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Wikileaks in a Single Tweet

[ 96 ] January 18, 2017 |


Really. It’s like the John Birch Society—if the John Birch Society were a laundering operation for Russian propaganda.


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  1. runsinbackground says:

    I was going to suggest this one as the quintessential Wikileaks tweet, but yours requires less context.

  2. bizarroMike says:

    Has Mr. Assange agreed to leave the embassy yet? This is really the only thing I’m interested in learning from Wikileaks at the moment.

  3. The Great God Pan says:

    With Wikileaks endorsing Pizzagate, how long can it be before the likes of the Chapo Trap House crew and eventually even Greenwald Himself are pushing Pizzagate as a real thing (*)? Trump’s ascendancy and the full blooming of True Left anti-Democratic Party hysteria may be bringing the Far Right and the Purity Pony Left together to form a bold new coalition of kooks. Be afraid. Or ruefully amused.

    (*) With the requisite levels of “irony” from the former and coy “I never said I endorsed Pizzagate, stop slandering me, now let’s get back to talking about why your Pizzagate denialism is fake news” games from the latter).

    • rfm says:

      Maybe they’ll just skip it once it becomes unfashionable to continue bashing Clinton and they lose interest in opposing Trump because it puts them in a camp with Chait, Doyle, et al.

      My prediction: the new Strasserism!

      • Shalimar says:

        The old Strasserism did not end well for Strasser, and it wasn’t that long after Hitler took power.

        • rfm says:

          Well, there were two Strassers, one who survived and continued to promote his ideas long after the Nazis were defeated. That said, the notion that these people will misread the political situation and their strange bedfellows/allies so badly that they wind up murdered seems apt to me.

          • Shalimar says:

            Yeah, I wasn’t sure if you were talking about Otto, who had the good sense to get out of the country but was basically a political non-entity thereafter, or not.

            Trump actually seems even more vindictive and thin-skinned than Hitler was, but there is no evidence so far that he is even 1 millionth of a percent as murderous.

    • Mile Strider says:

      Greenwald, oh, Greenwald, how low have you fallen?

  4. CP says:

    Really. It’s like the John Birch Society—if the John Birch Society were a laundering operation for Russian propaganda.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    Too soon?

  5. Harkov311 says:

    I still find it pretty unsettling that the far left and far right seem to bend towards each other, especially when it comes to believing ridiculous conspiracy theories.

    • Murc says:

      Really? I was taught that in high school.

      I don’t mean by experience, I mean literally that was part of my civics education; that “reactionary” and “revolutionary” bend around back towards each other.

      • Harkov311 says:

        Oh I’ve know about it for a while. It just creeps me out seeing it in action so much lately.

      • LeeEsq says:

        Its the circle theory of politics. The linear theory holds that while the Center Left and Center Right are closer to each other than their Further cousins, the extremes have no closeness. The circle theory holds that the Far Right and Far Left are just as close to each other as the Center Right and Center Left are.

        • kped says:

          Until this year I wouldn’t have bought this theory…

        • leftwingfox says:

          The common ground is “Things will be better when I’m in charge”. At that point, the commonality between authoritarian dictatorships and the effects of rapid change are going to outweigh most of the actual policies.

        • ΧΤΠΔ says:

          “Horseshoe theory” is, I believe, the usual term, but yes.

        • sonamib says:

          I don’t buy the circle theory. Sure, the far-left and the far-right share a hatred of the center. They’ll hate the same people and the same policies because they’re “corrupt” and “centrist”/wishy-washy. But their policy wishlists are radically different.

          But I can buy a weaker version of the theory, which is that the far-right and the far-left *objectively* work together (even if they don’t consciously mean to) because they both undermine the system, increase instability and thus increase the possibility that either of them (but not both!) will attain power. And the far-lefties are the useful idiots here, since they’re a lot weaker politically than the far-righties.

          • I can buy that it holds true for authoritarians, but the libertarian left and the “libertarian” right have very little in common, starting with the fact that so-called right-“libertarians” usually aren’t actually libertarian.

            • ΧΤΠΔ says:

              Dave Weigel & Josh Barro are the only libertarians I can think of who aren’t narcissistic/cryptoplutocratic fuckfaces. (And Barro’s now a Democrat, natch).

              • heckblazer says:

                Radley Balko?

