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Offline Surly1

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First world problems for poor Alan. I wish him a hearty flagon of Palloy's cure for constipation at the earliest convenience.

Alan Dershowitz Is Just the Latest Public Figure Who Forgot What Shame Feels Like

Just like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he can only process it as oppression.

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Oppression comes in many forms. One is apparently missing out on a dinner party. "I never thought I would see McCarthyism come to Martha’s Vineyard," wrote Alan Dershowitz in an op-ed inThe Hilllast week, "but I have." The Harvard law professor, who has defended President Trump feverishly against the Russia probe on any and all cable channels for more than a year, was referencing the fact that his friends and neighbors on the tory island enclave in Massachusetts are now "shunning" him.

I have defended Trump’s civil liberties, along with those of all Americans, just as I would have defended Hillary Clinton’s ... I am opposed to appointing a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and I was against it for Trump. I am a liberal Democrat in politics, but a neutral civil libertarian when it comes to the Constitution.
But that is not good enough for some of my old friends on Martha’s Vineyard. For them, it is enough that what I have said about the Constitution might help Trump. So they are shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life on Martha’s Vineyard. One of them, an academic at a distinguished university, has told people that he would not attend any dinner or party to which I was invited.

Leave aside, for the moment, that Dershowitz felt compelled to write an editorial about this extreme personal hardship while, say, thousands of children remain separated from their parents at the border. (Also, leave aside his assurance that "this is not about me.") What Dershowitz described in no way resembles McCarthyism, because it is not public officials using their power to get dissidents blacklisted and smeared, threatening their careers. It is simply private citizens deciding they don't want to hang out with Alan Dershowitz. Apparently, for Dershowitz—and this is not about him, remember—this is morally equivalent to, and as historically significant as, the Red Scare.

Getty Images

In reality, Dershowitz is getting publicly shamed. This is not an assault on his rights or an attempt to end his career. It is other private individuals in society using an ancient social tool to punish him for his behavior. His actions do not break laws, but his neighbors think those actions should be discouraged because they violate social norms or facilitate others breaking them.This is the same force Sarah Huckabee Sanders felt at the Red Hen, and that her colleagues experienced when they decided to chow down at Mexican restaurants. Just because many in the Trump Era have forgotten what shame feels like doesn't mean it's now some vicious new phenomenon.Shame's power has been hugely diminished, thanks to a president who has resisted it by hiding in friendly infotainment bubbles and through sheer obstinacy. But recent signs are it still has a pulse.

And for the people in the back—looking at you, Arne Duncan—none of this is equivalent to segregation or the Totally Normal Baker Guy who is so opposed to doing his job when gay people are involved. This is punishing people formaking choicesanddoing things in the world, not for who they are. The punishment is carried out by private citizens who are declining to associate with other private citizens based on their behavior. It is not the same as state-sanctioned American apartheid.

As far as what Dershowitz has done, he often makes compelling arguments around civil liberties and prosecutorial overreach. And he seems to be consistent in his opposition to special counsel investigations, often pointing to the abuses under President Bill Clinton. But there's no denying that Dershowitz has come down on President Trump's side on pretty much every question in the Russia probe, including that firing the FBI director leading an investigation into yourself and your associates does not constitute obstruction of justice—as long as you're the president.

That also includes smearing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as detailed inThe New Republic:

Earlier this month, Dershowitztold a radio-show hostthat Mueller had “kept four innocent people in prison for many years” to protect Boston mobster Whitey Bulger’s identity as an FBI informant. Bulger’s decades-long relationship with the FBI iscontroversial and embarrassingfor the bureau. Gertner, who knows the case better than just about anyone, spoke up in Mueller’s defense.
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“I was the federal judge who presided over a successful lawsuit brought against the government by two of those men and the families of the other two, who had died in prison,” shewrote in theTimes. “Based on the voluminous evidence submitted in the trial, and having written a 105-page decision awarding them $101.8 million, I can say without equivocation that Mr. Mueller, who worked in the United States attorney’s office in Boston from 1982 to 1988, including a brief stint as the acting head of the office, had no involvement in that case. He was never even mentioned.”
Dershowitz, unswayed, told theBoston Globethat Gertner’s “legitimate partisan concerns” about Trump had led her astray. “The idea that Mueller bears no responsibility for this tragedy?” hetold the newspaper. “I think that’s the kind of statement someone would make only if they were a strong anti-Trump partisan.”

It often seems that for Dershowitz, everyone who thinks there's merit to the special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether the president or his aides colluded in those efforts to undermine American democracy, is blinded by partisanship. He, the defender of civil liberties, is the objective one—even though the main Russia-related issue he takes a non-Trumpian line on is whether Mueller should be fired. Dershowitz has been clear that he should not be.

