Monday, March 18, 2013

Not Just Worse Than Bush

“It is true that, when it comes to secrecy and executive power abuses, Obama is not Dick Cheney," said Glenn Greenwald, author of "How Would a Patriot Act" and a columnist at The Guardian. "Cheney never targeted U.S. citizens for assassination, nor prosecuted whistleblowers at anywhere near the rate Obama has, nor waged a war (in Libya) after Congress expressly rejected its authorization."
Mr. Greenwald does have the litigator's fetish for framing every sentence in the most aggressively dichotomous way possible down cold. Ordering dessert with him must be a bitch; "Are you going to order the tiramisu or are you objectively pro-Hitler?"

Because in Glennview there are always two-and-only-two acceptable positions on all issues: agreeing with Glenn 100% right down the line and worse-than-Cheney.

Another nice touch?

The 2,000 mile broad-jumping elision over the fact that the "Congress" is, in fact, the House Republicans and that their rejection of the Libya authorization (225-to-8) was nothing more than a continuation of the GOP's well-documented strategy of pathologically obstructing by any means necessary every single fucking thing -- from a Veteran's Disability Treaty to their own leadership's crappy budget "Plan B" to every jobs bill to the Consumer Protection Agency Chief -- that might possibly be construed as a victory for the Kenyan Usurper.

But yes, by all means let's get President Obama out of the business of making national security policy and military decisions behind closed doors and put the responsibility for these vital functions where Glenn clearly believes they belong.

In the hands of Michele Bachmann.

And Louis Gomert.

And Ted Cruz.

And Virginia Foxx.

For some reason this dose of unhappy reality never seems to penetrate any Purity Caucus discussions regarding reining in Emperor Barack OStalin, but make no mistake, given the current makeup of the Party of Personal Responsibility this is exactly the arrangement Mr. Greenwald is proposing.

Which makes me wonder why his "liberal" fans are so cool with adding national security to the list of things the GOP should be allowed to hold hostage in exchange for privatizing Social Security or a 30% tax cut for billionaires?


Anonymous said...

Good work! By your own logic, let assholes and imbeciles in the GOP re-frame every fucking thing, even regarding the purest of the pure.

More judicious, more seeing, wiser, better balanced, even when balance must be compromised.

Moderation in all things.

With your help there is nothing that can't be better conserved.

By knowing when to be more liberal, you are the better conservative.

Roger said...

So it ounds to me that you're down with living uder secret law? You don't mind that the government is not required to explain their reasoning for doing things that might be controversial? You don't mind that the Constitution says that "no person", not "no citizen", "shall be deprived of life of property except by due process of law"? Maybe I'm getting a little shrill here, but are you pleased thet Obama is, in fact, prosecuting more whistle-blowers than any previous administration? Are you in favor of cutting Social Security benefits, as Obama repeatedly says he wants to do? Maybe I'm misunderstanding your position here. I can see that you are incensed that Glenn Greenwald, of all people, would DARE to compare Obama to Darth Cheney, and, yes, Greenwald does tend to frame things in binary, black or white, terms, but it sounds to me like you're saying you support all the questionable things Obama does.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Ever run into a guy called Tbogg. You'n'him offer a blessed dose of reality! Thanks as usual.

Anonymous said...

Your crusade to justify your support and consent of civil rights abuses and constitutional abuses by the current president are becoming quite pathetic. You should probably go back to analyzing Brooks and crew, where you excel.

thwap said...

I used to come to this site to get some laffs at the expense of David Brooks.

Now, it's like: "I wonder how that car wreck at 'drift-glass' is looking."

Your president is a piece of shit and your Democratic Party is for chumps.

Why don't you explain your hero's treatment of Bradley Manning for us?

Why don't you attempt to provide a logical counter to Greenwald's allegations about whistle-blowers under Obama, instead of writing this tripe?

Lit3Bolt said...

Right. It's like Obama is, sui generis, responsible for every sin committed by US military power, including going back in time to found the NSA and CIA, nuke Japan, firebomb Dresden, kill Bolshiviks in Russia, urge McKinley to attack Spain, gave the casus belli against Mexico, and was conducting early experiments in biological warfare by giving Native Americans smallpox infected blankets.

