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Attack on 'Fahrenheit 911' documentary shows 'Constitution is on fire,' Libertarian says
WASHINGTON, DC -- The attack on Michael Moore's new documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," shows that free speech has come under an unprecedented assault in America, thanks to the campaign finance law passed by Congress last year, says Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik.
"The Constitution is on fire -- a fire that was set when Democrats and Republicans passed their so-called campaign finance reform law," says Badnarik, who was nominated by the party on May 30. "The attempt to gag Michael Moore demonstrates that McCain-Feingold was just an excuse to outlaw political criticism."
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is considering whether advertising for Moore's controversial new documentary, which is sharply critical of President Bush, can be banned as "electioneering communications." Under McCain-Feingold, corporate-paid radio or TV ads that identify a federal candidate are illegal to broadcast within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
Since Moore has publicly stated that his goal is to help defeat Bush, Democrats and Republicans are waging partisan warfare over "Fahrenheit 9/11."
But Badnarik -- who teaches classes on the Constitution -- says a much larger issue is at stake: Every American's freedom of speech.
"The truth is that Democrats and Republicans committed a bipartisan crime against the First Amendment when they passed the McCain-Feingold law," according to Badnarik. "This law allows politicians to determine what their critics can say, when they can say it and how much they can spend in the process -- which is exactly what's not supposed to happen in a free country."
Noting that the First Amendment clearly states that 'Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom speech,' Badnarik asked: "What part of the words 'no law' doesn't the government understand? The First Amendment doesn't contain exceptions for advertisements that might offend the president or cost him his job -- and it certainly doesn't authorize federal movie police.
"Empowering a government agency to ban movie ads might be expected in the former Soviet Union, Cuba, China, or Iraq -- but not in the United States. Every American should stand up for Michael Moore's right to advertise 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' regardless of how they feel about George Bush."
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