Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trends in Freedom of Speech and Press

What if George W. Bush took his practice of message management beyond the scope of his speaking engagements where security staff jettison folks with the wrong bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan? It might look something like Pakistan. Through a dictatorial decree any criticism of Pervez Musharraf is now a crime. Who gets to pay first? It's three British journalists employed by The Telegraph.

One offensive editorial suggested the dictator's rule was "a combination of incompetence and brutality." What other world leaders fit that description? Unfortunately there's a line of "qualified" candidates, and behind them is another line wanting to run. If the trends continue, not only will habeas corpus be optional in a democracy, so too will free speech and a free press. Enjoy it while it's still here folks.

There's another line of powerheads working to discredit it, if not completely take it away. They range from new Justice Department Chief Mukasey who alluded to "bloggers who are also terrorists or spies" to politico Karl Rove who called some bloggers "nutty" from the whacko, fringe. Even newsman Jim Lehrer took a shot at people trying to fill the gaps in official news report coverage. He suggested the blogworld can only comment on already reported stories.

Huh? How many reporters lived through a dead powerless flooded hospital and evacuated a Gulf Coast hospital before a record hurricane? Very few, I bet. Yet, these experiences served as the basis for this blogger's tracking the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Do my discoveries qualify as news?

The White House's not mentioning The Carlyle Group's LifeCare Hospital's 24 patient deaths in their Lessons Learned report is a fact for anyone to check. It could be my opinion as a hospital administrator that this helps the politically connected private equity firm as they go to court for those wrongful death lawsuits, but my guess is many legal scholars would agree.

What about Senator Evan Bayh's recent Presidential exploration? His wife Susan flipped her stock option awards received as a board member for huge health insurer WellPoint? My finding this huge dollar boost to the family's income happened weeks after the esteemed Senator put together an exploratory committee for a Presidential run. Within 24 hours of my e-mail Senator Bayh reporting this researched nugget, he surprised everyone by dropping his bid for the White House. Coincidence or related? Only the Senator can answer for sure.

My point is there are stories the mainstream media won't or can't find. A more recent one involved The Carlyle Group's sale of two U.S. aircraft companies with operations at over 50 airports to Dubai Aerospace. Sales of ports and stock exchanges to UAE government owned companies incited furors, but airport operations? On 9-11 terrorists didn't use the NYSE or ships to perpetrate their nefarious plans. There are citizens with unique skills/backgrounds able to shed beneficial light on happenings, issues or questionable dealings. That government, political experts and members of the media want this curtailed or discredited means several things. We could be shedding light where they don't want it or are messing with their gravy train. My blogger's opinion, it's "some of both." While post quality may vary from piece to piece on my three sites, they're all free. If you choose to peruse for opinion, commentary or actual news find my contributions at:

Ari's Freedom Switch (95 posts)
PEU Report (150 posts)
State of the Division (1500 posts)