A welcome to readers

As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


At this point, I come down on the side of  Ellsberg, Snowden, and Manning--people who acted on their beliefs and conscience, even if those actions caused them to violate specific orders of the government forbidding that  behavior. Whistleblowers at all levels are rarely popular. We know that they act for a variety of reasons--some less than altruistic, e.g., motivations of revenge or jealousy. I know that I personally have to be careful to discriminate among those differences in motivation as well as the intended and unintended results of actions.

In this current case, as Snowden's and Manning's leaked material continues to become public, we learn that our government has apparently exceeded its Constitutional and legislated powers and violated a number of individual liberties, along with the sovereignty of many nations abroad.

The good that came from Daniel Ellsberg's revelations during the Vietnam catastrophe is still vivid in my memory, as is the disclosure of which public officials, in fact, were betraying the country by covering up, using warrantless wiretaps, actively surveilling private communications, and outright lying about the scope of what they were doing.   Sounds very familiar.

Our Government was caught napping by the September 11 attacks, but its response, understandably --but not acceptably--appears to me to be an over reaction.  The Patriot Act is loaded with good intentions--and I certainly affirm the Government's necessary role in protecting the Nation. However, as we all know, "the devil is in the details" of choosing what methods are going to be employed, and by whom,  in carrying out that obligation to "protect and defend." Ironically, we appear to be being violated and attacked by the very Government that is ostensibly trying to fulfill its obligation to protect and defend us.

Having learned from what went on in the response to the disclosures and brouhaha surrounding the Pentagon Papers years ago, I'm going to be very slow to judge or condemn Snowden,  Manning or the Government out of hand on the evidence I have seen thus far. I do lean in the direction of supporting the whistleblowers again in this case since my critical cynicism has increased with my age.

As I do my pondering, however,  I was pleased to run across Backderf's new political cartoon and Sheer's article which I will use as I work my way through the complexity of the interplay of ethics,  morality and legality in this situation.

The City by John Backderf
The City

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The Good Germans in Governmenhttp://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_good_germans_in_government_20130625/

Posted on Jun 25, 2013

By Robert Scheer

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