Greenwald and Nader, Cut From the Same Cloth

Jonathan Chait wrote an excellent analysis of Glenn Greenwald in which he compares his approach with the style of Ralph Nader.

Greenwald, like Nader, marries an indefatigable mastery of detail with fierce moralism. Every issue he examines has a good side and an evil side.

We’ve seen this many time. If you disagree with one aspect of the Obama administration, you’re morally compelled to reject the whole thing.

Greenwald, like Nader, does not believe in meliorist progress. If you are not good, you are evil. [...]

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.

In the context of the NSA Snowden story, you’re either in the Greenwald camp or you’re an apologist for the obviously evil Obama government. It’s impossible, in Greenwald’s view, to take any other angle, such as criticizing the sensationalism of the reporting or expressing concerns with the way in which accountability is achieved. And, naturally, Greenwald’s disciples fall in line with the same attitude. It becomes a self-reinforcing fallacy. You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.

Chait also included a bit of Nader history that ought to sound familiar to anyone who observed the “kill the bill” fiasco at the tail end of the Obamacare passage:

In 1970, Nader championed a report by his staff savaging Ed Muskie, the liberal senator from Maine. Muskie, who helped engineer the Air Quality Act of 1967, had a reputation as an environmental ally, but Nader’s report called the act “disastrous,” adding, “That fact alone would warrant his being stripped of his title as ‘Mr. Pollution Control.’”

That same year, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), what Nader called his highest legislative goal. But, just days after praising the bill, Nader turned against it, saying that “intolerable erosions” had rendered the bill “unacceptable.” As Martin writes, “Without Nader’s backing, the bill lost momentum” and died in committee. The pattern repeated itself, as the CPA passed either the House or the Senate five more times over the next six years, but Nader rejected every bill as too compromised.

It’s absolutism. Purity. If anything falls short of a goal in any way, it’s evil. “Burn down the village in order to save it” — it’s nihilism. A faction of progressives would rather have no progress at all than to have progress that’s slow and compromised. And it’s utterly insufferable to me. It shows a total ignorance of how politics and change occurs here.

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  • Semanticleo

    It’s nice to revisit the past. Muskie was high on Ibogaine most of the time, so I’m not sure he knew what his positions were. I guess Cesca, if he had been born yet, would have been a Humphrey Democrat.

    Considering the state of the DNC the past 40 years, there has not been enough emphasis on purity from the electorate, and it’s time to start demanding it. Lap dogs for Authority, weak when under pressure, capitulation and crocodile tears has been excused by putative progressives who enable with their round-heeled acceptance of half-measures.

    That’s why y’all are so upset over Snowden/Manning. Just as the media is shown to be the emperors of naked corruption, so too the apologists for the WH feel the prick of a needle they wish would just stop.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      “That’s why y’all are so upset over Snowden/Manning. Just as the media
      is shown to be the emperors of naked corruption, so too the apologists
      for the WH feel the prick of a needle they wish would just stop.”

      Teehee………cute. I sincerely hope that you never attempt to earn your living at either political analysis or psychoanalysis because you are doomed to failure in either case.

      • Semanticleo

        Nicole Belle, is that you? Ben Rhoades ?

        ‘Natch !

        • nathkatun7

          Stop pretending to be a Democrat! As much as you may try to disguise yourself, you are nothing but one of those hired libertarians who are on a mission to divide and conquer Democrats. And so, by the way, is your “Dear Leaders” Prince Greenwald and Lord Snowden. You are frustrated because none of us are buying your stinking BS!

    • JMAshby

      Think, sheeple! Think!

      That’s all I got out of this.

      I think I can actually smell the smug privilege that dripped from your forehead while typing this. Because if we follow your philosophy, we will never make progress on climate change. The EPA never would have began regulating emissions in some-but-not-all cases. We wouldn’t have Obamacare. DADT may still be around because ending it didn’t conclusively solve the problem of federal benefits.

      Give me purity or give me death!

      To demand that we settle for nothing rather than something tells me you will not suffer the effects of doing nothing.

      And, you know, even a cursory glance at your posts on other websites, such as Crooks and Liars, tells me all I need to know. A perpetual Obama critic. I know a concern troll when I see one.

      Go ahead and blast me for my lack of purity credentials. I do not even accept the “progressive” label. I am a Democrat.

      • missliberties

        Well know “DLC” type democrats in my area have come to grips with the fact that every time a Democrat wins an election the ‘liberals’ come out of the woodwork with the purity demands, as if they are owed for all their hard work, er I mean carping and griping with their all or nothing attitude.

