1798 – Sedition Act becomes federal law


On July 14, 1798, one of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history becomes federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known …read more

1917 – U.S. Congress passes Espionage Act


On June 15, 1917, some two months after America’s formal entrance into World War I against Germany, the United States Congress passes the Espionage Act.

Enforced largely by A. Mitchell Palmer, the United States attorney general under President Woodrow Wilson, the Espionage Act essentially made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies. Anyone found guilty of such acts would be subject to a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence of 20 years.

The Espionage Act was reinforced by the Sedition Act of the following year, which imposed similarly harsh penalties on anyone found guilty of making false statements that interfered with the prosecution of the war; insulting or abusing the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military; agitating against the production of necessary war materials; or advocating, teaching or defending any of these acts. Both pieces of legislation were aimed at socialists, pacifists and other anti-war activists during World War I and were used to punishing effect in the years immediately following the war, during a period characterized by the fear of communist influence and communist infiltration into American society that became known as the first Red Scare (a second would occur later, during the 1940s and 1950s, associated largely with Senator Joseph McCarthy). Palmer–a former pacifist whose views on civil rights radically changed once he assumed the attorney general’s office during the Red Scare–and his right-hand man, J. Edgar Hoover, liberally employed the Espionage and Sedition Acts to persecute left-wing political figures.

for the complete article… history.com

They fought for our right to vote and suffered… We must Vote!


This post had to be reposted as we count down to the 2022 midterms

 
 

 

 

Over 50 years ago, African-Americans made up 45% of Mississippi’s population, but fewer than 7% of  Mississippians were registered to vote.

In June of 1964, civil rights groups came together to kick off Freedom Summer, a 10-week campaign to dramatically increase the number of registered black voters in the state.

More than 1,000 volunteers of all races and colors, from all over the nation, traveled to Mississippi to do this important work. While there, youth volunteers and their black Mississippian supporters suffered unimaginable levels of vitriol and violence, but they did not stop fighting for what was right.

In the end, Freedom Summer emerged as a defining moment in the civil rights movement, pushing our country one step closer to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

The best way we can honor the work, bravery, and sacrifice of the Freedom Summer volunteers is to exercise the right they fought for so diligently.

Honor the mission of Freedom Summer by pledging to vote in this year’s midterm election.

The extremely low levels of black voter registration in the South were fueled by generations of discriminatory elections practices. States were legally able to hold whites-only primaries, collect poll taxes, and administer literacy tests. When legal barriers weren’t enough, lynchings and bombings—threats and fulfilled promises—kept even more African-Americans away from the polls.

Fifty years later, legislators are attempting to take us backward to 1964, weakening the VRA, making it ever harder for the poor and people of color to have their voices heard at the polls.

Don’t allow these lawmakers to roll back history. They can only win and keep their seats in office when people like you and I stay home during midterm elections.

Raise your voice against those who seek to violate civil rights and human rights. Make a pledge to vote this November:

http://action.naacp.org/My-Vote-2014

In solidarity,

Lorraine C. Miller
Interim President and CEO
NAACP

The 7 Best Houseplants for Beginners


Plants You Can’t Kill

By Jon VanZile

These houseplants are the best place to start your collection. They are all easy to grow and can generally withstand erratic watering, uneven or bad light, and fluctuating temperatures. They’ll thrive in dorm rooms, offices and sometimes even dismal corners.

Epipremnum-aureum-poznan-palmiarnia-abrimaalGolden pothos vine (Epipremnum pinnatum ‘aureum’)

There’s a reason this vine is one of the most popular hanging plants around. In its native habitat, golden pothos grows into a tree-swallowing monster with huge yellow and green leaves. As a houseplant, the plant will grow aggressively from pots or trailing baskets with minimal care. They will easily root in a simple glass of water. With better care, large, mottled, mature leaves may develop.

ChlorophytumCapenseSpider plant (Chlorophytum)

A well-grown spider plant is a magnificent thing. The plant grows easily in baskets or atop columns, with arching leaves. The variegated variety is by far the most common. Over time, a mature plant will send out plantlets or offsets on long stems that form an impressive hanging display. These plantlets can be easily potted up to create new specimens. Spider plants are not picky about water, light or temperature.

Snake_plantSnake plant and mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata and S. trifasciata laurentii)

Actually in the same family that includes dracaena and liriope, there are many varieties of sansevieria that are exceptionally tough. They like plenty of light, but they can handle less if necessary and they aren’t too particular about watering—providing there isn’t too much. When repotting is necessary, the main clump can be easily divided. These plants are striking additions to a collection. The snake plant features green on green bands on sword-like leaves, while the mother-in-law’s tongue has yellow leaf margins.

