Thursday, October 6, 2016

Denial - On Both Sides


Historian Deborah Lipstadt is one of my heroes. Her book History on Trial is an absolutely riveting account of the libel suit brought against her by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving. Even though I knew how the story ended, I couldn't put the book down! I am very excited to see the new movie of this story, Denial, which came out in the US last week, and which will hopefully reach Israel soon. It has received very favorable reviews, and it is an outstanding kiddush Hashem.

For those who don't know the story: Back in 1993, Deborah Lipstadt published a book about Holocaust denial, in which she condemned David Irving - a man with a reputation as a prominent historian - for deliberately distorting various significant aspects of the Holocaust. Irving responded by suing Lipstadt for libel. He did so in Britain, which has very strange libel laws, and requires the defendant to prove that what they said was true. Thus, Lipstadt had to prove not only that the Holocaust happened, but that Irving's minimization of what happened was due to his deliberately distorting the facts rather than making innocent errors. It was also important to win in a way that would not allow Irving to torture Holocaust survivors on the witness stand, or to nitpick Lipstadt's work. Fortunately, Lipstadt and her wonderful legal team won a decisive victory (except for failing to recoup the massive costs of the trial from Irving).

That's the story in a nutshell, but I really recommend that everyone read the book. And by all accounts, the new movie, with Rachel Weisz playing Deborah Lipstadt, is superb.

Unfortunately, there is an aspect of the movie's marketing that I feel obligated to protest. Many media outlets, feeding on comments made by Denial's screenwriter Sir David Hare, are connecting the movie to a critique of Donald Trump and the extreme right wing. Just as we had to fight the dangerous lies of David Irving, they say, so too must we fight the dangerous lies of Trump and the far right.

Now, God (and anyone who's heard me on the topic) knows that I am no fan of Trump, nor of the nonsensical conspiracy theories of the far right. However, I think that it is very, very problematic to make the message of Denial about fighting the dangerous lies of the far right. Because it's not as though the right has a monopoly on dangerous lies.

Let's start with President Obama. Now, I am not one of those Orthodox Jews who believes that voting Obama is worse than murder, idolatry and adultery. Nevertheless, he has told some dangerous lies. For example, in his famous 2009 speech in Cairo, Obama justified the Jewish nation's claim to the State of Israel in terms of the persecution that we have suffered in various places - but conspicuously failed to acknowledge the actual historical connection with the Land of Israel. That's a lie, and a dangerous one - it encourages the Arab world to believe that we are merely European colonialists, and why should they have to pay the price for the persecutions of Europe?!

Then, in his important speech at the UN last week, Obama described Israel as "occupying Palestinian land." That is a lie. Judea and Samaria are not Palestinian land. They are disputed land. The Palestinians have a certain claim, going back at least several generations. The Jews have a claim, going back millennia earlier. The 1920 San Remo conference and the subsequent Palestine Mandate recognized the legal right of Jews to live anywhere in the country. When Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, the US did not claim that it was "occupying Palestinian land." It is especially ironic that in the same week that the Obama administration refuses to describe Jerusalem as being in Israel, due to this being a matter of dispute, Obama considers the status of Judea and Samaria to be resolved in favor of the Palestinians.

Want some more examples of dangerous lies from the left? How about the widely respected New York Times? They printed an article by Abbas claiming that the 1948 war was started by Israel. That is a lie. And then there was their "scholarly" article discussing the conceptual roots of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which managed to completely falsify the historical truth and lent credence to Temple denial - which is a much more pressing danger than Holocaust denial!

The lies of the left might not be as colorful and blatant as the lies of the right. But their insidiousness and acceptability in respectable forums makes them all the more dangerous.

I hope that Denial makes people aware of the dangers of falsehood, and how they must be fought - no matter where they come from.

78 comments:

  1. It's obvious you don't live in the United States. The state of the media lies in ruins, its credibility at its lowest ebb ever recorded. The "New York Times" is no more respected today than your average Fleet Street tabloid, and probably less so. The "lies of the right", whatever they may be, are by no means more "colorful and blatant" as the lies on the left, and frankly I'm not even sure what that means - a lie is a lie, period.

    Your larger point about left-wing duplicity is well taken, but it is detracted somewhat by these gratuitous and irrelevant attacks on Trump and his supporters. We Jews know all too well the evils of "moral equivalency." One doesn't need bona fides to attack the left by gratuitous attacks on the right; I assure you the left themselves feel no similar compunctions. Nor should one stoop to creating a strawman that voting for Obama is "worse than murder and idolatry", a ludicrous position no serious group ascribes to.

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    1. The "New York Times" is no more respected today than your average Fleet Street tabloid, and probably less so.

      This is wishful thinking because you are on the right and the Times leans left. The New York Times (and other major papers) do have greater credibility than "the average Fleet Street tabloid" in part because they actually do a lot of real original reporting. The right attitude is to discard the slant and thank God that they are out there trying to report and sometimes uncovering important information.

      You are correct that surveys show declining confidence in newspapers in general (which we can agree is a good thing), but there is still a hierarchy.

      Here is some relevant data: POLITICAL POLARIZATION & MEDIA HABITS

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    2. I'm afraid not, my friend. The New York Times is thoroughly discredited on the right, but it also discredited on the left. Just see Charles Hall's comment below, for a good example. According to Gallup, public confidence in the media is at its lowest point since they began measuring it in 1972. That's not wishful thinking, that's reality.

      In any event its a moot point b/c few people actually read newspapers anymore. The drudge report alone is read by more people daily than the total circulation [let alone actual readers] of the NYT and the Wall Street Journal combined.

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    3. You didn't really defend your argument. The NYTimes is still influential and not "discredited" as shown by the linked statistics. Charlie Hall is entitled to his opinion, but he is a single person. The level of trust in the press and many other institutions has gone done (a good thing!) but that doesn't make the Times into the Daily Mail.

      Drudge Report is not a reporting site, it is an aggregator linking to articles, many of them from newspapers.

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  2. Obama lied because he didn't give the speech you wanted him to give?

    And then lies again because he refers to the occupied territories as occupied territories? I have news for you, the territories are occupied according to every single legal body in the world. Here is what the Israeli Supreme Court has to say about the territories, "The Judea and Samaria areas are held by the State of Israel in belligerent occupation." The Israeli government doesn't even contest this point before the court. The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the Red Cross agree. The UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, EU, and International Court of Justice agree. You think that because you have some svarah, you can be docheh every legal body in the world? You're such a charedi when it comes to zionism.

