Glenn Greenwald


Glenn Greenwald, former constitutional lawyer and current blogger, discusses the media driven myth of a truly oppositional US political system, hypocritical progressive support for the same Obama policies that were denounced during the Bush administration, how conservative outrage over FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society subsided when the programs were continued by Republican presidents, the unusual upholding of the Constitution in ACORN’s lawsuit (PDF) against Congress and the open question of whether the Supreme Court will allow indefinite detentions of “enemy combatants.”

MP3 here. (42:25)

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional lawyer in New York City, first at the Manhattan firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and then at the litigation firm he founded, Greenwald, Christoph. Greenwald litigated numerous high-profile and significant constitutional cases in federal and state courts around the country, including multiple First Amendment challenges. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law (1994) and a B.A. from George Washington University (1990). In October of 2005, Greenwald started a political and legal blog, Unclaimed Territory, which quickly became one of the most popular and highest-trafficked in the blogosphere.

Upon disclosure by the New York Times in December 2005 of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program, Greenwald became one of the leading and most cited experts on that controversy. In early 2006, he broke a story on his blog regarding the NSA scandal that served as the basis for front-page articles in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, all of which credited his blog for the story. Several months later, Sen. Russ Feingold read from one of Greenwald’s posts during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feingold’s resolution to censure the president for violating FISA. In 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd read from Greenwald’s Salon blog during floor debate over FISA. Greenwald’s blog was also cited as one of the sources for the comprehensive report issued by Rep. John Conyers titled “The Constitution in Crisis.” In 2006, he won the Koufax Award for best new blog.

Greenwald is the author of A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok and Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

14 thoughts on “Glenn Greenwald”

  1. Sorry, I can't find the whole thing.

    “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in terms of procedure, priority and method. …

    "Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” -Tragedy and Hope p.1248


    1. What a bunch of bullshit.

      Strictly speaking, though, this is what we have in America today. There's one party, the DemoPublican Party. Its two wings–Democrat and Republican–are there to make it look good, to look as if there's "choice" in our political "system." The DemoPublican Party is controlled by Wall Street, Israel, and the military welfare complex.

      Greenwald is right to slam the hypocrisy of Obama supporters, who overlook or excuse anything The Great One does.

  2. Max Keiser described it better: "a duopoly" designed to make you think that you have a choice when in fact you don't. You get imperialism heavy or imperialism lite… either way you are going to get whatever it is that is on the government's and their handler's agenda. is part of the duopoly, they are gaming you.

    1. That's the ultimate in paranoia. Whatever you do or think, THEY already planned it in or are manipulating you through a front. Might as well go home, order at Wendy's and watch TV then.

      "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."

  3. I agree with Glenn in that the talking heads on the press are generally just not smart people and get their positions because of their lack of critical thought. But it's more than that. One look at the board of directors of any of the mass media and you will see that they each have overlapping membership with the BODs of the top defense companies in the MIC.

    Media is censored. You do an antiwar story on TV and you will be fired. Look at what happened to Phil Donahue Jesse Ventura on MSNBC in the build up to the Iraq War. MSNBC got rid of their top show and a brand new show, because they both spoke out against the war. Also see what happened to Tucker Carlson the moment he showed up at a Ron Paul rally and also spoke against the war. You go against the grain and you get fired/canceled.

    However you be an former employee of AIPAC like Wolf Blitzer or talk about glass parking lots like Savage or and you get your own show.

    You couldn't even show a picture of flags on coffins in a news paper with out getting fired, much less TV. The talking heads know what they have to say and what will get them ahead. Look at Neocons William Kristol getting everything wrong but earning a spot at the New York Times. Or Judith Miller going to jail and being wrong about everything and still gets rehired.

    Scott you guys should read to chapter in my book about the two party system and the tribablist psychology of the herd that follows them. It's in the "Welcome to the USSA" book. (good xmas present)


  4. Scott it's not that they set up Tiger its just that when they need a distraction story they just look around for what some celebrity is doing and create a story on it just by reporting it over and over. They've even made huge cases out of non-celebrities. There is a kidnapping or murder everyday. It's easy to just pick one and give it a lot of attention and suck in the public.

    OJ was a big one though because it it distracted form the 93 bombing of the WTC partly by our own FBI.
    Funny how much that trial had coverage and how little coverage was given to the trial of Saddam Hussein. I mean that could have been a HUGE trial with plenty of media and interest. BUu they were not about to let that cat out of the bag. Because as you know that was a total kangaroo court. Two of Saddam's lawyers were murdered, there was a fist fight in the court roon, and the things Saddam said would have damaged the US forever. Thus you couldn't even find that trial with out deep online connections. It was no non-covered I doubt many people even remember that he even had a trial.

  5. Think back to your high school class.

    Did any of the best and brightest become 'reporters'? Probably not.
    And in this environment, any starting reporter that thinks for themselves and who in any way contradicts what the owners of his media outlet think will quickly find themselves either out of a job, or just assigned to do the 3am – 6am shift of reading traffic reports and weather.
    I'd love to know the date of that quote about the '2-party' system. I suspect it isn't recent.

    Anyone with any sense can see that a '2-party' system is only slightly less restrictive on democracy and freedom as a '1-party' system. For people of my age, that has a certain resonance because we were all constantly told during our youth about how awful and evil the Soviet Union's 1-party system was.

    The Soviets had elections. Citizens there could vote for their choice of candidates, all of whom were with the communist party, and who did offer slight differences in choices for policy. But of course, candidates who weren't within that narrow acceptable spectrurm were not permitted.

    Our 2-party system looks pretty much identical. Only some of the approved candidates have (D) after their name, and others have (R) after their name.

    But, any candidate who truly challenges the system and the course this country is following is virtually forbidden from running. Technically, they may be allowed on the ballot, in some states, but they'll be denied any real chance to talk to the citizens about their views. Its a little slicker and more subtle than the old soviet system, but the effect is pretty much identical.

  6. Ps … and in our system, there is real question as to whether the numbers that come spitting out of the corproate vote counting computer with its proprietary software are highly questionable. Its unknowable whether the published vote totals accurately represent the votes that '3rd party' candidates receive.

    We know the Dems and Repubs play games against each other in getting control of election boards and then tilting elections to their favor. We've seen plenty of that in the last decade or two. And, we also know that the one thing Dems and Repubs fully agree on is that they should hold a monopoly on power between them and exclude any other political forces. So, can we trust 3rd party vote totals from election boards controlled by Dems or Repubs?

    I suspect that someday, when we get really serious and run strong unified campaigns to try to challenge the corporate parties, we'll probably have to do something like agree that we'll all gather at city hall on election eve. Every single person who voted 'opposition' will need to come out and show their strength in numbers.

    If there's a 100,000 people outside city hall with signs that say "I voted for XXXXXX", it will be harder for their corporate vote counting computers to say that this candidate only got 3,000 votes.

    Of course, until we have enough sense to run unified opposition campaigns, this won't matter. When we run five separate weak and hopeless presidential campaigns (Paul, Kucinich, Barr, Nader, McKinney), then we never have a chance to win a winner-take-all system, so they don't even have to cheat to beat our deliberately self-defeating strategy.

  7. Chill out and let Angela get a word in edgewise, Scott. You're effective because you're well informed and principled. Don't alienate the few people you might persuade when push comes to shove.

  8. That's why [Ron Paul] never will be

    Yeah, because people won't vote for him. They vote for the orthodoxy Mr. Greenwald described, just like Mr. Greenwald voted for that orthodoxy.

    Chomsky Baby Steps.

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