Rancid Discussion Thread: Blow Me, Rich Dude.

In our last discussion, the wonderful Goldfish Training Institute brought up the whole Chick-Fil-A thing, which, when it was a hot issue, kinda passed me by, in part because I was burned out on First Amendment shit — I learned the hard way that free speech absolutism is a form of social psychosis —  and also because I had briefly fallen under the influence of far too many people who sublimate their disgust with queers or their own queer selves in a half-baked critique of neoliberal identity politics that obnoxiously and rather too obviously restricts itself to queer equality.

Aaaaanyway,  at GTI’s prompting, I came across this quote about Chick-Fil-A on Corey Robin’s blog, which I liked so much it made me dislike Corey Robin less for attracting commenters who say shit this good:

The notion that anyone remotely serious about the condition of the working class would consider for one moment the “rights” of some poor capitalist as ever having been “infringed upon,” much less that some supposed infringement sets a dangerous precedent which must be opposed, is well beyond my comprehension. 

Now I know all the very sensible people are sick of hearing about how Glenn Greenwald vexes me — and I really don’t want this discussion to be all about him —  but if there is a person doing more to rehabilitate oligarchy, I don’t know who it is. There he was last night doing it again (more text below tweets).

This is not to invite another discussion focused on Greenwald, First Look, Snowden etc.. though I am not, of course, averse to contributions along those lines.  A number of us in these parts have noted how the Snowden Affair has many of the trappings of a liberal savior electoral campaign but with a pitch for toxic billionaires swapped in where the usual insipid class war stuff would be.

I want to talk about the selling of oligarchy generally.  How our gaze is directed to rich white guys’ problems and rich white guys’ solutions and the ideological bullshit — like Greenwald’s vulgar , stupid and repellently self-righteous, Constitutionalism, as just one small example — that goes along with it.  The reason why our gaze is so directed is obvious. What interests me are the strategies used to make this happen and how successful they are at getting so many of us — including myself — to play along.

Let it rip.

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131 Responses to Rancid Discussion Thread: Blow Me, Rich Dude.

  1. Lorenzo says:

    In the last few months, a couple of celebrities have come under fire, and the responses really got me thinking about this issue. Whether the field is politics or entertainment, our system is really good at getting people to see the interests of millionaire white guys as contiguous with their own.

    A few months ago, when Alec Baldwin got caught using vile, homophobic slurs for the umpteenth time, I heard a lot of liberals defending him because A) he’s a good Democrat! and B) he was using slurs against a paparazzo, one of the Worst People on Earth! I thought that both reactions were revealing. The former response was interesting, because it was the classic tepid centrist idea that liberals could axiomatically only be part of the solution, never part of the problem—if you’re a Democrat, you get a pass, and don’t have to consider that you might be a shithead. The latter response, about the paparazzi, was weirder though. No one, with the exception of a few millionaire celebrities, will ever encounter a paparazzo in their entire life. Most of us common-folk don’t have an organic reason to have any feelings whatsoever towards the paparazzi, much less hating them in the strongest possible terms. And all this to defend some asshole’s right to use gay-bashing slurs.

    Ditto with the #CancelColbert backlash—a non-white activist called out a millionaire celebrity (and his writing staff of 15 white guys), and most of the internet went and proved that Malcolm X and MLK were right about white liberals being worse than white conservatives. Again, embedded in this is whole call-out and backlash were the same ideas. First, that a liberal white dude is just fine the way he is, and it’s the radical critics who are out of line. Second, and more germane to this conversation, was the idea that a millionaire celebrity representing the interests of the multi-billion dollar Viacom media empire merited the most robust aid and full panoply of reactionary silencing techniques in his defense.

    Oh, the reactionary silencing techniques! Maybe the reason that defenses of millionaire celebrities—be they journalists or entertainers—end up being so reactionary is defending the powerful is reactionary as hell. Everything about our culture primes us to do it—surely they became so because they deserve it, and arrived at their social station through just channels.

    It looks like the further left you move on the spectrum, one just finds different gatekeepers trying to steer you into supporting different rich, powerful entities. To keep you from criticizing the system that creates oligarchs, Left heroes advocate empowering better oligarchs as the solution to our problems. What does it say that Greenbacks and Chomsky both advocate billionaire presidential candidates to “shake up” our corrupt, moribund electoral system? GG whitewashing ghouls like the Kochs or Bloomberg because they have seen fit to momentarily pursue a decent end makes total sense—everything about our society tells us to trust the rich, see them as our betters, and defend them from other little people like us.

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      They appear to have taken a chapter from the playbook of the reactionary wing, who co-opted the pissed off white working class and petit bourgies and steered them into the tea party.

      Liberal imperialists aren’t exactly “left,” but to the oligarchs they are plenty left, and with the so-called intelligence and income of this group, being frustrated and disgruntled petit bourgeois upset with Obama, the risk was they could be pushed even further to the left. So the ruling class found the Kool-Aid that works with this crowd. Or should we say they found a way to get the Kool-Aid into them, through apologists like Greenwald, Maddow, etc. “Would you like cherry or grape with your class collaboration main course.”

      The expression of it through Greenwald though is particularly pernicious because as has been said before he identified as left, or his apologists identified him as left. Another tabula rasa like Obama.

    • Tarzie says:

      Uh oh, I have to put on my manarchist hat here, and sorta depart from you a little on the the #CancelColbert thing. When those things erupt on Twitter, I tend to just disengage altogether, because I invariably feel no particular affinity for either side. Twitter flattens everything into caricatures of actual arguments, so in that particular case you had on one side, predictably, people who couldn’t see that, in addition to satirizing the racism of the Redskins, Colbert was certainly wringing laughs from a racist caricature; on the other, you had a lot of people for whom Dan Snyder must have felt very fucking grateful.

      I also see privilege all the way down in most of those discussions, just to varying degrees, with white people dominating the side of the ostensibly aggrieved as much as they dominate Colbert’s defense. Among the things I find most annoying about this, is how much the ‘good’ white people entirely erase people of color who come down on the ‘wrong’ side of the issue. I noticed this during the Onion ‘cunt’ war as well, in which quite a few African Americans in my timeline clearly thought the Onion’s joke was funny. In the Colbert thing, there really seemed to be quite a few Asian-Americans differing with Suey Park over the issue, but you would have never noticed that from the way white people busily performed their virtue, once again, by announcing their unwillingness to have any opinion but the Asian-American opinion, which, of course, was monolithic, since, as we know, Asian-Americans always speak as one voice. Of course, you can easily take the temperature with a simple search, but white people busily performing their virtue aren’t genuinely interested in hearing from people of color who won’t feed their vanity.

      I don’t find the Suey Parks of the world particularly radical — which is not to say that I think she was wrong — nor was it obvious to me that white liberals were worse than reactionary conservatives, or that white liberals weren’t dominating both sides. I hate more than anything the religious quality of these crusades — because I so very fucking hate the religious quality of the left — and because I detest white people who caricature the shittiness of all other white people so as to demonstrate their own comparative holiness. I see a chasm separating a bunch of probably pretty affluent, pop-culture obsessed, people just getting their indignation on for an evening and a community taking actual steps to drive out a business because the owner is a piece of human garbage who is, in a hundred different ways, entirely at odds with the interests of working people.

      Put another way, I think putting so much emphasis on what Stephen Colbert says and petitioning him to say something different is sort of a sub-species of the overall problem of just letting rich white dudes set all the terms.

      • Lorenzo says:

        Fair enough! I was hesitant to bring it up here, but I definitely saw shades of “let’s rush to protect the interests of this rich dude” coloring the event. In the spirit of lettin’ it rip, and all.

      • Tarzie says:

        You are not wrong to let it rip and I didn’t offer my take to repudiate you so much as to widen the discussion and certainly not to suggest that you were off-topic. My comments kind of overstate things even more than usual because I am lately placing more emphasis on getting half-baked ideas out there for more baking, rather than agonizing over getting everything right. There definitely was a ‘rush to protect the interests of the rich dude’ and I did not dignify the relationship to, say, Chick-Fil-A or Greenwald’s gross Constitutionalism enough in my reply. I think saying the event was not interesting or useful might have left the wrong impression and I have deleted that line because it was not a comment on your introduction of it here. It was a comment on the crusade itself. PLEEZE do not feel censored. I could be full of shit and you are very encouraged to tell me I am. I actually like being told I am full of shit by people I respect more than you might guess.

      • Lorenzo says:

        Aha, WELL IN THAT CASE– no, I do appreciate your letting me know it’s cool! For my part, I don’t comment much, so unless something seems 100% appropriate I’m hesitant to bring it up. Doubly so if I’m in someone else’s comment section and it’s something I suspect everyone’s totally tired of hearing about.

        In the spirit of keeping it ripping, I could be totally full of shit, too. I know how the religious quality of the left places a big role sanctimonious displays, public confessions, etc. I recently moved somewhere non-English speaking, so my sole exposure to the whole fracas was people I follow on Twitter and Facebook friends. My experience didn’t involve hearing a lot of overwrought enactments of virtue, most of the people in my timeline/newsfeed were really damn opposed. That’s why it seemed particularly significant to me–because the response I saw from my perspective was mostly dumb reactionary silencing, coupled with Colbert’s leftish/liberal sacred-cow status. From a different vantage point, the whole thing could’ve looked very different, I’m sure.

      • Tarzie says:

        Obviously when I look at something like #CancelColbert, I’ve got my own confirmation bias going on. My focus is so much on left orthodoxy, that I am sure I miss all the reactionaries out in plain sight. It could be my own confirmation bias that sees silencing going on on both sides, and by that I don’t mean between people of disparate status or race.

        That example also points out the tendency among liberals to issue the ‘one of us’ passes on the flimsiest pretext. So, Suey Park was exhorted to forgive Colbert the racist caricature because of the wonderful excoriating he was doing of Dan Murphy, and all his fine liberalism generally. It’s the erasure of class that makes this ‘one of us’-ing with the Greenwald and Colberts seem reasonable instead of ridiculous. Now even billionaires get the ‘one of us’ pass. Its nuts.

        I wish you felt more liberated to comment. For more serious posts, I am more of a stickler for staying on topic — perhaps too much so — but for these threads, I’d much rather people felt free to say too much rather than too little. I am cool with complete derailments if they’re interesting. And you were entirely on topic anyway. I just interpreted the incident differently, but the more I look at it the more I see your point.

      • thanos says:

        Tarzie, I agree with everything you have to say about the CancelColbert thing. There was this performance of closing ranks on behalf of Park; I had the impression that people on the left who weren’t on board were just choosing to stay silent. I think in the case of public protests and other action that is often a good thing, a decision to pick your battles for the sake of wider solidarity. Twitter gets weird, though, because it’s simultaneously a medium for discussion and for performance.

