10/27/2021

another episode of impeachment

'impeachment' is close to winding down. the latest episode aired on 'fx' last night.

and?

a good episode. should have been great. but it focused on hillary and edie falco cannot play hillary clinton. it's an embarrassment. she had a scene with the vernon jordans and you just cringed watching her be edie falco but being called hillary.

this has to be the worst casting of the year.

maybe they could have just handled her like they did chelsea. i have no idea who's playing chelsea. she's had no lines. she just enters a door glowering and walks off.

it's a convincing performance of any teenager around their parents. :D

but edie falco is just awful.

clive owen should be thrilled that she's cast in the role because it lets all of us avoid how awful he is and he's pretty awful as bill clinton.

mira sorvino has had some nice moments as monica's mother, by the way. i said that to c.i., that i thought the actress was doing a good job but i didn't know who it was. she told me it was mira and i was shocked. she really is giving a performance that's nothing like anything she's done before. i've admired her work in this role and assumed she was some stage actress i was unaware of.

next week, sarah paulson should be back on as linda tripp. i hope so because paulson is amazing.

i am enjoying the show but really wish that they'd gotten a different actress to play hillary.

 


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


 Wednesday, October 27, 2021. We largely focus on a YOUTUBE segment.


Starting in Iraq, REUTERS reports, "Islamic State militants killed 11 people including a woman on Tuesday in an attack on a village in Diyala province, east of Iraq, the country's Joint Operations Command said in a statement."  Is it ISIS?  It may be.  ISIS has never been vanquished.  And the reasons ISIS took root in Iraq were never addressed.  If the issues continue to go unaddressed, ISIS will actually grow stronger.  AFP notes, "The attack on Al-Rashad in Diyala province left "11 dead and 13 wounded", a local security source said."  In a Tweet, Barham Salih, president of Iraq, states this was a cowardly attack   He calls for stronger borders and backing of the security forces.


He's an idiot.  That has nothing to do with the attack.  He's an idiot who needs to be out of office.


He is a member of the PUK.  Once upon a time, the PUK was one of the two dominant parties in Iraq.  Due to Jalal Talabani and his family's numerous betrayals, the PUK fell out of favor.  The KDP, the party of Massoud Barzania, is the dominant party in the Kurdistan at present.  In fact, it's the dominant political party in Iraq.  No other political party earned as many seats in Parliament as the KDP did this month.


By custom, the post of president has gone to the Kurds.  But Salih is now a member of a minority party..  The Kuridstan has many, many minority parties and there's nothing that makes the PUK 'better' than the others.  Salih does not deserve the post on political grounds.  But in addition to that, he clearly doesn't understand a damn thing.


Salih needs to go.  


Let's step back from Iraq for a moment to note Sabby Sabs.



Sabby says, "Where is Noam Chomsky?  Who is the real Noam Chomsky? [. . .] I don't know who this guy is."

Sabby, sorry, that's Noam Chomsky.  I've known him for decades and this is the real Noam.


He really gave himself away in 2008 but there were too many in the Cult of St Barack who refused to grasp reality.


He's a fake ass and he always has been.  He's got links that he never wants to talk about.  And don't blame this on his wife passing away, that was years ago.


The only "thing" that "has happened here" is that Noam is too stupid to put up the small pretense he used to.


Here's reality, his life's work is a joke.  And is useless.  He has one classic and that's MANUFACTURING CONSENT.  When did he team up with Edward S. Herman ever again?


He didn't.


You cowrite a classic, why don't you reteam?


Because Ed stayed true.  His writing that followed that publication continued to address these and other serious issues and that harmed him in term of 'brand recognition.'  There was no huge rush to interview Ed.  It wasn't, let's bring Ed on DEMOCRACY NOW!  Ed did real work and was shut out for the most part, THIRD WORLD TRAVELER and ZNET were two of the outlets that published his work.


Ed called out Samantha Power as the war monger she is.  I know because I was calling that piece of trash out as well.   It was 2007 and the Davey D's of this world, the John Nichols were turning Samantha Power into a saint.  She's trash.  She's war hungry trash.  Noam didn't call her out.  Ed did.


Noam's work has been useless.


Detached observations tossed out in this book only to be forgotten one year later.