Dershowitz at a book party for Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera (R). Getty Images

In fact, Dershowitz seems to be acutely aware of the politics here. Just look at this slice of hisHillcolumn, referencing the island paradise frenemies who are shunning him:

He and others have demanded “trigger warnings” so that they can be assured of having “safe spaces” in which they will not encounter me or my ideas.

Did anyone really say this? That, dear reader, is for you to decide. But Dershowitz knew what he was doing by including it. It's the kind of thing conservatives feast on, and it's pretty much perfect as part of an extended airing of privileged grievance—a staple of conservative media.

Sure, your immigrant community is being terrorized. Yes, the next Supreme Court justice may well provide the decisive vote in striking downRoe v. Wade. Fine, the president's associates may have engaged in a conspiracy with operatives of a hostile foreign power to sway an American presidential election. But did you hear that Alan Dershowitz has been reduced to drinking rosé alone?

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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‘Occupy ICE’ Movement Spreads Across Cities Nationwide
« Reply #3271 on: July 07, 2018, 05:48:33 AM »
‘Occupy ICE’ Movement Spreads Across Cities Nationwide
In San Francisco, protesters have been stationed in tents outside the ICE office since Monday.


HUFFPOST / SARAH RUIZ-GROSSMAN
Protesters camped outside ICE offices in San Francisco on Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO — Protests outside the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been cropping up in cities across the country in recent weeks, with demonstrators calling for abolishing the agency.

In San Francisco, a small group of about a dozen people were stationed outside the local ICE offices in the downtown on Thursday, amid about two dozen tents and signs reading “F**k ICE” and “Defend the criminalized.” A large banner hanging across the street read “Abolish borders.”

“We are here because we are, and are in solidarity with, undocumented immigrants,” an organizer at the protest, who asked to remain anonymous, told HuffPost. “We are calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

“We can envision a blueprint for alternatives to detention” of the undocumented, the organizer said. “Particularly any kind of detention that calls for the inhumane treatment of children and indefinite detention of families.”

The group started its “occupation” on Monday, and its members said they intended to stay indefinitely.

In Portland, Oregon, protesters set up camp outside the local ICE office in mid-June, and are still thereThe demonstration succeeded in shutting down the office for over a week.

Similar protests have spread to about a dozen other cities, including Los AngelesNew York, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Louisville, Kentucky.

An ICE spokesperson told HuffPost by email, responding to the San Francisco protests, that the agency “fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference,” and that officials would continue to monitor and “make necessary modifications to ensure operations resume appropriately.”

It was unclear which of the agency’s operations, if any, had been disrupted by the protest.

A protest organizer named Shannon told HuffPost on Thursday that the group hadn’t been trying to stop business in the building. The office’s entrance on the side street where protesters’ tents are pitched had a sign inside reading “entrance closed.” The front entrance appeared to be functioning normally.

The protests outside ICE facilities are part of a wave of demonstrations in recent weeks calling out President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies.

On the July 4th holiday alone, two separate protests took place at the Statue of Liberty in New York. A half dozen protesters were arrested after hanging a sign reading “Abolish I.C.E.,” and another protester was taken into custody after climbing onto the base of the statue, temporarily causing the closure of the monument grounds.

Last weekend, thousands took to the streets in cities nationwide as part of the “Families Belong Together” rallies.

The push for abolishing ICE has appeared to be gaining steam among leading Democratic politicians ― including some of those expected to seek the party’s 2020 presidential nomination ― after congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a primary upset in New York with that idea a key part of her platform.

The “occupy ICE” protests are part of the outrage over Trump’s zero toleranceimmigration policy, which refers all unauthorized migrants crossing the border for criminal prosecution and has led to officials separating thousands of children from parents at the southern U.S. boundary. As of Thursday, as many as 3,000 kids have still not been reunited with their parents, according to the government.

Immigrant Families At The U.S.-Mexico Border
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« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 06:35:28 AM by Surly1 »
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Abby Zimet: The Holy Family Detained By ICE
« Reply #3272 on: July 07, 2018, 06:04:29 AM »
Abby Zimet: The Holy Family Detained By ICE

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With icy horrors still unfolding for thousands of immigrants trapped in an impossible plight – the Reptile-In-Chief’s new edict: Leave with or without your kids – an Indiana church has moved to denounce the “humanitarian atrocities” underway by incarcerating Mary, Joseph and Jesus on their front lawn. The two pastors of Indianapolis’ Episcopal Christ Church put the Holy family behind a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire across from Monument Circle, likely the state’s most public space, to launch their “” campaign as a furious protest against the reality of Trump’s zero-tolerance cruelty. For thousands of families as for Jesus et al, “It is a cage, it’s a detention center, its a concentration camp,” says the Rev. Stephen Carlsen, rector of the church. “It’s time to call this what it is.” “I know what the Bible said,” he adds. “We’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

