"The Wondering Jew"
Apr. 04, 2005 - 23:12 MST
THE WONDERING JEW
Guess it is just my state, sure hope it isn't contagious. Bill Scanlon of the Rocky Mountain News had an article in on March 31 that was of interest to me. In full:
'Reckless' liars may be fined
"Liars beware -- especially partisan liars."
By the next time election season rolls around, it may be easier to catch people or organizations in a lie about a candidate and fine them stiffly."
"The Houuse on Wednesday approved a bill that would lower the standard by which a statement in a campaign can be found to be in "disregard of the truth."
"Such statements are currently protected under the First Amendment unless the person "knowingly" makes a false statement."
S.B. 31 would replace "knowingly" with "recklessly," an important legal distinction. Penalties could kick in if the person was merely reckless about finding out whether the statement was true; the person wouldn't have to know for sure that the statement was false."
"And the penalties would be more severe: a class one misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail or up to a $5,000 fine or both."
"Debate was contentious. The vote was close and not along party lines."
"We want to hold someone accountable for lying during a campaign," said House sponsor Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs."
"But Rep. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said the "reckless" standard would be too easy to break. "Almost everyone who has stepped to this microphone has said something too personal, something untrue that could be considered reckless," he said."
"Merrifield replied, "I'm amazed that Representative Brophy would defend lying."
"Brophy raced back to the microphone and said, "You just made my case. You characterized my comments as defending lying. That was reckless and not true."
"Merrifield said speeches by lawmakers are immune from the bill, and besides there's plenty of opportunity to clarify statements on the House floor. But during a campaign, an untruthful flier can be devastating."
"Rep. Matt Knoedler, R-Lakewood, said the bill is needed to give teeth to prosecutors. Knoedler said he didn't have the money last fall to rebuff what he said were lies told about him in a campaign brochure."
"Later, Knoedler said the brochure, paid for by Democratic-leaning millionaires, accused him of voting against health-care benefits when, in fact, he'd never held elective office, so he couldn't have voted against it."
"House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, said unless the bill is passed, and district attorneys get a clear idea of when they can prosecute for lies, dirty campaigners will "get away with outright murder."
In my humble stupid opinion . . . . If we are going to get downright serious about lying and building untruths into the fabric of our society, why not start by making the language on the ballots plain truth so that the average voter can understand and above all avoid making things sound one way when actually the thing up for vote is so smokescreened that even a lawyer would have a hard time answering the "what'd he say ?" questions.
According to Mr. Merrifield, "speeches by lawmakers are immune from the bill," according to that statement every representative can lie through his teeth any time, all the time and be immune.
How about the dog and pony shows being put on by our administration about Medicare and Privatization of Social Security - - - those are all pure truth ? ? ? ? And the narrowness of the whole exercise - - - ya can't lie on the campaign trail, about someone else, anyway. Now we will be reading in our papers about the pre-campaign lies and when they are eligible for prosecution, the after election lies -- will they be covered ? Hah. In Colorado, if this passes any and or all of us can be convicted of lying while Reckless . . . . . . . .0 comments so far