American citizens are in for a double whammy
of speech restrictions, and even of censorship. 
The Federal Election Commission (FEC),
and the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) want to ratchet up the pressures on freedom of speech.
Two independent
news blogs have bravely reported developments in this realm when they stand a
chance of being “lawfully” obliterated by the government: The
Daily Signal
, and Accuracy
in Media
.

On the one hand,
the FEC is a government agency that should not even exist. But it was pushed
and encouraged by Theodore
Roosevelt, a Progressive
, and so the initial legislation was introduced and
passed by Congress, on the premise that regulating Big Business was the natural
thing to do (re the  Sherman Anti-Trust
Act of 1890
of 1890, and other Federal regulations)

As early as 1905, Theodore Roosevelt asserted the need for campaign finance reform and called for
legislation to ban corporate contributions for political purposes. In response,
the United States Congress enacted the Tillman Act of 1907, named for its sponsor
Senator Benjamin Tillman, banning corporate contributions.
Further regulation followed in the Federal Corrupt Practices Act enacted
in 1910, and subsequent amendments in 1910 and 1925, the Hatch
Act
, the Smith-Connally Act of 1943, and the Taft-Hartley
Act
in 1947. These Acts sought to regulate corporate and union spending in
campaigns for federal office, and mandated public disclosure of campaign
donors.
But the urge to regulate corporate
contributions during political campaigns can be dated to the immediate post-Civil
War period
.
Although
attempts to regulate campaign finance by legislation date back to 1867,
the modern era of “campaign finance reform” in the United States
begins with the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
of 1971 and, more importantly, 1974 amendments to that Act. The 1971 FECA
required candidates to disclose sources of campaign contributions and campaign
expenditures. The 1974 Amendments essentially rewrote the Act from top to
bottom. The 1974 Amendments placed statutory limits on contributions by
individuals for the first time, and created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as an
independent enforcement agency. It provided for broad new disclosure
requirements, and limited the amounts that candidates could spend on their
campaigns, or that citizens could spend separate from candidate campaigns to
promote their political views.
Fred Lucas in The
Daily Signal
article of October 20th writes:
Books,
movies, satellite radio shows, and streaming video about real-life politics
aren’t protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press, some
government officials argue.
The
Federal Election Commission hasn’t proposed banning books or movies, but in a 3-3 vote last month along party lines, the six-member panel
left the regulatory option on the table.
But the six appointees are thinking about it. It’s an option “on
the table.”  The FEC is divided evenly
between Democrats and Republicans. It is a “bipartisan” entity. The notion of
“bipartisanship” politics is counterproductive, to say the least.  In a situation when decisions of enforcing or
creating arbitrary power over free men 
must be made, the most consistent party will always “win.” One party
must compromise its principles, if it has any. The Republicans have no
principles. Otherwise they would not have encouraged the creation of FEC. It is
the Democrats, with their consistent, unswerving commitment to statism and the
regulation of the private affairs of other men, who have been setting the terms
and establishing the “moral high ground” of altruism – that is, sacrificing men
and rights for the “greater good,” for the “community” – for over a century.
The Republicans have always seconded that altruism, and said, “Me, too!”  Very few Republicans have maintained an
explicit, articulate fealty to the founding principles of this nation.
It’s a good thing for me that the FEC hasn’t
discovered my books, such as Trichotomy
( a roman à clef), set in 1929, on
how the collectivists and Progressives will take over American education, or A
Crimson Overture
, how Reds and Pinks have infested the American
government for decades, or We
Three Kings
, about an American entrepreneur who is “thrown under
the bus” by the State Department to be killed at leisure by a Saudi sheik over
a gold coin, or The
Black Stone
, in which the hero deals with the Muslim
Brotherhood  killers as early as 1929.  They and other titles are prescient . But
that would not matter. Each and every one of these titles, although they are
fiction, could be deemed too provocative, blasphemous, injurious, or slanderous
to allow their continued availability for sale and reading by “deplorable,”
“every day” Americans. They certainly contain what could be interpreted as
“partisan material.”
There really is no way to know what would be
going through the minds of the FEC. If the proposal to regulate or prohibit the
content of books, editorials, radio stations, and videos is “on the table,” it
is too much to hope it would ever be taken “off the table.” The itch to
control, regulate, or even prohibit is too tempting to resist scratching.

