“Obama’s Big Idea: Let’s Hike Federal Cop Subsidies”

Walter Olson at Cato: President Obama’s newly announced police-reform package lives up to one’s worst expectations. He flatly refuses to curtail the federal police militarization program, instead calling for a big hike in federal spending on aid to local departments with the usual micromanaging strings attached. These strings will predictably make departments more responsive to Washington, and lobbies with clout there, as distinct from their local communities. As USA Today notes, one powerful in … [Read more...]

“Hounding Whistleblowers Is Wrong”: David Cay Johnston

in Newsweek:...I think Keller, my former boss, missed the underlying issue: Why assume that leakers must risk all? Why assume leakers must be prosecuted? My Newsweek piece noted that the British Official Secrets Act included a "public interest" defense for whistleblowers, until Parliament cut it from the law in 1989. The U.S. should enact a public interest defense. Leakers could still face prosecution, but they could try to persuade a jury that their acts were justified in defense of the … [Read more...]

Glenn Greenwald on Whistleblowers (Also the Pet Shop Boys)

This dynamic - the hallmark of a healthy and free society - has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That's the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they … [Read more...]

“With Government Abuses, The Problem Is the Power, Not the Person”: JD Tuccille

at Reason: ...Bovard sketches how "President Franklin Roosevelt used the IRS to harass newspaper publishers who were opposed to the New Deal" and "Kennedy ... used the IRS to strong-arm companies into complying with "voluntary" price controls. Steel executives who defied the administration were singled out for audits." He points out that the "IRS was ... given Nixon's enemies list to, in the words of White House counsel John Dean, 'use the available federal machinery to screw our political … [Read more...]

“The Obama Synthesis Under Siege”: Ross Douthat

blogs: The true ideological inclinations of the Obama White House can be endlessly debated, but slightly more than halfway through this presidency I think it’s fair to make the following generalization: Obama has governed as a business-friendly social democrat and an aggressive social liberal, as a hawkish interventionist when intervention seems cheap and easy (drones, missiles, etc.) and a cautious realist when it doesn’t, and as a surprisingly vigorous defender of presidential prerogatives acr … [Read more...]

“The President’s Leak Mystique”

Leaks that favor the president are shoveled out regardless of national security, while national security is twisted to pummel leaks that do not favor him. moreedited to add: A reader points out that some of these leaks may be, essentially, underlings bragging, rather than any kind of Obama-coordinated leak campaign. That's fair, and definitely we tend to assume more knowledge and control on the part of the President (or the head of any organization) than is realistic, but I don't think it … [Read more...]


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