As we’ve previously reported, the Japanese government is reacting to Fukushima by introducing a bill which would ban journalism. The bill has passed the lower house, and is expected to pass the upper house this week.
The entire process has echoes of George Orwell. If enacted, the secrecy law would allow government ministries to declare just about anything they want classified. It now even appears that trying to cajole information from someone privy to a state secret could warrant jail time. In other words, if I grab a beer with a bureaucrat and ask the wrong question, could I end up in handcuffs? Ambiguity reigns.
Last week, the No. 2 official in Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party, Shigeru Ishiba, issued a dark warning to anyone like me who might dare to question the bill. In a Nov. 29 blog post, the LDP secretary-general likened any such challenge to “an act of terrorism.”
“How can the government respond to growing demands for transparency from a public outraged by the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident if it enacts a law that gives it a free hand to classify any information considered too sensitive as a ‘state secret’?” Reporters Without Borders asked in a Nov. 27 statement. Essentially, the group argued, Japan “is making investigative journalism illegal, and is trampling on the fundamental principles of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and public interest.”
“Welcome to the land of the setting sun. Let’s see how much darker it will get,” Tokyo-based investigative reporter Jake Adelstein wrote in a Nov. 30 Japan Times op-ed. As Adelstein pointed out, the secrecy bill bears a resemblance to Japan’s pre-World War II Peace Preservation Law, which gave the government wide latitude to arrest and jail individuals who were out of step with its policies. Parts of the bill also echo the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney power grab that was the Patriot Act.
Japan’s press-freedom ranking is already in free fall. In 2013, its standing dropped 31 places from 2012 to a new low of 53rd out of 179 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders. Japan now trails South Africa and the Comoro Islands off Mozambique. The main culprit behind this year’s drop was weak reporting on radiation risks at Fukushima — a problem that’s sure to get even worse as incentives for media self-censorship increase. If you think the powerful bureaucrats who really run Japan are too opaque with their fiefdoms and secret handshakes now, just wait.
What’s odd, and should greatly worry Japan’s 126 million people, is the urgency behind Abe’s push to pass the secrets bill. The prime minister hasn’t implemented a single structural reform in almost 12 months in office. Not one. He’s taken no important steps to deregulate, shake up or remake an overmanaged economy. But this particular legislation apparently needs to be passed, like, yesterday.
It’s up to the terrorists — sorry, concerned members of the public to speak out if they want to stop him.
Maybe, but there are other forces at play as well. For example, the ruling party is trying to repeal the constitutional provision preventing Japan from waging war. As the Daily Beast notes:
Japan is about to take a giant step back into its oppressive past. When one also considers Prime Minister Abe’s stated ambition to restart Japan’s nuclear power plants and remove Article 9 from the constitution, the article which prevents Japan from waging war, it seems like the Empire of The Sun may be moving towards darker times.
And yet the U.S. is stepping up its support for the Islamic extremists.
The chair of the House Intelligence Committee – Mike Rogers – voted for arming the Syrian rebels. And the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee – Diane Feinstein – has apparently quietly let arms flow to the rebels.
So are they admitting their mistake?
Heck, no! They’re using the specter of Syrian terrorists to justify mass surveillance by the NSA on innocent Americans …
And now he’s trying to use rebel Al Qaeda as an excuse for mass surveillance by the NSA.
Senator Diane Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers took to the airwaves on Sunday to warn that Americans are less safe than two years ago and that al-Qaeda is growing and spreading and that the US is menaced by bombs that can’t be detected by metal detectors.
Call me cynical, but those two have been among the biggest detractors of the American citizen’s fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure of personal effects and papers. I think their attempt to resurrect Usama Bin Laden is out of the National Security Agency internal playbook, which specifically instructs spokesmen to play up the terrorist threat when explaining why they need to know who all 310 million Americans are calling on our phones every day. [Here's what he's talking about. And here.]
Now, obviously there are violent extremists in the world and the US like all other societies is likely to fall victim to further attacks by terrorists. But if they could not inflict significant damage on us with 9/11 (and economically and in every other way except the horrible death toll, they could not), then it is a little unlikely that this kind of threat is existential.