    As for the New York Times, let's not even go there. When fundamentalist zionists bump into moderate zionists they think the latter are anti-semites and that's just what happens when they read the Times. This is a paper where reporters and Jerusalem Bureau Chief's children serve in the IDF and somehow they think the paper is working to undermine Israel. Sorry, it's just that they try to maintain some semblance of reality.

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    1. Truah, while your point about opposition to the New York Times being exaggerated is true, if you read the exchange that Michael Oren (himself very far from a far-rightist or a fundamentalist anything) had with NYT opinion editor Andrew Rosenthal (which is in the article linked to in this post) you will see that there are grounds for severe criticism of the Newspaper of Record.

      I don't think that the NYT is working to undermine Israel per se, and once again, you are correct in observing that many Jews of the orthodox persuasion are way too ready to see open anti-Semitism everywhere, but I do think the NYT has fallen very far down the liberal rabbit hole - specifically when it comes to the fallacy of assuming that any "narrative" that is held by enough people is necessarily legitimate. Thus they give far more leeway to Palestinian writers presenting their narrative than they do to Pro-Israel writers precisely because the Palestinian narrative is largely false, and the Israeli "narrative" isn't. A big part of the NYT's job should be to point this out about the narratives, but they don't, and in fact see it as their duty to promote equivalency and relativism, as is also demonstrated by their temple mount article.

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    2. Rabbi Slifkin's criticism of Obama's comment about "Occupied Palestinian land" was not the "occupied part" but the "Palestinian" part. I think that this is quite obvious from what he wrote, so I don't know what you're trying to prove with the "the territories are occupied according to every single legal body in the world" comment. R' Slifkin may agree as well!

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  3. Holocaust Denial - the overwhelming historian consensus agree the holocaust occurred. Why ? because when applying accepted historical methods to determine history they find it did occur. Take heed. When the overwhelming consensus of experts agree, then that is most likely what happened.

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    1. So you're saying that if there wasn't a historian consensus that the Holocaust occurred, then you, too, would have your doubts.

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    2. Depends. If the likely situation is that a lack of consensus is due to a lack of evidence, I'd have doubts, too. Consider how much of history we believe to have happened, despite there being far less evidence. Consider how little evidence there then would have to be for historians to conclude the Holocaust did not occur.

      If, however, historians, in the main, show a tendency to downplay Jewish history altogether, I would place little weight on their conclusions, whether about the Holocaust or anything else.

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    3. In other words, you would consider your grandparents, and most other Jews of their age, to be liars, just because historians conclude there to be a lack of evidence for their claims?

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    4. Elisha, the fact that your grandparents and most Jews their age tell the same story is part of the evidence that historians use. If it was *only* your grandparents telling the story, then yes, you would have to consider at the very least that they might be mistaken about the conclusions they drew from their experiences.

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    5. It is not the consensus of experts, but the evidence behind the consensus of experts. This distinction is explicitly recognized in medicine; some recommendations are based on empirical studies which others are explicitly called out to be based on consensus of expert opinion specifically because of the lack of evidence on which to base the recommendations.

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    6. If you got those "other words" from what I wrote, you aren't paying attention. Read what I wrote again. Maybe a few more times. Then consult a dictionary and perhaps a professor in English Literature and/or a professor in logic.

      And for the record, not a single one of my grandparents were in Europe during WWII.

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  4. "The lies of the left might not be as colorful and blatant as the lies of the right." Actually, the Left is far, far, far more dishonest than the Right.

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    1. That is pure fantasy, fueled by your own political bias.

      The truth is that there's no objective way to measure which side is more dishonest.

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  5. Obama did not originate the idea that the territories are "occupied". Every President in the past 48 years has accepted the term. Here is the first use I have found:

    https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v20/d137


    The NY Times ceased to be a great newspaper years ago; it has yet to atone for its parroting of the lies that got the US into the Iraq War.

    Trump is the most dangerous major party Presidential candidate in US history; his entire life has been lived in the opposite manner from that which religious Jews should aspire. And the rise of open racist and anti-Semitic groups that has accompanied his campaign is something the US has not seen in four decades.

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    1. 1. There is a difference between saying "occupied territories" and saying "Palestinian land."

      2. Please, let's not have this thread degenerate into a Trump vs. Hillary argument! Surely you must see that that's pointless!

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    2. I didn't see anything about Trump vs Hillary. And you were the one who brought up Trump and Obama, giving short shrift to the former's alt-right backers.

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    3. Whose land exactly is Israel occupying?

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    4. @Truah

      No one's. Or Jordan's and Syria's. Depends on your point of view. There's a distinction between private ownership of land (in a capitalist economy) and State control/ownership of the same land. Take the Sinai, for example. Israel captured that in the same war in which Gaza and the West Bank were captured. Previously, it had been controlled by Egypt. When the peace treaty with Egypt was signed, one of the provisions was the return of the Sinai. The inhabitants of the desert were not consulted at any point.

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    5. It can't be no one's because you can't occupy no one's land. It can't be Jordans for many reasons; for your right wing capitalist mentality let us say it is because Jordan recognized Palestinian rights to a state and formally renounced all claims to the West Bank. The fact is that the entire world, except for fundamentalist zionists, knows whose land it is.

      Now despite posting my objections, I'm frankly not interested in a futile discussion about zionist ideas which will go nowhere with this crowd. Rabbi Slifkin knows well how these arguments go.

      My problem is that there are people out there who think that this blog is rational, because it so dubs itself and because it likes to point out charedi irrationality, and who mistakenly think that therefore its author's zionist claims are somehow rational. Rabbi Slifkin is smarter than the typical charedi though, and so simply ignores religious questions which contradict his world-view.

      These problems should come as no surprise, because it was not rationality which led him away from the charedi camp, but rather accusations of heresy by the charedi leadership. Now Rabbi Slifkin has adopted modern orthodox mythology. For example, he likes to talk about the miracles of 1967 despite all evidence that it was in no way miraculous. Incidentally, it's not just zionism he does this with. He's happy to make fun of spontaneous generation, but he respects the Modern Orthodox green line of the global flood and with the exodus, for example (although in those cases I suspect he may simply be afraid of making his ideas known. Some would argue (not me, but the author of this post, a fortiori) that those massive omissions make him a liar.).

