Five Best Monday Columns

Ben Smith rejects the comparisons between Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, Daniel Ellsberg approves Edward Snowden's quest for asylum, Glenn Greenwald reveals U.S. spying on Brazil, and Dan Abrams explains why George Zimmerman will receive a not guilty verdict.

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Ben Smith in BuzzFeed on the advantages Eliot Spitzer has over Anthony Weiner Both Spitzer and Weiner are running for office after previously resigning amid sexual scandals — Spitzer for hiring a prostitute and Weiner because of a nude selfie he sent over Twitter. However, "before you make too many 'Spitzer = Weiner' observations," The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan write, "read this piece by Ben Smith on how the two men are nothing alike." The difference, Smith argues, comes down to this: "Weiner is a talented politician who left Congress with no major legislative accomplishments and everything to prove. Spitzer was a major force in American public life for eight years despite having no particular talent for politics." MSNBC's Jamil Smith agrees: "Likening Eliot Spitzer to Anthony Weiner is pretty silly."

Daniel Ellsberg in The Washington Post on approving Edward Snowden's escape Unlike Snowden, after leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971 Ellsberg did not flee the U.S. and faced trial for his leak, but "the country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago," Ellsberg writes in a column that The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald calls a "must-read." Ellsberg's trial was thrown out due to "the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era — and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment — but are today all regarded as legal," including denied bail and post-arrest isolation for Bradley Manning that would be applied to Snowden, too.

Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian on mass NSA surveillance of Brazil As Snowden travels the globe searching for asylum, his leaked documents continue to shake up just as many other countries. Snowden's documents, Greenwald writes, reveals the mass spying of email and telephone records in Brazil, a U.S. ally, and "sends an unmistakable signal to the world that while the US very minimally values the privacy rights of Americans, it assigns zero value to the privacy of everyone else on the planet." Brazilian foreign minister Antonio Patriota said in a statement the government is "gravely concerned" with Greenwald's report and has demanded a response from the U.S.

Dan Abrams in ABC News predicts a not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman  With the prosecution's case finished, Abrams argues that the standard for reasonable doubt is too high for a guilty conviction. "Even if jurors find parts of Zimmerman’s story fishy, that is not enough to convict. Even if they believe that Zimmerman initiated the altercation, and that his injuries were relatively minor, that too would be insufficient evidence to convict." Abrams has been wrong before, predicting a guilty verdict for Casey Anthony, and "juries are notoriously impossible to predict." "But that assurance will come as cold comfort to those convinced for whatever reason in Zimmerman’s guilt," writes The Examiner's Howard Portnoy.

Beth Matusoff Merfish in The New York Times on going public with abortion For 41 years, the "fear of shame" kept Merfish's mother from speaking publicly about her abortion, but "what the movement for reproductive rights needs is for the faces of freedom to emerge from the captivity of shame." Merfish writes of her mother, "Although it took a few years for the shock to wear off, knowing made me even more proud of her and more determined to defend reproductive rights." But David Bass of The American Spectator doesn't think this tactic will work to convince those already against abortion. "To mount a campaign to make light of abortion — the precise result of what Merfish advocates, whether she intends it or not — will further alienate many of these individuals."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.