Revenge of the Interceptors: Oligarch's Team Mugs Renegade Taibbi

Written by Chris Floyd 31 October 2014 4758 Hits

A few random thoughts on the imbroglio over Matt Taibbi leaving the media stable of oligarch Pierre Omidyar -- and the remarkable response to this by the oligarch's remaining celebs, led by Glenn Greenwald. 1. The Intercept article on Taibbi's departure -- bylined under the names of Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and John Cook, but almost certainly written mostly by Greenwald -- is, at its core, a scurrilous piece of work. Purporting to be a boldly transparent piece -- it even (lightly) criticizes the Boss! -- it is instead, transparently, an attempt by the oligarch's organization to get its side of the story out first before the famously acerbic Taibbi makes any statement. 2. It is also a means for the authors to laud themselves as "fiercely independent journalists" (yes, Greenwald actually wrote that about himself) who, despite being radical bohemians who "view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain," were able to heroically grapple with their employer and procure for themselves "a sizable budget, operational autonomy, and a team of talented journalists, editors, research specialists, and technologists working collaboratively and freely in the manner its founders always envisioned" … unlike that loser Taibbi, who obviously lacked their moxie and got slapped around by the Big Boss Man.3. The poison shiv of the article is buried deep in the acres of Greenwald's ever-deadening slabs of prose (as well as deep in Taibbi's back): the accusation of...

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Pale Riders: The Moral Blindness of our Leading Liberals

Written by Chris Floyd 29 October 2014 3630 Hits

Behold the quintessential earnest progressive liberal in the highest moral dudgeon: Digby railing with thunderous fury at the possibility (the very distinct possibility) that Barack Obama is going to suppress the Senate's report on CIA torture. Digby quotes the recent letter from some of Obama's fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates, who are calling on Obama to release the report (and close the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, for good measure.) Worthy sentiments and justifiable anger indeed. But then Digby adds this gloss:

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Being Human: Supporting the Vital Work of Arthur Silber

Written by Chris Floyd 28 October 2014 4050 Hits

Friends, I hope you will attend to this brief but important message. One of our very best, most insightful, powerful writers is now in extremely low water. Long-time readers of this column will know that Arthur Silber has faced a relentless barrage of health difficulties in recent years. He is once more in extremely poor shape, and faces the very real risk of losing his home — a fate which, as he points out in his latest post, will effectively be the end of him. How can we afford to lose such a voice: humane, caring, witty, wise – and always open, searching, ever-more inquisitive? Arthur has something to say, something worth hearing, worth thinking about, worth taking in and acting upon. His work offers something beyond the bounds of ordinary political commentary. I think his is one of the most vital voices we have today, in any format, anywhere.Times are hard all over, I know. Especially for the small band of readers who still cast an eye toward this blog. There are no 1 Percenters here. Many of the regular readers are in straitened circumstances themselves. I understand that. But I do ask that if anyone out there who sees this feels that they can contribute something toward keeping Arthur’s work — and life — going, then please head over to his blog and throw something in the hat. Thanks.

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The Dark Alliance of Media and Empire: The ‘Dissident’ Smear of Gary Webb

Written by Chris Floyd 20 October 2014 3317 Hits

I assume that most of the rapidly dwindling number of people who read this blog have already read Tarzie’s takedown of The Intercept’s curiously CIA-slanted smear of Gary Webb, who revealed the Agency’s instrumental involvement in the 1980s crack epidemic that devastated America’s inner cities in order to fund the illegal Contra war in Nicaragua.

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Negative Capability: Glimpses Beyond the Brutalities of Power

Written by Chris Floyd 15 October 2014 3530 Hits

When you write regularly of politics and empire, you necessarily spend much time steeped in the very worst aspects of human nature. The reality of power is overwhelmingly brutal, ugly and negative; and if as a writer you wish to engage with reality, then the negative will be prominent in your work. I make no apologies for that — except perhaps to apologize that my skills are not sufficient to convey the full “negativity” of our reality. So when I hear the charge that my work is “negative,” I shrug my shoulders. I’m writing about politics and power; how could it not be negative?But of course, anyone who spends time raging against the depredations of power, against the negativity of our reality, possesses somewhere within them a more positive vision of what life is, or what it could be, both on public level and in the deeper, murkier depths of the individual personality. It is the violation and degradation of this vision by the brutishness of our reality that evokes the outrage in the first place. If these more positive intimations did not exist, then there would be no cause for anger or resistance; there would be nothing but a nihilistic acceptance of the unchangeable ugliness of reality. To me, such positive intimations are always elusive (and allusive), on the margins of perception, seen in the glimpse and the glance. They can’t be captured or hammered into dogma, but are part of a ceaseless process; a process of change and churning, of “breakage and mutation,” of new...