By seeing Obama as the scary black-caped villain who twirls his mustache every time a drone kills, while seeing Ron and Rand Paul as principled elder statesmen who defy the entire US military establishment at very great risk to themselves (and not because of political opportunity and feasibility), GG proves to everyone that he is highly allergic to nuance and is nearly impervious to reason.

GG has been viciously attacking Obama for years now, with vitriol and bitterness that far outweighs anything I've ever seen before from him, and I've been reading him since he was at Unclaimed Territory.

What possible reasons can he give his fluffing of the Pauls and his attacks on Obama?

Why would he lie about his initial support for Bush and the Iraq War?

Why would he relentlessly attack Obama from the left on military policy, while largely absolving Congress, the defense industry, government bureaucracy, Washington establishment, SCOTUS, the Pentagon, the entire US history of foreign intervention, the fact that Obama inherited all of these programs and wars, and faced considerable resistance and pushback to shutting any of them down?

Why would he instead turn to a father and son duo of two-bit gold-investing, abortion-banning, racist hustlers whose stance on civil rights and liberties is extremely dubious at best and fraudulent at worst?

When a lawyer is ignoring facts and history to make up a new narrative, I think it's safe to use Occam's razor and assume he's ignoring those facts and history because they don't help him. They work against him. He's uninterested in them because they don't fit with the narrative and doubts he's trying to instill in his audience's mind.

And using Occam's razor, the question to why Obama is pure distilled evil and the Pauls are holy principled Randian Knights is easily answered...

cause once you go Cato...

you never go back.

Lit3Bolt said...

Roger, thwap, you're being ridiculous.

Yes, Obama's been a bad boy. Just like every single President before him. But pretending that this is unique, or new, without offering a single constructive argument, criticism, or policy change from the left is worse than useless.

There are 2 political parties in this country. One is bad and corrupt, and the other is ignorant, authoritarian, irredeemably evil, and worst of all, incapable of even the fundamentals of governing. What Glenn Greenwald has argued for, as a solution to policies that very, very, very few liberal bloggers like, is a complete and utter capitulation to the Republicans on questions of foreign policy, and not just Republicans, the worst of the Republicans, gold-bug, huckster, states' rights-advocating, total isolationist, abortion-banning, Ayn Rand-reading Republicans.

Of course, Glenn Greenwald, your true patriot, fucking fled the country to be with his one true love and has to bear the excruciating agony of living in Rio.

Look, we all like Glenn Greenwald's Drug War stance, right? We all want to end the Drug War, that horribly successful response to the Civil Rights movement.

Do you hold Obama SINGULARLY and UNIQUELY responsible for the Drug War?

Nobody is trying to hem or haw away Obama's stance on these issues, which are bad and extremely conservative and nonliberal. We hate that Bradley Manning is in jail, that whistle-blowers are having lives and careers ruined, that suspected terrorists are dying without their due process rights, and that the US routinely bombs women and children trying to play Whack-a-Jihadi.

But to say that not voting for Democrats is a solution, or that voting REPUBLICAN is a solution...

That's being extremely disingenuous. In fact, it makes us not trust Glenn Greenwald, even when he's right! How productive is that?

Or maybe...just maybe...being a productive liberal isn't Glenn Greenwald's goal at all...

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

"Which makes me wonder why his 'liberal' fans are so cool with adding national security to the list of things the GOP should be allowed to hold hostage in exchange for privatizing Social Security or a 30% tax cut for billionaires?"

As a fan of both yours and Mr. Greenwald's, allow me to take a stab at this.

About the Greenwald quote, are you arguing that the following statements are technically untrue:

1. "Cheney never targeted U.S. citizens for assassination"
2. "nor prosecuted whistleblowers at anywhere near the rate Obama has"
3. "nor waged a war (in Libya) after Congress expressly rejected its authorization."

I ask this because pointing out that the Republicans are Charybdis to Mr. Obama's Scylla (which I agree with) doesn't stop (for me at least) Mr. Obama from being Scylla.

This is why I lean towards the Greenwald position (without thinking you the D-800..."liberal tissue over Obamabot endoskeleton"...for disagreeing with me).

You and I both have a line at which "but the Republicans..." won't allow us to defend Mr. Obama's actions. The difference is that your line is further off than mine.

