Tag Archives: John Trudel

Via John Trudel: The Epic Fail Of King John (Kitzhaber)

Before there was King Barack Hussein Obama, there was Kitzhaber, King John of Oregon. But it’s the same story, writ small.

Shared by John Trudel, but written by one of his friends who wishes to remain anonymous.

Image Credit: The Oregonian
Image Credit: The Oregonian

Here is a great postmortem on the Epic Fail of King John’s Marxism in Oregon, just in. I hope there will soon be one written for the Epic Fail of King Obama’s Alinsky communism in America.

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV

Once again the immorality of the earth worshipers raises its evil head in Oregon as a Governor gets caught with his hand in the $olar cookie jar. Fortunately, thanks to the corruption of the Democrat Party activists in the state media they were able to divert his guilt long enough to get him re-elected for his 4th term beginning last month and keep the seat safe. Now they have a Stalinist in place of this Leninist who will maintain his graft and corruption schemes for another decade or two. Welcome to Moscow on the Willamette.

John Kitzhaber was Governor beginning twenty years ago when he used his Robert Redford looks to win the election after election with the ladies and maintained it then for two four year terms. He was as he called it a failed Governor taking the state from the middle of the pack to near the bottom in every category you could measure. His economic programs were to protect the spotted owl and closing state forests to proper management and running the lumber industry pretty much out of the state. Now those lumber towns have around a 30% unemployment rate with all of the drug, divorce and addiction issues that go along with them.

Once he completed his two terms he changed his occupation, but not his passion which was damaging the forest industry and renewable energy. During the eight year hiatus from Governor he struck up a relationship with another dirt worshiper who had a smalltime renewable energy company in Bend Oregon. Cylvia Hayes owned a pretty shaky operation from the start that specialized in solar energy. She has always been money hungry and even talked one of her boyfriends into investing into a pot growing operation that failed and nearly was arrested. She is an attractive woman who sells her assets to the highest bidder and when she met this John she saw a sugar daddy she could not pass up. He divorced his 2nd wife who he has a son with and they became a couple destined for the high lifestyle of Salem Oregon.

Once he regained the Governorship they became the consummate corrupt politicians. Using the smokescreen of Global Warming he began fleecing the state with a fury. Like all Dems in this state he thought he was being cute by funneling it through his spouse so he could keep his hands clean. She set herself up as a lobbyist while working out of the Governor’s office and even had business cards printed as the State First Lady even though they were simply shacking up. He was a huge proponent of solar and wind energy to protect mother earth and satisfy all of the dirt worshipers in Portlandia. These companies all lost money like Solyndra, but the Dems were able to deflect the blame from Kitzhaber since he was a Marxist just like them and needed to make Oregon more Marxist.

The interesting part of Oregon is that although it is considered a very liberal state, once you leave the twenty mile circumference of Portland the rest of the state is very conservative. Like most western states outside of California, the vast majority of the land mass is either independent or conservative it is simply overwhelmed by all of the gummit workers in P-Town.

The only reason they are able to maintain their Soviet model is the Repubs are so inept they cannot offer a decent alternative. This election they ran 120 year old man who tried to mirror Romney right down to being a Mormon who would not go on offense. He was so bad, like Romney in the final debate he was Mr. Nice and actually read his final statement of why he should be elected off his laptop. He couldn’t even come up with a reason why he was running so why should the voters.

So Kitzhaber sailed to victory, but a funny thing happened as they left the coronation, one of the communist rebel newspapers actually did its job. The Willamette Weekly which is the most liberal paper in the state was the only newspaper that stayed on the story through the entire campaign and forced the floundering Oregonian to cover parts of it. The shoes began to fall and then a boot fell out when it was reported his fiancée did not report $180,000 in fees from a renewable energy firm on her taxes. All of the sudden tax evasion became something even people in Portland could understand and then his attempts to destroy evidence was revealed and jail time became a real possibility so the Party deserted him and he had to resign.

This is the problem when you have Marxists in control of your state for thirty years. They are the party of relativism and hate the Bible with all of its antiquated rules. These are fundamental cultists of the earth which gives them a sense of well being, but no moral direction. They simply make it up as they go and cover every lie or theft with moral justification. This Party has been in power for so long they have written all of the rules and laws to maintain their control so he believed he was a protected class and would get away with it. The problem he ran into is he did not want to report her tax returns to the elections board and so they hid the income from the people, but that type of income is going to be reported on the other side and eventually will be revealed and was.

