Matt Taibbi Ukraine

Matt Taibbi: America’s Intellectual No-Fly Zone

From left to right, from Chomsky to Carlson, war-skeptical voices are being denounced at levels not seen since Iraq.

By Matt Taibbi / Substack

In a 1979 essay called, “My Speech to the Graduates,” Woody Allen wrote:

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

Allen was satirizing the notion that there are always good choices in life. Often, there aren’t. Sometimes the fork in the road ahead asks you to choose between different routes to hell. The late, great Gilbert Gottfried once made the same point in a standup routine about stranded missionaries just slightly less subtle than Allen’s bit. 

Indomitable public intellectual Noam Chomsky gave an interview to Current Affairs last week called, “How to Prevent World War III.” Regarding Ukraine, Chomsky revisited “My Speech to the Graduates”:

There are two options with regard to Ukraine. As we know, one option is a negotiated settlement, which will offer Putin an escape, an ugly settlement. Is it within reach? We don’t know; you can only find out by trying and we’re refusing to try. But that’s one option. The other option is to make it explicit and clear to Putin and the small circle of men around him that you have no escape, you’re going to go to a war crimes trial no matter what you do. Boris Johnson just reiterated this: sanctions will go on no matter what you do. What does that mean? It means go ahead and obliterate Ukraine and go on to lay the basis for a terminal war. 

Those are the two options: and we’re picking the second and praising ourselves for heroism and doing it: fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian.

Immediate shrieking outrage of course ensued (why doesn’t Twitter have a special “torch” emoji for denunciatory mobs?). Chomsky was judged a genocide-enabling, America-hating Kremlin stooge. A tiny sample:

I reached out to Chomsky about the brouhaha. The good professor was charmingly unaware he’d set off a social media meltdown, but commented in a general way. 

“It’s normal for the doctrinal managers to bitterly condemn people who (1) don’t keep rigidly to the Party Line, so can’t be admitted into their circles and (2) have some outreach to the rabble,” he said. “Makes sense, quite normal. Have to make sure that the ‘herd of independent minds’ doesn’t stray.”

Chomsky has often mentioned a proposed introduction to Animal Farm that was undiscovered until 1971. In it, George Orwell said free societies suppress thought almost as effectively as the totalitarian Soviets he ridiculed in his famous farmhouse allegory. He wrote, for instance, that critiquing Stalin was simply not done in the English liberal society of that time:

The issue involved here is quite a simple one: Is every opinion, however unpopular – however foolish, even — entitled to a hearing? Put it in that form and nearly any English intellectual will feel that he ought to say “Yes.” But give it a concrete shape, and ask, “How about an attack on Stalin? Is that entitled to a hearing?” and the answer more often than not will be “No.”

Chomsky brought up this Orwell passage again with regard to the Ukraine controversy, citing the example of a former U.S. diplomat named Chas Freeman. 

“This sometimes extends to figures who are highly regarded on the inside,” he said. “An interesting case now is Ambassador Chas Freeman, greatly respected within establishment circles. But he has departed from orthodoxy on Ukraine.” 

Freeman, a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, recently gave an interview to Grayzone in which he talked about being stunned by the Ukraine invasion. He called it an “impetuous decision” that was a “comparable blunder” to Tsar Nicholas’s invasion of Japan, with the potential for similarly disastrous consequences. At the same time, Freeman was critical of the Western response, saying there’s been a lot of “tendentious nonsense” in coverage and adding, “The war is a fog of lies on all sides. It is virtually impossible to tell what is actually happening because every side is staging the show.”

Chomsky said people like Freeman who depart from the national security orthodoxy are often left to give interviews on smaller independent sites, at which point establishment critics then go after them for being associated with other material on those sites, a neat trick. 

“It’s a highly effective system of thought control in free societies, going well beyond what Orwell imagined in his few words on this topic,” he said. 

It was Freeman who used a phrase, “fighting to the last Ukrainian” to describe America’s strategy in Ukraine. The phrase incensed many of Chomsky’s critics, who seemed to think these were his words. The interview was oddly misinterpreted in other ways. For instance, Chomsky wasn’t saying Ukraine should “surrender” (as a practical matter even Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would have a tough time selling almost any cease-fire to Ukrainians, but that’s a different question). He was speculating about what the policy of the United States with regard to Ukraine should be, and laid out what he saw as two lousy choices.

