Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's Been Overlooked About Oswald for the Last 50 Years.

No crime in history has undergone the scrutiny of the Kennedy assassination. And no assassin, accused assassin or would be assassin ( depending on your point of view) has undergone more scrutiny than Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet for all the books written, all the studies done,all the articles written, all the forensic experiments and re-enactments created to help find the truth,  there are two glaring facts about Oswald and the assassination that has never before been mentioned much less undergone the same kind of scrutiny.

The original conclusion of the Warren Report, as everyone knows,  was that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, as a lone nut assassin, killed president John F. Kennedy. But something doesn't fit, something that doesn't necessarily point to innocence, but it does debunk the idea of Oswald as a "lone nut assassin".

History is littered with lone nut assassins. It's never been a one of a kind occurrence. Going back to John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin, Charles Guiteau the assassin of president James Garfield in 1881, the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, the  assassination of Ghandi,  attempted assassinations of  FDR, Pope John, two attempts on Gerald Ford by Squeaky From and Sarah Jane Moore, president Reagan by John Hinkley, John Lennon by John David Chapman,  Robert Kennedy by Sirhan, George Wallace by Arthur Bremer,  all of them were considered "lone nut assassins" and all shared at least one common trait and most shared two. Neither of them applied to Oswald.

First, except for John Wilkes Booth,  none tried to escape. In fact their method of  assassination or attempted assassination ensured they couldn't escape since they carried out their assassinations in a crowd in front of hundreds or even thousands of witnesses.And that also  includes Booth who carried out his assassination in a crowded theater.

None, except for Booth, even contemplated escape.  And except for Booth all were apprehended on the spot. In fact, in the case of Chapman, he actually remained at the scene and waited for the police to arrive to arrest him. And what better example of the profile of the lone nut assassin than Jack Ruby himself who shot and killed Oswald in a crowd, in front of TV cameras and in a police station no less,  packed with cops and reporters with no hope,possibility or even a contemplation of escape.

And though Booth did plan his escape, Booth let it be known that he was the assassin by leaping to the stage, waving his gun, and shouting the words "sic semper tyrannis ", Latin for "thus be to tyrants". It was an act for which Booth made a point of taking credit.

Which brings us to the second characteristic shared by all of the worlds previously known "lone nut assassins" except for Oswald.  None ever denied or even attempted to deny or even wanted  to deny, their crime.

And in all cases, including Booth's they all willingly gave their bizarre or twisted motives,  whether it was Chapman's accusing Lennon of "being a phony" after reading Catcher in the Rye, or Hinkley's desire to impress Jodi Foster, or the political motives behind the assassinations of Lincoln,  the Archduke Ferdinand, William McKinley,and James Garfield, or the attempts on the life of Gerald Ford by the bizarre  Squeaky From and Sarah Jane Moore. Even James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King confessed to the killing ( though he was never categorized as a "the lone nut assassin" and in fact many still believe he was a hired killer).? Even Ruby gave his motive for killing Oswald.  They all had their reasons and all freely expressed them. Except for Lee Harvey Oswald.

And the irony of that, if irony is what it is, is that  no one was more politically motivated or carried more political baggage than Oswald.

Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union, had learned Russian and married a Russian. He was also suspected of being a double agent by the Soviets. He returned to the United States and while living in Dallas had gone to Mexico and tried to gain entrance to the Soviet embassy in Mexico who refused him.  And he was well  known in New Orleans for his support of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He was an avowed Marxist and anyone who has heard his radio interviews explaining his political positions about Marxism and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee will hear Oswald as articulate and with well thought out,  firmly held positions. His was not the rambling incoherent ravings of a mad man. He had  firm, radical political beliefs and he knew how to express them.  And he expressed them without fear even though his views were completely incompatible with America and America's ideals.

It is hard to imagine that Oswald, given his political background, his motives,  and his demonstrable ability in handling radio interviews, his ability to communicate and his lack of fear of espousing his unpopular political views, that with the eyes and ears of the entire world  focused only on him,  knowing every word he uttered before the cameras would be taken down, shown, broadcast and repeated all over the world, not just for that time but for all time, that in this moment when he had the opportunity to espouse his radical Marxist philosophy and sympathy for Cuba to the world, and that these were the political views that motivated him to carry out the assassination, all that came out of his mouth was " No sir, I didn't shoot anybody" and in response to " did you shoot the president", said, " no, I didn't know anything about that until a reporter asked me about it".