      Now I apologize for the anti-Slifkin appearance of this post. It is just an appearance, because he seems to be a kind and intelligent person who likely has above-average integrity and doesn't deserve a negative comment. Yet when millions of people are kept without rights for half a century because of our ahistorical zionist mythology, leaving the appearance of this mythology as history is not an option.

      While I am at it, allow me to make one more point. There have been many territorial disputes in the world. Two countries claim the same piece of land and argue. Sometimes one is not in a position to pursue its claim, sometimes they fight, and sometimes, in the modern age, they go to the International Court of Justice. To my limited knowledge, Israel and its supporters are the only people who claim that land is not theirs but "disputed." The advantage is obvious. Though they shirk their responsibilities for the Palestinian people as occupiers, were they to formally claim the land, their Palestinian discrimination would be easily recognized as apartheid. So we get the game of "disputed territory" which allows Israel to build on the land and take its resources but continue to treat the inhabitants of the land as enemy combatants. But Israel likes games: "we won't introduce nuclear weapons into the middle east," "Egypt surprise attacked us in the middle of the night," and the list goes on.

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    6. "Israel and its supporters are the only people who claim that land is not theirs but "disputed." The advantage is obvious...would be easily recognized as apartheid"

      You seem to be contradicting your earlier comment that even Israel agrees that it is occupied territory. Which is it? In any case, I don't see how it can possibly be called apartheid if Israel would claim the territories. Either Israel would give them citizenship and the right to vote, in which case it wouldn't be apartheid. Or alternatively, Israel would not give them citizenship and the right to vote because that would present an obvious national security issue. That's not apartheid either, which implies racism.

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    7. Israel in court does not contest what every legal body in the world knows to be true, that the land is Palestinian. Internal Israeli bodies and documents, including hasbara aimed at the US, does so. Perhaps the most egregious example is the Levy Report which defends the legality of contemporary settlement construction while still noting that the entire enterprise "does not befit the behavior of a state ... committed to the rule of law." Because how can it be deemed illegal when the Israeli government itself aids their construction?

      You seem to be missing the logic of the argument. Israel avoids a situation which would be obvious apartheid by not formally claiming the land. Israel, unlike every (?) other country in the world, does not define its own borders. It is thus not forced to grant citizenship to the Palestinians which, of course, it will never voluntarily do.

      Your last thought, that Israel not granting citizenship to Palestinians would not be apartheid because it would be justified on security grounds, is not only not a defense against racism but is typical of every racist regime in the world. Even in post-apartheid South Africa there are whites who believe that blacks are getting ready to commit genocide against whites. Germans believed that the Jews were working to destroy their country. Of course, your security claim is entirely different because it's true, right?

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    8. "Israel in court does not contest what every legal body in the world knows to be true, that the land is Palestinian. Internal Israeli bodies and documents, including hasbara aimed at the US, does so. Perhaps the most egregious example is the Levy Report"

      When the Israeli government wants to ethnically cleanse 10,000 Jews from Gaza to give it away to terrorists, the Court rules that it's Palestinian territory. When the Israeli government wants to build settlements, the government says it's not Palestinian territory. Different justice members and Prime Ministers say different things. When it's convenient for you to say that it's Palestinian territory, you quote the Court's Gaza decision in 2005. When it's convenient for you to say that Israel disputes the territory, you bring up the Levy Report.

      "Of course, your security claim is entirely different because it's true, right?"

      Yes. But if you honestly think that the security concern of Palestinians is even remotely comparable to the German security concern of Jews in the 1930's, I suppose it's not worth arguing about it.

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  6. Your flippant dismissal of "nonsensical conspiracy theories of the far right" is not befitting someone who espouses a scientific, evidence based, and rationalist posture. The "Alt Right" as Hillary Clinton refers to it, is the last bastion of the concept of a free press. The mainstream media has clearly become transformed into a propaganda machine for the Democratic Party,a radical left wing world view, and the various commercial interests that provide the bulk of it's advertising dollars.

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  7. On the subject of Israel, I'm not aware of any lies, of any kind whatsoever, coming from the right. That is the exclusive province of the left.
    As for anti-Semitism, clearly this millennia-old phenomenon is not limited by party affiliation. Only a fool would say otherwise. The chief difference though, is that any anti-semisitim on the right [I personally am not aware of any, but don't deny it must exist] comes from the fringe elements, and is roundly rejected by both the leadership and the grass roots. The anti-Semitism of the left, however, comes directly from the grass roots and their intelligentsia. As it is not even hidden or underground, it is a far more dangerous form of anti-Semitism. Black Lives Matter, whose sympathizers constitute one of the largest constituencies of the left, openly speaks of Israel engaging in "genocide" against Palestinians. There is nothing even remotely similar to that from any mainstream body of the right.

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    1. As I understand it, it was William F Buckley who drove the antisemites out of the mainstream of the conservative movement. You are quite correct that antisemitism will become more and more acceptable in the American mainstream Left, as it already has in Britain and other European countries.

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    2. On the subject of [xyz], I'm not aware of any lies, of any kind whatsoever, coming from [my side]. That is the exclusive province of the [other side].

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    3. Someone admits ignorance, and rather than provide (counter-)examples, you make a flip and utterly meaningless reply. What a witty comeback!

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    4. The original comment was not an admission of ignorance; it was rhetoric. The larger point is that everyone thinks that their side is telling the truth as the other side is stating falsehood.

      If you want an example it is the notion that all of the Palestinians displaced in 1948 left of their own free will based on bad advice that they would be back in their homes in no time.

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  8. Unfortunately, there is an aspect of the movie's marketing that I feel obligated to protest. Many media outlets, feeding on comments made by Denial's screenwriter Sir David Hare, are connecting the movie to a critique of Donald Trump and the extreme right wing. Just as we had to fight the dangerous lies of David Irving, they say, so too must we fight the dangerous lies of Trump and the far right.

    Now, God (and anyone who's heard me on the topic) knows that I am no fan of Trump, nor of the nonsensical conspiracy theories of the far right.


    This and many other comments here miss the point. There are people both on the right and the left who endorse various conspiracy theories. The difference here is that someone who endorses them has a non-trivial chance of actually winning the White House. In that sense, Trump represents a unique phenomena that requires special attention.

    I've never voted for a Democrat (the left leaning party in the US) in my life, but I can recognize the that the nomination of Trump is a unique and complete disaster that is worth calling out.

