"An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry." — Thomas Jefferson
Two recent developments caught my eye today. One has to do with free speech and the other with a foreign government dabbling in our internal politics
Today the Congress drove the last nail in the so called Fairness Doctrine — I hope. Fox News reports:
“Under GOP pressure, the Federal Communications Commission has agreed to strike from its books an outdated yet still controversial regulation of political speech on the airwaves known as the Fairness Doctrine.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a letter to a House Republican leader this week that the agency's effort to identify and eliminate "antiquated and outmoded rules that unnecessarily burden business, stifle investment and innovation, or confuse consumers and licensees" will include a recommendation to delete the Fairness Doctrine.
"I fully support deleting the Fairness Doctrine and related provisions from the Code of Federal Regulations, so that there can be no mistake that what has been a dead letter is truly dead," Genachowski wrote to Rep. Fred. Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. "I look forward to effectuating this change when acting on the staff's recommendations and anticipate that the process can be completed in the near future."
The Fairness Doctrine has been on the books since 1949. The regulation sought to ensure that discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view by threatening to strip the licenses of broadcasters who provide diverse opinions. At the time, only 2,881 radio stations existed, compared with roughly 14,000 today.
The regulation was abolished in the 1980s, but the doctrine is still technically on the books. Upton and Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the subcommittee on communications, applauded the news that it would be eliminated.
"We are heartened by your continued opposition to the Fairness Doctrine because of its chilling effects on free speech and the free flow of ideas," Upton and Walden said in a joint statement. But they wrote back to Genachowski Wednesday asking him when the regulation will be eliminated and whether he has the support of his fellow commissioners.
In an email to FoxNews.com, a spokesman for Genachowski would not say when the doctrine will be taken off the books and deferred to the other commissioners for their take.”
The Fairness Doctrine was a daring of the left. For years not many people, including the FCC, paid much attention to it. Reagan opposed it and had appointed commissioners who had put it on the back burner.
During the Clinton administration when Rush Limbaugh developed conservative talk radio and is said to have saved the AM band people began listening to his brand of talk radio. Soon Limbaugh brand of conservative talk radio across the nation through syndication on hundreds of AM stations. People were listening, sponsors were onboard and the Clinton administration was getting pissed. Clinton went so far as to call his political guru Dick Morris in the middle of the night to ask him what he could do to thwart Limbaugh’s caustic attacks. Morris countered with the development of a speaker’s bureau within the White House. Today Limbaugh averages anywhere between 25 to 30 million listeners each day.
It did not take long for other conservatives to jump on the talk radio band wagon. Conservative talkers like Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Neil Brootz and Marl Levine were on line and pushing the conservative cause. Meanwhile the left wing talkers were dying on the vine. People just were not tuning them in.
By 1998 and the height of the Monica Lewinski scandal the right-wing talkers were having a field day. It got so annoying to the White House, especially Hillary Clinton that with funding from George Soros Moveon.org was created to push the Clinton line and defend Bill Clinton
In 2004 again with financial help from George Soros Air America was founded. Air America was to be a radio station with a left wing progressive agenda. It never caught on and by 2010 after declaring chapter 7 bankruptcy the station was off the air.
This drove the progressives crazy. They could not muster an audience to compete with the conservatives. This is why they wanted the enforcement of he Fairness Doctrine, something they came close to getting. In 2010 with the Republican takeover of the House the Fairness Doctrine was doomed. Finally it has been put to bed and hopefully the listening public will decide what they want to hear or not want to hear. From the evidence they do not want to hear the liberals.
The second development is from a story in the London Mail about the EU dumping money into media outlets in this country to push their leftist’s progressive agenda. The Mail reports:
“Brussels is pouring nearly £20million a year from its human rights budget on lecturing the Americans on left-wing causes.
“The EU Human Rights Fund is intended to help promote Western values in the developing world. But a shock report has found at least £17million of cash – around £2million from British taxpayers’ – has been ploughed into promoting the pet causes of Eurocrats in the U.S.
It is being spent on promoting abolition of the death penalty, discussion of climate change, green energy, and the International Criminal Court – all controversial subjects in the U.S.
The study by the Heritage Foundation, a center-right Washington think-tank, found a further £4million has been ploughed into pro-EU propaganda in the U.S., including funds for advertising and publicity material.
More than £3million has been funneled to American universities to promote the benefits of European integration and a further £3million to think-tanks who want to study EU affairs.
The European Commission’s own accounts show millions have also been paid to unnamed individual opinion formers in the U.S.
The report’s British author Sally McNamara said: ‘It is impossible to justify EU human rights budgets being spent in one of the world’s freest nations.’
Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘The U.S. was founded by North Americans fed up with Europeans interfering in its internal affairs.”
'The U.S. as a country has done more to bring liberty and human rights to the world than anyone in Europe. They don’t need any lessons from Brussels.’
Stephen Booth, research director of the Open Europe think tank said: ‘The EU has absolutely no mandate to wade in to politically sensitive debates in the U.S.’
According to Sally McNamara of the Heritage Foundation in her recently published report:
“From 2007 through 2009, the European Union spent $1.23 billion in the United States. A large part of this money funded projects in other foreign nations that were administered by the U.S.-based World Bank and United Nations. However, according to the European Union’s financial records posted online, large amounts of European taxpayer money were spent directly inside the United States and served to give the European Union greater influence, and advance the EU’s favored political causes, in America. Some of America’s wealthiest academic institutions have received millions of dollars in research grants and other contracts to promote a positive view of European integration. U.S. non-governmental groups received large sums of money from the EU’s human rights budget to advance a social agenda that many Americans would consider radical. A number of multimillion-dollar confidential payments were also made inside the U.S. to unidentified “natural persons” (individuals, not corporations) from an array of EU budget lines, including the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
The United States and most European countries have much in common politically and culturally, and EU public diplomacy expenditures inside the U.S. should be minimal compared to spending in countries that do not share the core Euro–Atlantic values of democratic governance, the rule of law, and human rights.
How any foreign entity is spending money inside the U.S. should be of concern to Americans and their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Congress has a duty to ensure that U.S. laws, sovereignty, and interests are not being undermined from within. Congressional oversight is needed to identify exactly how and where the EU is intervening inside the U.S.
Governments of EU member states and European parliamentarians should also thoroughly investigate EU spending in the United States and determine its appropriateness. The EU’s spending inside the U.S. comes after the EU Court of Auditors refused to sign off on the accounts of the European Union for the 16th consecutive year.
The EU budget was increased by 2.9 percent in 2011, during a time of severe austerity cuts in many EU countries, including cuts to education budgets. The European Commission has requested a budget increase of 4.9 percent for 2012. Governments and parliamentarians should ensure that the European Commission’s existing expenditures are both necessary and prudent before contemplating any increases for 2012.”
This is just another example the progressive left attempting to influence our political system with their money. The EU is going broke, yet they can find the money to the Brookings Institute a left wing progressive think tank. It’s bad enough we have billionaires the likes of George Soros pouring his money into these left wing organizations we now have the EU trying to affect our political system.
100 years ago there would have been a call for war had this happened. It is a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty. Our Founders are turning over in their graves. The EU has made a mess of Europe and now they want to bring their trashy ideas of socialism to our shores. I hope Congress looks into this and tells the American people just what is happening and the dangers this represents to our Republic.