This is what happens when you do not have Christians or God leading your leaders’ lives. Oh they may look and sound cool with their Robert Redford mustache, hair and blue jeans, but under that façade is a lie. He had no problem leaving his wife and kid for a younger wife to match his youthful looks, since she was hot for him and why not? He was able to kick business her way since it was helping the environment or saving the earth. After a while he was saving the earth more and more while Oregonians were losing jobs and money in his boondoggles.

One windmill farm in Eastern Oregon cost Oregonians over fifty million dollars. Finally, he was making so much money in his little scratchy, scratchy system he could not launder the money fast enough and finally they were caught by the IRS. Now he is going to join some of his friends from big Chicago.

John Kitzhaber is the perfect symbol of a radical environmentalist. He worships a man god cult which all of the rules are made by man. He believes man is a god and he is godlike so he makes the rules. The problem is man is evil and will do things that are evil to satisfy the flesh. He of course is all about the environment and satisfying his needs which became more craven until he could not maintain his cravings for money and the hot younger wife. He believed his gods would satisfy and found they simply made him more and more empty, so now he is simply a hollow shell on his way to a very ugly trial. The Cinderella wedding and a final ride into the sunset have been upset by a collapsed bridge and a tumble into the Columbia.

God is good, all the time and all the time God is good in his time. So much of this godless Marxism is being exposed that there may be an opening for his power to be revealed to his second favorite land, America. Oregon is America starting to change and this small state is taking a huge step in that direction.

Pray America is waking

John Trudel is a high tech entrepreneur, writer and novelist and spends his time in Oregon and Arizona. He’s an unofficial member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce. See what he’s working on at JohnTrudel.com 

Why didn’t the FBI Director mention The Khorasan Group in his terror assessment?

The FBI Director takes swipe at Portland for its failure to fully embrace the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

0621_james-comey

The head of the FBI Director James Comey says, as the top counterterrorism cop in America, two things concern him:

The first is the phenomenon of ‘the traveler’ from the United States and Western Europe especially to conflict zones where the progeny of Al Qaeda have flourished in lightly governe or ungoverned spaces in North Africa, throughout the Gulf, the Horn of Africa–especially today in Syria and Iraq. We’ve seen the blossoming of a couple of the Al Qaeda progeny, one you know well, ISIL, the other group called Al Nusra Front.

The other, he said, was home grown radicalization. An example of that kind of terrorist is the case of the Christmas Tree bomber, Mohamed Mohamud, who has just been sent to federal prison for 30 years for the plot that was, thank God, intercepted by the FBI.

There a couple of interesting things about Comey’s comments at a Portland news conference last Wednesday (HT The Zero for the video below). For one thing, he mentioned the need for local cops to participate in JTTFs because they’re likely the first to become aware of bad actors. This was either a swipe at or a plea to Portland’s leaders to fully embrace the JTTF, notwithstanding that yet ANOTHER Portland mayor, Charlie Hales, doesn’t qualify for a top secret clearance.

Portland’s on again, off again relationship with the JTTF is a running joke. The City Council is worried about civil rights violations, an understandable concern, but, in a town that has produced more home grown terrorists than any other so far (Can you think of another one? Minneapolis, maybe?)  you’d think they’d at least want to be a full partner on the task force to keep track of these bad guys so, oh, I don’t know, they’d STOP HIRING terrorists!  No wonder author John Trudel calls Portland a Soft Target in one of his recent spy thrillers.

In JTTF’s latest report, which the Council reluctantly received and then scrubbed from its website, Police Chief Mike Reese confirmed local cops did work with FBI officials,

On “at least one case of suspected domestic terrorism.”

Oh, is that all? Why is this not front page news? Oh, that’s right. It’s Portland. Just keeping it weird. 

Back to the FBI Chief. In his recitation of “Al Qaeda progeny”, Comey didn’t mention The Khorasan Group. This is quite interesting to me. The president made up the name so as not have to admit he hasn’t “decimated” “destroyed” “core” Al Qaeda. You read that right. That group? Made up. They’re all Zawahiri’s buddies who are there to help their friends in the Al Nusra Front. Remember Zawahiri? “Core” Al Qaeda.

