No, Pierre Omidyar Does Not Want To Topple The Government

The social darwinism of the commentariat is such that the most clueless tend also to be the fittest. Therefore, it should be no surprise that as the embargo finally lifts on questioning the overwhelming social good of an alliance between saintly left celebrities and a toxic billionaire, the most prominent chatterers should glom onto the most far-fetched objection to it.

Mark Ames and Yasha Levine of NSFWCorp have written a mostly quite good and extremely readable account of how new journalism patron Pierre Omidyar does not differ appreciably from other billionaires in being a toxic shitbag. There are long, well-researched passages in the piece on Omidyar’s murderous adventures in microfinance (or as he and his fans call it, philanthropy) and on his generous patronage of havoc-wreaking ‘free market’ economist Hernando DeSoto and his Peru-based think tank, the Institute for Liberty & Democracy (ILD).  Levine and Ames are also in fine form on how Greenwald/Poitras parlayed their monopoly on the Snowden leaks into a deal and sold them to Silicon Valley in the process, an idea that should certainly sound familiar to regular readers of this blog. (Thanks for reading, guys!)

This is is all great, and though Levine, Ames and I all hate each other, I am very much in their debt for finally poking a hole in the wall of sycophancy that has immunized Greenwald and Co from any criticism on their left side since June. But the piece is colored by NSFWCorp’s usual zeal to prove The Great Libertarian Conspiracy, predicated, as usual, on the beloved false binary of Corporate Power and State Power: Corporate power is bad. State power is the beneficent tempering influence upon it, which is why Omidyar and scary libertarians are state power’s alleged sworn enemies. Thus colored, the piece concludes that the new news venture aims for nothing less than an assault on the state’s legitimacy.

In summarizing the piece, a post on the web site Naked Capitalism has put this thesis in particularly silly terms, arguing that Greenwald, Scahill, Poitras and co, by virtue of their journalistic specialties, are unwitting accomplices in this plot:

It surely is no coincidence that [Omidyar’s journalists] are known for their antagonistic stances towards government: Greenwald for his intelligence reporting, Scahill for his unsparing critiques of US foreign policy, and so on.

Someone with a relentlessly antagonistic stance towards government who starts a project that is relentlessly antagonistic towards government will not be broken hearted to see popular trust in government wane.

What Ames, Levine and people like this Naked Capitalism scribe never comprehend is that the conflict implicit in neoliberalism isn’t between the state and government, it’s over the ends to which state power is put.  People like De Soto can’t get any of their awful programs implemented without state authority. This is why privatization and shock treatments go so well with tyranny.  Similarly, there isn’t a class of people that owes more to state power than billionaires like Omidyar — libertarian or otherwise — so why would they want to delegitimize it?

Trying to suss out Omidyar’s secret anti-government essence  is one more variation on the good oligarch/bad oligarch nonsense that underlies our sham politics, where every two years we laboriously tweeze out the pube of difference between two corrupt political parties and where Koch Industries is regarded as uniquely evil in relation to such good corporate citizens as BP and Bank of America. While it’s certainly always useful to expose the mess that toxic inequality makes all over the world, for our present purposes, everything you really need to know is encapsulated in this line from the Ames/Levine piece —

…the fabled “civic-minded billionaire”—you’ll find him two doors down from the tooth fairy.

— a line they probably owe to Arthur Silber, who elaborated on the point here. More crucially, Silber discussed how state power and corporate power (in the form of PayPal, owned by Omidyar’s eBay) colluded to undermine independent journalism. Collusion is what state power and corporate power tend to specialize in, and it’s high time people scrutinized both. Insisting that the two are entirely separate and, foolishly, that the two are mostly at odds with each other, is the disease, not the cure.

See, left journalists lending their credibility to toxic wealth is objectionable on its face — whether the billionaire is a closet libertarian or not — especially when you factor in the trove of secrets that leveraged the deal. That this is actually subject to debate — though barely — just two years after Occupy surely suggests a new low in vapid left careerism, celebrity worship and the erasure of class inequality from left concerns.

As the careerist left now bends over backwards convincing itself of the inevitable necessity of toxic wealth accumulation to better-than-average journalism, it’s wise to recall that prior to Omidyar’s intervention, Greenwald, Scahill and Poitras were planning to strike out on their own, and there couldn’t have been a better time for each of them to parlay their high profiles — and the proceeds from Greenwald’s vulgar monetizing of the leaks — into a new, mogul-free venture. But they opted not to and we are not obliged to applaud any more than we would applaud a deal between Matt Taibbi and Jamie Dimon. Nor do we need to ‘wait and see’ on NewCo, because everything wrong with it is already in plain sight.

Greenwald, who habitually responded to reasonable criticism of his leak custodianship with fallacies and verbal abuse is now putting these methods to work for Omidyar in relation to PayPal’s Wikileaks blockade. Liliana Segura’s and Jeremy Scahill’s response to reasonable concerns about their patron is evasion and snark worthy of establishment hacks. The self-satisfied insistence on their own incorruptibility is a grim spectacle, not simply because their evasions on Omidyar’s behalf already contradict it, but because of their complete ignorance of how subservience works. Do these people think that most hacks are literally told what to write? Perhaps they should recall the conversation Glenn had with Chris Hayes about ‘cognitive capture’. 

Considering that the ink is barely dry on their contracts, this situation is not likely to improve when at last they get to work. Meanwhile every vaguely left journalist is spit-shining Omidyar and Co’s shoes, instead of calling them all to account, dreaming of one day working for the billionaire themselves. Enough of this degrading farce. The world will turn with or without an upmarket HuffPost, bankrolled with filthy lucre and fashionably scented with Greenwald and Co’s muddled, reformist dissent. Fuck these people.

UPDATE 5

This post was written before anything was known about Omidyar’s involvement in Ukraine and India.  I had also misdiagnosed the co-option features of the Snowden Spectacle as liberal, when in fact they now look more like a mutant strain of libertarianism. While I still don’t think Omidyar wants to de-legitimize government, and still think The Great Libertarian Conspiracy misapprehends the relationship of the State to the private sector,  I believe I went overboard in discounting the suspicions of some of the people mentioned in this post.  This reply to Chris Floyd’s excellent post on Omidyar’s connection to ultra-nationalists in India is a better reflection of my current misgivings.

UPDATE 4

Oh damn, I took down update 2 (below, now restored) after being guilt-tripped by a friend of Charlie and this is the thanks I get.

https://twitter.com/charliearchy/status/405898841691791360

I’d ignore this except it’s emblematic of  the way alleged anti-authoritarians now carry water for Greenwald’s top-down self-enriching and how he makes everything and everyone dumber and shittier. This tweet has it all: the anon in Park Slope nonsense, thoroughly cheap tainting by association,  a little pathologizing and a hashtag to rival Greenwald’s #ChickenPseudoRadicals.  It’s so classy I’m almost sorry I took the first swing.

Charlie, I never said you lacked courage, because, sadly, there’s little evidence you find any of this GG/Omidyar stuff troublesome. But people who do, yet say nothing, are chickenshit. Mark Ames’ alleged predations don’t change this, any more than they cancel Omidyar’s havoc-wreaking, but Glenn and his billionaire no doubt appreciate your repeated, and deeply stupid, implications to the contrary.

As to courage, anons have friends and social capital too, and beatdowns and smears are hardly more pleasant for us than they are for people who use their real names, and while the risks are more contained, heresies are never without consequence. For instance, it’s not at all pleasant to watch people I once respected stoop as low as you just did. Which is why I’ll concede that my focus shouldn’t be on people who don’t speak up. It should be on people like you, who make it hard for them to do so, by reducing legitimate questions about Omidyar and Greenwald to some half-baked hypocrisy gotcha,  ‘a grudge’, a ‘peculiar obsession’, or an endorsement of misogyny. That’s not cowardice, certainly. It’s far worse, even putting aside how teeth-gnashingly stupid  it is.

Which brings us to that ‘peculiar obsession’ of mine: I won’t linger on how arbitrary, trifling and even offensive I find some of your own preoccupations and simply admit that yes, I am very seriously disquieted by this rich, white liberal opportunist who by some bizarre alchemy remakes incrementalist gatekeeping; intellectual property; profiteering; negating Manning; suppressing state secrets; ridiculing radicals; flagrant lying; partnerships with billionaires and shitty, subservient journalism as dissidence and then inspires people like you to run errands for him. You’ve just run another one, by suggesting that there is something to my concerns beyond principle and curiosity — a ‘peculiar obsession’, just like that ‘sex tourist with a grudge’ — despite their consistency with everything else I’ve written on this blog and the enormous social significance of the Snowden spectacle. I’ve been attributing this nonsense to careerism, but, sadly, it seems any proximity to status will do.  That self-described radicals debase themselves like this for a creep like Greenwald, who reviles anyone to his left that won’t applaud and whose insipid Constitutionalist reformism barely even qualifies as liberal, goes way beyond depressing.

We are no less surveilled than ever before but somehow, since June, a lot of people — including you —  have gotten a whole lot less analytical and a whole lot more bullying, smeary and reactionary — that is, more like their much-enriched hero — such that an insufficiently deferential critique of The Beloved incites months-long harassment, smears and Twitter parody accounts and very few seem to mind.  But ostensible anti-authoritarians telling people to shut up and listen to the white guy is the perfect complement to Greenwald’s non-leaking leak style and the opacity of his transparency. Perhaps I’d be less ‘obsessed’ as you call it, if fewer of your friends and ilk were obsessed with me, but I don’t think a reactionary culture shift of this kind is a small thing, regardless. To each anti-authoritarian their own anti-authoritarianism, I guess. Yours is certainly more practical, though its underlying principles elude me. Whatever it is you’re doing, I’m content to do without it.

UPDATE 3

Hey, I paid good money for those secrets, thinks Pierre as he endorses Obama’s plan to tighten security around them. See, I told ya he’s cool with state power. Props to Jameel Jaffer for not kissing his ass — it’s the little things nowadays —  though I’d change that 300 million Americans to 7 billion people and that didn’t to don’t.  But I’m a ‘vile impure purist’ as a troll once mused.

NewCo just looks better all the time.

UPDATE 2

Oh look, a member of Anarchists for Liberal Journalism And Predatory Lending has weighed in.

It’s disappointing that Charlie obviously thinks this revelation of NSFW’s beholdenness to their own funders does something other than validate concerns about “left” journos working for moguls. But the peerlessly self-unaware Greenwald loves this kind of hamfisted, fallacious gotcha — or ‘argument’ as it’s called on the Twitter Left — and awarded it his coveted RT along with 60 others who don’t know what a logical fallacy is.

On a happier, much smarter note, haptic, who commented provocatively on ridding the world of journalists this bullshit, returned.

UPDATE 1

There was a provocative comment left on my recent post about Jay Rosen, but it raised questions and issues that are just as appropriate here. Commenter haptic wrote:

Actually what pisses me off most of all about this whole thing is a bit more basic than the billionaire thing, or the banality of it all, or the organized sterilization of criticism, etc.

It’s that I just feel, not another one! Not another pestilent media organisation! Not another little gang of entitled jerks who see themselves as smarter than everyone else and perceive that the rest of us need them to make sense of the world for us because we just wouldn’t understand what is going on without them to fucking explain it to us.

This resonates with me but not sure I’m ready to go as far as haptic who later on writes:

[News] is not a useful synonym for “information.” “News” is a historically contingent genre, a product of information commerce in a bygone historical moment. It’s going obsolete. There are other, more efficient, more democratic ways for a society to understand itself than this.

