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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 14, 2021

by Tony Wikrent

Strategic Political Economy

Russia turns away from NASA, says it will work with China on a Moon base 

[Ars Technica, via Naked Capitalism 3-10-21]

Brazil’s High Court Invalidates Lula’s Convictions, Leaving Him Eligible to Run Against Bolsonaro

[, via Naked Capitalism 3-10-21]

….this is increasingly becoming the playbook for neoliberal elites who are angry that the population has defied them by voting for those they oppose. Thwarted by the democratic process, elites now resort instead to subversions of democracy in the name of upholding it. The employ frivolous impeachments to remove the leader whose legitimacy they never accepted, lawfare designed to make governance impossible through endless investigations or even the unjust imprisonment of their political opponents, and a full-scale union with the corporate media which openly and shamelessly ceases to report and instead engages in tawdry political activism to destroy the leaders chosen by the disobedient population. Indeed, the oligarchical Brazilian media so openly and overwhelmingly favored Dilma’s impeachment that the steadfastly apolitical press freedom group Reporters Without Borders dropped Brazil to 104th in its annual press freedom rankings and warned that the Brazilian press’ abandonment of the journalistic function while agitating for Dilma’s removal was so severe that the Brazilian press itself endangered press freedom.

As neoliberalism destroys more and more lives around the world, leaving an endless array of social pathologies in its wake, power centers will seek out tactics to subvert the democratic will. The increasing insistence on censoring the internet and controlling the flow of information is one symptom of elite fear of popular rage and desperation. So, too, is the related attempt by corporate media outlets to regain their monopoly over news and discourse by discrediting anyone or anything which sits in opposition to them. And the playbook that resulted in Dilma’s removal from office less than eighteen months after Brazil elected her, followed by the unjust imprisonment of Lula to ensure he could not run and win again, is reflective of a pattern already emerging in the west: abusing the force of law, propaganda and state processes to destroy those whom the population was not supposed to elect.\

The same ruling class fears motivate increasing attacks on anyone who effectively exposes the rot and deceit of their conduct. Just as the U.S. Government has imprisoned Julian Assange and exiled Edward Snowden, the Brazilian government is intent on imprisoning my source, Walter Delgatti, for the crime of exposing the truth (they also tried, unsuccessfully, to criminally prosecute me for the crime of doing the reporting that exposed the fraud of Lula’s prosecution).

The guardians of the ruling neoliberal order know their days are numbered and will become increasingly desperate to cling to power for as long as it can. The playbook used and just exposed in Brazil will be seen with greater frequency as a hated elite seek to weaken that which most threatens their interests: a discourse and a democracy they can no longer manipulate and control.

NYT Fails to Examine Its Participation in Brazil’s ‘Biggest Judicial Scandal’

[FAIR, via Naked Capitalism 3-10-21]

The Lockean Roots of White Supremacy in the U.S.

[Foreign Policy In Focus, via Mike Norman Economics 3-10-21]

The Lockean notion of labor creating private property rights is intertwined with another equally deeply embedded Lockean legacy: the unequal racial access to property and liberty….

“In the beginning, all the world was America,” Locke famously wrote, imagining what he called the “state of nature” before the creation of political society. In advancing his theory that it was the mixing of one’s labor with land that created private property, Locke saw the Native Americans as creatures who could not be considered property owners since they merely inhabited the land and forests but did not cultivate the soil.

To Locke, in fact, the Native American could be equated with “one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security” and who “therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tiger.” Locke thus provided a most potent ethical justification for racial genocide.

Likewise, slavery had Lockean moorings, in the English philosopher’s theologically reasoned distinction between the relationship that a master had with a servant and that with a slave: he saw the first as a contract between between the master and the indentured servant from Europe while the relationship of the slave from Africa and the master was one of the former being subject to the “absolute dominion” of the latter….

As an eminent contemporary philosopher of intersectionality, Charles Mills, writes, “[I]nsofar as the modern world is shaped by European expansionism (colonialism, imperialism, white-settler states, racial slavery),” Locke’s social contract “could…be regarded as founded on an exclusionary intrawhite ‘racial contract’ that denies equal moral, legal, and political standing to people of color.”

Move Over, Nerds. It’s the Politicians’ Economy Now.

[New York Times, March 9, 2021]

“This is an enduring regime shift,” said Paul McCulley, who teaches at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. “Having the tools of economic stabilization work a whole lot more through the fiscal channel and a whole lot less through the monetary channel is a profound, pro-democracy policy mix.” ….

“This legislation has everything to do with restoring the confidence of the American people in democracy and in their government, and if we can’t respond to the pain of working families today, we don’t deserve to be here,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of the Biden bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act.

A Watershed Moment

Robert Kuttner, March 12, 2021 [The American Prospect]

…. But what a wasted half-century.

The Biden Transition and the Fight for Real Hope and Change This Time

First 100: The American Rescue Plan’s Significant Public Investments

David Dayen, March 11, 2021 [The American Prospect]

The section-by-section summary of the bill has already yielded a number of surprises popping up in political media. But these haven’t gone far enough. Let’s start with the health infrastructure investments. There’s a section on providing medical supplies and personnel for rural healthcare providers, something that will be difficult to dislodge post-pandemic. There’s $7.6 billion for state and local health department workers and another $7.6 billion for community health centers, which provide basic care to poor communities. For context, Bernie Sanders got $11 billion for community health centers in the Affordable Care Act over five years, and it made a significant difference.

Then there’s the school funding, $128 billion dedicated to K-12…. This is all on top of the $350 billion investment in state and local governments, which thanks to a last-minute change, can go toward service improvement in things like water, sewage, and broadband. While being from Los Angeles and seeing up-close our pandemic-driven crisis in public budgeting makes me happiest that this money will avert those tough choices (see Janet Yellen on how we learned from the financial crisis not to offset federal stimulus with state and local austerity), there’s no doubt some of this money will pour into lasting investments and upgrades in key systems. Similarly, the $31 billion for tribal governments, the largest investment in those communities in some time, will likely include lasting infrastructure; some of it is earmarked for housing.

“Biden’s Stimulus Is the Dawn of a New Economic Era”

[Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy].

Tooze is one of the few pundits who understands neoliberalism and why it’s bad. But I am not as optimistic — we just saw the forces of violent insurrection that have been grown and nurtured by the reactionary rich, and there is not yet any sign of holding them to account. 

“[D]emocratic leadership requires not just the rule of law and the observance of constitutional propriety. It requires more than just reasonable behavior on the part of all the major parties. It also needs to be demonstrated, simply put, by enacting popular policies when they are needed. Democracy is measured by how rapidly and forcefully it responds to crisis, particularly when that crisis hits those with the least security and the least influence. The urgency of those who are most hard up must be visibly felt within the political system. There are moments when democracy consists precisely in ensuring that obfuscation and procedure do not stand in the way.” • Looking at you, Obama! More: “On this all-important metric, the Biden administration is delivering. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package to address the United States’ ongoing social crisis, forced through by means of reconciliation in the teeth of Republican opposition, is a true example of democratic leadership in action, one that Europe would be well advised to follow. Furthermore, in the economic realm, national policies spill over. Far more than in the 2009 recession, the U.S. economy’s rapid recovery that the Biden administration seems determined to unleash will boost global demand. Therefore, it will not just set an example. It will materially assist the recovery of the rest of the world in 2021.”

Federalize It, Joe Biden: The American Rescue Plan isn’t complete until welfare program administration is taken back from the states.

Alexander Sammon, March 12, 2021 [The American Prospect]

….we’ve arrived at a point where the federalist approach to health care just no longer holds up….

If the pandemic year has shown us anything, it’s that states are not up to the task of administering these benefits as quickly and efficiently as the federal government. Reassigning crucial social welfare programs like unemployment and health insurance and education to the federal government would not only improve outcomes and efficiency, it would also save a ton of money in administrative costs. Given that many of these states, especially Republican-led ones that have refused Medicaid expansion, are facing revenue and budgetary shortfalls and unforeseen costs associated with dealing with the pandemic, it would present considerable financial relief for them as well.

The proponents of the republican revival in Constitutional law argued in the 1980s that civic republicanism (to which the Yale Law Journal devoted an entire issue) requires economic equality and therefore a government role of provisioning people with what they require economically. Though the promise of the republican revival has been stymied by the success of the Law and Economy doctrine pushed by The Federalist Society, the ideas continue to be developed and promoted. See, for example, “Materializing Citizenship: Finance in a Producers’ Republic”, by Cornell Law professor Robert Hockett, who has served as an adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren. 


Inside ‘The Firm’: How The Royal Family’s $28 Billion Money Machine Really Works

[Forbes, via The Big Picture 3-12-21]

Being a member of The Firm also comes with high expectations for keeping the moneymaking machine running for generations to come. The crown holds, but cannot sell, nearly $28 billion in assets through the Crown Estate ($19.5 billion), Buckingham Palace (est. $4.9 billion), the Duchy of Cornwall ($1.3 billion), the Duchy of Lancaster ($748 million), Kensington Palace (est. $630 million) and the Crown Estate Scotland ($592 million). Forbes also estimates that Queen Elizabeth has another $500 million in personal assets.

The Heiress, the Queen, and the Trillion-Dollar Tax Shelter

[Institutional Investor, via The Big Picture 3-13-21]

Frustrated, the couple began sharing their cache of unearthed documents, which they’d scanned before turning over to police, with select members of the international press, including the German-based European Investigative Collaborations network and roughly a dozen other media outlets, including Institutional Investor. Stretching from the 1980s to around 2010, La Hougue’s files reveal the deep inner workings of the rarely glimpsed shadowland of offshore finance, where wealthy clients in the U.S., U.K., and Europe engaged in elaborate schemes to minimize their taxes through legal loopholes, avoidance measures, dummy accounts, ginned-up debt, bogus client names, and painstakingly crafted document forgeries — an apparent specialty of La Hougue’s.

The La Hougue documents expose an intricate network of dubious characters, many of them associates of Dick, including American porn king Eddie Wedelstedt, convicted of tax fraud and obscenity charges in 2006; Israeli art dealer Ronald Fuhrer, who is linked to a Sandro Botticelli masterpiece thought to be the missing 1485 Madonna and Child painting, which hasn’t been seen for the past six years; and, notably, individuals thought to be behind the offshore smuggling of more than $100 million during the U.S. savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s… Other big names appearing on La Hougue’s client list include the former head of Glencore in Russia, Igor Vishnevskiy; British millionaire property tycoon Elliott Bernerd; and Alexander Zhukov, former father-in-law of Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich. “Names on the client lists are coded,” says Dick-Stock, “and we are still learning who’s on them as we go through the process of decoding them.” ….

The five-by-nine-mile island where the documents were found is a pivotal part of the story. A fiercely private tax shelter with a population of around 100,000, Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and, in many respects, a world unto itself. The island’s roots go back to Neolithic times, with some of its families tracing their lineage for thousands of years. A so-called “peculiar possession” of the British Crown, Jersey in many ways acts like an autonomous country, with its own parliament, judiciary, and treasury that prints Jersey money bearing the visage of the queen, pegged to the British pound. Jersey has constitutional rights separate from the U.K. dating back to the year 1204, but does not answer to the U.K. It responds solely to the authority of the queen….  the island has, over the last half century, become the stomping grounds for a staggering A-to-Z list of top banks, financial institutions, and hedge funds amassing an estimated $2 trillion of the world’s wealth….

In addition, Jersey hosts a branch of Coutts Crown Dependencies, the global offshore wealth manager that is private banker to the queen. Prominently, the queen herself was exposed by the Paradise Papers, as the leaked records showed her partaking of her far-flung offshore empire as Duchy of Lancaster. The monarch’s representatives were forced to admit for the first time in 2017 that she not only was investing in offshore financial vehicles but was well aware of it.

The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

DSGE, the Standard Economic Paradigm, is Based on Bad Modeling

Servaas Storm [Institute for New Economic Thinking, via Naked Capitalism March 9, 2021]

Mainstream macroeconomics finds itself in a deeply unsatisfactory state, unable to make correct predictions and incapable of providing meaningful longer-term analyses and advice. It clearly needs a major rethink. Regrettably, the dominant response of mainstream macroeconomists so far has been to defend the accepted paradigm: some version of the New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model….

Why Cornel West’s Tenure Fight Matters

[BostonReview, 3-3-2021]

These patterns matter. So when Harvard’s administrators tell Professor West that they cannot bring him up for tenure because it’s “too risky” and he’s “too controversial,” they completely undermine the point of tenure: to preserve and protect his freedom to speak truth to power, to expose injustice anywhere, to bring to bear his enormous critical faculties and prophetic voice to say those things we need to hear in order to advance knowledge and create a more just world.

