The Free Internet Act

The Reddit community has posted a proposed piece of legislation they call The Free Internet Act on Google Docs. I've just taken a look at it and will need to think about all of these provisions a bit before I have an opinion about whether this is a sensible proposal or not.

But regardless of whether anything comes of this, I want to make a larger point about transparency in government.

A number of NY tech community people met with a US Senator in the USV event space a few weeks ago to give our views on tech issues coming down the pike. At one point in that meeting, the Senator's staff talked to us about the cybersecurity bill, which at that time had not been released. We asked how long it had been in the works. The answer was quite a while. We asked how long would be available for comment once it came out. The answer was about a month. None of this was this Senator's doing. We were just being informed about what was going on and how we should engage in the process. We were encouraged to read the bill and give our elected officials our opinions on it. And we are doing that. You should do the same. The bill is linked to earlier on in this paragraph.

But as we were having this conversation, my partner Albert asked why bills aren't drafted in public. He suggested an approach that is almost identical to the one that the Reddit community has taken with the Free Internet Act. And the Senator's staff said that such radical transparency wasn't likely to develop in Washington any time soon. 

When an important piece of legislation is drafted in secrecy, such that Senators and their staff members don't even know what is going to be in it, and then is put out for voting on a very fast track, people are going to be suspicious. And suspicious citizens don't make for a healthy democracy.

If nothing else comes of this Reddit process, I'd at least hope that we show Washington the power of an open debate, commenting, and editing process. For that reason alone, I'm going to put some real energy into The Free Internet Act. I hope you do too.

#Politics#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. Moses Kagan

    One quibble – suspicious citizens actually make for a healthier democrary. It’s when we don’t pay attention that really bad stuff happens. Bring in that sunlight!

    1. fredwilson

      i guess i should have said suspicious citizens that can’t do anything with their suspicions

  2. Rohan

    Nice.On a very different note..¬†Happy birthday William!! ūüėÄ

    1. fredwilson

      how do you know its william’s birthday?

      1. Rohan

        Hehe.Old fashioned way Fred. I asked.. sometime back. ūüôā¬†One of the things I’d really like to do is wish people on their birthdays (community etc). I started with a small group who I knew a bit better better (a couple of months back) and then stopped since I began to sound like some weird stalker..¬†

        1. Bala

          Yes, you sound like a weird stalker but that ok when you are transparent about it ūüôā

          1. Rohan

            Haha. I sure am now.¬†You know what’s going to follow.. ūüėČ

          2. Emily Merkle

            jump out of bushes if ye must but try not to frighten shiny people”)

        2. Robert Thuston

          That’s awesome Rohan… part of being in a community is remembering birthdays

          1. Rohan

            I agree Robert. It was in one of those inspired moments when I began asking these guys I knew a bit beyond AVC.More to follow.. I wish there was an easier way to do it.But, I guess.. even for the little things you believe in, you have to put yourself out there. ūüôā¬†

          2. Robert Thuston

            more meaningful when you do “have to put yourself out there.” ¬†someone remembering my birthday means more than 100 people (who didn’t remember it) saying “happy birthday” on Facebook.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            When is your birthday, Rohan?

          4. ShanaC

            But what if I told you all that I don’t like my birthday….

          5. William Mougayar

            Then, you better opt-out of Rohan’s opt-in Birthday announcement process.¬†Rohan- pls opt me out for next year, please ūüôā I loved the service, but prefer to keep it part of my privacy preferences.¬†¬†

          6. Rohan

            Exactly Shana. That’s the hard part of working on something like this.¬†@wmoug:disqus¬†nailed it with the privacy preferences.¬†Some don’t mind. some do. And my intention is not make anyone feel uncomfortable. Question of course is.. is it worth the trouble?I think so..And wee learn as we go, I guess.¬†I’ll keep refining the process.. ūüėČ

          7. William Mougayar

            You know I like to tease you Rohan, because I know you’re a good sport, so please take what I said on this subject with a grain of salt. Your intentions and enthusiasm are golden.

    2. William Mougayar

      Rohan…shhh. I’m don’t need the extra attention on this blog…i’m getting enough of it already. But thanks for the thought!

      1. Rohan

        Nothing undeserved, William. ūüôā

      2. ShanaC

        Ok, well happy regular day ūüėČ

      3. Donna Brewington White

        William!Bon Anniversaire mon ami!And what better place than AVC to wish you this?

    3. John Revay

      Happy birthday William indeed!

  3. gregorylent

    we are seeing the future … citizen created legislation … another example, the 350 page letter from #occupysecget kickstarter going for local government, we will simply route around government1.0

  4. JLM

    The simple truth of the matter is that all legislation is drafted by industry groups (witness the Redditt legislation itself), industry lobbyists and lawyers working for lobbyists.Surely, you don’t believe that a Congressman actually could draft legislation? ¬†They’re too busy raising money and getting re-elected and going to cocktail parties.Their staffs work solely in constituent services and getting their guy re-elected which means raising gobs of money.The political process of pre-legislation hearings, legislation drafting, subcommittee hearings, committee hearings and floor debate is dead and thus there is no opportunity for the pubic to hear what is really going on in Congress.One has only to look at the recent healthcare legislation to see how bad it really can get. ¬†Political muscle, pre-ordained outcome and NOBODY could possibly have ever read the legislation.BTW, did you know there is a real estate transfer tax in the healthcare legislation? ¬†Really.

    1. Tom Labus

      So how do we proceed?The legislative process is shot at the worse possible time.But even if we had intelligent regulation for banks/trading and wall street in general, those guys would still be screaming that it will be detrimental to their ability to compete.  Yet, we were doing pretty good with Glass Steagall.

      1. JLM

        We may have passed the tipping point in the US and it will take an extraordinary event to wake us up collectively. ¬†Like a depression.Elections have devolved into beauty contests and class warfare.When 49% of America does not pay any income taxes a voting bloc of insurmountable proportions has been created. ¬†Politicians have cynically made this happen.The most productive slice of America WORKS to live while the least productive slice VOTES to live.The current situation is simply about the redistribution of WORK and the results of work. ¬†The fact that we are mired in eye popping unemployment — U-6 — is a horrific irony.I doubt there has been a more inflammatory time in the history of the US in which an administration has harnessed these phenomena to their advantage.

        1. Tom Labus

          I wanna puke when I look at the Republican “debates”.

          1. JLM

            It is incredible to me that someone does not reconfigure election discourse between and among candidates into something that is useful. ¬†These charades in which questioners with an agenda pose silly questions to candidates looking to score sound bite hits against their opponents is dopey.I saw an hour long discussion between Huntsman and Gingrich on cable and I left that hour thinking that Huntsman knows more about China than anyone in America. ¬†And that his knowledge and principles laid out a logical and rational map for America’s relationship with our most important adversary.Huntsman laid out the power structure of China from the top to the bottom from Communists to capitalists with a degree of clarity that Gingrich just sat there like a student. It was just brilliant.He made the case that as the Chinese leadership devolves from the 90-year olds to the 80-year olds not a lot is going to change until you get to the 50-year olds. Incredibly insightful.If I were President, my first phone call would be to Huntsman to make him Sec of State. ¬†He is a brilliant guy. ¬†Also a spoiled trust fund baby but the guy speaks Mandarin and has been Ambassador to China.

          2. matthughes

            Totally agree on Huntsman – ideal Sec of State. I’m very disappointed he didn’t gain traction in the Republican primary.The lack of comprehension Obama and the current Republican candidates (w/ perhaps Paul as the exception) show on China is so disheartening.

          3. Drew Meyers

            Likewise

          4. Emily Merkle

            dudes. Huntsman Рprime choice on traction.no candidates resonated or even were palatable as evidenced by available infono transparency on nearly enough to make informed endorsement.

          5. matthughes

            Agreed.But the only reason we’re not puking at the Democrats too is because they’re not holding debates.¬†

          6. JLM

            Dry heaves really! ¬†I’m puked out.

        2. fredwilson

          speaking of the republican debates and the¬†GOPocalypse, my friend John’s article this week in NY Mag is a good readhttp://nymag.com/news/featu…

      2. JLM

        While I am free market capitalist, I am not against regulation. ¬†Thoughtful common sense regulation which carries real penalties for violating it — public beheadings on the steps of the NYSE.The banks need to STFU because they did not “compete and win”, they literally broke their banks and ours.Banks always want to privatize their gains and turn their losses back to the public. ¬†The taxpayers.If the negotiator of the bank bailout had had any real experience, he would have made the banks fix the substandard mortgage problems by working them out w/ their own customers as a condition of getting bailed out.Instead, we saved the banks asses and allowed them to become the financial Taliban and execute their customers after we bought them more bullets.Missing ingredient — common sense and experience.

        1. Tom Labus

          Paulson’s original reaction to buy the trades was better since the feds could sit on them until the market turned (what private guys are doing now) but he panicked after LEH tanked.I can’t say I blame him since events were out of control at that point.

          1. JLM

            HASP could have worked. ¬†They needed more real estate guys who understood how to transform an imperfect mortgage into a real piece of real estate.This could have had a huge impact on our Nation’s morale.Sad to say about Paulson but a WS guy took care of WS and settled a score (Dick Fuld @ Lehman) in the process.Ugly stuff.

          2. Rohan

            I don’t know so much about Paulson JLM. Most of what I know about what happened was from reading ‘Too big to fail’ and following up a bit on the story.I didn’t get the impression it was entirely a personal rivalry.By the time he’d taken hold of the reins, the shit had already hit the fan and I think a lot of the decisions they took seemed like the best bet then..But again, I don’t know much.Trust you know much better..

          3. JLM

            @rrohan189:disqus Paulson former Chmn of Goldman.Fuld Chmn of Lehman.On Sunday Lehman is forced into bankruptcy and liquidated.On Monday Merrill Lynch is allowed to enter a shot gun marriage w/ B of A.What a difference a day makes.  You decide.

        2. Luke Chamberlin

          Unfortunately the negotiator of the bank bailout had plenty of experience… working for the banks.

        3. Emily Merkle

          I read data illustration quite a bit more complexity than that.

          1. JLM

            OK, you stumped me.  What does your comment mean?

          2. Emily Merkle

            who are you?

          3. fredwilson

            he’s the boss of this joint!!

    2. fredwilson

      of course there is!

      1. JLM

        The illogic of it is breathtaking.Property is the exclusive province of the local taxing authorities — makes sense because you cannot move your land, right?It is also the exclusive province of local education funding — makes sense school children live on the land, right?It makes sense to tax it locally also because a County maintains the property records for its entire County — every deed, encumbrance, mortgage, conveyance, tax appraisal District, etc.The Federal gov’t has no role in the transfer of ownership of a piece of real estate in any fashion.This is why it is so offensive — a 3% tax BTW — the Feds have no skin in this game and yet they want to take value out of the transaction and a not insignificant amount.Oh, yeah, under the guise of having some relevance to HEALTHCARE???

        1. sigmaalgebra

          The real estate transfer tax and the health care bill?Sure, the same thing. Let’s see why:Right, the real estate transfer tax in the health care bill has nothing to do with health care, but this is appropriate since the health care bill has nothing to do with health care! Actually, US health care is a sacrificial pawn.Here’s what’s going on: Suppose you are in business. A lawyer comes to you and says something like:Lawyer: “My client would give you his undying friendship if you would grant him a small favor.”You: “I’m listening”.Lawyer: “My client is looking for a new chairman of his Texas campaign committee.”You: “And what favor would your client grant me?”Lawyer: “Your health insurance costs are about to increase. My client can grant you a waver. You are about to have some union problems. My client can make them disappear. You are about to be hit with a 3% real estate transfer tax. My client can make that go away.”The health care bill puts essentially all of US health care under dictatorial control — prices, coverages, procedures, profits, band aids to bed pans, physicians to pills — of the Executive Branch. That control, then, can be used as a major source of money and power. So can the real estate transfer tax. And much more.Of the three biggies, truth, money, and power, health care is not on the list but the health care bill covers two of the three biggies at some collateral damage to the third!Some standard advice is, “Always look for the hidden agenda.”.

          1. JLM

            “…the real estate transfer tax in the health care bill has nothing to do with health care, but this is appropriate since the health care bill has nothing to do with health care…”Too funny! ¬†Well played! ¬†You are a wag.

          2. Emily Merkle

            um who??

          3. Emily Merkle

            props for consistency. but ultimately if abuse of constituency is thought to lead to ill-gotten gains – how did whole damn house ever get built – much less closed on..wise men see that the path to ultimate ROI in yield + longevity is goal. Less work. And yo – ever tried to sod business with idiot competitors who seem to be clueless on basics of Competition, IP, and Market Forces? Dude no biggie but th e litigious pursuit is just making us all look dumb. imho. no worries no hating here – no more. can someone explain what the Powerful do with their ill-gotten spoils? sounds kinda – boring

          4. sigmaalgebra

            I can’t accurately parse all of this:¬†For the “house”, that’s a long story.¬† I blame the citizens for not insisting that the media provide the information citizens need.For what people do with power, there are plenty of examples to show that there is a lot of variety in what is done, with some that is done quite good, some quite bad.

          5. Emily Merkle

            agendas reveal themselves when we simplify first to Follow the Money

          6. sigmaalgebra

            My reading is that essentially everything signed in DC in the last 3 years is a power grab where money, from various sources for various purposes, is both one of the means and one of the ends.¬†I do suspect that the checks and balances are slowing down the grabbing. I thank our Founding Fathers.It’s almost as if the Founding Fathers suspected that some flawed people might want to do too much grabbing!

        2. Emily Merkle

          your planet is Рgasp Рtotal and complete comprehension among all?dude. never assume you communicate clealy Рor with even the right danm…never mind:)

    3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      FIX EASY.MAKE PROCESS TO WRITE BILL:1. ENTER BILL WRITING CHAMBER.2. SIT DOWN, WRITE WITH PEN ON PAPER ON OWN. NO NOTES, DEVICES, ALLOWED.

      1. Luke Chamberlin

        Bring your #2 pencils.

      2. Aviah Laor

        “No¬†law in that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty. But indeed few of them extend even to that length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple terms, wherein those people are not mercurial enough to discover above one interpretation: and to write a comment upon any law, is a capital crime.¬†“Gulliver’s Travels, the Voyage to Brobdingnag

    4. LE

      “Surely, you don’t believe that a Congressman actually could draft legislation? ¬†They’re too busy raising money and getting re-elected and going to cocktail parties.¬†“I don’t think it makes much practical sense for a Congressman to draft anything anymore than it make sense for a CEO to develop and work on any particular company policy. Although if they have a particular expertise (Steve Jobs) they might manage it in certain cases. Walt Disney was involved in many details of his organization and I have first hand knowledge of the fact that Donald Trump got involved personally in the purchase of a relatively small piece of real estate that he was interested in. But that is not typical behavior.¬†I’ll defer to others (such as, actually, you) who have written about managing and styles, but the guy in charge of the aircraft carrier isn’t the one deciding and designing how you get everyone fed or the correct operation of any of the aircraft.¬†Of course he needs to know somethings in more detail but in general you aren’t looking for that person to be a technician. ¬†So to me the writing, the drafting of the legislation is work that should be done by technicians. Not a “leader”. Which is not the same as saying the way it is now is correct or it doesn’t need change. ¬†Or that they shouldn’t fully understand the issues and review the legislation.From what I have heard much of the work done by SCOTUS is actually done by law clerks. SCOTUS of course reviews what is written by those clerks but I believe they also play a key role in filtering what cases actually get reviewed.

