Archive for the ‘free speech’ Category

U.S. Ability to Speak Out On Human Rights in China — Tougher Every Day

March 24, 2009

China holds more U.S. debt that any other country — and will soon own more based upon the voracious borrowing of the United States.

This makes it increasingly more difficult for the Obama Administration or anyone else to get what they want from China.

When Hillary Clinton’s State Department admonishes China for any kind of human rights wrongdoing; the Chinese just laugh.

So today China said again it had no idea what restrictions were on the Internet inside China.

Yet YouTube seemed to be blocked.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was “unafraid” of the Internet — despite a mountain of evidence that China controls the internet more than any other nation. 

U.S. companies like “Google” usually go along with anything China says: the fear of losing 1.3 billion customers is a big incentive to obey China….

The fact is, that China fears the Internet very much.  And this year China has between 20 and 40 million unemployed: an economic situation many fear could spark social unrest.  Add to that many anniversaries in China this year, including one for the uprising in Tiananmen in 1989.  So China is controlling the Internet more than ever this year….

And the West can’t do a thing about that….

Tianasquare.jpg
Tiananmen Square in 1989.

See Michelle Malkin
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/24/
china-blocks-youtube-will-google-
bend-again/

Related:
 Inside China’s Fight Against Internet Addiction

China says Internet crackdown to be “long-lasting”

China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones

Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism

 Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

 Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?
.
“Unafraid” of Internet, China appears to block YouTube

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg

Advertisements

“Unafraid” of Internet, China appears to block YouTube

March 24, 2009

China is not afraid of the Internet, its Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, even as access to the popular video sharing site YouTube appeared to be blocked.

YouTube has been unavailable for users in China, which filters the Internet for content critical of Communist Party rule, since late on Monday.

“Many people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Qin said China’s 300 million Internet users and 100 million blogs showed that “China’s internet is open enough, but also needs to be regulated by law in order to prevent the spread of harmful information and for national security.”

He said he did not know about YouTube being blocked.

Access to YouTube had been spotty earlier in March, the one-year anniversary of widespread protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule.

An Internet crackdown that began in January has closed hundreds of Chinese sites, including a popular blog hosting site and several sites popular with Tibetans.

It has been described by analysts as another step in the Party’s battle to stifle dissent in a year of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the government’s bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

–Reuters

Obama’s mythical mystique of government and science and their inherent moral benevolence

March 13, 2009

Presiden Obama is now on track to federalize schools, health care, some aspects of the media, science and just about every aspect of your American life.

Alarmist?

Maybe.  You judge for yourself.

The point is: some people do not believe that federal government rules for our schools will lead to better education across the board.

Some people do not believe that government control of health care will really mean better “care.”

Some people do not believe it is time to tax coal and gas and oil companies while we harvest the wind….There might still be too much hot air in the energy/climate change discussion….

Some people no longer beliive our national intelligence system: they said there were weapons of mass destruction is Iraq, they missed the fall of the Soviet Union, they now say what about Iran and nukes and the president wanted an anti-Isreal and pro-China guy named Freeman for a key intelligence job. Politicized?  Maybe.

Some people do believe that the spending, taxing and socialist trends we are now seeing will lead to a bankrupt America with the social life the Netherlands or Sweden.

And some people suspect that when the White House Chief of Staff engineers an assault on a private American citizen speaking his mind (Rush Limbaugh) and some folks talk about  ……  free speech will be curtailed before long.

I no longer believe in the benevolence of government.  And I surely suspect trouble in the promised benevolence of science, government and stem cell research….

And I just don’t believe in the promises of Barack Obama: the post-partisan, post-racial hope-filled future was a lie….

*****************

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
March 13, 2009

Last week, the White House invited me to a signing ceremony overturning the Bush (43) executive order on stem cell research. I assume this was because I have long argued in these columns and during my five years on the President’s Council on Bioethics that, contrary to the Bush policy, federal funding should be extended to research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from discarded embryos in fertility clinics.

I declined to attend. Once you show your face at these things you become a tacit endorser of whatever they spring. My caution was vindicated.

