Matt Taibbi's Ubiquitous Brilliance !

Matt Taibbi's everywhere this month, especially over the past few days. As some reading this may remember (going back over a decade at "the other place"), I've been a huge fan of his for a long time. I was active in Boston political media, back in the early 80's, when his father, Mike, was a leading local newscaster there; and I met him (and worked countless times with his tv station's news staff) a few times, as well.

Matt's promoting his new book, "Hate, Inc.," and as one YouTube commenter put it, Taibbi's two-part interview, "The Deep Rot of American Journalism," with Chris Hedges, over at RT.com, "...is better journalism than the last 10 years of Fox, CNN and MSNBC combined." Personally, I think the quality of this interview's commentary makes the previous comment an understatement!

Part I:

Part II:

Meanwhile, over at Rolling Stone, Thursday, Matt published this: "The Liberal Embrace of War."

"The Liberal Embrace of War"

"American interventionists learned a lesson from Iraq: pre-empt the debate. Now everyone is for regime change"

Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone
May 16th, 2019 2:41PM

...The new play in the Trump era involves recognizing Juan Guaidó as president and starving and sanctioning the country. Maduro, encircled, has been resisting.

The American commercial news landscape, in schism on domestic issues, is in lockstep here. Every article is seen from one angle: Venezuelans under the heel of a dictator who caused the crisis, with the only hope a “humanitarian” intervention by the United States.

There is no other perspective...
...

...Don’t want to invade Syria? Get ready to be denounced as an Assadist. Feel ambivalent about regime change in Venezuela? You must love Putin and Maduro.

People end up either reflexively believing these things, or afraid to deal with vitriol they’ll get if they say something off-narrative. In the media world, it’s understood that stepping out of line on Venezuela or Syria will result in being removed from TV guest lists, loss of speaking income, and other problems.

This has effectively made intellectual objections to regime change obsolete. In the Trump era, things that not long ago aroused widespread horror — from torture to drone assassination to “rendition” to illegal surveillance to extrajudicial detention in brutal secret prisons around the world — inspire crickets now.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times ran an exposé about Guantanamo Bay that should have been a devastating piece of journalism. It showed site officials building a hospice, because prisoners are expected to grow old and die rather than ever sniff release. One prisoner was depicted sitting gingerly in court because of “chronic rectal pain” from being routinely sodomized in CIA prisons.

Ten years ago, Americans would have been deeply ashamed of such stories. Now, even liberals don’t care. The cause of empire has been cleverly re-packaged as part of #Resistance to Trump, when in fact it’s just the same old arrogance, destined to lead to the same catastrophes. Bad policy doesn’t get better just because you don’t let people talk about it.

I'd continue on, but it's a busy day here for yours truly. So, enjoy, watch and read on!

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Lookout's picture

I've been recommending them as well.

Thanks for featuring them.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout

...ever had the pleasure of witnessing, anywhere!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Lookout's picture

@bobswern

so he grew up in the biz. I thought his comments about addiction were insightful as well.

Have a great weekend!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout

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2 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Outsourcing Is Treason's picture

My favorite was in Part II of the interview where he gives his ten rules for generating hate. This is just spot-on how they do it.

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10 users have voted.

"Please clap." -- Jeb Bush

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

I hope Taibbi will write a chapter about what happened during the fall of 2016 when it appeared some bodysnatcher was ghost writing his Rolling Stone columns on behalf of Hillary.

Glad to see he seems to have been given his soul (or at least some modicum of editorial control) back.

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Peace Sells

@Not Henry Kissinger I definitely want the number of his exorcist.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

I'm still turning that one over in my mind. It was like a bad dream.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

In good part the era of Obama created the "pro-war and pro-imperialism liberal". I remember marching twice in anti-Iraqi/Bush rallies both of which drew a ton of people. Once Obama was elected and he started on his militarism and imperialism, the people especially democrats, proved themselves not be to anti-war but simply anti-Bush. The anti-war effort fizzled.

I remember the talking heads from the heyday of Air America and "liberal talk radio" defending Obama. And now those voices are deep into the Russiagate conspiracies and are pro-war and pro-imperialism and pro a new Cold War. When Trump tried peace with NK, these were the voices who called him an incompetent boob. They hide their agreements with Trump by not criticizing his policy, but that he is an incompetent leader of the war machine. His first strike against Syria was roundly attacked not from a anti-war perspective, but from the point of view it did not do enough damage and did not kill any Russians.

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@MrWebster Thom Hartmann

I quit listening after he ran away with Killary. I accidentally catch him for a few minutes here and there since he's on 2 of the 3 (community) radio stations I listen to. Still peddling Russiagate. He's the Maddcow of the radiowaves to me...

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@BORG_US_BORG

Pro-Iraq war from the very beginning.

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Peace Sells

@MrWebster He supported NATO expansion when NATO elimination would have been a better policy and NATO expansion was for no purpose other than feeding the MIC beast. Had NATO disbanded rather than expanded the world would be a much, much better place.

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In 2004 he went after Nader with what seemed to me to be personal attacks for trying to get on the presidential ballot. And then in 2012 he said it was Obama who got us out of Iraq which was simply not true. The Bush admin was the one that set up with the Iraqis the draw down. In fact, Obama wanted to either keep or increase the number of troops but Iraqis said no. Later, gopers distorted this fact to attack Obama being weak on terrorism. I listened to Thom absolutely berate a caller about this.

The worst I heard was Randi Rhodes (anybody remember her), who started screaming at caller for criticizing Obama over Afghanistan.

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there is a lot of it going around.

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@irishking

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Azazello's picture

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@Azazello

Thanks for this. It's from just the past few hours. Cool!

Like I said, "Ubiquitous!" (Right now, anyway.)

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Azazello's picture

@bobswern
so that could explain why he's all over the place.
That interview with Eskow is especially good toward the end where he talks about the Dems not wanting to confront why She lost.

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4 users have voted.

earlier. That was a good piece. Comports with objective observation, but still contains things that need to be said out loud to hopefully break through remaining dissonance that still somehow plagues a good many.

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lotlizard's picture

https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with [elites and superstars], their trust in [them], made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

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travelerxxx's picture

@lotlizard

Milton Mayer's They Thought They Were Free should be required reading of every c99er. I first read it about ten years ago and it moved me to my core. Yes, Mayer was writing of German life in the years before 1945, but what I kept seeing in my mind's eye was the current day United States of America. It's even truer now, a decade later.

Thanks for the excerpt, lotlizard.

I would suggest those interested find Sebastian Haffner's Defying Hitler. Those two books dovetail well. Funny ... as I write this, I glanced over to a stack of books on my desk. Haffner's is on the top of the stack, under some bills. Mayer's is two beneath it. Sandwiched between them is Robert Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism. Easy to tell what I'm worried about, eh?

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@travelerxxx

I think most here--and many millions of others elsewhere--are worried about what you're worried about.

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson