I have no problem whatever with reasonable efforts on the part of our government and its assignees to fully protect the security of our nation. In fact, thank them for their efforts and patriotism.
That said, a recap is in order of recent revelations brought to our attention by Edward Snowden who blew the cover on the National Security Agency’s PRISM program to tap everybody in secret. We are now so very close to George Orwell’s vision is his novel 1984.
Legislation was passed, which the American public had no detailed knowledge of, and Congress itself did not understand. It was then interpreted by some in positions of authority (perhaps legally, perhaps not,) to give our security folks the right to access each and every Internet and cell phone connection.
A “secret court” (now no longer secret, thanks to Snowden,) the general public had no knowledge of makes determinations and orders publicly held companies to comply with their demands and keep it secret, or else. Journalists (God bless ’em) and individuals who try to inform the public risk being charged with crimes and imprisoned. To say nothing of the entire scheme to pursue those whose politics may be out of favor.
The president and members of the House and Senate have lied to us. Shame on them. Listen to our national anthem. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Whatever good may have come from this secret program, and certainly there has been good, has been far overshadowed by the manner in which some approached their task. Nixon was impeached for far less a violation of trust with the people of this nation.
I don’t think Americans want to see this security initiative stopped, not at all. But we do want transparency and checks and balances in place. And we want something very simple: the truth. There should be a standing review committee made up of journalists, citizens and civil servants. Their conclusions and reports to Congress should be public and transparent.
This entire debacle is an example of how a well-intentioned initiative can morph into something the people of this nation find abhorrent and that tears at the very fabric of who we are and who we choose to be in the world of nations.
Thanks are certainly due to our dedicated security personnel for their efforts. But thanks are also due to the journalists (like Bob Woodward of the Nixon days) who had and have the courage to tell the truth, and to the young man, Edward Snowden, who had the character to tell us something that he knew we needed to know without consideration of what he knew to be the very likely personal consequences.
In truth, the ones who should be charged with crimes are those who hid this from us. Every American must stand tall for the values we believe in and remind our fellow citizens when they forget.
David E. Kettlewell
Agenda of obstruction
Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric of the tea party and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. When they say “limited government” what they really are saying is: Let’s do away with all entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and others.
A good example of who they are is right here in Ohio. The governor, whom I don’t agree with 99 percent of the time, proposed to extend Medicaid to poor working people and the homeless, including veterans. Well, you know what happened. It was not passed, because their attitude is: I’ve got mine, and if you don’t have yours, tough. If you are unemployed and drawing unemployment, you are the 47 percent mooching off us, the taxpayers.
All the tea party members want to do is obstruct, especially in Congress. If President Obama proposes something, they are against it, even if they favored it at one time. They can’t stand having a black man with an African Muslim name in the Oval Office. Prejudice and intolerance are alive and well in our great country.
To those generous workers
Friendship toward a stranger and unexpected generosity caught me by surprise the morning of June 7. I was riding my power wheelchair on the sidewalk on Second Street in Cuyahoga Falls en route to Valley Savings Bank, when I came upon some workers who were digging up the street in front of the driveway to the rectory for St. Joseph’s Church.
I noticed that they were wearing lime-green safety vests, and one had on a lime-green safety hooded sweat jacket. In the interest of safety, I paused and rode my wheelchair over to the workers to ask where I could purchase a vest and a hooded jacket like theirs. They told me the names of some stores that stock the vests and tee shirts in safety colors. I thanked them and continued on to the bank.
Upon my return trip home, I saw one of the workers flagging me down. The workers gave me one of their own vests without charge and told me the stains should come out in the wash. I forgot to get their names. I was so surprised by their selfless act. So, I’d like to thank them now in the hopes that they read this letter.
The vest fits perfectly over my shirt and even a jacket. I washed the vest by hand in my kitchen sink, and it looks like new now. I am so thrilled by their generosity. I regret not getting their names, but if they are reading this they know who they are.
It’s rather interesting. After years of Republicans, tea “party” members and conservatives telling the non-Republican-voting population that Obama should act more like George W. Bush, they are now screaming bloody murder because Obama is acting like George W. Bush. Or so the allegedly “liberal-biased media” is making it look like.
I think the Beacon Journal needs to revisit the archives and dig up the old articles and letters to remind people how the liberals and the American Civil Liberties Union were treated after warning everybody about granting the president, at the time George W. Bush, this kind of unlimited power. You know, those articles in which the right-wingers were telling the American left that they should shut the heck up and quit “coddling” the terrorists.
Measure of privacy
The same President Obama who exerted untallied effort to thwart revelation about the simple facts of his birth — father, birth place, etc. — now professorially lectures on the necessity of Americans accepting “modest encroachments” on their privacy.
What’s good for me isn’t good for you. Was it not ever thus? Rules exist to be excepted — the more rules, the more exceptions.
Americans should secure the privacy of their communications the old-fashioned, Benjamin Franklin way: Use the U.S. Postal Service before it’s put out of commission.
Terror and treason
The new twist in the Fort Hood massacre case of Nidal Hasan wanting to be his own attorney in “defense of others” makes only more irrefutable the Benghazi-style deception of the Obama regime in trying to dismiss the massacre as mere “workplace violence.”
Go ahead, let Hasan convict himself by telling the jury he shot U.S. troops to protect Taliban leaders, making his action not only terrorism (with his radical Islam declaration “Allahu Akbar!”) but, because he’s a U.S. citizen, also self-admitted murderous treason. My advice? It may be more suitable to deny him martyrdom via execution, instead sending him to rot for the rest of his life in Gitmo.
Don F. McClish
To decrease infant mortality
Infant mortality is an important issue in Ohio and Summit County. Infant mortality statistics are a marker of the health of the community. While many states have shown a decrease in infant mortality of 3 percent per year, Ohio and Summit County continue to see a much higher rate, and the disparity between African-Americans and others in the community continues to grow.
On June 6, over 350 community leaders and concerned citizens gathered at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron to learn more about this critical issue and to offer their voices in the fight to lower the infant mortality rate in Summit County.
This is the first step in an awareness campaign. We are now developing a plan to decrease the number of infants who die before their first birthday in the county. By increasing awareness of the problem, identifying barriers to care and working to minimize or eliminate those barriers, and promoting the health of young women and families before, during and after pregnancy, we plan to make a difference. Every baby matters. County Executive Russ Pry and Health Commissioner Gene Nixon strongly support this effort.
Lisa J. Kohler
Summit County medical examiner