Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Dems’ New Star—Manhattan Billionaire Heir Dan Goldman—Fiercely Defends Security State. Plus: Jeffrey Sachs’ Break w/ the Establishment on Ukraine, COVID, & More
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May 30, 2023
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, May 24. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live, nightly show that airs every Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern, exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube. 

 

Tonight, you can tell a lot about a political party by the elected officials its followers most venerate. Since 2018, one of the Democrats’ most popular stars, if not the most popular, has been Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of gentrified Queens and parts of the Bronx, whose unique talents in creating viral social media content for Twitter and TikTok, such as her AOC-in-white, Oscar-worthy performance as a paid activist staring at a parking lot at the border, is beyond dispute – even if her influence over actual policy and lawmaking is close to zero. You never see Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema going viral on Instagram with endless discussions of their various traumas. You only see them wielding their power to determine what the outcome of laws will be, something you never see AOC doing. That's because they seem to like being lawmakers while AOC really enjoys life as a cultural celebrity and influencer. And it shows. 

But whatever else you think of her, AOC’s special brand of identity politics, her passion for calling every Republican a white supremacist or a fascist and her completely harmless theater kid gesturing at the most banal and comfortable form of gentrified socialism did capture the zeitgeist of post-George Floyd, Trump-obsessed, left-liberal, online sentiment. AOC – whose star began to fade when of her gaudy appearance at the Met Gala, surrounded by masked servants who prepared her hair, nails and feet while she and her unmasked boyfriend blatantly enjoyed their pampering. A bridge too far. A mask-dropping moment that could never be unseen, even by her most devoted loyalist. – AOC now has a competitor: the billionaire heir of the Levi Strauss fortune, Daniel Goldman – who, through a combination of his family's friendship with the Sulzberger family, which won him an endorsement from the NYT that matters only in Manhattan, where, lucky for him, he was running, and a huge spending advantage caused by his own unearned wealth and the fortunes of his dad's friends – was elected in 2022 to represent New York's 10th Congressional district, which covers wealthy Manhattan neighborhoods and the most gentrified parts of Brooklyn. AOC has the most gentrified parts of Queens, while Daniel Goldman has Brooklyn. 

Goldman's videos, as posted by the Vox Video Dunce Aaron Rupar, are now going routinely viral, which is the opposite of surprising. One can barely imagine a more perfect avatar of what the Democratic Party now represents than a billionaire heir who, even at the age of 47, has lived on his family's wealth and never worked outside of government, who reveres the FBI and views criticism of the U.S. security state as immoral or a sign of ‘bad character,’ who promised to put his assets in blind trust if he was elected to Congress and inveighed against members, like Nancy Pelosi, profiting off stock trades only to now continuously enrich himself through stock trades and the very industries on which he most focuses. There's really no better way to understand the modern-day Democratic Party than by taking a relatively fast – but still, I'm sorry to say – painfully deep look at Dan Goldman, his charmed life and his rotten ideology. So that's what we're going to do. 

Then, for our interview segment, I'll talk to someone whose work I've increasingly admired and whose voice I believe is now one of the most impressive and important in U.S. political discourse, Jeffrey Sachs, who has spent his life compiling a mountain of impressive establishment credentials and working at the belly of the beast of establishment power, only to become a full-scale, increasingly vocal and, one might say, radical critic of establishment dogma and narratives, from Ukraine and Russia to COVID and well beyond. We're excited to welcome him to his debut appearance on System Update. 

As a reminder, System Update is available in podcast form. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple and every other major podcasting platform. You can help the show's visibility by following, rating and reviewing this show, which helps our visibility.

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 


 

One of the things I've learned in the just few months that I've been hosting a nightly show about journalism and politics is sometimes you have to be grateful for the people who make your job easier. And that's definitely how I feel. That's one of the many feelings I have toward the newly elected representative for Manhattan and its Lower Manhattan districts which are among the wealthiest in the country, as one with the most gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Daniel Goldman. 

It is almost impossible for me to equate or match in words and analysis what he reveals about the Democratic Party just by himself and looking at how Democrats are reacting to him. He has become one of the most popular social media stars in Democratic Party politics. Just today, the longtime neocon Jenn Rubin, the blogger at The Washington Post – whose enthusiasm for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign was so extreme that it reached restraining order levels. It became really creepy how enamored she was of Mitt Romney. She hasn't changed a single view since her obsession with Mitt Romney, in 2012, but she now recognizes correctly that the Democratic Party is the most hospitable vehicle for her neoconservative ideology. And just today, she heralded Dan Goldman as the single best freshman member of Congress after seeing a video – that we're going to show you – that he posted just yesterday, of a speech he gave in Congress, where essentially he condemned Republicans for daring to criticize the FBI and claim the only reason anybody would dare criticize the FBI is because they themselves are criminals and afraid of the FBI catching criminals. The same thing I heard when we were doing the Snowden reporting and revealing the mass spying system implemented in secret by the NSA. When I heard constantly that the only people who would be worried about NSA spying are criminals and terrorists and pedophiles because, after all, no good citizen has anything to hide and wouldn't care if the government was reading their emails and knowing everything about what they were doing in their lives. A very similar sentiment that a decade later is found at the heart of the Democratic Party. 

I think it's worth quickly examining Dan Goldman's trajectory and, most of all, his ideology, to understand why he's resonating so passionately with the Democratic Party's core base. He had a very common life for someone who is born into a billionaire family with generational wealth. His great-grandfather was the founder of the Levi Strauss chain. His grandfather was the one who turned it into a billionaire entity. So, his father, just like him, was born as an heir, somebody who never had to work a day in his life and yet who had the life of somebody drowning in all kinds of extreme wealth. 

