Snowden and Snow Jobs

Edward Snowden has sure caused a stir. Where is he? China or Russia? You know darned well he does not want to be found by any agent of the United States or surrogate thereof and in his lifetime, never will. You know, you gotta think, what was Edward thinking?
Here is a guy that says he did not like what he was seeing. It bothered him that the United States government was spying on its own citizens…. not a little but a lot….. without court approval. Here is a guy that had a high clearance level to the secrets of our government and who worked for some independent contractor charged with managing those secrets.
Think about it. What did Snowden have to gain from going public with what he has? It sure has not made him safer and as far as we know now, it sure has not made him richer. What we do know is that he has drawn the curtain back on practices of our federal government that likely violate the Constitution. And all this from a guy who worked for an independent contractor.
The insanity of the situation starts first with the fact that Edward Snowden was in a place to know what he does. Are we nuts! The most closely guarded secrets of government are left to independent contractors. Incredible. And Snowden was not even a long time trusted employee. Smart choice.
It has been speculated that Snowden is a spy for China or Russia. If so, why would he go public? That makes no sense whatsoever. If a spy, he likely would have just faded into the woodwork and taken what he knows to aid countries not particularly friendly to us. By going public, he diminished the value of what he knows. By going public, our security agencies now know how vulnerable they are and can institute remedies. By going public, Snowden has informed the people of the United States that their government is spying on them in the name of making us safe from terrorists.
Those in Congress who are incensed over what Edward Snowden has revealed and want him caught and tried for espionage should step back. Snowden has done a service for those of us who believe in government for the people, not over the people.

Immigration and You

The US Senate is about to debate amendments to the proposed immigration reform bill. Even the amendment is hundreds of pages with much of it designed to negate language in the original bill promoted by the “Gang of Eight”. Conservatives and Liberals have gone nuts over this bill. All are betting on the outcome being more voters for their respective parties. Time for them to step back and do what is right.
Current law that has been in place for decades says that if you are in the United States without going through established legal procedures, you are here illegally. The law refers to those as “illegal aliens”. No matter how you massage the language to be politically correct, the operative term is “illegal”. This means against the law. This means being in the United States without legal permission. What about that is not clear? Those here illegally have not been deported only because they have not been caught and local or state law enforcement has been hog-tied and are unable to do anything about it.
Now the Gang of Eight wants to enact a law that provides a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million people who are in the United States illegally. This should not happen. For humanitarian reasons, there is a case for children of illegal aliens who were born in the United States to be legal citizens. Even this is bending the case for “anchor babies”, but it was no decision made by the baby. However, the parents should never have a path to full citizenship. Permanent residency, maybe under certain circumstances, but not full citizenship, ever. They should never have voting rights or be able to collect financial benefits paid for by legal citizen taxpayers. If they want citizenship, they should have to return to their country of origin and make application in line with all others who have followed the legal pathway.
The border with Mexico must be secured. If this means fences and armed outposts, that is what it means. If this means drones, airplanes, and boots on the ground; that is what it means. We do no less for protection of our ocean coasts and the border with Canada is a totally different matter. For an example of border control, take a look at how Mexico manages its southern border. The border between Mexico and the US should be nothing less and probably more. The goal is total stopping of illegal crossings, period.
We will see if the Congress has the guts to do what is right and lawful.

GMOs and your right to know

The countryside has been filled with tractors plowing and planting crops for this year. About all that can be seen from horizon to horizon are fields dedicated to growing genetically modified, or genetically engineered, corn and soybeans. This is Indiana. The final destinations for these crops following harvest this fall will be livestock feed and, in one form or another, food for our tables. No one will know though because none will be labeled, “GMO”, or genetically modified.

Corn or Soy Beans: Take Your Pick
Corn or Soy Beans: Take Your Pick

Labeling is required for GMO’s in about 65 countries worldwide. These include all of Europe, Australia, Japan, Russia, South Africa and dozens of others. Some countries ban genetically modified foods altogether. One must wonder if other countries know something the United States does not. The big seed and chemical corporations do not want labels. So far, they have successfully stopped labeling in this country. They do not want people to know GMOs are in the food they eat. It is a secret to be kept by them only.
There are many questions about genetically modified foods and their long term safety for people and the environment. More and more evidence is accumulating saying all is not well. All is not well for people and animals that eat these foods. All is not well for the natural environment and the genetic contamination GMOs bring. All is not well with the use of the toxic chemical poisons, herbicides and pesticides, used on crops or in the case of GMO corn with the pesticide that each cell of the plant produces on its own in every plant cell and corn kernel. All is not well with the pesticide residues on harvested crops. All is not well. But all that is to be kept secret, too.
The historical record shows that even the scientists in the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) were concerned about the safety of genetically modified crops over 20 years ago. That did not matter because those who approved GMOs were political appointees. One key appointee at the FDA was an attorney for a firm that did legal work for Monsanto before coming to the FDA. Although he has been in and out of the FDA and Monsanto more than once, he is now in a key food safety position at the FDA
Many states have had GMO labeling legislation introduced, including Indiana. The most visible one was California. Big agriculture and food corporations spent about $45 million on a publicity campaign to narrowly defeat Proposition 37 there. Private Citizens who believe they have a right to know what is in their food could not match that kind of steamrolling propaganda effort. One wonders what there is to hide if millions are spent to defeat a law that would openly tell people what is in their food.
The controversy about GMOs and poisons, pesticides, is reminiscent of the tobacco companies that kept people in the dark for decades about the bad or even catastrophic long term health effects of smoking. Tobacco corporate executives lied to Congress. The largest GMO seed and chemical corporation that wants us to trust it is the one that gave us DDT, Dioxin, PCBs, and Agent Orange.