GREG PALAST and ZACH D. ROBERTS – With Georgia voters to decide control of the United States Senate in a special run-off on January 5, GOP officials appear to be doing all they can to make voting for African-Americans a hellacious experience.
MEDEA BENJAMIN and ZOLTAN GROSSMAN – If we find indiscriminate state violence in our streets appalling, we should feel similarly about state violence abroad, and call for divesting from both police and the Pentagon, and reinvesting those taxpayer dollars to rebuild communities at home and abroad.
MEDEA BENJAMIN – When I recently asked a prominent activist how she was doing, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, â€œEverything Iâ€™ve been working on for 50 years has gone down the toilet.â€ With so many good people feeling depressed, letâ€™s point to the positive things that happened, even in this really, really bad year.
KAZU HAGA – Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violence. Letâ€™s start there. The constitution does not protect violence, and Iâ€™m happy to see that the California chapter of the ACLU has taken a stand against protecting the â€œfree speechâ€ of hate groups. But with or without marching permits, it is clear that public displays of hatred are a growing trend in the United States. And as much as I donâ€™t want to give these groups more attention, it is also clear that simply ignoring them is not going to make them go away. So what do we do?
MICHAEL MOORE – Friends, I welcome you to “The Michael Moore Easy-to-Follow 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump.” First, let’s acknowledge what we all know to be true: Trump is in deep, deep trouble — in the pocket of Russians, surrounded by alt.right idiots, alone in his bathrobe in a mostly-empty White House — and caught inside a disgusting “shit-sandwich”, so said his supporter who turned down the NSA job.
JOSHUA HOLLAND – An explosion of new activism offers a ray of hope in these dark political times.
ELIZA NEWLIN CARNEY – The American Civil Liberties Unionâ€™s selection of David Cole as its new national legal director creates an opening for the group to revisit a campaign-finance stance that is increasingly out of step with its members and the nation.
DON HAZEN – We are losing badly to the corporate state. Here’s what we need to do.
ALICE SLATER – A secret US government legal memo, prepared for President Obama, was recently ordered to be released to the public by a Federal Court responding to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Administrationâ€™s legal reasoning clearly fails to justify the use of pilotless drones, controlled by a killer operator, sitting behind a desk somewhere in the US, aiming his computer joy stick at human targets on the ground, thousands of miles away.
JOHN LAFORGE – Four more innocents were released from Americaâ€™s Robben Island this month. Our offshore penal colony at Guantanamo Bay still holds 158 prisoners, 84 of whom have been cleared for release. The men sent home were never charged with a crime and were cleared four years ago.
JONATHAN STEMPEL – (Reuters; Dec. 27, 2013) – A federal judge ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects records of millions of Americans’ phone calls is lawful, calling it a “counter-punch” to terrorism that does not violate Americans’ privacy rights.
ANTHONY D. ROMERO – Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. When Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA, he single-handedly reignited a global debate about government surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals. On Monday, a federal judge vindicated Snowden’s actions by declaring unconstitutional the NSA’s spying program, labeling it “Orwellian”-adding that James Madison would be “aghast.”
ED PILKINGTON – While Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, was cleared of the charge of ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ he faces a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail after he was convicted of most other charges on which he stood trial.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with womenâ€™s right to abortion and doctorsâ€™ right to perform it.
BRAD KNICKERBOCKER – Thousands of drones could be routinely flying over the United States within the next 10 years. They can help with law enforcement and border control, but they also raise questions about invasion of privacy.
MARK KRAMER: On June 17, an overflow crowd of 100 attended a forum titled “Civil Liberties Under Obama: Are We Still At Risk?” at Portland State University. The event was sponsored by the Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the ACLU of Oregon, Peace and Justice Works, the American Constitution Society, and others. Participants included Steve Wilker (ACLU cooperating attorney), Tom Nelson (NLG attorney litigating against the NSA for warrantless wiretapping), Jo Ann Bowman (Executive Director of Oregon Action and former State Rep, co-host of KBOO FM community radio), Steven Wax (Federal Public Defender – author of Kafka Comes to America, Fighting for Justice in the War on TerrorÃ¢â‚¬Â), Ashlee Albies (NLG attorney litigating against the government over warrantless surveillance) and David Fidanque (Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon).