My Identity is None of "The Annoyed's" Damned Business
If I've said it once I've said it a million times: we progressives simply cannot turn their backs on the crazies in power for a single moment.
Today's news is that this post, in which I will pontificate briefly in a highly annoying fashion about the key robots in the House and Senate who sponsored and/or voted for this ridiculous bill, now violates federal law to the extent that it is posted under a nom de plume , rather than with full disclosure of my actual legal name.
Buried deep in Section 113 of last week's DOJ appropriation bill -- which (finally!) reauthorized necessary funding for DOJ's performance of not only its basic functions, but also such critical programs as the Violence Against Women Act, and the Community Oriented Policing Services Program -- was a little proviso amending a provision of the Telecommunications Act, 47 U.S.C. section 223(a)(1)(C), such that it now reads as follows:
Whoever, in interstate or foreign communications. . .makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Yup, it is now a violation of federal law to be anonymously annoying on the Internet (right wing trolls - take note!). And we all have that ignorant fuckwad James Sensenbrenner (and the equally fuckwaddish Arlen Specter) as the first persons to thank for their HR 3402. (He's probably going to be very annoyed that I called him an ignorant fuckwad.) That's right. It's no longer about stalking - abusing, threatening and harassing on the internet, something that was already illegal. It's also about someone being annoyed.
Please note that it appears by omission to be perfectly lawful to deliberately annoy someone using your legal name. Thus, for those who have no families to protect or who are not likely by virtue of gender to be victims of sexualized psychotic stalking, feel free to continue using your legal name.
So, being an annoyance is now a federal crime. BFD. Particularly given the prominence of political blogs. If people aren't annoyed by what bloggers write at times, the bloggers aren't doing their job. They are merely preaching to the choir) and thus wasting everyone's time.
As for me, I have no intention of trying "not to be annoying." It's right up there with the former law in California prohibiting lawyers from engaging in "offensive personality" (a law that was indeed found unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.) I don't care if I annoy right wing mental giants (what an oxymoron!) or the government itself, from its Fascists in Training in charge on down. I'll be at my office or at home if and when the federal marshals get annoyed enough about me not toing the party line of "I Love Dubbya" to bother to come arrest me.
I'll be just as annoyingly truthful about what I think about the Bush Administration, the House, the Senate and any other ignorant motha, individual or collective, when it comes to political matters. I'm speaking what I believe to be the truth and have never suffered fools gladly. After all, the First Amendment says I have a right to my speech, so long as it is speech for the purposes of political discourse and not individual harassment. I've yet to find the parallel Constitutional provision that gives the government the right to condition my exercise of rights on making myself open to victimization and harassment by any asshole on the planet merely because *they* are pissing down their legs with anger about me, about blogging, about bloggers calling them out on their shit, and bloggers actually making public a lot of the underhanded shit that goes on in this Bush Administration.
Besides, the government wouldn't need to force me to disclose my identity if it had any fucking clue how to do its job. It can readily find out who I am, where I live, and just about everything else about me (and probably already has). Paying close attention is not even required - I'm not all that circumspect about the details of my life. (Unlike my government, I don't try to hide ugly shit and try to silence people who point out my ugly shit.) Indeed, I've met Condoleeza Rice personally on my stomping grounds. She could probably lead them right to me at church.
So come get me, Sensenbrenner and company. I hereby declare my intent to publicly and openly violate your new law, at least as far as me making highly honest yet probably quite-annoying-to-you-and-your-ilk comments about the state of political dealings, and definitely about your hero George W. Bush and the rest of the current incumbants in each branch of the government. (I don't have any desire or ability to annoy of these real people in their real lives as should be evident; most genuine stalkers usually use phone or mail to harass/frighten/injure/annoy since those communication methods have far more of that "reach out and touch someone" quality necessary to truly cause alarm.) I'll say it again - come git me.
But if you do, bring friends. Friends who know their Constitution front to back. Because I know mine. And would be honored to bitchslap this law in the courts if ever inconvenienced by it.