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25 Dec 2008
In September the long strange Jeremy Jaynes spam case took its most recent twist when the Virginia Supreme Court reversed its previous decision and threw out the state's anti-spam law on First Amendment grounds. The state is currently preparing one final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and interested parties are preparing their briefs. I recently reread the decision, and was struck that the court's analysis depends on a severe misunderstanding of the way that e-mail works.
On page 22 of the decision, the court wrote:
because e-mail transmission protocol requires entry of an IP address and domain name for the sender, the only way such a speaker can publish an anonymous e-mail is to enter a false IP address or domain name.
It went on to say that we have a long First Amendment tradition of protecting anonymous political speech, but the law's blanket prohibition of false routing information would prevent such speech, so the law fails on First Amendment grounds.
But that's just not true, as I was recently reminded when the political spam below landed in my mailbox. I can guess that I probably got it because I'm well known to be a Unitarian Universalist, but I don't know who uses the nom de plume "Al Walp". The headers on the message (not reproduced here because it's already too long) are 100% accurate. The message really did come from Yahoo, from the account firstname.lastname@example.org. The transmission headers are also entirely accurate, and report that the message was orignally sent from IP address 18.104.22.168. That's the Mentor, Ohio, town library, where there is a public WiFi hotspot that the sender presumably used to log in and send the message. This message is just as anonymous as a paper flyer dropped on my front porch; unless someone happened to notice the sender sending it, there's no way to tell who it was.
I hope the briefs to the US Supreme Court make this clear--it's quite possible to send mail with no identifying information, which is not the same thing as sending it with false identifying the information. The former is what the First Amendment protects, the second is what the Va. law forbids, but they don't conflict.(The odd formatting and extra punctuation are all in the original
From email@example.com Tue Dec 23 19:09:53 2008 Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 16:09:22 -0800 (PST) From: AL WALP
President-elect Obama picked three hawks for his foreign policy team that some say will continue President Bush's foreign policy : Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, James Jones (Major General, Ret.), National Security Adviser. (ConsortiumNews.com; Dec. 2, 2008) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Should Hillary Clinton become our Secretary of State ?
1. She has poor judgment -- demonstrated by her vote (with some other Democrats) in the Senate to support President Bush's "pre-emptive" war in Iraq . Apparently she has changed her mind: She now says there's no reason that US troops should be in Iraq "beyond today," but conceded that she might keep combat troops in Iraq for years, under the following conditions: 1. to continue operations to counter terrorism; 2. to counter Iranian influence; 3. help the Kurds; 4. protect the US embassy in Iraq; 5. train the Iraqi military forces. (FactCheck.org; June 6, 2008)
During her campaign, she made many misleading statements; FactCheck.org says that her statement, "Obama' s health care plan would impose a $900 hidden tax on families," is so misleading as to be close to an outright falsehood. Does she have the caliber to be a diplomat? She spent two years of her campaign to prove she's an "Iron Lady ready to
handle 3 AM phone calls", but she was surprised: the phone call was the economy, not national security. (TheDailyBeast.com; Dec.1, 2008)
During her campaign she said she went to the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women, but the Chinese didn't want her to come. Contrary to her claim, the Chinese wanted very much for her to come but didn't like the speech she gave.. They disliked it so much that they blacked it out to all Chinese, except 5,000 Party members. (FactCheck.org; Dec. 5, 2007) It appears that she has lost all credibility with the Chinese government. What affect will her loss of credibility have on future relations between China and USA.? 2. She sought the endorsement of Richard Mellon Scaife, a staunch
conservative, shortly before the primary election in Pennsylvania. He endorsed her in April 2008. This action raises the question: Is she conservative or liberal ? Who is Richard Mellon Scaife ? According to WorldNetDaily.com, he's a principle owner of NewsMax.com, and an heir to fortunes in aluminum, banking and oil; he underwrites numerous conservative and Republican causes -- including the "Arkansas Project" (designed to expose the Clinton scandals) and Joseph Farah's Western Journalism Center, before he funded WorldNetDaily.com. Scaife also funded : Free Congress Foundation (Paul Weyrich), GOPAC (Newt Gingrich), Heritage Foundation, Judicial Watch (Larry Klayman), Landmark Legal Foundation (Mark Levin), Media Research Center (Brent Bozell), etc. Scaife's net worth is about $1.4 billion, making him one of the richest men in the U.S. The Washington Post characterized him as "the funding father of the Right." The 2008 edition of FORBES 400 put him in the "Relentlessly Rich" category.
Why has Hillary sought such an endorsement? How can she represent the views of the average American ?
Has the radical right hi-jacked the Democratic Party? Is this the end of our two-party system?
Is our democratic republic being transformed into a one-party state?
3. Bill Clinton, using his Clinton Foundation, enlists corporate and private help to tackle concerns from AIDS to childhood obesity. The Clinton Global Initiative has more than 570 commitments worth $10 billion, involving more than 1,000 organizations that target 100 nations.
He is doing exemplary work and is acting as a positive force for the United States, but his activities will undoubtedly create
many conflicts of interest if Hillary becomes Secretary of State in 2009, according to Sharon Theimer (Associated Press):
(a) The Clinton foundation revenues in 2007 were $132,000,000+. Important donors are: Aus Aid $10-25 million; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, $10-25 million; Haim Saban, media investor, $ 5,000,000+; Taiwan's economics office, $1,000,000+; Dubai foundation, $1,000,000+; Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, $1,000,000+ each; James Murdoch, $ 500,000; News Corporation Foundation, $500,000; Walid Juffali (Saudi billionaire), $500,000+ Indian Industry Confederation, $500,000+. Lakshmi Mittal (Indian steel), Victor Pimchuk (Ukraine oligarch), Denise Rich (former wife of Marc Rich who got a controversial pardon in 2001 from Bill Clinton, According to the book, Freedom in the World 2008, by Freedom House, (pp. 879-880), many of these 100 nations are "not free" or "partly free." Will Bill Clinton return funds from such nations because of the apparent conflicy of interest ?
(b) The ClintonFoundation.org received money from a Chinese internet company that posted a "MOST WANTED" message online for the Chinese government that sought information on human rights activists who were involved in demonstrations in Tibet.. Do the Clintons not consider human rights when they make investments?
(c) Bill Clinton invested in a Brazilian company that produces ethanol from sugarcane -- the company employs workers under degrading living conditions. Do the Clintons not consider working conditions of employees when making an investment in a company ? (d) Bill Clinton and Frank Quistra, a Canadian tycoon, traveled to
Kazakhstan and met with its president. A short time thereafter, Quistra's company received agreements with rights to buy into uranium projects controlled by a state-owned enterprise. Do such dealings not involve a conflict of interest ? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ACTIONS TO TAKE : 1. Please contact the two U.S. senators in your state. _ On the web page at Senate.gov, in the top right corner, click on the box "find your senators" to get the phone numbers or web pages of your senators. Ask your senators NOT to confirm Clinton as Secretary of State. 2. Please forward this message to your friends and relatives. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =To remove your address from this list: contact URAUU2@YAHOO.COM and put the word DELETE in the subject line. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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