As terrorist prosecutor and author Andy McCarthy writes in National Review,

The Obama administration portrayed the abruptly emergent “Khorasan Group” as if it were a standalone terrorist organization — a jihadist-combat entity targeting the United States. In reality, the threat the administration was talking about was from al-Qaeda. The administration does not like to admit that al-Qaeda is still a formidable enemy because President Obama has made a habit of falsely claiming to have defeated it. That is why we are hearing about the “Khorasan Group.”

Why did Comey not name them as an Al Qaeda group? Is he peddling the fiction this group isn’t Al Qaeda? We look to these people to keep us safe, not safe from the truth.

Perhaps the more important question is why Comey didn’t announce them as a threat. Remember, they were supposedly plotting an “imminent attack” against the west–us!–which was why we had to bomb them…or something. Comey mentioned two groups, ISIL and Al Nusra Front, but not The Khorasan Group. 

Andy McCarthy observes,

As Mr. [Eli] Lake points out, “U.S. officials have walked back claims in the last week that the strikes on the Khorasan Group were an attempt to disrupt an imminent threat.” Moreover, I have contended that the administration had a motive to exaggerate the threats as “imminent.” A president is not required to seek congressional authorization in order to respond militarily to threats of imminent attack. Obama did not want to ask Congress’s approval. Doing so would have launched a potentially embarrassing examination of (a) the president’s claims to have defeated al-Qaeda, and (b) the fact that the “moderate rebels” Obama proposes to aid in Syria work arm-in-arm with al-Qaeda.

So how did a group the Administration insisted over and over was an imminent threat not get mentioned by the FBI Chief? 

Politics–local and national–dictates how safe we are.  Here we go again. Gown up.

Are Bloggers “Journalists?” GOVERNMENT Federal Shield Law May Decide. VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce Weighs In.

We're all Thomas Paine now.
We’re all Thomas Paine now.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could pick and choose your opponents? Like boxing managers in some smoky room in Vegas deciding who would get the next shot at the heavyweight title, your opponent would be hand selected based on what you, the champ, believed would best serve your needs. 

In a sense, the Obama Administration proposes much the same arrangement with news coverage.  President Obama has asked Senator Chuck Schumer to reintroduce federal Journalist Shield Law legislation. 

In the age of Wikileaks and Ed Snowden, President Obama is understandably concerned about people leaking government secrets. You know, like the New York Times leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.  

The shield law would allow a journalist a get-out-of-jail free card if they refuse to reveal a source of a story. But there’s a catch.  Government would decide who qualifies as a “journalist” and leave the seriousness of a journalistic transgression up to a judge to decide. The government would presume to separate the legit journalists from the non journalists.

And that puts Barack Obama in the role of Don King. 

As conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg puts it,

Journalism isn’t a priestly caste or professional guild with special rights. It is an activity we all have a right to partake in. Whether it’s a blogger with a virtual tip jar exposing malfeasance or 60 Minutes making fraudulent charges about George W. Bush, there will always be good journalism and bad journalism.

I was a working journalist for years and now I am a blogger. What changed? The person who paid me. The last time this law was considered, bloggers were left off the list of government-approved journalists and it looks like Senator Diane Feinstein wants to keep it that way in the bill’s latest iteration, 

“I can’t support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I’m not going to go there,” she said.

Thomas Paine was a blogger of his day. Would the pamphleteer who wrote Common Sense make the cut in DiFi’s world? 

Journalism is done for the public good, but it is a private activity. What role does the government have at all in this private activity?

Goldberg lasers in on a fundamental flaw in the logic behind this shield law. Lawmakers have forgotten that the First Amendment covers other things besides a ‘free press,’ 

It also protects free speech, free assembly, freedom of worship and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. We all have these rights. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist.

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist.

It’s possible lawmakers have the same deliberate misunderstanding of the First Amendment as they do of the Second. Rights are accorded every individual citizen, not just government approved subsets of people they call ‘journalists’ or ‘militias.’  With that in mind, I’ve asked the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce and others to weigh in on this issue. The following are their essays from their own perspectives.  

Journalist Shield Laws–A VERY BAD IDEA

Novelist John D. Trudel

What our President and some Republican cronies are attempting to do with this legislation is evil. They seek to exploit public outrage and endless rolling crisis (Obama’s “phony scandals”) to attack and erase our basic Unalienable, God-Given Constitutional rights. “We all have these rights. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist,” says blogger Jonah Goldberg.