One is continual armament and proxy war against a belligerent and unpredictable enemy that happens to be relying on an outdated nuclear warning system. This path could lead to Armageddon or the complete destruction of Ukraine. The other choice is pushing for a negotiated settlement, the general parameters of which are already known to all parties. This would involve making highly distasteful concessions to a government already denounced across the West for having committed war crimes, and it also might not end hostilities for long.

Total extinction, or utter hopelessness. Death, or Ugu. A depressing take, but treasonous? 

The interesting thing about Chomsky’s Ukraine comments wasn’t even that they were so inflammatory, but that he was giving them to Current Affairs. The hits and traffic for Chomsky’s controversy-generating interview could have belonged to the New York TimesWashington Post, or even MSNBC, which last year broke longstanding tradition by airing an interview with the Manufacturing Consent author. However, in this country, when it comes to war, big media companies simply do not air countervailing views, not even out of economic self-interest. 

Before “de-platforming” was even a term in the American consciousness, our corporate press perfected it with regard to war critics. Back in May of 2003, months into the Iraq War invasion, the media watchdog FAIR did a study of 1,617 on-camera sources cited on six television networks and came to remarkable conclusions. “Anti-war voices were 10 percent of all sources, but just 6 percent of non-Iraqi sources and 3 percent of U.S. sources,” the group noted, but that was just the appetizer:

Of a total of 840 U.S. sources who are current or former government or military officials, only four were identified as holding anti-war opinions–Sen. Robert Byrd (D.-W.V.), Rep. Pete Stark (D.-Calif.) and two appearances by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio). Byrd was featured on PBS, with Stark and Kucinich appearing on Fox News.

This preview of decades-later America took place in 2003. Dennis Kucinich at that time was considered too far left even for the Daily Show — who can forget Jon Stewart’s “All rise for the honorable Justice chick with dick!” joke that year about Kucinich’s professed willingness to nominate a transgender person to the bench — and he had to go on conservative Fox to speak against the Iraq invasion. FAIR found there was a literal absolute consensus about war among the major center-left stations ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN almost twenty years ago. 

Since then, we’ve only widened the rhetorical no-fly zone. In a development that back then I would have bet my life on never happening, anti-interventionist voices or advocates for such people are increasingly confined to Fox if they appear on major corporate media at all. 

This begins with those who are literal exiles or de facto political prisoners, like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, and continues through the growing list of people like the aforementioned Hersh or Australian filmmaker John Pilger or Kucinich or Tulsi Gabbard or even recent torchbearer fixation John Mearsheimer, all of whom have been put on pay-no-mind lists for views on Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, and other actual or potential military interventions. When Democratic Senator (D-DE) Chris Coons issued one of the first in what’s sure to be a long list of official calls for more direct U.S. involvement in the Ukraine conflict, saying Vladimir Putin “will only stop when we stop him,” the only serious major-media pushback came from Tucker Carlson on Fox. It’s not that Fox is a paradise of enlightened pacifism, but that the center-left media landscape is a total desert when it comes to dissent from Natsec conventional wisdom. Fox in comparison has maybe has a couple of shriveled palm trees on the horizon. Meanwhile, war-skeptical voices on the left are herded into ever-smaller outlets. 

A consumer who only reads traditional press will see Ukraine coverage confined to the following parameters: should we stick with just sanctions and sending arms, or up the ante? Look at the way stories about polls on this subject are phrased. Every one is couched in the same language: should we get more involved? Here’s the opening to an AP story, headlined, “AP-NORC poll: More support for Ukraine, concern about Russia”:

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Russia escalates its war in Ukraine and stories of civilian casualties and destruction in cities reach the United States, support has risen for a major American role — and so has fear of the threat Russia poses to the U.S.

This is from NPR’s “Most Americans don’t like Biden’s Ukraine response”:

A new NPR/Ipsos poll finds that a majority of Americans think President Biden has not done a good job in his handling of the war. Many say the president has been too cautious, even as a majority say they’re wary of sparking a broader conflict.

