Security

Pants on Fire

No, Representative John Lewis (D-GA) did not “praise” Edward Snowden, and The Guardian has agreed to remove that word from their headlines. Here’s a statement from John Lewis.

“News reports about my interview with The Guardian are misleading, and they do not reflect my complete opinion. Let me be clear. I do not agree with what Mr. Snowden did. He has damaged American international relations and compromised our national security. He leaked classified information and may have jeopardized human lives. That must be condemned.

“I never praised Mr. Snowden or said his actions rise to those of Mohandas Gandhi or other civil rights leaders. In fact, The Guardian itself agreed to retract the word “praise” from its headline.

“At the end of an interview about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I was asked what I thought about Mr. Snowden’s actions. I said he has a right as an individual to act according to the dictates of his conscience, but he must be prepared to pay the price for taking that action. In the movement, we were arrested, we went to jail, we were prepared to pay the price, even lose our lives if necessary. I cannot say and I did not say that what Mr. Snowden did is right. Others will be the judge of that.”

It probably doesn’t need to be said at this point, but anything you read at The Guardian concerning the NSA, or foreign policy, or Edward Snowden, or that darn spooky Obama should probably be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The last paragraph of his statement is very poignant, and it’s just one reason among many why comparing Snowden or Greenwald’s his cause to the civil rights movement is so insulting. Civil rights leaders did not run away to Hong Kong or Russia. They were prepared to pay for their actions with their lives and some of them did.

  • mrbrink

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. When I first heard them touting John Lewis’s statement as proof of purchase, I knew there would be a clarification forthcoming because John Lewis is a much more thoughtful and nuanced man to be used in a Rand Paul 2016 ad by anti-Obama knee-jerks. I’m sure they’ll call him a traitor, too, because the pressure not to cross the Greenwald faction of Rand Paul cheerleaders masquerading as the Left is immense. They’re on the radio, the TV, on blogs, in HuffPo headlines, even.

    It’s schizophrenic leadership bull-horned by skittish authoritarians in their own right that would have us all sleeping in tents in the middle of New York and pumping our fists at the sky from a fetal position over a vague surveillance program, rather than doing the arduous legwork of winning elections and fortifying our progress– which is why they don’t care who’s in charge. Elections are inconsequential to a never-ending list of grievances that include impeaching that “lying sonofabitch Johnson,” and the ‘warcriminal’ Obama.

    And I said this yesterday, but I think it stands for all time, that these are the same people who would rather throw their vote away on a third party candidate out of principle, even if that vote goes into the trash. Not the sacred institution they would have people believe. Which could be why fighting safe issues like the surveillance state and drug sentences takes a backseat to voter discrimination laws, wealth income inequality, and the continued theft of democracy through Citizens United– apathy in action.

    I thought it was bad form preying upon John Lewis’s general thoughts and stopping the presses like they just found the fifth golden ticket. As this little adventure in buy or beware journalism has taught me, some people will say and do just about anything to be right, including stealing documents, misrepresenting the facts, and using human shields like John Lewis for their war on Obama democrats.

  • Jeffery Moyer

    There is more going on here and we will never understand with what we get from the main stream media they have obviously been corrupted they are all reporting the same and basically the same opinions that has never happened b4 and that is not hard to believe freedom of speech has been under attack for how long now. I really cant blame snowden for reacting they way he did. He needed protection he could not get here in the states after all its the very same people that have done wrong that are suppose to protect us and as far as leaking the Intel all at once it would have just been ignored found to be to far fetched and would have been covered up, they tried. but leaking it little by little there was no way to catch it all. so they failed, now they have a head ache and its there own damn fault I want to know what else they have lied about i’m not so naive to believe that it began with this, this is just a small piece IT’S TIME FOR AN OVER HALL OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM though its a good one we are way to big for the britches we are wearing. we need more checks and balances, the ones in place are liking to a single sandbag wall in a flood its time for more sand bags the water is heaver and flowing much faster the wall is breaking and all the way down into the civil level of government and the people are being ignored and over run.

    • stacib23

      Really slowly now — please back away from the keyboard. LOL

      • Badgerite

        That was good! Thanks.

    • Bubble Genius

      On your keyboard, far right, third from the bottom. It’s the RETURN key. It creates paragraphs if you hit it twice.

      • Jeffery Moyer

        sorry, I am use to many sites not allowing that so when you hit return/enter.

        I even stopped editing long statements in word because apparently it wasn’t important for so long many sites would still do actually mash it all back together.

        It really drives me insane as well makes you look like an illiterate buffoon.