      1. JLM

        Among the co-equal branches of government the Executive branch is charged with running the country much in the same way that a CEO is charged with running his/her company.The Legislative branch is only charged with drafting, debating and passing legislation and even the organization of a Congressman’s office relies entirely on a Chief of Staff indicating that the Congressman is running nothing to be freed to focus solely on passing or defeating legislation.The notion that Congressman are “leaders” in an executive sense of the word is not accurate. ¬†They are leaders in the sense of holding hearings to seek input, participating in debates amongst peers in committee and on the floor.In reality it is their ideas which are wrestling with each other. ¬†When ideas wrestle, the strongest ideas prevail and their strength is built through combination, consensus and compromise.While I agree completely that technicians, lobbyists, scriveners, industry partisans draft all legislation these days I can attest to the fact that at the state level legislators still know how to wield a red pen and actually put words on paper.These folks are primarily lawyers whose raison d’etre is to put words on paper in the form of persuasion and argument.Perhaps the most egregious abuse of the legislative process is those members of Congress who “whip” the vote along party lines before the party itself has even had a chance to discuss the legislation.There is absolutely no excuse for a Congressman to fail to read legislation into which his vote breathes life. ¬†The leaders who force this partisan nonsense are traitors to their duties and our Nation.

        1. LE

          Agree with much of what you are saying but I had a hard time pulling up a definition of what a congressman’s responsibilities are. ¬†What I turned up seems to contradict this a bit:JLM:¬†The Legislative branch is only charged with drafting, debating and passing legislation and even the organization of a Congressman’s office relies entirely on a Chief of Staff indicating that the Congressman is running nothing to be freed to focus solely on passing or defeating legislation.Then I found this (pdf) which was prepared by http://crs.gov which¬†is the “Congressional Research Service” (a government agency):http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/…Here is a summary:The duties carried out by a Member of Congress are understood to include representation,¬†legislation, and constituent service and education, as well as political and electoral activities. The¬†expectations and duties of a Member of Congress are extensive, encompassing several roles that¬†could be full-time jobs by themselves. Despite the acceptance of these roles and other activities as¬†facets of the Member‚Äôs job, there is no formal set of requirements or official explanation of what¬†roles might be played as Members carry out the duties of their offices.And then:The U.S. Constitution establishes qualifications for Representatives and Senators, but it is silent¬†about the roles and duties of an individual Member of Congress.1 House and Senate rules require¬†only that Members be present and vote on each question placed before their chamber.2 The job of¬†a Member of Congress has been characterized as ‚Äúa license to persuade, connive, hatch ideas,¬†propagandize, assail enemies, vote, build coalitions, shepherd legislation, and in general cut a¬†figure in public affairs.‚ÄĚ3 Beyond voting requirements, there is no formal set of expectations or¬†official explanation of what roles or duties are required, or what different Members might¬†emphasize as they carry out their work. In the absence of such formal authorities, many of the¬†responsibilities that Members of Congress have assumed over the years have evolved from the¬†expectations of Members and their constituencies

          1. JLM

            I was really only addressing the narrow issue of legislation and how laws are written in the context of this blog subject.There is no doubt that a Congressman’s duties include representation — perhaps even their primary duty.I would also have you consider that I was speaking of the Legislative “branch” and not a singular Congressman.

    5. Emily Merkle

      omg pork?!

  5. William Mougayar

    The government’s role is to serve the public, yet this paradox of secrecy around drafting bills is puzzling indeed.¬†There is an Online Public Engagement Ecosystem that is forming and I know of one firm in Ottawa who has a solution for this specifically, i.e. to facilitate public participation during the drafting or development of bills, policies, laws, etc…Here’s an example of that:¬†http://riverparkconsultatio… & their site:¬†http://www.corum.ca/.

  6. awaldstein

    The idea that ‘town hall sessions’ should be used to draft laws not simply communicate them after the fact is a powerful thought, once unleashed.

    1. JLM

      Town hall sessions are a very interesting phenomenon. ¬†They are a feedback loop from the reality of a Congressman’s District to his performance in DC.The dynamic is very powerful, so powerful that most Congressman will no longer engage in such meetings. ¬†They are not love fests.It is tempting to say that they are reactionary rather than thoughtful.Good legislation requires an intimate knowledge of the subject, a command of legislative writing and a lot of thought over a period of time.It is like crafting a fine wine (this analogy is handcrafted for you) in which time itself is one of the most important ingredients.I have been involved in drafting and passing several state laws in different states and I can say from experience that it requires complete trust to be successful.Also campaign contributions and good lobbyists.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks JLM and well said.Time is one of the most important ingredients of most anything of value. Giving it is certainly the greatest gift. 

        1. Emily Merkle

          freely

    2. William Mougayar

      The Social Web is better than town hall sessions. Online public engagement can change the game. See this: http://www.corum.ca/ 

      1. awaldstein

        Gd link, thanks.

    3. leigh

      In Environmental Impact Assessment process (evaluating large¬†infrastructure¬†projects for their¬†environmental¬†impact), public¬†participation¬†in the process is mandatary. ¬†There area a lot of lessons to be learned in there. ¬†Sadly, we are so far away from Gov’t 2.0 it’s hard to fathom. ¬†An American friend is over this weekend and we were just talking about how John Stewart and Steven Colbert are doing a better job of education and transparency in gov’t then anyone. ¬†Kinda sad if you think about it. ¬†

      1. awaldstein

        Kinda great that we are talking about it as a step towards doing something ;)When there was great leadership in Washington it looked better.I grew up in a working class labor union family that was inspired by and loved JFK and never knew or saw his flaws. With Clinton, we loved him in spite of his flaws.Leadership is moving from the hill to the community. Change will happen where it really always does, from the ground up. 

        1. Emily Merkle

          great men and women are as flawed as anyone else.¬†the flaws that matter should be patently obvious to the public.I get down on us when i hear the constant drumbeat of anti Obama rhetoric. When did we lose respect for those who chose to serve us? Obama et al of gov’t is not dissimilar from the brave men and women of the military¬†

          1. JLM

            You do a great disservice to the military by even suggesting that the Obama administration could hold their jockstrap when it comes to service to the Nation.Having been a professional soldier, I can assure that soldiers are prepared to lay their lives down for you and your freedoms.  They routinely do just that.The Obama administration is a bunch of inexperienced, naive, Chicago machine charlatans who are easily the most woefully unprepared administration in the history of the US.There challenge is not one of governance or governing philosophy, it is simple competence.Respect is earned not granted.

          2. leigh

            Have you read Shake Hands With The Devil? (http://www.amazon.ca/Shake-… Romeo Dellaire completely changed my perception of the Military……the thoughtfulness of his choices and the tortured nature of his experience profoundly changed what i thought i knew.

          3. JamesHRH

            It is very hard to disagree, based on performance, that anyone brought to Washington by Obama is a dud and anyone already there was left alone to perform as they did before (Treasury & Military).The President get credit for Bin Laden kill, but had no impact. Gets hung out on economy, but had no impact there either.Axelrod must be on suicide watch – and yet Obama will get re-elected without breaking a sweat.Movie of Shake Hands with the Devil is pretty solid as well.

          4. Tom Labus

            Yet, the most recent Bush administration packed with people with lots of experience was the most incompetent in our history.

