Freedom Of Assembly

Journalist Dan Rather A True Profile In Courage: From Richard Nixon To The Bushes To Donald Trump!

Dan Rather, the long time anchor of CBS News from 1981 to 2005, is now 85 years old, but still in the battle for the truth and freedom of the press.

Rather fought against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate Crisis in 1973-1974, confronting him openly at a press conference, and was on Nixon’s enemy’s list.

Rather confronted George H W Bush in 1988 about Ronald Reagan’s Iran Contra Scandal, leading to the two men shouting at each other.

Rather exposed the fact in 2004 that George W. Bush had been reading magazines and avoiding National Guard duty during the Vietnam War, and for that, he was forced out as anchor in 2005.

Now, Rather is already exposing and condemning Donald Trump in his lies and deceit, and pointing out what any intelligent, sane person sees, that Donald Trump is an extremely dangerous man to America’s civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

Dan Rather has devoted his life to journalism, and is a true hero, who should be applauded and supported in the struggle to preserve American democracy!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address And First Actions Show America Is In Massive Constitutional Crisis, Greater Than Watergate!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address and first actions in office show America is in a massive constitutional crisis, greater than Watergate!

Trump’s speech was the most negative, darkest speech ever given on Inauguration Day, when usually the rhetoric is lofty and positive.

He talked about “Carnage” in the nation after eight great years of positive change under Barack Obama.

He is so insecure that he continues to brag about his accomplishments, even today while visiting the CIA headquarters in Virginia, an agency he had been highly critical of, as they investigate any Russian connection during the Presidential campaign, and with Trump still applauding Vladimir Putin of Russia, while strongly attacking NATO and the European Union, undermining our alliances from Truman to Obama.

And his changes in the White House website within an hour after Barack Obama left office is alarming–wiping out the sections on Gays and Lesbians, Civil Rights, Health Care, Immigration, Native Americans, Violence Against Women, Disabilities, Climate Change, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Public Radio, PBS, and with more certain to come.

Trump also signed into law the wiping out of an Obama initiative to lower mortgage insurance fees to help new homeowners, causing an estimated $500 increase annually, which will force some out of the home market, people who are struggling to be able to buy The American Dream, their own home.

How can Trump say he is for the people, and that they control their government, when only the wealthy and powerful will benefit, and many groups of people will suffer, massively, by his narrow mindedness and bigotry?

Trump is already in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, with conflicts of interest all over the world, making profit off being President, and putting his foreign properties under threat of attack. Just the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House, is a violation of the Constitution, and leading early to impeachment resolutions.

We are in a nightmare situation, and the fear that Trump will suppress the free news media, form an enemy’s list like Richard Nixon had, and try to curb freedom of assembly, and who knows, possible thoughts of Martial Law that might be endorsed by a right wing Attorney General, Jeff Sessions!

Widespread Protests Against Trump Inauguration Grow Day By Day!

Widespread protests against the Trump Inauguration are growing day by day.

No significant entertainers are willing to perform at his inauguration in Washington DC on Friday, January 20, 2017.

The Rockettes are divided over performance, with some dancers refusing to do so, although under pressure to follow orders.

Some members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are also reluctant to sing for the incoming President, on moral and ethical grounds.

This is all perfectly understandable, as many see performing for Trump as equivalent of performing for Adolf Hitler, right or wrong.

The fact that Trump consorts with other dictators, including Vladimir Putin of Russia, and the leaders of such nations as Turkey, and the Philippines, and even has had praise for North Korea’s leader Kim Jon Un as a “strong leader”, is indeed alarming.

One gets the feeling that Trump’s willingness to ignore security information that shows Russia hacked our election process, and therefore helped Donald Trump, and seems to be engaged in a “bromance” with Putin disgusts and alarms millions of Americans, does not phase him one bit.

The Republican Party is starting to split with Trump on this, with Senator John McCain calling for hearings on Thursday, January 5.

So there are fireworks ahead, and it is expected that there will be widespread protests against Trump centered around Inauguration Day, totally appropriate freedom of assembly and nonviolent civil disobedience, and it is all a harbinger of the next four years!

So we can wish for a Happy New Year 2017, but there are warning signs ahead of a very difficult, tumultuous year!

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.

Censorship Beginning In Trump Era: Promotion Of Mistrust Of News Media, College Professors, Entertainment Industry As The New McCarthyism!

It is becoming clear that Donald Trump intends to declare war on the news media, calling them dishonest and out to promote propaganda, while it is precisely Trump and his “Alt Right” White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, which is working to establish mistrust among the American people toward their own media that dares to challenge and investigate the many shortcomings of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees, and his future policies in domestic and foreign affairs.

