Entering the Age of O-ppression?
By William Warren
“I certainly feel like they were trying to make me be quiet and trying to intimidate me and take away my free speech…That's what really enraged me is that I thought ‘there's a lot of people out there that if [the secret service] showed up on their porch, that's exactly what they'd do—they'd be quiet'…I wasn't going to be the one.”—Jessica Hughes, in an exclusive interview with ALG News, November 20th, 2008.
In the face of insurmountable intimidation and bullying from armed Obama lieutenants, Jessica Hughes of Lufkin Texas has remained defiant—like any good American who values free speech and views dissent as a patriotic duty.
Upon receiving a call from a local Obama campaign staffer, Mrs. Hughes unashamedly exercised her 1st Amendment right and voiced her disapproval of the Democrat candidate's views. After promptly hanging up the phone, she was proud of her candor, never expecting to be punished for what she said:
“On Wednesday, the 1st of October, I received a call on my cell while in the car with my husband. It was a woman who identified herself as calling from the Obama Campaign. The phone # she called from was 903-798-6020 which I later discovered lists as ‘Obama Volunteers of Texarkana' (Texas).
“She did not give her name that I can recall but identified herself as calling on behalf of the campaign and questioned ‘Will you be supporting Senator Obama on November fourth?'
“I had just spent several hours in the Emergency Room with my son who had a mild concussion and the call was on my cell phone so I was doubly annoyed. I know for a fact that I have never given out my cell number to any organization that could remotely be construed as supporting Barack Obama's campaign. As those who know me can testify I am quick with my words and I responded curtly:
“‘No, I don't support him, your guy is a socialist who voted four times in the State Senate to let little babies die in hospital closets; I think you should find something better to do with your time.' I hung up. There was no argument or exchange of words. I simply stated my two biggest problems with the candidate this stranger was asking me to support and ended the call. Both my sons who are 6 and 9 and my husband heard the call.”
The very next day, however, Secret Service agents came to Mrs. Hughes' house to question her regarding alleged “death threats” she made about Mr. Obama during the previous day's phone conversation.
Offended, Mrs. Hughes denied such remarks and cited her original comments which had nothing to do with any kind of death threats. Nevertheless, the agents continued to probe—this time even into her thoughts and feelings. In her personal account of the event taken from her blog, Mrs. Hughes explained it as follows:
“I told the Agent in no uncertain terms, “My thoughts are not pertinent to your investigation. This is America and the last time I checked I am allowed to think whatever I want without being questioned by the Secret Service.
“I asked the agents, ‘Where is the tape of this call?' … They told me that there is no tape…I said, "So on the word of a ticked off Obama supporter you are on my porch with no other evidence and you want to question me about my thoughts!?'”
After hearing of her story, ALG News directly contacted the courageous Lufkin resident. In ALG's exclusive interview, Mrs. Hughes delved into further detail explaining how the Secret Service agents' main intention, she believes, was to bully her:
“I felt that the purpose of the visit was to intimidate me…to silence me and make me not voice my opinion. But really it just made me so furious I resolved to voice my opinion all over the country. I felt that's exactly what their purpose was…to intimidate me and make me be quiet.”
Moreover, Mrs. Hughes notes that even after it was clear she never threatened Mr. Obama's life, the agents went so far as to belittle her telephone manners and question her demeanor. Mr. Hughes said, “When I gave them the actual quote, the female agent sad ‘Oh, really…well, why would she make that up? What would she have to gain?' And I said, ‘Well, I guess she wasn't happy about what I had to say about her candidate,' and she said, ‘that's right, you were rude.'…I was just shocked…she's accusing me of being rude.”
Apparently politeness is now within the jurisdiction of Mr. Obama's thought police, or thinkpol as Orwellian Newspeak called it.
And now, weeks after being intimidated by federal agents in the sanctity of her own home, Mrs. Hughes still has no answers as to why she was accosted, much less vindication. She does, however, carry an enduring Big Government stain. As she explained to us:
“The FBI was kind of enough to tell me the file the Secret Service has opened on me will follow me the rest of my life…
“I really find it disturbing that someone could make an unsolicited call to me on my cell phone that I pay for and have the power to send government federal force to bear on a private citizen at their home as a result of that call with no evidence whatsoever.”
Disturbing is putting it lightly.
ALG News also spoke with Jessica Savage, the reporter who broke the story in the Lufkin Daily News early in October. As Savage confirms, the Secret Service agents with Mrs. Hughes spoke—Special Agent Ricardo Zuniga Jr. and his partner D. Morris—have been identified and have not returned any phone calls. Moreover, both the Obama campaign and the Secret Service have refused to make any statement regarding the incident.
It is unclear if the Obama volunteer has been reprimanded or sanctioned for essentially filing a false report.
