January 1, 2014

Somehow what happens to be the most recent comment on Ruth Marcus's column, "Edward Snowden, the insufferable whistleblower," is far better than that column.

There are 279 comments, and I doubt if I randomly hit a moment of commenting greatness:
"Smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought" are all good descriptions of Ms. Marcus' column. I don't care if Mr. Snowden is particularly engaging or lovable - what he lacks in Marcus' favorite qualities he makes up in pure unadulterated courage. He did what he truly believed was the right thing, the moral thing, the necessary thing. Ms. Marcus how dare you accuse Mr. Snowden of Orwellian "double think" when he has put his life on the line like Winston Smith, in order to expose the Orwellian "state-within-a-state" that the NSA has become? Not many people would have had the courage to do what Mr. Snowden did and he should be praised for it and not denigrated.

46 comments:

traditionalguy said...

That first comment by Jaystar that you quoted says it all.

I am amazed to watch the reactions of the Empire to its secrets being made public. It is a close replay of the medieval Empire reacting to translators of the Bible.

And Snowden is wise to flee to a safe place.

donald said...

Eh, why did he run?

David said...

"Smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought" is a pretty good description of 2013 overall.

Hagar said...

I do not know about Mr. Snowden. So far, I think calling attention to the NSA thing before it develops further is a good thing that outweighs the downsides. Time will tell.

Though not Time Magazine and not the New York Times, I think.
Is Daniel Ellsberg still alive, and, if so, has anyone asked his opinion about this?

Robert Cook said...

Ruth Marcus is purportedly a journalist, yet she reveals herself here to be a servile (or vigorous) apologist for the American police state. This is true of many of our most prominent and successful journalists, who, after all, are often friends of those they write about. Snowden, in one fell swoop, has performed a more important and valuable act of journalistic revelation of the ugly truth of our Potemkin democracy than she and all her craven colleagues combined will ever manage.

Of course, this us hardly surprising, give that they aren't even trying, and apparently consider their journalistic purpose to be obfuscatory, to act as apologists and propagandists for state power and criminality.

Robert Cook said...

Hagar, Daniel Ellsberg is alive and a staunch supporter of Snowden and his actions.

Quayle said...

So, is Ms. Marcus saying that she believes that Snowden should have approached his superiors with his concerns and first tried to work within the system to get them resolved?

If anyone but Obama were president now, Snowden would have already been given a special Nobel prize.

The fact that Obama was caught red-handed doing the very thing that the twin devils Bush and Cheney, is a cause for uncomfortable restraint on the part of the so-called "freedom loving" left.

Quayle said...

In chess this is called a fork.

You are either going to lose your veneer and substance of loving freedom and being against oppressive states, or you are going to lose your God Obama.

You can choose which, but you're already going to lose something.

Looks to me like most on the boomer-left are choosing to keep Obama and sacrificing the other.

LarsPorsena said...

"... He did what he truly believed was the right thing, the moral thing, the necessary thing...."


So did the Rosenbergs. Both dealing harm to the country of their birth for a authoritarian enemy.

Humperdink said...

@Lars. Poor analogy. The Rosenbergs delivered their secrets to the enemy. Snowdon's cache was delivered to a journalist to let the world, that would be you and I, know what the feds are hiding - which is plenty.

Additionally, it proved James Clapper perjured himself testifying before congress. Of this, there is little doubt.

If want to trust the feds, Lars, God bless you. I, for one, do not.

LarsPorsena said...

Humperdink said...

@Lars. Poor analogy. The Rosenbergs delivered their secrets to the enemy. Snowdon's cache was delivered to a journalist to let the world, that would be you and I, know what the feds are hiding - which is plenty.
_________________________________

Do you really believe that this is the only thing he has revealed? He's in Russia. He's not getting room and board from Putin for protecting the American public? Unless you are totally naive or are unhinged by Obama hatred. He's spilled his guts of all classified data to the Russians.

Humperdink said...

@Donald "why did he run?"

