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  • Lynchings and Witch-Trials, Technology-Enhanced

    Posted by David Foster on June 27th, 2017 (All posts by )

    Jonathan Kay:  The tyranny of Twitter:  How mob censure is changing the intellectual landscape.  Excerpt:

    A few weeks ago, shortly after I left my magazine gig, I had breakfast with a well-known Toronto man of letters. He told me his week had been rough, in part because it had been discovered that he was still connected on social media with a colleague who’d fallen into disfavour with Stupid Twitter-Land. “You know that we all can see that you are still friends with him,” read one of the emails my friend had received. “So. What are you going to do about that?”

    “So I folded,” he told me with a sad, defeated air. “I know I’m supposed to stick to my principles. That’s what we tell ourselves. Free association and all that. It’s part of the romance of our profession. But I can’t afford to actually do that. These people control who gets jobs. I’m broke. So now I just go numb and say whatever they need me to say.”

    also

    The Writers Union of Canada and the University of British Columbia Fine Arts faculty do not operate gulags. Nevertheless, the idea that a whole career can fall victim to a single social-media message sent in a moment of anger or frustration — or even a bad joke — has produced an atmosphere of real terror that is compromising the art and intellect of Canada’s most creative minds.

    I don’t think it’s just Canada, although perhaps it’s worse there than in the US at the moment.

    Motivations of the trolls:

    A lot of these people are brilliant writers who have spent their lives toiling in obscurity. Whole years may pass during which they will write a book of poetry, or an academic thesis, that perhaps only a few hundred people will ever read. The privilege that I am putting on display here — the right to author a long essay in a national newspaper — isn’t available to most of them. But thanks to the three-way combination of social-media technology, the moral urgency of identity politics, and these intellectuals’ hallowed status as wordsmiths, they now have a chance to gain a wide audience — and even impose their moral judgments on others. It is not hard to see why they would jump at this chance.

    I am reminded of Peter Drucker’s report of a conversation he had with an acquaintance who was supporting the Nazi party.  This man had come from a working-class background and felt that his career prospects had been very limited, but “Now I have a party membership card with a very low number and I am going to be somebody.”

    Clarence Thomas referred to the media coverage surrounding his candidateship for the US Supreme Court as a “high-tech lynching”…the high-tech in this case evidently being television.  But the nature of the television medium meant that denunciations had to originate from or at least be directed by a fairly small group of media-company employees.  Now, with the rise of social media, we have crowdsourced denunciations and witch-trials, as described in the Jonathan Kay article.

    In my post Freedom, the Village, and the Internet, I drew on some passages in the novel Every Man Dies Alone, which is centered on a German couple who become anti-Nazi activists after their son Ottochen is killed in the war (it was inspired by, and is loosely based on, a real-life story.)

    Trudel, who was Ottochen’s fiancee, is a sweet and intelligent girl who is strongly anti-Nazi..and unlike Ottochen’s parents, she became an activist prior to being struck by personal tragedy: she is a member of a resistance cell at the factory where she works.  But she finds that she cannot stand the unending psychological strain of underground work–made even worse by the rigid and doctrinaire man (apparently a Communist) who is leader of the cell–and she drops out. Another member of the cell, who has long been in love with her, also finds that he is not built for such work, and drops out also.

    After they marry and Trudel becomes pregnant, they decide to leave the politically hysterical environment of Berlin for a small town where–they believe–life will be freer and calmer.

    Like many city dwellers, they’d had the mistaken belief that spying was only really bad in Berlin and that decency still prevailed in small towns. And like many city dwellers, they had made the painful discovery that recrimination, eavesdropping, and informing were ten times worse in small towns than in the big city. In a small town, everyone was fully exposed, you couldn’t ever disappear in the crowd. Personal circumstances were quickly ascertained, conversations with neighbors were practically unavoidable, and the way  such conversations could be twisted was something they had already experienced in their own lives, to their chagrin.

