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Glenn Greenwald Decries The Spying He Helped Enable When He Supported Bush!

GGGWI have this fantasy that there are real journalists left in the world of cable news. But just like my other fantasies, they never seem to come true. (Insert Rimshot here)

Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece of “advocacy” journalism deals with events that started in 2002 and ended in 2008. It involves the NSA under President Bush spying on 5 prominent Americans who are Muslim. For the record, at the time the Cheney/Bush administration was selling their lies to the American people, I was marching against their march to war.

What was Glenn Greenwald thinking in 2002, when this spying began. From the preface to one of Glenn’s books, his own words…

I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. (emphasis mine)

Think about that for a minute. Greenwald was 36 years old at the time, according to my calculations. Not some young naive kid. Whenever he has tried to refute my pointing that out, he usually says something like, “everyone was doing it.” As my mother would occasionally say, if everyone jumped off a cliff, does that mean you should too?

More from Glenn Greenwald’s own keyboard…

During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president’s ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president’s approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance. [...]

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July 11, 2014 Posted by | Hypocrisy Watch, National Security, Politics, Republican Party | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Glenn Greenwald, Perpetually Wrong, But Allowed To Be So!

abc_tw_greenwald_nsaI frequently get asked why I write so much about Glenn Greenwald. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror many times and asked the same question.

I think back to when I first read one of his posts at Salon during the end of the Bush administration. He was railing against Bush at that time and I was certainly sympathetic to that sentiment. But as I read his pieces, I noticed that he exaggerated an awful lot and took leaps with his conclusions and that didn’t sit well with me. I was all for attacking Bush, but because I am a political junky and was pretty informed on things, I noticed the exaggerations and in some cases, blatant lies. I didn’t join in with others in praising his “journalism”.

It was many years later that I learned that Glenn Greenwald hadn’t always railed against President Bush. In fact, he supported Bush and the many horrible things he did in the wake of 9/11 including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as supporting Bush during the time when the Patriot Act was passed. In light of what he is saying now, it should speak volumes about his integrity. Glenn has written about those of us who point this out and his attempt to dismiss his support for Bush is pretty lame. Ben Cohen from The Daily Banter wrote about this, go read it and have a laugh at Greenwald’s expense. Ben gives Glenn way too much credit, in my opinion.

Like Ben, I’m happy that Glenn finally opened up his eyes and realized the error of his ways. A little context though, Glenn wasn’t exactly a young, naive lad when he “had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration”, or “gave the administration the benefit of the doubt” or felt that President Bush was “entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to”. No, Glenn was 36 years old in 2003, when the bombs started falling on innocent people in Iraq, a war that I marched against.

So  Glenn’s dishonesty and tendency to exaggerate and mislead his readers turned me off immediately. But that isn’t the main reason I write about Glenn Greenwald so frequently.

Glenn Greenwald is a bully. I hate bullies!

If you want to read more about his journalistic brutality, go read this post, or this one, or this one. Or just go to Google and search, there are many examples out there besides the ones I’ve written about.

How Can Greenwald Be So Wrong, So Much Of The Time

Glenn Greenwald loves hyperbole. Decades from now when scholars write about The Age Of Hyperbole that we are currently living in, Glenn Greenwald’s picture will surely be accompanying the journal articles.

A few of my favorites from the last year.

“The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!”

“The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.”

I know there are a lot of paranoid people in this world who love that kind of talk, it feeds their paranoia and makes them feel like they are not alone. Any thinking, reasonable person who isn’t consumed with hatred or paranoia can read those words and realize they are completely over the top and can not possibly be true.

How many NSA employees do you think it would take to “MONITOR every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”? You see, Glenn doesn’t just think that the NSA is gathering meta data on who is calling who, after getting a warrant from a the FISA court (as dysfunctional as it is) because of intelligence on a suspected terrorist. No, Glenn thinks that there are people monitoring “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Bob Cesca has been keeping track of Glenn’s NSA “journalism” better than anyone and has coined the term “the 24 hour rule”, which basically says we should wait for the other shoe to drop before believing what ole Glenn Greenwald says.

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November 4, 2013 Posted by | Afghanistan War, Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Glenn Greenwald Is Either Really Dumb Or A Blatant Liar – Pick One Or Both! (Update)

glenn-greenwaldUpdated below!

I’m thankful that I don’t fall for Glenn Greenwald’s anti-American propaganda and have the patience to wait for the truth to come out. His latest bout of jumping up and down and screaming “look at me, look at me” as he spews his anti-American lies is one of his most egregious yet.

It turns out that whole appeal to European populist outrage over the NSA collecting “60 million calls in one month” in Spain and 70 million in France without their knowledge, was, well, not the case at all. The information was given to the NSA as part of a joint intelligence operation. The Los Angeles Times has the story…

WASHINGTON — Leaked U.S. documents appearing to show that the National Security Agency collected data on tens of millions of European phone records, an issue that has sparked outrage among U.S. allies, actually represented data handed over to the NSA by European intelligence services as part of joint operations, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The claim refutes reports in leading French and Spanish newspapers suggesting that the NSA had vacuumed up French and Spanish telephone records without the knowledge of those governments. U.S. officials now say that the NSA didn’t collect the data — the intelligence services of those countries did.

As this crusade to rile up European anger against the U.S. has proceeded, I’ve been wondering when our government was going to push back with a little reality. I hope this is just the start of that push back.

Glenn Greenwald and his minions are using the secrecy behind our intelligence operations as cover. They know that in order to dispute the falsehoods and misreading of the Snowden documents, they would have to expose even more secret sources and methods. So Greenwald has been able to spin, lie and create conspiracies and paranoia with little refutation. It’s a nice little game they have going.

I think we can all agree now that Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden don’t really give a shit about America. In fact, they clearly have an agenda which is aimed at harming the U.S. both at home and abroad.

Update: JM Ashby over at BobCesca.com has some more details from the Wall Street Journal story.

Hat Tip to Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs

October 30, 2013 Posted by | National Security, The Truth | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Glenn Greenwald’s “Little Brain” Made Me Think of This! UPDATE!

The following is a clip from one of my all time favorite movies, “Defending Your Life”. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Besides Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed it, it stars Meryl Streep and Rip Torn. Take a few minutes and watch this clip. I frequently think about this scene when reading the likes of Glenn Greenwald or many of the writers at The Nation. My favorite exchange is…

Bob Diamond: Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.

Daniel Miller: It has?

Bob Diamond: Well everybody on Earth deals with fear — that’s what little brains do.

Bob Diamond: …Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything…

Updated!!! I clicked on a link in a Tweet from Albert Brooks and came across the following post at Huffington Post, from Albert himself, which I will not link to.

WHAT DID I JUST READ?

By Barack Obama (Albert Brooks)

Imagine my surprise when I opened the New York Times and read Vladimir Putin’s Op-ed. I didn’t know what I was reading for a few minutes. Sometime’s my Chief of Staff will put The Onion in front of me just to shake things up so it took me a moment to realize this was not a joke.

First off, let me say I had a very nice time at the G20. The food was good, although a bit heavy for my taste, and the weather was pleasant. Certainly you can see the sky sometimes, which you can never do in China.

As I continued to read the Op-ed, I really couldn’t understand whether we were being insulted or praised. Mr. Putin seemed to respect the United States for one paragraph, and then blast us in another. Now understand, I admire Mr. Putin. For his age he seems to be in great physical shape and even though I could kick his ass in basketball I do believe that if a bear were to attack the both of us, he would be the one to shoo it away.

But let’s make one thing perfectly clear: this is written by a man who is the head of Russia. Russia, where the air conditioning in the room conked out even though I was in the Presidential Suite. Russia, where no one smiles and where people actually look disappointed that they are white.

