Usefully Dumb and Usefully Dumber: Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald

I can’t think of anyone more qualified to hold forth on the Proper Way to Oppose The Ruling Class than wealthy clerks who work for oligarchs. So we who agonize over how to end capitalism while respecting the privacy rights of people who topple governments and spread fascism should be very grateful that ruling class fascism enablers George Soros and Pierre Omidyar kindly put their respective administrative assistants, Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald, at liberty to commingle their brands on whether or not disclosure of John Podesta’s emails is a step too far. Spoiler alert: The answer from both is yes.

What is power, wonders Klein. Who gets to decide when it trumps privacy? Am I powerful? Are you? Isn’t the Podesta hack the kind of thing Snowden was protecting us from? I am reminded of the right-wing harassment of climate change activists. Assange seems personally and politically motivated. He doesn’t care how the stakes for this election are so very high. I know a war resister who’s living in a church in Vancouver. He wants a pardon. He’s not aiming to destroy anything. Unlike Assange, he’s principled.

Well, you know, says Glenn, Snowden said that actually trying to change things directly is sociopathic and narcissistic, regardless of how abhorrent those things are. Which is why he handed his documents off to me for curation. So that people could know only the things I think they should know and talk about them. I think Assange is alone now in thinking there is a better way than this for handling leaks. He’s been shut inside that embassy for years and clearly it’s driving him insane.

And so on.

When do these people agonize in the same proportion over Empire’s “collateral damage” as they do over largely hypothetical imperial functionaries who are injured or embarrassed by an attack on power? Where is their handwringing over the nazis Soros and Omidyar helped bring to power in Ukraine?

Fucking Klein shilled for empire’s terrorist proxies in Libya. The “tide of history” she called them. Clearly her awesomely nuanced view of privacy and power does not afford protection from knife rape to an official enemy’s anus; nor, seemingly does a Honduran indigenous activist’s brain enjoy protection from death squad bullets. At least not enough to place the person responsible for these violations outside contention for the presidency in an election with the highest stakes ever. For all her revoltingly stupid blather about privacy, Klein’s immediate concerns are clearly partisan. The leaks are hurting Hillary who, like her, is on the Soros payroll.

I won’t dignify this swamp by further wallowing in it. Trust that Greenwald and Klein continue to make complete asses of people who think that the Celebrity Left’s main purpose is something more lofty than containment and discipline, or that riff raff like Soros and Omidyar are their patrons for any other reason. This is a matter of simple fucking common sense. It’s sickening that it’s still subject to debate.


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64 Responses to Usefully Dumb and Usefully Dumber: Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald

  1. davidly says:

    They’re like Concern Trolls Hangout, Ltd. Or something.

    The following piece examining Adam Curtis’ latest HyperNormalisation rings true if the substance of analysis is accurate. I haven’t seen the documentary.

  2. walterglass4 says:

    The paragraph paraphrasing Klein is pure gold. I don’t need to know anymore about this discussion, that captures it all right there.

    “Am I powerful? Are you?” I hope you made this up, I also hope she actually said it. Either outcome is funny.

    • Tarzie says:

      Ha ha. Klein and GG were plenty funny in their own right but in dire need of editing out of existence.

      I’m glad I’ve spared you the real thing.

  3. robert says:

    omg! assange is threatening everyone’s privacy! go tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet like little birds!

    that tweet is from 2011 but has she checked out poland’s politics? i’d bet by some international standards of procedure, ballot access & all that, poland is more “democratic” than the US, but hey, look where that’s gotten them? raygun & the pope’s fav dissident became 1st prezzie so that should tell one something. and look at them now. and does she know that foreign direct investment skyrocketed in China like the day after the Tianamen Sq crackdowns ended? it’s been up up up! ever since cuz no one that has money to count or is sitting on a naval carrier group gives a fuck about that crap. you spend 5 mins looking at Podesta & can see there is “compelling public interest” to flush down the crapper that man’s privacy & everything else about him and everyone associated w/him professionally.

    not holding my bladder for NK & GG to express a dram of concern about assange’s privacy or the many violations of his rights. we’ve got movies to make!

    • Tarzie says:

      you spend 5 mins looking at Podesta & can see there is “compelling public interest” to flush down the crapper that man’s privacy & everything else about him and everyone associated w/him professionally.

      Word. A quick death is too good for this scum but email hacks omg!

      It’s surreal. I wish there was some way we could just build something new without these people getting anywhere near it. That we engage with them in a way that suggests we’re affiliated somehow increasingly looks wrong to me.

    • No soy yo says:

      Even the nauseating piece in Mother Jones about the John Podesta recipes found in the emails demonstrated the extent to which he “pals around with” bankers. So even taking the most sycophantic, partisan look possible demonstrates something that is conceivably “compelling public interest,” even when they tried desperately hard not to.

  4. Chris Floyd says:

    Oh, you ruined it with that spoiler! I never would have guessed!!

    • Tarzie says:

      Ha ha. Not surprising at all in broad strokes but I’m surprised by how stupid and clearly partisan NKs remarks are and how much GG is making with the really horrible pathologizing. They’re disgusting.

  5. No soy yo says:

    That “conversation” was surprisingly sickening — I thought I was prepared, with all I knew about both of them. The whole bit about the guy in the church who doesn’t want to burn everything down — we have the right sort of victim, along with the right sort of whisteleblower, and the right sort of hacker. They all call for a bit of conversation, and no more. Just “improve” our “democracy” (TM), that’s all. And the part where GG talks about responsibly going through the Snowden materials “for years” — yes, that is definitely the right way to “blow a whistle” — over a period of years, lest the great swaths of innocents should tax our little brains too harshly, or actually clamor for real change. And of course, unlike Wikileaks, I’m sure GG isn’t timing his stories for media attention (or book sales). After “This Changes (__)thing,” and all her despicable activities/comments with 350 (though I hadn’t seen that tweet about Libya), I was used to NK’s convoluted logic, but it seems like she’s not even trying to pretend that she’s an enemy of empire any more: she openly admits she’s “disturbed” by the idea of destroying it. There was a time when I thought she was just naive, but I was the naive/foolish one — all along she has been playing her role in actively defending empire and everything she purports to object to.