     

    Reading the above passage, I was struck by the thought that if we are now living in an “electronic village”…even a “global village,” as Marshall McLuhan put it several decades ago…then perhaps that also means we are facing some of the unpleasant characteristics that–as Fallada notes–can be a part of village life. And these characteristics aren’t something that appears only in eras of insane totalitarianism such as existed in Germany during the Nazi era. Peter Drucker, in Managing in the Next Society, wrote about the tension between liberty and community:

    Rural society has been romanticized for millenia, especially in the West, where rural communities have usually been portrayed as idylic. However, the community in rural society is actually both compulsory and coercive…And that explains why, for millenia, the dream of rural people was to escape into the city. Stadluft macht frei (city air frees) says an old German proverb dating back to the eleventh or twelfth century.

    Consider: an assistant manager at a Wal-Mart store recently lost his job because of a post he put up on his Facebook page, in which he made some negative and slightly obscene comments about Muslim women wearing niquabs. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) complained, and the man was fired. (Having demonstrated their power, CAIR then kindly asked that he be rehired–don’t know whether he ever was.)

    If, in the pre-Facebook era, a Wal-Mart manager living in a large city had made negative comments about some group to friends in person, the odds that it would have resulted in his firing would have been pretty low. On the other hand, if a store manager living in a village were to repeatedly express opinions hostile to the deeply-held beliefs of the majority of the villagers–say, if a rural store manager in 1955 became well-known as hostile to religion–it might well have had an adverse effect on his employment. The electronic village has to some extent re-created the social pressures of the traditional village.

    Of course, the village culture doesn’t always reinforce and serve the values of a society’s political overlords. During WWII, for example, the people of Chambon-sur-Lignon, a town in the French Massif Central Range, saved more than 5000 Jews from the Holocaust. The village community can act as a bulwark for civil society against the over-reaching power of distant tyrants, and in some cases–as with Chambon-sur-Lignon–the community culture will be of a nature that can accept and respect people whose belief structure differs from their own.

    Certainly, the ability of the Internet to facilitate the distribution of information and opinion, beyond the control of the media gatekeepers, has been and is of tremendous value in preserving liberty. Without it, we as a society would be in even more trouble than we currently are. But the erosion of privacy, and the resultant fear of expressing oneself or acting in “unapproved” ways that might “harm your permanent record” are factors whose influence in undeniable.

    The widespread distribution and sharing of information enabled by technology becomes particularly dangerous when the national government is in the hands of people who lack respect for individual liberties–and when the administrative discretion granted to individual bureaucrats is high. Can anyone doubt the high likelihood that information from the Electronic Medical Records being implemented as part of Obamacare will at some point be used to destroy political opponents of the whatever Administration is in power at the time? Can anyone doubt that, with the ideology of “progressivism” becoming increasingly intolerant, ever-larger numbers of people will be denied jobs, promotions, college admissions, based on opinions that they have expressed in a Facebook post or a blog post at some point in their lives?…and that expressions of opinion will–unless the climate changes markedly away from one of “political correctness”–tend to become much more guarded, just as a village merchant might be reluctant to say anything to offend the small group of people on whose goodwill he is permanently dependent for his livelihood?

    Musical accompaniment for this post:

    John Prine and Delores Keane

    Jeannie C Riley

     

    60 Responses to “Lynchings and Witch-Trials, Technology-Enhanced”

    1. PenGun Says:

      If you are idiotic enough to think your daily thoughts, are worth broadcasting to the world, you deserve this crap. ;)

      I get a huge kick out of the tweeters as they are so dumb and compound each others stupidity. As I may have mentioned, I think humans are comic relief for for an asture Universe, so this is valuable stuff.

      Facesbook and Twitter are two things I never ever thought of being a part of.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Pengun thinks that he has nothing to hide and is above it all. But he is not and neither is anyone else. The cost of living off the grid and avoiding dependency on other people is so high that very few people are willing to do it. In the real world a great many people are vulnerable to compulsion who don’t deserve it. This is an important topic.

    3. dearieme Says:

      “an academic thesis, that perhaps only a few hundred people will ever read”: that would be a huge success for a thesis.

    4. dearieme Says:

      “Can anyone doubt the high likelihood that information from the Electronic Medical Records being implemented as part of Obamacare will at some point be used to destroy political opponents of the whatever Administration is in power at the time? ” I don’t doubt it.

