Vanity Fair Acts as Democratic Party Enforcer Against Greenwald, NC, Others; Train Wreck Ensues

Vanity Fair has never been shy about its fealty to people with money and power, including Mike Milken, Blackrock’s Larry Fink, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, and Democratic Party elites.

One of the magazine’s better-known writers, James Wolcott, is so unhinged at how a Trump presidency has upended the natural order that he savaged an eclectic group of writers, movie celebrities, and public figures that he regards as insufficiently hostile to Trump. He included Naked Capitalism in his hit list.

As far I can can tell, Wolcott’s targets share one characteristic: They are known for doing high quality work. That, and they refuse to buy into the proposition that having the losing factions in a Presidential election – including the “intelligence community” – engineer a soft coup against the winning candidate is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

We don’t share his enthusiasm because we’ve contemplated what rule by President Pence or military/surveillance community coup-meisters would amount to. Yet Wolcott explicitly advocates turfing Trump out by non-political means: “Go, State, go.”

Wolcott doesn’t seem to think much of his readers’ discernment. Is he casting them a “See Spot Run” or World Wide Wrestling fans? Plus he has gone out of his way to features Hollywood names prominently in a political story, apparently to cater to what he sees as a low information following.

Wolcott’s screed has such a high noise-to-signal ratio that he offers little concrete criticism. In fact, it’s both sad and revealing when a writer esteemed for his phrase-making descends into incoherent blather that we are supposed to regard as incisive because there are a lot of big words in there. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of the naked Emperor not realizing that the sight of his bouncing bum isn’t very enticing.

Nevertheless, one can discern that Wolcott is upset because he thinks those who invoke hoary ideas like Constitutional norms are just hiding their status as “dude-bros… fun guys,” meaning what really motivates them is sexist antipathy to Clinton. In the World According to Democratic Loyalists, there’s no such thing as not liking Clinton for her policy positions, for instance, favoring the TPP, refusing to recant her “superpredators” slur of young black men, her Philippines-level casualness about where to draw the line between personal enrichment and public business, or her warmongering. Wanting to bring American politics up to the level of, say, Italy is just too much to ask.

And Wolcott is apparently unable to see the contradiction in classifying Eileen Jones of Jacobin, Jill Stein, and Susan Sarandon as “dude-bros.” Evidently “derision of liberal Hollywood pieties” is enough to earn you honorary testosterone points.

Throw Stuff in a Pot and Call It Soup

Wolcott’s targets fall into two groups. The first includes Glenn Greenwald, Truthdig, Mark Ames, Consortiumnews, and your humble bloggers. Some of us had the honor of appearing on the PropOrNot List as well, along with a seemingly random assemblage that also included Ron Paul’s website, the Drudge Report, ZeroHedge, Natural News, Paul Craig Roberts, and about 200 others. Wolcott has done a passable job of staying more focused – as much as half of his list consists of critics of liberalism, defined by Thomas Frank as identity politics covering for economic policies that favor affluent professionals and increase income inequality. The members of the first group provide extensive, informationally dense posts on a wide variety of subjects. Wolcott accordingly has nothing concrete to say about them.

Wolcott’s second group is unserious targets. They are designated villians, chosen so he can attack them personally. In a classic guilt by association approach, slinging mud on this bunch serves to dirty up the serious skeptics.

His bad guys include individuals like Oliver Stone, Mickey Kaus, and Susan Sarandon who have almost no connection with the first group, plus ones who are respected by some writers in the first group but have little influence on their ideas (Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein, Dennis Kucinich, Cornel West). Lest his readers become alarmed by a discussion of issues, Wolcott cherry-picks the Eileen Jones post in Jacobin about Meryl Streep as if it epitomizes…. something, presumably what all the named parties really stand for if you got a few too many drinks into them.1

In fact, Wolcott’s essay consists largely of “snarkish” remarks of the very sort he derides at the top of his piece. They are aimed at the individuals mentioned in the last paragraph, alternating with formulaic invective aimed at right-wingers. @KateAronoff captures his technique….

…except Wolcott is more dishonest than that. He has no interest in presenting what any of the objects of his ire said or did. A Vanity Fair reader would have no clue that Jacobin, Naked Capitalism, and Truthdig agree generally on the need for more economic justice yet often differ on how to go about it. The only relevant issue, per him, is that we don’t regard toppling Trump as being of paramount importance.

And while Wolcott throws Susan Sarandon a link (perhaps due to Vanity Fair deference to Hollywood agents) along with Eileen Jones, presumably because Vanity Fair readers would find it hard to believe that anyone would really say bad things about the sainted Streep, he fails to link to any of the sites or individual writers he browbeats. Perhaps it’s because his audience might fall into our oh so “powerful reality distortion field”? Apparently Wolcott has such a dim view of his readers’ critical thinking skills that he doesn’t dare encourage them to make their own assessment.

Wolcott’s Orthodoxy Policing

Wolcott makes no bones about engaging in doctrinal enforcement. His targets are “apostates” who “foster factionalism.”

Gee, what about democracy don’t you understand? It’s the job of politicians to win votes, not of citizens to be slavish followers.

But Wolcott’s version of a healthy polis is devoid of ideas or of leaders focused on the betterment of citizens. He’s recycling the failed Democratic party strategy of “promise little and hope you can get away with less” that led to yet more losses at all levels of government in 2016. Wolcott acts as if his “more cowbell” tactic of vigorous enforcement by a rump of hard core Democratic establishmentarians will change electoral outcomes. He uses “noble” and “quixotic” as epithets. Critiques are “caterwauling” due to “disillusionment” after hoping for too much too quickly. Those who refuse to buy in are to be vilified some more. And when that fails, they will be ostracized as “fringe” and “anomalous.”

Similarly, Wolcott sees no inconsistency in depicting Democratic party refusniks as having a romance with revolution that might lead to violence and dictatorship, when it is his allies that are obsessed with #Resistance, punching fascists, and fantasizing about coups.

There is No “Alternative”

Even though Wolcott’s article is a festering mass of overheated blather, most readers don’t get past the headline and subhead. Wolcott can therefore hope that his use of “alt” will tarnish leftie critics of Team Dem.

Yet the very existence of this piece is a sign of desperation in the Acela corridor. It’s one thing for a bunch of amateurish opportunists like PropOrNot who were openly looking to get their noses into the military-surveillance feeding trough to go after a hodgepodge of independent sites. For them, that was still punching up. Wolcott is punching down, way down, in terms of power relations, to go after the likes of ConsortiumNews and Naked Capitalism.

In other words, Democrat operatives remain unwilling to do a proper post mortem and figure out what they did wrong, yet on some level they know that their list of preferred scapegoats isn’t adequate as an explanation for their colossal meltdown over the past ten years. Hence the need to intensify the demonization of the “other,” which is no longer just the deplorables in the flyover states, evil Rooskies, and those fifth columnists, the Sanders voters. No, it’s anything “alternative,” anything non-orthodox.

But they can’t take the NewSpeak as far as they’d like. For older techies and Netizens, “alt” groups were the epitome of cool, unfettered days of the Internet. Similarly, “alternative” once referred to a experimental rock bands. Then “alternative rock” went mainstream while managing to maintain a veneer of hip-ness. Similarly, many of these same Good Liberals use alternative medicine. Yet here we are, with Wolcott and his fellow propagandists trying to repurpose “alternative” into something unspeakable and terrifying.

What is the immediate purpose of Wolcott’s cack-handed effort, aptly skewered in Kate Aronoff’s tweet, of a false equivalence between the strident, shock-jock right and anyone else who is not a card-carrying member of Team Dem, by slapping the label “alternative” on both?

Who would want to convince people that anyone who is not left-liberal and who is alienated from the Republican Party is unwholesome and should be shunned?

Well, it’s pretty obvious. Anyone, “left” or “right” who wants to prevent the economically disaffected from talking to each other in spite of tribal signifiers. The Democrats have decided they will continue to ignore them and therefore you must too.


1 To be clear, I like the Eileen Jones piece and am a big fan of well-done righteous indignation, which has a proud tradition going back to Christ’s cleansing of the temple of Jerusalem of money-lenders.

Robert Fitch neatly depicted how the Democratic party pretense that everyone just needs to get along stymies parties with demands. From a must-read speech at the Harlem Tenants Association a mere ten days after Obama’s 2008 election, Exclusive: How Obama’s Early Career Success Was Built on Fronting for Chicago Real Estate and Finance:

The haves and the have-nots have different and opposing interests—landlords want to get rid of rent stabilization; tenants have an interest in keeping it. Workers want to save their jobs; bosses want to save their capital, which means cutting workers. In pursuing their opposing interests, the have-nots are forced take up the weapons of the weak— demonstrations, direct action; filling the jails with conscientious objectors; taking personal risks. Who benefits when one side gives up without a struggle? The Haves or the Have nots? Frederick Douglass reminds us: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did. It never will.”

When the Third Way advocates insist that we share a common good; when they refuse to recognize that the interests of the oppressed and the interests of the oppressors don’t exist on the same moral plane; when they counsel us to stop being partisans of those interests—they’re not being non or post partisan; they’re siding with the powers that be.

In other words, insisting on polite norms of elite discourse makes it impossible to depict abuse and exploitation and name names without implicating members of the club. Can’t have that, now can we?

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  1. Kukulkan

    Gee, what about democracy don’t you understand? It’s the job of politicians to win votes, not of citizens to be slavish followers.

    The other part of democracy that they don’t seem to understand is: you accept the result of the vote. You campaign as hard as you can for your preferred policy/party/candidate, but once the votes are cast and counted, you accept the result. Those who lost congratulate the winners — preferably with grace and dignity, but even begrudgingly is acceptable — and start preparing for the next election. There’s always a next election.

    You accept the result of the vote. Sometimes that may be difficult, but it’s the basic virtue that makes democracy possible.

    1. Arizona Slim

      But Hillary won the popular vote! Which means that she truly was inevitable!

      Oh, wait.

      There’s that pesky thing called winning electoral votes. And Trump won more.

      And there is Hillary’s concession during the week hours of Wednesday, November 9.

