LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Oh, dang. Two men, who pull no punches. One brings a legal background, the other a comedic background. This is gonna be good. Let’s listen, learn, critique, discuss. Please leave your comments below. Cheers.
Featured video: “Glenn Greenwald: The Complete Interview!” by The Jimmy Dore Show, posted 23 NOV 2020, accessed 24 NOV 2020
One of the first topics discussed was censorship of media and alternative perspectives. Liberals, argued Greenwald and Dore, pick on easy right-wing targets, like Alex Jones, for censorship. But those liberals fail to realize the institutional abuse of power never stops there. Eventually, everyone is censored, if we allow censorship to begin.
Holy shit. Glenn Greenwald seemed to confirm what Alexa O’ Briensaid to me during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations: “The culture wars are over. Everyone lost.” It’s just taking some of us longer to realize this, to perceive this fact. The capitalist rulers not only hate the left, they hate the right, too. All opposition to the elite rule is being targeted for censorship.
Glenn Greenwald pointed out that a big contributing factor to Biden’s presidential win is the fact that many Republicans drifted over to the Democrat Party, having recognized that the Democrat Party is now, without a doubt, the party of corporate power. If we are Democrats disappointed in corruption in the Democrat Party, we just can’t forget the Republican Party is also a corrupt handmaiden to corporate power, too. The answer isn’t to swing pendulum-like between two sides of a two-party dictatorship, it’s to expand party politics. Jimmy Dore talked about his past efforts to help build a third party movement. Many of us go back to the years of Ralph Nader, or further. At some point, we have to admit this dictatorship we live under is antidemocratic and does not allow any competition a chance to grow.
(c. 24:23) Jimmy Dore asks Glenn Greenwald about the longstanding problem with the misguided belief that progressive reformers within the Democrat Party will be able to capture the party from the left, which has never worked in the USA since the Second Red Scare and McCarthyism vilified, criminalized, and witch-hunted leftists after WWII. And, worse, as Jimmy Dore points out, having ostensibly leftist reformers within the Democrat Party, such as the Squad, creates a false sense of opposition among Democrats. Yet, the evidence proves that the Democrat Party is not a sincere opposition party to the Republican Party.
39:05. On The Intercept censorship
[notes will be expanded as time constraints allow… cheers…]
LUMPENPROLETARIAT—When The Intercept first hit the scene it was pretty exciting for many of us, who try to stay informed but are unsatisfied with corporate media. The Intercept was co-founded by Glen Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras in 2013. Omidyar founded First Look Media in 2014. The Intercept became its first subsidiary. And, today, it’s looking like its first casualty as well.
“In war, truth is the first casualty,” wrote Aeschylus. In this drama surrounding The Intercept, the war seems to be against investigative journalism in order to defend an indefensible Democrat Party, and by extension, the two-party system, or two-party dictatorship.
You’re either with us or against us is the subtext of Intercept boss, Betsy Reed‘s, article about Greenwald’s resignation. In her article, Reed accused Glenn Greenwald of “attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign – the Trump campaign – and launder them as journalism.” Reed gave no evidence; she simply dispensed ad hominem attacks, referring to Greenwald as “a grown person throwing a tantrum” and presenting a narrative “teeming with distortions and inaccuracies.” Reed just couldn’t recall a single one. “It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time.” (See article below.)
That’s convenient, right? No proof, just smear tactics. Reed is lashing out against Greenwald because, as she wrote, “he accuses us of political bias.” Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal concisely pointed out Reed’s contempt for independent journalism in a tweet.
On the other hand, observers like The New York Times, an establishment institution, can always be counted on to support the right-leaning angle of any news narrative. Media reporter for The New York Times, Katie Robertson, strained herself to apologize for The Intercept, for Intercept boss Betsy Reed, and to paint Greenwald as fringe and unhinged. The whole article is sophistry and bullshit.
Meanwhile, in a different variety of sophistry and bullshit, Tucker Carlson interviewed Glenn Greenwald with fake empathy and furrowed-brow concern over the mistreatment of Glenn Greenwald by that rotten, liberal outfit, The Intercept. Tucker Carlson feigned concern, as if he doesn’t also use Greenwald to fit his own narrative, strictly managing what questions will or will not be aired on Fox. Of course, Greenwald admitted on The Hill TV, he is aware Fox News is using him when he agrees to interviews. But, then, he, points out, that’s true of every media outlet. Every media outlet uses you. And, anyway, the journalist, like the citizen, is best off talking to as diverse a variety of people across the ideological spectrum as possible. As long as the journalist is factual and clear, the channel upon which the journalist is reporting shouldn’t matter. Everybody already knows what partisan leanings each channel represents.
