MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

VOLOKH CONSPIRACY

Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

Mail Bomber Cesar Sayoc Threatened Me on Facebook

How it happened and what (if anything) we can learn from such cases.

Bombing suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc.Bombing suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc.

Yesterday, federal authorities arrested Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the far-right Trump supporter suspected of mailing bombs to prominent liberal Democratic opponents of Trump. To my surprise, an acquaintance soon pointed out to me that Sayoc is likely the same man who made a death threat against me on Facebook in April of last year. After I did an interview on Fox News about the ways in which public ignorance contributes to opposition to immigration, a person using the name "Cesar Altieri Randazzo" made multiple comments on one of my FB posts, threatening to kill me and my family, and feed the bodies to Florida alligators. The comments even included multiple pictures of alligators. If you think the alligator part is somehow humorous, that may be understandable. But I suspect you would not be laughing so hard if you were the target.

The authorities have now connected the Randazzo Facebook account to Sayoc. And his threats against me were very similar to ones he made on Twitter against political commentator Rochelle Ritchie. In both cases, for example, he claimed to to be a member of the "unconquered Seminole Nation."

In my anger and revulsion at the time, I deleted the threatening comments (in retrospect, a mistake on my part). The "Randazzo" Facebook account now seems to be gone. But many of my Facebook friends saw the the threats, and at least a couple reported them to Facebook as a violation of their policies. Unfortunately, FB did nothing but send back automated form messages [NOTE: but see exception described in my update below]. I also reported the incident to Arlington, Virginia law enforcement and the George Mason University police (at the school where I teach). In case either media or federal law enforcement authorities are interested, I can provide documentation of all of the above, if necessary. It seems to me there is likely already more than enough evidence to convict Sayoc of multiple crimes. Nonetheless, I plan to reach out to the FBI in case my account might prove useful to them.

Sadly, social media and e-mail threats to commentators on political issues are all too common. This was not the first time I got one, and I know other writers who have had far worse experiences, some of which make mine pale by comparison. What, if anything, can be learned from incidents like this? I don't have any definitive solution to the problem. But here are a few tentative thoughts:

First, most such threats are probably meant to intimidate and inflict psychological pain. They are a kind of "troll tax" on public commentary the perpetrators disapprove of. It is, therefore, important that we not allow ourselves to be intimidated. To give in would only encourage more such behavior. For what it is worth, I have continued to write and speak about immigration and public ignorance over the last year, and I have no plans to stop.

Second, social media firms should do more to bar death threats on their sites. In principle, they are already against the rules of Facebook and Twitter. But, too often, nothing is done when such incidents are reported. That is exactly what happened in both my case with Facebook and Rochelle Ritchie's with Twitter. As a general rule, I am not one to join in the currently fashionable trend of beating up on Facebook. They provide an enormously valuable service at virtually no cost to consumers. And I recognize that it is difficult to come up with content standards that are fair to millions of users with highly diverse views. But barring death threats should be a relatively easy case. To put it mildly, they contribute little, if anything, to public discourse. And their prevalence causes fairly obvious harm, and poisons the atmosphere even in cases (which, fortunately, are the vast majority) where the perpetrators have no real intention of making good on their threats.

Finally, we do not yet know to what extent, if any, Sayoc's actions were inspired by Donald Trump's repeated statements condoning violence against his opponents and members of the media. It is entirely possible that Sayoc is the sort of person who would be prone to violence regardless. Nonetheless, here, as elsewhere, Trump's egregious violations of basic liberal democratic norms are deeply reprehensible, and he should be made to pay a high political price for them, lest other political leaders be emboldened to follow in his footsteps.

UPDATE: One of my Facebook friends points out to me that FB did remove one of the photos posted by "Randazzo" in response to her complaint about it. I was not aware of this before, and am happy to note it now. But most of his threatening comments (including even others that this particular FB friend reported) remained in place until I deleted them myself.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Jim Logajan||

    Some crazy person calls you on the phone and threatens to hurt or kill you.
    Solution: disconnect the phone so they can't harm you.

    I happen to prefer a fair warning to none at all. At least it offers the possibility of exercising the Corbomite maneuver.

    P.S. First time I got physically threatened online was over 20 years ago on a Usenet discussion forum. Trump had nothing to do with it.

  • santamonica811||

    Jim,
    How do you get to their phone, so you can disconnect it? (If you're talking about disconnecting your OWN phone...that would be a laughable solution, of course. Running away and hiding is no practical solution. People don't like your editorial articles in the Washington Post/NYT? Just stop writing them and do something else for a living.) Um, no.

  • KHP54||

    Indeed, that sounds like the heckler's veto on steroids!

  • I Callahan||

    Looking back on your article history, I'm not seeing similar pleas for civility for lefty politicians, such as Maxine Waters, Barack Obama, Eric Holder and the like. And before anyone accuses me of whataboutism, I'm talking about double standards.

    Trump had nothing to do with the professor being threatened. The fact is that there are crazies in a country of 300 million, and the idea that the president is the reason they act up makes me wonder how someone with such questionable reasoning skills ever got to be a law professor. Or is that an indictment of our legal system as a whole? I'm not quite sure how to take it.

    Leave your hate for Donald Trump at the door. It makes you look more like an opportunist than you think.

  • KevinP||

    whataboutism (n.) def: a word employed by people when their hypocrisy and double standards are exposed.

    The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it always turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

    He brought an American flag to protest fascism in Portland. Then antifa attacked him


    Quote:
    Paul Welch came to the downtown protest Aug. 4 to let his political leanings be known.

    With pride he clutched his U.S. flag as he moved among the crowd of like-thinking demonstrators.

    Soon a group of black-clad anti-fascist protesters, also known as antifa, demanded he lose the flag, calling it a fascist symbol. Welch refused, and a tug-of-war ensued.

    Video captured by Mike Bivins, a freelance journalist, shows what happened next.

    As Welch and the counter-protesters wrangle over the flag, another masked counter-protester begins to strike Welch's body from behind using a weapon concealed in black fabric.

    That person then uses the weapon to club Welch on the back of the head, causing him to collapse instantly. The demonstrator with the weapon wanders off.
  • Sarcastr0||

    You say your posts are merely to point out liberal hypocrisy, and yet you seem to be using them to direct attention elsewhere from the action being discussed in the OP. Indeed, that's the only explanation for your the text in your link.

    You need to get your story straight.

  • JesseAz||

    The hypocrisy of tying it to Trump was in the OP. I'm fairly confident that death threats against public figures existed prior to 2016.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    No, no, history started when Trump was elected.

  • junyo||

    Please point out where Ilya said that Trump was either a) responsible from every political threat made against a public figure, or b) responsible for the specific threats against himself and his family.

    Hint, you can't because you're punching your own strawman. "...we do not yet know to what extent, if any, Sayoc's actions were inspired by Donald Trump's repeated statements condoning violence against his opponents and members of the media. He's actively acknowledged that there may be NO connection.

    What he's saying that Trump IS responsible for, is violating the norms of modern liberal democracy by implicatly winking at the acceptability of violence as a means to accomplish political ends. Arguing that Trump hasn't done that would be laughable, but at least a coherent argument against the point being made. But MAGA baboons love themselves a strongman, so you want to argue against a point that no nonretarded person has made, and then backslap each other that you've successfully defended your GodKing.

    I remember on these comment sections people holding BLM rhetoric as liable for every cop who got so much as a papercut, but now, the President of the United States, with a history of offering to pay assailants legal fees if protesters were roughed up (I know, "Bububut Fake News!"), and has been calling the press the enemy of the people (I know, "Bububut, they ARE!) is not even tangentially responsible for any negative outcomes of his antics.

  • Toranth||

    This particular person was arrested and convicted of making bombing threats in 2002. He has a history of threats and drug use dating back to before that time period.

    Trying to pretend that Trump may have caused this man's behavior is absurd - even with the blatantly false "Well, we don't know for sure" caveat Somin threw in there to avoid straight up defamation.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Agreed anyone trying to directly impute blame is overplaying their hand. But this is a fine time to bring up Trump's irresponsible stoking of a culture of violence towards his opposition. And conversely anyone trying to bring up how Dems are the real violent ones has both bad timing and bad logic.

  • James Pollock||

    "Trying to pretend that Trump may have caused this man's behavior is absurd"

    But it isn't. It may be that an apt comparison is offering an alchoholic a drink being considered a causation of his relapse.

    What's silly is pretending that Trump (and various Trump-affiliated outside forces) had no effect on this dude, however disturbed he was, is, or may be in the future.

  • Toranth||

    No, it is absurd. This man showed a history of extreme behavior dating back more than 15 years. Trying to blame his behavior - that hasn't changed - on the presence of Trump - a new political factor - is absurd.

    Also, nice switch - "Had no effect". You moved from assigning responsibility to simply claiming that Trump may have been one factor, including a factor so infinitesimal as to be immeasurable. In other words, you have abandoned argument in favor of impossible-to-prove-or-disprove allegations.

    The weather also had an effect, I'm sure. Are you going to assign blame to the Sun?

  • James Pollock||

    "Also, nice switch - 'Had no effect'. You moved from assigning responsibility"

    I did what now?

    "The weather also had an effect, I'm sure. Are you going to assign blame to the Sun?"

    If I did, that would be quite a change. I'd go from not blaming anything to blaming the sun.

  • Toranth||

    You said it wasn't absurd to say that Trump caused the bomber's behavior. You even gave an example to justify saying that Trump caused the hoax bombings.
    You then said that I (or others) were pretending that Trump had no effect.

    That's quite a change.

