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Showing 1-10 of 91 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 116 reviews
on June 13, 2015
Greenwald delivers a scathing review of the United States' broken legal system in this book from 2012. Known for his powerful, smart critiques of greater powers, the author quickly points out how unequal the justice system is between the economic elite and everyday citizenry. From Bush's epic plundering of Iraq and horrific torture regime to Obama's droning of the Middle East and silencing of whistleblowers to the financial calamity of 2008, Greenwald analyzes how each group has avoided legal action -- even helping to rewrite laws and provide retroactive immunity to criminals.

Much of the book covers well tread territory, though. I've read books on all of these major topics from "Dirty Wars" to "The Big Short" that chronicle the terrifying rise of income inequality, totalitarian war powers, and unequal justice. Greenwald tends to scratch the surface on all these areas, rather than going into greater detail. Two-thirds of the book is dedicated to primarily the executive branch's wrongdoings, which felt frustrating. I expected there to be more emphasis on those most disenfranchised by the inequality.

Greenwald, as always, is a skillful writer and columnist. His words ring true and research proves his point: the justice system is broken, but we can improve it. Two stars removed due to the aforementioned points regarding novelty of coverage and depth for poorest classes who are suffering most.
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on October 1, 2013
Glen Greenwald has done it again. Equality under the law is an expression that most Americans believe in expect to be the case. It is not. Mr. Greenwald makes the case, and I think very well that equality under the law is illusionary for most of us. A corporation in trouble with the law? Just get you friends in congress to change the law. Malfeasance in office, high crimes and misdemeanors? Not to worry, your fellow politicians in congress and the White House will poor oil on the waters regardless of party. Like many authors, Mr. Greenwald is branded as a liberal or leftist but what he really is is a journalist looking for the truth. You will not find him soft peddling on the Democrats nor Republicans and he provides enough context and factual examples to make hard hitting and important points on the corruption of a bedrock tenet of American principal.
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on June 2, 2014
Glenn Greenwald reminds us that we have a Constitution whose framers thought wisely and carefully about what laws would be required to ensure Liberty and Justice for ALL. Several of the Founding Fathers are quoted, providing their reasons for including many of the most critical passages.

Today, we are living with a Supreme Court decision, in Citizens United, that equates money with free speech -- and which essentially has resulted in legalized bribery in the form of campaign contributions to candidates for office: (S)he who gives, gets. And when criminality is exposed, high fliers who can afford the best lawyers rarely go to jail; those without the means to afford a good lawyer have little chance to prove innocence. Thus "With Liberty and Justice for Some."
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on October 20, 2014
I became aware of Glenn Greewald because of his involvement with Edward Snowden. It turns out, he's a great author as well.

With Liberty and Justice for Some is a well-researched and well-argued book about how politicians and large business owners very literally rule our country and are not bound by the same laws as us. Several examples are used to support this argument: The Bush administration wasn't punished for torturing people, communications companies weren't punished for selling user information to the government. The book touches upon many ideas that Snowden would confirm later on.

Be a responsible citizen and read this book. Support Greenwald. He argues from fact and his facts are trenchant.
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on January 29, 2012
From the pardon of Richard Nixon to the retroactive legislation providing the telecons immunity from the Bush Administration's eavesdropping program to President Obama's insistence not to prosecute members of the Bush administration saying, "I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." Greenwald succeeds in leaving the reader with a queasy feeling about the state of America's judicial system.

While 90% of the book focused on the benefits that the elite receive when it comes to "justice," Greenwald also addresses the problems that now exist because of the fervor of "law and order" candidates. From the privatization of jails, to how the poor fare in the judicial system, Greenwald paints a picture that makes you want to get involved in changing this system.

However, as other reviewers have pointed out, Greenwald doesn't offer up any suggestions on what individuals can do to start changing this system. We know that one tweet started the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and one woman's Facebook page created enough momentum to make Bank of America reverse a decision about charging to use debit cards.

Greenwald offers up a rationale why we tolerate such an unfair system.

"So why do Americans tolerate such a draconian legal system, one which imprisons exceptionally large numbers of people for no good reason? The answer is clear: because most people believe-correctly- that they themselves are unlikely to be sucked into the its vortex. They are right to believe this because the two-tiered justice system that separates elites from ordinary Americans intensifies as one moves down the rungs of power and privilege. The rich and powerful are able to commit crimes with impunity far more easily than middle-class Americans; but similarly, middle-class criminals are far more likely to escape unpunished than the poorest among us."

What is missing from this book are recommendations on what people can do to increase the chatter about this topic. Whether its tweeting some of the disturbing statistics, writing blog posts,or pointing to organizations that are working on this issue, Greenwald let's his readers down by not offering action steps that can make a difference.
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on November 22, 2011
Glenn Greenwald's With Liberty and Justice for Some is an extremely important book. I don't exaggerate when I say it's a book everyone in the United States should read, something I don't normally say about even my favorite books.

Greenwald makes the case in the United States today, rule of law is disappearing. Instead, we have what he calls "The Principle of Elite Immunity,"-the idea that political and business elites are never to be punished for their crimes, except perhaps if their crimes harm other elites. Greenwald blames the current mindset on Ford for pardoning Nixon and justifying the pardon on the grounds that prosecuting Nixon would be too divisive.