Haptic and I are in sync on paternalistic operators like Omidyar, Greenwald and pals. But I’m not sure I’m ready to give up on journalism entirely, though I think that from the standpoint of making things better, we get diminishing returns from information to wring our hands over. Unfortunately, haptic didn’t stick around for additional probing about alternatives. Would be great if others took the matter up.

Update to this update: Haptic has returned to elaborate. Well worth reading.

Related

For Laughs: Omidyar Media Advisor Jay Rosen In His Own Words

A Harbinger of Journalism Saved

Glenn Greenwald Still Covering for Omidyar on PayPal

Viva The New Journalism

A Heat Vampire in Search of a Movie Deal

Dr. Rosen and The Snowden Effect

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

149 Responses to No, Pierre Omidyar Does Not Want To Topple The Government

  1. Pingback: For Laughs: Omidyar Media Advisor Jay Rosen in His Own Words | The Rancid Honeytrap

  2. diane says:

    Thanks for the much needed fresh air; and it certainly looks (to me) like Arthur Silber has become extremely limited in his commentary due to his basic needs, in order to simply stay alive, having been wrapped up (by Silicon Valley Design) in the vile PayPal, much beyond his control.

    • diane says:

      further, those HuffPo wannabeez who adore linking to Arthur Silber (but not always), understand his hideous constraints also – as they are not that stupid – yet there is nary a mention re Omidyar/PayPal.

  3. Trish says:

    PO like a lot of very rich people often think because they are rich that must mean they are super, super smart, and therefore able to solve what ails the poor, the sick, etc. In reality, the first thing that people need to understand is that be it PO, B Gates, G Soros, etc the primary motive for setting up their foundations is just one huge tax dodge. Ironic that they set about improving access to education, healthcare etc, while simultaneously siphoning billions in tax dollars (which could be used to pay for education etc at home) into tax free foundations through which they get enormous power and control over policy and agendas throughout the globe.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the tax system, just pointing out that the very things they claim to care about and set their foundations up to do (access to education, healthcare, jobs etc) is funded by money that they would have had to pay huge taxes on, and had they paid that tax it “supposedly” would pay for these things. I hate to be a cynic but philanthropy is often a way for the mega rich to avoid “little people” taxes, and to retain and build even greater control and influence then they ever would have had through the initial venture that made them rich.

    That was a rather long way of me saying that people need to understand that rich people do not just give their money away because they are the modern day “tooth fairies on steroids” but because it actually protects their assets, while simultaneously opening doors into a world of “possibilities” that they would have limited if any access to before. I am not saying that they don’t want to do “good” but let’s face it when the “primary” motive for taking the philanthropy highroad was to reduce significantly what they would have had to give Uncle Sam you have to assume that everything they do has a “how does this benefit me” angle to it.

    PO’s indian micro financing venture not only lead to multiple suicides, but it would seem from the article you linked to, netted a tiny profit. Now GG and co can brush that off with “poor Pierre, how could he have known, he was just trying to help, blah blah” Is GG that naive? Because the article also talks about PO through another – generous here please take some of my money – gift funded people whose sole purpose was to influence decisions made by MP’s and therefore the State. I am pretty sure that PO, along with his other davos going, charitable buddies, was able to “influence” policy in ways that rewarded his non profit indian ventures, and these would be ventures that not only PO funded, but were funded by the same “who is who” of global parasites.

    While govt/state can be a force for evil if left unchecked it can also do good by keeping checks and balances on corporate malfeasance, which if left unchecked will run amok. Don’t get me wrong govt is pretty corrupt, but show me one corporation that “independently” decided to make factories safer, improve the living wage, pay workers compensation, etc? In fact most corporations when given the chance open factories etc in countries where there are no or limited worker protection, often doing so while the founder and still major owner of said corporation is running around the same country spending his money to improve “workers conditions”

    Here is the truth if PO and his charitable buddies really cared about the poor they would start off by asking why do “rich” people have such a monopoly on money? In other words: what is money? Where does it come from? Who creates it? Who controls it and decides it value? Why getting access to it first before it “trickles” down guarantees that your pile will grow as everyone else’s sinks.

    The story GG tells himself about PO is ” i will have complete and utter freedom, independence etc” and show me whose money is good? This is some of the rational GG has sold himself to justify this merger. So long as GG uses the platform to primarily bash govt there will not be too much trouble in paradise, but whatever “good” could have come from Snowden’s documents is definitely the price GG paid for admission. The most obvious is the “trickle” has now run almost dry, and it is obvious that any “big” Snowden stories are being kept till the launch. the least obvious is when trouble in PO/GG paradise breaks out, and it will, it will not only leave a bad taste even in the mouth of GG most ardent fans, but it will further undermine and even push back any future whistle blowers. You know, first wikileaks destroyed by corporations, mainly pay pal, and then GG network destroyed by PO, also pay pal. oh the irony.

    • Tarzie says:

      While govt/state can be a force for evil if left unchecked it can also do good by keeping checks and balances on corporate malfeasance, which if left unchecked will run amok.

      Your comment is just an elaboration on everything I’ve said I dislike about the Good State/Bad Oligarch nonsense. In the midst of a global surveillance scandal it is getting harder and harder to remain civil in the midst of people still extolling the potential worthiness of state power. State power and corporate power are not separate. De Soto accomplished his ends working through the Peruvian government. The US government suppressed Wikileaks by working through PayPal.

      The problem with Omidyar isn’t that he’s a libertarian. It’s that he’s a billionaire.

      Please fucking stop before I get really mean.

      • Trish says:

        You misunderstood me, which i worried about when i wrote that. I know full well the depths of government corruption, and i am not thinking good govt/bad oligarch. While i think government is pretty awful and its rule by the “few” over the “many” will never solve our problems, I was just pointing out that at least where government is “forced” to listen to the people it does at least sometimes mitigate the damage that ordinary folks have to deal with.

        I understand full well that government/oligarchs work hand in glove, and pay pals block on wikileaks was not simply just pressure from the government, but also because at the time there was a threat to bank of america and thus the entire financial cartel.

        I am not sure if I have even now explained what I meant well, but understand I know what you are saying and agree.

      • Tarzie says:

        I just don’t agree that the alleged concessions the government wins to protect the people from corporate predation are superior to what communities would erect for themselves if given the opportunity. It’s impossible to see corporate predation as something separate from the state that enables it.

      • Dan H says:

        “what communities would erect for themselves if given the opportunity”
        You wouldn’t consider those possible formations to be a form of government?

      • Tarzie says:

        Certainly not if they coexisted alongside a state and not necessarily if they didn’t.

        A group of people living near a mill fouling their water, for instance, could organize against it and dissolve as soon as the effort succeeded.

      • Dan H says:

        “Certainly not if they coexisted alongside a state and not necessarily if they didn’t.

        A group of people living near a mill fouling their water, for instance, could organize against it and dissolve as soon as the effort succeeded.”

        So one of your main objections to government stems from protraction? I am suspicious and well aware of the human tendency and ability for adaptation, so I always thought of myself as siding with government backers to a degree vs libertarians… but with a caveat of recognizing that adaptive drive will always break most of the rules eventually and attempting compensation by that recognition. I had never thought of nullifying the problem as you have proposed by… fluidity I guess Ill call it.

      • Tarzie says:

        So one of your main objections to government stems from protraction?

        No, I wouldn’t say that’s a big objection. I would phrase it more as protraction in the absence of consent by the a lot of the people subject to it. In my example, I was simply showing that groups coalescing to solve local problems aren’t quasi-governments.

      • Dan H says:

        “I was simply showing that groups coalescing to solve local problems aren’t quasi-governments. ”

        Im not seeing your distinction on the difference then…I would consider that a form of government, as I consider government to be cooperation at base…

      • Tarzie says:

        Yep, I guess we do.

        I am envisioning something in which neither the the mill nor those organizing against it are protected by a monopoly on violence. Does that make it easier?

      • Tarzie says:

        I would consider that a form of government to be cooperation at base…

        By this definition, a group of people loading a car with groceries is a government. It’s so general, it’s useless.

      • Dan H says:

        Well I agree that the monopoly on violence needs to be removed from the government tool box. But i would still term the new formation government…though I certainly now see your objection to such a radical shift being also being called government given history. I guess we need a new term…

      • Tarzie says:

        I think you’re getting caught up in semantics. My point when this first came up, is it is impossible to separate the state remedies for the predations of the private sector, from the state-enabling of those predations, and the state-disabling of remedies communities might organize on their own.

      • Dan H says:

        It does matter, because youve already said you believe people are capable of cooperating to fix an issue. Earlier you said, “In the midst of a global surveillance scandal it is getting harder and harder to remain civil in the midst of people still extolling the potential worthiness of state power.” If you meant that as explicity this current state formation then it holds, but as written it reads as any state…which obviously conflicts with the cooperative notion, unless as I tried to tease out, you are holding monopoly of violence as a fundamental feature of any “state”…

      • Tarzie says:

        If you meant that as explicity this current state formation then it holds

        I meant this state and I am not just saying that. This is not to cop to some latent statism. I am simply clarifying the context of the remark. I don’t generally find talking about theoretical states and non-state arrangements particularly useful, so when I say The State, I am usually talking about the government of whatever country I happen to be talking about, which is usually the United States.

      • Dan H says:

        Well fair enough then, I agree. I’d say Trish read it as I did originally though, as a take on the potential of any “state” to ever do good…

      • Tarzie says:

        I’d say Trish read it as I did originally though, as a take on the potential of any “state” to ever do good…

        I think that’s pushing it. She was certainly describing a configuration very much like what we have, the suggestion being that even this state (or something very similar) can be pressured to limit the predations of the private sector, whereas the private sector will never self-constrain.

        Anyway, I think we’re quibbling.

    • Jay23 says:

      I enjoyed this post. GG’s assertion that “no one will censor me” isn’t reassuring if he decides to censor himself. Still waiting on an explanation for POs appalling silence on the Paypal 14…. who strike me as 14 Aaron Swartz’s. GGs silence is deafening.

      • Tarzie says:

        Well see, that’s the thing. They’re all covering for Omidyar already. GG already lied about PO’s position on the PayPal blockade. Scahill’s and Segura’s reply to the microfinance scandal is snark. Like I said, there’s no need to wait and see. It’s all there, right now. I’m actually shocked at how quickly they’ve started in with this shit. They havent even filed their first stories. But I think they are just so convinced of their inherent, immutable virtue, the idea that they’re as inclined to serve power as anyone else isn’t even occurring to them. Scahill in particular is just shockingly tone deaf. Can’t believe Pierre hasn’t pulled them all aside.

      • Jay23 says:

        “In the book, Hayes described how American elite culture is so insulated that it “produce[s] cognitive capture,” meaning that even those who enter it with hostility to its orthodoxies end up shaped by — succumbing to — its warped belief system and corrupt practices. Given that Hayes pronounces this “cognitive capture” to be “an inevitable outcome of sustained immersion” in that world, I asked him what steps he is personally taking to inoculate himself against being infected now that he’s a highly rewarded TV personality and employee of one of the world’s largest media corporations.”

        Source: Chris Hayes on Elite Failure, Glenn Greenwald

        I wish that guy would sit Glenn down and have a talk with him.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ha ha. Yeah, I saw that interview recently, and had a similar thought.