  • James Pollock||

    "it wasn't absurd to say that Trump caused the bomber's behavior"

    Which is not even close to assigning blame to anyone.

    "That's quite a change."

    Yes.

    "You then said that I (or others) were pretending that Trump had no effect."

    No, but if the shoe fits...

  • iowantwo||

    What he's saying that Trump IS responsible for, is violating the norms of modern liberal ;

    Yea, I've heard that term a lot, tossed around by leftist. The Problem is, it means what ever you say it means. ie, it means nothing. Other than, President Trump is not a politician, does not respond like a politician, can not be controlled like a politician, can not be motivated like a politician.
    Someday in the future you might figure out President Trump is not a politician.

    In the mean time, President Trump is kicking the Dems asses up and down the Capitol steps.

    (shhh, quiet...yes I used violent language intentionally to trigger all you leftist snowflakes ;)

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    America's mainstream -- liberal, libertarian, educated, tolerant, reasoning, modern, diverse -- has been shaping American progress against the wishes and efforts of conservatives for more than a half-century. Right-wingers have lost the culture war, and are positioned to continue to give ground, and they know it, which is why they are bitter, disaffected malcontents, clinging to superstition, guns, intolerance, and stale thinking.

    Stick with Trump, clingers. Like his family members, vendors, customers, lenders, neighbors, employees, and advisors, you come to regret transacting with him.

  • James Pollock||

    "President Trump is not a politician"

    By what possible standard or definition?

  • Careless||

    I'm fairly confident that death threats against public figures existed prior to 2016.

    Even ones from this specific person.

  • Rеv. Arthur I. Kirkland||

    "whataboutism" is a made up word by SJW lunatics designed to try to sound "intellectual" and stifle legitimate criticism of the blatant hypocrisy that is on display.

  • James Pollock||

    You're not a very convincing fake.

  • Rеv. Arthur I. Kirkland||

    I am real. The fake version is the communist NPC version who parrots the "bigot" talking point like a broken record.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Haha, you're into the NPC thing too! semi-Solipsism by way of RPGs is definitely a strong philosophy for strong people.

  • aluchko||

    Looking back on your article history, I'm not seeing similar pleas for civility for lefty politicians, such as Maxine Waters, Barack Obama, Eric Holder and the like. And before anyone accuses me of whataboutism, I'm talking about double standards.

    There's no need to ask people to be civil when they're already being civil.

    The only uncivil thing any of them did is Waters' call to harass Trump administration members in public.

    Trump had nothing to do with the professor being threatened.

    Trump has been attacking the media and describing them as enemies for years, he literally praised a congressman's assault on a reporter!

    He also still calls for his opponents to be locked up, praises authoritarians who use violence to hold power, and continually associates with far right media personalities who regularly call for violence against the left.

    Did he actually call for his supporters to wage violence against his political opponents? No.

    Not to mention, every time a major incident does occur his response is basically just an un-impassioned read off the teleprompter and then he's back to the regular campaign rally. People can tell he's just going through the motions.

    So yes, no matter what you do you'll occasionally get a crazy on any side of the spectrum. But when you start sending out signals like Trump does you push a lot more of those border-line crazies over the edge.

  • ||

    This is a joke, right? The left is uncivil on a daily basis.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Hey, don't let your frequent pleas for liberal bloodshed get in the way of whatabouting other people's incivility. There's nothing grotesque or preposterous about that at all.

  • David Nieporent||

    Did he actually call for his supporters to wage violence against his political opponents? No.

    Well... not exactly... but he did offer to pay his supporters' legal bills if they assaulted his political opponents.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Legal bills, sure. That pales next to the sweet life of a Honduran refugee on the Soros/ZOG gravey train.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, he didn't really.

    At a rally, warned that somebody was going to show up again to throw tomatoes at him, he said,

    ""If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them." "I'll pay the legal fees,"

    I dare say that people throwing tomatoes at Trump events are a tiny, tiny subset of "his political opponents". Further, it's actually legally assault and battery, and if somebody is throwing things at the speaker, you don't actually know that they're "just" tomatoes until they hit.

    So, what he actually did was offer to pay his supporters' legal bills if they defended him against assault and battery.

  • James Pollock||

    " Further, it's actually legally assault and battery"

    It is? They teach it differently in law school.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    How do they teach it in law school?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Really? I say, if you threateningly throw something at somebody, it's assault. If you connect, it's battery. In fact, the guy in question plead guilty to disorderly conduct, in return for the prosecutors dropping an assault charge.

    Back in 2009, somebody got charged with assault for throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin.

  • James Pollock||

    "Really? I say, if you threateningly throw something at somebody, it's assault."

    You can say it, but that's not what assault is (though you're closer this time than last time.)

    " If you connect, it's battery."
    This part, you did get right on the second try.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Not all assaults and not all batteries are equal. Responding to a thrown and maybe target-contacting tomato by beating the crap out of the thrower is likely a criminally violent escalation.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Again, until it connects, you don't know it's a tomato. All you know is that somebody is committing an assault. Could be a tomato, could be a bottle of acid, could be a bomb.

    It's just a projectile, and nobody has a right to throw projectiles at other people without some sort of advance consent.

    Personally, I've got no problems with beating the crap out of somebody who commits premeditated assault. What basis do they have for complaining that they were assaulted?

  • Leo Marvin||

    When you try that in the real world, be sure to pay your defense lawyer up front for all work including appeals. After you hand everything you own over to the guy you pommeled, it will be a shame if you have to finish your own criminal defense pro se. At least if you're lucky, by then you may already be in one of the prisons with a decent, albeit rudimentary law library.

    Oh, I forgot! Donald Trump is going to pay all your legal bills!

    LOL. Good luck with that.

  • James Pollock||

    "Again, until it connects, you don't know it's a tomato. "

    You still have the problem that the defense of "defense of self and others" doesn't permit escalation of violence. If you throw a snowball at me, and I respond by shooting at you, walking into court and saying "well, it could have been a grenade", it won't take long to point out that it wasn't.

    "nobody has a right to throw projectiles at other people without some sort of advance consent."
    Incorrect. You left out a bunch of qualifications and conditions.

    "Personally, I've got no problems with beating the crap out of somebody who commits premeditated assault. What basis do they have for complaining that they were assaulted?"

    None. Since the actual lawsuit would be for battery.

  • kctipton||

    This guy was completely immersed in Trump's polemic blasts. Yes, we can safely blame Trump and those who repeated his stuff (FOX news, Hannity, etc.)

  • I Callahan||

    "Hodgekinson was completely immersed in Bernie's polemic blasts. Yes, we can safely blame Bernie and those who repeated his stuff (MSNBC, CNN, etc.)"

    This game is so easy. You don't even have to think to play it. As a matter of fact, it's better if you don't!!

  • James Pollock||

    Most people, by the time they're around ten years old, get a lecture from their mom explaining that just because other people do or did something of wrong, that doesn't excuse your own wrongdoing.

  • David Nieporent||

    And before anyone accuses me of whataboutism, I'm talking about double standards.

    "Before anyone accuses me of whataboutism, I'm going to brag about the fact that I'm whatabouting!"

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Essentially, yeah, because "whataboutism" is just putting things in context in order to point out a double standard. So, yeah, it's whatabouting, but whatabouting is good.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Brett, not only does a double standard not absolve you side, but any double standard goes the other direction.

  • I Callahan||

    Yes, but then we have to talk about volume. Do you want to go that route?

  • Sarcastr0||

    If you want to go the Kevin rout below and post every stolen yard sign as proof Libs are the Real Mob here, go ahead. I'm not sure you'd even convince yourself, though.

    But I take your larger point that one upsmanship is a dumb game to play. Condemn these three acts, and maybe lay of the 'other side does bad things so my side's OK.'

    I promise the next time Maxine Waters pops off I'll say she's dumb.

  • James Pollock||

    "Essentially, yeah, because "whataboutism" is just putting things in context in order to point out a double standard. So, yeah, it's whatabouting, but whatabouting is good."

    When you were about 10, and your mom caught you shoplifting a candy bar from the grocery store, did you defend yourself by saying "look, other kids stole candy bars, too, and some of THEM got more than one!" and did that get you off the hook?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    When I was about 10, (never mind that I didn't shoplift, I'll run with the hypothetical.) you weren't my mom. Nobody today stands in that sort of relationship with me, save God, and if God accuses me of something, I'm not stupid enough to make excuses.

    If I were, (Hypothetically), out shoplifting with another 10 year old, and he accused me of being a shoplifter, yeah, I'd point out he was just as guilty. THAT is the true analogy. "Whataboutism" is not an accusation leveled by a unambiguous superior to a minor subordinate. It's an accusation leveled between equals, to prevent somebody from pointing out that your shit stinks, too.

  • James Pollock||

    " "Whataboutism" is not an accusation leveled by a unambiguous superior to a minor subordinate."

    It's an attempt to evade consequences of wrongdoing by pointing to others' guilt.

    But "but THEY did it, too!" might work between you and your buds, but that just shows that you're all equally defective in moral upbringing as indicated by not understanding this simple point.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yelling "Whataboutism" is nothing but an effort, when you're complaining about the smell of somebody's shit, to keep them from pointing out that yours is fragrant, too.

    That's all it is.

    If it were anything more, you'd say, "Fair cop!" not "Whataboutism!"

    I guess I can understand the desire to be able to criticize other people for something, and not have it be mentioned that you're guilty, too. That doesn't mean I have to pretend it's a respectable desire.

