Saturday, August 23, 2008

Right of Anonymity vs. Right of Full Disclosure

Since I have been finding a particular legal notice on a certain community message board of interest as it pertains to issues of law and privacy I find it necessary to do some writing on this important subject.

My first thought was that my original position on the matter was the correct one. Now after doing some more thinking on the matter and looking a little bit more into the subject in an investigatory and fact gathering capacity I find I have to give the issue a bit more thought.

The legal notice I speak of at the message board is one that notifies several board posters that they are the subject of a legal discovery of their true identities based upon something which they apparently posted at that message board.

The matter involved things which were stated about a particular employee of the town of Secaucus, New Jersey. Yet the legal discovery action has, it seems, been brought about by the town government. That might in fact play a role in just how successful or should I better say unsuccessful that town will be in prosecuting the matter in the courts.

I say that basing it upon a statement made in regard to a different but very similar case which is ongoing in New Jersey. I am using some of the comments made in that news story so as to make the point.

I provide the following comment found on NJ.Com Website for a little back story information. That article made some of the following comments which I herein quote.

{Last fall, Manalapan attorneys subpoenaed Google, insisting that the internet company reveal the name and computer behind daTruthSquad's blogging account. A state Superior Court judge eventually quashed the subpoena, calling the request "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights."}

From my perspective it would seem without giving it a great deal of thought that such action would be of no consequence. Continuing with my thought it might not be a simple task for the town of Secaucus to gain the information basing it upon the next paragraph from the story related to Manalapan.

{Lawrence Kleiner, Spodak's attorney, said the new lawsuit has a better chance of succeeding because the former mayor has been out of office for more than two decades and is a private citizen, not a public official. The attorney is seeking subpoenas to require internet service providers to disclose the identities of up to 100 of the former mayor's anonymous critics.} Emphasis Snake Oil Sam

The point here being that since the Secaucus issue is an action apparently being brought by the Town Government rather than the offended employee it might in fact go against the town at the level of a higher court.

I would have to question just why the Town Government is going after these anonymous individuals rather than the town employee on his own behalf. Since it is a matter of record that there is a bit of political bad blood between certain political factions one is forced to wonder if this action has a deeper and yet undisclosed agenda.

But without regard to agenda’s and possible vendettas does a town government especially one with an outstanding track record of political tension, such as Secaucus, have a legal right to expect that a third party can be coerced into providing any private identity information?

Of course you would suspect that when something which involves privacy issue arises there might be groups who would stand up in the face of governmental action. Such is the case with the Manalapan issue.

{The case has, once again, attracted the attention of national First Amendment groups.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a California nonprofit group that helped defend daTruthSquad in the previous lawsuit, said it will continue to work to keep the blogger's identity secret.}

Although this particular instance involves the blogging community, for point of discussion there is really little distinction between bloggers and some who might choose for whatever the reason to make those comments on a community related message board.

I would have to believe that the laws which affect one affect the other as well. Since there is a great deal of issues to consider as we delve into the field of unintended consequences we need to be mindful of more than the simple issues of slander and libel.

There are many things about which to be concerned in this matter. One of those which got my attention while researching the Manalapan story was a quote by Matt Zimmerman who is associated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

{"You have the constitutional right to speak anonymously," said Matt Zimmerman, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney. "You can't use the court as an investigatory tool simply to out critics."}

But even in light of such lucid comments I find it difficult to fully accept that you can simply make comments of an offensive nature such as the things apparently said about the former Mayor of Manalapan.

But again I could be wrong and I am certainly not the final authority on such law. I am just one humble writer and critic attempting to offer an opinion without sounding like the ultimate arbiter of journalistic prudence.

Perhaps the Town of Secaucus will find that it is not worth the money of the good taxpaying citizens to proceed with this matter in light of the fact that the Manalapan issue has already set some degree of precedent.

In addition, armed with the knowledge that an organization such as Electronic Frontier Foundation might step in and pick up the cudgel on behalf of the now anonymous posters it might give the town fathers some reason for concern and perhaps consider letting the offended party deal with the matter individually.

After all since the alleged remarks were made about a private individual, who just happens in this case to work for the town, what business is it of town government to step in and authorize the spending of town money and time seeking to find information which very well might lead to a long and expensive lawsuit.

This sounds much more like some sort of political maneuvering than it does concern over the reputation of a private individual. In any event there are far deeper issues here than any which I would have even considered without giving it a goodly degree of thought.

I sincerely hope that those of you reading this also find it beneficial to consider this most important issue as the right to speak freely affects us all.

Freedom of Speech or Death
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2008

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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Great Mouse Adventure

This day started with much excitement at the Sam house. Suddenly out of the solitude of a restful nights sleep old Snake was awakened with the panicked cry of Mrs. Sam. “Snake Oil,” “a mouse, there is a mouse in the bathroom.” My first reaction was to turn over and go back to sleep.

Unfortunately the Mrs. would have none of that. She was, as a matter of fact quite adamant that I take immediate action. Knowing that I didn’t have a hope of just going back to sleep I diligently did my husbandly duty, got up and put on a pair of pants.

I have often wondered why it is referred to as a pair of pants when it is only one. But let me not digress less I detract from the story. Arriving at the place of confrontation I found that Mrs. Sam had covertly placed a towel which she had grabbed before making her hasty retreat, at the bottom of the door.

It was unclear whether she had done so as a matter of trapping the little varmint in the bathroom or as an instinctual action encoded into the genome of women as a matter of self preservation. But putting aside such matters I carefully open the door to see if in fact the mouse was still in sight.

Sure enough there it was. It seemed that it was standing its ground simply trying to asses the situation that it was now in. Not wanting to let it escape into the greater region of the house I closed the door while trying to formulate a battle plan.

Mrs. Sam strongly suggested that I take a broom and beat it to death. But being the kind of guy who never likes to kill without good reason I decided that it would be a better idea to capture the little critter and release it to the wilderness.

Searching the house for some sort of implement which I might use in order to capture the little beast I spied out a little wooden bowl which seems just right for the task at hand. I remembered a time as a young lad when such an event took place at mothers’ house. Being a youth I didn’t know what to do but my older brother taught me the ways of the hunter that night.

The lesson had not been lost on little Sam.

Returning to the site of the hunt I instructed Mrs. Sam to step aside so that I might confront the wily beast. She pleaded with me to put on a pair of shoes so that I might not be bitten. But I had a task ahead and did not feel it necessary to protect the exposed area. After all it was just a mouse I argued.

When I started the hunt I soon discovered that a mouse is faster than an old man as it countered my every move. But I would not be outwitted by a mouse. Being so small it used its size to advantage running behind the toilet where it was difficult to trap. I continued to chase it into open territory. But due to its speed it continued to defy my efforts.

Mrs. Sam called from beyond the door asking how the hunt was going. I responded that I had my prey in sight and was closing the circle. I was assisted by the fact that the floor surface is very shinny and therefore very slippery. Yes, the mouse had traction problems.

I used that to my advantage. After attempting to drop a small old hand towel on top of it in order to blind it I realized that would not work as the mouse simply ran out from underneath.

Taking the small wooden bowel that I had brought for the job I attempted to simply place it over the mouse. But it kept eluding the bowel with its instinctual survival effort. Frustrated I picked up yet another implement in my war arsenal.

I now held the toilet scrub brush in my right hand and the wooden bowel in my left. Waiting for the right moment, the mouse made yet one more attempt to elude me. I saw an opening and swung the brush at the mouse capturing it by the tail.

“Yes!” I had my prey. Placing the bowel over the little fella’ I told my wife to get me something flat that I might slide under the bowel so I to seal the fate of the now captured mouse.

Soon she returned with a flattened cardboard Eggo’ box. “Perfect” I declared. She then quickly exited the room in the event that the mouse might escape during the delicate operation of cardboard insertion.

But since all went well with that aspect the operation I now was prepared to vacate the mouse from my home to the nearby woods. Hopefully the mouse will not dare to return remembering that this house is occupied by a defender of the castle.

Freedom of Speech or Death
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2008
Legal Defense Disclaimer
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Editors Note: Anyone wishing to express an opinion on this blog “Snake Oil Sam’s Radio Review” is welcome to submit it for consideration through the Contact Snake Oil Sam e-mail link located at the end of each article! The publisher assumes no responsibility for the content or opinion of submissions and might or might not agree with the content of comment.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Has Michael Savage Been Muzzled?

After listening to Michael Savage for that past two days I have to wonder if something transpired during his recent discussions with his syndication network which has put a lid on his trademark temper. I hope that is not the case but it seems that Savage is holding back.

He did a program with little passion and then attributed it to a nasal inhaler? Come on Mike it would take a shot from an elephant gun to bring you down!

I for one sincerely hope that the people who control the on/off switch on the broadcast microphone have not been so intimidated that they are going to place any sort of restraints on the power of the Savage Nation to broadcast truth.

Yesterday while reading the description of a brutal rape/murder of a couple young girls Savage was brought nearly to tears. He was unable to read the entire transcript. He held back his rage; a rage which I might add is justifiable.