It’s doubtful that these appointees take any
political fiction seriously, but it’s unnerving nevertheless to know that the
option “is on the table” to banish a title or a program or an Internet news
site they could easily put on a Federal Index Librorum
Prohibitorum
.
A certain presidential candidate has already said that
she wants Breitbart and InfoWars reduced to ashes. What’s to stop
the FEC or the Department of Justice from targeting lesser known blog sites? Nothing.

Lucas continues:
The FEC hasn’t spoken in a unanimous voice about what
Goodman and others say are basic matters of free speech under the First
Amendment. Rather, various commission votes open the door to applying campaign
finance laws to movies, books, and other media rarely ever considered before as
campaign contributions.
In
the past two years, the FEC, divided equally into Democrat and Republican
factions, investigated books containing partisan material (among them a book by
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.), a conspiratorial film disparaging President
Barack Obama, and a Republican presidential debate on Fox News Channel.
While
the presidentially appointed commission sanctioned neither Ryan’s publisher nor
Fox News, it avoided granting the “press exemption” to either.
“Respect
for the free press shouldn’t vary based on who is on the commission or on the
content of the publication,” the FEC’s Lee Goodman says.
The exemption was
designed to ensure that news organizations, which generally are corporations,
cannot be accused of electioneering or making in-kind campaign contributions
based on news reporting or commentary on political candidates. The law states, in part:
B) The term ‘expenditure’ does not include—
(i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities
of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication,
unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party,
political committee, or candidate; …
In one case, FEC member Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat,
suggested the “press exemption,” provided in campaign finance law,
 doesn’t protect book publishers.
Weintraub then referred to the Supreme Court’s 5-4
ruling
, in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,
that organizations have free speech rights allowing them to spend money to
support or oppose political candidates.
The work we do
need to do, which some of my colleagues, including Commissioner Goodman, have
blocked for years, is to write rules that respond to Citizens United and the
advent of super PACs. Sadly, even routine regulatory fixes have become nearly
impossible to accomplish at the FEC.
This useful and
almost entirely noncontroversial technological-modernization proposal has been
bogged down for years. I decided to stick with the staff’s draft in the hope of
getting this done without further delaying it with nongermane but substantive
proposals.
And who is to determine
what is and is not “nongermane” or “substantive”? Not you or me.
Six individuals – whether
they are appointed or elected is immaterial – will determine after verbal cat
fights in conference rooms over the future of free speech.
As though that were not
“worrisome” enough, we are witnessing the disgraceful and damning spectacle of
the major American news outlets not so much censoring what they report, but
dispensing with objectivity and facts in their quest to guarantee the election
of their preferred presidential candidate, and so crudely and transparently
biased that few people take them at their word anymore.  Today’s MSM is comfortable with lies and
outright fabrications.
The press, or the mainstream media (MSM), has
usually been exempted from FEC regulations. We have grown inured to that. We
have also grown inured to the blatant liberal bias of the MSM, so much so that
it is largely held in contempt by Americans as a notoriously untrustworthy
source of news.  ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC,
CNN, and NPR have all been “electioneering” for over a year, without disguise
or pretence. The New York Times,  the
Washington Post, and countless smaller newspapers and magazines have gone hog
wild “electioneering” without penalty or so much as a tut-tut from the FEC.
However, “charitable” organizations that fall
under 501(c)3 regulations must remain mute. The FEC virtually acts as a
policeman for the IRS to enforce 501(c)3
constraints.
The “guidelines” include:
Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly
referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in
section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are
eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions
in accordance with Code section 170.
The organization must not be organized or operated for the
benefit of private
interests
, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization’s net earnings
may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the
organization engages in an excess
benefit transaction
with a person having substantial influence over the
organization, an excise
tax
may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to
the transaction.
Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much
political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a
detailed discussion, see Political
and Lobbying Activities
. For more information about lobbying activities by
charities, see the article Lobbying Issues; for
more information about political activities of charities, see the FY-2002 CPE
topic Election Year
Issues
.
Let us now turn to the Federal
Communications Commission.

