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What You Should Know / August 14, 2012

twitter.com -- Glenn Greenwald: "I was paid $2,500 - 3K at the most - to give a 45-minute speech on the evils of Bush/Cheney"

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9 Comments

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  • 1. Rehmat  |  August 14th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Could it be that Glenn Greenwald was not offered a bribe by Iranian terrorist group MEK – while it did to several American politicians and military leaders – to attack Iran and install MEK leader Maryam Rajavi as President of Iran?

    Glenn Greenwald wrote in Salon a few months ago: “There are large numbers of people – almost always Muslims – who have been prosecuted and are now in prison for providing “material support” to Terrorist groups for doing far less than Fran Townsend and her fellow cast of bipartisan ex-officials have done with and on behalf of MEK. In fact, the US Government has been (under the administration in which Townsend worked) and still is (under the administration Rendell supports) continuously prosecuting Muslims for providing “material support” for Terrorist groups based on their pure speech, all while Fran Townsend, Ed Rendell and company have said nothing or, worse, supported the legal interpretations that justified these prosecutions“.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/03/19/us-leaders-charged-for-accepting-money-from-anti-iran-terrorist-group/

  • 2. Trolletariat  |  August 14th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I can’t wait for the SHAME profile on this talking jizzrag

  • 3. Hayekian  |  August 14th, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    funny how retard-o-trolls don’t know the meaning of “prorated,” but hey! the glendoctopus needs to feed on something, koch cash notwithstanding.

  • 4. YankeeFrank  |  August 15th, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I don’t know guys. I read Glenn’s post where he discussed Citizens United and corporate personhood, and it was borderline a smelly mess of a defense, but more it was an argument that Citizens’ United, for better or worse, is the law of the land now, and even more a questioning of the idea that government should take action against corporations that do things that are not illegal. If I recall he was defending that Chick-Fil-Ahole dude for being a homo-hater. I felt that he was correct that government shouldn’t punish people or corporations for being disgusting homophobes because if it can do that it can do pretty much anything. I mean, Chick-Fil-Ahole wasn’t declaring the right to NOT serve homosexuals. He was just outspoken in support of politicians and “causes” that are anti-homosexual. If people want to boycott businesses like Chick-Fil-Ahole’s that’s good and proper, but its not government’s job to do so. I mean, I hate big fat corporations as much as the next guy and think we need serious reform and real punishment for corporate wrongdoing, but this doesn’t rise to that level in my admittedly small head. I tend to like Greenwald’s stance on civil liberties and, aside from this weak post he’s been pretty solidly pro-citizen and pro-civil rights on the topics he covers. I think this post is sort of like when someone winds up defending a creep’s right to be a creep. They don’t support the creep, but they do support the creep’s right to be a creep. I do feel he should avoid taking money from Kochsuckers. That is disturbing. Anyhow, thanks for taking him down a bit from his lofty self-righteous perch, but there are certainly more worthy targets.

    THE AEC RESPONDS:
    You’re confusing the issue, deliberately or not. Glenn Greenwald on numerous occasions breathlessly defends the concept of “corporate personhood” and falsely claims to gullible liberals that this is a rock solid foundational idea in the Constitution, and falsely claims that the dissenting justices in Citizens United completely agree with corporate personhood. They don’t, read Justice Stevens’s dissenting opinion, which is one giant screed against corporate personhood.
    Read this expert legal rebuttal debunking Greenwald from January 2010, when Greenwald first defended Citizens United. Note how this legal expert from the Constitutional Accountability Center understood just how toxic a “progressive” like Greenwald was for snuffing progressive outrage over Citizens United—Greenwald equated progressives who opposed Citizens United to right-wingers who oppose gay marriage!

    http://theusconstitution.org/node/681

    WHAT GLENN GREENWALD GOT WRONG ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION

    Doug Kendall
    January 26, 2010
    by Doug Kendall, President & Founder, and Hannah McCrea, Online Communications Director, of Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC)

    Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald has been urging calm among progressives who are appalled and angry at the Supreme Court’s ruling last week in Citizens United v. FEC, and accusing progressive critics of the ruling of over-simplifying the law and under-respecting the First Amendment. But his own analysis is surprisingly shallow and his burden is pretty high when he is essentially saying that Justice Stevens’ brilliant and comprehensive 90 page dissent, joined in full by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, gets the Constitution wrong, and the five conservatives on the Roberts Court got this one right. He doesn’t come close to making that argument stick.

    Greenwald, of course, is widely and appropriately respected among progressives for his aggressive defense of constitutional principles and their abuse in the execution of this country’s “War on Terror.” Indeed, it is precisely because Greenwald has assumed a role as a leading authority on the Constitution within the progressive community that his recent defense of the Court’s decision in Citizens United is alarming, and warrants response.

