ABUSE OF POWER

Letting Trump Be Trump

Many Trumpers use the term, “Let Trump Be Trump,” and Corey Lewandowski, along with David Bossie, titled their 2017 book with that exact advice. The aphorism is like the well-worn “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” while many modern visionaries say, “Break it, rebuild it and make it better.” In the last decade, more than a few millionaires preached, “Disruption can make you better.”

Here’s a great quote from the book The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine, “Power is neither good nor evil. It just is. It’s what people do with power that matters.”

Every American should be deeply concerned about Donald John Trump’s war against freedom and truth. I have never liked the expression “Let Trump Be Trump” because of its cloaked meaning. That construct is often used when someone is so good at what he or she does, they don’t need to play by the rules. When Babe Ruth was drunk or late for a game they would say, “He’s the Babe!”

We don’t need to let Trump do anything; he’s the President of the United States and we have in writing his responsibilities and duties. There’s no mystery here. His lack of cooperation with Congress’ oversight duties is appalling. Be careful, however, before you turn to history to understand what’s happening. The words “dictator” and “king” have been printed in hundreds of newspapers thousands of times referring to a US president. Even George Washington, the first president, was under the microscope by a watchful free press that kept reminding him of his un-royal status.

Donald John Trump is more blowhard and less a solid thinker or credible leader. You know that I am not a big fan of Twitter management, but I may have an ally in Trump when it comes to social media censorship. Donald lost it when challenged by a new Twitter policy of adding fact checking footnotes to his posts. Twitter’s management believes some of what the President says is misleading. Ironically, he went on a tweet storm protesting this action, which only gives more power to Twitter.

In the Trump Executive Order, he suggests, “A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States. They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.” Trump continued, “This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.” He’s not going to prevail, but will Twitter back down? And Mr. Big Pants, you do know that “censorship” is un-American in every sense of the word.

Now, this toothless screed won’t do anything other than getting the press all crazy and giving talk shows some material. And, might I remind you, this is happening in the middle of a pandemic that has seriously impacted America. Mr. Trump is not using this battle with Twitter to create empathy. It’s a ploy to take the spotlight off one hundred thousand dead Americans and 40 million US citizens who are now out of work. What a guy!

Because of Dumbo Donnie’s outbursts and cries of “unfair,” you’ll be hearing discussion about Section 230, a provision tucked into the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. Most internet providers thought it wasn’t much more than a definition, or guideline. In fact, this stipulation came about to protect record companies from recording artist lawsuits claiming lack of control. In fact, the implications go far beyond the original intention.

The Electronics Media Foundation, a non-profit watchdog that focuses on free speech, privacy, transparency and security in electronic media, has a great article on their website about Section 230. It contains this clause, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

This means that online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against libel and defamation suits. This protection is needed because social media sites are not legally classified as publishers, but rather conduits to distribute content. You can’t sue the trucking company that delivers the newspaper containing libelous statements about you. Instead, you need to go after the author and publisher of the content.

Trump is contending that he is being treated poorly and that the factual information Twitter is adding to his posts will interfere with the upcoming election. Maybe now he understands what the Russians accomplished in the 2016 presidential election. Took him a while.

The speaker or publisher of the Facebook and Twitter posts that helped Trump get elected in 2016 were the product of a Russian disinformation campaign, and those bad actors have been charged in court. Trump cannot ignore this fact, his actions against social media today prove his fear of the power of these platforms.

Trump claimed to be the law and justice candidate, but once in power he changed laws to help his friends and cronies. Now, he’s taking a whack at the First Amendment. He used the First Amendment last week to justify his demand that all the churches, temples and mosques open their doors. This week, his fight with Twitter, is just another insecure reaction to being caught in a lie. We all know that press and publicity are Trump’s oxygen, if he doesn’t get enough, he’ll die.

When a newspaper publishes a faulty story, mistake or typo, it will typically print a correction in a future edition admitting the error. Adding background material to anyone’s tweet is a publisher duty and an attempt to correct misleading information. By doing this, one could argue that Twitter is taking responsibility for what is published by their users. This changes their definition.

When Twitter added the fact-check footnote to Trump’s post, they were acting as an editor of the content. Because of their power and influence, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others there have taken the responsibility to correct a lie. They don’t do that for every tweet, so this it’s clear this action is being taken for only one guy, Donald Trump. They never added a footnote to any of my tweets, and as much as I would like all social media to be wide open, we must ask the question, “What happens when it hurts someone or affects an election?”

Nick Johnson, a rather outspoken FCC commissioner (1966-1973), used to quote an old Scottish saying, “Let me control the writer of the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws.” In today’s world, let me control what people say on social media and I might be able to influence the way people vote. It’s dangerous either way, but somewhere in the rubble can we pull one, simple truth from the ash and breathe life into it? Without truth, democracy dies.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

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