Reason.tv: Glenn Greenwald on Drug Decriminalization in Portugal and Barack Obama's Iffy Take on Civil Liberties

Salon columnist and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald is the author of a new Cato Institute policy paper on Portugal's pathbreaking and hugely successful drug decriminalization program.

Greenwald sat down with Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie to talk about the lessons from Portugal-and Barack Obama's decidedly disappointing performance so far on drug policy, executive power, and civil liberties. Approximately nine minutes. Shot by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg; edited by Dan Hayes.

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  • ||

    I haven't rtfa or wtfv, but, I saw a story this morning about Mexico and it may be relevant. They are talking about legalizing pot since they are losing the WOD.

  • ||

    I'll bet Glenn loved Nick's leather jacket.

  • ||

    I haven't rtfa or wtfv, but, I saw a story this morning about Mexico and it may be relevant. They are talking about legalizing pot since they are losing the WOD.

    Yeah they do that every now and then. Then the US sends down a couple of "agents" to let them know the facts of life, and they go back to towing the WOD lion.

  • Lester Hunt||

    Maybe there is hope for this crazy world after all.

  • Kunal||

    towing the WOD lion

    That has got to be the most egregious "toeing the line" eggcorn/malapropism ever.

  • ||

    I'll bet Glenn loved Nick's leather jacket.

    lol, I think he prefers Brazilians. I do too, but in a different way.

  • guy in the back row||

    Why not give Greenwald a column, Reason?

    Especially now that both Weigel and joe have left.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    We tow the lion a lot around here, Kunal.
    Tradition.

  • Kunal||

    We tow the lion a lot around here, Kunal.

    Is that the new slang term for 'batin?

  • ||

    Speaking of the war on drugs. I will give a great statistic. The number of murders in El Paso, Texas in 2008. Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    Any guesses?

    100?

    200?

    No. The answer would be 6. That is right 6. Compare that with the 61 murders that happened in Memphis a city of similiar size to El Paso.
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2008prelim/table_4ok-wi.html

    BUT THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO IS SPREADING OUT OF CONTROL AND SPILLING ACCROSS THE BORDER!! QUICK TAKE EVERYONE'S GUNS!!

  • ||

    Kunal,
    Sort of a running H&R inside joke. You had to be there.

  • mi coño es su coño||

    "Sort of a running H&R inside joke. You had to be there."

    FTR, it's not about 'batin.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Soooooo, Bush is the reason that Obama can't turn things around on civil liberties. I love to criticize a president as much as the next guy, but the contrarian in me can't bring myself to blame Bush all of society's ills when every other a-hole in the world is doing so.

    God bless the "Libertarians for Hope and Change" crowd for finally scraping the Obama/Biden bumper stickers off your cars while humming your "I thought Obama would be better" tune. And I know we're all doing our best here, but the mere fact that you thought Chicago was where politicians went to foment a strong civil liberties stance tells me your best is an idiot.

    (Good discussion on Portugal, though.)

  • ||

    Field Research in Portugal .......yeah.... right!!

  • ||

    Greenwald is the most tiresome and disengeniuous writer on the web. I can't beleive Reason interviews him. I wish Gillesbie would have just punched the little weenie.

  • ||

    Yah know, at least Cheney was honest in the sence that he was unabashedly unapologetic about torture. It looks as if BO is going to use a semantic slight of hand to call it something else and do whatever the new official nomenclature of said torture is in private.

  • ||

    Troy,

    The Republicans at least had to answer to Congress and douschbags like Greenwald. Who does BO answer to? It is not like the media is going to go after him. Greenwald will whine but no way will he not support BO when 2012 rolls around. Basically BO fucked people like Greenwald up the ass and Greenwald will whine about it a little but come 2012 will do what they are told. Doesn't give you a very good feeling about your civil liberties does it?

  • ||

    Nice interview! I'm always interested in what Greenwald has to say - and he's certainly thorough enough to be writing papers for Cato.

    I'm a bit surprised we haven't seen more attention given to this study and Portugal given the recent flareup in interest after the Obama town hall comment.

  • ||

    I hope Obama moves beyond tokenism when it comes to civil liberties, the criminal justice system (drug laws), and gay rights. He may find his fundraising well a little drier come 2012 if he continues to sideline his liberal base (who, by the way, demand many of the same things libertarians do).