    • Badgerite

      Of course ‘it’ started long before that. The internet was developed by the Defense Department for god sake. Not Steve Jobs. Research into data mining, which is a method of analysis of intelligence more than intelligence gathering, got started in the 1990’s. An obscure department of computer geeks had a developed a theory of intelligence and were asked to try it out on finding the source of Chinese theft of industrial secrets from the US. They were found a smuggling route, I believe, along the St. Lawrence Seaway and out to China through which hardware was being gotten out. This was a possibility that old school analysts had not seen or even considered. When Al Qaeda first made its appearance in the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the group was asked to use their methods and see what they could come up with. They did, and their data showed that theillusive Al Qaeda had possibly developed a cell in America with the potential to strike inside the US. Their methods, however, involved the inadvertent capture of the communications of American citizens and they were required to delete all of their files after 90 days or face prosecution. Which they did. After 9/11, people like Michael Hayden were determined not to let this happen again. Using the authority of Executive Order 12333 issued by Ronald Reagan back in the 80’s they gave this group and their methods full reign to track down Al Qaeda operatives where ever they were. Their activities were completely outside of the oversight of the FISA Court. Legislation in 2008 changed that and guidelines were instituted that imposed warrant requirements and auditing on analysts ( NSA Guideline leaked by Snowden). A review of NSA procedures and compliance with the law was undertaken by the Justice Department in 2009 ( documentary evidence of this leaked by Snowden).
      In case you hadn’t noticed, the networks have been this way forever. You watch one newscast you pretty much watch them all except for PBS. I noticed this over a decade ago. You only just noticed now. Interesting.
      You are engaging in pretty free free speech on this blog. You obviously feel no fear in doing so. So, what makes you think your free speech in threatened. In one of Snowden’s points of call, China, the artist Aei Wei Wei was imprisoned and beaten and had his studio demolished for releasing the names of children killed in a school building collapse. Tell me again, why you think your free speech is imperiled.

    • Badgerite

      Where am I?
      In the Village.
      What do you want?
      We want INFORMATION.
      You’ll never get it.
      By hook or by crook, we will.
      Who is Number One?
      YOU are Number Six.

  • stacib23

    Where is the dude that has been around here and The Daily Banter for the past month cheerleading Snowden who gleefully used John Lewis’ words out of context yesterday in several of his posts? Mark??? He is amazingly quiet today. hahahahaha

    • missliberties

      It’s hard for me not to relish this kick in the face to the conspirational left. They are so rude and ruthlessly mean to anyone that disagrees with their views that they deserve to be humiliated.

      • stacib23

        I saw the “even John Lewis thinks Snowden is a hero” stuff all over the internet yesterday. It wasn’t a good day, and I didn’t have time to read what Lewis actually said, but I knew it wasn’t as portrayed by many of the Snowden / Greenwald fans.

  • sam stone

    I have a ton of respect for Rep. John Lewis, and I’m glad that he has clarified his remarks. But let’s be clear that while he rightly objected to the framing of his comments, he does not challenge the content of the quotations, the most important of which, I believe, is this one:

    When it was pointed out to Lewis that many in Washington believed that Snowden was simply a criminal, he replied: “Some people say criminality or treason or whatever. He could say he was acting because he was appealing to a higher law. Many of us have some real, real, problems with how the government has been spying on people.”

    His subsequent clarification makes clear that Rep. Lewis did not mean to make a judgment of Snowden’s guilt or innocence, but he recognizes that what Snowden did may have been an act of conscience, and he also recognizes the value that Snowden’s actions have had for starting an important debate. That’s enough for me.

    • formerlywhatithink

      I’ve seen this in multiple places, but what’s left out is this line from Rep. West:

      “You have a right to defy those laws and be willing to pay the price.

      If you go to some of the emoprog sites, like Daily Kos, they’re comparing Snowden to Rep West. Bring up the quoted line above, and they go into the tinfoil hat lane, spouting off about execution, torture, assassination, etc, ect.

      • missliberties

        When are they not complaining? 🙂

      • ChrisAndersen

        It’s worse than that. One guy over there was actually saying that all Lewis had to worry about was spending a night in jail.

        • nathkatun7

          I knew they would be quick to denigrate him! That’s the way the Greenwald and his cult behave.

        • Badgerite

          Seriously? These people don’t have any historical context at all. They think Mao visited America rather than Nixon visiting China. They think that the great champion of WWII was Stalin.
          I believe John Lewis was pulled off one of the Freedom Rider buses and was physically attacked ( as in had his head based ) by some KKK types. Those people risked their lives. Students and housewives and children. People lost their lives just trying to register black people to vote.

      • nasani

        And sam stone deliberately left that line out!

        • sam stone

          No, I didn’t. That is a separate statement, though it was also included in the Guardian article. There is an interesting discussion to be had about whether civil disobedience requires suffering legal consequences as MLK and John Lewis believe, but that conversation is only relevant if one already accepts that the laws being broken are unjust, and I don’t see that many here believe that.

          • stacib23

            Which law did Snowden reveal as being broken by the US government? Please be very specific and links would be dandy.

          • sam stone

            I addressed this question, in part, on another post here yesterday. That’s a good place to start.
            http://thedailybanter.com/2013/08/the-real-life-stories-of-legitimate-nsa-whistleblowers-snowden-isnt-one-of-them/#comment-991554174

          • Badgerite

            Your post that you link to only poses the question, were any laws broken by analysts. You don’t know. And Snowden certainly has not presented evidence that an analyst did. He merely asserts that the safeguards and auditing of analyst activity, that he himself admits exists, is something that he, as a hacker, would find it easy to evade. Well, maybe, but if he did evade them and did get caught he would be subject to prosecution. Just as he is subject to prosecution for what he did do.
            What more is it that the government should be doing, in your opinion other than not doing any intelligence work at all. No monitoring of the Wild West of the internet.

