Monday, July 1, 2013

He's Got the Whole World In His Ears

Rrrrring, rrrrrring.

Barack Obama: Yeah.

Angela Merkel: World War II ended 70 years ago, Herr President. J. Edgar Hoover is dead. And we find out from Der Spiegel you're still bugging us! At this very moment in time, you are bugging me telling you that you're bugging me. Was zeum Teufel?

Barack Obama: Angela, Angela, Angela. Did I ever tell you you're the best looking German chancellor in the room? Remember when we chatted at the G-8 and I assured you we are not spying on you and that we only collect your emails and phone calls to keep the World safe from the World? Meanwhile if you let Edward Snowden anywhere near your air space, I'll yank my wasteful billion dollar bases right out of Germany. Meanwhile, I do welcome a transparent conversation behind closed doors.

Angela Merkel: Du Hurensohn! Nixon had to resign for a lot less than you are doing with your NSA plumbers. I'll pull out of the EU free trade agreements, Du Bastard!

Barack Obama: Did I ever tell you you're the best looking German chancellor in the room? We need a balanced approach when it comes to free trade just like we need a balanced approach when it comes to your privacy and our power. We need to balance the important interests of the multinationals against the petty interests of the poor slobs. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. My attorney General Eric Holder will be in touch with your prosecutors to offer them a deal they can't refuse. Money will win in the end. It always does.

Click, buzzzzzz.

I wonder. Yves Smith has an excellent post up asking the question you're not hearing being asked in the mainstream media. Will the blockbuster revelations that America is spying on foreign governments scuttle next week's European Union Trade Deal talks? Even better, will they ruin the super-secret corporation-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership deal?

No wonder the PTB hate Edward Snowden so much. He's
 not only embarrassed them personally, he's cutting into their obscene profits, big-time. Literally trillions of dollars in plutocratic pockets may be in danger because he exposed their criminal snooping enterprise. That is why they're desperately (and increasingly futilely) trying to make him and Glenn Greenwald into the bad guys. The mass murderers are complaining that the star witness for the prosecution is a rudenick and a Peeping Tom.

And nearly 48 hours after the latest NSA scoops, the Spooks are remaining eerily silent.* It's like the scandal that surpasses a thousand Watergates didn't even exist. The silence of stenographic mass media is deafening. I imagine the mad scramble for talking points is in full throttle.

Yves has been scanning the comment boards on NSA/Snowden stories and has unscientifically discovered that the proles are definitely not on the side of the government in this matter. The usual Obamabot sock puppets are hidden away in the drawers, for the most part. And that is a hopeful sign of things to come as regards the trade agreements:
By way of background, the Administration is taking the unusual step of trying to negotiate two major trade deals in the same timeframe. Apparently Obama wants to make sure his corporate masters get as many goodies as possible before he leaves office. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-European Union “Free Trade” Agreement are both inaccurately depicted as being helpful to ordinary Americans by virtue of liberalizing trade. Instead, the have perilous little to do with trade. They are both intended to make the world more lucrative for major corporations by weakening regulations and by strengthening intellectual property laws…
Public Citizen has been doing a yeoman's job exposing just a little bit of what the TPP deal means for us. No more accountability for corporate fraud in the courts of sovereign governments. Disease and death because life-saving drugs will be kept from developing countries. Total deregulation of financial predators and the neutering of already toothless Dodd-Frank financial reform. The details are so horrendous that the Obama Administration is even keeping them from Congress while strong-arming them to give him full authority to fast-track the deals. It's nothing less than a global coup d'état.

So Edward Snowden may be a greater hero than I thought. As Glenn Greenwald (h/t Jay - Ottawa) pointed out in a recent speech to a convention of Socialists (yay!), the inspiration he created by willing to literally put his own body on the line can only grow exponentially from here on out.  

* Update: Before meeting up with George Bush in Tanzania to lay a ceremonial wreath for American imperialism terror victims, Barack confirmed that he talks to Angela on the phone all the time. So, she and other allies crying rape should just lie down and enjoy him. Since the whole world snoops on his breakfast menu, then it just naturally follows that we should all just relax and enjoy the reality of our lives and our thoughts being sucked up by the voracious maw of the NSA Blob. Uncle Vlad, meanwhile, hilariously admonished Snowden to stop pissing all over America already, lest it get all wet. Oops. Too late. That chamber pot of horrors is already overflowing. That bladder done emptied itself weeks ago. That Putin sure is one funny autocrat.

