335 Comments

Davidians from now on that’s what I'm using

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If he wins next year, this stage of the American Experiment ends, and the Man in the High Castle meets Sons of Jacob stage begins.

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I am terrified.

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Herd mentality is an argument for the lowest common denominator, although one can hope for better, Fintan O’Toole’s review in NYRB Defying Tribalism, is worth consideration. There is apparent safety in the herd, apparent being the operative word.

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Nov 4, 2023·edited Nov 4, 2023

Defensiveness is rarely a good look. (Yeah, unfair, I know, with all those mean people saying mean things about you -- but life has been known to be unfair occasionally.)

Think of who you admire in history, as either righteous or successful or both. How did they respond to criticism -- (a) in general and (b) about a subgroup within their house?

If the Left put the energy that it is currently devoting to "How dare you, Ruy Texeira"-type statements into fighting for the causes they say are priorities, two things would probably happen:

(a) They would look stronger.

(b) They would be stronger.

That may seem counterintuitive in the heat of the moment, but it works.

The /less/ significant the subgroup is, the /more/ the main group has the option to vehemently reject its message. That would be much more effective than telling the whole rest of the universe to shut up from associating the subgroup to the main group.

If I live next door to you and your brother plays acid rock to 3 a.m., hell yes I am gonna think of you as the noisy family, even if you have 12 other brothers reading Emily Dickinson in the attic with ear plugs.

Keep your eyes on the prize -- if nothing else, it would be a much better look.

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Nov 4, 2023·edited Nov 4, 2023

"Large segments of the progressive left disgraced themselves by indulging in demonstrations and statements that, directly or indirectly, excused Hamas’s terrorist massacre."

This sentence is quite literally not true. And I think Teixeira knows this: the dead giveaway is that weasel phrase "directly or indirectly." The best way to transform the sentence into a true statement would be to replace "Large segments of the progressive left" with "A few thousand outraged college students who let their emotions run away with them." I wade through many, many posts and comments from "the progressive left" every day, and I haven't seen one that "excuses" the massacre, even "indirectly." It's time we learned a very important fact about most international disputes: just because one side is wrong doesn't make the other side entirely right. I can, and do, proudly state that the Hamas attack was a reprehensible terrorist massacre, AND that the Netanyahu regime's (NB: I am NOT referencing the "Palestinian people" or "the Israeli people") response was a disproportionate act of aggression and a violation of international law.

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| his campaign gets no points for subtlety

In fairness to Trump, with demagoguery working so well for him to date, why @#$% around with subtlety? (As if Trump would have any more capacity for subtlety as he would for triathlons.)

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Trump garners a lot of attention. And isn't that something that he needs/desires? What would happen if the media world stopped covering him? I know that will never happen because that content about him generates clicks, views, and sells what's in print so those in the coverage, podcasting, blogging, substack biz will never stop as long as he is around (they can't) but I still ask the question: Would he disappear if just simply ignored by the Bulwark, CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, et al?

