Today New York Magazine published “The Pierre Omidyar Insurgency.” The takeaway? Rich white guys are fighting the power! Highlights with comments below:
Omidyar’s foundation had just unveiled a $200 million Global Innovation Fund, established in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
For those not paying attention, that’s USAID, the government agency that created a fake Twitter in Cuba to incite social unrest (“a drop in the internet propaganda bucket” wrote Glenn Greenwald at the time, relishing his journalisty indy poodle-ence) and with whom Omidyar partnered to force-multiply neo-nazis in Ukraine. (“and I should care about this, because???” asked fiercey Greenwald adverseriously )
“To this day,” Greenwald says, “I’ve never met Pierre in person.”
Meeting your boss is so last century. Like caring what they stand for or what neofascists they’re facilitating.
Omidyar’s organization operates a little like WikiLeaks, except it is staffed by well-salaried journalists and backed by Silicon Valley money.
Only “a little like Wikileaks?” Apart from the well-salaried journalists and backing by a billionaire actually implicated in the government blockade against Wikileaks, it’s just like Wikileaks!
Greenwald says [The Intercept] also plans to share [the leaks] with outside reporters and is building a secure “reading room” in its Fifth Avenue headquarters building, where it is currently renovating three floors.
That’s great news! But wait a minute. Didn’t Glenn, when asked to share the leaks with other journalists, write on this here blog that he couldn’t do that because it would make him a source and thereby prosecutable? I must be confused because Glenn Greenwald never lies.
“He’s a very serious and public-spirited person,” says General Wesley Clark, who has been friendly with Omidyar since he raised money for his 2004 presidential campaign.
Is there a better judge of character and public-spiritedness than General Wesley Clark? I think not.
“He’s not this hard-core, radical maverick,” Greenwald says. “Back before this all happened, he just seemed like the normal, average, amicable billionaire.”
So relieved he’s a typically “amicable” billionaire and not one of those radical billionaires, or worse, a #ChickenPseudoRadical billionaire. Also cool that Greenwald has such acute judgment about someone he didn’t know “before this all happened”, still hasn’t met, and by his own account, knows almost nothing about!
His thick black hair, once worn in a luxuriant ponytail…
His [various web] accounts offer granules of self-disclosure…enthusiasms (the Segway), and philosophical musings (on “Star Trek ethics”).
He is fascinated by diseases like Ebola and thinks the public-health system could be helpless in a crisis…Originally, the domain eBay.com had nothing to do with auctions… Its earliest incarnation hosted a web page about Ebola…Later, eBay would offer a variety of origin stories for its odd name, none having to do with Ebola in the Bay Area…
Yes, you inferred correctly. The e in eBay is for Ebola, something which, along with influenza and stockpiling against cataclysm, interests Pierre a lot.
The online-auction idea wasn’t original—a founder of a preexisting site, OnSale, recalls talking to Omidyar about a job before he started his competitor.
That puts Omidyar alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg in the pantheon of visionaries with the foresight to steal the right idea at the right time. Here’s OnSale.com now.
He built himself a 48,000-square-foot mansion overlooking the desert, which he told Esquire he liked because it gave him “the sense of what the planet was like before humans showed up.”
Can you think of a better location for experiencing the pre-human past than this, especially if you’re on the side that doesn’t face the six-lane highway and wearing earplugs?
[After moving to Hawaii] Omidyar was still fretful about his security and cognizant of the state’s isolation. He had heard that Hawaii had food supplies for only about a week in case of a catastrophe. In 2009, the Honolulu Advertiser reported he kept emergency stockpiles near his home and had purchased a solar-powered ranch in Montana to serve as a “safe house.”
Of course everyone in Hawaii has a second house on the mainland in case of catastrophic food shortages, but did Omidyar forget he had a 48,000 square foot mansion in Nevada?
Omidyar immersed himself in the Second Life community, adopting a secret identity: a tattooed black man named Kitto Mandala. Even after Omidyar became a Linden Lab investor, [Linden Lab founder, Philip] Rosedale primarily interacted with his animated avatar. Mandala rode a Segway and wore a T-shirt that said KISS ME I’M LAWFUL EVIL.