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Pay the Piper: Imperial Evils Bearing Bitter Fruit

Written by Chris Floyd 12 October 2014 3159 Hits

America, of course, is renowned for the historical amnesia that permeates its public discourse. Thanks to the tireless efforts our media, our educators and, above all, our elites, Americans enjoy a level of ignorance about the actions of their government that approaches the sublime. However, the truth is that past actions do have consequences — and chickens sure enough do come home to roost. In what has been a long season of bad news -- with new wars, new chaos, mass death, riots, repression, rampant terror (and the concomitant profiteering) exploding on almost every front -- one message is ringing clear: our reckless militarism and imperial ambitions are bearing bitter fruit. As the song says: it's time to pay the piper -- and we got nothing in our purse.....

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Potomac Fever: Washington's Insane Clown Posse Rides Again

Written by Chris Floyd 08 October 2014 3668 Hits

Below is my column in the latest print edition of CounterPunch. It was written last month, just after Barack Obama’s latest public embracement of the Potomac Empire’s Grand Philosophical Theory of International Statecraft: “More rubble, less trouble!” There may some overlap with my last post on this site, which developed a few of the ideas first explored in this article. The text below has been slightly revised and expanded from the print version.

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An Enduring Casus Belli: The Liberal Club Hears the Truth

Written by Chris Floyd 30 September 2014 3412 Hits

On three occasions in the past few days, I've been approached separately by three of my children, ranging in age from 9 to 28, each of whom asked in different ways, "What is this war with ISIS all about?" Adjusting my answer according to their age, understanding and education, I spoke of various factors behind the new war, trying to give more of the context, history and reality of what is going on, behind the blizzard of contradictory bull that surrounds the operation.But later it occurred to me that the most direct -- and truest -- answer could be found in a short clip from an old film, made more than 30 years ago, in a scene set in the midst of a conflict now an entire century in the past. But the answer given then is most assuredly true now. So here it is, delivered at a cozy black-tie dinner at the well-appointed Liberal Club of Portland, Oregon:

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Will You Be Free: Caught in the Trap of Permanent War

Written by Chris Floyd 27 September 2014 3252 Hits

The murderous absurdity of the new American-led war in the Middle East almost defies commentary, although I'm currently working on a piece that tries to thread through the obfuscation. In the meantime, below is something I wrote about one of our earlier wars in the region — but as we now live in a state of permanent war, it remains sadly apt for today … and no doubt far into the future.

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Mr. and Mrs. America!

Written by Chris Floyd 24 September 2014 3085 Hits

The AmericaForever Corporation is proud to announce the latest winners of the Mr. and Mrs. America Contest: Pippy and Poppy Longdawdle of Rumsfeld, Ohio! They’re a thoroughly modern couple grounded in traditional values, upholding the best of American exceptionalism in the most exceptional way!Like all real Americans, Pippy and Poppy are entrepreneurs to the core, bootstrapping their way to personal fulfilment and financial freedom. The happy couple are the hardworking proprietors of Longdawdle Mental Ministries, Inc., dedicated to eradicating the scourge of depression that has unaccountably settled over our God-blessed land like a thick, mephitic cloud of bovine methane. As Pippy herself puts it:  “We know a way to counter that old evil eye — with the latest edition of Pippy and Poppy’s Positive Power Pack! This patented method of mental manipulation has been specially culled and curated just for you by Pippy and Poppy! Drawing on the latest top neurocognitive brain researchings by top brain researchers and the time-tested techniques and insights of such top historical mental giants as Sigmund and Froy, Carl Young and Dee Porkchoppa, Pippy and Poppy’s Positive Power Pack is guaranteed to chase away your blues, put pep back in your step and dissipate the noxious emanations of negative thinking which congregate in demonic battalions along the the alleyways of your basal ganglia.”Poppy adds : “You can download a free sample of the last two pages of the first three chapters...

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