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Pencil eraser over First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Yup, no need for that First Amendment because, damn, that guy sure was annoying!
Michael Kinsley, on freedom of the press:
The question is who decides. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government. No doubt the government will usually be overprotective of its secrets, and so the process of decision-making — whatever it turns out to be — should openly tilt in favor of publication with minimal delay. But ultimately you can’t square this circle. Someone gets to decide, and that someone cannot be Glenn Greenwald.
Glenn Greenwald is a jerk, so he doesn't get to decide. Was Daniel Ellsberg a jerk? Gotta determine that before we decide if it was kosher for him to leak the Pentagon Papers.

It's a given that the government thinks it should be the final arbiter of what citizens should or shouldn't know. Governments do things that the public won't like, hence it keeps that shit under wraps.

But it has been the traditional role of the media to ferret out those excesses. That's the whole point behind the "fourth estate" formulation; the news media as independent watchdogs.

But here we have a journalist, Michael Kinsley, surrendering that role entirely. And worse yet, has those sentiments endorsed by a who's who of the Beltway media elite—Jonathan Alter, Jonathan Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Gregory, Ron Fournier, John Harwood, Charles Lane, Alexander Nazaryan, and others.

I've always contended that obsessing over the personalities was a disservice to the NSA Snowden revelations. It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks.

Now we see just how corrosive those obsessions have been. Some guy is a jerk, so let's scratch out that whole "freedom of the press" thing and give the government control of newsrooms!

Luckily, those assholes don't get to make that choice. Or better yet, they can decide to play by those rules if they want to stay chummy with their bureaucrat pals and retain their precious access, but no one else has to.

Originally posted to kos on Wed May 28, 2014 at 11:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't know why you are surprised (12+ / 0-)

    There's a portion of the 'left' who's interpretation of free speech skews much more toward the European Model - which gives much more leeway to the government in restricting 'dangerous' speech.

    It even pops up on this site to a certain extent - although more often in the context of hoping that the government will squash speech that is 'hateful' and therefore 'dangerous'.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:07:55 PM PDT

  •  Government gets to decide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mikey, Yoshimi, ichibon

    It's just that it is the judicial branch and not the executive branch which gets to be the final arbiter and determine the rules for what may and may not be published.  Glenn Greenwald's First Amendment rights are not what Glenn Greenwald says they are, his rights are what the government, in the form of the Supreme Court, says they are.  

    It would be interesting for this to go before the SCOTUS somehow so we can see if they would apply the precedent of Near v Minnesota on when prior restraint is permissible or if a new precedent would be created.

    •  So we're not really a constitutionally limited (9+ / 0-)

      republic, it's really more rule-of-seven-men-and-two-women rather than rule of law.

      222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

      by happymisanthropy on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:40:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rights From Our Creator, Not Our Government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomas Twinnings

      Regardless of what you think "our creator" is, that is what our endowed, inalienable rights are endowed by. As the Constitution itself agrees.

      The government's job is to protect those rights. Including the rights to a free press. The press is rightfully free before, during and after whatever the government does. If the government, whether executive, legislative or judicial in organization, interferes with a free press, the government is wrong, illegitimate, and violating the Constitution.

      These rights are not subjective. They are not subject to decision by any person, even the full bench of the Supreme Court. That process is necessary among people, but the right is independent of whoever is on the court or their worldview or priorities. They have the power to get it wrong, but they're still wrong.

      The primary, existential value of a free press is reporting errors and crimes by the government. Especially violations of rights explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution, such as in the Fourth Amendment.

      You might be ready to waive your rights in favor of arbitrary privileges administered by the kinds of people who installed Bush instead of Gore, assigned "speech" status to bribery, assigned "person" status in a democracy to corporations, decided Dred Scott was still a slave, etc. But you will still have those rights, though you fail to exercise or protect them from the greatest threat to them.

      You're on your own with that. On every level.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:34:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Courts don't decide things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xanthippe2, BradyB, koNko

      unless parties ask them to.

      On the issue of prior restraint, the Pentagon Papers case established that the government has a very very high burden.

      Almost insurmountable.

  •  it was always about the leaks and if this is the (13+ / 0-)

    best example of self-regulating the journalistic profession, then Kinsley has become another kleptocratic stenographer  

    I've always contended that obsessing over the personalities was a disservice to the NSA Snowden revelations. It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks.

    Now we see just how corrosive those obsessions have been. Some guy is a jerk, so let's scratch out that whole "freedom of the press" thing and give the government control of newsrooms!

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:12:34 PM PDT

  •  Why does the Government have to do it? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, stevemb, TDDVandy, Roadbed Guy, AoT

    Why can we as a people not decide if we want newspapers to publish those secrets or not by not buying them? I suppose that sounds almost ignorant, but seriously,  if they lost money for publishing crap that puts our nation in danger (Which I debate if anything published so far has), then they'd stop doing it.