        But I’m on board with Lorenzo’s last paragraph (which also hits the question of how to organize power on the left without being co-opted, especially concerning finances). What was noticeable but unsurprising was how various MSM venues used the CancelColbert thing as a pivot, which was to take up basically all criticisms of Park and drop them back down from above, always performing this superior mien (if internally incoherent). I’m psychologizing here, but it seems like those essays can impart this position of insulated judgemental perspicacity that is kind of definitive of liberal smugness, and that legitimates not identifying with any particular participants. Even though Twitter is bad in a lot of ways, MSM day-after summaries of this kind of thing always portray these events as a dangerous swarming of the uneducated populist horde. There have been similar MSM reactions to other hashtag trends (mysteriously, these critical reactions are always written about anti-racist ones). People writing in places like the WSJ and the Daily Beast have the opportunity to advance the discourse based on how they rhetorically position the various issues within this (or any) kind of phenomenon, and they consistently choose to frame them in a way that is not so much even critical as it is mocking and scolding.

      • Tarzie says:

        they consistently choose to frame them in a way that is not so much even critical as it is mocking and scolding.

        Yeah, true, and I felt more sympathy for Park as what you’re describing developed. There was an interview on Huffington Post that was just unbelievable. In the midst of patronizingly lecturing Park on what satire is, the interviewer told Park she was stupid.

        MSM day-after summaries of this kind of thing always portray these events as a dangerous swarming of the uneducated

        Yeah, true. I guess, my problem is I wish they were these dangerous swarmings, but they’re not. Just goes to show you how the gatekeepers take no chances. Managing upper middle class recreations like #CancelColbert is really overkill. It’s so antfucky all across the board.

      • crone prince says:

        From my somewhat distant and distanced* perspective, the salient point in this twitterwar seems not to be Parks v. Colbert (celebrity-gazing), brown v. white (divide and conquer), not even the important issue, class. It’s How We Allow Ourselves to Atrophy. Arguing over whether or not a comedy show offends. Really – do we give a fuck? (I use the impersonal “we” here, not referring to the readers here.) It’s a comedy show, for fæn. Turn it off! Be entertained (and informed) by visiting websites like this one, and Arthur Silber’s, say I. Of course the MSM picks up on the CancelColbert debate lite:, it serves their agenda so brilliantly. Getting the whole Leftiness crowd distracted by one tweet referring to one line on a show into which they pour gazillions of labor-hours, a show produced only for the sake of distracting and anesthetizing the left-of-center (“center” now being about where Ronald Reagan stood in the 80’s), a show which in myriad ways hinders social action and stifles meaningful discourse, and which isn’t even all that funny (I mean!) with the exception of the time the fanaticalreligiousfuckofapolitician couldn’t correctly state a single one of the 10 commandments – THAT is the crux of the issue, and it has been a success beyond the wildest dreams of the producers of the show (we’ll leave aside Colbaire’s intentions, as they are no more relevant than Snowden’s).

        Meanwhile the foul beast slouches toward Donetsk, and what brave knight to slay it? Chris Hedges has a good essay (out today on truthdig) about the sore need for a modern-day Tom Paine. If people could contemplate that for an hour, in lieu of obsessing over their own identity-politics-trademarked navel, we might get somewhere.

        On a different note, just in case anyone was feeling upbeat these days, don’t hope for peace to blossom in Nato just because a Norwegian is going to star in the lead role these days. Not only is he just play-acting, but here in Norway the political/social situation is almost more bleak than in the US. Well, equally bad but in different ways. Sorry….

        * distant by virtue of geography, distanced by choice (no Twitter, among other things)

  2. Chris Harlos says:

    Class is the central fact of US society, and Class War its most vicious manifestation. Most Americans will do anything to not consider or discuss it. Keep railing against Oligarchs and their well-paid water carriers. It may be salutary, but if not, entertaining at the least.

  3. popo says:

    i was first introduced to you by mr. silber a little while back. if i remember well the two of you weren’t seeing eye to eye on something, but he had linked to you (might’ve been Twitter) and i eventually found myself staring at your homepage fascinated by what lay there waiting to be seen. the words ‘rancid honeytrap’, the poster image of Querelle waiting for something to happen, another name tarzie – oh tarzie!, and Fassbinder and Genet – cachés un peu partout, all took me by surprise. i was excited to be here. i hadn’t read a line of text yet, but knew i’d clicked into a space i’d be delighted to come back to again and again.

    it quickly became clear i’d found another voice (lucid and uncompromising, much like mr. silber’s) i could turn to in times of ‘quiet desperation’.

    it appears evident to me (as it does to you and most who post here, but unfortunately not so to those – most of them anyway – i share life with) that dissident voices (i don’t consider chomsky/gg/democracynow to be dissident voices) in this country are tolerated to the extent that they do not pose any significant threat to our ruling class. the gg/snowden story poses no threat whatever to democracy inc. in fact, time will tell us that it has led to an increase in state power. they are celebrated to the extent they make real dissent less possible.

    thank you for not letting up on this. your persistence is admirable.

  4. AmishRakeFight says:

    Reading this post, and particularly the comment quoted from Robin’s blog, reminded me of the whole Erik Loomis free speech thing you wrote about a couple years ago. Since you linked to it, I reread those posts. I vaguely remembered a Twitter dialogue between you and Greenwald on the matter and I was able to dig up some of it:

    Now, I don’t intend my comment to focus on Greenwald, I’m just bringing up that conversation for historical context (I’m actually refreshed at this post being an opportunity to NOT discuss Greenbacks for a change).

    Anyway, this event occurred right around the time I first started reading your blog and tweets. Shortly after the exchange above, you came up with a response that has stuck with me ever since, and in the interest of letting it rip, I figured why not revisit it – plus it dovetails nicely with the comment quoted in this post. [I’m paraphrasing here because despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to find the tweets to quote, so apologies in advance]. People were basically hitting you with the argument “Well, today it’s Erik Loomis, tomorrow it could be you.” And you came up with such an excellent response (pissed I can’t find the tweet to quote!), it was something along the lines of “For radicals and other marginalized groups, it’s already me.”

    I think that dovetails perfectly with the comment you quoted about the rights of capitalists. They share the same message. Regardless of whether the issue is free speech, surveillance, or whatever, people who are marginalized or who care about the marginalized are almost obliged to not give a fuck when the “victims” are oligarchs or other privileged assholes who carry water for them.

    This got me thinking about WHY there is such a purism around free speech, Fourth Amendment, etc. I think the best explanation lies with the propensity for liberals/progressives to focus on hypocrisy as if its the cardinal sin. So they make a fuss about free speech infringement, even if it’s Colbert, Erik Loomis, etc., because god-forbid they get accused of being a hypocrite.

    [Reading my finished comment, it seems rather disjointed, but hopefully I conveyed the connection I was aiming for. This is why I don’t blog. Being articulate was never my strength. Thanks for your patience, everyone.]

    • Tarzie says:

      “And you came up with such an excellent response (pissed I can’t find the tweet to quote!), it was something along the lines of “For radicals and other marginalized groups, it’s already me.”

      Yep, that sounds like me. I have my pithy moments.

      • b-psycho says:

        Excellent point re: You Could Be Next talk. Next is Now, even Always.

        As for the search for the Good Billionaire, I find it amusing how liberals can embrace that without cognitive dissonance. If oligarchs run shit then perhaps the libs should cease with the paens to “our representative government” in discussions with anarchists, eh? That boat was a mirage to begin with.

    • Tarzie says:

      The preoccupation with hypocrisy is a topic that keeps coming up. Obviously very helpful to the circumscribed discourse.

    • Jay23 says:

      Dude (dudette?), you are pretty goddamned articulate. Your posts alone are worth the cost of my Tarzie subscription.

  5. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Free speech insistence, or whatever these puritanical civil libertarians are arguing for, is chauvinistic and exceptionalist. It’s pro-imperialist. Call it what it is – it’s a form of oppression.

    Corey Robin isn’t stupid, he could probably wax poetic about the dominant media bourgeois voices in the U.S., he just chooses to side with them.

    The first Greenwald tweet I saw was the Bloomberg one, where like Rancid said in his twitter, he posed it as a question. My first thought on that was he wanted a way to walk it back in case he got pushback. “I asked it as a question, you limited peabrain psychopath!” (Is that 140 characters)

    But he won’t get pushback, the Glennbotics will stand by him.

  6. Cop 223 says:

    Protecting the Oligarchy

    Part 1: Glennbots

    Of all all the fake left admirers he ever met, glennbots were the only ones that aroused a strong affection in GG. These pale, mindless creatures, he saw them as his true loyal followers.

    They seemed like ideal subjects, diligent in service, ready to die for the oligarchy, capable of multiplying vastly within a short span of time.

    Quite apart from their utility value, glennbots afforded an almost ideal object lesson in the classroom on scientific mind control. Any number could be had for virtually nothing, they were perfectly docile and needed neither cages nor compounds, and they were suitable for a variety of experiments in First Look Media brainwashing, such as calculating the exact amount of propaganda that was needed, measuring its effect, and so forth…

    The glennbot could even be used to illustrate the structure and distinctive features of fake left anatomy, such as retrogressive reactionary mutations, and the essential measures which are taken by breeders of propaganda to monitor productivity and selection….

    In the film, we see a glennbot receiving propaganda dispatched by FLM’s Intercept, and depositing it in a sterile tray inside its shallow mind. We see the hatching, the feeding of ravenous little glennbots, the cleaning out of frames, the spinning of thread, spreading the cocoons out on shallow baskets, and….. when a batch is finally done, turning a new army of glennbots loose on the world….

  7. parink says:

    Lisa Simeone said it as well as I can yesterday.

  8. roastyagain says:

    I tend to think all of this circles back to one thing: oligarchy wants to sell itself as having similar problems to the average working class joe, because it’s the single most effective way to flatten class consciousness. Greenwald’s questions is as disingenous as they get: “Is this bad because an oligarch is using his vast wealth to influence political outcomes or good because of the goal?” he asks – and by asking shifts the discussion away from whether the “vast wealth” is a problem in the first place. He’s specifically making the same shift that he has done time and time again, shifting the question away from wealth itself, and making it a question of it’s application.

    I commented to this on twitter a while ago, but the number one thing that focused fascination on celebrities, politicians, and oligarch’s alike does is normalize capitalism as a neutral background to all of these other arguments about the application of wealth, how money influences politics, etc.