His colleague the Rev. Lee Curtis quotes Matthew 2:13-14 – “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt” – to stress that, “This family is every family.” The church’s statement on the protest echoes him: “Holy Scripture is clear about how we are to treat people trying to find safety for their families – we are to show mercy and welcome them.” Having taken other progressive stands – they joined March For Our Lives, marry same-sex couples, work with immigrant advocates – and with many immigrants in their congregation, “This is an easy one for us,” Carlsen. “This is about people I know and love, and I’m going to stand with them,” he says. “As an American and a person of faith, we are called to much better.” Most viewers of the protest have been supportive, with some happily noting it helps make up for the evil of Mike Pence. As to the rest, says Carlsen, “If it offends people, I think it might be God trying to get their attention.”

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“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Long. Pack a lunch.
Started here.

‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people
When the people of Flint, Michigan, complained that their tap water smelled bad and made children sick, it took officials 18 months to accept there was a problem.


By Anna Clark
Tue 3 Jul 2018 01.00 EDT Last modified on Wed 4 Jul 2018 04.42 EDT


On a hot day in the summer of 2014, in the Civic Park neighbourhood where Pastor R Sherman McCathern preached in Flint, Michigan, water rushed out of a couple of fire hydrants. Puddles formed on the dry grass and splashed the skin of the delighted kids who ran through it. But the spray looked strange. “The water was coming out dark as coffee for hours,” McCathern remembered. The shock of it caught in his throat. “Something is wrong here.”

Something had been wrong for months. That spring, Flint, under direction from state officials, turned off the drinking water it had relied upon for nearly 50 years. The city planned to join a new regional system, and while it waited for it to be built, it began bringing in its water from the Flint River. McCathern didn’t pay much attention to the politicking around all this; he had enough to worry about at his busy parish.

But after the switch, many of his neighbours grew alarmed at the water that flowed from their kitchen taps and showerheads. They packed public meetings, wrote questioning letters, and protested at city hall. They filled plastic bottles to show how the water looked brown, or orange, and sometimes had particulates floating in it. Showering seemed to be connected with skin rashes and hair loss. The water smelled foul. A sip of it put the taste of a cold metal coin on your tongue.

But the authorities “said everything was all right and you could drink it, so people did,” McCathern said later. Residents were advised to leave the taps on for a few minutes before using the water, to get a clean flow. As the months went by, the city plant tinkered with treatment and issued a few boil-water advisories. State environmental officials said again and again that there was nothing to worry about. The water was fine.

Whatever their senses told them, whatever the whispers around town, whatever Flint’s troubled history with powerful institutions telling them what was best for them, this wasn’t actually hard for people like McCathern to believe. Public water systems are one of America’s most heroic accomplishments, a feat so successful that it is almost invisible. By making it a commonplace for clean water to be delivered to homes, businesses and schools, untold lives have been saved from cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. In Flint, the water supply was instrumental in turning General Motors – founded in 1908 in Vehicle City, as Flint was known – into a global economic giant. The advancing underground network of pipes defined the growing city and its metropolitan region, which boasted of being home to one of the strongest middle classes in the country.

But in the latter part of the 20th century, GM closed most of its plants in the city and eliminated almost all of the local auto jobs. Smaller companies followed suit or simply shut down for good. Between 1998 and 2013 alone, nearly 150 of them left the downtown area. With the shuttered businesses came shuttered houses and schools. More than half the population, which had reached a high point of nearly 200,000 in 1960, disappeared. Some 22,000 people left between 2000 and 2010.

The empty structures they left behind were both disheartening and dangerous, not only because they were prone to break-ins and fires, but also because they literally crumbled on to the sidewalks where people passed by. Civic Park’s tree-lined avenues of historic homes became blighted by vacancy. At the same time, the Flint metro region – that is, the suburbs – grew exponentially. It was a widening circle of wealth with a deteriorating centre.

With so much lost, Flint needed help. An emergency plan. A large-scale intervention of some kind. But in fact the state of Michigan exacerbated Flint’s woes by dramatically reducing the money that it funnelled to its cities. Between 1998 and 2016, Michigan diverted more than $5.5bn in tax revenues – which would ordinarily go to places such as Flint, to power streetlights, mow parks and plough snow – and used it to plug holes in its own budget. At the same time, Flint suffered the Great Recession, the mortgage crisis and a major restructuring of the auto industry.

