Glenn Greenwald: The call of the tribe!


Well worth reading: For what it’s worth, we think it’s a positive thing when Republican voters hear Ron Paul talking about the war/empire machine.

We wouldn’t vote for Paul ourselves. But as Glenn Greenwald has been pointing out, citizens rarely get to hear anyone talk about such topics. For whatever reason, Paul is more respected this time around than he was in 2008. This time, he isn’t a figure of ridicule within the Republican party. On balance, we would guess that it’s a good thing when people who don’t assume he’s a fool hear him discuss these topics.

That said, we strongly recommend Greenwald’s recent struggles concerning this topic. The call of the tribe is very strong. Indeed, it’s one of the strongest of all pre-human imperatives.

We’ve been amazed by the way our side seems to love the call of the tribe. Greenwald has been examining this impulse with reference to a different set of issues. For a place to start, just click here.

Cheer up! This doesn’t mean you can’t vote for Obama. Almost surely, we ourselves will.

That said, pre-humans loved the tribe. Many folk love the tribe still.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that Bob. I thought you were better than voting for Obama.

    Alas, you are not as removed from tribal impulses as you imagine.

    At least you are aware of your sins as you lend your support to an evil fascist neoliberal empire.

    Very disappointing indeed.

  2. You pretty much ruined all your political writings for me by announcing that no matter how cogent or rational your arguments may appear, you are fundamentally confused and will throw all logic away by supporting one of the two corporate tribes.

    Talk about being a sucker! You write about the danger of tribal behavior but then you exhibit the most base tribal thinking--you're a Democrat supporter despite all logic.

    So it's prolly gonna be Obama vs. Romney and you are pre-announcing your tribal support of twiddle dee over twiddle dum? Give me a break. If you think these two jokers represent a substantial difference between each other then you are a lot less observant than I gave you credit for. And for you to announce that Obama is better than Romney simply demonstrates how little you actually know about politics or policy.

    Good God man, are you trying to appeal to Democrat partisans (who you've pissed off in many of your posts) by showing that you still have tribal Democrat allegiance? If you are going to reference a Ron Paul article that is guaranteed to tick off the tribal Ds you have to preface that reference by announcing your tribal affiliation to Obama and the Democrats? Is that what you're doing?

    In any case it's a very weak post. Please explain how your tribal affiliation with Obama comports with your writing about the dangers of tribal thinking. I now question your fundamental political and journalistic judgment.

    You're announcing you support of Obama now? I guess you learned your lesson from people like Digby and you don't want to leave people hanging over the intellectual inconsistency of writing what you write but still supporting Obama so you are getting it over with now? Maybe you figure a blog can't be successful unless it's overtly pro Democrat?

    Weak. I now question your basic judgment.

  3. While it might be good that Ron Paul is talking about Imperialism in our mainstream political conversation, Ron Paul is about as unappealing as it gets. His world view is that of the paleoconservative, John Birch Society crowd. His critique of the Federal Reserve system comes straight from anti-semitic conspiracy theories of the past 100 years. His idea of putting the greenback back on the Gold Standard would cause a depression worse than the one we had in the 1930s. This is even before we get to the baggage of his newsletters, which either show him as a racist, or someone who is more than willing to squeeze money out of racists. How can you praise someone who wouldn't sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Even more frightening, is what a former (admittedly estranged) staffer had to say about his private political views and thoughts. For supporting evidence, please see

    I never had any illusions about who Obama was (i.e. "The One," or any nonsense like that), but, sheesh, are other liberals really that foolish?

    Walter Wit Man:

    Maybe it's time to switch to De-Caf?

  4. hardindr,

    That's so funny and so original! Anyone that advocates a third party or draws attention to the farce that is our two party system, is crazy. They must be on stimulants because no sane person would go outside the two party system.


    Give me a break. My position is the rational and sane position. Pretending that Obama is from the good tribe and that the other tribe is the bad tribe is irrational thinking (as our host often points out).

    Do you have a substantive rebuttal to my disappointment or are you only going to shout familiar epithets about being crazy and on drugs for refusing to buy into the lessor evil argument?

    Don't you see how this post undermines Bob's whole shtick?

  5. Walter Wit Man:

    I have no idea who you are, nor do I really care. That people argue for a third-party is their business, and I do not think the idea is "crazy," though I think it is a waste of time at the moment. I was thinking of the way your posts are written: the mocking tone, the insults to people who don't agree with you, trying to lecture Somerby, etc. That was my point of suggesting that you tone it down.

  6. Hardinger is engaging in the same tribal Democratic behavior that Greenwald warns against. Let me guess, hardindr is going to vote for Obama no matter what too--just like Bob.

    Hardindr must not like the fact that Obama expanded our secret wars to over 100 countries in the world! The U.S. is now waging secret wars in half the countries in the world, that we know about, and he is drone bombing brown kids all over the world, starting illegal wars like in Libya, and gearing up for even more blood. In one incident alone, Obama used cluster bombs to incinerate dozens of children and other civilians when he wiped out one village in Yemen. These were war crimes and partisan boobs like hardindr or Bob would be screaming "war crime" if Bush did it. Since their tribe does it they lie to themselves about needing to blow up little kids to futher the empire (and lie to themselves that McCain would have blown up more kids). But since Obama is from their tribe they look the other way as dozens of children are literally ripped to shreds in a war crime.

    But Obama's war crimes are no nearly as bad as the racist feudalism Ron Paul would bring about (he must be a stark raving mad racist--if he wants to save lives by not bombing them overseas then he must want to line the black people up here to kill them--if Paul is more of a racist than Obama as tribe liberal claims).

    Yeah, Paul is cold blooded racist. He would release all those black men from prison (you know, the 1/8 black men we lock up as a RACIST policy--a policy that Obama and the racist Democrats like hardindr support) and then he would unilaterally end the Civil Rights Act and we would have slavery again. . . or something. Paul's a RACIST because he wants to release black men from prison and then not let them eat in a diner, or something . . . .