    •  GAK - we don't have to actually purchase the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon

      newspaper to access its content. Back in the pre-Internet heyday of the daily, home delivered, big city newspaper, the market economic test might have had some validity.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:25:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Having the NSA spy on all of us (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomas Twinnings, Nada Lemming

      is what puts our nation, as we know it, in danger. Getting rid of the NSA would save billions, and that money could be used to really save lives.

      We really don't know of any lives save by the NSA. (This is classified info and we can't be trusted to know.) But we do know that the money used to pay for all our spooks do cost lives. And that is not propaganda.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:35:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I trust the government. (21+ / 0-)

    When has it ever deceived the public?  

    .

    .

    Hahahaha!

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:18:17 PM PDT

  •  Hmm (15+ / 0-)
    The focus should've always been on the leaks.
    Actually, you said that the intense focus on the leaks reflects "white privilege," but otherwise good post.
  •  It is a mistake to paint the entire (6+ / 0-)

    bloatway media with a Kinsley brush. For one thing, many of them are worse.

    I stopped reading the New Republic when Kinsley's ideas began grating on my nerves like freshly squeezed lemon juice on a fresh abrasion. He always struck me as a pompous, self-impotent, Bill Buckley wanna-be, but with a centrist approach. Despite being on the T&V, posing as a liberal, his actual ideas were anything but. Over time, he continually tacked ever more to the reich side. I do believe that he even applauded the TeaBaggers repeatedly when they first appeared on the political scene.

    I understand that he has Parkinson's. Some of the most popular medications for that neurological problem include hallucinations, psychotic events, insomnia, and disorientation. That would certainly explain his lack of logic in this article.

    Perhaps we should give him a break because of his meds.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:24:22 PM PDT

    •  indeed, but does he drive a BMW + wear sunglasses (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb, agnostic
      I understand that he has Parkinson's. Some of the most popular medications for that neurological problem include hallucinations, psychotic events, insomnia, and disorientation. That would certainly explain his lack of logic in this article.
      Perhaps we should give him a break because of his meds.

      Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

      by annieli on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:27:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, that's OK, then. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        Didn't he also undergo Deep Brain Stimulation? That has the same side effects as the Parkinson's meds.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:31:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, I read the book and the review... (8+ / 0-)

    Mr Kinsley comes across as much more of a 'sourpuss' than Mr Greewald by far.

    The most un-convincable man is the one whose paycheck depends on remaining unconvinced. -- H. L. Mencken

    by kharma on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:28:35 PM PDT

  •  Those who live in glass houses... (8+ / 0-)
    sentiments endorsed by a who's who of the Beltway media elite—Jonathan Alter, Jonathan Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Gregory, Ron Fournier, John Harwood, Charles Lane, Alexander Nazaryan, and others.
     Sheesh, I don't know if those people spend too much time looking in the mirror or not enough.  

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:30:44 PM PDT

  •  The Beltway courtiers are what gave us IOKIYAR. (14+ / 0-)

    They're all closet authoritarians.

  •  Unfortunately (24+ / 0-)

    people are short-term thinkers unable to think through the potentially far-reaching ramifications of these decisions, even when they have a real probability of coming back to bite THEM in the ass.  I think this is precisely what Justice Louis Brandeis was talking about when he said, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by mean of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

    by penelope pnortney on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:32:23 PM PDT

  •  nyt public editor (19+ / 0-)

    was unusually scathing, including about nyt book review editor pamela paul:

    Here’s my take: Book reviews are opinion pieces and — thanks to the principles of the First Amendment — Mr. Kinsley is certainly entitled to freely air his views. But there’s a lot about this piece that is unworthy of the Book Review’s high standards, the sneering tone about Mr. Greenwald, for example; he is called a “go-between” instead of a journalist and is described as a “self-righteous sourpuss.” (I’ve never met Mr. Greenwald, though I’ve written about his work, as Mr. Kinsley notes.)

    But worse, Mr. Kinsley’s central argument ignores important tenets of American governance. There clearly is a special role for the press in America’s democracy; the Founders explicitly intended the press to be a crucial check on the power of the federal government, and the United States courts have consistently backed up that role. It’s wrong to deny that role, and editors should not have allowed such a denial to stand. Mr. Kinsley’s argument is particularly strange to see advanced in the paper that heroically published the Pentagon Papers, and many of the Snowden revelations as well. What if his views were taken to their logical conclusion? Picture Daniel Ellsberg and perhaps the Times reporter Neil Sheehan in jail; and think of all that Americans would still be in the dark about — from the C.I.A.’s black sites to the abuses of the Vietnam War to the conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the widespread spying on ordinary Americans.