Preident Bush had restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to cells derived from embryos that had already been destroyed (as of his speech of Aug. 9, 2001). While I favor moving that moral line to additionally permit the use of spare fertility clinic embryos, President Obama replaced it with no line at all. He pointedly left open the creation of cloned — and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived — human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts.
I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred upon conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix. Moreover, given the protean power of embryonic manipulation, the temptation it presents to science and the well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good, lines must be drawn. I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research — a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.

On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of “science” and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.

That part of the ceremony, watched from the safe distance of my office, made me uneasy. The other part — the ostentatious issuance of a memorandum on “restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making” — would have made me walk out.

Restoring? The implication, of course, is that while Obama is guided solely by science, Bush was driven by dogma, ideology and politics.

What an outrage. Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few …

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/03/12/AR20
09031202764.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/12/laughingstock-president-doom-
does-a-180-cancels-fear-mongering/

Obama’s Hope, Post-Partisan, Post-Racial Promises Were All BS

Never Wrong? U.S. Intelligence Says Iran Does Not Nave Any Highly Enriched Uranium
.
http://johnbrodigan.com/2009/03/12/epi
sode-v-the-republicans-strike-back/

Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

White House, Limbaugh Show Blurring Media and Government

January 30, 2009

As soon as President Obama was inaugurated, his White House pledged transparency and said this would be the most open and ethically correct administration ever.

Free press, unbiased sharing, fair coverage and disclosure, right?

But within hours, the White House was under attack for not honorings its transparency pledge and had apprently launched an attack of its own on Republican media giant Rush Limbaugh.

Last I heard, Rush Limbaugh was a private citizen with a radio show.  The President of the United States has to criticize him?

Ever hear of free speech?

Meanwhile, in Britain, the BBC denied it was the “Bararck Broadcasting Channel” and drew the line on unbiased reporting — and got attacked by anti-Israelis because the “BEEB” refused to air a biased Gaza charity video.

NBC never did deny it was the National Barack Channel….

Today we learn that the White House Chief of Staff has a daily phone conference call with selected members of the media — bypassing the White House communications director Robert Gibbs and the rest of the White House media.

Fair?  Balanced?  Transparent?

We aren’t talking an off the record interview with a reporter or a “Deep Throat” moment — we’re talking about the White House Chief of Staff conducting a daily round table with media opinion shapers like ABC news host George Stephanopoulos of “This Week,” frequent CNN talking head Paul Begula and James Carville.

So, President Obama and the Democratic Party were swept into power in the White House and Congress with a largely compliant if not an adoring media.  But the White House still feels the need to potentially manipulate opinion through Mr. Stephanopoulos, Mr. Begula and Mr.  Carville while they trash and attack Mr. Limbaugh.

Related:
 White House, ABC News, Media Talking Heads In Daily Conference Call?

 BBC Insists It Is Not The “Barack Broadcasting Channel”

******************

Limbaugh challenging notion of new politicsAssociated Press

 

For all the talk of new politics and a new start with a new administration, the media person who has emerged as the chief voice of opposition during the first week of Barack Obama’s presidency—Rush Limbaugh—has been doing this for 20 years.

The talk-radio titan said, days before Obama was sworn in, that he hoped Obama failed because he didn’t believe in the incoming president’s policies.

It’s kept him in the headlines ever since, to the point where MSNBC on Thursday asked: “Is Rush running the GOP?” The day before, every Republican House member voted against Obama’s economic stimulus plan, a bill Limbaugh has ridiculed as the “porkulus” plan.

“Obama was trying to marginalize me,” Limbaugh said. “His hope was that the House and Senate Republicans would join him in denouncing me. Didn’t work.”

When Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Georgia Republican, tried to praise his House leadership this week by saying it’s easy for talk-show hosts to stand back and throw bricks, the headline on the Politico Web site read: “House GOP member to Rush: Back off.” Gingrey was so bothered by the phone calls of complaints that he visited four conservative talk-show hosts, including Limbaugh, the next day to apologize.

