The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Why Actual Principled People Are Difficult (Glenn Greenwald Edition)

Glenn Greenwald

You may have heard that Glenn Greenwald, the founder of the Intercept, has been charged with cybercrimes by the Brazilian Federal Government. Glenn’s the reporter who broke the story of how Brazil’s ex-President Lula was taken down by Brazilian prosecutors. Moro, the chief prosecutor, was later rewarded by Bolsonaro with appointment as the Minister of Justice. All polls indicated that Lula would have defeated Bolsonaro.

The logic of the case is the same as the logic used by the US government to go after Assange, by the way: That Greenwald was in contact with and counseled hackers. Those people who are supporting Greenwald but don’t support Assange are hypocrites: Brazil is using the Assange precedent to go after Greenwald.

I support Greenwald, of course, as I have supported Assange, Manning, and Snowden.

Now this is the part of the piece where people (and with respect to Assange, I’ve done it) cavil a bit and say something like: “Despite Mr or Ms. X being problematic,” or some-such.

And it’s that I want to talk about, but not to condemn it. To explore it.

Because it’s almost always the case.

When Greenwald indicated he was going to oppose Bolsonaro, after the election, before he had revealed the evidence of Bolsonaro’s crime, I told him, twice, “This is dangerous.”

Bolsonaro’s so right-wing one might as well just call him a fascist. He celebrates policies of shooting political enemies. He’s a dangerous, dangerous man.

Glenn ignored me. I doubt the danger ever figured into his decision to go after Bolsonaro.

Meanwhile we have Manning, who is in jail for refusing to testify against Assange. When in military prison, Manning tried to commit suicide, she found it so unbearable. Despite that, knowing how awful it would be, she chose to go to jail rather than testify.

That’s bravery. (I note that all the Republicans refusing to testify under subpoena are sleeping at home, and haven’t been hit with fines intended to bankrupt them and cost them their home, as was Manning.)

Snowden pissed off the most powerful intelligence service and country in the world. He ran. Wikileaks helped him run, Greenwald published his revelations.

So I understand the caviling, but the point normal people don’t get is that these are all immensely morally brave individuals. They have actual principles they are willing to suffer for.

Most people don’t. They claim to have values, but they have never sacrificed anything meaningful for them, and never will. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’d say that even when it comes to their children, whom most people claim to love more than themselves, actions indicate that, well, they don’t.

People have preferences, not principles.

Most people.

Then you get people like Greenwald, Assange, Manning and Snowden. They are polarizing figures. They are loved or hated. They piss people off.

They piss people off precisely because they have principles they consider non-negotiable. They will not do the easy thing when it matters. They will not compromise on anything that really matters.

That’s breaking the actual social contract of “Go along to get along,” “Obey authority,” and “Don’t make people uncomfortable.” I recently talked to a senior activist who was uncomfortable even with the idea of yelling at powerful politicians. It struck them as close to violence.

So here’s the thing, people want men and women of principle to be like ordinary people.

They aren’t. They can’t be. If they were, they wouldn’t do what they do. Much of what you may not like about a Greenwald or Assange or Manning or Snowden is why they are what they are. Not just the principle, but the bravery verging on recklessness. The willingness to say exactly what they think, and do exactly what they believe is right even if others don’t.

They don’t compromise, and they often act without regard to the risks and dangers and whether or not anyone else agrees with them.

That’s what makes them what they are, and it is very rare that you get the good without the bad.

Ordinary people judge them by their own, ordinary standards. But these people don’t live by the standards of ordinary people, because ordinary people are mostly authority and herd followers. And those courtiers who have betrayed principle over and over again to become senior journalists and editors, well, people like Greenwald, Assange, and Manning are a rebuke to them that they can never even acknowledge consciously.

People with principles and bravery enough to stand on them, even in the face of great risk and against authority and the herd, are rarely comfortable people.

Money would be rather useful, as I don’t get paid by the piece. If you want to support my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


The NYTimes Reveals More than It Means


The End of Public Anonymity Is Close


  1. Willy

    Sometimes when it quacks and floats like a duck, it’s not a duck. It’s a hunter with duck callers and decoys. These people seem more like ducks. Beware the hunter.

  2. Which raises my “pet peeve” (for lack of a better term) of government and the media shooting the messenger rather than condemning the criminal he revealed. It continues today.

