Making the Perfect the Enemy of the Good

I’m usually with Glenn Greenwald on a variety of issues, but this latest post about the failure of the USA Freedom Act to pas makes absolutely no sense to me:

There were some mildly positive provisions in the USA Freedom Act: the placement of “public advocates” at the FISA court to contest the claims of the government; the prohibition on the NSA holding Americans’ phone records, requiring instead that they obtain FISA court approval before seeking specific records from the telecoms (which already hold those records for at least 18 months); and reducing the agency’s “contact chaining” analysis from three hops to two. One could reasonably argue (as the ACLU and EFF did) that, though woefully inadequate, the bill was a net-positive as a first step toward real reform, but one could also reasonably argue, as Marcy Wheeler has with characteristic insight, that the bill is so larded with ambiguities and fundamental inadequacies that it would forestall better options and advocates for real reform should thus root for its defeat.

When pro-privacy members of Congress first unveiled the bill many months ago, it was actually a good bill: real reform. But the White House worked very hard— in partnership with the House GOP—to water that bill down so severely that what the House ended up passing over the summer did more to strengthen the NSA than rein it in, which caused even the ACLU and EFF to withdraw their support. The Senate bill rejected last night was basically a middle ground between that original, good bill and the anti-reform bill passed by the House.

* * * * *

All of that illustrates what is, to me, the most important point from all of this: the last place one should look to impose limits on the powers of the U.S. government is . . . the U.S. government. Governments don’t walk around trying to figure out how to limit their own power, and that’s particularly true of empires.

Here in the US of A, where you have Senators and Congresscritters bought and owned by various entities, all you are ever going to get is mildly positive. Mildly positive is a win when it comes to Congress, and incrementalism is the only way anything major ever happens in the United States. Mildly positive is the basic premise of the ACA, which I think we all would agree has been a GOOD thing. So no, even though the bill goes nowhere near far enough, I’d rather a couple slices of bread than none because I couldn’t have the whole loaf.

Second, if we don’t turn to government to reform government, we might as well just give up. Glenn lists several options where real reform can happen:

1) Individuals refusing to use internet services that compromise their privacy.

Na ga ha pen. Sure, you might have a few people out there who will be able to go off the grid yet maintain connected to the intertrons, but this is such an unviable option I’m not going to give it any more thought.

2) Other countries taking action against U.S. hegemony over the internet.

We’ll wait and see, although I am of the opinion that many of the repercussions listed (denial of the Boeing contract, etc.) were just opportunism using NSA surveilance as a pretext. Regardless, no matter what happens, surveillance will still occur. Maybe not to the same scale, but it will happen.

U.S. court proceedings.

That is the U.S. government. And when things are overturned, lawmakers (also the government, btw) will create legislation to work around the ruling to do what they wanted to do (and by proxy, what the American people apparently voted them into office to do). Glenn notes he has little faith in SCOTUS, and given their behavior in the drug war, he shouldn’t, so I’m not really sure how this is an option or even worth considering.

Greater individual demand for, and use of, encryption.

Again, this may work for sophisticated users, but the average person is not a sophisticated user. Hell, I know how to use pgp encryption with gmail, but I don’t. Why? Because no one I email knows how to use it or cares to do so.

All in all, this column makes no sense to me. If you want to rein in the surveillance state, you fight for every single scrap you can get, and then you fight for more.






101 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    In this context it’s “rein in”, not “reign in.”

    Yes, a pet peeve, but I boldly predict it will be the most temperate comment on this thread.

  2. 2
    eemom says:

    I picked the right day to be desperate for distraction.

  3. 3
    samiam says:

    “I’m usually with Glenn Greenwald….”

    Usually? Ha, that is like saying “I’m usually a retard…..”

    Of course you are but it’s not like a switch you can turn off.

  4. 4
    El Caganer says:

    @Gin & Tonic: If you want to reign in the surveillance state, you get elected President or get appointed as head of NSA, no?

  5. 5
    Marc says:

    If you are blinded by hatred of Obama, as Saint Glenn is, then you don’t want anything to occur that might give him any credit.

  6. 6
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Now you’re just trolling your own blog, Cole.

    And if I had one I’d do the same thing.

  7. 7
    KG says:

    incrementalism is the only way anything major ever happens in the United States

    reality has no place in contemporary American politics, the post-modernists won.