    Yes, as Ms. Paul rightly noted to me, it’s true that a book review is not an editorial, and the two shouldn’t be confused. And she told me that she doesn’t believe that editing should ever change a reviewer’s point of view. But surely editing ought to point out gaping holes in an argument, remove ad hominem language and question unfair characterizations; that didn’t happen here.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:37:31 PM PDT

    •  From Kinsley's "review" of Greenwald's book: (9+ / 0-)
      Here at last, I thought, is something Greenwald and I can agree on. The Constitution is for everyone. There shouldn’t be a special class of people called “journalists” with privileges like publishing secret government documents.
      Actually the Supreme Court, charged with interpreting the Constitution at the highest possible level of review has adamantly conferred "special privileges" upon journalists.
      New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964),[1] was a United States Supreme Court case that established the actual malice standard, which has to be met before press reports about public officials can be considered to be defamation and libel;[2] and hence allowed free reporting of the civil rights campaigns in the southern United States. It is one of the key decisions supporting the freedom of the press. The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty of proving the defendant's knowledge and intentions, such cases—when they involve public figures—rarely prevail.

      Before this decision, there were nearly US $300 million in libel actions outstanding against news organizations from the Southern states, and it had caused many publications to exercise great caution when reporting on civil rights, for fear that they might be held accountable for libel. After The New York Times prevailed in this case, news organizations were free to report the widespread disorder and civil rights infringements.

      For Kinsley not to comprehend the role of journalists in American society and their Constitutional relationship to our government is baffling, to say the least.
  •  The focus should've always been on the leaks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, frostbite, DocGonzo

    The leak was the fact that the government Is stepping on my 4th amendment right.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated
    Witch is also a law that says what the government can not do.

    So witch law stands? the law that says the government should not do such and such

    or the law that says if we (the government) say something is secret and if you speak of it, you shell go to jail.

  •  This is exactly what they do: (13+ / 0-)
    Luckily, those assholes don't get to make that choice. Or better yet, they can decide to play by those rules if they want to stay chummy with their bureaucrat pals and retain their precious access, but no one else has to.
    Which cedes the investigative journalism ground to guys like Greenwald ... Then they throw a hissy fit when he scoops them.

    The answer, if they don't like Glenn Greenwald is ... Do your fucking job!

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:45:18 PM PDT

  •  you realize this is all due to rampant/broccoli.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:47:21 PM PDT

  •  Government is Basically a Corporate Function. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, felix19

    The Bill of Rights grants a fundamental freedom to corporations, well at least to the business activity of press, something individual citizens usually don't do.

    It takes paid access to the corporate public square to run for office, and the costs are so high that it takes corporate derived funding including literal corporate public independent advocacy to attain higher office.

    The press is the organ of the primary interests that inform the electorate, host the civic discourse and fund our staffing of government.

    Their role cannot be adversarial to government per se, only to those government actions and interests that threaten the press' interests.

    Mainly they are and must be the organ of corporate ownership.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:47:52 PM PDT

  •  If these revelations had come out in Bush era (6+ / 0-)

    there would have been a lot less criticism of the leakers from the liberal left, and even the center.

    I think the existence of an NSA working completely in secret to monitor and store all communications, both globally and within the US, is a huge scandal and completely unconstitutional.

    That Obama has let this continue is shocking. I expected more of his presidency than that.

    Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

    by coral on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:48:36 PM PDT

    •  Not from me. (0+ / 0-)

      I will always side with the government against government employees or contractors who violate their agreements not to disclose classified information.

      Always.

      There are legal and proscribed ways to make such disclosures within the bounds of being a whistleblower. When a Snowden circumvents the Ron Wyden Option (i.e. the option of last resort to remain a whistleblower by taking the information to a member of the Congress), they lose all claims to whistleblowing and enter the realm of espionage.

      Had Snowden taken this to Ron Wyden and had Wyden blown him off, I would think differently about Snowden, but Snowden never exercised the option of last resort built into the whistleblower legal framework.

      If Greenwald colluded with Snowden prior to the fact, and currently there is no evidence whatsoever to support that, then he too would be criminally liable. Whatever my issues with Greenwald happen to be, he strikes me as far too intelligent to have walked down that road.

      What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

      by Walt starr on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:56:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The nation was pretty worried back then. (0+ / 0-)

      "Second wave of terrorist attacks" and all that.

      I'd bet you were wrong.

  •  You missed the point here... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    when you wrote, "It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks."

    But the defense tactic is to always make it about the leaker of the information and not about criminal acts revealed.

    Just look at every case in history, notables include the aforementioned Ellsberg along with Butler, Buxton, Nader, Silkwood, Brockovich, Enron's Watkins, etc. etc. etc.

    All were (at least) smeared or a smear campaign was attempted. In the case of Nader, the Industry's hired goons got too careless.

