A dangerous and continuing assault on free speech is growing on our campuses and across our society. It is a threatening wave of illiberalism. Tocqueville long ago warned that a tyranny of the majority was the principle danger inherent in any democracy. Majority despotism could overwhelm public discourse, ultimately leading to the danger of a restructured and intolerant government. This despotism, he observed, is rooted within the majority’s values and mores, and pose the greatest threat to liberty.
Tocqueville’s concerns are in full display today at Middlebury College, Berkeley, Auburn and other universities. Protesters at each institution suppressed the expression of political views seen as opposed to their own. These protesters claim their actions are justified because these views offended their sense of social and personal acceptability. And further, they completely silenced these voices before words were ever uttered, deploying uncivilized tactics. In turn, each of these institutions were willing accomplices to the speech suppression. Each was unwilling to create and protect an environment of full and free political speech, a base necessity for any institution of higher learning in the United States. Continue reading “Tyranny of the Majority on Campus – An Assault on Free Speech”
Should presidential candidates be required to disclose their federal income tax returns? A recent push comes from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a critic of President Trump, with the latest Congressional effort to require candidates to do just that. But is forced disclosure of candidates tax returns a good idea? On balance, we think not. Tax returns are poorly equipped to inform the public regarding legitimate issues involving a candidate’s qualifications for the presidency. Furthermore, the informative value of tax return data is outweighed by its inflammatory impact. We explain. Continue reading “Presidential Candidates Tax Returns: Is Forced Disclosure A Good Idea?”
This debate involves the constitutionality of Trump's Executive Order "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States" (the "Order"). The debate also offers statutory analysis for and against the legality of the temporary ban. Readers may weigh-in with their view.
Before jumping into the debate, there are several key elements, among others, to consider.
First, the President's authority to act. President Trump cites both his Constitutional authority as President, and authority under relevant statutes. The laws he relies on include the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and Section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code.
A series of proposals centered on regulatory reform are squarely in the cross-hairs on Capital Hill. This includes the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (the “REINS Act”). Long-brewing concerns about over-regulation, law-making, lack of accountability, rule-making abuses, waivers and more are driving lawmakers as they consider a variety of proposals. The over-riding consideration is this: over the past 80-plus years a major transformation in the structure of the federal government has occurred at the most basic constitutional level. There has been a continuing transfer of power from the legislative branch to the executive branch of government. This transformation has occurred without the passage of a single Constitutional amendment.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) on December 29, 2016. The JAR claims to prove that the Russian government was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and others. This JAR has failed to convince come cyber-security experts of Russian government complicity.
The CIA has supposedly determined that Russian government hacks, as directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, were the source for publication of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and related emails. Comments from a variety of private security firms buttress these claims. However, in an open letter dated December 12, 2016, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) claimed that the emails were leaked, not hacked.
VIPS is no ordinary group of citizens with an opinion. Rather, it includes a group of highly accomplished retired and senior intelligence personnel. It’s steering committee includes intelligence luminaries including Thomas Drake (former senior executive with the NSA), Mike Gravel (former adjutant, top secret control officer and special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps, as well as a former U.S. Senator), and famed NSA whistle blower William Binney (former technical director, world geopolitical and military analysis in the NSA), among others.