They don’t like the Democratic Party. That’s clear from the website of DNC Disruption08:
DNC Disruption 08 is an online clearinghouse for radical and progressive groups organizing against the Democratic National Convention.
The fact that they’re expecting riots becomes crystal clear on this page:
There is much work to be done to prepare for the DNC protests. Wherever your passion may lie, there is probably a need to be filled for it. (sic) Below are some social networking links that could be helpful. Also, check out the pages up on specific aspects to the protests. As things progress, more contacts will spring up. You can also check out the links to the right for more information on helping in specific areas such as Calls to Action or Medics. [emphasis added]
Medics? You don’t try to organize medics unless you expecting violence. All the sophistry in the world won’t change that.
… Recreate ’68, a group of activists attempting to greet this year’s Democratic National Convention with the same demands of accountability and ending the war that animated protesters in Chicago forty years ago. (sic: cf. Bulwer-Lytton)
I remember Chicago 1968. It was an ugly bloodbath that ultimately elected Richard Nixon. (One of the organizers, Tom Hayden, one of the “Chicago Eight,” was the subject of our “The Huffing Hayden Posts Tom’s Ton” on July 6, 2008.)
[Note the AK-47, preferred weapon of almost all US enemies since Korea.]
Here’s a posting from DNC Disruption 08, this week [emphasis added]:
Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente Announce Their Participation in Anti-war, Anti-human rights Abuse Events Before the DNC
August 14, 2008
… When the lineup of speakers, including Rosa and me, was announced for the events in question, I received multiple communications stating in various ways that the sender from the Green Party of Colorado, (sic) was on the verge of desperation over the matter. Within a few hours, I was reading messages stating that the Green Party of Colorado would be ruined if I participated in the End the Occupations/End the War march and rally slated to take place on the morning of August 24th on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, or if Rosa participated in a Freedom March and Rally for Human Rights and Political Prisoners at Civic Center Park the following day.
An article appeared in a local Colorado newspaper stating that Rosa and I would not appear at the events for which we had been scheduled. Rosa responded to our Colorado Green Party contact that yes, indeed, we were appearing at the two events….
Rosa and I have not been given any rational, ideological, or strategically-acceptable reason by the Green Party of Colorado to dissociate ourselves from the movement that this country so desperately needs and that these individuals and organizations participating represent, as we all attempt to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its complicity in all of the crimes of the Bush Administration. Therefore Rosa and I will keep our appointments in Denver and we hope that the members of the Green Party of Colorado will attend our sessions and listen to what we have to say. I have faith that by taking principled stands against war and occupation, human rights abuse, the prison-industrial complex, and in support of freedom for political prisoners, the Green party will emerge stronger.
Green Party Nominee for President of the United States
Green Party Nominee for Vice President of the United States
Gee. I guess disrupting ONE political party’s convention and promoting ANOTHER political party’s organization isn’t a disconnect. I’m sure that there’s a non-hypocritical explanation, somewhere. (The same press release is on the recreate68 webpage as well.)
And here is a list of their “allies,” from the front page:
[* From their "About Us" page (with a strange 1968 nostalgia):
Tent State will serve as basecamp for activists and organizations to strategize, stage, and execute actions from throughout the week. (sic) It will also house first aid tents by the Colorado Street Medics, drop off points for social media, and other tools. Check out the Schedule of Actions link.
Tent State University at the DNC is part of the Alliance for Real Democracy which includes local and national groups as diverse as United for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Indigenous Support Network, local SDS chapters, World Can't Wait, CODEPINK, and others.
If you're not expecting a bloodbath, why set up first aid and triage? Rattlesnake bites?]
In a unanimous 1919 Supreme Court decision, Schenck v. United States, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote:
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
Schenck was later limited by Brandenburg v. Ohio, which ruled that speech could only be banned when it was directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot), the test which remains until this day. Despite Schenck being limited, the phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theater” has since come to be known as synonymous with an action that the speaker believes goes beyond the rights guaranteed by free speech, reckless or malicious speech, or an action whose outcomes are blatantly obvious.
With free speech comes accountability, as we all accept in libel (written) and slander (spoken), which say, in essence, that your reputation has a tangible dollar value, and smearing that reputation falsely has legal and financial consequences. Carol Burnett, famously, won a libel case against the National Enquirer many years ago, for the reckless diarrhea of Enquirer typewriters.
Now, this could just be the cybernetic equivalent of some teenage boys spray-painting a swastika on the local synagogue and watching as the local media and various groups whip themselves into a frenzy. Or it could be on the level.
But that’s not the issue. The issue here becomes legal responsibility.
