Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ignore Jonathan Alter

Talk of Hillary Clinton replacing Joe Biden as vice-president isn't serious journalism. Alter could provide a thoughtful analysis of the policies of President Barack Obama and the Republican presidential candidates. Instead, Alter writes a column that has less seriousness than an Us Magazine article on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This level of unseriousness is to be expected from Alter.

For those that aren't familiar with Alter's work, he penned the repugnant op-ed "Time To Think About Torture."

Couldn't we at least subject them to psychological torture, like tapes of dying rabbits or high-decibel rap? (The military has done that in Panama and elsewhere.) How about truth serum, administered with a mandatory IV? Or deportation to Saudi Arabia, land of beheadings? (As the frustrated FBI has been threatening.) Some people still argue that we needn't rethink any of our old assumptions about law enforcement, but they're hopelessly "Sept. 10"--living in a country that no longer exists.

When Alter wrote this op-ed in November of 2001 he was actually stupid enough to believe that the federal government would let the warrantless wiretapping provision in the Patriot Act sunset.

A welcome "sunset" provision means the expansion of surveillance will expire after four years. That's an important precedent, though odds are these changes will end up being permanent. It's a new world.

Warrantless wiretapping went on during the entire Bush years. The Obama administration has continued has extended warrantless wiretapping and have defended the policy in court. Alter is a columnist best ignored.

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