Obama: Snowden Is No Patriot

President_Barack_Obama228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenPresident Barack Obama on Friday seemed to acknowledge that the determined effort by the White House and Congress to demonize Edward Snowden has not exactly worked. The White House has put pressure on many people in this town to make clear that Snowden is not to be praised in the media or by members of Congress. Various reporters and new organizations have held the line in mocking Snowden or refusing to call him a “whistleblower” rather than a “leaker.”  After all, the fear seems to be that Snowden has to be a traitor or Obama would look like a tyrant. Even high-ranking members have been frog walked back before cameras for uttering a work of praise for Snowden. The problem is that it has convinced few people, even with alteration of Wikipedia and other sites to maintain the party line. Now Obama has come forward to assure people that Snowden is no patriot. No, I guess that title belongs to Obama and others who have engaged in warrantless surveillance and continue to mislead the public on the erosion of privacy and civil liberties. Those patriotic souls include John Clapper who lie under oath to mislead the public about the programs. He is not a perjurer but a patriot in America’s New Animal Farm. Notably, however, not a single reporter asked Obama about the perjury by Clapper. Instead, Obama laid out another set of meaningless measures designed to lull the public back into a comfortably and controllable sleep.

Obama seems to be going through the stages of Kübler-Ross from denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance. Last week, he was in denial and assuring the public that they are not being spied upon even as more stories appeared revealing even broader surveillance programs. He then attacked Snowden and now insists that he is no patriot for throwing away his life to disclose these massive surveillance programs. He ended the week with bargaining, telling the public that he would create a committee of hand-picked experts to review such surveillance — just like his committee ratifying his killing of citizens without charges or convictions.

Obama clearly wants to have unchecked power but not be thought of as authoritarian. He returned to the theme that he can create the due process and review within his own Administration that is obviously lacking in Congress or the courts. He went as far as to say that a simple committee of his making would have avoided the Snowden affair because the public would have accepted his word for the status of their rights and privacy. “There’s no doubt Mr. Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response than if I had simply appointed this review board.” In other words, I messed up by not first creating a screen for the programs to give my allies cover.  In the meantime, his Administration is moving to remove the greatest danger to their warrantless surveillance programs: people.

What was particularly galling was Obama’s statement that “[g]iven the history of abuse by governments, it’s right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives.” However, his administration has been classifying even legal argument to prevent such questions from being asked and has pursued both reporters and their sources for any stories informing the public. His Administration is the most anti-whistleblower government in modern history and has abused national security laws in the pursuit of leakers to an extent that would make Richard Nixon blush.

Obama added as one of his great reforms on Friday that he would consider making the legal rationales for these programs more public despite the view that such classification was always ridiculous. So he will make legal arguments public and appoint his own committee to review his own policies.

Finally, he got away with telling the media that Snowden is not a whistleblower because he had “other avenues” to oppose the programs. Maintaining a straight face (and again without serious challenge from the press corp), Obama noted that “he can appear before a court with a lawyer and make his case.” First, by that definition, no one would be a whistleblower since they could all take the suicidal act of filing a public complaint or seeking judicial review. Second, if Snowden revealed the programs to an attorney, he would have been immediately charged. This is an Administration that put reporters under surveillance for speaking with leakers. It is also the Administration that has forced courts to dismiss dozens of public interest lawsuits by classifying the evidence needed to establish standing or the merits of the case. This includes the greatest victory of his Administration in killing the Clapper challenge (that’s right the same guy who lied to Congress recently). The Obama Administration succeeded in getting the Court to reject the standing of civil liberties groups and citizens to challenge the Obama Administration’s surveillance programs. President Obama has long been criticized for his opposition to such lawsuits and his Justice Department has continued a successful attack on the ability of citizens to challenge the unconstitutional actions of their government in the war on terror. The 5-4 opinion by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. insulated such programs from judicial review in yet another narrowing of standing rules. (After claiming that such surveillance programs were too classified to be discussed in courts, they then a few months later discussed such programs in the public only after Snowden’s disclosures).

The level of disingenuous arguments coming out of the Administration now amounts nothing short of open contempt for the public and its intelligence. With both parties working to support the effort, it could well succeed. However, the degree to which Obama feels free to make such transparent arguments show how little he has to fear from contradiction in the media or in Congress. It is simply a problem of optics with a public that still feels uncomfortable with the expanding Imperial President established in the last decade. It is hard to get a public back to sleep when they wake up in a nightmare. That is when you have to tell them soothing stories.

Source: CNN

138 thoughts on “Obama: Snowden Is No Patriot”

  1. One more thing Jamal….Snowden is a HERO. If you would open your mind and listen to what he has to say maybe you would see that Edward risked his life so that he might have a chance to save YOUR A$$.

    Yes, a white man is trying to save your black A$$ and you are obliviously supporting the man who has taken away some of our most basic civil liberties.

    The revolution will NOT be televised because the Oligarchs OWN ALL THE TV stations!

  2. From Jamal’s comment – Looks like a lot of black people are going to blindly trust Obama just because he is black. I think that was done on purpose – the Oligarchy planned it that way. Black people will trust Obama because he is black so we don’t have to worry about them paying attention to the fact that under Obama’s watch the human race is about to go extinct from pollution by private Oil and gas.
    Let me tell you something JAMAL! I am white – and I voted for Obama because i trusted him and believed that he was going to turn our country around! While I am pleased at his effort to help americans afford healthcare and get rid of the pre-existing conditions clause on insurance premiums – what else has he done JAMAL!????? What else has Obama done to carry out his PROMISES TO US!?!?!
    Under Obama’s watch – the government has been sold to the highest bidder. You better start paying attention and quit defending Obama just because he is black! Take a look at what he has done!! We are screwed!!! Yes it started with Bush – but why is Obama continuing to support Bush policies if he is so much better than the tea party crackers?????
    If Americans continue to vote democrat or republican then we are all going to die at the hands of the Oligarchy.

  3. The terrorists who are destroying this country are not in some far off land like Iraq or Afghanistan, nor are they Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. They are in the very institutions that are supposed to protect, defend, and support the Constitution. They are part of finance and government, such as Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the Military-Industrial-Espionage Complex. They are in the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government, and the board rooms of major international corporations and conglomerates that control the finance, healthcare, pharmaceutical, energy, and communications industries.
    A country is not simply its roads, water supply, bridges, sewage, communications, etc. which make up its material infrastructure. It is first a society, which in order to exist must have a certain amount of trust amongst its people. When you first meet someone on the street in a civil society, there needs to be an expectation of civility and a certain amount of trust when you shake their hand and introduce yourself. This can only exist if the institutions of that society such as government and finance set an example of trust, respect, and confidence.
    The real infrastructure needed to maintain a society, such as good affordable water, food, healthcare, education, and homes, must take precedent over expenditures on the military and a government bureaucracy that supports the corporate interests of Wall Street over the people that make up the social fabric of a civil and sustainable society.
    The media and Hollywood has set us up for a more violent society, and one that is more accepting of government intrusion in their lives in the form of a huge domestic spy apparatus. The majority of people feel they lack any control in their lives with a deaf government that is unresponsive to their needs, and a financial system that is stacked against them. Young families are finding it harder to support themselves on the income they receive in a service oriented economy, compared to what their parents received in a production oriented or manufacturing economy.
    Since 911, terrorism has been the excuse given to turn what was once a democratic republic into a police state, with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, UAV’s, and a militarized police force. The NDAA and Patriot Acts, have given unconstitutional powers to the Executive branch of government, as well as the military and defense establishment, in violation of Habeas Corpus and Posse Commitatus.
    The bailout of Wall Street criminals by the government is an indication of who is pulling the strings. Too big to fail or punish, these huge entities have more rights than the average tax paying American citizen. Organizations like ALEC are used to force legislation on the people that benefits the rich like the Koch Bros., over the health and welfare interests of the public. Trade agreements ensure that the planet can be raped and polluted by corporations such as Monsanto, and BP, with no consideration for the necessities of life like clean air, water and food. Congress caters to their lobbyists, and the power of special interests such as AIPAC, influence government policy both foreign and domestic.
    We are being “Fracked” to death, and the necessities of life are being polluted to such an extent that not only humanity, but millions of other species are being destroyed. The greed and avarice of those in power have no bounds!

  4. Great rant OS! And so true. They need us to be afraid so that we will turn our heads when they tell us to cough at the airport.

  5. I am old enough to remember Pearl Harbor. My cousin was in the Army Air Corps, stationed at Hickham Field. On Monday morning, December 8, lines at recruiting stations reached all the way around the block.

    I remember those days well. We were fighting a two-ocean war, and the country’s infrastructure was stretched to the limit. It seemed as if there were two or three gold stars in windows on every block. For a time, it was not completely clear if we were going to win the war. Everyone was concerned about sabotage and a fifth column. Yet, the war department remained the War Department, with Treasury in charge of the Secret Service and Coast Guard. In fact, the Coast Guard is the oldest service, and has always been a part of the Treasury department. Then two buildings get knocked down in New York and the Pentagon has an airliner fly into it. People were killed and it was a tragedy of epic proportions. But it was NOT Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was a full scale, highly coordinated air-sea military attack by one of the most powerful military empires of the time. 9-11 was an act of sabotage by a handful of fanatical thugs, not an act of war.

    FDR said, in his first inaugural at the depths of the Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” George the Lesser could not find a tall enough ladder to climb to shine FDR’s shoes.

    So what does George and his cronies do? They attack a country that did not attack us, ignored the home of the terrorists, created the despicable Homeland Security and shoved all law enforcement into one ten gallon hat that only holds eight gallons. There is the Patriot Act, the law whose name itself is an oxymoron. Then they hire a legion of incompetents, perverts and personality disorder types to feel you up at the airport. This is a bell that MUST be unrung.

    If we can fight a two-ocean war with the most powerful military forces in the world and win it in just five years without Homeland Security, then we sure as hell don’t need it in peacetime.

    In order to combat a criminal gang of religious zealots, we do not need to combine all law enforcement into one gigantic bureaucracy and set up a spy network that would give Stalin and Hitler wet dreams.

    This is freakin’ schizophrenic, folks. We protect the oil oligarchs who protect the terrorist criminals, then treat our own like trash. Groping a two year old, and slamming the mother around when she objects, while her terrified baby screams for her? Really? Who are the terrorists now?

    Something’s gotta give.

  6. MM,

    In re: towing and toeing


    Yeah, I know the difference. I have a weakness for homophonic typos. 😀 I screw up “your” and “you’re” all the time too which is even more embarrassing (when not editing – and my comments are almost always stream of consciousness).

  7. And yet you seem to have no issue with a perfectly ridiculous and prime facie unconstitutional price being paid.

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