Mr. Putin, we put a man on the moon and you barely got a monkey home safely. We invented the computer and you invented the way to steal it. Your country is filled with our fast food businesses and yet there is not one Russian take out place in the whole United States.

You are known for Siberia, we are known for Big Sur. We make Cadillacs and Lincolns and God knows what you call those little square deathtraps. It’s one thing to put down exceptionalism, but before you do that, you at least have to produce one Broadway show, or make one commercial airliner, or invent one type of salad.

Having said that, your people are wonderful and I know that you care about them deeply, except, of course, for the gay ones. As a matter of fact, you care about them so much that you hate to see them argue, especially with you, so you graciously offer them the solace of prison.

In any case, I enjoyed your editorial and I am very impressed that it was printed in The New York Times. If only there was a newspaper in your country that would print this.

My very best wishes,
Barack Obama.

September 12, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , | 3 Comments

The Corporate “Surveillance State” – No Warrants Needed

Bob Cesca has been doing amazing work lately in keeping track of the massive misinformation campaign orchestrated primarily by The Guardian, a publication that has gone full anti-American with the help of Wikileaks and other anarchists. Cesca wrote a brilliant article that points out many things I’ve been thinking as well. From Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter…

And, yes, the government also collects relatively minor bits of your internet data (with multi-layered oversight, warrants, anonymization, minimization and deletion) in its efforts to track down enemies.

Liberals ought to be far more suspicious of for-profit corporations handling our private data than the government’s handling of considerably less of it. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, and this is where everything gets wacky.

[...]

NSA, and the U.S. government in general, isn’t interested in our Instagram pics of our disgusting dinners or our Wonka memes or our goats-that-scream-like-men videos. But Facebook is. Google is. Corporations are exploiting nearly everything you type and following you wherever your browse. They’re compiling it. They’re distributing it. They’re sharing it. They’re using your data to determine which products you might want to purchase. They’re censoring your breast-feeding pics and perhaps even threatening you with prosecution if you download an episode of Game of Thrones from Bit Torrent.

And people are wailing and chest-thumping over inadvertent government metadata collection with strict rules that prohibit infringements on Fourth Amendment liberty? That’s rich.

You should go read Bob Cesca’s entire article, he points out that most websites have “trackers” built in that gather more information than the NSA on each of us. Bob also points out, “For what it’s worth, Glenn Greenwald’s XKEYSCORE article on The Guardian contained 27 trackers, including PRISM participants Google and Facebook.”

I’ll leave you with my favorite paragraph from Bob’s article…

How shall we explain the disparity between the Great Fear of the government collecting minimal data and the almost unspoken reality that corporations have compiled massive data clouds about every user and every customer? I don’t know for sure. It could be a result of pissy-pants disillusionment over the Obama presidency based on overblown idealism, political ignorance and unrealistic expectations. It could be the consequence of an onslaught of fear-mongering from news outlets posting cavalcades of scare-headlines and misleading articles about NSA surveillance. Or it could be an increasingly evident paradigm shift in which the far-left is blending into fringe libertarian territory. I never thought it likely given libertarianism’s small government, states’ rights posture, but there it is.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | National Security | , , , , | 11 Comments

When Greenwalds Attack! 10 Examples From His Past

It’s fascinating for someone who has kept a critical eye on Glenn Greenwald to see him playing in the big leagues and striking out so much. I do believe it’s time for him to be sent back down to the minors.

Glenn Greenwald frequently attacks people who disagree with him, he can’t help himself. He has a hair trigger on that gun of his and likes to shoot it off. (By the way, he is against gun control, in case you weren’t aware.)

The most recent example of Glenn’s penchant for lashing out happened on Twitter as he attacked Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins University and peacefare.net.

GGTweet

Well, that one little tweet from the “Rio Pundit” prompted quite a backlash from many different directions. One of the best came from Adam Serwer, Daniel Serwer’s son, a writer for Mother Jones and a reporter for MSNBC.com.

AdamSerwer

Glenn Greenwald’s knee-jerk attack on Daniel Serwer revealed exactly how GG rolls. I wrote a post recently, The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!, that looked at just a few of Glenn’s exaggerations in his latest 15 minutes of fame. This one tweet from Glenn is both an exaggeration and an attack, combining two of his favorite tactics. And for those that say Glenn is “smart”, please read that tweet one more time.

Daniel Serwer, the person that Glenn tried to dismiss by claiming Edward Snowden had “done far more for the world in the last two months than you have in your life”, has actually spent most of his adult life working for peace. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has Daniel’s bio and gives his take on this incident. Here is a piece of the bio…

Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) is a Professor of Conflict Management, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Formerly Vice President for Centers of Peacebuilding Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace (2009-10), he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was previously Vice President for Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans.

I won’t spend time pushing back against the Snowden claim, you can go read some of Bob Cesca’s work here, here and here if you want to get up to speed on the issues surrounding the Edward Snowden leaks.

One of the main tactics Glenn Greenwald uses is to attack anyone who challenges him, with venom and over the top projections of all things evil onto his target. I’ve personally been called a few names by him, mostly because I support President Obama. He really dislikes people who support President Obama. Joy-Ann Reid wrote about this a while back.

Anyone who fails to loathe Obama as he does is an “Obama lover” (just chew on that, if you’re African-American) or a “cultist.” It isn’t possible that Obama could do anything that isn’t vile and insipid and worthy of continual, emphatic condemnation.

Since I’ve spent way too much time reading and writing about Glenn Greenwald, mostly because I despise his tactics, but in all candor, partly because he has such a profound hatred for President Obama, I thought I’d share some links I have gathered over the years. You can decide for yourself how you feel about Glenn, considering the following.

10 Examples of Glenn Greenwald Attacks

1.  When the “don’t touch my junk” guy emerged on the scene, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine wrote a piece questioning some issues surrounding that incident, Glenn Greenwald pounced on them. Go read this account by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, it’s quite remarkable.

2. Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution wrote a great piece explaining why he won’t engage with Glenn Greenwald and the piece reveals a lot of what others have seen too. It is one of the reasons why I quit interacting with Glenn, I’ve blocked him on Twitter and try not to read any of his trolling drivel.

3. Glenn Greenwald set his aim at Wired Magazine when they published the chat logs of Bradley Manning, which got him busted. The targets of his attack on this time were Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen. (You may have to Google ‘The Curious Case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine’ if you hit a paywall)

3. In this one, Glenn attacks Kurt Eichenwald and Joy-Ann Reid in an epic Twitter battle that is summarized here.

4. One of the worst attacks Glenn has made over the years, which he has never apologized for, involved joining in on attacking a friend of mine, Imani Gandy (Angry Black Lady). This one included tweeting about rape with one of his minions.

5. Ben Cohen at The Daily Banter (a most excellent site), wrote a great piece about Glenn attacking fellow journalists who supported the Iraq War…but of course, Glenn Greenwald told us in his own words how he supported President Bush in his invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s. And of course, Glenn was also supporting President Bush when he rammed the Patriot Act through…you know, that law that started much of the surveillance that Glenn now rails against.

6. Jonathon Chait wrote a hilarious and revealing post titled “Glenn Greenwald is Ralph Nader“, which prompted Glenn Greenwald to attack Paul Krugman…go read it, you’ll see why. And here is a post detailing the attack on Paul Krugman, for making a reference to the NSA story.

7. You have to give Greenwald credit for taking on people who are way smarter than he is. Here is an exchange between Al Giordano and Glenn Greenwald that has a lot to do with the current NSA revelations, this is a must read if you want to be informed and entertained. I wish Al posted more often, he is amazing.

8. Chez Pazienza wrote a terrific piece called “The Daily Banter’s Official Helpful Media Guide for Interacting With Glenn Greenwald” that is a must read for anyone thinking of saying anything that Glenn Greenwald disagrees with.