    Greenwald revealed that the DNC rigged the Democratic primary and was reviled and charged with crimes for doing so. But even though the cat was out of the bag, so much was made of Greenwald’s “crime” that to this day it is well known that Sanders was the victim of a rigged election and no one cares. Similarly with Clinton’s email server and all of the illegalities surrounding that, including James Comey’s crimes.

    Trump asks (supposedly, evidence is thin) for Joe Biden be investigated for doing something that Biden, in fact, bragged openly about doing, and he is being impeached for asking for the investigation. No one is in any way worried about what Joe Biden did. They are hanging the guy who wanted to find out what Joe Biden did.

    Only in America. Doing something is not a crime. Wanting to find out if someone did something is a crime.


    But even though the cat was out of the bag, so much was made of Greenwald’s “crime” that to this day it is well known that Sanders was the victim of a rigged election and no one cares.

    Most notably, Bernie himself didn’t and doesn’t care and capitulated to his “betters” within the Dem establishment under the aegis of party unity. He’ll do it again too. Watch.

    What I don’t care about is the feigned care of Trump supporters for Bernie’s spinelessness.

    It shouldn’t be lost on anyone Snowden’s parents are as deep state as the so-called deep state gets. Murky waters. The REAL heroes if there even is such a thing as heroes? We’ll never know their names.


    No one is in any way worried about what Joe Biden did.

    Most especially Trump. The orange cream Dildo in Chief doesn’t, or didn’t, want Hunter & Joe investigated, he wanted Zelensky to announce Ukraine was going to investigate them. Whether or not Ukraine actually investigated mattered not to Trump who would have manufactured fifty realities by the time anyone realized there would be no investigation afterall and all that mattered was the negative publicity for Joe Biden as if we need that to determine Joe Biden is scumbag. The announcement is what mattered to Trump, not the ethics of what Hunter & Joe did. It was all about the optics of dirt, investigation be damned.

  5. bruce wilder

    Despite that, knowing how awful it would be, [Manning] chose to go to jail rather than testify.

    This may seem to be a minor quibble, but strictly speaking Manning has testified and extensively. The authorities say they are seeking “information” but they are in fact in full possession of all the information Manning could have and are seeking to force her to participate in the incrimination of Assange. The theory of the case against Assange turns apparently on suppositions regarding Manning’s subjective intentions in attempting to avoid or delay detection and in her personal relation with Arrange at the time of their cooperation in her disclosures. Quite reasonably, Manning apparently expects prosecutors to attempt to elicit statements that will be used against Assange (and quite possibly against Manning herself despite the commutation). They are, in short, seeking to have her betray Assange.

    I think it is worthwhile exploring the quibble, because this is what a true moral dilemma looks: a struggle of reason against power.

    In school, moral philosophers sometimes pose trolley problems and the like as if those are moral dilemmas and one can determine right from wrong by dispassionate calculus, weighing or ranking the consequences of choice. In real life, power manipulates the costs and consequences to force the actor to give up their own choice, to cease to be a reasoning moral actor altogether.

    In real life, in a good society, institutions of law function to prevent power from escaping the constraints of reason. The kind of law Greenwald specialized in — constitutional civil liberties — arose historically in resistance to the claims of absolute and arbitrary power, power that was not incidentally stupid and cruel as a consequence of rejecting all reason except the bare calculation of means to ends.


    I’m not condoning the treatment of Manning or Snowden or Assange, but if, for example, Manning was a Russian in Russia, I’m betting he wouldn’t have been granted that sex change operation during his captivity. I condone none of this treatment of journalists regardless of which country is doing it. Now please, all of you hackers inspired by Assange and Snowden and Manning, please hack your way into the appropriate servers and supply us with the information the Trump administration is withholding from the impeachment proceedings. He set the precedent when he called for Assange and Russia to hack the DNC servers and turn over the emails. It’s time for his blowback. Fair is fair, right? Hackers of the world unite and hack your way into the Russian servers and turn over all of the damning evidence against Putin’s reign of terror. Same holds true for China. America’s not the only country with dirty little secrets, dirty little lies.

  7. Eric Anderson

    “In an unjust society the only place for a just man is prison.”

