If most people just watch, even the best efforts towards change are going to be subverted.
> With the current candidates on either side, just bracing for worse.
There's always Bernie, but it means putting some effort into the political process yourself. :)
> What I understand is that the power of corporate America, Wall Street, the corporate, the media is so great that real change to transform our country does not take place unless MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BEGIN TO STAND UP and say very loudly and clearly that the United States government has got to represent all of us, and not just the top 1 percent," he said.
Sure, he says nice things about stopping the programs. But he's clear that Snowden should go through the legal process and receive punishment. In particular he does NOT say that he would give Snowden clemency. Which makes his position indistinguishable in practice from Hillary's.
Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows.
Not sure "indistinguishable" is the most accurate word. Seems her stance is much less forgiving/lenient and focuses more on the act of breaking the law and that he should be punished for that.
Everyone is camp #1 is indistinguishable from the people who abuse our trust themseves. Criminal.
If you think Bernie is going to actually do anything different if he makes it to the White House, well you are living in a dream world then.
It seems that many Obama supporters whipped themselves into such a hatred of Bush that they never really considered who they were really supporting (, though I do not presume to accuse you of that).
# Don't tell me that some power can corrupt a person; You haven't had enough to know what it's like!
And Im telling you know, a candidate will come a few months from now which will again win your hearts and minds and promise what you want, and you'll again fall for it.
Youre american presidential election is an strong illusion of partifipating in governmental decisions. Thats all it is, you dont have anyone reasonable to vote for.
This and abolish the party system, let each individual stand on their own merit.
By which I mean, at least five, with realistic odds.
The chance of that happening is only slightly more likely than hoping for a perfect enlightened despot unicorn to step up.
With that given said, compare a whistleblower, say 20 years ago, with one today. Snowden not only had the world's greatest communication platform at his disposal, to disseminate whatever information he cared about, but now he can still address millions of people, speaking at the world's greatest universities and giving interviews, while being in exile.
Regardless on where you stand on these privacy/spying issues, I think it's hard to deny the fact that he started a dialog, and now the entire world can be part of it.
> With the telegraph Western man began a process of putting his nerves outside his body. Previous technologies had been extensions of physical organs: the wheel is a putting-outside-ourselves of the feet; the city wall is a collective outering of the skin. But electronic media are, instead, extensions of the central nervous system, an inclusive and simultaneous field. Since the telegraph we have extended the brains and nerves of man around the globe. As a result, the electronic age endures a total uneasiness, as of a man wearing his skull inside and his brain outside. We have become peculiarly vulnerable. The year of the establishment of the commercial telegraph in America, 1844, was also the year Kierkegaard published "The Concept of Dread."
> [...] When new technologies impose themselves on societies long habituated to older technologies, anxieties of all kinds result. Our electronic world now calls for a unified field of global awareness; the kind of private consciousness appropriate to literate man can be viewed as an unbearable kink in the collective consciousness demanded by electronic information movement.
The sensual intimacy of what Snowden revealed is hard to convey to people who don't live on the internet. They don't understand the violation and the anxiety. Even John Oliver can't change that.
Or to boil it down to John Oliver terms since you seem to be a fan, nobody's going to see any pictures of your dick unless you take pictures of your dick.
You are advocating for the complete repression of any idea that hasn't yet become both known and acceptable to the mainstream.
It's not going to always be pictures of your dick. To name just a few of the most obvious groups with real risks, you're effectively saying that anybody with unpopular political views, anybody LGBT, and anybody with a religious belief that isn't "Christian" shouldn't participate in modern society and the network interactions that participation requires if they want to stay safe?
Blaming the victims for not staying out of sight isn't the solution.
If you have an unpopular view, speak out. Be oppressed. Fight back against the oppression if you can, and roll over and die if you cannot. If you win, your side is and always was right. If you lose, the opposite.
I find your Nietzschen worldview abhorrent.
You're not very good at this reading thing, are you?
How else am I to interpret "If you win, your side is and always was right. If you lose, the opposite."?
