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”

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”