Iraq is a failed state?  Yes, Noam it is a failed state.  But you don't declare that in a book in 2006 and then spend all these years that follow focusing on everything else.


This is the same person, Sabby.


Noam's role has always been to distract and he's been rewarded for that.


Noam lies for politicians and that's why he is interviewed and known.  Ed told the truth and that's why many reading this are wondering: Who is Edward S. Herman.


Noam takes care of Noam and always has.  


You're wasting your time expecting more from Noam.  You should be thankful that he's showing who he really is.  It's a shame it took you so long to catch on.    Where were you when, just last year, Noam was telling Palestinian activists that they could best help Palestine by . . . voting for Joe Biden.


Noam has never been about empowerment.  He's a dirty joke and now he's a dirty old joke.  And if you think this is mean, Noam knows what I think of him and he knows he needs to get honest.  I've noted that to his face.  He's lied to people for years.


He doesn't want to help people and he has no leadership skills to offer.


We need real leaders.


This is a scary time.  The pandemic continues.  The fear is being used to divide the nation.  Who we are supposed to be and who we are right now?  They're lands apart.  I have not slammed Eric Clapton for putting his money wherever he wants.  And I think, in forty years, Eric Clapton will come out a lot better than most people.  


We're letting fear control us and divide us.  


I got the vaccine.  I support the vaccine.  I do not attack people who did not get it or who question getting it.  I understand the fear and, believe me, politicians like Joe Biden understand that fear as well and use it.


What Joe's doing is outrageous and unconstitutional.  He may get away with it while he's in the White House but history will remember him as someone who provided no leadership and who divided the country and did his best to turn one group against another.


And let's be really clear, if vaccines matter -- and I believe that they do -- then other things do as well including debt relief, including stimulus checks, including a UBI.  It's funny how no American needs help according to Joe and his policies but they all need vaccinations.


The pandemic continues.  And Joe wants to scare the country and demonize a large group of Americans.  But he doesn't want to provide assistance to We The People.  Gas prices are up, food prices are up, rent is going up and Joe is failing.  Over and over and over.


It's a good thing he's able to harness fear against the American people because otherwise he would be even lower in the polls right now.


When I say some idiot on their high horse -- an Alyssa Milano -- I'm seeing someone ruled by fear.  I acknowledge fear is out there, I acknowledge that the government is using it.  But I don't let fear rule me.


I really loathe Alyssa and she's a damn liar in her book.  Especially when she pretends about Shannen.  It's cute, isn't it, how she leaves out her rage over a certain actor choosing Shannen in real life and not Alyssa who'd been coming on to him repeatedly.  It's real cute all the lies she tells.  But let's move back a moment.


She attacked Jason Aldean's family.  Children are supposed to be off limits.  But Alyssa put them on blast.  I loathe Alyssa but I've never put her children on blast.  She's allowed her fear and hatred to make her into the trash she is.  She was never a good person to begin with.  (They loathed her on MELROSE. And for good reason.)  

I am listening to Sabby while on the stepper.  We posted it last night, I don't stream everything that goes up here.  We need to note a few things.

Sabby's glorification of Eminem is hilarious and a misreading of the dominant culture.  Eminem was rewarded for homophboia.  And "I hear you" is not what a performance with Elton John is.  A performance with Elton is an attempt to get attention and press.  You don't know what you're talking about Sabby.  Eminem was a White-fueled phenomenon.  And his homophobia was rank and disgusting.  It was called out in real time but not by many.  And he didn't suffer despite your claims otherwise.  Like Guns and Roses, Eminem's homophobia made him only more "bro" and gave him "cred."


Dave Chapelle?  I like Dave and I know Dave.  He has a good heart.  He's also said some things that are offensive.  He can do that.  And people can respond to that.  That's what's going on.


And he hasn't been 'cancelled' despite what he says.  I don't care about his 'documentary' or whatever it is.  He made a lot of people upset.  Film festivals are trying to come back.  I do not blame anyone from walking away from his film.  It's a sad industry right now.  I think film festivals would be better off exhibiting the film.  I think they'd be surprised by how many would check Dave's film out.  


No, Sabby, Dave's Comedy Central show was not the most popular show -- or one of them -- when it was aired.  I really wish you would educate yourself or just close your mouth.  There are measurements -- we do know how many people watched on a broadcast network.  If we can't do facts, we can't be part of an honest discussion.  You're mistaking what happened in your small circle for a universal experience.  It's not.


