The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Wages Of Embarassing Elites Are Death


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021


  1. Trinity

    The following link is about climate, but the concepts apply to social systems, which also have thresholds and tipping points.

    It’s my feeling that what Monbiot is talking about will never be addressed, and that future catastrophes will be used to gain even more power and control over. And I’m writing this as a mega hurricane appears to be headed for the mid Atlantic coast.

    I’m hearing more and more about these climate tipping points from multiple outlets, and like the IPCC’s conservative estimates of “when”, these tipping point estimates of “when” are also being moved forward, not back. And as usual, I don’t know if this is meant to frighten us into submission, or reflects reality.

    Social systems are also complex systems comprised of humans, nature, and activities. The human body is also a complex system, which is why modern drugs that target one specific symptom report fifteen or twenty undesirable outcomes from the use of these drugs. Ignoring complexity and the reality that we live within complex systems is something almost everyone does.

    So I’m including it here to continue Che’s excellent posts in the previous article, and just in general to think about social system tipping points, social thresholds of (desired) permanent change, etc.

  2. Plague Species

    Nothing These Days Is By Accident

    Especially Events That Are Labeled Crises And Hyper Exploited Politically

  3. bruce wilder

    The Durham investigation indictment this last week will be largely ignored, but I found some psychological relief in it.

  4. bruce wilder

    For the unsubtle, PS links to Furry Orca, complaining about Fox News’ obsession with refugees/would-be immigrants at the border with Mexico, opining, “I guarantee you if we follow that trail, it leads to McDonald Trump and those wealthy elite who have supported and enabled him and yes, that includes Russia and Putin.”

    Durham is the special prosecutor tasked with unraveling Russiagate insofar as it entangled the FBI. Russiagate was the invention of the 2016 Clinton Campaign continued as an attack on the Trump Administration.

  5. Bill H.

    Has the Durham “investigation” revealed anything other than the indictment of one person for the classic and heinous crime (which I think should not be a crime) of lying to the FBI?

  6. Plague Species

    bruce, “Russiagate” could be a complete scam or a partial scam but it doesn’t mattee to me. It never matter to me. I was never informed by it. It doesn’t influence me and how I feel about Russia and Putin. I know Russia meddles. It’s Putin’s wheelhouse. He’s a KGB Colonel. He has said himself in his memoir that once KGB, always KGB and yet you want me to believe he is a choir boy. Fyi, bruce, Furry Orca is my KGB code name.

  7. Thomas B Golladay

    Full Audit Hearing so no one can take parts out of context. They found the fraud, they found out who destroyed and tampered with evidence. There is no denying fraud occurred from here on out. Anyone saying otherwise either did not read the official report/watch the hearing, or is straight up lying.

    This folks is why we go with paper ballots and in-person voting. It is not voter suppression to do so. If you truly care, you get up off your butte and go vote.

  8. Plague Species

    Also, bruce, don’t you think if it is illegal to lie to the FBI, it should also be illegal for the FBI to lie to us?

    The FBI’s Handling Of Larry Nassar’s Sex Abuse Is Awful – But Sadly Unsurprising

    Ultimately, the FBI would barely investigate Maroney’s accusations, according to a scathing report issued by the Department of Justice’s inspector general this summer. Allegations against Nassar were largely discarded at first, and a meaningful inquiry was delayed for months. Of the three gymnasts who initially came forward to the FBI in 2015, Maroney was the only one who was interviewed. Her conversation with the FBI agent was not properly documented for 17 months; when it was, the agent who authored the report misrepresented what she had told him. The FBI did not refer the allegations to state and local authorities, as it is required to do in such cases. And one of the agents assigned to the case, W Jay Abbott, seems to have been hoping to get a job with USA Gymnastics or the US Olympic Committee. When internal investigators later asked Abbott about his job queries, he lied about them, according to the report.

    The FBI ultimately did not pursue Nassar until the autumn of 2016, when local police found hard drives in his possession that contained more than 37,000 child abuse images. Between when the women initially complained to the FBI and the time the FBI took action, Nassar sexually abused approximately 70 women and girls.

    A bunch of FBI should be in jail and it should be illegal for the FBI to lie to the public who pays their salaries. This was a cover up and the FBI is complicit in those additional 70 young girls and women who Nasser abused. Coverups — something the FBI is quite proficient at, by the way. Or I should say barely proficient. Proficient enough for the naive nimrod proles who believe the FBI has their collective backs when in fact the FBI is their sworn enemy and thug protectors of the wealthy elite.

    I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, ChrisFromGeorgia (not you, bruce).

  9. bruce wilder

    you want me to believe he [Putin] is a choir boy

    Say what? I worry about the uses of human reason when someone draws an inference about Putin from the exposure of Russiagate as a scam.

    Has the Durham “investigation” revealed anything other than the indictment of one person for the classic and heinous crime (which I think should not be a crime) of lying to the FBI?

    What might be of more general interest is what the lawyer was lying about and what purpose was served by the deception. And, when a lawyer purports to be offering evidence to motivate a criminal investigation and obscures the identity of the client for whom he is acting, yes, I can see why criminal liability might properly apply.

  10. bruce wilder

    bruce, don’t you think if it is illegal to lie to the FBI, it should also be illegal for the FBI to lie to us?


  11. NR

    So Cyber Ninjas have released the results of their so-called “forensic audit” of the ballots in Maricopa county. Remember, according to MAGA Republicans, this was the “audit” that was finally going to show that Trump actually won the election and Biden’s victory was actually just a gigantic fraud. Well surprise surprise, they have found exactly the same result that the official count and the two other forensic audits performed by the county did: Biden won the election.

    In fact, Cyber Ninjas’ count found that Biden was actually more victorious than we thought, with their count showing Biden gaining 99 votes and Trump losing 261.

    Will this be the thing that finally puts the “stolen election” narrative to bed? No, of course not. Who am I kidding? MAGA Republicans will keep claiming, without any actual evidence whatsoever, that their cult leader was victorious. Anything for them to avoid admitting the truth, right?

  12. Plague Species

    Say what? I worry about the uses of human reason when someone draws an inference about Putin from the exposure of Russiagate as a scam.

    This is disingenuous and you know it. You selected the relevant quote from the Furry Orca link and it included Russia and Putin. You then juxtaposed that quote with commentary about “Russiagate” and how it is a scam because someone was caught lying to the FBI. The implication is clear. It’s not me inferring. It’s you strongly implying.

    Otherwise, what is the point of your comment? Is there a point?

  13. bruce wilder

    Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald lay out the ways Russiagate lies and carefully framed half-truths were distributed thru the mainstream media, as further revealed in the Durham indictment.

    The complete lack of integrity among name journalists confirms what anyone really paying attention already suspected. That Clinton was ethically challenged was also obvious.

    What’s slightly curious is why no one seems to care.

