Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

America has a relatively robust tradition of respecting freedom of speech. Nevertheless, our government officials often find criticism not only annoying but actionable.

But actionable how?

Campaign finance regulation offers officials one avenue to go after political critics. The CFR regime is so ambiguous and complex that it often seems to cover anything anybody might say at any time about anybody running for office. But the ever-metastasizing repressive power of campaign finance regulation was probably not what Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett was relying on when he subpoenaed Twitter, the micro-blogging company, to try to learn who was savaging his conduct as attorney general.

Corbett demanded names, street addresses and IP addresses of two Twitter subscribers who have been claiming that his investigation into public corruption was politically motivated. Twitter representatives were threatened with arrest if they failed to appear before a grand jury to “give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Corbett’s office claims that the subpoena had nothing to do with aversion to political criticism but was related to a particular prosecution. Perhaps the angry tweeters were really a single disgruntled defendant, only pretending to be contrite in court?

Regardless, the attorney general was obviously on a fishing expedition, one that targeted First Amendment rights. The outcry from Twitter users, the ACLU, and others was swift and vehement, so Corbett has dropped his abusive subpoena.

Perhaps he should also drop his gubernatorial campaign.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


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  3. Jay says:

    Nat Hentoff, who si or was a columnist for The Village Voice in New York, and I believe syndicated elsewhere ahd it right in a book he wrote.

    ” FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE”. ( name might be a bit off, that close-) and the title says it all.

  4. Rubicon says:

    Actually, among those running in PA, Corbett is probably the best alternative.
    There really is a difference between criticism & politically motivated attacks on issues that are untrue.
    Corbett’s real failure was to remember that once a public figure, he cannot sue for defamation of character. That is exactly what his detractors have been counting on and using against him.
    It’ll cost him some money, but he can tell the public how wrong or inaccurate those Tweets really are. A little truth shines light on the intentions of those trying to make partisan political points.
    One thing he should point out to people is his detractors are more than willing to anonymously attack him & that fact alone should give all pause to think about the what the attackers are saying.

  5. Drik says:

    He shoudl fit in well with the current administration, ie enforcing the law when it is convenient.

  6. Artie says:

    Thanks for that! It’s just the anwser I needed.

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