    • villemar

      Oh that old chestnut.
      “In 1972, journalist Hunter S. Thompson accused Democratic candidate Edmund Muskie of being addicted to ibogaine in a satirical piece while covering the Wisconsin primaries of the 1972 U.S. Presidential primaries for Rolling Stone magazine. Many readers, and even other journalists, did not realize that Thompson’s assertion was facetious. The claim was completely unfounded, and Thompson himself is documented in the film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson discussing the self-fabricated joke of Muskie’s alleged ibogaine use and his surprise that anyone actually believed the claim.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine#In_popular_culture
      I know, I know, facts are not relevant in a purity purge, y’all. But I just wanted to put that out there. Y’all.

      • Semanticleo

        Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is the bible for covering politcos to this day. As to the pushback on the Ibogaine, it has been falsely asserted that HST admitted he made it up. In Songs of the Doomed (1990) he repeats that charge on the failed campaign he was hard-wired into.

        (I was wondering how long it would take for y’all to find that spurious nugget)

        • Bubble Genius

          He doesn’t REPEAT the charge, you nitwit, the book is a fucking compilation of his writings. The byline on that story is 1972. Jesus, learn how to fucking READ.

          And even if Muskie WAS high on Ibogaine, it doesn’t negate the fact that he endeavored to do as much good as was possible at the time. Fuck me, it’s like someone whining “oh, JFK was getting speed injections from Dr. Feelgood so the Bay of Pigs dealio is totally nullified.”

          You are exactly the kind of person Bob is talking about here, thanks for proving his point.

          • Semanticleo

            http://www.theparisreview.org/audio/5288/on-humphrey-and-muskie-hunter-s-thompson

            All his later work was based on compilations, so good call. He always insisted on full editorial control, and leaving that in indicates he believes it still to be true. And if it doesn’t matter to you whether he was on psychotropic meds, what’s your beef? Sounds a little defensive.

            The audio above is from 2000

          • Bubble Genius

            Haha, thanks for recommending Dr. Thompson to me. I know nothing of his work, obviously.

            My beef is that you’re not doing your due diligence before you open your mouth.

          • Semanticleo

            ‘Due diligence’? What are you a Wall St Banker? Thanks for the derivative. That would explain the real beef you have with Greenwald, over a sensitive subject like Banking reform, which is a hallmark of this Admin.

          • Bubble Genius

            Hahaha. No, nowhere near a Wall Street banker (although I did fuck an investment banker once for a few weeks a long long time ago but it’s hardly the same thing). I just like words, and thanks again for proving my point.

            If you’d, ahem, done your due diligence, you would have known that I make soap. Before that, I was in post production, before that the music business, before that I was a go-go dancing slut.

            But before all that, before the sex and drugs and rock and roll, I started out at a law firm, just like Greenwald did. :) It shocks me how little Glenn knows about US law, although maybe not, since he broke some laws himself while defending a white supremacist being accused of inciting hate crimes. I guess I understand why he gave up his day job, but he’s not very good at this one either. Perhaps Glenn should run away and join the circus.

            However, I’ve done my due diligence on YOU, and what I know is that you’ve commented on the Daily Banter 332 times in the past month, so I could hazard a guess that you’re unemployed.

          • Semanticleo

            332 times? Your due diligence is suffering from the disease of self-inflicted delusion. If you are referring to DISQUS, yes many sites use that software. Not that your soft-headedness would notice that exigent circumstance.

          • Bubble Genius

            Okay, DISQUS, whoops. Still…332 times (well, more by now). I was just showing you how easy it was to do a teensy bit of research before opining on something – an educated guess brings more to the table than an uneducated one.

            As for your employment situation, I truly am sorry to hear it. I hope you find something suitable soon. If you’re still looking after the summer, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, we’ll be hiring P/T help in the lab in the months leading up to the holidays.

          • Semanticleo

            I think your position is quite clear. Now if you could just burst that ‘bubble’.

          • Bubble Genius

            Aw now. Make sense.

    • Bubble Genius

      The only prick here is you.

  • js hooper

    I don’t like the idea of calling Greenwald and Nader purists.

    They aren’t the homeless man rejecting the baker’s bread because it’s not fresh enough.

    They’re the guy who convinces the starving homeless man to reject the bread and then watches him die. Whispering…”It’s a good death….an honorable death.”

    Then they proceed to attack the Baker as a murderer and try to get everyone to hate him.
    Later we find out that they work for a rival bakery across town.

    Greenwald and Nader are ratfuckers plain and simple.

    • Greyling

      Perfect illustration. Sadly, their champions ignore when it’s revealed they work at the rival bakery across town.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      “Greenwald and Nader are ratfuckers plain and simple”

      Exactly right. And much of what they do is for the purpose of self-glorification, nothing more.

    • missliberties

      If only everyone understood what you just explained the world would be a better place. Liberals like Nader give all liberals an undeserved bad name.

    • nathkatun7

      Well said, sir/madam! From now on I will never refer to them as as purists. But I still regard them as the “holier than thou” progressives. In my eyes Nader is a much better man than Greenwald. He can at least point to accomplishments that were for the common good.

