The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review has ruled that telecommunications companies must assist the executive branch in wiretapping American citizens’ e-mail messages and phone calls, the New York Times reported on January 15. Although the decision didn’t deal directly with the constitutionality of warrantless wiretaps, the decision is troubling for a number of reasons.
Attorney General nominee Eric H. Holder, Jr. unequivocally said “Waterboarding is torture” at his confirmation hearing January 15. Asked if he would prosecute those who engaged in felony torture or allow the President to immunize the perpetrators, Holder told Senator Patrick Leahy (D-N.H.), “Mr. Chairman, no one is above the law.”
This topic reminds me of the story about the national politician who campaigned on a party platform promoting the Welfare State. His stump speech was filled with promises of all the government services that he would fight for, if the voters would just elect him to Congress. He promised to meet all of the people’s needs relating to childcare, education, nutrition, housing, transportation, healthcare, pensions, and good-paying jobs for every citizen. Finally, at one town hall meeting, a boy raised his hand and asked, “Why would we need jobs?”
President-elect Barack Obama has selected the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Bill Clinton, Carol Browner, to serve as his “Assistant to the President on Energy and Climate Change.” Plenty of the “qualifications” on her résumé should raise eyebrows for anyone concerned about freedom or sovereignty, but perhaps most alarming is her leadership seat on Socialist International’s “Commission for a Sustainable World Society.” The organization believes, among other things, that “an essential aspect of realising a more fair and effective form of global governance is reform of the United Nations,” it says on its website.