He, of course, went to the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, which is where the top Washington elite can afford $60,000 a year for the second grade – more than most people in the working class make in a year of doing actual labor – that's where he went to school. He then followed that up by going to Yale, then by going to Stanford Law School and then becoming a federal prosecutor. So, he never has actually worked in the private sector a day in his life. He has not rejected the wealth that was handed to him but instead has lived a very lavish lifestyle as a result of being an heir. And I want to say you can't control where you're born. You can't control if you're born to people who have committed crimes, you can't control whether you're born in extreme poverty, you can't control whether you're born to a family that lavishes you with billionaire wealth that you never actually had to earn, making you an heir to a fortune that you had nothing to do with creating. That's why in the West we don't hold a parent or grandparent sins against the child. That's a moral precept to which I definitely subscribe. So, it's not as though Dan Goldman has done anything wrong by being born as a billionaire heir to a fortune that was the result of someone else's work. But what you do with that life and with the paths that lay before you is highly relevant to the character that someone has. You can either work very hard to shed the insulated privilege that shapes who you are – the fact that you're constantly being told that you're the smartest and the best person, constantly surrounded by sycophants who praise you because the only people with whom you ever deal are people who work for you or for your family, people who want favors from your family, people at these private schools who are trained to treat these children like members of royalty – you can work hard to shed all of that, to avoid it, to become a humble person who has values of decency, compassion and empathy, or you can become – and I've seen this many times as somebody who was born with no financial privilege at all, but someone who ended up working my way into elite sectors, I've seen all kinds of people who grew up like Dan Goldman, maybe not as wealthy as he, but close, and more often than not, those people end up with serious entitlement syndromes as smug assholes with a superiority complex who look down at everybody else who has less than they do, even though those people actually have to work for everything they got, because he's convinced that he has more by virtue of his own merit, even though he did nothing to obtain it. And it reeks out of every pore in his body for every single video and every time he opens his mouth (we’re going to show you a few of those) but far worse and more revealing to me is the ideology he represents, what he’s brought to Congress, and it's the reason why he's become, more than anything, so popular. 

So the fact that one of the most popular, if not the biggest rising stars in the Democratic Party is a billionaire heir to a fortune, who has spent his whole life ensconced in the most extreme forms of East Coast insularity and privilege, who looks down his nose, as we're about to show you, at working-class people, who don't have the same ideology as he, and most important of all, who is eager to weaponize the U.S. security state, to criminalize his opponents, and to create a precept that it is inherently and more unpatriotic and immoral to criticize the FBI and the U.S. security state, makes him the perfect vehicle, the perfect symbol, for the defining values of the Democratic Party. That's why he's worth taking a look at. 

Beyond that biography, the way in which he ended up in Congress itself reveals so much about the prevailing ideology in Democratic Party politics and the values that party now represents. As I said, he was somebody who never had served even in elective office before getting elected to Congress. He served as a federal prosecutor and he really came to public view because he was selected by the House Intelligence Committee to be one of the lead prosecutors in the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump. This impeachment trial, even more absurd than the second one, which centered around Trump's supposedly withholding of weapons to Ukraine, as though it's a moral obligation of a president of the United States to lavish Ukraine with our weapons because he wanted the Ukrainian investigators to determine whether or not Joe Biden and his son had committed crimes and using Joe Biden's influence as a vice president, as many newspaper reporting and, now, many investigations suggest he may have done, to determine whether or not there was actual corruption. 

So, he became this kind of resistance star and it led to an MSNBC contract. But even then, running for Congress in the highly competitive sector of New York politics is a very difficult thing to do. He ran against several people who had worked their way up the political ladder by running for local office at City Council and then the State Assembly and State Senate. There was a range of ideological choices from people – from kind of the AOC left to the more centrist wings of the party. He was running against a black gay incumbent, Mondaire Jones, who had been elected in 2018, beating a significant field of primary challengers and had to run in a new district. Every district redistricted a different district than the one to which he got elected (because Sean Maloney, the head of the Democratic Campaign Committee, was desperate to get reelected and he decided he was going to run for Mondaire Jones’s seat forcing the black new congressman into this district). 

So Dan Goldman had a ton of competition. So how did he win? How did this person who had no elected office and his background had never even tried to run at the age of 47, had never done anything besides work as a federal prosecutor, won? The first way is that his dad and his granddad were very good friends of the Sulzberger family who, lucky for him, happens to own and control The New York Times. And while a New York Times endorsement now means basically nothing – you may recall, in the 2020 election, in the Democratic primary, they jointly endorsed Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren because they were just insistent that a woman be the nominee, but they just couldn't decide between these two brilliant women and, after that endorsement, both of them collapsed even further. Neither of them ever made a serious bid. 

The New York Times endorsement at this point is a joke, except among Manhattan voters in rich, wealthy, affluent Manhattan districts, which is by a great coincidence for him the exact voters whom he needed to win the election. So here you see “The Times endorses Dan Goldberg for New York District 10.” In August 2022, in a newspaper owned by his close friends and his family's close friends, the Sulzbergers, also Manhattan billionaires, it reads: 

 

Mr. Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, has lived in Lower Manhattan for 16 years […] 

 

Oh, I bet he has. That's where Soho is. That's where the wealthiest and cheekiest districts are, where people buy lofts and penthouse apartments for $7 and $8 million. They're trying to turn this into some kind of like he's the neighborhood kid. 

 

[he] has lived in Lower Manhattan for 16 years. His uncommon experience, […] 

 

I'd say it's uncommon. Not many people grow up as billionaire heirs.