If you wanted to kill a city, that is the recipe. And yet Flint was very much alive. In 2014, the year of the switch to a new source of drinking water, it was the seventh-largest city in the state. For about 99,000 people, Flint was home. And they did what they could to fill the gaps. When Pastor McCathern and his congregation at Joy Tabernacle realised that Civic Park was not on anyone’s list of priorities, they launched their own initiatives to fix up the neighbourhood. They covered the windows and doors of vacant properties, and paid young men to mow lawns and board up empty homes.

“The community was at one time totally ignored by everybody,” McCathern said. “But because young people stood up, now everybody came on board.” You could feel a shift in the momentum. You could see the change. “It was a different Flint that was coming.”

But on that sweltering summer day, there was that water pouring out of the fire hydrant, as children sprinted back and forth through its spray. Dark as coffee.

This is the story of how the city of Flint was poisoned by its own water. It was not because of a natural disaster, or simple negligence, or even because some corner-cutting company was blinded by profit. Instead, a disastrous choice to break a crucial environmental law, followed by 18 months of delay and cover-up by the city, state and federal governments, put a staggering number of citizens in peril.

Rest of the story.
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Pro-Trump & Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Are Posing As Ex-Democrats
« Reply #3274 on: July 09, 2018, 04:09:27 AM »
Several posters attempted to post a #walkaway hashtag on the Diner FB page. I checked it out and smelled weaponized social media. I was right. Not likely to convert many people, but it is useful to deconstruct an obvious psy-op aimed at manipulating and influencing social media users.

"The narrative—'I was a Democrat/progressive for my entire life but I decided to abandon my values and switch parties when the least popular, least qualified, and most unprincipled Republican president in modern American history took office'—is patently absurd, and some of the testimonials-by-tweet are, quite honestly, laughable. Furthermore, most of the accounts tweeting under the hashtag are either brand new or didn’t even bother to delete the evidence that they were already Trump supporters before “joining the movement” to walk away from the Democratic party."

Pro-Trump & Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Are Posing As Ex-Democrats In New Astroturfed Movement


[html]

#WalkAway from this deceptive propaganda campaign

As pundits, politicians, and other Very Serious People spent last weekend admonishing “the left” for not being civil enough in their approach to pushing back against the Trump administration’s cruel policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents, a peculiar and carefully crafted narrative began to take shape on social media. A closer look at this emerging narrative—a self-described “grassroots movement” of former Democrats fleeing the party—revealed an astroturfed campaign driven by pro-Trump Twitter users and amplified by automated and Russian-linked accounts.

The surge of tweets started on Saturday, June 23, when news broke that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had been quietly asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, VA, the night before. The social media campaign really took off the next day, after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said in a speech that administration officials who support Trump’s policies should expect to face pushback when they go out in public.

Most of the tweets were strikingly similar, and the vast majority pushed a very familiar narrative. Using the hashtag #WalkAway and claiming to be former Democrats, social media users shared their stories of leaving the Democratic party after being turned off by the “hate” and “division” of “the left.” Many of them cited the incidents involving Sanders and Waters as examples of the “intolerance” and “bullying” that supposedly drove them to support Trump after years—in some cases, decades—of voting for Democrats.

Tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway. (With the exception of one tweet sent on 6/23/2018, the above examples were all sent on 6/24/2018).

If this sounds familiar, there’s good reason for that—it very much echoes the “civility” debate playing out right now among the Very Important Thinkers and on the opinion pages of the Very Serious Newspapers. The basic narrative is one that we’ve heard countless times before, but this time it’s being exploited by a new cast of characters, and, at least in some cases, with the intent to deceive.

The primary functional goal of an astroturfed campaign like this one is to manipulate public opinion by gaming online algorithms to amplify certain content and push it onto people’s social media feeds and to the top of search engine results.

The high volume of tweets associated with this campaign is also indicative of an effort to drown out real, reasoned debate between humans and replace it with content that pushes fringe or extreme viewpoints into the mainstream, ultimately hijacking and derailing public discourse. This particular psychological operation also aimed to use issues like race and sexual orientation to widen existing divides and promote infighting within the progressive movement.

Finally, astroturfed social media campaigns like the “WalkAway Movement” aim to create manufactured consensus, or the illusion of popularity, so that an idea or position without much public support appears more popular and mainstream than it actually is.

Below, I present the anatomy of this astroturfed movement, starting with its origins and moving on to its artificial sources of amplification, the shaping of its narrative, and the boost it got from far-right and Russian media platforms including Breitbart and RT. I also discuss the potential functions of a psychological operation such as this one, as well as the lessons—and warnings—it offers as we head into the 2018 midterms and beyond.