This was the first graphic in “CBS News poll — War in Ukraine: What should the U.S. do now?”:

Viewers see journalists asking a hundred times a day if we’re involved enough or sending enough arms. Meanwhile one journalist, Ryan Grim of the Intercept, managed to get a question in front of Jen Psaki about whether or not the United States plans to respond to Ukrainian requests for diplomatic help. Watch this unnerving comparison video:

The bulk of American news followers probably aren’t even aware that Zelensky has asked the U.S. for diplomatic aid. All the headlines are about Zelensky asking for weapons or sanctions, even if there’s a sentence buried in some of the texts about diplomatic help. Take for example “Zelensky steps up criticism of West, demanding weapons and sanctions” (Washington Post), or “Ukraine’s Zelensky Calls for More Military Aid” (Wall Street Journal), or “Ukraine has requested military aid. Here’s how allies are providing assistance” (CNN). 

Still fewer stories have explained that the United States seems to have declined to participate in peace talks, or empower Zelensky to negotiate an end to sanctions. Even fewer have pointed to the growing number of comments from current and former American officials suggesting the U.S. should “pull the Brzezinski trick,” as Chomsky put it. This is the idea that drawing Russia into a long military quagmire could weaken the enemy in the long run, as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser (and Dad of MSNBC’s button-eyed yammerer Mika) Zbigniew Brzezinski believed was the case after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. “This is the model that people are now, uh, looking toward,” an unpleasantly smiling Hillary Clinton said on CNN not long ago.

If you’re on the wrong side of the national security consensus, or even just want to suggest that alternative policy ideas exist, you won’t make it near the press mainstream now. Policing on this issue is significantly more intense than it was even in the virtual unanimity of the pre-Iraq period. Moreover, as Freddie deBoer just noted on Substack, even people who “define themselves by championing dissent and free speech” are “no less likely to demand that everyone get on board with the dominant narrative,” adding, “a lot of people who regularly mock Instagram-bio politics have put up Ukrainian flags in theirs.” America seems tired of thinking and wants to get back to cheering, but sometimes there isn’t really anything to cheer for. Sometimes, unless you’re a Raytheon executive, all the options are awful.

Matt Taibbi

Matthew C. Taibbi is an American author, journalist, and podcaster. He has reported on finance, media, politics, and sports. He was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, author of several books, co-host of Useful Idiots, and publisher of a newsletter on Substack.

37 comments

  1. Disagree. Ukraine, formerly a part of the Soviet Union, has been an independent country for some years. This would not be so, if Russia had wanted to maintain control of it. Ukraine’s conflict is between Ukrainians — those who want to align with NATO/the West vs. those who want to maintain their alliance with Russia. What Russia will never permit is for Ukraine to become another US puppet state, with US missile bases near the Ukraine/Russian border. Joe Biden came into power, amassed US/NATO troops in the region, along Ukraine’s border, and now along a segment of Russia’s border — a war-provoking threat to Russia.

    1. Mr DHFabian, You have summarized the whole situation succinctly. Agree with you wholeheartedly. The poison of nationalism is very evident and is obvisiouly being exploited by the West for their geo political purposes.The great tragedy is tha Ukrainians are being used as sacrificial lambs.Radical elements in the Western Ukraine have a long history.The West are getting into bed with some bad actors here. Ed

  2. “Sometimes, unless you’re a Raytheon executive, all the options are terrible.”

  3. Think the propaganda is bad now. Just wait until the US is actually in a ground war…oh, wait, never mind.

  4. Sadly, DHFabian’s wise understanding of the situation is not shared with the media. President Putin didn’t go into this war with a smile on his face. He knew all along that the cost would be high. This was evident in his long address and the justification for his action by using Article 51 of the UN Charter. Heretofore, attempts made in stopping the civil war were not successful. Had they been, perhaps the invasion would not have happened. What is missed is the geopolitical desire of the US government, put into action with the Maiden coup, to weaken Russia. After which the pivot to China would take place in an attempt to weaken that nation as well. The calls of war crimes against Mr. Putin and Russia are disconcerting. I get reports of Ukrainian troops executing Russian POWs. This is a war crime. Shouldn’t Ukraine face war crimes as well? Additionally, Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is charged with revealing American war crimes in Iraq and he will be extradited to the US. This invalidates any discussion of war crimes.

  5. Russia has not attacked a Nato ally. Russia is not using Nuclear Weapons. Russia is not using chemical weapons. So why even platform CBS or post the dumb poll.

    1. @Jon
      Taibbi has to know as much, but so-called “polls” like that are not polls, they are propaganda intended to push public opinion in a certain direction (“push polls”).

  6. Thanks for the open invitation to, like Chomsky, incense my critics via dissenting opinion. I’ll see your bet and raise you, Mr Taibbi.

