Constitution

Worse Than Orwell

Author George Orwell.

President Obama has promised reform of the NSA’s mass collection of data on virtually all Americans and much of the world. But his proposals are limited and his speech failed to offer clemency to Edward Snowden who made the public debate possible, writes Marjorie Cohn.

FDR’s Legacy of Can-Do Government

President Franklin Roosevelt

Born to a well-to-do family 132 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt would earn the hatred of America’s plutocrats when – as President – he deployed the federal government to battle the Great Depression, an animosity toward FDR that the modern Right continues to this day, writes Beverly Bandler.

Red-State Blues: Trouble in Oklahoma

Republican political operative Karl Rove.

Exclusive: The Right has locked down political control of a number of states like Oklahoma, making them laboratories for far-right legislation. But some legal experiments are so extreme that they are causing unintended reactions that may hurt the Right’s cause, writes Oklahoman Richard L. Fricker.

MLK and the Curse of ‘Moderation’

A mug shot photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

When Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail to focus national attention on the injustice of segregation, he was stung by criticism from Christian clergy who feared upsetting the status quo and urged “moderation,” prompting his historic rejoinder from the Birmingham jail, as Rev. Howard Bess recalls.

The Lost Legacy of Otis Pike

Rep. Otis Pike, D-New York.

Former Rep. Otis Pike died Monday at the age of 92, stirring recollections of his courageous efforts in the 1970s to expose abuses committed by the CIA, a struggle that ultimately bogged down as defenders of state secrecy proved too strong, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman writes.

How NSA Invites Totalitarianism

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

President Obama has unveiled some modest “reforms” of U.S. intelligence gathering, noting that just because NSA can vacuum up nearly all electronic data doesn’t mean it should. But the bigger issue is the future and how these powers may be unleashed, says Dutch tech expert Arjen Kamphuis.

When Protesting Bush’s Wars Was a Crime

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Photo by David Shankbone)

In 2004, at the height – or depths – of George W. Bush’s presidency, the very idea of protesting his “war on terror” or invasion of Iraq was deemed worthy of repressing, the backdrop for mass arrests outside the Republican National Convention in New York City, as Nat Parry recalls.

US Judges Square Off over NSA Spying

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon

President Obama is expected to impose new – but fairly modest – constraints on the NSA’s vast surveillance program, leaving open the legal issue, moving through the federal courts, whether the metadata collection violates the Fourth Amendment, writes Marjorie Cohn.

If Gov. Christie Had NSA’s Metadata

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. shaking hands of citizens. (Photo credit: Governor's office)

Exclusive: New Jersey Gov. Christie’s Bridge-gate scandal is a reminder that unscrupulous politicians can abuse their powers in unexpected and extraordinary ways, which underscores the need to put tight legal constraints on the NSA’s surveillance powers, writes Robert Parry.

NSA’s Preference for Metadata

A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

Exclusive: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.