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    1. Me and probably 95% of the readers here could not only easily debunk your conspiracy theories about Trump, but could also speak of the "unique and complete disaster" that the Clinton candidacy represents. But as RNS accurately stated, it would be a pointless waste of time.

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    2. I am amazed how otherwise intelligent people have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by the anti Trump propaganda of the left wing media and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is not left "leaning". It has been taken over by the radical far left. Your abuse of the term "Conspiracy Theory" is completely in line with the party line of the mainstream media which uses it to shut down any questioning of entrenched establishmentarianism. So for example if you question the Iran Nuclear Deal you are a conspiracy theorist. If you question Human caused global warming or climate change you are a conspiracy theorist and should be jailed if you are a "denialist" scientist. If you question the safety and efficacy of vaccines, you are a nut and should have your children taken away from you. If you question the CDC and it's various cover-ups you are mentally unstable and a conspiracy theorist. If you question or criticize President Barak Hussein Obama you are a racist and a conspiracy theorist. Are Edwin Snowden and Julian Assange Conspiracy theorists because they have exposed real conspiracies, lies, and cover-ups? I see outsider Trump as a savior and Hillary the lefty war monger as an unmitigated disaster for America, Israel, and world peace.

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    3. > There are people both on the right and the left who endorse various conspiracy theories. The difference here is that someone who endorses them has a non-trivial chance of actually winning the White House.

      Exactly.

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    4. Hillary Clinton continues to believe in a "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" to undermine her and her husband. Why does her endorsement of a conspiracy theory not concern you?

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    5. Me and probably 95% of the readers here could not only easily debunk your conspiracy theories about Trump

      I'm not sure what you mean. Trump is quite explicit about his endorsement of conspiracy theories. Unless by "debunk" you mean like poor Mike Pence "debunking" all the things Trump has said that were so loony that Pence couldn't admit that Trump ever said them.

      1) Trump endorsed birtherism and did so after the release of Obama's birth certificate.

      1A) Trump claimed that Obama didn't really graduate from Columbia and no one knew him from there.

      2) Trump thinks that vaccines cause autism (although he stops short of complete anti-vaxxerism).

      3) Trump thinks that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

      4) Trump claimed that Obama had some kind of complicity with the Orlando terrorist.

      5) Vince Foster was murdered.

      6) Scalia was murdered.

      7) Global Warming was invented by the Chinese to decrease US competitiveness (I know you don't believe in AGW, but I think that know that it wasn't invented by the Chinese).

      Google for more...

      There's nothing particularly unusual about belief in various conspiracy theories and there are some pretty standard ones in there. But when someone with at least a 20% chance of winning the presidency endorses them, then we have a problem.

      Bottom line is that there is a reason for the fact that lots of Republicans refuse to have anything to do with Trump and it's not because he is an "outsider".

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    6. Your abuse of the term "Conspiracy Theory" is completely in line with the party line of the mainstream media which uses it to shut down any questioning of entrenched establishmentarianism. So for example if you question the Iran Nuclear Deal you are a conspiracy theorist. If you question Human caused global warming or climate change you are a conspiracy theorist and should be jailed if you are a "denialist" scientist.

      See my other comment. We're talking run-of-the-mill conspiracy theories. Like Kennedy assassination theories. It's funny that you mention global warming, because Trump himself thinks that it was invented in a Chinese lab or something.

      If you question the safety and efficacy of vaccines, you are a nut and should have your children taken away from you.

      Yes, an anti-vaxx president would be very troubling. But you seems to be engaging in some conspiracy theories of your own. The response to the anti-vaxxers is to condition admittance to school on vaccination, not removal from the home.

      This is a little like when R Slifkin decried conspiracy theories in a prior post and ended up getting objections from 9/11 truthers.

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    7. "unique and complete disaster"

      I have to admit that the "disaster" part is a bit partisan. I want to see the Republicans win and Hillary is an eminently beatable candidate based on her favorability ratings. So the Republicans nominate the one person with worse favorability ratings than Hillary who isn't even a conservative and who is likely to take the Senate down with him. They would have been better off nominating McCain again. [R. Slifkin: Apologies for the purely partisan comment...]

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    8. Hillary Clinton continues to believe in a "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" to undermine her and her husband. Why does her endorsement of a conspiracy theory not concern you?

      I'm not a Hillary supporter and I've never voted Democratic. But her statement is laughable political hyperbole and not a conspiracy theory. She is saying that Bill Clinton didn't do much wrong and the driver for the Lewinsky scandal was driven entirely by political opponents (which was false; I remember George Stephanopoulos admitting on the Sunday shows early on that it looked like Clinton would have to resign). Surely you can see the difference between political hyperbole and "your father helped to kill Kennedy", "vaccines cause autism" and "Scalia and Foster were murdered".

      Trump is an outlier (at least in modern American politics) and I understand why people feel the need to call him out on this. Undoubtedly it is easier for the left to do this than the right because they would oppose any Republican nominee. But the fact that so many Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump in an unprecedented manner suggests that something else is going on here.

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    9. "Bottom line is that there is a reason for the fact that lots of Republicans refuse to have anything to do with Trump and it's not because he is an "outsider"."

      Oh please. I don't believe this for a second. It has everything to do with him being an outsider. I have a bridge I would like to sell you, and Mitt Romney will broker the deal for us.

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    10. @No fan: I guess Trump is somehow becoming even more of an outsider every day now. I wonder how that happened.

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    11. Because he was winning.

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    12. Here in the states the Global Warming Left Wing activists have been openly advocating jailing climate change denialists. Similarly pro vaccine advocates have been advocating removing children from the custody of non vaccinating parents. Scientists and medical doctors who have questioned either global warming or vaccine safety and efficacy have been shut up, jailed, and pushed out. Actually it is a prominent doctor in your country, Dr Yehuda Shoenfeld of Sheba Medical Center, who has labeled the mainstream pro vaccine medical establishment a "Mafia". It is unfortunate that you have been so propagandized and brain washed that you don't even realize it. Some of the "conspiracy theories" actually have, pardon the expression "Raglaim Ledavar" Have you ever heard of the Church Committee hearings? MK Ultra? Watergate? The Pentagon Papers? It would be a breath of fresh air to have an SOB like Trump come in to Washington to clean it up. Hillary and the corrupt mainstream media certainly won't be doing that.

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    13. Because he was winning.

      He was losing pretty badly after the first debate, but then his remarks indicating that he used his fame to commit sexual assault made him even less acceptable to the Republicans to the point where sitting politicians are dropping him.. If you think that any of them would be protesting him if we was really winning, then I have a bridge to sell you. Most aren't that principled.