Limbaugh, he said, was a conservative giant and one of the “voices of the conservative movement’s conscience.”

Can it get any better for a personality whose business is built on buzz?

“Rush Limbaugh is first and foremost a radio performer,” said Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade journal Talkers magazine, which notes that Limbaugh has been the most listened-to talk-show host since at least the mid-1990s. “He’s not a political leader. He doesn’t make more money by turning elections. He only exists to gather large audiences and raise more advertising revenue and he does it terrifically.”

(Limbaugh is heard on some 600 radio stations across the country, and more than 14 million people listen to him at least once a week.)

Yet count columnist Michael Wolff, writing in the Huffington Post, as one who believes Limbaugh is “being played.”

He could prove valuable to the president, who has sought bipartisan support for many of his plans and romanced Republicans in his first week in office. Being able to point to an opponent like Limbaugh could help him with the millions of Americans for whom the message of ending partisan bickering rang true on Election Day.

Obama even cited Limbaugh in seeking support for his economic plans.

“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he said. “There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats. We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”

A liberal advocacy group, Americans United for Change, said Friday it was using Limbaugh’s words in radio ads it was launching against three Republican senators: Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Ensign of Nevada. The ads, supporting Obama’s economic plan, urges voters in those states to call their senator and “tell him he represents you, not Rush Limbaugh.”

Wolff wrote that he believed the dinner Obama had with conservative columnists before his inauguration was a pointed snub to Limbaugh.

“He’s tried to make it out to be a political point ever since,” he wrote, “but mostly he sounds like a guy who’s hurt he didn’t get invited to the hot party.”

Asked about Wolff’s comments, Limbaugh said, “Who?”

Read the rest:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.ph
p?id=D961JE5G0&show_article=1

Seoul Cracks Down on an Internet Financial Guru

January 24, 2009

South Korea might be one of the most wired places in the world, but it’s not necessarily the most Internet friendly. Park Dae Sung, 31, an unemployed blogger now finds himself in hot water for allegedly being “Minerva,” a web guru who posted his thoughts on the state of the economy and the government’s economic policies. Those thoughts generated huge attention in Korea, particularly following Minerva’s prediction that Lehman Brothers would fail. Those musings, however, have not sat well with Seoul. Now Park has been taken into custody by the government and, according to his lawyer, faces a maximum five-year prison sentence for allegedly spreading false information with the intention of harming or threatening public interest. Late last week, Park was denied bail.

Read the rest from Time Magazine:
http://www.time.com/time/world/
article/0,8599,1873346,00.html

China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones

January 21, 2009

China has extended a crackdown on electronic porn to the country’s mobile phones, after shutting down 1,250 websites because of their explicit content, the official Xinhua agency said Wednesday.

“We will incorporate ‘lewd’ messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown,” the report quoted a joint notice from the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Culture and five other government offices saying.

China promised last week that the campaign, which was launched in early January, will be no “flash in the pan.”

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 

Over 40 people have been detained for disseminating porn on the Internet, and over 3 million “items of online information” have been deleted, the report said.

Google, Baidu and other major websites have also been given a public dressing down for not being quick enough to wipe out targeted content, and outspoken blogging portals shut down for posting “politically harmful information.”

The Internet crackdown has been described by analysts as another step in the Communist Party‘s battle to stifle dissent in a year of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the government’s bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Tianasquare.jpg
Tiananmen Square in 1989.

(Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani for Reuters)

Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?

Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism

January 21, 2009

It came as no surpirse to China watchers that the Communist government of the  nation most interested in censoring the media and Internet, chopped sections out of President Barack Obama’s first speech as Commander in Chief before it was distributed by state media services….

*****

The official Chinese translation of President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was missing his references to communism and dissent, while a live broadcast on state television Wednesday quickly cut away to the anchor when the topic was mentioned.

The comments by the newly installed U.S. president veered into politically sensitive territory for China’s ruling Communist Party, which maintains a tight grip over the Internet and the entirely state-run media. Beijing tolerates little dissent and frequently decries foreign interference in its internal affairs.