  8. 8
    Valdivia says:

    Sounds a bit like a heighten the contradiction kind of strategy.

    Quick OT: Are we live-blogging the Reconquista? I am very excited and will be watching along with all my-fellow latinos on Univision.

  9. 9
    Belafon says:

    We were talking about this kind of thing downthread. Most people don’t care, and really haven’t cared. And since, for most of the existence of the Republic, most people haven’t had the FBI come knocking on their doors to disappear them or someone they know away, most people aren’t going to get excited about this. Think about how much is on the internet about the average person.

    ETA: Also, if people were really worried, they wouldn’t be screaming “Obama’s a dictator and a tyrant.”

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @El Caganer: True, but I don’t think that’s what our host meant.

  11. 11
    Belafon says:

    @samiam:

    “I’m usually a retard…..”

    You certainly don’t say this often enough to warn the casual reader.

  12. 12
    Allan says:

    Greater individual demand for, and use of, encryption.

    As luck would have it, Glenn knows a guy who can satisfy that demand.

  13. 13
    Valdivia says:

    @KG:

    I have been noticing this more and more.

  14. 14
    burnspbesq says:

    Wow. Cole comes to his senses and Duke kicks Carolina’s ass, both on the same day.

    I wish I could figure out what I’ve done to cause God to smile down on me this way, cuz I would absolutely keep doing it.

  15. 15
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Glenn Greenwald loathes Barack Obama. Whether he loathes every president for being more rich and famous and beloved than himself or whether this is a new conviction that happened to hit him during January, 2009, science will never know.

    But bringing down the near president by any means necessary is his goal. That, and keeping his pockets stuffed with OPM.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    …the bill is so larded with ambiguities and fundamental inadequacies that it would forestall better options and advocates for real reform should thus root for its defeat.

    How would it “forestall better options”? On most complex issues (like healthcare, as you pointed out), you take what you can get now and keep working for reform.

  17. 17
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Belafon:

    And since, for most of the existence of the Republic, most people haven’t had the FBI come knocking on their doors to disappear them or someone they know away

    Local law enforcement is who knocks on your door and disappears you, dummy.

    Who gives a shit about some overfed pansy ass federal agents who sit in their GSA van texting all day?

    Ooo, NSA, Angry Nerds, I’m scared.

  18. 18
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Betty Cracker: I thought it read “forestall better optics” which of course would be Brave Sir Rand Paul and GG’s other Republican heroes passing a bill for Dictator Obama to veto, because reasons.

  19. 19
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I second this. It is my pet peeve as well. Reign in is not a verb. Reign in is a phrase in bad need of an object, probably a location. Eg: reign in hell.

    You’re welcome.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Betty Cracker: This whole thing is one of the reasons that I am not a Greenwaldian. Of course it wasn’t a perfect bill- hell, of course it wasn’t a great bill – but it was a bill that had a chance of getting through Congress.

  21. 21
    Mike J says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Whether he loathes every president for being more rich and famous and beloved than himself or whether this is a new conviction that happened to hit him during January, 2009, science will never know.

    He was pretty strongly anti-Bush. His ODS is just stage 4 both-sides-do-it-ism.

  22. 22
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Another thought: FBI went off the rails when it had an appointed head who outlasted presidents, making him more powerful than them. (CIA to an extent too … Dulles bros … shoulda kept salt o’ the earth generals in charge.)

    So instead they church FBI heads constantly, which keeps FBI weak but also means the heads are so powerless that lower managers are running wild and stuff gets “lost” resources “diverted” and oh the Boston FBI is a criminal outfit and even when exposed we sacrifice one guy and keep on keeping on.

    Dunno what the answer is, but FBI IS SUPPOSED TO be helping local law enforcement solve fucking crimes.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    Like all libertarians, GG is a big believer in magic. A small step in the right direction is the worst possible thing that could ever happen because MAGIC! will allow the huge step to perfection to come about MAGICALLY!

    @Allan:

    And now we see why Omidyar is so interested in propping up GG. Heh. I should have known.

    I’m so hoping that Taibbi finally lets loose with a screed about his days in the libertarian funhouse. I’m so hoping for a great metaphor like the giant squid to paint these guys with.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @geg6: I’m also hoping to hear Taibbi’s account of that fiasco.

