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A surprising threat to freedom-Campaign Finance Reform thread-day 29
Capitol Hill Blue ^ | 1/8/03 | Jay Ambrose

Posted on 01/08/2004 6:12:38 AM PST by Valin

If American democracy is finally done in, the perpetrators will unlikely be Hitlerian figures whose strutting authoritarianism is plain to see, but a collection of well-meaning, schoolmarm-like activists who aim to restrict our freedoms for our own supposed good. They may well be members of Common Cause. You never figure an outfit like Common Cause to be a danger to the republic's must crucial principles, do you? But be vigilant: Common Cause is in the forefront of those cutting the First Amendment down to an imperceptible size. The group does not want anything blocking the way as government squelches free speech.

Common Cause sees itself in another light, of course. Its president, Chellie Pingree, is quoted by a Maine newspaper as telling university students that her group's purpose "is to make sure that everyone has a voice" on issues of moment. So why is it that Common Cause has so wholeheartedly supported a campaign finance reform law that denies citizens their untethered say in politics?

Stop and think for a moment about how average citizens get heard by those who represent them. Maybe a citizen will write a letter to one of his U.S. senators. Someone in the senator's office will read it and make sure the writer gets a response, but the letter is one of thousands dealt with, and the writer may be just one of millions of the senator's constituents. The senator cannot conceivably give equal ear to everyone in the state.

Perhaps this citizen gets smarter. Perhaps the citizen joins a group that stands for some of the same things the citizen stands for, a group such as the National Rifle Association or the American Civil Liberties Union.

Through either of these groups or dozens of others, including Common Cause, citizens of like mind can come together in harmonious chorus and get attention. The time-honored tactic is of immeasurable democratic value. These associations can research, analyze, annoy, coax, persuade _ and empower. Through combining the resources of many individuals, they give the single individual more political heft. The right of these groups to exist and speak up and get in the face of those who hold office would never be tolerated in a dictatorial regime, but in our land of liberty, the right has mostly been taken as inviolable.

I said "mostly." The attitude of the McCain-Feingold campaign reform law toward this right can be summed up as ha, ha, ho, ho, chuckle, chuckle, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. According to the law _ whose enactment is regarded by Common Cause as a great victory for the American citizenry _ these groups cannot sponsor TV or radio ads that mention a candidate's name when a primary is no more than 30 days away or a general election is no more than 60 days away. In other words, when their voices would have the most consequence, the law as much as says: "Shut up, you stupid ones."

Whatever that is, it's not free speech. It may be a way of making democracy more tidy and sweet, but when democracy gets tidy and sweet through the coercive power of government, it means that liberties of the people have been sacrificed. The McCain-Feingold law is like that throughout _ a way of shutting people up through all sorts of pretenses, and Common Cause is not through with the First Amendment yet. It also supports tight regulation of the growth of companies that bring you the news, an assault on freedom of the press. The justifying thesis is that a very few corporations could come to control what you learn about issues. It has apparently escaped the group's attention that we live in an age in which high-tech has given us more easily accessible outlets of information and views on public issues than has ever existed in history.

I don't doubt that Common Cause has benefited America since it was created in the 1970s or that its members and officers are nobly intentioned. I think they are also hopelessly innocent on some issues, ideologically incapable of grasping some relatively easy concepts and so fixated on the question of money's corrupting influence on politics that they fail to see things whole. Because the group is widely respected, the fact of its pecking away at precious rights may set off few of the alarms that would be ringing if it were an obvious demagogue doing the deed. Someone needs to speak up, and since Common Cause hasn't managed to quell my voice yet, I just have.

(Contact Jay Ambrose at AmbroseJ@SHNS.com)

© Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blackburn; bush; campaignfinance; cfr; cfrdailythread; feingold; firstamendment; freedomofspeech; hyde; mccain; mccainfeingold; meehan; shays

1 posted on 01/08/2004 6:12:39 AM PST by Valin
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To: Valin; RiflemanSharpe; Lazamataz; proud American in Canada; Congressman Billybob; backhoe; ...
Also This
Court limits free speech

I was shocked and appalled when I learned of the U.S. Supreme Court's complete disregard for our Constitution when it ruled to uphold the ban on campaign ads in the campaign finance reform law.

