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Cary Brunswick

October 29, 2013

Obama's stuck between a rock and a hard place

Poor President Obama. If he hasn’t had a rough enough time of it dealing with House Republicans lately, now the facts are surfacing that we have been spying on dozens of world leaders, many our allies.

Naturally, the heads of state, especially Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, are outraged. And Obama doesn’t know whether to admit he knew about it years ago and let it continue, or fess up that he was in the dark and that therefore the National Security Agency has a life, and power, of its own. 

Either way, the damage has been done. “We need trust among allies and partners,” said Merkel, whose cell phone was allegedly tapped by the NSA. “Such trust now has to be built anew.”

At a rally in Washington on Saturday, it was good to see Americans finally showing some and anger and disgust about government spying on its own citizens. The revelations leaked in June by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that the agency was spying on millions of Americans through their emails and cell-phone calls. 

Demonstrators held up signs reading “Thank you, Edward Snowden!” as they marched and rallied near the Capitol to demand that Congress investigate the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, according to the Associated Press.

Many Americans have shown little reaction to the spying, apparently believing that they would rather feel safe than free. The trouble is that once the government starts spying, can you really be safe?

•••

Back in Albany, Education Commissioner John King has been dealing with his own problems over the new Common Core curriculum and testing requirements. Already in hot water, he canceled a series of regional forums on the matter after he was shouted down at the first hearing in Poughkeepsie.

Facing even more heat, including from state Sen. James Seward, last week King reneged and scheduled another series of hearings, and in an attempt to quiet those crowds announced that some standardized tests would be eliminated. 

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Cary Brunswick

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