If you would like to add a comment to any of the threads here on AADB, registration with blogspot.com is not required. Simply click on the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of an essay, and either enter a nickname under ‘choose an identity’ or post your comment anonymously. Serious comments are always welcome.

REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

1/13/2007

Those Were The Days, My Friend

FreedomofSpeech.jpg
’Freedom of Speech’ by Norman Rockwell

It’s nearly 4 AM and I’m suffering from a spate of insomnia. It’s hard to sleep when you’re spitting nails. You probably are too, or soon will be …

See if you can wrap your mind around the latest travesty that is seeking to pass itself off as Constitutional legislation. I’ve been having a lot of trouble absorbing the extent of the evil embodied in the democrats’ most recent assault on my, and your, inalienable rights. My mind prefers to be in a state of denial about this one. Accepting it would be tantamount to an admission that I no longer wield any power at all in the political arena, and that the final nail has been driven into the coffin of government ‘of, by and for the people’.

As if the McCain-Feingold ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ bill weren’t a despicable enough example of the left’s determination to suppress the voice of the average citizen in the political process, the new democrat-controlled senate has introduced yet another assault on the First Amendment -- at least that portion of it that guarantees free speech to the average citizen, and those grassroots organizations that attempt to work in his behalf. As is generally the case, the big guys are exempt from the chains that are being prescribed for you and me.

The ‘grassroots lobbying’ section of newly introduced U.S. Senate Bill 1 (Section 220) contains burdensome reporting requirements, mandatory on a quarterly basis, for just the kinds of grassroots groups that have organized to look out for you and me. And there are civil fines of up to $100,000 if they fail to comply with the new federal dictates.

Under Senate Bill 1, any grassroots lobbying organization -- i.e., again, most of the groups that you and I support, and to whom we look for information that the media choose not to publicize or disclose -- would have to report the issues, the names and specifics of their employees, and how much they spend on what is called ‘paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying’ (note that the vagueness of that particular phrase is cavernous).

The groups affected are defined as ‘any organizations that encourage five hundred or more members of the general public to contact Congress’ (*gasp!* -- we can’t have the American people contacting Congress! That would lead to the dreaded ‘A-word’ – accountability).

This massive and burdensome reporting requirement will kick in if the organization plans to do one of two things: (1) request a face-to-face or written communication, regarding a question or concern about public policy, with someone in the executive or legislative branch, or (2) encourage citizens to contact the executive or legislative branch (again, ‘encouraging’ is not defined, so the wording leaves significant room for interpretation by those on the Hill, and their buddies in the judiciary, who want to silence any opposition, or any group that seeks to make public what is going on within the walls of the senate, house, or the administration).

There is no minimum dollar spending floor. Any grassroots organization that attempts to arouse the citizenry to thought or action, or merely seeks to inform, will be expected to jump through a myriad of expensive and time-consuming bureaucratic hoops -- so many of them that a significant number of these groups will become severely financially strained. They will be forced to keep detailed records of expenditures on informing the public about any issue: their consulting fees, printing or broadcast/telecast costs, postage, advertising, personnel, etc.

Obviously, the cost of meeting these bureaucratic regulations will be prohibitive. And that is precisely the reason for this proposed legislation: to keep you and me from learning those tyrannical, unconstitutional legislative travesties of which the 'powers that be' would prefer we remain ignorant.

Perhaps the unkindest cut of all is contained in the fact that the bill makes broad exemptions for larger, organized groups who employ paid lobbyists – those who don’t rely primarily on grassroots communication to get their messages out (i.e., unions, large corporations, etc.) The Teamsters, the NEA, AARP, moveon.org, and other leftist ‘membership’ groups will not fall under the bill’s bureaucratic mandates.

Ain’t that convenient for those in ‘leadership’ positions who believe the Constitution is outmoded – i.e., would-be tyrants, one-world agenda adherents, and elitists?

I would suggest that we all call or e-mail our senators and voice our outrage, but it will take a major activist movement to stop this particular steamroller. And, since most of the grassroots movements that will be suffocated (some of them even extinguished) under this bill came into being precisely because the media is failing to inform, you can bet that this particular bill will be kept under tight wraps by those very same media. Negligent journalism, at best – conspiratorial, more likely.

Welcome to Amerika.

~ joanie

(S.1, Sec.220)

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

john galt said...

I would suggest that we all call or e-mail our senators and voice our outrage, but it will take a major activist movement to stop this particular steamroller.

I just emailed my senators. Even if that's all we can do, it beats taking this lying down.

Damn them.

John Cooper said...

I wrote my two senators yesterday on this subject, and wasn't very polite, either. Frankly, I'm getting tired of writing polite letters to them and after six months, getting the obligatory but non-responsive form letter.

As I read Section 220, it applies to talk radio as well as the Internet and other forms of communication. Full page ads in the newspaper, too. The exact wording which gets added to 2 USC 1602 - DISCLOSURE OF LOBBYING ACTIVITIES ( Title 2, Chapter 26, Section 1602 of the United States Code) is:

(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.


This last clause is what exempts the unions and large corporations, as Joanie pointed out. Everybody else becomes a target. This offensive bill was introduced by Harry Reid along with seventeen co-conspirators, three of them republicans. (I've included links so you can "communicate" with them while it's still legal.)

Sen Robert Bennett[R-UT]
Sen Sherrod Brown [D-OH]
Sen Maria Cantwell[D-WA]
Sen Susan Collins [RINO-ME]
Sen Dick "Our Troops are Nazis" Durbin [D-IL]
Sen Diane "Not-So" Feinstein [D-CA]
Sen Frank Lautenberg[D-NJ]
Sen Patrick "Leakin" Leahy [D-VT]
Sen Joe Lieberman [D-CT]
Sen "Traitor" Lott [D-MS]
Sen Mitch McConnell [R-KY]
Sen Robert Menendez [D-NJ]
Sen Barbara Mikulski [D-MD]
Sen Ken Salazar[D-CO]
Sen "Chuckie" Schumer[D-NY]
Sen Debbie Stabenow [D-MI]
Sen Jim "Porn Writer" Webb [D-VA]

I hereby urge more than 500 people to write their senators opposing this issue. Come and get me, dirty copper!

all_good_men said...

Well, what do you expect form those that started this slippery sloped to surfdom with the McCain-Feingold ‘Campaign Finance Reform’. They do this to insure their re-election. The next thing to go will be talk radio when they re-introduce the "Fairness" doctrine.

Also, do you notice this is "bi-partisan" with good "Republicans" as Robert Bennett[UT], Mitch McConnell [KY] and Trent Lott [MS]. They are more interested in protecting their a**es than protecting our rights.

And, of course, the "supremes" will find some emination or international law to justify their declaration that the new law is constitutional.

What part of "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech;...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." do these people not understand.

Al said...

Good post, John.

That's what this forum iis for.

Al said...

What part of "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech;...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." do these people not understand.

Allgoodmen,

It is a private club---for THEM only.

Peons need not apply.

Lori_Gmeiner said...

Bravo for the great post Joanie, and a pox on all their houses!

