Last I checked, politicians have the same 1st Amendment rights as I do

Image; Pat Powers, Dakota War College

I have stayed pretty quiet on this issue over the last couple of days (because the legislation would be impossible to enforce and quite frankly, it is unconstitutional), but I think it’s time I said something. I have often told politicians that I use sarcasm on my blog to ‘make observations’ in an attempt that someone can produce the facts, hopefully the party I am skewering. I will give any politician an opportunity to set the record straight, libel and slander isn’t a good thing, and if I wronged you, prove it. But that defense usually never happens. Why? Maybe because it is true? Maybe because they think they are above me? Maybe they don’t know how to work their email? Who knows, who cares. When someone tries to slander me, I defend myself. What I can’t understand is why politicians don’t do the same? The Gargoyle Leader tried to paint me as the ‘anti-pavilion’ a few years back because I opposed some policies of the Arts Center and I went after them tooth and nail. That is what I don’t understand? If you are a politician and you think someone is spreading lies about you on the internet, why not use your First Amendment rights to defend yourself, instead of writing pitiful legislation that only helps lawyers make money. I’m not even going to go into detail about the author of this legislation, all I am going to say is that I am very disappointed in him, but not surprised. He has done silly stuff like this in the past. But what can I say, lawyers truly are ‘birds of a feather.’

I often wonder if Benjamin Franklin (my American hero) would have gotten discouraged or worried about slandering the King? Would the Revolution ever have happened? Challenging and dissenting government takes balls. It can also be messy and mean. I thank God everyday that I live in a country that put the most important amendment first – free speech. Now STFU SD Legislators and go work on something more important, LIKE HOW YOU ARE GOING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET.


#1 Helga on 02.05.10 at 1:26 pm

Did you see who said they wrote the bill? Todd Epp. He says on Madville Times
“I am the author of HB 1277. I was asked by Rep. Hamiel to try to figure out a constitutional way to help people who have been defamed by anonymous or nom de plume comments or posts.”

#2 l3wis on 02.05.10 at 2:40 pm

Don’t even get me started.

#3 Ghost of Dude on 02.05.10 at 3:59 pm

Some jackass in Kentucky tried this a few years ago – only he wanted everyone to post their full name and address with every post.

As if spamming and cyber-stalking wasn’t easy enough.

#4 John2 on 02.05.10 at 6:33 pm

It’s a clear and blatant unconstitutional “prior restraint” on political speech. Epp and Turback-Berry should forfeit their law licenses for apparently blatant stupidity or ignorance – take your pick. Hamiel should merely be barred from further Fourth Estate practice. If there is defamation the solution is the discovery as part of a law suit – but apparently they forgot how to practice law.

#5 l3wis on 02.05.10 at 11:39 pm

Like I told PP, are we going to start requiring people to give their names when they give tips to the police tip line, so we can sue them for slander if they report incorrect suspicious activity? There has been a couple of city councilors who think people shouldn’t be able to turn their neighbors in for code enforcement violations unless they give their name. That’s silly. When you call in a tip or say something on a blog, it is an ‘observation’ and that is why people should investigate it. I would personally tell both of these legislators to work on some important issues instead of worrying about self preservation. If you walk the straight and narrow, you shouldn’t have to worry about ‘slander’. It’s kind of like when Jerstad backed into a car in a parking lot and blamed the media for picking on her because she was a woman. Sandy, doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man, it has to do with you being a bad driver.

#6 John2 on 02.06.10 at 7:31 am

l3wis, excellent point. one of the quickest ways to get shot or assaulted is to complain to your neighbor about anything that is his – his noise, lawn, snow, condition of his house, litter, domestic disturbance that went public into the lawn and street. It is foolhardy and dangerous. Contact the police. They are trained and have an authority we’ve given them to civilly resolve disputes.

Doing otherwise, naming complainants – will turn our neighborhoods into bully-zones as are found on playgrounds. Folks who dare speak truth to power will find their property defaced, vandalized and subject to threats. Blog bullying through prior restraint of free speech will result in lost jobs, lost promotions, and other retribution while the guardians of the status quo support their largess.

#7 anominous on 02.07.10 at 1:35 pm

Stupid bitches.

#8 anominous on 02.07.10 at 1:36 pm

In my humble opinion only, of course.

#9 anominous on 02.07.10 at 1:36 pm

Or so I was told…