In fact the number of terrorist attacks in the US has vastly declined since the 1970s (as has violent crime over-all), as WaPo’s chart shows:
(The chart shows each attack as a number and does not show fatalities; obviously the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 would be prominent in that case. But the fact is that foreign terrorist attacks kill almost no one in America these days. You’re far more likely to fall in your bathtub and die than to face terrorism).
Rogers makes a big deal out of the fighting in northern Syria as a threat to the United States and says “thousands” of “Westerners” have gone to fight there. But Rogers is just obfuscating by mentioning vastly exaggerated statistics.
The Syrian civil war has nothing to do with the US, and is a local struggle rather unlikely to involve hitting America (more especially since, as Rogers carefully avoids mentioning, the US is committed to arming these rebels to fight against al-Assad.)
That’s right. Mike Rogers voted to give arms to the Syrian rebels. And while he may hope they don’t go to the al-Qaeda affiliates (as happened when Ronald Reagan gave $5 billion to the Afghan Mujahidin in the 1980s) [oops], he has no guarantee that won’t happen and is willing to take the risk. If Rogers were really, really concerned about the Jabhat al-Nusra, he wouldn’t be risking upping its firepower with Americans’ tax dollars as a justification for monitoring who your 15 year old daughter calls on her cell phone.
That’s a pretty good racket. You support the jihadis abroad and then point to jihadis abroad as the reason for which you have to get into the underwear of the American people.
Then they brought up Iraq, which is another local struggle. Dick Cheney repeatedly warned that if the US left Iraq, the terrorists created by the US Occupation (he didn’t put it that way) would follow us home. But it was never very likely an allegation. You could easily get an attack in the US by a disgruntled Sunni Iraqi. But that the Sunni Arabs of Iraq are gunning for the US? No sign of it.
What’s Causing the Unprecedented Weirdness In West Coast Ocean Life?
NBC Nightly News reports that a mass die-off of starfish up and down the West Coast of North America is puzzling scientists:
Brian Williams, anchor: Environmental officials in California say there’s been another highly troubling report about what’s going on in the Pacific. Something is killing the starfish and they don’t know why. They have been dying in record numbers on the West Coast. [...]
Pete Raimondi, marine biologist: It’s happened so rapidly that some species are just missing. [...]
Miguel Almaguer, reporter: An epidemic affecting waters from Alaska to Southern California causing millions of starfish to fall apart and melt away. [...] Two species that used to thrive here have now vanished. [...]
Raimondi: I’ve had probably 100 emails thus far saying, ‘Well, what about Fukushima, because of radiation?’ We haven’t ruled that out yet, but we’re clearly not ruling that in.
Almaguer: The mysterious disease has now spread to at least 10 species of starfish and is threatening more every day.
King5 news in Seattle reports that scientists have tested for radiation, and found none:
Even today, a few seals continue to trickle ashore, biologists said. But the cause of the illness remains a mystery, despite an international effort to identify it. Some people believe radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan in March 2011 is a factor. That’s never been proven. It hasn’t been disqualified, either.
A lack of radiation sampling in remote regions after the explosion means no one knows how much airborne radiation fell into the Bering Sea ice, or whether seals were in the vicinity of any fallout, said Doug Dasher, a researcher with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
St. Lawrence Island is “way too far north for the marine transport to occur right now,” Dasher said.
Still, for a community that harvests animals from the Bering Sea, its hard not to think about Fukushima, said Pungowiyi. He said he was getting ready to go seal hunting: Winds blowing in from the north have made for prime seal-hunting conditions.
“It’s always on the backs of our minds,” he said of the radiation.
More than a year ago, 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with radioactive cesium from Fukushima.
Bluefin tuna are a wide-ranging fish, which can swim back and forth between Japan and North America in a year:
But what about other types of fish?
Sockeye salmon also have a range spanning all of the way from Japan to Alaska, Canada, Washington and Oregon:
Associated Press reports that both scientists and native elders in British Columbia say that sockeye numbers have plummeted:
Sockeye salmon returns plunge to historic lows.
Last month, [the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] noted returns for the Skeena River sockeye run were dire.