    • Tarzie says:

      the right sort of victim, along with the right sort of whisteleblower, and the right sort of hacker. They all call for a bit of conversation, and no more.

      WORD. Their whole thing is making the rules of resistance which all boil down to “don’t resist” It would be bad enough if they were just rank and file liberal conformists. But these people are clerks for oligarchs. The fucking audacity to act like they’re coming from something separate from that.

      The story of the resister in the church was the most disturbing thing for me. Whenever they counsel victims to make nice my blood boils. the fucking arrogance.

  6. Dissent Now says:

    The moment I saw the GG/NK piece come up, and then read it to find all that I knew I’d inevitably find there (and even more!), I thought to myself, “the only good thing that can come out of this is maybe Tarzie will write again,” and lol, sure enough, here it is.

    But what do you say, right? I mean, is the mind of anyone who does not immediately see the GG/NK piece for what it is ever going to be changed by what anyone else might (or even can) say? It does not seem likely, and so one is left where you said, where even to engage with such things is somehow regressive, if not entirely pointless.

    All the same, very few can say it like you say it, so maybe there is always going to be at least that much. Thanks.

    • Tarzie says:

      If nothing else talking about it takes the edge off the nausea. These people genuinely make me sick. I think I was able to increase people’s contempt for Naomi Klein which I see as a good thing. She’s too often regarded as “one of the good ones” like Amy Goodman used to be. If we’re going to pay attention to these people at all, we should hone our hatred. But ignoring them would probably be better. Otherwise they’re always setting the terms of the discussion. I don’t think about or pay attention to Fox or even MSNBC because I see them as entirely separate from me. There’s no reason to see The Intercept and it’s milieu any differently. I guess they afflict me because they are the first line of defense against radicals and a lot of people are still taken in by them.

  7. No soy yo says:

    I was also looking forward to Tarzie’s response …

    I go back and forth about devoting thought and pixels to these sorts. On the one hand, I think that when we have heroes and aren’t willing to criticize, or even critique, those heroes, this leads to the groupthink that epitomizes their followers. So we should be able to point to some (which isn’t much lately) of what GG or NK or NC say that we may agree with or think is valid, while disagreeing, even vehemently, with something, or most everything, else. I still like much of Shock Doctrine, and even find value in some of This Changes (No)thing, when she’s not obsessing about yet another billionaire, or claiming that we don’t need to dismantle capitalism to save the planet, etc.

    On the other hand, that’s ignoring the active role they play as “good dissenters,” and supporting the idea that they have some sort of unique or insightful or incisive viewpoint. All they really have is the power to make their opinion known, and the reliability that they will never argue that the whole thing should be “burned down.”

    • Tarzie says:

      Since looking at these people more critically while becoming aware of lesser known and even obscure nobodies with lots of brains and insight, I don’t find any part of what they do indispensable or warranting praise. They only have my attention because oligarchs and corporations put them in front of me. Of Chomsky, Greenwald and Klein, I feel like Klein at one time provided something useful that wasn’t readily available elsewhere. But Chomsky and Greenwald? Meh.

      If you can’t come right out and say capitalism must go yesterday, you’re a containment mechanism whether you intend to be or not, and all your best work just authenticates you as a guardian of our politics. Given that these people can’t even call bullshit on an election like this, but instead attempt to run interference against exposing how deep the rot goes, I just don’t think they can be anything but pernicious. So I can’t ever return to good points/bad points with them, even if their good points were better than they are.

  8. pim says:

    I’ve got to say Tarzie, you called this bang-on a few years back with your “Good Whistleblower/Bad Whistleblower” posts.

  9. Bitman says:

    I see at least three fronts opened here against the Podesta emails: the nominally unaligned, “independent celebrity journalist” (sic) front (populated by GG and NK and that ilk), the openly and nauseatingly HRC-aligned liberal journalist front, some working for big outfits, others working their own beats (Marshall, Yglesias), and a third front that’s particularly interesting to me: the academic front, populated by professors with prominent media profiles. Here the lead example is media studies professor Zeynep Tufekci (who also writes for the NYT), but could also include Jonathan Zittrain, and the particularly reprehensible Brendan Nyhan. Tufekci’s case is worth a writeup on its own (I may do it, since it’s bugging me). She mirrors HRC’s campaign strategy in some respects in that her “private” position (by which I mean her academic one, far less read than her twitter or NYT pieces) is critical of consent engineering in public communication, while in twitter “public” she’s been very critical of the leaks:

  10. robert says:

    spare yourself, unless you are in a particularly masochistic mood or need to purge from a cloying weekend. grocery clerks sent to collect a bill from Assange. just stick w/ the bold block quotes. “i think WikiLeaks more or less at this point stands alone in believing that these kinds of dumps are ethically — never mind journalistically — just ethically, as a human being, justifiable.” professional, business, personal ethics, so confusing how to keep all those straight! the ethos of not “standing alone” is a good guide for us perplexed, right? “I’m not comfortable with anybody wielding this much power.” duck Maureen Dowd! headhunters are targeting your job of tongue-clucking national school marm. is there any other standard of “too much power” beside Wikileaks impinging on GG’s/NK’s self-importance? the NSA et al (thanks Snowden!) read all the Podesta/HRC/etc. emails too, as far as anyone knows. and found nothing the peasants need concern themselves with. and the cowardly snipes at Assange’s ego are, like all things bovine these days, really insipid.

    to ease the pain, you can also do a search in the doc on the word “concern.” those 9 sentences will tell it all: “my concern is that decent people seeing this who do not have these values and these conflicts of interest will just go, “There’s no way I’m going into politics. I will not give up my privacy.”” how will we ever respect the decent people going into politics????? no weasel could ferret out what the hell that sentence even means. or search the world “comfortable.” GG/NK protecting their safe space is all you’ll find.

    i suppose one value in chugging this Pissweiser treacle (do it quickly! get it over with) is that this is a more “serious,” more “intellectual” version of the exact same shit “curated” at the NYT & co every goddam day. Minus the sub-mental Russophobia, which, we are to believe, is less dangerous than the piddlin’ micro-aggression forced unveiling of Podesta’s precious privacy. but why is that valuable? oh, i don’t know, you get to see what a turd w/sprinkles on it looks like?

