So the Bushco FCC lawyer, Jacob Lewis, went to Judge Edwards and argued, in essence, that Internet service providers that offer telephone service should allow for law enforcement authorities to tap into their lines. Lewis said that this would be consistent with the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, intended to make it easier for law enforcement to tap into land-line phone conversations.
Edwards basically laughed at Lewis, saying that the 1994 law didn’t address Internet telephony in any real or even implied way.
As I read this, I wondered who the individual was who was in charge of the FCC now that Colin Powell, Jr. was out of the picture.
Well, the person in charge is some Repug acolyte named Kevin J. Martin, whose wife used to work for Cheney (figures, right?). And since Martin hails from North Carolina…well, being a Repug, you can just imagine who Martin feels he has to go back and grovel to in a gesture of fealty of one type or another.
That person, of course, would be Jesse Helms (or his foundation anyway, given Jesse’s poor health these days).
In a speech last October to The Jesse Helms Center (and somehow I’m sure this group doesn’t spend its time discussing the subtle nuances and pithy commentary in the prose of Garson Kanin or The Algonquin Round Table), Martin uttered this item of interest:
Speaking on the issues of content and public reaction, the Chairman cited a steady increase in complaints to the FCC about broadcast standards. More than a million complaints were filed in 2004. One option presented to alleviate the problem was to expand the latitude of local licensees to choose specific network programming that they deemed appropriate for their community.“A million complaints filed in 2004,” huh?
You remember 2004, right? The time the 40-year-old, diamond studded, African-American boob of Janet Jackson protruded all over the viewing screens of America during the Super Bowl halftime show. Got the “moral values” crowd all in a tizzy, if memory serves.
Well, as you can read from this link to a Buzzmachine column by Jeff Jarvis, there is PLENTY OF REASON to doubt the validity of that one million number.
But we know this is yet another con from this administration, right? They want to find any possible way to control and regulate ALL CONTENT, whether it is in print or electronic form. “National security,” “community standards”…the Bush Administration and their lackeys will continue to trot out these tired excuses to whittle away at our rights.
Judge Edwards saw through this and slapped FCC lawyer Lewis down appropriately. So here’s to a man who stood up to this bunch of crazed, reactionary zealots.
The only problem is that we know they’ll be back, and we can only hope and pray that a judge like Edwards hears their next case. Someone sympathetic to Bushco (and they’ve stocked appeals courts all over this country with their “fellow travelers”) may end up granting the administration an audience next time, which could be the beginning of “the slippery slope.”