Despite my diary last week, in which I lamented the fact that Glenn Greenwald does not understand a waste of internet space like BuzzFeed, I really do admire the guy. Glenn Greenwald is a wonderful writer, a brilliant researcher, and a fan of the common man, woman, and child.
He espouses everything I hold dear about being a liberal. He is against anyone who hampers or tries to subvert the American Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, and he's not afraid to call them out. I fucking love that about him!
And when I found out that today is his birthday ...
Who better than me to write a diary extolling the virtues of Mr. Greenwald, eh?
Follow me below the cute orange birth control device to see some of Glenn's greatest hits. (It's not an I.U.D., but maybe a sponge? Not sure here. Help requested in the comments.)
Before I begin, let me just say (for the record) that, if you don't like Glenn Greenwald, you don't have to be here. Not judgin', just sayin'. You people know I've heard everything before so, if you chose to insult Glenn Greenwald, you do so at your own peril. This is a Greenwald fanboy diary, dude. Even though I'm a girl. But you get my point, yes?
I'm gonna take each of Greenwald's positions that I admire and relate them here. Feel free not to agree and then verbally abuse me in the comments, baby.
We don’t actually have a system of government (or at least we’re not supposed to) where we rely on the magnanimity and inherent Goodness of specific leaders to exercise secret powers wisely. That, by definition, is how grateful subjects of benevolent tyrants think (“this power was bad in Bush’s hands because he’s bad, but it’s OK in Obama’s hands because he is good and kind”). Countries that are nations of laws rather than of men don’t rely on blind faith in the good character of leaders to prevent abuse. They rely on what we call “law” and “accountability” and “checks and balances” to provide those safeguards — exactly the type that Democrats, when it came to the States Secret privilege, long insisted upon before January 20, 2009.
Instead, in Barack Obama’s America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens — and a death penalty imposed — is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone’s guilt as a Terrorist. He then dispatches his aides to run to America’s newspapers — cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they’re granted — to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist. It is simply asserted that Awlaki has converted from a cleric who expresses anti-American views and advocates attacks on American military targets (advocacy which happens to be Constitutionally protected) to Actual Terrorist ”involved in plots.” These newspapers then print this Executive Verdict with no questioning, no opposition, no investigation, no refutation as to its truth. And the punishment is thus decreed: this American citizen will now be murdered by the CIA because Barack Obama has ordered that it be done. What kind of person could possibly justify this or think that this is a legitimate government power?Warrantless wiretapping:
It was then-Sen. Obama’s vote in favor of the FISA Amendments Act that caused the first serious Election Year rift between him and his own supporters. Obama’s vote in favor of the bill was so controversial for two independent reasons: (1) when he was seeking the Democratic nomination only a few months earlier and needed the support of the progressive base, Obama unequivocally vowed to filibuster “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies,” only to turn around once he had secured the nomination and not only vote against a filibuster of that bill but then vote in favor of the bill itself; and (2) the bill itself legalized vast new powers of warrantless eavesdropping: powers which the Democratic Party (and Obama) had spent years denouncing (as Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin put it at the time: “Through the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, Congress has legitimated many of the same things people are now complaining about”). When Obama announced his reversal, his defenders insisted he was only doing it so that he could win the election and then use his power as President to stop warrantless eavesdropping abuses, while Obama himself claimed he voted for the FISA bill “with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as President — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”Drone strikes:
The reason American 4-year-olds are in danger from terrorism - to the very limited extent they are - is precisely because those empowered in US government and media circles think like Joe Klein does. Soulless cheerleaders for indiscriminate killing like Joe Klein - who once went on national television and advocated that the US should preserve the right to launch a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran in order to stop their nuclear program, prompting host George Stephanopoulos to label that statement "insane" - are the reason there is a terrorism risk to Americans, not the solution for that risk.Bradley Manning:
The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures to which he was subjected, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced those conditions as "cruel and inhuman". President Obama's state department spokesman, retired air force colonel PJ Crowley, resigned after publicly condemning Manning's treatment. A prison psychologist testified this week that Manning's conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantánamo Bay.That's probably enough to inform even the most casual observer, or to enrage the people who already disagree with Greenwald and his "vaulted" position of mere journalist. Glenn Greenwald may be a lot of things, but he is not duplicitous. He is superbly informed, well-reasoned, and passionate.
I admire that in any person, but I especially admire it in Greenwald, because he writes in the face of constant negativity and backlash. He speaks truth to power, even though it is certainly safer for him not to do so.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Glenn! May you never stop doing what you do best.