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Soros girls gone wild!

25 Jan
This week saw not one but two attacks from leftovers on libertarian led efforts to expose NSA abuses, both warning that NSA critics were too enamored of anti-government positions and candidates, threatening to undermine the New Deal warfare-welfare state and even the federally funded jobs of the leftovers themselves.

The New Republic  ran a piece by a federally funded academentian Sean Wilencz which attacked Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange for insufficient fealty to… I mean FDR. Complete with guilt by association and arm chair psychologizing dredging up the child hood traumas and Internet chats of his targets, this piece demonstrates that Princeton and other state funded disinformation and re-education centers should all be defunded immediately, with their priesthoods tossed out on the streets where they could learn to make an honest living mopping floors. A quote: ” ‘I have a Walther P22,’ he [Snowden] wrote. ‘It’s my only gun, but I love it to death.’ The Walther P22, a fairly standard handgun, is not especially fearsome, but Snowden’s affection for it hinted at some of his developing affinities.”. Which led wag Scott Beiser to observe: “Oh noes! Snowden is a closet hoplosexual!”

And two unknown concubines of the multimillionaire lobbyist Podesta brothers at their Center for American Progress fret that people are now reading the Bill of Rights all the way to the end, even the 10th Amendment, now that they have heard they have rights the federal government has been abridging.

Libertarian-Baiting the Anti-NSA Movement

24 Oct
Libertarian-Baiting the Anti-NSA Movement by Justin Raimondo —

Raimondo exposes Tom Watson, the latest Stalon smear merchant, as a long time defender of the NSA and hatchet man on WikiLeaks, Snowden, and Assange.

Sirota on Greenwald vs Grunwald

22 Aug

Grunwald vs. Greenwald: Who’s the “activist” journalist, now?

A “mainstream” reporter calls for the murder of a public figure, but somehow his “journalist” bona fides are intact

Grunwald vs. Greenwald: Who's the Michael Grunwald, Glenn Greenwald (Credit: Simon & Schuster/David Whitman/AP/Kin Cheung)
This past Saturday, Time magazine’s senior national correspondent, Michael Grunwald,told his 10,000-plus Twitter followers that he “can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” There is, to say the least, much to be gleaned by such a statement.
For instance, it is yet more proof of the growing ranks of Journalists Against Journalism Club. Yes, here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.
Likewise, it is yet more proof that the nonchalant blood lust that pervades the National Security State also exists inside the establishment media that is supposed to be objectively covering that National Security State. Indeed, even after deleting his tweet, Grunwald was unrepentant about such blood lust, saying that he wasn’t sorry for effectively endorsing extrajudicial assassination, but merely for the fact that his tweet “gives Assange supporters a nice safe persecution complex to hide in.”
But, then, journalists hating on journalism and political reporters worshiping state-sponsored violence is no big reveal anymore. In that sense, Grunwald’s morbid fantasy is notable primarily because it summarized such realities in such uncharacteristically clear terms.
What is more revelatory is what the context of the Grunwald episode says about the intensifying debate over who is and who is not a true “journalist,”  and whether it is opinion or ideology that really disqualifies one from the legal privileges that are supposed to come with that label.
The journalist/non-journalist is a debate that has gone on for a while now. It is one that I have a bit of personal experience with since a 2007 fight when the gatekeepers in the congressional press gallery tried to deny me press credentials simply because I acknowledge my own political opinions/ideology. And it is a debate that has now flared back up since opinionated Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald began breaking the NSA stories back in June.