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    14. Here in the states the Global Warming Left Wing activists have been openly advocating jailing climate change denialists.

      There are activists for everything that would like to make 1st amendment exceptions for that cause. What does that prove? (Answer: nothing).

      Similarly pro vaccine advocates have been advocating removing children from the custody of non vaccinating parents.

      This is silly. State policies in all 50 states have been pro-vaccine for 50 years at least and the mechanism for enforcement has been barring admission to school. I'm not sure where you are going with these arguments except to fan further conspiracy theories.

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  9. Without any spoilers, can you elaborate on how the movie is "an outstanding kiddush Hashem"?

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  10. The best defense is a good offence. The left long ago learned that if they accuse the right of fascism and racism the right will be too busy defending themselves to realize that the biggest fascists and racists are on the left.

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  11. There's not much point complaining that Obama or whoever refers to the West Bank as "Palestinian Land" when our government has acknowledged it to be such since the Oslo accords.

    If you want really clear-cut contemporary examples of lies, colourful or otherwise, I would recommend the currently running "American Pravda" series by Ron Unz, there's plenty to befuddle both conservatives and liberals.

    Finally, I might as well add that whilst the Holocaust happened, there's a whole lot of real conspiracies and official lies to do with WW2. My favourite are the maps that Roosevelt used to "prove" that Hitler had a secret plan to to conquer South America.

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  12. A few more words on respectable forms of conspiracy theory and genocide denial.

    (i) For over a hundred years researchers have been working on the concept of IQ. Of course, like any form of new science, it was subject to errors, and even absurdities, in its early stages, but decades of painstaking work by dedicated scientists has slowly weeded these out, for example by producing culture- and language-neutral tests. At present, the study of IQ and "g" is certainly one of the most developed areas of the Human Sciences, it makes non-trivial and un-falsified falsifiable hypotheses, and its conclusions have been pretty stable now for the better part of a century.

    Nevertheless, hundreds of millions of people because of their essentially religious belief in Human Neurological Uniformity believe, or profess to believe, that the entirety of IQ studies is just one big conspiracy measuring nothing. One person I talked to even made the claim that IQ researchers continually changed their tests to make certain groups do worse (because they are just SO EVIL!!!).

    Even worse, because IQ happens to be the only sufficient and credible scientific explanation for a host of otherwise perplexing social phenomenons, in order to justify their initial conspiracy theory, they have to resort to ever more baroque conspiracy theories to explain why things are as they are. Of course, telling people, especially people with low IQs, that the reason they are not rich is because they are the victim of a conspiracy has an unfortunate tendency to generate social conflict.

    (ii) Find 10 people and ask them how many Jews died in the Holocaust. Discount the ones who didn't answer 6 million. Then ask them how many died in the Holodomor, or dekulakization, or the Great Leap Forward, or under Pol Pot or any Communist genocide you choose. One reason for the great discrepancy in knowledge that you will find, is that deniers of Communist genocides are allowed to operate freely in respectable society, in particular at universities. The second is that most people are incurious and don't know anything that isn't drummed into their head hundreds of times, and the long list of Communist genocides just isn't.

    For us as Jews to look at the Holocaust as THE holocaust is natural and healthy. Others, however, should look on it in its proper historical consequence as one of the worst (arguably the worst) act of barbarism in a barbaric century. Prof. Lipstadt would have made a much bigger "Kiddush Hashem" by tackling the much greater problem of Communist genocide denial. (Of course, you could argue that no practical harm comes from Communist genocide denial, but then you could say the same thing about Holocaust denial).

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    1. Shorter GM: The only reason someone could reject my views is because they believe in a conspiracy theory.

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  13. 1. In a particular speech to a particular audience, Obama didn't make an argument he has made on other occasions. That's not a lie. In fact, persecution of Jews _was_ a major impetus for the Zionist movement, and it is highly doubtful that the UN would have created Israel had the Holocaust not happened. You don't on every occasion make the arguments I might like you to make; is that "lying" too?

    2. No country in the world recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, which even according to Israel is under military occupation. The Palestinians' right to this land is "disputed" only by Israel. I wish things were otherwise, but these are the facts, and reciting them is not a lie.

    An analogy: China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. The rest of the world rejects that. Is it lying to describe the South China Sea as international waters?

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    1. I wasn't aware that the UN created Israel. Nope, that doesn't seem to match up with history. You do realize that zionism existed prior to 1945 right?
      And RNS problem with Obama was he stated that persecution as the ONLY impetus for a Jewish state. So you saying it's part of the impetus (even if as you claim a big part) doesn't address the problem.

      2. Nothing you said here makes this into "Palestinian land."

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    2. 1. The Zionist movement existed in 1945. The state it desired to create did not. You do realize there's a difference, right?

      2. "RNS problem with Obama was he stated that persecution as the ONLY impetus for a Jewish state."

      Have you read the speech in question? Because I have, and Obama doesn't say that.

      He does refer to "tragic history". But even if you tendentiously read that as a reference exclusively to persecution, and not to 2000 years of exile, he does not say that this is the only reason.

      Moreover, he does not say these are reasons for Israel's existence--only for "America's strong bonds to Israel", which he also calls "unbreakable."

      And while the Jews' connection to the land of Israel does not begin with "tragic history" or, for that matter, persecution, it certainly had a lot to do with the modern Zionist movement.

      "2. Nothing you said here makes this into "Palestinian land."

      Well, Israel's claim is not recognized by any other country. The Ottoman Empire is gone, the Mandate is over, and Jordan has relinquished its claim. So what else is it--Japanese?

      I'd prefer if the West Bank were Israeli land. But the rest of the world does not recognize Israeli claims, and does recognize UN resolutions calling for a Palestinian state. And there is the inconvenient fact that 2.5 million Palestinians live there, who Israel doesn't want as citizens.

      Again, you and I might not like those facts, but they are facts and it is in no way "denial" for Obama to recite them.

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    3. Your assumption that the UN "Created" the state is simply false. It would have existed no matter what vote took place. Whether the next day, a week later, or a month later. The outcome of that vote was one of many factors which led to a declaration of independence. Many of these factors were already set in motion long beforehand. The groundwork for a state was already laid. Your simplistic and rather silly aggrandizement of the UN reflects ignorance of history and circumstance.

