Take a moment for an update on some of the penalties occuring across this country for people that violate governors orders regarding social distancing.
Including the arrest of a pastor, breaking up weddings and arrests. A crazy time for OUR AMERICA. Get your update here!
MIKE DONOVAN: The America that we are living in right now is not a free America. If you walk down some of the fashion districts, you'll see that the stores like Louis Vuitton and in some of the others, Dolce and Gabbana, are boarded up, boarded up to protect from looters.
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of our Not Free America podcast coming to you live from the front lines of the war on the Corona virus. And the war, it seems, on American civil liberties at the same time.
Hello folks, how are you? Happy Friday. It is a busy, busy Friday in the news and one of the things that I want to talk about tonight are some of the implications of the fight against CV-19 in as it relates to our civil liberties. What's happening on the front lines that causes civil libertarians concerns? Now, I don't know about you, but when I turn on CNN or when I turn on MSNBC or even Fox News, I do receive pretty much the same stories. And I see a lot of emphasis on the importance of social distancing, which is really, really important… a lot of emphasis on following a state home orders, which is really, really important.
But I think some of the things that are happening in this country aren't getting enough attention. And I'd like to change it and I'd like to talk to you about it tonight. Now, the first is a case I'm sure you've heard of. This is the case of a Florida pastor who pastors a large church near Tampa Bay who was arrested for holding church services. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules. Both of those are misdemeanors. Both of them carry the potential for jail time. And in fact Reverend Rodney Howard Brown was in fact jailed at the Hernando County jail after he had the courage, the reckless disregard to hold a faith service.
Now here's the thing. I think if you go to a church right now, you're asking for trouble. That being said, you have a freedom of religion in this country and you have a freedom to assemble in this country. And I don't understand how you could take a pastor of a church and throw him in jail for unlawful assembly. Now, imagine the enemy wasn't the CV-19. Imagine the enemy was something else. Understand that what we give away today, we won’t get back tomorrow just because the virus is over just because the crisis is over, or just because we have a vaccine or just because we have a treatment. It won't matter. The rights we give away now aren't coming back.
Now, Pastor Howard Brown said that he hadn't decided whether his church was going to be open on either a week from Sunday or Sunday. And he said that he hadn't made any decisions about Easter Sunday or services thereafter because of the fact that he knows he'll be arrested for calling his church into service.
Now, pastor Brown should not hold church services right now. I don't think he should. Why? Because we're in the middle of a global pandemic and doing so recklessly puts the people of that church in danger. But guess what? That's their choice. It's the pastor's choice. It's the congregant's choice. It's not mine. I'm not going to go near that church or any church while this pandemic is happening, but I'm not going to lock the doors of a church and tell someone else they can't go in. It is essentially an American. I understand that we're all afraid, but fear is going to give way to fascism if we're not careful.
Now let's talk about -- what are we really talking about with these stay at home orders, which are effectively martial law from the state governors, right? So let's talk about it, let's talk about what can happen.
So you know, for example, in the state of Michigan if your business is open against the rules on a state shutdown order, they can take your business license away. You know, it is one of those penalties that I think may be appropriate. And I don't know that I believe that the governor of Michigan can order closed a business, but I certainly think that that is a better option than say the state of New Jersey, which criminally charges people for having gatherings.
In fact, and I'll read this quote from a newspaper in Northern New Jersey so you can understand how crazy life has become… Here's a quote: “in Lakewood, police broke up two separate weddings a day apart from each other” -- and so that's what we do in the United States now? We break up weddings? Are you people serious? The New Jersey police broke up two weddings a day apart from each other. They broke up two weddings as if it's a bar fight. This is a wedding.
