The article from Greenwald has an easy corollary and translation: Yes, yes I know the Klan is horrible. But they are making an important point! So stop telling me I shouldn't popularize the Klan!
Is it fair to compare Paul with the KKK? You tell me: Paul is an avowed opponent of the Civil Rights Act, which he believes "destroyed privacy" (ah yes, Glenn Greenwald's big privacy concern and his support of Paul on that finally opens its door), published these things in his own newsletter:
Some samples: A December 1989 newsletter quoted by James Kirchick in the New Republic predicted "Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities" because "mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white 'haves.' "And it didn't end there.
Another letter said "I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
An August 1992 edition of the Ron Paul Report labeled former Rep. Barbara Jordan (D) of Texas "the archetypal half-educated victimologist," according to the Houston Chronicle.
But Glenn Greenwald - who's displayed spectacular racist tendencies all by himself with no assist from his anti-war soulmate Ron Paul - contends that it is not Paul's racism and homophobia that impresses him. And just because Paul is "crazy" on these issues, his "important" views on war and foreign policy and civil liberties (as opposed to civil rights, which Paul is categorically opposed to) contribute important things to the debate and that there is no one else on the national political stage that gives voice to those issues. Besides, who you callin' crazy?
labeling people “crazy” as a means of dismissing their views — basically depicting political disagreement as a mental illness — is one of the oldest and stalest means of discrediting people who dissent; it’s basically the prime weapon used to enforce mainstream orthodoxy and punish dissidents. Taken to its most extreme and odious conclusion, the Soviet Union institutionalized anyone challenging Communist orthodoxy in mental hospitals, and China now does the same.Oh I see. Yeah, you see, Paul is not really crazy. He's been made out to be so because his views are inconvenient to the "bipartisan consensus" on "assassinations." Not only is Paul not crazy, calling him crazy is just like the Soviet Union and Communist China's suppression of free speech. Greenwald might be getting peeved by the usage of it, but it is more than obvious that he suffers
I hardly think Greenwald wants pointers from me, but here's one if he's listening: when you are trying to make the point that calling someone "too extreme" is just a tool of the political establishment, try not to tell your opponents that they are just like the Communist Soviets and Chinese.
But Ron Paul is not referred to as crazy because his views are inconvenient to the political orthodoxy in America. Let's see just exactly which of his views Greenwald finds so attractive
The chances that any of these issues will be debated in an Obama/Romney presidential contest are exactly zero. On all of these issues — Endless War, empire, steadfast devotion to the Israeli government, due-process-free assassinations, multiple-nation drone assaults, escalating confrontation with Iran, the secretive, unchecked Surveillance and National Security States, the sadistic and racist Drug War, the full-scale capture of the political process by bankers and oligarchs — Romney is fully supportive of President Obama’s actions (except to the extent he argues they don’t go far enough: and those critiques will almost certainly be modulated once the primary is over, resulting in ever greater convergence between the two).Ahh. Hey, I have an idea. Let's take an old-school approach to see just how much the facts fit Glenn's contention that essentially, on these things, Obama is horrible and right wing, the same as the Romney and the GOP.
Endless War/Empire: Glenn Greenwald is nothing if not a bumbling fool skipping around talking about "endless war" by a president who was not only elected on the platform to the end the war in Iraq but kept his promise and has already brought America's adventure in Iraq to a close, withdrawing all US troops. In Glenn Greenwald's perverted thought process, that is exactly the same as, or only marginally different from, Mitt Romney's demand that 30,000 US troops be left in Iraq in perpetuity. Complete drawdown = leaving 30,000 troops. Roughly. Also, complete withdrawal = endless war. More or less. Welcome to Glenn Greenwald math, class.
With respect to Afghanistan, President Obama also has already begun the drawdown.
Read Greenwald's piece further, and you will notice him whining about Libya as well - an intervention by the President under the NATO (that is, our treaty obligations) umbrella in order to enforce a UN resolution. The intervention did not put a single American soldier on the ground, and the Libyans have full control of their country as Gaddafi is now dead. Maybe with Greenwald Math, that qualifies as empire, too, but I doubt it makes the cut under any reasonable definition of empire.
