American Life Donald Trump Storm Chaser Network

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

In other words: Goodbye, First Amendment.

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?


  • Much to think about here. Your commitment to persuasion by reason is impressive.
    Ballot initiatives are a useful tool, but they have also been coopted by the oligarchy. Recent ballot initiatives have been backed, and their campaigns funded, by big money. Bloomberg and Soros come to mind.
    As well, activist judges, appointed by the elites, have been known to legislate from the bench, and set the results of ballot initiatives aside.
    Not to belabor the point about the 2nd Amendment: a few years back I was at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. From there you could drive south to Kabul, by either of two routes, both less than 40 miles.
    When I was there, and maybe even now, the drive was not so simple. I would watch convoys head out on the trip- the trucks, which had to be guarded by armored up vehicles with automatic weapons. Often I would see helicopters accompany these convoys. At the air base there were ground attack aircraft ready to provide support.
    The reason for this: there was the possibility of encountering opposition. The opposition did not have air support, or sophisticated weaponry. They had mainly small arms and improvised explosives.

  • I am disappointed. Your response is the standard Leftist boiler plate dismissal of the 2nd Amendment. It varies so little in form whenever I hear it that I believe it must be in a handbook somewhere.
    Please think this issue through for yourself: consider examples, both contemporary and from recent history, that might challenge your assertion. They are right in front of you.

    • Hi RGATH, I frankly don’t know about boiler plate dismissals of the 2nd Amendment since I have never been involved in discussions about it. I am open-minded on the issue. The only examples I can think of from contemporary and recent history confirm rather than challenge my assumption of private gun ownership not being sufficient to stand up to a modern military, national guard, and police. OTOH, I know of cases of nonviolent resistance making a dent and political movements creating major change. Now, if you know of cases which indicate that private gun ownership — beyond of what we already (or still) have — would be of help against our oligarchy, please let me know. I am eager for anything that can help us out of our mess.
      P.S.: Since I have never been part of a group of people upset over a 2nd Amendment encroachment and it seems to be a hot issue for you, perhaps you could clear it up a little for me how the 2nd Amendment has been »buried under unconstitutional “laws”« as you say?

      • Let’s make a comparisons at both local and national levels.
        In 1981, the city of Morton Grove, Illinois banned handguns; subsequently the number of burglaries increased.
        In 1982, the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their homes.
        In 1995, Kennesaw Police Chief Dwaine Wilson testified before the House Judiciary Committee: “Kennesaw is an armed community, but a very peaceful community. After 1982, crime, particularly armed crime, in Kennesaw dropped off significantly.
        ·In 1976, Washington, DC instituted one of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. The murder rate since that time has risen 134 percent (77.8 per 100,000 population) while the overall rate for the country declined two percent. Washington, DC politicians find it easy to blame Virginia’s less stringent gun laws for the DC murder rate. Yet, Virginia Beach, Virginia’s largest city with almost 400,000 residents, has had one of the lowest rates of murder in the country, 4.1 per 100,000.
        · In Switzerland, every draft-age male is required to maintain a firearm in his home, yet the Swiss murder rate is only 15 per cent of the U.S. rate.
        An added benefit: No foreign enemy has invaded Switzerland in centuries.
        In contrast, a 1971 Cambridge University study showed that in heavily gun-controlled Great Britain, “the use of firearms in crime was very much less before 1920 when Britain had no controls of any sort.”

        ·In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.
        From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·In 1911, Turkey established gun control.
        From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·Germany established gun control in 1938.
        From 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·China established gun control in 1935.
        From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·Guatemala established gun control in 1964.
        From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·Uganda established gun control in 1970.
        From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        ·Cambodia established gun control in 1956.
        From 1975 to 1977, one million ‘educated’ people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

        Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

        • Thanks, FED UP _WITH_. Those cases make for great arguments for the protection of the 2nd Amendment. I am impressed, though I must admit I don’t know if equal counterarguments or qualifying details in some of these cases exist, making me – on the whole – a bad judge on this issue. I can see how widespread gun ownership might help prevent massive rounding up of people, something I didn’t think of before. That would make widespread gun ownership useful even if armed revolution no longer seems very doable to me in this day and age, as I pointed out earlier.
          That opens up all sorts of questions, of course. For instance, should we all be obliged to own a gun since merely being allowed to have one hasn’t made us all go out and get one? OTOH, shouldn’t they all be registered in order to be better able to track down criminals who use their guns for murder and such? But might the latter not also lend itself to government restricting gun ownership, so that we should rather be against gun registration? And how to keep them out of the hands of children too young to be ready to handle them responsibly? Or what about dangerous lunatics and youths who fall for the lure of terrorism or take their parent’s gun to school to shoot everybody they don’t like? Should we then indeed all arm ourselves, even those of us uncomfortable with carrying a gun, and essentially turn our nation into the old Wild West, all of us ready to shoot any shootist who turns up? I wonder. I didn’t grow up in a gun-slinging environment; so I have no ready answers. Still, the 2nd Amendment seems more important to me now than before. If it has been “buried” as much as the 4th, 5th, 6th, and soon 1st amendment, I can’t quite tell, yet.