    My carefully considered dissent is: Russia’s project in Ukraine qualifies as, “jus ad bellum,” and it’s conduct has been thus far, “jus in bello.” (Readers, upon looking up the criteria for each latinate principle will agree; though too long to post here they are met by the circumstance Russia faced vis a vis it’s Western neighbor.) My extended dissent is; given these jus ad bellum & jus in bello principles being met; the honestly written histories of the early 21st Century will view Vladimir Putin’s actions as analogous not to Tsar Nicholas sending his fleet to Japan, but to Churchill going it alone against the Germans in 1939.

    The argument for jus ad bellum includes but is not limited to, that Ukraine is a large resourceful nation, is tightly locked into radical nationalism by a core of native fascistic thinkers whose elements are holding & exercising military control over Ukraine’s power center. It’s national resources include the technology for & a citizenry capable of, manufacturing a variety of the most dangerous weapons possible to date in human history given the freedom to do so. Thus, ethical people should be of the view that the US should be assisting Russia, not hindering it. This implies stopping any aid to Ukraine of any sort, until the Russians accomplish denazification. Simple agreement to neutrality will not do while fascist elements exist to rise back to power in Ukraine by force. Thus Pres Putin’s mission statement turns out to be remarkably well founded. He does not need an out, he needs acceptance as the adult in the geopolitical room.

    ~~

    Curiously, when it comes to Russia the seminal presupposition we allow for general human nature; that people are reasonable, and reasonable people do things for reasonable reasons, is able to be set in suspension. Thus we have Russia in an immensely difficult and expensive project of the most serious type that a nation can undertake; the lone commitment of the lives of it’s young men to die in the face of great risk and even partial world opprobrium, yet no analysts consider invoking Occam’s Razor, which insists first of all; they must have a good reason.

    Instead if you notice this sanction crippled frozen giant of a nation is automatically presumed to be further risking it’s national neck for various complex convoluted and evil reasons that make less common sense than the plot of a Clive Barker story. Meanwhile in hindsight these same geopolitical analysts are fine with how we’ve tidy’d up, revised, and put to rest without policy consequence American projects like Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Syria, & Afghanistan, even before the mortally wounded of the latter of those misbegotten projects have finished dying.

    Like Taibbi I call bullshit on the establishment. But also perhaps on Mr Taibbi. That could change, we shall see if this dissent makes it past the moderators.

    1. I appreciate your emphasis on legal aspect of Ukrainian war, a kind of proxy war where nominally Ukraine fights renegade province of Donbas while in fact it is all out proxy war between NATO and Russia opening another front of strange WWIII after Syria. That situation confuses even those political analysts who did not succumb to western biases and whitewashing brutal western policies of continuing worldwide expansion and aggression.

      Another specific factor that cannot be overlooked but it is, is effect of globalization on character of this war. After detailed analysis of for example western sanctions supposedly against Russian oligarchs it is clear that no one oligarch was really hurt, instead they got richer. Sanctions against them failed but worked well against average Russian Ivan who pays for it mostly because dollar value collapsed in Russia as Russian cannot buy with dollar what they want so a pile of greenbacks stashed under matter became almost worthless if they do not plan to emigrate. As we know common Joe or Hans pays for it too.

      And the reason for it not as much inaptitude of western governments unable to”find” Russian assets but legal framework of global capital financialization that replaced direct legal ownership for effective control via means of structural capital derivatives of financial assets and corporate governance no longer based on number of common shares owned but on shares voting rights. In a way many huge corporations turned to imposing a sort of shareholders apartheid with different classes of shares.

      For example Zukerberg owns little of common stocks mostly via other financial instruments while totally controls FB board of directors. If he was to be sanction by US very little could be seized as his private property. For another example Ukrainian nationalists who took over allegedly Paris apartments of Putin’s daughter were quickly evicted after propaganda photo shoot when patriotic French owner showed up saying “Putin Who? I have never met this gentleman. “

      The US as in 2014/15 and on demanded EU sanctions against RF while US-Russia trade tripled, today this charade continues leading to economic depression in EU while US selectively excused itself from them due to national security considerations.

      That to me indicates that it is elbowing for position at the global oligarchs table that flared up in a form of proxy wars that are aimed at weakening of Russian and Chinese oligarchs by reduction and partition of their spheres of influence as expansion of global capitalism hits physical limits. All those “business” considerations among oligarchic competitors (who are United in controlling global labor) are covered by veneer of outdated geopolitics and specter of Nazism or fascism as to confuse and divide public filled that this is all about their values and historic justice .