        But see, it’s always wrong to assume that Glenn is not immutably good through all the many changes in his life. He’s not like other people. He’s much much better.

        I think he’d probably answer something to the effect of how living in a sumptuous 4-bedroom house in an exclusive community outside Rio, instead of in an American power center like New York or DC, keeps him grounded, even though he spends his days getting Twitter blowjobs.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        American Empire’s cruelest social policies have limited his opportunities barbarically.

  4. AmishRakeFight says:

    Another solid piece of writing, Tarzie. I don’t have much to add to it, just three brief comments:
    1. “No, Pierre Omidyar Does Not Want To Topple The Government” – Isn’t it amazing that this actually has to be debated? To me this seems self evident. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a bit of time now in the Politics of The Rancid, but I still can’t believe that people actually think Omidyar and his NewCo company want to challenge the existing structures of power – especially when most adherents to that idea would reject it if it was any other billionaire’s name and it was any other journalist besides Greenwald.
    2. “…where every two years we parse out the pube of difference between two corrupt political parties…” – I loved this line. I might have steal that one.
    3. “Everything wrong with [the NewCo venture] is in plain sight right now.” – Right on! It’s hard to see anyone pushing the “We can’t know for sure until we wait and see what happens” line and find the actual intended translation to be, “Shut up.”

    • Tarzie says:

      Consultant to Wall Street Yves, over at Naked Capitalism, actually had the audacity to ask me how state power benefits a billionaire like Omidyar.

      There is just too much fucking stupidity in high places. By design.

      Fuck everyone.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        I just read the exchange you’re referring to. Her questioning was mind boggling. It’s like she thinks overt state collusion with business interests (for example, trade agreements) is required for vastly successful businessmen to benefit from the state. But that’s only the most obvious example. Furthermore, it works both ways in the sense that businessmen who comply with the state and don’t do anything to piss it off benefit in the sense that the state rewards their compliance by not acting to hinder their success. The PayPal financial blockade on Wikileaks is a perfect example. How can she not understand that? And as an example of what happens when you don’t comply with state power, we have Lavabit as a recent example.
        Again, this seems so obvious, I’m baffled that things have degraded to this level. Shit.

      • Tarzie says:

        This is a quite excellent comment. Why don’t you reproduce it over there, so I am not the lone, anti-statist crank?

        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/greenwald-rosen-scahill-and-the-price-of-ones-journalistic-soul.html

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        Yves Klein is a Woman!?
        Not that I assumed otherwise based on anything I know. Just I thought Yves as in Yves St Laurent means it’s a man’s name. Good God I’ll have to re-gender all my insults now…aww.

        Scahill’s snark there is deliciously middle of the road. “my left AND My right”. Ever the reasonable, judicious, reformers, these superstar, conveniently polite sellouts.

      • Tarzie says:

        Scahill’s snark there is deliciously middle of the road. “my left AND My right”. Ever the reasonable, judicious, reformers, these superstar, conveniently polite sellouts.

        Yeah. Struck me the same way. You put that really well.

      • diane says:

        It’s not stupidity, it’s hatred of self and all other human ‘victims’ (and sometimes a hideous and deadly cunning, thankfully, I think the deadly cunning is limited to a teeny handful). Yves, was apparently an overweight female as a child and never got over being so powerless and ridiculed by other victims of a Forced and False “Civilization.” As a consequence she has become quite ruthless in promoting naked [State Sponsored] capitalism and inve$tors as the ‘benevolent,’ deserve to be the survivors, class.

        (Some take the high road, some take the low one, when they are victimized as children.)

      • Tarzie says:

        Ugh. Really not crazy about pathologizing.

        Not all overweight children grow up to be apologists for power.

        C’mon Diane.

      • Trish says:

        Just read her comment. What is she smoking. without the state how would most corporations squash competition, and hold onto vast amounts of their wealth – through lower CG rates, and tax free “foundations”.

      • diane says:

        I didn’t say all fat (or whatever other insult was hurled to them that hurt so bad) children do that, I noted that some take the high road, some take the low road and I probably should have noted the in between.

      • Tarzie says:

        some take the high road, some take the low road

        Yes, and since they can go either way it’s entirely meaningless.

        Not a good idea to dig in on this. Let’s get back on the rails, ok?

        Thanks!

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Trying to post it, but getting weird error messages. Error 524. Anyone know how to fix that? I’ll keep trying in the meantime.

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s persnickety about the fields. Make sure all of them are filled in.

        There is also a button on the error page along the lines of ‘go to live site’ or something like that. Sometimes helps.

      • diane says:

        Amish Rake:

        Word Press accepts anonymous and bogus email addys. If you’re one of the rare persons (?, not sure of of how rare they actually are) on dial up, you could log off then on again and just enter a bogus email address, if you’re not (in which case your IP number is constant and known), try a proxy server with a bogus email address.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        I’ve tried replying to her comment, replying to yours, and posting a separate one to no avail. Maybe it’s a problem on their end. I’ll try again in an hour or two.

      • Tarzie says:

        No big deal, naturally. But obviously they’re kind of speaking in one voice over there so it’s good to venture out from time to time. Naked Capitalism has a huge following if the traffic their links drive this way is any indication.

      • darrenrussert says:

        “State” is how they get the rest of us to pay for the protection of their absurd hoarding of wealth.

      • Dan H says:

        I think the years of blogging have completely tainted her when it comes to comments…shes also completely incapable of recognizing satire and regularly goes off on commenters who actually agree with her. That said, she really stepped in it there and you’re dead right. She regularly argues that billionaires have more to lose than the rest of us by virtue of their wealth. The fawning was pretty disgusting during the fundraising posts; many NC readers need to be reminded that we all bleed red.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, that question shocked me, actually. I would have thought someone who is so well-informed about the finance world would have never asked it.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Thanks to everyone for the tips, and apologies for mucking up this comment thread with so many posts. I did get my comment to post and it’s kicked off a frustrating back and forth with Yves. For anyone interested:
        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/greenwald-rosen-scahill-and-the-price-of-ones-journalistic-soul.html#comment-1629717

      • Tarzie says:

        I had no idea Yves was such an ass. ‘You libertarians.’ Jesus fuck.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        She’s like an onion of dumb. Each comment I posted peeled back a layer of idiocy only to reveal more idiocy. I am honestly shocked at the number of bloody-obvious things she apparently can’t grasp.

      • Tarzie says:

        An ‘onion of dumb’. That’s good. Fortunately there are a number of other people weighing in over there on the dubious proposition of Omidyar’s anti-statism, so Yves and pals are not having an easy ride.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        i just read that comment thread. and i thought Ames & Levine’s article was silly.. jesus

      • Thomas Lord says:

        I did get my comment to post and it’s kicked off a frustrating back and forth with Yves.

        She simply censored my comment on Naked Capitalism, which was an edited-for-context version of this one: https://ohtarzie.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/no-pierre-omidyar-does-not-want-to-topple-the-government/#comment-5233

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        She’s crazy intent on the censoring. Makes you think about just how much unseen pushback she gets.

  5. Trish says:

    I just don’t agree that the alleged concessions the government wins to protect the people from corporate predation are superior to what communities would erect for themselves if given the opportunity. It’s impossible to see corporate predation as something separate from the state that enables it.

    I totally agree, but was commenting on the current paradigm. As far as I am concerned nothing will ever change until the real issue “money” is not owned and operated as a monopoly by the few for the few. Time and again this monopoly has been used to buy huge resources on the cheap, toss people from their homes, and force rural communities to move to the cities in droves. It is a lot to explain, but suffice it to say that four men control 70% of the world’s money supply and they drive the prices of everything from real estate to rice.

  6. Thomas Lord says:

    Possibly a bunch of obvious things here but maybe something useful:

    I think a source of confusion arises from ridiculing, without qualification, the idea that Omidyar would attack the state. Tarzie wrote on nakedcapitalism, for example, “the notion that the Omidyar venture will chip away at people’s faith in government [is stupid]”. The confusion is present because in that formulation, “the state” is treated as a monolith.

    Of course, private sector powers like Omidyar exist in a tension with the state that holds both sides upright. It’s perfectly plausible that he hopes to chip away at people’s faith in some government functions such as provisioning for social welfare even while he may remain publicly neutral or encouraging towards other functions such as defending and maintaining monopolies on currency issuance and financial regulation on behalf of a banking sector that dominates those functions through regulatory capture.

    Near-the-main-stream statists (like Yves, I guess) see the political issues in terms of getting that tension “in balance”, somehow. Oh look, they might say, financial regulation got to weak which caused a crisis and both sides were in danger of falling over — better tighten up the regulation. Oh look, the overreach of domestic surveillance threatens civil liberties and democracy might collapse — better loosen the iron grip of the NSA on telecommunications. That kind of mentality.

    The key thing is that from that kind of statist viewpoint the idea that someone like Omidyar could be antagonistic towards government is essentially tautological. It is more or less by definition of what it literally means, stripped of all personalities and reduced just to a series of transactions, to “be a billionaire”.

    In my opinion an anti-statist position could use some articulation in terms that might be comprehensible to that conventional statist viewpoint. Simply saying “neither side is your friend” about fissures like the state vs. the corporate sector only goes so far. It’s too close to a reduction of the issues to one of personalities but to a statist, the personalities are ultimately secondary or worse to a cold technocratic view of tensions between various sectors and factions. (Oh, sure, statists like Yves spend a lot of time talking about personality issues like personal corruption or personal indifference to the poor but when it comes to solutions they aren’t looking for Great Men, they talk technical, procedural fixes to neutralize the effect of personality.)

    Tarzie you half-joked about a manifesto. Which half? 🙂

    • Tarzie says:

      Simply saying “neither side is your friend” about fissures like the state vs. the corporate sector only goes so far.

      It all depends on what you’re aiming for. I think it suffices to disabuse people of the notion that the problem with Omidyar is his libertarianism and not his wealth and to raise questions about the false dichotomy of Corporation/State beloved to NSFW and Naked Capitalism. If NSFW and Naked Capitalism were being nuanced about what parts of govt Omidyar wants to attack, I wouldn’t complain. But they’re not. Naked Capitalism is actually going so far as to suggest Greenwald’s NSA reporting and Scahill’s anti-militarism will feed this terrible state-toppling beast.

      I do not feel this discussion obliges me to publicly imagine an alternative anarchist society, though I think your comment here certainly adds a lot of nuance to the discussion that my post lacks.

  7. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Another Klein, Naomi, did a good job of connecting the dots between austerity, or “planned misery”, as it manifests itself in deregulation, privatization and cuts in social spending, with the need for the jackboot to back up these economic policies. Pretty sure I know which side Omidyar plays for.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yes, of course. The same side all billionaires play for — themselves.

      And Klein is the one that made this kind of statism — the kind that funnels state money directly to billionaires and is therefore entirely inseparable from state power — out to be state-free capitalism.

      So fuck her too.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Not sure if you read “Shock Doctrine” but she traced the roots of austerity and opportunistic capitalism to its genesis in the Chicago school and it’s M. Friedman acolytes. She didn’t advocate for the intermingling of state power and finance from on high and was clearly opposed to it, so not sure where the “fuck you” comes from.

      • Tarzie says:

        She didn’t advocate for the intermingling of state power and finance from on high

        That’s not what I’m claiming she did. Happy to continue when you’re respondent to something I’ve actually said.

        PS Very super fucking sick of Milton Fucking Friedman and the fucking Chicago School as the origin of all bad things. Yes, terrible, surely. But not the alpha and omega, and wildly overstated as the enemies of governments. They love governments because governments are good for stealing. The point of my post.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Whatever dude, it’s your blog so you can choose to be as respectful to others as you like. You claimed she made the mixing of power and money to be “state-free capitalism” when she did the opposite. She showed clearly how complicit the state is, by necessity, in the game. There can be no modern day capitalism without enforcers.

      • Tarzie says:

        I was respectful. I was simply pointing out that you had clearly mischaracterized what I was saying.

        Yes she describes the process perfectly, and then in the next breath calls it ‘free market capitalism.’ The result are acolytes like Levine and Ames who see people like Omidyar as enemies of the state, when they are no such thing.

        Your original comment suggests that the particulars of Omidyar’s politics matter. I am insisting that they mostly don’t. Friends don’t let friends drive with billionaires, because their politics are always shitty.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Listen man, I’m a public school teacher. I’ve seen firsthand how billionaires are driving the stake through the heart of public education. The term I recall from Klein is “disaster capitalism”, the profiting off of other people’s suffering and misery. I understand that Omidyar and his ilk are far cozier with the state that I will ever be, You really should give people a chance before you bite their head off. Or not, it’s your blog, your rules.

      • Tarzie says:

        Disagreeing with you — a first — is not biting your head off. Read my comments, ok? I’m simply disagreeing while expressing frustration at this constant Chicago School drumbeat, which is like Trutherism for liberals to me. It’s obnoxiously imprecise and feeds Good Oligarch/Bad Oligarch nonsense. The ruling class will take as much as it can get away with. Always. Ideology is not the driver. The guy who runs Palantir calls himself a leftist.

        Privatization should be fought tooth and nail, no doubt. Positing it as a struggle between Chicago School ‘anti-statists’ and government is not helpful.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        It may be me, then. Fuck Friedman, if it weren’t him there’s always a dozen more psychopaths to pick from to carry the water for the elite. My point if you’re willing to consider it is that ideology is how hearts and minds are won or lost. The ruling class is small and if they are going to get people to do their dirty work then they have to find a way to turn us against one another. Ideology, be it economic, religious, political, whatever, is merely a tool for cracking open the fissures so their will be done.

        I’m not sure where you’re getting good oligarch/bad oligarch from my comments. Klein is one of the few journalists I respect until I learn otherwise. She has been arrested numerous times and maintained a consistent message of solidarity with the people against the billionaires and bankers running the show.

        Truce.

      • Tarzie says:

        There is no need for a truce, because we are simply disagreeing.

        Klein is helpful, yes, but I also think she has fed the Good Oligarch/Bad Oligarch trope that makes people go apeshit when the Koch’s express an interest in, say, public television, but then don’t blink at sponsors like BP, JP Morgan and Bank of America.

        My point if you’re willing to consider it is that ideology is how hearts and minds are won or lost.

        No I don’t really consider this. Americans are not won over to privatization from what I understand. What most people believe doesn’t matter at all.

        I don’t think ideology is the driver. It’s just there to tell thieves and murderers they’re something else and to encapsulate nice recipes for thieving and murdering. So I am happy to rule out alliances with billionaires without knowing shit about what they believe. They are all grafty neoliberals, without or without a background in Friedman.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        I’m not talking about the ideology of billionaires. I’m talking about the marketing of themselves that convinces others to do their dirty work. Until the spell of our captors is broken, we (rhetorical we) will love them more than our fellow captives. This is why non-billionaires or non-ruling class shill for them because they have been convinced they can be like them. I’m not sure the actual ruling class has an ideology or believes in anything beyond their own self-entitlement and like you, I don’t care.

      • Tarzie says:

        Kinda talked out on this.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        There were many monsters before M. Friedman and there will be many more to come. But in my lifetime, it is this ideology that has affected my generation more than any other. Ask Pinochet-era Chile how they feel about the Chicago gang. We can’t vanquish our monsters until we name them.

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh bull.

        Graft is as old as government. Friedman just put some intellectual polish on it.

        Intent precedes ideology. Decide what you want to do, dust off the book that says its ok. Pinochet would have been a prick with or without Friedman and if he hadn’t been, the US would have killed him too. All kinds of things are making this shit possible, blaming it on a handful of ideologues is extremely simplistic.

    • Thomas Lord says:

      I’m not talking about the ideology of billionaires. I’m talking about the marketing of themselves that convinces others to do their dirty work.

      Jeff, I think the narrative flexibility of the “marketing” you are referring to is essentially infinite. For example, I think that the GOP could (and there are signs they might) pivot to basically supporting obamacare — and they can do this with no apparent “ideological” rupture or reversal. That is to say that “ideology” in the sense you are using it, referring to narrative structure of the “marketing” used by various factions to explain themselves doesn’t have built-in requirements for consistency or coherency. “Ideology” in that sense isn’t even the determinant of policy or platform: policy generally precedes its supposed ideological explanation.

      As an example, there are factions within the GOP that want to substantially reverse some GOP positions on immigration. They aren’t proposing an ideological change at all. They frame the proposed reversal as an ideologically consistent recognition of a “new reality”.

      They can do anything they please through the loophole of that rhetorical vacuity — and they do. Nobody is holding them to a standard of rationally and consistently applying some ideological theory.

      I think that if you want to “break the spell” that ideology has on the people it isn’t a matter of doing away with bad ideologies (Friedman, or whatever). Rather, it would be raising consciousness that “ideology” in that received sense really has very little to do with how things happen; with how things work.

      • Tarzie says:

        Right. Another example is liberals and Marxists who framed Obamacare along lines of ‘For all its flaws, this is groundbreaking progressive legislation…’ Huge blog posts and articles without an ounce of Chicago School ideology.

        I think that if you want to “break the spell” that ideology has on the people it isn’t a matter of doing away with bad ideologies (Friedman, or whatever). Rather, it would be raising consciousness that “ideology” in that received sense really has very little to do with how things happen; with how things work.

        Precisely. Making it about ideologies makes it too easy to make the same thing look different. Hence the popularity of Chicago School fear-mongering among partisan Democrats and their ‘tactical’ socialist allies.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Close enough, ideology is a vehicle that can be steered in the direction its operator chooses. It’s not the vehicle that needs to be impounded, it’s the drivers. Often, I think we/re using different parts of our brains even when we’re on the same side.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        These are labels used for rhetorical purpose, not ideology/belief shifts. To the extent such “screwing you with fancy words” works should also be a measure of ideology. You also mention factions. These factions have ideological cores and are trying the stupid, time tested and disproven approach of rephrasing to win over your enemy.
        Pro immigrant libertarian Republicans are trying to say that what REALLY is TRULY, SCOTSMANISHLY at the FOUNDATION of the republican party, is hate for social services and love of cops…and immigrants can be embraced to that end. There’s no actual ideological shift being proposed, just playing favorite songs that everyone can enjoy. It’s tactical compromise, not ideological rebranding.
        The “Left” and it’s justification of Obamacare has never been that it is fundamentally wonderful, if you think about it. It’s always been 2 things: it’s the best compromise we can get in this world (and it is, by virtue of guaranteeing an acceptable, if hard, price for entry to some form of undeniable healthcare, closer to a socialist creation than the far right approach of if you can’t afford it, you must die please).
        The other thing has been that obamacare is a gateway policy to one day creating universal, public access, tax revenue funded health care where you can just walk in and get treatment, not deal with all the capitalist insurance paperwork.

        The shifts in ideology are rather selections from a menu with tactical focus. I used to think you can fool people into abandoning their former beliefs but now I think you can only refocus their attention on the things they want most, in order to distract them from the things you want to change.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        I meant to say “one can only distract…”. It’s not my choice it’s just what I observe these factions doing, where Thomas Lord and Tarzie are saying they are reframing any ideology whatever to suit their policy intentions.

  8. thedoctorisindahaus says:

    How much of the NSFW crystallization and collection and theft of earlier posts, from you silber and newinquiry, is valuable as a strategic move?

    What is the situation: dipshits are sucking greenwald’s out of the country metaphorical pipe in the spaced out hopes he’ll give them a plum column at an over-funded joy ride project.
    They are also rationalizing it as a choice: siding with the NSA/corporatist government out of control or siding with greenwald.

    You’ll never get rid of the self interest, it’s like hunger. But you can make the rationalization so ugly that it’s harder for people to tolerate and hence less likely to be performed in public.

    So, if that’s the only realistic goal, pointing out guilt by ideological association gets the job done.
    e.g.: “THIS GUY IS A LIBERTARIAN, EXPROPRIATOR, NEOLIBERAL !! ”

    But if you harbor some sweet hope of making full communism or anarchism or just plain occupy-like general abhorrence of the rich open to consideration, where it should be….
    then I kind of think we’re at the ideology-as-mass-enslaver angle. Which is, as you say, a false hope and a waste of time.

    • thedoctorisindahaus says:

      Not entirely sure what the hell my point is there except for pragmatism but maybe you can make something of it.

      Oh yes, you are barking up the wrong tree / doomed to failure / should just kill yourself before you find out that this blogpost won’t change the world. Something like that I s’pose.

    • Tarzie says:

      You keep acting as if I have, or should have, some agenda other than just looking at things and describing what I see and maybe recruiting some other folks into the wonderful world of skepticism and contempt. I just dream of a world with slightly fewer credulous dipshits in it. A world with more mockery.

      Even if I had an agenda beyond that, I don’t think that, in the current conflict, NSFW and I are at cross purposes just because our take on the Omidyar menace differs in the details. I think their vivid description of his past and his alliances is extremely valuable. If people want to reject him because they think he’s a uniquely bad billionaire, that’s fine. If people want to reject him because all billionaires are bad, and looky here, see what a shit he is, that’s fine too.

      I know that you like to talk to people in ways that you consider tactical, which is why you nitpick a congenital asshole like Kade Crockford far less than you nitpick me. But that’s not my thing. I just say shit I’ve thought fairly hard about and see what happens and I say it pretty much the same way to everyone. Probably not wise, but it’s my nature.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        Well, asking people to be skeptical of billionaires on the basis they are shit and finding the good/bad billionaire dance abhorrent, is an agenda.
        Especially when the focus is on the unique sin of greenwald the hoarder of public information and in particular, NSA information.
        I do enjoy that the whole NSA hysteria has petered out so that we are all even forgetting it now. And it’s now really and truly become about greenwald changing the world with his corporate backed journalism.

        In conclusion Kade is sexy and has little to nothing interesting to say and I don’t spend my time beating dead horses no matter how beautiful they are. Tactical was before. Now I’m just bored.

      • Tarzie says:

        Well, asking people to be skeptical of billionaires on the basis they are shit and finding the good/bad billionaire dance abhorrent, is an agenda.

        Yeah, and it’s the one I’ve copped to. Your first post suggested I am aiming higher and therefore wasting my time. While I was writing my reply, you wrote an adequate parody of what you were doing so between the two of us, it’s covered.

        In conclusion Kade is sexy

        Eeeeeeew. I guess for some people the delirious delight she takes in herself is contagious. It produces an entirely opposite effect in me but I finally unfollowed after seeing her and her pals bully some non-entity for the last time. I don’t find a single good quality in her. She is everything I detest in privileged ‘radicals.’

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        eeeeeeew

        Yes! *does the victory arm pull thing.
        Grossing you out: THAT is a GOTCHA!

  9. darrenrussert says:

    People confuse the crumbs the likes of Omidyar brush off the table to stop us from killing them with what little good the “state” ends up actually doing (i.e. medicare/ss etc.).

