“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist,” goes the famous poem by Martin Niemoller. Read it in its entirety because now they’re coming for the bloggers. I kid you not. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up right now.

“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.”

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

Now they’re coming for the bloggers. As God is my witness, this is happening in Florida. WFLA:

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) wants bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and other members of the Florida executive cabinet or legislature to register with the state or face fines.

Brodeur’s proposal, Senate Bill 1316: Information Dissemination, would require any blogger writing about government officials to register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics.

In the bill, Brodeur wrote that those who write “an article, a story, or a series of stories,” about “the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature,” and receives or will receive payment for doing so, must register with state offices within five days after the publication of an article that mentions an elected state official.

If another blog post is added to a blog, the blogger would then be required to submit monthly reports on the 10th of each month with the appropriate state office. They would not have to submit a report on months when no content is published.

For blog posts that “concern an elected member of the legislature” or “an officer of the executive branch,” monthly reports must disclose the amount of compensation received for the coverage, rounded to the nearest $10 value.

If compensation is paid for a series of posts or for a specific amount of time, the blogger would be required to disclose the total amount to be received, upon publication of the first post in said series or timeframe.

Additional compensation must be disclosed later on.

Failure to file these disclosures or register with state officials, if the bill passes, would lead to daily fines for the bloggers, with a maximum amount per report, not per writer, of $2,500. The per-day fine is $25 per report for each day it’s late.

The bill also requires that bloggers file notices of failure to file a timely report the same way that lobbyists file their disclosures and reports on assessed fines. Fines must be paid within 30 days of payment notice, unless an appeal is filed with the appropriate office. Fine payments must be deposited into the Legislative Lobbyist Registration Trust Fund if it concerns an elected member of the legislature.

My God. I have no words. I assume that this is limited to Florida bloggers, but if this gets going as a precedent, what is the obvious conclusion? Now I’m working for the state I reside in, potentially. We all are? Or at least forced to give reports to the state, should this madness spread beyond Florida?

And why do they care how much money we make? Do bloggers pose such a threat to Ron DeSantis and the other elected officials in Florida? Is that why they do this? And this is the same state that wants to make it easier to sue journalists. Now it’s down to us, even. The grassroots folks, the politically aware people on the front lines, writing from our homes and from our hearts on what we see and how we see it.

Look, see this for what it is, folks. Bloggers  are being targeted as dissidents in Florida and they are supposed to disclose their personal information and their finances. And does this bill include people outside of Florida who blog about Florida politicians? Believe me, I am going to obtain a copy of this bill.

This is a hard business to make a dollar in folks, blogging about politics. It’s no picnic. I love it, but I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it because politics is my passion. Trust me, I earn every dollar and so does everybody else on this site.

I can’t believe that Florida is threatened by bloggers, to this extent. This is a chilling suppression, oppression of free speech. Color me stunned.

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    • In my view, it’s both. It’s draconian. First, it’s a horrible assault on the First Amendment, to require people writing about public figures to register with the state AND then to disclose how much money we make doing it? Secondly, to fine somebody for not tap dancing to the State of Florida’s deadlines is a set up for abuse. It’s also a way to put bloggers out of business, which is how I read it. That’s the end game, shutting us all down. Wow. I had no idea we were that much of a threat.

      • Ron Desantis is perhaps worse than trump in a more palatable presentation. God help us if he and his ilk are elected in 2024. The suppression of our constitutional rights by these bigoted ultra conservatives in Florida is just the beginning of a reactionary Facsist trend which is frightening and disturbing!

    • I agree. DeSantis is a lot smarter. Although, I have to say, with his Harvard law degree, if he doesn’t shut this down in his tracks, he’s an idiot. This is totally oppressive and unconstitutional.

  1. No surprise. Nazis don’t allow freedom of anything except to follow their murderous ideology. I wonder when he’ll start jailing people over trumped up charges? Oh wait…he’s done that already…to poor black voters. Nevermind being shocked. Review those documentaries of nazi soliders standing on the ledges of trenches firing into the naked women and children below. Over and over and over and over and over and over…when will American voters wake up? I’ll go back to my military training before I live under those rules. Just think of a pissed off Ukrainian willing to fight and die to defend their freedom. This country needs a revolution amongst the voters before we sit on our ass and watch nazis make our laws. Too late for Florida. There will come a time when ‘voting’ won’t mean shit. Just ask the voters in Russia. The rest of us need to care enough to stop it. There’s a tipping point in every disaster. 785 days after the then ‘president’ led a violent coup and is still leading a coup. 785 fucking days. That’s just asking for it.

    • The optics of this are horrific. The bottom line here is that asking bloggers to register is asking them to identify as dissidents so they can be watched. This is chilling in the extreme. This bill will never fly. If Florida would pass it, they would get a black eye like you can’t believe.

  2. Maybe having FAUX Nooze on their side 110% of the time just wasn’t enough.

    I guess they’ll now go judge-shopping and get that dimwit from Texas to say it’s all perfectly legal, right after he outlaws abortion pills.

    • This would be buying a ton of bad press. I can’t believe DeSantis would be this stupid. Then again, look at some of the other bills in this crazy legislature. Banning the entire Democratic party????

  3. Aw, did Ronnie get some bad press? Did someone say something mean about him? Or is it the truth that’s got him so worried, as well it should. He’s been issuing a steady stream of repressive laws/rules/edicts for months. I’m surprised there’s been no major blow back about it. He’s trying to create his own little fiefdom in Floriduh, and he just keeps getting more extreme every day. Someone needs to do something about him and all his Spanish Inquisition redux. He’s a danger to all.

  4. It’s prima-facie (‘on its face’) unconstitutional and it will fail in every court all the way up to SCOTUS.

    What to do about this:

    When it fails all the way up, SUE the hell out of DeSantis for signing it. Demand that DeSantis and everyone else involved, who has a JD (law degree) reimburse the state for ALL costs of litigation for this bill. 