  25. 25
    lol says:

    Weird. Rand Paul bails on NSA reform and Greenwald pens a piece defending his behavior.

  26. 26
    Mike J says:

    @Betty Cracker: Oh yeah, the guy that told us TARP cost $24,000,000,000,000 is going to get a story right.

    He’s at least as big a dunce as Greenwald.

  27. 27
    Belafon says:

    @Another Holocene Human: And….you made my point.

  28. 28
    Kevin says:

    This is just giving cover for his brogressive friend Rand Paul. Or cover for Greenwald’s eventual support of Paul’s campaign. He’ll be able to point to this post and say “I agree with Paul, that was not a great bill, blah blah blah (for another 9000 words).

  29. 29
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mike J: As my wise friend Mrs. Polly once said, Taibbi makes a better condiment than a meal, but he’s not without his merits, even if he does get shit wrong sometimes. He’s a better and funnier writer than Greenwald by several orders of magnitude, in my opinion, and he had a ringside seat at Omidyar’s joint, so I think his account would be entertaining.

  30. 30
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Greater individual demand for, and use of, encryption.

    I do computer security for a living and this is, put nicely, poor advice. Oh, it may keep some of your personal details out of the hands of the guy who yanked your iPhone out of your hands on the subway, but it never has been and never will be any obstacle to law enforcement whatsoever.

  31. 31
    Denali says:

    Yeah, weak as it was, the Freedom Act might had a chance of passing, and then we could have pointed to a largely symbolic act and said well at least we did that. Now, we are back to the status quo. And I don’t understand why everyone is just fine with the government listening in on their conversations and emails. Why should we have to watch what we say and write to avoid being placed on some list of potential wrong doers? I don’t like living in 1984 in 2014.

  32. 32
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Why should we have to watch what we say and write to avoid being placed on some list of potential wrong doers?

    @Denali: Because a majority – a vast majority, I might add – of your fellow citizens are gutless, terrified, easily stampeded idiots with minimal critical thinking skills.

    I don’t like living in 1984 in 2014.

    Neither do I, but here we are. The question now is how to survive it.

  33. 33
    Mike J says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m sure whatever he wrote would be entertaining, I just wouldn’t count on any of it being right.

  34. 34
    WiscoJoe says:

    Greenwald has been able to exploit the fact that many liberals are with him “on a variety of issues” in order to get some liberals to go along with a self-defeating strategy of grievance politics that actually prevent positive action from being taken on that same “variety of issues” we agree on.

    This is how libertarian ratfucking is designed to work. Are people just figuring this out now?

    (Also, ignore any sort of government reforms and just purchase encryption software from Pierre Omidyar, but also punish Democrats and allow Republicans to take over so that we can blame Democrats for not doing enough to stop Republicans. Did I mention that Pierre Omidyar has some wonderful encryption services for purchase?)

  35. 35
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I have better things to do today but I’m still raging. Seriously, honestly tried to meditate but it all came screaming back.

    You know why the billionaires will always win? Because WHITE PEOPLE are STUPID.

    Because you caught a little Basketball Wives or Real Housewives of Atlanta and thought it was a documentary.

    Because a white guy in authority said something about a Black person so you’re gonna throw the ****** overboard.

    Because you watched Chris Rock’s or Charlie Murphy’s reactionary rants and chuckled along and thought a comedy routine was the whole story.

    Because you think being a liberal means going “Tsk tsk, they can’t help themselves, but let’s fund a program.”

    You want to know why a lot of people don’t call themselves liberal? Because it’s also a term for a stuck-in-the-past, reactionary, paternalistic CLOD and always has been! (See: liberal Republican)

    Wilson is the true Father of Our Country. He brought the wonders of residential segregation out of the Deep South and into the entire nation. He held back the tide of progress for a hundred years. He helped make the 20s, a time of economic expansion, into one of the most reactionary periods in American history (and he was already dirtnapping … but look at his actions, his policies).

    And we’ll never ever have economic populism because economic populism means white man’s burden, invading Phillippines, invading Cuba, invading Haiti, invading Panama, stealing everything not locked down. It means blackshirts and border militias. Lou Dobbs. Alex Jones.

    YOU. ALL OF YOU. Suckers.

    Suckers.

