Adios Bleeding Heartland

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to start seizing websites for "copyright infringement".

See example here:

Thus far there are 76 websites reported seized under U.S. Copyright Law.  Apparently this was done under the auspices of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

Our favorite Iowa senator, Chuck Grassley just voted a newer broader reaching bill, Combatting Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) out of the Judiciary Committee.  

In the past, Internet sites deemed guilty under DMCA were allowed to remove the offending portion of the website in question until the issue could be resolved. Apparently now the Feds are simply seizing the entire Domain.

Opponents to COICA seem to believe that if enacted as written, search robots could be used to find specific words and terms on websites, and then automatic seizure would take effect.  I have not had the opportunity to review the study bill in question, so further research is needed to verify or reject these claims.

Any BH readers with a sense of this issue?

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Grassley Admits (on TV) To Hypocrisy on Filibusters

(It's always good when people can bypass the media filter and ask politicians the questions you wish journalists were asking them. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I posted some of this last Thursday, but I think it bears repeating since Grassley voted "NO" on the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to HHS this past week and admitted on local cable that he's a hypocrite.

March 14, 2005 – The New Yorker publishes an article, NUKE ‘EM in which Senator Chuck Grassley is quoted, discussing the purpose of the filibuster:

“Filibusters are designed so that the minority can bring about compromise on legislation,” Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told Toobin. “But you can’t compromise a Presidential nomination. It’s yes or no. So filibusters on nominations are an abuse of our function under the Constitution to advise and consent.

My husband called Grassley's office on April 23rd – he read this quote to the aide and asked, "Does Senator Grassley stand by this statement?"

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So I Guess Senator Grassley Doesn't Like Questions

(I look forward to the updated version with video! For what it's worth, Grassley said on his Twitter-feed that the Mechanicsville meeting was the "First time in 20 counties that any attendee said disagreed w my stimulus vote." - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Senator Grassley spent this week touring several counties in Iowa, holding Town Hall meetings and doing tours of various facilities. This evening he was in Mechanicsville, IA. This is a pretty small town – it's in Cedar County – eastern side of the state.

In 2004 Cedar County was Bush 50% and Kerry 49%. In 2008 Obama got 54% to McCain's 44%. I was told by a volunteer tonight that the Obama campaign's goal in this county was 5,200 votes. Obama got 5,221 votes. 

Senator Grassley set up all his events this week in small towns – ensuring that media outlets would have to travel to see him. Well, clonecone and I went to see him – and we brought a video camera. We haven't been able to upload the video yet, but I expect to do another diary with video and more details tomorrow or Saturday…in the meantime, some highlights!

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Contact Senator Grassley and Tell Him to Allow a Vote on Levin-Reed!

The Democratic National Committee has put together an action page on their site asking for Democrats to help fight against Republican obstruction on a straight up-or-down vote on the Levin-Reed redeployment amendment.  Check it out here.  According to the DNC’s Internet Outreach guy, Kombiz Lavasany, the responses won’t only go out in email form but as a fax into Senate offices as well.

If you’re from Iowa make sure to go send a letter/fax to Sen. Grassley and ask him to stand with Sen. Harkin and move for a straight up-or-down vote on the Levin-Reed Amendment—and tell him to support it, too!

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Grassley and Abramoff sitting in a tree

( - promoted by Drew Miller)

The Washingtonian has an interesting article written by Kim Eisler about his old friend Jack Abramoff, with a lot of interesting inside information and quotes from the convicted felon:

Of Iowa senator Charles Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance committee, who had been critical of Abramoff, Jack said: "You can say you have a good source that Grassley not only carried my water on the Bear Council issue [a fight over tribal recognition in Grassley’s state] and received a ton of contributions in return, but he also did one of the biggest asks from Abramoff ever, taking Tyco out of the tax bill… . They would have been hit with a $4-billion tax bill."

Last year, the Sioux City Journal reported that Senator "Aw Shucks" and the rest of the Republican delegation were tied in well with Abramoff:

According to Federal Elections Commission documents, Grassley received a $1,000 campaign contribution from Abramoff in March 2003.

Abramoff also gave $5,000 to the Hawkeye PAC, which Grassley uses to raise money for other House and Senate candidates.

The Meskwaki, Choctaw and Saginaw Chippewa tribes gave $13,000. Another $3,500 came from co-workers at Abramoff’s lobbying firm.

Recipients of Hawkeye PAC funds included Reps. Nussle, Tom Latham and Steve King, who got $10,000 each in 2004.

Des Moines lawyer Stan Thompson, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, for a second time in 2004, received $15,000 from the PAC.

Latham gave the $1000 he received directly from Abramoff to charity (whatever that means), but Grassley stubbornly refused.

Do you think the Iowa press will follow up on this story? I don’t either. But it would be nice if some embarrassment in the press and the prospect of riding out the rest of his career in the minority would encourage Grassley to hang it up in 2010. I would love to see him hop on his lawn movers and head west, back home, into the sunset.

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