This administration went after their political enemies with the IRS. These Tea Party types were considered enemies of the state. Were you expecting Snowden to hang around for a trial after witnessing want they would do to the mere political opposition?

You may to recall the charges Aaron Swartz was facing at the hands of one of Holder's minions. A gazillion years for downloading academic files.

One last thing. There have been rumors of an amnesty deal. I doubt it will be forthcoming with Omama in office. If, however, it comes to fruition, Snowden will be right again.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Humperdink said...

@Donald "why did he run?"

This administration went after their political enemies with the IRS. These Tea Party types were considered enemies of the state. Were you expecting Snowden to hang around for a trial after witnessing want they would do to the mere political opposition?

________________________________

Oh my! An IRS audit! The jackboot of fascism is terrifying. If had an altruistic bone in his body he would have done what Ellsberg did.
He's spilling his guts to the Russians revealing every bit of classified data he had access to.

If you think that Eric Holder made him wet his pants what do you think the thought of the Russian security services would do to him if he held back?

Humperdink said...

@Lars. I don't hate the Obama. I hate his policies. I can't think of one that I agree with. Too many to list.

I don't doubt Russia received some valuable information. I an not that naive. And I am not a fan of Putin either. But, I am willing to cede this info to the Russian tyrant in exchange for protecting my freedom. Hopefully this info will open the eyes of the American public.

I don't not trust Obama an inch. The freedom(s) we enjoy in this country are at great risk. Obviously, you do not think so. And you call me naive.

Hagar said...

And I think that for Ms. Marcus of the WaPo, home paper of Woodward and Bernstein and the Watergate disclosures, it is rather thick to complain of someone else being "insufferable, ...smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought," etc., is rather thick.

Robert Cook said...

At this point, anyone who cannot see the inestimable importance and value in what Snowden did, or who wonder why he fled the country, or why he did not "follow proper channels" (always, in every institution, a funnel to a cover-up), must be considered to be uneducably ignorant of the brutal truth of our government's hostility to we, the people, and toward any challenge to their right to do as they please against all they deem to be "the enemy," (which includes us). Or else they must be considered to be, as in Ruth Marcus's case, a loyal servant of the state.

Humperdink said...

@Lars I want to make sure I understand your position on the IRS/Tea Party. Are you saying IRS was not used for political purposes?

Illuninati said...

"He's in Russia. He's not getting room and board from Putin for protecting the American public? Unless you are totally naive or are unhinged by Obama hatred. He's spilled his guts of all classified data to the Russians."

Unfortunately there are politicians on both sides of the aisle who support this spy program. World leaders from many countries are outraged by the spying and would probably be willing to give Snowden asylum if they thought they could withstand pressure from the US government.

If we could be sure that the spying would be limited it might be tolerable. Unfortunately that is probably not the case. We already know the IRS has been used to harass and damage conservatives because they are conservatives. There is no reason to think the NSA program will be any different.

Hagar said...

@Lars,

What more is there for Mr. Snowden to disclose? What do you know that we have not heard about yet?

Snowden gave copies of his CD's to more than one journalist to make sure that they would be published, or so he says, though it seems that the Guardian, etc., are doing some self-censorship.

It seems the simplest to believe is that those CD's are it. For one thing, there has had to be some limits to what Snowden could have managed to access, and for another, it would be foolish for him to hold on to more that could be wrung out of him by force.

For Putin and the asylum, it is also simplest to accept that Putin accepts that and just considers Snowden "a rare bird" and anyway, an irritation for the U.S. Gov't, so it is all good.

MayBee said...

I would have preferred Snowden go to Sen Ron Wyden rather than Greenwald. But I think Americans have a right to know what is being done to us in secret in the name of security.


I'm sure Snowden only had to hear about Bradley Manning's treatment in prison to be incentivized to run.

We made Europeans ground a plane carrying the President of Ecuador trying to get to Snowden, for heavens sake.

betamax3000 said...

Now the Russians have All of Our Latest LOLCat Technology.

madAsHell said...

Smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought

I thought this was going to be about PajamaBoy.

traditionalguy said...