John, thanks for the additional info. I will be one of the 500 you're calling for!

smithy said...

Bastards!

I'm using your links Cooper, and I "won't be very polite" either.

John Cooper said...

Doing some further research into the sausage-making process at the Senate, it seems like Section 220 was added as an amendment to S.1 by Harry Reid on Jan 9th. He had the following co-sponsors, so the idea that the three republican co-conspirators weren't aware of Section 220 is now toast.

McConnell [R-KY], Feinstein [D-CA] Bennett [R-UT], Sen Lieberman [D-CT], Collins [R-ME], Obama [D-IL], Salazar [D-CO], and Durbin [D-IL].

The amendment was discussed on Jan 10th without a quorum present.

It was discussed again on the 11th, with a quorum this time, but after reading as much of the Congressional Record as I could stomach, I could find no discussion of Section 220 at all. My eyes glazed over while reading Robert "Sheets" Byrd's senile rant on the Iraq war, which somehow the old geezer managed to force the senate to listen to. I think everybody just wanted to go home at that point.

Then 43 democrats and three republicans (Lott, Voinovich, and Bennett) tried to table the amendments and summarily pass the bill. They were outvoted by 51-46. They tried again several times later that evening until senators drifted away to attend to more important matters (football game?) and a quorum was no longer present.

It was that close to passing with absolutely no discussion, folks...

cw-patriot said...

Excellent comments, John, (especially 'I hereby urge more than 500 people to write their senators opposing this issue. Come and get me, dirty copper!').

I second your call for five hundred patriots, and your defiance of the 'law' -- such as it is. :(

Thanks for the links.

~ joanie

John Cooper said...

Dear Sen. McConnell--

I see you were a co-sponsor of S.AMDT.3 to S.1. which added Section 220 to the bill.

Have you lost your mind? What prompted you to join with the Democrats in an attempt to criminalize free speech without a permit from Congress?

Did the portion of the First Amendment that reads, "Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance" slip your mind?

I've read Section 220 on "Grass-Roots Lobbying" and am dedicated to spending the next few days posting what you, Lott, and Bennett have done on every blog I can find before it becomes a crime to do so.

I may move to Kentucky just so I can vote against you.

(spit)

cw-patriot said...

Beautiful additional research, John, especially debunking the idea that the republican co-conspirators weren't aware of Section 220.

Good work!

~ joanie

Minuteman23 said...

This one needs to be shouted from the rooftops, or that option may be taken away too!

I'll be using your links, John Cooper, and paraphrasing your message to McConnell.

daveburkett said...

They've crossed an important line here. If the media doesn't pick this up, they are even more corrupt than I thought.

Emails sent to senators and more than half of my address book.

LouBarakos said...

Tyrants, the whole bunch. I'll be doing my part to let them know how I feel, in no uncertain terms.

Where is Fox News on this story???

Anonymous said...

We need some more Thomas Paines and Patrick Henrys. Time is running short.

Anonymous said...

Un-be-friggin'-lievable!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up cw-patriot, and thanks for the links and other information, John Cooper. It's up to people like us to get the word out. I'll be mailing a link to this blog to a lot of people. I hope others do the same.

jim said...

Scheming, sanctimonious traitors! All 18 of them, and my 2 senators, will be hearing from me.

John Cooper said...

Correction: In my original list of co-conspirators with links, I made a freudian slip and labeled Trent Lott as a Democrat.

It was an honest mistake, but technically inaccurate.

There's some legal analysis of Section 220 at Free Speech Coalition (.pdf file). (Hat Tip: Pamela at Atlas Shrugs)

Oh, this just keeps getting better and better. The above .pdf from the Free Speech Coalition claims that Ralph Nader's socialist/communist organization Public Citizen was behind Section 220.

That seems to be true. From their website: Problems with and Recommended Changes to the Federal Lobbying Disclosure System written in 2001 and adopted completely in Section 220.
~~~~~~~~~~
PROBLEM: "No provision for disclosure of grass-roots lobbying activities enlisting the general public in lobbying officials."

SOLUTION:"Legislation to expand the Lobbying Disclosure Act to include paid grass-roots lobbying activities directed to the general public, while protecting the privacy of unpaid citizen lobbyists and their communications."
~~~~~~~~~~ (I sure wish this blog had some way to indent things)
So now we have republicans in congress pushing the socialist party platform?

John Cooper said...

Dear Sen. Bennett--

Do your constituents know that you are pushing the socialist platform of Ralph Nader's "Public Citizen"? One would think that if the voters of Utah wanted a socialist to represent them, they would have voted for one.

I am referring to S.AMDT.3 to Senate Bill 1 that you co-sponsored along with a number of Democrats - You know, the one that criminalizes free speech by "grass roots lobbyists"?

As you were probably aware, Section 220 is right out of Public Citizen's legislative agenda. Here's the link to refresh your memory:

http://www.citizen.org/congress/govt_reform/_government_/disclosure/articles.cfm?ID=6202

What part of "Congress shall make no law..." do you not understand?

Please withdraw your support from Section 220.

Al said...

"So now we have republicans in congress pushing the socialist party platform?"

They are all part of the same club.

All this was decided and laid out long ago.

They put it into action bit by bit.

And they are escalating now (most noticeably since they put drugged up frat boy Clinton in as our 'president').

Anonymous said...

"Sheets" Byrd is a longtime heroin addict.

Ted Kennedy is filled with every drug and type of liquor imaginable.

Ronald Dellums, who almost became head of the Intelligence Committee a few years ago, topped all his colleagues, constantly showing up at Washington area functions so strung out and incoherent he had to be helped home.

Their children follow the pattern.

Dellums' son:

Oakland mayor's son denied parole for murder conviction

By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
January 8, 2007

Michael Dellums, the son of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, was denied parole today for his second-degree murder conviction for killing a reputed drug dealer in Oakland in 1979, according to a California Board of Prison Terms spokesman.

Board of Prison Terms spokesman Tip Kendel said the panel found that Michael Dellums, 49, is "an unacceptable parole risk" and "a danger to the public's safety if released from prison at this time."

Michael Dellums was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges on Nov. 13, 1979, for shooting and killing 26-year-old Gregory Davis, a reputed drug dealer, at 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland on Feb. 27, 1979.

He was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison, but he's been denied parole at numerous parole hearings. He's being held at the California State Prison in Vacaville in Solano County.

Kendel said Dellums will have another parole hearing next year.

Dellums' hearing was held on the same day that his father, Ron Dellums, a former congressman and lobbyist, was publicly sworn in as Oakland's mayor.

According to court records, Dellums was born during divorce proceedings that ended Ron Dellums' first marriage. Dellums was raised by his mother.

According to a letter that Dr. George Ponomareff wrote to a judge on July 25, 1979, "the primary male influence in the home was a Mr. Steve Wilson, who was there approximately from ages 5 to 15."

According to a letter that Dr. David Grubb wrote to a judge on Aug. 9, 1979, Ron Dellums "has not been a major figure in Michael's life."

Grubb said Dellums "began to get into legal trouble at an early age" and was a truant from school.