9. This little skirmish with Sam Harris is pretty interesting. Sam Harris likes to tell it like it is and Glenn got a little bit of push back from Sam.

10. The last one I’ll throw in the mix is Greenwald’s attack on David Gregory, which I have mixed feelings about. David Gregory asked a horrible question loaded with innuendo and completely blew the opportunity to ask a really good one and then hammer Glenn until he answered it. The question I would have asked is “did you have any contact with Edward Snowden before he took the job at Booz Allen?” A lot of people want to know the answer to that question. It seems to me that the protection a journalist has by saying that someone came to them with information kind of flies out the window IF that “journalist” had something to do with stealing the information. And please, any GG minions, spare me turning that last sentence into an accusation, the word “IF” should be your clue. The act of stealing the information and then publishing it are separate acts.

Bringing it back to the original Glenn Greenwald attack, I think Daniel Serwer’s final tweet to Glenn Greenwald is pure perfection.

DwerwerTweet2

July 7, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Glenn Greenwald, The Polemicist

Jonathan Chait has penned a must read of a column on Glenn Greenwald. Go read the whole thing. Here are a few passages that stuck out to me. (emphasis mine)

The debate over domestic surveillance is not a debate about what we think about Glenn Greenwald. But Greenwald is a fascinating character. His resemblance to Ralph Nader is not one that, so far as I can tell, anybody has thought to make. [...]

For Greenwald, like Nader, the lawyer is the key protagonist in his political drama. Political victory is a series of successful lawsuits. He is wildly litigious:

In 1997, Achatz and Greenwald filed another lawsuit for broken elevators in their building. (They lived on the 32nd floor.) They later moved into another building in Midtown Manhattan, and countersued after being sued by that landlord for having a dog that weighed more than 35 pounds. They sued American Airlines and its parent company for not placing the right number of miles flown in their frequent-flier account.

Greenwald, like Nader, marries an indefatigable mastery of detail with fierce moralism. Every issue he examines has a good side and an evil side. Greenwald, speaking not long ago to the New York Times, said something revealing about his intellectual style:

“I approach my journalism as a litigator,” he said. “People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.” [...]

That is the echo of Greenwald’s suspicions of the Democratic agenda. President Obama scaled back some of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies — torture, warrantless wiretapping — but kept in place others. One could make the case that he did not change enough, but that is not a Greenwald sort of argument. He insists that Obama is worse than Bush. Obama’s health-care reform was not just a step along the way to Greenwald’s ideal, it was a monstrous sellout that probably did no good at all (“there is a reasonable debate to be had among reform advocates over whether this bill is a net benefit or a net harm.”).

This way of looking at the world naturally places one in conflict with most liberals, who are willing to distinguish between gradations of success or failure. Nader and Greenwald believe their analysis not only completely correct, but so obviously correct that the only motivation one could have to disagree is corruption. Good-faith disagreement, or even rank stupidity, is not possible around Greenwald. His liberal critics are lackeys and partisan shills. He may be willing to concede ideological disagreement with self-identified conservatives, but a liberal who disagrees can only be a kept man.

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Politics, The Truth | , , | 2 Comments

Edward Snowden Charged For NSA Leaks

From NBC News:

Federal prosecutors filed espionage charges against alleged National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, officials familiar with the process said. Authorities have also begun the process of getting Snowden back to the United States to stand trial.

The officials did not describe the charges in detail because they’ve been filed under seal in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The documents are not publicly available.

According to officials, charges accuse Snowden of violating federal espionage laws by sharing classified documents with people who were not cleared to receive them. Charges also accuse him of stealing government property.

If only someone had told Edward Snowden that books have been written about what the NSA does. It’s a damn shame to see him spend years in prison for such ignorance.

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Justice System, National Security | , , , | 2 Comments

The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!

I have analyzed Glenn Greenwald’s writing many times over the years. His slick use of rhetorical devices, and his propensity to exaggerate, jump out at me and smack me upside the head when I read his writings. I’ve compiled what I think are the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald since the NSA story broke. These are mostly from his appearances, where he apparently feels more free to exaggerate than when he commits something to paper.

Before I get to the list, I feel it is my duty to point out Glenn’s incredible hypocrisy about the right of privacy.

In his one big case as a lawyer, defending the white supremacist Matt Hale, Glenn Greenwald was smacked down by the judge for unethically recording witnesses without their knowledge. Mr. Privacy, Glenn Greenwald, invaded the privacy of witnesses in order to defend that vile creature.

Seizing the opportunity, Defendants’ counsel (Glenn Greenwald) hit the record button and commenced surreptitiously taping the conversation with Dippold. The conversation lasted for some time, covering in detail Dippold’s contacts with Hale, the WCOTC, and various other parties having an interest in the underlying litigation. Dippold never asked if Defendants’ counsel was taping the conversation. Nor did Defendants’ counsel make any representations to Dippold suggesting that the conversation was or [**4] was not being taped. [...]

Approximately one month later, Plaintiff discovered the existence of another tape. This tape pertained to a conversation between Defendants’ counsel and Ian Sigel, another witness in the case. [...]

Plaintiff moved to compel disclosure of these tapes, arguing that this conduct was unethical and therefore vitiated any attorney work-product privilege that may have attached to these recordings, and sought a protective order prohibiting any further recordings. The magistrate judge granted both motions, finding defense counsel’s conduct unethical under two separate rules: Local Rule 83.58.4(a)(4), prohibiting “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;” and Local Rule 83.54.4, stating “a lawyer shall not … use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of [another] person.”

Now to the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald on the NSA story.

Number 5

Here is Glenn Greewnald from On Point with Tom Ashbrook, on NPR.

“What has been damaged by these revelations is the reputations and credibility of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus completely in the dark and with no accountability.”

Except Glenn, that is a massive exaggeration. Here is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence from the Volokh Conspiracy.

  • By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records.
  • All information that is acquired under this order is subject to strict restrictions on handling and is overseen by the Department of Justice and the FISA Court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed because the vast majority of the data is not responsive to any terrorism-related query.

In short, there’s less difference between this “collection first” program and the usual law enforcement data search than first meets the eye.  In the standard law enforcement search, the government establishes the relevance of its inquiry and is then allowed to collect the data.  In the new collection-first model, the government collects the data and then must establish the relevance of each inquiry before it’s allowed to conduct a search.

If you trust the government to follow the rules, both models end up in much the same place.  I realize that some folks simply will not trust the government to follow those rules, but it’s hard to imagine a system with more checks and restrictions and doublechecks than one that includes all three branches and both parties looking over NSA’s shoulder.

Number 4

From Glenn Greenwald’s original article on the PRISM program. (not linked)

When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA’s inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the Prism program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers.

But Glenn, that’s not true either. Most of the service providers who he accused of allowing “direct and unilateral” access have denied the claim.

Here is a piece that blows away this exaggeration/lie by Glenn. From The New York Times…

But instead of adding a back door to their servers, the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.

The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after company lawyers have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice. It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers. Instead, they said, it is a more secure and efficient way to hand over the data.

Number 3

On CNN, Glenn Greenwald said the following…

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. “That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.

First of all, “complete secrecy” is a major exaggeration, considering I can search in Google and find many articles about the center that the NSA built in Utah. As a matter of fact, a Google search landed me this press release from January 6, 2011 about the groundbreaking ceremony for the new “data center” in Utah. Complete secrecy Glenn?

He goes on to say that the “only goal” is to “destroy privacy and anonymity.” You see, in Glenn’s world, it doesn’t even have a little bit to do with preventing terrorism. The United States government, collectively, thinking as one giant Dr. Evil, is “only” out to destroy your privacy and anonymity. But it isn’t just American citizens that the United States government wants to do that to, it’s the entire world people, don’t you see? And then Glenn thinks that just by saying, “That’s not hyperbole, That is their objective” – that somehow it makes it true. The only thing missing is an evil laugh and a pinky raised to your lip.