 

[…] particularly his knowledge of congressional oversight and the rule of law could prove especially valuable in Congress in coming years. “I have been on the front lines leading the fight in Congress against Donald Trump and the Republican Party and trying to protect and defend our democracy and our institutions and our rule of law,” he said in an interview with the editorial board. […] 

 

They quote that up top as though that's kind of like unique compelling insight when it's nothing but the most banal expression of liberal sentiment. 

 

Although he lives in the district, much of which is affluent, […]

 

 So, he's perfect for the Democratic Party, as is that district. 

 

Mr. Goldman would need to use his first term to convince the large numbers of low-income and middle-class Americans he would represent that he understands the issues facing these constituents, especially the need for more affordable housing and better public transportation. (The New York Times. Aug 13, 2022)

 

 Oh, I'm totally sure that Dan Goldberg understands the issues facing those middle-class and working-class constituents. I'm sure he spent his whole life thinking about affordable housing and public housing and better public transportation – if he has ever once been on the subway. 

But that was The New York Times attempting to convince Manhattan voters, because the Sulzbergers were close friends of the Goldbergs, that this is whom they should vote for. And they obediently, as they so often do, followed the New York Times’ advice and elected him. But another major reason he was selected is that he had unlimited amounts of funds to pour into his campaign and for a low voter turnout Democratic primary in New York, millions of dollars make all the difference. 

Here from Bloomberg on July 2022 is a story on just how vast his wealth is and the advantage that it would likely play and provide. The headline is “Levi Strauss Heir Would Join Congress’s Richest With New York Win.” The “Levi Strauss Heir” that’s exactly what he is.

 

Dan Goldman Congress, who served as lead Democratic counsel in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment, would be among the richest members of Congress if he’s successful in his bid to represent a newly redrawn district in New York City. It's no secret that Goldman, 46, an heir to the Levi Strauss & Company fortune, is rich. But financial disclosure forms shared by his campaign with Bloomberg show the extent of his wealth. He has a net worth of between $64 million and $253 million from over 1,700 assets, which would likely place him among the top 20 wealthiest members of Congress if he were to be elected in November.

 Goldman's assets include a broad range of stocks and holdings in a wide variety of industry sectors, including oil and gas, large pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, big tech military contractors and major commercial banks. In the last federal campaign filing, Goldman said he raised $1.2 million for his congressional race, for which he has yet to spend any of his own personal fortune, although he hasn't ruled out doing so, if necessary. (Bloomberg. July 30, 2022)

 

Well, just a few weeks later, Politico, on August 11, reports he decided it was necessary. There you see the headline, “Money To Burn: Goldman Pumping Millions Into Television, in NY-10 Contest. That includes hits during the nightly news, late-night talk shows and daytime soaps, Federal Communications Commission records show.

 

Dan Goldman, the Levi Strauss & Company heir who has gained national television exposure as counsel to House Democrats during their first impeachment trial of President Trump is raking in campaign cash and pumping an unusual amount into TV advertising in the race for New York City's open 10th Congressional District. 

Goldman, a former federal prosecutor and one of several frontrunners in the race, has dropped $2.8 million on broadcast and cable spots since announcing his run on June 1, according to data from Ad Impact released Tuesday. That includes hits during the nightly news, late-night talk shows and daytime soaps, Federal Communications Commission records show.

He’s spent more than three times rival candidate Rep. Mondaire Jones, the only other competitor on the airwaves, and far beyond typical House primaries in New York City. The outsize spending on a tool more often employed by city and statewide candidates shows just how much money has flowed into Goldman's war chest – in part from his own pocket. 

In particular, Goldman was able to tap into a network of family and friends connected to the Levi Strauss and Co. fortune – to which he is an heir – to raise more than $200,000. And over the weekend, his campaign filed paperwork with the FEC showing that Goldman gave his own campaign $1 million. Should he win, Goldman would be one of the richest members of Congress. (Politico. Aug. 11, 2022)

 

 As I said, he's become a social media star here, you see. 

Here was a Politico article that was, I believe, from 2022 as well, and I just like this headline, which was “Denim Dynasty Cash Among NY-10 contributions flowing from outside the district. The familial money flowing to Dan Goldman is part of a larger current of money from outside the newly drawn 10th Congressional District, public records show.” 

It talks about how all of this money is flowing because of his family's link to all kinds of other family fortunes. 

As I said, his social media profile on Twitter has close to half a million followers. When he began running, he had a few thousand, maybe 20,000-30,000, something like that, so, he has skyrocketed into social media fame. And the reason is that his ideological positions and the way he expresses himself are so connected to the “Id” of the modern-day Democratic Party. And I just want to show you a few of them, because it doesn't just shed light on Goldman – It sheds light on the Democratic Party itself. All of these videos were promoted by the Supreme Partisan videographer Aaron Rupar, who used to work for Vox and now is on his own; and they really embody not just Dan Goldman's ethos, but the ethos of the Democratic Party. He couldn't pick a more perfect avatar of Democratic Party politics than a billionaire heir who hates working-class people and reveres the U.S. security state. That's pretty much the fullness of his agenda. 

So as you probably recall, we reported it several times when it happened and after Matt Taibbi, along with Michael Shellenberger, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to be questioned by members of that committee about the Twitter File's reporting, which showed that the U.S. security state, the FBI, the CIA and Homeland Security had been exercising extraordinary amounts of influence over Twitter's decisions about what views and what people can and cannot be heard online. In other words, the U.S. security state is directly involved in censoring our domestic political discourse. And every Democrat on that committee, literally every Democrat, not only defended and heralded the importance and virtue of them doing so, but attacked Taibbi personally for the crime of revealing what they wanted to be kept secret because they were in support of it. And one of the people who were most scornful against the journalist, well, insulting journalists used to be a grave press freedom crisis back in 2017, 2018, 2019. now Democrats are giddy with ecstasy and arousal when they watch Dan Goldman do it. Let's watch what he did to Matt Taibbi about the Twitter Files. 

