Glenn Greenwald's daily fixation about the perils and abuses of executive power have always been widely supported and promoted by the Cato Institute, the libertarian "think tank" founded by the now infamous right-wing industrialists known now as simply "The Koch Brothers." Glenn's latest number one fan on Twitter is Cato's (and Reason Magazine's) Julian Sanchez (@normative). The two of them have recently been the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb of the NSA/Snowden outrage machine, gleefully trading-off with and echoing each other's efforts to keep the topics of the NSA, Ed Snowden and Bradley Manning in the forefront of the media's attention span.  And the Kochs just couldn't be happier.

This paragraph will help you understand why:

From:  The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right by Lee Fang

Perhaps the most insidious strategy of the Koch brothers has been their ability to co-opt social liberals. The Cato Institute is known for its promotion of gay marriage and support for immigrant rights. In fact, a small number of libertarian fronts that receive funding from Koch charitable foundations do not toe the orthodox conservative line when it comes to issues like evolution or even drug policy. But these otherwise laudable causes are mostly a ruse. While the Koch brothers fund seemingly reasonable social libertarians with one hand, they finance a set of vicious social conservatives with the other. Peggy Venable, a longtime Koch operative, helped mastermind the crusade to rewrite the history textbooks in Texas to promote antigay bigots and to censor references to immigrant civil rights leaders like Cesar Chavez.6 Americans for Prosperity spent considerable resources promoting Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce and Colorado’s Tom Tancredo, two of the leading anti-immigrant politicians in America. Koch also gives heavily to antigay groups like the Heritage Foundation. In fact, Charles attends meetings of the Council for National Policy, the nation’s largest meeting group for far right social conservative donors, and in a speech posted on the group’s website, pledged an “alliance” with the social right to change American society. Essentially, Koch will fund both conservatives and liberals when it comes to social policy. Because for them, social initiatives are more often a Trojan horse for imposing their radical economic views.

[bold emphasis added]

Like most of the Right's calculated maneuverings, organizations like Cato are fond of any effort that attacks any institution of power which far right authoritarians like the Koch's don't now control. For decades, they have paid for an orchestrated effort to destroy the American people's respect for goverment, and thus, any authority that can pass social legislation aimed at greater wealth equality and social justice, which are both outcomes vehemently opposed by the Kochs and their plutocratic brethren. It is not an accident that Progressive civil libertarians and socially-regressive Ron and Rand Paul supporters have come together to noisily protest the evils of the "surveillance state," as Greenwald so lovingly refers to it. It's a strategy long in coming.

I urge you to read Lee Fang's book and understand just how systemic the plutocratic influence has become in America, and why it is leading to what George Packer calls "The Great Unwinding" of the American way of life. It is not that the strident voices like Glenn Greenwald's are not discussing matters important to liberals. They are. After all, Progressives—or at least, those claiming to be progressives—are his market and drive his income. But it is the way they are discussed that is working at cross-purposes with the larger goals of the American left. They rely on a ginned-up outrage directed mostly at mere tokens of authority, such as black Presidents like Barack Obama, and not at the true causes of our problems: the plutocratic elites like the Koch's who are only too happy to promote and pay for this distracting, hyperbolic antipathy toward elected representation and executive power. 

Does Glenn Greenwald openly work with The Cato Institute? No. At least not from any evidence I've seen.  But he has been paid to write for them in the past, and they eagerly stoke the outrage he so easily manifests with his daily writing. Outrage which an army of Julian Sanchez cohorts can get behind and push, helping to steer it in ways more directly in-line with Cato's ultimate goal of dismantling the Progressive agenda on behalf the Kochs and their many right wing friends in the energy, finance, cattle, and agricultural industries.

It is an informal convergence of interests that makes Greenwald their proverbial useful idiot who helps to drive the narratives that they want to see driven. Just as far and as fast as he can drive them.  And since he creates more disaffected progressives with every article he writes; people who often shriek that they are "done with voting","done with democrats," and "done with false hopes and promises," he is helping to drive the American Left right over a cliff and straight into the waiting arms of the quasi-fascist, quasi-theocratic plutocratic elites like the Koch family. The very forces of darkness who have spent at least 75 years trying to become the true fascist authoritarians that Greenwald professes to fear. Revealingly, he almost never actually writes about those fears, choosing instead to write passionately in favor of things like the Citizens United ruling on electioneering, which actually serve to stoke the causes of those fears. Handsomely.

If America, as we once knew it is to survive, the agenda of the Kochs and their elite partners must be stopped. But getting outraged at the latest Glenn Greenwald trope won't do that.  It will only add more fuel to the raging inferno of hate and disillusionment which will ultimately assists the ultra-far right with their ambition to seize total control of the United States. As articles like this demonstrate, they're already almost there. 

