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H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
Wed May 15, 2013, 12:05 AM May 2013

Amendment 1

Perhaps it is too obvious, and thus easily overlooked: the reason the "Founding Fathers" added the Bill of Rights to the U.S, Constitution was to insure that citizens would enjoy specific rights that "government" -- meaning individual and group interests of those in power -- might otherwise seek to deny them.

The most important of these rights, in my opinion, are those found in Amendment 1. These rights are not always popular when exercised. More, there have long been limitations on some of them. For example, citizens do have the right to gather in public to air their disagreements with government policy. But, as the landmark case, decided by the US Supreme Court regarding Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham, that right is not absolute.

In recent history, beginning with the Kennedy administration during the final preparations for the foolish Bay of Pigs invasion, there has been tension between the executive branch and the press. Such tensions have also been found in the legislative and the judicial branch, in relations with the press. But, by their very natures, it has always been and will always be the executive branch that has the greater agenda to "control" the media -- either by creating a cozy relationship, or by way of seeking to restrict a free press.

Anyone old enough to have lived through the Nixon era, with its "enemies list" that included several journalists, should know this. And anyone born later, who cares about the Bill of Rights, should invest the time to learn about that toxic time.

The media is not the same today, as it was 40 or 50 years ago. Clearly, there is a corporate media today, that tends to spoonfeed some accurate information, along with heaping amounts of misinformation and disinformation, to an often unsuspecting public. Still, the media of yesteryear was not often as cutting edge as many recall it as being. The truth about Woodward and Bertsein, for example, was far different than the quasi-mythological "All the President's Men."

There were wonderful "underground" newspapers then, and some outrageously good radio shows. "Laugh-In" was often more on target than the 6 o'clock news. But today, we have the internet, something the hippies and YIPPIES! couldn't have dreamed of.
A free press can only be as good -- and free -- as citizens make it. And that includes the realatively minor internet discussion sites, such as the Democratic Underground, as well as blogs by hundreds of grass roots activists.

A big part of making the media -- both corporate and social -- of value, and to infuse the power that Amendment 1 intends, is to always question each and every government infringement on the press. It is easy for the people here to be angered by a Nixon or a Cheney when they attempt to control or restrict the media -- as it well should be. But we do have a responsibility to question those democratic administrations -- even if we really like a President Clinton or a President Obama -- when their administrations engage in actions that could threaten any part of that Bill of Rights.

Too often, if the rabid republicans, who are the lowest life form on earth, are for something, good and sincere Democrats are automatically against it; or, if those rabid republicans are against something, good and sincere Democrats are for it. This type of reaction can, at times, keep us from thinking for ourselves. And the truth is that while both Clinton and Obama are good men, and certainly far better presidents than Bush et al, they are not perfect. Indeed, the very office they hold requires that U.S. Presidents advocate for corporate interests, which includes that military-industrial complex.

If our nation is ever to regain its status as a Constitutional Democracy (and those who will argue that we were never a democracy, but rather a republic can only argue, because they are too misinformed to speak rationally), it will only be because citizens exercise the muscles found in that Bill of Rights -- and I'm definitely not including old #2.

Always question the government. Anyone who fails to do so not only betrays themselves, they betray everyone else.

H2O Man

27 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Amendment 1 (Original Post) H2O Man May 2013 OP
You have made the reason for the First Amendment perfectly clear. Octafish May 2013 #1
Thank you! H2O Man May 2013 #4
Husband and I are working reporters nadinbrzezinski May 2013 #2
I can understand H2O Man May 2013 #10
Yup nadinbrzezinski May 2013 #11
Thank you. Skidmore May 2013 #25
this ness was self-repleted by its awful H2O Man May 2013 #3
all true and prescient bigtree May 2013 #5
Right H2O Man May 2013 #12
Thanks for a great post! Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #6
Thank you. H2O Man May 2013 #19
Does anyone know the background of the Fourteenth Amendment? Baitball Blogger May 2013 #7
Perhaps if you "google" it, H2O Man May 2013 #21
Ouch. Baitball Blogger May 2013 #23
well said! G_j May 2013 #8
Very important point. H2O Man May 2013 #22
Excellently written as always. The only reason imo, that bad policies remain policies, or are sabrina 1 May 2013 #9
Well said. nt woo me with science May 2013 #17
kick G_j May 2013 #13
"No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will. Tierra_y_Libertad May 2013 #14
K&R woo me with science May 2013 #15
kick woo me with science May 2013 #16
Great minds think alike. Just posted about Nixon's 'enemies list'. trof May 2013 #18
YES! K&R! KoKo May 2013 #20
Nicely done. coeur_de_lion May 2013 #24
Thanks. H2O Man May 2013 #26
don't add 40 years coeur_de_lion May 2013 #27


