Thursday, July 08, 2010

'Controversial opinions' make for bad TSA employees ~ By Brad O'Leary

Brad O'Leary contemplates on the new TSA internet use policy that was instituted back on July 1, 2010, and quickly revised less than a week later. This commentary, combined with Phil Elmore's column (see in the RELATED STORIES list below), leads me to one certain conclusion: The Democrats will attempt to silence their critics, however they can, in order to stay in power. We should all be aware by now that the Obama power structure, pretty much a blueprint of the tactics used in Chicago-style politics, is based on silencing any critics, or at the very least, attempting to discredit them (as Obama learned in Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals.").

But the last thing the Obama minions would want to happen is rebellion against what the administration is attempting to do, as Brad points out very well. They can't have the government employees accessing information that may lead them to question what they are being told to do (and I probably just made this blog banned on most government-run websites!).

I know, some of my readers will probably say that I'm just beating a dead horse, being that the less-than-one-week-old TSA policy has already been rescinded. But as I pointed out in my intro to Elmore's column, we have to stay vigilant whenever we encounter a government attempt to control information. Just sayin'...

Democrats' petty tyrannies ~ By Phil Elmore
Big Sis blowing off ban on 'controversial opinion'

Upon taking office, President Obama famously promised that his would be the most "transparent" administration in history. Here's yet another opportunity for him to make good on this promise. He should simply make public a list of all the websites TSA blocked its employees from viewing.

Wise readers won't hold their breath waiting for this list to materialize.
By Brad O'Leary

Posted: July 08, 2010 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

It's true that many private companies and federal agencies block employee access to websites deemed either inappropriate or unnecessary for conducting business. Such policies often make sense, as the Internet, for all its time-saving capabilities, can also be a huge temptation and time-waster.

So, what to make of the recent news that employees at the Transportation Security Administration were blocked, as of July 1, from accessing any websites that fall into the following categories: "Chat/messaging; Criminal activity; Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content; Gaming; and Controversial opinion."

You can certainly make the case that siphons of our hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't be frittering away the day instant-messaging friends, learning how to make bombs, viewing celebrity autopsy photos or playing Pac-Man … but what is "controversial opinion"? What falls into that category? The Drudge Report? Fox News? WorldNetDaily? Any website that dares question or publish criticism of the logic behind the Obama administration's policy decisions?

It's worth pointing out that pornography doesn't make the list of banned websites. This is perhaps due to sensitivity on the part of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, showing deference to the well-known favorite pastime of federal "workers."

Yesterday, TSA announced that it's backing off the plan to block "controversial opinion" sites, no doubt because of intense media scrutiny. But still, why did TSA venture down this road in the first place? Lacking a detailed explanation from Napolitano or anyone at TSA, we're left to speculate as to what "controversial opinion" websites they wanted to blacklist – and why.

In my book, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech," I chronicle episodes where President Obama displayed incredibly thin skin at the slightest criticism – such as when his campaign tried to bully Chicago radio station WGN in barring two authors, who were Obama critics, from receiving any airtime.

In her short tenure, Obama's hand-picked security chief has displayed a similar penchant for using power to silence critics – most notably when her Homeland Security Department released a report labeling gun owners, Christians and limited-government advocates "right-wing extremists" and "potential terrorists" who ought to be closely monitored.

And just a few weeks ago, Napolitano declared that the federal government needs the ability to monitor Americans' Internet communications to fight homegrown terrorism.

"We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances," she said. "At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable." Ben Franklin, arguably a deeper thinker than Napolitano, warned of just such a foolish trade-off.


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