  • James Pollock||

    "Yelling "Whataboutism" is nothing but an effort, when you're complaining about the smell of somebody's shit, to keep them from pointing out that yours is fragrant, too"

    Sometimes true, I suppose.
    But lots of times, it's just an accurate description of somebody's attempt to distract from the immediate issue

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Not just sometimes, almost always in my experience. If not for desperate attempts to obstruct the introduction of context to a discussion, "whataboutism" would be an obscure term virtually nobody had ever heard of.

  • James Pollock||

    "Not just sometimes, almost always in my experience"

    Then your experience is extremely limited.
    Being that your interpretation requires you to know what's in someone else's head, I find it unconvincing.

  • Rеv. Arthur I. Kirkland||

    No, it's simply pointing out the wrongdoing of the guilty that are given a free pass by your communist comrades.

  • James Pollock||

    Is it OK with you if I take your imaginary "communist comrades", and replace them with imaginary supermodels with low enough standards to find me attractive? It takes about the same effort, and it's WAY more fun for me.

  • I Callahan||

    You used to have intelligent comments on the Conspiracy. What happened to you?

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm not seeing similar pleas for civility for lefty politicians,[...] I'm talking about double standards."

    But... are you?
    While it's true that many bad qualities are shared by both right and left, calling for violence isn't something that both sides are using equally at this time in America.

    "The fact is that there are crazies in a country of 300 million, and the idea that the president is the reason they act up"

    If the President, or anyone else, tells the crazies that their crazy ideas are not at all crazy, or tells them that violence in support of those ideas is just fine, that's a contributing factor. If a huge crowd of people loudly supports these things, that's a contributing factor.
    People in mobs are not rational. This isn't a radical idea, it's been known for a few millennia. After being in a mob situation, most people walk away from it and come back to their senses, but the degree of normality returned to, and the time it takes to get there, vary widely amongst the population.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "While it's true that many bad qualities are shared by both right and left, calling for violence isn't something that both sides are using equally at this time in America."

    Both sides perceive the other side's rhetoric as calling for violence, and their own side's rhetoric as minor hyperbole.

  • James Pollock||

    "Both sides perceive the other side's rhetoric as calling for violence, and their own side's rhetoric as minor hyperbole."

    I'm a non-partisan (more correctly, anti-partisan) centrist. What either side perceives may or may not be related to reality. The fact is, the two sides do NOT have equal measures of calling for violence at this time. Calling for harassment of people trying to eat in restaurants is not the same thing as advocating "second-amendment solutions" to problem politicians.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Is somebody calling for second amendment solutions, rather than pointing out that they could eventually be deserved? Because there's a distinct shortage of lefties being shot, but no shortage of Republicans being run out of restaurants and other public venues.

  • James Pollock||

    "Is somebody calling for second amendment solutions, rather than pointing out that they could eventually be deserved?"

    Is there a substantive difference? Both "we should shoot them now" and "we're gonna haveta shoot them, later" are calls to violence. One just shows more patience (sort of).

    "there's a distinct shortage of lefties being shot"
    I'm sorry the nutcases aren't keeping up to your preferred schedule.

    "no shortage of Republicans being run out of restaurants"
    Interesting way to respond to a claim that there's no equivalence between the two.
    Being run out of restaurants is free speech (or at least, as much free speech as the management is willing to put up with.)

    "other public venues"
    Poor Donnie J can't find anywhere to hold his rallies?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Is there a substantive difference?"

    Of course there's a substantive difference between, "If you cancel elections and start rounding up people and shipping them to concentration camps, we'll resort to a 2nd amendment solution." and "I'm unhappy with you now, so I'm going to start shooting.

    Unless you rule out any provocation at all being enough to justify shooting, the former is just pointing out that there are lines in the sand. Drawing the line in the sand behind where somebody already is, is rather different, no?

    And, yeah, there's a distinct shortage of lefties being shot at by righties.

    "Being run out of restaurants is free speech"

    No, not really, when the 'free speech' is of the threatening sort.

  • James Pollock||

    "Of course there's a substantive difference between [two things that just appeared for the first time\"

    OK, but how about the two things that I actually asked about?

    "'Being run out of restaurants is free speech'
    No, not really, when the 'free speech' is of the threatening sort."

    That's an AMAZING pivot you have there.

    So, to sum up. "I will shoot you"-- sorry, meant to say "there is a line in the sand" is NOT threatening in any way, but "I will continue to make lots of noise as you try to eat if you try to eat here" definitely is threatening. So you are arguing my original point, that the two are not at all equivalent to each other.

  • Rеv. Arthur I. Kirkland||

    The Bull Cow is a deranged lunatic when it comes to the President. He's an arrogant pseudo-intellectual who wants open borders and doesn't like the fact that HIS PRESIDENT is making America great again.

  • James Pollock||

    "doesn't like the fact that HIS PRESIDENT is making America great again."

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll point out that what *I* object to is the fact that in order for MY PRESIDENT to make America great again, MY PRESIDENT first had to make America not great. The Not-Great part is coming along swell, but the Great Again part seems to be about as real as that ObamaCare repeal he was going to sign on day one.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Your last paragraph is not helpful.

    Did you blame last year's Congressional softball shooting [where people were actually injured] on any inflammatory Democratic statements about the evil GOP? There are plenty.

    This guy has a long history of threats and crazy statements, people are responsible for their own crazy actions.

  • I Callahan||

    If anything, it's the constant adversarial attitude toward Donald Trump that made this guy go off. He sent bombs to some of the most outspoken anti Trump people on the left.

    If the above seems crazy, just think about how crazy blaming Donald Trump for your being threatened and some nut losing it sounds to a lot of us.

  • Dan S.||

    No Democratic politician has praised a physical assault on a political opponent, or has offered to pay for the legal defense of people who commit such assaults. Donald Trump has done these things. That is a significant difference.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Possibly true, but many prominent officials from the progressive side have very recently called for violence. Directly.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Who?

  • Brett Bellmore||

  • James Pollock||

    "Eric Holder: 'When they go low, we kick them.'"

    That's not advocating violence. That's clever wordplay. Did you miss the joke?
    If this counts as advocating violence, so did everyone who ever talked about bringing a knife to a gunfight when talking about anything other than a shootout.

    "This is one of those topics where they've activated their political censorship algorithm."

    Right. You couldn't find anything, and it can't POSSIBLY be because you're wrong, so it MUST be some kind of cover-up.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The audience responded by chanting, "Fight! Fight! Fight!" and Holder was not displeased.

    Yeah, that's advocating violence, as much as most of what we're talking about here. It's certainly advocating violence on a "Might it provoke some lunatic living out of his van?" scale.

    "Right. You couldn't find anything, and it can't POSSIBLY be because you're wrong, so it MUST be some kind of cover-up."

    When I enter a politically fraught search string on Google, and Google returns crap in the way of responsive results, and then I enter the exact same search string at DuckDuckGo, and get page after page of relevant results, yeah, I know damn well Google is censoring its search results. It's happened frequently over the last couple of years.

    If the topic isn't political, Google is reliably the better search engine. And it turns into crap if you're searching for something that makes Democrats look bad. That's pretty blatant.

  • James Pollock||

    "The audience responded by chanting, 'Fight! Fight! Fight!' and Holder was not displeased."

    Funny. That's NOT what the link you provided says.

    "Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high.' No. No. When they go low, we kick them," Holder said to laughter and applause. "

    It says the audience laughed at his joke. But since that doesn't fit your narrative, suddenly you're adding new details...

    "Yeah, that's advocating violence, as much as most of what we're talking about here."

    Again, not according to the link YOU provided.

    "Later on during that speech, Holder clarified that his 'kick them' was rhetorical, not literal. 'When I say we kick 'em, I don't mean we do anything inappropriate, we don't do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight,' he explained."

    So, if you wanted to see if anyone was following the links, they answer was "yes". If you wanted people to think the links you provided supported your claims, the answer is "hahaha".

  • JesseAz||

    Ilya hasn't even blamed the ricin attacks from last week on democratic speech; or the attempted stabbing of a GOP candidate in California earlier this year; or the multiple assaults. Those were just coincidental though, not directed by democrats.

  • JesseAz||

    Ilya hasn't even blamed the ricin attacks from last week on democratic speech; or the attempted stabbing of a GOP candidate in California earlier this year; or the multiple assaults. Those were just coincidental though, not directed by democrats.

  • James Pollock||

    "Ilya hasn't even blamed the ricin attacks from last week on democratic speech"

    Mind pointing out which "democratic speech" suggested that attacking people with ricin was a good idea? Because if there is such a thing, I'll join you in condemning it, even without waiting for Professor Somin's guidance.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Your choice of right-wingers for your playmates is baffling, Prof. Somin. A libertarian is no fit among today's Republicans and movement conservatives.

  • epsilon given||

    Libertarians have never really been that great a fit for Republicans -- however, they have *always* been a better fit for the movement than Democrats.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The issue of bigotry alone refutes your assertion, epsilon given.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    If it is wrong to hate stupid people I gladly accept being wrong in your case.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Sayoc's stock threat of an airboat ride in the Everglades reminded me of Oct 2015 some guy didn't like my critical remarks, told me to go fuck my dead mother. I just rolled my eyes. Price of opining on the internet. (Did I blame his choice for president for spawning him? No.) I did not feel unique; gfydm was his stock insult for everyone (including women).

    14 Jun 2017 Left wing activist James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republicans practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, wounding Representative Steve Scalise, police woman Crystal Griner, aide Zack Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika. Rep Roger Williams and policeman David Bailey had nonshooting injuries. Hodgindon was killed by responding officers. VA AG called it an act of terrorism fueled by rage against Republicans. The bipartisan ballgame was held in defiance of terrorism, had double the usual crowd, and raised a million plus dollars for charity. Hodgkinson claimed to be a Bernie Sanders supporter.

