Sunday, October 09, 2016

Federal censorship alive and well

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has decided to remain a step behind the changing technological world, likely so that they can still have a place in our government. After an FEC meeting and vote it has been decided that the organization would continue its censorship of Internet based websites, radio, streamed movies and even books. Effectively allowing the organization to maintain control over a significant portion of modern American media.

An amendment submitted to the FEC on Sept. 29, 2016 by Commissioner Lee Goodman specifically aimed at modernizing exemptions to FEC regulation in accordance with technological changes in the 21 century was struck down by Democrats led by Ann Ravel, who called the attempt “pitiful.”

Ravel won based on a split 3-3 decision, meaning the law would stand as is without an expansion of the “press exemption” which currently states that “a media entity’s costs for carrying news stories, commentary and editorials are not considered ‘contributions’ or ‘expenditures.’”

With Goodman’s proposal online blogs, documentaries, satellite radio and books would be free of FEC regulation and suppression. As Goodman defends, this would clarify the law without changing it. Why?

Because it would follow the framers’ intention within the First Amendment of the Constitution where freedom of press is explicitly outlined. They did not mean the “press” as some elite cadre of journalists, they meant the printing press, as explained by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh in his 2011 paper on the topic, “The Freedom…of the Press, from 1791 to 1868 to Now:  Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or the Press as a Technology?”

“Through-out American history, the dominant understanding of the Free Press Clause (and its state constitutional analogs) has followed the press-as-technology model. This was likely the original meaning of the First Amendment. It was pretty certainly the understanding when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. It was the largely unchallenged orthodoxy until about 1970,” Volokh writes.

Volokh continues, “Since 1970, a few lower court decisions have adopted the press-as-industry model. But this has been a distinctly minority view. Supreme Court majority opinions have continued to provide equal treatment to speakers without regard to whether they are members of the press as industry. And while several opinions have noted that the question remains open, the bulk of the precedents point towards equal treatment for all speakers — or at least to equal treatment for all who use mass communications technologies, whether or not they are members of the press as industry.”

The freedom of the press so often interlocks with freedom of speech, but the press, which can be used by anyone, obviously protects an individual right that cannot be abridged.

That is, whether the writer is working in a blog, through a video published online for streaming, or writing an e-novel, they deserve the protections of the First Amendment.

However, if this was upheld and regulations were not applicable to these groups of people the FEC might not have a reason to exist. The group would be unable to moderate the “contributions” and “expenditures” of any members of media in order to submit to the freedom of the press, forcing the FEC’s power to shrink significantly.

The current restrictions to freedom of the press contemplated by the FEC keep freedoms locked in an archaic, pre-constitutional time where today’s technology simply did not exist, and uses that as a justification for censorship. With Ravel’s debate remarks and Twitter attacks on the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller for daring to report on Goodman’s amendment, it seems the “pitiful” right leaning media would be the first to be moderated by these unelected bureaucrats.



When you hear them scream, Mr. Trump, you know you’ve hit the mark

By Bill Wilson

The level of vitriol and sheer hysteria coming from the various outlets of the establishment press is the best indicator possible that Donald Trump’s message of American sovereignty and the restoration of constitutional government are getting through to the American people. The apologists and paid-mouthpieces of the self-appointed elite are in a near frenzy in a desperate attempt to block Trump and the legion of supporters he has attracted.

While partisan devotion can often result in overstatement and hyper-ventilated rhetoric, something is different this year. The political and media establishment have become far more vicious. They have dropped any pretense of impartiality, they openly brag about their willingness to break the law in order to score a few points against Team Trump. And the degree to which they throw away what little credibility they still have with the diminishing number of people who even bother to listen or read them is breath-taking.

All of this begs the question, why? Why risk everything on one election? Why impale yourself on lies, criminal behavior and outright deceit on an historic scale? The answer gets mentioned every now and again, always in passing or in some oblique reference; never head on and openly direct. The establishment and their hirelings in the media are afraid that the election of Donald Trump would, in the words of the Washington Post, “bring about the end of the era of American global leadership that began in 1945.”

So, what exactly are they talking about here? The Post and the herd of similar outlets are referring to the movement toward a world government enshrined in the Temple on Turtle Bay, the United Nations. They are talking about the end of independent nations, what Ann-Marie Slaughter — a devoted Hillary Clinton zealot — has called the “global administrative state.”  And, they are referring to the corporatist economic model that pumps trillions of dollars into a handful of international banks and corporations that are free from any government rules or regulation.

All of this and more is in fact on the line. When Trump denounces bogus “trade” deals, he is exposing the true nature of the corporatist economy; an economy that deindustrializes America and then tells the displaced workers to train their foreign replacements. It is an economy designed to build the capacity and wealth of foreigners at the expense of the United States.  “But, the overall levels of income are great and we get all those cheap goods,” the so-called free traders exclaim. This macro-level of income, of course obscures the fact that virtually all the gains have gone to the top of the economic pyramid and that middle America is dying before their eyes. And those cheap goods? Is it really better that we can buy a dishwasher or flat screen TV for less when the true price does not include the devastation inflicted on thousands of towns and communities across the nation? Does it really end up costing less; or, are the true costs hidden in drug overdose statistics, depressed real estate values and countless broken lives.