Grubb said Dellums himself estimated that he committed more than 100 burglaries in the North Oakland area.

Grubb said Dellums also was convicted of malicious mischief, burglary, multiple purse snatchings, armed robbery, petty and grand theft and auto theft.

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/news_in_brief/bcn_dellums_denied_parole_070108.shtml


These are the people who, from their lofty position, decide for us what we need.

John Cooper said...

The plot thickens. Apparently McConnell and Bennett either never read Section 220 before they co-sponsored it, or they've thought better of it.

Back on Jan. 10th, Bennett introduced S.AMDT.20 to remove Section 220 in it's entirety:
~~~~~~~~~
SA 20. Mr. BENNETT (for himself and Mr. McConnell) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 3 proposed by Mr. Reid (for himself, Mr. McConnell, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Lieberman, Ms. Collins, Mr. Obama, Mr. Salazar, and Mr. Durbin) to the bill S. 1, to provide greater transparency in the legislative process; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

Strike section 220 of the amendment (relating to disclosure of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying).
~~~~~~~~~~

What a bunch of maroons...I note that Snowe and Lott still want to stifle political dissent. What a surprise...

John Cooper said...

So can anybody tell me what this means? From the Congressional Record on Jan. 11th:
~~~~~~~~~~
AMENDMENT NO. 20 TO AMENDMENT NO. 3

Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and that amendment No. 20 be called up and that it be set aside.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Utah [Mr. Bennett] proposes an amendment numbered 20 to amendment No. 3.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To strike a provision relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying)

Strike section 220 of the amendment (relating to disclosure of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying).
~~~~~~~~~

So Sen Bennett introduced Amendment 20 to strike section 220, then asked for it to be set aside?

I don't get it...

cw-patriot said...

Excellent research, and excellent links, John.

The analysis on the Free Speech Coalition site is excellent – especially their continual reference to the fact that the bill would pose financial and legal penalties on those simply wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights, without first registering with Congress.

As mentioned before, the loophole in the bill will allow large trade unions, corporations, and other special interest groups to collect and spend hundreds of millions of dollars in order to brainwash voters into accepting their point of view. Even foreign corporations, and foreign nationals, would fall under the exemption. But small citizen associations will be monitored closely, and will have to expend great time and expense to abide by the bill’s dictates.

The Founders would be horrified at the notion that, under the provisions of this bill, public interest groups, representing average citizens, must register with the government in order to question government actions, and in order to disperse the results of their analysis to American citizens.

The analysis of the bill (undertaken by four attorneys knowledgeable in the machinations of congress, and Constitutional scholars all) concludes with these two telling paragraphs:

H.R. 4682 [the companion bill to S.1] would target and restrict the First Amendment rights of citizens on an unprecedented and needless basis. There is no correlation between the fundamental rights being targeted by this and similar bills and the real ethics and corruption problems in Washington. The bill also provides huge loopholes for wealthy Washington insiders and special interests that actually may be engaging in (1) writing legislation and making policy without disclosure and ‘sunshine’, (2) providing money, gifts and trips for members of congress, and (3) seeking pork, privileges and handouts from congress.

There are ways to legislate to reduce corruption in Washington, but regulating First Amendment rights, in the way H.R. 4682 [and its counterpart S.1] proposes to do, would only further corruption, not reduce it.


Bottom line: If you or I, or the groups that have organized to represent us, dare to inquire as to the motives or methods of our elected representatives, we must ‘register’ with them first, and then continually report our every move, contact and expense to them, so that they can monitor (and perhaps even anticipate) our actions. Yet those powerfully entrenched, agenda-driven, wealth-backed (and even foreign-backed) special interest groups, whose motives are often far more sinister than a mere desire for information, are completely unrestricted under this particular bill – no registering, no forms, no reporting, no monitoring.

I would like to ask Ms. Pelosi, her cohorts in the house, and their counterparts in the senate, to explain the liberty-based parameters under which they believe this to be a necessary, let alone Constitutional, bill. Interestingly, should it be signed into law, my ability to do just that would be severely limited.

The Ralph Nader/Public Citizen connection is absolutely chilling.

I’ve said countless times before, and I believe this to be a good example: the leftists can get away with this incremental dissolution of our Constitutionally-guaranteed liberties because the media do not report on their crimes, but, even more importantly, the average American simply doesn’t want to be bothered to know.

I used to occasionally watch re-runs of Hannity and Colmes late at night. I will never again do that. With all of the government negligence in relation to our borders, especially, and the liberty-robbing legislation that is being proposed (and will no doubt be signed into law) without so much as a word of it being reported in the major media, the major focus of the edition of Hannity and Colmes that I watched a few days ago was on the continuing ‘feud’ between Trump and O’Donnell.

The media may be consistently (and with great relish) playing the bread-and-circuses card because that is what the lazy, apathetic American public craves, but ninety-five percent of the ‘news’ they report/analyze is an grotesque insult to any thinking person.

It is our national sloth, more than anything else, that will be our undoing.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

I saw news about this bill posted on a small conservative web site the other day. It got hardly any comment. Even people who call themselves conservatives are sometimes all talk.

This is one of the worst things that has come down the pike in a long time and even people who visit conservative sites aren't getting very upset.

John Cooper said...

For the record, H.R. 4682 was *introduced* in February, 2006 (109th Congress) by Nancy Pelosi, with 162 co-conspirators. It never went anywhere other than a bunch of committees.

It's Section 204 is identical to Section 220 in the current S.1.

This effort to stifle free speech has been going on for over five years now, and the fact that the media have never once mentioned it is a real crime.

Which reminds me...Investor's Business Daily is the only paper in the United States which would be interested. They published one of my letters once, so I'm going to send them one today.

John Cooper said...

Dear Editor--

In 2001, Ralph Nader’s group “Public Citizen” published a report complaining that there was too much “paid grass-roots activism” going on, and suggested that Congress do something to stop all that in the name of lobbying reform. [Following link provided for editor’s fact checking, not publication: http://www.citizen.org/congress/govt_reform/_government_/disclosure/articles.cfm?ID=7861]

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been all too glad to sneak Public Citizen’s socialist agenda into legislation as a way to prevent all that annoying citizen-correspondence from flooding their in-boxes. The legislation they have introduced re-defines correspondence from individual citizens and small groups as “lobbying” if someone has spent more than $25,000 to urge them to do so - a mass-mailing or full-page-ad in a newspaper for example. (Large corporations and large organizations such as Public Citizen will be exempt, of course.)

Both Pelosi and Reid have recently introduced bills which criminalize attempts to “influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action”. Should these bills become law, an individual will face penalties of up to $100,000 if via print, Internet, TV, or talk radio he spends more than $25,000 to urge people to write their legislators without first registering with Congress as a lobbyist.

While it’s still legal to do so, I urge your readers to contact your Senators in opposition to Section 220 of Harry Reid’s Senate Bill 1, and Section 204 of Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 4682.

--John Cooper

cw-patriot said...

Excellent letter, John. I'll be sending one similar to a couple of local newspapers. There are those in our area who will be outraged by this bill's contents, and will be expressing their outrage once they are made aware of its contents. It's just too bad we can't rely on the media to do what they claim is their first calling.

