Politics open thread, Dec 16-22

Here’s our place to discuss politics.


23 thoughts on “Politics open thread, Dec 16-22

  1. Evidently there is a report going to the Senate committee investigating Russian interference, that details very widespread Russian interference on all social media, not just Facebook. In particular, Russian messaging on Instagram and YouTube was more widespread than we realized. Most disturbing to me is that the messaging was very targeted to specific groups and focused on convincing groups, such as African Americans, who tend to vote liberal, not to vote. In such a tight election, one has to wonder if that made a difference.
    The report also makes it clear that the Russian messaging was not simply pro-Republican, it was specifically pro-Trump.

  2. Anybody following the brouhaha about Alice Walker’s anti-Semitism? It’s pretty impressive. I had no idea, but apparently she’s completely open about it. Utterly repellent.

  3. RMS,

    Alice Walker likes David Icke?

    Blood-drinking, flesh-eating, shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian humanoids with only one objective in their cold-blooded little heads: to enslave the human race. They are our leaders, our corporate executives, our beloved Oscar-winning actors and Grammy-winning singers, and they’re responsible for the Holocaust, the Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks … at least according to former BBC sports reporter David Icke,

  4. Lede. And no I didn’t. What do you mean? I asked if anyone had been reading about it.

  5. mean? I asked if anyone had been reading about it.

    What part? I read about her interview in the NYTimes where she said she has David Icke’s book on her nightstand. But now it looks like she’s written a poem…

  6. It was not Walker’s approval of Icke’s work that most troubled observers, who noted that she has previously declared her affinity for his delusive writing and stated, in a poem last year, that the evils of the Talmud could be discovered by watching YouTube videos. Rather, some decried the decision by the Times to relay her recommendation to readers without qualification.

  7. While I think that extended discussion of the very fine lines distinguishing anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism is too dangerous a minefield even for this politics page, I will point out that there is a huge body of literature on this and it routinely finds itself on the op ed page of the NYT. It is certainly possible and we see it in certain quarters to be a Zionist (supporter of the existence of a Jewish state or in particular the current authoritarian theocratic regime) and to be an anti-Semite. It is certainly possible to oppose the current regime or even the idea of a Jewish state carved out by world powers from land on which an oft conquered low status Arab people used to live and not to be an anti-Semite. Both are difficult positions to hold in real life. Diaspora Jews tend to react negatively to anti Zionism and assume it is cloaked or (as Alice Walker above) uncloaked anti-Semitism, even if they personally agree that the current state and its policies are in the wrong. There is no way to explain to Gentiles the degree to which a traditional upbringing (in my case a non religious one) still emphasizes the fact that we are full citizens only by the sufferance of the majority population, and that we have had full or nearly full rights and then been denied, persecuted, or massacred numerous times in history. Offline a totebagger asked about “Chanukah spirit” and my reaction was that even though the US kids have their gift receiving alternative and the families go eat Chinese on Xmas Day it is somewhat salutary that we feel like fish out of water during this season. Eternal vigilance.

  8. The anti-Semitism in the black community is complicated. Henry Louis Gates wrote a NY Times article about it back in 1992. Here’s a link:


    Unfortunately, the old paradigms will not serve to explain the new bigotry and its role in black America. For one thing, its preferred currency is not the mumbled epithet or curse but the densely argued treatise; it belongs as much to the repertory of campus lecturers as community activists. And it comes in wildly different packages.

    A book popular with some in the “Afrocentric” movement, “The Iceman Inheritance: Prehistoric Sources of Western Man’s Racism, Sexism, and Aggression” by Michael Bradley, argues that white people are so vicious because they, unlike the rest of mankind, are descended from the brutish Neanderthals.

    More to the point, it speculates that the Jews may have been the ” ‘purest’ and oldest Neanderthal-Caucasoids,” the iciest of the ice people; hence (he explains) the singularly odious character of ancient Jewish culture.

    It’s an interesting though very alarming essay, and the fact that it’s from nearly 30 years ago and everything seems to just be getting worse is even more alarming.

  9. “the degree to which a traditional upbringing (in my case a non religious one) still emphasizes the fact that we are full citizens only by the sufferance of the majority population, and that we have had full or nearly full rights and then been denied, persecuted, or massacred numerous times in history… Eternal vigilance.”

    As I read this I was struck by how much it reminded me of “the talk” that moms like SM have with their kids.

  10. So the conservative media was convinced that Flynn’s judge would make clear that this was just a politically motivated hit. They were shocked when it turns out Flynn apparently committed very very serious crimes. And even more shocked that he was able to give up enough info about Trump to warrant leniency. Very interesting.

  11. I found the judge’s response yesterday fascinating, particularly in light of Flynn’s attorney’s efforts to undercut the plea deal in the media last week.

  12. I’ve not yet read today’s WSJ to see it’s take on it, but few wear the hypocrisy mantle better than its editorial board. Pretty frustrating to me.

  13. And on a completely different matter, evidently Trump wants to remove all US troops from Syria, immediately. I know that is completely in line with his campaign promises, and one could certainly imagine a progressive Democrat president doing the same. But a lot of foreign policy people are unhappy. Do you think he will really do it? Good idea or bad idea?

  14. Evidently Republicans had high hopes for that judge who was supposed to sentence Flynn, because he has a track record of being really hard on prosecutors. Some even thought he might throw out the guilty plea. But it turns out he is hard on all government people, not just prosecutors.

  15. RMS — I agree re. Tiffany. She can’t help who her father is any more than any of us can. Ivanka and her brothers have chosen to actively participate (in one way or another) in their father’s presidency, but as far as I can tell, Tiffany hasn’t, and should thus be left the hell alone.

  16. It is not clear whether after the divorce it was Marla Maples who wanted to keep Tiffany away, or Ivana’s children and possibly Melania, or whether she was supposed to stay out of Daddy’s sight and mind as part of the marital settlement. She wasn’t part of his life well before she could make that decision independently.

  17. That article just looks at metro areas too. There are entire states in the map without a dot. I am betting that those places have an even lower percentage of college educated millenials.

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