Yelling “Fire” In & Opening Fire On a Crowded Theater

 

Let’s talk Constitutional Amendments… starting with the 1st, which 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.”

To flesh out those above “talking points” a bit…

America’s Founding Fathers had known democracy and theocracy could never coexist… that freedom of religion must also be inclusive of freedom FROM religion. As for civil disobedience / political protest, they not only had viewed citizens calling out errant leadership as the height of patriotism, but they also recognized how such demonstrations do act as a societal safety valve / a preventative of revolutionary wars… especially when responsive, responsible leadership takes constructive criticism to heart and then rectifies the problem(s)¹.

They had also understood how freedom of the spoken / published word (and more recently the blogged word, too) could never be an anything goes proposition. In other words…

The 1st Amendment’s right to free speech was never intended to permit anyone to yell out “FIRE!” in a crowded theater… especially where and when no such conflagration exists. In other words, to get one’s jollies by victimizing innocent people… by maiming and murdering them… was never meant to be a protected, Constitutional right².

Let’s move along now to the 2nd Amendment, which states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Once again, to flesh out that above “talking point” a bit…

America’s Founding Fathers would’ve never equated “A well regulated Militia” with the present-day, too few rules and regs, gun sick society which the National Rifle Association has spawned… i.e., the bullets flying, blood splattered, pop-up, anytime / anywhere domestic war-zone.

They would’ve been appalled by the NRA’s hardliner sociopaths, who absolutely refuse to accept even minimal, common sense laws such as bans on military grade automatic weapons, raising the age for gun ownership and… last but not least… background checks to ensure weaponry is not falling into the hands of the criminals and the criminally insane.

The 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms was never intended to grant carte blanche to gun nuts… i.e., allow them to open fire in a crowded theater… or for that matter… anywhere else. In other words, to get one’s jollies by victimizing innocent people… by maiming and murdering them… was never meant to be a protected, Constitutional right.

Yet, essentially, is not that very scenario exactly what the NRA’s stone hearted, hardliners have been lobbying their political puppets to perpetuate?

Equally deplorable is their MO for routinely targeting and marginalizing all who oppose them… and far worse yet… how they’ve been ridiculing and showing little sympathy to the still in deep mourning survivors of the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Targeting, marginalizing and showing little sympathy to society. Hmmm… when you really thing about it… that not only describes the overall attitude of the NRA but also each and every mass murderer who has ever open fired on innocents… the next mass murderers who will (someday soon) open fire once again.
 

Footnotes:

¹Such concepts are totally foreign to the present-day, unenlightened, Oval Office occupant.

²Hate speech must never be protected, either. It not only kills the human spirit and dignity of its targeted victims, but also incites the oft deadly, accompanying physical violence inflicted by lynch mobs.

 

 

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Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

 

To translate the above Latin blog title into colloquial English…

The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

Indeed, a fair, free society presumes everyone innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The U.S. Constitution’s 6th amendment is even more explicit:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence [sic].”

All of the above language becomes key, especially when we consider how, as of late, our daily news reportage has been featuring underlings accusing superiors of sexually harassing, abusing and/or assaulting them.

SIDEBAR: Just to be clear, here, no one should ever malign investigative journalists… discredit their factual reportage as “fake news” simply to escape an inconvenient truth / uncomfortable reality. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter how much the facts of any story may negatively impact an accused person’s life and/or livelihood. After all, a reporter’s job #1 is to not only alert us to the fact that there are purportedly dangerous people in our midst but to also encourage other victims to come forth to proclaim, “Me too”. Moreover, whenever such stories involve elected / appointed officials and political wannabes, these reporters are also performing their patriotic duty to alert our society… our electorate… to the presence of potentially corrupt leadership… e.g. lawbreaker lawmakers, lawless law enforcers, judicial hacks, etc.