    Walking, talking lollipops.

    Enjoy your tour of hell.

  36. 36
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @WiscoJoe: Cole is kinda, how shall we put it? Slow.

  37. 37
    guachi says:

    I am part of the surveillance state. I trust my coworkers. If the reforms voted on increase public confidence and don’t impair effectiveness, I think they should pass.

    I can only conclude that Rand Paul isn’t serious about what he says.

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    The question now is how to survive it.

    Maybe by expressing your paranoia and disappointment publicly on the internets?

  39. 39
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Because a majority – a vast majority, I might add – of your fellow citizens are gutless, terrified, easily stampeded idiots with minimal critical thinking skills.

    See the Shanesha Taylor thread for plenty of examples. Oh wait guess who was showing his lack of critical thinking skills there.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Denali:

    And I don’t understand why everyone is just fine with the government listening in on their conversations and emails.

    Well, the authorization expires next year. The GOP will just let that go, right?

    Oh well, I totally trust Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to come up with a totally reasonable, carefully considered reauth bill that hahahahhahahahah

  41. 41
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mike J:

    I’m sure whatever he [Taibbi] wrote would be entertaining, I just wouldn’t count on any of it being right.

    One out of two ain’t bad. Especially when in comparison.

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Next time, just bite your pillow.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    Can’t wait till Greenie swoops into this thread to call us Muslim haters.

  44. 44
    Randy Khan says:

    My long-held short take on GG is as follows: Greenwald the reporter is pretty good. Greenwald the pundit/activist is pretty awful. This is a fine example of the second point.

    And the most awful thing is the line about U.S. hegemony over the Internet. U.S. hegemony over the Internet has been a huge net positive for civil liberties. If, say, the ITU took over Internet governance, which it keeps trying to do, that would have no impact on the U.S. ability to engage in surveillance and the like. On the other hand, since every country gets a vote in the ITU, there would be a lot of votes for not just authorizing but affirmatively empowering censorship and restrictions on how the Internet could be used, which even in its worst moments the U.S. government generally has avoided. (Just to pick one example – you can bet that a lot of countries would be in favor of restricting Skype and similar services, which have cut heavily into the profits of the monopoly telcos, often government owned, in many nations, and also creates a hard-to-police means of communicating politically dangerous information.)

  45. 45
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Oh wait guess who was showing his lack of critical thinking skills there.

    @Another Holocene Human: I’d change my nym after that embarrassing performance if I were you.

  46. 46
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Oh well, I totally trust Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to come up with a totally reasonable, carefully considered reauth bill that hahahahhahahahah

    I’m sure Glenn Greenwald trusts them. Why else run cover for these asshats? I can’t wait for Glenn to just rip off his mask and reveal himself as Radley Balko. Just get it done with already. We all know you’ve spent a little too much time with the Glibertarians and now you’ve gone native. No point in this pretense.

  47. 47
    Seanly says:

    I get the concern for privacy and the desire that our government not treat us all as potential terrorists. I’m not so much on the “Obummer’s working wif da Rethugs to control the airwaves” conspiracies and that makes him (but not the Republican House, funny that) the worst thing since Hitler & Genghis Khan spawned Blues Brothers 2000.

    However, 99% of Americans don’t give a shit about any of this. We have no jobs, no money & no future. Our infrastructure is falling down or caving in. Our healthcare is still too damn expensive. College debt is too high and so is the rent. Everyone’s got too much real life BS on their plate to give too much of damn about the NSA reading our emails. Not saying that we shouldn’t worry about it…

  48. 48

    This is good news for R. Paul.

  49. 49
    AxelFoley says:

    I’m usually with Glenn Greenwald on a variety of issues

    Therein lies your problem, Cole.

  50. 50
    AxelFoley says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Glenn Greenwald loathes Barack Obama.

    A fact which Cole somehow can’t understand.

  51. 51
    NCSteve says:

    Episode XXMCMIV: John Cole accidentally discovers the root problem that the people who have a problem with Glenn Greenwald have a problem with. Because this is the problem with him. In Greenwaldia, there’s only black and there’s white and choices between lesser and greater shades of grey is just choosing black and only Glenn Greenwald knows what is truly white. And if you must subtly mislead your readers into drawing inferences not supported by the evidence cited or (to preserve the ability to heap scorn on those who impute the inferences to him) actually drawn in the story, it is all in the service of that which is good and just and right.

