The Starting Line — Internet Freedom Under Attack Again; Congressman Seeks to Avoid Public Scrutiny

July 12, 2012- Congressman Lamar Smith, who hails from the west hills of Texas, is trying to push yet another bill through the House that will ‘tame the internet’.  Smith is trying to pass it without any substantive debate or scrutiny, just as he tried with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the bill that died on the vine earlier this year after 100,000 webs sites went dark for a day in protest.

The Intellectual Property Attache Act, will create the position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property who will see to it that all US trade negotiations and discussions advance SOPA-like provisions in foreign law. This clever maneuver is one way that he and his Hollywood masters can get past the fact that SOPA like measures are unpopular by getting other countries to impose them as part of trade agreements and then agree to “harmonize” these provisions by making the part of U.S. law.

Since press accounts of Congressman Smith’s plan to railroad the act through the legislative branch have surfaced, support for the bill is wavering. Some of the named co-sponsors are saying (now) they’re upset about the lack of public comment. Some are even saying they are uncomfortable with some of the specifics in the bill. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and let the House Judiciary Committee know that this attempt to rein in internet freedom will not go unchallenged.

The unexplainable explained…Dave Maass over at City Beat wasn’t alone in wondering just how it was that ‘birther’ attorney Gary Kreep managed to squeak by and win the race for a San Diego County Superior Court judgeship. Acting on a tip from reader, Maass tracked down a group calling itself Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods that produced an apparently illegal robocall call on the cusp of the election claiming that Kreep’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed would be the “worst kind of county judge” It went on to assert his use of plea bargains was putting drug dealers back on the streets.

There are tons more of juicy details in the City Beat article, but one question remains unanswered: “Who paid for the calls?” Since the law bars judicial candidates from making misleading statements about their opponents, there’s most likely a political action committee out there somewhere that is responsible. And we won’t know who funded the anti-Peed robocall until early next month, provided that they bother to submit the paperwork.

City labor unions won a pair of victories yesterday in their quest to air their grievances over San Diego’s voter-approved pension overhaul in front of a state agency next week. A local judge granted their request for a ‘temporary delay’ that will prevent the City of San Diego from implementing Proposition B  — which replaces pensions with 401(k)-style plans for most new employees — until July 27. And the California Supreme Court declined a request by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith  that would have consolidated several Proposition B lawsuits into a single case, a move that would have sped up the process of getting judicial blessings on the acts, allowing the city to skip potentially years of litigation. At the heart of matter is the unions’ contention that city leaders circumvented state labor laws by claiming the measure was a citizens’ initiative when, in fact, they were using their power and influence on its behalf.

Banksters under the gun…. The City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee voted 3-1 yesterday to send the Property Value Protection Ordinance (PVPO) to the full council for debate. The act is aimed at reducing the negative impacts of foreclosures on surrounding neighborhoods by requiring banks to register with the city when they take action to foreclose a home and fining them $1000 a day to recover costs to the city and taxpayers when they fail to maintain their foreclosed properties. Today’s UT-SD characterizes the measure in a manner as one that ‘forces’ lenders to register homes in the foreclosure. Nowhere does it report the blight, crime and loss of property values in surrounding neighborhood associated with abandoned or poorly maintained properties and the costs to taxpayers that have led 75 cities in California and hundred of municipalities around the nation to enact similar laws. Supporters of the measure, including the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) promoted public awareness of the hear via a “social media storm” Tuesday Twitter and Facebook.

Tweet of the day: this plaintive plea from a LGBT Weekly reporter and activist to Carl DeMaio.

W. Rodriguez-Kennedy ‏@willrk787   Dear @CarlDeMaio I was wondering if any1 on your team has the courage to answer press inquiries. If so please let me know who to email/call

DeMaio is well known for refusing to talk with media representatives he considers unfriendly, even going so far as to block them from seeing his social media outreaches on Facebook and Twitter, so there a better than average chance that this plea went unheard.

It’s a doubleheader kind of day for Dave Maass, who also gets a hat-tip for letting us know via twitter about BBC America’s unveiling a Sonic Screwdriver gesture-based universal remote at Comic-Con. This won’t mean anything to people who’ve never seen the Brit SciFi series ‘Dr. Who’, but fans and geeks all over are probably emptying their piggy banks to own this gadget as you’re reading this. I know– I’ve already been told that it will be at the top of my daughter’s Christmas wish list.

Second Tweet of the day (on Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s appearance before the NAACP):

The Daily Edge ‏@TheDailyEdge  #Romney: “I haven’t been booed like that since the last time I shut an American factory down”

Finally this from Daily Kos: Climate, Temp. Records & Pie Charts ANY Voter Can Understand  (Even a Republican!)

On This Day: In 1933 a minimum wage of 40 cents an hour was established in the U.S. In 1954 Elvis Presley signed his first recording contract and quit his job as a truck driver. The contract was with Sun Records. In 1982 “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” broke all box-office records by surpassing the $100-million mark of ticket sales in the first 31 days of its opening.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista  (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center  (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org 


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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