(Video. March 9, 2023)

 

Dan Goldman: Twitter. Twitter. And even with Twitter, you cannot find actual evidence of any direct government censorship, of any lawful speech. And when I say lawful, I mean non-criminal speech, because plenty […]

Chairman: I'll give you one. The gentleman's time has expired. I'd ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the following email from Clarke Humphrey, Executive Office of the Presidency, White House Office, January 23, 2021. That's the Biden administration. 4:39 a.m. “Hey, folks,” this goes to Twitter. “Hey, folks. They use the term Mr. Goldman just used “wanting to flag the below tweet and then wondering if we can get moving on the process for having it removed a.s.a.p.” Boom, that is […] 

Dan Goldman: You read the below tweet. 

Chairman: “And then if we can keep an eye out for tweets that fall in this same genre, that would be great.” This is a tweet on the very issue […] 

 

They're going to argue about what this tweet is, and whether or not it should have been censored. So, Dan Goldman went from saying there's never an instance in which the Biden administration or the U.S. security state tried to influence Twitter to remove lawful speech. He then went on to acknowledge because Jim Jordan forced him to, that in fact, that does happen and then went on to justify it. The examples, Jim Jordan first, those were ones where Hunter Biden's laptop was used to reveal things about Hunter Biden's personal life, and then others were more generalized about all kinds of censorship that Twitter did at the behest of the FBI, which was the heart and soul of the Twitter Files. And Democrats cheered it and explicitly praised it. 

At a recent immigration hearing, a journalist whom I know whose work I followed for quite a while now, Julio Rosas, who comes from a humble working-class family and who has really done just standard, classic, on-the-ground, courageous reporting at protests that have been dangerous and specifically reporting on the border, appeared before the committee on which Dan Goldman sits to testify. And Dan Goldman spoke about him like he was dirt on the ground, someone whose credentials were so pitiful that he could barely even utter it in his mouth. It really reveals so much about his character but also about the Democratic Party's class-based view of the world. Listen to what he did and how he treated this journalist. 

 

(Video. May 16, 2023)

 

Dan Goldman: […] gas light us up here as if Antifa, which Mr. Rosas apparently the expert now in organized terrorist activity, has overruled the FBI director who says – there's a headline – says “Antifa is an ideology, not an organization.” No, no, no. Let's not listen to the FBI director. Let's listen to – Sorry. What's your title? Senior Writer at Townhall who is going to tell us that the FBI director is wrong. And I would like to introduce[…] 



No suggesting that the FBI director is wrong. What kind of person would do that, would dispute a claim from the FBI? This is disgusting. And especially when it comes from some writer. What's it called? Town Hall didn't even go to Sidwell Friends. Never stepped foot on Yale's campus. Didn't go to Stanford Law. Never worked in the federal prosecutor's office. Didn't come from a billionaire family. Just some loser whose name he could barely remember and whose credentials make him sick to even reference. And the biggest crime of all was the fact that he would dare, based on his years of reporting on Antifa protests on the ground, to characterize it differently than the way the FBI director does – no criticizing the FBI. 

If you think that is in any way an overstatement, listen to what Dan Goldman said yesterday in which he ranted, and raved against the audacity of the Republican Party in arguing that the FBI is what it has always been and what the Democratic Party and the liberal left sector of it have always maintained it was, until about six years ago, which is a fundamentally corrupt organization. 

Now, Dan Goldberg believes that saying that about the FBI reflects bad moral character. Listen to this rousing defense of the FBI that went viral all over Twitter as liberals cheered. 

 

(Video. May 23, 2023)

 

Dan Goldman: So why are my colleagues trying to undermine the FBI? Why are they asking to defund the FBI? 

 

Oh, no. Undermining the FBI. How can anyone want to undermine the FBI? Every year, since I've been writing about politics, we've gotten reports from the Inspector General's office of the FBI, the Inspector General's office of the Justice Department. Independent investigations like the Horowitz Report, like the one John Durham just submitted, a 306-page report detailing at great length the severe abuses that the FBI commits of their power for political ends. They still work in what was called the J. Edgar Hoover Building. That is the name of their headquarters. J. Edgar Hoover, whom they couldn't dislodge from the FBI for 60 years because he famously kept dossiers on every major political figure in Washington, and everyone was petrified of him. The FBI under Hoover that encouraged Martin Luther King to commit suicide upon threat of revealing the evidence the FBI illegally obtained through surveillance of Martin Luther King's adulterous relationships. That's the FBI that Dan Goldman is here to say nobody should dare ever undermine. 

 

(Video. May 23, 2023)

 

Dan Goldman: It is not because the FBI is not doing its job. It's because the FBI is doing its job. And the problem they have is that the FBI is doing its job in investigating their dear leader, Donald Trump. And if you can undermine the investigator, if you can undermine independent journalists doing investigative reporting, then you can undermine our entire system of democracy. That is the authoritarian playbook 101. You attack the democratic institutions. You attack the independent, objective individuals who provide checks and balances in a democracy. And then, rather than follow the law and the rules, you can violate the law and the rules because there's no one with any credibility who can hold you in check. So, do you want to know the reason why the FBI is going down in its credibility? It's because it's being attacked by people on the other side of the aisle. And that has to stop. […] 



If you've listened to any Democratic Party senator, over the last 60 years, like Frank Church – who led the investigation into the U.S. security state in the 1970s and uncovered systemic abuses that shocked America – you may have thought the FBI was actually a menace to democratic values. That's what John Durham just concluded. They launched an investigation in the middle of the 2016 election with no evidentiary basis of any kind into Trump's fictitious collusion with the Russians to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election. They've repeatedly got caught abusing their spying powers for all kinds of improper ends. An FBI lawyer pled guilty in a federal court to lying to the FISA court to get search warrants to spy on Carter Page when he was just out of representing or working with the Trump campaign. And here's Dan Goldman to tell you the FBI is critical for safeguarding our democratic values and if we criticize them, if we erode their credibility, that is how our democracy is threatened, not from them abusing all their powers and spying on Americans for improper ends, but by people having the audacity to criticize the FBI because of their abuse of political power. 