  10. Crosley Bendix says:

    (I couldn’t figure out how to post in the post in the comment thread above.)
    The intellectual bankruptcy of so much of the alledged “left” was throughly demonstrated by their endorsement of Obamacare. Their working philosophy seems to be “When a Democrat shits in your mouth, it’s chocolate.” I identify as a socialist, but I’m often embarrassed to do so.

  11. Steven Bloom says:

    NSFW’s statism seems to go quite far beyond the sort of hand-wringing social democrat who worries that criticising the government might make it easier to cut social security. Yasha Levine’s most recent piece on the TSA is a fairly unashamed paean to pointless state violence and the assholes who enforce it, and they seem entirely unable to grasp the idea that ant-government feelings of any kind can be anything more than some sort of ginned up right-wing conspiracy. the idea that NewCo is going to be some undercover hard-right propaganda outfit is so ludicrous its hard to take the rest of that article seriously. do they really think Omidyar is going to hire a bunch of people with the wrong politics then bribe them to knowingly change their opinions? its such a childish idea of how the media works. i guess its possible that’s what happens at NSFW; everyone writes what Paul Carr tells them to so he doesn’t shout at them. as for NewCo, obviously its going to be another stupid centrist news org, slightly to the left of The Nation, slightly to the right of Jacobin and full of exactly the same smug self-fellating liberal arseholes.

    personally i’m quite happy with the idea of “journalists” dying out. people should get paid for journalism, but there’s no reason to have a professional class that makes its money exclusively from it. money and power, and the attendant ass-kissing turn people into scumbags and the glorification of elite opinion-formers feeds this idea that a journalist is somehow automatically qualified to write about anything. (Greenwald managed to make a pig’s arse of the NSA stuff partly because he had no knowledge of the issues or background, and was too arrogant to admit it). its just elitist condescension to say we need some sort of “expert” to mediate the conversations between people, and most of these journos aren’t even particularly good writers. on the left especially, they’re just mediocre careerist parasites leeching off movements and people that are better than they are. everyone should be encouraged to write and discuss their experiences and ideas, not just some specialist class. it wouldn’t be that difficult to create a media org that solicited pieces from part-time journos, community activists, ordinary people and specialists in particular fields, and then paid them a reasonable amount for their work. it wouldn’t just spread the wealth around, it would help keep people grounded and stop them from turning into out-of-touch dipshits. Scahill for example, already seemed to be developing a messiah complex by the time Dirty Wars came out, and from there it was just a short step to the fully-fledged fuckwit he is now. i doubt he’d have got quite so far up his own arse if he had to work two days a week in McDonalds, or got just enough money to make ends meet.

    As for Milton Friedman, from what i can see he didn’t have that much to do with the implementation of neoliberalism. Governments and corporations and the media just picked the bits of his ideology that fitted what they wanted to do and dumped the rest. Friedman was happy to go along with this charade because he’s a power-worshiping sycophant.

    • Tarzie says:

      I always love when you stop by. You get everything so right and you put it so well.

      You’re completely right about NSFW. I am going fairly easy on them here because, even if it’s for the wrong reasons, I love that they’ve wounded Team Greenwald, and that Greenwald and Co are making even bigger asses of themselves as a result. Since the anti-NewCo squad consists of about ten people total, I am not looking to factionalize. I actually thought the Omidyar article was better than usual in not going so deep into the Great Libertarian Conspiracy Against Glorious Government.

      on the left especially, [journalists are] just mediocre careerist parasites leeching off movements and people that are better than they are.

      Word. After the Hammond sentencing I was thinking of taking this parasitism up. Nothing embodies it so much as the journalists relationship to whistleblowers and hackers. Greenwald is basically a pimp. With you also on the talent thing. They’re terrible writers and more inclined toward childish smears than anyone else. Even when I liked Greenwald I skimmed him.

      I love your idea of journalism as a thing done by people on the side. But to play devil’s advocate here, how would you get stuff that really goes deep into a topic, like Scahill’s work on military contractors, for instance?

      • Steven Bloom says:

        it’s fine to go easy on them, i mean, Ames is a worse person than Greenwald, but he’s far less dangerous because he’s less powerful. Greenwald has the potential to really fuck up the left because he often seems reasonable (when he’s not whining or shouting people down),whereas Ames usually comes off as a crank. NSFW fascinates me because they’re so weird, but i try and resist the urge to obsess over them because its not politically useful. it’d be really easy to kick them about, but that would just make me a lazy tool (like all the twitter “radicals” that spend their time ragging on nonentities like Eli Lake or Josh Foust).

        in my experience the people who write full-time for the tiny lefty mags, but do no actual activism, the people with the media contacts, those who want to be “spokespersons” for radical groups, who want to write the press releases and get their names in the papers are always the worst dregs. the sort of people you got hanging around the student movement or Occupy, looking to make a name for themselves and fuck the movement.

        Part-time journalism wouldn’t necessarily mean everyone doing it a few hours a week, it could mean getting funding to take six months off to research stuff, it would just mean people wouldn’t do journalism full-time year after year. the more people become involved the more these artificial barriers would start to come down. crowdsourcing and better horizontal information networks would help too. i think if there was less financial incentive and information was more widely dispersed people would be less likely to be able to hoard information or sign exclusive contracts. there would be nothing to stop Scahill (eg) setting up a kickstarter to fund an investigation, but i don’t see why he should have a guaranteed large income and a job for life. the longer people do these things the worse they tend to get, more out of touch, more financially successful, more asskissed, less tolerant of criticism and i think someone eventually has to say “you’ve had your time, fuck off and let someone else have a go”. these days a lot more people acknowledge the fact that building political movements around hierarchies is a recipe for co-option and impotence, and we need to realise the same is true of journalism. whenever the celebrity leaders lose their way and get sucked inexorably towards the mushy centre, they drag most of the well-placed people with them, and the networks fall apart and have to be rebuilt. (usually around the next great hope) dispersed networks are a lot less easy to co-opt and despite the obvious logistical problems etc, horizontal information sharing is the only way to avoid it in the long term. i think funding for journalism (as opposed to journalists) is important, and there needs to be concerted efforts to raise and share money and resources. that’s why this “new media venture” is so depressing – if there was some rich guy who genuinely cared about journalism he wouldn’t set up some big corporation staffed by overpaid celebrities, he’d just hand out money to already existing networks with no strings attached. local news organizations, wikileaks-style information sharing sites, community radio, radical publishers, archivists etc. its not as if there aren’t enough candidates.

      • Jay23 says:

        “the longer people do these things the worse they tend to get, more out of touch, more financially successful, more asskissed, less tolerant of criticism and i think someone eventually has to say “you’ve had your time, fuck off and let someone else have a go”

        Exhibit A – Bob Woodward. Steven please start a blog – doesn’t have to be super focused, just would love to hear you kicking more thoughts around.

      • Jay23 says:

        “if there was some rich guy who genuinely cared about journalism he wouldn’t set up some big corporation staffed by overpaid celebrities, he’d just hand out money to already existing networks with no strings attached.”

        Am I the only fan here of therealnews? I would love to see what Paul Jay could do with a real budget.

    • thedoctorisindahaus says:

      I think this ties in nicely with the question in your update suggesting investigative paths for alternatives to commercial journalism.

      Omidyar has an empire to defend. While lackeys have their bellies to defend. The idea that there’s some perfect balance between starving artists sucking off corpses for cheeseburgers (in Taibbi’s immortal phrase) and rulers working to never slip from their throne is quite possibly the most bourgie solution possible. And describes the cubicle journalist perfectly.

      Steven Bloom seemed to be hinting at a kind of whistleblower model for journalists, where journalists ARE the whistleblowers or at least investigators, part time. But any story that is of sufficient value to interest everyone will then require time to keep on top of and that time will be found since a big story is marketable.

      Voluntary communist solutions, where you can pass off work to just anyone, only works if everyone does it. If greenwald passed me a story of the trove, I’d fame it up as far as I could because I know if I don’t, somebody else will. Share a good thing and the kindest, most communist brotherhood type people will think of you as an Indian giver if you ever show your face around again.

      There’s a problem with journalism as information stocker but I don’t think changing human nature to lower ambition will solve it. I know there are voices that say humans aren’t actually that ambitious and it’s a western construct. Not up to me to disprove something that’s never been proven convincingly.

      • Tarzie says:

        Voluntary communist solutions, where you can pass off work to just anyone, only works if everyone does it.

        Not sure anyone proposed a model that’s at odds with standard human behavior in this society. The idea was simply that more people do journalism for money but not all the time. There is a place for ambition in the model, certainly, but it needn’t be the whole nine yards.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        i think if information’s more freely available and there are alternative distribution networks then the ability of people to monopolize it will be stymied. its got nothing to do with human nature, its to do with structures. in the current climate i have no objection to (relatively) poor people capitalising on information, as long as they’re not holding back stuff that’s in the public interest, and i think its inevitable that some people will get more exposure or fame than others, but those things don’t have to ossify into permanent power disparities or bureaucratic hierarchies. to use your example, if GG had distributed a hundred important docs to a hundred struggling writers that would be a good thing, because the information and potential wealth is being distributed in a (relatively) non-hierarchical way. each of the people can make some money, get a bit more exposure, and (beyond the initial distribution) it isn’t mediated by any self-selected elite gatekeeper. and then all of those people would probably go back to what they were doing before, writing, blogging, doing some normal job. a little bit of fame and wealth wouldn’t elevate them to the ranks of the elite, they’d have to go on being normal people. it would take a critical mass of information to set anyone up for life, which is why Greenwald didn’t share anything, he understood that he needed it all to successfully pull off this coup.

        you mention human nature, and self interest as barriers to a more egalitarian model. here’s why i think you’re wrong – it’s not in people’s self-interest to kiss up to Greenwald vis-a-vis the Snowden leaks, 99% of the people doing it will get nothing in return. if they actually thought in selfish terms, rather than engaging in mindless celebrity worship they’d have been clamouring for mass dumps so they themselves had a chance to get something out of it. once people free themselves from deference to experts and hierarchies and start trying to get stuff for themselves the system will begin to break down of its own accord. People like Greenwald are information bottlenecks – their only skill is to make themselves seem important enough that others will want to filter information through them. that’s where the whole “drip drip” narrative comes from – the idea is that information only has value when a terribly clever person selects it and presents it to the ignorant masses in an understandable way. if people stopped believing that shit then he might have to get a proper job.

        class hierarchies, income disparities, government secrecy, corporate domination of the public information landscape are all real problems, but the fact that they exist doesn’t give us the right to just throw our hands up and say “oh well that’s the way things are”, we need to acknowledge the problems the current system creates and then find ways to work around it. information isn’t a scarce resource. if some prick won’t let you see something, write about something else. if Greenwald prevents the distribution of information, then try and make him irrelevant, make sure the next set of whistleblowers don’t get sucked into some false narrative about heroic journalists and make sure there are other options publicly known and available, or go further and make whistleblowing obsolete by formenting mass civil disobedience or radicalising tech monkeys who work for the NSA.

      • Tarzie says:

        How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        This is a great rejoinder, not least of all because it goes against Tarzie’s thesis that sycophancy, though a lottery, is based on rational self interest and deceit.

        My defeatist, surrendering stance is admitted and it even irked me after writing it. Though, at the same time, I’m considering a world where, even were there many aggressive radicalizers and crowd drawing writers, the actual results would be more like hot air. Always fascinated by the prestige 19th century novelists commanded and always been highly skeptical that they really shaped opinion or behavior on much of anything.