He also said " I'm just a patsy". Not exactly the kind of grandiose statement one might expect from a highly motivated and deranged radical political  presidential assassin.   He also complained that he wasn't allowed to take a shower, that a police officer hit him and requested that "someone come forward to give me legal assistance".

Not the actions, statements or behavior of any of the well documented "lone nut assassins" of the past.

Which, again, is not to say that Oswald is innocent.  His actions are proof enough that he was no innocent bystander. He knew something.  But  it is to say that the facts are the facts. And they don't add up. Lone nut assassins do not try and escape. Lone nut assassins do not deny their crime.

The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut assassin and after decades of  scrutiny and re-examination of physical evidence and without any better of an explanation,  this is now the accepted truth.  Yet all of Oswald's  actions, statements and behavior post assassination, from leaving the scene and trying to escape without an escape plan, to denying any role in the assassination,  is completely out of step with the well established profile of the lone nut assassin since 1865.

Given Oswald's well documented radical political and anti-American views,that he assassinated president Kennedy motivated by those views and then didn't take the opportunity to disseminate those views to a waiting world wide audience or to use those views to justify his actions still needs to be explained.
It will have to be up to others to try to explain it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How Obamacare broke it's promise to America but tried to keep it to the health insurance companies.

In spite of everything being said in the media, Obama's broken promise wasn't "if you like your health plan you can keep it".  The mainstream news media proving again to be inept and incompetent, still haven't realized Obama made that statement in town hall meetings promoting the public option in June, July and August of 2009, not about Obamacare which didnt even exist at the time.

 It was never a promise to being with. It was a statement Obama made to rebut Republican disinformation that the public option was " a government take over of health care". In response Obama tried (weakly) to make the point that the public option was just that -- an option being offered that people could take or leave. It was going to be a choice on the insurance exchanges. No one would be forced to enroll in the public option.  In his words at the time, the public option was something they could choose instead of their current insurance but if they liked their current health plan they could keep it (Obama could have said, " if you like your health insurance there is something sincerely wrong with you since you are being price gouged, dropped,  excluded if you have a pre-existing condition, your benefits are capped, you are forced to pay high deductibles and are generally getting screwed". He could have said that but he didnt.)

 What's interesting about the current media storm over this "promise", if not actually amusing, is that with Obamacare unraveling more each day, not just with the web site but with predictably anemic enrollments as it was destined to with sticker shock rates for limited coverage for the previously uninsured (yes I know, somewhere in Kankakee Illinois there is a woman who got a good deal - spare me the link to DailyKos) Obama has decided he would rather take all this hell from the news media, Republicans and some Democrats about a "broken promise" he never originally made about Obamacare rather than remind people  that he had first said it about the public option and replaced it to appease the health insurance industry who in the end was instrumental in writing Obamacare as admitted by Karen Ignani, chief lobbyist for the health insurance industry in the Frontline documentary, "Obama's Deal".

And he also probably doesn't want to remind people that none of the problems plaguing Obamacare now would have ever happened under the public option. There would have been no cancellation of policies because there would have been no mandate that insurance companies do anything to improve their policies. All of those mandates and a lot more were already incorporated in the public option. Insurance companies could either change their policies on their own, voluntarily in order to compete, or risk losing customers to the public option which was going to offer much more comprehensive coverage and no exclusions at a fraction of the price. Exactly what Republicans , always the defenders of big business wanted to prevent.

 At the time poll after poll showed that more people wanted the public option than wanted Obama to be president. The last polls taken in February of 2010 after all the misinformation and lies Republicans were allowed to get away without media rebuttal,  ("death panels" and "pulling the plug on grandma" to name two) all showed 58% wanted the public option. Obama was elected with 54% of the vote. And still Obama caved in and congressional Democrats stupidly went along.

Which is why, unless Democrats do the right thing now and start doing it soon,  they will be in big trouble in 2014. As much trouble as they were in 2010 when they were wiped out of congress because of their failure to deliver on the public option when they had the votes. And the right thing is to start telling the truth -- that what they really wanted to pass was the public option (true), that they had the votes but that Obama capitulated to the health insurance industry and that it was a mistake to go along.  And the real fix is to do what should have been done in the first place and replace Obamacare with genuine healthcare reform with the public option, which would provide low cost comprehensive health care to everyone who wanted it while lowering health care costs ( something Obamacare doesnt even touch) and at the same time according to the CBO, lowering the deficit by $160 billion. There would have been many other economic benefits as well to individuals as well as business.