If you look at polling and we've shown this many times – and I'm about to bring Jeffrey Sachs on, I'm excited to do that. So, we're going to talk to him about all of these things – but I just want to show you this as the last graph. 

Here is a Pew Survey from March 2023. So often people say to me – or Matt Taibbi or others – what happened to you guys? We used to love you. You've really changed. This shows what has actually changed. Overwhelming majorities of Democratic voters, overwhelming majorities now view the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Homeland Security favorably, while majorities of Republicans, or pluralities, view them skeptically and critically. And so, when Dan Goldman gives this rousing homage to the greatness, integrity, and importance of the FBI, he is speaking on behalf of Democratic Party voters. And that is why it resonates. That has become the core ideology of the Democratic Party that the U.S. security state is here to protect our democracy, to protect the United States through its great integrity and honor and commitment to democracy, and that anyone who criticizes it is unpatriotic, probably a Russian agent or somebody who is a criminal. Why else would you criticize the FBI unless it was because you wanted to hide your own crimes? 

And right at the same time, this Pew poll in August 2021 shows an overwhelming majority of Democrats favor the Internet being censored, not only by tech companies, by big tech but also by the state. They want the U.S. government to take steps to restrict information on the grounds that the U.S. government sees that it's false, even if it limits freedom of information – 65% of Democrats want that – It has skyrocketed since 2018. And 76% of Democrats want big tech to do what they want: a unified state and corporate power to censor the Internet – and the U.S. security state is the North Star of Democratic Party politics, which is why they're in an alliance with almost every major neocon that now correctly perceives that the Democratic Party is the best vehicle for advancing the neoconservative agenda. 

In the last week, Dan Goldman has made almost $10 million in stock trades after promising to put his assets in a blind trust and saying that no member of Congress should ever trade stocks. This is who has become the rising star, the most popular new member of Congress among the online liberal left and the Democratic Party. And it's hard to imagine a better avatar, a clearer representative for what this party has become. 

 

I have been wanting to speak to our next guest for quite a while as I have become increasingly interested in his trajectory and admiring his multiple criticisms of establishment dogma, all amazingly, while managing to always keep at least one foot in establishment venues. Not an easy feat for someone intent on exposing its deceits and even subverting its agenda. But that's what Jeffrey Sachs has managed to do. 

Back in 2012, I was working on a book about long-time MIT professor and fierce establishment critic, Noam Chomsky, and I ended up not finishing it, in part because this person named Edward Snowden disrupted my life, and the materials he provided me ended up consuming my journalistic life for the next three years. But one of the critiques I had developed about Chomsky, in the context of my overall admiration for his work and the way it influenced me, was what I regarded as his failure, in my view, to do more to avoid being marginalized. Chomsky insisted marginalization was an inevitable outcome for any establishment dissident and that establishments, by their nature, are designed to exclude and silence or, if necessary, destroy effective establishment critics. But I developed the view that while nothing ever justifies compromising one's core integrity in exchange for access, there are small compromises one can make to ensure access to and influence in establishment venues, whether it's gestures as trivial as what clothes one wears, or developing and maintaining a relationship with TV producers to ensure you can be heard or learning the way to speak in the way demanded by the constraining format of television – all things that are necessary to prevent your full-scale disappearance. And that, if one really believes in the value of what one is saying, trying to find ways to ensure access and platforms is really an obligation. And that is what has attracted me most to support Sachs' work. All while he is vehemently condemning not just U.S. policy in Ukraine, but the narratives that support it; suggesting the possibility not only that COVID came from a lab leak, but a lab leak at a U.S. facility; supporting Trump's opposition to the CIA's top priority (regime change war in Syria) – views as threatening to establishment dogma and interests as it gets – he has simultaneously managed to maintain access to some of the most influential political and media precincts. That doesn't happen without adept and determined strategizing. 

 

 

To say that Sachs has an establishment pedigree and has long been welcomed in the highest levels of establishment circles is to understate the case. He's long been a Harvard professor of economics, has been a senior advisor to the UN Secretary-General, an economic adviser to governments around the world, and someone who personally witnessed some of the most historic events of post-Soviet Russia. Twice named on the Times list of the world’s 100 most influential people and now a professor of economics at Columbia, at the start of the COVID pandemic, he was appointed by the then prestigious medical journal Lancet to serve as chair of its task force. So, Sachs is clearly somebody who has been in positions of establishment power for a long time. He rose very quickly to become a full professor at Harvard by the time he was 29 and then received international attention by helping Bolivia navigate its way out of hyperinflation and convince the international financial community to cancel a large part of its debt that led countries like Poland and others in Eastern Europe to similarly seek his service and then finally, both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, in post-Soviet Russia, asked him to come and help them manage their post-communist economy. 

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How Do You Feel About Aaron Bushnell?

Aaron Bushnell engaged in an extreme act of protest—self-immolation—against the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the genocide of the Palestinian people.

