A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
November 21, 1999 #159
by: Doug Fiedor
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Copyright © 1999 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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POLITICAL CENSORSHIP IS SYSTEMIC
No matter what we think, censorship is part of the news. It cant be helped. That is a fact of life.
Rush Limbaugh found that out early in his career. Every reporter in the world knows it. Last week, even the popular Matt Drudge learned the lesson. We cannot use newsprint and the airwaves to say every little thing we want to say, no matter how true it may be.
For instance, if I wanted to get in trouble, all I would need do is write a truth nearly every official in Washington knows but cannot seem to do anything about. That is that the little country of Israel has been on our welfare list so long, and received so many billions of American taxpayer dollars, that we have bought and paid for that little country at least twice over. Yet, their huge umbilical cord to our treasury is protected in halls of government because, out of the $3.5+ billion we send them each year, they return over a hundred million dollars for use as lobby money. Which means, they return a large portion of our money to contribute to Congressional campaign funds every year. Also, they spy on our public officials and have very interesting records on many politicians.
But, to write that as an employee of a news organization would mean instant dismissal. So what if its true. It may not be said publicly. Thats the unwritten rule.
Heres another story that shall not be reported:
Its now well established that agents of the CIA illegally imported tons of cocaine for sale on the streets of our inner-cities -- they needed the money. A CIA inspector general report even verified some of that. Reports also show that there was a special arrangement made between the CIA and the Justice Department to protect some of the operatives, at least for a while. Yet, suddenly, Congress dropped that issue like a hot potato.
The story behind the story was when the illegal imports started and who (collectively) was involved over the years. One popular fellow was CIA Director for a time, Vice President for a time and then President. He had to know. Because, if he didnt, he would have had to be totally and completely incompetent -- which he isnt. That being the case, we will not need to state who, in the National Security Council, also acquiesced.
The deal is, some things cannot be said in the popular news. Government covers up these matters under the guise of national security. Thats because the security (the careers and possibly the freedom) of those in government who are involved would be in jeopardy if the stories came out publicly.
So, such stories never get reported. After all, the Washington press corps really enjoy their synergistic relationship with those in government. Playing ball with the government power structure makes reporters work easier. Rocking the boat can get them ostracized in the halls of power and they may miss a story, or not get invited to a party.
Simply put, that is why there are only a small handful of good investigative reporters in Washington and so may journalists who only repeat messages.
But, even when a good reporter gets a great story, it still must get past the editor -- who, ten to one, is on great terms with many of the politicians in power. If a juicy story gets past the editor, the newspapers legal team looks at it. And, if its a really important expose, the publisher will also need to give permission.
The publisher, of course, must take the point of view of the corporate owners, who could, just as easily as not, be a multinational conglomerate with dozens of television and radio licenses to protect. The parent corporation will also consult their Washington lobbyists to insure that the story will not aggravate the wrong powers that be in Washington and mess up whatever deals may be in the works that are beneficial to the conglomerates other interests.
When the CIA cocaine story came out, some enterprising journalists actually dug deep. Interesting names -- names many of us would recognize -- were identified. Too many interesting names were identified as being involved, actually. So, there was no story.
Its the same with the Israeli lobby. Thats a very old story that has been brought up many, many times in many, many ways over the years. Sometimes the establishment press even mentions that it is improper for a foreign government to contribute (invest) in political campaigns. The part about it being illegal as hell is seldom mentioned, though. Besides, its not just Israel doing it. There are at least ten foreign governments doing the same thing, and it affects most Members of Congress and every presidential campaign. So, with a wink and a nod, that is a non-story.
Drudge recoiled when touched by just the tip of the sword of censorship. There are many political topics slashed from public view. Such are the workings of the many entangling alliances in todays political world, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Yes, some of them traded their sex, drugs and rock & roll for wine, brie and chamber music. Thats because they couldnt bear the thought of leaving the college campus atmosphere and getting a real job. Today we call them professors.
And most of them got a haircut, discarded the love beads and generally got themselves cleaned up. Thats because they soon learned that it takes hard cash to buy a home and car. There are not many places left anymore that will hire someone who looks like a burned out hippie.
But not all of them had a change in attitude. Oh sure, they got over that never trust anyone over thirty idea on their thirtieth birthdays. But recreational drugs got cheaper, safer and more potent, so a lot of them still regularly fry their brains. And, they may not mouth the words anymore, but many of them still think down with the establishment.
Except, nowadays they are part of the establishment. And thats a problem.
So, its no wonder that liberal college professors are so much fun to watch. They have to dress and act establishment when, all along, most of them are still anti-establishment hippies at heart. They must present themselves as being the bright light in the room, when in fact most are only semi-educated. That is, they are not worldly wise. For, how could one know much about real life when they have never participated? After all, a lifetime of campus living is hardly an education on life.
Most fun to watch are those liberal professors who teach American government, history and law. Many of them have the book learning down; its just that they are intellectually bankrupt about real life. Thats why they are still liberals.
For instance, how many really knowledgeable people can study the arguments of the Founding Fathers leading up to our Constitution and then accept a greatly overextended central governments control of everything in life from womb to tomb? Only those who are so insulated they are not affected is one answer. Those who think the masses are asses and need strong direction from academics and professional bureaucrats is another answer. And, those who really wish to destroy the establishment -- replace our Constitutional form of government with socialism -- is yet another answer. Most likely, though, the usual explanation would include some combination of the three.
So, when I learned that Princeton Universitys professor of history and director of the program in American studies, Sean Wilentz, published an op-ed in the New York Times last Tuesday, I just knew that it would be fun to read. And, sure enough, it was.
Impeachment watchers will remember Wilentz pontificating at the House hearings. John Hinckleys lawyer (the Hinckely who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan), Gregory Craig, was then representing Bill Clinton and called Wilentz as an expert witness on a panel with former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and Yale Professor of Law Bruce Ackerman. Wilentz finagled himself a place at the impeachment hearing by getting 400 or so historians to sign a paper criticizing the effort to impeach Clinton.
Anyway, Wilentz showed us how far out of touch he is in the summer 1999 issue of Dissent, when he wrote: one of the dirty secrets of impeachment may be that the Republicans had nothing better to do. By setting their sights on removing an already besmirched Bill Clinton, Republicans unwittingly exposed their partys intellectual bankruptcy, especially at the national level. And by pursuing impeachment as zealously as they did, they compounded that bankruptcy by alienating millions of voters.
Lets face it, the guy just hates Republicans. So, in the New York Times piece he writes: From voter surveys to the floors of Congress, we see abundant evidence that Americans are embracing sensible activist government. This swing of the pendulum represents more than a correction of conservative excesses. "
He must have been polling the socialists of the Houses Progressive Caucus if he thinks we want an activist government. Such statements demonstrate a complete disconnect from the true feelings of the vast majority of American people. Later, he tops that by writing that a Pew poll showed that Americans are markedly less cynical about government than they have been in many years.
Apparently, he justifies that because a Times/CBS survey showed that voters rate health care (13 percent) and protection of Social Security (8 percent) as their chief concerns, while only 2 percent cited defense.
Yeah, 13% and 8% only! Thats the new abundant evidence that Americans are embracing sensible activist government. With that justification, he claims that we are in a revival of a liberal tradition and states: What conservatives condemned 30 years ago as creeping socialism [is] an accepted part of the American Way.
It was a good article. Well written and very funny. I really dont think it belonged in a major newspaper, though.
What a clever web government has spun. The American people are turning into a bunch of little automatons, with bureaucrats pushing the buttons. We obey their rules without question, even when their rules are not laws. Think not? Here are just a few rules to live by mentioned at a gathering of middle aged adults last week:
When stopped for a traffic violation, keep your hands on the wheel where they are in plain sight. Dont make any sudden moves and never say anything to the officer except yes sir and no sir. We wouldnt want the nice officer to shoot us, thinking we might be a threat to his well being, after all.
Is that what weve come to nowadays? Everyone is a potential suspect of assault on a police officer now? Apparently the rule is that we are to act so as to please the public servant, rather than the other way around. We are to confine our speech and movement to conform to the wishes of the constabulary, even when we are as legally clean as the new snow.
Another interesting common maxim was that one must never question the wisdom of an airport clerk or an airport rent-a-cop. No matter that these are characteristically minimum wage (or thereabouts) paid workers without an overabundance in the aptitude department. They are in charge. And if you dont want them to call men with guns to harass you, you must comply with every order without question.
Whatever happened to the business/customer relationship here? Wasnt the customer always right? I mean, we pay big bucks to catch an uncomfortable plane ride somewhere and we now have to accept orders from the hired help, too?
Things are not like that with other businesses. How the hell did that ever happen with air transportation? Oh yeah. Congress got involved. I almost forgot.