I’m sure there are many psychologists out there that are having fun with Glenn’s paranoid exaggerations. He is a case study in paranoia, if you ask me. Did you ask me?

Number 2

In one of his many rounds to the gullible media, he talked to NPR and said the following…

The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.

In that statement, he takes it even further than in others. He adds the word “monitor” to his hyperbole, which implies real-time snooping in most people’s minds. It begs the question, how many “oppressors” does he think are employed at the NSA? And damn, they must be getting overtime if it allows them to “monitor what all human beings are doing and how they are behaving and interacting with one another.” I’m sorry, that’s just freaking crazy. And anyone who excuses that type of hyperbole is just enabling this sick man.

I think David Simon characterized this stupidity best in his piece called “We are shocked, shocked…”

Is it just me or does the entire news media — as well as all the agitators and self-righteous bloviators on both sides of the aisle — not understand even the rudiments of electronic intercepts and the manner in which law enforcement actually uses such intercepts? It would seem so.

Because the national eruption over the rather inevitable and understandable collection of all raw data involving telephonic and internet traffic by Americans would suggest that much of our political commentariat, many of our news gatherers and a lot of average folk are entirely without a clue.

You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about. And you would think that rather than a legal court order which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame.

Number 1

And the number 1 exaggeration is……drum roll please……this little gem from his appearance on Morning Joe where Mika dared to challenge him.

The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!

Ding, ding…..we have a winner! “…NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR” Chew on that one for a while. How many millions of NSA employees do you suppose it would take to do that?

How in the hell can Glenn Greenwald get away with saying such crap on national television without someone challenging him? Anyone falling for his hyperbole and paranoia really needs to wake up, do a reality check and then get a grip. It’s one thing to be outraged about our government stepping on our privacy rights, with checks and balances within all three branches of government, but it is quite another to buy into the idea that the objective of the NSA is to “monitor every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Come on, why the exaggerations? Is it because the truth doesn’t accomplish Glenn Greenwald’s goal of world domination? (That was me exaggerating.)

P.S. When I first learned that my phone calls were being kept track of, well over 30 years ago, when I first saw a phone bill that had the numbers listed and the times the calls were made, I was a little concerned. I didn’t freak out, I just accepted that with new technology, that was the world we lived in. That was 30 freaking years ago. Since then, Google can target ads for snowblowers on damn near every web page I go to, because one day, I did a search for snowblowers.

If you weren’t aware that all your electronic communications are out there for anyone with even a little bit of technical ability to grab on to, I really think you need to pay a little more attention.

I didn’t like the idea of it over 30 years ago, but having accepted that fact so long ago, I have a hard time getting too upset about it now. I take comfort in the fact that I am not a criminal and frequently think that if someone is “monitoring” my calls or emails, they are bored shitless.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Glenn Greenwald Supported President Bush As He Signed The Patriot Act!

glenn-greenwaldThe Patriot Act was signed on October 26, 2001 and this is what Glenn Greenwald wrote in the preface to his own book – his words, not mine…(emphasis IS mine)

This is not to say that I was not angry about the attacks. I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president’s ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president’s approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance. [...]

During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

While I was screaming at my TV and marching in the streets in protest of the Patriot Act, the Afghanistan War and later the Iraq War, Glenn Greenwald “was ready to stand behind President Bush” and wanted to “exact VENGEANCE on the perpetrators.” And he “believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgement deferred to”, which of course included the passage of The Patriot Act on October 26, 2001.

So yeah, Glenn Greenwald, why exactly should I listen to him now?

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Afghanistan War, Justice System, Media, National Security, Politics, Professional Left, The Truth | , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Glenn Greenwald’s Justification for the Boston Bombings

Updated for clarity

Guest Post By Marcus Brutus

Extremist responses to anti-US atrocities fall into two categories: denial which spawns troofer movements or justification with dismissal. Glenn Greenwald’s latest article is an example of the second category, it’s his automatic response to Islamist terrorism.  When the Oslo slaughter was believed to have been caused by salafis he justified slaughter by writing that Norway “prompted” (defined as to cause or bring about something) the attack. When news about Breivik came to light he changed his tune and decried how horrible the Oslo attacks were since it was now something he could exploit. The only conclusion to make is that Greenwald believes mass murder is justifiable depending on the perpetrator’s political and religious views. He justified the Boston bombings in an article that is an example of Comment Is Free depravity which published articles in support of North Korea and FGM.

On twitter he said that the Tsarnaev’s relative who denied the attacks is “talking more sense” about the attacks than the government. He wrote material dripping with sympathy for the surviving brother complaining that he was “being interrogated by the most aggressive and sophisticated agents the USG has. He’s 19, traumatized, injured & medicated” that is not impression of Mama Tsarnaev. A striking contrast to his past attempt to dismiss the attacks: so massacre are dismissible to him but making murderers uncomfortable is an inexcusable atrocity. Never forget! One person replied: “Martin Richard is 8, he’s dead. His sister is 6, lost her leg &is traumatized & medicated. Your sympathy is misplaced.”

Glenn endorsed multiple articles justifying the attacks he tweeted: “citing @JeremyScahill, Chomsky writes: “Boston Bombings Gave Americans Taste of the Terrorism US Inflicts Every Day.” It would be more accurate to say that Boston bombings gave Americans a taste of what Chomsky and Scahill (who described Bosniaks as “White Al-Qaea”) support. He retweeted an article by FAIR describing the Tsarnaev brothers as people who “responded to violence with violence” meaning that FAIR and Greenwald see it as just retaliation. FAIR is the same outlet that publishes pro-Assad propaganda, one article denies the Houla massacre based on the lunatic rambling of media lens, a hate group that promotes Rwanda genocide denial.

Greenwald quotes the young Tsarnaev that he and his brother “were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He also quotes similar motivations for other attempted or successful terrorists. When extremists shed crocodile tears by the gallon about Afghanistan and Iraq they are really expressing sympathy for the Taliban and Iraqi Sunni militants.

Glenn doesn’t try to hide it since he quotes Najibullah Zazi admission of conspiring “with others to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban” which suggests laziness or (understandable) disrespect for audience. He presents killing fellow citizens out of sympathy for the Taliban who are responsible for most Afghan civilian deaths, running a slave state and genocide as a noble dissent. Iraqi Sunni militants committed the Yazidi car bombings in an attempt to extirpate a harmless religious minority. The bombings were the worst atrocity in the Iraq war in which most civilian deaths were caused by Iraqis. If any of the men listed in the article ever once had any sympathetic motives or genuine outrage over civilian deaths they would not have killed out of support for groups responsible for most Afghan or Iraqi deaths.

Glenn goes on to describe Anwar al-Awaki as a former “moderate” he became “radicalized” by 21st century US foreign policy. Foreign policy magazine ran an article disproving his narrative about al-Awaki which he continues to repeat over and over again. Next its “Osama bin Laden, when justifying violence against Americans US military bases in Saudi Arabia, US support for Israeli aggression against its neighbors, and the 1990s US sanctions regime that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.” Bin Laden didn’t mention Israel nearly as much as Kashmir or Chechnya. Israel was a motive since Al-Qaeda believes in a global Jewish conspiracy that uses the US as its enforcing arm that’s the view that Greenwald prettifies.  The claim about sanctions is false, the Baathist regime’s wealth increased during sanctions they were able to easily smuggle in gold and build palaces, they had the means to provide for children who perished solely because of state neglect. The whine about bases only proves that Islamist extremism is an ideology devoid of legit grievances, that won’t change no matter how many articles GG hacks out urging us to consider Jihadi complaints and not the grievances of their victims.