      1. Archangel

        I really wish they’d leave that trope of “HRC won the popular vote” alone. It’s infuriating. That was obtained on the basis of just one state – CA – which gave her a nearly 4 million vote lead by itself, with turnout massively boosted by several important ballot measures, including a major one: Prop 64 ( recreational marijuana).

        1. Vatch

          You’re right. Trump won the combined popular vote in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

          California: Trump 4,483,810 – Clinton 8,753,788
          Every place else: Trump 58,501,296 – Clinton 57,099,837

          It’s scary that so many people cast their votes for either Trump or Clinton.

            1. Vatch

              Why? Is it because I was upset about the things that Ajamu Baraka said about Sanders? On a couple of occasions I have mentioned that I voted for the Greens, despite my severe distaste for Baraka’s Bernie bashing, but maybe you never saw those comments of mine. The choices in the 2016 Presidential election were very disappointing.

          1. Charles Peterson

            First, thanks for these numbers, very interesting (I’ve apparently been asleep).

            However, “every place else” is not a single state. Hillary won the popular vote in a number of other states, which you could also lump together in various ways, etc. So this analysis is actually just spin. Likewise one could say that Trump’s electoral college victory came “only” from Texas.

            Snopes rates the “Clinton won popular vote because of California” a mixed rating.


        2. Science Officer Smirnoff

          If you point out the voter stimulants like Prop 64 in Ca, you should note the voter suppression toxins elsewhere, no?

          (I only mention for reader convenience)

        3. sgt_doom

          California? That’s the state where a republicon began a movement, funded by a Russian nationalist group, to have California leave the union?

          Makes sense . . .

          (Didn’t they also elect Nixon and those actors as their governors?)

          1. Vatch

            Nixon was never elected the governor of California. He lost to Edmund “Pat” Brown in 1962, and uttered the famous words:

            “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more”

            Ronald Reagan was California governor for two terms.

            1. Adams

              You forgot AAAAhnold. Jerry Brown just wishes he was a rock-star, but Linda Ronstadt was as close as he got. No doubt California started the “elect-a-celebrity” trend. Now we have Oprah, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Matt Damon to choose from in 2020.
              Even Michael Moore thinks so.

        4. beth

          I, also, don’t like to hear Clinton boosters say that she won the popular vote. The first time I heard it, I popped off by saying that she/HRC knew the rules and winning the electoral college was the way one won, and she had had more experience with doing that than anyone ever had. There was no rejoinder to that, but I made some enemies. I was just tired of the double standard.

          I thought it was time to evaluate what had just happened. Personally I feel that the Ds chose the wrong candidate as most of NC communitariat does.

        5. John Morrison

          Thanks for the info, Archangel and Vatch. I hope that I remember that the next time I see the claim of Clinton winning the popular vote.

      2. PKMKII

        There’s that pesky thing called winning electoral votes. And Trump won more.

        If they have a problem with that, then they need to get enough state laws changed on the delegating of electoral voters. Oh wait, that would require actually winning at the state level.

        1. bob

          Yup. They keep shooting themselves in the foot. The picked the ONE candidate that could lose to the cheeto, Then they speechify about electoral votes, which they couldn’t or wouldn’t want to put on state ballots, within states that they are dropping like flies.

          I do think the electoral college should be “fixed”. I don’t think hilz crew could get a majority in support of the 1st amendment, if they pushed it.

          1. River

            Not “the” Cheeto, a Cheeto…actually both could of lost to a Cheeto. Not even some fancy flavored one either, but the plain old orange ones. Actually, not even a Cheeto, a generic puffed corn cheese snack could beat both of them.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Of course, China would likely many popular votes at the UN.

        “South China Sea belongs to China.” – that will be the UN decision, with popular vote.

        Unfortunately, it’s one state, 2 senators, and one state, one UN vote.

      4. No One

        The electoral college is a disgrace to democracy, and that shouldn’t change depending on whether or not it works out in your favor.

        1. different clue

          Clintofornia getting to rule America as its very own conquered province because of “popular vote” is a disgrace to democracy. Luckily, the Electoral College exists to prevent that sort of aggression by one or a few excessively populous states against all the other states at once.

    2. Deadl E Cheese

      Caveat: if the losers are facing genuine oppression as a result of their defeat, I’d claim that accepting the results with grace isn’t exactly in-of-itself moral. Certainly there’s a utilitarian argument to be made that returning to the segregated neighborhoods of Jim Crow will result in less suffering than a revolt — therefore you should accept the results of an election where Goldwater made a surprise comeback — but a moral case for swallowing the results of such an outcome doesn’t hold.

      That said, the Democratic Party aren’t, say, Act Up being rebuked by the 1988 drubbing. Oh, sure, Dems’ll yell until they’re blue in the face that they shouldn’t go quietly into the night because Trump wants to implement herrenvolk authoritarianism. But after Operation Desert Fox and Obama’s more technocratic imperialism, it’s clear that they’re only angry that their rice bowls will only be filled halfway after Mommy Wokest went down in flames.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        A big caveat: There are ‘losers’ facing genuine oppression as a result of Clinton’s defeat, but they are not the Wolcott’s of our society. Nor his readers, nor tony, clever fellow travelers.

        The way a Clinton partisan will try to refute you here is by claiming that Wolcott “acts in solidarity” with the Dreamers or immigrants or people of color who are bona fide losers due to Trump. That is bull of course; malicious, arch screeds penned by members of our ‘intelligentsia’ do nothing to aid those who are truly in Trump/Bannon’s crosshairs. Just the opposite. The Wolcotts of the haute Dem establishment are so self-indulgent in their bile-spewing they effectively alienate any fence-sitters still out there. And they encourage Republican down-punching by alienating non-committed, apolitical readers (who still outnumber the politically addicted, despite all the noise and thunder of this election).

        Glenn Greenwald and Yves Smith have been taking the establishment pseudo-left to task for around a decade now and the petty doyens of that Establishment hate them for it. They hate being identified as what they are, and have been for 2 decades: modern Neros, fiddling while Rome burns. Their complaints – as aired in Vanity Fair – smell like small-batch, artisanal goat cheese.

      2. Kukulkan

        Define “genuine oppression”.

        Is it “genuine oppression” if your taxes are raised?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if any government subsidies or payments you receive are reduced or eliminated?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if there isn’t a war with Russia?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if the winner has some identity markers different to what you would prefer?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if the winner bails out the banks?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if the winner doesn’t bail out the homeowners?
        Is it “genuine oppression” if the winner says things you don’t agree with? Or says them in a way that you don’t like? Or is a bit of a smart alec?

        I ask because politics is about competing interests. Those whose interests aren’t served or whose advantages aren’t maintained or whose disadvantages aren’t alleviated may well feel oppressed, but at what point does that become “genuine oppression”?

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          but at what point does that become “genuine oppression”?

          The exact line is hard to draw (few people would say the Founding Fathers were oppressed but these same people would generally say the American Revolution was justified) but clear markers would be:

          A) The state waging a direct war against your ability to survive, i.e. most AmerIndians.
          B) The state attempting to bar your group from participating in democracy, i.e. Jim Crow.
          C) The state inveigling you to attack a group of people not a direct threat to your political interests.
          D) The state directly taking your labor — it’s one thing if the government takes some of the money you make from mowing lawns, but not directing you to mow lawns over the summer.

          This is not an exhaustive list, but these very quickly get into grey areas. For example, the government ordering the city of Chicago to work in cubicle farms for three months is clearly oppressive, but what about ordering them to spend some minimal time (which can be up to days) filing taxes?

        2. John Morrison

          Black sites… Imprisonment without due process of law… Imprisonment for saying something one doesn’t like… Being wrongfully deported because of some kind of foul-up… Being beat up on the streets by the police… The militarized police menacing the community… Electronic voting changing a person’s votes before recording them…

          Enough genuine oppression for you?

          1. Kukulkan

            And which of those things are new with the Trump administration?

            The problem is that the resistance has only emerged with the election of Donald Trump, so I have to assume that Trump is doing something new and different that his predecessors in the office didn’t. Everything you listed was inherited by Trump rather than initiated by him.

            So, why is it “genuine oppression” now, when it wasn’t two months ago — and, presumably, wouldn’t be if Hillary had been elected?

            1. different clue

              The Clinton Restorationaries are moving fast and hard to co opt the genuinely perennially oppressed into thinking the Clintonites were going to have lifted all their oppressions, and the Trumpers are specifically going to keep those oppressions in place.

              So the Clinton Restorationaries are inviting the oppressed to mistake support for Her Imperial Herness as being some kind of opposition to oppression. If the Clintonite Forces are able to hijack the brains of millions of the ongoingly-oppressed, then the ongoingly-oppressed will make that mis-identification.

              Meanwhile, and separately, the stylistic upper class ( on the style and snobbery status-ladder, not the economic money-power ladder) feel esthetically oppressed by having such a “declasse’ ” President. “Eeewwwww!! How gauche! I mean, like, Gag me With a Spoon!” And that’s the Pink Kitty Cap Resistance, right there, in one cute little pink satin bow heather mean girls nutshell.

              Eewww! YOU can’t be PRESident, Donald. You’re GROSS!

    3. Katharine

      I think we need to be very clear about what is meant by accepting the result of the vote. It means accepting the legal reality that this is now the president. It does not mean accepting all his actions or policies. Nobody ever loses the right to oppose a president, whether they helped elect him or not, but opposition may most usefully be focused on those policies, and should not turn into petulant repudiation of the office-holder.

      Impeachment is a serious legal matter, despite the travesty in the nineties, and should not be treated as a question of politics. (I actually dislike Yves’s political calculation of the potential disadvantages in this case, as I don’t think it ought to be relevant.) If there is once strong evidence suggestive of high crimes or misdemeanors, political considerations ought not to outweigh it. At this point, I find it hard to judge whether there may be, and part of the background for my doubt lies in the nineties. The Republicans then muddied the water more than a little by claiming Clinton was guilty of high misdemeanors on such poor grounds. By comparison with that, there might be reasons for a Trump impeachment, but I would prefer to see a more legally credible historical background against which to view the present claims.

      1. Kukulkan

        Okay, this is one of the weird things about the American political system: there’s no real place for the loser(s) after the election.