    As far as I am concerned, Hodgkinson was like Sayoc a random loon who could have been obsessed with anything. 2015 Sayoc reported some Trump brand suits stolen from his van, before he registered republican, probably before he began posting about Trump.

    Using Hodgkinson as a club to beat the left or Sayoc as a club to beat the right is just the sort of partisan polarization that serves as gasoline and lighter.

  • Michael W. Towns||

    This article perfectly illustrates my Trump-As-Rorschach thesis.

  • James Pollock||

    I'd say more Rorschach-as-Trump.

    1) Something happened that didn't used to happen. This feels new.

    2) What changed recently?

    To the Pro-Trump crowd, anything good that happened is because of Trump's election. (That's certainly the story HE'LL tell). Anything bad that happened... either didn't happen, or was some kind of blame-the-victim ("It's a false flag attack! They did it to themselves!")

    To the anti-Trump crowd, just the same only backwards.

    So, in a couple of weeks, the story may start to change... things will be caused by the midterm results.

  • KevinP||

    Nonetheless, here, as elsewhere, Trump's egregious violations of basic liberal democratic norms are deeply reprehensible, and he should be made to pay a high political price for them, lest other political leaders be emboldened to follow in his footsteps.

    The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

    The 9 Minutes that almost changed America: Congressional Baseball Shooting


    Quotes:
    Many lawmakers are mad, or frustrated, at how quickly the story disappeared from the headlines given that the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, targeted Republicans. The FBI concluded the shooting wasn't politically motivated — suicide by cop, they told members after an investigation.

    But Hodgkinson carried a list of names of lawmakers in his pocket: Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Trent Franks, Scott DesJarlais, Jeff Duncan, and Morgan Griffith. The list included their office numbers and short physical descriptions. He'd recorded video of the field in April of of that year — a sign, the prosecutor wrote in his official report, that Hodgkinson "had already selected Simpson field as a potential target as early as April 2017."

    His social media posts show that he hated Trump, and supported Bernie Sanders, for whose 2016 campaign he volunteered. He routinely wrote letters to the local paper, criticizing Republicans
  • Bob from Ohio||

    "The FBI concluded the shooting wasn't politically motivated"

    Time to dissolve the FBI. We need a competent and professional agency instead.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    We could try a Democratic FBI director first.

  • James Pollock||

    "Time to dissolve the FBI. We need a competent and professional agency instead."

    If the finding was "suicide by cop" based on the evidence... which I haven't seen... then shooting at Republican Congresscritters first makes sense... if you're trying to rile up the cops, and don't want to, say, blow up a daycare... then shooting at the Congresscritters in the controlling party probably gets a bigger splash than shooting at the Congresscritters on the minority party. Not as good at shooting at, say, actual cops, but better than shooting at say, unsolicited commercial emailers or used-car salesman.

  • Michael Cook||

    Sayoc seems to be a renegade right wing Seminole Indian who has liked to go on the warpath a lot. It may be that immigration was one of his hot button issues, although it is pretty late in the day for Native Americans to be up in arms about that.

    Ominously, immigration may also have been on the mind of Robert Bowers, the Pittsburg shooter. The Jewish congregation he attacked was quite active in promoting easier and more unlimited entry of refugees from any of the world's trouble spots.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Cesar Sayoc, Jr., was born in New York to an Italian mom and a Filipino father who abandoned the family. Later Sayoc moved to Florida. I believe his cousin Lenny Altieri told AP that Sayoc is not Seminole.

    Robert Bowers criticized Trump for being a globalist and being beholden to the Jews.

    And chaotic illegal migration (open borders) is not the same as legal immigration.(respecting the laws, borders and sovereignty of the USA).

  • Rock Lobster||

    So the nutjob is as much a Seminole as Elizabeth Warren is a Cherokee?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You don't know that; A bio like that is perfectly consistent with being 10-20 times more Seminole than Warren is Cherokee.

  • Rock Lobster||

    True enough. I apologize for inadvertently disparaging the nutjob. (The shooter, not Elizabath Warren. Confusing, I know).

  • AmosArch||

    Couldn't resist an opportunity to score political points. You don't even care that Democrats like Hillary have seriously encouraged violence but were not joking or offhand about it. Also everybody receives death threats online. I've gotten death threats. You're no victim.

  • Sarcastr0||

    When a story supports the narrative that your side is getting violent, angry dismissal and normalizing of death threats by an attempted killer is one way to go, I guess.

  • JesseAz||

    You're really stupid sometimes.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Half-educated bigots don't like Sarcastro?

    He should be content.

  • AmosArch||

    Okay Sarky. I'll consider being apologetic over this if you let me see your posts rending your garments and loudly proclaiming how wrong the Dems and how right the Repubs were after the Scalise shooting.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "your side is getting violent"

    A Bernie Sanders volunteer nearly murdered a dozen GOP members of Congress barely a year ago.

    A Trump daughter in law had to go to the hospital because she opened a powder filled envelope.

    Mattis and a half dozen others got powder filled envelopes a month ago.

    A GOP congress candidate in California was stabbed this fall.

    One of David Brocks's goons assaulted a female GOP press secretary last week.

    Take the beam out of your eye.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yeah, so the conservatives on this forum see a day when three people on their side were violent, and their choice is to call the other side violent and their side just some lone nuts.

    To be clear to all three of you: I don't buy the narrative that this guy proves the narrative. Because narratives aren't about truth, they're about perception. For my belief regarding what's true right now, see below.

    But your decision that the real narrative to push is that the other side are the violent ones by looking backwards and cherry picking; that's is a pretty dumb move to play today.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "a day when three people on their side were violent,"

    If you mean the Nazi in Pittsburgh is on "my side", you can go to hell.

    You have read too many of Kirkland's posts.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I've got bad news for which side's rallies included people chanting 'Jews will not replace us' and about whose narrative about the migrant caravan the shooter embraced, and who is ranting about Soros and Globalists.

    Not your people, but your bedfellows. If you hate it (and good on you for doing so) you guys need to work on your relationship with the alt right.

  • ||

    Those on the alt-right are often right for the wrong reasons. That means they're going to support many of us policies. There's nothing we can do about that.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "I've got bad news for which side's rallies included people chanting 'Jews will not replace us' "

    Any news on which side called Jews "termites"?

  • Leo Marvin||

    Any news? Well, Farrakhan started waxing euphoric over Trump a couple of years ago. Last I heard he was doing it again, and some notable Trump supporters high-fived the news.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yeah, Farrakhan is truly the leader of our party and hosting lots of violent demonstrations.

    I'm not saying the left is free of antisemitism, I'm saying that whenever someone shoots up a temple or Holocaust museum or whatnot it ain't coming from the left.

  • Toranth||

    You've got bad news? You mean you've got "bigoted prejudices".

    Turns out the shooter was virulently ANTI-Trump. He was convinced that Trump was a pawn of the Jews, and a traitor for having let them into his family. The shooter stated he was proud of never having voted for Trump.

    Anti-semitism is far more prevalent on the Left than the Right. Just take a look at the Leftist politicians that publicly support it - blaming the Jews for weather, for banking downturns, calling them termites. Hell, just look at BDS - tens of thousands of proud Left-wing members.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Antisemitic violence is coming from the right, and the alt-right is full of it. You can keep saying it's more of a liberal problem, but everyone knows which side has graduated to bullets.

    Being anti-Trump and any personality worship, but being incensed by his lies about the migrant caravan? That's not a great defense of Trump.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Identify some lies by Trump about the caravan. And here's a tip: "Lies" does not mean, "Media reporting does not confirm."; You need to prove that he's said things that aren't true, not things that aren't supported by reporting by a media that's 90-95% run by his political enemies.

  • Toranth||

    Let me be clear: You are arguing that "Sure, the shooter hated Trump and considered him a Jew-loving race-Traitor, but he listened to him and believed in what Trump told him"?

    Is that seriously the argument you've chosen to make?

  • Leo Marvin||

    Turns out the shooter was virulently ANTI-Trump. He was convinced that Trump was a pawn of the Jews, and a traitor for having let them into his family. The shooter stated he was proud of never having voted for Trump.

    By your reasoning, every Bernie or Jill Stein supporter who proudly refused to vote for Hillary, believing her a traitor for taking all that Goldman Sachs money, is a right winger.

    Is that what you think? Susan Sarandon's a right winger? Cornel West? Cynthia McKinney?

  • Toranth||

    No, that's not my reasoning, and considering I never said a word about the shooting being left-wing, it shows your own biases. Really, that's some amazing conclusion jumping. Have you tried out for the Logic Fail Olympics?

    I'm saying that if the shooter hated Trump, then blaming Trump for the shooter's behavior is idiotic.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you mean the Nazi in Pittsburgh is on "my side", you can go to hell.

    This shooter was an older Appalachian white male who hated immigrants, Jews, blacks, and gays.

    You figure him for a straight-ticket Democrat, operating within the liberal-libertarian mainstream?

    He was a gullible, disaffected loser. A malcontent who seethed about all of this damned progress in America. I doubt we will be reading about his advanced degrees, his marketable skills, his strong career.

  • ||

    No, he was seethed about his country being overrun by third-world immigrants. That isn't "progress."

    However, he wrongly attributed that to Jews. As I said, he was right for the wrong reasons.

  • Sarcastr0||

    What about the shooting a bunch of people, was that wrong too?

  • ||

    Yes. Any other stupid questions?

  • Leo Marvin||

    Why was it wrong? They were probably all liberals.