So  Obama's real broken promise had nothing to do with canceled policies. It was dropping the public option in what amounted to the biggest bait and switch in the history of  government policy. And Obama doesn't want to remind anyone of any of this.

Ironically, or maybe not so ironically,  Obama is now breaking his promise to the health insurance industry too, trying to undo the mandate for minimum standards for coverage that insurance companies must offer.   He wants insurance companies to allow holders of the old policies with the old coverage to keep them to get out from under the political heat. The insurance companies have said that could  be a disaster and could destabilize the markets since their current premiums and coverages have all been based on those policies being changed with new premiums to go with them.

In other words Obamacare is a mess on every front, getting worse, and unraveling by the minute and it cant be saved. Nor should it. When those who blindly endorse it compare it what was before, they are missing the point. Obamacare needs to be compared to the public option and what could have been, not what went before which included absurdities like $75 for an asprin if you were hospitalized.

When the web site does get up and running and the enrollments continue to be so small as to completely destroy the concept (all 32 million uninsured have to buy in or Obamacare doesn't work) , this mess of a healthcare law will finally sink under its own weight.The question will be how soon will Democrats use the lifeboats and do they have anyone who knows how to navigate them. Pelosi doesn't, and based on history there arent too many Democratic strategists who know either.

 Nancy Pelosi, who in 2008 said that Obama "had the judgement to be president from day one"  deserves a lot of the blame. She had once said that the public option that was "the centerpiece of healthcare reform". In the end, she caved to Obama's cave in, forcing Democrats opposed to Obamacare into voting for something they didnt like. Compare that to how Tea Party conservatives in the House refuse to vote for anything they feel is at odds with their agenda even if it means opposing their own Speaker.

 Pelosi led Democrats over the cliff in the 2010 elections  by  betraying her own conscience and the promises Democrats made, and predicably, Democrats were wiped out  in 2010 because of it by not passing the public option.

 What happened in 2010 could happen in 2014 unless Democrats do the right thing, find some strategists that know how,  support the public option as the only real fix, and keep their promise to the American people to have the healthcare reform they should have passed in the first place. And keep up the attack on Republicans for not wanting any. They can't continue to support Obamacare, a policy even Howard Dean had called "junk". Even if it means throwing Obama and Obamacare under the bus. Better late than never.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dianne Feinstein's Snowden hypocrisy.

Edward Snowden's disclosures has exposed more than just abuses by the NSA. It's exposed abuses and the worst kind of hypocrisy among those in the U.S. government whose responsibility was to conduct oversight of the NSA and it's activities and none had more congressional responsibility and is guilty of more hypocrisy than Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the senate Intelligence Committee.

 Feinstein, who had supported and defended everything the NSA was doing after the initial revelations by Edward Snowden appeared in The Guardian was one of the first to call Snowden a traitor for his disclosures. Recently she became suddenly "outraged" after learning,  via another of Snowden's disclosures,  that her friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkle had had her phone tapped by the NSA since 2002.

 Feinstein had no such reaction when similar disclosures were made about Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff , and more to the point, had no such reaction to the disclosures that hundreds of millions of communications of innocent American citizens were being warehoused by the NSA right under the nose of Feinstein's alleged oversight.   Making Feinstein's outrage not just selective but personal.

 So now, in spite of having called Snowden a traitor,  she has said she is going to conduct an extensive review of NSA activities by her Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron if there ever was one)  in addition to publicly  supporting president Obama's decision for a complete review of NSA activities all as the result of the disclosures provided by Edward Snowden.

 Yet despite her own decision to review NSA activities, despite her support of Obama's review of NSA activities, despite Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner's new legislation to end the activities Snowden revealed,  despite the uniting of such disparate political entities as the ACLU and the National Rifle Association who are banding together to ensure  the legislation Sensenbrenner has drafted passes, despite all this, when Feinstein was asked on a political talk show last week if Snowden should receive clemency instead of being charged with espionage, her answer was a firm "no."

 Her reason?