Pretty much every media outlet tries to fit Greenwald’s analysis to fit their narratives. Fox does it, when Greenwald has exposed Democrats. And Maddow and company, et al, do it when Greenwald has exposed the Republican Party. But few, if any, are willing to step out of their partisan bubbles and question the larger antidemocratic nature of the two-party system, or two-party dictatorship. This false left-right paradigm, which divides the working classes, also perpetuates the stagnant and regressive two-party system.
When The Intercept first hit the scene, some of us thought: Well, Omidyar’s not a right-winger; so journalistic integrity might just be possible with The Intercept, despite the apparent liberal/centrist profile of its billionaire benefactor. Most of us were impressed by the fact that First Look Media was “a collaboration with Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras with a promised $250 million in funding from Omidyar.” Personally, Greenwald and Scahill were two of my favorite journalists at the time; and Poitras seemed promising as well with her work around Edward Snowden and Citizenfour, for example. Then, we saw Poitras’ Risk. And we thought to ourselves: WTF? Poitras, Academy Award in hand, seemed increasingly irrelevant to many of us after that. As of Halloween 2020, her name is still attached to The Intercept, although it’s unclear what her role is at this point. Maybe she just provides extra “star power” because her contact email is not even an Intercept email address.
Many of us hoped we would finally have an adversarial and anti-imperialist media company with a big budget to compete against the big corporate media companies. But big money always seems to come with strings attached. And it seems Glenn Greenwald has pulled on some of those strings when he refused to allow his work to be censored. And he seems to be unravelling the entire Intercept edifice with that slight tug of the string.
If The Intercept does unravel, Greenwald certainly doesn’t want it to, as he expresses “genuine sadness, not fury” in his resignation letter. By definition, it is a letter of resignation, not a declaration of war. More, it’s a journalistic declaration of independence, one which is backed up by his “journalist accomplishments”, his legal accomplishments, his legal analysis credibility, and all of the other accolades Glen Greenwald has justly earned. He stands as a model of courage and a trailblazer for citizen journalism, journalistic freedom, civic engagement, and fearless political engagement.
The last shred of credibility we see at The Intercept is the fact that Jeremy Scahill is still there. He is still clearly listed as Co-founding Editor and Senior Investigative Reporter on the main “About & Contacts” page, unlike Poitras.
Even though Greenwald had nothing but nice things to say about his friends, who stayed on at The Intercept, the next important question some of us will focus on is:
Where does Jeremy Scahill stand in all of this?
Does Scahill corroborate Greenwald’s allegations of censorship against The Intercept?
Does Scahill corroborate Reed’s allegations of bad journalism against Glenn Greenwald?
Does Scahill plead no comment?
N.B.: This article will be updated and expanded as time and resources allow. In the meantime, como dijo Albert Einstein, the important thing is to not stop questioning.
As much as your author would like to dedicate his entire waking life to investigative journalism, that work has not paid the bills. Labor is scarcely rewarded. And we don’t have “reclusive billionaires” keeping us on the payroll. So, working class blokes like your author must get back to that business of providing for family. We must leave any unanswered questions to intrepid readers to investigate, to analyze, to report, to testify.
THE INTERCEPT— [29 OCT 2020] GLENN GREENWALD’S DECISION to resign from The Intercept stems from a fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship. Glenn demands the absolute right to determine what he will publish. He believes that anyone who disagrees with him is corrupt, and anyone who presumes to edit his words is a censor. Thus, the preposterous charge that The Intercept’s editors and reporters, with the lone, noble exception of Glenn Greenwald, have betrayed our mission to engage in fearless investigative journalism because we have been seduced by the lure of a Joe Biden presidency. A brief glance at the stories The Intercept has published on Biden will suffice to refute those claims.
The narrative Glenn presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies — all of them designed to make him appear as a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum. It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time. For now, it is important to make clear that our goal in editing his work was to ensure that it would be accurate and fair. While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign — the Trump campaign — and launder them as journalism.
THE HILL—[29 OCT 2020] Journalist Glenn Greenwald has resigned from The Intercept, seven years after co-founding the online publication, citing censorship by his own editors over an article concerning former Vice President Joe Biden.
