Friday, February 25, 2005

Uncurious George and the Thought Police

Anyone who doesn't think we're sliding into some nascent American version of fascism needs to read this. Everyone else who has noticed needs to read it as well. From the Fort Worth Weekly:

The war on terror, coupled with budget deficits, seems to have morphed into a war on information.

"This administration is trying to keep information from the U.S. citizens,'' said Monika Antonelli, a UNT librarian who monitors attempts to restrict government information. "When I worked in government documents at UNT, the cost of the program was [about] 20 cents per taxpayer, and it was money well spent. The Depository Library program received less funding than the budget for military bands. This is not about saving money but about stifling information.''

The latest skirmish erupted last month when Russell, at a meeting of the American Library Association in Boston, announced the federal government's 2006 budget would include money for only "50 essential titles'' for the nation's 1,250 depository libraries. Hundreds of other documents that the government for years had deposited in the nation's libraries would no longer be available except online.

The ALA and the American Association of Law Libraries said the proposal would "eliminate almost all'' of the printed material traditionally made available to libraries. The law librarians further complained that the plan "represents a major disruption to the [Federal Depository Library Program's] role of ensuring no-fee, permanent access to government information for the American public.''

[...] Others are worried that shifting the responsibility for archiving government documents from public libraries to the government itself will make political editing of information too tempting. Librarian watchdogs have already noted that at least one agency, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, appears to have deleted some documents critical of the Bush administration from its web site.

"What happens when the Bush administration wants to prevent a particular policy point of view'' from being aired? asked Arlene Weible, head of UNT's government documents department. Shifting control of information from the libraries to the government leaves the public "with less of a check'' against government abuses.

[...] But the shelves of the nation's libraries are only one front on the government war on information. Increasingly, the government is thwarting requests for public information under the Freedom of Information Act with demands for exorbitant search fees. In one recent case, People for the American Way sought records about government requests to seal records about immigrants detained after 9/11. The Justice Department initially refused the request, saying that to release information about the detainees would violate the privacy of those individuals. It later amended its response, saying it would gladly conduct a search for the records — for a fee of $372,799.

Dictators like to keep the masses ignorant of their true intentions, while blowing purple smoke up their collective asses. How many times does Bush jave to spit on the constitution before we get a clue? Does he have to install gas-powered showers in GTMO? Start rounding up gays and liberals?

I know, I know. We aren't supposed to soil the discourse by comparing Bush to Hitler. But for fuck's sake people, what's the man got to do before we call him on his fascist thought control actions, grow a little mustache?

Our own government has decided that they don't want you or me or anyone else who isn't on the Bush family Christmas Card List to know what they're planning, who they're planning on doing it to and who's getting your tax money in no-bid contracts to do it.

Luckily, there are ways to take action against this.

Thanks to Lynne and Elvira for the links.


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