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No ‘pardon’ for Snowden

2 Political Junkies takes after Marty Griffin for his “hour-long rant” on KDKA criticizing The New York Times for urging what Mr. Griffin called a “pardon” for NSA mega-leaker Edward Snowden. The Junkies pointed out that “this is what [the Times] actually wrote”:

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blowerturn home, face at least to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to re, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community. [Emphasis added]

The Junkies explain, “A plea bargain or clemency is not a pardon, Marty. You should know that. A ‘substantially reduced punishment’ also is not a pardon, Marty. You should know that, too.”

Misdirected drones

Via the Atlantic Wire: Heather Linebaugh at The Guardian on America’s drone program. “Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand,” Ms. Linebaugh, a former U.S. drone operator, writes.

“What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. … I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”

Al Jazeera America producer Azmat Khan asks, “If video from a drone ‘is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon,’ how does it confirm targets?”

Free abortions in Israel

Adam Weinstein at Gawker: “American conservatives love, love, love Israel. They also hate, hate, hate abortion and socialized medicine. American conservatives face one hell of a moral conundrum in the new year. Via Ha’aretz: ‘Israel will pay for abortions for women aged 20 to 33 regardless of circumstance starting next year, health officials said Monday. … Officials ultimately aim to fund all abortions as part of the Jewish state’s publicly subsidized ‘health basket’ for citizens, as well as offering full contraceptive coverage …’ ”

Mr. Weinstein observes, “This will be a tough cookie for the mostly evangelical philo-Semites of the American Right. Consider Sarah Palin … She’s a Pentecostal who’s sworn to combat ‘the atrocity of abortion’ and decried Obamacare as ‘the biggest advance of the abortion industry in America.’ She’s also visited the Holy Land, made a cottage industry of ‘defending our friends in Israel,’ and told Israelis to stop ‘apologizing all the time’ for doing their thang.”

Princesses proliferate

Jia Tolentino at The Hairpin attended 18 weddings in 2013 and had this to say about them: “18 women, 18 brides. 18 capable, wonderful, educated, privileged, professional, socially aware female humans enthusiastically plunging into an institution that holds about as much interest for me as a bag of playground rocks (some! Not much, though) and whose associated totems have historically represented the diminishment and commodification of a gender that needs more of either as much as we need a swift punch in the face.

“I understand easily why a man would want a wife; it’s harder to for me to grasp why a woman would want to be one. The language and semiotics of marriage are terrible: we’re still proposed to, our cervical fealty insured by a ring, our fathers give us away, … we erase and replace our own names. The preferred aesthetic for ‘bride’ is still very close to that of ‘princess,’ a role so passive and empty that there’s not even anything there to subvert.”


Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).

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