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[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]

Glenn Greenwald
MacMillan Press, 2014

The National Security Administration is out of control. Very dangerously off mission by spying on ordinary Americans, horribly bloated in budget, obdurately ensconced in secrecy and led by supremely arrogant, egotistical, stupid authoritarian liars. Not only has the NSA gone berserk with American rights and privacy like any thug authoritarian regime throughout history, they’ve also stomped on the great new communication innovation and hope for the 21st century, the internet.

Why don’t we hear this shining stark truth more often? The Obama administration likes and approves of current NSA policy, they want nothing changed, although they’re embarrassed and fearful to admit it. The President’s supporters reflexively approve of any Obama policy stance, they won’t hold Obama accountable. The Republicans, usually so super-reliant in opposing Obama, of course love the authoritarian spying and won’t change it. Our laughable journalism corps, so corporately servile in their deference to authority, simply sit there like bystanders, even when their livelihoods and profession are on the line.

The NSA out of control is the great underlying truth of No Place to Hide, although the meticulous record of how journalist Glenn Greenwald, through whistleblower Edward Snowden, never boldly comes out and says it.  So completely unnecessary, the truth of constitutional mayhem shines through with every chapter. The NSA has co-opted almost all security systems on the web, taps virtually all phone calls, economically spies on other countries and entities, then baldly lies about it when inquiries are made.

Glenn Greenwald is, of course, the famed Glennzilla civil rights attorney who became a great journalist through blogging and various media outlets. Meticulous, utterly detailed and refined, endearingly human, Greenwald nails the truth of NSA crimes with a host of scathing documents provided by Snowden. It’s an excellent and fascinating story that rocked the world and Greenwald killed it with a good narrative and easy, human style.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock huge elements of this story are already known and broken through the media, for this review a different tack will be taken moving forward. No Place to Hide is an exemplary record of how our dear NSA has run amok and desperately needs reform and change, Greenwald and Snowden have simply made this an ordinary fact of our lives, detailed examination isn’t necessary.

To slightly digress, the tiny criticism I have comes from an omission of detail, actually, as Greenwald tells one of the greatest stories of the 21st century I kept telling myself The Chair, Glenn, give ‘em The Chair!

This refers to the amazing chair and command console that General Alexander built to command the NSA sucking in every detail of our personal lives, he wanted it exactly like the command center on the bridge of the USS Enterprise from the Star Trek movies, seriously, and he actually got it. So totally out of control, it’s a sadly hilarious detail from this reeking mess, and I was saddened to see Glennzilla show unusual restraint in leaving it out.

Why and how did this nightmare of privacy invasion happen? George Bush and Dick Cheney, in classically stupid authoritarian thug fashion, ordered the NSA to suck in everything everywhere to “fight terrorism.” The stupidity naturally quickly careened out of control into our current nightmare.

Why didn’t President Obama stop it when he entered office? In fact,  every national security policy initiated by Bush and Cheney was vigorously and enthusiastically embraced by the Obama administration upon taking over, Iraq was held over for 2 years, we’re still in Afghanistan, an unknown drone war reels completely out of control in Southwest Asia, no one ever dares breathe a word of cutting the DOD, and of course the total embrace of the little funhouse the NSA built.

Why? Why did the Obama administration do this, so counter to the values of peace, privacy and democracy? So the Republicans could never, ever say Obama was weak on security and could never smash him with it if we got attacked again.

I simply don’t perceive Obama and his people to be thuggish authoritarians bent on gathering personal data to manipulate and destroy people, that’s precisely what the NSA invasion of privacy scheme will eventually produce, but I don’t see any policy action with even a whiff of NSA putridness around it, the berserk stupid NSA policy of 9/11 was continued out of plain fear, not malice.

Not that it excuses any of it in the least, another leadership failure that horribly degrades American life in our dimmed 21st century. That truth is starkly with us, No Place to Hide makes that so very clear. Who will ever lead us out of it, no one knows.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm a Captain Kirk guy, myself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, stevemb

    You imagine sitting in the Star Trek command console, right, in that awesome comfy chair of magnificent power, but are you Captain Kirk or Jean-Luc Pecard?

    Captain Kirk, definitely. Better hair, better sex life.

  •  history shown that power corrupts (6+ / 0-)

    and the government is focused on the oligarchs and they support the war efforts which include Orwellian monitoring and control of the "citizens"

    the oligarchy is worried about OWS and other populist uprisings and they welcome a NSA that can spy on everyone, and work with the FBI to disrupt protests

    we need a whistle blower on the FBI to see how extensive their crack down on domestic activities has been

    Obama is a figure head

  •  will DK welcome Glenn and Chris Hedges now? (6+ / 0-)

    this is the second full segment on democracynow interview with Glenn

    In the final part of our extended interview, Glenn Greenwald reflects on the Pulitzer Prize, adversarial journalism and the corporate media’s response to his reporting on Edward Snowden’s leaked National Security Agency documents. "We knew that once we started publishing not one or two stories, but dozens of stories … that not just the government, but even fellow journalists were going to start to look at what we were doing with increasing levels of hostility and to start to say, 'This doesn't actually seem like journalism anymore,’ because it’s not the kind of journalism that they do," Greenwald says. "It doesn’t abide by these unspoken rules that are designed to protect the government."
    Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Corporate Media is "Neutered, Impotent and Obsolete"

    And then there is Chris Hedges

    The Post-Constitutional Era

    The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear our challenge to the law that lets the military indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens is another example of the transformation of the judiciary into an enemy of the Constitution.
    or will DK, like mainstream media, focus mostly on the political spectacle?
  •  My library's copy of the book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb, Don midwest

    is waiting for me to pick it up.

    Just one more item for my NSA file.  

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Thu May 15, 2014 at 07:41:05 AM PDT

  •  Impeach Clapper and Alexander (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    Retirement is not a defense.

    And impeach all their Constitution-hating cronies who were part of this criminal construct, too.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Thu May 15, 2014 at 08:31:45 AM PDT

  •  You're missing a key point, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, Indiana Bob

    which is that even you "don’t perceive Obama and his people to be thuggish authoritarians bent on gathering personal data to manipulate and destroy people," Obama and his people have left the tools in place for a future thuggish authoritarian administration to live out its wildest fantasies.   The whole Police State apparatus has been normalized and entrenched and is just waiting for the next Dick Cheney to get his hands on it.   That will be a huge part of Obama's legacy, and a shameful one.

  •  "Who will ever lead us out of it, no one knows." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, Don midwest

    I know that Hillary Clinton will not.

    An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

    by Thomas Twinnings on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:16:46 AM PDT

  •  Can't wait to read this book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, Don midwest

    I was talking to a colleague about devices like kindle, and this may be my first digital book.

    Thanks for your review!

    To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    by Indiana Bob on Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:27:52 AM PDT

  •  Frontline Special Part 1 last night was on. (0+ / 0-)

    My impression is that the NSA powers to spy on US citizens in certain ways were expanded
    by Cheney and the expansion was confirmed by FISA, Congress in 2008 revised Patriot Act and then Obama in 2009. The argument against the NSA is that the agency
    is hoodwinking the legal authorities by not telling the whole truth what with all the 'classified' issues. I get the impression that the legal authorities didn't want to really
    push for the truth so who's fault is that? They didn't come across a 'rogue' though Cheney' lawyers certainly did.
    I hope Pt. 2 comes soon.

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