    You are the racist hardinr. You are more than happy to supprt a war criminal as long as it's sand niggers in a far away land that get their bodies exploded. You are fine locking up 1`/4 of the world's prison population--because Obama and the Democrats need to look like they are tough on crime. Forget the fact that the Democrats like Obama have substituted one racist policy--the drug war--for another racist policy--Jim Crow. Obama is engaging in Jim Crow but it's Ron Paul who is the racist, ha!

    I see why Bob had to declare his allegience to the Democrats before he posted on Ron Paul. Democrats go into full tribal mode in defense of their racist war criminal policies and accuse others of the very crimes they commit--racist warmongering crimes.

  7. Eh...I agree with Walt (I'm an agreeable person). To a point.

    While at the end of the day I have no say in how a person votes once they get in the booth...the absence of actual "criticism" of Obama (especially during the healthcare debate) does make one wonder just a bit.

    It must take great energy just to mention Obama's name during the discussions of education on this site.

    To actually broach the topic of Obama being MORE destructive to "liberals" than any dusty conservative may just be a bridge too far for Mr. Somerby. (Maybe in 10 years)

    I suggest reading Arthur Silber.

    to hardindr:

    Sorry. But I expect libertarians to not make a lot of sense...

    what I find more reprehensible than poor old Ron Paul is a DEMOCRAT who shits on his own party in order to win an election, then shits the bed once he wins.

    It does pose an interesting moral question though:

    Supporting OUR devil or theirs.

    What's a "liberal" to do!!!!!!!

  8. Walter Wit Man:

    I'll probably vote for Obama. If there was a better candidate than him, I would vote for that person. Right now, I don't see anyone. I don't like Obama, but I never had any illusions about who he was, or what he was going to do.

    If people want to turn Ron Paul into a folk hero, then be my guest, but that doesn't change who he really is, or what he stands for.

  9. I don't think Ron Paul is a folk hero. He promises he would stop killing tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of brown people in racist imperial wars. I believe strongly that our racist imperial wars and our death machine, the military industrial complex that rules the world, is the greatest threat to peace on earth. It's very important to me that we end this warmongering.

    So when Paul promises to do this and spends his political capital to make this point (and says it's very important to him), then I am very impressed with him. I don't care what party he belongs to, this is the critical argument we need in American politics. Same thing with ending the war on drugs.

    Paul is tough to put on a political spectrum because he is so "liberal" on issues like war and civil liberties, but he is very conservative on issues like a central bank or social security, etc. But on the whole, if we look at all the pluses and negatives (from a leftis pov), he's MORE LIBERAL than Obama. Most of this has to do with how important the wars and the drug war are and how reversing these fascist policies would instantly and radically liberalize America.

    Good points willjsimmons. You may be more familiar with Bob than I am but I do agree that Arthur Silber is able to take the same observations that Bob makes to their logical conclusions. Let's just say Silber is correct when he argues that Obama is not a lesser evil.

    I simply can't reconcile Bob's previous writings warning about tribal thought with his statement of allegiance to Obama and the Democrats.

  10. Simon Johnson gace Ron Paul a fair hearing and analysis in the NYTimes yesterday, but Glenn Greenwald has been superb while Brad DeLong, who is supposed to be a teacher at Berkeley, has portrayed Paul as a raving monster using every possible slur. DeLong is just scary and I would think long and hard before taking any class from such a teacher.

  11. Walt Wit Man:

    I guess the political calculus works different for me, then.

  12. Correcting - Simon Johnson gave Ron Paul....

    Brad DeLong uses 1930s analogies in portraying Ron Paul if you think I am kidding about the horrid tribalism.


    January 5, 2012

    Ron Paul and the Banks

  14. Anonymous, Agreed.

    Brad De Long does not engage in honest inquiry. He is no academic. He's a partisan hack.

    In the blogger world I put him up there with Digby and Kos as far as partisan hacks.

    In fact, I refuse to even read Digby or De Long. For too long I was attracted to those places because they ticked me off so much. I am much better off not even reading their propaganda.

    I hope Bob isn't traveling down a similar road. I wonder how much financial incentive there is for a blogger to remain faithful to team Democrat.

  15. hardindr:

    You're implying Paul will be able to accomplish those things which you oppose.

    Care to explain why you think he'd be a more successful president than either Obama or Bush. (And by successful, I simply mean getting your policies through congress. This also assumes you think Obama is actually not getting the results he wants)

  16. You're implying Paul will be able to accomplish those things which you oppose.

    All of this can be said for any President, including Obama. Maybe liberals could argue that Obama couldn't get anything he wanted passed through congress, because he didn't have enough support, even with the majorities the Democrats enjoyed from 2008-2010. I don't want to find out with Paul.

  17. hardindr,

    Yes! We are looking at the math differently. And I acknowledge that I'm somewhat unique, but I contend it's all those partisans on both sides that have been tricked into thinking Obama is a liberal. Obama is no liberal.

    I was going to post something like this the other day when Bob reported on that poll that asked people to place Obama on a scale from 1 to 5.

    Obama gets placed way too far to the left by both conservatives and liberals because of massive propaganda. If one goes through the issues and tries to put figures on the relative positions it's my contention that Obama is actually getting a MORE CONSERVATIVE result than even Bush got or a McCain would get. Do you think McCain would have been able to wage an illegal war against Libya and get ready to start wars in Syria and Iran, as well as expand the wars to the entire world in the new defense authorization bill? No way, Obama gets a way more conservative result because he talks in the language of a center-right liberal and therefore he fools people.