    Greenwald’s main beef with progressive critics of the ruling is that we are fighting issues such as “money is speech” and “corporate personhood,” which are not really front and center in the case. To Greenwald – as to the majority – Citizens United is simply about the First Amendment and nothing else. Greenwald writes:

    I tend to take a more absolutist view of the First Amendment than many people, but laws which prohibit organized groups of people — which is what corporations are — from expressing political views goes right to the heart of free speech guarantees no matter how the First Amendment is understood. Does anyone doubt that the facts that gave rise to this case — namely, the government’s banning the release of a critical film about Hillary Clinton by Citizens United — is exactly what the First Amendment was designed to avoid? And does anyone doubt that the First Amendment bars the government from restricting the speech of organizations composed of like-minded citizens who band together in corporate form to work for a particular cause?

    Whether one calls this an “absolutist” view or just an “overly simplistic” one is, perhaps, a matter of semantics, but Greenwald is missing the point. Yes, individuals should have the right to form and express political views, whether as a voting bloc, an alliance of protestors, or a legally-recognized entity that collects individual donations to advance a political message. If the Court had written a narrow opinion vindicating the speech of such groups, it is likely that we would have seen a unanimous opinion. After all, at oral argument, Justice Stevens himself argued for precisely this result.

    And while the majority elides the issue of corporate personhood and the question of whether money is speech, these issues form a big part of Justice Stevens’ analysis of why Congress can restrict the ability of corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to get their way in American electoral politics. Justice Stevens explains patiently both how corporations differ from human beings and how corporate resources are not “an indication of popular support for the corporation’s political ideas.” A ban on corporate expenditures is constitutional, Stevens argues, because it does not “prevent anyone from speaking in his or her own voice.” (Dissent at 77.) He concludes that “corporate spending is ‘furthest from the core of political expression,’” (dissent at 77,) because corporations have no autonomy or dignitary interests in freedom of expression; in fact, corporations, by law, must concern themselves only with maximizing profit. Therefore, prohibitions on such spending “impose only a limited burden on First Amendment freedoms.” (Dissent at 79.) In other words, because corporations are not people, and because money is not really speech, the justification needed for a ban on corporate spending on elections is not the same as the justification the government needs for banning political speech by individuals.

    Greenwald himself recognizes that “corporations are creatures of the state and should not enjoy the same rights as individuals.” But his bottom-line position — that corporate expenditures are political speech and that there is no compelling governmental interest sufficient to justify restriction on political speech — makes this concession meaningless. Greenwald supports this position with the same simplistic textual argument relied upon by the majority: the First Amendment is a limit on Congress — “Congress shall make no law” — and it doesn’t distinguish among who is speaking. But, it has never been the law that all forms of speech (even political speech), and all types of speakers, are treated equal. Stevens response is devastating: “If taken seriously, our colleagues’ assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the government’s ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. Such an assumption would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders. More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans.”

    Greenwald also criticizes as “intellectually confused” the argument that the conservatives on the Roberts Court were too cavalier in tossing out prior precedents, most notable its ruling in Michigan Chamber of Commerce v. Austin. Greenwald’s right, of course, that no one should be an absolutist about adhering to prior rulings – as he puts it, “if a settled proposition of law is sufficiently repugnant to the Constitution, then the Court is not only permitted, but required, to uproot it.” But everyone, including the dissenting justices, recognizes that. Justice Stevens’ main argument – powerfully laid out on pages 42-55 of his dissent – is that the majority is disingenuous in denying how sharply its ruling departs from constitutionally sound case law, and how much the Court’s ruling in Citizens United changes the law in a case in which there were numerous narrower grounds for a decision available to the Court. Here’s Justice Stevens summation:

    Our colleagues have arrived at the conclusion that Austin must be overruled and that §203 [of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act] is facially unconstitutional only after mischaracterizing both the reach and rationale of those authorities, and after bypassing or ignoring rules of judicial restraint used to cabin the Court’s lawmaking power.

    Given the power of the merits arguments marshaled by Justice Stevens in support of upholding the ban on corporate election spending, Greenwald’s implication that the law here is constitutionally “repugnant” – and comparable to the Court’s errors in Plessy and Bowers — is offensive. But the real problem again is that Greenwald takes on the strawman of whether cases should ever be overruled and fails entirely to take on Justice Stevens’ actual arguments of why adhering to prior case law was justified here.