He sheds crocodile tears for Khomeini by mewling that ” Iranians who took over the US embassy in 1979 cited decades of brutal tyranny from the US-implanted-and-enabled Shah.” The Shah contrary to apologist revisionism was not implanted by the US he succeeded his father who had come to power by overthrowing the Qajars without American assistance. Islamic regime apologists who harp on about real or imagined Pahlavi abuses ignore that the monarchy fell because the Shah was not willing to slaughter his people. Khomeini had no similar squeamishness as he came to power by killing 20,000 people.  Torture was probably the worst crime in the Pahlavi monarchy, except the Shah’s torturers remained employed by Khomeini. Soudabeh Ardavan described how her torturers were “pros”, “from the Shah’s era.” The real motive for the embassy seize was to allow Khomeini to seize control of Iran from the moderate interim leadership and bring about decades of brutal tyranny that Greenwald produces apologia for.

Glenn tries to cover his tracks with denial: “the issue here is causation, not justification or even fault.” That proves nothing if someone were to claim that women have smaller brains than men he would be a misogynist no matter how many times he wrote that he wasn’t a misogynist. On twitter in response to criticism he sneered “have an adult explain to you the difference between “causation” and “justification.”  The critic made an excellent response that he ignored: “causation in this case can only come from a justification. You’d have to assume ‘choice’ doesn’t exist among Yemenis, Iraqis etc.”

What is justification? Glenn distorts what the word actually means, justification isn’t necessarily stating that the victims deserved it though that sentiment wouldn’t be unwelcome at CIF. The j-word is defined as “to declare free of blame; absolve.” The word seems to have roots in religion: “to free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” Glenn attributes the “cause” of terrorism to the US not the actual perpetrators by that reasoning the terrorists are “free of blame” and “absolved” since if someone didn’t actually cause something they are free of blame and absolved. That makes Glenn a justifier which is defined as “one who justifies; one who vindicates, supports, defends, or absolves.” Conclusion: Greenwald justifies terrorism.

He claims that we must understand why “there are so many people who want to attack the US as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Japan, or Portugal. It’s vital for two separate reasons.” The argument that Al-Qaeda never attacks small non-US countries is false. They attacked Indonesia twice in one attack slaughtering peaceful Christians, they attacked Australia over its support for the Timorese people. They participated in genocide alongside the Taliban proving their real motives are a blend of racism and wahabbism. They committed mass murder in Algeria, Spain, Denmark, Turkey and other countries which disproves Glenn’s argument. Can we expect an article justifying terrorism in Spain as “blowback” that was “caused” by the medieval reconquista?

Greenwald complains that “so many Americans, westerners, Christians and Jews love to run around insisting that the only real cause for Muslim attacks on the US is that the attackers have this primitive, brutal, savage, uncivilized religion (Islam) that makes them do it.” He complains about Sam Harris who believes that “Islamic doctrines … still present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society.” To claim that Islam in general “makes them do it” is inaccurate, after all the Crimean Tatars did not respond to Stalinism by massacring Russian children. he disturbing thing is that both conflate Islam with fundamentalist strains only Glenn does so out of sympathy and Sam does it out of contempt.

Jihadi atrocities are actually caused by extremist interpretations and strains of Islam and racist ideologies. This is confirmed by briefly skimming  a history of al-Qaeda, glancing at the news or otherwise stepping out of the alternate universe Greenwald creates with his articles.The facts show that people Greenwald presents as motivated by rational outrage at old glory constantly attack harmless, irrelevant non-US targets because of religious views. Al-Qaeda has slaughtered Christians, Shias, non-Wahabbi Sunnis and bombed a Turkish synagogue. Many of the worst attacks predate the US foreign policies that Greenwald focuses on.

He quips that “people often love to accuse Muslims of being tribal without realizing the irony that what they are saying – Our Side is Superior and They are Inferior – is the ultimate expression of rank tribalism.” He’s made it clear what sort of people he means by ‘Muslims’, there’s nothing tribal about the view he attacks as ‘our side’ is multi-racial and multi-cultural. That’s an incoherent argument, is Glenn suggesting that Islamist dictatorships are ethically equivalent to democracies? I see nothing self-glorifying about stating which one is the best, offering a better life than theocracies is possibly the lowest standard for a democracy. Similarly stating you’re not a serial killer is the lowest standard individuals can meet, not self-glorification.

He insists “attackers themselves make as clear as they can, it’s not religious fanaticism but rather political grievance that motivates these attacks…the motive is anger over what is being done by the US and its allies to Muslims.” That can easily be rebutted by pointing to al-Qaeda’s record of slaughtering civilians without any political or military significance solely because of their victims’ religion or ethnicity. Glenn’s argument is so facile that it can be refuted by quoting Islamist terrorists who plainly state they are motivated by religious fanaticism.

The GIA leadership explained their motives for butchering Algerian civilians in a communiqué describing Algerians as “infidels and apostates” with no right to live because they didn’t practice the GIA’s brand of Islam. Mullah Omar ordered his men to slaughter Hazaras because of their   ethnic heritage and Shia religion: “the Hazaras are not Muslims and now we have to kill Hazaras, killing them is not a sin.” Justification is also defined as “to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded” which perfectly describes his argument which is as absurd as describing the Interahamwe as a civil rights movement.

Glenn complains of a “pervasive belief in the US that we can invade, bomb, drone, kill, occupy, and tyrannize whomever we want, and that they will never respond.” ‘They’ were Chechens does Glenn think that the US invaded, bombed and droned lands occupied by Chechens? If so it would be his least inaccurate opinion. He claims that the Boston attack was an “inevitable outcome of these choices” another justification, anyone who attributes responsibility for an atrocity to anyone other than the perpetrators is an apologist for that atrocity. He also includes a link to a Ron Paul speech. To recap: Glenn wrote an article justifying Sunni extremist terrorism and Khomeinist tyranny then endorsed a White supremacist and someone actually published that instead of mistaking the article for a parody of far-right drivel.

Greenwald concludes by describing the Boston bombings as a result of “our own actions” I’ve already explained why that is justification unlike Glenn I hate to repeat myself. Greenwald ignores that anti-Semitism motivated the Boston bomber   brothers (the perfect video game for any CIF fan) since one was interested in buying a copy of the protocols of Zion: that’s what Greenwald defends and justifies. There is growing evidence they killed three people solely because the victims were born Jewish, if it turns out that Tsarnaev committed the murders, was that the result of “our own actions?” Or maybe it was caused by Israel? Anyone believing those views would be expressing views no different from Greenwald’s arguments.

He ends by endorsing by endorsing Jeremy Scahill whose record includes support Somali pirates, jihadis and Milosevic. The guardian is useful only as an example of Poe’s law. Every day it comes more indistinguishable from Inspire or the American Free Press.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Salon.com Parts Ways With Glenn Greenwald – But Will Salon Continue To Smear Good People?

You may have heard that Glenn Greenwald, the Rio Pundit, is leaving Salon.com and bringing his brand of hyperbole to The Guardian.

As someone who used to be a loyal reader of Salon, I hope that it signals a turn back to the days of old. I’m not exactly confident that it will, they did recently hire David Sirota – who was rightfully pegged by Oliver Willis as “serially stupid”, as pointed out by Chez Pazienza.

Yesterday, I clicked over to Salon by way of a link in one of Glenn Greenwald’s tweets. He was attacking a Democrat, of course, that’s what he does these days. The title of the post was “Dianne Feinstein’s “espionage” and the tweet that linked to the article is below. By the way, I don’t link to his crap…Google it if you want to read it.

I started reading and clicking through his links and found that the source of the statement “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” was a Tweet. No shit, a Tweet. Here is the relevant section of the post, complete with Glenn’s yellow highlights.

