Monday, June 26, 2006

Run Forrest...Run!!!

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

-President Thomas Jefferson

Wasn’t it Forrest Gump who coined the phrase stupid is as stupid does? Well if it was good old Forrest who coined that now famous phrase, then Representative Peter King, R-NY and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez are now the embodiment of it.

Over the weekend, Representative King, the sitting chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, urged the Bush administration to seek criminal charges against all newspapers that reported on a secret, albeit illegal, financial monitoring program used by the administration to trace terrorists called SWIFT. King said that he would encourage Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to begin an investigation and prosecution of the New York Times- the reporters, the editors and the publisher. King is quoted as saying that “we are at war and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous.” King also charged that the paper was “more concerned about a left-wing elitist agenda than it was about the security of America”. If that isn’t bad enough, Attorney General Gonzalez believes that he can prosecute these journalists for publishing classified information, simply by citing an obligation to national security. Thank you Patriot Act! Attorney General Gonzalez is also on the record as stating that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security and that he would not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation.

Folks, this is what I have been ranting about. This is America remember…the land of the free and the home of the brave? We are witnessing the hijacking of our country and we act as if we are powerless to stop it. America is standing at the edge of a great abyss and most Americans don’t even know what abyss means. When the Attorney General of the United States is on record as saying that the First Amendment right of a free press is not absolute then we have a real problem. If the First Amendment right of a free press is not absolute, then how can the press truly be considered free? One of the most hotly debated issues in this country today is the conduct of the war on terror and it is the responsibility of the free press to publish what they know about our government’s role in it and to provide the American public with what it needs to know in order to participate in the debate. Truth be known, Representative King is nothing more than a right wing thug trying to rally the conservative Republican base and Mr. Gonzalez is a Bush administration hatchet man trying to intimidate and suppress the actions of the media and the public’s right to know. If anyone has an agenda Mr. King it is the President, his administration and those of you in Congress who represent the interests of your party at the expense of those who elected you. Then, you have the audacity to sit there on Fox News and call the report absolutely disgraceful as if you are in some morally superior position to make such a declaration. You sir are absolutely disgraceful and the actions of this administration is criminal.

As I have stated before, we live in a country of law not of men. This is evident when you read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Ours was designed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Today our government is run by professional ideologues and stodgy old bureaucrats. For them it is all about remaining in power and keeping hold of that brass ring. Today politicians like Mr. King are more likely to declare news organizations such as the New York Times traitorous because it publicly reported embarrassing truths, then they are to prosecute government officials who blatantly and routinely break the law and ignore the very constitution they were sworn to defend. Now ask yourself…who is the real traitor? This is a very difficult time and these are very dangerous people. We can not shirk our responsibilities as citizens and blindly accept the actions of this government. Until they change how we elect our government officials, we still wield a very powerful weapon…our vote. However, if things are really ever going to change, then we can not continue to ignore the brutal facts of our reality… it is no longer about us, it is all about them. They patronize us, pacify us and punish us when we get out of line. They talk about doing what is best for America, yet only do what is best for them. Forrest was right; stupid is as stupid does and life can often be like that box of chocolates. However, if we are not able to stem the rising tide of arrogant authoritarianism in this country it might be in our best interest to listen to old Forrest one more time and run.

Think about it.

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