Trump’s War Against The Press Is A War Against Democracy

A month ago, I posted about the Trump administration’s war on the media and how important a free press is to preserving our democracy. (Read blog post here.) Now they’ve escalated their war by trying to restrict press coverage as a means of punishing news organizations they view as being “unfairly” critical of the administration and Trump in particular. And with that escalation, the Trump White House has taken a scary step toward censorship and dictatorial power.

Am I being overly dramatic and making a mountain out of a mole hill? Certainly, many of Trump’s ardent supporters and far right conservatives will say that I am. However, I would say that the threat implied by the administration’s latest action cannot be overstated enough!

Trump is constantly calling facts the fake news, similar to like Kellyanne Conway’s reference to “alternative facts”.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from the transcription of Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday (Friday, 2/24/2017)

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy.

“They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.

“So I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press.

Ah, but here’s content of the actual “enemy of the people” tweet sent out by Trump and reported by the media with a link to it on Twitter for verification.

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing ‪@nytimes, ‪@NBCNews, ‪@ABC, ‪@CBS, ‪@CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

He is attacking the media by saying that the mainstream media is reporting fake news and are thus the enemy of the people. Of course, it is interesting that Trump and his handlers refer to anything that contradicts what they want us to believe as “Fake News”. Yet they embrace actual fake news sites like Breitbart.com, InfoWars.com, WND.com, etc.

So who is right? Well, when the real news media gets information from various sources that conflict with the official story being espoused by a government official or organization,  they are obligated to investigate and report the story. That is the role of a free press, whether the end result ends up corroborating or disproving the official version. In a democracy, a free press is the eyes and ears of the people. It is their role to assure our government is not hiding inconvenient truths from us.

It is not the media’s fault that Trump says things that are distortions or outright fabrications as shown when his statements are fact-checked for accuracy as they were by MSN in his address to CPAC. And, while we should have some healthy skepticism regarding what politicians tell us, especially when they’re campaigning for office, we should also have an expectation that they adhere to a higher ideal of honesty in their dealing with us once elected or appointed.

Essentially, it appears that the administration is engaged in a war on truth, one of the first principles of establishing a dictatorship. Trump wants people to believe his lies are truth and the real truth is lies. Folks, that is beyond scary and calls to mind the line from George Orwell’s eerily prescient novel 1984 about a dystopian society — “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.”

So, what do we do? We must demand accountability from those who would represent us and those who seek to lead us. We must verify what we read by checking multiple sources and share the truth via every means possible. We must show up at town council meetings, public hearings, and town halls held by our representatives to Congress. Plus, we need to show up at the polls for every election.

Specifically, since the thrust of this administration’s attack involves what appears to be an attempt to cover up possible illegal and improper dealings with a foreign power (Russia), write or call your representative and senators and demand an investigation! It’s the only way we’ll know for sure!

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” ―
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the lies and show us the truth!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

The Radical Truth About Refugees, Immigrants and the American Dream

With all the recent focus on the administration suddenly banning refugees and immigrants from a number of Muslim countries (with some startling exceptions), I set out to learn if these refugees and immigrants represented the threat that Trump and the GOP claim. Well, as my 7th grade history teacher, Mrs. Wilson used to say, “‘Tain’t so!” (I grew up south of the Mason-Dixon line.)

It did not take long after I started my research to
discover the radical truth about refugees, immigrants and the American dream — almost without exception, they come here for the very same reasons our families did — freedom from persecution and the chance to work hard and realize the American dream. All the hysteria and hyperbole from Trump and the conservatives is actually more like the title of a Shakespeare play — Much Ado About Nothing!

Really?! Yes, really. For all the talk about Muslim immigrants being terrorist threats, it was just a scare tactic to get votes and distract you from the real issues, which should make you very angry.  (I’ll be talking about some of those real issues in my next post.) 

According to data compiled by New America, a think tank, “every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident.” (You can read the report yourself here.)

This puts them in the same category with notable homegrown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and Dylan Roof. McVeigh, an anti-government fanatic, was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people and wounded 648 — the deadliest terror attack in America before 9/11. In 2015, Roof, a white supremacist, gunned down nine African-Americans at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC.

None of these terrorists would have been stopped by the type of ban instituted by the Trump administration in all its misguided zeal. But that was only one report, right? Not so fast.

Quoting from a report on CNN.com: “According to the CATO Institute, not one person from the seven countries included in the ban has killed anyone in a terror attack on US soil in the last 40 years. This includes refugees, as well.” The article goes on further to say that according to the data reviewed by the CATO Institute, “the chances of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreigner in the US stands at about one in 3.6 million.” (Read it here.)

To put that in perspective, you have a one in a one million chance of dying in a plane crash or being struck by lightning. The odds are considerably worse for dying in a car accident (one in 6,700). (That’s enough to have you calling in sick and ordering pizza delivery!)  Seriously, the threat from Muslim immigrants and refugees is virtually non-existent. Add to that the fact that there are far fewer Muslims immigrating to America than the hype would lead you to believe.

According to an NBC News report (Read it here,)“Not one predominantly Muslim nation makes the list of top 10 countries of origin for legal immigrants in 2013, according to the most recent census figures compiled by the Migration Policy Institute. 