But what makes the case of Dianne Feinstein extra egregious is that, as is well-known in Washington, the California Senator is one of the most prolific leakers in town. Here’s what Blake Hounshell, the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, wrote yesterday in response to Feinstein’s latest condemnation of leaks:

One hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security and intelligence matters in Washington. That the powerful Senator who has devoted herself to criminally punishing low-level leakers and increasing the wall of secrecy is herself “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” is about as perfect an expression as it gets of how the rule of law and secrecy powers are sleazily exploited in Washington (moreover, as EFF’s Trevor Timm observed yesterday: “Strange, I don’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War“).

From the looks of it, Glenn Greenwald wrote an entire post around a tweet from Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. I clicked on every other link, looking for more proof that Dianne Feinstein is “one of the biggest leakers in Congress”, but mostly found Glenn linking to other hyperbolic rants by himself. I guess Glenn was fine with that one source and his statement that “[O]ne hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security…”. Glenn’s lack of sources doesn’t affect his penchant for hyperbole in the least.

Sen. Feinstein may very well be a leaker, but if you were to read Glenn Greenwald’s post, you would be hard pressed to find any real evidence of it besides the tweet from Blake Hounshell, who from what I can tell is a decent journalist. It’s kind of funny, but in researching this article, I came across a piece by Hounshell where he questions Greenwald over his attack on Wired magazine.

The second snarky tweet that Greenwald referenced from Trevor Timm said “Strange, I don’t remember Sen Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War”. There is some good evidence for you – Trevor Timm doesn’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks that led to the Iraq War. I took to Google for a minute and found this one, I know there are many more because I DO remember the Senator decrying White House leaks during the Bush years. This is from 2006, when the information came to light…

“It is deeply disturbing to learn that President Bush may have authorized the selective disclosure of our most sensitive intelligence information to the media to help justify a war and discredit critics,” Feinstein said in a statement.

One of the links in Mr. Greenwald’s post brought me to this little gem from a previous attack Glenn made on Senator Feinstein. It made me shoot Diet Lipton Green Tea out my nose.

In October of 2002, she (naturally) voted to authorize President Bush to use military force to invade Iraq. She now self-servingly claims that she “regrets” the vote and was tricked by the Bush administration into believing Saddam had WMDs…(emphasis mine)

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up Glenny. You supported the Iraq War invasion, you have no right to type “naturally” or “self-serving”. From the intro to one of your books…

Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.  (emphasis mine)

I wonder how many times he has linked to that book introduction?

Why would Glenn Greenwald give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, trust, deference and blind loyalty – even after admitting that he had doubts and concerns? Yet, he hasn’t given one bit of respect or deference to President Obama and in fact has done the exact opposite by relentlessly finding every little nuance to exaggerate, as only Glenn can do.  He was clearly capable of respect and deference with his beloved W. and accepted “his judgement that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.”

All you Glenn fanboys, you got that? Glenn was just fine with President Bush invading the sovereign country of Iraq where over a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children were killed by big motherfucking bunker-buster bombs. The blood of those Iraqi civilians is on Glenn’s hands.

I’ve also noticed that Greenwald likes to conflate “whistleblowing” and “leaking”. He seems to think they are one in the same. The term “whistleblowing” as it relates to the law, has a clear definition and it is much different than the practice of “leaking”, but I guess I shouldn’t expect Greenwald to know the difference or at least be honest about it.

Once Greenwald leaves Salon.com, I’ll probably stop back over there to see what’s shaking. They have a couple of good writers and you never know, maybe they will refrain from smearing people now that Glenn Greenwald is leaving.

Hey Glenn, I hope the door hits you square in the ass on your way out.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Democratic Party, Media, MSM, Republican Party | , , , | 2 Comments

Anatomy of a Glenn Greenwald Smear Job (updated)

(This is a repost of an article I published on September 15, 2011, with a shocking update! I’m reposting it because he is currently attacking other bloggers — including me — in the same style.)

I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Greenwald. There are many reasons why I dislike the man and his writings, but the main ones are his dishonesty and hyperbolic rhetoric. I only read him when I’m tipped off to something particularly crazy.

I’ll be honest and say that when he was assaulting the Bush administration, I was cheering him on. But even then, I noticed that Greenwald played loose with the facts and exaggerated things beyond recognition (Warning, right-wing link). So even though it was aimed at Bush, it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Lying and misleading is a Republican thing, but of course, anyone who knows about Greenwald, knows that he is a libertarian (civil, LOL) and doesn’t vote.

I was searching Google one day and came across an article in The Nation titled “A Response to Glenn Greenwald“, written by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. Of course, I had to click on it. In recent years, Greenwald has become an example of how — with the growth of the internet — people have been given platforms who don’t deserve it and don’t have enough integrity to wield such power. Glenn Greenwald has shown time and time again that he is vicious in his attacks on people and uses every sleazy rhetorical technique known to humans to push his narrative. He is completely anti-Obama, anti-government and anti-Democratic Party. He used to be anti-Republican Party during the Bush years and that is when he established some false credibility with the left.

I did a study of his posts on Salon.com for a period of just over a month. What I found was — out of 43 posts, 38 of them were anti-Obama and the remaining 5 were about something non political. There were zero posts that attacked Republicans. ZERO! I guess the GOP hasn’t done anything recently that has upset Glenn.

If you want to experience the full impact of Glenn Greenwald’s hyperbole and over-the-top rhetoric, I suggest you read things in the order that I did. None of the articles are extremely long, with the exception of Glenn’s and his many updates, so it shouldn’t take that long. But you can certainly just keep reading here, too.

I first read the response to Glenn Greenwald from Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, the subjects of Glenn’s scorn. I then went and read the original piece they had written that upset Greenwald so much. And finally, I read Greenwald’s wild-eyed screed, laying into the two people who wrote the offending piece.

The first article linked above was a “self defense” piece by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, who wrote about the TSA body scanners and the “If you touch my junk” guy, John Tyner. Remember, he was the one who recorded himself going through security and telling the TSA agent “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” The article was about how the Koch brothers and people connected to them are behind a campaign against the TSA procedures. The piece starts with John Tyner, and explores whether he may be connected in some way to the Koch brothers crusade. They made implications, for sure, but they also printed Tyner’s denial of any connection to the Koch brothers and even some of his philosophy and left it at that. To me, that automatically makes the article NOT a smear job. I mean really, how good of a smear job is it if you let the target respond. They never actually accused him of anything.

Glenn Greenwald shows us all how to really smear someone.

After using Tyner as a lead in, Ames and Levine went on to detail the connections of other TSA protesters to the Koch brothers. As I read it, I didn’t perceive it as a hit piece on Tyner. Like I said, they let him defend himself. You can certainly judge for yourself. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever read anything where Glenn Greenwald let someone defend themselves. Greenwald, as you will see, goes completely nuts on the authors.

Now whether you agree with what the TSA is doing or not, the article was interesting in that it showed quite a lot of evidence to suggest that the Koch brothers are behind some of the “grassroots” uprising about the TSA. The authors of the article are familiar with the Koch brothers, having exposed their funding and promoting of another grassroots uprising — the Tea Party.

The title of Greenwald’s piece is just dripping with irony, IMO — “Anatomy of a journalistic smear job“. I imagine my piece will be considered a smear job, of a smear job, of a smear job. Lots of smearing happening here.

I’ll get into the details of Glenn’s over-the-top piece below, but I want to remind you that the bulk of the article, which he completely ignored, was about the Koch-brother-connected astroturf activities with regards to the TSA. Glenn doesn’t even mention that part of the article, but I guess that wasn’t the goal of his piece. I can only speculate about what it was that set Glenn off and caused him to reveal his extreme pettiness and vindictiveness.