Enjoy your day,

Kevin Holsinger

tony in san diego said...

I thought this issue of whether the president can fire on US citizens on US soil was settled at Fort Sumter.

Anonymous said...

Nay Driftie you're wrong. Greenwald thinks that Ron Paul should be making those decisions.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Speaking of worse than Bush, driftglass, do you remember what happened to the Bush-Cheney attempt to privatize Social Security? They ran it up the flagpole, and took it down almost as fast.

Not Obama, he's working Social Security cuts like a bulldog. Only a Democratic President could get this done.

Which is to say...exactly what does your bitching at Greenwald accomplish?

You do realize that when Obama insisted on renewal of the "USA PATRIOT Act" with its worst provisions intact, he had large majorities in the House and the Senate?

Are you satisfied with 4+ years of this Administration sucking off the banksters and doing as little for their voters as they can possibly get away with?

This is the direct result.

No wonder Obama's defenders would rather refer to "ideological purists" and avoid mentioning the policies and facts in question.

TBogg (referenced above) is a boot-licking hypocrite. Don't be like him.

Fritz Strand said...

Believe or not I do not think I have to choose between you and Greenwald, which I know you would agree with. Greenwald does lots of good work but does tend to come off a bit down in mouth all the time.

I heard and interesting discussion, I believe of the Chris Hayes show, with him defending his abolutists first amendment, pro Citizen United position. When pressed about laws curbing abuses by moneyed interests, he fell into the most conservative rant about how all laws can be gotten around, so what's the point of passing them. Just like your conservative uncle dicussing any pragmatic solution to any issue at your Thanksgiviing dinner.

Glenn, life is a slippery slope. Get use to it.

Anonymous said...

Blog post: "dichotomous logic is shortsighted and should be avoided"

Blog comments: " Your objection to dichotomous logic proves that you must be objectively pro-Hitler"

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Black and white thinking always offers a consoling feeling of purity.

I remember feeling that way in 2000. Subsequent events forced me to accept and engage with the world in all it's messy, non-binary reality.

Shoving your fingers in your ears, closing your eyes, and singing The Lesser Shittism Waltz is not a very helpful tactic.

Pinkamena Panic said...

False dilemma? What's that, some Obamabot codeword?

By the way, Greenbots? Glans Greenhorn is a libertarian.
Meaning he IS NOT A LIBERAL.

Funny how it's only wrong to support the people that Glans and his cult call righties, though.

Pinkamena Panic said...

Oh, and one last thing: Black-and-white thinking was the favorite tactic of - wait for it - BUSH SUPPORTERS! Remember "America, love it or leave it" or "only traitors don't support the Preznit"?

And yes, you're immediately going to accuse those of us who see this as a shade of gray as being just like that, because hey, it's almost similar words if you strawman the living fuck out of us, right? Never mind the fact that every single person you ask on this is going to say - loudly and correctly - that we think drone strikes suck and that the Prez is wrongheaded on this. Nope, if we don't say that Obama is worse than Ten Million Hitlers In A Jar Of Liquid Bush, we're OMG OBVSLY BLIND OBOTZ!!!1

But don't let the facts get in the way of a good screed!

thwap said...


This drift into hysteria by drift-glass is the result of a debased political culture.

You Obama defenders believe that life is messy and what are you going to do, and have fallen almost to the bottom of a slippery slope.

You have an insane Republican Party, which is basically the "heel" in staged professional wrestling, and you have the Democrats, playing the chump ("spineless" "give 'em head Harry [Reid]") who always get bashed on the head with the folding chair by the heel.

People in the audience get all worked up but both the heel and the chump know that it's all a fraud and all they want is your money.

Once you give your heads a shake, you'll see that both of your country's two main political institutions are laughable frauds who are just helping the financial sector to rob you blind.

And, even if it isn't a fraud, what sort of system of government are you talking about when your Constitution says that only Congress can authorize war, but Congress is full of idiots so the POTUS gets to ignore it?

What are the ramifications of such a system?

Do you think a later Repug president can dismiss a Democrat-controlled Congress that votes against a war on Denmark because he thinks that Congress are all hopeless nutbars? If not, why not? How would you justify your stance having cheered Obama's rejection of Congress?