      “Can anyone doubt that, with the ideology of “progressivism” becoming increasingly intolerant, ever-larger numbers of people will be denied jobs, promotions, college admissions, based on opinions that they have expressed in a Facebook post or a blog post at some point in their lives?” Bound to happen. Probably is already happening.

      “…and that expressions of opinion will … tend to become much more guarded, just as a village merchant might be reluctant to say anything to offend the small group of people on whose goodwill he is permanently dependent for his livelihood?” That too.

      My father was a small-town businessman and was notably outspoken. It was at a different time, of course, when if anyone tried to behave as a “little Hitler” he’d be much frowned upon, and in a different country, where the tradition of tolerating the outspoken, the eccentric, and the singular was strong.

    5. PenGun Says:

      “Pengun thinks that he has nothing to hide and is above it all.”

      While both those things are true, it has nothing to do with the communal madness displayed so widely these days, by the users of twitter et al.

      I chose to live as I do. I’m very poor but have no real obligations, outside of my family. Because I have no need of agreement, admiration or anything really, I get to do as I please. That’s what matters to me.

    6. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Is not having facebook or twitter living off the grid?

    7. PenGun Says:

      “Is not having facebook or twitter living off the grid?”

      That’s a good question. I would say not, but there is certainly room for debate. I am passively a Googler, I got Gmail and the rest flowed from that. I have a Google+ account because of this, and my Youtube account is tied to this as well. I use Youtube rather a lot, both for my type of communal activity, and to educate myself, in whatever area I might find interesting.

      tldr;

      I am on the internet and the local power grid, and use both, so not really.

    8. Mike K Says:

      I am reading a book about “M.” who was the head of MI5. One of his agents sounds like the girl in the story above.

      Trudel, who was Ottochen’s fiancee, is a sweet and intelligent girl who is strongly anti-Nazi..and unlike Ottochen’s parents, she became an activist prior to being struck by personal tragedy:

      He had an agent, named “Olga” I think, who infiltrated the British communist party in the 1930s.

      I am retired and have few worries about social media which I use mostly to follow basset hound groups and family, plus WWII airplanes and a few other harmless topics.

      I feel bad sometimes for declining friend requests but pretty much limit facebook friends to family.

      I used to read and comment on a couple of leftist blogs but found the other commenters, the leftists, were quite nasty and would go to my personal blog to find items to vilify me with. Eventually, they banned me after deleting comments for a while. I was banned, as best I can tell, because I disagreed with single payer as a solution for healthcare reform.

      They have gone crazy since the election. I will not be surprised at serious violence if the 2018 election goes against them.

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I suppose that I am fortunate not to have become the focus for one of those internet “shirtstorms”, even though I have been blogging since 2002. I think that I have been saved in most instances by a sense of discretion instilled through having been a Public Affairs/Broadcasting troop. There is this subconscious sense of “don’t go there!” which has governed my posts here, and on other blogs that I contributed to. Of course, I am a pretty small voice in the grand scheme of things, even when SSDB was one of a handful of Insty-linked mil-blogs. Likely, also – no one has cared enough to go through my archives with malevolent intent in order to find something to crucify me with.

      Which would be fun – as I am retired on a pension, live in Texas, and my current employer is — myself. Now and again, I have suggested to my daughter that attracting the internet-weaponized ire of the lefty social media crowd would be a fantastic and productive move as far as sales of my books went – and shouldn’t I try and provoke them? She says “Absolutely not, Mom!”

      Spoilsport…

    10. ed in texas Says:

      The most useful habit to fall into is “When in doubt, don’t.”
      The best advice I ever got came from two cousins, one a retired police sargeant, the other who had been a ‘guy’ with the Camarillo’s out of New Orleans, who both agreed “Never say anything out loud that you’d hate to hear repeated in front of a jury.” Sage advice.

    11. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Pretty much what my first NCOIC in broadcasting said, Ed — if you have to stop and think about whether you’d say it on air — DON’T!

    12. Grurray Says:

      I would say that I have scaled back my Facebook use to almost nothing. The only time I might log on is if someone tags me. Since the election it has become unbearable, for a variety of reasons. The bright side is it has forced me to keep in touch with people in person (or, conversely, to permanently end relationships), so I actually see their faces in real life as opposed to the online facade.