    Taibbi and Greenwald are behind the substack paywall now, so their stuff circulates mostly in truncated form. Rachel Maddow supposedly signed a $30 million deal and will be free to continue her work, distributed for close to free on cable news. Franklin Foer will go on. CNN will feel no shame. will go on as before.

  14. bruce wilder


    Trump and his supporters were schooled in how the game is played by Clinton and her supporters. Actual evidence is completely unnecessary.

  15. Hugh

    A little history, it was that paragon of partisan hackery then Attorney General William “Bill” Barr who appointed John Durham in May 2019 to investigate the investigators who launched the FBI’s Trump Russia probe (codenamed Crossfire Hurricane). This was about six weeks after Barr had received and obfuscated on the Mueller Report. Durham’s investigation has already lasted 6 months longer than Mueller’s. It produced one guilty plea by an FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith for lying in a FISA application to surveil Carter Page. The FISA application was made in June 2017 eleven months after the FBI’s Russia investigation had begun. Tangential at best to Durham’s mandate to find out why the FBI decided to investigate the connections between Trump and Russia.

    Durham’s other action was the recent indictment of a Democratic party and Clinton associated attorney Michael Sussmann for lying to the FBI about his connections to the Democratic party. His lie took place in September 2016, something over a month after the FBI’s Russia probe began. So close in time but still tangential to finding out who and why the FBI began its probe. The problem with Durham’s indictment is that he needs to show that Sussmann’s lie was material. Except the FBI already knew of Sussmann’s Democratic and Clinton ties and chose not to act on his information. So apparently not material.

    As for the FBI Russia investigation, in December 2019, the DOJ’s Inspector General found that the FBI did have a legitimate reason to begin its Trump-Russia probe.

    Some of the information presented here is from an article in The Hill by Dennis Aftergut on the Barr-Durham investigation.

  16. NR

    bruce wilder:

    Whataboutism at its finest.

  17. bruce wilder

    Well, what about it?

    If they are all doing it, they are all doing it, and that is a different problem from a partisan conflict where at least one faction fights for some colorable principle.

    If you think one side is at fault and the other side would do fundamentally better, that is a reason to take sides. If you think the mainstream media honors some fundamental standards of integrity, then maybe you can justify the suppression or marginalization of other voices.

    What Hugh just did — some tendentitious reasoning and nitpicking to avoid confronting the deliberate deceptions that undergird the Russiagate narrative used to attack the Trump Administration for 3 years — I do not see the purpose. To hold onto a threadbare belief that his liars are somehow less dishonest than those other liars over there?

  18. Thomas B Golladay

    NR, did you even watch the hearing or read the report? Judging by your words, you did not. Then again you are a hack and troll.

    For context, a canvass simply tallies up whether the amount of votes recorded matches the number of ballots present. It does not look at the validity of the votes.

    An Audit looks at the validity of the vote and the machines. CyberNinjas found over 56,000 clearly fraudulent votes, 256,000 ballots without clear chain of custody due to Maricopa County illegally destroying evidence, and a signature check of ballot envelopes found 20,000+ duplicated counts and they didn’t even do a signature verification test as they had less than 10 days to do the analysis.

    Ben Cotton’s forensic evaluation of the machines found they had remote access, outdated cyber security software, data from out of state, and were easily hackable.

    This is fraud and criminal activity on a massive scale and pre-meditated as well. And they never got the splunk logs or routers, but still got more than enough to send the Maricopa County Supervisors to prison.

    The election was stolen and we do not have a legitimate government and the establishment of both parties are our enemies.

    But go ahead NR, keep trying to lie and gaslight. I won’t lift a finger to help you when you go down with the sinking establishment ship.

  19. NR

    Well, what about it?

    Oh, I just find it interesting that you can’t stand it when someone criticizes Republicans, and whenever that happens, you always show up to deflect, distract, and try to spread blame equally to Democrats. Yet curiously, you never do the same thing when Democrats are being criticized, which makes your protestations about believing that both sides are equally bad ring rather hollow.

    Whenever you show up to try to minimize criticism of Republicans in whatever way you’ve chosen at that time, it always makes me think of a saying we had where I grew up: “A hit dog will holler.”

    Oh, and the idea that right-wing Republican voices are suppressed or marginalized in mainstream media is utterly laughable.

  20. Hugh

    Bruce is doing his same old schtick. He hates Democrats. And this somehow always ends up in a defense of Trump, Putin, etc. Even if he admits, in theory, Trump did something wrong, it’s the Democrats’ fault because he “learned” it from them.

    What gets lost in all this is that Trump has been a crook, liar, and cheat all his life. The idea that Trump wouldn’t work with the Russians because that would be a bridge too far or that he would have moral qualms about it is a joke. He would in a heartbeat and deny it, not because he thought it was wrong but that admitting it would take away from his image of his own Greatness.

    I can see too why he would bring up Glenn the Silent. Reading Glenn’s output during the non-stop nuttery and criminality of Trump’s Presidency, you would barely know that Trump was President. That’s a rare feat of studiously ignoring the obvious. Way to go, Glenn. If there is ever a Hall of Fame for hacks, Glenn will be a shoo-in.

  21. bruce wilder

    I do believe — based mostly on the display of his neurotic personality — that “Trump has been a crook, liar, and cheat all his life.” It just fits with his orientation to social dominance, hypomania and authoritarianism. So, I can understand why various actors in the Clinton camp might think it would make an effective “political dirty trick” to plant the idea that Trump’s campaign was working with the Russian state against Clinton — lurid details like the infamous “pee tape” and the intimation of backroom finance with the Alfa Bank would have superficial plausibility with some people and build on the repugnance and suspicion many (including me) instinctively feel for Trump as a personality and political figure.

    That doesn’t explain why NR and Hugh think political dirty tricks like gaslit Russiagate ought to be considered legitimate or A-OK when perpetrated by Democrats.

    According to Hugh, Dennis Aftergut is gospel but Glenn Greenwald should be disregarded because he never joined the Russiagate chorus to begin with.

    Aftergut completely disregards what interested Taibbi and Greenwald — the documentation of how Democratic operatives like Sussman — the indicted lawyer — were pushing the Russiagate lies into the mainstream media. Aftergut asserts that Durham’s mandate is narrowly to inquire into how the FBI investigation got started — as if only the very beginnings in time were relevant and not why the investigation kept going and going, in the absence of any credible evidence. Sussman pressing his “evidence” on the FBI a month after the investigation was opened is irrelevant according to Aftergut. Aftergut further asserts that the FBI did not follow up on Sussman’s evidence — don’t know what basis Aftergut had for that assertion, because the FBI did not actually dispose of the Alfa Bank allegations until February 2017. The big omission, though, is that Sussman was part of a wider effort to put the Alfa Bank story out there, building on the larger narrative of Russiagate, and all with absolutely no credible evidence whatsoever.