Independent of your thoughts on his stance, how do you view this form of protest?

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Mass Famine in Gaza as 100 Die at Aid Convoy. Biden Reaffirms Israel Support. Oct. 7 Propaganda Collapses. PLUS: Bari Weiss & TIME Reveal Neocons’ New Self-Victimhood Narrative
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Good evening. It's Thursday, February 29th, which is Leap Day. 

 Tonight, a mountain of new data proves that a significant portion of the population of Gaza is now at immediate risk of dying of mass famine. One out of every six children in northern Gaza is classified as acute malnutrition and wasting, meaning their bodies have already entered the state of being emaciated. There are now proven reports of children actually dying, of starvation and dehydration, and as aid and hunger groups have been warning that this will happen for weeks, there are now all kinds of very strident warnings coming from aid organizations and nurses who are working in Gaza that they have never seen anything on the scale of a humanitarian disaster this extreme.  

There's no mystery, nor is there any reasonable debate about why this is happening. Israel's Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, vowed in the first week of the war back in October that Israel intended to impose a full blockade on Gaza. That would, in his words, mean, “no food, no water, no fuel, no electricity.” Well, there has been a minimal amount of humanitarian aid let into Gaza, after that, it is nowhere near close to giving the population of 2.2 million people any chance to survive. Israelis have been physically blocking the entrance of aid convoys for weeks. A scene of extreme desperation unfolded before the world's eyes earlier today, as hungry and desperate Gazans swarmed aid trucks carrying food and other humanitarian necessities. Moments later, dozens were dead and hundreds were seriously injured. While there are conflicting accounts about how many of them actually died and how they died, either through a stampede or by opening fire from the Israeli Defense Forces, some facts are agreed to by both sides, as the New York Times summarized: “Israeli forces opened fire while a crowd was gathered on Thursday near a convoy of trucks carrying desperately needed aid to Gaza City, part of a chaotic scene in which scores of people were killed and injured, according to Gazan health officials and the Israeli military." (February 29, 2024)

Whatever your views are on Israel or on the wisdom of Biden's policy of supporting and arming the Israelis without conditions, we are witnessing mass famine of the kind that is rarely seen in the modern world. That is just a fact. On top of that, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testified in Congress today where he said that 25,000 Gazan women and children have been killed by Israel since October 7. That's 25,000 women and children killed in and in Gaza. 

Even if you want to assume that every adult male who was killed was a Hamas operative—and that's obviously an absurd assumption—that would still mean that roughly 80% of those Palestinians killed in Gaza by airstrikes and the Israeli ground invasion since October 7, 80% of those killed are innocent civilians. Roughly 70% of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza is permanently destroyed. And for those who believe it is important to note such things, Israel claims that the indiscriminate and widespread famine and killing now heading into its sixth full month—not between two militaries, but between one military that's among the most sophisticated in the world, backed by the world's largest and most powerful superpower in world history, the United States, against a basically defenseless population composed almost overwhelmingly of women and children—Israel argues that it is all justified by the October 7 attack, in which Hamas militants killed 700 Israeli civilians, and that is the number that they killed, 700. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration remains absolutely steadfast in its support for Israel, repeatedly isolating our country on the world stage in order to block resolutions at the U.N., resolutions that are supported by most countries on the planet that call for a cease-fire. Biden, who has spent his career as one of Washington's most unyielding and vocal supporters of Israel, has vowed that the U.S. will continue to fund and arm Israel's military and its war without conditions until the very end. Biden remains adamant in his view, even though by all accounts, his own reelection in 2024 is threatened by growing anger over this policy among key Democratic voting blocs. On Tuesday, a campaign led by Arab Muslims and young voters in Michigan succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. More than 100,000 Democratic Party voters went to the polls to vote “uncommitted” rather than for Joe Biden, as a signal of their willingness to abstain in November over Biden's support for this Israeli war. 

As all of this unfolds, the true extent of the war propaganda that sustains American support for this war is finally being revealed. Some of the most horrific stories that circulated in the weeks and months, even about what happened in Israel on October 7—things like 40 Israeli babies being beheaded, babies murdered by being baked in ovens, obviously recalling the Holocaust, babies cut out of their pregnant mother's wombs—have been affirmatively debunked. Those things did not happen. They've been proven as lies, as so often happens when we are fed stories designed to view the newest enemy as subhuman savages whose death we should not mourn but rather celebrate. 

The New York Times, in particular, faces a real and serious journalistic scandal surrounding its highly influential December 28 article that purported to confirm the use of mass rape by Hamas on October 7. Wars are so horrific, and the attack on core humanity so severe, that governments know that the only way their populations will tolerate them for as long as those governments want, is that people become convinced that the targets of the war are people who deserve suffering, largely because they are something less than human: hey're subhuman, or savages, or so singularly primitive that not only them but their children and culture and population deserve to be destroyed. All war propaganda at its core is designed to provoke that belief in us and a lot of that propaganda typically ends up being debunked as the war proceeds. That is most definitely the case for a lot of the propaganda surrounding October 7. 

Then: speaking of war propaganda, there were two major journalistic events this week in the U.S. designed to fortify a narrative that we've been covering from the start, namely, that American Jews, once safe in the United States, are now a uniquely endangered and vulnerable victim group. Time Magazine, which is now owned by a fanatical supporter of Israel who is a billionaire, published an article by Harvard law professor and longtime Israel supporter, Noah Feldman, arguing that the United States is now subsumed in what it calls “the new antisemitism.” Meanwhile, another fanatical and very prominent, wealthy and influential Israel supporter, Bari Weiss, was invited to give a speech on the State of World Jewry at the 92nd Street Y, in Manhattan, just weeks after they canceled another scheduled speech by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen due to his criticism of Israel. In that speech, Weiss also announced a new victimhood narrative for American Jews, while also advocating the classic neocon worldview that demands that the United States either fight or finance multiple foreign wars, knowing that is a mentality that, of course, will lead to injustice by having the U.S. continue to finance and arm Israel's military and all of its wars. 

