Thanks to the information released by Edward Snowden via The Guardian and the Washington Post, the world is now talking about super-secret surveillance that’s been going on for decades.  Although the corporate media and the government would probably rather have you focus on Snowden and, to a lesser extent, Glenn Greenwald, the story is in the information that he risked his life and livelihood to expose.  Don’t be distracted.

Thankfully, many of us aren’t falling for the ruse.

On the 4th of July, a number of organizations joined forces to promote a day of rallies around the nation to Restore the Fourth (amendment, that is).

If you must be sidetracked, consider the words of the nation’s most respected whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who would be facing a different world if he had attempted to leak the Pentagon Papers in 2013 America.  He wrote about Snowden and his situation in an op-ed for the Washington Post yesterday.

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era — and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment — but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to “incapacitate me totally”).

I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.

But Snowden’s contribution to the noble cause of restoring the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution is in his documents. It depends in no way on his reputation or estimates of his character or motives — still less, on his presence in a courtroom arguing the current charges, or his living the rest of his life in prison. Nothing worthwhile would be served, in my opinion, by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law.

I hope that he finds a haven, as safe as possible from kidnapping or assassination by U.S. Special Operations forces, preferably where he can speak freely.

What he has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.

Those are just excerpts.  I encourage you to read the whole piece here.  Then, you’ll want to check out Robert Kuttner’s latest piece for HuffPost: “Hero or Villain?

But I encourage you not to focus on the messengers; instead, think about the message.  And the Fourth Amendment, which has been gutted – as has much of the Bill of Rights.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Tim Karr of joined me this morning to discuss all of it, including his latest piece for Huffington Post: “Obama: Like Nixon, but Worse”.  Definitely worth a read… And then, please head over to and sign on the the letter to Congress.

After the news from Victoria Jones at TRNS (read her news notes here), it was time to find out what we missed by not watching the Sunday talking head shows.  We leave that to the folks at Crooks & Liars, and get the highlights (lowlights?) from Nicole Belle each Monday morning with “Fools on the Hill”

My ten year old daughter just recently got interested in magic and begged me to get her a magic kit of tricks for her to learn.

Unfortunately, the trick was on her when she realized that magic wasn’t really magic at all, but slight of hand to fool the viewer. You distract your audience with your right hand while grabbing the coin from a pocket with your left.

In a way, I think Republicans are doing the exact same thing with the American people. They distract them with a slight of hand, but the truth is that nothing they offer is really magic—or real.

Like Rick Perry, who told John Roberts of Fox News that he wasn’t demeaning Wendy Davis when bringing up the fact that she was a single mom. He was complimenting her. No, really.

David Brooks, who has never passed up a chance to criticize Democrats for everything wrong in the world, took a rare spin on the “Blame Republican” wagon, calling their case against the Senate immigration bill “intellectually weak”.

But Brooks was back on more comfortable grounds, justifying the Republicans’ obstruction of Obamacare because the legislation is nothing more than a “Rube Goldberg” device. Interestingly, the same exact description was used by George Will, which confirms that the highest paid, top conservative thinkers don’t actually think, but
merely regurgitate some pre-approved talking points.

Tucker Carlson, who is seriously vying for being the dumbest man on television, thinks that the reason we still have such high long-term joblessness is because our college loan rates are too low. Baby Jesus wept.

And if it’s Sunday, the chance of seeing John McCain on one of the news shows is near certainty. In this case, the man who thought Sarah Palin was the most qualified person to be a heartbeat from the White House thinks that what we’re seeing in Egypt is the result of failed American leadership.

And if we have time, Liz Trotta insisted on Fox News that the contraception mandate of the ACA is “rooted in paganism”. I really don’t know why anyone should give this woman airtime or column inches with this kind of thinking.