    When you are next complaining that some large segment of the population simply does not believe the mainstream media or government authorities, ask why would they?

    A couple of weeks ago, a whole bunch of outlets I occasionally skim were quoting Tucker Carlson because he admitted, in self-deprecation, that he sometimes lies out of weakness. (He was actually making a point about how reckless CNN had been in reporting a minor incident not involving public figures, but that part was always omitted.) I think Tucker Carlson’s “populist” schtick is deceptive, with regard to what I suppose to be Carlson’s political druthers. I did not “feel bad” for millionaire Carlson. It was the air of superiority in reporting the “gotcha” that sickened me — no where do I see any evidence of responsibility or self-awareness among the centrist elites that they might be failing or might not meet standards of ethics or performance.

  22. NR

    And right on cue Thomas shows up spewing his verbal diarrhea everywhere. The Cyber Ninjas report is viewable on the Arizona Senate website (link omitted to avoid moderation, you can find it easily with a search).

    And nowhere in the report does it state that they found “56,000 clearly fraudulent votes” or anything else that Thomas claims. Thomas just lies. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. He is a full-fledged member of the Trump cult and he simply cannot admit that his Dear Leader lost. And so he makes up lie after lie after lie so he can believe the election was stolen when it wasn’t.

  23. Hugh

    I cited Aftergut because his article mentioned some of the dates I used in my comment and, as a a former prosecutor, he brought up the point that a lie has to be material, that is it has to have an effect on and change the investigation in some way. Sussmann is not being charged with bringing up Alfa Bank. He is being charged with not disclosing his connections to the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton. But as the FBI knew about those connections, it not being a secret, Sussmann’s failure to disclose lacked materiality because it changed nothing in the FBI’s investigation.

  24. Plague Species

    I’ll say this. I don’t trust the FBI, so therefore I don’t trust an FBI investigation of Russia’s influence on McDonald Trump. The FBI is not a credible organization. As far as I’m concerned, it;’s a criminal organization that has no place in a democratic society, but then, America isn’t a democratic society, is it?

    That’s not to say I don’t believe Russia and McDonald Trump have some kind of relationship. I believe it’s both plausible and highly probable they do. The FBI’s involvement in investigating that only serves to obfuscate it and discredit it.

  25. bruce wilder

    “. . . a lie has to be material, that is it has to have an effect on and change the investigation in some way.”

    Does it? That’s not what Democrats were saying when it was Flynn in the hotseat. (Seriously, I think it should be consequential to the investigation, as a matter of principle, before legal liability is entailed. A lot of people thought Flynn had been entrapped, based on the fact that the FBI had transcripts from NSA before they interviewed Flynn and because of indications that the agents themselves did not seem to think Flynn was trying to deceive them. But, principle did not matter to Democrats then.)

    The fact that the FBI knew of his association with the Clinton campaign does not obviate the fact that apparently he affirmatively lied to them about his specific role and motivation in delivering misleading “evidence” to them. He was trying to persuade them to investigate something that he knew perfectly well did not merit investigation and he was doing so under false pretenses. The FBI would not have wasted resources to investigate the non-existent connections between Trump and Alfa Bank, except for the ginning up and distribution of that “evidence”, a project in which Sussman was participating actively in several respects and in coordination with the larger Clinton campaign. The point of getting the FBI to “investigate” however perfunctorily was apparently just so that Clinton tools in the Media could then be tipped off that the FBI was investigating, making the whole narrative of suspicion that much more serious sounding, even though it was completely groundless in fact.

  26. Hugh

    It’s called the law. Aftergut as a lawyer and former prosecutor was simply referring to the language of the US Code. Specifically, 18 US Code § 1001:

    “(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years”

    Materiality is explicitly stated as an element in each of the three offenses contained in the Code of making a false statement or entry.

  27. Willy

    I thought “Russiagate” was an actual thing, but being used by the so-called liberal media to divert attentions away from far greater problems. Besides having a corrupt grifter as president that is.

  28. bruce wilder

    Aftergut, a shameless shyster, was trying to convince his foolish readers that they need not bother their beautiful minds with evidence of wrongdoing by Democrats. Preaching to the choir with Hugh.

  29. Hugh

    In our upside down world even citing black letter law is insufficient to the conspiracy minded. For them, in the choice between fact and conspiracy, conspiracy always wins. Facts either agree with the conspiracy or they cease to be facts. And if lies agree with the conspiracy, then they become facts. It’s very simple really, and completely pointless.

  30. Ché Pasa

    …they all do it…

    Yes. Yes they do. After a while you might begin to think that high power in almost any field, but particularly government and corporate operations (including major mass media), is a criminal enterprise… and you’d not be far from right.

    They do operate in a manner and from a perspective that would be considered and often is considered criminal if the Little People did it. FBI and law enforcement lying and entrapment merely scratches the surface of what is objectively misconduct and in some circumstances criminal behavior by the high and mighty.

    This is true regardless of which party is nominally in control. Nothing fundamental really changes even when a freakish dangerous clown like Trump is installed in the presidential chair. Bad things happen to the lesser people, and the high and mighty make out like the bandits they are (and “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”). Period. End of discussion.

    The Russia Thing was injected — if you will — into the political framework well before the 2016 election; it wasn’t invented by the Clinton campaign. It pre-existed their interest in it. The idea of Russian Meddling in Our Sacred Elections was well known well beforehand. It’s based in what appear to be true facts. Actual things that take place and have been taking place for quite a while. Things that many foreign actors do to influence the outcome of US presidential (and sometimes other) elections. They have an obvious interest, after all.

    Highlighting Russian Interference over, say, Israeli or Saudi or German or Taiwanese or… well, you get the picture… was a choice apparently made by the Security and Intelligence sectors for reasons of their own. We can trace it back, perhaps, to the whole notion that Russia is The Enemy to be dismantled, carved up, and parceled out to warlords or something, a kind of fantasy remake of the world for the convenience and pleasure of one of the factions that rule us.

    But this was going on well before Trump emerged victorious from the Republican primaries. It was a constant background drumbeat. The DHS and other Security Systems would protect the integrity of the election no matter what! And yes, Russians were actually doing things with regard to the 2016 election.

    The fantasy is that they weren’t.

    The Clinton campaign did not invent any of this.

    On the other hand, they took advantage of it. Why shouldn’t they? It’s politics.

    Trump made it easy. So easy. With his many Russian interests, contacts, apparent money laundering, and so much else. It was a cinch. Of course the Clintons and others had to tread carefully — given their own dirty laundry — but still, Trump’s Russia problem was essentially right out in the open, not really that much of a mystery despite his and his attorneys efforts to obscure or deny it.