    I suppose you could make an argument that whistleblowers include a higher-than-average number of unstable personalities since most probably knew they were going to be trashed and even alleged "friends" would believe the pure bullshit based on volume flung alone.

  •  Speaking of fixation on individuals, (4+ / 0-)
    Holder Hints Reporter May Be Spared Jail in Leak
    By CHARLIE SAVAGE, May 27, 2014, The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. hinted Tuesday that the Justice Department might choose not to jail a New York Times reporter for defying a subpoena forcing him to discuss his confidential sources — even as the Obama administration continues to pursue the right to do so before the Supreme Court.

    [...] according to one participant, Mr. Holder said, and an aide allowed to be put on the record, the following: “As long as I’m attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail. As long as I’m attorney general, someone who is doing their job is not going to get prosecuted.”

    So, they jealously reserve the power to do it but say they'll "be good." Gee, sounds a lot like FEC Chair Tom Wheeler refusing to apply common carrier rules to the Internet but saying that everything will be hunky-dory on his watch.

    It's the rule of men, not law. In this case especially, it's very dangerous: everyone's a criminal, it's just a matter of who the government chooses to smite.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:50:09 PM PDT

  •  To "xanthippe2": And that is one of the most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xanthippe2

    provocative - and excellent - questions ever asked, today or at any other time in our history.

    The difference between education and indoctrination is, simply, that one encourages questioning, at all times, under all circumstances.  Which one is it?

  •  We have things just about right as-is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JJ In Illinois

    It's illegal to leak government secrets and people who leak them are prosecuted.  It's iegal to publish the secrets that people illegally leak, and the people who publish them aren't prosecuted.  This preserves freedom of the press without conceding the (alleged but absurd) freedom to disregard the government's control over its secrets.  As Obama would tell Kinsley, we've got this.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:52:43 PM PDT

    •  Correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      There is no perfect solution to this problem, but as the old saying goes, what we have is the best there is. Greenwald is a smart dude in some ways (whether's he's a jerk is immaterial, except that Kinsley has a point that his writing is utterly off-putting to anyone who isn't already a fellow-traveler, which is kind of the point of a book review). But his self-glorification, which is almost comedic, completely undercuts his very important message.

    •  We have massive criminality (5+ / 0-)

      graft, embezzlement, war crimes, no one is ever held accountable, the crimes are never exposed in time to stop them, the perps hide the evidence under state secrets privilege... and you're telling me this is the best possible solution?

      222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

      by happymisanthropy on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:27:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who Gets to decide who..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, frostbite

    Who gets to decide when it's ok to break the Constitutional right of the people against search and seizure?

    If what the NSA was doing was perfectly legal, I might feel differently about it... but the NSA is breaking the law... no judge has ever said "this is ok", and no one has had the ability to  press this all the way to the Supreme Court, so until that happens... what the NSA is doing is against the law.

    Period.

  •  There should be zero government secrets, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frostbite

    period.  And Greenwald should give that information to the people, now.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:59:17 PM PDT

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bgrngod

      Including tax returns and health records?  Current police investigations?

      •  Wrong kind of secrets. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frostbite

        And yes, it's an extreme position, but why not.  

        "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:16:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because not having secrets... (0+ / 0-)

          about ongoing investigations provides a blueprint for the culprits to avoid prosecution.

          The government absolutely has a right to keep secrets, especially when it comes to records for individual citizens (health records, etc).  The government should simply be forced to follow the same rules that private organizations do with privacy laws.

          Most of what is secret though, should be public information.

    •  Military (0+ / 0-)

      Our government shouldn't learn what the likely military activities of foreign governments are? That's spying. That information obtained by spying should be immediately released to the public, rather than kept secret? Even our allies' activities? How about our own military's analysis of its own weaknesses and strategies?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:48:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually had a TS for awhile to do some audits (0+ / 0-)

        at a TS facility the mission of which was to acquire or develop enemy, Russian at the time, military hardware.  I remember sitting in a Russian tank and wondering how the hell they stayed in the thing.  They had Russian helicopters, jets, you name it, all out in the middle of a desert.  
        That's how the game is played.  But if there were no secrets, the game would be much different. Maybe then we wouldn't have to worry about enemies.  Since most everything is based on lies they wouldn't be able to get away with it any longer.
        I try to look at it from an angle of what humans could do differently, not just the way it's always been.

        "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:59:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unilateral Disarmament (0+ / 0-)

          As much as the global arms race is a mutual conspiracy by every country's military to rip us off and keep us controlled by fear, I see no reason to believe that any other country would give up military secrecy even if the US somehow did.