        In a parliamentary system, the losers go on to form the Opposition. They form a Shadow Cabinet, with Shadow Ministers who match the actual Cabinet. So, there’s a shadow Minister matching each actual Minister, a shadow Minister of Education matching the Minister of Education, a shadow Minister of Defense matching the actual Minster of Defense, and so on. These shadow ministers serve to question, review, criticize, and comment on the actions of their opposite numbers. While they don’t have any power — except persuasion — they serve an important function.

        The US doesn’t seem to have anything like that.

        So, yes, I agree. Accepting the result of the vote doesn’t mean just going along blindly with whatever the winning side does. Challenging their policies, actions, claims and announcements is perfectly valid.

        However, you don’t challenge the results of the election. You don’t try to conspire with Electors to try and get them to vote differently. You don’t use the intelligence services to spread claims that the result was “hacked” without serious proof that it was. You don’t go around talking about assassination or military coups or other ways of overturning the result of the vote and destroying the system.

        The Opposition is the loyal Opposition, offering alternate policies and positions and criticizing the government from the perspective of those policies and positions. They’re not some weird personality cult miffed because their anointed one lost, whose only program is overturning the result of the vote.

        You accept the result of the vote. Who gets to hold the reins has been decided. Now you go on to accept that you are now the Opposition and your job is offer an alternative vision and to point out when the winning side oversteps the bounds of their power.

        Of course, this requires the losing side to actually have an alternative vision.

      2. Science Officer Smirnoff

        I would prefer to see a more legally credible historical background against which to view the present claims

        Oh, surely would prefer. All too many institutions have been similarly degraded in recent memory.

        From the bald political intrusions of the Supreme Court (Bush v Gore) to Cold War violations of high principle from secret surveillance to defying the Boland amendment (Reagan administration continuing to aid the Contras in Nicaragua—).

        When the Executive as the branch carrying out the law, secretly breaks it, and Congress fails to show it meant what it said, we have the perfect defeat of the Will of the People (such as ideal!) when it was prevented from being informed.

        Oh, surely would prefer.

    4. Foppe

      It’s hard to respect an outcome when you’re perfectly happy to engineer desired outcomes. But it’s certainly interesting that SCOTUS’s coup was fine, but Trump’s edging a win is not.

      1. different clue

        Well, the Bushes were among America’s Old Money Elite. Trump was just a low-class billionaire real estate hustler and certainly “Not Our Class, Dear”. Whence the hostility to accepting Trump’s legally edged-out win.

    5. Lord Koos

      Accepting the results of the vote is one thing, accepting the policies of the winner, another.

      1. Marina Bart

        That’s not what the Democrats and their courtiers like Wolcott are doing. To the extent that the votes of the few elected Democrats left matter, they are often voting FOR Trump’s nominees, which are the only elements of his policies that have yet to be subjected to legislative approval.

        If Wolcott had written a piece opposing Trump’s policies — particularly the policy differences between him and the Republican establishment that Wolcott is openly advocating to be put into power (because that CIA coup will not be installing Mrs. Clinton) — it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun for him, or pleasing to his owners. He might not have gotten his Scooby Snack.

        And I say this as someone who read and revered Wolcott for decades, since before I became an adult. Whatever intellectual integrity he had is now gone.

        I wonder how long before his Wikipedia page is “corrected.” This is currently the last sentence of the “Career” section:

        In 2017, he advocated for the overthrow of the Trump administration by American intelligence agencies.[4]

    6. clarky90

      My sense is that the Democratic Party (in collaboration with Big Media, Big Internet, Big Money, Big Data) are planning on making the 2016 election, the last USA election ever.. We are not smart enough or politically enlightened enough to be trusted with something as important as “Governance”. It is time to bring the “experts”, who have been beavering away in the shadows, into the spotlight as, Anointed Rulers.

      God Help Us, please

      1. Oregoncharles

        You underestimate the value of elections, however fake, as a figleaf and a source of “legitimacy.”

        It was the election that undercut Occupy, an incipient rebellion – as it did the Indignados in Spain, just before. They couldn’t address the election because it would have shattered the movement, as we see today – but the fragments might have been a lot more effective and persistent.

    7. zapster

      Since elections cannot be confirmed or verified here, why should anyone accept it? There’s a great deal of suspicion that they are not legitimate. This entire government is losing credibility because it’s impossible to verify election results. Trump went absolutely off the rails suing to stop the recount in Michigan. One would have thought he’d have welcomed the verification of his legitimacy without even having to pay for it, eh?

  2. Propertius

    To my mind, the single most troubling sentence in Wolcott’s incoherent screed is the very last one:

    But if the Deep State can rid us of the blighted presidency of Donald Trump, all I can say is “Go, State, go.”

    This alone makes it a truly foul piece of work.

    1. Musicismath

      I’ve long thought the American preference for Locke (and in particular, the rhetorically impressive but logically incoherent “Second Treatise of Government”) over the pure, cold-water good sense of Hobbes’s “Leviathan” was problematic. Revolutions, coups, and civil wars are intensely traumatic, violent, and destabilising things. They’re not cool and edgy signifiers to spice up your social media presence. For God’s sakes.

      1. Praedor

        That’s the (small) beauty of them. Once the shooting and chaos starts, the elite become valid and open targets. It becomes open season, a freebie, to knock off the pestilence at the top (whether they really are at the top or imagine themselves this).

        1. ChrisPacific

          I suggest that anyone who thinks this would be a good outcome should read A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens). If this ever happens it is likely to come at the cost of almost everything about the current system that we value (such as Constitutional rights) and there is no guarantee that whoever seizes power afterward will be any better.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            Change is coming. Whether it looks like Philadelphia in 1787 or Paris in 1789 is up to the parasites who think doomsday bunkers are a better use of their funds than building a society where a large % of the population doesn’t fantasize about executing them.

            “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did. It never will.”

            If only the rest of the plutocracy read Nick Hanauer:

            The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

            From 2014. Seems more germane as time goes on…

            1. different clue

              Hanauer was one of the “new plutocrats”, I believe . . . and sort of self-hustled as these things go.

              The Inner Plutocrats . . . Old Plutocrats . . . OverCrats . . . don’t fear pitchforks. They have the assassin drones, the heavy machine guns and private armies, the L-RADs, the Raytheon Oven Rays, etc. They aren’t worried about some pitchforks. Hanauer might be worried about pitchforks.

      2. jrs

        To an extent what isn’t? Union organizing in the U.S. at times has been an intensely traumatic and violent and bloody thing. and it’s way short of revolution and is generally regarded as better than the day to day suffering that proceeded it (and yea followed it, as this stupid system needs some form of small scale “permanent revolution” to keep from becoming ever worse, or so it seems).

      3. witters

        “Cool and edgy signifiers to spice up your social media presence”? Not for your real readers of Locke.

        Locke on Revolution: It cannot rightfully occur “till the Inconvenience is so great, that the Majority feel it, and are weary of it, and find a necessity to have it amended. ” Trestise 168.

        So for Locke “long and sustained abuse” of the “Majority” is the condition for revolution. Now think: Neoliberalism.

    2. Ignacio

      Frightening indeed. This reminds me the “good” old times of military coups in Spain and Latin America.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Many of said disruptions, there and elsewhere, fomented by Exceptional American Patriots just doing their jobs…

      2. oho

        Wolcott obviously thinks otherwise—-but the military and police would never sit on their hands in a “Deep State” putsch, irrespective of the occupant of the White House.

        respect the chain of command, but if it’s their oath to the Constitution v. CIA/NSA, oath wins. And there are a lot more service members/vets and cops than spooks at Langley.

        Cite: uniformed/ex-uniformed family members.

    3. visitor

      This sentence by Wolcott accurately summarizes the position of the Egyptian classes that supported the coup by El-Sisi against the democratically elected (but detested, as representative of the lower classes and petite bourgeoisie) Muslim Brotherhood government and deputies.

      The result of that bout of “Go, State, go!” is reportedly even more repressive and corruptly incompetent than Mubarak’s dictatorship. Apparently, the Democratic apparatchiks long for a similar outcome in the USA.

    4. Vatch

      Oh my. If the shadow powers rid us of the blighted presidency of Donald Trump, who will rid us of the blighted presidency of Vice President Mike Pence? If we are saved again, then who will rid us of the blighted presidency of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan? Political recursion!

      1. Propertius

        Or President Tillerson, for that matter. At least he’s got the right first name to be an absolute monarch.

        What’s really ludicrous is that all of these elitists seem to believe that if the IC and military conduct a coup that they will somehow graciously surrender power to back to their “betters” in Georgetown and the Hamptons – and that the very first thing they do won’t be to round up and execute political writers of pretty much every stripe. It’s been that way since Sulla, and human nature hasn’t changed one bit since.

      2. Scylla

        Had this discussion on the Twitter the other day with some Clintonites. I pointed out that the line of succession nowhere includes Clinton, but several insisted that if Trump were impeached, the election would be declared null and void, and that Clinton would sue in court and win (!!!!!!) due to the “Russian collusion”. I, of course, pointed out that using their logic, we instead have President Sanders, because Democrat collusion to subvert the election was already well established. I asked how they felt about that and heard nothing but crickets.
        The lack of understanding of US civics and basic logic is breathtaking. The fact that they actually believe such an alternative reality could exist is frightening in a completely different way. The individuals I was engaged with got more than a few likes and retweets….

        1. different clue

          There are millions of these Clintonite dead-enders. They are un-educable and irredeemable. They will be a major problem for civic cohesion or even civic coherence going forward.

  3. Harold

    They just want to get it out there, true or not. The motive in marginalizing dissenters is to preemptively to stifle any mention of inconvenient facts or real historical events. They don’t care how they do it, including using of stooges like Wolcott, who was probably supplied with a list in advance of sources to declare off limits without needing to bother to read them.

    1. Carl

      Good for you, friend. Those tweets are right on point. Still not enough to get me to take up Twitter…

    2. different clue

      In response to the question: what do you do when your other option is a fascist, its too bad the tweeter on display wasn’t able to say . . . .that’s why I voted for Trump . . . because the other option was a fascist.

      1. UserFriendly

        I’ve tried that before…. Lets just say twitter isn’t the ideal platform for convincing a hillbot that if anyone in 2016 was a fascist, it was there gal.