    Glenn and Matt and Aaron and some others took the counter position that it was all a lie and a fraud of HUUUUUUGE proportions, essentially supporting and defending Trump’s lies, and that’s part of their shtick, their media market niche. “Yves” and “Lambert” followed along. Defending Trump from accusations of the Clintons or the Deep State or whomever (no matter how awful he might be) was and still is a Thing among some in the marginal “left” media. Because, after all, the Clintons, Deep State, Whomever is manifestly worse. Everybody ought to know that by now. Right?

    Glenn and Aaron and Matt and others have been extremely selective in their defenses of Trump (who has always had armies of attorneys to defend him; I don’t know why he needs these guys). But that’s the game being played. If you believe them without critical thinking, or you believe all the accusations without critical thinking, you’re falling into a well-laid trap that’s very hard to get out of.

    The Russia Thing did not determine the outcome of the election. There was plenty of hinky business going on, as there is in every US election, but Russian interference — and Russian assistance to the Trump campaign — was not determinative. The hinkiness was domestic, and for whatever reason, that’s not examined in any serious, objective way, and it is not corrected. Hand marked paper ballots, hand counted in public is one of the ways to start addressing some of the problems inherent with US elections, but it’s generally not even considered. Figuring out how to correct the gross imbalance in the selecting of candidates from a tiny pool of “corporate faction-approved” competitors has been repeatedly strangled in the crib. Making elections about policy not about personality is essentially impossible.

    These are among the domestic problems with US elections that aren’t addressed while futile arguments over Russian Interference assure that they won’t be. Who is being served? Not us, that’s certain.

  31. American Intelligence Media, who so consistently pushed the narrative that Trump was a master of 14d chess, that I assumed they were disinformation agents, are now singing a very different tune.

    A recent newsletter @ has a link to “PROOF: DONALD TRUMP IS A TRAITOR OF AMERICA”. They are mostly going on about the suspicious timing of Trump & Co. actions with respect to vaccine development. One of them, at least, also mention the Jan 6 setup.

    (Their bullet list contains a dumb question about Trump hiring globalists, that include Fauci and Birx. But they were already employed by the government, and Tucker Carlson has reported that Trump did not have the authority to fire Fauci. I’ll guess their argument has other errors, though I’m certainly sympathetic to dumping Trump, not least because of his myopic support of the vaccines, of which he claims he is the “father of”.)

  32. nihil obstet

    Dismissing the “Oh My God! Russian interference” on the left derives from the history of such claims. The Bolshevik revolution took over in 1917, and in 1920, the U.S. govt carried out a Red Scare that targeted labor unions, populists, civil rights, and similar left organizing. A look at the fate of the mill strikes in the South will show the effect on people in the region. After a calming off under FDR, Red Scares returned in 1947.

    The 2016 political contest was largely about taking out the left. The centrist Dems didn’t think they need any message beyond “Donald Trump?!” to beat him and they wanted to take the legs out from under the policies that the Sanders campaign had shown the popularity of, so they pulled out the Red Scare playbook again.

    Did Russia try to influence the American presidential election? If not, Russians ought to impeach Putin. It is in their national interest to have leaders of foreign powers as friendly to their nation as possible. If the U.S. simply made and enforced laws protecting clean and open elections, there wouldn’t be a problem. Since the American PTB want to manipulate the election themselves, they refuse to do so. Somehow they think they can manipulate the election without enabling others to do so.

    The U.S. does and should try to influence elections in foreign countries, as long as we stop short of corrupting the countries’ leadership or engaging in our sport of coups.

  33. bruce wilder

    I agree with some of Ché Pasa’s take, but I think this paragraph takes it into the realm of nihilism:

    Glenn and Matt and Aaron and some others took the counter position that it was all a lie and a fraud of HUUUUUUGE proportions, essentially supporting and defending Trump’s lies, and that’s part of their shtick, their media market niche. “Yves” and “Lambert” followed along. Defending Trump from accusations of the Clintons or the Deep State or whomever (no matter how awful he might be) was and still is a Thing among some in the marginal “left” media. Because, after all, the Clintons, Deep State, Whomever is manifestly worse. Everybody ought to know that by now. Right?

    Launching off into what was essentially a fantasy of Trump-Russia collusion and the auxiliary fantasy of the decisive effect of that “collusion” did occupy a large portion of the political mindspace for a long time, with elected officials and media personalities acting out roles and poses suggested by that dreamscape.

    The intelligence community participation did include careful framing of true facts about Russian intervention in American politics — their RT television and Sputnik radio programming formed the substance of a report released very late in the Obama Administration to give credibility to the Russiagate theses. James Clapper gave interviews where he made statements that functioned like hypnotic suggestions to excite fantasies without actually containing any positive factual misstatement.

    It is not possible to have political discourse without the human unconscious factoring in on multiple dimensions. The pious devotion of some to supposed rational debate of issues is unrealistic b.s. (and as such fits right in with the rest). It is a space of contested narratives where “arguments” take hypnotic form, because effective argument for narrative meaning aims to inject its payload among attitudes and prejudice with foundations in the unconscious (or if you prefer the metaphors of brain structure, the limbic system). The shared though diffuse consciousness of large groups of associated people can take on an evolving life of its own, even as diverse and opposed forces attempt to manage or change it.

    Ché Pasa’s assertion that Glenn and Matt and Aaron, “Yves” and “Lambert” (and by association my only lovely self) were engaged in “defending Trump” is a gross slander and deliberate misunderstanding. It is a behavior I have seen before from Ché Pasa and makes me suspicious of his purposes; that does not bear discussion however.

    On their own terms, I think Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi and the NC duo are arguing institutionalist critiques: they see a breakdown and weakness in institutions that ought to support and do critical thinking and enforce conformity to “neutral” principles and ideals. I am idealist enough to admire such efforts.

    I think partisanship and rotation in office can work well in a healthy politics. I was a cheerfully partisan Democrat for many years. But, partisan loyalty in USian politics has become a sickness of the mind and spirit, distorting perceptions and understanding and it feeds policy paralysis and reckless cruelty. Thinking everyone has to be taking sides in every dispute is self-deception even before it manifests as schoolyard insult.

  34. Hey, speaking of the vaccines, here’s a couple of anti-vaccine porn videos, from bitchute.

    The first one is by the mother of a friend of a 13 year old girl whose heart stopped beating after getting vaccinated. Obviously, they must have restarted her heart, because she’s still alive (in the hospital).


    The second one is of a baby who became paralyzed from the neck down, after ‘participating’ in a trial for a vaccine. I wonder how they handled informed consent?


    The second one is being reported by infowars, which doesn’t have a stellar reputation for accuracy, so caveat emptor.

  35. Plague Species

    Dismissing the “Oh My God! Russian interference” on the left derives from the history of such claims.

