Sunday, May 25, 2008



As we make our plans for the Republican National Convention (September 1-4) we have to realize there will be little room for drama. These things are pretty well-scripted for TV. Someone determined to stay the course on all of Bush's failed policies will be nominated. Regardless of the Memorial Day Weekend barbecue of Republican quasi-diversity, McBush isn't choosing a gay bachelor governor, no matter how much he needs Florida to win. Many think Romney, who McCain personally loathes, can buy a place on the ticket. It's more likely that McCain wants to use the selection of his running mate as some little shred of drama for the big show in Minneapolis.

I mean, better that than the umpteenth TV visit to the toilet stall where Republican Senator Larry Craig was arrested for trying to seduce a handsome young police officer. Another dramatic episode for the Convention will revolve around the role of former Democrat, Joe Lieberman. Over at OpEdNews today they're taking a poll: "Is Joe Liberman Worse Than Zell Miller Yet?" When I voted earlier, Lieberman was slightly ahead, 97-3%. A perfect VP pick for McCain? Some think so, although conventional wisdom pegs Lieberman as a likely Secretary of State in a third Bush term fronted by McCain.

Still, after he was rejected by Connecticut Democrats in 2006, Rove and Cheney were able to rouse Republicans to abandon their own candidate and turn out for Holy Joe, so we certainly know he has appeal among the 22% of Americans who still think Bush is doing a fine job-- as well as among the perverters of democracy among what today's NY Times refers to as McCain's lobbyist labyrinth.

And in another part of NY Times nother problem McCain would have to face if he did decide on Lieberman was brought up-- his backing for the kind of censorship than even some Republicans don't relish. Holy Joe, who made a national name for himself trying to get Eminem and Ice-T banned, has decided to take on YouTube. He's not happy with what he sees there. The Times points out that free speech is guaranteed in the Constitution and that there's no provision for what Joe Lieberman likes or doesn't like. "The Internet," they editorialize, "is simply a means of communication, like the telephone, but that has not prevented attempts to demonize it-- the latest being the ludicrous claim that the Internet promotes terrorism." And, regardless of the fact that Harry Reid and other delusional Democrats have falsely claimed that Lieberman only stays from Democrats on Iraq-related matters, it doesn't take a lot of Outside-the-Beltway brainpower to guess who exactly the Times editorial board has in mind as the maker of this "ludicrous claim."
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is trying to pressure YouTube to pull down videos he does not like, and a recent Senate report and a bill pending in Congress also raise the specter of censorship. It is important for online speech to be protected against these assaults.

Mr. Lieberman recently demanded that YouTube take down hundreds of videos produced by Islamist terrorist organizations or their supporters. YouTube reviewed the videos to determine whether they violated its guidelines, which prohibit hate speech and graphic or gratuitous violence. It took down 80 videos, but left others up. Mr. Lieberman said that was “not enough,” and demanded that more come down.

Earlier this month, the Senate homeland security committee, which is led by Mr. Lieberman, issued a report titled “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat.” The report identified the Internet as “one of the primary drivers” of the terrorist threat to the United States.

...While it is fortunate that Mr. Lieberman does not have the power to tell YouTube that it must remove videos, it is profoundly disturbing that an influential senator would even consider telling a media company to shut down constitutionally protected speech. The American Civil Liberties Union has warned that the “Homegrown Terrorism” bill and related efforts “could be a precursor to proposals to censor and regulate speech on the Internet.”

Not only do these efforts contradict fundamental American values, it is not clear if they would help fight terrorism. Even if YouTube pulled down every video Mr. Lieberman did not like, radical groups could post the same videos on their own Web sites. Trying to restrain the Internet is a game of “whack-a-mole” that cannot be won, says John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology. Having the videos on YouTube may even be a good thing, because it makes it easier for law enforcement officials, the media and the public to monitor the groups and their messages.

Terrorism is a real concern. All Americans know that. They also know that if we give up our fundamental rights, the terrorists win. If people use speech to engage in criminal acts, they should be prosecuted. Cutting off free speech is never the right answer.

As co-chair of the Homeland Security Committee with the Maine rubber stamp Bush calls "Sweet Susan," Lieberman has had ample opportunity to advance the cause of homeland security. Yet time and again he and Collins have shirked those opportunities so as not to embarrass their Dear Leader. That link is to a TV news report on how Susan Collins, as co-chair with Lieberman of the committee, did nothing to stop waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq, costing us billions of dollars and countless lives. Lieberman should be addressing that-- from the witness stand of his trial-- instead of attempting to bully and harass YouTube. So, in honor of YouTube standing up to Lieberman's attempt to push them around, a little YouTube clip I doubt Lieberman-- or McBush-- would enjoy watching, even if this is the era of music they both love:

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