The Day After The Snowden Interview

May 29, 2014 by

The Day After The Snowden Interview

Like many Americans, I watched the NBC hourlong show about Brian Williams‘ interview of Edward J. Snowden from last week in Moscow with great intrigue. For almost a year now, we’ve heard him being defined by others (In public relations and political campaigns that’s something you never want to let happen) but last night’s interview basically amounted to this–he handed President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the NSA, White House officials and members of Congress who have tried to characterize him in whatever bad ways they could their asses.

I remember years go listening to Rush Limbaugh and him talking about the shock that Ross Perot had from doing a network interview and thinking it was going to be fair going and coming out on the other side with Perot’s ass being handed to him. Before watching last night, I wondered if the same thing wasn’t about to happen to 30-year-old Snowden.

Remarkably, however, he got almost an hour of prime time to say what he wanted to say, and calmly, collectively, dissecting what’s been said about him and then launching an all out offensive attack on those who have sought to demonize him. And you could tell, what he said affected Brian Williams and the confidence of Snowden in the interview I have no doubt affected how NBC portrayed it last night. In other words, Snowden gave them little opportunity to tear him down with what he said. He was holding court and all the cards.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

John Kerry

I saw the huff and puff interview that Secretary of State Kerry gave about how Kerry should come home and “face the music.”  NBC chief political reporter Chuck Todd said he was “Angry.”  If you think about it, it plays like President Bennett, played by Donald Mofatt in Tom Clancy‘s movie Clear and Present Danger telling Jack Ryan “How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!” Mr. Kerry’s comments almost sounded the same way, same voice, same words. Except to me, if Mr. Kerry is angry, he needs to step up the intensity of it.

The Problem In Deciding Who Is Right

Here’s where I’m presently with all of this.

The government says that Snowden has jeopardized all sorts of assets, systems and people because of what he’s done. Yet Catch 22 says they can’t say exactly what because it’d further compromise national security, but then again, would it?  We just don’t know.  We can’t know.

Snowden says the government can do things like turn your phone on when it’s off and listen to and watch what you’re doing thru the microphone and camera on it. But he hasn’t cited any examples, (at least none have been released) that they’re actually doing that on any regular basis to random citizens. There are accounts where the FBI has done this in drug and conspiracy cases, but that’s different than saying they can do it to anyone. If I own a gun I can shoot someone with it, too. That doesn’t mean that’s what I’m doing with it day in and day out.

Response In Washington

I noticed that The New York Times buried the story about Williams and Snowden way down on their front web page today. CNN is back to MH 370.  The Washington Post has a photo of Snowden and Williams and a story, but it’s not lead. The LA Times is worried about greenhouse omissions. The Dallas Morning News‘ website’s top story today is a column and a story about when a man should pay when going on a date.

So either the White House has launched a highly successful suppression campaign, other networks don’t want to hype what happened on NBC and not their air, or the Snowden story isn’t that important.

And that’s a shame because this is something that has an impact on all of us. And we all know Washington politicians aren’t going to do a darned thing unless their phones start ringing.

Glenn Greenwald

The other thing I was glad about last night is that the focus didn’t get to be about Glenn Greenwald and just his book. Can you imagine how he must feel, ego aside, he flew again all the way to Moscow to be on TV for 20-30 seconds, maybe a minute.  That’s not a great use of time to be running around selling his book….

 

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Zero Dark Thirty Reveals Flavor of the Truth We Will Never Fully Know

Jan 15, 2013 by

Zero Dark Thirty Reveals Flavor of the Truth We Will Never Fully Know

If you’ve not seen the movie Zero Dark Thirty about the decade-long search for Osama Bid Laden I recommend you see it at least once.  Unlike The Hobbit or Argo, I’m not sure I’ll be going back again.  Though the movies rising star and now Golden Globe winner, Jessica Chastain, could tempt me, it’s just not a movie I will find myself wanting to see time and time again.

Jessica Chastain playing "Maya" in Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Chastain playing “Maya” in Zero Dark Thirty

And here’s why; it reminds me too much of the stress I’ve felt ever since seeing the second plane fly into the second tower in New York on 9/11. That was a horrific day and one I shall not forget and watching a movie about going after the guy who allegedly caused it all, while satisfactory in the outcome, just stirs cracks in the wounds I hope that some day will be more healed than they are now, even after 11 years.

Revenge and justice are good things.  Well, as Christians we’d argue the first emotion isn’t such a good thing. Yes, I’m glad we just shot OBL dead instead of letting him live and go through a trial somewhere to give him additional time to stir his troops and generate tremendous additional costs of man power, lives and wasted oxygen on him.