    Re-framing the argument to an *application* of wealth is the single most important service that neoliberals and conservatives and libertarians all do – and it’s a sad day when the actual left, as close to non-existent as it is, accepts that as a valid discussion.

    • Tarzie says:

      Is this bad because an oligarch is using his vast wealth to influence political outcomes or good because of the goal?” he asks – and by asking shifts the discussion away from whether the “vast wealth” is a problem in the first place

      Yes!

      the number one thing that focused fascination on celebrities, politicians, and oligarch’s alike does is normalize capitalism as a neutral background to all of these other arguments about the application of wealth, how money influences politics, etc.

      Right again.

      Great comment, roasty. Really good to see you here.

    • Nell says:

      :: by asking shifts the discussion away from whether the “vast wealth” is a problem in the first place.::

      Very like what I tweeted in response to GG’s question: :

      • roastyagain says:

        Yes, this exactly. There’s nothing to me that’s more indicative of establishment thinking then asking the question that Greenwald does. Either he’s being deliberately disingenuous (which is my take on it), or dense to the point of absurdity, but either way it’s not something anyone with any kind of real adversarial relationship with the U.S. specifically, and capitalism generally, would ask. And I’m sure he’d agree that he DOESN’T have any real adversarial feelings towards the U.S. or capitalism in general, just specific quibbles. He just thinks there’s an amorphous realm of non-establishment adversarial journalism that just LOOKS like it’s establishment.

        It’s not any different than Amy Goodman suddenly thickening up in regards to USAID (something Tarzie pointed out to me), or half the other hangers on that suddenly are ok with *this particular billionaire* for that still somehow are radical… not a one willing to admit it’s precisely because of some aspect of the establishment has drawn them in (money, comfort, power, etc).

        Anyway, I could rant on this all night.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m sure he’d agree that he DOESN’T have any real adversarial feelings towards the U.S. or capitalism in general, just specific quibbles.

        Absolutely right. I was thinking today, why do we regard anyone who won’t issue a full-throated rejection of this whole fucking system, allies? I mean, I get tactical alliances. But what are we getting out of this alliance we have with establishment figures like Greenwald? Ok we give him a pass to rehabilitate oligarchy and whitewash history and make lots of money on privatized national secrets and we get what? The occasional diatribe against Obama? Increasingly lame Snowden stories that, if they produce any effect at all, its to increase paranoia in the general public? Why isn’t this relationship at least anguished and contentious, the way its precursor, lesser-evil voting is? I just don’t get the largely uncritical allegiance to this shit.

        Anyway, I could rant on this all night.

        Don’t stop on my account!

      • roastyagain says:

        I think what it comes down to for me personally, what just drives me fucking insane, is the supreme dishonesty of the left in this case (at least in regards to Greenwald’s hanger-ons). I’m probably re-treading old comment grounds here, since I’ve mostly read the posts, but at least the right comes a lot closer to truly just saying “fuck you poors” and not falling over themselves to justify their actions (maybe I’m being too generous with them, I don’t know). I just always come back to Malcolm X saying tongue in cheek, when asked whether he’d vote Goldwater that he’d (paraphrased) prefer him for being honestly racist.

        If you’re going to shill for empire, drop the adversarial trope, it just looks like bad theater.

      • Tarzie says:

        If you’re going to shill for empire, drop the adversarial trope, it just looks like bad theater.

        Yeah, but then it wouldn’t do what it’s supposed to do any more. You and I think it looks like bad theatre, but the people who’ve trolled me for the past nine months clearly don’t, or if they do, they’d prefer to convince themselves otherwise.

        I’m really shocked by how cheaply allegiance to Greenwald has been bought. I kinda get why libertarians love him, but not anyone else.

      • roastyagain says:

        “I’m really shocked by how cheaply allegiance to Greenwald has been bought. I kinda get why libertarians love him, but not anyone else.”

        I agree up to a point, but then I remember a comment that a co-worker of mine made about how if she could meet anyone it would be Bill Gates (it’s always Bill Gates with these people, him or Bono or some radical throwing in Branson) because she was amazed at how he *pulled himself up by his bootstraps* and was now *using his wealth to do so much good*. This is key American mythology stuff here, and it’s understandable (if horrible) coming from my coworker, but from radicals I think its reflecting that deep down they still believe in money as a solution. We all bring our own political baggage with us, this is a reflection of that (either because they’re feeling hopeful post-Snowden/GG, or because they’re terrified of the government, fascism, etc).

        That’s of course not counting the out and out frauds, and there are lots of those too as you’ve run into.

      • Tarzie says:

        but from radicals I think its reflecting that deep down they still believe in money as a solution.

        Then they are simply not radicals. This is what kills me, is political identities that are just all about gestures. They have no analysis, no program, no hard principles. At heart they’re just disaffected liberals.

      • roastyagain says:

        “I was thinking today, why do we regard anyone who won’t issue a full-throated rejection of this whole fucking system, allies? I mean, I get tactical alliances. But what are we getting out of this alliance we have with establishment figures like Greenwald?”

        I totally missed this portion of your comment earlier, absolutely right. Someone on twitter posted up something to the effect that in a sane society anarchists and libertarians would be adversaries, but now they are allies because society has gone insane. While I first found that I was nodding, I started thinking WHY? WHY are we so deferential to libertarians so often. Well, there are tactical reasons I can at least name there for certain things (antiwar primarily). But this breed of neoliberalatarianism that Greenwald et. al seem to be frankensteining together gets us precisely nothing. It’s not (in any real sense) antiwar. It’s not anti-imperial. It’s still centered around capitalism, just shifted towards that Whole Foods guy’s “conscious capitalism”… there’s absolutely fucking nothing there for anyone actually opposed to the system. The only part of the system truly opposed by them is existing media structures, and only inasmuch as they are targeted to be replaced.

      • roastyagain says:

        “Then they are simply not radicals. This is what kills me, is political identities that are just all about gestures. They have no analysis, no program, no hard principles”

        Completely agree.

      • Dan H says:

        “and only inasmuch as they are targeted to be replaced.”

        Ding ding motherfucking ding. As you say, they just want, supposedly, to do it over with morals… making people compete and expecting the rules to hold… pathetic

  9. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Now they’re giving cover to Snowden in that Putin Q&A thing. Shameless.

    • Tarzie says:

      Whatta ya mean? Not following anything like that today.

      Updated: Just looked it up and read up on the interview. But still not sure what you’re talking about. The Glennbots are making excuses for it? I see your point if that’s what you mean. It is pretty shameless the way they’re spinning. Of course the people who call Snowden a hypocrite for standing down on Russia are being entirely consistent in condemning him for this. I don’t like either side here, but Greenwald and Co’s intellectual dishonesty really has no limits.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        Point taken, yes. They didn’t really give cover or come out and cheer about it, I was projecting because I think Snowden’s an imperialist asshole. :p But I kept following tweets and retweets away from Greenwald’s twitter feed and getting more and more red-faced until finally my head exploded onto your website. 🙂

        For the record I’ve never before this website followed anybody on twitter, so it’s a new experience. You said that it sort of flattens out people’s opinions, but in 140 characters you can learn an awful lot about their perspectives.

        Who is Mirtaza Hussain? It looks like he’s on staff for Intercept and he gets retweeted a lot by Greenwald but I had never heard of him before seeing his twitter. Is he like a bourgeois Pakistani reporter. . He used to work for Jazeera it looks like.

        But anyway yeah my bad, but if directly asked I’m sure they’d support Snowden on it.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah Hussain is on staff and prior to that I guess made something of a stir for taking anti-theists like Sam Harris to the woodshed for Islamophobia.

        Seems like a bit of a humanitarian imperialist to me. Really really sucks up to Greenwald.

  10. robertmstahl says:

    The oligarch’s case is made by the fact of asymmetric (complimentary) behavior that rises to this level of incompetence against the backdrop of learning in history, or evolution that becomes tradition, only. Varela said that “All morality is based on tradition.” So, it is tradition we are changing, or is being changed as we attempt to understand what it means to remain structurally coupled to it. Bertrand Russel proved that there has never been structure in civilization, ever. It is because there is a little complexity in nature, but nothing we have ever used in the museum of our history has understood what a little complexity could do. We must resolve this issue.

    A case could be made that the Life Sciences have had nothing to do with Life up until now, but, even that would ignore the criminal motivations of those who, through crime alone, run the world by turning evidence on its head. Any transformation over time is going to include an event that is categorical with an inclusion of some symmetric event integrated with the complimentary, or asymmetric ‘rising’ that is quite different from the notion of the zeitgeist, merely.

    Perhaps the history of mathematics, defined by the categories that exist today and never before, although the fact of events taking place through living, good or bad, is the most descriptive of where we find ourselves in now, makes it easier to put into words what is too hard otherwise, like G. Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form, or Ralph Abraham’s Convergence Math or, even, GUTCP, which is all physical phenomena described by empirical formulas. Ultimately, the psyche behind it is this learning principle of a unity between symmetric and asymmetric productive components in our world, and this cybernetic description is only useful in hindsight, as well. In the sense that hindsight can explain this predicament of oligarchy, as such, it is a maturity if you want to call it something, but that, really, it is an appreciation for development. I believe that development is conversation along the lines of evolution. Furthermore, ‘it’ is the missing subjective component of what it is to be alive in the present, to rise to the cognitive challenge, and even to advance in musical awareness of all, genuine subject matters that oligarchs go in the opposite direction of. Perhaps, a furthering distancing from our unconscious selves is in that notion, if you get what I am playing at, the ‘space’ between the notes, thus the integration of different levels of consciousness, only through conversation, however.

    I am saying is the oligarchical problem is a sad fact in contrast to the fact that living, itself, is policy of being creatures that participate in life vis a vis structural coupling, and, that there is no neutrality. Thus, the catastrophic problems Hannah Arrendt tried to create a discussion about back in an effort to prevent, in the 60s, perhaps summarized with the notion, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has, un-complicatedly against the backdrop of some complication we ignore at our peril, turned into damage control, and has crossed the Red line (rat line?). Deeds, measurements, modelling, these are all the same.

    A facet about conversation, where everything alive is relegated to some context of form in membrane-membrane interactions integrated, and in some way categorical, is beyond the notions of Leibniz’s calculus, past Lewis Carol’s L, I think, but has to do with that one can ‘rise’ in the cognitive act to find what being in nature is as a structural participation of evolution over time, a landscape of history. The oligarchs stand, directly, in the path of that cognition, in the worst possible ways, always maintaining the status quo. What is missing is the embodiment of discovering something new, and, for discovering what is there to begin with, we find these ‘types’ (as Saul Bellow described the general problem) occupying that space, or spacetime if you will, because of the machinery and patterns at their disposal, and really, a contagion. Always, there is an agenda, and I know that, in hindsight, productivity is co-opted, both symmetric and asymmetric (from Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind).

