Friday, June 14, 2013

Internet Man Writes Angry Tirade Denouncing His Enemies

For noting his obsessive need to write angry tirades denouncing his enemies.

So Glenn Greenwald v2013 continues to pummel poor Glenn Greenwald v2006.

I do which he'd stop.

Here is Mr. Greenwald today, continuing to aggressively pursue his goal of turning his large and consequential story about NSA overreach into a cudgel with which to beat "Democratic (especially Obama-loyal) pundits" to their knees:
(1) Much of US politics, and most of the pundit reaction to the NSA stories, are summarized by this one single visual from Pew:
The most vocal media critics of our NSA reporting, and the most vehement defenders of NSA surveillance, have been, by far, Democratic (especially Obama-loyal) pundits. As I've written many times, one of the most significant aspects of the Obama legacy has been the transformation of Democrats from pretend-opponents of the Bush War on Terror and National Security State into their biggest proponents: exactly what the CIA presciently and excitedly predicted in 2008 would happen with Obama's election.
Some Democrats have tried to distinguish 2006 from 2013 by claiming that the former involved illegal spying while the latter does not. But the claim that current NSA spying is legal is dubious in the extreme: the Obama DOJ has repeatedly thwarted efforts by the ACLU, EFF and others to obtain judicial rulings on their legality and constitutionality byinvoking procedural claims of secrecy, immunity and standing. If Democrats are so sure these spying programs are legal, why has the Obama DOJ been so eager to block courts from adjudicating that question?
More to the point, Democratic critiques of Bush's spying were about more than just legality. I know that because I actively participated in the campaign to amplify those critiques. Indeed, by 2006, most of Bush's spying programs - definitely his bulk collection of phone records - were already being conducted under the supervision and with the blessing of the FISA court. Moreover, leading members of Congress - including Nancy Pelosi - were repeatedly briefed on all aspects of Bush's NSA spying program. So the distinctions Democrats are seeking to draw are mostly illusory...
Here is Mr. Greenwald in 2006 explicitly and eloquently making the case that he is now desperately trying to to pretend he did not make back when he was (as he so carefully phrases it) actively participating "in the campaign to amplify those critiques" --

Here are a few quotes from Mr. Greenwald v2006 as transcribed by me:
"The other point I want to make is that nobody is against eavesdropping on Al Qaeda...  We have a law in place the purpose of which is to enable the government to eavesdrop on terrorists.  We all want eavesdropping on terrorists.  That's why we have a law in place.  That's why Democrats and Republicans came together to make the law stronger in the wake of 9/11.  And that's why President Bush said that law give him all the power we need.  The scandal is not about whether or not we should be eavesdropping: we're going to eavesdrop -- we should be eavesdropping. The question is about whether the President will exercise the awesome power of being able to eavesdrop on the communication of the American people in violation of the law -- meaning without judicial oversight, without anyone knowing what he is doing --  or in accordance with the law, meaning with judicial approval by the secret FISA court.  
They didn't break the law by eavesdropping.  We all want eavesdropping -- aggressive eavesdropping on Al Qaeda.  They broke the law by eavesdropping without the judicial oversight that law requires." 
In 1978, we realized that the power to eavesdrop on American citizens is an extraordinary power and it has been abused by Republican and Democratic administrations for decades As a result, we trust our government-- our federal government -- to have this power only if someone is watching over them.

And that "someone" is the FISA court that is expert in the law and that it trusted to keep the country's secrets and that was the way we could assure ourselves that this power would not be abused, that President abided by the law.

Since the President broke the law and is eavesdropping in secret,  nobody has any idea how the power has been used or what has  been done with that information...
Look, this is easy to fix.

First, instead of pretending that you never said what you said back then, just say hoo-boy, did I ever goof on FISA.  Looks like bringing the program back under FISA didn't fix the problem, so how about we all get together and make sure that problem gets fixed and stays fixed for real.

Second, as to a technical detail that you flubbed, just say, you know, I'm a bit of a Luddite and I parsed a some of the technical language covering the movement of data from internet provider services to the NSA incorrectly.  That misunderstanding has become a distraction, so let me take it off the table right now and say, "I made a mistake" so we can move on with reforming this system.

Like ripping off a bandaid, stings for a second and then its over.

But as Mr. Greenwald's column today makes clear, that is never going to happen.  To date, Mr.  Greenwald appears quite unable to admit to even the smallest error: instead, he aggressively defends his warts with all the venom at his command which succeeds only in lending credence to his critics.

