By: Nate Beeler
By Mark Hyman
Popular speech and political dissent have proved troublesome to President Barack Obama since the very beginning of his term in office. The Obama Administration began waging war on the minority of media outlets that did not worship at his altar immediately after he was sworn in. Just three days into his presidency Obama warned Congressional Republicans against listening to radio host Rush Limbaugh.
In April, Obama responded to a sycophantic question from CBS news anchor Harry Smith by falsely claiming Limbaugh and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck labeled Obama a “Nazi.” Obama responded by identifying as “troublesome” “this kind of vitriol.”
During the intervening 15 months, White House officials attempted to marginalize balanced news outlets such as the Fox News Channel by enlisting the support of the heretofore compliant news media. Fortunately, competing news outlets found the backbone — if only temporarily — to put the kibosh on Obama’s attempts to blacklist FNC from the White House press pool.
These heavy-handed actions, as well as worries about the Obama Administration reinstituting the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” for talk radio are small time when one considers what the government is capable of accomplishing if a handful of current proposals are enacted.
First is the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan. There is an overabundance of big government programs contained in the plan for Americans to dislike. These range from having taxpayers fund broadband as a universal service to developing a process by which outside entities — including the government — can monitor how Americans use energy at home, just to name a few.
The NBP also proposes the FCC recapture nearly half of the radio spectrum used by today’s 1,600 broadcast TV stations — involuntarily, if need be — and designate it for broadband services. The FCC identifies the swath of spectrum that is ideal for the latest wireless services as that which falls between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.
TV broadcasters occupy only five per cent of that spectrum with other actors — including the government — sitting on much larger chunks of spectrum, some of which lies fallow. Even Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, whose company would likely be the single biggest beneficiary of the National Broadband Plan, found the FCC’s “looming spectrum shortage” claims to not be credible.
“I don’t think the FCC should tinker with this,” Seidenberg told the Council on Foreign Relations in April. “I don’t think we’ll have a spectrum shortage the way [the National Broadband Plan] suggests we will.”
So why target broadcast spectrum?
The answer may lie in remarks made by confidantes to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. First, a few introductions are in order.
Fifteen years ago, Genachowski was senior policy advisor to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Hundt’s chief of staff at the time was Blair Levin. Now, flash forward. Hundt served as a senior member of the Obama transition team and he is in close communication with Genachowski. Levin chaired the NBP task force that reported to Genachowski. Small world, eh?
Speaking before a Columbia University audience in March, Hundt discussed the intent of the NBP. He informed his audience that the goal to disenfranchise — if not completely end — broadcasting was crafted during his FCC days. “This is a little naughty,” he offered as an example. “We delayed the transition to HDTV [high definition television] and fought a big battle against the whole idea.”
The drive to move news and information away from broadcast and similar platforms to broadband would change the paradigm of how content is created he explained. “[P]eople will be permitted to create audiences that demand content instead of waiting for content to pull them together to shape an audience [emphasis added].” Hundt did not elaborate on his remarks. However, he did admit that the NBP is a stark departure from the current way of delivering news and information.
“It has actually been an essential characteristic of the media in the United States that we have never had a plan [for communications and the media]. And we have felt that was in the nature of our democracy and our capitalism to not have a plan. It’s kind of interesting to think that we now we’re imitating China,” he observed.
Then in December 2009, Genachowski appointed Duke University law Professor Stuart Benjamin to his staff. Benjamin let on that his duties include advising Genachowski on radio spectrum use and First Amendment matters.
Benjamin has written many papers that include proposals to end broadcasting. In a 2009 paper he wrote, “Some [FCC] regulations that would be undesirable on their own will be desirable once we factor in the degree to which they will hasten the demise of over-the-air broadcasting.” Given his very influential position at the FCC, this is like the school principal trying to kill off all of the students.
Still, would moving all news, information and entertainment to the Internet be such a bad thing? It seems so. In prepared remarks before a February audience, Lawrence Strickling argued that the days of a “hands off” approach by the government toward the Internet are over. As the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Strickling is the principal advisor to the president on telecommunications and information policy.
“We need Internet Policy 3.0,” he argued, “… [because] we rely on the Internet for essential social purposes: health, energy, efficiency and education.” He added, “There [should] be rules or laws created to protect our interests.” Strickling was advocating for more than just the Obama administration’s proposed “net neutrality” rules for the Internet. He argues for government intervention to regulate content on the Internet.
Fortunately, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stymied — at least temporarily — the FCC from imposing the Fairness Doctrine on the Internet when it struck down the FCC’s “net neutrality” tactics in the Comcast-BitTorrent case.
