For a long time now, the Clinton Machine, which remains a very influential force in the Democratic Party, has been very good at co-opting progressive journalists (i.e. Joe Conason, Sidney Blumenthal, Joe Klein) and turning them into apparatchiks. That process has provided a leftish sheen to initiatives that have consistently pushed the Democratic Party further right in recent decades.
Might Max Blumenthal, son of Clinton confidant-cum-bagman Sidney, be one of these latter day apparatchiks? Despite pretensions to the contrary, there are those who believe Max is a fraud and a snake whose main objective is to support his family patrons.
I have by no means taken in the full breadth of Blumenthal’s work, mostly because I have a distinct aversion to stabbing myself in the nuts with a switchblade. So it’s possible I missed something and will withdraw statements in this piece should a viable case be made that something herein is inaccurate.
However, American libel, slander and defamation of character laws are written to favor the defendant, meaning that the burden of proof lies with the party claiming they have been subject to untrue claims. That means I am not obliged to withdraw statements on the basis of minuscule jots and tittles.
What I’m looking for here is something substantial that Blumenthal has written that indicts the Clinton Machine, which of course includes his war criminal father. For some reason, I doubt I’ll find anything noteworthy soon.
Max began his writing career during the George W. Bush administration by prowling GOP conferences and alcoves, and shaking a stick at various bigoted loons and goons with a Candid Camera-style series of short YouTube videos. Here he pesters Michelle Malkin about her 2004 apologia for Japanese internment that argued the same should be done with Muslims in the United States.
Malkin is a particularly rank and repulsive figure. She has been writing since 2002 for VDARE, a white nationalist website. Her entire career is a case study in how certain Asian Americans turn to right-wing politics and stereotypes so as to justify anti-Black/Brown racism and xenophobia towards working class migrants from the Global South. (Vijay Prashad examines this matter in his book The Karma of Brown Folk.)
But Blumenthal’s reporting is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. It is childish and superficial because it fails to tackle the underlying structural dimensions of white supremacy in America.
The reason why is pretty simple: if Max Blumenthal (henceforth “Maxie”) were to take on these structural issues he would quickly need to indict the Clinton Machine and his father. It wouldn’t take any courage to do so. For example, in her book The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander brilliantly skewers the Billary Clinton administration’s consolidation of the Reaganite War on the Poor that inevitable (and purposefully) led to mass Black incarceration.
[Editor’s note: I’d also include here my 1996 bookWashington Babylon, which I authored along with Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, who wrote Chapter Five on the environment — KS.]
Getting back to the topic of Maxie, here’s a 2007 video that shows him faithfully and predictably parroting the Democratic Party line in an extended trolling of Ralph Nader.
I’ll be forthright here. Ralph has a lousy grasp of how to address white supremacy and racism.
He grew up in Connecticut during the Great Depression as the child of Middle Eastern Maronite Catholic immigrants. The resurgent Ku Klux Klan was growing rapidly in Ralph’s home state following the release of D.W. Griffiths’ noxious The Birth of a Nation. That environment bred conformism and assimilation. Fine, but Maxie’s tired harangue is lame and stupid.
[Editor’s note: Prior to and following my edit of this story, I’ve never read anything by Maxie nor watched any videos by him. I instinctively recognized his as a dull and predictable and I never liked him — KS.]
A year later Maxie was on Democracy Now! talking about Rick Warren, the evangelical preacher who’d been selected to offer a prayer at the first Obama inauguration. Blumenthal clearly has a lot of antagonism towards Obama, just like Billary (and his alleged father, Sid).
Max’s recent forte has been covering Middle Eastern topics. Superficially, it offers the best possible optics: the alleged son of a Jewish Democratic power player becomes THE human rights champion of the Arab world while documenting Israel’s political descent into lunacy under Benjamin Netanyahu.
Great stuff — and about as brave as criticizing Adolf Hitler in 1955.
Especially because the 1993 Oslo Accords, overseen by the Clinton administration and publicly acclaimed in the liberal press — thanks to the efforts of Sid Bloomy — legitimized further annexation of Palestinian land. But in his book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, Maxie portrays Bubba as a well-intentioned, earnest advocate for Palestinian rights!
Bill’s long suffering wife has played one of the most pivotal roles of the past decade in reaping havoc in the Middle East. Astoundingly, he makes no mention of Mrs. Clinton in his recent book about Gaza, The 51 Day War, despite the gigantic role she played in making life miserable for its residents.
Let’s be clear. Sidney Blumenthal is a main gatekeeper for the Clinton Foundation, an immense criminal enterprise that Ken Silverstein has previously written about. The ties between the Clinton Foundation and dubious foreign governments like Saudi Arabia are sweeping and corrupt.
We often see investigative reporting that takes on lies of commission. Here at Washington Babylon we prefer to expose lies of omission, and the willful censoring of inconvenient facts.
In Maxie’s case, such lies place his reporting in a definite gray zone.