As if it wasn't enough that America's ruling oligarchs were sufficiently happy with abdicating their governing duties to the Federal Reserve, they have now decided to imitate China in every possible way, and in addition to making up economic data as they go (for actual numbers just look around you, for all the other imaginary bullshit there's the BLS), they have now proceeded to wipe their ass with the first amendment, on their way to converting the US to a complete banana republic. After Joe Lieberman made a mockery of Internet freedom of speech (and of Amazon's independence) he has now decided to step up his campaign against un-coopted journalists everywhere, precisely as we suspected would happen next in the USSA. Per MSNBC, the Independent Connecticut senator has told Tableau, a Seattle company that allows Web users to post charts, to remove several charts describing the release of WikiLeaks material. The company removed the charts on Thursday, following the lead of Amazon, which had taken down the WikiLeaks documents themselves. The punchline: none of the charts contained any classified data: "The charts were not produced by WikiLeaks, but by a freelance journalist. And they contained no classified or secret material. The charts merely depicted how many times each country, or topic, was discussed in the cables." In other words, as Bill Dedman concludes: "these charts were journalism."
A cached version of the chart in question is being reproduced below:
Tableau's statement in response to Lieberman's bullying was as follows:
Wednesday afternoon, Tableau Software removed data visualizations published by WikiLeaks to Tableau Public. We understand this is a sensitive issue and want to assure the public and our users that this was not an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly. . . .
Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.
Below is the take of Salon's Glenn Greenwald on this incurision into the last remaining liberty that Americans actually had left (in addition to collecting jobless benefits in perpetuity of course... and buying NFLX at 1,000x fwd PE):
Those are the benign, purely legal documents that have now been removed from the Internet in response to Joe Lieberman's demands and implied threats. He's on some kind of warped mission where he's literally running around single-handedly dictating what political content can and cannot be on the Internet, issuing broad-based threats to "all companies" that -- by design -- are causing suppression of political information. I understand Tableau's behavior here; imagine if you were a small company and Joe Lieberman basically announced: I am Homeland Security and you are to cease being involved with this organization which many say is a Terrorist group and Enemy Combatant. What Lieberman is doing is a severe abuse of power, and even for our anemic, power-revering media, it ought to be a major scandal (though it's not because, as Digby says, all our media stars can process is that "Julian Assange is icky").
If people -- especially journalists -- can't be riled when Joe Lieberman is unilaterally causing the suppression of political content from the Internet, when will they be? After all, as Jeffrey Goldberg pointed out in condemning this, the same rationale Lieberman is using to demand that Amazon and all other companies cease any contact with WikiLeaks would justify similar attacks on The New York Times, since they've published the same exact diplomatic cables on its site as WikiLeaks has on its (added: the only diplomatic cables posted on the WikiLeaks site thus far are the ones published by the newspapers with which WikiLeaks partnered -- such as the NYT, Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc. -- and they include those newspapers' redactions; no other cables have yet been posted to the WikiLeaks site). What Joe Lieberman is doing is indescribably pernicious and if "journalists" cared in the slightest about their own self-interest -- never mind all the noble things they pretend to care about -- they ought to be vociferously objecting to this.
As this pretty much covers it all, there is little to add.
Our advice: after Lieberman is done censoring the Internet, he and his fellow deranged banker puppets will start going down the list of constitutional amendments... which is why if you have been putting of on procuring that gun permit, and putting that bar or two of gold in a safe far, far away from America, this may be a good time to do so.