In response, the FCC is considering reclassifying the Internet by moving it from the lightly regulated Title I to the heavily regulated Title II section of the federal statute that governs the FCC’s activities. Title I prohibits the FCC from exercising considerable regulatory authority over information systems. In contrast, industries such as telephony that fall under Title II can be abused like a rented mule. And they are. Subjecting the Internet to the harsh regulatory environment of Title II is deeply disturbing. Only China would applaud the move.
There is still more trouble on the horizon in the form of a bill introduced by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe last year. The innocuous sounding “Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773)” is anything but innocuous.
There are several alarming provisions including a call to study “the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program.” In other words, a national digital ID program. There is also a requirement that certain information technology professionals be licensed by the federal government.
There are relatively few professions that require individuals to be licensed by the feds. So why license IT professionals? The cynic would argue that the easiest way to control the Internet is to control the IT personnel who manage the Internet.
Even more troublesome is the provision allowing the president to designate “nongovernmental information systems and networks” as “critical infrastructure systems and networks.” The president would have authority to disconnect these private systems “in the interest of national security.” Further, the president could “order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic” during an undefined “cybersecurity emergency.”
It would be much easier for a president to shut down the Internet than to turn-off 1,600 individual television transmitters and whose content is much more cumbersome to monitor.
For good measure S.773 allows the Commerce Secretary to “have access to all relevant data concerning [government and private] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.” Subpoenas, warrants, or court orders would be unnecessary if Uncle Sam wanted to peek at private IT system data.
All of the foregoing is enough to make one’s head spin. But the Obamunists are not through. In addition to its National Broadband Plan and “net neutrality” pronouncements, the FCC has dived headlong into another topic: manipulating news and information.
The Commission launched its “Future of the Media” effort earlier this year that falls not only well-outside its statutory charter, but happens to fall squarely inside Constitutional prohibitions firmly ensconced in the First Amendment. According to an FCC Public Notice, the project “will produce a report providing a clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape, analyze policy options and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties.”
The Commission proposes to examine subject areas in which it has zero expertise including “business models and financial trends,” “journalism,” “[business] debt levels,” “news staffing,” and even the “newspapers and magazines” industry.
The project will also examine the roles and impact of schools and libraries, voter turnout, gaming systems, social media, “development of social capital,” and numerous other matters in which the FCC has absolutely no authority to snoop.
A former Newsweek reporter and current Senior Advisor to the FCC Chairman, Steve Waldman, is heading up the “Future of Media” project. He struggled to convince an audience at the National Press Club in April that the U.S. Post Office established the precedent of the government playing a major role in media. Waldman’s post office argument identically matches that of Mark Lloyd, the FCC’s Chief Diversity Officer and former fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress. Prior to CAP, Lloyd ran a fringe media advocacy organization funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
In his 2006 book Prologue to a Farce Lloyd wrote, “[M]y focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration.” He also argued, “the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.” Lloyd finds the First Amendment an obstacle to what he believes are greater social goals that can be achieved only through government action. This attitude may explain why Lloyd has been an ardent cheerleader for Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.
Two years ago, Lloyd stated, “In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution — a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.” Lloyd also commented that when independent media outlets criticized Chavez’s policies, the Venezuelan dictator “began to take very seriously the media in his country.” Lloyd’s comments came in the middle of Chavez’s two-year run of closing down nearly every single privately-owned media outlet in Venezuela, thereby ending all criticism of the government.
Posted by Rich Trzupek
We hear a lot about the tea party movement’s supposed potential to inspire violence an awful lot from the left and their allies in the lamestream media. It’s a predictable response to a powerful grass-roots movement that they aren’t capable of understanding: crank up the fear machine boys! If bogus charges of racism won’t stick and if the tea parties themselves are peaceful – if passionate – protests, then you have to find some theme with which to frighten independent middle-America away from a movement to which they would otherwise instinctively sympathize with.
To wit: OK, maybe the tea-partiers themselves aren’t violent, but by expressing their anger with regard to big government, they will surely inspire some fringe nut-job to violence!
Bill Clinton, in his recent New York Times Op-Ed said that it’s fair to draw “…parallels to the time running up to Oklahoma City and a lot of the political discord that exists in our country today.” ABC News dutifully picked up on the theme:
“Watch your words,” warned ABC News, reporting that Clinton “weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies.”
Got all that? Millions of Americans can band together to peacefully protest the incursions of swelling bureaucracies into their private lives and their government’s assumption of crippling debt, but they’re – by definition – dangerous, because they might inspire some lunatic into an act of violence. If that’s truly the issue, why doesn’t the MSM apply the same standard when it comes to another wildly-popular movement that, despite the fact that the vast majority of its adherents are peaceful activists, inspires violence not in theory, but in fact?