By all means, speak for yourself but stop adding these details where you lie because that's what it is.  Dave had a basic cable show.  That's all he had.  

I'm really angry now and I let it rip when I am so let me also be clear, Sabby, stop being Lena Dunham.


Remember, GIRLS couldn't have an African-American regular because Lena 'couldn't write' that.  That's a lot like Sabby trying to have an out by saying she doesn't know the LGBTQ experience.


That's a f**king piece of s**t.


"People get upset.  People get offended.  Maybe the response should be to educate them."  WTF?  


That's a direct quote.   Maybe educate yourself.  And maybe you should get cancelled if you can't deal in honesty.  


I have not called for Dave to be cancelled and wouldn't make that call.  I do think Dave needs to see this response and "Dave makes fun of everybody" is not a valid response -- but it is a quote from Sabby on the show.  I have stopped it.  I can't listen to her anymore on this topic.


She doesn't know what she's talking about.  


She doesn't know who Don Imus was.  He was not part of the NBA.  I just can't.  Don't talk about things you don't know about and, sadly, Sabby, that's all of entertainment.


You don't get how offensive it is.  You're part of the problem, Sabby.  That doesn't mean we're cancelling you.  It does mean if I know a video has you gabbing on about entertainment I'm probably not posting it here because you don't know a damn thing about that topic.


At one point, while insisting Em's all our friend and lamenting Andrew Dice Clay and other b.s. she wants to know "What changed?"


You know what, Sabby, if Diana Ross had been that way in the sixties, England would probably still be putting White people before the royal family in blackface.  It was insulting and it shouldn't have happened and it certainly shouldn't have happened in the late sixties.  It took Diana Ross calling it out to get it stopped.  And she got blowback for it but she changed things.  (I love Diana and she's a friend.  She's done more to foster change than most people know of.)  


I'm sorry, Sabby, is AMOS & ANDY going to get someone killed?  We moved beyond that as a society.  And we did so because it was hurtful and it was dishonest.


You say you don't know the trans experience, then just shut up.  


Ava and I were asked to write about Dave by Jim for THIRD and I refused.  I didn't want Ava's name on it because I didn't want Ava to have to deal with any backlash.  Because I'm not going to slam Dave.  He is a friend.  He is well intentioned.  Equally true "Dave" is a persona for his stage career.  And this is very complicated topic.  


But I also wasn't going to slam anyone in the transgender community or attempt to tell them don't cancel, don't do this.


This is their damn lives.  


At the end of the day, all this is for Dave is a joke.  This is the transgender community's lives.  I don't get how you can't get that Sabby or grasp how awful you sounded in the segment on Dave.  


"What changed?" she basically huffs at one point.


What changed is society evolved.  That's what we do.  We progress, we evolve.  


And you may have been okay with Eminem's homophobia but I never was nor did I ever applaud Axel Rose and his homophobia, his use of the n-word, his violence towards women . . .


I never called for him to be banned.  I never burned his CDs (I never bought his music to begin with and when David Geffen sent me that EP to try to change my mind about the band, I tossed it into the trash without listening -- I'd already seen the lyrics to "One In A Million.")


You're coming into the struggle for equality very late and you don't know a damn thing.  You need to educate yourself or avoid these kind of topics.  You clearly do not grasp the need for change and growth.  Or it's need in the past.  If you had your show in 1952, would you have been justifying school segregation?  I don't know where it ends because to me, the struggle for equality is a struggle for all of us.  I think you may be playing into the same fear Dave sports in his special -- that progress for one group harms another.  No, all boats can be lifted.


And trans people have enough to suffer through in life with people trying to intentionally be mean without you trying to be 'helpful' and saying some of the offensive things you've said.


I'm not calling for anyone to be cancelled.  That's Dave, that's the people who are protesting his special -- which is more than just the transgender community.  


Dave needs to listen to this.  He needs to hear the hurt.  He caused that.  He didn't mean to.  He thought everyone was going to enjoy it.  As a straight woman, Sabby enjoyed it and couldn't relate to how anyone could be harmed.  (Sabby, needs to take a look at herself.)  He didn't set out to harm.  He didn't set out to hurt.  