For better or worse, and regardless of their motivations or tactics, Greenwald and the Washington Post have helped to bring the NSA security debate to the front of the public discussion.  But now more mainstream journalists, advocates, and elected officials have to step-up and translate all this legitimate concern, and yes, even outrage into effective public policy prescription and legislation that can balance the security vs. liberty scale in a way that most Americans can support. That is an outcome that the Kochs are hoping Greenwald and friends will impede by promoting so much rage, distrust and rancor that only a dysfunctional national apathy remains. And again, we're nearly there.

I feel this entire NSA issue is far to complicated to be solved by any knee-jerk outrage about "civil liberties" and "respecting the fourth amendment."  It's just one more intricate problem that only responsible governance can address. A governance deriving its power from the consent of the governed. A governance with a real and potent authority that Libertarian industrialists, and the pseudo-Libertarian actors like Greenwald simply detest.

Update#1

Now that he's been shamefully "Pulitzer-recognized" for his famously shoddy work on the Snowden/NSA stories, Greenwald is less and less ashamed of demonstrating his frequent willingness to support the Koch cabal's transparent efforts to suck in the gullible on the left.  Here's the latest example: 
 


 

And not to be outdone, Glenn's frequent partner in these things, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has dropped any and all pretense of caring about any issue but  their hyperbolic hysteria over the "surveillance state." Here, we see their "senior activist" essentially providing an endorsement of the Tea Party because of the empty Liberty Now! rhetoric that EFF helped them refine over the past year.  They suggest not the slightest concern for the well tread fact that Koch/Cato and the Teaparty often use this simplistic civil liberties dogma in precisely the same way that conservatives have always used race*: to seduce voters motivated by narrowly focused, single issue, dogwhistle politics.
 


 

I will let Bob Cesca from the Daily Banter explain this farce to you:

"It’s difficult to find a more ridiculous whitewashing of the tea party outside of the tea party itself. The legacy of the founders? Wow. First of all, the tea party doesn’t even understand the actual Boston Tea Party, much less the intent of the founders. Yet the heretofore respected EFF has bedazzled the tea party with the gilded legacy of the almighty founders. As for the leaders the tea party has elected, is there one — just one — who’s not completely nuts or totally unqualified for the post?"

Here's Bob's entire post. Don't miss it ? Electronic Frontier Foundation Praises the Tea Party, FreedomWorks and Birther Larry Klayman

* Note: On using race and similarly incendiary issues to hang entire political strategies upon, Brian Beutler of the New Republic wrote a great paragraph today in his piece, The Right's Racial Blinders What really explains the politics of the Obama era.  The entire piece is excellent, but this is the money graf for my purposes:
 

See how it works?  The plutocracy will use race, civil liberties, environment, or any other issue they can that will—or might—lure gullible populations into their sphere of influence. They will achieve their selfish agenda by any means necessary.   But then, the same is largely  true of Greenwald. He hung his career on civil liberties, and always had libertarian leanings (to put it nicely) which never much cared for progressive politics or helping progressive causes.  As a result, ginning-up the importance of Koch projects, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, the Teaparty, or any other tool that supports or extends his hyperbolic surveillance state narrative seems a perfectly rational thing for him to do. 

But as more and more journalists and pundits discover him, post-Pulitzer, and finally-tune into his past and tactics, I wonder if he will be so cavalier about being this revealing of himself in the future. It was one thing when he was a nobody, and Tim Jacob Wise wrote a piece like this:

Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals

But it will be quite another now that he's a Pulitzer Prize contributing author, Glenn Greenwald.

Stay tuned.

Update #2

A far more intellectual dissection of this very problem has just been published. I urge you to read: Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left

Related

When computers are involved, otherwise brilliant leftists who carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with suddenly throw their lot in with libertarians — even when those libertarians explicitly disavow Left principles in their work.

"Few people have done more in-depth research, reporting, and writing on the post-Obama conservative movement than Lee Fang. The Machine goes beyond the headlines and explores exactly how this ideological movement operates."
—Amanda Terkel, senior political reporter, The Huffington Post

After the 2008 and 2012 elections, we all thought the country was shifting toward liberal values. The right wing saw it too, so they warmed up their machine built over 30 years, stretching from Capitol Hill to local school boards. Think tanks and lobby houses, new media and old, consultants and old-time party hacks all fell into line to rev up The Machine against the newly-elected moderate Democrat named Barack Obama.

