Edward Snowden: change you can believe in

I voted for Barack Obama in his first term. I had serious doubts about him even then, and today I wish I hadn’t done it, but I did vote for him. I wouldn’t say I completely fell for the “change you can believe in” baloney, but I decided to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

It didn’t last long. At least I can say that I figured Obama out before he was in office a year, and when he ran for his second term I voted for Rocky Anderson, for whom I worked volunteered briefly as a writer. (I thought “volunteered” went without saying. These were the early days of the Rocky Anderson campaign, for god’s sake. The last thing I wrote for Rocky opened with the line, “We don’t need a war on terror, we need a war on injustice,” and I never heard from his campaign again. But that might not have come from Rocky directly. I need to check in with him if he decides to run again in 2016.)

From Barack Obama we have not seen one single thing that qualifies as “change you can believe in.” Not one. I know “liberals” who keep defending Obama. How they continue to do this is beyond me. They keep making lists of the “good things” he’s done. Invariably, these lists remind me of someone going to a decent restaurant and being grateful he was given water, menus, and a basket of bread. On that basis he gives the restaurant a great review.

Hey, guy? That’s what you’re supposed to get. That’s the barest minimum. That’s where the service starts. The really good things are supposed to come after that. When you get the barest minimum of acceptable service, and nothing more, and then plenty of bad things on top of it, that’s not “change you can believe in.”

By the time Obama ran for his second term, the phrase “change you can believe in” was nowhere to be found. Right.

But sometimes, when your so-called “leaders” fail you utterly, normal citizens find the courage to fill the void, and that happened this week when the remarkable “Edward Snowden”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance, who apparently possesses more guts than all three branches of our government combined, gave us some change we can really believe in.

For doing this, he will eventually occupy a much brighter place in our history than the monumental disappointment named Barack Obama. I’m quite certain of that, which I guess means that I believe in the ultimate goodness of America.

And of course the same goes for Bradley Manning, whose three-year mistreatment in captivity, followed by a secret show trial, is an outrage. Thanks to Manning, Assange, et al., we learned that our tax dollars are secretly being used to pay military personnel to hover in aircraft above unarmed civilians on foreign streets and then joke as they butcher the helpless with high-powered weapons. For revealing that atrocity, Manning should have been given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Instead, he’s being treated like an animal.

And that was a _manned_ aircraft shown in the WikiLeaks video “Collateral Murder”:http://www.collateralmurder.com. Not that the pilots were ever in any danger from their victims on the ground, but at least they were physically present during the butchery. For _pure_ cowardice, we have the unmanned drones.

Had the abuse of Bradley Manning occurred to a Soviet dissident, our government would have been screaming, because our government has no actual principles, just the determination to extract maximum propaganda value out of anything that happens.

And now Edward Snowden. Some people, like “Dianne Feinstein”:http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/304573-sen-feinstein-snowdens-leaks-are-treason, are trying to portray Snowden as a traitor. That’s just not going to work. However, since Ms. Feinstein and others are so interested in treason, let me point out that in recent American history we have seen some acts that might qualify, and perhaps Ms. Feinstein and her colleagues could launch investigations into those things.

For example, if we hark back to the financial collapse of a handful of years ago, the one that resulted in the big bank bail-out, we see that a number of very wealthy, very powerful people, with their fingers deep inside our government, _may have_ (I say may have) knowingly and deliberately de-stablilized the entire economy of the United States for personal gain.

Think about that. Highly privileged individuals knowingly took actions that undeniably brought the entire country to the brink of financial ruin. Why did they do that? If their motive was nothing other than personal enrichment, that might be treason. That might be a firing squad crime. And yet, for some reason, no one has raised this subject. Let’s look into it, I say.

There’s a lot of good comment today on Edward Snowden, but I particularly like Daniel Ellsberg’s opinion piece in The Guardian, “Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america.

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