The Greenwald-Taibbi conundrum


I had long been an admirer and supporter of the work of these two people. Indeed, I first came across Greenwald when he was a mere blogger like me at his site Unclaimed Territory and would financially contribute to him because I found his take on politics to be bracing. It was not surprising that Edward Snowden picked him and Laura Poitras as the conduit to bring his leaks about the national security states to light, and his exposes of the way that Brazilian leader Lula De Silva was railroaded by the Brazilian elite was also highly commendable.

But Greenwald’s more recent stuff has been problematic to say the least. He seems to be spending most of his time and energy attacking people that tilt to the left of the political spectrum and even adopted some right wing tropes in criticizing them. He has become a fixture on Fox News and other right wing media.

Similarly Matt Taibbi was brilliant in the way he dissected Wall Street and the fatuousness of pundits like Thomas Friedman. But he too seems to have joined Greenwald in shifting his focus on attacking the left.

I have been puzzling over these metamorphoses and trying to make sense of them but then came across this very detailed analysis by Nathan J. Robinson who tried to figure out what was going on. Like most of Robinson’s pieces, this is very long and even though I seem to have excerpted large chucks below, trust me, that is only a small fraction of the full article that I strongly recommend reading.

Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi have a long track record of work that exposes the crimes of the powerful. Both were early intellectual heroes of mine; Taibbi was one of the first writers to see through Barack Obama’s hollow rhetoric, and his reporting around the financial crisis was unmatched. His book on the killing of Eric Garner by the NYPD, I Can’t Breathe, is a superbly-written indictment of modern policing. Greenwald’s exposes on the crimes of the Bush and Obama administrations were essential reading, carefully documenting both presidents’ abuses of basic civil liberties and debunking their lies. His reporting on the corruption of the Brazilian government has been personally brave and truly important. There is a good case to be made that for his role in freeing Lula da Silva from prison and exposing the reach of the U.S. surveillance state, Glenn Greenwald is one of the most consequential reporters in the world. He has also been personally supportive of my work in a way I have appreciated deeply. 

I have long respected these two writers’ intelligence. I do not think they are sinister people. But something strange has happened with them both lately, and it’s worth looking at closely, because I think it shows (1) how bad right-wing arguments successfully pose as “common sense” and can easily persuade certain people, especially those who think of themselves as logical and reasonable, and (2) how excessive disgust for liberals can create deficiencies in one’s political analysis which in turn can give rise to a fuzzy understanding of the way the world works. (A bit more uncharitably, I might say it shows how Twitter turns smart people stupid.)

The perception that Barack Obama and Joe Biden get less criticism from liberals for doing the same things as Donald Trump is absolutely correct. It is also correct to say that Donald Trump was not a bizarre authoritarian aberration, but in fact displayed tendencies that are also present in the centrist politicians who opposed him. This does not, however, mean (as Greenwald says) that the threat of authoritarianism in the U.S. had “nothing to do with Trump,” given that Donald Trump made every effort to delegitimize the election that ousted him and would have overturned the result if he had the power. Is the Democratic Party largely beholden to corporate donors? Are too many of them elite careerists who don’t care about much beyond securing their own status? Oh boy, you bet. Is it even somewhat embarrassing to be or support Democrats a lot of the time, to the point where leftists like Bernie deliberately maintain their distance from the party? Yes. I complain about Democrats constantly. 

But we need to be extremely careful, because acknowledging the Democratic party’s gaping flaws is not the same as believing that Liberal Fascism and the Wall Street-Silicon Valley Democratic Cabal run the country, and that therefore the Bernie Sanders left should feel more kinship with the Trumpist right than the Democratic Party, because they share a common enemy.

This is not to say that there must be a problem with, say, a politician like Bernie Sanders working with Josh Hawley on narrow points of agreement, any more than there is a problem with Sanders co-signing a letter with free market libertarian Rand Paul. But it does mean that we need to be clear on what the consequences of Republican Party power are, and the fact that the difference between having a “right wing populist” in charge and a leftist is, to use a UK example, the difference between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Proposing an alliance between U.S. “populists” of left and right is as absurd as proposing an alliance between the Labour Left and the Tories on the grounds that the Tories have figured out that they ought to say the word “workers” sometimes. It is based on deep confusion about what the important questions of politics are, and only seems sensible if one lets the resentment of liberals take on an outsized role in shaping one’s politics. 