  • Rock Lobster||

    I understand your consternation, and I sympathize with it, but you might want to keep a few things in perspective before pontificating on "lessons we can learn" or what further restrictive actions should be taken in yet another illusory exercise of Security Theater.

    I am grateful that the guy included no pictures of your family in his Facebook threat, photos of anonymous alligators notwithstanding, and I'm glad he did not actually send you one of his apparently less than functional bombs. As of now, all indications are that the guy is a lone nut who is no more a product of some Trumpian conspiracy than the nut who gunned down Steve Scalise in an actual act of lethal violence was part of a Bernie-bro terror cell. Blowing this out of proportion because you may have been personally singled out is not helpful.

    Even if the reprehensible threats against you had been more substantial, reflexively calling for more restraints on already prohibited speech (death threats are illegal and against the TOS of most social media sites) is not only wrong in principle, it is counterproductive in exactly the wrong way. Driving fringe nuttery underground in a grand progressive crusade against "hate speech" ain't the way, pard.

    These nuts alone are responsible for their actions. Individual liberty and personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin. You cannot devolve the latter without doing the same in equal amount to the former. We've surrendered enough of both.

  • Sarcastr0||

    These nuts alone are responsible for their actions

    You might want to get your story straight with the commenters on here trying to blame Dems for all sorts of past violence. Seems you guys are trying to have your blame and eat it too.

    I think you are largely correct that the political allegiance a nut chooses is pretty immaterial to the nut being nuts.

    But looking at history, at some point lone wolves become common enough on one side that it becomes an ecosystem and not just a nut. I don't think we're there yet, but I don't like the momentum I see on the right. Not that the left is doing great here, but 1) they are largely the reactive side when it comes to protests turning violent lately, and 2) your side is the one abusing the bully pulpit.

  • AmosArch||

    Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I've seen the violent protests these days usually consist of rightwing er WHITE SUPREMACISTS/ALTRIGHT engaging in their 1st amendment rights then they are either purposely funneled or the police standby while they are attacked by ANTIFA I mean peaceful counterprotesters. Then once they fight back the police move to arrest them and the media runs headlines about how 100% exclusively FAR RIGHT ULTRAVIOLENT WHITE NEONAZI NATIONALISTS ATTACK COUNTERPROTESTERS.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Look into the Proud Boys in NYC.

    And no, the police are very much not standing by if you look at any of the many, many photographs and movies you see at each of these events.
    These are mutual melees, and if you don't think both sides aren't spoiling for a fight, your confirmation bias is stronger than mine!

  • AmosArch||

    The Proud boys came about as a way to defend against attacks by ANTIFA. If the police were actually doing their job like you say then these brawls wouldn't be happening in the first place. From everything I've seen, the context of most brawls are leftwing counterprotesters accosting a preplanned right wing march and the Proud Boys are usually responding to attacks by ANTIFA.

    If you have evidence showing this is not the case on a more than anecdotal/isolated level. Ie this is not the trend, then I'll be genuinely interested to see it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The Proud Boy are a bunch of angry thugs with weird masculinity issues. Their recent rampage around NYC wasn't exactly protecting anyone from Antifa, it was something even dumber than that.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Let the record show you didn't answer the challenge at all.

  • Sarcastr0||

    OK, dude. Burden's on him to show the Proud Boys are indeed 'defending against Antifa'

    Or google the NYC rampage and look for any signs of Antifa in it.

  • AmosArch||

    Okay I'll bite. I'm claiming that Proud boys purpose is to defend against attacks on perceived right wing exercises of their 1st amendment rights and they generally respond to and don't initiate attacks. Thats along the lines of what they'd say if you ask them and most videos (including NYC) apparently fit that view as you can see them begin as marches and then brawls with masked or dark clad figures. The preponderance of evidence clearly fits my more parsimonious explanation. OTOH you appear to claim Proud Boys roam the streets randomly and just happen to keep finding large groups of armed masked and black clad pedestrians with batons and pepper spray just shopping for groceries or pushing their baby prams around minding their own business, to attack and brutalize.

  • David Nieporent||

    Correct me if I'm wrong

    How much time do you think we have?

  • Rock Lobster||

    I'm responsible for my own speech, not anyone else's.

    As for the nuts and their potential ecosystems on either side of the political spectrum, I can't agree that the right is more troublesome in this regard. The left has long had an ethos of revolution that is glorified and envied by the more mainstream left leaning establishment, as evidenced by the comfortable "retirement" into academia of such luminaries as Bill Ayers and his unlovely wife. There is no corresponding mainstreaming of violent right-wing extremists, nor should there be, but the contrast is striking.

    As to your last two enumerated points, it is not clear at all that your first point is correct, angry mobs being angry mobs, and secondly, my side? Since when have libertarians been the ones abusing the bully pulpit?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Rock Lobster, nobody is complaining about your speech. People on the political left are complaining about Trump's speech—which to a greater degree than in any previous presidency, resorts to incitements of politically-motivated violence. The reason there is no equivalence to be found by citing Antifa, or whoever, is because no comparable figure on the political left has systematically and continuously incited political violence against the right.

    The reason right wingers have to own their nuts, but left wingers do not have to own theirs, is because left-wingers denounce their nuts, and President Trump encourages his.

    If you want not to feel criticized, stop supporting Trump. Demand instead that Trump stand up to his political base—the base that reacts with glee to his incitements, while demanding more—and tell them they are wrong, and he wants better. Until then, you are a Trump supporter. So yeah, it's your side.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You contend that left wingers denounce their nuts as opposed to right wingers who don't? Anyone who does not stand with the Democrats in opposition to all things Trump is a deplorable Trump supporter? I'm afraid I don't see the neat dichotomy that you claim exists here.

    I do see that progressives have a very different worldview to those who believe in the primacy of individual liberty and personal responsibility over the state and the amorphous "collective." In fact, the progressive agenda is quite hostile to these ideas and those of us who hold them. So, insofar as Trump opposes the progressive agenda, I support that. When he takes illiberal actions, I oppose that. Thus far, the former significantly outweighs the latter.

    And BTW, I don't really care what you or any other leftist--or for that matter, sycophants of Trump or any other politician--thinks of me. I support free speech absolutely, and you may criticize me, or even insult or demonize me, to your heart's content (you should also understand that that's a two way street, and political correctness is just a myth). As a libertarian, I am in no way sympathetic to progressivism, and that is unlikely to change.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Right now the left is some state senators speaking intemperately on the Internet. You have the President and head of your party regularly calling the press a threat to America and speaking in violent terms about Democrats and immigrants.

    So yeah, both sides have their issues but one's is more important than the other at the current juncture.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Journalists who have been critical of Bush, Obama, and Trump all note how the death threats only really started when they started criticizing Trump.

    link

  • Rock Lobster||

    Yes. The left has certainly gone all quiet since the 2016 election.

    It's a credible allegation.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Although I'm not exactly proud of being associated with their clown car, the fact is I became a registered Libertarian in 2016 and voted accordingly.*

    In case you missed it, Gary Johnson didn't win. And he couldn't get the media's attention even if he was inclined to... I don't know... mail out a bunch of dud bombs to them?

    *Full disclosure--my registration has since lapsed, and my state (Texas) does not require a declared party affiliation anyway.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Haha, I voted libertarian as well, although for strategic reasons, not for policy.

  • Rock Lobster||

    That's okay, Sarcastr0. Nobody's perfect. ;-)

  • ||

    Left wingers only support individual liberty when it involves killing fetuses or inserting one's penis into another man's butt. They don't value individual liberty when it comes to property rights (see Kelo), freedom of association (see Masterpiece Bakeshop), or gun rights (see the dissent in Heller).

  • Rock Lobster||

    Well, I hate to claim any common ground with the modern left, but I have to agree with them on inserting one's penis into another man's butt (as long as they don't make it compulsory), although the cynic in me observes that their opposition to Government involvement in sexual morality is wildly inconsistent with their preference for Government regulation in all other aspects of life.

    The abortion question is more complex, because we know so little for certain. Personally, I've always found it curious that so many people who profess to be libertarian are so sure that personhood, for lack of a better word, begins only after one emerges from the birth canal, especially in light of what modern medical science allows us to discern about fetal development.

    If the so called pro-choice viewpoint is wrong, and individual human existence begins earlier than they say, then we are committing the ultimate crime against other human beings on an industrial scale. Therefore, I think we are ethically required to err on the side of caution. And in an era of cheap, effective, and readily available contraception, I think it's obvious that the left's dogmatic attachment to abortion rights as a "womens' issue" is largely a naked power play.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Rock Lobster, you are too cool to talk to that guy. He doesn't want women to vote, wants to nuke California, is into race realism, and cant stop talking about buttsex.

    He is a sad little man and the best policy is to ignore his attempts to gain attention by posting his 'shocking' positions.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You flatter me, Sarcastr0. I'm just a dude doing his best to see reality for what it is. And as Winston Churchill said, "Jaw jaw is better than war war."

  • Sarcastr0||

    Don't worry - too cool to talk to ARWP is a pretty low bar!

  • Sarcastr0||

    I'm all about talking with every other poster out there, including those believing me to be a troll or a secret Stalinist or worse. But that guy, he's special.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    At least when I was still in the libertarian movement, a substantial minority of libertarians were pro-life. I'm not even sure we really WERE the minority.

    But the pro-"choice" libertarians were firmly in control of the party machinery, that much was for sure. I suppose it's possible they've since purged the pro-lifers from the movement.

