Thursday, July 4, 2013

chanting in the rain...

Restore the Fourth held its Atlanta protest at noon today at the gold-domed Georgia state capitol.

Restore the Fourth is a national protest that is being held on the 4th of July in one hundred cities across America. The movement is working to increase public awareness of the assault by the National Security Agency and other government agencies, legislature and practices against the Fourth Amendment.

It is primarily concerned, however, with the NSA program called PRISM, and with attempts by the current administration to prosecute whistle-blower Edward Snowden for espionage.

Between fifty and seventy-five protestors attended the Atlanta event, which included protestors from a cross-section of America, and an age range spanning children to teens to adults from twenty-something to grandparents and retirees.

A wide cross-section of Americans

Although downtown Atlanta was largely deserted, passing cars honked to show their support, to ready cheers from the protestors. After holding signs and chanting, the protestors gathered around an open mic to share the inspiration and expertise of attendees.

One speaker reminded that the democratic process is one of the things that makes America great, and that the very goodness that has always defined America is threatened by a loss of that process now.

Another speaker reminded that the people in government are our servants. How can they be our servants, the speaker roared, if they operate in secret? How can a democracy function when it operates in secret?

Jason, a young man who served five years in Kuwait and was one of several who came to the protest in his military fatigues, noted that relationships break apart if communication suffers. [Correction: Jason served one year in Kuwait. Ed.]

He cautioned, however, that the process of setting this loss right works better if individuals communicate to Congress that 'we have your back,' and affirm the great job that each official is doing.

Jason advised that concerned Americans must go to the Internet, research the events that are happening now, and share what each finds. It is when each reaches the 'strongest moral conclusion' about what he has found that he comes into his own.

He reiterated again that it is at that point that each must 'share the knowledge' of that moral conclusion.

A one in 22 million chance governs whether the average person will be injured in a terrorist attack, against a one in six that each will have a heart attack, one speaker noted.

What is happening in America today is overkill, another speaker readily chimed in. Russian soldiers are coming to America to 'help' with security. How could that be needed?

Open-mic, in between rain showers

The Fourth Amendment governs the right of the American people against unreasonable search and seizure. Recent disclosures by Edward Snowden concerning how the National Security Agency has used PRISM to gain total control over the private communications (and thus lives) of all Americans has brought the matter of privacy to a head.

The Patriot Act is also implicated in the burgeoning loss of autonomy that is the result of loss of privacy.

While Restore the Fourth is primarily concerned with the Fourth Amendment, literature handed out at the protest reminds that the First and Fifth Amendments are also at risk.

As the protest gave over to the returning rain, some returned to holding their signs up while others huddled under their umbrellas as they headed to other parts of the city for their holiday. "We plead the 4th," one sign read, while its companion, undeterred by the rain, noted, "The 4th rules, surveillance drools..."

Another Atlanta protest, supporting Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, was held at 8 a.m. at Piedmont Street on the block between 10th and 11th Streets. It garnered about ten protestors, and was organized by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.

A speaker at the Restore the Fourth protest mentioned having been at an earlier protest. People were amazed, he said. They kept saying they did not know that these things were happening.

It is an America, another said, where the nightly news is all about the George Zimmerman trial...

Hundreds knew to march in New York City
March in Washington, D.C.
Marches in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City
Birmingham, AL
Raleigh, NC
Charlotte, NC
Portsmouth NH
Savannah, GA
Rochester, NY
Other groups set on the same goal
Overview from the Guardian (UK)

why this matters (and on this day wherein we celebrate America, and all that she is)

Bolivian plane rerouted on Snowden suspicions

Anna Arutunyan and Kim Hjelmgaard
USA Today
3 July 2013

"France and Portugal refused to let a plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales into their airspace because of suspicions that Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, was on board. The plane was rerouted to Austria, said Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca. The official denied Snowden was on board."

[Read more...]

Wikipedia details a brief history of asylum as a legal right. It provides sufficient overview from which to understand Snowden's alleged letter at Wikileaks. (Some have suggested that Snowden did not write the letter, as it uses European form, rather than American standard usage, in several places.)

