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Blog of Mass Destruction

Keeping The Press Safe

By The Reverend Published: November 25, 2011

It should be transparent to anyone who has been paying attention....but I'll say it anyway.... the United States is descending further into an authoritarian militarized country which features separate and distinct forms of justice for the haves...and the have-nots.

The haves....have unfettered and unquestioned rights. Their money is, in actuality, free speech. Their corporations pay cost-of-doing-business fines but are never held accountable and never admit to doing anything wrong....ever. Even though what the haves pay elected officials to do for them does not reflect the will of the American people, compromised elected officials do their utmost, anyway, to fulfill the wishes of the haves. The haves coax the politicians that work for them to pass more legislation which will further enrich them.

The have-nots, increasingly, are marginalized and denied their rights. Right before our eyes, the haves have convinced elected officials that a terrible economic crisis period is the right time for politicians on both sides to take stuff from the have-nots in order for the haves to benefit from even lower tax rates.

In all of this....corporate media have advanced the cause of the haves over the have-nots. This is understandable because corporate media is run by the haves, paid by other haves, for the sake of all of America's haves. In the soon-to-come, waste-of-time argument coming up over unemployment and payroll tax cut extensions....pay attention to how our 4th estate frames the "debate." No doubt, the haves will be pleased.

What media workers don't quite grasp in their urgency to please their haves-masters....is that the haves will turn on them just as they have turned on the 99% have-nots.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently helped to illustrates my premise when he ordered storm troopers to roll up the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zucotti Park.

During the more than six hours we spent at the raid last night, The Observer was unable to get closer than two blocks away from the protest. We assumed this was due to our lack of an official NYPD press badge, however, we also saw credentialed reporters from CNBC, CBS, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, The New York Times, Reuters and a Japanese TV station get blocked at the barricades.

It really would not be surprising in the future to see Have-Mayors, like Bloomberg, establish a new "embed" policy for the press....similar to the "embed" charade during the Iraq invasion and occupation. One of the ways that the haves control our democratic process, or what's left of it, is to control the information to which the have-nots have access.

And so it was that Bloomberg ordered the press away from any eyewitnessing of the Zucotti camp roll up by the Mayor's storm troopers.

Bloomberg went on to give his justification for denying the press access to his para-military invasion of the protester camp....

“The Police Department routinely keeps members of the press off to the side when they are in the middle of a police action. It’s to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect the members of the press,” Mayor Bloomberg said, adding, “We have to provide protection and we’ve done exactly that.”

Just "routine." Denying access to the press, the Authoritarian Have Mayor of New York explains, is simply standard operating procedure. Sure, the press has rights.....but the Have Mayor gets to decide when and how those rights can be exercised...and for how long.

The kicker to me is Bloomberg's explanation that in refusing press access to the storm trooper roll up, he was only acting for the purpose of "protect(ing) the members of the press." Bloomberg, apparently, acting as the Have-Daddy of New York City, must unilaterally deny the press access rights to keep the press safe.

Whatever rights you thought you enjoyed in America are now subject to our Have-Leaders determination of whether we are "safe" or not. You see, rights are fine and all....but when a situation is just "unsafe", then, Billionaire Leaders must insist on limiting or denying those rights for the greater good of "safety."

Allow me to expand. Americans electronic communications have always been guaranteed 4th amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure by the government. But no longer. Why? Because it is no longer "safe".

The right to due process? Another right granted by the Constitution which our Leaders have determined we can no longer safely respect. Sure, the Constitution says that every American citizen has the right to a trial by jury when charged with a crime.....but the President can no longer guarantee "safety" if he doesn't have the right to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without....umm....due process.

Treaties against the use of torture? Virtuous, perhaps, but no longer meaningful to Authoritarian Leaders who must deny rights to keep us all "safe."

As the great "shining city on the hill" sinks into the authoritarian sunset, it will be because safety (fear) wins out over bedrock constitutional rights. After all, if it is the job of our Authoritarian Leaders to keep us "safe".....what pesky constitutional guarantees can be allowed to get in the way?

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