I refer, of course, to the environmental movement, which has inspired lunatic, fringe organizations and deluded individuals to commit acts of violence that have resulted in the destruction of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of personal property and threatens innocent workers with injury or death unless they toe the green line.
Let’s begin with the words of a couple of “mainstream” environmental organizations and apply the “tea party test” to their words. Greenpeace first:
Today, we have grown from a small group of dedicated activists to an international organization with offices in more than 30 countries. But our spirit and our mission remain the same. Our fight to save the planet has grown more serious – the threat of global warming, destruction of ancient forests, deterioration of our oceans, and the threat of a nuclear disaster loom large.
Then there’s the Natural Resources Defense Council:
Devastating heat waves sweeping across continents. Poisonous plants producing more potent toxins. Air quality plummeting on summer days. Disease-carrying insects swarming mountain villages. These scenarios aren’t the recipe for a summer disaster movie. They’re some of the widespread health consequences caused by global warming.
If these organizations believe that the supposed threat to the well-being of our entire planet “has grown more serious” and that “a summer disaster movie” don’t begin to cover the danger, is it any surprise that fringe organizations like the Earth Liberation Front would take the green cause to the next level? From the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office’s website:
The earth is not dying, it is being killed. And those that are killing it have names and addresses. What are you doing tonight?
Had a tea-partier or an anti-abortion group published an equivalently ominous message, can you imagine the righteous outrage such a statement would generate among the MSM? How would Keith Olbermann or the Times have reacted if some loony had said: “Your liberties have not been misplaced, they are being stolen. And those that are stealing them have names and addresses. What are you doing tonight?” The left and the MSM would sound the alarm bell and they would be correct in doing so.
I cannot help but wonder: why is supposedly inflammatory rhetoric from the right that doesn’t generate actual violence among fringe elements on our side defined as dangerous, while inflammatory environmental rhetoric from the left that results in documented acts of fringe violence gets a free pass?
I’m not claiming that Greenpeace, NRDC, the Sierra Club, et al support, or even sympathize with, violent eco-terrorist groups, but ELF, the Animal Liberation Front, Earth First and all the rest would have no reason to exist but for the hysterical rhetoric that mainstream environmental groups spew forth on a daily basis. If the tea-partiers are supposed to prospectively take ownership of “anti-government” violence that hasn’t actually occurred, why shouldn’t the green movement be held accountable for the hundreds of documented cases of eco-terrorism, millions of dollars worth of destruction and injuries that have happened in the real world?
If one wasn’t so certain that liberals and journalists in the MSM are motivated by only the noblest of intentions, one might suspect the existence of some sort of double-standard. Ah, but what do I know? I’m just a crabby old conservative.
Gordon Brown called Gillian Duffy a “bigot,” then got into his limo and drove away. Remind you of anybody?
As I write, I have my papers on me — and not just because I’m in Arizona. I’m an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law-enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.
Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?
Er, well, that would be Franklin Roosevelt.
But don’t let the fine print of the New Deal prevent you from going into full-scale meltdown. “Boycott Arizona-stan!” urges MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, surely a trifle Islamophobically. What has some blameless Central Asian basket case done to deserve being compared to a hellhole like Phoenix?
Boycott Arizona Iced Tea, jests Travis Nichols of Chicago. It is “the drink of fascists.” Just as regular tea is the drink of racists, according to Newsweek’s in-depth and apparently non-satirical poll analysis of anti-Obama protests. At San Francisco’s City Hall, where bottled water is banned as the drink of climate denialists, Mayor Gavin Newsom is boycotting for real: All official visits to Arizona have been canceled indefinitely. You couldn’t get sanctions like these imposed at the U.N. Security Council, but then, unlike Arizona, Iran is not a universally reviled pariah.
Will a full-scale economic embargo devastate the Copper State? Who knows? It’s not clear to me what San Francisco imports from Arizona. Chaps? But, at any rate, like the bottled-water ban, it sends a strong signal that this kind of hate will not be tolerated.
The same day that Mayor Newsom took his bold stand, I saw a phalanx of police officers doing the full Robocop — black body armor, helmets, and visors — as they marched down the street. Goosestepping? No, it’s actually quite hard to goosestep in those steel-reinforced kneepads. So just regular marching. Naturally, I assumed they were Arizona state troopers performing a routine traffic stop. In fact, they were the police department of Quincy, Ill., facing down a group of genial tea-party grandmas in sun hats and American-flag T-shirts. They were acting at the behest of President Obama’s Secret Service, who rightly recognized a polite knot of citizens singing “God Bless America” as a clear and present danger to the republic.