Farmers’ Protest Once Again Brought to Fore the Power of Women in Mass Mobilisations

[The Wire, via Naked Capitalism 3-9-21]

Information Age Dystopia

“How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation”

[MIT Technology Review, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-11-21]

“Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg’s relentless desire for growth. [Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, a director of AI at Facebook] AI expertise supercharged that growth. His team got pigeonholed into targeting AI bias, as I learned in my reporting, because preventing such bias helps the company avoid proposed regulation that might, if passed, hamper that growth. Facebook leadership has also repeatedly weakened or halted many initiatives meant to clean up misinformation on the platform because doing so would undermine that growth. In other words, the Responsible AI team’s work—whatever its merits on the specific problem of tackling AI bias—is essentially irrelevant to fixing the bigger problems of misinformation, extremism, and political polarization. And it’s all of us who pay the price.”

“Mark Changed The Rules”: How Facebook Went Easy On Alex Jones And Other Right-Wing Figures

[Buzzfeed, via The Big Picture 3-7-21]

Facebook’s rules to combat misinformation and hate speech are subject to the whims and political considerations of its CEO and his policy team leader.

Creating new economic potential – science and technology

“BOEM Completes Review for First Offshore Wind Farm in Federal Waters” [Maritime Executive, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-11-21] 

“The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued its long-awaited final environmental impact study (FEIS) for the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts, which will be the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in federal waters…. The study paves the way for a formal record of decision on Vineyard Wind’s EIS review, and it will almost certainly result in a permit approval matching BOEM’s preferred alternative option. As such, it represents a landmark victory for the developer and for the U.S. offshore wind industry, which has been closely watching the permitting process for this pace-setting development. ‘By any measure, this is a breakthrough for offshore wind energy in the United States. Not even two months into a new administration, years of delay have finally culminated in a thorough analysis that should soon put this infrastructure investment on its way,’ said Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP). ‘We enthusiastically applaud the Biden Administration for completing a thorough analysis and moving ahead rapidly with the final steps to approve the Vineyard Wind project.’”

Disrupting mainstream politics

Entire Staff of Nevada Democratic Party Quits After Democratic Socialist Slate Won Every Seat

Akela Lacy and Ryan Grim, March 8 2021 [Intercept, via Common Dreams]

The establishment Democrats called their slate The Progressive Unity Slate”…. And of course they emptied the Party’s treasury before departing…. and the DNC hired the outgoing executive director…. FEEL THE UNITY!  Good bye and good riddance! Reminds me of one of Satan’s lines in Milton’s Paradise Lost: Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

On March 6, a coalition of progressive candidates backed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America took over the leadership of the Nevada Democratic Party, sweeping all five party leadership positions in a contested election that evening. Whitmer, who had been chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, was elected chair. The establishment had prepared for the loss, having recently moved $450,000 out of the party’s coffers and into the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s account. The DSCC will put the money toward the 2022 reelection bid of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a vulnerable first-term Democrat.

While Whitmer’s opponents say she was planning to fire them anyway, Whitmer denies that claim. “I’ve been putting in the work,” Whitmer told The Intercept for the latest episode of Deconstructed. “What they just didn’t expect is that we got better and better at organizing and out-organizing them at every turn.”

…..The mass exodus of party staff, despite the rhetoric around unity, wasn’t a shock, Whitmer told The Intercept. “We weren’t really surprised, in that we were prepared for it,” she said. “But what hit us by surprise and was sort of shocking is that for a slate that claimed that they were all about unity, and kept this false narrative of division going on throughout the entire campaign — in fact they kept intensifying that — that’s what was surprising about it, was the willingness to just walk away, instead of working with us.”

Whitmer picked to lead Nevada Democrats in major power shift

[Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 6, 2021]

“There was a desire among leadership to encourage Tick [Whitmer’s opponent] to try to unify progressives and the rest of the party, but the state central committee is an unpredictable group,” one operative with close ties to the party told the Review-Journal Saturday. “But keep in mind, the (former Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid machine is not the central committee. It’s the operatives, volunteers, fundraising and organizing capacity, all of which can be accomplished outside of the state party organization.”


Another local Democratic operative questioned the wisdom of the entrenched establishment, given Whitmer’s clear victory. “I don’t know what’s more surprising: The winners of the vote or that the establishment was so out of touch with how things would go,” the operative said.

Norm Ornstein Offers Master Class In How Dems Can Gut Filibusters

[Crooks and Liars 3-6-2021

[Twitter, , via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-8-21]

Democrats Are Split Over How Much The Party And American Democracy Itself Are In Danger 

[FiveThirtyEight, via The Big Picture 3-7-21]

Facing a Republican Party with a growing anti-democratic contingent, Democrats are debating what to do — to bolster their party and, in the view of some in the party, American democracy itself. At the heart of the discussion is how much structural reform do the nation’s governmental and electoral systems need.

H.R. 1 for Dummies: A layman’s guide to understanding what the For the People Act is and why America needs it.

[TheBulwark, via The Big Picture 3-11-2021]

North Carolina Representative Butterfield Clings to Bipartisanship Fantasy

[Washington Post, via TheWeek 3-12-2021]

“We have to have bipartisan cooperation if we’re going to tackle these items,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). “Immigration has been lingering since I first came to Congress, and that was 16 years ago. . . . We don’t want to pass these with Democratic votes alone. And I’m not talking about one or two Republicans; I’m talking about a significant number of votes from the opposing party.”

The Dark Side

The GOP scam is getting worse — for Republican voters. A new study shows how.

[Washington Post 3-8-2021]

 Even as areas that vote Republican continue falling behind blue America economically — helping widen those oft-discussed regional inequalities between cosmopolitan and outlying areas — GOP elites everywhere are growing more committed to an increasingly uniform and regressive agenda that does little to address the problem…. The new analysis — which was shared with this blog and is also co-authored by political scientists Jacob Grumbach and Paul Pierson for a forthcoming book on American political economy — brings deep historical context to this problem.

For decades throughout the 20th century, it notes, the industrial economy — combined with large federal expenditures, particularly in the South — drove a “great economic convergence,” in which poorer states steadily caught up with better-off ones.

But more recently, the development of the knowledge economy, whose benefits are largely concentrated in cosmopolitan hubs, has reversed this trend.

Meanwhile, in many red states — mostly in the South — the model of weak unions and low wages, which made them competitive for business inside the national market, is faltering in the face of globalized production….

Instead, red state politicians have increasingly embraced a national agenda that is focused on tax cuts and aggressive deregulation and hostile to federal transfers.
Why? Because GOP policy at the federal and state levels is largely set by “national business groups and organized wealthy backers.” This undercuts “the prospects for robust intergovernmental transfers, both to spur local economic development and to finance the social programs” on which poorer, nonurban voters “increasingly rely.”

Conservative Group Promises Billionaire Bucks To Suppress Vote
Crooks and Liars 3-9-2021

Heritage Action plans a multi-million dollar investment in digital and broadcast ads and activism to suppress votes in key states.

The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts

[Vox, via The Big Picture 3-7-21]

The Trump years revealed a dark truth: The Republican Party is no longer committed to democracy. These charts tell the story. (Vox)


The Global Party Survey is a 2019 poll of nearly 2,000 experts on political parties from around the world. The survey asked respondents to rate political parties on two axes: the extent to which they are committed to basic democratic principles and their commitment to protecting rights for ethnic minorities.

This chart shows the results of the survey for all political parties in the OECD, a group of wealthy democratic states, with the two major American parties highlighted in red. The GOP is an extreme outlier compared to mainstream conservative parties in other wealthy democracies, like Canada’s CPC or Germany’s CDU. Its closest peers are almost uniformly radical right and anti-democratic parties. This includes Turkey’s AKP (a regime that is one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists), and Poland’s PiS (which has threatened dissenting judges with criminal punishment). The verdict of these experts is clear: The Republican Party is one of the most anti-democratic political parties in the developed world.


The chart here is from a study covering 1997 to 2002, when Fox News was still being rolled out across the country. The study compared members of Congress in districts where Fox News was available to members in districts where it wasn’t, specifically examining how frequently they voted along party lines.

They found that Republicans in districts with Fox grew considerably more likely to vote with the party as it got closer to election time, whereas Republicans without Fox actually grew less likely to do so. The expansion of Fox News, in short, seemingly served a disciplining function: making Republican members of Congress more afraid of the consequences of breaking with the party come election time and thus less inclined to engage in bipartisan legislative efforts.


In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules Republican legislators want big changes to the laws for elections and other aspects of governance. A fight over the ground rules for voting may follow. (New York Times, via The Big Picture 3-7-21]

Rewriting January 6th: Republicans push false and misleading accounts of Capitol riot Instead of an attempt to overturn the election by radicalized Donald Trump supporters, it was a choreographed attack staged by antifa provocateurs. Rather than an armed insurrection, it was a good-natured protest spoiled by a few troublemakers. And instead of a deadly event that put the lives of hundreds of lawmakers, police officers and others at risk, the riot was no big deal at all.  (Washington Post, via The Big Picture 3-7-21]


[Twitter, via TheWeek 3-12-2021


Open Thread


Cold War 2.0 Continues To Gather Pace Under Biden


  1. Bridget

    From the NY Times “Move Over, Nerds” article by professional liar Neil Irwin:

    That the effort was led by unelected central bankers reduced its democratic legitimacy, by appearing as if it were merely an effort by elitist institutions to protect the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else.

    So in that case the “appearance” was ugly, but the reality was actually good. Now, both appearance and reality are aligned.

    We’re good to go. I’m off to brunch.

    Incidentally, here’s Neil Irwin’s photo on his own website:,y_197,w_5384,h_3573/fill/w_1000,h_667,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/Neil-HeadShot.webp

    The smirk is permanent because his lies are permanent.

  2. bruce wilder

    The New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) modeling paradigm is comically bad. There really needs to be more interest shown in how academic macro could come to be dominated by people so stubbornly stupid as to remain committed to it. Criticisms are almost beside the point if those criticized are immune to the demands of reason.

    On another note, anyone who would refer positively to “the knowledge economy” as an explanation for economic dynamics ought to be disqualified from appearing here. Really Tony?

  3. Hugh

    More and more, it’s hard to follow Greenwald’s “logic.” Bolsonaro is a dictatorial nutcase, and Greenwald justly criticizes him. Trump was also a dictatorial nutcase. So why, in the four years of the Trump Presidency, didn’t Greenwald criticize him?

    As for John Locke, he died in 1704. He helped lay the foundations for the Enlightenment, but he was a man of his times, and those times were not modern.

    “But what a wasted half-century,” the epitaph to the age of neoliberalism.

    “Dawn of a New Economic Era” Like Tony, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    DSGE is based on bad modeling is a feature, not a bug. Modern economics is about providing fictional rationales for the looting.

    Harvard is an endowment fund masquerading as a university. It’s a place where the rich and elites go to buy credentials for their children. None of this has anything to do with education.

    Like most tech billionaires, Zuckerberg and Sandberg are soulless monsters. They are a vacuum, absolute zero, a black hole where anything moral is sucked in and never heard from again.

  4. Bridget

    Perhaps there’s more to Glenn Greenwald than the character he creates for public consumption would let on.

  5. different clue

    Glen Greenwald is starting to remind me of that sterile reflexive contrarian Christopher Hitchens.
    I will continue to regard his material as worth skimming for value which is sometimes still there. And if I see any, I circle back and reread more carefully.

  6. NR

    More and more, it’s hard to follow Greenwald’s “logic.” Bolsonaro is a dictatorial nutcase, and Greenwald justly criticizes him. Trump was also a dictatorial nutcase. So why, in the four years of the Trump Presidency, didn’t Greenwald criticize him?

    Because he knows what side his bread is buttered on. Do you think they’d invite him on Fox News if he was going to criticize their Dear Leader?

  7. Bridget

    I will continue to regard his material as worth skimming for value which is sometimes still there. And if I see any, I circle back and reread more carefully.

    Good approach. But culling like that takes enormous time and resources. That’s why people look to trusted personalities to do the work for them. The intelligence agencies and their cohorts know this, thus develop personalities – either directly or indirectly – to misdirect.

    Simply consider how much genuinely useful information someone like a Noam Chomsky has provided. But there’s a tiny bit he won’t touch – or will actively rebut, entirely discordant with his allegedly ardent principles.

    Speaking out for the free speech rights of a “holocaust denier” but not engaging in the same for people who put their careers, reputations, and lives on the line in attempting to bring truth to the events of 9/11 is not very Chomsky-like. Yet there’s Chomsky, engaging in precisely this sort of behavior.

    We all have our blind spots, but this is intentional misdirection in service of power. I suspect Glenn Greenwald operates in a similar manner. Citizens United, the Snowden files, actively fighting for “left” causes in Brazil while hammering more “libertarian” themes in the US – while living in Brazil. Who knows, maybe Glenn’s just as lost he appears to those of us with a few brain cells left. But a deep feeling inside tells me this is not the case. Cue the tin foil stuff now, if you must.