    That said, do any of you guys think things would be better under President Palin?

  • ||

    BO fucked people like Greenwald up the ass and Greenwald will whine about it a little but come 2012 will do what they are told.

    Greenwald has been very persistant in his blog questioning Obama. He does need an editor, but he's not in the tank for anyone, as far as I can tell.

  • ||

    "Greenwald has been very persistant in his blog questioning Obama. He does need an editor, but he's not in the tank for anyone, as far as I can tell."

    Bullshit. He whines now when there is not an election. Come 2012 all of this will be forgottten and he will do what he is told. Greenwald is a piece of shit sell out and no friend of liberty.

  • mi coño es su coño||

    "That said, do any of you guys think things would be better under President Palin?"

    She wasn't running for president, dipshit.

  • ||

    She wasn't running for president, dipshit.

    Well if John McCain lives to 2012 then we'll know we would have been spared that terrifying prospect.

  • ||

    Well if John McCain lives to 2012 then we'll know we would have been spared that terrifying prospect.

    Now who is currently Vice-President?

  • mi coño es su coño||

    "Now who is currently Vice-President?"

    Exactly. And with all these white Libertarian militias popping up eveywhere, I fear for our nation. (s)*

    *sarcasm

  • ||

    Glenn has been consistant when it comes to liberty. If he is not a friend of liberty he's running a wicked parody. He did not give Obama any passes for his support on the FISA 'Comprimise'

    2008/06/21

    Obama believes he will be President and wants these extreme powers for himself, no doubt, he believes, because he'll exercise them magnanimously, for our Own Good. Whatever the motives -- and I don't know (or much care) what they are -- Obama has embraced a bill that is not only redolent of many of the excesses of Bush's executive power theories and surveillance state expansions, but worse, has done so by embracing the underlying rationale of "Be-scared-and-give-up-your-rights."

    June20_08
    July1_08
    July2_08

  • ||

    Now who is currently Vice-President?

    Someone much, much smarter than Sarah Palin.

  • ||

    Er, Tony, narcissistic self-regard and mild megalomania are not the same thing as smarts.

  • To Many Jews||

    "Someone much, much smarter than Sarah Palin"

    And yet he still needs to fib and plagiarize in order to express himself. How odd.

  • ||

    narcissistic self-regard and mild megalomania

    I've yet to meet a single politician that doesn't exhibit these traits to some degree. Least of all Sarah Palin.

  • ||

    Here's another rundown of liberal criticism of Obama on War-on-Terror-related civil liberties issues. From Politico, not exactly a socialist rag.

    As for the other side, I'm glad they're finally getting around to thinking about government oppression. Too bad they sat with their thumbs up their butts about it for the past 8 years.

  • To Many Jews||

    "I've yet to meet a single politician that doesn't exhibit these traits to some degree. Least of all Sarah Palin."

    Wow! You met Sarah Palin? That is so cool!

    Moron.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Even if Biden is smarter than Palin, he is a worthless fuck on the WoD. Also: nearly every other issue. If they ever ran against each other, it would be a perfect example of why I always vote Libertarian - because there is no such thing as a lesser evil.

    Greenwald has held Obama's feet to the fire on civil rights, and I respect him for it, the same way I respect George Will for being critical of the Bush administration.

    The Portugal study is another nail in the coffin for the drug warriors' intellectual pretensions. All they have left is the equivalent of sticking fingers in one's ears and singing "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA LA".

  • ||

    I'd take Palin over Biden any day. The image of getting fucked by her is way bearable than getting fucked by Biden.

  • Les||

    Thank you, aix42. I don't think it will convince John, because, bothersome facts aside, Greenwald criticizes Republicans a lot, too.

    In fact, the people who have been most critical of Obama's rotten stance regarding state secrets and due process, have been folks who voted for him. People who supported Bush have a hard time understanding that integrity trumps loyalty.

  • ||

    D' oh.... way more* bearable.

    I starting the think that BO is going to be worse than Bush. BO is going to spend more and continue to head the direction of the Republican/Democrat party which is to minimize the individual against the State.