      I still like Twitter. It’s worth it because I’ve learned a lot from following people I otherwise would never have learned about. There are a few rules of thumb to keep above the cesspool, like not feeding the trolls and such, but other than that it works for me.

    13. CapitalistRoader Says:

      “Facesbook and Twitter are two things I never ever thought of being a part of.”

      Me too. I have a feeling, though, that not having one or the other of those accounts will be increasingly untenable going forward. So many websites force you to have one of those accounts in order to comment.

    14. David Foster Says:

      FB is useful for keeping in touch with people, and fairly often, someone will forward an interesting article that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise seen, but the quality of political discussion in pretty low. Leftists tend to focus on insulting the opposition; conservatives/libertarians/etc tend to circulate memes from sites that no one has heard of before and have no credibility, even when the same statistics could have been obtained from a more objective-appearing source.

    15. David Foster Says:

      Kate Braestrup is a Unitarian minister who serves as chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. She writes about her experience on a panel discussion underwritten by the Maine Humanities Council on “Police and Race.”

      https://ricochet.com/436251/unpleasant-sjws-2/

    16. Gringo Says:

      CapitalistRoader
      Me too. I have a feeling, though, that not having one or the other of those accounts will be increasingly untenable going forward. So many websites force you to have one of those accounts in order to comment.
      For now, that means I will not comment on them. I can’t envisage changing that.

      I avoid Facebook and Twitter. I see no point in enriching a progressive Harvard billionaire by delivering my data to his advertisers and in the process be potentially shamed by the progressive mob. What’s to like in that?

      My brother looks at our hometown Facebook page, and passes on to me occasional interesting tidbits. I looked at our hometown Facebook page one time when I was visiting my brother. It was fun, I admit. Though I could see how things could get dicey.

      There was discussion of a certain elementary school principal. I knew some details about the principal divorcing his wife of 20 years and marrying one of his teachers, as I used to be friends with a daughter of that teacher. The teacher’s husband had died of cancer. Had he survived, they would have divorced, I was told. I surmise that made his death more painful, more lonely. I could see how my adding some of that inside information could be problematic. Some comments down, the former friend jumped in with an abridged history of how the two families got along over the decades. (She had an interesting preface: No, I don’t defend adultery, but if it occurs…) I have no regrets not adding to that conversation.

      One reason I avoid Facebook is that it is apparent that many lefties on Facebook like to indulge in group shaming of people with incorrect opinions. I am not going to set myself up for that, especially since I experienced a bit of group shaming in high school for expressing an opinion that I found out wasn’t popular. In addition, my politics are no longer in sync with most from my hometown.

      In my visit last year to my hometown, I didn’t need Facebook to have a lot of good conversations with my peers- and with some survivors from my parents’ generation.

      E-mail has been useful. For example, in my visit last year to my hometown I was informed of a hard copy biography of a family friend that his 80-something daughter had recently written. The old man had died when I was in high school, but he was still vivid in my memory. A rather distinctive man. Via e-mails to the son and daughter, I located an online copy of the biography, read it and shared with a number of people. Enjoyed the exchanges.

    17. Bill Brandt Says:

      Once in awhile, pengun says something I agree with – if people are dumb enough to put their personal thoughts on social media they shouldn’t be surprised at the results. One of the funniest stories I heard came from a good friend of mine – his son was about to be married and the future daughter in law writes on Facebook how dumb she thinks her new in-laws are. My friend, who was from the Far East , got a call next day from his sister in half way around the world who read the Facebook entry.

      I think too that the “lynch mob” is smaller than people imagine – that writer who felt intimidated and bowed down – where does it end? What I find interesting about Trump is his completely ignoring the MSM – every previous President whether they got good coverage or bad tried to get along with the NY Times.

      Finally I am reminded of a passage I just read in Albert Speer’s book, Inside The Third Reich. He said that he was amazed at the work he got once he became a Nazi. I think he was more culpable than he would suggest in some guilt (in re slave labor) and got off without being hung at Nuremberg – point is according to him being a Nazi was a career enhancing move at the time (at least until 1946 ;-) )

    18. David Foster Says:

      SJW attack of the day:

      Pizzeria owner accused of racism for dressing like a shark

    19. Joe Wooten Says:

      She says “Absolutely not, Mom!”