(55,745 posts)
1. You have made the reason for the First Amendment perfectly clear.
Wed May 15, 2013, 12:53 AM
May 2013

A free press and the free and open discussion of ideas and opinions are absolutely necessary for our republic to operate and for democracy to function.

What passes for "news" is, as H20 Man noted, is largely propaganda, disinformation, misinformation and carefully selected chicken nugget-sized chunks of truth to add plausibility.

Those wondering how we got "that way" with Corporate McPravda helping the rich get richer and the hell with the rest of us may get the backstory from reading about Alex Carey:

Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda
The Attack on Democracy

The 20th century, said Carey, is marked by three historic developments: the growth of democracy via the expansion of the franchise, the growth of corporations, and the growth of propaganda to protect corporations from democracy. Carey wrote that the people of the US have been subjected to an unparalleled, expensive, 3/4 century long propaganda effort designed to expand corporate rights by undermining democracy and destroying the unions. And, in his manuscript, unpublished during his life time, he described that history, going back to World War I and ending with the Reagan era. Carey covers the little known role of the US Chamber of Commerce in the McCarthy witch hunts of post WWII and shows how the continued campaign against "Big Government" plays an important role in bringing Reagan to power.

John Pilger called Carey "a second Orwell", Noam Chomsky dedicated his book, Manufacturing Consent, to him. And even though TUC Radio runs our documentary based on Carey's manuscript at least every two years and draws a huge response each time, Alex Carey is still unknown.

Given today's spotlight on corporations that may change. It is not only the Occupy movement that inspired me to present this program again at this time. By an amazing historic coincidence Bill Moyers and Charlie Cray of Greenpeace have just added the missing chapter to Carey's analysis. Carey's manuscript ends in 1988 when he committed suicide. Moyers and Cray begin with 1971 and bring the corporate propaganda project up to date.

This is a fairly complex production with many voices, historic sound clips, and source material. The program has been used by writers and students of history and propaganda. Alex Carey: Taking the Risk out of Democracy, Corporate Propaganda VS Freedom and Liberty with a foreword by Noam Chomsky was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1995.

SOURCE: http://tucradio.org/new.html

If you find a moment, here's the first part (scroll down at the link for the second part) on Carey.


Helps explain how we got here and what we need to do to move forward, starting with putting the "Public" into Airwaves again. Not only will we know who's who and what's what, we'll know how to get the big things done by dividing up the task into little jobs and who'll do what, where and when.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
4. Thank you!
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:19 AM
May 2013

Our system is a machine, and machines must -- by their very nature -- operate in purely mechanical fashion. Thus, in our history since WW2, that machine has been the military-industrial complex that Ike famously warned us about. And while there have been numerous good individuals who have entered the top levels within that machine, fully intent upon reversing its de-humanizing nature, it has either "changed" them, or destroyed them.

Our mechanical culture is bringing our nation on a path that can only lead, in its present direction, to the internal destruction of the very values it was founded upon, and has struggled to provide all its citizens with. It's as if we are in a boat, heading towards Niagra Falls: most people are too numb, or too distracted by bright, shiny things, to notice. Those who point it out, are viewed as trouble-makers.

No "leader" can change the course of the machine. Only a massive effort on the part of the cogs -- by living as human beings -- can do that. We all have the power to live in a purposeful manner, rather than a purposeless one. It may seem hard, but it is more difficult not to.



(154,021 posts)
2. Husband and I are working reporters
Wed May 15, 2013, 12:59 AM
May 2013

This story has our hair on fire.

I also grew in another country where doing the job can get you killed. We know there s tension...you try to get an interview with either Issa or Hunter. I have actually sent Hunter running...no serious, and I intended to do a fluff question...since never been able to talk to the man.