Returning now to the specifics… while our Fourth Estate’s journalists have been doing a fine job in exposing ALLEGED sexual predators and while it’s true that, statistically speaking, their victims are seldom liars, we cannot and must not ignore that in caps and italics “A” word. In other words…

The broadcast airwaves and front pages of our online and in print newspapers are not the proper venues for trying and convicting the accused.

In other words, have we not been putting the cart before the horse?

With our goal being to make our entire society a much safer, saner, pleasant place to live and work in, the accused would be doing us a tremendous favor if they’d first report sexual harassment, abuse and assaults to the appropriate legal authorities. From there, the legal authorities would present the evidence to the prosecutors… prosecutors would go to trial whenever the evidence proved sufficiently strong… juries would weigh all the evidence to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused… and judges would punish the convicted appropriately (be that fines, community service, mental institutionalization or imprisonment).

Last but not least… that’s where the Fourth Estate’s journalists would enter the picture… act as the relentless watchdogs of the entire judicial process… sniff out any and all irregularities… verify whether or not prosecutors and defense attorneys are acting ethically… whether or not assigned judges are conducting honest and impartial trials.

Of course… all fair-minded journalists would also be serving our society well were they to grant any legitimately acquitted person an interview… to publish their story to set the record straight and restore their good name…. to give such an article the exact same positioning and prominence that trial had been given.

This all makes sense to me… how about you?

 

A Poetic Acrostic (One Quick Limerick #028)

 

Observe Der Führer bleat / let his Tweets fly,

Frothed with news-speak, bald-faced lies, fierce outcry,

Un-invites / ousts lib press crews,

Calls their whole truths the “fake news”,

Key free speech / press rights he’ll condemn / defy!

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

 

A “Parked” Witch’s Broom Can Also Sweep Up The Dirt

 

A nation’s leader must be ethical, of sound mind and smart. Although possessing multiple college degrees encompassing a vast spectrum of disciplines would be an ideal and immeasurable asset… in lieu of that… minimally… said leader must be intellectually curious, a quick study and possess an above average attention span… be someone who is ready, willing and able to rely heavily upon an “A-Team” of well-qualified, principled and sane advisors. At all times, this brain trust must be staffed by bold, bona fide, book and people smart folks… must never be shaking in their own boots, boneheaded bootlickers. If they’re nothing more than butt kissers, why even bother keeping them on the payroll, right?

Exploring this matter conversely… here’s what happens when a clueless leader, who has no one respectable to clue him in, cannot cope with and resolve a (figurative and literal) world’s worth of problems. In short, on nearly a daily basis, he winds up creating more problems than he’s solving.

Factoring in mental instability and… well… sorry to say… our global community gets to take a firsthand glimpse at a pathetic, little man who prioritizes stroking his own, massive ego over establishing and sustaining good governance that should benefit everyone equally. He’s a greedy, predatory, undignified, unprincipled, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, whiny crybaby, who can be counted on for one AND ONLY ONE thing: To create chaos… to constantly throw Tweeting tantrums just so he can dominate each and every last damned news cycle… always get his name splattered in print and online… trumpeted out up and down the radio and TV “dials”. Does anyone not know who we’re talking about?

Here’s only a partial rundown of his DC meltdown.

  1. He’s been bullying North Korea and Iran in his feeble attempts to prevent them from going nuclear. Not even for a fleeting moment has he realized that taunting them can only confirm their worst fears that the U.S. is out to get them… that his aggressiveness can only serve to speed up their timetable for acquiring such WMD. What else can we conclude but they’re defending themselves against the newest rogue nation “on the block”… namely… regrettably… post Obama America.

Consequences: Expect global nuclear proliferation (Round 2) and… in the end… a strong probability that he will provoke World War III.

  1. He summarily rejects how Russian cyber attackers (whose intent has been to muck up free elections worldwide) are an ever-present danger to democracy. He likely turns a blind eye just because their meddling just happened to benefit him politically.