  4. Boycott Amazon

    FYI, book links in 2012 article on Robert Fitch’s Obama expose all go to Amazon. Is it possible to have them go to a less sleazy organ in the future if it’s too much trouble to redo the existing links?

    1. SpringTexan

      Most of us dislike many of Amazon’s practices and would strongly support laws to stop them, but not shopping at Amazon is really cutting off my nose to spite my face and I don’t plan to do it. I do try to buy used books from non-Amazon vendors who don’t ship from Amazon warehouses when possible.

      Amazon has given me much better access to a variety of obscure books than I ever had before.

      Buying isn’t voting, and in the absence of an effective boycott (which is not in the cards on this), I think we do better to buy from whomever and contribute (which I do) to good candidates and causes.

        1. diptherio

          They get .5% of your purchase. If you want to support some org, give them money directly. Amazon is WalMart on the interwebs. Imagine if every lefty non-profit had a deal to get kick-backs from WalMart, how would you feel about that? Why is Amazon any different?

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Because when you haven’t the physical capability of hiking around town shopping, not even at Walmart, Amazon is where you’ll not only find most of what you were looking for but often things you wished you had but didn’t know anyone had made yet.

            I find that often the difference in price for something I regularly buy on Amazon and at the actual vendor is insufficient to justify giving Amazon a cut, and so will buy direct. However, for that $100/year Prime fee, being able to get something I need on short notice within two days can sometimes be important.

            The main this is, though, that as someone already said, unless there is a massive participation in boycotting something like Amazon or Walmart or [fill in massive monopsonist corporation here], the only real effect, in my opinion, is to make the boycotter feel as if they’re doing something for the cause. Worse, it allows people to use that good feeling to justify not doing anything else that might actually be effective.

            1. Holly Cow - Did You Just Say That

              ….the only real effect, in my opinion, is to make the non-boycotter feel as if they’re doing something for traitor to the cause. Worse, a non-boycotter will dream up an excuse that it allows people to use that good feeling to justify not doing anything else that might actually be effective.

              Feeling good about not supporting evil is plainly wrong. Fighting Global warming is hopeless, etc. Did I leave anything out?

      1. Paul Harvey 0swald

        As far as “Buying isn’t voting” I could not disagree more. Every purchase is political. Full stop.

        1. jrs

          then in such democracy (much like in actual voting but EVEN MORE SO) the rich people seem to have almost all the votes …

          funny that.

          Yea I believe the rich have power, including market power, but no I don’t buy this guilt tripping about every purchase. Because there is no way every company one buys from is going to meet someone’s purity test. Now one can decide certain companies are particularly atrocious (certainly the articles here on Amazon made it seem so) and try not to buy from them when there all alternatives, but the remaining companies one buys from while maybe somewhat better are not going to be saints either. So one can buy from Ebay instead of Amazon say, but do they really agree with the entire of Ebays politics either, or is maybe just: well their warehouses may not be as bad as Amazon. Of course it’s the former. There is nothing pure in this capitalist world.

          1. Rostale

            My way of dealing with amazon is a handicap system- I will buy from amazon, but only if they beat the price of any other source by a significant margin – basically I always search around before buying from amazon and and now only a small portion of my online purchases come from them

          2. IDontKnow

            Gee, what a neo-liberal 3rd way argument.

            See Robert Fitch link above in original post, since it’s obvious you didn’t read it.

      2. different clue

        I’m afraid that buying IS voting in the one dollar one vote economy. If you buy from non-Amazon you foster more employment than if you buy from Amazon. You make society just that much healthier and more stable. How is that cutting off your nose to spite your face? What that is . . . is paying the Social Stability tax. Or the More Jobs tax.

        Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

      1. Katharine

        Some of the indies are really good at helping you get things even if they don’t normally stock them, especially if they have membership options and you are a member. I maintain ties with what for me is THE bookstore in Chicago, even though I haven’t been in it physically for years. They have occasionally even gotten me books I’d identified from European publishers they had to contact themselves because their suppliers had no ties to them. I wouldn’t often put them to so much trouble, but the fact that they were willing to take it gladdened my book-loving heart.

      2. John Wright

        I use (based in British Columbia) quite a bit for used books.

        “abe” is short for “Advanced Book Exchange”. will redirect to if you want to type a shorter url.

        Their search can find some very obscure books, and the descriptions of the condition of the used books purchased have been accurate

        I don’t know how good is to booksellers, but has many independent bookstores using their service, in the USA and the UK.

        And they are not Amazon, as the books ship from the individual booksellers.

    2. diptherio

      Most publishers have their own websites that you can purchase directly through. I don’t for the life of me know why anybody links to Amazon. For the reviews, maybe…

      1. katiebird

        Enough of my favorite British Authors ebooks are only available from Amazon that I finally gave in and got a Kindle a couple of months ago. Something happened and they just don’t show up at Barnes and Noble anymore.

        1. different clue

          One does what one must when there is no choice. Of course, Amazon’s long-range goal is to exterminate all other stores from existence and become the One Big Store There Is. And every purchase of something from Amazon IF that thing still could have been purchased somewhere else . . . hastens the day of the One Big Store of Bezos’s dreams.

          I wonder if a speculative technology I once heard of has come into existence: namely the hybrid bookstore/ book binder. Something available on line could be downloaded and then printed out in a copy-of-one, and that copy bound into a book for sale just to you as soon as the binding-up were completed. It might be a way to end-run-around Amazon for getting these obscure English authors to an American buyer.

          Perhaps this is something the Independent Bookstore Resistance could work on creating.

      2. different clue

        Probably some people link to Amazon because when they google a book, the Amazon link is the first five or eight links to show up, and they copy-paste the Amazon link. It is harder to go into pages 2 or beyond to find a NoAmazon link and copy-paste THAT. But it can be done in some cases.

  5. Juno Moneta

    Vanity Fair has done the public a great service by giving free publicity to naked capitalism and other outlets that would be hard pressed to afford the cost of an ad in their publication.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      and Yves has made the most of it – awesome post and those other outlets should be grateful.

      i am only sorry that having to smack down idiots like Wolcott drain time and energy away from Yves working on other ongoing projects.

      when will they quit already?

      1. different clue

        When they are crushed and smashed into the earth, then they will quit. Not before.

  6. voteforno6

    That Wolcott screed should be brought up any time one of those establishment Democrats talks about unity.

  7. dontknowitall

    Great post. This rise of putschist neoliberalism from the half-cooked ashes of the Democratic party has been surreal and increasingly dangerous because, like bad bettors, the Dems are doubling down with every opportunity and unashamed of making stuff up as they go along. Wolcott has a mean, nasty streak evidenced by his ha-ha so hilarious put-downs of Trump for his ‘small hands’. It was inevitable that his brand of crazy would become evident eventually. For him, who cares if the price of a precious turn of phrase is the peace of the nation.

    In this environment, it is not so incredible anymore that Obama sought to use the national security powers to wiretap and dig for dirt on Trump and to likely keep having access to that info even when out of office since he gets to keep his clearance. The liberal change on January 3rd in the distribution rules of unminimized national security info allows almost anyone to play havoc as long as they have sufficient clearance such as members of Congress and recently out of work ex-presidents and are not afraid to leak because as we all know it’s OK if you are a democrat.

    Michael Mukasey, James Rosen and Bill Binney agree that Trumps’s allegations of wiretaping are entirely possible and in fact likely, but where it goes from here is probably into a deep hole that may hide many a skunk.

    1. Jim Haygood

      A tradition going back to Roman times is for retired politicians and generals to rusticate themselves to their place of origin, to reflect on their achievements and pen their memoirs. This tradition continued in the US, as the first president George Washington voluntarily retired after two terms to return to his farm. “Quitting while you’re ahead” is how it’s expressed today.

      As the 21st century arrived, this graceful tradition began to fray. In January 2001, the exiting president’s wife moved directly from living in the White House to serving in the Senate, breaking all traditions of the First Family retiring in dignity from the political fray.

      Now ex-president Obama has defined deviancy even farther downward than the Clintons. Staying on in DC with the flimsy excuse of completing his 15-year-old daughter’s education at Sidwell Friends, Obama is embroiled in an unseemly mudslinging match with the new president over secret surveillance.

      In the free-for-all of spin, the NY Times claimed yesterday that “the F.B.I. keeps its own set of records and is in position to know whether Mr. Trump’s claims [about wiretapping] are true.” Seriously? Given internecine jealousies, the FBI somehow keeps tabs on 17 spook agencies which it does not supervise? That’s fake news if we’ve ever seen it. Has the Times never heard of Nixon’s Plumbers, operating completely outside official channels?

      However this plays out, it cannot but erode Obama’s already modest legacy and heap further obloquy on a dying Democratic party. News reports say Obama is actively plotting with The Palindrome [Soros] to impeach Trump — utterly startling if true. In some countries, Obama’s apparent intent to undermine the new president’s administration would be regarded as sedition.

      Will Obama suffer the indignity of being subpoenaed to testify before Congress? How the mighty have fallen.

      1. HotFlash

        Oh my, Mr. Haygood! Well thought and beautifully expressed. I read it three times just for the prose, the last time aloud. Bonus points for “rusticate” and “obloquy”.

        And damn’d right, too.

      2. Vatch

        I’m not disagreeing with you, but I would like us to recall that John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. President from 1825 to 1829, served as a member of the House of Representatives for 18 years, from 1831 until his death in 1848.

      3. Katharine

        It is entirely appropriate to stay in DC to enable his daughter to complete her schooling without disruption. That is a red herring. The mudslinging, which is unseemly but not altogether one-sided, could be carried on regardless of location.

      4. MLS

        Obama is actively plotting with The Palindrome [Soros] to impeach Trump

        so, you’re saying that Obama is conspiring with a foreign national to influence the current state of the US government (i.e., affect the results of an election, albeit after the fact)? I have no idea if this claim true, of course, but if it is, that’s a pretty close relative to the Dems hyperventilating about the Trump/Russia connections.

        Somehow I doubt the irony is not lost on Obama (again, if true).

