Big Government Is the Problem, Not Edward Snowden

If the media spent half the time investigating the NSA that they spend sneering at whistleblowers, Americans might demand an end to spying.


“Instead of being adversaries to government power … [the media of Washington, D.C., are] … servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”

So said the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of Edward Snowden’s disclosure of NSA spying on the American people, after Greenwald’s confrontation with Meet the Press’s David Gregory. Greenwald needn’t have limited his observation to the D.C. media. Plenty of reporters and cable-news talking heads are playing the same role in the NSA drama.

Indeed, if they spent half the time investigating Obama’s Big Brother operations that they spend sneering at Snowden and Greenwald, Americans might demand that the government stop spying on them.

But to much of the mainstream (and not-so-mainstream) media, Snowden and Greenwald â€" not the NSA, the Obama administration, and the supine Congress â€" are the story â€" a story of villainy.

The examples are endless. The day after Snowden revealed himself as the whistleblower, Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman and host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ordered his director to take the image of “that weasel” off the screen. The other day, his sidekick, Mika Brzezinski, asked, “Is there anything we can do to track him down?” (Emphasis added.) She meant the government.

Brzezinski went on to accuse Snowden of taking the job with NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton “to screw over our government.” That’s how one who speaks power to truth spins it. Snowden’s service to the American people is hardly undercut by his having taken the job intending to expose government violations of the Fourth Amendment.

MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald, and its de-emphasis of NSA surveillance. Andrea Mitchell, who functions as the network’s chief diplomatic stenographer, wondered why the NSA was hiring contractors when it could be recruiting people with the “right value system” from the military. (She’s forgotten that whistleblower Bradley Manning is in the military.) Chris Matthews of Hardball says that any foreign government that won’t turn Snowden over to the U.S. government is “no buddy of ours.”

MSNBC personnel routinely describe Greenwald as “defensive,” which apparently is their code word for people who push back at stupid questions. For example, when Gregory asked Greenwald if he could be indicted for “aiding and abetting” Snowden, and Greenwald asked in return how a journalist could equate reporting with criminal activity, he was treated with disdain. Gregory even questioned Greenwald’s journalistic credentials, as did Paul Farhi of theWashington Post.

I’ve focused on MSNBC because it has so egregiously and persistently circled the wagons around the government. It’s an old story: TV hosts and reporters need access to government officials, but access is jeopardized if they antagonize those officials. Better to play it safe and sneer at Snowden and Greenwald.

You don’t have to work for MSNBC to suck up to power. Op-ed writers from conservative David Brooks to progressive Richard Cohen have tried to portray Snowden as an alienated oddball, as though no one could have a legitimate purpose in unmasking government surveillance. (Brooks thought it relevant to write that Snowden “has not been a regular presence around his mother’s house for years.” Really!) Pundits repeatedly refer to Snowden’s having dropped out of high school, which apparently signals some serious moral or mental defect in the young man. More likely he was bored with the dull and regimented curriculum so typical of government high schools.

Others have tried to read much into Snowden’s stops in Hong Kong and Moscow. He might be a spy, they suggest. But wouldn’t a spy have kept his identity secret while selling his information to “the enemy”? It doesn’t occur to the pundits that Snowden’s priority right now is to stay out of the clutches of the U.S. government. Snowden has no moral obligation to be a martyr. Let’s not forget how Bradley Manning has been treated for his disclosures of government wrongdoing. He faces life imprisonment.

Snowden and Greenwald have not “aided the enemy” â€" unless the American people are the government’s enemy. What they have done is embarrass the Obama administration by exposing criminal activity.

This column originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

NEXT: No Gods, No Generals, Just People

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  1. If Dubya was President, Snowden would be accorded hero status and every country on earth would be offering assylum.

    But under Darth Drone Kill everything is turned on its head. People who sanction the extra-judicial killing of Americans anywhere on earth and who believe that the Constitution is toilet paper lecture us on ‘treason’.

    I don’t care for Gregory at all and have little time for Greenwald, but it was amusing to see them spat. Blue-on-blue.

    1. “If Dubya was President, Snowden would be accorded hero status and every country on earth would be offering asylum.”

      He deserves hero status. Ecuador might offer him asylum. I hope they do and I hope he can safely get there if it is offered. Even then he might not be safe from the CIA’s spook-assassins.

      1. Agreed.

        Unfortunately I think it is very likely ES is going to have fatal ‘accident’.

        1. Yes, he might die in a “car crash” like Michael Hastings. The DHS assassins know how to cause them.

          1. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the ones who killed Andrew Breitbart and his coroner as well.

            1. Me either – when both a man and his coroner die – it is more than suspicious.

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                1. Holy crap! I can make money murdering coroners?

        2. It sounds like he has a dead man’s switch, that could release the keys for even more files (presumably already distributed, although maybe not as widely as they should be, since they’re not up on file sharing sites and such, that we know of)

          I suppose if you leak stuff out slowly, eventually the powers that be decide to just weather out whatever is in the dead man’s switch, but it might be better to have some of the worst stuff kept secret.

          Of course, if you know what was in the archive, you could leak it out yourself to soften it, then the switch has no power…

      2. The Murder of Edward Snowden by the Coward Barack Obama.

        Has a nice ring to it, but I’d rather not read the book.

        1. I think you folks are missing something. Of course there’s a dead man’s switch, and of course Obama and the NSA are royally ticked off. But who would most like to see that switch thrown and all the data released? Who would most benefit? It’s not the US, it’s Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. After all, the NSA spends at least some of its time spying on the people it’s supposed to spy on.

          Not only would they love to know more about NSA methods, they are also not known for shying away from a little wet work… and if Snowden does have an “accident,” of course the US will get the blame. His death would be an all-around win for them.

          1. More likely the dead man switch is stuff that exposes the American powers-that-be: Obama, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boehner, Bloomberg, as many as possible, but concentrating on Obama.

            1. That’s still something Russia, China, etc. would like to see released, no? Embarrass the US and blame them for Snowden’s death.

              Note that some new PRISM slides just came out with some interesting details: Microsoft began participating in 2007, Google in 2009, but Apple only started in October 2012. Is it a coincidence that Steve Jobs died October 5th? Maybe this was one of the first post-Jobs changes.

              1. “Is it a coincidence that Steve Jobs died October 5th?”

                Yes, entirely. Jobs died because he was a moron who ironically eschewed modern science and technology in favor of magical hippie fairydust.

                Let’s stop grasping for conspiracies when there are plenty of actual ones right in the open. Libertarianism already has too many Troofers.

                1. Read what I wrote in the next sentence. I am not suggesting Jobs was murdered, just that it’s interesting that cooperation with the NSA started the month of his death, years after other tech firms.

                  1. I got that, and it is interesting. I never liked Jobs maniacal control freakery and that might well have been one of his quirks, to not cooperate with the snoop spooks.

    2. “People who sanction the extra-judicial killing of Americans anywhere on earth and who believe that the Constitution is toilet paper lecture us on ‘treason’.”

      ^This x 100.

      China told him to go fuck himself, Russia told him to go fuck himself but the real prize goes to Ecuador. That they refused to be blackmailed into refusing Snowden asylum with dollars from Washington is one thing. But having them turn around and offer President ‘You didnt build that’ an equal amount of money as foreign aid to be used for human rights education is a world class punking.

      The guy is a pathetic joke. He truly is banana republic dictator material.

      1. Bur now, he’s trying to save the world, so this doesn’t matter:
        “Obama says climate change is make-or-break issue”

        1. Too bad he wasn’t there to save the Wooly Mammoth from extinction due to global warming.

        2. Make-or-break distraction. He isnt going to have any luck with that. The global warming hoax has been debunked ad-infinitum. If that dead horse is the only one he has left to beat then he is fucked. That makes my day.

          1. I think it’s part distraction and part pandering to a base demoralized by all the scandals.

        3. “If you agree with me, I’ll need you to act,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Remind everyone who represents you, at every level of government, that there is no contradiction between a sound environment and a strong economy ? and that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.”

          No contradiction…

          Because, magic.

          1. “With all due respect, clich? dissenting Republican, the economy isn’t going to matter THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.”

          2. He said there was no contradiction between security and liberty, either. These people really do count costs of production as benefits.

            I propose we just hire all the unemployed to pedal bicycles hooked to generators for electrical production. Boom – clean energy and full employment in one swoop.

            Raising the minimum wage to $55 per hour would also double GNP – we can all have above-average incomes.

