Tales From The Drop Box Episode 88 is filled with the rich creamy goodness of new music. A couple of highlights are the new Teenage Bottlerocket and the Wild Love records which are consistently good throughout. As always, you are only hearing tracks that I love and think are Drop Box worthy. It is easy to be negative in a time where being negative is the norm. More about that below. So, for these shows, I am solely focused on the positive. So, if you don’t agree with my politics, my opinions on the current leadership, social policies, or other subjects I cover in these notes – DO NOT FEAR – there is none of this “stuff” in the actual broadcast. The reasons for not “going negative” or utilizing the podcast to express a particular point of view have as much to do with my personal preferences i.e. I love music much more than I love politics, but as the two often intersect, I made a conscious choice to just play the music without the shading of my point of view. Music is the quintessential freedom of expression and my humble efforts are directed at exposing people to a larger world view than my own. Thus, I usually divide these show notes into two parts – a general introduction to the podcast, and (as I have noted in several of these essays) the latter portion is devoted to some social/political/legal issue that I find interesting and worth examining. For me, the exercise of producing these show notes is mostly creative – an outlet for my thought – but it is also an action, adding my voice to a particular issue hoping to influence others but more importantly to take a stand, a clear position on an issue of importance. DOA said it best: Talk – Action = Absolutely nothing. (“action” does not mean incite violence)
Today’s topic is I think timely and a little lengthy so be patient if you choose to read:
The Line of Free Expression in America
In earlier episodes, I have expressed my opinion on the meaning of freedom, but one important aspect that I have not covered related to the question of what it means to be “free” is that we must be able to defend a viewpoint once we have taken a particular position. That is, one element of being free is the public expression of a viewpoint knowing that others may object to your particular view. The unaddressed question by the “system” is that some viewpoints are so objectionable that the response is invariable violence and therefore how do we protect the line of free expression such that violence does not result? Thus, the line of free expression is the point where the viewpoint is so objectionable to most citizens that its mere expression results in violence. The Supreme Court’s answer to this question is that the government may not enact a prior restraint on free speech but may regulate the time, place and manner of such speech with different levels of regulation permitted depending on the forum the speech is to take place. In a public forum any such restrictions must be also be content-neutral, view-point neutral, and not burden speech no more than is necessary to serve an important government interest. What does this mean in application? It means that the government must issue permits to groups desiring to march expressing a viewpoint regardless of that view and do so in such a manner as to not restrict that free expression. For example, the government could not issue a permit for a rally to be held for 5 minutes at midnight is a dark alley and have the marcher’s wear bullet proof vests and signs with their full names on their chests.
The primary threat to free speech (which includes the right to free assembly) and our freedom is that the tolerance level of the objectors is so low that mere expression of some points of view results in violence. Paradoxically, this low tolerance for some viewpoints threatens our freedom of expression and therefore diminishes our freedom. Tyranny compels people to hide their true feelings, thoughts, and opinions, because the speaker fears recrimination and reprisal from the free expression. Another aspect that significantly distorts the line of free expression is speech that serves dual purposes i.e. expresses a viewpoint on a subject and is also designed to incite violence because the content is objectionable to a civilized society. The American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan have consistently engaged in marches for these dual purposes. As a nation, if free speech is to have any meaning at all, we need to find a method to freely permit such expression without the threat of violence. Even dual purpose expression must be permitted in order to preserve the essence of our freedom.
How did we arrive at where we were yesterday in Charlotte? There were numerous failures that lead to yesterday’s events, but a few are worth noting because these failures may seem inconsequential but upon reflection, are central to the violence yesterday and the attack on our freedom if these issues are not immediately addressed. No, I’m not transitioning to global warming). What needs to be recognized are the failures of the legitimate news media to guard the line of free expression. This sentence acknowledges that there are illegitimate news media i.e. those organizations who publish false stories or who advocate a particular viewpoint regardless of the viewpoint and fail to clearly announce their viewpoint. For example, to the extent that Brietbart actually publishes its news from its acknowledged fascist, white supremacists viewpoint and publishes factual content it is legitimate. The illegitimacy of Brietbart as a news organization arises from its publication of numerous false and misleading stories offered as the “truth” such that the reader is unable to distinguish between real and fake. Legitimate news organizations play a central role in guarding free speech because the publication of the truth without a particular viewpoint or from an acknowledged viewpoint preserves the line of free expression.
The legitimate news media has failed in its central mission as guardians of our freedom of expression and has altered the line of free expression by failing to correctly identify the players and changing the level of acceptability of certain types of behavior. That is, the media invents new politically and socially acceptable ways of describing abhorrent behavior in order to not lose money, attract certain advertisers, and to tacitly support a particular viewpoint. For example, why not call white supremacists what they actually are instead of utilizing this particularly objectionable description – “Alt-Right” or “Far-Right.” Simply put, these descriptions are not correct. These assholes are hate mongering Nazi sympathizers and racists and there is nothing “right” or good about them. Dressing up the language of hate to hide the viewpoint significantly distorts the viewers perception and moves the line.
