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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Speech’

I’m glad that the U.S. Supreme Court has come out so strongly in favor of the freedom of speech, because it is through this freedom of speech that I am able to question the motives and the integrity of the justices who recently ruled that Corporations are allowed to freely express their views in political contests. It is already well known that our Congress sold its soul long ago to these corporations, and that money, offered via lobbyists, fills the pockets of out elected representatives and senators. This money is used to buy laws that favor certain corporations. It’s the way our capitalist system works. One can only wonder whether corporate money is now finding its way to the Supreme Court.  Perhaps it is time for an investigation – but not a Congressional investigation, of course.  That would be like asking thieves to judge whether other people who were accused of thievery were guilty or not. You could never trust the result.

So what’s wrong with corporations expressing their views?  Well, for one thing, they don’t have a brain or a mouth. Corporations are business entities. They have no physical existence.  They are a business concept, an artifact of language that is used inexactly.  Now, there are people who are involved with corporations, people who own corporations, people who invest in corporations, people who make profit from corporations.  OK.  So maybe the Supreme Court is saying that these people have freedom of speech – but we already know that. They do have freedom of speech and they are welcome to use it. So what is wrong with giving freedom of speech to corporations?  It’s because of the money.

A lot of these rich capitalists who own or direct corporations are also very stingy people. They are not about to use millions of dollars of their own money to make a commercial or a film about some politician they don’t like or about some issue they favor.  However, if they can use the corporation’s money, i.e. the money that has been invested by the stockholders – well, that’s a different story.  This money, which does not come out of the pockets of the individual directors of the corporation, can be used to magnify the voice and opinions of these rich captains of capitalism while they don’t spend a cent of their own cash. And of course the message they promulgate will be intended to help, in some way or another, to maximize the profits of the corporation – which, of course, goes into their pockets.

So, why isn’t this fair? It’s because it’s like you went to a baseball game and you are cheering for your team and this guy next to you brings in a five megawatt amplifier and starts cheering for the other team. Who is going to hear your voice? Now suppose the guy with the big amp decides to drown you out for the entire game so no one ever hears your voice.  Is that fair?  Wouldn’t it be fairer if the other guy just had to yell out at the top of his lungs like you? Sure. That’s why I think the Supreme Court can’t be trusted any more.  They are deliberately creating a system that, instead of facilitating free speech for individuals, will destroy the free speech of individuals. The single voice of the American citizen will be drowned out by the voice of the rich capitalists who own the corporations.

We might be tempted to say that Congress should look into impeaching the Supreme Court justices who have violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution, but since most of these people are also in thrall to the corporations that is not likely to happen.  We are only left with a President who is not beholden to the corporations, and by himself he has little power.

It’s up to the American citizens now. All we can do is refuse to listen to the guys with the megaphones.  All we can do is fight back and boycott the products of corporations that seek to drown out true American individual freedom of speech.  The simple truth is that our Congress and now our Supreme Court no longer represent the best interests of the people of America, they represent the best interests of the corporations and the rich capitalists who own them.

It is a very sad day for the American people.

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In 1791 the first amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted.  It was part of the Bill of Rights and it was created out of a concern that the Constitution, as written, gave too much authority to the Federal government. This amendment placed limits on what the government could do. Among other things, the First Amendment stated that Congress could not make any law that limited the freedom of speech. The founders of the country knew from their own experience that one of the ways that a government could exert too much control and influence over the people was by controlling the information they received.  If the government could prevent or limit the dissemination of the truth then it had a clear advantage in maintaining power.

Some, actually many, modern but repressive governments in other countries have used this method to keep their hold on power.  Some have gone even further and besides restricting what people could say, they also disseminated false or misleading information to their citizens in order to keep control of the populace.  In recent history, the Tass News Agency of the old Soviet Union was famous for this sort of propaganda.  Tass continues today in Russia but it appears to have changed it ways quite a bit, if not completely.

In the Western world we have prided ourselves not only on the accuracy of our news but also on its fairness of reporting.  We have also been proud of the separation of the press from the government.  Today some notable examples of matter-of-fact reporting of the world news can be found in England’s BBC, Germany’s Deutche Welle, and Ireland’s Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE).  If you click on any of these links you will find news that is of interest to the inhabitants of those countries reported in a straightforward way, i.e this is what happened and when and who was involved. Just the facts.

The U.S., long a bastion of free speech and straightforward news reporting has been going through a change in direction. Just look at any of the major news networks: ABC news, NBC news, CBS news, or Fox news.  Notice anything different compared to the European news or even the Russian news?  It is the inclusion of things like polls on the front page, it is the reporting of an event with an interpretation of that event in the same sentence, it is the emphasis on sensational news like grisly murders and so forth, and it is the insertion of politics into so many of the stories that are reported.  Why?  Why the morphing from solid, straight-talking news articles to a more tabloid, emotionally targeted news? Is it because that is what the public wants?  Is it because that is what sells?  Or is it something else?

It is no secret that there are news empires in this country.  Imagine the power a single person could have if they owned the radio, television, and newspaper industries!  They could feed the public whatever they wanted, deciding what they wanted the people to know and what they didn’t want them to know.  Sort of like the old Soviet Tass News Agency.  The question is this: are we evolving, or have we already evolved – one step at a time – to a system of news dissemination where the news we receive is the news someone wants us to receive in order to promote a hidden agenda?  Could it be that some news is omitted because it would contradict a hidden agenda?  Could it be that much of our news is broadcast primarily to push forward a hidden agenda?

What about the role of opinion in the news?  Doesn’t it seem that the opinion of news reporters is blending more and more smoothly into the news itself?  It seems that the demarcation line between actual news and opinions about the news has been blurred or, in some cases, completely erased. And in those cases where it has been completely erased the opinions often seem to come from the lunatic fringe, but they are presented with a straight-face as if they were actual news instead of the garbled meanderings of Neanderthal minds.

The question we need to ask is this: how much of this new “news” that enters our homes these days via television, radio, internet, and newspaper is actually valid news and how much is propaganda?  And if it is propaganda who is creating it and spreading it and why?  Here’s a question to consider: have you ever tried to buy a television station or a newspaper?  Probably not.  They cost a lot of money. Your average person couldn’t possibly afford to buy one, let alone a whole bunch of them.  But some people can: really, really, wealthy people.  But why?  Why would someone invest all that money in these industries when there is so much more money to be made in investing in banks and insurance companies?  Could it be because these industries allow the wealthy to shape and control public opinion?  And if you can control public opinion it isn’t a far leap to controlling election results is it? And once you control the results of an election, could it be that you have also earned a hidden voice in the government itself?

Could it?

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There was a time when Americans could agree to disagree.  There was a time when rational debate was possible, when one side would listen to the other and would then respond with their criticisms and their own point of view.  No more.  With the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, Change has occurred – but not the Change we were expecting.  This Change has come from the “right” – the extreme “right”, which sadly now seems to include most of the Republican Party.  It seems the Change to the Republican Party took place almost overnight.  Leaderless after the McCain/Palin combo failed to win the election, the flailing Party faithful looked for new inspiration.  They looked for other voices to lead them, and they found people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, people of dubious intellectual ability, to provide a new vision for the Party. And a Hellish vision it is.

Remember the Town Hall meetings of the summer?  Remember how free speech was throttled by a well organized gang of “American”  thugs who refused to hear or discuss any plans for health care reform? Their only plan was to prevent the exercise of free speech and an intelligent discussion of the issues.  Now, the new Republican Party, a faint shadow of its former self – no longer recognizable as an American institution, but rather an instrument that strives to stifle public discussion and prevent the free expression of opinions, has sunk to a new low.  It’s members are now shrieking about President Obama’s planned speech to the school children of America. In doing so they have forever demeaned the office of the Presidency, and they have done so without reason nor regard for our values of freedom of expression and our culture of holding the office of the President of the United States in high regard.

Today, the President will release the text of his speech in advance in order to prove to the Republican Gestapo that his message is not political but is instead intended to simply encourage children remain in school and do well.  But the damage has been done, not only to the reputation and culture of the United States, but also to the reputation of the Republican Party.  This formerly legitimate political party has descended into some sort of imbecilic Hell, a morass of rotting ideas and lunatic leaders.  More and more they have concentrated their appeals to the lunatic fringe of America – people who refuse to believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States, people who have stocked up on guns and ammunition in the insane (and dangerous) belief that President Obama plans to somehow restrict this right. These are people who are unable to debate an issue intelligently, and thus would rather drown out the opposition with screams and shrieks and rants. Anything to prevent free speech.

Today is Labor Day in the United States.  So where is Glenn Beck?  Shouldn’t he be ranting insanely about how this holiday – Labor Day – celebrates unions and labor? Surely, if  he can connect the dots, in what serves as his brain, and determine that President Obama is either a Socialist or a Communist, shouldn’t he also determine that our Labor Day holiday places us in solidarity with worldwide Socialism and Communism? Shouldn’t the Fox television network be staging a day-long campaign to ban this un-American holiday?  Shouldn’t people who take Labor Day as a day off from work be investigated for their obvious Communist sympathies?  How did Glenn and Rush miss this? Or could it be that noting this close association between an American holiday and the united workers and unions around the world doesn’t suit their propaganda campaigns against the President?

The Republican Party, and its mouthpieces and minions, have taken a desperate path.  They have taken the path of denial of free speech and the deliberate distortion of truth  – all to gain political advantage. They have done so at the expense of our Constitution and our Freedom of Speech, and now they have done so at the expense of the dignity of the Office of the President.  In their insatiable lust for power and wealth, the Republican Party has crossed a line.  They are deliberately destroying those rights and values that they claim to treasure.  They have descended into hypocrisy for the sake of gaining political power and in doing so they are endangering our nation and its long held values of fairness and freedom of speech.

I suppose Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh would defend themselves by saying they are inciting all of this chaos for the “good of the country”.  What else would you expect them to say? Perhaps besides enjoying our Labor Day today, we should pause for a breif moment and take note that this is also a truly a sad day for America. A major political party has completely lost its sense of American values and has turned to the politics of desperation, and now allows itself to be led by men who admit to having chemically fried their brains.

I suppose it won’t be long before they start saying that Jesus was a communist too.

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