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Mar. 28 2009 - 7:16 pm | 5 views | 1 recommendation | 13 comments

Bachmann-Hannity ‘revolution’ breaks the law

Sean Hannity at King of Prussia Mall, PA

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On Wednesday, Michele Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from east-central Minnesota, called for an “orderly” revolution in America on Sean Hannity’s widely syndicated radio program.

While I confess that I have no idea what an “orderly” revolution looks like (maybe something akin to a bloodless coup) and no concept of what Rep. Bachmann and Mr. Hannity have in mind for our new and improved government, I do think it is reasonably possible that both committed a felony.

5USC Sec. 7313 reads, in part:

Sec. 7313. Riots and civil disorders

(a) An individual convicted by any Federal, State, or local court of competent jurisdiction of –

(1) inciting a riot or civil disorder;

(2) organizing, promoting, encouraging, or participating in a riot or civil disorder;

(3) aiding or abetting any person in committing any offense specified in clause (1) or (2);

shall, if the offense for which he is convicted is a felony, be ineligible to accept or hold any position in the Government of the United States or in the government of the District of Columbia for the five years immediately following the date upon which his conviction becomes final. Any such individual holding a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia on the date his conviction becomes final shall be removed from such position.

(b) For the purposes of this section, “felony” means any offense for which imprisonment is authorized for a term exceeding one year.

Thus, if Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Hannity were found to have promoted and encouraged civil disorder, they would not only be guilty of a felony, but Ms. Bachmann would be barred from public office for a period of five years.

So far, there has been no movement towards indicting one or both of these potential offenders. I suppose the Attorney General is reluctant to make Hannity an even larger conservative hero just as he might consider it bad politics to charge a member of the House. But it must be asked, are Hannity and Bachmann too big to fall?

Had a Muslim Cleric appeared on a nationally syndicated radio program and said the very same thing, would it be so quickly dismissed? Why is it fine for this sort of thing to come out of the mouth of a member of Congress, even if she is of questionable mental stability, when the same thing would be taken very seriously when spoken by another?

And what about the radio stations who aired this remarkable conversation?

The radio airwaves, which belong to the people and are regulated by the FCC, may not be used to utter obscene or indecent language. So, while the owners of these stations can lose their license for too many bad words being uttered over the air, are we to believe that they are permitted to promote revolution against the American government without their putting their licenses in jeopardy?

I, for one, intend to find out.

The overwhelming majority of radio stations who ran this broadcast had the opportunity to review, prior to airing, Bachmann’s statements and Hannity’s participatory agreement. Yet, I have not heard of one station whom elected not to broadcast the show, despite the extraordinary comments contained in the program.

I strongly suspect that this would not be protected by the First Amendment any more than yelling fire in a crowded theater is protected.

If there are any lawyers out there who care to join me in challenging the licenses of the offending broadcasters along with the syndication company who distributes Hannity’s program, let me know.

I really don’t think that this sort of thing should  just  get a pass.


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  1. collapse expand

    A bit far reaching in your analysis. Please first check the question she was asking the Czar ( i mean Treasury Sec geinther) about constitutional power re: taking over any part of corporate America the gov’t wished to contol. I think we all need to read the Constitution and remind our Executive and Legislative Branch that the founding fathers wrote that document with LIMITED Government in mind.

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      Jay- I actually have read the constitution – many times. I wonder if Rep. Bachmann could say the same thing?
      If you read the statute provided in the article, I’m really not sure why you call this piece “far reaching”. You can certainly disagree as to whether or not the statute applies. You can certainly argue that Bachmann and Hannity are protected by the First Amendment in this instance. There are many arguments you can make – but I don’t get the “far reaching” analysis point. You might consider doing a little work to get to the right answers rather than mouthing the standard Conservative POV. You would, no doubt, learn something.
      On your second comment, if you go back a few pieces, you will see that I have, on this very site, taken Keith Olbermann to task. However, in all the years of Bush ad Cheney, I never heard Olbermann get on TV and call for a revolution. If Bachmann wants to rage against the terrible policies of the Obama administration, that’s okay with me. It’s her right as an American. However, I would hope you could see that the line that is crossed when one turns from criticizing government to calling for a revolution is not a small point.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Sorry, one mo’ thing…. where was the similar outrage over the past few years to Keith Olberman and the like calling for Bush and Cheney’s demise? I think consistency and fairness is lacking.

  3. collapse expand

    Rick, i unfortunately have not read your Olbermann column; perhaps it can be reposted. I have heard Olbermann call for Bush to be deposed-(sounds revolutionary??) he might not have used the word “revolution”; but he certainly espoused much worse things on a daily basis to incite the far left. And btw yes; i have read the Constitution many times and i really don’t appreciate your condescending, and frankly arrogant response; I don’t think that helps your argument much.

