Category: Constitution

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The Permanent ‘War on Terror’

Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the White House.

Over the past dozen years, the “war on terror” has taken a profound toll on U.S. constitutional protections and democratic principles, a process that continues despite President Obama’s promise last May that “this war like all wars must end,” as…

How Congress Overlooked NSA Spying

Edward Snowden, who revealed himself as the leaker of top-secret documents related to the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance. (Photo credit: the UK Guardian)

Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs might have been avoided if more members of Congress had done their duty to stay informed about these classified activities, rather than get distracted by the fluff of politics, says…

Who Benefits from the Various ‘Wars’?

President Barack Obama addresses issues of government surveillance at a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

P.R. experts are skilled at framing policy debates in favorable though misleading ways, like the “war on terror” or the “war on drugs.” What gets shielded by this packaging are the unstated goals, interests and outcomes that would draw popular opposition if…

The Moral Imperative of Activism

St. Thomas Aquinas, a theologian of the Thirteenth Century.

Exclusive:  Today’s crises endless war, environmental catastrophe, desperate poverty and more can seem so daunting that they paralyze action rather than inspire activism. But the imperative to do something in the face of injustice defines one’s moral place in the…

Manning’s Upside-Down Punishment

A "Free Bradley Manning" button.

The cruel irony of how the United States has addressed post-9/11 war crimes, including President Bush’s invasion of Iraq and his use of torture, is that no major government official has been held accountable, yet whistleblowers have faced harsh reprisals,…

Who’s to Blame for NSA Excesses?

Seal of the National Security Agency

After a terrorist attack like Benghazi or the Boston Marathon the press, pols and much of the public decry the failure to prevent the violence, but the mood shifts amid disclosures of intrusive means to counter threats. This ambivalence can…

GOP’s Mad Health-Care Vendetta

House Speaker John Boehner.

Republicans and their Tea Party allies are plotting one more frenzied assault on the Affordable Care Act by disrupting congressional townhall meetings and possibly holding the full-faith-and-credit of the United States hostage. But the madness may just expose how crazy…

Puttin’ the Pressure on Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Exclusive: The Obama administration continues to compound the diplomatic mess around former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The latest blunder was announcing that the U.S. wouldn’t torture or execute Snowden, a reminder to the world how far Official Washington has strayed from…

Chilling the First Amendment

fightingforthepress

President Obama has overseen an unprecedented legal campaign against leaks of classified information with New York Times journalist James Risen now facing possible jail for refusing to testify in the trial of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for a leak published…

Racist Roots of GOP War on Obama

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Exclusive: Right-wing Republicans in Congress are plotting to cripple the U.S. government if Barack Obama, the first African-American president, doesn’t submit to their demands. The battle pretends to be over the size of government but it echoes the whips, chains…