      I’d say goferit Mom! I’ll supply the sharp stick if you need one to poke them with, I’ll even fire-harden the point……..

    20. PenGun Says:

      Oh dear. The TWETUS has said some things that are roiling the MSM a lot.

      I’m not sure that’s all that unusual these days but what I said about Twitter, most certainly applies to him.

    21. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Joe, I am of the opinion that eventually they will start in on me, especially if and when my books get more attention outside of Texas, and the usual SJWs run out of handier targets. (Always a big “if”) – but in that case I would appreciate the fire-hardened sharp stick to provoke them into even greater furies.

    22. CapitalistRoader Says:

      Pengun, Trump was elected to get in the mud with the mad tweeters on the left so we wouldn’t have to:

      As you may know by now, when you attack him he will punch back 10 times harder. No matter who you are, a man or a woman, he treats everyone equal.
      Melania Trump, 4 Apr ’16

      I’m guessing that most American voters are pleased with his performance so far, no matter what the various approval polls show. Certainly the deplorable bitter clingers are loving it.

    23. David Foster Says:

      I was particularly struck, in the first article, by the guy who was ordered by the mob to defriend someone and is defeatedly complying.

      Reminds me of Sebastian Haffner’s story about what happened to his father in the early days of Nazi power in Germany:

      One day the elder Haffner received an official letter. It required him to list all of the political parties, organizations, and associations to which he had ever belonged in his life and to sign a declaration that he ‘stood behind the government of national uprising without reservations.’ Failure to sign would mean the loss of his pension, which he had earned through 45 years of devoted service.

      After agonizing about it for several days, he finally filled out the form, signed the declaration, and took it to the mailbox before he could change his mind.

      He had hardly sat down at his desk again when he jumped up and began to vomit convulsively. For two or three days he was unable to eat or keep down any food. It was the beginning of a hunger strike by his body, which killed him cruelly and painfully two years later.

      Indeed, it’s bad enough for a person to have to suppress their beliefs. Much worse to have to assert beliefs one does not hold and to deny valued friends because they have been cast into outer darkness by the State or by the mob.

    24. Brian Says:

      Far be it from me to attempt to explain Trump–I personally wish he would act like the media are trash to be ignored, rather than opponents to be engaged with, but he’s the one who got elected president, so who am I to argue? But if I had to try to explain it, it seems clear that he’s always trying to change the debate from “Do you approve or disapprove of Trump?” to “Do you support Trump or do you support some random nobodies from MSNBC?” He wins the latter contest every time. Same reason why unpopular politicians often see their approval ratings rise once they have an actual opponent, because the question is specific and no longer theoretical, and the opponent has their own problems.

    25. dearieme Says:

      Trump is an absurd oaf. His opponents are, to a man and woman, worse.

      The calibre of politicians throughout the West is currently desperately poor.

    26. freddie Says:

      I pay as much attention to Trump’s tweets as they deserve, which is none.

      The media, however, are constantly being distracted by “shiny!” and waste our time on that instead of talking about substantive issues. Such as: Dems almost universally opposed Kate’s Bill and the bill to defund sanctuary cities. Oh, how I wish a reporter (male or female) would grow a pair, and start querying the Dems on why they oppose protection for US citizens, why they favor non-citizens’ welfare over and above citizens, etc. Did we hear about Trump’s energy roundtable at the White House that involved three cabinet secretaries, local and tribal leaders? We did not — tweets are much more important.

      I’m nearly convinced that Trump is using twitter to distract the media which he actually gets work done while they chase the ball … notice how a new tweet comes out just when the previous tweetstorm is dying down?

    27. CapitalistRoader Says:

      Dearieme, I’m not so sure. Looking at this interview from 25 years ago, my impression is that Trump is now dumbing down his interactions with the press to 1) keep the press whipped up in a righteous fury, thus removing their focus from the actual big changes he’s making in the federal bureaucracy and judicial branch and 2) keep his base engaged and disgusted with the press, which is how he won in the first place.