Anonymous said...

Good site. Bookmarked.

Yogi said...

Next will come a reinstating of the Fairness Doctrine. The only voice that's fit to hear has liberal vocal cords.

gretahoffman said...

If this passes the Senate, goes to the House and passes there, and gets put on Bush's desk, and he signs it just like he did CFR, he will lose even those conservatives who are still hanging on by a thread.

Anonymous said...

U.S. Declaration of Independence:

Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

guinevere said...

Once a liberty is reliquished to the government it's lost forever.

SharonGold said...

I think you are looking for negatives in the bill. You must keep reminding yourself, Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

Congress is on my side.

(Are you believin' it yet?) :>)

John Cooper said...

Apparently, the Senate is closed tomorrow for Monday Night Football. They reconvene on Tuesday, January 16, 2007, so we've only got ONE DAY to make outselves heard. It's too late for letters-to-editor. From the Senate website:
~~~~~~~~~~
SENATE CONVENES AT 10:00 A.M.

PENDING BUSINESS:

S. 1 (ORDER NO. 1) A bill to provide greater transparency in the legislative process.
(Jan. 9, 2007.)
========================================================================
UNANIMOUS CONSENT AGREEMENT

S. 1 (ORDER NO. 1)

1.--Ordered, That at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2007, the Senate
resume consideration of S. 1
, a bill to provide greater transparency in
the legislative process, and that at 5:30 p.m., the Senate proceed to a
vote
on or in relation to Amdt. No. 44, as modified, offered by the
Senator from Illinois (Mr. Durbin), to be followed by a vote on or in
relation to Amdt. No. 11, as amended, if amended, offered by the Senator
from South Carolina (Mr. DeMint), and that the Senate then proceed,
without intervening action or debate, to a vote on the motion to invoke
cloture on Amdt. No. 4, offered by the Senator from Nevada (Mr. Reid);
further, that if Amdt. No. 44 is not modified to satisfy the Senator
from South Carolina (Mr. DeMint), the agreement with respect to the two
amendments be vitiated.

Ordered further, That Senators have until 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday,
January 16, 2007 to file first degree amendments and until 4:30 p.m. to
file second degree amendments to S. 1.

Ordered, That Monday, January 15, 2007, be counted as an intervening
day under Rule XXII with respect to the cloture motion filed on Amdt.
No. 4.

Ordered further, That the mandatory quorum call under Rule XXII be
waived for each of the three cloture motions filed with respect to this
measure. (January 12, 2007.)

~~~~~~~~~~

As you can see, the Democrats intend to steamroller this bill through without a quorum and pass it before the public knows what's been done. The gutless republicans won't fillibuster, naturally. They wouldn't want to appear mean-spirited.

Amendment 44 ISN'T EVEN PUBLISHED YET (!), so we mere citizens don't know what Durbin is up to. We all have about one hour in the morning to call our Senators on this.

John Cooper said...

Make that "one hour Tuesday morning".

cw-patriot said...

Your ‘steamroller’ is the operative word here, John. Arrogance on the part of our ‘leadership’, combined with apathy on the part of the electorate, are providing its apparently constantly-renewable fuel.

The democrats’ newly-revived sense of power entitlement, in combination with the republicans’ timidity born of a fear of being labeled ‘partisan’ by the dems and their media cohorts, are going to result in many sleight-of-hand moves that will become law in the blink of an eye, and behind most citizens’ backs.

I have already sent e-mails to my two senators, and all of the bill’s sponsors. I intend to call Specter’s and Casey’s offices Tuesday morning. I have also e-mailed everyone in my address book who has any interest at all in government abuse (several dozen people). And you have apparently done much more than I, John.

With that said, I don’t think this bill’s passage is going to cause so much as a ripple on the political landscape. I’ll bet all of one percent of the voting public is even aware of its existence. And, of the one percent that is, far fewer than half of them care enough to attempt to do anything about it.

In doing a few internet searches on the bill, I happened upon a dozen or so conservative sites that have posted the vile contents of this bill and asked for action to prevent its becoming law. Without exception, the minimal response (from those who took the time and effort to respond at all) was half-hearted, at best. Most of the responses sounded as if the writer hadn’t even really bothered to read the contents of the bill. Only a very small percentage expressed outrage and a promise to get involved by writing or calling members of the senate.

And this is happening on conservative political websites, where the readership is presumed to be more focused on the state of the world than the man on the street might be.

A personal aside … I see a chiropractor once a month, for a (vastly improved, and nearly healed at this point) injury that I caused myself when I was over-doing it in working on a large rock wall that I have been constructing -- tried to pick up an enormous rock with my back instead of my legs.

This chiropractor is a young (mid-thirties maybe) man, very well-spoken. He has pamphlets and posters in a few places in his waiting room, all of which more than hint at the fact that his politics are of a liberal bent (pamphlets distributed by Green Peace, etc.). The pamphlets are not objectionable, in that they are not placed in ‘in your face’ locations -- and he never initiates discussions of them with his patients, that I am aware of.

This week I happened to mention the Saddam Hussein hanging – a full week after it happened (don’t remember how it fit into the conversation, but it did, in a circuitous way).

This young man was not even aware that Saddam had been executed. We talked about it, and he remarked, regarding the fact that he had been unaware of the hanging until I mentioned it, ‘That just goes to show you how much I pay attention to what’s going on in the world.’ No apology or embarrassment about that observation. Simply a statement of fact.

And yet, at the same time, he is advertising leftist propaganda in his waiting room. It’s really not contradictory when you come to think of it. Most ‘liberals’ (of the innocent dupe type) arrive at their political views by virtue of a brain funnel, rather than research and observation, followed by independent thought.

Probably close to half of the country is of the innocent dupe liberal type mentioned above, and the rest are a mixture of non-politicals and conservatives. Among the conservative ranks, it would appear that conservatives who believe in activism, when it is required, in order to prevent or revoke government abuse represent an extremely small minority of the populace.

Considering the state of the world as a whole, and the increasingly tyrannical, unaccountable, left-leaning nature of the American government, optimism for the future is a luxury that I’m not sure we can justify embracing for much longer.

Lately, I keep reflecting on Samuel Adams’ warning a lot:

No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant … they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders … Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren, 4 November, 1775

Thanks for all of your invaluable comments and research on this thread. You are a modern American patriot – a dying breed, it would appear.

~ joanie

calbrindisi said...

Most ‘liberals’ (of the innocent dupe type) arrive at their political views by virtue of a brain funnel, rather than research and observation, followed by independent thought.

You said it.

I repeated it. < g >

John Cooper said...

Thanks Joanie--

Not to further depress you, but I read on a conservative site that the republican participation in this travesty is all part of a "brilliant plan". (Sound familiar?)

They're going to go along with this bill so the dems can't label them as "soft on corruption", and hope that Bush vetos it.

What a bunch of cowards...

John Cooper said...

Joanie--

Just to confirm what you wrote about negligent journalism, I searched google news just now on "grassroots section 220" and got only four hits, none of which were articles from any major media source.