              • sonamib says:

                There are a lot of libertarians in urbanist circles. They’re usually alright. When they actually care about the government harrassing and over-regulating poor neighborhoods out of existence, they’re spot on. They have of course their usual blind spots about corporations, but you don’t need to 100% (or even 80%) agree with someone for them to be worth reading.

                • LeeEsq says:

                  The better libertarians tend to be 19th century liberals in their mindset.

                • CP says:

                  I can see that.

                  This kind of goes to the heart of the left/right-libertarian difference, though: from what you’re saying, I assume that a big chunk of the “big abusive overregulatory government” problem you’re describing comes from local and state government.

                  Libertarians who care about these abuses are already leagues ahead of your standard (right-) libertarian, because so much of what goes by the name “libertarianism” today is just your basic neo-Confederate states’rightsism with a very cheap makeover. Reining in the abuse from those levels of government is anathema to them: the entire point is to devolve power from the federal government to precisely the kind of people your urbanist liberals are protesting against.

                • LeeEsq says:

                  Generally libertarians who reject Rothbard tend to be alright. Those that embrace Rothbard tend to be the Neo-Confederate ones.

                • sonamib says:

                  The example coming to my mind is a Brazilian libertarian. He will talk passionately about how people who live in favelas are oppressed. The government* does not recognize their right of property to their own houses. They’re constantly at threat of being removed without compensation, either for a freeway, rapid transit, stadium project, or “for their own safety” since their housing is deemed unsafe. He also sharply criticizes the official solution, which is to build lots of cheap housing in far away locations, far from job centers of any kind. That’s how the (in)famous neighborhood Cidade de Deus (City of God) was created.

                  *And yes, even in Brazil, that’s mostly the local governments’ doing.

            • CP says:

              I am no expert on the intricacies of libertarianism and it’s probably shallow that this is my frame of reference, but the main name that comes to mind when I think of “libertarian left” is Joss Whedon.

              • Whedon strikes me as pretty much a mainstream liberal, though he may be slightly to the left or slightly more libertarian than one’s average liberal. When I think of the libertarian left, I usually think of people like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, or David Graeber. My views tend to cluster in this quadrant as well, though I consistently vote straight-ticket Democratic out of pure pragmatism.

                As far as people in showbiz go, Woody Harrelson has identified himself as a left-anarchist.

                • CP says:

                  I was mostly going by his entertainment, in which he’s basically never met an authority he doesn’t distrust, and then script that distrust to turn out entirely justified.

                  The saving grace, and the reason I put his stuff as “left” libertarian, is that it isn’t just government authority that gets reflexively distrusted. Corporate and religious authority gets an equally strong drubbing.

                  You’re right that in meatspace, though, he ends up supporting pretty much generically liberal causes.

                • That’s a fair point, but he’s also pointed out that Firefly and Serenity are from the perspective of rebels against the government, who naturally have a biased perspective. He’s said that, if the show had run for the planned seven seasons, we’d probably have seen a more balanced perspective. (Shepherd Book, to be fair, is a very sympathetic character, though I’ll agree he’s usually pretty sceptical of religion. Whedon is also quite sympathetic in his depiction of Captain America, who is canonically a Christian.)

                  Can’t speak for Buffy, Angel, or/Dollhouse as I haven’t seen them. (One of these days.) His MCU stuff is somewhat sceptical of government authority but not as much as Firefly. He’s not really that involved with Agents of SHIELD but it is worth pointing out that the first season contains a right-“libertarian” who ends up being completely cynical and self-interested and not at all sympathetic, as he betrays the principles he claims to stand for within a few episodes of being introduced.

                • JMP says:

                  The main villain of Buffy‘s third season is the Mayor of Sunnydale, while the fourth season plot involves a secret government-run program to capture demons that ends up becoming a disaster, while Angel‘s main enemy is actually a very wealthy and powerful law firm and the plot of the fourth season is a story based on the second coming of Jesus with the Jesus figure as the season’s ultimate villain. There’s definitely a lot of distrust of traditional authority there.

          • LeeEsq says:

            When you look at it the policy wish list of the Center Right and Center Left are radically different. The Center Right is much more comfortable with market economics and low levels of business regulation than the Center Left. The Center Left is more comfortable with using law to hurry up social change rather than waiting years or decades for things to happen naturally.