      "And while the Jews' connection to the land of Israel does not begin with "tragic history" or, for that matter, persecution, it certainly had a lot to do with the modern Zionist movement."

      You are completely ignoring the CONTEXT of the Middle Eastern and Muslim narrative that Israel only exists as some kind of payback for the holocaust done by Europeans. Obama's many public statements lend credence to this false narrative and RNS takes exception to it, as we all should. Because it is false, demeaning, and is often used as justification for the enemy's terror war against Israel.

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    4. I'd prefer if the West Bank were Israeli land.

      Why would Israel want to remain an occupying power? That always has huge costs (currently outweighed by the costs of having an unfriendly state in that location). Let God deal with his promise and let us deal with what He has dealt us the best we can.

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    5. "Let God deal with his promise and let us deal with what He has dealt us the best we can."


      Uhhhhhh........ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War

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  14. Let me start by saying I'm a conservative and wanted Ted Cruz to be president. I dislike both of the candidates. So I am not a Trump person.

    What they are doing with this movie by linking it to an anti-right or anti-trump message is a big big problem for many reasons. Trump has a rabid following. His popularity is downplayed by the media. Many ordinary citizens love what he is doing. His rallies are huge and he is filling up stadiums with supporters. This is a big movement.

    There is a small thread within his following, maybe even the more vocal thread with heavier social media presence, but small nonetheless that sympathizes with anti-Israel conspiracy theories and paranoia as well as holocaust denial or minimization. If you angle this movie as an Anti-Trump endeavor, you are dumping fuel on that fire and giving the creeps within that camp more credibility to the masses of Trump lovers surrounding them. "Ah, you see, we told you holocaust was just another mainstream media and establishment lie and its perpetrators are trying to block Trump. They are the same ones telling the lies about illegal immigration, WMD's etc."

    There is no reason to politicize this movie. Let it speak for itself. Terrible job by Hare and the media always looking for a way to cheaply promote their preferred political hack, they minimize the holocaust experience by equating its denial with unrelated things.

    This is the type of movie, without political message attached, that can cause some of these paranoid and conspiracy minded folks to rethink their ideas - Lipstadt had to PROVE her case with facts. Many will be open to facts.

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    1. "His rallies are huge and he is filling up stadiums with supporters. This is a big movement."

      Whew. It's reassuring to know that a demagogue is drawing large and sometimes violent crowds. If he was just sitting with a megaphone on the street corner, it would be much more worrying.

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    2. Let me start by saying that I am Canadian, and thus spared the duty of voting in your horrid election.

      Let me also say that Trump is right about one thing: if he wins, I will be all for a wall along America's border. The northern one.

      To say that racists, sexists, anti-Semites, white supremacists et al. are only a small minority among Trump's supporters misses the point.

      All candidates have crazies among their supporters. The difference is, other candidates tell those folks to get lost. Trump has encouraged them. Which is not surprising, because his own statements show that he himself is a racist, a sexist and a bigot. And apparently a rapist, too, but at this point, who's counting?

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    3. How does this in any way address the message of my comment? You either totally missed the point or couldn't resist a potshot but potshot accomplishes nothing, get real.

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    4. My point is that lots of people attending rallies doesn't confer legitimacy. Of course some amount of the population will support conspiracy theories, racism, anti-semitism, etc. I don't need a Trump rally to tell me that. The idea of leadership is not to validate and double down on the latent bad tendencies. Trump is dangerous in a unique way.

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    5. Why did you think that I meant that Trump having large rallies makes him "legitimate"? Legitimate in what way? It is not even remotely what my post was about. Quit your trolling. And your weak attempts to influence the election by redirecting comments that have nothing to do with it. No one changing their vote because of rationalist Judaism blog comment. Get over it.

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  15. Once again, for David the Canadian, how about you address the POINT of my comment instead of using it as a jumping off point to criticize Trump? My comment as for David Ohsie but now I ask you the same thing:
    How does what you wrote in any way address the message of my comment? You either totally missed the point or couldn't resist a potshot but potshot accomplishes nothing, get real.

    I mean, did you think that my saying antisemites are a minority of his supporters was a defense of Donald Trump? That is what you took from my comment? If so you completely misread it and have no idea what I was saying.

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  16. Here is a video of DNC operatives talking about how they work to generate violence at Trump rallies to create a false media narrative. It's relevant because, of course, the claim that all the news about "sometime violent crowds" referred to by our resident genius is essentially one big hoax is another "conspiracy theory", which happens to be true.

    http://www.cpusa.org/article/america-needs-a-landslide-against-trump/

    Here is the Communist Party of the USA's qualified endorsement of Hillary Clinton (they would have preferred Bernie, but they're making do). It's relevant simply to demonstrate the claim that all other "candidates tell those folks to get lost" is totally untrue. What has been true up till now is that all other candidates on the right have done so. I don't recommend anyone vote Trump, or vote at all. However, the fact that Trump has, in a faltering and tentative way, offered up some resistance to the structural asymmetry between Right and Left that defines Western Democracy offers hope.

    http://www.cpusa.org/article/america-needs-a-landslide-against-trump/

    In the meantime, if you want to do something other than rot your brain with partisan politics, here's a blog called "Liberal Biorealism", in which you can watch the fascinating spectacle of a university professor of liberal opinions blog anonymously, as if he were a Rav in Lakewood who discovered the theory of evolution.
    https://liberalbiorealism.wordpress.com/

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    1. OK, so you agree that there is an unusual level of violence at Trump rallies that he eggs on*, but that is OK because the opposition has recognized that and tries expose it to it's advantage.** We can leave it there.

      * “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” Trump said, drawing cheers and laughter. “Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise. They won’t be so much, because the courts agree with us too — what’s going on in this country.”

      At a casino rally in Las Vegas last month, Trump pined for “the old days” when demonstrators would be “carried out on a stretcher, folks.”

      “I’d like to punch him in the face,” he told the Las Vegas crowd when one protester was ejected.

      On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump was asked whether he would pay McGraw’s legal fees, as he once offered to do for supporters who rough up protesters.

      “I've actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” Trump responded.

      ** There is actually no evidence that the protesters who faced violent reactions at Trump were part of an organized opposition or that they intended to provoke violence. The fact that someone, having seen the violence, many months later brags about how he helped cause this reaction is basically no evidence at all. But even if there was a concerted effort at protesting peacefully to get a violent reaction (and the vidoes of people being attacked do not show the protester initiating violence), that would be a completely reasonable tactic well-worn in American politics to produce successful and just results. See , for example, the Birmingham campaign. If the campaign really is that insane, then it needs to be exposed as such.

