Truth of freedom in a “democratic” society

The bald eagles are back.

Running along Mud Bay yesterday, I saw three in various locations along my route. I stopped under one big Cottonwood tree to look up at the majestic figure gazing out to sea. A juvenile, he did not sport the full white headed regalia of the older birds,and yet somehow he commanded a staunch respect from his post nonetheless. I whistled, once , then again, and he finally cocked his head to gaze at me on the ground below him. Nonplussed by my bright red Running Room Jacket, and chirping whistles, he cocked his head back and forth as he examined me  with shrewd focus. He seemed to quickly determine I was no threat to him, and for a moment I caught my breathe as we seemed to lock eyes.

I watched him for a moment longer before re-setting my chronograph and beginning to run again, and as I set off down the trail, I wondered what has become of everything  that eagle typically symbolizes.

Freedom. Spirit. Democracy. Truth.

Shaking my head, I laughed outloud into the brisk air, thinking how ironic the timing of the eagles appearance was. Here I am, living in a country where I would be envied by many around the world who perhaps might even kill to be in my shoes. With no walled borders, no gun-toting armies milling about, no restrictions on my personal choices as to clothing or music or religion, what could I possibly have to complain about?

Just so you know, I’m laughing again. Really, at least the people who live in China are fully aware of how domineering their government is, because they are honestly quite open about it. The government doesn’t really hide the fact the they oppress freedom of speech or press , or hamper freedom of choice – they just go ahead and do it.

No, the one thing you can say about the Chinese government is that what you see is what you get. Control and oppression is right out there. Here in British Columbia though, the government would like to have you think they are open and transparent. Never would the government  here exert any kind of pressure on the press now, would they?

Ha.

Here in BC, the majority of the mainstream media is run by corporate giants. Every single day writers and journalists within those corporate newsrooms are muzzled and censured by editors and editorial boards. No, you can’t report that. No, you can’t touch this angle. Nope, that’s not news.

It’s enough to drive one insane. Imagine that you spend all this time and money getting a degree in journalism so that you can report the truth, effect change in the world, let the truth be known… only to have some bigwig  editor tell you that you can’t. You must not report on this.

 Now, you are probably thinking that I’m making this up, but I’m not. If you dig into campaign contributions federally and provincially, you would be amazed to see what corporate names have come up in the past and what personal names come up now. You think for a moment that the powers that be behind our local newspapers haven’t contributed to the Liberal party?  Guess again, my friends.

Freedom of speech doesn’t exist in the media any longer, and it disgusts me as much as it does those who are  trapped working day in and day out under these confines because they have families and a mortgage to pay. You can’t just walk away, but at what cost? The biggest stories of the year go unreported, un- covered and ignored in favor of whatever spin needs to be put on whomever’s agenda of the moment.

Truth is but an illusion.

For example, why are not we not hearing more about the Basi-Virk trial? This one case has the ability to sink Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals and yet  a smidgen of our population know anything about it ? WHY IS THAT? 

Apparently, because some editors don’t think it is newsworthy. Hmmmm. Government corruption. Lies. Payoffs. Secret deals and backroom handshakes between some of the biggest wheeler dealers in the province, secret witnesses combined with break ins and cryptic threats and none of this is considered newsworthy? remember how much we saw of Gillian Guess back in the day? Rather selective  reporting,I would think.

Something stinks, my friends, and I’m not talking about my sweaty runners.

Why wouldn’t- let’s just  say, The Vancouver Sun for example – send one of their investigative writers to do a feature on this. Something in-depth,something that covers all the angles in the interest of informing the public? Why wouldn’t they want to provide such a juicy insert to our weekend edition?  Geez, last year we were subjected to an ongoing series on a local radio personalities effort to get herself pregnant. Weeks and weeks of it – the shots, the hormones, having to have sex all the time, blah blah blah… and all the while real news, real hard-core investigative features go by the wayside.  Enquirer much?

Yes people, I’m afraid that the hard truth is that freedom of speech hasn’t truly existed in this province for quite some time, and it’s about to get even worse. Remember Bill 42 ? That would be the one that the Liberals passed that limits any  third party spending on public interest communication for a full three months before the election.Public advocacy organizations, environmental groups, unions and others will have their ability to print materials or buy advertising limited  in ways that prevent freedom of expression and freedom of speech for the 60 days leading up the campaign, as well the 4 week campaign period itself – starting on February 13th, 2009.  Check out this website for more information and why this should piss you off.

 http://www.justshutupbc.com/

In other words, the only propaganda you will be hearing, watching or reading will likely to be from those  actually campaigning. No, in fact it’s started already with the average Joe’sgetting picked on. God forbid someone express an opinion about our government. Oh wait, where are we living again? China?

This excerpt from a story run by the Times Colonist highlights the issues with Bill 42.

”  You’ve got three weeks to advertise your political inclinations and get your gripes off your chest without worrying about the full weight of the government crashing down upon you.

After that, it gets tricky.

Ask various members of a loose-knit group called Renters at Risk in Vancouver. They volunteer help to tenants and also run a website that advocates changes in rental law.

Out of the blue, one member got an official letter from Elections B.C. in November.

“Your website, http://www.rentersatrisk.ca, has been brought to the attention of Elections B.C.,” it said ominously.

“Our review of the Renters at Risk campaign during the campaign periods of the Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview byelections identified several instances of messaging that appeared to be election advertising.”

Election advertising means anything that describes issues or legislation, associates them with politics and directly or indirectly takes a promotional or oppositional position.

That’s against the law during the time in question, unless you’re registered. The letter warned them to register or face a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for one year. Or both. “

Read the rest of this eye-opener from the source: http://www.timescolonist.com/Entertainment/Election+should+make+retch/1213082/story.html ( notice how it’s in the ” entertainment section?) One would think this would just be “NEWS”

Wow. I write about the BC Liberals and Gordon Campbell all the time. The contradictory and hypocritical manner in which he runs this province provides me with an never ending supply of material and the embarrassing manner in which he has often been caught trying to back-peddle and kiss ass  now that an election is near is laughable. Does this mean that if I blog about the fact that he virtually ignored the forestry industry in BC for years ( until the election starting playing on his mind and he realised he better handle that mess) it would constitute election advertising? Or if I talk about his lack of attention to issues such as health care and the state of hospitals in BC, which demonstrates his questionable priorities considering all the money thrown at the convention centre and the Sea to Sly highway upgrade( you MUST read this story) : http://www.straight.com/article-93176/developers-are-the-games-real-winners …… will I end up getting a fine? Hmmm…..

I’m afraid to say that many of you assume that the media is unbiased, and unaffected by external influence of money and power. Sadly, this is no longer true, and in remaining silent about stories the public has a need, no… a right, to know, they become complicit in the governments damning effort to stifle our freedoms. The very freedoms they are supposed to uphold and represent.

 I, for one , have had enough.

You will read many commentaries about Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals in the weeks to come, and probably some about the NDP as well. I will try to bring you stories and issues that I think affect the people of BC.  I will talk about the failings and wins and promises that never appeared. And I encourage you to express your opinions here as well – should you have questions that you would like answered, I promise to do my best to get them answered. Ignorance may allow one to feel safe, but knowledge allows you to be free.

As for Gordon Campbells  ‘ Gag’ law?

It’s definately appropriately named.

“If you don’t have this freedom of the press, then all these little fellows are weaseling around and doing their monkey business and they never get caught.  ~Harold R. Medina”

” The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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