2013 Awards: Ed’s Daily Notes for New Year’s Eve   13 comments

The news is light this morning, so I decided to offer my final awards post for 2013.

Snowden(hat tip to NPR for the pic)

PERSON OF THE YEAR: Edward Snowden. Too often, we get caught up in the argument of whether Snowden was a traitor to the U.S. or not. The better question is: Is the NSA too powerful? My answer is yes, since it clearly violates the Constitution’s 4th Amendment. But even if there were no 4th Amendment, I would still say yes, because the kind of metadata which the NSA has been collecting is far too dangerous to have in one place, under one government. Even former East German citizen and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on the money when she compared the NSA to the old Stasi.

But all the questions surrounding the NSA wouldn’t be getting asked, if not for Snowden. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of what freedom truly means. Snowden gave us that wake-up call, and for that, he is my person of the year.


MOVIE OF THE YEAR: Gravity. It is rare in these days to see a deep science fiction film, even though that is the main purpose of science fiction: To reflect on the human condition. Gravity was that rare gem. I can even forgive some of the liberties the film took with where certain space stations were orbiting, because it fulfilled the main purpose of science fiction. Extra kudos for Sandra Bullock, who pulled off a very challenging role. In addition, I would call her my actor/actress of the year.


SCREW-UP OF THE YEAR: Obamacare. This is one of those awards that names itself. Even if Obamacare gets fixed in the next year, and I have strong doubts, the roll-out has been an unmitigated disaster, which even the most partisan of Democrats can’t deny. Take your pick from this smorgasbord of flaws: The website (both the functionality and the security), the cancelled policies that weren’t supposed to be cancelled, the large numbers of people added to Medicaid (at a time when the U.S. government can’t afford it), and the selective enforcement of Obamacare regulations (individual mandate is still on, but the business mandate is delayed a year). And those are just the obvious problems!


Posted December 31, 2013 by edmcgon in Editorial/opinion, Movies, News, Politics

13 responses to “2013 Awards: Ed’s Daily Notes for New Year’s Eve

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  1. I agree with you on all three. Especially Snowden…Good post!!!

  2. I completely agree with you on Snowden. He took huge personal risk to protect our nations freedoms. FYI, there is a very good article in the Daily Beast discussing how Obama might institute significant curbs on our Intelligence services.

  3. Good morning Ed,

    “Courage is found in unlikely places”. J.R.R. Tolkien

    Good post on Snowden! Unfortunately, the powers-that-be and their sycophants will never agree and will always label Snowden as a traitor.

    Best wishes for a Blessed New Year to all!

  4. Snowden didn’t betray the people of America, he betrayed their rulers.

  5. Personally I have a really hard time to pinning down how I feel about Snowden, but I would definitely say he is a traitor.

    But on the other hand you have to remember that the founding fathers were traitors too.

    Snowden has said that he purposely joined the company he worked for to get an inside track to the NSA so that he could do what he did.
    You have to remember something. He gave his solemn oath to obey the rules and keep the information he was entrusted with secret.
    He broke that oath and then some, He in fact breached firewalls and used other people’s logins to get at information he shouldn’t have access to.

    So maybe you can argue that he his goals were “honorable”, but clearly his personal actions were not.

  6. In Robb’s defense, I know plenty of good and rational people (outside of government) who consider Snowden a traitor, and they have some valid arguments for their case.

    My point is that what he gave the American people was knowledge that we wouldn’t have had without his actions. For that, I am personally grateful to him.

    • I personally have a problem with my thoughts on Snowden as ChrisO and Ed have also noted above.

      Do I believe he is a traitor — without a doubt. He has warned our enemies as to how we follow their moves and stopping them for harming others and ourselves and occasionally arresting them or killing them on the global battle field.

      Do I believe he did good for the American people by allowing us to know how the government is spying and a large portion of this spying is on our own citizens — YES! (I am of the opinion the government shouldn’t spy indiscriminately on its own citizens for the simple reason none of us know how this information will be used against us. I believe we have way too many laws and bureaucratic regulations with prison time that may be used by the government against any one who does not toe the current political line. I have little regard for the IRS employees who target conservative groups or Snowden who targeted his own country as a whole.)