The Anatomy Of An Astroturfed Movement

The “WalkAway Movement” officially started in May 2018, with posts dating back to May 19 on the group’s Facebook page. (Unofficially, the blueprint for this campaign has been in the works for quite some time.) Since its creation, the Facebook page has also added a public group for members to post content. As of June 30, the Facebook page had nearly 12,000 followers and the public group had almost 19,000 members. That breaks down to an average of 266 new followers a day and 422 new group members every day—quite a lot for a brand new “grassroots” movement.

WalkAway Facebook page and group.

A short time later, the campaign jumped over to Twitter, with user @usminority (“The Unsilent Minority”) spearheading the movement, or at least spearheading the public face of the movement. One of the first tweetsthat gained significant traction appeared on May 31, and was obviously meant to elicit the attention of influential Trump supporters (11 such accounts were tagged in the tweet). A handful of other tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway were widely circulated over the next couple of weeks, including one on June 11, one on June 14 and another on June 16, when Trump supporter Wayne Dupree joined in. All of those tweets garnered thousands of retweets and “likes.”

Early tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway.

Artificial Amplification

At that point, nothing about the hashtag would have been particularly noteworthy to the casual observer, besides the fact that it was pretty clearly manufactured by Trump supporters.

That all changed on the weekend of June 23, when a flood of tweets using the hashtag suddenly appeared within a span of just a few hours. Even more remarkable than the sheer volume of tweets and the speed at which they appeared was the engagement rate associated with each tweet, which ranged from several hundred to several thousand times the average Twitter engagement rate.

Engagement rates are calculated by looking at the number of likes, replies, retweets, and mentions received relative to your total following. There’s debate over the best formula to use, and a lot of factors can influence engagement rates, but in general, large Twitter accounts tend to have average engagement rates below 1 percent, or one reaction for every 100 Twitter followers. For accounts with smaller followings, this tends to be somewhat higher (i.e., for an account with 100 followers, an average of just two reactions per tweet would result in a 2 percent engagement rate). Of course, there are exceptions to the rule—some tweets go viral and far exceed the expected engagement rate—but exceptions to the rule are just that: exceptions.

In the case of the “WalkAway Movement,” every tweet was a deviation. The vast majority of (early) tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway were sent by accounts with less than 100 followers (many with less than 25), which in itself is an aberration and indicates that many of these accounts were likely created or repurposed recently, possibly for the explicit goal of amplifying this hashtag. Most of the tweets sent by these accounts had far more than 100 likes and retweets—and that’s not even looking at other types of reactions.

Low-follower, high-engagement tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway. Screenshots taken June 24, 2018.

So what do those numbers look like when expressed as engagement rates? Absolutely off-the-charts.

A sample of these tweets is pictured below, with the number of engagements and the engagement rate associated with each tweet displayed on the bottom row. The average engagement rate for tweets using the hashtag #WalkAway was over 500 percent, with many exceeding 1000 percent and some even reaching rates of 3000 to 4000 percent and above. I’ve tracked a lot of hashtags—including organic and non-organic movements—and I’ve never seen anything even close to this. This is not what a viral hashtag campaign looks like; this is what a manufactured and artificially amplified digital operation looks like.

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“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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The Most Dangerous Outcome for Trump's Euro Trip is All Too Possible
« Reply #3275 on: July 10, 2018, 09:45:24 AM »
The Most Dangerous Outcome for Trump's Euro Trip is All Too Possible


The United States leaving NATO is more and more likely. It's also a priority of Vladimir Putin.

Getty Images

While an eager nation awaits confirmation on whether the Senate will allowBrett Kavanaugh to accept The Final Rose from Donald Trump, American president, there are matters of international diplomacy at hand. Specifically,the Artful Dealmakeris jetting off to Europe Tuesday for meetings with our NATO allies, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Which rendezvous do you think our president is most excited about?

Kyle Griffin@kylegriffin1

Trump says that between NATO, Theresa May, and Putin that his meeting with Putin "may be the easiest of them all." (via FOX)

Ah, yes: an "easy" meeting with the authoritarian leader of our number one geopolitical adversary, who attacked American democracy on a fundamental level in the last election andwho very likely has designs on repeating the feat this November. You could dismiss this as a Trumpian joke—the work of a man who fails to grasp the consequences of anything that does not immediately impact himself, his family, or his money—if it was not part of a sustained public posture of friendliness towards Putin's Russia.

Trump has praised Putin constantly, even thoughjournalistsandpolitical opponentswho criticize the Russian leader often end up jailed or dead. Putin also has a nasty habit of invading neighboring countries under false pretenses. Trumphas angrily resisted imposing sanctions on Russia, despite the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, andhas dragged his feet on implementing sanctionsmandated by law after they passed by a veto-proof majority in Congress.

