Passing Noam on My Way Out: Intermission

This is just a brief post to keep the conversation going and to let people know that I intend to continue with this series. I also want to give people some idea of what I intend for it and where I am going with it.

I am getting a bit of a reputation for purism and for being the guy that hates everyone. This seems odd, really, since my focus is almost entirely on people with vastly more influence and money than I, or most people, have. I can’t imagine what kind of person regards as  ‘everyone’, a group of U.S.-born left celebrities who, in keeping with their distribution in public life, are all white, mostly male and wealthy and whose politics fall within a tightly circumscribed range.  I also can’t imagine taking people with such a narrow, elitist conception of ‘everyone’ — which I increasingly see as a class marker — at all seriously on the soundness of my politics.

I am equally uninterested in appeasing people who think left or anti-authoritarian politics can be in any way reconciled – ever – with shielding influential people from scrutiny. That skepticism, and even anger, toward left icons is fully warranted, seems a surprisingly hard sell for some people, presumably because the fantasy of activist celebrity is just too dreamy to abandon, though also apparently too tenuous to be quietly savored without obnoxiously insisting that others share the dream.

As to purism, I don’t expect any of the people I write about here to be any different than what they are. My point, which should be obvious by now, is that our gaze has been directed to people like Chomsky because they serve power in the guise of defying it. That doesn’t mean these people are entirely without merit. To the contrary, for them to be useful to power in the way I think they are, they have to be in some way useful or attractive to those who wish to temper or disrupt it.  In my first post on Chomsky, I specifically said that I owe a lot of how I see things to him, and I appreciate it. In fact, my present impulse to slap him with a warning label and move on comes out of how I read his valuable work on how the system filters out and punishes disruptive individuals. But in the end I think an assessment of good deeds against harm puts Chomsky in the minus column along with the rest, which is why I feel no obligation to be particularly deferential.

My last post was about Chomsky’s shocking response to Aaron Swartz’s death, which is rich with lessons, both about what Chomsky really stands for, and about who survives in this system and who doesn’t. When contemplating a figure like Chomsky against a figure like Swartz, it is useful to ask yourself, if this person is disruptive, why is the system lavishing him or her with rewards, while this other person was destroyed? Chomsky will die a millionaire in his 80s or 90s. Swartz was made bankrupt and driven to suicide in his 20s. Chomsky began pissing on Swartz’s grave and whitewashing his persecution within days of his death. In fact, Chomsky’s conduct with respect to Swartz is so strikingly awful in its allegiance to both capital and state power, it confirms my assessment of his social function more convincingly than I would have imagined before seeing it for myself.

I have chosen Chomsky for the last phase of what has grown, somewhat haphazardly, into a lengthy repudiation of dissent mediated by elite-anointed rebels.  I made this choice because he really is the full-on embodiment of everything I dislike and distrust in anointed lefts, all wrapped up in unassailable credibility and an anarchist brand. My repudiation of icons has been moving ever leftward, and he is the man at the gates, with the sign that says, ‘This far and no more’.  I am going to breeze on by, but not before having a word.

I think Chomsky’s celebrity marks a turning point, or an innovation, in the containment and shaping of middle class dissent, through the commoditization of revulsion, and the reconfiguration of handwringing as resistance. His legacy has much less in common with politics than religion, where the benefits all go to the priests and those above them, and the yield for everyone else is indefinitely deferred, no explanation required. I will attempt to explore this and related matters in subsequent posts.

Related

Passing Noam On My Way Out, Part 2: Chomsky vs. Aaron Swartz

Passing Noam On My Way Out: Part 1

 

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216 Responses to Passing Noam on My Way Out: Intermission

  1. Doktor Jeep says:

    “Who survives in this system and who doesn’t”

    It’s the difference between resistance (“free” JSTOR) and activism (spend a lifetime petitioning the state).

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, I think obviously so. Surprised it’s such a hard sell. I guess it’s just too depressing.

      I like your juxtaposition of activism against resistance. I’d never really considered them separately, but that’s a useful nuance.

      • Anonymous says:

        “I like your juxtaposition of activism against resistance. I’d never really considered them separately, but that’s a useful nuance.”

        Wow, what an interesting distinction. I’ll have to think about this for some time. It is worth noting that Swartz didn’t ‘free’ JStor, that was just the accusation by the prosecution.

      • Tarzie says:

        It is worth noting that Swartz didn’t ‘free’ JStor, that was just the accusation by the prosecution..

        Pretty sure that’s not the language the prosecution used, but you’re right that Swartz didn’t ‘free’ JSTOR in the sense of making it widely available. The distinction the commenter made is valid regardless.

  2. Amanda says:

    I am not surprised to hear that people are accusing you of being a hater, considering the fact that “positive thinking” is in such high fashion today.

    Chomsky has reached savior-like status in the minds of many, and they are going to defend him as such. Which is why our culture needs to shake this savior-seeking tendency like a bad habit, but I digress…

    On a positive note, (see what I did there?) I appreciate your articles, and I almost always find myself agreeing with you… so, keep up the good work!

    – Amanda

  3. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    A Chomskyite is someone who supports every liberation movement or revolution up until the point that it succeeds.

    Chomsky pushes criticisms of “corporate America” as his full-on ideological grasp. . Since he’s the most prominent “left” intellectual in the country, nobody who worships at his feet will look any further than what he puts on offer.

    He has consistently evaded any hard questions about organized struggle, mass resistance, or a revolutionary path. Maybe he’s changed his tune in the past 6 or 7 years which is about when I stopped reading or listening to him, but I suspect not. Jesus Christ, the man wrote a book about propaganda in the U.S. media, you’d think he could develop some pro-revolutionary thinking beyond “corporations bad.”

    But it explains why pro-imperialist mouthpieces like Greenwald are so entranced with him.

    • Tarzie says:

      yep to all, GTI

      Maybe he’s changed his tune in the past 6 or 7 years which is about when I stopped reading or listening to him

      No, if anything he has gotten more dismal, hopeless and non-prescriptive. Recently said he admires the work of indigenous people on the environment, but that’s as prescriptive as it seems to get these days. He seems to think traditional grass roots activists have the method figured out, they just need people to join them. I think that’s why he considers handwringing over problems to the exclusion of strategy and tactics useful, which has the added feature of making him more lucratively harmless.

    • Tarzie says:

      But it explains why pro-imperialist mouthpieces like Greenwald are so entranced with him.

      I have never considered Greenwald a principled anti-imperialist, but I have never considered him a pro-imperialist mouthpiece either. Can you elaborate on this a little?

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        He consistently supports pro-imp politicians and candidates, like Feingold, Kucinich, Warren, more recently that Wyden guy and the other anti-NSA “placeholder” trotted out to keep the Greenwald wing from radicalizing (as if they ever would). Just because he comes out swinging against the obvious reactionaries like Feinstein and Clapper and whoever else doesn’t mean he’s a radical or an anti-imperialist.

        He lacks class analysis in any of his writing. That’s been the case the entire time he’s been writing, but just the recent piece he wrote last week defending his boss against charges Greenwald himself claimed were meaningless and insignificant speaks volumes about his lack of understanding of the global contradictions of the worker class and oppressor nations and institutions that are at the root of imperialism. Is it even possible to support a gangster like Omidyar AND oppressed people who are on the receiving end of western imperialist intervention including these despicable NGOs and anti-liberation groups? I know he’s a slippery guy but who is he trying to fool here?

        He will frequently drop clues to his allegiance to bourgeois or western capitalism, though. Like he supports Citizens United, he thought Chavez was a “brutal dictator,” he referred to the elected government of Yanukovych as a “ruling regime,” running interference for the state on the Snowden docs – he just can’t help himself. And the latest one being that he believes the bullshit press release put out by Omidyar about his NGO, or at least he’s telling us he believes it since he likes his paycheck, he signed his contract. But the jokes write themselves.

        So I guess you could ask, is it possible to be a capitalist and not an imperialist? Yes Greenwald has written some anti-imperialist stuff but if he wants to see entrenched institutions like bourgeois capitalism remain in play with just some little reforms and laws and changes instituted I have to question his allegiance to anti-imperialism. And no self-respecting anti-imperialist radical that I know would go to bat for a thug like Omidyar.

        FWIW, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Omidyar “revelations.” That website and its founder are on the shit lists of more than a few folks who don’t like that leaked whistleblower information was leveraged as payola to a few greedy “journalists.” I’m sure more of his exploits will be coming out.

  4. tricia says:

    to quote an astute fellow, “all the world’s a stage”.

  5. dominique says:

    Chomsky, the Left Gatekeeper, discussing his modus operandi:

    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

    • Tarzie says:

      Yes, exactly. What he fails to grasp is how he is implicated in that same system. He imagines he occupies a place outside the gates, rather than the margins of the inside.

      • Amanda says:

        I kind of refuse to believe that he doesn’t get what he’s doing. I mean, I’ve read some of his books. Chomsky’s no dummy; I think on that much we can all agree.
        So then, if he’s not a dummy then he must be misleading people on purpose …right? But why? Could he really be such a wretched character? Seems unlikely.
        I suspect there may be a hidden motive at play. I mean, didn’t Chomsky do time… more than once? Perhaps his current “gatekeeper” role was part of the fine print on the back of his Get-out-of-jail-free card, if you know what I’m saying? Pure speculation on my part, of course…

        –Amanda

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        @Amanda, he “knows what he’s doing” only in the sense that it is his beliefs that prevent him from moving further to the left. If you’re a bourgeois capitalist, you have limits on what you believe is correct to change things systemically. No bourgeois liberal wants a social or political revolution in which power changes hands to the formerly oppressed.

        Chomsky is “wretched” in the sense that he’s intellectually dishonest. He’s an anti-marxist yet he’s quoted as saying he never really did any research or studied much Marx. Sorry, but the guy is too smart to be spreading the level of anti-Marxism he does. It’s intellectually dishonest and simply Menshevik propaganda. He throws around the word “totalitarianism” and other liberal buzzwords. He referred to the October Revolution as a “coup.” He’s also equated Leninists to fascists. You don’t have to be a Marxist-Leninist to understand what a load of crap that kind of “coming full circle” bullshit is.

        He hardly ever just comes out against capitalism. It’s always, “well I would be against capitalism if that’s what we really had in the literal sense of the word, but it’s far from it,” or some other bullshit that reeks of right wing libertarian “statist” logic.

        You can’t be an “anarchist” if you are encouraging people to vote even for the “lesser of the evils,” which my understanding is Chomsky has done this.

        Chomsky is like the gateway drug for uninformed liberals and other disgruntled reactionaries. These people can then parade around pretending to understand political dynamics without getting their hands (or their pretty little minds) dirty with revolutionary analysis and action. For a big helping of this nonsense, refer to any Greenwald comment thread, they are crawling with these jackasses.

        If you’re a confused liberal, my advice is to avoid taking Chomsky, just snort a huge line of MIchael Parenti and call it a day. Confused liberals who read Chomsky usually end up remaining confused liberals.

      • Tarzie says:

        If you’re a confused liberal, my advice is to avoid taking Chomsky, just snort a huge line of MIchael Parenti

        We really do need to crowdsource an alternative reading list.

      • babaganusz says:

        We really do need to crowdsource an alternative reading list.

        no time? i’m all (well, mostly) eyes & ears…

    • Ché Pasa says:

      Yes. I gave up on Chomsky as a movement inspiration long ago, and this quote is one of the reasons why. He’d been saying much the same thing for quite a while, as if he were advising the High and the Mighty on how best to control and channel dissent. He seemed to understand that he was part of the process of limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion, and that he himself was being held up on the “left” as the bulwark against more dissident views.

      At Occupy Boston events he adamantly rejected any sort of revolutionary thought or action by those involved. It was out of the question — could not even be a topic of discussion.

      As for Greenwald, though he fiercely denounced the Bush Regime, he was freely traveling all over the world, making provocative speeches, selling his polemical anti-Bush tomes, appearing on TV, yet he was never interfered with in any way. One of the commenters at his site explained this anomalous situation during a period of renditions and disappearances and the confinement of common protesters to cages, by saying that Greenwald neither directly threatened power nor did he advocate doing anything about what he was denouncing — except “debating” it. As long as that was the case, Greenwald would be free as a bird. So it has been to this day.

      • Tarzie says:

        Great comments, Ché. Though I have to mull it over a bit, I find the idea that Chomsky is telegraphing his compliance to power at the same time he is explaining propaganda to the lowers extremely interesting. Certainly everything he writes leads to the inescapable conclusion that he is very much enmeshed in the same system. His piece on the persecution of Norman Finkelstein is particularly revealing in the extent to which he posits conform or perish as the choices for intellectuals.

        Greenwald neither directly threatened power nor did he advocate doing anything about what he was denouncing — except “debating” it. As long as that was the case, Greenwald would be free as a bird. So it has been to this day.

        Yeah, this is why he’s so big on ‘debate’ and why he did everything he could to insure that the Snowden Affair amounted to no more. It keeps him in the limelight, in the money and out of jail. It’s theatre, not politics, and comes with a very thick layer of system legitimizing, which is, I think, the most important thing. These icons can demonstrate the abuses of state and corporate power til the cows come home, but they must never ever say explicitly that the system is illegitimate or impervious to reform. There will be hell to pay if they ever do.

    • pops says:

      i’m with you – chomsky ain’t no voice or force for the kind of change i’d like to see and experience, but to state that the above quote describes his method and not the very system he’s spent his life analyzing seems to me to be in bad faith. that he (without knowing it) plays a critical part in the success of that m.o. betrays blind spots, not cunning.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        Actually, I think it can be both: an accurate description of the system he’s analyzing and criticizing as well as an accurate description of his role within it. Do you honestly think someone who has spent as many decades as Chomsky has in the rarefied atmosphere of MIT’s tenured faculty lacks cunning? You’re kidding, right? Right???? 😉

      • pops says:

        i dunno, Ché Pasa. the m.o. above requires a duplicitous, if not malicious, will to power. i just don’t think chomsky capable of it. i believe he’s been allowed to stay in the game as long as he has, in part, precisely because he lacks these character traits. (no, i don’t know him personally and i’ve only seen him in person a few times.)

      • Tarzie says:

        His own analysis would suggest it’s unconscious, though he did allow for media people who ‘play the system like a drum’, enmeshed in the game but taking occasional opportunities to inject more subversive things into the mix. Chomsky could see himself as this type. His motives really aren’t that important, though. Function is the same regardless.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        I think I just have a much more jaundiced view of academic polemicists than y’all, especially when it comes to Chomsky — who I believe is fully aware of his position on the left-most bulwark of permitted opinion and dissent.

        When you analyze what he’s written and said, he’s not all that “left” in any case. Certainly he allows nothing revolutionary to intrude, nor does he ever write or say anything that can severely discomode those interests he serves: MIT for example, and the interests MIT serve? I simply can’t accept the notion that Chomsky is a naif or unconscious of his role.

