web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Principles Under Attack

Two recent developments would seem to indicate that pivotal fundamentals to the growth of America as the world’s paradigmatic democracy are under assault by overeager governmental officials.

Consider: a Texas state appeals court overturned the 2010 money laundering conviction of Tom DeLay, the former Republican majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. The court’s decision makes clear that prosecutors came up with a novel interpretation of the criminal laws barring money laundering so as to include what Mr. DeLay freely admitted to doing – taking corporate contributions made to the Republican National Committee and passing them on to Republican candidates for the state legislature in 2002.

While corporate contributions are certainly deemed improper by Texas civil statutes, they had never before been considered to be illegal in the criminal sense. Indeed, money laundering was theretofore thought to relate exclusively to disguising money tainted with criminality.

Yet Mr. DeLay was spectacularly successful in his use of this ploy through which he was trying to cement Republican control of the Texas State Legislature and thereby control redistricting for federal elections. And a Republican-dominated Texas State Legislature did indeed carve out districts favoring Republican candidates. By most measures, Mr. DeLay redirected Texas politics to favor Republicans through the skillful gathering and distribution of money. One can understand why zealous prosecutors would seek to challenge that, without assuming a purely political motive.

But as the court put it, quite simply, “The fundamental problem with the state’s case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity.”

Plainly, we all have a general interest in the neutral application of the criminal laws. But it is especially important if the threat of criminal sanction is arbitrarily introduced into the political system – our life’s blood – for partisan reasons. Again, this is not to say that Mr. DeLay deserves an award for what he did. But it is one thing for a politician to push the legal envelope while not crossing the line drawn by the criminal law. It is quite another for officials with prosecutorial powers to be unduly creative about it.

We also found troubling the news that the federal National Security Agency – distinct from the National Security Council, which advises the president on national security matters – has the capacity to neutralize the intricate special protections, usually referred to as encryptions, we all thought shielded the privacy of ordinary communications.

Citing documents released by the notorious Edward Snowden, The New York Times reported that for years the NSA colluded with technology companies to maintain the ability to eavesdrop on what was widely considered private information. According to the documents, the NSA developed superfast and customized computers to break codes and otherwise penetrate the encryptions through embedding “back door” mechanisms.

Notwithstanding the remarkable explosion of technology, privacy rules bar the purposeful targeting of Americans’ e-mails or phone calls without a warrant. But the temptation to engage in inappropriate intelligence gathering makes the potential for mischief very real.

We’re living in an age that presents enormous new challenges to our time-honored principles. But equality before the law and the right to privacy are what made the U.S. the country it is today. Surely it is worth whatever effort it takes to ensure that those principles will withstand both technology and terrorism.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Principles Under Attack”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Kenji Goto Execution
ISIS Beheads Kenji Goto
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Editorial Board

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

According to Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, France was the largest source of Jewish emigration to Israel last year and he believes as many as 15,000 French Jews may make aliyah in 2015.

Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.

One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.

In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/principles-under-attack/2013/09/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: