Celebrating our liberties, including those at risk

On this Independence Day, we celebrate our freedoms as Americans. It’s a good exercise to read The Declaration of Independence, and it’s also a good exercise to read the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to our Constitution, spelling out what those freedoms are.

Read the list of our civil liberties after the jump.  As you do, consider which of these are currently under attack–by our own government, by government-connected organizations such as public universities, and by other entities. [Read more…]

Court says 2nd Amendment gives no right to “concealed carry”

A federal appeals court ruled that the 2nd Amendment does not give people the right to carry concealed firearms.
The Constitution clearly affirms the right to “keep” (possess) and “bear” (carry) arms.  Does the court think it’s only constitutional to carry weapons openly, on gun belts?  Or would it allow that to be restricted also?  How does it expect people to bear the arms the constitution entitles them to?
At any rate, look for many states, cities, and the federal government to rescind concealed carry laws and to put further restrictions on the 2nd Amendment.

[Read more…]

Now that we are so connected, government surveillance is easy

Whether you think whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero, he makes some good points about just how EASY government surveillance is now in the age of the smartphone. [Read more…]

Government to Apple: Never mind

The federal government dropped its lawsuit to force Apple to break into its iPhone security system, so as to investigate the San Bernadino terrorists.  The FBI was able to hack into the phone without Apple’s help.  Which was arguably the way it should be! [Read more…]

Voting for authoritarianism

Free and democratic societies, historically, come to an end when the people freely and democratically vote for an authoritarian leader to end freedom and democracy. (Think Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Lenin. . . .)  Now Donald Trump is saying that he wants to limit the First Amendment by changing the libel laws so that journalists and others who write “negative” things can be punished.

Trump surely lacks the magnitude of those historical tyrants, but the public’s impulse to turn in time of disillusionment to “a strong leader” who will suspend their rights continues.

After the jump, George Will catalogues Trump’s authoritarian statements and calls establishment Republicans like Chris Christie who are now supporting him to account. [Read more…]

Outlawing visits to websites

ISIS and other jihadist groups are using the internet to spread their message and recruit new members.  To combat this, Eric Posner, a prominent law professor from the University of Chicago, says that we need to put limits on freedom of speech.  Specifically, he proposes in Slate that we make it illegal for anyone to visit or link to or point other people to jihadist websites.

Again, note the syndrome:  Our security is at risk, so eliminate civil liberties!  Fear as the pretext for doing away with freedom. [Read more…]