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Sunday, November 30, 2008


I think that to some degree he's turned that corner--he just hasn't gone around it as far as you have. I also think he's been much more Chomskyesque in the past year than he used to be, but maybe I wasn't reading him closely enough before, so I don't know if that's a real change in his writing or just me noticing his Chomskyesque tendencies more than I used to. But if you're a faithful reader you'll have noticed that he does talk about Democrat crimes and Democratic complicity and he does acknowledge that imperialism has been a bipartisan problem, or anyway, I'm pretty sure I've read him say things to that effect.

I only read his stuff now and then (usually when I see a pointer to it somewhere), but I'd agree that it does seem to have gotten stronger over the past year. I suppose another question is how long he'd retain his position at Salon (and his popularity in general) if he does venture even farther into Democrat-criticism land, especially after Obama takes office.

OMG ! ! OMG ! !

It turns out we were wrong about Thomas Friedman and the New York Times all along!!

(heh, heh, if only)

Man, if you just read more IOZ, you would know that Greenwald is just a tiresome pointer-to-the-obvious.
Why criticize GE-owned NBC for their war-pimping? Don't you know GE is a major defense contractor? Yawn.

I read IOZ regularly, sort of as an antidote to the the centrist liberals that I also read, but there's no reason to pit IOZ against Glenn. IOZ is great for the pithy, incredibly witty one-paragraph summary of how our society functions--Glenn is the guy who goes into the details, sometimes doing a fair amount of work in the process. It'd be boring for IOZ to do that, because he already knows what he's going to find.

Also, Glenn has about the biggest megaphone anyone anywhere near Chomsky's opinions could possibly have in our political culture. What you yawn about, SteveB, is probably news to a lot of people.

Actually, I was playing IOZ there, since the post I linked to had him saying exactly that: NBC is owned by GE, which is a major military contractor, so what's new about their pushing a pro-war point of view? Greenwald actually showed up in the comments to make the point you made (and also questioned the importance of military contracts to GE's bottom line).

Like you, I read both Greenwald and IOZ, and usually enjoy both, but sometimes I find IOZ's "seen it all" attitude hard to take. Which is one more thing that I love about the internet: I gives me the freedom to enjoy in small doses people who I would not be able to stand in large doses. If I had to listen to IOZ in person for more than a half-hour, I'd probably want to strangle the guy, but in the form of "pithy, incredibly witty one-paragraph summary of how our society functions" he's just about perfect.

If I were inclined to liberal politics, I'd see Greenwald as a superb attorney general -- in a Nader administration, natch ;-) He's got the chops for it.

I'm curious to see what he does as the Obama administration starts its moderate, sensible, thoughtful and restrained pursuit of ruthless hegemony.


Okay, I misunderstood. I enjoy IOZ once I got it into my head that there's no point in trying to have a serious conversation in his comments section. It's fun watching the occasional mainstream liberal visitor get ripped up (Glenn more than holds his own, but then he's not entirely mainstream), but I don't want to jump into that shark tank myself.

Is harshly criticizing other, like-minded blogs in the comments of one blog bad form? If so, I apologize.

Personally if I wanted pithy wit I'd read Oscar Wilde. To me, IOZ-style writing comes across as a vacuous poseur, more interested in finding an opportunity for snark than actually analyzing things. Perhaps it's because I prefer to read blog posts that are both intellectually and emotionally engaged. The subject matter of "Chomskyite" blogs is compelling on many levels and hearing it talked of in a don't-care manner tends to turn me off. I get this mental image of a young white college kid sneering at his buddies over some pretentious foreign beer, because he imagines he's in a contest where the person who cares least wins. I love political humor and satire so long as it's informed by an emotional sensibility about what's happening in the world. Yes, I know discussions in the blogosphere don't actually have an effect in the real world, but I think dead Iraqi children deserve at least our outrage, as a mark of respect, not just to be used as an opportunity to show off how clever we are.

I suppose this is why I love Arthur Silber's rants, and Chris Floyd's.

...the person who cares least wins.

Yeah, exactly. I've read IOZ sporadically for the past few months, but the pervasive "caring about stuff is stoopid" attitude (in the comments and elsewhere) finally convinced me to give it a pass.

I think you're selling Greenwald a little short here. He took the red pill a while ago, and has been stressing the bipartisan nature of gubmnint criminality for a couple of years, stressing that Democrats vote for things like the war and FISA because they support them. He's not into Arthur Silber territory, but his general take on Obama has been that he's a war criminal worthy of support-without-illusion because small changes in large systems affect lots of people. This is actually Chomsky's take as well and I find it perfectly respectable.

Actually I don't think we're all that far apart in our assessments, dude; see my comment here. I do in fact respect Greenwald quite a bit. But I've also seen him cast aspersions on a "small, unrepresentative cluster on the Left" for believing that the US under Bush has been "just a slightly modified version of its decades-long bullying, imperialistic, pillaging self." So yes, I agree with a lot of what he says, but he still has a fundamental belief in American exceptionalism (tarnished by Bush) that I'd say is deeply misguided. We'll see which way he goes over the next four years.

