The CSPT Write Your Own Restrictions on the First Amendment Contest

Our good friend Perry has been telling us, continually, that the First Amendment, though written in absolutist terms — Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . . — cannot be read as an absolute prohibition, and that, in the context of modern times, must be interpreted in such a manner as to take into consideration current conditions.

Since it is my stated belief that the First Amendment cannot be characterized as an absolute statement, due to obvious contextual differences through time, I do think it reasonable to set limits on campaign financing and on the duration of campaigns.

Now, I have previously proposed a constitutional amendment to solve the problem Perry sees in our First Amendment:

Amendment XXVIII

  • Section 1: The First Amendment to this Constitution is hereby repealed.
  • Section 2: Freedom of speech, publication and broadcasting is guaranteed, save that speech which incites hatred, animosity or violence based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification may be prohibited.
  • Section 3: The free exercise of religion is guaranteed, save that no individual expression of religious faith may be professed in public. No religious belief which would discriminate against any person based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification is protected by this amendment, or may be protected by any statute of any level of government.
  • Section 4: Neither the United States nor any political subdivision therein may recognize, promote or protect any form of religious institution, belief or opinion. The Congress and the states shall have the power to enforce this provision through appropriate legislation.
  • Section 5: (a) The freedom of speech applies solely to individuals. No company, corporation or other organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources may claim the right to unrestricted speech under the provisions of Section 2, nor may any organization other than a registered campaign organization or political party, engage in any speech or spend any money in support of or opposition to any political candidate.
    (b) No individual member of any organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources, may claim individual status to circumvent the provisions of Section 5 (a) unless certified by the Federal Election Commission.
  • Section 6: The Congress may enact any legislation required to enforce the provisions of this Amendment.

Well, while Perry doesn’t seem to believe that we need to replace the First Amendment, he does believe that it must be interpreted in the light of modern conditions, regardless of the actual words of the First Amendment.

So, if the esteemed host of Bridging the Gap believes that there should be reasonable limits to the freedom of speech and of the press, and of religion¹ and assembly, I’d like to start the CSPT Write Your Own Restrictions on the First Amendment Contest. What, in the opinions of our readers, would constitute reasonable restrictions on the First Amendment restrictions, if the First Amendment is not really an absolute protection? You should include an explanation as to why the proposed restriction is reasonable and would be desirable enough for the good of our country that it should be imposed.

  1. Neither individuals nor organizations should be allowed to be overly critical of the government’s military policies in times when we have soldiers in the field, engaged in combat operations. The reasons for this are:
    • By criticizing the government and its policies, morale among our soldiers may be negatively affected, thus reducing their military advantage and proficiency in performance.
    • By criticizing the government and its policies, morale among our enemies may be positively affected, thus increasing the effectiveness of the enemy.
  2. The religion of Islam should be prohibited in the United States. The reasons for this are:
    • Islam is the primary religion of our enemies. By allowing Islam to exist in the United States, we are allowing the existence of a potential Fifth Column in the United States, which undermines our policies and promotes the goals of our enemies.
    • The United States is the creation of a very predominantly Christian immigration, and the United States is, and ought to be, a Christian nation. To allow Islam, or any other religion other than Judaism, to be practiced in the United States, will negatively affect our culture, our religion, and our national values.
  3. Pornography should be banned in the United States, and the internet placed under sufficient control to prevent foreign pornography from entering the United States online. The reasons for this are:
    • Pornography is clearly harmful to monogamous relationships, and divorce and unwed parenthood costs this country billions and billions of dollars in legal and child support issues.
    • Pornography contributes to the degradation of women.

Now, regular readers know that I am a First Amendment absolutist: I believe that it means exactly what it says, and, as such, the suggestions I have made would be, and should be, unconstitutional. But if it isn’t absolute, if the First Amendment really does allow reasonable restrictions on speech, the press, religion and assembly, then I have provided for you such restrictions as I believe meet the test of reasonableness. If you have others, please, add your suggestions in the comments section below.

________________________
¹ – Perry doesn’t mention the freedom of religion or of assembly, but they, too, are part of the First Amendment, so if we can reasonably limit certain speech and press items under a modern interpretation of the First Amendment, I see no reason why religion and assembly rights should not be included in this discussion.

42 Comments

  1. This is scary stuff. I wouldn’t enact ANY of it, most especially since way too much discretion would be given to the government to make determinations.

