(Photo by Stephen Crowley/NYT)
President Obama answered questions during a town hall meeting with future Chinese leaders at the Museum of Science and Technology in Shanghai on Monday.
SHANGHAI, CHINA — Mr. Obama addressed an audience of more than 400 Chinese university students from eight different Chinene universities at the Museum of Science and Technology yesterday.
At one point, Obama stated, in part,
“…I am a big believer in technology and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.”
The president said that he has “always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have…unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.”
In a jocular manner, President Obama then observed,
“I should be honest, as President of the United States, there are times where I wish information didn’t flow so freely because then I wouldn’t have to listen to people criticizing me all the time.”
He then stated on a serious note,
“I think people naturally,…when they’re in positions of power sometimes think, ‘Oh, how could that person say that about me,’ or ‘That’s irresponsible.’…But the truth is that because in the United States information is free, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me, I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear. It forces me to examine what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis to see, am I really doing the very best that I could be doing for the people of the United States.”
Contrast these words, that purportedly express the beliefs, values and opinion of the POTUS, with what is happening to two EPA attorneys who are opposing the Waxman-Markey “Cap and Trade” legislation.
Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Washington Post on October 31, 2009. At the end of the article, there is a link to their site. On their site is a discussion paper, as well as a video that is criticizes the “Cap and Trade” legislation now in the Senate. However, the video is no longer accessible on their site, because the EPA demanded that they take it down, even AFTER they approved it. It is still available here.
This latest move by the EPA is reminiscent of their action to muzzle another EPA employee, Alan Carlin, Senior Operations Research Analyst several months ago when he questioned “climate change” from a scientific standpoint. (To refresh your memory on that instance of EPA censorship see Michelle Malkin’s blog here.)
Now, re-read the remarks of the POTUS. What are his real beliefs about free information flow and censorship? To me, his “joking” remark is what rings true, i.e., he wishes that information was harder to access because then he would not be criticized “all the time”. Well, Mr. President, it does seem that your EPA is definitely working hard to ensure that this desire becomes reality. Our lesson? Pay no attention to what Obama says. Pay attention to what he does.