          And in that case, a decisive advantage would belong to everyone but the US. Apart from the chaos from removing the US as global cop that I might welcome if it somehow didn't kill more than the status quo did, I do expect that the US would suffer within even our own territory. If not by actual attack, then by the compensation in building up actual weapons and soldiers in the absence of the efficiency lost with the secrecy.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:48:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is no existential threat to the security (0+ / 0-)

            of our nation. Zero. There is no country on earth which can occupy us and none is on the horizon, even speculatively. There is no nation on earth which could shut down our way of life, if we chose to live freely and without secrets.

            Sure, our ability to force other nations to our will would be drastically lessened, but that's exactly the point.

            Why should the USA be spending so much money and so many lives, our own and others, to promote our corporate trade interests? Why should we be defoliating forests in other nations? Why does our State Department have armed mercenaries spread across the globe? Shouldn't we know the CIA is advising foreign jets  to shoot down missionaries and their babies?

            ALL that bullshit should stop. And would with a drastic reduction or eliminaton of secrets.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:14:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Minimum Isn't Zero (0+ / 0-)

              There is no existential threat to the US now except ourselves, armed to the teeth and mad as a hatter.

              However, if we spent nothing on a military, we would face existential threats. If our military couldn't keep secrets, like secrets kept by our allies (either shared with us or the product of spying on them) we'd have no allies. Our military would cost even more, and be far less effective even in defending our borders (eg. shared with Canada and Mexico). Indeed, if we didn't defend them with our military, the Caribbean nations and probably Central American ones would become allies of nations that could threaten us militarily, including but not exclusively Russia and China. Secrets are a necessary part of any military's strength, because knowledge (especially one-sided) is power.

              Countries use their military to exercise their interests. There's lots in the US that's interesting to other countries.

              But we're far in the other direction, which also presents an existential threat. We replace the risk of invasion or intimidation with the certainty of unsupportable expense and a police state that certainly deletes some of our rights instead of defending them to the death.

              We spend about $1.5 TRILLION a year on the Pentagon and its direct activities (including veterans expenses and interest on all that spent debt). Probably another half TRILLION elsewhere in the government and contractors in direct support. Instead we could meet all our security obligations just fine spending around $500B, not just domestic defense but also global security - that also protects us. We could charge the world and its commerce $100-200B a year for the global security, especially the Navy patrolling the world's shipping and oil/gas ocean operations. If we reverted to the Constitutional prescription of militias - the National Guard - instead of any standing army and reverted global security to the UN (granting an extranational body military superiority to us subject to the governance of the Security Council) we might spend $150B a year even operating National Guard patrols and rotations through missions, plus maybe $50-100B as our share of the UN operations.

              But that's the absolute minimum necessary to defend ourselves. It might even be too little. And a $500B or even $150B military would require secrets. It would not require surveillance of any American, unless a civilian court escalates an indictment to a real national security status. It would not require outside contractors of any kind, except maybe $100M worth where the government services don't exist and urgency requires "off the shelf" augmentation from private services.

              The $1.5T is woven into America's industrial and labor economy. We should roll it back by $100B a year after a $500B downpayment cut. As we pass $700B on the way to $500B we'd see if we can keep going while retaining real security. And keep going down past $500B, as the paradigm shifts and we gain real security by spending that $TRILLION on our people in the most productive ways.

              We can get 3/4 or more of the way from $1.5T to $0 and get safer all the way. But I doubt that we can protect the country with fewer than about 600,000 personnel (about 12000 average per state, probably 80,000 of whom are warfighters), costing about $300K per year total each, plus a little more than that for equipment, weapons, vehicles, tanks, planes, ships, bases, etc.

              And a 600K person military defending 13000 miles of borders plus airspace within is going to need secrets. If it's going to be effective with that size relative to its mission, against the sizes of foreign militaries. Which will increase to fill the vacuum, and even to test what it can get from us, once there's a chance it will deliver returns.

              The point is that the minimum size, that we should strive for, is not zero. And so we'll need secrets. Until a species wide enlightenment takes hold, we're going to have to defend ourselves, and have enough info advantages protected by secrecy to do so.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:30:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Freedom of the press has never been absolute (0+ / 0-)

    Reporters are expected to follow the law, just like anybody else.

    It does get pretty tricky, however, with people like Ellsberg and Snowden, law-breakers both but reporters neither.

    The government certainly should be able to prosecute even reporters for breaking the law, but that's where this crazy democracy thing starts to get interesting.

    First things first:

    What is the life expectancy of a secret?

    In Intellectual Property law, a trade secret dies the minute it gets revealed. No stuffing the cat back in the bag, no wrong in repeating a revealed secret.

    The same seems appropriate in most cases.  If nothing else, it places a terrible burden on reporters to know that something is or isn't a classified don't you dare repeat this secret when they aren't stealing it themselves and don't know how many people already know about it.