Consequences: To pooh-pooh the seriousness of this situation is akin to granting carte blanche to Russia (and God knows who else). This is an open invitation to meddle again and Again and AGAIN! It’s entirely possible that they have already won their no-shots-fired, virtual overthrow of America Amerika… and… in the end… they’ll wind up calling all the shots… and freedom will be the first fatality. Any dissenters out there will suffer a similar fate.

  1. Putin’s puerile puppet has been hobnobbing with Russian hobgoblins and hooligans… thoughtlessly divulging secret, sensitive intelligence… just to cockily (and childishly?) crow and strut around the oval barnyard? One has to wonder WTF other secrets this man-child has been carelessly trotting out during “show and tell” time? Perhaps the nuclear “football” and launch codes? And what about that Russian TV crew covering that Oval Office meeting? Hooking up the cables to all of that audio/video gear could’ve afforded the technicians the perfect smokescreen for cleverly, covertly planting “bugs” on said premises.

Consequences: From now on, intelligence-gathering personnel, spying on behalf of freedom loving nations, everywhere, are now fully aware that they’ve been outed. Consequently, they’ll NEVER, EVER again, share their findings with a foolish, showboating blabbermouth. In our post 9/11 world… for America to wind up out of the loop… in the end… will be akin to sending out engraved invitations to terrorists (each envelope embossed with the showboater’s own monogram). Let’s hope and pray nobody RSVPs!

  1. On the domestic scene, he plots to deregulate corporations, banks, Wall Street, etc. AND revamp the income tax code… also lusts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with an anemic, sickly health insurance plan for the masses. In other words, he’ll be skewing everything to show favoritism towards his best buds… the richest of the rich… while screwing over the middle class and impoverished folks.

Consequences: To rip off and abuse the poor, just for the sake of lavishing more loot upon those who already wallow in wealth, will… in the end… cause staggering levels of financial hardship. And, once his wicked plot tanks out the economy and society, guess who… once again… will be expected to bail out his pals… a.k.a. “the too big to fail”? Hard hit will be none other than the “too little to survive” beleaguered, average Jane and Joe taxpayers.

  1. He loathes the free press… each and every reporters’ tough questions. He goes totally Orwellian each and every time he lambastes truthful reportage… bogusly branding each journalist, who refuses to suck up to him, as the disseminator of “fake news”. Whenever he’s confronted with and confounded by tough questions, he’s so full of himself he’ll never admit, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” Instead he’ll pivot by flat out lying and/or serving up word salad rendered even more unintelligible from all that thick, gooey, gobbledygook salad dressing (Russian dressing?).

Consequences: Any nation devoid of a free press… in the end… will be doomed to take the fatal plunge to the very depths of despotism’s fetid cesspool.

  1. He becomes incensed whenever the press corps and politicians, alike, start to point out how he appears to be excessively whoring around with the Russians… and, in response, he then makes himself look even guiltier. It’s almost as if he’s constantly asking himself, “What’s the worst possible thing I could do to appear cozier with the Russians?” And he then goes out and does precisely that. True, “know thy enemy” is not intrinsically a bad idea, but if he gets any closer to Putin, he’ll have to marry the bastard. Additionally, now that legislators, merely doing their constitutional duty, have begun their investigations into the inner workings of his only months old admin… and are perhaps getting too close to the truth… he’s whining about it… categorizing this a “witch hunt”. Well… he needs to be mindful that a witch’s broom, once parked, can also be used for sweeping up the dirt.

Consequences: If, at any time, any of his inquisitors catch even the slightest whiff of impropriety, they must behave like bold patriots… not petty partisans… and if the severity of the transgressions warrant it… punishment must be inclusive of impeachment and removal from office. If these inquisitors fail to do their duty and, instead, wind up sweeping whatever dirt they find under the rug… in the end… it’d be akin to laying waste to the U.S. Constitution and spitting in our Founding Father’s faces.

 

Lessons From Kent State University

For anyone old enough to have lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the Kent State massacre was one of American History’s darkest, most tragic, “where were you when” moments.