      • Tarzie says:

        This is a great rejoinder, not least of all because it goes against Tarzie’s thesis that sycophancy, though a lottery, is based on rational self interest and deceit.

        Well, first of all, one or both of you is/are positing a false dichotomy. Certainly some sycophancy is rooted in self-interest, though I agree that for many, probably even most, there is an instinctive tilt toward status. Sometimes the two go together. I never said otherwise. In fact I have mused aloud on the mystery of anonymous sycophants.

        But I certainly don’t agree that demand for a mass dump was the obviously superior choice for careerists, especially considering the lengths to which high-status Greenwald was willing to go to stigmatize the very proposition. He started beating that drum right out of the gate — even risking some of his Manning/Wikileaks capital — and never let up because he saw how integral it was to his own self-advancement. It became very clear early on that no wide sharing of the leaks was ever going to happen on his watch — demanding that he share leaks is, after all, literally equivalent to demanding that he share his money — the only choice on the table for both careerists and people who simply want a peaceful Twitter life (also a matter of self-interest) was between sycophancy and silence. If compliance is instinctive, how do you explain people who privately disclosed that they shared my concerns about the anti-Manning narrative but felt uncomfortable expressing them? Why is Alexa O’Brien being appropriately commended for her courage now in continuing to hammer Greenwald/Omidyar over PayPal, when NewCo is still hiring?

        Most Twitter journalists are not hungering for scoops. They want a job with a big player. Kissing ass is easier than antagonizing some high-profile asshole by demanding that he share wealth he has no intention of sharing. The performance of supplication isn’t just for the asshole, it’s for all the other high-status assholes who might be watching.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        it’s not that much of a dichotomy. i think the people that sucked up certainly THOUGHT they were acting in their own self-interest, but only because they were craven fools that had lost faith in the politics they supposedly espoused. it’s not just celebrity worship, its a failure to connect with wider society or a failure of imagination – an inability to believe that mass political movements are even possible. a lot of middle class twitter radicals (from my limited knowledge) seem quite divorced from wider community struggles. their snide elitism comes from fatalistic assumptions about “the masses” whom they believe to be apolitical and atomised and incapable of independent political action. if you subscribe to that point of view obviously the only way you’ll achieve political redemption is through the intervention of some sort of saviour from above. so in a limited sense these people might be acting in their own self-interest. the self-interest of stupid elitist fucktards.

        an analogy: some rich wanker dangles hundred dollar bills at a crowd and says that the first ones to grab them can keep them, in a very narrow sense those that assault each other and fight for the right to get the money are acting in their own interest. but the guy at the back who says “if we all rush him at once we can kill him and take ALL his money” i think has a better grasp of the situation. which side people choose depends on their ideology, but also their self-confidence.

        I don’t think it was really in the interests of the careerists to give Greenwald a free hand. it was pure cowardice, and there’s no reason to assume he could have contained a mass rebellion. I think the attacks Greenwald launched against you are evidence of the weakness of his position. looking at it objectively, you’re just some guy with 2,000 twitter followers and a blog, if Greenwald (world-wide celebrity, famous journalist, regular guest on MSNBC) hadn’t felt threatened by you he’d have ignored you. the massively over-the-top reaction to your posts suggests he was feeling vulnerable. it wasn’t inevitable that his (pragmatic, neutered, lazy, self-regarding, elitist) followers would go for the line of bullshit he was selling, so he tried to make an example of you. none of this was inevitable. every action he took was an incremental betrayal of his supposed values, and therefore had to be accompanied by ritualistic hysterical attacks

      • Steven Bloom says:

        i also meant to point out: Greenwald’s control of Snowden’s NSA docs isn’t in itself a barrier to other people reporting on the story. from what i know most of the stuff that’s been revealed was already assumed based on previous leaks, and (if you believe the GG narrative) they’d managed to force the whole story into the mainstream discourse through sheer force of personality. in which case there’s nothing to stop intrepid anti-NSA tykes from doing their own stories based on publicly available information. the fact that they didn’t, i would suggest, is due to laziness and ideological confusion rather than a genuine lack of information.

      • Tarzie says:

        (if you believe the GG narrative) they’d managed to force the whole story into the mainstream discourse through sheer force of personality. in which case there’s nothing to stop intrepid anit-NSA tykes from doing their own stories based on publicly available information.

        But clearly I don’t believe GG’s narrative so I am at a loss as to your point. The mainstream was willing to hear the story but only in a certain way, a way that minimized damage to institutional legitimacy. Greenwald gave it to them in that way and was well rewarded for it.

        the fact that they didn’t, i would suggest, is due to laziness and ideological confusion rather than a genuine lack of information.

        No, in fact, they did. There were bunches of stories based on the leaks and entirely separate from the leaks. But with Greenwald in control of the narrative, and as the arbiter of importance, they mostly came and went. The fact that you’re not aware of them yourself is kind of revealing.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        i’ve obviously not made myself clear. i was being ironic when i said “(if you believe the GG narrative)”. obviously no-one with half a brain believes the GG approved narrative. the point i was making was: the people pushing this narrative didn’t react as if they genuinely believed it. if they genuinely believed the whole “GG forced the MSM to pay attention because of his judicious withholding of the specifics of the Snowden leaks and now as a result we can have a proper debate about the constitutionality of these laws” they would have used this momentary chink in the MSM’s armour to try and force as many NSA-related stories into the mainstream as possible. they didnt. instead they spent the whole time pissing and moaning about people who didn’t believe GG was the second coming.

        “No, in fact, they did. There were bunches of stories based on the leaks and entirely separate from the leaks.”

        i never said there weren’t stories, i said that the GG sycophants didn’t promote them. which is true. and also, Greenwald wasn’t in control of the narrative, the MSM was. Greenwald was allowed into the debate inasmuch as he promoted certain elite concerns about the surveillance state. he wasn’t in control of anything. these stories didn’t come and go because of him, they disappeared because the wider media didn’t pick up on them.

      • Tarzie says:

        . i was being ironic when i said…

        Gotcha. I’m a thicko.

        Greenwald wasn’t in control of the narrative, the MSM was.

        Right, we’re not disagreeing but Greenwald is their proxy. The MSM is the CEO; he’s the line manager.

        Greenwald was allowed into the debate inasmuch as he promoted certain elite concerns about the surveillance state. he wasn’t in control of anything. these stories didn’t come and go because of him, they disappeared because the wider media didn’t pick up on them.

        You’re close to reciting my own posts back at me, but again, I do think as a role model and also a hot news topic in his own right, he was a useful proxy for elites in directing the attention of other journalists and the class of people most interested in the topic. Like I said in my ‘Stick It’ post, he’s the point man.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        Greenwald was useful, but i think you underestimate how tenuous his control of the narrative was at times. within the left twattosphere it always had the potential to escape his control. people deferred to him of course, but a lot of it was based on ideological assumptions, and deference rather than a genuine monopoly of information. i think he was aware on some level how dishonest he was being, hence his defensiveness and nastiness. i suggested that his over-the-top vicious attack on you was to create an example and scare other people into not asking questions. the fact that people were willing to dm you about what a cunt he was but not openly express it suggests not only did it work, but such attacks were necessary.to maintain his facade (imagine everyone who dm’d you turning up in his twitter feed calling him out on his shit…)

        i know in retrospect the impact has been dampened by having hundreds of fights with arseholes who didnt read your post, but Greenwald posting on your blog and making an absolute arse of himself was a high-risk strategy. obviously all his arsekissers were going to take his side and try and obscure the context, but he still left himself open for potential ridicule and criticism. i don’t think he would have left his bubble and posted somewhere out of his control if he hadn’t felt threatened.

      • Steven Bloom says:

        that last comment was a bit incoherent. i didn’t really get my point across, but in my defense i was very drunk when i wrote it.

  12. thedoctorisindahaus says:

    ” (like all the twitter “radicals” that spend their time ragging on nonentities like Eli Lake or Josh Foust)”

    They won’t have Foust to kick around anymore.

    • thedoctorisindahaus says:

      By which I mean he retired and moved to Central Asia to do public relations for a supposedly humanitarian NGO.

  13. mardy says:

    I hate to say it guys, but Henry Farrell is right. The filters at work won’t allow me to see Heny’s entire article, so I’m assuming the above quote is within context.

    Yes, Henry sounds like a Lennist scumbag if he’s endorsing the idea that the masses are the meddlesome outsiders and we need the “professionals” to give us only “what we need.”

    But my interpretation is that Henry is making a “matter of fact” statement. That, in fact, the masses take information found in large (established) publications more serious than information found on blogs. The psychology behind it is solid. Marketers and PR guys have know this for decades. It’s why small businesses love getting in the local papers; established news publications have the power of validation. You can be the worst service provider in the entire city, but because you’re all over the news, it provides an air of trust that you otherwise may not deserve, but never the less, business will increase.

    The more sophisticated (such as the readers of this blog) will consider the source of the information, regardless the medium or prestige of the platform. But you guys are not the typical consumers of “news” – not even close – and I’m sure (hope) you realize that. The conditoins which Henrey described are largely true, even though we prefer it not to be. People are smart, they only need honest assessments. Why else would I be reading this blog.

    • thedoctorisindahaus says:

      this is an argument against establishment media and an argument for some form of faster, wider dissemination. small stories that simply can’t make heat do benefit from wider publication. If the only form that can take is an outlet with many habitual eyes, then that’s how it works.

      That doesn’t mean the story itself gets taken more or less seriously by virtue of the outlet, it just gets accessed. A story about crime is exciting, whether in NYT, a tabloid or your friend’s phone chat. A political story is interesting if it’s interesting to you for some reason. Try telling some bonehead to go read a great serious article on budget matters in the WashingtonPost. They won’t say the WP is boring because it’s a marker of class. But they’ll never read it, even if it was in Playboy, opposite a centerfold.

      • mardy says:

        1. I know what what this argument is about. But first you have to try and understand the way people think before you can change their minds. Propaganda 101.

        2. Our arguments are not mutually exclusive.

        “That doesn’t mean the story itself gets taken more or less seriously by virtue of the outlet” –

        The above above couldn’t be further from the truth.

        All it takes is cursory glance at the market place to find evidence of my argument.

        Why do you think sales people plaster phrases like, “Has been featured in Time Magazine” “As seen on MSNBC” or “New York Times Best Seller” all over their products?

        Because these sales people know that even an implied association with these established media organizations (and the nice words written about them by the journalists within them) helps to *validate* their message.

        It’s called informational social influence; it has been thoroughly researched. The psychology solid. – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2004.tb00730.x/abstract;jsessionid=D061F2448826626257B91AE0F7CCEA88.f04t03

        http://psp.sagepub.com/content/25/10/1242

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        that’s an interesting point and it speaks to the idea of prestige as class marker, status maker. i agree that “what the critics are saying” has marketing value but i think it’s more to push you in a direction you were already hooked on.

        I wonder if they don’t function as conscience clearing more than anything. A health product with the exploding gold star behind the ‘As Reported in NYT’ pitch could give you some extra zip in your step as you walk away with this thing that before, you merely thought you needed but now you can hold it up proud and repeat to others who don’t share your interest, ‘As Reported in NYT’.

        A massive ship of fools where we all want permission to fool each other. Much the way we’re supposedly supposed to be debating the NSA. “oh my god, did you read the guardian today!”