NSA is turning America into a “Total Surveillance State,” a “Prison without walls.” DOJ is lying to judges and committees while bugging reporters and Congress. IRS and many other Federal agencies are being used as political attack dogs, and NOT just against the TEA Parties, against companies like Gibson Guitar, non-profits like True the Vote, and, yes, against journalists and writers. We also have the Benghazi, Extortion 17, and Syria cover-ups. Who dares speak against this? Where is Paul Revere?

The media has totally failed in its traditional 4th Estate role. It has moved beyond bias to being an integral part of Team Obama, a propaganda arm with financial and family connections. The old media is no longer trusted, declining, and becoming irrelevant.

New networks are emerging, from Fox to The Blaze, part of a return to grass roots journalism with powerful new technology. Instead of Thomas Paine and his pamphlets, we now have legions of bloggers, writers, PACs, and informal networks, most of us seeking to spread truth, each in our own way. America is seeing a new awakening. The embers of freedom still burn.

This threatens Washington insiders, the power elites in both parties. They don’t want to face investigations, arrests, and impeachments. Instead of enforcing existing laws, they seek to pass new laws and empower bureaucracies to ration freedom and circumvent the Constitution.

The proposed “Shield Laws” are just one more attempt to create classes of Government Given Rights to favor insiders and to replace the God Given Rights endowed to ALL Americans by our Creator.

The proposed “Shield Laws” are just one more attempt to create classes of Government Given Rights to favor insiders and to replace the God Given Rights endowed to ALL Americans by our Creator. Obama’s “Soft Tyranny” is growing fangs and claws. Our rights come from God, not from any government, and we cede these at our peril. “Those who seek safety by giving up Liberty will wind up with neither.”

It is an interesting time to be a Thriller novelist. My last novel, Privacy Wars, won three national awards, predicted the NSA and IRS scandals, and is getting more discussion in political groups than in bookstores. My next book, Soft Target, has a SPEC OPS storyline.  I don’t even HAVE a blog yet. I’ve planned to start one as my Email lists are badly overloaded, but if we have government control of public speech, it is game over. Not just for bloggers, for all of us, and for the America we love.

[I]f we have government control of public speech, it is game over. Not just for bloggers, for all of us, and for the America we love.

“Share” if you want our politicians to start respecting the Constitution! Send them a message here: http://bit.ly/1doWd52.  John Trudel is a novelist and thinker. Find his work here: www.johntrudel.com

 

We’re All Journalists

Dan Sandini

Citizen Journalist, Dan Sandini: So by way of introduction I’m Dan Sandini, a double Masters with top grades and 20 years in tech and finance.  Came from nothing except three squares, a roof, and parents who loved and cared about about me.  After retiring self-made at 42, I saw Breitbart give a speech on YouTube and became a Citizen Journalist.  I’m lousy at all aspects of it, but was good and persistent enough to help expose the reality of Occupy, meet Breitbart and contribute to his movie Occupy Unmasked.

I want to say that it is my belief that all Citizens of the United States of America are, and should be considered Journalists.  I’ve learned that the truth is no one story.  That each of us as Americans, even when seeking to to offer “just the facts,”  offer unique perspectives.  Only with a collective perspective, available to all other Citizens, can we as a society form a consensus of what reality is, and thereby make the right decisions forward as a nation.  I have seen Blacks the target of racism, and have the act ignored by the reporters of every mainstream media outlet in the city in the interest of political expediency.  Without one brave TEA Party Mom with a cell phone camera, the truth would still be unknown.  But thanks to her:  the truth is undeniable.

Thomas Paine said:  “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”

Further, without having any formal education in philosophy or history, I have an innate sense that we humans are extremely special beings, all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable Rights, including our freedom to report the news as we see it.  This Right has been protected from legislators such as yourselves under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Thomas Paine said:  “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”  Please do not let history record that it happened under your watch.

Dan Sandini is a Citizen Journalist. Find his work here: http://www.youtube.com/user/daylightdisinfectant

 

Shielding the Police Journalist 

by Bernie Giusto

Nothing is more threatening to United States law enforcement’s ability to protect our free society than artificially limiting freedom of speech.

Nothing is more threatening to United States law enforcement’s ability to protect our free society than artificially limiting freedom of speech.