Most of all, he has doubted or outright rejected the idea Russia interfered in the election, as well as the general premise that Russia is a bad actor in any kind of extraordinary capacity. "There are a lot of killers,"Trump said when confronted with Putin's record. "We've got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?"

Getty Images

(And no, the United States' egregious historical record—particularly in the Middle East and parts of South America and Southeast Asia—does not make this statement any more comforting, or any less a capitulation to the kind of moral relativism on which authoritarian regimes thrive. That's all assuming you believe Donald Trump is genuinely concerned about American human rights violations in Cambodia.)

Meanwhile, in a deftly terrifying Twitter thread Monday, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro laid out the worst possible scenario for Trump's trip this week:

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

1. I don't think we are fully grappling with the possibility that we could be on the on the cusp of a completely new era, a fundamental reshaping of the international order. And I don't mean over the course of the Trump Administration. I mean by next week.

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro
 ·

2. It sounds outlandish to even say it out loud, and some can easily call this hyperbole. I hope to God it does not happen. But we would be insane not to grapple with the possibility.

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

3. Trump clearly wants to pull the US out of NATO. He doesn't believe in the alliance (or any alliances); he thinks our allies take advantage of us; he complains that NATO is worse than NAFTA(whatever that means); he seeks purely transactional relations with our closest partners.

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

4. Should other NATO members meet their 2% of GDP defense spending targets? Absolutely. Trump is on solid ground to push for it. But to consistently trash allies, undervalue their contributions to our security, threaten to withdraw US troops -- that's him wanting out.



The question seems to be whether Trump is banging on about other NATO members' payments because he genuinely wants them to pay their fair share, or whether he wants to blow up the current agenda—and set his own—like he did with the G7, or whether he is establishing a pretext to leave NATO. It could also be a combination of some or all.

But this seems particularly dangerous in an environment where Trump has constantly questioned the value of American alliances. (Hereportedly sought to persuade France to leave the European Union.) All of these are unprecedented positions and tactics for a United States president to adopt. They also back outcomes—the dismantling of NATO and the EU—which are among Vladimir Putin's top geopolitical priorities.

As Shapiro demonstrated—his whole thread is worth your time—when this is combined with Trump's Putin-love, it makes a very scary cocktail indeed:

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro
 ·

5. Perhaps most damaging is that his rhetoric is building up hostility to NATO among his supporters. It's a huge breach in the consensus American support for the alliance that has undergirded Western security for 70 years, and it won't disappear when Trump does.

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

6. What's more, his passionate desire for friendship with Putin is emboldening Russia & risks doing further damage to European security. If he recognizes Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, if he seeks to tone down sanctions on Russia over its aggression vs Ukraine, watch out.

Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

7. This could play out in the next 2 weeks. If he sabotages the NATO summit the way he did the G-7, don't be surprised if he actually makes a move toward exiting NATO. Think he won't? On what basis? Because his staff restrains him? Because of his strategic understanding? Please.


Dan Shapiro@DanielBShapiro

8. If we get there, the implications are innumerable & terrifying: Russia pawing at Baltics &other E & C European states; breakdown of joint defense structures; withdrawal of US troops from Euro bases; less restrained German foreign policy; weaker US power projection to Eurasia.

I have been to Latvia, a tiny Baltic State and NATO member that borders Russia. The people there were terrified of a Russian invasionbeforeTrump was elected, citingPutin's rhetoric about how ethnic Russians—who make up a significant share of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian populations—were supposedly being mistreated in the Baltic States. This closely mirrored what he once said about Crimea. You have to wonder what the Latvians are thinking now.

Trump also said off-handedly Tuesday that Britain "is in somewhat—turmoil." That would be because of the Tory government's near-collapse over its inability to agree on a plan to implement Brexit. Coincidentally,it increasingly appearsthe original campaign for Britain to leave the EU may have had substantial support or influence from Russia. More and more, the best scenario seems to be that President Trump just doesn't have a clue about all this. The alternative—an American president's purposeful detonation of the current world order—is a nightmare.

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Karpatok

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3276 on: July 10, 2018, 11:12:37 AM »
     
Trash! Pure unmitigated trash from a trash magazine full of lies and surmise! Pluuh! Vomitous!

Offline Surly1

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3277 on: July 10, 2018, 11:53:30 AM »
     
Trash! Pure unmitigated trash from a trash magazine full of lies and surmise! Pluuh! Vomitous!

The opinion of the SS contingent is duly noted. "Vomitous," indeed.
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

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Hungary Passes 'Stop Soros' Laws, Bans Aid To Undocumented Immigrants
« Reply #3278 on: July 11, 2018, 04:05:50 AM »
Urban has gone full Nazi. Let's see what Ilse drops on this.

