800) 719-4664
The Press Release follows:
On February 4, 2000, MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. merged with Earthlink becoming the 2nd largest Internet Service Provider in the world. In one of their first moves as a new company, they claimed the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment to the US Constitution give them the right to shut down web sites they have contracted to host, and -- here is the real news item -- MindSpring claims this right regardless of the terms of the contracts they have with their customers.
This startling, unprecedented claim came as MindSpring's attorneys filed briefs in Superior Court in Gwinnett County, Georgia in Civil Action No. 99A-9543-4, Horsley v. MindSpring Enterprises, Inc.
The lawsuit began because MindSpring shut down the anti-abortion Internet web site called www.christiangalley.com and The Nuremberg Files it contained. At the time the website was shutdown, MindSpring and the site's owner and creator Neal Horsley of Carrollton, Georgia were in a contractual relationship, the terms of which are in dispute in the lawsuit.
The claims that, if true, will reform the Internet were contained in a brief MindSpring attorneys filed on March 29, 2000. MindSpring Attorneys state that:
"Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) bars Plaintiffs (Horsley's) claims in their entirety, regardless of the language of the Service Agreement; Plaintiff's claims also fail in their entirety, no matter what the contract language is, because the relief he requests from this Court would impermissibly restrict MindSpring's own First Amendment rights..."
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act contains the headline, written in bold letters, "PROTECTION FOR PRIVATE BLOCKING AND SCREENING OF OFFENSIVE MATERIAL." To date, the law has been seen to protect Internet Service Providers from being sued by web sites blocked by software similar to "Net Nanny", etc., when that software was provided by the Internet Service Providers and used by "Private" parties to block or screen websites. MindSpring is now claiming the law gives Internet Service Providers the right to shut down "offensive" websites and also provides them with a blanket exemption from civil litigation when they exercise their "right" to censor.
The significance of MindSpring's position is self-evident: they are claiming the government of the USA and the Constitution of the USA gives MindSpring the right to censor, even to the point of shutting down the websites created by their customers, regardless of what services they have contracted to provide to their customers.
The consequences of such a sweeping claim are not hard to see. Such a claim, if it is upheld by the Courts, would make speech on the Internet subject to the whims of the Internet Service Providers. Instead of the Internet being a medium for the communication of individual points of view, the Internet would become the exclusive domain of the Internet Service Providers.
For further information, or copies of the relevant briefs, contact:
Neal Horsley email@example.com
Never has such a flap been raised over so much money by so few people. We all saw the moms vying for a moment on camera to forward their misplaced concerns. It was government sponsored terrorism against our basic Right to Life.
It's easy to just get mad, frustrated, or plain disgusted, but there's really more to it than that. Guns is big business, the biggest business ever foisted upon the American people. I propose to you, dear readers, that USGOV is not out for fascistic control over the soft underbelly of this fine country, but is protecting the interests of LAWYERS.
This may not come as a shock to some, but the wheels of justice need to be regularly (and liberally, pardon the pun) lubricated by good ol' greenbacks. That's right, your tax dollars at work keeping you safe in your nests. The police, judicial, and correctional aspects of life EXPECT to show a healthy profit over the abolition of the Second Amendment.
Once guns are outlawed, there will be considerably more criminals to try, convict, incarcerate, and in some cases execute. This author will be one of those malefactors.
Crusading journalists have shown in expose' that correctional institutions are hard to run for profit, lawyers are prohibitively expensive, and police are dreadfully underpaid. Guess where the cash comes from? John Q. You-Know-who, that's where.
That's the business end of this tale, the ol' revolving door of justice. Compounding laws upon laws, with suitable fines and imprisonment. Thousands of jobs on the line, and no true justice in sight. Bailiffs, public defenders, MORE police, prison guards (or correctional officers, if you will. What they correct, I have no idea.), paid mouthpieces, and more judges.
Looking at it this way, you can see the advantages to a large municipality or government, in that, eventually ALL citizens will violate one law or another. This then may enable the constabulary to "keep tabs" on the offending citizen, and thus allow them (the government), to remove what few protections remain of said individuals' civil liberties. Fines paid for every infraction, from speeding, jaywalking, et al, are used to further oil the chain of the justice machine.
Who says government can't be run like a business? Remember, you have the right to remain silent. I won't.
Jack Jerome firstname.lastname@example.org
To: The Honorable Phil Gramm, United States Senate
Ever heard the old saying, "death by a thousand cuts"?