            Tripling the national income through full employment and fair wages will triple government revenues as well. No more budget problems with Social Security and Medicare, free healthcare for all, roads and bridges for everybody!

            With the savings on poverty programs – since nobody will be poor any more – we can pay hostile countries to be friends with us and thereby eliminate the military, the need for a military, and military spending while simultaneously making our adversaries wealthier and less hostile. We can have worldwide peace and prosperity.

            Finally, of course, I propose investing a small portion of our new wealth in genetic research. Specifically, genetic research into the creation of rainbow-farting unicorns.

            I look forward to your support in 2016 – God bless you and God bless America.

            1. Been listening to Ed Schultz, I see.

        4. The program is intended to boost renewable energy production on federal lands, increase efficiency standards and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.

          IOW, he will impose a tax on consumers without congressional approval.

          1. You missed the real FYTW in the message:

            and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.

            IOW the taxes and give aways to cronies won’t change shit, but he’s gonna do them anyway.

        5. Joe Manchin has refused to lay down for President Eternal Campaign.

    3. “Big Government Is the Problem, Not Edward Snowden”

      That’s the headline the editors of Reason chose to run this article under, an article that is about MSNBC, Paul Farhi, David Gregory, Chris Mathews, Richard Cohen and others. Notice that all of the above are journalists, and none of them are employed by government, let alone Big Government.

      Sheldon Richman published this article originally at The Future of Freedom Foundation under the following headline,

      “Big Brother, not Snowden and Greenwald, Is the Story”

      What was it about “Brother” that made the editors here feel they need to change? Especially when the focus of the article is how the bourgeois press is acting as willing lapdog to the government agenda.

      My readers may think I’m quibbling over a word, but the switch was not made by me but the editors, and was no doubt conscious and intentional. I argue that shifting the focus of attention to the government does little to help in our efforts to protect our privacy. Shifting it to “Big Government” is even less helpful, emphasising, as it does our powerlessness and pipsqueakitude. It also gives the powerful corporations which work hand in glove with the government a free pass. All around, a telling choice of words.

      1. Big Brother is indeed the main story.

        However, “MSNBC, Paul Farhi, David Gregory, Chris Mathews, Richard Cohen” and the rest of the staff at the Ministry of Truth (MiniTrue) have created another story. That story is about the cancer that has metastasized in the American “mainstream media”. It truly has become the Ministry of Truth cheering section for Team Obama. Hope and Change! Forward!

        1. I largely agree but I don’t think Obama is to blame. MSNBC is the same outfit that fired high ratings host Phil Donahue after he dared question the wisdom of launching a war against Iraq during the first term of the second Bush administration.

          There’s a trial on these days for BP over its conduct in the gulf spill a while back. MSNBC doubtless takes lots of money from BP in advertising, but I doubt that the trial receives any meaningful coverage as news. Same could be said most likely of Reason magazine. When did Reason ever cover the BP trial?

          My point is the corruption of the press goes far beyond the Obama administration, and its treatment of government. The corruption is there to be seen during the Bush administration, and its treatment of wealthy businesses.

          1. So it’s not Big Government, it’s Bush? Since when is Bush not an advocate of Big Government? Neoconservatives have more in common with Progressives than with conservatives.

      2. Brevity and/or SEO probably had more to do with it than any deep ideological messaging. Get the fuck over yourself.

        1. “Brevity had more to do with it than any deep ideological messaging”

          Brother has 7 letters, government has 10. Nice try PM but brevity means shorter headlines, not longer. As for your cryptic reference to “SEO,” I suggest you save the brevity for the professionals and aim for clarity.

      3. You started out with 2 misstatement: first: these msnbc talking heads are NOT journalists. Second: they definitely work for the government.

    4. It would be racist to express disdain for a “minority” pres who consistently wipes his bum with the Constitution!

  2. “””Instead of being adversaries to government power ? [the media of Washington, D.C., are] ? servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”””

    Most of what is reported in the MSM as news is just rewritten press releases and often they don’t even bother to rewrite the press release. What they want most is something from a “reputable” source, which translates into government/corporations/foundations/NGO’s etc. The last thing they want is some little file clerk giving them a story.

    1. The integrity of the media has really declined since the invention of 24 hour news. They have sold their souls for access.

      1. I agree with you – “being first” has become more important to many journalists than “being most accurate” or “most in depth”. Heck, most of the residents of Oceania don’t even care much about depth – if they care about the news at all.

        1. The resident of Oceania want stories of their brave soldiers and the selfless sacrifice for Big Brother on their behalf. The purpose of the Ministry of Truth is to deliver these lies.


    2. ^^^^This^^^^

    3. Most of what is reported in the MSM as news is just rewritten press releases…

      Next time you hear of a scientific breakthrough or a big lawsuit against an evil corporation or a new consumer trend, do a Google search on a unique phrase within the news story. See how many different outlets are reporting the same story using the same words. It becomes obvious that it’s a press release in many cases.

    4. “Most of what is reported in the MSM as news is just rewritten press releases and often they don’t even bother to rewrite the press release.”

      Did you ever see the bit on “Conan” where he plays clips from about 6 different news anchors from stations around the country reporting on the same story and saying the exact same thing?

  3. Edward Snowden is one of the great heroes of our time. He may not call himself a hero but he is one. He risked everything to show us what the government that claims to represent us is doing.

    1. How can he be a hero if both the government and the press say he’s not? You’ve got a lot to learn about how this country works, pal.

    2. “He may not call himself a hero”

      To me, his insistence on downplaying any heroics on his end is exactly what makes him a hero, in the same way that George Washington’s reluctance towards political leadership made him the most deserving of the office of President.

  4. What they have done is embarrass the Obama administration by exposing criminal activity.

    And this is part of the problem – when criminal activity is reduced simply to an embarrassment.

    1. You don’t expect Congress to actually do its job and impeach the tyrant in the White House do you? That might hurt someone’s feelings. Someone might even call them racist for expecting Obama to actually uphold his oath of office! We can’t have that!

      1. Seriously, what good will impeaching the regime do, no matter how much he deserves it? It won’t accomplish a damn thing, and might even embolden him more to unleash the full dictator within.

        1. It would demonstrate to future dictators that they are not above the law.

        2. Better that he does it while the country isn’t quite so whipped and quite so disarmed that it no longer has a plausible chance of making an example out of a would-be dictator.

      2. It’s worse than that. The vast majority of Congress are oathbreakers, and approve of shitting all over the constitution and those they rule.

  5. “MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald,”

    No, it is entirely consistent with a ‘progressive’ political view; progressives care only about the amount of control they can exercise.

    1. How can you make progress if your power is limited?

      1. Yep. How can Obozo save the world if that darn congress won’t do what he says? How can he keep people from dying if that congress won’t vote for his medical disaster?
        He has to have the power, or he won’t be able to save mankind and the world.

    2. It would be contradictory for a liberal network, but not for a progressive one.

    3. One problem with this argument is, isn’t Greenwald a progressive?

      1. Bo Cara Esq.| 6.30.13 @ 3:24PM |#
        “One problem with this argument is, isn’t Greenwald a progressive?”

        Yes, and the point is that he refuses to understand that what he wants results in what he claims to not want.
        He’s in the position of the brain-dead lefties who want communism minus the thug dictators; it is not possible, and he’s too stupid to understand that.
        He just keeps hoping for that ‘right man’.

      2. I would call him a liberal, or even a socialist, but he’s too decent to be a prog.

  6. Trust Government? The better question is ‘how can any Americans not distrust most of what government does?’.

    Is secrecy new?

    The Media portray the Cuban Missile Crisis – diffused because Kennedy agreed to pull the nukes out of Turkey . . . not because he stood up to the commies.

    The Johnson-McNamara-Westmoreland lies about success in Viet Nam lengthening the war and killing thousands for nothing.

    The Nixon Administration (need I say more?) – bombing Cambodia illegally and secretly.

    The Iran-Contra lies.

    The Clinton/Clinton Administration. . .

    The Bush administration – too many deceptive moves to list.

    And Obama – the biggest lie in Amercian history.

    Who in their right mind would trust Government? But somehow people are shocked that this administration is full of a-holes who don’t give a rat’s-ass about liberty.

    1. “Is secrecy new?”

      No, it may be that what is new is that it is now more difficult to keep secrets (both for individuals and governments).

    2. Who in their right mind would trust Government?

      “Journalists” whose livelihood depends entirely upon government.

      But somehow people are shocked that this administration profession is full of a-holes who don’t give a rat’s-ass about liberty.

      1. I don’t think we can fault journalists, or even liberal journalists, in particular. It was a liberal journalist from a left wing newspaper that exposed this recent scandal.

  7. What Greenwald doesn’t realize is that the sheer size of govt makes this sort of thing inevitable. How much do we spend on this? That’s not just classified, but buried in massive spending on other things. Govt contracts and govt regulation ‘encourage’ private firms to voluntarily cooperate – the power supposedly given to govt for our benefit is used against us. Greenwald doesn’t want the spying, but any govt the size and scope he wants will have the raw power to do this.

    Want to end the NSA? Make the govt too small to hide its budget.

    1. “Want to end the NSA? Make the govt too small to hide its budget.”

      Yes, and Greenwald fails to see that this sort of crap is structural to the government he favors.
      His idiocy is hoping satan might be trained to use his powers for good.

    2. What Greenwald doesn’t realize is that large corporations are a function of big government, from incorporation itself to IP laws that protect their monopolies from regulatory actions that limit they’re competition to preferential access to newly created fiat money. Expecting them to buck the demands of the federal government is as fantasist as expecting NASA or fannie mae to do so.

    3. I don’t want to “end the NSA” because it has a valid national defense purpose. But, like all government programs tend to do, it has grown beyond its mandate. Cut it back to what it is supposed to be doing, and within 4th Amendment limits.

      1. How many intelligence services do we need?

        1. That’s a good but complex question. There are advantages and disadvantages to centralizing/monopolizing such things.

          1. Let’s err on the side of the safety of the Homeland and give these agencies an unlimited and secret budget……

          2. PapayaSF| 6.30.13 @ 4:38PM |#
            “That’s a good but complex question. There are advantages and disadvantages to centralizing/monopolizing such things.”

            I don’t doubt that is true. I also know full well the US currently has no enemy who has a hope of a chance of causing the downfall of the US.
            So we have a perfect opportunity to trim the agencies down to what the minimum is presumed to be, plus another 10% cut and see what happens.

  8. “Others have tried to read much into Snowden’s stops in Hong Kong and Moscow. He might be a spy, they suggest. But wouldn’t a spy have kept his identity secret while selling his information to “the enemy”?”

    I agree with most everything in this awesome piece, but I think there is a danger in supporting Snowden personally–he may yet turn out to have been a traitor all along. If he has a lot more data than he has released already, then, at the very least, the chances of Russia and China pressuring him for that data–given his vulnerable position in their borders–were very high. Certainly, ff both Russia and China don’t have all the data Snowden has now, then Russia and China have the dumbest security services in the history of the world*.

    Meanwhile, I can think the Obama Administration a traitor to the Constitution and the American people because of the behavior Snowden exposed, and I can be glad that Snowden exposed the Obama Administration’s disgraceful behavior to the American people–all without defending Snowden personally. Even if Snowden turns out to be a Benedict Arnold, that will never change the fact that the Obama Administration violated the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans.

    *If Snowden capitulated to China, that might also explain his bizarre statements about China’s tradition of free speech. There are other explanations, but it also sounds like something the Chinese would want him to say.

    1. –he may yet turn out to have been a traitor all along.

      A traitor to what? The government?

      Get this straight Ken, this government cares only if you’re compliant and paying taxes. It gives nary a shit about you or protecting you. Hell, if you were killed by terrorists tomorrow it wouldn’t be seen as a failure but as an excuse to steal more and infringe more.

      If you think I’m wrong, go try to be free. See how long you live.

      …that might also explain his bizarre statements about China’s tradition of free speech.

      Ummm, he was talking about Hong Kong, which has a measure of autonomy and whose political system is a bit different than the mainland. Ask Jim, he’s been to both.

      Maybe you should stop listening to Dick Cheney.

      1. “A traitor to what? The government?”

        For all we know, he was on Russia’s and/or China’s payroll all along.

        I’m not saying he was–but if he was, then working for the Chinese or Russians…yeah, that would make him a traitor.

        What I’m saying is–whether he’s a traitor isn’t the important question. If a traitor exposes misbehavior on the part of the Obama Administration, that doesn’t make the Obama Administration’s misbehavior somehow alright.

        The way the Obama Administration is playing this, they think that if they can convince a big chunk of the American people that Snowden was a traitor, then they have also convinced them that there wasn’t anything wrong with the way the Obama Administration behaved.

        It’s like with Mark Fuhrman in the O.J. trial or George Zimmerman, for that matter. Once they convinced certain people that Mark Fuhrman was racist, the inevitable conclusion for those people was that OJ Simpson was not guilty. For a lot of people today, once they’re convinced that George Zimmerman was a racist? You’ve also convinced them that he’s guilty of murder.

        I’m not saying that’s the way it should be; I’m saying that’s the way it is.

        And the Obama Administration knows that’s the way it is–hence the way they’re projecting Snowden as a traitor. If they can convince enough people that Snowden was a traitor, they’ve convinced those people that nothing Snowden did shows the Obama Administration did anything wrong.

      2. The way to counter that is by making it clear–to our friends and family if no one else–that regardless of whether Snowden was a traitor, he also publicized terrible misbehavior by the Obama Administration.

        The Obama Administration is guilty of whatever it did–regardless of whether Snowden is a puppy kicking traitor, who hates droopy-eyed, armless children, doesn’t believe in global warming, is a creationist, and eats baby seals by the dozen.

    2. Snowden’s comments regarding free speech rights refer to Hong Kong, not the PRC.

      Big difference.

      Freedom of speech is respected in Hong Kong, more so than in Canada (with its Human Right Tribunal), Germany (“insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population” is a felony with penalty of up to 5-years in prison), or France (denial of Armenian genocide is illegal among other things with penalty up to one year in prison).

      1. Like I said, there are other explanations for Snowden said. I don’t have any inside information; I’m just reading the tea leaves like everybody else. There are multiple plausible explanations for why Snowden broke for China (of all places) and then said what the Chinese Communist Party would have written for him to say themselves if they could have.

        Among those explanations is that–it was a part of the deal. During the Cold War, if one of our spies suddenly fled for the USSR with reams of data and started talking about how the Soviet Union had a great tradition of free speech, applying Occam’s razor would have made most people conclude that he was on the KGB’s payroll all along.

        The explanation where we suspect he was working for the Russians and/or the Chinese all along is certainly on the list of plausible explanations. But even if, in fact, he was on some other government’s payroll all along, that doesn’t change the fact that the Obama Administration willfully violated the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans.

        1. He “broke for” Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China that recognizes free speech rights and affords some protections to refugees. It’s a peculiar choice, no doubt, but it’s not the same as going to Beijing.

          1. I hope my point’s getting across that as far as the Obama Administration’s responsibility is concerned, it really doesn’t matter whether Snowden’s a traitor or not.

            If Obama proves tomorrow that Snowden’s a traitor, that doesn’t change anything about what the Obama Administration has done.

            If we find out tomorrow that Snowden hunts small children for sport like it’s rutting season, that won’t change anything about Obama’s responsibility for willfully violating the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans either.

            When we see people start speculating about whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor, I think we should introduce the idea that it doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that the Barack Obama is a scoundrel.

            And Snowden’s heroism or treason, when it distracts from what the president has admitted on television to doing, is mostly just a red herring.

      2. Going to Hong Kong is a smart strategic choice considering the game he’s playing. (With CIA experience on his resume, I assume he’s relatively familiar with how the intelligence/diplomacy game is actually played.)

        Hong Kong is nominally China, but it’s been more like a semi-autonomous city-state which the PRC treats as a military/economic protectorate since the British signed over their colonial claim on it. That means the mainland PRC government only has loose control over it, but they have enough control to keep other governments from mucking around much there without PRC approval. If the British still owned it, Snowden would be within the US sphere of influence and therefore within the reach of diplomatic leverage to grab and extradite him. If he was in China proper, he’d be fully at the mercy of the Communist authorities. Going to Hong Kong let him out himself and do an interview from a location where his actual freedom couldn’t be trumped by the “free world” having the leverage to have him silenced.

        Now that he’s gotten everyone’s attention and turned himself into a stick that Putin, Correa, et al can poke Obama with, he’s exploiting their desire to do that for his own purposes.

        All I see is a guy being savvy about the realities of geopolitics. I’m not seeing a reason to read anything more than that into his choices about where to go.