  11. robert says:

    below: another chronicle of time wasted and off topic except in further demonstrating someone is merely a “containment mechanism,” of deep dipshittery.

    after a little goog there’s this:
    “I don’t think climate change necessitates a social revolution.” after such boundless vacuity they used to chirp but now the crickets are all dead. she goes on to repeat like a wish list from some Al Gore/FDR Keynesian program (“more light rail!”) as the-not-that inconvenient solution. “You compost your organic free range chicken scraps, slapped an Energy Star label on your appliances and put all the planet’s rare earth metals in your hybrid car batteries. What next?” how can someone be both so fantastically delusional and so drearily unimaginative? cowardly, pompous, childish, uninspiring, predictable, and all their synonyms also come to mind. the “battle” (what battle? where? when? ugh, 5th grade all over.) over climate change is really “ideological.” yeah, happening in the airwaves & supertubes. that’s why pocket-protecting cephalovoid types are sooooo important, cuz the enviro baddies are bad only in their sincere “beliefs”, which we do-gooders need to verbally tilt at to realize our quixotic vision, our “common dream”, of replacing some of the oil derricks with a few windmills. “It’s largely about changing the mix in a mixed economy.” More organic pig shit! Whole Foods to the rescue! “How much less glyphosate, Ms. Klein?” “Stop being so ideological!” “Climate change is not a big issue for the Left. The big left issues in the United States are inequality, the banks, corporate malfeasance, unemployment, foreclosures.” yeah, war ain’t such a big issue either. I think Ms. No Logo’s brand is “big left issues in the US.” “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting, and light-bulb changing…” some facial muscles are ticcing separately from all the eye-rolling seizures induced by reading that, so, enough. Badge of Honor, Naomi: McLean’s mag in 2014 named you “the left’s most important intellectual.” oh boy, we are so fucked.

    • wendyedavis says:

      note: in their rehearsed joint press conference, NK said it’s just plain wrong to publish emails “of unelected people“. holy fukkery, what a bar for ‘Power’! colin polyps, james clap-louder (‘they were also consistent w. russian hacks, hrrroom’, says he), tra la la…they were wrong as well. and still, one of them managed to bring ‘russia’ into the equation, oh, so coyly: no proof, wasn’t it?

      but my stars, the convoluted drivel in that common dreams thing; hard to what add to your play w/ it, but as w/ her fellow gatekeepers to the capitalist ruling class, mcFibbin’, she never once mentioned either of two largest carbon footprints in the US: the military and factory ag. what a tool. nor do either of them ever say, as far as i know: ‘quit wanting so much shiny new shit!” but hey, let’s ‘do lunch again’ and speak softly of green capitalism.”

      No, not the pentagon papers, naomi…oh wait…they are! you might want to look again.

  12. wendyedavis says:

    this is simply elegant, tarzie; i kneel before you. but i’d add to the platitudes: “aren’t you, snowden, and i the change we’ve been wanting to see?” lord luv a duck, i’d totally breezed right by the fake moral equivalency of her comrade in the church wanting a pardon, even while reading and bolding some of the contrived ‘conversation’. what a staged presentation it was, my stars.

    you covered all the bullshit in so few words; hell, my response to them took close to 1200 (but with links, i swear!!). your good whistleblower/bad whistleblower category helped a lot, so thank you for that, as well.

    davidly, your ‘Concern Trolls Hangout, Ltd.’ choked me with laughter; given their unified wrinkled brows ‘concerns’ over… “how will good people™ ever want to run for office?” slimy jello rubbish. and yes, snowden and gg: it WAS quite a conversation, wasn’t it? (even though, tragically, ‘the people’ never did get to vote away our constitutional rights to privacy…

    robert, your rants are great, and a wrongkindofgreen book review of ‘changes NOthing’ made some similar points to yours; we need a better kind of capitalism…or something like that. ‘only innovation can save us now’?

    thank you all sincerely, but oh my, tarzie, can you distill bullshit like no other.

  13. I finally listened to this thing and you weren’t exaggerating in the slightest. What a fucking joke. They’re hardly handwringing anymore. Should have been titled ‘Will There be Civil Liberties for the Fascists? A Most Important Conversation.’

    Klein in particular doesn’t even pretend to want to pose any kind of threat to power. No wonder she admires Snowwald so much. She’s so deeply concerned about the potential threat posed to the worst fucking people in the world by someone with their own agenda. I think her comments come off as grave and urgent because she feels the threat anything approaching democracy poses to their bourgeois privileges such as deciding what the rest of us are allowed to see. Maybe it’s just partisan panic, but I think there’s an awareness that her class privilege is contingent on nothing changing. She may also fear the unlikely scenario someone were to targeted her, perhaps revealing the nature of her collusion with the interests that provide her a platform. It’s the same reason Glenn flipped out in this very space when you were showing what a fraud he was while everyone on the left was supposed to be applauding his courageous public service. And, as you point out, it’s clarifying they never get this worked up about things like imperial violence and material deprivation, especially the forms of it their billionaire patrons are involved in directly. It’s not a principle they’re defending here, it’s their right to dictate terms to the rest of us. And then they lecture people on humility? Fucking journalists…

    A favorite moment of mine was GG stressing the importance of online security by comparing it to the need of homeowners to invest in an alarm and perhaps a fence to protect their property.

    Anyway, the only thing that continues to interest me is how far they can push the line without damaging the credibility of their brands. Shows there’s no real sense of what left used to mean and is now whatever they say it is. Enduring this and Scahill on chapo trap house back to back is a good way to ruin your day.