        There’s a world of difference between the power of authority pushing down on you as influence and ‘authority’/expertise out there telling you about boring things that bore you.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        The psychology links deal with conformity studies. They don’t suggest they prove that authority from on high is powerful but rather that vapid neutral facts (robot voices) can make you judge something positively or negatively.
        If what you mean is that, forced to read a copy of Us magazine and forced to read NYT, that a person might rather believe the NYT…the study seems to suggest that so long as the reader had a neutral experience of both those papers, they’d believe both of them equally. Authority and prestige aren’t in play (though I skimmed).

        The second link concludes that personal attitudes vary across individuals.

        If you LIKE what the NYT says about things, it could be that you like and trust a particular writer, not TEH NYT.
        I’m going to make a wild generalization:
        people who read a prestige paper in order to feel materialistically successful and prestigious don’t spend time reading much more than the health and lifestyle sections. The appearance of NSA stories will at best get them to acknowledge the existence of something they didn’t know about before because they didn’t care. Something they will continue not to care about because they just really, really don’t care about it.

        Our great terrorism moral panic is a combination of racism, violence thrills and rationalization of our impotence in the face of national policy. It didn’t bite us because it was in the paper.
        But we are actually in territory i really can’t prove and don’t think anyone else can, either.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        in davis’ defense, he is obsessed with nsfw and it’s possible he just hates them to the point of teeth gritting determination, regardless the context. he did tweet the original newinquiry article after all.

  14. pj says:

    I learn a lot from this blog. The posts and the comments (even when the disagreements are deep) make me think much more than I had before I discovered it (thank you, Arthur Silber). Thanks for the thought and work you put into it. Even when I’m unsure whether I agree or not with you, Tarzie, you make me rethink what I thought I thought.

    • Tarzie says:

      pj —

      Thanks for the compliments.

      That I’ve provoked someone to look at things differently is among my favorite compliments. I’m glad that you also appreciate the commenters. I like them too.

  15. diane says:

    Erase if you feel the need dear, but I wanted to share this with you, it’s not really off topic:

    Was checking out Evgeny Morozov today (very much of what he discusses strikes a true chord with me, though, I admit, one of his associations, so very close to Eric Schmidt, always niggled (and I truly resent, as a little old grey mare, wee feemale, that it seemingly takes a white male (or, Married to/Fathered By one, Alpha Female) with ‘credentials,’ $$$$$, PASS-PORTS, and honorary this and thats, up the ying yang for anyone to pay heed to heart spoken expressions from those who have pretty much lived an honest as life as possible and still remain alive …..I digress, …who does not?).

    Anywho, Evgeny highlighted one Mr. Hoofnagle (not saying here that Evgeny supports Mr. Hoofnagle, as I don’t know that, at all). I started really liking Mr. Hoofnagle, from his twits …soze I ‘visited’ his UC Berkeley Law (oh, and how about that Janet [TSA] Napolitano as Prez of the UC System!) website and, found this:

    I am a member of Palantir’s Council on Privacy and Civil Liberties.

    Who knew there was a Palantir Council on ….Civil Liberties? I did a ton of Palantir searches when the Snowden news broke and Sam Biddle/ValleyWag/Nick Denton made some Palantir Posts, and never came up with anything closely related.

    (will continue if you’re okay with it, as this is getting lengthy.)

    • Tarzie says:

      I know that Palantir has been stressing their attention to Civil Liberties so, while I didn’t know this, I’m not surprised. I’m sure it’s interesting. By all means continue to share your findings.

      • diane says:

        From:

        11/02/12 Announcing the Palantir Council on Privacy and Civil Liberties

        Last month, at Palantir’s GovCon8 event, our CEO, Dr. Alex Karp, announced the creation of the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties (PCAP). This Council of experts has been created to assist us in understanding and addressing the complex privacy and civil liberties (P/CL) issues surrounding the use of our platform to aggregate and analyze of data in the many areas in which our customers work.

        Cutting to the chase:

        The PCAP will effectively play the same role that our informal group of advisors has played to date. We will consult them for advice on identifying and responding to P/CL issues that may be raised with various current and potential customers (respecting, of course, the desires of those customers to protect their own confidentiality), and they will be asked to consider the P/CL implications of product developments and to suggest potential ways to mitigate any negative effects. The PCAP also will help us think about future developments in technology, how law and policy might change to account for that technology, and what steps Palantir might be able to take to help address these “over the horizon” challenges.

        The PCAP will initially consist of the following members:

        • Susan Freiwald – A law professor at the University of San Francisco who frequently participates in electronic surveillance litigation efforts.
        • Robert Gellman – A privacy and information consultant who previously worked for nearly two decades on privacy issues in the U.S. Congress.
        • Chris Hoofnagle – A lecturer at University of California – Berkeley and Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s Information Privacy Programs.
        • Stephanie Pell – A private consultant specializing in P/CL issues who formerly served in the Department of Justice as an Assistant US Attorney and later Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.
        • Jeffrey Rosen – A law professor at George Washington University, author, and frequent commentator on P/CL issues.
        • Dan Solove – A law professor at George Washington University, author, and founder of TeachPrivacy, a company that designs privacy and security training programs.
        • Daniel Weitzner – Co-founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology, former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy, and current Director of the CSAIL Decentralized Information Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

        Bryan Cunningham, an information privacy lawyer and a long-time senior advisor to Palantir, will serve as the Executive Director of the PCAP.

        (Bolding mine. Haven’t the time to look up all the names but Rosen (note that Palantir connection missing from that link), and Freiwald (Freiwald has authored and co-authored amicus briefs in major cases involving electronic surveillance laws. She also regularly assists the Electronic Frontier Foundation … certainly seem to have some conflict of interests going on, to say the very least.)

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, looks like a fig leaf, and this isn’t the first for EFF. Apparently they’ve been taking Google money.

      • diane says:

        06/11/13 [JEFFREY ROSEN, of The New Republic (TNR!!!!!!) !!!!!!!!, IS QUICKLY REMOVED FROM POTENTIAL HEADLIGHTS] Announcing changes to the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties:

        Last Fall, we announced the creation of the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties (PCAP), a body of experts in this field who have been helping us to understand and address the complex privacy and civil liberties issues that arise in the course of providing sophisticated data analytics to our many customers around the world.

        Today, we are pleased to announce that Nancy Libin will be joining PCAP. Prior to her current position as a Partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, Nancy was the Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer of the U.S. Department of Justice … ….

        Ohhhh, and Jeffrey, whom it was implied MS Alpha Bitch was replacing (not):

        In other news, Jeffrey Rosen was recently named president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to constitutional education and to providing a forum for discussion and debate on important issues of the day.

        (fucking priceless ….and Jeffrey reminds me of the alien bot with the milky looking stuff coming out of his mouth, in that Alien movie.)

      • diane says:

        Before I run, I wanted to add that: okay, I get that Hoofnagle, Rosen, Freiwald, et al, most assuredly had to sign non-disclosure agreements regarding that elite membership to that Palantir-Council-On-Privacy-And-Civil-Liberties!!!!!! (which is hideously ironic, in and of itself, as regards civil liberties for human beings), or be subject to having nightmares about being raped, and even worse, in some hideous Homeland Incarceration Center, and therefore, have not written of their extensive closed door knowledge of Palantir.

        What I will not accept – though – is that they stayed on board despite this Palantir ‘sentiment’ which I’m pretty sure they quickly became quite aware of (when they were already making a ‘good living’ and certainly not threatened with homelessness to climb on board with Palantir, as they most certainly did):

        The PCAP will effectively play the same role that our informal group of advisors has played to date. We will consult them for advice on identifying and responding to P/CL issues that may be raised with various current and potential customers (respecting, of course, the desires of those customers to protect their own confidentiality), and they will be asked to consider the P/CL implications of product developments and to suggest potential ways to mitigate any negative effects. The PCAP also will help us think about future developments in technology, how law and policy might change to account for that technology, and what steps Palantir might be able to take to help address these “over the horizon” challenges.

      • diane says:

        Oh, and Master Hoofnagle, as in:

        I am trained as a lawyer [you and Yoo – diane] and am a double-dawg.

        One might take that to mean that you’re doing time for the populace, but since you’re still apparently helping Palantir evade any hint of hideous AND LIFE THREATENING, AS IN CANNOT GET A JOB IN ORDER TO EAT OR HAVE A ROOF OVER THE HEAD, privacy violations: A fucking POX on you; Janet Napolitano; UrbanShield; Edmund “Jerry” THE JESUIT, Brown; Obomber and Priors; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

  16. diane says:

    I’m sorry, dear, about that erase request (and thank you so much for doing it), I just did not want to be targetted as whining, (or, most certainly: wining (as in the Bali Hai/Thunderbird/CheapBeer rep) the Elite like to proclaim, despite their quite ironic history of addictions even when they don’t appear to need any pain killers for their part world they insist on ruling).

    As I noted, I called out less than billionaires. I ended up being told I did my job too well, and would end jobless. I am.

    • diane says:

      I should probably tidy my last comment up, here’s the tidied:

      I’m sorry, dear, about that erase request (and thank you so much for doing it), I just did not want to be targeted as whining, or, most certainly: wining – as in the Bali Hai/Thunderbird/CheapBeer rep, which the Elite like to proclaim, despite their quite ironic history of addictions even when they don’t appear to need any pain killers for their part in the world they insist on ruling.

      As I noted, I called out less than billionaires. I ended up being told I did my job too well, and would end jobless. I am.

      though it speaks to how special you are, honey, that you didn’t call me out on trivial grammatical and missing parenthesis issues.

      yup, I love ya!

      ;0)

  17. Hieroglyph says:

    “Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
    Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
    And the profit and loss.

    A current under sea
    Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
    He passes the stages of his age and youth
    Entering the whirlpool.

    Gentile or Jew
    O you who turn the wheel and look windward,
    Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.”

    Sorry, I did have to cut and paste. But it seemed oddly relevant.

    As you were.

  18. Hooker Jay says:

    Greenwald is basically a pimp.

    Before I start, hope everybody has their ear funnels out and the brain bleach handy – just in case! 😉

    According to Sam Vaknin, there’s a specific condition of malignant narcissism that he refers to as “switch hitting” — i.e. where upon a narcissistic injury, an aggressive and domineering Classical Narcissist turns into a meek and submissive Inverted Narcissist (and vice versa) ad infinitum.

    Translation?

    Whores and Hookers sell a service.

    Tramps and sluts sell OUT!

    Greenwald has long established himself as both.

    Yet he wishes he was the Pimp, surrounds himself with Pimps (Talbot, Rusbridger, Omidyar), lives vicariously through these Pimps because he so desperately wants to someday to be rich, powerful, and elite enough to BE an above-the-fray and above-the-law Pimp. He’s not there yet, but he of all people should know that when you jump into a brand new waterbed with the death merchants you wish to cavort with, you gotta yammy on it to work the lumps out.

  19. Bill Hicks says:

    Ha-ha! Little Rancid Baby, still anonymously pooping his big boy pants. Clearly Scahill nailed it. Time to move out of mommy’s basement little Tarzie, get a job and support yourself. The world needs less anonymous babies with too much free time on their hands, not more.

    • Tarzie says:

      Always great to hear from the lofty supporters of excellence in journalism. Glenn is truly blessed to have fans that reflect so well upon him. Never have adored and adoring ever been in such beautiful symmetry. It sometimes takes my breath away.