    I’m not only dismissing it, I’m outright asserting there is no such thing. Those trumpeting Russian Interference are not of the “left” and you give yourself away by claiming they are. The “left” in America during the Red Scare of the early and mid 20th century were actually very partial to Stalin and the Soviet Union. Some of them were so partial in fact, they moved to the Soviet Union thinking of it as some socialist utopia and wound up either outright executed ultimately or sent the Gulag for a slow motion torturous suffering death.

    What’s notable now though is those responsible for the Red Scare in America, the progeny groups splintered off of the Birchers, are now blatant Commie Sympathizers. Putin is a Commie and they are Putin apologists. It truly is a world upside down.

  36. Ché Pasa

    “Yves” consistently defended Trump until Charlottesville — while of course denying she was doing any such thing. “Lambert” continued defending Trump to the end — while of course denying it. Glenn, Matt, and Aaron, among others insisted — and may still insist, I don’t follow them — that the Russia Thing was all a lie (it was not), that there was “nothing there” (there was plenty), and that The Media was obsessed with it (when it was they who were obsessed. They consistently called mere reporting “obsession” and deliberately conflated opinion with statements of fact). Bluntly, they lied, a lot.

    That doesn’t absolve others from doing the same. Hayden and Clapper and others were pushing their own set of lies and deceptive descriptions of what was going on, and they were enabled by their own media cohort.

    This was all a game, and if you’re thinking critically about it, you understand that. They were all playing with your mindspace — to what object we can speculate or not. But in one online conversation I had with Glenn some years back, a decade or more, I asked him what he wanted, what he thought he was doing. His response was essentially that he wanted to inject poison into the system; intentionally destabilize it to the point of collapse. I and a number of others pointed out that he lived in Brazil, and if he was successful in doing what he wanted, a lot of innocent people would be harmed, but he wouldn’t be, not directly; he might even be rewarded while others suffered. He seemed fine with it.

    Matt was playing a somewhat different game, and through this Russia Thing episode, he’s been less manic and hysteric, but his virulent anti-Democrat loathing while essentially ignoring Republican lies and political outrages put him in the Objectively Pro-Trump camp.

    Aaron (Maté) played almost the same game.

    It’s all to build a loyal following. I understand that. It’s how media has to function in this economic environment, and the fact that these people are doing it is perhaps less a reflection on them than it is on the realities of the business they’re in.

    Nevertheless, to accept what they say uncritically is playing the fool for them. They love it.

    But they don’t love you.

    As for the revival of the Red Scare — good call. That’s what was happening among far more of the intelligence community, the political class and the media than was seemly. Very few actually fell for it (at least as far as I could see) but its perpetrators were and many still are devoted to it. Why? You tell me.

  37. Trinity

    Bruce, normalizing the insanity doesn’t make it normal or sane.

    I get the entire “work with what we have” mentality, but that isn’t appropriate in an insane world comprised of smoke and mirrors, no more, no less. Change the approach and they merely shift the smoke’s direction and the angle of the mirror.

    Politics isn’t going to “fix” politics, and economics isn’t going to “fix” the economy. The major players like it just the way it is.

  38. Astrid


    Criticizing writers whose writings you don’t read is…well, it makes me very unlikely to take anything you say about them seriously again. (I actually read the muck that Hugh and PS writes before responding to them, which is why I’m now skipping their comments altogether). I agree with Bruce, those writers all hate Trump, they just don’t let their dislike of Trump blind them from why Trump is effective and popular to the extent that he was. They are also, to some degree or another, working outside of the neoliberal imperialist paradigm (Yves and MattT certainly less than the others) that MSM and what passes for USian intelligentsia swims in like fish.

  39. Ché Pasa

    Oh for gawd sake, Astrid. Of course I read them. I do not follow them. Get it? No?

    I think you’re really misconstruing what they are doing. They do not “hate” Trump or Trumpism. They are among those who see Trump/ism as the Future, and in their view, it’s a Better Future (for them) than the tired old paradigm of the “left,” the Democrats and neoliberalism. If it’s bad for a lot of people, so what?

    Everything is bad for somebody, right? So if a bunch of schmucks wind up in the wood-chipper because of the Triumph of Trump/ism, too bad, so sad.

    A long time ago, I pointed out that every bit of “revolutionary” fervor was on the Right, and the Right was winning. And these guys are aligned with it.

  40. Astrid


    Then you have a completely different reading than I do. I do “follow” most of those you listed (less Greenwald because libertarian ideology is something one should outgrow by one’s thirties) and they do dislike Trump. For the Grayzone crew, it’s because Trump is an imperialist who, despite not starting an additional war, used sanctions and escalations against their pet leftist governments and Assange. For Yves and Taibbi, he’s a vulgarian liar who is still important for studying because Trump spoke to a substantial number of people while the Democrats were alienating everyone outside of the echo chamber PMC.

    I don’t agree with a lot of these folks’ takes, but they do not like or defend Trump except to highlight the crimes of neoliberalism, they don’t look to him as the future. Yves and Taibbi wants to get back to 1970 or 1980. Grayzone wants to re-do post WWII decolonization. Just because they noticed Trump’s narrative doesn’t mean they advocate for the full vision, just that they see the status quo as so terrible that Trump is, on certain issues, comparatively better.

    If they are looking to anything, they are looking to China or Russia or even Cuba or Lula or maybe even Iran and the Taliban for the path forward. None of them think Trump is anything other than a conman. It’s just that they occasionally think Trump is less con than the Neocon/Neoliberal-plex.

  41. Astrid

    The other thing is that sometimes it’s still necessary to take a leap of faith and believe people want to do right and do good. Pretty much every one of them could have sold out and gotten a more lucrative career for themselves (except for Lambert, who is…). They are talented and capable and they are pushing their narrative because they believe it’s right, not just because they see a ready market for it. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong about this, but I chose to take a leap of faith and believe there are still a few out there (much more common outside of the QUAD) who are not hopelessly compromised and just out there to push their brand.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter too much. I’m a doomer and I don’t think there’s much time left for humanity in the current format, including Russia and China. But I like to see people at least trying to fight for something different and constructive.

  42. Plague Species

    I actually read the muck that Hugh and PS writes before responding to them, which is why I’m now skipping their comments altogether.

    You don’t know how much this hurts me to see this.

  43. Hugh

    Yves is a product of Harvard, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs. Sometimes she does good work like with her book Econned, CALPERS, and ventilation and covid. And sometimes she is a credulous hack as with Russia and MMT.

    As for Astrid, she is always good for a laugh. She wails that “Democrats were alienating everyone outside of the echo chamber PMC” ignoring that there were 7 million more Americans in that “PMC” than in the Trump loony bin. If our electoral system was not so deeply anti-democratic and unrepresentative, the Republicans would have confirmed their status as a minority party 30 years ago. So of course, Astrid focuses her anger on the Democrats and not the zombie Republicans or an antiquated, corrupt political system. Completely predictable and unsurprising.