I have not heard much coverage on this ominous ruling from the media, and I'm concerned that people don't realize what the most powerful judiciary in the country has done.

This law bans any individual, corporation, or political committee from running so-called issue ads about candidates before an election. If I purchased a commercial to criticize a presidential candidate 60 days before the general election, I would be fined and/or thrown in jail. Is this freedom of speech?

Thomas Jefferson believed that the freedom to express thought without hindrance and to criticize political opponents, even if the opposition was the government, was at the very heart of a democracy. James Madison felt that intellectual freedom would perish if people were not allowed "the right of freely examining public characters and measures."

Aren't these five justices who made up the majority in this ruling sworn to uphold the Constitution? I guess if you want your speech to be protected under this court, just be sure it's pornographic.

Rich Clark
http://www.columbian.com/01072004/clark_co/106423.html

2 posted on 01/08/2004 6:13:51 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: wildandcrazyrussian; King Black Robe; DustyMoment; Smile-n-Win; 4ConservativeJustices; Eastbound; ..
Yesterdays thread
Legal abuse of the First Amendment
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1053308/posts



Note If you would like to be on/off this Campaign Finance Reform list please let me know
3 posted on 01/08/2004 6:16:25 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: All
Got a nose for the news?

Then come join us anytime!
No need to spend money on clothes!
Casual attire welcome!
Donate the money you save on your wardrobe to Free Republic!

4 posted on 01/08/2004 6:16:38 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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To: Valin
Remember better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Hugh & Series, Critical & Pulled by JimRob
Special to FreeRepublic | 17 December 2003 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

This is nothing like the usual whine by someone whose post was pulled. JimRob pulled my previous thread for a good reason. "If direct fund-raising were permitted on FR, it would soon be wall-to-wall fund-raising."

So, let's start again correctly. This is about civil disobedience to support the First Amendment and challenge the TERRIBLE CFR decision of the Supreme Court to uphold a terrible law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush.

All who are interested in an in-your-face challenge to the 30- and 60-day ad ban in the Campaign Finance "Reform" Act, please join in. The pattern is this: I'm looking for at least 1,000 people to help the effort. I will run the ad, and risk fines or jail time to make it work -- AND get national support.

But there should be NO mentions of money in this thread, and not in Freepmail either. This is JimRob's electronic home, and we should all abide his concerns.

Put your comments here. Click on the link above, and send me your e-mail addresses. I will get back to you by regular e-mail with the practical details.

This CAN be done. This SHOULD be done. But it MUST be done in accord with JimRob's guidelines.


Fair enough?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1042394/posts
5 posted on 01/08/2004 6:17:16 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Valin
I guess if you want your speech to be protected under this court, just be sure it's pornographic.

Maybe if the NRA and ACLU just lace their ads with nudity, then they'll be OK. Just the sort of absurdity that O'Connor's ridiculous rulings typically bring out. She is a joke. Unfortunately a very bad one.

6 posted on 01/08/2004 6:20:06 AM PST by freedomcrusader
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To: Valin
Has anything come about with Billy Bob. I signed up on his web site, but haven't heard anything yet. I have missed a few threads. Anything we are working on here that I missed?
7 posted on 01/08/2004 6:53:21 AM PST by Diva Betsy Ross ("were it not for the brave , there would be no land of the free")
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To: No More Gore Anymore
I freepmailed him with my email address and heard from him. He may just be busy, but don't give up!
8 posted on 01/08/2004 6:55:16 AM PST by freedomcrusader
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To: Congressman Billybob
Has anything come about with Billy Bob. I signed up on his web site, but haven't heard anything yet. I have missed a few threads. Anything we are working on here that I missed?

