Thursday, June 29, 2006

More Attacks on the First Amendment by Republicans!

It is ironic that in the very same week that Republicans failed to find enough supporters to push their flag-burning amendment comes an attack on another clause in the First Amendment, the Freedom of the Press.

Recall the text of the Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
It is these freedoms that make America unique. Our nation is built on freedom. Not on tri-color banners or harassment of the press.

The importance of a free press was explained by Thomas Jefferson who wrote:

"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

And yet this week, once again we have elected Republican politicians scurrying around trying to gather votes and signatures to retaliate against the New York Times for its investigative reporting into the Banking Data Mining program by the United States.

As reported:
"Hayworth, a Republican running for re-election against Democrat Harry Mitchell, is circulating a letter among his colleagues calling on the speaker of the House of Representatives to take away the paper's credentials.

"The request does not come lightly, but in response to the Times' decision to repeatedly publish information detrimental to our national security," Hayworth wrote in the letter to Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

In the letter, Hayworth cites the Times' June 23 story that revealed the existence of a secret government program to track terrorist networks through the use of international financial records."

Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky) did one better on this complaint, he accused and threatened the New York Times with prosecution for TREASON. As reported:
"WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Bunning accused the New York Times of treason Tuesday for publishing a story about a secret government program that checks the bank records of Americans and others as part of anti-terror efforts.

"That the press wouldn’t have better sense than to leak critical information on terrorists so that they know what we’re doing - that scares the devil out of me," Bunning told reporters in a morning conference call.

The senator said Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez should empanel a grand jury to decide whether the New York Times’ publisher, editors and writers involved in the bank records story should be indicted for treason."

I know that Iraq is not the same as Vietnam. But this is all so "deja-vu" all over again!

Recall the story of the Pentagon Papers:
"...government study of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara in June, 1967, the 47-volume, top secret study covered the period from World War II to May, 1968. It was written by a team of analysts who had access to classified documents, and was completed in Jan., 1969. The study revealed a considerable degree of miscalculation, bureaucratic arrogance, and deception on the part of U.S. policymakers. In particular, it found that the U.S. government had continually resisted full disclosure of increasing military involvement in Southeast Asia—air strikes over Laos, raids along the coast of North Vietnam, and offensive actions by U.S. marines had taken place long before the American public was informed."
And more importantly, once again it was the New York Times that took the lead in bringing this to the attention of the American people!
"On June 13, 1971, the New York Times began publishing a series of articles based on the study. The Justice Dept. obtained a court injunction against further publication on national security grounds, but the Supreme Court ruled (June 30) that constitutional guarantees of a free press overrode other considerations, and allowed further publication. The government indicted (1971) Daniel Ellsberg, a former government employee who made the Pentagon Papers available to the New York Times, and Anthony J. Russo on charges of espionage, theft, and conspiracy. On May 11, 1973, a federal court judge dismissed all charges against them because of improper government conduct."
Where was the Republican Outrage at this Administration's outing of a CIA agent? Instead, they choose to 'kill the messenger', trashing the Constitution one Amendment at a time. They have abused the Constitution extending the power of the Presidency with Signing Statements, ignoring International treaties like the Geneva Conventions, and suspended the need and requirements for Search Warrants with the NSA spy scandal.

America deserves better! It is time for the Democrats to lead this nation and vote out those who would sacrifice our freedoms and trash our Constitution for their own political advantage.



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