  8. Willy

    @ Greenwald

    The Dave Rubin – Candace Owens model of conservatism is to starve as low-grade progressives for a while before “seeing the light” and turning into even more ignorant conservatives who suddenly seem to have a whole lot more money to spend.

    Milo Yiannopoulos was once allowed to post a “Trannies For Trump” post on Breitbart. I once wondered how a group of obvious trannies would’ve fared amongst the Trumps insurrectionists. Maybe he did too. Now he’s trying to make a comeback as “ex-gay”.

    Fox carefully chooses its “leftist” pundits. Occasionally a smart and tough one gets through who makes a fool of the host. But they don’t ever seem to invite them back. So are regulars like Greenwald or Gabbard vying for the semi-lucrative Alan Colmes Memorial Ineffectual Liberal position? Or instead, are they trying to slip progressive idea seeds into the Fox News debate, because most of those viewers refuse other news sources? I dunno, since I don’t watch enough to have a better opinion.

  9. different clue


    I am not a speed reader. But I am a fairly fast reader. So it doesn’t take me very much time and resources to fast-read skim something. If I sense something in it worth a deeper read, then I bring the greater time and resources to bear on it.

    About Chomsky, if I were to visit Europe for some reason, and I wanted to be let into all the best left wing social circles and get invited to the best left wing parties, Chomsky is a name I would drop. And he has done some good work.

    But as a high paid Senior Full Professor ( Emeritus by now?) at M! I! T! , he is such an Inner Establishment figure as to appear risible when he strikes his anti-Establishment pose. I remember watching once on CSPAN a lecture he was invited to give to the Senior Graduating Classload of Cadets at West! Point! on the “development of the Law of War”. Can you imagine Bernie Sanders being invited to West Point?

    I think he fulfills the role of “kept Dissident housepet or mascot” for the Ruling Class. He has been referred to as a Left Wing Gatekeeper.;_ylt=A0geKeMLg05gw9AAOmlXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzQEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=chomsky+and+the+gatekeeper+left&fr=sfp

    I remember Chomsky’s opinion on the President Kennedy assassination being that Oswald diddit and who cares anyway? Kennedy was just a normal typical Patrician imperialist and so what does his life or death even matter, least of all who ended it?

    Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition has offered a corrective for this view in a paragraph contained in his blogpost . . . The Violent Bear It Away.
    Here is the particular paragraph where Jeff Wells offers his little cautionary corrective on this dismissive Chomsky brushoff on questions of ” who diddit?”.

    “There’s a reflex among some on the left to embrace the lone gunman hypothesis, because they regard the alternative as an embrace of a hollow liberal myth. Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn regard John F Kennedy as nothing but a patrician cold warrior who would have delivered more of the same had he lived. Rabin receives the same treatment, if not more, for his harsh words and measures during the Intifada and for the flawed Oslo Accords. But their killers were not appraising them from the left. From the hard right, they were both men who had risen through the system and had become traitors to it.”

  10. Astrid

    Considering that Greenwald is a private citizen and married to a leftist Brazilian politician, it makes sense for him to focus on Bolsanaro. He doesn’t have to cover everyone and everything. There’s plenty of TDS to go around, without him adding to the feeding frenzy. I take back what I said about Greenwald becoming irrelevant. If he had been covering the actions of the Brazilian right, in particular in it’s collaboration with the US government, that is an important story beat and I’m grateful that he was on it.

    Also, if you deviate even slightly from Hugh’s agenda, as I did, you’re already a KKK, a Nazi, and a pro-China troll. So I’m sure Greenwald will just have to live without Hugh’s endorsement of quality because he was never gonna be good enough.

  11. Astrid

    Willy: Considering how the msm marginalized even legendary journalists like Sy Hersh, Robert Scheer, and the late Robert Fisk, and marginalize Naomi Klein, Ralph Nader, and Gabbard until they’re basically nonpersons. It may just be that they feel this is the best way to keep their visibility and bide their time.

  12. Bridget

    I remember Chomsky’s opinion on the President Kennedy assassination being that Oswald diddit and who cares anyway? Kennedy was just a normal typical Patrician imperialist and so what does his life or death even matter, least of all who ended it?

    This is what he defaults to anytime he’s subjected to intellectually serious rebuttals of his assertions. “Oh, even if 9/11 can be proven to be an “inside job” false flag event* it doesn’t matter anyway because it does nothing to change the dynamics at play.”

    This is self-evidently one of the stupidest things any person could ever utter. Obviously, if the perpetrators could be brought to justice it would dramatically change people’s perceptions of the world, to the detriment of those in power. The same goes for the Kennedy assassination, MLK, RFK, Fred Hampton…anyone investigating events or actively speaking out and working against entrenched power who mysteriously end up dead.

    Perhaps what Chomsky means to say is you’ll never ultimately prove it because Tel Aviv and Langley and their countless minions will manufacture so many false memes and leads that you’ll be wasting all your energy on a fruitless endeavor. Of course, he doesn’t say that. He’s more comfortable making anyone who dares to look and think critically about these events out to be a crackpot. He very quickly goes from thoughtful, even-tempered intellectual to public shamer. It’s very enlightening to behold.

    *I would add, or a job carried out by Mossad with inside help.

  13. bruce wilder

    What Greenwald does write, he writes with some measure of personal integrity; it is to a large degree shaped from his own genuine convictions and judgments. Not exclusively of course, since he writes to persuade and influence, but he aims from the base of his own mind and respects his readers enough to persuade with facts and logical reasoning.

    Too many think it is OK to believe whatever you want to believe, and from there it is a short distance to thinking that others should believe what you want them to believe.

    Hugh’s complaint is that Greenwald did join the braying crowd, a crowd that was often attacking Trump for false reasons. Greenwald was unwilling to go along with the Russiagate nonsense and called out some who did. He got points from me for that.

  14. Bridget

    There is a Canadian professor and writer – whose name escapes me now – who did an excellent analysis of Chomsky and how he’s been – intentionally or not – a tremendous boon to TPTB at the expense of the masses for whom he allegedly speaks.

    Chomsky arose at a time when there was tremendous activist energy both “in the streets” and in academia. He and his ilk went about intellectualizing this energy such that it’s outlet was overly rational and not emotive, and it was removed from the proverbial front lines to the safe confines of academia – an academia that itself was being changed to accommodate and encourage this type of “protest” against the establishment.

    Soon, listening to lectures and writing letters to the editor were all one needed to do to fight the power. Needless to say, this has served power well for going on fifty years now.

  15. Bridget

    Chomsky has served as a long-term hangout for the establishment, as opposed to a limited hangout. He holds attention by articulating absolute truths about the system that help people to make sense of things that weren’t previously intelligible through their usual channels. But he only goes so far, by design.

  16. Partial Observer

    During the Trump years Glenn Greenwald was a bit of a one-trick pony with his nonstop focus on the Russiadidit conspiracy theory. (Although I agree that Russiagate was complete bullshit). By never acknowledging that Democratic TDS and baseless conspiracy mongering doesn’t automatically give their opponents the moral high ground, he implicitly gave Trump way too much credit and left himself open to a lot of easily deflectable criticism. He’s really in his element when criticizing censorship and free speech restrictions and it’s good to see him focusing on that again.

    I appreciate the work Chomsky has done calling out America’s imperial foreign policy and making basic left wing ideas accessible to laypeople outside of academia. Of course I don’t agree with every single thing he’s said, e.g. his wholesale dismissal of conspiracy theories no matter how valid they might be.

    But that’s okay. Because you know what? I don’t agree 100% with anyone, and I don’t expect them to always agree with me. I find the practice of denouncing people one doesn’t always agree with on everything extremely irritating and irrational. How will you learn anything new if you only read things by, and communicate with, people who think exactly like you do?

    This intolerance for even minor disagreement is a fairly new thing. Unfortunately lots of people have bought into this particular dysfunction. The woke mobs on Twitter fanatically calling out wrongthink and “fascists” are another manifestation of this unfortunate phenomenon.

    The psyop nature of social media and algorithms tweaked to encourage and reward belligerence plays a large role in all of this. The internet, instead of complementing analog life, has largely replaced it with a second-rate digital facsimile thereof designed by sociopathic tech dweebs primarily to make said dweebs very rich. They do this by employing psychological trickery that treats end users’ like gamblers at slot machines in order to maximize their “engagement” with addictive social media platforms that monetize their attention spans.

    Combined with the hyper commodification of the all-encompassing neoliberal market society, as opposed to a market economy, and the result is a kind of hypnotic screen-based simulacrum that is more real than reality itself.

    Humans have become overstimulated rats, conditioned to crave instant gratification, running around a maze controlled by a bunch of dweeb crony capitalists. It’s downright dystopian. No wonder social bonds are fraying and human relationships are suffering.

  17. bruce wilder

    i do not know much about Chomsky really, but I know the type: an anarchist by temperament and conviction. it is a valuable perspective, but he could not organize a softball tournament or a bake sale or anything that involves a bunch of people doing what they are told and complaining that he does not make himself a focal point for organizing or conjure a resource base for forming a coherent critique let alone a remedy is like complaining that water is wet.

  18. bruce wilder

    I do not know that I have ever seen Greenwald explain himself but I can observe that he often writes for or channels his arguments thru conservative platforms. I see it reported that he put his revelations on the Lula persecution on a slow, steady drip thru conservative outlets in Brazil (as well as the Brazil branch? of the Intercept).

    I do not know but I would allow that he may have some insights as a lawyer and a journalist about how to persuade.

  19. Bridget

    Complaints? These are observations.

    Complaining that water is wet is foolish. Observing and ascertaining how water affects life over time is invaluable.

  20. Bridget

    Glenn Greenwald’s insights as a lawyer and journalist didn’t help him to understand how merciless Citizens United would be. Or his free speech purifies didn’t allow him to understand it.

    Others did understand. Glenn ignored or outright lambasted them, as he is wont to do.

  21. different clue


    Jeff Wells did a lot of blogging at Rigorous Intuition/ Rigorous Intuition 2.0 till he got depressed and fatalistic about the trend of events and the endpoint. But he has left his blog up so people can still see it. Here is the link.

    One whole bunch of his blogpost articles come under the heading ” 9/11 “. I will try copy-pasting that bunch of titles and I am sure it will paste. But if they paste as active live links, that would be even better.

    It’s the Real Thing
    A Dot Too Far
    No Guru, No Teacher, No Method
    That Body Snatchers Moment
    Secret Agent Man
    Inside, Outside
    Area 9/11
    If I Only Had a Plane
    Flight of Capital
    That Bill Hicks Moment
    Money doesn’t talk
    Springtime for Atta
    Back to Black
    Plan 9 from Saudi Arabia
    The trouble with normal
    Don’t get used to it
    The sound of one-hand slapping
    Cynical, sophisticated and subtle
    Let me put it this way
    The guns of 9/11
    The difference it makes
    Sibel’s Way
    Oh, the Places You Go (When You Follow the Money)
    Do You Know this Woman?
    9/11 in the Courts. Sort of
    Michael Chertoff and the Sabotage of the Ptech Investigation
    Ten Things We Learned in 2004 about 9/11
    Rumsfeld Goes off Message
    “Give Me a Good Reason”
    TIA Was Ready Before 9/11
    Another “Timely Alert”
    Binge, Purge and Repeat
    Report: WTC Black Boxes Were Recovered
    Bushthink, and the Strength of Venezuelan Steel
    9/11 Truth or Consequences
    The Riddle of the Transponders
    The Flying Wedge
    Remembering September 10
    Dick Cheney, Terrorism Czar
    “Where Drugs, Arms and Oil Intersect”
    The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

  22. Ché Pasa

    Chomsky and Greenwald became blood brothers when the Great Perfesser made pilgrimage down to Rio and the two sat around gabbing at Ipanema for hours and hours, bonding as it were, in perfect harmony. Chomsky declared Greenwald a mensch and that was that. Whether this was before or after Greenwald was showered with Major Awards and bags of money, I don’t recall, probably because it doesn’t really matter. The point was the World Renown Dissident’s endorsement, and once it was obtained, the luster of the Chomsky Greatness shown on Greenwald, only, sadly, to largely evaporate over the recent past.

    His dissidence is strangely narrow. But then, so is Chomsky’s when you get down to it. Those who have pointed out his service to the Overclass in academia and beyond as opposed to his dissidence from the Standard Narrative (whatever it may be) recognize the performance is often greater than the underlying reality. The performance is a needful thing. What goes on beneath and behind not so much.

