Suggested Discussion Outline

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johnkarls
Posts: 1709
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »

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SUGGESTED DISCUSSION OUTLINE – PROPOSALS WANTED!!!

Please bring your proposals to the meeting – or even better so other participants can be thinking about your ideas in advance, please post them under Participant Comments on our bulletin board = www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.


I. Several considerations to get the creative juices flowing =

I-A. Are you proposing a Constitutional Amendment or a law dealing with disclaimer and disclosure? The existing D&D provisions of current campaign-finance law were addressed in Part IV of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on corporate campaign contributions – with 8 of the 9 S.Ct. justices approving (only Justice Thomas dissented on D&D). Per the S.Ct., current campaign-finance law requires TELEVISED electioneering communications funded by anyone other than the candidate to include a D&D – (1) saying “(blank) is responsible for the content of this advertisement” both orally and readably for at least 4 seconds, and it “is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s campaign committee” and (2) disclosing the name and address (or web site) of the person or group that funded the advertisement.

I-B. What type of speech would you regulate/restrict (content, timing, etc.)?

I-C. How would you regulate/restrict it?

I-D. What would be the consequences for any violation and what would be the enforcement mechanism?

I-E. Who would you suggest be your champion(s)? In this regard, both a Constitutional Amendment and a change to the current D&D provisions of the campaign-finance law would, as a practical matter, have to originate in Congress. Senator McCain, of course, was the co-champion of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (aka BCRA) and, if memory serves, he attended the Supreme Court arguments culminating in their recent decision. We might also try to identify other Senatorial centrists with whom McCain has worked in the past on various issues.


II. How would your proposal affect, for example --

II-A. The regular news media (print, broadcast, blogs, etc.)?

II-B. Entertainment, which is often designed to influence public opinion generally but can become fairly specific? For example, the two front runners for Oscar Best Picture are Avatar and The Hurt Locker – both of which are heavily anti-war in general and might even be construed as subtle attacks by members of the anti-war wing of the Democratic party against the re-nomination of President Obama in 2012.

II-C. Private individuals whose identity and motivation may be difficult to ascertain? For example, there is now a media consensus that the swift-boat ads attacking John Kerry’s presidential campaign were financed by independent oil-tycoon T. Boone Pickens who, both before and after the attacks, has been primarily interested in governmental support for marketing huge-existing-domestic natural-gas reserves – who’d have guessed???


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Please don’t feel limited by these suggestions – they are supposed to be stimulants!!!

We hope to see and hear all of you March 10th!!!

johnkarls
Posts: 1709
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Bob Schieffer/Face the Nation – Free Speech – 3/7/2010

Post by johnkarls »

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Bob Schieffer/Face the Nation – Free Speech – 3/7/2010

Editorial Notes:

There follows below Bob Schieffer’s closing comments on Face the Nation last Sunday.

Although he is not talking about free POLITICAL speech per se, he does highlight THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM that speech on the internet is not regulated at all AND OUGHT TO BE (though perhaps not to the extent that China would like Google to assist in accomplishing).

Bob Schieffer cites the familiar example of the Supreme Court saying that it is NOT permissible to “falsely shout fire in a crowded theater.” The quotation comes from the 1919 Supreme Court Opinion of Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Homes in the case of Schenck vs. United States unanimously affirming a criminal conviction for the distribution of flyers during World War I opposing the military draft because it comprised a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to the government’s recruitment efforts for the war. (Schenck vs. United States was later overturned by Brandenburg vs. Ohio which limited the ban to speech that was likely to incite imminent lawless action.)

Incidentally, speech that itself comprises lawless action is also not protected as was discussed in the 9/27/2007 letter (posted on our bulletin board for our meeting 30 months ago) of “yours truly” to the Editor of the New York Times responding to the OpEd article by the “Jena Six” District Attorney who attempted to justify his prosecution of African-American high school students, five of whom were charged with second-degree murder despite being minors, while refraining from prosecuting their white class-mates who, in the dead of night, hung nooses from the branches of a “white only” tree on their high school campus beneath which an African-American had dared to sit. Mr. Walters attempted to justify his “free pass” for the white students by claiming that they did not break any law. The first-year curriculum of virtually all law schools still contains a course in criminal law which teaches that “assault” and “battery” are two different crimes – battery is the infliction of bodily harm and assault is the mere threat of such harm which almost always comprises solely “speech.” Mr. Walters failed to explain why the nooses did not constitute a threat of death, much less bodily harm. (The New York Times not only failed to print the letter but implied, with their selection of responses, that Mr. Walters had been correct – for which “your truly” sent a follow-up letter castigating them – it is also posted on our bulletin board and was also not printed.)

It should be noted once more that the disclaimers/disclosures requirements of McCain-Feingold with which the Supreme Court was dealing in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission only apply to TELEVISION and the apparent reason why they were even at issue for an alleged documentary program aired over a cable network was that Citizens United had prepared commercials advertising the program and the commercials did air over commercial television.

At our meeting tomorrow night, we should focus on (among other things) disclaimers/disclosures for cable, the internet, etc.


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TRANSCRIPT – FACE THE NATION – 3/7/2010

(Announcements)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally today, it happens now with increasing frequency. A person with a twisted mind and a complaint against the government goes to a government building and tries to kill the people. Last week it was a shooting at the door of the Pentagon. Two weeks before it was a man who crashed his plane into a Texas IRS headquarters. Any society will always include a small number of the deranged who pose a danger to the rest of us. But here is the difference. In this age of the internet such people can now find one another. Talk to one another and no matter how twisted their view, find those who agree and sympathize with them. As it was last week at the Pentagon, last month in Austin and last year at the Holocaust Museum and after that at Fort Hood, men with guns found encouragement, even validation on the internet where there is no accountability and no editor.

I would be the last person to restrict freedom of the speech but responsible people do recognize there are limits. They were outlined in the landmark case in which Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that free speech did not include the right to falsely shout fire in a theater and cause panic. Yet there are no such limits on the internet where fire is not only shouted but encouraged and as we saw again last week by some taken to heart.

I don’t know the answer to this. But we must begin to think about the question. Back in a minute.

(Announcements)

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