If I were a member of the Quincy PD, I’d wear a full-face visor, too, because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror. It’s a tough job making yourself a paramilitary laughingstock.
And yet the coastal frothers denouncing Arizona as the Third Reich or, at best, apartheid South Africa seem entirely relaxed about the ludicrous and embarrassing sight of peaceful protesters being menaced by camp stormtroopers from either a dinner-theater space-opera or uniforms night at Mayor Newsom’s reelection campaign.
Meanwhile, in Britain, a flailing Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on the stump in northern England and met an actual voter, one Gillian Duffy. Alas, she made the mistake of expressing very mild misgivings about immigration. And not the black, brown, and yellow kind, but only the faintly swarthy Balkan blokes from Eastern Europe. And actually, all she said about immigrants was that “you can’t say anything about the immigrants.” The prime minister brushed it aside blandly, made some chit-chat about her grandkids, and got back in his limo, forgetting that he was still miked. “That was a disaster,” he sighed. “Should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that . . . ? She’s just this sort of bigoted woman.”
After the broadcast of his “gaffe,” and the sight of Brown slumped with his head in his hands as a radio interviewer replayed the remarks to him, the prime minister found himself going round to Gillian Duffy’s home to abase himself before her. Most of the initial commentary focused on what the incident revealed about Gordon Brown’s character. But the larger point is what it says about the governing elites and their own voters. Mrs. Duffy is a lifelong supporter of Mr. Brown’s Labour party, but she represents the old working class the party no longer has much time for. Travis Nichols may be joking about “the drink of fascists,” but, in the same way as Gavin Newsom and Keith Olbermann, Gordon Brown genuinely believes Gillian Duffy has drunk deeply from the drink of bigots for so much as raising the subject of immigration. How dare she! Ungrateful bigot!
Gillian Duffy lives in the world Gordon Brown has created. He, on the other hand, gets into his chauffeured limo and is whisked far away from it.
That’s Arizona. To the coastal commentariat, “undocumented immigrants” are the people who mow your lawn while you’re at work and clean your office while you’re at home. (That, for the benefit of Linda Greenhouse, is the real apartheid: the acceptance of a permanent “undocumented” servant class by far too many “documented” Americans who assuage their guilt by pathetic sentimentalization of immigration.) But in border states, illegal immigration is life and death. I spoke this week to a lady who has a camp of illegals on the edge of her land: She lies awake at night, fearful for her children and alert to strange noises in the yard. President Obama, shooting from his lip, attacked the new law as an offense against “fairness.” Where’s the fairness for this woman’s family? Because her home is in Arizona rather than Hyde Park, Chicago, she’s just supposed to get used to living under siege? Like Gillian Duffy in northern England, this lady has to live there, while the political class that created this situation climbs back into the limo and gets driven far away.
Almost every claim made for the benefits of mass immigration is false. Europeans were told that they needed immigrants to help prop up their otherwise unaffordable social entitlements: In reality, Turks in Germany have three times the rate of welfare dependency as ethnic Germans, and their average retirement age is 50. Two-thirds of French imams are on the dole.
But wait: What about the broader economic benefits? The World Bank calculated that if rich countries increased their workforce by a mere 3 percent through admitting an extra 14 million people from developing countries, it would benefit the populations of those rich countries by $139 billion. Wow!
As Christopher Caldwell points out in his book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, “The aggregate gross domestic product of the advanced economies for the year 2008 is estimated by the International Monetary Fund at close to $40 trillion.” So an extra $139 billion works out to a spectacular 0.35 percent. Caldwell compares the World Bank argument to Austin Powers’s nemesis, Dr. Evil, holding the world hostage for one million dollars! “Sacrificing 0.0035 of your economy would be a pittance to pay for starting to get your country back.” A dependence on mass immigration is not a gold-mine or an opportunity to flaunt your multicultural bona fides, but a structural weakness, and should be addressed as such.
The majority of Arizona’s schoolchildren are already Hispanic. So, even if you sealed the border today, the state’s future is as a Hispanic society; that’s a given. Maybe it’ll all work out swell. The citizenry never voted for it, but they got it anyway. Because all the smart guys in the limos bemoaning the bigots knew what was best for them.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.
MYFOXNY.COM – New York City’s police commissioner says there’s no evidence of a Taliban link to a failed bomb found in an SUV parked in Times Square but said he couldn’t rule them out.
