that holds five flash drives containing two sets of the texts of my columns, the
texts and artwork of my books, and photos and other images. One set is my
primary source, the other is a backup. I don’t trust my computer or the power
not to fail at some critical juncture in the future. For the same reason, I
periodically backup my computer on an external drive to preserve its operating
systems and other software as a failsafe against my computer being zapped by a
lightning strike, overwhelmed by a power surge, or invaded by a hacker
(government or freelance) to introduce a killer virus.
current political atmosphere, the last one is more credible.
just as capable as a punk hacker of infecting one’s computer through unlawful
entry. In the government’s case, if you’ve been targeted for special attention
and monitoring because the term “Islam” or “patriot” or
“individual rights” occurs repeatedly in your correspondence
(red-flagging, it’s called), and wants to haul you into court, it can plant the
incriminating evidence in your computer and you won’t know it until it’s too
late and you’re being led away in handcuffs and a federal prosecutor presents
the “evidence” at your arraignment.
drives has been reproduced Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty
Leading the People.” I have been contemplating it a lot, lately. That
image never fails to make me smile. I can always trust it to give me a morale
government many years ago, as I watched it acquire more and more powers over my
life and over all other Americans. The revelations of Edward
Snowden – traitorously or not – have only underscored that distrust. And I
think that many Americans, taking into account
the attacks on Snowden
as a traitor, as against his being exalted as a true, liberty-loving patriot,
have been thrust into a purgatory of doubt and mistrust that can only come
about when they have strong, justified suspicions that they are living in a
make of Snowden. He remains an enigmatic figure who abruptly emerged from
nowhere – in the course of the Benghazi scandals, the IRS scandals, and just
the general reckless, authoritarian tenor of the Obama administration – to
state that the government, via the National Security Agency (NSA), has been
“mining data” from Americans’ emails, phone call records, and so on,
and has been doing so for years.
Snowden to flee to a relatively free political entity, such as Singapore, or
Iceland. Instead, he winds up in Hong Kong, a “special
administrative” area of the communist/fascist Mainland, which censors the Internet,
has millions in its own Gulag, and threatens to invade and conquer Taiwan. Then
he pops up in Moscow.
He might wind up in communist-controlled Ecuador, or even Castro’s Cuba. There are
indications that he may be allowed to stay in Russia by a fascist régime headed
by an ex-KGB officer.
overload with the news about the NSA‘s $2 billion Bluffdale,
Utah facility that is supposed to collect all information on all Americans and
all foreign communications traffic here – is there really a cause for concern?
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy
in Media (AIM), for example, has inveighed often and rightly against the
numerous depredations of the Obama administration. So I do not understand why
he dismisses any possibility that the Obama and his cohorts would use the NSA
for nefarious, totalitarian purposes. The possibility seems to have escaped him
in his tirades against Snowden and conservatives who champion Snowden.
On the other hand, Glenn
Greeenwald, Snowden’s “handler” of the British newspaper The
Guardian, is a committed Marxist dedicated – one might say, working hand-in-hand
with Barack Obama – to knocking down America. Kincaid exposes this journalist’s
And, on another hand, the NSA has been caught
about its alleged exclusive purpose of identifying and tracking down terrorists
and wannabe terrorists.
So, Americans are faced with a contradiction.
One or the other scenario is true, but not both. Snowden was a Russian or
Chinese mole, or a traitor who has damaged the country’s national security, or
he wasn’t either of these things. He is an individual who doesn’t want to live
in a Big Brother society. But he appears in two countries governed by
totalitarian régimes. Go figure.
“Data mining” is a program probably
necessitated by the literal prohibition of collecting intelligence on Muslims
and on Islamic terrorists. Excuse me if this sounds “simplistic,” but
if a government agency is charged with protecting Americans from terrorist
attacks is banned from focusing on the most likely terrorist candidates, then
it must collect information on everyone
and hope to identify and catch them that way. Anyone for “Pin the Tail on
the Donkey”? Or a round of blind-folded piñata bashing?
There is no way to credibly reconcile the
24/7 invasion of Americans’ privacy without restraint or legality and also
protect and uphold the entirety of the Bill of Rights.
Focusing on a relatively small handful of suspected
terrorists or individuals likely to “go jihad” in this country, would
be a comparatively simpler task. But, no, the Obama administration, following
the lead of President George “Islam was hijacked” Bush, condones the
data mining, because that kind of program meshes nicely with his authoritarian
behavior and agenda and virtually exempts Muslims from surveillance.
Would Obama use the NSA
data to his own political advantage? Yes. Observe his record. After all,
his Department of Justice went after a journalist’s phone records, and
participated with the IRS in the targeting of Tea Party groups before and
during the 2012 election. Must we review all the scandals that have surfaced
around the White House since Obama’s second inauguration? And the ones that
preceded it? Benghazi? Fast and Furious? If you hear something “fishy“?
