John McCain

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  • #2
cronxeh
Gold Member
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Its funny how 400+ representatives and 100 senators and cabinet members need about a million people worldwide overwatching their activities on daily basis and everytime someone makes a fart sound the flash starts going off and film starts rolling. Let it go, they are just playing philosophy powernerds on a Capitol Hill
 
  • #3
Rach3
Can you clearly state the issue, and cite a source which has relevant information?
 
  • #4
Art
McCain is looking for full disclosure of lobbying activities. How does this impinge upon free speech??

From your second link
Among the worst of the many anti-Constitutional things this bill would do is re-define lobbyist to include "grassroots" organizations. Further this bill would not just cover full-fledged organizations and community groups but would also cover single individuals. The bill says a "grassroots lobbyist" is anyone who desires to influence the public. And that "(A) means any attempt to influence the general public, or segments thereof, to engage in lobbying contacts whether or not those contacts were made on behalf of a client" will be called "lobbying."

This easily would include bloggers, talk show hosts, writers, or anyone who speaks up about politics. In short, this covers every American that wants to open his mouth for or against the government.
This is simply false. What the bill actually says is
(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying'--

`(A) means any attempt to influence the general public, or segments thereof, to engage in lobbying contacts whether or not those contacts were made on behalf of a client; and

`(B) does not include any attempt described in subparagraph (A) by a person or entity directed to its members, employees, officers or shareholders, unless such attempt is financed with funds directly or indirectly received from or arranged by a retained registrant.
As you can see the bill expressly exempts people who are not being paid to present a POV from registration.

It appears the lobbyists are simply lobbying against the bill.
 
  • #5
502
1
You need money to broadcast your POV. To forbid or impose limits on that a person can pay another to broadcast his POV is just like saying to a publisher that he can print books provided he doesn't spend money on the printing machine or to a news organization that they can broadcast what they want, provided they don't spend any money on broadcasting.

Its easy to see how First Amendment rights will be squashed under this. It is the Congress that needs reforms not the lobbyists and the public.


And anyway McCain has already said that he prefers a clean government to a free country
I know that money corrupts … I would rather have a clean government than one where, quote, First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.
No matter what excuses he makes, this clearly indicates that he does not understand the basic principles behind freedom of speech.
Naturally he won't introduce a constitutional amendment repealing the first amendment. Restrictions come in steps starting with the least favorable elements among the public. They are not thrown suddenly just like that.
 
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  • #6
502
1
Art said:
From your second link This is simply false. What the bill actually says is As you can see the bill expressly exempts people who are not being paid to present a POV from registration.
From what I understand, it exempts organizations from broadcasting their point of view to their members. There is no mention of exemption of the general public.
 
  • #7
Art
sid_galt said:
From what I understand, it exempts organizations from broadcasting their point of view to their members. There is no mention of exemption of the general public.
That's because the general public are not considered to be grassroots lobbyists and so are outside the requirements of the bill.

I really don't see the problem in ensuring that people that have a vested interest in an issue they are campaigning on declare that interest.

On any US finance site you care to look at you will always see a full disclosure at the end of each article declaring whether or not the author has an interest in the companies they are commentating on. This legislation appears to me to be simply trying to bring lobbyists into line with other professions which can only be a good thing for the general public.

If your local representatives were campaigning for a new landfill site near you wouldn't you want to know if they were being paid to do so by lobbyists employed by a landfill company?

BTW You still haven't shown how this nullifies the first amendment..
 
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  • #8
502
1
Art said:
If your local representatives were campaigning for a new landfill site near you wouldn't you want to know if they were being paid to do so by lobbyists employed by a landfill company?
Sure I would want to. I would also want that every person learn science and graduate high school and college. I also want all the irrational people in this world to just disappear. But just because I want it, does not allow me to quash someone else's rights.

BTW You still haven't shown how this nullifies the first amendment..
I haven't claimed it nullifies the first amendment. I have only claimed that McCain is out to quash the First Amendment.
 
  • #9
502
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Rach3 said:
Can you clearly state the issue, and cite a source which has relevant information?
John McCain has little understanding of the First Amendment atleast from what he has said and from his actions and his reform bills are a major threat to free speech particulary now that the issue is gaining public attention and the increasing likelihood of more bills like these being passed in the future.

As for sources, look at the text of the bills McCain-Feingold, or the 2005 act which is linked to in the second link or the statement he made implying that he preferred a clean govt. without First Amendment rights rather than a corrupt govt. with First Amendment rights quoted in the first link.
 
  • #10
Art
sid_galt said:
Sure I would want to. I would also want that every person learn science and graduate high school and college. I also want all the irrational people in this world to just disappear. But just because I want it, does not allow me to quash someone else's rights.
What rights? The only right I see being lost is the 'right' for lobbyists to deceive people.



sid_galt said:
I haven't claimed it nullifies the first amendment. I have only claimed that McCain is out to quash the First Amendment.
How is he doing that? If you are relying entirely on the quote you provided re clean government then I think you are mistaken. The way I read the quote was he was offhandedly dismissing a strawman argument rather than suggesting a repeal of the first amendment. I think you are letting the influence of the lobbyists get to you. :biggrin:
 
  • #11
502
1
Art said:
What rights? The only right I see being lost is the 'right' for lobbyists to deceive people.
1) Not telling people, the source of money is not deceiving people unless someone specifically asks for it. Deceiving means willfully telling a lie.

2) Even if they lied about their sources of money and their activities, they are not in any way violating the rights of or forcing any person to believe them or to pay attention to them.

Art said:
How is he doing that? If you are relying entirely on the quote you provided re clean government then I think you are mistaken.
Not only on the quote, but the text of the bills he has introduced and supported. Restricting the means of spreading the word (in this case money) is as free speech rights violating as restricting the spreading of the word itself.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
Mentor
19,946
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Rach3 said:
Can you clearly state the issue, and cite a source which has relevant information?
Yes, please do. I can see how organizations such as the Swift-Boat Vets and MoveOn might be upset about increased government oversight of their activities, but I don't see anything in there that suggests an attempt to "quash the First Amendment rights".

As I see it, these groups already reside in a grey area/loophole and need to be cracked-down on. I'm not a big fan of lobbying in general or PACs because both are money-based ways to influence public and politicians opinions. Their status and influence was a big issue in the '04 election. Heck, many democrats blamed the SBV for swinging the election, yet ironically, they know much of their power comes from the same types of groups - ie MoveOn.org.

edit: caveat: I'll need to read up on this a little more (and the rest of the thread) - most of that comes from the second article. The first was so thick with rhetoric, I couldn't make sense of it. And a lot of what you are saying, sid, sounds like unfocused, baseless fear to me. I'm still not clear on what you think this issue is. Perhaps you could provide an example (even hypothetical) of how you think this will infringe on free speech. Art's landfill example, perhaps - you imply there would be an infringement there: please explain how. I would tend to agree with Art that just knowing who is paying who to say what is a good thing. I'm not sure if this law changes who is allowed to pay who to say what, but limits on that already exist and they are, imo, sensible, if not overly generous. It is correct that no right - not even the right to free speech - is absolute, because absolute rights cause conflicts between rights where they overlap.
 
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  • #13
BobG
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At least post McCain's reasoning for the bill rather than a single out of context remark.

http://mccain.senate.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=NewsCenter.ViewPressRelease&Content_id=1629 [Broken]

A link to the actual bill would probably help, as well: http://www.theorator.com/bills109/s2128.html [Broken]

A little info on how the bill reached its final form would probably add some context, as well: [URL [Broken] and Related Reform Proposals[/url]. It's a little long, but it puts the bill into the overall effort to reform lobbying, including who initiated changes to the proposed bill as it evolved into its final form. Edit: The specific part of the bill you seem to object to was introduced as a change to the original bill by Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin.

I don't see how this restricts free speech. Grassroots organizations still have the right to say whatever they want to say. They can still attack candidates with any outlandish claim the wish to make.

It does bring grassroots organizations such as Move On and the Swift Boat Vets into the open, the same as other lobbying organizations. Edit: It will become clear whether or not it's truly a grassroots organization or whether it is a front for a more formal lobbying effort. (I don't think this will extend to campaigns after reading it a little closer)

Considering the bill passed 90-8, I assume you're also attacking the other 89 Senators that voted for this bill?
 
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