This mentality has become more dominant than ever, despite its self-victimizing claims that those who believe this are relegated to the dangerous fringes of society and somehow silence, yet we hear from them continuously and all in the most influential venues and because of how dominant this worldview has become, we think it is highly worth considering. We know this topic is polarizing and divisive to a lot of people, but there's just no question that the war in Gaza has become something unlike what we really have seen, certainly in the 21st century, and it's just not something it can be avoided because some people prefer that we do, or some people disagree with us on our perspective. We do our best to show you the truth, our sources for them, the documentation for it, in the hopes that you will evaluate it objectively regardless of your view, and then decide for yourself that, ultimately, it is our job not to tell you what you want to hear or to flatter all your views, but to cover the things that we think most need coverage.

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.

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Media Revives Russia Hysteria for 2024 Election. Is Self-Immolation Always Regarded as Immoral? PLUS: Germany: Still the Most Extremist Country in Europe
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Good evening. It's Tuesday, February 27

Tonight: In case you didn't get enough of Russiagate hysteria during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump's alleged collusion with the Kremlin was the dominant storyline of the Clinton campaign's attack, and in case you still didn't get enough of it during the entire first Trump presidential term—when talk of pee-pee tapes and dossiers and Russian blackmail and Robert Mueller was the leading story in the United States for years —and in case you still weren't satiated by the tsunami of Russian talk leading up to the 2020 election, when Democrats and their allies in the CIA and corporate media actually succeeded in getting reporting about Joe Biden censored by Big Tech, by falsely labeling it “Russian disinformation,” don't worry, there's a lot more coming as we head into the 2024 election. 

Earlier this week, the grand dame of Washington media, NBC News and MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell, who is also a former wife of former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, announced that the 51 former intelligence officials who warned of “Russian disinformation” in the lead up to the 2020 election, now feel “vindicated,” in her words, despite the fact that the claim they made that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation is every bit as much of a lie now as it was then. Somehow they feel “vindicated.” That is because major media outlets are explicitly preparing to label everything they dislike in this election year, from criticisms of Joe Biden to questioning the war in Ukraine and everything in between as “Russian disinformation.” 

With apologies to one of the world's greatest animals, these media operatives are like a dog who finds a toy they love and then refuses to release it from its mouth no matter what. Since 2016, they have been attempting to regain control of American discourse and politics by calling everyone a “Kremlin agent” and all dissent “Russian disinformation.” Amazingly enough, despite how tired and stale it is, they are clearly preparing for this to be their primary tactic to prop up Joe Biden and ensure that he is reelected and that the glorious war in Ukraine continues eternally. They unveiled it this week and we will show you all of that. 

Then: on Sunday, a 25-year-old member of the United States Air Force, Aaron Bushnell, went to the Israeli embassy in Washington and set himself on fire while chanting pro-Palestinian slogans such as Free Palestine. In recordings and posts he left before doing so, Bushnell made very clear that he was engaging in this as an act of protest against U.S. support for Israel's destruction of Gaza. All of this led to a rather predictable form of discourse, with Israel supporters clearly understanding the danger to their cause of a U.S. service member sacrificing his own life in protest of U.S. support for Israel, insisting that the man was just mentally ill and that nothing about his act should be admired or celebrated, in fact, should be scorned and hated. But is it really possible to separate one's views of this act of self-immolation from one's view of the underlying cause and whose name it was done? One might think from this that anyone who engages in setting themselves on fire for a cause is always disparaged as mentally ill. But that is simply not true. The U.S. has a long history of venerating such acts and expressing admiration for people who do this provided the cause is right. So, is there anyone condemning this self-immolation now because they believe that the act is inherently immoral, or is it just cover for their opposition to the underlying cause of stopping Israel's destruction of Gaza? It's really worth taking a look at. 

Finally, Germany's history in the 20th century is rather shameful and horrific, to put that mildly. Few people will say this more loudly or eagerly than Germans themselves. Not only do they engage in extreme self-denunciation of their history and self-actualization as a people, but they also insist that they are now going to do everything possible to compensate for what they regard as their shameful past. Yet so often, this embarrassment about their own history results not in what you might think it should—humility or moderation or restraint—but instead in its opposite. Some of the most unhinged extremism on the planet emanates from German officials. Indeed, one could easily make the case that Germany is, despite all this history, or more accurately, because of it, still the most extremist nation in all of Europe. We will examine how and why. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now. 

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Why Nikki Haley—After Destruction in Her Own State—Refuses to Leave the Race. CIA Use of Ukraine Shows Why US Prolongs the War. Hasan Piker Scandal & the Sickly Left-Liberal Streaming Culture
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Good evening. It's Monday, February 26. 

Tonight: Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley suffered a deeply humiliating defeat over the weekend in her home state of South Carolina, the state where her political career was built when she served as its governor for six years. Despite massively outspending Donald Trump in that state—many millions in advertising for Haley to Trump's close-to-zero media buys—Haley was crushed by the former president by 20 points. Haley herself sought to create for herself an extremely low benchmark: to justify the continuation of my campaign, she said, she has to do at least better than the 17-point crushing defeat she suffered at Trump's hands in New Hampshire, where Independents and Democrats were encouraged to vote in the GOP primary against Trump. And yet, in her own home state, she could not even meet that absurdly low self-created expectation, as all polls show her trailing now from anywhere between 25 to 50 points in the 15 different Super Tuesday states, which will have their primaries and caucuses on March 5.