    • Tarzie says:

      It’s always great to see you here, Kevin.

      I think your take on Klein is spot on. There’s definitely more than partisanship at work, although, clearly with all the “high stakes” bullshit, that’s an immediate concern for both her and Greenwald. Trump has given celebs whose brands don’t normally accommodate really overt lesser evilism an opportunity to show their loyalties more explicitly. George Soros is surely smiling, considering that he’s Clinton’s top donor.

      But there definitely seems to be some self-centered panic here, and I think your diagnosis is correct. They want to keep their privileges and, Klein, at least seems fearful that she and her friends might be targets, and considering how compromised the 350 crew is, it’s likely about bigger things than credit card numbers and tit pics.

      I agree with you that the only thing that’s interesting is how low these assholes are willing to go. Greenwald vindicates me every time he opens his yappy, uptalking piehole, way beyond anything I anticipated. Did you notice how his story on Snowden’s document theft changed? No meticulous pre-curating anymore. Why does anyone believe a word this asshole says?

      • I didn’t actually. Whatever is expedient. Of course it’s framed as this great gesture of humility as snowden would never think he alone should have the power to decide things of such great import. This narrative shift is even more self-serving as it seems to argue for the necessity of the role of the journalist, not just that it’s preferable. Not only do things need to be curated, they need to be entirely managed by a professional, one who knows all the rules lest something damaging slip. Even the more conservative wikileaks model is a bridge too far. It’s the same kind of shit people like david simon peddle when lamenting the decline of traditional newspapers. A healthy democracy needs real professionals to tell us about the world in the same way we need trained firefighters. People without mainstream institutional backing lack not only the financial resources but the experience and likely the cognitive ability to make sense of all these complex problems.

        I think all of them are far worse than any of us had previously speculated because they’ve successfully lowered the bar from where it was even a few years ago, opening up space for the more overtly reactionary advocacy we’re seeing now. Your point about this election allowing for more transparent partisanship from certain types is dead on. The intercept crew may swing at clinton some, as do many of the semi-prominent radlibs, but it’s always necessary to frame her as the far less dangerous candidate. Here’s a couple examples that come to mind (the scahill quote comes after he said trump may very well attack Iran should he get in):

        Of course no evidence needs to be presented for any of this as it’s reinforced literally everywhere else. Certainly this kind of lesser evilism is intended to drag people into the voting booth, but this year it’s also part of a larger push to prepare everyone (especially skeptics) for the inevitable escalations of existing wars and likely the opening of new fronts. If they can’t threaten people enough to cosign HRC’s murderous project, they will at least make whatever comes next feel more like relief than a giant leap toward the precipice. We saved that 8 million, remember?

        As things descend further into a deep reactionary nightmare in the mainstream, the celebrity left is leading a mirror shift on the margins. These conditions should be radicalizing people, the utter fraud of the spectacle driving many towards militant action. Instead, not only is there no such response, there is active collaboration, adding fuel to the wildfire. I’ve said it before but accepting the sincerity and leadership of these parasites is suicide. It’s indeed sickening that their function is still subject to debate.

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh I wasn’t suggesting you believe anything Greenwald says. I’m surprised that the usual rubes are still taken in by it. God, they’re dumb. It’s sickening how fucking dumb.

        You should distill your comments here into a blog post. My take was superficial by design. Too disgusted myself to do much beyond fanning flames.

  14. No soy yo says:

    I think that Klein especially sees not only the possibility that her emails will be hacked and leaked, but also the threat to the acceptance of her stupid ideas. With each year that the globe continues to emit the gigatonnes of CO2 that we do, her Make America Great Again (by going back to the 1970’s lifestyle in terms of emissions, and the 1940’s of gardens in every yard) claims become less defensible. As it is, the logic of her book was so convoluted that a relatively mainstream columnist (and immensely superior author on climate change) called her out on her numbers, and to some extent, on her logic. That’s in addition to Klein criticizing “Big Green” while herself being on the board of 350, continuing to claim that she’s anti capitalist while only providing capitalist solutions to the problem (like the horrific “Do the Math” tour), and all the other problems with her book/work with 350.

    Also, these “environmental leaders” like to claim that individual action isn’t important. So in 2009, Klein suddenly decided to care about global warming, and acknowledges she had elite status on her frequent flyer account at that time. During the course of researching and writing the book, she continued to fly around the globe, she procreated, and she continued to consume animal products, despite acknowledging that these were three high-emitting activities (and I’d say the three highest emitting activities). They claim that “only big steps,” like government action will make a difference. But, the huge steps government must make will involve us all cutting down our emissions. So shouldn’t the leaders show it isn’t so bad? No, they don’t want to give up their lifestyle. What good is the $ and power that they are defending, without the lifestyle of flying around the globe, and doing whatever they want?

    I was sorry to see Kevin Anderson defend Klein’s ideas on several occasions (she did quote him numerous times in her book) since he calls out this flying around the globe by academics, “activists,” journalists, etc., for the hypocrisy it is

    • Tarzie says:

      This is great.

      I grow increasingly disgusted with the view that our own attempts to reduce our carbon footprints are meaningless gestures. I think there’s an argument to be made for thought leaders using planes. There’s no excuse for eating meat, which is so environmentally devastating in so many ways.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’m gonna walk back what I said about planes. These people should be videoconferencing always. There is less and less reason for people to physically occupy the same space to publicly confer. The “in-person” thing is a concession to celebrity culture. There’s no practical basis for it anymore.

      • No soy yo says:

        I think at the very least there should be a decision about flying, and not an automatic “I’m important enough to fly.” We have David Roberts of Vox (always talking about his own flying, children, and barbecues) saying it doesn’t matter that Leonardo Di Caprio has a high carbon lifestyle as a spokesperson about climate change. Totally ridiculous argument by a ridiculous “journalist.” (I follow people on Twitter I can’t stand to stay in the loop, but he was too insufferable even for me).