Agents of the FBI, Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, State Troopers, Deputies and police officers in general have long relied on the right to engage anyone, in the court protected Fourth Amendment use of the force principle known ,”Mere Conversation.” Courts have long protected that principle with or without a specific purpose for the conversation. The freedom to ask questions, interpret the answer, and publish those exchanges in police documents as a part of the public record (available to a free press) is the check and balance courts have set out as the most fail-safe method limiting the abuse of the freedom of expression of an over ambitious law enforcement agenda.  First and foremost,  the courts have protected the right of law enforcement to be journalists undefined by law, with the right to ask and the purpose to inform of a crime past or a clear and present danger that may await.
 First and foremost,  the courts have protected the right of law enforcement to be journalists undefined by law, with the right to ask and the purpose to inform of a crime past or a clear and present danger that may await.

When Congress redefines Free Speech by defining a “journalist” with the purpose of limiting who is protected for sharing views, the real danger is not who is included in this newly created clique but who is left. The basis of police writings are nothing more than written observations informed by events which are often subject to the individual interpretation by individual “police” journalists. We not only allow, but courts have extolled the social virtues of, allowing police officers to lie to bad guys in order to get to the truth of a potential or actual criminal act to protect (the predefined) good guys. Eventually, both the lie and truth it may or may not extract become part of these journalistic observations. We trust that this creative fiction serves a greater interest, but even more, we trust that protecting the right of these “sworn citizen journalists” is a social necessity. The observations that lead to those lies to get to the truth are necessities worth protecting. These journalists may be summoned to court to validate the fiction, but most often they are not. These cop journalists are given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, we praise their results even if the cop had to lie to get to the truth. 

So it would lead this long-time “police” journalist to conclude that when Congress sets about redefining who gets protection for their journalistic creativity and who does not, it is defining what has social value and what does not. Congress could keep redefining what ‘value’ is and the rationale to decide. Congress could someday decide to end protection police journalists have for what they observe and record. Congress could decide to end the practice of allowing a cop to lie to get to the truth, saying that we are no longer allowed to judge the value of the lie but only experience the result of the lie on the public record and in the public consciousness. If that happens, we have gone way past “In God We Trust.”  Instead, we will have completely forsaken one of our founding principles on which free speech was born, “…[T]hat these truths are held to be self evident.”  I wonder if they meant “…but only as viewed by Congress.

 

Bernie Giusto, Multnomah County Sheriff (Retired), Chief of Police, City of Gresham,Oregon State Police, member Victoria Taft Blogforce.

 
 

Anyone can report the news and should

by Victor Sharpe

The Constitution we appreciate and embrace so deeply is threatened by Democrat politicians, from the present incumbent in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, down through the Democrat Senatorial and House ranks. Now we have Senators Durbin, Schumer, Feinstein, et al, threatening our First Amendment rights, namely by defining who is a “real” journalist.

The Shield Law attempts to place some limitations on courts and police from compelling journalists to divulge anonymous sources. But Senator Durbin wants to penalize those whom he disapproves of, especially those who write words he finds objectionable and not supportive of his leftist views. In a recent opinion essay published in the Chicago Sun Times, Senator Durbin argued it was “time to say who’s a real reporter.” In other words, he wants many of those on the right to be stripped of their First Amendment protections.

The Democrat supporters now want the Obama Administration to be the arbiter of who the First Amendment can apply to. In other words, the old Marxist aphorism that, “all people are equal, but some are more equal than others,” will apply and severely affect everyone’s rights – but primarily conservative bloggers and writers who oppose the soft tyranny that is the Obama regime.

Anyone can report the news and so they should. Just because amateur reporters or freelance journalists are mostly unpaid and work independently should not preclude them from enjoying the same First Amendment privileges, which the so often biased leftwing political hacks who infest the mainstream media receive.

Victor Sharpe is a writer for many national blogs, including American Thinker, is a musician and a middle east expert.

 

 

Free Speech is Free Speech; without compromise.

by Dr. Tim Ball 

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” –Thomas Jefferson

 The US Founding Fathers produced a masterpiece. It works because it has no illusions about the nature of people. As George Washington said, “We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” They knew some people would attempt to ignore, bypass, or even corrupt a free society.  They understood the power of power;  the corruption of power; and the power of corruption. They anticipated Lord Acton’s comment that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Alexander Hamilton said, “A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” James Madison expressed it this way. “Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” They designed a system that anticipated and precluded demagoguery. They knew the key was free speech and so made its protection the top objective. They knew governments were the most likely to abridge or control free speech and so made the second amendment the ability to defend it.