          • sam stone

            The post makes a distinction between two question: (i) have existing laws been broken?, and (ii) are existing laws justified?.

            Civil disobedience concerns primarily the second question, and this is also the question that Snowden’s leaks bear upon. You all keep focusing on what laws were broken, but that misses the point. The issue is whether the laws according to which these programs are legal are themselves justified.

            I don’t think that the government shouldn’t be doing intelligence work, but I do believe that their programs should be subjected to democratic oversight. Legal justification provided by secret intelligence courts is insufficient for this.

          • nathkatun7

            For the sake of argument, lets accept your assumption that Snowden believed he was breaking unjust laws. I assume you also believe that he was breaking unjust laws and his stealing of classified information, damping it in the world media and sharing it with U.S adversaries was justified by his belief in higher just laws. Then please explain it to us why he felt it necessary to escape to countries that have worse laws than the ones in the country he escaped from.

            If John Lewis or MLK had violated segregation laws in the Southern U.S., and then run to and sought assylum under the Apartheid regime in South Africa, I think no one would take them seriously that they were motivated to disobey unjust law because they believed in a higher law. Speaking for my self, I would consider them nuts, at best, and at worst, liars and a hypocrites.

          • sam stone

            You assume too much about what I believe, but in any case, I don’t think your concerns are unreasonable. However, as a matter of fact, his options were very limited as to where he could go without facing extradition. Once he decided to leave the country and reveal himself as the leaker, there weren’t many countries with ‘clean’ records that would not ship him back to the US.

            Anyway, if you don’t think that Snowden was motivated to reveal unjust law, I’m curious what you think his true motivations were?

          • nathkatun7

            “if you don’t think that Snowden was motivated to reveal unjust law, I’m curious what you think his true motivations were?”

            His desire for fifteen minutes of fame coupled with the standard white Obama hatred. I’ve also not ruled out the fact that Greenwald and others may have urged him to do this. I say that because I continue to marvel about how the so called “pure progressives” have embraced this Ron Paul’s libertarian disciple. The same Ron Paul who has been hanging out, for a very long time, with avowed white supremacists.

            In any case, I was puzzled as to why you avoided answering the same question I posed to you: Do you think Snowden was motivated by his deep belief in just/unjust laws when he decided to steal highly classified information and share it, not only with the foreign press, but also with foreign countries like China and Russia?

            The second and more fundamental question, which you’ve purposely, and conveniently, avoided to answer is: why did Edward Snowden, if his motivation was purely based on his deep abhorrence to the immoral and unjust laws, chose to escape to countries that have worse privacy laws than those of the United
            States?

            So, really, It’s not up to me to discern Snowden’s motives, or for that matter the motives of you and others who have declared him a hero of Civil disobedience on par with Gandhi and Dr. King. All I can deduce, based on his actions and his history, or lack there of, is that he is a guy in search of fame, willing to compromise the security of his country to accomplish that fame. And as a 67 years- old black person, I am disgusted that privileged people, who know nothing about suffering and the centuries of black struggles it took us to get where we are now conveniently using our heroes as a weapon to attack President Obama.

            To date, I’ve not seen any evidence that the President or his administration violated any laws or grossly abused the rights of innocent Americans. I don’t know how old you are, but people in my age group know intimately the names of people who endured surveillances, lost jobs and saw their families and lives destroyed. For all the people with their hair on fire, accusing the President for creating a police state, I’ve not seen any evidence that the NSA is doing what the FBI, and to a certain extent the CIA, were doing in
            the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I mean NADA! I can name names of people in my time who suffered, and I mean suffered, from government surveillances, employment disruptions, denial of passports, etc. I dare any one to cite me one specific example where an innocent American, under President Obama, has been, or is being, persecuted, or deprived of privacy, because of his political beliefs.

            Bottom line for me, is that all the privileged people are freaking out about imaginary threats; whereas ordinary people still have to deal with immediate life and death issues like jobs, food, healthcare, etc.

          • sam stone

            I don’t want to spend too much speculating on Snowden’s motives because I’m in no better position than you to know what they really are. I guess I’m more inclined to take him at his word that he was motivated by seeing what he believed to be dangerous infringements into the lives of his fellow citizens. In the Guardian article, John Lewis spoke of the real risks involved with unchecked powers of surveillance, and, while you’re no doubt correct that these powers have not been abused under Obama like they were in, say, the 1950s and 1960s, I am still not comfortable giving the government the powers that it is now assuming. My concerns have nothing in particular to do with the current administration and I recognize that most of these powers were put in place by the previous administration. What concerns me is the possibility of Bush-era excesses being made permanent law under Obama now that they have Democratic support. Even if we have total confidence that these powers will not be abused under Obama, history suggests that not every administration will be as judicious as this one.

            As to your question about Snowden’s travels, I suggested that it may have been practical concerns that forced those decisions. If Snowden had fled to, say, Sweden then he would have been immediately extradited to the US. To maintain his freedom, he had to go to a country that was not going to extradite him, and those countries don’t have great records on these things. But, in any case, I think it’s fine to be critical of those decisions. A strong case can be made that he should have stayed to face the legal consequences. I just don’t think that his decisions about where to flee show conclusively that he was trying to harm his country.