When Trump questions military alliances that were built in a different era and asks if the rationale is still valuable to the United States, the left and the media shriek in horror. But in point of fact many of those alliances have become little more than shakedown operations; con-games where American treasure and American lives get plundered so rich European and Asian nations can continue to prosper. Defense of the United States has become in a real sense secondary to defense of the “system” built up since 1945, a system of world entanglement and outright theft of American assets.

And, when Trump — like so many now in Europe — attacks the “open borders” lunacy of the global elites, the shop-worn insult of “racist” gets hurled. But it is not racist or wrong to want to defend the borders of our nation, it is for us as a people to decide who comes in and who does not. It is the most basic and fundamental right of a sovereign nation. But that, of course, is the whole point. The elites and their running dogs in the press don’t want sovereign nations, especially a sovereign United States. Trump exposes that and they hate him for it.

Trade policy that benefits American workers, policies seeking peace and not perpetual war, and a strong sovereign nation — these are the principles that outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times cannot abide.  These so-called press outlets embrace the world vision of those that would destroy nations, that would give the owners of capital complete control while workers and communities are pressed down into eve deeper debt-slavery.  They are the drooling zombies of the “administrative state” that denies the people any rights independent of what some body of unelected “experts” grants them. They are, in every meaning of the term, propaganda pushers of tyranny.

So when the press howls, screams, insults, demeans and sneers, remember — it is a sign of their fear, fear that the American people have caught on to their con and that their day of reckoning is near.



The 'Quiet Catastrophe' of Men Choosing to Not Seek Work

The “quiet catastrophe” is particularly dismaying because it is so quiet, without social turmoil or even debate. It is this: After 88 consecutive months of the economic expansion that began in June 2009, a smaller percentage of American males in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are working than were working near the end of the Great Depression in 1940, when the unemployment rate was above 14 percent. If the labor force participation rate were as high today as it was as recently as 2000, nearly 10 million more Americans would have jobs.

The work rate for adult men has plunged 13 percentage points in a half-century. This “work deficit” of “Great Depression-scale underutilization” of male potential workers is the subject of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new monograph “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” which explores the economic and moral causes and consequences of this:

Since 1948, the proportion of men 20 and older without paid work has more than doubled, to almost 32 percent. This “eerie and radical transformation” — men creating an “alternative lifestyle to the age-old male quest for a paying job” — is largely voluntary. Men who have chosen to not seek work are two and a half times more numerous than men that government statistics count as unemployed because they are seeking jobs.

What Eberstadt calls a “normative sea change” has made it a “viable option” for “sturdy men,” who are neither working nor looking for work, to choose “to sit on the economic sidelines, living off the toil or bounty of others.” Only about 15 percent of men 25 to 54 who worked not at all in 2014 said they were unemployed because they could not find work.

For 50 years, the number of men in that age cohort who are neither working nor looking for work has grown nearly four times faster than the number who are working or seeking work. And the pace of this has been “almost totally uninfluenced by the business cycle.” The “economically inactive” have eclipsed the unemployed, as government statistics measure them, as “the main category of men without jobs.” Those statistics were created before government policy and social attitudes made it possible to be economically inactive.

Eberstadt does not say that government assistance causes this, but obviously it finances it. To some extent, however, this is a distinction without a difference. In a 2012 monograph, Eberstadt noted that in 1960 there were 134 workers for every one officially certified as disabled; by 2010 there were just over 16. Between January 2010 and December 2011, while the economy produced 1.73 million nonfarm jobs, almost half as many workers became disability recipients. This, even though work is less stressful and the workplace is safer than ever.

Largely because of government benefits and support by other family members, nonworking men 25 to 54 have household expenditures a third higher than the average of those in the bottom income quintile. Hence, Eberstadt says, they “appear to be better off than tens of millions of other Americans today, including the millions of single mothers who are either working or seeking work.”

America’s economy is not less robust, and its welfare provisions not more generous, than those of the 22 other affluent nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Yet America ranks 22nd, ahead of only Italy, in 25 to 54 male labor force participation. Eberstadt calls this “unwelcome ‘American Exceptionalism.’”

In 1965, even high school dropouts were more likely to be in the workforce than is the 25 to 54 male today. And, Eberstadt notes, “the collapse of work for modern America’s men happened despite considerable upgrades in educational attainment.” The collapse has coincided with a retreat from marriage (“the proportion of never-married men was over three times higher in 2015 than 1965”), which suggests a broader infantilization. As does the use to which the voluntarily idle put their time — for example, watching TV and movies 5.5 hours daily, two hours more than men who are counted as unemployed because they are seeking work.

Eberstadt, noting that the 1996 welfare reform “brought millions of single mothers off welfare and into the workforce,” suggests that policy innovations that alter incentives can reverse the “social emasculation” of millions of idle men. Perhaps. Reversing social regression is more difficult than causing it. One manifestation of regression, Donald Trump, is perhaps perverse evidence that some of his army of angry men are at least healthily unhappy about the loss of meaning, self-esteem and masculinity that is a consequence of chosen and protracted idleness.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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