[POLITICS] For his birthday, I bought my dad a coffee cup with the Bill of Rights printed on it. When you fill it with hot coffee, the Bill of Rights goes away.
Of course, you have to take very good care of the cup. If you're not careful -- say you wash it in the dishwasher -- your rights go away permanently.
I read in The New York Times
a few days ago that the Administration is contemplating prosecuting reporters for espionage if they print (or possess!) classified documents.
At first blush this might seem reasonable. We don't want reporters printing the names and addresses of our spies or even our soldiers. And it is "wartime," though it's a war undeclared by Congress, and a war (the Global War on Terrorism) that will likely go on forever.
But that's not what the prosecutions are for, are they? How often do reporters actually print the addresses of spies or soldiers? What reporters print are articles about how our leaders are lying to us. And the Administration has a record of hiding anything it thinks would be politically awkward. They still won't tell us which energy executive pals Cheney met with, on the grounds that it's none of our beeswax whom our elected officials meet with while setting national policy.
Given that it is the Administration that decides what's classified and what's not -- and doesn't need to tell anyone in advance what's classified and what's not -- it's very hard to imagine how a democracy can function if the Administration can prosecute reporters for reporting "classified" information. It amounts to carte blanche to prosecute reporters any time they feel like. Certainly, under this doctrine, Woodward and Bernstein would have been locked up, not to mention Daniel Ellsberg.
Incidentally, the White House recently declared May 1st "Loyalty Day."
And we have always been at war with Eurasia.