    — Henry David Thoreau

  8. Dan

    Remember when the highly principled, vaunted man of the people and open democracy Glenn Greenwald, chose to decide if, when and how much of the massive cache of \”leaks\” to release to us plebes. Apparently it takes a long time to go through it all. We, of course, cannot be trusted to do so. We\’re lucky to have a man of such high integrity as Glenn Greenwald to spoon-feed us bits of information as he sees fit. Otherwise we wouldn\’t be able to process it properly.

  9. Hugh

    The Brazilian prosecutors accused Greenwald despite a police investigation that found no wrongdoing by Greenwald and further despite an order from a Brazilian federal judge prohibiting any further investigation of Greenwald relative to this hacking case. Finally, Greenwald can not actually be charged with anything unless a federal judge signs off on it. This looks like an attempt to smear Greenwald, neutralize his reporting in Brazil, and likely put pressure on him to leave the country.

    I have been a long standing critic of Greenwald with regard to the Snowden materials. He and Poitras dribbled out their contents. At first, this could be defended as keeping the story of the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs in the news. Greenwald even allowed other reporters to use them in preparing their own stories. But only a small portion of the files were ever released. I was one of those who militated for their release. The idea that sources and methods might be exposed was never that strong. Once you had the general gist of what the programs were doing it wasn’t difficult to guess the who’s and how’s. And as time went by, this argument got weaker and weaker. If it was important for the public to know about these programs, then why at some point could the public not see the source materials, do their own research, form their own judgments? Instead Greenwald sat on them, acted as a gatekeeper, something he used to criticize, and also parlayed them with big bucks from ebay billionaire Pierre Omidyar into starting up The Intercept. This is where the Snowden files ended up archived, except in March 2019, The Intercept with Greenwald’s blessing closed access to the archive. For an interesting take on the machinations, try the following

  10. Marcus Gardner

    This is where it gets really tricky, I think. Being one of these difficult iconoclasts myself, and my longest mentor being an even bigger one, what I\’ve learned/am learning is twofold:

    -Someone\’s personal problems aren\’t an excuse to ignore their commentary on what they see going on around them.

    -The accuracy or helpfulness of someone\’s commentary isn\’t an excuse for them or anyone else to ignore the problems they have in their own relationships.

    In the subcultures I\’m most experienced in, I\’ve witnessed far more people being guilty of the latter, especially when it comes to the charismatic leaders that put on an excellent show of integrity and compassion for their audience, but then when it comes to their private relationships can be quite sick. I think the tricky part is most people don\’t actually get to see such figures in their \”native habitat,\” but I, over the course of my life, have gotten to (either by living with them or gaining access in other ways.)

    At a certain point, someone\’s ability to publicly articulate/call out injustice loses value if they\’re replicating the same injustice in their own sphere. Which isn\’t to so much say they\’re wrong or inaccurate, as to point out that there\’s nothing gained when we uncover one deception only to create another one, and often an even sneakier one. There\’ll be some good examples in my book, which I\’m still working on finishing up and getting to you by the way.

  11. bruce wilder

    @ 450.0rg

    what about whataboutism?

  12. Marcus Gardner

    Anything I should know next time so my post doesn’t get apostrophe-geddoned? Testing’s testing’s…

  13. anon

    I haven’t been following this closely, but as soon as Bolsonaro came into power, my first reaction was that Greenwald and his entire family should leave Brazil. It isn’t safe for any of them. I would not be surprised if his husband or children are targeted.

  14. bruce wilder

    Thanks to Hugh for the Barrett Brown link — he has been shamelessly persecuted and he seems to be a sometimes difficult personality and troubled individual.

    Glenn Greenwald, by contrast, seems to me to be both psychologically stable and, as suits a lawyer, circumspect with regard to the law. I think he is brave, but not reckless in the way an Assange or Barrett Brown have been. He has been obnoxious enough to point out hypocritical inconsistencies in the opinions and reporting of journalists, but disliking Rachel Maddow’s stupid schtick is just good taste, as far as I am concerned.

    What I do not necessarily understand is the complacency with which many detached observers regard the drama of whistleblowing. We all live in a world made by hierarchical organizations. Our personal safety, not to mention our financial and economic well-being, as well as political and personal religious/cultural freedom depend on the integrity as well as efficiency with which these organizations operate the world we live in. “Fair” would seem a value vital to survival.

