Tag Archives: First Amendment

Was Louis XVI Overthrown by Ideas?


BOOK REVIEW

Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre, Author: Jonathan Israel.

By Jonathan Israel and Lynn Hunt – The book focuses throughout on the crucial role of ideology in forming and organizing the rival groups and what this means when fiercely competing currents of “diffusion” collide.

How did the democratic republican faction win sufficient backing to promote republicanism, human rights, freedom of expression, equality of cults, equality before the law, and drastically weakening religious authority culminating in the world’s first democratic constitution (February 1793) when few in society initially understood or supported their principles?

Vigorous “diffusion of ideas” among the people, I contend, was their chief tool. more> http://tinyurl.com/k3xkraq

Liberals Make ‘Profit’ a Dirty Word


By Stephen L. Carter – The only reasonable interpretation is that the fundraisers believe — or believe that their targets believe — that there is something wrong with profit, that the proprietors of a for-profit firm are less admirable than those who run companies pursuing other goals.

That’s why the fundraisers have been so careful to remind their targets that Hobby Lobby is a for-profit company. They are hinting that profit is different from other motivations. Less noble. Maybe even wicked. more> http://tinyurl.com/lglhlhp

How Citizens United Reshaped the Politics of Climate Change


By Jeffrey Toobin – Far more important was the assertion in Citizens United that money is speech—that money contributed in support of a political campaign is entitled to full First Amendment protections.

This result led, in turn, to the conclusion that individuals could give unlimited amounts to support any candidate they wanted, as long as the money was controlled by a nominally independent entity, not the campaign itself.

The gist of the Citizens United decision is that the Supreme Court gave rich people more or less free rein to spend as much money as they want in support of their favored candidates. more> http://tinyurl.com/p3syzrc

This is no way to fix the problem of billionaires buying elections


By Dana Milbank – For those concerned about money corrupting democracy, finding a fifth justice is easier than assembling the supermajorities needed for an amendment.

In a sense, the system is self-correcting: If Republicans continue on their current course, they’ll eventually hand Democrats a liberal majority on the Supreme Court.

Koch billions can’t have the same impact in a presidential race, where spending is well past saturation. And at the rate Republicans are alienating Latinos, single women and young voters — due in part to far-right lawmakers whose seats have been bought with unchecked contributions — there may not be another Republican president for some time. more> http://tinyurl.com/kasbnxm

Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It


By Kevin Kelly – The internet is a tracking machine. It is engineered to track. We will ceaselessly self-track and be tracked by the greater network, corporations, and governments. Everything that can be measured is already tracked, and all that was previously unmeasureable is becoming quantified, digitized, and trackable.

We’re expanding the data sphere to sci-fi levels and there’s no stopping it. Too many of the benefits we covet derive from it. So our central choice now is whether this surveillance is a secret, one-way panopticon — or a mutual, transparent kind of “coveillance” that involves watching the watchers.

The first option is hell, the second redeemable. more> http://tinyurl.com/nty5w3v

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How the NSA Made Your Legal Defense Illegal


By Ben O’Neill – In order for a plaintiff to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs, the person first had to prove having been subjected to surveillance, in order to show that they have “standing” to bring the case.

But of course, the very nature of the program is that it is kept secret, and all evidence which would prove that the plaintiff lies within the scope of the program is “classified.”

To obtain this evidence, a plaintiff would have to access classified information, which would then lead them to legal dangers of another kind.

Hence, a wonderfully absurd situation has prevailed. more> http://tinyurl.com/mqejxzp

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How international relations theory shapes U.S. cybersecurity doctrine


By Henry Farrell – The fundamental logic of the security dilemma is straightforward.

Imagine two neighboring states, each of which wants peace while not being sure of the other’s intentions. Imagine further that one of the states decides to build up its military (perhaps by increasing its army), solely in order to defend itself if the other state turns out to have malign intentions.

It may well be that the second state looks at the first state’s decision to increase the size of its army, and worries that the first state is beefing up its military so that it can invade. The second state may then decide, too, to build up its army.

This may, in turn alarm the first state, which begins to fear that the second state is indeed intent on invasion, leading the first state to introduce conscription. And this process may go on, …

The world of the Cold War was, for better or worse, partly built on the foundation of political science ideas. The same is true of the emerging world of cybersecurity. more> http://tinyurl.com/kaecx8s

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