    He’s got the same disease as religious fanatics: once you decide you and you alone are Right, there really isn’t any limit on what you can give yourself permission to do and say.

    @WiscoJoe: This.

    @burnspbesq: Actually, any right thinking person would have to call those two things a cosmic balancing of yin and yang.

  52. 52
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    In case your incredulity meter hasn’t been pegged to 11 yet, here’s new about Mattel’s Computer Engineer Barbie:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/...../19264459/

    Barbie has to ask the boys to do the coding, but she takes the credit at the end.

  53. 53
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    Glenn Greenwald is more interested in being a good person than doing good in the world, which is why his prescriptions are worthless.

  54. 54
    Baud says:

    All of GG’s alternatives to legislation are things people can do anyway. In other words, they are not alternatives.

  55. 55
    Elizabelle says:

    @Valdivia: Yes! We must live-blog. Viva Obama!

  56. 56
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Did they commission 4chan for that one?

  57. 57
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Zifnab25: The astounding thing is that a number of people must have signed off on this. WTF?

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    Glenn Greenwald is more interested in being a good person than doing good in the world,

    Is this like the old joke about Henry Clay, who said he’d rather be right than President, but in fact was neither?

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    So basically she’s Steve Jobs with a sex change?

    (I keed, I keed. I admired Steve Jobs. Still, most managers and executives don’t do their own coding.)

  60. 60
    Mike J says:

    @Mnemosyne: Is Barbie refusing to pay for license plates because she hates the gubbmint?

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Reign in is not a verb

    Yes it is. From Dictionary.com:

    verb (used without object)
    4. to possess or exercise sovereign power or authority.
    5. to hold the position and name of sovereign without exercising the ruling power.
    6. to have control, rule, or influence of any kind.
    7. to predominate; be prevalent.

  62. 62
    The Sailor says:

    “A large bulk of the Democratic and liberal commentariat — led, as usual, by the highly-paid DNC spokesmen called “MSNBC hosts” ”

    He’s been an attention whore for years. He chooses to live in one of the most press repressive countries in the world, and they’ll let him stay, as long as he only criticizes other countries.

    He has never been a reporter, he’s just an asshole with a pen. We have lots of those. He’s Rush Limbaugh, without the audience.

  63. 63
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes it is. From Dictionary.com:

    verb (used without object)
    4. to possess or exercise sovereign power or authority.
    5. to hold the position and name of sovereign without exercising the ruling power.
    6. to have control, rule, or influence of any kind.
    7. to predominate; be prevalent.

    I am going to try to use this absurdity in a sentence now.

    Charles reigns in in England.
    The enfant reigns in only.
    I reign in, y’all. Senators take my calls.
    The reigning reign in powers of 18th century Asia …

    LOLWUT

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @Randy Khan:

    My long-held short take on GG is as follows: Greenwald the reporter is pretty good. Greenwald the pundit/activist is pretty awful.

    The problem is that you can’t trust anything reporter Greenwald reports because you don’t know what contrary facts pundit/activist Greenwald is making him leave out of the story. We often criticize reporters for bending over backward to present both sides of an issue, even when one side is obviously wrong, but Greenwald shows why at least some attempt at balance is necessary.

  65. 65
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Elizabelle: Please LB. I’m going to miss the first half b/c I will be at work.

  66. 66
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: GG the writer is skilled. GG the person is an ass.

  67. 67
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Holocene Human:
    Sorry, I misread your original statement; I thought you were complaining about the use of “reign” as a verb, not “reign in” as a verb. My bad.

  68. 68
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: You’re forgiven. I, however, would never read a web comment too hastily and fly off the handle.

    ///

  69. 69

    @Roger Moore: @Another Holocene Human: Can’t we just say “hold court” and go to brunch or something already?

  70. 70
    cokane says:

    “All of that illustrates what is, to me, the most important point from all of this: the last place one should look to impose limits on the powers of the U.S. government is . . . the U.S. government. Governments don’t walk around trying to figure out how to limit their own power, and that’s particularly true of empires.”

    What kind of point is this? First of the US government does restrain itself, that’s why citizens have rights in the first place. And yeah I know some commenter just read that and is replying to me yadda yadda, just because we don’t your perfect conception of citizens’ rights doesn’t mean that we have none.