Due-process-free Assassinations and Drone Assaults: No idea what the hell this means, and I suspect that neither does Glenn. Oh, wait. Hang on a second. Drone assaults. Assassination. Ohh, I guess Greenwald is still grieving the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki - Al Queda's head and the world's most heinous terrorist, and Al Queda's recruiter, active participant and planner in Yemen. Right, it's terrible horrible no good very bad that Obama ordered "assassinations" of those two. Yes, we must have a legitimized political faction in this country that sticks up for bin Laden and elevates his death to political "assassination" like he were a head of state.
The difference between Romney and Obama here of course is that Obama actually got the SOB's; Romney never would have, just like Bush didn't.
"National Security State": Let's translate: giving Americans any idea that there are legitimate threats out there who seek to harm our country is, by Glenn's definition, creating a 'national security state.' Providing law enforcement and the administration the tools to effectively fight those who would seek to harm this country (not "terror" the emotion, but the people) is nothing short of a Nazi scheme.
You can agree or disagree with the President on the re-authorization of certain PATRIOT Act provisions (after they'd been amended to include greater judicial and Congressional oversight in 2006 with Obama's support). You can challenge it on civil liberties grounds. But you cannot call what the President has done a "national security state" (if one is to follow its proper definition of effective military rule) and be sane.
For someone accusing others of using tactics to shut down debate on an issue (like calling your opponent 'crazy') Glenn seems to have a particular blind spot (likely intentional) when using fucked up tactics to shut down debate from his side - like throwing out "national security state" in apparent reference to Nazi Germany.
Of course, all of this would not be complete without a little Israel-bashing just for the hell of it.
Israel: We have known Greenwald's anti-semitic core for a while (another part of his heart where Ron Paul lives), but characterizing President Obama's support of Israel's right to exist and defend itself as a sovereign nation as "steadfast support of the Israeli government" displays Greenwald's stunning and cunning ability to lie. Not only has President Obama been the first president to openly say that a two-state solution needs to begin at the 1947 borders with mutually agreed upon land-swaps (this has been US policy for a while, but none dared say it before Obama), the President faced the wrath of the right wing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But the people of Israel answered that by standing with President Obama as members of the US Congress rushed to genuflect before Netanyahu.
Maybe Glenn can tell us of another reasonable solution to the middle east, other than what the President has described. You know, that would make real contrast with the President's support for Israel. Is that position simply withdrawal of US aid to Israel (as well as to Egypt, Palestine, and a whole host of other middle eastern countries that enjoy US foreign aid)? Or does the US have to actively back Hamas? For all we know, Glenn may be more tempted for the latter given the way he's elevated terrorists like Osama bin Laden to head-of-state status by condemning his "assassination."
Notice how easily Glenn manipulates anti-Israeli propaganda:
Iranian nuclear scientists are actually being murdered. That is almost certainly happening through some combination of Israeli and American actions — at the very least with the approval and complicity of the Obama administration.And what is Glenn Greenwald's evidence that the assassinations of these scientists are happening through "some combination of Israeli and American actions?" Why, the Iranian government. From the article Greenwald himself links to make this point:
In the previous cases, Iranian media outlets and spokesmen accused the Mossad, the CIA and MI6 of being behind the strikes. [...]Funny, isn't it, how the avowed civil libertarian with profound distrust of government suddenly thinks that you should take the Iranian government at its word? Heh, I guess the libertarian streak of distrust of government only applies to the American and Israeli governments; not the Iranian ones. Or maybe this isn't about civil libertarian concerns at all. It's just finding a way to bash Obama.
According to Iran, the attacks show that those responsible - Iran blames Israel and the Mossad - are determined to strike at scientists involved in Iran's nuclear program.
