Newspaper column: Democratic lawmakers trying to ration free speech

Nevada’s Democratic lawmakers in Carson City are seeking to enforce their egalitarian philosophy on everyone: All people are equal and deserve equal rights — and only equal amounts of those rights. You have the right to free speech, but no more than anyone else.

This past week an Assembly committee heard testimony on Senate Joint Resolution 4, which would urge Congress to amend the Constitution to strike the free speech portion of the First Amendment. SJR4, sponsored by Las Vegas Democratic state Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, would erase the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which held that it was unconstitutional to forbid the broadcast of a movie critical of then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just because it was paid for by a corporation.

But SJR4 goes even further. It limits spending by individuals as well. The summary reads: “Urges Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to allow the reasonable regulation of political contributions and expenditures by corporations, unions and individuals to protect the integrity of elections and the equal right of all Americans to effective representation.”

It basically declares democracy is dead because the citizens are too stupid to hear vigorous and boisterous debate and make rational decisions.

The resolution argues that large political donations corrupt candidates and dilute the power of individuals. Pay no heed to the fact that in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was outspent by Hillary Clinton by two-to-one — $600 million to $1.2 billion.

The resolution would not only overturn Citizens United but also McCutcheon v. FEC.

Democrats think all money belongs to the state except what the state allows you to keep, and now they demand to take control of how you spend that.

In addressing an Assembly committee on her bill Cannizzaro said it “addresses a growing and rather troubling influence of large donations by corporations and other organizations in our sacred policymaking process as a result of significant and uncontrolled political contributions.”

Jeff Clements, president of American Promise, an organization pressing for such a constitutional amendment, testified to the Assembly committee by phone.

He said we need to get back our constitutional foundation that “really has gone back in a non-partisan and cross-partisan way for over a century. It is not to say there is anything bad about corporations and unions or the very, very wealthy … If we allow unlimited deployment of the financial resources from those and other sources, it overwhelms the rights we have as Americans and the duties we have to participate in our self-governing republic, as equal citizens with equal representation.”

He argued that politics is not a marketplace to be bought and sold.

Yes, it is a marketplace — one of ideas. But no matter how much someone spends trying to persuade us to buy, we don’t have to buy.

As for it being a non-partisan issue as Clements claimed, the vote on SJR4 in the state Senate was on a party-line vote of 12 Democrats for and nine Republicans against.

Let’s hear what the court had to say about free speech in McCutcheon: “The Government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance. We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption — quid pro quo corruption — in order to ensure that the Government’s efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them.”

In Citizens United, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “The (First) Amendment is written in terms of ‘speech,’ not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals — and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is ‘speech’ covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise. A documentary film critical of a potential Presidential candidate is core political speech, and its nature as such does not change simply because it was funded by a corporation. Nor does the character of that funding produce any reduction whatever in the ‘inherent worth of the speech’ and ‘its capacity for informing the public,’ … Indeed, to exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy.”

I’ll put those words up against the Democrats’ bleating about money corrupting.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

 

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44 comments on “Newspaper column: Democratic lawmakers trying to ration free speech

  1. robertleebeers says:

    Here we go again, political speech by people who did not pay attention in class. Perhaps a history lesson: At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention, a lady asked Dr. Franklin “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.” Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”

    John Adams wrote that “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide,” and James Madison wrote in Federalist 10 that “Democracies have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” In short, we do not practice “Democracy” because we are a Republic. The Democrats would love to have democracy here because it would make it so much easier to whittle away those rights they think inconvenient.

    Agreed, the Democrats hate the First Amendment. They are even more intolerant than radical Islam. However, use the proper terminology from now on, all right?

  2. deleted says:

    Here we go again!

    Democrats, through a non binding resolution, ASK Congress, to PROPOSE an Amendment and this is “evidence” that the democrats don’t want freedom of speech?

    Sounds to me like some people don’t understand what the Amendment process to the Constitution entails.

    Maybe Bob the “nonpartisan” should explain it for them.