    I’ve been digging deeper into Jerry Rubin lately, a more profoundly influential revolutionary of the period of student and academic revolt in the post- Assassination era, but one who’s been essentially forgotten. I didn’t know him well — honestly, I didn’t know him at all, only the Performances he put on and a few moments of quiet chat about what to do in the face of the Implacable — but he certainly influenced my view of doing right and good. And he, though long dead, still does.

    On the other hand, there is no “doing” coming from either Greenwald or Chomsky. They are commentators, not activists.

  23. Bridget

    Considering that Greenwald is a private citizen and married to a leftist Brazilian politician, it makes sense for him to focus on Bolsanaro. He doesn’t have to cover everyone and everything.

    This is laugh-out-loud hysterical. Glenn eagerly covers things beyond his slice of Brazilian paradise. He’s constantly opining on United States issues.

    There is a very wide swath between becoming a mindless TDS spewer and offering legitimate criticisms of whatever government is in power.

    Sure, Glenn doesn’t have to cover everything. That he suddenly went silent on things he spent a lifetime condemning in others – and continues to condemn in Bolsonaro – is an interesting data point.

  24. bruce wilder

    “Democrats Are Split Over How Much The Party And American Democracy Itself Are In Danger” at 538

    The faction of Democrats most hysterical are, of course, the faction most responsible for creating this situation and least interested in electoral integrity or participation of voters in power. We are so screwed.

  25. Hugh

    People change. Greenwald made his rep off of shredding idiots like Bush. Yet by the time Trump, who was corrupt and even stupider than Bush, came along, all we got was silence from him on it. Greenwald was never a progressive, but for a while he did make common cause with us. That was years ago though. Now when I come across him, it is just to check in on his zigzag to the right.

  26. Astrid

    Hmmm, this certainly puts Greenwald less good light.

  27. Bridget


    Thank you for the links. Frankly, I no longer expend energy attempting to figure out 9/11. I was involved with Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth for some time until it became evident that that was going nowhere.

    Any attempt to follow logic in this case is quickly thwarted. Naming names and linking associations leads one to Israel and its partisans every bit as much as to the United States’ own deep state. It’s impossible at this point to determine where one begins and one ends. Israel and its partisans have infiltrated this country to their own benefit and to the detriment of the vast majority of United States citizens.

    The wars in Iraq and the Middle East since 9/11 – all planned years before 9/11 – have all benefited Israel as a nation-state in addition to making many of its partisans fabulously wealthy or more wealthy than they already were. In the United States, only the latter is true. The nation-state itself and the vast majority of its inhabitants have suffered immensely.

    Immediately after the publication of The Israel Lobby* by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, Noam Chomsky penned another of his innumerable pieces of writing, many of which are archived at It’s a hit piece on the book in which Chomsky – with the proverbial straight face – tries to convince people that there’s no such thing as the Israel Lobby. He basically says that what the United States does in the Middle East would happen exactly as it does regardless of whether there was a lobby for Israel or not, because that’s what the Pentagon wants.

    The Israel Lobby is humongous, organizationally and financially. It’s one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, Too bad all the people involved didn’t consult Chomsky. They could have retired early instead of expending all their time, money, and resources towards ends that were in the Pentagon’s plans all along.

    *The Israel Lobby was originally an article that was written for a US publication. The article wasn’t able to be published here due to Israel lobby and partisan pressure. It had to be published in the UK. The book that followed was actually tame in its treatment of Israel, its lobby, its history, and its power. The authors bent over backwards to treat the organized Jewish community with respect and with kid gloves. To no avail. They were lambasted by most of said community.

  28. bruce wilder

    @ Astrid

    I would certainly like an explanation of strategy and tactics from Greenwald, but on its face, I would have to concede that Greenwald’s approach seems to have worked politically.

    Walter Delgatti may simply be wrong to think a large data dump would work politically.

    It is a contested space where many powerful and ruthless forces are against you and the interest of others in anything like integrity is doubtful. FAIR had a good article on NY Times coverage from “Car Wash” forward and it really makes one wonder what market there is for truth. Greenwald seems to have navigated the path, and it was a path few others were eager to try.

  29. bruce wilder

    of course, “there is no “doing” coming from . . . Greenwald” so I must be wrong.

  30. finbar

    There are constitutional lawyers who are not household names who have done and continue to do more in the public interest than Glenn Greenwald has ever done or ever will do. Glenn’s always been about the celebrity aspect more than the nuts and bolts. His star has risen in parallel with the opportunities that evolving technology has afforded him. Others forego the limelight for the inglorious but much more valuable work in front of them.

  31. different clue


    Energy degrades and going nowhere gets old. He has other sets of articles on other cluster-subjects. For example, a set of articles on Katrina/NOLA and different aspects of that. If any of those articles seem mindcatching and interesting, one can always circle back to random selections among the 9/11 articles . . . . or not.

  32. Bridget

    going nowhere gets old.

    Not partaking in some links you provided is “going nowhere?” I’m trying to think of a word for “arrogant.”

    Best wishes. Let me know when you figure it all out.

  33. Bridget


    If I misunderstood you, my apologies.

  34. bruce wilder

    To finbar and other commenters dismissing GG:

    do you really, truly not get that he did something great here with regard to lava gato?

  35. Joseph E. Kelleam

    Read for the real story on Israel. It’s not what liars like Bridget pretend.

  36. different clue


    Yes, you reverse-understood my comment in the most ack-basswards way. But thank you for belatedly realizing the possibility and offering a provisional if/then apology.

  37. Willy

    Somebody once told me that you really need to get to know somebody before you abuse and degrade them. I had a few brief conversations with GG back in his early days on his UT blog, when he did his constitutional law civil rights thing and seemed pretty sharp. So this is beyond me:

    “I would describe a lot of people on the right as being socialist. I would consider Steve Bannon to be socialist. I would consider the 2016 iteration of Donald Trump the candidate to be a socialist, based on what he was saying. I would consider Tucker Carlson to be a socialist.” – Glenn Greenwald

    Maybe somebody else can handle that one, since I don’t think I know Glenn very well.

  38. Astrid

    I’m not criticizing Greenwald for not doing more on things that are not”his” story. Hugh and the current idpol “left” circular firing squad’s insistence on ever more exacting obligance to their bizarre, ever changing standards for relevancy and goodness, is dispicable and exceeds the worst of 1950s red scare.

    Stalin’s show trials and Mao’s Cultural Revolution comes to mind. Nowadays, you can’t even renounce what you were accused of by the idpol left, people have their entire careers invalidated by a carelessly used word, while Biden is given a free pass over a lifetime of utter corruption and destroyed lives (and so many racist and evil utterances that they’re clearly the core of his being). TDS/Team Blue no matter what of the last 5 years has turned me against many people whom I used to admire.

    I agree that Greenwald is effective in that he got the story out, whereas similar revelations have sunk without a trace. Perhaps he’s navigating what’s allowable under the current regime the best way he can, and anymore would sink him and the whole story. Still, in never disclosing and making available so much of what he received, I do wonder what is hidden. 11th dimensional chess is a bad thing when Team D does it, when Bernie and AOC does it, and when Greenwald does it. It would be better if all the information in the Snowden and lava gato troves were made available to the public.

  39. Bridget

    Joseph Kelleam’s linked site is pure hasbara. And it’s not even very good hasbara.

    If you want to know about Israel, read the early Zionist and non-Zionist writings. Read Elmer Berger. Read What Price Israel. Read the If Americans Knew website. Check out Grant Smith and IRMEP, particularly all the work done there under the Israeli Lobby Archive. Visit the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Read The Transfer Agreement. Read The Transparent Cabal by Stephen Sniegoski. That’ll get you started.

    It’s evident immediately that these are all serious researchers wanting to bring light to the situation. It’s serious analysis. Do you get that sense when you visit the “Rigorous Intuition” website that dc linked to? If you do, we have nothing in common, and I can only say have fun in your rabbit hole.

  40. Bridget


    You’re welcome. Have fun in your rabbit hole.

  41. bruce wilder

    I cannot construct from my own knowledge or expertise a sure brief for the way Greenwald went about turning the vast quantity of disclosures he received from Walter Delgatti into over 100 articles distributed thru conservative mainstream outlets in Brazil. But, I know no one is going to swim thru terabytes of data. And lava jato itself is a truly vast undertaking spanning many years and a huge cast of characters, one that many low-information Brazilians “believed in” sincerely. Finding a true story in there will not be easy — historians will be writing this history for decades.

    What is hidden? Most of us cannot process what is easily observable.

  42. finbar


    Do you know how many people worked on Car Wash? Do you know how many names you’ve never heard of who did yeoman’s work on this? Sure, Greenwald gets some credit. Happy now? Probably not.

    It’s amazing how many grown adults (I assume) spend inordinate amounts of time defending celebrity journalists – who don’t need any defense anyway. But I’m sure Glenn’s happy you’re keeping his all-important image intact.

  43. finbar

    What is hidden? Most of us cannot process what is easily observable.

    Interesting. Probably better to stick to “I” statements Bruce. Not everyone wants your lack of processing skills projected on them in the form of “us” and “we” statements.

  44. Bridget

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] has launched a drive to take over student government at the University of California at Berkeley, the organization’s Leadership Development Director announced at last week’s annual conference in Washington.

    Here’s the money quote from Jonathan Kessler, made to student leaders drawn from 370 campuses, including representatives from all 50 states:

    “How are we going to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley? We’re going to make certain that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. That is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.

    AIPAC is only one tentacle of the lobby, albeit a very large tentacle.

  45. Bridget

    Flashback: AIPAC claims victory in Supreme Court ruling (1998)

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee claimed victory in a 9-year-old legal standoff with critics of U.S. policy toward Israel. The Supreme Court ruling made it highly unlikely that the pro-Israel lobby would have to disclose information about its membership and expenditures… An attorney for AIPAC said the high court “did exactly what we asked.”

    Despite being close to Israel, neither Ruth Bader Ginsburg nor Stephen Breyer, who wrote the opinion, recused themselves from the case.

    It takes a hell of a lot of chutzpah to argue with a straight face that AIPAC and affiliated organizations aren’t political. Those endowed with even semi-decent faculties of observation and processing recognize rather quickly that these orgs work in concert with one another in the interest of Israel. At the expense of the United States.

    The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations doesn’t exist to promote Jewish cuisines, or even Jewish culture per se. It’s about Israel.

  46. Astrid

    My understanding is what Greenwald did not publish, he did not make available for anyone else to view and publish. What he published was undoubtedly important, but what he didn’t publish and didn’t share should worry anyone else who might turn information over to him in the future.

    But no matter what, Greenwald and his celebrity is very likely the reason why the story had footing. Without him, the hard work of the other journalists working this beat may well have disappeared like so many other stories about US supported evil. Look at how much really important work Grey Zone puts out but as far as msm and the American public is concerned, they don’t exist.

  47. Joseph E. Kelleam

    Seek help, Bridget.

    To anybody else: Check out my link. It has documented facts.

  48. nihil obstet

    “The Lobby – USA”, a series on AIPAC in the U.S. is up on YouTube, for those interested.

  49. Ché Pasa

    That Greenwald still inspires so much near-worship as well as animosity must please him greatly.

    At least in my experience, what he craves more than anything in the whole wide world is attention and as long as he gets it, he’s a happy man. Doesn’t matter whether he’s loved or hated. When it looks like he may be losing public attention, he’s not happy at all.

    I hope Bruce and others will really think about what he (Bruce) said regarding the Car Wash investigation and Greenwald’s exposure of some of its sketchier elements. To quote:

    …Greenwald went about turning the vast quantity of disclosures he received from Walter Delgatti into over 100 articles distributed thru conservative mainstream outlets in Brazil…

    To do that requires conservative cred and service to conservative political and other objectives. Without that, it won’t happen.

    So… what’s really going on?

  50. Hugh

    The France24 interview with Greenwald dates back to June 2020. It is interesting in that only about 10% of it is about Trump, and Greenwald’s criticism such as it is is not about something Trump did but what he might do. On the other hand, Greenwald spends as much or more time criticizing the Democrats on what they did, not hypothetically might do. And that’s the point. Trump was this yuuge example of hypocrisy and criminality, and yet Greenwald’s references to Trump are rare, tangential, and tepid.

  51. Plague Species

    Greenwald and Kunstler have a lot in common above and beyond heritage. They both enjoy milking nazis and are quite adroit at it and have thus been richly rewarded.

    David Duke, or Richard Spencer if you prefer a younger iteration, may pretend to hate Jews, but he sure does love Israel. If you love Trump, you necessarily love Israel.

  52. Plague Species

    Trump was this yuuge example of hypocrisy and criminality, and yet Greenwald’s references to Trump are rare, tangential, and tepid.

