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A call for civil disobedience

There has been a great deal of discussion today about the McCann-Feingold attack on the First Amendment. These lowlives are behind the most dangerous attack on American civil liberties in my life time and probably even that of our oldest readers.

They are gutting the First Amendment.

I have gone to Senator McCain’s comment page and left the following polemic:

Dear Sirs:

Should you attempt to overthrow the First Amendment on the internet, I will disobey.

I will not answer the court.

I refuse to pay fines.

I will organize civil disobedience against your Communist style election rules.

I will never, ever, submit to this attempt to destroy American liberty.

With utter enmity and ill will,

Dale Amon.

Live Free or Die.

I hope y’all will come visit me when they send the Marines to Belfast to haul my ass off to a Federal prison for the crime of Lese Majeste and inciting Civil Disobedience.

Actually, I hope to see a lot of you there with me. Massive in your face disobedience is the only real answer to this all out attack on our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It does not matter what your politics are: Left, Right, Center or Libertarian. We have to hang together and fight these bastards.

PS: It is never too early to begin the campaign to unseat them.

30 comments to A call for civil disobedience

  • Withheld on advice of counsel

    Which part of Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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 grievances” is so hard to understand? Didn’t every member of Congress swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution?

  • Robert

    I tend to hate political activism. The people involved tend to be obnoxious crackpots who only know how to get on everyone’s nerves. However things like this make me want to reconsider and maybe join an activist group.

    Or maybe a crazed militia.

  • zmollusc

    If push comes to shove and the marines are sent after you, just start blogging from a server in Vietnam. McCain will never think of looking there for anyone. He may even sart saying you don’t exist.

  • Are US blogs going to start moving their hosting to the UK, to take advantage of our greater freedom of speech? I do hope so 😉

  • Big Daddy Cool

    In tangentially related news, the Dutch, after introducting the most intrusive National ID Scheme in Europe in January, find that they have created a whole new criminal class.

    There has been some civil disobedience already, where protestors against Dutch asylum policies have refused to produce their ID cards.


  • sesquipedalian

    I agree with the sentiment but not sure if
    it, sadly, won’t get earmarked for the trash.

  • Dave Connor

    Bad law is unenforceable. Considering how effective the war on drrugs has been, prohibition in the twenties, etc., etc., I do not expect the FEC to be able to do much. A few spotlight cases will emerge, and certainly defense funds will respond, and with any luck, the Supreme Court will confirm the constitution.
    In the meantime government resources that need to address real issues will be sidetracked to go after free speakers.
    This will not stand.

  • Stehpinkeln

    That flusing sound is McCain’s Presidential hopes going downthe crapper. I didn’t like him anyway. Where is the ACLU when you need them? Defending Ward Churchill?

  • Maybe come election time I could guest-blog on one of the 40+ foreign blogs on my blogroll. What irony it would be to have to blog on the other side of the former Iron Curtain to exercise my First Amendment rights.

  • John McCain, Russ Feingold, tear down this wall!

  • veryretired

    First of all, nothing has actually happened yet. The interview was only about possibilities, not actual rules that someone is enforcing.

    However, the concern expressed is entirely legitimate, as it is clear now, if anyone was ever truly in doubt, that the entire purpose of these various “campaign reform” laws was to insulate the incumbents from serious challenge, and paralyze the opposition by binding it within an ever stickier web of rules and regulations.

    There is not an election that occurs anymore but that one side or both are charged with some form of campaign law violation, generally to big, black headlines in the paper. The fact that no one can possibly know what the hell actually happened, or why it is somehow illegal, doesn’t stop the charges, inquiries, and, months later, some anemic adjudication, usually involving a fine.

    Meanwhile, the various disputants make the same charges, i.e., that the accusations are all politically inspired claptrap and groundless, or, on the other side, that the violations demonstrate that the accused group is nothing less than a reincarnation of Tammany Hall.

