Home / Robert Farley / Things that Shouldn’t Be Confusing

Things that Shouldn’t Be Confusing


Apparently some clarity regarding the LGM editorial process is necessary:

As should surprised no one, Erik has no control whatsoever over what Paul posts. To the extent that any contributors have the right to prod or quash or edit a post, that power lies with Scott and myself, and we exercise extraordinary discretion in practicing it. Thus, Erik is clearly under no way responsible for either maintaining or violating a “respectful silence.” And with respect to this claim:

It is again obvious to me that the situation that Erik faced in 2012 and the situation that Matt Bruenig faces now are sufficiently different that there may be any number of reasons why someone would decide to comment on one, and not the other. It may also be the case that Erik (and anyone else here at LGM) simply desires to stay out of what is becoming an increasingly fratricidal discussion. That’s not just their right; it’s likely a damn good idea. I am flummoxed, however, regarding how Corey and Connor and Glenn and Doug think that publicly haranguing someone who has remained on the sidelines (intentionally or no) is somehow a sensible thing to do.

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  • Anticorium

    In a world where “metaphor” is only the thing between meta three and meta five, though, they make an excellent point.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      I’m pretty sure I got that. And I’m pretty sure I laughed.

  • Mike in DC

    I just re-checked, and I am still fresh out of fucks to give about the tragic fate of Matt Bruenig, martyr of the True Left ™.

    • Warren Terra

      But Bruenig’s household income was decimated! More than decimated! As in, he lost more than 1/10 of it (but maybe not a great deal more, and his fans soon made up the difference).

      • The people identified by Barnum rushed in to action to make sure his household income didn’t fall below $150K per year.

        BTW, the assholes are now going after Laura Clawson for being against pro-labor writers. Because you know, the people alleging that are ridiculously unserious people.

        • Happy Jack

          Why is a labor reporter asking people on twitter about labor laws? Isn’t that the job of a reporter?

          • The Hatch Act is not a labor law except in the broadest possible application of that term.

      • Ahuitzotl

        is the Gofundme money subject to income tax? or is it a gift (many gifts)?

    • Regulust

      My fucks also ran out when I found out A) He attacked Neera Tanden for Clinton’s welfare reform policy that she had nothing to do with so it was just pointless trolling and B) asking for money when he’s actually very well off, relatively speaking, without mentioning that he is. I thought Paul’s post was fair game in that regard.

      But then I got some fucks back now when I saw some people on the twitters threatening his actual real job. Yeah sometimes what you write on social media should affect your job; like if you’re a police officer or teacher and you write indisputably racist stuff. But Bruenig’s posts are not incompatible with his job, really.

      • I thought Demos was justified in firing him, but going after his day job is unreasonable, and harassing him and his wife is despicable. People need to get some goddamn perspective and show basic human decency.

        • The Temporary Name


          • Mike in DC

            I don’t think he deserves to lose his day job, at least not over this. Nor should his wife be harassed. That said, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from any adverse consequences of that speech. Particularly with a private employer who has to interact with various powers and principalities in order to function effectively. Diplomacy, courtesy and tact are not strictly reserved for dealing with similarly courteous and tactful people.

      • But Bruenig’s posts are not incompatible with his job, really.

        I wouldn’t assume that. Probably, and from the previous thread people who know Hatch say he wouldn’t be in trouble by Hatch act issues. But I wouldn’t be shocked if there were issues with his side-employment by a labor-funded advocacy organization. I would hope he cleared that before he tried to do both jobs (I don’t know which came first), and if there’s a problem, it’s kind of ridiculous that the NLRB people would have just figured it out now. But I have to imagine people will be looking at the rules for NLRB employees, and seeing if he violated any.

        And as someone who blogged anonymous for years before becoming a Congressional employee, when I had to balance my professional duties with having an online persona, and then eventually “coming out,” but only after several people tried to have me fired, I’m sorry, from a political standpoint I hope Breunig doesn’t lose his job, but if he does, he’ll get no sympathy from me. It’s his responsibility to know what he’s doing, and if this creates problems, it’s creating problems not just for him, but for the NLRB. If that happens, he’ll have hurt the NLRB, which in the last few years has accomplished some of the most powerful policy moves of Obama’s second term. That would be selfish and indulgent.

        Update: look at my comment above before concluding what’s being depicted as coming after his job actually was

        • Manny Kant

          Joshua Foust was definitely doing something akin to going after his NLRB job, though he’s apparently made his twitter private so there’s no examples to be found.

          • The wolf often does eventually show up, even though he wasn’t around for previous warnings.

          • Interesting JF closed, then deleted, his twitter account. I wonder if someone was complaining to his day job (Foreign Policy Institute?!)

            • Such a weird thing. As I’ve made clear, I expect people to go after someone’s job But someone in a similarly potentially vulnerable position taking it upon themselves to be that person trying to cost someone else their job? And being public about it, or at least doing it in a way that it will be exposed? WTF was that guy thinking? I don’t know much about him, but man, that’s maybe as stupid as Breunig doing what he did leading to his firing.

      • Ransom Stoddard

        Same for me, with the addition: C) that his behavior was part of a calculated strategy, rather than a one-time emotional outburst; and he apparently refused to apologize when Demos asked him to do so.

  • J. Otto Pohl

    This is why I don’t twit. Too much petty stuff I don’t understand. What is the official position of the Judean People’s Front? I take it the People’s Front of Judea takes the opposite stance.

    • Ronan

      Is Ghanaian Twitter as vitriolic as angloshpere Twitter ?

      • J. Otto Pohl

        I don’t know. I don’t twit. But, the official language of Ghana is English and has been since achieving independence in 1957. I mean do you consider Ireland to not be part of the Anglosphere because the indigenous language is Gaelic?

        • Ronan

          Some wouldn’t, though I’d think it’s angloshpere. But the angloshpere is a geographic and cultural entity surely, the old settler colonies and Britain

          • J. Otto Pohl

            Why would it exclude English language publication and communication from places like Ghana and India?

            • Ronan

              Because it’s based on culture rather than language


              At least in common usage of the term. What’s the argument for Ghana and India being considered angloshpere ?

              • humanoid.panda

                Otto lives in Ghana. And he speaks English.

                • Ronan

                  Deleted. Misread comment

              • CD

                If culture, what’s the argument for the USA being considered anglosphere?

                • delazeur

                  With the exception of the USA/Canada and Australia/NZ pairs, each member of the anglosphere has a fairly distinct culture. Whether their cultures are still more similar to each other than to outside countries I don’t know. I am sympathetic to the possibility that it is more of a race-based distinction than anything.

                • William Berry

                  Because the “Anglo” in “Anglo-sphere” is from “Anglo-Saxon”, not from “English”. It has to do with ethnicity, not with language, which is why Ghana, e.g., can’t be a part of the Anglo-sphere.

                  ETA: Seeing comments below, agree that it does not mean anglo-phone, per se.

                  (Agreeing with Ronan, fwiw.)

                • Ronan

                  That’s a fair question. The short answer would be a historical combination of similar political institutions, religion, language, an individualistic (liberal) political and civic culture, close political ties and a similar level of (and closely connected) economic development created a geographic area you could culturally call the “Anglo world”. (Much as you could speak of an Arab world, even though it’s covering multiple seperate ethnic, sectarian, national etc cultures)
                  The extent to which this Is a meaningful cultural entity (either now or historically) or a convenient political creation is, of course, debatable.

                  Edit: I’m off to bed, so won’t be back to this for a while

                • CD

                  Anglo-sphere” is from “Anglo-Saxon”, not from “English”. It has to do with ethnicity, not with language

                  Glad we got that cleared up! So an Englishman who is a descendant of the Normans, or of any of the Danish towns established in the Middle Ages, is outside the Anglosphere.

                • William Berry


                  So we’re going all essentialist/ absolutist now, eh?

                  Glad we got that cleared up.

                • William Berry

                  Also, too:

                  Danish towns weren’t established in the Middle Ages; they were before 1,000 CE.

                  Danish and Norman populations in England were fully assimilated centuries before anyone thought of the term “Anglo-sphere”.

                • William Berry

                  Correcting myself before someone else does!

                  I am old enough to recall the period up to 1,000 CE being referred to as the “Dark Age”, with the “Middle Ages” beginning around, or a little after, the time of Charlemagne. I see current usage (Wiki) has the MA going back to end of the C5.

                  So, my bad. But the assimilation point stands.

        • Warren Terra

          Ronan is wrong to assume Ghana isn’t part of the anglosphere – at least in so far as that means the anglophone community, as opposed to something much closer to Britain, Ireland, and smaller associated islands nearby – but I assume there are popular social media / messaging mechanisms within Ghana (which may well be the same platforms popular here, though probably with partially separate social networks and celebrities), and you’re a reasonably person to ask about such.

          • Ronan

            Right, but it doesn’t mean Anglophone. At least in common usage

          • Ronan is right.

            English language is of tremendous importance in all the former African, Southeast and South Asian, and Caribbean colonies of the British empire–in the English speaking islands of the Caribbean it’s the only significant language–, and the English spoken and written in those places ought to be important to everybody, but the “Anglosphere” concept is really about white people, not the sphere of English but the sphere of countries dominated by Anglos. The Five Eyes countries plus Ireland (which to my mind isn’t really in it either, and Scotland just barely). It’s kind of disgusting, but it is a political reality that the governments of these countries do things together that exclude the others and continental Europe too, and the cultural establishments are similarly insulated.

            It would be nice to have a word to refer to the worldwide English speaking community the way French speakers have “la francophonie”, but “Anglosphere” is not available for that meaning. Anglophonia?

            On the Twitter question I think Indian Twitter is pretty brutal, Singaporean genteel, I can’t speak at all to any of the others.

            • The Temporary Name

              I thought it was a cliché that the colonies were saving English.

        • MacK

          I’d say the Irish relationship with the “Anglo-sphere” is pretty complex. To some degree that is because the Anglo-sphere’s origins as a concept go back to the 19th century and ideas of the Anglo-Saxon race, from which its promotors to a degree excluded the Irish – see for example the cartoons of Tomas Nast as well as similar cartoons in Punch and other English magazines. To that has to be added the conscious decisions of most of the Irish themselves, to not regard themselves as Anglo-Saxon or as part of the “Anglo-sphere,” but being different – and indeed regarding Hiberno-English as distinct from English-English in various ways.

          The Anglos-Sphere was thus very much a axial construct, whose members were those English speaking countries that self-consciously regarded themselves as anglo-saxon, which is why it is usually take an meaning England, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

          • Ronan

            I think this is true, more so as a historical matter than a contemporary one though. Ie the meaningful cultural distinctiveness between ireland and rest has been eroded, as has the gap in economic and social development, and Catholicism (or race/ethnicity) is no longer as much a factor of exclusion. We’re fully integrated into the Atlantic economy, no longer commited to the old ways of opposing it, have significant, politically powerful(at least historically) diaspora communities in all of the countries, and no longer play the part of a proletarian Atlantic people.
            These are also why race isn’t the main factor anymore, imo. All of these countries are to varying extents multi cultural, which doesn’t negate them being parts of the angloshpere. Some of these “migrant” communities will probably expand/Change/make meaningless the concept of the angloshpere into the future. The main factors are economic and institutional convergence between periphery and core, development of individualistic, liberal political cultures, and implicit acknowledgment from the angloshperic hegemon (the US)

            • MacK

              Oh I don’t disagree – it is just that the anglosphere as a concept was old, somewhat racist and something to which the Irish did not subscribe for the most part, and do not much today. With respect to being multicultural, the historic origin of the idea of the Anglosphere was to preserve the essentially “English” character of those countries against the intrusion of non-Anglo Saxon cultures.