I think it's stupid to go and get a group wedding and have your services right now, but I'm not going to do it because I have the right to control myself and other people have the right to control themselves too. These orders are patently unconstitutional and un-American. It isn't just New Jersey. In Maryland, those who violate the state home order there are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be jailed up to a year, and a $5,000 fine. New York's doing just fines. However, in New York City yesterday, the owner of a Brooklyn bar was arrested when more than a dozen people were found drinking inside what looked like a closed facility. Among the charges, reckless endangerment. In Texas, you can be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days and you can get 180 days in jail for leaving your house and violating the governor's orders.
Hawaii -- a year in jail and $5,000 in fines. But are they really doing it? Yes, they are. Police in Honolulu have issued dozens of citations and have made two arrests where they took people to jail… jail… not the kind of place you'd think you'd want people in the middle of a pandemic. How about Florida? Florida has issued a statewide order and violation of that order comes with 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Now, Washington state again can revoke business licenses, issue citations… and as it relates to these sorts of rules. These are probably more reasonable than throwing people in jail.
Rhode Island went as far as to say that New Yorkers who crossed the state line would be stopped and turned away. State police and the national guard stopped cars and check the state's major airports, train stations, and bus depots until the governor of New York convinced the governor of Rhode Island that she was wrong.
And in Virginia, class one misdemeanors for folks who violate the stay at home orders. But is it really happening? Oh yes, it is. On March 28, three arrests remade when revelers refuse to leave a house party on the Eastern shore, according to North Hampton County sheriff David Dowdy. Another citation was issued for violating the governor's order in Pennsylvania County, but the Pennsylvania County sheriff didn't want to answer any questions as to what that was about. God knows we don't need details. God knows we don't need sunlight. It's just after all violations of our civil rights.
Now this is really, really important folks because you have to understand, we are talking about sacred rights bestowed upon us at the founding of this country. And we're talking about in a matter of days, abdicating, surrendering, running away from all of those rights. Why? Fear is so pervasive and it feels like so much is happening that you just can't keep up with everything.
For example, in New York, if you walk down some of the fashion districts, you'll see that the stores like Louis Vuitton and some of the others -- Dolce and Gabbana -- are boarded up, boarded up to protect from looters. Is this the America that we're in now? Is this what we can expect? Arrest for assembly? And it gets worse, folks. In Louisville, Kentucky, the city is forcing people who are corona virus patients to self-isolate and they're using GPS bracelets to do it.
Can you believe that? Circuit court judges in Louisville have ordered patients to isolate and wear tracking devices. This is America in 2020. But why? Well, we know today, Friday… 1,000 lives, in fact more, were lost to the current virus. It is a serious, serious, serious crisis and a crisis that requires serious solutions. The kind of serious solutions that you trust people to give them the information so that they can make good decisions for themselves and their families and their communities. You don't lock people in cages and take away their rights.
In Delaware, police have been authorized to pull over any out of state drivers during the pandemic and they are doing it. This is the new America folks where you can't even travel from state to state without being harassed, hassled, or perhaps even arrested. This is a crisis, but it doesn't have to be one where we lose ourselves in it. As I've said before, and as I will say many, many times… I believe in social distancing. I believe that it is incredibly important that you protect yourselves, your families, your communities, and that you're responsible, that you don't go to these gatherings where you put people at risk.
But my God, this is the United States of America. We have a constitution. We have a bill of rights. We have sacred rights that we don't trade away when we're afraid, when we're challenged… we're Americans. We stand up, we fight, we mourn our dead, and we get better. If you ask yourself how we're going to get better… How are we going to get better if we lose ourselves in this crisis? How would we even know what “better” was?
Let's hope we can make some different decisions. Let's hope we can take some of the fascism out of this response and realize that we're all in this together. And our focus needs to be saving lives, not protecting civil rights. But we'll be here to protect those civil rights for as long as we're needed.
Thank you all so much for joining me tonight. Tomorrow we will go into more detail about some of the instances, particularly in Kentucky and New Orleans… a city that is fast approaching its apex. Thank you all so much for joining me. I appreciate it. Stay safe and stay healthy.