    Edit: Second off, who else is going to impose anything on the US government? What kind of solution-less point is this from a self-appointed privacy advocate too.

  71. 71
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Zifnab25: Ahem, Balko has a point every once in a long while and actually does research. Calling GG Balko is an insult to Balko, now that it’s 2014.

    Back in the mid 2000s when GG was in his ‘courting’ phase with progressives he actually did some real work too, but he’s way past that, griftin’ it up and being as dishonest as he wants to be. Balko’s probably more mature than he was 10 years ago, not that I read him super closely. So there’s that.

  72. 72
    LT says:

    John – Greenwald SUPPORTED passing the bill. He said this several times. And he knocked Rand Paul for not voting for it.

  73. 73
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @cokane: you clearly haven’t been imbibing enough of the libertarian kool-aid

  74. 74
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Good thing I’m not you.

    I’m not embarrassed about a damn thing, btw.

  75. 75
    dmsilev says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: “Math is Hard” Barbie lives on.

    Sigh.

  76. 76
    chopper says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But it’s ‘larded with ambiguities!’ Unlike every other bill that comes out of congress.

  77. 77
    LT says:

    Did you see Bob Cesca’s post on this? Roughly 100% factually wrong:

    Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald and Snowden’s other media flacks are applauding Rand Paul as well as the demise of the USA Freedom Act — totally fished-in by the Rand Paul excuse that the bill didn’t go far enough. Greenwald wrote that the bill was “water[ed] down,” while noting that the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for which Greenwald is a board member, withdrew support from the bill:

    “Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald and Snowden’s other media flacks are applauding Rand Paul ” – No. Wrong.

    Even if you want to believe Rand Paul's motives were pure & his position correct, his NO vote makes little sense http://t.co/bHeZewAXtq— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 20, 2014

    The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for which Greenwald is a board member, withdrew support from the bill” – No. Wrong.

    Here’s ACLU urging passage of the bill.

    Here’s EFF after the bill didn’t pass.

    http://thedailybanter.com/2014.....long-time/

  78. 78
  79. 79
    cokane says:

    @Randy Khan: Greenwald isn’t a reporter and that’s where the problem lies. He’s never been hired in any capacity as a reporter, in a narrow definition of the word, which applies here considering you are splitting from pundit/activist. Greenwald was a lawyer then wrote a blog during the Bush years. Then his blog got popular and some media outlets gave him spaces as a columnist/blogger/pundit. But he’s never been a reporter and it shows.

  80. 80
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Why should I be embarrassed, Congratulations! ? For defending S. Taylor? Ever fucking day of the week. I will be there. For getting emotional? Oh, call the dogs, somebody had an emotion. For arguing with you? Oh dear. Really broke up about this.

    John Scalzi, Barack Obama, and my wife all endured years of poverty growing up with a single parent but none of them going around wearing their asses as a hat. I see no reason to take you any more seriously than I did yesterday.

  81. 81
    LT says:

    @cokane: Your weasel words are hilarious. Do you use the word “reporter” because you don’t want to be seen as being like the widley mocked others who say he’s not a “journalist”? And do you not know a “reporter” is a “journalist”? Greenwald has been a “reporter” in every sense of the word for years, since his days at Salon at least.

    He’s also been a columnist,. Lots of people have been, are, both. And “columnist” is also a word with many meanings. Here’s the NYT definition, given as opposed to reporter, by Andrew Rosenthal:

    http://mattjduffy.com/2009/11/.....explained/

  82. 82
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Thread needs two day old live kittehs. With squeaking. Lots of squeaking.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    So, I, like, read the GG piece, and I have to say that he suported the bill while bemoaning its narrowness. And the he bitched about the government. I think Cole caught hold of the wrong end of the stick on this one.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    I tuned in just in time to see the orange-collared kitten repeatedly punching the blue-collared kitten in the head.

    IOW, Thursday on Balloon-Juice.

  85. 85
    Kristin says:

    @lol: That’s what I think this is all about. Glenn probably had to really think about it, because the ACLU and EFF criticized Paul. But, ultimately, he came down on the side of defending Paul.

  86. 86
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: Ahyup.

