Posts Tagged With: Barack Obama

Don’t Make a Hero of Snowden — Yet

Edward Snowden must not be made a hero! That probably comes as a surprise to anyone who read my previous two pieces on PRISM,

This guy gets it

This guy gets it

but it’s a genuine concern. The question of Snowden as hero or traitor threatens to derail the much more important conversation that we need to have in the United States.

Bipartisan attacks on Snowden are already being leveled. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bill Nelson, both Democrats, and the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner have all called Snowden a traitor. Others are praising him as a hero. And, as the go-to newspaper for lobbyists, POLITICO has already pointed out, the debate itself is precisely what President Obama wants. While we debate the pros and cons of Ed Snowden, we’re not discussing PRISM.

Snowden, of course, did a courageous thing. He threw away a very highly paid job because he couldn’t stomach what he was doing. He could have simply quit, but he thought it was important that people know about this program. If we have some real reform that stops the US government from spying on innocent citizens, here and around the world, or at least stops them from doing it on such a huge scale, we can stop and give him the honor he deserves. Continue reading

Categories: US Government | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Guns We Trust

This article originally appeared at Souciant, where I have a weekly column

The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf.

After the horrifying shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty children, along with six adults, were repeatedly shot dead, half the country demanded limitations on the availability of guns, especially semi-automatic weaponry.

The other half, incredibly, argued that guns were not the problem and, in a refrain that was far too common, suggested that if the teachers were armed, the killer would have been stopped. The vociferousness with which this proposal was put forward, was astonishing, considering the bloodshed. Support came from a variety of establishment quarters, and included numerous and prominent Republican officials.

Unfortunately, firearms advocates have constitutional backing, which plays no small part in undergirding our country’s culture of violence. The US Constitution was a groundbreaking document in its day, even if it has been improved upon in other countries since. However, the Second Amendment to that Constitution, which grants Americans the right to own guns, was a masterpiece of  vagueness that has left a bloody legacy behind it. Continue reading

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