Tag Archives: first amendment

Steve Coll hints at something . . .

free pressFrom one of our best investigative journalists, here’s Steve Coll, today in The New Yorker:

It seems likely that Holder or his deputies have authorized other press subpoenas and surveillance regimes that have not yet been disclosed. The Justice Department has acted belligerently even in cases where no grave harm to the public interest has been demonstrated, or where, as in the A.P. case, the leaks under suspicion have served to publicize the Administration’s successes. . .

He allows that the increase in investigations by Justice in recent years may relate to this:

 Obama inherited a bloated national-security state. It contains far too many official secrets and far too many secret-keepers—more than a million people now hold top-secret clearances. Under a thirty-year-old executive order issued by the White House, the intelligence agencies must inform the Justice Department whenever they believe that classified information has been disclosed illegally to the press. These referrals operate on a kind of automatic pilot, and the system is unbalanced.

But ultimately, Coll says:

. . . The media are not just watchdogs barking at the White House and the C.I.A. The First Amendment aspires to a fuller compact among citizens, including between journalists and confidential sources, that is premised on the self-evident truth that secrecy and concentrated power are inherently corrupting.

Yup.

Eric Holder needs to go

It’s the right response to the AP/Fox abuses.

I never liked him anyway. He heads a Justice Department that didn’t bring a single fraudster bankster to trial.

Don’t slam the door on your way out fella’.

UPDATE: Lois Lerner too.

The bishops and the 70 million Catholics here – not on the same page, yet again.

From the Public Religion Research Institute, a poll shows majority support – even among Catholics – for the contraception inclusion in Obamacare. I’ve heard many liberals today, especially Catholic liberals, express discomfort about the requirement for religious organizations to offer their employees health care that includes the no co-pay provision for contraception that everyone else gets.

But they appear to not be among the majority of Catholics who strongly support the contraception inclusion. (Of course the vile Bill Donahue of “The Catholic League” is getting so red in the face one must worry about the man’s health, probably nothing, though, that a few guest rants on FOX News can’t cure.)

White evangelicals are the only group opposing with a majority.

I’m “going black” Wednesday

This site, along with hundreds of thousands of sites around the world (millions of sites?), will ‘go black’ at 8:00 a.m. today – and stay down for 12 hours – to protest the proposed U.S. legislation (SOPA/PIPA), which poses a real threat to a free internet and to freedom of speech on the internet. It’s being supported by and lobbied for by some of the world’s largest multinationals, who will benefit financially.

The SOPA legislation purports to provide protection for intellectual property, but is in fact toxic and dangerous. Watch the video here. You can sign the petition here.

See you back here after 8:00 pm tonight.

“$$$$$$$$” they said. And that was that.

There’s an interesting comment thread going on at The Erstwhile Conservative that has moved into a discussion of how tribal we are and what are the possibilities for electoral reform to fix our broken government.

Jim Wheeler and I were chatting about things like redistricting . I’d just said that I was not hopeful we’d ever be able to repair what’s broken in our government. And this came out:

Ironically though, I think it’s the venerable First Amendment that will ultimately stand in the way, and render us helpless against the poisonous effect of corporate money and obscene levels of lobbying. That’s one of the reasons I’m not hopeful.

I think that’s true – that sacred instrument that has protected our speech for nearly 250 years is finally the weapon being used to destroy our institutions and ultimately our government. Whatever is left once they finish the dirty job, it’s not likely to include a right to free speech.

Freedom, brought to you by our corporate sponsors

Worth remembering: Mastercard and PayPal refused to process donations to Wikileaks – because, I assume, the US government asked them to. It was blatantly anti-democratic and it was barely examined by the media, who have mostly abandoned the role envisioned for them when the First Amendment was written.

Speak Truth to Power

h/t Don in Mass

Happy Fourth bobbleheads.

I can’t leave this alone

And the reason I can’t leave it alone is because it’s important. We should all be disturbed by the unprecedented attack on wikileak’s founder/editor Julian Assange.

I have said before – I am agnostic about him, his actions and his organization. I am, however, not agnostic about the attacks on wikileaks web site and the attempts to silence an inconvenient muckraker, whistleblower – call him what you will, the man is not a criminal.

Glenn Greenwald today:

WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has.  Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.).  Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm. 

So when is Joe Lieberman going after those papers?

Image from here, where you’ll also find an ironic statement from Hillary Clinton which includes this:

Courageous journalists across the globe risk their freedom and their lives to provide independent information on government actions and their consequences; report the news from conflict zones; expose crime, corruption and wrongdoing; and reveal human rights violations – all despite efforts, in some cases, by governments and others, to control what people read, hear and think.

And, again:

(It’s still about the banks guys. Wonder when that promised document dump from inside a ‘major US bank’ is coming?)