The entire debate about the NSA PRISM program comes down to these two different views from two people I respect:

Robert Stacy McCain

while the NSA’s access to phone and e-mail records raises Fourth Amendment concerns about potential abuse, there is no one who can point to an instance where actual abuse has occurred. So far as we know, no one has been arrested on the basis of illegally obtained information or targeted by the NSA because they’re on Obama’s Enemies List of political opponents.

Apparently, Glenn Greenwald’s idea to solve this problem was to present the world with Edward Snowden as the hero-victim, making him the symbol (as Greenwald saw it) of how the administration was punishing courageous truth-tellers. However, rational people (a category from which Greenwald long ago excluded himself) recognized this as problematic: Snowden wasn’t an IRS employee revealing important truths about unlawful political abuse of government power, or a DOJ staffer disclosing the surveillance of journalists. Snowden had top-secret clearance at an agency whose express mission it is to gather communications (“signals intelligence,” or sigint) about America’s enemies. There is a world of difference between these two categories, and my antennae detected this difference when I saw the quote from Snowden praising Army Pvt. Bradley Manning as “a classic whistleblower” who “was inspired by the public good.”

and Glenn Reynolds

The problem is, it’s hard to trust the people who are supposed to use that data to protect us to do so, when they abandoned their own in Benghazi. And it’s hard to trust them not to use that data to oppress us, when they’ve already abused their powers that way in other connections. Which is why abuse of power is itself a kind of treason: It weakens the fabric of the nation like nothing else, by undermining the trust that is essential for the system to work.

And that’s basically the problem under normal circumstances I’d give a pass to the NSA as an organization that these people have dedicated years to defending this country from terror attacks.

But we have an administration that lives by “Chicago Values” a president who claims to know nothing, and a press in bed with both of them.

Stacy is right that we have no evidence of this administration abusing PRISM, just like we didn’t have evidence of the IRS going after the tea party…right up until the moment we did.

This is what the Obama administration has done, like the Nixon administration it has taken action that destroys trust and without trust a republic can’t stand. Stacy one more time

Gen. Keith Alexander says Snowden is lying and so we have to ask ourselves who we believe, the career Army officer who has dedicated his entire life to defending America from its enemies, or the dropout gamer who is Glenn Greenwald’s new man-crush?

I don’t blame Stacy McCain for believing Alexander over Snowden & Greenwald nor do I blame him trusting General Alexander as a rule I trust him as well.

But I don’t trust the commander in chief whose orders he is sworn to obey or that commander in chief’s administration and I submit and suggest anyone who does is a fool.

In my earlier post I suggested that the Magical Mystery Tour of Edward Snowden was a gift both to the MSM and to the Obama administration that they love. What that might seem counter intuitive it can only be explained in context.

1. It Keeps the Focus on Snowden rather than the NSA

Every day that Edward Snowden is the story is a victory for the White House, If Snowden, his quirks, his hot girlfriend, his videos & interviews and now his travels are the focus the press can keep their eyes on Snowden and the quest to catch him and avoid talking about or pressing the Obama administration about the NSA revelations within them.

2. It gives the press a reason to defend the Administration.

Right off the top when Snowden & the Guardian story broke there was a rush by some to judge Snowden a Hero but others hesitated.  they didn’t like what the NSA was doing, particularly in this current environment but didn’t trust Snowden. Some left leaning media and pol were not anxious to take sides quickly and libertarians were ready to give Snowden the benefit of the doubt.

By an itinerary that reads like a who’s who of countries that hate us, oppose us or violate press & human rights Snowden give the polls and the press leave to attack him, and call him a traitor with a lot fewer questions. In short they can defend the Obama administration with a lot less guilt. One might question if David Gregory’s question was proper or no, but do you think for one minute Gregory asks a reporter, even Greg Greenwald “why shouldn’t you Mr Greenwald be charged with a crime? if the president is George W Bush?

3. It divides Libertarians and Republicans further.

When I first wrote about the Snowden case I mentioned four possibilities in the Snowden case based on one of two descriptions of Snowden (Hero or Traitor) and the NSA program (Necessary security or Troubling to civil rights) Snowden’s decision to flee to some of the worst countries out there means, if you want to keep opponents of this administration divided you have all the cards you need.

When libertarians and people worried about the government using the NSA powers against them tweet they can be quickly counted by the quite accurate description of Snowden as a Traitor & his flight plan. When people talk about Snowden as a traitor giving out US secrets they can be quickly countered by the quite understandable and given this administrations record valid fears of NSA overreach by an administration with “Chicago values” when it comes to the rights of those who oppose them.