  • JMAshby

    Excellent points.

    Personally the last few weeks have felt like a flashback to “kill the bill” complete with the Howard Dean-esque old guard throwing in the towel on reason and trying to capture a moment of street cred with their calls for Eric Holder’s resignation.

    I never forgave him for that, by the way. I credit Dean for developing the 50 state strategy, but for some reason after coming off that success he decided to piss it away through concern trolling. Sometimes I wonder if he was/is bitter.

    But I have no doubt he will stan for Hillary so you have to wonder.

    The last few years have taught me to question the motives of many. A black pragmatic president who manages to get the job done without the help of our betters in the beltway has a way of bringing out the worst in people who you thought were smarter than they really are.

    • beulahmo

      “The last few years have taught me to question the motives of many.”
      In that regard, the last 5 or 6 years have been illuminating and depressing. But I guess I’d rather know than remain unaware.

  • missliberties

    Oh Lord Thank You.

    This is the history of how liberals have been defeating themselves for the last 40 years. The record of this sort of absolutism, that ends in GOP victories, is long and strong.

    If people want things to change they must be educated. This is the most vital lesson liberals and democrats can learn. It has been documented before, with much derision elsewhere, but this IS the lesson folks should take from Greenwald’s heroic traitor saga.

  • Paul Morgan

    The conservative domination of the judiciary didn’t happen overnight. Neither did the weakening of women’s and minority rights. Conservatives have been playing the incremental game for 40 years. That’s how they win in the end. But in the coming decades, their ever-increasing call for moral purity among the ranks will be their downfall. We already saw that with the protest in Texas last week. They are overreaching, going for everything at once.

    I’m no huge fan of Clinton-style triangulation, but it’s a more sound political strategy than stomping our feet and demanding what we want RIGHT NOW.

  • Cobbesca

    A push for purity and extremes never work, right? But to really make this argument work you have to ignore the Reagan revolution, the Tea Party, the Federalist Society, The Christian Coalition, etc… Subservience to “fill in the blank”, cheerleading and pragmatic dialogue are the only ingredients in “real and meaningful” change. Riiiight. Just ask all the pragmatic activists throughout history. What a tremendous and wonderfully ignorant and pathetic argument for mealy mouthed incremental activism. Yup, extremism, absolutism, radicalism… is pure myth, according to Cesca and his disciples when it comes to change, good or bad. Except for when it’s not (see history of the world). Keep praying to your god of imaginary pragmatic discourse. The other side is very happy to let you keep touting that you are the “only” adults in the room while they change the world around you. Keep up the pragmatic ratfucking (sniping, speculating, theorizing without facts) while the world looks on at the increasingly closed, belligerent, hypocritical, propagandistic, war crime protecting society we’ve become. Look forward not backward!

    • muselet

      Nope.

      Nobody is ignoring “the Reagan revolution, the Tea Party, the Federalist Society, The Christian Coalition, etc.” Not Bob, not me, not the regular commenters here, nobody. We all know they exist or existed, we all know their sway over Republican politics, we all know the history of their dark and malign presence in our politics.

      They’re also irrelevant to this discussion.

      The Left—at least that subset of the Left that most of us who hang out here belong to—is interested in governing. The Right isn’t. It’s easy to be pure if you’re not actually planning to do anything meaningful.

      There’s also an inescapable double standard in the US. The Right can get away with purity purges and extreme positions because its adherents will cheer wildly and vote against their economic interests, and because our glorious news media are more likely to take Rs seriously (even when the Rs don’t deserve it). The Left tried extremism, briefly and fitfully, in the late 1960s and early ’70s and spent the thick end of four decades in the political wilderness as a direct consequence.

      Sneer all you want at “mealy mouthed incremental activism,” but the fact is that most change does happen incrementally. Jim Crow wasn’t defeated (the first time) in one go. Clean air and clean water standards didn’t one day appear. It’s taken years to get to the point that rules may be put into place to provide some protection for consumers in their dealings with financial institutions.

      You seem to think all these things could have happened all at once if only liberals had been more unreasonable and stamped their feet a little harder. That doesn’t happen in this universe.

      Oh. I’ve just realized what’s happened. You’ve wandered into the wrong universe. You want the one two doors down the corridor on the left; the secret knock is “shave and a haircut” and the password is “Goldwater” (they have a strange sense of humor over there). And the bouncer is a little sensitive, so don’t mention the gray hair.

      Have a nice trip.