          5. alphaG77

            Probably when folks realized that they are not there to serve us, they are there to serve themselves, whether it be to drive sales of their books or to gain access to material non-public information on which to trade!

      2. Emily Merkle

        not sad – hilarious ! i love Colbert and Maher. JS rocks too

  7. John Revay

    “And the Senator’s staff said that such radical transparency wasn’t likely to develop in Washington any time soon”What ever¬†happened¬†to elected by the people for the people.This change can not come soon enough, this is our¬†government, this is our money. ¬†I am very hopeful that the internet will change how our country is governed.¬†I am sick of¬†political people¬†saying they did not something was in a bill.edited to fix formating

    1. William Mougayar

      yup. that was a pretty lame statement. 

    2. JLM

      When Congress had hearings on subjects before crafting legislation, committee meetings to review the status of legislation, subcommittee hearings on the legislation, committee hearings on the legislation and floor debate before voting — the process itself provided the necessary transparency.When you have partisan hacks whose only objective is to feather their own nest, then secrecy driven by control of the committees and process is required because most of this legislation cannot pass the test of common sense.

      1. John Revay

        Thanks JLM – very well stated especially “the test of common sense”

      2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        JLM,The “…test of common sense” applies to more in government than just our elected officials. ¬†They are one thing and government bureaucrats are another!Its not just the drafting of legislation but the implementation thereof that is troublesome. ¬†I have personally battled the EPA, OSHA, and now the IRS and in each and every time my only tool was “common sense.”Sadly, the price that is paid is too high to battle for what is right and lots of small businesses give in or give up. ¬†Sadly, I am too stupid or too set in my ways to give in or give up or reach a settlement. ¬†Even I could not justify the price if I was responsible for other people’s money.Now, the judge wants me to write a legal brief explaining to her what is wrong with the IRS new audit procedures; my attorney and my CPA both argued for a settlement but I stuck to the fact that I did not owe the IRS a damn thing and that their new audit methods were bogus and represented nothing more than entrapment….So, now it cost me over $50,000 in professional services to fight a $200,000 bogus audit decision so everyone is claiming a “win.” ¬†I got news for them, this “win” was not worth it…..I am starting to agree with the concept of “starving the beast….” especially when you find yourself doing battle with a 24 year old, wet behind the ears, IRS auditor and a 26 year old “rising star” attorney for the IRS…These kids need a little experience before they go off and attempt to destroy people and businesses…..¬†¬†

        1. JLM

          Carl, don’t get me started on the IRS. ¬†I know where you are and I agree w/ you more than you agree w/ yourself.

        2. LE

          “especially when you find yourself doing battle with a 24 year old, wet behind the ears, IRS auditor and a 26 year old “rising star” attorney for the IRS…”In some situations it’s not all that bad to have a young person on the other side. They are also looking out for their career and hoping many times to make it in private industry (so if you have a big attorney/accountant and are dealing with a young person that can actually be an advantage).If handled correctly by the senior person (your professional) that can sometimes be turned in your favor.I’ve seen this happen in a few cases over the years.The older bureaucrats are much more set in their ways, near retirement and probably less likely to be able to be bribed by some potential future benefit. If I can be so blunt.

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            LE,Maybe I am too idealistic or naive but I want employees that can do and will do “the right thing.”Now, if I am dealing with young people who are looking “…also looking out for their career and hoping many times to make it in private industry…” then I am dealing with young people who are shallow and lacking of values and principles in their personal lives.They are no different than adulterers…if you end up marrying someone who cheated on their spouse well, there is a real good chance they are going to cheat on you.If you hire employees who sold out an employer for their personal benefit then there is no doubt in the future they will sell you out….I have no problem hedging my bets, when I am unsure of my position: If I could not ascertain that I was 100% legal and above board then I would have cut a deal but in this case I KNEW I was 100% in the right and the best thing these two young people could have done was just get out of my way.The only reason grey exists is because we ourselves mix black and white together….Oh, and I don’t play poker, because I cannot bluff for shit..if I got a winning hand everyone will know it! :)As an old attorney told me once, “…the trouble with principles is that no one wants to pay ‘the interest’…” Well, I can do the math on interest….

          2. LE

            Carl, everything you are saying here is very black and white. But I do see things as nuance and shades of grey but of course I have my own bias as well which guides my behavior.Let’s start here:”Now, if I am dealing with young people who are looking “…also looking out for their career and hoping many times to make it in private industry…” then I am dealing with young people who are shallow and lacking of values and principles in their personal lives.”…If you hire employees who sold out an employer for their personal benefit then there is no doubt in the future they will sell you out….Don’t agree. What if they hate their current job? What if they had to get that job in order to feed their family or because their spouse relocated. I don’t think there is anything wrong with someone trying to better themselves (foxconn factory workers?) This is not to say that some people job hop more frequently or have no loyalty. ¬†But this is not absolute it is shades of grey.If I could not ascertain that I was 100% legal and above board then I would have cut a deal but in this case I KNEW I was 100% in the right and the best thing these two young people could have done was just get out of my way.¬†It’s the other people with the power who get to decide. That is who you are trying to convince. Doesn’t matter who is right and wrong. Win the battle loose the war etc. You have to do what is practical in order to solve the problem. This is why you get legal situations that take 20 years to resolve. Either one or both parties just sticks on principle till the bitter end. (“Bitter end” saying comes by the way from the end of the anchor line slipping through your hand…)¬†¬†

          3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            LE,First lets clarify, you started off using examples of young people in the IRS using their jobs and the power their employer gives them to use that as a bargaining chip in attaining another job and that is totally different from someone who takes a job because they have to feed their families or because a spouse relocates.The first example is opportunism and the other two are necessity and thus they are a world apart.

          4. Emily Merkle

            not shallow or naive Рperhaps your words are tinged with past experience? things are not as cut and dry as many assume. people depart from marital vows for myriad reasons. not justification but understanding the factors that can push such action.grey is not de facto a willful creation.

          5. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Emily,Yes, lots of people find themselves in “bad” marriages for lots of reasons, but departing from ones vows, or ones words, does not make a bad situation tolerable, in fact it makes a bad situation even worse.A life well lived, a career vs a job, all require that the means justify the end, not the end justifying the means…

          6. Emily Merkle

            I do not disagree. I hope that that is the case in everyone out there. it is my experience that lief just is not always so clear. but we fail. and we learn. and we hope to the Gods that may be that we will earn redemption. From those we have hurt knowingly or unknowingly.

          7. Emily Merkle

            guys Рaspiring to work in the private sector does not equate to unethical conduct and immorality. You do not have to sell anyone out. But people do. please talk openly 

          8. Emily Merkle

            some people not privy to said dealings so pls address clearly to all.

        3. sigmaalgebra

          Sure:¬† The money they don’t spend they don’t spend badly.¬† If they don’t try to do something, then they don’t do something wrong.¬†It’s not quite true that the gumment that governs least governs best, but it’s close!

        4. Emily Merkle

          wow – thx for sharing.imho – if we incentivized gov’t legislative bodies – hell all positions – in line with market with ZERO regard for the public’s ill-advised opinions on compensation – i would think this would ¬†be possible –¬†attract more capable talentless incentive to ignorantly and blatant damage constituenciesetcmaybe relax notions that politicians do not have good intentions?kennedys imho came from the heart

      3. Emily Merkle

        and shame on us for putting them on the hill.

  8. vruz

    Because behind closed doors, lawmakers can invite friendly corporations to contribute (in more than one way) and make legislation acceptable to private interests.”There’s just too much money in it”.

    1. JLM

      The Supreme Court savaged common sense w/ the United decision. ¬†We are just about to see how nuts things can get when corporations begin to contribute gobs of money to influence the process.Remember a Congressman or Senator from N Dakota gets the same vote as one from NY.They’re just a whole lot cheaper to buy/rent in N Dakota.

