Come Pop My Bubble

When I read this article by Mark Adomanis in Forbes online, I find myself a bit confused. Adomanis mantains that there is a significant strain of American conservatism that looks at l’affaire d’Pussy Riot in Russia and doesn’t get past the fact that the underlying offense occurred in a church. For that reason, while Vladimir Putin and the…

The Disappearance of Informed Democracy

This week on the op-ed page of the Washington Post three senators debated the how best to detain “terrorists.”  The current annual defense authorization bill contains language introduced by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain that would codify the executive branch’s current practice of indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists.  It would also renew the 2001 Authorization…

At My Real Job: Targeted Killing and the Rule of Law

This month’s Cato Unbound features a lead essay by Ryan Alford of Ave Maria School of Law. It asks a very important question: When can the executive, acting alone, lawfully kill a citizen? The two obvious tries, “whenever it wants” and “never” are both clearly inadequate, and we’re left to figure out a big, difficult,…

Hopelessness and Torture

“It’s a mistake to say this was about inflicting pain. These measures were about instilling a sense of hopelessness, and that led them to compliance.” — Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (2002-5) His statement, for the way he said it, is all the more striking.  It was not about inflicting pain…

Profiling, Political Correctness, and Airport Security

I must take issue with Erik’s recent post on airport security in which he argued for abolishing the TSA, replacing it with privatized airport security, and adopting an Israeli “profiling” approach to airport security.  With regards to Erik’s points regarding privatization, I must say that I largely agree with mistermix’s response at Balloon Juice.  Erik…

In Which NJ Leads the Way on Freedoms

It’s a rare day indeed that I get to say this, but today I’m quite proud of my state’s elected representatives in the State House: State senators Michael J. Doherty (R- Hunterdon) and  James Beach (D- Camden) announced today that they will present resolutions to the Senate and Assembly calling on the U.S. Congress to end…

Miranda’s Failure

A staggering new piece of research shows that in almost 20% of criminal trial convictions that DNA evidence has subsequently overturned, the prosecution was able to rely on ultimately false confessions by the accused.*  Notably, in virtually every single one of these cases, the false confession was remarkably detailed in its description of the crime,…

We Are All Enemy Belligerents Now

I’d just like to agree publicly with every last word of this piece by Glenn Greenwald: [T]he bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain — the so-called “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act” — now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown. It’s probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and…

Critics of Woodrow Wilson strangely ignore the worst aspects of his presidency

I’m happy to see that disenchantment with Woodrow Wilson – the most bizarre candidate for the pantheon of great American presidents – is reaching a wider audience on the American Right. But this nascent critique of Wilsonian progressivism seems to have missed one of his worst legacies. Namely, Wilson’s blatant disregard for civil liberties (from…

Arguments we should retire from the public discourse

Here’s an interesting back-and-forth on surveillance reform in the Los Angeles Times. I found the arguments against modifying the PATRIOT Act frustrating, not least because they don’t seem all that responsive to the civil libertarian case for additional safeguards. But this throwaway line from the Heritage Foundation analyst defending the PATRIOT Act really got my…