Thursday, November 13, 2014

Citizenfour Is a Scary Movie

Sorry, Feds, Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are the good guys,
in the movie and in real life. Bad guys? The Feds and the spy heads...

First, let me say that Citizenfour is a very good movie. It's suspenseful even though we know the outcome (so far). It tells us more than we've every known about Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, even if we already knew they were admirable characters.

Those of us who already knew or had been following the revelations about the NSA's massive surveillance programs -- at least in my case -- were nonetheless stunned at the betrayal our government programs amount to.

I'm beyond conflicted about where Barack Obama is in all this. His betrayal feels the most devastating of all. The issues portrayed in the movie and the light it shines on them make the rest of politics -- the part outside of our constitutionally protected rights -- seem trivial at best. Yes, I don't want Congress to cut food stamps, already a weakened program, but all the give-and-take of discretionary spending decisions pales in comparison to the near-complete erosion of our privacy rights.

(The only break I can give Obama stems from an observation: Keith Alexander, James Clapper, and John Brennan -- the above referenced spy heads -- blatantly and repeatedly lie to Congress about the surveillance programs and none of them get fired. Why not? Here's the frightening math that comes to mind: John Kennedy + Bay of Pigs = Dallas. Is that Obama's math, too?)

It's horrifying, the near-total surveillance, and it's taking place across the globe. The UK is just as invasive; Germany, upset that Angela Merkel's cell phone was tapped, nonetheless is probably helping the U.S. in its spy programs, as long as the U.S. shares some of the secrets and/or the capabilities to gather such information on their own German citizens and residents.

It's disgusting, and we shouldn't stand for it. Strange, though, that Republicans don't care as much. It's quite telling.

But more than the hardly surprising thought that the GOP goes along with this is the notion that the Democrats haven't mounted any effort to undo a single bit of the damage the NSA has done to our privacy either. Who do we trust anymore? Who?

Trying to think of somebody...

Conspirators? Maybe, but the heroic kind.

I don't know how this story ends -- probably not well for Snowden -- but history will call these people heroes. And, boy, that says a lot about America these days.

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