Omidyar seems to take such setbacks in stride; he sees traditional philanthropy as overly risk-averse.
The “setback” referenced above was one of Omidyar’s “philanthropic” ventures in microfinance called SKS, an Indian “nonprofit” that set out to reap millions from a stock sale, but crashed in a scandal over harsh debt collection tactics tied to a wave of suicides. Poor Pierre! But —
“In Silicon Valley,” he said at a 2011 nonprofit conference, “we say if you haven’t tried something and failed, and actually learned something from that failure, then why would I want to work with you?”
You know what they say: “To make chana masala you gotta boil a few chickpeas.”
[In 2012], he responded to campaign-season viciousness by tweeting out a list hashtagged #RepublicansIRespect, citing figures like Robert Gates (a former CIA director) and Condoleezza Rice.
Thank God someone with influence is relieving the viciousness of our politics with hashtag support for the overseer of the CIA’s torture program and an engineer of the War in Iraq.
“It was really kind of amazing, because we were actually in the process of doing almost exactly the same things,” Greenwald told me. “The obvious difference between what we were doing and what he was doing is that he has $8 billion.”
I am so glad our leading investigatish journaler isn’t afflicted with the slightest trace of class consciousness or any reluctance to look like an avaricious vulgarian. That can really get in the way of funding important work.
Omidyar ran into immediate criticism from the conspiratorial extremes of the left. Julian Assange attacked the “big power” of First Look, calling Omidyar an “extreme liberal centrist” and questioning his suspicious visits to the White House. The tech-news site PandoDaily published a series of scathing articles.
Who cares what those left-wing conspiracy kooks at Wikileaks and tech mags think about things that actually happened?
Greenwald hinted of further scoops. “Stay tuned, is all I can say,” he told me.
Glenn, you incorrigible tease! Lemme guess: the NSA is bulk collecting phone or internet data somewhere. No, don’ t tell me!
Greenwald says that he and Omidyar plan to finally meet later this month, when they will appear at a very different sort of gathering: an invite-only event called Newsgeist, co-sponsored by Google and the Knight Foundation. Billed as an “unconference,” it has no agenda other than “reimagining the future of the news.” Greenwald told me “top editors, executives, moguls, and founders” are expected to attend, including Dean Baquet of the New York Times.
Now that’s insurgency, baby! The invite-only kind. Viva the reimagined journalism.
Greenwald Still Covering for Omidyar on PayPal
A Harbinger of Journalism Saved
No, Pierre Omidyar Does Not Want to Topple the Government
Omidyar’s First Look Introduces The Intercept
Just FYI, USAID has a history of spreading democracy around the globe. There’s no proof that John Paul Vann directed any battles when he was employed there.
Oh, and Steven Seagal has a ponytail, smartass!
Cant’ tell if you’re being ironic or just funny regarding the spread of democracy around the globe.
Perhaps USAID ought to start with bringing that democracy to the USA though before it takes/took it’s show on the road.
I am quite sure it was ironic.
I’ve no idea what to make of it but I love the fact that Omidyar is so involved with First Look that he is literally harassing employees about taxi fare expense reports and ink/toner purchases but hasn’t even bothered to meet Greenwald.
That’s how you maintain a stable of fierce independent journalists. Build an editorial wall between you and your employees.
“These people are so independent, I don’t even know their names! We don’t conduct any job interviews just to be on the safe side lest any possible influence slips out!”
Excellent analysis of the situation as usual. Omidyar and his slave Greenwald are two-faced, fascist, wealth-seeking appeasers of the status quo.
To their credit, Pete and Glenn sure know how to rape and murder an ideal, smear it’s cadaver with feces, place it on a parade float, and march it through the halls of power to great fanfare. Noam is jealous and anyone who isn’t impressed is an üntermensch undeserving of being considered human (dissident extremism that isn’t a cynical ploy for money is so unbecoming).
I wonder if they’re cool with everyone knowing they were cool before it was cool to be cool. I also wonder if there’s a deity that punishes people who faun over Glennn and Petey’s filth while simultaneously denouncing easier targets of power like the Kochtopus.