        In effect, he not only bulwarks dissent on the left, his works serve as advice to the PTB on how to manage public perception of their routinely deplorable actions.

        This is a role I have little doubt Greenwald intends to inherit.

      • thedoctorisinthehouse says:

        to che.
        yeah chomsky could truly be as cynical a white collar worker as any and it’s only his heroic town crier as fiery preacher role that has us blinded. Most office politics are substantively about anything except challenging the system so they’re nakedly self evident. When a nerd brands himself a fighter of empire, it seems sincere as we imagine that kind of talk never flies in any workplace. Except in academia, “fight the power” (with soft jargon and mind numbing, soul crushing repetition) is almost a requirement in the humanities. Question everything just so, enough to keep yourself busy questioning.

        I suspect that, although the function is the same whether intended or by the nature of the beast, these gabbers know they blow a horn to sell music to the well meaning crowds, of infinite patience and no material expectations.

        We are almost working to keep them fat, while we play dumb and pretend their entertainment is what we want. We are our own cointelpro.

  6. For some reason when I think of middle class hand wringing dissent I think of this scene from American Psycho.

  7. Jeff Nguyen says:

    I don’t know much Chomsky but I do know all I need to know about the “spectrum of acceptable opinion” from Freire who said, “If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed.” Freire was jailed for 70 days following a coup, exiled from Brazil for 15 years, an outspoken critic of the IMF’s influence in South America and joined the Worker’s Party upon his return to Brazil. Exactly how long was Chomsky exiled from MIT?

    Meanwhile, let’s keep letting the dominant/power culture set the pace for when we get the privilege of viewing documents obtained in a shroud that belong to we the people. Heck, maybe Greenwald should just go ahead and spread it out over a few decades…my kids do have short attention spans.

  8. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Greenwald omits line about imperialism and its relation to capitalism:

    This is from his post on the RT journalist:

    As political science professor As’ad AbuKhalil put it yesterday after listening to Obama’s condemnation of Russia:

    This is what imperialism is all about: to give yourself the right to intervene in far away places and to project power in every corner of the globe, including the arctic, and to disregard world public opinion. Imperialism is to have the temerity to lecture and hector Russia about the evils of intervention in the affairs of its neighbor, Ukraine, where the U.S. and EU are blatantly conspiring against Russian interests there. . . . Obama sends drones around the world to kill people, including Americans, who have never been put on trial and yet sounds like a peaceful dove when offering lessons to Russia. Basically the U.S. is objecting to attempts by Russia to play a smaller and even far less aggressive version of its own world game.

    This is AbuKhalil’s actual quote:

    This is what imperialism is all about: to give yourself the right to intervene in far away places and to project power in every corner of the globe, including the arctic, and to disregard world public opinion. Imperialism is to have the temerity to lecture and hector Russia about the evils of intervention in the affairs of its neighbor, Ukraine, where the US and EU are blatantly conspiring against Russian interests there. Imperialism is not only, the highest stage of capitalism, it is the worst and most savage forms of capitalism. Obama sends drones around the world to kill people, including Americans, who have never been put on trial and yet sounds like a peaceful dove when offering lessons to Russia. Basically the US is objecting to attempts by Russia to play a smaller and even far less aggressive version of its own world game. Obama has not noticed what century we are living in.

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s an interesting find.

      Even with the omission the quote’s stronger generally than I would have expected from GG, though.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        I agree, I don’t think he ever or if he does only rarely makes references using the word imperialism outright, but try finding anything he’s written with the word “capitalism” in it at all. He usually only uses the term with one of the pro-cappie apologist words in front of it, like “crony” capitalism, or “corporate” capitalism or whatever. That’s the cover capitalists use to defend the system.

    • That’s a really good find, as I think the combination of the quote and the elision illustrates one of the problems with Greenwald. He engages in some strident anti imperialistic rhetoric, but it’s largely (or perhaps totally) aimed at a decadent, hypocritical political class that is behaving outside of some sort of normative peaceful state, operating outside of any larger context or system, and amenable to reform.

      Missing is any larger systemic critique, certainly not economic. I tend to doubt that’s by accident. Where Greenwald stops has the benefit of being easy to understand, it contains a bit of optimism, and isn’t likely to perturb his current or future benefactors. It might even comport with his views. You can see an image of the old Greenwald, the one critical of the “national character” and “collectivist policies” of Latin America, in those ellipses.

      • Tarzie says:

        You can see an image of the old Greenwald, the one critical of the “national character” and “collectivist policies” of Latin America, in those ellipses.

        I had a very similar thought. The rest of your comment is spot on as well. Greenwald is a declinist. Wants to give the system a tune-up, or so it seems.

    • Amanda says:

      “Chomsky is like the gateway drug for uninformed liberals and other disgruntled reactionaries. These people can then parade around pretending to understand political dynamics without getting their hands (or their pretty little minds) dirty with revolutionary analysis and action. For a big helping of this nonsense, refer to any Greenwald comment thread, they are crawling with these jackasses.
      If you’re a confused liberal, my advice is to avoid taking Chomsky, just snort a huge line of MIchael Parenti and call it a day. Confused liberals who read Chomsky usually end up remaining confused liberals.”

      LOL
      Holycrap – that’s about the best shit I’ve heard on the internet this year! Thank you for this, Mr. Goldfish Training Institute. You might’ve just made yourself a new friend for life. =D

      In other news:
      You should be pleased to learn that I am NOT a confused liberal (anymore). Thanks in-part to the helpful perspectives found on this very blog (thanks ohtarzie!)… without which, for example, I might still be operating under the unfortunate impression that Assange really is a friend to whistleblowers (yikes). Indeed, I no longer consider myself a liberal of any stripe whatsoever. You probably misunderstood my comment to be in defense of Chomsky, but rest assured that is not where I was going on that point. I simply have trouble understanding how such an intelligent guy could possibly not realize that he’s got two blatantly conflicting voices in his head at all times. A rather awkward anomaly, indeed… almost like unicorn porn. lol

      Anyway, I love you guys. Just so you know… =)

      -Amanda

  9. Justin says:

    Hello,

    I think Chomsky is emblematic of an even deeper structural deceit than middle class anointed dissent.

    Not him, but he represents and embodies a false sense of how things work.

    People believe all kinds of crazy things, but they still behave the same way.

    The belief persists that our system of governance and violence motors along on ideas, impressions, and awareness.

    Democracy has utterly and demonstrably proven to have no way to deal with things beyond figuring out who should be the dog catcher.

    What is Chomsky symbolic role if it is not to change behavior in any meaningful sense?

    A safety valve for white male privileged self-esteem guilt?

    As for Noam as himself, well, any judgments on that score are really not for us, and its hard to argue with his success.

    Best,

    MUG

    • Tarzie says:

      Was with you, halfway anyway, til you got to this:

      As for Noam as himself, well, any judgments on that score are really not for us, and its hard to argue with his success.

      Yuck. What’s success got to do with anything?

      Also, I don’t think guilt is an animating feature of most privileged white guys, though by Chomsky’s account it seems to drive him somewhat. I think Chomsky’s symbolic role is on the surface, an avatar of the politically engaged public intellectual.

  10. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I just caught your Twitter with the link to this disgusting piece of trash writing by Greenbacks on his old blog about Latin America. Good fucking lord, what a piece of jaw dropping propaganda. His reactionary and ugly disrespect, make that outright hatred, for non-Americans is sickening. He posted no links to evidence that Chavez’s policies led to widespread poverty. He posted no links noting that Chavez was hugely popular and that the CIA had plans to assassinate Chavez.

    The Bolivarian Revolution clearly scared the crap out of Greenwald. He referred to the protesters as “authoritarian.” How anybody could possibly take this guy seriously after writing such trash is mind-boggling. I was going to bold some of the really horrible parts of this excerpt, but the truth is the entire piece is one big bold piece of trash.

    Greenwald anti-left propaganda.

    There is no denying the fact that much of the world is opposed to the war in Iraq, and Latin America is no exception. That is hardly a surprise. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq war, it is always the case that threats to the national security of one country are going to be taken far more seriously by the people of that country, and far less seriously by the people in other countries.

    The September 11 attacks did not take place in Sao Paolo and Al Qaeda is not declaring war on Peruvians. It is therefore perfectly understandable, but equally irrelevant, that Latin Americans do not perceive the need to change the Middle East as being as critical and urgent as Americans perceive that need to be. It should be axiomatic that the risks posed to American national security will best be understood and appreciated by Americans, not by those in other countries.

    And yet, the American media refuses to understand what American citizens understand quite well: particularly as to matters of American national security, the fact that people in other countries are opposed to what we are doing does not mean that what we are doing is misguided or wrong. That seems like a simple concept to grasp, and yet a central argument of the American media, vividly re-appearing with Bush’s Latin American trip, is that the “people in other countries dislike Bush, therefore he is a bad President.”
    UPDATE Buried in this morning’s New York Times account of the “demonstration” — submerged underneath the initial, typical paragraphs depicting this depraved demonstration as proof that “Bush’s troubles trailed him to an international summit meeting here” — is this passage, which really tells you all you need to know about the protesters and the sentiments motivating them:

    As Mr. Chávez spoke, he was interrupted by chants from the crowd mocking Mr. Bush. Every mention of Fidel Castro, in contrast, was cheered, as were frequent references by Mr. Chávez to his desire to unite all of Latin America in a new wave of socialism.
    . . . .
    The thousands of protesters carried banners calling Mr. Bush a “fascist,” “child-killer” or “genocidal beast,” some with the “s” in his named replaced by a dollar sign or a swastika.

    Fidel Castro has been one of the world’s most repressive, spirt-slaughtering dictators for the last 40 years. Is it really a sign of “trouble” for Bush if a crowd which worships Castro protests against him? Only in the eyes of lazy, mindless reporters would this affirmatively pro-Castro crowd and its behavior be seen as something meaningful, credible and noble.

    UPDATE II: Photographs of the demonstration speak volumes about what really went on there and about the truly odious nature and authoritarian viewpoints of the “protesters.”

    • Tarzie says:

      It’s really quite the mess, isn’t it? On top of the reactionary view of South American leftists, the notion of a media hostile to Bush and friendly to Castro is also most entertaining. But he was only 38.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        A mere stripling youth he was. Just a boy, you know? He just didn’t know!

      • Reilly says:

        And only in his fourth year as a self-described Constitutional law litigator when the abominable Bush v. Gore failed to rouse him from his political slumber. I just don’t understand why Mona has such a difficult time as his cleaner.

    • Reilly says:

      There’s also a fellow named Rob H. (@waitomo11 on twitter) who is relentless in disseminating the links to Greenwald’s ugly history. Lots more skeletons in GG’s closet.

  11. Lorenzo says:

    This whole series has been really illuminating, I’m loving this. Elsewhere in the comments you mentioned possibly crowdsourcing a reading list, which would be a great idea. All your writing on how the margins are mediated really crystallizes a lot of vague notions I’d had before, but I sometimes suspect I’m at a disadvantage of not having read much, if any, political philosophy. I get the impression that a lot of other readers of this blog might be in a similar position.

  12. Crowdsourcing a reading list is a cool idea, as long as we can take the lessons of this blog to heart, and avoid creating new icons, a new list of writers who will “show us the Truth.” I want a multitude of voices with a multitude of perspectives, some of whom disagree.

    For example – and this is NOT my suggested list – former British diplomat Craig Murray, who writes many insightful things about the UK’s foreign policy, recently went off the rails on the Ukraine. So, I’ll ignore him for awhile, and then go back to see what’s up. When Doug Henwood brings Yanis Varoufakis on to talk about European economics, I always learn something. On Occupy, Henwood sounds like a moron. Knowing that, I listen selectively. Louis Proyect wrote interesting stuff on politics and film until Syria happened. I’m not sure he’ll ever pull out of that tailspin, but I check in once in a while. George Monbiot writes heavily researched and clear-eyed stuff about politics and the environment: he also champions nuclear power and says the threat of accidents radiation is exaggerated. Ian Welsh has written insightful, angry, helpful pieces about political and economic events in Canada and the US. He also thinks we ought to spend resources on colonizing other planets. But hell, even George Orwell wrote an opinion piece trashing used bookstores, and another urging that Londoners retain the warm, family tradition of gathering around the in-home coal fire (*cough, cough*).

    My point is that if I read any author long enough, I’m going to find a place where we disagree. I get past that by reflecting on the content of what people write, rather than getting all wrapped up about their reputation.

    But maybe I’m wrong. Old, white, conventional guys like me get a lot of stuff wrong – something else to think about when creating a reading list. 🙂

    • Tarzie says:

      Crowdsourcing a reading list is a cool idea, as long as we can take the lessons of this blog to heart, and avoid creating new icons, a new list of writers who will “show us the Truth.”

      Yeah, if people take away from this that we need better icons, I will have failed, but I don’t think most people will. I also think the relationship most people have with writers outside the margins is different from the cultish relationship people have with icons like Greenwald and Chomsky. Peer pressure to conditionally see more or less of what’s actually there is a feature of their immense popularity. It is genuinely difficult to have an intelligent conversation about Greenwald with many of his followers right now.

      I really doubt anyone feels the same kind of stupefying allegiance to Louis Proyect. Even if some do, a smattering of people here and there in thrall to an obscure Marxist is quite a bit different from a social standpoint than several hundred thousand middle and upper middle class people in thrall to the same celebrity social democrat. If people like Greenwald and Chomsky were obscure — rather than extremely and perniciously influential — I wouldn’t care about them at all.

      My point is that if I read any author long enough, I’m going to find a place where we disagree. I get past that by reflecting on the content of what people write, rather than getting all wrapped up about their reputation.

      Yeah, embracing or rejecting arguments rather than the people making them is the obvious best approach — particularly for people who consider themselves critical — but it’s a hard sell for some reason. U.S. culture doesn’t seem to encourage it.

  13. Michael Griffin says:

    Since Greenwald’s coming up still, maybe this background on his employer may help some, who, like me really didn’t have much of a take on Omidyar’s ethics.
    Or sanity, more to the point. He may be a billionaire, but he’s batshit.
    The Hawai’i Free Press did a piece on him in 2012, in the context of land development in the islands. They quote a Vegas paper on his place in Nevada:

    “In 2003, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar purchased an 11-acre lot on the edge of Seven Hills and began building a massive estate. In 2006, he completed his 48,000-square-foot, 33 bedroom, 36 bath mansion that is assessed at more than $23 million.”

    Someone so out of it, so powerful, like a cartoon character driving a real school bus, full of real children…

    • Tarzie says:

      33 bedrooms. Jesus Fucking Christ.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Meet the new boss … same as the old boss.

        Secret Empire of Resort Developer

        So Greenwald claims he didn’t “research” his boss’ financials. How about his record of avoiding prosecution for human trafficking?