It is ironic that NSA was tapping the phones of all of our allies leadership 24/7 while we give no mercy to the Israeli spy in jail 30 years for the horrible crime of "spying on an ally."

Robert Cook said...

"I would have preferred Snowden go to Sen Ron Wyden rather than Greenwald. But I think Americans have a right to know what is being done to us in secret in the name of security."

Wyden would have been prohibited by law from revealing anything Snowden gave him. (Wyden has indicated he was aware of much of it, anyway, but he could not reveal it.)

MayBee said...

Robert Cook- yeah, that's the problem I suppose. Any legal channel he had couldn't have made the information public.

William said...

Snowden can credibly play a sympathetic idealist, but how can someone claim that there is a higher moral ground than the peak upon which Obama stands. Only one man can plant the flag on Everest, and that man is Obama. All others fly a false flag or photoshop the peak.......I'm genuinely confused about Snowden. He did something wrong, but so did the NSA. I feel somewhat more threatened by terrorists than by the NSA so I'm willing to give our security people a little leeway. As seen by the IRS scandal, we might be giving them enough rope to hang us all..........Russia has security measures far beyond anything here. That doesn't keep terrorists from striking at fairly frequent intervals. There's no real defense against nihilists, but an open society does seem to produce less nihilists.

Jupiter said...

He's spilled his guts of all classified data to the Russians.

Lars, I can remember a time, when the USA kept B-52s in the air 24/7 so we could destroy the Soviet Union after they had destroyed us. I thought that all ended back in 91 or so, but I guess you are still living in that era.

The Russians are authoritarian? Have you been to an airport recently? We won the Cold War. So how come we got the Occupation?

Lyle said...

Snowden hasn't put his life on the line. He's living well in Russia. And he was free in Hong Kong.

The man isn't courageous, but lacks courage.

lemondog said...

Ssssssic 'em....

ACLU Sues NSA For Details Of U.S. Surveillance Under Executive Order

Skeptical Voter said...

Marcus and Commenter

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Lydia said...

Snowden is a sanctimonious twit, completely lacking in self-awareness -- from his interview with the Wash. Post: “The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that [NSA Director] Keith Alexander and [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper did not.”

In response, Marcus asks just the right question: "if Snowden is such a believer in the Constitution, why didn’t he stick around to test the system the Constitution created and deal with the consequences of his actions?"

That's what stand-up, courageous guys do. That's what Ellsberg did.

Birkel said...

Lydia:

I am no Snowden apologist. But if he was aware just how awfully the protections of the US Constitution had been eroded that he thought exposing these secret programs was the only response, then why would he choose to be judged by such a system?

I don't see how your criticism is valid.

Anglelyne said...

Lydia: In response, Marcus asks just the right question: "if Snowden is such a believer in the Constitution, why didn’t he stick around to test the system the Constitution created and deal with the consequences of his actions?"

Wuh?

That's like asking, "If the Founding Fathers were such believers in the Rights of Englishmen, why didn't they all just turn themselves into the King's authorities instead of fomenting secession?"

Again, wuh?

MayBee said...

Snowden couldn't claim to be innocent, though. Standing for his crime wouldn't have proven or disproven the constitutionality of what he exposed.

I just don't think Americans are going to get to hear our government is collecting metadata on all of our calls if we require anyone who tells us about it to submit himself to 6 months of solitary, stripped naked.

MayBee said...

Also, what he exposed is not affected one bit by whether or not he is willing to stand trial for it.

The NSA and the administration are either engaging in unconstitutional behavior or they aren't. Edward Snowden's character doesn't affect that one bit. Marcus is giving herself and the admin an out by pretending it does.

Humperdink said...

Lydia said: "In response, Marcus asks just the right question: "if Snowden is such a believer in the Constitution, why didn’t he stick around to test the system the Constitution created and deal with the consequences of his actions?"

That's what stand-up, courageous guys do. That's what Ellsberg did."

Lydia, think about the Marcus question. "If Snowden is such a believer in the Constitution..." Just guessing, but I think Snowden believes in Constitution. I am also guessing he believes the Obama administration does not. Which is why he fled.

