Civil Liberties & Privacy

The Folly of Blindly Trusting the Government

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Democracy breeds gullibility. Lord Bryce observed in 1921, “State action became less distrusted the more the State itself was seen to be passing under popular control.” The rise of democracy made it much easier for politicians to convince people that government posed no threat, because they automatically controlled its actions. The result is that the brakes on government power ... [click for more]

The Feds’ Post–9/11 Airport-Worker Purge

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In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the federal government feared that people would lose faith in the government’s promise to protect them. The feds had dismally failed to stop the 19 hijackers who took down four planes and sowed panic from coast to coast. So the government did what it does best: Round up the usual suspects. Starting in ... [click for more]

The Only Way to Get Money out of Politics

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Last week’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the ban on corporate and union spending at election time is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, removing a legal barrier to free speech is always a good thing in itself. Government shouldn’t dictate who can speak or from where people may get their information. This is more ... [click for more]

Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers

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Its a sign of how much the Bush administration skewed Americas moral compass that we are currently facing the possibility that the only way to bring the torturers to account is through a Nonpartisan Commission Of Inquiry essentially, a toothless truth and reconciliation commission of the type proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ... [click for more]

20 Reasons to Shut Down The Guantnamo Trials

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As Barack Obama and his transition team begin looking at ways to fulfill the President-elects pledge to close Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, recalls that Barack Obama also promised to reject the Military Commissions Act (the legislation that revived the system of terror trials conjured up in the office ... [click for more]

Are Democrats Better on Privacy and Surveillance?

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The Bush administration has probably illegally violated Americans’ privacy more than any presidency in at least a generation. Many Americans are understandably ready to throw out Republicans who trampled the Bill of Rights. But is the solution to elect a Democrat? Many liberals were shocked in July when putative Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama ... [click for more]

Habeas Corpus: The Bulwark of Our Liberties

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...We begin with a brief account of the history and origins of the writ. Our account proceeds from two propositions. First, protection for the privilege of habeas corpus was one of the few safeguards of liberty specified in a Constitution that, at the outset, had no Bill of Rights. In the system conceived by the Framers the writ had ... [click for more]
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