The photograph to the right (via MSNBC.com) is Lynndie England - an administrative clerk at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. When this photo - and others much worse - surfaced in 2004, smart money was betting to ensure things like this never happened again, Donald "I don't do quagmires" Rumsfeld would simply ban cameras. There are some reports that's exactly what Rumsfeld did. There was also an Op/Ed objecting to a ban, in the Houston Chronicle:
Yes to weapons of mass photography
By CLARENCE PAGE May 14, 2004
If I had my way, every enlisted man and woman in the military would be issued a digital camera. As we've seen in the scandal about abused Iraqi prisoners, the little gadgets help boost morale by providing snapshots that can be e-mailed back home. They also can come in handy when you need to gather evidence. I like those little cameras because certain power elites don't.
His response to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, turned into a bit of a rant of frustration: "We're functioning -- with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a wartime situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon."
No, folks, it's apparently not the administration's gross lack of preparation for the management of post-Saddam Iraq that's the problem, in Rummy's view. It's those pesky soldiers and their Weapons of Mass Photography.
Here on the still semi-frozen tundra, there are Republicans with Rumsfeldian Mindsets ("if there are no photographs, things must be just swell!"); bills have been introduced in the State Senate and State House that would make it illegal to record photographs and audio/video at an "animal facility."
GOPer State Senators Doug Magnus, Julie Rosen, Bill Ingebrigtsen, along with House GOPers Rod Hamilton, Tony Cornish, Greg Davids, Dean Urdahl, Bob Dettmer, Paul Anderson, and the chief RightWingWalnut of 'em all, Steve Drazkowski. (For some strange reason, DFL Senators Rod Skoe and Dan Sparks signed on to this nonsense too).
Spot over at the Cucking Stool takes a look at the legal illogic of these bills in a post titled "Republicans playing with constitutions II - The fools have never heard of Near v. Minnesota".
Spot states the obvious: "Whether itâs the First Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, or Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution, Minnesotaâs Republican legislators prove over and over again that they donât have a freakinâ clue."
I'm saying the local GOPers are simply taking a clue from Rummy; that the GOP - from top to bottom - firmly believes "out of sight" means "out of mind."
**Update** The Winona Daily News has an editorial on this GOPer plan to ban cameras - it's titled "Our view: Bill just a coverup of bad behavior"
Magnus’ bill, if adopted, would make Minnesota the fourth state to adopt rules that seem to protect the guilty and punish those trying to make a difference.
While deception by way of a hidden camera isn’t necessarily transparent, those who are engaging in shady business practices aren’t also going to let a camera crew inside to document violations.
This form of video, while guerrilla in nature, is one in which the ends often justify the means. What is exposed is often essential to making sure our treatment of animals is at the very least humane and ethical.
This isn’t just some anti-PETA bill.
This same legislation wouldn’t just block video of animals being led to slaughter, it might also make it a crime to show workers mishandling food, endangering the safety and health of humans.
Furthermore, telling the public what can and can’t be recorded comes perilously close to regulating free speech and putting unnecessary restrictions on a free press, which might also come armed with cameras.
Let’s call this law what it is: A shield for acting irresponsibly and a bully tool to punish anyone who might even dare to expose deplorable behavior.
And this GOPer plan to ban cameras is just another pathetic example of the GOP protecting the Corporate Boardroom at the expense of everyone else.