ACLU: Obama “Authorizing Agencies to Lie”

While the Obama administration’s hostility to transparency is well known, its latest scheme would break new ground in government secrecy. The administration’s proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act guidelines would allow the Department of Justice to deny the existence of documents and prevent judicial oversight.

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ACLU: Obama “Authorizing Agencies to Lie”

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The Memo That Ate Washington

It's a war over legitimacy

So the memo that has transfixed close political observers for weeks is finally out and it reveals, perhaps, questionable behavior by some government officials. I say “perhaps” because while we know what the memo says, we do not know what it doesn’t say. We know it says a secret warrant was sought by the government at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016 against a one-time Trump campaign associate using information compiled by a source hostile to Trump who was in the pay of the Clinton campaign (or, more precisely, a campaign cut-out). We are told that the FISA court was not informed of the ideological and political provenance of the information it was being supplied by the government. We are also told that after it was secured, the warrant was renewed several times, including by Justice Department officials now working under the Trump administration. And we are told that a senior FBI official who has now been cashiered said the “dossier” featuring the hostile information was the primary source for the warrant.

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High Schools Don’t Need More Ideology

Doing what's right for the wrong reasons.

If you believe what the papers have been saying for some time, American high school students don’t know much about much. They don’t know, among many other things, what speech the First Amendment protects, how money works, and the basics of U.S. history. This phenomenon of not knowing is not limited to American students. Japanese students, a 1997 survey found, didn’t know when the Pacific War began. Nor is it limited to young people raised in an age of permissive parenting. A survey of American adults found that only 27 percent could name two branches of government. That was in 1952.

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Defining Democracy Down

Democracy isn't measured in polls.

“If you’re not outraged,” the saying goes, “you’re not paying attention.” This trite maxim seems to have become a chief metric for measuring America’s democratic bona fides, and it’s leading to some ludicrous conclusions.

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The State of the Trump is… Strong?

Podcast: Immigration, the FBI, and 2018.

The successful State of the Union, combined with good economic news and a politically clever immigration proposal, might be heralding a significant change in Donald Trump’s political fortunes. We talk about that, and the latest in the Russia-memo mess, on this week’s final podcast. Give a listen.

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The Concerns in the ‘Memo’ Are Serious, but the Handling of It Isn’t

Serious issues deserve serious people.

With the rhetorical temperature on both sides of the aisle reaching a boiling point over the MacGuffin known as the “memo,” it’s easy to forget how grave the alleged offenses that got us to this point truly are.

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