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Rep. Jim McDermott Headshot

The Big Chill

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It is awfully cold in Washington, D.C., these days, and the arrival of Spring is not going to change the frigid temperature beginning to grip the nation's capital.

Washington, D.C., is fast becoming a cold, cold place under this President and his Administration.
The Big Chill is on and it's becoming an ice age for the People's right-to-know.

The New York Times and Washington Post recently won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking through the Administration's secrecy to inform the American people about secret prisons and secret wiretapping.
In response, the Administration directed its Attorney General to see if he might invoke a 1917 Espionage Act as a way to make the First Amendment disappear.

By controlling what you know, they hope to control what you think.

It is the solution to their Iraq dilemma. You don't have to mislead people, as the President did, if the American people simply do not know at all.

That's what this assault on free speech is all about.

The President and his Administration are doing everything possible to impose censorship. They know that secrecy is the fastest, most effective way to silence dissent.

The President called "Shameful" the Pulitzer Prize winning journalism that reunited the American people with the truth about secret prisons and secret wiretapping ordered by this President and his Administration.

In other words, the truth made it out into the open, and that was not part of their plan. The only way to account for it was to attack those responsible for telling us. It is the centerpiece of the Republican play book. Attack anyone who disagrees. I know their tactics firsthand.

But, people are beginning to listen to other voices, when they can hear them through the clatter of the Republican noise making machine.

David Wise in the Los Angeles Times recently wrote an article entitled "Secrecy's shadow falls on Washington." Quoting from the article:

"The National Archives and Records Administration has been embarrassed by the revelation that at least 55,000 documents formerly available to researchers have been withdrawn and reclassified under secret agreements with the military and the CIA.

"The deals were so secretive that the documents simply disappeared from the shelves. "

At least temporarily, the head of the National Archives has suspended the disappearance of American history. It doesn't mean the threat has passed. It just means someone is fighting to keep America free.

Before us are two choices: the free flow of information, or the outright control of information.
America is strong because of the protections within the free flow of information--it's our First Amendment to the Constitution.

But the President and Republican majority want to tell you what to think through the outright control of information.

Geoffrey R. Stone, author and law professor at the University of Chicago, wrote an article in the New York Times the other day called "Scared of Scoops."

As the writer points out, the Administration's primary tactic is intimidation.

When in doubt, they try to make you afraid.

When unpopular, they try to make you afraid.

When they are losing their hold on power, because of their record, they intend to make you afraid.
The only reason you know this President has no energy plan for America is because he can't hide the price of gasoline at the pumps.

He'd make it a secret if he could, so don't be surprised if the President tries to classify the price of gasoline as a national security matter.

In a nation where free speech is the last line of defense against absolute power, they don't want you to know, because the more you know, the worse they look.