    That we seem to have a feckless and incompetent elite for whom “fair” has become an accessory to a highly selective “wokeness” while ranting on twitter is concerning.

  15. Ché Pasa

    Part of Greenwald’s shtick is to bait his opponents until they do something stupid. Or whatever he and his fans think is stupid. Well, the Bolsonaro regime has now sort of complied, so we’ll see how this one plays out. Usually when Greenwald sets out to create a controversy or Twitter war, they end up stalemates. This time, it could be dead serious, and Greenwald may not be able to play his usual games or call on his usual allies.

    Yes, of course he is in real danger this time, as opposed to some of his cries of “Wolf!” in the past, but I’ve long maintained David (his husband) is in greater danger due to his office in the Brazilian Congress. If anything, he is more outspoken against the Bolsonaro regime than Glenn been, and as we’ve seen the Bolsonaro regime is not averse to using whatever means “necessary” to consolidate power.

    Death squads and assassinations are not a bridge too far, in other words.

    Unfortunately for Glenn, he’s burned a lot of bridges over the years, much like Assange, and it’s not at all clear that the current wave of support he’s getting from politicians and media figures will amount to much in the end.

    We’ll see.

  16. Z

    I’ve always had a lot of respect for Greenwald. He was very critical of the Bush Administration and then went just as hard at the Obama Administration when it would have been easier for him, and more lucrative, to temper his criticisms of Obama.


  17. Z

    A lot of “progressives” road their righteousness about Bush straight into jobs in the democratic party media-propaganda complex.


  18. Z

    What I respect about Greenwald is that he is loyal to the truth.


  19. Hugh

    Greenwald is on the right side of the matter in his criticism of the corruption and fascism of the Bolsonaro government. He was on the wrong side in holding back the Snowden files for 6 1/2 years and then backing closing down The Intercept’s archive of them. A major reason for The Intercept was supposed to be as a platform for publishing materials from that archive.


    Bruce, what about it? I’m not engaging in whataboutism, but you are engaging in American Exceptionalism. Some American “journalists” break a nail and you and you ilk cry human rights abuses which is laughable when compared to how journalists are treated elsewhere on the planet by tyrannical regimes Donald Trump not only supports but lauds. Worldwide journalism organizations exist for a reason — to help protect journalistic freedom globally. It’s a global issue, not just a local issue.

    Chelsea Manning receiving a sex change operation during her captivity is beyond bizarre. It’s insane. It’s emblematic of the insane world in which we live when I point out what Manning’s fate would have been in Russia and China and some yahoo such as yourself arrogantly and insanely says I’m engaging in whataboutism.

    Twitter, if nothing else, if the deep state truly exists as Trump supporters say it does, is a deep state platform and Snowden has 4.22 million followers on that deep state platform. He’s a rock star. Guess how many followers I have and I don’t even exist on Twitter? Zero. My family has been continually surveilled and harassed by the FBI. If I wanted to gain meaningful gainful employment again I couldn’t because the FBI would prevent it — it would contact that employer and tell them not to hire me. I have received countless emails from FBI agents telling me a cabal of them are taking bets on when I will commit suicide and urging me to do so meanwhile this Hyde scumbag who was planning to have an American ambassador assassinated not only walks free but gets invited onto Chris Cuomo’s show so he can be a rock star too like the Three Musketeers — Manning, Assange and Snowden.

    Glenn Greenwald is wealthy. He belongs to the 1%. He has made bank off of all of his reporting and this is why he goes light on anything Russian — because if he went heavy with a true critique of Russia from the left versus the disingenuous neoliberal critique he would lose his audience and thus his bank. He has tons of fans and followers.

    This is why I say the REAL heroes, if there is such a thing as a TRUE hero, have no names. They have no following. They’ve made no bank. Wake me up when Western “journalists” start showing up brutally murdered in droves which may be sooner than we think as the West russifies like a rotisserie chicken. Until then, give me a break. Please show me the article or articles where Snowden, Assange and Greenwald take Russia to task for murdering their hard-hitting journalists. You will find no braver journalists than those in Russia who dare to speak truth to power. In fact, you won’t find any remaining because they’ve been eliminated. No sex change operations for them even if they were so inclined. Instead, the worms have eaten into their skulls as their bodies decompose six feet under.