    Not only that, Hugh, he always caveats any rare criticism of Trump by claiming it’s nothing the NeoLiberal Dems haven’t done themselves. Great logic, Glenn. It rationalizes what Israel does to the Palestinians by corralling them into effective ghettoes. Their excuse is that it’s nothing the Nazis haven’t done.

  53. Feral Finster

    One article, just happened to be the first to be found. June 2020. Almost a year ago.

    Hugh: “What have you done for me LATELY, Glenn?”

  54. Astrid

    I have to get this off my chest – why in Hades are you people not clearly and unambiguously condemning the ultimate evil scourge that is the groundhog? How can I possibly take anything any of you say seriously, when you can’t phrase your comment as a condensation of those furry Satan’s Marmots? Note how Greenwald never said anything about how this digger of unsanctioned holes and muncher of choice produce is obviously in sympathy with Bolsanaro and also Putin. Does Putin have secret buckteeth that he secretly missed? You can’t prove otherwise!

  55. Hugh

    No, Feral, it’s more like, Glenn, what have you done since you decided to get bought out by a billionaire and sit on the Snowden files seven years ago?

  56. Willy

    @Astrid: TDS/Team Blue no matter what of the last 5 years has turned me against many people whom I used to admire.

    So what other team? Long ago I got the ‘protest vote for demagogue might get Team Blue woke’ thing. But I disagreed. Long ago I got that no vote for Pedro will ever make my wildest dreams come true. But I do believe in a functional capitalism and a functional liberal democracy where two (or preferably more) opposing sides can be led to stay focused on best fit solutions for major problems. Besides nihilism, do you see any other way to break apart the elite shitjam.

  57. Astrid

    Willy: decades of blue no matter what support has led to a Democratic party that is hell bent on waging unjust wars, is not agreement capable, has no interest in the welfare of people it’s supposed to represent, and is quite possibly even more active than republicans in furtherance of enriching the 0.000001 percent than Republicans. They made sure that a fictional liberal democracy and functional capitalism, whatever the hell they are, are not functioning.

    At this point, I will support anyone who bravely speak out against Big Groundhog. Otherwise, you’re definitely just a groundhog loving terrorist commie Nazi bastard troll.

  58. Astrid

    (Seriously. You can oppose a politician or party without making up shit or try to stir up WWIII. My problem with TDS people is that they are as uninterested in reality as Qanon idiots and even more belligerent and self satisfied. They have no sense of justice or understanding. They just hated Trump because Trump was uncouth and says the quiet parts out loud. For this they are willing to play nuclear chicken with Putin and handover whatever liberties we have left to the security state. )

  59. Willy

    You lost me with Groundhog. And with the “terrorist commie Nazi bastard troll” bit after that fine speech you gave S Brennan about over-the-top namecalling.

  60. Willy

    Okay… I hated Trump because he reminded me of the horrible supervisors I experienced, the kind who were gifted at telling the troops whatever it was they wanted to hear, but actually delivering nothing but chaos.

    Somewhere between Tony Schwarz and “Low energy Jeb” I figured out that Trump was the temperament nobody wants in any sort of power.

  61. js

    Why not just hate Trump for his bad environmental policies, his bad labor policies, his bad appointments and so on. But it is true that beyond policy his very being seems to bring out the worst in people, I mean hard to run on overt racism and stirring up chaos and not.

    But what about Dems? Dems are usually better on many of these issues- labor policy environmental policy, but not great, and most of them not better ENOUGH, to make anyone remotely progressive happy. There you go. That’s what consistent progressives have been saying the whole time.

  62. Willy

    js, I already spoke of the rightward moving Overton Window several times. It’s being pulled in that direction by powerful corporate forces with plenty of cash to spend on the effort.

    But nobody seems to care or care to understand. The Overton Window represents policies which common citizens deem acceptable. The Overton Window jibes perfectly with any sort of “human cultural norm window”. Had Joe Biden worn tie-dyed shirts and a big fro during his 2020 campaign, he probably would’ve gotten less of the youth votes than he would’ve if he’d done so running against Nixon, don’t ya think.

    I hated Trump because the guy who claimed to have ‘discovered’ and encouraged him, Steve Bannon, was later caught skimming donation cash for his We Build The Wall grift. “Sloppy Steve” got pardoned by Trump after a strong case for fraud. Dana Loesch, spokesperson for a now bankrupt NRA (which had its own troubles with corruption), had called her boss Bannon “one of the worst people on Gods green earth”.

    I put Dana Loesch into the same category as Joe Biden, obvious political differences aside. Those two seem like more typical people just trying to do their jobs. Misguided, foolish and gullible, sure. Maybe even greedy, lazy and senile. But they weren’t pathological liars on a relentless quest for power, caring little about actually doing any sort of job, let alone a good one with “best fit” solutions for the whole.

  63. Astrid


    Biden is a lot worse than just misguided, foolish, gullible, greedy, lazy and senile. He has a track record of lying (about his first wife’s accident to garner sympathy, plagiarism at school, and certainly around the Ukraine dealings). His promoted needlessly cruel policies to appear tough on crime and to please hid corporate masters. His legacy to date is quite likely to have destroyed more lives than Trump’s 4 years in office. He may also be the greater sexual harasser of the two. But he doesn’t look or sound like it, right?

    You are thinking of these men through the lens of a boss. I don’t think that’s the right way to select a president, especially when you’re confronted with 2 evils, one more chaotic than the other. But from that perspective, the Donald is the easier evil to be alert to and avoid(I would be furiously job searching on day 1 and hope I can avoid mentioning that job on my resume), while Biden might look like a tolerable guy until he gropes you and/or outsource your job without warning to goose his bonuses, right before Christmas.

  64. Willy

    I think of these men through the lens of a regular guy who actually tries to do a good and ethical job, who’d rather work for the best possible most ethical boss.

    You seriously want to compare Biden with Trump, case by case? You’ll need proof. If you can prove that Biden is less ethical or “compassionate” than Trump is, then we’re all seriously screwed. That would mean that Biden is brilliantly, covertly, wicked-cackling-evil devious, instead of just comically so as is Trump.

    I can usually spot a temperament within minutes, because I had no choice but to learn how. I’d rather be sitting in a cubicle getting token awards and token raises and spending my weekends doing home and yard improvements letting others sweat the large stuff. But these days, I find myself in the position where I always need credible proof.

  65. Astrid

    Having said all this, I am pleasantly surprised by the content of Biden’ s stimulus bill. Even if it’s just temporary shot of money, it’s much needed money mostly going to states and individuals in dire need. It’s better than my very dim expectations for Joemala. If they could not start WWIII or not put out TPP versions II and III, I might be able to make peace with how thin be turned out.

  66. Astrid

    Trump had 4 years and an establishment that was largely against him. Most of what he”accomplished” was a Republican wish list funneled through Pence. Biden’ had 40+ years to do his damage. Off the top of my head, I think his 1994 crime bill and 2005 bankruptcy bill alone has ruined the lives of millions of Americans. Other than COVID19, I don’t think Trump can claim that much of a body count. And while Trump’s COVID handling was certainly horrible, the outcome isn’t *that* much worse than Europe, and his actions were by and large guided by Dem approved Fauci. This isn’t to excuse Trump or any of the western governments, they were all terrible except for NZ (Aussie state governments appear pretty good, but I’m not going to give any credit to Morrison). The problem there is no liberalism and that’s a bipartisan disease.

  67. Willy

    In my better world, nobody dies or gets disappeared or canceled by their political opposition. They’re given equal time to debate over solutions to national problems with the inevitable parsing by credible watchdogs.

    I know more than a few Republicans. One of the GOPs branding schemes was to present itself as the Liberty-Jesus party for the always-self-reliant, sometimes-ruthless, whitish manly man.
    I’ve known a few MAGAs who were also huge fans of Pinochet. Trump was a bit General Pinochet (but without the General dictator part). I don’t know the specifics of Chile’s transition from their previous administration, but I do know that Allende wound up dead and many leftists disappeared.

    Here’s a little Wikipedia blurb about Pinochet:
    Under the influence of the free market-oriented “Chicago Boys,” Pinochet’s military government implemented economic liberalization, including currency stabilization, removed tariff protections for local industry, banned trade unions, and privatized social security and hundreds of state-owned enterprises. Some of the government properties were sold below market price to politically connected buyers, including Pinochet’s own son-in-law.[22] The regime used censorship of entertainment as a way to reward supporters of the regime and punish opponents.[23] These policies produced high economic growth, but critics state that economic inequality dramatically increased and attribute the devastating effects of the 1982 monetary crisis on the Chilean economy to these policies.[24][25] For most of the 1990s, Chile was the best-performing economy in Latin America, though the legacy of Pinochet’s reforms continues to be in dispute.[26] His fortune grew considerably during his years in power through dozens of bank accounts secretly held abroad and a fortune in real estate. He was later prosecuted for embezzlement, tax fraud, and for possible commissions levied on arms deals.

    It seems to me that Pinochet’s advisors knew how to grow their economy, albeit mostly for their own and the General’s personal gain. He preferred to cancel people, literally, instead of giving them equal time to debate over solutions to national problems.

    How did the regular guy fare under Allende vs. Pinochet? Obviously, the USA is different from Chile in the late 90’s. We’ve got China, undocumenteds, and climate change to deal with, a far more massive deep state military industrial complex swamp to deal with, complete with skyrocketing medical, education, and housing costs. So I’d think all that might have to be factored in as well.

    There’s a lot to unpack there. But this also involves Biden and his influence by the “Chicago Boys”. Back in Biden’s neoliberal years they were all the rage. “Lookit Chile!” they could say. And if you were as lazy as Biden seemed back then as a DNC establishmentarian, then maybe you’d just grudgingly agree with all their complex charts and graphs and just go with it. But the failures of long-term neoliberalism are now obvious. And Biden listens to Bernie. The best Trump could do was call him “Crazy Bernie”. There’s a difference there.

  68. S Brennan

    I agree with Bridget’s take on Chomsky…if anything, as hostile as it is, it is far too kind.

    And while it will pain him, or perhaps, because it will pain him, I agree with Astrid’s take on Greenwald; in that, it’s ridiculous to demand that every article written needs to include a vitriolic denunciation of Trump. Yes, that certainly was the most popular literary style of our times, but not everyone has to be a faithful follower of fashion.

    “There’s plenty of TDS to go around, without [Greenwald] adding to the feeding frenzy….deviate even slightly from Hugh’s agenda, you’re already a KKK, a Nazi, and a pro-China troll. So…Greenwald will just have to live without Hugh’s endorsement” – Astrid

    But, in fairness to Hugh, we kinda need a guy like him [and his ever-ready sock-puppets] to fill the comment section with his special brand of mean-spirited banality; however involuntary his efforts may be, he is a confidence builder for us all.

  69. bruce wilder

    finbar: Do you know how many people worked on Car Wash? Do you know how many names you’ve never heard of who did yeoman’s work on this?

    I actually do have a very rough idea. And, still the overall impression was of an idealistic crusade, one the baldly corrupt Bolsonaro rode to power.

    Without the smoking guns supplied by Walter Delgatti, the story is not going to break thru and Delgatti did shop the material around a bit and got no takers. No takers on the biggest judicial scandal in Brazil in a century! No takers! So it does not matter how many yeoman were laboring away, if none of them could handle the hot potato when it came out of the oven.

    FAIR had an instructive piece on NY Times coverage during that long period of yeoman labor and they did a broader look at how they looked at Moro recently. Go read them and think about the implications for the forlorn state of journalism.

    Che Pasa: To do that requires conservative cred and service to conservative political and other objectives. Without that, it won’t happen.

    So… what’s really going on?

    It is called persuasion. Several commenters think treating people with differing views or possibly authoritarian attitudes (which are quite common among the lower orders for understandable reasons) as if they are untouchable carriers of a communicable disease. Greenwald, as a constitutional lawyer, had to argue in front of judges with quite different partisan and ideological biases and still persuade them — not to abandon their prior committments to become latter-day Marxists — but to align their judgement in a particular case with the principle Greenwald wished to see vindicated.

    It is possible to persuade conservatives that they support and desire judicial integrity. But, it may be a long, hard slog, against authoritarian prejudice. So, yes, the slow, steady, relentless drip of a hundred articles over a year.

    As for the disclosure of more of the raw data: My understanding is that the Supreme Court has released more data than Greenwald ever possessed. We will see how many of those nameless, faceless yeoman step forward to process and contextualize any of it. Don’t hold your breath waiting,I say.

  70. Ché Pasa

    Bruce, I think you’re missing the point. That the stories were published at all in the oligarch dominated Brazilian press is by definition the sign that those stories (and Glenn) served the interests of those oligarchs, not the Brazilian People — except, perhaps, by accident.

    Note, please, that Lula has not been exonerated and he can still be tried again. Dilma is still impeached and cannot return to office. And so on. Moro et al may or may not have had good intentions, but the whole thing spun out of control, and this was known long ago. In the meantime, the corruption of the political class in Brazil is no less now than ever.