Yes, Hillary Clinton, there was and still is a vast right wing conspiracy. Luckily for us, Lee Fang has written the story of the conspiracy in the Clinton years and following right up to the 2012 election. Names, dates, and secret meetings are all in one compact book, where Lee's narrative proves what we all know: A small handful of billionaires and corporations drive politicians, the news, and day-to-day political discourse in this country.

 

And the graphic Greenwald wants you to look at is a fake — an altered version of a Think Progress graphic showing Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik’s citations of US bloggers in his “manifesto.” The altered graphic, to which they added my name in a very deceptive manner, with a bright green bar to make sure you didn’t miss it:

New America Foundation's Barry Lynn (author of Cornered), has a very important article in Washington Monthly called:

"Who Broke American Jobs."

In my view, all of our problems, from campaign financing, to media consolidation, to the government dysfunctionalism and hyper partisanship that is breaking down anything that ever made American a worthwhile experiment, can all be seen as breaking not just American Jobs, but America itself.

A rampant, unchecked monopolization of nearly everything has powered a winner-take-all, crony Capitalism Gone Wild environment that infects every aspect of this nation and our world.

And the giant corporations behind it all are perfectly happy to have us shrug, feel it's beyond our control, or just some containable by-product of an invisible hand that will sweep us along and everything will turn out well in the end. Uh, ya..  good luck with that.

So inform yourself:  Watch the video of Barry on Washington Journal today.  Force other people to watch it. Capitalism provides useful tools for providing the basic goods and services of our civilization.  But this criminally stupid conservative myth that capitalism can only exist in this totally unregulated state is as childish as it is reckless and irresponsible. Only a suicidal culture would allow it to continue this way, especially after a global economic meltdown has just illustrated nicely just how bad things became while we were playing video games, listening to iPods, learning how to blog, and building Wal-Marts and Starbucks on every god damn street corner.

We have to understand this basic change to how things are now working and find some way to make them work differently; to reinsert some of the checks and balances that once existed. Nothing less than the future of this country depends on it.

Video

On C-Span's Washington Journal, March 8th 2010 — Barry Lynn Discussing the national and global monopoly problem, and how Wal-Mart and other big US corporations are driving our bus, and how we might stop them.

There IS hope: Be absolutely sure to see the end, where he discusses how WE have the power to control the corporations.

Other reading

Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction

Through stories of real people and real industries, Barry C. Lynn shows how monopolies threaten independent businesses, squelch innovation, degrade the quality and safety of basic products, destabilize our most vital industrial and financial systems, and destroy the very fabric of democracy. Avoiding the partisan cant that has poisoned virtually every important American debate in recent years, he explains how, over the past three decades, leaders of both parties and thinkers across the political spectrum have encouraged and enabled the growth of monopolies.

US Chamber Builds Political Operations

The LA Times reports today on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s growing “large-scale grass-roots political operation” that is being “funded by record-setting amounts of money raised from corporations and wealthy individuals.” In 2009, the Chamber spent $144 million on lobbying and grassroots organizing, “well beyond the spending of individual labor unions or the Democratic or Republican national committees.”

About Barry Lynn

Barry C. Lynn is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He has written for Harper's Magazine, the Financial Times, the Harvard Business Review, and the American Prospect, among others. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox News, CBS, MSNBC, the BBC, and C-SPAN. He is the author of End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation.


G.O.P. Group to Promote Conservative Ideas.

There has been no shortage of Conservative think tanks. We're inundated with them. What this is really about is an organization specifically designed to exploit the Citizen's United Ruling. 

There are literally hundreds of these advocacy groups already, with combined budgets well over a billion dollars. And they funnel money to countless smaller groups, and astroturf front organizations. 

This will just be one that can channel their national messages, with the really big dollars they know can be raised now, and using top talent to coordinate (wordsmith and style) their message.

And if past is prologue, the left will probably just let this happen, with little if any pushback whatever.

WASHINGTON — A group of prominent Republicans is forming an organization to develop and market conservative ideas, copying a successful Democratic model and hoping to capitalize on the fund-raising and electioneering possibilities opened up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Background

The Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission is seen by many as probably the most frightening and destructive decision in the history of the Supreme Court and the United States of America. Far worse than the Dred Scott decision, which was horrific and some believe led directly to the Civil War. Here is some reading to help frame this fiasco. I'll update it as more gets said. Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission (Overview)

The Court's decision struck down a provision of the McCain-Feingold Act that prevented corporations and unions from spending freely from their own treasuries in the final days of political campaigns.

