Naji Mansour says that he denied the FBI’s request to become an informant, and the organization began threatening him. Mansour’s experience is just one in a string of Muslim Americans detained for ‘often tangential’ ties to terrorism.
The technology exists to add people rapidly to lists, but it is harder to take people off. Adding people is automatic; subtracting people requires human beings who are otherwise occupied. This is a real consequence of an information-hungry, terrorist-fearing surveillance state. If innocents fall into the gap, so be it: There’s a better chance that bad guys won’t get in.
A bit of moderate inflation is no big deal — the Fed has the tools to easily rein inflation back in if it rises above the central bank’s target rate. In fact, a little inflation could even help matters, by eroding household debt burdens and reducing real interest rates.
On the other hand, mass unemployment is an ongoing economic and humanitarian catastrophe.
It’s like if your house is on fire, and you’re worried that spraying it with a firehose might break some windows. Maybe true! Also a terrible set of priorities!
State lawmakers, squeezed by budget constraints, say they have far more important (and politically viable) spending priorities than funding defense attorneys. This mindset, too, must change to recognize that there are enormous costs, both financial and societal, to putting people in prison without providing them with a fair trial. The result, for the poor, is that they have a constitutional right but no meaningful remedy.
Ideally, the symbolic nature of the presidency would be lessened and the passions of citizens more restrained. But we must deal in reality. Today, the symbolism of the presidency has never been greater, and the factionalism and passions that so concerned Founders like John Adams are unquestionably on the upswing. In an age in which the media can so easily fan the flames either of worship or ridicule, and when an ever larger segment of the population finds it natural to vent and publicize their every thought through Facebook and Twitter, we are moving steadily farther from sober and responsible control of public passion.
Democrats and Republicans can bicker about how much good the War on Poverty accomplished. But it obviously didn’t “cure” poverty, which means that, judged by Johnson’s own standards, the war ended in defeat — a rhetorical inversion that Ronald Reagan eagerly pounced on. And as Johnson’s presidential successors learned as they attempted to conduct the nation’s foreign policy in the wake of Johnson’s other major defeat, nothing breeds disillusionment and cynicism like failure.