Monthly Archives: May 2016

Whistle-Blower, Beware

Today’s New York Times has an op-ed on Edward Snowden’s disclosure that “the National Security Agency was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.” The author, Mark Hertsgaard, shows that Snowden’s decision was shaped by the experience of Thomas Drake, “a senior N.S.A. official who had also complained, 12 years earlier, about warrantless surveillance.”

Drake’s house was raided by the F.B.I., and he “was forced to resign and was indicted on 10 felony charges arising from an alleged ‘scheme’ to improperly ‘retain and disclose classified information.'”

Snowden “followed the Drake case closely in the news media” and told Al Jazeera, “If there hadn’t been a Thomas Drake, there couldn’t have been an Edward Snowden.”

Hertsgaard opines that Drake’s case convinced Snowden that he

had only two real options: remain silent, or break the law by leaking documents to the press in hopes that would bring scrutiny to the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities.

Were those truly the only options available to Snowden? I’m doubtful. What do you think?

Ken Pimple
May 26, 2016
3:30 pm EST

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The Broken Bargain With College Graduates

An op-ed in today’s New York Times reiterates points we made in an earlier post: The high rate of college tuition debt is an ethical problem for the United States, in part because, as the editorial says,

the familiar assumption — graduate from college and prosperity will follow — has been disproved in this century. College-educated workers have not seen meaningful pay raises, and public policy has failed to address the stagnation.

The editorial goes on to paraphrase President Obama on ways to improve the situation:

Modernize infrastructure. Raise the minimum wage. Reverse the dynamics that increase executive pay and depress employee pay. Close tax loopholes that enrich the wealthy, and give tax breaks to families to help pay for child care. Ensure that women earn equal pay for equal work.

One must hope that our next president, and the congress with which she or he will have to contend, will act quickly and comprehensibly.

Ken Pimple
May 22, 2016
6:30 pm EST

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