I am of course a hypocrite, as are we all, I'm sure. But I don't see how that's relevant here.
On an unrelated note, what a hero this man is. The US should consider itself fortunate that it has people who at great personal cost would expose wrongdoing. It's a pity the irrationally scared public doesn't consider him a hero.
But he was on his way to Cuba, which would have been his choice. It would have been a bad choice, because the US would have grabbed him there. It's a pretty quick jaunt from anywhere in Cuba to the US base at Gitmo.
What this article makes clear is that he is heavily guarded by the Russians. It's not a coincidence that this meeting took place in a hotel filled with high ranking Russian military. Would Cuba have afforded him the same level of protection?
His destination was Ecuador. It's not like he had a lot of choices, or he didn't try other countries: https://edwardsnowden.com/asylum-requests
Different story with Moscow.
What keeps him safe is that there is nothing to be gained in stealing him, he is a public figure, and another sovereign nation has granted him amnesty.
That's kind of how I see society. What Snowden revealed has been going on and it's really just the tip of the iceberg and it will only get worse. But what do we do? We say "that's not cool" and then get back to posting our whole life on facebook and trusting the assurances of the same government that does far more lying than not. Here we are, you are maintaining your own government surveillance dossier on facebook, with all the connections and associations listed and conveniently connected. It is any and all past authoritarian dictatorships' wildest dream they could have never even imagined. yet it continues, the business media proclaims that there is no stopping facebook's domination, which will include what Zuckerberg's slip-up from yesteryear of intending to fully replacing the internet even if just in perception of people's minds. (see his free access to facebook in emerging markets where he is trying to head off the internet becoming a thing in people's minds)
It will be quite interesting to see how this all plays out. I am not going to hide the fact that no matter how I look at it, even if things seem all rosy and nice and pretty now, there are far more wildly risky and probably catastrophic outcomes down the path society has and seems to insist on taking.
When I want something to be between myself and a specific person or group of people, I make a phone call or email. Obviously it's not as restrictive as saying something in person, as you might for something truly private.
But there are degrees. The only way to keep something truly private is not to tell anyone but it's not fair to equate a private conversation with a public broadcast, just because you sometimes use the public broadcast.
I look at what younger people share online and am routinely shocked at their willingness to open the kimono. But maybe if we all overshared, everywhere, all the time, these fascists would have 0 power.
Regardless, however misguided my ignorance may have been in 1998, I seriously don't understand how anyone would be OK posting things that could easily be incriminating (photos of their stash, videos of drunken behavior) on sites as public as Facebook.
As you mention with your quote, maybe it's a reaction to the idea that you'll never be able to curate the sober and responsible "persona" you'd like without unrealistic levels of precaution. So rather than spend your youth in constant fear and anxiety that someone will see your drunk pics, there's something liberating about just admitting that we're all human and many of us have our "responsible life" and our moments of cutting loose.
Still boggles my mind when people post blatantly illegal activity on Twitter or Facebook though. But other than that, I try to keep a balance. When I'm out drinking with friends, any photos or videos that get taken do not go on Facebook and if they are shared at all, it's only with the people who were involved and only via less public channels. And if the behavior in question is more potentially objectionable than some drunk karaoke, the cameras stay away.
It took me a few to realize when the conversation was changing from the narrator to Snowden.
Snowden was acutely aware of the consequences his actions could have. This really drives that home.
I remember the first time I read 1984, in middle school. To my young mind it was extremely frightening, and every time I would put it down I would have the same feeling one has when they wake up from a nightmare: relief that it was just a fiction. That it was unlikely to ever happen in real life. Snowden's revelations made me feel like that relief is gone forever.
Right after the revelations came out, I discussed it with a former journalist in Silicon Valley, who was also Jewish American. I could not believe it when he used the, "I'm-not-worried-because-I-have-nothing-to-hide" argument. I guess he never heard the reason why the Nazis were so successful in killing and imprisoning Amsterdam's Jewish population, at a rate that far exceeded other European countries.