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

At one point, Obama said earlier generations “faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.” He later addressed “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent — know that you are on the wrong side of history.”

The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word “communism” in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.

The censored version was carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and posted on popular online portals Sina and Sohu. Another portal, Netease, used a version without the paragraph mentioning communism, but retaining the part about dissent.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090121/ap_
on_re_as/as_inauguration_china_obama;_
ylt=AtPfWDN5.Yt_Tr.xTHKS.tdvaA8F

Thailand Makes Arrest For “Insulting” Royal Family, Cracks Down on Internet, Free Speech

January 20, 2009

Harry Nicolaides wrote a book four years ago that only sold four copies.  In it, buried, was a slight insilt to the Royal Family of Thailand.

Nicolaides, an Australian, is now under arrest and in jail in Thailand and the government is cracking down on free speech everywhere including on the Internet…..

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” he said. “It’s been an ordeal for months. It feels like a bad dream.”

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok. ... 
Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok. A jail term handed down to an Australian for insulting Thailand’s royals is a “serious violation” of free expression and part of a worrying increase in such cases, a media rights watchdog said.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

*****

By Tim Johnston in Bangkok
The Financial Times

An Australian author has been sentenced in Thailand to three years in jail after he pleaded guilty to charges of insulting the country’s royal family.

Harry Nicolaides, 41, fell foul of Thailand’s draconian lèse majesté laws, designed to protect King Bhumibol Aduladej and his family.

Four years ago Mr Nicolaides self-published 50 copies of his novel Verisimilitude , selling only seven. Buried deep within the plot, set in Thailand, was a short passage that portrayed the private life of an unnamed crown prince in unflattering terms.

Harry Nicolaides behind the bars of a Thai holding cell on Monday.

Harry Nicolaides behind the bars of a Thai holding cell on Monday.

He was arrested in August and has spent the past five months on remand in Bangkok. Mr Nicolaides did not contest the charges. In previous cases similar to this the king has pardoned culprits.

Even though Thailand’s revered king has said publicly that he does not need the lèse majesté laws, they have proved too useful to be discarded by opportunistic politicians for whom they serve both as a political tool to prove their loyalty and as a weapon against their opponents.

The king and his family are formally above the country’s partisan politics, but King Bhumibol was dragged into the political debate last year by protesters who besieged government offices and Bangkok’s two airports. The protesters said they aimed to protect the king, while seeking the resignation of the then ruling party.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8f6a6f16-e6
92-11dd-8e4f-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/
asiapcf/01/19/thai.jail/index.html

Obama and The Press: “Dismissive, Aloof, Contrived”

January 13, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama’s encouters with the media lack a certain “Je ne sais quoi.”  Something seems missing.

Oh, I know what it is: an attacking press corps and a responsive, extemporaneous, dare we say honest public official.

One member of the press who travels with Mr. Obama (and didn’t want his name used) said that the president-elect can be “dismissive, aloof and contrived.”

Others have noticed too.

Chicago Sun-Times writer Carol Marin has recently written:

As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.

The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.

Group: China fails to improve human rights in 2008

January 13, 2009

China failed to enact democratic reforms in 2008 despite promises to do so, a private democracy watchdog organization said Tuesday.

The statement from the Washington, D.C.-based Freedom House came as the group unveiled its 2009 “Freedom in the World,” report, an analysis on levels of freedom in almost 200 countries around the globe.

By DEBBY WU, Associated Press Writer

Asia researcher Sarah Cook called China’s progress toward freedom in 2008 “disappointing,” particularly following its promises to expand opportunities for free expression in connection with the holding of the summer Olympics.

“There were restrictions on Internet access even after there was some opening of that when the Games first began, and … a lot of attacks and incidents of foreign journalists arrested,” Cook said. “Meanwhile, local journalists continue to face a very difficult environment, including arrests.”

Tuesday was the first time Freedom House publicized its annual report in Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its territory despite the fact the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

Tianasquare.jpg
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen uprising in Beijing

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090113/ap_o
n_re_as/as_taiwan_democracy_report_1