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Yasha Levine

Cross-posted from the S.H.A.M.E. Project

“[The Middle East] is so dysfunctional, any stirring of the pot is good. America’s involvement in the region is for the good. In that way, I’m an immigrant.”

—Fareed Zakaira on invasion of Iraq

After a week on the ropes, Fareed Zakaria is back in the game. Yesterday, Time and CNN announced they had cleared Zakeera of any charges of wrongdoing: “We have completed a thorough review of each of Fareed Zakaria’s columns for TIME, and we are entirely satisfied that the language in question in his recent column was an unintentional error and an isolated incident for which he has apologized. We look forward to having Fareed’s thoughtful and important voice back in the magazine with his next column in the issue that comes out on September 7.” CNN, which is a part of the Time Warner media conglomerate, issued a similar statement: “We found nothing that merited continuing the suspension. Zakaria has apologized for a journalistic lapse.” (more…)

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Posted: August 17th, 2012

This is the first of a series of posts that will explore and expand on the recovered history of Arianna Huffington recently unearthed by S.H.A.M.E.

Ever since its transformation from a celebrity blog into a mainstream news media outlet, Arianna Huffington has marketed the Huffington Post to the public as a media outlet whose purpose is to leverage social media and new Internet technologies to democratize news and empower the American people by wresting control of news away from corrupt elites. To hear her tell it, you’d think that the Huffington Post was nothing less than a staging area for a populist revolt to reclaim American democracy from corporate rule: (more…)

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Posted: July 20th, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell on his former roommate Jeffrey Goldberg’s 2006 book Prisoners, which is about Goldberg’s experience as a prison guard at Ktzi’ot, Israel’s largest detention camp for Palestinian political prisoners:

“Jeffrey Goldberg has done the impossible—found some hope in the rubble of the Middle East. Prisoners will bring you to tears.”

—Malcolm Gladwell

Bring tears? Gladwell’s spent the last two decades shilling for an industry involved in the largest mass-murder campaign in the history of mankind, so you know Prisoners got some powerful stuff. And it does:

Ktzi’ot has long been criticized for its inhumane conditions, including frequent beatings, lack of drinking water and forced labor. Among the hundreds of books forbidden to prisoners at Ktzi’ot have been The Lord of the Rings and Hamlet. In the book, Goldberg describes a scene from Ktzi’ot in which his friend repeatedly hit a Palestinian prisoner in the head with a with a heavy, sharp-edged army radio, beating him to a bloody pulp, a beating that Goldberg “deduced was prompted by something [the prisoner] said.”

It was in February 1991, in the Wilderness of Zin, at a place called Ketziot, not far from Kadesh-Barnea, that a friend of mine named Yoram tried, in my presence, to beat senseless an Arab by the name of Abu Firas. Abu Firas was a disagreeable and smug man, but his sourness was not a mortal sin Yoram, whom I knew to be gentle but at that moment had blood in his face, was beating Abu Firas on the head with the handset of an army radio. The handset weighed five or six pounds, and it was sharp-edged. Abu Firas was hurt.

. . . Yoram was a religious Jew, and his kippah, knit and multicolored in the style of the modern Orthodox, stayed pinned to his head through his exertions It was quite a sight—a yeshiva Jew, a God-fearer, delivering a bloody beating.

. . . Abu Firas was on his knees, grabbing at his head. His hair shone with blood. He was barely coherent.  He pleaded for water. Yoram tried to jack Abu Firas up onto his feet, but he couldn’t move.

Later in the book Goldberg admits that he lied to cover up the crime: “I found another military policeman, and handed off the wobbling prisoner, who was by now bleeding on me. ‘He fell,’ I lied.” Goldberg also took part in beatings of Palestinian prisoners, but justified it this way: “Unlike [Goldberg’s camp-guard friend], I never hit a Palestinian who wasn’t already hitting me.”