We get this could lead to very serious issues. Sadly, it's my team, so who cares...attitude that prevails is not healthy

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
10. I can understand
Wed May 15, 2013, 12:32 PM
May 2013

why good people hesitate to look closely at anything the republicans are looking to exploit. But President Obama himself has said he wants us to hold his feet to the fire. The AP thing wasn't about him, but rather, about his administration. It is important that we let him know that we expect him -- a former constitutional law professor -- to deal with it.

I keep reading people saying, "It was legal. If you don't like it, change the law." Well, Martin Luther King, Jr., was frequently jailed for breaking the law. He pointed out that there are just and unjust laws. People have a responsibility to change unjust laws. That process is initiated by speaking out against that law, and even breaking it. Thus, the discussions here have value, and the attempts to dismiss or disrupt the OP/threads expressing concern about the violation of Amendment 1 are in error.



(154,021 posts)
11. Yup
Wed May 15, 2013, 12:49 PM
May 2013

But I no longer expect less from partisans, which is part of the problem...and it is not just one side.

Citizens have to put country before party.

For the record, holder recused and if the barriers between DOJ and the WH are in place...this is just a garden variety scandal. Those are the facts I want to find.


(37,364 posts)
25. Thank you.
Thu May 16, 2013, 03:21 PM
May 2013

The law needs to be changed. I would also like to point out that in the fear of that time, Congress was very busy curtailing civil liberties in the writing of the Patriot Act and Bush/Cheney also jimmied administrative rules to cut both the people and the press. How man of those deprivations have found a hearing before the Supreme Court.

I would welcome one of our constitutional law experts enumerating those cases for us and updating.


(86,300 posts)
5. all true and prescient
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:31 AM
May 2013

Much is made of the republican objections and obstruction of the 'shield' law that Democrats tried to enact which would have protected the AP against these intrusions. Much less is being made about Obama's absence from that vote on the shield law as Senator and the way he effectively pulled the rug out from it when he gained office.

I also think we should include in our gaze and attention, the way republicans have been insincere about their initial, lurid complaints about these administration 'leaks' and wholly inconsistent with the positions they took on leaks (Plame, Cheney, etc.) when a republican was in office.

Ironically, I suppose, the AP 'scandal' likely won't get the same attention and scrutiny from republicans that many Democrats will afford it.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
12. Right
Wed May 15, 2013, 02:05 PM
May 2013

The only "freedom of the press" that the republicans employed by Washington Corporation care about involves their access to the airwaves to spread lies, in much the same manner that farmers spread manure on a field.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
21. Perhaps if you "google" it,
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:04 PM
May 2013

you'll find there are numerous quality sources of information on Amendment 14. I'd also recommend going to your local library. Most have -- or can order -- any number of great books on constitutional history.

(If I were home, I could pick out a few from my library; alas, I'm on vacation at Virginia Beach.)

Baitball Blogger

(46,953 posts)
23. Ouch.
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:14 PM
May 2013

You did such a great job with the First Amendment, I was hoping to get lucky on the Fourteenth.

No problem. Google it is.


(40,373 posts)
8. well said!
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:46 AM
May 2013

I think the citizen's loyalty to the first amendment and the protection of speech, is more vital than a loyalty to any individual.

H2O Man

(73,995 posts)
22. Very important point.
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:08 PM
May 2013

I think that as citizens, we should place the Constitution at the top of our list in terms of loyalty, etc.

No politician, no matter how great she/he may be, can revive our constitutional democracy. Only citizens, exercising their constitutional muscles, can do that.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
9. Excellently written as always. The only reason imo, that bad policies remain policies, or are
Wed May 15, 2013, 10:57 AM
May 2013

enhanced is because of the cynical use of partisanship by those in whose interests those policies are needed. When the people on all sides realize that the focus must be on issues regardless of who is in power, only then will we be able to make real progress. Supporting or excusing bad policies because we like a politician is a serious threat to this country. And both sides have been doing it for far too long. Including me during the Clinton years.



(50,414 posts)
14. "No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will.
Wed May 15, 2013, 03:17 PM
May 2013
"No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defence." Thomas Jefferson


(3,703 posts)
27. don't add 40 years
Fri May 17, 2013, 12:03 AM
May 2013

now you have to start going backward. might as well. you've gotten so mellow over the last 9 years. and more child like (in a good way) as you've aged.

55 looks dynamite on you brother. Enjoy your vacation and your writing. can't wait to see the finished product.

'scuse the left handed sloppy typing.

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