Put simply if you want to keep the people arguing on twitter and keeping that argument away from the White House it’s a cinch.

The reality is of course the phrases “Edward Snowden is a felon & traitor to the US” and “The NSA PRISM program can’t be trusted to be kept separate from the political needs of any administration” are not mutually exclusive, but it’s hard to make that case in 140 characters when passions run deep when people want to keep you fighting.

4a. It keeps the other scandals off the front page….

Peggy Noonan wrote one of the most provocative pieces on the Tea Party IRS scandal by a mainstream journalist that has been written to this point:

More: “The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes—more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5-8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”

Think about the sheer political facts of the president’s 2012 victory. The first thing we learned, in the weeks after the voting, was that the Obama campaign was operating with a huge edge in its technological operation—its vast digital capability and sophistication. The second thing we learned, in the past month, is that while the campaign was on, the president’s fiercest foes, in the Tea Party, were being thwarted, diverted and stopped.

Technological savvy plus IRS corruption. The president’s victory now looks colder, more sordid, than it did. Which is why our editor, James Taranto, calls him “President Asterisk.”

This is about as close as anyone has come to bluntly stating what a lot of people (including me) think. That president Obama and/or his campaign used the IRS to neutralize the Tea party to secure he re-election and it’s appeared not on DaTechGuy’s Blog, or the Lonely Conservative or the Minority Report, that was written for the Wall Street Journal.

If Edward Snowden was not the headline of the week this piece would be the talk of Washington and Peggy Noonan would be a guest on at least 1 weekend talk show to discuss it. She was not and it was not.

The IRS scandal keeps progressing and there are developments on Benghazi too but as long as we are playing Where’s Waldo with Edward Snowden the media have a different  “Obama Scandal” to talk about instead but it also…

4b…and give the White House Political Room

The Obama administration desperately needs a political victory the gang of eight bill right now is their best prospect for such a thing.

If Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte are hitting the White House on Benghazi, if Marco Rubio & Ted Cruz are hitting them on the IRS targeting the Tea Party and if Rand Paul is coming after them on free speech that doesn’t happen. It unites the GOP to their base anxious to support them.

But if Edward Snowden is the only scandal on the table then Graham, McCain, Ayotte, Rubio and Cruz are all hitting Snowden, heck even Rand Paul is hesitating due to his itinerary entry and that allows the subject to be changed to the gang of 8’s immigration amnesty bill which keeps these senators fighting each other and the GOP base, which is exactly what the administration wants, and if the bill does pass the press will pivot to the “leadership of Obama” and away from the scandals which they can blame on Snowden.

“Never let a scandal go to waste.” is the slogan.  One might debate if Edwand Snowden’s revelations and flight are a scandal but this administration has no intention of wasting it.

Delayed Instalance Thanks Glenn and don’t forget to check back for a post and some coverage of the Markey/Gomez battle today.


Olimometer 2.52

I’m updating this one Tuesday as I’m behind in my current post and while Yesterday was not bad I find myself still $228 short of making a full paycheck for the first time this month and a full $589 shy of making my mortgage payment with 5 and six days to go respectively.

Care to change that? Considering hitting DaTipJar below.

Tomorrow is the special election for the US Senate. The candidates are Gabriel Gomez vs Ed Markey.

There has been a lot of back and forth that I haven’t cared for we’ve had those who have said conservatives should not be backing Gomez because of his support for the Gang of 8 & the Obama Positions on Climate Change, we have others who have suggested that the GOP can only grow if the GOP is “purged” of people holding positions (was it not just 5 months ago that we were told by the incoming party chair of how we would be united).

It’s no secret that I supported Mike Sullivan but it’s also no secret that I have in public supported Gabriel Gomez since he won the nomination and have urged people like Graham to re-consider their decision to sit out both on the air and off.

I’m familiar with the arguments, but there are two things that shoot it down.

If Gabriel Gomez is elected he will be replacing Mo Cowan the temp replacement for John Kerry and while Senator Cowan has gotten high marks on civility his voting record has been as liberal as you can get

Cowan, however, has not exactly built a bipartisan bridge during his brief tenure. A Washington Post online database shows he voted with his party 98 percent of the time in the 109 votes he has taken since entering Congress.

If that 98% figure sounds familiar that the rate according to the Washington Post that Ed Markey voted with the Democrats in the current congress.

Unlike Marco Rubio who once called an “earned path to citizenship” amnesty Gomez has been quite open on where he stands on positions like the gang of 8 bill and manchin/toomey etc.

