This is a new weekly feature by Steigerwald Post creator, and snappy dresser, Joseph Steigerwald, chronicling the best 3 and bottom 2 movers and shakers of whatever category I see fit — plus one bonus subject that is, at best, barely related to the current subject.
Today’s topic: Edward Snowden and his magic Power Point presentation. In the last week, details of both the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program, and Verizon’s (and other telecoms’) collusion with the NSA-led government spying program were leaked by former CIA anylist Edward Snowden. These cast an ugly light on the Obama administration, and the government in general. Here are three heroes, and three villains of this story, plus one wildcard.
For once bipartisanship is working in America. Pundits on the left and the right are flocking to Edward Snowden’s defense. In The New Yorker, John Cassidy writes a brilliant piece praising Snowden. Glenn Beck and Michael Moore agree that he’s a “hero”. Sen. Rand Paul is seeking to launch a class action lawsuit against the NSA programs. Lefty magazine The Nation leads off its website with a story devoted to the “passion of Edward Snowden.” Even Al Gore:
In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous? http://t.co/KONSBtTWjc
— Al Gore (@algore) June 6, 2013
and John Cusack!
Snowden a hero -terror vs freedom a false (authoritarian ) choice prosecuting journalists is the crime https://t.co/njRtXATH26
— John Cusack (@johncusack) June 12, 2013
#2. Glenn Greenwald:
Leave it to those limey Brits to do the dirty work the American press doesn’t want to. The Washington Post may have broken the PRISM story shortly before The Guardian got their version up, but it seems the mastermind behind the entire press operation was Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald. According to Greenwald, an anonymous source first contacted him back in February, months before The Washington Post got their information. It was Greenwald and documentary film maker Laura Poitras who directed Snowden, with his leak of the PRISM program to former Washington Post writer Barton Gellman. Because the Post was dragging its feet on publishing the story, Snowden decided to share the PRISM story with Greenwald as he had already broken the Verizon story, which was derived from a different leak of Snowden’s. Greenwald, already a hero in the libertarian community for his tireless work attacking the Obama administration’s drone program, scores again with this monumental scoop.
#1. Edward Snowden:
Our new libertarian hero. Anyone with the guts to give up his entire life, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to expose the inner workings of our mostly-evil government deserves our applause. Maybe he is a narcissist (Jeffery Toobin and Richard Simon think so), and he only leaked the information because he knew it would get him his 15 minutes of infamy. WHO CARES?! His reasons are irrelevant and as the great Conor Friedersdorf points out at The Atlantic, ¨The 29-year-old’s law-breaking undermines the American system far less than what Barack Obama and Congress have done.¨ If Snowden had leaked the information because Satan himself appeared to him in a dream and told him to do it, I would be okay with it. Anything that exposes secret government information is fine by me. And if it embarrasses the entire Obama administration, and makes the U.S. government look stupid in the eyes of the citizenry, that´s a double bonus. Now if only the citizenry could remember all this next election day.
#2. The Statists:
Leaks of secret government files are usually very revealing in the way that they bring out passions on all sides of the debate. This particular leak allows us to shine a light on the big government cheerleaders, the ¨statists.¨
I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice.
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) June 10, 2013
Edward Snowden is a traitor, not a hero. Should be jailed for decades. #tcot
— Larry Kudlow (@larry_kudlow) June 11, 2013
Speaker of the House John Boehner: ¨NSA leaker a traitor¨.
Ralph Peters, Fox News contributor and former Army Lt. Col., wants the death penalty for Snowden.
David Simon, creator of The Wire, rah-rah-ing the police state:
Sam ¨The terrorists are gonna get us¨Harris (and Glenn Greenwald foil,) eagerly handing over an indeterminate percentage of freedoms for an imaginary reduction in the likelihood of a terrorist attack:
If the risk of nuclear terrorism were 50% over the next decade. What freedom would you sacrifice to diminish it to 5%?
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) June 9, 2013
Andrew Sullivan is not impressed:
Mulling this over as the facts have come in, I remain underwhelmed by the NSA revelations: http://t.co/FAzyUWQ885
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) June 10, 2013
Sen. Diane Feinstein: “I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,”
Now, I´m not specifically comparing George W. Bush to the alien life form in John Carpenter´s The Thing, nor am I saying that there’s a good chance that said life form has somehow taken over the body of Barrack Obama, but if someone wants to take a small amount of Obama´s blood and hold a heated piece of copper wire to it to see if it is actually alive, I wouldn´’t object.
Obama promised transparency if elected, he even wrote a memorandum that states, with tongue not even close to cheek that:
¨My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.¨
Of course he probably wrote that before he became Bu-Oba-Sh-Ma.
#1. Snowden and Catch-22:
Coincidentally, (but not ironically, at least not yet,) Edward Snowden shares the same name as the doomed gunner in Joseph Heller´s influential anti-war novel Catch-22. If Edward Snowden somehow disappears or gets killed by the government, the irony meter will go off the page, (figuratively).
When the government becomes so large that there are no longer checks on its power, we are all Yossarian.