But he's a communicator and if he wants a career on stage in the public eye, he's going to have to adjust.  That's true if he did nothing political.  If he just did yada yada jokes, he'd still have to adjust and change with the times.  Look at Frank Sinatra in the 60s.  He had to update his image.  


You don't get to be the same person you were and have an audience for years and years.  It really doesn't work that way.  If you have shown everything you will ever have to offer today, then people will move away from you.  That's the reality of celebrity.


So Dave has to change period.  All entertainers do or they have no career.  


But Dave needs to listen.  And it's painful, I know and my heart goes out to him on that because I know he didn't mean to hurt.  He thought he was being outrageous and everyone was going to laugh together.


But that's not what's happening.  You've got Sabby deciding to weigh in to . . . support Dave.  She's not weighed in on it before.  And, certainly, her politics are supposed to be rooted in the people -- not top down.  But watch her go reactionary.


Dave hurt people.  Didn't mean to.  He needs to listen and he needs to reflect.  He needs to grow.  Or he needs to be off the stage.  And that's not 'cancel Dave!'  That's the life cycle of celebrity.  


The transgender community deserves support.  They are the ones wronged in this.  And don't give me that 'it's just words.'  This is their life.  That is what is at stake.  It's what always at stake, whether it's the battle for this cause, the Civil Rights Movement, the women's liberation movement (which was always about many things including the way we view rape and domestic terrorism in the home), the Civil Rights Movement.  


Dave can say whatever he wants and I'm not going to hate him for it.  I know him and I like Dave.  But this a public square that he works in and if he says something that offends, people have a right to push back.


And excuse me, Sabby, but these people pushing back, they're doing so without a platform.  NETFLIX hasn't seen fit to give voice to them.  You've yet to do a special on them.  You've yet to take up their cause.  But you're offended that Dave's film isn't getting a distributor and so you've taken to the podium for Dave's defense.


Your loyalties are misplaced and your knowledge base is woefully weak.  


For the record, I wasn't planning to call Sabby out in this snapshot.  I thought I'd just add some to Noam.  I wish I'd stop streaming after she was done with Noam.


The transgender community should not be thrown under the bus.  They are reacting to what were hurtful insults.  And if Dave can't grasp that, then he's not the Dave I know.  But I also grasp that he feels under siege and I get that as well.  But he needs to reflect on what's going on.  Not to silence himself but to learn from it.  


He can say whatever he wants.  Anyone can.  Sabby did.  And I called her out.  That's how it works in the public square.


And I'm not calling for her to be cancelled and have already noted that we will continue to post her videos (unless I know she's talking about entertainment and then I may listen first to see how off base she is -- on entertainment, she's offbase for not knowing her facts re: Eminem, Don Imus, how TV viewership ratings work, etc.).  


I didn't plan on weighing in on this.  We've posted videos from all sides regarding Dave's latest special.  I love Dave and don't believe he meant harm.  But that's not me trying to do an end run around this conversation and stop it.  This conversation needs to take place and I fully support the right of those who actually live the transgendered experience to have this conversation, to have it publicly and to be heard.  


If you're not aware of the violence -- all over the world but in the US as well -- aimed at the transgender community, then you need to educate yourself.  This is a very serious issue.  A real conversation needs to take place.  That means going beyond "I'm a fan-boy/girl for Dave so . . ."


Dave is the least of the issues in this conversation.  We need to educate ourselves and we need to listen and we need to be sure that the microphone is in front of those who are being harmed.  That should be basic and not in dispute.


The following sites updated:


10/26/2021

that awful joe machin, that sexy gay gaston

never a fan of the clinton machine. and never a fan of joe manchin. to me, they always seemed like twin peas in a tiny pod. celina-marie pascal ('in these times') reports:

 

