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in response to someone who was insisting that violating one's oath - or what in my case would be an affirmation - is pretty much unacceptable under any circumstance.

I am not going to promote this post.

But I want to offer what I wrote in return, below the fold.

As I have engage in dialog over Snowden and related matters, my own thinking is becoming ever more clear.

It is not yet finished.

Perhaps what I offer below the squiggle is of some value to someone, and since the diary on which it was originally posted has long-since scrolled from view, I post it now in case it may be of interest to anyone.

Peace.

people have a visceral reaction to the government lying to them and it causing deaths

someone who has given an affirmation and finds out the government is lying to the American people and that is causing death and destruction and by your rationale that person cannot say anything.

Sorry, I do not buy it.

I stand with Jefferson, who wrote

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness
If the only way for the American people to know that  the the Government is becoming "destructive of these ends" is to walk away from an affirmation of support, then more power to the person who does so.

THE government is supposed to be answerable to the people.

Those temporarily occupying positions of power granted them directly or indirectly by We the People do not have the right to deny us the information we need to hold them to account.

To grant any government that kind of unchecked authority is to acquiesce to tyranny.

Jefferson also cautions

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
He then makes clear that the founding fathers of which he is an important member found themselves at that point with the Crown in 1776.

The American people by and large have wanted to believe in the government.  Those that vote for a certain administration want to believe they did the right thing.

Those who abuse power count on that.

They do not want the press to challenge them.

They do not want sources of power or authority they cannot control.

In such a situation one may well find oneself where Jefferson did:  

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
We have now had an ever increasing series of those with access raise alarms of various sorts.

I think that is worthy of attention.

Sometimes the moral thing to do is to break the law, deliberately.

Sometimes the only moral course is to walk away from a prior commitment given without information or knowledge that radically changes the circumstances.

We allow people to divorce one another for a variety of reasons.  That commitment is to my mind of far greater significance than what Snowden walked away from.

And I know far too much detailed history of the abuses of the national security apparatus to immediately accept its framing of anything.

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Comment Preferences

  •  first (7+ / 0-)

    they need to say whose oath is being broken. If they're referring to Snowden, that doesn't apply, as he's neither in the military nor a government official. He was working for a private company, and clearances don't involve anything but paperwork.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:39:38 PM PDT

    •  paperwork includes non-disclosure agreement (6+ / 0-)

      which is supposed to be legally binding, and thus functions as the equivalent of an oath, at least, that's the argument

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:41:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, if you want to get technical, he was (0+ / 0-)

      in the Army, at which point, he took an oath. Every Veteran I know states that the oath did not end just because they retired or left the military.

      So there's that.

      I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

      by second gen on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:19:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oath (6+ / 0-)

        The wording of the current oath:
        "I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).U. S. Army Center of Military History
        Defending the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, is first. You could claim that's what he was doing. I think I would.

      •  Look, speaking as a vet, I'd say the oath (7+ / 0-)

        I took was specific to my term of service. Otherwise, they wouldn't require one to take it again upon reenlistment.

        Furthermore, a key part of that oath is

        I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
        If I ran across my old CO on the street and he gave me an order, I'd tell him to go fuck himself.

        The idea that the oath you took in the military binds you for life is bullshit. Please stop spreading that meme.

        WTFWJD? LOTE? I sincerely doubt that.

        by WisePiper on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:38:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  WisePiper - you are clearly right on this point (0+ / 0-)

          A military oath ends upon discharge. It may carry through even the inactive reserves, but once your term is completed the oath is not longer in effect.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:20:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, allenjo, lotlizard

      Is the person referenced the one who took this oath?

      I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
      Or the 535 currently bound by this oath?
      do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
      I guess keeping oaths is only for the little people.  Like the laws.  When will Clapper be impeached for lying to Congress, for instance?

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:11:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the position is impeachable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        because it is confirmed by the Senate

        since he is neither a member of Congress (House or Senate) he lacks their immunity from prosecution while Congress is in session, and it is not yet a matter of established law that the President cannot be prosecuted while in office -  Leon Jaworski argued to the grand juror that they could not indict Nixon as a sitting President, which is what they wanted to do, but as far as I know that issue has never been decided by any federal court.  The grand jury did name Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:12:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post! Dodd-Frank is a great example... (11+ / 0-)

    ...with regard to the lip service we see playing out in D.C. as it concerns ineffectively addressing deep-rooted problems within our society that are now rearing their ugly heads. (Actually, I would argue that Dodd-Frank's made matters far worse.)

    As a result of many years of Dodd-Frank kabuki, what do we have? Greater income inequality. TBTF banks far more powerful now than they were even three or four years ago. Joblessness which I believe Krugman described quite well, just yesterday in: "The Big Shrug."

    So, now these same folks want to "address" the power of the military-industrial/intelligence state, too?

    Personally, I think it's the "definition of insanity," which is: "Repeating the same action and expecting a different result."

