Goodbye, Freedom of Thought, Speech, Assembly, and Petition

Dirk Droll

Since the G.W.-Cheney regime, several important parts of our Bill of Rights have been increasingly buried under unconstitutional “laws”: The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Acts, and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.

Particularly affected were the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, which are further being turned into empty words on paper by the actions of institutions, like the NSA, which have begun to simply disregard our constitution. All this became possible because we, the people, have given up our power to call anyone to account as we allow our party duopoly to play us with their good-cop/bad-cop routine when we obediently rubber-stamp their candidates every election cycle and then quietly slink back to our jobs making our plutocrats richer and ourselves poorer and ever more disenfranchised until the next election’s dog and pony show.

Like a frog who sits in a pot that is slowly being brought to a boil until it’s too late to jump out, we tend not to notice the growing stripping of our constitutional and human rights and we endlessly postpone taking action as we are buried in our day-to-day struggles. In addition to destroying our protection from government surveillance and persecution, the chilling effects of the above encroachments (and, specifically, the libraries provision of the Patriot Act), as well as restrictive police action and municipal zoning to prevent and punish public demonstrations, have also been infringing on our freedom of speech and assembly, important elements of democracy protected by the First Amendment.

As things keep heating up, more direct attacks on our First Amendment have been brewing. As if it were not bad enough that our corporate mainstream media act as propaganda machines for our robber billionaire oligarchs and their minions in government to whom they are beholden, Donald Trump seems to be planning to expand and abuse libel laws to threaten journalists and cow our last voices of truth and dissent into submission.

And not to be bested, Obama, at the head of a bipartisan junta, the day before Christmas Eve, quietly signed into law America’s very own Ministry of Truth, named hypocritically, like all these newspeak-doublethink shyster laws are named, the “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act.” Exactly what I saw coming when the Hillary Camp and the mainstream media kept honking and harping their allegations of Russian influencing of our election and of all the “fake news” on social media, naturally never mentioning how fake the news on the mainstream media themselves have become, forcing those of us who want to know what is really happening to look for news elsewhere. How can anybody not understand this as a law enacting government propaganda and censorship of our communications? Who will decide what publications are “fake” news, please? Will we, in the future, be able to safely post on Political Storm? We already have whistleblowers persecuted, abusing anti-espionage laws. Now the rest of the apparatus is moving in. What took you so long, 1984?

Our First Amendment is written to protect religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble, as well as the right to petition our government when it violates our rights — the very tools for us, the people, to watch our government and call it to account. If we allow the First Amendment to be buried and disregarded by our government like the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment already have been, what tool will we have left to defend against tyranny?

There is a (weirdly-framed) petition out regarding Trump’s consideration of abusing libel law. I have my doubts it will help, but if you are interested, here it is. Naturally, it is sponsored by none other than many of our so-called “liberal” entities in this surreal dem-rep partisan cockfight that so much of our political discourse has deteriorated to. Who will sponsor a petition or other measures against the bipartisan Ministry of Truth?