    Finally, if the government decides to prosecute, they've got to go before a jury of ordinary citizens who might just say --- Hey! We REALLY needed to know that.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:00:30 PM PDT

    •  Couldn't disagree more about prosecuting reporters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo

      Freedom of the press is a fundamental cornerstone of the public's right to know what is going on.  The threat of prosecution for reporters would have squelched an awful lot of what has been revealed over the history of this country.  The government gets only ONE opportunity to keep those secrets in the dark, and that is their effort to make sure government resources do not break the law and produce leaks.  If one of those resources is willing to risk breaking the law to blow the whistle, then the government should absolutely NOT have the luxury of a backup plan to keep it hidden.  Once that threshold has been crossed once, that is enough.  The government can get a prosecution for it, and the public can get to find out what secret was worth it.

      •  Reporters are not above the law. (0+ / 0-)

        The do not have the right to trespass on private property and they do not have the right to assault potential subjects of stories.  

        Reporters are citizens, just like the rest of us.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:44:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So, Kos, is Wikileaks okay by you? (0+ / 0-)

    Because once we, as a society, determine that there must be a system in place of determination in terms of how the publication of materials adversarial to the government are handled, then we must then talk about the "personalities" (or institutions) of those we trust to make these choices.

    Even if Kinsley is a tool (and he is), to state that the focus should have always been "on the leaks" is to miss an equally critical question:

    How does the adversarial journalism process work?

    Much of the criticism of Snowden/Greenwald has been that they sought media outside of the United States, and therefore outside of the purview of this debate.

    This is a critical component of how we support a real fourth estate.  Otherwise any blogger can publish anything, call themselves a "journalist" (like Greenwald did) and claim exemption under the principles of adversarial media.

    Is it "adversarial media" if I out Lindsey Graham as gay?

    Is it "adversarial media" if I publish Valerie Plame's real job?

    Obviously there can and must be institutional constraints on this adversarial approach and we traditionally vest our established media publications (New York Times, etc.) to make these choices.

    That's why Kinsley is a tool.  He removes even that trust.  But it's also why Greenwald is a tool for believing anyone claiming "journalism" can basically do anything, in any country, with impunity. Witness his one redaction and the dustup with Assange -- total clownshow.  I'm as uncomfortable trusting state secrets to Greenwald as I am listening to Kinsley.

    •  Pics or it didn't happen (0+ / 0-)
      Greenwald is a tool for believing anyone claiming "journalism" can basically do anything, in any country, with impunity.

      “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

      by 420 forever on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:34:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Journalism" (0+ / 0-)

        Remains undefined by Greenwald.  As far as I can tell, in Greenwaldland, anyone who claims to be a journalist is one.

        Certainly having a degree in journalism isn't necessary (Greenwald doesn't have one).

        Nor is any history of actual news reporting needed (Greenwald never did any)

        Not is even working for a traditional journalism institution, as Greenwald's startup shows.

        If Greenwald is a "journalist" because he was given newsworthy documents, then anyone is a journalist at the moment they come into contact with classified material.

        Which is my point.

        Without institutional structures and standards, anyone can do anything and claim it to be "journalism."

    •  Winston Smith (0+ / 0-)

      Every time I picture any of your posts coming out of the mouth of Orwell's 1984 character Winston Smith, I shudder as I think "how orwellian".

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:50:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's sad (0+ / 0-)

        Is that you think the contemporary United States is comparable to Oceannia.  Perhaps you should rethink your premises. When you repeat hyperbole like "surveillance state" or paint fascist nightmare fictions using Greenwaldian hypotheticals, you are the propragandist spinning fiction out of fact.  Not me.

        •  Propagandist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          I didn't say "surveillance state", or use "Greenwaldian hypotheticals". Nor did I compare the current US to Oceania. Those are your straw men - yet another anathema to your namesake.

          Your orwellian hall of mirrors has another gallery.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:44:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  idiotic (0+ / 0-)

            Then your point made no sense.  You claim that I'm "ironic" because my Daily Kos name is "WinSmith" and I'm defending an Orwellian, fascist state, then when I respond that we do not, in fact, live in an Orwellian fascist state, you tell me I've created a "straw man."

            Okay.

            Have a nice day.

            •  Ironic (0+ / 0-)

              What I had in mind was particularly your defense of the NSA from Greenwald, so the NSA can do anything it wants, while condemning Greenwald for doing anything he wants when all he does is legitimate American journalism. Which by the way is another straw man.

              There's a lot to being an ironic, orwellian caricature named after Winson Smith that doesn't require me to equate the US to the fictional Oceania or the other straw man fallacies you posted. And now an ad hominem twist! A little out of anti-character, but maybe you also updated your views of the Anti-Sex League.

              I think you read 1984 upside down or something. Or maybe you're from the sequel, after the rats reeducated Citizen Smith.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:11:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Jealousy plays a part, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, Nada Lemming

    I believe, in all these establishment journalists expressing disdain for Greenwald and Snowden. I'd bet every one of them secretly wishes they had received the papers that Snowden gave to Greenwald.