Hungary Passes 'Stop Soros' Laws, Bans Aid To Undocumented Immigrants

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, pictured at a meeting with Polish president on May 14, campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform. On Monday the right-wing party passed legislation banning aid organizations and individuals from helping asylum-seekers.

NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hungary's parliament passed a series of laws on Wednesday criminalizing the act of aiding undocumented immigrants seeking asylum in the country, despite strong objections from leading European rights bodies.

The suite of bills, called "Stop Soros," allow the government to imprison individuals and nongovernmental organizations for up to a year if they're deemed to be facilitating what it says is illegal immigration by people not entitled to protections, the BBC reported. A separate amendment to the constitution declared that an "alien population" can not be settled in Hungary.

The latter is in direct defiance of the EU's migrant relocation plan that would spread more than 150,000 Syrian, Iraqi and Eritrean asylum seekers among member countries — a quota policy Hungary has been fighting since it was first rolled out.

"The Hungarian people rightfully expects the government to use all means necessary to combat illegal immigration and the activities that aid it," Interior Minister Sandor Pinter wrote according to The Guardian.

Pinter added: "The Stop Soros package of bills serves that goal, making the organization of illegal immigration a criminal offence. We want to use the bills to stop Hungary from becoming a country of immigrants."

Human rights organizations condemned the legislative package as xenophobic and an attempt to silence dissent and to control Hungarian civil society.

"Criminalizing essential and legitimate human rights work is a brazen attack on people seeking safe haven from persecution and those who carry out admirable work to help them. It is a new low point in an intensifying crackdown on civil society and it is something we will resist every step of the way," Amnesty International's Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik, said in a statement.

He noted it as a "bitter irony" that the vote, which passed 160 to 18, was cast on World Refugee Day.

On Monday the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe urged the Hungarian government to hold off on the vote until Friday, when it was expected to publish its opinion on the bills.

Prime Minister Victor Orbán won re-election in a landslide in April, campaigning on a fiercely nationalist and anti-immigrant platform. Much of his rhetoric specifically involved attacks on Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, for whom the nativist legislation was named.

The right-wing leader and his Fidesz party have demonized Soros for allegedly instigating mass immigration to the country, specifically Muslim immigration. In a speech delivered last November, Orbán claimed Soros' goal is to "sweep away governments which represent national interests."

As a result of mounting pressure from Orbán's government, Soros' pro-democracy Open Society Foundations moved from Hungary to Germany last month, citing "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment."

As NPR reported, rights advocates expect "those who will pay the price are many of the 55,000 NGOs registered in Hungary."

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Karpatok

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3279 on: July 11, 2018, 05:37:06 AM »
   
Now what would one suppose would be the purpose of 55,000 fucking NGOs in a country of ten million people with a democratically elected president, hmmmm?  Do you suppose there would be any similarity to other attempts to overthrow legitimate governments such as that perpetrated by fat Jewess Victoria Nuland in Ukraine? How many countries has the fraudulently lying UNited States caused to descend into chaos and failure like Ukraine or Libya where the leader Ghadafi was helped to be murdered by the corrupt pantsuit cunt parading as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, working hard for her master hegemon. Nobody here wants the evil swamp of America anymore. Thank God for another very popular president who defends his country and his people. It won't be long before the vassal EU breaks further apart anyhow. Merkel is being forced to change her very unpopular stance but probably won't be able to continue in power as people have awakened to what those policies bring.Yeah, NeoLiberalism is on the run, as well it should be. People have had enough of the nihilism and destruction of culture that it brings.

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3280 on: July 11, 2018, 07:20:48 AM »
   
Now what would one suppose would be the purpose of 55,000 fucking NGOs in a country of ten million people with a democratically elected president, hmmmm?  Do you suppose there would be any similarity to other attempts to overthrow legitimate governments such as that perpetrated by fat Jewess Victoria Nuland in Ukraine? How many countries has the fraudulently lying UNited States caused to descend into chaos and failure like Ukraine or Libya where the leader Ghadafi was helped to be murdered by the corrupt pantsuit cunt parading as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, working hard for her master hegemon. Nobody here wants the evil swamp of America anymore. Thank God for another very popular president who defends his country and his people. It won't be long before the vassal EU breaks further apart anyhow. Merkel is being forced to change her very unpopular stance but probably won't be able to continue in power as people have awakened to what those policies bring.Yeah, NeoLiberalism is on the run, as well it should be. People have had enough of the nihilism and destruction of culture that it brings.