      I really don’t see a problem. The guy may well turn out to be won of the best presidents in recent history, from this libertarian’s perspective, anyway.

    28. CapitalistRoader Says:

      one of the best…

    29. dearieme Says:

      @CapitalistRoader: a cheering thought. But I fear that his campaign promise to stop fighting stupid wars that involve no vital American interest (I paraphrase) is looking shakier and shakier. What the devil was the point of that cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield? Am I really supposed to believe it was because he and his daughter blubbed over some photographs?

      Mind you, if he gets Hillary locked up I’d forgive him a great deal.

    30. Jonathan Says:

      What the devil was the point of that cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield?

      The point was to make clear that he is willing to do such things, and by implication worse, in his country’s interest without hesitating, agonizing, running polls, triangulating, prevaricating about red lines, etc. This makes it less likely that he will have to do such things on a bigger scale in the future.

    31. CapitalistRoader Says:

      Will no one rid me of my embarrassing double post?

    32. Ginny Says:

      David, thanks for the John Prine.

      It is probably another sign of the times that I went to Amazon to order them my husband and kids (the whole family likes him a lot – and a lot more than I do) when I realized they all use a variety of systems – and my husband seldom listens except in the car (when he and his friend had a radio show on the local pbs and did old time music, every session included one John Prine and one in Czech – it’s been a long time). But then Prine (and Iris Dement for a different take) can be wise.

      Because we are all a mixture of responses, it is hard not to want the approval of others. In fact, I don’t think that instinct is a bad thing – generally, in a virtuous society people are respected because they are worthy of respect. We threw off in the 60’s a lot of quite reasonable traditions and worked at being neither virtuous nor respectable. I don’t think that was wise – I don’t think it is useful to spend too much regretting my youth but at least its a cautionary tale. Of course, sometimes we rebelled because we wanted the approval of a stoned petty Marxist. Oh, well.

      But it takes a lot of toughness to not care what the entire press corps thinks of you – and that is the kind of president we need. The press has proven to us that they are not virtuous in their perspectives and values. Their attitude toward the Tea Party, toward both the Clintons, toward Sarah Palin, toward Bush and Romney, toward Obama and Holder showed they had no idea what the virtuous life was.

      To be able to distinguish between compromising important values for popularity and acting in a way that is praised rightfully takes a strong character and a very clear inner compass.

      I like the idea that Trump is the guy with the red laser that keeps all the kittens distracted and running around – is that Steyn’s analogy? The big question is, would the health care bill be getting through if the press were less distracted? Or would they be tearing it apart, declaring 93 billion or whatever would die, and this way Congress can more quietly work? Does this mean that the changes in Interior, Education, Energy, etc. aren’t going to be appreciated, or does it mean that they can be enacted without crowds of protesters because, somehow, no one told them what was going on? I’d like to know – but I guess it will only be the results a decade from now that can make us sure.

    33. dearieme Says:

      @Jonathan: “willing to do such things, and by implication worse, in his country’s interest” – but where’s the evidence that it was in his country’s interest? How will his country’s enemies interpret the claims that it was all brought about by tears over photos – faked photos, for all I know. What will the country’s enemies – and friends – make of the account in Die Welt?
      https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

    34. David Foster Says:

      Ginny….if you like Iris DeMent….she and Tom Russell have done a lot of work together. Here’s one:

      Love Abides

    35. Mike K Says:

      “The point was to make clear that he is willing to do such things,”

      Napoleon, “If you decide to take Vienna, take Vienna.”

      TR Roosevelt, “We want either Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”

      I don’t know if what is going on in Syria is in our national interest. I do know that what Obama did there and in Libya was not.

      Trump has accomplished one huge beneficial event. Fracking is making the middle east optional.

    36. Jonathan Says:

      Dearieme: This isn’t a court case. We want the other guys worrying about what we might do, rather than vice versa. I don’t know if what Trump’s doing in Syria is in itself the best course of action. However, the fact that he is decisive and not afraid to throw a punch makes it less likely that our enemies will test us in the future, and that outcome is clearly in our interest.

    37. Mike K Says:

      “What will the country’s enemies – and friends – make of the account in Die Welt?”

      I know this is hard to understand from across the pond but what part of “We don’t care” fails to translate?

