Constitutional manipulation

EDITOR:

Welcome to “Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.” It states: “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.” And yet the White House blocked a number of news outlets from covering spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session on Feb. 24, 2017. Spicer held an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office rather than the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. Among the outlets not permitted to cover the “show” were news organizations the President aka “Mr. Insecure” Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN, The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.

Journalists from several right-leaning outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office including Breitbart, the Washington Times plus One America News Network. Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine were allowed into the spectacle, but refused to attend. “AP believes the public should have as much access to the president as possible,” the organization’s communications arm stated. One has to surmise the President and his cronies don’t like to be confronted for lying, distortions or answering tough questions with their obvious limited intellect.

And this in the Washington Post: “Republican lawmakers introduce bills to curb protesting in at least 18 states.” It tells us: “From Virginia to Washington state, legislators have introduced bills that would increase punishments for blocking highways, ban the use of masks during protests, indemnify drivers who strike protesters with their cars and, in at least once case, seize the assets of people involved in protests that later turn violent.” Douglas McAdam, a Stanford sociology professor who studies protest movements said “This is standard operating procedure for movement opponents.” He goes on to stress that civil rights workers were said to be outside agitators rather than a legitimate grass roots movement and that in all these cases the charges are generally bogus, with the vast majority of protesters principled individuals motivated by the force of deeply held values and strong emotion.

Lee Rowland, a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union points out that every single city and county in the United States already has laws on the books against obstructing traffic on busy roads.

Rather, Rowland says the laws’ intent is “increasing the penalties for protest-related activity to the point that it results in self-censorship among protesters who have every intention to obey the law.” Attacking the press and banning protests is early Nazism, plain and simple. Here’s a sobering quote from Adolph Hitler: “The German people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled (deceived) in order to be led.”

Gerry Niedermaier

Gladstone