Now, personally, I don't think the pardon of Nixon would have been such a bad thing if it had been a one-time thing and the country had gotten back on course afterwards. However, Greenwald convincingly argues that the Nixon pardon was the beginning of a pattern of bad excuses for forgiving any and all high-level wrong doing in this country. Thus, we get pardons for Iran-Contra criminals, Bill Clinton suppressing inquiry into Regan and Bush's illegally providing of weapons to Iraq in spite of having promised investigations, and Obama's failure to prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration.

It's important to stress that the excuses really are ridiculous-read the book for the full recitation, but here's one especially bad example, both in terms of the flimsiness of the rationale and the fact that it was given by a member of our government's alleged watchdog, the media. When Bush pardoned Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for multiple felony counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with Iran-Contra, Richard Cohen, on the grounds that Cohen had run into Weinberger quite a few times at Safeway, and he seemed like an OK guy to Cohen.

One of the strongest sections of the book is the coverage of the NSA wiretapping scandal and the decision to grant telecoms immunity for breaking the law on behalf of the Bush administration. Previously, I had known about the scandal, but had simply filed it away in my brain as one of the lesser crimes of the Bush administration. However, Greenwald explains how by granting the telecoms retroactive immunity for breaking the law, Democrats (and Congress was controlled by Democrats at the time) passed on a rare opportunity to get an actual investigation into Bush's crimes.

Several other things stick out about the telecom immunity story. First, Congress' actions can't be defended on the grounds that the telecoms thought what they were doing was legal, because under the original law that was a valid defense. Second, the telecom immunity bill was written with heavy influence from corporate lobbyists, a troubling example of how, in Greenwald's words, "major corporations literally write our nation's laws." Third, as a senator Obama went back on an initial promise to help block telecom immunity. Had I known that fact when Obama was elected, his other lapses in office would have surprised me less.

By comparison, the discussion of lawbreaking in relation to the 2008 financial crisis was a bit weak. It includes quotes from a number of authorities, including Alan Greenspan saying that much of what happened was "just plain fraud," and cites one case where a former CEO was found to have committed fraud but was allowed to settle his case with a fine of $67, a fraction of the half-billion dollars he made while the fraud was going on. However, unlike most parts of the book, the laws that were supposedly broken are never explained clearly.

In fairness to Greenwald, part of his point is that the financial crisis was never thoroughly investigated, making it hard to know what crimes were or were not committed. Still, given all the anger at Wall Street right now, the book could have benefited a lot from more clarity on that point. Also, Greenwald's focus on lawbreaking means that his mention of how lobbyists managed to get important regulations repealed doesn't have a clear place in his narrative, and I wonder if that wasn't the bigger problem (though it would still be a sign of how corrupt our government is).

Anyway, With Liberty and Justice for Some is an excellent book in spite of this complaint, and telecom immunity and the financial crisis are only two examples of the problems Greenwald covers. So go buy the book, even if you think you know all about these problems. Looking at any one incident in isolation, it's tempting to say, "Okay, that was bad, but I'm sure it won't happen again." Greenwald, however, makes clear that we suffer from a recurring pattern of elites committing serious crimes and getting de facto immunity for doing so, a pattern that will likely continue until we do something to stop it.
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on March 1, 2014
This book is yet another example of why Glenn Greenwald is the most important investigative journalist of our day. Singlehandedly, he is doing the work that NYT, WSJ, Newsweek, Time, Washington Post and all of the so called journalist epicenters should be doing. This book in particular is a detailed and thorough examination of the judicial systems deference towards the wealthy and privileged. The book makes a compelling argument that the premise of equality of all under the law is non-existent in a system which is absurdly lenient towards the rich and harsh to the poor. To get a good sense of how corrupt our legal system is, this book is a must read.
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on April 16, 2016
As per ususal, Greenwald absolutely slays with this excellent book. This is my third GG book, and I love it. Essential reading, would be great material for law, history, or general government courses.
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on November 5, 2012
Glen Greenwald, one of the more prolific writers/columnist on the internet, has written against social injustice and lawlessness effectively on Salon and now the Guardian. Greenwald has an attorney's gift for presenting compelling evidence and proving his point again and again. Sometimes all this evidence seems redundant, but he hammers his point home with no nonsense.

There are two justice systems in the US. One for political and economic elites and one for the rest of us. Not enough people are asking why the US has increased its prison population over the last 30 years exponentially while crime has remained the same. We have become a nation of jail keepers, but only the poor, the dispossessed, the helpless, the disenfranchised, and the unrepresented are left to rot in prisons for small crimes that should carry no prison sentence at all.

I do wish Greenwald would have delved into the prison for profit situation a little more, but I suppose that is enough material for a whole other book. Anytime you get a chance to read him, you should. No matter your political beliefs, he will shake you and give you truth even when it's not pretty or it doesn't line up with the benign ways our main stream media handles the injustices of our country and our elites.

Read this book.
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on May 31, 2012
A book of epic importance. Our society now channels about 50% of black males
from high school into prison, to keep the privatized prisons
full and profitable. Once they have "a record" they are never again eligible
for state or federal or municipal or most industry jobs. There are a permanent
"undercaste".

Right now there are more black males in prison than were under slavery.

This is happening mostly under the radar, ignored even by major civil rights
organizations
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