Sold
to the highest bidder!

Jerry Kenney in his October
21st article on Accuracy In Media  (AIM),
FCC
Approves Foreign Takeover of  U.S.
Broadcasters
,”breaks the bad news:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September
29th did something worse than give up control
of the Internet
. They voted unanimously to put America’s entire broadcast
industry on the fast track to a foreign takeover by Chinese, Russian or Muslim
Brotherhood front corporations.
This new FCC
rule
gives foreign interests the long sought-after tools they need to shape
U.S. public opinion and to censor the opposition.
Once a foreign corporation scoops up a media business, such
as a chain of radio stations, it can eliminate national and local programming
and substitute its own government’s propaganda. That means that conservative
talkers could find themselves off the air.
Off the air? There are so
many candidates for microphone gagging and, on the Internet itself, so many
blog sites that could now be turned blank and the reader advised: “Server not
Found”! or “This site has been blocked for indecent or inappropriate content.”
Indecent content could be calling the FCC wonks names, or criticizing Islam.
Says who?
The FCC? Or the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC)?  Or
some petty local bureaucrat who has put a premium on publicly saying
something “Islamophobic
about Muslims or Islam? Or some elitist FCC regulator who is empowered to
control what you say or see and can pontificate about the “public service” of his
power in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, which would allow no
comments or rebuttals ?
Do you see how closely the
FEC and FCC are linked in ideology? Kenney writes:
At the final FCC vote, Commissioner Ajit Pai said the new
rule will “give
broadcasters greater access to capital
.” Accessing capital by selling 100
percent interest in a business? Isn’t that called selling out?
Only in Washington is a going-out-of-business sale called
“accessing capital.” If accessing capital is the main issue, I guess by that
standard we should repeal the laws that make bank robbery illegal, too. After
all, aren’t bank robbers just accessing capital?
No, there is much more at stake here than just capital.
It’s called a free and independent press. Thanks to the FCC, soon foreign
interests will be able to masquerade as your friendly neighborhood TV or radio
station (the national media sold out long ago). And you can count on them
waving the American flag as they do it. Remember Al Jazeera America buying Al
Gore’s Current TV?
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have reported
extensively on Chinese purchases of movie theater chains and Hollywood
production companies, including a current bid
to buy Dick Clark Productions
. Chinese interests have also leased
local underperforming AM radio stations
in major U.S. markets such as
Washington D.C. Based on the nature of those deals and their financial losses,
it is clear that China’s interest in entering the U.S. media market is more to
influence public opinion than to turn a profit.
Foreign, and especially Chinese,
money has purchased great gobs of Hollywood
studios
. So it is no wonder that anti-Communist or even anti-Islam movies
are completely absent from the big screen and TV.
Broadcasting is not just another pipe through which you
deliver data. A broadcaster controls the message and the content.
So why did this happen? The current FCC commissioners are
mostly lawyers and lobbyists with political connections to both political
parties. These political parties depend on financial contributions from major
corporations, including media corporations. They want the option of dumping
their broadcast properties off on cash-heavy foreign buyers, no matter what
impact it has on the public’s right to know.
The system is rigged, even in favor of the foreign
interests buying up America.
Remember: China runs a very efficient
and effective censorship system.
All tyranny, no matter how
banal, is necessarily rigged against freedom of speech. Censorship is a kind of
Game of Thrones.” The
goal in such a “fantasy” is the consolidation of power – over your mind, and over
your life or your livelihood.