    Here’s some honest journalism that doesn’t screech neoliberal whataboutism at every turn. Yes, Trump is doing more damage than any neoliberal president and yes, neoliberalism is largely responsible for Trump’s ascension. Let’s not pretend Trump isn’t a ramification of neoliberalism. Trump is paving tghe way for full-throated fascism as a reaction to decades of neoliberalism. He is not the solution, he’s the other sodomizing fist of neoliberalism.

    The Trump administration is set to continue its corporate friendly assault on U.S. environmental regulations Thursday by finalizing a rule that will allow companies, landowners, and property developers—including golf course owners like the president—to dump pesticides and other pollutants directly into many of the nation’s streams and wetlands, potentially threatening the drinking water of millions of Americans.

    “This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen,” Blan Holman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in a statement.

    The new measure will roll back Obama-era “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulations aimed at ensuring wetlands and streams are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which the Trump Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly targeted despite the president’s professed desire for the U.S. to have the “cleanest water” in the world.

    “This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution.” “This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the ’70s and ’80s that Americans have relied on for their health.”

  22. Please consider:

    Snowden pissed off the most powerful intelligence service and country in the world. He ran. Wikileaks helped him run . . .

    Snowden pissed off the most powerful intelligence service and country in the world because he stole public documents that were classified. The information he removed was evidence of millions of felonies and human rights abuses by the U.S. gov’t, which had classified those documents in furtherance of its cover-up and national security. He ran escaped authorities to assist in the leak disclosure of the information and evidence he illegally removed. During his escape attempt, the U.S. Gov’t, at Barack Obama’s direction, exiled him to Russia.
    Wikileaks helped him run escaped.

  23. Caoimhin Laochdha

    Well so much for the “basic XHTML in my comments,” above.
    The overall theme of what I was attempting to convey partially remains, however.

  24. bruce wilder

    Still musing on Ian’s original post:

    Following a link from NC, I read a boring report by Matthew Yglesias on Vox titled,
    The Bernie-Biden clash over Social Security, explained
    The potential return of the “grand bargain” on budgetary balance.

    The “hook” for this wholly unenlightening bit of scribbling was that David Sirota had quoted Biden out of context in support of Sirota’s thesis that Biden supported cuts to Social Security. (Biden has supported cutting Social Security, as Yglesias acknowledges.)

    I have seen it asserted that human short-term memory can barely handle a ten-digit phone number. That limitation among several others creates all kinds of problems for cognitive overload and a demand for highly compressed nuggets of actionable information, slogans, familiar narratives, shibboleths, repetition, as well as leveraging the power of habit and metaphor.

    Abstract principles, of the kind Glenn Greenwald has dealt with as a constitutional lawyer’s stock-in-trade, work as well as they do to keep politics organized (which is mostly not very well) by law because they work with and against these aforementioned cognitive limitations. Their original context is an historical fiction, the myths of Anglo-American history — particularly the 17th century when Britain invented its version of the modern world, complete with constitutional monarchy, loyal opposition, central banks, parliaments as sovereign legislatures, and so on. Greenwald’s professional skill is to make a sharp and cutting edge from the Whig and Tory principles that formed the political language that resulted, a language with distinct dialects differentiating Britain from the U.S. from Canada from Australia and so on. (Yes, “exceptionalism” in the sense that Brazil or Germany or Russia or China or France had its own history, complete with its own political mythology and constitutional history despite the Anglo example’s global dominance.)

    My point, which is probably already hopelessly lost in references no reader gets, is that people need the short version, the headline in big, bold type: Biden — favors cutting SS. Maybe, it helps to know that Biden takes such a position because Biden totally buys into the fictions of deficit-management as the proper focus of the politics of public spending. Someone like Yglesias, whose livelihood depends on the largess of corporate business and access to political officials, but who knows a lot of political detail and complexity, and feeds off endless political conflict, has to legitimate the confusion of voters. He maybe does not exactly want to do that, to effectively misinform. He wants to explain. He wants to arbitrate. But, he does not want to be good enough at telling the truth that he ceases to be useful to the PTB. So, he goes sometimes with ” it’s complicated”. It is, of course. Always.

    Greenwald has taken a different role as a journalist, not entirely successfully imho, and one deriving from his experience as an attorney fighting the fine points of what is, in the U.S., “first amendment” law.

