One of the two Republican senators to vote for the Udall Amendment yesterday was Sen. Rand Paul, who quoted Thomas Jefferson: “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.” No. Truer. Words. At this moment in America we seem to be so fond of dividing Americans into us and &them that we have created all sorts of intriguing new legal double standards for the thems. Don’t think for a minute that these new powers will be used only against suspected terrorists. We already know that suspected illegal immigrants, suspected environmental activists, and suspected protesters have very different legal rights—which is to say, far more limited rights—than anyone else. And as Benjamin Wallace Wells detailed last August, the landmark anti-terror legislation known as the Patriot Act has, in the 10 years since its passage, been used in 1,618 drug cases and 15 terrorism cases. You’d never know it from watching the GOP hopefuls joyfully demonize women, immigrants, the poor, the prisoners, OWS protesters, and union members, but at some point, them always becomes us.

Citizen detainment: Why is the Senate so determined to allow the U.S. military to arrest and detain Americans? – Slate Magazine. Don’t remember the last time I agreed wholly with Dahlia Lithwick, but I do here. Yes, one could also blame the Democrats who have gone along, but let’s be clear about this: the Republican Party has become stronger and stronger in its determination to roll back Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms and turn this country into a police state.