The Bos\’un Locker

During times of war and during times of peace, we must prepare for tomorrow with the realities of today.

Protect and Preserve Your Free Speech Rights

Posted by thebosun on January 7, 2009

The “Fairness Doctrine” is The Censorship Doctrine

Media Research Center’s Free Speech Alliance is a fast-growing coalition of organizations and individuals, who, like you, cherish free speech and who have proactively joined to ensure the misnamed “Fairness Doctrine” never returns to silence the conservative voice in America.
First enacted by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine required radio stations give equal time to all sides on political issues. However, the result wasn’t equal time, it was zero time – as stations simply avoided topics that would fall under FCC equal time rules.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan rescinded the Fairness Doctrine and since then, talk radio has flourished. Conservatives dominate it, and liberals can’t stand it. By re-instating the Fairness Doctrine, liberals would effectively silence the conservative leaders of the day including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and others, and would essentially take control of all forms of media.

In recent months, the groundswell for reinstatement is intensifying. In fact, a growing number of liberal leaders in Washington, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have openly stated their intent to do so.

As Americans, we cannot sit idly by while this gag order on conservative speech is resuscitated. The time to act is now—so when the time comes, we are mobilized and prepared to defend our Free Speech Rights.

Go to the link at Media Research Center and join the Free Speech Alliance: http://www.mrcaction.org/517/petition.asp?Ref_ID=2060&RID=17771283

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4 Responses to “Protect and Preserve Your Free Speech Rights”

  1. Western Free Speech Council said

    ARE LOBBYING ACTIVITIES BY AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY COMMISSIONS UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

    By Steve Rogers
    Western Free Speech Council
    February 2009 Monthly Newsletter

    Olympia, Washington – In recent years, there have been numerous court challenges
    nationwide objecting to agricultural commodity commissions’ use of mandatory
    assessments for advertising and market promotion programs. The lawsuits have centered
    on allegations that such programs infringe upon First Amendment rights of free speech
    by mandating that producers pay assessments to fund generic advertising with which
    they may disagree.

    However, interestingly enough, none of the legal challenges of commodity commissions
    have involved the use of grower assessments for lobbying and political activities.

    In Washington State, agricultural commodity commissions have become increasingly
    active in lobbying and influencing governmental actions. In the last few years, as
    memberships of voluntary grower associations in Washington State have dwindled,
    agricultural commodity commissions have stepped in to fill the void and are
    redirecting more and more resources toward lobbying and political activities in
    Olympia and Washington, DC.

    However, according to many legal experts, the use of mandatory commodity commission
    assessments for lobbying and political activities is unconstitutional and therefore
    illegal. “Commodity commission assessments can be used for many things,” notes Sarah
    Riley, principal consultant for the Western Free Speech Council, “like export
    development and research……However, one thing that is specifically illegal is
    influencing legislation or governmental action — lobbying.”

    For example, a recent Supreme Court ruling (Davenport v. Washington Education
    Association) ruled that individual teachers should not be forced to fund lobbying and
    political speech they disagree with. In the opinion written by Antonin Scalia, which
    was unanimous except for a few sections, the Court was extremely concerned about
    people being forced to support compelled political or lobbying speech. In terms of
    legal precedence, this ruling has implications for other situations (in addition to
    unions) where business people or professionals are being forced to pay fees or
    assessments to other government mandated entities or organizations. Obviously, the
    example that immediately comes to mind is mandatory assessments for agriculture
    commodity commissions.

    On a related note, the Supreme Court has made a number of other rulings which clearly
    assert that the First Amendment prohibits the government from compelling political or
    ideological speech. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Court
    held that Jehovah’s Witnesses could not be forced to stand and salute the American
    flag in violation of their religious beliefs. In Wooley v. Maynard, it set aside the
    conviction of a New Hampshire man who obscured a portion of his license plate that
    announced the state motto ‘‘Live Free or Die.’’ In Hurley v. Irish-American Gay,
    Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston, it ruled that Boston could not compel a private
    association of veterans to allow members of a gay, lesbian, and bisexual group to
    march in the veterans’ parade. The First Amendment also protects individuals from
    forced financing of political or ideological speech. For example, in Abood v. Detroit
    Board of Education, the Court limited unions from spending on ideological messages
    those funds received from nonunion employees as part of agency shop arrangements. And
    the Court applied the union analogy to the law bar in Keller v. State Bar of
    California, excusing members from contributing funds to political and ideological
    causes.

    In conclusion, as agricultural commodity commissions in Washington State continue to
    expand their political and lobbying presence in Olympia and Washington, DC, it is
    becoming increasingly evident that their legal risk of being successfully challenged
    for political and lobbying activities is a very high probability.

    ##########################################

    The purpose of the Western Free Speech Council is to protect and defend individual
    free speech as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Based in Denver, Colorado, the
    Western Free Speech Council is a nonprofit organization that relies on private
    financial support from individuals, associations, foundations and corporations. For
    more information about the Council, please email us at
    westernfreespeechcouncil@gmail.com.

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