What was there was from the Traditional Values Coalition, the John Birch Society, and some website called "Stop the ACLU".

Searching the blogosphere on Technorati using the same search terms returned a miserable 128 hits.

Searching google itself came up with 579,000 hits. I appended "senate" to the search terms to weed out some chaff and still came up with 171,000 hits. So this *is* being discussed out there, just not in the newspapers or on TV.

John Cooper said...

Now I'm wondering about Google News. I just found a recent editorial by Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner, containing all the keywords I had entered previously. Google News didn't find it for some reason. Even when I entered the exact title of the piece, Google News didn't find it. Even when I entered the exact title and the URL, Google News didn't find it.

Apparently this article has been classified as "not news" by Google News. (I did get almost 4,000 hits on Donald Trump Rosie O'Donnell, though.)

Debate Getting Heated on Pelosi-Claybrook Grassroots Lobbying Bill

The above article contained a link to this legal analysis by Mark J. Fitzgibbons of Grassrootsfreedom.org which is worth reading. It concludes with:
~~~~~~~~~~
...the legislation...includes loopholes to the new reporting requirements for individuals, nonprofits and other small causes, allowing corporations, unions and large membership organizations such as AARP to communicate with members, shareholders, officers and employees. This is a huge advantage to big, wealthy special interests that may spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars annually mobilizing untold millions of their associates, yet not report, whereas the smallest, most financially burden organizations that are not membership based, would.

I support the right of AARP and others to communicate to their members and not report those communications to Congress. However, the bill you support places a big “Members Only” sign on the First Amendment.

But this is America, not a country club.
~~~~~~~~~

daveburkett said...

Joanie or John or someone else who has posted here--

Please let us all know the results of tomorrow's voting whenever you find out.

I will post it here if I do.

John Cooper said...

I plan to record C-SPAN on my VCR tomorrow beginning at 1PM EST. I'll let everybody know how it goes down.

daveburkett said...

Thanks.

Sandra said...

Kucinich: Congress To Take On FCC, consider 'Fairness Doctrine', says 'we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda'...

January 15, 2007

http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=333927

Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.
The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.” The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.
In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.
Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was also on hand at the conference and took broadcasters to task for their current content, speaking of "too little news, too much baloney passed off as news. Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV. Too little local and regional music, too much brain-numbing national play-lists." Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein also spoke at the event.

Anonymous said...

You need to get your writing where it will be read by more people.

John Cooper said...

Senate in session. Freshman Senator Jim Webb in charge [?] Now up to 58 amendments to S.1.

stonemason said...

Thanks. Those of us who don't have cable are in the dark about this. Please continue updates.

John Cooper said...

I've been recording the so-called "debate" on S.1, and two hours in, I feel like putting an icepick through my brain. To quote Wierd Al, I'd rather jump naked onto a huge pile of thumbtacks than listen to any more of this crap.

Absolutely nothing of substance has been discussed, least of all Section 220.

They haven't read *any* of the new proposed amendments on the floor (we're up to sixty something now), and most of them aren't even published yet. The chamber is pretty much empty as near as I can tell, and they haven't had a quorum all day.

But hey, they're still going to vote on something at 5:30 EST. Lord only knows what...

John Cooper said...

Let's see...I've had the "pleasure" of listing to Sen. Bill Nelson whining about the unemployment in Haiti and drug running in Venezuela...

...Susan Collins whining about "the children"...

...Joe Lieberman pushing for the creation of an "independent" ethics committee in addition to the one already in place.

Right at the moment, Sen. Robert Byrd is making a valiant attempt to justify even more earmarks and pork-barrel spending. (He's almost got me convinced that the North Carolina Teapot Museum was a good use of taxpayer money.)

The poor man took about sixty seconds to clip the microphone on his lapel, his hands were shaking so hard. The papers he holds in his hand are shaking badly. He confuses words, repeats himself, and sometimes just goes silent for ten or twenty seconds in the middle of a sentence. He repeatedly throws his arms out and yells "Hear Me!" as if he were Moses coming down from the mountain.

Watching him speak is pretty sad, I have to say. Out of pity, the Republicans gave up half their alloted time to let him finish his rambling speech.

Oh, that's it. I quit. Obama is up now. I really can't stand to watch any more of this freak show, but will rewind the video and report back tomorrow after "the vote".

The only thing I learned after watching four hours of C-SPAN was that nobody intends to even mention Section 220.

Anonymous said...

"The poor man took about sixty seconds to clip the microphone on his lapel, his hands were shaking so hard. The papers he holds in his hand are shaking badly. He confuses words, repeats himself, and sometimes just goes silent for ten or twenty seconds in the middle of a sentence."
***********************************

Robert Byrd is a longtime heroin addict.

John Cooper said...

The "Dewine Amendment" (as amended) just passed 98-0. Will have to look up the number

Voting on Amdt. 4 (the one with the offensive Section 220) coming up.

John Cooper said...

Disregard the first part of my last post. It may have been "Demint", not "Dewine". Standby...

John Cooper said...

I think they just voted to limit debate (cloture) on Harry Reid's AMDT.4 which added Public Citizen's Section 220.

If so, this thing was a farce from beginning to end, with absolutely no debate on the issues whatsoever.

I hope I'm wrong, and can't really tell from the C-SPAN coverage - they don't use the actual amendment number being voted upon so there's no way for us serfs to know.

I really won't know what went on until it's posted on Thomas.

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong.

John Cooper said...

DeMint sponsored Amendements 11, 12, 13, and 14. I have no idea which was voted upon.

daveburkett said...

Cooper, you've done a yeoman's job today, even though it looks like the average Joe isn't supposed to understand what the hell they're doing.

I watched C-Span hoping to pick something up on 220 today but all I saw was Arlen Specter pontificaing for about 15 minutes, so I shut it off.

Let us know what you hear, and thanks for the valiant effort to understand something that is not understandable by design.

stonemason said...

Thanks for being our eyes and ears, John Cooper.

Keep the updates coming as you get more news.

cw-patriot said...

John, you have indeed done a 'yeoman's job' today, even though it all may have been for naught (at least trying to decipher, live, what what going on).

I just arrived home from a brief trip a little while ago, did a search on 220, watched a little of FoxNews (that's a laugh), and have been unable to find anything about a vote up or down.

But I absolutely agree with you. Having watched the proceedings on the floor of both the house and the senate at times, it almost seems as if the details of what is being 'debated' (term applied very loosely) are purposefully clouded.

I'm sure today represented the epitome of that experience for you. If you had trouble understanding what was going on, imagine what the average viewer would have experienced.

Let us know what you find out, and I will do the same, should I stumble upon something sooner.

Again, thanks for all of your efforts to inform, and for your valiant attempts to translate what was occurring in that traitor-infested chamber today.

John Cooper said...

From perusing Thomas this morning, DeMint's amendment 11 was approved 98-0, Durbin's Amendment 44 was approved 98-0.

Cloture was invoked 95-2 on Reid's amendment 4 - the one that added Section 220. If I understand correctly, cloture means no more "debate" on the amendment.

