brni (brni) wrote,

the BP media blackout zone

Yesterday, a political debate about taxes somehow shifted precipitously into "the Democrats want to take away all our guns so they can oppress us" territory. Which is absurd even at face value. But the argument goes that the 2nd amendment protects our right to have guns in order to protect ourselves from the government. The ability to carry a handgun does nothing to protect a populace against a government willing to wield the military against the people. If you want to be able to take up arms against the government to address grievances, you need to be better armed than Iraq was in 1990, when it had the estimated 4th largest military in the world. You'd need weaponry that was no less than a single order of magnitude less devastating than the weapons commanded by the US military.

"The second amendment," I said, "does nothing to protect you from the government. It's the first amendment that does that. You can't out-gun the government. The only defense is the ability to take what's being done and show it to the world."

Case in point: Iran. As many as 72 people are being claimed as being killed in the violence of the protests after the election. The government only admits 36. I'll go with 72. That's bad, but what would have happened had there been no cameras, no twitter frenzy, no cell phones? I think there'd have been thousands dead, at least. This will bring down the government in Iran. Not today. Not this year. But eventually, just as information is what brought down Apartheid.

It's the first amendment - freedom of the press - that protects us, that gives us what we need to push back against those who exert power of us - government and corporations both.

Which is why BP can't be permitted to do shit like this (June 12th, 2010):

Except our government has now come to BP's rescue, making it a crime - a felony with a $40,000 fine and a jail sentence - to come close enough to the oil spill, the recovery operations, and the damage that has occurred to actually see what is happening. These rules, issued July 2nd (just in time for Independence Day - good timing guys), target journalists and photographers, but also extends to anyone else who goes to see what's going on.

Fuck guns. Information is our defense, and that is what is being restricted. All the whinging about taxes and TARP and Obamacare Death Panels and the liberals taking our guns is a distraction from what is really important. And what is important is this: the free access and flow of information as a necessary condition of liberty.

This is where the Bush/Cheney administration failed the people, and this is where the Obama administration continues to fail the people. It is what enabled the government to start and carry on unjust wars, enabled the government to hide the extend of the evil perpetrated on the people of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina in order to funnel money to toward companies that the administration held interests in, enabled the government to torture prisoners, to suspend habeas corpus indefinately, and to engage in "Extraordinary Rendition" (a newspeak term for kidnapping people and secretly flying them to prisons in countries whose laws permit questionable interrogation techniques).

This is where the stand needs to be taken. Now.

As long as information is restricted, every other liberty is imperiled.
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