April Fools Obama

You know how candidate Obama though president launching war without congressional authorization was illegal?

As it turns out, Obama was wrong. Or was he?

Foreign Policy Reports:

“Apparently Obama’s lawyers told him he could do it, and he liked their advice: “Prior congressional approval was not constitutionally required to use military force in the limited operations under consideration.” We know this from the opinion drafted by U.S. Justice Department lawyers on April 1, which was publicly released on April 7, on the legality of military operations in Libya following the U.N. Security Council’s go-ahead.”

April 1st!!! Obama wasn’t wrong, his lawyers was just pulling an April fools on him.

Reblog: A New Beginning

Reblog from: Charles Mudede:

Now that the Arab world is officially in transition

Officials did not immediately confirm the report that Gamal Mubarak has fled to the British capital with his wife and daughter aboard a private jet.The jet with Mubarak, his family and 97 pieces of luggage on board left for London on Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo, according to the US-based Akhbar al-Arab.

Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month. The anti-government protests in Egypt broke out after opposition groups waged an internet campaign inspired by the Tunisian uprising.

An anti-riot police officer was killed in clashes on Tuesday in central Cairo, Egyptian daily ‘al-Wafd’ reported. Egyptian security forces reported used tear gas, fire hoses, and clubs to disperse protesters in Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo.

… We can formulate a theory of the initiating point of this transition. I locate Obama’s speech in Cairo “A New Beginning”. From this point radiates these recent turbulence in the Arab world. Yes, Tunisia caught the State Department completely by surprise. But what Obama did was precisely lessen the tension between the Arab nations and the US, and this in turn meant, for the subjects of Arab nations and also Iran, more anger could be committed to local rather than international matters. None of this would be happening if George W. Bush were in power. All he could do was intensify Arab nationalism, and this nationalism benefited the rulers, kept them in power, kept attention away from their dark doings. This is only a rough theory. More information will, of course, change this theory. Egypt is a complicated country.

This is the perfect demonstration of statesmanship and soft power.

A hit job on Wikileaks

Joshua Keating an otherwise excellent blogger of international affairs for Foreign Policy‘s blog Passport (i am a subscriber), wrote a blog piece that oddly seems like a slanderous hit job on Wikileaks. Probably socialized by his pals at the State Department into hating Wikileaks, i dont know.

The post is titled “Collaborate with WikiLeaks at your own risk”. It accuse Wikileaks of “no longer seems very good at protecting its sources.” Then imply that Wikileaks has something to do with the arrest of PFC Bradley Manning and soon-to-be-arrest of Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer; and generally abandon its original mission.

From Passport:

[Wikileaks] now relies more on cooperation with major news outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times rather than its own website, which can no longer really be described as a Wiki. WikiLeaks’ primary adeversaries these days are global superpowers and the world’s most powerful corporations, rather than the “oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East” who were its original stated targets.

But perhaps most important for the WikiLeaks project, the site no longer seems very good at protecting its sources. Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier thought to be the source of the Afghan and Iraq war logs as well as the WikiLeaks cables, has been held a detention center in Quantico, Va. for the last five months without even a pre-trial hearing, kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and prevented from excercising or sleeping during the day. WikiLeaks dragged its feet for months on a pledge to donate money to his defense fund.

Yesterday, Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer was arrested by Swiss authorities after handing over two CDs of client data to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Elmer had just avoided jail time related to a previous release of data to WikiLeaks in 2007.

Granted, Elmer’s motives seem more than a little suspect and he had no interest in anonymity — he handed over the data to Assange at a news conference. But the fact that the sources behind WikiLeaks’ biggest revelations are winding up in jail — contradicting the site’s original stated purpose — doesn’t bode very well for its ability to continue attracting whistleblowers.

This post have no obviously journalistic value, other than demonstrating the negative bias Joshua Keating have toward Wikileaks.
I was going to write a retort of this sleazy hit job on Wikileaks but instead of i am just going to quote a commentator signed “J-BENTHAM”. Links in the quotation are obviously mine.

Misleading and Untrue

This piece contains elements that are misleading and untrue.

Wikileaks does rely on cooperation with the Times and the Guardian, but it alone hosts the entire document database, surely an arduous task.

Given the recent Tunisian revolt brought about by Wikileaks revelations, I think that it’s difficult to say that Wikileaks has not done enough in the Middle Eastern realm.