      I understand that our donor class and our bureaucracy are very concerned with what Die Welt thinks.

      There is a sizable share of our population which does not care about what Europe thinks. We see the Muslims replacing the Christian population of Europe by the end of the century.

      I like London and Paris a lot and have been to both many times. I am in a small minority of Americans and I don’t care !

      If Europe chooses to commit cultural suicide, we can’t stop it.

      We no longer depend on the middle east.

      A lot of Americans think world trade has been stacked against us for decades.

      We were convinced twice to send our youth to Europe to save it from itself. I don’t think there will be a third time.

    38. dearieme Says:

      “I know this is hard to understand from across the pond but what part of “We don’t care” fails to translate?”

      If you really don’t care that he might be a twerp who can be easily manipulated by a false flag attack, or even just faked evidence, then you’re all in terrible trouble.

    39. Mike K Says:

      a twerp who can be easily manipulated by a false flag attack, or even just faked evidence, then you’re all in terrible trouble.

      No, that was the last president. I told you it would be hard to understand,

    40. PenGun Says:

      “No, that was the last president. I told you it would be hard to understand,”

      LOL. Trump is completely out of his depth. He has no idea whats happening, his ignorance is the only epic part of his act.

      Because of this he is being used by anyone who can. The missile attack just signified his willingness to go along with the neocon cause. His first and only uptick in popularity at that time. He enjoyed that and basically set his military free to do stupid stuff as it occurs to them.

      It’s incredibly dangerous and you are the fools who unleashed this fat little boy upon the world. Little Kim is a pale shadow of Trump. ;)

    41. dearieme Says:

      “you are the fools who unleashed this fat little boy upon the world”: once the Dems fiddled their own primaries to award the candidacy to Hellary, the best choice was (in my view) ‘hold your nose and vote for Trump’. Unless of course they’d wanted the mendacious, warmongering, treasonous gangster in charge.

    42. PenGun Says:

      “the best choice was (in my view) ‘hold your nose and vote for Trump’.”

      I don’t disagree, but none of us thought he would be as completely awful, as he has turned out to be.

      Hillary scared me more, but now we have a military with no real direction. Is that better? I guess we’ll find out.

    43. CapitalistRoader Says:

      “Hillary scared me more, but now we have a military with no real direction. Is that better? I guess we’ll find out.”

      PenGun, I’m under the impression that you are a Canadian citizen; if so, who is “we”?

    44. PenGun Says:

      I would like a stable non war mongering country, next door.

      I was using the royal we, as a human, in this case. We, the human race, have the military of by far the most powerful nation on earth, basically out of control.

    45. Mike K Says:

      “I would like a stable non war mongering country, next door.”

      I think Venezuela has openings for you. Peace loving and Socialist. Just as you like it.

      “I don’t disagree, but none of us thought he would be as completely awful, as he has turned out to be.”

      I realize you are an expert of=n world affairs but please forgive me if I tell you to take your advice and …..

      Well, you get the idea.

    46. gsmcm8@gmail.com Says:

      The attack on the Syrian air base was probably just cruise missile virtue signalling, but it allowed the Internationalist Interventionists to get on Trump’s side. That helps support what is happening now, which is we are winning the war.

      Let me just repeat that because it gets drowned out in all the fake news.

      We’re winning. Winning the Syria War.

      We’re loath to admit it considering how Iraq went. We don’t even want to talk much about our fighting, but it’s true.

      ISIS will be wiped off the face of the Earth. The war will be over this year, and the maps will be redrawn to show an independent Kurdistan.

    47. Mike K Says:

      ISIS will be wiped off the face of the Earth. The war will be over this year, and the maps will be redrawn to show an independent Kurdistan.

      I hope so. I worry they will be allowed back into Europe bd will continue.

      I am not all that concerned about Syria or Afghanistan and think Pakistan is an enemy. We are ,ind of trapped in Afghanistan by the Paks and the analogy with Vietnam is pretty strong.

      I am for Drill, Baby, Drill and let the middle east kill each other. I am pro-Israel but think they can handle the Arabs.

      If Iran lights up, we will see armageddon but I hope the Iranian people can get the mullahs out of there,.