  44. Ché Pasa

    And sometimes you realize that you’ve been deceived by people you believed wanted to do good.

    At least with Taibbi and Maté there was no pretense. Taibbi is a very good writer and a complete cynic. He was hilarious, sexist and grim in Moscow, insightful and garbage spewing, and so far as I can tell, he doesn’t believe in anything. Maté is dogged and can be hyperbolic. He’s angry (“if you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention”), deeply contemptuous of Democratic PTB, and has a pretty good record with breaking news, not so much with opinion. But that’s a matter of opinion!

    With Greenwald, I believe there was pretense, at least early on in his writing career. He was trying to find a niche. He started out sort of on the left. But some of us recognized there was something off about it, and it was his obvious libertarianism, though he denied he was a libertarian. Lawyerly parsing — which he’s done a lot of. Objectively if he wasn’t a libertarian, he was definitely an opportunist. And he still is.

    When he doggedly defended the Citizens United decision he lost whatever “left” cred he might have had and seemed to revel in his new popularity with the Right. After all, that’s where the real money is, right? Right?

    His big get was the Snowden revelations of pervasive surveillance by the three letter agencies. Confirming much of which was already known or assumed. Much drama, oh yes. He was running around screaming that he was going to be rendered, tortured, disappeared, killed! The NSA was after him. He couldn’t return to the US because of it. Well, not until someone offered him an award, a public ceremony, a prize. Sure enough, he showed up, media following, and sure enough, nothing bad happened to him.

    Those revelations were very carefully curated, and then the documents were disappeared from public access and scrutiny. Nothing to reduce or prohibit surveillance by the agencies followed on the revelations, though the agencies lie about that (no!)

    In the meantime, Greenwald (and I assume Snowden) made out very well indeed. Hooking up with Pierre (one of the PayPal Mafia, no?) paid handsomely. There’s a whole story I won’t go into, but I’d just point out that Matt and Glenn and Jeremy (among others) essentially went dark for almost a year supposedly because… the creation of the Intercept was taking all their energy? Or what? They never said.

    I could walk you through the Chelsea Manning, Adrian Lamo, Reality Winner and other high profile and not so high profile unfortunate incidents, but why?

    The only point I would add is that they’re not doing this for you. They aren’t on your side. Nor in fact is the most of the media — of which they (Glenn, Aaron and Matt) are very definitely a part.

  45. different clue

    @Che Pasa,

    How well did Snowden make out? He got stranded in Russia on his hopeful way to somewhere warmer and more tropical. Now he cannot leave Russia for fear that any other country he goes to without an Intelligence Service strong enough to prevent someone working for the Five Eyes from assassinating him or kidnapping him for extraordinary rendition to Guantanamo or the Naval Brig at Paris Island.

    How is that “making out well?”

  46. Astrid


    There may be portions of the deep state that has prevented them from being killed quite yet, but they are still revealing interesting facets. I’m grateful for that. Greenwald’s track record left a trail of bodies, but that seems more due to the Intercept than his direct involvement. Maybe there’s more, but I care about his stories not his persona. Insinuations about personal life that detaches from the substance of their stories and actions is just character assasination. If you go down that road, how could anyone ever vote for Clinton or Biden or Obama in 2012 in good conscience?

    Anyhow, I chose to believe in something and believe there are still people out there interested in doing good and doing right. Better that than the nihlism of continuing to rah rah for the Democratic Party (I didn’t leave it for the GOP, I left it because it clearly IS the GOP substantially) and shilling for an already discredited public health policy. Even then, I would never reveal my opinions to 90% of people I know IRL. Doing so would be social and possibly career suicide.

    Anyhow, I just don’t read what you read into those writers. Might be a generational thing, I’m closer to them in age and what they write sounds normal and makes sense. Matt T isn’t cynical, he’s actually quite idealistic, that’s why he’s so profoundly disappointed by the Democrats even though he is clearly still aligned (I would say still too closely aligned) to them. If you don’t get that, then perhaps it’s your prejudice against them that stands in the way of understanding.

  47. Ché Pasa


    You are aware, I’m sure, that Snowden, his Russian wife and child(ren?) live in considerable luxury in Russia, luxury not available to any but the wealthiest there or pretty much anywhere. They are free to travel within the borders of the Russian Federation, and it’s never been certain that their or his travel outside those borders would result in rendering or pink misting or whatever horrid fate is waiting for him. That’s one of the narratives that has been promoted, but his “stranding” in Russia may not have been quite what we’ve been led to believe. He is not unfamiliar with the ways of the Agencies, and he seems quite skilled at their use for his own objectives.

    I’d go a bit farther. In Snowden’s case, in Greenwald’s, and in many other cases, if the Agencies (or whomever they’re working for) wanted Snowden or Greenwald or even Assange disappeared or gone, you can be certain they would be. No matter where they might be holed up. There is literally no safe place. If they want to get you, they will.

    Cf: Epstein, eh? Among others.

    For whatever reason, these guys are still around, quite safe it seems, though Assange lives in somewhat less comfort than the others. For whatever reason, they appear to be more valuable alive than not. Make of it what you will, but that’s the reality.

  48. Ché Pasa

    I’d go a bit farther to point out that Snowden is quite free to communicate with the world from his redoubts in Russia, and does so frequently. No one (we know of) interferes with it. Of course, Greenwald has an extensive communications network which he uses essentially every day, many times a day. Assange is not currently able to communicate directly except in court, but he can and does do so through his attorneys whenever they choose.

    The point I would make is that essentially none of their revelations have resulted in substantive change for the better, at least not for most of us. I wouldn’t say they are entirely wasted, but they’re not what they are cracked up to be.

    Is it good to know that we are under intensive surveillance by government and corporate interests? Well, yes. But what can we do about it? I’m of the generation that had FBI files opened and kept for suspicious subversive activities, so yeah, I know a little bit about pervasive (and mindless) surveillance.

    Is it good to know that massacres of innocents took place in Iraq? Well, yes. But let’s not think that’s the only place these things happen, or that they’ve stopped, or imagine that we are in a position to end the carnage. I wish we were, but…

    Is it good to know that our rulers (regardless of party) lie to us all. the. time? Well, sure. But again, what are we going to do about it? Call them liars to their faces, of course, and that might make us feel good for a moment, but it won’t change their behavior. Not on a bet.

  49. Astrid


    You’re not helping your case against Snowden by characterizing his spouse as Russian. She is Lindsay Mills, who was his girlfriend during his escape to Russia. It’s a small detail, but it’s the sorry of thing that make me question how much you know, and how much comes from assumptions swayed by your preexisting disposition.

