H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, has already passed the House, and is currently before the Senate. One section of the bill gives the President the authority to detain indefinitely American citizens, picked up on American soil, because they are allegedly supporting the enemy (H/T)
Imagine Jane Fonda coming home after posing on enemy anti-aircraft weapons, with this sort of law in place. Some might like it, but I suspect , even those who dislike Fonda, would not its breadth or width.
My column at First Things today wonders if we all acquiesce to new and troubling laws too easily, based on mere ideology?
She was a “stalwart conservative” and a bit of a rugged individualist—she could shoot a gun and dress a kill (if I had known of Sarah Palin’s existence at the time, I’d have favorably compared the two)—and her concerns about the legislation were sound. She feared giving too much power into the hands of the government, or even into the hands of a president she basically liked, because she fully expected—in the natural way of things—that these expanded powers would eventually be abused. Her patriotism, she declared, demanded that she put her concern over her party loyalty: “Once people acquire power,” she wrote, “they don’t give it up at some later date, they just add to it.”
I thought her concerns were valid and well-expressed, and was surprised to see this formerly very popular commenter quickly became unwelcome within the forum. An image formed in my mind of birds flying in unison, and then suddenly dive-bombing in turn against a non-conformist who had been deemed unfit for the formation. In a matter of weeks the objector was gone, but before she left, she made a point of posting the Ben Franklin-attributed quote: “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”. She predicted her compatriots would regret their legislative overreach, and that someday they would hear candidates pledge to reduce intrusive government powers, only to further extend them upon attaining their office—thanks to the very precedents then being cheered on.
I’ve said it before and will say it again — it’s not good for the country when its press becomes selective about what it feels is worth examining, or not. But if the press will not do due diligence, it’s up to the rest of us to inform ourselves.
To be fair, CBS News does seem to be Curious about “Fast and Furious” but otherwise, it’s a non-story to the press.
Odd. Remember when they all chimed in that George W. Bush was “incurious”? You could have made a montage of them all using the word.
You can read my whole column, here
Ed Morrissey has an excellent piece and video on the “Fast and Furious” story, to bring us all up to speed.
Glenn Reynolds: links (thanks, Glenn!) and also makes a seriously cogent observation:
. . .fans of civil liberties should always vote for Republican presidents, since they’re the only ones that get press scrutiny.
I’ve never looked at it that way, but he is very right: if the press will only critically examine vitally important policies when a Republican is in charge, then that alone might be reason enough to vote one in. I’d said repeatedly that I’d rather have a critical press questioning everything, than a complacent one playing advocate or Sgt. Schultz!
Ace has more Fast and Furious