    The toughest part for Greenwald may be the threat of violence from a genuine psychopath unconstrained by law. But, a close second is getting people used to obscuring all distinctions with the murky obscurity of “it’s complicated”. The “principle” he advocates is a fine distinction, as well as a thin reed to wield against arbitrary authority.

    He asks people to think about how safe they will be if authority can completely control all the information they have available about public policy.

  25. bruce wilder

    Mathew Ingram, writing at Columbia Journalism Review, summarizes the rallying of the U.S. journalism establishment to Greenwald’s defense, complete with a second sentence acknowledging that he has made enemies: “What some of his fans and supporters see as a crusade for truth and justice can strike others—including those who become the targets of his journalistic crusades—as needlessly hostile and potentially biased.”

  26. Hugh

    Maybe we should start a dictionary that translates Politicalese into English.

    For example, “It’s complicated” — “OK, you caught me, but I’m admitting to nothing.


    “hoocoodanode” — Lots of people knew but either it was in their interest to look the other way (Jeffrey Epstein version) or they didn’t have any power at the time and were ignored (Iraq War and 2008 Financial Meltdown version).

    “leaving to spend more time with his/her family” — looks like the hookers are going to talk or the corruption scandals are about to hit the fan.

    “There is nothing to see here” — the evidence is overwhelming


  27. Hugh

    In the Vox article on Social Security, Yglesias somehow manages to get through it without mentioning Obama’s catfood commission (Bowles-Simpson) whose whole purpose was to provide legitimacy to slashing Social Security. Instead he only makes vague reference to it in a grand bargain which failed. But this “bargain” didn’t just fail because Republicans couldn’t accept a mere 90% of the pie. It failed because the catfood commission imploded and never agreed on an official report (although Bowles and Simpson persevered and released their own unofficial one).

    The fix in the original Obama catfood commission was that it was to be enacted by Congress and that its recommendations would be voted on by the Congress –without amendment. The enabling legislation failed (53-46) in the Senate when 6 Republican co-sponsors of the bill voted against it. Not to take no for an answer, Obama established his catfood commission 2.0 by Executive Order. This was early 2010 when Democrats held majorities in both Houses, and Pelosi and Reid who were on board with the program promised that they would put up its recommendations –without amendments. It was only the fact that the commission could not agree on recommendations (among others, one of Dick Durbin’s better moments) that saved us and Social Security.

    And Joe Biden was Vice President at the time and a willing participant in it.

    Joe Biden arrived in the Senate in 1973. Reagan’s 1983 Social Security reform act which established the Trust Fund was penned by Alan Greenspan (it’s what made him a made man) and received bipartisan support. The reason why it was so popular was that it raised taxes on the working class, created a fictional Trust Fund to capture excess revenues, and then turned those revenues over to Congress to be spent as essentially free money. Of course, someone would have to pay back that money but that was decades in the future. So in political terms, never. There are few holdovers from that era, but Biden is one of them. He was in on this con. But never has been getting closer. Hence, efforts like Obama’s catfood commission. You see when shortfalls in Social Security arrive, without further “reform” the money needed would come out of general revenues. This is a non-starter for two reasons. First, it would decrease the amount of money Congress and the President could play with. Second, this would put pressure on the budget and increase the need to raise taxes. And as the rich and corporations pay most of the taxes (even at their ridiculously low rates and with all their loopholes), they would rebel. So Plan B has always been to cut Social Security: reduce payouts or delay them so more people will die, reducing or eliminating their benefits.

    To be fair to Biden, for the first time, I heard a couple of days ago that Biden is now talking about raising the ceiling on income subject to the tax. But that is still a far cry from taxing all income and including in that capital gains and other financialized gains.

  28. Benjamin

    Yes, Sanders capitulated. But it was a calculated political decision on his part. He didn\’t challenge the primary rigging, and even went on to stump for Clinton. These were calculated moves to not only beat Trump (obviously that didn\’t happen), but to keep Sanders public image intact both for a future run and to aid his movement building, to avoid being dismissed as \’another Nader\’ (in reality Nader has nothing to apologize for in relation to 2000).