    It will take a generation to undo the damage Wall Street has done to Main Street, if that ever happens.

    As neoliberal economist Jeffrey Sachs recently noted: Our country is ruled by corporate gangs: Big Ag/Big Food, Big Energy, Wall Street, Big Pharma, and the Military Industrial/Intelligence Complex.

    THEY OWN OUR GOVERNMENT.

    If we're going to EFFECTIVELY solve anything, we better start with this last problem, first and foremost. Because relying upon our failed, two-party political system to solve these MASSIVE issues, and others such as properly addressing climate change, sure as hell is NOT going to solve a damn thing. It will only make matters worse.

    We've already learned this, BIGTIME. For anyone to posit otherwise is just pure, unadulterated, status quo bullsh*t.

       

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:49:17 PM PDT

    •  For crying out loud bob, what does Dodd-Frank (0+ / 0-)
      As a result of many years of Dodd-Frank kabuki, what do we have? Greater income inequality.
      have to do with income inequality?

      Dodd-Frank merely re-regulated the banks.  Of course it did not immediately break them up (which is why you disparage it) but many of us wanted new regulations like higher capital requirements and a bank liquidation mechanism in that bill.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:57:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For you to even ask that question is laughable... (7+ / 0-)

        ...because even Elizabeth Warren recently noted we're still subsidizing Wall Street to the tune--EASILY--of $83 billion per year. I would argue, by the time one looks at corporate taxation and capital gains (being as low as it is), it's much more than that.

        Dodd-Frank is a joke. Some of the best kabuki, "evuh," but a sick joke played upon Main Street, nonetheless.

        Taxpayers are backstopping the derivatives industry more nowso than ever.

        Shrike, this is the part where you continue on with the propaganda and tell us how profitable it was for taxpayers to bailout Wall Street, and how much money we made on AIG and Maiden Lane, right?

        (Warren also discussed this, too, where she noted they're receiving, literally, scores of billions in special tax incentives, all at the expense of U.S. taxpayers, perhaps for as long as our children are alive.)

        Queue propaganda....
        (...and, it would be nice if you acknowledged your professional affiliations and bias before your continue on with your inherently deceptive posturing, so at least there would be some honesty here; and, this was publicly acknowledged by this Kossack, once before within the community, and that IS quite pertinent to the ethical decency of so-called "reasoned discourse" here, I might add.)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:06:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are no direct subsidies at all. (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, they get lower PRIVATE bond rates from PRIVATE investors due to Bush's rush to TARP loans - an implied backstop.

          That $83 billion is fiction in terms of taxpayer funds.

          And yes, I did work in the financial consulting industry - never have denied it.

          "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

          by shrike on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Spoken like a pro: No "DIRECT" subsidies, at all.. (3+ / 0-)

            ...I rest my case.

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:16:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tax incentives which equal scores of billions... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, lostinamerica, allenjo

              ...per year--money which could be going to support education, jobs, climate change initiatives--are doing, and have done, as much to CRIPPLE our society as anything (other than, perhaps, the tremendous costs for healthcare and support of our MIC and our needless wars over the past decade-plus) else in our society. And, that's about as BASIC as it gets.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:19:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Taxpayers don't contribute a dime of subsidy (0+ / 0-)

              money.  Not a dime.

              "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

              by shrike on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:20:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then back up what you said with factual data. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica, allenjo

                I've been reading Neil Barofsky's book and I don't think you are at all accurate in what you're saying here.  In any case, you frequently just make flat statements, and you need to be aware that that's not good enough.  You could stop the time you waste going back and forth if you would just back up what you're saying with fact.  Your opinion in and of itself doesn't mean a thing without the data to back it up.  I'd think you wouldn't need to be told this.

                "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

                by 3goldens on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:28:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There are no direct subsidies. How can I cite (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  anna shane

                  something that does not exist?

                  "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

                  by shrike on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:11:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There must be articles that source (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    allenjo

                    to what bobswern is talking about and that you are denying.  If you're too unwilling to do the research, that's a different matter.

                    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

                    by 3goldens on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:36:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's nearly impossible to prove a negative (0+ / 0-)

                      If I say "dragons don't exist" and you say "dragons do exist," you're making the positive claim of the existence of dragons. The burden of proof is on you. Not me. It's not my job to prove your crazy theory is wrong.

                      It's very hard to prove a negative. If you have evidence to prove you're right, let's see it.

                      Another example. Let's say someone says UFOs are visiting Earth and brainwashing people to vote Republican and eat Wheaties. So I then say, "I don't believe that." Then the other person says, "Prove it! Prove to me that UFOs are not visiting earth and making people eat Wheaties." No. The other person made the claim. It's not my job to prove that a crazy theory is crazy.

                      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

                      by Dbug on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:56:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Please explain: "Spoken like a pro" (0+ / 0-)

              almost sounds like an accusation of shilling. I'm sure that's not at all what you meant, so I thought I'd ask you to clarify.