Inquiring minds want to know.
9 posted on 01/08/2004 7:22:55 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Valin
BTTT!
10 posted on 01/08/2004 7:34:26 AM PST by Eastbound
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To: Eastbound; Valin
Bump for later review
11 posted on 01/08/2004 7:37:13 AM PST by The_Eaglet (Conservative chat on IRC: http://searchirc.com/search.php?F=exact&T=chan&N=33&I=conservative)
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To: Valin
I don't think most people realize just how far the 30/60 day ad ban goes, especially in presidential races. First, it applies only if the ad can be seen by a certain number of viewers - 50,000, I think - where the election is being held. But in many areas, an election in one state will trigger the ad ban in others. For example, you can't advertise on a St. Louis TV station and mention the president not only in the 30 days before the Missouri primary, but also in the 30 days before the Illinois primary, since your ad will reach Illinois. You can't advertise in Chicago markets 30 days before each of the Illinois, Wisconsin, or Indiana primaries (and for larger stations, maybe even Michigan and other states). You can't advertise in New York city 30 days before each of the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut primaries. Plus, the ban applies to the national conventions as well. So in some areas, you may not be allowed to criticize the president for 5 to 6 months of an election year - 2 months before the general election, 1 month before the convention, one month before your state's primary, and 1 or 2 months before neighboring states' primaries.

There will also be some of this spillover effect in congressional and senatorial races. For example, you can't criticize the "McCain-Feingold" bill on a Milwaukee 30 days before the Wisconsin primary or 60 days before the general election. But you also can't run ads on a Chicago station urging congressmen to repeal it, because those ads will also reach Wisconsin, where Feingold is up for reelection. I would guess that large Chicago radio or tv station reaches reaches 20 or more congressional districts, easy, not counting the ones in Wisconsin. So right there you've got probably 30 or more congressional districts blocked out.


12 posted on 01/08/2004 7:47:02 AM PST by Rensselaer
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To: Valin
If American democracy is finally done in, the perpetrators will unlikely be Hitlerian figures whose strutting authoritarianism is plain to see, but a collection of well-meaning, schoolmarm-like activists who aim to restrict our freedoms for our own supposed good.

[...]

I don't doubt that Common Cause has benefited America since it was created in the 1970s or that its members and officers are nobly intentioned. I think they are also hopelessly innocent on some issues, ideologically incapable of grasping some relatively easy concepts and so fixated on the question of money's corrupting influence on politics that they fail to see things whole.

We ought to stop thinking of leftists as well-meaning but tragically mistaken people. The fact that you have a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart while you pursue your anti-American agenda does not make you a good person. Hitler had a good justification for his actions too, as did the Communists--but that doesn't change the fact that they deliberately tortured and killed millions of innocent people.

The harm done by leftist policies, including this unconstitutional restriction of free speech, is so obvious that any person who actively supports them must be far worse than just a dim bulb who fails to grasp things very well. The tyrannical nature of these policies is so blatant that it cannot possibly go unnoticed by anyone who actively advocates them. These guys know this is an evil law, but they choose to support it nonetheless.

13 posted on 01/08/2004 8:13:36 AM PST by Smile-n-Win (Compassion for your enemies is a betrayal of your friends.)
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To: Valin
Billybob signing in, sir.

I just heard this morning from a friend in the Midwest, with contacts in several western states. It looks like this idea of civil disobedience to attack CFR will not happen solely in Western Carolina. It looks like several congressional candidates in several states will all do the same thing at the same time, namely run ads that deliberately and aggressively violate the CFR.

Of course, the ads that deliberately violate the CFR cannot be broadcast until the 29th day before the primaries in the respective states. However, print media ads (which are not barred by CFR) can be run before that to announce what is coming. The date of the primary in NC is currently up in the air since the election law was found unconstitutional and is now being rewritten, and after that will surely be subject to another constitutional challenge. Bottom line, the NC primary will probably be held in September. That means the in-your-face TV ad cannot be run until August.

I am pleased that it looks like this will become a national effort, rather than merely a single effort by me in the 11th District of NC.

Respectfully Submitted,

John / Billybob

P.S. Valin, feel free to carry this response forward to other threads, since the message will be useful to all who are interested in this effort.

14 posted on 01/08/2004 9:55:44 AM PST by Congressman Billybob (www.ArmorforCongress.com Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
It would be nice if we could get some repeal legislation in motion before the 60-day suppression.
15 posted on 01/08/2004 4:06:04 PM PST by The_Eaglet
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To: The_Eaglet
My understanding is that a Congressman from Georgia has introduced a repealer to the ad ban. However, it is a long, rocky path from introduction of a bill to passage of a law.