    I’m sure that somewhere in the beginning of all this foolishness there was a glimmer of an intention, no matter how misguided, that these rules would help prevent corruption of the electoral process.

    Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the regulating regime has taken on a life of its own, and the convolutions of the myriad laws and rules has far outstripped the capacity of anyone to keep track of them, or to figure out what their effect will be. Thus, in each ensuing election, a new fount of money is “discovered” (such as 527’s) which effectively negates any “good” that might have been hoped for, and each election results in the expenditure of ever more funds by those for whom power is the end all and be all of existence.

    While it is unlikely to occur, only the removal of this Triffid-like monstrosity, root and branch, will alleviate the damage being done to our freedom of political expression, and the electoral process itself.

    Extra credit for catching the remote sci-fi reference, and extra-extra credit for understanding its aptness to this situation.

  • The first amendment has been dead for decades anyway — since it is always being reinterpreted in ways that make restrictions on free speech illegal. It should be re-written:

    Congress chall make only a few laws restricting freedom of speech and a free press; and when it does it must come up ewith some hypocritical bullshit so say why it isn’t really restricting free speech.

    Or, better still, re-write it as:

    It shall be legal fro any person to transmit over the Internet any combination of 1s and 0s, in any order.

  • John

    Yes, it is horrible and I hope doesn’t pass and if it does, the courts strike it down. The U.S. Supreme Court has, I believe, already declared the internet a free speech zone. That being said check out what one civic minded Texas radio station (Link)has announced on the matter.

    LoneStarTimes.com is affiliated with KSEV 700 AM, an independently owned talk-radio station in Houston, TX.

    As such, we believe that we enjoy the “broadcast exemption” that prohibits the federal government from regulating our speech in the manner they are proposing for “mere” citizen bloggers.

    While we still need to talk to some sharp lawyers and nail down the details, if these restrictions come to pass, KSEV and LST are committed to working out a legally sound way in which individual bloggers– of every ideological persuasion and partisan affiliation– can somehow register with us and be credentialed as a press representative of KSEV and LST.

    Like Raoul Wallenberg handing out passports, we will start issuing press credentials to any blogger that asks for one.

  • “Like Raoul Wallenberg handing out passports, we will start issuing press credentials to any blogger that asks for one.”

    Thus perpetuating the lie that some animals are more equal than others.

  • Kristopher Barrett

    I will not be begging for press credentials to exercise my rights. If they decide to enforce this, then they can bring it on.

    I have my press credential right here:

  • Excellent comments. A pleasure to read, with the exception of KB. Sir, in my experience, those who bluster about killing to protect their rights have never shot so much as a garden rabbit. Do you intend to die inflicting random perforations in the automated switch gear at your local telephone station? Or simply provide aid and comfort to the Gun Confiscation Movement?

    Yes, McCain’s dastardly attack on free political speech has backfired in the most appropriate way. Only justice that he be revealed for the lunatic he is. Like Hillary, he will make a fine Senator-for-Life.

  • Helen,

    While what you say may be true in general, it isn’t true in the case of KB. I know the man.

    Regardless, the point is true: for all the people who say “from my cold dead keyboard”, only a percentage would actually follow through with it.

    The ignorance of how big or small that percentage is, is what keeps Government honest.

    Unlike Dale, I’m not protected from the FEC/FCC/FBI/all the F-ing agencies by an ocean — our local FBI office is but five miles from my house — but I am protected by the knowledge that if I were to be muzzled as a “campaign contributor” under McCain-Feingold, the shitstorm caused by my Readers would be interesting.

    And even I don’t know how big that shitstorm would be. Huge, I hope. Nor would I know its manifestation, either.

    Something for the Gummint to ponder.

  • Andrew X

    I am simutaneously appalled at the possibilities raised by CFR (I was agnostic on it as it was just so complex), but not overly worried.