[Mel Kotyk, North Coast area director for the Department] said department scientists don’t know why the return numbers are so low…. “When they went out to sea they seemed to be very strong and healthy and in good numbers, so we think something happened in the ocean.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this in all these years I’ve done this. I’ve asked the elders and they have never seen anything like this at all.” [said Chief Wilf Adam]
“The sockeye runs way up north in the Skeena are low. The [fish] out of Bristol Bay, Alaska is down 30 to 35 per cent over last year. Russia has got a limited number of fish in the market. They are down about 40 per cent over all their salmon fisheries.”
We are concerned this hazardous material is hitching a ride on marine life and making its way to Alaska.
Currents of the world’s oceans are complex. But, generally speaking, two surface currents — one from the south, called the Kuroshio, and one from the north, called the Oyashio — meet just off the coast of Japan at about 40 degrees north latitude. The currents merge to form the North Pacific current and surge eastward. Fukushima lies at 37 degrees north latitude. Thousands of miles later, the currents hit an upwelling just off the western coast of the United States and split. One, the Alaska current, turns north up the coast toward British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The other, the California current, turns south and heads down the western seaboard of the U.S.
The migration patterns of Pacific salmon should also be taken into consideration. In a nutshell, our salmon ride the Alaska current and follow its curve past Sitka, Yakutat, Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands. Most often, it’s the chinook, coho and sockeye salmon migration patterns that range farthest. Chum and pink salmon seem to stay closer to home. Regardless of how far out each salmon species ventures into the Pacific, each fish hitches a ride back to its home rivers and spawning grounds on the North Pacific current, the same one pulling the nuclear waste eastward.
We all know too much exposure to nuclear waste can cause cancer. And many understand that certain chemicals, such as cesium-137 and strontium-9, contained in said waste products can accumulate in fish by being deposited in bones and muscle permanently.
We are concerned our Alaska salmon are being slowly tainted with nuclear waste. We are worried about the impact this waste could have on our resources, and especially the people who consume them.
We urge scientists in Alaska to be proactive about conducting research and monitoring our salmon species.
Similarly, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that salmon are migrating through the radioactive plume, but Canadian authorities aren’t testing the fish:
[Award-winning physician and preventative health expert Dr. Erica Frank, MD, MPH]: There are Pacific wild salmon that migrate through the radioactive plumes that have been coming off of Fukushima. Then those fish come back to our shores and we catch them.
CBC Reporter: The Canada Food Inspection Agency says it now relies on Japan for test results concerning radiation.
The Globe and Mail, Aug 13, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Independent fisheries scientist Alexandra Morton is raising concerns about a disease she says is spreading through Pacific herring causing fish to hemorrhage. [...] “Two days ago I did a beach seine on Malcolm Island [near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island] and I got approximately 100 of these little herring and they were not only bleeding from their fins, but their bellies, their chins, their eyeballs. [...] “It was 100 per cent … I couldn’t find any that weren’t bleeding to some degree. And they were schooling with young sockeye [salmon]”
Sun News, Aug 12, 2013: [Morton] dragged up several hundred of the fish this past weekend and found the apparent infection had spread – instead of their usual silver colour the fish had eyes, tails, underbellies, gills and faces plastered with the sickly red colour. “I have never seen fish that looked this bad,” [...] In June, the affected fish were only found in eastern Johnstone Strait, but have since spread to Alert Bay and Sointula, she said.
Canada.com, Aug 16, 2013: Morton [...] pulled up a net of about 100 herring near Sointula and found they were all bleeding. “It was pretty shocking to see,” said Morton [...] Herring school with small sockeye salmon and are also eaten by chinook and coho.
‘Response’ from Canadian Government
Vancouver 24 hrs, Aug 11, 2013: [Morton] says Fisheries and Oceans Canada [FOC] is ignoring the problem. [...] According to emails from FOC, the federal authority had asked the marine biologist to send in 20 to 30 herring in September 2011, saying that would be “more than sufficient for the lab to look for clinical signs of disease and provide sufficient diagnostics.” She did, and hasn’t heard back since. [...] FOC officials did not respond to a request for comment by the 24 hours presstime.