Additionally, a plan to list college professors who are felt to promote a leftist agenda, a reminder of McCarthyism in the 1950s, has been started by a group termed “Turning Point USA” under the name “Professor Watch List”, to intimidate professors from having freedom of speech in their classrooms. So academic “witch hunts” are back, in order to advocate a right wing educational system.

And the usual attack on liberals in Hollywood and the broad field of entertainment, is also clearly beginning, as censorship and attacks on civil liberties and civil rights groups are being encouraged, to attempt a total crackdown on dissent.

The ultimate goal is to sow distrust and doubt in the fields of journalism, education including universities and colleges, and the entertainment industry, including criticism of the humor of “Saturday Night Live” and other programs on cable, television, and radio, as well as film.

All this is advocated as part of the “fake news” which helped to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign for President in 2016.

With an authoritarian oriented President coming to office, many elements of our basic freedoms of speech and press, and even assembly, are clearly under attack.

March 4, 1789–227 Years Without A Tyrant–Not About To Allow It To Happen Now With Donald Trump!

The American Constitution went into effect officially on March 4, 1789, even though the first President, George Washington, was inaugurated belatedly on April 30, 1789.

We so revere the Constitution without realizing that through domestic and foreign crises over the years, we have only come fairly close to danger just once–the lawlessness of Richard Nixon.

But even with Nixon, we were far from Fascism or dictatorship, and the Constitution did work well  in the 1970s.

Despite acts of illegality, and plans for more, Richard Nixon was stopped dead in his tracks, including Alexander Haig telling the Pentagon to ignore Richard Nixon if he ordered martial law!

So when we hear that Donald Trump would order the military to break international law and American law, and return to the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney system of torture through waterboarding that has been banned by Barack Obama; and when we hear that Trump would wish to kill the entire families of suspected terrorists, and have no limit on military engagement as the military would obey him–then we know we have a tyrant in the making.

And when we hear that Trump wishes his crazy followers to beat up anti Trump protesters at rallies, and would plan to curb freedom of speech, press and assembly, including against media critics including the New York Times and Washington Post when he gains power, then we know we have Fascism in our midst, much greater than Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, George C. Wallace, Pat Buchanan, or other lesser demagogues!

We have not had a tyrant for 227 years of our Republic, and we are not about to allow it to happen now with Donald Trump and his ilk!

Closing Down Mosques, Requiring Muslim ID Badges, Closing Down Cafes And Diners And Wherever Muslims Meet: Meet American Fascism And The Republican Party Of 2015!

The Republican Party of 2015 has gone so far to the Right that now it can be compared to Fascism in many ways!

Donald Trump asserts that all mosques in America should be shut down, which only incites anti Muslim hatred and endangers all Muslims in the United States.

What Trump forgets is the concept of the First Amendment and religious freedom!  Can one imagine if we had a politician say all Catholic Churches, all evangelical Christian churches, all mainline Establishment Protestant churches, or all Jewish synagogues should be shut down?  Would we ever allow or conceive of such action by any level of American government, which would make us no different than what Nazi Germany represented, as they shut down Jewish synagogues, and in fact, torched and desecrated them?  Have we gone mad as a nation, that we even have a Presidential candidate who can utter such bigotry and fascist tendencies, and sit by and ignore it?

Donald Trump also declares that we should require Muslim ID badges, reminding us of the branding of Jews with a yellow star in Nazi Germany, and are Americans ok with that, as if so, why not some day do that to other religious groups or ethnic minorities?  And he wants a database established to track all Muslims in America in their daily existence.

Marco Rubio wants us to close down cafes and diners and wherever Muslims meet, making him an American Fascist as much as Donald Trump!  Are we to arrest and imprison all Muslims in America as we did with Japanese Americans in World War II?

Are we to repeal the Bill of Rights and end freedom of assembly, along with freedom of religion, as well as freedom of speech?  Does anyone really think that shutting down public places where Muslims might congregate will prevent them from meeting underground?  Are we out to promote paranoia among Muslims in America, where the 99 percent who are NOT terrorist oriented will be motivated to defend themselves by joining groups that promote Al Qaeda or ISIL (ISIS)?

Are we going to allow those who advocate hate, such as Pam Geller, Franklin Graham, and others who promote Islamophobia, to undermine our nation and its basic values, and create a situation that will incite violence against anyone seen as Muslim?

