Does the First Amendment Restrain Big Tech?

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he included in it a list of the colonists’ grievances with the British government. Notably absent were any complaints that the British government infringed upon the freedom of speech. In those days, public speech was as acerbic as it is today. If words were aimed at Parliament, … Continue reading “Does the First Amendment Restrain Big Tech?”

The Government’s Lust To Spy

In 2019, agents of the federal and state governments persuaded judges to issue 99% of all requested intercepts. An intercept is any type of government surveillance – telephone, text message, email, even in-person. These are intercepts that theoretically are based on probable cause of crime, as is required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. … Continue reading “The Government’s Lust To Spy”

All Spying All the Time

During this summer of madness in Portland, Oregon, and sadness over COVID-19, two below-the-radar events occurred implicating the insatiable appetite of the United States government to spy on everyone in America. Regular readers of this column know that the feds have been wearing away at our privacy rights using a multitude of means. Yet, these … Continue reading “All Spying All the Time”

Spying on Journalists

Last week, this column argued that the only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there – in this case, the federal courthouse and those who come to it. The column also argued that under the US Constitution, the feds have no … Continue reading “Spying on Journalists”

How Totalitarianism Begins

"The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own consciences." – C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) Serious issues are implicating personal liberty and public safety in Portland, Oregon. The police … Continue reading “How Totalitarianism Begins”

A Knee on Our Throats

For two months now, most of America has endured a government-imposed lockdown. I hate to use that word – lockdown – as it connotes locking prisoners into their cells during prison disturbances. But it is the word that the government itself uses when referring to its orders of confinement. Today, we are the government’s prisoners. … Continue reading “A Knee on Our Throats”

Take Rights Seriously, Even During a Pandemic

"If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned." ~ Justice George Sutherland (1862-1942) In his 2008 book "Taking Rights Seriously," the late professor Ronald Dworkin explored the origins and governmental treatment of human liberty. He argued that Thomas Jefferson … Continue reading “Take Rights Seriously, Even During a Pandemic”

Repeal the Patriot Act

I have been writing for years about the dangers to human freedom that come from government mass surveillance. The United States was born in a defiant reaction to government surveillance. In the decade preceding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the villains were the Stamp Act and the Writs of Assistance Act. Today, the … Continue reading “Repeal the Patriot Act”

Punishing the Free Speech of Julian Assange

"Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech." ~ First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution In the oral argument of the famous US Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the "no law" language … Continue reading “Punishing the Free Speech of Julian Assange”