          1. clarky90

            And a self-confessed Nazi collaborator. He helped to confiscate Jewish property in Hungary during WW2. I believe that this should disqualify him for USA citizenship. And qualify him for investigation and trial. Certainly, he should not have a prominent role in this World. He is scum

            My Jewish forebears, in and around Minsk, Belarus, did not collaborate. And they died as human beings

            1. John Morrison

              “And a self-confessed Nazi collaborator. He helped to confiscate Jewish property in Hungary during WW2.”

              Really? Is Soros that old?

    2. PhilM

      Trump’s “allegations of wiretapping” are merely stating the obvious. All Americans are under surveillance; it is known. All Americans who make phone calls to foreign countries are under direct, legal surveillance. This is not even in question, it is just simply the well-known truth: the three-letters would not being doing their job if it were not the case.

      What’s hilarious about this is how saying “Obama did it” and putting it into a negative context somehow makes it controversial; and using Twitter to say it somehow makes it clownish, as if there were any other way, at this point, to make direct communication with the American people other than Twitter and Youtube. Saying “Obama did this and it’s wrong” clearly would make some people deny that the sun comes up in the east.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Actually, it wasn’t just attributing surveillance to Obama, but calling it “wiretapping,” which has a very specific meaning in the law in the US and does require a court order. So all the police/DA types could correctly get up in arms about Trump making yet another crazypants accusation.

        However, I read comments section on the WSJ lead story last night (and still its lead story), FBI Asks Justice to Rebut Trump’s Wiretap Claim. WSJ comments generally skew somewhat to heavily critical of Trump depending on the topic. But here (and it’s hard to be sure with so many comments) they appear to be on the whole somewhat sympathetic. So to your point, this looks to be one of those cases where the general public isn’t taking Trump literally.

        1. PhilM

          I understand now. In light of the correction, my remark was straw-manning, although I did not mean it to be. Possibly I think more like Trump than I should, because I understand what he means, not what he says; and that is a dangerous amount of slack to give anyone in power.

        2. Code Name D

          And why should we expect them too? The people are not lawyers and will not get bent out of shape if a few “T”s are not crossed and a few “I”s are not dotted. This is one reason why the Democrats are so out of touch. What they call a “serious argument” is pathetic spin to the rest of the world.

          Dems are so out of touch that they haven’t’ figured out that when the room is ready the hang all lawyers – the last thing you want to do is sound like one.

  8. kees_popinga

    In the early days of the anti-Bush blogosphere, Wolcott briefly had his own blog and it was some of his best writing since the Voice days. He was reading (and favorably linking to) “outsider” websites such as His bosses at Vanity Fair eventually reeled him in and he went back to bored urbane celebrity writing with a VF-hosted blog. The mid-’00s Wolcott, before he said “my mind’s right, boss,” would have supported Mark Ames and NC — he’s obviously reading them. Comfort and habit can affect the judgment of the best professional scribes.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes his blog was good for awhile but he seemed to lose interest. I’m not sure it was about being reeled in. Whether he still reads blogs may be uncertain judging from his lightly informed VF piece. More than likely, as with most New Yorkers, he gets most of his info by scanning the NYT and other establishment fare.

      Wolcott was a bit of a protege of Norman Mailer and came from that era when writer celebrities pursued the “great American novel” on the theory that the literary elite could offer special insight into our national character. But Mailer was highly erratic and Gore Vidal seems to have been the only one who pulled this off. Vidal, the student of history, understood that the pursuit of empire was our great 20th century failing. Wolcott, who found his niche as a TV critic, seems more than happy in his job of raising the tone of what amounts to a gossipy fashion magazine. Indeed this transition from punk rock loving alt-weekly writer to pet intellectual for the rich and famous could exemplify the utter superficiality of our current establishment left.

  9. BeliTsari

    No mention of Rosario Dawson? Spike? Vanity Fair is the magazine Democrats all have delivered to their summer cottage? We saw this in the Poconos & Catskills. So now, lifelong Keynesian Democrats are “alt left?” The party’s OVER? They’ve taken their silver spoons & porringers with them? I’m old enough to remember seeing Black Democrats kicked from one Convention (excuse: Goldwater!), working class cannon fodder beaten half to death by a Democrat thug (excuse: Nixon!) Women, unions, LGBT, Latinos… basically ALL of the actual Democrats, shuffled aside (excuse: Reagan). I reiterate: ExxonMobil, Bayer/Monsanto, AIPAC, WalMart, the FIRE sector, merchants o’death, big AG, Pharma… are doing very well just now. Soon they won’t. Then, they’ll need somebody to blame? Projection & displacement is 95% of the duopoly’s shtick. We’re going to fed to Trump’s hordes?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Vanity Fair is the magazine Democrats all have delivered to their summer cottage?

      Surely that’s “summer cottages,” plural? After all, why confine one’s self to a single cottage? One for Oak Bluffs, one for Edgartown….

      1. BeliTsari

        Not that there’s anything WRONG with that? Previous to the UWS, I shared a $42K “hunting cabin” in Zion Grove, PA. City Folks would come up on the weekends (Infiniti, BMW, Porsche & Audi SUVs would clog our gravel roads, festooned with Kerry bumper-stickers & my Peak ale nearly doubled in price). Now mind you, this was 7 miles from where Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by the football team, “kids for cash” was ignored, the Fort Dix jihadist went drinking, whoring & shooting, while crazy Mark Kessler & Lou Barletta spoke for the locals. But, we’d have a score of does & fawns eating our beryllium flavored foliage, a 95yr old Oneida lady would pump our gas while regaling us with tales of the “nice Italian boys from New Jersey” dumping tanker trucks’ loads down the abandoned mine shaft late at night. I miss the guanciale, scamourza & artichoke heart white pizza, kishka & halušky!

  10. Dita

    If Wolcott/VF think a hissy fit is sufficient to grapple with the wealth of specific and well deserved criticism of the effects of Dem neoliberalism on voters, they’re wrong. At least Wolcott’s smear will drive more traffic to the sites he’s targeted.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Looks like we’re in the ‘then they fight you’ phase. Good.

      The best thing that can happen to the Americans left right now is that they get distinguished from the liberals. This confusing progressive/centrist/neoliberal garbage only serves liberal perfidy by allowing them to snatch leftist accomplishments they reluctantly supported (civil rights, unionism, anti-war) while using the stolen cred to hide behind leftists while they implement their more odious policies (war, austerity, police state crackdown). Since leftist is a meaningless word in American politics, encompassing everything from rebranded Rockefeller Republicans like Rachel Maddow to Fred Hampton, alt-left at lease provides some ideological clarity.

    1. Portia

      the money-changers and animal merchants: making the rules for commerce/religion, then positioning themselves as the monopoly suppliers. Jesus, we need you again, it seems, to do some scourging.

    2. joel

      Reza Aslan in “Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” says money the changers were lenders also.

  11. Donald

    I agree with this post, but I wouldn’t assume that Wolcott’s post won’t have some success just because it’s ridiculous.. All you have to do is repeat some bit of propaganda over and over again and many people start assuming it’s true. Look at all the fascination with Russia as the new demon figure that is destroying our democracy. As Greenwald and others point out, it gives cover to crazed warmongers like Michael Morrell, and so far it’s working just fine. Of corse it depends on what is meant by success, but I think the iron law of institutions covers that– success means the usual con artists stay in control of the Democratic Party.

  12. j84ustin

    “In the World According to Democratic Loyalists, there’s no such thing as not liking Clinton for her policy positions, for instance, favoring the TPP, refusing to recant her “superpredators” slur of young black men, her Philippines-level casualness about where to draw the line between personal enrichment and public business, or her warmongering. Wanting to bring American politics up to the level of, say, Italy is just too much to ask.”

    That, in a nutshell!

    1. jrs

      of course the “casualness about where to draw the line between personal enrichment and public business” also seems to be the case with the cheeto we got, to a very high degree really.

  13. DanB

    As A.O. Hirschman taught us, there are three generic responses to organizational decline: exit, voice, and loyalty (which in most instances amounts to doubling down on the status quo). As more and more potential Democratic voters used the exit –“I won’t vote for Hillary”- or voice –support thorough reform of the Dem Party- options, the neoliberal/Clintonite response has been that of loyalty. And when you feel loyal in the face of organizational decline those exercising exit and voice appear as traitors. This accounts for the attacks of Maddow, Walcott, Streep et al. Of course, as many have pointed out here at NC, these attacks serve a psychological function; sociologically they further alienate those exercising –or considering- exit and voice.

    Another observation: I’ve just published a book about the fate of East German intellectuals as Germany was united in 1990. Included in my research were interviews with several East German TV, radio, and print journalists. What they told me sheds light on the loyalty response of our –the USA’s- “famously free press.” To be an East German journalist one had to be certified as a responsible socialist journalist, typically my virtue of attending the journalism program at Leipzig University. Such journalists were expected to practice self-censorship in the service of the cardinal goal of promoting socialism and exposing the evil of capitalism. The East German government –and Socialist Party- regarded journalism as an extension of the state. One TV journalist told me, “It was unspoken that journalists must be self-censoring…The problems for me and some of …my colleagues [was that] a journalist must be critical to be a genuine journalist. Therefore, we GDR journalists were plagues by this conflict,” especially as the crises of the East German state deepened in the 1980s.
    I am not suggesting that Walcott et al. are plagued by this conflict –in fact, it appears they are oblivious to it, while some East German journalists actually struggled with it.

    1. ocop

      I had a tangentially related experience recently, talking with a Nepalese co-worker who was stunned when I said America had an implicit class system. “Because America” and the 10%er bubble.

      One way or another it seems like our shared human neuroses and failings are–without vigilance–destined to embed themselves explicitly and implicitly in how we organize ourselves. I guess an obvious observation in retrospect.

  14. shinola

    Was Wolcott’s piece in NC’s links recently? I know I came across it somehow (& I have never read anything from VF unless it was linked from elsewhere); anyway, I started to read it before and quit because I thought it was just another Clintonite screechy screed.

    Since it is a featured article today, I decided to read it through – I was right the 1st time.

    What a load of bovine excrement.