    Bob; got any copies of the Constitution laying around underlined with the part that speaks to the Amendment process and how it requires the representatives, in or republic, to actually utilize their first amendment rights which the democrats are seeking here?

    Thanks Bob!

  3. Rincon says:

    “…citizens are too stupid to hear vigorous and boisterous debate and make rational decisions.”

    This is the same argument used by insurance companies to justify policies the size of books filled with mind bending phraseology. Yes, we’re smart enough to decipher it. No, we won’t spend dozens of hours trying to make heads or tails out of it.

    Voters are inundated by a tsunami of propaganda generated by entities from both sides using behavioral science to bamboozle the public. It’s not a fair fight. Two thirds of those same voters are overweight and over half of them are obese, even though almost none of them wants to be that way. Behavioral science can’t really control our behavior? Ask Budweiser and McDonald’s if they believe their advertising dollars have been wasted. America’s waistlines argue that the money was well spent.

  4. Bill says:

    A resolution sponsored by a D and voted en bloc by the D’s calling for a Constitutional Amendment to limit who may speak and how much speech is allowed would probably seem a strange notion to most Democrats a few years ago.

    Our society is changing. Only certain types of speech are now acceptable. Speech not considered “proper” is shouted down by faculty and students alike on college campuses. To often this intimidation against free speech is punctuated by violence reminiscent of Fascist Brown Shirts.

  5. The marketplace gave us Budweiser and McDonald’s. The marketplace gave us Hillary and The Donald. Darned marketplace. People don’t know what’s good for them. We all need nannies.

  6. deleted says:

    The marketplace gave us lead in our gasoline because they said it was good for us. The marketplace gave us floride in our water because they said it was good for us. The marketplace gave us PCBs because they said it was good for us. The marketplace gave us radium in baby food because they said it was good for us https://goo.gl/images/wyOTcC.

    The list of things, lies mostly, that the marketplace gave us is hardly an argument for freedom of speech or the ability of the marketplace to discern what is “good” and what is not.

  7. Fluoride was put in water by the bureaucrats at the monopoly water districts who knew best what was good for us. Frankly, the benefits probably outweigh the problems. PCBs started out in transformers used by the monopoly power companies. I don’t recall having a choice about buying leaded gasoline, but I do recall the pickups in the oil fields that burned drip always knocked. Radium in baby food?

  8. deleted says:

    Fluoride was initially added to toothpaste beginning in 1914, long before the first water district in this country starting requiring it in the water. The markets sold this poison to the public which of course had no idea how bad it was for them.

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1806-83242009000500004

    PCBs were manufactured in this country exclusively by Monanto beginning in around 1930. They knew from the start that this was poison, and of course continued to sell it claiming that it wasn’t, and focused on profits

    “Monsanto was, in essence, the sole manufacturer of PCBs in the United States from 1930 until 1977. PCBs are an extremely toxic, persistent chemical that can cause cancer, neurological damage, immunological damage, and other severe human health problems. Monsanto contaminated the entire planet with PCBs through its manufacture, distribution and aggressive marketing of roughly 1.4 billion pounds of PCBs during this period.”


    Monsanto knew that PCBs were toxic to humans and other living things, and that these toxic chemicals were being released into the environment, but the company did not stop producing them and did not properly warn the public about the danger. Monsanto was aware of PCB toxicity in 1930s. Even after the mid-1960s, when it became fully recognized by others that PCBs were dangerous and that large amounts were escaping into the environment, Monsanto continued to produce, distribute and market PCBs until 1977.”

    http://waterkeeper.org/toxic-legacy-monsanto-and-pcb-contamination/

    Lead was “discovered” by one of Rockefellers scientists (Charles Kettering a really bad guy who also discovered CFCs could be used in refrigeration and of course to destroy the ozone) as an additive to gas that would stop engine knock. Course, during the process lead workers were dying by the tens and becoming practical zombies because of what the lead was doing to their nervous systems, but that didn’t stop the markers from claiming that it was harmless. Fact, after an incident at one of the plants left 8 workers dead because they apparently inhaled too much of it, Kettering himself, on behalf of standard oil of course, went before reporters and waves a bottle of it under his nose pretending that all was fine. Kettering was well known to be so afraid of lead he wouldn’t otherwise get near it, but that didn’t stop the company, even after the US banned the use of lead in gasoline, from marketing it (under a different name cause after all “free speech” etc to other countries.

