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Right Opinion

Revisiting Edward Snowden

Burt Prelutsky · Nov. 18, 2019

When I first heard about Edward Snowden’s stealing thousands of classified documents from the U.S. government, I wanted to see him hanged from a lamppost. He certainly didn’t help himself in my eyes when he fled the country, first landing in Hong Kong before finally winding up in Moscow, where he remains six years after sounding the alarm about the widespread government surveillance of loyal, law-abiding Americans.

What brought him to mind is that I recently wrote that although I didn’t approve of the intelligence community snooping on Americans who are above suspicion, I, myself, had no secrets. A few days later, I read an excerpt from Snowden’s recent book “Permanent Record,” in which he wrote: “Ultimately, saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.”

Son of a gun, he could have been speaking directly to me, even though I hadn’t said I didn’t care about privacy, merely stating that I, personally, don’t have any secrets since I spend my life divulging everything that occurs to me.

I realized I knew very little about the guy aside from the fact that he seemed to be arrogant, anti-American and sported that stubble look that’s never quite a beard that nerdy guys adopt in their failed attempt to look like Don Johnson back in his “Miami Vice” days.

Among the many things I didn’t know about him was that he was anything but a Commie dupe. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in the hope of joining Special Forces because he wanted to serve in Iraq “to help free oppressed people.” Unfortunately, his military career was cut short when he broke both legs during a training exercise.

When it came to the Second Amendment, he joked that he, “along with my lunatic gun-toting NRA compatriots,” opposed the banning of assault weapons during the Clinton administration.

Later, he opposed Barack Obama’s appointing a political hack like Leon Panetta to head up the CIA, but supported Ron Paul’s call for a return to the gold standard.

His breaking point came when he saw Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lie under oath to Congress, insisting that the NSA never knowingly collects data on millions of Americans.

There are very few Republicans in Congress who can point to such a principled conservative record.

As for his winding up in Russia, that was a matter of necessity once the U.S. government started to pressure Hong Kong to extradite him for prosecution. Snowden made it to Russia, but it was his intention to move on to a country that would provide sanctuary. It had been his intention to end up in Latin America. But once again, the U.S. State Department began turning the screws and even though four South American countries held out, Snowden feared that, one, a change of government in that volatile part of the world could change his status overnight or, two, that eventually they’d cave to economic pressure exerted by the U.S. and hand him over.

In the past, I would have said that he should have returned and faced the music, but that was then and this is now.

When I see the way that Trump’s allies, people like Roger Stone, have been treated, I think Snowden would have to be a lot dumber than he is to allow himself to be brought back to stand trial.

Heck, just look at the way that Trump himself is being treated by the House Democrats, who are so eager to get him out of office, they’d be willing to impeach him for sneezing in a hospital zone.

Snowden was simply the first person to realize that the Deep State exists and that the creatures who lurk in the depths of the swamp are far more dangerous to this Republic than China, Iran and North Korea, put together.

I didn’t get to see all of President Trump’s rally in Lexington, Kentucky, but the highlight came when, referencing the ways that his healthcare plan would improve on Obamacare, he mentioned that his would cover pre-existing conditions and then ad-libbed that it would also let people keep their “pre-existing physicians.”

Part of what makes his rallies so delightful is that they are unscripted. He was so delighted that he’d come up with the expression on the spot, it was like watching a kid unwrap a special gift on Christmas.

The only downside to the rally was the young guy who looked like an East Indian who was standing just behind the President’s right shoulder. He never clapped, held up a pro-Trump sign or even smiled. Just behind Trump’s left shoulder was another young guy who carried on like a cheerleader, nodding, clapping, grinning and hoisting his Trump in 2020 poster every minute or so. It was almost like one of those cartoons where an angel sits on one shoulder while a devil perches on the other, vying for someone’s soul.

It was very distracting and I wondered how it was that Trump’s handlers had let it happen. Surely, they must vet the people who form the backdrop at these events. It did occur to me that Trump’s people must have noticed it, but I guess they didn’t want to risk being caught on camera hustling a person of color, as they say, off stage. No doubt CNN would have turned their cameras back on for that after turning them off when Trump called them out for becoming the propaganda arm of the DNC.

Considering the nature of his competition, it’s no wonder that Joe Biden is holding his own in the polls. But the other day, while on the campaign trail, Biden told the audience how happy he was to be in Ohio. Unfortunately, he was in Iowa at the time. Anyone who thinks this 70-something is going to be able to compete in a general election with a 70-something who can come up with “pre-existing physician” on his own is delusional.

Speaking of Biden, why isn’t anyone, so far as I know, asking what the heck Hunter Biden was doing on Air Force Two in the first place. Perhaps a wife, particularly a First Lady, might accompany her husband when he’s engaged in official state business. But a middle-aged son? If he wasn’t up to financial monkey business, why did he tag along to Ukraine and China?

Also, how is it a crime even if Donald Trump actually asked Ukraine to look into Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma, but not a crime when we know for a fact that Vice-President Biden warned them not to pursue an investigation and then bragged about getting them to back off within the six hour deadline he’d given them?

There’s no question that Ukraine is one of the most corrupt spots on the globe, and that the best thing you can say for it is that it’s at odds with Russia. It’s a lot like sticking up for Saudi Arabia because they hate Iran as much as we do.

But, suddenly, Ukraine has captured the interest of the Democrats. They are particularly miffed because President Trump replaced our ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch. Of course, it’s the president’s prerogative to hire and fire ambassadors for any reason or no reason beyond feeling obliged to reward a particularly generous campaign contributor. Inasmuch as Ms. Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee, had not only bad-mouthed Trump, but was alleged to have been promoting George Soros’s interests in that godforsaken country, a better question is why Trump didn’t replace the Deep Stater three years earlier.

Bruce Bass, who has wormed his way into my affections by being the only subscriber who regularly calls out certain lines for special attention, sent along this very perceptive and timely joke about my home state: Q.: What is the difference between California and the Titanic? A: The Titanic had its lights on when it sank.

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