Sometime, amendment 20 (which strikes section 220) will have to come up for a vote. I'm going to be gone today, so someone else will have to watch the circus.

Oh, we're up to 96 Amendments now...

cw-patriot said...

Congress Wants to Blame the Grassroots for Its Own Corruption

January 16, 2007
Press release, GrassrootsFreedom.com

MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com, regarding legislation currently being considered by Congress to regulate grassroots communications:

"In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress.

"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.

"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

"On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone 'knowingly and willingly fails to file or report.'

"That amendment was introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA). Senator Vitter, however, is now a co-sponsor of Amendment 20 by Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) to remove Section 220 from the bill. Unless Amendment 20 succeeds, the Senate will have criminalized the exercise of First Amendment rights. We'd be living under totalitarianism, not democracy."

http://www.selfgovernment.us

Anonymous said...

73. S.AMDT.20 to S.1 To strike a provision relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.
Sponsor: Sen Bennett, Robert F. [UT] (introduced 1/10/2007) Cosponsors (7)
Latest Major Action: 1/16/2007 Considered by Senate.

Anonymous said...

C-Span2 is saying that the Senate will "possibly be voting on amendments" to Senate Bill 1 today.

Anonymous said...

Update: Supreme Court Rejects Eminent Domain 'Extortion' Case
By Nathan Burchfiel
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
January 17, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a New York case challenging a use of eminent domain that the landowner called "extortion."

The case was one of more than 100 that the court rejected Tuesday without comment. It would have provided the justices an opportunity to clarify their controversial 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, in which they ruled that local governments can seize personal property for redevelopment plans.

The New York case, Didden v. Village of Port Chester, revolved around landowner Bart Didden's claim that the village allowed a developer to extort him before condemning his property under eminent domain and giving it to the developer to build a drugstore.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, local authorities wanted the developer, Gregory Wasser of G&S Investors, to build a Walgreens pharmacy on Didden's land as part of the village's 1999 redevelopment plan. Didden, however, worked privately with competing pharmacy CVS, to build a branch of their store on the land.

Didden claimed that Wasser threatened to have the land transferred under eminent domain unless Didden paid the developer $800,000 or made him a 50 percent partner in the CVS project. A day after Didden refused the offer the village began the process of condemning his land.

In conversations with Cybercast News Service, a lawyer for the town did not dispute Didden's claim about Wasser's threat but denied that it amounted to extortion.

"We're not saying the meeting never happened," attorney John Watkins said. "The village had encouraged the developer [Wasser] to meet with Mr. Didden to see if they could work something out. It was essentially a negotiation, an offer, a proposal which Mr. Didden refused."

Watkins said G&S Investors had a right to the profit from the pharmacy project, because it had invested time and money to build infrastructure in the area under its agreement with the village to spearhead the redevelopment project.

After the court declined to hear his case, Didden maintained that he is the victim of extortion. In a release issued by his lawyers at the Institute for Justice, Didden said "a private citizen using the government's power is extorting me" and that "the government is making this extortion possible."

Didden's lawyer, Dana Berliner said in a statement Tuesday that the court's rejection opens the door for other towns and developers to demand "your money or your property."

"This abuse will only grow worse until the court do their job and set some limits on government's power of eminent domain," he said. "The court will have to review an eminent domain case sometime soon, and the Institute for Justice intends to pursue this area of litigation until the rights of property owners are fully protected from this abuse of power."

daveburkett said...

The way I see it, we can hope that amendment 20 passes, deleting sec. 220.

If that doesn't happen, we need to hope the President grows a spine, and doesn't sign it into law "in CFR, the sequel."

cw-patriot said...

Been watching C-Span …

Bennett (R-UT) read into record a letter written by (of all organizations) the ACLU, strongly objecting to 220, quoting Supreme Court decisions defending the right of an organization to support a position and to use ‘the most effective means' to spread the word.

He also read a letter from the National Right to Life Association, in which it was stressed that grassroots lobbying is defined as ‘ordinary citizens communicating with their congressmen, and encouraging others to do the same’, and that forcing registration, and exorbitant fines for failure to do so, is completely un-American.

Bennett explained that he himself was once an active lobbyist.

He said that phony expressions of ‘public opinion’ can be recognized in a nanosecond, by the cookie-cutter nature of the expressed opinion – as if the letters, or other forms of communication, were Xeroxed.

He said:

In order to protect congress from such ‘astro-turf’ campaigns, do we have to put a potential $200,000 fine on a church member who uses his church membership list in order to urge members to write congress expressing an opinion on a particular issue? These are not ‘lobbyists for hire’.

This should be stricken from the bill, and I speak not just from my own forty-year experience, but I speak for a vast number of groups that are involved in this, on the far right, on the far left, and every aspect of the political spectrum in between -- including those who are strongly supportive of this bill.


He has no doubt that, should 220 pass the senate, be signed by the president, and become law, it will be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. But in order to have it struck down, he reminded his colleagues that it would have to be contested by someone, or some organization, with the huge finances and energy required. It would first have to be considered by a district court , a circuit court, and, only then by the Supreme Court.

He said that he would like to believe that this would be struck down on the district court level, but ‘life being what it is’ [a tactful admission that we can no longer depend on lower courts to do what is right], we cannot count on that.

He urged the reversal of this section so that ‘it never sees the light of day’.

Feinstein followed Bennett and made a vacuous attempt to pretend that striking down 220 would be far more negative (in attempts to achieve a ‘balanced playing field’) than positive. Her disingenuity was obvious.

She noted that the ACLU’s anti-220 letter was ‘strange’ to her, since ‘the ACLU has been around for a long time, and, because of its ‘status’, it would fall under the exemptions to 220', so not even be affected by it. (In other words, an organization cannot possibly speak out for what is right, if that organization itself is not affected by the injustice.) Unbeknownst to her, her comment here was powerful testimony to her self-centered view of the effect of legislation.

To be continued …

cw-patriot said...

Continued …

Reid is livid that ‘the republicans are considering bringing down the bill that their own leader co-sponsored! It’s something the American people want!’

He listed all of the ‘ethics violations’ that the Republicans have committed since the current administration took office (*choke on the hypocrisy*).

Someone (I didn’t catch who), asked him a question that reflected previous bend-over-backwards fairness of the republicans. He completely and rudely dismissed the question, saying, ‘Check the congressional record.’

Apparently, the democrats can throw around all manner of unfounded criticisms of the opposition, but questioning of those criticisms is disallowed.

The vote on cloture is scheduled for 12:38 AM. The republicans apparently intend to vote against cloture.

Reid closed by saying that this bill is ‘being brought down’ [the dems only have 50 votes, but they need 60] by the republicans, ‘not on a matter of principle, but because people don’t want to comply with ethics and lobbying reform.’

Signing off for now (piano teaching calls :).

Things appear to be looking somewhat better than we thought.

~ joanie

daveburkett said...

Thanks Joanie and John.

What do you want to bet that if the Republicans vote against cloture this bill will get the first media coverage: "Republicans Vote Against Ethics Reform!"

John Cooper said...