To date, Mr. Greenwald has also shown himself incapable of comprehending even the most constructive criticism from even the most friendly source as anything other than a tricksie sneak-attack:
I know that many Democrats want to cling to the belief that, in [Rick] Perlstein's words, "the powers that be will find it very easy to seize on this one error to discredit [my] NSA revelation, even the ones he nailed dead to rights". Perlstein cleverly writes that "such distraction campaigns are how power does its dirtiest work" as he promotes exactly that campaign.


Or to quote Charles Pierce:
...Glenn Greenwald should become more sensitive at distinguishing support from blind idolatry and stop starting fights that remove him from the basic point of what's going on. If you're reduced to implying that Rick Fking Perlstein is overly solicitous of this administration, it's time to lose all the fanboys and come back to the pack a little.
Like so many other stories Mr. Greenwald becomes involved in, sooner rather than later it always ends up being a soapbox from which Mr. Greenwald can lecture the world about the villainy of his enemies and the hypocrisy of his critics.

Right now, Mr. Greenwald has the world by the tail, and the story he is breaking is important and consequential.  And yet at the moment of his greatest triumph he appears incapable of rising above his need to use his megaphone to settle petty scores with his enemies...a group which seems to include anyone and everyone he perceives of as disagreeing with him in the slightest. Which leads to the greatest irony (not tragedy, not surprise, just "irony") of the NSA overreach story so far -- the fact that, in his over-the-top, vindictive obsession with his enemies, Mr. "Worse Than Nixon!  Worse Than Cheney!" has shown himself to be more like Nixon in one tragic way than any other actor in this drama (from "Nixon", 1995):
Richard M. Nixon: ...You don't understand. They're playing for keeps, buddy. The press, the kids, the liberals - they're out there, trying to figure out how to tear me down.

Pat Nixon: They're all your enemies?

Pat Nixon: You personally?

Richard M. Nixon: Yes! This is about me. Why can't you understand that, you of all people? It's not the war - It's Nixon! They want to destroy Nixon! And if I expose myself even the slightest bit they'll tear my insides out...


mahakal said...

I think you are exhibiting some sort of GGDS here. In any case you are sounding like a broken record. I think this post is self-referential in the extreme. GG as Nixon? Please.

Swede said...

"...which succeeds only in lending credence to his critics." I will take a chance and say that will not happen cause the criticism will be labeled, right or wrong, coming from the villagers, who has shit for credibility. And that is something Mr. Greenwald is not.

n1ck said...

But DG!

Democrats are hypocritical, which is all Saint Glenneth Greenwaldus ever really cared about pointing out.

That the NSA has been listening in on Americans "since 1978" is old news.

I think even you are getting stuck thinking Greenwald gives a fuck about what the NSA is doing.

He's trying to show us pesky libruuuuuuls that we're just as bad as the Republicans, because, well, LOOK AT THE POLL!!!!!1111




Oh, wait, am I getting my Saint Glenneth Greenwaldus talking points mixed up with my Tea Party talking points.

Go figure.


steeve said...

Broken record. Yeah.

"Greenwald is clearly wrong. Look! It's right here!"

"Greenwald is clearly wrong. Look! It's right here!"

"Greenwald is clearly wrong. Look! It's right here!"

This isn't a broken record, it's a message in the computing sense. The sender will keep sending the message until it receives an acknowledgement. Here the acknowledgment is "yeah, you're right".

This is the internet. We're all nothing more than black pixels. It should be easier to admit error than in real life, not harder.

mahakal said...

Except Greenwald is not clearly wrong at all, DG just keeps replaying the same out-of-context nonsense to argue that GG issued some blank check for rubber stamped FISA surveillance of all Americans. I've already pointed that out, and DG repeating the same nonsense again doesn't make GG wrong.

Batocchio said...

What Charles Pierce said. After reading Perlstein's piece and some related ones, and reading Greenwald's... Yeesh. If you're going after Rick Perlstein (!) in that fashion, it should give you pause. Not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless, and as always, so absolutely unnecessary. Perlstein explicitly objects to the spying (an important topic to continue to discuss), but questions what sure looks to be a major and misleading inaccuracy in Greenwald's reporting. Greenwald skips over both parts of that. (Honestly, many of Greenwald's comparison and denying-context problems could be solved if he read Nixonland… and had paid attention in the 80s, 90s, and early oughts.)