      –alopecia

    • D_C_Wilson

      Reagan was hardly a purist. He raised taxes and tripled the national debt. Don’t confuse the historical Ronald Reagan with the Myth of Saint Ron the Infallible that wingnuts love to spout these days. If you took his name off his actual record, those same wingnuts would be screaming at those policies as “soshalizm”"

      Now the teabaggers are purists and look at how well that has worked out. Since taking over the House, they’ve turned it into a monkey house where lots of shit gets thrown back and forth but little else get accomplished. Boehner can’t even get his own bills passed because of this. Immigration reform, the Farm Bill, and several other major initiatives are DOA in the House because they can never be draconian enough to satisfy the flying monkeys in the House. The only thing they have been successful in passing are the thirty-seven pointless votes to repeal Obamacare.

      Is that really the model you want liberals to follow?

  • blackdaug

    My only quibble with this would be that unlike Greenwald, Nader actually has a long list of accomplishments under his belt that are probably directly responsible for millions of lives being saved in this country (with his scathing attacks of the auto industry), and also inspired a generation of activists and politicians in a number of progressive fields most notably the environmental movement.

    I can remember thinking at one point, that Nader may have been the most intelligent man to enter politics in the last 100 years.

    But I never voted for him because

    A. He was obviously too dogmatic to actually accomplish anything if he ever won

    B. He never had a chance of garnering enough votes to do anything but hurt the progressive candidate he was running against

    Greenwald……went after Bush in his second term when his crimes became so obvious to everyone…. they could no longer be ignored. Other than that, he has been on the wrong side of so many issues (being pro Citizens Untied is one glaring example), that one good act seems fairly insignificant by contrast.

    There are many bloggers, activists and politicians still around today who had the good sense to know that Bush was a dangerous empty suit before he ever stole the office. Back when Glen was “giving him the benefit of a doubt”…or some shit. Those same people were viciously attacked by Glen and his ilk for daring to question Bush in the wake of 9/11.
    Unfortunately, one of those who was the most eloquent in his early evaluation of Bush…was Ralph Nader……but he also convinced a lot of people there wasn’t a “dimes worth of difference” between Gore and Bush….and that has cost us very dearly indeed.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Nader has spent he entire career as a professional contrarian, railing against the status quo no matter who was in charge. I think that’s the real reason he always turned against bills that were initially his own idea. To start supporting the new status quo would damage his “street cred.”

      Arianna Huffington is like that as well, switching her stance to be against whomever is currently in power.

      • nathkatun7

        “Arianna Huffington is like that as well, switching her stance to be against whomever is currently in power.”

        I am sorry to disagree with you about Arianna Huffigton who was a rabidly right winger when she was married to her gay Republican right winger, Michael Huffington. She loved Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Bush senior, Darrell Issa, etc., etc.!

        • D_C_Wilson

          That’s my point. She was a conservative when Clinton was in office but became a liberal when Bush took over and now she’s shifted more into an anti-Obama mode.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Oh yeah. And the ratfuckers for Greenwald — such as the Green Teabagger trolls that pollute Bob’s site — are determined to let history repeat itself. With the same damning consequences as before, if not worse. All for some smug satisfaction.

    • eljefejeff

      thanks for bringing this up. I’m to the point where I can’t stand Nader, but a long time ago, his heart was in the right place, and he was responsible for much of what we take for granted today.

      • blackdaug

        Yeah, I am not going to be the one to defend his actions over the last decade, but I am also going not write off his many accomplishments with one stroke. That is the kind of counterproductive purist thinking..that I thought was the point of the article.

        While both he and Greenwald may be guilty of the same “with us or against us” view of the political landscape, for the most part, at least Nader actually was part of the broader “us”.
        40 years of battling in the cesspool of beltway bureaucracy, made Nader adopt confrontational tactics as part of an effort to draw attention to real problems, not advance his own career.
        To some that makes him a contrarian, but he was really just being an advocate for the public interest. That is very different from Greenwalds brand of: You disagree with my interpretation of the facts, so you are a hypocrite.
        He was the very first consumer advocate this country ever had. He basically invented the position. He also walked the walk as well. Living as a virtual hermit in near poverty in order to remain un corrupted by the corporatocracy he battled every day. He basically took the same road as Obama in that he could have been a very successful corporate lawyer, but instead choose to devote his life to consumer advocacy and better treatment of the poor.
        While I am very angry about what he unintentionally did to us in 2000 (as I said, I didn’t vote for him) …..I am not going to write off his life’s work because of it.
        That would make me kind of Greenwaldian…wouldn’t it?

  • Badgerite

    I always thought it was highly instructive that the GOP was running around and spending money trying to get Nader on the ballot in all 50 states in 2000. That should have been his first clue that he was not furthering any ‘progressive’ agenda or building any viable ’3rd’ party. How is it that this Harvard educated egg-head couldn’t pick up on that simple clue?

    • blackdaug

      Actually, to his credit, I don’t think he ever believed he was a viable third party alternative, he sincerely just thought that by being a loud voice he could move the narrative to the left, and he grossly underestimated his role as a ticket splitter.
      At his core, Nader’s motivations were always in furthering the public interest, where Greensward’s definition of public interest seems to be somewhat more narrow; the public interest being limited to the advancement of the career of one Glen Greenwald.

