More NSA-style surveillance won’t stop the next terror attack

Photo via Thierry Caro / Wikimedia Commons

What do the attacks in Paris mean for the NSA and the electronic surveillance debate? Predictably, many are seizing on the tragic events as proof showing the necessity of our current, bloated national security infrastructure, or even saying this incident warrants its further expansion. Before going into that argument, it’s hard to ignore the debate about the merits of the wide net-style surveillance system used by the U.S. and its allies in the first place. Perhaps most telling is the Continue reading

Do black lives really matter?

Photo via The All-Nite Images / Flikr

Events in recent months have lead us to ask such questions about how lives are valued and cherished here in the United States. While the events that have reignited such questions in the mainstream sphere — the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, namely — have been debated in depth and are worthy of more discussion.  However, that question can and should be applied to more than how the U.S.’ quagmire of a criminal justice system deals Continue reading

Americans are nonplussed by NSA leaks, Snowden – but why?

NSA leak indifference in US, a theory

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began spilling the beans on the dirty little secrets behind US intelligence operations, opinion among Americans on the whole matter has remained divided. Consensus on whether Snowden is a “hero” or a “traitor” remains elusive. Many Americans likely don’t have an opinion, at all. So why is the news of widespread, privacy-violating snooping by the NSA not enjoying common outrage among Americans? As Huffington Post points out in this recent article, polls show that Continue reading

Talk is cheap, but it’s also deadly – How to incite violence with careless rhetoric

Wave one of these around and you're guaranteed freedom! (Image courtesy Zvon)

This Wednesday, it was confirmed by the FBI that letters sent earlier in the week to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control lobby group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, were laced with ricin, a deadly poison. Since then, the Secret Service has confirmed that a third laced letter, intended for President Obama, have been intercepted. All three have also been found with this statement: “You will have to kill me and my family before you get my Continue reading

A different way to think about how we can “support our troops”

Those bumper stickers are helping them a lot. (Image courtesy of Afghanistan Matters.)

Now that most of the country has gotten its fill of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and sunshine on that lovely extra day of government mandated relaxing – aka Memorial Day – is over, maybe we can talk a little about our troops. We hear plenty of times how we should “support our troops” but how best can we do that? Is it by setting aside one day a year for people to go into a grilled food Continue reading

Ignoring race doesn’t make racism go away, it perpetuates it

Because Mexicans do not have ladder technology. (Photo by Wonderlane.)

There’s a popular sentiment – especially, but not exclusively, among individuals who might identify as “left leaning” or “liberal” – that even the acknowledgment of or discussion regarding “race” or ethnicity perpetuates racism and bigotry. This phenomenon is usually referred to as “colorblindness” – a naïve, albeit, on the surface admirable, attempt to de-fang racism. While I am often an advocate of a mindful use of discourse and the power it can have, culturally and socially, all colorblindness truly does Continue reading

Has austerity encouraged the come-back of European fascism?

50 million mark bill. At the worst of it, it was worth less than 1 US dollar.

In an alarming manner, several groups that are arguably of the fascist persuasion can been seen gathering political currency and even winning elections in several nations in Europe – between the Golden Dawn in Greece, who have popped up in recent years with increasing support or the British Nationalist Party, which has been making steady gains in the UK. While these neo-fascist movements are still relatively benign, the fact that they are making strides forward (and why that is) are Continue reading