Wednesday, January 27, 2016

foolish consistency

In a direct response to the loss of her poll leads in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary to the Sanders campaign, Hilary Clinton today made a surprise announcement in a crowded press conference.

"For too long, professional politicians like Senator Sanders have taken contradictory positions on some of our most basic entitlements in the Bill of Rights. That is stopping today.

"In the spirit of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle to build real solutions for real problems suffered by real people, I am today announcing a major initiative to register and license all news reporters. 

"Some of America's most creative ideas come from citizen politicians (such as myself).  State Representative Mike Pitts of South Carolina (one of the patriotic states where this Democratic nomination will be decided, rather than by the elites of Iowa and New Hampshire) has proposed a fascinating idea to resolve the problem of irresponsible journalism. 

"His proposal would require journalists in South Carolina to apply for registration on a "responsible journalist registry." The South Carolina Secretary of State's office would operate the registry which would be funded by fees from the journalists. Failing to register or acting irresponsibly would incur fines and criminal penalties.

"We have already seen how an irresponsible press can distort democracy. The only people who believe our campaign could possibly lose in Iowa or New Hampshire are the plutocrats of the press who spread lies about polling data and stampede good American citizens to act unpatriotically when they cast their ballots. 

"Well, someone has to put an end to this. And, if I am elected president, that is exactly what I intend to do.

"When I am president, we will establish a National American Responsible Correspondents (NARC) registry to be administered jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Council. It will have several elements -- that should sound familiar to you from other of my policy positions.

"The registry will make all journalists subject to background checks. There will be no writers' conference loopholes. Anyone who puts opinion to paper, will be required to have a background check -- and to be included on the registry. The registry will be open for inspection by all law enforcement officials with an eye to preventing dangerous people from wielding their irresponsible opinions.

"We have learned in other areas designed to prevent injury to the public that a slow background check by the government should not reward potentially dangerous people. If the government does not timely complete a background check, the journalist will be prevented from reporting.  Putting the blame for irresponsible journalism on government inaction is simply blaming the victim.

"The registry must be universal. 'Journlaist' will be defined broadly, by executive order, to include anyone who offers an opinion -- whether in print or orally. The shocking ruse of using Facebook to circulate false stories is coming to an end.

"All statutes, regulations, and Supreme Court decisions that place restrictions on libel suits merely because the person defamed is a public official will be ignored. Just because someone has a family with dicey personal problems does not give the public the right to air dirty linen.

"And here is where the rubber hits the road. If anyone files an irresponsible story or fails to resister, the offender will be subject to a fine of $10,000 and a term of imprisonment in a journalist reeducation camp for up to 69 years -- for each violation or contemplated violation.

"Some of you may wonder if this program somehow violates the First Amendment. Before you journalists start whining -- and remember, 'journalist' will have a very broad definition -- you might want to look at my proposals on gun control. If they do not violate the Second Amendment, then this proposal does not violate the First Amendment.

"I am not going to take any questions. I suggest that the reporters in the audience should sit quietly in their chairs and consider what they have done to bring all of this down on all of our heads.

"On to Sioux City."

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