    • collapse expand

      Me being condescending and arrogant would look more like my suggesting you get your head out of your butt…which I did not do in my response. Further, I didn’t suggest that you haven’t read the Constitution, I questioned whether Rep. Bachmann had. As for suggesting you might dig in a bit – I respectfully have to hold to that one. If you take a look at the landmark Supreme Court decisions regarding government power with respect to private industry (particularly those that relate to gov’t take-over of industries during WWII),I think you will find that the questions Bachmann was asking of Geithner were ridiculous. By the way, I’m not suggesting that I am, personally, good with all the decisions government is currently making- I’m just saying that Bachmann really doesn’t know what she is talking about. Not my opinion — just the realities of the law. If you wish to read my Olberman piece, just click on my name and you can find all the articles I’ve posted. If you have a problem, let Coates Bateman know and he’ll help you through it (I do that all the time!)

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    I think you can also get to the Olbermann piece by going to:
    I hope that helps.

  5. collapse expand

    Rick, sorry its taken me so long to get back online but i was dutifully listening to Rush, Sean and Mark Levin so that I would have my proper Conservative POV talking points. I see that your “butt out of head” “crack” continues your stealth professionalism. Now to some points: as Rush was demonized a few weeks ago to no avail the liberal media needs to find a new victim- Michelle Bachmann. I totally agree that we need to get back on point that at least the question Bachmann was asking Sec. Geithner made real sense in that the path of Executive Branch power grab and abuse has begun and we need to be reminded of who has what power in this country- Constitutionally speaking. Lastly, the only hint of revolution i see in the nation right now is cloaked under the Obama mantra: “change”…..talk about a quiet revolution!!!!(we’re not going to recognize the USA very soon)

    • collapse expand

      Actually, we probably agree that the whole Rush Limbaugh thing a few weeks back was a silly diversion. I still haven’t figured out why the White House found this a useful thing to do.
      I’m curious- do your really think that what Obama has been doing is a radical “change”? Wouldn’t you agree that he’s kind of turning out to be a bit more conservative than most thought would be the case? I wonder, after all the talk that goes on back and forth, which things you find to be particularly startling changes in the direction of the country. And this is not baiting or “stealth professionalism’ (great term by the way),- I really am curious. I’ve been having this conversation the past week with some of my more conservative friends (yes! I have many, including conservatives like Bill Bennett) and I’m interested in the perspective.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    I appreciate your curiosity. Believe it or not many of my friends are; yes liberal. Regarding Obama’s agenda I do not see anything remotely moderate to conservative. I am not surprised by his politics so far in that i listened to him campaign in the primaries and researched his short public career and he is doing what he said he believed.( i was hoping for center left moderation) Just a short incomplete laundry list where i see a “radical leftist” agenda: closing gitmo, iranian videotape,chas freeman, no more “war on terror”, union card check, so called stimulus but truly a trillion dollar social agenda, his budget-cutting defense but spending our kids and grandkids into debt for the forseeable future to pay for his socialized programs, class warfare, villifying the wealthy, removing any incentive to make $, tax policy (fairness=code for redistribution), socialized medicine program, desire to Regulate everything and make the central government bigger and stronger and a general anti capitalist european socialist approach to almost everyhing. Lastly, i hope we can agree that Obama has gotten a free ride from the MSM ever since he came into the national spotlight and as Prez it has continued; albeit not as much as before he took office. One can only wonder what the Bush Deranged syndrome media would be saying if it was W carrying out the exact same policies as Obama. Double standard anyone?

  7. collapse expand

    forgot to mention i have all of Dr. Bennett’s books including his latest-they are terrific. I’m not sure about healthcare but the canadian/european model certainly doesn’t work and thats what i sense is being used as a blueprint.

    • collapse expand

      The truth of all the various health care systems is that they all work – in part- and they all no longer work in larger part because every country is suffering either from out of control costs (US, Canada, England and France) or out of control government regulation of fees that has caused physicians to close up shop and put to much stress on hospitals (Japan). I think its a pretty good bet that you don’t have to worry about a European/Canadian system taking root in the US. It will probably happen someday, but not for a very, very long time into the future. It is culturally a bad fit for the US. You would have more reason for concern in this regard had Hillary Clinton become president as she is a legitimate believer in a single-payer health care system while Obama is definitely not a believer. I think you will see, over the next few month, a willingness on the part of the private insurance companies to “step up” and clean up their act in order to avoid having to compete with a government insurance option – a competition they could never win. This is a good thing for everybody. They need to return to community rated insurance policies, make insurance available to everyone (including those with previous medical conditions) and they need to cut out the business practices that have led to 31% of every health care dollar spent in the US going to administration/overhead (including insurance companies, hospitals and physician’s offices that must bill based on 700 different contracts with different coding systems and different nomenclature.) But single-payer health care (European/Canadian) is not likely to be in the cards for this country- at least not in our lifetime.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    Rick, I did go back and read your Olbermann post- you nailed it right on.

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    I am an attorney in Southern California, and a frequent writer, speaker and consultant on health care policy and politics. To that end, I am active member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Based in beautiful Santa Monica, California, I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to be a contributing editor to True/Slant. I've recently finished a book designed to make the health care debate understandable to the average reader, and expect it to be out in the next five months or earlier. In my 'spare time', I continue to write for television and, occasionally, for comic books.

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