    A fascinating story really that makes the point well; uses of “the market as somehow justifying or God forbid “celebrating how great freedom of speech is, is not supportable.

    http://www.lead.org.au/lanv8n1/l8v1-3.html

    And yes Thomas, radium in baby food, and water, marketed for the “health benefits” you realize that profiteers marketed radiation in consumables for years right? Wasn’t even until the 50’s I think that the gov’ment stepped in and stopped it, cause otherwise those companies would still be telling us how their products give you a heathy glow.

  9. deleted says:

    Just a few products marketed that said how good radioactivity was for people, including condums, suppositories, “perpetual sunshine” and others.

    http://io9.gizmodo.com/seriously-scary-radioactive-consumer-products-from-the-498044380

  10. deleted says:

    And the recent “controversy” regarding the cause and effect of global warming, and the recent similarly created “controversy” about whether cigarettes caused cancer, has been repeated over and over throughout history when it comes to marketing products in this country; they find something people will buy, that is harmful not only to the people who buy it, but others that didn’t, and the maker/discoverer of the products finds out how destructive the product is, and….they lie, and misrepresent, and obfuscate, so that they can continue to make money, all the while, in some cases like lead, the entire world suffers.

    These manufacturers then use, in the United States especially, but ignorance and poverty in the rest of the world, “free speech” or the argument that they are entitled to use free speech, to continue to make money. And God forbid anyone try to stop them from lying, cheating, and stealing, and ultimately killing, because they will do what trapped animals do to protect “their” money.

    The story of lead is truly demonstrative and fascinating at least to me.

    “Consider:

    § the severe health hazards of leaded gasoline were known to its makers and clearly identified by the US public health community more than seventy-five years ago, but were steadfastly denied by the makers, because they couldn’t be immediately quantified;”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/secret-history-lead/

  11. All the toothpaste in our house still has that poison fluoride in it.

  12. deleted says:

    Imagine that?

    And the “renamed” company that originally put lead in gasoline, is still marketing it, despite knowing how poisonous it is to the entire world, in places where “their freedom of speech” isn’t being impaired by some bad ole gov’ment agency.

    http://www.ethyl.com/Pages/default.aspx

  13. deleted says:

    Fascinating.

    In sum, 5 workers at the standard oil lead additive plant in New York in 1924 went stark raving made and died and no one could figure out why.

    An investigation was initiated and the cause was determined to be the lead. The company denied it, and denied it, and denied it, and trotted out scientists who denied it. The the company bribed a republican president to try and stop further investigations which he did (sounds familiar) and people kept dying, and going crazy and the lead kept building up as more cars came to be, and kids kept getting dumber and dumber, and finally, 60 years after the company knew what the problem was, and how bad it would get, and millions of people had their lives shortened, the big bad gov’ment stopped in and said no mas.

    https://www.wired.com/2013/01/looney-gas-and-lead-poisoning-a-short-sad-history/

  14. deleted says:

    Similarly interesting history of PCBs and their marketing by GE and Westinghouse, and manufacture by Monsanto, all of whom, as of at least the late 1930’s knew how toxic and dangerous they were to people.

    Course, this didn’t stop any of these companies from lying about how poisonous PBCs were (free speech and all, and of course, profits) heck, it didn’t even stop the from dumping the chemical into public drinking supplies

    Yeah Thomas, the whole free market argument for why free speech ought to be protect for businesses is a false one not only because the Constitution was never written to protect any “right” of a corporation but mostly because they lie.

    http://malibuunites.com/the-history-of-pcbs/

  15. “The (First) Amendment is written in terms of ‘speech,’ not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals — and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion.”

  16. deleted says:

    Funny for an “originalist” to ignore the meaning of the words isn’t it?

