Thomas R. Eddlem

The NSA has been forced to admit it has violated Americans' personal privacy thousands of times — and even transgressed its own insanely loose rules — with warrantless surveillance, thanks to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The NSA released a series of quarterly reports from 2001 through 2013 revealing many ongoing privacy violations against Americans on its website in a document dump just before the Christmas holiday.

Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00

The Tortured Logic of the Torture Lobby

Some argue that the torture of innocents under the Bush/Cheney program simply needs to be reformed. But you can't reform the abuse of a program when the program is abuse. You can't defend constitutional liberties with a program that is by definition set against constitutional liberties. In the end, you don't fight tyranny by becoming the tyrant.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Michael Hayden have been out front in the media defending the torture methods used by the CIA in the past decade in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, and the language of the federal statute on felony torture may help explain why. It's quite possible that Cheney, Hayden, and other Bush-era officials who ordered the torture techniques will face criminal convictions on felony torture charges if they do not generate enough political pressure to prevent a wave of indictments. by Thomas R. Eddlem

 

President Obama announced a massive new federal spending program by executive decree on December 1. The program would create an expensive new federal aid program for local police agencies to buy mounted cameras.

On Nov. 22 Saturday Night Live broadcast a satiric Obama-era update to the School House Rock video “I'm Just a Bill,” lampooning the president's executive order pretending to change the status of five million immigrants with a stroke of the pen.

The New York Times has reported that the Obama administration has secretly extended U.S. armed forces participation in ground combat operations in Afghanistan through 2015, although the president had publicly promised back in May that the U.S. ground forces' combat role would be completed at the end of the current calendar year.

The latest and third big-screen installment of the Hunger Games films, The Mockingjay Part One, is a well-produced and entertaining blockbuster guaranteed to make a bundle of cash at the box office, even if the ending leaves the viewer hanging in the same manner as Star Wars' The Empire Strikes Back.

Even if a controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act used to justify the legality of warrantless searches expires on June 1 without congressional action, NSA and White House officials have already determined the warrantless surveillance program will continue on unchanged without Congress, the New York Times reported November 20. 

The U.S. Marshal's Service of the Justice Department has engaged in widespread airborne surveillance of Americans' telephone calls and data, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

President Obama's November 10 announcement that he would seek the “strongest possible rules” through the Federal Communications Commission to enforce "net neutrality" will serve as a key threat to both the freedoms of speech and press, and will throttle the progress of the Internet.

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