Monday, November 29, 2010

Boiling the Tea kettle

"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."

-US Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black and William Douglas-

Anyone in the US with more political awareness than a telephone pole knows that there's a whole lot of loosely related and sometimes contradictory stuff hidden under the camouflage blanket of "we're for smaller, less intrusive government," including the somewhat contrary and certainly not Libertarian opinion that that government may, at its own discretion, hide its actions, its statements and defend its deceptions and coverups, making the exercise of protected rights a crime. That so many who feel concern about paternalistic government can none the less defend it passionately and thus sanctify subterfuge is puzzling. That members of that government can ask that we treat the media and its sources as traitors and terrorists with all the extra-legal powers it possesses, is hardly puzzling at all. That the need to cover its ass supersedes any respect for the Constitution it pretends to worship: that government can be in terror of being exposed, hardly makes the case, in my opinion, for Terrorism. Perhaps the test of being a true and loyal Republican is not to think of Richard Nixon at this point.

So how do we feel about Wikileaks release of leaked State Department documents yesterday? Well at least one Republican congressman recommends that we move that organization under another one of those capacious and convenient camo blankets: the one we call terrorism, or 'terrism' in the dialect spoken by a great number of self-styled conservatives. So, by the gerrymandering of ill-defined symbols, we manage to expose -- or at least the horrifically hyperbolic Rep. Peter King (R-NY) hopes to expose Wikileaks and perhaps anyone revealing that which slithers through the wires to and from Washington, to the dire and drastic treatment we afford "foreign terrorist organizations." To expose embarrassing diplomatic cables showing many world leaders at their scurrilous antics, is "worse than a military attack" he said last night.

King, says CBS News, New York, has written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder asking that Julian Assange of Wikileaks be prosecuted as a spy for publishing 'sensitive' information given him by a whistleblowing soldier, even though that's what the mainstream media does, is supposed to do and the Court has affirmed their constitutional right to do.

It will be interesting to see the Tea Party reaction to this -- if there is one. They'll be torn between maintaining support for the First Amendment and the role of a free press and the treasured myth of its untrustworthy liberal bias. I'd like to think that it might increase pressure to actually define what they mean by a smaller, less intrusive and more limited government, but as they say - a watched teapot never boils.

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