But as fictional character Maya gets on the plane at the end and starts crying, I have to wonder why she’s crying. Because the saga is over and she’s worked so hard to make it happen, or for those who have lost their lives, or because even after traversing the world and chasing after this scumb bag all these years, killing his ass really didn’t bring about the satisfaction she’d hoped for.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we got OBL and the world clearly is a safer place with him dead. But the point of all this is, after seeing a long movie about the process, largely fictional and factual, how much we never will really know, I’m just not in a hurry to go to a theater and sit through it again. If you had to go through the past decade again every day with the knowledge that OBL was still on the loose, would you want to do that?

There also is the wide discussion among the libs that there’s an inference in the movie that waterboarding/torture works and that that led to finding OBL.  How politically incorrect that’s seemed to the left.

And I couldn’t help but having the feeling of what seeing a movie like this is going to do in the minds of OBL followers. Will it enrage them and encourage them to produce new attacks on American soil, American theaters and moviegoers?

And then I have to wonder how much of what was portrayed in the movie was real and what was invented by Hollywood. In that, Zero Dark Thirty reveals a flavor of the truth that ultimately we will never fully know.

Yes, I do encourage you to go see the movie. It is good cinema. Yes, I’m glad OBL is dead. Do we have closure now?

 

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My Thanksgiving Wishes

Nov 20, 2012 by

My Thanksgiving Wishes

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?  

“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

You may recognize those lines from Clarence Oddbody in It’s A Wonderful Life. I add them to the post today to say thank you to each and everyone of you for your years of friendship, trust and amazing memories.

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

Some of you I’m closer to than others, but understand, equally, we’re all as important as the other to the whole.

Thanksgiving Wishes

If you’re hurting this holiday season from the trials of life, whether they be financial, marital, physical, mental, or those caused by the actions of others, please know I’m praying for you and hoping you shall soon enjoy better, happier days.

If the strain of the holidays gets to be too much, please ask someone for help instead of keeping it bottled up inside. Counselors are ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Many have sliding scales for those who can’t afford full-priced help, but desperately need it.

A local minister can be of help, too.

And ultimately, there’s the gift of prayer.

Believe me, I have been weathering some awful storms in my life the past few years. Many of those hard times have been chronicled here. Others are kept locked in the painful chambers of my heart.  Time has done marvels in healing me. God has done much to heal me.  I have taken my own steps.  But ultimately, I have been largely healed by the support of some amazing friends who didn’t judge, who didn’t mock me, and who were there when I needed them.

The purpose of this post isn’t to name them. It’s to thank them in a special tribute this pre-Thanksgiving Eve.  God bless you my many friends.  And thank you.

 

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My Lincoln Movie Review–Worthy of praise. Not for the ’47 percent’

Nov 16, 2012 by

My Lincoln Movie Review

I just returned from the movie theater and feel obliged to share a few words about the Stephen Spielberg‘s Lincoln, of which I just spent the past 2.5 hours watching, enjoying and now sharing that it is indeed, worthy of praise.

Lincoln Movie Review

My Lincoln Movie Review–Worthy of Praise, will be lost on the “47 percent.”

Lincoln long has been one of my favorite presidents. Never will the barber my mom used to take us to on Route 51 in Hobart, IN, circa 1970 likely ever forget, nor shall my mother, the moment I asked if he could fashion my hair in such a way as to make the part go in the other direction so it would mirror that of our nation’s 16th president. (I was five at the time.)

In the 1990s, Gov. Fob James of Alabama, whom I had the privilege of working with, was a student of Lincoln and his ways.  Gov. James even used the theme of “A New Birth Of Freedom” from the Gettysburg Address, as the theme for his 1994 inaugural.

I say all that to suggest I know a little about Mr. Lincoln.

Lincoln–The Movie

Or so I thought until I saw him personified in this movie.

We never shall know how Mr. Lincoln’s voice truly sounded, but after seeing this movie, I should like for it to never have sounded any different than that of Daniel Day-Lewis‘. And to the credit of Spielberg, this isn’t one of those movies of the Civil War era where Hollywood theatrics have damaged the flow of the film with bad ridiculous Southern enunciation, and obviously glued on beards and such as that awful Gettysburg film Turner Productions did back in the 1990s.

No, this is the real deal.

Day-Lewis brings Lincoln back to life in a way that probably hasn’t been done since he walked this earth among our forefathers.  From the iconic hat where it is suggested Lincoln kept notes for speeches, to the tall stature, to the stoic poses and even sleeping in his chair while considering a message to telegraph to Gen. U.S. Grant, you feel like you’re getting to know the depth and weight of the troubles this president knew as he worked so hard to hold this nation together.

From the moment this film begins, you feel like you are in DC in the midst of Lincoln’s second term.

Sally Field plays Mary Lincoln so very well. She looks like every photo I’ve ever seen of her.  There’s one scene where she and Tommy Lee Jones go back and forth where I began to wonder what it was about, but it was to help add some strength to the story of the role this First Lady played in our nation’s history as well.