        Let the peons reduce, or, I’ll wait until the government tells me to do it. NK quotes Anderson’s numbers about the huge reductions we need, and how in the past even in the Great Depression or the fall of the Soviet Union the reductions were smaller and/or for many fewer years than we need now. So everyone needs to reduce. There’s no law or policy that will enable us to consume. Meat eating and flying are incompatible with a livable planet (I’ll skip the procreating issue for now). So why don’t they stop now? There’s no returning to the heyday of the 1970’s, like NK suggests (even if her math were right, and Kolbert in my other link says it’s wrong), since continual reduction in GDP is not possible with our system. And, when she talks about that, she seems to forget that allegedly she’s a radical who wouldn’t think that capitalist 1970 is better than capitalist 2016. She begins to say that, then says we don’t need a social revolution (much less economic and political). In a short time the elite will be hanging on for dear life and won’t care about her, or fund her books and movies, and her fans will see her for the fraud she is as they try to survive and try (too late) for a true revolution. Her time will be up very soon, and yes, she’s desperate.

        I think NK may be the so-called leader of the so-called left that I despise the most. Many of her followers are activists, ready and willing to be in the streets, to risk arrest, to actually resist, to “burn it all down.” This is different from the intellectuals or Internet junkies that follow many other “leaders.” She joins up with horrid 350, tells her followers that it’s not necessary to be in the streets, tells them that there is some value/meaning to the vague and empty promises of the Democratic Party, tells them to do stupid actions at the white house, says it matters whether JP Morgan or Swarthmore owns shares in Exxon, and here actually says she’s “bothered” by destroying the system. Loved The Shock Doctrine. She’s despicable.

      • Tarzie says:

        The sledgehammer you are taking to climate change denial is scaring me. How long until the elites are hanging on for dear life?

      • No soy yo says:

        I can’t give an exact timeline, of course. We have several factors simultaneously: the economy, climate change, wars, unrest, technology, surveillance. And that’s in addition to all the other environmental problems. And the ever-present nuclear threat.

        If you read what everyday climate scientists, or especially those in related fields, like biologists, say, they are terrified. They are shocked out of their minds at how quickly the changes are coming. I read and think about this a lot, and I’m a pessimist, a nihilist, and a misanthrope. Nevertheless, sometimes I read what an individual biologist says and I feel utter chill and realize how unrealistically rosy my glasses had been. So while I certainly hope that the worst case scenario folks (Guy McPherson, e.g., who thinks that humans will be extinct within a decade) are wrong, I think that someone like Kevin Anderson, who I linked to, and is one of the most honest of the mainstream folks, is being too optimistic. That’s because he uses IPCC and other mainstream numbers as the basis for his calculations. Those are always way too conservative, because they’re using science a few years old, and all the countries need to sign off on the reports.

        Between the myriad problems with the oceans, the Amazon soon to be a carbon emitter, the arctic, methane, etc., even without taking into account chain reactions, things look very grim. And we now know that in the past, abrupt climate change happened, and was very abrupt — 10 degrees C in a decade. While this was generally during ice ages, it was also without human influence.

        Our worldwide economy is a ponzi scheme and could go down at any moment. On the one hand, that means fewer emissions. On the other hand, all the pollution that we generate actually causes “global dimming,” and in the short term cools the planet. So there would be a short-term sudden warming. And, we wouldn’t have the money to spend to work on dealing with global warming. A drought in the top wheat producing countries at once is one of several climate-related worldwide economic disasters that could happen.

        There are other scary issues (nuclear power plants need outside electricity to prevent a meltdown, and only have a relatively small supply of gasoline for emergency generators is one cheery thought) that are related to the mix of climate (and related weather disasters), economy, etc. Everything we do is dependent on energy and the distribution isn’t all that reliable, especially as we have more weather disasters, etc. Meanwhile, people in the richer countries are really starting to feel the economic problems and so we have negative interest rates and other goodies. The elite in a way are already, behind the scenes, beginning to feel shaky. That’s why we see the need to more forcefully whip us into shape and the need for the most extreme Pied Piper yet, and the need for their proxies to come more forcefully out of the closet. No more “hold your nose,” but now Hillary has a good heart, and is Christian, or whatever. NK and her bile. Etc.


        Here is a discussion with one of the mainstream climate scientists, who now has James Hansen’s old job, one of the ‘don’t panic, we have time,’ crowd. You don’t have to go far between the lines of what he and others of the “there’s time” crowd say to see that they are holding back:

        “Oh yeah,” Schmidt says, almost casually. “The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet. There’s going to be huge dislocations if that comes about.”

        But things can change much quicker than people think, he says. Look at attitudes on gay marriage.

        And the glaciers?

        “The glaciers are going to melt, they’re all going to melt,” he says. “But my reaction to Jason Box’s comments is—what is the point of saying that? It doesn’t help anybody.”

        As it happens, Schmidt was the first winner of the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union, and various recent studies in the growing field of climate communications find that frank talk about the grim realities turns people off—it’s simply too much to take in. But strategy is one thing and truth is another. Aren’t those glaciers water sources for hundreds of millions of people?

        “Particularly in the Indian subcontinent, that’s a real issue,” he says. “There’s going to be dislocation there, no question.”

        And the rising oceans? Bangladesh is almost underwater now. Do a hundred million people have to move?

        “Well, yeah. Under business as usual. But I don’t think we’re fucked.”

        Resource wars, starvation, mass migrations . . .

        “Bad things are going to happen. What can you do as a person? You write stories. I do science. You don’t run around saying, ‘We’re fucked! We’re fucked! We’re fucked!’ It doesn’t—it doesn’t incentivize anybody to do anything.”

      • No soy yo says:

        Sorry, linked to wrong article. This is the one with Schmidt:

      • davidly says:

        Absolutely, this. By absolute I make concessions annual family visits. But Org meetings do not qualify, let alone the kind of globe hopping the business community currently undertakes.