    For the facts about evolution being more than Darwinism which can, and has led to this gestalt, that being where there is a sustainable ecology which may have disappeared to the largest extent, nevertheless, except for some learning principle higher than we have attained at this moment, the ‘blue’ attractor of convergent math, there remains this contest, of sorts, of an intelligence that is in the subjective, and the participatory structural coupling notions that have never, really, filled in what is missing. “We are such stuff as dreams are made of…” seems true enough about our origins, but, “To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour” is more of what the present moment is like. Still, it is a history lesson.

    • Jay23 says:

      That’s some out there stuff man.

      • robertmstahl says:

        Maybe. I do think that the history of learning plus the fact that structure does exist because the universe is unified (think of the 1st law, conservation), makes the notion of a small amount of complexity all the time very realistic, albeit, that there is ‘something’ to rise to. For this history of comprehensiveness missing, or closure, the cultural landscape, as Barrett Brown puts it, A Review of Arts and Letters, is a sitting duck for the motivations due to this lack of distributive law in place. To fall into the abyss a bit in order to make the point, before one learns to surf it is a very difficult thing indeed, but afterward? What if the nature of evolution is such that we have not learned to live, or that we are denied the tendency, or drift involved in order to find out what is past just a good karmic experience, which I maintain is the definition of sustainable ecology (psychology?). Essentially, that is akin to, in a petri dish the size of a planet, the notion of patina’s relationship to glass in a mirror, although ‘life’ is NOT a crystal. I thought this was what I was seeing when I read Tarzie’s article, Passing Noam… Another analogy is that what I am saying is something like a direction if one were cognizant to begin with. After the Iraq invasion, obviously a product of 9/11, after seeing the largest single mass murder in history, the impossible geologic event [sic] in the Bay of Bengal on 12/26/04 and the media play hiding the fact of a nuclear explosion instead of a strike-dip fault (from the late, poisoned, Joe Vialls), after finding out about Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos’ simple explanation of the fact that all viruses grow, multiply, and have unique chemistry that shows up in a centrifuge, BESIDES the AIDS virus, after the price fixing of everything including gold and silver from the beginning of time to support the dollar’s debasing for war, blah blah blah, I have to question if there is anything like direction. What could be harder than this moment, even though, I think it boils down to a little bit of complication, for the total absence of stability. But, life through evolution, is supposed to tend toward stability, nevertheless. Have you seen the latest experiment where Mills lights up a series of LEDs using dark matter, totally pollution free, and cheap cheap cheap?

        http://www.blacklightpower.com/electricity-video/

  11. Dan H says:

    Tech gods – doing it through “innovation”

    fuckin Steve Jobs has two biopics already

    Zuckerberg just wants a girlfriend

    Im predicting a bitcoin freedom epic within three years

  12. Government Stakeholder says:

    In your thoughts you may be reproaching First Look Media or the billionaire oligarch for taking so long to publish the Snowden documents. But that would be wrong, and we want Greenwald, First Look Media and the billionaire oligarch cleared of all blame in your thoughts.

    One of the operating principles of every government stakeholder working on the Snowden documents is that the possibility of error is simply not taken into account. This principle is justified by the excellence of the entire organization and is also necessary if matters are to be discharged with the utmost rapidity.

    So for Greenwald to publish Snowden documents any faster would be impossible without our permission ….he can’t publish the documents, and he can’t ask government stakeholders to work faster, because those departments wouldn’t have answered, since they would have noticed right away that he was investigating the possibility of an error.

    Someone recently asked us about the existence of NSA and White House control agencies supervising the work of the government stakeholders, and suggested that due to these control agencies, the Snowden documents might fail to ever materialize.

    Whoever suggested that is very severe. But multiply your severity by a thousand and it will still be as nothing compared with the severity that the government stakeholders and the billionaire oligarch show toward themselves. Only a total stranger could ask such a question. Are there control agencies? There are only control agencies. Of course they aren’t meant to find errors, in the vulgar sense of that term, since no errors occur, and even if an error does occur, as in your case, who can finally say that it is an error.

  13. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    ^ Great post! :p I love your screen name GS :p

    Notes on Putin-Snowden questioning– in bullet form since I have to run out the door:

    * Snowden’s a fucking imperialist, that alone informs anything he says in public.Anything. That is the point that I missed in the tweets with Hussain-Greenwald-Wheeler (and nice work by Rancid getting in the mud with Wheeler, that n capitalist bullshit she pushes needs to be excoriated)

    Everybody was arguing from an imperialist perspective – if you disliked S’s question to P, you were a security hack/apologist/rube/want to have sex with Obama/whatever. That’s still an imperialist perspective.

    * The interview as far as I know was a domestic audience. Snowden sows seeds of doubt in the Ru public by asking this question. We’re back to: He’s a fucking imperialist!

    * Snowden doesn’t even want NSA retired, he says it should exist in a more modified form, he says if the public is okay with these illegal programs like drones, well then it’s acceptable to him. He’s a fucking imperialist!

    * It’s up to the people of Russia to decide how to deal with any spying programs and what Putin does or doesn’t do. Comparing it to U.S. is whack, apples and oranges, Russia is not imperialist, you can’t compare the two countries.

    And Snowden is a fucking imperialist!

    More later, sorry.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t think the question sowed doubt. I think it was kubuki for both sides. Snowden is not going to risk pissing off Putin while he is in exile there.

      • Silverfish Pithing Consortium says:

        Good call Glenn.

        Or, wait. I mean Tarzie. Glenn apologizes for Snowden, Tarzie rationalizes on Snowden’s behalf. Big difference.

        So, Snowden has to be pro-US-imperialism or he’ll “piss off Putin”?

        Snowden is “in exile” in Russia?

        Yes, it’s obvious you’re not Glenn mostly because your views are entirely different from Glenn’s. He apologizes. You rationalize. HUGE difference.

      • Tarzie says:

        So, Snowden has to be pro-US-imperialism or he’ll “piss off Putin”?

        While I agree with GTI that Snowden is pro-imperialism, I don’t share his assessment of Snowden’s ‘interrogation’ as an imperialist attempt to sow doubt among Russians. I don’t find the idea that Putin wasn’t well aware of the easy question he was going to get at all supportable, because, whether you call it exile or not, Snowden is dependent on Putin’s good graces right now.

        Oxy, I recall the occasional good insight in the midst of all your frothy weirdness, but those days seem to be long passed. Why not put away your trolling shoes and take up something else OR alternatively take up trolling someone else.

    • Government Stakeholder says:

      Thanks, GTI. I always look forward to your comments….

  14. Adam says:

    Since the thread is a little more loosey goosey today, here are my two cents:

    I hate to make it about ol’ Glenn again, although I hope I can say this in a way that allows us to extrapolate out more to what he represents. In my opinion, one of the most egregious offenses of the nü-journalism of Greenwald, Inc. (to borrow from popular music parlance) is the willful blind eye toward issues of race and class, particularly in light of the fact that he has so many young readers. Yes, a handful of his readers make up a despicable cult of trolls that he proudly feeds, but I suspect that many of his non-terrible readers have come to him and his ilk via a more or less honest attempt to understand how the world is broken and what they can do to fix it. How many of Jennifer Rubin’s (to cite the first right wing columnist that popped into my head) regular readers can you say that about? After all, many of Tarzie’s readers (myself included) have admitted to being avid Greenwald fans at some point. Perhaps a program of critique that focuses on the core assumptions about race, class, income inequality, cooperation with imperialist oligarchs, etc. underpinning Greenwald, Inc.’s entire enterprise and (almost) totally ignores his loathsome character and practices would ultimately reach more people.

    I hope no part of my interpretation is too naive.

    • Tarzie says:

      Perhaps a program of critique that focuses on the core assumptions about race, class, income inequality, cooperation with imperialist oligarchs, etc. underpinning Greenwald, Inc.’s entire enterprise and (almost) totally ignores his loathsome character and practices would ultimately reach more people.

      If one really really has read my posts and has no status-based biases about how people of Glenn’s stature should be spoken of and also hasn’t been breathing the twitter farts of deeply stupid, vindictive culty weirdos, they will likely come to the conclusion that Greenwald’s ‘loathesome character and practices’ is a very minor part of the story told here. However, my interest in Glenn is only secondary to his role in the Snowden Leaks, and my interest in both arises from my interest in how left guardians shape and stifle dissent. (Please see ALL the other posts on my blog)

      This is what we have mostly discussed here, though there has been no effort to ‘totally’ ignore his ‘loathsome character and practices’. I can’t imagine how you could talk about his social and political function without touching on his character and practices; I can only say I feel no particular obligation to do that, any more than I (or probably you) would, were my topic Jennifer Rubin. My direct, non-deferential tone is part of my message and a fair number of people like it just fine. The more it pisses off tone trolls, the happier I am, actually.

      As to what has, and has not been, covered here in the way of Greenwald’s ‘core assumptions’, just about everything in your list has been discussed by my readers and I as part of the main discussion which, as I have said, is about his role in the Snowden Spectacle. We have talked about his reactionary politics, his strong libertarian bent, his pro-war/ethnocentric past, his promotional work for oligarchy and how little ‘left’ there seems to be in his ‘left’ politics. Therefore, to be perfectly blunt, I have no idea what your point is.

      I find it extremely odd that in reply to a thread that specifically talks about Glenn’s apparent ‘core assumptions’, and in which you are at liberty to introduce pretty much anything you want, your contribution is simply to complain there has been too little of what this post is about, rather than offering anything usefully on-topic yourself.

      • Adam says:

        Argh, no, there’s been a misunderstanding. In retrospect it does look like I’m complaining, but that’s totally not what I intended. I’ve been reading this blog for over a year and every post resonates with me deeply. I suppose it was just some useless thinking out loud, and although I understand your frustration with “tone trolling” used as a tool to silence dissent and avoid engaging with substantive arguments, that hasn’t kept me from wondering (now and forever in private) what the effect of a different tone would be on people so fixated on it; some of that must have come through without me realizing it.

        As honored as I am to be finally dressed down by you, I can only apologize for the time you waste reading my comments, not the time you spend writing responses or going back and editing them to add extra spice.

      • Tarzie says:

        I can only apologize for the time you waste reading my comments, not the time you spend writing responses or going back and editing them to add extra spice.

        I like getting my words right — because they’re not just for you — but I also take things out. As a matter of fact, I thought my comment to you was too strong, including the part about wasting time. I was pulling things out while you replied.