It seems as if the Obama campaign and the Secret Service would prefer this issue to just go away. But in the intrinsically defiant spirit of the first Amendment, Jessica Hughes—and ALG News—would prefer otherwise.
Unfortunately, punishing anti-Obama dissidence seems to be a growing trend in Lufkin, Texas.
As the Lufkin Daily News reported Wednesday, a local school teacher has been placed on administrative leave over “inappropriate comments” allegedly made regarding Mr. Obama. The comments, which were supposedly overheard by a student in a school hallway, were reported to a parent who then passed it along to school authorities. Apparently it is acceptable for teachers to wear blue in support of Obama inside the classroom, but voicing a negative opinion about Obama outside of the classroom is grounds for indictment.
When informed about this latest incident, Mrs. Hughes was not surprised.
Lufkin, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The thinkpol has been on the march in other areas of the country as well. Missouri made headlines earlier in the campaign regarding “truth squads” the Obama campaign had assembled in the Show-Me State to “target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.” Prosecutors, attorneys, sheriffs and other Missouri law enforcement were all recruited to target these “liars” and essentially intimidate citizens from expressing any form of anti-Obama public discourse.
So much for free and unfettered speech.
If the Obama campaign's utter disdain for any dissent—however legitimate—was not already evident enough, one needs to look no further than Mr. Obama's very own campaign plane for some more convincing news. As ALG News covered in a cartoon, during the weekend before the election, reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News were all abruptly kicked off Mr. Obama's plane and denied any further media access to the Democrat candidate.
Curiously enough, the three newspapers have one peculiar thing in common—they all endorsed John McCain for president. It seems Mr. Obama jettisoned his pledge for “unity” along with the three reporters.
Nevertheless, if verbal threats, “truth squads”, and punishment weren't sufficiently intimidating to Obama dissidents, then perhaps a night stick-wielding Black Panther clad in combat boots, a black beret and military fatigues might do the trick. That's exactly what some Obama advocates did on Election Day while standing outside of polling places defiantly claiming to be “security.” And if Obama advocates, campaigners and supporters simply couldn't do the job, Obama-critics should expect nothing less than the full force of unbridled government wrath brought down upon them.
Nothing bears testament to this better than Joe the Plumber—perhaps the biggest victim in the 2008 presidential campaign (although Sarah, Todd, and Bristol Palin would fit that bill as well). As previously reported, Joe Wurzelbacher, once an average American who dared ask Mr. Obama a tough question, unknowingly became a target in not only a personal smear campaign, but also in a Big Brother style government-backed investigation.
When he first made headlines in a McCain-Obama debate for exposing Mr. Obama's affinity for spreading the wealth around, the left's anti-Joe offensive began as a series of public mockeries and belittling. From there, however, it crossed the threshold from merely offensive to downright sinister.
In a piece written shortly before the election, ALG News detailed how Helen-Jones Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, had sanctioned a government-backed investigation of Joe Wurzelbacher's private records in an attempt to dig up all kinds of dirt on the plumber. The Ohio Inspector General has since found that she acted improperly and has been suspended from her job. This is in addition to Joe's tax and employment information already trumped up in the media.
Although Jones-Kelley claimed her investigation is mere routine, both her timing and campaign contributions say otherwise. The investigation was launched immediately following Mr. Wurzelbacher's campaign debate debut and online records have shown that Jones-Kelley had donated the maximum allowed amount to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
As Mrs. Hughes duly noted in her interview with ALG News, “I think that the people who set this country up with a government that was supposed to stay out of our way and stay out of our business…would be revolted by [Government agents] coming to my porch and taking a collection of my thoughts on paper.”
Likewise, the Founding Fathers would undoubtedly be outraged over the great lengths to which the Obama campaign and his advocates in the government went in destroying an average American citizen who simply questioned a political candidate. Americans ought to be up in arms over this Big Government violation of personal privacy—although perhaps they fear “Joe the Plumber” treatment being subsequently wrought on themselves in return.
All in all, the 2008 campaign has been woefully defined by these insidious acts of citizen intimidation, dissent suppression, and privacy invasions.
And although Mr. Obama has not personally carried out these heinous acts, he has the responsibility to rein in his supporters—and his defenders—who, in his name, seek to exert wrath upon “rude” thought criminals like Jessica Hughes and Joe the Plumber.
If Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge and condemn this anti-American and unconstitutional behavior, one should expect the culture of intimidation to not only carry into his first presidential term, but to thrive as well. If Mr. Obama by his silence sanctions this kind of behavior as a presidential candidate, imagine the role it will play when he is President.
As this culture of intimidation and suppression is allowed to proliferate, honest citizens like Jessica Hughes and Joe Wurzelbacher will be choked out.
And they will only be the first of many.
William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.