The 53-year-old shared his resignation letter in a tweet to his more than 1.5 million followers on Thursday afternoon, in which he accused editors of refusing to publish an article he wrote unless he removed “all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.”
ALJAZEERA—[30 OCT 2020] Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said on Thursday he had resigned from The Intercept after the US investigative media outlet purportedly refused to publish his article critical of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Greenwald, one of the first journalists to report on the Edward Snowden documents on 2013 US mass surveillance scandal, said he was leaving the website he started in 2014 with two other journalists.
“The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” Greenwald said in a Substack blog post.
THE HILL—[30 OCT 2020] Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of the news site The Intercept, said Friday that he resigned from the publication in order to maintain his “editorial freedom,” adding that editors were wary of publishing articles of his that were critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I would never accept somebody telling me that I can’t publish my views or perspectives without having other people first agree with what it is that I’m saying,” Greenwald told Hill.TV’s “Rising.”
“I never wanted to enter media outlets, and when they began trying to invite me to go and join those media outlets, my condition was always I need to keep this same exact editorial freedom where I post directly to the internet without editorial intervention except in rare cases,” he added.
I just read the passage below from Glenn Greenwald’s resignation letter article he published on his new Substack blog, Greenwald, after resigning from The Intercept last week over censorship issues. This very much resonated with me as to the nature and purpose of my own blog, Lumpenproletariat. Ultimately, we hope to connect with like-minded people to advance democracy at the ballot box, democracy at work, media democracy, and the emancipation of the working classes. Until then, we testify.
From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.
So much of Glenn Greenwald’s love of free speech reflects my own, which is why I love engaging with his work so much. I can always relate to Glenn Greenwald’s reasoning. I imagine many people feel the same, which is probably why he has 1.5 million followers on Twitter. That is a huge audience.
In his letter of resignation from The Intercept, despite the censorship, he went on to add his continued love for The Intercept, which he co-founded with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. His description of the editorial capture of The Intercept by east coast Democrat Party partisans reminds me of my first-hand experiences witnessing the editorial capture by west coast Democrat partisans of the original listener-supported free speech radio outlet and network in the United States, perhaps in the world—KPFA radio, 94.1 FM, Berkeley, California.
Even as I have watched KPFA, and its parent company Pacifica, betray its original mission, one is left with sadness, rather than fury, and always a lingering sense of hope of restoring the organization to its original mission. Like The Intercept, KPFA and Pacifica Radio still have some honest journalists. But, increasingly, Democrat Party apologism and dogma tends to dominate. We saw the same thing happen with The Nation, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and any media outlet or organization, who critiques or otherwise challenges the Democrat Party or, by extension, the two-party dictatorship.
We have even seen the same thing in academia, as economics departments adhere to orthodoxy and marginalize heterodox economics perspectives. We could say the same of the majority of social science curriculums across the nation. Anything left of center is marginalized. Such is the nature of thought police, censorship, and political dictatorships.
And none of the critiques I have voiced about The Intercept are unique to it. To the contrary: these are the raging battles over free expression and the right of dissent raging within every major cultural, political and journalistic institution. That’s the crisis that journalism, and more broadly values of liberalism, faces. Our discourse is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting views, and our culture is demanding more and more submission to prevailing orthodoxies imposed by self-anointed monopolists of Truth and Righteousness, backed up by armies of online enforcement mobs.
And nothing is crippled by that trend more severely than journalism, which, above all else, requires the ability of journalists to offend and anger power centers, question or reject sacred pieties, unearth facts that reflect negatively even on (especially on) the most beloved and powerful figures, and highlight corruption no matter where it is found and regardless of who is benefited or injured by its exposure.
Support free speech. Thank you for reading Lumpenproletariat.org.
“Saint Honesty” by Sara Bareilles
So, we won’t sleep tonight While we brace against the wind Oh, these hearts, they’re weather-makers We’ll go where they take us Until we find ourselves shelter again We won’t settle for the silence We won’t drown in the tears We’ll say every single word, even if we think they’ll hurt Let the rain wash away these tears Rain on us,
LUMPENPROLETARIAT—The Senate Judicial Committee began its Supreme Court Justice Confirmation Hearings today. The Republican Party seeks to install Republican Judge and Christian Right favorite Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an unprecedented move, right-wing President Trump stands to seat his third Supreme Court justice. This will likely tip the scales on the nine-seat Supreme Court, 6 vs. 3, such that the Republican Party and Trump will be able to reverse six previously untouchable Supreme Court decisions (i.e., “super precendents”) by taking new controversial cases, which can overturn legal precedents, including Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, and same-sex marriage rights. And the Republican Party, along with their corporate funders and moneyed interests, have lined up those cases for the Supreme Court, just as they’ve filled it with right-wing ideologues.