        Glad, though, that you copped to tone-trolling, even if it was just you unwittingly thinking out loud. Since you brought it up, I think a better question than ‘what the effect of a different tone would be’ is what might have happened if Greenwald had simply answered the difficult questions raised in this post, rather than deliberately mischaracterizing it and siccing his trolls on me. Another question might be, what might have happened if people who dislike these posts and me, had nevertheless characterized them and me fairly on Twitter, or ignored them altogether, instead of subjecting me and their followers to a steady diet of lies and smears?

        Consider the possibility that my tone is secondary. An alibi for people who dislike the disquieting issues I raise most of all. That the legend of my tone is actually exaggerated. People who see my posts described all over the place as “rants”, “tantrums” and me described as “crazy” and “conspiracist” must be shocked when they get here — if they haven’t been put off the trip altogether — to find a lot of standard blog arguments fortified with quotes. The Tarzie legend also completely ignores how civil, almost obsequious, I was when I first started raising these issues, and how in each exchange with Glenn, he was the least civil party. Nevertheless Glenn’s trolls started coming for me with the very first post. Have you not noticed how Glenn behaves toward anyone who presses him with questions he doesn’t like? Have you noticed how his followers take his lead on this? Have you noticed how often others who have had public disagreements with Greenwald mention this phenomenon? Do you think their tone was the problem also?

        Feel free at any time to genuinely add something to the discussion I opened up this thread for. There will be no hard feelings.

  15. walterglass4 says:

    So I realized the other day that with Taibbi’s new book we now have two celebrity left tomes on how elites don’t go to jail (Greenwald’s being the other). I just find this astonishing. Two entire full-length best seller books on how rich people don’t go into the cages they built to entrap and control the rest of us. I haven’t read the Taibbi one but I read the Greenwald one a few years ago – he literally argues that Ford pardoning Nixon created a precedent, like all this just happened yesterday. Like jail was this beautiful idealistic notion until Gerald Fucking Ford freed all the robber barons and slaveowners with the flick of a pen.

    I’m increasingly hyper-conscious of how glorification of journalists is really just obsession with anecdotes that illustrate the inevitable results of how our society is structured. I guess it’s sort of okay, except the ahistorical nature of this analysis diverts us into frankly nonsensical goals like jailing bankers. The only way I see how this could work would be like if a banker was leading you to your cell and then you faked him out and locked him in instead. But the logistics of that just seem really difficult.

    While we’re talking about Bloomberg, did everyone catch this amazing quote from the NYT?

    But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

    What I like about Bloomberg is that he’s not afraid to confirm all the pathologies we assume people as wealthy as he is would suffer from. Most of the super-rich seem to practice at least a modicum of restraint in public, but this guy really seems to possess no fear of pitchforks, and rightly so. I remember a separate NYT story from years ago about how at restaurants he would walk around taking food off random people’s plates without asking if he thought it looked good. But hey, he’s trying to make sure the next school shooter only has seven rounds per clip or whatever, so let’s not be so quick to judge his character and influence.

    • Tarzie says:

      Walter this comment is so dreamy I wish I had written it.

      I’m increasingly hyper-conscious of how glorification of journalists is really just obsession with anecdotes that illustrate the inevitable results of how our society is structured.

      A lot of us have been expressing our concern with the fetishing of journalism and information but this is a particularly insightful way of putting it in that it suggests we’re basically being read the rules again and again and, as you say, it’s coupled with ‘analysis’ that suggests everything horrible started yesterday. What a recipe for disempowerment. I reckon Taibbi’s book has a little theory about when this two-tiered justice thing all started, too.

      That quote from Bloomberg is like fucking satire, and I never heard the story about the plates. God, what an asshole. Love your commentary on it.

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      I just watched about 15 minutes of the Democracy Now interview with Taibbi and it really is astonishing how subservient he is to power. They just don’t have a clue. You don’t need 300 pages to explain why these people aren’t hanging from lamp posts, I can sum it up in two words: bourgeois democracy. And it didn’t start the day Taibbi began researching his book.

    • thanos says:

      This is why I’ve been interested in the way that Vice is aggressively pushing into the mainstream. They are absolutely serious about trying to become the new mainstream media for 20 something/millenials/whatever, though it seems like a lot of times when people read these proclamations they just hear a sort of soda-pop fizzing sound because people are so used to tuning out marketing-speak that they don’t notice when it has content. And at the same time Vice is doing this, it is pushing a model of journalism(?) that is characterized by utter incompetence, total lack of reflection on the role of journalism in society, no knowledge of history even from a few years ago, and especially, using these kind of cartoon-character writer personalities as anchors for your attentional/emotional investment. You’re supposed to trust em because they’re young and live in Brooklyn and say they’re leftists and act like other people who say they’re leftists, so a priori and in their essence they’re On The Left, and that’s exactly how reactionary content gets smuggled in. And of course, Vice’s main financial backer is Rupert Murdoch; meanwhile the CEO of News Corp is explaining that its goal is explicitly to shift to more contemporary styles of infoadvertainment.

      On the left people are at least chastened not to call such suspicions “conspiracy theorizing,” but the hand-waving returns in the posture that this kind of analysis is too crass, not theoretical enough, whatever–as if those theories don’t all have to refer back to some kind of concrete process of influence.

      • walterglass4 says:

        Can’t think of a better example of what you’re talking about than this article from a few months ago about war in the Central African Republic, which literally concludes that the causes of the conflict are completely unknowable:

        http://t.co/xZJxD6MWHg

        As with the NSA spectacle, what we’re meant to focus on here is the courage of the correspondent for putting himself in peril, even though we could have learned more of value if the article was just copy-pasted from Wikipedia. As a wise friend put it the other day: “No man is more ignorant than he who watches the news and ignores history.”

        I wrote a little bit more about this sort of thing, along with some hilarious commentary on that Vice CAR article from rancidsassy, here: https://medium.com/no-directors/1277d01b5b6f

      • thedoctorisinthehouse says:

        One problem is people read the news for a sense of community and bonding. It’s a trend to keep up instead of a serious interest. The first thing to do if you cared more about the story than your personal relationship with the writer or the person who linked to it would be further reading. Instead, you move on to another story by another writer you “like” or that your “pals” linked to. A lot of power to the personal presentation for the media this way.

        You want to trust someone more than they’ve fooled you into trusting them. This is a situation where so little trust is even required yet the audience opts for trust as if it were like watching TV before the internet. As if there are no choices at all.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yes to all of this. Really gets to the heart of the unseriousness of it all. This culture has more in common with ‘water cooler’ talk about Mad Men than with real politics.

      • Dan H says:

        Listen to any of Joe Rogans podcasts with Shane Smith… utter reformist shit, with technosavior worship drenched on top. I just listened to one yesterday from a few weeks ago. Smith went on a rant about climate change, particularly about how fishing stocks have been destroyed. So Rogan asks if there’s hope. Smith replies with some story about some 23 year old kid working for a Google think tank who is going to power the world for the next 10,000 years with the wasted uranium rods from current reactors. Shit is pathetic.

    • Reilly says:

      … he literally argues that Ford pardoning Nixon created a precedent, like all this just happened yesterday.

      I brought this up a week or so ago on Tarzie’s Intermission post in a conversation about ahistoric declinism. What I found even more astonishing than Greenwald’s claim was how it was received without question on the left. He even mouthed this absurdity while sitting next to Chomsky, who let it go unchallenged.
      It reminds me of another ahistoric nonsense that Greenwald trotted out in two widely read posts, one about Hitchens after his death and the other over a year later upon the death of Thatcher; that the media coverage during Ronald Reagan’s funeral week “… forever changed how Ronald Reagan — and his conservative ideology — were perceived.” Greenwald, of course, offered not a single valid data point to support the claim, a claim which should have stopped any average reader in his/her tracks. And once again the educated left, including the academic blogs (who are, for the most part, either entranced by Greenwald or shit-scared of him) refused to see the turd he laid. But then, the power of the pundit rests in the self-assurance that his authority won’t be challenged by his target audience, so accuracy and legitimate analysis aren’t all that important.
      But back to Greenwald’s book; if anyone is interested there’s a terrific review on Amazon by John Winters which sums up nicely the idiocy of Greenwald’s Ford’s-pardon-ended-justice-as-we-knew-it argument.
      http://www.amazon.com/review/R3VPB5T0AWYUKK/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0805092056

      • Tarzie says:

        He even mouthed this absurdity while sitting next to Chomsky, who let it go unchallenged.

        Where did this happen? Is there footage of this online?

        But then, the power of the pundit rests in the self-assurance that his authority won’t be challenged by his target audience, so accuracy and legitimate analysis aren’t all that important.

        Great take on the dynamic that holds this bullshit in place. It can only get worse as Glenn returns to his reactionary roots and fear of him grows.

        That Amazon review is superb.

      • Reilly says:

        Where did this happen? Is there footage of this online?

        Here’s the link, Tarzie. Unfortunately it’ll cost you an hour and nine minutes of your life.

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh God.

        This is the downside of parsing shitstains.

        Actually there is no upside.

    • Lorenzo says:

      This is an amazing comment. I haven’t read the Taibbi one yet either, but I watched his Daily Show interview, and Stewart informs me that the theme of the book is, of course, “the hypocrisy of a system” that maintains the prison industry (not his words, of course) and lets bankers go free.

      That Bloomberg in restaurants anecdote is staggering.

  16. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Turns out the Snowden thing was scripted.

    • walterglass4 says:

      Uh, no it wasn’t, didn’t you see Snowden’s courageous op-ed defending his questions?

      Unsurprisingly he appears to be a student of the Greenwald School of flood-the-zone-and-bore-to-death criticism response.

      • Tarzie says:

        Unsurprisingly he appears to be a student of the Greenwald School of flood-the-zone-and-bore-to-death criticism response.

        Oh my God, isn’t that the truth? Two bigger bores have never lived. What is going on here, though? Surely Putin signed off on that, too, right?

        I wonder, are we cursed with Snowden as a spokesperson/arbiter of anti-NatSec ‘dissent’ for all of eternity. The idea of him and Greenwald being celebrities for the next ten years or so is unbearably depressing.

  17. Post says:

    Does it matter than Ann Dunham’s anthropological work in Indonesia is alleged to have been mostly USAID funded? Well, I obviously think so or I wouldn’t have brought it up. The sources are kind of shit, kind of not. All I did was Google it. It sounds, though, like Dunham did a bunch of grad and postgrad stuff for the usual NGO suspects during the time when the Death State was supplying aid and intelligence to Suharto.