All the same, is it possible that anti-racist and femininist ideologies go “too far”? Given the persistence of the racial wealth gap, and the failure of MeToo to change longstanding exploitative workplace dynamics, I would say the problem is they haven’t gone far enough, having managed to change discourse without changing the social world very much. I don’t like it when leftists are unforgiving about small infractions, and believe we need a social justice politics with a comradely spirit that encourages people to grow, but the idea that the United States has an excess of feminism is laughable. 

A person who sees themselves as an Independent Thinker can come to resent and despise liberal hypocrisy so much that they don’t notice themselves becoming careless and reflexive thinkers, and buying into conservative propaganda that looks like “common sense” but isn’t. They can care a lot more about the threat posed by college students to free speech than the threat posed by Republican state legislators who want to tell professors what to teach. Taibbi and Greenwald have both shown an odd credulity toward conservative talking points about transgender people, perhaps because they haven’t thought carefully about the counterarguments. Greenwald has connected rises in violent crime to the presence of reformist prosecutors like Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner, and accused progressive media outlets of “erasing” facts about the negative effects of reform, even though this an easily debunked myth. (Homicides have increased in metro areas but “the increase was consistent across 69 major municipalities, regardless of whether the county had a progressive district attorney.”) 

Robinson also defends Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Greenwald’s attacks that she is “a Democratic party apparatchik whose job is to provide leftist support for centrist elites”.

AOC, like Bernie Sanders, often does deeply disappointing things. But it is excessively cynical—and frankly erroneous—to pre-emptively decide she is a careerist whose only goal is to bolster the Democratic Party. We know AOC is a young democratic socialist in a hostile environment who has to navigate difficult political choices. In that situation, there is immense pressure to be “cautious,” and certainly I wish she would resist that pressure harder.

We should be highly skeptical of any politician, even the ones on “our side” and hold them to account. But it’s simply not correct to view her as solely invested in propping up the Democratic Party’s leaders, since she has shown herself willing to harshly criticize them. (Just in the past week we saw the headline “AOC Rips Into Fellow Democrats” over their condemnation of Ilhan Omar, and AOC attacking Biden for not canceling student debt). She may not do it often enough, or strongly enough, but she does do it.  

Robinson says that focusing excessively on the occasional excesses of people on the left, like Greenwald and Taibbi now do, is dangerous.

And as Jacob Bacharach writes in a lovely essay about Political Correctness at the DSA convention, fixating on the embarrassing or over-the-top things the left does, and forgetting that many efforts at inclusion “[come] from a genuine wellspring of generosity that must be the foundation of any decent society,” means making enemies of people who are often just trying to do their best to be good. (These attempts to be good are frequently dismissed as Virtue Signaling, because people trying to show you that they’re good must be doing so for selfish reasons and not because figuring out how to be a decent person is often hard.)

I share Robinson’s unease “when leftists are unforgiving about small infractions” and agree with him that “we need a social justice politics with a comradely spirit that encourages people to grow”. Robinson says that Greenwald and Taibbi have locked themselves into a position where they cannot engage in self-reflection when criticized by those who were once their supporters.

It is difficult to talk to someone who has been sucked into the black hole of right-wing arguments, and who is so confident they understand The Cultural Left that they see any pushback as an attack by a PC Cancel Culture Warrior. Taibbi has developed the habit of muting on social media anyone who asks “what happened to you?” or why he chooses to focus on certain subjects rather than others. (He considers this whataboutism.) He literally makes sure he cannot hear those who make arguments he dislikes. (For more on Taibbi’s strange arguments and unwillingness to hear criticism, see this response to him I wrote last year.) Greenwald has alienated nearly all of his former colleagues at the Intercept, plus many brilliant leftists, such as Naomi Klein (who says he is “losing the plot”), Jeremy Scahill (“[Greenwald is] promoting smears…disturbs me deeply”), and Noam Chomsky (“I don’t understand what is happening… I hope it will pass”). (If these legendary people all thought this about me, I’d go off and do a hell of a lot of self-reflection.) It’s sad watching someone you have long respected drift in this direction, becoming angrier, more irrational, impossible to talk to, and all the while convinced that they haven’t changed and you must have just swallowed Liberal Ideology. 