Trump’s response to the events yesterday was also an abhorrent failure of the office of the President. Trump failed to acknowledge the racism, the white supremacy, that people are marching around with Nazi flags on American soil and doing so not solely to express their divisive and hate-filled viewpoint but with a singular focus – to incite violence. A legitimate President would have responded immediately and forcefully to reassure the nation that racist violence will not be tolerated and that the message of hate has no place in a civilized society. Unfortunately, among the numerous failures, this one may indirectly be the greatest threat to American society (and no, I have not forgotten about North Korea and Trumps stupid fire and fury remark). Trump’s “ on many sides” response will be interpreted by many as tacit support for hate by Trump. And that is a huge freakin’ problem. While we must ALL tolerate the free expression of hate speech, the leader of the greatest democracy in the world, shouldn’t give tacit approval to this type of hatred. To be clear, Trump is free to hold his own beliefs, and may be a supporter of the very type of speech promoted by these hate groups, the spawn of Hitler. However, for better or worse, Trump is the holder of the highest office in the land and in that capacity his fiduciary duty as holder of the office is to put the American people’s best interests ahead of his own beliefs and self-interest. That is the burden of being the President. Trumps abject failure to denounce hate and racism unequivocally when confronted with yesterday’s violence is a failure to properly exercise the office of President. It is not merely negligent. It is treasonous:
18 U.S.C section 2381: Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Trump’s inaction and failure to appropriately respond to yesterday’s horrible tragedy gives aid and comfort to our enemies – the American Nazi’s and White Supremacists who killed one person and injured many more. They are domestic terrorists, enemies of freedom and the American people, and hate mongering divisivists existing to tear down our democracy. Trump’s failure to denounce their policies and actions gives them strength and a voice. Trump’s inaction is betrayal of the office of the President and the people of the United States. It is simply an act of treason.
The third failure, and no lesser a failure, is the failure of the local government to protect both the Nazi’s and the protestors. Charlotte is no stranger to the racial divide debate. Yesterday’s violence was predictable. The local authorities not only anticipated the violence but knowingly permitted the Nazi’s to attack a much smaller group of objectors by either negligently or intentionally taking action to prevent the encounter. I’m sure more will come out later about this local official failure, but even today local officials are attempting to shift the blame for the violence away from their own operational failure to prevent an anticipated action by the Nazis. It is not unfair to expect more from a local authority who has advance knowledge of anticipated consequences.
The paradoxical result of yesterday’s failures is that the opportunities for free assembly and speech will be greatly reduced nationwide in the wake of yesterday’s violence. For example, Charlotte is authorized to enact a curfew limiting the ability of law abiding citizens to move about the city. The police will act with more force against citizens in order to prevent further violence. As we have learned in Los Angeles, when the police act with more force, the citizens tend to not react very well. See Rodney King.
If we want to look at the line of free expression, then yesterday’s White Nationalist (read Nazi, fascist, White Supremacist) rally in Charlotte NC is a case study in that line. Unfortunately, the failure of Trump, the news media, and the local government will have serious future consequences for us all. The most significant of these consequences will be that we will all be a little less free, evil will gain a foothold under Trump’s regime, and that evil will fill the void left by the repeated attacks on the line of free expression.
#Resist #Fight Hatred #words have meaning
Here is what you’ll find in Episode #88:
- Alex Napping – “Get Used To It” (Mise En Place)
- Starcrash – “Abortion of Leve” (Tarantula Wallpaper, Dracula Screensaver)
- Algiers – “Animals” (The Underside of Power)
- Teenage Bottlerocket – “Don’t Go” (Stealing The Covers)
- Minutes ‘til Midnight – “Running From The Cops” (A Cold Blooded Calculation)
- Tanks And Tears – “Jump Into Your Heart” (Aware)
- The Sunset Spirit – “To Have It All” (From The Top)
- Wurld Series – “Landslide” (From The Top)
- Shytalk – “Try” (Seasons of Suffering)
- Superchunk – “I Got Cut” (I Got Cut b/w Up Against The Wall)
- Wild Love – “America” (Where Do We Go From Here?)
- Public Eye – “I Won’t Go” (Relaxing Favorites)
- The Classic Crime – “Wonder” (How To Be Human)
- *Crisis – “White Youth” (UK ’79 b/w White Youth)
- Serengetti – “Cracks and Creases” (Kaleidoscope EP)
- So there is no mistake here are the (almost) complete lyrics to Crisis’ “White Youth”:
Your future lies when bosses die
Fall for the race charade and you will pay
Your race and nation is cause ______ mass murder sheep are now King’s Road Nazi chic
A sniff of Zyklon B, a flashback to the past a manicured hand smashing at our class the cultured mobsters of the bourgeoisie the noose gets tighter slowly by degree
We are black, we are white
Together we are dynamite