Boutique style planned obsolescence of dissent. What more could “entrepreneurial” liberals want? This Week’s Outrage(that we will wring our hands sufficiently over), trotted out in well funded duds and excreted by the “best and brightest names”. Coming soon, a merger of The Intercept with Vice.
“Boutique style planned obsolescence of dissent.”
That’s a great phrase.
This New York piece really underwhelms. That “inside story” post by the Intercept was way more revealing.
I don’t know that underwhelming is the right word. Pierre commits, supposedly, $250 million to this project yet has never met Greenwald in person? What research did Greenwald, Scahill and Co. do on Pierre before signing up for this dysfunctional venture? It’s not like 30 years ago where they would have had to hire Jake Gittes and stuff.
What a perfectly repulsive mixture! Glenn’s inadvertantly right about one thing, Omidyar does seem representative of the average billionaire. The bipartisanship which means embracing Democratic and Republican war criminals alike. The house that’s bigger than a shopping mall so that he can feel one-with-nature. The idea that seeing anything wrong with this is the conspiracy-addled domain of the “extreme left.” The weird, Howard Hughes-stuff about the ebola obsession.
The most illuminating thing to me is what this says about the power-driven mind of an amoral oligarch. Omidyar is one of the richest men on the planet. He has a university campus-sized house in Hawai’i, in addition to the similarly gargantuan one in Nevada. For fear of some cataclysm, he has stockpiled provisions for himself and, if he’s nice, for whatever Wackenhut thugs comprise his security detail. And that still isn’t enough: he needs an energy-independent ranch in Big Sky Country, presumably complete with bunker. It’s fascinating, but not surprising, how sensitive the people with the most are to the faintest whiff of a threat to their commanding heights.
That average billionaire line was particularly great. If I didn’t know GG to be terminally devoid of humor and incapable of self-deprecation, I would assume it was him making light of his boss. It’s funny how an average billionaire engages in the same behavior as people derided as crazies for being “preppers”. (Of course preppers are problematic, but that stems from their reactionary mindset rather than their pessimism).
The other particularly absurd moment in the article along those lines was when Omidyar was described by the author as having communitarian ideals without a hint of irony. Presumably, this is because Pierre told him so, as there literally nothing about his life recounted in that article which even hints at communitarian thinking, unless I missed the part where his multiple apocalypse shelters have room for people he doesn’t know personally. In the deranged mind of a neoliberal panegyricist, communitarianism means trying to transform the world into a reflection of your own ego while showing zero concern for actually existing people.
The idea that a man with a series of massive, globe-spanning doomsday compounds is community-minded really attests to how enthusiastic an outfit like New York Magazine is to help shape the narrative based on the “optics.” The fact that Omidyar financed The Intercept is proof enough of his humanitarianism, notwithstanding the extremist nutcases who aren’t excited about the Omidyar insurgency. That Omidyar fears a public health disaster and hasn’t even devoted a little capital or influence to getting his name attached to a public health initiative is a testament to how successful the Greenwald brand has been for him. For contrast, Bill Gates donates more than $250m a year in order to run interference for capitalism and make Malthusian calls for population reduction in Africa and Asia.
Eliciting exchanges like this is the main perk of blogging.
It’s fascinating, but not surprising, how sensitive the people with the most are to the faintest whiff of a threat to their commanding heights.
Their at-times exquisite butthurtitude at well-targeted criticism from even the lowest rungs of commentators (that is, us) is the only thing that gives me a little hope that maybe it’s not as immutable and immovable a system as I tend to think.
The only good billionaire is a dead one.
“I will give up mah billionaire when they pry him from mah cold…dead hands.”
Barely related from a little over a week ago – and also so you don’t have to – here’s an interesting bit via:
CANADALAND has learned that last year the CBC acquired NSA documents describing a major CSEC surveillance program, but the public broadcaster has been sitting on this news for over nine months, with no immediate plans to publish. In an interview with CANADALAND, Glenn Greenwald has revealed the “shocking reluctance” of veteran CBC reporter Terry Milewski to inform the public about CSEC spying, an indifference eventually revealed to be actual ideological opposition on the part of a reporter to exposing government surveillance programs.
“Newsgeist.” Jesus christ, call it what it is – NeofashCon. Greenwald will be there singing for his supper.
