By Bob Livingston • Mar 23rd, 2009 • Category: Bob Livingston, Freedom Concerns, Personal Liberty Articles
"I am… for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents."
This statement by founding father and President Thomas Jefferson echoes the sentiment of our nation’s founders. And freedom of the press and of speech is guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, precisely to give citizens a venue to oppose the agents of a government with which they disagree.
But those agents of the government are hard at work chipping away at this freedom. To wit:
- An Oklahoma City police officer stopped Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign on Harrison’s vehicle that read, “Abort Obama, not the unborn.” A police captain later apologized and returned the sign to Harrison, but before Harrison got home he received a call from Secret Service agents who were at his home requesting to search it. Harrison complied, and after a search and an interview that lasted about 30 minutes, the agents left.
- Numerous congressmen are calling for re-institution of the “Fairness Doctrine”, a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, in an effort to stifle talk radio pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz and Sean Hannity.
- During the presidential campaign President Barack Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer warned TV stations against airing a TV ad that was embarrassing to Barack Obama. The commercial focused on the longtime relationship between Obama and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer sent letters to the Justice Department imploring the agency to pursue criminal action against those behind the ads.
- The Obama campaign also sent out an email encouraging his supporters to protest and harass Chicago radio station WGN by flooding the station with angry phone calls and emails. Activists screamed insults to call-in screeners. Why? The station had the temerity to interview Ethics and Public Policy Center watchdog Stanley Kurtz, who had uncovered university records that documented a much closer relationship between Obama and Ayers than the presidential candidate had previously disclosed.
- After Joe “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher achieved fame for his innocuous question that prompted Obama to admit he wanted “to spread the wealth around”, his tax records, voter registration, marital history and professional licensing records were searched and media members tried to slime him.
- Obama supporters in Missouri, who happened to be law enforcement officers, responded to an Obama campaign request that they form a truth squad. They threatened to prosecute anyone, including media outlets, that printed or broadcasted material they deemed to be inaccurate about Obama.
- Obama contributors in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights section (headed by $2,000 Obama donor and former ACLU attorney Mark Kappelhof) urged preemptive prosecution of individuals the Obama campaign believed might disrupt the November election. A cited example of anticipated disruption was to send mailings of a non-violent nature addressing voting issues unfavorable to Obama.
- In the final days of the campaign, three newspapers that had endorsed McCain were booted from the Obama campaign bus. The New York Post, Dallas Morning News and Washington Times were removed, according to Obama campaign officials, to make room for more important media outlets: Jet and Ebony entertainment magazines.
- An Iowa state trooper was suspended after forwarding an email showing mug shots of people wearing Obama t-shirts. Sgt. Rodney Hicok was at home and off-duty when he forwarded the emails which made disparaging remarks about 15 people in the photos and referred to Obama as having “quite a fan base.”
These are just a few of many such examples of a strong-armed government working to silence the dissenters. Unfortunately, much of the fawning mass media seem blind to the consequences.
A look at history, however, will reveal that stifling dissent is among the first steps toward a socialist government.
In Germany, on Feb. 27, 1933, after the burning of the Reichstag, Hitler issued an emergency declaration that stated, "Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed." There followed a roundup of dissenters who were imprisoned and murdered.
A look at current socialist/communist regimes such as Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China and North Korea reveals there is no dissent allowed, in the media or otherwise. Dissenters are imprisoned, gunned down or simply disappear. Even in Russia, now a quasi-democracy, press freedoms have been greatly curtailed.
This is where our once-great country is headed, and it seems the First Amendment no longer matters.