This isn’t the first time Malcolm Gladwell has helped his old buddy out. In fact, Malcolm and Jeffrey have a long, rich history that goes back to when they were just two young conservatives trying to make it as media hacks in the big cruel media world of D.C. They roomed together in the 80s, and both of them started off their careers in mainstream news at The Washington Post—Malcolm worked the business beat, while Jeffrey was a police reporter. Later on the two buddies reunited again at The New Yorker. Editor-in-chief David Remnick, also a Washington Post alum, hired Malcolm in 1996, and brought Jeffrey on board in 2000. Somewhere along the way, Malcolm Gladwell introduced Jeffrey Goldberg to the man’s future wife. “[Gladwell’s] responsible for the existence of my three children,” blushed Goldberg.

As a token of respect and appreciation, Jeffrey Goldberg included his buddy Malcolm on a list of “Top 50 Philo-Semites,” helping promote his Judeophilic buddy’s newest book Outliers with a link to Amazon just as Outliers was hitting bookstores in November 2008:

Malcolm Gladwell’s Top 50 Philo-Semites
NOV 20 2008, 2:39 PM ET

So, as you have undoubtedly heard, the Forward has chosen me as one of its 50 most influential American Jews. Me, Rahm Emanuel, Sarah Silverman, and Lipa Schmeltzer, among others.

This honor has changed my life, especially the magnificent gift of 1,000 shares of AIG stock from the finance committee of the Elders of Zion. It has also caused heartache. Friends are envious, even non-Jewish friends. For instance, Malcolm Gladwell is very upset. When we were roommates a very long time ago, Malcolm used to listen to the klezmer stylings of Giora Feidman on his record player. He is, in other words, very Jewy. He is also deeply wounded. “I am so jealous,” he wrote. “Shouldn’t there be a parallel list for wanna-bes?”

Yes, there should. If the Forward can publish a list of the top 50 Jews, then Goldblog can publish a list of the top 50 philo-Semites. I don’t have a philosophical problem with this, by the way: I dissent from the line, first passed on to me by Frank Foer, who, tragically, is not a top-50 Jew (though his mother is!), that philo-Semites are anti-Semites who like Jews. So, a list, and one loyal readers can help me assemble. I already asked Malcolm to provide me names of other philo-Semites, but he said: “How do I know philo-Semites? I’m such a philo-Semite I only associate with the real thing.”

Here are a few names, just to get us going:

1) George Eliot
2) Barack Obama
3) Harry Truman
4) Emile Zola
5) Malcolm Gladwell

 

READ MORE about Malcolm Gladwell and Jeffrey Goldberg at the S.H.A.M.E. Project:

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Posted: July 13th, 2012

REPOSTED FROM THE S.H.A.M.E. PROJECT

Last week, I got an email from Malcolm Gladwell. He told me he read the S.H.A.M.E. report I wrote about him a few weeks ago, and asked if I had time to answer a few of his questions:

From: Malcolm Gladwell
To: levine@exiledonline.com
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 3:56 PM

I recently read your pieces about me. I have a number of questions I’d love to ask you. Do you have the time? Cheers, M.

(more…)

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Posted: June 24th, 2012

Steven Levitt, University of Chicago economist, gained nationwide fame and prestige after co-authoring Freakonomics, a pop economics book based partly on Levitt’s original economic research. Published in 2005, Freakonomics became an instant #1 bestseller and spawned an entire Freakonomics media franchise that included a branded Freakonomics blog (hosted on the New York Times website until 2011), a regular segment on the National Public Radio program Marketplace, a Freakonomics movie and, alas, a Freakonomics business consulting company (now called the Greatest Good). (more…)

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Posted: June 8th, 2012

Cross-posted from the S.H.A.M.E. Project. For a reader’s digest version of this report, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s S.H.A.M.E. Profile

“I’m necessarily parasitic in a way. I have done well as a parasite. But I’m still a parasite.”