“The fact that Omidyar financed The Intercept is proof enough of his humanitarianism, notwithstanding the extremist nutcases who aren’t excited about the Omidyar insurgency.”
Thank you for that – it’s perfect! 😉
Speaking of Omidyar’s naivete, he’s displayed that quality often. I was first alerted to it when he said this: “A good democracy eventually self-corrects. Holder’s DOJ 4th Amend review a good first step:” to describe the actions of Holder deciding who should or should not get their 4th Amendment rights upheld.
Ooh, a good and profitable time will be held at the unconference featuring “top editors, executives, moguls, and founders” Love the ‘moguls’ especially, but again may I bring this from Julian Assange? https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems/
I’ll use another Reply so as not to trip the moderation alarm.
From Yves Smith’s post on ‘the Inside Story’…remarking on the NY Mag piece:
“Yves Smith November 3, 2014 at 4:32 am
John Temple, who is basically the managing editor, confirmed what Ames has been saying all along in the New York Magazine story (emphasis mine):
Temple says there is no incongruity between Omidyar’s communitarian ideals and his financing of an insurgency. “It’s not all about civility…He wants to aggregate to himself the power to declassify and to bring about the “greater good,” as he defines it.
Perhaps he’d meant ‘arrogate’ (to claim or seize) as L. Strether offered.
Just a note to say that …
After slogging through all the back-biting, white-washing, and generally gossipy new left news and commentary surrounding Taibbi’s departure, the inevitable disposal of an oligarch’s latest toy, to whom did I turn to see if my assessment was anything close to the mark?
I may not have commented here since my first few times, but I have been visiting, and find that you have probably the only precise weapon in anyone’s arsenal. And in this particular case, a perfect analysis.
My only suggestion would be that old Viet Nam anti-war saying: What if there was a war and no one came? As in, What if there was a web site and no one clicked?
I hear ya. I’m moving on real soon. I’ve said it before but it’s for real this time.
An old guy I knew as a kid once told me: You cook a carp on a pine board, give the fish to the cats, and eat the board.
I don’t suppose that I’m the only one finding this spectacle more unbearable and surreal as time goes on. Now we have the paragon of fierce independence and transparency attending a hush hush event for oligarchs and various swells. Of course we, the hoi polloi, can’t know who all is attending, for the sake of “security”. We’ll just have to wait and see how it is they reimagine our news future.
Yeah, that’s pretty close to the literal truth. That’s all Glenn “Multicolored Hues” Greenwald can say. I’ll admit my attention has slipped, but I can’t remember when the last revelation from the Snowden Stash was. The New Zealand adventure? Anyway, it’s way past time to change the channel, this one has far too many commercials.
To be honest, I don’t care. I feel like the documents are mostly duds — just details of the story we’ve already heard — and, if not, none of the people managing them — including Snowden — is going to let anything genuinely explosive get out. Regardless of whatever Snowden intended — and I don’t think we can know with certainty what that is — the end result is an elaborate and very dull fraud.
Conspiratorial extremes of the left! I’m glad my stomach didn’t let me get past that illustration; that thing is the stuff of fucking Star Wars posters.
Thanks! I really didn’t want to read that article.
Your comment to Lorenzo: “Eliciting exchanges like this is the main perk of blogging.”
Yes, but for me, the exchanges that stood out even more to me was that due to your exquisite diaries about Gary Webb, his friend Bobby Harris showed up to verify and amplify your analysis, and added more personal information.
“Exquisite” — I’m blushing. How nice of you to say that.
I was thrilled when Bobby Harris showed up to, as you say, “verify and amplify.” It was almost like getting Webb’s blessing.
Pardon me for thinking that blushing ain’t a thing you do except *metaphorically*, Tarzie, lol. But the two were both superb, and I reckon Bobby’s gifts to the thread were indeed standing in for Webb’s blessings.
Very public spirited of Tarzie, reading so we don’t have to. And if I didn’t know what a blow job was, I do now – even from the excerpts. Also. General Wesley Effing Clarke? They are actually quoting General Clarke as a reference. #satire
Nice digs mind. Not sure I can see the solar panels though …
The solar panels are on the Montana “safe house”, silly. That’s the one Omidyar will repair to in the midst of a zombie apocalyse. The Nevada house (pictured) is for dreaming of a world without humans.