  • ||

    It's one thing to support such an act in the larger context of individual liberty. But gay anal sex and baby killing is literally ALL the left cares about. Every other liberty must be suppressed.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Rock Lobster, I urge you to re-consider political thinking in the form of:

    1. The left is terrible;

    2. I want the left defeated;

    3. For want of supporters, my own politics leave me powerless;

    4. Therefore, I support any politics whatever that offers power to oppose the left.

    That thinking relies on a questionable distinction—your distinction between political speech and political action. From the POTUS, political speech is action. Repeated speech, persistently urging a particular outcome (disregard of the press, and hostility toward it, for instance), amounts to a program.

    Heedless reliance on the enemy of an enemy has at times delivered historically bad outcomes. Perhaps the worst of them—Europe in the 1930s—was configured as an exact match for the situation you describe now—a disempowered party of reason, seeking support against a leftist opponent, turned for alliance to a dynamic upstart it thought it could shed if "illiberal actions" became distasteful.

    In that case, alliance with the leftists, however repugnant, would have proved wiser and safer. The reasonable party forgot it lacked power, and was thus no match for its dynamic but illiberal ally—which proved impossible to shed.

    You seem to be taking seriously neither the qualities nor the power of your Trumpist allies. Do you suppose libertarians have power sufficient to manage an alliance with them?

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Who the fuck says anyone has to align with anyone else? I can't believe you actually wrote that drivel, seeing as it was written so coherently but still vapid. It would appear you have a greater ability to reason and display logic, however, you fail completely to make any argument greater than, "My team is better!"

    I specifically do not align because everyone has shit so fucked up playing power politics. Rock Lobster nailed so much of it above, especially on abortion. That you fail to see, intentionally or otherwise, that you are being played and used is actually disheartening. You're better than that.

    Rock Lobster, I don't know where in Texas you are, but we need to talk over a Shiner Bock sometime.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Thanks for the kind words, man.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Who the fuck says anyone has to align with anyone else?

    Rock Lobster said it:

    So, insofar as Trump opposes the progressive agenda, I support that. When he takes illiberal actions, I oppose that. Thus far, the former significantly outweighs the latter.

  • ||

    What alliance would a freedom loving person want to have with the modern totalitarian left?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Sorry--no sale, although I commend you for an admirable attempt at persuasion using logic instead of the usual incoherent emoting I usually hear from leftists. There are several problems with your argument, though. First of all, the left is terrible. As I pointed out in my reply to you above, our ideology is quite simply antithetical and overtly hostile to my core values. There is no reconciling that.

    Second, yes I do want the left defeated. Leftist governments were responsible for over a hundred million deaths in the twentieth century in their quest to achieve and maintain power and the subsequent mismanagement of their economies. By any rational standard, the left's ideology should be completely discredited by the brutality alone, but the sheer idiocy of centrally planned economics is unequivocally clear, as well. The left must be kept from power at any cost.

    Third, your attempt to conflate presidential words with presidential actions is completely false. For example, Trump goes on and on about building a wall, yet the wall has not been built and it is unlikely to happen at all. On the other hand, the revered Democrat FDR interned thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps. The former would be an example of POTUS' words. The latter would be an example of POTUS' action. See the distinction?

    (First of 2)

  • Rock Lobster||

    Moving on, your comparison of modern day America with Europe of the 1930's is comprehensively flawed for numerous reasons, but I'll confine myself to your main premise. Despite leftist screeds to the contrary, Trump is not Hitler--not even close. Hell, he's not even Mussolini. And BTW, to reinforce a point I made in my second paragraph, Hitler was a piker compared to Stalin and Mao. Your contention that the left is a "safe" alternative is patently false.

    As for your conclusion, I must point out that despite his inflammatory rhetoric, by his actions he is ironically the most libertarian leaning president we've had in well over a century. Admittedly, that's not a very high bar, but the observation is true nonetheless.

    (2 of 2)

  • Sarcastr0||

    There's a lot of middle ground between wanting America to be more progressive and Soviet Russia or Communist China. I'm a liberal, not a Communist. I like markets, and even guns. many have trouble understanding that.

    I agree with your perception about what Trump says and what the Executive does. When Trump bad-mouthed Amazon and the stock took a dive, I bought a lot because I knew Trump wasn't going to do much more than be a blowhard. But speech matters, and Presidential speech matters. Trump's Executive Action may make you happy, but at what price our political society?

    The Holocaust was some pretty special evil, although I agree part of modern perception is that Hitler's evil was brought to light and the USSR and China remain around keeping stuff secret and running PR.

  • Rock Lobster||

    At what price to our political society? The left deliberately set about fighting a cultural war in the late sixties, and they have grown more and more marxist in their intolerance of dissent even within their own ranks since that time. Conservatives and libertarians kept giving ground and trying to appease the left until enough Republican voters decided to roll the dice with, of all people, Donald Trump, who turns out to be the perfect foil for the left precisely because he doesn't care what they say about him.

    Rhetorically, he beats the "Republican X is Literally Hitler" crowd at its own game, and this is what differentiates him most of all from modern Republican politicians. He recognizes that PC pieties are a political weapon the of the left, not a sincere expression of "virtue." He fights the culture war and does not retreat. You say there is a lot of ground between American progressivism and Soviet Russia, and maybe there is. But libertarians and conservatives have ceded far too much of that middle ground already. Trump is where the long retreat ends.

    Do I worship Trump? Far from it. The man is a flawed human being. The thing is, he knows it. He knows we know it. And he doesn't try to obscure that. Love him or hate him, you've got to admire this honest aspect of the man. And whether libertarians like me like him or not, right now he seems to be just what is needed to turn the "inexorable" tide of progressivism back on itself.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "There's a lot of middle ground between wanting America to be more progressive and Soviet Russia or Communist China."

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so if you don't want to end up in a bad place, you don't start walking towards it. 'Liberals' as today defined are selling poison, and just telling us it's not a fatal dose. But looking about the world, there's nothing stopping a country from suddenly chugging instead of sipping at that deadly bottle.

    Notice which side of the spectrum has a list of explicit constitutional rights it's opposing? The party of censorship and gun control isn't the Republicans today. It's the Democrats. That tells me a lot.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I could say the same thing about conservatives and feudalism. But that would be dumb as well.

    There are lots of examples of countries with progressive policies not becoming Communist.

    I did find your last paragraph quite an amusing bit of confirmation bias. 'My party is all for rights - as I define them!'
    Abortion, sodomy, voting. Which party is full of people decrying the Civil Rights Acts? Your argument begs the question so very, very hard.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Rock Lobster, in (2 of 2) you are still at it with the "inflammatory rhetoric," stuff. Trump's incessant denunciations of classically liberal values are very far from mere rhetoric. They have an obviously-intended political result, aimed at creating a crisis of sovereignty within the American polity.

    Many on the political right seem to welcome that notion, and encourage it accordingly. I suggest that welcoming such a crisis is folly on a potentially catastrophic scale. Please try to remember that a crisis of sovereignty is potentially far more dangerous than any mere constitutional crisis.

    Since its founding, America has had only one such crisis, the one which resulted in the Civil War. You seem to number yourself among the welcomers. I wish you didn't.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You say that Trump's "denunciations of classically liberal values" are creating a "crisis of sovereignty?" On the contrary, actual assaults on classical liberal values have been coming overwhelmingly from the left, and they have intensified over the last two decades, long predating Trump's election. That you think a "mere constitutional crisis" is a trifling thing betrays your contempt for the Constitution and the preexisting individual rights it codifies.

    The incessant social justice warrioring by the modern left incorporates the rejection of freedom of speech, rejection of the concept of innocence until proven guilty, rejection of of the individual right to keep and bear arms in one's own defense, and more broadly, the rejection of individual rights altogether in favor of identity politics and collectivism go well beyond rhetoric. People have lost their jobs, been kicked out of school, had their reputations and future prospects savaged, been physically attacked, and property destroyed. And you blame Trump, the guy whose election you enabled? That's rich.

    (1 of 2)

  • Rock Lobster||

    You say that many on the right are spoiling for a crisis that will lead to civil war? I don't think that the vast majority want this, but neither are they willing to retreat in the face of the left's assaults any further. And again, you imply that anyone who disagrees with you is part of the "right." Believe me, many libertarian leaning people don't like to be pigeon-holed by your arbitrary definitions, and your attempts to conflate everyone who is no longer intimidated by PC browbeating as goose stepping nazis earns you more enemies than converts.

    The left needs to climb down from the barricades they constructed themselves. Any "crisis of sovereignty" or civil conflict is on them if they don't. And BTW, if you do provoke such a crisis, it will not resolve in your favor. You claim to oppose fascism? Then stop behaving like thugs and work toward pulling the Democratic Party back toward the center, although I am not optimistic that is possible. The leftist rot goes deep.

    (2 of 2)

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Leftist governments were responsible for over a hundred million deaths in the twentieth century in their quest to achieve and maintain power and the subsequent mismanagement of their economies.

    I count neither the Nazis nor the Japanese as leftists. If you buy into that stuff, then we just disagree on history.

    Of course the Soviets, the Communist Chinese, and others in Asia were leftists, and murderous on a vast scale. But don't forget the Nationalist Chinese, whose practice of war deliberately induced famine on a scale more deadly than anything ever practiced by the Soviets. That always seems to get left out of these partisan tallies asserting leftist ideology has been the more murderous. (Actually, it isn't left out. It's more like the deaths caused by Nationalist Chinese starvation tactics get attributed by right wingers to the Communist Chinese.)

    Perhaps more to the point, as a matter of history, the ideological economic questions are in only a minority of the incidents (the Ukraine famine, notably) clearly disentangled from the various war/tyranny questions.