Savage should not have held back that rage. After all, he is the lone voice in the wilderness which says what we all collectively think. Dr. Savage if I might offer you a small bit of advice, don’t change your outspoken ways. If you don’t say it who will? No one ever said that the ride of Paul Revere was an easy one.

Freedom of Speech or Death
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2008
Legal Defense Disclaimer
Contact Snake Oil Sam

Editors Note: Anyone wishing to express an opinion on this blog “Snake Oil Sam’s Radio Review” is welcome to submit it for consideration through the Contact Snake Oil Sam e-mail link located at the end of each article! The publisher assumes no responsibility for the content or opinion of submissions and might or might not agree with the content of comment
.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Michael Savage Gives Autism Airtime

As a result of the recent autism controversy Michael Savage has begun to air a radio spot dealing with the issue of autism. Apparently it is a decision made by the syndicators of the Savage Nation.

Savage himself made no comment on the spot and seems to be letting it go by as just yet one more commercial. Clearly the group is interested in getting out facts about autism and forming a source of shared information.

If the commercial sponsorship of the network helps in this cause then perhaps Savage has done a good thing in bringing this issue to the forefront of media. But what Dr. Savage said about the issue of big pharma should not be allowed to slip out of sight. That also is an important issue. One which Savage was attempting to raise and which Savage claims was blown out of proportion by Media Matters when this controversy began.

You can go to the
IAN PROJECT if you want to know more about autism. And if you want to read the latest at Media Matters for America you can do that as well. After all everyone has the right to protected speech, no matter what side of the fence you stand on.

Freedom of Speech or Death
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2008
Legal Defense Disclaimer
Contact Snake Oil Sam

Editors Note: Anyone wishing to express an opinion on this blog “Snake Oil Sam’s Radio Review” is welcome to submit it for consideration through the Contact Snake Oil Sam e-mail link located at the end of each article! The publisher assumes no responsibility for the content or opinion of submissions and might or might not agree with the content of comment.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Michael Savage to Play Hardball with Media Matters

After having become a political target of Media Matters for America, an organization which Hillary Clinton claims to be responsible for starting, the nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage recently stated on air that he intends to bring legal action against that organization.

According to Savage, “I am in communication with a congressman” the identity of whom Savage failed disclose. According to Savage
Media Matters is guilty of violations of the RICO Act.

Though he was unclear as to exactly what sort of criminal conspiracy Media Matters is guilty of Savage apparently believes that he can make a good case against Media Matters. Dr. Savage has already called upon his audience to seek the 501(C)(3) report that the tax exempt organization is legally required to provide to anyone asking for it.

That act alone can cause a rather sizeable headache for Media Matters. But that is the least of their problems in my view. If in fact Savage does carry out his threat to bring a suit against Media Matters it could prove troublesome for them as they will have to go through what could possibly prove to be an extensive and exhaustive discovery process.

I believe that Media Matters has walked onto very thin ice which is exactly where Savage wants them. However Savage himself might be treading on thin ice when he asks his audience to contribute to his legal defense fund in his fight against CAIR and Media Matters since it might be a conflict of some statute to commingle funds for a fight against
CAIR and his fight against Media Matters.

He might very well have to create two separate accounts which would require that the donor earmark the donation for a specific account. Perhaps it might serve Savage well if he were to simply create some sort of single Michael Savage Fund for American Justice which would be legally dedicated to his overall fight for the defense of Constitutional Rights.

Certainly not being a lawyer I have no expertise in such matters but if there is any possibility that
Michael Savage might give his enemies an opportunity to attack him with some legal angle he might want to give serious consideration to this aspect of his funding.

Savage recently had his case against CAIR
thrown out of court for all intents and purposes. He was expecting nothing less and is prepared to take it all the way the United Sates Supreme Court.

Savage will not be denied his day in court. But judging by the recent actions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is questionable if there are enough teeth left in our Constitution to even have a positive outcome.

When the Constitution is treated as nothing more than toilet paper by individuals such as
Pelosi then one must consider that America is already dead and no one has yet to notice the stench of America’s death.

Freedom of Speech or Death
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2008
Legal Defense Disclaimer
Contact Snake Oil Sam

Editors Note: Anyone wishing to express an opinion on this blog “Snake Oil Sam’s Radio Review” is welcome to submit it for consideration through the Contact Snake Oil Sam e-mail link located at the end of each article! The publisher assumes no responsibility for the content or opinion of submissions and might or might not agree with the content of
comment.


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