The Republican Party has repeatedly tried to overturn those “super precedent” cases. That agenda has been part of the Republican Party platform, since at least 2016, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both campaigned on promises of appointing judges, which would overturn Citizens United and Roe, respectively.
Meanwhile, Barrett has been on Trump’s shortlist for years. And Barrett, for her part, has checked all the necessary boxes in her meteoric rise to the Supreme Court after only four years on the bench. Barrett has been an activist in the right-wing Federalist society, which has effectively functioned as a feeder to the Republican Party’s Supreme Court nomination list. It’s obvious to any literate observers paying attention to this nomination process that Barrett is a Republican Party partisan and activist, who has carefully maneuvered her way to this position. Yet, Barrett will say she never expected to find herself in that position. Is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who will fulfill Trump’s 2016 promise? Will Amy Coney Barrett and the Republican Party gaslight the entire world? Or will Barrett prove to be non-partisan? They say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
Let’s listen closely and take notes, shall we?
Channel: PBS Newshour  Program: “The Barrett Confirmation Hearings” [Day 1], link Date: Monday, 12 OCT 2020
Ranking member Democrat Senator Feinstein offered a mealy-mouthed opening, with little-to-no forcefulness of opposition to the Trump judicial end run. She seemed more interested in preserving her political legacy, than in mounting a meaningful opposition to the Republican judicial confirmation.
Senator Grassley spoke in favor of the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator Durbin spoke against the confirmation of Republican Judge Barett
(c. 1:09:36) Senator Lee spoke again in favor of confirming Republican Judge Barrett.
(c. 40:52) Senator Leahy speaks against the confirmation of Judge Barrett.
(c. 1:20:54) [TW] Democrat Senator Whitehouse (Rhode Island) spoke against confirming Republican Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.
(c. 1:31:30) Republican Senator Ted Cruz spoke in favor of confirming Republican Judge Barrett. He spoke nonchalantly about Barrett’s “impeccable” credentials. Never mind the broader political consequences to the credibility of the Supreme Court as an institution. Cruz argued that this Republican move is not unprecedented and cited the three branches checks and balances as reassurance to the public, even as the Republican Party’s agenda is to politically capture the Supreme Court.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri) spoke in favor of confirming Republican Judge Barret to the Supreme Court. His rhetoric smacks of narcissistic abuse, in light ot the facts. But it likely played well to the Republican base.
(c. 2:25:22) Senator Blumenthal(sp?) [TW]
(c. 2:36:46) Republican Senator Tillis spoke in favor of confirming Republican judge Barrett.
(c. 2:43:09) Recess. Very interesting discussion. [TW]
(c. 3:07:25) A “political correspondent” reported live from the Senate building. Others joined later.
(c. 3:28:11) PBS host transitioned back to testimony in progress on the Senate floor. Senator Hirono began speaking a moment earlier. Woodruff and guest finished making one last point, as they watched Senator Hirono testifying.
(c. 3:32:35) PBS Host Judy Woodruff interrupted Senator Hirono’s testimony livestream to sign out of the televised broadcast. Woodruff informed viewers they must go online, if they want to continue observing the hearings. Never mind the digital divide.
(c. 3:39:10) Republican Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa spoke in favor, arguing against a “super legislature” in the Supreme Court. Ernst argued against “the left” and its “judicial activism” in the Supreme Court, evidently gaslighting the nation, as the Republican Party proceeds to do just what their blaming “the left” for doing. Ernst doesn’t even seem to understand the American political spectrum because there is no “left-wing” in the USA anymore, since the Second Red Scare and McCarhyism, when the Republican Party bullied society into criminalizing the entire left half of the political spectrum. Since then, the USA has only allowed center-right politics. Third party politics and political alternatives are marginalized, blocked, censored, and undermined. Ernst fearmongers against “the left”, but there is no “left” in the USA anymore. Ernst is complaining about Democrats, who are centrists. Socialists and communists were vilified, criminalized, and run aground after WWII. Ernst even sniped at the “left’s” accusation against Judge Barrett of being a “handmaid”, in an ominous reference to The Handmaid Tale right-wing dystopia.