The Dutch, you see, are meticulous record keepers. Even today you can find property records that date back to 1600s and earlier. And, at some point along the way, someone thought it would be a good idea to record people's religion, in addition to the more typical things like address and date of birth. Oh, they had been doing it long before Adolf Hitler conceived of his final solution. It must've seemed like a good idea at the time. They probably never thought those records would be used the way they were after the Germans took over the country....
Although I wonder if it can be proven or argued (or not) that Snowden is not working with Russia. Maybe in the realm of intelligence nothing can really be proven, and it doesn't really mean anything for me to trust my gut about Snowden not working against the US. Are there any articles debunking those theories ?
Theres no value in the press for Russia.
Also, they changed the passwords when he left.
Since its the Bible belt I often find myself reminding people of the story of David  who hid with the Philistines when his nation and leader of Israel and turned on him. The irony is almost overwhelming to them since Snowden so closely fits the exact profile of the story.
Some nights in my darker moments I worry that we and by extension myself, have become the bad guys in that story, more akin to the egotistical and delusional King Saul than David.
 My relevant history: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9444512
It's because traditional Christian values have been hijacked by business leaders who believe it is in their best interests to cultivate a populace with unquestioning deference to authority. (They're probably right about that too.)
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Facts not in evidence. You really think you can know what they believe in their hearts?
Let's review: the comment to which I was responding was by someone who considers Snowden a hero and couldn't understand why his midwestern family considered him a traitor. The OP specifically couched his confusion in terms of Christian values, and even cited a Bible passage. I responded with an answer to the question that he posed in the terms in which he posed it, and which made a factual claim that I believe to be correct, and which I can support with evidence. That's what I meant by "if the shoe fits..." (Just in case you're not aware: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/if_the_shoe_fits)
I still want to push back on the idea that people raised in conservative Christian families are necessarily authoritarian, but I'd have better luck doing that in a conversation I hadn't already poisoned by jumping the gun.
> I still want to push back on the idea that people raised in conservative Christian families are necessarily authoritarian
You'd have even better luck if you pushed back against something I actually said. I never said that Christian families are necessarily authoritarian (though there are clearly strong traditions of authoritarianism in many branches of Christianity). What I said was that traditional Christian values have been corrupted by cynical business interests for material gain. And again, this seems to me to be self-evidently true. Look up "prosperity gospel" for example.
The populace doesn't ask questions. They simply parrot what a few outspoken people with a mouthpiece tell them to do or think. Most people are lemmings they don't have your brain (I looked at your resume). Not that every conclusion that you would come to would be correct. But in the everyday world (away from NYC, SV and HN) the mediocrity and low level thinking of everyday people is stunning. A large amount of lawn signs is enough to get you elected to local office.
Please don't think that 3 communities contain the monopoly on critical thinking. From my observation (living in the "Bible belt"), it comes from a person's news media sources. Television and newspapers (traditional news media) parrot party lines and support the two-party duopoly. People that have always gotten their news this way understandably are easily controlled.
There is a newer generation (not just young people) that use the internet as an augment or even primary source of news. This gives a completely different perspective on world events. These sorts of people are all over the world.
But I do wonder if our politicians were to trying to pull off another Iraq Invasion type event, whether it would be as easy today as they made it appear in 2003. Would it be easier for a whistleblower to disrupt it today? It doesn't feel so.
Not everyone thinks exactly the same way you do. Believe it or not, outside message boards like this, there are a lot of people that don't care about NSA surveillance of US Internet traffic at all, and care a lot more about Islamic terrorism (to be clear: I am not one of those people).
John Oliver made a humorous analogy during his brief interview with Snowden.
When John Oliver framed the government domestic surveillance program as having the capability to intercept, store, and review your nude images (being sent to your partner, for example), it really made people upset.
However, when he framed it as being able to siphon all communications en masse, people essentially got the glazed-over look and stopped caring.
When presented with the fact that all that "nude image grabbery" and violations of personal privacy and freedoms has only resulted in a single "terrorist plot" being thwarted (that guy who gave money to a terrorist group and was promptly arrested)... people get very upset because the result certainly does not justify the cost.