How It Came To This (See: The Powell Memo, Here) How the Corporate Personhood Lie Became the Working Law of the Land – -Thom Hartmann

Such a bill protecting natural persons from out-of-control governments or commercial monopolies shouldn’t just be limited to America, Jefferson believed. “Let me add,” he summarized, “that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

Analysis and Commentary

Citizens ruling: an intellectually dishonest power grab — by Ruth Marcus *Must Read*

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

That the majority would stoop to this claim underscores the weakness of its case — and the audacity of the result it has inflicted on the political process.

How will SCOTUS decision affect corporate media? – Media Matters for America

How the Supreme Court's decision will affect the corporate media's policy governing corporate political advocacy remains unclear, which is precisely why I contacted the major cable and broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC/MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News — with a few simple questions. First, will the networks announce clear policies for corporate political advertising? Second, and of equal if not greater importance, do the networks' corporate parent companies plan on taking advantage of the high court's decision by spending money for and against candidates for office?
 

Thom Hartmann:  Welcome to Mussolini's America

In a ruling that has overwhelming implications for how elections are funded, the Supreme Court has struck down a key campaign-finance restriction that prevents corporations and unions from pouring money into political ads.In a 5-4 ruling, in the Citizens United v. FEC case,  the door is now wide open for unrestricted amounts of corporate money to flow into American politics.

This Week In Crazy — Andrew Leonard, Salon

"Thomas went along with the majority in agreeing that corporations and unions can once more be permitted to spend freely on political issues, thus driving a stake through the heart of the democratic process in the United States. But he dissented in part, because he didn't think the ruling went far enough. Specifically, he argued that the court was wrong to continue requiring that the sponsors of political advertising disclose who paid for them."

How the Citizens United Case Affects Money & Politics — Sunlight Foundation

Ellen Miller writes:  The ramifications of today’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC are breathtaking – opening the floodgates of political money such as we have never seen before.  If you thought Congress was ‘for sale’ to the highest bidder, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Nothing less than a fundamental rethinking of our campaign finance laws is demanded as a result of today’s decision.

Public Interest Groups Condemn Court's Ruling on Money and Elections – Freepress.org

The public interest groups say that, since the late 1970s, a divided Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade democratic control and sidestep sound public welfare measures. For the first two centuries of the American republic, the groups argue, corporations did not have First Amendment rights to limit the reach of democratically-enacted regulations.

Video Blogging Heads: Mark Schmitt and Heather Gerken

Heather seems to agree with Salon's Glenn Greenwald, that the court "got it right," and that it's not the end of the world. But both of them seem to feel that things can't be much worse than they already are. I think both of them are unfamiliar with what Blackrock and the Swiftboat Funding Network are all about, and how this decision completely removes any remaining complications in their devious strategy of empowering any 3rd rate partisan flake to spend unlimited amounts of money without having to worry about the messy business of message crafting or media distribution.

24 States’ Laws Open to Attack After Campaign Finance Ruling — NYTimes

“One day the Constitution of Colorado is the highest law of the state,” said Robert F. Williams, a law professor at Rutgers University. “The next day it’s wastepaper.” The states that explicitly prohibit independent expenditures by unions and corporations will be most affected by the ruling. The decision, however, has consequences for all states, since they are now effectively prohibited from adopting restrictions on corporate and union spending on political campaigns.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment

What Can Be Done

That's still shaking out. I will be posting regular updates as they come in.

Laurence Tribe on Citizen's United and What Might Be Done

But there will be plenty of time to dissect the several lengthy opinions in this case and to opine on the merits, and it’s not my purpose in this brief comment to add to that growing body of commentary. I would say only that I share neither the jubilant sense that the First Amendment has scored a major triumph over misbegotten censorship nor the apocalyptic sense that the Court has ushered in an era of corporate dominance that threatens to drown out the voices of all but the best-connected and to render representative democracy all but meaningless.

Citizens United and Transparency: A Look Ahead — Dan Schuman (Sunlight Foundation)

Looking to transparency — disclosure of who funded the ads — only Justice Thomas (who dissents in part) would strike down measures requiring disclosure of donors. But the majority and minority have very different views on the usefulness of transparency in addressing money-related problems. They also leave open a big loophole to knock down transparency laws in the future.

What You Can Do To Fight

Sign every one of the petitions you see that support those who are taking on this fiasco.

Petition: Move to Amend (The Constitution)

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. Be sure to see who backs this petition, including Bill Moyers.

Petition: DCCC/Alan Grayson's Effort

We have filed six bills to reverse this assault, the "Save Our Democracy" platform. Sign this petition today, and show your support for saving our democracy. Together, we will move these bills forward and prevent the sale of our government to the highest bidder.

Petition: Moveon.org Petition: Public Citizen

Humor

Dont' Sell Out America (Funnyordie)

Related

What George Carlin Had To Say On All This (R.I.P. George)