    They’re trying different bottles/nipples on the cleft-palate kittten. Momma appears to be doing real good.

    Before the intervention, both momma and the kittens were in dire straits. so far, so good.

  87. 87
    Kristin says:

    @The Sailor: He can’t be taken seriously. The hyperbole is too ridiculous. He’s a caricature of himself at this point.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Someone (Elizabelle?) was saying yesterday that fortunately the vet said that the cleft palate kitty only has a cleft lip and nose, not the actual palate, so it shouldn’t affect his/her feeding too much.

  89. 89
    Marc says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Nah. It’s a “both sides are the same, I’m pure” article – and there is no criticism of Paul in it at all; it notes “One GOP Senator, Rand Paul, voted against it on the ground that it did not go nearly far enough in reining in the NSA.” Which, in Glenn-world, means that Paul is Good, of course.

    We’d get a 7,500 word essay on how evil Obama was if he vetoed something because he claimed that he wanted something better, of course.

  90. 90
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: If that’s the case, than that be good.

  91. 91
    Baud says:

    @Marc:

    One GOP Senator, Rand Paul, voted against it on the ground that it did not go nearly far enough in reining in the NSA.

    Shouldn’t that be “reign in”?

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    GG, like Paul, is trying to be on both sides. Ultimately he throws up his hands in frustration, declaring ‘I don’t even know why the gummint is supposed to be the ones fixing this!’ and lists as proposed fixes a bunch of meaningless dreck that other entities already aren’t doing and aren’t going to start doing anytime soon.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Marc: I am by no means a Greenwald fan, but I read the piece as saying the bill was better than nothing, but pretty mediocre. Then going on to say that if Congress can’t even pass a mediocre reform bill, it is foolish to expect it to pass a good one.

  94. 94
    Morzer says:

    Glenn Greenwald is Otto from A Fish Called Wanda minus the guns but with even more self-righteousness. You can waste time listening to his incoherent and futile rants or you can do something constructive with your life.

  95. 95
    chopper says:

    @LT:

    The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for which Greenwald is a board member, withdrew support from the bill” – No. Wrong.

    You need to tell that to greenwald then. From his post, cited at the top by john:

    which caused even the ACLU and EFF to withdraw their support.

    I’m sure your head asplode at the thought.

  96. 96
    cokane says:

    @LT: I used reporter because I was replying to someone who used the word reporter. Get a clue dipshit.

  97. 97
    cokane says:

    Let me just add that he’s always been a pundit. It shows in all his work that he doesn’t know how to do actual reporting.

  98. 98
    Cervantes says:

    @chopper:

    I’m sure your head asplode at the thought.

    There are two bills.

    Greenwald wrote that the “anti-reform bill passed by the House” was so bad the ACLU and the EFF withdrew support for it.

    Cesca — and apparently you — mistook this for Greenwald saying the ACLU and the EFF withdrew support for the Senate bill.

    Still, you were very close: two is almost the same as one.

  99. 99
    Thymezone says:

    If you want privacy, don’t put things you want private onto a public conveyance, especially an electronic conveyance. Keep them private, and they will stay private. Mindful of course of Ben Franklin’s admonition:

    “If you would keep your Secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.”

    Once you share a secret, it’s no longer yours to keep.

    The end.

  100. 100

    Greenwald does have an anarchist streak, doesn’t he? In any event, this is clearly going to be a long struggle.

    On the other hand, we have unlooked-for help from Google, which is developing an encryption plug-in for Chrome. It will be written in Javascript and released under the liberal Apache license, so the code can be incorporated into other browsers and systems.

    I think Greenwald underestimates business support for the technology, as well. Who would do their business correspondence on postcards, after all? So it may be that once a critical mass is reached, encryption will be widely adopted.

  101. 101
    LT says:

    @chopper: One paragrpah above:

    One could reasonably argue (as the ACLU and EFF did) that, though woefully inadequate, the bill was a net-positive as a first step toward real reform, but one could also reasonably argue, as Marcy Wheeler has with characteristic insight, that the bill is so larded with ambiguities and fundamental inadequacies that it would forestall better options and advocates for real reform should thus root for its defeat.

    EDIT: Damn, what Cerverantes said. Yours and Cesca’s comment was about the HOUSE bill. You’re both wrong.

Comments are closed.