The hatred of political correctness can kill your power to reason. Look at Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Steven Pinker. All convinced the left is nuts and they’re the sensible ones. All uninterested in actually engaging left arguments seriously. You start by disliking liberal hypocrisy, and soon you end up saying ridiculous things like “the minute you declare yourself nonbinary or trans, you catapult up the ladder of oppression that absolutely confers concrete benefits.” This is just a laughably incorrect statement which utterly ignores the average life experience of trans people in this country. Conservative talking points like this are full of rage, nastiness, and a total lack of interest in the material realities of the people under discussion. 

We must keep our analysis clear. We must not focus excessively on Twitter-based cancel culture flaps and forget the political forces that are the greatest determinant of who lives and dies. What has happened to Greenwald and Taibbi may happen to people you know and love, and we need ways to keep people from crossing the event horizon and ending up ranting about BLM, trans kids, Liberals, and the ACLU without ever noticing they have drifted far away from the realm of the reasonable. I would beg those who find themselves being told they are going down this path to deploy some self-reflection and empathy, and see if their critics might have a point. 

I do not fault Greenwald or any progressive or leftist who joins with right wingers on some issue of mutual benefit. Such limited strategic alliances are sometimes necessary in order to achieve real progress on specific issues. Neither would I fault them for appearing on Fox News or other right wing outlets. If you get the chance to make your case to people who do not share your views, that is a good thing because you can challenge their assumptions and maybe even make some converts. But if you find that you are constantly being invited back by them (Greenwald says that he would be on Fox every day if he did not say no sometimes) then you should start to wonder why that is the case and that it may be because rather than you using those outlets to advance your message, they are using you to advance their message.

Comments

  1. consciousness razor says

    Robinson:

    All the same, is it possible that anti-racist and femininist ideologies go “too far”? Given the persistence of the racial wealth gap, and the failure of MeToo to change longstanding exploitative workplace dynamics, I would say the problem is they haven’t gone far enough, having managed to change discourse without changing the social world very much. I don’t like it when leftists are unforgiving about small infractions, and believe we need a social justice politics with a comradely spirit that encourages people to grow, but the idea that the United States has an excess of feminism is laughable.

    That’s good enough reason not to neglect the fact that we have other things that are capable of “changing the social world” in a positive way. The government is not generally the right tool for the job, if the goals mainly have to do with persuading people to see themselves and each other differently. You can instead do that sort of thing with numerous artforms, without it ever coming into tension with our basic rights and freedoms, as an approach that relies on legal/policy fixes often would.

    I don’t think it’s just me, but I’ve gotten the impression that many want the government (or the officials in it) to do a lot of things that it just isn’t good at doing. And besides, it could easily be very destructive in the attempt as well. The fact is, we don’t need anything that even remotely resembles “virtue signalling” from Pelosi or Schumer or AOC or Sanders or any of them. We don’t need them to lead our thoughts, because “thought leader” or “role model” or whatever is not actually the job that we gave them (which they’re routinely failing to do). From them, what we need is a set of enforceable laws, which can create a fair political and economic system which supports everyone. We don’t need a bunch of speeches and empty gestures made in front of the cameras or spreading around on Twitter, which change none of that but (at best) just serve to improve voters’ opinions of the person, for delivering them content which they can consume to feel more comfortable.

    What does obviously change people’s minds and changes the culture (over the long run) is simply talking to them. Write. Tell a story. Make a video or an album or whatever. Show them things they may not have seen before, to share new ideas and experiences with them. You know: the arts, as I said before. Then, they may change their minds, and indeed, it may sometimes be very hard not to, because we’re talking about some extremely effective forms of communication which have been meticulously developed over thousands of years by tons of people around the world.

    The point is, we certainly don’t need the fucking government (or a president, senator, etc.) for that, and it tends to do a piss-poor job whenever it tries. Also, typically, the authoritarians in power will just want to spy on us some more, violating more of our rights, alienating and angering more people, and probably making them trust legitimate and effective forms of government even less than they already did.

