In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Turley blasted President Obama’s record on civil liberties:
Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.
However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly.
Today brought better news. MSNBC reports that the U.S. Circuit Court struck down two PATRIOT Act provisions dealing with probable cause-less searches. The case centered around Brandon Mayfield, an attorney in Portland who was falsely linked to the 2004 Madrid bombings.
Mayfield was arrested and fingerprinted. His fingerprint was falsely matched to a print found in Madrid. After that, the FBI put him “under 24-hour surveillance, listened to his phone calls and surreptitiously searched his home and law office.” This , according to Judge Ann Aiken, crossed the line.
Two provisions down, many more to go. Until then, President Bush’s third term continues.
Have a listen here.
Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia talks about how to prevent data privacy violations in the Internet age. Your data may be safe if it’s stored on your personal hard drive. But if it’s in the cloud, as with Gmail or Dropbox accounts, you can’t count on the Fourth Amendment to protect you against unreasonable search and seizure. Radia suggests some reforms to outdated laws to better reflect today’s technological realities.
People are often surprised to hear how similar President Obama’s policies are to President Bush’s. They shouldn’t be. One may be a Republican and the other a Democrat, but make no mistake. Bush and Obama are two peas in a pod.
-Bush signed a $700 billion bank bailout bill. Obama continued the policy. And he extended it to other sectors, such as the automobile industry.
-Bush tried fiscal stimulus twice while in power. With some help from the Bush team, Obama oversaw the largest fiscal stimulus bill in history. There is occasional talk of another.
-Bush started two land wars in Asia. Obama could end them. Instead, he is committing more troops to Afghanistan.
-Bush oversaw Medicare part D, the largest expansion of government’s role in health care since 1965. Obama also would like to expand government’s health care presence.
-And now, we have the PATRIOT Act. The bill was perhaps the largest expansion of executive power in seventy years, and the Bush administration’s signature legislation. Now that Obama has inherited all these cool powers, turns out he likes the PATRIOT Act, too. So he wants to extend some of its expiring provisions.
Predictable. Still disappointing.