June 23, 2010

Behind the curtain they have just killed the First Amendment

The final assault on the heights of free speech began innocently enough. A handful of congressional representatives went looking for a way to end the influence of groups like the NRA, the AARP, and the AIPAC. The bill they came up is H.R. 5175, also known as, the "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending on Elections" act. This title was obviously chosen to allow them to call this overt attack on the free speech of the American people by the ironic short-form, "DISCLOSE". Naturally, this did not go over well with any of these groups. So they all sent notifications to their members and their members called their representatives. Faced with the ire of the people they were claiming to represent, the sponsors of the bill came up with an amendment that would exclude "groups with more than one million members", and a few other identifying details. At that point the NRA backed off. While they did not endorse the bill, they announced that they would no longer oppose it.

This created a problem. If passed, the bill would now directly allow the participation of the groups it was designed to block while preventing smaller groups, public news media, and even internet bloggers from voicing any opinions about candidates, political parties, or public referendum items in the days leading up a national election. The big kids could keep right on speaking but the little folks would have to either clam up or risk fines and imprisonment.

Meanwhile, unknown to most of us, way off in the background in the hidden corridors of the court system, a little known case concerning copyright laws was being argued. For the past few decades, a lot of small press operations have been making money selling reprints of classic literature. I have half a dozen books by Biblio Bazaar, for example, along with half a dozen more by Arcadia Publishing. That case, "Golan vs. Holder", is supposed to bring United States internal copyright laws in line with international laws. Apparently there is a strong globalist lobby seeking to defend the entrenched revenue streams of multi-generational intellectual property which is honored under the laws of several European nations and protected by EU copyright laws but not by American copyright laws. In short, Eric Holder is trying to limit the rights of Americans in order to satisfy the demands of the EU. If this case (still working its way through the appeals system) finally settles in the Attorney General's favor, then European publishers will continue to publish "Tom Sawyer" and "Huck Finn" without paying royalties, but American publishers will have to start paying royalties for publishing the "Iliad", "Alice in Wonderland", or even "Cinderella". Not to mention the impact in the areas of classical music, theater, cinema, and even ancient political treatises that are generally of interest only to historians.

"Golan vs. Holder" would also grant the federal government broad prosecutorial powers in the realms of computer software, such as violent video games set in exotic locales or blog posts that include family photos of visits to European ruins. They could also arbitrarily apply this power to stop production of any material that hinders their own political agenda; for example, clip art collections taken from classical European paintings depicting the Goddess of Liberty in all her diverse forms which are beloved by Tea Party and 9/12 groups all over America for producing homemade pamphlets, flyers, and posters. Whether the government would actually pursue these kinds of cases is anybody's guess.

Now, if "Golan vs. Holder" winds up in favor of the federal government and the "DISCLOSE Act" gets signed into law by Pres. Obama, then we have a perfect storm of events that folks like Mark Lloyd and Cass Sunstein could use to easily, legally, and completely shut down any and all media that presents opinions, rebuttals, and counterpoints to anything the Whitehouse produces. Blogs like mine and those of my friends would be forced to vanish, Facebook and MySpace accounts used by anyone who posts disappointment with or overt dissent against the government could easily be deleted. All forms of expression except graffiti could easily and legally be brought into a single coherent worldview dictated and controlled by the public relations people in the Whitehouse. For those of you who love Pres. Obama and his agenda this probably seems like a godsend, but what happens when the next Bush-Cheney team throws your guys out of Washington? Even worse, what happens if someone like Ahmadinejad manages to win a presidential election and moves into the Whitehouse?

If you don't prepare for the worst case scenario then the worst case scenario will come find you. Consider carefully the rise to power, consolidation of power, and eventual reign of people like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Gaddafi, and Ahmadinejad. History is very clear on this issue, my friends. If any government, no matter how benevolent in intent, is granted tyrannical powers, that government will quickly fall under the control of a tyrant.

Be very careful what you ask for, you might get it!