It comes down to an understanding issue (or lack-thereof). Technical details bore most people, which makes them not care.
Another good analogy is the German Secret Police steaming open all letters, reviewing the contents, then re-sealing them and putting back into the mail stream. People think that's egregious, and that it would never happen in the US. But it clearly is...
These are certainly issues that majority of Americans are going to deeply care about - the trouble we have is how to communicate it in such a way as-to boil down and condense years of technical understanding in just a few words.
Care to elaborate? Or just make snide comments without any factual content.
By definition, Snowden is a Whistle-Blower.
Fact checks of Snowden's claims have largely been found to be very accurate.
Yes, US foreign relations were damaged as part of the release - but how can anyone claim it's OK to subvert US companies efforts to do business in good faith with foreign customers? Or to wire-tap our closest allies? What about the fallout in pursuit of Snowden where US government officials technically invaded the sovereign nation of Bolivia (the Bolivian President's plane)?
Bringing it home, how is it OK to wire-tap our own elected officials? Or the entire city of Salt Lake? Parallel construction which put people in prison without a fair trail? Purposefully weakening or subverting security protections for every citizen?
Yes, it stung. However it was necessary, and absolutely in the public's best interest. These surveillance programs are very much out of control and scope. There is no sane argument to the contrary.
You are making the argument that Snowden should have done nothing, when in fact that is the least moral thing to do in that situation.
The US is not some how "weaker" because of Snowden - it's weaker because of it's flagrant disrespect to all other nations in the world, especially our allies.
I never made such an argument. In fact, I have repeatedly stated what I think he should have done - reveal information about some obviously unconstitutional domestic surveillance - there's obviously no shortage of choices there.
Whether the US is weaker or stronger does not have anything to do with the question of whether Snowden broke the law. It might affect the judgment about whether he was justified in breaking the law, but that's something for the judge to decide during sentencing, or the president to decide when pardoning him. It's not an excuse for refusing to stand trial.
He has stated many times he will come back and stand trial, so long as it's a fair public trial in civilian courts (because he was/is a civilian).
The US Gov't is unwilling to provide this more fair trial.
And the issue isn't that some evidence is classified, but that all evidence Snowden would want to present is classified. Even his motivation is based on works that are claimed to be classified.
If Snowden can't present a single piece of evidence in his defense that isn't classified, I don't think he's got much of a case. Last I checked, the constitution isn't classified.
You can't have a fair trial where 99% of the evidence is not allowed to be submitted.
The US has Whistle-Blower laws for a reason, yet the US Government is not allowing them to cover his case.
Until a guarantee of a free trial, he has stated he'll remain where he's at. And that's entirely reasonable.
Which the US Government is not allowing. We've looped back to the beginning here... and you still don't understand, don't accept, or don't know the entire narrative.
Snowden did not have the option of leaking one or two things, then poring over data and leaking a few more. He had one shot to grab as much evidence as possible and flee the country. Given those constraints, I think his behavior was appropriate.
What is really to blame here is a system that made Snowden's method of revealing this data the best choice if you want to minimize your own chances of being tortured. Everyone who worked to ensure that complaints and dissatisfaction with mass surveillance were treated as traitors even before the Snowden leaks.
"Sure, I support valid whistle-blowers, but what Snowden did ..."
It's a simple way to show that to be hypocritical authoritarianism rather than valid criticism when they don't make the connection.
EDIT: It's victim blaming.
Then blame your (government's) employees who left Snowden with no choice but to leak.
They essentially entangled classified data (their job) with unclassified data (the facts of their fraud).
Is breaking an unethical law ethical? I believe so. The same reason a solider is taught/told (although they usually do not in reality) to disobey an illegal order.
Snowden could have just been a whistleblower. But in addition to revealing all the info about the NSA's spying tactics, he traded additional info to various nation-states in order to secure his personal safe passage. Thereby putting USA operatives abroad at risk in order to protect himself.