    Maybe she thought she could do some good from the inside or some bullshit like that. I don’t really know what she was doing. Something to do with textiles. That’s SO “white girl,” that it must have been a cover. Who the fuck knows with these reptilians? I’m just sayin’: “Obama’s mama suck USAID dick. In front of him. When he a baby.”

    smfh

  18. Adam says:

    “I think a better question than ‘what the effect of a different tone would be’ is what might have happened if Greenwald had simply answered the difficult questions raised in this post, rather than deliberately mischaracterizing it and siccing his trolls on me. Another question might be, what might have happened if people who dislike these posts and me, had nevertheless characterized them and me fairly on Twitter, or ignored them altogether, instead of subjecting me and their followers to a steady diet of lies and smears?”

    I agree that these would be better and more appropriate questions, except I have to admit that I feel much less empowered to ask them because all of those people you mention have already done all of those things, plus they’re wholly unprincipled and uninterested in sound arguments or workable solutions. The far more reasonable, principled, and thoughtful voices seem to be here; that’s what keeps me coming back.

    I know your goal in life isn’t to defeat Glenn and the Glennbots in the Twitter war to end all Twitter wars, but it doesn’t seem they or what they represent is going to let itself be ignored, and what they represent is simultaneously fashioning itself as the next stage of popular progressivism and working hand-in-hand with billionaire oligarchs backstage, and that idea is terrifying. I know I’m preaching to the choir because I mostly have your posts and comment threads to thank for a perspective I now very much take for granted, which is that the left polices itself severely and, as the ostensible voice of “progress,” therefore deserves the harshest and most vigorous critique. It’s just that, the more I read about it all here, the angrier I get, but I also feel less empowered, and I’m having trouble pinning down why that is.

    Anyway, thanks for understanding, and keep up the good work.

    • Tarzie says:

      what they represent is simultaneously fashioning itself as the next stage of popular progressivism and working hand-in-hand with billionaire oligarchs backstage, and that idea is terrifying.

      You’ll get no argument from me. One of the reasons I have been banging on this so hard and for so long is I do see an innovation here in co-option, that is literally culminating in the erasure of anything truly left in ‘the left.’ Obama was phase 1. Greenwald/Snowden is phase 2.

      The up side is, I think this is such a bold move that it’s laying bare the fraudulence that has been the essence of the establishment left for all time. When you watch Chomsky pissing on Adam Swartz’s grave or Amy Goodman deliberately lying about USAID, you have to ask yourself, how new is any of his, really, though Greenwald does represent a new low in vulgarity, stupidity and absence of even pretend left principles. I think for the people who aren’t going along, it’s been a radicalizing event. There is a definite schism and that’s a good thing.

      I don’t think a real left would be so self-policing, so I am content to write Glenn and his acolytes off as just a new kind of non-partisan liberal, who, instead of beating everyone into the Democratic Party, just beat them into passively watching cheap spectacles of resistance and wailing and keening over Greenwald and co’s latest revelation. (Spoiler alert: you’re fucked and you can’t do shit about it.)

      For me it’s been kind of a revelation into where I will put my energy when I am not complaining. I have lost all faith in mobbed-up leftists, no matter what their ostensible goal is. Authoritarianism just runs too fucking high in the culture and there are just way too many know-nothings. For me, it’s gonna be all about the most voluntary of associations, small groups chipping away at the atomization that makes bullshitting charlatans like Greenwald possible. Change is not gonna come from the class that is most enamored of Greenwald, but I don’t think it ever really would or did.

      PS: Sorry for chewing your head off earlier. Thanks for sticking with me.

      • Mark Kackstetter says:

        One of the reasons I have been banging on this so hard and for so long is I do see an innovation here in co-option, that is literally culminating in the erasure of anything truly left in ‘the left.’ Obama was phase 1. Greenwald/Snowden is phase 2.

        What makes that particularly amusing – or saddening, maddening, whatever – is that Greenwald repeatedly used to remind of us how the pro-war, pro-torture folks in the CIA were hoping to see Obama win in 2008 because that would lessen the resistance to such things from those on the left. That is exactly what happened, as Greenwald pointed out ad nauseum.

        I agree with you that Greenwald seems to be part of some phase 2 of minimizing left dissent, although I’m sure he would deny it (presumably by questioning or smearing the character of whomever had the audacity to bring up the issue). It doesn’t even matter if he’s co-opting much of what remains of the left knowingly or ignorantly – the fact remains that he’s managed to put boundaries on what is “acceptable” dissent from the left, and gleefully joins in on marginalizing those who think that having a small group of individuals (Greenwald, Poitras, et al.) decide what is in our best interest is no better than having a larger group (the government) do so.

        The alleged leftists who are happy with how Greenwald is handling the Snowden documents are no different than the alleged leftists that are somehow still ecstatic that Obama is president. To paraphrase Silber, tribalism seems to trump all. I have no doubt that if Snowden had given his documents to Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly instead of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the same voices that find no fault with Greenwald’s drips and redactions would be raising the same questions that they’re currently shouting down and sneering at, and I’m pretty sure that Greenwald himself would be writing about how Coulter and O’Reilly couldn’t possibly be doing “real” journalism because of their ties to wealthy oligarch-run media outlets.

        Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling a bit – I mostly just wanted to say that I think you’re right about the co-opting of the left.

      • Tarzie says:

        I have no doubt that if Snowden had given his documents to Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly instead of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the same voices that find no fault with Greenwald’s drips and redactions would be raising the same questions that they’re currently shouting down

        I have thought this very thing. If all things were equal but Greenwald were swapped out for anyone who didn’t ship with a bizarre personality cult, people would be screaming bloody murder. Imagine Bill Keller behaving the way Greenwald has — the Manning bullshit, withholding documents, demonizing radicals, getting rich, making movie and startup deals, hooking up with an oligarch — he’d be an even more reviled figure than he is already and Greenwald would be leading the charge. Imagine Wikileaks defending him the way they have Greenwald. It just wouldn’t happen. No one but Greenwald could get away with this.

        I’m really going to have to check out Silber’s tribalism series. People keep bringing that up.

        I like you in rambling mode.

  19. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    Eugene Debs’ dissidence set the stage for Edward Snowden. The Black Panthers were the catalyst for the Intercept. Ed Snowden channeled Harriet Tubman.

  20. Silverfish Pithing Consortium says:

    Snowden is dependent on Putin’s good graces right now.

    Really? How so? Because you say it? Putin’s protecting him from black bag goons? Or some other fantasy you’ve conjured to indirectly support the whistleblower-in-peril theme?

    Oxy, I recall the occasional good insight in the midst of all your frothy weirdness, but those days seem to be long passed. Why not put away your trolling shoes and take up something else OR alternatively take up trolling someone else.

    What’s an “Oxy”? And how is someone questioning your supposed legitimacy “trolling”?

    Curious that you didn’t respond to the substance, and instead talked of trolling and “frothing.” I’m sure that covers for the long history of Tarzie apologizing for and defending Greenwald, and it does a fine job of obscuring the present drift of non-critical examination that eventually reinforces durable themes of heroism and sanctification that Tarzie long defended.

    Will we ever hear the turning point discussed, in which Tarzie explains what prompted the shift from outright apology to thinly-veiled rationalizations offered in a somewhat clouded defense?

    I’d put money on the answer being “no” and the pattern of emulating Greenwald while pretending to criticize him remaining durable as granite. Meanwhile, please remember to label anyone who doubts you as a “troll” and the comments offered as “frothing.” It’s very convincing to all the Shari Lewis entities you embody when filling your comment threads.

    • Tarzie says:

      Oxy, i know it’s you because you’re the only person on earth who thinks I am part of some plot to make Greenwald look good.

      I’ll respond to your substance when you offer some.

      I can’t think of any theory about Snowden (earnest whistleblower, limited hangout, double agent, whatever) that doesn’t presuppose Putin’s blessing. If you have another theory, be explicit. It might be more interesting than this thing you keep doing about me secretly aiding and abetting the great Greenwald menace that you were onto before everyone else.

      Just come out with it: What’s Snowden up to? What’s Greenwald up to? Isnt that way more interesting than whatever the fuck you think I’m up to?

      What are you up to, while we’re at it. What’s the point of you, exactly?

      • diane says:

        You certainly didn’t ask my two cents, though you did say let it rip:

        Oxtrot/pezcandy/etcetera appears to be in the business of vigorously going after very small political commentary site ‘hosts’ (and some of their commenters), who are disgusted with the “United States”.

        His (‘He’ self identifies as male) numerous ‘names’ never seem to be a subject of TROLL conversation on sites like Daily Kos, Fire Dog Lake, etcetera. He goes after the small independent voices, with a vengeance though, is my current thought on him.

        Unfortunately, many independent voices on the web are enticed by his ‘brilliant’ and sociopathic wit, …. as they have mostly not lost their shirts yet .(where even satire can’t bring even the ghost of a smile)..and are still able to laugh at satire.

        Yes my opinion is subjective here. I have always been a loner on the net, never had a blog, and generally always had a few issues with even the smaller independent site web ideologies ….to the point where anyone sane would never consider me as a site sock puppet. To my knowledge, I could count the times on less than both hands (if not one) that I have been laudingly quoted on the WEB.

        YET, pez candy (painfully, bewilderingly and stunningly with no seeming reason, and no personal back and forth (to my knowledge)) highlighted and viciously attacked me with a fucking vengeance I have never ever witnessed ‘off line’, among people who actually know me very, very well, ….as if I were a repeatedly quoted, disgusting Thought Leader, destroying life for innocent humans.

        My personal opinion is that he is op vermin, potentially deadly to those who have been having very hard times in life.

      • Silverfish Pithing Consortium says:

        Oxy, i know it’s you because you’re the only person on earth who thinks I am part of some plot to make Greenwald look good.

        Your deductive skills resemble those of a fetus that just got aborted and now is cooking in the clinic’s trash incinerator.

        You haven’t criticized anything about Greenwald but his peripheral representations, and you haven’t explained how and when you went from defending him, to now snarking on the tangential points of his internet celebrity. Of course that would prompt you to argue on troll identities of others, which distracts from your non existent criticism of Greenwald.

        I can’t think of any theory about Snowden (earnest whistleblower, limited hangout, double agent, whatever) that doesn’t presuppose Putin’s blessing.

        Why would Putin have to bless anything related to Snowden? You continue to presuppose Snowden’s legitimacy as a courageous whistleblower when you assume Putin would have to bless Snowden. Putin doesn’t give two toilet dumps of fecal matter about Snowden, that much is obvious to anyone reading things without the first principle of Snowden-Is-A-Big-Hero.