A few more thoughts on the isolationist view of foreign policy: Before we move onto the discussion of the other "issues", let me just point out that Ron Paul is an absolute isolationist, who as recently as Iowa caucus night advocated for the US to leave the United Nations and NATO. Of course, Paul is also a conspiracy theorist who thinks that land use regulations will result in one-world government. There is nothing "progressive" about an isolationist foreign policy, and nor is any intervention whatsoever automatically qualified as "empire." None other than one of our most revered progressive presidents - if not the most revered progressive President in history - Franklin Roosevelt, took us to World War II. Following it, another progressive hero, Harry Truman helped establish the United Nations. And said Harry Truman was also the President who first recognized Israel as a sovereign nation.
But wait, the fun isn't over yet. Did you know this vehemently anti-war, anti-interventionist Glenn Greenwald was actually a proponent of George W. Bush's neo-con war in Iraq as well as the war in Afghanistan? Tipping my hat to our very own GN for this find, let me quote Glenn Greenwald in his own damn book:
During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.So much for our fearless, government-distrusting, anti-imperial leader, huh? See, he had to support his president and "defer to his national security judgments." Of course, that was President Bush. President Obama deserves no such deference. Why? He's a Democrat. He's black. Take your pick.
Anyway, let's move on to further craziness.
"Sadistic and Racist" Drug War: I couldn't stop laughing at this one. The guy who goes around proactively spreading the idea of the black president as a rapist and his most ardent supporters (the black community) of cheering him on suddenly is concerned about racism. Not that there shouldn't be any debates on drug policy. After all, the President has himself said that drug legalization is a legitimate topic for debate. But crackpots like Ron Paul and Glenn Greenwald are about as good spokespeople for drug legalization as Bristol Palin is for abstinence.
No, I'm not suggesting Paul and Greenwald are drug addicts. But frankly, I'd like to have whatever it is they are blowing up their rear ends.
And is the self-proclaimed Protector of All Things Good and Holy and Constitutional suddenly claiming that the President not enforce a federal law (the Controlled Substance Act) that is clearly constitutional? If Obama were ignoring it, though, I am quite certain we would hear from Greenwald how the President is ignoring his Constitutional duties, just like he freaked out at Obama's actions in Libya.
"Capture of the political process" by Banks and Oligarchs: Hmm, it turns out Glenn Greenwald stands on both sides of this. Please, Glenn, quit bloviating about the influence of big money on our political process when you support the Supreme Court's radical decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in elections. I mean, seriously. WTF.
Yes, our political process is too beholden to money. So just where was Glenn Greenwald when Barack Obama was fighting (with eventual success, I might add) to put in the toughest regulations on Wall Street since the 1930s, empowering regulators to break up banks and financial institutions that pose a risk to the system and creating the nation's first ever consumer protection agency? Where was Greenwald as the President fought Republican efforts to gut the law?
Oh, right. Greenwalds idol Ron Paul does not like the Dodd-frank law, in fact he favors repealing it.
Does a theme emerge from the above critic of the issue positions Greenwald and Paul are looking to have debated? From Greenwald Math to yapping about corporate spending while supporting Supreme Court decisions to open the floodgates of corporate money, Ron Paul isn't termed "crazy" in order to avoid the discussion of his positions, he's termed so because of them. Paul's and Greenwald's positions are marginalized because they are positively, provably, nuts.
When the core is rotten (in Paul's case with racism, homophobia and anti-semitism), everything one does is not only tainted but at a closer look, loony. The issues they address may seem important, but what they are doing about them remain as deranged as ever. Seen with the help of reality, absolutism in almost all its forms is lunatic - whether that absolutism is absolute anti-interventionism championed by Ron Paul or neo-con 1% threat doctrine enunciated by Dick Cheney. If you want to bring issues to the fore, do it yourself, and quit looking to make the southern racist your spokesperson. Rationality is not the racist's strong suit - whether in human relations or in public policy.
This, by the way, is why you don't sit down and listen to the Klan, even if it looks like they are about to make an unrelated, good point. So Glenn, stop telling us that we need to shut up because the Klan has something important to say. It doesn't.