Now that Obama weighed in, the New York Times finally joined the fray as well, with this weasel-worded headline: "France and Germany Piqued Over Spying Scandal."

Piqued? That connotes a lot less than the rage that is actually being felt and reported, and even subtly shifts the blame onto those on the receiving end of the abuse. (To be fair, the article does mention outrage in the first paragraph.) But the use of the word piqued in the headline hugely downplays the real import and content of the story, could even be interpreted to mean that those Europeans find the story really, really interesting. Somebody simply scanning the headlines might assume that the scandal was more along the lines of eavesdropping on an extra-marital affair instead a criminal state spying campaign against millions of innocent people.

From the Online Free Dictionary --

Piqued:

1. Stimulate (interest or curiosity)

2. Feel irritated or resentful.

Outraged:

1.Arouse fierce anger, shock, or indignation in (someone): "he was outraged at this attempt to take his victory away from him".

2. Violate or infringe flagrantly.

Words matter. A lot.

30 comments:

annenigma said...

Karen, thanks for the laughs! I am heartened by all these developments, especially in Europe. 'For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really...' filled with Hope for Change! - mostly due to the European people and their numerous political parties being drawn into the picture.

And Karen, have you ever considered the possibility that your writing might have been an inspiration for Edward Snowden? Your cogent, penetrating, humorous, and inspiring comments in the NYT have been read by so many over the years.

I've often wondered - who is reading those comments who might be in a position to do something useful? I think speaking or writing the truth really penetrates people's consciousness. You are serving all of us with your voice, here and at the NYT and are making an important difference.

Thank you!

annenigma said...

I would like to see the list of the 80 global corporations that the NSA has public-private alliances with that 'support both missions', referenced in the Der Spiegel article.

Unfortunately, THEIR privacy is so carefully protected that they are referred to only with codenames even in these secret documents. THEY are the Top Secret Secret. So who works for whom?

ostrakon12 said...

Karen,
Chinese women have a saying, "Tell a man he's a god, and make him a slave."
Yeah, never worked for me, either.
Taken less literally, the message is, "be wary not of those who would only praise you, but how that lack of criticism may subvert you."
Which is to say: I don't think a 29-y.o. male who tried out for special forces and dated a woman who pole-danced was spending his evenings reading Sardonicky or even checking the Times comments. (He was, at a certain point, clearly reading Greenwald, and sought him out.) But of course, anything is possible.

All that said, you have an extraordinary voice. Treat it well.

-b in ca

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, both of you.

annenigma said...

I haven't seen Israel mentioned in the Snowden documents that the newspapers have published. Has anyone seen any mention?

Wanker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CitiZen said...

Hello there, Ostrakon12/ -b in ca.

Just trying to place you correctly in these comments. Are you the Anonymous who thinks that all men are watching porn all day, even while writing comments to Sardonicky? I was trying to figure out why you referenced Snowden's pole dancing girlfriend as an explanation of why he wouldn't waste his time reading Sardonicky or NYT comments, just Glenn Greenwald.

It sounds like you are suggesting that men don't have a need to relate to others in other than a sexual manner, and that someone like Edward Snowden would not be interested in discovering in the comments if others shared their political opinions or views. Nor would he be interested in making comments I guess - too busy with porn and poledancing.

So are you also the Anonymous who commented that she tried to help Karen land some important gig at one time? If so, if I was Karen, I surely wouldn't use you as a reference. Your back-handed compliments and underlying negativity and dark energy are quite toxic. I just thought I'd mention that since you believe in balancing praise and criticism. BTW, you have an extraordinary personality and superior intelligence.

I'm surely glad that we now have a name to go with your comments so we can skip over those if we wish, just as you do with Pearl's. You are the Anonymous one that said that, right? I happen to have a lot of respect for Pearl and always enjoy reading her comments and I never felt poisoned after I read hers. Hardships can make us better or bitter. It's our choice.

Sorry if anything I said pertained to the other Anonymous. You sounded like one and the same person to me.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Piqued? Outraged? How about “Incensed,” which carries a double meaning, which may fit this situation? Google’s first offering for a definition:
incensed
1. to perfume with incense or a similar fragrance: “the aroma of cannabis incensed the air”
2. to make very angry: “incensed by the accusations”

Whatever. Hillary Clinton got out of town just in time. Now it falls to luckless ex-Senator John Kerry, our shiny new Secretary of State, simultaneously to incense (definitions 1 & 2) the entire world’s diplomatic corps with smoke while assuring them they have no reason to be incensed (definition 2) at Uncle Sam for bugging every embassy in sight, in addition to foreign countries’ email, VoIC, mobile communications, contact webs, record of internet habits as well as their private corner in ‘The Cloud.’