And was it really necessary to take that step to help turn Libya into a lawless hell-hole and destabilize the whole region even more?

Anonymous said...

At what point do you stop infantilizing someone, by calling them a "bad boy," who clearly knows what hes' doing, and accept the fact that the crimes described are war crimes and were at one point punishable by death. So according to your argument: whatcha gonna do, boys will be boys? Nice theory of law you've got yourself there.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Black and white thinking always offers a consoling feeling of purity.

Is this a way to avoid acknowledging the fact that Obama protected and enriched the people who broke our economy, and screwed all his voters?

Mego said...

Glenn Greenwald has clearly jumped the shark. Ever since his stint in South American he has become a Randian shrill. I used to read him but haven't for years.

Pinkamena Panic said...

Nihilists, Dude.

And with that I give up on trying to fix these bomb-throwers. I withdraw.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Your crusade to justify your support and consent of civil rights abuses and constitutional abuses by the current president

I'd be interested in knowing where, exactly, driftglass expressed support for any of that by President Obama.

I've been reading and listening to him for some time now, and I think I would have noticed that.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Is this a way to avoid acknowledging the fact that Obama protected and enriched the people who broke our economy, and screwed all his voters?

Yes. Of course. That's JUST what it is. Think what you want of me.

bluicebank said...

You seem to have fallen into a logical trap. To wit: an excess of presidential power by a Democrat can be tolerated because the supposed alternative is to give such power to worse people. Is that about the size of it?

You speak so often and well about false equivalency, yet fail to recognize a more subtle version in yourself. "The other side is worse" is no defense. The subject is one of basic human rights, not who is doing the deed. You would have pilloried GW Bush & Cheney for the same actions.

Batocchio said...

Once again, I wrote a comment that was too long, so for now I'll just say historical context is important – see Mark Ames and Rick Perlstein, for starters. (Also, given that it's the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, I would hope our memories haven't grown too short, regarding Cheney and other matters.)

Fiddlin Bill said...

Obama's limited idealism met the real world as soon as he literally inherited two real wars and all that fact entails, including many thousands of American soldiers in harm's way. He didn't start either of these wars. The war mongers in the Republican Party started these wars. The war mongers in the Republican Party want to start new wars as soon as they have power again. Driftglass is simply pointing this reality out, as against Mr. Greenwald's legalistic critique. There are, in the real world, many real distinctions. One is between Mr. Cheney and Mrs. Fox, on the one hand, and Mr. Obama on the other.

Zipperupus said...

"You speak so often and well about false equivalency, yet fail to recognize a more subtle version in yourself. "The other side is worse" is no defense. The subject is one of basic human rights, not who is doing the deed. You would have pilloried GW Bush & Cheney for the same actions."

He has done no such thing. And he has pilloried Obama on several occasions, but he doesn't make it his priority.

Look, it's pretty simple. The rhetorical trick that Glenn is using can be applied to just about any president, especially war time ones:

When it comes to secrecy and executive power abuses, Franklin Roosevelt is no Dick Cheney. Cheney didn't intern tens of thousands of Japanese-American citizens without due process, or seize public gold and prohibit gold trading by executive order.

See how I did that? By highlighting the particulars of a person's actions, I can build a case by inference to ruin their reputation. That's a false dichotomy, and that sir is an ignoble trick.

Do you really think Driftglass is a mindless supporter of Obama? Or do you think, perhaps, he is roasting Greebwald because he engages in spurious rhetorical flourishes that appeal to our baser apathetic natures...

For me, it is about what we do with Greenwald's revelations. If we listen to him, it would be to run a third party coalition of progressives and libertarians... And that third party is the Libertarian Party. By getting his audience (predominately young, white and male) hyper focused on a small but important facet of the overall struggle for liberty, he not so subtly pushes them to unite with fringe figures like Gary Johnson. And Rand Paul.

Speaking of Rand Paul, he proposed legislation. Was it about curtailing the AUMF and shackling the outrageous policy of drone warfare? Nope. It was about recognizing a fetus as a person. Interesting how senator Paul chooses to actually use his elected power: to try and undermine the civil liberties of women.

Anonymous said...


sorry for shouting but come on people... what is it you defend?

You Liberty or the Rule of a Man?