Something obvious for the new year.
Kind of a public service: if you’re hugging the dance floor because you’re afraid you might fall off the earth you may have had too much. If your tongue is stuck between the cracks you probably have alcohol poisoning.
Another list for the new year, The Bill of Wrongs The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006
8. Slagging the Media
Whether the Bush administration is reclassifying previously declassified documents, sidestepping the FOIA, threatening journalists for leaks on dubious legal grounds, or, most recently, using its subpoena power to try to wring secret documents from the ACLU, the administration has continued its “secrets at any price” campaign. Is this a constitutional crisis? Probably not. Annoying as hell? Definitely.
7. Slagging the Courts
It starts with the president’s complaints about “activist judges,” and evolves to Congressional threats to appoint an inspector general to oversee federal judges. As public distrust of the bench is fueled, the stripping of courts’ authority to hear whole classes of cases—most recently any habeas corpus claims from Guantanamo detainees—almost seems reasonable. Each tiny incursion into the independence of the judiciary seems justified. Until you realize that the courts are often the only places that will defend our shrinking civil liberties. This leads to …
6. The State-Secrets Doctrine
The Bush administration’s insane argument in court is that judges should dismiss entire lawsuits over many of the outrages detailed on this very list. Why? Because the outrageously illegal things are themselves matters of top-secret national security. The administration has raised this claim in relation to its adventures in secret wiretapping and its fun with extraordinary rendition. A government privilege once used to sidestep civil claims has mushroomed into sweeping immunity for the administration’s sometimes criminal behavior.
In forums on the “Internets” it is inevitable that someone will come along and say that progressive minded Jeffersonian liberals are exaggerating, hey after all you can still drive to work and spend your paycheck at Wal-Mart, have a beer, and watch the game. How sad that they measure the state of democracy in such petty terms. Freedom doesn’t disappear over night, it erodes in small steps until you wake up one morning and wonder why more people didn’t step up and say something.