      Perhaps it is why Putin and his oligarchic cronies whose interests were threatened by NATO expansion can afford as Scott Ritter put it a kid glove approach to AFU and strict by the book application of international law, Geneva conventions and rules of war including quite plausible legal justification of Russian intervention formulated as a defense treaty obligation to protect LDPR in war with Ukraine for eight years .

      In contrast to Zelensky who fights total war for his political own survival to show his own usefulness as master provocateur as perceived by western powers.

      Perhaps It is to show high country club ethics why Putin did not take out this Washington lap dog and pushed for regime change as it wound not be prudent and legal as he expect to deal with western global power elites in years to come in civilized manner. While just few years back Putin stopped calling western leaders who wanted to strangle Russian economy, partners but he still refuses to call them enemies, just opponents in a game as in reality it is a game with real dead.

    2. “” It’s (Its)national resources include the technology for & a citizenry capable of, manufacturing a variety of the most dangerous weapons possible to date in human history given the freedom to do so”
      Bravo, you just offered the perfect justification for the US to attack tomorrow Russia, China, North Korea, Iran , Cuba, Venezuela, strictly adhering to your “jus ad bellum” criteria.

      1. The common name for the two logical fallacies in your reply are, “cherry picking” and “attacking the messenger.” You pulled out a partial sentence to misrepresent my argument, and you attributed to me a criteria that I did not invent and do not own. This sort of trickery can actually be useful if it makes an otherwise useful point, which it does not do here. (If your point was pacifism, you should have stated as much.)

        1. Attacking the messenger: the criteria of just war are not “mine” as you suggest (“your ‘jus ad bellum’ criteria”). They are universally understood ancient criteria that have been the object of deep consideration by philosophers for centuries. They are above the sleazy criteria of media or politicians that turn on bias and affinity which is why they matter. If they support various action you do not like, “… US to attack tomorrow Russia, China, … etc.” I have no more responsibility for that than for rain because I can explain condensation.

        2. Cherry picking: I never say as you imply, the ability to make WMD alone justifies war. You conveniently left out, “Ukraine is … locked into radical nationalism by a core of native fascistic thinkers whose elements are holding & exercising military control over Ukraine’s power center.”
        In case you missed it, Azov Right Sector etc. are murderous fanatics, as demonstrated in the Maidan. Their stated policy includes marching on Kiev and taking the government after they defeat Russia. They train right wing nationalists around the world. Only the willfully naive underestimate their willingness to use WMD if they can create it, and unlike your analogous nations they border Russia. There is no such analogy for your hyperbolic example of US vs China, Iran etc.

        So you used two logical fallacies in your reply, nullifying it’s worth. Why bother? I don’t know, especially because Just War theory is fundamentally a matter of knowing right from wrong, something people normally always respect and thus as was my point it should be front & center in the debate.

  7. Ahh, there will be reservations, or internment camps, for those who disagree with the Military Offesnive Weapons-Media-Sanctions-Financial Complex.

    “Hitler took note of the indigenous people of the Americas,” notes author Ward Churchill, “specifically within the area of the United States and Canada, and used the treatment of the native people, the policies and processes that were imposed upon them, as a model for what he articulated as being the politics of living space.”

    In essence, writes Ward Churchill, “Hitler took the notion of a drive from east to west, clearing the land as the invading population went and resettling it with Anglo-Saxon stock as the model by which he drove from west to east into Russia — displacing, relocating, dramatically shifting, or liquidating a population to clear the land and replace it with what he called superior breeding stock. He was very conscious of the fact that he was basing his policies in the prior experiences of the Anglo-American population in the area north of the Rio Grande River.”

    1. I am pleased to see acklowledgement that Hitler used the imperial masters of the Anglo-Eurpean invasion and colonization across the lands that are now the U.S. and Canada as his model. People seem to believe that if we just “forget” that these nations are products of murderous genocide, this history will melt away and leave “purity” in its wake. It has been many years since I attended school, but in my high school and college U.S. history courses, we were not taught of the forced removal of indigenous peoples via what is called “The Trail of Tears”; nor were the widespread raids on, and destruction of native settlements by settler-colonialist “rangers” ever mentioned. I expect that if these atrocities are now being taught, they won’t be for much longer; as the current iteration of fascists seem determined to stamp out any threats to the notion of American/Canadian “purity” that such knowledge might bring; and maintaining such a notion can be achieved only through the enforced ignorance that censorship provides.