      • nathkatun7

        “At his core, Nader’s motivations were always in furthering the public interest, where Greensward’s definition of public interest seems to be somewhat more narrow; the public interest being limited to the advancement of the career of one Glen Greenwald”

        Blackdaug, I agree with you. At least Nader, self righteous and all, has a record of trying to improve the lives of Americans. I have not seen one example of what Greenwald has done to improve the lives of Americans.

      • mrbrink

        One of the selling points used in 2000 was if Nader got 3% of the popular vote, the law would have granted federal funding for elections for a new third party. He ended up just short at 2.74%. Unfortunately, he was depressing the vote for Kerry in 2004 in trying to start a new political party then, too.

        I always feel conflicted about these things because I’ve always felt that the left needs its Sonnys as well as its Tom Hagen Consiglieres making their case to Don Democracy. I think President Obama is a rare instance of both.

        There’s a great line in the not-so-great movie Colors when Robert Duvall’s character rationalizes his job as a cop and for some odd-reason it’s always stayed with me like some crinkled up post-it note I’ve basically pinned to my overall political philosophy:

        “There’s two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: “Hey pop, let’s say we run down there and fuck one of them cows”. The older one says: “No son. Lets walk down and fuck ‘em all”.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I would say that Greenwald is like many religious fundamentalists in that he’s more intolerant of apostasy in progressive ranks than he is of nonbelievers (ie, conservatives). I would say that, except for the fact that I don’t for one second believe he’s a progressive. Like Ron Paul, he’s a faux-libertarian except that he’s pro-gay rights instead of pro-legalization of heroin.

    • Semanticleo

      Libertarian is the simplistic dismissal model. He’s no Paulite. He’s left libertarian which extols the virtues of social justice, as well as civil liberties. (i really don’t see how one can separate the two)

      • Bubble Genius

        Greenwald has been championing Paul for years, but like almost everything Glennie does, he hulas at the edge of specificity. Here’s one of many opinions on same:

        http://blog.reidreport.com/2011/12/should-glenn-greenwald-have-to-own-the-ron-paul-blue-plate-special/

        • Semanticleo

          ‘hulas at the edge of specificity’. Then you must be championing a sea-change within the Democratic Party.

          • Bubble Genius

            What?

          • Semanticleo

            You think GG is a Paulie. How would Ron and Randy view his homosexuality? Harumph !

          • Bubble Genius

            That’s a question you need to ask Glenn.

          • D_C_Wilson

            No one said that Ronnie and Randy admired Greenwald. It’s the other way around.

          • Semanticleo

            You do realize your tautology just failed any test of rationale, don’t you?

          • D_C_Wilson

            Sorry, you’re not liking a conclusion doesn’t make it a tautology.

          • nathkatun7

            What?

          • nathkatun7

            What an idiotic question! It’s like asking how do the racist right wingers and teabaggers view Allen West’s and Clarence Thomas’ blackness.The answer is: they love them because West and Thomas give right wingers and tea baggers cover to spread their racism. In return, West and Thomas are given individual positions of prominence as long as they don’t challenge white supremacy.

      • D_C_Wilson

        Yeah, that’s why Greenwald has been admiring Paul for years now, because of Ron Paul’s unwavering support of social justice. Right.

        Maybe someday you’ll realize how badly you’re being played.

        • Victor_the_Crab

          No it won’t. It drunk Greenwald’s Green Tea flavored Kool-Aid and now it’s in a perpetual state of stupid.

      • nathkatun7

        Please cite me an example of where Greenwald has spoken up forcefully and passionately about the violations of the civil rights of Black folks, Latinos or other people of color. Why did Greenwald try to excuse or brush aside Ron Paul’s racists and anti-civil rights positions? Yes there are many libertarians, including both Ron Paul and Rand Paul, who think that private businesses, licensed by government to serve the public, have a right to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race. Please tell me how that position squares with the concept of “social justice.”

    • Cobbesca

      Clearly when one ignores the real glue that holds them both together, i.e. being first and foremost two corporatist parties, then there is no apostasy to speak of since they’ve keep their promise to their real constituents. There is no religion just tools of corporations and the elite. Ol’ Bubba Clinton has done just fine financially, thank you very much. I can’t wait to see how Barry cashes in once his 2nd term is done. My purely speculative guess is that he will surpass Bubba since he’s been such a wonderful tool to wall street and the MIC. But sure let’s keep talking about some pretend tolerance that we should all be adhering to.

      • D_C_Wilson

        Not surprisingly, your reply has nothing to do with anything I wrote.