For me, that “when” was early evening on this very day, May 4, 1970. That’s when, as a 16-year-young high school sophomore, I first became aware of how 29 American soldiers (members of the Ohio National Guard) had fired off approximately 67 rounds in the short span of one minute (or less) to kill 4 American students and wound 9 others.

That death toll and casualty list had been the end result of a demonstration by Kent State University college students pissed off by President Richard M. Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War… i.e., his invasion of neighboring Cambodia. It was during their antiwar rally that things got ugly… protestors wound up setting fire to the campus’ ROTC building and repeatedly pegging rocks at the armed troops.

Basically, what we had here was the troops overreacting… using bullets to defend themselves against stones and assessing a higher value to that charred real estate than to their own compatriots’ precious lives.

It’d be hard not to conclude that the very presence of these troops had needlessly escalated an already overly tense situation. Even Nixon’s own President’s Commission on Campus Unrest concluded (and I concur MOST EMPHATICALLY)

“The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”

Students suspected of arson and assault could’ve later been arrested, charged, arraigned, tried and, if found guilty, been duly punished. In a situation such as this, troops are NEVER supposed to act in the roles of judges, juries and executioners!

Also worthy of mention is that both warring factions on this Kent State campus battlefield could’ve benefited immensely from the following wisdom.

William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” character, Fallstaff, said…

“The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” (oft paraphrased… “Discretion is the better part of valor.”)

Sun Tzu, author of “Art of War” opined along similar lines, thusly…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

The sagaciousness of some superb song composers also comes to mind…

Check out a couple of lyrical couplets…

From Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

From John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s “Revolution”

“But when you talk about destruction…

Don’t you know that you can count me out.”

Were not all of the above wordsmiths emphasizing the need for orderly conduct by all parties involved in any dispute… were they not all on the same page as the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (note the qualifying word, “peaceably”)?

“Congress shall make no law… 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.”

Fast forwarding to our troubled present-day world… political and social unrest has only grown worse… especially since the installation of #45.

Now, more than ever, all protest movements must always be conducted peaceably. Nobody should ever give that Oval Office entity even the slightest excuse to overreact… to roll out the tanks… to order Americans troops to open fire on American citizens in a way that is equal to… or exceeds the actions taken by the Ohio National Guard in Kent State…

On this very day… May 4, 1970.

 

Еще четыре года? (Translation: Four More Years?)

 

DISCLAIMER: Google’s online English to Russian translator is responsible for my above headline… I hope it’s correct.

Historically speaking, the GOP’s evil elite has long resorted to the gerrymandering of legislative district boundary lines to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Democrats to win elections. These Republicans also resort to vile, voter suppression tactics to disenfranchise minorities who typically vote for Democrats.

That “1-2 punch” means far too many Americans no longer have any say in who will represent their best interests… while ironically… Russia’s cyberattacker, Vladimir Putin, gets to freely choose who will represent his best interests (e.g. #45).

Elections devoid of ethics and ethnic diversity are what conspired to establish last November’s one party rule… i.e., the GOP domination of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Republican legislators, now drunk with absolute power (which corrupts absolutely), have marginalized and muzzled their Democratic counterparts to the point where the latter party might as well not even show up for work anymore.

Liberal lawmakers can expect whatever valuable input they have to offer to get summarily rejected by conservatives who’ll flat-out refuse to even take sixty seconds to hear them out. If things were any more petty than they already are… well… here’s a for instance…

If a Democrat were to ever exclaim, “Wow! What a beautiful sunshiny day it is!”… even when there’d be irrefutable visual evidence that the sun was indeed out… a Republican would still snarl, “Oh shut the F up! It’s raining outside because I say it’s so!” And he’d next likely further punctuate that by sticking out his tongue, thumbing his nose and/or whipping, upward, one or both middle digits.

Hmm… hardly seems fair when we consider how liberals comprise roughly half of the electorate. In other words… no one is representing us… addressing even the tiniest of our concerns, anymore.