              By the way, every now and then typos are not that bad “a[n] axial construct” is as accurate as “a racial construct.” Finally, Ronan – jeez, a paragraph or two.

            • LFC

              To anyone:
              Pls read S. Vucetic’s The Anglosphere and tell me what it says. A 4-page critical synopsis, Fed Exed to me in hard copy, will do nicely. That way I can continue to, um, spend time reading sites like LGM and not (so many) books. Thks!

      • Hogan

        I am so spelling it “angloshpere” from now on. Unless I’m drunk, in which case I’ll probably spell it correctly.

        Which is to say I will probably almost always spell it correctly.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          objectively dethpicable as usual

          • Duck season

            • Origami Isopod

              Man. This comment takes me back to the late Dana Hersey of WSBK fame appearing on some morning radio show or another and being told by the resident mimic, “Dana, you’re dethpicable!”

              • JonH

                He’s still alive.

          • ChrisTS

            Hoganth ith a monhstah!

  • Warren Terra

    Among other obvious differences: Erik isn’t paid by URI to opine on politics, or indeed on LGM at all; Erik doesn’t opine here on a platform provided by or branded with the name of URI; and Erik was (perhaps intemperately and overly metaphorically) calling for accountability from a public figure, he wasn’t traducing them and then refusing to apologize.

    • delazeur

      Notably, Bruenig was not fired from his actual job.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        He should return the money.

        • Warren Terra

          Although I think some of the secondary sources that reported the story maybe confused the issue that this was a side gig in a household with two much larger incomes, I haven’t seen it suggested that Breunig particularly misrepresented his situation to his donors. So I really don’t see why he should return the money.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I agree with Warren. You can argue that he misled by omission, but 1)it was a minor thing and 2)he actually had to start refusing donations, so it seems likely that he would have raised as much or more had he been fully candid. There’s nothing wrong with him asking for money per se and there’s no reason he shouldn’t keep it.

            • Lost Left Coaster

              I think it’s wrong if he doesn’t need it. Not legally, but ethically. He might need it in a few months, if he can’t get a new job, but frankly he struck while the iron was hot with his appeal in order to monetize the outrage over his firing.

              • DrDick

                I would agree that it is ethically problematic (at best).

              • Scott Lemieux

                I don’t see the problem. People gave voluntarily. I don’t think you have to be starving to ask.

                • I think one should have the decency to not take other’s charity when it’s to keep your household income over $150K per year, with stellar benefits.

                • ChrisTS

                  Sorry, Scott: as an ethicist, I do not think de minimis should be the mark of moral success.

                • Lit3Bolt

                  I don’t think you have to be starving to lie by omission and use your pregnant wife as an emotional appeal for your privilege of acting like a jerk voluntarily on Twitter during work hours without thinking of any possible consequences either.

                  Or do you think he displayed true integrity by shutting down the donations at $25,000?

                  If people want to support him, his family, or his writing, that’s fine, you’re right. But glib assumption that people giving charity are fine about being deliberately misled…well, you’re channeling Yggy there.

                • Phil Perspective

                  And you know their family income is above $150,000/yr, how?

                • Phil: because his income is in the public record and came to $100k, and his wife is an editor at the Washington Post, where she almost certainly makes over $75K per year. This is not new information just introduced in to the discussion.

                • Lost Left Coaster

                  Reasonable people can disagree, of course. But imagine if a popular teacher sent an email around to all of his former students (age 18+) asking for money, even if he didn’t need it? And he didn’t lie but implied pretty strongly that he did need it? Would that be wrong? Or is that a bad analogy (maybe)? It seems like a similar situation — leveraging popularity with a certain group to get money, even when not in dire need.

                  If he had a legal defense fund, that would be different, because it would be earmarked for something specific, and something we all know to be very expensive.

                • Reasonable people can disagree, of course. But imagine if a popular teacher sent an email around to all of his former students (age 18+) asking for money, even if he didn’t need it?

                  Is this a good time to mention my beloved’s Kickstarter for her next album? :)

                  And he didn’t lie but implied pretty strongly that he did need it? Would that be wrong?

                  Depends, but probably at least unsavoury.

                  Or is that a bad analogy (maybe)?

                  I think so.

                  It seems like a similar situation — leveraging popularity with a certain group to get money, even when not in dire need.

                  But you shift from “need” to “dire need”. I don’t know that the need was dire, but I think it was a real need. He asked for it in a kind of joking way. It sucks to lose work you liked and were counting on esp. when you have a big life event.

                  I don’t think it’s in principle wrong to ask. I prefer things to be as clear as possible, but the only people who could possibly be wronged her were people who would not have donated if his switch were more clear and possibly the people he donated too. I don’t see a lot of buyer’s remorse among the donors (though I’ve only seen a very few).

              • He was expecting to use the Demos money to cover expenses while he and his wife took unpaid leave for the birth of their child. That money went away and he solicited funds to cover that gap and for that purpose.

                That seems to be an occurant need. I’d bet he could have forgone the paternal leave but I don’t see why, if people want to support him taking such leave, he shouldn’t do it.

                The fact that the US doesn’t have sane and human family leave policies is a big problem.

                • So they were planning on living on $2500 gross per month? Or was Demos going to front him a year’s salary?

                • At that level I don’t know. This is just the story I’ve gleaned.

                  Of course they may have had other savings or supplements. I also don’t know how long leave they intended.

                  My point is that if his account is true, it’s entirely possible that the loss would have been difficult to cover and that crop leave law makes me rather more sympathetic. On this account, he’s not trying to preserve his golf membership.

                  ETA: in our outrage, let’s not throw family leave off the raft. That’s an important thing and I’m glad when people can get it and the lack of statutory paid leave (as in the UK) is crap.

                • The Temporary Name

                  My point is that if his account is true, it’s entirely possible that the loss would have been difficult to cover and that crop leave law makes me rather more sympathetic. On this account, he’s not trying to preserve his golf membership.

                  The thing that’s interesting about the Demos press release was that they say it took multiple conversations to come to a decision about what to do.

                • The thing that’s interesting about the Demos press release was that they say it took multiple conversations to come to a decision about what to do.

                  Some of his friends anonymously said he was give the boot with no chance to reform.

                  I guess both these things are possible in some way together. Eg they had a conversation then found out more then had another and gave him the boot.

                  The Demos account isn’t specific enough for me to rule out entirely that Bruenig was let go without a chance to reform.

            • Seconded, or thirded, or whatever. I do think it was pretty crappy of him to ask for money without disclosing that he still had his day job, and he made some claims while asking for the money that were dishonest, but the fact that he cut off the donations after a point helps make up for that.

              Neither his firing nor his immediate reaction to the same are really a huge deal, or worth all the hate and vitriol that’s being spent on them.

              • ChrisTS

                Well, he asked for 10K and shut it off at 25K. Perhaps it all happened to quickly.

                For me, the very fact that he sought money from people who might have far less on the basis of less than clear conditions is seriously unethical.

                • Manny Kant

                  That he thinks lawyers make too much money doesn’t help with this.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            He should return it because he has plenty of income already and isn’t in dire need of assistance. He lost his job and asked his followers for money during a time that they would be very sympathetic because they are (possibly rightly, I don’t have a strong opinion) outraged that he was fired. So he monetized the outrage. Frankly I think that is disgusting.

            • Manny Kant

              Especially from a dude who’s supposedly all about his concern for actual poor people.

              • This comment = Al Gore has a house with heat.

                • Denverite

                  But I thought that’s why he grew a beard and got fat.

                • Oh, win!

                  I’m proud just to have set that punch line up.

                • Manny Kant

                  Having a house with heat is the same thing as securely upper middle class people asking for charity from strangers?

                  I don’t begrudge him advocating for the poor but still making a nice upper middle class living from his and his wife’s nice upper middle class jobs. I begrudge him for asking strangers to give even more money to him under those circumstances.

                • Having a house with heat is the same thing as securely upper middle class people asking for charity from strangers?

                  Sigh. This is what happens when they take the analogies off the SATs.

                  No, advocating for action on climate change while having a house with heat is like that.

                  I don’t begrudge him advocating for the poor but still making a nice upper middle class living from his and his wife’s nice upper middle class jobs. I begrudge him for asking strangers to give even more money to him under those circumstances.

                  Actually, Manny, what you wrote was Especially from a dude who’s supposedly all about his concern for actual poor people.

                  Your entire “contribution” to this discussion was to bring up his advocacy on behalf of lower-income people. You didn’t write a word about his income.You made the “Al Gore is a hypocrite because he lives in a house” argument – implying that he is a hypocrite to seek money while “supposedly” (that’s pretty awesome, too, that’s he’s only supposedly concerned about class) being concerned about the poor.

            • mcarson

              This isn’t about money, or our decisions on how much money he “needs”. It makes perfect sense to worry about any loss of income right before a families finances are tested by welcoming a new baby and all the stress and income loss involved in that.
              This was a way to show support for someone on the left who was run over by two powerful professional women, and abandoned by the donation dependent blog he worked for.
              If you go through twitter and look at the comments of his friends you’ll see many were scared and angry about this, worried about what would happen to them if they crossed the wrong person.
              This man was fired for saying “scumbag steve (Neera)” to a woman he believed accepted welfare at one point but was officially against it. There is no question Joan Walsh supported welfare reform, she has an archive to document that. Tanden worked in domestic relations in the Bill Clinton administration, but only after the bill was passed. It’s not completely out of line to think a Clinton staffer would have supported welfare reform in the Clinton white house. He called Joan Walsh “geriatric” in response to her frequent “barely shaving” charges.
              HIs history aside, (since Demos hired him knowing that), firing him for these words is pretty thin gruel.
              Crushing opposition to Clinton is the real goal here. Those who attack the administration from the left know that, and we threw money at Matt so fast he closed his fundraiser in 2 hours. Not only does he have plenty of money to cushion his ‘new baby’ year, but we get the added joy of causing his attackers to completely lose their mind over this “undeserved” money.
              We are fighting a war against neo-feudalism, the idea that anyone can be fired, and blackballed from new employment, for being impolite to the powerful. In England, if a serf ran away, he was returned to the manor. Once back he could find his plot of land and house given to someone else, and be required to beg for food and shelter the rest of his life, unable to leave and find other employment. This was done not only to punish the runaway, but as an example to others.
              The comments about Bruenig show that the majority here have accepted this premise, he “deserves” to suffer for what he did. His wife and friends are under attack, they should have known better than to associate with him. He should have considered the idea that everyone close to him could lose their jobs because he spoke rudely. Accept “barely shaving” without complaint, or suffer the consequences. Don’t expect anyone to have your back.

              • ThusBloggedAnderson

                beautiful. smdh’ingly beautiful.

              • The Temporary Name

                This man was fired for saying “scumbag steve (Neera)” to a woman

                No, the press release is here: http://www.demos.org/press-release/reflections-social-media-and-our-responsibility

                • djw

                  Perhaps I’m revealing just how geriatric I am, but I confess it’s not at all clear to me how the existence of some obscure meme transforms calling people scumbag into something notably less objectionable that it otherwise would be.

                • @djw: I’ve been aware of the Scumbag Steve meme for a long time, but it’s such a thin excuse. I keep on reading explanations that the meme is about hypocrisy, etc. but that’s not how it started. It’s literally just a picture of a guy who looks like a dick with text over it describing something that he might do that is dickish. Applying the meme to people is just an insult.

              • Scott Lemieux

                who was run over by two powerful professional women

                There is no evidence that Walsh or Tanden had anything to do with him getting fired. He was also apparently fired for a pattern of behavior, not just one or two tweets.

                It’s not completely out of line to think a Clinton staffer would have supported welfare reform in the Clinton white house.