  • Lady Willpower

    I would like any so-called “liberals” who still support Ralph Nader to kindly explain this one to me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsP6XN2dIo

    Go ahead, I’m listening.

    • Cobbesca

      Senile, racist and irrelevant, and Bob voted for him in 2000. Next.

      • Lady Willpower

        Bob makes no secret of it. He voted for Nader and is ashamed of that vote. I’m talking about people who describe themselves as liberal and still to this day support Nader.

        • blackdaug

          Yeah, I am a liberal, ..and not a “so called liberal”, and to the extent I know of the things he has done for the people of this country, I support Ralph Nader. Because he is a liberal too. An genuine social justice capital L liberal.
          You do know that he is not a libertarian don’t you?
          That interview was with Shep Smith of Fox News. You know why it was done, because Shep had an actual liberal to attack… on his show, because Nader was stupid enough to think he could get away with using some rhetorical bomb throwing tactics from the 70′s…..to get attention…for his causes. ….like better treatment for workers, and the working poor!
          Ralph Nader doesn’t have to submit to my purity test to be considered a real liberal. He earned it with a lifetime of public service.

          • Lady Willpower

            Uh, no one forced him to call Obama an “Uncle Tom.”
            If you’re cool with that kind of racist language from one of your heroes, I don’t know what to say to that.

          • GOVCHRIS1988

            He may have earned his liberal street cred with his public service, but its those liberal bomb throwing tactics that he still believes work that has made many lose respect for him. I mean, he called the first African American President an Uncle Tom damn near 24 hours after his election to the Presidency. I’m not gonna forgive that just because he did some great things in the past. In fact, I’m more disappointed in him because of that work he accomplished then should have made him see that its hard work and a little compromise that makes great victories like that. It doesn’t mean were purists for thinking like that. It means were real with it.

      • D_C_Wilson

        I voted for him in 2000, too. Some people learn from their mistakes and vow not to repeat them.

  • Cobbesca

    –Even Schmidt, 73, who headed one of the more infamous departments in the infamous Stasi, called himself appalled. The dark side to gathering such a broad, seemingly untargeted, amount of information is obvious, he said.

    “It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used,” he said. “This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.” – 

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/26/195045/memories-of-stasi-color-germans.html#.Uc9rMWIpDFo

  • skylights

    A-fucking-men, Bob. I can’t stand Greenwald or other absolutists like David Sirota, Jane Hamsher etc. I just wonder if overall they’re harmful, helpful, or neutral. They could be harmful by depressing support and voter turnout among the left wing. But they could be helpful by defining the far left (by U.S. standards), making mainstream liberal/progressive/Democratic positions seem moderate by comparison. Or, they could have both effects and cancel each other out.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    What’s so funny about the last quote is how powerful it makes Nader. Do you really think one gadfly killed six bills over six years? How about the the politicians that didn’t vote for it? Might they have some responsibility?

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    If I enjoyed destroying stupid arguments less, I’d just say putting “Jonathan Chait” and “excellent analysis” next to each other destroys all credibility you might have had. But I’ll go read it (yes, I’m dead certain it contains many stupid arguments) and report back.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      The first sentence seems instructive: “The debate over domestic surveillance is not a debate about what we think about Glenn Greenwald.” I would give Chait a point for that if he wasn’t about to write an essay that will increase the likelihood the debate is over GG.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “For Greenwald, like Nader, the lawyer is the key protagonist in his political drama. Political victory is a series of successful lawsuits.” What political victory was won in any of GG’s many private lawsuits? They were not political in any way. This is the false frame technique that Chait is an expert at.

      But more important for my larger purpose, which is to show Chait to be a charlatan, is the the Nader reference. Yes, Nader was a lawyer, but what of it? Can Chait or anyone else name a lawsuit Nader was a party to that is key to his legacy or even a part of a political drama? Sort of a trick question, because there isn’t one, except the judgment he won against GM for spying on him that allowed him to concentrate on activism.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “Every issue [GG] examines has a good side and an evil side.” I’d let a good/bad dichotomy go here, but evil? Show me one instance where GG has called or described anyone he is writing about as evil.

      Again, the larger issue of Chait’s deception: “every issue he examines”. Well, there are an awful lot of issues GG doesn’t write about. Do you think GG would even privately label someone advocating stricter IP and copyright law and enforcement “evil.” It’s laughable. GG is not Manichean, and neither is Nader. He has admitted to a clear focus to his journalism, but the more power to him for that. He doesn’t just wait for any news to come across the wire, quote a bunch and write 215 words about it.

      • mrbrink

        “Show me one instance where GG has called or described anyone he is writing about as evil.”

        There are thousands of words one could use to describe “evil.”

        Immoral, malicious, ruthless, vicious, repulsive… when used enough times it has the same conveyance.

        But Glenn just goes with “war criminals.”