    I'm never impressed by this "leftism means mass death, Democrats are leftists, Democrats mean mass death," kind of thinking. I don't expect mass starvation in Norway.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You can deny, quibble with the numbers killed, and deflect (this isn't Norway) all you wish, but despite their best efforts at washing the blood off themselves, the history of the left is clear. In the same way, the actions of the modern American left speak very loudly, and the majority of people do not like what they see.

    I'm not trying to impress you. Whether or not you think the slope is slippery, it is. And the "just a little bit of tyranny in pursuit of the greater good" argument is as morally bankrupt now as it always was. Americans understand that Utopia isn't waiting just around the corner if we only paste a happy face on socialism.

    And while I've enjoyed our discussion, I don't think continuing it further serves any useful purpose. Good day, and I hope you will reevaluate your adherence to the murderous and unworkable ideology for which you serve as such an able apologist.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Stephen Lathrop you post such a large amount of insane gibberish it is hard to find only one thing to disagree with.

    "In that case, alliance with the leftists, however repugnant, would have proved wiser and safer. The reasonable party forgot it lacked power, and was thus no match for its dynamic but illiberal ally—which proved impossible to shed."

    The communists in Germany actually tried to overthrow the government in 1918-1919 and you are suggesting this is somhow a better ally than the Nazis. Communists, mind you, emboldened by the shining example posed by the Bolsheviks. What could go wrong?

    How about you throw the bullshit off and call a turd a turd whether it is communist or fascist.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    JoeBlow123, in the end, of course, communists achieved rule over half of Germany. And it was a particularly hard, vengeful, and bitter kind of communism, fully conditioned by the terrible and bitter experience of the war which Nazis unleashed.

    Few if any in Germany remember that interval with fond feelings today. But among the Germans who lived through both eras, how many do you suppose, if given the choice, wouldn't take East German communist rule over Nazism?

    So yeah, I am suggesting that the communists in 1918-1919 would likely have proved a far better ally than the Nazis later proved to be. I would be surprised to find any responsible person to suggest otherwise.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "JoeBlow123, in the end, of course, communists achieved rule over half of Germany. And it was a particularly hard, vengeful, and bitter kind of communism, fully conditioned by the terrible and bitter experience of the war which Nazis unleashed."

    The communism you describe already went through their terror and purged (executed) hundreds of thousands and deliberately starved millions so they could sell grain to foreigners in exchange for hard currency. After all, what are millions who starve to death compared to the great march of history forward towards a communist future?

    I sincerly suggest you look into what actually occured in the late 1920s to early 1930s in Bolshevik Russia, far before Hitler was a twinkle in Hindenburg's eye and before the spectre of WWII threatened Europe. The contention Hitler was somehow less worse than Stalin/Lenin/Trotsky or whatever stooge would have took over in Germany as the communist leader there is laughable. They were all turds.

  • iowantwo||

    Dems inciting violence? No never,

    www.cnn.com/2016/10/18/politic.....index.html

    The do employee special people to hire and train people to create mobs and start violence. Not just Democrat Party operatives. But the leader of The Democrat Party. The President of he United States, meets with and directs these actions from the Oval Office.

  • Sarcastr0||

    We've been around about this. Protesters going to rallies hoping the violent yahoos on the other side get violent is basically what MLK was doing in Selma. It's pretty damn noble, really.

  • Michael Cook||

    Whenever I get a death threat, my usual caution is: "Careful there, sport. Your alligator mouth may get you more trouble than your hummingbird behind can handle."

    Picked that up in my decades working in the jail, and fancied it.

  • Eddy||

    Maybe his lawyers will ask him to elucidate on the whole "Seminole" thing - to help with an insanity defense, perhaps? Or is he an actual Seminole?

  • Mesoman||

    The threats to you are chilling, and you are right that obviously illegal content should be removed, although I'd prefer even that done via injunction.

    Professor Somin, you ruin your position as a reasonable commentator with both your tiresome attack on Trump, and your persistent pro-illegal immigration extremism. It's a shame, because this article was otherwise very good, and of course, interesting.

    I was going to share it, but I'm not sharing something with those defects.

  • WarrenPeese||

    It would be interesting to see all the other folks that the MAGAbomber made death threats to. I'm guessing the list is really long.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "It is entirely possible that Sayoc is the sort of person who would be prone to violence regardless. "

    I was under the impression this had already been established.

    Who is Cesar Sayoc?

    The dude has a long history of criminal violence, long predating Trump's political career. And as you well know, egregious violations of political norms of Trump's sort are so common that I question if they are really norms.

  • Ben_||

    The best lesson anyone could learn: don't use Facebook.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Roger that.

  • KHB||

    I knew before I read this you would blame Trump.
    Trump has not endorsed violence against journalists. There is no reason to believe any rhetoric contributed to this loon going off, and in particular none to suggest it wasn't overheated rhetoric by Trump critics which pushed his buttons. But if that proves to be the case, if he announce "Somin made me do it" I still won't blame you. Speech sir does not excuse terrorism.

  • aluchko||

    Trump has not endorsed violence against journalists.

    Trump never retweeted an meme of him beating up a wrestler with the CNN logo for a head?

    Trump never praised a congressman's assault (bodyslam) of a reporter (shortly after Saudi Arabia murdered a reporter)?

    Trump never called the media the "enemy of the people"?

    There is no reason to believe any rhetoric contributed to this loon going off, and in particular none to suggest it wasn't overheated rhetoric by Trump critics which pushed his buttons.

    Have you not seen pictures of the van? There's every reason to believe that Trump's rhetoric created the social media bubble that pushed him over this particular edge.

    Speech sir does not excuse terrorism

    No one even tried to argue it did.

  • Toranth||

    If, uh, you a) think WWF is real violence, and b) cannot understand that a meme (like political cartoons) are not reality, then you may need medical help.

    Additionally, calling the media "enemy of the people" is not violence, nor is it inciting violence. It's certainly less offensive or inciting than calling someone a rapist, a murderer, or "literally Hitler" - which hundreds of those same media members have referred to Trump as during the past two years.

    The sheer overreaction by you Leftists to being called out for what your own PR branch does every day used to be amusing. Now it's just trite and boring. But I understand that it's all you have left, though.

  • aluchko||

    a/b The meme celebrates violence.

    Additionally, calling the media "enemy of the people" is not violence, nor is it inciting violence.

    Don't play dumb, calling someone the "enemy of the people" is labelling that someone as an other with whom you can't compromise or negotiate, only fight. And one of the ways people fight is with actual violence, that's why it's considered violent rhetoric.

    It's certainly less offensive or inciting than calling someone a rapist, a murderer, or "literally Hitler" - which hundreds of those same media members have referred to Trump as during the past two years.

    Only a small minority of media members did any of those (despite the fact there's a court deposition accusing him of rape). And we're talking about incitements to violence, not saying mean things about someone.

    I also noticed you didn't address the bit where he celebrated body slamming a reporter. I think the bit where he literally endorses violence against a reporter really undercuts your claim that he isn't inciting violence.

  • Sarcastr0||

    This.

    You can endorse violence without explicitly saying 'hey you should pipe bomb some folks.'

    The causal connection here is not and cannot be clear, but Trump is not making a healthy ecosystem.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "This."

    Sarcastro, I want to be clear on what you're agreeing with. Aluchko claims that retweeting this "celebrates violence". Are you seriously agreeing that this meme "celebrates violence"? Because that strikes me as nonsense equivalent to banning finger-guns on the playground.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Pop tarts chewed into the shape of a gun don't kill people. People kill people.

    But the left will have their zero-tolerance in spite of all common sense.

    And Trump is a big poopyhead.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I wouldn't call it celebrating violence, nor is it the best example of Trump's problematic rhetoric. But that's not a 'CNN is dumb' meme, it's a 'use force against CNN' meme. A lame one, to be sure, and that undercuts it's efficacy (and the dignity of the office but...). Still, it's not a place I want the President to go about anyone, and certainly not the media.

    I'm not saying we ban anything (how could we), but yeah, I'm criticizing the President for his irresponsible rhetoric and use of opposition-as-enemy, and chortling about beating up the other side.

  • Rock Lobster||

    The meme is far more WWE than WW III. Pro wrestling isn't real, but it is a good metaphor for Trump's rhetorical style. And I hate to tell you, but the rules of the game have changed, and political correctness is on the ropes. The left cannot win this fight, and doing the same outrage thing over and over isn't going to change that.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    the rules of the game have changed, and political correctness is on the ropes

    This is why I call a right-wing bigot a right-wing bigot, a can't-keep-up backwater a can't-keep-up backwater, and a poorly educated, gullible, economically inadequate, superstitious, stale-thinking rube an ardent Trump supporter.

    Accuracy is the new black, clingers.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    "Accuracy" refined weekly as new victims are identified.

    How long before we can't say I? Everything is we.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You're a dishonest POS, Rev. You know it, I know it, and everyone who has spent more than thirty minutes hear knows it.

    You are a waste of everyone's time.

  • Toranth||

    That meme isn't "use force against CNN", it's "CNN is getting its ass kicked". From the viewpoint of those that like it, CNN has poor ratings, terrible anchors, and often gets caught lying or faking stories. For them, watching CNN get 'abused' for it is amusing.

    Again, political cartoons. Have you ever noticed how many political cartoons show people - usually prominent political leaders - getting thrown off cliffs, crushed by weights, smashed by buses and trains, drowned in stuff? Do you think that literally drawing the death scene of politicians, or political parties, is an incitement to physical violence?

  • Sarcastr0||

    I agree CNN is the worst. But it doesn't have like a CNN-headed guy trying to do some skateboard trick and faceplanting, it has Trump taking out CNN. You're spinning yourself.