    In a week, two states legalized gay marriage. I didn't hear a peep out of BO one way or the other.

    Palin was the "hope" and "change" candidate for the Rebulicans. I can already see what is going to happen. Like what was said above, a lot of BO's contributions are going to dry up having been burned. Sure, there are the party faithful, like Joe (yeah, I know, he isn't here to defend himself), who never had an ass fucking by their party ever severe enough to make them question the lucidity of party politics. But I don't think BO's grass root prexense will ever be the same.

    I just don't understand how the population can just continue to get shitted up and takes it.

  • ||

    In fact, the people who have been most critical of Obama's rotten stance regarding state secrets and due process, have been folks who voted for him. People who supported Bush have a hard time understanding that integrity trumps loyalty.

    Or, it could be, that people who supported these policies when Bush proposed them did so because they believed that these were necessary national security measures, and aren't going to criticize Obama for continuing policies that they support on the merits.

    Just sayin'.

    I might also point out that rabid knee-jerk partisan ad hominems tell me more about the poster than the intended target. And that any administration who finds a home for the likes of Rahm Emmanuel and Eric Holder really can't go around giving lectures on integrity trumping loyalty.

  • ||

    Shit..sorry. I need an editor. I promise I used the preview key. I am not even stoned or drunk...which maybe is an argument that I NEED some drugs.

  • Kolohe||

    Glenn Greenwald is the author of a new Cato Institute policy paper

    Good. Too many left leaning folks have the same knee jerk reaction to hearing "Cato" as John did above to hearing "Greenwald".

  • ||

    Hi RC Dean

    Glenn has a nice round up of Blowhard Hypocrisy that might counter your point, a little.

    The 'Right' [wingnuts anyway] is in a tizzy now that the DHS has turned its omnipresent eye on them, or those with similar colours.....

  • SIV||

    "That said, do any of you guys think things would be better under President Palin?"

    Fuck Yeah!

  • ||

    Here's one point.
    Those policies were enacted by the Bush administration, after a brutal terrorist attack killed 3,000 people and blew up the WTC and the Pentagon. Their supporters support them because they think they are, or were, necessary to prevent future catastrophic terrorist attacks. Their rhetoric and actions are at least consistent in that sense.

    What's Obama's excuse? Does he think they are necessary counter-measures against terrorism? If so, why doesn't he come out and say so?
    If not, why is he continuing them?

  • ||

    The excuse for the Obama administration is that it is part of the continuum. He is the next President, not some sort of revolutionary. All those who thought that campaign rhetoric was anything more than that are naive. Change? pfft. Power fears nothing but loss of power.

    There will be no War Crimes trial, no truth and reconciliation. Empire and Hegemony will continue until it cannot be sustained. They know better!

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    This is the first interesting thing to come out of Portugal since the Fatima apparitions.

  • ||

    Offending POresidente Zero is a sure ticket to the re education camps sir. Come the glorious people's paradise and new people's courts you will be punished for your reactionary and thoroughly racist views.

  • ||

    Now we know that those who support the Tenth amendment are possibly violent right-wing extremists. Is there such a thing as a libertarian extremist? When President Obama brings in Janet Reno to head up the SWAT team going after enemies of the state, you had better get your name and address off of the "Reason" mailing list.

  • the innominate one||

    John, you are the expert on partisan hacks.

  • Will||

    Greenwald is the most unbiased, objective commentator on the internet. We're blessed to have him.

  • Justen||

    I like how the issue of whether the republican ticket was actually a better alternative keeps getting dodged by the critics of Obama supporters. Really. Stop nitpicking the details of the counterpoint and answer the question honestly. McCain sold his soul to the dark heart of conservatism for a shot at the big time; Palin is an idiot, even on a scale occupied only by politicians. So, sellout & dipshit who didn't even offer any substantive ways in which they'd change the horrific policies of the Bush administration vs. a smiling tool and an aging douchebag who are ideologically opposed to at least some of those same horrific policies, even though they favor their own forms of retardation. Or if you prefer to be inclusive, the carpetbagging neocon midget representing all the libertarian values that don't interfere with executive power. Given that kind of choice maybe you guys should just drop the argument and agree that we're all morons for legitimizing this whole political act with our time and attention.

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