      Obama’s worst crime was to the Iranian people who regret their historic mistake in 1979.

    48. PenGun Says:

      “We’re winning. Winning the Syria War.”

      Amazing, complete denial.

      As one who follows this, and other conflicts, quite closely, I’d love to hear your reasoning supporting this contention.

    49. Mike K Says:

      Nobody cares about your opinions PenGun.

      You are a parasite.

    50. PenGun Says:

      “Obama’s worst crime was to the Iranian people who regret their historic mistake in 1979.”

      There are no Iranians who regret overthrowing the government you installed. Well I suppose you could find a few. ;)

    51. Mike K Says:

      PenGun, the Iran expert. When was the last time you were there ?

      In Mark Bowden’s book, “Guests of the Ayatollah,” he describes a visit to the old US embassy, which is now a museum. As he was leaving, the guards said “George Bush” and gave him a thumbs up.

      In 2009, the Green Revolution was begging Obama to help them. He preferred to chase a fantasy about making the mullahs allies.

      In Iran, mosque attendance is at 2% and the birth rate has crashed.

      But you are the expert.

      Is there any phenomenon you do not see through your hatred of the US ?

    52. Jonathan Says:

      There are no Iranians who regret overthrowing the government you installed. Well I suppose you could find a few. ;)

      You know this how?

    53. Brian Says:

      The soft spot commies have for Islamic radicals seems strange, until you realize lefties are pathetic losers who are bitter that society doesn’t recognize their brilliance and so they support any and all opposition to Western civilization. Sad!

    54. Grurray Says:

      “We’re winning. Winning the Syria War.”

      That was me, for the sake of full disclosure, juggling multiple tasks this holiday weekend.

      The definition of winning is admittedly nebulous in the modern era of undeclared, multi-lateral, open-ended counter-insurgencies. However, in the good old days you knew you won once you had a drink in the other side’s officer club. Since we are dealing with Muslims here, we will have to settle for listening to music in ISIS’ headquarters for the first time in four years.

      One interesting result of this historic Kurdish/American triumph is Zoroastrianism is emerging from the shadows.

      Al-Monitor: Are there high rates of conversion from Islam to Zoroastrianism within Iraqi Kurdistan and among the Kurds?

      Haji: It is not a religious conversion per se. A more accurate term would be “returning to one’s original religion,” or recovering it.

      There are high rates of returning to the religion among Kurds through the Zoroastrian Kushti tying ritual.

      We can only expect that this reawakening will spread elsewhere, and Kurds will influence others to abandon backwards Islamic fundamentalism. One thing that’s true of humans everywhere regardless of culture or religion is they love and respect winners.

    55. Mike K Says:

      “There are high rates of returning to the religion among Kurds through the Zoroastrian Kushti tying ritual.”

      People who really do know Iran, unlike PenGun, have been saying this for years.

      Amir Tehari in his book, The “Persian Night” has written this. Iran, unlike the Arabs, has a long history of civilization that existed long before the Muslim conquest,

    56. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I would not be at all surprised at Persians returning to their religious roots. I have often wondered if people like the North African Berbers are doing the same.
      http://www.ncobrief.com/index.php/archives/rop-part-2/
      My gosh – that post is from 11 years ago.

    57. Brian Says:

      I know a Zoroastrian Persian whose family fled persecution in Iran in the early 80s to Canada. But according to our local Canuck commie she must not exist.

    58. PenGun Says:

      I actually know quite a bit about the Zoroastrian religion. One of a few I looked at with interest. Another take on the battle between good and evil, and a rather cool one at that.

      To use this as some kind of bellwether is ridiculous, but points for trying.

      Iran is Persia, the cradle of civilization, and is parent to us all. To pretend they are evil for throwing off your yoke is just amazing hubris, but that is your specialty these days. Rise and fall and all that, don’t ya know.

      Happy 4th.

    59. Mike K Says:

      “To pretend they are evil for throwing off your yoke is just amazing hubris”

      You idiot ! No one made that comment. You are just one more pyromaniac in a field of strawmen.

    60. PenGun Says:

      “You are just one more pyromaniac in a field of strawmen.”

      LOL. I like that one, I may use it.

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