  "He was trusted; he stripped our system; he had an opportunity – if what he was (sic) a whistle-blower – to pick up the phone and call the House intelligence committee, the Senate intelligence committee, and say I have some information but “that didn't happen.”

 Maybe it didn't happen because Snowden saw James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence commit perjury in front of a senate intelligence subcommittee without apparent fear of consequences to cover up the very issues Snowden was concerned about. Not exactly the kind of thing that would inspire confidence in Snowden or anyone else to go through channels and certainly not to Feinstein, who, in the words of Democratic congressman Alan Grayson, exercised "more overlook than oversight".

Feinstein ignores the effect that Clapper committing perjury would have on someone who felt the NSA was committing abuses and overstepping the bounds of the constitution and it's own mandate, and preposterously Feinstein says Snowden should be prosecuted for not going through channels or going to her.

 Feinstein, Clapper and Alexander have already proved that going through channels would not only have been useless it probably have subjected Snowden to punishment and at the very least his job. The only reason anything is getting done to correct the abuses is not because of anything Feinstein would have done, but only because Snowden went to The Guardian and not Feinstein.

Feinstein is also oblivious to the  case of of NSA employee  Thomas Drake who did try to go through channels to expose egregious wastes of money by the NSA (over $1 billion) , had his concerns ignored by higher ups and finally went to the Baltimore Sun to turn over the information he had. He was prosecuted for espionage by Obama's justice department, (Obama has prosecuted twice the number of Americans for espionage than the entire number of espionage prosecutions since the law's inception in 1917)  then after turning down 2 plea deals offered by the government, finally accepted a 3rd, to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of unauthorized access to a government computer which  showed how weak the government's espionage case was.  But not before the government ruined him financially and cost him his job and put him through hell which also caused his marriage to fall apart.  And Feinstein thinks Snowden should have subjected himself to that? For nothing? So that Feinstein could defend the very abuses Snowden revealed which the congress is now going to change only because he went to The Guardian and not her ( nor any American news outlet it should be pointed out).

And while talking about Snowden and prosecution, what about James Clapper? Feinstein, like Obama, like Lindsay Graham and others,  only pays lip service to the idea that the United States is a country of laws not people, insisting Snowden should be prosecuted for his unauthorized disclosures of the abuses James Clapper lied about under oath to hide from congress and for which Clapper has seen no consequences. Showing that that there is a Palace Guard mentality at the White House where laws only apply to some people.

Feinstein says Snowden had other choices besides giving the documents to the Guardian, then chooses to  ignore the fact that Clapper had other choices too besides committing perjury. Clapper had the questions he was going to be asked a day in advance and could have asked to be questioned in closed or executive session if he didn't want the answers made public and could have told the truth.  But he didn't. He didnt want the oversight committee to know the truth.  Instead he chose to commit perjury, which seems to be perfectly okay with Feinstein's idea of justice and accountablility.

Clapper's perjury also raises other serious questions.  In an article published in The Guardian and quoted elsewhere, former Wyden communications director, Jennifer Hoelzer who herself at one time had a top secret security clearance,  said she believes that Clapper's decision to lie under oath to congress was not made by him alone. " I am highly skeptical that Clapper's decision to lie was made unilaterally".

The implications of that, if true, are extremely serious since there are only two other people above Clapper in the government  of any consequence he could have discussed his future perjury with, one of whom would be Susan Rice, the National Security advisor, and one other person who could have made Clapper comfortable that he would never be prosecuted for the perjury or face consequences. And could guarantee it.  Which  opens up a whole other can of worms.

Feinstein said of Snowden when asked about clemency,  “He’s done this enormous disservice to our country and I think the answer is no clemency.”

Given the changes  congress is going to make because of Snowden's disclosures, the apologies Obama  has been forced to make because of Snowden's disclosures,  the reviews of NSA activities that Feinstein herself said she is going to undertake because of Snowden's disclosures, and that Snowden  is considered a hero by a majority of people in and out of congress and around the world, perhaps it is Dianne Feinstein, along with others like her, who will have been seen to have done an enormous disservice to the country. And there is a good chance that when all is said and done and history is written,  for Feinstein and those who think like her, there will be no clemency and no forgiveness.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why Obama didnt break his Obamacare promise and why he won't set the record straight.

