800px-National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_MarylandBusy as we are, it can be hard to pause and appreciate just how profoundly the Bill of Rights landscape and even the structural tension of our government has changed in the last dozen years or so.  Here’s one summing-up that’s worth letting sink in.

“Almost 13 years after the 9/11 attacks, it remains ‘wartime,'”writes investigative journalist Peter Van Buren.

For the war on terror, the driver, excuse, and raison d’être for the tattering of the Bill of Rights, there is no end in sight. Recently retired NSA head Keith Alexander is typical of key figures in the national security state when he claims that despite, well, everything, the country is at greater risk today than ever before. These days, wartime is forever, which means that a government working ever more in secret has ever more latitude to decide which rights in which form applied in what manner are still inalienable.