This afternoon the United States Senate unanimously passed the following resolution:
Reaffirming the vital and indispensable role the free press serves.
Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the press from government control and suppression;
Whereas the freedom of the press—
- has been recognized as integral to the democratic foundations of the United States since the beginning of the United States; and
- has endured and been reaffirmed repeatedly throughout the history of the United States;
Whereas Benjamin Franklin in 1722 wrote, ‘‘Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.’’;
Whereas Thomas Jefferson in 1786 wrote, ‘‘Our liberty de- pends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.’’;
Whereas James Madison in 1789 introduced the freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States;
Whereas James Madison based the freedom of the press on the Declaration of Rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which in 1776 declared, ‘‘The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.’’;
Whereas President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 4, 1985, as Freedom of the Press Day, stating that ‘‘Freedom of the press is one of our most important freedoms and also one of our oldest.’’;
Whereas President Reagan also said, ‘‘Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as im- portant as ever. The news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis but instantaneously as important events occur. This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government.’’;
Whereas Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992), ‘‘The First Amendment is often inconven- ient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.’’;
Whereas the United States Supreme Court also affirmed the history and intent of the freedom of the press in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), stating, ‘‘In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.’’;
Whereas tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions; and
Whereas the United States, including the long-held commit- ment to and constitutional protection of the free press in the United States, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate: Now, therefore, be it
(1) the Senate—
(A) affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people;
(B) reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and
(C) condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States; and
(2) it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.
Many thanks to Hans for reminding us that plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (As Molly Ivins famously said of Pat Buchanan’s culture war speech, “It sounded better in the original German.”)
Oooooookay. But what if a majority of voters decide that impeachment would be fine and dandy with them?
They have a plan for that!
But Seriously, Folks
Many of the talking heads make two assumptions.
A, they assume that Trump, like any other president, wants to see his legislative agenda enacted and, to that end, would prefer to have a majority in the next Congress, or at least to minimize losses.
B, they think that much of Trump’s behavior seems counterproductive in relation to his assumed desiderata.
How to explain this anomaly?
There would seem to be four possibilities.
One, Trump’s poor grasp of reality is such that he does not understand how his behavior is affecting his party’s prospects in the next election. In short, he has a weak understanding of the relation between cause and effect.
Two, Trump does generally understand that his behavior is counterproductive, but is, nevertheless, unable to restrain himself. He is, in other words, in the grip of an irresistible impulse.
Three, contrary to assumption A, supra, Trump does not much care, one way or the other, whether the Republicans retain control of Congress. (If the Democrats control Congress, his vicious tweets will shoe ’em who’s boss.)
Four, contrary to assumption A, supra, Trump affirmatively desires—for whatever reason—that Democrats should retake the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.
These four hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, at least not one hundred percent mutually exclusive, given the disorder in Trump’s brain.
All that said, I think there is much to be said for hypothesis four—he’s deliberately sabotaging the Republicans.
Remember Michael Wolff’s thesis, as laid out, for example, in Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President: One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days.
According to Wolff, back in 2016 Trump didn’t want to win. He didn’t want to be the Mad King. He wanted to be King of the Mad.
Having nearly achieved his goal in 2016, Trump may be trying to remedy his tactical errors so that he can, in perpetuity, reign supreme over the gullible 35 percent.
Yes, and the cherries they picked would be the evidence of greatest relevance to the case: the documents that prove Manafort’s guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Welcome to my reader in Bangladesh. শুভ বিকাল
Hope things are going better in your country.
Greg Sargent explores The new GOP litmus test: Defending Trump at his absolute worst:
Reflecting on Pawlenty’s loss, Post reporter Robert Costa noted that it signals the degree to which Trump has “transformed” the GOP, with the result that above all, GOP voters want “solidarity in grievance.” In a way, you can square this with the idea that deserting Trump in the face of the “Access Hollywood” tape has emerged in some quarters of today’s GOP as a badge of shame. When Trump is under fire in moments like this, the important fact about it is not what Trump did. It’s the liberal media establishment’s agenda in victimizing him for it as part of the broader project of trying to destroy conservatism. …
Such trying circumstances separate the weak from those with true mettle and bravery. As the triumphant Jeff Johnson put it, the true conservative does not panic when it matters most.