      1. fredwilson

        yupmaybe after this election cycle is over the country may want to revisit citizens united

        1. Emily Merkle

          agree – you could argue things were not so rosy before

      2. andyidsinga

        saw Nancy Pelosi talking about Disclose act on Colbert the other night ago. Seems like a bandaid ..but one that adds some transparency.

        1. JLM

          “We have to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it.”Like taking a cooking class from a cannibal.

          1. vruz

            Partisan politics and (quite possibly subconscious) race bait.You rightly deserve the “instigator” title, Sir.

          2. JLM

            Haha, is Nancy Pelosi black?My favorite cannibals are the Tankawa and Karankawa Indians of Corpus Christi.They were into the original “red” meat — each other.

          3. vruz

            JLM: I can’t reply to your response because of a threading limit here.I just thought the superposition of Obamacare with cannibals was a suggestive one.(I know many people would agree)But as they say in my town: ¬†don’t clear it out, it only obscures…

          4. JLM

            You are way over thinking it, my friend, the comment was about Nancy Pelosi and not the half white half black guy raised by white parents/grandparents who has not a drop of the American slave experience in his veins who poses as a black guy.”That guy” is just a run of the mill fakir, naif and poseur.Focus: ¬†Nancy Pelosi.Again, MY favorite cannibals are those Corpus Christi Indians — you know, the red meat guys.

          5. vruz

            JLM: I’m not overthinking, it just popped up instinctively. Some people can see those superpositions without thinking.No need to overdiscuss anyway, I obviously take your word (and your cannibals) for it.Cheers!

          6. Emily Merkle

            and perhaps we assume this notion – that the letter of the law and guidelines for implementation aim to reach desired ends – but consequences rely on far too many moving parts to know if it flies of flops.launch – if fails it (with hope) would be repealed if so drastic the undesirable outcome

      3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        CITIZENS UNITED RESULT IN END OF POLITICAL PARTIES, CAMPAIGNS. ONLY THING THAT WILL MATTER IS PACS, AND WHICH PUPPET THEM PICK TO ELECT.

        1. vruz

          PACs may actually backfire if they go international.For example the Reddit PAC, who have a worldwide audience ready to put in serious money.Candidates can’t take foreign money, but PACs can.As much as big money is perfectly capable of giving millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars, if Reddit-like PACs take the battle to the magnitude of billions, that’s a kind money corporations don’t want to spend in politicians.What this means is that once the cost of buying a politician is insanely expensive, it will be cheaper to actually run a decent shop.¬†Those big corporations will be forced to play nice and run their business responsibly.Worldwide netroots defending the internet could give that fight.Either way we win.

  9. William Mougayar

    I read that Free Internet Act, and I like its practicality and simplicity, with very straightforward passages. Let’s hope it stays simple and straightforward.

    1. JLM

      The greatest lie ever told — “All men are created equal.” — simply not true with one exception:T I M EWe all get only 24 hours per day.

      1. JLM

        Ooops, that was supposed to go to awaldstein.  Sorry.

      2. Rohan

        And some people get a lot more out of it done than others..Makes all the difference in the world..

      3. leigh

        there is also death & taxes ūüôā

        1. JLM

          Rich people live longer and pay a lower tax rate.  I am counting on it.

        2. testtest

          ancient greece (and rome) had¬†negative taxes for some citizens. and now it would seem, they have negative salaries:http://www.zerohedge.com/ne…and for death, some people think it’s avoidable:¬†ray kurzweil for example (the dude who trumpets the singularity).¬†but, i’m with you on that one.

      4. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        24 HOURS OF BE ON FIRE NOT SAME AS 24 HOURS OF BE NOTHING.

  10. John Revay

    I did not read about the Reddit process yet….i will try and read and digest over the weekend.However I would hope that to the extent there are changes in the proposed¬†legislation…that any changes, adds, deletes, – think red lining in a word processing app – that they be so marked by who proposed, with their real names – ( think fredwilson vs FAKEGRIMLOCK)Then…get real smart – and link any lobbying activities that were directed to the people making changes re: If a certain¬†senator¬†or congress person was proposing a change – have it changed be marked w/ their name…and then show any relationships that that person has or had w/ a¬†lobbyist¬†and the benefits received#TrueGovTransparency

    1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      IT EASY TO TELL WHICH PARTS GRIMLOCK EDIT.THEM PARTS THAT JUST SAY “BE AWESOME! OR ELSE!”

      1. fredwilson

        or light the barn on fire

        1. Emily Merkle

          beat ya to it

        2. Emily Merkle

          we are young..

  11. Bala

    Iceland wrote its new constitution in a Transparent way. I think there needs to be political will for Transparency. Unfortunately, information and secrecy is still currency in Capital Hill until that changes we will not see the light of day. Here is a post I wrote about how Community Analytics was taken into the Internet domain by Clara¬†http://www.startupiceland.c… and how the National Assembly in Iceland rewrote the Constitution on the Internet again. There was even a Hackathon hosted by us on the draft Constitution.

  12. Bala

    To follow up on my previous post this was taken from the 9 themes that the National Assembly ¬†of Iceland put down as their theme: Here is the link to the english summary¬†http://thjodfundur2009.is/e… ADMINISTRATIONTransparency [this word was in just about every suggestion handed in] | democratic administration that is free of corruption resulting from strong monitoring and judicial system | public referendum on the EU | responsibility of public servants | no selling of public resources or taxing of future generations | real democracy and more election forms | constitution created by the people | strong judicial system and monitoring of public bodies | ethical public servants who protect the nation‚Äôs natural resources!! | simplification and greater efficiency | stricter penalties for sex offenders | genuine division of power between executive, judicial and legislative branches Thanks again and hugs from the media-ant

    1. fredwilson

      our firm is big fans of what is going on in Icelandthe rest of the world should take notice and copy it

  13. Drew Meyers

    “why bills aren’t drafted in public?”Well, then there would be no need for Senators and Congressman..just my 2 cents

    1. Elia Freedman

      I’m not certain most Senators and Congressman actually write bills. I think they are written by unions, lobbyists and industry.

      1. Drew Meyers

        Yup – so if Bills were written publicly, it would be a threat to unions, industry lobbyists, Senators, and Congressmen since all their jobs depend on those bills being drafted in secret now.

        1. Elia Freedman

          I don’t see it as a threat personally but I am certain many do. They would still have jobs drafting bills. It would just be done in a public setting rather than a private one. Whether we like it or not, it is a specialized skill. As for almost everything we do in life, it is easy to underestimate how hard things are to do when we haven’t done them ourselves.

          1. Drew Meyers

            I don’t disagree with the vast majority of people underestimating the difficulty of doing things they’ve never done before.I do think a collaborative bill writing process (such as can be done w/ Google docs) is a threat to at least some of their jobs. Certainly, we could accomplish more with less. The process is bloated as it stands now. There is too much talking, and not enough doing.

          2. Elia Freedman

            Don’t disagree. Your comment reminded me of Brad Feld’s post recently though and thought you would appreciate it: http://www.feld.com/wp/arch

          3. Drew Meyers

            Awesome read – thanks. And agree we need more problem solving.

      2. Emily Merkle

        as well they should be. 

  14. kidmercury

    so unless we are talking state senate or a non-ny senator that would presumably mean gillibrand…..