The stupid part is that I don't know if that is actually the case, but I wasn't able to counter this argument when I heard it.
"The home of Thomas Drake, a senior executive at the NSA, was searched, his passport was cancelled and he lived under the threat of 35 years imprisonment for four years, prosecuted under the Espionage Act. He lost his job, his pension and spent everything he owned on his defense lawyer. Today he works at an Apple store in Maryland and has been able to establish that the only person, who was investigated and prosecuted, after trying to talk to his superiors about the mass surveillance, was himself."
The whistleblower laws in place a) wouldn't have applied to him, since he was a contractor, and b) are a trap anyway, since whistleblowers end up getting prosecuted, regardless of the laws. Snowden's only other possible course of action was to do nothing.
If you think someone needs to be tortured to atone for some sin, be my guest.
Also, if we did put his back to a wall it'd be our fault.
The deal is, give up your freedom, in exchange for having masters. Still a reasonable deal for most people.
Even the directors cut is only part of the picture and even if you are privy to the fact that there is a story book on which the movie is based, you'll find that it is out of print and the TPPA has prevented it from being published for another 125 years.
Except this is a theoretical argument that doesn't hold much weight to normal people in the real world. How does mass surveillance today harm Joe Six Pack who lives a modest middle class life in Cleveland, Ohio? It doesn't.
If the journalists released "intelligence secrets that had nothing directly to do with the surveillance of Americans" (it's not clear to me that they did, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief here) isn't that on them, not Snowden?
I don't see what's so complicated about that.
> Read everything
1) Do you expect a single person to go through 1000's of documents with their rudimentary understandings and interpretations of the law? Would you and why would you trust him if so?
2) Should he have a lawyer go through the documents with him?
3) Should he get second opinions on whether or not something is breaking the law?
4) Should he trust a team of respected journalists and their team of lawyers to go through the documents on his behalf?
The journalists he released the documents to have trust that they've established for years. That makes them hard to dismiss as looney bins. Snowden does not have that trust and would have been easy to dismiss by himself.
But - yes, he chose to release that material. If, for instance, the journalists released something irresponsible that, say, led to deaths of people, that's still part of a chain of events that leads to him and his decision.
I'm glad he did what he did, and so far things seem to have gone ok, and I can't imagine the stress and pressure he's under.
You either blow the whistle or remain silent. Choosing to not release the material would mean he's compliant, and not a whistle blower. Which - given the details that have come to light - I judge the compliance of the individuals impeding on my rights to privacy far harsher than I judge Snowden as a whistle blower.
>If, for instance, the journalists released something irresponsible that, say, led to deaths of people
Do you think Snowden or the journalist team are more or less likely to release something irresponsibly that would lead to the deaths of people? My bets are on Snowden; had he acted alone.
Simply because as an individual he is less capable of citing/knowing which laws what is breaking, what should be released and shouldn't be released (he would have to make that call himself, rather than discussing it among others), how details may be interpreted by the public, dangers of releasing certain information, etc. I believe it would be inevitable for him to fuck up had he acted alone.
Your argument boils down to "he shouldn't have blown the whistle" and I cannot agree with that. At all.
You're simplifying it too much. I think he did the right thing, but took some big risks of varying kinds, too. That's part of what makes someone a 'hero' isn't it? Pressing forward in the face of uncertainty and danger.
I was just arguing with the "it's all on the journalists if something goes awry" line.
Blowing the whistle comes with inherent risk. He did everything within his power to minimize that risk and act responsibly.
I see I'm arguing a statement ever-so-slightly out of your original context (read your edit). So disregard this as a tangent discussion. :) Cheers.
If he had taken steps to minimize the leak but missed stuff, there would be a reasonable argument here. But he leaked things that pretty clearly didn't document misconduct, but was damaging to the NSA, and a casual skim of that stuff could have ruled out its publication.
To the extent he amassed and shared with journalists the type of information you're talking about, Snowden has previously stated that he felt he needed to prove to journalists that he was an authentic source.
