The President Barack Obama’s feelings are hurt.
For most of his time in the White House, Obama has been critical of information about him and his administration posted on the Internet. He’s frequently denigrated bloggers and Internet conservative news & commentary web sites for their efforts to cover stories the so-called mainstream news media refuse to cover, according to critics of his plans to control the “Information Highway.”
This is precisely the kind of speech that Obama and his unelected czars and wannabe censors wish to monitor, judge, squelch, punish, crush, and eradicate. Permanently. Napoleon shared the same touchiness: “I fear the newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets.” And those newspapers, together with the bayonet thrusts of bloggers, conservative (and non-conservative) news and commentary websites, have needled Obama and his staff and advisors beyond endurance. Any words critical of Obama or the government have been regarded as the equivalent of blasphemy, slander, libel, and the subverting the “community harmony” of the nation.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Obama, when asked about his media nemesis Fox News, remarked:
(Laugh) Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition – it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”
Obama may have sworn to uphold the Constitution, but in his realm of pragmatism, words are cheap, their meanings are negotiable. As one blogger noted about his position on the Second Amendment, “Obama’s position on the 2nd Amendment has one more side than a polygon.” He has done everything in his power to usurp the Constitution. A free press – or freedom of speech – is not a “tradition,” but a right founded on the nature of man and the political requirements to preserve his freedom, one of which is property. What “golden age of an objective press” was he referring to, and what would he define as an “objective press”? The mainstream media that helped get him elected?
He called Fox News “wildly successful,” but what did he mean by that? As virtually the only television news outlet that has consistently criticized Obama and promoted his critics, it has been “wildly successful” in alerting the public to his and Congress’s machinations. He was not paying Fox News a compliment. Fox News’ freedom of speech is “ultimately destructive.” Destructive of what? His socialist agenda? What has Fox News’s position to do with a “vibrant middle class,” “long-term growth,” and being “competitive in the world”? These are non sequiturs issues picked out of the air to fill space. Behind his laughter was a suppressed growl.
Even a “temporary” or “emergency” lock-up of this kind of speech is intolerable. Under a statist regime, “temporary” means permanently. The regime also decrees what is an “emergency.” Nazi Germany existed in a state of permanent emergency, from the day Hitler came to power in 1933 to its collapse in 1945. Obama and his allies in government are pining for a Nazi-style “Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda” that would filter, interpret, suppress, and outlaw news and information they deem harmful to and critical of the government’s policies, powers, and actions.
The Obama administration, at first defensive of its powers, policies and actions, has conducted an offensive against any and all who question the motive and wisdom of that administration.
Obama’s administration is definably statist. What is statism? Encarta’s World English Dictionary, offers the best “mainstream” definition:
the theory, or its practice, that economic and political power should be controlled by a central government leaving regional government and the individual with relatively little say in political matters
That definition fits the Obama administration like a glove, a glove that fits neatly over the mailed fist clenched behind the back of every one of his appointees (remaining or departed).
The definition, however, omits or neglects the fundamental philosophical foundation of statism. Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand delves beneath the obvious description to the roots.
The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.
Statism—in fact and in principle—is nothing more than gang rule. A dictatorship is a gang devoted to looting the effort of the productive citizens of its own country.
De facto censorship or semi-regulated speech, not overtly controlled by the government, but ominous and damaging all the same, has crept into the culture. Submission to the wishes of Islamic activists not to reproduce pictures of Mohammad, or to criticize Islam at all, is a recent example of self-censorship. It also takes the form of self-suppression and compliance as a result of a threat from a non-governmental agency, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which recently “persuaded” the ice cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s, to remove its description “all natural” from its product line. (I am no fan of Ben & Jerry’s, which, before it was acquired by Unilever, was a regular donor of its profits to virtually every left-wing and environmentalist group in the country; compliance with the complaint was in the way of just desserts and a consequence of its support for one of its destroyers.)
The CSPI, based in Washington, said the government should define the term.”The Food and Drug Administration could do consumers and food manufacturers a great service by actually defining when the word ‘natural’ can and cannot be used to characterize a given ingredient,” CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a statement.
So, the CSPI wishes the FDA to define terms. Well, let us see how the censors and their patrons do not think about the phrase “all natural.” Ice cream is not “natural,” that is, it is man-made and not found in “nature.” But why are man-made entities excluded from “nature” or barred from being deemed “natural”? If it exists, it is indeed “natural,” or of nature, even though it is manufactured. Ice cream must be made from things that exist and rearranged by man. So, ice cream can truly and literally be said to be “all natural,” including the additives and ingredients cited by the CSPI. The phrase all natural is, therefore, an oxymoron.
But in this instance the term “all natural” is not being employed by the “pure food and drug” police as a scientific term. It is used exclusively as a political weapon and a brandished club to compel compliance with the whims of the CSPI.
Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is disliked by tyrants. It is disliked by Obama and his cohorts in the administration and Congress Why? Because it facilitates communication between those who practice it and those who audit it, Because by allowing those who have an opinion or point of view to express it to those who are receptive to it, it may lead to action that could checkmate or obviate fiat power and the ongoing violation of individual rights. Because it exposes tyrants and their lies and machinations and power-lusting ambitions. Because it is a vehicle of the truth. Because it is a source of knowledge. Because its guarantee of unregulated, uncontrolled, unsuppressed knowledge can precipitate trouble for tyrants.
It is this freedom of speech which has led to the Tea Party and to the wide dissatisfaction of Americans with Obama and Congress, and to the likely defeat of the Democrats in the coming midterm elections, a defeat virtually ensured by the authoritarian legislation passed by Congress and advocated and encouraged by Obama. The dumbing-down of Americans in public education has not been entirely successful; there are still enough Americans left who possess a sense of imperiled and outraged self and a focused concern that is reflected in the polls and in anti-government rhetoric and on numerous websites dedicated to broadcasting the truth.
One of the most recent and insidious means of de facto censorship is what is called “libel tourism,” an action taken by a foreign national to suppress criticism of him in this country by ruinous litigation.
The story of the SPEECH Act starts with Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, the director of the American Center for Democracy, who bravely stood up to a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz whom she accused of financing terrorist groups in her book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop It. Mahfouz, who died of a heart attack on August 16, 2009, targeted Ehrenfeld with a lawsuit as he had done to other authors accusing him of having ties to terrorism. Taking advantage of the United Kingdom’s libel laws that force the defendant to prove their accusations in court, Mahfouz sued 45 publishers and journalists and all settled, except for Dr. Ehrenfeld.
Following a law passed by New York State that did not recognize the jurisdiction of foreign libel laws in that state, Congress passed its own version of the law.
On August 10, a major victory for freedom of speech was achieved. President Obama signed the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) into law, stopping Americans from being sued for libel by individuals in other countries with inadequate First Amendment rights. The legislation is a defeat for those who would seek to silence Americans speaking out against radical Islam by threatening to bankrupt them with costly lawsuits.
Given Obama’s “outreach” efforts to the Islamic world, together with his refusal to take anything but a Pollyannaish perspective on Islam’s religious ideology, a perspective which denies its perils – one of them the brutal silencing of any and all criticism of Islam – he must have signed that law with gnashing teeth and a hurried flair of his pen. He could not very well have not signed it, because it passed Congress unanimously.
Glib speakers like President Barack Obama can be boring or enervating, but nevertheless dangerous. His tenure in the White House has allowed him to not only reveal his core, anti-freedom, anti-liberty, anti-American premises, but those of his allies in and out of government. They have become emboldened in their designs to establish their own satrapies of power, power that would comport with his own and answerable to him.
Proposed cybersecurity legislation circulating on Capitol Hill would give the president the power to declare an emergency in the case of big online attacks and force some businesses to beef up their cyber defenses and submit to scrutiny. The draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, allows the president to declare an emergency if there is an imminent threat to the U.S. electrical grid or other critical infrastructure such as the water supply or financial network because of a cyber attack.
What is proposed in the bill is de facto nationalization of businesses deemed by the government to be “critical.” This is a signature sign of fascism.
Steve DelBianco, director of the trade group NetChoice, whose members include Yahoo, eBay and News Corp., objected to a part of the bill that would bar companies designated as “critical” from fighting that designation in court. “That has to be amended to make this bill fair to the businesses who will pay for it,” he said. The draft tries to calm fears the government is reaching too far into business operations by requiring specific designations for which parts of a company or industry might be considered “critical infrastructure.”
Obama’s statements indicate not so superfluous a revelation as his “mindset” as a compulsive, ideological predisposition to control what is said about him and his policies and what he wishes not to be said about him and his policies. His statements about freedom of speech
Government controlled media and speech are not free media and free speech. Government controlled news is not news but falsehoods, half-truths disguising lies, and fairy tales spun for the gullible and the ignorant.
Fortunately, if only temporarily, Obama and his gang know that the jig is up, insofar as the midterm elections are concerned. Seeing the signs of an uncompromising rejection of the administration’s policies (at least by the American people, but not by the Republicans), many of his key advisors and appointees are jumping the Titanic before they are sucked into the vortex of ignominious defeat. Obama’s once highly-charged public performances are now insouciant to the point of boredom. His papered halls fool no one, not even him.
Yet, he will have two more years left in his term. He is still a danger to contend with. He will try to abridge the First Amendment under the guise of the “public interest.” His pronouncements on the Constitution are directly pronouncements on property rights, on which is dependent freedom of speech. As long ago as 2001, he claimed.
But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution….
He was wrong about that, because the Court has often decided to redistribute wealth, but that is another issue. The key issue here is that he knows that “redistributed wealth” also means redistributed privileges of speech. And if one has no influence or pull in the government, then chances are one will not be allowed to speak.
A position such as he articulated in 2001 and has repeated since then constitutes malice aforethought. He knows what he is doing. Americans should be advised to say so as vigorously and often as they can.