Now we have President Obama warring on whistleblowers, bringing ridiculous charges in nine cases involving alleged misuse of classified information.
John Hanrahan, in an analytical article for Truthout, declares that both parties “have either kept silent or cheered on the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. On the question of keeping Americans in the dark and of punishing whistleblowers who dare to enlighten them, we have bipartisan authoritarianism.”
Madame Clinton suggests: “Edward Snowden and other national-security whistleblowers should go through channels to express concerns about military and surveillance issues.” Nonsense.
She adds: “Snowden’s disclosures damaged national security networks by providing information to terrorist networks.” More nonsense.
Meanwhile the Pentagon is persecuting whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The Army is threatening her with indefinite solitary confinement for such absurd “crimes” as having “expired” toothpaste and a copy of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner. (Jenner, former Bruce Jenner, won the men’s decathlon for America at the 1976 Olympics.)
A three-person military board last month sentenced Manning to 21 days of “recreational” restriction: no gym, no library and no stepping outdoors. She was denied counsel during a four-hour, closed-door hearing. She is serving 35 years in military prison in Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for espionage. She endured solitary confinement in Kuwait and Quantico, Va.
Manning’s real “crime”: leaking the important news that the Pentagon failed to investigate torture, rape and abuse by the military in Iraq.
Papal plaudits undeserved
Pope Francis has won worldwide praise for being a nice guy. But that is hardly praiseworthy. The sad truth is that the pope has changed none of the musty doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
Francis made a temporary absolution offering to Catholics “who bear in their heart the scar” of abortion and repent during the upcoming Jubilee or Holy Year.
Katie Klabusich in a Truthout news analysis countered that 95 percent of Catholics have neither struggled over nor regretted their abortions. It is not the “existential or moral ordeal” characterized by the pope.
“I grew up Catholic and attended a Jesuit university,” said Erin Matson, co-director of the reproductive justice organization, ReproAction. “The official teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality, including but not limited to abortion, harm people around the world. The views of the Vatican are deeply out of step with the views of Catholics.
“Women who have had abortions have done nothing wrong. They have nothing to apologize for. We can’t lose sight of the fact that Pope Francis is not changing any doctrine on abortion.”
The Rev. Harry Knox, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, is blunt: Francis starts off with compassion “but quickly turns to more shame for women.”
One in three Catholic women have had one or more abortions. U.S. Catholic women oppose criminalizing abortion by a margin of 2-1. This is the reality of Catholic women’s lives, not some moldy decree promulgated by popes.
The church is adamantly against birth control yet most Catholic women use it. Garry Wills, Catholic writer, ridicules the idea that using a contraceptive is “a mortal sin for which Catholics would go to hell if they died unrepentant.”
The church is woefully short of priests but will not allow women into the priesthood. Sister Louise Akers, head of the Sisters of Charity, rightly calls the Catholic Church “the last bastion of sexism.”
The church needs genuine reform, not cosmetics.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (email@example.com)