Free Speech in Peril?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Avid_Consumer, Jan 18, 2007.


    Congress to Send Critics to Jail, Says Richard Viguerie

    Congress Wants to Blame the Grassroots for Its Own Corruption

    MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a
    statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of,
    regarding legislation currently being considered by Congress to regulate
    grassroots communications:
    "In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but
    isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on
    grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress.
    "Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the
    Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
    500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report
    quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220
    would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive
    intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history,
    critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.
    "The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
    grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
    more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.
    "On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create
    criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone 'knowingly
    and willingly fails to file or report.'
    "That amendment was introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA). Senator
    Vitter, however, is now a co-sponsor of Amendment 20 by Senator Robert
    Bennett (R-UT) to remove Section 220 from the bill. Unless Amendment 20
    succeeds, the Senate will have criminalized the exercise of First Amendment
    rights. We'd be living under totalitarianism, not democracy.
    "I started to fight efforts to silence the
    grassroots. The website provides updates in the legislation and has a
    petition to sign opposing Section 220.
    "Thousands of nonprofit leaders, bloggers, and other citizens have
    hammered the Senate with calls in opposition to Section 220, which seeks to
    silence the grassroots. The criminal provisions will scare citizens into
    "The legislation regulates small, legitimate nonprofits, bloggers, and
    individuals, but creates loopholes for corporations, unions, and large
    membership organizations that would be able to spend literally hundreds of
    millions of dollars, yet not report.
    "Congress is trying to blame the grassroots, which are American
    citizens engaging in their First Amendment rights, for Washington's
    internal corruption problems."
    CONTACT: Mark Fitzgibbons, +1-703-392-7676 or +1-703-408-3775, for
  2. achilles28


    The first amendment is outdated anyway

    Who cares if they criminalize our freedom of speech???
  3. yeah who gives a shit, i always dreamt to live in a police state. we have to unite, undermine and condemn the 100s of yrs of struggle of america grandfathers who spilled blood over the fight for rights so that we can finally begin to progress and prosper.
  4. Here's the bottom line AC. "Reform" efforts such as campaign finance or anti-lobbying are de facto infringements on free speech. Much the same ways embargoes are intrinsically anti-free trade.

    U.S. law prohibits you from selling arms to Iran. Do you consider that legislation a draconian affront to liberty?
  5. I posted a link in another thread to an article in which James Dobson attacked John McCain over this very piece of legislation. He said he would not support McCain under any conditions, which just about means game over for McCain.

    The one silver lining to this very dark cloud is that the new Supreme Court would get another shot at this clear First Amendment infringement. If they follow the lead of the moronic Court that upheld McCain's Campaign Finance Reform law, they might as well just repeal the First Amendment.

    Look for the mainstream media to back this bill. It is the answer to one of their most annoying problems, the blogosphere. Like Campaign Finance, it shuts down free speech by everyone but the media, thereby greatly enhancing their power. Maybe they can even bring Dan Rather back.

    I guess McCain's role model is Hugo Chavez.
  6. BSAM


    Right on bro! Who needs it???:p I've also heard the government is soon to ban the sale of "Animal Farm".:eek:
  7. more:

    steve watson
    thursday january 18 2007

    you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was some new restriction on free speech in communist china. but it isn't. the u.s government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to congress in the latest astounding attack on the internet and the first amendment.

    richard a. vigueire, chairman of, a website dedicated to fighting efforts to silence grassroots movements, states:

    "section 220 of S.1, the lobbing reform bill currently before the senate, would require grassroot causes, even bloggers who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to congress the same as the big k street lobbyists. section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on the first amendment rights ever. for the first time in history, critics of congress will need to register and report with congress itself."

    in other words nancy pelosi and the democrats may redefine the meaning of lobbying in order that political communications to and even between citizens falls under the same legislation.

    under current law any "lobbyist" who 'knowingly and willingly' fails to file and report quarterly to the government faces criminal charges including a possible jail term up to a year.

