I just watched an interview with Brian Williams and Edward Snowden.
Is Snowden a hero or villain? I'm curious about what others on atheist nexus think.

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Folks who repeat the slogan "We are a nation of laws, not of men" have stopped thinking.

They have closed their minds to at least three realities:

Laws are written by men, interpreted by men, and enforced by men.

That slogan does what slogan-makers intend; it stirs an emotion and people stop thinking.

Tom, you are correct in your description. Too bad a little 10 year old girl couldn't figure that out. I like your reference to stirring emotions that stop thinking. Sounds like religion, doesn't it! 

Joan, it sounds very much like religion.

Government and religion are natural allies and evangelicals all but own the GOP.

And to think, the Repub Party's current troubles started in the 1950s when Bircher Repubs started expelling moderates. A recent history of the Party reminded me that they had called Eisenhower a Communist.

I see it as good news that in some states Chamber of Commerce Repubs are refusing to support TP Repubs, and even supporting Democrats.

Excuse me Tom.......We are a Nation of Laws.....Without laws  there would be total anarchy. Yes  laws  are written by men. However  we now  have more women in Congress and  there is  a good chance  we will have more laws  written by women.......We the people are the ones  who write  laws, do you have a problem with that?.....By writing  laws  to govern the people, does  that make us  close  minded?   If we do not  interpret  the laws  who will?  If we do not  enforce the laws  who will?.....So yes  I say again.....We are a Nation  of Laws......

Here's an interesting take on the issue by Charlie Pierce:


Charlie wrote, "uncertain people is a people easily led." That is absolutely the way life is! 

"uncertainty" is the key. It is how you erode inconvenient freedoms and the institutions designed to protect them from within. You make lawyers uncertain whether they can talk to their clients. You make sources uncertain whether they should talk to reporters. You create a climate within a self-governing citizenry in which certain unspecified offenses against order carry certain unspecified punishments. You create a nation that is gun-shy of its own founding principles, and you make its people gun-shy about standing up for themselves. You control the shadows in the inaccessible parts of the government. You can make those shadows fall wherever you want. And, those people will console themselves with the idea that "everybody knew" this was going on after 9/11, or with the idea that, hell, Amazon has your information, so what do you care if the NSA has it - those people should notice that this isn't about "national security" and terrorism any more."

Emphasis mine.  

In order go to the media you can't go with just your word alone - you need proof.  In every instance I have read or heard about there has always been that little requirement called "fact checking" everything before its printed or put on the air. (Granted there are some in the media who are a little lax on this matter.) Often newspapers and magazines will sit on information for a long time, in one case for over a year, before they print anything to make sure the information is correct.  In spite of our laws which guarantee Freedom of The Press, there are restrictions that can result in libel charges, et al, if they print things that are not verifable.  

Our current administration is very edgy about leaks of any kind, as have been those in the past.  Newspapers often call the White House to announce they are going to print things that may be in conflict with the administration.  To think for one moment someone can just call up CBS, NBC or any other network or newspaper and tell them you have some "whistleblowing information" without supplying them with written and verifiable information, and think they will take your word and run with it, would be delusional.

Snowden acquired the information, planned who he would release it to, and then released it. For him to say he "knows about" what is happening within the NSA without actually providing the proof would have been foolish and no one, including me, would have listened to him. After all our airways are filled with people spouting off and saying they know critical information and yet cannot provide verifiable proof.   Whether everyone agrees, we are a pretty much a Show Me The Proof kind of society.  Releasing anything but the actual files would have been a waste of his effort and he would have been quickly silenced and prevented from doing anything meaningful about it in the future. 

Breaking the law can not be okay for one entitity and not the other.  The NSA was breaking the laws of the U.S. by spying on and gathering information of our people.  Snowden is said to have broken a law to stop it.  I consider his actions justiable civil disobedience, a practice that has been existence for a very long time and, unless the government squashes it, we can only hope it will continue. 

You just  said  you  consider  his  actions  justifiable  so it is  ok.....Why is it ok  for You to decide what is justifiable  Barbara ?....That was my point why  we have  laws...so individuals can not  decide  for themselves when to break the law......As far as having  proof and  having  it verified,we know  that it can be verified. Bringing  the attention of the Press to those  indiscretions would have created  panic at the NSA and  someone  would have  certainly  been caught trying  to destroy the evidence....We as a people  can't  have it both ways.....We have laws,we must obey  the laws, if the laws  were  bad, there is a way  to repeal them.....The public outcry with bad laws can have  a tremendous  influence  on lawmakers....I agree  that the NSA may have  overstepped....However  they insist  it was for our  good, to protect us  from  possible  terrorism....Lets  just  let this all play out.......The Truth  will prevail.......

It was my opinion and I tried to write it that way - as an opinion.  As long as you are happy with the power we have given to our government and are happy with the way they conduct themselves, it is not for me to try and change your mind or be confrontational at all. 

Yes, we have laws.  Some of them good and some of them bad.  Some were written and passed soley for the benefit of individual groups, and often to further empower our government.

One particular bad piece of legislation which indirectly led to Snowden's action is The Patriot Act. It was passed to further empower our government in their search for terrorists, or at least that is the reason they used.   It has some rather interesting parts to it which affect our daily lives.  People have been up in arms and protesting it for some time.  It still stands.  Many of our lawmakers signed it and didn't even read it.

We are all debating whether Edward Snowden was right or wrong and yet few of us discuss the Patriot Act. When we have laws which allow our local police, county sheriffs,  state police, Homeland Security, FBI, NSA, DOJ and other federal entities to come into our homes without warrants, search our email and other electronic transmission without a warrant then the people in general, in my opinion, really have to be willing to take a stand. If The Patriot Act had not expanded the government's right to gather information, in my opinion, the Snowden episode may not have happened.  Instead of fighting back about that particular bad law we attack Snowden who did something about it.  

Oh really  Barbara...so tell me , how many  people  do you know  who had  warrants presented  to them at their home  and had  all their  e mails  searched....The Patriot Act was necessary  after  9/11.....That  horrific  act by terrorists  changed  our  lives  forever...So sorry  if you disagree....How else  are the Spy agencies going to intercept these  terrorists  planning   who knows  what.....Unless your  e-mails  are  incriminating, you have  nothing  to fear........We, as Americans, have  been so spoiled  with  all our  freedoms, that when their is  a slight  change, some people go berserk......I have yet to hear of anyone that I know  personally who has  had a  warrant given to  them  for  search .and seizure...I wonder  how you will feel if ever  we are  attacked  again and our government  cracks  down even more  with  the internet  and phone.....Good luck......

I agree with you on the warrant thing, Freethinker31. I personally don't know of anyone given a warrant and subjected to search and siezure. I also find no evidence when people go out of their way to claim Obama wants your gun, FEMA death camps, or any other such politically generated nonsense. I do believe, however, that most of our e-mail is read and gone through often in sifting for useful information on terrorism. In these readings names are not even noted unless something appears amiss. In other words, your affair and secret sexuality are safe unless you are planning some terrorist acts somewhere.

Exactly.....That  was my point...Appreciate  your input  Michael....



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