    On almost all issues Obama has been worse than Bush, but there is such massive propaganda that even liberals that supposedly care about these issues are oblivious to this reality. Liberals come up with a million reasons to explain why Obama is governing to the right of Bush.

    Here's a list of how Obama is worse than Bush on civil liberties:

    Hugh has a list of hundreds of Obama scandals as well.

    On the big issues, war policies, Obama is worse than Bush and McCain would even be.

    Obama has deported more people than Bush and reneged on his promise for immigration reform. He's increasing the war on drugs and reneging on promises such as not going after medical marijuana. He's worse on the environment, failing to adopt air quality standards and legalizing offshore drilling when he promised to end it.

    He's going after Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in a way that McCain could never go after it.

    He's indistinguishable from the right when it comes to education policy and is gearing up to privatize our public education system. He's already adopted the Romney/Bob Dole health care "reform" policies.

    yeah, our calculus is different. I see that Obama is a far right conservative that talks like a center-right liberal. People like Bachmann or Gingrich may talk a more conservative game than Obama, but that's just to give Obama cover so that he can enact the same policies the conservatives would enact.

  18. Ron Paul is an isolationist. He believes the United States should have sat out WWII.

    His position ISN'T, as many would like to believe, anti-imperialism, or against illegal war. He is savvy enough to phrase his isolationist arguments in a way that appeals to people who are more sane than he. That isn't the same thing as having a sensible policy position that is not otherwise heard by the mainstream.

    I don't care for Paul, not because he's not a member of my tribe, but because he's a nut on every issue. There are many liberal voices out there that I agree with, who are not isolationist, but oppose Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Why is demanding respect for a nut somehow a virtue in Greenwald's eyes? I will respect and support people who have views in line with my own. To pay respect to Ron Paul, or to Donald Trump, or any other novelty media trend character, is to accept the rules of the tribe - that media attention is legitimacy - not to reject them.

  19. While I agree with a lot of what you posted above, I can't look past this comment:

    People like Bachmann or Gingrich may talk a more conservative game than Obama, but that's just to give Obama cover so that he can enact the same policies the conservatives would enact.

    This idea is nonsensical. Gingrich and Bachmann are not giving Obama "cover." I can't get in their heads, and maybe both of them are secretively totally cynical, but I would seriously doubt that they say what they do to make him act conservative.

  20. OK Walter, Obama is a horrible monster. Would Romney be an improvement? Who am I supposed to vote for? I won't vote for Ron Paul because of his domestic agenda, and anyway he's not going to be the Republican nominee.

    Who are YOU going to vote for?

  21. anonymous,

    So we should ingore the fact that Paul is absolutely correct on the single most important issue of the day because you divine that he real motivation is suspect?

    Bullshit. One, if you are going to be cynical about the true motivation of Paul's antiwar position than let's apply the same standard to all pols. If you were being fair and rational they would all be disqualified for having bad ulterior motives. In fact, I don't trust any politician but Paul seems the most sincere to me. He certainly appears to be more consistent than about every other pol in both major parties. Hell, Obama has reversed course on many of these issues so we should analyze his true motivation.

    Plus, Paul has opposed our war policies using moral language. He's done this more than about any other pol, except for maybe Kucinich or Barbara Lee. You are trying to ratfuck him by claiming his opposition is less than moral or based on some sort of secret racism.

    Indeed, Paul IS FAR LESS RACIST even if he is making an "isolationist" argument. The Democrats are huge warmongering racists so you have no other option that attacking Ron Paul.

    Instead of attacking him for his alleged ulterior motives how about you acknowledge the immoral racism on the part of people like Bob who vote for racist warmongers.

  22. Rob wrote:

    "OK Walter, Obama is a horrible monster. Would Romney be an improvement? Who am I supposed to vote for? I won't vote for Ron Paul because of his domestic agenda, and anyway he's not going to be the Republican nominee.

    Who are YOU going to vote for? "

    Romney would be only a very slight improvement over Obama because Deocrats will start criticizing the government's conservative policies again when a R is doing it instead of a D. If Romney tried to cut Social Security it will be much harder for him to do it than when Obama does it. So Romney is the lesser evil to Obama, even though Romney talks a slightly more conservative game than Obama.

    But Romney is not enough of an improvement over Obama to justify voting for the lesser evil. They are both evil. No way in hell I vote for Obama or any Republican (except for Ron Paul if he makes some explicit promises to me about not pursuing Social Security and comes to an agreement with the left as he was sort of pursuing with Nader and Matt Gonzalez previously).

    I will probably vote for:

    the Green or Socialist candidate for president. And maybe Rocky Anderson.

  23. "I don't want to find out with Paul."

    Well golly gee whiz.

    That's a non answer.

  24. Ron Paul would just move the bulk of the machinery of the "War on Drugs" to the state level. There would be no magical release of the imprisoned. People who are getting busted now, working the corner, would still get busted under a Paul presidency. They'd just spend their time in state prison rather than federal prison.

    Paul's real problem is his misogyny. Women's autonomy over their bodies just makes Ron Paul crazy. He'd make sure that each state had it's own Uterine police force.

  25. Hardindr,

    My postulation about Bachmann or Gingrich is not nonsensical. In fact, this idea is the basic premise upon which I base my understanding of all modern American politics. It's really important and too many partisan Democrats are fooled.

    You're familiar with the analogy of the good cops and the bad cops, right?*

    The GOP shouts and throws chairs against the wall to scare people. The Democrats tell us they are our friends and promise to hold the GOP back and restrain them from abusing the us. Except the bad cops are actually working with the good cops. They are both working for the police chief and his masters and this whole rigged game is designed to scare us into supporting one of the two corporate parties.