    the amendment is currently on hold.

    this latest attack on bloggers comes from hot on the heels of republican senator john mcCain's proposal to introduce legislation that would fine blogs up to $300.000 for offensive statements, photos and videos posted by visitors on comment board.

    mcCain's proposal is presented under the banner of saving children from sexual predators and encourages informants to stop website owners to the national center for the missing and exploited children, who then pass the information on to the relevant police authorities.


    despite the lack of any evidence that children are being victimized en mass by bloggers or people who leave comments on blog sites, it seems likely that the proposal will become legislation in some form. it is well known that mcCain has a distaste for the blogosphere critics, causing a definite conflict of interest where any proposal to restrict blogs on his part is concerned.

    in recent months, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the internet and further lead it down the path of strict control has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs.:

    during an appearance with his wife barbara on fox news last november, george bush senior slammed internet bloggers for creating an "ugly climate".

    - the white house's own recently de-classified strategy for "winning the war on terror" targets internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to "diminish" their influence.

    - the pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the internet and propagandize for the war on terror.

    - in a speech last month, homeland security director michael chertoff identified the web as a "terror training' camp", trough which "disaffected people living in the united states" are developing "radical ideologies and potentially violent skills". chertoff pledged to dispatch homeland security agents to local police departments in order to aid in the apprehension of domestic terrorists who use the internet as a political tool.

    - a landmark legal case on behalf of the recording industry association of america and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web - and their argument is supported by the u.s government.

    - a landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of then internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that i simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.

    - the european union, led by former stalinist and potential future prime minister john reid, has also vowed to shut down "terrorists" who use the internet to spread propaganda.

    - the EU also recently proposed legislation that would present users from uploading any form of video without a license.

    - we have also previously exposed how moves are afoot to clamp down in internet neutrality and even to designate a highly restricted new form of internet known as internet 2.

    make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outpost of free speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who cannot operate within society where information flows freely and unhindered. all these moves mimic stories we hear every week out of state controlled china, where the internet is strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the rest of the web.

    the phrases "chinese government" and "mao zedong" have been censored on china's official web site because they are "sensitive phrases". are we to allow our supposedly democratic government to implement the same type of restrictive policies here?

    under section 220 of the lobbying reform bill, could require to seek a license in order to bring this information to you. if we were granted a license we would have then to report our activities to the government four times per year in order to bring you this information. does that sounds more like free speech or more like totalitarian?

    take action:

    as well as calling the senate you should go to which has a petition that you can sign against section 220 of s.1, the lobbying reform bill.
  8. Heres an interesting quote, that somes up the situation.

  9. Bit, the root of all this is the anti-lobbying effort itself. I believe in free speech AND free markets. Free markets extends to unlimited campaign contributions, the use of soft dollars and of course lobbying. Anything short of bribery (i.e. money taken for personal gain) should be legal.

    HOWEVER if one says that RESTRICTIONS should be placed then expect bloggers to also be effected. For instance what if a law is passed inhibiting political broadcast airtime. But a rival candidate circumvents the initiative through the use of PAID bloggers. Unfair? I'd argue yes, at least under the pretext/intent of the law. The answer? NO LAW!

    Next issue Bit. I'm here for ya...... :)
  10. This scandal shows the intellectual bankruptcy of both political parties. The Democrats, supposed champions of the little guy, are pushing this hard. Plenty of Establishment Republicans, led by McCain, are toadying along with them.

    The ostensible need for this bill is the proliferation of bogus "grassroots" organizations, which are actually set up by lobbyists or other activists. They are called "astroturf" organizations, and for some reason a lot of congresspeople want to silence them. Instead of targetting them directlyhowever, they drafted this sweeping bill that would threaten legitimate groups and chill core First Amendment freedoms. Internet porn would have more protection than political debate.
    #10     Jan 18, 2007