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    2. With regard to the Communist Party endorsement, I'll give you a pass for not understanding American politics or history. The Communist Party as a political party in the US has never had any amount of influence. David Duke, on the other hand, represents a group that had a very large influence in the American south where Blacks still did not have full citizenship rights until 1964 or later. In 1989, he won an election for a Louisiana house seat. He also got 43% of the vote in a 1990 US Senate campaign and 38% of the vote in a Gubernatorial campaign. This is what Trump said about him:

      "Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about."

      "I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him."

      It is not that he didn't repudiate fast enough. It is that he took a calculated risk to tacitly accept and encourage their support. He deserved to be called out for this and all of his other insanity.

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    3. 1) David Duke "represents"* an organisation responsible for 15 murders, the CPUSA is the American representative of a movement responsible for 100,000,000 excess deaths. Why doesn't it occur to anyone to ask Clinton to "disavow" the support of the Communist Party? That is the basic structural asymmetry between Right and Left that characterizes Western Democracy and which is accepted by "true conservatives" and establishment conservatives alike.

      *I say "represents" because he hasn't been in the KKK for 3 decades. He has a fairly looney radio show and blog where he rants about Jewish power, but if he just changed the word "Jew" for "White" and had a better graphics person, he could write for Vox magazine. In between his KKK phase and his Jew-obsession phase he ran as a conservative politician and did quite well. So what? Why should Trump tell people not to vote for him?

      2) There is evidence. It's demonstrable fact; what you believe is, in fact, a hoax, and on what planet are these protesters not "initiating violence"? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOxCrwAhTeU

      3) The history of using violence whilst posing as victims to achieve "just results" goes back a lot further than Birmingham. It goes back to your accursed revolution. It's not important that Trump wins. Actually, it's probably better he doesn't. It's important that people of the Right see that the entire system is set up against them and start opting out. Obviously, this involves severing ties with "conservatives" whose only purpose is to preserve the legitimacy of the system. If all Trump achieves is destroying the court opposition, then he's done more than he could ever do with 8 years of power.

      It is widely assumed in the West that in countries like Russia and China overwhelming hegemonic discourse means that the majority of people buy into a view of the world that is un-tethered from reality and systematically distorted to provide legitimacy to the existing regime. The definition of a "conspiracy theorist" is simply someone who believe the same is true of western countries. "Conspiracy Theorist" is thus a synonym for dissident. Of course, many, and possible most, dissidents/conspiracy theorists are nutcases, but eventually when a regime becomes chronically dysfunctional and patently can't deliver even according to its own standards, then normies opt out of official reality too.

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    4. Ohsie, your spin is weak. Really weak. #fail

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    5. @No fan: I agree. I don't rely on spin :).

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    6. Gavriel M:

      1) You didn't actually address my points and you doubled down on your complete lack of understanding of American history and politics. I think that naivete in this sentence says it all: "In between his KKK phase and his Jew-obsession phase he ran as a conservative politician and did quite well. So what? Why should Trump tell people not to vote for him?"

      2) You are correct that there have been violent anti-Trump protests and they are terrible. In fact, the "corrupt" media has somehow reported on them: For example, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/03/ugly-bloody-scenes-in-san-jose-as-protesters-attack-trump-supporters-outside-rally/. I guess that you think that this justifies Trump endorsing violence as a tactic at his own rallies and make such violence into a "hoax"?

      The definition of a "conspiracy theorist" is simply someone who believe the same is true of western countries.

      The definition of "conspiracy theorist" is belief in conspiracies like Birtherism and Anti-Vaxx and Kennedy assassination coverups.

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    7. 1) What "naivity". Why should Donald Trump or anyone disavow David Duke any more than Hillary Clinton disavow the CPUSA? Please give an answer that doesn't simply confirm that there is a structural asymmetry between Left and Right.

      Parenthetically, I will add that the ACLU was founded by Communists, that the Civil Rights movements was organised by Communists, that the anti Vietnam War movement was organised by Communists, that active Communist sympathizers were installed throughout the State Dept. under Roosevelt and successfully resisted "McCarthyite" attempts to purge them, that active Communists are present in most American Universities and many Communist organisations continue to receive funding from the Federal government. The claim that they have not played a prominent role in American history would appear to be ummm untrue. What is true is that, unlike the KKK they have continually been on the winning side. The winning side, obviously, gets to say what is important and what is not.

      Thus Communist militias like the BLOODS and the CRIPS are essentially allowed to govern major urban areas, whilst a government with the largest military in the history of the world ever pretends it doesn't have the resources to destroy them. Meanwhile if a few Nazis decide they want to live in the woods and not pay taxes, the FEDs discover they do have weapons after all and shoot a mother cradling her baby.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Ridge

      2) The fact that you proudly declare your refusal to believe that the violence you believe occurred was a deliberate fabrication doesn't change the fact that this it is a deliberate fabrication. The fact that you are so oblivious to obvious fact that by the same standards you could accuse any politician anywhere on earth of inciting violence is remarkable. The fact is that (i) violence by Trump supporters is a fabrication (ii) violence by Trump opponents is real and frequent (iii) most people believe the opposite and the more "educated" they are the more likely they are to believe the opposite.

      3) A conspiracy theorist would also include the following.

      (i) Someone who claimed that the Katyn massacre was carried out by Soviet troops, not, as claimed by both the U.S. and Britain for a decade after the event, by Nazi Germany. Ooops.

      (ii) Someone who claimed that the maps produced by FDR demonstrating a Nazi plan to conquer Latin America to justify economic and military assistance to Russia and Britain were deliberate forgeries. Oops.

      (iii) Someone who claimed that there every major media organisation in their country deliberately colluded to cover up the fact that the President was a paraplegic for the entirety of his Presidency. Oops.

      (iv) Someone who claimed that in recent years there have been over a dozen high profile cases of innocent black men wrongfully shot by police that were, in every case, hoaxes. Oops.

      And one could go on, but why bother. The point is fairly obvious. Anyone who believes that the media and government in their country frequently tell lies is a "conspiracy theorist" whether they are correct or not.