 Normally, when candidates depend almost entirely on large donors like Haley, the limitation on the campaign is that those donors stop fueling the campaign as soon as it is obvious that the campaign is futile. And some of that is happening in the network of the former Koch brothers. They announced yesterday, after Haley's crushing defeat, that they were suspending funding for her campaign. However, she has already collected so many millions of dollars from hedge funds, Wall Street tycoons and various arms of the U.S. National Security State that she remains awash in funding and a lot of people continue to express eagerness to fund her campaign, despite the chances being extremely low, close to zero, that she could win the nomination. 

She and her funders understand, as well as anyone else, how badly she is losing, so why is she continuing, and why are they so willing to pour their money into a campaign that has almost no chance, basically no chance, of culminating in the Republican nomination? There are reasons why, and we will examine those.

Then: the U.S.-funded war in Ukraine is now more than two years old. From the start—from the very first week of the Biden administration's vow in February 2022 to arm and finance Ukraine—we have repeatedly asked the same question over and over: in what conceivable way is it in the interest of the United States, and especially the lives of American citizens, for the U.S. government to fund and arm a war all to determine who will rule various provinces in eastern Ukraine, a country that even Barack Obama, as recently as 2016, said was not a vital interest of the U.S. At least in theory, this should always be the first question asked of any proposed U.S. policy, namely, how will it benefit or secure or improve the lives of American citizens? There was never, and still, there is not any coherent answer to that question. 

Over the weekend, however, we did receive a glimpse into one reason why U.S. elites in Washington might consider this war in Ukraine so necessary to them. According to The New York Times, the Central Intelligence Agency has been using Ukraine for more than a decade as a vital American base for gathering intelligence and spying on Russia. 

It seems clear at this point, especially in an election year, that the New York Times would never publish what it refers to as “highly sensitive secrets” about the CIA or especially the war in Ukraine unless the CIA wanted that paper to tell us this, perhaps as a reason to convince various sectors of the American population that have come to doubt the wisdom of further financing the war, as to why they should do so. Oh, it's a crucial country for the CIA to spy on Russia. Yet it doesn't seem like any of this has helped, which is why there's this desperate propaganda now about Ukrainian soldiers on the front line desperately scrolling their phones to see if they're getting money. We will examine all of the implications of this revelation, but for the moment, no doubt, constantly and unfailingly really, the establishment wings of both parties and establishment liberalism in the allied states align so perfectly with the agenda and the ideology of the CIA. The CIA's primary cause has been this war in Ukraine, for reasons we're now starting to understand better. And that, too, is the top agenda item of the Democratic Party and the establishment of the Republican Party. 

Then, finally, last week we covered a scandal embroiling one of the three leading left-liberal streamers, his name is Vouch. That's at least his online name. His scandal took place when he accidentally revealed his downloaded porn file that included animated images of child pornography. We weren't much interested in the substance of the scandal, but it arguably matters, since he's been organizing with leading Democrats in Washington sent to Congressman Ro Connor, and so, obviously, a child porn scandal affects the Democratic Party that way. But we left the tawdry details to others. We did, however, invite a young online leftist, Gavin Charles of The Vanguard to discuss how sick and mentally decadent is this world of political left liberal streamers. People who look like Hasan Piker and Destiny beyond Vouch spend literally 8 to 10 hours or even 12 hours every single day, streaming live consecutively online, just online, 10 to 12 hours a day, creating a whole community of people whose identity and purpose in life becomes entirely parasocial, namely, devotion to these online communities and especially to the leaders of these online communities who become extremely wealthy by serving as a sort of creepy father figure to their audience. 

Just this week, Jason Piker, who got his start in political streaming as a result of working for his uncle, the founder of The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur, inspired a fair amount of rage, including on the left, by suggesting that his “job,” which is earning millions upon millions of dollars a year by sitting in front of a camera and talking about politics in his life with no boss telling him what to do, is somehow a job that's more difficult and burdensome, at least in some respects, than people who work at ordinary jobs involving low hourly wages and manual labor and levels and levels and layers of bosses. 

Piker is a self-identified socialist, even a communist. So, the idea that a person who brands himself very lucratively as a left-wing radical, earns many millions of dollars a year and lives in a gigantic mansion in LA and flies on a private jet and so obviously eagerly lives the lavish life of an online celebrity that he would of all people suggest that his job is harder, at least in some respects, than, say, plumbers or fast food workers, generated a lot of resentment—obviously. But on some certain level, I have to say, I think Hassan Piker was right when he described what he does as “soul destroying.” All kinds of data continue to show in a very convincing and yet alarming way that both the millennial and the Gen Z generations are plagued with a kind of mental illness and spiritual sickness at a rate far higher than any previous generation, and their complete dependency on online identities, when used as a replacement for real-life purpose and connection, is, according to the data, clearly a major reason for this mental and spiritual sickness. 

So, in some respects, Piker's plea for help that streaming 10 hours or 12 hours a day for a parasocial audience on whom you depend for your happiness destroys your soul is precisely the point we were trying to raise last week when covering the other scandal rocking this world of liberal online streamers. And that's because online addiction is corrosive in so many ways and left-liberal political streaming communities, which are increasingly where a lot of people go to get their politics, but not just their politics, but their sense of purpose and identity in life, are the ultimate expression of this sort of sickness. So, we'll look at this latest episode, from that perspective, which I think merits a lot more attention than it gets.

 For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.

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