(c. 3:47:40) Democratic Senator Corey Booker spoke against the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
(c. 4:00:03) Republican Senator Crapo spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Crapo made a series of straw man arguments, evidently hoping no one would notice.
Crapo bullshit argument number one: Republicans are railroading this in a legally unprecedented fashion. Crapo’s take-down of this argument involved listing a number of historical precedents when Supreme Court justices were seated within weeks of the passing of the previous Justice. Hogwash, he moaned. Of course, he knows as well as we do, the contention is not about the time between the death and the new confirmation. The contention is over the ethics of confirming a new justice so close to an election day, when millions of Americans have already voted, and there is a pandemic going on, as such controversial cases are at stake in an already conservative Supreme Court, in terms of the controversial cases.
Crapo bullshit argument number two. Crapo played some games of semantics around the terminology of the political science term, court packing. Crapo proceeded to gaslight the nation by claiming the Republican Party agenda is not to fill the Republican Party is not trying to fill the seat with ideologically conservative or right-wing justices. Crapo seemed to do this by deflecting to the personal character of Judge Barrett, rather than the political character of the Republican Party and its well publicized agenda.
When Crapo did talk about the Republican Party and its political character, he bemoaned that the Democrats had vetoed their earlier “$600 billion covid relief package.”
(c. 4:07:50) “Judge, let me talk about you,” said Crapo, before Crapo proceeding to once again laud Barrett’s personal character.
Another bullshit argument Crapo made was in his conclusion of celebrating Barrett’s bio. Crapo waxed poetically about how Barrett is a disciple of the right-wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Crapo was either unaware, or feigned ignorance, of the fact that being a disciple of another judge makes a candidate less qualified for the Supteme Court, not more, because such a judge would be less independent, by definition. “She also stated that the judicial philosophy of Antonin Scalia was hers, too. […] That’s what we need,” he proclaimed triumphantly, a fresh new judge in the mold of Scalia, indeed personally mentored by Scalia.
(c. 4:11:00) Democrat Senator Kamala Harris spoke against the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court. Suspiciously, if comically, as the Democrat Vice Presidential nominee is about to speak, the Republican chair of the Senate Judicial Committee Mith McConnell struggled with technical difficulties, as Senator Harris sounded like she was in the middle of a Saturday Night Live satire.
(c. 4:21:30) [TW] Republican Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court. The Senator from Louisiana definitely turned up the volume and the drama on the Senate floor when he invoked the Democrat Party challenge to the previous Republican Party nomination to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. We recall Kavanaugh became embroiled in scandal stemming from allegations of his youthful indiscretions, when one “Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and tried to undress her when they were both teenagers.” That scandal arose in the context of his nomination by President Trump, who himself had to deal with a number of scandals himself. In one video, he was recorded talking about grabbing women by the pussy. Evidently, he was unaware such behavior constitutes sexual assault. Oy vey.
— snip —
(c. 4:3?2:30) [TW] Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court.
(c. 4:42:30) Republican Senator Lindsey Graham did some housekeeping, as chair of the Senate Judicial Committee.
(c. 4:45:06) A shillish Republican Senator interjected to ask what the obvious term “CDC compliant” means, which Graham ran with to fret about being accused of not testing for covid or wearing a mask and whatnot. The two engaged in a bit of political theater, which surely played well to the flag-wabing, gun-toting anti-maskers.
(c. 4:45:06) Grahamspeak
(c. 4:46:21) Republican Senator Todd Young spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court.
(c. 4:51:02) Republican Senator Mike Braun from Indiana spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court. Braun billed her as “a legal tiger that drives a minivan”, from the Midwest not the East Coast, he chided.
(c. 4:59:35) Judge Amy Coney Barrett spoke in favor of her own confirmation to the U.S Supreme Court.
(c. 5:11:50) O’Hara, Barrett’s “recruiter” spoke in favor of the confirmation of Republican Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court. Describing
(c. 5:19:28) Judicial Committee Chair Lindsey Graham gave his closing remarks, concluding Day One of the Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings.
“In October 2006 the media criticism group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) accused the NewsHour of lacking balance, diversity, and viewpoints of the general public, and for presenting corporate viewpoints. FAIR found that the NewsHour‘s guest list from October 2005 to March 2006 had Republicans outnumbering Democrats 2–1, and minorities accounting for 15 percent of U.S.-based sources. FAIR also protested in 1995 when Liberty Media purchased a majority of the program, citing Liberty’s majority owner, John Malone, for his “Machiavellian business tactics” and right-wing sentiments.”