                It is obviously wrong to assume that anyone working in the White House supports every piece of legislation signed by a president, and it’s even more wrong to double down by distorting an argument against the 1996 bill into an argument for it when your error has been pointed out.

                Crushing opposition to Clinton is the real goal here.

                This is silly.

                • ChrisTS

                  Psst: “There is no evidence that Walsh or Tanden had anything to do with him his getting fired.”

                • They both sound correct to me. I take “him getting fired” as a variant of “getting him fired” (i.e., as a kind of passive voice version). E.g., “Getting him fired is not what I was after.” “Him getting fired (by me) was not what I was after”.

                • Phil Perspective

                  There is no evidence that Walsh or Tanden had anything to do with him getting fired.

                  You know that’s not necessarily how those things work. You do know who heads up Demos, right? Demos hierarchy certainly doesn’t need to be told who Tanden and Walsh are. All they probably needed to know is that they were the other party involved. And out the door he went, to keep the peace.

              • Halloween Jack

                We are fighting a war against neo-feudalism, the idea that anyone can be fired, and blackballed from new employment, for being impolite to the powerful. In England, if a serf ran away, he was returned to the manor. Once back he could find his plot of land and house given to someone else, and be required to beg for food and shelter the rest of his life, unable to leave and find other employment. This was done not only to punish the runaway, but as an example to others.

                Are you an understudy in Spamalot?

              • Origami Isopod

                This was a way to show support for someone on the left who was run over by two powerful professional women was a misogynist bullying asshole to women at all levels of power and cried poor when it finally had consequences for him

                Fixed. Also, learn to use paragraphs, ffs.

            • ChrisTS

              He lost his [backup] job

    • JL

      Also, Erik does not, as far as I know, have any kind of history of participating in, coordinating parts of, or egging on, coordinated harassment mobs.

  • djw

    Another thing that shouldn’t be confusing is that academic freedom applies to university faculty but not to writers for think tanks. Exactly zero people would think Demos would be in the wrong if they’d fired a writer for a series of posts defending Republican tax proposals, whereas no one would think anything of the sort if Erik were fired for doing the same. Academic freedom extends well beyond think tank freedom, in large part because of the obvious, massive differences in the purposes of the institutions. It could be central to think tanks to promote not just a particular political agenda but a general strategy and approach toward broader political engagement.

    I have no opinion on Bruenig’s firing because (in addition to not knowing how it went down procedurally, how much warning he was given, etc) I don’t know enough about Demos’s mission/values/history to have an opinion about whether their social media policy makes sense given their institutional mission and history. But I can’t really object to purposive, political, advocacy-oriented think tanks having such a policy and enforcing it, at least among their employees who work directly in political advocacy.

    • Brien Jackson

      And also, Demos’ problem with Bruenig isn’t just one of good taste, eventually it becomes a major operational hindrance to be supporting someone who gleefully harasses women online.

      • Philip

        Yeah, let’s not lose sight of what he was fired over. Being fired for siccing hordes of harassers on people is…the right outcome, I’d have thought?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Right. It’s just not an apples-to-apples comparison. If you think, as a considered strategy, that being a massive dick to influential people on Twitter is politically necessary, it seems pretty obvious that a think tank seeking political influence may not be the place for you. (That doesn’t mean Demos was right or wrong to fire him, but the comparison just doesn’t make sense.)

      If his day job was being threatened, that’s another story entirely. Even though he’s not protected by academic freedom, his Twitter feed is irrelevant to his job and he shouldn’t be fired for expressing political opinions on it.

      • I am not going to say whether this is the case with any specific public person, because I don’t know, but I have observed that “influential” is, for a certain crowd, in the eye of the beholder. Women, for whatever reason, aren’t taken to be authoritative by them even if they have the same job and say the same thing as a man. I’ll leave other categories that could be true of as a reader exercise.

        • ChrisTS

          Ah, BOOM.

  • Crusty

    I missed the part where Erik started a gofundme because he felt entitled to a certain income and had become accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

    • CD

      I was about to say. Dude missed an opportunity.

      • Brett

        Seriously. Erik, that could have paid for you to go to Left Forum!

        • Left Forum you say! Well! Who could miss that conference of pure brilliance!

        • Origami Isopod

          Fuck Left Forum, it could’ve kept him in ketchup, vodka, and heads on sticks for YEARS!!

    • junker

      One of my stretch goals involves the actual stretching of my opponents. On a rack.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Yeah, after reading that this guy didn’t even lose his day job, but just a side gig, I think that the GoFundMe ask rises to level of some kind of scamola. If you don’t imminently need the money, it is wrong to ask for it, even if your donors should know better than to give to you.

  • djw

    And, also, of course Paul’s post wasn’t “about” Bruenig’s firing or twitter conduct at all. It was about how subsequent events make a ridiculous argument Bruenig made two years ago look even more ridiculous.

    • Mike in DC

      This. His original post 2 years ago was so poorly researched and argued, and so oblivious to the harsh realities faced by recent law grads, that I still clench my teeth when I recall it. And now that he is suffering a slight economic setback, turns out he as a lawyer isn’t paid too much at all. Asking for a bailout looks like hypocrisy where I’m sitting.

    • Although, it does provide nice context in which to judge his veracity and consistency on matters currently getting attention.

    • efc

      I really think his post was more about the discourse surrounding occupational licensing than the necessity of removing licensing restrictions for lawyers in particular.

  • Brien Jackson

    Also too, fuck anyone who equates using a common metaphor with rspe threats or, say, posting pictures of women’s living spaces because they disagree with your politics. I guess that inclubes Cotey Robin now, which is disappointing.

    • Linnaeus

      I like Corey Robin’s work a lot, so I’m also disappointed to see him bring Erik into a dispute that, AFAIK, he has had nothing to do with.

      • Nick056

        Erik tweeted a few days ago with information clarifying that MB was a NLRB lawyer. That tweet linked to a case search page with the NLRB address on it where MB works. Not sure if Robin is referencing that, but it’s quite a controversial thread. (Erik’s post are not the focus of controversy, but I think he should delete that tweet out of propriety’s sake.

        • Phil Perspective

          Erik tweeted a few days ago with information clarifying that MB was a NLRB lawyer. That tweet linked to a case search page with the NLRB address on it where MB works. Not sure if Robin is referencing that, but it’s quite a controversial thread.

          That is exactly what Robin and Kilkpatrick were referencing!! What else did people think they meant? Loomis replied to a TGOS writer(a labor “reporter” no less!!) who was trying to get MB fired from his day job.

          • Linnaeus

            Having not seen the Twitter conversation being referred to here, I had no idea what they were referencing. Hence why I was puzzled.

            • Nick056

              Here it Is.

              Loomis, perhaps without meaning to, linked people to MB’s work address. I have no idea why the hell he went there. The whole thread is inscrutable, because the Kos labor reporter is asking about the Hatch Act, and there could be malicious intent (?) — certainly good people are reading it that way — but it’s ambiguous. Maybe she’s going to file a story on this? Weird.

              I was discussing Hatch in Campos’s thread, but I would never encourage people to speculate “in public” about that, because it is actually a very serious thing, and I don’t really regard LGM threads as part of the social media sphere. The last thing I think this dude needs is speculation by the Twitterati about whether MB should/might lose his day job. He’s out of Demos. He suspended his account. Seems in incredibly poor taste to pile on, as happened to his WIFE this morning in horrible fashion.

              • Linnaeus

                Thanks for the link.

                My first impression is that I don’t see any obvious pile-on intent from Erik here. It may have been wiser in hindsight to say nothing, but he’s not exactly saying, “Let’s all get Bruenig fired”.

              • Origami Isopod

                I’m not an ESB fan but the fact that people are piling on her for this is disgusting. She’s not an appendage of her husband. She’s not the one who engaged in harassment campaigns. She might be defending him, but, well, she’s married to him.

          • Nick056

            That’s actually very true. I should probably make this a separate longer comment because Corey also tweeted about that. Incidentally, Dana is telling people on Twitter that the point of the comment was not to insinuate he should be fired, but just to ask for procedural reasons. However … That really needs more explaining. And plenty of folks — Billmon and Atrios — don’t see it that way.

            • Billmon is so cynical he can’t understand not everyone wallows in the cheap cynicism in which he spends his days.

              As for Laura, anyone who knows anything about her would have to make a concerted effort of bad faith to assume she was trying to get him fired. And I think some people made that effort. Here’s what she has to say.

              • Linnaeus

                I’ve had a lot of respect for Laura Clawson for a long time, and I don’t see anything she’s done in this fracas that would change that.

              • Origami Isopod

                As was said in her dK diary thread, she’s a woman, and she said something that made a man unhappy. That’s all it takes to set these guys off.

        • I think he should delete that tweet out of propriety’s sake.

          Sorry, but no. It’s out there. He’s a federal employee. It’s just something you accept if you take that kind of job. Everyone’s in the same position, there’s nothing special about him other than he drew attention to himself.

          • Nick056


            • Dude, it wasn’t even Erik’s post, which is the point of THIS post!

              As for my friend, believe whatever the fuck you want. It’s not me that has to live with the consequences, if any, of you choosing to believe bullshit.

              • Nick056

                I edited out my comment because it’s not worth it. Sorry to bother you with it. Consider it retracted.

      • Having dealt with him on twitter a few times 4-5 years ago, I don’t share your surprise.

      • Origami Isopod


    • gmack

      Wait. I haven’t been following this little outbreak of idiocy very much, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Who is equating Erik’s “head on a stick” comment to making rape threats? And who made the rape threats?

      ETA: Just to make my main question clear: When did rape threats get made? I wasn’t aware of any.

      • Ronan

        (Not being a smartass this is the serious answer )To your first question, no one .
        To your second, possibly someone somewhere on Twitter.

      • Breunig was involved in earlier Twitter battles in which rape threats were made against women on the other side of the battle lines, but there’s no evidence I know of that Breunig made any rape threats.

  • Sometimes I think truth and good causes don’t need their defenders to crush people they dislike in whatever way comes to hand. Is this something I need to rethink? Maybe if they can get away with it, it means they’re right? In the words of Vinnie Barbarino, I’M SO CONFUSED!

    I personally have no problem with saying Twitter is and always will be toxic, though.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      You may be right about Twitter – & it sure seems the designers keep looking for ways to make it even more toxic.

      But I’ve made some pals there too, for which I’m grateful.

      • But you wouldn’t try to do your job on Twitter. It’s like if all the judges and all the lawyers for all the firms, and the clients, and the clerks, and the reporters, and the public were all using the same system. That part of it isn’t even designed, I can’t believe.

        • ThusBloggedAnderson

          True. I don’t even like emailing opposing counsel except in a “sure take 10 more days” sense.

        • Lit3Bolt

          “Pound the facts, pound the law, pound the Tweets.”

      • I hate that there are people I know on Twitter, here, or DKos, but don’t know them across platforms.

      • JonH

        I miss Usenet. It could be toxic, but it could also be pretty awesome. I first encountered Patrick and Teresa from Making Light on rec.arts.sf.composition and/or rec.arts.sf.written

        Reddit, of all things, seems like the closest 21st century incarnation.

  • Somehow Everest has been made of something even a very feeble mole would be embarrassed to call a hill.

    • Manju


  • Murc

    Corey seems to be under the impression that the two situations are analogous. Others disagree.

    I dislike the constant attempts I see be people, not just with regard to the Breunig kerfuffle but in general, to paint actual disagreement on the nature of the facts as either hypocrisy or an illegitimate exercise of power. The LGM writers, for the most part, do not consider Breunig to be someone to whose defense they should rally.

