- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2013

Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret National Security Agency surveillance programs.”

And so reads a White House “We the People” online petition established Sunday; it drew 27,000 signatures in 24 hours. Another petition that declared “President Obama, if you believe in NSA surveillance, we challenge you to a live, public debate with Edward Snowden,” was established Monday and has about 1,500 signatures.

There are those who say the uncloaked Mr. Snowden is not a man of honor. Vehemently.

“You’ve got this 29-year-old, high school-dropout whistleblower making foreign policy for our country, our security policy. We’ve made treason cool. Betraying your country is kind of a fashion statement. He wants to be the national security Kim Kardashian. He cites Bradley Manning as a hero,” New York Post columnist Ralph Peters told “Fox & Friends.”

“We need to get very, very serious about treason. And oh, by the way, for treason — as in the case of Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden — you bring back the death penalty,” Mr. Peters suggested.

WHISTLEBLOWING NUMBERS

For what it’s worth, an even two-thirds of more than 3,000 respondents in a Los Angeles Times online poll say the aforementioned Mr. Snowden is “a hero, because he exposed a huge potential threat to civil liberties.”

It’s safety first elsewhere: 56 percent of Americans say the NSA surveillance program that tracks millions of phone numbers is “acceptable.” Forty-one percent disagree. Another 62 percent say the investigation of terrorism threats is more important than privacy; 34 percent disagree. The source is a Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll released Monday; more numbers in Poll du Jour at column’s end.

PARSING THE ZIMMERMAN JURY

The jury in the trial of George Zimmerman will likely be “more white and more conservative than most, and a challenge to the prosecution.” That is the conclusion of Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a syndicated columnist and author of the new book “America on Trial: The Slaying of Trayvon Martin.” Mr. Hutchinson pored over data from the U.S. census and the Florida Division of Elections and contends that the likely jurors picked will be “older, wealthier, more conservative, and whiter than the average juror in other Florida counties.”

Based on local demographics for Sanford, site of the trial: Of the 500 people in the juror pool, Mr. Hutchinson forecasts there will be 329 whites, 89 Hispanics and 59 blacks. There will be 239 men and 251 women. In any other case, he insists such a jury would be overwhelmingly “pro prosecution, and the likelihood of Mr. Zimmerman being convicted would be nearly a slam dunk.”

But he stipulates, “This is anything but any other case,” and the racial divide will be “gaping.”

Jury selection in the case began Monday. Mr. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder.

INSIDE BASEBALL

The Grand Old Party is keen on baseball, judging from the rosters of Democrats and Republicans readying themselves for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, set for Thursday in wondrous Nationals Park, just a couple of home runs from the U.S. Capitol. Yes, lawmakers are the players in a game established in 1909 by one John Kinley Tener, a former professional baseball player and a Republican congressman, later governor, from Pennsylvania.

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