June 11, 2012

How's the Economy? Minder Your Own Business!

Hatched by Dafydd

Anybody remember the "minders" in Saddam Hussein's Iraq? They were government officials always standing just out of camera range during press interviews with ordinary Iraqis, observing hawklike everything was said shown. Any anti-Hussein or pro-democracy sentiment that popped up, the minders would immediately stop the interview and order the news team not to broadcast, write about, or otherwise relay that information (and generally "disappear" the interviewee); if the journalists refused to comply -- or if they pretended to comply and later broadcast it anyway -- that news agency was banned from reporting within Iraq.

But the most shameful aspect of the Iraqi minders was... news agencies agreed to those conditions and didn't even alert viewers or readers; the producers and talking heads were so greedy for access, they passively accepted Iraqi government censorship -- turning ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, Reuters, AFP, and hundreds of other broadcasters and newspapers into de facto mouthpieces for the Butcher of Baghdad, for the privilege of visiting Iraq to prance and preen and strut their celebrity before the world.

(The fledgling Fox News, to its astonishing credit -- and one maor reason its credibility and viewership grew exponentially during the late 1990s -- refused to cooperate with this fraud; it smuggled raw footage out of Iraq that the minders had banned and even managed to conduct interviews without any minders at all. For their courage, they were the first American news agency banned from Iraq. Eventually, nearly all of them were, but not until all the rest had convicted themselves of poltroonery, ignominy, and infamy.)

Well... it appears that Marx was slightly wrong when he opined that history repeats itself twice, first as tragedy, then as farce. In this case, the Obama administration skipped the tragedy stop entirely and went directly to the end-of-the-line farce:

The Labor Department has backed off a plan to force news agencies to use government-issued computers and other equipment to report on jobless reports and other key economic data, following a GOP-led House hearing this week, according to several published reports. [Actually, they just moved the start date back; so far as I can see, they still plan to do it. -- DaH]

Agency officials have said they want reporters who analyze, then write about economic reports inside their so-called “lock up” room to use U.S. computers, software and Internet lines so the government can further protect against such potential security breaches as hacking.

But the plan also resulted in cries about potential free-speech violations and the government now having computer access to news agencies.

I think I understand: The administration simply wants to "mind" what every economic reporter at the Labor Department writes -- just to make sure no secret data is leaked, of course; and also to ensure that these reporters don't "hack"... what, the Bureau of Labor Statistics databases?

Heavens, what's all the fuss? All that Barack "Big Stick" Obama and ultraliberal, unionista Labor Secretary Hilda Solis want is the ability to review reporters' stories before they're transmitted to the news agencies and make tiny changes... just to correct the record, of course. And to prevent sabotage, false reporting, and defamation of the government at such a crucial moment in the fierce urgency of now.

What could possibly go wrong?

"This proposal threatens the First Amendment," Bloomberg News Executive Editor Dan Moss said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. "The government would literally open the reporters’ notebooks."

First Amendment, shmerst amendment; we all need to speak with one voice to avoid destructive partisanship. And destructive debate, contrarian contamination, and free-market folderol. If these reporters were patriotic Americans, why should they mind being restricted to using federal-government computers to write their stories? Why all the conspiracy mongering?

Sidebar: My wife Sachi works for the federal government. Her work computer is directly connected to the Department of Defense server.

So long as Sachi's computer is physically connected to the base intranet, the IT department -- or anyone up the chain working through the IT department -- can turn her computer on or off, read any or all of the files, modify any or all files, create and delete files, install or uninstall any programs, and in fact, can simply take control of the computer and do anything IT wants. "Sachi's" computer is actually the federal government's computer, and it can monitor, alter, or take control whenever it chooses, without even telling her. (Many times she has come back from a business trip and found files, folders, and even entire applications removed or replaced -- and all her passwords deactivated, until she laboriously resets them. That's life in Big Government.)

I am quite certain that the computers in the Labor Department's "lock up" room -- the computers that Obama and Solis would require reporters to use to write and transmit their stories -- are connected to the DoL server in exactly the same way that Sachi's computer is connected to the DoD server.

What could possibly go wrong?

I suggest that Big Stick Obama had better tread softly while trampling out freedom of the press (but he won't): He has already lost much of Big Labor (the Keystone pipeline, throwing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett under the Wisconsin bus); the enviro-mental cases (treating Rio-2012 like it was just a street party, failing to implement carbon-trading or ban fracking, talking up nuclear power); the Center-Left (national-security leaking, destruction of our energy resources, foolhardy foreign policy); the anti-American, pro-radical-Islamist Left (failing to close Guantanamo Bay, continuing to fight the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- however fecklessly -- and not giving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a civilian trial); and independents (ultra-partisanship, race war, telling fairy tales about the American economy while flushing trillions of dollars down the sewer).

If the president loses what used to be called the mainstream media, who will be left to claim that Obama can cool the Earth, heal the sick, and order the tides in and out?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 11, 2012, at the time of 12:29 AM


The following hissed in response by: Eris Guy

Everyday that passes Obama resemblance to Putin increases.

The above hissed in response by: Eris Guy [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2012 7:40 AM

The following hissed in response by: badger1970

I just finished, Snow Crash, it does sound like the American franchise.

The above hissed in response by: badger1970 [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 13, 2012 10:30 AM

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