Canada.com, Aug 16, 2013: Fisheries and Oceans Canada is trying to confirm reports from an independent biologist that herring around northern Vancouver Island have a disease that is causing bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs. [...] Arlene Tompkins of DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans'] salmon assessment section said staff in the Port Hardy area have not found bleeding herring. “We are trying to retrieve samples, but [Monday] we were not successful because of heavy fog,” she said. “We haven’t had any other reports of fish kills or die-offs [see salmon report below].” Tompkins has seen photographs provided by Morton [...]
Sea lions will eat a lot of different prey items: octopus, squid, small sharks. But their bread and butter is herring ….
Given that pacific herring are suffering severe disease, it is worth asking whether the “unusual mortality event” among Southern California sea lions is connected.
There’s something very odd happening in the ocean and in the waters around B.C. — sea creatures are behaving strangely. And species are turning up where they are rarely seen.
Extraordinary marine activity…. From California all the way to Alaska.
Others point to disasters like Japan’s tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis, but no one knows for sure.
And the Newcastle Herald carried a report in October from a sailor saying that “the ocean is broken”:
The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.
“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” [Newcastle, Australia yachtsman Ivan] Macfadyen said.
“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”
In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes. [There is a huge quantity of debris from Japan heading across the ocean towards the West Coast. But it is unclear whether the sailor is referring to this or something else. After all, there is a lot of man-made garbage floating around the Pacific.]
And something else. The boat’s vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.
On the other hand, the New York Times report that it is an abundance of anchovies near shore which are attracting the whales … and the anchovies may simply be attracted by unusually nutrient-rich waters this year:
Others theorize that ocean acidification might be the culprit. It could instead be a pathogen, although it is unlikely it would effect so many species all at once over such a wide area.
EneNews rounds up stories on unusual sealife behavior:
Vancouver Sun, Nov. 27, 2013: Michael Harris, executive-director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association [...] said he’s been working in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia for 30 years and has “never ever seen this kind of behaviour going on. They must sense this is a safe place to be.” […] Wild Whales Vancouver had up to 10 close encounters this season in the southern Strait of Georgia, mainly near Galiano Island [...] The whales typically rolled on their backs and sides next to the boat and looked up at the passengers. One even placed its head on the boat while spyhopping, a behaviour in which the whale rises up vertically to look above the water [...]
Global News, Nov. 27, 2013: Capt. Jim Maya [...] who runs Maya’s Westside Whale Watch Charters, has been working on the waters of the Pacific since 1965 and says he has never seen anything like what they saw that day. [...] Maya says he estimates the whale was about 35 to 40 feet long and was an immature female. She hung around the boat for about an hour [...] Chad Nordstrom, a researcher with the Cetacean Research Lab at the Vancouver Aquarium, says they have been receiving more and more reports of humpback whale sightings along the B.C. coast, especially in the lower Strait of Georgia.
Vancouver Sun, Nov. 28, 2013: Andrea Hardaker, manager of Wild Whales Vancouver [said] “The passengers loved it. But they don’t know what to expect on the trip. Whatever they see they think is normal. For our guides and the captains, we know it isn’t normal.” [...] [Hardaker] believes these are the first such reports in local waters.
Baldo Marinovic, research biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz: “It’s a very strange year [...] The $64,000 question is why this year? [...] Now [the anchovies are] all kind of concentrating on the coast.”
Nick Claxton, Indigenous academic adviser at the University of Victoria: Recent whale encounters could have a deeper meaning, according to an Indigenous worldview [...] “We see them as our relatives, as ancestors. All of these occurrences remind us of our place here and our connection to the natural world. It’s for the better of all of us to listen.”
The bottom line is that more research is needed. And nuclear experts said 4 days after the Japanese earthquake and that we all need to demand that fish be tested for radiation.
Note: University of Washington Professor Trevor Branch has previously slammed our reporting on reduction in fish stocks:
I am surprised that an article composed of facts totally unrelated to Fukushima could make it past your editorial process, and the story has been widely derided by blogs and on twitter. Below is my response detailing the latest science, with the article attached in case you are unable to find it.