    1. fredwilson

      We talk to lots of senators and representatives

  15. kidmercury

    i like how albert asked why bills aren’t drafted in public…..lol……that’s like asking a robber who’s breaking into your house why he/she is doing thatthe reddit bill is a good first step. so glad to see all the signs of rebellion in 2012. ultimately petitioning congress will get you nowhere, but the foundation is being put in place for politically organized internet communities to engage in civil disobedience. a little more time and a little more collapse of the current system and i think we’ll continue to see more progress on such a trajectory.as for iceland, its size and demographics are important considerations. part of me thinks the big nation-states — namely US and china — are going to splinter into multiple sovereign regions/provinces. either way, the biggest reason for iceland’s progress relative to other nations enslaved by debt was their decision to cancel debt……of course, who is the only presidential candidate in the US that acknowledges the debt problem and seeks partial debt cancellation as the solution? #ronpaul ¬†

    1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      FOUNDERS GET LOTS OF THINGS RIGHT.EXCEPT PART WHERE THEM ASSUME AMERICA ALWAYS BE TINY PLACE WHERE CITIZENS KNOW REPRESENTATIVES, ARE DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN GOVERNMENT.INTERNET GOOD WAY FOR FIX, MAKE DIRECT INVOLVEMENT POSSIBLE AGAIN.

      1. kidmercury

        i’m partially sympathetic to that viewpoint, but i think the nation-state is finished. even if representatives were honest, debt was cancelled, and citizens were active — and we are talking three huge assumptions there — there are still too many environmental, resource scarcity, and energy concerns stemming from rapid population growth. a new means of coordinating society to maximize efficiency of public goods is needed, and i think internet platforms offer that means and are here to displace the nation-state system as the means by which public commons are shared.¬†that idea has almost no acceptance outside of a few fringe kooks like myself, though as the reality of peak oil, 15.4 trillion (and counting) in national debt, decline of public services/ decay of public infrastructure, and immoral, economically destructive war continue to wreak havoc upon our world, i believe it will be seen as the only viable solution. well that or some other stuff that is even deeper in kook territory (i.e. time travel/free energy technology, disclosure of extraterrestrials and entrance into a galactic political environment) but given how deep kook that is and where most of us as a society are, the cyber-utopian internet revolution is what i prefer to focus on (for now!).¬†

        1. sigmaalgebra

          “environmental, resource scarcity, and energy concerns stemming from rapid population growth”On energy, your opinion on Joule Unlimited?Or, if believe what they claim, then about 3% of the US SW can produce about 25 million barrels a day of Diesel at less than $1 a gallon, production to start next year.”Population growth”? The number of babies per woman in most of the more industrialized countries is from a little over to well under 2. We’re looking at a shrinking population. E.g., from Wikipedia, Finland is at 1.5 which means they beat the Swedes, Germans, and Soviets but lost out to birth control!

          1. kidmercury

            i just watched the joule unlimited video…..i’m a little skeptical of the idea that solar power is dense enough to convert their liquids into a high density fuel source. that is the basic problem with solar, insufficient density. they claim they have a secret sauce that changes the game, and if they do, that company has enormous potential. but i’ll need to see it to believe it. i don’t think alternative fuels can be cost competitive unless they are generated with nuclear power as the energy input — at least that is my take thus far. i hope i am wrong and they are right.¬†industrialized population is shrinking, but for the not-so industrialized, it’s still an issue. i dislike the idea of saying population is the problem, though, because i don’t think it is even if the industrialized world is growing; i think the only problem is distribution. you have a small group of people that have everything and then a few billion that have nothing. that’s the problem, in my opinion, whether there are 10 people or 10 billion.

          2. JLM

            Huge low hanging fruit is the waste heat produced by nuclear power plants.  This heat is basically vented to the atmosphere or dumped into a water based heat sink.When Oyster Creek in NJ came on line, it used an estuary for a heat sink.  It raised the temperature sufficiently that the striped bass stopped migrating and the shipworms did not die during the winter.They ended up having to buy everyone on the estuary a new dock because the shipworms devoured them.The potential for heat recapture, farming, energy is just astounding and is totally unused in this country.

        2. Emily Merkle

          just revel in the opportunity that disruption brings

          1. kidmercury

            Oh you know it! The opportunity of a lifetime. It’s what I live for!

          2. Emily Merkle

            let us go forth and multiply then why are we slacking? ūüôā

          3. Mark Essel

            Wait did you just get a proposition from Emily ;)?ps: props to the deep kook galatic federation. It’s good to see alternative kook philosophies.I’m having trouble reading the reddit draft. It’s too much a legal doc for me to continue.

          4. Emily Merkle

            Only way I kow of. If you can think of someng a tad less.. Dramatic I am all ears.

    2. Rohan

      You know, I used to feel a revolution was the answer to many of society’s problems.Over time though, I’ve come to believe that it’s the one thing to avoid.The issue with a revolution is that breaks the value system and that leads to more trouble than it’s worth.Slow steady change is what I’d plump for any day.It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing and tough.No surprises. Just life..

      1. kidmercury

        Well, let’s see how the world deals with no oil and 15.4 trillion in debt behind the world’s reserve currency…..the current trajectory is towards collapse and world govvernment.Eventually I think people willl wake up, they just need to get poor enough first. Pre-2008 the idea of revolution was unthinkable, there was no tea party or occupy whatever or anonymous or arab spring or any of that. What is happening in greece now will spread, and what is happening in greece is because all the money is being taken away.Revolution is the low cost peaceful route, but it requires great political will, which generally can only come after people have lost everything and feel there is nothing left to lose.

        1. JamesHRH

          Kid, no one talks about anarchy much.Its like it couldn’t happen.Which obviously increases it chances of happening.

        2. Rohan

          I agree with you on most counts. I interpreted the word ‘revolution’ very differently. (I was thinking of the bloody revolutions in France, Russia and the like.)I guess two people can look at the same thing and see very different things..¬†

      2. JLM

        The problem is the quality of revolutionaries has slipped over time.Now your average Tea Party (town hall meeting with no Congressman to devour), Occupy This, Arab Spring wants a 2-day event with valet parking, croissants and flush plumbing.When the shit hits the fan, they all want to be able to call the US to bail them out and to provide air cover.We got no real revolutionaries.Got to go, hot tub is up to temp.  No revolution tonight.

        1. Morgan Warstler

          “I was one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement – the original Port Huron Statement, not the compromised second draft.”

          1. JLM

            I am probably one of the few persons on this blog old enogh to actually know something about Tom Hayden and the SDS and The Big Lebowski, Dude. ¬†Haha.I spent a few years making the world safe for guys like that to play revolutionary.Of course, he did manage to enjoy Jane Fonda and that’s not bad work at even half pay.

          2. Morgan Warstler

            My biggest complaint with OWS and the progressive left in general, is their absolute mis-understanding of how hard it is to get poor fat people with 500 channels and air conditioning to riot. ¬†Meanwhile, Tea Partiers own 200M guns, earn 5x what the 1% earn in total, own their houses outright, and have 40M votes they use in every damn¬†election.The smartest thing OWS could have done last year is adopt the Tea Party¬†platform¬†for dealing with Wall Street… college ¬†debts would still have to be paid, but a bunch of bankers would have been frog marched on Fox News.A smart C power has to admit there are two other¬†stronger¬†opposing sides, decide who they hate the most at any one time, and follow the other one into battle.

  16. Druce

    How a bill becomes a law –¬†http://www.thesefriesaregoo…¬†No reason to be suspicious, it’s well known the bills are written by the lobbies who hire the ex-Congressmen.

    1. William Mougayar

      Very funny.