  •  A question on a popular IQ test... (4+ / 0-)

    ....asks the test-taker why it is important in a democracy to have a free press.

    Dare I say, the correct answer is to prevent the government from acting to silence its citizens by censoring the media.  

    In other words, Michael Kinsley got that question not only wrong, but he got it wrong in the most ironic way possible: by disagreeing with the test question's obvious premise.

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:16:49 PM PDT

  •  this topic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, tardis10, HCKAD

    along with gun-nuttery, really brings out the dumb in people. the dumb & scared. even on the supposed political left there are TONS of people just cowering in the corner, basically saying "do anything you want to/at/against me, just tell me you're keeping me safe" as if it were some kind of reasonable, rational life philosophy. so glad I'm not one of these blubbering fools. the authoritarian wing of the Dem coalition seem to have just lost all grip on reality over this issue. they can do nothing but project and project, and that's why you get the personality hang-ups people have with Snowden and Greenwald. cowards always project their own fears onto the people brave enough to do the things their conscience tells them they should be doing, but that they are too morally weak to do. plus, the leaks this time happen to be unflattering to a Dem president, so authoritarian Dems who would have no problem savaging Bush over this exact same shit, now savage leakers and whistle-blowers with the same level of vitriol, just because it makes 'the team' look bad. dumb.

    Shout golden shouts!

    by itsbenj on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:25:32 PM PDT

    •  Gun Nuttery? (0+ / 0-)

      How does the behavior of gun nuts bring out the dumb and scared in people on the political left?

      Specific examples of nuttery, dumb and scared people saying "do anything you want to me to tell me you're keeping me safe" please.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as I said (0+ / 0-)

        "...brings out the dumb in people." just people generally (by which I mean, Americans). I then go on to specify that people on the left who kowtow to the ever-powerful security state are being, IMO, dumb.

        Shout golden shouts!

        by itsbenj on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:30:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is not lack of secrecy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings

    The problem is not lack of secrecy, but too much secrecy.

    Do a thought experiment.  What if, before we started wars in Vietnam and Iraq, someone leaked all the intelligence data we had on them?  In both cases the data would show that we were starting the wars on a lie.  Maybe we would have not entered them?

  •  I'm so confused (0+ / 0-)

    I thought government was the enemy, and I should be praying for it to drown in Norquist's bathtub?

    Isn't that what corporate journalists, working for corporate media, indirectly and directly suggest I do (based on the collective effect of the stories they run and the guests they invite to their chummy shows)?

    If government is in fact the enemy, then why on earth should it be anointed as the "someone" who "gets to decide"?

    Nice diary, kos.

    “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

    by Older and Wiser Now on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:34:58 PM PDT

  •  The mainstream media is trying to have their cake (5+ / 0-)

    and eat it too. On one hand, they want their "exclusive access" (Brian Williams and the OBL raid, for instance) and rubbing shoulders with the elite at the DC cocktail parties. In order for that to happen, they need to have their lips permanently attached to the asses of those in power. On the other hand they want credibility, which is hard to come by when you work as a stenographer. At one point they'll have to decide which one they prefer.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:40:34 PM PDT

    •  I'm pretty sure they've decided (6+ / 0-)
      Or better yet, they can decide to play by those rules if they want to stay chummy with their bureaucrat pals and retain their precious access, but no one else has to.
      David Gregory and friends have a great, cushy gig, and the last thing they want is some outsider like Snowden rocking the boat and revealing how useless they are.  No mystery as to why they're all piling on, propagandists don't want freedom of the press, they're threatened by it.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Wed May 28, 2014 at 03:27:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where was NSA when we needed them? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, Thomas Twinnings

    We spend billions on the NSA and nothing on the home grown terrorists behind gun violence that kills 10,000 per year. And we don't yell blue bloody murder? We spend billion on the Drug War and on our prison systems to their failure. We spent trillions on the Near Eastern Wars and never did get the oil we were after. (We found it in North Dakota and Pennsylvania.)

    Come on, get our priorities straight. Edward Snowdon is today a traitor; tomorrow we will realize that only by vigilant citizenry via the 1st amendment will we be protected from the tyranny of our own government. How many nations have been lead down a disastrous path by their government's mendacity? Germany, Russia, England (1776), France (Louis XVIII),...?

  •  Markos, I've said a lot of dumb things (6+ / 0-)

    that I regretted as soon as I said them.  It's even more embarrassing when it's on the Internet and you've hit that post button and there's no way of ever getting it out of the wayback machine.

    So I very readily cut you a lot of slack.  I know what it's like.  For instance, when you suggested that the Snowden/NSA scandal was a white guy thing and you didn't give a shit because you were worried about more important things like immigration reform.