    I’m not saying any of this to defend people like Greenwald or Taibbi. But it is worth pointing out that there’s a huge difference between “going too far,” which I think is pure nonsense in this case, and “going the wrong way.” Maybe that deserves a little more attention and reflection.

  2. mnb0 says

    “AOC, like Bernie Sanders, often does deeply disappointing things.”
    Heh heh, me being someone who distrusts the mainstream Democrats more than Greenwald and Robinson combined are rarely disappointed by AOC and/or Sanders. I simply don’t expect too much of them (and never expected anything from Obama). Given the sorry state of the USA and the many reforms that country needs I consider them my allies, even if I think they don’t go far enough at all. Frankly I don’t care whether they are careerists. If they make a political career by bringing fundamental change (iso cosmetic change like almost all Democrat politicians in Washington) I wish them all the best.

    “You start by disliking liberal hypocrisy,”
    I do; I got banned by PZ for pointing it out the most insulting way I could think of (and think it funny)..

    “and soon you end up saying ridiculous things like …..”
    I won’t exclude the possibility that I say ridiculous things, but chances that I’ll say things like that are zero. I have disliked Dawkins, Harris and co long before that became en vogue.
    It may help that I don’t use Twitter or other social media.

  3. mnb0 says

    @ConsciousR: “We don’t need them to lead our thoughts …..”
    Still that’s happening -- want to get people vaccinated against corona? Let celebreties campaign. It doesn’t matter it’s not the job “you” (because no way I belong to that vague “we” you’re talking about) gave them.

    “What does obviously change people’s minds and changes the culture (over the long run) is simply talking to them.”
    Nope, it doesn’t as 40+ % American creationists have been demonstrating for several decades (non-American creationists are even more stubborn, if anything). Especially not on internet and social media. If you want to change people’s minds the first thing you must realize that people are not rational beings and that includes you and me.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    … only a small fraction of the full article …

    I haven’t had time to read all of that article, but I did a quick, futile search for two words. And I don’t think any analysis of how nominal leftists turn into liberal-bashers is complete without at least a little consideration of the influences of “Russia” and “Putin”.

  5. says

    I’ll note that basically the same thing happened with leftist reporters and commentators of the late 60’s/early to mid 70’s who became leading lights of right wing talk radio in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

  6. Hugh Smythe says

    Like you, I started out as admirers of these two gentlemen. I have stopped reading them as I can’t understand their focus on what I consider small things, while they ignore (or even excuse) the mortal threat I consider Trump and his supporters to be. To misquote a popular saying, it’s like fussing over the deck chairs on the Titanic AFTER it has hit the iceberg.

  7. says

    I share Robinson’s unease “when leftists are unforgiving about small infractions” and agree with him that “we need a social justice politics with a comradely spirit that encourages people to grow”.

    I sure hope this is true. But it’s been my experience that you have defended such people by essentially proclaiming them to not actually exist. After all, some people at Harvard did this one study of Twitter usage and found nothing! (Or some lame justification like that, as if one study of anything is going to be definitive.)
    And, sure, that is perhaps a small infraction in itself. So I’d best not be hypocritical and be forgiving. Still, it is incredibly frustrating to encounter such leftists and then be told by others I am imagining things.

  8. garnetstar says

    As Hugh Smythe says @5, the state of politics in America right now ought to simplify such conundrums: it’s not a question anymore about whether people support or oppose any particular policies. It’s now just down to those who are pro-democracy and those who are pro-authoritarianism (really, pro-fascism.)

    With that at stake, questions of who is liberal or conservative or woke or not fade. Do you support democracy (or, what America has had that, anyway) or fascism? That’s all.

    Sadly, the problem with being sucked into the black hole of right-wing arguments is that one can become so anti-cultural left, so motivated just by anger at it and hatred of it, that fascism seems like the solution. Existence of cultural left = democracy doesn’t work at stamping out this evil = we need an authoritarian to put the cultural left down. And you start advocating for that.