            Finally, let me just say that what bothers me most about how the conversation is going (generally, not just here) is this assumption that those of us who see value in what Snowden revealed must also consider him a hero and stand behind his every move. That’s not my position. Nor am I interested in attacking the President. What I would like to see, and what I think we are now seeing, is the President get out in front and own this issue. If he can lead us towards dial back some of these Bush-era policies, I think that would be a good thing for the country.

          • nathkatun7

            “I don’t want to spend too much speculating on Snowden’s motives because I’m in no better position than you to know what they really are.”
            There you go again changing the subject because you don’t like the answer given! Are you not the one who responded to my comment by asking me this question:

            “Anyway, if you don’t think that Snowden was motivated to reveal unjust law, I’m curious what you think his true motivations were?”

            Now all of a sudden you “don’t want to spend too much speculating on Snowden’s motives…” If that is the case WTF did you ask me that question? You people, who are supposedly progressives, are full of BS! You are all “hair on fire” about NSA nothing. I wish you all would show the same passion about real issues like racial profiling, suppression of votes, and the deliberate GOP sabotage of programs, like the ACA, aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Americans. But you all think that you are holier than the President and all of us who support him.

            Again I challenge you, and all the Greenwald supporters, to cite me a specific, concrete, example/case that shows that the NSA has violated the privacy of any innocent individual American or a group of Americans. What I am asking for is not that complicated. In my time (yes I am an oldie) we could cite real examples of people blacklisted, or Civil Rights leaders who were being spied on, or organizations infiltrated by the FBI to disrupt them. To this day, I’ve not seen any shred of evidence that under President Obama the privacy rights of Americans are being violated by the NSA. So what’s behind all the outrage?

          • sam stone

            Again, the issue is not so much whether laws have been broken, but whether the laws that make this surveillance legal, which have been crafted in secret by secret courts, are justified.

            But, of course, there have been instances of abuse too. Here’s one:
            http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5987804

          • Badgerite

            Why, exactly, is the discussion about whether civil disobedience requires suffering legal consequences only relevant if ‘one already accepts that the laws being broken are unjust’? Civil disobedience merely means that YOU believe the laws are unjust. Not that everyone else does. And you attack the laws by publicly defying them and that public refusal also entails going through the legal consequences of what you do and defending your position through that legal process so as to garner support and change the law. What Snowden did was to covertly acquire access to information on government activities by taking an oath swearing not to reveal any information on those activities, gather all the information he could, seek refuge in competitor nations which rather sketchy civil rights records themselves, leak that information and at one point actively threaten the country’s government personnel by threatening to release names of CIA abroad. Yeah, that is just like the Selma bus boycott.

          • sam stone

            The first point you make is a good one. You apparently don’t think that Snowden was motivated by a belief that the NSA surveillance laws are unjust?

            Putting aside the correctness of his beliefs, if you don’t think that Snowden’s actions qualify as an act of conscience, what do you think motivated him to put himself in this situation?

            Is he a secret Russian spy or something?

          • A spy? No, not really. Most evidence points to a young man who believes in Ron Paul’s version of Libertarianism, which calls for the active disruption and destruction of the Federal Government.

    • missliberties

      Putin is a punk. He doesn’t like Americans. He doesn’t want Americans in his country. He is arresting gay people. He is encouraging a nationalist style patriotism by bashing Americans. He has kicked out all American humanitarian groups. Yet… Putin has room in his country for Snowden? And some on the left had the gall to describe Putin’s Snowden welcome as Putin takes a step towards human rights. Gag. But he has room for Snowden.

      Meanwhile Putin supports the Syrian rebels, with arms, money and propaghanda and is making a hash of the Middle East.

      That is where Snowden is living now. Maybe he will have the courage to change his mind and admit that America ain’t such a bad place to live after all. But that would mean accepting the consequences of his actions.

      • sam stone

        I don’t really disagree with your assesment of Putin. And now the NSA secrets that Snowden took with him are in Russia and probably not secure, which isn’t good. We’re also now seeing the strains that this situation is placing on US-Russia relations, which is potentially very dangerous.

        So, I’m not happy that Snowden is in Russia. But it’s worth reflecting a little on how we ended up here. Remember that Snowden was en route to South America when the US charged him with a capital crime, revoked his passport, and downed the Bolivian Presidential plane in an effort to prevent his leaving. I believe that this was a huge mistake. Regardless of your opinions on Snowden, I think we can all agree that we would be better off with him being just about anywhere other than Russia, but the actions of the US government effectively trapped him there.

        To your point about him facing the consequences of his actions at home, well, that’s a whole other conversation, and I have heard intelligent arguments on both sides. I don’t feel like I am in a position to decide.

        • missliberties

          Snowden was ‘en route to South America’.

          That’s heresay.

          Snowden’s decisions trapped him in Russia. Get it. He made a choice to flee the country, making insane postuations that he was gonna be droned, or killed or tortured, by the US government, which is patently ridiculous.