      1. Even disturbingly pro-pro Deep State, The Atlantic, covers this:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/what-america-taught-the-nazis/540630/

        There was no more extravagant site for Third Reich political theater than the spectacular parade grounds, two large stadiums, and congress hall in Nuremberg, a project masterminded by Albert Speer. From 1933 to 1938, he choreographed massive rallies associated with the annual conference of the Nazi Party, assemblies made famous by Leni Riefenstahl’s stunning documentaries of 1933 and 1935, The Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will. Nuremberg was the setting for the September 1935 “Party Rally of Freedom,” at which a special session of the Reichstag passed, by acclamation, legislation that disqualified Jews as Reich citizens with political rights, forbade them to marry or have sex with persons identified as racial Germans, and prohibited any display by Jews of national colors or the new national flag, a banner with a swastika.

        Just eight days after the Reich Citizenship Law, the Law on the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, and the Reich Flag Law were formally proclaimed by Adolf Hitler, 45 Nazi lawyers sailed for New York under the auspices of the Association of National Socialist German Jurists. The trip was a reward for the lawyers, who had codified the Reich’s race-based legal philosophy. The announced purpose of the visit was to gain “special insight into the workings of American legal and economic life through study and lectures,” and the leader of the group was Ludwig Fischer. As the governor of the Warsaw District half a decade later, he would preside over the brutal order of the ghetto.

        Every day brings fresh reminders that liberal and illiberal democracy can entwine uncomfortably, a timely context for James Q. Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model, which examines how the Third Reich found sustenance for its race-based initiatives in American law. Upon docking, the Germans attended a reception organized by the New York City Bar Association. Everyone in the room would have known about the recent events in Nuremberg, yet the quest by leading Nazi jurists to learn from America’s legal and economic systems was warmly welcomed.

        +–+

        And then there is that racist ZioIsrael:

        Brothers in arms – Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria

        During the second world war the future South African prime minister John Vorster was interned as a Nazi sympathiser. Three decades later he was being feted in Jerusalem. In the second part of his remarkable special report, Chris McGreal investigates the clandestine alliance between Israel and the apartheid regime, cemented with the ultimate gift of friendship – A-bomb technology

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/07/southafrica.israel

        Israeli Apartheid Week will be commemorated in over 200 cities around the world. Commonly referred to as IAW, as a South African I do not think that a more apt name could have been chosen to highlight the atrocities carried out by the Zionist regime on a daily basis.

        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180227-apartheid-south-africa-versus-apartheid-israel/

        Whenever the plight of the Palestinian people is compared with Apartheid, there are more than a few strong objections from the pro-Israel community. The very idea that such a comparison can be made repulses those who support the oppressive system run by the Israeli government, and passionate statements against such remarks are sure to be vented. However, if we analyse the situation from a historic and non-biased view, the similarities between Apartheid South Africa and the situation in Israel are startling and simply cannot be ignored.

        +–+

        Then, the US’s Ugly Laws, and Germany, and eugenics, a la USA-UK-Germany: A nice thesis,

        “My work here will demonstrate the connections between the United States and Germany in regard to eugenic ideology, policy, and practice. The United States was just as much an active influence as a passive example for German eugenicists and racial hygienists. Up until the American entry into World War II the United States had some shape or form of being involved with German racial policies in regard to eugenics as well as medical policies.”

        https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5263&context=etd

  8. The mainstream press has always hated Noam Chomsky because he so incisively shreds the mainstream ideology where in the name of freedom and democracy, America only does good in the larger world. Just look at the record. Since WW2, no other country in the world has fought more wars than the USA. War fever is rampant in the country. Our leaders may be just stupid enough to get us into WW3.

  9. I have always wanted to like Matt Taibbi but his work just never has nearly enough teeth for me. I find him go be frank, a bit milquetoast. Like he is trying to be edgy without actually being edgy. To me, his work makes no impact….I never read a Taibbi piece and afterward sit back and go….damn that was powerful.

    This article is no acceptation.

    1. State your case, and show us how dissent should be done.
      Citizenship is not an armchair exercise where you hold a remote and flip through the channels. Matt Taibbi doesn’t need your acceptance. What he, and all of us need, is your honest input. You are obligated to state your own point of view if you expect to be read seriously on this blog. This is no “exception.”

