Last Summer, Rand Paul announced intentions to file a class action lawsuit against the NSA for their spying program. On January 4, 2014, former Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli announced on facebook that he would be joining Rand Paul in the lawsuit, “Join Rand Paul and I in asserting our right to privacy.” The irony is that anyone who signs the online petition is added to a mailing list for Rand Paul’s 2016 re-election campaign.
Then on January 5, Rand Paul told George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t think Edward Snowden deserves the death penalty or life in prison, I think that’s inappropriate.” Paul added that Snowden leaked secrets “and things that could endanger lives” and suggested that Snowden “would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison which would be probably not unlike what James Clapper probably deserves for lying to Congress.” Paul further suggested that Snowden and Clapper should serve time in a prison cell together.
I can not begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that allows someone to initiate a lawsuit against the NSA for violating the privacy of millions of Americans, while simultaneously stating that the person responsible for bringing that information to light is a criminal who should be punished. It is a further act of mental gymnastics to claim that any of the information made public by Edward Snowden could have endangered lives. The US government admitted that nothing leaked by Private Manning endangered any lives, and that was information that exposed American war crimes in Iraq & Afghanistan. If nothing revealed by Private Manning endangered any lives, how could it be construed that Edward Snowden endangered lives?
The New York Times and UK Guardian both published editorials calling for clemency for Snowden, with The New York Times writing, “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.”
Exposing criminal wrongdoing by a government must never be a crime. Neither Private Manning, nor Edward Snowden, nor any other person who exposes government misdeeds should face any jail time. Private Manning should be given a full pardon, and Edward Snowden should have all of the charges against him dismissed. If anyone belongs in a jail cell, it is the people who have violated the rights of millions of people around the world, not the people who brought their crimes to light.
On January 2, Ed Krayewski from Reason wrote, “[New Year's Day] marked the beginning of a legal market in recreational marijuana in Colorado, the first time government-licensed shops have ever sold marijuana anywhere in the world.”
There is, however, one major inaccuracy with that statement. Aside from the fact that cannabis has been available for years in medical dispensaries, it was not always against the law to purchase, possess or consume cannabis. In fact, in the United States, there were no federal laws regarding cannabis until the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which “required that certain special drugs, including… cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents.” The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, “made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, in which an inexpensive excise tax was required.” see more…
On Christmas Eve, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden delivered a Christmas message for British TV station Channel 4, saying, “George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book… are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.
A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves — an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters.”
Snowden added, “Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.” Without moments of privacy, people can’t create, soul search, or even sit down to cry without fear of being interrupted or judged, not just by their own peers, but by government agents as well. see more…
by Cody Quirk
Recently, there was a controversial and outrageously inaccurate article in the Salt Lake Tribune which gave the false impression that our state affiliate in Utah was not only a religious (specifically a Latter-Day Saint) extremist party, but even attempted to portray the National Independent American Party as willing to disrespect the LDS Church’s stance on political neutrality!
Unlike what was portrayed in the SLT article, the so-called pamphlet in question was a simple party-unapproved flyer that was put out by a well-intentioned member of the IAP whom did have previous permission from his Church’s Bishop and Stake President to conduct a nonpartisan class on the U.S. Constitution and was advertising it on the flyer in question. see more…
In November, with little media coverage, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led the charge in changing the Senate rules relating to filibusters. The Washington Post reported, “Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard,” noting, “the rule change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or to legislation.” see more…
It is no secret that the federal government spends millions of dollars on research.
Sometimes those funds go to questionable studies, such as the study by Joseph Staton, of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, to determine why “most cooked, exotic meats taste like… the domestic chicken?”
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Staton wanted to sample dinosaur, and requested a T. rex bone from Chicago’s Field museum, but wasn’t able to acquire the bone because of “red tape.”