As George Washington said, “We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.”

The Fathers also understood that information and its dissemination is power and recognized the role of the media as the Fifth Estate. The US people and their constitution is being challenged as never before partly because the media failed. It is the pattern of previous civilizations that they begin to fail in the second century of their existence as demagogues and power elites undermine the values, institutions and thereby the belief of the people.

Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “global village”. It was the first part of information democracy. The second part was the creation of the Internet. For the first time in history a majority of people had access to information but could contribute their ideas and participate in discussions among large numbers of people. People realized the value, openness and diversity of the internet so it quickly became the source of information for more and more people. This accelerated the demise of the media already in progress because of their failure to  act as the Founding Fathers had envisioned.

In an ironic twist the success of the internet and bloggers has triggered attempts to limit their role. The media want the politicians, who they are supposed to prevent from limiting free speech, to limit free speech. They want journalists designated a special group and protected under a shield law.  A hint of the media concern was a comment by Juan Williams on FOX news about the unprofessionalism of bloggers.

As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.” Don’t let them be suppressed in any way.

Lack of professionalism, failure to expose wrong doing and open bias among the media are the main reason the public are not listening to them anymore. Their solution is to enshrine rights they have already failed to uphold and to suppress ordinary citizens who have used a vehicle of free speech to seek the truth. The blog site is equivalent to the Pamphlet during the Revolutionary War.[1] They were the vehicle of the people’s ideas and were critical in achieving freedom leading to the construction of the Constitution. Those freedoms are under attack as never before. This apparently small battle over control of the internet and information is central to the progress toward a full functioning and free society. As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.” Don’t let them be suppressed in any way.


[1] There is a “Check list of American revolutionary war pamphlets in the Newberry library”.  Dr. Ball is Canada’s first Climatologist and has been instrumental in bringing science back into the political debate over man made global warming. Find his work here: http://drtimball.com/

 

Who is a journalist matters

Bruce McCain

I’m not sure if this helps frame the issue or not. While I certainly don’t like the idea of Diane Feinstein defining who is and is not a “journalist” today, the question remains: Who is a journalist in today’s world where anyone and everyone with a smart phone and a YouTube account can self-publish “news” as a “citizen journalist?” Let me give you two examples in Oregon unrelated to the shield law, but with legal implications nonetheless.

But the question remains, who is “the media?” Can any citizen journalist with a WordPress blog, including some of our more activist OEA members, demand entry to our executive sessions as members of the media

Oregon is the only state that allows the media to sit in on executive sessions of public bodies (I know because I am an elected official of a large suburban school district). Under Oregon law, the media may attend, but may not report on what they learn. In our district, we have had local reporters from the Gresham Outlook and Oregonian sit in on out executive sessions in which we discuss some pretty touch subjects. But the question remains, who is “the media?” Can any citizen journalist with a WordPress blog, including some of our more activist OEA members, demand entry to our executive sessions as members of the media? It hasn’t happened yet to us, but there have been a handful of instances where just such a demand has been made by a blogger who was denied entry as a “legitimate” member of the media. If everyone today is a potential “citizen journalist” then no one is a journalist. It has become the classic distinction without a difference.

On another legal matter, Oregon like most states has several statutes that protect the media from defamation claims. In Oregon, a defamation claim against “the media” can only be brought if a demand for correction or retraction was first made or if the plaintiff alleges and proves actual intent to defame by the media defendant. As you probably know, in a defamation action against a defendant who is an owner, licensee, or operator of a radio or television broadcasting station, or an agent or employee thereof, the defendant is “not liable for any damages for any defamatory statement published or uttered in a radio or television broadcast, by one other than the [defendant] unless” the plaintiff alleges and proves that the defendant “failed to exercise due care to prevent the publication or utterance of such statement in such broadcast.” ORS 31.200. But again, who is a member of “the media?” You may recall an Oregon federal defamation case last year in which an attorney successfully sued a woman blogger for defamation. The defendant, Crystal Cox, represented herself (like Roger Alvey) and lost badly. But one of the issues the court had to address was whether or not this blogger was protected as “the media” for the purposes of Oregon defamation law. The court said No because “The Oregon Legislature has not expanded the list of publications or broadcasts to include Internet blogs.” The court also laid out a series of criteria for a member of the media, which Cox failed to meet:

“Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of (1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity; (3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest; (4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources; (6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting “the other side” to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media.’”