        I read recently that container ships emit more globally than cars combined. Now, I can imagine this being pro-car propaganda, or the information being used as such. Still, it brings to mind the sheer madness that the modern market delivers by way of efficiency only as it relates to always someone else’s bottom line. Real logistics would not entail the equivalent of trading partnerships that don’t take things like necessity and redundancy into consideration. But, alas, Logistics is a branch of the company, and moving product is goal number one.

        When considering the scale of things, the solution to the human problem is obvious. Sad. But obvious.

      • No soy yo says:

        Around 50% of ships’ cargo (container and other vessels) is fossil fuels, and shipping is only around 1.5% of global emissions, or maybe a bit more now so I don’t think that number is correct. The problem is that the state of our oceans is one of the major problems, and they contribute additional pollution along with the CO2. For items that we truly need, in some cases shipping them long distances might make sense (as opposed to the other alternatives currently in place). The problem is that with a growth economy, there is disaster when we don’t buy things we don’t need. The idea of negative interest rates is a sign of economic troubles, and it’s also a sign of how much we are not taking any of this seriously. Saving (i.e., “conserving”) is penalized. On a particularly stormy weekend, with the pricing system they have for electricity in northern Europe, the price of electricity went negative. This was actually hailed by some as something to cheer about: that they were producing so much “clean” energy. As if there’s no planned obsolescence of windmills, and zero fossil fuels used to carry that energy, no wear and tear on the electric items that people fired up because of lower prices in the long term (not negative to individuals, though), etc. One small example of how ludicrous it is to try to use our current economic and political system to make even modest changes in emissions.

        The emissions we need to reach entail zero flying, I’m afraid. I’m about to begin a 27-hour train ride this afternoon, but when there are oceans in between, that is obviously not possible. I want to move back to South America, so it’s something I think about, since this time I won’t be visiting much, if ever.

      • robert says:

        it’s distressing that people refuse to admit it’s not what we *do* to “combat (sic) global warming” that matters most, or even at all per se, but what we *stop doing.* stop eating meat, stop flying, stop driving, stop running the HVAC 24/7/365.

        stop working. the overworked earth is being overworked by overworked people.

        everybody quit. try telling that to a typical grotesquely overworked USaean and behold the teeth gnashing & howls of derision. slave mentality (but what will we do? what we will ever do?!?)

        smash the imprisonment of labor by quitting. of course that has to be a collective task, but hey, gotta start somewhere, right?

        start w/white collar work. 99% of that shit is completely unnecessary, it’s all permutations on keeping tabs on the bosses’ money. the people who do that at the top of food chain, the lawyers & accountants, are the least necessary & do absolutely nothing useful for society at all. and they do what they do precisely so that farmers & janitors & nannies will make nothing for a living.

        “first thing we do is kill all lawyers.” anyway, rant off. undo capitalism. stop consuming. stop participating in the “economy” to whatever extent possible.

  15. I was responding to your first question as in I didn’t notice GG’s sleight of hand re Snowden’s pre-curation. I think it’s just assumed everyone in these parts knows he’s a complete fraud, but the fact that I missed that shows how they can still slip things by me.

    I’ll try to put something together tonight. Generally don’t like the idea of following you though…

    • Tarzie says:

      I hope you don’t feel pressured. I just think your comments would look good above the fold at your own joint. Some of the best stuff on this blog is what people contribute here. I fear that some people miss it and also that the contributors should get to own it under their own auspices.

      I think Naomi Klein’s gotten a pass she doesn’t deserve. She could use a bit more raking over the coals.

      • No pressure I just try to avoid redundant blogging. You cover things so well here even when you’re not completely trying. I’ve been in writing mode lately anyway and sometimes I need the urging of other people to finish things so it’s encouraging if anything.

        Yeah I never noticed she was this bad. Per No soy yo it seems her environmental advocacy is just as pernicious. Another mainstream figure whose brand is sustained by a performed concern for climate collapse while refusing to shift their own behavior. You would think cutting meat would be a requisite for leadership of the environmental movement. But no.

        Love how the question of structure is never more important to these people than when they need to cover up their everyday complicity in the worst excesses of capitalism. It’s the same kind of faux analysis that critiques institutions without naming any of the actors or forces directly responsible for the destruction of all there is or could be. Such a farcical bunch.

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think anything you’ve offered here is redundant.

  16. boring cat says:

    You know, the thing I find most ludicrous about the recent Greenwald/Klein summit is this term, “curate.” I realize it’s become a fashionable signifier that identifies certain class and cultural markers and is thus bandied about more and more in a cheap and meaningless way, but…But it really is a term of pernicious mystification, especially in this case. The Snowden data (and the Wikileaks emails) aren’t ancient Olmec pottery. They aren’t some minor charcoal sketch pieces of Toulouse-Lautrec. The data aren’t a collection of historical interesting objects deserving of public display. Or are they? I mean, if one takes Klein and Greenwald literally that is what they are saying.

    So journalists “curate” data and information for public consumption now. I have advanced degrees. I’m not immune to epistemological arguments in which expertise, experience, training, and skill matter in handling and interpreting complex data and information. But “curate” changes the status of the object in question and changes the public’s relationship and access to it–implicitly, the object becomes a dead thing, a museum piece, that is to be viewed (from behind the velvet ropes) and only viewed. The object is not part of the changing, living world. It has little to no power to induce action or be acted upon. One looks at and says, “oh,” and then moves on to the next bit of “curation.” These people are kidding themselves– or maybe not. Either way, the deployment of “curating” as a practice/term of art in journalism is a direct contradiction. It does indicate how Greenwald and Klein are acting as members of the greater managerial class, I guess. Anyway, there are larger implications about what it means that novel knowledge and information is more or less put in mothballs as it’s being unveiled, but I’ve got to run.

    Take care.

    • gbelljnr says:

      This is one of many great comments on this post.