  9. A Lurker from Mexico says

    While I can see many of these journalists and political commentators getting a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the “crazy left”, I do see some very concerning trends popping up.

    I’m seeing a lot of deference to the intelligence agencies, I understand that at first it was a bit of a “Hail Mary, whatever hits Trump is fine by me”. But Trump is gone, and left-wing outlets are still acting like CIA stenographers, just passing down whatever the soup letter agencies tell them is the truth. Even a cursory view of american history should tell you that the FBI and CIA have a habit of infiltrating, disrupting, assassinating an generally fucking left wing movements up the ass. And the more in depth you go, the more fuckery you find, for every KKK arrest, you get 20 Black Panther leaders assassinated and stooges derailing the feminist movements.

    Also the neo-McCarthyism, seeing russian spies in every corner. It’s cartoonish and thanks to Pierce R. Butler for demonstrating the “Needs moar Pooooteeeen” obsession. Everyone is a russian all of a sudden.

    consciousness razor said, correctly:

    What does obviously change people’s minds and changes the culture (…) is simply talking to them

    And the whole Russia obsession is inherently isolating. Inmediately accusing dissenters of treason and espionage cuts you off from said dissenters, and makes third parties pin you as a paranoid clown. Biden’s policies towards Russia have actually been slightly more amicable than Trump’s, and nobody cares because nobody should. But it does leave the people clinging to the topic completely stranded. EVEN THE GUY YOU VOTED FOR IS NOT FIGHTING PUTIN AND THAT’S OK.

    The quoted article says:

    is it possible that anti-racist and femininist ideologies go “too far”?

    And that is poor framing, as if the discourse around those topics could only move forwards and backwards on one single dimension.

    A big vice of the dummy left, is the consistent presentation of tokenism as representation. It was always there, somewhat, but since 2016 it went full-throttle and hasn’t slowed down: “Look, Kamala, WOC” “First black secretary of blah blah blah” “First openly gay general meh” “I stand here today a proud first generation latina and officer at CIA”.
    It’s condescending, a meaningless gesture. It’s the one black friend that proves the government is down with the woke crowd. And the dummy left eats it up and fall on their swords defending the token, instead of examining whether the person they are defending is actually helping the people they represent.

    Rather than “going too far” or “not far enough”, the discourse seems to be “making a right turn into a ditch”, maybe move sideways a little bit?

    Ultra conservatives are a known quantity, they are known to be paranoid, delusional, petty and often self-defeating. Having leftists act just as clownish creates the destructive framing of “oh well, they are all idiots, whatever”

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    A Lurker from Mexico @ # 9: … the neo-McCarthyism… It’s cartoonish and thanks to Pierce R. Butler for demonstrating the “Needs moar Pooooteeeen” obsession.

    Y’know, Lurker, one problem with creating a caricature is the risk of becoming one. Particularly, when echoing right-wing distortions in a discussion of an article about (two of) those echoing right-wing distortions, you make yourself just too easy a target.

    On the general theme of supposedly progressive voices turning into a Murdochian chorus -- a phenomenon hardly limited to poor Greenwald and Taibbi -- an honest analysis can no more leave out the possible role of the Kremlin than can a review of violence in law enforcement skip over the role of police unions. Progressive pro-union activists recognize that and grapple with it, at a level beyond reflexive and uninformative sneering. Perhaps if you took a look at such levels, you could make a positive contribution to a discussion somewhere sometime somehow.

  11. A Lurker from Mexico says

    Heh, what lovely logic pretzel you are setting up there.

    Police union members are the protagonists of every case of violence in law enforcement, therefore every conversation about left-wingers criticizing the left needs to name drop RussiaKremlinPutin. That follows.

    You said it yourself “a phenomenon hardly limited to poor Greenwald and Taibbi”, it’s every damn time. Journalist covers whistleblowers contradicting the official story in Syria? Russian asset. Youtuber comments negatively on the left’s current day obsession? Putin’s boots must taste mighty good. Random facebook user makes random facebook comment? The Kremlin bot farm is working overtime!