I was curious who was behind dnc disruption ‘08, and checked their WhoIs registry, which is a matter of public record. That was when the scent in Denmark turned Shakespearian. Registered through GoDaddy, it looks like this (emphasis added):
Created On:04-Jan-2008 19:11:21 UTC
Last Updated On:05-Mar-2008 03:51:06 UTC
Expiration Date:04-Jan-2010 19:11:21 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant Name:Bart Lantz
Registrant Street1:1165 Grant St. #106
Registrant Postal Code:80203
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Admin Name:Bart Lantz
Admin Street1:1165 Grant St. #106
Admin Postal Code:80203
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Tech Name:Bart Lantz
Tech Street1:1165 Grant St. #106
Tech Postal Code:80203
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX Ext.:
There’s a lot to be gleaned from the information.
First, that this idea (disrupting the Democratic National Convention in Denver) was hatched on or before the domain registration date of January 4, 2008, the day AFTER the January 3, 2008 Iowa Caucuses — perhaps significantly.
Secondly, that the registrant LIVES in Denver, Colorado, and third, that the server is parked on the Free Speech TV webservers*. (FSTV is also located in Denver, so the physical presence of the servers in Denver or Boulder is highly likely, as well.)
[* from the Free Speech TV WhoIs domain registration:
Created On:05-Oct-1998 04:00:00 UTC
Last Updated On:23-Mar-2007 21:13:10 UTC
Expiration Date:04-Oct-2015 04:00:00 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Network Solutions LLC (R63-LROR)
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Registrant Name:Public Communicators, Inc.
Registrant Organization:Public Communicators, Inc.
Registrant Street1:2945 Center Green Court South,
Which brings us to Free Speech TV, a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. Or, rather, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a 501 (c) (3) “charitable” organization. From their webpage:
Free Speech TV is a publicly-supported, independent, non-profit TV channel that is a project of Public Communicators, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization. It is available nationally, 24/7, on DISH Satellite Network. Selected programs are available on 172 community access cable stations in 35 states. Click here to see the members of the Free Speech TV Advisory Board
Free Speech TV lists its Denver address at:
Free Speech TV
P.O. Box 44099
Denver, CO 80201
But its studios are located at (according to the Yellow Pages):
Free Speech TV
2900 Welton St.
Denver, CO 80205
Here are some of the Advisory Board members listed for Free Speech TV:
Tariq Ali, Author; Jeff Cohen, Founder, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting; Barbara Ehrenreich, Author; Deepa Fernandes, Free Speech Radio News; Laura Flanders, Working Assets Radio (also AirAmerica radio); Danny Goldberg, Artemis Records (former head of AirAmerica radio);
Dee Dee Halleck, Activist; Jay Harris, Publisher, Mother Jones Magazine; Jim Hightower, Author and commentator…
Nothing rings a bell yet, until one does a little digging to find out just who “Bart Lantz” is.
My regular readers will recall that the abuse of “charitable” organizations for political purposes (e.g. the “Heritage Foundation” and “Americans for Limited Government“) is my — what they used to call in the high school newspaper — “pet peeve.”
You understand that every dollar contributed to a Section 501(c)(3) is, in practical terms, a tax dollar not collected. Meaning, in essence, that you are allowed to pay your taxes to a “charity” instead of the General Fund from whence tanks and dams and roads and regulation are funded. Charities are taxpayer-funded, in essence, since every dollar that is diverted to 501 (c)(3)s has to be made up by you and me.
Now, that works fine for the Red Cross, and the Girl Scouts (although cookies are NOT deductible), and the Tidal Wave disaster relief organizations, ALL of which are 501(c)(3) charities. But for what are at their core, POLITICAL organs?
And, widespread throughout the land, this verminous form of “political welfare” is, in essence, funded by you and me — as the Richard Mellon Scaifes hide their taxable money in “charitable” contributions that conveniently ALSO further their political ends.
Because those funds don’t go into the General Fund, we have to make up the difference. And WHY should we? If they want to play politics, there are a gazillion LEGITIMATE places to put one’s political cash without using “charities” as a tax shelter, to boot.
Which explains WHY political action by Section 501(c)(3)s is unlawful. This is what the IRS says:
The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service provides resources to exempt organizations and the public to help them understand the prohibition. As part of its examination program, the IRS also monitors whether organizations are complying with the prohibition.
Updated: April 17, 2008
That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?
Here’s the last piece of the puzzle. Who is Bart Lantz?