Dracaena species

There are many varieties of dracaena suitable for home growth. The D. Draco and D. Marginata are wonderfully easy plants that tolerate a wide variety of conditions. These plants feature arching leaves from a woody stem. Dracaena leaves can be green, yellow and green, or even tri-colored. Also a member of the agave family, they like to be regularly watered in the summer and almost left dry throughout the winter. D. Fragrans is often used to make the popular Ti plants, or false palms.

Succulents and Cacti

There are dozens of varieties of succulents and desert cacti flooding into garden centers and grocery stores. In general, succulents are desert plants with thick, fleshy leaves. Some of them have spines, and some none. Agave is an example of a popular succulent, along with aloe and popular echeveria rosettes. Cacti generally have spines and interesting leaf structures, including barrels, paddles and columns. As a class, succulents and cacti are slow growing and will withstand tremendous abuse. They do best with bright light, well-drained pots and little water. In the right placement, these are plants that truly thrive on neglect.

Bromeliad3.jpgBromeliads

These plants have gained an unfair reputation, probably because of the difficulty required to coax a bloom from a bromeliad. It’s true that making these jungle plants bloom in the house is a tricky task. They require copious warmth and water, along with high humidity and filtered light, to produce their showy flower spikes. However, many species of bromeliads have beautiful leaves that are attractive by themselves. Bromeliads plants are usually watered by filling the central cup. They require little fertilizer, and when pups appear around the base of the plant, these can be potted up to increase your collection.

Lucky_bambooLucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Technically a dracaena species, lucky bamboo is the perennial office plant. Untold pots of these thrive in awful conditions, sporadically watered with bad lighting and poor air quality. Nevertheless, lucky bamboo lives on. These make wonderful gift plants, and many people believe they bring good luck and enhance the chi, or energy, of their surroundings.

Sedition


A revolt or an incitement to revolt against established 

authority, usually in the form of Treason or Defamation against the government.

Sedition is the crime of revolting or inciting revolt 

against government. However, because of the broad protection of free speech under the First Amendment, prosecutions for sedition are rare. Nevertheless, sedition remains a crime in the United States under 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 (2000), a federal statute that punishes seditious conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385 (2000), which outlaws advocating the overthrow of the federal government by force. Generally, a person may be punished for sedition only when he or she makes statements that create a Clear and Present Danger to rights that the government may lawfully protect (schenck v. united states, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 [1919]).

The crime of seditious conspiracy is committed when two or more persons in any state or U.S. territory conspire to levy war against the U.S. government. A person commits the crime of advocating the violent overthrow of the federal government when she willfully advocates or teaches the overthrow of the government by force, publishes material that advocates the overthrow of the government by force, or organizes persons to overthrow the government by force. A person found guilty of seditious conspiracy or advocating the overthrow of the government may be fined and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. States also maintain laws that punish similar advocacy and conspiracy against the state government.

Governments have made sedition illegal since time immemorial. The precise acts that constitute sedition have varied. In the United States, Congress in the late eighteenth century believed that government should be protected from “false, scandalous and malicious” criticisms. Toward this end, Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1798, which authorized the criminal prosecution of persons who wrote or spoke falsehoods about the government, Congress, the president, or the vice president. The act was to expire with the term of President John Adams.

The Sedition Act failed miserably. Thomas Jefferson opposed the act, and after he was narrowly elected president in 1800, public opposition to the act grew. The act expired in 1801, but not before it was used by President Adams to prosecute numerous public supporters of Jefferson, his challenger in the presidential election of 1800. One writer, Matthew Lyon, a congressman from Vermont, was found guilty of seditious libel for stating, in part, that he would not be the “humble advocate” of the Adams administration when he saw “every consideration of the public welfare swallowed up in a continual grasp for power, in an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice” (Lyon’s Case, 15 F. Cas. 1183 [D. Vermont 1798] [No. 8646]). Vermont voters reelected Lyon while he was in jail. Jefferson, after winning the election and assuming office, pardoned all persons convicted under the act.

In the 1820s and 1830s, as the movement to abolish Slavery grew in size and force in the South, Southern states began to enact seditious libel laws. Most of these laws were used to prosecute persons critical of slavery, and they were abolished after the Civil War. The federal government was no less defensive; Congress enacted seditious conspiracy laws before the Civil War aimed at persons advocating secession from the United States. These laws were the precursors to the present-day federal seditious conspiracy statutes.

