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SENTRY JOURNAL » Bloggers, DISCLOSE Act, FCC, FEC, Founding Fathers, Free Speech, Hot Air, Net Neutrality » DISCLOSE Act: Bloggers Beware

DISCLOSE Act: Bloggers Beware

I actually ran across this story about the DISCLOSE Act on Hot AirLast week, a congressional hearing exposed an effort to give another agency—the Federal Election Commission—unprecedented power to regulate political speech online. At a House Administration Committee hearing last Tuesday, Patton Boggs attorney William McGinley explained that the sloppy statutory language in the “DISCLOSE Act” would extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all “covered communications,” including the blogosphere.

I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered it was very difficult to find information on this topic.  The few stories I did find revealed some very scary stuff. 

Reason.com has a very good article on this subject.  The following is an excerpt from the article.  The bill, however, would radically redefine how the FEC regulates political commentary. A section of the DISCLOSE Act would exempt traditional media outlets from coordination regulations, but the exemption does not include bloggers, only “a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication…”

So they were turned away by the courts from using the FCC as an instrument to regulate the internet.  Now they are using the FEC.  The Democrats believe they have found a way around the court ruling that prohibits them from regulating the internet.

Sean Parnell posted an article on Red State where he highlighted deep concerns about this bill.  He wrote, Among the many deficiencies uncovered so far (crafted behind closed doors, favors the speech of organized labor while silencing the business community, designed by Democratic Congressional political leadership to enhance their election advantages, and ignoring that current disclosure requirements are more than sufficient) , another has recently come to light – the bill would impose significant restrictions on the right of citizens to speak freely on the internet about candidates.

So as you can see this is a bill could have the teeth to limit free political speech online.  This is deeply disturbing.  The fact is this administration fully understands how effective conservative bloggers have been in informing the public.  Bloggers have become the new media because there was and is a need for it.  With the MSM failing to do their job, a new type of media has emerged to fill the information vacuum left by the MSM. 

Political speech is one of the most sacred rights of a free people.  The Founders understood that without the free exercise of speech, the public could be led astray by an out of control government.  This is why it became part of the Bill of Rights. People need to be able to express their political opinions without fear of reprisal.  These were rights that were never supposed to limited or abolished.

So how important was free speech to the Founding Fathers?  Here are a few quotes.

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. Benjamin Franklin, 1722

Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Thomas Jefferson, 1781

For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington, 1783

Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; US Constitution. 

Any questions?

Liberty forever, free speech for all!

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Filed under: Bloggers, DISCLOSE Act, FCC, FEC, Founding Fathers, Free Speech, Hot Air, Net Neutrality

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Comments
  • LD Jackson May 20, 2010 at 4:46 AM

    So, let me see if I can understand this. They are wanting to shut bloggers like you and I down, even though we are not officially affiliated with a particular candidate? If they start trying that little trick, I wonder where it will stop?

    Concerning the section about shutting down the right of businesses to political speech, how do they differentiate between organized labor and corporations? The complaint about the recent Supreme Court ruling on that has been that it gives corporations the right to spend as much money as they wish on elections, but that isn't the case. Even if it were, how long have the unions been able to use their clout and the money they receive in dues from their members to move and swing elections in their direction? Is there any difference? I contend that there is not, but certain members of Congress would disagree.

    It appears to me that they are perfectly willing to allow free speech, as long as it fits their agenda. I'll bet they will not say a word about some of the more liberal and progressive bloggers, if it comes to that. God forbid that it does.

  • John Carey May 20, 2010 at 5:24 AM

    You got it Larry! They will end up picking and choosing those forms of free speech that they feel is acceptable or as you said, the forms that support and push forward their agenda. This is not what our Founders had in mind when they wanted to ensure the protection of free speech for all Americans.

    They knew that in order to remain free, free speech was an essential component to our Republic. This crap with the DISCLOSE Act makes me sick to my stomach. What kind of America does the POTUS want to transform us into? Is this the change everyone so desired. I guess they forgot to ask the key question when he was spouting off about change. They forgot to ask, what kind of change.

  • Trestin Meacham May 20, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    I'm not at all surprised by this. It fits the into the historic pattern of procedures to create a Marxist state. I just hope we can hold it off long enough to get some sane people in Congress.

  • Right Hand Man May 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    I welcome their best attempt! Let's see who the real power in this country is – the voices or those who wish to extinguish the voices.

  • John Carey May 20, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    It does indeed Trestin. We need people that love liberty and cherish freedom in Congress.

  • Matt May 20, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    There are ways to get the message out. Just rest assured. I am accelerating my preparations to do just that.

    Control of information is key in any totalitarian state. It's no surprise that they're tying to do just that. Socialism, Fascism, and "progressivism" all eventually collapse in the presence of actual dissent. Those forms of government are based on lies, as well as the omissions and additional lies to cover up the horrendous consequences of their policies. When the veil is lifted, the house of cards collapses. Just ask the folks in the former USSR, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, and Poland.

  • John Carey May 20, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    You know Right I think the Democrats and President hurt themselves badly today when they allowed the Mexican President to slam the United States and Arizona then agreeing with him. I was listening to a few talk shows today and there were many Democrats that called in very upset with their party and President for allowing this. I think this total lack of respect for our nation is really going to resonate. Soon the fringe will be the fringe again.

  • John Carey May 20, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Well make sure you pass the info on to me, because I still have a great deal to say Matt. On a side note, it is truly sad that in America we have to make contingency plans to keep free speech flowing. Our Founders would be so proud…