Last week Kerry, tracking Obama’s bob and weave, spent time dismissing Edward Snowden and minimizing the import of his documentation. That only further incensed foreign leaders, who weren’t winking any more.

Prism and related programs are the top story in this morning’s digital edition of “Le Monde.” The headline: “Espionnage: Obama promises to furnish Europeans ‘all the data.’”
http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2013/06/30/espionnage-la-nsa-visait-la-france-l-italie-et-la-grece_3439237_651865.html#xtor=EPR-32280229-%5BNL_Titresdujour%5D-20130701-%5Btitres%5D

Yeah, right. Were his fingers crossed when he promised them "all the data"? Later the bureaucrats clarified that explanations would be provided, diplomat to diplomat behind closed doors.

If Obama still wants to keep his original promise, he should assign the task to Snowden, thereby solving two problems at once. Now it’s up to Kerry and his State Department wordsmiths to haul this Administration out of a diplomatic pit of its own making. There will be consequences among our allies. Was a blowback by allies ever contemplated at the planning stage before the NSA decided to make allies “targets for attack."

Not only are Europeans demanding explanations about the bugging, they’re calling for an end “immédiatement” (François Hollande) to the NSA’s continued suck up and storage of their communications. One more impetus behind the uncool diplomatic behavior of European officials could be that millions of average Europeans are much more incensed over the loss of their privacy than are Americans.

Kerry patronizes Europeans by reminding them that nations have always spied on each other, whether friends or enemies. “Every country in the world is involved with international dealings, with national security, and conducts numerous programs devoted to protecting national security and [collecting] all kinds of data that might contribute to it. All I know is, this is not out of the ordinary for a great number of countries.”

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an accord negotiated behind closed doors by the White House and the European Commission, once was a slam dunk trade pact to be signed this summer. After the revelations about American spying, maybe not.

Le Monde: “Germany had concluded that the US stance would be unacceptable and worthy of a cold war if these revelations prove to be true, and that that would effectively place in danger negotiations about a transatlantic free trade deal.”

The NSA’s bugging of European allies does not improve American security; it imperils our security. The NSA’s spying may bring about deep distrust within the NATO Alliance. It has already poisoned the well with our European cousins and other partners around the world.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Great post, Karen. Thank you (and also a hearty thanks to Yves Smith) for reminding us how so much of contemporary politics ties into modern-day economics --- and how both of which, when one penetrates the doubletalk about supposed democracy and the veneer of rationalizations for free trade and unfettered corporate capitalism, are all about the disassembly of any structures, international or national, that might promote social and economic justice. @Denis Neville said in the previous thread ("Racism Is Busting Out All Over"): "Unfortunately, we now have 'the perfect storm' of both shamelessness and spinelessness". Yes indeed. Though a lifelong Democrat, I get more and more disgusted with each passing day by what I see served up by both major parties. Not only have most Democratic politicians not fought for the mass of the people in recent years, they have often been active collaborators with those forces, already rich and powerful, that have sought to further enrich and empower themselves at the expense of the greater populace. The only reason I haven't changed my registration to Green or independent (as I recall @James did) is so that I'll be able to vote against most incumbent Democrats in the primaries.

By the way, Congressman Ron Barber ---- supposedly my congressman, though as I made clear in a previous post, he sure as hell doesn't represent me on many important matters --- voted recently for the farm bill that also cuts food stamps. He did previously vote for an amendment to restore those food stamp cuts, but that didn't pass, and he then voted for the farm bill (one of 24 House Democrats doing so) despite that. So ultimately, any way he may try to parse it (http://barber.house.gov/press-release/statement-us-rep-ron-barber-house-rejection-farm-bill) he did effectively vote for a cut in food stamps. (Perhaps at his personal well-fed weight (http://barber.house.gov/about-me), he just wasn't hungry enough to feel enough empathy towards hungry Americans).