On Sunday, Fox 5 reported on a Reuters story that the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bomb plot.
According to Fox News, in a 1 minute video allegedly released by the Pakistani Taliban, the group says the attack is revenge for the death of its leader Baitullah Mehsud and the recent killings of the top leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Images of the slain militants are shown as an unidentified voice recites the message. English subtitles are at the bottom of the screen.
According to the AP, an unidentified speaker on the tape also says the attack comes in response to American “interference and terrorism in Muslim Countries, especially in Pakistan.”
The claim could not be immediately confirmed andhe tape makes no specific reference to the attack nor does it mention that it was a car bomb or that it took place in New York City.
A text in gold letters on a black background at the start of the video congratulates Muslims for the “jaw-breaking blow to Satan’s USA.” As the speaker recites the message, images of the slain militants referred to flash across the screen. English subtitles are provided at the bottom of the screen.
The video was uncovered Sunday by SITE, which monitors militant websites and has been accurate with such militant claims in the past.
The Pakistani Taliban is one of Pakistan’s largest and deadliest militant groups. It has strong links to al-Qaida and is based in the northwest close to the Afghan border. The group has carried out scores of bloody attacks inside Pakistan in recent years, mostly against Pakistani targets, but it has made no secret of its hatred toward the United States.
The investigation into the Times Square bomb plot is ongoing. Mayor Bloomberg called the improvised device “amateurish”.
According to the New York Times, a 911 call on Sunday morning warned that the bomb plot was merely a diversion for a much bigger explosion that is set to happen at Times Square.
More information on these developments throughout Sunday. The FBI released the following statement:
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, along with the NYPD, has responded to Times Square in response to the vehicle and device. Bomb technicians, Evidence Response Team members, and investigators are on scene and a command post has been established. All of the resources of the New York FBI office are available to assist with this ongoing investigation. Numerous initial reports will be checked and authenticated and the appropriate leads will be set.
President Obama said Saturday he’s troubled by the angry rhetoric of those who are trying to make the case that government is “inherently bad.”
He told graduates
at the University of Michigan that people who take that line of attack seem to forget that in a democracy, “government is us.”
Obama also said in his commencement speech that members of the class of 2010 should seek out and listen to opposing views on the issues of the day.
His advice: If you’re a regular Glenn Beck listener, then check out the Huffington Post sometimes. If you read The New York Times editorial page the morning, then glance every now and then at The Wall Street Journal.
He said that may “make your blood boil,” but it’s an essential part of being an effective and informed citizen.
At the same time, 45 miles away, Sarah Palin was set to denounce the president as a big-government Democrat whose free-spending ways will bankrupt the country.
Click here for more on this subject in our LiveShots blog.
The former Republican vice presidential hopeful was the headliner at a Clarkston, Michigan, forum hosted by the anti-tax Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Officials expected more than 1,000 to attend.
Palin’s been on a nationwide speaking tour as she considers a 2012 White House bid and promotes her book.
Obama’s road show was playing at a larger venue — Michigan Stadium, which can seat 106,201. People began poring into the stadium after a morning rain made for a damp wait to go through security.
Among those in attendance was Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who’s on Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
Michigan, which was a key battleground in 2008, is likely to reprise the role in both the fall congressional campaign and Obama’s expected re-election bid.
A big reason is the economy. Michigan has the nation’s highest unemployment rate — 14.1 percent — and an angry electorate to match.
The speech was part of what was shaping up as a busy weekend for the president. He planned to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner Saturday evening near the White House and was expected to visit the Gulf Coast soon for a firsthand update on the oil spill.
In the Republican’s weekly radio and Internet address, Rep. Pete Hoekstra said Obama’s visit presents an opportunity “to show the president, firsthand, the painful plight of the people of Michigan.”
Many of the graduates Obama addressed will soon learn how tough it is to find a job in this economy, the Michigan congressman said, adding that the share of young Americans out of work is the highest it’s been in more than 50 years.
Obama’s speech was the first of four he planned this commencement season.
On May 9, he’ll speak at Hampton University, a historically black college in Hampton, Va., founded in 1868 on the grounds of a former plantation.
He’s also addressing Army cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, on May 22, continuing a tradition of presidents addressing graduates at the service academies. He announced his Afghanistan troop surge at West Post last December.
Also this year, for the first time, Obama plans a high school commencement. It’s part of his “Race to the Top” education initiative, with its goal of boosting the United States’ lagging graduation rate to the world’s best by 2020.
High schools across the country have competed for the honor, submitting essays and videos. A vote on the White House website yielded three finalists, and Obama will choose among them next week.