    They might be wrong about that. But Corey Robin and others seem to be imputing that they do consider Breunig to be worth defending, but are instead remaining silent out of nefarious motives. Or that defending Loomis and not defending Breunig is, in some way, actually hypocritical.

    Or at least that’s how I see it.

    • djw

      The LGM writers, for the most part, do not consider Breunig to be someone to whose defense they should rally.

      I’m going to dissent pretty strongly from this, at least for myself. I’ve never given much thought to Bruenig beyond “good, thoughtful writer/blogger whose work I generally enjoy, although primary politics have made him annoying, seems like an ass on twitter.” I don’t have anywhere near strong enough feelings about him to put him in the “defend reflexively” or “never defend” category. (I try not to put *anyone* in those categories, but human nature being what it is, a few people slip in.) If he’d been fired from a faculty position at Demos university for his twitter conduct, that would clearly be worthy of vigorous public defense. If he’d been fired from his job at Demos restaurant because the owner is a big Clinton fan, I’d speak up for him too. I’m not particularly interested in defending him here not because of my views about him or his politics generally, but because I don’t possess sufficiently granular information about how it went down procedurally or about whether this social media policy is consistent with demos’ mission (it sure seems like it could be) or how consistently applied it is, and I’m not particularly motivated to try to find out. My disinclination to defend him has little to do with my views about him as a writer (which are largely positive), and as a person (which are less positive).

      • Scott Lemieux

        Entirely cosign with djw. This idea that I’m not mounting a rousing defense of Breunig because he’s not “worth defending” is silly, and really pure projection. (I’m reminded that yesterday on Twitter, after I responded to his yet again attributing to me a belief that Democrats should punish the WWC, Emmett Resnin said that I was deliberately misreading him because I “dislike” him. Dude, I hadn’t heard of you a month ago. I wrote two posts criticizing an argument you made that got a lot of attention because I thought it was wrong. That’s all.) Because I don’t follow him on Twitter I’ve never had a negative thought about Breunig that didn’t concern his uncharacteristically stupid argument about law schools two years ago. And even if I didn’t like him, if he was faced with a situation remotely comparable to Erik’s — if his day job employer tried to fire him or Demos had tried to fire him not for cause — I would support him and harshly criticize his employers.

        It may also be worth noting that Erik but not me was dragged into this. I dunno why, but one reason might be that when Corey (to his credit and I appreciate it immensely) expressed support for me after it was announced that my employer was trying to fire me from a tenured position, Kilpatrick, Henwood and the other prominent people in his orbit who consider me a class enemy because I don’t think Barack Obama has the unilateral power to nationalize the health insurance industry or something conspicuously failed to to join him.

        • Murc

          I stand corrected by the both of you, but I notice that your own explanations support at least part of my thesis, that being that there’s nothing sinister and/or hypocritical going on here re: you guys not speaking up in Breunig’s defense in the way that apparently a number of people find problematic.

          Although I do take a bit offense to “pure projection.” You have no idea where I stand on the Breunig thing. I was in error, certainly, but not every time I misread you guys is going to be projection on my part, and certainly not “pure” projection.

          • Nick056

            Errors are always about dishonesty, projection, etc. Otherwise it’s no fun.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Murc — I meant pure projection on the part of Kilpatrick et al., not you.

            • Murc

              Ah. I see! My bad.

        • People are rightly pointing out what Breunig’s situation is not like: an academic position,

          What is IS like is working for a politician or political committee. Your actions may reflect poorly on your employer, you’re an at-will employee, and if you act in a way that people can reasonably think you’re being a dick, and it reflects poorly on your employer, you’e almost certain to get fired.

          I haven’t seen anyone who’s had that kind of employment express outrage that Breunig lost his job. It’s just how it is, and he’s being kind of an entitled jerk to feign outrage that the rules* don’t apply to him.

          *Rules is meant generally, not as some specific contractural bond or code of conduct. I mean it in the sense that I saw he was a huge dick to Tanden and Walsh and thought “yeah, of course Demos would fire him, he’s not worth the hassle if he’s creating problems for them and potentially costing them contributions or credibility.”

          • Ronan

            I don’t see a huge smount of evidence on twitter for this norm though. People I follow in serious enough * professional roles (primarily banks or think tanks) don’t seen to behave a whole lot better than breunig. It seems to be largely arbitrary who gets disciplined and who doesn’t **

            *id say mid or upper mid level rather than elite

            ** this is not to say anything about the rights or wrongs of the firing. I’m ambivalent on it and don’t really really see the point speculating when we don’t have reliable info on what happened

            • What? Tell me who runs around accusing people of being complicit in the death of their mother, and when confronted with the factual errors on which their bullshit implications are drawn, refuse to retract their attack?

              And calling Walsh and Tanden “geriatric?” Please, even if he didn’t realize it, he was asking to be fired.

              • Hogan

                “He enjoys the cut and thrust of vigorous debate.”

              • Ronan

                Out of curiosity(if it’s not too personal a question) how do.you deal with this stuff with staff in campaigns you run?
                (The following is a hypothetical, not meant to be an analogy to breunig) If someone was making quite abusive, though not harassing, tweets from a private account,under their own name but not linked to the campaign, but you could find out the person worked on the campaign through minimal research. What would you do ? Ask them to to be it down? Or I’d it just when it becomes an issue you’d action against it?

                • Answer to first question: shrug and do my job.

                  Answer to second: scroll down to see what happened to Furtado, who worked for the Congressman my candidate went on to defeat.

  • It’s amazing – or maybe not – how readily they decided the appropriate response is to hassle someone who had nothing to do with the post.

    It’s something a creep would do.

    • Brien Jackson

      Yeah, they’re doing a bang up job proving they aen’t harassers.

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        It’s like a handwritten confession of assholery. Robin’s the only one I had remaining respect for to lose, but it’s now complete.

        & anyone still saying the Jacobin folks are innocent lambs should look here first.

        • The thing is, if you want to participate in a community, you have to follow community norms. The norm on Twitter is to be a schmuck. QED. It also happens to be true, that in our culture, (1) if someone’s a schmuck to you, you’re allowed to be a schmuck back, and (2) women don’t really get to be schmucks and if they do, they get it back in triplicate. Again, QED. Sucks, doesn’t it? But that’s how we maintain culture norms. And who’s to say people aren’t being a schmuck to you just because you’re a shrew who doesn’t follow community norms?

          I liked Robin’s book, and it’s disappointing every time I’ve Internet-run into him it’s gone so badly, but I’m pretty sure there’s no remedy.

          Also, I can’t actually read that link. Maybe I should get a Twitter account and install the app so it’ll be visible.

          • Hogan

            Also, I can’t actually read that link. Maybe I should get a Twitter account and install the app so it’ll be visible.

            OR NOT.

          • The norm on Twitter is to be a schmuck.

            I’m assuming you’re not on Twitter, of you didn’t manage to follow non-schmucks, who are the vast majority of people on Twitter,

            While it may be a negative in the eyes of some people here, it’s through Twitter that I came to LGM

            • No, I’m not on Twitter. (Would you care for a selection of curated links, concerning my opinion of Twitter as an application design, as well as a degeneration of the public-Internet concept?)

              It does seem that for a particular group of political writers who use Twitter, the norm is to be a schmuck. In the old days, a certain amount of aggression was expected on the Internet, from women as well as from men, but it rarely became truly vitriolic. A _group_ can only handle a couple of truly vitriolic people, I think. If it gets past that, people would leave or create a new group. But you can’t really leave Twitter (not if you’re committed to using public Twitter in the way certain groups of writers like to do).

              edit: Lost a paragraph saying I know there are perfectly nice people on Twitter, can’t retrieve.

              • It does seem that for a particular group of political writers who use Twitter, the norm is to be a schmuck.

                And you don’t have to follow them. I never followed Breunig, for example. And they’re a minority, and they usually poop in their own pools enough that their influence fades. Only the truly gifted at malevolence manage to have much influence beyond their acolytes.

                • Ronan

                  You can unfollow and ignore them for long stretches of time, but it always comes back to their petulant bullshit (I’m talking also about the twitter anti breunig faction) You can’t escape them, Cohen, foust, kendizor, Doyle, graeber , Fdb etc. They’ll pop up in your feed complaining about some trivial bullshit. The world could literally be on the brink of collapse and they’d emerge like some high schoolers stoned on glue insisting we all listen to their inane sob stories while their baying mob gets ready for either (1) twitter war or (2) twitter hugs

                • I just don’t see the point. Is it an alternative to reading magazines (i.e. seeing what smart people have to say), or is it an alternative to joining a listserv (i.e. joining a group where everyone–though they may not all be peers, strictly speaking–is temporarily on more or less equal terms and all are expected to speak)? I’d rather read magazines and it seems poorly designed for listserv-replacement. I see things like people tweeting mini-reviews of rap albums and getting called out as haters by big stars and I want no part of it.

                • Maybe you’re better off not trying to figure it out.

                • Nick056

                  You can unfollow and ignore them for long stretches of time, but it always comes back to their petulant bullshit (I’m talking also about the twitter anti breunig faction) You can’t escape them, Cohen, foust, kendizor, Doyle, graeber , Fdb etc. They’ll pop up in your feed complaining about some trivial bullshit. The world could literally be on the brink of war and they’d emerge like some high schoolers stoned on glue insisting we all listen to their inane sob stories while their baying mob gets ready for either (1) twitter war or (2) twitter hugs

                  Yes, this. I was happily ignoring this crap when a post about it showed up in my feed, and I don’t follow many political writers. (I hardly follow anybody.) It’s just incestuous.

                • You can’t escape them, Cohen, foust, kendizor, Doyle, graeber , Fdb etc.

                  They almost never pop up in mine. Kendizor and Doyle recently followed me, but Graeber never does, and DeBoer is great for mockery, but it’s only his truly hilarious idiocies that make it to my thread.

                  If someone’s filling my feed with stuff I find stupid or distracting, I just stop following them.

            • Brien Jackson

              Yeah, I see Dana being non-schmucky all the time, and I try really hard to be myself. I mean, if you drop ha;f a dozen unsolicited Berniebot fantasies on my mentions then yes, I’m going to roast you, but I contend this proves the point.

          • MPAVictoria

            “The norm on Twitter is to be a schmuck. QED”

            Considering your comments to me here Bianca I find this statement just delicious :-)

          • LFC

            I liked Robin’s book, and it’s disappointing every time I’ve Internet-run into him it’s gone so badly, but I’m pretty sure there’s no remedy.

            I can’t say anything close to what I might be inclined to say about this, however mild, w.o setting off a flame war, so I’m not going to say anything. Beyond noting that I’ve read the comment with interest.

          • JonH

            “Also, I can’t actually read that link.”

            You should be able to.

        • Also, just read something by Doyle about doxxing and stuff . . .

          Back when the Internet was more of a free-for-all, and I was younger and less jaded (and hadn’t been persuaded to try non-shrewishness for a while, and found it it made no difference at all) and more willing to mix it up: I discovered there are people on the Internet with boundary issues. People who do look up your address, even if only to anonymously send you something related to the discussion–the kind of thing that’s maybe charming, up until the point where it’s creepy. It’s only another line to cross, and then another, . . . until they’re doxxing and worse.

  • EBT

    To be honest though, that would be a fabulous place for LaPierre’s head to go.

  • humanoid.panda

    A serious question from someone who was not at all engaged in American politics back then: where things as dumb and depressing back then, or this is a product of a more ideological primary+the rise of Twitter? Because I simply can’t imagine anyone experiencing more than one primary season without leaving politics to focus on healthier habits- like swimming with piranhas..

    • Murc

      “Back then” meaning when, precisely?