At #14, Pakistan was the top-ranked Islamic country with 13,251 legal permanent residents — just 1 percent of the total 990,553 immigrants who received Green Cards that year, the figures showed.”

Okay, if they don’t come here to kill us, what do they want? The Center for Immigration Studies says that Muslims make up roughly less than one percent of the U.S. population and they come seeking refuge from persecution, civil strife and war. They come to America for the educational opportunities and the better payoff from that education. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

When you look at the real facts (no alternative facts allowed in my blog), it’s obvious that the administration and the GOP have tried to pull the wool over our eyes. Makes you wonder what else they’re hiding!

Stand up and be counted for those who, like our ancestors, come to share in the dream of America!

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the lies and help us all grow together!

The Divine Miss Bri

NOTE: While I welcome and encourage your comments, they are moderated prior to appearing, so anything that remotely resembles spam or hate gets trashed. 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

A Free Press — The Light of Truth

Well, after all the big ado about crowd size, alternative facts and Trump coming up short in the size department (just couldn’t resist because in this case size really does matter), the administration is for all intents and purposes waging a war against the freedom of the press. The latest salvo was fired by Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and former head of Brietbart (ahem) News (that’s a real stretch), where facts are fiction or alternative facts.

Here’s a link to the story where he says the “News media should keep its mouth shut!”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump’s-chief-strategist-says-news-media-should-‘keep-its-mouth-shut’/ar-AAmhL9O?li=BBnbcA1

As typical with conservatives, he called the news media the opposition party, elitist and the usual insults. The issue always seems to be that the far right version of the truth never quite jives with the real truth, which can be rather inconvenient, especially considering this disparity has been practically a constant with both Trump’s campaign and his administration. Of course, they rely on less than reliable sources for their “alternative” facts!

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/26/media/infowars-alex-jones-donald-trump/index.html

As a former radio news director, anchor and reporter, I know how those in the spotlight like to spin the facts to their advantage. However, in my experience interviewing local politicians, state representatives, a governor and a former president, I have never seen anything to beat the obfuscation, misdirection, temper tantrums and general disrespect for the news media (and by proxy the public) shown by Trump and his ‘team”.

So maybe we should remind the current administration and its mouthpieces that the same constitution which the far right is always harping about includes a troublesome thing called the First Amendment.

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.

There are a bunch of inconvenient rights in there that Trump and the conservatives find terribly annoying. But more importantly the rights are a cornerstone of maintaining our liberties in a free society.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”  Thomas Jefferson

“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”      Walter Cronkite

And this brings us back to the central point:

Without a free and independent media to investigate, fact check and verify what our government is saying and doing, we will be living in a dictatorship!

So whether you love them or hate them, be thankful that we have a free press! But again, make sure you carefully select and verify the media you choose to use to get your news. And yes there are both liberal and conservative outlets, although I find the major news networks (CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC) try to be as independent as possible.

In the end, it’s all about shining a light on the truth! And so Mr. Trump and associates, here’s a little something from Plato to think about.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  Plato

Stay observant and call out those who would hide the truth!

MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the fog and expose the truth!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Marching Forward After The March

Yes, that’s 1:19 AM! Late night (or early morning depending on how you look at it) and I really should be sleeping, but vigilance is the price of freedom … or the price of keeping the momentum going.  That’s the subject of this post — building on what was started Saturday!

First, however, here’s a link to a response to those who expressed the belief that women already enjoy full rights/equality. It’s currently making the rounds on Facebook, but I thought also worth sharing here.

https://medium.com/@dinachka82/about-your-poem-1f26a7585a6f#.4zasr7x5o

 

Now, back on my original topic. After the excitement surrounding the Women’s Marches, comes the time to roll up our sleeves and follow up with the never-ending and sometimes tedious work of making our views known and fighting for the things we believe. In other words, get more involved and stay involved, because persistence is a key to bringing about change.

It’s obvious that Trump and his team are trying to overwhelm us with misinformation, lies, highly unqualified and / or untrustworthy cabinet nominees and more in hopes that we will burn ourselves out and finally give up in frustration. Don’t let it happen!

Here are some suggestions on how to stay focused and be as effective as possible in pushing  for the things we believe in.

• Stay informed on the issues and on pending legislation. A FB friend recommended an excellent iPad / iPhone app which I downloaded this evening. It’s called Countable. I strongly recommend checking it out!

• Use all means at your disposal to share important factual developments because truth and knowledge are our biggest allies. *Note that I did say “factual”! There is so much false news, satire and propaganda out there that it can literally bury the truth if we are not careful. Verify before you share anything as “facts” and stay away from “alternative facts” aka falsehoods.

• Also, please avoid attacks on non-political family members of the opposition. It’s crass, uncalled for and more like what the far right would do. We’re better than that!

• Stay in contact with your elected leaders and make your positions known. Show them that we are an involved, dedicated and persistent group of voters!

• Set a strong example for your daughters and your sons that they can and should actively stand up for what they believe in.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE EVERY DAY!

As always, please feel free to share this blog post. Also, I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. (Keep them respectful please, because Karma and I are both bitches!)

May the R.A.I.N. wash away lies and let the truth show through!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather