Graham, Cotton, Blackburn Introduce Balanced Solution to Bolster National Security, End Use of Warrant-Proof Encryption that Shields Criminal Activity

From the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act is a balanced solution that keeps in mind the constitutional rights afforded to all Americans, while providing law enforcement the tools needed to protect the public from everyday violent crime and threats to our national security. The bill would require service providers and device manufacturers to provide assistance to law enforcement when access to encrypted devices or data is necessary – but only after a court issues a warrant, based on probable cause that a crime has occurred, authorizing law enforcement to search and seize the data.

I don’t expect our elected officials to understand every little detail of how something like encryption work, but legislating that companies keep backdoors defeats the purpose of encryption and privacy.

Tech companies are already helping when a warrant is provided. As an example, Apple already provides a ton when asked to by law enforcement. Eliminating encryption is a bridge too far.

James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution

From Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic:

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

In case you don’t remember General Mattis, he was the Marine general who resigned from his role as Secretary of Defense in 2018 due to Trump’s pullout of Northern Syria without any warning. He, like so many of us, are shocked to see our greatest fears about Trump’s antidemocratic tendencies come to fruition.

I’m hopeful that people like Mattis speaking out will give more oxygen to other Republican leaders who are looking for permission to speak out against the president. A statement like this is likely to make a dent in Trump’s support in Washington, the traditional conservative media, and possibly the armed forces. Will it affect normal folks who have seen everything that’s happened since 2017 and thinks “yeah, I’d like 4 more years of this”? Not so sure.

Biden Is the Politician America Needs Right Now

From Franklin Foer at The Atlantic:

But in Philadelphia yesterday, Biden delivered perhaps the most thorough-going and hard-hitting critique of American racial inequities ever uttered by a major presidential nominee. Certainly, no nominee has ever proposed such a robust agenda for curbing the abusiveness of police, and with such little rhetorical hedging.

What makes Biden unique (and maddening if you are far left or far right) is he lack of hyper-partisan politics and desire to make a “deal”. More often than not, that means he’s open to working with both parties and all people to push the country in the right direction. It’s likely you’ll disagree with some of his positions, but you’ll feel heard and understood. Biden will attempt to represent and govern all Americans, not just one party or race or interest group.

When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult

From Paul Krugman:

So, here’s the response of the Trump team and its allies to the coronavirus, at least so far: It’s actually good for America. Also, it’s a hoax perpetrated by the news media and the Democrats. Besides, it’s no big deal, and people should buy stocks. Anyway, we’ll get it all under control under the leadership of a man who doesn’t believe in science.

We’ve been lucky to not have had any signifigant crises since Trump has taken office but this will be the first test … and boy, do I lack confidence in this administration. The 80% cut in CDC money a few years back in particular looks especially egregious right about now.