This summer, we have all witnessed the heavy hand of government intervening in the freedom of speech, as the behavior of the Secret Service at both the Republican convention in Cleveland and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia was troubling and unconstitutional.
Though the First Amendment was originally written only to restrain Congress ("Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech"), it is now uniformly interpreted to restrict all government in America from abridging the freedom of speech.
The reason this freedom is referred to as "the" freedom of speech is to reflect the belief of the Framers that the right to speak freely is pre-political. Stated differently, the freedom of speech is an integral aspect of our humanity. The government does not grant the freedom of speech; it is prohibited from interfering with it.
Short answer: nobody knows, but the media is treating it as a fact based primarily on a single technical source employed by the Democratic National Committee. I read the source’s publicly available explanation. Here’s what I found.
A Quick Taste of Media Conclusions
Despite a line in paragraph five saying “Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult,” the New York Times offers the following statements.
“researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies;”
“Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects;”
“Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.”
“It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.”
There’s more, but you get the picture. The article also quotes Clinton staffers citing unnamed experts and researchers.
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq has dropped its 50,000th bomb recently, yet the end of the two-year effort is nowhere in sight. Meanwhile civilians are being killed by the hundreds by US bombs on Syria. Is that not also a form of terrorism and is it not generating blowback against Europe and the US? Both major presidential candidates talk of escalating the bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria, but if that approach is not producing the desired result how will doing more of it result in a different outcome? We need an entirely new approach to the war on ISIS. Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report for our take:
Why does the US spend more on its military than the next largest several countries combined? One reason is that the military budget has far less to do with protecting the United States than it does to further enriching well-connected military contractors. Politicians are under pressure to push weapons systems, that in turn produce “jobs” for their districts. Remember, the disastrous F-35 fighter is built in 45 states and several foreign countries. This doesn’t happen by accident.
As former Pentagon analyst and keen observer Chuck Spinney points out, when it comes to the military budget, it’s all about enormously expensive, high-tech weapons systems that don’t usually work. Little things like readiness and force strength take a back-seat. High-tech pays off well, with shiny things and bells and whistles impressing those who sign off on big contracts. Actually giving troops useful tools to win wars is much less exciting (and profitable).
As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor.
Trump was short on specifics but very clear he would take the strategies of the post-9/11 era into a presidency. Clinton, for her part, intends on “intensifying the current air campaign [and] stepping up support for local forces on the ground.” Their French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, declared “We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.”
The problem is that none of that will work. While perhaps necessary at times, military force is far from sufficient in defeating Islamic terrorism.
Syria passed a grim milestone this week. The country now has more displaced people/refugees without homes than people still living in their homes.
The only significant response to this humanitarian crisis, a slow motion genocide, from the West has been more war, both from foreign aircraft and special forces directly, and via more support for the militias on the ground. The Syrian people are treated as simply part of the landscape being fought over. Destroying them seems as consequential as blowing up the buildings they used to live in.