    So when a Bachmann or Santorum says "ooga booga, I'm going to eat some of you liberals for breakfast." maybe Santorum isn't conscious of his role as bad cop, and he really believes in eating liberals for breakfast, but all the players have been chosen because they can be counted on to play the part. Who cares if Santorum or Obama are sincere? Maybe they really do believe in their roles as good cop or bad cop (I bet they are aware of their roles and they have much more sinister motivations, but that's imho). But it doesn't matter. The good cop/bad cop game is all that matters. It works. It fools people.

    It allows Obama to pursue conservative policies to the RIGHT of Bush and McCain yet liberals are still scared into supporting Obama and these very same right-wing policies they claim to be scared of!!!!

    *the analogy of the GOP being the Harlem Globetrotters and Democrats as the Washington Generals also works.

  26. "There would be no magical release of the imprisoned. People who are getting busted now, working the corner, would still get busted under a Paul presidency. They'd just spend their time in state prison rather than federal prison."

    Wrong. I mean you can argue that Paul is not sincere, which may be accurate, and that he will not follow through on his promises. . . .

    but his policies would have a major impact.

    Most states are cutting back on prison population for the first time in like forever because of money. Unlike the federal gov. they do not have unlimited resources. And states like CA are cutting back, so a reduction in federal prison population will likely reduce the total prison population. Plus, a lot of these crimes are only federal crimes or the statue of limitations or the sentences are much harsher under federal law.

    Furthermore, Paul doesn't even need Congress to act decisively. He can pardon or commute ALL FEDERAL SENTENCES FOR DRUG CRIMES.

    That is huge.

    Now I too have my doubts Paul will follow through. But he said he would, no? At least he could commute all those black people that are serving longer sentences for using black people cocaine instead of white people cocaine, right? How many tens of thousands would be free because of this one act?

  27. Walt Wit Man:

    Your initial comment strongly implied that it was their intent to do so, that they were consciously saying these things to push make Obama look more reasonable. I today's incredibly polarized and partisan political environment, that is almost impossible to believe. I'm sure that Obama is very happy when they say ridiculous things, because it makes him look more reasonable, but that Gingrich, Bachmann, etc are doing it with that intent seems too unlikely.

  28. No real libertarian would be in favor of government-coerced pregnancy.

  29. Walter,
    I don't want to be a nitpicking semanticist, but "somewhat unique" is an oxymoron.
    Also, if you were to read the comments on Common Dreams, the blog you recommend to all the clueless out there, you would quickly realize your cohort is legion.
    You are far from alone in your thinking. I have four relatives that sound just like you.
    As do you, they speak in absolutes.
    Absolute good, absolute evil, absolute truth.
    I once charged you with being a Dualist.
    I meant that in the strict, religious sense.

  30. Interesting comments, and I think this was exactly the kind of discussion that Bob Somerby was trying to encourage.

  31. Hey Gravy, those are valid criticisms.

    That was an oxymoron and I may not be as alone as I think.

    I don't feel like I see the world in absolute good or evil, but maybe you are on to something. If you are catching on to the fact that I see our imperial war policies as "evil", then you are correct. I am appalled and physically disgusted when I see the party I used to belong to, the Democrats, blowing up innocent people around the world.

    Your party and our government has killed tens of thousands of people int he last few months alone. How many children were blown into red mist in Libya because of your party and your warmonger in Chief? He's a bloody criminal so it bothers me when I see people like Bob justify voting for him.

    You might as well tell me you plan on voting for Hitler. All your sophistry in explaining away your complicity in evil rings hollow.

    I find it doubly frustrating when people who are voting for Hitler get on their high horse and attack Ron Paul . . . and make it seem like he's the crazy one for protesting our death policies.

    Really, you support the guy who just unilaterally claimed the right to EXECUTE anyone in the world he wants to with no oversight. He even admitted he executed an American citizen who he could not convict of a crime (because his speech was protected).

    This is the lessor evil you support. A guy that is killing tens of thousands of people in unjust and illegal wars. Please visit the scene of just one of Obama's crimes (like a drone bombing of a home in Pakistan) and then tell me why liberals should support Obama.

    No, this flailing about attacking Ron Paul demonstrates the utter evil that is the Democratic party. All Democrats support evil. If you vote for Obama you are no better than a guy holding a gun to a sand nigger child's head in Yemen or somewhere, and pulling the trigger.

    You Democrats are deeply racist warmongers. That's why you have to attack Ron Paul to cover up your complicity.

  32. Walt Wit Man:

    Do you see how calling people "racist war mongers" who want to kill "sand niggers" doesn't really help you out here? Do you not really get the incredibly moralizing tone that you have, like your trying to prove how good you are? Maybe you should rethink how you are trying to persuade others...

  33. Walter,

    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Macbeth Act 5, scene 5

  34. Hardindr,

    I am mostly just expressing what I feel. I am angry. I find it incredible unjust and racist that our country is killing so many tens of thousands of black and brown people in Yemen and Somalia and Pakistan, etc. etc. (again, Obama has expanded the wars both secret and open to most countries on earth).

    We are treating these human beings as niggers. Our government. How else do you describe a policy of drone assassination that kills dozens of civilians for each target it kills? Our policies and tactics are war crimes and illegal and immoral and unjust.

    I am trying to get you to see you are treating brown and black people in these countries like niggers if you vote for a Democrat. Instead of bringing these beautiful and innocent children's killer to justice, you are voting for him. How do you allow a man that cluster bombed children in a village to get away with it? How do you justify voting for him?

    You support treating these children in Yemen like sand niggers, not me.

    I'm using a highly moralistic tone because I don't know how else to point this out to you. Look at the death and destruction you are supporting. Stop it and I will stop using hysterical language to describe the horrible death you support.

    Stop snuffing out life like they are nothing but sand niggers. Stop your killing! Stop supporting war criminals.

  35. shorter Gravy:

    Those hundreds of thousands of dead bodies in places like Iraq are figments of my imagination . . . just noise I made up to whine about Obama and Bush and the government man . . . . .