    It’s possible that your background gives you a deeper read on these journalists than a layperson like me. But yes, stories like lava jato, NSA surveillance, and the Pentagon papers (as well as Yves’ coverage of the great recession) made a big difference in my world view in the last 15 years. Not just in cheap “they’re all shite” condemnations, but actually withdrawing support, choosing to be childless, looking into emigration, investigate permaculture, keeping my mouth shut amongst Trumpies and Hillary/Kamala acolytes. My actions may be ultimately hopelessness, but it’s also a withdrawal of consent and recognition that I’m on my own, and should not seek justice in a system that has actually rewarded me and mine quite richly so far.

  50. Ché Pasa


    Amazing. I certainly did think Snowden’s wife was Russian (had no idea of her name) but then, maybe in my dottage, I was confusing Snowden with Lee Harvey Oswald? Jeeze, am I that old? Yah.

    Nevertheless, I don’t question the changes you may have made in your own life because of what you’ve learned through people like Greenwald, et al. Back in my day Ramparts the Berkeley Barb, Village Voice and a whole bunch samizdat mimeographed newsletters fed my need for the real truth about the Vietnam War, the economy, politics and the nature of the Overclass.

    The expectations of my standard milquetoast US suburban upbringing were shattered forever. So if you’ve found something similar, that’s good.

    On the other hand, I really do not like the cult(s) of personality that have arisen around Greenwald and others in the media, each of whom seems to be competing with the others for King or Queen of the Mountain. We see the same competing personality cults in politics and among the visible oligarchs. None of it does us any good. It leads directly to where we’re going — and that’s not a happy place.

  51. Astrid


    I certainly don’t think any one person or group of people will be the Messiah that saves humanity from itself. It seems like the generations who are even capable of trying (with very very spotty records) havr passed from this plane of existence. We are diminished and controlled peoples, wage slaves, even those of us with money in the bank and food in our bellies. Even a natural iconoclast like me, feels trapped in my mind cage.

    But at the same time, there are still people with courage and belief, as you say, and there are still sparks of real hope and possibilities left. I don’t want to deny that and fall into the trap laid by their enemies. I don’t want to be so cynical that I think it doesn’t matter at all and there is no difference, and it’s all a game equally.

    I don’t like Greenwald’s persona, it’s always came across as self righteous and reductive and uninterested in others. Nonetheless, I think he is brave and less bought than most, and I hope he keeps exposing. He made a real difference in Brazil and he may still have accomplished something in the US, once our consciousness turns.

    I have to hope for that, though other days I hope for the Earth to be rid of humans quickly and relatively painlessly. If being human is a phase in the evolution of a soul, then it does not seem like one where enlightenment can be obtained.

  52. different clue

    @Che Pasa,

    Snowden’s significant other is/was not Russian. Snowden was going to transit through Russia on the way to somewhere else. The Obama Admin cancelled his passport while he was in mid-air, thereby cancelling out his ability to get through Russia and to somewhere else. The ObamaAdmin is the people who stranded him in Russia which gave Putin his silver platter opportunity to give Snowden shelter. Putin himself said in an interview that that mid-flight cancellation of Snowden’s passport was “very poor tradecraft”.

    ” Snowden lives in luxury in the Russia he is free to travel throughout.” Well, as General Giap once said to Colonel Larry Summers, ” that may be correct, but it is also irrelevant”. It is certainly irrelevant to the fact that Snowden cannot leave Russia for fear of getting renditioned and guantanamized or padilla’d.

    And on what basis do you attribute to non-Russian intelligence-counterintelligence the godlike powers to be able to reach inside Russia itself and assassinate or kidnap Snowden within Russia?

    Your characterizations of Snowden combined with your obvious lack of factual knowledge of the affair make me wonder whether you effort in this matter amounts to a load of pro-Clintobama hasbara.

  53. Ché Pasa

    Nonsense, dc.

    Who or what nationality Snowden’s wife is is irrelevant. The fact that he could be married in Russia without impediment and he lives with his family in Russia in considerable luxury and can travel freely within Russia is relevant. He is not in hiding, he can communicate freely with whomever he wants when he wants (even with the Grand Devil Putin himself it seems), and, if he chose, he could easily leave Russia with or without a passport. On the other hand, why should he?

    As for the narrative of what happened in Hong Kong and his transit of Russia which abruptly halted at the Moscow airport when “Obama canceled his passport,” I wouldn’t be too sure that what we’ve been told about it is altogether true.

    Nice story, though. Good subject for a film, no?

  54. different clue

    @Che Pasa,

    I don’t think you have answered anything I said. I think you have artfully gish-galloped around it. But I will let the other readers decide what to think about that.

  55. Astrid


    Snowden had been largely neutralized and marginalized since his revelation, so assassination may be considered unnecessary and risky. It may also be that he has supporters in the deep state who don’t want him killed for some reason. Since they can’t legally reach him to torture him like Assange, they may have simply given up on him for the time being.

    I really don’t understand what nefarious purposes you think Snowden had in making his disclosure. Sure, it’s possible that his actions are supported by a block of the deep state, but none of your insinuations actually show that he lied or evidence that he was acting as agent for a nefarious party. Harping on the really very modest “luxury” lifestyle of Snowden or Greenwald or Blumenthal or Dore to discredit them, while overlooking the obvious material interests of their critics or that their stories haven’t been debunked, have unearthed important information even if the MSM has done its best to bury and discredit them, is…to your discredit.

    If you have real evidence or convincing critique against Snowden, please show it. But going on and on about their personalities and purportedly nice life (as if Snowden’s lifestyle could match the one he would have continuing on as a TS cleared government contractor), is unpersuasive.

  56. Ché Pasa

    Astrid, you almost touched on what may be underlying the Snowden Thing when you wrote: …he has supporters in the deep state that don’t want him killed…

    Yep. The narrative (created by Greenwald, Poitras, Gellman, et al) is that Snowden is an heroic Lone Wolf who sacrificed everything to expose the nefariousness of the hated three letter agencies, particularly NSA surveillance, that they had been lying about for decades.

    It’s a good narrative, and his adventures in Hong Kong and Moscow are the stuff of spy novels. Movies have been and will be made about this and him. Some of it is no doubt true.

    But much of it may not be. Don’t forget who he worked for. Agencies not known for truth-telling at any level. Don’t forget, please, that these agencies are riven with factions and they serve corporate interests and sometimes a government which is owned by these corporate interests.

    Don’t forget that one of the PayPal founders, Pierre Omidyar, paid a rather substantial sum to acquire the Snowden material (through Greenwald), control access to it and to found a media company (First Look, which included The Intercept and quite a lot else) initially wide ranging, but which became crabbed and narrow if not mostly fluff.

    If you do some research, you learn how closely connected Omidyar is to those very agencies as he is to other nefarious NGOs around the world, and one of the things you can piece together is a story of how his foundation helped ensure the success of the fascist coup and takeover in Kiev by helping to lay the groundwork at the very least. But that’s only one of the things you’ll find.

