The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

democrats in congress vote No free speech


A recent, and certainly ominous, headline (however, the story is much more sinister than you might suspect imagine):

House admonishes Wilson for his ‘You lie’ outburst


Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has voted to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson over his ‘You lie’ outburst to President Barack Obama during the president’s health care speech to Congress last week.

"Obama is a liar"

The 240-179 vote on the resolution of disapproval reflected the sharp partisan divide over the issue. Democrats insisted that the South Carolina Republican take responsibility for what they said was a serious breach of decorum. Republicans characterized the vote as a political stunt.

Wilson himself would not back down on his position that he owed the House no apology. Surrounded by Republican supporters, Wilson said Obama had “graciously accepted my apology and the issue is over.”

09/15/09 17:35 © Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

So… Now the House is censoring it’s members for exercising free speech.

Representative Wilson may have been rude, and demonstrated a lack of “decorum”. But, have you ever visited the House and Senate during a policy debate? It’s like an elementary school playground (without adult supervision – okay… not always. but, often enough). And, can you imagine how raucous the floor must have been while the original Continental Congress was forming? They often drank, those brilliant and pious men.

320px-Hamilton-burr-duelConsider the The Burr–Hamilton duel between two prominent American politicians, Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr, on July 11, 1804. At the Heights of Weehawken in New Jersey Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton. Hamilton was carried to the home of William Bayard on the Manhattan shore, where he died at 2 p.m. the next day.

Now that requires furious resolve.

However, Wilson spoke his mind, and apparently his heart. Are the Democrats taking the position that Wilson does not represent the opinions of any constituents?

In any event, if Thomas Jefferson could stop spinning in his grave, he might pay the House and Senate a desperately needed visit, and would likely call them all out as a pack of liars, and certainly hypocrites. He would also, and this is very likely, suggest they consider leading the country by example. For instance having access to only the same healthcare benefits available to their constituents, and relative pay scales, as well.

Peace be to My Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

beneath the Robe


As Thomas Jefferson and that hardy and ferocious crew of Founding Fathers set the stage, I am confident they never meant for our emerging judicial system to be used as a blunt-edged weapon.

All too often we see people abuse the law, or the way it’s levied, in much too crude a fashion.

So, I suppose, considering the ominous circumstances, the fellow I am preparing to take to task won’t like my linking to an article about him, but that’s just tough. I have no tolerance for morons people like this, and even less so when they happen to be judges, and are supposed to know better.

If he takes offense to my umbrage he can fight me (preferably behind a courthouse).

In any event… This Richard Posner, a stolidly conservative judge, wants to ban hyperlinks – e.g., those found on Blogs and even on many newspaper websites (but, obviously I am more concerned about Blogs).

“Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America’s most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission. The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying.”

Hah! I just used a hyperlink to help exhibit my very point! Judge that Posner.

That may already sound rather bad, but now read what Posner writes in his original piece (and, yes, I will quote from it):

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

Let’s see what’s wrong with this nonsense theory.

Posner thinks we should ban hyperlinks to free content in order to …keep it free.

This is flat-out silly and impractical. I can see, for example, that newspapers might seek to ban news aggregators like Google News, because they are competitors. But every link a newspaper site receives, such as from a blogger who graciously links to a story on the newspaper’s website, should be celebrated. Contrary to Posner’s one-sided ignorant ill-researched (sigh) shallow thinking, perhaps bloggers should get a commission or share of the profits for driving eyeballs to the newspaper website. In some cases, I suspect a substantial portion of newspapers’ site traffic is derived from bloggers today.

While he at it, Posner thinking paraphrasing should be banned as well.

That would put an end to the entire newspaper racket right there. Most news reports in newspapers are a series of direct quotes and paraphrased quotes in indirect speech. If paraphrasing were banned too, it would leave a lot of empty space on newspaper pages. Newspapers themselves would be reduced to single-page editions.

Note: We have to assume the integrity of the media. This is, of course, problematic for me because, as consistent readers of this Blog are fully aware, I am deeply suspicious of the media, in general, and their collective agenda.

We shouldn’t forget in this context that any non-opinion, non-editorial pieces in newspapers are factual accounts of current events (at least in theory). Which means that the entire story, say, about the latest ethnic clashes in China, has to be  – by definition  a paraphrase from beginning to end.

Leveraging his years on the bottle bench and highly questionable greatly evident grasp of the law, as it pertains to intellectual property, Posner says linking to content is, and should be, a copyright violation.

Don’t judges have to take a test before they put on a robe? This really is nonsense, and would never stand up in a court of law. There is no precedent or case study to support this position (and, why doesn’t Posner understand this?). No lawyer, unless they chase ambulances (or, unless the presiding judge is a moron too) would consider filing a motion or brief trying to initiate such thinking. If linking to copyrighted material were illegal, then what about all the pages and longs lists of bibliography and references in, standard scientific papers? The very existence of such a list of “links” to names of authors, titles of books or papers, etc. would, in Posner’s view, be a major felony – as would be any quote from or paraphrasing of any of the titles thus referenced.

All my ranting aside (which, for me is most of the fun), I am reservedly confident this scheme idea will never fly. Apart from being uninspired and certainly unfair, it also feels like an underhanded attempt to silence citizen journalists and, thus, ultimately, an affront to people’s right of free speech – and, thus unconstitutional.

I will be very curious to see if any news writers pick up on this. Or, maybe Posner gets relegated to Night Court.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell

photos by John Campbell


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