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February 8, 2017


One of the first things those of fascist bent do when taking over democracies is to silence the media and those individuals who speak up for democracy. When successful, the masses are deprived of any countervailing force to the constant rattle of fascist propaganda and in due course begin to accept and believe such sloganeering as fact. Dr. Goebbels famously recognized this in his service to der fuhrer.

We have heard the constant putdowns of the media by Trump and his senior adviser Bannon’s identification of not Democrats but rather the press as “the enemy,” all of which smacks of an impending fascist takeover or, if not, at the least undermining the importance of the Fourth Estate in the preservation of our democracy, our most precious asset held in common.

We should be on the alert to save our country from fascism for another reason. Bannon has written and said that he wants to destroy the current order in favor of establishing what he calls the “New World,” which is his apparent view of a reorganization of our economic, social and political structures with democracy as an early casualty in the transitional phase. In order to do this, the media must become a toothless tiger and ultimately destroyed with propaganda as the new truth whose precepts are to be obeyed and never questioned. Storm troopers help in enforcing this new view of things.

Of course, some form of fascism may not be Bannon’s real objective; he may have a system in mind worse than that, if such a system is possible, but whatever he has in mind it is safe to say that what he and his orange stooge envision for America is not democracy, not with their respective putdowns of the media and other dictatorial tactics in re immigration, fence-building and other such initiatives which I believe are deliberately designed to stir up mayhem so as to justify strongman intervention in the interest of “law and order.”

I remember how Hitler had his thugs burn the Reichstag in order to stir up the populace and justify his stern intervention ostensibly in the interests of law and order and keeping the peace. It’s an old and phony game, and I am beginning to see vestiges of such thinking in the here and now beyond preliminary attempts to destroy the media in plain violation of their free speech and press rights set forth in the First Amendment to our Constitution.

Examples include presidential claims that what the president does is not reviewable by the courts. That is a false claim because if not reviewable this president or any president could do whatever they please free of all constraints. One such example is as follows: Trump is threatening to cut off federal funding for states who provide sanctuary enclaves for refugees and immigrants. If there were no judicial review of such acts, he (having established a precedent) could expand such power to cut off federal spending in all of the states on different issues, like their taxing and spending agendas, whether unionization the states’ work forces are allowed etc., all of which when combined would make him a dictator and states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment a bad joke.

As of yesterday, it seems that the Bannon-Trump crusade against constitutionally protected press and speech rights is contagious. Now legislative leaders are getting into the act. The Republican majority leader decided that he didn’t want to hear any more speech from a fellow senator under a Senate rule that one senator cannot say anything bad about another senator, forcing her to sit down and shut up.

Lost in such a dictatorial show is the fact that her negative remarks were made not against another senator but against his proposed elevation to the office of the Attorney General of the United States which, as we used to say, is a horse of a different color. I have a few questions for this legislative dictator: Millions were maimed and died for free speech; how many have died for a Senate rule, or as alternatively stated, which is more important, our Constitution or some senate rule? Where are your priorities? Just who do you think you are when hiding your politics behind some 8rule? Citizens United decided that money is speech; aren’t United States senators not entitled to free speech when money enjoys such freedom? You’re one to talk of decorum when you held up a Supreme Court nomination for a year based solely on political gamesmanship. Go home, Mitch. We have enough dictators-in-waiting.

When and if we shed our democracy in favor of living in Bannon’s and his dunce’s New World (whether medieval or fascist or worse), perhaps we may well wish we lived back in the good old days when Wall Street was allowed to loot our treasury and the poor were steadily getting poorer, when wage inequality worsened while the Dow continued to set records, when some measure of free speech and press rights was available if declining, and other remnants of a democracy headed for the dustbin of history. Perhaps, if we are permitted to wish.    GERALD       E





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