Another thing people mentioned is that one should not take cash money to an airport. Most workers at the terminal are watching for people with a lot of cash because they know that they can get some of it as a reward for fingering the traveler. Apparently, if a person has over a thousand bucks, or so, the airport cops will come and take it. Potential drug money, they use as the excuse. No honest person needs to carry cash anymore.
Its still legal for an American citizen to have and hold cash, of course. It implies so right on the money. Still, if anyone with a badge and a gun sees it, it is probable they will take it. Theres nothing we can do about that, and they know it. So, they take the money.
There was big talk of abuse by social workers, too. Many social workers are very liberal and demand that parents raise their children to love socialism. So, if a social worker catches a parent disciplining a child, some will try to have the parent arrested and the child removed from the home. There is no law stating that a parent must answer a social worker when questioned. According to some local folks, its best to not even give them your name. Else, they may start all kinds of silly legal problems.
Whered they all come from, anyway? Apparently, someone in government started a make work program for social workers without asking the taxpayers if they wanted that. Now theyre everywhere -- most paid with tax dollars.
Then come the Regulation Mounties. Some bureaucrats now think they can violate our Fourth Amendment right to privacy of home, papers, effects and businesses with impunity. Except, that pesky Fourth Amendment requires that all government agents first get a search warrant labeling exactly what is to be searched before visiting us. There are no exceptions listed in the Fourth Amendment. Inconvenient as it may be, the Founding Fathers intended for all employees of government to conform.
Yet, if one mentions that Fourth Amendment thing to an agent from the IRS, EPA, EEOC, or BATF and tells them to bug off without a warrant, they stand a great chance of being attacked some night by a Gestapo looking squad of men called a SWAT team.
Its all very legal nowadays. Bureaucrats, who just a few years ago brandished nothing more ominous than a clip board, now attack citizens with automatic weapon armed squad fire teams. Its not that the American people are any more dangerous than they were, just that the federal government started allowing minor bureaucrats to carry guns. And, since they had guns, they figured what the heck, might as well do it right and form SWAT teams, too. So, today, even Smoky the Bears boys have SWAT teams out in the forest.
All this stuff is a blatant violation of our rights, of course. Theres even a federal law against most of it: 18 Sec. 241 states that,
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
However, it takes the government to enforce that law and government is historically inept at enforcing the violation of laws by government employees. Congress is too busy cracking down on crime and plugging loopholes to worry about our rights. Besides, they like us doing exactly as we are told, like a bunch of programmed automatons.
If the Second Amendment were erased from the Constitution, it wouldnt change anything. Thats because, nowhere in the Constitution is a power given to the federal government to regulate our personal arms in any way whatsoever. Washington snatched that power unconstitutionally.
Its the same with States rights, protected by the Tenth Amendment. The Constitution takes away a handful of powers from the States and delegates them to the central government. All others are to remain with the States.
James Madison explains some of that in The Federalist Papers No. 45:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.
If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them.
Interestingly enough, our nation actually ran like that for a while. Long enough for the small country to grow and become strong, anyway.
Alexander Hamilton asks in The Federalist Papers No. 33:
Who is to judge of the NECESSITY and PROPRIETY of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union? I answer, first, that this question arises as well and as fully upon the simple grant of those powers as upon the declaratory clause; and I answer, in the second place, that the national government, like every other, must judge, in the first instance, of the proper exercise of its powers, and its constituents in the last.
If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. The propriety of a law, in a constitutional light, must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded. Suppose, by some forced constructions of its authority (which, indeed, cannot easily be imagined), the Federal legislature should attempt to vary the law of descent in any State, would it not be evident that, in making such an attempt, it had exceeded its jurisdiction, and infringed upon that of the State? Suppose, again, that upon the pretense of an interference with its revenues, it should undertake to abrogate a land tax imposed by the authority of a State; would it not be equally evident that this was an invasion of that concurrent jurisdiction in respect to this species of tax, which its Constitution plainly supposes to exist in the State governments? If there ever should be a doubt on this head, the credit of it will be entirely due to those reasoners who, in the imprudent zeal of their animosity to the plan of the convention, have labored to envelop it in a cloud calculated to obscure the plainest and simplest truths.
The People, then, are the defenders of the Constitution. And, according to Hamilton, it is The People who are to take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
Interesting, those Founding Fathers.
Note: Doug tells it like it really is -- Frank and honest.
Forest Glen Durland
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