    Time will tell if it was the right move on his part. Clearly the DNC has no problem vilifying and attempting to sabotage him this time around as well (though if he hadn\’t supported the nominee in 2016 they would be fighting him even harder now, hard as that may be to imagine), but the fact that he supported them and played the good soldier in 2016 isn\’t lost on voters. Regardless of how much Clinton diehards may screech that Sander didn\’t support Clinton \’hard enough\’ (even though he went out of his way to stump for her. Fourteen appearances in five days at one point, if I recall correctly), Sanders did his part. He didn\’t play stubborn.

    Again, time will tell if these were the right decisions on his part. But as of right now his strategy of not being petty, sticking to issues of policy, generally running a dignified campaign that stays above the gutter, and nurturing the image that this is all around a nice, sensible guy, seems to be working.

    I definitely understand the immense frustration at Sanders in 2016 kowtowing to the people who blatantly shivved him. And I don\’t want to sound some like some Obama zombie who always framed his failures as part of some mythical \’11-dimensional chess\’ (which was itself just a reformulating of Pelosi\’s excuse for never doing anything against George W. Bush because the Dems were \’keeping the powder dry\’). But I think Sanders has actually been making strategic calculations as part of a long term plan.

    We\’ll start to see if the plan was the right one over the next few weeks.


    Not coincidentally I’m sure, after my last comment that referenced the chronically corrupt FBI, my modem/router was attacked yesterday and I had no internet service for most of the day until I got it sorted out. Nothing like what happened yesterday has happened since I’ve been with this ISP for several years now. The cowardice is epidemic.

    While the Dems plead their narrow and contained, and impeccably solid I might add, case for impeachment to the deliberate-to-a-fault stultifying Senate, there’s this. Don’t tell me Donald Trump isn’t doing, and hasn’t done, much more damage than any neoliberal POTUS could ever hope to do. He is many times worse and is doing much more damage. Trump’s egregious criminal insidiousness goes well beyond manners, decorum and optics. He is a criminal stooge in every conceivable way. You can oppose neoliberalism and still loathe and condemn Trump. In fact, you’re obligated to if you have any shred of integrity and yet the so-called “left,” I suppose because there really is no “left” in America, fails to develop its own independent, objective critique of, and resistance to, Donald Trump. Those standing in for the so-called “left” in America, some of them comment here in fact, instead engage repeatedly in whataboutism and consistently transform any legitimate criticism of Trump and resistance to him and the cabal backing him into finger pointing at the Dems and Hillary and neoliberalism.

    Here’s an excellent and pertinent article to this topic of the persecution of journalists and so-called journalists. Once again, I will ask, plead even, all you studly hackers out there who are inspired by the Three Musketeers, show us what you’re made of, if you have a fair and equitable bone in your flabby bodies, and hack into the White House servers and the Saudi servers and the Israeli servers and data dump it. But don’t give the data dump to Greenwald or his ilk to sit on. Furnish it to any and all and once you do let’s see what the Dems do then. At that point, the Dems, and the entire D.C. establishment to include the national security state and all that entails, will finally be put to the test. They will no longer be able to contain their so-called resistance to Trump to the easily managed Ukraine scandal. I won’t hold my breath. Hackers are ultimately cowards who have no morals or ethics. They are useful tools of power no matter how ethical and independent they think they are.

    Look on the bright side, Glenn. At least, or not yet at least, you haven’t yet been bone-sawed MBS style. But there’s still time. Your buddy Trump has set the precedent afterall to take journalistic persecution in the West to a whole new level of barbaric and Bonesawnaro is just following suit.

    The following is excellent reporting. It is TRUE investigative journalism. It is not FAKE news.

    If you’re in that minority of folks who actually watch impeachment trials of the president of the United States, and were thus either spellbound or bored on Wednesday by the soaring, Hamiltonian rhetoric of lead House Democratic manager Rep. Adam Schiff, you might not have heard about this yet. But the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb just exploded in the Persian Gulf. Or at least the news should have had that kind of impact.

    Two top experts for the United Nations on cyber-crimes have confirmed an explosive theory that’s been ticking for the last year: That Saudi Arabia was behind the phone hacking of the (then, anyway) world’s richest man — Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos — right before salacious pictures and texts that ended Bezos’ marriage were published in the National Enquirer. But the revelation carried a shocking twist — the hack itself was alleged carried out when the Saudis’ de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, traded phone numbers with Bezos and personally sent him a message infected with malware.