        In March, 2007, Omidyar invested $10M in Maui Land and Pineapple. Steve Case invested $5M. The following year it was revealed that ML&P was a target of the nation’s biggest human trafficking prosecution. Omidyar’s contributions to anti-slavery charities helped him and helped ML&P in avoiding responsibility for the allegations.

        In contrast to the “under the radar” semi-secrecy surrounding his development schemes, Omidyar’s effort to create a progressive image and buy influence is very public. In 2009, Omidyar pledged to distribute $50M via the Hawaii Community Foundation between 2009 and 2014. In 2010 Omidyar launched the Ulupono Initiative to distribute even more payoffs to the non-profit sector. Hungrily, the September 10, 2010 Star-Advertiser wheedled: “When asked how much of their fortune they plan to donate to Hawaii charities, Omidyar said, ‘There’s a lot of need here.'”

        On May 4, 2010, Omidyar launched Civil Beat–perhaps the most complete greenwashing exercise Hawaii has ever seen. Asked about the site in an August, 2012 Honolulu Magazine interview, Beverly Keever explains: “I don’t know if (Omidyar is) making any money. But he’s interested in impact, and he’s had it.”

        And 2012 saw the launch of “Omidyar Fellows” a standard old-boy training academy for the next slug of ‘catch the wave’ development pitchmen.

      • Tarzie says:

        Interesting. Surprised the Pando crew hasn’t dug any of this up.

      • Harpfool says:

        I’m a little more interested in the 36 bathrooms and what they might indicate about this guy’s psychology.

  14. Since you slam Chomsky as a millionaire, I must more that Swartz was no pauper. He came from a very privileged background. I’d guess he was far more privileged and wealthy and influential and powerful than Chomsky was in his early 20’s.

    I agree with very small aspects of your critique of Chomsky’s response to Swartz, but not how you leverage that into a far broader and un-founded and ahistorical attack on Chomsky and his role in left intellectual and political circles.

    Were the elites using Chomsky’s critique of US imperialism in Vietnam to control the masses?

    • Tarzie says:

      Since you slam Chomsky as a millionaire…Swartz was no pauper. He came from a very privileged background.

      The problem with icons is they get people like you to turn their brains off. Put aside how much you dearly love Chomsky and just fucking think, ok? Deep breaths…

      It should be obvious that I am comparing what happens to a compliant individual (Chomsky) vs. a non-compliant individual (Swartz). Therefore, how Chomsky and Swartz began in life is entirely beside my point except inasmuch as it usefully demonstrates their radically different trajectories. As I said, Chomsky will die a millionaire and very old. Swartz had been driven into bankruptcy before committing suicide at 26. What part of my obvious point are you missing? Dissidence is punished and compliance is rewarded, even by Chomsky’s own account. Find the exception. Also, Chomsky began life in the upper middle class, not that it matters here.

      Were the elites using Chomsky’s critique of US imperialism in Vietnam to control the masses?

      Chomsky offered his critique of US imperialism in Vietnam before he became an icon. As I have made clear, it is as an icon that Chomsky is useful to power. Nevertheless, since Chomsky didn’t oppose the draft and since there was an antiwar movement in full swing while Chomsky did his Vietnam thing, it would have hardly behooved MIT and its militarist benefactors to fuck with him when he was busily making linguistics more useful to engineers. I never said everything Chomsky does ‘controls the masses’; in fact I specifically stated that to be useful to power, Chomsky has to be appealing to people like you as well. But handwringing over imperialism on its own certainly doesn’t threaten power, any more than other forms of prayer do. That this is not entirely obvious to most middle class lefts is Chomsky’s great legacy.

      I agree with very small aspects of your critique of Chomsky’s response to Swartz, but not how you leverage that into a far broader and un-founded and ahistorical attack on Chomsky and his role in left intellectual and political circles.

      Well, that’s nice, but I’m not done with him yet. If your unstated objections are on par with the ones you’ve offered, I have no grounds to doubt myself. I hope as this series continues you’ll at some point engage in a substantive way. We keep the bar high here and I’m tired of people who argue like children. Grow up or go home.

      • mardy says:

        “I am equally uninterested in appeasing people who think left or anti-authoritarian politics can be in any way reconciled – ever – with shielding influential people from scrutiny.”

        “The problem with icons is they get people like you to turn their brains off. Put aside how much you dearly love Chomsky and just fucking think, ok?”

        This.

        I struggled with over the years with my family and political associates whenever the topic of Obama came up. I got mostly 2 different reactions.

        1. They stop thinking and go into a hypnotic trance of defense… nothing gets through. They begin saying incredibly authoritarian things aren’t aware of it.

        2. With my more educated political associates – they display a level of sophistry that would land them a PR job of their choice – and they aren’t aware it either. They think they’re just being “pragmatic” – whatever that means..

        I had no education (or evidence) but I had a STRONG suspicion that they’re behavior had a lot to do with being enamored with an authority figure. And that their protection of him led them to say things — that I believe — they other wise wouldn’t say under different circumstances. But, they were forced to defend an icon, and subsequently assimilated into his authoritarian views.

        Otherwise liberal people were justifying secrecy and drone killings. It was amazing. Fortunately, for me at the time I was so ignorant of politics that I could see clearly what was happening.

        And these aren’t fringe groups of people – it’s entire swaths of the country who’s critical thinking in some cases literally shut off:

        “The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.”

        “Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

        The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

        “None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged,”
        […]
        “Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.”
        […]
        “Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it,..” — Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds” — http://www.livescience.com/576-democrats-republicans-adept-ignoring-facts-study-finds.html

        These aren’t derivatives of self-aware political operatives like Al Sharpton or Karl Rove. They’re just regular people.

        This has made more cynical than I wished to be. Are people conditioned (through media and official indoctrination – ie. school) with social and cultural mores valuing status and influence – making us easy tools for power? Or are these values innate, primal instinct baked into our DNA to ensure the passing one’s genes? – But none-the-less waiting to be manipulated by media and powerful figures, triggering an authoritarian response when the mythology of who we believe we ourselves to be is scorched with evidence to contrary.

        “This picture of an authoritarian isn’t pretty. How many of these people are there? Zimbardo’s “prison study” suggests that the potential for authoritarianism may be quite high, given the right circumstances. It is estimated that at least 80% of us have prejudices. Hostility (especially the you-are-not-my-equal and I-don’t-care-about-your-type) abounds in the world. Milgram’s study of obedience suggests 65% of us would physically hurt someone if told to do so by an authority…most of us conform to social pressures in dress, in opinions, in behavior. Maybe there are parts of an authoritarian personality inside all of us.” – PsySH

        /rant-screed

      • Tarzie says:

        That study of partisanship is interesting. I think they are describing a variant of what a logician once called ‘Hold Come What May‘, in which people will hold stubbornly to dearly held beliefs, no matter how much evidence you present to the contrary. In the case of hero worship, though, they seem willing to give up cherished beliefs in defense of a revered person. Your observation of how people of different strata manifest this is interesting and resonates with my own experience.

        This all seems akin to religiosity to me and since religiosity is pervasive throughout human culture, I’m inclined to think it’s baked into our genes. However it’s possible that what this kind of thinking and behavior attaches to is more provisional. I would hope that hero worship is an artifact of individualistic culture and therefore subject to cultural modification, but who knows? In any case, I’m sure I will never live to see the end of it. I really hate it. I think it literally makes people dumber.

      • mardy says:

        My intention was not to sound like some pseudo-intellectual. I’m trying to work these things out myself, I’ve never written about these thing before. But this blog has helped me answer questions I’ve been asking for about a year now. Most of it came down to one word: Status consciousness, a concept new to me after coming here – even though I already intuitively understood it’s essence.before finding this blog.

        This is all fascinating to me because I believe there is this prevailing view that authoritarianism has more to do with one’s personal views when in reality has A LOT to do with a persons disposition.

        Authoritarianism cares not for your politics or personal views. It’s implicit. This is all new to me.

        I think this helps explain Greenwald’s and other professed anti-transparency advocates’ behavior when Greenwalds dissonant attitude and behavior is documented. (documentation can’t be rationally discounted) so it triggers a temporary authoritarian response – these people become, quite literally, simple minded: if not only temporarily. I just finished reading about authoritarian traits described in the The Authoritarian Personality by authors psychologist Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson & Sanford

      • babaganusz says:

        mandy (or anyone) –

        After extensive questionnaire research and statistical analysis, Canadian psychologist Bob Altemeyer found in 1981 that only three of the original nine hypothesized components of the model correlated together: authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism. Almeyer added: “The reader familiar with the matter knows that most these criticisms [of the Authoritarian Personality] are over 25 years old, and now they might be considered little more than flaying a dead horse. Unfortunately the flaying is necessary, for the horse is not dead, but still trotting around—in various introductory psychology and developmental psychology textbooks, for example.

        Altemeyer has focused particularly on the right-wing subset of authoritarian mindset

  15. Oelsen says:

    Nice try to analyze and equate religion in economic terms… oh, wait. Yeah.

  16. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Snowden “TED” Talk: “Our economy is not the enemy.” Tell that to the millions in the U.S. at the receiving end of it. But you’re a hero, yeah!

    “I don’t want to hurt our government, I want to help it.” Good to know where your allegiances lie. This makes you useless to the oppressed and their work in liberation movements. After all the genocide, slavery, exploitation, racism, wars, assassinations, poverty, and environmental destruction, thank you for not wanting to hurt our government. You’re a hee-ro!

    “The biggest revelations are yet to come.” Thanks, but weren’t you saying this one month after you released the docs? Will you be saying it again in five years after Greenback has released 4% of the docs, which of course is certainly making progress since we’re now at 1-2% of the docs released. Waiting with bated breath for those “biggest revelations!” Wow!

    • Tarzie says:

      I guess you didn’t get the Greenbacks memo about holding the criticism until you’ve leaked government secrets yourself. You must be one of those #ChickenPseudoRadicals I heard about on Twitter.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Oh shit I keep forgetting what a fucking nobody I am.

        Where do I sign up to be a “government stakeholder.”

    • Ché Pasa says:

      Snowden’s TED talk struck me as a sales pitch for something he can’t describe or demonstrate, it’s just something you’re supposed to know. In your gut. To riff on Tarzie’s point upthread, it was a pitch for religious faith and belief.

      Loved the technology, tho. The set up in Moscow to drive the little robot gizmo around in Toronto must have been something… special. Say, wait, how exactly was that set up set up, anyway? And who did it?

      (Ponder, ponder…)

  17. Winston Wolf says:

    Hi Noam,

    Winston Wolf here…. I solve problems.

    I heard the publicity shield over your Left Gatekeeper role has been penetrated, and people are starting to ask questions….

    They’re starting to wonder if your purpose all along has really been threefold:

    (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.”

    Well, Noam, I don’t think there’s any danger of them going “radical” here, but we do need to move quickly to neutralize any negative publicity from this, and you can do that by using my counter-cultural public relations firm, the same one that used to represent Pierre Omidyar….

    Remember when Pierre was having his own PR problems, trouble presenting himself as a “progressive” over news related to his 48,000-square-foot, 33 bedroom, 36 bath mansion, assessed at more than $23 million.

    Another problem related to his $10 million investment in Maui Land and Pineapple, when it was revealed that ML&P was a target of the nation’s biggest human trafficking prosecution.

    Well Noam, I took care those little problems ….and look at Pierre now…

    I can do the same for you, just give me a call…..

  18. Christine says:

    While Chomsky’s refusal to question the official versions of the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 is well known, what about the Federal Reserve, does anyone know if he’s ever gone on record criticizing the Federal Reserve and their role in supporting Wall Street criminals by manipulating the cycle of debt?

    Remember the 2008 financial crisis, when all we heard from every journalist and politician was “Save the banks! Save them at any price!”

    And then, all of a sudden, from out nowhere, Paulson, Bernanke and the PTB found hundreds of billions to save the banks, and yet for some years, at the least demand from the poor, this same cast of characters always responded by turning their pockets inside out, saying they hadn’t a cent.

    Given that he talks a lot about poverty, did Chomsky our “leading left intellectual” ever go on record attacking either 1)the Federal Reserve cartel 2) the official version of the 2008 GFC, (or questioning where the hundreds of billions came from), considering that journalists and politicians are constantly reminding us that there’s no money for the poor or for middle class programs such as Social Security, etc

    If he did I must have missed that one….

    Chomsky’s formula seems pretty consistent: vaguely blame “America” or use some hackneyed generalization to blame “corporations”, while failing to really examine the ruling elites who pull all the strings…

    But hey, maybe I’m just looking in all the wrong places, maybe I should be searching all those Left gatekeeper publications such as Z magazine, Democracy Now!, The Nation, etc …..and that’s where we’ll find the radical Chomsky AT LAST, using the clearest possible language, and no vague or uncertain terms, to attack the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banksters and the ruling elites….

    Yeah, the place to search for the radical Chomsky, the one who actually threatens the PTB, as opposed to the bought and paid for Left gatekeeper or the pampered MIT intellectual…. must surely be in those progressive magazines that receive their funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment and MacArthur Foundation, etc

    • djh says:

      Late reply, but Chomsky has gone on record in defense of the Federal Reserve, because we need a central bank or we’ll descend into economic chaos blah blah blah.

      Funny position for a self proclaimed “anarchist.”

  19. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Christ, The Intercept is a whole lot of nothingburger. They should rename it The Nothingcept. I’m beginning to think Omidyar hired all these people to sit on their asses and do nothing. Just sweep them off the map and report to him. Maybe “writing” and “reporting” weren’t part of the job description.

    • Tarzie says:

      It is weird how little content there is. Maybe their independence goes so far as not having to write anything. Liliana Segura’s one contribution so far is a hiring announcement and a statement of intentions. GGs clearly putting her front and center now because of all the flack about diversity.

    • Steve says:

      GTI: Totally right on. Haven’t looked at it since its “inception”.

    • john says:

      hey, maybe Jeremy Scahill is working up an in-depth report on Blackwater in Ukraine…whaddaya think?

    • Christine says:

      Two things concerning the fraud known as Jeremy Scahill.

      1) Here’s Max Keiser’s takedown of Scahill.

      Max and Stacy discuss Dirty Wars and ask why Scahill didn’t follow the Dirty Money War or provide the context of the history of dirty wars where nuns and dissidents were thrown out of planes across Latin America over a period of decades from the 1950s.

      (Scahill segment begins at 12:45)

      2) Also look how Jeremy Scahill treated Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix (concerning WMD in Syria) when she provided an alternate story to the official one being told by Washington and its lackeys in the western mainstream media, including Scahill.

      Mother Agnes claimed she had evidence proving that video footage of the deadly chemical attack in Syria was fabricated.