    For brevity’s sake, is there, in your view, anyone making these criticisms that is NOT a russian bot/spy/asset/useful idiot? If there is, we could work from there. Not holding my breath, though.

    you could make a positive contribution to a discussion somewhere sometime somehow

    Good idea, I’ll follow your lead.
    I didn’t see the words Big Foot or aliens in the article, can we honestly have this conversation leaving out the possibility of the Anunnaki bribing Glenn Greenwald?

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    A Lurker from Mexico @ # 11: … is there, in your view, anyone making these criticisms that is NOT a russian bot/spy/asset/useful idiot?

    An honest debater would not distort what I have offered as a possibility into a rigid assertion, nor would they misconstrue an analogy as a non sequitur. Just sayin’…

    Meanwhile, you yourself offer an interesting case study, exactly exemplifying what the original post here finds so troublesome: self-righteous attacks based on nothing more than opportunism, deflecting and distorting serious criticisms into an ad-hominemoid “they’re all the same!” negativity. Aping progressive vocabulary while broadly smearing “the dummy left” does conveniently illustrate the problem under discussion without actually moving anything forward -- but then again, so does your entire contribution here so far.

  13. consciousness razor says

    mnb0:

    It doesn’t matter it’s not the job “you” (because no way I belong to that vague “we” you’re talking about) gave them.

    Of course it matters.

    And it’s not vague. I mean voters, who give elected officials their jobs. You’re not in the US, so of course you don’t belong in the group of US voters, as I do.

    Pierce R. Butler:

    On the general theme of supposedly progressive voices turning into a Murdochian chorus — a phenomenon hardly limited to poor Greenwald and Taibbi — an honest analysis can no more leave out the possible role of the Kremlin than can a review of violence in law enforcement skip over the role of police unions.

    It’s silly that you would’ve ever seriously called someone a “progressive,” merely for doing the kind of journalism that either of them did. I mean, I guess you can use words however you like. The silly part is acting shocked/surprised by it, later, and creating a matching narrative to “explain” this to yourself.

    It’s also absurd to imply that many/most actual progressive voices (here in the US) ever have anything whatsoever to do with the Kremlin, as police officers do with police unions. And then there’s this ridiculous comparison, with some “turning into a Murdochian chorus” (as you put it) being compared to police officers becoming violent, as if the latter were ever a bunch of nonviolent activists or whatever, who then just got corrupted somehow by their own unions.

  14. A Lurker from Mexico says

    An honest debater would not distort what I have offered as a possibility into a rigid assertion

    Oh, sorry. It’s just a possibility. The fact that:

    I don’t think ((*any*)) analysis (…) is complete without at least a little consideration of the influences of “Russia” and “Putin”.

    Putting forward the accusation in Every. Single. Case. is totally not rigid, we’re just spitballing here. Just asking questions… Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States? It’s just a question, wouldn’t hurt to ask it every time.
    Do you still beat your mom? is another.

    Let me rephrase then: Is there, in your view, anyone making these criticisms that is NOT a suspected russian bot/spy/asset/useful idiot?

    but then again, so does your entire contribution here so far.

    Again with the “contribution”. Dude, your entire “contribution” so far has been: “yEs BuT wHaT iF pUtIn”
    By the way, that’s what I’m talking about, you go off on your James Bond fantasies of russian agents under every stone and have the gall to look down on other people’s “contributions” to the conversation. I must be some kind of double agent trying to undermine the left from within. A secret right-winger or *gasp* a russian.

    It couldn’t possibly be that immediately going all “Russia this, Russia that” when a journalist or whatever breaks ranks with you is a ridiculous look. And that there are many on the same boat as you. And that they often claim to represent the left. And that is making the left look stupid by association. And the ridiculousness is making the whole thing and the conversations around it progressively insular. And that is just one of several nonsensical stands that the DUMMY LEFT keeps putting forward. And THAT is my motherfucken point.

    I noticed that skimming for key words has a bigger weight on your opinion than the arguments themselves so here: intersectional/WOC/gender neutral/Kremlin/collusion/inclusive/reparations/ACAB/Muller See? I’m on your side! Feel free to make me your president any time.