Jared Harris from Mad Men fame leaves me thinking I am watching Gen. Grant as he meets with the president, and as he bids farewell to Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

The lighting, costuming, and mood are all right.

Go See This Film

  • If you’re a history buff.
  • If you want to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the spirit of what this nation was intended to be, and seems to have drifted so far afoul from.
  • If you want a taste for lobbying in the 1860s to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, around which most of the plot of the movie centers.
  • If you want to have a taste for what this country once endured so that we might all be here to celebrate it today.

This film isn’t going to keep up with Twilight Breaking Dawn, or the new Bond movie at the box office. No, those are films for the “47 percent.” This is a film for those who have a more mature understanding of what the American Dream once was; something worth fighting for, something worth risking everything to save it all. Teens won’t sit through this movie, and most likely, your date won’t either.  This is a movie where you need to take your brain, your love for America, and be proud to walk out of the theater at the end celebrating a the new birth of freedom we all were given because of a president like Abe Lincoln.

 

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Argo See This Movie!

Oct 19, 2012 by

No spoilers here, but you need to go see the movie Argo starring and directed by Ben Affleck.  Like at the next showing. It’s that good.

It was so cool to watch Ben Affleck walking into CIA headquarters at Langley again after his days there in the 2002 The Sum of All Fears.  This time, not as Jack Ryan, a fictitious field operative, but as Tony Mendez, the real deal.

A scene from the movie Argo.

The movie isn’t too long, nor too short. The characters, as you will see at the end of the film, really looked like the real-life people who endured the drama of being six Americans who were in Tehran when the Embassy was taken over and the Iranians didn’t know about.  Those were hard days we all endured at the end of the anemic days of the Carter Administration when there were yellow ribbons tied around everything.

Essentially, there were six people who got out that the Iranians didn’t find out about until it was almost too late. Where they hid out, if they made it out, and how, all are worth you going to explore on your own.

Some people got up and walked out during the credits. Don’t do that. That’s when you’ll see how good a job was done in casting. Of course, you’ll also notice, as the two African American ladies did behind me when they said, Mendez was Hispanic, that Ben Affleck, isn’t.  Supposedly he’s been criticized for that, but hey, this is Hollywood.

From the start of the movie, it FEELS like the late 1970s.  The clothing, even the incredibly ugly green wallpaper in the Canadian Ambassador’s home all feel like life did back in the day.

I predict this movie is going to win some good awards in Hollywood, but more importantly, it’s going to make you feel proud you’re an American again, because you’re going to see a story that likely would never have been told had it not been declassified during the Clinton years. But in a time when we all felt that America had been knocked down during the Carter years, it was good to see that we were able to still do something right.

I did find myself sneering a little bit as at the very end, former President Carter comes in during a voice over and talks about how we were able to peacefully get all of the other US hostages home safely.

As I recall the day that happened, Ronald Reagan got sworn in as president and the Iranians knew they’d better not mess with him and so the hostages came home.

And so, as someone who has seen the movie, I see the word Argo now, and I hear two other words along with it.  For now, I’ll just say, Argo see this movie….

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My night after The Grammy’s observations

Feb 13, 2012 by

I just got to watch  last night’s Grammy’s, and did it largely on fast forward.  But here are my thoughts:

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Musician Glen ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

1) Katie Perry now is a Smurf. That also, at long last, explains her voice.

2) My eldest says no one likes Adele. Not sure that’s accurate, but I think I get where she’s coming from. She does, however, remind me of Moma Cass.

3) Lady Gaga is just weird. The novelty has worn off, honey.

4) The two girls texting during the standing O for Glenn Campbell, one said she was tweeting about how great he did. Glenn Campbell on a farewell tour just makes me sad.  He’s had his demons to deal with but Alzheimer’s we need to find a cure for.

5) Tony Bennett and that girl from OK, Underwood, great song.

6) There’s a lot more to Lady Antebellum than there was last year.

7) I missed seeing Justin Beiber sitting on the edge of his seat actually thinking he might win an award and then the surprise look on his face when Gaga did.   She replaced him this year in that category.

8) Sir Paul singing with Glenn Campbell from the audience was cool. How great an honor would that be to have Paul McCartney in the stands singing with you as you sing from the stage?

9) Disney thinks lawsuit over the Foo Fighter lighted Mickey Mouse-head thing. What the hell was that?

10) The End by Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, et al was the coolest ending of any show that ever will be televised ever.  And it’s cool Paul has a wife this time around who knows lyrics.  Who knows anything, actually.  Well done, sir.

–I was waiting for Paul to sing Her Majesty as the Grammy credits rolled… Oh well.

Until the last 10 minutes, this show was not near what it was last year.  But that last bit with Paul, well, was there a show last year?

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