    When will the drone strike on MBS be initiated? The FBI knows what the Saudis are guilty of on 9/11 and they have conspired to cover for the Saudis. I call that traitorous. Every FBI agent and official responsible for the conspired cover-up should be in prison for life or executed if that is what the law requires. Instead, they roam free today to harass innocent civilians in protection of their fellow criminals. They are nothing more than thugs and goons. William Barr is nothing more than an obese, bespectacled Tom Hayden and that’s being generous.


    I’m sure Donald Trump and his fixer Bill Barr will come to Glenn’s aid in his existential time of need. Right? They owe you, Glenn. Trump especially owes many, many people but considering he doesn’t even pay his legitimate debts, i.e. the multiple bankruptcies, I wouldn’t expect his payment any time soon. You’re on your own with Bonesawnaro. Trump and Barr will look the other way as you’re ushered into the meat locker for dissection. Sure, that’s hyperbole but only just barely in this increasingly insane world where reality and satire fuse.

    This statement from Marcy. My sentiments exactly.

    This is the man that former critic of abusive presidential power Glenn Greenwald has chosen to trust over the public record.

    This is, it seems, the strange plight of the denialist left, cozying up to the kind of authoritarians that their entire career, at least to this point, have vigorously opposed.

  31. bruce wilder

    I respected Glenn Greenwald more for his unwillingness to get drawn into the Russia,Russia,Russia nonsense and Marcy lost all credibility with me for her inability, despite being steeped in details as is her wont, to read the evidence — or rather the absence of evidence as opposed to endless lurid speculation — with perspective and judgment.

    People like Matthew Yglesias or Mathew Ingram try so hard to be neutral (unbiased) and respectful of “opposing points of view” (b.s.) in the midst of political conflict that they end up obscuring reality and confusing the readers they should be informing. Marcy Wheeler spins out so much speculative nonsense and useless detail that she overwhelms any normal person’s cognitive capacity, and makes passionate partisans stupid as a box of rocks, in no good cause at all.

  32. Willy

    Is there a more direct description than “Russia,Russia,Russia nonsense” ?

    I mean, I get it: A media overfocus on one reasonably important issue (at least it would have been back in Nixon’s time) to divert public attentions away from vastly more important and wide-ranging issues (like the american dream being slid backwards to robber baron / child slavery days.

    According to his presentation in his Frontline interview, Steve Bannon got it. With elites managing the American decline to their globalized satisfaction and the far more rooted American workers demise, populist candidates will have the best chances of winning elections henceforth. I disagree with his preference for conservative solutions, since I have no idea how such things are supposed to work (not to mention his stance on global warming, how the media is to be treated, etc, etc…) but there’s another example of a guy who at least presented himself as principled but had a difficult reputation. But still, he did help to make sure that conservatives got to populism first. If only Democrats could be so strategically honest. And intelligent. It’s too bad that his guy had to be Trump, my poster child for what the elites are really like.

    OTOH, outside of a couple policies, Trump sure does appear the elite player playing the workers for fools.

  33. Ché Pasa

    The Greenwald Thing (this latest Greenwald Thing anyway) has slid off the front page even at the Intercept, which I think says something about just how Important it is in the context of current affairs. If even Pierre’s flagship project made specifically for Glenn and his team of Disruptors can’t give it more than short shrift, apparently it isn’t considered earth shattering.

    Glenn gets himself into hot messes all the time, doesn’t he? And yes this one he’ll have to navigate on his own as best he can.

    Whether this one amount to more than sound and fury signifying nothing remains to be seen, but the world goes on, in multiple directions simultaneously, and we get to choose which way to turn or not.

    Remember the NSA revelations? I know it was a long time ago, but think of all the positive changes to government behavior and the massive lessening of surveillance that resulted from those revelations. Remember?

    And remember how all the revelations out of WikiLeaks changed things for the better? See how peaceful and honest and anti-imperialist the US government has become? How military budgets have been cut to the bone, how political parties have become the servants of the People, how bright the future is? It’s all because of people like Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, and many nameless others, right?

    Whistle blowing for its own sake without a positive objective or goal doesn’t amount to much in the end, does it? Snowden said all he wanted from his revelations was a “discussion and debate” over rampant surveillance. He got that. And nothing changed for the better.

    A “discussion and debate” isn’t enough.

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