Malcolm Gladwell

In the vast ecosystem of corporate shills, which one is the most effective? Propaganda works best when it is not perceived as propaganda: nuance, obfuscation, distraction, suggestion, the subtle introduction of doubt—these are more effective in the long run than shotgun blasts of lies. The master of this approach is Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell is the New Yorker’s leading essayist and bestselling author. Time magazine named Gladwell one of the world’s 100 most influential people. His books sell copies in the millions, and he is in hot demand as one of the nation’s top public intellectual and pop gurus. Gladwell plays his role as a disinterested public intellectual like few others, right down to the frizzy hairdo and smock-y getups. His political aloofness, high-brow contrarianism and constant challenges to “popular wisdom” are all part of his shtick. (more…)

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Posted: June 6th, 2012

A few months back I had a long conversation with Freke Vuijst, a journalist from the lefty Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland, about the history of the Koch clan—specifically, we talked about what I learned during my trip to Quanah, Texas, the shit-kicker corporate railroad town where granddaddy Harry Koch dropped anchor in 1891 and started a family that eventually spawned the two most powerful oligarchs of our time, Charles and David Koch. Freke was working on a story about the pre-USA origins of the Koch family back in the family’s native Netherlands, using Dutch archive material, and she and I compared notes… (more…)

Posted: April 18th, 2012

It’s just past 2:00 pm out here in Venice Beach. The sun is out and a cool breeze is blowing from the Pacific Ocean. Outside my window, surfers are walking towards the beach . . . a young woman glides by on her bicycle in daisy dukes and a tank top. There’s a bum lazing around in the shade of a dumpster. But I can’t enjoy the warm spring weather. I’m quarantined in my apartment, my skin is crawling with tiny parasitic mites that have tunneled into my skin and have turned me into a giant breeding vat. I’ve barely slept in days, and I scratched myself raw. And I owe it all to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and the fine men and women of the LAPD. Not only did they throw me in jail for covering a political protest, but they gave me scabies, too. (more…)

Posted: April 13th, 2012

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“…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.”

—Arthur Young; 1771

Our popular economic wisdom says that capitalism equals freedom and free societies, right? Well, if you ever suspected that the logic is full of shit, then I’d recommend checking a book called The Invention of Capitalism, written by an economic historian named Michael Perelmen, who’s been exiled to Chico State, a redneck college in rural California, for his lack of freemarket friendliness. And Perelman has been putting his time in exile to damn good use, digging deep into the works and correspondence of Adam Smith and his contemporaries to write a history of the creation of capitalism that goes beyond superficial The Wealth of Nations fairy tale and straight to the source, allowing you to read the early capitalists, economists, philosophers, clergymen and statesmen in their own words. And it ain’t pretty.

(more…)

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Posted: April 5th, 2012

A couple of months ago, The eXiled announced a new project to take our war against corporate trolls and media shills to a new and more effective level: a no-holds barred campaign to identify and expose the rampant corruption among political journalists and bloggers in the US. Thanks to your contributions—in donations, subscriptions, and know-how—we’re getting closer to launch time. (more…)

Posted: March 26th, 2012

I travelled to Breitbart’s hood to carry out a private investigation of what happened…and found a grisly, blood-splattered crime scene just a block away from his home.

***

It didn’t take long after Andrew Breitbart’s death was reported for the Baggertarian Believers to start ominously tweeting out some of the craziest (and funniest) conspiracy theories this side of the John Birch Society. Part of the blame goes to the official “Breitbart died of natural causes” story they put out—no one believes he died of “natural causes,” neither his fans nor his detractors. But if you’re a fan of Breitbart, you can’t face the awful reality of what everyone knows did kill him—degenerate personal habits, and bile. (more…)

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Posted: March 2nd, 2012

Sarah Palin approves: “Just vote them out!”

Occupy Wall Street activists have good reason to be pissed off at Michael Pollok, the New York attorney trying to organize a national Occupy convention in Philadelphia this coming July 4th against the wishes of Occupy Philly and Occupy Wall Street. A quick look into Michael Pollok’s past, combined with his divisive push for a convention that most in the movement think is a disastrous idea, all point to yet another cynical political opportunist glomming onto the Occupy movement. Even worse, it looks like Pollok’s plan is to replicate the GOP’s Tea Party strategy: That is, to use public support for OWS in order to get a bunch of “independent” candidates elected into Congress. Pollok himself tried unsuccessfully running for Congress not long ago. (more…)

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Posted: February 28th, 2012

Last week, several news organizations carried a story about an alleged Occupy PAC that, if true, would have driven another stake of political cynicism in the heart of the fractured movement, built on idealism and opposition to the corruption of American politics.

