SOVEREIGN COMMENTARY

News, Comment, and Opinion

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A thoughtful compilation and analysis of some important, but underreported and under-researched news stories, with particular focus on keeping the People informed about all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.

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BY ALFRED WEST

(AKA THE SOVEREIGN EDITOR).
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    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    I Was Afraid of This -- The First Amendment's Gone; Bloggers to Fall Under Unconstitutional McCain-Feingold Act

    Story dated 03 March 2005

    U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the internet is not exempt from FEC regulation under the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act of 2002 (that George Bush signed). If she'd paid attention in her Constitutional Law class second semester of law school, Kollar-Kotelly would know that the McCain-Feingold Act violates the First Amendment. Apparently, she didn't pay attention and, thus, instead of striking down the law, we have Colleen Kollar-Kotelly basing a ruling upon it. According to Bradley Smith, one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, "In just a few months. . . bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines." You see, John McCain and Russ Feingold used a very broad definition of what a contribution is. Apparently, linking to a campaign web site, or even expressing anything that could be construed as advocacy for a candidate within a certain amount of time before the election counts as a contribution. In my opinion, the people who supported this piece of legislation (including President Bush) really shouldn't be returned to office absent some compelling reason to retain them (e.g. John Kerry).

    What I want to know is how linking to someone's web site counts as a contribution? It cost me nothing but my time to maintain my blog. I wrote the most of the HTML framework (something I am not terribly good at). It takes me as long as it takes to type out the link to post it. It's not a lot of time. If you can say that this application of my free time counts as a campaign contribution, what if I put a campaign bumper sticker on my car with an important issue and the web address? It would take about as much time to stick on a bumper sticker as it would to add a link. My bumper sticker would be seen by a lot of people. Probably by more than actually come to my web site. Does my bumper sticker subject me to the tyranny of McCain-Feingold? Or what about my occasional rant about the unconstitutional activities and voting records of certain politicians? It's not that different from water-cooler talk at work, or in casual conversation waiting in line at the post office. I'm saying the same things. If McCain-Feingold can apply to the content of my web site, why can't that application logically, then, extend to other media by which the same ideas are conveyed?

    I'm sorry I don't seem very eloquent today. I appear to be suffering from writer's block. So to conclude, let me quote the First Article of Amendment to the Constitution of these United States (which, really, is the only counterpoint to McCain-Feingold that I need): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." It says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech," not "Congress may, from time to time, make laws abridging the freedom of speech." McCain-Feingold abridges the freedom of speech. There is no way anyone can reasonably argue that it doesn't. The members of Congress who voted for it did not honor their oath to uphold the Constitution. Neither did the justices who refused to find this law unconstitutional. What's the point of having a Constitution at all if those who are charged with making and reviewing our laws simply ignore it.

    The only way to stop this sort of abuse is to contact our members of Congress whenever they do something unconstitutional and let them know that we are displeased. If they hear from enough of us, their desire to get reelected will override whatever idiocy it is that causes them to ignore our Constitution.
    ---------How to Contact Congress
    ---------The Campaign Finance Site

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    * * *

    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

    --Samuel Adams
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