Goodbye Trump. Hello War on Domestic Terror.
Today is President Donald Trump’s last day in office! A White House official said Trump plans to pardon or commute sentences for up to 100 people today. Whether it might include big-name whistleblowers (like Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, and Julian Assange) or just more of the president’s crook friends and allies is anybody’s guess. In any event, Trump leaves office with a 34 percent approval rating and a record-low average approval rating of 41 percent.
With Americans still reeling from the January 6 Capitol riot, the Biden administration will begin its term amid a rapidly escalating “tough on domestic terror” mood.
That’s never a good influence no matter which ruling party is in office, and perhaps especially bad in times of intense partisan conflict. There are a few things both Democrats and Republicans can almost always come together on, and limiting civil liberties in the name of national security is chief among them. But worse, Biden has never backed away from hysterical policy reactions to perceived crime and terror threats.
“Biden’s career was built on the politics of panics,” Reason‘s Jacob Sullum writes. “After 9/11, Biden did not just vote for the PATRIOT Act, which expanded the federal government’s surveillance authority in the name of fighting terrorism. He bragged that it was essentially the same as legislation he had been pushing since 1994.”
Now, “the Biden administration plans to make domestic terrorism a key focus of the National Security Council, transition officials tell @carolelee,” tweeted Geoff Bennett, NBC’s White House correspondent, on Monday. “Officials have been looking at ways to shift government resources previously used for counterterrorism, to combating domestic terrorism.”
Former lackeys of the war on terror are already salivating.
“Former intelligence official on PBS NewsHour tonight saying that the US should think about a ‘9/11 Commission’ for domestic extremism and consider applying some of the lessons from the fight against Al Qaeda here at home,” noted Evan Hill of The New York Times last night.
(“The more explicit they make it that they’re using the first War on Terror model for their new one domestically, the better,” responded Glenn Greenwald. “Please keep up this candor.”)
“Domestic terror” panic is infecting all sorts of policy arenas, too.
Since the Capitol riot, people have been calling for crackdowns on social media tech companies, under the rationale that some folks involved organized or posted about their plans online and/or received misinformation on digital platforms that led them to riot. (And, once again, people pretending that people will stop communicating disfavored ideas if they lose a few venues to do so are finding themselves sorely wrong, as folks move from Facebook, Twitter, and Parler to encrypted messaging apps and other forms of communication.)
Now, that’s spilling over into attacks on traditional media, too.
“Biden needs to reinvigorate the FCC to slow the lies and sedition from Fox and other right-wing broadcasters,” wrote Washington Post columnist Max Boot on Twitter yesterday, continuing the
Article from Latest – Reason.com