      My opinion is that the USA is caught in the same bear trap as the Russian Federation.

      1. Red Hornet – A perfect reply, I doubt JustAMaverick will understand it. Notice he makes five self references in four sentence post, even his username is self referential ie he has not risen above online egoist who’s commentary is an expression of personal feelings.

    2. @JustAMaverick
      I disagree. Taibbi did the best reporting on the 2008 recession and the causes of it, how regular people were getting screwed and losing their homes, and how the banks made out like bandits. There were others who did good reporting afterward, but Taibbi was my go-to reporter during that crisis. I don’t agree with everything he says as you can see in my comment below, and I understand what you mean about being milquetoast, but I like his work generally because he exposes things about the establishment that the propaganda machine doesn’t.

  10. Where are those who say they pay homage to peace ? Where are the ministers, priests and rabbis and all others? Do people seriously believe Ukraine can defeat Russia? Or that nuclear war can be winnable? Can people not look ahead? Can we not learn from the past?

  11. Good article except for the following:

    ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN are “center-left”? That’s a joke, right? Those networks are a major part of corporate America and always have been. They provide major propaganda in favor of the rich and their establishment. That, by definition, is right wing, not left. Being pro-war is also, by definition, right wing, because it mainly harms poor and working class people in service of the rich & powerful.

    1. I agree, you Jeff, and thank you for your comments. I feel overwhelmed by the “propaganda machine” and feel like canceling my internet subscription to the NYT, but think I need to see what the propagandists for the establishment are spouting.

  12. “a belligerent and unpredictable enemy that happens to be relying on an outdated nuclear warning system.”
    Not sure why you consider Russia as belligerent and unpredictable. Given the record of the US the use of belligerent for another nation seems weird, and suggests that Russia had no good cause for their actions. Given that Putin has been warning US/NATO about the dangers of extending NATO, and the inability of US/NATO to support the Minsk treaty, I don’t see how it is unpredictable.
    As a matter of interest could you provide sources for your suggestion that Russia has an outdated nuclear warning system.

    1. Yossi – Re your request for sources; The data on the peculiar danger posed by the limited Russian nuclear attack warning systems is presented on the Youtube channel “Committee for the Republic.” The title of the vid is, “Is Ukraine Our Armageddon? | Ted Postol, Cynthia Lazaroff, Joe Cirincione.” You will want to take a look.

      Fyi it’s two hours in full, but the info you want is presented at the very start in about 20 minutes (in great detail) by the nuclear arms expert Ted Postal. The overall subject is fear of accidental nuclear war. Postal’s portion of the presentation is impressive science & tech review.

      What you will find is that the Russian systems are limited in ways that are significant to nuclear war experts, because under some circumstances do to their limits they are open to false alarms from war games etc. As you would presume, their warning systems are not the golden spoon quality of the US due to their finances.

      PS I watched it a month ago, I bothered to go find the vid again for you, because I respect you challenging Taibbi on the idea of “belligerent & unpredictable.” Stay the course on critical thinking! Read my own dissent here in the comments if you please.

    2. @Yossi
      It seems that every U.S. commentator has to say how evil Putin and Russia are, even if they condemn the U.S. and NATO for being the ultimate cause of this war by provoking Russia. Funny how I’ve never heard them call any U.S. president the names they’ve called Putin, even though Putin couldn’t dream of killing as many people as any single U.S. president.

  13. CBS, MSDNC, CNN, etc. are NOT “center-left.” Holy shit! Those networks are rightwing. As is Fox of course. Also, Chomsky got something way wrong in the interview: he declared that Zelensky was an honorable fellow. Way wrong on that one. He’s our puppet, and is as responsible for the war and its continuation as the US. He’s a liar and a fraud. Counterpunch has come in for a lot of grief lately, but today (maybe it was yesterday) they published an excellent article by the always fine Jim Kavanagh about the current situation. Highly recommended.

  14. Taibbi is right to remark that the no-fly zone for free speech, not just for (rhetorical) intellectuals but all of us, has become ever more restrictive. So much so that any flight of free speech is now liable to prosecution as domestic terrorism by the almighty state, protecting us sheeple from viral outbreaks of mis-, dis-, mal-information (compliments of our big brother the DHS) among all the many fear-inducing threats (e.g., end-of-the-world annihilation through nuclear war or climate change, choose which “despair and utter hopelessness” (Allen) you prefer) sprung upon us in the new abnormal’s march to absolute tyranny.

