Two images are shown above. One is courtesy of Cpl Mike Escobar, taken in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005. The other taken by reporter/photographer Danny Wicentowski of St. Louis' Riverfront Times two days ago in Ferguson, MO. Can you tell which is which?
It's getting increasingly more difficult by the day to tell the difference. Americans' civil rights have eroded to the point where we have to question whether the First Amendment exists as anything more than a historical reference any longer.
In case anyone needs a refresher,
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
Although there may be no written law establishing an official religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, the Supreme Court of the United States, just made it a whole lot easier for religious fanatics to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. There may be no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, but both have been seriously hampered in recent days, months and years, with no let-up in sight.
As for our "right of the people peaceably to assemble," that was excised from the Constitution - figuratively, anyway - when the peaceful Occupy Wall Street encampments were forcefully, forcibly and, in many cases, violently, destroyed and their occupants harassed, brutalized and arrested.
Finally, regarding our supposed right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, all one need do is some research into the plight of whistleblowers in the US today.
Either we fix the First Amendment or we need to just scrap the whole thing once and for all and start over again.
As for those pictures at the top of the post, the first one was from Fallujah, the second from Ferguson. Perhaps we should just realize that there's not much difference any more. Maybe we should just call them Fergustan.
On the show today
After listening to Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post reporter tell the stories of their arrests last night on MSNBC,
Stephen Goldstein, author of the Dictionary of American Political Bullshit joined in for his weekly No More Bullshit Minute. In light of the day's news, today's Bullshit term of the day was "Justice."
And finally, it's always an honor and a pleasure to talk with Harry Shearer. From playing Derek Smalls on This is Spinal Tap, to a litany of characters including Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders and more on The Simpsons, to more serious pursuits including blowing the lid off the reason New Orleans flooded from Hurricane Katrina by directing and narrating the documentary The Big Uneasy, and for so much more, Harry Shearer is one of our most talented American treasures.
I don't really need a reason to invite Harry on to the show, as I could easily talk with him for hours. But with the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation just behind us, and the US premiere of Shearer's take on Richard Nixon in Nixon's the One - lifted directly from the transcripts of his Oval Office recordings - coming soon, it was a perfect time for another chat.
Unfortunately, we were sidetracked a bit by the mess in Fergustan, so Harry will come back on for another conversation when the show is ready to premiere over here.
Tomorrow, we'll wrap up our week with the return of Greg Palast. And for Flashback Friday, it's back to 2000 for my interview with Chrissie Hynde of Pretenders ... radio or not!