          Snowden made these choices. If you can grasp that notion that he has to take personal responsibility for his decisions, when he knew well what could happen, it would please me.

          The whistleblower status could have served him well if he would have stayed in America, but he chose to flee. His choice. No one else’s.

          • sam stone

            As usual in a complex situation such as this it’s possible for more than one party to be at fault. Obviously I wouldn’t deny Snowden’s responsibility.

          • missliberties

            It’s pretty obvious that in spite of revoked passport, Hong Kong packed Snowden up and put him on a plane to Russia. They didn’t want to deal with the disruption and that whole complication of US/Sino relations.

            I kind of have a feeling that Putin didn’t really want to keep Snowden either, but did just to look ‘tough’, and ‘show’ America.

          • Badgerite

            You do deny Snowden’s responsibility. All the time. It isn’t just responsibility. It is culpability.

        • D_C_Wilson

          His passport was revoked as soon as he landed in Hong Kong, it wasn’t when he was “en route” to any where.

          • sam stone

            Maybe you’re privy to information that I’m not aware of, but my understanding was that his passport was revoked just hours prior to his leaving Hong Kong and that Hong Kong authorities may not have been aware of it when he left.

          • D_C_Wilson

            It was either just as he arrived or when he was about to leave. Either way, it was long before there was even talk of him going to Bolivia.

        • Badgerite

          It isn’t a whole other conversation. It is an integral part of his motivations in the first place. He went to Russia but he meant to stay in China. That was his first choice as refuge. And China, by all accounts, keeps a tight lid on its citizenry activism to say the least. The artist Aie Wei Wei was beaten and jailed for posting the names of children killed in a school collapse. That was his crime. Nothing particularly political, one would think. But it somehow offended Chinese authorities and he was legal persecuted and harassed thereafter. If he weren’t so well known and didn’t have a foreign following he would probably still be in prison. No actions on the part of the United States MADE him go to China. This leaking to the foreign press was part of his aim in leaking. It was not an afterthought. He went to China. Divulged his identity. And then gave an inflammatory interview to the press in Hong Kong and sought asylum there long before the US had roused itself.

    • Badgerite

      In my opinion, it is a little hard to ‘appeal to a higher law’ from an asylum sanctuary of Russia. It would be as if Rosa Parks took a taxi but pointed out that the buses were segregated.

  • trgahan

    Well…Representative John Lewis just lost his shot at the newly minted and soon to be required Champion of Civil Liberties badge for the next time he runs for office.

    • missliberties

      No The Guardian is losing it’s reputation as a newspaper with integrity.

      The hilarity is that some on the left go crazy every time they hear ‘more news’ that confirms their conspiracy theories. They go on for hours Snowden’s heroics and the spin the Guardian put on the story was outlandish enough that John Lewis himself felt he had to correct them.

      • trgahan

        Indeed and too few of see the logical error in always finding exactly what they are looking for.

        • missliberties

          Well Snowden found the perfect authoritarian in Putin. That is what he was looking for. And he thought it was Obama….. lol.

          • nathkatun7

            Yep! He claims U.S. laws are immoral and unjust. Since he chose to escape first to China then to Russia, I take it he believes that the laws in those countries are just laws. Sadly, his hero, Greenwald would not make it in Russia. He would either be thrown out or sent to prison for what Russia considers immoral conduct.

    • Badgerite

      And there it is. If you don’t support every crackpot position I take you have no validity as a “CHAMPION of Civil Liberties’. Listen, whoever, I’ll take John Lewis as my champion and hero any day of the week over your ‘hero’ du jour. I’m still trying to get over that stupid tape of Grayson basically getting up and making shit up in the well of the House to try to imply that phone records were part of 4th Amendment protections. He’s a lawyer, right? He can read. The case he cited clearly contradicted everything he said that day.

  • missliberties

    I didn’t even bother to check out the emoprogs new ‘outrage’. I had a suspicion that the context was missing.

    This stinks. I hope the Greenwaldeans apologize. I won’t hold my breath.

    Thank You John Lewis for correcting the record here. It is a shame that you had to.

  • A new fan

    Used to love The Guardian–love their live blogs of the 2010 UK elections, the Murdoch scandal, the US elections, etc. But I am so disappointed and frustrated in their rubbish reporting on this and other aspects of this saga. Don’t think a Pulitzer is in it for them, not when they can’t get major aspects of this right.

    • blackdaug

      The Guardian had a chance to reign this in, and maintain their hard won credibility early on: instead they chose to double down, and cast their entire lot in with a lower order of journalism.
      It was a monumentally horrible editorial decision, and one that will eventually cost them everything.

  • blackdaug

    God what an ever loving nightmare of stupidity this era must look like to Lewis.
    Spends his youth getting his skull cracked and bearing witness to the absolute horrors of being a black civil rights leader in the hell hole that was the south in the sixties.
    Lives long enough to see the dream of a black President being elected, only to watch as people from what he thought was his own side of the struggle make careers out of tearing his every action or attempt at governance down to the ground.
    What a herculean effort of selflessness it must take for him to be able to utter any public statement without just screaming…
    I only hope when he was reading the articles The Guardian prints on this, he skipped the comment sections.
    The hoods are off now, all over the world.

