Further evidence that the Obama Regime is busy crafting ways to take away your constitutional rights comes in the form of another United States bureaucracy that has been politically weaponized.
The U.S. Forest Service is requiring reporters to pay permits costing up to $1,500 to take pictures or video in federally designated wilderness areas, with costly fines of course, for disobeying the new tyrannical shredding of the First Amendments.
Virtually every federal government bureaucracy has been politically weaponized, including the IRS and EPA, but now the U.S. Forest Service?
Fees, penalties, permits to take pictures of trees or a lake?
Welcome to Obama’s America, or shall we call it “fundamental transformation” or “hope and change?”
The Oregonian reports that these new rules are being finalized in November:
The U.S. Forest Service has tightened restrictions on media coverage in vast swaths of the country’s wild lands, requiring reporters to pay for a permit and get permission before shooting a photo or video in federally designated wilderness areas.
Under rules being finalized in November, a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in any of the nation’s 100 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone.
Permits cost up to $1,500, says Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers, and reporters who don’t get a permit could face fines up to $1,000.
First Amendment advocates say the rules ignore press freedoms and are so vague they’d allow the Forest Service to grant permits only to favored reporters shooting videos for positive stories.
Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said, “It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional. They would have to show an important need to justify these limits, and they just can’t.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first (nor will it be the last) attempt to reign in the First Amendment. Dianne Feinstein and friends have long-been championing a “media shield law” which, on its surface, has been disguised as a bill to “protect” journalists who report whistleblowers and their stories. As I’ve written in the past, however, the proposed legislation is anything but benign.
A bill proposed in 2013 included the ‘Feinstein-Durbin amendment,’ which would have narrowly defined journalists as “a salaried agent” of a “media company”. Feinstein also reportedly said that the bill shouldn’t apply to WikiLeaks or “a 17-year-old who drops out of high school, buys a website for $5 and starts a blog”—meaning these folks would be unprotected from State prosecution.