While paying lip service to the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, members making up all three branches of the U.S. government (including you, and in more ways than one) have violated their oaths of office and teamed up to kill -- by slow torture -- the rights inherent in every individual. I, being one of those individuals, refuse to die this way. Kill us, or leave us alone. Or, as Patrick Henry put it, "...give me liberty or give me death!"
With each passing day, I learn of a new way in which the U.S. Congress proposes to protect me by taking away a bit of my freedom and promising me a bit more security. Today is not unlike the others. What makes today special is the size of the chunk of freedom that you threaten with this particular machination of state-sponsored altruism. Today, I learned of the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act (S 486 - HR 2987), which would nullify the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, should enough of you decide that it will make my life better. (We all know the real agenda is to make you more powerful.)
Last year, flag desecration was a topic that caused many in Congress to vote for the usurpation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Senator Kay Baily Hutchison, in correspondence to me, wrote, "If [passage] is achieved for a flag amendment, then it is clearly the will of the people and it should become the law of the land." What is clear as crystal is that Ms. Hutchison is under the impression that we live in a democracy, when in fact, the United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. Senator Phil Gramm agrees with Ms. Hutchison on this topic. Mob-rule is the America for them. Sadly, it is obvious to me that the vast majority in each branch of the U.S. government is operating under the same principle (for lack of a better word).
Is the concept of personal property so incomprehensible that you can not see that you would be taking my property without just compensation? Is the concept of personal property abhorrent to you?
The Second Amendment is weakened by ever-increasing bombardment (if you will pardon the pun) from the philosophically-weakest Congress in personal memory, along with its willing compatriots in the press and activists in the victim-disarmament movement. Now, even the Republicans are in on it! After adopting the call for "common sense gun laws" (the only one of which is the Second Amendment itself) along with the Democrats, Million Mom Marchers and Hitler, the Republican party can no longer claim to be the protectors of the Second Amendment. Unmasked, they can now take their place alongside the rest of the statists, leftists, socialists and communists, where they have belonged for so long.
To further enhance your totalitarian regime, the Orrin Hatch-sponsored "Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act" is proposed. If this travesty of justice becomes law, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments will lose all meaning. With the new powers this bill would give to law enforcement, police would no longer have to leave you with a copy of a search warrant, should they decide you need searching. They can copy your computer's disk drives and tapes. They can rifle through your papers, your bank records, anything that you have stored in your home. They can make copies of any document they find and take pictures of anything they think is incriminating. They would no longer have to leave you with an inventory of what they took or copied. All of this, and they don't even have to tell you about it for months. The Fourth Amendment would be history.
The Fifth Amendment, too, will lose its force because people will have no private lives. The right against self-incrimination is forfeit when the governmental jackboots can barge into your home at will (and in secret, no less!).
I never thought I would address U.S. Congresspersons as though I was speaking to children, but I can find no other course that will convey my meaning in terms I think you will understand. The fact that you fail to see (or acknowledge) that you infringe on my rights in more ways every day, places you on a level with myopic children.
The point of this letter is to ask you to stop infringing on my life and to start dismantling the Imperial Federal Government of the United States. More immediately, I ask you to vote against S 486 and HR 2987. In the long run, I ask you to vote against all bills that would promise me security at the expense of my liberty, and especially when a bill would put the cost of another's security on me.
I ask you to repeal all laws that create victimless crimes, e.g., laws banning the ownership, sale and manufacture of certain kinds of weapons; laws prohibiting people from acquiring and indulging in drugs of any kind (i.e., the War on Drugs is a failure); laws restricting free trade among consenting individuals. I ask you to abolish the Departments of Education and of Energy; the Social Security Administration; the Center for Disease Control; the Federal Drug Administration; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Communications Commission; the U.S. Forestry Service; the National Endowment for the Arts, and on and on. In short, every federal agency, commission and program not explicitly spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution should not exist!
Neither you nor anyone else can lay legitimate claim to the spoils of my labor. Yet year after year you confiscate my property and threaten me with physical violence if I refuse to hand it over. You should all be ashamed of your immoral behavior. You seem to revel in it, as a dog rolls around on a rotting cadaver.
The level of arrogance necessary for you to presume that you know better than I what is best for me is so tremendous as to defy understanding. How you could come to have such a belief is just as incredible, yet for you to assume the role in Congress that you have, you must believe it in your marrow. Is your self-righteousness continuously fortified by sycophantic acolytes (thus exposing a weak, impressionable psyche), or are you born knowing that you possess a "special gift" which makes you think you can speak for others even without their consent (exposing a level of arrogance to which I doubt even Wesley Mouch would admit)? If there is another answer, please let me know.
Now get out there and start closing down the federal government!
Mark Rogerson Mark.Rogerson@RandyStoat.com