cj#455, cr> * Day of Infamy for Internet *


Richard Moore

by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Hollywood, Calif.

                          DAY OF DECISION
                            by Joe Shea
                  American Reporter Editor-in-Chief

        The word out of Washington from attorney Randall Boe and American
Reporter Correspondent Craig Johnson is that the Communications Decency
Act and the entire telecom reform package may be voted on late today.  If
it is passed and signed into law by the President, that will precipitate
our legal challenge to the law and our publication of an extremely
offensive and utterly tasteless attack upon the character of the Members
of Congress who passed it.

        We got a copy of the draft complaint prepared by Randall Boe, a
top-flight attorney with the distinguished Washington law firm Arent Fox,
Kintner, Plotkin, and Kahn -- defenders of the First Amendment in the
George Carlin "seven dirty words" case. It's about 45,000 bytes in length,
or roughly the size of the daily edition of The American Reporter minus
The World Reporter.

        Minus The World Reporter, we would have a fairly large hole in
our coverage of the world; minus Bill Johnson's coverage, we would have a
fairly big hole in our coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing case.  Minus
the reporting of Andreas Harsono, Steve Herman, Stephen O'Reilly and Eric
Culp, we would notably be without foreign coverage.  Without articles on
technology from Craig Johnson and Simson Garfinkel, we would be remiss in
our reporting of high-tech developments; minus the humor of Jim Tynen and
Dennis Hinkamp, we would not laugh very much any more; without Joan
Silverman, we might lose touch with our souls.

        But if we lose the First Amendment, all of the reporting in the
world, and all the poetry and courage and insight correspondents bring to
their work will be as meaningless as dust.

        Thus we must proceed to do something we dread and despise doing --
to publish an article whose author, the distinguished former Presiding
Justice of the Austin Municipal Court and professor of constitutional law
at the University of San Antonio, Judge Stephen Russell, is chagrinned to
the bone to have his name on, and which we can only read with disgust.

        That, dear friends, is the price of fighting to the end for a
lonely, embattled principle whose utter existence is the bane of despots,
dictators and tinhorn politicians everywhere: the untrammeled right of the
American people to the exercise of free speech, and of a free press to
publish that speech, come Hell or the highest water.

        As our Thought observes today, our fate is in the hands of Sen.
Bob Dole, a man who gave his right arm to that principle and the others
that form the basis of our kinship with all Americans and all free people.

        We have long had more faith in men and women than in congresses
and governments, knowing that they always rely on a wisdom not obvious to
the latter.  That wisdom is to err on the side of freedom, utterly and
always, no matter how painful the price. We do not know what Sen. Dole
will do, but we do not distrust his patriotism; given that, we can have
some faith our freedoms will prevail again today.

                      The American Reporter
          Copyright 1995 Joe Shea, The American Reporter
                       All Rights Reserved
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Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996
From: Joe Shea <•••@••.•••>

                        CENSORSHIP ALERT

        The telecom reform bill and the CDA have been moved out of
conference and into Rules, where it has been reported to the House floor
and is scheduled for one hour of debate today.  It is expected to come to
a vote this afternoon.  The Senate may also consider it today.

        Someone in the House offered an amendment to prohibit discussion
of abortion on the Internet.  Rep. Schroeder, who has not opposed
censorship provisions of CDA, is not supporting this new amendment.

        As things now stand, the article by Judge Russell will go up on
the Web as soon as the President signs the law, and then will be published
in the next edition of our email version.  The President will probably
sign the bill tonight if it is passed by both houses of Congress.

        You must specifically request that this not be sent to you, or it
will be sent. Thank you for your many months of support and your courage
in defending the First Amendment.

Yours in hope,

Joe Shea
The American Reporter

Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996
From: Joe Shea <•••@••.•••>
Subject: House prohibits free speech

        Discussion of abortion on the Internet is now prohibited under
the final version of the telecom reform bill enacted by the House by a
vote 414-16 at half past 1 this afternoon, Washington time.  Enactment in
the Senate of the same version is a virtual certainty, and the White
House has already announced the President's support for the bill.  I
guess the revolution starts here.


Joe Shea
The American Reporter

From: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Date:          Thu, 1 Feb 1996 18:58:33 +0000
Subject:       Telecom Bill Glides Through Congress

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed both the House and Senate
today by sweeping margins, 414-16 in the House, and 91-5 in the

The conference report contains "technical" changes, but substantively
the bill stays very close to the conference committee draft report of
December 22.

Telecom Subcommittee Chair Jack Fields  and others attempted with no
success to effect changes in the foreign ownership, spectrum auction,
and "indecency" provisions.

The only voice I heard for freedom of online speech was that of Pat
Schroeder, who pointedly called this "a day of shame."  Even Eshoo, no
doubt representing her Silicon Valley constituency, voted for the

Leahy and Feingold probably made statements but I did not hear them.

Now begins the Thermidor!


Craig A. Johnson
Telecommunications/Information Policy Specialist
Transnational Data Reporting Service, Inc.


 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
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