      • humanoid.panda


        • In 2008 the fights were on blog comment threads

          • I find Twitter significantly less obnoxious that the 2008 douche de merde. I guess I’ve been lucky in the accounts I follow. And Twitter has Emergency Kittens. Comment threads in 2008 did not have Emergency Kittens, and they really needed them.

    • Alex.S

      Yes, but people had to actually go looking for arenas to be obnoxious to other people in. It took a lot more effort to post a comment and it was much easier to be banned from an individual site. There was still dumb and depressing stuff, but it was mostly people dogpiling a strawman.

      Twitter makes it much easier to find someone and yell at them. It also amplifies that yell if someone has enough followers. And it also broadcasts that to anyone who cares enough to go looking for it. Or is just following someone. Or following someone who retweets something.

    • CD

      Twitter seems like a lot of it. People in politics have been saying horrible things since forever, but usually just in idle chat. Now it’s broadcast and you get these ugly spats.

    • It seems pretty similar to me; the big difference now, as far as I can tell, is that there’s a lot more claimed ideological substance to the tussles. E.g. when Samantha Power called Clinton a “monster” or when whatsisface got photographed pretending to feel up a cardboard cutout, there was a lot of frantic shit-throwing, but there wasn’t as much “clearly this is persecution for my noble views” posturing.

      • JonH

        “whatsisface got photographed pretending to feel up a cardboard cutout”

        Favreau, the speechwriter.

  • petesh

    Respectful silence? Respectful of whom? Demos?

  • keta

    Geez, who’d of guessed a forum/format that is best suited to short, sharp intemperate bursts of barely aimed egotistical posturing would end up shedding metaphoric blood?

    Fucking shocked, etc.

  • tsam


    • I devoted several seconds to an unsuccessful attempt to figure out what kind of war, conducted on or about 1 December 1234 C.E., was being compared to Twitter.

      Thanks, Obama!

      • tsam

        It was supposed to be a play on the low amount of characters. But chances are ther was a war during 1234. Something about vampires, if I’m not mistaken.

        • rea

          Mongolia attacked China

  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    Side question, but as full time Federal employee, are there any restrictions on Bruenig earning money from a second occupation? I’m a state employee and we have to do a pita request for permission to do consulting anytime we’re going to do anything for outside compensation, even if it has nothing to do with consulting.

    • Nick056

      The main restriction is that he can’t represent clients where the government is a party in a suit. Otherwise it’s fairly liberal as to outside activities.

      • THAT’S where I wonder if he’s going to get in trouble. One would assume he made sure to avoid any such conflicts, but man, I dunno, he appears pretty reckless.

        • Except it there was no hint on any of his public writing bios that he was a lawyer much les a govt one much less an NLRB one.

          This is why I think his failure to mention he had a full time job on his GoFundMe appeal is probably not sinister: he just reflexively kept the worlds segregated.

        • Nick056

          Those are the ethics rules, not Hatch. And even if Demos receives funding from labor-affiliated groups, there’s probably no conflict. If he didn’t work on anything related to his official duties or otherwise use his position in the course of his outside activity, there’s really no issue governmentwide issue.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    I am, quite honestly, entirely in support of Bruenig in this situation (and the ensuing harassment of his wife is absolutely abhorrent and needs denouncing by anyone involved in the situation). I would also be thrilled if Erik were to weigh in on this side. Finally, I felt that Paul’s post was unnecessarily vindictive and served no constructive purpose, especially given that (contra Scott here) there are absolutely people attempting to get Bruenig fired from his day job, right now.

    That said, this post is entirely correct. Tweeting at Erik in an attempt to interpret his silence as…who knows what is ugly and unhelpful and, most of all, unfair. Erik is one of the boldest voices for labor rights in the left blogosphere, and attacking him is insane.

    • Warren Terra

      I have not been aware of attacks on Breunig’s wife or his day job, not that I doubt such are happening. Either is completely unacceptable. I have not spotted either here at LGM, though I haven’t read every relevant comment.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I am, quite honestly, entirely in support of Bruenig in this situation (and the ensuing harassment of his wife is absolutely abhorrent and needs denouncing by anyone involved in the situation).

      I said this on Twitter earlier today, but it is true that Joshua Foust’s treatment of both Matt and Elizabeth Breunig (phoning the former’s day job employer, harassing the latter and refusing to take it offline) is appalling on every level.

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        Entirely concur. What a jerk.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And also, Foust acted abominably in Jacobinghazi; he’s presumably still pissed off that Breunig shredded him over it but Matt was 100% right on that one.

          • humanoid.panda

            This is the best meta-comment on this entire sordid affair:

            Rawls: Do you even know what this detail’s about Lieutenant?
            Daniels: Some kinda beef that Valchek has.
            Rawls: Two fuckin’ Polacks pissin’ on each other’s leg.

            • Yah.

              This is clearly causing some people to rally to a new front in the rox/sux wars, but I’ve totally got Erik and Scott’s back here. The idea of being forced to pick a side here is abominable.

              • humanoid.panda

                I’m very glad to say I’ve followed all the people mentioned in Breuning’s post (himself, Froust and Kendzior) on twitter at some point and unfollowed them months ago ,as all 3 clearly have issues.

                • Not to brag but, I’d never heard of any of these people before this, and I won’t be able to remember any of their names by Thursday.

                  In fact, I’m going to drop off the thread entirely in the hopes of bumping that up to tomorrow evening.

                • Ronan

                  I don’t have any particular love for breunig, but i have to say compared to those other two he’s a saint

            • Rawls: Two fuckin’ Polacks pissin’ on each other’s leg.

              Now, that’s a theory of justice, that is!

        • Never followed that guy. Can’t describe it, but there was always something in his tweets retweeted by others that set off my sense that I didn’t want anything to do with him.

      • Good for you, Scott.

        There is some laughably one-sided denunciation of harassment happening elsewhere on this thread.

      • Nick056

        Yes. That was terrible to read.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        Scott, I want to add to the comments above by personally thanking you for this one as well. I’m sure mine wasn’t the most diplomatic of comments, and I’m sure there’s potential for serious disagreement on this issue, combined with the absurdly heightened emotions of this inane primary (that I don’t really want to have), so in light of all that in particular, this forceful reply means quite a lot. Thanks.

        • Scott Lemieux


      • So he did contact the NLRB? Eek. By phone?

        (I have to say that I really find the Twitter event hard to follow. I just can disentangle the threading or have any real sense of where I should be looking.)

        • djw

          I tried to figure out what all that was about, only to discover I’ve been blocked by Faust, even though I’m a twitter nobody who’s never interacted with him.

          • I kinda feel jealous. I don’t believe people have peremptorily blocked me even though I’m way more nobody on Twitter. I guess you’re just that much more hard core.

            • djw

              I’m not troubled by it, particularly, just confused. I have a hundred followers, go weeks without so much as looking at twitter, let alone tweeting, and when I do I mostly interact with some land-use/transit policy/architecture people. (The only person I know to have blocked me previously was an anti-development NIMBY who picked a fight with me!) Unless he decided anyone associated with LGM is persona non grata at some point, I can’t imagine how I got singled out.

        • I’d be shocked if there weren’t a dozen people who’ve done it and not announced it for every one who has announced it.

          I’ve had people try to get me fired because they didn’t like something I wrote on a blog or Twitter. Fortunately, most everyone who has was so obviously frothing in a deranged manner it was never credible. The only time someone did make a good attempt he contacted the national campaign manager…except one of my staffers actually sorted the mail from our state, and told me about it. I had it forward it to me, then forwarded it to my supervisor with the national HQ. His instruction was to look for an opportunity to screw that guy, and then do it mercilessly.

          In his email he invoked the law firm he worked for. I subsequently worked very closely with one of the senior partners of that firm. The guy who tried to have me fired is no longer at that firm.

          But other than that guy, almost every time someone contacted my employer it was a joke. Because I didn’t give anyone anything real to use against me. Whether Breunig did, I don’t know.

          • It’s a different world. I generally don’t try to get people fired or have them trying to get me fired.

            ETA: Heh, “generally”. In the course of my job I’ve had to fire or are recommendation tante out to firing. But it’s never happened that I’ve been involved any way with an attempt to fire as a way of dealing with some other beef.

            • When you have a political job–and I think of Breunig’s job at a political/policy think tank as a political job, not an academic or journalistic job–you have to accept that if you go around pissing off anyone, they may try to have you fired If you piss off the wrong people, especially with no good reason, they may succeed in getting you fired.

              • I believe it. There’s some of that in academia. Just not so much in my life :)

            • are recommendation tante out to firing

              Let me guess. It had something to do with the regrettable affair of your uncle’s quill pen?

              • Oy, autocorrect.

                I meant, e.g., recommend against progressing in a PhD program. But these are all non-personal, performance based events, not personal beefs. I’ve not encounter any attempts to get someone fired or turfed out because of something other than performance. Thank goodness! I LIKE being sheltered!

      • Rob Patterson

        I was always surprised that Foust’s “BUT STILL, THREATS WERE MADE” tweet from Jacobinghazi didn’t become a meme. It was at least as stupid as Sasquatch Isreal.

  • Malaclypse

    In solidarity with Corey, I would like to take this opportunity to berate, nay, castigate Erik for LGM’s shameful lack of posts by Dave Noon for lo these many months.

    • The Temporary Name
      • Malaclypse

        One post in two years. I still blame Loomis.

        • DW

          Pshah. If you were a real Democrat liberal leftist, you’d blame Obama.

          • elm

            Have you ever seen Loomis and Obama in the same room together?

            • ThusBloggedAnderson

              has Obama ever been seen using ketchup?

              • Ken

                Has Loomis ever tried to get single-payer?

  • Maybe you should post the names of the authors of posts in a larger font. This misattribution happens a lot. I’ve done it.

    There are no graphical indicators of whose post is whose, and they all appear the same on the page. It’s legitimately easy to make that mistake, which seems to happen (at least in the comments) more on this page than on other group blogs. I’m not sure why.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      meh. if you’re gonna *attack* somebody, check their name on the fucking post first.

      • It hasn’t been something limited to *attacks*. Or even attacks.

    • Murc

      I can only say that the only people I sometimes mix up are Scott and Erik. Everyone else seems distinct enough I don’t have a problem.

      • Warren Terra

        It’s because they have the same surname, spelled differently.

        • Given the way the brain works, it’s entirely possible that the similarity of the names + the low visibility from the small font and all-lower-case letters = a few more such errors.

          We don’t read letter-by-letter. We look at words and recognize them, and sometimes misrecognize them.

          I am not a crank. This is actually a thing.

    • Pseudonym

      I find it kind of fun to guess who the author is based on topic and writing style.

      • Ken

        “A four-year-old?”

        Oops, sorry, you’re talking about LGM, not Twitter.

      • Anna in PDX

        I do this, too! I am pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

  • mcarson

    I can see choosing to not defend him, but you could defend some basic principles. People should not be fired for disagreeing with public figures. Harassment includes an element of relentless pursuit, absent a series of unanswered tweets, or the practice of commenting on every element of a person’s online life, harassment may not be the correct charge.
    Going after his friends newspaper job (no part in the fight) is not right. The newspaper has issued a public statement of support, which was admirable. They had to defend their columnist from the charge of statistical analysis in support of Bruenig’s writing on class and race.
    Attacking Bruenig’s wife is not right. Yet they’re trying to get her fired, also.
    Trying to destroy a mans career, then take down those around him is McCarthyism. Now they’re going after his job at the NRLB, among the dumber charges is violation of the Hatch Act since he has publicly supported Sanders.
    I can see why you may not like Matt, but you wouldn’t support this action against a McDonalds counter-person. For McDonalds employees you’d support free speech, as regards geriatric and scumbag steve, at least.
    This is an attempt to silence journalists. Those who donated to Matt’s fund know this, that’s why we donated so quickly, to show his friends we’d have their back if needed.
    Right now people are going dark online. A young man working to register voters on college campuses before the primaries is scared he’ll be next, again, not because he did anything to Walsh or Tanden, but because he knows Bruenig. He’s leaving twitter, and his humor and encouragement, along with his on campus reporting of political life around the country was information I can’t find anywhere else. He’s worried about his ability to get a job at a tire shop after the election. Is that right?
    I expected more from a pro labor blog. Failure to point out what level of retaliation is over the line endangers all employees considering a public life outside their work. Walsh is a magazine editor and columnist. Tanden is assumed to be Clinton’s chief of staff once she’s elected. These are powerful women. Ignoring the power dynamics here is stupid.
    This is a big deal, and it’s time for those who are in safe positions to step up.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      Ppl shouldn’t be fired for attacking public figures – when their job is to blog about politics for a partisan outlet?


