• The Man Glances In Glenn Greenwald's General Direction.

    I'll admit - Glenn Greenwald was never interesting to me, and I find it supremely hard to blog about things or people I have absolutely no interest in. The guy struck me as one of those talking heads who had the market of pseudo-intellectual superiority all to themselves until the advent of the independent blogger made voices like theirs much less important. That pisses off guys like Greenwald - they want to be the only ones of authority in the room, and they want you to listen and take notes from them and them only.

    Well, that would be true if most liberals were more like their conservative counterparts, people who are easily swayed into following a prescribed set of authoritative voices - guys and gals like Greenwald and Jane Hamsher would love to have Rush Limbaugh's lemming-like following. But most liberals like to seek and hear a wide spectrum of opinions, those of which come from outside of the pre-approved Greenwald/Hamsher/Huffington/Wolf box.

    It's interesting to see Glen Greenwald equate the actions of Pres. Obama in regards to foreign policy and the War on Terror with that of former dunce-in-chief George W. Bush. Apparently, Pres. Obama forgot that he was supposed to repudiate the entire concept of the War on Terror - in other words, he was supposed to take what Bush started and kick the entire mess in the trash can, damned what the rest of Congress, the military, his advisers and most Americans thought. At the very least, he was supposed to play the Professional Left-mandated role of soft touch when it came to terrorism, as evinced by Greenwald's lament of how he should have merely arrested Osama bin Laden as opposed to simply disposing of him. I think Greenwald, like many others in that particular circle, are simply too damned uncomfortable with how Pres. Obama's taken a much harder line on terrorists. In fact, they're very uncomfortable with how Pres. Obama is running things so far.

    A lot of people were disappointed that Barack Obama was not their Magic Negro™. And since he didn't revert decades of damage caused by conservative policies within a year of his being in office, these same people are now out for blood, doing whatever they can do dissuade others from supporting and voting for him the next go around, even at the cost of having another conservative as president, who will most likely continue the damaging policies that these people were against and wanted to fix in the first place. To them and to Greenwald, that's far preferable to another four years of what they see as a "phony."

    Barack Obama was supposed to be their anti-Bush in every single way. But his governing style was far too pragmatic for the Professional Left and emoprogs to tolerate. As a result, he's considered no better than Bush. Greenwald and company are operating on a nine-year-old's logic.

    Meanwhile, Greenwald and others are praising Ron Paul as a champion (of sorts) of civil liberties. As other bloggers have pointed out, his opposition to "warmongering" makes him a pretty good shoe-in for "good guy" within the PL and emoprog circles. It's too bad that these people can't, for the life of them, see how Ron Paul's stances are merely for his own ideological convenience:

    But the nature of his anti-war stance is fundamentally different from that of liberal opposition to any given war. The tipoff is in his opposition to foreign aid, and his anti-United Nations position: he's anti-war because the rest of the world just isn't worth it. His is not the pacifism of the anti-war movement but the nativist isolationism of the America-Firsters; Paul is "to the left of Obama" the way Lindbergh was to the left of Roosevelt. (That may be true in a fairly literal sense, although I wouldn't trust anything from Big Government without further corroboration.)

    Similarly, Paul's positions on civil liberties issues aren't actually about civil liberties as we understand them; they're about his opposition to Federal authority. (An opposition that is somewhat conditional, it should be noted.) For example, in talking about the death penalty, he makes clear that he opposes it only at the Federal level. His opposition to the PATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, and domestic surveillance come from the same root as his opposition to the Civil Rights Act. He has no real objection to states violating the rights of their citizens; it's only a problem if the Feds do it.

    The assumption underlying this is that people are freer when states (as opposed to the Federal government) have more power. Now, it may seem obvious to some of us that the distinction between one arbitrary administrative unit and another isn't exactly a human rights issue, but let's just consider for a moment: does state or local control actually translate to more liberty?

    In short? Ron Paul only cares about civil liberties when it brings him to the goal of eliminating federal interference in most aspects of governance. He could care less about what the individual states do. After all, that's his thing. How does that effect liberals on the Ron Paul bus? Well, lets just say that the individual states are a hell of a lot more conservative than guys like Greenwald give them credit for. See Alabama's HB 56 and Arizona's SB 1070? Most states, left to their own devices, are prone to stripping out and reducing civil liberties. No more same-sex marriages, abortions, Planned Parenthood or civil protections for homosexuals and transsexuals. No more protections against racial discrimination, either. But Greenwald and others can't see this forest bereft of actual civil liberties for the anti-war trees.

    How far does the selective omission of Ron Paul's policies go in regards to support from Greenwald, et al.?

    Remember, Greenwald says Citizens United is good for civil liberties. But what he means by those two words is very different from what most of us have in mind when we say them. The president has been consistently supportive of voting rights, for example, but that is elided from the Greenwald definition of “civil liberties;” he also elides the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Fair Sentencing Act, the overturn of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the president’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the US Commission on Civil Rights, etcetera.

    Contrast that to Greenwald’s treatment of Ron Paul’s record. In his op-ed, Greenwald makes no mention of the congressman’s racist newsletters, his public stance on the Civil Rights Act, his attempt to strip Iranian students of federal financial aid, his evident homophobia, his numerous assaults on abortion rights, his desire to repeal the “Motor Voter” Act, his attacks on the 14th Amendment, etcetera. I regard his stance on the gold standard as a repeal of economic rights — one that William Jennings Bryan would abhor as a cross of gold.

    In Greenwald’s story, not one of the issues in those previous two ‘graffs — not even the fight over voter ID bills that would disenfranchise millions of African Americans — count as civil liberties issues, but the supposed right of an American citizen to be free from harm while directing harm to other Americans does.

    That doesn't matter. Ron Paul's anti-war stance and overall appearance as the "anti-Obama" and liberalism's "last pure hope" is all guys like Greenwald need to get on board and start waving "RP" pom-poms in front of a packed crowd.