        What’s Snowden up to? What’s Greenwald up to? Isnt that way more interesting than whatever the fuck you think I’m up to?

        You obviously don’t know anything about what anyone is up to, and since your book isn’t selling very well, I think you should move back onto sniffing coke off some dude’s cock and buying more adorable sweaters for your little beagle.

        What are you up to, while we’re at it. What’s the point of you, exactly?

        I don’t understand the relevance of your question, Jacob. Pehaps it’s time for another display of hipster bona fides by reciting memorized dialogue from The Big Lebowski? That should definitely continue deflecting from your continued reinforcement of these sad, bogus themes surrounding heroic whistleblowers and pivotal secret data stolen via thumb drive.

        Have you even investigated Edward Snowden’s history? Or Glenn Greenwald’s history? Or are the peripherals of present-day mythology the only thing that matter to an Oberlin grad with a coke problem and a festering case of piles?

      • Tarzie says:

        I know what you’re getting at with ES’s history and GG’s history, but, much to your chagrin, I have tried to restrict myself to things that are not quite as speculative. Despite this, Glenn’s minions dutifully smear me as a conspiracist. It would be great if, when you drop by here, instead of taking me to the woodshed for omitting crucial details, you offered them up yourself. Why don’t you do that now?

        The cause of my metamorphosis from Glenn fan to Glenn hater seems to be secret only to you: His custodianship of the leaks has revealed him as something other than what I foolishly took him to be. Yes, Oxy, as I have conceded again and again: you were right all along, and I feel foolish for ever having uncritically defended him. But as I, and others have told you, not everyone sees his pathologies and faults as the most important thing. I am interested in how he serves power. It seems to me that obsessing over him as a uniquely bad apple, while leaving reactionary turds about women, queers, trustafarians and hipsters in your wake, is the far more subservient route.

        I know you can do better. Why can’t you be this guy more often?

        But that guy pretty much summed up your point of view, which is that there is nothing really to see. It’s a big distracting show, a view which I think has merit but doesn’t describe The Snowden Spectacle in full. But if that is how you feel, surely there is even less to see here than in the shitshow itself. So why do you keep returning?

  21. parink says:

    Tarzie: Do you ever feel like a troll magnet?

    • Tarzie says:

      It’s so bad I can barely recall a time when I wasn’t.

      • Silverfish Pithing Consortium says:

        Clever stuff, the original troller accusing others of being trolls.

        You’re so very provocative, Jacob, with your little avatar of gay insularity and your inciteful prancing around the stage while you wait for your flying carpet to be professionally cleaned by some trust fund urban woodsman entrepreneur who lives around the corner from your swell condominium in Park Slope that was bought with money daddy earned by fleecing others shamelessly.

      • Tarzie says:

        It is amazing what you know about me.

        I am very flattered that I am now Jacob, because he is a better writer than Glenn (my last incarnation) or I. However, I think he long ago lost interest in GG and related matters.

        I believe he still lives in Pgh.

  22. parink says:

    This for any Paul Krugman fans or people who love irony.

  23. tanglebum says:

    “Snowden is dependent on Putin’s good graces right now.”
    (phone rings)
    E.S. “Hello?”
    V.P. “Ah, Edward, it’s me, Vlad.
    E.S. “Oh, hey. What’s up?”
    V.P. “Just called to see how you’re doing? Food okay? Apartment not too small?”
    E.S. “Yeah yeah, great, frozen piroshkis. love em. And that mac’n’cheese, where’d you guys get that shit? Just like back home. No, the place is fine, fine, everything I need, plus I’m out a lot, you know, clubbin and stuff.”
    V.P. “Good, good. Well as always, anything else you want, you just call, you’ve got my number,’kay?”
    E.S. “Sure yeah, and thanks again Vlad, for, you know, everything.”
    V.P. “It’s a pleasure, Edward. Oh, and. uhm, say, listen, the uhm, documents? Just wondering if you’ve changed your mind about sharing anything? Maybe just the parts where I’m mentioned?”
    E.S. “Eh, mm, well, uh, no, Vlad, no, sorry. I just can’t. It wouldn’t be right, you know?”
    V.P. “Oh, well sure,okay then. I understand. Nice to talk to you Edward.”
    E.S. “Yeah same here, Vlad. Stay cool, man. See ya.”
    V.P. “Bye.”
    (conversation ends)

  24. tanglebum says:

    Not me. Or rather not him. That is, I’m me. but I’m not him.
    Maybe it wouldn’t have seemed quite so overwrought if that wasn’t in question?
    The point was there’s some obvious other-level stuff here.
    The tiniest mention of the plausibility of Putin’s having the documents here and there in Boss Media..Tiny.
    At the same time accusations of his ruthlessness, thuggery, skullduggery is basting away from outlets everywhere. Huge.
    So how is it even thinkable he doesn’t have them?

    And a corollary satisfaction, for some of us, of all the noise at the beginning of the Age of Snowden, was the prospect of umpteen hundreds of complicitous Company-affiliated field collaborators, not CIA but called upon now and again, scared to death their names are in the docs with direct links to their handlers.

    • Tarzie says:

      Maybe it wouldn’t have seemed quite so overwrought if that wasn’t in question?

      No, it would have struck me as more clever and enticing. I still kinda wish you would spell things out more explicitly.

      So you’re saying of course Putin has the documents. But if that’s the case, what’s the angle here with Snowden’s interview/op-ed thing?

    • MickStep says:

      I personally think the notion of Putin needing Snowdens docs as naive, 100,000’s of people had access to that data, you don’t think any one of them would sell that shit to the Kremlin?

      As much as I don’t agree with Snowden’s constitutional libertarian politics, I do think his motivations to leak those documents are largely in line with what he says they are.

      • Tarzie says:

        I do think his motivations to leak those documents are largely in line with what he says they are.

        I don’t know how you get these gut feelings about people, but putting that aside, I don’t think tanglebum’s theory is at odds with your faith in Snowden’s good intentions.

        Your first line is more compelling. From a brinksmanship standpoint, isn’t it more likely that Snowden has goods on Putin, which will be released if anything happens to him?

      • MickStep says:

        It’s quite clear that Snowden wants to be remembered as some great historical figure that is a pretty decent motive, I was going to put that in the first comment, but I felt it was petty because that is probably true of most people and may be something that shouldn’t be ridiculed so flippantly.

        I don’t think your counter to the my first more compelling line is really at odds with what I said. Snowden is a legitimate asylum seeker, and harbouring him is good propaganda for Putin whether or not he has any useful information.

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think anything is quite clear at all; I’ll remain agnostic.

        I found your first line more compelling in that it challenges tanglebum’s theory better than your speculation on Snowden’s motives which, unless I am missing something, seem irrelevant to what tanglebum was suggesting.

      • MickStep says:

        Perhaps I took a mental leap too far, but this is a loose thread is it not?

        I am quite certain that the documents Snowden has in his possession are not new to the Kremlin, I think the amount of people with access to them assures that, that’s not to say they wouldn’t be interested in getting hold of them for the sake of comparison.

        I just don’t find the idea that the Kremlin are desperate to get hold of his secrets very compelling at all.

      • Tarzie says:

        A loose thread doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything, but I have already said twice now that I think your counter to tanglebum about the wide availability of the documents is worth considering. I don’t feel the same way about your gut feelings re Snowden; nor do I think they’re relevant to tanglebum’s suggestion.

        I don’t think you have grounds for certainty on any of it, though.

      • MickStep says:

        Never said it did, nor do I expect you to. Only that if my bringing up Snowden;s motivations (which I already know you’re not particularly interested in motives) is not off topic given the thankfully anarchistic house rules you set.

        I grant I don’t have any evidence for my “gut feelings” but the necessity for evidence is the biggest stifler to debate in existence in my opinion, and is a tool for the powerful to limit debate until the point in time when the debate is no longer relevant.

      • Tarzie says:

        No one ever said Snowden’s motives were off-topic. You posited them as if relevant to tanglebum’s theory. For the third time: they’re not.

        Not even gonna argue your Rumsfeldian point about evidence.

        I agreed on one thing. Disagreed on another. We’re going in circles.

      • MickStep says:

        Since this is a public forum, and I don’t want to appear as having some kind of disdain for facts and evidence, I am going to elucidate on what I mean’t in my previous comment.

        When facts and evidence are not forthcoming, as is the case for basically all foreign policy, making sense of the goings on is resigned to history buff’s years after the events happen.

        The only recourse for people who are trying to understand what is going on at the time is speculation, it’s not at all desirable, but there really is no other option other than timely leaks, and as such it should be considered seriously, and seriously debated.

      • Dan H says:

        I think I understand your point Mick, and agree. Ian Welsh calls it the age of the obvious.

        http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-age-of-the-obvious-thomas-pikettys-capital/

      • MickStep says:

        I missed the direct link to what I said, but I enjoyed the fuck out of the blog post anyway.

      • Dan H says:

        I was referring to this, “I grant I don’t have any evidence for my “gut feelings” but the necessity for evidence is the biggest stifler to debate in existence in my opinion, and is a tool for the powerful to limit debate until the point in time when the debate is no longer relevant.”

      • MickStep says:

        Thanks Dan, I think this recent Peter Oborne peice supports the notion of disregarding supposed facts and attempting to empathise with the populations and power players involved to reach conclusions.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10770311/Syria-As-the-bombs-fall-the-people-of-Damascus-rally-round-Bashar-al-Assad.html

        I seem to remember at the time I had commented on one of Oborne’s articles that he was naive to believe the narrative of what is going on in Syria, I can’t seem to find it now, but I remember being admonished as a crazed conspiracy theorist.

        I’ve never been to Syria, yet I had a better understanding of what was going on over there that only an actual visit to Syria would fix for him.

        The ability to imagine people as human beings, rather than needing to verify their humanity by meeting them can get you a long way in understanding the reality behind the bullshit fed to us.

  25. mardy says:

    Off-topic

    http://www.seobook.com/required-reading#47631

    This guy always sticking it to Google. Look past the fact that he sells shit on his site. What he’s saying would otherwise seem banal, but the fact zeros in Google and dismantles their “don’t be evil” propaganda I think makes it worth it.

  26. tanglebum says:

    ” what’s the angle here”

    It’s why I’m reading. ‘Cause I just don’t know.
    A whole bunch of the contemporary soc.pol. eco-system doesn’t make sense to me without active paranoia or intentional myopia. Or something.
    The default is I guess a bunch of careerist fuckwits in the middle of impossibly complex realities that are catalyzing and metastasizing without conscious intent on anyone’s part. With delusional priest-wizards going around the margins casting p.r. spells, trying to ride out of control forces into some kind of swine utopia. Or at least through the gates.
    That whole “We create reality, you guys just talk about it.” thing.
    I keep seeing a patriarchal smirk everywhere. Sadism and arrogance. And the kind of second-level double-talk really smart teenage boys use to prove they know what’s up. When they don’t.