        • Cobbesca

          I would point out that war crimes are evil but that would be redundant and so blasé. Look forward not backward! Such a visionary policy full of justice for one and all. This is truly one of the most unforgivable and despicable judgment calls made by our Nobel laureate and constitutional scholar in chief. Nothing spells tool of the elites more than not even investigating war crimes. But what’s 100, 000 (low estimate) dead to us, the Geneva convention, or our image in the world anyway? By all means keep up the good work speculating about GG’s “nefarious” motives while Obama continues to prosecute more whistleblowers than any administration in history; an administration that has aided and abetted war crimes without batting an eye; and has ignored and rewarded financial crimes we are still enjoying almost six years later. Words hurt and one should never use nasty words or ever imply mean things unless we’re talking about, I mean speculating, about Snowden’s and GG’s motives.

        • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

          Full quote and link please.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “It’s not your job to account for evidence that undermines your case — it’s your adversary’s job to point that out.” I wonder if Chait really approaches his posts like a judge rather than a litigator. Does he really get the best arguments on each side and then carefully weigh both to come to the Truth? I doubt it. GG’s quote this is based on – “I approach my journalism as a litigator,” he said. “People say things,
      you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.” – is the method all reporters should have. That this is somehow cast in a bad light says much more about the current lamestream media than about GG. It is such a short quote too. I would have liked to here what he said next. For instance, does anyone think that GG has such an axe to grind that if he finds documents that prove they are telling the truth, he would suppress it to keep his preconceived storyline?

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “Greenwald, like Nader, does not believe in meliorist progress.” This is hilarious. Does Chait know what meliorism means: “The belief that improvement of society depends on human effort.”? No, because it is impossible to say someone who is devoting their career to improving society through their own effort does not believe in meliorism. But is gets better, from Wikipedia: “Another important understanding of the meliorist tradition comes from the American Pragmatic tradition. One can read about it in the works of Lester Frank Ward, William James, Ralph Nader, and John Dewey.” I really didn’t think it would be this easy.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “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.”

      Finally, some meat. First, the Bush administration was not torturing or warrantlessly wiretapping after 2006, so Obama did not scale those back. It is also important to note that Obama said we won’t torture by Executive Order, and there are some loopholes that still remain. Also, Obama refused to even open an investigation into whether the administration lawyers who approved torture broke any laws. “Look forward, not back” for torture approvers, but not whistle-blowers is a terrible civil liberties record to have.

      Now, onto the last phrase. I’m afraid that I will require you to read the article Chait linked to before discussing it. Please leave a comment replying to this if you would like to argue about it.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      I really get the maddest when a writer thinks his readers are stupid. Usually it’s that they don’t expect anyone to read the links, but here it is so blatant. Chait quotes Greenwald: “there is a reasonable debate to be had among reform advocates over whether this bill is a net benefit or a net harm.”

      Then immediately following says this: “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.”

      You just quoted GG saying there is a reasonable debate to be had! It is the Chait-type liberals who assume that Obamacare is so obviously great that anyone who thinks a debate can be had – by reform advocates over its net effects – is a lackey or shill.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      “For Greenwald, like for Nader, the evils of liberals loom far larger than the evils of conservatives.” I double dog dare anyone here to find anything GG has written or said that supports this claim. Related is this GG’s quote: “even if Obama is the lesser of two evils, he’s the more effective of two evils.” The reason GG has said Obama is worse than Bush is that he has normalized the war on terror and the national security state because he is a Democrat, and Democrats now support some of his awful policies. Since civil liberties are no longer a partisan affair, the LSM and Dem-defending blogs such as this one, will no longer put up much fuss about this such as massive spying on American citizens. Thanks.

      • mrbrink

        “I double dog dare anyone here to find anything GG has written or said that supports this claim.”

        I’m your huckleberry…

        In his article deriding the President for overseeing the pullout from Iraq which Greenwald credits more to Bush (because they never wanted us there in the first place something Greenwald omits), entitled, “About that Iraq withdrawal” with the subheading: “Both parties work to churn out myths regarding the President’s announcement that all troops will leave by year end”

        Greenwald writes of the Iraq Bush doctrine that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are equally responsible and should be punished as war criminals in the same line up as Bush/Cheney, et al— and he’s out of his fucking gourd:

        Needless to say, none of the responsible leaders for that attack have been punished; many continue to serve right this very minute in key positions (such as Vice President and Secretary of State);

        • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

          “Greenwald writes … that HC and JB are equally responsible” You’re looking for an article that supports liberals’ evils are “far larger”. Try again.

          • mrbrink

            You dolt. Just mentioning Hillary and Joe as equally responsible for The Bush Doctrine in Iraq is ‘far larger of an evil’ by default.