            What makes the Center Right and Center Left more similar is that both tend to believe in the big important things like rule of law, working things out via electoral politics rather than political violence, and being comfortable with people as individuals than groups and letting society grow organically rather than forcing a particular vision on society in total.

            The Far Right and the Far Left might have different policy goals but they are similar in willing to use as much force as possible to get society to look how they want or people to behave and think how they want. The center isn’t going to do that because both tend to be heirs to the liberal traditions.

            • sonamib says:

              You do have a point that the center-left and center-right have often very different ideal solutions, I hadn’t really thought of that. What they share is the assumption that the status quo isn’t that bad and shouldn’t be recklessly abandoned. Well, except when they get taken over by nationalistic fervor. Then we get wars and such.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                What they share is the assumption that the status quo isn’t that bad and shouldn’t be recklessly abandoned.

                I think you’re conflating two different things here. I think the status quo is in many ways atrocious. I also think recklessly abandoning it would be a bad idea.

                • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

                  It’s almost always possible to replace a bad system with a worse one, unfortunately.

                • Right. In this respect I would consider myself both a radical and a Burkean conservative: I want to replace the current system, but I am also extremely picky about what we replace the current system with, because it’s always possible for things to get worse. Unfortunately, we’re going to see excruciating proof of this over the next four years.

                • q-tip says:

                  I call this “temperamental” conservatism. “Burkean” carries some specific baggage for me. But whatever you call it, I like it and share it. :)

              • LeeEsq says:

                People in the center also believe that the method of achieving your policy goals is just as important as the goals themselves and realize that everybody coming to an agreement on every issue is unlikely.

            • AdamPShort says:

              terms doing a lot of work in this comment:

              “market economics”
              “rule of law”
              “liberal traditions”

              • Origami Isopod says:


                Portraying things engineered by humans as “natural” or “organic” is right-wing framing. Thus, “social engineering” as a sneer phrase is only ever directed at liberals.

        • There’s something to be said for both of those, but also for the idea that liberalism, broadly defined, is so much a hegemony now that everything else, even more so at the extremes, is opposed to it. Postmodernism, deconstruction, and so on, are all in part ways to deny that we should just accept what liberal intellectuals think of as reason, including liberal demands for explanations of what anti-liberals believe and want. And there are only so many ways both “we’ll let people believe what they like without any elite meddling” and “we’re not going to say where we want to go, we’ll just let things take their course” can turn out. (eta in the absence of double-secret revolutionary parties or outside spies, I suppose)

          • Origami Isopod says:

            liberalism, broadly defined, is so much a hegemony now that everything else, even more so at the extremes, is opposed to it.

            “Broadly defined” indeed. I don’t see any evidence of this “hegemony” you speak of. Rather, it’s embattled on every front.

        • CP says:

          I think the Circle Theory of Politics is probably related to the “totalitarian twins” worldview that holds fascism and communism as basically the same thing just on different sides of the spectrum.

          “The extremes will work together despite different goals because they share an interest in bringing down the center” seems more plausible a take on things.

          • sonamib says:

            “The extremes will work together despite different goals because they share an interest in bringing down the center” seems more plausible a take on things.

            Yup, you said it a lot more concisely than me.

            And let me add than any such “alliance of the extremes” is necessarily short term and will eventually rupture when they have defeated the center. The center-left and the center-right can cooperate for a long, long time (see for instance loads of Belgian municipalities). Such a long-term alliance is impossible for the far-left and far-right.

            • CP says:

              Exhibit A: Hitler and Stalin.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

                I suspect the millions of people they killed didn’t see much difference between the two of them.

                • sonamib says:

                  You’re missing the point, which is that far-left and far-right cannot cooperate for any meaningful amount of time. While the center-left and center-right certainly can. There is no symmetry here, and that fact is lost when we say platitudes like “the extremes join each other at the other end of the circle”.

                  And yes, both Stalin and Hitler were horrible people, that’s as uncontroversial as it gets. But did they cooperate? For no more than 2 years, right?

                  Similarly, both Assad and ISIS are horrible and killed plenty of people. Would it be useful to say that thus, they’re the same? It’s meaningless, it’s a platitude, and doesn’t help anyone understand anything.