      It reminded me of Laura Poitras’ Whitney exhibition of Snowden documents and related paraphernalia, a wonderful miscellany of the endlessly quaint and moresome flotsam and jetsam of the fascinating world of the surveillance industry and its delightfully dastardly dissidents, all lovingly curated by the very globe-trotting and derringdoodley documentary journalist and filmmaker who brought you such timeless greats as The Snowden Documents and the peerless Citizen Four.

      With an awesome tie-in short story by career-dilettante and serial-dabbler, Cory Doctorow, which takes — hitherto unreleased, but still, we learn, massively important but withheld apparently just for this unique and scintillating collaboration — Snowden documents, weaving them obviously and self-congratulatorily into a so-so-woke little piece of epic science-fictionalia, wedding the quirky and nerdtastic worlds of Sherlock Holmes and global violence-backed ruling class mass surveillance on a global scale. Literature, film, art, documents. Don’t miss this bourgeoistastic melding of the issue of the day and the consumption-habits of well-heeled middle class liberals.

      • No soy yo says:

        I can’t laugh and vomit at the same time so please don’t do this. Bad enough the “fortuitously” bit, and James Clapper’s account was hacked, so “We need cyber defense and we need it badly.” But this was unbearable: “now we’re into the realm of something that must haunt every man and woman of good will and integrity who works in the spy agencies…” I kept thinking this must be satire, between the hyperbole and the absurdity.

        Oh, and I thought they couldn’t share the documents because blah blah blah they’d turn from journalists blah blah. I guess after “years” of “curating” theres no sense keeping up the pretense.

        Also, isn’t it normal when “publishing” redacted documents to say who did the redacting? Did Snowden receive them like that? Did he redact them? Greenwald? I guess if it’s art and not journalism, it doesn’t matter.

      • gbelljnr says:

        word, no soy yo.

        i never stop being amazed by the apparent lack of awareness on the part of these people that their fucking careers are not the main event for everyone else.

        the idea that we might accidentally mistake an exhibition at a manhattan art museum venerating the dramatic principles of the snowden opera with something we should actually give a fuck about.

        their apparent confidence that we won’t notice – that we are too stupid to notice – the idiot fucking parlour trick where they adorn the fatuous bumf they churn out with decorative references to things that matter a fuck. like an ersatz fisherman’s lure, or a piece of cheese in a cartoon acme trap.

        i mean, really, i know it has been said a million times before, but really, FUCK these people.

        PS. your comments were some of the great comments on this post.

    • Damn it! Just when it was getting good! I hate, being left, hanging! Bye !

  17. It is instructive to see that when the it’s time to stop waffling and to take a firm and unambiguous stand, the champions of the celebrity “left” all come down on the side of war, exploitation and empire.

    The ideological lines have been rapidly and radically redrawn. A person who supports unfettered capitalism, systemic corruption, colonial wars, the divine right of bankers and CEOs to rule the proles etc. was, until recently, labelled rightwing, neoliberal, capitalist, whatever. Nobody except Alex Jones and his band of simpleton stooges, morons and partisan delusionists would have labelled them as being “of the left”.

    Enter Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump…a vile and greasy pair of dishonest self-serving fuckwits who, more than any previous pairing of fake adversaries in US election history, represent all that is wrong with America. But one candidate showed he is willing, at least verbally, to slaughter some of try establishment’s sacred cows. Panic and hysteria ensue. Almost every media outlet is now shilling for one candidate by running a 24/7 spectacle churning out tabloid-level criticism of the other contender (who is a caricature of the greedy amoral assholes that they glorify every day..but let’s pretend it’s his racism and bigotry that so “shocks” them) while shielding the safe candidate from any and all criticism. In fact, openly criticizing her is met with the accusation “you must support Trump!”

    And thus a false binary was born and the useful idiots swallowed it hook line & sinker. Not only the peasants but also liberal “left” celebrity spokespeople from Greenwald and Klein to, well, all of them pretty much. And the media labels the approved candidate and her court as “the left”. So now we have people running around promoting a candidate who is to the right of Reagan, and more hawkish, who unironically identify as “leftwing”. And elitist “leftwing”hacks who refuse to accept that the “lesser evil” is dangerous, corrupt and has a putrid track record that takes effort to ignore. The evidence that shows what a piece of shit she really is rendered inadmissible by the self-appointed elitist gatekeepers because it violates her privacy rights. Oh and Assange. He refuses to become a compromised stooge like everybody’s new BFF Eddy and his duplicitous megalomaniac handler, therefore he must be ostracized. (That Klein can write a book like the Shock Doctrine and then support war in Libya…the integrity and intelligence on display here is breathtaking.)

    Anyhow, this rant is even getting on my nerves now so I’m going to make one more point and wrap it up. The most troubling aspect of the present clusterfuck is the rightwing takeover of the left’s traditional ground. The most prominent voices calling out the corporate state and the corporations that own it are coming from the right. Greed, corruption and war are also targets of the “new right” and listening to them they sound exactly like the left (before they get to the part about socialist Obama and an over-regulated finance sector causing the economy to crash). The left has seemingly given up class struggle and in its place champions the classic divide and conquer doctrine of identity politics (it’s all about me and my group/people…fuck solidarity). And wasn’t the idea behind struggling for the rights and liberty of minorities and LGBTQ people so that they WON’T be judged by their skin color, gender or sexual orientation? Now all these things are supposed to be the bedrock on which identities are built. This is insane. Not only does it not address social and economic class and capitalist exploitation, it increases the divide and animosity between people by playing one group off another. It alienates white working class people who are then easy pickings for demagogues and other bigots. This is a terrible situation that ignores reality and pretends the angry right is directly linked to the rise of Trump. But Trump is a symptom, not a cause. As are his supporters. It is people like the Clintons and their capitalist neoliberal ideology that create the economic and social disenfranchisement that gives rise to bigotry and Trump. Yet this is never mentioned by the “left” who worship that fraud Clinton as a feminist hero.

    What will happen is this charade of false consciousness continues is widespread support for the extreme right and people like Trump in the USA and Le Pen in France. How can so many be so blind to this and the logical conclusion this leads to of unchecked?