      The nun’s story came at an inconvenient time for the Obama administration, as it tried its best to sell the public on the necessity of yet another war, this time against the government of Syria….

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/05/catholic-nun-mother-agnes-syria-civil-war

      • john says:

        Christine, you didn’t smell the irony? yeah, it is kind of fuggy in here, isn’t it?

      • Christine says:

        Perhaps not the same “irony” you’re referring to, but yes, it IS kind of ironic that the Guardian of media and war propaganda was trying to discredit this nun’s story because it didn’t fit with their cheerleading for war in Syria.

        http://www.palestinechronicle.com/the-guardian-of-what-the-media-and-war-propaganda/#.Uy7khGYexwM

        And it’s also ironic that Scahill appears to be another “gatekeeper” performing a variation on a “limited hangout operation”: ” in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency.”

        What he’s presented so far may be true, and he’s not a fugitive, but he omits and blocks even more implicating information from coming into the light of public scrutiny – as if we should be completely satisfied with what he’s offered in his “investigations”.

        People like him are chosen to reveal what would be discovered anyway, and in this way they control that field in the space of public discourse.

        And now, ladies and gentlemen…. back to our regular programming featuring propagandistic infomercials for intervention in Syria, first the Comcast/GE liberals Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, to be followed by the laptop bombadiers at NPR…..

  20. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Enjoyed your tweeting today!

    The Annals of Greenback: More offensive imperialist blather from the now apparently Russian “correspondent” Glenn Greenback.

    This piece (of shit) was written around the time the imperialist war supporters such as himself were supposedly changing their tune. I say supposedly because I doubt most of them really did, they just saw their beloved Republicans circling the drain and wanted to get off the boat.

    Warning: This is some offensive shit, and not just offensive, but simplistic, undeveloped, lacking any kind of analysis of, well, of anything, and just plain bizarre. His nationalism is offensive, there’s no geopolitical or class analysis attached to it. It’s just one big FAIL. It’s like he pulled the thing out of a junior high textbook on politics. It’s also written in that stilted constipated style that reminds me of an uninformed student trying to get over on the teacher to pull an A.

    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2005/11/myth-of-international-wisdom.html#links

  21. Not without says:

    This is the first I’m hearing of criticism of Chomsky from the left and it’s very interesting. I have heard about it, but this is the first time I’ve read anything as scathing. I suppose there is some substance to what you’ve written here and it does hold up to scrutiny. I’m confused as to the intentions, however. Let me be clear.

    I did in the past look to Chomsky for guidance, as all young leftists do, but is this his fault? I don’t think Chomsky is intentionally misleading us inside the margins you mention, but rather that he lacks the self-awareness to do anything outside of them and can only inspire us to think for ourselves, as you are doing. The way some of these comments read, post-Chomsky leftism talks about him as some kind of nefarious conspiracy theory. Following through with this logic, everything is suspect and it’s impossible to believe anything but what we believe to be our objective reality. I think this is important to discuss and I think it has little to do with Chomsky, unless you consider him dangerous, which I don’t.

    I don’t find you to be dangerous either, but I question the merit in these accusations ONLY in the sense that leftist criticism is about as popular as holocaust denial, and while you can get your audience to think critically, you are sectioning yourself off from a larger part of the whole, and can no longer inhabit the same space. Not that you’d want to hang with Greenwald liberals or whatever, but I’m curious as to what you’re doing from a philosophical standpoint. That’s all I’m observing.

    Thanks for your time and I’ll continue reading.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t think Chomsky is intentionally misleading us inside the margins you mention, but rather that he lacks the self-awareness to do anything outside of them

      The most disappointing thing about these posts is how much chatter they inspire with respect to the motives/intentions of whatever left celebrity I’m discussing. The left’s Manichaean focus on the good or bad essence of particular individuals, as if it discloses how justified we are in criticizing, completely disgusts me at this point. I find it childish and non-analytical, but, of course, it is the inevitable result of an intellectual culture that revolves around beloved icons like Chomsky and Greenwald, and which obviously considers thirty or more years of abject political failure entirely beside the point of assessing just how liberating these beloved icons really are.

      Since I can’t possibly know Chomsky’s motives, and since his actions and his social function are what they are regardless of his motives, the degree to which he deliberately does what he does is of vanishingly small interest to me. My point about these people is how they are the raw material by which elites choose and shape dissidence. We look to Chomsky because we’re encouraged to and we’re encouraged to because, from the standpoint of elites, he is completely harmless. Conspiracy types like to take this a step farther and make of him a full-scale operative. I am not particularly sympathetic, but I also don’t care. I think they have it correct in broad strokes because the end result is managed dissidence. If Chomsky ever colored too far outside the lines, he’d be swiftly dealt with, as all true dissidents are. But, of course, that’s never happened. Chomsky keeps inside the lines, and as we can see from his conduct in relation to Swartz, he’s keen to keep others inside them also.

      Following through with this logic, everything is suspect

      I encourage people to follow through on that logic, because everyone who occupies a place as high as a Chomsky or a Greenwald is suspect. You do not strike at the heart of empire and end up on top of the world. It has never happened, ever. If the system is lavishing a person with rewards, it’s because people in high places are pleased. This should be fucking obvious, but many American adults are really at pains to get to grips with it, despite the violence and repression that has been consistently visited upon true dissidents over the years.

      I think this is important to discuss and I think it has little to do with Chomsky, unless you consider him dangerous, which I don’t.

      Well, I won’t speculate on how individually dangerous I think Chomsky is, but I don’t know how anyone can observe Chomsky’s disgusting whitewash of Aaron Swartz’s persecution side by side with his mischaracterization and repudiation of Swartz’s politics and consider him purely harmless. How, exactly, does this work? I will say without a moment’s hesitation that collectively, public lefts are extremely toxic as gatekeepers and as role models of compliance.

      I question the merit in these accusations ONLY in the sense that leftist criticism is about as popular as holocaust denial, and while you can get your audience to think critically, you are sectioning yourself off from a larger part of the whole, and can no longer inhabit the same space. Not that you’d want to hang with Greenwald liberals or whatever, but I’m curious as to what you’re doing from a philosophical standpoint.

      You’re jumbling up practical merits with philosophical merits here. I don’t think my intentions could be more plain: I am slapping a warning label on these people. They’re not entirely useless, but there is a point at which they produce diminishing returns. You’re right, though, that left on left criticism is not at all popular, and definitely elicits hostility and ostracism. But I can only ride the horse in the direction it goes. Fortunately, I have zero desire to be popular with the disaffected upper middle class liberals that predominate in left political life, and who find my posts so particularly vexing. I am more interested in people who do not place any authority above reproach and those who feel I give shape to their own vague misgivings about anointed left authorities. That these people find my posts useful is reason enough to write them. Unlike Greenwald and Chomsky, I am not trying to get rich.

      • not without says:

        Thanks for your reply.

        I don’t think I can follow you down the line of indignation because I find the treatment of what you call true dissidents typical rather than disgusting, and I think Chomsky’s interpretations of Aaron Swartz are minimal rather than illuminating. I’m only pointing this out to further illustrate why I am confused by your intentions. It’s the vitriol you bring to your accusations that seem misleading. Whatever the reason, people can dismiss you because of it, and it’s of course going to lead to petty personal infighting like you experienced with Greenwald. People are still just people after everything. You know, what is the psychological merit?

        I think you could apply your criticism to other figures and find the same expectations versus disappointment. Chomsky is an intellectual, but Chris Hedges is a moralist. Zizek is a hack. Punk Rock, Robert Anton Wilson, all the left liberal movements “failed” in some way so yeah, you can scrutinize them but I mean I do that anyways and then go to bed with them. I’m only replying in regards to your method, which is in a way asking people to engage in self-deprecation.

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think I can follow you down the line of indignation because I find the treatment of what you call true dissidents typical rather than disgusting.

        That’s interesting because I find it more disgusting by virtue of being typical. In a similar way, I find Chomsky’s dishonest insistence that it’s atypical disgusting too. From my perspective, this disgusting/typical dichotomy you present makes absolutely no sense at all, but it’s chockful of delicious, non-nutritive knowingness, which is the whole point, I guess.

        I think Chomsky’s interpretations of Aaron Swartz are minimal rather than illuminating.

        That’s nice, but why? When a beloved radical icon pisses on the grave of a freshly killed activist on behalf of capital and institutional power I find it both shocking and illuminating, going beyond even what I imagined he was capable of when I started this inquiry. I am mystified by people who shrug at it.

        I think you could apply your criticism to other figures and find the same expectations versus disappointment.

        Yes, indeed I could. My whole point has been that left luminaries can’t be anything but what they are and if they were, they wouldn’t be luminaries. That I provide high-profile examples of what I am talking about rather than an encyclopedia certainly doesn’t undermine this point, so what, exactly, is yours?

        Punk Rock, Robert Anton Wilson, all the left liberal movements “failed” in some way so yeah, you can scrutinize them but I mean I do that anyways and then go to bed with them.

        Let me just say I am truly in awe of you been there/done that savvy knowing knower types, no matter how many times you make common cause with elites — even though, you’re like, totally onto them — and insipidly talk down to those of us who don’t. But funny thing, I am not just writing for you; I am writing for people who may be new to the idea that Chomsky and Greenwald are failures by design and may wish to give it more consideration. Also, if you think I am expressing ‘disappointment’, you’re reading me wrong.

        Whatever the reason, people can dismiss you because of it, and it’s of course going to lead to petty personal infighting like you experienced with Greenwald.

        *Shrug* Jonathan Cook couldn’t have been nicer and he got bullied by GG and the Glennbots nonetheless. The biggest problem with my posts is not my vitriol — which has been wildly exaggerated — but that they’re very hard to argue against. You will search in vain for the thing I’ve gotten wrong about Greenwald and the Snowden spectacle so far. Hence the Greenwald-instigated campaign of smears, mischaracterization and tone-trolling, which is a lot of things, but dismissive isn’t one of them.

        As to in-fighting, for anyone whose politics aim higher than cheesy spectacles and celebrity rebels, Greenwald is an authoritarian reactionary. He and his infantile fans are no more a part of any ‘we’ involving me than Justin Bieber and the Beliebers are. In any event, my lack of deference is part of my message. Tone complaints are about status. The managerial classes that dick up our discourse prefer that low status people know their place. Aggression is a privilege reserved for high status vulgarians like Greenwald. But see, the conventions and hierarchies of a class I mostly despise don’t apply to me, no matter how much members of that class insist that they should.

        On a related note, it would be great if you intelligently engaged with the substance of my posts in future. This worldly wise tone troll is two posts past the recommended allowance.

      • mardy says:

        “The left’s Manichaean focus on the good or bad essence of particular individuals, as if it discloses how justified we are in criticizing, completely disgusts me at this point. I find it childish and non-analytical, but, of course, it is the inevitable result of an intellectual culture that revolves around beloved icons like Chomsky and Greenwald, and which obviously considers thirty or more years of abject political failure entirely beside the point of assessing just how liberating these beloved icons really are.”

        Tarzie, I said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re posts are cathartic. It’s amazing how laser targeted your blog coincides with my views. Someone who actually criticizes the left in a meaningful way. Someone other than Chris Hedges.

        Keep up the work.

      • Christine says:

        @ not without (concerning left on left criticism): “I question the merit in these accusations ONLY in the sense that leftist criticism is about as popular as holocaust denial”

        Well, in order to be popular and stay on the safe side, why don’t we just take every moral, conventional, or conformist discourse (traditionally right-wing discourses), and move them over to the left?

        Or has this already happened, as the left today seems deprived of all political energy?

      • mardy says:

        ” thirty or more years of abject political failure entirely beside the point of assessing just how liberating these beloved icons really are.”

        Please, if you’re interested or have the time, I would love for you to go into detail about this. Along with accompanying articles or books that helped you to develop this line of thinking. I had an epiphany about 2 years ago when I realized that the conversations my 20thing friends and I were having were no different from the conversations our mothers and fathers were having 30 years ago. They were the exact same conversations. And that’s when the cynicism first began setting in.

        Something had gone horribly wrong with the way liberals engage the political process. I knew right then that Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, and others simply didn’t have the answers.

        I remember Glenn Ford writing for example, that, sure it be great to reinstate Glass-Steagall, but it was the power of the financial sector that kicked it in its teeth in the first place, what is going to stop them from doing it again…

        The point hit home. He made it seem almost cosmetic. It was that type of thinking that led me here.

    • diane says:

      Dear Not without [of course you aren’t ‘without,’ that’s certainly fairly obvious]:

      Really?:

      People are still just people after everything.

      What an outrageous and stunningly disingenuous asshole/bot ….whatever.

      And, as regards that vitriol slur: speaking for myself only, I’ve noticed that tho$e who call the $hots (and those who Have the Fourth E$tate Podium to themselves) generally have no vitriolic bile in their belly, a$ thing$ are alway$ going their way.in a world where one is required to have $$$$ depite their lack of ill intent. … Tho$e who call the $hots (and those who Have the Fourth E$tate Podium to themselves) are rarely, if ever, put on the spot – in any way that threatens their ability to literally survive, as is now happening (and has been happening historically) to millions – to defend themselves …..so, of course, they appear to be absent of vitriol [fear and outrage by the ‘no ones’ at the betrayal of them by those they at one time were willing to show equal respect for and listen to].

      • diane says:

        cutting to my ‘chase’: …. “Not without” indeed.

      • Not without says:

        I’m sorry but I’m having trouble understanding your comment. It seems you have taken umbrage at something I said but that your reaction is disproportionate because I didn’t deliberately set out to anger you and yet you are doing that to me here. The irony is compounded by your use of the word disingenuous, which is what I would use to describe someone as indignant as you are over what I couldn’t possibly fathom. I can only assume you once heard the word used to describe yourself and liked the way it sounded.

      • diane says:

        I don’t actually find it necessary to explain in too much more detail to you why your comment:

        People are still just people after everything.

        came off as so blatantly disingenuous, so this will be rather short.

        Clearly, the reality is that… people are just people, when they have money and are not: biologically female, dark persons sans a ton of money, or of a non-wealthy/influential female persuasion.

        Lastly, I’ve certainly been accused of things in life, those which I believe to be true I’ve tried and am trying to correct. I’ve never, ever, been accused of being disingenuous (misleading – willfully and deliberately, and even negligently ignorantly – is my understanding of the common usage of that word). I’m over fifty now, so I would think I would have heard that from someone at this point, if that were the case.

  22. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Chris Hedges: Another liberal who calls himself a socialist. I could no more support Hedges than I could Chomsky, Greenback, or the other capitalist reformists attempting to co-opt radical politics and kick it to the curb.

    Hedges supported Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia, which basically broke the country up into a bunch of shattered right-wing mini-republics where everything is privatized and everybody is poor.

