Obama’s “Transformation” of Free Speech

The Obama Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The government would not say why it sought the records. The revelation is proving too much for even some of Obama’s leftist supporters in Congress. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an emailed statement: “The burden is always on the government when they go after private information, especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources. … On the face of it, I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden. I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said the use of subpoenas for a broad swath of records has a chilling effect both on journalists and whistleblowers who want to reveal government wrongdoing. “The attorney general must explain the Justice Department’s actions to the public so that we can make sure this kind of press intimidation does not happen again,” said Laura Murphy, the director of ACLU’s Washington legislative office.

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Surprised? I’m not. Americans are getting the kind of leadership the majority of them asked for.

When Obama ran for office the first time, promising to “transform” the U.S. into essentially a socialist-fascist democracy, people voted for him anyway.

When Obama promised the economy would improve in his first four years in office, and that he would not spend recklessly—otherwise, he’d be a one-term president—people reelected him anyway, even when things did not improve and the national debt rose to the highest debt in all of human history.

When voters don’t hold their chief leader accountable for any of his words or actions, then he will stop holding himself accountable. This is why the IRS is targeting politically incorrect groups with opinions contrary to the Obama regime, and it also explains the Associated Press scandal.

The real scandal is that Americans no longer hold their Presidents accountable. We saw what happened to Richard Nixon when he strayed off course in the 1970s. And you can imagine George W. Bush’s fate had his IRS been targeting the leftist MoveOn.org or the Democratic National Committee for “special questions.” Bill Clinton took heat for his perjury in the sex scandals, and Ronald Reagan took heat for Iran-contra. Those days are over. Obama is held accountable for absolutely nothing, because the American people no longer pay attention to what their government does, so long as the benefits and goodies keep coming.

It should come as no surprise that the federal government now routinely demands news organizations reveal their sources. It’s the same federal government whom Americans have authorized to take over GM and Chrysler; nationalize what was left of the private sector for medical care and health insurance; raise taxes on the premise that the central purpose of government is to “spread the wealth;” and it’s the same President who openly declares his intention to use the EPA to impose regulations Congress won’t authorize, and the Justice Department to impose gun control Congress won’t pass.

Is it any wonder that freedom of speech is a target? Why not? Everything else is, and nobody voices opposition to any of that. So what’s the big deal when the government starts throttling news organizations and journalists? We already ignore all the other amendments to the Constituition. Why not the first, as well?

There’s a sad logic in all that we see playing out. A majority returned Obama to office because they like his policies and they like his attitude. Obama represents the worst in people: Unaccountability, resentment, envy and unearned entitlement. He speaks to the small-minded and petty in people, and he has the “audacity” to call this “progressive.”

But it’s what he was elected to do. He was told to nationalize the auto industry, nationalize what was left of private medicine, and spend the gross national product of the next two generations (and counting) on worse than worthless government endeavors—assuming our economy starts to grow again, which on its current course it will not.

Obama has been told he’s big enough to take care of everything, and to take care of  all of us. He’s Big Daddy, he’s “the man,” he’s the one who’s going to make everything all right and the consequences be damned, “just send me my check.” Well, America, this is what you asked for. If Daddy Obama is going to take care of you, he’s going to call all the shots too. That’s how it works: The more of your own self-responsibility you concede to the hapless central authority, the more he’ll gladly take over for you.

Liberty and individual rights are an all-or-nothing proposition. Once you wipe some of them off the map, you are wiping them all out. It was only a matter of time before free speech became a target, and that time has clearly arrived. Americans still have an opportunity to reverse course, but they’ll have to recognize that with personal freedom comes personal responsibility. You can’t have one without the other. Obama understands this perfectly. But do the majority of Americans?

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