  15. Portia

    yeah, but then they savaged Elizabeth Holmes. she sounds like a real sweetheart, too. \s

    “Ian was a real obstacle for Elizabeth. He started to be very vocal. They kept him around to keep him quiet.” Channing Robertson, who had brought Gibbons to Theranos, recalls a different conversation, noting, “He suggested to me on numerous occasions that what we had accomplished at that time was sufficient to commercialize.”

    A few months later, on May 16, 2013, Gibbons was sitting in the family room with Rochelle, the afternoon light draping the couple, when the telephone rang. He answered. It was one of Holmes’s assistants. When Gibbons hung up, he was beside himself. “Elizabeth wants to meet with me tomorrow in her office,” he told his wife in a quivering voice. “Do you think she’s going to fire me?” Rochelle Gibbons, who had spent a lot of time with Holmes, knew that she wanted control. “Yes,” she said to her husband, reluctantly. She told him she thought he was going to be fired. Later that evening, gripped and overwhelmed with worry, Ian Gibbons tried to commit suicide. He was rushed to the hospital. A week later, with his wife by his side, Ian Gibbons died.

    When Rochelle called Holmes’s office to explain what had happened, the secretary was devastated and offered her sincere condolences. She told Rochelle Gibbons that she would let Holmes know immediately. But a few hours later, rather than a condolence message from Holmes, Rochelle instead received a phone call from someone at Theranos demanding that she immediately return any and all confidential Theranos property.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please see our link in the introduction. They were continuing to praise her well into the Wall Street Journal’s series of articles exposing the deficiencies in the Theranos’ tests and how they were faking data. The Wall Street Journal’s first story ran in October 2015; the linked pro-Holmes story in the first para was as of late December.

      The Wall Street Journal later disclosed the unusually aggressive way Theranos threatened them as well as one of their important sources ( The business press also initially gave more play to Theranos’ counterattack than usual (see I read the WSJ comments section during its coverage, and it was striking to see how many remarks were of the “here you jealous no-good-at-anything journalists are trying to destroy a talented entrepreneur” ilk. So the Journal was getting quite a lot of heat as it was pursuing the story.

      It wasn’t until May 2016 when it was plenty safe to go after Holmes, as in she was so done you could stick a fork in her, that Vanity Fair ran a critical piece. And the centerpiece was star litigator David Boies sending a team to threaten the Journal twice….which was “reporting” via calling the WSJ reporters! How hard or brave was that????

  16. Stephen Douglas

    An excellent analysis, marred and almost completely destroyed by the utter nonsense of including that ignorant and slanderous tweet by Aranoff

    Briebart has never said any such thing, ever. Milo, who just resigned, was a Jew.

    This is the problem with analyses like this. Much of what the so-called alt.right is saying is actually pretty close to what’s left of the progressive left. But there’s this thing those do in the progressive left, on their way I guess to going to the Regressive side.

    And that is ignorant smears so as to distance themselves (?) from what they must consider is some kind of third rail in their belief systems. I really don’t know if there’s another reason why you’d let such nonsense into your essay, Yves, in order to make a point.

    But, you can’t make a point with an example that is just not true.

    This is the same with countless essays that appear here and in many other otherwise cutting-edge venues where they have to “temper” their article with nonsense like “but Trump is a terrible person” or “yes, but the alt.right are all mysoginists, xenophobes, etc.”

    Etc., etc., ugh! Leave the right bashing nonsense out of your stuff! Especially if it’s not true.

    Are you playing to your perceived audience with this stuff? I think that Glen Greenwald is. It’s sad to see good journalists fall for slurring others.

    The Jews that write and edit Brietbart are not promoting their own genocide. And you weaken your analysis when you dip down to the level of those you criticize.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You don’t appear to read Breitbart very carefully. Despite having a lot of Jewish writers and being pro-Israel, it also regularly publishes stories with racist and anti-Semitic slurs:

      So the charge in the tweet is accurate.

      And let us not forget that Israel regards Reform Jews as not being Jewish enough (not only can you find this in the press, but even hardly connected moi had been hearing of this for at least 20 years. For instance, a Jewish friend who has 30 cousins in Tel Aviv, including members of the Knesset, has been harassed at the airport every time she has her adopted Thai son in tow, even though she is bringing up in the faith). So even Brietbart’s pro Israel position isn’t necessarily pro American Jews, who skew heavily Reform, and in particular not younger American Jews, like Aronoff, the author of the tweet, who are Israel critics or agnostics (see Peter Beinart’s landmark story on the generational shift:

      1. meme

        As an “alt-lefty” who has a few Breitbart reading friends, I decided to dig into your links to get a better understanding of how they may be getting led astray, and I have to say, it does seem like the “Death to all Jews” Breitbart “quote” looks to be really over the top.

        Your first link’s “slam” to neocon WaPo columnist Anne Applebaum says, of her “hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned”. That seems to be the only reference to her being Jewish in the Breitbart piece. Nothing about “death to all Jews”.

        Second link describes Ben Shapiro’s being attacked by alt-right anti-semitic name calling, but with no links to any Breitbart articles. Are they referring to unmoderated comments? If so, are blogs responsible for everything that gets uttered in comments?

        Third link says that calling Soros an Octopus is anti-semitic because doing so is Nazi-inspired rhetoric. My lack of being tuned into such rhetoric doesn’t keep me from seeing how Soros can be compared to an Octopus however, and it has nothing to do with his being Jewish.

        I didn’t see any anti-semitic stuff in the Bannon piece, plenty of misogyny however.

        The last link had nothing whatsoever to do with Breitbart, maybe you meant to link something else.

        Also, being pro-Israel is hardly good support for being anti-semitic. It seems to have more to do with foreign policy than religion, and not evidence of Breitbart saying “Death to all Jews”.

        Other than that misguided tweet, your piece was excellent, I only wish you hadn’t stooped and antagonized people who otherwise might agree with you, those who identify as alt-right but are not anti-semitic.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Please see Wikipedia, from its very first paragraph:

          The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loose group of people with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States. White supremacist Richard Spencer coined the term in 2010 to define a movement centered on white nationalism, and has been accused of doing so to whitewash overt racism, white supremacism, and neo-Nazism.[1][2][3][4][5] Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and spoken critically of the Jewish people,[5][6] although he has denied being a neo-Nazi. Alt-right beliefs have been described as white supremacist,[7][8][9] frequently overlapping with antisemitism and Neo-Nazism,[10][11][12] nativism and Islamophobia,[13][14][15][16][17] antifeminism and homophobia,[10][18][19][20] white nationalism, right-wing populism,[21][22] and the neoreactionary movement.[7][23] The concept has further been associated with multiple groups from American nationalists, neo-monarchists, men’s rights advocates, and the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.[13][17][24][22][23][25]…

          Members of the alt-right use websites like Twitter and Breitbart to convey their message.[28][29] Alt-right postings generally support Donald Trump[30] and oppose immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness.

          Wikipedia also stresses that the alt-right is often over the top in order to be provocative. Aronoff appears to be both picking up on that and Wolcott’s depiction of the alt-right in his article:

          The alt-right receives the meatiest share of attention in the media, as it should. It’s powerful, vicious, steeped in neo-Nazi ideology, nativist white supremacy, men’s-rights misogyny, and Ayn Rand capitalist übermensch mythos, and it heralds a conquering hero in the White House in President Donald J. Trump, while the former executive chairman of the venereally right-wing Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, functions as despot whisperer, trickling Iago-ish poison into Trump’s receptive skull.

          And that separately does not appear to be all that inaccurate:

          1. meme

            The “alt-right” people I know are mostly what Breitbart calls the “Natural Conservatives…Isolationists, pro-Russians and ex-Ron Paul supporters frustrated with continued neoconservative domination of the Republican party who are almost as likely as the anti-war left to object to overseas entanglements…culture, not economic efficiency, is the paramount value. More specifically, they value the greatest cultural expressions of their tribe…Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority…While eschewing bigotry on a personal level, the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration” [and cultural appropriation].

            One guy I know in this group, who I argue with quite often BTW, is an aging eagle scout who gets teary eyed when he watches Its A Wonderful Life each Christmas and loves Norman Rockwell pictures. Though getting him to respect my progressive values has been a long haul, I know his heart is in the right place.

            This “natural conservative” group of alt-righters are described in Breitbart’s An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right which breaks down the Alt-Right members into several groups. They have little in common with some of the other elements, including the ‘1488RS’ faction:

            Every ideology has them. Humourless ideologues who have no lives beyond their political crusade, and live for the destruction of the great. They can be found on Stormfront and other sites, not just joking about the race war, but eagerly planning it. They are known as “Stormfags” by the rest of the internet.

            Based on our research we believe this stands in stark contrast with the rest of the alt-right, who focus more on building communities and lifestyles based around their values than plotting violent revolution.

            1488ers are the equivalent of the Black Lives Matter supporters who call for the deaths of policemen, or feminists who unironically want to #KillAllMen. Of course, the difference is that while the media pretend the latter are either non-existent, or a tiny extremist minority, they consider 1488ers to constitute the whole of the alt-right.

            Those looking for Nazis under the bed can rest assured that they do exist. On the other hand, there’s just not very many of them, no-one really likes them, and they’re unlikely to achieve anything significant in the alt-right.

            What little remains of old-school white supremacy and the KKK in America constitutes a tiny, irrelevant contingent with no purchase on public life and no support even from what the media would call the “far-Right.” (Admittedly, these days that includes anyone who votes Republican.)


            This Breitbart article, btw, is what the WaPo came up in ‘Can you name one white nationalist article at Breitbart?’ Challenge accepted!

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              With all due respect, you first called them “Breitbart reading friends”. You can read Breitbart without being part of the alt-right, which in context means writing for places like Breitbart and InfoWars, or actively propagating its political positions on Twitter. Being a conservative who likes some of what they say, like the revolt against PC or their taking on Dem PR, is not the same.

              Similarly, I read, like and even cross post some Marxists without being a Marxist.

      2. TK421

        If calling Geogre Soros an “octopus” is “invoking Nazi imagery”, then is calling Goldman Sachs a “squid” doing the same?

        Is there no room between referring to someone as “Jewish” when it doesn’t relate to the story, and openly calling for genocide?