    • a_paul_in_mtl

      I think it is possible to denounce the harassment that is targeting Brueig, his family and associates, while at the same time not taking a position on, or even defending, his firing by Demos. I am not saying that LGM is actually doing the latter, but I hope it is well understood that it would be consistent for someone to support this particular firing but denounce the harassment.

      • Philip

        Simultaneously, I think it’s possible to be anti-harrassing the Bruenigs while also thinking his history of sending mobs of people off to harass other people is gross and deserved the boot he got from Demos.

    • Snuff curry

      A young man working to register voters on college campuses before the primaries is scared he’ll be next, again, not because he did anything to Walsh or Tanden, but because he knows Bruenig. He’s leaving twitter, and his humor and encouragement, along with his on campus reporting of political life around the country was information I can’t find anywhere else. He’s worried about his ability to get a job at a tire shop after the election. Is that right?

      Why “a young man”? Why a “young man” at college? Are young men in college in particular the targets of on-line harassers and doxxers? Are they really?

      • Snuff curry

        I mean, this conversation about the chilling effects of harassment, which at the moment is going in both directions, is based on a real event, not involving young men in college at all, but, interestingly enough, an adult woman (Stoker Bruenig, to be precise).

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        it’s the SJWs!!!

        • They’re coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!

          Wait, what page are we on?

        • Nick056

          I don’t think it’s that simple. The situation today is febrile. It really doesn’t matter whose “side” you’re on — people are being exceptionally vituperative. (Myself included, in my small-nobody-way, and I don’t really have any strong prior opinions except I’m anti-Joan Walsh.) I saw someone suggest that they were afraid people would FOIA Bruenig at his job to dig up dirt. And, frankly, the way people talk about him — as somebody who orchestrated years-long harassment campaigns — I’m not surprised his friends are little shell-shocked or that that might happened. It may be a dramatic “college” reaction to “go dark” because you;re afraid people will come for you, but that’s what happens when the pot gets sufficiently stirred.

        • Linnaeus

          Am I the only one who occasionally reads “SJWs” as “S1Ws”?

          • I always picture Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda.

            • Linnaeus


            • tsam

              I always picture them having a sword fight. I am not crazy.

      • Snuff curry

        Young men in college are not at the forefront of present-day labor movements, are not the primary beneficiaries of labor protection laws. Think Tanks and lawyering are not “journalism.” I weep, I do, for these young college-age male twitterers, but Bruenig is not a cautionary tale for them, as romantic as it is to spin it that way.

    • Rob Patterson

      I keep seeing references to “people attacking Elizabeth Bruenig for what Matt said”, and now, “people trying to get her fired”. Who is supposedly doing this?

      • I’m not sure.

        Foust certainly seemed to be stirring various kinds of shit, though I didn’t see most on the tweet penumbra. I think it was bad form not to respond to ebrueing’s attenpts to deescalate, though he claimed he didn’t want to go private because of her and Matt’s past behaviour. My understanding is that the past incident was not to his credit. However, his Twitter feed is closed now, so it’s hard to investigate.

        I don’t know that there was an attempt to get her to lose her job, just Matt to lose his, which would be bad enough. I mean, if you’re an expecting couple, it’s generally easier for the obvious reasons for the non-pregnant partner to forgo leave.

  • petesh

    I work (part-time, for money, as a freelance) for a nonprofit that does advocacy. I agree thoroughly with its mission, and I do not always agree with its tactics. The ED chooses to maintain a generally courteous tone even toward buffoons. I occasionally manage to squeeze some humor into the public writing I do for them, but there are limits, and I know there are limits, and I respect those limits. If I called someone a scumbag publicly, I would no longer be welcome. The analogy is not perfect, I know, but I do have sympathy for Demos, who were put in a difficult position.

    On the original event, I think you are being over-dramatic. Now, if other people are subsequently pulling asshole moves such as trying to get Bruenig’s wife fired, they deserve far more censure. Show me that this is a coordinated effort by people in power, and I’ll be right with you. To me, at present, it stinks of small-time, petty resentments. McCarthyism is a big stretch.

    ETA: This can stand alone but was originally meant as a reply to mcarson.

  • PJ

    I follow a lot of left-of-center politically-minded people on Twitter.

    But apparently not any of these people.

    I am awesome.

  • Dilan Esper

    I really hate phony outrage. And the world is awash in it.

    • Denverite


      • jim, some guy in iowa

        it’s why I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

        • N__B

          I thought you were waiting for global warming to deliver the beach to you.

          • wjts

            Everything’s coming up jim, some guy in iowa!

        • weirdnoise

          “That is not it at all,
          That is not what I meant, at all.”

      • gmack

        I call upon all good thinking LGM commenters to denounce this comment immediately, or else they are complicit with it. For shame, all of you objectively despicable creeps!

  • Here’s Laura Clawson’s discussion of her tweet about the Hatch act:


    She too disavows any attempt to get Bruenig fired.

    This seems like a sever problem: where are the boundaries of responsibility. If you tweet something that other people use, riff off of, or prompts them to act badly, to what degree are you responsible?

    I think we have to put some limits on attribution of blame, though I’m ok with some form of strict liability to encourage people to be more active in squelching crap. (Though what happens if you tweet and step away?!)

    Going back to the Hatch act question, suppose Bruenig did violate the act and in some non trivial way, what are our responsibilities then? Are we required not to report it? Or only not to report it if we’re acting from the wrong motives? Can one report it if one is pretty sure that it wouldn’t get Bruenig fired, but would shut him up on Twitter(at least during office hours). Is that silencing him?

    In addition to the general point of about Erik having academic freedom, he also didn’t do or say anything very extreme. People disingenuously read his idiom literally, ie as a death threat. It obviously wasn’t.

    If Bruenig were in actual violation of the Hatch act that would actually be a rule violation.

    I debated whether to post this because I’m a bit worried about causing pain or feeding bad actions (though I posted a similar comment on another thread; that made me a bit uneasy too), but I’m genuinely curious about people’s intuitions. I find that mine are well formed. I don’t don’t see why I would report Hatch violations but I didn’t even know about it until yesterday. I don’t know what exactly the fault is in reporting a likely violation is, though. Doing it out of spite means that you have a pretty bad character, I’d say.

    Anyway, putting aside the specifics of Bruenig (and I’d be very surprised if he were I technical violation of the act…he seems to have been pretty careful to separate his day job from his side gig and general advocacy), is snitching for such offensives necessarily beyond the pale? If not, when isn’t it?

    • I think when you choose to make yourself prominent you have to live with the reasonable consequences. It’s not reasonable that your wife get targeted. It is reasonable that your own job will be. Nobody asked Breunig to take the Demos job. Most people who take a political job accept that it will curtail in some ways what they do and say in public. And if you solicit, or at least welcome, donations from people, you should assume that someone will look you up and if you’re concealing something, it will come out.

      I speculated on Breunig on the Hatch act stuff. A lot of people did. Because it was an obvious question, prompted by his choice to act like a jackass in a public way, which was especially surprising when it became known he worked for the Board . If Breunig did violate some kind of standards for keeping his job at the Board, I won’t feel much sympathy for him, I’ll be pissed that he unnecessarily drew the NLRB in to a stupid controversy because of his own selfishness.

      • Nick056

        I think the understanding is he’s a staff attorney even below the GS-14 level. Small potatoes. Even if he did violate the Hatch Act, it would be hard to foresee that “drawing the Board” into anything meaningful.

        However, since his day job had nothing to do with the reasons he got in trouble with Demos, it’s not reasonable for anyone to “target” it per se, unless revenge is reasonable. If someone is aware of a Hatch violation, they can complain to OSC. But if they go fishing for it, they’re out for blood, plain and simple. And you can’t really separate targeting his job needlessly from targeting his wife, because, as she said this morning, her husband’s job is quite important to her. hunting for reasons to get him fired is a bad idea.

        • Google “Shirley Sherrod”

          And “ought” seldom refutes “is.”

          • Nick056

            I know who Shirley Sherrod is and what happened to her.

            How is that responsive? What she was alleged to have done (which was of course false) was not a Hatch Act violation, and the circumstances and surrounding politics were totally separate. You think — what do you think? — that a portion of the media would fixate on a leftist Sanders supporter saying mean things about Hillary on Twitter when he was supposed to be doing his GS-11 work? Because that’s what a Hatch Act violation would look like.

            It could just as easily be a case of “Google Sibelius.” Because she ACTUALLY violated Hatch, and it was a blip barely anybody remembers, and you know whathappenem to her because of it? Nothing. At all. And MB ain’t exactly HHS Secretary. If you think this could be a Shirley Sherrod situation, you’re crazy.

            And if you won’t specifically say people should not “target” his day job over this, you’re cruel and stupid. Do you know what a Hatch sanction would be for? It wouldn’t be for fucking being mean to your friends or spending too much time tweeting Jacobin writers or any conflict issues. It would be, specifically, for political action directed at Sanders’s success or Clinton’s failure. It would feed every persecution complex the left has. Christ. The only people who would really notice, if anybody, would be left wing Journo-twitter, because it’s a totally intercenine fight, and the people who would look dumbest would be the ones who enabled folks like Jacobin to frame it as, very specifically, political suppression.

            That’s what we’re talking about. But by all means. Continue to say he should be targeted for his partisan advocacy of Sanders. It’s a great look. Who are you, Mark Penn’s non-union equivalent?

            • Nick056

              ETA: One last thing. There MIGHT be SOMEBODY who could get “drawn into a stupid controversy” about a fishing-expedition Hatch violation for a Demos-associated, Twitter-famous leftist who opposed Hillary Clinton on duty time and was a strong Sanders supporter, and I’ll give you one guess who that would be.

            • If you can’t say nobody should torture his pets you’re cruel and stupid. Because by not saying that you obviously think his pets should be tortured.

              • Nick056

                So then you think a fishing expedition on his NLRB job is fair game because “nobody asked him to work for Demos?” and because he solicited money on GoFundMe w/o being fully forthcoming? Cool deal. Of course, whether he worked for Demos is irrelevant to Hatch, which has nothing to do with conflicts/outside interests. But I guess if they had any copies of the CFR on the Hill you’d know that.

                Final thing: People didn’t go after your friend over at Kos because they’re out to get anybody. Trust me. They went after her — if tweeting angrily is going after somebody — because her tweet was exceedingly poorly timed and read very much like she was openly speculating whether MB should be sanctioned for a Hatch violation. Lots of people, from Billmon to Duncan Black, took it a certain way. But whatever. They’re all out to get you.

                • So then you think torturing his pets is fair game?

      • I get how the target has to deal with it, but I’m also asking how the rest of us should.

        I worry a bit about fighting battles in other arenas than in which they started.