    After all, if a test case does arise, say a blogger linking to a campaign, I think immediately just about every blogger out there would immediately link to the same campaign, you would see a blogstorm of people setting out to “violate” every such ridiculous restriction, and I think the web would show thousands of people how to set up their own blog for no other purpose whatsoever than to violate the restrictions that are being prosecuted.

    Meanwhile, politicos across the land would see where the wind was blowing toot sweet, and the whole edifice would likely come crashing down, or be radically reformed, or at least clearly and specifically clarified to maintain freedom (on the Net at least).

    The Net is too powerful. If Mcain, the Feds, or anyone else REALLY has dreams about doing what the blogosphere fears (they may not), they are out of their minds, and likely soon out of a job.

  • AndrewX:

    Optimism is only warranted to the extent that people start howling now. Not if, not when… now.

    As for my keyboard? My blog? My freedom of speech?

    Molon Labe.

  • Ha, Kim we have many common friends and it is a pleasure for me to chat with you directly. I also am fully aware that opposing you in any discussion about gun control is perilous. So I won’t.

    Instead, I will offer you the benefit of my insight into duality. So yes, we are protected by the uncertain threat to government by unregulated weapons in the hands of the citizenry. However to some extent, we are also imperiled by government’s recognition of that threat.

    Blah, blah, blah–what to do? In my mind, we should all have lots of weapons and plenty of ammunition, but recognize that these are explosive devices that require proper care and thoughtful use, in our public discussions.

    My point is that KB’s reckless comment here does those of us, concerned about government control, far more harm than good. Ownership of weaponry and unabashed discussion of their sound application are appropriate ways to limit government excesses.

    Contrarlily, wild-eyed, spittle-speckled ravings by the likes of KB, are exactly what the Left needs to neutralize us. I refuse to give them that inch.

  • There’s a little flag in Texas that has the perfect answer to McCain-Feingold.

    It has “Come and Take It” emblazoned above a cannon. It was used in the Battle of Gonzales.

  • Kristopher Barrett

    Molôn Labé, Helen.

    If we all held your opinions about obeying evil laws, the folks at Lexington and Concord would have obeyed when the Governor’s flunky read them the Riot Act.

    There is no bluster here … if the feds don’t back off on the Bill of Rights, I will be among that 1.5% of the population needed to make a successful revolution.

  • Kristopher Barrett

    And one more comment…

    If stating where your personal line in the sand, and putting your life behind it is inappropriate, then why in the hell do we keep and bear arms?

    Target practice? Hunting? The second amendment ain’t about duck hunting.

    I’m sure the jack booted thugs will allow HelenW to take her copy of Ayn Rand with her on the train to the concentration camps….

  • Euan Gray

    why in the hell do we keep and bear arms?

    The first phrase of the second amendment holds the answer to your question.


  • Kristopher Barrett

    Euan … you belong in the UK. You must really enjoy being a slave. Hopefully your chains will rest lightly on you.

    If any one wants to read a rebuttal to Euan’s misinterpretation to the the 2nd, you can find a good one here. I couldn’t be bothered … if you come for my firearms, I won’t argue … I’ll kill you.

    If anyone is interested in the right wing bloggers views on this, I would suggest A look here.

    Most of them are as adamant as I am on this.

  • Doug Collins

    I agree with the outrage at the McCain-Feingold (See-I got it right that time) Law wholeheartedly. And if it is time to draw lines in the sand, then this is as good an issue as any.

    However having said that, I have to observe that this fight has been fought once before AND LOST.

    I won’t ask “Where were you when they came after the PACs?”, because I know some of the folks commenting on this were in that fight.

    And many more should have been in it. That was the first, popular, use of the law: – To get all those evil special interest people to shut up. Some of them I liked and agreed with, some of them I loathed. ..But none of them should have been prohibited from speaking or writing AND diseminating their words. (If no one hears or reads your words -you haven’t said anything.)

    There are some lessons to be drawn from round one.