The scientists you quote repeated their own study on Pacific bluefin tuna in the US and Fukushima radiation testing in June 2013. Here are some highlights from their findings.
1. Radiation in bluefin from Fukushima is 1/1000 to 1/10000 of the radiation in natural seawater.
2. Radiation in bluefin from Fukushima is less than in food you eat every day that is uncontaminated (and much much less than x-rays, flying in a plane etc).
3. If 10,000,000 people each ate 124 kg per yr of bluefin tuna every year (which is a LOT), 2 might die from radiation.
4. However, global catch of Pacific bluefin is 20,000 t a year, allowing only 161,000 people to eat that much, resulting in only 0.03 extra deaths per year.
5. If they ate less, the risk would be much less.
6. Since a single Pacific bluefin tuna sold this year for $1.8 million, they would also be left in poverty. (Not all sell for that
much, I know.)
Now the salmon and herring in U.S. waters do not travel anywhere near Fukushima, and would have a radiation load thousands to millions of times lower. These fish have local populations and are quite distinct from those populations near Fukushima. Radiation from Fukushima is diluted very rapidly within a few km of the leaks (the volume of the ocean is vast), and further than that the radiation is less than the radiation from naturally occurring polonium in the ocean.
All of the scary stories compiled in the article are just that, scary stories completely unrelated to Fukushima. For example the quotes from Morton are specifically about disease in fish that has nothing to do with radiation.
To preserve the integrity of your news blog, I would suggest retracting the article.
We responded at the time:
While we respect Professor Branch’s expertise in fisheries science – his knowledge of fisheries is significantly greater than ours, and he has proven that he is an honest academic by disclosing his funding sources to us upon request – we believe that he has made several erroneous assumptions. Specifically:
In any event, this post does not argue that the injury to sealife is due to Fukushima … we honestly don’t know the cause or causes of the unusual behavior in ocean life, and are only certain of one thing: the U.S. and Canadian governments should fund extensive testing to figure out what’s really going on, and then publicly release the results.
* EneNews was the main source of information for this essay. For example, here’s a one-sentence round-up of ocean weirdness from EneNews:
Veteran Journalists Reveal that – Contrary to It’s Claims of “Openness” and “Transparency” – This Administration Is the Most Closed Ever
Long-time CNN political reporter Bob Franken (now with MSNBC) said last week:
FRANKEN: Well, let’s use the “P” word here. This is propaganda when it comes from the White House: government covering the government. It’s not what you’re supposed to do in the United States of America. But we have an administration, every president gets to the point where he dislikes the press. It’s that simple. And every administration tries to manipulate the press. But this is the most hostile to the media that has been in United States history. Not only do we have this thing where they’re…
[Interviewer]: Wait, you would go that far?
FRANKEN: I would go that far.
[Interviewer]: The most hostile in history?
FRANKEN: The most hostile because first of all, we have the situation where they are in fact shutting out the press. And by the way, when they say you can’t have every photographer in, they know full-well that there’s a thing called a pool, which is to say you have one representative from each of the media that represents all of them and shares the pictures and the sound and all that kind of thing. So that’s totally disingenuous, which is a polite word.
But the reason I say most hostile is because of the Justice Department moves that they’ve made against the press. Obviously they have a contempt for the journalistic process. Those of us who are in journalism, of course, believe that it is vital if you’re going to have informed electorate as opposed to one that’s been propagandized.
Many other veteran reporters agree. For example, the Washington Post reported recently:
With the passage of the Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a vast expansion of intelligence agencies and their powers, the aggressive exploitation of intrusive digital surveillance capabilities, the excessive classification of public documents and officials’ sophisticated control of the news media’s access to the workings of government, journalists who cover national security are facing vast and unprecedented challenges in their efforts to hold the government accountable to its citizens. They find that government officials are increasingly fearful of talking to them, and they worry that their communications with sources can be monitored at any time.So what are they doing? Many reporters covering national security and government policy in Washington these days are taking precautions to keep their sources from becoming casualties in the Obama administration’s war on leaks. They and their remaining government sources often avoid telephone conversations and e-mail exchanges, arranging furtive one-on-one meetings instead. A few news organizations have even set up separate computer networks and safe rooms for journalists trained in encryption and other ways to thwart surveillance.