Joanie--

Thanks for covering for me while I was on my all-day pizza run. Yeah, when we rednecks feel like a conspicuous display of manhood is appropriate, we drive to the airport and rent a Cessna, then spend whatever it takes to fly to an exotic destination like Greenville, SC to bring back pizzas for our womenfolk.

In this case, it was $187 for the Cessna, $22 in taxi fares from the airport to the restaurant, and $21 for two small pizzas.

Yup, life is good for us dumb rednecks here in the mountains.

When I got home with pizzas in box, I fired up the VCR just in time to record the "debate" on Section 220 after I got back. Three Senators read prepared statements - not actually debate. But hey, at least they're talking about this now.

At 5:25 EST, Lieberman got up and offered his support for restrictions on "grass-roots lobbying". He called it "disclosure, not censorship".

According to "Alf's dad", it was Lloyd Bentsen who coined the phrase "Astro-turf", meaning "grass that really wasn't grass".

He admitted that "Our Senate phones are often jammed...", which got the the crux of the matter. He just doesn't want to hear from us little people.

He tried to connect Amendment 220 to the Abramoff scandal, claiming Abramoff paid Ralph Reed over a million dollars to stir up his membership against gambling.

He quoted some prior court cases (Earl Warren Court, I think) U.S. vs. Paris (1954) if I got that right, and "Minnesota State Ethical Practice Board vs. NRA" from 1985.

His thrust was that the Supreme Court would uphold this provision if it were to be passes.

His final statement was some whining about Republican opposition to Secion 220 which he called "partisan gridlock".

The dems are kind of in a bind since the ACLU came out in oppostion to Section 220. What's a card-carrying liberal to do?

At 17:40 EST, Sen. Bennett rose to respond to Lieberman. He noted that the penalties which started at $50,000 were now up to $200,000 per instance, thanks to the amendements that were passed yesterday.

He spoke of the "chilling effect" this would have on local organizations, with absolutely no effect on the professionals who would "file the required forms and nobody would notice".

I guess our letters and calls have helped, because Bennett said, "I'm getting all kinds of concern (from constituents and organizations)..."

AT 6:10 EST, Russ Feingold got up and made an ass out of himself, claiming that all the calls and letters the Senators were receiving on Section 220 were proof that something needed to be done. Obviously, somebody had to be paying for this outpouring of outrage, since as we know, the sheeple are way to stupid to know a threat to their liberty without somebody telling them what to do. /sarcasm.

He claimed Section 220 only applied to "registered lobbyists", which is factually inaccurate. (When did that ever stop a Democrat?)

We're in a holding pattern as of 6:36 EST I type this, waiting on a quorum call. I suppose that means a vote on something.

P.S. to daveburkett: The headlines you mentioned are probably already written and typeset.

Anonymous said...

The same Harry Reid who got $1.3 million for the sale of land that he had not owned for a number of years?

If Feingold and Reid are for it---

WAHT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

D_o'connor said...

Some expensive pizza. They better have had lots of mushrooms on them.

johnsteever said...

I learned more about what's going on with this bill reading what's written here than on all of the major news outlets combined.

Thank you for all your efforts. Here's hoping this bill goes down in flames.

Anonymous said...

God grant us victory over shameless tyrants.

Anonymous said...

God grant us victory over shameless tyrants.

cw-patriot said...

Thanks for covering for me while I was on my all-day pizza run. Yeah, when we rednecks feel like a conspicuous display of manhood is appropriate, we drive to the airport and rent a Cessna, then spend whatever it takes to fly to an exotic destination like Greenville, SC to bring back pizzas for our womenfolk.

In this case, it was $187 for the Cessna, $22 in taxi fares from the airport to the restaurant, and $21 for two small pizzas.


I had Rick read this, thinking he would feel badly about the fact that I am the one who always has to drive over to Procopio’s to pick up our take-out pizzas. :)

His response: ‘$21 for two small pizzas??? What is he, nuts????’

(Actually, he applauded your ‘display of manhood’ and spontaneity. Got us to reminiscing about a couple of similarly silly, but forever memorable, excursions we have embarked upon over the last forty years. Thanks for the memory-spark, and for your own great story. :)

John Cooper said...

Morning update. Here's what happened yesterday, 1/17/07:

S.AMDT.78 Proposed amendment SA 78 withdrawn in Senate. (Trent Lott, puprpose "To only allow official and officially related travel to be paid for by appropriated funds.")

S.AMDT.79 Proposed amendment SA 79 withdrawn in Senate. (same as above)

S.AMDT.65 Amendment SA 65 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 89 - 5. Record Vote Number: 13. (by Russ Feingold, purpose: "To prohibit lobbyists and entities that retain or employ lobbyists from throwing lavish parties honoring Members at party conventions.")

S.AMDT.81 Amendment SA 81 as modified agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 51 - 46. Record Vote Number: 14. (by Bennett, purpose: "To permit travel hosted by preapproved 501(c)(3) organizations.")

S.AMDT.4 Amendment SA 4 as modified agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 88 - 9. Record Vote Number: 15. (This is Harry Reid's amendment that adds section 220 on "grassroots lobbying". Section 220 is printed on page S305 of the congressional record.)

S.AMDT.3 Cloture on Amendment SA 3 not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 51 - 46. Record Vote Number: 16. (Amendment 3 is an alternative form of the entire bill, proposed by Mr. REID (for himself, Mr. McConnell, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Lieberman, Ms. Collins, Mr. Obama, Mr. Salazar, and Mr. Durbin) which would "Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:" The text is on congressional record page S301. This bill also contains Section 220, and is being billed as "strengthening the ethics bill’s gift and travel curbs".

S.AMDT.3 Motion by Senator Reid to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked (Record Vote Number 16) made in Senate.

So unless Amendment 20 is agreed to, Section 220 is a done deal.


As predicted by daveburkett, the media drumbeat has already started. From this morning's SJ Mercury News:

Ethics reforms stall amid partisan squabble

"SENATE DEMOCRATS CAN'T MUSTER VOTES FOR NEW LIMITS ON LOBBYING

By Jim Abrams
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Democrats' hopes of starting off their control of the Senate with a sweeping commitment to ethics reform received a painful jolt Wednesday, as their ethics and lobbying legislation got sidetracked by a dispute with Republicans.

Democrats failed to clear a crucial legislative hurdle when the Senate voted 51-46 to proceed with the bill that would have reduced the influence of lobbyists in shaping legislation and forced lawmakers to be more open about the pet projects they slip into legislation. Sixty-five votes were needed to advance the legislation.

With the vote, the bill was effectively driven from the Senate floor."


Oh, you have to just love this headline by the LA Slimes this morning:

"Angry Republicans in Senate block strict new ethics rules"

daveburkett said...

Thanks, Cooper.

The media are a bunch of lying bastards and always will be.

Sandra said...

Thanks for all the very informative posts, John.

"The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means:
to protect him from physical violence...

The only proper functions of a government are:
the police, to protect you from criminals;

the army, to protect you from foreign invaders;

and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law."

AYN RAND

John Cooper said...

