Chipping Away at the Bedrock
Moments like the French Revolution don't happen often in history, and generally require extraordinatry circumstances to produce them. Same thing with the Nazis, although some folks over here seem to have refined some of that technique and updated it. What does happen all the time- a society evolves in small steps: single issue law by law, watershed case by case, detainee by detainee. I missed this, E&P via GG via H&H:
The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.
Under the boosted penalties, those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both.
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the measure is broader than any existing laws. She said, for example, the language does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified.
"The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact," said Martin, a civil liberties advocate.
How many of us really know the law? All the accretions and details and special cases? Most of us probably don't even know all the traffic law we should, let alone federal or laws relating to areas outside our expertise. So it's not hard to imagine, indeed as we're witnessing, the foundations of representative democracy chipped away, without great notice, while we're all busy watching the bus go off the cliff.
David Tomlin, the AP's assistant general counsel, said government officials with security clearances would be potential targets under DeWine's bill.
"But so would anyone else who received an illegal disclosure under the proposed act, knew what it was and deliberately disclosed it to others. That's what some reporters do, often to great public benefit," he said.
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said the language would allow anyone â€” "if you read a story in the paper and pass it along to your brother-in-law" â€” to be prosecuted.
See, they're not making newspapers and a free press illegal, they're just making it a crime to pass along certain parts of it! Parts that relate to Dear Leader, of course.
Although it's patently unconstitutional, I expect this to pass. DeWine, the sponsor, claims he'll "fix it" if there are "problems." I'm not going to hold my breath.