    Hedges believes capitalism has just “lost its way.” He’s like those tired right wing reformists and libertarians parading around in Greenback’s threads insisting that if we could just get back to the “old timey” capitalism, everything would be fine. You know, that capitalism where maybe there weren’t megalo-corporations running shit, but that “old school” capitalism where 8-year-olds were working in factories, there was no minimum wage, no OSHA, no nothing, but the “1%” was still slamming the 99%.

    Then Hedges goes off the rails completely with his black bloc diatribe during Occupy. Oh sure, I’ve always believed the height of maturity is to yell niceties at the filth as they come at you with batons, the height is to take all the shit they throw at you, just lie there while they beat the crap out of you, and while you’re at it, respect private property, don’t break any windows, people!

    That non-violent position is a myth the libs foster because they like to make sure nothing changes, and the liberal-left, like Hedges, are in on it. Reformist drivel. Nonviolence is pro-imperialist.

    No matter how little has changed for the oppressed, these mouthpieces will not change their positions. They would no more espouse a revolutionary politics than the plutocrats would. But nobody seems to wonder why. The liberals have been feeding us the same pablum since practically the turn of the XX century, and you can see how “successful” it’s been for the oppressed.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t pay much attention to Hedges because I think he is very small potatoes. (10k Twitter followers; writes for TruthDig;)

      I think some people advocate non-violence in good faith, though that’s not what he was doing.

      • Lorenzo says:

        I always thought that at least Hedges’s moralism seemed genuine, so much of his writing is seems informed by a Christian pacifism. I don’t spend much time worrying about motivation, either, but I’m curious about what your take on him is, since it sounds like you have a read on him.

  23. I read my first Intercept article since the first few they published and it was kinda interesting. Greenwald quotes Snowden’s legal representative, ACLU’s Ben Wizner:

    He [Snowden] didn’t want and didn’t think that he should have the responsibility to decide which of these documents should be public. He wanted to appeal to the traditions, the institutions, the expertise of the media in helping to make those important judgments. That’s what we want whistleblowers to do. We don’t want them to unilaterally substitute their judgment for everybody else’s. We want them to go through these institutions that funnel and that channel that and have longer experience in making these kinds of decisions.

    I hadn’t seen this before, but it seems pretty clear and instructive. Though I’m not sure who the “we” is referring to, as I’m not convinced that media institutions substituting their judgement for “everybody else’s” is really much better than whistleblowers doing the same. And Greenwald has turned magnanimous in regards to criticisms that head in this direction:

    Now, obviously, anyone is free to agree or disagree with Snowden’s framework for how these materials be handled and reported. I personally think the process of government consultation is often used to suppress newsworthy information, though for the NSA stories I’ve worked on, government arguments to suppress information have been rejected in at least 99% of the cases; I also think non-traditional outlets such as WikiLeaks have done a superior job in many cases with reporting classified documents than government-loyal traditional outlets.

    Obviously. Though isn’t that what this very blog was criticising? And I seem to recall a rather nasty response from Greenwald. Something about jumping off bridges. Yet I can’t quite see an apology or reconciliation in the offing. Still, good to know disagreement has been officially allowed and sanctioned.

    • Tarzie says:

      Greenwald is just shining up his brand with his usual dishonesty. The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson made clear that they tried to anticipate the government’s objections before they even consulted with them, something that, by Rusbridger’s account, they did 100 times while Greeenwald was there. The truth is that Greenwald has been the most subservient of all the The Leak Keepers, not only toeing the line on redactions and withholding, but being the most adamant in defending them and in attempting to establish norms for proper, establishment-friendly whistleblowing.

      Though isn’t that what this very blog was criticising? And I seem to recall a rather nasty response from Greenwald.

      To be fair, Greenwald’s ‘nasty response’ was to a number of objections I’d raised in this post, all of which I still stand by. His reply was over the top, but I don’t see his most recent remarks in The Intercept as contradictory. He’s always paid lip service to Wikileaks, though it’s pure window-dressing at this point.

      What a bore he is, with his long lists. Gotta stop reading this stuff.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        God, he’s such a fucking lecturer. It’s pretty clear he has nothing but contempt for his audience.

        But what’s interesting is that since that site opened, Greenback has had to spend a good deal of time defending the shit they are doing. And I’m all for that. Hell, kill them with attrition. It means they’re threatened by the pushback from commenters, other writers, and websites about their collusion with the government and corporations and about their bullshit non-reporting masquerading as “fearless and adversarial journalism.”

        Froomkin (who appears to be doing much of the “heavy lifting” over at that site) wrote about how a judge compared releasing NSA docs to drunk driving. That’s not “fearless and adversarial” journalism, it’s fluff. It’s nothingburger. It’s the kind of shit that belongs on a society page, like a profile piece. It goes without saying that any Obama admin judge or NSA judge will not be supporting leaks in public statements, and we didn’t need 2,000 words to tell us that almost a year after the release of the docs.

        You’re right, though, I have to stay away too. The place is like a train wreck, I end up rubbernecking way too much.

      • Reilly says:

        What a bore he is, with his long lists.

        His writing goes so far beyond tedium, it’s unhealthy. I almost feel like I need to masturbate simply to register a pulse and ward off torpor after reading one of his interminable sermons.

        @Goldfish Training Institute

        It’s pretty clear he has nothing but contempt for his audience.

        That’s right, because every argument he makes is for himself. He’s America’s pre-eminent sophist and that’s all and everything he is. Everything he writes is from a stage above his audience. When you read Greenwald you are always a groundling.

  24. Webb Traverse (news anchor) says:

    Breaking news! This just in!

    While waiting on government stakeholder permission to view the Snowden documents, responsible journalists at First Look Media’s The Intercept spend up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn on their computers, according to a yet-to-be-released report by multiple U.S. officials.

    When Intercept employees fill all the space on their computer with pornographic images, they download more to CDs and DVDs that accumulate in boxes in the Omidyar Group’s Global offices.

    In one case, the report noted, a responsible journalist tried hundreds of times to access pornographic sites and was denied access, but when he used a flash drive, he successfully bypassed the government stakeholder filter to visit a “significant number” of porn sites.

    Story developing…

  25. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Scahill: Who they [White House} going to call? Pierre?

    LOL. Poor Scahill just keeps stepping in it. Perhaps we’ll see an “intercept” with PO either gagging JS to prevent him from talking to the blogs, or he’ll just get thrown under the bus altogether. Hilarious!

  26. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    @mardy Something had gone horribly wrong with the way liberals engage the political process. I knew right then that Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, and others simply didn’t have the answers.

    I remember Glenn Ford writing for example, that, sure it be great to reinstate Glass-Steagall, but it was the power of the financial sector that kicked it in its teeth in the first place, what is going to stop them from doing it again…

    The point hit home. He made it seem almost cosmetic. It was that type of thinking that led me here.

    Liberals are capitalists. Once you understand that, you realize nothing’s gone wrong. Their tactic is to kneecap true radicalism by pushing for reforms and crumbs thrown out from those in power.

    You can “reform” capitalism all you want but it’s still capitalism. That’s why reformist measures like Glass Steagal and other regs don’t work. As long as the bourgeois capitalists are in power, they have the ability to roll it back or destroy it altogether. Or just ignore it. It’s why programs like Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, student loan programs, OSHA, minimum wage, whatever, anything benefiting the masses, can and are being cut or privatized. Roosevelt’s New Deal was to prevent massive uprisings and larger political movement from the left, it wasn’t because he cared about workers.

    This is why I’m against all these so-called progressive movements that want to maintain the underlying system and work for reforms. We need to stop letting the oppressor set the terms. They’ve BEEN setting the terms and you can see how far that has taken us.

    Now they don’t even try to hide their contempt for the working class. Greece has practically gone up in flames and still their cuts and layoffs and selling off the national assets continues. The U.S. politicians came right out and said “we’re giving a trillion bucks to the banks so get over it.” Obama institutes NDAA, all the spying and covert ops, they cut food stamps by billions in the past couple months — and no pushback for any of it. He’s only talking about raising the minimum wage in recent weeks to push back against the wage protests by fast food workers, to prevent that movement from becoming larger. So Congress might raise the min wage like 25c an hour or something and they hope everybody will take their signs and go home.

    It’s also why shysters like Greenwald should be criticized and revealed for who they are. He champions reformist capitalism, and he’s either too stupid to understand his inadequate analysis of the situation, or he is aware of it (more likely) and lets himself be used by those in power in order to co-opt more radical movement.

    • Tarzie says:

      I am not a reformist myself, but I think the inherent acquiescence to capitalism built into liberal reformism doesn’t explain our current situation entirely. There is a wide variation in what capitalist social democracies have achieved. The US compares very poorly to most of them. We don’t even get crumbs thrown at us.

      To have any kind of meaningful and lasting reform, you need political leverage, which is something the American left has no interest in, or talent for, accumulating.

    • mardy says:

      Thanks for that, Goldfish.

      “all the spying and covert ops, they cut food stamps by billions in the past couple months — and no pushback for any of it.”

      I hope social-psychologists get over their fears and actually do so some scholarly work on why. There’s no way they haven’t notice the learned self helplessness of the American people. Understanding this would go a looong way in helping us fight it.

    • tricia says:

      we don’t have capitalism. what we have is a rigged game the opposite of free markets. if we had the former the banks etc would have been allowed to fail instead they got bailed out and all the losses were stuffed on the people. take walmart as another example. first they benefit from “free trade” allowing them to bring in crap from china etc, and pay little duty. then when they open a new store they get all kinds of local and federal tax breaks etc. then they get around minimum wage, having to pay benefits etc by employing people part time. they pay them so little that most are also on welfare. then they are in with all the regulators, so they are warned in advance about any inspections etc, thus keeping fines etc to a minimum. all these things combined, and there is much more, allow them to undercut the local business who do not get taxpayer subsidies to open their business. this is a small example but between regulations, tax subsidies, and various other gimacks large corporations have an unfair advantage over small businesses and it is no suprise they put them out of business. that is not capitalism. when you start adding up all the taxpayer funded aid to other countries, taxpayer funded defense programs and so on, what you see is corporations are the largerst welfare queens, and it is no suprise there is a revolving door between them and DC.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Well, yes, it is capitalism. It’s the very definition of capitalism. In capitalist countries, the state is an organ that serves the bourgeoisie and protects the extraction of surplus value to increase capital. That’s basic Marxist theory.

      • thedoctorisinthehouse says:

        Regardless of what is “canon” Marxist theory, if it has to encompass the entire economic system it describes or if it can describe subsystems, I *think* Tricia’s point is that the system rigged as it is, puts up a promise that the good and the bad of our system is that it is a kind of free-for-all open market playing field, when it’s just power enforcing corruption.

        By the way, if “capitalism” has to include the government’s alliance with capital, what *does* one call a market where the government does not reinforce large corporations against small?

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        There’s no contradiction in what you are attempting to describe. Accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a minority is the logical outcome of capitalism. It hasn’t been messed around with all that much, the tenets are still the same: profits, markets, private ownership. The “corporate capitalism” stuff is generally used as code for “corruption,” which is still in my view an apologist position for maintaining the status quo.

        Corporatism, crony capitalism, corporate capitalism — they’re just buzzwords propertarians use for their purist ideal-capitalism tainted by evil socialist government (assuming government and capitalists have conflicting interests — you have to be pretty ignorant of history to believe that).

        By definition, the accumulation of capital allows you to influence government as a class thus more and more control over the institutions that protect and control bourgeois interests –> more money = more influence = more media control = more cultural hegemony = more control over police/security/military to protect their interests = more power to manipulate the state to protect cap interests.

        The state and capitalism are intertwined.

      • tricia says:

        I don’t want to get into a back and forth here as it is Tarzie blog. But what i described above is not capitalism. IT might be a perverted definition of it, but it is not it. we in fact have never really had capitalism. so if we are going to say the problem is because of X we should properly define X Why? because most reading about it with little understanding would then think capitalism is the problem. – and most people see capitalism as “free” markets with minimal government intervention, That is not what we have and the last thing we need is for more people who not understanding the issue start asking for more govt intervention.

      • Tarzie says:

        I think you and GTI are agreeing more than you think: you say ‘we’ have never had capitalism, simply because you won’t apply the word ‘capitalism’ to what GT says capitalism inevitably leads to: the capture of the state (and all other mechanisms of control) by capitalists. That no self-described capitalist society has had what you consider capitalism – despite the overwhelming ideological bias for it among elites – lends a lot of weight to GTI’s point, though I don’t profess to have investigated things like ‘left market anarchism‘ very closely.

        Whether or not capitalism can exist without a captive state is the real division between you and GTI. That’s a big topic and in lieu of attempting to hash it out here, I’d prefer you both provide resources for people who might want to look into it.

        I agree with you inasmuch as you mean leftists shouldn’t take free market ideologues at their word, even appropriating their language, when what free market ideologues invariably advocate is socialism of risk and privatization of gain. I think it’s fair to make a distinction between this and a genuine free market — where there’s a level playing field and people really do succeed or fail without state interference — regardless of whether it’s indisputably true that markets of this kind can only exist in theory and regardless of what you think the rational alternative is.

      • tricia says:

        HI tarzie,

        My point was there is a lot of people who do not understand how things work. whatever system we have it is not Capitalism. It is a collusion between big money and govt. My concern is when the wheels finally come off – and they will – govt will be more than happy to hide behind the people and say we agree “capitalism is the problem”. and we will help you solve it. If allowed they will “pretend” to fix it by giving it another name – but problem still there. Bottom line when you have a concentration of power and wealth in a few hands (govt, corps, bankers and fed) regardless of what you call it, the people will always be screwed. When you look at the “mechanics” of communism, socialism, fascism, – how they work at the “power” level they are all the same. how they interact with the people might be different but at the core there is a concentration of power and wealth. In a democracy, how our monetary system works, and who controls it should be the first clue that we also do not have capitalism, and we don’t have democracy either.

      • Tarzie says:

        I think your point would be easier to swallow if you didn’t split hairs over capitalism. That is, if you included it in your list along with “communism, socialism, fascism”, since “at the ‘power’ level”, it doesn’t operate differently either. A socialist will point to failed socialism and say, “that’s not socialism” in exactly the same way you point at US society now and say “that’s not capitalism.” In the absence of real world functioning examples of whatever it is you think these words mean, I’m forced to conclude that you’re both wrong. It seems far more interesting and useful to understand why, at the power level, these things all do end up functioning similarly, instead of haggling over what they look like in some ideal form.

    • thedoctorisinthehouse says:

      You put FDR’s New Deal as a pacification strategy. At the same time, you put privatization as a symptom of rapacious capitalism. Either capitalists are not heeding the tigers they are waking or they are aware that there are no tigers to be woken. I wonder if it was ever thus or if our cultural passivity is something new, something that nurtures show-boaters like Chomsky and other whiny but compliant and apologist public intellectuals.

      The hippies and the civil rights movement may have been a hiccup in an otherwise self pacifying social progression.