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Posted: February 22nd, 2012

In the spirit of the Millennial vs. Boomer debate raging in the comment section of Connor Kilpatrick’s great piece, “Thirty More Years of Hell,” I’d like to republish my account of an anti-healthcare town hall meeting I attended way back in 2009 in the subprime Southern California suburb of Victorville, in which I attempted to capture the fear and horror I felt watching old white boomer hicks froth at the mouth and tremble with rage at the slightest hint of extending to their kids and grandkids the same sort of government-run healthcare “entitlements” that they’ve been sucking on all their lives. (more…)

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Posted: February 7th, 2012

The Oakland Police Department went on another massive tear this weekend. On Saturday, they used rubber bullets, pepper flash-bang grenades, tear gas and batons to violently crush an attempt by Occupy activists to take over a vacant convention center in downtown Oakland and turn it into a community center/local Occupy HQ. Scores of people were injured, including a 19-year-old woman rushed to the hospital and treated for internal bleeding after a cop thrashed her kidneys with his truncheon. Yesterday, I got second-hand info that a man was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and had his tooth/teeth knocked out. Using the same sort of kettling techniques extensively employed by the NYPD to trap and net protesters like fish, the OPD arrested over 400 people.

The sheer number of arrests, the brutal overreaction, only shows just how paranoid the 1%ers are getting. The Occupy protesters must be something right if they’re provoking such a heavy-handed disproportionate response merely for hanging out. Someone should remind them that the 1st Amendment explicitly guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble“… (more…)

Posted: February 1st, 2012

Y’all have probably heard of the ancient Sumerian peoples and their penchant for spooky burial rituals and books like the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, which was penned in human blood and has the ability to raise the dead. But did you know they also cared deeply about liberty, freemarkets and private property rights? (more…)

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Posted: January 24th, 2012

Last Thursday I got up at 7:00 a.m. and drove NASCAR-style to make it in time to my arraignment hearing at the Central Arraignment Court in sunny downtown Los Angeles 8:30 a.m.–only to find out that I’d wasted my time.

After waiting around for twenty minutes outside a courtroom with a bunch of other people arrested during the November 30 LAPD raid on Occupy LA, including Family Guy writer Patrick Meighan and a few other guys I spent two nights in jail with, I learned that the City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, had decided to postpone arraignment for most of us. We weren’t given a new date, just a cryptic message stamped on our bail/release slips: NO CHARGES FILED / WILL NOTIFY BY MAIL. (more…)

Posted: January 10th, 2012

I’m not going make you wade through three paragraphs of stuff to find out who won this year’s Urban Shield: it was the Israeli team. Oakland Police Department took second place, while San Francisco Police Department tied with FBI for third.

— PoliceOne.com Senior Editor Doug Wyllie on Urban Shield 2010

A video recorded by OccupyNewsandMedia during last week’s early-morning raid on Occupy Berkeley shows a burly Berkeley cop strutting around with a repeat-fire tear gas grenade launcher, menacingly pointing it at protesters without provocation. At one point the bloodlusting cop threatens to shoot pointblank the guy with the camera, telling him “You back up…you may not understand it til’ I use this, but you better back up”– before charging the videographer with his grenade launcher pointed right at the camera guy’s face. (more…)

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Posted: December 26th, 2011

I gotta say, this newfangled live phone cam streaming technology is off the hook. Now anyone with an Android and an unlimited data plan can stream amazing embedded protest footage from anywhere to anyone–all of it in real time. Forget CNN’s 24-hour cable news revolution. This is CWNN–the Class War News Network.

Last Saturday I was at home in Venice, California, glued to the screen watching a live Ustream feed from Manhattan, where a few thousand protesters gathered to celebrate the three-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and to march on Times Square. (more…)

Posted: December 22nd, 2011

Free Press’ Josh Stearns has put together, and continues to maintain, a great up-to-date resource that’s keeping track of all the journalists arrested while covering the Occupy movement.

As of today that number stands at 36, and includes the recent arrest of your’s truly by the LAPD. The list keeps growing every week, so look out for updates:

(more…)

Posted: December 21st, 2011