            At this ridiculous scale of Greenwald-style of justice and accountability, Bush/Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld and so on have their responsibility diminished greatly because they’re now sharing a perp line up with Hillary and Joe– two key people who actually put an end to the Bush crimes in Iraq under this President’s leadership.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Your second sentence is a train wreck. 1. GG didn’t say anything about equal responsibility. Of course Bush bears the most responsibility, you can’t find any GG quote that says otherwise. 2. GG never mentions the Bush Doctrine. Again, to say that Senators of the opposing party have any responsibility for a Presidential statement of policy is ludicrous. GG has never said this. 3. By default? Really? Maybe you could make your argument explicit so I could understand, because right now the logic of your statement says: Responsibility of X = Responsibility of Y, therefore X is more evil than Y.

          • mrbrink

            Again,

            none of the responsible leaders for that attack have been punished; many continue to serve right this very minute in key positions (such as Vice President and Secretary of State);

            They’re all ‘evil’ and responsible– many of them are serving, in government, unpunished, right-this-very-minute. They’re in key positions– just waiting to be punished. In plain sight; in the shadows. They’re among us. You, me, George W. Bush– waiting to shed the blood of 100,000,000,000,000 people and steal the treasury. Right- this-very-millisecond. Right now, while you sleep, Hillary and Joe are there, lurking, waiting to serve evil and never face justice for attacking Iraq.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Again, no mention of “equally responsible”, “Bush doctrine” or “evil”. Are you really going to hang your entire argument on “right this minute”? Your paranoiac hyperbole is amusing, however. Thanks!

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            First, let’s admit that Hillary and Joe are responsible for invading Iraq. Not as much as Bush obviously, but still responsible. Hillary just voted for it, but Joe was a key player as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Without his support, it is very likely the Iraq Resolution would not have passed. http://www.fpif.org/articles/biden_iraq_and_obamas_betrayal

          • mrbrink

            No, no. You can admit to that and you’d be wrong, like Greenwald.

            If your argument is hanging the absurd notion that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are responsible for the Bush doctrine you’re out of your gourd.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Can you read? I said the Bush Doctrine was Bush’s alone. Are you denying Biden and Clinton voted for the Iraq War?

          • mrbrink

            Bush dragged the country to war using claims of WMDs in the wake of 9/11, manipulating public opinion and fears, thereby manipulating the opinions and fears of elected politicians, and he did it by presenting false evidence to congress and the world over based upon a lot of “what ifs” and smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud insecurity.

            This is saying nothing of how the military was subsequently used as a bloody battering ram for Bush’s mismanaged, town idiot crusade.

            Let me put it to you this way. If Hillary and Joe are sharing the responsibility pie with Bush and Cheney, they’re eating crumbs.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Hillary, I agree. Biden, he’s got a piece for sure. He was calling for Sadam’s ouster since 1998, as ranking member of Senate FP. Links available tonight.

          • mrbrink

            I know all that. I lived it. I protested it. I spent hundreds of thousands of words debating it and Greenwald handing off Bush’s debacle to Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton is negligence at best.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Where in the world do you get GG handing off Bush’s debacle to Biden and Clinton? The only quote you have provided doesn’t prove your claim.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson
          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            As for Hillary, I’m not aware that as Secretary of State, she called for repealing the AUMF-Iraq. Rather, I know she called for expanding the largest US embassy in the world http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/troops-have-withdrawn-from-iraq-but-us-money-hasnt/2012/06/27/gJQA4Q6l7V_story.html and that the State Department has a paramilitary at its disposal in Iraq http://www.thenation.com/blog/37877/iraq-withdrawal-obama-and-clinton-expanding-us-paramilitary-force-iraq#axzz2Xo1FVKB9

  • nathkatun7

    Thanks Bob for this spot on analysis of these “holier than thou” progressive/libertarians. I am absolutely certain the Nadar/Greenwald purist would have attacked all of FDR’s New Deal Programs, including the SS Act, as well as JFK-LBJ Civil Rights Bills,which have required amendments to improve them. Like wise, Abraham Lincoln would have been condemned for issuing a limited Emancipation Proclamation, which did not set free all the slaves.

  • Badgerite

    Well, there is a difference. Nader is more likable.

    Who ever that post is from, they might want to apply as an instructor at some of those fine re-education camps China has going in Tibet. You have a real gift! But you forgot to mention the all time favorite ‘running dogs of imperialism’.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    Eisler takes a slightly different tack that I did, but we saw the same things. http://barryeisler.blogspot.jp/2013/06/greenwald-derangement-syndrome.html

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    Bob, you really should create another Twitter account to follow GG. Then you’d already know about WaPo’s publishing of new PRISM slides: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

  • blackdogsailing

    The ignorance is yours Bob. Greenwald and Nader have their parts to play and neither of them are politicians. They are thinkers, and we need them to spell out the evils for us and to describe an ideal the politicians could move us towards, if they weren’t all corrupt.