      • Tarzie says:

        I wonder if it was ever thus or if our cultural passivity is something new

        This was kind of the point I was making. Capitalists will go as far as they can get away with. Failure is probably baked into reformism, but the anti-reformist position too often ignores how leverage for reform waxes and wanes. It’s a couple decades late to call contemporary American ‘liberalism’ even incrementalist or reformist. It’s far worse. The New Deal arose amidst fear among elites that economic collapse might result in revolution. I think the population is definitely more placated now and would also say that, not only does this passivity ‘nurture show-boaters like Chomsky’, they have a great deal to do with perpetuating it.

    • tricia says:

      tarzie i disagree with you and I am not splitting hairs. I agree with you at the power level they all function the same, and for me there are only a few reasons why, it is the “perception” level that i was initially responding to. Most do not get that at the power level all these systems are the same, and so their understanding of a particular system can be used to manipulate them away from the truth. So, when asked to describe capitalism they will say – markets not government decide, rise and fall on your own etc. My concern is govt will prey on this misunderstanding of what “capitalism” to manipulate the situation and say ” hey that is the problem, it is capitalism and what we need more govt, more intervention, blah, blah). when in reality that is what they have been doing all along and that and not capitalism is the problem.

      sorry if i am not making my point clearly. Words and the meaning people attach to words are very powerful. So if people think a word means X and it is used to explain problem Y when Y is not X, X will be blamed and people will demand we stop doing X to solve Y

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah I see what you mean and I don’t discount it entirely. But I am not anticipating official rejection of capitalism by the PTB any time soon. I also think that there are measures that the state could conceivably take, under the right kind of pressure, that could relieve, rather than aggravate, our current problems. I don’t think state intervention is bad when it responds to leverage from the right people, even if the motivation is to head off more social upheaval.

    • Tarzie says:

      That looks interesting.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        It doesn’t shy away from acknowledging that disco was a reflection of the social movements occurring at the time with gays, women, immigrants, African Americans and reflected an escape from the cynicism of the political landscape and wars at the time.

  27. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    You put FDR’s New Deal as a pacification strategy. At the same time, you put privatization as a symptom of rapacious capitalism. Either capitalists are not heeding the tigers they are waking or they are aware that there are no tigers to be woken.

    That’s basic shit, Marxism 101. Communist Manifesto. It’s the built-in contradictions of capitalism that eventually make it untenable to the masses and will be its downfall. And revolution occurs when the ruling class can no longer maintain control of people who do not want to be controlled and are committed to not being controlled.

  28. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I take “government stakeholders” to mean not only the federales, but the neoliberal power brokers/financiers/private capital owners like Omidyar. If anybody has a “stake” in the government, it would be assholes like Omidyar, the Wall Street bankers, Google/FB execs, etc.

    • Tarzie says:

      You know, I had only bristled at the corporate-speak in that without considering that it may be deliberately more vague than ‘government officials.’ I wonder if he does at least mean contractors like Booz Allen.

  29. GTI:
    “Nonviolence is pro-imperialist.”
    Yeah but so’s violence. Venezuela. Ukraine. Syria.
    Timing is everything, plus the what and who of it.
    Pure-form ideology around the issue is maybe more what you mean there. Neverism.
    Agreed that passivity is too often complicity. But I’ve seen personally, in the day, undercover cops with appropriate cultural costumes, long hair, beards, screaming their heads off about doing some shit or other, in the midst of an otherwise peaceful crowd of protesters. Violent provocateurs aren’t a marginal unusual thing. It’s SOP.
    And it plays so well on the boss media trough-channels, flames, bloodshed. Safety and security in response. And there we go.

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      When I say nonviolence is pro-imp, I’m talking about nonviolent resistance in the context of a liberation movement. Tell me the Iraqis should have just joined hands and sung kumbaya after we invaded their country. Who do those Palestinians think they are picking up arms against their aggressors? What was Assad thinking unleashing the Syrian Army on the CIA backed “rebels?” WTF, Ho Chi Minh got it all wrong in Vietnam!

      There’s a reason our bourgeois government allows us to celebrate MLK and Gandhi but not Ho Chi Minh or the Black Panthers.

      And all violence is definitely not the same. “All violence is wrong.” That’s what the bourgeois want you to believe, they benefit from the violence of the state. They’re interested in narrowing the pool of tactics available – sit-ins, chanting, candlelight vigils. If a movement is not a threat, it can’t change a system that itself is based on violence. The bourgeois state is not some benevolent entity wanting to insure our safety and peacefulness. It’s a violent, murderous regime as you know but the only message they and their apologists condone (as they themselves get more and more violent) is that pacifism is the only tactic that should be used and violence is just so wrong.

      As far as the moles at protests are concerned, mass meetings and large organizations of people have been infiltrated since the beginning of time. Moles and agents provocateur are not really after information per se since non-secret gatherings of people generally don’t hide anything. Their purpose is to instigate you into acting violently or doing something illegal. Nobody involved in leftist peaceful gatherings should be surprised by this, you should just assume your group is targeted by moles, pushing you to verbalize or write something illegal or leaning to violence.

      The only thing you should do if you’re approached by a person who is attempting to get you to act or push for something violent or illegal is to take their picture and report it to your trusted group so the person can be identified in the future..

      There’s a reason revolutionaries in armed struggle trust only their immediate small groups of known comrades. They also don’t go around casually recruiting people or blabbing about what they are doing or want to do.

      There’s plenty of shit that shouldn’t be planned in large meetings. If you’re doing union organizing at your workplace, you don’t want the boss to know. If you’re preparing a civil disobedience blockade, you won’t be advertising that to a general meeting of “progressives” over a potluck discussing a pacifist sit-in. The pigs and their moles cannot infiltrate small groups of militants who are trusted among each other and have (ideally) worked together for years.

      • tricia says:

        the problem with revolutions is that don’t work. things might improve around the margins, but the power structure is often just a change of deck chairs and sometimes those who gain power are worse than those they replace. people might get that group A is abusing them and is corrupt, but until people understand “how” and in what ways our system controlls them they will never successfully achieve more than deck chairs being arranged. I never really read Naom, so i don’t know if he covered it, but if you look at the last several hundred years of history, and especially the last 100 years what is controlling everything is our monetary system which is entwined with our energy system. we have gotten to a point where 4 unelected men controll 70% of the money supply and they effect everything across the globe from the price of rice to real estate. It is too much to explain in this post, but basically when you look at the problems in this world the question that needs to be asked is what are the drivers. what is more scarce – lack of food, or lack of money to buy food? The fact that we are even considering it might be the latter should give one pause for thought. – how can something that has no intrinsic value and is completely made up achieve such power that people starve for the lack of it?

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        the problem with revolutions is that don’t work. things might improve around the margins, but the power structure is often just a change of deck chairs and sometimes those who gain power are worse than those they replace. people might get that group A is abusing them and is corrupt, but until people understand “how” and in what ways our system controls them they will never successfully achieve more than deck chairs being arranged.

        Rather than saying revolutions “don’t work” and it’s just deck chairs moving around, you need to take a more subjective approach and look at the specific material conditions of each movement.

        No matter where a revolution or liberation movement occurs, some people will feel abused and believe leadership is corrupt. The question you need to be asking is which class will be served by those in power and those fueling the struggle? Who is funding the revolutionary actions? Who will benefit? The working class? The investor and business class? U.S. imperialism?

  30. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Yo, Lenny!

    LMAO. It’s a fucking flail over there.

    • Tarzie says:

      Those fuckers censored one of my comments. Fuck them.

      What a fucking racket.

      ‘Bill Hicks’ showed up here once.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        They can’t take the heat.

        That Bill Owen guy got his ass handed to him by Chris Floyd a week ago. He contributes absolutely nothing to “intercept” threads except to run around being Greenwald’s lieutenant.

        I think “surprisingly surprised” is the funniest fucking post I’ve read over there. I was practically on the floor laughing. And LMAO at Lenny Bruce. You would be a great stand-up. Yours is the only interesting post in that thread, for fuck sake.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ha ha. Thanks.

        I was pleased with how that turned out. An op to spit on Glenn and his idiots at the same time. But I have to admit they handed me the jokes.

        What a bunch of dullards. It’s almost sad.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Who the fuck gave “Bill Owen” permission to block you. It’s turned into Red State over there, or Little Green Footballs or whatever those winger sites are. What the hell is the difference.

      • Tarzie says:

        I was wondering what that *blocked* even meant. It never occurred to me that Owen was expressing an admin decision.

        but I have no interest in commenting further there anyway, so long as they’re censoring things. Someone over there asked me why I find Greenwald’s ‘activism’ so objectionable. I am sure that if I answered that in any depth it would never see daylight. It’s amazing that these people claim to be all about ‘debate’ and transparency.

      • LP Steve says:

        Thanks for the reference. I never go to that site, but this was worth it.
        Do you think your “Bill Hicks” was the same guy? I thought yours sounded suspiciously like Oxtrot.

      • Tarzie says:

        I have no idea. I don’t really try to suss out the ‘true’ essence of these malignantly petty weirdos.

  31. diane says:

    Re Noam: some did fine, …most did not. ……a few years back, when my remaining small family and I were viewing kodachrome slides, which my dad had taken ….there was a shot, a close up and personal shot of JFK, during the same time my dad had an apparently not happy period at Boeing, in Seattle, Washington.

    Not to call Noam evil, at all, just to say that there were those who were really fucked and never received the podium he has. Twood be nice if he ever cared to acknowledge that fact (at the very least, allude to it) from his perch …. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  32. diane says:

    It’s great that Yasha Levine and Mark Ames have exposed the techie wage rigging, but then: No commentary, on Pand[er too tECHnocrats]o dAILY (wit trojan female, saracuda[sp?], who never met a female she didn’t tell “buck up”) regarding those unemployed, via software, ‘not techies’ who apparently have been written off …..totally.

    Very disturbing also, from Pando recently: the Bezos as the deserved nooo fourth E$tate Disruptor

    Sarah Lacy [Saracuda, as in Barracuda with a mouth full of predatory teeth – diane] explained why she was excited about Bezos’ acquisition — and why old media might be worried

    that, along with FaceFiend being implied as some heroic entity in the whole wage rigging matter:

    03/30/14, By Mark Ames: Court docs: Google hiked wages to combat “hot, young” Facebook after Sandberg refused to join hiring cartel

    The Bezos and FaceFiend pieces reminded me of the most distasteful and hideously tone deaf piece I ever read from Yasha, at Exiled regarding having to endure some female’s yeast infection scent he took high exception to. One might think that someone with empathy would not mock and shame poverty ridden women, with yeast infections.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yasha Levine and Mark Ames are assholes. This is well-established.

      The best you can hope for with any of these people is that their interests occasionally coincide with your own.

      • diane says:

        at the very least, Yasha and Mark are tone deaf and stunningly patriarchal to those who have faced far harsher day to day realities as them (it truly is the ‘little [venal] things’ in life (repeated over, and over, and over again, …which are deadly and life destroying); those who would never be invited – let alone be paid/funded enough, or have the instantaneou$ web access – to speak for millions who have been absolutely mowed over. Yasha and Mark never explain why they have not allowed, NOR INVITED, ….. those who are suffering more then themselves to put it in their own words, …..first person narrative …..

      • Tarzie says:

        Well, they’ve never really struck me as the most empathic people in the world. These people are not being paid to articulate the pain of the masses.

      • Tarzie says:

        I like that you raise this point of unheard voices in different contexts. So much of what is wrong we only perceive as an absence.

      • diane says:

        no, they certainly are not, for a fact.

      • diane says:

        I like that you raise this point of unheard voices in different contexts.

        I love the way your mind works many times, and also your refusal to bow to Thought Leaders.

        There are millions of unheard voices, mostly darker skinned or elderly (and now even middle aged shoved under a stunning greed train, who have no internet access outside of State Owned Libraries, where they are not allowed to protect their privacy and worse, have to come up with the transportation costs to make it to that library and are severely limited to the time they are allowed to spend on those State Governed, privacy violated ‘puters. Let alone the fact that while they are at that State Owned Library, they are not able to answer their Land Line Phones (since they cannot afford iPhones and Androids) when they are expecting call backs, which now take days and weeks even, regarding their health concerns and outrageous erroneous charges by predatory monopolies (such as PG&E, in California, which incinerated an entire community).

        It is so heart rending that the predominantly white internet commenters never comment on, nor seem to care about those not connected, other than to thoroughly patronize them and presume to speak for them. It seems they presume them to be dim witted, versus the fact that those not connected have at least not have their private communications snooped via GMail, etcetera.

        Speaking of GMail, I am horrified by those who comment on privacy violations and then sport a gmail address to connect them at; especially those who insistently ask why folks appear so so complacent to the hideousness going on. My response to that is: I’d love to share, and fight the violations, but not via your fucking GMail, you fucking lazy ass, hubris filled idiot who can’t be bothered to provide an email address which is not known (verified!) to be SNOOPED.

      • diane says:

        thank you dearest, it is the teeny, yet huge, thoughts and embraces in life, that give one reason to go on, you just touched my deepest core, in that clarifying edit of my frantic ‘text,’ and I love you deeply for it.

        ;0)

  33. Webb Traverse (news anchor) says:

    Breaking News! This just in!

    Glenn Greenbacks responds to critics!

    Yes, GG pays a little visit to Chris Floyd’s blog to respond to critics who believe the Snowden story (the official/MSM line) and the people surrounding him, stink like shit.

    Greenbacks denies that, by insisting on “responsible journalists” as middlemen controlling the leaks, the Snowden narrative (like any false narrative) allows the TPTB to control the parameters of this debate.

    GG also glosses over the fact that over the last 6 months we’ve seen Snowden’s “responsible journalists” align themselves with a billionaire who has funded human trafficking (Maui Land & Pineapple) and a fascist putsch in the Ukraine…

    People who notice things like that have got a negative attitude.

    Instead of being negative, think of all the wonderful things First Look Media will bring us over the next six months!

    Story developing…

    • Tarzie says:

      I am not finding GG’s response over there. If you’re making this up, the point eludes me. Can you provide a link?

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2380-dear-landlord-a-message-from-the-zeitgeist.html#disqus_thread

      That he has to continue to respond to his critics indicates how much he screwed the pooch on all this shit. And he still uses offensive terminology, like “Super Radicals.” He’ll never stop being a bourgeois mouthpiece.

    • Webb Traverse (news anchor) says:

      To give credit where credit is due, most of my comment above was lifted almost verbatim from commenter JSorrentine at the Moon of Alabama blog, Open Thread, May 29, comments #30 and #53

      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/03/open-thread-2014-08.html

      Following is an excerpt (comment #53) which refers to the Rancid Honeytrap during a discussion of Snowden/Omidyar/GG:

      “with the Omidyar/GG dynamic duo creating the good whistleblower/bad whistleblower storyline vis a vis Snowden versus Manning as detailed by Tarzie at Rancid Honeytrap it’s built up a narrative that whisteblowers should be use/trust members of the press to vet leaked info and that “responsible” journos is the legitimate route to go for getting stories out to the public.