    2. ShanaC

      I wish this wasn’t true…

  17. FAKE GRIMLOCK

    BEST WAY TO FIX GOVERNMENT IS MAKE NEW BETTER ONE. #ITERATEEVERYTHING

  18. Elia Freedman

    Transparency is not just an issue in bill making, of course. I have come to despise the (I could be wrong on the name and bill) McCain-Feingold finance reform bill that limited campaign donations to politicians. I believe the current limit is $2500 per election (so $5000 total for a primary and general election), which inspires these PACs to be formed. The problem with the PACs is that it is money behind the scenes primarily used for attack ads that (are supposed to) not have direct involvement with a candidate. So we get these hidden, huge amounts of cash going to candidates indirectly, all from donors that then have influence over those they supported. It might be better to blow up the limit in exchange for transparency in donors.Seems like every improvement we have made to fix campaign money and influence has made the problem worse.

    1. Chris Swan

      This issue is covered a great deal in Larry Lessig’s ‘One Way Forward’, which is a manifesto for fixing (US) politics.

  19. Richard

    Interesting first draft… looking at the ¬† fair use exception. ¬†¬†¬†Their ¬†proposal allows for ¬†use so long as the derivative / borrowing site is less than 40% of the original content of the parent site. ¬†I ¬†like to look at real world examples and not legalise. In the case of twitter and bottlenose, bottlnose added a node map with search and display twitter feed features. ¬† ¬†Lets assume both sites provide identical ¬†Twitter feeds for any given account, does bottlenose fall within the fair use exception? Is the bottlenose content based on word count? pixel ratio? Look and feel? Intended use? The proposal goes on and states a “look and feel exception” to the 40%. Presumably a derivative site can have the same look and feel of an established site if it is used for an original work? Is bottlenose an orginal work for the purposes of this exception?

  20. Luke Chamberlin

    Trust is simple. You trust us, we trust you. That’s the only way it works.

    1. Emily Merkle

      but – how to elicit trust in scalable way?

      1. Rohan

        By not thinking about it as scalable..It’s too precious to be commoditized, I would think.. :)Be trustworthy and leave it up to people to trust you.That’s about all one can do..

        1. Emily Merkle

          I have viewed scale as nonlinear growth/expansion – but not necessary as I think mst do. I somehow see it as goal and result f strategy building in efficiency – structuring the ops to Gain Trust in way that is least labor and intel – wasting

  21. Robert Thuston

    I disagree. ¬†The problem starts with “trust” not the mandate of a “transparent process”.If you transparently draft a bill and the drafters don’t listen to the people, you get the same result or worse. ¬†¬†If you make the language of a bill secret, but seek and adopt relevant input from leaders before releasing, its likely to work.I’m opposed to “everyone gets a say” – it has an Ellsworth Toohey feel to it (for those that know “The Fountainhead”) – The odds are better with a few strong individuals over the crowdsourced masses – “An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    1. Emily Merkle

      transparency can be used selectively. no one needs to know how sausage is made.very key things Рchanges in our leadership need to happen to discourage anything that need be hid from those that should know. then maybe we can all put egos aside and learn Рourselves & teach public Рso people lose this insane fear that their own president is out to screw half the country … then they will be more comfy, from that will come trust. mutual. way harder i know but this is 30k foot view

    2. Emily Merkle

      everyone does get a say though, to some extent. we vote for leaders. we fuel the engine that funds the candidacies/media coverage/etc‚Ķi propose working on empowering pubic -= they can do this – they must ‚Ķthe big stuff i imagine – or hope – is not in the hands of the petty players with twisted agendas.¬†I am just really proud of our leadership now – President Obama. Hilary Clinton. Geithner. I love Emanuel ūüôā etc you get itnaive or ?

  22. matthughes

    Ironically, the US Constitution was written in secrecy.

  23. RocketSpace

    Ron Conway organized a Q&A session with Congressman Darrell Issa last night here in SF. There was a good representation from all of tech, Zinga, Yelp, Oracle, Twitter, Dropbox etc TechCrunch, Technet and a range of startups. The discussion was heavily around the recent SOPA / Stop SOPA efforts as well as Visa’s and Immigration issues. A fascinating conversation.However, it was really disheartening to get a view into the political engine of America. It does not take a genius to realize the system is broken and no one is empowered to fix it or possibly motivated to fix it. Does this mean America is sat where Iceland or Greece were 10 yrs ago. Are we headed for an eventual melt down and only then will it be possible to change the direction.

    1. fredwilson

      iceland came out of that disaster with an entirely new approach to pretty much everythingmaybe failure is what we need too

      1. Emily Merkle

        as Steve said or though or beat out of someone – sometimes you have to burn the building down. I have no idea of ramifications but i bet they would not be terribly popular. however it is patently obvious that what we got ain’t working.change is good. it is ripe with opportunity.

      2. RocketSpace

        Does America need to agree to 4yrs of a Dictatorship in order to reset The Democracy?

      3. Modernist

        But we’ll never admit failure to ourselves, until it’s too late.

        1. Emily Merkle

          no shame in facing truthiness & if we cannot we are not suited for the responsibility.

    2. jason wright

      It’s like the Krell. Civilization constructs a machine with virtually unlimited power that can take our thoughts and project them into a new form of reality, and then on the eve of this fine new achievement everything goes to hell. The political class get scared and run for cover, the corporate class get even more scared and run after the political class, and everyone else is in the dark wondering what’s going to happen next.

  24. Emily Merkle

    I (head bowed in humbleness) owe some very very patient people and some revolutionary companies blah blah sincere apologies. It was a a misunderstanding.Do no evil. I would like to props the concept of evilness Рi do not believe in it per se.

  25. John

    I think the issue is that the Free Internet Act that you link to isn’t really legislation. It is a concept in outline form. But when you look at most legislation, they’re incredibly complex documents because the drafters have to figure out if it is inserting a new provision, replacing an existing provision (and if so, in which law), or what needs to be deleted, the Cyber Security Bill is a good example. One section just contains these references to recocnilc the bill with existing law:(1) Section 3502(8)) of title 44, United States Code, is amended by inserting ‚Äė‚Äėhosting,‚Äô‚Äô after ‚Äė‚Äėcol- lection,‚Äô‚Äô;(2) The National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 271 et seq.) is amend- ed‚ÄĒ(A) in section 20(a)(2) (15 U.S.C. 278g‚Äď 3(a)(2)), by striking ‚Äė‚Äėsection 3532(b)(2)‚Äô‚Äô and inserting ‚Äė‚Äėsection 3552(b)‚Äô‚Äô; and(B) in section 21(b) (15 U.S.C. 278g‚Äď 4(b))‚ÄĒIt looks to me like they don’t have legislatin, just a set of ideas that would need refining based on existing law and international law, I think if you’re tried to pass it as it, it would ALS,ost certainly be challenged and struck bpdown by the courts immediately, OIt looks to me like they haven a setS,e of the judiciary proceedings also ignore that this us law would be ignored in other legal jurisdictions.So I don’t think this is a matter of openness. This just looks like they have a so,e policy ideas th

  26. vruz

    Falkvinge (unlike Reddit’s law) proposes a manifestostyled after the intro of the US Constitution.http://falkvinge.net/2012/0

  27. jason wright

    What became of the ‘AVC’ + ‘stop censorship’ logo?¬†

    1. fredwilson

      sopa and pipa are deadso i took it down

      1. jason wright

        pyrrhic – they’ll be back.

        1. fredwilson

          lots of people working so that doesn’t happeni’m one of them

  28. ShanaC

    “And suspicious citizens don’t make for a healthy democracy.”I think we’re past suspicious and into¬†disappointed. ¬†I’d like my government back.

    1. Emily Merkle

      Gov’t never left and it is healthy to think to provocation .