The United Nations proclamation of asylum as a human right is here. A fundamental right to asylum has existed in law since ancient times and, as it is likewise proclaimed as a human right by the United Nations, both the refusal of world countries to step up to the plate (especially if their failure bears any correlation to a fear of US reaction and/or 'muscle,') and the revoking of Mr. Snowden's passport by the Obama administration need to stay in the forefront of thought.

Another prominent story regarding asylum in the United States is linked here. This story resonates because parental rights to choose the education and moral training/direction for their children has been disestablished by Germany, and a family which sought asylum here in order to preserve this essential right has had their asylum revoked by the Obama administration.

A number of commentators have lost the thread on this one: the asylum request is about a termination of parental rights by a state. The rights of parents are among the most fundamental we have. Inherent in parental rights is choice of faith and commitment to God and the careful training of children to a like understanding. Home education has become for many the maneuver point in bringing up children in an increasingly troubled world.

If America fails herein, it is made of the stuff of mere hooligans.

Which, unfortunately, is an adjective that comes to mind too frequently now.

Hooligans, hucksters, charlatans. And these are the lighter descriptives.

A great many prophecy theorists consider that America may well play into the last hour. For those who believe she will be that final Babylon, or even the final empire (both of which are allowed via metaphor), all events suggestive of a loss of an individual's protection under the law are of note (as are many other events that are happening at large now).

Too many, and too much at large.

While my own thought in the matter places a higher degree of possibility on the United Nations than the U.S. in considering this prophecy thread, I am reminded of a verse from Daniel that speaks to a future leader whose god is 'forces.' [Daniel 11:38]

The word translated 'of forces' [mauzzim] is usually rendered 'of fortresses,' however, a quick study of the Hebrew courtesy shows a root word that means, "a place or means of safety; a stronghold." The word translated as forces/fortresses appears in other verses in Scripture that clearly describe military might.

While one of the sources used in the word studies provided by the site breaks down various definitions of the Hebrew term then applies them to particular verses, assigning its own designation to each, I am struck by the one in which the root word mauz can mean, 'figurative of human protection.'

Translation being what it is, I am curious whether the passage is describing humanism: a god his fathers did not know...

Which is to say. A great deal of 'user interpretation' figures in: certainly, idiom limits, as does grammatical usage, but a wee bit of tweak, carefully administered, is permissible. As a writer in my own right, I am aware that the interconnection between metaphor and 'connecting dots' lurking in the background of ideas (in the more universal impress of language) does allow interpretation possibilities that a more dried and/or cut in stone comprehension of language might prevent.*

However, as mauzzim refers most plainly to military force, in thinking of brute force as an item opposed to the necessity that government protect the rights of the individual, either thought works. Tyranny is certainly brute force. Brute force is certainly tyranny.

As I examine actions with Bible verses hovering always in the background, the bullying of the Obama administration concerns. And to set that 'god of military strength' against a stronghold welling up from a god his fathers did not know...

Some nascent idea of humanism goes back to the earliest Greek philosophers.

Dots require the further connecting and/or fleshing out, however, and this blog is not the suitable place for such. Whether the one to whom the verse refers is the military brutality of the Islam of the Middle East and only refers to brutality, or it might include the humanism of the United States as we know it, remains to be seen.

One of those reasons I prefer to keep several ideas in my back pocket against that future end.

For whatever other commentators are making of Mr. Putin's statements, I still view them as a nod to Mr. Snowden's determined course of action as much as choice to have to abide by a course of action necessitated by being president of a major player on the world stage country.

In another life, I wouldn't doubt Mr. Putin would have been a Snowden. That is inherent in how I heard what Mr. Putin said.

Still hold to that hearing.

Some are recommending that the answer for Mr. Snowden is to return to America and be tried. Belovéd, that is not going to have a good end in the world as we know it now. And that is not rocket science.

Readers should again note that I do not agree with all views expressed by the articles to which I link.

* I frequently witness liberties taken with language study in the Greek and Hebrew that follow this same idea but lose sight of the inherent restrictions that would disallow what become mere flights of fancy. Caveat, always.

another view of the Bolivia incident
another perspective (Counterpunch)
'narcisstic' Snowden (à la Bob Schieffer at Brietbart)
wherein Snowden becomes a character in an Ayn Rand novel
but a stroke of the pen to pardon would be better