    Much to Herr Censor’s delight, though, I actually wouldn’t have much of a hassle with the donation of $$ by corporations (or other groups, like unions) to political candidates being denied as being “speech.” But I would have an issue if corporations were denied the right to take out advertising on behalf of candidates.

  2. That’s the whole point, Hube: if there are to be “reasonable” restrictions on speech, then the question immediately arises, what is reasonable, and who determines reasonableness?

  3. I like the First Amendment exactly as it’s worded: an extremely absolute prohibition on government restricting speech, with the “personhood” issue not even being part of the equation.

  4. Dana Pico says:
    9 July 2011 at 10:40
    That’s the whole point, Hube: if there are to be “reasonable” restrictions on speech, then the question immediately arises, what is reasonable, and who determines reasonableness?

    The easy answer is whoever is in charge.

  5. I think it is reasonable to be able to prosecutor for lying. It damages our country. FOX won a law suit, declaring that lying is also free speech.

  6. If you are too lazy to click onto it, let me help…

    Office of Strategic Influence
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    This article is about the former U.S. Government department. For the progressive metal band named after this organization, see OSI (band).

    The Office of Strategic Influence, or OSI, was a department created by the United States Department of Defense on October 30, 2001, to support the War on Terrorism through psychological operations in targeted countries, including the United States. Although the closure of the office was announced by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld soon after its existence became publicly known, later comments by Secretary Rumsfeld imply that the actual operations of the OSI have continued unabated.[1] OSI was authorized to use “military deception” against the public by “presenting false information, images, or statements.”[2] The OSI would have been a center for the creation of propaganda materials, for the stated purpose of misleading enemy forces or foreign civilian populations. After information on the office spread through US and foreign media in mid February 2002, intense discussions on purpose and scope of the office were reported. The discussions culminated in a public statement by Rumsfeld in late February that the office has been closed down.[citation needed]

    Some argue that due to its secretive nature and stated purposes the existence of such an agency would be hard to determine. In fact, in November 2002, Rumsfeld stated in an interview that only the name of the office was abolished, that it still exists and continues to fulfill its original intended purposes.[3] Much of the OSI’s responsibilities were shifted to the Information Operations Task Force.[4]

  7. Also, US tax $$$ going out to undermine the ever expanding Truth Community…

    WND Exclusive
    Top Obama czar: Infiltrate all ‘conspiracy theorists’
    Presidential adviser wrote about crackdown on expressing opinions
    Posted: January 14, 2010
    12:30 am Eastern

    By Aaron Klein
    © 2011 WND

    Cass Sunstein

    In a lengthy academic paper, President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban “conspiracy theorizing.”

    Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.

    Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate “extremists who supply conspiracy theories” to disrupt the efforts of the “extremists” to propagate their theories.

    In a 2008 Harvard law paper, “Conspiracy Theories,” Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule, a Harvard law professor, ask, “What can government do about conspiracy theories?”

    “We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories.”

    In the 30-page paper – obtained and reviewed by WND – Sunstein argues the best government response to “conspiracy theories” is “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.”

    Read more: Top Obama czar: Infiltrate all ‘conspiracy theorists’ http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=121884#ixzz1RdlQ73Nr

  8. You know as well as I do, the cost of such an operation is huge. If there is nothing to hide, why not have a peer reviewed investigation into the day, and the NIST (government organization) that did the study did not do a peer reviewed study. It has been fraudulent in multiple ways. If there is nothing to hide, it would be a much more cost effective means of getting rid of the annoying Truth Community. But, FEMA camps keep getting built, by Halliburton by the way. Who do you think will get into those places. I showed you already elsewhere that US dissidents are a new target. “Home grown Terrorists”. Despite the fact that all of us are sworn to non-violence.

  9. Then, listen to what others, and Daniel Ellsberg say.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011
    Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg Says that the Government Has ORDERED the Media Not to Cover 9/11

    It’s big news that the Pentagon Papers have finally been released by the government.

    But the statements from Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg about 9/11 have not been covered by the corporate media.

    As Fire Dog Lake’s Jeff Kaye writes today:

    The entire 9/11 field of inquiry has been vilified, poisoned over the years by ridicule, sometimes fantastic conspiracy mongering, and fearfulness by journalists of approaching the material, lest they be branded as irresponsible or some kind of conspiracy freak. As a result, little work has been done to investigate, except by a small group of people, some of whom have raised some real questions …

    Similarly, Air Force Colonel and key Pentagon official Karen Kwiatkowski – who blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s efforts to concoct false intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – wrote (page 26):

    I have been told by reporters that they will not report their own insights or contrary evaluations of the official 9/11 story, because to question the government story about 9/11 is to question the very foundations of our entire modern belief system regarding our government, our country, and our way of life. To be charged with questioning these foundations is far more serious than being labeled a disgruntled conspiracy nut or anti-government traitor, or even being sidelined or marginalized within an academic, government service, or literary career. To question the official 9/11 story is simply and fundamentally revolutionary. In this way, of course, questioning the official story is also simply and fundamentally American.

    Several months after 9/11, famed news anchor Dan Rather told the BBC that American reporters were practicing “a form of self-censorship”:

    There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions…. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism.

    What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognise it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship.

    The head of CNN agreed:

    There was ‘almost a patriotism police’ after 9/11 and when the network showed [things critical of the administration's policies] it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and “big people in corporations were calling up and saying, ‘You’re being anti-American here.’

    Keith Olbermann said:

    You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system.

    Former Washington Post – and now Huffington Post – columnist Dan Froomkin wrote in 2006:

    Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do. . . .

    There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bullshit-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum.

    If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bullshit more often, then we do risk losing our primacy — if not to the comedians then to the bloggers.

    I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bullshit-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way.

    The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who uncovered the Iraq prison torture scandal and the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam, Seymour Hersh, said:

    “All of the institutions we thought would protect us — particularly the press, but also the military, the bureaucracy, the Congress — they have failed. The courts . . . the jury’s not in yet on the courts. So all the things that we expect would normally carry us through didn’t. The biggest failure, I would argue, is the press, because that’s the most glaring….

    Q: What can be done to fix the (media) situation?

    [Long pause] You’d have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives. You’d actually have to start promoting people from the newsrooms to be editors who you didn’t think you could control. And they’re not going to do that.”

    Veteran reporter Bill Moyers criticized the corporate media for parroting the obviously false link between 9/11 and Iraq (and the false claims that Iraq possessed WMDs) which the administration made in the run up to the Iraq war, and concluded that the false information was not challenged because:

    “the [mainstream] media had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked.”

    Of course, the corporate media is always pro-war. Since 9/11 provided a justification for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, the mainstream media doesn’t want to question the government’s version of events.

    As Tom Brokaw notes:

    All wars are based on propaganda.

    What Does Ellsberg Say?

    Ellsberg says that the government has ordered the media not to cover 9/11:

    Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today’s American mainstream broadcast media has so far failed to take [former FBI translator and 9/11 whistleblower Sibel] Edmonds up on her offer, despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations [which Ellsberg calls "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers"].

    As Edmonds has also alluded, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times, who “sat on the NSA spying story for over a year” when they “could have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed the outcome.”

    “There will be phone calls going out to the media saying ‘don’t even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,’” he told us.

    * * *

    “I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to ‘How do we deal with Sibel?’” contends Ellsberg. “The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn’t get into the media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to to the government and they would be told ‘don’t touch this . . . .’”

    He supports a new 9/11 investigation.

    He says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”. (Here’s some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.

    And he says that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that “very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been”, that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there’s enough evidence to justify a new, “hard-hitting” investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).
    Alternative Media Is Not Much Better

  10. Blu wrote:

    I think it is reasonable to be able to prosecutor for lying. It damages our country. FOX won a law suit, declaring that lying is also free speech.

    OK, that is a reasonable suggestion. Now, to whom does it apply? You mentioned Fox News, but what about this poor site? We have had some commenters accuse others, and even your humble host, of lying. Should our small circulation, but still available worldwide, site be subject to prosecution if someone is shown to be lying here?

    And if so, should it simply be the person who said something false, or should it also include the site proprietor, for providing the forum for putting that falsehood on the internet?

  11. Blu quoted:

    Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg Says that the Government Has ORDERED the Media Not to Cover 9/11

    Really? Assuming that this actually meant President Bush, I’m wondering just how a professional media which was so opposed to President Bush, to the point that CBS even used forged documents to try to defeat him in the 2004 elections, and a print media that supported his opponent in 2004 by a very wide margin, was ever made to comply with such an order?