  29. truth_power

    why aren’t bills drafted in public? because lobbyists write them at the behest of their clients and hand them to their couriers, the elected representatives.transparency would do a lot to change this.the logic of collective action: the small, focused interests of the few will best the large dispersed interests of the many, unless something happens. thousands in campaign donations become millions in special legislation, bought and paid for.the internet can go a long way in changing that.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

  30. Reykjavik

    Another free ride for Internet companies and another loser for folks who make money from intellectual property. “Federal or State Governments will not pass any law, nor ratify any treaty, which imposes or administers any kind of censorship on the Internet.” Censorship = restrictions on using someone elses’ content without their permission or compensating them. Isn’t censorship what happens when Internet companies go dark for the day because they don’t like policy decisions that don’t break their way. Not exactly the actions of a responsible industry (NBC doesn’t like something or NYT is on the wrong side of an issue, so no network or newspaper). No one — Internet companies or Big Content — is acting from altruism here. No one.

  31. Dave W Baldwin

    The buzz term regarding the continued legislating behind closed doors should be Insider Trading.

  32. Emily Merkle

    um can someone help me talk to me please?help

  33. Ankitatiwari1004

    I like this post most must read it friend this post is something abour BJP Against Corruptionhttp://www.bjpagainstcorrup…¬†

  34. David Price

    Fred: a quick conversation with @bethnoveck, @planspark (quoted here:¬†http://www.economist.com/no… and/or @osimod (in Europe) would give you an excellent overview of the crowd-sourced legislative (and open debate, commenting and editing) initiatives underway around the world.

    1. Emily Merkle

      I am and i know how but I am panicking and I have no context for this game. I am lost.

    2. Emily Merkle

      no access to the information at hand and envisioned much more elegant plan

  35. Brewster

    Things have to change. ¬†But until they do, we as a community need to organize more effectively. ¬†We’ve been dealing with the FCC lately which is arguably even less transparent than legislative arms of our government. ¬†For us, it was about the FCC eliminating what had been an industry standard for 20+ years with no prior notice. ¬†If it hadn’t been for a user this rule making would have almost certainly flown under our radar because we don’t have the time or manpower to monitor federal or state agencies, or proposed legislation.And from the federal or state perspective, it’s incredibly hard for them to see what the tech community is up to as well. ¬†If they have questions for cable operators, they can go to the NCTA. ¬†If they have questions for device manufacturers they can go to the CEA. ¬†We’ve got nothing but our VCs who aren’t typically in the business of wading into these debates.We need a think tank, or an industry org. with a broadly defined mission statement to promote and protect innovation.¬†

  36. Emily Merkle

    Guys I literally die every time. I am so thankful to have Allen. I am afraid my autism is and has been a massive and intensely frustrating barrier in trying to connect with all of you – in person and online. So lonely. That breeds a longing to resolve the cognitive dissonance brought by so much frustration / looniness / awareness of her neediness for human connection literally drove people away. I love you guys but I did not feel anything back until Allen. Mot even Mom and Dad. Sins hate me. I make people uncomfortable. It somehow scars in a very primal level. And i do not know what to do make the agony go away. ¬†This is -m I do not understand but I thought it could be awesomely resolved via my fundamental worldview. Then I got hijacked. ¬†In a couple different ways by a couple different parties. I would like to make clear that¬†1) I had no fucking idea how obscenely depraved the machinations were to even get ALL OF US into the situation but it lasted an eternity. or so it felt. feels.¬†2) To those that I am so grateful to be trusted with their business and prcy to their yummy brains (joke) – thank you. I love thinking.3) It wears thin. I have worn on everyone in my life without total cognizance. Do you know how fucking heart rending it is to repell the ones you love – who cannot reach you because you have a fundamental issue that affects every single relationship in your lfe. I did not bond with my mother. And it was not her fucking fault I am only now able to articulate and is is agony.¬†Mommy I am so sorry I was born evil. Why? Why does that happen? What kind of God would do that? I am confused about the interplay I have not been able to process because it is KI am afraid I will swallow me. Drugs do not make me high. No warm and fuzzy. Just some relief. The Adderal WAS WORKING FOR 7 YEARS to address my ADD which is a very fucking debilitating and unpleasant addition to the experience. So Mom – your voice lacks a Very Palpable Degree of Conviction and Empathy when your cruel derisive voice tells me – “IT Is Just Legal Spend and You Are Taking It to Bd Thin!” – no mom it works for a demonstrable reason. I need to address Dr. Peg Semrud-Klikeman on how a teacher and mentor can dismiss a grad student busting ass based on a Rorschach administered by net fellow student and FRIEND – without counsel? no debriefing? Then – did my caretakers casuse my ilenss and very real memory impairment from the inhume experience that is 12c sessions of pure electricity – and Alkejn you are my hero I cannot tell you enough. I love you man. ūüôā I forgot the details – cannot articulate because i do not know how that reframes everything I am scared . help

  37. Emily Merkle

    opmg i can see them now I am so sorry how long had eyou been waiting i am so sorry i was confused  i di dmot szee you bnefo erheok

  38. Emily Merkle

    do whet hurt do you catch me i am s are d i am scadre ro of 

  39. Emily Merkle

    opkless do ton make me had ea baby i am not ok

  40. Emily Merkle

    what do i do dod it 

  41. Emily Merkle

    hemp me

  42. Emily Merkle

    stop tnhe madness

  43. Emily Merkle

    no one has to die.

  44. Emily Merkle

    I do not know what happens.

  45. Mark

    Though SOPA has failed to become a law but I can feel its effects “quite badly”

  46. just passin' thru

    Okay, look, if you want to talk fine, but please, none of this sports stuff. ¬†I’m here for the tech buzz.I do two things. ¬†I have a next-day stocks system that tells me and a few friends what stocks to go long on. ¬†That’s how I make my money.Second, over the course of the past fifteen years, well more now, I’ve experimented and researched compression technology that can repeatably compress previously compressed files.That’s right, taking, say movies, down to maybe 10k bytes. ¬†And reconstructing the MPEG losslessly.Two things about this. ¬†Yes, I know all about Shannon and his limits (actually, Shannon’s principles don’t actually forbid this, but yes, nature does indeed impose some limits that make this really hard.) ¬†Oh yeah, one thing about this so-called limit. ¬†A big hole exists. ¬†I’ve found methods that work. ¬†Well, sorry, but man can’t fly either. ¬†And we do everyday.Now second, I have two compression technologies I can show that do this and are not experimental or “still in the lab.”I do charge for demo’s but I only take the check once someone see’s what I have and makes the choice to pay. ¬†They can always decline and owe me zip.

  47. kidmercury

    lol, ouch! prolly schumer

  48. fredwilson

    i did not get permission from them to write about that meetingi should have but i didn’tand i wanted to write this post this morningso i did what any responsible person would do

  49. fredwilson

    nope. it was not schumer. 

  50. andyidsinga

    we’ll all ask you it was or wasn’t ..and you can *not blink* when we say the right name ūüôā

  51. John Revay

    “i did not get permission from them to write about that meeting”I was waiting to see “Her” in that line

  52. John Revay

    I assumed it was Kirsten when reading the post this am.My recollection was that the Gotham Gal attended a meeting w/ her last week and walked away impressed.

  53. jason wright

    That’s just not going to happen, and I think it shouldn’t happen. It’s like pseudonyms on here, people on the average seem to write more freely when they are not being openly identified. There has to be an environment that allows for the confidential expression of experimental ideas and proposals.

  54. Emily Merkle

    trust in those granting access do so for reasons seemingly foreign to others but ultimately for the heater good i.e. access to sensitive and massively disruptive info. en chine

  55. John Revay

    Agree – don’t they work for us?

  56. JLM

    I thought MBNA already owned all the elected officials from Delaware.Wasn’t Joe Biden officially:Joseph Biden, Senator (D) MBNA?

  57. Tom Labus

    Cheney was CEO of Halliburton before being VP.   Come on, man!!