Abridging in the First

In the latest version of the bait and switch game that has been the true talent of the management and employees of the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association, the membership now has an “official voice”. The venality of such a statement goes beyond a canard to sell real estate in south Mississippi to unsuspecting home buyers who seek “paradise”. It is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent the basic rights and influence the minds of its membership by a small group of property owners who have seized power via nefarious alliances and fooling the electorate.

What is disheartening is the ease some have been duped into participating in such a scurrilous enterprise. But it is not hard to understand. Some who have felt insulted or slighted by participating in a truly open and uncensored venue as this publication produces, namely our Forum (http://forum.diamondheadnews.com ) will and have resorted to posting “Letters to the Editor” in the “official” publication despite the offer to publish were it could be read and challenged. One only has to look to the debates the author engaged in on our forum. You will find that his arguments did not go unchallenged.

With the proliferation of the internet, social media and instant access, the printed Op-Ed page is obsolete. In an age of instant communications opinions and facts can be challenged by truly open debate whereby your “letter to the editor “is not a one way dictation but a statement that begins a conversation. The daily paper offers no means to immediately comment or debate. It is edited by whoever is in charge. The time to produce and distribute allows that any response will take at least a day to produce the next edition. In the case of the DHCC&POA, one full month will pass until your opinion can be challenged and that is if it passes the censors.

The fierce adherence to a dead technology such as a printed monthly newsletter by the POA is indicative of the mounting losses at the golf courses and country club. In our present society, change needs to be embraced. More on this in future editorials.

The fact of the matter is that a free press created this country. Thomas Payne’s words were printed on Ben Franklin’s press and did not appear in the “official voice” of England. In direct contrast anyone who has studied journalism, political science or American history knows that the vilest use of the printed page is as an “official voice” of any form of government. The practice is foundational to totalitarian governments through history. The National Socialist Party of Germany under the guidance of Josef Goebbels mastered the art of the “official voice”. Italian and Spanish Fascism, the Soviet Union, North Korea, North Viet Nam, Communist China, The Islamic State of Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the Taliban and now ISIS all employ their “official voice” to oppress the populace.

We have sent our armed forces to fight and die on foreign soil to end the rule of most of these governments that have perverted the freedom of the press by denying the people an UNABRIDGED voice. Every soldier, sailor, Marine and airmen who fought the Nazis, the Japanese, the North Koreans, the Viet Cong, Saddam’s forces, the Taliban and may yet face ISIS is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, all of it, every single word, unabridged. In fact that word is used in the very first amendment that establishes the rights of the people in the government of the United States:

“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.”

There are two key words that must be understood to “support, protect and defend” this document. The first is “Congress”. In the United States, Congress is the highest authority. Only Congress can pass laws and Congress is the representative of the people. The Executive Branch enforces laws and the Judiciary interprets the laws, but the people, through its representatives is the only entity that creates laws. But Congress is limited to what laws it can pass and under the First Amendment it cannot ABRIDGE freedom of speech or of the press. It seems some in Diamondhead do not understand what the word “abridge” means or believe that they have power higher than the Congress of the United States.

For those who may not know the definition of abridge, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary (the unabridged edition) is abridge 1. : to shorten (a book, a play, etc.) by leaving out some parts 2.: to lessen the strength or effect of (something, such as a right).If you were ever given the assignment to read “War and Peace” or “Moby Dick” over a weekend you are probably familiar with Cliff Notes, the abridged version of a written work. If you are of the internet generation you have seen the “For Dummies” series. These books are an abridged version of the full technical manuals. And in the case of Diamondhead government, whether it is the city or the POA, they are definitely users of the “For Dummies” version of the American good government manual. Mayor Schafer believes that he can dictate that only statements can be made to the city council and abridge all questions. Councilman at large Knoblock abridges your speech to 3 minutes when you address the city council. POA board members Harvey and Crosby abridge members’ right to speak when they shout down and berate them at so called “open” meetings (we won’t even go into the part about “redress grievances”) and the editor of the monthly corporate newsletter abridges the member’s rights by limiting how many words you are allowed to a mere fifty and by not allowing all members to have equal access to a publication the membership owns (the worst example being censoring all opposition to the petition to create the totally unnecessary city by denying access to the monthly publication) . These rights concerning member of a nonprofit corporation are not only guaranteed by the U S Constitution but by state law (MS 97-111-177). Whether they know it or not, they are not above the Congress of the United States, even in Mississippi. For just as the American government is the people of the United States, the DHCC&POA Corporation is their member. And if, as is now alleged by some in the legal “profession”, that corporations are people, then they are subject to the laws of Congress and they too cannot abridge the rights of other individuals, even under contract.

Make no mistake the internet is a rough place. It is full of trolls, zealots, hackers, crackers, scams and perverts. But so is this country and believe it or not they have a right to speak and you have a right to disagree with them. It is our intention to preserve that right and by the power of a truly open forum we do just that. You may get insulted, called a name or even have your “fact” challenged, but that is the true American way. It is called debate and both sides get a chance. Now in 2014 we do not have to wait for the next edition, we live in a world of instant communications – we do it now. If you are easily offended or believe you are better than anyone and are entitled to the last word, then go elsewhere. If the debate is a little too rough for you, remember that it was a lot rougher at Valley Forge and Omaha Beach and in all the places that brave men and women who gave their lives so all of us could express their opinions, unabridged. But if you are truly proud of their service and sacrifice then honor them by exercising the very rights they fought to preserve by participating in and welcoming debate in an open and uncensored forum.

The fact that the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association along with their partner Gulf Publishing employs the same tactic as the majority of enemies of freedom this country has spent its youth to destroy via the horrors of war is an Orwellian nightmare as Big Brother uses his “official voice” and now “official website” to instruct the masses.  One only has to turn on the television and look at what is happening in Hong Kong. China has a state run news agency “Xinhua. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinhua_News_Agency . You can bet your golf cart Xinhua (formerly known as the Red China News Agency) aren’t reporting the same information about these protests going on now as CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.  Isn’t it wonderful to see U S citizens and a local “news organization” embracing the same tools of oppression as the government of Communist China?

Beyond literature, if you are involved in the practice of establishing an “official voice” for a government entity in this country you dishonor the memories and violate the sacrifices of nearly a million Americans who gave their lives to protect the rights of free people.

To do it for the sake of selling real estate is beyond disgusting.

About the Author

T. R. Alfonso
Editor and Publisher of the the Diamondhead News Online