    Further, President Bush has been out of office for 2½ years now, and our current President was not part of the federal government in any way on 11 September 2001; he’d certainly have no reason to continue such an order, and if an investigation were to reveal some domestic involvement by President Bush or any Republican, the GOP would be utterly destroyed as a viable political party in this country. President Obama would have every reason to rescind such an order, if such an order actually existed.

    Why hasn’t this happened?

  12. Dana, it’s just more Bush via Obama. They are all playing on the same team. There is media control, under Bush and Obama, as my sources have brought to your attention. I wonder who dared learn these realities, and who (seems most everyone) ran like cockroaches. instead of looking honestly at this problem we are in as a country.

  13. I think major networks should be heavily penalized for producing fraudulent pieces, but our own damn country is doing it by way of media. No, I don’t think this site should be penalized, because it is not a major component of our 4th estate. Our media does not work for us anymore though.

    Dana, you made the mistake I often do, which is breeze through the material, and missing the major points, and how they tie together. It is all very important, if anyone truly gives a %$%#%.

  14. Blu wrote:

    Dana, it’s just more Bush via Obama. They are all playing on the same team. There is media control, under Bush and Obama, as my sources have brought to your attention.

    OK, if you are saying here that President Obama is totally on board with President Bush’s policies and is defending him — an unusual claim, to be sure! — then how do you explain the fact that foreign journalistic sources, such as the left-wing Guardian, and a whole host of other not-particularly-American-friendly journalistic sources, have also ignored what you see as a tremendous case?

    Further, you have an intellectual problem with your “sources,” as you call them. If none of the major journalistic sources are pursuing the story you believe they should, for whatever reason, how is it that your “sources” can do so, or even have the resources to do so? How do you know that they have found the truth, as opposed to aren’t mistaken or deliberately lying?

    We are all dependent upon outside sources for our information, about everything other than what happens in our own neighborhoods, and often, even there. Unless we happen to be direct witnesses to something, we are all dependent upon other people getting information to us. And that means that you are as dependent upon the accuracy of your “sources” as the rest of us are dependent upon various other media, and there is no magic formula through which you can say that your sources are right, while everybody else’s are wrong.

  15. I can think of two words why the first amendment should be protected as written.

    Fast and Furious

    It’s just amazing that the liberal media can so selectively ignore this travesty.

  16. It’s just amazing that the liberal media can so selectively ignore this travesty.

    Perhaps they’ve gotten wise to w1ngnuts screaming about governmental mountains when all there are are bureaucratic molehills.

  17. Perhaps they’ve gotten wise to w1ngnuts screaming about governmental mountains when all there are are bureaucratic molehills.

    Cheeyeah … that’s what they said about Iran-Contra — a “bureaucratic molehill.”

  18. “Perhaps they’ve gotten wise to w1ngnuts screaming about governmental mountains when all there are are bureaucratic molehills.”

    That’s fantastic. Spoken like a true believer who is part of the problem and has no clue as to what the solution is. Tell me, has your entire life been a symbiotic relationship with the rest of society? Or have you at any time created something that the private sector would actually pay you for having created? Cause I know that librarians who think they’re economist’s are in huge demand in the free market. “Bureaucratic molehills”, indeed. Moonbats, they never learn.

    But you are correct. It’s those little bureaucratic molehills which are stoppingb me from opening a new million dollar business. But I guess that’s my fault. And when I put another two million into an oversea market Perry will berate me as being unpatriotic. I guess I should just comply and start a new Italian market here and from day one have the state with its hand in my pocket. But wait. I don’t have to do anything. I make 250 grand without lifting a finger so why should I bust my balls to make another lousy 150 grand? Oh, that’s right, because I can, because it’s the challenge, because it will make a difference.

    You leftists really know how to encourage business. But then again you don’t want to, you want to encourage government. Mission accomplished!

  19. Said Dana… If none of the major journalistic sources are pursuing the story you believe they should, for whatever reason, how is it that your “sources” can do so, or even have the resources to do so? How do you know that they have found the truth, as opposed to aren’t mistaken or deliberately lying?

    You read and watch the common crap, Dana. I will find sources, but you have limited your scope apparently.

  20. 3 minute video…Noam Chomsky

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mA4HYTO790

    Believe me, most Lefties I know are disgusted with Obama’s follow through with Bush policies. There are cowards that don’t think for themselves on the Obama side on the Left also of course though. Ideology trumping objectivity, big problem with too many though. Most I know are fed up with him.