    • 1933john

      Excellent comment!

    • nathkatun7

      “The hoods are off now, all over the world.”

      You speak TRUTH! As a student of history, this era reminds of the era that followed Reconstruction and ushered in the Jim Crow. Even then, “holier than New Republicans” (very similar to the today’s “holier than thou, born again, pure progressives”) abandoned Blacks and started blaming blacks and the black vote, for corruption that swept the country. The Republican party split into two factions giving an opening to the rise Negro baiting segregationists and the spread of “lynch law” to keep blacks in their place.

      John Lewis must feel the way Frederick Douglass felt the successes (freedom for the slaves and Black enfranchisement) of all he had struggled for, for more than 40 years, turn into a nightmare. The short Reconstruction period of HOPE would be replaced by what one Historian called the “Negro Nadir.” I pray that the hope ignited by the Civil Rights successes that culminated in the election of President Obama will not be followed by another “Black Nadir.” To be honest, the signs are there. The way both the Republican party and the purity progressives have treated President Obama and his supporters leaves with great concern for the future. T

      The new Republicans of the post Reconstruction period focused on corruption and totally ignored the Southern movement to enact laws that disenfranchised Blacks and required total segregation based on race. To enforce what would
      be called the “Jim Crow” system, Southern resorted to violence both legal and extra legal.

      Today, the purity progressives are obsessed with the so called “civil liberties” and attacking their fellow Democrats. They are don’t seem to be concerned with laws that are aimed at disenfranchising Blacks or laws that sanction violence. In the meantime, Republican controlled state governments are on rampage to enact laws that disenfranchises Blacks and other minorities, as well as laws, like “stand your ground” laws, that sanction violence. As was the case with the Jim Crow era, today’s right wing dominated U.S. Supreme Court is happy to oblige those bent on turning the cloak backwards.

      • Badgerite

        This is very true. The far left sees more moderate Democrats as ‘fiddling’ while Rome burned but I think it is exactly the other way around. The reason that the excesses of spying domestically that occurred in the 60’s and 70’s did not really stop the Civil Rights Movement was because they kept focused on the issues at hand. You want to ‘do away’ with the military industrial complex all at once and at a time when jobs are at a premium. Ain’t gonna happen. What the President has done is what is doable. Winding down the wars we were actively engaged in when he took office and trying to support movements abroad, especially in the Middle East, that might possibly bring about positive and more representative governments there. And doing this while the United States still has an active and hostile enemy trying to attack by pretty much ANY means, any representative of the United States and that includes civilians as targets. And while domestically the opposition is intent on destroying any social safety net, rolling back gains in voting enfranchisement, dismantling the unions and basically funneling as much money and power to an elite white guy network at the very top as it can possibly get away with.

        • nathkatun7

          Actually the “excesses” of surveillances in the 60s and the 70s by the FBI were, for the most part, directly focused on the Civil Rights movement and Civil rights leaders. There were real victims,Individuals and organizations, that you could name, who suffered from these surveillances.

  • exoevolution

    Everyone must find refuge in Spirit, away from the madness of ego, from the evil that dwells in the Corporate Mind.

    The Corporate Mind is not real, it is an illusion based on countless lies, fueled by fear, hate and greed.

    Such insanity plots its own demise. Corporate Empire is a house of cards.

    Spirit alone holds the incandescent Light of Truth.
    Spirit is our sanctuary, our home.
    Spirit is who and what we are.

    The Light is “in” you.
    Darkness can cover it,
    but cannot put it out.

    Those who would let illusions
    be lifted from their minds
    are this world’s saviors.

    • i_a_c

      this dude again

    • trgahan

      Did you have formatting problems or is this an attempt at poetry? Wait, it’s song lyrics isn’t it? It syncs well with the Benny Hill theme song.

      • exoevolution

        Yes, it is poetry. Is poetry bad? What is it with the name calling & put downs on this site? I have been a fan of Bob Cesca for years, first reading his frequent posts on the Huffington Post & I have visited his site often, usually I agree with Bob, only recently have I been making comments on the site. Bob & I disagree on Manning & Snowden. I see “whistleblowers” that should be “listened” to. Bob sees “traitors” that should be “punished”. Are differences of opinion not what a “democracy” is all about? Is not a “debate” good for our democracy and our country?

        You here on the site seem to be outraged at men within the Military Industrial Complex spilling the beans. I see a Military Industrial Complex that needs to be reigned in.

        I come in peace & with respect toward Bob and his site.

        • joseph2004

          This is weird. The left – far left especially – has historically been very critical of the “Military Industrial Complex,” like they were with “Big Auto,” too, for other reasons. But suddenly, Big Auto is to go to war for, and, since Cesca got himself tangled up in bashing Greenwald because Greenwald has not always been charitable toward Obama’s record on righting American’s moral ship, now Cesca finds himself on the “wrong side” of the Progressive Left’s view on the MIC.
          Wow. If it isn’t obvious, it should be. This site’s content providers have few convictions of “cause,” just shifting views depending on who they’re in love with at the moment. Is this moment, it’s Barack Obama.

          I come in peace as well, but have less respect for “Bob and his site.” No duh there.

