January 30, 2012

Eye opener

"...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances..."

The United States is supposed to be a land of the free... the leader of the free world... O say does that star spangled banner yet wave...

... which makes it rather difficult to explain how America fell to 47th place in the Reporters Without Borders annual rankings of press freedom of countries around the world, a drop of 27 positions in just a single year. We're behind Estonia, Slovenia, Botswana and even El Salvador in our abuses of the free press. How do we explain such a precipitous drop? How could we justify even that 20th place showing of last year? With all our horn tooting you'd think we'd be in first place year after year. Instead that honor goes to Finland and Norway.

The free press is our firewall against the abuses of government. For many years that is exactly how it worked, but they aren't doing very much firewalling these days. I think the word for what we're seeing is Authoritarianism. What with the TSA, the very poorly named Patriot Act, constant efforts to disenfranchise legal voters (HERE, and HERE, and HERE), police abuses of the Occupy protesters (too many other links to list), invasive intrusions into a woman's womb (HERE, and HERE)...

The list goes on, but the press is notably absent. The once proud profession seems to be cowed. and perhaps for good reason. When a journalist actually finds the nerve to actually practice journalism, they often get shot down. 30 some-odd professional journalists suffered arrest in various location while  providing coverage of the Occupy movement.

Consider Noot's childish outburst at the South Carolina debate and how the right wing pundits not only defended, but applauded the behavior... so very different from that contentious Richard Nixon - Dan Rather confrontation in 1974 at the height of Watergate, and the more recent Rather - George H.W. Bush 1988 encounter. The wingnut sphere was all riled up then too, but not so much when the media started digging into Monkey Business or Cigargate.

Oh well. So much for all that old First Amendment clap trap. Who needed it anyway. Right?

Nixon is long dead, but that old nixonian stink is in the air now far worse than ever before. A familiar old 1960's feeling tells me... there's something happening here...


January 29, 2012

Sunday Funnies