Though Obamacare is, as Howard Dean once called it, a piece of junk next to what could have been which was the government public option, the media and political storm being created over  Obama's promise that "if you like your plan you can keep it" as being a broken promise since many people are seeing their current policies canceled, has been the source of a lot of finger wagging by the news media and Republicans accusing Obama of "breaking his promise", a promise he made as far back as 2009.  And just to prove it they keep replaying segements of Obama's speeches at town hall meetings on health care back in 2009.

 The news media, who amusingly think they "have something", and who think they are playing "gotcha"are proving once again how useless they all are as journalists. Because they all have it all wrong.

What CNN,  everyone in the White House press corps, Republicans on the attack  and Democrats on the run have either not taken the time to figure out, or not taken so much as a minute to research or in the case of many in the American news media, are too lazy or incompetent to know, is that the "the promise" Obama made back in 2009 when he said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it" had absolutely nothing -- repeat --  nothing -- repeat again - nothing --   to do with Obamacare. It was a promise and a point he was making with respect to the public option, something he eventually ditched in a cave-in to the health insurance lobby.

With CNN prematurely patting themselves on the back by showing Obama's speeches at town hall meetings saying that if people want to keep their current health insurance they can, no one was journalistically capable of remembering that when all those speeches were made in June, July and August of 2009, Obama was pitching the public option, not Obamacare. Obamacare, at the time he made those statements, didn't even exist.

When Brianna Keilar gave a White House report on CNN that Obama had made that promise "as Obamacare was being rolled out and was making its way through congress" she managed to get every single word in her sentence wrong. It was as if Keilar, Wolf Blitzer and everyone else at CNN suddenly had short term memory loss, or maybe its simply a matter of they never pay attention to their own reporting since it is an absolute fact that there was no such thing as Obamacare in 2009 when Obama made those promises. There was no bill making its way through congress as Keilar reported. There was  no bill at all.  Obama was talking about the public option and trying to make the case for it. That there was not a single editor or member of management at  CNN who knew Keilar's report, along with all the other reporting CNN was doing was factually wrong and that the clips they were showing of Obama in June,July and August of 2009 making that promise all related to the public option, is more eye witness testimony that CNN and its lack of standards and competency (along with everyone else's)  unravels from the top down.

 It wasn't until the end of August of 2009 that the New York Times reported that Obama had made a backroom deal with the health insurance lobby to drop the public option in place of what is now known as Obamacare,  something Obama never acknowledged publicly and the rest of the news media at the time were, as usual too incompetent to ask about. But he did change his banner at town hall meetings from "Healthcare Reform" to "Health Insurance Reform" and hoped no one would notice. No one did.

Prior to that end of August White House meeting, in every clip CNN has been showing almost nonstop, and in every town hall meeting Obama conducted, he was trying to rebut Republican attacks on the public option as  being socialism and a government take over of healthcare. Which is the sole reason Obama kept saying repeatedly, " if you like your current plan, you can keep it. " He was, at the time, trying to assure people that no one was going to be forced to sign up for the government run public health care option. It had nothing to do with anything called Obamacare which at the time didnt exist.

So why hasn't Obama set the record straight? Simple.  If you were in Obama's shoes right now given the horror show that's been the web site, and even worse the horror show of what's on the web site when people get there, including news of infinitesimally small enrollments compared to applications, high premiums and high  out-of-pockets and deductibles, and now having to deal with policies being canceled, would you want to remind people that you ditched the public option for this? Would you want to remind everyone that the promise you made in 2009 about people not having their insurance canceled would have stood up under the public option?

Would you want to remind people that you caved in to the health insurance lobby and dropped the public option which also resulted in Democrats in the House suffering the worst election defeat of any party in 80 years? Would you want to deal with people starting to compare Obamacare with what they could have had with the public option and why they don't have it?

 That Obama thinks it would actually be worse to remind people that the promise he made in 2009 was, at the time,  for the public option and not Obamacare and that he made no such promise with Obamacare,  that he would rather take all this heat from the news media who can't remember as far as back as 2009,  a Republican party on an "I told you so" attack, and Democrats backpeddaling like crazy,  tells you all you need to know about what Obama thinks about the decision he made by dropping the public option for Obamacare, a law written almost in its entirety by the health insurance industry, and what amounted to one of the worst instances of a political and policy bait and switch in history. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New York Times distorts Snowden letter, falsely calls it "an appeal for clemency".