John / Billybob

16 posted on 01/08/2004 7:30:25 PM PST by Congressman Billybob (www.ArmorforCongress.com Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Gingrey (R-GA, 11) interested in FR, and in law restoring free speech
Meeting | 12-14-2003 | Robert A Cook


Posted on 12/14/2003 3:34:28 PM CST by Robert A. Cook, PE

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1040281/posts
Spoke briefly with Congressman Phil Gingrey (R, GA-11th) after church today.

http://www.house.gov/gingrey/

Gingrey is a OB-Gyn physician, a first-time conservative Congressman from a democratic gerry-mandered district spreading through democratic regions in west GA and metro Atlanta.

(1) I asked him to sponsor legistlation REMOVING the free-speech restrictions imposed under McCain-Feingold. He thought it was a good idea, but didn't know how much other Congressional support there would be.

Therefore: CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND CREATE SOME SUPPORT for removal of this section of the law.

Constitutionally, even though the vast majority of the bill has been upheld by the Court (thanks to liberal judges demanded by the Senate!), there is no reason the single section restricting free speech can't be also removed by a second law. The Constitution doesn't have a clause IMPOSING restrictions (yet!), so a law removing ("illegally-declared-but-liberally-declared-constitutional") restrictions should be "legal."

Further, this would FORCE the liberals (in Congress, in the press, and on the courts!) to visibly oppose free speech by publically opposing a law that explicitly restores free speech!

Removing the "money" talking points, and the other dnc-focus points of McCain Feingold from the discussion may get this bill through since it would be targetted ONLY at the 60-day advertising limits - if not in this session, maybe in the next.

Best? Sure; completely remove McCain-Feingold. But it won't happen in today's media climate, given the power this yields to the "national press corpse". So we shouldn't weight down a "possibly-successful" bill with dreams of revoking the whole thing.

It is at least a step to remove this clause. After all, even the whole Amendment invoking Prohibition was removed!

(2) Write, call, or email Gingrey's office(s) local and naitonal to support this bill.

Since it's not proposed yet, we need to show Phil that free speech is supported at the grass roots level. His office, frakly, will listen mostly to GA constituents, but evry call will help!

(3) He is interested in what we discuss here, in how widely-read the Free Republic site is, and how much more thorough we are than "the natioinal press corpse" who slavishly repeated only what they read from the dnc's faux fax sheet. When he expressed an interest in Free republic, I invited him to register and contribute (or at a minmum read along silently) to protect his public persona.

But, he needs a login-id.

So, I'm asking you respond to his web-site above and do three things: Thank him for supporting Bush in his war on terror;

Ask to submit his bill lifting restrictions on politcal speech imposed by the liberal press and the democrats,

Warmly welcome him to Free Republic, and recommend a screen name for FreeRepublic.com

I don't know if he has registered or not. Maybe someone from Ga would know.


17 posted on 01/08/2004 8:32:08 PM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I just heard this morning from a friend in the Midwest, with contacts in several western states. It looks like this idea of civil disobedience to attack CFR will not happen solely in Western Carolina. It looks like several congressional candidates in several states will all do the same thing at the same time, namely run ads that deliberately and aggressively violate the CFR.

Great news! Made my day guy!
If you have any URLs you'd care to share it would be appreciated, as I've been looking for just this sort of thing but so far picking a slim.
18 posted on 01/08/2004 8:36:32 PM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Valin
There are no URLs for this multiple effort. This is first information to FReepers. This is WAY BELOW the press or public radar. LOL.

John / Billybob

19 posted on 01/08/2004 11:03:28 PM PST by Congressman Billybob (www.ArmorforCongress.com Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: Valin
Thank you, sir!
20 posted on 01/08/2004 11:23:49 PM PST by The_Eaglet
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To: Rensselaer
Forward link:

Campaign finance reform changes the rules of engagement-Campaign Finance Reform thread-day 30

21 posted on 01/09/2004 8:17:18 AM PST by The_Eaglet (Conservative chat on IRC: http://searchirc.com/search.php?F=exact&T=chan&N=33&I=conservative)
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