        1. jrs

          “Is there no room between referring to someone as “Jewish” when it doesn’t relate to the story, and openly calling for genocide?”

          there is a difference but the former is dog whistling, almost a perfect example of it, I mean what do you think the point of it is, it’s usually to bring in a whole heap of stereotypes that have nothing to do with a legitimate augment in most cases. But like dog whistling it can’t be proven that that was the intent.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Actually, yes, and I’m such a WASP it didn’t occur to me at the time. You have “Jews as bloodsuckers” plus octopus. But it was such a great image and was so widely accepted that none of the people using it, including moi, wanted to think of the other connotations.

          However, the flip side is anyone who was familiar with Wall Street knew Goldman stopped being a Jewish firm quite some time ago. For instance, when Christian Scientist Hank Paulson was CEO, the co-Presidents, John Thain and John Thornton, were also WASPs.

        3. meme

          The octopus reference to Soros doesn’t strike me as being antisemitic, although I imagine George would like to have it perceived that way. It seems he has his tentacles everywhere and the analogy seems quite apt.

          One example is this guy’s report on Soros in Macedonia, doesn’t seem to be about Soros being Jewish.

          “Lately, however [Soros] has become a bald partisan, not interested in the democratic process but showering his millions on the Left — the hard Left. He pushes an ideological agenda. And he does this through a host of NGOs and activists.

          These activists, in the conservative lexicon, are “Sorosoids.” It is not a flattering term.

          Soros came into Macedonia like a Trojan horse, and now he is an octopus.”

          Read more at:

  17. Altandmain

    Vanity Fair strikes me as little more than a propaganda tool for the Deep State. A Fox News type of reporting only for the liberal class, with a reality distortion field just as terrible.

    I note that he always tries to dehumanize with little to back his assertions. He seems like a willing tool of the US Establishment, a Pravda machine eager to serve.

    This election has proven if nothing else that the mainstream media has no journalistic integrity. Even many “left wing” publications have gone in the wrong direction. It goes to show who covers the world in a way that shows they are a true patriot and who is little more than DNC stenographer.

    1. jrs

      It could be group think, or pleasing those who provide their paychecks etc.. But of course we must not discount the possibility that the journalists whose interest seem to align so perfectly with the deep state AREN’T unwilling tools, but are directly working for the deep state.

  18. Steven Greenberg

    The one good thing about Trump’s administration is that it has the 1% in a real tizzy. They are being forced to face the consequences of what they have done, and they do not like it one bit.

    The down side of this is that when you back the 1% into a corner like this, they become even more dangerous than they have been before.

    I don’t know if there is any way we can get the 1% Hillary supporters and the 1% Trump supporters to go after each other and leave anything intact for the rest of us.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      The Hillary and Trump 1%, or, more accurately the 0.1%, are on the same side. Soros might be getting ribbed about losing 1 billion betting on Mommy Wokest, but ultimately he and Koch are on the same team. They do not feel backed into a corner. Even if the Democrats completely kick butt in 2018 and 2020, they will still be kings of the hill for the foreseeable future.

      Democratic hysteria is being driven mostly by the more invisible 5 to 1%. You know, the working stiffs like Maddow and Tanden whose net worth are in the low millions and see a Clinton Presidency as their only means of advancement. They’re the ones whose livelihoods are being threatened by GOP dominance. They’re the ones with the most to lose if the donor class decides that they don’t need a Good Cop after all.

      Of course, they’re in a real pickle right now. If the GOP continues its dominance then any hope of career advancement dries up after Democrats lose sweet sinecures and lobbying gigs. After all, no one in 2002 was going to pay a Reform Party holdout, no matter how much they bootlicked the overclass, anything more than a pittance for a speech or a timely phone call. Yet all signs point towards FDR-style class warfare being the only way to regain dominance on their own terms. Of course, that is ALSO a threat to their advancement. Not only because donor money would dry up once Dems got serious about spaying the MiC, but also that a more activist Democratic Party would have no place for these vampires.

      Hence the Russia hysteria. They’re not just doubling-down on it out of a sense of identity, because it’s the only card they have left to play that will let them have their rice bowls filled.

  19. ek hornbeck

    You can hate Trump and not carry water for the murderous torturers of the ‘Deep State’.

    If Democrats want electoral victory they could give that a try.

    1. jrs

      Is there any chance they could take back the Senate by 2018? Then at that point they could to some small degree take back victory by winning elections. The House as well, but it’s very heavily gerrymandered in the Rs favor, so they have their work cut out for them there is my understanding.

      1. ek hornbeck

        You said crossing the streams was bad You’re gonna endanger us, you’re gonna endanger our client – the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog.

        There’s definitely a very slim chance we’ll survive.

        I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! Let’s do it!

  20. washunate

    I sincerely hope the wonderful expression of honorary testosterone points does not get lost in all this. It’s such a delightfully subversive creation.

  21. Nancy E Sutton

    Thanks for this….the hysterical effort to whip up hysteria smacks, to me, of desperation at losing control of Dem’s eyes and ears. Oh god, ‘they’ are doing to see/hear/read what really happened.. the DNC/Clintons (not the Russians) stole the nomination for their Wall St patrons … there’s even talk of a third party! So let’s keep them focused on one target… the classic divide and conquer tactic … listen to us, don’t believe your lying ears, even when you’re hearing the truth. This is a good sign that truth is getting through!

    Bernie’s first speech after Trump’s victory started with the offer to cooperate with Trump on our common goals…! horrors! I think this is the only way ‘we’ can reclaim our legitimate power… by overlooking our differences (we do have the right to hate any minority we choose), and cooperating with Trumpsters on what most everyone wants… basic security! This is what scares them spitless… and their current drum beating is the sound of retreat before Bernie’s troika: Rigged economy / Wall St criminals / DC corruption.

  22. Sam

    I don’t understand how it is that concern over an authoritarian expansionist Russia is translated as desiring a cold or hot war.

    Also I think it’s possible that the concerns of the deep state are well founded, that Trump dealt with the Russians. It’s happened before. It’s amazing to me how many on the left hand wave that away.

    The other thing I find bewildering is a tendency to project progressivism onto Trump. His occasional utterances in those directions will not resonant with one single person around him, save perhaps for Ivanka burnishing her marketing image. Campaign promises notwithstanding, working people will be worse off than they would’ve with HRC.

    Granted, mainstream Dems deserve their situation, and much of the contempt directed their way. But where the lines run, Russia etc, have nothing to do with the economic issues that constitute the critical difference.

    1. tegnost

      Campaign promises notwithstanding, working people will be worse off than they would’ve with HRC.
      HRC made no appeals to workers, what do you contend are the reasons working people would be better off under HRC?

    2. sid_finster

      What expansionist Russia? The one that aggressively parked itself so close to our bases?

    3. jrs

      Answer this for me: why is dealing with Russia worse than dealing with Saudi Arabia? Now you can say they are both bad, which is fine, but it just doesn’t uniquely finger Trump is all. So maybe that’s why the left hand-waves it away, even if it’s true, what is so uniquely bad about it?

    4. bob

      “working people will be worse off than they would’ve with HRC.”

      Why do you say that? What EXACTLY did hillz propose to do for “the working class”?

      If you list off a bunch of campaign talking points, you’re clearly lost in all of this. Which, is demonstrated by this HUGE gaffe-

      “I don’t understand how it is that concern over an authoritarian expansionist Russia is translated as desiring a cold or hot war.”

      And you can’t possibly see that hillz and McCain, The Cold Warrior himself, have the same policies, that benefit the same people- The MIC.

      Go ahead now and call me a fan of the cheeto.

  23. Eclair

    “I don’t know if there is any way we can get the 1% Hillary supporters and the 1% Trump supporters to go after each other and leave anything intact for the rest of us.”

    Goodness, Steven, I thought that the 1% (or perhaps just the .1%) supported whomever they believed would make help them make the biggest profits. They are above ideology, or their only ideology is greed.

    One of their strategies is to keep the rest of us screaming and clawing at each other; desperate ex-workers at manufacturing plants screaming epithets at Muslims and Mexicans; ranchers hurling insults at Native Americans, disempowered men hating women, cops loathing Black people.

    This weekend, I ran across a document from 1909, the official application for citizenship from an immigrant; the person had to ‘swear’ that he was not an Anarchist and, moreover, did not practice Polygamy or even support the practice of Polygamy. Nice that immigrants (who were ‘good’ at that point because the elite needed scores of bodies to work in their factories and mills) could be encouraged to hate Anarchists and Polygamists.

  24. PhilM

    This is another great comment from Yves, the kind of criticism that I come here to read. I think that this is place deserves as much support as people can afford to give it. I give but it is never enough.

    To keep from making this comment sound like call-in-radio sycophantic noise, I’d like to add this thought about “quixotic.”

    Quixotic really is an adjective for Don Donaldo. He is nobly trying to push through an agenda that made sense thirty years ago when the Berlin Wall fell: make friends with the new, potentially maturing Russia; isolate the Middle East into safety and peace; keep China from eating our industrial lunch; and enforce the laws, or at least repeal the ones that we don’t want enforced.

    In the process of doing this outmoded thing, he is completely alone, against the forces of the entrenched Russophobe bureaucracy; the globalizing information and outsourcing capitalists, which include the information and finance industries; and the military-industrial complex, unless their support can be purchased by a “peace through strength” policy.

    Of course he will fail. His friends and family (Sancho Panza) will suffer, and he will be called a crazy laughingstock, and nothing will change. Don Quixote, not 1984, should be the best-selling book this year. Sadly, all most people know of it is the windmills, when it should be required reading of everyone over forty, as the product of wise mature years and great life experience of its brilliant author.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      While I thank you for your praise of the site and the post, I wouldn’t be so starry-eyed about Trump. Yes, it’s astonishing to see him expose the degree to which the military/surveillance state believes it and not elected officials are in charge, and continue to press for a reckless and pointless (except for their rice bowls) escalation of hostilities with Russia.

      However, as far as Trump’s anti-globalist/pro little guy rhetoric is concerned, it is becoming clear that he is either cynical or at best intellectually captured by conservative think tanks and ideologues. His tax reforms (assuming he gets them done, Republican deficit hawkery means any tax cuts will wind up being pretty modest) will target the rich and corporations. As problematic as Obamacare is, any Obamacare reform will crapify it further. His infrastructure plan will consist of public-private partnerships, which will impose regressive fee like tolls on ordinary citizens to benefit wealthy investors. He is firmly in favor of further gutting public education, again to enrich private interests.

