I open with the first amendment of the United States—yes again.
Constitution of United States of America 1789, Amendment 1:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
On Friday, when Donald Trump barred mainstream news outlets from the ever enlightening weekly White House press briefing, he took us one step closer to dictatorship.
This week’s attempt by Reince Priebus to pressure the FBI into refuting discoveries regarding the Trump camp’s repeated contact with Russian officials throughout the presidential campaign was essentially another such attempt.
Trump would like his lies, and those of his back up singers, to be the only information American people are privy to, period. If the press continues to do it’s job of investigative journalism they will be punished. No bedtime stories for the naughty reporters who don’t repeat what they’re told, or who ask “unfair” questions. Remain arid. Follow the script.
Reporters from respected news outlets including the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and POLITICO were not permitted to attend Friday’s briefing. The associated press refused to participate in the briefing as a show of solidarity to those excluded. Good for them.
Every news outlet should follow the lead of AP. No one should participate in the Spicer show, just as Kellyanne Conway should be ignored. The press briefing is a poorly orchestrated recitation of fiction with a question and answer period that is painful to watch. Nothing truthful comes out of the briefings, so I say continue the current course of action: Talk to the leaky people, and report the leaks.
I think we have enough footage of Donald Trump lying,
so rather than waste time at press briefings let’s focus on real news that can be used to remove him and his friends from their positions.
Donald Trump has revitalized the daily use of words most popular in the Hitler/Mussolini days of WWII. Let’s review, and consider their relevance today.
- Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
- Censorship: suppressing information deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds. What is objectionable is of course subjective, and adjudicated by the fascist dictator.
- Fascist: a ruler who forcibly suppresses opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
- Totalitarianism: absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution.
- Dictatorship: a form of government under a ruler who exercises absolute power, unrestricted, and without hereditary succession.
- Authoritarianism: complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom.
Continued civil resistance among the masses is crucial in any fight against a fascist regime. The Women’s March on January 21 worked beautifully, as did the worldwide protests it inspired. Millions gathering to peacefully protest can not be ignored. As long as these protests remain peaceful as this one did, they will continue to gain support for the movement.
There is another threat to another right under the 1st Amendment—the right of the people to peaceably assemble:
- Washington state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would label protests as “economic terrorism.”
- North Dakota, lawmakers have introduced a bill that would legalize accidentally running over protesters who are blocking traffic.
- In Iowa, lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make blocking traffic a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. in Indiana.
- Republican legislators have introduced a bill that would empower police to remove protesters blocking traffic using “any means necessary.”
- Minnesota lawmakers are pushing an anti-protest bill that would allow cities to sue protesters in order to charge them for the cost of policing the demonstrations.
More and more states are penning legislation that will strip us of this constitutional right.
- CONDUCT, NOT CONTENT – It’s not what you say—it’s the way that you say it. Your right to express your opinion is protected no matter what beliefs you hold. What matters is how you use that right. If you organize a protest that causes serious disruption, the government may be able to intervene. But with a few notable exceptions, nobody can restrict your rights simply because they don’t like what you say.
- FREE SPEECH IS FOR EVERYONE – Young or old; anarchist or evangelical; pacifist or hawk; Mormon or Muslim; these rights apply to you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a U.S. citizen, whether you’re of voting age, or whether you speak English. Free-speech rights are for everybody. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- WHEN, WHERE AND HOW – Consider when, where and how you use your free-speech rights. If you organize a rally that causes violence or unnecessary disruption, your event may be disbanded. Every municipality has regulations and it’s your responsibility to understand them. You must observe reasonable regulations on time, place, and manner when you exercise your rights to demonstrate and protest.
In spite of attempts by the Trump administration to disregard the first ammenmdment, we have many choices in recourse.
Call 202-225-3121 and ask to speak to your senator or representative. Remind them of their responsibility to use the office they were elected into by the people, to work for the people. Tell them the people are watching and will remember who took a stand against these violations of our 1st Amendment rights under constitution.
We can end this before history repeats itself.
January 25, 2017