With regard to Edward Snowden, Barber hasn't (at least not in his official press releases) climbed on the denunciation bandwagon like Dianne Feinstein. But what he has done is consistent with my previous "The Chicken Men..." characterization of him (and many other Democrats). On June 7, his office issued a two-sentence mealy-mouthed press release:

"TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today issued the following statement:

We must both defend the nation against the threat of terrorism foreign and domestic and protect the fundamental right to privacy of all Americans. The National Security Administration’s surveillance of millions of personal phone records as well as email and other electronic records must be investigated fully to ensure that personal liberties are protected."

http://barber.house.gov/press-release/us-rep-ron-barber%E2%80%99s-statement-surveillance-nsa

Note that a check of press releases on his official website (http://barber.house.gov/press-releases) shows that since June 7, his office has done 25 press releases --- an average of about one a day, a well-oiled publicity machine! --- and this release on the subject of NSA spying, perhaps the most important issue he will see during his tenure, is by far the shortest of those 25 releases. And not a single official release from him on the subject since then. Presumably he just hopes the issue will go away. Here's to hoping that it won't.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Fireworks are just now bursting over Parliament on Confederation Hill in Ottawa. Happy Canada Day, Pearl. (And any other Canadians who may be tuned in.)

And to all the good people south of the border on Thursday a very Happy Fourth of July!

Zee said...

Perhaps it's "racist" (or something) of me, but I'm openly gleeful over the Euroweenies' shock and dismay over being spied upon by their Messiah. After all, this is the same guy upon whom they conferred a Nobel Peace Prize purely "on spec."

Har. Har. Har.

Denis Neville said...

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.” - Fitzgerald, F. Scott

How different? Look at this:

Dress Your Toothpaste!

Houndstooth toothpaste tube cover by Dior.

Only $170.00

Keynes famously wrote: “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people, on a level with dentists, that would be splendid!”

Whose dentists?

If one ever entertains the thought that the one percent are no different than the rest of us:

http://www.glush.co/blogs/lushgazine/5844466-dior-toothpaste-tube

Are U Guys 4 Real? said...

Toothpaste. Massive global spying is going on that violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we are informed about toothpaste accessories. Funny what grabs the attention of Americans.

Anyone in America in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Or even know what it is?

James F Traynor said...

Some arguable (but not really) premises.

1. The 1% are different from us.

2. In most large countries they essentially control the governments or have a very big say in how those governments are run.

3. The 1% don't trust us, to say the least, and they trust each other even less.

That's why they spy on each other and always have. And they really get pissed off when one of them gives the game away. You see, we, and I mean we of the middle class are not supposed to know that; the only people who do are are the 1% themselves and their servants.

And that's very important.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Snowden has given many nations a priceless heads-up: to wit, the US plays the diplomatic game with marked cards, even against its partners, even as it proposes treaties to end cyberspace anarchy.

So far – and from Snowden’s perspective it’s been a long transit at Sheremetyevo International Airport – not a one country has made a serious move to rescue him from limbo. Poland and India have today each rejected Snowden’s request for asylum, the latter taking the opportunity to voice a defense of the NSA.

I thought President Nicola Maduro, who was in Moscow for a gas exporters meeting, might give Snowden a lift back to Venezuela. Maduro had previously offered asylum to Snowden. Maduro has already left Moscow, but apparently without Snowden. Evo Morales of Bolivia is also sympathetic and was at the same meeting; but I doubt he travels in a private jet.

With each passing day Snowden becomes more vulnerable, a man with a country he dare not return to and a diminishing number of alternatives.

What consolation do we have for Snowden? Maybe members of the UN will take a moment to send him a note on fancy paper with a proverb from somewhere that reminds us never to expect gratitude from our children, our students, our bosses or other people we go out of our way to help at great cost to ourselves?

James F Traynor said...

Yeah, it looks like Snowden has run out his string. But Manning, poor dumb kid, never had one to run out. Still, one never knows. I am beginning to think the Feds might be making a big mistake bringing Snowden back here. It could make the OWS demonstrations look like small potatoes. We'll see.

spreadoption said...

In line with Jay and probably many others, I'm definitely getting a sinking feeling in my stomach with regard to Edward Snowden. This same story plays out over and over: Just when you get your spirits lifted, they get dashed to smithereens again. First there's a flurry of support and then just as suddenly it evaporates. Strong words, blasting the United States, from Hong Kong, Ecuador, Venezuela, Germany, France, others... and then silence. Even Putin seems to have backed off. Biden phones Correa and Ecuador demures. In the beginning we assumed Snowden was headed for Ecuador. So, what happened? Lots of big talk but no action. When the time comes to act, nobody stands up against the US.

Meanwhile, we're ignoring Bradley Manning! If Snowden deserves consideration for hero status, surely Manning does too. After all, he got the ball rolling in the first place. But nobody is even talking about the poor guy, being smothered in what amounts to a secret trial.

Jeez, this whole thing is really awful.

Dennis Neville said...

Anonymous Are U Guys 4 Real? said … “Funny what grabs the attention of Americans.”

Sardonic: Grimly mocking or cynical (adj)

Sardonkulous: Ridiculously cynical, absurdly mocking, sardonic to the extreme (adj)

Sardonicky: Musings on politics and popular culture

Plutocratic capitalism is the language of misery, and misery is what the “one percent” is promising “the 99 percent” for years to come, in ever-greater doses.


While we live with the sting of fees that takes a big bite out of our paychecks in their payroll card market;


They live rich. Holy shit, a $170 Dior Houndstooth toothpaste tube cover!!!

Ever laughed until you cried?

Pearl said...

Jay: I too feel a cold clammy feeling in my gut about the situation Snowden has found himself in. But, is it not better to spend unknowable time in an airport center, which similar set up has housed many other refugees in the past, than go back to the U.S. where he will really be entombed and silenced? I am sure money will be available from the public (I would be willing to contribute) to cover his present expenses if necessary.
It is an exposure of the gutless behavior of many so called liberal
countries who don't behave that way when push comes to shove and Biden
whispers dire threats in their ears. And I don't trust Russia to take over
his care following recent warnings about not irritating the U.S.
Even Assange's situation is not clear nor are his political ambitions in Australia.
This has been a source of support for Snowden but is no longer reliable.
We will have to bide our time and watch what is happening more closely. At least Snowden accomplished a great deal so far to expose the true
motivations of the U.S. And Manning also opened closed doors. Unfortunately,there is always a terrible price to be paid by those who expose corruption and it is now up to the rest of the people in the U.S. who are disturbed enough to begin their fight for change. We at Sardonicky can only continue
to say what is in our hearts and minds and hope it reverberates.
It is also helpful to support each other by validating our common fears and worries and most of all, to support a valiant courageous soul like Karen, who is extremely effective in her contributions to the N.Y. Times and its readers and columnists. Wish she was more widely quoted. She also inspires me to contribute comments to various columnists and publications alongside
many other excellent and concerned citizens. I often report the differences between the health care coverage of Canada vs. the U.S. which seems to have some positive response.

I always appreciate your contributions Jay, especially from the more clear air of Ottawa. Hopefully, the air will become clearer before long in the
next Canadian election.
Happy Fourth of July to our American friends as we finish celebrating Canada Day this past week-end. Hope springs eternal.


James F Traynor said...

As old as I am and as far away from my early life I'm still strongly influenced by that perspective. Don't fault the little guys: Venezuela, Ecuador, etc.. Even Putin is being cautious, as someone has already mentioned. And for good reason. Check out Operation Charly for a more or less recent example.

Were I in a tight spot, given my druthers and they wouldn't be very good druthers, I'd strike a deal with Putin, on the condition I wouldn't have to betray my country, before I'd do a deal with our 'white shoes'. You see there's a pretty good chance Putin might accept that condition. The 'white shoes' wouldn't even understand it, since they are the country. The rest of us are guests.

annenigma said...

Edward Snowden has already done so much. Remember, it's not about him, although I do wish him safe harbor and freedom. Rest assured that anything the PTB does to him will come back to bite them on the ass. Did anyone really think the PTB would make life easy for him? Snowden knew they wouldn't, yet he was still willing to take them on by shining a glaring spotlight on their dark secrets, and he's not done yet. The sad and discouraging part is that he is willing to do all this, and there are people who are afraid to even boycott the Duopoly by changing their party registration to a third party or independent. Can't we agree to send a message by doing so? Apparently not.

At the very least Snowden has opened legal doors both domestically and internationally, but I think he has initiated something even bigger. His snowball is gaining momentum and will be turning into an avalanche. Frankly, I don't understand some of the doom and gloom. Where would be be if Snowden HADN'T exposed these secrets? Thankfully, there is more to come.

We should take advantage of this golden opportunity that Snowden has given us and voice our support. We should also try to find common ground with others to unite as Americans and world citizens.

Snowden has many new friends. Even Steve Wozniak has come out publicly in strong support and he has connections and big bucks. There are others around the world helping Snowden also

Obstacles are just opportunities in disguise.

Denis Neville said...

Edward Snowden is looking more and more like a man without a country.

I hope that he will beat the odds, but I am not optimistic. I am worried for him.

It must be very lonely to have nothing except the truth, trapped in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Whistleblowers are profiles in courage but at what cost to themselves.

Peter Van Buren, himself a whistleblower, considers what Snowden might be going through@ http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175719/

I wonder what support his mother and father are receiving.

Quiet men with white collars, men without chests, aim to crush Edward Snowden and anyone who dissents.

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” - Uncle Screwtape in the “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Off topic with regard to Edward Snowden, but relevant in the broader context of "the system":

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-chalk-verdict-20130701,0,1617754.story

Fred Drumlevitch said...

With regard to the LAT story whose link I provided, also note there the additional info from commenter "newuser4942", who says that according to a television story different from the one embedded in the LAT article, "[San Diego City Attorney] Jan Goldsmith has received campaign contributions from Bank Americorp and Merrill Lynch. ...".

Jay - Ottawa said...

My hunch was wrong. Bolivia does provide its president, Evo Morales, with a private jet.

The problem is that France, Portugal and Italy forbade Morales' jet to refuel in their countries. Spain, to its credit, did allow the plane to land on its territory.

Then, for some unexplained reason, the plane flew backwards so to speak by flying east to Vienna, where the plane may have been searched. No Snowden on board.

The Guardian just posted the story:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/edward-snowden-bolivia-plane-vienna

annenigma said...

The Bully is once again flexing his muscles and flaunting his ability to force countries to obey orders on command. He knew Snowden wasn't on that flight. He just wanted to demonstrate to Morales and everyone else that the USA controls the entire world. It was also Morales' punishment for daring to voice support for Snowden.

I'm glad it's now in the open that the governments of France, Portugal, and Italy are tools of the Regime. Quelle surprise!

Denis Neville said...

Russian President Putin made a point of comparing Edward Snowden with the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Andrei Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist. He was renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union's thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov became concerned about the moral and political implications of his work. By courageously speaking truth to power, he became the conscience of the cold war and inspired the movement that toppled Soviet communism.

“Sakharov abandoned his cocooned life as his country's leading physicist to risk everything in battle against the two great threats to civilization in the second half of this century: nuclear war and communist dictatorship. In the dark, bitter depths of the cold war, Sakharov's voice rang out. "A miracle occurred," Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, "when Andrei Sakharov emerged in the Soviet state, among the swarms of corrupt, venal, unprincipled intelligentsia." By the time of his death in 1989, this humble physicist had influenced the spread of democratic ideals throughout the communist world. His moral challenge to tyranny, his faith in the individual and the power of reason, his courage in the face of denunciation and, finally, house arrest — made him a hero to ordinary citizens everywhere. He embodied the role that intellectuals are called upon to play in the creation of civil society and inspired scientists working under other dictatorships, including myself in China, to become leaders in the struggle for democracy.” – Fang Lizhi, Astrophysicist, who helped inspire the Tiananmen Square demonstrations

Denis Neville said...

Noam Chomsky always talks about how political campaigns are like selling toothpaste.

How easily people are manipulated (Edward Bernays).

An example of the power of American political consultants to spread “American democracy” in elections around the world:

“Our Brand Is Crisis” was a 2005 documentary film about the 2002 Bolivian presidential election and the art of American political campaign marketing tactics - the all-American art of branding (the same way toothpaste is advertised) - used in that election to spread free-market capitalism, not democracy.

In that election Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada defeated Evo Morales, despite his highly unpopular free-market policies that were completely out of touch with the poor, indigenous majority of Bolivia. Sánchez de Lozada had hired U.S. political consultants James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum to advise his campaign.

Bolivia suffered as a result. Sánchez de Lozada continued his unpopular policies after the election.

Mass protests eventually ousted Sánchez de Lozada and brought Evo Morales to power.

This is worth remembering given the Snowden-Bolivia-Morales-Plane headlines.

Denis Neville said...

Aren’t these are the very same European nations that allowed CIA rendition flights that are now refusing to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to fly over their airspace?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2013/may/22/rendition-flights-cia-mapped

annenigma said...

Snowden scores yet another point. He has helped the world see who the client states of the Evil Empire are. Too bad there is the usual media blackout here in Amerika.

It seems likely that Obama will use another client state, Israel, to go after Snowden so he can maintain the appearance of having clean hands.

Obama was never the Lesser of Two Evils.