The Common Good

Quick Read: Social. Justice. News.

DRONE WATCH: World Opinion Opposes Drones

According to a new Pew Research Center global survey:

"The Obama administration's increasing use of unmanned drone strikes to kill terror suspects is widely opposed around the world.  … In 17 out of 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the people disapproved of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."

The major exception? “… in the United States, a majority, or 62 percent, approved the drone campaign.”

You can read the Pew Survey HERE.

+Leave a Comment | Peace & Nonviolence

DRONE WATCH: Drones on the Hill

Twenty-six Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama yesterday demanding the White House’s legal justification for “signature” drone strikes. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), with 23 other Democrats and two Republicans wrote:

“We are concerned that the use of such ‘signature’ strikes could raise the risk of killing innocent civilians or individuals who may have no relationship to attacks on the United States. Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight. We are further concerned about the legal grounds for such strikes under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The implications of the use of drones for our national security are profound. They are faceless ambassadors that cause civilian deaths, and are frequently the only direct contact with Americans that the targeted communities have.  They can generate powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment.” 

In the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced the “Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act,” which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to surveil U.S. citizens. According to Sen. Paul:

"Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics."

+Leave a Comment | Peace & Nonviolence

DRONE WATCH: Drone Debate, Continue or Stop?

After running an editorial, USA Today often follows it with an opposing view on the topic. It’s  a good feature, giving readers both sides of issues.  Today’s editorial was on drones.  After considering the major objections to drones, the editorial concludes:

"These are all valid concerns. For the time being, though, the U.S. continues to confront a non-state enemy bent on plotting terror attacks inside America. Unless someone comes up with a better way to protect the nation, the drone strikes should continue, at least until Osama bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, is eliminated and al-Qaeda is out of business."

The opposing view, written by Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, argues that:

"White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan admits that the U.S. targeted killing program sets a precedent. Russia, China or Iran may claim tomorrow, as our government does today, the power to declare individuals enemies of the state and kill them far from any battlefield, based on secret legal criteria, secret evidence and a secret process. That is the world we are unleashing unless the program is stopped."

+Leave a Comment | Peace & Nonviolence

The Atlantic: Give Us Your Geniuses

From The Atlantic, a plea for an immigration policy that encourages the movement of high-skilled foreign nationals to the United States:

In this age of extreme polarization, it seems unlikely that there would be an issue where the benefits were so large and the correct course of action so clear that it would unite liberals and conservatives, allowing Democratic and Republican congressmen to pause in their struggle and rocket it through Congress. But it is not wishful thinking. There exists such a policy. The United States must admit many more high-skilled immigrants.

Read the full article here

+Leave a Comment | Immigration

God's Economy?

Paul Froese offers some interesting insights for Religion & Politics:

Perhaps it is the fervent individualism of American Christianity which makes free market capitalism seem like a Divine mandate. Because evangelicals assert that you alone are responsible for your eternal salvation, it makes sense that the individual is also responsible for his or her economic salvation without government assistance, especially if God is the only assistance you really need.

 
Read the full article here
 

 

+Leave a Comment | Faith & Politics

Can Technology Bring about World Peace?

A fascinating essay on 'geo-economics' for The Atlantic by Ayesha and Parag Khanna:

Still, technology is playing a great role in not just the events of geopolitical history but its course. If military power is inherently competitive -- the stronger your army and the weaker your neighbor's, the more powerful you become -- then economic power is more cooperative. After all, much of America's power today is economic, but that power would decrease if China's economy collapses. Technological power is also cooperative in this way, perhaps even more so.

Read more here

 

+Leave a Comment | Economic Justice

Teens Struggle to Find Summer Jobs

A record number of teens will be able to find work this summer, The Associated Press reports:

Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.

Fewer than three in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year olds falling to the lowest level since World War II.
 
And teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels, suggests a projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
+Leave a Comment | Economic Justice

Doubting God

On the CNN Belief Blog, Dan Merica reports:

The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.
 
In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.
 
More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.
 
Read more about the report here
+Leave a Comment | Faith & Politics

DRONE WATCH: Drones Strike Yemen and Pakistan

After more than a week with no reported drone strikes, there are news reports this morning of strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.

Over the past several days, the Yemeni army has recaptured two towns from Ansar al-Sharia — an offshoot of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  Militants have fled and heavy fighting continues.  Apparently as part of that offensive, an attack by a US drone killed nine people: 

A US drone struck a house where al-Qaeda militants were meeting, and a car nearby," in the town of Azzan in Shabwa province early in the morning, a tribal source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In Pakistan, the Associated Press reports:

"Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed four suspected militants after firing two missiles at a vehicle in which they were riding near the Afghan border.

 

+Leave a Comment | Peace & Nonviolence

Creflo Dollar: Police Release Daughter's 911 Tapes Reporting Assault by Father

According to CNN:

ATLANTA, Ga. – With a calm voice and collected manner about her, a 15-year-old girl called Fayette County 911 to report that her father assaulted her. The call led police to the suburban Atlanta home of megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and ultimately resulted in a night behind bars on Friday.

The audio from the phone call was released Tuesday.

“I just got into an altercation with my father. He punched me and threatened to choke me,” the girl told a 911 dispatcher. “Um, this is not the first time that this has happened. I feel threatened by being in this house. Um… I don’t know, I don’t know what can be done. But I’m scared, I’m shaking.“

Dollar publicly denied punching or choking his teenage daughter during Sunday service at World Changers International Church, but in the police report, he admitted emotions ran high very early Friday morning and he attempted to “restrain” his daughter when she became “disrespectful.”

In the 911 tapes, the teen explained to the dispatcher that her father attacked her because of grades and a dispute about a party that she wanted to attend.

Read more HERE.

+Leave a Comment | Peace & Nonviolence