          • nathkatun7

            I am sorry, but this is all gibberish to me! By the way PRESIDENT Obama and some of us who support him do not need Greenwald’s charity.

        • eljefejeff

          I think we all agree the MIC needs to be reigned in….big time. Bob and others on the site have written plenty on that.

          Now, not to speak for everyone here, but I think many of us see Snowden as a traitor and a coward. He didn’t need to leak classified documents and give secrets to Russia and China just to blow the whistle. He did have whistleblower protection that the current president signed into law. He went about this the wrong way, I see no benefit to his actions, and frankly I’m surprised anyone is supporting him.

          • exoevolution

            The MIC is a Goliath of Gigantic proportions, “digital slingshots” are the only weapons against such a Monster of Insatiable Greed and Perpetual Wars, which by the way, owns Washington DC lock stock and barrel. What would have been a right way? Either way Manning’s way or Snowden’s way, “their” lives have been ruined. When will the way of life for the MIC be changed? How much more greed? How many more wars? When will enough madness finally be enough?

            Obama has gone after more whistleblowers than all other previous presidents “combined”. I voted for Obama “twice” – but he seems to be a champion of the MIC in so many ways.

            Obama is seems to me, sides too readily with the powerful and not enough with the people. I wanted the MLK-Obama instead we got the ColinPowell-Obama.

            My earlier comment above points to fact that only a Spiritual solution will ultimately turn the tide from the Corporate Mindset forever focused on more and more for fewer and fewer, while the vast majority of Americans are left out in the cold.

          • What would have been a right way?

            By doing what a true whistleblower does…showing proof to the world that something illegal occurred in the area that they are complaining about (i.e., domestic spying accusation actually supported by proof of domestic spying). And they should have given it to someone trustworthy who would report it accurately. Their lives wouldn’t have been destroyed. They did it to themselves. Instead they both released unrelated material to untrustworthy people that jeopardized the lives of Americans in the field. And Snowden gave info to our enemies. There was no need for that at all. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times….if they’d been true whistleblowers I’d have been behind them 110%.

          • exoevolution

            You say traitor.

            I say whistleblower.

            You are outraged at the “leaks” – “Snowden and Manning.

            I am outraged at “Wall Street Greed”, “Pentagon Wars” and a “Corporate-Owned Washington DC” – “The MIC”

            To me Snowden & Manning are just the tip of the iceberg that is American Empire. You are focused on “them”, the tip. While the vast Military Industrial Congressional Complex that squanders Trillion$, that devours American democracy, that leaves America economically devastated, that has 800+ military bases around the globe, the huge 90+% of the iceberg remains rolling along, hidden from view. Manning & Snowden exposed what has been hidden from We, the People. I see this as a good thing for American democracy. We are squabbling over how it should have been leaked, when, to me, knowledge is a good thing for democracy, rule by the many. Of course, knowledge is a very bad thing for oligarchy, rule by the few. America has over the last few decades transformed from a democracy to an oligarchy.

            That is where I focus my outrage. Am I wrong?

          • No, it’s not a tomayto/tomahto type thing. There is a definition for a whistleblower and neither Manning or Snowden qualify. Manning exposed some things but Snowden didn’t. We knew everything he told us about and for quite some time.

            As for not being focused on the 90% of the iceberg….if you really believe we haven’t been….then you haven’t been paying attention to what Bob and most of us commenting here have been saying.

          • sam stone

            One question: You knew that the NSA was collecting the metadata from all your phone calls prior to these leaks?

          • nasani

            Yes I did because I followed news seriously since the 2006 disclosures and the FISA amendments.

          • sam stone

            If you knew that the NSA was engaged in bulk collection of phone data just by following the news then why did the Director of National Intelligence deny to a Senate Committee, under oath, that this was happening? Huh. Strange.

          • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

            How do you think police investigate a crime for Pete’s sake?
            Phone records, which all phone companies keep, have been used in investigations by authorities for decades.
            Have you ever watched an episode of Law & Order?
            Sheesh!

          • Yes, it was all public knowledge for those paying attention. I work in IT and none of the recent “reveals” by Greenwald are news to me.

          • sam stone

            Why would James Clapper deny under oath that bulk data collection was occurring, if it was common knowledge to smart people like you that it was?

          • Just because it’s common knowledge doesn’t also mean it wasn’t classified…..I know that sounds nonsensical but it really isn’t. I knew (many of us in IT knew it was going on) and the laws put in place (starting way back in the 70’s when the Supreme Court said that “metadata” was not private and not protected) made it pretty clear that the NSA could do it. The actual program being in place, the procedures, etc. was still classified and Clapper wasn’t allowed to discuss it in public and that includes under oath. He was stuck with the choice of saying 1) that’s classified (which would have been the same as saying ‘yes we do collect bulk data’), 2) lying, or 3) talking about something classified (which would have gotten him fired). He did the really dumb thing and lied.

            He also could have (should have) asked for clarification of the question because the question was implying that the NSA was doing something illegal. And the law is VERY clear that it is not illegal. We can and should debate whether it is ethical or practical but not illegal. What Clapper definitely should have said was that he couldn’t discuss classified programs except for in private with Congressional members with appropriate clearance….but he could testify that the NSA was not violating any laws in regards to domestic surveillance.

            There weren’t any good answers and he was in a bad spot. He did the wrong thing. However, the Congress members who were questioning knew damn well what was going on and had allowed the program to happen in the first place (hell, they passed the damn laws and were offered briefings on the spying programs, some of whom skipped those same briefings). Forcing Clapper to testify was for optics and politics. And none of it gets us any closer to reforming the law or the NSA’s procedures.

            EDIT: The program was later declassified (or at least portions of it were, I’m not entirely sure on this point) so now I don’t think anyone at NSA should be in this kind of pickle again in regards to this particular program.

          • nasani

            You simply delusional!

          • eljefejeff

            Again, your side is being unreasonable. We spend more on defense than almost all other nations combined. Obama does not have the power to do a whole lot about it. Congress is not behind him on it and even democrats would never agree to it. The only way he was able to cut defense was by cutting social programs and entitlements as well(the sequester). You’re ignoring the reality of Washington and the power of conservative media and Citizens United.

            What I’m hearing from the far left is that Obama should have unilaterally gutted the entire MIC. At a time when there are threats and he’s charged with keeping 300 million Americans safe, no way could he, would he, or even should he do that. Piece by piece is all that’s possible at this point, and he’s done that. Hell the MIC is certainly no fan of his when you compare him to his predecessors. One war over, another winding down, Libya fought on the cheap, so far minimal involvement in Syria….

            As far as the criticism that we’ll change our values to defend Obama, there probably is some truth to that, but it’s because we see him as a guy who really was trying to change Washington but when faced with the realities of the job and the partial abandonment of him by his own base, was unable to get as much done as we all had hoped. And the Greenwalds of the world act as if Obama is the problem. That’s such bullshit. We are SO lucky to have him as our commander in chief during these times. My God, do you even remember W? Can you fathom Romney or McCain calling the shots?

          • exoevolution

            Yes Obama is better than ANY Republican.

            I see shining light on the insanity of our military spending and our incessant “militarism” as a VERY good thing. When will this madness end?

            Are we “really” so afraid of a 5’2′ man and a 29 year old computer geek and a bunch of rage tag muslims? That we must spend trillion$ endlessly, watch everyone 24/7, have a military presence everywhere, with missiles, jets, aircraft carriers, submarines, satellites, drones, troops, CIA, Homeland Security, atomic bombs, the list is endless, the money spent is endless. What is America afraid of? Is this money spent to protect America or protect American Empire? That I think gets to the heart of the issue at hand.

            Where and when does this end? What is the end game?

            How many more trillion$ for “defense”, while America rots from within?

          • Badgerite

            There goes the poetry. And the mask slips away.

          • Lady Willpower

            So… one of those BIG Goliaths? As opposed to the other kind?

            And you voted for Obama “twice?” Why is twice in quotes like that? Is that your cute way of saying you actually voted for Ron Paul both times?

          • Badgerite

            I really don’t see the ‘benefit’ of his actions. To tell you the truth, all of this information was already out there. Published by other people long before Snowden and his ‘slides’ showed up. What is more, people who espouse the Greenwald/Snowden party line are not truthful in there words or actions. The mis-characterization of Congressman John Lewis’s statement is just one example. This was used, as per usual, at other sites to try to stampede by guilt trip liberals into their particular ‘Obama=bad’ corner. And as can be seen, it was used dishonestly. And the way the Guardian mis-characterized his statement is rather indicative of the dishonest way in which this story has been reported from day one.

        • trgahan

          I am not cool enough to be Bob so please don’t insult him by attributing my back bench yacking with his postings. And yes…bad poetry is hurtful to humanity. Please stop.

          • exoevolution

            I was not speaking of this “specific” post – I was speaking in general about Bob, since Bob is who have have read the most in the past and this is his site.

            Sorry you are not a fan of my poetry. Can’t promise I could stop.

          • Badgerite

            What poetry?

        • Ted41

          Oy

        • D_C_Wilson

          Here’s the problem I have with calling Snowden a “whistleblower.” He could have taken his concerns to the inspector general and sought protection under the whistleblower protection law. He could have taken it to a member of Congress with the proper clearance. He could have leaked it to the media.

          Instead, he went to a foreign country and gave them information that will no doubt help them counter our intelligence gathering. Instead of putting everything he knew he about intelligence gathering on the table, he let Greenwald trickle it out in drips and drabs. Instead of hitting us with shocking revelations of NSA’s activities, most of what he’s “revealed” so far is stuff that had been covered in the media before.

          So, I just don’t see how his actions benefit the American or the world. Or even Snowden, since his chooses right now are living the rest of his life in a country hostile to the US or facing a lengthy jail sentence.

          Near as I can tell, the only person who’s benefited from this debacle is Greenwald, since everyone his giving him attention.

    • nasani

      Those who would let illusions
      be lifted from their minds
      are this world’s saviors.

      You, Sir/Madam, are terribly in need of this wisdom! Following blindly haters like Greenwald, and thinking that you are engaged in a fight against corporations, is an illusion that needs to be lifted from your mind.

    • Badgerite

      Seriously?