“I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails,” said veteran national security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit accountability news organization. “It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for government to monitor those contacts.”
“We have to think more about when we use cellphones, when we use e-mail and when we need to meet sources in person,” said Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor of the Associated Press. “We need to be more and more aware that government can track our work without talking to our reporters, without letting us know.”
These concerns, expressed by numerous journalists I interviewed, are well-founded. Relying on the 1917 Espionage Act, which was rarely invoked before President Obama took office, this administration has secretly used the phone and e-mail records of government officials and reporters to identify and prosecute government sources for national security stories.
In addition to ongoing leak investigations, six government employees and two contractors, including fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have been prosecuted since 2009 under the Espionage Act for providing information to reporters about, among other subjects, the NSA’s communications surveillance, the CIA’s aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects and, in the case of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, diplomatic cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war documents.
The Obama administration has drawn a dubious distinction between whistleblowing that reveals bureaucratic waste or fraud, and leaks to the news media about unexamined secret government policies and activities; it punishes the latter as espionage.
Every disclosure to the press of classified information now triggers a leak investigation, said Washington Post national news editor Cameron Barr. “Investigations can be done electronically. They don’t need to compel journalists to reveal sources.”
The Post’s Justice Department reporter, Sari Horwitz, said a Justice official told her that “access to e-mail, phone records and cellphones make it easier to do now.”
After the New York Times published a 2012 story by David E. Sanger about covert cyberattacks by the United States and Israel against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, federal prosecutors and the FBI questioned scores of officials throughout the government who were identified in computer analyses of phone, text and e-mail records as having contact with Sanger.
“A memo went out from the chief of staff a year ago to White House employees and the intelligence agencies that told people to freeze and retain any e-mail, and presumably phone logs, of communications with me,” Sanger said. As a result, longtime sources no longer talk to him. “They tell me: ‘David, I love you, but don’t e-mail me. Let’s don’t chat until this blows over.’ ”
Sanger, who has worked for the Times in Washington for two decades, said, “This is most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”
A survey of government departments and agencies this summer by the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers found that they had wide latitude in defining what kinds of behavior constitute a threat. “Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material,” it reported in June. “They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for ‘high-risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.”
Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told me that the Insider Threat Program has already “created internal surveillance, heightened a degree of paranoia in government and made people conscious of contacts with the public, advocates and the press.”
“People think they’re looking at reporters’ records,” Post national security reporter Dana Priest told me. “I’m writing fewer things in e-mail. I’m even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it’s all going into one giant computer.”
“Whenever I’m asked what is the most manipulative and secretive administration I’ve covered, I always say it’s the one in office now,” Bob Schieffer, CBS News anchor and chief Washington correspondent, told me. “Every administration learns from the previous administration. They become more secretive and put tighter clamps on information. This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”
The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refusedto promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge
Congress Is Less Popular than Zombies, Witches, Dog Poop, Potholes, Toenail Fungus, Hemorrhoids, Cockroaches, Lice, Root Canals, Colonoscopies, Traffic Jams, Used Car Salesmen, Genghis Khan, Communism, North Korea, BP during the Gulf Oil Spill, Nixon During Watergate or King George During the American Revolution
When Congress’ approval rating was in the double-digits, polls showed that it was less popular among the American public than cockroaches, lice, root canals, colonoscopies, traffic jams, used car salesmen, Genghis Khan, Communism, North Korea, BP during the Gulf Oil Spill, Nixon during Watergate or King George during the American Revolution.
An October poll by Public Policy Polling showed that Congress is less popular among the American people than zombies, witches, dog poop, potholes, toenail fungus and hemorrhoids. That was when Congress’ approval rating was 8%.
Historians have estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of the European-American population of the colonies were Loyalists.
In other words, around 3 times as many colonists supported King George as the 6% which support our own Congress today.
Moreover, a May 2013 poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 29% of registered voters think that armed revolution may be “necessary” in the next couple of years. In other words, the number of Americans who think that armed revolution may be “needed” dwarf the number of Americans who approve of the job that Congress is doing.
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