In the late nineteenth century, Congress and the states began to enact new limits on speech, most notably statutes prohibiting Obscenity. At the outset of World War I, Congress passed legislation designed to suppress antiwar speech. The Espionage Act of 1917 (ch. 30, tit. 1, § 3, 40 Stat. 219), as amended by ch. 75, § 1, 40 Stat 553, put a number of pacifists into prison. Socialist leader eugene v. debs was convicted for making an antiwar speech in Canton, Ohio (Debs v. United States, 249 U.S. 211, 39 S. Ct. 252, 63 L. Ed. 566 [1919]). Charles T. Schenck and Elizabeth Baer were convicted for circulating to military recruits a leaflet that advocated opposition to the draft and suggested that the draft violated the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on Involuntary Servitude (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 [1919]).

The U.S. Supreme Court did little to protect the right to criticize the government until after 1927. That year, Justice louis d. brandeis wrote an influential concurring opinion in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 47 S. Ct. 641, 71 L. Ed. 1095 (1927), that was to guide First Amendment Jurisprudence for years to come. In Whitney the High Court upheld the convictions of political activists for violation of federal anti-syndicalism laws, or laws that prohibit the teaching of crime. In his concurring opinion, Brandeis maintained that even if a person advocates violation of the law, “it is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement and there is nothing to indicate that the advocacy would be immediately acted on.” Beginning in the 1930s, the Court became more protective of political free speech rights.

The High Court has protected the speech of racial supremacists and separatists, labor organizers, advocates of racial Integration, and opponents of the draft for the Vietnam War. However, it has refused to declare unconstitutional all sedition statutes and prosecutions. In 1940, to silence radicals and quell Nazi or communist subversion during the burgeoning Second World War, Congress enacted the Smith Act (18 U.S.C.A. §§ 2385, 2387), which outlawed sedition and seditious conspiracy. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951).

Sedition prosecutions are extremely rare, but they do occur. Shortly after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, the federal government prosecuted Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric living in New Jersey, and nine codefendants on charges of seditious conspiracy. Rahman and the other defendants were convicted of violating the seditious conspiracy statute by engaging in an extensive plot to wage a war of Terrorism against the United States. With the exception of Rahman, they all were arrested while mixing explosives in a garage in Queens, New York, on June 24, 1993.

The defendants committed no overt acts of war, but all were found to have taken substantial steps toward carrying out a plot to levy war against the United States. The government did not have sufficient evidence that Rahman par ticipated in the actual plotting against the government or any other activities to prepare for terrorism. He was instead prosecuted for pro viding religious encouragement to his cocon spirators. Rahman argued that he only performed the function of a cleric and advised followers about the rules of Islam. He and the others were convicted, and on January 17, 1996, Rahman was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Michael Mukasey.

Following the September 11th Attacks of 2001, the federal government feared that terrorist networks were very real threats, and that if left unchecked, would lead to further insurrection. As a result, Congress enacted the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272. Among other things, the act increases the president’s authority to seize the property of individuals and organizations that the president determines have planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in hostilities or attacks against the United States.

The events of September 11 also led to the conviction of at least one American. In 2001, U.S. officials captured John Philip Walker Lindh, a U.S. citizen who had trained with terrorist organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Lindh, who became known as the “American Taliban,” was indicted on ten counts, including conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals. In October 2002, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Further readings

Cohan, John Alan. 2003. “Seditious Conspiracy, the Smith Act, and Prosecution for Religious Speech Advocating the Violent Overthrow of Government.” St. John’s Journal of Legal Commentary 17 (winter-spring).

Curtis, Michael Kent. 1995. “Critics of ‘Free Speech’ and the Uses of the Past.” Constitutional Commentary 12 (spring).——. 1995. “The Curious History of Attempts to Suppress Antislavery Speech, Press, and Petition in 1835–37.” Northwestern University Law Review 89 (spring).

Downey, Michael P. 1998. “The Jeffersonian Myth in Supreme Court Sedition Jurisprudence.” Washington University Law Quarterly 76 (summer).

Gibson, Michael T. 1986. “The Supreme Court and Freedom of Expression from 1791 to 1917.” Fordham Law Review 55 (December).

Grinstein, Joseph. 1996. “Jihad and the Constitution: The First Amendment Implications of Combating Religiously Motivated Terrorism.” Yale Law Journal 105 (March).

Levinson, Nan. 2003. Outspoken: Free Speech Stories. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

Weintraub, Leonard. 1987. “Crime of the Century: Use of the Mail Fraud Statute Against Authors.” Boston University Law Review 67 (May).

Cross-references

Cold WarCommunismFreedom of SpeechSocialism.West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

politics,pollution,petitions,pop culture & purses

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