    Course, for a hypocrite like Scalia, and a corrupted “justice” like Uncle Thomas, it’s not really a surprise.

  17. Rincon says:

    Given your apparently narrow definition of free speech, no one should ever be charged with fraud or false advertising because the Constitution doesn’t exclude those forms of speech. The Constitution also doesn’t limit my right to swing my fist in the air, but common law recognizes that this right of mine ends where someone else’s nose begins. The same reasoning allows us to penalize for fraud, someone who deceives another in order to take his money. There is no reason that lying in this manner to an individual should be illegal, but lying in the same way to millions should be permitted. Fraud is fraud. Why do you advocate a double standard – or do you think we should remove fraud and false advertising statutes from the books? Don’t like that nanny state!

  18. deleted says:

    The Constitution does not say that speech is money either, and yet that is what the “originalists” discovered that the writers of the Constitution intended. Somehow.

    I wonder how much money it cost, above the $600,000 paid to Ms. Uncle Thomas, by Citizens United (that he lied about not receiving on his income tax forms) to get him and the other “originalist” on the a Supreme Court, to get them to “discover” that the Constitution says “speech” but really meant money?

  19. […] Newspaper column: Democratic lawmakers trying to ration free speech Nevada’s Democratic lawmakers in Carson City are seeking to enforce their egalitarian philosophy on everyone: All people are equal and deserve equal rights — and only equal amounts of those rights. You have the right to free speech, but no more than anyone else. […]

  20. deleted says:

    None dare call it treason!

    Freedom of Speech though right? I mean, the Constitution says it shall not be abridged right?

    Any material here that might justify a column Thomas?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.2de2a76ef42e

  21. We always figured Trump was a bumbling blabbermouth. This just proves it.

  22. Rincon says:

    I’ll accept the veracity of almost almost any anonymous source over that of the world’s greatest serial liar.

  23. Steve says:

    No way this comes out good.

    Bet you wish you voted Johnson now, huh.

  24. deleted says:

    Neither McMasters or Tillerson denied anything alleged by the Post story.

    Not a surprise those that the examiners headline is misleading though; it is the National Enquirer of “newspapers” after all.

  25. Bill says:

    So, Rincon. What do you have to say about Trump’s calling for tougher libel laws? Do you agree?

    The problem with curtailing speech is who becomes the arbiter and what speech is to be prohibited In a democratic republic with a First Amendment deciding who can speak on what subjects and in what amount is a rather difficult task. Not unlke describing what is or is not pornography.

    How do you prescribe penalties for political speech that you would describe as fra fraud? For instance words like “you will be able to keep your doctor”.

    No doubt if Obama’s were an insurance salesman instead of a political huckster and he had made that statement as a private insurance agent in order to sell a person an insurance policy, there is no question that there would be an action for fraud and at a minimum, recession of the contract.

    Regrettably there is no penalty when a a political scam artist makes such an outrageous lie in order to sell the nation a bill of goods called Obama Care.

    As for politicians, the ballot box is the usual remedy and often the sole remedy.

  26. Steve says:

    McMaster said the story as reported is false.

    Pretty unambiguous!

  27. deleted says:

    Still waiting for someone to point out the part of the Constitution that equates money to speech for purposes of the 1st Amendment.

    Any “originalists” here? And while your at it, please cite the part of the Constitution that makes reference to any corporate “right” recognized as being protected.

    Thanking you in advance!

  28. deleted says:

    “But what, precisely, had been misreported?”

    “The Post story did not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered, as McMaster’s denial suggested.”

    Wonder of orange ball will read this tomorrow and realize that most people see that whatever he told Mr. Exxon and General Lemay to say, didn’t deny anything.

    I mean, when Faux calls you out, you know something went wrong.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/15/another-crisis-hits-white-house-after-post-story.html

  29. Steve says:

    “Neither McMasters or Tillerson denied anything alleged by the Post story.” Patrick (AKA deleted) May 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Then Patrick (AKA deleted) May 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm
    “The Post story did not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered, as McMaster’s denial suggested.”
    Including the quotes. So Patrick is either spinning or lying….probably both.
    But what the hell it fits his preconceived agenda so it’s all good.

    Remember this? Seems Patrick (AKA deleted) “learned” a few things.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/23/503146770/npr-finds-the-head-of-a-covert-fake-news-operation-in-the-suburbs

    In any case, Trump lost Ann Coulter yesterday before the news broke and he is loosing Republican support today as Senators realize he is actually hurting them and their party.
    Trump is doing to Republicans what that southern California liberal lie factory did to the media!

  30. Anonymous says:

    According to General Lemay maybe. Not so much according to the guys who alerted this country’s intelligence services after the meeting, and certainly not to the guys who collected the intelligence to begin with.

    “The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Israel previously had urged the United States to be careful about the handling of the intelligence that Trump discussed.”

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/05/16/israel-was-source-secret-intelligence-that-trump-gave-russians-officials-say/dnELJVGFUUuvowsD2OY7NI/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos2

  31. Steve says:

    “The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity”

    HAHAHA!!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    “When is someone going to go on the record in this case”
    -Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee

    The hits just keep coming don’t they? Telling Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn? Wasn’t obstruction of an investigation one of the allegations made against another conservative president at some point in our recent history? And Nixon didn’t even fire his FBI director. Who knows, maybe if Trump is doing this “right” future conservatives might learn a lesson.

  33. Rincon says:

    Bill:

    Sorry to take so long. Been busy lately. I haven’t read the details about Trump’s suggestions for altering libel laws but I do feel that as with many government regulations, the laws we have aren’t really enforced in the first place.

    The penalties for fraudulent speech should only be the requirement that the convicted inform others of his/her conviction whenever communicating by mass media for a prescribed period of time.
    Obama’s words that you could keep your doctor are a good case in point, although the publicity around that was great enough that no libel investigation was really needed.

    “No doubt if Obama’s were an insurance salesman instead of a political huckster and he had made that statement as a private insurance agent in order to sell a person an insurance policy, there is no question that there would be an action for fraud and at a minimum, recession of the contract.”

    Yes, it’s a shameful double standard.

    “As for politicians, the ballot box is the usual remedy and often the sole remedy.” A remedy that is nullified if the voters can be confused enough, which doesn’t appear to be difficult.

  34. Steve says:

    Interesting observation, Rincon.

    Now obtaining information is easier than ever, people are more confused than ever.

    Was it better, would it be better, if information was subject to a gatekeeper?
    If so, how would that gatekeeper be kept to a standard of total objectivity?

  35. deleted says:

    Well someone went on the record; a guy from the country that Orange man gave up to the Russians.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/israel-trump-intelligence/

  36. deleted says:

    Hey, another on the record comment. From a republican no less.

    Strange that fellow republicans heard, then silenced the culprit, and never mentioned it again even though this issue was supposed to be being investigated. Huh.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/house-majority-leader-to-colleagues-in-2016-i-think-putin-pays-trump/2017/05/17/515f6f8a-3aff-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html?utm_term=.c5bde8177743

  37. Steve says:

    Yup!
    Somebody needs to order a whambulance for Trump!

    President Pence

    Live it, love it, be it!

    AND
    IF
    you have money to invest, there’s a fire sale a-comin’!

  38. Rincon says:

    “If so, how would that gatekeeper be kept to a standard of total objectivity?”

    Not possible when dealing with humans, but as I’ve mentioned before, our libel laws should be extended. If an individual or corporation can be a victim of fraudulent speech, then our government and citizens can be as well. Some sort of jury is about the only fair method, with the only penalty being a requirement to divulge any conviction for a prescribed period when a guilty defendant communicates thru mass media.

    The fire sale may or may not be soon. Extreme deficit spending plus open season on consumers, employees, immigrants, and other individuals will goose the economy for awhile.

  39. Rincon says:

    A good article, Steve. The shame is that it needed to be written.

  40. […] “prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money …” even though she outspent Trump by two-to-one, $1.2 billion to $600 […]

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