    1. It was a fatal mistake to depend on the courts to strike down the unconstitutional parts of this law. Bush, I think, signed it under this mistaken impression and many of those who fought it gave in too easily for this reason. The courts, including the Supreme Court, have shown themselves to be far too politically responsive to be trusted.

    2. There are two powerful beneficiaries of this law: Incumbents (already pointed out several times) and the MSM. The unstated intent of the law is to give docile and dependable media a practical monopoly on political speech. That was the reason the press and television had so uncharacteristically little to say about free speech during the discussions prior to the bill’s passage. Things like NRA letters describing incumbent voting records were making an end run around the ‘Journalists’. The MSM felt endangered. If a few organization magazines and a few direct mail campaigns bothered them then, what do you think the effect of the last couple of years of blogging has been on them? They want their dominance back and this law has been a very serviceable weapon for them.

    3. The opposition used a divide and conquer approach. The went after a very mixed bag of labor unions, NRA, pro-lifers, environmentalists etc. Unless you were a activist in one of the target causes, you probably didn’t strongly favor any of the groups, but did strongly dislike several of them. So the restriction of their speech seemed like a Bad Thing in a theoretical sort of way, but not much of a problem for you personally.

    The law, as it has been applied, hasn’t accomplished its purpose and it is going to be used again. This time it is already law and has already gone to the Supreme Court. It is very late. We may find it vital to somehow promote blogs to the masses very soon. If the average person doesn’t have a dog in this fight he is apt to ignore it. We need him. We can’t fight this as just a small specialist group. Lines in the sand are good, but if there are only a few of us, and we don’t inspire someone else by our sacrifice (don’t depend on Peter Jennings to report your heroic demise) then we lose. Valiantly perhaps, but lose all the same.

    I have posted several comments recently decrying a tendency for blogs to talk much and do little. I, like many people, have almost no time available to spend in a fight like this. Unlike the subsidized opposition, I have to earn my living and come up with time and money beside to fight back against the silencers. So it really isn’t practical for me to instigate an active campaign to do more than talk.

    To Hell with practicality. If you are also short of time and money, but think the time has come to do something anyway, click on my name at the end of this and email me. Let’s discuss means and strategies.

    I don’t think this recent FEC discussion of restricting the internet is just a trial balloon, I think it is deadly serious. Our time may be shorter than we imagine.

  • Ooga Booga, KB. Now lay that secret handshake on me. ((Or is that a male-only thing?))

    Now despite Kim’s reassurances, you are obviously a phony with considerably diminished capacity. Not that your fantasies of serving with 18th century militia aren’t amusing, but you obvious have never owned so much as a pellet gun. There is only one universally recognized reason to own a gun, and you don’t know what it is. Hahaha. So I’ll tell you: We own guns to fondle them. Period. Everything else is an excuse.

    So we’re not coming for your imaginary guns. We’re coming to laugh at you. What then, killer? Gonna heave on our shoes? Ha, yur my new Libertarian Poster Boy. Have a fruit cup.

  • Dale Amon

    I’ll start off with a mild warning. Samizdata requires civility of its guests. I would appreciate it if all parties would return to debating issues.

  • Fair enough, Dale. I will redouble my efforts to make my humor more humorous.

    More seriously, you might want to react a bit quicker when your comments include the glorification of criminality, gratuitous ad hominem, and particularly the words, “I’ll kill you.”

    Interestingly, I’ve found that Leftists and Libertarians share a talent for constructing rhetoric that approaches the actual threat of personal violence, just not quite. But that’s another story.

  • Kristopher Barrett

    This is exactly the reason I use that response when someone threatens to use deadly force ( either personally, or second hand via the State ) to deny me my basic human right to keep the tools for self-defense.

    The victim disarmament crowd does not have a clue for what to do about it, other than going into complete denial, or questioning my will or my ability to go through with it.

    If you are really that interested in my firearm collection, I can send you a digital photo ( with contact info blurred out ) of the federal tax reciept for some of the military firearms I own … but of course you don’t want proof from me … you just want to project your own fears … do carry on then.