        1. The Obama Administration violated the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans.

          Even IF IF IF Snowden always was a traitor, it won’t change a thing about what the Obama Administration is guilty of doing–by its own admission.

  9. OT:
    “Obama (sic) ascent to the White House has drawn inevitable comparisons to Mandela. Both are their nations’ first black presidents, symbols of racial barrier breaking and winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    Press release from the WH? Well, sorta; an AP story:

    1. I wonder, will Michelle compare herself to Winnie?

      1. Will she murder a whole soccer team and bury them in he house?

      2. Will she soak car tires in gasoline, and “neckless” her political opponents?

  10. Tremors from the Fed’s grand experiment.

    A must-read article, as the New York Times incredibly talks honestly about what has been going on in the markets.

    It’s inevitable that at some point, America is going to going to feel massive and violent economic repercussions as a result of having the most wildly distorted markets we’ve ever had in our history, thanks to Ben Bernanke and his merry band of fools.

    1. It’s been interesting watching the air deflate out of some higher dividend paying stocks that I’ve been watching.

      People have been chasing dividends as a substitute for not having any decent paying yields from treasuries for so long…

      Eventually, they’ll be oversold, but I don’t think they’re anywhere close to that yet. There’s been a lot of money doing a lot of silly things for an awful long time just because interest rates haven’t been where they should be.

      1. It’s the result of the QE itself, not low interest rates per se.

        1. They were chasing yield.

          1. Everyone does.

            But the motivation was $1tn in newly created money not low interest rates themselves. And it evolved into a straight momentum play.

            1. No, the motivation was trying to get yield anywhere you could find it in an environment where savings instruments and bonds are paying jack shit. These last five years, even those shitty 1% fixed annuities have been popular with the older and more conservative savers (what’s left of them).

              Everything out there is signaling massive deflation at the mere mention of the possibility of maybe rolling back QE sometime next year. If deflation does hit, you know Bernanke (or whoever) is going to Ctrl-P their way out of it, because they have no choice. I keep saying it this way: Bernanke opened Pandora’s box in 2009, once you start monetizing debt you cannot stop because your monetary system is now a mathematical suicide machine that will destruct now if you stop and destruct eventually if you keep going.

              The recent dramatic fall in the price of gold (looks like manipulation) is a SCREAMING buy, buy physical gold and make sure you lose it in a boating accident lol

  11. Greenwald’s confrontation with Meet the Press’s David Gregory.

    Related but OT:

    I was watching This Week with Slick Willie’s homeboy and they got to the dead soldiers portion of the program when I noticed something unusual. Instead of the somber, sorrowful music they played when Dubya was in office and Afghanistan was a quagmire, they played up-tempo, military-style music, indicating that sacrificing your life in service to Barry is the highest form of patriotism.

    Or something like that.

    1. Yeah, it’s not a quagmire anymore, it’s a learning opportunity!

      1. The most pro-education president in American history!

  12. “MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald”

    I don’t see what’s hard to square about it. From a progressive point of view, extensive monitoring is essential for ensuring that people don’t bully each other, don’t spread political misinformation, don’t say anything offensive to any of the protected groups, etc. And you can’t impose higher and higher taxes without extensive monitoring because eventually people are going to try to evade them.

    1. That’s quite an extrapolation from a program whose origins are in the Bush administration…

      1. Only if you just time-traveled from 1999 and you’re stupid enough to think Bush wasn’t progressive.

  13. “Instead of being adversaries to government power ? [the media of Washington, D.C., are] ? servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”

    Considering how much the media wants MOAR GOVERNMENT is this attitude really surprising?

  14. MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald

    Considering that progressives are statist fucks who don’t give a shit about civil liberties that is not hard to square.

    Oh and why is Greenwald mad that corporations are doing the government’s bidding? Isn’t that what he wants?

  15. Big Government certainly is the problem and mainstream media is just as much a problem for being complicit in the expansion.

    Think about this for a second. 50 years ago, how many network news stations had “DC Correspondents”?
    I’m sure if someone where to gather the statistics, there would be a direct correlation in the growth of government and the growth of mainstream/network media. All the media does is continue the spreading of lies, divisiveness in politics, and distraction from the real issues in this country.

  16. If Snowden is a “traitor,” this country would be a lot better off if we had more traitors.

  17. Welcome to SBM.

  18. disclosure of NSA spying on the American people, after

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