At the end of September, Sen. Joe Manchin (D‑W.V.) told reporters he would not support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act — a generational investment in social programs, including public funding for childcare and paid family leave—because, ​“I cannot accept our economy or basically our society moving toward an entitlement mentality.”
Manchin likes to say he wants to help the needy, but not those who can help themselves. In his home state of West Virginia, 16% of the population lives in poverty, according to federal data. To put this number in perspective, in 2020, the federal poverty line for a family of four was just $26,200—about one third of what a West Virginian family of four actually needs to achieve what the Economic Policy Institute calls a ​“modest yet adequate standard of living.” Nationwide, more than half of all U.S. families earn less than $35,000 a year.
Families need help, and they need it now.
I have witnessed up close how government inaction leads to anger and frustration among low-wage workers. As a sociologist, I spent four years researching and writing about low-income communities in the United States. In cities and towns from Oakland, Calif., to Appalachia, I met hundreds of working people from widely diverse racial groups who feel betrayed by their government as they struggle, every day, to keep food on the table and bills paid.
In rural Tennessee, Tommy, a white man in his mid-60s, bit back his anger: ​“We made Oshkosh clothing here. They made children’s clothing, some of the best clothing in the country. It was known for quality. Those jobs were sent to Mexico. So where were all of these politicians that were representing the little guy?” For decades, neither political party seems to have cared to keep rural — or urban — communities from sinking more deeply into poverty. Too often, they seemed willing to push these communities right over the edge.
Many working people are fed up and increasingly trying to make their voices heard.


manchin doesn't understand that and he never will. he's very much like hillary clinton in that regard. it's amazing that people who have no desire to help the public end up being public servants.

but i guess those like joe and hillary do it so that they can get bribes and book deals and corporate hand outs. hopefully, they'll pay in either an after life or the next life.

 now for 'the gay gaston.'

 







let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


 Tuesday, October 26, 2021.  'Protests could destroy democracy!' is among the insane claims being promoted regarding Iraq today.


Some are fretting over 'democracy' in Iraq.  The obvious point there is that Iraq hasn't had a democracy.  A democracy is not ruled over by prime ministers who fled Iraq.  Cowards who left the country and only came back after the US invaded in 2003 don't become leader of the country over and over.  They don't represent the country and they're not courageous people.  But since the US-led invasion, every prime minister has been someone who managed to skip out on Iraq.  

Some of the fretters are writing pieces about how the militias protesting the vote might destroy democracy.  What democracy?  More to the point, if it was in Iraq and it was that fragile, it didn't stand a chance to begin with.  I don't like the militias.  That doesn't mean that they do not have the right to protest.  They have every right.  And when you deny them the right to protest, it makes it easier to deny others the right.


The October Revolution.



That's a real movement.  And don't put a period to it because the movement is ongoing.  It replaced a prime minster.  Currently, it's forcing a global press to acknowledge that, gee, golly, things aren't great in Iraq.  This would be the same press that ignores Iraq over and over.  


But the decision of so many in The October Revolution to sit out the vote -- and to encourage others to as well -- helped lead to a record low turnout and the world suddenly notices that the Iraqi government hasn't been serving the Iraqi people.


People in The October Revolution risked their lives and continue to risk them.  They know that they can be killed or disappeared and that the government will look the other way and their killers will not face justice.  But they continue to stand up for what they believe in.


And they do so while the world press yawns and looks away collectively.   Their bravery, their hopes and their plans are ignored unless it's pre-election and the world press wants to hector them about the importance of voting.


Rand Tweets:

The 2nd anniversary of October 25th, the mass protest movement in Iraq that forced the resignation of the Iraqi PM, after thousands of civilians were injured and killed by the Iraqi security services and armed militias supporting them #٢٥_ذكري_بدايه_وطن #تشرين_العظيمة
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There is no democracy in Iraq.  


Protesting isn't going to destroy something that doesn't exist.  But protesting could foster a democracy, one unique to Iraq.



There may at some point be reason to fret.  But protests who take a break to watch a game don't seem as out of control as certain outlets would like to pretend.


Wladimir Tweets:


Sarhang Hamasaeed, United States Institute of Peace, says the peaceful protest movement in Iraq has caused positive change through early elections, federal court, etc. He also says important for stability to hold provincial elections in the near future #MERIforum
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Those are accomplishments of The October Revolution.  But that doesn't mean that the protests against the vote count (led by the militias) couldn't have some positive effects as well.

Layal Shakir (RUDAW) notes:


The election was held in response to Tishreen (October) 2019 protests complaining of corruption and ineptitude among the ruling class and political system. Turnout was a record-low 41 percent, reflecting voter disillusionment and mistrust in the country’s political system.

“I believe the main reason behind the early election that was held was that the political process in Iraq had reached a political blockage,” said Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politician Khalid Shwani, noting that Iraqis had lost trust in the government and in the political process.