  18. HUMMUS says:

    Your favorite chickpea based food is here to say I’m glad you’re writing more frequently and also that these comments have been astounding.

    I’m off fighting slumlords over in Crown Heights, Crown Heights Tenant Union is doing good work locally.

    • Tarzie says:

      Going against Brooklyn developers and landlords. I am not being facetious in saying you are doing God’s work. Thanks for the nudge to do shit besides complain and for the kind remarks, though I really only write when my devious commenters goad me into it — Klein and GG were cited in last thread — and only at sufficient length to get the invariably excellent conversation going. The yield in that regard was particularly high on this post and seeing that you are still in our little community is the icing on the cake. We are blessed here.

      • HUMMUS says:

        We’re about to organize another building in Bed-Stuy, we paid a visit and they were extremely receptive, almost eager. A lot of the destabilization schemes rely on harassment and then somewhere between $10-15k in “renovations” aka gutting and converting 2 or 3 bedroom units into 4-5 bed single room occupancy situations (which I’m currently in) and claiming that the renovations cost ~$100k and therefore they can list for market. Then there’s conveniently forgetting to register the rent, my $4k unit was $1190 circa 2008, the last time it was registered.

        We’ve actually got our guy over the barrel because he got too sloppy with this. He’s offered rent stabilization to the newer tenants like myself in hopes he can split us from the original residents who have had their boilers removed and are now facing a second heatless winter. Several are elderly. Aside from one of my roommates being a snake and taking a really bad deal which is better for the rest of us in the long run, no one has rolled over.

        Anyway we had a tenant association meeting last night and have an action planned at the landlord’s office in East Williamsburg on Nov. 15, 10am. I most likely won’t be able to make it due to work but if anyone in the NYC area is interested in showing up I can forward information on it. I am still on the hook for getting people to turn out!

        (I know anonymity is prized here and totally understand if anyone don’t/won’t/can’t)

    • No soy yo says:

      Glad to hear it, chick peas, tahini, garlic and lemon! I did tenant organizing in Brooklyn 30 (yikes!) years ago, and even then, the worst landlords seemed to be in Crown Heights. Considering the stakes now for a landlord to get everyone with affordable rent out, I’m sure it’s a major struggle.

      • Hummus says:

        It’s alright. I’m more concerned about my neighbors who have lived there 30 years or their whole lives without heat. More and more buildings are organizing now, I participate in CHTU but my schedule and their general meetings haven’t been meshing well for me. However I’m really excited about this building in Bed-Stuy and don’t know if they have their own union up there but if not I hope we can help them get started.

        Someone during the meeting said they wanted to win and the bad actors to be punished so this would stop and I had to remind them this was never going to end and we are always going to have to fight this in the city.

        But hey, we’re close to restabilizing 5 units and protecting the existing 3 and potentially another building.

  19. No soy yo says:

    I’m starting to wonder about the net effect of the Podesta email leaks. As much as they are newsworthy, and shed light (or affirm what we already knew) about the politcal/ Democratic Party system, one thing I noticed is that the scheduled FBI releases of Clinton’s emails as Sec State seem to have gotten even less coverage than the previous ones. So emails about Syria, etc., that are important (even if for those of us here they’re again just affirming what we already knew), and perhaps even more important than the Podesta emails, are not even mentioned in the press. And after the leaked emails, I’m sure there are many who can’t keep them straight, so after being told by CNN that it’s illegal to even read the Podesta emails, the State Dept emails are being ignored even more than they would have been.

  20. Hieroglyph says:

    “Isn’t the Podesta hack the kind of thing Snowden was protecting us from? I am reminded of the right-wing harassment of climate change activists.”

    1): Isn’t the Podesta hack the kind of thing Snowden was protecting us from?

    No. No it isn’t. In fact, that’s an absurdly stupid question from someone – and I think Shock Doctrine is excellent – who is evidently an intelligent person. Corrupt, weird, long-term insider fuckheads have power, routinely misuse this power, and are corrupt fuckheads. If Snowden wishes to ensure that Podesta’s emails remain eternally secret, he’s quite possibly the worst whistle-blower since Brutus told Caesar that he had insider info, and the rumours were all nonsense.

    And I give up. The question is too stupid.

    2): I am reminded of the right-wing harassment of climate change activists …

    I am in no way whatsoever reminded of right-wing harassment of climate change activists. This comment can’t simply be stupidity, so it must be manipulative. It plays on a natural sympathy for another person, and invites us to put ourselves in his shoes. Well, Podesta is a venal user, and your climate change activist almost certainly isn’t. To make this false equivalency is … very curious indeed.

    Well, WL has outed Podesta, and one assumes that if Klein is worth her salt, she’ll accept that, ethically speaking, they were right to do so. She’s entitled to have an idle philosophical thought-cloud, and sometimes these things come out badly in print. I await her mea culpa with not a great deal of interest.

    • Hummus says:

      Turns out most people have a very low price and pseudocelebrity is a covered condition.

      Again, we wouldn’t want the Truly Important like NK to have their emails hacked so we could see what they really thought. That’s terrible and, dare I say, Unamerican.

  21. diane says:

    Mood Indigo by Nina Simone, for all those who rightfully didn’t vote for any of them. my small opinion: it’s one of her finest (among so very, very many fine recordings).

    • diane says:

      (interesting (yes I’m somewhat anal about ‘little’ [yet instinctiveley unsettling] changes) wordpress has changed the avatar it assigns to email addys? Mine has always – for a few years here- been a purple insignificant single snowflake, now its a green ‘insignificant snowflake’, and not quite so interesting, to my eye.)

  22. Hummus says:

    Election trip report: helped organize that building and planned their first building meeting for next week and DIDN’T VOTE.

  23. Pingback: The Celebrity Left is Still the Enemy | Stupidity Tries

  24. Pingback: “Kill your idols”: Chelsea Manning and the reactionary “left” – Leftist Critic

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