At some point, someone – whether the legislative or judicial branches – must proffer an objective definition of “the media” or “journalist” if these statutes are going to have any meaningful effect. 

I realize there is a subtle difference between “journalist” and “media” but not much. I don’t have an answer for this issue. Perhaps Jonah Goldberg is right: abolish all special protection for “the media” if in fact everyone and anyone can now call themselves a “citizen journalist.” But good luck getting those laws changed in the face of stiff media lobbying. If anything, there may be efforts to add internet blogs to Oregon’s list of “publications.” At some point, someone – whether the legislative or judicial branches – must proffer an objective definition of “the media” or “journalist” if these statutes are going to have any meaningful effect. If not, then I agree with Goldberg and let’s just abolish all special protection for “the media” who now include anyone with a smart phone.

 Bruce McCain is a retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, an attorney in private practice and a member of the Victoria Taft.com Blogforce 

 

Diane Feinstein’s blogger persecution fetish is obscene

By Scott St. Clair

Who died and made Dianne Feinstein the newest William Randolph Hearst deciding who is and who ain’t a journalist? This paraphrase of what every kid in America has said at one time or another to the grade-school busybody who shoves everyone aside to make up her own tetherball rules or decide that her friends get first in line at the drinking fountain, fits California’s Democratic senior U.S. senator to a tee.

Feinstein wants the federal government to define who is and who is not a “real journalist.” During Senate deliberation of a new federal “shield law” to protect journalists from being forced to disclose sources, she proposed an amendment that would limit its application to what she called “real reporters.”

Setting aside for the sake of argument that part of the First Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom…of the press…” that makes this a legally-dubious and specious effort, from a policy standpoint, what she is doing is deplorable public policy.

Her amendment “defines a ‘covered journalist’ as someone who gathers and reports news for ‘an entity or service that disseminates news and information.’”

This begs the question as to what qualifies as “an entity or service that disseminates news and information.” Nobody rightly knows. One thing we do know from listening to her, however, is that she’s on the warpath to exclude bloggers – especially teenaged bloggers – from any protection or coverage at all.

Have California bloggers been so unkind to her that she now has a fetish to persecute them?

But journalists are no better since they love to run a closed shop with high barriers to entry erected in the name of so-called “professionalism,” but which more resemble a way to keep the riffraff competition out. Even their professional organization – The Society for Professional Journalists – which was founded as a fraternity in 1909, likes to gussie up the family tree in order to distance itself from your grandfather’s journalism – watch “His Girl Friday” for a comic look at how it was in 1940 – to those who peddle their wares today.

If you want to get in their club, you have to play by their rules or don’t play at all.

All of which is reminiscent of the struggles I had several years ago with the Capitol Press Corps in Olympia when I covered state government for the Freedom Foundation in Washington state. I was there to report the news, dig up stories and tell those who read our blog what was going on. But because I didn’t get paid by an organization whose purpose was to report the news as they defined it, I couldn’t get press credentials, which consigned me to the cheap seats up in the Senate and House galleries, which occasionally had its advantages since I was forced to take a more panoramic view of things that allowed me to uncover a unique form of official chicanery.

I did get credentials from the United States Congress when I spent some time in Washington, D.C. to cover a story, but that wasn’t good enough for the Statehouse crowd.

Technology and market forces have, and will continue to change, journalism. So, what else is new? Part of that change is discarding some of the old to embrace some of the new.  

The muckrakers of the early 20th Century – Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffans and others – were disparaged by many of the journalistic elites of their day since the demand for what they wrote and exposed came out of a public appetite for juicy stories whetted by sensationalist “Yellow Journalists.”

Then TV came along to displace newspapers as the number one source of news for Americans, with the Internet making strong inroads to eventually displace the tube.

About the only thing certain in all this is that most Americans distrust traditional news outlets. Sixty percent of those surveyed by Gallup a year ago said they don’t believe newspapers, TV and radio report the news fully, fairly and accurately. What happens when you have a product the public regards as lousy? They stop buying, and the bottom line gets whacked.

Let’s face it: Journalism and news outlets are in the toilet nationwide.  Newspapers have seen a 30 percent reduction in headcount since their heyday of just over a dozen years ago. Almost daily, print news outlets cease publication and convert to exclusively digital content. For-profit journalism is increasingly supplanted by non-profit journalism, which is itself struggling.

