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Tell It Like It Is


The Day Freedom Dies




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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
June 21, 2011 | 1343 views | 1 comment

Harlingen, Texas, June 21, 2011: It was 38 years ago that a group of journalist acquaintances gathered in my Manila, Philippines hotel room to tell me about the arrest of another friend who had written with disfavor about the Marcos government. They were not even allowed to visit or correspond with him in any way. These writers also showed me how newspapers and television presented events in their country that was living under martial law. Nothing reflecting disfavor of the government could be printed or voiced.

Now we fast forward to this morning’s newspaper in the Lone Star State;

The lead editorial reports on this week’s comments by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He has stated the Obama Administration will no longer allow industry related groups to fund or publish safety-related studies on offshore drilling and pipelines. The rationale behind such action is explained by saying that most of these studies are viewed skeptically because of ties to the oil industry. What LaHood does not say is industry studies are usually overly careful in their examination of such matters because they know the studies will be viewed with a jaundiced eye.

Most other safety related pipeline or environmental reports and studies have originated with the federal government or from restriction and regulation oriented environmental appointees. Those who accept the findings of these government-funded studies, but reject those industry-backed efforts must be among the most naive people on the planet. Each of these groups has a specific agenda. However, the industry studies and reports are presented knowing the full power of the federal government will call them into question, thus they are very studious about getting everything very detailed and correct to a fault.

But none of this is really new. Most people know the federal government tries to bully its way through just about any contentious issue. What was scary about the LaHood comments is, if he is to be believed -- even efforts of the industry or the media to verify the accuracy of government reports will become illegal. This would make it next to impossible for the oil industry to gather information or verify the accuracy of anything in a government report.

American citizens are very familiar with how the government will cherry-pick bits of information to prove its assumptions, while at the same time completely ignore any material that might weaken the case it is attempting to sell the general public. If it becomes illegal to examine that same material and report the findings in print or electronically, we have reached the point where we have the beginning of government censorship. It could be argued that this would be only step one leading to total censorship of any matter deemed to be in the government interest.

We have already witnessed the restrictions on information that originated with the laws enacted following the terrorist attacks on that fateful day of 9-11-01. We see more stonewalling in the months to years it takes to pry loose government documents under the Freedom of Information Act. If the comments of Secretary LaHood prove to be valid, this is another step on the road to establishing an authoritarian government that stifles all discent and we could all soon be witness to the day freedom dies.

Semper Fidelis
 
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The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
June 24, 2011 10:19am
 
 
The media should be up in arms over this dictatorial ruling. What happened to free speach? This administration is removing constitutional rights and apparently getting away ... Read More Read More
 

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