In response to Greenwald’s scoops, the most pro-establishment media voices have insinuated that because Greenwald has previously stated opinions on issues like government secrecy, militarism and surveillance, he should be treated as something less than a journalist — or even as a full-on criminal.
For example, disgraced Wall Street investor-turned-pundit Steve Rattner took to national television to declare that “Glenn Greenwald is not a journalist, he’s an activist portraying himself as a journalist.” Likewise, Carl Bernstein said of Greenwald that a “reporter has no business making” a “non-reportorial statement.” The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest (he later apologized). And most famously, NBC’s David Gregory accused Greenwald of having “aided and abetted Snowden,” wondered “why shouldn’t you … be charged with a crime?” and explained it all by later classifying Greenwald as “somebody who claims that he’s a journalist” but might not be one because he has an opinion.
Contrast all that with the reaction — or lack thereof — to Grunwald. While there were certainly condemnations of what the Time reporter specifically said about Assange, and while Time’s editors said that Grundwald’s sentiment is “in no way representative of Time’s views,” few have cited Grunwald’s decision to publicly promote his opinion as proof that, to echo the words of Rattner, he “is not a journalist, he’s an activist portraying himself as a journalist.” Revealingly, the same “opinions mean he isn’t a journalist” attacks leveled against Greenwald were not aimed at Grunwald even though the tweet was not Grunwald’s first time expressing highly polarizing opinions. Remember, under the decidedly not objective headline “the government must protect the public even if it has to limit individual rights,” Grunwald recently published a screed calling civil libertarians “purists” and berating the ACLU for “shrieking about the FBI violating (a) suspect’s Miranda rights.”
Grunwald is hardly the first person who gets to at once express subjective opinions and yet also retain the status of objective journalist, with all the legal protections that is supposed to engender (more on that in a second). The Times’ Sorkin, for instance, publishes Wall Street hagiography that is apparently sponsored by Goldman Sachs that is laden with his obsequious opinions (see his essay today defending financial industry cronyism), and few question his status as a journalist.
Likewise, the Washington Post’s David Broder was a hard-edged ideologue who regularly published polarizing diatribes, but he simultaneously appeared on TV and in the pages of the Post as an objective journalist — and nobody tried to strip the so-called dean of the Washington press corps of his journalism credentials.
Same thing for the Post’s Bob Woodward; few if any challenged his “journalist” label even after he used the sequestration standoff to slam the idea of budget cuts to the military. Same thing for the likes of Jeffrey Goldberg and Tom Friedman; their clear opinions do not get them chastised by their fellow media mavens as non-journalists.
So which is it? Does having an opinion disqualify one from being a journalist? Or can you have an opinion and still retain the coveted “journalist” status and protections?
The answer today clearly depends on the kind of opinion, and whether it serves or challenges those in power. That’s right, just as ideology now determines who gets labeled a prosecutable leaker (sources whose disclosures embarrass the government) and who doesn’t (sources whose disclosures help the government), so too does that kind of ideological distinction determine who gets treated like a journalist and who does not.
WikiLeaks and Greenwald hold pro-transparency opinions. Because those kind of opinions do not serve the corporate and government establishment, those establishments work to marginalize them by treating them and those connected to them as non-journalists, activists or — most recently in the case of Greenwald’s spouse — as terrorism suspects.
By contrast, Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstatedassumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity. And because their opinions support the government and corporate establishment, those promoting them get to keep their journalism credentials — and all the attendant protections.
Those protections, of course, are what transform this fight over who is a journalist from an abstract academic debate into a legal battle with real-world consequences. That’s because the rhetorical fight is happening at the very moment when the government is trying to reduce protections by specifically limiting the “journalist” classification.
Consider how the legal wrangling in the Bradley Manning case shows a government that is trying to narrow the definition of journalist on ideological grounds. In that case, prosecutors specifically argued that WikiLeaks is not a “journalistic enterprise” because it is an opinionated “transparency movement” (as if the two are mutually exclusive), and that the latter distinction supposedly means Manning committed worse crimes than had he leaked to, say, the allegedly non-opinionated Washington Post. Such legal arguments are being floated, mind you, at the same time the Department of Justice is simultaneously attempting to limit the definition of “journalist” so that the most ideologically adversarial and opinionated news outlets and reporters are stripped of the legal protections often necessary to conduct journalism.
What the Grunwald episode highlights, though, is that highly subjective opinions are as ubiquitous in traditional media outlets like Time magazine as they are in “alternative” media outlets, only the former never have their journalism credentials challenged. Juxtaposed with the government and media establishment’s harsh treatment of Greenwald and WikiLeaks, the episode thus also shows that journalism privilege (status, legal protections, etc.) is increasingly granted not exclusively to those who lack opinions, but only to those whose opinions pass those establishments’ ideological litmus tests.

David Sirota

David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover,” “The Uprising” and “Back to Our Future.” E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

Assange’s Emerging Politics: Rand Paul And Libertarian Wing of GOP Represent ‘Only Hope’

20 Aug

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange looks on at t...