Your claim certainly still applies in the form of "he didn't need to do that" or "he didn't need that much material to establish bona fides" or even "he's lying" but to my knowledge, he didn't release damaging information himself.
Snowden did leak information to journalists who then decided to report on it, and I'm sympathetic to the idea that Snowden should have assumed journalists would be inclined to report on damaging information that didn't reflect misconduct. Snowden may also have made different assumptions than you do about what constitutes misconduct.
Sometimes you leak with the situation you have, not the situation you'd want or wish to have, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld.
By pretty much everyone's admission, Snowden relied on Greenwald and others to minimize the leak, and that's what they've done: only a fraction of the documents he took have been published. At first blush, that sounds admirable, but when you think about this for a second, the implication is that people like Greenwald are now in possession of a huge collection of documents that aren't in the public interest (if they were, Greenwald's obligation would be to publish them!).
By every account of the people who know, Snowden read and understood every single document he leaked.
1) reduces the value of US hardware on the international market, as businesses want to use equipment without backdoors installed by foreign intelligence services
2) pits the intelligence community against large portions of the tech sector, who because of market pressure will be forced to consider such activity a security threat
3) obliderates any moral high ground from which to stand on to condemn foreign intelligence services for doing the exact same thing, e.g.the State department's hypocritical efforts to condemn the Chinese for various forms of espionage in which the NSA apparently routinely engages
Personally, guns bother me a lot more than SIGINT implants.
>immense value for society of it
The question we're addressing here is not "Did Snowden do good things?" The question is whether he is a hero, and the fact that he did bad things is relevant. You could argue that he did more good than bad, and I might even agree; but doing more good than bad doesn't make someone a hero.
the data-mining program that slurps up e-mail and phone data of American citizens
>Even if some published documents were harmful to US government, it is not Snowden who published them.
He gave them to journalists that published them. How is it not his fault?
"The question we're addressing here is not "Did Snowden do good things?" The question is whether he is a hero, and the fact that he did bad things is relevant."
The article, as some groups do, tries to turn people from thinking and talking about the important things such as the big brother surveillance and questioning government to various irrelevant issues, such as "isn't he a traitor". They try to mislead your attention astray. Don't let them; think for yourself.
You said "slandering". That generally implies untruth, but the only thing you've really pointed to is non proportionality, which is kind of weird (does every article need to include every single fact at all relevant to the case? Presumably not, but then on what basis can you call something disproportionate?)
"but then on what basis can you call something disproportionate?" I call the article disproportionate, misleading and low-quality based on reading it and remembering other accounts of things.
I'm much more ambivalent about the wikileaks cables leak, because that truly was a massive data dump, much of which was not exposing any wrongdoing, just private conversations.
Perhaps you meant something different, but that's not how your comment reads.
I'm not demanding that you agree with me, but I would push back on the idea that my argument is unreasonable.
I have conservative friends and I have an-cap friends and friends at many points in between. The an-caps oppose all espionage by any state anywhere; the conservatives think disclosure of any spying by the USG is treason. Not everyone agrees about this stuff.
This thread is rooted in a comment that expresses surprise that there are Americans that oppose what Snowden did. Well, there are a lot of Americans who oppose it, for a bunch of different reasons. So: be less surprised.
I didn't mean to imply that you had the "wrong" political view or even one that I disagreed with. It just struck me as internally inconsistent given the (apparently wrong) assumptions I'd made about your perspective from other comments on the topic over the past few years.
And of course I'm not surprised that there are lots of Americans who oppose what Snowden did, but as someone who tends to pay attention to your comments, I was surprised by one of the reasons you seemed to.
These threads tend to get batty very quickly. Let me lay this out a bit:
* I think NSA (and, to a much greater extent, GCHQ) are culpable for a huge amount of misconduct, much of it revealed by Snowden.
* I'm glad the Snowden documents that illuminated clear misconduct, such as GCHQ cable tapping of Google in the UK, or US collection of cell phone metadata, were published.
