Obama's Ongoing Assault on the First Amendment
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Obama's Ongoing Assault on the First Amendment

 

IBDEditorials.com

First Amendment: The Obama administration is seeking to regulate the Internet and TV in ways that will clamp down on our right to speak freely. The idea is simple: By controlling the media, you control the message.

We're talking, of course, of the looming decision by the Federal Communications Commission to declare the Internet a utility for regulatory purposes and to impose "net neutrality" — a fancy word for government control — on Internet and content providers.

Such a declaration would give the government sweeping powers to determine the content of the Internet and who will have access.

As the proposed new rule stands, all the FCC would have to do is make a finding that a certain practice may "harm" consumers or a company. Then it could basically do whatever it wants to fix the situation.

Particularly troubling is the FCC's murky proposed "general conduct" provision, which gives the government authority to police the Internet and all that's on it.

Former FCC Associate General Counsel Randolph J. May, writing in The Hill, said the move will "threaten the Internet's future growth and vibrancy."

Do we really want unelected, politically appointed bureaucrats telling us what to say and not say? That's nothing less than an attack on our free speech rights under the First Amendment and the most serious threat to our constitutional rights in decades.

Just look at Obama's Federal Election Commission, which now claims the right to supervise Americans' political speech — something that clearly violates both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.

This is part of the growing progressive nanny-state apparatus that seeks to trim, truncate and, eventually, terminate our most basic rights of self-expression.

But it isn't merely a bureaucratic effort — nor something that Obama dreamt up on his own. The left has long desired to shut down debate and exclude those they don't like from politically expressing themselves.

Just last September, as the Constitution celebrated its 227th birthday, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other progressives proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would have gutted the First Amendment by giving government control over how money is raised and spent "to influence elections."

Fortunately, it went nowhere. But they keep trying, and have emboldened international agencies run by global leftists to get in on the act. Taking its cue from Obama, the U.N.'s busybody World Health Organization says it wants to strictly regulate what children can watch on TV by severely limiting food ads. Once such a precedent is set, it will have no end.

WHO's proposal has met with little success so far. "Despite progress in some countries," WHO said, announcing its initiative, "government action to restrict marketing remains less than optimal."

But give the Obama administration time. From global warming rules to taxes to the Internet, it likes the idea of the U.N. and other global agencies controlling us.

"To even consider turning over such authority to an entity outside of the United States such as the WHO is suicidal," wrote Jazz Shaw, an editor at Hot Air.

Shaw is right. This is part of a long-term project by America's self-described "progressive" movement to erode the Constitution and give greater power to left-leaning government elites and bureaucrats.

Americans should be alarmed and angry at this assault on their basic rights. Only when they're gone will they be missed.