FREE REPUBLIC:
TODAY'S LIBERTY TREE

"History has tried hard to teach us that we can't have good government under politicians.
Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn't be wise."

Mark Twain

Just a few short years ago, the so called "conservative" publications not marching in lock-step with the socialism espoused by the Clinton administration were punished. The administration sent the IRS to audit them. Here on the Internet, WorldNetDaily got it.

After news of more than a dozen such punitive audits broke, Congress started to notice and the administration changed tactics slightly. For instance, Matt Drudge, always a pain in the rear for the White House, is being sued by Hillary's flunky, Sid Vicious -- with the tacit approval and encouragement of the Clintons.

Moving on, we find that the next Internet dissenter on the Clintons' "get" list is Jim Robinson, founder and operator of the now famous Free Republic web site. (http://www.freerepublic.com)

Jim Robinson recently told Heads Up that back in April of this year, Marvin Lee, Editor of the Washington Weekly, investigated the genesis of our problem with the major media and he reported that the White House was behind the effort to get us shut down. Lee found that Terry Lenzner, the President's private investigator and henchman, was hired to do the background work on our forum. The results of Lenzner's work was turned over to Debevoise & Plimpton, a law firm frequently used by the President and in turn they formed a consortium of several news media companies to file complaints against Free Republic. As a result, Free Republic received several cease and desist orders from the companies involved, all with very similar language, and all on the same day. Several were received via email within the same hour. There is no doubt that there was coordination between all of these media companies and that the President's henchmen put the whole thing together.


Two weeks ago, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times joined together to file suit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Jim Robinson. The newspapers alleged that, on several occasions, participants of the Free Republic discussion forum downloaded articles from the newspaper's web sites and posted them in the forum. The newspaper's allegation is that copyrighted articles are taken verbatim from their web sites and posted to the Free Republic web site. The Washington Post and LA Times say that is a violation of the federal copyright statute.

That being true, then so would passing a paper newspaper, or a clipping from a newspaper, on to another person. But, never mind that inconvenient little fact. This is simply a case of the major liberal press chastising the free flow of already published political information between normal, non-liberal, citizens.

"We feel that the claims being made by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post are frivolous charges, inspired by political motives," Robinson told Heads Up.

First of all there can be no copyright infringement when it comes to reporting political news and/or news regarding public policy or government corruption. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to free speech, a free press and for peaceable assembly to petition the government for grievance. These rights cannot be abridged by the Congress. The copyright laws were crafted by the Congress long after the Constitution was ratified. The Congress had to compromise to establish a balance between the copyright holder's economic rights and the people's superior Constitutional rights to free speech and free press. Thus the 'fair use' exemption. Our forum operates squarely within the Framer's and the Congress's intentions.

Regarding political motives, both the President and the First Lady have said repeatedly that they were concerned that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy that was trying to bring down the President. In their eyes, we are part of that conspiracy. The President said in a speech, shortly after his reelection, that he was committed to cutting right-wing dissenters from politics. The First Lady said that she thought that the entire idea of the Internet must be rethought. She felt that it is too free and uncontrolled. Obviously, they are not happy with what we right-wingers are saying on the Internet. There is no doubt that there was coordination between all of these media companies and that the President's henchmen put the whole thing together.

Like the Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, Capitol Hill Blue and other Internet publications, the Free Republic offers readers a wealth of information from many sources. What is unique with Free Republic is that readers may also participate by commenting on the news reports of the day. This, in itself, is the principal thorn in the side of the major media news purveyors.

We at Heads Up somewhat sympathize with these "journalists" who have never before had to publicly answer for what they write -- or neglect to write. However, this type of public critique is now the modern way of doing things. Heads Up readers regularly comment, both publicly and privately. So too will the readers of any other publication placed in the public forum of the Internet. If the major media journalists cannot take the heat, perhaps they should leave this medium.

Also, in the case of Free Republic, the web site is much more than just a bulletin board for posting and commenting on news reports. Rather, the site has developed into a modern-day Liberty Tree, wherein participants from coast to coast meet to plan activities, as well as discuss political topics of the day and leave messages for others. As Jim Robinson describes today's Free Republic:

In the last several months Free Republic has grown to a daily readership of over 50,000 readers and sometimes as high as 100,000 per day. Free Republic chapters have sprung up in almost every state, and groups of our members have began following the movements of the President, Vice President and the First Lady and have began organizing protests wherever they travel. These protests are now beginning to embarrass and concern the President and his party. This, coupled with the fact that the Washington press corps and the Congress and all the Beltway crowd are visiting Free Republic everyday to get the truth about the day's happenings, is the reason why the President wants to shut us down.


In 1775, the British cut down the original Liberty Tree because it was a meeting point for just such actions. Will Americans allow today's cyberspace Liberty Tree, the Free Republic, to be cut off in 1999?

NO!

So, let's get busy and tell them so. Also, their advertisers.

E-mail to: fiedor19@eos.net
Copyright © 1998 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
This text may be copied and distributed freely but only in its entirety, and with no changes.


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