Anyone who values the First Amendment ought to oppose the campaign to “get” Assange by any means necessary. In a free society, you can’t just “change the law” to persecute someone you don’t like, and you can’t abuse your position to silence speech you oppose.
Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., demanded that Assange be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. After all, she wrote, the First Amendment isn’t “a license to jeopardize national security,” any more than it’s a license to “yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.” A poor choice of metaphor: It comes from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1919 opinion in Schenck v. United States, when the Supreme Court allowed the Wilson administration to imprison a man for the crime of publicly arguing that the draft was unconstitutional.
We’ve since done a much better job protecting the First Amendment. In 1971’s New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court rebuffed the Nixon administration’s attempt to stop the paper from publishing classified documents showing that the government had lied America into the Vietnam War.
Here is a funny, but NSFW, take on the invasive and unconstitutional security procedures, which have managed to turn many conservatives and Republicans into quasi-civil libertarians, being employed by the Transportation Security Administration:
H/T: We Won’t Fly
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced legislation to end the harassment of Americans by TSA officers by making travelers to go through full-body scanners and subjecting them to “pat downs” as they try to board their flight.
Some of you may be flying next week for Thanksgiving, so here is a video explaining the Transportation Security Administration’s new screening techniques, which amounts to government-sanctioned sexual harassment:
One thing that is beyond debate, regardless of ideology, is that the day of September 11, 2001 is a date that change America forever. We all watched in horror as thousands died in the aftermath of the more heinous terrorist attacks we could have possibly imagined. The next weeks were spent listening to stories of heroism and survival as we learned more and more about what happened on board the planes and in the Towers. “Never Forget” became our mantra as Congress tried to do all it could to prevent the horrors of that day from repeating itself.
It was a day that may have destroyed our freedoms forever.
In the aftermath of that day, the PATRIOT Act was signed into law. We learned the phrase “Department of Homeland Security”. We found out about terms like “enemy combatant”. Security became a buzzword as we were told how vital it was to root out the terrorists regardless of where they were.
Today, nine years later, our nation is a different place in many ways. New and innovative ways to supposedly catch terrorists are being applied to ordinary Americans without probable cause. We are being told that to protest invasive measures is essentially giving succor to terrorists who may try to attack. We are hearing of people who are being told that they have no choice in the matter.
Many people have claimed some extraordinary things have happened at the hands of TSA, but John Tyner of Sand Diego, CA was smart enough to record the whole thing on his cell phone. He has written about his experiences, saying:
Earlier this week, I told you about a poll from Rasmussen showing Republicans leading Democrats on 10 major issues ranging from the economy to health care and national security to Social Security.
Gallup came out with a similar poll yesterday showing the GOP leading in seven out of nine issues important to voters. Democrats are statistically tied with Republicans on health care and corruption in government. The only issue they are running away on is the environment.
Here is a look at the poll:
Voters rank the economy and jobs as the most important issues, which the GOP has to hammer home in the coming months to do what they need to do to win. Other issues, such as Afghanistan, the environment and immigration are not as important to voters, according to the Gallup survey.
“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.” - George W. Bush
As you have probably heard, President Barack Obama is supportive of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” a community center equivalent to a YMCA, which will also include a mosquire, currently the subject of hot debate in our national dialogue:
President Obama delivered a strong defense on Friday night of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, using a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan to proclaim that “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”
“I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” the president said in remarks prepared for the annual White House iftar, the sunset meal breaking the day’s fast.
But, he continued: “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”
Below is a round-up of news stories and reactions about the “Ground Zero Mosque” that have popped up across the Internet the last few days. Starting off with the signs that the issue is going to be used in congressional races in the coming months:
President Barack Obama doesn’t need anymore bad news, but that’s exactly what Obama got yesterday as Gallup released new approval numbers, which are highlighted by poor numbers on the War in Afghanistan and the economy:
Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war.
Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.
We’re coming off the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the economy is hobbling along and is just as vulnerable as it was with the stimulus bill was passed early last year. Obama is facing the prospect of a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and enough losses in the Senate to slim down the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, President Barack Obama has told of this own party that it may not be a good idea for him to campaign for them.
Despite that some Republicans are saying that we don’t need to cut defense spending, a new report by the Washington Post called “Top Secret America” shows that there is much waste and inefficiency in the intelligence community:
Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, top-secret intelligence gathering by the government has grown so unwieldy and expensive that no one really knows what it cost and how many people are involved, The Washington Post reported Monday.
A two-year investigation by the newspaper uncovered what it termed a “Top Secret America” that’s mostly hidden from public view and largely lacking in oversight.
In its first installment of a series of reports, the Post said there are now more than 1,200 government organizations and more than 1,900 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.
Some 854,000 people — or nearly 1 1/2 times the number of people who live in Washington — have top-secret security clearance, the paper said.
The Post said its investigation also found that:
—In the area around Washington, 33 building complexes — totaling some 17 million square feet of space — for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since 9/11.
—Many intelligence agencies are doing the same work, wasting money and resources on redundancy.
—So many intelligence reports are published each year that many are routinely ignored.