    The paranoid side says the newsleaks may be intentional, to create a collective sense of panoptic observation.
    It’s what I thought when the Abu Ghraib photos came out. It was like the guys that were behind that, not the grunts in the images, were fucking boasting about having done that shit.
    I still think that was a lot of what that was.
    With little Lynndie England sacrificed to the same demi-urge.

    No one’s talking about it yet, but this big up on the “they’re watching us, everywhere all the time” has to be seriously altering a lot of mainstream behaviors and mind-states. Maybe that’s why they’re doing it. Psyching the proles.

    It’s kind of a moot point whether Putin & Co. has the docs, or already had the info anyway.
    Since we don’t know what the hell is in the damn things.

    • Tarzie says:

      I think you should take up fiction writing if you haven’t already. You have talent.

    • diane says:

      thank you for that ….

      on a slightly related note something broke in me upon viewing the San Jose Mercury News detailed and daily artistic solo sketches of The Sharks ice hockey team members which included a frightening overlayed depiction of malice as if it were heroic (at a time when the murky Sly Con Valley Noooz had long since stopped paying artists for detailed sketches), in April and May of 2004 …. which ‘complimented’ those horrifying Abu Ghraib photos in such a stunningly evil second ‘secret’ code ‘language.’

      • diane says:

        if I ever catch the breathing space, I’ll go back in my records and hard copy nooz paper lie records and comment on the beheading of a young Pennsylvania man doing the typical youth/parent averse thing, unfortunately ….. in Iraq, whose parents accused the United States Government [ultimately …. if not first ‘entity’ decision] of the crime; which, to my recollect, happened in that same window of time.

      • diane says:

        oh what deadly timing that young man chose; …to do the capitali$t ble$$ed thing to do in going to Iraq and providing internet $ervice$ and holding in contempt those he would have ob$cenely and di$ingenuously (oopsie sp?) profited off of ..with absolutely no benefit to those humans …whatsoever;…as he had been taught to by THE $TATE (not his birth parents).

        …does anyone still recollect the misery of his parents …as they realized what had happened?

        oopsy son, the $TATE $AID the walyrus and the carpenter poem is revelent here …….. THE $tate ate them [Ate him], every one!

  27. diane says:

    too bad Oxy [Esquire Oxy? Do tell about your background LIAR] pez candy dispenser, etcetera ….. never, EVER, attacks the big fish, but then again that’s never, ever, seemed his purpose.

    also hilarious that he insinuates a defense of heterosexuality when he actually appears to literally and figuratively DESPISE biological females, most especially when they express their very own opinion ..whereupon he takes it as is duty to proclaim that those females are actually not females at all …. just another (far more intellectually gifted, to Oxy’s sociopathic rulz book) penis talking.

    (On a side note, it always amuses how one who makes pretense of being against the powers that destroy can actually repeatedly destroy then resurrect their google blog stain so frequently under the same pez candy url, for years . Special permissions?)

    • Tarzie says:

      hilarious that he insinuates a defense of heterosexuality when he actually appears to literally and figuratively DESPISE biological females,

      I see no hilarity here. Most male misogynists are sexually oriented toward women.

      For the record, you both get on my last fucking queer nerves.

      • diane says:

        in the vein of let it rip: also for the record, you occasionally get on my last fucking nobody whatsoever, apparently, nerves..

  28. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I clicked on the link to the Krugman piece up above and found an article about the privatization of water. It appears that one of the major NGO players pushing for water privatization is an org called the World Bank Group. And when I did a cursory search of this org + Omidyar, it turns out he’s poached at least two people away from WBG to fill high level positions in development, funding, and technology. One guy was with WBG for four years before working for Omidyar.

    I tried digging a little deeper into the guy Omidyar hired (??Kodansky something) but couldn’t pinpoint his exact projects as a developer at the World Bank Group.

    What the oligarchy critics need is someone on the inside and people willing to talk to get them more specific information. It wouldn’t surprise me if Omidyar funds water privatization projects. (Greenwald: Come on! They can live for three days before they need it!”)

    Omidyar is so dirty. I’d love to see somebody blow him wide open and force the resident hacks to jump off that ship and sink the boat entirely. Would make a good thriller story as well, with that kind of $$ you know he’s got a major protection racket around him.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/water-managementprivatizationworldbankgroupifc.html

    • Tarzie says:

      Omidyar is so dirty. I’d love to see somebody blow him wide open and force the resident hacks to jump off that ship

      Such optimism! What hasn’t been disclosed already? Perhaps if it’s discovered that he’s a sex trafficker or a pedophile, but there doesn’t seem to be any capitalist/imperialist predation the Glennbots and Omidyarchists can’t overlook or whitewash. If he gives Glenn complete freedom to bore us with endless Constitutionalist briefs and hypocrisy call-outs, why should we care what he gets up to?

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        True that. If they won’t be outraged by funding a Neo Nazi coup, the cause is lost. And was never there to begin with anyway.

        And I think my exasperation gets the better of me, it is hard to read this shit and not want to burn the house down. I despise these rich imperialist fuckers and lackeys like Greenwald who do their bidding for them.

        And it’s good for me to remember these are not the people who will be radicalized as shit becomes worse. Class struggle happens constantly in various forms, Greenwald and his followers won’t be instructing or informing it in any way.

  29. Braan says:

    As one who has read GG and NC work for a number of years, I find your comments very interesting. I certainly can identify with what I understand to be your position. I won’t foolishly try to paraphrase it. I too have found it really interesting how GG and NC have avoided my emailed questions that are difficult to answer. It would seem to be that trading control systems in and out is what is at play here, and that is a true bore. Your critique of GG reminds me of many laid at the feet of Paul Krugman, for his half-ass approach to econ.

  30. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    You got a shout-out at Floyd’s place. Good work both of you.

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  33. Hieroglyph says:

    .[Tarzie:] “I want to talk about the selling of oligarchy generally. How our gaze is directed to rich white guys’ problems and rich white guys’ solutions.”

    Amusing thread. May I add this almost parodic Exhibit A, though I’m sure there are many more:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/25/billionaire-ukraine-troubled-region-serhiy-taruta

    “Taruta, a billionaire industrialist who looks uncannily like Woody Allen, is governor of the most troubled region of eastern Ukraine. He was one of several oligarchs parachuted in to take over the leadership of the country’s rebellious provinces, at the request of the new government in Kiev. Taruta got Donetsk, the Russophone region at the centre of a smouldering anti-Kiev, pro-Russian insurrection.”

    There is so much joy and goodness in this paragraph I almost don’t want to spoil it by commenting. I did like the ‘several’ though. And later on in the article, we are told that apparently a chocolate oligarch (not kidding) is running for President. This whole idea of oligarch’s being ‘parachuted’ in to ‘take over’ is just too bizarre for words. It’s like ‘parachuting’ in Goering to take over a provence in France. Well, not really, but it is just as weird. Is there literally a plane, which they jump from? Or is it more a private jet, which lands in their own airport? Details please.

    Well “Blow Me, Rich Dude”. You want to set youself us as potentate of some provence, under the leadership a NATO backed putsch, go for it. You and your oligarch buddies. Hey, this is Pierre’s moment, he can go to Ukraine and walk the walk. And if they all get shot to pieces by Spetsnaz, well that’s a shame, but working for NATO is a dangerous business, and some of your buddies in Kiev are kinda fascists who hate jews, so maybe you could have checked first?

    The whole article is priceless, worth reading I think, for all the wrong reasons. And very much part of this Oligarch agenda thing that appears to be deemed not-weird-at-all in some circles. Well, cards on the table here. I don’t give even the remotest what an oligarch thinks about anything at all. I’d almost prefer it if they were massive holocaust deniers who believe in the re-enactment of slavery and the right of oligarch’s to sleep with the wives of poor people. I’d still ignore them, but at least they’d get far less sympathy from people who really should know better.

    Speaking of which: “Is this bad because an oligarch is using his vast wealth to influence political outcomes or good because of the goal?”

    I can only assume this is some sort of joke that I didn’t quite get. Bit slow sometimes. Still, here’s to the famous altruism of rich dudes. *clink*. Without which, the world would truly be a mess.

  34. john says:

    whenever i run into something greenwald related i somehow think of you…so, if you haven’t already seen this, you might enjoy it…at least for the sake of humor in journalism.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, I’ve seen it. I thought goatsing took an interesting approach, and one requiring a lot of patience. The conclusion that whether on purpose or not First Look has silenced journalists seems inescapable.

  35. Pingback: Cartoon Friday: Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, in honor of the #munkdebate | The Rancid Honeytrap

  36. Amanda says:

    Although slightly off-topic, this needs to be said and I’m not exactly sure where else to say it, so here goes…
    The power with which to effectively and efficiently defund the system has been sitting right underneath our noses all along, and it’s so ridiculously easy that you’ll want to slap yourself for not realizing it sooner. It appears that Congress itself, although not opposed to writing a horrendously convoluted and misleading tax code, has provided ways for law-abiding citizens to disengage themselves yearly from the very uncomfortable noose of “income” tax — The 1040 Income Tax Return as a legal claim for full refund of all withheld income (every last penny).

    In a 1942 Senate subcommittee hearing on the proposed Revenue Act, Senator John Danaher asked for clarification of the concept of withholding pay from both “taxpayers” and “non-taxpayers.” (It was known that “non-taxpayers” were those who did not receive “income” from a federal nexus.) Danaher wanted to know how individuals who were not classified as “taxpayers” would be able to get an annual refund of earnings being withheld by the government under the new plan. Milton Friedman of the Treasury Department replied: “An individual will file an income tax return, and that income tax return will constitute an automatic claim for refund.”

    What does this mean? Well, for starters, with World War II going on, the government wanted good Americans to support its expenditures. The idea of taking a portion of everyone’s income — imposing a “broad income tax” — would create a much bigger flow of revenue. While citizens could ask for the return of these withholdings at the end of each year, it was hoped that most would not, and that if enough time passed, Americans would come to assume that paying a tax to the government based on one’s yearly earnings was just a reality of life.

    For those who were savvy enough to recognize that the government was not entitled to keep their withholdings, the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return was provided as a legal way to request a refund, however big or small this refund might be.

    See a more detailed explanation here: http://tr.im/5bvbh

    …and the many victories that have been posted here: http://tr.im/5bvj2 — and here: http://tr.im/5bvhz

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