I'm no political scholar, no scholar at all, if truth be told, but gee, reading this kind of gives me the heebie jeebies! If my interpretation of this potential piece of legislation is correct, then little people, such as myself and others, would have to report even blog postings of a critical nature pertaining to the legislature to some agency or fear retribution by the law.
Is it just me or does this say it is taking my first amendment rights away? Does this mean then I would no longer have freedom of speech?
I don't normally go around seeing shadows and form behind every bush and rock, etc., but boy, something like this could/would stir up mass paranoia and pandemonium, I would think, across the board from the media - right or left - and should alarm the heck out of the everyday citizen who just wants to write a "letter to the editor" of the local newspaper.
The potential for a bit of legislation like this to exist scares the heck out of me!
YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK
Congress preparing to criminalize critics?
Senate bill would 'create most expansive intrusion on First Amendment
Posted: January 17, 2007 5:00 p.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
The Senate is considering legislation that would regulate grassroots
communications, with penalties for critics of Congress.
"In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show,
but isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even
jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress,"
says Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com
Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill before the Senate,
would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and
report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists are required.
"Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating
the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever,"
For the first time in history, he stated, critics of Congress will
need to register and report with Congress itself.
"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to
500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers,"
The Senate passed an amendment on the bill Jan. 9 to create criminal
penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone "knowingly
and willingly fails to file or report."
Viguerie said the legislation regulates small, legitimate nonprofits,
bloggers, and individuals, but creates loopholes for corporations,
unions, and large membership organizations that would be able to
spend hundreds of millions of dollars, yet not report.
"Congress is trying to blame the grassroots, which are American
citizens engaging in their First Amendment rights, for Washington's
internal corruption problems," he said.
Christian leader James Dobson -- along with Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer
and Don Wildmon -- spoke out about the provision on a recent "Focus
on the Family" radio broadcast.
"The Democrats, and a few Republicans are trying now, very, very
quickly, to insulate themselves from the public and to do it by
muzzling people like us," Dobson said. "It's a complex piece of
legislation and not everything in it is offensive. But the provision
that we cannot accept would require organizations like Focus on the
Family to report every contact with anyone in the executive or
legislative branches and any effort to try to influence grassroots
response, even if it doesn't include a call to action. In other
words, they are trying to muzzle us and many other organizations."
Last weekend, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, introduced an amendment to
remove the bill's controversial section.
CBN News reported a senior Senate aide said the effort to remove the
disputed section is garnering wide support.
"Virtually every single American is represented by a lobbyist," Sen.
Bennett said while introducing the bill. "Every single American has
someone lobbying in behalf of his or her interests, whether he or she
knows it or not."
Bennett argued, according to CBN News, that if the Senate does not
remove Section 220, "we will do damage to the constitutional right --
right there in the first amendment, next to freedom of religion and
freedom of speech -- the constitutional right to lobby."
"Even though the people who broke the old rules were caught under the
old rules, convicted under the old rules, and sent to prison under
the old rules, we need to be looking ahead and recognize that in a
world where virtually everyone is involved, in one way or another, we
need to do this right," he said.
Co-sponsors of Bennett's amendment are Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
And now, I'm going to give you the Bushism for today - which somehow almost makes me feel like it is a part of the above writing - and after that one, I'm doubling up this morning and putting the Bushism for Saturday/Sunday up too.
"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure." (Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003) (Bushism for January 19, 2007)
And - for January 20 and 21, 2007, there is this:
"I think there is some methodology in my travels." (Washington, D.C.; March 5, 2001)
Well, alright then! 'Nuff said for this time period!