Even better: that Nevada home where he muses on the Mesozoic or whatever is actually overlooking a desert golf course with a terrace view of the Vegas strip.
Read this (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40144.htm) this afternoon. Any comments?
Not really. I think a lot of people are caught on details that I don’t really care about. Not a fan of Rall, generally.
Plus it repeatedly forwards the “left” canard. Maybe I’m missing something, but I do not recall the Intercept ever declaring itself a left-wing anything – something Rall repeats again and again, with specific attribution devoid of citation.
Being a fan of Rall (sure, I read him from time to time, just like I read a lot of other stuff) has little to do with why I linked his article, which, to my reading, is about the boss, rather than being Glenn-centric. He swam around the bait, didn’t take it, and is still outside the aquarium. See nothing wrong with that.
I didn’t dislike the article because it wasn’t Glenncentric — check out my blog, full of Not Glenn things! I disliked it because I didn’t find it insightful and like Davidly thought it characterized the writers inaccurately. Taibbi’s “mission in life is in large part to undermine global capitalism?” Do tell!
The piece seems best suited for people who want First Look to succeed, and who care whether or not the fiercely adversarial journos were misled, which seems far less likely than that they smelled money and influence. Since it is my sincere wish that First Look fail, and be an albatross around every neck associated with it, Rall’s article didnt really speak to me.
My take on the Rall article was that the Intercept was just another toy for a rich, confused oligarch, and that the people working for him are not much more than lapdogs and that, so far, the site “is a crappy WordPress blog with less basic functionality than many private individuals feature on their personal cat-photo websites”.
I wouldn’t call that endorsing The Intercept.
The fact that he hired some mild critics of the status quo kind of puts the outfit in the adversarial camp, without ever having said so.
“…this looks to me like a group of writers working in a profession that had been mistreated for so long that they were exceptionally vulnerable to the seduction of a smooth-talking charmer who passed himself off as an angel investor in the future of liberalism and journalism…”
The “mistreated” bit is arguable, but the rest I would say is pretty much true. People are strange, especially when it comes to money.
Taibbi, whatever his social faults, walked away. Good for him.
I could give a shit about Pierre’s new toy, except for the fact that if it gains a little traction, it just goes to show you how gullible people can be.
Yeah remove the overselling of the journos and I guess I can ratify it. Not too sure about the confused oligarch bit. PO seems kinda goal oriented to me.
I didnt say he endorsed The Intercept. I said his pitch seemed aimed at people who care whether or not it succeeds.
the tarzie gig seems to be playing better than the SMBIVA gig
the expertise cited here is impressive, clearly deep thinkers all
any blog where they x-ref Corrente is a power node for brutal realism, that strether character has some shattering insights into thrice-warmed-over wonk hash from podesta
Not Tarzie’s doing that I used Strether’s name to explain between ‘aggregate’ and ‘arrogate’, Mr. ice d.t.. I just didn’t want to claim it was my doing. Yes, Strether is a reform capitalist, Yves as well, as far as I know. Taibbi as well, but muckraking is helpful, even so, no? At least Taibbi has a new piece up at RS; haven’t read it yet.
such a cracking good response, nobody’ll ever know wed is tarz is everyone else here
Thank you for skewering these warped neo-fascist sociopaths.
Please let me know if you’d rather I bugger off for any number of reasons, but as I haunt WikiLeaks account for dope to write about, I thought you like this:
There is also a kerfuffle over what *might* be related to Taibbi’s new post, but ‘Pierre’ is in on it, and Paul Carr. You’ll see if you get on WikiLeaks’ feed. I read the thing you reported on o we wouldn’t have to. Oh, ish. You left out one or two barf-worthy parts, like Pierre ‘giving away his fortune’. And the failed micro-loan section was all in passive voice. Fuck Pierre and his faux-lanthropy, and Gates’ and Clinton’s as well.
What I find pretty funny is that Wheeler bailed, then Taibbi bailed. The two people who didn’t have much to do with the Snowden franchise.
Reading this blog, with its cogent analysis and laugh-out-loud moments, brings to mind a term: high polemic. Compare and contrast that with Greenwald’s performances, which you might call nasally, high petulance…
The whole First Look/Intercept model seems so obsolete. As if Greenwald wants to re-introduce the now extinct species of ‘responsible journalist’ into an ecosystem that no longer supports it – with himself, of course, as the first example of that new (old) breed. But it’s such a joke when the economics (you might even say political economy) no longer supports it. The Gary Webb affair proved that twenty years ago. Anyone with an actual conscience at this point would have simply done a document dump with the Snowden documents at Cryptome, or maybe Wikileaks. But Greenwald evidently thinks you can serve two masters (in other words, he’s a firm believer in the American Dream): you can be principled and thoroughly self-righteous *and* you will be rewarded for it (i.e. you can enrich yourself) through book deals, movie rights, and so on. It’s funny that someone who is getting ready to have a non-conference about the future of journalism is basically promoting this old, now defunct model.
Your whole second paragraph is a great concise critique, though I think it suggests a golden era that only existed in the movies. Greenwald is nostalgic for Redford and Hoffman, not Woodward and Bernstein. This nails his mythology exactly —
— and also explains why he is so intoxicating to ignorant idealists. Celebrity, wealth *and* a clear conscience! It’s irresistible to people for whom the distant past is two weeks ago.
“Greenwald’s…nasally high petulance”
That’s what happens when he clenches his ass cheeks hard to disguise the fact he’s yak-yaking out of it.
oooh la la la la la la la la
wealth of comedy
the one aping oxy
mostly because he
has no comic turns of
his own, well
he’s calling someone
you tell your
big fanbase of 3
that you copy oxy
and stole all
offered them as your own
took oxy’s insights
said they were yours
he’s a lost angel
(Uggh, think I missed an end html link “/a”, on my post a few moments ago, will edit, and try again)
I’m disappointed to see that the most recent Newsgeist™ twits – those I’ve come across – neglect to note the near century old Knight [“Knight”, as in: “Knight Ridder”] Foundation, not to say, that I’m not bleakly enjoying the (way, way too late) highlighting/damning of (the far, far younger) Google[plex].
Another, of so very many – scum rises to the top – treasures, sponsored by the Knight Foundation & the then FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission of 5 (or have a few been added recently?) persons out of millions), mysterious, certainly suspect, Senior Advisor to the [FCC] Chairman, Steven Waldman [look up BeliefNet™] (not the same, to my search info and gut instinct, as Steve Randy Waldman/Interfluidity, whom I know nothing about) :
Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy
 [FCC] Future of Media [!] Blog, brought to us presumed victims by an entity, the Knight Foundation, which was supposed to be watchdogging for fascism, et al; versus the transmorphing into fascist entities; which “the media” has been doing, seemingly, since time began.
(this is bleakly priceless too, while people are losing their shirts, despite doing the right thing, the mysterious Steven Waldman attains an impervious $afety Net with this stunning vomit, which a three year old human would be quite ashamed of:
060911[FCC Commission Document] THE INFORMATION NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES
The changing media landscape in a broadband age
Steven Waldman and the Working Group on Information Needs of Communities™)
(thank you for once again allowing my comment ‘tarzie’; I don’t believe that the Knight Foundation has been followed near as closely as it should be.)
(Oh, dear entity of benevolence, the twit timing could not have been further perfected! :0) ;0) , what wit’ Sam, a Knight!, proudly swimming in and flinging, shit, all about, … amongst those who truly have no Legal Coun$el, and never had,… as if it were the thing to doo … as if if he had not a clue why the wee peeps never, EVER discuss their JAWB, …. ON LINE )
I’m not gonna look. I’ve had enough of him. One trick pony. An unoriginal, arrogant dumbass. These people are soul-draining. Not inclined to rub my own nose in it.
yes, they are: soul draining.
UUUGh, speaking of the Knight surname:
Of course Sam neglects to mention that the only persons comfortable with acknowledging their employer/paymaster online – when most of their online greivances include their employer/paymaster – are those with their tongue firmlyembedded up their employers ass ; right or wrong (usally wrong) with no questions asked.
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