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

The Hunter Biden Documents Lead To Greenwald’s Resignation From the Intercept

Glenn Greenwald

Glen Greenwald wanted to post an article on how media coverage of the Hunter-Biden case has concentrated on “Russia” and “disinformation” when there’s good reason to believe the documents are true. The Intercept would not accept it, so he resigned.

Matt Taibbi has written a long piece and if you want the details, go there. It includes the actual texts of emails and as someone who has both edited and been edited, I agree with Taibbi, these are emails from an editor who want the author to write a different article and won’t let it thru till he does.

The bottom line here is that whoever provided the emails and texts), there is, so-far, no reason to believe they are false. Quoting from Taibbi:

When the likes of Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden wrote a joint letter decrying the recent Post story as a seeming Russian mischief, they were very careful in what they said. They used the term “information operation” instead of “misinformation,” and prominently included the line, “We do not have evidence of Russian involvement.”

Now I don’t care if there was Russian involvement, but the Biden campaign has refused to deny any of these texts or emails being real. My experience is that if a subject won’t deny, there’s fire, not just smoke.

This story is essentially identical to the DNC emails story of the last election, where it was shown that the DNC had cheated on Hillary’s behalf. That was never denied, all that was done is say “this is Russian and Russians are bad.”

But wherever the information came from, it was true and the DNC had colluded with Hillary to hurt Sanders’ chances in the primary, which was news that Americans had a right to know, no matter what the source. (There is no norm in journalism for not publishing “stolen” information. If there was, the Pentagon papers could never have happened.)

As far as I can tell, odds are that the Biden information is true. Of course it was released in a way meant to harm Biden the most; at a key point in the election. The people releasing it have an agenda. That’s no different from anyone else releasing information to journalists: they have agendas. (I still get PR emails every day. They always have an angle and something they want.)

The questions you ask are “is this true?” and “is this something the public should know?”

If Joe Biden’s son was using his father, and involving his father in corruption, that’s something the public deserves to know.

That the coverage has concentrated on “this is disinformation” and “it’s from Russia” without proving either, is pathetic.

This doesn’t change the fact that Trump is obviously FAR more corrupt than Biden, but Biden’s corruption is a story and deserves to be published.

There’s a lot of hate for Greenwald, a TON of it, because he never bought into the Russian interference story and spoke out against it repeatedly. (Remember the “Russian bounties for US soldiers lives that turned out false?).

People hate Trump. They see him as uniquely bad (Iraqis would laugh at these posers), and they have been corrupted by him. Because he is uniquely bad they feel it is OK to throw aside their own ethics and principles to fight him. This has especially infected a lot of journalists and bloggers.

Greenwald kept pointing out that they had violated their own principles. People hate that. They really, really can’t stand being shown up that way.

And so they hate Greenwald. (Who, as an aside, put himself at personal physical risk by reporting stolen information which hurt Bolsonaro, who rules Brazil where Greenwald lives.)

I don’t agree with Greenwald on everything (I don’t agree with anyone on everything, even myself.) But he’s been consistent, largely intellectually honest and put himself on the line repeatedly for his principles.

As far as I can tell Russia did interfere in the US election, but the interference didn’t amount to much. Less than Hillary refusing to campaign in battleground states. Certainly Russia interfered less than the US routinely interferes in other countries elections, including Russia’s. It’s a story, but it didn’t cause Hillary’s loss, except inasmuch as everything caused Hillary’s loss.

The group think based on Trump hatred has had vastly corrosive effects on journalistic integrity. It reminds me of when the New York Times refused to publish a story on widespread wiretapping just before the 2004 election, because they didn’t want to “interfere” with the election. In that case, obviously, they wanted Bush to win. In this case, most journalists want Biden to win.

You can have a preference and opinion, and the editorial pages exist so you can express that. What is not OK is allowing that to infect your news coverage.

This norm, needless to say, is routinely violated. Every single day. In the early 2000s it was for Republicans, Bush and the Iraq war. Now it’s for Biden and against Trump.

Perhaps they’re right this time, but they were wrong last time, and more to the point, journalism is how citizens are informed. You can have your own opinion, but if people believe you are slanting the facts, they stop trusting the press and stop listening.

And then, even when you tell the truth, they don’t listen. Decades of increasing lies, from the repeal of the fairness doctrine, have led to a place where most people don’t trust the media. The media didn’t call Trump on his lies in 2016 when it mattered or Bush on his lies when it could have saved a million lives. Now they call Trump on his lies, but refuse to treat accusations against Biden fairly.

The media is the boy who cried wolf. Nowadays even when they sometimes tell the truth, many people don’t believe them, and that’s reasonable. That’s sensible. Because how can you know if this time is the time the truth serves whatever cause they now believe in or have to support because of their publishers?

And that’s the actual problem.

Update: (You can read Greenwald’s own comments on his decision to leave here. Particularly damning is that he was not involved in the Reality Winner situation (where the Intercept’s editors basically gave her up to be imprisoned.))

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Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change


“Will The System Work” & Open Thread


  1. Hugh

    Corruption permeates Washington and our ruling class, and their children. If you are high enough up on the food chain, your kids get to go to exclusive private schools and universities. You get some made-up job with a huge salary and benefits, and your kids draft off your connections. We have known that Hunter Biden was corrupt like this for a couple of years now.

    I do wonder why Greenwald felt the need to publish on this a couple of days before the election. That was political. As I said at the end of the last thread, Greenwald didn’t have any problem gatekeeping the Snowden files, writing the articles he wanted on them, then mothballing the files into a soon to be inactivated archive. He has had no problem keeping them out of public hands for years. Those decisions too were political.

    I just can’t get worked up about a guy who sold out to Pierre Omidyar years ago. I can’t help thinking he was more than a little already on his way out, and he will get a few more clicks leaving doing it this way. Cynical, I know. But this is one of those cases where I see black hats and gray hats on all sides, but no good guys anywhere.

  2. Ian Welsh

    If you think that a story is probably true and affects the Presidential election writing about it after the election is kind of pointless. The public does have a right to know.

    Not sure when pointing out the truth when it matters became a political act. And I’d prefer Biden win.

  3. Let me see if I’ve got this straight: it’s ok for trump’s git* to ride daddy’s coat-tails, but no one else, aeh? That’s how this is playing out, what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. Not that that’s anything new and it isn’t like I haven’t gotten all coked up, drank rum all night and picked mushrooms out of the cow pasture at daybreak on the way to hook logs to a helicopter off the slopes of a recently erupted volcano.

    Drink some more fool-aid, boys and girls, wash down the 100% pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    * litter of piglets

  4. nobody

    Under normal circumstance, the public has a right to know about these things. Under normal circumstances, Biden should not be considered fit for office because of his age if nothing else.

    These are not, however, normal circumstances. When the party of Trump is running concentration camps, refusing to adequately respond to the pandemic because it is primarily killing Democrats, quoting Nazi slogans at its rallies, disappearing people from the streets, encouraging it supporters to engage in terroristic violence, and openly attempting to dismantle the institutions of democracy, these are not normal circumstances at all.

    Overt media bias to fight an authoritarian movement before it starts running death camps is not only justifiable but praiseworthy. Telling lies to save lives is the absolute minimum the media should do after it worked so hard to put Trump in office in 2016.

    Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the better-than-Nazi.

  5. Ian Welsh

    It’s amazing how some people can’t read. I’ve repeatedly noted that Trump is corrupt as hell, including in this article.

    And I see “I believe in telling the truth except when I think it’s justified not to.”

    Y’all live in Hell and are lied to, because you want both those things.

  6. Mark Pontin

    Ian: “I agree with Taibbi, these are emails from an editor who want the author to write a different article and won’t let it thru till he does.”


    It’s exactly as Taibbi says: “when reporters and editors interact, they speak between the lines. If an editor only ever suggests or assigns stories from a certain angle, you’re being told they don’t particularly want the other angle … when an editor lays out “suggestions” about things that might “help” a piece “be even stronger,” it’s a signal both parties understand about what elements have to be put in before the editor will send the thing through.”

  7. Stirling S Newberry

    We know that there are no good guys, only guys.

    We know one truly bad candidate means that the other side will nominate someone only bad.

    We know that the ocean of corruption that is Trump will be replaced by a mere sea of corruption that is Biden. And a sea is almost always connected to the ocean.