* I do not generally believe that people in the NSA randomly listen to foreign communications for kicks, nor do I believe for a second that they do things like surveil presidential candidates, despite what Snowden has implied. Not because people in the NSA are good or righteous or principled, but simply because nobody has the time to do that
* I believe NSA foreign collection generally happens for reasons that most people in the US support - tracking terrorist networks and counterproliferation.
* I believe the balance of NSA foreign collections operations happen for reasons that I don't like, but that are pro-forma "legitimate" and part of the competition that occurs between all countries. For instance: to the extent that NSA is monitoring the state depts/foreign offices of other countries: I'm not a fan of that, but I'm not outraged by it.
* I believe NSA cuts a whole lot of corners in pursuing those goals, especially post-9/11.
* I do have a problem with corner-cutting, and I would have a problem with evidence that the NSA was listening to, say, German telephone communications for sport, or, like France, monitoring foreign commercial communications to tip off domestic industry, leaks illustrating that would be in the public interest.
Given this rough sketch of my worldview, it does not seem reasonable to me for the public to have a line-item veto over all the foreign SIGINT conducted by the USG. That notion seems equivalent to simply not doing SIGINT at all, which to me does not seem realistic or productive.
Your comment left the why part of my question a little ambiguous, but I'm assuming from your response that it's a combination of because everyone else is doing it, the US sort of has to in order to remain competitive because everyone else is doing it, because it's not prohibited, and because it's not in the public interest (assuming you mean US public's interest here).
I wanted to apologize for mincing your words a bit upthread - this comment makes more clear the distinctions you draw around misconduct, "legitimate" / de facto practices, and what's in the public interest.
> I would have a problem with evidence that the NSA was [...] monitoring foreign commercial communications to tip off domestic industry
Then this might interest you:
Neoconservatives, anyway. Conservatives as classical liberals, as well as paleocons, would largely align with the anti-surveillance side.
The issues that upset Americans is going to be the domestic surveillance programs.
Snowden watched what happened to Bill Binney and Thomas Drake and knew that the suggested whistleblowing path was a trap. Journalists were the second to last resort (the last being the wikileaks approach). The outcomes are evident. He was right. There is/was a problem and courts and commentators worldwide acknowledge that. Hell, even Obama acknowledged there were problems.
And on your last point: it turns out non-Americans have human rights too, something that Snowden would have no-doubt recognized after living in Switzerland. American exceptionalism bullshit is no excuse for crimes against humanity (i.e. mass surveillance).
These are uncharacteristically dumb comments from you.
I'm European so I'm happy, but this wasn't in the best interests of US. Unless we're talking about freedom of speech.
In the short term. In the longer term it is in everybody's interests, including the US.
 - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/snowden-nsa-syr...
>In an interview with Wired magazine, Snowden said the elite NSA hacking unit, called Tailored Access Operations, accidentally cut off Syria’s internet while attempting to infiltrate it.
This  appears to be the interview the article is referencing.
Either way, Snowden is 100% responsible for everything that is revealed regardless of whether it was revealed by himself directly or a journalist with which he shared the information. You can't just pipe secret information through a journalist to absolve yourself of leaking that info.
 - http://www.wired.com/2014/08/edward-snowden/
And as a taxpayer, I want to know how we're fucking up so I can try to correct some of it. Certainly it wasn't driving itself in a useful direction.
Also, if the fallout of having our actions revealed is horrible, maybe we should have done better things? Hmm. Because secrets do leak.
Because such people have largely been lied to.
Islamic terrorism since its inception is less dangerous than preventable medical errors. Ffs.
> The new research followed up on a landmark study, To Err is Human, conducted by the Institute of Medicine 15 years ago, when researchers reported that as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals each year due to preventable medical errors. Experts now say that figure was too low and hospitals have been too slow to make improvements.
Where is the outrage? The money?
For example, they could see the primary role as protecting the safety and prosperity of the citizenry of the USA.
You, maybe, see it as protecting the values of the USA as, for example, enshrined in the constitution?
I think there is an argument that Snowden's actions could have put at risk the former for the sake of the latter. I don't believe that he did but I could understand if someone believed that he took an unnecessary risk.