By the way, there's at least one petition making the rounds about forming a new Church Commission. One can also pester one's congresscritters, support the ACLU, and support independent media (I know I've seen some indie media somewhere around here…)

Anonymous said...

So Greenwald "is not clearly wrong at all" when he says the PRISM program allows direct access to servers owned by Google and other tech companies?

Do tell.

driftglass said...

I am unfamiliar with any version of the English language where posting the entire 47 minute video of Mr. Greenwald's interview and quoting him verbatim at length right below that interview would be described as "out of context".

Anonymous said...

One of the commenters at the Peirce column helpfully provided a link in the form of:
"I believe Greenwald adequately addresses all of Perlstein's problems with the story here...why all the Greenwald hate?" (paraphrasing).
Silly me, I clicked on the link, and was treated to a GG word wall diatribe, attacking a vast array of critics of the story, their in-laws and pets...which I read and reread three times.
What I did not see, was one instance in the word wall where....
"Greenwald adequately addresses all of Perlstein's problems with the story"...
In fact, he (GG) doesn't address (adequately or otherwise) any one of the problems Pearlstein..or anyone has had with the story....ever.
In the most simple terms: If you write a story, any story, accusing someone... anyone... of doing something illegal and observers ask questions about basic components of the accusations, and your only response is to attack the observers, not clarify the accusations, why would you have any credibility at all?
The signal is gone....but the noise just gets louder.

mahakal said...

Nonny Mouse, Greenwald never fucking said that PRISM provides direct access to any servers. Here is what he he said:

"Top-secret Prism program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Apple and Facebook
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007"

So that's accurate fucking reporting. He isn't claiming the Prism documents are accurate, he is saying this is what they claim, and this is what the companies say about it.

And DG, seriously, nobody has time or interest in watching a 47 minute video of GG just because you post it repeatedly. You quote him as saying he wants Al Qaeda to be surveilled, and at another point you take a single out of context portion of his words to imply what he really meant was to give a blank check to spy on all Americans with FISA rubber stamp.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

mahakal, I am pretty sure it's not driftglass' fault if you can't be bothered to read or watch the information he posts, but there's no way that you can blame that on dg's taking things 'out of context'. He gives you the context; being unwilling to look at it is on you.

mahakal said...

Look, ZRM, it doesn't matter if he provides the Compleat Works Of Glenneth Greenwaldeth and says, Go Ye And See, when he then takes words OUT of that context to argue that Greenwald truly advocated a blank check rubber stamp surveillance of all Americans. This is an absurdity indeed, and a false argument.

Anonymous said...

This place is Fucking pathetic. I'm outta here.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I guess "out of context" now means "words that say something I would rather they didn't say".

So OK. Because the context is all right there. if the context doesn't support your denial it may be a lot of things, but out of context it is not.

mahakal said...

The context, ZRM, is that GG advocated surveillance of Al Qaeda. Taking isolated phrases to argue he advocated something totally different, rubber stamped surveillance of all Americans, is dishonest. And I'm done talking to you. Unlike Driftglass, you aren't intelligent or even interesting.

Anonymous said...

Internet Man Writes Angry Tirades About His President's Critics. Critics need have perfect record (as himself) or STFU.
PS; Leave BO alone!

Anonymous said...

"The question is about whether the President will exercise the awesome power of being able to eavesdrop on the communication of the American people in violation of the law -- meaning without judicial oversight, without anyone knowing what he is doing -- or in accordance with the law, meaning with judicial approval by the secret FISA court." -- 2006 Glenn Greenwald

"The context, ZRM, is that GG advocated surveillance of Al Qaeda. Taking isolated phrases to argue he advocated something totally different, rubber stamped surveillance of all Americans, is dishonest." -- Mahakal

The context is that GG was once fine with the surveillance of US citizens under judicial oversight and now he apparently is not. He has so far failed to acknowledge this change of heart but has been happy to castigate his critics hypocrites for changing (or not) theirs. In fact, as is typical for him, he has failed to acknowledge any of the nuances in his opponents positions, even on subjects where 2006 Glenn clearly was capable of such parsing.

Driftglass has repeated ad nauseam his basic objections to Glenn making this story about his long standing grudges with his critics. In spite of this, you fucking Glennbots cannot get hit hard enough between the eyes to understand why GG's motives are not trusted outside of his circle of admirers. Glenn is so eager to make whatever issue comes up about his petty grievances, including ones as serious and long-term as this latest matter of domestic espionage, and yet you clowns all are flabbergasted that his detractors somehow end up talking primarily about his petty grievances. Jesus wept.