    You might even find out such curiosities as that Omidyar and Snowden lived only a few miles apart in Hawaii. I know. Interesting. Maybe important, maybe not. But who would have thought?

    Many people might think of the “Deep State” as a monolith, but it’s not. It is deeply fractured with factions whose interests sometimes converge, but often they do not, and competing factions can and do undermine one another, kneecapping and “revelations” being not uncommon. It’s a game often played for very high stakes.

    The Snowden revelations brought additional disrepute to the NSA and exposed some of their lies about surveillance. (NSA is one of a number of intelligence agencies that compete.) They also exposed global surveillance networks that continue to operate essentially unhindered. Knowledge about this surveillance was relatively well known before the Snowden leaks, but seeing it detailed the way it was in the agencies’ own documents was in some cases breathtaking. Other tidbits were pretty mundane.

    The surveillance hasn’t stopped, you understand. And in some respects it has expanded and become much more sophisticated with the eager assistance of segments of the corporate sector. As far as I can tell, government does not do most of this surveillance directly. They contract it out and purchase surveillance product from the private sector. Corporate surveillance of practically everyone is far more pervasive and invasive than what’s typical of governments, but private sector surveillance is rarely addressed. Interesting.

    Nothing substantive changed for the better following Snowden’s revelations. I’m sure restrictions on access to such information was tightened in the aftermath. More lies were generated about it. The agencies cloaked their activities more comprehensively. But we are still One Nation Under Surveillance, aren’t we?

    Much of what Snowden obtained has never been revealed. And it is unlikely ever to be. Whether we would learn anything useful from what’s still concealed is anyone’s guess. What we’ve learned to date, however, has mostly confirmed what was already known at least to those who follow these things.

    So what was the point?

  57. Ché Pasa

    Omidyar = Ebay founder. PayPal is another moneyfunnel for him. (I don’t use either of them… anymore. )

  58. nihil obstet

    The Constitution blocks government surveillance. While the ruling elites have pretty much established as a norm that the Constitution means whatever they say it means regardless of what the plain sense of the words and syntax in English might be, it’s still easier and more controllable to buy the info from the private sector.

    This, incidentally, is what the law should be — a block on private surveillance as well as government surveillance. The law should be called “Peeping Tom and his friends.”

  59. Astrid


    I am well aware of The Intercept and Omidyar’s track record. It was clear to me when Greenwald left The Guardian that he sold out for his thirty pieces of silver, whatever he might tell himself to help him sleep at night.

    However, just because people are partially compromised or align with various factions in the deep state Hydra, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything interesting to say or lack courage or are so compromised that they are no longer worthy of attention. Perhaps Snowden’s revelations were not that surprising to you, but the scope and lack of control was shocking to me at the time. Assange was seen as a deep state pet too before he went off the reservation on Snowden’s revelations, and look what happened when Ecuador withdrew support for him? To act as though they’re just chesspieces compromised by personal greed is reductive and untrue. People are motivated by more than that.

    To deny these whistleblowers and journalists, who have really risked their lives and livelihoods and freedom, acknowledgement of the courage of their actions, is more cynical and nihlistic than I want to be. It may well be that their actions won’t matter a wet squib in the end, but the actions are worthy of celebration in themselves.

    And again, what does this have to do with the merits of Snowden’s revelations. Even if he was hopelessly compromised (and nothing you say support that in my mind), if what he reveals is true, it’s still important information and an important act.

  60. Ché Pasa


    I don’t know Snowden’s motivation, but I sincerely doubt it was as pure and innocent as the narrative would have it. At the very least, he did not sacrifice everything to leak the documents, and whatever else may be going on with him, he does not appear to be suffering in any way.

    At least you seem to understand Assange’s position. I don’t like what’s happened to him, but then I don’t like what’s happening to hundreds of thousands of prisoners right here in the United States, let alone the millions around the world. Too often, it’s not justice, it’s vengeance, scapegoating, and deliberate cruelty. I could not abide the notion that as prisoners — regardless of the merits of the cases against them — that Bradley Manning (as he was then) or Assange were somehow being treated worse than many, many, many other prisoners, or that they were somehow being tortured in some special way that other prisoners were not experiencing. This was bullshit. They were obviously not being treated well in custody, and neither are hundreds of thousands of others. many of whom have been convicted of nothing or have pled out to crimes they did not commit. If the Manning and Assange cases were used as examples of the terrible state of prisoners in general, they would have gained more sympathy in my view, but they weren’t. That’s too bad.

    Glenn Greenwald told me his motivation, and I’m not at all convinced it’s changed one iota. Injecting poison into a system you don’t like without regard to consequences is simply evil.

    I would just remind you who is still in charge of Brazil despite the Lava Jato revelations — which were not Greenwald’s alone, btw. Bolsonaro intends to stay in charge, doesn’t he, regardless of revelations of the illegality and corruption that helped get him where he is or regardless of the will of the people. These are among the consequences that aren’t thought through — or maybe they were and were what was desired.

    I think Pierre is pretty straightforward and transparent about what he is up to, though we may have to think about it a bit to understand why it’s not particularly desirable — even for the factions it supports.

    Maybe I am too cynical in by old age, but I am also an optimist. Maybe we can’t do a whole lot to control our Overclass — though we could certainly do more than most of us do — but we can have some control over our own lives to lighten the burden of our presence and to do what we can to help others. If that’s all we can do, that’s plenty.


  61. Astrid


    Thanks for expanding in your thoughts. I agree with your conclusions, though I’m not even sure that lightening my footsteps will make any difference. I try to be kind and considerate to others, though I’m not necessarily all that good at it. I do what I can to enjoy the good and beautiful things in life, and I’m far luckier than most in that pursuit.

    I would say that though suffering IS suffering, and the indifference to glee with which USians have toward prison violence and alienation of ex-cons, have always disgusted me. Yet, there is a particular anger towards targeting punishment because certain people choose to do good, do the right thing. They are martyrs and all cultures venerate their martyrs. It’s something worse than joking of Innocents or disproportionate punishment or collective punishment or droning brown people to pink mist. That’s where, despite your reservations, I put martyrs and would-be martyrs, however imperfect they may be.

  62. Astrid

    Anyhow, look at what they are doing to Craig Murray and Steven Donziger. Greenwald and Taibbi and Yves covers them. That’s a real difference to me and their readers. Young people are much more aware of the crookedness of the system than I was at their age or even in my twenties. I hope this will make a real difference and give us a fighting chance.

    Meanwhile my husband doesn’t know (and does not want to know) any of this and is mad at me because I don’t *get* professional sports. His approach to citizenship is the same as his approach to investing, buy index funds and continue to passively support/profit from a system he knows to be terrible, because the alternative of even throwing a few bucks at probably hopeless alternatives, is too much effort and make him grumpy. He’s a better (and smarter) person than me and this is why we’re all going to Hell.

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