Er, he’s a Free Speech TV administrative employee:
Web/Computer Information Systems :
Jiah Kim: CIS/Web Co-Director
Bart Lantz: CIS/Web Co-Director
Gee. When your web co-director is the registrant of DNC Disruption ‘08, and it’s hosted on the Free Speech TV webserver, I think you’ve stepped over the line. But, could it be ANOTHER Bart Lantz? Nope. Intellius only finds one in Colorado, and a web search nails it down. From his registration at Drupal, a computer forum:
Here’s his Drupal profile:
And here’s his Friendster profile:
Anarcho-Trekkie-Fiddlers of North West Denver, Western Region Polka Appreciation Society
Hobbies and Interests:
denver public library, breakdown book collective, route finding algorithms, folk music, bikes, linux, 4 tracks, radical history
I love fiddles, especially Ole, who happens to be my fiddle. I’m also obsessed with urban gardening and bikes, red bikes mostly.
Oh and there’s one group affiliation on the page:
o Queer Radicals
o 947 Members | Public group
o Last post: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Here’s his picture, from his Friendster page:
According to information online, Bart has worked for Free Speech TV — that section 501(c)(3) “charity” — since at least 2006. He has administered (with his FSTV boss, Kyle Harris, Acquisitions Manager) the Colorado IndyMedia site, as well.
Bart Lantz — originally from Wisconsin — lives (or lived on January 4) precisely 2.0 miles from Free Speech TV studios in Denver:
So what is the scandal?
Broadcasting “DNC Disruption ‘08″ on Free Speech TV servers, registered and put together by the FSTV CIS/Web Co-Director, is the same as Free Speech TV broadcasting it on cable television.*
(* … er, did we mention that FSTV’s coverage is entitled “Crashing the Party” and adopts … er, a questionable position in the sense of actively promoting and advocating disruption of the convention?)
As the IRS webpage makes clear, FSTV’s active participation in the disruption website is IMpermissible for a “charitable” 501(c)(3):
… absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.
They are operating in opposition to the Democratic candidate, openly trying to disrupt the Democratic National Convention (while pushing the “Green” party’s candidate) and advocating what is tantamount to violent or riotous behavior.*
[* There's more on this, which I'll get to in a later posting. HW]
And there is a clear chain of responsibility. It stretches credulity to think that the other CIS/Web Co-Director would be unaware of the server’s use, unless the other Co-Director or upper management were entirely lax in “due diligence.”
So, are they falsely screaming “fire!” in a crowded theater, as per Oliver Wendell Holmes’ formulation?
That’s for you to decide, Gentle Reader.
But as to whether FSTV has violated their IRS charter, and is yelling whatever it is that they’re yelling using your tax dollars (which would have been taxes, had not the monies lawfully been diverted to “charity”), well, that’s a question that the IRS needs to decide.
What is unacceptable and unlawful behavior from the Righties like the Heritage Foundation is equally unacceptable from the Lefties at Free Speech TV. This is not a matter of political ideology, but a question of whether laws matter at all. The whole gist of this protest, ironically (and massively intertwined with the Colorado ACLU) is PROTESTING the lawlessness of the current Administration!*
[* Er ... NOT Democrats, by the by: "DNC Disruption ‘08" and their "allies" seem to be suffering from the all-time whopper of political dyslexia. Or, perhaps, merely that diffuse and overgeneralized crabbiness that has always existed at the cranky fringes of American politics, all the way back to the "Anti-Masonic Party," more commonly known in history books as the "Know Nothings."]
And “DNC Disruption ‘08″? The unbroken chain of broadcast from registration by FSTV employee to hosting the site on the FSTV web servers is crystal clear (to anyone but a lawyer, of course). If they want to engage in this activity, then DE-register as a charity, and take (non-deductible) contributions like any other political action entity. But don’t pretend to be a “charity.”*
Political welfare is the antithesis of democracy and democratic process.
[* Pay your damned taxes, in other words.]
There are limits to free speech. And there are responsibilities.
And there is lawful behavior, of which Free Speech TV has clearly stepped over the line on in this one.
There is, as the Supreme Court noted in 1919, a clear line between free speech and sedition.
I don’t have anything against either free speech or FSTV (which I get, and watch, please note). This is not, as I said, ideological. This is about “lawful.”
But, were I FSTV, I wouldn’t hold my breath about breaking laws. These days, nobody pays any attention to the quaint, outmoded concept of “law” anyway.
Just ask the inmates at the REAL ‘Gitmo.’
Hart Williams has written for newspapers from coast to coast, from the Washington Post, to the Kansas City Star, to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Free Press, the Orange County Register; the Tutuveni, the Hopi Tribal newspaper; the Santa Fe Sun and the Portland Oregonian, among others. In 2006, his blogging on the “Howard Rich” story resulted in a PBS NOW investigation into initiative-rigging across the USA.