I'd always thought of Pandagon as a somewhat lefter-than-most blog, but here Amanda is all up in arms about how the outing of Valerie Plame prevented the CIA from "doing it's job." No, not overthrowing Mossadegh or killing Allende - gathering intel and protecting us from loose nukes, you big silly! The comments are even worse.

I look forward to four years of Democratic partisans circling the wagons and becoming even more resistant to anything that threatens the American (and Democratic party) Exceptionalism they believe in so completely.

I swear I didn't keep refreshing the page or anything. Damn TypePad.

Yeah, let's all hold our breath waiting for Greenwald to shoot himself in the wallet. Does anyone even remotely connected with reality expect this guy to risk financial disaster by telling the truth about our One Party state? Especially after what the pwoggie-bloggie demotard fucks did to Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and anyone else who dares to stand up to their DP masters and betters?

Greenwald does not have that much sand. Not even close.

No problem, Gnome, duplicates nuked.

Regarding that link, I've found there's a near-100% correlation between a) people who constantly throw around words like "choad" and "douche" in their attacks on conservatives and b) seething contempt and/or vicious hatred for Democratic apostates like myself. It's like seeing a bright green frog in the Amazon—you don't have to actually lick it to know it'll kill you. So if I see someone telling me that person X is like a total fucking asshat, I don't spend any more of my time on them.

I actually get a kick out of it myself - we're supposed to be soooo outraged by this particular crime against humanity, so we express it by...calling someone a silly name? Doesn't that kind of distract from the supposedly serious point you want to make? "Can you believe all the things Bush is signing off on as he heads out the door, all the parting middle fingers he's flipping to the world? Oooh, that big taintlicking doody-breath!" The absurd juxtaposition makes me crack up, but then again, I am easily amused.

Aw, you see what you guys did? You spoke aloud of the sneering nihilism at IOZ's place, and the ultimate distilled essence of that attitude, AlanSmithee, shows up in person to grace us all with his Grand Unified Theory of How Everything's Fucked and You're a Loser For Thinking You Can Do Anything About It. Loser.

It's like that Candyman movie - speak the name three times in front of a mirror...

Gnome: Disagreement is fine, but don't get personal and make me go all blogmom on you, ok?

Alan: I'd mostly agree, except that I'm remotely connected with reality and I do give Greenwald a reasonable chance of continuing on his current trajectory (even with the Democratic siren song to lure him back in). He's already gone much farther than I'd ever have expected given his mainstream perch, and he's dealt with the fallout from that—so who knows? I'm at least willing to wait and see.

To defend Amanda: to the best of our knowledge, Plame was fighting nuclear proliferation. It's a bit different from the contras.

No problem, John, but I didn't think I was attacking him personally, just trying to encapsulate pretty much every single comment he's ever made.

LadyVetinari: exactly. "To the best of our knowledge." And as we all know, you can always trust the CIA to give you the straight scoop.

Of course not, but you can't automatically assume everything out of their mouth is a lie, either. Indeed, some of the best evidence we have of the flaws of the CIA comes from the CIA.

Well, maybe from whistleblowers or people otherwise no longer with the program, but I wouldn't say the organization itself is prone to sudden attacks of compulsive soul-baring and truth-telling. In this case, it's so obviously in their interest to paint themselves as victims, and I don't think an organization capable of assassinations and overthrowing elected governments is going to be averse to some disingenuous P.R. if it suits them.

I just think the Pandagon case is one of a bunch of people deciding that the enemy of Bush is my friend, just like they all convinced themselves that Patrick Fitzgerald was going to be a one-man truth commission who would personally hogtie and deliver Bush and Cheney to the docket at the Hague.

I just think the Pandagon case is one of a bunch of people deciding that the enemy of Bush is my friend...

And Plame and other such cases also give liberals a chance to engage in one of their favorite exercises: puffing up their chests and bellowing about "national security," the "national interest," and so on, so they can prove they're not really the flag-burning hippie stink farmers the right paints them as. They do patriotism right. It's not blowing people up that's the problem—it's when the person doing the killing is a member of the wrong party. Marcotte's not quite that far gone in this posting, but the bits about "treason" and the "CIA's ability to do their job or recruit people" are certainly symptomatic of the pathology.

Personally I'm happy when the CIA can't do their job or recruit people, seeing as they're the distilled essence of American evil. And one of the people I've admired is a former CIA agent who revealed the names of CIA agents and the details of their operations in order to disrupt the agency's crimes, at great personal cost.

It's certainly true that the whole Plame incident stinks and is a perfect example of how far the Bush administration (hand in hand with hypocrites like Novak) is willing to go to punish its enemies, but it's possible to say that without lining up behind the CIA.

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