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)
The strong turn of Julian Assange and Wikileaks toward partisan electoral politics continued this weekend, as Assange told an online audience that he’s “a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues” and insisted that the libertarian wing the Republican Party represented the “only hope” for reform in American politics.
The praise for the conservative Paul wing of the Republican Party in the U.S., aligned with Tea Party and anti-government activists, comes on the heels of the establishment of the Wikileaks Party in Australia, where Assange is standing for election to the Senate from Victoria.
Speaking during a live-streamed panel discussionfrom the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been given political asylum despite being sought for sexual abuse allegations in Sweden, Assange claimed that the Republicans – and especially the Pauls – don’t represent conservatism, but an opposition to a powerful Federal government that spies on its own citizens.
“The Republican Party in so far as how it has coupled together with the war industry is not a conservative party at all and the Libertarian aspect of the Republican Party is presently the only useful political voice in the US Congress,” he said. That point of view may well set the Wikileaks founder at odds with many of his progressive supporters here in the United States, who while opposing large-scale surveillance like the kind exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden (now a political refugee in Russia), nonetheless hold social views that are antithetical to hard right Paulist positions on issues like immigration, labor, reproductive rights, and social welfare programs.
Libertarians on the right, claimed Assange, “will be the driver that shifts the United States around.”
“It’s not going to come from the Democrats, it’s not going to come from Ralph Nader, it’s not going to come from the co-opted parts of the Republican Party. The only hope as far as electoral politics… presently, is the libertarian section of the Republican Party.”
Assange said the Paul wing of the GOP has the winning formula for non-violent political change, and listed gun violence and women’s reproductive rights as two areas where right-wing tactics are working in the United States:
“The position of the Libertarian Republican, or a better description Right, coming from a principle of non-violence which is the American Libertarian tradition. That produces interesting results.
“So, non-violence: well, don’t go and invade a foreign country. Non-violence: don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the U.S. Army. Non-violence: doesn’t extort taxes from people to the federal Government with a policeman. Similarly, other aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold.”
In the United States, the social movement that has supported Wikileaks efforts at uncovering U.S. government secrets (including the links provided by U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, now in the sentencing portion of his military trial) has been largely dominated by the left wing and progressive activists angry over U.S. security expansion since the attacks of 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The politics of Rand Paul – who famously said he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – are in stark opposition to the civil libertarian left in the United States (not to mention the political leanings of Matt Drudge, who Assange also praised as an exemplar of American journalism). But this may be changing.
While it is unclear whether Assange and newly-political Wikileaks will make endorsements in U.S. elections – Rand Paul is thought to be seeking the GOP nomination for President in 2016 – he has plunged in deeply in Australian politics, forming a registered political party and campaigning (albeit remotely) for elected office. And that electoral effort in Australia may have legs around the world as well; four days ago, The Guardian reported that Wikileaks will try to raise money internationally for its slate of candidates. “There is generational change taking place. People are searching for a new body politic,” said spokesperson Sam Castro.
Symbolic of that generational change is the 30-year-old Snowden, who Wikileaks represented in his negotiations with the Russian government and others as he sought asylum to escape U.S. spying charges. And Snowden, it turns out, is a supporter of Ron Paul, having twice donated $250 to the former Texas Congressman’s campaign in 2012. The feeling is mutual: “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk,” said the elder Paul in June. “They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”
As the American Conservative reported this week, the U.S. right wing is rallying to Snowden’s cause: “A funny thing happened between Hong Kong and Russia: Edward Snowden, teller of National Security Agency secrets and American dissident at large, started to become a conservative hero.” And Snowden’s father Lon is represented by long-time conservative “originalist” lawyer Bruce Fein, a former Reagan Administration official who testified to Congress two years ago that “the individual is the center of the Constitution’s universe.”
In both Assange’s attacks on the Obama Administration (and the vast U.S. security bureaucracy which has grown since 2001) and in the Wikileaks Party’s Australian platform, there’s a vein of criticism of big government as a failure, riddled with cronyism, careerism, and blind party loyalty. This is similar to the rhetoric of both Pauls and some Tea Party activists as well, and is based on their narrow view of what the republic’s founding generation and constitutional framers actually intended.

Michael Grunwald and the moral question of defensive and retaliatory force against statist cheerleaders

20 Aug
Time’s Michael Grunwald, Who Wants the Government To “Tread on Me,” Also Wants Julian Assange Droned

Time‘s Michael Grunwald is threatening Julian Assange with proposed drone strikes; may Assange take Grunwald out first, sending a drone or hit man to Grunwald’s South Beach (Miami) home, as long as, unlike Grunwald’s hero Obama, he doesn’t also kill Grunwald’s wife Cristina Dominguez and their children?

It’s not hard to find out where he lives.  The South Beach property tax records are on line:


Here’s a drone’s eye view of his million dollar home, just off Alton.

