This bit comes from Terry Allen from In These Times, and it’s titled "Information Is Power." It begins thusly:
"Sometimes it’s the small abuses scurrying below radar that reveal how
profoundly the Bush administration has changed America in the name of
national security. Buried within the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act of 2004 is a regulation that bars most public access to
birth and death certificates for 70 to 100 years. In much of the
country, these records have long been invaluable tools for activists,
lawyers, and reporters to uncover patterns of illness and pollution
that officials miss or ignore."
The rest is here. Not to belittle the Bush White House in its efforts to promote secrecy to heights never before known to God or man, but the government’s proclivity to secrecy over unethical, amoral, or just embarassing tidbits, we need to remember, is not something that began in 2004 or even 2001. It’s been going on a long, long time; the scope of what is considered secret and the extent to which the executive branch of government will go to to keep it so has merely become ridiculous recently.
Granted, there are some things that We The People do not need to know to function–troop movements, our elected representatives’ sexual exploits, and who the vice president has shot recently are examples that come readily to mind–I just happen to think that the fact that a few million of us have our email and phone conversations digitally recorded and evaluated by the NSA to no apparent good result is probably not among them.