    It signifies nothing. . . . except to the loved ones of each and every life snuffed out.

    I imagine my own child's life being taken by the American death machine and to imagine this has happened on a massive scale the last ten years and yet liberals have learned nothing and still support the death machine as they yell "racist" at Ron Paul.

  36. Walter,
    You just don't get it.
    You think you can educate the bulk of humanity out of reptilian-brain thinking, and turn them into pacifists with the force of your polemics.

    Or by convincing them to elect the "right" politician.

    That's very high-minded of you.
    Good luck.

  37. I see Bob's post as having instructional value in the personal sphere, rather than the political.

    He's right: for most of us, "tribe" is a proxy for "party platform", and most of us have chosen one over the other sometime in the distant past, and often because our dislike of the Other Guys is at least as strong as our attraction to the objectively good characteristics of Our Guys.

    Greenwald, Somerby, and Paul are all demanding that we take a look at the stuff that we are sweeping under the rug when we do this. In Obama's case, people who love the Constitution should have major heartburn over Obama, right now.

    I say this as one who usually votes _against_ someone because they have a (D) after their name. E.g., I held my nose and voted "against Gore" and "against Kerry".

  38. I'm not trying to convince you of anything Gravy. People have chosen their sides. If you are still in Tribe Democrat you are a neoliberal fascist warmonger. Period. You've made your choice.

    Obama disabused all liberals of any pretenses they have about the Democratic party--it is a bloodthirsty right-wing party. If you are still a Democrat it's too late to reason with you--there is no line you will not cross. You've already put on the Nazi insignia on your lapel. You've already knowingly joined the war criminal fascists so there is no argument you made a mistake or didn't know. There are no more excuses.

    I'm simply disgusted by my country and disgusted by our political system from top to bottom. I'm especially disgusted by Obama supporters that CLAIM to have a heart--like Bob. I'm registering my disgust with the intellectual bankruptcy he is displaying by supporting Obama. I'm also wondering how much of a financial incentive bloggers like Bob have to keep their official allegiance to the Democratic party.

    So you better get used to it. There will be more hysterics and more trouble as the death machine marches on. Such is the case of fascism in practice--it is often messy. Not everyone marches along like a good German (I guess we have to change it to good Democrat).

    I realize I am helpless to stop this descent into fascism and death--after all the next president will be either Obama or Romney and the fascism is getting worse, not better. But I will not sit silent. I can't stop you from lending your support to the death machine; I can't stop you from pulling the trigger and killing the sand nigger children. You Democrats may be willing to kill vast numbers of innocent people, but more and more of us citizens with a conscience will call you on your fascist blood thirsty crimes. You are the party of war and imprisoning people. Summary executions and overthrow by anal knife rape. Illegal wars, rendition, secret wars, drones, cluster bombing children, wiping whole villages off maps, a new global war on "associated" entities, etc., etc. . . . .

    It's too late. I am not going to change any minds. My country is mad with fascist power and death. You are complicit if you vote for Obama. Bob is complicit by using his platform to endorse Barack Fucking Obama, the war criminal neoliberal fascist.

  39. "They are both working for the police chief and his masters and this whole rigged game is designed to scare us into supporting one of the two corporate parties."

    That's certainly the impression I got when I heard Boehner discussing his golf score with Biden . . . "5 bogies, 7 birdies, 6 pars". Two under, and even better if he hadn't missed a four-footer on the last!

    Sadly, we'll never tee of with either of them because we aren't in the club.

  40. I apologize for a comment relating to a prior post, but this seems worth sharing. I had criticized the Washington Post for reporting the unimportant fact that John McCain once looked at his watch during Mitt Romney's speech, when McCain was endorsing him. It turns out that WaPo not only reported trivia, but they didn't even get the trivia right. A correction now says that McCain didn't look at his watch, he looked at his bracelet.

  41. Comments on this site are usually insightful, instead I get to read tribal nonsense and name calling. All Bob said was that he would most likely vote for Barack Obama....that's it! Not exactly a emphatic endorsement. Walt, you're the reason we lose elections, please stop.

  42. @Walter Wit:

    "If you are still a Democrat it's too late to reason with you--there is no line you will not cross. You've already put on the Nazi insignia on your lapel. "

    The trouble with this formulation is, unless you're free to repatriate yourself to a country where, presumably, the government is more benign than ours (or maybe move to Mars), you have to deal with the reality available to you. It's no secret that American foreign policy is amoral, entirely self-serving and thoroughly hypocritical-- Chomsky has been beating this horse for 50 years. Even the torture thing isn't new -- we've been supporting and training torturers for years and years. It's just out in broad daylight now, and we finally see ourselves ,or should see ourselves, for what we are.

    That said, Obama has still been a terrible disappointment -- even within the strictures of the American political classes, he could have been *much* better from a progressive or humanistic prospective.

    But you still have to deal with the available choices. If you feel your best course is to vote for an unelectable third-party candidate and effective put Romney in office, that's your right. But you can't reasonably vilify those who see what you see but still insist there's an advantage, however inadequate, of voting Democratic. It does make a difference, often a life or death one, particularly over long periods of time.

  43. @ Robert. Good! I do hope you lose elections! America will be much better the sooner the Democrat party is destroyed. I hope I can assist in its demise and I humbly ask forgiveness for once supporting such an evil institution.

    @ Anonymous. I respect that good people support the Democrats in good faith. Just as I'm sure there were good people that were members of the Nazi party. And I'm sure many justify their support for the party because they think they can change the party from within.

    My point is it's too late. The Democratic party is a right wing fascist party--hellbent on more wars and conquest. I know that voting for a third party isn't going to save the day. But voting for one of the two fascist parties isn't a solution either. We now know conclusively that neither party has close to an adequate solution (in fact, they both represent the same policy goals so there is no real choice anyway).