    However, he is wrong to use Chomsky as an example of anything but an accomplice to the totally repressive apparatus coming at us on the heels of a creeping fascism that’s been stalking us since WWII. Maybe it was part of the deal of maintaining employment within the MIC center of MIT, but ever since Chomsky emerged as a hero of the people with the anti-war movement of the 60s he’s been busy injecting his acclaimed genius into public discourse in some very dubious ways, beginning with his steadfast adoption of CIA-inspired conspiracy theory in support of the Warren Commission cover-up of the JFK assassination and deep state operations since, and continuing with his leftwing anti-communism as the critical alternative to cold war geopolitics.

    In the more recent past, he’s been pontificating on the virtues of lesser evilism for people’s politics coopted by capitalist parties, lending his voice to the chorus for Killary and the DP graveyard for social movements, and hyperventilating over the RP and then Trump (the new Hitler) as humankind’s greatest threats, apparently resting on his laurels as an (the) “indomitable public intellectual.”

    Perhaps this legacy of psychological warfare and controlled opposition simply continues with the distorted representation he perpetrates above, even satirically, with his words on the conflict in Ukraine, effectively leaving us, just as with those rigged polls and statistics he often likes to cite in the spirit of Science, with forced choice in the matter between diplomacy (and blah, blah, blah) or pursuit of Putin and his cronies as war criminals (echoing cold war 2.0 propaganda of the evil Putin and whitewashing US-NATO criminals of wrongdoing).

    Like all too many professional leftists these days, all the more ironically for someone so fond of Orwell, Chomsky has called for ‘progressive’ police state measures of public health in regard to the (ongoing) worldwide coup masquerading as a pandemic, in which like any ordinary covidiot he has served the Frankenscience of Ingsoc with his conferred status as an intellectual giant, let alone pretensions of expertise. Maybe his so-called science of biolinguistics, rooted in genetics, makes him a particularly useful ally with the transhumanist eugenicists out to impose biodigital slavery upon us human livestock with their Great Reset and 4th Industrial Revolution.

    Given this more than fair share of association with the enemy of the people, the AllState, from a self-proclaimed anarchist, the controversy surrounding Chomsky covered here by Taibbi is indeed brouhaha, the kind which misdirects its captive audiences from the real threats coming at us. In the shadow of Jewish ancestors who were victims of previous experiments in social engineering for (de)population control, Chomsky has more in common with Israeli (Zionist) public intellectual Yuval Harari than (creepy) Woody Allen, and Harari’s errand-boy subservience to the Davos elites of the WEF, for whom we are nothing more than “hackable animals.”

  15. meanwhile, the US is a paper tiger
    one that speaks w/ a forked tongue
    and an overdrawn piggie bank

  16. Being a “Gonzo” journalist like Taibbi has its allowances: You can name names. you can jive around, and you can pay scant attention to organization of ideas. I generally like Taibbi anyway, because he does manage to get hard-to-locate information, and he is ballsy about getting it out there. But this article goes in too many directions, is undisciplined and a bit of a nuisance to read.

  17. I am curious whether left-ish Neo progressive pundits and flock even see the irony in their undisturbed (uncensored as it were) stream of published texts like the one above.

  18. The print/media/entertainment news matrix in the U.S. is privately controlled by 6 capitalist corporations. Social media is privately controlled by another 6 perhaps. The problem is private ownership, which will always kowtow to the capitalist government, their military, their military contractors and U.S. imperial reach.

    1. @Red Frog
      I’ve long thought about this problem. The ideal solution would be publicly-owned media with no sponsorships or advertising, but of course that would amount to government ownership. That would be OK if the government were strictly prohibited from propagandizing or otherwise lying, and from censorship (i.e., it has to publish all viewpoints regardless of how much it hates them). Is that even realistic? Don’t know, but for certain it would require a separate government agency to run this media system and to have absolute authority over it.

      The main problem with private ownership of media is of course that those with the most money get the biggest voices, and at this point everyone else is virtually shut out and silenced. If the market could be opened to all voices and the cost could either be subsidized by the government (for free speech purposes) or greatly lowered so that everyone who wants to publish can do so. While not as ideal as the government ownership model above, this might be more realistic.

      The real problem here is extreme overpopulation that requires any more than people just talking to each other. Any time you create more complicated systems due to overpopulation, you create more problems.

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