Tag: Civil Liberties

NSA “Fatigue”? »

Last month I saw a New York Times account of the latest interview with Edward Snowden headlined, “Racy Photos Were Often Shared at N.S.A., Snowden Says“—yet not widely picked up elsewhere—and I wondered, “Oh dear, if sex isn’t selling continued interest in NSA spying revelations, we’re in trouble.” Now, in an in-depth interview in...
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Orwellian Language: Peace Abroad; War at Home »

Governments often misuse language to build emotional and patriotic support for their policies. This Orwellian use of language is clearly evident in the way that US government policy uses the words “war” and “peace.” Everyone is well aware of the US military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Initiated during the Bush administration and continued...
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Classifying America: Government’s Power to Define Is the Power to Discriminate »

In one of the most famous phrases uttered by a Supreme Court justice, Potter Stewart defended his ruling in an obscenity case (1964) by refusing to offer a clear definition. Instead, he stated: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be [hard-core pornography]; and perhaps I could...
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The War on Poverty and the War on Drugs »

As an apparently war-minded people, Americans (or at least, our American political leaders) have been comfortable framing parts of the domestic policy agenda as wars for decades. Two of the most prominent have been the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Despite the similarity in their names, there is an important difference...
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A Hundred Years of War »

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary fired the first shots of World War I, sparking its conflict with Serbia. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, had assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mutual defense agreements ensured that the political clash did not remain regional. Austria-Hungary got support from Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Serbia found allies...
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More States Abandoning the Sinking Common Core Ship »

“Barbarians at the gate.” That’s what Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal called opponents of Common Core national standards several weeks ago. His remarks are symptomatic of just how far elected officials within and outside Arizona have strayed from our Constitution, which doesn’t even contain the word “education.” Supporters claim Common Core will...
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Gun Violence Is a Consequence of War »

My hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, has recently shown an increased concern about gun violence. Not only are Tallahasseans shooting each other, so far in 2014 the Tallahassee Police have shot four people, killing two. A related concern is that people seem to have little trust in the police. The concern has been manifested in...
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Why Hobby Lobby Is Not an Assault on Women »

The reactions from the progressive side of the fence to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. was stunning. The spin is that American women have been stripped of fundamental constitutional protections. Sandra Fluke at The Washington Post’s blog claimed that “[t]he Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women.” The White House lamented that the...
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Shining Light on Big Brother »

“Will the digital age usher in the individual liberation and political freedoms that the Internet is uniquely capable of unleashing? Or will it bring about a system of omniscient monitoring and control, beyond the dreams of even the greatest tyrants of the past? Right now, either path is possible. Our actions will determine where...
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Immigration and Mindless Partisanship »

About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Obama’s immigration policies. The polling reveals extreme partisanship: 60% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans approve of the president’s approach. And yet, there is nothing particularly remarkable about the current administration’s policies. In response to the increasing flow of children and women immigrants seeking asylum, Obama is escalating...
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