    Furthermore, I disagree that Obama and the Democrats are the lesser evil in 2012. They have been the greater evil for a few years now and are going forward. The Democrats may have been the lesser evil decades ago, but now they are even more dangerous than the conservatives. Look at what Obama has now justified! Look where the Democrats are. They are to the right of the Republicans under Nixon! So what's the plan again about how we keep tacking to the right for a left victory?

  44. Oh, Bob, surely you can get over your stress of Al Gore being vilified by the Republicans and it was awful but your suport of Barack Obama is too much. You've lost credibility with us.

  45. @Walter,

    For whatever reason, The Howler's critical eye just isn't as unblinking on the ObamaDems as it is on media/big blog foibles and on public-education commentary.

    I really admire Bob's work on those topics where he doesn't pull his punches. When, on the other hand, he puts in a good word for Obamacare (for which defending big insurance interests was job #1) or he defends Howard Dean's repugnant position on "the Ground Zero mosque," I wonder WKBS (Who Kidnapped Bob Somerby).

  46. @Walter Wit:

    "My point is it's too late. The Democratic party is a right wing fascist party--hellbent on more wars and conquest."

    So when Lyndon Johnson was bombing the beejesus out of a pre-industrial peasant society, not to mention our centuries-old support for tyrants and torturing psychopaths, it was the Golden Age?

    If it's "too late", it was "too late" a long time ago. Governments have always been criminal enterprises. Again, you work with what you have, just like we all have to come to terms with mortality.

  47. Greenwald is just as "tribal" as anyone else. He believes that if you support Obama you necessarily are an apologist for incinerating children. His inflexible and unreflective stance on what he defines as "civil liberties" and his relentlessness in reading and misreading to suit preconceived notions make him a crank and a cretin who has nothing instructive to offer about the nature of "tribalism."

  48. Walter Witless Person,

    PLEASE get your own blog and don't hijack Mr. Somerby's, okay? 1-2 responses is fine, but you keep hammering home the same points. We got it the first time. You hate Obama, you scorn anybody who, looking at the likely candidates, would vote for him over the GOP or a third party candidate, and you think you know more than anyone else and are morally superior. We got it. The first time.

  49. @flipyrwhig

    "Greenwald ... believes that if you support Obama you necessarily are an apologist for incinerating children."

    Greenwald *has* pointed out that Obama's foreign policy includes the frequent incineration of children, but that's a factual claim not in serious dispute -- there are countless examples of incinerated children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Beyond that, I can't find any Greenwald assertion that every Obama supporter is a baby killer.

    "His inflexible and unreflective stance on what he defines as "civil liberties"...."

    You mean like a belief in due process and the rule of law?

  50. I have voted for many Democrats. Because of Obama's duplicity, and the Democrats acquiescence, I will never voted for another Democrat the rest of my life.

    Anything, anything but Obama. He has driven all aspirations into the dirt, and does not deserve respect or votes.

    When a Republican tries to destroy social security and medicare, maybe the Democrats will oppose him. When, not if, Obama does, he will meet no opposition.

    And that's just the start of is the same for all of Obama's policies. Obama is a right-wing Republican, he acts it, he admits it, why don't you?

  51. For those who are interested, liberal support for Ron Paul links below. BTW, it doesn't take away from The Howler's brilliance that he will likely vote for Obama.

    Dave Lindorff for Ron Paul

    Alexander Cockburn for Ron Paul“dumbest-member-of-congress”-scorches-romney/

  52. I think Cockburn would be insulted to be called a liberal...

  53. What Walter Wit Man said. All of it. I also find it ironic that a commenter would accuse Walter of being repetitive at this particular site, which is essentially devoted to making the same two or three points over and over again, not least the demonstrable, quantifiable absurdity that to support "Clinton, then Gore" is to support progressive interests.

  54. Per Chomskyzinn above, it *is* an enduring irony at The Daily Howler that Al Gore's actual performance as a politician , and what could have been expected from his administration, in light of his then avid support for NAFTA-type agreements and neo-liberal economics, is never discussed here -- just the evil done him by the media.

    And such is the regard for Bill Clinton at The Daily Howler, that to illustrate how bad things have become, the standard is whether "even" Bill Clinton got something wrong.

  55. @Anon above:

    Bob's beat is media criticism, not really policy stuff, though he dips into that somewhat frequently. I don't think Bob has ever defended Al Gore or Bill Clinton on policy grounds. I don't think he has ever said that they never made bad decisions or were wrong on policy.

  56. By giving Paul credit, Somerby shows he is an independent minded libera who does not feel compelled to praise the Democratic Party 100% of the time as in the case of the predictable Joan Walsh, EJ Dionne,etc.

  57. Another notable aspect of The Howler: the extent to which it at once acknowledges the persistent and present-day effects of slavery and segregation while denying, or at least minimizing despite voluminous evidence to the contrary, the persistence of racial attitudes and downright racism that made slavery and segregation possible. How can one legacy persist but somehow not the other? Can ANY culture, country, or set of institutions change so quickly? Yet to note the obvious is to be accused ---- in laughably Orwellian fashion --- of working *counter* to progressive interests.

  58. Hardindr, The Howler always equates Clinton and Gore with progressive interests.

  59. Chomskyzinn, what do you mean that the Daily Howler, "denies the persistence" of racism? Do you mean the Daily Howler believes racism is as bad today as it was during the times of slavery? Or do you mean the Daily Howler believes racism is not as bad as some Democrats make it seem?

