The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 2/5

July 10, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, individual freedom of expression does not exist in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution only protects the opinions of citizens from persecution by the government. There is no freedom of speech in the schools or in business.

Speak out of line at work, and you may soon be out of a job without a paycheck to buy food or pay rent.

Defy a teacher by saying something that disrupts the learning environment, and you may find yourself in trouble and removed from the classroom or school.

Bully someone on the Internet, and you may end up in court and then in jail.

Slander someone publicly and get sued.

It’s easy to imagine a bumper sticker saying, “Go Ahead and Make My Day. Slander Me in Public and on the Internet.”

In addition, if you believe the American media is pure of heart and honest to a “T” since it is  protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, you are mistaken and out of touch with reality.

Cornell University Law School says, The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. [that is it!]”

In addition, nowhere does it say anything about honesty and accuracy in reporting the news or expressing opinions. However, the United States attempted to remedy this with the Fairness Doctrine in 1949, which died under President Reagan and when President George H. W Bush threatened to veto the Fairness Doctrine if Congress attempted to bring it back.

I majored in journalism and earned a BA in that field.  I then taught high school journalism in addition to English. Over the years, I learned that what the media reports is rife with mistakes and bias.  In fact, soon after President Reagan vetoed and killed the Fairness Doctrine, conservative talk radio was born, which is 100% biased and often misleading.

Continued on July 11, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 3 or return to  Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3/4

May 9, 2012

For another example of restrictions of freedom of speech in the United States, in times of war there may be reasons to restrict US First Amendment rights because of conflicts with national security.

We also do not have a constitutional right to tell lies that damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization and obscene materials do not enjoy First Amendment protection.

In addition, distribution of information should not impede the flow of traffic or create excessive noise levels at certain times and in certain places, and the Supreme Court expressed that public school administrators ought to have the discretion to punish student speech that violates school rules and has the tendency to interfere with legitimate educational and disciplinary objectives.

In Hazelwood, the Court relied heavily on Bethel to uphold the right of school administrators to censor materials in a student-edited school paper that concerned sensitive subjects such as student pregnancy, or that could be considered an invasion of privacy…

Public schools can limit speech based on a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities or invade the rights of others and prohibit obscene or vulgar language.

Schools can also limit speech if it’s in the form of a threat. Not just any expression is a threat, though. Threats must be perceived as a threat by others; be clear and convincing, causing others to believe it will be carried out and cause other students to fear for their safety.

 
HBO Documentary of Freedom of Speech in five parts – Part 3

How about the private sector workplace?

The Chicago Tribune reported that freedom of speech at work is not protected by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, and reported, “You may be shocked to learn that a constitutionally protected freedom of speech for government workers doesn’t extend into the private-sector workplace.

“‘A private-sector employer has a lot of latitude as to what’s permitted or not with respect to political speech, or pushing any view for that matter,’ advises Brian Finucane, an attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Kansas City.”

Federal free speech protections apply only to the government. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, does not regulate private employers. However, it does come into play with respect to government employers.

Employers also may demand loyalty at the workplace. For example, an employee cannot avoid discipline in the name of free speech by being rude to customers, or by denigrating the employer’s business to customers while working.

Although the First Amendment is supposed to protect the right to speak freely without government interference and that people have the right to publish their own newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc., one of the most glaring violations of this so-called right was called McCarthyism.

What do you consider freedom and does it really exist?

Continued on May 10, 2012 in The Illusion of Freedom – Part 4 or return to The Illusion of Freedom – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Illusion of Freedom – Part 2/4

May 8, 2012

Years ago, I was having dinner in a restaurant in Westwood, California and witnessed a grimy homeless person across the street rummaging in a trash can. He found a Styrofoam container full of food and was so happy to have something to eat that he found a shady spot under a tree and rolled around on some cool grass before he started eating the found food. Freedom to him may have been having no job, not paying taxes, and not having to worry about a mortgage or rent. I’ve met homeless people that claim this is the reason they stay homeless—for the abstract sense of freedom it brings.

The last element that led me to write this series of posts was an e-mail a friend sent with a link to Carolina Journal Online.com, which reported that “State Threatens to Shut Down Nutrition Blogger.”

It seems that Steve Cooksey, an American citizen, took advantage of what he believed were his freedom of speech rights in North Carolina and blogged about beating diabetes through diet and exercise.

However, now he may face up to 120 days in jail, because in North Carolina, it is a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling,” which it seems Cooksey may have done with his Blog.

In addition, it is illegal to use the word “cure” in the United States unless the F.D.A. gives you permission.


HBO Documentary of Freedom of Speech in five parts – Part 2

“Just talking about curing an illness is literally a criminal offense, because only the F.D.A. can grant permission to use the word ‘cure’, since this word supposedly constitutes making a “medical claim”, and F.D.A. contends that anything producing a positive health effect is automatically a (“unapproved”) drug, under their regulation. This is not a hypothetical risk either. There are doctors and laymen in prison now for curing diseases.” Source: The Health Wyze Report

Freedom Forum.org asks and the answers, Does the (US) First Amendment mean anyone can say anything at any time and the answer is “NO” because the US Supreme Court rejected an interpretation of speech without limits.

Over the years, the courts decided that a few other public interests—for example, national security, justice or personal safety—override freedom of speech.

In fact, the US First Amendment does not protect statements that are uttered to provoke violence or incite illegal action, and jurisdictions may write statutes to punish verbal acts if the statutes are “carefully drawn so as not unduly to impair liberty of expression”.

If the US can restrict freedom of speech in the national interest, why can’t China? When China locks up someone, such as Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese Activist, China’s government may feel that what he is saying publicly might provoke violence or incite illegal actions.

To learn more about Chen Guangcheng and the alleged accusations made against China in his case, see NPR’s Blind Chinese Activist Reported Under U.S. Protection.

What do you consider freedom and does it really exist?

Continued on May 9, 2012 in  The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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