      Do I believe Snowden should be imprisoned if he returns to the U.S. — Yes and not for months but long years.

      Have I written that the NSA (and others) have stepped over the line — Yes. And some of the reasons I have written about the over stepping of the NSA is because Snowedn, as a traitor to the country, notified the world and me of the illegality or at the very least morally corrupt stance our own government has taken against us.

  7. “All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche

    “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”. Marcus Aurelius

    Traitor : “a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy.”

    Whistleblower: “a person who tells police, reporters, etc., about something (such as a crime) that has been kept secret.”

  8. Would a Nazi officer who told the world of Germany’s upcoming plans for concentration camps been a hero or a traitor? I guess that depends upon the lens you’re looking through… The Nazi’s did what they did in defense of their homeland. We the world would view that defense as misguided and evil. They would view it as necessary. You may legitimately say that the comparison is apples and oranges. I would say that I have inalienable rights to privacy except for instances where a court of law has reviewed and approved of such invasions of my privacy. Arguments such as “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” are invalid. I do not have to defend them as that is the nature of rights vs privileges. If someone exposes the governments illegal usurpation of my rights (they have not obtained proper warrant through legal channels available to them), that person is a hero to me and a traitor to the usurper. I don’t see how Snowden is a traitor for exposing a crime. Seems to me that we should teach people to speak up, not shut up. Maybe the world would be a better place if we could all just tell the truth without fear.

  9. “The Nazi’s did what they did in defense of their homeland.”

    That is an interesting perspective indeed. They did many things. Which in particular was in defense of their homeland? Invading Poland? Gassing 6 million Jews? Sterilizing men and women deemed inferior?

    There are many things that are morally and legally wrong and indefensible. Not sure if what Snowden did counts as morally wrong or indefensible, but it clearly was illegal and materially different than “what the Nazis did.”

    • To quote Curious George:
      “All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche

      What do I read today? Boy Scouts finally allow gay children (with 40% against), but not the elder. And also many are protesting against gay marriage. As a European this is as outrageous to me as the Nazi’s are to you (and me). Should our version of the Boy Scouts only say something like in public there would be a big reaction from the public – gay people are considered equal here by 95%. Gay marriage is allowed in almost every Western country. All depends on your view.

      To understand the Nazi’s, one should study the interbellum period, and also the late 19th century with the wars between Germany and France. In the wars between Germany and France, Germany got humiliated more then once – not only by force. In 1916 Germany wanted to end WW1, but then a group of Jews said to France and England “Don’t stop the war, we will get help from the USA and you will win” – which happened. On 11/11/1918, Germany got more then humiliated with the “peace-treaty” (to me, this treaty is the start of WW2). The Jews were not popular in Germany because of this. Also in other countries anti-semitism grew because the made profit of the Great Depression.
      With the rise of Hitler, the Zionists grew too. They grew hand in hand. Zionist wanted to start Israel, and the anti-semitism in Europe was their perfect excuse. The Zionists even declared war to Hitler before Hitler declared war on them (although he didn’t make in comfortable for them). The Zionist got what they wanted in the end – Israel.
      For the Nazi’s, Jews were filth (just like his uncle was to Kim-Jong Un). I do believe the Nazi’s did what they really though was right. They did is for the sake of their country – even more: the did it for the sake of the human race. They even had their own bible.
      All of our judgments are colored by our own history and values.

      One should study history objectively (which is not easy) to understand how societies work. Human beings see their own thoughts as superior to others’. Western Europe dreams of a multi-cultural society, where Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Agnosts and others can live peacefully together. You should come here and question yourself whether this is working. To me it is working superficially, but fundamentally other forces are working – Muslims are gaining strenght and natives feel being threathened by this. It also gives many people the feeling they can do whatever they want. History tells me that different groups of people living together almost always gives problems (except for Libanon for many centuries).

      • Just to be sure: I do not share the world-view of the Nazi’s at all. But I’m quite sure they were convinced they did what they thought was good – a new start for the human race. Many of the top-nazi’s killed themself in the first place because they didn’t want to live in a non-Nazi-world.

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