      I'll leave with an anecdote. I once told a Harvard grad that FDR had once forcibly confiscated all privately owned gold int he U.S. at a fixed price then immediately changed the price. She called me insane etc. So I showed he Wikipedia. She read it, thought for a second, then told me "well he must have had a good reason then". Crimestop is a very powerful tool. For the most part it's not even really necessary to suppress information, as long as the media is not constantly thrusting something in your face, it doesn't matter.

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    8. What "naivity".

      Naivete.

      1) David Duke disavowed his past vs. strategically ridding himself of a poisoned organizational name.

      2) The sum total of the damage done by the Klan and their ilk was a handful of murders.

      Why should Donald Trump or anyone disavow David Duke any more than Hillary Clinton disavow the CPUSA? Please give an answer that doesn't simply confirm that there is a structural asymmetry between Left and Right.

      That would have been a possible answer for Trump to give ("Why am any more associated with David Duke than Hillary is with Communists?"). Unfortunately, he chose instead to encourage their support as explicitly as he could. But I explained that above.

      What is true is that, unlike the KKK they have continually been on the winning side. The winning side, obviously, gets to say what is important and what is not.

      I think that this says it all. By your lights, the only thing wrong with Jim Crow (and slavery) is that the KKK lost.

      I apologize, but I don't have the time or energy to go through all the delusions that you posted; suffice it to say that they are similar in nature to your justification of the KKK as simply being on the losing side. If anything, they prove the importance of defeating Trump as badly as possible.

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  17. "Why should Donald Trump or anyone disavow David Duke any more than Hillary Clinton disavow the CPUSA? Please give an answer that doesn't simply confirm that there is a structural asymmetry between Left and Right."

    At least TRY. Go on, give it your best shot.

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    1. I don't know why I bother, since I've already answered that a few times, but here goes:

      1) Granting your premise, Trump's answer was as close as he could get to an acceptance of the endorsement without immediately sinking his candidacy. That is the root problem. If I grant that he should not have been asked, his answer is the problem.

      2) Again, even granting your premise, the reporter did a great job (maybe through blind luck). He got Trump to give an unconventional answer and thus added to the information pool. In retrospect, the question was obviously a very good one, since it elicited a completely unexpected response.

      3) Again, as I already pointed out above, your premise is weak. The Communist Party in the US is a non-entity who no one cares about and has 0 percent chance to make the country communist. The KKK, while now properly marginalized as a group, is most certainly not a non-entity and it the US South for many years in accordance with the KKK's philosophy with its support. Many of the people who lived during that time are still alive and would like things back they way that they were. No communist party candidate ever did anything, while David Duke came close to winning Senate and Gubernatorial elections.

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    2. (i) Your major premise is just some random and arbitrary point taken out of nowhere. There's no reason why the acceptableness or otherwise of a politician's associations should be based upon your ad hoc. considerations of relevance.

      (ii) Your minor premise is demonstrably false. The KKK was one of a long list of semi-paramilitary organisations that figured in American history. It is responsible for fewer murders, in it's 100 year history, than the Nation of Islam in 1973 alone, fewer than claimed in one weekend of gang warfare in Chicago and five times fewer than the ATF managed in one day in Waco. It has barely existed for nearly 40 years and has no access to monied support, academia or the media. No figure associated with the KKK wields any power at all, anywhere in the world. It's only function is to oscillate with Putin as the Emmanuel Goldstein figure of American discourse. Conversely, "ex"-communists are prominent in politics and the media and open Communists are present throughout the educational establishment. Communists have been closely involved in every major US political battle of the past 70 years, almost always on the winning side. The current sitting President doesn't even bother to pretend that he is not personal friends with "ex" Communists who blew up buildings.

      (iii) You point is anyway moot, since the same structural asymmetry exists everywhere in the democratic world, regardless of the history of the country concerned. (This is just an illustration of a general principle, namely that democracies everywhere work in the same way and do the same things, which is kind of odd if we assume that democracy is what it says it is, namely rule of the demos - unless you assume every demos is just the same, which I suppose squares the circle for true believing liberal universalists.)

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    3. (iv) Evidently you think the country that was kind enough to take your ancestors in was a horrible place just waiting for you to come along and fix it. Hacarat haTov seems to be an entirely foreign concept to American Jews. So I'll explain why some people don't think you did such a great job. The Civil Rights movement launched one of the biggest crime waves in recorded history. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of direct victims, tens of millions of Americans became internal refugees in what you with your characteristic charity, no doubt refer to as "white flight". Major urban areas across the country became uninhabitable for civilized people and a prosperous industrial centre like Detroit was turned in three decades into a burnt out wreck. Today, despite astounding advances in medical technology, the murder rate is only just returning to it's pre-Tikkun Olam levels, at the cost of unprecedented levels of mass incarceration. Allegedly, all this chaos was to benefit the black population who are, as a result of all this help, more likely to be in prison, more likely to be a victim of crime, more likely to be murdered, more likely to be on drugs, more likely to grow up in a dysfunctional home, more likely to be unemployed and who live in a culture that has been reduced from the world of jazz and gospel to the animal yapping of rap music. And yet some people still are less than 100% grateful for your social justice. Astounding.

      (v) You are a pious apologist for the American empire, so this is not for your benefit. I'm hardly the first person to point out the lack of balance between treatment of the far-right and far-left in democracies. What ordinary conservatives need to realise is that this is not some random thing that they can get rid or work around, it's a basic structural feature that exists everywhere in the democratic world, and it's function is obvious. The Right exists in democracies to do one thing: lose. Of course, it can have some fun whilst losing, and pass some money along to the military industrial complex, but the important thing is that it should accept each successive defeat with grace and dignity and, better, continually re-define conservatism to mean whatever the Left believed 40 years ago. Whenever, a democracy starts to break this rule it finds itself in a colour Revolution (Ukraine), or, where this proves too technically difficult, kicked out of the democracy club (Russia, Phillipines). Suddenly, out of nowhere, a candidate with too much money and fame to control has emerged who, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to understand that his job is to lose. And he doesn't just appear anywhere, but at the centre of the American empire. What you get is a gigantic freakout. To quote Matthew Yglesias: "My guess is that in a Trump administration angry mobs will beat and murder Jews and people of color with impunity."

      LOL

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    4. Gavriel M: You could have saved us both a lot of time. You don't think that there was any problem with Trump accepting support from David Duke because you agree with the David Duke and the KKK: blacks should never have been given the right to vote and in fact should have remained slaves. Of course with such a worldview, very little that happens in US politics (and little of what happens in the rest of the world) is going to make any sense to you.

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