      Seriously, we are talking about the CIA/NSA and a host of organizations that are directly fucking responsible for countless murders etc and yet we’re told time and again by these people that the proper route is one that DOESN’T ENDANGER ANY OF THEIR OPERATIONS?!!! Yup, wouldn’t want to slow down the mass-murder/mayhem machine. God forbid.

      Similar to establishing First Look and scooping up a bevy of “progressive” journos – Scahill, Taibbi, Wheeler, etc – it basically creates THE mechanism by which conscientious people will be allowed to spill any other secrets. Gotta secret? Go to Glenn and company. They’ll publish your shit (after a careful vetting and revetting process that will take years but – hey – you can wait, right?”

      Gotta make sure we’re not interfering in the creation of any more murder/mayhem!) In addition, [if] GG and the gang don’t talk about it, why – the “serious” people will tell us – then I’m sure it’s not important cuz look at their journo track record!!

      If something doesn’t get the GG et al “seal of approval” – remember, these guys are depicted as being part of the “radical” set in the US, hold your laughter – then it must be TOTALLY INSANE aka conspiracy city.”

      • Tarzie says:

        That’s quite a good comment. I particularly like this bit:

        remember, these guys are depicted as being part of the “radical” set in the US, hold your laughter

        Thanks!

  34. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    OMG the jokes are writing themselves in Floyd’s comment thread. So far GG’s only “defender” is a right-wing wackjob with a violent streak (that’s an oxymoron, I know).

    Are they distributing a Greenwald talking points playbook – notice they all use the same language “the most important exemplary effective required integrity in the history of the universe jealous smear tactics” and the list goes on. You can’t make this shit up.

    • Tarzie says:

      I know! That gold bug is priceless. Apparently the official instruction to Mona and co is to mostly stand down. Glenn did his usual dump and go. Doubt he’ll be back. Gets harder and harder to be evasive under interrogation without looking suspicious. I think they’re about to just write us off, which makes sense tactically, since he is no match for us argumentatively. I think GG’s vanity just gets the better of him sometimes. Floyd’s disapproval probably stings a little.

      • Dan H says:

        It definitely could be vanity, as he certainly plays a douchebag with gusto. I think its more about keeping and drawing new readers though. As you said, his response is from a template. Its bullshit, but it looks professional and its exceedingly long. The overwhelming majority of Americans literally can’t see through this shit. (And I’m also partial to the idea of a more genetically derived differential ensuring the effectiveness of this method…)

      • Reilly says:

        Sometimes that Greenwald self-parody is so precious and amusing you just want to put your arm around it’s shoulder and laugh say “Never change.” Which it doesn’t. As for vanity, oh, yes, but as for it getting the better of him — well that implies some sort of internal struggle for which I find no evidence.
        Notice GG’s opening paragraph in which he offers an ignoble strawman criticism of himself then proceeds to shame that construct into the shadows with the aggrandized moral giant he knows himself to be. And now read GG’s opening paragraph in a comment to Chris Floyd from two years ago and marvel at the similarities.
        http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2216-breaking-the-glass-beyond-the-cataloguing-of-imperial-evils.html#comment-439420956
        I bookmarked this comment at the time for this specific statement Greenwald made in the second paragraph (my bold):

        I think you see much more intense dissatisfaction with – even anger toward – political and media establishments than one saw even 10 years ago, when people were more or less content with the prevailing order and far less skeptical of it.

        When vanity meets idiocy. The fact that people follow this guy seems to me some sort of sociological phenomenon.

      • Tarzie says:

        . The fact that people follow this guy seems to me some sort of sociological phenomenon.

        Yeah. It’s the worst thing about him: the following. It’s a form of social psychosis.

      • Tarzie says:

        Notice GG’s opening paragraph in which he offers an ignoble strawman criticism of himself then proceeds to shame that construct into the shadows with the aggrandized moral giant he knows himself to be

        This is great stuff. Shoulda left it over at Floyd’s place too.

      • Tarzie says:

        Let me make sure I understand what you mean with that quote: Greenwald is narcissistically speaking about his own stupidity at the time as if it was the norm, completely oblivious to the huge mass movement that developed around that time to resist the impending conquest of Iraq.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious radicals.

        ROTL. You’re fucking killing me.

        He’s either trying to co-opt that word (as somebody who does the bidding of the state on his terms) or trying to deep-six it like the wingnuts do with “liberal” and “socialist.” But hey if you’re pro-Chavez you’re just a dumb unemployed discredited socialist who doesn’t appreciate Bush enough.

        Nice takedown of the enforcer “Kitt.” That chump would follow Greenwald over a cliff. He must not have gotten the GG memo to “keep out! Nobody moves unless I say so!” LOL.

      • Tarzie says:

        He’s either trying to co-opt that word (as somebody who does the bidding of the state on his terms) or trying to deep-six it like the wingnuts do

        There is an almost campaign-like war on radicals going on on Twitter. Two times in one week, members of the Vice squad used ‘up against the wall’ with me sneeringly. And Greenwald has been on this tear since September.

      • Reilly says:

        Greenwald is narcissistically speaking about his own stupidity at the time as if it was the norm, completely oblivious to the huge mass movement that developed around that time to resist the impending conquest of Iraq.

        Absolutely correct. But he’s also disappearing the history of dissent before that time, as if dissent only began when Greenwald became conscious of it. And when you take into account the context of his assertion, contra Floyd, that things are getting better, and this quote from the end of the paragraph; “…I think the prevelance of alternative viewpoints, made possible by the Internet, has played a significant factor in driving that discontent and animating it.” you’re left with the impression that Greenwald is obliquely crediting himself with whatever societal transformation from contentment to disaffection he’s pretended into existence. Basically I translate it into this: Before I became politically aware, very few people were politically aware. I woke up and then I began to help wake the masses.
        And you may have noticed that obliquely crediting himself is one of the staples of Greenwald’s rhetoric, whether he’s holding forth on “real journalism” or “true radicalism” or praising individuals like Chomsky, Ellsberg or Chris Hayes, there’s always a self-referential (and self-reverential) quality to it.

      • Tarzie says:

        Your interpretation is very savvy. I had wondered why he talks as if the internet came after The War In Iraq commenced. But, of course, we know that the internet’s political impact was negligible until 2005, when Glenn took to his blog, and nothing was the same again.

        I guess even I underestimated his narcissism, so kudos. I just can never tell what part of him is narcissistic fool and what part is deliberate charlatan, who just finds certain narratives useful. In any case, he is the perfect avatar of a political culture dominated by ignoramuses for whom phenomena begin at the moment they become aware of them and on which they can project any meaning they like. A completely narcissistic politics from top to bottom.

  35. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Don’t forget about the Supernova Radicals.

  36. Christine says:

    “Nice billionaires”….when I read that one this morning (from a commenter at Chris Floyd’s blog), I almost spit up my coffee.

    Let me get this straight, in the discussion over at CF’s blog, so far it looks like GG’s defenders are:

    one) some moron who actually believes in “nice billionaires”, two) a right wing gold nut and violent wackjob threatening to kill you, and three) an elitist Texas attorney named Carl Kandutsch, whose rich parents not only paid for him to get a law degree, but also a PhD in literature from Yale, yet despite a life of wealth and privilege, he has nothing but contempt for the poor and even sneers at Arthur Silber for (in Kandutsch’s own words): “writing an obscure, whiney blog that almost nobody reads while begging for money.”

    And these are the kind of people defending Greenwald….

    You can’t make this shit up…..

    • Tarzie says:

      I have to say I am genuinely shocked by how lame the GG faction is over there, and they totally prove my point about his unique appeal to shitstains. That goldbug is a trip.

      I am starting to wonder just how widely supported he is once you remove the journalists and nonprofits that have a material stake in the leak spectacle and kissing his ass. He’s got leverage where it counts, but overall, looks like rank and file couldn’t care less. Floyd’s usual commenters don’t seem invested on either side.

      Pretty sure GG didn’t get whatever he wanted from that visit and will think twice about pulling something like that again. Floyd handed him his ass in the follow up. He truly can’t help being a jerk, so best to just stonewall like all the other celebrity journos rather than feigning accountability and engagement.

  37. Hieroglyph says:

    I’m beginning to bothered by this love of journalism that pervades the journalist class, maybe it’s taken too long. Journalism, surely, isn’t meant to be loved, no more than sewer-cleaning is meant to be loved. Senior journalists seem to like to make speeches (why would a journalist bother to make a speech about their job?) about journalism, to a suitably appreciative middle class audience. If they are trying to pull a nice young student, fair play, but it all looks a bit narcissistic to me. ‘The Future of Journalism’ has to be the dullest, most self-centred title of a speech it’s possible to imagine (outside of a political candidates, of course). The future of journalism appears to be paid hacks writing shit for oligarchs, occassionally doing some good work, then making speeches to gullible Oxbridge students about how they fought the system from the inside. No you didn’t you bell-end, you blew hard on oligarch, every day, but once or twice forgot to thank him.

    Or something like that. The analogy is perhaps a little cruel. My guess is that journalists – unlike politicians, who all seem to be sociopaths – tend to be good and smart people, trying to do a good job. However, such a person may be useful to bad people trying to fuck the world over. And to love journalism for journalism’s sake is not wise, I think. And Wikileaks do everything leaky just so much better.

    • Tarzie says:

      No you didn’t you bell-end, you blew hard on oligarch, every day, but once or twice forgot to thank him.

      Pure gold, Hieroglyph.

      Journalism looks to be taking the place of politics in the imagination of middle class liberal dullards, and journalists are elated with the opportunity to talk endlessly about themselves. I must admit that it was somewhat deft of Snowden to make them the story from the beginning.

  38. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    “Working outside the system” quoted at Socialist conference.

    Yes that was complete and utter pandering. And who cares if it was in his book? His books are based on the premise that we once had a “functioning democracy” that can somehow be “won back” because, well, you know, those “Founders” were basically good (white capitalist merchant class) guys who cared about the peasants. And you know we once really did have “rule of law” although does Greenwald ever actually elucidate when that might have occurred for the working class?

    Maybe we could ask the former Black Panthers about the “rule of law.” The ones that weren’t murdered by the federales I mean. I guess we could have asked Eugene Debs about the rule of law, but he was busy serving a prison sentence for making an antiwar speech in public. What would those union organizers and strikers who were fucking shot on the picket lines back in the early XX century tell us about the rule of law? Let’s ask folks who were the victims of U.S. Apartheid with racial segregation about the rule of law.

    If anybody doesn’t believe Greenwald’s a loathesome class collaborationist, all you have to do is look at his opinions on the “rule of law.” His position on the rule of law shit legitimizes the state and the bourgeois institutions that are used to protect the money class from the masses. Five books and counting? Ten? Who cares?

    And that’s before we even get to the Omidyar shit and this jacked-up Snowden documents game. He was running his rule of law crap for his libertarian and capitalist pals and readers long before Omidyar.

    • Tarzie says:

      All true, and until recently, he barely pretended to be doing anything else. It was his idiotic fans that saw more than met the eye, in the way that so many of them had in ’08 with Obama. But now Glenn is his own tabula rasa, and wants to redefine this bullshit as radical too.

    • Tarzie says:

      I am looking at this wondering how and when I can plagiarize it for a blog post.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        If you’re talking to me, use anything you want. 🙂 You can do anything you want with my comments. No redacting required. :p I’m for spreading messages, not containing them.

    • Ché Pasa says:

      Very nicely put. Greenwald has indeed been advocating for a kind of “law” on behalf of his core constituency — which has always been hard-core libertarian/capitalist/propertarian — but for anyone else? When you follow the thread of his logic, they should be subject to “rule” by those who benefit from “law.”

      Indeed, his whole “rule of law” schtick has long been one of Greenwald’s more toxic tropes because he never quite gets to the point of discussing “rule of law” for whom, under what conditions and for what purpose. One is just supposed to assume what he means by “rule of law,” and that somehow he is fostering some ideal of equal justice — or even social and economic justice (ha) — and whatnot, when that’s not what he’s saying or advocating at all.

      What he’s done at the Socialism conferences is what he’s done wherever he goes, he’s injecting his poison into the proceedings. That’s certainly what happened at Chris Floyd’s place when he responded to a post that was only tangentially about him with a barrage of irrelevancies, insults and canned defenses that had essentially nothing to do with the discussion at hand or with Chris’s post.

      It’s his way, it’s what he does. And because he does it consistently and usually disruptively and destructively against selected political targets, he’s been getting more and more accolades and remuneration from billionaires and the establishment they own. It’s what he’s been after all along.

      • Reilly says:

        One is just supposed to assume what he means by “rule of law,” and that somehow he is fostering some ideal of equal justice — or even social and economic justice (ha) — and whatnot, when that’s not what he’s saying or advocating at all.

        And of course not holding himself under the burden of even that limited ideal. A few years ago his latest book, With Liberty And Justice For Some, came out and Greenwald made a point, in his own writing about the book and every interview he did about it, of hammering home the inherent corruption of our “two-tiered justice system” bifurcated according to “haves” and “have-nots.”
        Salon sponsored his book tour, which was open to the public, but for the San Francisco stop (and maybe others) Salon offered “Preferred seating and a private reception with Glenn for Salon Core members.” Salon Core being a special paid subscription membership. So on the one hand we have Greenwald railing against a two-tiered system rigged against the “have-nots” and on the other hand we have Salon conducting a book tour stop with two-tiered seating featuring preferred accommodations and special access for the “haves”. Greenwald most likely didn’t initiate the set up but he certainly was aware of it and could have squashed it — if only he was capable of recognizing that the full-grown corruption of class division begins from small seeds.
        At any rate I walked to the event, which was in a surprisingly small room, and saw the empty reserved seats in front of the podium remain empty as people filled up the other seats and then took standing room only positions along the wall and sat in the wings on the floor until the caretakers put up a sign that the room had reached capacity — at which time some of the reserved seats were still vacant. And at which time I left. Unfortunately I doubt any of the audience saw the irony any more than Greenwald did. Here’s the Salon invitation:
        http://www.salon.com/salon_presents_glenn_greenwald/
        (BTW, Che, I remember you from the old days at Salon, before Greenwald’s blog was overrun with fawning cultists. I visited your blog recently after seeing you here, but my computer keeps freezing up when I scroll past a certain point. It could be on my end, but I don’t experience that elsewhere.)

      • Ché Pasa says:

        Hey Reilly,
        I’m sure you do understand what Greenwald means by “rule of law,” and it’s not what most people might think it is. His Constitutional fetishism leads to even more hideous levels of institutionalized injustice than he describes in “Liberty and Justice for Some.”

