You recall that bogus permanent record thing-a-ma-bobber we were threatened with in our ill-begotten youth? So that is now a reality, and Edward Snowden was who was charged for revealing this little factoid to us, and now hiding in Russia because of that.
He’s been making the rounds since the publication of his new book, titled ‘Permanent Record’, and first caught him interviewed on The Young Turks. That interview reminded me of something, a lesson I’ve learned, the hard way, because I suppose there is no other way – truth is hard.
Now, a couple things did strike me; well, alot of things struck me as I am no aficionado when it comes to political scandals and whistleblowers of the past. What I was first reminded of though was my own bad judgments, guilty conscience, missteps and glaring mistakes, hanging off our shoe like toilet paper, and some would go to any lengths to hide all that.
Even so, there we sit, smoking our cylinders of sin and sipping no name coffee, sure in our own righteous indignation, and in saunters one of our delusional moments, our selfish thoughts, perhaps wrapped up in our rare yet real cruel streak, mirroring back our hypocrisy.
And god help me, don’t you want to just stuff it all in a drawer and forget about it? Not let anyone know?
You know, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and all the yadda yadda tired cliches enters stage left-wing, right-wing, either or, we are no different.
One particular truth I believe has been trampled to death in our concerted desire to be rid of that unqualified disaster squatting in the White House, is the very reason so many voted for him to begin with – he was not part of the establishment.
The establishment schmucks would have us believe that one side is more schmucky than the other, which would be false. Plenty of schmucks on both sides of that political divide. Repubs are just slanting more authoritarian schmucky, and that sort tend toward hate-mongering fake democracy ala Putin style schmucky.
Though, Snowden points out that each whistleblower, snitch, journalist or otherwise who exposes misdeeds from various administrations, historically, have not exactly been given an award for bravery and recognized for the courage of their convictions’.
No, as Snowden points out, it has been a smorgasbord of prosecution, convictions, jail-time, life threatening, job losing, and so being a whistle-blower is not for the weak of heart nor mind. Anyone who decides to come forward, whether the official way or the unofficial way, are risking a good deal more than their reputation, in some cases they have lost their freedom, in some countries their life.
We all know BOTH sides of the political spectrum have waged their own wars against uncomfortable truths, let’s be honest, shall we? But, as we also know, uncomfortable truths have a way of appearing just when we would rather they did not, eh?
Now, if you are a private individual, hiding your uncomfortable truths is protected. Hiding your, um, uncomfortable truths if you’re a government is sinking into an authoritarian regime that would prefer to have no limits.
So Snowden back in the day, as an Intelligence contractor working for the NSA discovered that the government had created two reports. One Classified report, and another report that was supposed to just have the sensitive parts redacted, but he saw that in fact they were two different documents, and they said two different things.
Remember this is a quartet of years after 9/11 and Snowden was a corporate contractor hired by the NSA. He was charged under the Espionage Act for exposing the governments trying to hide from the American people that they were illegally gathering and storing that metadata – creating a PERMANENT RECORD, as it were, of your life.
“Perfect histories of private lives.”Edward Snowden Interview| Democracy Now
In fact, what he exposed was that the government (Bushy jr) was trying to hide that they were gathering and preserving private metadata of private individuals.
And, we all can name plenty of governments that have chosen to attack the messenger, rather than actually address the message they are trying to send. Many American governments have chosen just such a path, few governments welcome whistleblowers with open arms, especially if what they are exposing are their own misdeeds.
The other thing to consider, triggered but a couple things Snowden was speaking about, is that this current corrupt government has all the same access to all the same information that Snowden exposed the NSA for lying about gathering. Let that sink in.
Being a whistleblower is, can’t stress this enough, is not for the weak of heart and mind.
So, we have watched as this administration has slid farther and farther into the mindset of the authoritarian. Every week, month, sometimes every 24 hours, conducting their business unfettered by rules and/or regulations, just doing what they want, when they want, how they want, to whomever they want, with no recourse and no limits.
Until… another hero appears, a whistleblower.
But let’s be clear, one can certainly see where the establishment in the past has not exactly welcomed this sort of internal oversight, and we must not lose sight that many before have not been so welcome.
Once this government is, well, whatever happens, at some point Americans should remember that is just step one. Schmucks still are going to be schmucky, and Trump and his cronies are but the tip of that vast and expansive bipartisan swamp of schmucks.
This current anonymous whistleblower has been hailed a hero, but only because he exposed an already known schmuck and his posse of schmucks. Snowden on the other hand was exposing an institution of power broadly, a government of schmucks, and such is the difference.
Well, up until recently though I suppose, as now along with Attorney General Barr, we can add Secretary of State Pompeo to the posse of schmucky sycophants for Trump.
We should not fool ourselves, Trump is merely an outsider schmuck and so is taking the heat, but once another establishment schmuck takes the reins again it will just go back to business as usual. Government secrets will go back to being buried as the same as they ever were, instead just shooting the messenger back into oblivion right out in the open.
At the heart of this current situation are some difficult truths, uncomfortable truths, and that is that for some democracy and its ideals are something one can choose to adhere to, or choose to ignore.
However, as Timothy Snyder said this week on Rachel Maddow, the heroes of this current story are the journalists and the whistleblower. Yet, as Snowden can attest, that was not always so.
Snyder in the interview makes this point, an important one, perhaps THE essential point we must remember as we move forward through this quagmire of schmucks and swamp things.
The other thing is that this is fundamentally all about the rule of law. Do we believe in the rule of law? The rule of law comes before democracy, it comes before everything else. Is this man above the law or not, or are we all subject to the rule of law? That`s what`s fundamentally at stake right now.Timothy Snyder interview on Rachel Maddow – September 27th, 2019