Once there were close to three dozen reporters covering the Washington State Legislature and the governor’s office in Olympia, but by 2009, it was tough to find a fourth for pinochle because so many publications stopped sending reporters to cut costs or because it was easier to publish the AP feed.

It’s no better in radio and TV, where bottom-line driven headcount reductions and thinner news coverage is the order of the day.

Yet the honorable gentle lady wants us to restrict the definition of journalist to a dying breed. Maybe it’s because the less there are of them, the better politicians like it. After all, isn’t a journalist’s job to hold politicians accountable – something on the order of speaking truth to power, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable?

Nah – that only mucks up the journalist’s next gig, which is working for the very ones he’s supposed to be watchdogging.

The hottest career move in journalism these days seems to be jumping ship from whatever “news outlet” you see dying on the vine to going to work as a PR flack for government. It’s happening both on the federal level and at the state level.

Back when I covered the capitol for the Freedom Foundation, yesterday’s Seattle Times or KING 5 reporter popped up as today’s “official spokesperson” for this, that or the other mayor, county executive, state agency or even the governor.

Instead of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, journalists are seeking out jobs that afflict them with comfort, which makes veteran reporter Seymour Hersh as mad as a wet hen.

Hersh, who received the Pulitzer Prize for uncovering and reporting on the My Lai atrocity during the Vietnam War, thinks that those who pass themselves off as journalists and editors these days should be fired because they’re too cozy with what he calls the “total nincompoops” who run the world.

Quoted at the UK’s TheGuardian.com, he’s especially critical of The New York Times for spending “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would.” And, he contends, the Obama administration stopped informing the American public years ago about what the government was doing and morphed into a full-time auxiliary of the president’s re-election campaign.

He hasn’t much use for any of what he calls “insiders” in journalism today. His solution is for newspapers and news outlets to hire outsiders that cannot be controlled and turn them loose, which brings to mind the lowly blogger.

 I know this guy, an outsider, who runs a blog in West Seattle, and he’s taken it upon himself to do what the newspapers and TV stations in Seattle and King County won’t, which is investigate and report on alleged corruption of publicly-funded homeless activists and their cozy relationships with city and county government.

OK, so David Preston doesn’t always follow the AP Stylebook, but his Blog Quixotic performs a valuable public service by investigating how the public’s money is being spent, whether the spending complies with the law and generally what public officials are doing on a matter of significant interest to taxpayers.

But according to Dianne Feinstein, he’s no better than a 17-year-old blogging in his parents’ basement, ergo he’s undeserving of Shield-Law protection.

If he’s not, then nobody is, and maybe that should be so all the way around. There’s a case to be made that shield laws do more harm than good because they promote whispered secrets and half-exposures of the truth.  

If you’re going to have one, it shouldn’t exclusively apply to a government-defined class of swells who are already too cozy with those they’re supposed to investigate and upon whom they’re supposed to report.

It’s enough that some in government try to regulate the editorial content of newspapers critical of their action, even doing it repeatedly, or that newspapers sidle up to legislators currying tax-relief favors, which then makes their news and editorial coverage of the government questionable since they’re arguably beholden to it for survival. How about when one of Sen. Feinstein’s colleagues suggests the government should financially bail out failing newspapers? No matter how you slice it, it’s creepy.

And what are you going to do when “real” journalists partner with bathrobe-clad bloggers to provide coverage in neighborhoods and on topics the big boys have abandoned? That’s happening, but no protection for the blogger half of the partnership from Sen. Feinstein.

What people want is the news reported to them in an honest and straightforward manner. They no longer care if it comes from their local version of The Daily Planet or TheDailyPlanet.com, a local blog. If the facts are there and the story is accurate, that’s all that matters. If “journalism” gets practiced by a 17-year-old looking into miscues in the faculty lounge or a 70-year-old crusading for a new senior center who uncovers evidence of official misconduct, then so be it.

You don’t have to be a member of the union, work for the right employer, have a degree from the correct school or drink the right whisky to be a journalist. Maybe journalism is and should be like the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous description of obscenity —  probably many think it is already – which he declined to define saying only “I  know it when I see it.”

In any event, one clear obscenity is what Dianne Feinstein is trying to do to bloggers.

Scott St. Clair is a journalistic pugilist, born free American man, writer, journalist,  and is a member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce