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Government needs to keep its meat hooks off the web
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The internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time. I'd hate to see the government get its meat hooks into it.

For years we've heard Democrats toying with the idea of taxing the internet. Now comes word that the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) wants to explore the possibility of regulation in the name of fair campaigning.

Today the internet remains largely free of government regulation, and as far as I a concerned that's how it needs to stay. It's called freedom of speech.

We've been walking down a dangerous path where politicians are slowly attempting to erode our freedoms and regulate opposition. We see it in the radical left wingers trying to shut down talk radio and politicians like President Obama attacking Fox TV news because they actually report things in a balanced way other than the left-leaning slant the other networks give us. Congress has recently also bought into the Orwellian concept of "hate speech" and the need to regulate it.

There's a party in this country that seems to be fearful of the free and open exchange of ideas. The reason: they know they are in trouble and they want to silence the messenger. Anyone who opposes their health care reform plans, for example, will be a target. As Obama's popularity wanes, there seems to be a growing anger swelling in the American electorate that politicians are only making things worse economically by adding billions upon billions in new government borrowing and spending and now tampering with health care by adding billions of dollars in burdens to businesses.

Talk radio has been targeted, so look for the internet to be next.

Government has no business taxing nor regulating online content, even in the name of campaign finance.

Watch for government attempts to impose restrictions on Facebook pages, tweets, websites hosted on servers elsewhere on the globe. The FPPC wants to regulate these internet based medium and will solict input to "further define agency's role and possible regulation." The FPPC has created a subcommittee to gather information and solicit input regarding the role of electronic communication in political campaigns.

FPPC chairman Ross Johnson said the subcommittee has been formed to help the FPPC "determine if we should be doing more to help inform the public of who is paying to send out political messages."

The FPPC says it has no authority, or desire, to regulate the actions of individuals or groups who use the Internet for political purposes, so long as those individuals or groups do not raise or expend sufficient funds to trigger reporting obligations under the Political Reform Act. Maybe, both others in control in Sacramento would love nothing more than regulate the internet.

All this talk is dangerous because there's some far-reaching implications. Not only should the government not be censoring political talk, think of all the parsing that needs to be considered. So when Twitter recommends a user follow another user who happens to be a candidate, does that constitute an in-kind contribution? Should Twitter force its users to identify whether they are a candidate, or potentially a candidate?

When Facebook notes that some of a user's friends have become fans of a candidate, and Facebook suggests that person be followed, is that also an in-kind corporate contribution to the candidate? That would be an illegal corporate contribution to any federal candidate. Does this mean Facebook needs to ask everyone if they are a candidate for federal office? What if the service is hosted on servers in a foreign country?

Sacramento is teetering on the brink of financial melt-down as its financial house is being destroyed by termites of overspending, political cowardice and over-regulation that is driving businesses to other states. The rest of us are shaking our heads, totally depressed about anyone doing the right thing and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Do your job, lawmakers. Quit regulating like there's no tomorrow, quit spending like drunken sailors and check yourself into a clinic for illusions of grandeur and power. We can't afford your leadership and how you want to cripple our lives.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at