History and current events teach that dictators fear dissent.
In the old Soviet Union, political dissidents were sent to the gulag. In the new Russia, they die under mysterious circumstances or simply become another unsolved murder.
In George Orwell’s 1984, a novel about the all consuming state domination of the masses via cultural conditioning, members of the ruling elite broadcast daily two-minute hate sessions in which “enemies” of the state are identified and vilified.
Of course such things don’t happen in free countries. Do they? You be the judge.
On one of the president’s campaign web sites private individuals who have donated to the Romney campaign are singled out for vilification. They are disparaged for outsourcing jobs to foreign countries, for being lobbyists or for making money in gas and oil production. Another is called “litigious, combative, and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement” for leading an “ultimately unsuccessful effort to force Idaho Public Television to cancel a program that showed gays and lesbians in a favorable light to school children.”
Their real sin is that they have made, and contributed large sums to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency.
As Kimberley Strassel writes in the WSJ: President Barack Obama, “the most powerful man on the planet,” singles certain individual out by name, shames them for “betting against America,” and alludes to their “less-than-reputable” records. “The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: It is a mistake donating that money.” For anyone who doesn’t understand what is going on Strassel explains that what the Obamites “have effectively done is put these guys’ names up on ‘Wanted’ posters in government offices.”
Think this is far-fetched? Ask the CEO of Gibson Guitar.
Executive agencies are more than eager to follow the leader. Al Armendariz, an official at the Environmental Protection Agency, appointed by the anointed one in November of 2009, heads the EPA’s region 6, responsible for oversight of Texas and surrounding states.
According to Forbes (4/26/2012) a video of Armendariz, advising colleagues on the fine points of effective enforcement of EPA dictats, contains the following revealing analogy.
The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. …
So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.
After an outcry, Armendariz made the usual non-apology apology: “to those I may have offended …” However, some would say that the enforcers’ mask slipped.
And there is more to come. There’s even an impending executive order that will require companies to list donations as a condition of bidding for government contracts. Does anyone think for a moment that companies that donate to the GOP stand a chance?
Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon, presidents have carefully avoided the practice.
Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules.
Mr. Obama has periodically compared himself to various presidents, perhaps most laughably to Ronald Reagan. But it seems as though, in this instance, he is emulating Nixon and his infamous enemies list.
It may be argued that Obama can’t be held accountable for what organizations like attackwatch.com (which provides a handy form for reporting those of opposing opinions) do in his name. However, the Obama administration’s record of using government resources for political objectives – Gibson Guitar, dropped prosecution of Black Panther voter intimidation, Operation Fast and Furious, etc suggest otherwise.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and fellow Obamacrats now want to amend the Constitution to allow Congress to regulate political speech exercised by corporations. The amendment would reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This is the ruling that so irked the president that, in his 2010 State of the Union address, he petulantly attacked the U.S. Supreme Court (some of the justices sitting before him), for its decision.
Chief Justice Roberts’ concurring opinion in the case exposes the Obama administration’s war on dissent.
“The government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech,” wrote Roberts. “It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concerns.”
If they were ever wearing gloves, they’ve come off now.