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I'm bidding adieu to The Bulwark and its legions of smart, analytical and respectful commenters. I leave to improve my mental health in this exceptionally trying time for our Republic. My comments have grown stale from repetition and their impact suspect so I will let others who want to carry the torch of disinformation industry regulation carry on. The Bulwark has done a patriotic service by standing athwart the runaway train of GOP authoritarianism and yelling "STOP". However, what they haven't offered is a solution, except for urging reasonable voters to vote and encouraging others to do the same. JVL admonished me very early in my comments about unregulated free speech being the primary source of the country's divisions, that there was "nothing to be done" because complexity, impossible politics and something, something First Amendment. All true but in my estimation, defeatist. I may not be as smart as the Bulwark writers but then again, maybe I am. I am college educated as a journalist and practiced the profession during a three year Army stint (1969-1972) and briefly following that. In 1989 was amazed when I first heard Rush Limbaugh lie, insult, insinuate and character assassinate "FemNazis, Libtards, Welfare queens", etc. on the air with no repercussions. However, two years before Rush hit the airways, the Republicans abrogated the Fairness Doctrine. They had birthed the doctrine in 1959 to "offset the liberal bias of the mainstream media". By 1987, seeing that the doctrine was not working in their favor, kicked it to the curb. Rush saw the opening and the Rush Limbaugh business model was copied by dozens of other right-leaning and right-wing imitators across the country including Bulwark's Charlie Sykes. The content of these broadcast, meant to be slightly mean-spirited but funny, captured a huge audience of, dare I say, misogynists, bigots, country club libertarians, right-leaning good faith listeners very much like the then young JVL, Tim, Amanda, Jim and the rest. Maybe I'm wrong but I would bet serious money that they supported these broadcast far more enthusiastically than I, which was not at all. Then, Rupert Murdoch burst onto the cable news scene with his successful red meat business model from Australia and the UK. Thus, America has had over 30 years of the disinformation industry pickling the brains of non-critical thinking voters. In a country of 250 million voters, 125 million are below average. The importance of a "well-informed" voter to the health of a Democratic Republic was cited by James Madison. We no longer have that in America. Here's Jefferson on the importance of a free press, “In the choice of either a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”. Jefferson's newspapers were suppose to operate in good faith. Some didn't but their reach was quite limited. Today, America has an entire disinformation industry operating in bad faith with no downside and plenty of profit. The 20th century corollary to 2023 America is 1930's Germany. An unregulated "free press" allowed Goebbels, a third rate PR hack, to convince a plurality of German voters that Hitler could solve all of the many problems which were all caused by the Jew. With those supporters, Hitler gains power legally and a world-wide tragedy follows with 40,000,000 dead. Today, Germany has strict hate speech laws because they saw the fallacy of allowing free speech to countenance lies, conspiracy theories, character assassinations and overt anti-semitism. Germany certainly isn't a repressive state but a functioning democracy in spite of hate speech regulation. I don't believe our founders meant the First Amendment as a poison pill to eventually destroy the Republic. To allow the disinformation industry to do to America for money what Goebbels did to Germany for political advancement is shameful. Regulating the disinformation industry while maintaining the right to express yourself freely will be difficult but if we don't try, the Republic teeters. It only takes one more Trump term to end the founder's experiment in self rule. And, even with Trump in prison, playing the roll of MAGA's Nelson Mandela, the disinformation industry chugs along for the use of future authoritarians or Trump released from his cell a very old MAGA hero. I believe that something very bad will be the result of an authortarian America. Very bad. Good luck

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I read that there were more than 100 people at this rally! Wow. More than 100 in a city the size of Houston? As Trump would say, “SAD”.

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We are getting into serious, scary territory. This code crap really unnerves me

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I know a lot of people 30's and younger and they hate Trump more than they hate anyone who supports Israel. They'll vote. There is also the Abortion issue and the anti LGBQ platform of the Republican Party. Comparing the few Democrats who may think that there should not be warfare in the ME to the many, many far right social conservatives in the Republucan Party is not going to sway younger voters to vote for Trump. Unless they are NAZI skinheads.

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"they were rightly condemned across the political spectrum, including by many Democrats" They were condemned by MOST Democrats, if not all. Even Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren made statement in complete support of Israel. AOC condemned Hamas. Only Omar and Tlaib (both Muslim) publicly supported Palestine. Their constituents are Muslim so it make sense.

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I find this very discouraging. Terrorism and dictatorships should never, ever be applauded, much less cheered. Right now it is Hamas and Israel. Another time it was the Hutsis and the Tutsis. Another time we had Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc., etc., etc. Every time the left embraces violence it is a loss for everyone, as it is when the right does the same thing. Trump and Co. are a major threat to everyone and if people don't wise up, get over our disagreements, and start the really, really difficult work of solving mutual problems like poverty, climate change, and human rights we will just keep wallowing in the mire of he said/she said so let's blow everybody up. No. No. No. No more bickering, grandstanding, and shows of solidarity with people and situations you probably don't really understand. What I do understand is that unconscionable numbers of civilians have been killed and maimed by extremists. Trump will do the same thing here if we don't get it together and outvote MAGA.

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"Even less subtle than the venue of the rally was how Trump kicked it off, standing silently onstage with his hand on his heart while he waited for “The Star‐Spangled Banner” to play."

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Video of his recent "rally" showed the Amber Australopithecus saluting, not holding his hand over his heart, while the J6 tools' rendition of the National Anthem was played. He saluted? I know he is delusional, but does he still consider himself the Commander-in-Chief?

IMO, the manchild never had the respect of the American military to begin with, and did nothing to earn any during the fiasco that was his first and only term in the Oval Office (wishcasting here).

I've never felt this way until recently, but if the Apricot Arthropod wins reelection [turns head and spits three times between index and middle fingers] I might actually welcome a military coup to depose him. Even a military government would allow more freedoms for the general population than the Amber Australopithecus will if returned to power.

fnord

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I admire Mitt Romney for his belated candor, but remember when he told a journalist on camera that Trump was "by and large" advocating for the same conservative policies he would be (tax cuts, deregulation, deficit reduction).

But Mitt gave it a good try. Probably the first time in his life no one wanted to sit with him.

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