        But consider the Eich situation. It seems legit for people with a political beef with him to voice that beef. That had the consequence of his leaving his position. Now you could think that the fact that he was rich and it was a CEOship make the difference, but the. I want to know where the cut off is.

        If someone actually does something that violates a rule, does that wrong doing make it more acceptable to go after their job? Consider the Ward Churchill case.

        There seem to be both first order and second order concerns here.

  • Ok, I’m clearly going to need a Twitter bot because this is damn tedious. But this did make me laugh:

    May 21 Freddie deBaser‏ @freddiedeboer
    Any discussion of the Bruenig fiasco that doesn’t name it as part of the ugly legacy of liberal anticommunism and redbaiting is propaganda.

    • What? Is Bruenig a communist? Did anyone call him a communist? When did communism become part of the conversation? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

      • It really is lovely, isn’t it?

        • I think it’s just a veiled way of saying “everyone should remember, this is all about me.”

          • Lit3Bolt

            For Freddie, every day is a Yezhovshchina Purge.


            I just had a great idea for a Soviet themed colonic…

      • sharculese

        Communism was always a Fred herring.

    • What a troll!

      Of course to bring up the Communist Party purges is to risk labeling yourself an “anticommunist”.

      • DW

        Topic: Trotsky was both the best anticommunist and the best communist. Simultaneously. Discuss.

        • Ken

          Colonel Mustard, with an ice-axe, in the study.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The guy has John Rawls as his Twitter avatar.

      The fact that he and Tanden agree about the 1996 welfare reform bill makes it hard to argue that his firing is explained by redbaiting.

      • Hard to argue? Not for Freddie!

        I *think* this is part of the narrative that powerful democrats are shutting down dissent from the left the way earlier dems did with communists.

        It’s all rather confusing.

        • ThusBloggedAnderson

          I am skeptical whether FdB has ever constructed an ARGUMENT in his life.

          Arguments are for bourgeois losers who don’t have a PhD in rhetoric.

          • I’m sure he could quickly post a 2000 essay on why argle bargle and that’s why we all suck.

            • Hogan

              But he’d just be repeating himself.

              • N__B

                “Sorry squire, I scratched the record…Sorry squire, I scratched the record…Sorry squire, I scratched the record…Sorry squire, I scratched the record…”

                • wjts

                  If we’re thinking of the same Python gag, I’m pretty sure it’s, “The record’s stuck… The record’s stuck… The record’s stuck… The record’s stuck…”

                • N__B

                  My version is how it was on the record. Yes, I owned Monty Python vinyl in 1978.

                • wjts

                  We’re not thinking of the same bit – “First World War Noises” from Matching Tie and Handkerchief is what I was remembering.

                • Linnaeus

                  Yes, I owned Monty Python vinyl in 1978.

                  I’d almost be disappointed if you hadn’t.

                • Hogan

                  N_B has the right of it here.

                • N__B

                  We’re not thinking of the same bit

                  You’re right. I was thinking of the Piranha brothers.

                • N__B

                  N_B has the right of it here.

                  I was going to pop wjts one in the jaw for talking that way but I didn’t because I needed to take care of my arm. You know me Al.

          • Lit3Bolt

            Freddie comes off as a guy who wants you to pity him, and then gets mad that you’re pitying him.

  • calling all toasters

    Sometimes I really fucking hate public intellectuals.

    EFW: not LGM frontpagers, of course.

    • Linnaeus

      Nice save there.

  • So, it’s been a long day with a bunch of meetings and the like. And then my department went out to dinner together which we never do it and it was really nice and oh I guess I will check my Twitter feed and the blog….



    Ah, I see.


    Well, there’s nothing like being attacked for something I didn’t write! I mean, I’m used to being attacked for what I did write. But what I didn’t write? That, I have to admit, is a new one.

    As for somehow contributing to the attacks on Bruenig, in fact, the totality of that was confirming through my very amazing powers of Google that he was an employee of the federal government. Everyone was already discovering that at that very time and responded to clarify some doubt. I thought it was rather tacky of him to raise money for himself in that way, but whatever. In 2016 (OK, maybe always) people are determined to find conspiracies and bad acting in everything I guess.

    Also, Laura Clawson is seriously the nicest person on the planet. The idea that she is trying to get someone fired is completely ridiculous.

    In conclusion, everyone in 2016 is a fucking asshole and both liberals and the left deserves a Trump presidency for their horribleness.

    • Denverite

      everyone in 2016 is a fucking asshole

      Hey! I thought I was the harmless drunk everyone thought was funny.

      • Wellllllll…….

        • Denverite

          Touche, Bijan, touche.

          • ;)

            I mean, *I* love you, of course, but I heard from these *other* folks…

            …but I think they were pro Prohibition!

      • Ronan

        A,booze soaked lawyer? What’s not to love

    • Hogan
    • Well, there’s nothing like being attacked for something I didn’t write! I mean, I’m used to being attacked for what I did write. But what I didn’t write? That, I have to admit, is a new one.

      You’ve gotten more efficient!

      • If only I was more efficient with my work and not just finding ways for people to hate me

        • Linnaeus

          Don’t fetishize efficiency the way the capitalists do.

          • Have I mentioned I grew up Lutheran?

            • Linnaeus

              You may have, and if you did, I missed it. That explains a lot.

        • If only I was more efficient with my work and not just finding ways for people to hate me

          You just need work that consists of getting people to hate you! The New Economy!

          • Is there a way to monetize this?

            • Denverite

              Good news: Yes.

              Bad news: What is your health insurance deductible?

            • Did Bruenig not show you the way?!

              • Snuff curry

                There has to be a force, but who(m) does he phone, etc.

    • Also, Laura Clawson is seriously the nicest person on the planet. The idea that she is trying to get someone fired is completely ridiculous.

      I’m biased, in that she’s one of my closest friends, but yeah, attributing malevolence to her in this case is a good way to prove you know nothing about her, or that you’re a dishonest prick.

      The guy who got this shit started with her tonight then blamed me for originating the Hatch-related attack on Breunig by citing a comment of mine from here yesterday. Two days after Laura’s tweet. Obviously that’s someone who just doesn’t give a crap if he gets something right, he just knows he’s in a tribe and the tribe has enemies so lash out at the enemies.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      “everybody in 2016 is a fucking asshole”

      hot damn, I’ve been promoted! I had just worked my way up to jerk

      • Linnaeus

        Sorry, dude. Not. Even. Close.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Honestly, Connor Kilpatrick and his little Twitter clique are so off-putting that it taints my image of Jacobin. I have enjoyed/appreciated some of what I’ve read there (linked from here or other places), but Christ what an asshole.

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        When non progressives like Kilpatrick say they like a lefty or lefty institution, I often assume its a from of concern trolling/trying to split actual progressives. Its like “Look at what feminist lesbian Camile Paglia and real feminist Christina Hoff Summers have to say? Why don’t you follow their true feminism!” only updated for 2016.

        • Origami Isopod

          Ha, this guy was lecturing women on Twitter the other day about how they wish they could be as good feminists as Camille Paglia. Those tweets seem to have disappeared, mysteriously.

  • Matt

    Several years back, when Twitter was really very new, ESPN was already re-posting tweets by NBA players on their web page. Some medium-level player (I can’t remember who – not a huge star but not a scrub) posted what I think is still the definitive tweet, that to which nearly all others can be reduced. It said, “Just took a great big dump.” People could just post that over and over, and save most of their time on twitter.

    • Kids these days, with their long hair and their rock and roll…

      • Matt

        If it were just kids, we could understand it. But old ass-holes are just as bad on twitter, producing just as much excrement. It really is an awful medium that brings out the worst in people.

        • I remember the good old days when you didn’t have to lock your doors at night and nobody was an asshole on blog comment threads.

        • rea

          Old people these days, with their long hair and their rock and roll . . .

  • UserGoogol

    Without wanting to be a dick about it, I feel like often when someone on LGM comments on a news story in a way which feels more “controversial” than it needs to be, it’s often Paul Campos. Since he focuses around things like The Law School Scam, he has a tendency to look at things as scams and single out specific villains. Obviously, Erik himself is very capable of stirring up shit on his own, but a few heads on sticks aside he tends to look at things as more about the big picture.

    • JMV Pyro

      His posts have a knack for reaching Tbogg units, I’ll give him that.

  • shah8

    At this point, I’m vaguely amused.

    • Hogan

      And the angels want to wear your red shoes.

  • Amanda Marcotte

    These are folks who think feminists on Twitter are the elite class that runs our country, so, yeah, not the people to trust on questions like “is this person the same as the other person”.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      I definitely want to live in that alt-universe Twitter gynocracy, tho.

    • Nice to see you here.

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        “Holy shit, I can follow Marcotte” was one of my early incentives to Twitter.

  • Thers

    “Your site got Crooked Timber to rally”…. right.

    To bring up an aspect (NOT the major aspect, but an aspect) of this kerfuffle that may be a bit gauche, but is also real, is that when Erik had the NRA run-in, the Left Blogosphere immediately came to defend him (for whatever that was worth) because Erik was always unabashedly a Left Blogger. I’m only using myself as an example because I don’t have another one, but once I figured out what was going on, I didn’t hesitate at all to put up a supportive post on Eschaton. Was that the right thing to do on the merits? Indeed. Was it also because I’d gotten to know the LGM folks over the years, and felt confident that we were all part of the same online community? Absolutely. An attack on one is an attack on all.

    I like Crooked Timber, great site.

    But what bothers me a bit — and this is genuinely only a tiny bit — about the “your site got Crooked Timber to rally” quote is this is kind of fucking pompous. CT has lots of great stuff going for it, but it’s also always been unwilling to really be part of the Left Blogosphere, which is fine — until you hear “we defended you distasteful louts, now please rally to us.”

    I haven’t followed this latest online contretemps, but I gather it is to do with think tanks? Whatever.

    • Connor is also inaccurate. What happened was that I asked Michael Berube and Corey Robin (who blocked me from Twitter as of tonight because I didn’t write something????) to help me out and they did so. It was nothing more than that. Michael is just a great person. Corey, well, he really isn’t it turns out a very good person, but he helped me a lot at that time and I’m grateful for that. But after that, he lorded it over me like I owed him big time on whatever cause he wanted me to be hardcore about, sending me messages of disappointment when I didn’t do something he wanted.

      • 3-5 years ago Robin picked a few fights with me on Twitter, and he conducted himself with no more integrity than does Greenwald.

        • Lit3Bolt

          That’s sad to hear.

          I remember feeling very hopeful about GG in the Bush years, and excited about CR’s book, and then you find out they’re assholes, and you’re like, “Oh ok, well, they’re assholes I agree with, maybe it’s useful to have an asshole on your side,” then it’s suddenly “Oh god no what are you posting now just stop that’s super toxic BS,” and then you finally admit “Wow ok they’re just straight up self-aggrandizing assholes, and they’re on nobody’s side except their own.”

          • Amanda in the South Bay

            I remember GG back when he had a mediocre blog in the Bush years, before he became famous. I enjoyed his anti war writings then, but I was never under the impression his sorta libertarian/rightish tendencies would otherwise be okay.

            • The Bush years were a golden era for people with blunt minds. We didn’t need rocket surgeons to display a delicate nuance to explain why torturing people was wrong; we needed people who could use their brains as battering rams. As a result, the first generation of lefty bloggers to really rise to prominence included a lot of people like Greenwald. Then when Obama replaced Bush, their skill set didn’t really bring a lot of value.

              Same thing with Keith Olbermann.

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        oh wow. sorry.

      • Matt

        This doesn’t surprise me because the moral I take away from most of Robin’s posts on Crooked Timer is that he’s a bit of a dick, and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. I’d say that his posts there are consistently the worst, except that John Holbo’s are so long-winded that I can never make it through most of them, so can’t really say with certainty there.