Lydia said...

Just guessing, but I think Snowden believes in Constitution. I am also guessing he believes the Obama administration does not. Which is why he fled.

And do you think Ellsberg thought Nixon was a great believer in the Constitution?

Humperdink said...

Compared to the Big O, Nixon would be considered a Founding Father.

Since you brought up Trickie Dick, his underlings spied on the political opposition. Obama's administration spies on everyone, everywhere, anytime.

The following is a posting in Inatapundit @1:30 today: "A federal judge today upheld a President Barack Obama administration policy allowing authorities along the U.S. border to seize and search laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices for any reason."

That's your guy!

Humperdink said...

"on Instapundit"

Lydia said...

Since you brought up Trickie Dick, his underlings spied on the political opposition. Obama's administration spies on everyone, everywhere, anytime.

Not just the political opposition; he even spied on Senator Howard Baker, a Republican, who supported him. Why? Because it was part of the program "Minaret," which got its start under Pres. Lyndon Johnson:

"Carried out between 1967 and 1973, the watch list of domestic critics had its origins in the paranoia that pervaded the White House during the administrations of Johnson and Nixon, as public discontent over the Vietnam War grew. The idea of the watch list, however, developed before the war in order to monitor narcotics traffickers and possible threats to the president. The NSA watch list began informally in the summer of 1967, prompted by Johnson's belief that the growing number of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and race riots sweeping the United States were being covertly instigated and sustained by the Soviet Union and its allies. Most names placed on the first NSA watch list came from the FBI and the CIA, which wanted any intelligence concerning foreign governments' involvement with American anti-war and civil rights organizations."
and...
"During Minaret's six-year lifetime, the NSA secretly monitored the overseas telephone and cable communications of 1,650 U.S. citizens, most of them anti-war dissidents, civil rights leaders, and members of what the occupants of the White House at the time deemed to be extremist or subversive organizations."

And that was because of a far-away war. If they'd experienced something like a September 11th, and they'd had today's technology, I'm sure they would have done exactly what Bush and Obama have done.

MayBee said...

Yes, governments and the administrations in charge of them are almost always going to be happy to err on the side of being too invasive of the citizens. That's why we need information about what they are doing.

Things are easier for governments that are more invasive.
The more invasive a government gets, the harder it is for whistleblowers to speak out.

Hagar said...

Politicians go with topic of the day, and soon move on to tomorrow's, but the agencies they created to cope with yesterday's problems remain and keep working with no oversight.

Hagar said...

Bennett Cerf had a story from the dark days of 1939-40 in England. A wavering light was seen on the white cliffs of Dover one night, and they alerted the Home Guard and the police who rushed down to find and arrest whoever was signaling to the expected German invasion forces, but fund an elderly gentleman dressed up like a Beefeater with a hornblende lantern, who explained that in 1588 his family had been charged by the good Queen Bess to go down on the cliffs each night and look for the Spanish Armada, and he was just keeping the faith (and his government salary).

Alex said...

Cook - I don't buy your outrage about the NSA thing, because your socialist beliefs naturally lead to a police state. Always has, always will. You just don't like this particular edition of it.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

how dare you accuse Mr. Snowden of Orwellian "double think" when he has put his life on the line like Winston Smith

Winston Smith tried to hide those acts that put his life on the line. Snowdon carefully prepared his revealments and his escape and was 'overseas' when the news hit, shopping for US enemies with whom he could seek refuge and compensation for further revealments.

Mr Snowdon, you are no Winston Smith.

Robert Cook said...

"Winston Smith tried to hide those acts that put his life on the line. Snowdon carefully prepared his revealments and his escape and was 'overseas' when the news hit, shopping for US enemies with whom he could seek refuge and compensation for further revealments."

Snowden provided his documents to the reporters without charge; he has not sought or received compensation for them. Also, I was not of the understanding that China and Russia are considered by us to be enemies any longer, but are allies of ours. Moreover, Snowden did not seek to stay in either China or Russia, but was prevented from traveling from Russia when the U.S. canceled his passport.