Tag: Power

The Shutdown Is Upon Us »

“The vast machinery of the federal government began grinding to a halt” this morning, according to the New York Times. The Smithsonian museums and national zoo are closed. Parks are shuttered. Visa and passport applicants will have their approvals delayed. Most NASA employees aren’t going to work. These conspicuous inconveniences characterize the shutdown, as...
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Police Brutality, Close to Home »

Close to my home, that is. On August 10, a woman crashed her SUV into a house in my neighborhood, less than three blocks from my house. A video that apparently has received national attention (here is a story in the New York Daily News; warning: graphic content), shows the Tallahassee Police on the...
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Obama Administration Says ‘Nein’ to German Homeschooling Family Seeking Asylum »

Late last month a heavily armed SWAT team consisting of police, special agents, and social workers, stormed the home of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich. This was the culmination of a four-year saga trying to evade German authorities. No, the Wunderliches were not cooking up a dastardly terrorist plot or smoking pot. Their high crime...
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The Difference between God and Congress »

In Letters to a Diminished Church, Dorothy Sayers writes about God’s incarnation as Jesus: ...for whatever reason God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—he [God] had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has...
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The Twisted Premises Implicit in the Drive for War »

On its own terms, the government’s case for war with Syria has problems. We cannot deny the monstrousness of Assad’s regime, but the Obama administration has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Syrian state is responsible for the particular chemical weapons atrocity that supposedly justifies a strike. Some of the very...
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Our System’s Complexity Is Both Its Weakness and Its Strength »

If our politico-economic system were the creation of a small group of über-conspirators, it would be easy to change. People would need only to identify, expose, and oust the “man behind the curtain.” But our system is nothing of the sort, notwithstanding the enduring popularity of Grand Conspiracy Theories. Even the formal government itself...
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Bismarck and Healthcare Insurance: DeLong and DeShort of It »

Brad DeLong at The Health Care blog makes these assertions: Bismarck created the world’s first national health insurance system 130 years ago because he wanted to make the German people healthier. The rationale for national health insurance in the U.S. today is the same as it was for Bismarck. People can’t pay for expensive...
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NSA Spying Threatens Law-Abiding Americans »

I was talking with an older German citizen about the NSA’s data collection program that has recently been the subject of much debate. He worked for the East German government during the Cold War and viewed the NSA’s activities as similar to the Stasi’s under communist rule, but potentially more threatening. The argument often...
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Not Even Achieving an Impossible Libertarian Dream Will Suffice »

Libertarians dream of cutting back the bloated Leviathan under whose weight people now struggle simply to catch their breath—breathing freely being almost beyond imagination. A few of us dream of eliminating the state altogether, however much we recognize the impossibility of doing so. Many more libertarians, however, believe that in propitious circumstances, the state...
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NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication »

It has been interesting to me that the most frequent question that I have been asked in the aftermath of our, “Civil Liberties and Security in an Age of Terrorism,” is regarding my description of our cell phones as a government listening device. Even though the information that U.S. surveillance agencies can remotely turn...
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