    Finally, relying on an op-ed by Eliot Spitzer, Greenwald calls special restrictions on corporate electioneering “irrational, discriminatory and ineffective” because they exempt media corporations included the Fox News, the corporation progressives love to hate. This is the flip side of the argument that dominates the majority opinion of Justice Kennedy and the concurring opinions by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, who argue that restrictions on corporate electioneering cannot be permitted because this would inevitably mean Congress could prohibit media companies like the New York Times from endorsing candidates. Both Greenwald’s argument and its flip side have superficial appeal, but again, Stevens takes the argument head on and hits it out of the park. Stevens explains precisely why “the text, history, and structure of the First Amendment,” which prohibits abridging freedom of “the press” as well as freedom of speech, justifies different treatment of media corporations. This should be apparent from reading the Constitution — the press is the only private business that is given explicit constitutional protection. As Stevens notes on page 84 of his dissent, “our colleagues have raised some interesting and difficult questions about Congress’ authority to regulate electioneering by the press, and about how to define what constitutes the press. But that is not the case before us.” Precisely the same rejoinder could be made to Greenwald’s argument.

    Greenwald is, of course, entitled to side with the five justice conservative majority in Citizens United and against the Court’s four moderate to liberal justices. He’s free to join the likes of Jonathan Turley and Eliot Spitzer in sanctimoniously telling progressives that they will “stand with the First Amendment.” But if Greenwald, Turley, Spitzer and their colleagues want to convince progressives that they are wrong to be outraged by the Court’s ruling, they need to do more than take pot shots at the commentators on their blogs and fight the strawmen they find vulnerable. Rather, they need to confront head on the thoroughly brilliant and comprehensive argument put forward in the dissent, which richly explains why the Constitution’s text and history – including that of the First Amendment – do not support the majority’s reasoning. Every American should “stand with the First Amendment.” In Citizens United, that is best done by standing with Justice Stevens.

    To its great credit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has long endorsed an “absolutist” line on the First Amendment similar to Greenwald’s, continues to debate whether its position is the right one, particularly in light of Citizens United. Hopefully, Greenwald will be similarly open to reconsideration of his position after fully absorbing the power of Justice Stevens dissent. As President Obama’s powerful attack on Citizens United in his weekly address to the nation makes clear, Citizens United represents a unique opportunity to energize progressives and populists to fight against the activism of the Roberts Court and to support a long-term strategy to put the Supreme Court back on track. Progressive commentators should not lightly undermine this effort.

  • 5. The Gubbler  |  August 16th, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Don’t let that last half of the last paragraph of Doug Kendall’s article get you down folks.

    We don’t want to undermine President Obama’s long-term strategy!!!

    AAAHHHHH HA HA HA HA!!!

    DOOMED!!!

    WE ARE ALL DOOOOOOMED!!!!

  • 6. yandat  |  August 17th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I really think Glenn Greenwald is not a fraud on the level of any of the other people on the shame list. He’s also a good writer and competent at analysis.

    Will you guys mention that he’s also spoken at the last two Socialism conventions in Chicago? The guy’s views have lurched pretty drastically to the left over the past decade.

    THE A.E.C. RESPONDS:
    Yeah, you’re right to judge politics by the number of convention invitations Greenwald gets, rather than by what he actually writes about. Or doesn’t write about. Such as labor struggles—ever read what Glenn has had to say about labor struggles in the four books he’s written? Maybe Glenn is so socialist-left that he doesn’t even need to mention labor unions’ civil liberties, which is why his books never make any mention of them. Whereas he’s a staunch advocate of corporate personhood rights exactly because he’s a leftward socialist. Really, if that’s not socialist leftism, then your name isn’t “Glenn Greenwald sockpuppet”!

  • 7. Ronald Reagan  |  August 18th, 2012 at 11:13 am

    @6

    Don’t be fooled. Next you will tell me that Alex Jones loves freedom and hates the Patriot act because he said so, while simultaneously supporting Tea Party shit that all voted to renew the Patriot Act.

    Its a con game. Don’t look at rhetoric, look at the actions that take place at the end.

  • 8. The Gubbler  |  August 20th, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I haven’t been watching UP lately because of self diagnosed “blood pressure” issues.

    Anyhow, you did good to include Spitzer’s shameful (or rather pathetic) abetting arguement regarding Citizen’s United.

    The next week (or was it two weeks later), Mr. Hayes briefly expounded on how Spitzer’s expressed view had influenced his thinking…

    He said he now thought of it as a positive learning experience type of ruling because it helped to create awareness etc.

    I had some East Coast folksy expression I was going to close this comment with, something with “whaddaya” in it, but my memeory fails me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIWxUJ8cI5w&feature=related

  • 9. michel  |  August 20th, 2012 at 5:56 am

    @yandat

    I’m an IBEW guy from the midwest. I don’t want Yves Smith posting about foreign policy in Eastern Europe, nor do I care what Mike Elk has to say on climate change, same as I don’t want Greenwald talking out of his ass about union issues.


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