Since Inauguration Day, #45 and his team of coconspirators, in flagrant violation of the U.S. Constitution / Bill of Rights’ 1st Amendment have been skulking off in the shadows and working overtime to intimidate and muzzle liberal investigative journalists, bloggers and protestors who, after all, are “just” doing their patriotic duty.

“The Admin” has also been plotting to expand the radius of the rightwing propagandists… namely, via repeal of the Johnson Amendment to the U.S. Tax Code which prohibits all 501(c)3 non-profit organizations (e.g. churches) from endorsing or opposing political candidates. If successful, “preachers” (without losing tax exempt status for their respective churches) could legally use their pulpits as bully pulpits.

The net effect… rather than theologians lecturing on spiritually uplifting topics such as peace, love and tolerance… a.k.a. brotherhood… their Big Brother dictated “sermons”, would become the echo chambers for the FOX “News” / noise machine. Parishioners would be forced to earwitness preachers pontificators delivering seething, scathing tirades that’ll unjustly slam the more cogent, fair-minded Democratic agenda, while, simultaneously, promoting rightwing greed, environmental terrorism, racism, misogyny and intolerance towards non-Christians and the LGBTQ community. No doubt these religious charlatans will also be donating a hefty percentage of each Sunday’s collection plate… not to help the hungry and homeless… but to reward the already wallowing in wealth, Godless, GD GOP!

Oh, btw… a heads up for Americans… (in violation of the 1st Amendment) expect church attendance to become mandatory… after all… Big Brother would never permit anyone to escape hearing his “alternative facts” and other such crap.

Perhaps the most disheartening and horrifying aspect of America’s downfall is the total disconnect we’ve been hearing whenever some broadcaster shoves a microphone in front of the mouth of any of #45’s diehard supporters. Just the way they invariably gush forth their absolutely indefensible, unshakable and amoral adulation for him, it’s obvious how they’ve become oblivious to all the (perhaps) irreparable damage their “king” is doing on their behalf.

Seeing how nearly half of our electorate is aboard #45’s crazy train… and with all due respect to true Americans who’ve been protesting with words and deeds… in their attempts to derail it… it would appear that #45’s overthrow of America has far deeper, freedom choking ramifications than many liberals have even begun to suspect.

Within our near future, that is, if #45 doesn’t first Tweet the U.S. into a nuclear war, ONE of these THREE outcomes to occur…

  1. He will so thoroughly muck up domestic and international affairs that he’ll tuck tail and run like hell for the nearest exit signs… after which the GOP will gladly dump the whole disgusting mess unto a Democrat’s Oval Office desk (a situation akin to how President Barack Obama wielded a pooper scoop to clean up after W’s herd of stampeding elephants).
  2. He will run for reelection in 2020, at which time we can expect the cheering, “Four More Years” Putin to “vote” AGAIN! At that point, if truly patriotic American liberal dissenters have not all been rounded up and imprisoned in his concentration camps, a second American Revolutionary War may be the only way to restore the vision of America’s Founding Fathers.
  3. My predictions will prove to be dead wrong. America’s Founding Fathers will have written sufficient protections into the U.S. Constitution so, in spite of the current crop of political sots, We The People will be able to sober them up, survive and “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Article 5 Could Deep 6 U.S. Constitution (99 Word Blog #070)

The rightwing-dominated media has brainwashed whatever voters have yet to succumb to apathy. These “voters” then foolishly elect Republicans, who (to ensure the GOP’s power proliferates and metastasizes) continue gerrymandering (redrawing) state legislative district boundaries… making it damn near impossible to elect Democrats and Indies.

2016’s elections have ratcheted up their subversive plot… netted Republicans a Federal chokehold (Executive – Legislative – Judicial branches) and granted them ownership of 32 state legislatures and 34 governors’ mansions.

A couple of election cycles from now, the GOP could reach Article V’s threshold of 38 states required to amend kill the U.S. Constitution.