“We saw how the Iraqi citizen and Iraqi voter who went out to the streets was hopeless completely,” added member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Jaafar Imniki.

Iraqis commemorated the second anniversary of Tishreen protests on Monday, almost two weeks after their demand of an early vote was met. The October protests that shook the country are a “healthy” demonstration that all Iraqi and Kurdish forces need to be reminded of, according to Imniki. 

The protests were concentrated in Shiite areas of central and southern Iraq, but Imniki said that every political party and group must listen to the protesters’ concerns, “because the situation that occurred in Baghdad and the south could prevail in the Kurdistan Region and in western Iraq.”


Limited manual recounts are supposed to conclude tomorrow.  This is apparently to much for the fretters.  They're bothered and alarmed -- and alarming.  They actually seem to be trying to invite chaos.


Thus far, the election process seems faily normal for post-invasion Iraq.  That includes Nouri al-Maliki attempting to return as prime minister.  Wladimir Tweets:


The State of Law Coalition, led by Nuri al-Maliki, said on Wednesday that the Kurdish and Sunni blocs would not ally with the Sadrist movement to form the new federal government




It's amazing how much Nouri is discussed on Arabic social media versus how little the western press is noting him.  King maker?  Right now that would appear to be Nouri.  Reality will make it clear shortly as to who the king maker was.  But Nouri's actions are more those of a king maker than the dithering of Moqtada al-Sadr at this point.


Robert Pether remains persecuted in Iraq.  Who? Robert Pether, Matthew Doran and Andrew Probyn (AUSTRALIA's ABC) reported two months ago:


An Australian engineer ensnared in a dispute between the Iraqi government and his Dubai-based employer is facing five years in jail and a $US12 million ($AUD16.5 million) fine.

Robert Pether, 46, has been languishing in an Iraqi prison since April after he and his Egyptian colleague, Khalid Zaghloul, were arrested in Baghdad, while working for engineering firm CME Consulting.

Mr Pether's wife Desree said the court decision was a "soul-destroying" travesty of justice. 

"It's just absolute hell," Mrs Pether told the ABC from her home in Ireland.

"We honestly thought that justice would prevail after nearly five months and we are so shocked that it didn't happen.

"It didn't matter what evidence they presented in their defence, which was scarce because they didn't have access to their laptops or their hard drives, and the accusations had no backup evidence at all. 


At THE NATIONAL, Patrick Ryan writes:

In a statement to The National, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the case should have not been dealt with in a criminal court.

“The Australian government is concerned by the criminal conviction of Mr Pether and an Egyptian colleague on fraud charges, their five-year prison sentence and the joint fine of USD$12 million,” a spokesman said.

“While the Australian government has shown respect towards Iraq’s judicial system, we have always expressed the view that commercial disputes should be conducted between corporate entities rather than individuals, and that this should be treated as a civil law case, not a criminal law case.

“The [Australian] government has consistently advocated for Mr Pether’s interests and is providing consular assistance to Mr Pether and his family.”

Australian citizens are advised not to travel to Iraq over concerns for their safety due to the the volatile security situation, and very high risk of violence, armed conflict, kidnapping and terrorist attacks.


Those who remember the Australian government's public silence -- and prolonged silence -- while Pether suffered will find some of those assertions laughable.  Ireland's government stood up for Robert and did so publicly.  His own country abandoned him.

 Meanwhile NEWS OF THE WORLD reports on a conviction in Germany.





We'll close with this from Glenn Greenwald's latest at SUBSTACK:


It is completely unsurprising to learn, as Politico reported last Wednesday, that the major financial supporter of Facebook "whistleblower” Frances Haugen's sprawling P.R. and legal network coordinating her public campaign is the billionaire founder of EBay, Pierre Omidyar. The Haugen Show continues today as a consortium of carefully cultivated news outlets (including those who have been most devoted to agitating for online censorship: the New York Times’ "tech” unit and NBC News's “disinformation” team) began publishing the trove of archives she took from Facebook under the self-important title "The Facebook Papers,” while the star herself has traveled to London to testify today to British lawmakers considering a bill to criminally punish tech companies that allow “foul content” or “extremism” — whatever that means — to be published.

