From Matt Welch at Reason.com: http://reason.com/blog/2016/07/12/barbara-boxer-and-the-democratic-party-h
Yesterday, as normal Americans were wrapping up their work day, gearing up for baseball's home-run derby, or playing cell-phone video games in the park, 19 senators from the Democratic Party began taking to the floor of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body to express their collective "disapproval" of the way 33 organizations speak about climate change, and to urge these allegedly "interconnected" groups to cooperate maximally with various ongoing government investigations into their uncorrect opinions. The purpose of this two-day name-and-shame exercise, the senators bragged in a press release, is "to call out Koch brothers- and fossil fuel industry-funded groups that have fashioned a web of denial to block action on climate change."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a co-sponsor of the concurrent resolution under discussion, embodied the spirit of the exercise yesterday by decrying oil companies' "huge secret contributions" to "fake-science think tanks," which are "so dangerous" because they enable politicians "to keep right on blocking meaningful action while the earth slowly chokes on its own filth":
But make no mistake: This coordinated campaign would be an assault on free speech even if it were not drenched in conspiratorial inaccuracy. Democratic lawmakers, attorneys general, and activists are systematically singling out free-market think tanks for potential criminal prosecution and one-sided disclosure requirements based on the content of the think tanks' research and commentary. They are literally trying to criminalize dissent. If successful, they will establish as "fraud" or "racketeering" any future think-tank work that runs afoul of political orthodoxy. President Trump will have a helpful precedent to sic his Justice Department on groups that advocate for free trade and open immigration. George Soros will no longer get away with his current levels of foundation transparency.
Sadly, this heavy-handed act of government intimidation will likely go as unnoticed as Hillary Clinton's long track record against free speech. Why? Because generally speaking both the mainstream press and the organized left reserve their First Amendment outrage for politicians they disagree with. Their silence is shameful, and deafening.
The senators' action this week is no hyperbolic one-off: Prosecuting ungood climatology is baked right into theDemocratic Party Platform. The two major Democratic nominees for president agree. There was a time when lefties at least pretended to be the political bloc that most favored free speech. The best you can say about this latest episode is that they've finally dropped the pretense.