First Amendment under Serious Attack

Posted by on June 5, 2013 11:19 pm
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Categories: The Nation

Picture of Freedom of Speech BannerLee’s Summit, June 5, 2013 – Looking into the Benghazi story, the IRS story, the AP story, the Fox News story one thing is clearly under a serious and coordinated attack; the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech, through the Freedom of the Press to tell the story as they find it.

The biggest concern I have when the press cozies up to any particular political party is that it stops being the true representatives and protectors of Democracy.  The press, in the United States Constitution was given great responsibility:  Get the truth out to the masses.   A well and honestly informed electorate makes the best decisions.

Two wrongs don’t make a right!

It is just as bad for America to have MSNBC cozy up to the liberal agenda as it is for FOX News to cozy up to the conservative agenda.  It is a failure to live up to the challenge placed on the Press by our founders, when ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, as well as The Kansas City Star and the Lee’s Summit Journal pick publishing sides.

Each of the Journalism outlets mentioned has a bias, a slant, and worse a BLIND spot for the errors of their side.

The IRS Story:

How can any American justify the actions of the IRS in going after freedom of speech – the very same freedom that the 501’s were created to support?  The IRS is not a “target of convenience” it is the tax collecting arm of the United States of America.  The TAX Code and the IRS accomplished what the Feds could not: Stopping Al Capone and many others like him; simply because they did not pay their taxes properly.  That is some real power!

The Press is missing the point:

CNN: Partisan views of IRS targeting: Political conspiracy or overzealous scrutiny Republicans portray the controversy uncovered by an inspector general’s report last month as another example of big government gone wild under President Barack Obama.

The New York Times Political Section: Some Republicans See I.R.S. Troubles as Means to a Big Goal: Tax Overhaul.  The goal of Mr. Camp, a Republican from Michigan, is more complex: He wants tax reform… Other Republicans see the cloud around the I.R.S. in the light of raw politics and how much damage it can do to President Obama.

MSNBC: House Republicans link IRS scandal to Obamacare.  Republicans leveraged backlash against President Obama’s health care plan into a sweeping victory at the polls during the 2010 midterms, and now they’re using the growing IRS scandal as a new way to attack Obamacare ahead of the 2014 elections.

FOX: Leaders of conservative groups allegedly targeted by IRS to testify on Capitol Hill.  Several of the six groups scheduled to testify say their applications for tax-exempt status were delayed while agents asked intrusive questions that the IRS has since acknowledged were inappropriate.

The point is that a non-political non-partisan (by law) agency of the government actively sought to limit speech in the United States of America.  The one agency that can force the deportation of people the like of Al Capone, who can simply audit you till you surrender, capitulate, or go bankrupt trying to prove your side; set its sights on the Freedom of Speech!

That is the point.  All the rest is politics, editorial comment, and blogosphere fodder.  The Press (with a capital P) has a First Amendment implied mandate to print the unbiased truth sits and editorializes and tries to pass it off as journalism.

Is freedom of speech only under attack by the IRS?  No, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice led the attack on the AP News Service and confiscated phone records.  Why?  Holder was able to do it because of a World War I law he has the right to squelch free speech under the name of “National Security”.  It was justified as follows:

World War I, the Court decided several cases arising from enforcement of wartime laws to limit freedom of expression that threatened national security. In Schenck v. United States and Abrams v. United States (both 1919), the Court upheld such federal laws, basing its decisions on its “clear and present danger” and “bad tendency” tests.  Read More Here

In my opinion, Justice Hugo Black back in 1951 captured the essence of why Freedom of Speech is in our constitution; consider this excerpt from his dissent in Dennis v. United States (1951)- Note, Bold text added by me:

[A] governmental policy of unfettered communication of ideas does entail dangers. To the Founders of this Nation, however, the benefits derived from free expression were worth the risk. They embodied this philosophy in the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” I have always believed that the First Amendment is the keystone of our government, that the freedoms it guarantees provide the best insurance against destruction of all freedom…. [I] cannot agree that the First Amendment permits us to sustain laws suppressing freedom of speech and press on the basis of Congress’ or our own notions of mere “reasonableness.” Such a doctrine waters down the First Amendment so that it amounts to little more than an admonition to Congress. The Amendment as so construed is not likely to protect any but those “safe” or orthodox views which rarely need its protection.

In contrast to Justice Black’s view, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, in his majority opinion in Dennis, stated a more narrow view of free speech and press, which provides more room for restrictions by government in behalf of the public security:

 Overthrow of the Government by force and violence is certainly a substantial enough interest for the Government to limit speech. Indeed, this is the ultimate value of any society, for if a society cannot protect its very structure from armed internal attack, it must follow that no subordinate value can be protected.

Chief Justice Fred Vinson makes the case that the MOST important thing is the protection of the Government when he states “this is the ultimate value of any society, for if a society cannot protect its very structure from armed internal attack, it must follow that no subordinate value can be protected”

Totalitarian Governments make such claims.

Dictators make such claims.

King George III made such claims; as he reached into the Americas and taxed the colonists without their consent nor their representation in the matter.

Everyone seeks to limit the power of the Free Press.  It informs people.  It tells the dirty secrets.  It does hold Government accountable for its actions.  Each Election the voters use that information to make decisions of who gets their vote.

Limit it in any way, and you lose the America our Founders fought for.  Limit it from government and it is villainous, but understandable even if not acceptable.  What is truly unforgivable is when the Press itself limits the Freedom of Speech.

Unforgivable when the left-leaning press won’t cover the truth of the true affront to the constitution by the IRS and by the Department of Justice.

It is unacceptable and far from the mark when the right-leaning press finds scandals everywhere to advance a political agenda.

When you consider today’s world, the Freedom of the Press demands that Journalists report the facts.  It demands that Editors push for the facts, and for deep investigative reporting.  It also provides for the Freedom of Speech that allows bloggers to take the facts, and express opinions just like Newsmedia does in the OP ED pieces.

Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of the Press work together to keep the facts separate from opinion and yet make both available to the public at large.

STOP this attack on the First Amendment.  Write your Newspaper, and demand the facts.  Write your Congressman and ask for the facts.  Write your Senator and ask them to stand up for the First Amendment above and before all else.  Write your President and let him know:  The First Amendment Stands for the preservation and promotion of the United States of America – as much today as it did in 1776.

Write!

Respectfully Submitted,
The Lee’s Summit Conservative

2 responses to First Amendment under Serious Attack

  1. Ian June 5th, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Do e-letters work? If so I will certainly send one. I get furious when I hear things like this. I haven’t paid much attention to the IRS scandal, but I do know they were refusing Tea Party people. I didn’t think of it in this light, but it is true! Americans demand the truth from their Press, this isn’t England, and it isn’t for a reason! Don’t forget it, our Press is investigative, and moderately unbiased, as unbiased as can be!

    Today I actually heard on the radio about a Russian who fled Russia and is living in exile because he was interrogated and had emails and phone records seized for five years due to an opinion piece he wrote about a case against an economist who was convicted. He said he felt he was wrongfully convicted. The piece was written under the last “President” and now Putin is after the man hard for his WORDS! I though, “How terrible that is, to be afraid to speak!” But hell, it’s happening here too! Refused tax services because of what you say… its seizure before they give it to you!

  2. Greg Cissell June 6th, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Yes e-letters work. The first and most important reason they work is they give people a way to offer feedback as well as promote a sense of involvement. Secondly, it gives our representatives a good sense of how many of us are paying attention. Our leaders feel they can do whatever they want because we as a nation have told them we are not watching you, so do what you want. Even more reason why we need our 4th branch of government to kick it into high gear and report the truth to the people.