      1. PhilM

        Don Quixote’s “noble goals” were drawn entirely from his obsessive reading of chivalric romances. He was determined to be like a knight of old, who righted the wrongs of the suffering and helpless in the name of his paramour. Each time he attempted this–freeing, for instance, a number of the “oppressed in chains” who happened to be violent criminals on their way to the galleys–he caused further harm and suffering, not only to himself but to the people around him.

        Quixote himself was starkers. Each of his quests exemplified one among a hodge-podge of hopeless, mutually inconsistent, other-wordly, indeed entirely fiction-based, ideals. One might admire them in their fictive context, but translated into the real world, they seemed, well, “quixotic.” In the end, the main effect he had on the world around him was to entertain people in power, who knew their goals and status would not be threatened.

        The Titanic does not leap to the helm’s commands. Elections are never far away. Barring the usual catastrophic event–and they happen whoever the boss du jour is–I predict that Trump, irrespective of his policy goals, good or bad, will go into the sunset like the good Don Quixote: like him, his life purpose seems to be to remind people of the evils that society permits daily despite the values they know they should hold– and to entertain them at his misadventures.

    2. jrs

      Yea 1984 being the best selling book … hmm ok to read it and all, but things are not going to get any better in this country until people sometimes read things that are actually leftist. Orwell could be considered a leftist, but that’s not one of the books in which he is particularly, some of the lesser known ones are more so. Ok I have no opinion on people reading Don Quixote. I just wish people in this country had almost ANY exposure to leftist thought is really all I think when the political moment has merely sent everyone to 1984.

  25. Carey

    For those who want an alternate source for used and obscure books, I’ve had good luck
    searching using the aggregator I have no connection with them, commercial or otherwise.

  26. Andrew Watts

    The Democratic Party and their sycophants are experiencing the five stages of grief. The initial stage of denial took place with the allegations of voter fraud. It was soon followed by the “Hillary won the popular vote” meme. Lastly, it featured the whole “Russia hacked our election” trope. It seems they’ve entered the second stage of anger. This phase began with the protests and the blame being placed on Bernie. The lashing out at the so-called alt-left is another development in this phase.

    The following stage features bargaining. I’m guessing the idea that Trump is only a one term president will be popular. Followed by the idea that Hillary/Michelle/*insert celebrity* can always run in 2020. When either the midterms and/or presidential election in 2020 does not result in a reversal of political fortunes for the Democrats they’ll enter the fourth stage of depression during Trump’s second term. I expect they will enter the last stage of acceptance after Trump has left office.

  27. susan the other

    I’ve never seen politics this nuts. Not even with Nixon. I wonder if the silver lining here is something like – finally the people are up in arms about the lies of their own governments and so not inclined to take up arms against other countries because scapegoating is now impossible with a very active internet. It’s not new, this going so far as to libel the most rational among us. I’m interested to see just how rational we all are. The hard-core thread of reason runs strong here at NC. It’s a safe harbor.

  28. Sally

    The Dems have become completely unhinged in their defeat. The hubris has hit them hard. They thought a witches brew of identity politics combined with celebrity endorsements was all that was needed. The little people would just gasp and say hip hip hooray. The elite of the Dem party remind me of the French elite before the revolution. Rich, arrogant and completely out of touch with the public.

    They have dumped the rule of law. ( just look at the Holder juctice department where he ran defence for the banks.) Taken the national debt from $6-7 trillion in 2007 to $20 trillion today. Continued the wars in the Middle East for profit. The fact Obama was still trying to ram through TPP on the eve of the election shows how tone deaf they had become. They thought the people could be blinded by celebrity. It is a delicious irony that NAFTA, passed by Bill Clinton 25 years ago came back to help destroy his wife’s chances in the Mid West.

    But the real reason for their anger is this election,was a land mark election. They were close to turning the White House into California. Clinton had promised to give all illegal immigrants amnesty. This would have given maybe as many as 20 million immigrants American citizenship. Who do you think these folks would be voting for for the next 30 years? And Obama was bringing in as many as he could from the third world and strategically putting them in swing states. Very soon a path to the White House would be blocked for the Republicans for a generation. Only Trump on the republican side saw the danger. Many Republicans like Bush and others were too interested in the cheap wages it would bring for their corporate masters.

    The Dem elite were within touching distance of a permanent lock on the White House. Cheered on by the open boarder global elites. This is why they are now so unhinged,and will happily use any method to take Trump down. Be it a CIA/deep state coup. When the left is cheering on the CIA, and miltary industrial complex they have truly lost their minds. But this left long ago gave up caring for its base.

    1. Vatch

      The elite of the Dem party remind me of the French elite before the revolution. Rich, arrogant and completely out of touch with the public.

      Well, yes, but it isn’t just the Democratic elite who are rich, arrogant, and out of touch like the elite of the Ancien Régime. See Trump’s home, for example:

      Do a web search for:

      inside billionaire homes

      and you’ll find more examples of supreme arrogance by both Republicans and Democrats.

    2. PhilM

      It’s a good summary, despite the generalized slur on the ancien regime’s elite as being “out of touch.” Why are these people always such a punching bag? Marie Antoinette, the movie, I guess? Dangerous Liaisons? It’s a mystery.

      I would say to go with Doyle’s Aristocracy and its Enemies in the Age of Revolution. The author is just a terrific historian, and unlike Schama, who is also informative, balanced, and even entertaining, he’s in neutral territory, at Bristol, not in Manhattan.

      1. Sally

        I like Schama most of the time but I didn’t agree with his take on the Fench Revolution. He seemed too take the same line as the British aristocracy, that the reign of terror was so bad it made the whole thing too terrible to contemplate.

        He failed to have much sympathy with the decades of tyranny and suffering the French masses went through before.

        Britain had their own version when they cut Charles1 head off 150 years before to end the absolutist monarchy . No reign of terror, but we had a civil war before leading up to that point. How many died on the battlefield getting to that one Royal execution?

      2. ek hornbeck

        Umm… could it be Paris stank so bad the Court had to move out to Versailles? That Marie Antoinette whether she said ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ or not had a live jive play farm where she pretended to be “one with the people”?

        La terreur n’est autre chose que la justice prompte, sévère, inflexible; elle est donc une émanation de la vertu ; elle est moins un principe particulier, qu’une conséquence du principe général de la démocratie, appliqué aux plus pressants besoins de la patrie.”

    3. Code Name D

      But the real reason for their anger is this election,was a land mark election. They were close to turning the White House into California. Clinton had promised to give all illegal immigrants amnesty. This would have given maybe as many as 20 million immigrants American citizenship. Who do you think these folks would be voting for for the next 30 years? And Obama was bringing in as many as he could from the third world and strategically putting them in swing states. Very soon a path to the White House would be blocked for the Republicans for a generation. Only Trump on the republican side saw the danger. Many Republicans like Bush and others were too interested in the cheap wages it would bring for their corporate masters.

      Your tinfoil hat may be on a little too tight. For starters, Obama did plenty of deportations and home-wrecking on his own. He even did to Trump-stile immigrant-bans. One blocked the entry of the Iraq nationals that helped out the allied forces during the gulf war, as well as their families, just as we were pulling out our troops. They ended up getting slaughtered. No Trump required. So they sure had a poor way of going about securing the immigrant vote.

  29. Oregoncharles

    While I agree with your conclusion, which is considerably more subtle, I would categorize Wolcott more simply as “blindly, passionately partisan.”

    Of course, both apply. Because the Democratic Party is now solidly right-wing, a Big Business party with pretensions, defending it is defending the powers that be.

    Personally, I think that even trying to “reform” it does exactly the same thing, in the end, as 30+ years of history show very clearly.

    But starting over isn’t easy, as I know too well.

  30. Kim Kaufman

    “Anyone, “left” or “right” who wants to prevent the economically disaffected from talking to each other in spite of tribal signifiers. ”

    Important point.

  31. Oregoncharles

    Copying from Links, so Yves will see it:

    “Not all Vanity Fair writers are has-beens phoning in brand fumes.” (Lambert referring to Wolcott.)

    I think this is wrong about Wolcott’s piece. It’s certainly brand fumes, but it isn’t phoned in. Au contraire, it’s a full-court press, an extremely strenuous exercise in rear-end-licking. He earned a lot of points with that one, which is why Yves felt the need to write a passionate defense against it, which I hope has been submitted to other publications so more than us fans see it.

  32. d

    while i didnt vote for MR T (and couldnt have this millennium), he did win the election. and a coup just isnt justified by that (after all what happens when a D wins the presidency the next time, why wouldnt the R’s want a coup also?). now that doesnt mean you have to go along with any thing that he wants. and i suppose one could do as the R’s did, as just vote against any and all proposals from the Rs. seemed to work for the R’s when they did it, so no reason to not do it also. you could almost make the case for splitting the country up, as long as it was peaceful, and orderly. but i doubt the Rs (or the Ds) would ever go along with it. besides it does allow some countries who oppose us to win without a war ( which they seem to try to do supporting any and all who want to split the country up). give the foregoing, the only choices we have left, leave (which is nearly impossible, Canada really doesnt want us), hope and plan for things go better, or die

    1. bob

      Coup? Hillz can’t manage an election against THE WORST PERSON EVER. How the hell is she going to run a coup?

      Step one- secure communications. Oops, forgot about that whole email thing. Dead in the water, before leaving her closet.

  33. No One

    Walcott exemplifies the reason why I don’t listen to mainstream media as it represents the interests of the elite 0.1% while totally ignoring my interests. Walcott is lucky to receive high pay for producing this kind of trash.

  34. Seamus Padraig

    Nevertheless, one can discern that Wolcott is upset because he thinks those who invoke hoary ideas like Constitutional norms are just hiding their status as “dude-bros… fun guys,” meaning what really motivates them is sexist antipathy to Clinton.

    You have to wonder what Wolcott’s opinion of Marine Le Pen and Frauke Petry is!

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