  21. You read and watch the common crap, Dana. I will find sources, but you have limited your scope apparently.

    And with very good reason if Noam Chomsky is among these sources …

  22. Or have you at any time created something that the private sector would actually pay you for having created?

    Yes. I do it every day.

    You’re amusing when you start ranting – it’s funny to see you reduced to spluttering when you don’t have any actual arguments left.

  23. Cheeyeah … that’s what they said about Iran-Contra — a “bureaucratic molehill.”

    W1ngnuts didn’t say anything about that except “Support der Presidunt!!” and “Whattareya, a commie?”

    I realise you people like rewriting history, but you lot were the ones stating Ollie North was a hero for shipping weapons off to the Contras…

  24. My mistake – weapons off to the Iranians, money to the Contras, drugs to Miami, and the sausage to Fawn Hall.

  25. W1ngnuts didn’t say anything about that except “Support der Presidunt!!” and “Whattareya, a commie?”

    I realise you people like rewriting history, but you lot were the ones stating Ollie North was a hero for shipping weapons off to the Contras…

    I speak for myself, not “you people.” Too bad you’re so wired up in your pathetic communist dogma to even recall what I’ve posted here at CSPT about past US interventions in Latin America. But that’s your problem, not mine.

    You just complained about people complaining about the gun-running scandal because it’s “a “bureaucratic molehill.” When I wrote “Cheeyeah … that’s what they said about Iran-Contra — a “bureaucratic molehill,” I was referring to YOU morons — aka the Left.

    And you chide others for not recognizing sarcasm?

  26. I speak for myself, not “you people.” Too bad you’re so wired up in your pathetic communist dogma

    Spot the irony.

    You just complained about people complaining about the gun-running scandal because it’s “a “bureaucratic molehill.” When I wrote “Cheeyeah … that’s what they said about Iran-Contra — a “bureaucratic molehill,” I was referring to YOU morons — aka the Left.

    Hubey-wubey, you mean the Left that wanted Reagan impeached over Iran-Contra?

    What an idiot you are.

  27. Yes. I do it every day.

    Uh huh.

    That’s right.

    Thanks for the much needed guffaw, though.

    You seem to be forgetting that I couldn’t care less about your opinion, so I wouldn’t bother lying.

    There’s an interesting lesson in the economics of information in the back-history of our work…

  28. Said Dana…We are all dependent upon outside sources for our information, about everything other than what happens in our own neighborhoods, and often, even there. Unless we happen to be direct witnesses to something, we are all dependent upon other people getting information to us. And that means that you are as dependent upon the accuracy of your “sources” as the rest of us are dependent upon various other media, and there is no magic formula through which you can say that your sources are right, while everybody else’s are wrong.

    That is why I always bring video, usually documenting what I have to say, but is ignored by those that choose to limit their reality to that which is comfortable for them. Like so many here. Sad for our country. Voluntarily deaf, dumb and blind, unless it fits their ideology, or favorite talk show host.

  29. For those that have enough guts to realize what has taken place in this country, realize what has happened to our system of getting information. You should be damned mad. This really is more interesting than the movies the brain pickling MSM offers. Dare look for the sake of your country. Get mad. Please. I’m sick of being angry. Be mad for me, sigh, please, so I don’t have to always be the one showing anger, disgust for the state of government, at the loss of humanity’s well being.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXg70qJQ6O0

  30. Don’t freak/panic it’s not about 9-11-01. You should take your hands off of your eyes.

  31. The Phoenician wrote:

    Hubey-wubey, you mean the Left that wanted Reagan impeached over Iran-Contra?

    Well, it certainly is true that our friends on the left were very upset that President Reagan helped to force real elections on a proto-Communist government in Nicaragua, and those elections forced the Sandinista out of power . . . .

  32. Hubey-wubey, you mean the Left that wanted Reagan impeached over Iran-Contra?

    What an idiot you are.

    I don’t see how I am an idiot over sarcastically pointing out that, yes, the Left wanted Reagan impeached over Iran-Contra, yet this same Left (personified by yourself) dubs the current gun running scandal a “bureaucratic molehill.” Weird, eh?

    You seem to be forgetting that I couldn’t care less about your opinion, so I wouldn’t bother lying.

    Uh huh. That must be why you seem to feel the need to justify your career to us peons then, right, alongside wasting so much of your time in here?

    Moron … LOL

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