      • -New York City, 1911, Sullivan Law: law designed to disarm two groups- immigrants and blacks.
        -Jim Crow legislation in the post-Reconstruction South is usually associated with voting rights. This type of legislation included measures crafted to disarm blacks.
        -California 2016: millions of previously registered firearms owned by law abiding Californians became illegal overnight. This did nothing to limit the availability of firearms to the criminal underclass, native and foreign, which is the power base of the current California elites.

        Here’s how widespread ownership of small arms helps against the oligarchy: no matter what technologies are employed, government force is limited in scope. There is perhaps a force of 3 million in this country available to project force on the populace. If the population is armed, the whole dynamic of that force projection changes, and must enter into the calculations of the oligarchs. Small arms are a game changer by their mere existence, without a shot being fired.
        As has been pointed out, that is why every single tyrant enacts measures to disarm their society.
        Oppression is not imposed by jets and bombs. It is imposed on the local level, by people, and can only be efficiently imposed on the helpless.
        Your campaign for systemic change is laudable. But you seem to believe that, if we have a sufficiently peppy social media campaign, and elect enough town councilmen, the oligarchs will see the handwriting on the wall and step down.
        I remain skeptical.

        • The skepticism is justified. I don’t believe that the oligarchs will step down voluntarily. While an exceptional case of an oligarch siding with humanity could greatly help, and while at least among the gentry there have been rare cases of this in history, I suspect that most kings of the dung heap will need to be forced out of power. The struggle for a better world won’t be a simple slam dunk. It has many battle fronts and there will be many steps forward and backward and victories on one front accompanied by defeats on another. Since we still have many mechanisms of democracy in place, even if they have been usurped, I like to think we can take them back through a grass roots upswelling, mostly starting at the bottom where the fewest defenses are in place and large numbers of people can apply themselves directly. From there we could move upwards. Besides taking over party chapters and political offices, there are also ballot initiatives to implement anti-corruption laws bypassing the corrupt parliaments they are meant to regulate. The tools of election need to be carefully watched and election theft litigated. We all must become more educated about our system, not only the political power structure but also our places of work, concentration of wealth, and other aspects of the “private sector” which previously have never had democratic and equity principles installed thus serving as the rotten apple among the parts of society which spoils all the others. I don’t have the space in a single comment to outline all the elements of the necessary multi-pronged strategy which might lead to success, nor can I assume to know all there is to know all by my self. I keep learning and disseminating so we can all become smarter about it all. If we have any success at all, it will likely come in one of two ways: (1) a kind of armistice/compromise between the oligarchs and the rest of us (pretty much what we have had historically and something which tends to gravitate back to oligarchy as soon as we stop fighting), or (2) such a thorough system change that people power and a shared vision of a good world for all permeates all parts of society (democratizing also our places of work, for example, so we can have a say not only at the ballot box every few years to pick people for high offices but can influence what our companies and agencies, where we work, are doing). My past posts titled “Have We Ever Had a Democracy?” and “Seven Strategies against the System” addressed many of these thoughts. Future posts will do so, as well, exploring some details I haven’t written about, yet… assuming I find the time, of course.

  • The points you make cannot be gainsaid.
    If ever a part of the Bill of Rights was being buried under unconstitutional “laws”, it would be the 2nd Amendment.
    Curiously, you don’t mention it.
    You ask “What tool will we have to defend against tyranny?”
    That would be the 2nd Amendment. That’s why it’s in there.

    • I wish I could agree. However, the 2nd Amendment USED to serve the purpose of the people being able to stand up to a despotic government back when muskets were still the military cutting edge. However, in an age of Apache Attack Helicopters, bombers, attack drones, tanks, dragnet surveillance, and powerful media brainwashing, we need to realize that rifles won’t save us anymore. We need to attack our despotic regime on a much broader front through systemic change. So, please forgive me (and join me) when I put aside unrealistic fantasies of going up against it with hand guns and focus on strategies which may still work. We need to put our heads together to overcome the systemic corruption through grassroots people power.

    • Hm? That (and more) is exactly what the article and the comments, so far, said. It’s precisely because the mainstream media are propaganda machines for the corporate state, that it is so problematic that our corporatist government (“bipartisan” when both political gangs are in full accord) are hurrying to censor alternative media lest the least bit of truth filter through to us, the American people, who must be kept ignorant to rule and betray us with impudence.

  • It is a very scary situation when the government are putting themselves in charge of what is considered to be ‘fake’ news… how is this different from any communist regime propaganda? Countries such as China and North Korea only allow their people to see the news they want them to see – sounds very similar to Obama’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ to me.

    • Exactly. And, not to forget: this was ‘bipartisan’, i.e. the “good” and “bad” cop of our oligarchy working together. Just so we know where the true seat of power is, namely not the officials in the government, but the robber billionaire oligarchs and their corporations and banks who pay them to do their bidding. (And, yet, we should also realize that — no matter where the seat of power is — the actual power comes from us, the people, us who staff the police, the military, the government agencies, the workforce…)

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About the author

Dirk Droll

Dirk Droll, defender of reality-based truth, loves to write. The treadmill of life, ruled so sadly by money, has driven him through many cultures, careers, and... tribulations. From these experiences come a desire to fight for a better world and little pieces of advice such as: “Wisdom is what you get when you don't get what you want.” and “After leaving the sinking ship there is still the ocean to contend with.” Increasingly, Droll finds himself forced to educate the public on the evils of the “robber billionaires” as he calls them. If you are one of them, but don't wish to fit the mold, contact him for ideas. ;-)