              I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

              by second gen on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:21:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  by the way - What does Dodd-Frank have to do (0+ / 0-)

          with income inequality?

          Why do you write such nonsense?

          "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

          by shrike on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:17:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I imagine everyone in the NSA payroll must... (10+ / 0-)

    ...swear to defend the Constitution.  Even the Peace Corps does.  But a contractor? I don't think.

    Anyway, Snowden is protecting the Constitution more than anyone at the NSA IMO.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:49:21 PM PDT

  •  Seems simple to me. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, jgilhousen, blueoasis

    i give you my oath to stand by you.

    Then I find out you are causing great harm behind my back.

    That oath I gave you? Consider it Cancelled!

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:01:16 PM PDT

  •  I'll Point Out Once More That Some of Our Founders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, blueoasis, lotlizard

    and political writers of that era did not show the courage of revealing their names for some of their words or actions.

    Certainly nobody who dumped tea into Boston Harbor did, ever.

    Granted this fellow is out of our territory but he correctly understands that that is far less protection for him than it would've been for one of our founders.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:01:52 PM PDT

  •  As one living under vows... (7+ / 0-)

    including the "biggie" -- Obedience -- I have often and long (and at times agonizingly) considered the moral obligations attached to oath taking.  But even for the most solemn of pledges, the law (in my case, Canon law) makes provision for (albeit rare) exceptions.  Not only is obedience to an unlawful order nullified, but in many cases disobedience is not only permitted, but required.  Consider, if you will, the so-called "good soldier" defense at Nuremberg.

    Granted, the NSA programs at issue were afforded at least the color of authority by Congressional approbation through the Patriot Act and other Federal statutes.  The constitutionality of those statutes, however, and thus their actual legality, is at least suspect, and given the secrecy and lack of recourse written into them, constitutional adjudication is greatly impeded if not made impossible.

    I'm not ready to declare "tyranny."  Nor do I have enough facts yet to judge Snowden either a traitor or a hero.  I think there is sufficient evidence of the government's having exceeded its authority to allow him to entertain in good faith the notion that his obligation under any secrecy oath had been made void.

  •  Thank You (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

        I know right now I'm going through some major changes with this infringement of my right to privacy. This shredding of the Constitution.
        I am NOW TIRED of WAR. TOTALLY!
        I now DO NOT WANT TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR to bring OUR TROOPS HOME.
    **** I'm in the MOOD to PROTEST! *****

    March AGAINST monsatanOagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:30:25 PM PDT

    •  Yes. I would say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, allenjo

      that the real oath-breakers are those who are shredding the Constitution.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:38:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politik, lotlizard

    is not why I'm in here; the question is why are you out there.

    Loose version of Thoreau's justification of his civil disobedience.

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:34:35 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing your thoughts, tk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, lotlizard

    on the taking of oaths and when it's an act of courage and appropriately moral to violate an oath.  I appreciate your referencing the words of Jefferson----it is helpful to revisit where some of our most precious principles come from.  

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:36:08 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Ken - good thoughts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen

    I still have more questions than answers on almost everything related to this issue - partly because truly getting it requires more info than is available to me right now and more time than I have to digest it.  I'm not yet ready to condemn or applaud anyone right now.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:38:06 PM PDT

  •  From someone who was wiretapped and jailed - (4+ / 0-)

    This is offered as historical nourishment for thought.

    "I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest."
    - Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography
  •  I have avoided commenting on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, lotlizard

    issue.  We don't know enough yet to make any clear and correct decisions about it.

    I was not surprised about the data collection in any way.  I railed against the Patriot Act from the beginning and was very disappointed that our elected officials voted to reinstate it.  


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:01:58 PM PDT

  •  Funny how some people just don't accept a sell out (0+ / 0-)

    for personal gain, Manning and Snowden have made their statement, now we must demand change from the nambypamby people who legislate, judge and order.

  •  An oath is given on the assumption that the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, Dbug, lotlizard

    party or thing that the oath is given to or about is what you think it is.
    Is what it represents itself to be.

    If the entity to which or about which you have given your oath actually does not exist, as in, has misrepresented itself, then there really is no oath.

    Put another way an oath has two halves, the oath you give and the tacit oath/trust that the other party gives that they are what they represent themselves to be at the time you gave your oath.

    If they break their oath/trust then your oath is no longer in effect because the entity you gave your oath to actually does not exist.

    It also matters what the wording and intent of the actual oath is.  If one pledges an oath to the USA, or the US government, or the Constitution or even the flag that is one thing.

    If the oath is specifically to say the NSA, or the Marines, or to Grover Norquist's ideology it effectively enslaves the oath taker to that entity regardless of its acts legal or not, moral or not.

    If that is the way the oaths are worded then that needs to be changed along with just about everything else relating to domestic spying.

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