  60. @ a. perez, are you serious? Do you really think there's only two or several possible degrees of racism, either "as it was during the times of slavery," or as it today, or that it's must a misimpression of "Democrats"? Racism has changed throughout American history, and it obviously is not legalized to the degree that was all the way through the 1970s--certainly you've heard of Jim Crow and legalized segregation, which lasted far after "slavery" officially ended--but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    You really seem confused by what Somerby is saying, which is not that racism does not exist, nor that it is not bad and persists in some serious ways for black people, as well as latinos, asian-americans, native americans, and other non-white groups (including white latinos), but that Democrats far too frequently cite racism against Republicans rather than pointing to the many other awful things they're doing and proposing. Racism is an easy charge because, as is clear with a number of people running for the Presidency on the GOP ticket now, they have racist skeletons in their closets. Not all, but many of them (Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, etc.). But Democrats often default to pointing these things out rather than pointing to the other problems with these candidates' records. That's what Mr. Somerby is saying. Not that racism is either as bad as during the antebellum period or not, or that racism and white supremacy then are comparable. Do you get it now?

  61. No, when Bob bashes liberals for pulling the race card, it's because that alienates a bunch of wretched old white people in Hampden, making them less receptive to the democrats pitch to the working class.

    If only those over-educated snobs would stop calling out theses proud sons and daughters of the confederacy, with their Stars and Bars draped dining room windows on w24th Street, they"d line up end vote for a guy like Al Gore again.

    Or something.

    Longtime reader, formerly of Bolton Hill, now marooned in Remington

  62. Pavel, I don't get it. You pretended to read my mind by reading a question I made. i asked Chomskyzinn a question. Do you know what a question is? I hold the exact the same view as you do regarding this site, so you are the confused one. Somerby taught me not to read minds. You should learn from him. Ask me what I meant before reading my mind.

  63. This thread has now gone viral on the Partisan Democratic Underground website:

  64. Per Chomskyzinn "The Howler always equates Clinton and Gore with progressive interests January 8, 2012 3:13 PM"

    Don't think I can agree. The Howler has fairly brilliant analysis, in my opinion, which would be incompatible with equating Clinton and Gore with progressive interests, although I do think The Howler would say that we would have been better off if Gore had been elected instead of Bush.

    I think The Howler's main point about Clinton and Gore is that the MSM exhibited a rabid insanity in the 'wilding' it undertook against Clinton and Gore.

    And that we will be better off when the MSM is well and thoroughly called out on it, and that it may indeed be impossible for sanity to prevail while such conduct goes uncorrected.

  65. @Hardinrd:

    "Bob's beat is media criticism, not really policy stuff,"

    Where then does media criticism stop? For all the talk of tribalism here, you never, for example, hear calls for the media to report the truth when it's in opposition to the prevailing fictions of the Democratic party establishment, epitomized by Clinton/Gore. There's always been an inherent structural bias, or blindless, at the heart of the critiques here.

    Where are the demands, for example, that the press describe Clinton or Gore as war criminals? Or servants of corporate American? And yet, by any reasonable measure, they're both those things. So what's worse? Falsely claiming that Gore sighed 200 times or said he invented the internet, or failing to report that throughout his career, Gore routinely sold out the interests of ordinary people and that his party is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America?

  66. Paul vows to "End the Fed" and replace it with a deregulated rat's nest of private bank currencies. No mention of bankruptcy for Wall Street or nationalization of credit and currency. He implicitly opposes all tariffs, regulations, subsidies....

    Paul is committed to paying Wall Street's debts. His recently published "Plan to restore America" is an austerity handbook that puts the costs of free trade and bailouts on the backs of poor people.


    Paul's position on the war is his major positive, but I do not trust him since his son, Rand Paul is an obvious neocon. Dems and Repubs continue to be duped & fall for the divide and conquer corporatist approach. There is no democracy in the USA, only one party rule. Clinton & Obama were the best presidents the corporations could buy.

    Ron Paul authored a book titled The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008) and he repeatedly calls for another American Revolution. The American and French Revolutions were the work of Judeo-Freemasonry and, according to the Protocols of Sion, revolutions are the means by which Learned Elders obtain absolute control over sovereign nations.

    The following statement was made by Congressman Paul in an address to the House of Representatives in 2001:

    "There's nothing to fear from globalism, free trade and a single worldwide currency....

    There is, in fact, well-documented evidence that Congressman Paul was inducted into a Masonic fraternity in college.

    On April 20th, 2008 the oak says:

    Liberty Oak Ranch

    Quit using Ron Paul as a forum for your bigotted beliefs. You don't know anything about him or his ideals obviously. You also know nothing about the Freemason or Eastern Star organizations.

    1. Ron Paul's father was a Freemason and Dr. Paul has said himself many times that he respects the organization and has been to many of the open meetings in his district. I should know, I was his scheduler for ten years.

    2. His wife, Carol is a member of the Velasco Order of the Eastern Star and maintains her membership in the Freeport area lodge.

    3. Their daughters, Lori and Joy, were both Rainbow girls, another organization associated with Freemasonry.

  67. To those of you whose response to all this is to ask, "Who do I vote for?" The answer is really quite simple: You should ALWAYS vote for the candidate with whom you agree the most on issues and policies, and who has had a history of supporting and working for same. Any other vote is truly wasted.

    Assuming those here are liberal/progressive, that candidate can not be Obama. I can guarantee your ballot will include a name of someone much more progressive than Obama - hell, even a centrist/liberal would be an improvement - why would you not vote for him/her? I'll be voting for Anderson.

    A vote is not supposed to be "calculated." A vote is supposed to be an expression of your vision/preferences for the future of this nation. A vote should give voice to your hopes and dreams of a better world. Following a party line because the "other is worse" is a vote driven by fear. If you're a progressive, vote for the most progressive candidate. If you're a conservative, vote for the most conservative one. If you're a one issue voter (stay home), vote for the candidate who most closely matches your view on that one issue.

    "Third" parties need your support! There are many obstacles which need to be overcome by these parties, and rules that need changing. But why do you expect the two major parties to change anything when they have your vote already? They must earn your vote - it is the most powerful asset you have - don't give it to them for free!

