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125 secrets per minute

The Bush administration is classifying documents faster than I can blink. Too bad they can't take a lesson from Eminem: transparency is our greatest strength.
 
 
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It seems right that some people have called the millenium years the "Zeroes," because we're living in an age of missing information. The Bush administration classified 15 million documents last year alone. That's more than twice as much as the year before and substantially more than have ever been classified before, even during wartime. At the same time, as today's New York Times editorial points out, "the declassification of documents required under the Freedom of Information Act has been choked down to a fraction of what it was a decade ago, leaving the government working behind an ever darker, ever denser screen."

Yikes. That dark dense screen reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, with a small bald Karl Rove sitting in his fold-up chair behind a shiny green curtain. If only I could click my heels ...

It's as if we're so caught up in the tornado of over-information about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' religious bliss and Harry Potter's new adventures, we don't notice how little information is available about what our government is actually doing.

Didn't anyone in the Bush administration see the movie 8 Mile? In the final show-down, a freestyle rap battle, an opponent from the group Free World disses Rabbit (Eminem), his mom, his family, and friends. In response, Eminem admits it all and basically says, so what:

I know everything he's got to say against me
I am white, i am a f-n bum
I do live in a trailer with my mom
...
Im a piece of f-n white trash, i say it proudly
F-k this battle, i dont wanna win, im outtie

Or, if they don't want to listen to a white-trash rapper, how about listening to Thomas Kean, the co-chairman of the independent commission on the 9/11 attacks, not exactly a bare-it-all kind of guy: "The best ally we have in protecting ourselves against terrorism is an informed public," he said. The government's failure to prevent 9/11 was linked to barriers in the sharing of information between agencies and with the public, not to leaks of sensitive information.

See, the lesson is that there's nothing better for security than transparency. We are strongest when we have the least to hide. If a girl and her dog from Kansas and a white boy rapper from Detroit can figure that out, even a wannabe cowboy from Texas should be able to learn it too.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.