I recently read that Greenwald was fine with the Citizen’s United decision that gave corporations citizenship and free reign to wreak havoc on our political system. When you think about it, it makes sense, since Greenwald is more interested in bringing down our system than improving it or working within it. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Greenwald is associated with the CATO Institute, which is partially funded by the Koch brothers.

Ames and Levine wrote a pretty fair piece, an example of good journalism in my eyes. Greenwald’s characterization of the article as a “smear job” on John Tyner was way over the top. If you’ve read the above linked articles, I’m sure most people would agree. In their response to Glenn, the authors were big enough to admit that they did imply that Tyner set up the whole TSA incident, but they didn’t imply that he was connected to the Koch brothers. The thing they did mention was the timing of his protest, coming so close to another incident that WAS connected to the Koch’s and the fact that Tyner runs a blog that preaches libertarian ideas. They really leave it to the reader to decide, which is about the most you can ask of any journalist these days. But Glenn did not see it that way at all. Holy shit.

Greenwald begins his smear job with a reference to how liberals are usually subjected to the kind of treatment a 12 year old girl received from Michelle Malkin. It’s a great set up for someone who loves to pretend he is a liberal. It lays the foundation for the piece and sets up the outrage in the readers mind – that he then goes on to exploit. Glenn follows that up with this characterization of the article.

Today, The Nation — a magazine which generally offers very good journalism — subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I’m genuinely surprised its editors published it.

In typical Greenwald fashion, he projects ideas and opinions onto the targets of his assault that have nothing to do with what was actually said. He is a master at that. Check out this characterization…

…is devoted to the claim that those objecting to the new TSA procedures — such as Tyner — are not what they claim to be. Rather, they are Koch-controlled plants deliberately provoking and manufacturing a scandal — because, after all, what real American in their right mind would do anything other than meekly submit with gratitude and appreciation to these procedures?

The authors didn’t say anything even close to what Greenwald characterized, that was simply red meat to his readers. In fact, in the second paragraph, the article says the opposite of what Glenn projected onto them.

While this issue is certainly important—and offensive—to Americans, we are nonetheless skeptical about how and why this story turned into a national movement.

After making that outrageous claim, Greenwald then uses the author’s first paragraph to justify his bold statement. He refers to the quotation marks around “ordinary guy” as scare quotes. Shit, I thought they were “air” quotes. If I had the time, I’m sure I could go through Greenwald’s writing and find many instances when he himself uses “scare quotes”. I personally use them to emphasize things. It is “very” common to use them. Pretty scary, huh?

Greenwald, a little later in the piece, says this…(emphasis mine)

They follow up their evidence-free innuendo in the opening paragraph with even stronger accusatory claims in the second:  Tyner, they strongly imply without directly accusing him, is a “Koch-related libertarian” and a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative posing as [an] ‘ordinary citizen’,” and his outrage over what was done to him is “fake.”  The implicit accusations and innuendo are piling up while the evidence remains non-existent.

If you read the piece, you know that they never accused Tyner of being a “Koch-related libertarian” or a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative…”….Glenn tries to make that connection for us. As I said, the authors printed John Tyner’s denial of it. If that isn’t being fair, I don’t know what is. I propose that Greenwald’s words smear John Tyner much more than Ames and Levine.

Glenn then takes issue with the following paragraph.

So far, all we know about “ordinary guy” John Tyner III, the freedom fighter who took on the TSA agents, is that, according to a friendly hometown profile in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “he leans strongly libertarian and doesn’t believe in voting.  TSA security policy, he asserts ‘isn’t Republican and it isn’t Democratic’.” [emphasis added]

Tyner attended private Christian schools in Southern California and lives in Oceanside, a Republican stronghold next to Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps base on the West Coast.

The above two paragraphs were about the extent to which they talked about Tyner personally. The majority of the piece was about others with direct ties to the Koch brothers and lots of evidence of it. Notice how the authors quote the San Diego Union-Tribune, which Ames and Levine get lambasted for, as if they had written it. Glenn, you should at least attack the right people if you are going to act a fool about background information. And it is described as a friendly hometown profile, those “insidious” friendly hometown profilers. This is how Greenwald characterizes that background info from the friendly hometown paper.

These two paragraphs — the heart of the case against Tyner — are insidious.  By their own admission, this is “all [they] know” about Tyner:  he has failed to swear his loyalty to one of the two major political parties, a grievous sin worthy of deep suspicion.

“By their own admission”….Greenwald loves to use that phrase, it carries it’s own set of implications. In this case, the authors are being straightforward with the reader, but that of course it is used against them by Greenwald. He then goes on to extrapolate from the newspaper quote – that what the authors were saying, not the actual writer of the quote, but the people who reprinted it — is that Tyner “has failed to swear his loyalty to one of the two major political parties, a grievous sin worthy of deep suspicion.” Now that’s some serious projecting of Glenn’s own warped interpretations onto others.  Merely mentioning that he is a libertarian is tantamount to calling him pure evil, in Glenn’s mind, anyway. Victim mentality for 200, Alex.

Oh, there’s more. Glenn Greenwald continues his rant based on the newspaper quote and it’s here that he goes completely over the edge. It gives us a peek at his mentality. More over-the-top projection from the master…

He refuses — correctly — to view TSA extremism as the by-product of either party.  Worse, he doesn’t believe in voting — a fringe and radical position in which he’s joined by merely half of the entire American citizenry (65% in midterm years), 130 million voting-age Americans who — surveying the choices — also apparently see no reason to bother voting.  What kind of strange person would fail to find great inspiration from one of America’s two Great Political Parties or refuse to see the world exclusively through a Democrat v. GOP prism?  More suspiciously still, he went to “private Christian schools” as a child and resides in a community that has a lot of Republicans in it; why, his neighborhood is even near a Marine base!  This is clearly no “ordinary guy.”

I don’t know where to start with that part of the diatribe. I think the majority of people who don’t vote are just plain fucking lazy and don’t want to drag their asses down to the voting booth and stand in line. Or they just don’t bother paying attention to politics, we all know people like that. I’m sure some believe like Greenwald and Tyner, but to characterize them all as believing what Glenn says…is, well, fucking crazy.

Being called a libertarian is apparently not cool with Greenwald. The mere mention of the word means the author is implying they are a “strange person…who would fail to find great inspiration from….Great Political Parties (ed. note: why he capitalizes that, I don’t know)…”. How does pointing out that Tyner went to private christian schools, lived in a Republican area and near a military base prove that he ISN’T an “ordinary guy”? That sounds pretty ordinary to me. Only in the mind of Glenn Greenwald can “scare quotes” and giving innocuous background on a person be the end of the fucking world and proof that the authors were doing a smear job. Greenwald clearly has some issues. I took the ordinary guy “scare quotes” to mean that — because he was a libertarian blogger, he may not be that ordinary. And when you add the fact that he turned on his recording device before entering the TSA screening area, that he may not have just been an “ordinary” passenger, but someone who had an agenda. I think that’s a fair implication. But Greenwald, of course, doesn’t quite see it that way.

Now if you thought Glenn had gone far enough with his exaggeration of the friendly profile quote, you’d be wrong. The next paragraph starts with this line, taking it even further…

As for his standing accused by The Nation of suspicion on the grounds of his avowed libertarianism

Just to recap,  Ames and Levine directly quote the hometown newspaper and say he is a libertarian, doesn’t believe in voting, and says he doesn’t think the TSA issue is a Democratic or Republican issue. And then they go on to reprint that he went to Christian schools and lived in a predominantly Republican area, near a military base. Oh, and they “admitted” that they didn’t know much more about him.

Greenwald interprets all of that as “innuendo”, “accusatory”, “smearing” and that the respected authors implied that Tyner is a “Koch-related libertarian”, a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative posing as [an] ‘ordinary citizen’,” and that his outrage over what was done to him was fake. All of that from the background info and the “scare quotes” around the word ordinary. Wow!