        And yes, of course, a “two-tier” attendance structure for his book tour lectures, whether sponsored by Salon or some other, fits right in to the classist conception of the [Constitutional] “rule of law” he advocates.

        [As for your difficulties at my site, I’m pretty sure its due to issues regarding Flash and all the videos that are embedded in the posts. I’ll see if I can adjust it somewhat…]

      • Tarzie says:

        His Constitutional fetishism leads to even more hideous levels of institutionalized injustice than he describes in “Liberty and Justice for Some.”

        Could you elaborate on this?

      • Ché Pasa says:

        @Tarzie, re: “Greenwald’s constitutional fetishism”

        It’s an involved topic, and what follows merely scratches the surface:

        The constitution that Greenwald and many of his acolytes and devotees say they hold dear is part of the problem of injustice, not the solution to it. It’s clear enough that Greenwald has no particular problem with a multi-tiered justice system — so long as it is constitutional, which it is, but not, in his view, the way it is implemented right now. If the wrong people/institutions are being subjected to disparate justice, that’s a problem in Greenwaldia. Not the disparate justice itself.

        The constitution is fetishized as Holy Writ. But the constitution itself institutionalized terrible injustices, some of which are still in place, others of which took extraordinary efforts to overcome, and even then were only partially successful. Efforts by lawmakers to curb the sway of the rich and powerful (sway that is protected by the constitution) is subject to particular scorn.

        For example, Greenwald saw McCain/Feingold campaign funding restrictions to be an unacceptable form of disparate justice because it only applied to and limited corporate and union campaign funding. That was, in his view, wrong, because it interfered with the political speech rights of these organizations, rights affirmatively guaranteed by the constitution, no matter what the consequences of protecting those rights might be. This was ACLU’s position as well.

        Greenwald could be persuaded that considerable harm might ensue to the people in general and to the electoral process specifically by removal of campaign funding restrictions, but to him that was of no matter. What mattered was the constitutional protection of free, unfettered, political speech, which, according to him and the Supreme Court in the widely reviled Citizens United decision meant that corporations and unions could spend as they saw fit on political campaigns and not be subjected to silly rules like McCain/Feingold. This was “equal justice under the rule of law” — after all poor people and their organizations are just as free to spend whatever they want on campaigns too, aren’t they?

        There are many other examples of his constitutional fetishism leading to gross injustice and a “rule of law” which serves to oppress rather than to liberate whole classes of people.

        But that’s by design, the way it should be, under the constitution and the rule of law in Greenwaldia.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Nice discussion here on GG’s bogus rule of law. If you fetishize a concept like rule of law or the Constitution, how is that different from fetishing these other ridiculous conceptual tropes like the War on Terror for example. That’s why, to me anyway, it comes down to Greenwald’s complete inability to understand class distinctions, and analysis from that perspective.

        Someone in Floyd’s comments section remarked that Greenwald has no political ideology, no identifiable beliefs, and no understanding of how history shapes politics. And if you understand that the class interests that dominated the American Revolution were bourgeois in nature, you would have trouble defending the Constitution because it defends and protects those same interests.

        That’s why discussions about the rule of law are so meaningless. You’re supposedly referring to a set of principles that give cover to illegitimate institutions in the first place.

        Thomas Jefferson: I wrote “all men are created equal.” Is that okay?
        John Hancock: Yeah, just don’t tell the slaves.
        John Adams: Or the redskins.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m no particular fan of the Constitution, but I find the argument that it was created by slave-owning, white male propertarians non-nutritive. To me the stronger arguments are how it’s oppressive now. GG’s and the ACLU’s 1st Amendment purism, which overwhelmingly benefits privilege, is a good example.

        I think GG is more damned by where he has historically put his 1st Amendment emphasis — white supremacists, torture pornographers, corporations — than by fetishing the amendment itself. I would find his Constitutionalism easier to swallow if, in practice, he didn’t tilt so heavily to the worst kind of riff-raff. There is such a weird culture on the left around free speech that puts his 5-year defense of a true white supremacist shitstain above criticism, as if all 1st Amendment fights move us all forward in the same way. It’s so oblivious to how this shit works. I once argued 1st Amendment history with GG and it was clear he either didn’t know it, or pretended not to. Just wildly distorted it. Communist Party = Ku Klux Klan in the law’s eyes as far as he’s concerned.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        His disgusting support of Citizens United demonstrates perfectly how he is all in on his precious constitutional conceptual principles as opposed to understanding the actual material and political forces taking place.

        Rights of rich billionnaires = rights of petit bourgeois business owner = rights of school teacher = rights of homeless person = rights of prisoners. Everybody’s stake is “equal.” You don’t “discriminate” based on wealth, class, property ownership/lack thereof, material circumstances, or anything else.

      • Tarzie says:

        I used to scoff when people called him a stealth Libertarian but it’s the closest he comes to an ideology.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Right, but II’m saying that to understand how the constitution is being used today rests on the understanding of its original underpinnings. If you read comments by the GG acolytes, so many of them say “this isn’t what the Constitution is supposed to do” or “can we get back to the way it was supposed to be” or whatever. Even GG writes horseshit like that. I’m saying there’s really no understanding there that the constitution was never meant to protect those they think it’s supposed to protect.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, that’s a good point. They are all about the ahistoric declinism. Everything was peachy until Reagan or some shit.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Sorry I’m having trouble responding in the appropriate place but that was for the “non-nutritive” comment. I love your language! :p

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Even better: That was some “toxic shit spew” you wrote!!

      • Tarzie says:

        I would never say that to you.

      • Reilly says:

        Yeah, that’s a good point. They are all about the ahistoric declinism. Everything was peachy until Reagan or some shit.

        Right. In fact one of the main themes of the Greenwald book I mentioned earlier is that “the Ford pardon of Nixon entrenched the corrupt precepts of modern elite immunity.”
        Educated people should have laughed at that, but many of the “professional left” pretended their eyes had just been opened to a great truth.

  39. Peter Pinguid says:

    Topic: Greenwald, Snowden, and the “nice” billionaire

    My name is Peter Pinguid….. a nice biIlionaire who lives on 447 East 52nd Street, in a $130 million Penthouse overlooking the East River off FDR drive.

    Favorite drink: Oval Swarovski Vodka, at $6,922 per Crystal bottle

    Favorite Club: Sebonack Golf Club (in the Hamptons) membership fee $650,000

    Best Friend: Salvadore ”Sal” Gambianco

    As one of the major investment partners with Omidyar Network, Sal also sits on the board of directors of Booz Allen Hamilton Holdings. As head of Omidyar Network’s human capital operations, he’s in charge of the revolving door between Omidyar Network and Booz Allen, shuttling staffers and interns back and forth for intelligence related operations.

    http://www.corbettreport.com/secrets-for-sale-the-greenwaldomidyarnsa-connection/

    Favorite Dissent Gatekeeper publication: used to be The Nation, until the rubes figured out that the “progressive” movement was nothing more than a PR front for rich democrats….. now that shit is passé…… nowadays discriminating billionaires choose The Intercept.

    In the morning if my face is a little puffy I’ll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. Then I pull out my $29,500 Suvarna Bullion iPhone 4s, and read the latest Intercept article….

    While The Intercept pretends to oppose the status quo and the Establishment, of course it’s all BS…. First Look Media is about as threatening as Andy Warhol’s red 1973 portrait of Mao Zedong, which sold for 7.6 million pounds, surpassing the high estimate.

    Like waking up to Warhol’s red Mao painting (which I also own), reading The Intercept gives me a vicarious thrill…

    Back to my morning routine….

    In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub.

    I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

    I pull out my Suvarna Bullion iPhone 4s, dial Omidyar’s number, and first talk him into committing another $10 million to my human trafficking fund…….then ask Pierre about having The Intercept run ads for Raytheon, and he has this to say:

    “Of course your friend at Raytheon can use First Look Media to advertise the Tomahawk Block IV tactical cruise missile. What’s that? It carries W80 nuclear warheads? Fine, Peter. And the Block III conventional variants that carry 1,000lb class warheads, along with the sub-munitions dispenser variant armed with 166 combined-effects bomblets? Sure Peter, no problem, we’ll advertise those as well…

    Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. We’ll run the weapon ads right alongside GG’s articles….

    “Sounds good, sure, lunch at Masa’s then fly my chopper out to Sebonack for a round of golf…”

    • dominique says:

      Just to be clear…that was a parody of the “nice billionaire” horseshit that Glennbots and cultists expect us to believe in…

    • Dan H says:

      Bale is getting a bit long in the tooth. Perhaps Ryan Reynolds could be persuaded to portray your likeness in a modern homage. He has massive appeal with the young female set, guaranteed to grab you some big box office bux.

      • dominique says:

        Nah, who needs cinema when we already have the Pseudo-Event called Omidyar/GG’s Society of the Spectacle….

      • Dan H says:

        Peter did not amass such virtue by ignoring investment opportunities…

      • dominique says:

        You make a good point, however I’m not sure that Ryan Reynolds could pull it off.

      • Dan H says:

        Ryan Gosling has more indie rep, could give the film a grittier appeal while still collaring the teen daughter dollar.

      • dominique says:

        Instead of playing the billionaire, how about about Ryan Gosling as the next whistleblower?

        Because after Snowden, the bar for whistleblowers has been raised VERY high. (is this perhaps one stage of a broader PSYOP strategy?)

        Commenting at Moon of Alabama, JSorrentine writes: “Snowden and his warmed over info pushed other whistleblowers into the background with the media-hyped insistence that he had stolen so much AWESUM intel AND it raised the bar for future whistleblowers in that how can you possibly compete with the cutesy, amazingly well-spoken, kind of slackerish, boy wonder who never fails to mention how much he sacrificed – hot chick, Hawaiian paradise etc. – to keep freedom alive as he pranced around the globe and kept everyone guessing.

        “…to catch the eye of the public the next whistle-blower is going to have to actually be Jason Bourne involved in a fucking shootout on the rooftop of Langley – obviously married to Lady GaGa, natch – who is whisked away – during prime time TV, of course – in the nick of time by a mysterious Malaysian helicopter that disappears forever.”

      • Dan H says:

        How bout a mockumentary following the day to day of Matt Damon. Saving Africa by day, fighting the surveillance state and amnesia by night… a sort of psuedo-reality Batman of our age.

      • dominique says:

        Yes, featuring Adam Sandler as Greenwald, Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame) as Scahill and Antonio Banderas as Omidyar (the guy with a vision)

        Robert Pattinson (Scahill) delivers the film’s prologue:

        “We came. We saw the relationship between journalists and the people they cover. And we kicked its’ ass. Would we ever hold a story if asked to by the White House or the or the Pentagon? Never!

        We are ADVERSARIAL journalists. We’re not making any deals, especially no secret deals.

        Pierre has a vision. The people in power don’t know what to make of us. With us, because we WANT to be ADVERSARIAL, they don’t know what bat phone to call.

        They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post.

        With us, who you gonna call? Pierre? Glenn?

        BwahaaBwahahaBwahaha! BwahaaBwahahaBwahaha!

        (link to Jeremy Scahill, interviewed by the Daily Beast)

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/26/the-skunk-at-the-oscar-party.html

      • Frank says:

        In the Daily Beast interview, Scahill sounds all excited, like a teenager who just discovered sex, or marijuana….

        Scahill, Greenwald, et al….speak to their readers not only like they’re elementary school children, but like they’re RETARDED school children, willing to believe whatever absurdities they’re told….

      • dominique says:

        In the interview, Scahill sounds like an excited teen whose Daddy (Omidyar) just gave him a wad of money, car keys to the convertable, some KY to go with a pack of condoms, and sent him out to spread his seed….

  40. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Isn’t it possible that Greenwald and his cronies can only milk this spectacle for so long before coming to an impasse? How many movies and books can you send up about these releases given the fickleness of the audiences? As technology and tactics change, won’t some or most documents become irrelevant? (e.g., nobody today would read an article about a program to wiretap land lines or intercept Western Union telegrams and think it was “fearless and adversarial”). This also seems like one of the differences between the Snowden and Manning releases.

    I can envision a point in the future when Greenwald and Poitras won’t be able to give away their “troves” even on Craigslist.

    • Tarzie says:

      The disclosures are already more or less beside the point, I think. The meta-narrative of brave, embattled journalism has always been more important to GG and the fans.

  41. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I nearly fell out of my chair reading this one.

    Fucking gold.

  42. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Trending on Twitter:
    Put stars by it.
    More people caring.

    • Tarzie says:

      Your commentat Floyd’s place sums it up perfectly.

    • Lorenzo says:

      “If you have in hand revelations that you know will actually rouse people to anger and action…could you explain why you have waited 10 months — and might wait a couple more — before releasing these explosive revelations?”

      PRE-ORDER “NO PLACE TO HIDE” BY GLENN GREENWALD NOW AND RECEIVE AMAZON’S PRE-ORDER PRICE OF JUST $17.08! AVAILABLE MAY 13, 2014!

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh pish posh, Lorenzo. Glenn already covered that, right here on this blog:

        Yeah: I know it’s so shocking – and so unusual – that my publisher hyped my book as containing new revelations. Wow, that’s really meaningful…So yes: some of the long-term projects I’m going to do in my book because they take a book to have the space and the time to lay out the case. Only an idiot thinks that a book is a sign of suspicious motives rather than another instrument for spreading ideas.

        TBH I doubt there is going to be anything very new or shocking in the book. Would be very inconsistent with how this has gone so far. I reckon Glenn is having a rough time making it interesting within the constraints he’s clearly operating under

      • Reilly says:

        So yes: some of the long-term projects I’m going to do in my book because they take a book to have the space and the time to lay out the case.

        Yeah, one of the major drawbacks of the internet is the limited space.

  43. mardy says:

    “Yeah, one of the major drawbacks of the internet is the limited space.”

    Ha. Good point.

  44. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Somebody at The Wasteland (sorry, the “Intercept”) suggested that Greenwald can collect his U.S. prizes/rewards by coming in on Pierre’s private jet.

    Wouldn’t that shatter the myth of Danger! Keep Out! Watch For Falling Rocks!

  45. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/glenn-greenwald-return-laura-poitras-snowden_n_5125574.html

    Well, you nailed it when he said he’d be back to pick up his prize.

    • mardy says:

      “The two journalists are sharing the prestigious journalism award with The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill and with Barton Gellman, who has led The Washington Post’s reporting on the NSA documents.”

      You guys are so prescient. The fact the Bart Gellman gets an award makes it pretty clear that it doesn’t take exceptional skill to report on these disclosures. Any reasonably smart journalist could have published.these stories – all it took was access to the leaks – and then here’s your reward. Hording the leaks was a great business move. Because, you know,competition sucks.

      2 polk awards for me — none for you.

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