I think there is also an argument that says that to give up ones values if to forsake the need for protection as what's left isn't worth protecting.
In the case of mass phone call metadata collection, it seems to have been well established that what the NSA was doing at the time was unconstitutional and is now changing. The mass metadata collection didn't stop, though, it's just run by telecoms instead of the feds. Has revealing it served the national interest? It doesn't obvious to me.
As for the rest of his leaks, there is more public disagreement. Apparently the NSA's IA mission took second place to the offensive after 9/11. That seems to be a terrible long-term strategy, especially given the calculus of state sponsored hacking, and if Snowden's leaks expedited the reversal of that change, that's definitely a good thing.
This is actually addressed in the article:
"CIA, NSA and DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) Directors all have been brought on the floor of the congress and they have been asked by my strongest critics, begged for any evidence, that any national security interest has been harmed, that any individual has come to harm. And not in any single case have they shown concrete evidence that this occurred."
So, all we have to go on is "Trust us! And don't verify!" - from people who lie through their teeth at congressional hearings.
For those unfamiliar: The Bible Belt isn't in the US Midwest and generally the regions aren't much alike. The Bible Belt is the most conservative region in the US and is in the American South. The Midwest has historically been liberal, even progressive in places, the home of unions and democratic voters. (Also the Midwest isn't in the middle west, but you can find a map.)
That's not to say that there are no Midwestern areas where people are more religious or conservative, or that tsunamifury's family doesn't live in one.
There's your problem right there. Your implication is that the people you talk to are blind to their own values. In reality, they simply value different things than you.
Take two random self-described Christians and have them write down, "what would define a 'true Christian'" and you'll get two completely different sets of answers.
All religious beliefs are personal. Every member of every religion will pick & choose which tenets, sacred verses, etc that they want to believe and only believe in those things. No one agrees 100% on every little detail and only "extremists" follow their religions to the letter.
I think OP is right that there is a real phenomenon of people accepting a surveillance state without interrogating the notion. John Oliver's "dick pic" interview is an example of this. When he asked people on the streets if they were uncomfortable with bulk collection, due to (what I believe is) ignorance and physiological entrenchment, people parroted a response about national security. When forced to really confront the issues as they relate to their own lives, they changed their minds on the spot.
It isn't that their values shifted. They had a version of the narrative in their heads which was convincing, but shallow; it persists only because it is largely undisturbed. Good on OP for shaking things up.
There are other people who will genuinely disagree, and I imagine tell OP something like (disclaimer: I haven't read the story and am guessing), "David was facing a tyrannical monarch, we live in a free democracy; Snowden would receive a fair trial, so he should return to the States."
You're using a lot of absolutes in your statement. It's as if you have some secret knowledge about the way all religious people think. Care to expand on your reasoning?
I can't keep up self-satisfaction when I've to admit that I am lacking deeper understanding of my environment. The simplest solution to that problem would be that I tell myself with as much other people as possible that understanding my environment isn't that important, because we've managed life until here without it. We declare ourself as normal and defame everyone not belonging to our social bubble. Maybe we even declare the minority of people that get whats going on as an undesirable to be in group. But you've to remember that those processes are normal and healthy. People getting sucked up in reality tend to depression.
Proper separation of the bodies of government is important for everyone, conservative and liberal alike. The domestic spying not just on average citizens, but also specifically on (potential) political opponents (like then-senator Obama, for example) weakens all of us.
It sounds efficient to some, to imagine one monolithic law-enforcement entity without its hands tied so the idea of parallel construction, for instance, doesn't bother them. But it's not a "rights of the guilty" leftist tree-hugging issue, it's a corruption prevention issue. By separating our agencies and making them work through official channels we have a check on any one getting out of control.
Be you Right or Left, the government are our employees and Snowden is the one who came to tell us the rest had their hands in the cash register. (And worse, were forging our name with the bank, etc...)
Snowden really doesn't know as much as he claims to. Not to mention he's careless and the he exposed legitimate intelligence operations on foreign countries