21st Century Censorship

One of my biggest fears when Donald Trump was inaugurated was that he would circumvent the First Amendment and impose censorship. His Bubba placating wars with the media appeared to set the stage. With the benefit of about a year’s worth of hindsight it appears he is well on the way to achieving that objective to at least to the degree he deems necessary. However, he and some fellow fascists around the globe are doing it in a different way than I originally envisioned. Let’s explore.

Early Friday evening the Trump administration announced that it would not release the Democratic memo responding to the Nunes Nothingburger Memo. White House Consul Don McGahn, writing for the President, said that the memo could not be released at this time due to security concerns. That makes Trump sound almost patriotic. The interesting thing is that the Nunes Nothingburger Memo was released completely unredacted despite the intelligence community having expressed similar concerns.

To anyone who read it with descent knowledge of publically reported events related to Russiagate the Nunes memo failed to prove any wrongdoing in the investigation. In fact it proved that “The Dossier” not only was not the catalyst of the investigation, but that the investigation would have happened in its absence. My only concern about the battling memos is that either might reveal sources and methods to the bad guys. However, with one out in the public it is only fair to the American people that both be released.

Trump’s decision was not surprising. Where he can’t squelch, he delays. His only concern is what is good for him in the present.

In order to keep his organized criminal enterprise going for the maximum time Trump has determined that all he has to do is keep his base in line thereby bullying a sufficient number of Congressional Republicans to not overtly move against him. Remember he was a minority elected President who has devised a scam to remain in power (and therefore be enabled to plunder for personal gain) by controlling a minority of the American public which just happens to constitute a near majority of the Republican primary electorate.

Disinformation is vital to retaining the loyalty of that base. Trump has a plethora of apologist in the right wing media aiding his cause. Foremost among them is Fox News. The two biggest right wing opinion leaders are Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who between them lack sufficiently completed college courses to have sophomore status in any university in the world.

This phenomenon is not exclusively domestic. Last week Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law legislation that made it illegal to speak of Polish involvement in the Holocaust. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen; it just means it is against the law to talk about it in the country where it happened. By that reasoning I guess if you don’t talk about it will go away. Remember these are the people who oppose sex education by the same rationalization. You can ignore reality but that doesn’t eliminate it despite what right wing mythology might attempt to teach.

The Trump administration wants to operate by its own rules much more like a monarch than an elected representative government. Last week two White House Aides, Rob Porter and David Sorenson abruptly left their positions after multiple well substantiated domestic violence allegations became public knowledge. Note the use of the term: public knowledge. There is reason to believe that senior White House staff, if not the President himself, knew of the allegations for months. As I write this piece Chief of Staff John Kelly and McGahn’s jobs appear in jeopardy. Either or both going would be of little loss to American. The problem is not the “supporting cast”; it is the President himself.

Here is the really scary part that has received little emphasis despite extensive coverage of these events: depending on which report you trust between a dozen and as many as 40 people operating inside the Trump administration have failed to obtain permanent security clearances. This includes son-in-law Jared Kushner. My though is that it must be a wonderful time to be an espionage agent of a hostile foreign power; there are so many “fertile fields”.

Interestingly two different political strategies have evolved in the handling of sexually related scandals. The Democrats by and large have fessed up and faced the music. The Republicans deny and only face “discipline” when the public outcry gets too loud. It’s like Chuck Schumer says, “They only do the right thing when they are caught doing the wrong thing.”

I have a typical liberal philosophy when it comes to censorship; I’m against it. Like most freedoms it is not free. A lack of censorship means that you have to let the right wing media continue spreading its disinformation despite how often it is debunked. Just go back to Trump’s State of the Union speech to see how often he lied. The danger is when Bubba sits home and his “news sources” do not point out the lies to him, he ends up believing what Trump and his enablers say. What we are seeing today from the extreme right is reminiscent of the fascist rise in 1930’s Europe. Repeating a lie and controlling the available information (if only to a degree) is sufficient to brainwash the masses or at least an adequate portion of them to retain control.

Still, with the exception of protecting children I oppose censorship.  Thankfully there is an aggressive investigative reporting corps at several news entities both in America and abroad. That is supplemented by people like me who get a few thousand readers a day. Hopefully the truth will win out in the long run; historically it has.

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