      But who you callin’ ‘anonymous baby’, Bill Hicks? Ah, it’s ok cause real Bill Hicks woulda loved billionaire journalism, for sure. He’d o’ believed every idiotic thing you do, no doubt.

  20. diane says:

    Dear ‘Bill HIcks’ [see Bill’s comment]

    How fucking dare you slam anonymity, when that is the only (near impossible to accomplish now, thanks to Sly Con Valley) safety net currently for someone truth telling about the hideous ‘ROUNDING OFF’ of millions of lives in the name of Fighting Terrerism [Destroying Humanity and promoting the Thorough Monetizing of the Have Nots] !!!!!.

    (MOTHER FUCKER (probably a deranged GLASSHOLE too)!)

  21. thedoctorisindahaus says:

    Not that it’s of interest but I took charliearchy’s tweet to be a tweaky counter troll to your needling and so over the top that it was more a satire of your trolls than a sincere recourse to your methods. You know me, I always see virtue where it is.

    How much greater a pleasure I’ve derived though, in seeing sex work becoming a point of ridicule not just via the perving of perverts that you’ve so reasonably and tactically offered as a “problem” with nsfw writers but through straight up dismissal of escorts as confused girls with no money, something that gets me so boiling I don’t even want to link to it. To see the two of you joining in harmony over this *very *reasonable assertion is really the pop off the top of the toaster.
    Fucking unbelievable that chauvinist like charlie gets away with it and because he’s so dear and so nice everybody loves him and he attacks left media that exploit internships, he gets a pass. Not just a pass, now it’s supposed to be some point of common understanding. Pure demagoguery.
    If Ames and the rest are sexists, it’s by their glib, jokey misogynist humor in their writing and tweet fights that doesn’t seem particularly balanced by any shred of self awareness, irony or moderating counterpoints. Not to mention their miserably obotish politics, from what I’ve seen.

    That instead…and I mean very much INSTEAD of attacking these sins, you and charliearchy are now “agreeing” on the idea of sex tourism as inherently bad, speaks everything about how stupid activism can be. If it ain’t wasting time serving established powers for a big sliver of self betrayal, it’s sucking up to law&order christian crowd in the hope that it’ll get farther with honey than with toppling over the altar in church. Well the altar toppling seems to have won the day.
    But you losers can point out how evil “capitalism” is, no matter who you have to run over…because mark ames and greenwald.

    Because you guys seem to have literally no ability to think outside of immediate tactical dog bites, I better make it extra clear.
    Sex tourism is potentially highly abusive especially if you focus on some caricature of sadistic men going to third world countries and infecting underage, ignorant, enslaved boys and girls with aids.
    That’s what politicians who talk about laws to punish it pretend they want to prevent.
    The other definition is of going to areas where “sex work” isn’t as punished, regulated or expensive to travel around/hotels etc. That’s not to say it isn’t exploitative, every job is and physical skin to skin contact has certain special risks.

    Funny how the absolute obsession with “toxic inequality” whether it’s Billionaires buying the biggest leak in history or social justice oriented democratic party appendages getting free labor in the form of interns seems to just fizzle up with this repulsive and reactionary attitude to *gasp* women who suck dick for money sometimes instead of giving it away for free (sorry, I mean for *love*).
    Yes indeed, sex workers have a thing now where they argue “hands off our clients”. Because they actually want the money at lower risk, not to have operate clandestinely even more and at even greater risk just to protect their revenue.

    So much for the NSA and pals, we’re still busy down here with the battle of the sexes.

    I literally put up that whole sexwork/prostitution argument because it ACTUALLY SEEMS TO BE UNFAMILIAR TO YOU GUYS. If that doesn’t give pause…

    I’m really shaken by this actually.

    And since I’ve essentially tarred charliearchy, I guess the responsible, moderate, kind thing to do would be to link. Because nothing. can. ever. be let go. The powerless must maintain credibility.

    How nice of him to make it extra clear, that he doesn’t think women should stay out of sex work and go back to doing free internships he can expose for their injustice, just that he hates rich geeks paying for the services. Might have been mistaken for something else.
    Nice memes around these parts. Greenwald picked the right part of the spectrum out of which to make suckers.

    I. hate. the. internet.

    • Tarzie says:

      Not that it’s of interest but I took charliearchy’s tweet to be a tweaky counter troll to your needling and so over the top that it was more a satire of your trolls than a sincere recourse to your methods.

      One of my least favorite things is the seeing of x number of irony levels where x = whatever number is needed to make you feel both knowing and on easy terms with the ironist. Charlie’s clever, but I am at ease with reading the tweet at face value as a whole and not just the ‘sex tourist’ part which you are content to read at face value for the axe you want to grind.

      As to that axe, I have very open attitudes about sex work having dabbled in it myself and as an admirer of sex work feminists, so your lecture is largely wasted on me. However, you may be technically right that I conceded too much to Charlie’s values on this, by not splitting hairs over just what kind of sex tourism he meant, but I can’t see how I could have economically parsed this out without sacrificing my point, which was predicated on the assumption that for Charlie and most of the people he tweets to, ‘sex tourist’ is 100% indicative of an exploiter, and that he was attempting to taint me by association. Ames is enough of a dick for me to be disinclined to study the particulars for the sake of nuance. Sex tourism and sex work are not interchangeable, because sex tourism does include, but is not always, rape of slaves and minors. It is a loaded term, certainly, but I am not the one who used it.

      Because you guys seem to have literally no ability to think outside of immediate tactical dog bites, I better make it extra clear.

      This is just obnoxious. You need to be way more lucid to be this condescending to someone who can often argue rings around you when I have the interest and still manage use of the shift and return keys. Your issues with Charlie on sex work should be taken up with him. I don’t require the lesson and it’s unlikely he’ll read your comments here.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        I did pounce on this on twitter as well as other stuff but his engagement level there is very low. My problem was seeing this become a point of consensus.

        shift and return keys

        Despite what they say, in some ways you are the sweetest person I know.

      • Tarzie says:

        did pounce on this on twitter as well as other stuff but his engagement level there is very low. My problem was seeing this become a point of consensus.

        But it really isn’t consensus. I’m really just quoting him and by extension making a point of his bad faith. I am curious how you would have me edit my reply so as not to concede where you think I am conceding.

        Despite what they say, in some ways you are the sweetest person I know.

        You are being facetious, but there are worse, but I won’t name names.

      • thedoctorisindahaus says:

        You are being facetious

        So then you do not always take statements at face value. Pity because in this case I was sincere.

        I guess I’m reading your official blog rebuttal in the context of your tweet about all sins being sins: predatory lending and sex tourism. Then linking back to charlie mystifying pulled straight out of air for no reason mocking of an article popularizing sex work. Perhaps I am reading too much into it. Except that this started because Charlie’s entire spin about “yeah omidyar, whatever” hinges on NSFW are vile money grubbing “sex tourists”. I don’t think you are right about that kind of talk plays to his audience but only because he doesn’t speak enough with his audience to really know what they think about anything. I must be projecting the general attitude that sees all sex for pay as “evil prostitution”, onto a blank slate as it were.

        Your update here, taken alone, is actually fine in that it addresses accusations leveled at you. Once you get into the fact that you are inferring just enough to actually bring the accusations into the open instead of Charlie’s hem-haw suggestive ambiguity, it gets confusing as you are walking into actor’s territory. Seems like half imitation and half propagation, of the accusations. This is an illusion for me to interpret, not your fault I guess.
        Such is the trouble with paraphrasing someone else’s already cautiously (or poetically?) sparse words, as you have been forced to do here.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ah, ok. Yeah, when I tweeted I was assuming Charlie knew of some definitely exploitative event that I should just accept on faith. He knows way more of what Ames got up to than I do. And I will admit, that the term ‘sex tourism’ does conjure up for me more exploitation than just ‘sex work’ for the reasons I’ve already described, so I didn’t haggle.

        Certainly what I meant when I tweeted was that sexual predation (meaning genuine predation, like the sexual use of someone who does not, or can’t consent) and predatory lending are both bad.

        I feel like I need to read more of what sex work feminists have to say about sex tourism to get to grips with what it means and how I feel about it. You’re right that I don’t really have a good handle on it and so I do defer more toward convention in a way that I don’t on sex work generally.

  22. thedoctorisindahaus says:

    correction in my first paragraph: a sincere recourse to *THEIR* methods.

  23. thedoctorisindahaus says:

    I actually just think charlie doesn’t like being pushed, by you or anyone. This other issue has just blown my fucking mind over the past few days. Seems to have come out of nowhere.

    • Tarzie says:

      I dunno. I think Charley is as disinclined from finding fault with Glenn as everyone else, hence the suggestion that I am obsessed the way Ames allegedly is rather than interested for the very reasons I claim I am. Charlie is much more typical of left Twitter culture than you give him credit for. Colors within the same lines, sometimes with a little more wit than the rest. I used to be a fan, but I’ve pretty much lost interest in that whole neighborhood. Too many dullards, fakes, circle jerks and outright creeps. Honestly just the phrase ‘the left’ is starting to give me hives, since I now associate it with practically every human quality I dislike.

  24. Pingback: In Conclusion | The Rancid Honeytrap

  25. just me says:

    a late follow up, but on the omidyar/paypal topic i thought it should be noted hete that apparently greenwald & army seem to be claiming paypal (and maybe ebay) don’t appear in the snowden trove – that either there was no spying on them or that they were involved in, or if there was spying involving paypal, the ~50,000+ documents don’t include any evidence of it.

  26. “sex work feminists”

    Why not ask some male prostitutes about sex tourism as well?

    And what about Greenwald’s advocacy for Matthew Hale? surley this is a bit of a pointer to his inner voice and, ah, moral compass.

  27. diane says:

    Interesting that First Look requires privacy invasive scripting (at a minimum) to function. As someone who never has to allow scripting to read online ‘news’ sites, I call foul (certainly no surprise, the foul stench has been riding the air for months now).

    Let alone the privacy invasion, good to know that Omidyar is not even entertaining those millions who may be relying on near obsolesced computers and software (required scripting makes budget dial up a generally horrid, potentially ‘puter crashing, impossibly time wasting affair, and the vast majority of online sites do not require scripting in order to read text) to stay ‘connected’, let alone his preying on (can we say Micro Finan$e !?)millions who have no ‘puter access whatsoever.

    The hubris and violation going on is so stunning … good luck pierre … you’ll fucking need it at some point.

    With just one exception (I recollect that one was an Australian news site), I’ve always been able to read the text at ‘news’ sites with scripting, cookies, etc. blocked. There are very few sites in general, where scripting is required in order to read articles, or the main commentary.

  28. Pingback: First Look’s Shitty First Outing | The Rancid Honeytrap

  29. Pingback: The Absorption of Matt Taibbi by First Look | The Rancid Honeytrap

  30. Pingback: The Friends of Glenn | The Rancid Honeytrap

  31. Pingback: Mark Ames vs Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman on USAID | The Rancid Honeytrap

  32. Pingback: The Celebrity Left Wars | The Rancid Honeytrap

  33. unperson says:

    This was incredibly satisfying to read.

  34. Pingback: Exclusive: The Legendary #Anonymous Paypal 14 Speak Out Post-Sentencing | The Cryptosphere

  35. Pingback: I Read the New York Magazine Omidyar Article So You Don’t Have To | The Rancid Honeytrap

  36. Pingback: Another Rat Leaves The Bad Ship Omidyar | The Rancid Honeytrap

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s