You can rent one down the block at 1420 Lenox for a little over $5,000 a month.

The Ideology Behind Michael Grunwald’s Repugnant Tweet

The Time correspondent wrote, “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.”

julian assange full full.jpg

This is Julian Assange of Wikileaks, whose murder would be terrible, seeing as how he’s a human being.(Reuters)
On Saturday, Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent at Time, stoked controversy by stating, “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” The Tweet triggered an immediate backlash among people who believe that murder is wrong, and that expressing preemptive delight at the prospect of defending murder is wrongheaded and repugnant. Shortly thereafter, Grunwald apologized to his followers, called his Tweet “dumb,” and deleted it. Folks on Twitter called for his job. Even though, as Amy Davidson noted at the New Yorker, “Grunwald seems a bit oblivious as to what was wrong with what he said,” I’m allergic to anyone being fired over any one Tweet, especially if they express regret for sending it.

We’re all better than we are at our worst moments*.

It is nevertheless worth dwelling on his Tweet a moment longer, because it illuminates a type that is common but seldom pegged in America. You see, Grunwald is a radical ideologue. It’s just that almost no one recognizes it. The label “radical ideologue” is usually used to describe members of the John Birch society or Noam Chomsky. We think of radical ideologues as occupying the far right or left. Lately a lot of people seem to think that The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald is a radical (often they wrongly conflate the style with which he expresses his views with their substance).

But Grunwald graduated from Harvard, spent a decade at the Washington Post, and now works as a senior correspondent at Time. How radical could someone with that resume possibly be?

Extremely so.

That doesn’t mean that he’s a bad guy, or that he shouldn’t be a journalist. But as someone who finds Grunwald’s ideology as problematic and wrongheaded as I’m sure he finds aspects of my worldview, I tire of the fact that people who share it are treated as pragmatic centrists, while their critics, whether on the libertarian right or the civil liberties left, are dismissed as impractical ideologues.

Grunwald’s Tweet took a lot of centrists by surprise, as if it was way beyond the pale. And I think it was!

But it didn’t surprise me.

Read the rest at The Atlantic Wire.

Assange: Rand Paul Libertarians “Only Hope” For Future of America

20 Aug

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Wikileaks founder also praises Matt Drudge for ‘breaking media censorship’
Paul Joseph Watson
August 16, 2013

Image: Wikimedia Commons
During a live question and answer conference call held at Deakin University in Melbourne earlier today, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange praised Matt Drudge for breaking establishment media censorship in the United States, while heralding Rand Paul and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party as the “only hope” for the future of America.
Asked what he thought of the political commentator, Assange labeled Matt Drudge a “news media innovator,” noting that he came to prominence by “publishing information that the establishment press in the United States would not.”
“It is a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship,” said Assange, adding that he agreed with some of Drudge’s political positions and disagreed with others.
Assange went on to note that Drudge is now primarily a collector of “interesting rumors” and that social media has mirrored his model of news gathering.
The Wikileaks founder then addressed a follow-up question about former Congressman Ron Paul and current Senator Rand Paul, remarking, “I’m a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the US Congress on a number of issues,” noting that they have been “the strongest supporters of the fight against the US attack on Wikileaks and on me.”
Assange also hailed the Pauls for their opposition to drone strikes and extrajudicial assassinations, noting how they came from the libertarian intellectual tradition of “non-violence,” in relation not just to offensive war but also tax collection and abortion.
Asked what he thought of the groundswell of support from young people for Ron and Rand Paul, Assange noted that virtually every Democrat in Congress had been “co-opted by the Obama administration” or co-opted by DC social networks,” while the establishment wing of the Republican Party was “completely in bed with the war industry”.
Assange said that both major parties had joined forces to adopt an approach that “compromises the future of US democracy,” noting that such a method had nothing to do with conservatism.
“The Republican Party in so far as how it has coupled together with the war industry is not a conservative party at all and the Libertarian aspect of the Republican Party is presently the only useful political voice in the US Congress,” said Assange, adding, “It will be the driver that shifts the United States around – it’s not going to come from the Democrats, it’s not going to come from Ralph Nader, it’s not going to come from the co-opted parts of the Republican Party.”
“The only hope as far as electoral politics is concerned in the United States presently is the Libertarian section of the Republican Party,” Assange concluded.
The five questions put to Assange were chosen as a result of an online voting system. The questions about Matt Drudge and Ron & Rand Paul came third in the poll.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for and Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.
This article was posted: Friday, August 16, 2013 at 7:59 am