    Glenn “persuaded”? No, I don’t think so. He was useful. And he was used. Defenestrating Lula and overthrowing Dilma, among other things, proved to be significant errors in judgement by the Brazilian PTB, something Glenn should be credited for bringing attention to in this country and elsewhere. Bolsonaro, the political outcome, is fucking things up badly, very badly, and even the most regressive of the oligarchs are seeing it, living it. They’re in a bind. Brazil is in danger of catastrophic collapse. Staving it off is in the interests of the oligarchy and Glenn.

    To be blunt, Greenwald has no such interest with regard to the United States. But then, he hasn’t lived here for many years, and I doubt he has any interest in coming back.

  71. Astrid

    Thanks for that Bruce. We will see about how the lava gato story evolves, perhaps Greenwald is treading the line the best he can. In any case he has done a lot more good and stuck his neck out a lot further than any of us. I do think sitting on a trove is sketchy behaviour, especially given what happened to the Snowden files, but at least the story is out. Now maybe we can see if there’s an even bigger story that Greenwald didn’t publish.

    Most comparisons of US to Brazil forgets that Brazil has better weather, hotter women, and is capable of electing a legitimate left wing government. Meanwhile the left in the US are busy killing each other off in the idpol circular firing squad or are busy defending indisputably evil right wingers for not being Trump.

    Pinochet was a brutal dictator and the US was certainly complicit in the coup against Allende and had the blood of tens of thousands of Chileans on its hands. A favored method was to throw live dissidents out of planes in open water – a fate I sometime curse upon war criminals like Bush, Cheney, Obama, Bolton, Nuland, and the Clintons. I am not going to excuse Biden for his past crimes, and they are crimes. Even if he was really a genial dim witted man, as a public official who pushed for those laws, he is absolutely responsible for his evil actions. But there’s plenty of stories to indicate that Biden is also racist, serial fabulist, utterly corrupt, heartless, and amoral.

    Pinochet’s economic experiment with the Chicago boys were not a success. I believe he went back to more orthodox management by must to late 80s. Certainly the Chilean economy appears to outperform Argentina and Brasil but I wonder how much of that is the doings of the IMF/US against left-wing governments. As the Fair articles state, lava gato intentionally crippled the Brazilian economy by targeting some of its biggest job creators. Why the hell is the SEC and DoJ doing anything in the Brazilian economy? Why the Hell does US courts get to decide whether Argentina can renounce its deny or not? The more I think about it, this country really can’t die off quickly enough, as far as it’s neighbors are concerned.

  72. Astrid


    Moro’s methods were indebutably inappropriate and he was running a kangaroo court, why give him the benefit of possible good intentions? Does anyone here actually doubt the badness of Bolsanaro’s regime? Once again we see the US, under the auspices of fighting corruption and badness, tipping the balance to reactionaries and depriving locals of their agency. We see it perfectly capable of interfering with rightly elected governments it does not like, while throwing up it’s hands when a government it supports does very bad things.

    You say that the elites allowed Greenwald to speak. Greenwald’s stories started coming out in 2018, well before the full scope of Bolsanaro’s awfulness came to fore. Considering that Lava Jato bankrupted some of Brazil’s biggest firms, it’s not surprising that some amongst the elite would be interested in getting the story out. Collaboration with one portion of the elite is not evidence of corruption or compromise by itself, especially if it is on something that is beneficial to the Brazilian left. Can’t this just be marked up as one for the good guys, without getting into purity tests for everyone involved?

  73. Ché Pasa

    I look at the results, and it’s not apparent to me that the good guys have won in Brazil. Bolsonaro and his corrupt family still rule, though their wings may have been clipped just a bit. Lula is still subject to trial and could be convicted for… something. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. If he were to step out of line, he’d be back where he was in a heartbeat. Dilma is still impeached and out of office and will likely be unable to run for or win office again.

    The favelas are still scenes of official murder. The coronavirus is raging out of control and the dead are piling up so fast there isn’t enough space in the cemeteries or enough people to bury them all. The Brazilian economy is shuddering and to the extent it is operating, it is not on behalf of the People. Very little is operating in Brazil on behalf of the common people. It’s an ever more downward spiral, and there’s no sign of good guys winning, but plenty of signs of the oligarchs and the overclass trying to save themselves from whatever horror comes next.

    If I were more cynical than I am, I would interpret Bruce’s claim that Greenwald “persuaded” the media oligarchs to run his stories about the real deal with the Car Wash investigation and prosecutions through blackmail, and he has personally profited handsomely from things he has not said… yet. But I’m not that cynical.

    In some ways, Brazil is a metaphor for the United States and its own plunge into political madness and public despair. What happens there may be clues to what is or will be going on here, though it’s by no means a perfect mirror.

  74. Plague Species

    They’re still campaigning for McDonald Trump. It’s so utterly transparent at this point, it’s pathetic.

    You know they’re provocateurs when they refer to Biden and Hillary Clinton as the “left.” It;s mainstream conservative and centrist Dems who have embraced idpol, not the “left” because there is no “left.” They’re not worth the time. They’re simply not genuine in their intent or their tactics.

    It’s not going to work this time around so just drop it. Hopefully McDonald goes to jail, although I won’t hold my breath.

    Meanwhile, one of the purposes of QAnon, in the least, is to obscure and cover up the fact that REAL pedophile rings comprised of VIPs actually do exist and have for quite some time and law enforcement and the so-called “deep state” protect them.

  75. Feral Finster

    “No, Feral, it’s more like, Glenn, what have you done since you decided to get bought out by a billionaire and sit on the Snowden files seven years ago?”

    Now you are trying to change the subject. Forgetting that, and even taking everything you wrote as given, Glenn Greenwald still did more journalism, in the sense that he brought to light things that the powerful would prefer to keep hidden, than many an armchair quarterback, Hugh.

  76. Plague Species

    Glenn Greenwald is a regular Walter Duranty. Living a charmed life in the lap of decadent luxury. You would think people would have learned from the Duranty example, but people never learn. Rationalizing is a form of art.

    If a so-called “journalist” is living well, why, he or she is no “journalist” at all. He or she is a whore.

    Duranty comes in for a beating — justifiably portrayed as a hack and an apparatchik for a loathsome regime; shown living in a literal den of iniquity, hosting drug-addled orgies to gather blackmail material for his friend Stalin — and for good reason: It’s high time this tool of genocide got his comeuppance onscreen.

    Dante famously suggested that the lowest circle of hell was made not of fire but ice, a bone-chilling cold that made miserable the most execrable of villains. And who were the worst of the worst? Those whose sin was treachery. Those who betrayed their friends and their principles for lucre and safety and comfort. If there is any justice in the next world, Duranty — a traitor to his profession for his willingness to trade in lies; a traitor to humanity for his willingness to sacrifice millions in the quest for a worker’s paradise — is there now, wandering through the icy wastelands of Ukraine, starving children following him with their haunting refrain: “Hunger and cold / Are in our house / Nothing to eat / Nowhere to sleep.”

    And yes, don’t think the irony of the Washington Post opining about this isn’t lost on me. Nonetheless, it’s true, even if the Washington Post can’t see its own reflection in the black mirror.

  77. Hugh

    As I was saying, there is no consistency in how Greenwald is evaluated. Perhaps that is because, other than the personality, there isn’t much consistency in his work. He is lionized for Car Wash because the files are so large, but the Snowden files were also large and after having written some articles, he sat on them, keeping them from the public, for years. He established himself beating up on the lies, incompetence, criminality, and hypocrisy of the Bush Administration and then gave the Trump Administration a pass on theirs. The Intercept has years of Glenn’s work. I continue to invite people to go through the list to see what he was writing on, what he considered important. And of course, he is the rebel who sold out to a billionaire.

    It says a lot that our political discourse on both the left and right can’t look at a whole person or issue. It has no interest in doing so. Instead we get these black and white caricatures where “facts” are selectively chosen or just made up to back some preconceived conclusion. You can’t understand anything or fix a problem with this kind of approach. But you can and do justify anything with it. And that’s the point, isn’t it? As for this criticism? No problem. Just say, “You too! Times twenty!” No need to think, or study, or question. Just return to your comfortable prejudices and business as usual.

  78. Astrid


    Perhaps your right and it doesn’t make much difference. But it’s an opening and also lifts the veil a little on the underlying corruption to the average Brazilian and USian. It’s something I might be able to point to humanitarian interventionists amongst my friend and remind them that their sainted Obama did this in 2015/6. Just maybe, I can peel a few of them away.

    I find Latin America’s left wing politics inspiring. Constantly conspired against, threatened, jailed, killed, but they persist and can even win a few victories. Is it possible that once the US exits the scene and the Chinese are relatively laissez faire, that they might be able to build genuinely better lives for their people? Maybe not, maybe all are doomed anyways, but it’s still a little note hopeful than the USian scene right now.

  79. Astrid


    I absolutely agree with your whole person approach. But how can I trust you, when not once have you ever mentioned the groundhog menace and never spoken out in support oppressed Eastern North American gardeners? Anyone who does not speak truth to power about on this matter it’s obviously controlled in some way by Big Groundhog.

  80. Astrid

    I should say that I don’t expect the Chinese to be laissez faire or act in good faith to other countries, just that for now, they seem more agreement capable and less prone to assassinate and start coups against foreign leaders for kicks, than their USian counterparts. Could certainly change in another 10 years.

  81. Willy

    Even when things weren’t so tribal, something reporters had to manage was accessibility. Piss off this group of people, or make that group afraid of you, then getting the story becomes that much harder. Enemies of a certain evil might tell the truth, if that certain evil hasn’t gotten to them first. If you don’t think power works that way then consider the wildly vacillating behaviors of Ted Cruz or Lindsay Graham.

    Another example is when I tried describing my own workplace mobbing situation (cue violins) to try and illustrate how power works in a neoliberal world. A detractor desperately tried to frame my stories as a personal failing on my part, as if the pressures of neoliberalism couldn’t possibly have existed for me. Human politics. I can only imagine what reporters have to go through, always trying to speak truth to power while simultaneously trying not to piss power off.

    That being said… Greenwald called Tucker Carlson a socialist. Did I just answer my previously posted question?

  82. Willy

    I never assassinated anybody. Never started even a single coup against foreign leaders for kicks. But since Reagan, maybe even McGovern, has anybody known which political party is really on the side of less international statism?

  83. Mark Level

    As to all the Greenwald and or versus Chomsky kerfluffle, I have little to add beyond–

    Chomsky obviously did some excellent work in the past, Manufacturing Consent among the highlight reel, but he certainly lost me completely and forever when he said vote for Joe Biden because that is some kind of meaningful alternative to Drumpf. As Chris Hedges pointed out in a highly relevant piece nigh on 10 years ago, the Corporate RePukes are racing off the cliff of species extinction at 100 mph, and the Dems at a “lesser evil” (my term here, not his) rate of 60 mph. This makes little difference in the “long run” as I think most of us know the long run is now a lot shorter than it was in 2011 . . .

    It does not take a genius nor a case of the (absurd) “TDS” to recognize that although Drumpf campaigned in 2016 on better issues than $Hillary (anti-globalism, ending “forever wars”, restoring manufacturing to the USA), he has always been a slimy, narcissistic grifter, and during his 4 years in office the only thing he put substantial energy into was crapping on, jailing etc. non-white immigrants, uppity blacks who dared object to frequent police killings, etc., all along the lines directed by the Nazi-sympathizing Zionist white Supremacist Stephen Miller, & he was no more worthy of a “vote” than the decrepit shell of a human being that is now Joe Biden. (Yeah, okay, he torpedoed O’Bomber’s TPP, credit where due.) And in any case, if we believe that “voting” actually changes anything at the top federal level, and that the Corporate Elites & Militarists don’t control everything lock, stock and barrel at this point, we are almost as much in line for a Darwin award as the 46% of Republican men who won’t get the vaccine (or wear a mask) because “freedum.”

    So I guess Chomsky’s decline proves the old Greek adage that you should never judge somebody’s life until after their death, because they can always disgrace themselves in the end. We’ll miss you when you go, Noam, or at least the younger, smarter and more defiant person you once were . . .

    For those with any interest in the Hedges piece, which I found in the July 2011 AdBusters, here’s the link–

    At least some “prophets” get it right from time to time, even if the world spins onward toward human extinction or considerable numerical thinning.

  84. different clue


    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  85. different clue


    Decades ago I used to garden in a community garden site. We had groundhogs. Their population built up till one year we had lots of them. I remember once seeing and hearing a nasty snarling groundhog fight and saw the bigger groundhog run the smaller groundhog off. Later that year, a plague of groundhog distemper reduced their numbers.

    One year I mentioned groundhogs to a little old lady. She said ” shoot him and eat him. The meat is clean. You know what he’s been eating.”

    I have read that some Indian Nations considered the dirt from the dirt pile mound around a groundhog hole to have power. Certainly groundhogs play a role in bringing subsoil up to the surface for biophysical processes at the surface to eventually turn it into topsoil. If I had a big enough garden and groundhogs to matter to eachother and to me, I might experiment with putting vegetables at the burrow mouth each day and sometimes digging up some “power dirt” to scatter around my garden.

  86. Plague Species

    I never assassinated anybody.

    LHO said the same thing and so too did JER. SS didn’t know what planet he was on and maybe he still doesn’t so he wasn’t and isn’t in a position to confirm and or deny.

    We’re making great strides and progress in the commentary here. Any day now we’re going to solve this thing. Crack this nut. I can feel it in my bones. So much effort has been expended. Millions of words typed. Maybe even tens of millions. It can’t be in vain, can it?

  87. Astrid


    The US government is not a collective of Willies, minding their business and not assassinating people. assuming that you were also not into staying coups against foreign governments, I am ready to say you would be a wonderful upgrade over the arseholes were stock with. That’s not a compliment, a moldy ham sandwich would also be an upgrade.

    Right now, I wish the Vietnamese victory over the US included takeover of the 50 US states. Maybe we would be much better off.

  88. Astrid

    Wow, that’s a bad bunch of unspotted autocorrects, even for me.

  89. Willy

    @Astrid The US government is not a collective of Willies, minding their business and not assassinating people.

    That’s what I just said. Vote for Willy, and I’ll make all of your wildest dreams come true.

    @ Plague Species I once had an idiosyncratic phrase of mine get popularized into the mainstream culture after I posted it on the old Daou Report. Another time Donald Rumsfeld quoted my comment on a blog verbatim during a news conference. For real. Sometimes, it really does go in here and come out there. But since I never figured out the mechanics of all that it’s been a crap shoot at best.

    More important, I noticed that the “Preparing for Bad Times Thread” keeps getting bumped up. While I think that most of my brilliant theories about “Political Economy” are scalable down to one’s own daily struggles at the personal level, somebody wiser might be better at coming up with catchy idiosyncratic aphorisms to better Preparing for Bad Times ahead, if not threads.

  90. nihil obstet

    There’s a difference between a journalist and a gymnastics judge. The judge should apply the same standards with the same amount of care to all contestants. The journalist should inform the public about important matters.

    I never felt a lack of information about Trump’s dishonesty and governing incompetence. Not only the Democrats but also the MSM loved the subject and worked it constantly. I’m still not sure why Hugh thinks that the crucial role for every journalist is to join the pack. When Bush was being lionized because “he kept us safe”(!?!!?) and started a few wars with the aid and blessing of the New York Times, pointing out Bush’s dishonesty and governing incompetence was a role the public needed.

  91. someofparts

    fwiw Chris Hedges says Extinction Rebellion is the only resistance outfit he supports because they are the only ones serious about building grassroots strength

    Displays of resistance organized on social media are Potemkin ephemera. The bus boycott in Montgomery, back in the day, took nearly a year to organize face-to-face. Once the event happened a dense political network of personal connections had been created.

    Also, on a different topic, one of Anthony Bourdain’s episodes was with the grandmother of one of the cooks he met when he was a work-a-day chef in NY. She had a place somewhere in the mountains of South America. The interesting thing to me was that the meat she used was from guinea pigs. As livestock go, that’s the most adaptable thing I’ve ever heard of – easy to raise even in cramped urban housing.

  92. Chicago Clubs

    Yes, why in the world would an actual journalist like Greenwald need to waste his time and attention on something that literally every “journalist” spent more than four years screaming about constantly?

  93. Hugh

    Nihil, the Bush era crimes and follies also got a lot of coverage. I wonder why Greenwald bothered to join that pack. And with Trump it wasn’t so much joining a pack. It was more like silence, and lots of it.

  94. bruce wilder

    Even when things weren’t so tribal, something reporters had to manage was accessibility. Piss off this group of people, or make that group afraid of you, then getting the story becomes that much harder.

    If you think “getting the story” means remaining on the mailing list of the powerful organization’s pr hack, then sure kiss whatever.

    Reporters had to “manage accessibility” as you put it when editors made it clear that getting a quote from the great and good was job 1, no matter how banal and uninformative. Before that when truth mattered, real reporters learned the truth by talking to people who were not powerful but who nevertheless were in a position to know what is going on. “Managing accessibility” to such people does not require much more than integrity and shoe leather (and these days turning off your cellphone).

    A few “celebrity” journalists are still willing to channel the powerless. The powerless in question often end up broke and in jail for an extended period or exiled forever in a strange land.

    The same jerks among our commentariat who are the first to question the Glenn Greenwalds and Matt Taibbi’s are also dismissive of the sacrifice of, say, Julian Assange or Walter Delgatti.

    If Greenwald makes a deal with the devil it is in the way he uses sources and abandons them to their fate. Still his attitude to Assange is an order of magnitude superior to the Guardian which tried to bury Assange and throw dirt on the open grave, the corpse still breathing.

  95. nihil obstet

    One of the best journalists of all time was I.F. Stone, who didn’t interview official sources.

  96. Hugh

    Yes, bruce, that’s it. We don’t understand Greenwald’s greatness. Or should I refer to him as Saint Glenn? So when he sells out, that’s character. And when he won’t criticize Trump, that’s courage. Got it.

  97. bruce wilder

    “Saint Glenn”? Really, Hugh? After I comment on the most glaring moral question mark — and no, appearing on Tucker Carlson’s program ain’t it, ain’t even close — in Glenn’s construction of a career: that he uses the material others have sacrificed so much to disclose. Perhaps in his comfortable personal life, he manages some penance.

    You demand that everyone ritually denounce the corrupt dumbass Trump while ignoring the murderous corruption and hypocrisy of your favored “alternative”. And, if they don’t, playground insults follow.

    Upthread you complain,

    It says a lot that our political discourse on both the left and right can’t look at a whole person or issue. It has no interest in doing so. Instead we get these black and white caricatures where “facts” are selectively chosen or just made up to back some preconceived conclusion. You can’t understand anything or fix a problem with this kind of approach. But you can and do justify anything with it. And that’s the point, isn’t it? As for this criticism? No problem. Just say, “You too! Times twenty!” No need to think, or study, or question. Just return to your comfortable prejudices and business as usual.

    If you lived your own wisdom, Hugh, you would be a commenter I could admire, but you don’t. You put up one strawman argument after another, demand that everyone criticize x or leave y alone. You will trot out legalistic arguments as it suits your prejudice and you do not seem to know a single moral principle. You really are worthless.

  98. nihil obstet

    The Bush crimes and follies got a lot of coverage? Hugh, you and I remember things differently. Knight-Ridder did a pretty good job, but the other major newspapers and press services didn’t. They were not allowed to use the term “lie” in relation to Bush. It was those days that I started reading blogs like “BOPnews” where I first read Ian. The “BOP” if you recall was “the Blogging Of the President”. This rather overwhelming MSM tilt in Bush’s favor may qualify in your judgment as “a lot of coverage.” It doesn’t in mine.

    You write, “with Trump it wasn’t so much joining a pack. It was more like silence, and lots of it”. I’m sorry I don’t understand. This just seems like word salad. What’s the opposition between joining a writing pack and being silent?

  99. Ché Pasa

    Couple of years back, when Amy Goodman had Greenwald on semi-regularly, she offered him a number of opportunities to criticize Trump’s actions and statements, and as I recall, the harshest criticism of Trump he could offer was that he was a “clown” so much of the time, but the Real Problem, as always, was the Democrats and their eternal fecklessness and corruption and their Ultimate Evil: Russiagate.

    I think even she (who’s compromised herself) saw him as unserious at this point.

    So often, the narrative takes over for news and information, and honest criticism is impossible in the face of the narrative. Greenwald stuck to his talking points, and I don’t call that principle. But is there anyone in the political media firmament who doesn’t promote a narrative rather than “just the facts, ma’am?” Amy’s no saint herself, but at least she tries to expand the universe of permissible consideration and discussion. Or at least she used to.

  100. Astrid

    Che, Goodman is a leading Russia Russia Russia narrator, so leading questions about Trump isn’t indicative of anything. Greenwald may just have preferred not to be left astray to that unfruitful alley.

    Trump is bad, but until Soleimani and COVID19, I don’t think the facts support him being worse than any president since Jimmy Carter. His henchmen did a lot of bad little things, but he was too unfocused to do big bad things, the way that Clinton, Bushes, and Obama did. He brings out the worst in his supporters and his opponents, but objectively, the first 3 years of his adminstration didn’t have TPP, escalating wars in Syria and Ukraine, no grand bargain on Social Security or the security state. There was a lot of lower level destruction like the post office, but it’s not as if the Democrats made any kind of stink about it until 2020 election season.

  101. bruce wilder

    “unserious” because he called attention to the evil of the Russiagate stampede?

  102. Bridget

    He brings out the worst in his supporters and his opponents, but objectively, the first 3 years of his adminstration didn’t have TPP, escalating wars in Syria and Ukraine, no grand bargain on Social Security or the security state. There was a lot of lower level destruction like the post office

    Trump slashed corporate tax rates and tax rates on the wealthy, increased the military budgets, ballooned the national debt by around 7 trillion dollars, stacked all levels of the judiciary with radical libertarian conservative judges gleaned from federalist society organizations – with the goal of killing any judicial appeals to these outright assaults on the lives of the people of the country.

    Trump, self-proclaimed brilliant negotiator, didn’t get anything from walking away from TPP, then looked to get back in when it became too obvious to hide how beneficial it was to China. And many of the provisions of TPP were quietly agreed to – in slightly modified forms, for which desired outcomes would nevertheless still be achieved – in other treaties.

    The Post Office is “lower level destruction?” Do you live in this country? If not, does your country of residence have a national delivery infrastructure that its population depends on? The world’s richest man’s company couldn’t operate the way it does without this infrastructure in place. If the top two for-profit delivery services in the US – FedEx and UPS – had to provide service the Post Office does, they’d have to dramatically increase their already high rates or else become unprofitable.

    No war in Syria was the cover for the always absurd giveaways to Israel proper, from nixing the Iran deal to Jerusalem to the deals with some Gulf states that further entrench Israel as a power in the region and further isolate the native Palestinian population and, by extension, their supporters and allies in the region and beyond. All by design.

    The Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on a fucking thing except for Israel and the Pentagon and that never changed with Trump. That should be a huge red flag to anyone who thinks Trump was somehow ever outside the deep state or in fact ever wanted to be. He was always surrounded by and beholden to Zionist money and interests. Steve Bannon came out of Breitbart, which was ardently pro-Israel. That’s why the antisemitism stuff was always ludicrous. Trump on the campaign trail went to AIPAC and told the crowd he didn’t need their money. He then turned around and let Adelson and the Mercers and their ilk and their interests run the show.

    Trump’s already a pseudo-billionaire himself, he’s plugged into and gladly takes money from sectors of the elite class, and he has the audacity to ask people to donate to him. That’s who he is. Not any different from any other parasite. That people thought he was different speaks volumes.

    Oh yeah, Trump would have cut social security his second term. I believe he started dropping hints in 2019.

    For generations the United States population has had their politicians sold to them in the exact same way a corporation sells them toothpaste (to paraphrase my old friend Chomsky). Trump is the ultimate essence of this malignancy. Someone here I believe described him as a “self-selling behavior machine.” It was also said that “he’s the most fascinating mediocrity the world has ever produced. He is a nonsense.”

    Awash in a world of nonsense, electing a nonsense makes perfect sense.

  103. Bridget

    Trump would have run as a fiscally conservative pro-abortion liberal if the opportunity presented itself. But he was never embraced by that crowd, just as he was never embraced by the mainstream Republican crowd.

    Not invited to be a part of either of the two big evil clubs, Trump decided – or was encouraged to decide – to force his way in on the backs of a lot of people those two evil clubs have been screwing for decades. Not because he’s in any way interested in remedying the peoples’ plight*, rather because he and his enablers can further advance their interests and enrich themselves.

    *Beyond whatever trickle-down effects – and there were some – and bullshit, albeit necessary, short-term and one-time allowances, similar in fact to the Democrats. He and his handlers were in no way interested in addressing any of the structural problems – the years of deregulation and affiliated destruction.

    Didn’t he mention Glass-Steagall a few times when campaigning? What happened to that Donnie?

  104. finbar

    And you didn’t even get to Trump’s absolute disregard for the environment. I mean, beyond keeping the greens green.