  15. consciousness razor says

    Sorry, when I said “also,” I meant in addition to being a nice, friendly person, who just so happens to be abnormally interested in chess, Stravinsky’s ballets, and vodka.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that, in addition to myself, our esteemed President Lurker from Mexico was also conspiring with the Kremlin to make this country even more of a patriotic right-wing hellscape than it already was (as, for example, Reagan did). But of course that is a possibility that must be thoroughly investigated.

  16. A Lurker from Mexico says

    @consciousness razor
    Who knows, maybe the russians hacked my keyboard and turned my “Yas queen kamala” comments into some other thing about dummies or whatever. We’ll have to wait for the FBI investigation to run it’s course. In any case Добрый вечер всем

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    cr @ # 13 & ALfM @ # 14 -- Well, of course, everybody who criticizes those who criticize anybody who disrespects Republicans must hold that their targets are either mind-controlled Kremlin androids or self-propelled ideologically-driven fools -- who else would do such a thing ever? And since all the Smart Kidz somehow already know that the entire apparatus of US social criticism functions without any outside influences whatsoever, we must all dismiss that possibility in every case.

    So I leave you to congratulate each other on your perspicacity, while inviting you to explore the functional possibility-spaces provided by dead porcupines, rotated rapidly counterclockwise.

  18. A Lurker from Mexico says

    And since all the Smart Kidz somehow already know that the entire apparatus of US social criticism functions without any outside influences whatsoever…

    Dude, don’t take this as an insult but, you noticed I’m Mexican right? I KNOW that the social criticism has outside influence, I AM outside influence. Other world leaders criticizing Trump are outside influence. Foreign newspapers reporting on his scams are outside influence. The issue is not denying outside influence. It’s:
    1. Immediately pinning it as malicious
    2. Implying it’s there without a shred of evidence “Greenwald bad = Greenwald russian maybe”

    And a veeeeeery important one that WILL bite the US in the collective ass sooner rather than later.
    3. Ignoring the real malicious influences in social criticism while you go off chasing your on shadow.

    Allegedly, Russia spent $300,000 on twitter and facebook to influence the 2016 election. Meanwhile, MSNBC and CNN gave Trump 2 BILLION dollars in free advertising.
    Yet, the discourse is completely framed around whether or not to “crack down on social media because Trump”. There are four orders of magnitude between the “Russian” and the “Mainstream Media” influences in that particular shitshow. And I’m not confident that you are able to even see the problem there. The discourse is consistently missing the forest for the trees, on every other topic. As you do.

    You don’t want me to call that the dummy left. Fine. What name shall we use to address that backwards outrage problem then?

  19. consciousness razor says

    Pierce R. Butler:

    And since all the Smart Kidz somehow already know that the entire apparatus of US social criticism functions without any outside influences whatsoever, we must all dismiss that possibility in every case.

    When this is the kind of bullshit that comes from within the US, a country which is responsible for all sorts of horrors around the world, we evidently need more criticism from “outside influences.” We could even learn to welcome that kind of thing and not reinstate the fucking House Un-American Activities Committee.

    Or, you know, we could just engage in even more incoherent, groundless red-baiting, confusing the right with the left, blaming the right on the left, and so forth. That sure as fuck has done us all a lot of good so far, hasn’t it? I mean, I guess some have no reason to complain … Biden’s president now, after all. That has to count for something.

  20. consciousness razor says

    What name shall we use to address that backwards outrage problem then?

    Seems like it’s pretty much covered by “neoliberalism.” That plus a light sprinkling of current events (or non-events, as the case may be) seems to do it.

  21. A Lurker from Mexico says

    @consciousness razor
    I guess, just hope that “Neoliberalism” isn’t one of the A’ha! keywords in Pierce’s no-no list.

  22. consciousness razor says

    A Lurker from Mexico, #22:
    Yes, I suppose that could be a major obstacle. Then let’s just call it “communist subversion,” for lack of a better term.

  23. consciousness razor says

    One other thing that has apparently gone unnoticed so far:

    Nathan J. Robinson was born in England — a foreigner in our midst! It could hardly be a mere coincidence that he fails to mention such outside influences in the article. And then — get this — wikipedia says his family had moved to Florida of all places. If that doesn’t sound awfully suspicious, I don’t know what does. Clearly, there is more going on than meets the eye.

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