[TriLUG] On Topic - trusted computing vs Linux usability (was
OT : Don't let Cheney hide)
Aaron S. Joyner
aaron at joyner.ws
Thu Oct 7 14:50:18 EDT 2004
Okay, I've stayed out of this ridiculously off-topic post up to now, but
it's starting to drift around to things which do actually pertain to the
list - i.e. what is and is not acceptable when posting to this list.
Please see below for my comments rebutting Mike's assertions that we are
obligated to allow any topic on the list which anyone desires to post.
If you want to read something technical, you can stop now. This
contains no useful Linux value, this is only of merit to those concerned
with what is and is not allowed on the TriLUG mailing list.
Mike M wrote:
>The public does have a right to expect certain things from 501(c)(3)
>organizations because they are tax-exempt.
Okay, let's get this out of the way. The link you posted tears down
your argument, if you read it carefully. The *first* point of the IRS's
list, which will jeopardize a 501c's standing, is "must absolutely
refrain from participating in the political campaigns of candidates for
local, state, or federal office". We are *expressly* forbidden from
participating in any political campaign - the original poster was
soliciting campaign donations, and that is (at least in my reading)
being directly involved in a political campaign.
>Posting on an open list is protected by the First Amendment.
Incorrect. First off, this is not a public list. TriLUG is a 501c
corporation, and there for we are prohibited from making a profit or
engaging in profit-making activities, but we are not a public
organization in the same way as, for example, a government office would
be. Even in that case, consider the lobby of the FBI building at
Langley. Do you really think, that because it's a government owned,
funded, and entirely public building, that you can waltz in and stay as
long as you like, and say what ever you like? Could you stand in the
corner and continuously babble about your (hypothetical) opinion that
Iran and North Korea should be nuking us to start their strategic
invasion of the lower 48 states? No, the first amendment does not give
you the blanket rights to do what ever you like when the government is
in some way involved. For a more clear understanding, let's quote the
first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
> prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
> speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
> assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
By not allowing political drivel, or in any side-ways manner supporting
a political campaign, we are *not* directly infringing upon your right
to freely assemble. You are *welcome* to freely assemble and say what
ever you like, in any *appropriate* location you see fit. In fact, you
are *strongly* *encouraged* to do so. I will fight and die for your
right to do precisely that. But I will not even tolerate, much less
encourage, you doing so in an inappropriate forum. This is not an
appropriate place for you to voice your opinion, and by denying you the
right to do so, we are not impinging upon you overall greater rights to
free speech or assembly.
If the government were denying you the right to setup a separate
political discussion group, that would be granted 501c status, that
would be an infringement of your 1st amendment rights.
If the government were not allowing you any forum at all to assemble and
discuss political candidates, matters, or (virtually) any other topic -
that would be an infringement of your 1st amendment rights.
If the government were not defending you any group attempting to
suppress your rights to assemble and discuss political candidates,
matters, or (virtually) any other topic - that would be an infringement
of your 1st amendment rights.
>I agree this is not an appropriate forum for
>general political discussion. The point is that you cannot stop
>someone from making OT statements in an open forum. You can
>ignore them and you can disuade them but you cannot stop them.
The point you're missing is this is not an *open* forum. It was never
intended to be. It is not paid for with your tax dollars. Yes, because
TriLUG is a 501c organization we are bound not to make a profit, engage
in political campainging, be largely oriented towards lobbying for any
single cause, work to help anyone else make a profit, operate for the
benefit of private interests, do something particularly outside our
charter, or anything illegal. We can not make our sole endeavour be to
suppress political discourse. That would be a violation of the IRS's
first point (because it would be, in effect, trying to maintain the
political status quo), and it would potentially endanger your 1st
amendment rights. But we're not doing any of that, we're just
explaining to you that this is not the appropriate forum for that, and
it won't be tolerated.
Man, Tanner is so much less verbose than I am.
Aaron S. Joyner
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