On Sunday, Haugen told The New York Times that her own personal Bitcoin wealth means she is relying on “help from nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar only for travel and similar expenses.” But the paper also confirmed that the firm masterminding Haugen's public campaign roll-out and complex media strategy, a group "founded by the former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton,” is “being paid by donors, including the nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar." He is also a major donor to a shady new group calling itself “Whistleblower Aid” — bizarrely led by anti-Trump lawyer and social media #Resistance star Mark Zaid, who has been one of the most vocal critics of actual whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, both of whose imprisonment he has long demanded — that is now featuring Haugen as its star client.

Omidyar's net worth is currently estimated to be $22 billion, making him the planet's 26th richest human being. Like so many billionaires who pledge to give away large parts of their wealth to charity, and who in fact do so, Omidyar's net worth somehow rapidly grows every year: in 2013, just eight years ago, it was “only” $8 billion: it has almost tripled since then.

Omidyar's central role in this latest scheme to impose greater control over social media is unsurprising because he and his multi-national foundation, the Omidyar Network, fund many if not most of the campaigns and organizations designed to police and control political speech on the internet under the benevolent-sounding banner of combating "disinformation” and “extremism.” Though one could have easily guessed that it was Omidyar fueling Frances Haugen and her team of Democratic Party operatives acting as lawyers and P.R. agents — I would have been shocked if he had no role — it is still nonetheless highly revealing of what these campaigns and groups are, how they function, what their real goals are, and the serious dangers they pose.

Any time I speak or write about Omidyar, the proverbial elephant in the room is my own extensive involvement with him: specifically, the fact that the journalistic outlet I co-founded in 2013, and at which I worked for eight years, was funded almost entirely by him. For purposes of basic journalistic disclosure, but also to explain how my interaction with him informs my perspective on these issues, I will describe that experience and what I learned from it.

When I left the Guardian in 2013 at the height of the Snowden/NSA reporting to co-found a new media outlet along with two other journalists, it was Omidyar who funded the project, which ultimately became The Intercept, along with its parent corporation, First Look Media. Our unconditional demand when deciding to accept funding from Omidyar was that he vow never to have any role whatsoever or attempt to interfere in any way in the editorial content of our reporting, no matter how much he disagreed with it or how distasteful he found it. He not only agreed to this condition but emphasized that he, too, believed the integrity of the new journalism project depended upon our enjoying full editorial freedom and independence from his influence.

In the eight years I spent at The Intercept, Omidyar completely kept his word. There was never a single occasion, at least to my knowledge, when he attempted to interfere in or override our journalistic independence. For the first couple of years, adhering to that promise was easy: he was an ardent supporter of the Snowden reporting which consumed most of our time and energy back then and, specifically, viewed a defense of our press freedoms (which were under systemic attack from multiple governments) as a genuine social good. So our journalism and Omidyar's worldview were fully aligned for the first couple of years of The Intercept's existence.

The arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene in 2015 changed all of that, and did so quite dramatically. As Trump ascended to the presidency, Omidyar became monomaniacally obsessed with opposing Trump. Although Omidyar stopped tweeting in March, 2019 and has since locked his Twitter account, he spent 2015-2019 as a very active user of the platform. The content he was posting on Twitter on a daily basis was utterly indistinguishable from the standard daily hysterical MSNBC panels or New York Times op-eds, proclaiming Trump a fascist, white nationalist, and existential threat to democracy, and depicting him as a singular evil, the root of America's political pathology. In other words, the Trump-centric worldview that I spent most of my time attacking and mocking on every platform I had — in speeches, interviews, podcasts, social media and in countless articles at The Intercept — was the exact political worldview to which Omidyar had completely devoted himself and was passionately and vocally advocating.

The radical divergence between my worldview and Omidyar's did not end there. Like most who viewed Trump as the primary cause of America's evils rather than just a symptom of them, Omidyar also became a fanatical Russiagater. A large portion of his Twitter feed was devoted to the multi-pronged conspiracy theory that Trump was in bed with and controlled by the Kremlin and that its president, Vladimir Putin, through his control over Trump and “interference” in U.S. democracy, represented some sort of grave threat to all things good and decent in American political life. All of that happened at exactly the same time that I became one of the media's most vocal and passionate critics of Russiagate mania, frequently criticizing and deriding exactly the views that Omidyar was most passionately expressing on Twitter, often within hours of his posting them. 




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