    We know that there will the corrupt people in charge of pots of money more than the GDP of some European countries. And they will think “I must have more money, I still have checks left.”

    We know that another Trump election will be ruinous but we should see clearly that the entire duopoly of power must be replaced.

    We know that having the DNC decide what is the least amount of non-reactionary pseudo-prez is, long-term, a waste of time.

    We know that Biden is a glad handling moron, this is only a story about the details.

    We know that the baby boom just wants to shuffle off this economic coil collecting loot as they go, this is merely the smellier parts of how this will happen. Once upon a time, we code run this story on F-57.

    In other words, we had a chance to elect someone who had some ghost of conscience but decided to nominate Mr. Gladhandle by a large margin. This is the president that this nation wants to elect.

    But there is a difference between waiting until the election has passed and publishing before the election. This can wait until the governing cycle starts and after the election cycle ends – because this is a systemic infection, not an acute one. And Greenwald knows it, as does anyone who digs into the rank world of Hunter Biden. I.e. he is a pail of garbage next to a city dump. The real story equivalent, the real story is how liberal journalists are making claims for Biden which are simply not true – we are going to get the dumbest conservative glad-handler that can be put up by a party that has no ideas left at all. Which is slightly better than the Republican National Committee which simply wants to loot one more time. But only slightly better.

    If you want to cover the news, you have to write the news that will be read. However pustulent it is. And for now, it is quite rank.

    We know it can be better but Hunter Biden can wait until Joe decides that a second term sounds wonderful.

  8. “They see him as uniquely bad…and they have been corrupted by him. Because he is uniquely bad they feel it is OK to throw aside their own ethics and principles to fight him.”

    This is a keen point. Likely Trump views them as his enemies, yet he unintentionally damaged them more than he realizes. They let him do it to them.

  9. Ché Pasa

    Greenwald doesn’t believe he or any writer who shares his pov should be subject to editors, and he’s fiercely resisted editorial oversight all his journalistic career. From what I saw of the exchange — by no means all of it — Peter and Betsy put their collective foot down, not on the media-is-a-failure story, which they thought was good and worthy, but on Glenn’s hyperbolic statements that the Hunter Biden emails are proof positive of something-something about Old Joe. And for once, Glenn’s editors held their ground.

    I don’t know that it was the hill to die on either for Glenn or the Intercept editors, but oh well. Glenn has been withdrawing from active participation and writing at the Intercept for some time. He’s got other fish to fry, I guess. And he’s been paid very handsomely by Pierre. I assume payment will continue for many years to come. In other words, Glenn doesn’t need the platform Pierre provided, and from appearances, the platform no longer needs Glenn. Parting may be sweet sorrow, but it was in the works a long time ago.

    As for Glenn risking his life with the Bolsonaro stories, yeah no. The one who’s really been at risk through all this is David Miranda. He’s an elected representative from Rio serving in congress in Brasilia. He’s been outspoken about Bolsonaro and the fascists he surrounds himself with and their hateful, murderous policies. And Brazilian politics is dirty and violent. Assassination is a useful tool to authoritarians everywhere, no less so in Brazil.

    As is his wont, Glenn overdramatized the risk to himself — rather slight given his defenses of Bolsonaro’s buddy Trump — and diminished the threat to David — substantial — in pressing the Bolsonaro stories. The interesting thing is that despite those stories and the ravages of the virus on the Brazilian people, Bolsonaro appears to be more popular than ever.

    Go figure.

    Meanwhile, let’s stipulate that the Bidens are, if nothing else, fully under the influence of People Who Matter, and they have been rewarded handsomely for playing the game the way they’re supposed to. In some circles, that’s not “corruption”, not at all. What the Trumps and people like them do is Corruption Writ Large. But nobody covers that, do they? The idea being that the media SOP is holding Dems to the highest standard while Rs are held to no standard at all. Because reasons. Because habit. That’s the game…

  10. Temporarily Sane

    It’s quite something witnessing what’s left of American democracy being openly dismantled in the name of “safety” and to “protect” people from…words. After 9/11 the voices warning of inevitable tyranny, if draconian bills like the PATRIOT Act, a permanent war and “security” footing and wholesale destruction of constitutional protections become accepted and normalized, were dismissed as paranoid kooks. Just like those “kooks” who decades ago warned that capitalism without a counterbalancing force would end up cannibalizing itself. Well, the era of collapse and post-democracy has arrived.

    Foreshadowed by the Wikileaks and Snowden revelations, and the state’s reaction to them, it took the election of Donald Trump to galvanize the establishment enough to publicly advocate for censorship and a media that promotes “fact checked” right-think while “protecting” the public from the horrible wounds of “disinformation” (i.e. any opinion or fact that challenges the liberal establishment’s revealed truths).

    Now that the dominant wing of the establishment media has set itself up as the protectors of truth and democracy, i.e. the Democratic Party, there is no going back. They have to remain vigilant to make sure hostile foreign operatives aren’t able to manipulate public opinion and “interfere” in future elections.

    At the same time the endless yelling and screeching on social media about all this strengthens the (false) impression that America’s presidential elections are hugely important and can change the country’s trajectory. Yeah and Democratic presidents can be “pushed to the left.” May I interest you in a bridge I’m selling in New York City?

    So it’s a double (illusive) win for the establishment, which thinks these “protective” measures will stabilize the political landscape and the country.

    But it won’t. Dysfunction, incoherence, polarization and collapse are the “new normal” and they are here to stay. How can I say this with such certainty? There are several reasons but there are two main ones. The first is that no person or group in a position to exercise real political power offers any workable solutions. Timid milquetoast sheepdog Bernie Sanders is but one example (and he was nonetheless swiftly relegated to the outfield by a paranoid DNC). On the Trump side it’s all China is evil, it’s the communists in the Democrat Party type of nonsense. On the Democratic side it’s all blather about the Soviets, uh I mean Russians, the racist deplorables and the unique evil of Trump. These people are interested in keeping themselves in business and their concerns begin and end with that.

    The second reason why this crisis is not resolvable or “like the 60s” is the general public is largely apathetic about what’s happening or entertains batshit crazy ideas influenced by the media’s covert and overt propaganda. There is Pizzagate, Q Anon , reds under the bed Bircher revivalism and “Trump is a working class, antiwar hero who was thwarted by the deep state!” type delusions. There is “it’s all white people’s fault!”, Trump is Putin’s bitch, it’s because of conspiracy theorists and Joe Biden will save us. Crazy talk, all of it.

    Even people not known for their stupidity are publicly airing their derangement. Noam Chomsky said “Trump is worse than Hitler” and Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller are both on the “OMG China is evil!” nutcase train. (Gotta love the fools who get that Russiagate is nonsense but then solemnly declare “but the CCP really is trying to take over the world and destroy America!”)

    There is no path out of this. Logic and rational inquiry have been abandoned in favor of emotional ranging.. That’s a serious regression. And the whole crazy, dysfunctional spectacle is amplified and reinforced many many times a day (every day…for years on end) by the click hungry media and internet companies.

    Meanwhile all the factors that are causing western civilization to fail continue unabated. This, the dysfunctional dystopia can only get worse. From censorship and information “management”, new wars and foreign bogeymen to blame, divisive identity politics, to Covid-19 being used as a catalyst for curtailing basic freedoms and neoliberal capitalism disenfranchising evermore people it’s going to keep on going. Perhaps worst of all the media’s 24/7/365 mindwarping hysterics and endless blathering online while Rome burns will continue with new twists and scandals.

    Eventually there will probably be violence and civil unrest with lots of dead people and covert and overt wars over resources and so on…the kind of things you’d expect when civilizations collapse. There will no “mass awakening.” Rather, people will adapt and get used to perpetual uncertainty and outbreaks of violence and chaos. Maybe, like in the past, apocalyptic wars will rage and new ways of organizing society will be born out of the ashes.

    Whatever happens, none of this is just going to spontaneously “go away” or burn itself out after an election. Liberal democracy is finished. There will be no return to a mythical past, not the picket fence 1950s nor the heyday of Keynesian social democracy. Old solutions no longer apply and until we come up with something new the decline will continue.

  11. Plague Species

    The group think based on Trump hatred has had vastly corrosive effects on journalistic integrity.