    VOTE FOR IDEAS, AND FOR PEOPLE WHO WORK TO SUPPORT THEM - NOT FOR FEAR OF THE OTHER. Leave the "political calculations" for the useless pollsters and party hacks.

  68. Bob Somerby:

    Would you please consider locking this comment thread, we are getting into Freemason conspiracy theory territory here...

  69. Oh, Bob, surely you can get over your stress of Al Gore being vilified by the Republicans and it was awful but your suport of Barack Obama is too much. You've lost credibility with us (oh no, you don't speak for me).

    Fixed that for you. As an anonymous or named commenter, you speak for yourself. Please remember that.

    Bob, as I do, remembers the empirical result of voting for a third party to protest the policies of the Democratic Party candidate.
    Until and unless there is more that just a nascent movement to a real coalition government with multiple parties of differing stripes, one need only look to March 23, 2003 for the effects of such votes.
    Those of you too pure to weigh the compromises of a national election where we're stuck with a poor list of only 2 candidates, support for one is not a full throated endorsement of all that candidates policies.
    I would expect, based on thier comments, that Walter and his coterie to be looking for a country more suited to their ideals. Norway, perhaps? I've considered Ecuador, myself.

  70. You don't HAVE to vote for any of these political mobsters. It is astonishing that so many feel that they are somehow required to do so. When neither of the parties are working on your behalf - or even on behalf of Democracy - why on earth would you support them?

  71. Tom M.,
    March 23, 2003? Ah yes, the old "Nader voters gave us Bush and his wars" routine. Will it never end? By all measurements and, what do you call them ........... oh yeah - FACTS, the whole notion of Nader as spoiler is completely without merit.

    A vote for Obama may not be a "full throated endorsement" of war, imperialism, civil liberties erosion, and an overall condemnation of nearly everything that is progressive, but it is certainly a vote given with full knowledge that this is what will happen. It's not like this is 2008, when one could argue that they were "fooled" by Obama (a weak position to begin with). This is 2012, when the man's record of anti-progressive priorities is out in the open. Not just on the war/civil liberties front either. A vote for Obama is a direct assault on the progressive agenda, something that could never be said of a vote for Nader in 2000.

    And, like I stated in my post of 10:13AM, the push for alternatives will NEVER succeed by voting for the D's or R's. They will never give up their power if they are not pressured from the outside. Even with the rules in place to stop them, there are always more progressive people on the ballot, especially in presidential elections. The fact that they don't get many votes is the fault of voters, not the rules.

  72. Some interesting fractures are spreading out due to this need to declare, "I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist (oops, libertine) party." On Hullabaloo, for instance, the comments, with notable exceptions, as well as the posts have been little short of hysterical. Smelling salts needed! Atkins pedantic post on the subject was little short of insufferable. It defies all logic that the general "flock" of commenters (allowed to post without being ghosted) on that site were simply unable to actually read what Greenwald even said in his original post; namely, that welcoming the discussion does not mean endorsing the candidate whose name is unmentionable. There were notable exceptions (in particular a commenter named, "Copeland") which also raises questions about who does and doesn't enjoy having their comments "disappeared" to all but themselves --ghosting-- and why such a "democratic" policy isn't made explicit on such a "democracy" loving site.

  73. "Romney would be only a very slight improvement over Obama because Democrats will start criticizing the government's conservative policies again when a R is doing it instead of a D. If Romney tried to cut Social Security it will be much harder for him to do it than when Obama does it. So Romney is the lesser evil to Obama, even though Romney talks a slightly more conservative game than Obama."
    Where this is true for a Ron Paul and why a Ron Paul would be the lesser evil and why Obama is the more effective evil!

    Obama is no stalwart protector on those issues where Paul is so gravely wrong and where the Left and the Obotribalists could coalesce to fight those neo-libertarian economic, environmental and governmental policies under a Ron Paul. We could set aside the fight against War and Imperialism under Obama and fight to protect bedrock Social Programs, fight the extremes of energy, agriculture and environmental policies that are driven under Obama's Neo-Liberalism, regressive policies the Obotribalists refuse to acknowledge and take issue with because of their self-deprecating tribalism.
    Where a Democratic Party loss could be an impetus to truly casting off the rightwing of the Democratic Party or seal its demise and the building of a Working Class Labor Party that truly works in the interests of the working class, the 98%.
    Thank you Walt for posting your critical commonsense! If you are on FB Friend me please.

  74. I'm with Walter Wit, 85%.

    I voted for Obama last time around. Never again. For me it's now a long game, and I hope that the Democrats _do_ lose the election because of people like me. I hope they lose, and they are forced to tack back to the left, because they can no longer assume the support of everyone to their left just because they are still infinitesimally more progressive than the Republicans.

    Additionally - the good that someone like Paul could do is far more within the scope of the president than the bad that we fear. George Bush was anti-abortion, but he couldn't rule them illegal. Paul has far more influence to extract us from foreign conflicts and end the destructive "War on Drugs" silliness.

  75. Obama is a murderer of children.
    Obama has said that he will continue to murder children.
    I support Obama.
    Through some magical thought process, I do not support the murder of children.

  76. "This doesn’t mean you can’t vote for Obama. Almost surely, we ourselves will."

    If you want to vote for the president assasinating Americans for any reason he wants, for people locked up in camps without any kind of hering, for war without Congressional approval, for secret drone strikes that kill innocent people, for the Tar Sands pipeline, for protection of Wall Street, for the National Guard lined up at our southern border to keep the non-whites out, go ahead.

    I'm sure you have a "good" reason to do so, just like every person who has ever done a bad thing. The crack-dealer, the child-beater, the embezzler, all of them have a "good" reason to do what they do. Nobody ever thinks they are the bad guy.

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