In an article in the New York Times with a byline by Alison Smale, the Times grossly distorts a letter sent by Edward Snowden to Germany's Chancellor  Angela Merkle  falsely calling the letter an "appeal for clemency" both in a headline and the text of the article.

The headline was "Snowden Appeals to U. S. for clemency".

It is a testament to the continuing ineptitude, even ignorance, of American journalists that a reporter for the New York Times and her editors would call Snowden's letter to Merkle an appeal for clemency, which it was clearly not, and cannot even recognize an obvious fact: that if Snowden had in fact wanted to appeal to the United States government for clemency, ( which,based on the content of the letter they are referring to he is clearly not)  one doesn't do that by sending an appeal for clemency to the Chancellor of Germany.

So that there is no misunderstanding as to the possibility of a Times headline writer simply not being on the same page as the author of the article, Smale writes in the body text, in referring to the now well publicized letter Snowden sent to Merkle that "in his letter Snowden also appealed for clemency".

Appealing for clemency is both a legal matter addressed usually to the governor or  president of the United States, and in it's own way, it is also an appeal for mercy. Snowden did neither.

Mulitple dictionary definitions, including Websters, defines "clemency" as:

a disposition to show mercy; to show compassion or forgiveness in judging or imposing a harsh punishment especially toward an offender or an enemy; a power given to a public official, usually a governor or president to moderate the harshness of a punishment on a guilty party; to be forgiven for criminal acts but one who is granted clemency does not have their crime forgotten.

Does that sound like Snowden's letter? 

In almost all instances clemency is defined as asking for or receiving forgiveness for an admitted criminal act. Snowden in his letter specifically and categorically rejects in any way that what he did was a criminal act.

In fact in his letter, far from "appealing for clemency", Snowden chastised the United States for treating him  like a criminal when he not only acted solely out of conscience, but now that the congress of the United States has introduced bills to correct what Snowden saw as wrongs and abuses being committed by the government against American citizens based on his disclosures,  and president Obama has said there needs to be a reevaluation of the entire NSA operation over the very programs and abuses that Snowden disclosed, Snowden, along with most people, see his disclosures as being justified.

What Snowden actually pointed out in his letter in reference to his disclosures, which he called the revealing of "systematic violations of law by my government that created a moral duty to act", was that his disclosures has had a positive effect. He went on to say, "yet my government continues to treat dissent as defection and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense. However speaking the truth is not a crime."

Not exactly an appeal for mercy.  Nor is it asking for forgiveness for a crime.

The Times links Snowden's letter to the article. They call it, "Snowden's letter of appeal to Washington". The Guardian called it what it is -- "Edward Snowden letter to German government".

 It's almost as if no one at the New York Times has a reading  comprehension that could get them out of high school, and even less of a vocabulary. The same might be said of the White House since they made a point of "rejecting Snowden's request for clemency". 

 Snowden's letter,  as The Guardian pointed out,was clearly written, not to Washington but to German Chancellor Angela Merkle. Snowden closes the letter by writing:

"I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved and thank you for your efforts in upholding the international laws that protect us all".

  So what country did  the Times and others think Snowden was referring to when he wrote "your country"? And who did they think he was thanking for upholding international laws?  Obama? James Clapper? Mike Rogers? Dianne Feinstein?

If anyone should be asking for forgiveness it's the news media that the United States has been cursed with for the last 15 years and those in government who, like with the word "traitor" which was bandied about loosely when Snowden's disclosures were first published, don't have any idea what the definition of clemency is either.

Last week the New York Times Company announced a financial loss for the third quarter just ended. With journalism and editorial oversight like this, the Times should expect more quarters like the last one since all a media outlet has to sell besides crossword puzzles and recipes is their credibility. And that, as with most of the mainstream news media, is going in the same direction as The New York Times' revenue chart.

UPDATE: The New York Times has since changed its headline to "Snowden asks U.S. to stop treating him like a traitor", a more accurate headline yet the body text still refers to Snowden as "asking for clemency". However other news organizations, perhaps those who picked up the New York Times story and decided to keep the false narrative, continue to characterize Snowden's letter as "an appeal for clemency". It is for others to read Snowden's letter and decide for themselves how accurate that is.