                • Probably not. Then again, Hitler, given the chance, probably would’ve wiped every last member of the minority groups he regarded as “inferior” (Jews, queer people, Roma, Slavs, the disabled, etc.) off the face of the earth, while Stalin seems to have confined his unprecedented mass murder to people he considered political enemies. I leave it to the reader as an exercise to determine whether indiscriminately slaughtering around twenty million people is a worse act than attempting to wipe entire ethnic groups off the face of the planet (and killing an only slightly lower number of them than the aforementioned twenty million), but as a member of several of those groups, I’m personally extremely glad that Hitler lost WWII, no matter how much of a monster Stalin indeed was.

              • rea says:

                Exhibit B–the 2016 US election.

          • LeeEsq says:

            Fascism and communism have very specific visions for society while the various forms of liberalism are more willing to let things organically develop with some help here and there. People into more totalizing ideologies aren’t going to like the more chaotic liberal method.

            • There are reasonable arguments to be made that liberalism is no longer as chaotic as all that.

              Some people do seem to find it confusing to imagine how liberalism in practice could differ from the theory.

              • CP says:

                It’s perceived as chaotic by people who demand more RWA-friendly guidance from their leaders, methinks. Which would include the people who enjoyed fascism and communism.

                • From a certain perspective, liberalism is defined as chaotic. Old school was everybody knowing their place, liberalism is everyone choosing their place. Liberalism is making everything subject to criticism. A lot of socialists take on that essentally traditionalist or religious critique. And it’s more or less true of philosophical liberalism. But not necessarily of political liberalism.

                  Someone like Dreher will dishonestly or ignorantly insist that a liberal society is a straightforward implementation of the philosophical program.

                  (And Rawls and Habermas complicate it further but they are quite far from “chaos.”)

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Assange might have supporters on the left, but he’s not left in any sense that I can see.

  6. marduk says:

    Interesting take on Assange from anonymous.


    First and foremost we have to make it clear the Julian Assange has been a fascist ideologue far before 2010. @Khanoisseur (3)

    h/t balloon juice

    • PJ says:

      Will the anarcho-brocialist civil war be awful for the rest of us or merely amusing?

      • JBC31187 says:

        I’m trying to think of the worst-case scenario. I think it goes something like, “Anonymous strikes at Wikileaks and their Russian handlers, then the FSB hunts them down and either eliminates or absorbs Anonymous. Instead of an enemy civil war they’re united against Western democracy.”

        • so-in-so says:

          Didn’t the collapse of Anonymous effort against Trump suggest they are already infiltrated by FSB? Or just that too many of them are Trumpistas?

          • JBC31187 says:

            I wasn’t aware there was an Anonymous effort in the first place. The only thing I can recall is some stupid message to the effect of “Stop crying that your criminal candidate lost. If Trump and the Republicans actually follow through on their promises, we’ll fight him for you.” As if they’ve ever done anything. But I have heard rumors on the internet that Russia’s getting hacked by all sorts.

            • so-in-so says:

              There was a message from Anonymous saying they were going after Trump. Some time later there was a story in the news that said all their attempts to organize fell apart because of in-fighting and disorganization. Which could be that some of the group disagreed that Trump should be targeted, or could have been Russian interference.

      • Origami Isopod says:

        Will the anarcho-brocialist civil war be awful for the rest of us or merely amusing?

        Who will deliver the “Rivers of Mountain Dew” speech?

    • leftwingfox says:

      Thanks for the link! It’s pretty compelling.

  7. wengler says:

    You know there are Birchers in the White House nowin less than two days, right?

  8. LeeEsq says:

    Russia continues it’s mastery of manipulating useful idiots for it’s purposes.

  9. AdamPShort says:

    It’s funny, I grew up with Julian Assange. Not him personally, but guys like him. I was a little too young to get in the same type of trouble they were getting in (though I was spied on by NSA before it was cool!) but I hung around them, used their warez, tried to use their six-month-old techniques for making free long distance calls that the phone company had already fixed, etc.

    They’re complete and total assholes, of course. Self-obsessed, nihilistic, and completely unconcerned with anything except their own 1337-h4x0r status (and, of course, the endless stream of other people’s money required to maintain that status). Oh and they think rules and laws are some lame shit 300 baud users made up to try to control them, the rightful rulers of the multiverse.

    The best thing you can say about them is, ironically enough, somewhat similar to the best thing you can say about anti-leaking laws. Maybe society sort of needs them, sometimes, if you squint. Thin gruel, but there it is.

  10. Abbey Bartlet says:

    Troll cleanup on aisle antisemitic fuckwit.

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