I approved this because I think it's relevant, but I'd prefer you refer to Victoria Nuland as a fat Zionist instead of a fat Jewess. It's more to the point and a little less full-on Nazi. We know you don't care for Jewish people, but here at the Diner, we have certain standards of behavior. You try not to hate on Jews, and I'll try not to hate on Catholics, okay? (And I'm neither one, btw.)

Calling Hillary a lying pantsuit cunt is fine.  I'd say that's fairly accurate.

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3281 on: July 11, 2018, 07:56:23 AM »
   
Now what would one suppose would be the purpose of 55,000 fucking NGOs in a country of ten million people with a democratically elected president, hmmmm?  Do you suppose there would be any similarity to other attempts to overthrow legitimate governments such as that perpetrated by fat Jewess Victoria Nuland in Ukraine? How many countries has the fraudulently lying UNited States caused to descend into chaos and failure like Ukraine or Libya where the leader Ghadafi was helped to be murdered by the corrupt pantsuit cunt parading as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, working hard for her master hegemon. Nobody here wants the evil swamp of America anymore. Thank God for another very popular president who defends his country and his people. It won't be long before the vassal EU breaks further apart anyhow. Merkel is being forced to change her very unpopular stance but probably won't be able to continue in power as people have awakened to what those policies bring.Yeah, NeoLiberalism is on the run, as well it should be. People have had enough of the nihilism and destruction of culture that it brings.

I approved this because I think it's relevant, but I'd prefer you refer to Victoria Nuland as a fat Zionist instead of a fat Jewess. It's more to the point and a little less full-on Nazi. We know you don't care for Jewish people, but here at the Diner, we have certain standards of behavior. You try not to hate on Jews, and I'll try not to hate on Catholics, okay? (And I'm neither one, btw.)

Calling Hillary a lying pantsuit cunt is fine.  I'd say that's fairly accurate.

Thanks for sharing.

Usually women are quite adverse to the 'C' word.  A similar relationship to it's synonym, the 'P' Word as the word 'Zionist' has to its companion word, 'Jewish' one could say.  One of the pair turns up the nose.  Not the exact same meaning of course, just like 'P' and 'C' are not the same, exactly.

Baysian evidence of something.  I'll not worry about what.

If we really were unbiased mods we would reject it because of the ad-homonyms but since Vicky and Hill are not actual Diners, and because the overall intent of comment is not ad-homonym I'll agree with the conclusion that the comment is OK and  'Zionist' better expresses what was intended.

Not that I can read minds and actually know what was intended of course.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 08:06:27 AM by K-Dog »
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Offline Karpatok

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3282 on: July 11, 2018, 08:20:10 AM »
   
      As I have written before I am aware of the tiny minority of Jews in Israel who are opposed to the genocidal practices of the hYpocritical government who could be called Nazi. I am not aware of any group of Jews here or in the US who will criticize Zionism. No Jews that I meet, even the nice man from Israel with whom I spoke in the grocery store, will say one word. So as far as I am concerned Jews and Zionists are synonymous. There is no difference. And there is this big big taboo against criticizing Jews for anything as Jews, because why? They are the only ones who have ever suffered discrimination?  Just why exactly have Jews been hated by everybody and expelled from every place they were in? Not just because of Christianity, I vow. Why are Jews unwilling to address this themselves? And as far as the Nazi card goes, it's a nothing monkey shot now that we have seen that the victims of the Holocaust number in less than three hundred thousand rather than six million, according to the document put out recently by the International Red Cross. Jews are just as evil and dirty as any other groups of people have been. Jews, not just Zionists! Why should this taboo and blackmail be allowed to continue? I ask again, why is the US government being controlled by a tiny ethnic minority? Why does Judaism allow for pedophilia, the sexual use of three year olds, as well as "goy" women? Why did the Marxist Jewish Frankfort School destroy the US culture starting in the fifties and sixties? I could go on and on. There is a lot to be answered here and answered for. Please feel free to contribute. PS. The Nazi card is no answer! Not anymore!

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3283 on: July 11, 2018, 08:22:18 AM »
Thanks. I was torn. She always wants to push the envelope.

I guess when I'm 81 I hope I'm still that passionate about something. Hopefully not Volksgemeinschaft.
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3284 on: July 11, 2018, 08:39:53 AM »
I knew there'd be more.

Karpatok, I won't publish that last one, but the reason I won't let you "criticize" Jews to your hearts content is that it will brand this site in a way I don't want to see, and which I cannot endorse.

You can think what you want to, but you can't come here and spout off your anti-Jewish opinions out loud with no consequences.

Being Jewish is not a crime. I find myself generally agreeing with you on your take on Israel, and I certainly think it's reasonable to criticize the US-Israel connection as an unholy alliance that threatens the whole world, but going off on Jews at large is clearly a racist position that a site like the Diner has no business supporting. Sorry.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

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