If this was a “Dump Dede” where Gomez would be the 60th vote and the only republican supporting those bills I might be with Graham, but Gomez’s vote on those high-profile bills will be no worse than Markey or Cowan, but on other votes on fiscal responsibility and key defense issues they will be better MUCH BETTER.

I think I’d like to have that extra vote 60% of the time.

The second argument is stronger. If Gabriel Gomez is elected Senator and goes down to Washington next year and does not perform he can face a primary opponent from the GOP next year and because there will be a scramble on the Democrat side that primary will be populated by people who actually care if the republican nominee is you know Republican.

If Ed Markey is elected however there will be no Dem primary and the GOP will have to somehow find a way to beat a sitting Democrat Senator with the entire Democrat machine behind them.

FYI The last time a sitting Democrat Senator was beaten by a Republican in Massachusetts…1946

I like and respect Michael Graham but I think the best move for conservative republicans is to take the chance on Gomez for 18 months rather than be stuck with Ed Markey until he dies or gets sick of the seat.

Your call.

Those championing Edward Snowden as an international hero for the Cause of Free Speech have taken another hit.

The choice to flee to Hong Kong had already provoked reactions such as this one from Bob Schieffer on Face the nation:

I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks running off and hiding in China. The people who led the civil rights movement were willing to break the law AND suffer the consequences. That’s a little different than putting the nation’s security at risk and running away.

Well obviously in an era of Drone strikes and targeting of political foes in America some sacrifices had to be made so libertarian favorite Wikileaks sprang into action.

WikiLeaks said in a statement on its Twitter feed that it had “assisted Mr. Snowden’s political asylum in a democratic country

A Democratic country, an excellent idea for champion of free speech and press freedom! There are plenty of good choices that could certainly provide a world-wide platform in the internet age.

Perhaps Norway or Sweden the countries tied for first in Freedom House’s rankings for worldwide press freedom. I’d heard rumors of Snowden going to Iceland, a good choice as it makes the top 10 list tied with Liechtenstein who nobody has mentioned in connection with Snowden.

If he didn’t want Europe, St. Lucia would do. It’s 12th in the Rankings but #1 in the Americas. If the Americas were too close to the US for comfort New Zealand or Palau can suffice, they’re tied at 13th one spot behind St. Lucia but are also tied for #1 in the Asia-Pacific Region.

All the above are great choices for a free speech and free press hero. So what is the itinerary of Edwin Snowden’s Magical Mystery Tour?

Well he left Hong Kong (ranked 71) for Russia (Ranked 176), to be followed by a stop in Cuba (191 of 196) and from there he is to finish at Equator (Ranked 134)

Venezuela (Ranked 168) apparently didn’t make the list perhaps the death of Chavez made it unsuitable.

Maybe it’s me but maybe, just maybe that’s not the itinerary of a free press champion. The only location on the list above that isn’t ranked “Not Free” is Hong Kong (Ranked Partly Free) which is in fact controlled by China (Ranked 179) and as for Ecuador, Human rights watch had this to say just a week ago:

The Communications Law that the Ecuadorian National Assembly approved on June 14, 2013, seriously undermines free speech. The law includes overly broad language that will limit the free expression of journalists and media outlets.

you don’t say

“This law is yet another effort by President Correa to go after the independent media,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director. “The provisions for censorship and criminal prosecutions of journalists are clear attempts to silence criticism.”

While the irony might be lost among the hate America crowd the Irony is not lost on the National Journal

So say you’re a citizen of Hong Kong, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela or Ecuador, and you want to protest against your government, maybe even leak some big secrets. What kind of conditions and treatment might you expect? Nothing close to Snowden’s standard for his own country, that’s for sure.

Or Doug Powers

Is there a country called “Irony-Land” Snowden could flee to? That would be the perfect fit.

Edward Snowden’s fans are certainly the big losers by his choice of destinations, but I submit and suggest there are two big winners in his choice of stops…

…Barack Obama and the MSM that loves him. Why? That’s my follow-up post…


Olimometer 2.52

Monday has come and the last full week in June doesn’t bode well for either the weekly paycheck ($303 shy with 6 days to go) or the monthly mortgage payment goal ($664 shy with 7 days to go).

Can I make up the full Mortgage defect or at least the weekly paycheck? Do I deserve to?

You are the judge of that. If you judge “yes” than hit DaTipJar below 15 people at $20 will get the first goal done 33 will do the second but anything that can be done will be much appreciated.