The Founders Warned Us About Some One Some Time...Could Be Right About Now.

"The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.
It serves always to distract the public councils and feeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves with in their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all departments in one and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.
If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

George Washington’s Farewell Address


FLAHR in, the name of a gold coin first made in Florence in the 1200's. The name comes from the Latin word for flower. The florin bore the imprint of a lily on one side, and the figure of Saint John the Baptist on the other side. The first English florin was issued as a six-shilling gold coin in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). A Silver English florin worth two shillings was first coined in 1849.
[The World Book Encyclopedia]
A USA Silver ten cent coin, bore the imprint of a lily on one side, and the figure of Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA Pres. 1933-1945) on the other side (Dime).

Jun 20, 2010

H.R. 5175 Disclosure ACT

The DISCLOSE legislation was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that unexpectedly upheld the Constitution and free speech. President Obama and special interest groups along with liberals wanted to curb the effects of that Supreme Court decision, so Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.) who called the Supreme Court’s ruling “radical,” and 114 cosponsors acquiesced by introducing H.R. 5175. 
  • Schumer was very clear that DISCLOSE was carefully crafted to “embarrass companies [inclined to get involved in the fall elections] out of exercising those rights,” according to Kim Strassel in the Wall Street Journal. “The bill will make companies ‘think twice’, [Schumer] rejoiced. ‘The deterrent effect should not be underestimated.’ ” Even though the bill is considered by many to be unconstitutional, the Democrats’ “goal here isn’t lasting legislation. The goal is to have this [law] in place for this election, when Democrats are at a low point, and when an empowered union base and a silenced corporate presence could make the difference between keeping the House and losing it.”  
The bill would require all groups, corporations, advocacy and lobbying groups, unions, etc., to reveal donations used to support political campaigns. “The top five donors to a group underwritten by corporate or labor money would have to be listed on the screen,” of TV ads explained CQ Today. In addition chief executives would have to appear at the end of political TV advertisements that are funded by their organizations.

The details of the deal the NRA carved out for itself were revealed by the Washington Post: The proposal would exempt organizations that have more than 1 million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations. Democrats say the new language would apply to only the NRA, since no other organization would qualify under these specific provisions. The NRA, with 4 million members, will not actively oppose the DISCLOSE Act, according to Democratic sources.
  • Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) who normally supports gun rights, said he was satisfied with the new language. Cosponsor Walter Jones (R. N.C.) who didn’t know the details as of Tuesday evening said he would support the bill anyway.
  • Rep. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had another opinion though: “If there is one thing Americans loathe about Washington, it’s the back-room dealing to win the vote of organizations with power and influence at the expense of everyone else. Taxpayers are still fuming over a health care process where their money was thrown around like a high roller in a hotel lobby to win last-minute votes, and now the same back-room dealing is being repeated with their freedom of speech.” 
  • This is nothing more than a special deal for the NRA, negotiated behind closed doors, without transparency or public input,” said Jeff Patch, communications director for the Center for Competitive Politics, a free speech advocacy group. He noted that the bill would put a financial strain on small grass-roots organizations with limited resources to comply with “onerous” disclosure requirements, literally taking them out of the political game.
It’s really disturbing that an organization that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring Second Amendment rights for all wouldn’t be just as concerned about helping to ensure First Amendment rights for everyone as well. Instead they are willing to muzzle themselves regarding this DISCLOSE bill and help this onerous legislation snuff out free speech for the little guys as long as they have their own exemption. But one cannot help wondering if there will be more ramifications down the road; will strings be pulled and the NRA made to dance to a new political tune or be muzzled on other pieces of legislation? Certainly their credibility is now greatly in question with this cavalier politics-as-usual attitude.

Regardless of the NRA’s private exemption, H.R. 5175 should be opposed by all who value free speech

Regulating the raising and spending of money on political campaigning is not the government’s job. In fact, such a thing is unconstitutional. As Jack Kenny wrote earlier this year, "[C]orporations are made up of people who have constitutionally-protected rights. Nothing in the Constitution suggests that people lose their right to free speech when joined together in a corporation. And though money is not speech, it is a medium of exchange used to pay for many things, including newsprint and printing presses, TV cameras, microphones, and broadcast towers, as well as advertising." Will the government soon be limiting what publishers and media outlets can spend on their own privately owned businesses that produce newspapers, magazines, or TV broadcasts?
  • A member of the NRA’s Board of Directors, Cleta Mitchell, wrote in the Washington Post, that:    For its part, the NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for "neutrality" from the legislation's requirements. In doing so, the NRA has, sadly, affirmed the notion held by congressional Democrats (and some Republicans), liberal activists, the media establishment and, at least for now, a minority on the Supreme Court that First Amendment protections are subject to negotiation. The Second Amendment surely cannot be far behind… This is not just “disclosure.”  It is a scheme hatched by political insiders to eradicate disfavored speech. There is no room under the First Amendment for Congress to make deals on political speech, whether with the NRA or anyone else.
In it’s defense, the NRA’s statement was revealing: “The NRA has consistently and strongly opposed any effort to restrict the rights of our four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide… We refuse to let this congress impose [the bill’s] unconstitutional restrictions on our Association… There are those who say the NRA should put the Second Amendment at risk of a First Amendment principle. That’s easy to say unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.” 

See Raven Clabough's article in The New American magazine, “NRA Trades First Amendment Rights for Second Amendment Rights," for further information about the DISCLOSE Act. 

On June 17, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was pulling the bill from the floor vote scheduled for the next day due to lack of support.

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Anonymous said...

I was very disappointed in the NRA. I'm not planning to leave them, but they are on notice.

They Say/We Say said...

Trestin, don't always judge a book by it's cover!
Here in Houston, we have a locally owned Radio Station. The owners are two guys that have a hold on the listeners and the local and State Politicians.
Mike Richards and Dan Patrick. Mike Richards is a former State of Texas Senator.
He was one of the talk show host for a while. He said on several occasions, after a call or monologue, that is how it is done- in committee meetings. He was always giving insight as to the goings on of the legislative process. Some of which is the taking the teeth out of a bill by interjecting an amendment; or in this case a political deal. Draining the energy out of the Democrats, seems to be the goal of the NRA. The Bill was pulled by the Speaker, due to lack of votes. Mission Accomplished!
By the way- Dan Patrick, the other owner, is now a Sitting Texas State Senator. He is also the 4pm-6pm talk show host; giving the day to day goings on from his Office in Austin.
One day, before Dan was elected, Mike and Dan interviewed the Governor, Rick Perry, on the Radio; both asking questions about a issue of the current events of that time. After the interview, Mike said, that is a special hour, you all have just been in on a legislative (mock) Meeting with the Governor, to determine how you would vote- after hearing the Governors side of the issue.
So, don't always judge a news story about the goings on of some rumored issue.

Opus #6 said...

Glad to hear the good news of the bill's defeat. I was disappointed and confused by what the NRA did.

They Say/We Say said...

Opus, it isn't over. The Dems will try again. If the bill passes it will be in effect for this election. The Supreme Court did not hear Mc Cain-Feingold for several years after it corrupted several elections.