No Free Speech In West Virginina

March 4, 2014

Seal_of_West_Virginia_svg

By:  Rob Jones

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”   ―     Benjamin Franklin     Silence Dogood, The Busy-Body, and Early Writings

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]  ― Harry S. Truman

“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”

[First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801] 
―     Thomas Jefferson, The Inaugural Speeches and Messages of Thomas Jefferson, Esq.: Late President of the United States: Together with the Inaugural Speech of James Madison, Esq. …

As you’ve probably figured out, by the above quotes, my column is on one of our most sacred rights, under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says, “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.” Read the text of the 1st Amendment. It clearly says “or abridging the freedom of speech”. In layman terms, that means that government shall not take our ability to speak freely. We have the right to speak out against government officials, policies, and laws.

Here, in the Mountain State, our state government is attempting to take away our rights and freedoms, granted under the 1st Amendment, with WV HB 4354. This effort, led by Delegates Fleischauer, Manypenny, Perdue, Ellem, Longstreth, Marshall, Miller, Guthrie, and Lane is nothing more than a blatant attempt to silence anyone who is willing to speak out against government and their acts of tyranny. HB 4354 will require any group of citizens who petition the state legislature for more than 20 days during the legislative session to register as lobbyists. This will, in effect, keep everyday people from speaking out, and will ultimately allow our state government to pass bill against the will of the people. We the people, of West Virginia, would have no voice against gun control, freedom of speech, or any other bill.

How does this bill effect you and I? The simple answer is this, because small, informal, volunteer, grassroots organizations don’t pay lobbyists and the state legislature doesn’t differentiate between professional lobbyists and grassroots organizations. However, professional influence peddlers, who attend “receptions, dinners, parties, or other group functions” with politicians and make “no expenditure in connection with such lobbying,” fall in the exempt category. That’s right, it’s OK to wine and dine with the politicians, but you don’t dare mobilize ordinary West Virginians to oppose anti-liberty plans. Unless you know the rules, register, and fill out reports of your grassroots activities, you can be fined up to $250.00, just for reaching out to your friends over a short period of time to advise them of activity in the West Virginia legislature.

This is nothing less than a blatant slap in the face to groups like Campaign for Liberty and every day activists, like you and I. Rather than cozying up to the establishment, groups like Campaign for Liberty hold elected officials to their oaths, inform more Americans about the latest in pressing issues, and urge them to take action to protect and restore liberty. It’s no wonder that state politicians are fighting back! All year, the legislature has worked to trample our Constitutionally protected rights and we’ve called them on it. They are tired of the phone calls, tired of the emails, and tired of hearing our voices. They are looking for a way to silence us and stop us from taking action. Why? Because they don’t want to be bothered by us pesky citizens.

How do they plan to enforce such an un-constitutional law? By selectively prosecuting those groups that the ruling class finds most dangerous to their continued back-door activities. I would guess that it will only be volunteer organizations, who can stand up to the establishment, and mobilize Americans only, thanks to generous grassroots donors and activists, like you, that will be targeted. Much like the IRS targeting a particular political faction, they would surely use this to suppress or intimidate any group that is not in the back pocket of which ever party is in power.

My local Delegate is Mike Manypenny. I’ve posted to his wall, on facebook, posted on my facebook, and now add this column. No Free Speech In West Virginina will not be tolerated. I vowed to take the fight directly to those, responsible for bills, such as this. That’s why I volunteer my time to research subject matter for my columns, write my columns, and volunteer my time for groups, such as Campaign for Liberty, Americans for Prosperity, Defund the GOP (which is trying to shed light on RINO’s in government), and westvirginiaconservative.com. We have kept the pressure on them and now we need to turn it up to eleven and push even harder. We must hold those who wish to stifle our rights and freedoms, accountable. They must know that the price is great, to go against the people, against our rights, or against our freedoms. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!

 


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