The US Sedition Act Appropriate Today?

by ThiChi 51 Replies latest social current

  • Trauma_Hound

    Ok Lucky Lucy, er I mean Thi Chi, the minute this act starts to be used against peace protesters, is the minute, I take up arms against this government, you start using this, you might as well declare a civil war.

  • Robdar

    Now that we are at war, should this Act be used to address some that oppose the War? This question was put to me, I now ask for your comments…….


    I must have missed your answer. Do you think that the act should be used against other Americans who oppose this war?


  • mustang

    You did, as well: "...should this Act be used to address some that oppose the War?" Your exact words... So, I did mention it, following your lead, Thi Chi. YOU left the topic open and unspecified... :)

    Others discussed the "Anti-war crowd" (Gopher) & mentioned "these antiwar protests" & "Most of the protesters"; I respectfully wonder why are you singling me out? :)

    War Protesters oppose the war and demonstrate against it. "War Protesters" is where this discussion has been before; that is where is has been applied or actually misapplied.

    (Recall my definition for this discussion: A wAR pROTESTER is one who does no more than hold a sign and march in some circular path in front of some Federal installation.)

    Now if you want to discuss any OTHER instances, that is where The Sedition Act is more properly applied and gets serious. You are now talking saboteurs and subversives.

    Yes, it is appropriate to have such a law available and in effect. The Sedition Act would always be appropriate. This law is not ever likely to be backed down!!!!

    BTW, FOR PURPOSES OF THE DISCUSSION OF THE SEDITION ACT, it is immaterial and irrelevant whether or not the War was declared by Congress or not. For a variety of reasons, the Congress has backed off it’s Constitutional mandate of declaring War. They have lately allowed the President to start the Wars by Executive Order; the Congress then passes a Resolution endorsing the President’s action. (The Congress can conveniently hang the President out to dry later, if it goes badly :) )

    That said, ONCE THE WAR HAS BEEN STARTED, the Sedition Act "kicks in".

    Having lived most of my life at or near military bases, I have seen in both wartime and peacetime, instances of train derailments of tanks, artillery and armor which were deemed deliberate and acts of sabotage. Yes, the government has had the forethought to write legislation which allows this to be prosecuted. They aren’t going to sit there scratching their heads wondering what to do about it!!!!

    Our system of laws is frequently an evolutionary process. As noted below the earlier version of this law was reversed. This newer version has stood without change, and seems likely to remain.

    Checking through the Oxford Guide to Supreme Court Decisions (1999), I find the following few references. This guide covers the 440 most important, influential or "landmark" cases before the Supreme Court. I have broadened the search to include the Espionage Act, as you indicated in your leading statement:

    Sedition Act of 1798: fell into disuse by the "court of history" due to excessive restriction of Freedom of Speech in regard to public debate (Under New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), this was considered as an "analogy" to civil law of libel)

    Rosenberg v. United States, 346 U.S. 273 (1953)

    The "Atomic spies" tried to get the Atomic Energy Commissions laws to take precedence; denied, as the AEC laws weren’t in existence at the time of the crime. The Rosenbergs were executed.

    Abrams vs. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919)

    Abrams called for strike to disrupt the nation and war efforts; you have to remember that anarchists and radicals were really violent back then. I refer to the Haymarket Square bombing, riots and other such acts.

    Schenck vs. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919)

    Printed and distributed anti-draft leaflets, urging active refusal of draft or desertion. Similar to Debs vs. United States, 249 U.S. 211 (1919).

    This was the start of the "Clear & Present Danger Doctrine" for dealing with these situations. Late 1800’s politics was full of anarchists and violence. The harsh reactions continued through the 1930’s. The "Clear & Present Danger Doctrine" has been replaced by the "Direct Incitement Test" (Bradenburg vs. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969)) which basically allowed prosecution against speech only if violence occurred. (This is improved, but still controversial :) )

    These readings are the APPEALS and represent a reduction or distillation of those who have been tried under these statues. Since none of these have reversed the Espionage/Sedition Acts (1917/1918), they are still the "law of the land". As such, they are ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE for dealing with all comers.


  • mustang

    #2 gone!!!!

  • mustang

    Whoa!!!! What is it with this thing submitting my posts in TRIPLICATE!!! 3rd time its done it!!!


  • Abaddon

    What part of "freedom of speech" don't people understand?

    It seems sometimes people regard freedom of speech as the freedom other people have to agree with them.

    If you want to live in a dictatorship where dissent is not allowed, I'm sure Saddam has space for you... maybe manning a machine gun in a 'death squad' designed to stop regular troops from retreating, or shooting people who speak out or disagree with the government.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • mustang

    The Sedition Laws are used when speech is turned into action. I've seen a trainload of derailed tanks done as an act of sabotage IN THE U.S.!!!! This is where the "rubber meets the road" for Sedition Law usage.

    There is enough conflict with First Amendment and other Laws that speech is safe. Speak a threat... hmmmm!!!! Not a goood idea, but do-able. Put the violence into action, cross the line and the law can be enforced.

    Early on, with violent types, there were excesses. This situation has evolved to a milder form. On a practical basis, this law is difficult to enforce. IT IS NOT LIKELY TO BE USED UNLESS THE MILITARY IS ATTACKED!!!


  • Utopian Reformist
    Utopian Reformist

    Abbadon/Robadan & others: Does anyone remember the 70's military comedy hit show "M.A.S.H."? If you do, you might recall an arrogant, hypocritical, inconsiderate buffoon named "Major Frank Burns". Major Burns was always advocating "stricter rules", "more discipline", "tighter policies", but he himself was nothing but a COWARD! A coward with a belt, holster and pistol and many miles behind the front. A coward daydreaming of being a hero and having rank, prestige, authority and adoration of others. There are many pro-war advocates posting here and many other places, who if are not careful, if they don't start examining what they are really saying, are in great danger of becoming "Frank Burns". It may have been a sitcom with ficticious characters, but it was based on recognizable behavior. Patriotism during this BUSH administration and the Zionist Cabal it works for is nothing more than cognitive dissonance. Ask Stanley Milgram!

  • ThiChi

    Wow, comparing issues of today with a TV program.....very telling!

  • ThiChi


    You only quote Blix’s viewpoints outside the final report to the UN.....Read the report. Blix stating that Saddam would probably not use WMD is outside his task to either confirm or deny if Iraq is in material breach.

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