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FCC Case Against CBS Rejected

In a victory this Wednesday for freedom of speech, an appeals court rejected the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to punish CBS for airing an expressive portion of Janet Jackson’s broadcast performance during the 2004 Super Bowl. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled by 2-1 (CBS Corp et al v. FCC, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 06-3575) that, by imposing a penalty, the FCC “arbitrarily and capriciously” departed from prior policy that exempted “fleeting” indecency from sanctions and that the FCC “improperly imposed a penalty on CBS for violating a previously unannounced policy”.

The FCC released an antagonistic and harsh statement that says the federal agency is disappointed by the decision and intends to use “all the authority at its disposal” to force broadcasters to serve the public interest when they use the so-called public airwaves. A CBS spokeswoman said the network hopes the FCC will “return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades.” The FCC fined CBS $27,500 for each of the 20 stations it owned when part of Janet Jackson’s anatomy was accidentally and briefly exposed during the halftime performance.

In 2008, the 3rd Circuit voided the fine, but that decision was vacated when the Supreme Court in 2009 upheld the FCC policy in a case brought by Fox News’ parent company, News Corporation, though that 5-4 ruling did not decide whether the policy was constitutional. In this week’s decision, Judge Marjorie Rendell said that the FCC had maintained a “consistent refusal” to treat fleeting nude images as indecent for 30 years, and that there is no justification for punishing CBS, according to Reuters. No word on whether the FCC will appeal the ruling. CBS and News Corporation are outstanding examples of businesses that refuse to sanction their own demise and both companies deserve credit for defending their free speech against the United States government’s censorship. The FCC should not exist because the agency is fundamentally inconsistent with freedom of speech in the first place. But this week’s Philadelphia court decision, which goes to show that fighting on principle is good, practical business, is better than the alternative.

News: Civilization Strikes Back

The Hippies (whom I wrote about on October 13 in my post, “From Woodstock to Wall Street“) may control New York City, where they have seized lower Manhattan, halted traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and threaten to spread their mayhem. But today the city of Oakland, California, took back its streets from the anti-capitalist thugs. Police there have reportedly arrested many of the squatters and cleared out the lawless Hippies. That this happened in the Bay Area, the geographical center of the New Left movement, before it happened in weak and ineffective New York City, where the mayor’s unearned guilt over his own wealth has put him in paralysis when it comes to enforcing the law, is fitting for our troubled times. The law should be enforced in other American cities, too. Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. sent troops to force Southern states to comply with the law. If the nation’s cities let the Hippies run wild and refuse to comply with the law, the U.S. must do the same. We should not tolerate lawlessness in our cities. It is long past time to sweep the parks and streets clean of filthy thugs, criminals and squatters, vacate these wretched, unwashed Hippies and restore the law. It is time to start the end of the age of the New Left, leave the herd behind and clear the way for new intellectuals who stand for reason, egoism and capitalism.

Death of a Dictator

Eight months after the Obama administration initiated a military invasion of Libya, another Islamic terrorist state-sponsoring dictator is dead. Though this is breaking news, and reports are conflicting, Libya’s interim prime minister confirmed reports that longtime dictator Moammar Khadafy has been killed. Khadafy attacked the United States through numerous terrorist acts of war including a disco bombing in Berlin and, according to investigators, the 1988 mass murder of Americans in the bombing of Pan Am 103, an act which was claimed by others, including an Iranian-backed group and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Khadafy was far from being the worst state sponsor of the jihadist Moslem war against America. Iran and Saudi Arabia are widely known throughout history to encourage, sponsor and/or initiate catastrophic acts of war against the United States. While Khadafy’s death is good, his demise is decades overdue, and, as I wrote when Osama bin Laden was killed, picking off Islamic terrorist-sponsors, chieftains and combatants is not the way to win the war. In fact, because we are not actively declaring and fighting the war, we are losing the war.

“The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted,” President Obama reportedly said of the end of Khadafy’s dictatorship, emphasizing that the end of Khadafy’s regime was executed by the U.S. for the sake of others, not as an act of American self-interest. Obama, like his predecessor, opposes an act of self-interest. He demands that foreign policy, war and the risk of losing American soldiers be based upon sacrifice for others, never for our own sake. But even on his own terms, the President, who is obviously going to run for re-election as the commander-in-chief who killed Khadafy, bin Laden and assorted terrorist chiefs, is jumping to conclusions. We don’t know what the actions of Barack Obama, whose statements, policies and wars have encouraged the overthrow of Arab nationalist dictators and destabilized north Africa, mean for the Middle East and Africa. It is too soon to tell.

Most experts agree that Tunisia, Egypt and Libya (not to mention Syria, Yemen and much of Africa) will become more liberal, devolve into some form of Islamic dictatorship or drift back and forth. If they fall to jihadists, Mubarak and Khadafy will look like liberals in comparison, inflaming the threat of a Saudi-Iran proxy war and threatening the West. Obama’s war in Libya cost the U.S. $1 billion, risked American lives and was another amorphous military entanglement without a purpose, goal or compelling national self-interest. That it resulted in an act of tribal justice is not, contrary to the chorus of compliments from pundits on the left and right, necessarily a sign of hope for civilization. Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain, writing on his Facebook page about today’s news that Khadafy’s been killed, simply responded by saying: “… that’s good.” But he sounded a proper note of caution when he added: “Now the question is: What’s next?”