Bradley Manning was responsible for his own arrest, revealing himself as the one responsible for the release of thousands of documents and the collateral murder video. To imply that the intolerable way in which he is being treated is the fault of Wikileaks as opposed to the U.S government is wrong.

Neither is Wikileaks responsible for the release of Elmer’s name, as the author mentions. In fact, Wikileaks couldn’t have been responsible due to the way its publishing system is set up. It does not know the identity of its sources. The author of this piece seems to know this at the beginning, and then apparently not.

The reason Wikileaks has not contributed to Manning’s defence fund is because the organization itself is struggling to stay afloat. It is by no means “dragging its feat.”

Knock it off! Joshy

Obama! watch out for Asia.

The Field, an election blog had a really impressive post on why Obama should go on his foreign policy tour as planned.

These are just a few things I wanted to add to sections on Asia and Europe.

On Europe it states:

The Field isn’t sure where in Asia would be most beneficial for a presidential candidate to go, particularly if the goal is to speak to a Chinese-American population that is mainly sympathetic to Taiwan and not to mainland China’s government, but maybe some Field readers will offer some additional commentary on that.

To visit Asia without stopping by Japan (America’s most important strategic and economic ally in Asia) will not impress the Japanese, and will give Clinton ammunition to attack Obama. Some Japanese were not happy when Bill Clinton flu over Japan to visiting China first before Japan in 1996 (thats the correct year if I am not mistaken). So drop by Japan. A note of caution, while in Japan, although unlikely, don’t be ambushed by the anti-American-base-in-japan protesters. A number of American soldiers was just charge with gang-raping an underage Japanese girl. There has been numerous allegation of American soldiers raping underage Japanese girls, ever since the end of WW2.

Visiting mainland China is risky, because of the nuanced triangular relationship and Obama should not want to be accuse of influencing the up coming presidential election in Taiwan held on the 22nd of march. However it would be a big plus if Obama can give a confidence building speech in Japan along the line of:

  1. He sees US-Japan alliance to be fundamentally important to peace and stability in Asia (meaning the US will protect Japan, please don’t re-militarise and don’t build nukes);
  2. He will adhere to the Three Joint Communiques (meaning recognizing one China);
  3. His policy toward Taiwan will be bound by the Taiwan Relation Act (meaning peace in Taiwan is very very important to America).
  4. Voice strongly against war in Taiwan strait and unilaterally changing status quo between china-Taiwan (meaning dont want Taiwan to officially declare independence)
  5. Tell China, that he sees China to be a strategic partner not strategic competitor (meaning we are friends not enemy).
  6. Give a somewhat tough talks on Chinese human rights record and encourage china to do more about protecting environment.
  7. Talk tougher against north Korean nuclear program and human right record.
  8. Pledge to have real consultation with South Korea and other Six Party Talk members (meaning no saber rattling against North Korea).

These policy positions are not innovative, they are basically the positions Bill Clinton’s administration had and Asian states involve usually comfortable with them. Stating them in a speech will build confident among Asian states and American foreign policy people.

While in Asia, Obama might want to talk about labor/environmental standard in China and health and safety issues regarding imports. This will be evident against suggestion made by the Clinton camp that Obama says one thing to American audience and something else to foreign government.

Regarding European trip it states:

The BBC reports:

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s roots have possibly been traced to an 18th century Irish shoemaker. Church of Ireland rector Canon Stephen Neill said the Hawaiian-born Illinois senator’s ancestors hailed from the village of Moneygall in County Offaly. He said Mr Obama is directly descended from shoemaker Joseph Kearney’s son Fulmuth, who emigrated to the US…

It’s not just where Obama could go, but who he might bring along on a trip to his ancestral Ireland… perhaps including Governor Kathleen Sebelius (nee, Gilligan) with him to remind of the link from Ireland to the senator’s grandparents and mother’s native Kansas, and maybe a member of the Kennedy family (i.e. former Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, a supporter), and there he would have the makings of a photo op heard round the world while sipping Guinness meeting long lost cousins in a local pub.

I am biologically an Asian and have been target of racist language, I am against racism and racism have no place in politics. However there are voters who are not racist but may be unconsciously effected by sublime anti-Obama message. Obama might be able to use his ancestral trip to Ireland to subtlety remind people that he is half while.
I feel like small man to even suggest this.

One more thing, Obama is already seen by pundit to be too European, don’t give Republican ammunition to attack Obama like the way they attacked John Kerry.