Judge Napolitano On Wikileaks: The Government Needs To Be Exposed Because The Government Lies To You
This is pretty much how I feel about the Wikileaks story:
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.
“I would point out that although you’ve got the news about the WikiLeaks documents that that came out this week and clearly Julian Assange’s effort was to change course for the US policy in Afghanistan,” Cheney told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday.
“He was unsuccessful in that. He does clearly have blood on his hands potentially for the people whose names were in those documents who helped the US and I think that’s something he will have to live with now,” she continued.
“I would really like to see President Obama to move to ask the government of Iceland to shut that website down. I would like to see him move to shut it down ourselves if Iceland won’t do it. I would like to see them move aggressively to prosecute Mr. Assange and certainly ensure that he never again gets a visa to enter the United States,” said Cheney.
“What he’s done is very clearly aiding and abetting al Qaeda. And as I said, he may very well be responsible for the deaths of American soldiers Afghanistan,” she concluded.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shared Cheney’s condemnation:
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told ABC’s This Week that he’s “appalled” and “mortified” at Wikileaks’ release of the Afghan war documents, and the Web site is at least “morally” guilty in the matter.
“There are two areas of culpability. One is legal culpability. And that’s up to the Justice Department and others. That’s not my arena. But there’s also a moral culpability. And that’s where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks,” Gates said. “They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.”
July was the deadliest month for the United States since the war in Afghaistan started in 2001. This comes as President Barack Obama makes the country a place for his administration to make a statement on foreign policy in the midst of a decline in public support:
Six more Americans were reported killed in fighting in the south — three Thursday and three Friday — pushing the U.S. death toll for July to a record 66 and surpassing June as the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly nine-year war.
U.S. officials confirmed the latest American deaths Friday but gave no further details. Five of the latest reported deaths were a result of hidden bombs — the insurgents’ weapon of choice — and the sixth to an armed attack, NATO said in statements.
U.S. commanders say American casualties are mounting because more troops are fighting — and the Taliban are stiffening resistance as NATO and Afghan forces challenge the insurgents in areas they can’t afford to give up without a fight.
Americans are war weary and because the war in Afghanistan has dragged on for almost nine years, when a story like this shows up in the news and as more information comes out about how we are essentially defeating ourselves, such as Jon Stewart suggested last week, it makes us scratch our heads and ask, “why are we still there?”
Jason Pye posted a video that brings into strong doubt the effectiveness of our allegiance with Pakistan, which has been funneling the millions in aid we provide them to the Taliban. This could be called the effective subsidization of the Afghan conflict.
The United States’ allegiance with the Pakistani regime is based entirely on a premise that it benefits the objectives of the war on terrorism, but this premise seems to be increasingly losing its credibility. Osama bin Laden is reportedly somewhere in Pakistan, if he’s alive at all, as is his number 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. The credibility that Pakistan is doing its best to apprehend Al Qaeda leadership falls flat and down the hill with the revelation that funds are being funneled to the Taliban. The doubts pervading our relationship with Pakistan are even more pronounced when added to the increasing suspicion by the United Kingdom and India:
Cameron said the United Kingdom and India had both suffered the effects of terrorism originating in Pakistan, citing the 2005 attack on the London subway that killed 52, and the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 172. India blames Pakistan for having a hand in the Mumbai attacks, committed by Kashmir independence insurgent group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The Obama Administration is seeking powers that would allow the FBI to obtain records of internet activity without at warrant:
The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.
The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.
But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.
Yeah, because the FBI won’t use it for anything else other than terrorism and it won’t be abused. Oh wait, that’s right, an internal FBI audit in 2007 found more than 1,000 instances of abuse of the PATRIOT Act, which was passed on similar reasoning.
“What the f**k?! We give [Pakistan] billions of dollars of aid. Then Pakistan is funnelling that money to the Taliban. One of the chief financial contributors to our enemy is us? We have ostensibly put a hit out on ourselves. This is insanity.” - Jon Stewart
On Tuesday evening, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, weighed in on the Wikileaks release of more than 90,000 documents pertaining to the occupation of Afghanistan and media coverage of the leak, which largely was dismissive of what was in documents.
And as President Barack Obama and Democrats secured $59 billion in funding on Tuesday, mostly going for our continued occupation of Afghanistan (the Graveyard of Empires), you have to wonder where the anti-war left is.
Here is the video:
Really interesting polling data from Rasmussen:
Americans are evenly divided over whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States, but most expect it to happen within the next decade.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults nationally shows 43% believe marijuana should be legalized. But 42% think it should remain an illegal drug. Another 15% are not sure.
That is a very, very slim win for marijuana legalization and, since it’s at the national scale, may be more representative of an urban-rural divide than people who’ve actually thought about the issue. The United States has been beset with decades of anti-drug propaganda that reinforced the notion of prohibition as a natural necessity to keep kids from becoming drug-addled dropouts.
The way to win over those who aren’t pot enthusiasts is to demonstrate that recreational drugs are something beyond the capacity of the state and which will only lead to bloated prisons, wrecked lives and a disturbing level of lethal police raids.
I suspect there’s quite a few people like that in Southern California, which needs to be converted if poll numbers are to be improved on Proposition 19 by November:
Voters are poised to reject a ballot measure to legalize adults’ recreational use of marijuana in California and another that would suspend the state’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, according to a Field Poll of to be released today.
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.
From the Wall Street Journal comes a story of two American males arrested on possession of marijuana. The alleged treatment of them seems like something straight of Iraq:
Those two men—Shohn Huckabee, 23 years old, and Carlos Quijas, 36—are being held in a Ciudad Juárez jail. They tell a different story about what happened that night. They say Mexican soldiers planted the marijuana in their truck. When they arrived at the military base, they say, they were blindfolded, tied up, hit with rifle butts, shocked with electricity and threatened with death.
Huckabee elaborates further:
Mr. Huckabee says he was subjected to similar tactics. “I believe what was done to me was torture,” he said in an interview. “When I did not answer their questions, they shocked me with a wire that was in my hands. My whole body froze up. The pain went from bearable to a point where I couldn’t even talk.”
Perhaps I’m looking too deep into this, but this seems like something from a new era. Growing up, the perception I always had was that mistreatment of an American citizen was an act of war. From Vietnam to the Iran Hostage Crisis, that was certainly how mistreatment of our citizens was interpreted.
Is there a zeitgeist shift going on here? Mexican authorities, representative of a country significantly tied to us economically, being belligerent enough to torture American citizens seems like one to me.
It seems to be more and more accepted that the United States is in decline, for an assortment of reasons to be sure. With that decline in economic and political power must come a decline in the fear once held by other countries. When the United States is no longer feared, its citizens are treated just like any others.