Cars: Mazda Quits Making Rotary Engine

“Mazda to stop making rotary-engine vehicles,” read the Associated Press headline. After 45 years of making the engine that powered the first and only Japanese car to win the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, Mazda Motor Corporation, the only automaker in the world to manufacture rotary engine vehicles, recently announced that production of the rotary engine will end in June 2012. Developed by Felix Wankel in 1960 and first used by Mazda in 1967, the rotary engine costs more money and uses more fuel compared to the piston engine, but it’s lighter and quieter and uses fewer moving parts. Amid environmentalist-backed government emissions regulations and government favortism toward electric and hybrid cars, Mazda admitted in its statement that emissions dictates are a partial cause for the decision and said sales had declined. The company, which pledged to continue researching rotary engine possibilities, puts the latest edition of the RX-8 (the only Mazda model with a rotary engine) on sale Nov. 24 with a sales target of 1,000 vehicles. A small percentage of the Hiroshima, Japan-based Mazda is owned by Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company, the only private automotive manufacturer in the United States.

The Death of Capitalism

The response to the death of Steve Jobs is overwhelming; as I indicated in yesterday’s post, there’s an outpouring of admiration, affection, and love for the all-American capitalist. But there’s also what Ayn Rand called the hatred of the good for being good and the contrast echoes today’s stark cultural schism. As if we needed more evidence that America is dying and desperately in need of resuscitation, the Christians known for anti-gay protests of American soldiers’ funerals announced on Twitter that its members plan to picket Steve Jobs’s funeral (this from Yahoo!’s Lookout). The Baptist church wrote: “He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin.” The Tweet was posted from an iPhone.

On one hand, it’s merely another example of where faith meets force. But the opponents of capitalism are dead serious; they aim to occupy the United States of America in every sense, taking it by force, fueled by faith in fill-in-the-blank, from the religion of Judeo-Christianity or Islam to the religion of environmentalism, welfare-statism, and some form of egalitarianism, such as multiculturalism or feminism. The faith-based forces are merging, as Objectivist academic dean Onkar Ghate observed some time ago, and we see this today, from the cancellation of NBC’s Playboy Club, vilified by feminists and religionists alike, to the outright hatred of Steve Jobs.

Don’t expect the press to report on this ominous rise of what propels fascist power. As I observed when I denounced nihilist Jon Stewart, a puny-minded cretin taken more seriously among dominant intellectuals than any single journalist, the media are complicit in this arguably historic shift toward virulent, explicit anti-capitalism that results in totalitarianism. Today, journalists, such as Digital Media Fellow Jeff Sonderman at the Poynter Institute, post pieces mocking Steve Jobs in the context of his death. They’re a disgrace to the profession, but they have influence; I’ve seen Objectivists sharing and posting pieces that undermine, mock, and attack titans of industry, including Mr. Jobs.

In a particularly telling contrast in the city where Apple is based, Cupertino, California, the man suspected of opening fire at a quarry, killing three co-workers and injuring six, Shareef Allman, had become upset during a company meeting, left the meeting and returned with guns to start killing people. Various reports indicate that the churchgoing man of faith, who had been convicted of numerous crimes, was upset that his shift had changed. This beast represents man at his worst; the ultimate death worshipper, who turns to faith and force as against reason as a way of dealing with life’s problems. Steve Jobs was man at his best; the ultimate life worshipper, who follows reason, not faith or force. His life was dedicated to solving life’s problems, to rational self-interest and the pursuit of happiness. Each man must choose either one philosophy or the other, that which hastens death or that which promotes life. As Objectivism demonstrates, every choice is ultimately reducible to this essential choice: life or death.

Certainly, now is the time to remember the incredible achievement which was the life of Steve Jobs (and I’ve included a statement from his family below). But it must be said that the death of Steve Jobs signals the death of capitalism. Not necessarily the inevitable death, which may be spared by individuals uniting to follow reason, individual rights and living in accordance with reality, but its spiritual death. The pursuit of knowledge, which requires reason, is at the core of Apple’s success and the art of Steve Jobs’ remarkable life. At the core of today’s destroyers, a mindless herd that obeys intellectuals, goosesteps toward takeover of Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, and is led by the almighty Obama, is nothing; the center of those posting jokes about Steve Jobs, stalking our streets, cities, and companies, is hollow. Life has been drained from them year by year in soulless, government-controlled bureaucracies and institutions breeding contempt, envy, and the worship of death. They have lost the will to live and are like body snatchers who seek only to destroy that which is living. Zombies stimulate them and give a jolt to their death-tracked lives (if you can call it life). Steve Jobs was a giant who towered over them. Now that he’s gone, they’re going in for the kill to see to it that one never rises again. To do that, they must kill what made Steve Jobs possible, capitalism. The destroyers are making progress. They are acting fast and taking over. And, from Mecca and Teheran to Wall Street, Los Angeles, and Boston, and Cupertino, they are everywhere.

Steve Jobs fought for his life. I say to those who admire him: So should you.

Statement from the family of Steve Jobs:

“Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.

In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.

We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”