Obama’s associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and terrorist Bill Ayers? And his whole murky – indeed, opaque – past?
I won’t recount them all here, because the
administration’s “playbook” is beginning to become as thick as Victor
Hugo’s opus, Cromwell,
which is a very long play with a “cast of hundreds” about an autocrat
who would be king if the non-electorate would let him and if he were so
inclined. (I blush in apology for putting the literary giant Hugo in the same
company as the tin pot Marxist, Obama, but I couldn’t resist the analogy. The play,
incidentally, is very good.)
Scott Holleran published a very penetrating
article on why we should be grateful to Snowden for his revelations, “Snowden
and that is what America is becoming, is rising based on the false premise –
supported by those on the left and right alike – that we must have government
control of individual rights in order to protect lives and defend the republic
– or, worse in the case of the leftists, to serve the collective and, worst of
all, in the case of conservatives, to serve God, tradition and family.
contingent upon security – a proper national defense neither requires nor
necessitates surrendering liberty – and individual rights are inalienable, as
America’s founders knew and wrote when they created the United States of
So, as Mr. Holleran points out, should we
really trust our government, and especially the Obama administration, to
exercise restraint and not use the
mined data for its own sinister purposes? As he notes, trusting the government
and Obama to do that is sheer fantasy or perilous wishful thinking. Our government
is already on the road to serfdom – our
serfdom. In his article, “The Government vs.
America,” he makes an important observation that it isn’t the Tea
Partiers who are “anti-government,” but the government itself, which
This is especially important when we learn
that Obama has consulted with the envoys of Islamic jihad on how best to
“get along” with Islam and jihadists. Steve Emerson’s Investigative
Project on Terrorism has this to report:
National Security Council has confirmed that staffers held a June 13 meeting
with Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, an Islamist cleric who shares leadership of
the International Union of Muslim Scholars, where he is vice-president and the
terror supporter Yusuf al-Qaradawi is president….
global Muslim Brotherhood movement who pose as moderates to the press and to
liberal intellectuals by issuing condemnations of al-Qaida,’ it read in part,
‘Bin Bayyah refuses to label the acts of groups such as Hamas, Hizballah or
Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorism.’
‘an endorsement of the push by Muslim intellectuals to criminalize blasphemy
against the Muslim prophet Muhammad and Islam,’ the group reported.
We can trust Obama to do one thing, and that is
to sell out our country to Islam – while he “transforms” the country into
an impoverished socialist pigsty.
So, shall we quote Michael Montaigne about
the heroes of Thermopylae
and compare Edward Snowden with them?
fallen, he fights on his knees (Seneca)… The most valiant are sometimes the most
unfortunate. Thus there are triumphant defeats that rival victories. Nor did
those four sister victories, the fairest that the sun ever set eyes on-
Salamis, Plataea, Mycale, and Sicily – ever dare match all their combined glory
against the glory of the annihilation of King Leonidas and his men at the pass
Or shall we regard Snowden as another Alger
Hiss who has done irreparable damage to the country’s national security, and
curse his name?
The question will be answered in future
chapters of the Edward Snowden story. Until then, I must defer judgment of the
man. He sounds sincere, says the right things, and I feel grateful that he has
exposed the duplicity of our government. At the same time, I can’t ignore the
bizarreness of his travel itinerary and his close association with Glenn
Had the U.S. a rational foreign policy – and
I’m including a policy that would hale back to at least the 1950’s – these
national security issues would never have cropped up. But the fact is that our
irrational foreign policies have allowed the U.S. to paint itself into a
I must laugh darkly whenever I hear or read
that the U.S. is a “free country,” because there is very little
freedom left in it. What freedoms we have left exist only by default. Our
policies enabled the Soviet Union to exist for decades, from the 1930’s onward.
Had we let the Germans overrun Russia during WWII, there would have been no
“Cold War” that required the creation of a vast intelligence network
to combat its espionage and incursions and invasions since the end of that war,
because without our unpaid-for assistance, the USSR would have collapsed.
What “data mining” operations it
would have pursued would have targeted known enemies of this country, and not
“required” the search and seizure of Americans’ personal correspondence
and activities on the chance that terrorists and terrorist plots might be
detected and foiled. (And this data mining failed to red-flag the Boston
Marathon bombers, even with Russia’s advice that the one Tsarnaev brother was a
“person of interest”).
The Soviets are gone, but now we are faced
with Islam, and our government is now white-washing Islam with the same fervor
it white-washed the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and during WWII.
It taxes my imagination about how we, who are
concerned about our freedom, can extract ourselves from our authoritarian
I trust the evidence of my senses and my own
mind when it comes to trusting the government and evaluating its commitment to
freedom – which, at this point, is virtually nil. In the meantime, I have Delacroix’s
magnificent painting to serve as a constant, trustworthy reminder of what,
someday, we may be forced to emulate in spirit and in action.