        • If there’s one thing we can say about Corey Robin, it’s that Corey Robin is impressed with Corey’s Robin intellect.

          • People can say that about Pinko Punko and they can say it about Erik Loomis. What is the benefit of going into the garage to get the gas can? Do you think Robin is dumb- isn’t the definition of anyone who thinks they have something to say- especially an academic- that they probably think they are intelligent? Full disclosure- I guess I would say what djw did above about Robin- I learn a lot from the guy, but on some topics- maybe those where things get personal or what have you, I have to be more critical. I would say the same about anyone to the extent that they let emotions into their arguments or they led emotion interfere with their ability to self-criticize. I would guess a lot of people feel the same about Erik- amazing on many things- but possibly even a troll on some other stuff. The best writers maintain their credibility across topics because they have a way to stop themselves from going into the garage and getting the gas can.

            • Pseudonym

              It’s irritating when professors put forward arguments of such dismal quality that they’d fail students for making them in a paper they were grading.

              Not that this applies to anyone in particular.

        • sharculese

          John Holbo can be funny, though. “Dead Right” may take forever to read, but I take that forever to read it once a year because it’s so spot on.

          • Matt

            Yeah, John can be funny. I do like that. But holy fuck does he need an editor. (Not just on his blog posts. Try reading, say, this book review (which is way longer than the NDPR asks for – I know) and tell me he doesn’t have a serious problem. (It really shouldn’t take almost 4000 words to review a 200 page book!)

            • ThusBloggedAnderson

              that’s part of Holbo’s style. might as well rag on Belle for digression.

              … funny how Robin has time to urge that Loomis be sent to reeducation camp, but hasn’t posted a defense of MB at Crooked Timber?

              • Wait, what?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  As of now, CT has nothing about the most important issue of our time, a well-compensated professional who lost a freelancing sideline because he was repeatedly asked to stop being a a dick on Twitter and refused. I, personally, am disgusted, shocked, and outraged by this silence.

                • Guys, Twitter really has made this 11 dimensions of insane. Presumably call out of Loomis was not actually Paul getting shots at MB through lens of years old debate, but the offhand Tweet from EL about MB. Twitter is extra awful because the idea that all parties have same information is preposterous because the information is spread over many places, has many ways to be incomplete (who has blocked whom, what replies are “read more”). It is just the WORST. Everything is about red meat and righteous slams for what you know could possibly be an infinite audience. It is like easy access to mic on karaoke night. Bad choices with unpredictable repercussions are the norm.

                • This is basically accurate.

                  I don’t really mind getting attacked for what I write. Getting attacked for what other people write (and for clearing up a question a couple other people had with a link) is really annoying.

                  What amazes me that is that these so-called socialists claim to be all about structure but it’s nothing more than a series of personal vendettas. The revolution is no doubt around the corner, if we just call out one more “neoliberal.”

                • Scott Lemieux

                  What amazes me that is that these so-called socialists claim to be all about structure but it’s nothing more than a series of personal vendettas. The revolution is no doubt around the corner, if we just call out one more “neoliberal.”

                  One real oddity of this brand of leftism is that people who are particularly aggressive about arguing that “Left” politics and all forms of “liberalism” are completely alien enemy traditions engage in political analysis that’s like a parody of the most naive 50s liberal pluralism. If only Democratic presidents would stop unilaterally suppressing America’s natural social democratic governing majority!

                • Un fucking believable.

                  Also, as loathsome as this whole situation is, I like that the great old ones of the left blogodrome have managed to pop up in response to this. Amanda Marcotte and Pinko Punko in a single thread? Is this 2007?

                • Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride- ain’t nothing gonna slow me down- oh no- I’ve got to keep on mov– *creak* my back I just did my back. Someone unbend me.

                • The cool thing about being female on the Internet is that when you complain about stuff like Scott and Erik mention here, people try to explain to you how it’s right and proper and efficient. It’s so very educational.

                  Luckily, most of those people have now moved on to places I’m not.

                • The cool thing about being female on the Internet is that when you complain about stuff like Scott and Erik mention here, people try to explain to you how it’s right and proper and efficient.

                  Cripes, I knew I was shelters but I had no idea I was this sheltered! Right and proper and efficient?!?

                  Just…no. I’m sorry people are this dumb.

              • ThusBloggedAnderson

                APOLOGETIC UPDATE: To be clear, “reeducation camp” is my snark about the attitude of the Jacobin crowd, not to my knowledge an actual thing Robin said.

                I should apologize for taking uncharitable pleasure in seeing people I’ve long thought were asshats being more generally recognized as asshats. This is a painful situation for several people, including Loomis, & I should try not to be so wicked as to enjoy it.

          • Thers

            The CT comments section is endless fun, though. It’s like having Yahoo Answers as your dissertation advisor.

            • DW

              One nice thing about having them as your advisor is that if it looks like the rest of your committee won’t approve your research, you can have them declare martial law and proceed via fiat.

            • sharculese

              Commenting on CT is like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes the chamber comes up empty, sometimes you get some autodidact writing five paragraphs about why you’re a fascist.

            • Scott Lemieux

              As djw says, it’s the Bellagio poker room of trolling.

            • I recently revisited the Henry vs GG vs Kerr 500 comment thread, and it was intense. Especially with comment renumbering when moderated comments got approved

      • sharculese

        Corey Robin is a smart dude who can be really interesting, but he’s the person the word ‘monomaniacal’ was invented to describe, and when he fixates on something he’s really talented at being kind of a dick about it.

        • Matt

          Corey Robin is a smart dude who can be really interesting

          Well, maybe, but don’t get him started talking about philosophy, because he makes a total hash of that. (His posts on Nietzsche, for example, were garbage. That’s just one example.) I’m not super sure I trust anything else he says, either.

      • Thers

        That’s disappointing to hear.

        Berube is a mensch.

      • djw

        I like a lot of Corey’s work and learn from him, but he seems like someone whose best instincts and good judgment can be entirely undone by the Manichean impulse. When the time comes to choose sides between the good true real leftists v the diabolical dread neoliberals, things can go sideways really fast.

        • Isn’t the majority view of his work that it’s all Manichean?

        • ThusBloggedAnderson

          In my desperate search for silver linings to living in Mississippi, I guess I can chalk up living around & working with real-life conservatives, who are actual people it turns out.

          Also makes me less picky about liberals.

    • PJ

      I can’t speak about Corey Robin specifically, but this forum he gathered made me have a sad:


      Kinda sucks when academics you like in certain areas aren’t really that great when they try to analyze others.

  • Sebastian_h

    Making tenuous speculations about people’s deeply hidden motives is Corey’s thing. A huge portion of his writing at CT is taking things out of historical context and linking them together in ways that make sense best if you have a conspiracy mindset and believe that the conspiracy can travel backwards in time. He is all about imputing one set of conservative’s hidden motives to a completely different set of people who he labels as ‘essentially’ similar even if they specifically talk and act contrary to his label and are greatly separated by time and space.

    A huge portion of his writing is the exact left mirror to the style of argument that Planned Parenthood was started by a eugenicist therefore ummmmm stuff.

    Or, the Shining Path is sort of communist therefore all leftists are genocidal murderers.

    • Brett

      It’s very Greenwald-ian of him.

  • Brett

    Christ, Connor Kilpatrick seems even more obsessive about this than Corey Robin.

    Sorry you had to face this shitstorm, Erik. Fuck 2016.

    • My strategy this year was just to write about policy. It worked pretty well until now. And then I am the world’s worst person for something I didn’t write. Good times.

      • I truly think this sucks. I am just trying to get at the fact that clearly everyone online is on their very last nerve and there is irrational behavior all over the place. Behavior that can easily be determined as inexcusable. How to prevent this stuff from happening over and over, or how to prevent it from getting worse. You gotta be pissed about it, but online should go the robot route. “I’m not sure I understand what is going on- what is this about so we can be on the same page about what it was I did that was awful”- like, say that or just go get a non vodka drink.

      • Pseudonym

        I think Connor just misses Erik’s pictures of dead horses in American history and has resolved to go on beating them metaphorically on Twitter.

      • Sorry, Erik. You don’t deserve this.

      • Gwen

        Erik if it makes you feel better, I always thought you were the world’s worst person for the things you actually did write. =)

      • libarbarian

        I look forward to the day when enough people recognize the whole “you not denouncing X means you support X” argument to be stupid that it becomes a waste of time to make.

        Right now, however, it’s still red meat to far too many people.

        • libarbarian

          Of course, I also look forward to the day when “The fact that you mildly criticized So-and-So in public and then some people who heard you did much worse things means that you are responsible for all those bad things” to also be total nonsense.

          Increasing amounts of the behavior and modes of thought that I see in Progressive movement is more and more reminding me of the behavior and modes of thought in the Conservative movement ca. 1995-2005.

          For example, in the earlier thread on this subject, someone responded to the objectively true observation that “scumbag” is a non-gendered insult that in no way can fairly be considered misogynist by noting that the author was referencing a meme that originated on 4chan and that ‘context’ was enough to prove an underlying misogynist mindset even if the actual insult was not misogynist per se. …. and this was taken fucking seriously!!!! SMH!!!!

          • ThusBloggedAnderson

            Isn’t “scumbag” commonly taken to derive from a used condom?

            Odd choice for an objectively non-gendered insult.

            • I think that is what it was euphemism for, I suspect most people don’t know that.

            • Brett

              I’ve never heard of that origin for the word before. Neat.

              • ThusBloggedAnderson

                Google “research” suggests its earliest use was in sugar manufacture, but the condom usage is attested from the 1960s.

                Most ppl don’t know that, or they’d be more reluctant to use it.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Or more eager to use it.

            • Origami Isopod

              “Scumbag,” as George Carlin once alluded to, originally was an insult meant for men, and “douchebag” for women. Semantic drift occurred to both.

  • Gwen

    I said it months ago and I’ll say it again.

    I’m ready for this primary season to be over with because it’s causing otherwise smart people to act very stupid.

    Both Hillary and Bernie seem to have developed their own little cults of personality, but whereas the dead-ender BernieBusters are mostly just overgrown angsty whiny teenagers, the hard-core Clinton koolaid drinkers seem to be acting like non-prescription-strength McCarthyists.

    (One of the main reasons I supported Sanders this time around is because of how annoying the Clinton cadres were in 2008, and what I perceive as a general tendency of the Clintons over the years to weaponize partisan loyalty to deflect accountability).

    • Sebastian_h

      +100 for the last paragraph. “Weaponize partisan loyalty to deflect accountability” may be the best description of what makes me crazy about the Clintons.

      • ThusBloggedAnderson

        But how was that not true of Dubya, or of Reagan?

        People seem disappointed in the Clintons for being politicians. Well, that’s who runs for office – on a *good* day. (On a bad day, Trump runs for office.)

        • Lit3Bolt

          If I had to deal with what the Clintons had to deal with for 25 years, I’m pretty sure I would be a paranoid schizophrenic.

          Part of the problem is they’ve been public for so long that even the way we talk about them has become infected with media tropes. So you can be disappointed with HRC’s hawkishness and appointees and want to hold her feet to the fire, but how to do that without talking about “the Clintons” as if they’re a Sicilian Crime Family or lambasting HRC for being a typical Washington politician while shrugging or being silent at the stuff Obama or Reid do?

          • ThusBloggedAnderson

            True. All true.

  • libarbarian

    The thing about Twitter “Harassment” is that those who most complain about it are usually those who are most guilty of it.

    There are exceptions, but not many.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      This is called “blaming the victim.” Gamergate much?

      • Origami Isopod

        Forget it, Anderson, it’s libarbarian.

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