    Make the claim that executive/government immunity does not cover actions that ‘a reasonable person’ would recognise as prima-facie unlawful or unconstitutional.

    DeSantis went to Harvard Law. Therefore there is a ‘reasonable presumption’ that he has sufficient education to recognise any such bill will be held unconstitutional, and that signing it will incur substantial costs to the state (taxpayers) to litigate it. In which case the entire bill is ‘performative’, outside the scope of legitimate government action, and outside the scope of executive & other gov immunity.

    I’m not going to make any bets on the outcome of that lawsuit, but it will be one for the history books.

    And if we start doing enough of those, eventually one will win. And that will put the fear of (whatever you do or don’t believe in) in the hearts of all of these fascist monsters who keep enacting things that any idiote with a high school education, much less a Harvard law degree, would recognise as unconstitutional and expensive as hell to litigate. 

    If they want to do these fascist clown performances, they can do ‘em on their own dime, not at taxpayers’ expense. 

    To-do right now:

    Put DeSantis on notice NOW that if he signs that thing it WILL be litigated and when he loses he WILL be sued per my above.

    Give him ample warning. 

    A nice stiff lawyer letter, sent via registered mail, signature & return receipt required.

    That way there will be no doubt he was put on notice about it.

    Be Ukraine Strong!

    (I just posted another version of the above in reply to a Daily Kos story about this, and I’m posting it here to a) put y’all’s minds at ease about the likely outcome and b) suggest a fight-back that will at least put these monsters on notice.)

    • Thank you, G2 and good to see you again! You’re one of my favorite people on the internet. I will always be grateful to you that you inspired that piece I wrote on Alan Berg back in 2016. I’m still getting commentary on that piece, if you can believe it. A young woman in Texas contacted me last year because she ran across it.

      • Hi Ursula:-) Thanks! Something we should all keep in mind:

        Fascists are first and foremost _emotional terrorists_. Like vampires that feed on our bad feelings. Their goal is to make us feel things: fear, anxiety, sadness, despair, etc. etc.

        Don’t give them what they want. Don’t let them live rent-free in your brain.

        The first thing to do, always, is get into FIGHT mode. Warrior mind is calm and objective. Look for legal strategies, election strategies, creative nonviolent protests that only need a few people to make a point, etc., and get working on them.

        And always, the most important thing is GOTV. Register new voters, look up ‘inactive’ voters and get in touch with them, etc. Build support from the grassroots up. And educate people to vote the whole ballot especially including the ‘downballot’ races that many tend to miss because they don’t know much about local candidates for municipal offices.

        Glen The Plumber on Daily Kos has a brilliant election canvassing strategy:

        He always starts by talking with voters about the local offices, the municipal gov offices. Everyone hates potholes, everyone loves clean streets and nice parks. Start there. Scope out the person you’re talking to: if they’re progressive, next item to cover is the school board. If you’re persuasive you can get undecideds on-side about those races and then about the ones at the top of the ticket.

        Here’s the ‘magic’ about this: It tends to bypass partisanship and be highly persuasive because it’s coming from an unexpected place. And if you get people excited about those local races, they will turn out to vote, and they will also vote the ‘top of the ballot’ races. Every person you get excited about voting for a new Public Works director and School Board, will also vote for state legislators, Governor, House & Senate, and President.

        Go out & get ’em, tigers!

        • “Fascists are first and foremost _emotional terrorists_. Like vampires that feed on our bad feelings. Their goal is to make us feel things: fear, anxiety, sadness, despair, etc. etc. Don’t give them what they want. Don’t let them live rent-free in your brain.”

          Exactly! But that’s precisely why this article didn’t need to be written, especially for all the fine readers and commentators here at Politizoom.com. As many have already pointed out, DeSantis and his Merry Marauders all know that this bill doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting past the first federal court (or even state court, if there are any sane jurists in Florida) to consider it. The bill was solely designed to “trigger the libs.” Let’s not even let it into our heads long enough to worry about it. You’re the best, G2 and Ursula, but don’t get into a tizzy about a nothingburger like this one.

  5. Once again I’m compelled to ask conservatives who invented the insult “Just who the FUCK are you asshats to call US “Snowflakes!” Go take your butt-hurt fee fees and disappear. Somewhere far, far away. (Since you are so enamored of Russia why not head there? Especially if you are of age for military service. Pootie needs warm bodies to feed into his meat grinder.)

  6. Now Denis. You know these cowards would never serve in any capacity that might cost them. They would be like the rich white slave owners who passed laws exempting them from fighting for the confederate cause. They also paid others to do it for them. All these fuckers toting rifles and handguns & wearing rifle pins have never had one trained on them. They’d be leaving a trail of shit as they pulled a Josh Hawley and ran. Believe it. It’s not real to them since they live in compounds protected by taxpayers. It’s only real to elementary, middle school, high school and college kids. It’s only real to concert goers in Nevada. It’s only real to black church goers in Charleston. Its only real to the gay and transgender folks. And so on and so on and so on. Someday, someone they love will get murdered by one of the 400,000,000 guns they put on the street. Then it will be real. Evil fuckers.

    • I have to assume that they’re only trying to stifle bloggers living in Florida. if they try to stifle those of us who blog on the internet (which could be me, or somebody in Canada, Australia, whatever) the it goes into internet commerce considerations and maybe even international law. So I have to believe they’re just trying to shut down the Florida bloggers.

      The net effect of that is that bloggers in the other 49 states and the rest of the world will smother Florida with blogging.

  7. Remember. You demand what you abhor? You have very scant credibility. You who tout the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution as your very own? No credibility. I am not the only one who feels as I do.


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