Thanks Sandra for the AR quote. She was a great American hero, and to this day is mostly ignored or hated by just about everbody. Actually, I'm glad she's not still alive to watch modern events unfold just as she spent her life warning us they would.

I've been flipping on C-SPAN from time to time while I was working today, and saw only the usual blathering by one Senator or another to an empty chamber.

Now there's a notice on the bottom of the screen now that S.1 will be considered and "Amendments may be voted upon".

Guess all the backroom deals are done...

Anonymous said...

We need some kind of modern day volunteer "town criers" becuase the media sure isn't doing its job.

John Cooper said...

4:30 EST update: Nothing happening in the Senate. Nice classical music on C-span, though...

Note to anonymous: The "job" of the media is to sell advertising, so don't expect any substance from them. For substance, you have to come to places like Joanie's blog, then go out and tell your friends.

John Cooper said...

They're voting on the "Bennett" Amendment 20 (which would delete the Section 220 grassroots lobbying provision) as I type. Most of the democrats are voting "no" and most of the republicans are voting "aye". It's gonna' be close.

And the results are...

Aye: 55

No: 43

Wooooo-hoooooo! We won!

(My two Senators voted "aye". I'll have to drop them a thank-you note.

John Cooper said...

Time hack: 8:45PM EST

daveburkett said...

Great work, John and Joanie! It looks like there were enough people like you who worked to get the word out and made a difference! I read somewhere that the senate switchboards were lit up all day. Excellent!

daveburkett said...

P.S. Now let's see how the media handles this "Republican vote against ethics in government."

johnsteever said...

Wooooo-hooooo is right! What a major victory!

stonemason said...

Whew! They almost got that one by us. Thanks for all the info you provided here, J and J.

Anonymous said...

The people have spoken, and will continue to speak now.

lori_gmeiner said...

Awesome! Thanks for the good news!

John Cooper said...

It's nice to see something go the right way for a change. Good news in the area of limited government seems to be awfully rare these days. Not one republican voted to keep Section 220. Even RINO Susan Collins got up and spoke against it.

Several dems crossed over and voted "aye" on Amendment 20: Bayh [D-IN], Conrad [D-ND], Landrieu [D-LA], Nelson [D-NE], Salazar [D-CO] (See Vote #17 for the breakdown.)

The best line of the evening was by Sen. Bennett: "I do not need to be protected from my constituents."

They went on to smack down Lieberman's Amendment 30, which would have created a new "Office of Public Integrity". The vote was 71-27. Most of the liberals choked on that one, but not republicans Collins [R-ME], Graham [R-SC], Grassley [R-IA], McCain [R-AZ], and Snowe [R-ME] who gleefully voted for a redundant and unaccountable new bureaucracy. (It's been noted that if McCain was walking down the isle and stopped fast, Graham would break his nose.)

Amendment 3 (the alternative to the original bill) passed by Unanimous Consent.

And for the grand finale, S.1 as amended passed by 96-2 with Coburn (R-OK) and Hatch (R-UT) voting "NO".

john galt said...

It's a day for celebration, friends. Thank you for all of your help and information, John and Joanie.

John Cooper said...

...more conformation of media bias for daveburkett:

Yesterday, before the bill passed, the Washington (com)Post ran the story Republicans Halt Ethics Legislation (registration required. Use bugmenot.com) in which they lead off with:

~~~~~~~~
Senate Republicans scuttled broad legislation last night to curtail lobbyists' influence and tighten congressional ethics rules, refusing to let the bill pass without a vote on an unrelated measure that would give President Bush virtual line-item-veto power.
~~~~~~~~

Yeah, we know, with the WaPo, everything is about President Bush. An honest editor would have used the phrase "the executive branch", but since when has the WaPo been honest?

They're not only dishonest, but conveniently stupid. Apparently, the connection between the line-item veto and "earmarks" was too complicated for the geniuses as the WaPo to understand.

Then today, they come out with this:
Senate Passes Ethics Package

The WaPo totally ignored the censorship issue until it was swatted down, then they run a story on it. Obviously, informing the public is not part of their mission statement.

~~~~~~
The bipartisan vote masked furious backroom lobbying on a measure too popular to kill in public. One provision that was stricken from the bill last night would have forced interest groups to disclose funds spent on grass-roots campaigns that implore the public to contact their representatives about legislation.

That provision -- to force the disclosure of pseudo-grass-roots campaigns -- had raised the ire of an odd coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Traditional Values Coalition, the American Conservative Union and the National Right to Life Committee, which worked hard to strip it out or even block the whole bill.

The Family Research Council met with lawmakers and their staffs, conducted interviews on radio talk shows, extensively e-mailed its members and notified other organizations, asking them to contact their senators to express opposition, according to Tony Perkins, the group's president. In the end, the Senate struck the measure, 55 to 43.

"This is an issue about free speech, not an issue that is either Republican or Democratic," said Marvin Johnson, legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, during the coalition's telephone news conference yesterday.

~~~~~~

Memo to the Washington Post: "We don't need you anymore".

John Cooper said...

Turns out there was a big dog in this fight, too. I just became aware of an E-mail the NRA sent out on Jan. 16th in opposition to Section 220 which read, in part:

~~~~~~~~

Organizations answering mail, e-mail, or telephone calls from people who may or may not be members would have to either verify each person's status as a paying "member" as defined in Section 220, or refrain from urging those people to call Congress about legislative issues. Of course, every day, NRA engages in these types of activities with members and non-members alike.

Organizations would have to screen e-mail subscriptions to exclude subscribers who are not paying members or else report all e-mail alerts as "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying." This would have a severe impact on the Friday NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert - and on Special Alerts like this one.

Sec. 220 would also do a great disservice by increasing the power of the anti-gun media to the detriment of the people. For example, a privately-owned newspaper could run editorials every day advocating drastic restrictions on Second Amendment liberties-without being subject to any reporting requirements. However, if a staff member of a pro-gun organization, such as NRA, writes a letter to the editor of that newspaper that expresses an opposing view and urges readers to call their senators, that letter would be a "paid effort to stimulate grassroots lobbying." The organization would have to report the cost of the staffer's salary for writing and submitting the letter. This requirement would apply even if the newspaper never publishes the letter, since it is still a "paid attempt. to influence the general public." (Emphasis added)

Similarly, if the grassroots organization pays an advertising agency to create and place a newspaper ad in the same newspaper, the advertising agency would have to register as a "grassroots lobbying firm" within 45 days of being retained and report costs of the communication-even if the ad never runs! The registration requirement would signal the group's plans to opponents, and constitute a prior restraint on free speech, contrary to principles of the First Amendment.

Sandra said...

John,

Excellent analysis of the Washington Post and its sicko and relentless leftwing proselytizing.

balhasar said...

This attempt to legislate you out of political significance will be resurrected, and the next time it may be spirited through the process in fine print with no one even aware it was tacked onto an innocuous bill. Keep eyes open and ears peeled.

John Cooper said...

I have to admit that I'm behind the power curve" on something. If the House passed a bill containing the Section 220 wording, then a conference committee will have to decide whether to put it in the final bill or take it out.

Memo to self: Research this question!