But then Glenn takes it even further. He accuses the The Nation of accusing the guy of “suspicion on the grounds of his avowed libertarianism.” To which I would say, suspicion based on the fact that he recorded himself going through the TSA screening, posted it on the internet, runs a libertarian blog and it was two days after another incident that was Koch connected. There is reason to be suspicious of the guy, but the authors did a more than fair job of giving him a rebuttal. This is clearly an appeal to Katrina vanden Heuval who ended up publishing an apology and kissing Greenwald’s ass, for some reason. I might have to forward my article to her, maybe she won’t be so quick to throw her writers under the bus the next time Glenn goes nuts on one of them.

Who is doing the smear job here, Glenn, or the people he is accusing. Because Glenn made much worse accusations against Tyner than Ames and Levine.

It’s clear that they were questioning whether John Tyner was another of the Koch-brother-connected protesters, but were very fair with him. My sense, considering what Greenwald put in his updates, is that he is more concerned with the attack on libertarians than he is with John Tyner, who put the video up on Youtube for the world to see. If you are going to record yourself and put it out there for the world, you better be prepared to be questioned about your motives. And merely questioning someones motives shouldn’t prompt such a horrible attack (smear job) like the one that Greenwald levied on Mark Ames and Yasha Levine.

UPDATE:

So it turns out Glenn Greenwald wasn’t revealing all the facts when he wrote that screed attacking Ames and Levine. Check this out, the emphasis is mine…

The Nation apologized to Tyner (but did not retract the piece), and the only reason why the Nation apologized was because it was forced to by a hysterical campaign led by Glenn Greenwald and his libertarian comrades. The Nation apologized without knowing that Greenwald was privately coaching Tyner at the time that Greenwald attacked Ames and Levine’s article in The Nation. We repeat: Greenwald was coaching Tyner, according to email threads leaked to The eXiled, and Greenwald did not disclose this. Why didn’t Glenn Greenwald disclose his relationship to John Tyner?

Moreover, Tyner has since admitted that he deceived the public and that he had in fact planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt–the Nation apology was based on believing Tyner hadn’t planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt. Did Glenn Greenwald know that Tyner was deceiving the public when he claimed he hadn’t planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt? If so, why didn’t Greenwald disclose this? Why didn’t Glenn Greenwald disclose his own deep libertarian ties, and ties to the Koch-founded Cato Institute, going back several years, when Greenwald attacked our article exposing the Koch-funded libertarians leading and fronting the anti-TSA media hysteria? Why hasn’t Glenn Greenwald apologized for not disclosing his conflict-of-interest? Also, John Tyner has come out in favor of privatizing the TSA, against unions, against gay marriage, against drug legalization and as a follower of racist libertarian Murray Rothbard, promoter of David Duke’s candidacy, contradicting the progressive Jimmy Stewart image that Greenwald painted in his article defending the Koch-linked libertarians behind the anti-TSA media hysteria.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Media, MSM | , , , | Comments Off

Morning Music – Dedicated to Glenn Greenwald

She is one of my favorite artists, Rickie Lee Jones. This song – “Ugly Man” – was written about President George W. Bush, but I’m dedicating it to my new friend Glenn Greenwald, who has inspired me to write a lot more about him. Thanks Glenn…

Considering the fact that Glenn Greenwald trusted Bush going into Iraq, it seems appropriate.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Music, Politics | , | Comments Off

A Wise Man Takes On Progressives Flirting With Ron Paul!

I’m still in editing mode on a project, but just had to share this post that my friend and fellow blogger Angry Black Lady wrote about a piece by Tim Wise, one of the leading experts on racism in the country. It takes on those on the left flirting with Ron Paul and is a must read for liberals. Go check out ABL’s post and really, go read Tim Wise’s entire piece, it is long but well worth it. Here is ABL’s lead in to an excerpt that gets to the heart of the post.

But people are starting to get it. The Greenwald sweater of polemical deceit is unraveling, and I like it. I like it because I find his sort of polemical discourse and rhetorical bomb-throwing to be a reckless distraction from the serious problems that confront us.

I especially like this, from Tim Wise — “Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals.”  It’s a thing of beauty. You should read the whole thing, but I’m going to excerpt what I see as the most salient bit:

I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but

How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them — a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country — when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country, and whose position on the right of businesses to discriminate, places him on the side of the segregated lunchcounter owners? And how do you think they take it that you praise this man, or possibly even support him for president, all so as to teach the black guy currently in the office a lesson for failing to live up to your expectations?

How do you think it sounds to them, right now, this week, as we prepare to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that you claim to be progressive, and yet you are praising or even encouraging support for a man who voted against that holiday, who opposes almost every aspect of King’s public policy agenda, and the crowning achievements of the movement he helped lead?

My guess is that you don’t think about this at all. Because you don’t have to. One guess as to why not.

It’s the same reason you don’t have to think about how it sounds to most women — and damned near all progressive women — when you praise Paul openly despite his views on reproductive freedom, and even sexual harassment, which Paul has said should not even be an issue for the courts. He thinks women who are harassed on the job should just quit. In other words, “Yeah, he might be a little bit sexist, but…”

It’s the same reason you don’t have to really sweat the fact that he would love to cut important social programs for poor people. And you don’t have to worry about how it sounds to them that you would claim to be progressive, while encouraging support for a guy who would pull what minimal safety net still exists from under them, and leave it to private charities to fill the gap. And we all know why you don’t have to worry about it. Because you aren’t them. You aren’t the ones who would be affected. You’ll never be them. I doubt you even know anyone like that. People who are that poor don’t follow you on Twitter.

~snip~

And please, Glenn Greenwald, spare me the tired shtick about how Paul “raises important issues” that no one on the left is raising, and so even though you’re not endorsing him, it is still helpful to a progressive narrative that his voice be heard. Bullshit. The stronger Paul gets the stronger Paul gets, period. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger libertarianism gets, and thus, the Libertarian Party as a potential third party: not the Greens, mind you, but the Libertarians. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger become those voices who worship the free market as though it were an invisible fairy godparent, capable of dispensing all good things to all comers — people like Paul Ryan, for instance, or Scott Walker. In a nation where the dominant narrative has long been anti-tax, anti-regulation, poor-people-bashing and God-bless-capitalism, it would be precisely those aspects of Paul’s ideological grab bag that would become more prominent. And if you don’t know that, you are a fool of such Herculean proportions as to suggest that Salon might wish to consider administering some kind of political-movement-related-cognitive skills test for its columnists, and the setting of a minimum cutoff score, below which you would, for this one stroke of asininity alone, most assuredly fall.

I mean, seriously, if “raising important issues” is all it takes to get some kind words from liberal authors, bloggers and activists, and maybe even votes from some progressives, just so as to “shake things up,” then why not support David Duke? With the exception of his views on the drug war, David shares every single view of Paul’s that can be considered progressive or left in orientation. Every single one. So where do you draw the line? Must one have actually donned a Klan hood and lit a cross before his handful of liberal stands prove to be insufficient? Must one actually, as Duke has been known to do, light candles on a birthday cake for Hitler on April 20, before it no longer proves adequate to want to limit the overzealous reach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Exactly when does one become too much of an evil fuck even for you? Inquiring minds seriously want to know.

And here is another chunk from ABL’s post which is a preface to a book authored by Glenn Greenwald that I’ve been wanting to write about since I was turned onto it. It made me say out loud, “Whaaaaaaaaa?”…

During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

And this is the guy going around calling anyone who supports President Obama “baby-killers”. People call this guy smart?

January 13, 2012 Posted by | Professional Left, Racism, Republican Party | , , , | 29 Comments

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