    It certainly has, but in a much more pervasive and permeating manner than even you would care to acknowledge or admit. The Trump hatred and its corrosive effects on journalistic integrity, if that even exists or ever did, has inculcated a reaction to it, and that reaction is also not objective and independent in its tit for tat scope.

    Jimmy Dore is a great example. Just as the late night hosts are consumed with Trump and subsumed by the Black Hole that is him, Jimmy Dore is consumed by that hateful reaction to Trump and cannot control his obsession with it. His entire coverage is an in-your-face reaction to their Trump hatred and their Trump hatred is in turn a reaction to Trump’s trolling, and let’s face it, that’s what Trump is first and foremost — he’s the quintessential Troll In Chief. His 24/7 trolling and gaslighting gets the reactionary ripple going and the “entertainers” do the rest. Bottom line, it’s Trump 24/7 and that includes the likes of Jimmy Dore who seem incapable of finding their own criticism of Trump and instead react to Dem Trump haters.

    Still, Dore’s criticism of the Dems is spot on, so I I watch him because of that even though I deplore his partiality. I balance it with Keith Olbermann’s scathing, and spot on, critiques of Trump because I believe the Dems are as guilty as Trump and BOTH sides of the coin deserve equal opprobrium. The “liberal” faction of the media’s criticism of Trump is disingenuous to say the least. That’s why we need a criticism not only of the Dems and the “liberal’ faction of the mainstream media but also of Trump and the GOP and the “conservative” faction of the media. Without that objective and independent balance, you just end up carrying water for one side of the coin or the other. I say melt down the entire coin.

    Olbermann was kicked off MSNBC because he went too far. The Dems are unifiers, remember? They don’t want to destroy the GOP or “conservatives.” They need both and they beed Trump just as all those wealthy elite in the Miami restaurant needed Tony Montana so they could look down their noses at him and feel smug in their sophisticated civil superiority.

    Great rant here by Olbermann despite him giving a pass to the Dems on all things. Trump IS a mass murderer — something the Dems and the “liberal” faction of the media are reluctant to acknowledge and admit because their paymasters would be furious if they did.

    Greenwald is a case in point that underscores my commentary. He has made bank on his reaction to the disingenuous Trump hatred just as Dore has created cache for himself filling this niche. That’s what it’s all about. Filling a niche. It certainly has nothing to do with the principle of the matter, that’s for sure.

  12. Ché Pasa

    @Temporarily Sane


  13. Andre

    Well, my views on where we as a species should be, is about as radical left as can be. And I appreciate what Greenwald has written about over his career. But if a guy is going to do me physical harm (and I am in real life very non-violent, almost obsessively so), I am not going to sit there and let him do it. I’m going to do my very best in doing him physical harm first. Totally against my principles. We have a similar situation with the current election. It’s existential. I do not care what Biden has done. We have to defeat Trump. This is Basic. Some on the Left (with whom I hold almost all Policy agreements) are so obsessed with splitting hairs, they decided that the Impeachment was a ‘coup’, and we can’t have a ‘coup’. Well, guess what: the person we supposedly were aiming this ‘coup’ at, is now going to pull off a coup of his own, a real coup. So I really wish the left and Greenwald would give it a rest until we can get some lefty policies back in place. We maybe able to pull off some lefty policies if we can keep the hair splitters from making sure we are absolutely “pure” before we go any further.

  14. “Noam Chomsky said “Trump is worse than Hitler” ”

    Well, if that nutty claim were true, than some otherwise dishonest tactics (like repeating the Russiagate garbage for literally years) might be considered justified.

    But back in the real world…

    Voting for Hillary Clinton was grossly immoral, in 2016, based on her disgusting role in wrecking Syria, and unleashing the worst sorts of human scum, there. Once again, see the writings of another Pulitzer prize winner, Seymour Hersh, viz., “The Redline and the Ratline”. That doesn’t mean necessarily voting for Trump. Progressives, e.g., could have voted for Jill Stein.

    Trump now has a track record as President, also including war crimes (support of the war in Yemen, bombing of Syria based on laughable claims of “animal Assad” bombing his own people*). I’ve therefore no great issue with anybody who can’t vote for him, on ethical reasons. But a vote for Biden? Gee whiz, wasn’t he Vice President during the wrecking of Syria?

    Has Biden ever condemned the doings of the Obama Administration towards Syria? Ever apologized for it? Wasn’t it Biden who insulted Scott Ritter, with his “beyond your pay grade” comment?

    Even simply restricting an honest comparison between Obama/Biden/Clinton war crimes and Trump war crimes will strongly ‘favor’ Trump as the lesser of two evils.

    The other factor being ignored – or else incompetently evaluated – by the “Trump is worse than Hitler” crowd is the rule of law BETWEEN AND AMONGST Elites. Why aren’t Comey, Brennan, and Hillary Clinton in jail? Why is Mike Flynn still in legal jeopardy?

    Now, you may not care about that, because, after all, they’re elites, so who cares whether or not the law is evenly applied to members of their class; let’s just go with “the ends justify the means” if we feel more affinity with a Democratic or liberal elite, than a partly conservative, fake populist, like Trump.

    If so, may I not-so-respectfully suggest that you’re an idiot? I used to work as a waiter where, like many such jobs, I felt compelled to literally run around much of the night. A sweet hostess told me that she loved working with me, because she could give me as many tables as necessary, when we got jammed.

    Well, another waiter got promoted to manager, who I had previously never had an issue with. She would watch over me like a hawk, and if I stopped to chat for more than 15 seconds, was likely to reprimand me. (Meanwhile, I consider being friendly part of the job, when you have the time to be so).

    Giving this otherwise insignificant person just a little power brought out her nasty, tyrannical side.

    We’ve seen years of persecution of the Trump team based on a phony “pee document”, and the high level criminals that participated have suffered no serious consequences. That represents TREMENDOUS power.

    Ah, Virginia, but what happens WHEN THEY CHISEL AWAY MORE OF YOUR RIGHTS? What happens when, e.g., the declare that criticizing a new, Biden Administration approved slaughter in Syria is treasonous, and you have no such right? What would you say, then? Do you actually think that high-level scofflaws like Jim Brennan will lose any sleep over your stay in the gulag?

    I suggest listening to Jordan Peterson’s commentaries concerning Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag Archipelago. The “Trump is worse than Hitler” crowd are playing with fire.

    * without prior determination by the OPCW, as required by treaty. Which later came through, but then we subsequently found out that the OPCW has been corrupted!

  15. nihil obstet

    The media sells aspirations and flattery. We are the greatest nation ever, selflessly helping all the other nations get democracy which we invented and is the only good government. Each of us is better than anybody else because we support this great nation.

    The difference between the Obama presidency and the Trump presidency is that Obama kept the autocratic rule breaking secretive while Trump doesn’t. Remember, Obama ordered extra-judicial executions, including two Americans, and allowed torture of prisoners despite the UN’s protests. His administration organized nation-wide raids against peaceful protestors. It poured military equipment into local police forces. Obama used the 1917 espionage act for the first time in modern history to smash whistle blowing and journalistic integrity. So even if your take is that we have to stop Trump’s unique ending of civil liberties or of our democracy as opposed to the Democrats’ mere meandering along, I saw that the Democrats with Biden as VP did as bad or worse, and simply didn’t scare the horses.

    And the Democrats’ belief in peace and civil liberties? Note that Obama filled very few judicial openings, and then when Trump came in with his list of crazies, Chuck Schumer agreed to “fast track” approvals — for the first time in history, approvals were voted up or down on slates of ten at a time. And Democrats have given Trump more war-play money than he asked for.

    So I’m supposed to take very seriously my responsibility as a voter and potential party donor to end Trump’s violation of “norms”, but congress and the courts support him more than they supported any president since WWI until about the 1990s. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  16. Jeff in Texas

    Obviously Biden’s coked-out son was trading on his dad’s name and influence. Just as obviously, as Ian notes, it pales in significance to the out-in-the-open corruption of Trump and his family and retainers.

    I didn’t want Biden to be the nominee at all– I voted for Sanders, again, and think he would be winning right now just like Biden is and would be poised to be a vastly superior President to whatever Biden is going to be.

    That said, I don’t give a shit about this article getting published right now. I don’t care if Biden took a meeting because his drug addict prostitute-screwing son asked him to. I’d vote for the corpse of Woodrow Wilson to get Trump out of the White House. Electing Biden is not going to be remotely sufficient to fix our many problems, but getting rid of Trump (and the Republican Senate majority) is absolutely essential to beginning the process, however futile the effort may ultimately prove to be.

    I’ve liked Glenn’s writings on warrantless surveillance and endless wars going back to W. But his internal pissing match with his own publication is not something that matters fuck all right now.

  17. Plague Species

    Well, if that nutty claim were true, than some otherwise dishonest tactics (like repeating the Russiagate garbage for literally years) might be considered justified.

    It’s not a nutty claim. It’s logic. Try it sometime. Hitler cared enough about his victims to kill them. Trump cares for no one but himself. People who aren’t immediately useful to Trump are nothing, not even something as insignificant as ants. So be it if they die, according to Trump. He doesn’t care. They were nothing any way.

    Hitler cared so much about the Jews, they evoked such a visceral reaction in him, he felt compelled to eliminate them from existence, as horrible as that is. The Jews have no such worth for Trump or such a visceral effect on him be it positive or negative. If the Jews prove to no longer be immediately useful to him, he would have no problem with MBS pushing Israel into the sea if MBS so desired or he would have no problem with the white nationalists rounding them up and gassing them and cremating them because the Jews would have no worth to Trump. They would be nothing to him. Under the bus they would, and I would say will, go just like everyone else who tethers themselves to Trump’s coattails.

  18. Zachary Smith

    I rather like the cynical undertones I see here.

    Stirling S Newberry:

    We know that there are no good guys, only guys.

    Repeating that, there are no good guys involved anywhere at all in this situation.


    Greenwald didn’t have any problem gatekeeping the Snowden files, writing the articles he wanted on them, then mothballing the files into a soon to be inactivated archive. He has had no problem keeping them out of public hands for years.

    Greenwald sold out years ago. Quite possibly he had a real choice – either join forces with the Deep State and become prosperous and famous, or have a “small caliber” early meeting with the Grim Reaper. The latter happens – the Deep State plays for keeps.

    “Former Newspaper Editor Who Exposed CIA Found Dead”

    I assume virtually every big name “journalist” is on the Deep State payroll. The small fry are there indirectly – write what you’re told, or lose your nice little job – permanently.

    Mr. Ian Welsh:

    And I’d prefer Biden win.

    Greenwald knew what he had signed into, and I’ve got zero sympathy for the man. As for your last point, an awful lot of very important people prefer a Biden win. Including the Deep State Suppressing – or at least not hyping – Biden horror stories is what’s happening now. The people who buy ‘ink by the barrel” want Biden. There are a LOT of these folks, and their control of the “news” is overwhelming.

  19. StewartM


    So Greenwald was willing to swallow a story that even the RupertMurdoch-owned NYPost’s own reporters didn’t believe was true and refused to sign their names to? The WSJ and Fox news wouldn’t touch the story either when it was offered to them:

    For those emails to be geniune, then the ‘water-sogged laptop(s) dropped off at a NJ computer shop” has to be false, that this material was obtained via a hacking job, and the ‘computer repair shop’ story is just a cover story.

    Which is why at least one focus of the FBI has been to look for foreign involvement (despite what the Trump-appointed chief said):

    Then you have the “25,000 child porn images of Hunter Biden having sex with Chinese children on the laptop” angle of this story, not covered in the NYPost story:

    Though that hasn’t seem to have gotten the same traction.

    In short, this sounds like an electronic version of something like James O’Keefe would do. Maybe take some true information, obtained illegally, selectively release parts of it (think the Acorn non-scandal, where you take innocent answers to ordinary questions on videotape and then edit the tape to make turn them into answers to incriminating questions). Mix it up with a bunch of hokum and season to taste after two weeks in October and you’re done!

    I fully agree with you that yes, the public has a right to know. But the ‘right to know’ would include letting the public know where/how the information was obtained, and then releasing all of it, not just the parts someone wants to release. That was definitely *not* done here. Me sending you an email, offering to include you in an illegal scheme, and you replying that it was illegal and thus explaining why you could not accept, then *only* releasing my email to you and not your replies declining is not bowing to ‘the public’s right to know’.

    As for Greenwald–I actually appreciate him. But I think he’s just wrong here. I understand his animus towards Biden (Snowden’s story on Biden getting on the phone and threatening countries that might give him asylum, which led to the Evo Morales presidential plane grounding, is enough). But I don’t agree with him here, for the reasons I stated above.

  20. Plague Species

    So Zach, let me ask you, is this mythical Deep State opposed to Trump? If so, how is it Trump’s head hasn’t been popped open like a watermelon and he’s not Six Feet Under by now? Are they saving that for his second term? Playing with him and us like a cat plays with a chipmunk before it kills it and chews its head and limbs off?

  21. Adams

    Great post and comments. I’ve always liked GG’s stuff. He writes well, clearly, logically; although he does go on…. Never could figure out how he could churn out so much, so fast, on so many varied subjects. He’s always been an iconoclast. His take on Citizens United back in the “Unclaimed Territory” days shocked me. It all boiled down to, “Correctly decided in law…”
    Perhaps true, I defer. But that’s when I realized that his analysis tended to be a little over-the-top legalistic for me.

    But that’s ok. He loves kids and dogs. Not necessarily in that order. Bonus for international perspective. I’m hoping he prospers and continues his work. Always essential reading. I’ll be looking for him on Substack.

  22. Ian Welsh

    “Everyone thinks” is not an argument.

  23. Thomas B Golladay

    Trump wins, as he will, fewer Brown People die. Biden wins, he send troops back into Afghanistan and elsewhere and starts more wars while saying we need austerity.

    In a perfect world, we would elect Howie Hawkins over everyone else in 2020.

    Sadly it is not to be, so we either burn our house down with Trump or burn the city down with Biden.

  24. Willy

    Not really Thomas. Trumps two ‘greatest’ achievements in office were hastening the ruining the federal budget on behalf of the wealthy, and securing three radical and unqualified supreme court justices. Not exactly progressive ideals.

    Some wanted a good and decent system burner, and they got a serial arsonist. When has that not happened before? Maybe next time around, after the arsonist is gone, we might try a bit more nuance and less binary? And a lot more insight into human pathologies. Real heroes are hard to come by in the PTB realm. maybe Greenwald should’ve qualified his commentary better, on his Fox News appearances.

  25. Hugh

    There’s also Trump’s anti-response to the coronavirus that has gotten nearly 230,000 Americans killed. Why should he start wars when he can kill so many Americans here at home?

  26. Chicago Clubs

    A large irony of this current moment is that liberals, who justifiably derided Kellyanne Conway for her statement about “alternative facts” themselves live largely in a world of alternative facts. To them, it is a FACT that Russia decisively interfered in the US election and altered its outcome. It is a FACT that Trump and literally anyone, including Greenwald, who doesn’t constantly and vociferously denounce him a la Maoist struggle sessions is a Putin puppet, either unwittingly or (more usually) wittingly. I just saw someone the other day raise the “bounties on soldiers” claim as though it had not been discredited. Liberals are more educated on average than conservatives, but they are just as stupid.

  27. Willy

    There should be an obvious difference between the strategic Molotov cocktail thrower, and the piro who lives to set fires. If people can’t tell the difference, then things are gonna get pretty hot around here. And the media aint helping.

    Have you ever known a nuanced Fox News viewer? Besides the few curious occasionals, that place isn’t for people who actually wants comprehensive fair and balanced.

    Fox News has two pundit seats for leftists. One is for former leftists who’ve become ‘woke to the folly of leftism’. The other is for the leftist on display, like some kind of zoo specimen. The former are usually grifters ignorant of policy, the latter ethicals prone to allowing themselves be outshouted.

    Maybe Greenwald thought he was creating a third kind of seat, as if the typical Fox viewer will themselves, become woke? Was that his plan?

    MSNBC seems to operate the same way, for their own particular set of regulars. Ye shall know them by their commercials, I always say.

    The trick is getting the focus back to that majority of the country which needs better public servants.

  28. carlos

    Sorry, don’t really care about what Greenwald has to say. While Trump is not like Hitler he is for sure paving the way for a Hitler to rise. BTW for those who think that Trump is less likely to “forever wars” keep in mind that a miscalculation will get the US into a real war with China. Trump is pushing China into eventually invading Taiwan what would be our response?

  29. occasional anonymous

    I haven\’t actually paid a huge amount of attention to the content of the laptop because, in regards to Ukraine and the Bidens corruption, it just provides further confirmation of things that were already public record.

    Joe Biden himself openly bragged about withholding loan guarantees to blackmail Poroshenko into getting the Prosecutor General fired. The Biden and media narrative about this has been that this was okay because the Prosecutor General was \’corrupt\’, and that there was totally nothing untoward going on because the oil company Hunter Biden was on the board of wasn\’t under investigation at the time (which is itself just evidence of how normalized the insanity has become at this point. Because blackmailing another country doesn\’t become \’okay\’ even if it wasn\’t done in the name of nepotism. Especially when Liberals were simultaneously attacking Trump for a very similar case of withholding funds as blackmail, also in Ukraine).

    But the company *was* under investigation: the Prosecutor General\’s Office seized a bunch of property of the owner of Burisma just a couple weeks before the Prosecutor General was forced to resign. This is all public record, and has been for years:

    Moon of Alabama has a whole timeline, with sources, of the entire affair, including all the crucial events the standard media narrative omits:

    All the laptop emails do is provide more insight in corruption that was already out in the open.

  30. occasional anonymous

    \”As far as I can tell Russia did interfere in the US election, but the interference didn’t amount to much.\”

    Even just saying this is conceding too much to Russiagate hysteria. There is, to this day, no evidence that \’Russia\’, as in the Russian government, did anything in regards to the 2016 election. The Internet Research Agency bears all the signs of being a commercial troll farm that was trying to generate ad clicks, not some sort of Kremlin influence operation. They ran political ads, both pro and anti Trump (also Buff Bernie, that wonderfully stupid meme), because it was an election season and they were hot topics likely to get clicks. They also ran things like Beyonce ads, but you never hear about that.

    The case against Concord Management and Consulting, an associate company of the IRA, completely collapsed when the company chose to actually fight back in court. Last I read they were counter suing the US government for 50 billion.

  31. occasional anonymous


    If an actual fascist comes along later it\’s going to be because the underlying conditions that have so completely discredited the political establishment and led to Trump in the first place haven\’t been addressed. And Biden has made it abundantly clear that \’nothing will fundamentally change\’.

    So we really have no choice in the matter. An actual authoritarian will come down the pipe sooner or later. Electing Biden not only won\’t change that fact, it will probably accelerate it.

  32. Hugh

    Greenwald in addition to being a “more and better Democrats” sort of Democrat also has a libertarian streak. He did some projects with the Cato Institute (on drug decriminalization and limited government) and pushed the principled conservative line. So his showing up on Fox News isn’t that surprising.

    The Snowden affair was seven years ago and the Omidyar/Intercept deal was six years ago. I don’t think either he or the Intercept have been that significant since. I put him in that class that did some good work back during the Bush years but faded/sold out once Obama came in. Hunter Biden really started showing up in conspiracy theories back in early 2019. So Greenwald had nearly two years to follow up on him, and Washington corruption in general, had he wanted to. It doesn’t seem to have been much of a priority. And given Greenwald’s reduced prominence and relevance, except for giving some of us an occasion to reminisce, his problems with his editors just doesn’t seem that important. Glenn Greenwald’s travails aren’t even a blip on the screen anymore.

    We aren’t talking about Greenwald’s effect on the election because he has none. This seems more about Greenwald himself, his choices, and how they didn’t pan out. File it under the not sad –but unsurprising end of another blogger.

  33. @Stewart M

    Thanks for posting these references. Wish I had more time for this stuff. I would also like to hear more from Bannon and Giuliani. But also George Webb, who has cast some shade in Bannon’s direction. Just caught a little of it, but Webb says that Bannon is trying to get into Trump’s good graces, but has previously stuck it to both Trump and Trump Jr, let’s not forget. I think he also cast shade in Bobulinski’s direction, along the lines of “we (the CIA, I think he said) have dirt on Biden and his family; don’t give us any problems when you’re president”. Bobulinski’s claim that he broke his silence only because Biden had impugned his family’s honor with his charge of being a Russian stooge sounds plausible. However, it also raises the questions about Bobulinski being a completely straight shooter, because, after all, Biden could have chosen not have defaulted to ‘blame the Russians’; or retracted; but that would have changed little about the Biden family’s crookedness.

    I currently don’t have the time to keep up, much less go back and listen carefully Bannon or Webb.

    I will note, though, that I suspect that Bannon and Webb are proxies for different aspects of the Deep State, themselves. Like comparing Trump and Biden, to see who is Hitler to the other guy’s Mussolini, there are likely no completely honest players in the game. Webb was digitally assassinated, on youtube, and he’s also openly supportive of Trump (he’s also made noises about being for the “good Mossad”). So, I doubt he’s with the faction or factions that are moving heaven and earth to disempower Trump, and get him out of office.

    Recall that CIA proxies fought Pentagon proxies just a few years ago, in Syria, and this was reported in main stream media. Recall, also, that the military “blew up” a peace deal that Obama and Kerry had negotiated with the Russians, within a day or two after signing, by their bombing of Deir Ezzor.

    There is no ONE group in charge.

  34. Zachary Smith

    So Zach, let me ask you, is this mythical Deep State opposed to Trump?

    How would I know? What appears to be obvious is that “they” have decided it’s time for a change.

    “Neoconservatives are flocking to Biden (and let’s forget about the Iran deal)”

    Neoconservatives are flocking to the Biden campaign. The DC braintrust that believes in using US military power to aid Israel in the Middle East has jumped parties before– to Clinton in ’92, and back to Bush in 2000– and now they’re hopping aisles to support Biden, with Bill Kristol leading the way.

    Last night on an official Biden campaign webinar led by “Jewish Americans for Biden”, and moderated by Ann Lewis of Democratic Majority for Israel, two prominent neocon Republicans endorsed Biden, primarily because of Trump’s character posing a danger to democracy. But both neocons emphasized that Biden would be more willing to use force in the Middle East and reassured Jewish viewers that Biden will seek to depoliticize Israel support, won’t necessarily return to the Iran deal and will surround himself with advisers who support Israel and believe in American military intervention.

    The Apartheid state is getting itself a new Hobby Horse. Biden’s history shows he loves Imperial Wars. Opportunistic Harris will be unlikely to disappoint when her turn rolls around.

    It’s time to Wag The Dog at least one more time, and use the US military to “whack” Iran. Watch for the build-up. For example, has anyone else heard about Iran “intervening” in the 2020 election?

  35. Synoptocon

    Glen is about Glen, first last and always. This is much less principle than it is brand and cold assessment of whether the brand has room to maneuver.

  36. Hugh

    Re whacking Iran, there are 83 million Iranians in a country about the size of Alaska: 636,372 square miles. There is a reason why US policy over the last 40 years has consisted of sanctions, proxies, the occasional poke, and deals. Iran is too big and populous a country to invade, and Iran as a failed state would be a bigger disaster and more destabilizing than a hostile Iran.

    I can see the Pentagon and State wanting to limit Iranian power, but even taking out Iranian assets in the Persian Gulf is something both have steered clear of, for good reason.

  37. Synoptocon

    Yes, Clubs of the Windy City, that is the nature of modern censorship – alternative facts for all. You get an alternative set of facts, I get an alternative set of facts, everyone gets their own alternative set of facts. The only folks who don’t get an alternative set of facts are those living closer to the edge than the commentariat, who – fortunately – are so willing to stick a big ol’ hand up their kazoos and sock-puppet the hell out of them.

  38. Plague Species

    But Zach, Forbes has announced Trump will win Texas by a landslide and yet the media, the “liberal” faction at least, is implying if not outright asserting that Biden and the Dems could flip Texas blue. Isn’t Forbes NeoConservative? If not, what is Forbes?

    You know the mythical Deep State, whatever that is and whoever collectively comprises it, are not opposed to Trump because Trump never would have ascended to the throne let alone held it for this long without the mythical Deep State removing him come hook or crook. That means Trump is useful to them. That means this strategy of chaos and polarization and factionalism is their strategy. That means they are stoking a civil war. That means they are in cahoots with America’s enemies, namely Russia and China, in collapsing and destroying America.

    And, you know what, they’re succeeding because they control everything that shapes hearts and minds.

    Olbermann raised a great point. If Trump loses and they manage to remove him, kicking and screaming, from the White House, he will immediately begin campaigning for another presidential bid in 2024. He will force Joe Biden to lock him up but Joe won’t do it, because Joe is a uniter, not a divider and therefore we must look forward and not back, and so Joe looks forward to another Trump term in 2024 that he directly enables because he has no backbone to do what must be done and instead is yet another mythical Deep State tool.

  39. Chicago Clubs

    >Glen is about Glen, first last and always.

    Ridiculous. If this were anything close to true he’d just say the same stupid shit every other lib pundit says to try and secure some of that sweet mainstream airtime and cash.

  40. bruce wilder

    James Risen, writing in The Intercept: “Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma made his father’s demands [to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor], however well-intentioned, appear politically awkward and hypocritical.”

    That place where “journalists vigorously demand answers” from politicians to “hard” questions — that safe space where Betsy Reed wanted GG to retreat — is conspicuously not a place where telling the truth is a priority.

    The truth is not found in counterfactual speculation and projection either.

  41. Hugh

    “Glen is about Glen, first last and always.”

    Jockeying and internal politicking have always filled the blogosphere. Greenwald’s deal with billionaire Pierre Omidyar was one of the more notable examples of a blogger monetizing (and being able to) their product.

  42. Zotter

    Stirling, thank you for the post. I would add one to your list:

    “We know if we don’t remove Trump in this election, any chance of Democratic reform for our system is over.”

    Personally, I know Biden is corrupt, he is also pretty basic and perhaps even bumbling. But at this moment right here, right now, especially on the verge of a rampaging pandemic, we simply cannot afford to go with Trump again. We can challenge Biden, or primary him, or impeach him, or whatever later; Il Duce Arancio needs to be removed now.

    To me, it reminds of what Ian has said in the past: if the left is not willing to knock a few heads, they need to get out of the game. Progressives know Bernie got screwed (again) by Obama and the establishment, we know Joe Biden doesn’t like us, we know he is corrupt, and we know we’ll have to drag him to every good policy in his admin. But we also know Trump is impossible to shift and that he needs to go for anything Progressive to even be possible. So we are swallowing this jagged little pill and moving on with open eyes. I really don’t care if Hunter Biden smoked opium off of hookers in a harem whilst living off of Joe’s dime or rep, I want the story discredited until after this election. Trump has to be removed from the apparatus of power now, while there is the slimmest of chances of doing so peacefully. After this election, if he is still there that chance is gone.

  43. Thomas B Golladay

    @Plague Species

    The Deep State is the Iron Law of Bureaucracy made manifest. There are multiple Bureaucracies in the Federal Government, all in competition with each other and with different goals and means of achieving them.

    Thus Pentagon and CIA backed groups fight each other in Syria. The Pentagon bombs State Department groups who are providing civilian services in Syria. The FBI and CIA rarely talk to each other and their active hiding of information from each other allowed 9/11 to happen. The NSA is a law unto itself. No one knows what NRO actually does, but noone wants to piss them off either, and they have the largest budget of all our intelligence agencies.

    Yes the Deep State exists and its dangerous due to its incompetence and infighting, not its competence and unity.

  44. S Brennan

    Some truths to be studiously ignored:

    1] “The timing of the emails is bad”. Yes it is, most people have already voted; the emails publication and discussion should have been at least 45 days earlier. The suppression/dismissal of the emails has been largely successful. Besides, Biden/Obama/Hillary’s sociopathic behavior and resultant corruption is largely known but firmly ignored by people in polite society. NYTimes and WaPo do not deliever news, they deliver group think; Pravda and Investia were far more willing to challenge power than NYTimes & Wapo. “Good people” know what to beleive and when in doubt they turn to the NYTimes & Wapo for further instruction.

    2] And speaking of Russia influencing the USA’s elections. Heaven may know of every sparrows fall and similarly, Russia’s influence on the US elections carries about the same weight as a sparrow’s mortem. The propagandists who spout RUSSIA..RUSSIA..RUSSIA nonsense must roll with laughter when they read some naive bumpkin repeating their insipid pablum with the utmost sincerity.


    a) “Trump = Hitler”, anybody who suggests this knows nothing of history and/or is lunatic and/or is a pathetic liar.

    b) “Trump will lead to [a] Hitler”, silly stuff but, arguable if one is willing to concede that Ptolemy/Qin Shi Huang/Caesar/Rajadhiraja Chola all lead to Hitler’s rise. Only a sophomoric student would make such a history argument but then, it’s US election time and during such times, idiotic arguments rule.

  45. edmondo

    “Greenwald doesn’t believe he or any writer who shares his pov should be subject to editors, and he’s fiercely resisted editorial oversight all his journalistic career.”

    Once again, Che Pasa makes up shit when the facts indicate otherwise. GG had a written contract that said he would not be edited by ownership. He was. He resigned. That’s what people with dignity do.

  46. bruce wilder

    Zotter: if the left is not willing to knock a few heads, they need to get out of the game. Progressives know Bernie got screwed (again) by Obama and the establishment, we know Joe Biden doesn’t like us, we know he is corrupt, and we know we’ll have to drag him to every good policy in his admin. But we also know Trump is impossible to shift and that he needs to go for anything Progressive to even be possible. So we are swallowing this jagged little pill and moving on with open eyes.

    This is just piling delusion upon delusion. Progressives are out of the game and have been out of the game for at least twenty years, busy inventing new pronouns and “identities”. Progressives are not going to drag Joe Biden anywhere, just like they could not drag Obama anywhere; their role in this bit of political theatre is to make apologies for Biden and Harris: Biden and Harris sell themselves to the Plutocrats on the basis that they are better able to keep the progressives quiet and away from political power, and especially away from contesting leadership of what used to be called the working classes or making common cause with conservative, small-r republicans/nationalists.

    Joe has promised the predatory rich that nothing will fundamentally change, when the country and the world are facing existential problems that require radical, fundamental change. For four years, the Democrats have railed against Trump, but failed to oppose him on policy. The mainstream Democrats made allies of the intelligence community, gaslighted the country on “Russia collusion” for two plus years and impeached Trump for something Biden did and bragged about doing. Now they have welcomed the neocons who lied the country into the Iraq War into the campaign against Trump. What in that record suggests that these miscreants are the least bit respectful of democratic values or the rule of law. You think the Obama grant of immunity to banksters is a precedent for anything good and decent?

    I really don’t care if Hunter Biden smoked opium off of hookers in a harem whilst living off of Joe’s dime or rep, I want the story discredited until after this election.

    “open eyes” apparently does not mean what you think it means.

  47. Hugh

    As I read comments here, it seems progressive must mean disliking Biden and defending Trump. Gee, I wonder why no one takes progressives seriously.

  48. Willy

    Hugh, because they’re not progressives.

    But I do agree that we must be more knowledgeably nuanced and respectful of the evidence, facts and history, more able to see the nebulous whole with all of its interrelatedly complex variables.

    Trump is retarded Hitler.

  49. nihil obstet

    I don’t know what progressive means. If it means disliking Biden, well, he doesn’t seem like a very kind man, but my issue is his effect as a politician in the public realm. That’s been very, very bad and he has promised more of the same.

    I don’t believe an analysis that falls short of 100% condemnation qualifies as “defending”. As I commented above, the main difference I see in Trump and the last Democratic administration is the level of publicity given to violations. As long as Obama did a good turn as Mr. Cool with witty replies that play into a certain type of “West Wing” fantasy, he could preside over the virtual destruction of the Bill of Rights. Trump is vulgar, crass, and simplistically boastful. He’s repulsive. He takes what he wants that he can get. That’s very bad, and he will bring more of the same.

    Now, there are people in the streets against the police state. I do not agree that it would be better if we went back to ignoring or downplaying steps across the line into rank dictatorship, or worse yet, empowering them. And yet noticing that the main argument against Trump is that with him gone we can go back to the silencing of dissident voices, and stop those protests is called “defending Trump”? I don’t think so.

  50. Willy

    I see Biden as a kind mediocre man who fell in with the wrong crowd and thus appears corrupted, but who might possibly be redeemed.

    I see Trump is a spoiled mediocre man with a severe personality disorder who enjoys ruining things, especially when they’re no longer of any use to him, who is unfortunately incorrigible.

    I see a progressive as someone who, besides being open to new societal ideas, is also open to the possibility that their new ideas might fail, either in part or catastrophically. Yet they remain open to other societal ideas which they believe will tweak or replace their failed ideas.

    I see a conservative as someone who believes in protecting whatever institutions and traditions have been proven to work, while preferring to err on the side of limited government, at least until any new institutions and traditions have been thoroughly tested.

    I see a Trump apologist/supporter/enabler/supplicant/cultist as somebody who’s lost their fucking minds.

  51. bruce wilder

    I wish we had a real Marxist, who would press a deep class analysis. Lambert Strether, who ghosts these comment threads a lot, is good but superficial in echoing Thomas Franks. I want to go back and read Kevin Phillips’s two books. Personality analysis just does not do it for me, especially when the topic is the collapse of professions and institutions under the weight of what? group think? the flood of plutocrat-funded propaganda? the sclerosis of generational non-turnover. the working of Michel’s Iron Law in aging institutions.

  52. S Brennan

    “I see Biden as a kind mediocre man who fell in with the wrong crowd and…might possibly be redeemed.”

    Had you been paying any attention at all during the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and een’s you would not be so misguided as to profess your ignorance of Biden to the world.

    Let’s get this election over with so the ignorant ones can return to their dark den of unconsciousness bewilderment.

  53. Willy

    Biden is not a con artist, but flawed politician. Trump is both.

    As I’ve said before, I have my limits on my protest vote. Voting for Trump is like voting for something between Charles Manson and Hitler. Making this public while declaring oneself a progressive will entice exactly zero reasonable moderates or independents. Zero.

  54. Hugh

    If killing 230,000 Americans doesn’t make Trump bad, what does?

  55. Willy

    Remember, Trump has told us that he’s fully aware of what he’s doing:

    There are many other videos where people give firsthand descriptions of the suffering, death, and the insane medical costs of loved ones who’ve gotten sick.

    I’m also quite unconvinced that the neoliberalism caused “deaths from despair” has been decreased at all during the Trump years. Still wanna be a ‘prog’ rebel?

  56. Synoptocon

    If Glen’s not principally about Glen, why has so little of the Snowden archive seen the light of day?

  57. bruce wilder

    Years ago, when I was struggling with insomnia, I watched weird stuff on late-night tv, and I became aware of a preacher based in Los Angeles, who pushed the boundaries of credulity of his flock. He was a smart man, claimed a degree from Stanford, and was a complete ahole. He actually showed films of the Tennessee Walking horses he bought with donations while smoking cigars.

    That there are demagogues who seem transpatent to most of us and still pull in others is a fact of life. The one who fools you is the one you should fear, not the one who seems a transparent con-man to you.

    Biden, a highly successful neoliberal politician, has been running a con most of his professional life. He devised a persona as an everyman, a scion of the working class even, who could “talk to” the blue-collar “neighbors” effectively. I am sure it was a conscious construction, because Biden got caught plagerizing a speech from a British Labour leader with genuine experience as an industrial worker.

    I think all politicians do this in several important senses. To an extent, every public speaker does this. Actors, of course, do this professionally: some specialize narrowly and we joke that they play themselves in every role; others develop skills that enable them to take on accents and manners of the character they portray.

    Actors want to convince you they are the character, but it is not a con, because they are not using your credulity against you, manipulating you against your interests and true desires.

    Salesman are an interesting case, because they do want to persuade you, but whether there is an ethical line between an exchange for value — an honest sale — and a con that amounts to theft is a nice question. Typical car salesman dance along that line. And, the salesman has skills the actor does not consciously seek to learn or employ as far as I know: a salesman who learns his trade learns the techniques of hypnosis: distracting, reading, leading, suggesting.

    A politician seeking a representative office wants to sell his persona as a reliable decision-maker, someone committed to values and views held in common or at least in esteem by the voter. Very commonly, this also means values and views most definitely not-held by those other politicians and voters, the deplorable ones.

    A politician who presents himself as a reliable representative of the working classes who then goes on to vote with and for the bosses and banksters consistently, and not least because it benefits himself or his family financially to do so, is running a con. That is Joe Biden.

    That Biden seems so much the “lesser” evil to you should worry you much more than it evidently does, Willy.

  58. StewartM

    S Brennan

    a) “Trump = Hitler”, anybody who suggests this knows nothing of history and/or is lunatic and/or is a pathetic liar.

    Geez. *Every* fascist leader that fit the descriptor was different from the rest. Trump was not Hitler, but neither was Mussolini, nor Franco, Antonescu, Mosley, Peron (some call him fascist) and other leaders can be called fascist. Moreover, some people try to circumscribe the fascist descriptor by claiming the fascist movement and leader has to “shut down the opposition parties, suspend elections, seize control of the press”, etc which is merely a sign of *success*, not an attribute of fascism (just because a group of fascists fail to seize power, or only incompletely hold power, doesn’t mean they’re not fascists).

    Is Trump and his movement fascist? Well take a look at these fourteen attributes and see if he doesn’t score:

    But Trump is not any anomaly, movement conservatism which started with William F. Buckley has been more than willing to flirt with it. We’ve always had our home grown fascists (the KKK) and movement conservatives starting in the 1950s found that appealing to these types was their best way to win elections. Trump is just more open about it.

  59. bruce wilder

    Given the mirroring that has become a major feature of American politics, one might consider the possibility that the movement intent on electing Biden/Harris is showing many symptoms of incipient authoritarianism.

    The OP is about a famous dissenter and champion of constitutional freedom of the press leaving a publisher he co-founded, because they would not publish his opinions critical of candidate Biden ahead of the election.

    Harris, at least, has considerable potential as an authoritarian and the political coalition that made her a candidate included not one party delegate elected from a primary, but did encompass elements hostile to “discord” and associated with the intelligence agencies.

  60. StewartM

    On the “Deep State”

    The issue I see is that people conflate two very different things–

    The true “Deep State”–i.e., the intelligence and surveillance agencies, are fine with Trump. In fact he wants to outlaw encryption for ordinary people and has revived the “Clipper chip” backdoors for the the TLAs. He gives them whatt they want.

    The foreign policy establishment–mostly don’t care for Trump, as he is upending decades of established US policies. To some extent they are justified in this as flippantly changing sides undermines any confidence of any ally or opponent of the reliability of any US promises.

  61. Willy

    Bruce, you always seem to take all this time to type this stuff up, so this should be easy for you.

    Please provide us with a scenario where Trump wins and progressivism advances.

  62. bruce wilder

    Trump wins, and in desperation because nominating a ham sandwich so shockingly failed, the centrist Democrats who fear and loathe Trump so passionately, but in their smug complacency never wanted anything fundamental to change, look around for alternative leaders and coalition partners, to whom they concede the need to champion radical policy change: raising the minimum wage, slicing and dicing the financial sector and big tech, ending perpetual war, ending industry-destroying free trade, you know little policy things.

    My view is that no choice is presented in this election. Both Parties and candidates are controlled and financed by an oligarchy — maybe different factions of the oligarchy favor Biden or Trump. Mostly, I think the oligarchy on the whole sees switching to Biden is the safer course . . . for them. For most of us, I think 90% lose bigtime either way; either way, the only forlorn hope for the 90% at this point lies in scenarios of system breakdown, and such breakdowns are certain to be very costly to the 90% with ultimate benefit to the 90% a long-shot at best.

    Cheerleading Biden as the “anti-fascist” when an authoritarian like Harris is waiting in the wings and the mainstream media is already submerged into authoritarian propaganda production and reactionary elements of the intelligence agencies and neocon war mongers are making common cause with the Democrats — well the will to self-deception knows no bounds.

    I gave up my long-time partisan identification with the Democrats when I saw who and what Obama was. Hope is an hypnotic drug.

    Willy, you have said you think things are the way they are for a reason. Ian keeps telling you, you are in hell in part because you like the pretty lies better than hard truth.

    No choice is on offer in this election, because politicians do not depend on your vote for power. They need money and media support to manipulate you — that is all they need to get elected and to get the money they give the power of political authority to the business oligarchy, who give them the big money. Voting for either candidate at this late date is pointless, except that it gives undeserved legitimacy to the oligarchs’ minions.

  63. bruce wilder

    flippantly changing sides undermines any confidence of any ally or opponent of the reliability of any US promises.

    opposing and undermining the communist Soviet Union thirty years after it ceased to exist is so wise and let me tell you, sticking by Saudi Arabia no matter what, that shows this country’s true character.

    Chile is going to get a new constitution; better send in the helicopter gunships again.

  64. Willy

    bruce, under an enabled Trump, the system doesn’t just break down. It gets revised into a completely different system, fully supported by his 40% death cult who worship him as a god. When a malignant narcissist owns 40% of a country, I guarantee you that any hoped for “system breakdown” will not happen anything like you might hope.

    My opinion was closer to yours just a few months ago. But when Trump revealed to me that mass death was his willful intention, that all changed.

    With Biden, the system, as rotten as it is, remains. It remains to be changed another day. It’s been enabled thus far for many reasons, but things are changing. People are (yes far too slowly) waking up.

  65. js

    This “Dems will reform if only they keep losing” line seem not to be falsifiable. It didn’t work with Hillary. But does that cause people to reevaluate it? No they just think this time Dems will reform. How many times does it have to fail, before it’s not credible?

    Well I’d really RATHER not have a test of it, which is I’d rather Biden beat Trump, and he likely will, or he’ll lose because Trump steals the election. And we aren’t going to get positive policy shift out of a stolen election! But in the unlikely case that Biden legitimately loses: Dems are not going to reform. And it will be: told you so, but it gets old. And others told me: Biden would suck. Yes and I fully acknowledge that. Biden is a ham sandwich, Biden is a grift, doesn’t reveal donors till many have already voted etc., Trump is a terrorist holding us hostage.

  66. bruce wilder

    yes, Willy, with Biden the system does not breakdown . . . immediately.

    the system doesn’t work, Willy. keeping it going is not doing anyone any great favor. and it is breaking down under the weight of serial mal-administration going back more than twenty years. Biden will just bring in the Obama Alumni Association to continue the fine work they did before to destroy the country and all that is good and decent. how long that lasts is probably not long at all.

    i do not know what will happen. either way seems ill-fated to me.

    this fantasy some people spin out of a doddering 78-year-old turning into FDR in a Superman outfit or the execrable Harris replacing him and transforming from a ruthless, ethics-free opportunist into a saint are just bizarre. A Harris Administration, I will concede, is likely to be more competent at making the machinery of government run than Trump, but realistically, Harris’s policy priority in the face of serial economic catastrophes to come is most likely to be repression and building up a police state. If Trump tries that he won’t be good at it because he isn’t good at anything, he’s ambivalent about the policy that will be put in front of him because he’s annoyed at having already been a victim himself of the intelligence agencies, and the Democrats will at least nominally oppose him because he’s a Republican and Trump. If Harris has the job of instituting the final end of freedom of political expression and public knowledge of events, no one but a few fringe radicals will oppose her and commenters here will no doubt complain that Assange, Taibbi, Hedges and Greenwald and the like are on an ego trip and there will be plenty of time for the truth to come out in fifty years; now we must all come together (except of course those [bad] people).

    i agree though that system breakdown is unlikely to lead to any good outcome either way. but really we do not get any choice about a system breakdown occurring. the breakdown is coming. nominating Biden baked that cake, but the ingredients for that cake were gathered by Bush and mixed into a batter by Obama. Trump has just bumbled around the kitchen for four years spilling flour and breaking eggs on the floor.

    you are arguing that Biden gets us all a breather, and Trump gets us . . . what? more Trump. but, you do not know what electing Biden gets us. Given that Pelosi is hot to enact legislation necessary to the scheme, even if he doesn’t simply die, Harris may be installed to preside over a police state to prevent Trump voters from making that mistake again — the Democratic establishment is as intent on preserving “our” democracy untainted by the votes of the deplorable as Trump’s supporters are on harassing the misled socialists, sanctimonious libruls and other social parasites into not-voting. it is clear in the response to Greenwald’s resignation and the extradition trial of Assange that the liberal media is dead, dead, dead. they do not want to report facts and try to figure out what is “really” going on. MSNBC and the NY Times make plenty of money with endless speculation that obscures more information than it communicates.

  67. bruce wilder

    have you ever learned anything from political experience, js?

  68. Hugh

    In his non-response to the pandemic, Trump has killed 230,000 Americans. Biden hasn’t. To your closet Trumper, what this means is that Biden is no better than Trump, and probably a lot worse.

  69. Willy

    It seems like yesterday that AOC was just a bartender in some unknown bar helping her mother pay the bills.

    I just saw a video where as a guest on Seth Meyers, in front of millions, she clarified herself and her cause for the ignorant. I saw another video where she was on the View talking to millions of housewives. She got a lot of house applause talking Bernie and progressivism while her political rival Megan McCain got smatterings. I think the producers of such shows know they won’t be replenishing the audience if they cant stay hip with our economically challenged youth.

    I remember back when FDL was this place where disgruntled liberals hung out, kinda like some unknown bar. Did I see Jane on MSNBC once? What’s she even up to these days?

    Anybody know any telegenic intelligent young ladies who can talk in front of a camera, and who dont take shit? Something tells me that our economically challenged youth are smarter these days, and they’re less able to relate to the lying conservative bimbos like they used to.

  70. different clue


    If Tulsi Gabbard returns to public involvement from her current state of deep and faraway exile, she would be one such.

    She would never be permitted on establishment media or establishment social media, but she might be hosted predictably repeatedly on places like Joe Rogan and Jimmy Dore and such. If future-concerned young people decide to consider her worth their time and attention, they will learn how to find her on such places . . . if she shows up there.

  71. ricardo2000

    The key to these concerns is:
    Are the claims provably true?
    Is there evidence that the claims might be true?
    Who is presenting the evidence, and what is their relationship to the story?

    A laptop that appeared in a repair shop claimed to be Hunter Biden\’s. Is there any evidence of this other than personalized info? The NY Times reports the shop owner is blind, a Trump supporter, and can\’t identify the person who dropped it off. It is easy to make a copy of Hunter Biden\’s real laptop and then fabricate any computer file on any other computer device particularly if you repair computers.

    There is some evidence of corruption in Hunter\’s appointments in Ukraine. He was appointed, but at whose request? Is there any evidence that he provided services that relied on his influence with his father? Or was he merely used as a name-dropper, like other celebrities, to add consequence and importance to the enterprise. The FBI collected and examined the laptop but have yet to issue an opinion on its origin or contents. I have no doubt that any of the many Trump supporters in law enforcement would have leaked any controversy or actual fact if they had any such thing.

    That Giuliani presented this info leads me to discount every part of it. He is a liar and fraud just like Bannon, who was also involved. That Greenwald used Tucker Carlson and Fox to present his claims means his opinions now have no credibility with me at all. Both he and Taibbi have turned into celebrities who think everything they write should be front page news, without ANY OVERSIGHT at all. Grow up Mr. Welsh, no journalist gets to do this. Greenwald and Taibbi can write editorial opinion, if they stop calling themselves journalists. For example, I can assume their next gig will be as a sideshow on the Kardasians, but that doesn\’t make it true.

    H.L. Mencken: \’Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.’

    Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

  72. ricardo2000

    \”The bottom line here is that whoever provided the emails and texts), there is, so-far, no reason to believe they are false.\”

    Take a logic course Mr. Welsh. That some claim hasn\’t been proven false, doesn\’t mean the claim is true.

    That the Biden campaign refused to deny these claims doesn\’t mean they are true. Your claim, \’…that if a subject won’t deny, there’s fire, not just smoke\’, is contemptibly laughable. How do you back this claim, Magic 8 Ball or your Ouija board?

    In fact there are several reasons to believe they are false. The repair shop owner is a Trump supporter and so blind he can\’t identify who dropped off the laptop for repair.

    I am certain that prominent politicians don\’t just leave their electronic gear at a random shop, instead of an Apple store, and forget about it, because they fear problems just like these Trumpanzee lies. I would expect every such laptop to be password protected, and left with trusted techs, of which the Democrats have many.

    Apple computers use \’Time Machine\’ to make automatic copies as the default mode whenever a new hard drive is attached. Carbon Copy Cloner makes exact images of a heard drive or files, including bootable OS files, something I use to troubleshoot my Macs for 10 years. So it is likely whoever wanted the files retrieved knew nothing about Mac computers.

    I used to like coming here, but now I think much less of anything you have written, and any opinion or position you might take.

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