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  • Originally published 11/14/2014

    Do Wars Really Defend America’s Freedom?

    U.S. politicians and pundits are fond of saying that America’s wars have defended America’s freedom. But the historical record doesn’t bear out this contention.

  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Murray Polner: “Where Were You Last Night at 7? Speak Up!”

    Murray Polner is a regular book reviewer for the History News Network. His column “Keeping Score” appears here fairly regularly.I always loved that great New Yorker cartoon, which has a President ordering his assistant, “Leak to the press that my Administration won’t stand for any more leaks.”How relevant. As our Big Media endlessly reports on the sheriff and his posse’s relentless pursuit of Edward Snowden, and while Pfc. Bradley Manning sits in a military court awaiting a probable guilty verdict, he and Snowden may, sadly, prove to be small fry in the long run, forgotten as the years pass as they languish in a federal prison.Now, with no thanks to Big Media and TV’s sycophantic network news programs, the Obama Administration has something new and more odious to offer—its Insider Threat Program, which the President signed into law in October 2011 and, I believe, was first revealed in depth last June by the McClatchy Newspapers’ Marisa Taylor and the intrepid Jonathan Landay’s “Obama’s Plan to Crack Down on Whistleblowers Leaked.” Widely overlooked except by the leftist Nation, Truth-out and a handful of bloggers, what Taylor and Landay reported was, to put it conservatively, potentially “game changing.”

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Alex Seitz-Wald: Would Lincoln Use Drones?

    Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter.With the nation deep in the throes of Hollywood-induced Lincoln-philia, Washington Examiner editor Mark Tapscott asked Friday what the revered president might do about one of the thorniest political questions of 2013: “Would Lincoln have droned Robert E. Lee?” His answer — an imagined conversation between Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton that has the 16th president remarking “OMG” and “sheesh” — is dumb, but the question and answer are more interesting that Tapscott gives them credit.Lincoln is rightly held up as the paragon of the American presidency, so it makes sense that people would ask how he would handle a tough moral question like the use of unmanned killer drones, which has compelling arguments both for and against. WWLD? We consulted experts and the historical record to find out. The answer may surprise you.

  • Originally published 08/12/2014

    Classifying America: Government’s Power to Define Is the Power to Discriminate

    Frederick Douglass’s colorblind self-definition epitomized that element of the classical liberal tradition of civil rights—one that even the NAACP held to as late as the 1960s when it rejected all government racial classifications as a step backward toward discrimination.Yet here we are today with racial classifications that conceal the divisions within the so-called “races.” To define a group as eligible for benefits or preferences is to exclude those outside the group of the same treatment. Equal protection of the law goes out the window as individuals or business in government-defined preferential groups benefit from “affirmative discrimination” while those not-so-defined suffer.

  • Originally published 08/12/2014

    A Hundred Years of War

    The worst regimes and cataclysms of the first half of the twentieth century had roots in the international war that began a hundred years ago today. It was the beginning of three decades of unspeakable suffering, what some scholars collectively call the hemocylsm—World War I, the Soviet atrocities, World War II and its atrocities from the Holocaust to the atomic bombings. These terrors of course gave way to the Cold War, the fears of MAD, the mutually reinforcing cycle of violence between Islamic fundamentalism and Western imperialism.

  • Originally published 06/24/2014

    Immigration and Mindless Partisanship

    About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Obama’s immigration policies. The polling reveals extreme partisanship: 60% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans approve of the president’s approach.

  • Originally published 06/14/2014

    Is the NDAA Notification Requirement Unconstitutional?

    If Obama is right about the NDAA, he should start releasing far more prisoners from Guantánamo. A firestorm has erupted over the Obama administration’s release of five Guantánamo captives in exchange for the Taliban’s release of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Putting aside all the rest of the strategic, moral, and practical arguments, I want to focus on the legal side. Many of Obama’s critics say that his move violated the NDAA notification requirement, signed by Obama (who issued a signing statement suggesting he thought it was unconstitutional). The requirement mandates that the president inform Congress of Guantánamo releases.

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