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”

A Primer on Domestic Spying

"The Framers … conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men." – Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) While we were all consumed by impeachment, a pernicious piece of legislation was slowly and silently making its way through Congress. It … Continue reading “A Primer on Domestic Spying”

A Tangled Web of Deception

When witnesses testify in a courtroom and offer varying, contradictory or even unlawful explanations of the events under scrutiny, juries tend not to believe them. The same is now happening with the Trump administration’s defense of its killing Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by the use of an unmanned drone while he was being driven … Continue reading “A Tangled Web of Deception”

A Lawless Political Assassination

"America … goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." ~ President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Last week, President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military to invade a then-friendly country without the knowledge or consent of its government and assassinate a visiting foreign government official. The victim was the head of Iran’s military and … Continue reading “A Lawless Political Assassination”

What’s Wrong With FISA?

Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978 in response to the unlawful surveillance of Americans by the FBI and the CIA during the Watergate era. President Richard Nixon – who famously quipped after leaving office that "when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal" – used the FBI and … Continue reading “What’s Wrong With FISA?”

Don’t Smile for the Camera

A trial in Great Britain has just concluded with potentially dangerous implications for personal freedom here. Great Britain is currently the most watched country in the Western world – watched, that is, by its own police forces. In London alone, the police have erected more than 420,000 surveillance cameras in public places. That amounts to … Continue reading “Don’t Smile for the Camera”