    Okay.  I cut you slack as soon as you said it!  I saw you in my mind's eye hovering over the keyboard going, one second later, going, "Oh shit."  That's one of the benefit of knowing people a long time.  You know when somebody probably knows they blew it or will realize very soon.

    So now we have:

    I've always contended that obsessing over the personalities was a disservice to the NSA Snowden revelations. It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks.
    Well, that's nice to know!  Yeah, there should have been some focus on those leaks!  As important as immigration reform is, and as annoying as white guy peeves are, it's still mighty fucking important.  This is a cancer.
  •  Tell Me Something I Don't Know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, tardis10

    The press, including Kinsley and the private company that employs him, is responsible solely for publishing information already available - never government secrets. Maybe celebrity gossip, or the private lives of people whose only real public relevance is their public actions. But "investigative reporting" is at least too jerky to bother with in a civil Village, and sometimes so jerky that it demands a firing squad.

    That's why reporters now report only he/she said gossip, never stating a fact. They are in the publishing business, not the research business. And especially not in the government accountability business. That's for the voters they drown in pap - all on their own.

    Kinsley is merely insisting on the business model that he has risen nearly to the top of - or isn't it the bottom?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:26:23 PM PDT

  •  Government should have the right to keep secrets (0+ / 0-)

    from potential or actual enemies. So, if you reveal troop movements in time of war, or publish blueprints for a secret weapon, then you should be punished severely.

    But if you reveal that which potential or actual enemies can be expected to know, but that the government wants to conceal from the general public for political reasons, you are exercising free speech. It's a bright line, and one that courts should recognize. If you jeopardize American security, you are a criminal, and possibly a traitor. If you merely expose facts that embarrass public officials, you are a whistle blower and a hero.

    Primo pro nummata vini [First of all it is to the wine-merchant] (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:59:49 PM PDT

  •  There are things I wouldn't want NYT publishing. (0+ / 0-)

    Such as social security numbers, IRS records, the plans to capture Osama Bin Laden before the mission took place, etc.  If someone leaked to the NYT that kind of information, I'd certainly want the leaker punished.  As for whether the NYT should be punished if they published the leaks, I'm not sure, but I don't think it's as black-and-white a case as Kos suggests.

  •  Nice to see you are now paying attention (5+ / 0-)

    to what is important, the revelations that the NSA and our government is out of control.

    This never was about Greenwald or Snowden, two white guys. It was always about the rights of citizens according to the Constitution and the law.

    Real journalism isn't a popularity contest. No one is expected to invite Glenn to your next barbeque.

    The thing is the information, first, last and always. These are things we need to know. The truth is suppose to set you free, not comfortable.

  •  Free press myth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, YucatanMan

    America has a long tradition of granting free speech rights to whomever owns the press.
    Today, that is a handful of people. And many of them have business ties (often regulatory) with the federal government, as the last paragraph of this diary mentions.
    The watchdog has largely become a lap dog.
    It takes independent actors like Greenwald and Poitras to do the heavy lifting these days (and foreign media like The Guardian and Der Spiegel).
    It was Thomas Jefferson who said if we were forced to choose between government without newspapers or newspapers without government, he would choose the latter.
    So would I.

    In the (K)now blog Http://warrenswil.com/

    by Warren Swil on Wed May 28, 2014 at 06:02:37 PM PDT

  •  Greenwald is a jerk ????? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SamanthaCarter, YucatanMan

    Snowden is a jerk ?????

    Horse shit.

    Snowden did a full Nathan Hale, mainly to give us a long-shot dice-roll at getting back some smidge of the Fourth Amendment.

    Greenwald ??? Who gives a shit how Greenwald comes off face-to-face?

    These SOBs are about in the same boat as John Adams, Franklin and Rutledge when they went over to Staten Island to meet the British in 1775. For peace talks. After the revolutionary army got wrecked on Long Island and retreating through New Jersey.

    General Howe had a list of who they were going to hang. You do know the history, that Adams was on that list........

    Bush killed the Fourth. Obama let it roll. You know they're going to do everything they can to kill these guys.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Wed May 28, 2014 at 06:38:31 PM PDT

  •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan
    I've always contended that obsessing over the personalities was a disservice to the NSA Snowden revelations. It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks.

    Now we see just how corrosive those obsessions have been. Some guy is a jerk, so let's scratch out that whole "freedom of the press" thing and give the government control of newsrooms!

    Well, I tried : What Does Commie Coward Snowden Have To Do With It?

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Thu May 29, 2014 at 11:18:03 AM PDT

  •  I love that headline. It's Onionesque. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan

    Made me re-read the diary.

    Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

    by expatjourno on Thu May 29, 2014 at 12:09:14 PM PDT

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