  105. bruce wilder

    Apropos of nothing, CNN is currently reporting

    (CNN)A new US intelligence report that finds Russia interfered in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden also underscores a fundamental truth: The gravest threat to US democracy comes from within.

    The report, released by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, finds that Moscow sought to inject misleading information about Biden into the campaign through officials and others close to Trump.
    The real bombshell it contains is not the confidence of the spy agencies that Russia hoped to subvert American democracy. It is that US intelligence experts effectively confirmed that for the second election in a row, Trump acolytes repeatedly used, knowingly or otherwise, misinformation produced by the spies of one of America’s most sworn foreign adversaries to try to win a US election.

    whose your fascist now, eh? (practicing my Canadian accent for a quick escape when reality itself departs from the U.S. as an unwelcome alien being without friends or fans)

  106. Bridget

    This is why the deep state allowed Trump in the first place. He was in no way dangerous to overall elite machinations. Ineptitude and even unruliness aren’t a problem per se. Trump’s pathological inconsistency was too much though. But now he’s an excellent foil. Game theory.

  107. Mr Jones

    now he’s an excellent foil. Game theory.


  108. js

    Ah so actual criticism of Trump’s actual policies gets lost in deepstate deepstate deepstate. Ah yes the deepstate. What about the fact the policies were bad?

    (And anyway is the deepstate really any worse than all the other factors, that by and large aren’t the voters although they kinda suck too, that have influence on the U.S. government?)

  109. Joan

    Where’s Ian? Is he sick? Has anyone seen him on Twitter?

  110. Astrid

    What Trump made happen can be rolled back and the Democrats were complicit in letting happen. They happened under Obama/Bush/Clinton. They are undeniably bad things, but not the irreversible big bad things. By irreversible I mean a cold/hot war with China/Russia and enslaving the globe with trade agreements that destroy the sovereignty of countries and Patriot Act III. The fact that Democrats appear uninterested in rolling Trump bads back, except rhetorically, tell you where they really stand.

    Look at what Democrats did when they got in power. They did finally get a fraction of the money they should and could have demanded a year ago, but didn’t want to because they wanted to play politics with millions of American lives. That money came with ungenerous means testing and protestations about fiscal responsibility. They bombed Syria. They continue to support Saudi Arabia and Israel. They demanded a massive expansion of the security state and further incursions into civil liberties and further demonized civil libertarians and the left.

    Conditionally saying Trump may be less bad than Hillary Clinton is not defending him. He is a war criminal, kleptocrat, and incompetent in governance. His only ability is being a demogogue who was happy to give Shelden Adelson and right wing kleptocrat their full wishlist. It’s damning the Democrats for how truly awful they were under Clinton/Bush/Obama, that Trump might be considered the lesser evil to them.

  111. Astrid

    I voted Green in 2016 and 2020, most recently as a write in because the Ds went to court to force Greens off the ballot. I was willing to vote D for some state and local offices because they were not incumbents and sounded potentially progressive.

  112. Astrid

    Ian retweeted 8 hours ago, so he is probably fine. I have really appreciated his latest spate of articles. They’re really thought provoking, even if I don’t fully agree with some of the premises or conclusions.

  113. Hugh

    You can always tell it’s the end of a thread when people go off raving about saintly Russia and Hillary the irrelevant gets dredged up. Just more progressives, or people who call themselves progressive, doing everything they can not to be taken seriously.

  114. Astrid

    Yup, not at all like Hugh, who will insist on trotting out strawmen accusations against Russia/China from start to finish.

  115. Ché Pasa

    The “No (New) War Trump” trope is obvious false narrative as it obscures the fact that tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians in numerous villages, towns and cities in the Middle East were exterminated, millions were made refugees, and large parts of major cities were laid waste during Trump’s regime. Drone assassinations and random bombings of “suspected militants” increased substantially. Perhaps there was no new invasion of this or that foreign land, but there was no let up at all in the general blood-lust and destructive intent of US foreign policy under Trump.

    That legacy has been passed on to Biden, and so far, the signs are his policies will be mirrors of what’s gone before. That’s overall sad, but the point is, it was no better “before” — under Trump or any other prior president. This country’s blood-lust is built in.

    Another false narrative is the supposed “hysterics” over the Russia Thing. Yes, there have been “hysterics” over it, all from the unprincipled, power-mad rightists who seek to control us utterly. The “left”, for its part, largely ignored the Russia Thing, or made note of it as something to be aware of but not be hysterical about, and the Dems (who are not the “left”) muddled the issue by leaving it up to the doddering Muller to figure out what was going on and then letting him make hash of it.

    Media “hysterics” over it were all from the rightists who projected their own hysterics that the issue was brought up at all onto the fundamentally conservative “leftist” media (ie: any that didn’t follow the rightist party line.) The rest of the media, by and large, reported about it, unhysterically, though often without context or clarity. Opinions, as they tend to be, were all over the map, quite a few making false claims, others just ridiculous.

    The upshot is that Russia and all kinds of other countries sought and seek to influence our elections to their benefit. This has been going on pretty much as long as we have had elections, and it has only occasionally been considered a Thing. During the Cold War we were falsely assured that there was a Soviet Communist under every bed — or at least one down the street or teaching in Our Kid’s Schools — and both parties have tried to assure us that Putin’s Russia is the reanimation of Stalin’s or Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, Our Implacable Enemy Forevah!

    Well, it’s not true. On the other hand, it is true that Russia was among a number of state actors involved in shaping the battle-space of the election of 2016 (and apparently 2020.) Yes? So? It should not be a Thing, but it is a Thing because Russia’s involvement rattled some of the political establishment because it appeared to be effective through social media. Effective enough, at any rate, to establish memes and curry beliefs among voters regarding Trump and Dems and the warped political and electoral system which they operate. It was a sophisticated propaganda operation, some of which the doddering Muller was able to document, but the false narrative from the rightists is that it didn’t happen at all and that the Russia Thing was made up by Dems to rationalize their loss to the Great and Glorious Orange Man Bad. No, it really happened, but in any competent system of electoral politics, it shouldn’t have mattered.

    Upshot: the US does not have a competent system of electoral politics, and it looks like it won’t be fixed — in fact, it will get worse, guaranteed, by the machinations of the Orange Man Bad factions in state governments intent on suppressing the vote of the redefined “unworthy” and gerrymandering permanent power for themselves.

  116. Astrid

    Che, no new war obviously doesn’t encompass Trump’s continuation of Obama’s wars, the belligerence towards Iran and Venezuela, the coup in Bolivia, and ratcheting hostilities with Russia and China. But if we had Hillary Clinton, we would get all those things plus a hot war in Eastern Europe and escalations in the Middleeast. The Ds would even embrace Bolton when he turned against Trump.

    Yes the Ds are not the same as the small and powerless antiwar left. But that left had been largely content to be lapdog to the conservative, borderline reactionary Ds and made themselves utterly irrelevant. They get trotted out at D’s convenience for outrages on Uighur/HK/Russian LGBT, or BLM, then get disappeared again when it’s no longer convenient.

    In popular USian discourse, left and right are so abused as to be utterly meaningless. Everyone to your right on any specific issue is a Fascist authoritarian and everyone to your left is a Commie radical.

  117. Hugh

    Oh yes, I forgot saintly China, but it is still all Hillary’s fault for the brain dead.

  118. Ché Pasa

    But if we had Hillary Clinton, we would get all those things plus a hot war in Eastern Europe and escalations in the Middleeast. The Ds would even embrace Bolton when he turned against Trump.

    Yet another false narrative. There was no sensible difference in positions between Hillary and Trump with regard to their blood-lust.

    I first ran across the notion that Hillary would “start WWIII” on Bernie sites, and it spread quickly from there, soon becoming a matter of fact when there was no basis for it. Despite her best efforts, Hillary would not be able to “start WWIII” by herself, nor would Trump for that matter.

    As for “escalation in the Middle East” — we saw it on a massive scale under Trump. Strangely, it was ignored by his fans and most of the anti-Dem internet because it didn’t fit the narrative of his “peaceful intent”. He made multiple blood-soaked deserts and threatened the rest of creation with the same — and called it peace. Sure, right, whatever.

    Who knows what Hillary would have done? She never showed a bit of good judgement, so I wouldn’t put worse past her. But she was never in the position to exercise that bad judgement of hers as president, so I don’t claim to know what horrors would have come forth under her presidency. I do know (some of) what horrors were perpetrated under Trump’s presidency. And I don’t see much change with the advent of Old Joe.

  119. Bridget

    I voted Green in 2016 and 2020, most recently as a write in because the Ds went to court to force Greens off the ballot. I was willing to vote D for some state and local offices because they were not incumbents and sounded potentially progressive.

    That’s how I have voted recently as well. Even though I don’t trust the process in the absence of hand-marked, hand-counted ballots. Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing.

    The Ds would even embrace Bolton when he turned against Trump.

    I’m surprised they didn’t invite him to their convention. He could have been slotted between Colin Powell and W to form the great unifying trio.

  120. js

    “Just more progressives, or people who call themselves progressive, doing everything they can not to be taken seriously.”

    I don’t think they are very representative of progressives. Not that there is necessarily a yuge progressive contingent to begin with but nonetheless, really not very representative.

    I naively thought once, it was just giving Trump a chance. There was an argument for not giving Trump a chance given his history, but his history largely wasn’t in politics, so one might not want to immediately apply it. Okay. But years in and past Trump and it’s obviously not about “seeing what Trump would do”. And then from the same people it’s all “the stimulus is all bad, because Biden and Dems” before even trying to grapple with all that is even in the huge bill. I don’t entirely agree with it all either, a bill that big and I think more could have been done with it to address longer term problems (but it’s not the GND or infrastructure bill of our dreams). And no of course we wouldn’t have gotten that under Trump either, ha who needs to even ask.

  121. Willy

    In popular USian discourse, left and right are so abused as to be utterly meaningless. Everyone to your right on any specific issue is a Fascist authoritarian and everyone to your left is a Commie radical.

    Speaking of the powerless antiwar left, just because they’re to the right of you, doesn’t meant they aren’t fascist authoritarians, no matter what Dinesh D’Souza says. Ever since Reagan, the right sure does love their military, with all their colorful parades complete with goosestepping elite troops, tanks, missile carriers, and Dear Leader with his medal encrusted henchmen grimly observing from up in the stands. Oh wait. That’s communist nations I’m thinking of. That military budget larger than the next dozen or more nations doesn’t count.

    Liberty got rid of the Fairness Doctrine yet hates the media. Religious freedom despises Muslims and sometimes, even the Pope. Capitalists love Communist China. And Americas current military is one of the biggest statist welfare programs (for corporations and poor small town kids) in its history.

    Could this confusion explain this “meaningless” of which you speak? At least in part?

  122. different clue


    You kids get off Hugh’s lawn!!

  123. Astrid

    I meant the labels “left” and “right”. It’s a product of 75 years of propaganda aimed primarily at destroying the left’s ability to organize itself. I see people throwing out these terms without any comprehension for the historical context or definition for the words. I have in real life seen otherwise very intelligent and moderate people state that they think Trump is a moderate, even though their values are likely to the left of most national Democratic politicians.

  124. bruce wilder

    I first ran across the notion that Hillary would “start WWIII” on Bernie sites, and it spread quickly from there, soon becoming a matter of fact when there was no basis for it.

    I remember Hillary Clinton’s proposal for a no-fly zone over Syria being the trigger for a lot of well-founded concern about her bloody-mindedness and poor judgment. So there was certainly plenty of basis for apprehension about Clinton’s poor judgment, in what she said as well as her record as Secretary of State.

    As you say, neither Trump nor Clinton could very well trigger “WWIII” on their own mere motion. But, the U.S. has a machine for that, ready to go on inertia alone. In the event, Trump showed little capacity or sustained will to restrain it. One wonders if any politician could rise to oppose its working in our politico-media environment.

  125. christian stalberg

    HR 1, also known as the “For The People Act,” is sold as a way to get money out of politics and to protect voters, but it contains several poison pills for democracy and opposition parties. Most alarmingly, HR1 quintuples the amount of money presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds: from $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state.

    The two party system has a death grip on a farcical democracy. This trojan horse legislation will ensure the death march for democracy in the US continues uninterrupted.

  126. different clue

    @Bruce Wilder,

    Clinton partisans would of course hear about ” Clinton will start WWIII” from “Bernie sites” because those are the sites their paranoid obsession with any challengers to Clinton led them to follow. They also dis-state and dis-interpret ” Clinton will risk war with Russia by pursuit of no-fly zone over Syria and other such things” to “Clinton will start WWIII”, rather than the basic fact that Clinton was happy to risk WWIII on the way to pursuing her own ideological hobby horses.

    The first place I heard this danger raised was inside my own head. The second place I saw it raised was on Colonel Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrannis blog. So . . . not a Bernie site.

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