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Welcome to Truthing Up, your re-truthing stop for the truth of government overreach, abuse, and civil liberties violations from around the web. Truth Up will be a regular feature here on Liberty Pulse, and a reliable means for you to get an overview of the government’s advances against your liberties and your bottom line.
Zero Hedge has detailed the NSA’s efforts to include its code into Google’s Android OS, which runs three-quarters of the world’s smartphones. The code, which has been christened Security Enhancements for Android, was created by the NSA to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data on a smartphone. Agency spokesman Vanee Vines outlined the NSA’s plans to include the code on every device that runs Android, from phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices. Vines would neither confirm nor deny the code’s role in the NSA’s PRISM program.
On September 14, 2001, Ron Paul took to the House floor and offered a summary of the American position that, over a decade later, has proven to be almost prophetic. He stated that “for the critics of our policy of interventionism in the affairs of others, the attack on New York and Washington was not a surprise. Many have warned of its inevitability.”
He continued by warning that “for us to pursue a war against our enemies, its crucial to understand why we were attacked,” for “without this knowledge, striking out at six or eight, or even ten different countries could well expand this war of which we wanted no part.” Those words should give pause to a nation that has spent the last decade mired in Iraq, after having disposed of a dictator who posed no threat to the United States, and who acted as a buffer against Shiite Iran. Iraq is a majority Shiite nation that had been led by a Sunni leader. Today, it is a majority Shiite nation with a Shiite leadership that, not surprisingly, is friendly with our newest enemies, the Shiite Iranians. The death toll for US soldiers in Iraq beats the death toll for 9/11 by close to 1500 people. But that is nothing compared to the over 100,000 Iraqis who lost their lives as a result of the United States’ foreign policy.
Those words should give pause to a nation that has spent a decade in Afghanistan, and sacrificed 2000 brave members of our armed services there. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has tearfully pleaded with the US to stop killing civilian citizens of his beleaguered nation.
Those words should be meaningful to a nation that has been responsible for over 350 drone strikes in Pakistan, amounting to anywhere between 2000 and 3300 deaths. Of those, America estimates that as many as 884 of them were civilians, and 197 of them were children! These are the US’s numbers. Who wants to bet Pakistan has different numbers?
Those words should resonate with the nation that rid the world of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an early supporter of the US in the “War on Terror,” so that he could be replaced by rogue elements that may have ties to Al Qaeda. By the way, we are on the verge of assisting Al Qaeda in removing the Alawite Shia leader of the largely Sunni nation of Syria. What a victory that will be for the American foreign policy, and for Al Qaeda leaders in Syria!
Those words should especially cause us to ask our leaders whether they really want to start a conflict either with Syria, or with Iran. The US and Israel have been saber-rattling with Iran’s democratically elected leader for years now. Zionist leaders in both nations have compared him repeatedly with Hitler. Neoconservatives have charged that the US needs to take military action before Iran obtains even the capability of building a nuclear weapon. Senator Lindsay Graham stated that Iran is looking at a “massive attack” that it “could not survive” if it continues its nuclear program (says a Senator from the only nation to ever use a nuclear weapon in combat). The US-led sanctions against Iran have had a crippling effect on Iran’s economy. That means that the people who are hurt the most by the US’s anti-Iranian policies are the innocent Iranians who wake up every day, and go to work in order to provide for their families – and those who, due to the US, do not have jobs, and are therefore unable to provide for their families.
But attempts at finding the root cause of terror are typically rebuffed as anti-American – as if the decision to acquire knowledge is the opposite of patriotic. When Ron Paul opined, during the 2008 Fox Republican Presidential Debates, that “they attack us because we’ve been over there,” and that we ought to “listen to the people who attacked us, and the reasons they did it,” Rudy Giuliani (whose foreign policy experience is likely limited to riding the New York subway on occasion) called it an “extraordinary statement,” and accused Paul of claiming that the US was “inviting the attack.”
The University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism has conducted studies suggesting that 95% of suicide terrorism, like 9/11, is in response to foreign occupation. It is not surprising, then, that since 9/11, and since the massive uptick in the US’s occupation of, and involvement in, the affairs of Middle Eastern and Muslim countries, there has been a correspondingly massive uptick in anti-American suicide attacks. The vast majority of suicide terrorists come from exactly those regions threatened by foreign troops. And if that’s true, then our increased involvement in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and other nations will have one predictable result: more blowback from these nations!
Ron Paul preemptively criticized a policy of getting involved in conflicts with anywhere between 6 and 10 nations, without having a grasp on why anyone would want to hurt innocent Americans. Over a decade later, and the US is involved in armed conflicts with a host of nations. We are creating generations of people who will likely hate the US, who would have had no reason to do so but for the pain we have caused them by our military incursions, including drones, and through our occupations. Paul stated that he could not claim to be shocked at the terrible destruction that took place on September 11, 2001. “Many have warned of [the attack’s] inevitability.” Are we creating an inevitable blowback as we speak? If so, we ought to change course. That sure is the right thing to do; but more importantly, it would make us safer. There’s nothing unpatriotic about a foreign policy that promotes peace and security for all Americans. And there’s nothing admirable about our current trajectory.
Jonathan Lubin is a civil litigator in Chicago, Illinois, concentrating in Constitutional law and civil rights. Jonathan has studied at BrandeisUniversity, the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ, and at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He writes about politics, the law, and current events, at ReasonableInference.blogspot.com.
Andrew Sullivan writes a fantastic description of the political landscape as it really is when endorsing Ron Paul. What’s great about his article is that he doesn’t agree with Dr. Paul on many things but the conviction and the integrity of this Presidential contender gives comfort to Mr. Sullivan over the shady list of no good candidates being propped up by establishment types:
And I see in Paul none of the resentment that burns in Gingrich or the fakeness that defines Romney or the fascistic strains in Perry’s buffoonery. He has yet to show the Obama-derangement of his peers, even though he differs with him. He has now gone through two primary elections without compromising an inch of his character or his philosophy. This kind of rigidity has its flaws, but, in the context of the Newt Romney blur, it is refreshing. He would never take $1.8 million from Freddie Mac. He would never disown Reagan, as Romney once did. He would never speak of lynching Bernanke, as Perry threatened. When he answers a question, you can see that he is genuinely listening to it and responding – rather than searching, Bachmann-like, for the one-liner to rouse the base. He is, in other words, a decent fellow, and that’s an adjective I don’t use lightly. We need more decency among Republicans.
And on some core issues, he is right. He is right that spending – especially on entitlements and defense – is way out of control. Unlike his peers, he had the balls to say so when Bush and Cheney were wrecking the country’s finances, and rendering us close to helpless when the Great Recession came bearing down. Alas, he lacks the kind of skills at compromise, moderation and restraint that once defined conservatism and now seems entirely reserved for liberals. But who else in this field would? Romney would have to prove his base cred for his entire presidency. Gingrich is a radical utopian and supremely nasty fantasist.
I don’t believe Romney or Gingrich would cut entitlements as drastically as Paul. But most important, I don’t believe that any of the other candidates, except perhaps Huntsman, would cut the military-industrial complex as deeply as it needs to be cut. What Paul understands – and it’s why he has so much young support – is that the world has changed. Seeking global hegemony in a world of growing regional powers among developing nations is a fool’s game, destined to provoke as much backlash as lash, and financially disastrous as every failed empire in history has shown.
He then sums up his article with this statement about Paul and why Americans should vote for him:
I regard this primary campaign as the beginning of a process to save conservatism from itself. In this difficult endeavor, Paul has kept his cool, his good will, his charm, his honesty and his passion. His scorn is for ideas, not people, but he knows how to play legitimate political hardball. Look at his ads – the best of the season so far. His worldview is too extreme for my tastes, but it is more honestly achieved than most of his competitors, and joined to a temperament that has worn well as time has gone by.
I feel the same way about him on the right in 2012 as I did about Obama in 2008. Both were regarded as having zero chance of being elected. And around now, people decided: Why not? And a movement was born. He is the “Change You Can Believe In” on the right. If you are an Independent and can vote in a GOP primary, vote Paul. If you are a Republican concerned about the degeneracy of the GOP, vote Paul. If you are a citizen who wants more decency and honesty in our politics, vote Paul. If you want someone in the White House who has spent decades in Washington and never been corrupted, vote Paul.
Oh, and fuck you, Roger Ailes.