Do we think such individuals would not be willing to defend themselves in a nation where there are so many firearms, many in the hands of mentally unstable individuals?  How do we gain a sense of peace and tranquility long term, when we are having demagogues advocating violence, warfare, and a native American Fascism?

All decent people MUST condemn Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and all other Republicans who advocate similar Fascist ideas, as well as Pam Geller and Franklin Graham and others of their ilk! They undermine any hope of coexistence, as all they do is accomplish what the evil terrorist groups want the most–the dissolution of America and its values!

The Westboro Baptist Church And The Funerals Of 19 Arizona Firefighters

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, consisting of about 50 people, mostly family members, who have picketed funerals of Iraq and Afghanistan War soldiers, is now threatening to picket the funerals of the 19 courageous Arizona firefighters killed this week in the worst loss of firefighters since September 11, 2001.

That despicable church has used their sick, hateful tactic to protest the reality of homosexuality, arguing that war losses and deaths of firefighters is all due to God visiting his wrath on America for accepting the existence of gay men and women.

The Supreme Court a few years ago ruled that what the Westboro Baptist Church does is freedom of speech and assembly, but that such demonstrations must be far enough away so as not interfere with such somber events.

But this kind of conduct, while it might be legal, is reprehensible, and makes one say: “Enough is enough!”, and will hopefully lead to a strong counter demonstration that will shout down any awareness of the fact that these sick people are even present anywhere near the respect that is due to those courageous firefighters, as much as war veterans killed in combat!

The Westboro Baptist Church, The Supreme Court, And Free Speech

What the author feared would happen has indeed occurred!

The Supreme Court of the United States has, by an 8-1 vote, decided that the hateful, anti gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, headed by the Reverend Fred Phelps, and consisting of about 50 people, almost all his relatives, have the right to disrupt military funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to protest the fact that gays have rights, and that America is going to the devil because gays are allowed to exist in America!

The fact that a military funeral is a time of mourning and stress for those connected to the dead soldier apparently had no effect on the Court, except for Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who, somewhat surprisingly, was the only dissenter.

So the Westboro Baptist Church can continue its evil deeds and disrupt funerals and promote hate, and the right of privacy of funeral attenders, including the family of the deceased, does not matter!

This despicable group not only has done this dastardly deed to families of soldiers, but also were present at the funeral of the nine year old girl murdered when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded in Tucson, Arizona in January. The only difference there was that a large group of sympathizers of the parents of the young girl formed a wall of resistance to these characters, and kept them much further away from the funeral procession.

This is not, in the author’s mind, freedom of speech, or freedom of religion, or freedom of assembly. To call the Westboro Baptist Church a church is a mockery of the whole concept of religion!

All decent people will deplore this decision, and be embarrassed that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined with Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and even the ultimate swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, in writing this reprehensible decision!

This is not a victory for free speech, but rather a victory for hate, and insanity, and lack of respect for the dead, and lack of patriotism regarding the military, who sacrifice themselves every day in far off lands!

Surprising, but the author must commend Samuel Alito for having the courage to go against the tide, a man that the author has not highly admired. So I salute Alito for his brave stand for decency!

Arizona Does Something Right: Banning Of Westboro Baptist Church Hate Demonstration At Funerals Of Tucson Victims Of Mass Shooting!

Finally, Arizona has done something right, by its state legislature passing in record time today a ban on demonstrations or picketing by the hateful, sick Westboro Baptist Church at the funerals of the victims of the Tucson shootings last Saturday.

That despicable, so called religious group, which has picketed and demonstrated at the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan, because of the group’s hatred of gays, is finally being limited, as what they want to do is shameful! 🙁

So they will be allowed no closer than 300 feet, the equivalent of a football field, and additionally, there will be counter demonstrators dressed as angels who will stand in the way of these hateful crackpots, remaining silent, but blocking the vision of these sick, perverted members of what is primarily a warped group of family members of the so called Reverend Fred Phelps! 🙁

This action has already been followed in Ohio over a military funeral, although the case is now in the Supreme Court, has been argued, and we are awaiting their decision at some point later in this term of the Court.

It is hard to imagine that the Supreme Court would give license to this group by the argument of freedom of religion and assembly and speech, since they have no purpose other than to disrupt and cause emotional harm and suffering upon people who have suffered a loss of a loved one.

To think that the specific purpose of their demonstration is to condemn the Catholic faith of the nine year old child victim makes one want to mourn the loss in this group of what religion and Christianity are all about–to love thy neighbor!

If these are truly Christians, then they are a mockery of the faith!