Snowden Flees Hong Kong, in Moscow

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, having been charged with espionage by the U. S., has left Hong Kong for Moscow with the help of WikiLeaks.  Moscow apparently is a stopover on the way to his next destination.  Some reports say he is going to Ecuador, others say Venezuela via Cuba, while Iceland is also still in the mix.

He faces 30 years in prison (and perhaps more, if counts are added to the existing indictment) if he is extradicted back to the U. S.  He does not face the death penalty.

Perhaps we could offer Putin championship rings from the NBA, NHL, and MLB in exchange for Snowden.

Ecuador has confirmed a request for asylum.

Who Is This Guy?

So Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, who probably wouldn’t agree that today is Monday, are both calling Edward Snowden a hero, while Donald Trump says he’s a bad guy.

Over at the White House petition site, tens of thousands have signed a petition asking that Snowden be given a full pardon.  But only five of the 41 slides in the PRISM PowerPoint Snowden wanted released have been made public.  Would these people feel the same way if they saw the rest of the slides?  Apparently neither the Washington Post nor the Guardian believed that publishing those slides was a wise thing to do.

Just as it’s impossible to figure out the merits of our current surveillance programs without more information, I feel the same about judging Snowden.  I know I don’t feel comfortable signing that White House petition, but I wouldn’t sign one calling him a traitor either.

A couple of things jump out at me.  First, that he went to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong may be China with benefits, but it’s still, you know, China.  Second, that he didn’t finish high school.  Look, if you want to drop out of Harvard and start a company, go for it.  I just feel bad for the poor schmuck on the waiting list who would have appreciated your slot.  But finishing high school is kind of a minimum attainment in our society.  Even if you’re some brilliant computer geek, you sit there and get your credits and finish.  That unwillingness to finish high school tells me he sees himself as different, as superior, as not subject to the same rules as the rest of us.  Perhaps someone who should not have had a security clearance in the first place.   Working in anti-terrorism requires creativity, but it also requires a degree of conformity that Snowden clearly lacks.

Hey Mitt, the Election’s Over

Mitt’s top strategist, Stuart Stevens (whom many blame for Mitt’s disastrous campaign and loss, but really there’s so much blame to go around) is kind of like those Japanese soldiers who fought on in the Pacific long after WWII was over.  But at least they had the excuse of not knowing the Allies had won.

Stevens is still fighting over Pinocchios, specifically the four that Mitt got from WaPo‘s fact checker Glenn Kessler for his ad claiming that Chrysler was moving American Jeep jobs to China.

In response to Stevens’ request for fewer wooden puppets, Kessler is sticking with his original four, the most you can receive.

Maybe Stevens would have done better last November if he’d focused more on his own wooden boy and less on Kessler’s.

Quote of the Day

“I know Romney doesn’t believe a word he’s saying on foreign policy and that it’s all aimed at ginning up votes:  there’s some China-bashing to help in the Midwest, some Arab-bashing to win over the Jews, some Russia-bashing (‘our No. 1 geopolitical foe’) to bring in the Polish vote, plus a dash of testosterone to keep the neocons off his back.”

Thomas L. Friedman, “It’s Mitt’s World,” NYT