    No one reads political cartoons (except me, because I'm dumb), so I'm not quite as worried about them.

  • Toranth||

    You... do you not see the difference between "CNN is getting its ass kicked" and "CNN is dumb"? Because I just explained it in the previous post. You know, the one you just responded to?

    There are gifs of CNN/NBC/etc faceplanting during skateboard tricks (and the like). But that's a different concept: "CNN is dumb". Please explain how a gif of a CNN-headed person falling over would show that Trump is defeating CNN's opposition.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Do you think that literally drawing the death scene of politicians, or political parties, is an incitement to physical violence?

    No, Toranth. Not drawing them. But standing in front of a crowd, projecting a cartoon like that on a screen, and saying, "This is what should happen to Obama," would be.

    Also, the power of incitement—not to mention the power of violence itself—wielded by a sitting President creates a special case—a case customarily accompanied by a demand for more circumspection from the President than from mere cartoonists, who are without power.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "I'm criticizing the President for his irresponsible rhetoric and use of opposition-as-enemy, and chortling about beating up the other side."

    Have you criticized Biden for literally joking about beating up Trump? As I've said before, it's easy to be shocked by the other side's rhetoric, but to view your own side's as minor hyperbole.

  • Sarcastr0||

    DO you take me for a big Biden fan?

    He's The Dems Pat Buchanan. Probably shouldn't be as tolerated as he is, but hardly an exemplar.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "He's The Dems Pat Buchanan"

    Wow. That's harsher than I'd be.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    But he was vice president.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "This."

    Sarcastro, I want to be clear on what you're agreeing with. Aluchko claims that retweeting this "celebrates violence". Are you seriously agreeing that this meme "celebrates violence"? Because that strikes me as nonsense equivalent to banning finger-guns on the playground.

  • Toranth||

    Political rhetoric has always been full of hyperbole. You are so closed minded you aren't even trying to listen to what other people say; you certainly aren't paying attention to the past decades of political speeches by politicians of all stripes.

    Calling political opponents "the enemy of the people" is NOT a call to violence. It is NOT "labelling that someone as an other with whom you can't compromise or negotiate, only fight" as you claim. And while physical violence is ONE of the ways people fight, the terms is applied to other things far more often. "Fight" through pain, "fight" for equality, "fight" to win a sporting match...

    You excusing hundreds of people of using excuses that would justify violence against Trump by claiming that they are only a small portion of media members (so what?) AND by trying to claim they are not inciting violence is silly.
    If Trump is inciting violence by referring to folks as "enemy", what is calling someone a "murderer", "rapist", or "Hitler"? Isn't one of the ways you oppose those things by using physical violence? In fact, don't we glorify using violence against those types?
    BTW - The NYT just published a Trump murder story. CNN had a guest suggest that someone needs to put a bullet through Trump's head. Are those inciting violence?

    I didn't defend the "body slam", because he did say it. I don't think he should have - joking about shoving a trespassing reporter is inappropriate and bad politics.

  • Rock Lobster||

    It strikes me funny that by and large leftists, rather desperately, grasp the nuance of a term like "jihad," but they are apparently unable to differentiate between over the top rhetoric and actual incitement.

    Cue the tutting of tuts and clutching of pearls.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I think the left should focus on continuing to shove progress down conservatives' whiny throats.

  • iowantwo||

    Because that's what you do. Use physical power to force compliance from those you identify as 'lesser' than your imperial supremacy.

    Thanks ,for letting your mask slip.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Violence is an ecosystem. Trump isn't inciting anything, he's just enabling and gently nudging.

    None of the Muslims I talk to go on about Jihad, but the nuance there would seem to be that it's a completely different meaning sometimes. That's not what's happening here.

  • aluchko||

    Yes there are ways to use the phrase "enemy of the people" to describe someone without actually encouraging violence, but those aren't the ways that Trump uses them.

    Look at the body slam quote, his reminiscing about the good ol' days when you could beat up protesters, his promise to pay the legal bills of his supporters who assault protesters. He endorses actual violence on a somewhat regular basis.

    Look at how he riles up his crowds against the media in attendance at his rallies, for a reporter that has to feel pretty physically threatening, and Trump and the crowd both know that, that's the point of riling them up.

    Look at his responses to things like Charlottesville and the bomber, when his supporters commit violence his denunciations are obviously half-hearted.

    That's the context in which he drops "enemy of the people", a context where he repeatedly endorses minor violence, threatening behaviour, and in which he's reluctant to condemn serious violence. When some of his supporters hear that and think he actually wants them to commit some degree of violence against the left on his behalf I'm not actually sure they're wrong.

    And I think that's the big difference in context between Trump and his critics on the left, for the most part, when they use violent metaphors against Trump and his administration I think it's pretty clear they're speaking rhetorically. And when actual violence does come from the left they're very sincere in their denunciations.

  • Toranth||

    And again, you're making circular arguments - you're saying he promotes violence by deliberate interpreting his comments in a way that makes them sound like promoting violence. Your claims are taken out of context - for example, ignoring Trump saying things like "Don't hurt them", or the fact that a chant of "CNN sucks" doesn't prevent those same people from acting friendly with reporters. Did you not see Stelter's recent report on attending a Trump rally?

    And, again, you claim that's different from the Left - when they actually suggest shooting the President in the head. Or tell their supporters to "get in their face" and "make sure they have no peace". Not to mention straight up incitement like the "Kick them" comment.
    How many hundreds of people have been hurt by Antifa and their associated rioters? How many tens of millions of dollars of damage? Which Leftist politicians have given other than "obviously half-hearted" condemnation?

    If you think Trump's behavior is bad, to be honest you must also see the behavior of many Leftist politicians as bad. The fact you attack Trump, but defend them, show that you aren't interested in that.

  • aluchko||

    Name me a Democratic politician that has endorsed Antifa, I haven't heard any. And Waters is the only one I've heard endorsing the public harassment tactic.

    You're comparing the fringe of the left to the POTUS and to be honest, I still think POTUS looks worse.

    And frankly, there hasn't been any serious Antifa violence to condemn. There's been a few fights but no murders, attempted murders, or wide scale rioting which is the generally accepted standard for requiring condemnation.

    As for Trump's behaviour, here's a bunch of instances of him explicitly telling his supporters to be violent recorded over just a couple months.

  • Toranth||

    How about Democrat Congressman and DNC vice-chair Kieth Ellison?

    Incidentally, don't think I didn't notice the massive shift in your goalposts: You condemned Trump for offering only "half-hearted" opposition to "his supporters", and I pointed out that Democrats have not even gone that far against Antifa.
    Now you're trying to pretend the issue was about endorsing violence? Very dishonest there, buddy.

    I must admire how quick you are to dismiss the rioting and tens of thousands of acts of political violence, including thousands arrested for crimes like assault, committed by Antifa over the past two years. Tell me, how many murders or attempted murders were there in this hoax bombing? No riots, either. The "bombs" couldn't even explode - no detonator or trigger! So, does that mean Sayoc should be dismissed?

    Also, does shooting or stabbing someone count? Since there were 12+ attempted murders last year, and another last month, by your political leftists that were 'inspired' by anti-Republican media coverage.

  • aluchko||

    I don't recall the Ellison issue you're referring to.

    And my goalposts never moved.

    I'm talking about Trump's weak condemnation of the march in Charlottesville and the guy just now sending bombs. As well I'm talking about Trump repeatedly endorsing violence and using violent rhetoric. Major figures on the left do not have these issues.

    The only comparable violence on the left was the guy who shot up the GOP baseball practise, and he was very widely condemned on the left. Antifa is a fringe movement and I don't think it's any more violent than many protests on the right. They haven't done anything significant enough to require condemnation from national political figures. If anything major Democratic politicians condemning them is counterproductive because it gives them media exposure.

    And I'm not going to play this game of pretending there's equivalent violence on both sides.

    Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists.

  • Toranth||

    As I pointed out, you moved the argument from "weak condemnation" to "endorsement" when you asked for other examples. That's moving the goalposts.
    Also, look up Ellison and Antifa - it's trivially easy to find, and claiming ignorance AND laziness doesn't advance your position.

    Trump condemned the Nazis, and made plain, unambiguous statements against these violent actors. How strong a condemnation does it need to be? What words, exactly, would satisfy you? As far as I can tell, saying "They're 100% wrong" isn't enough. So what would be?
    And are you sure that a stronger condemnation from Trump would benefit them by giving them more press coverage, since that's exactly why you excuse Democrats from not condemning Antifa's violence?

    As for violence, Antifa riots have result in, literally, thousands of criminal charges. Hogkindson is only unusual because he was closer to successful. The ricin senders, the stabbers, or the failed assassins stopped before their attacks also count.

    Finally, nice link to an ADL press release. Too bad it is utterly untrustworthy - even deliberately deceptive. For example, if you dive into their claimed "right-wing violence" you discover such cases as: a "right-wing gang member and convicted murderer in prison killed another right-wing gang-member over prison luxuries". The ADL has a VERY bad record of inflating their crime statistics, to the point of being almost as bad as the SPLC. Take a look at Bernstein's article for some more.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "Name me a Democratic politician that has endorsed Antifa, I haven't heard any."

    Keith Ellison

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "Look at the body slam quote, his reminiscing about the good ol' days when you could beat up protesters, his promise to pay the legal bills of his supporters who assault protesters. He endorses actual violence on a somewhat regular basis."

    Sure. And look at the sitting vice president talking about taking Trump "behind the gym"

  • aluchko||

    As I pointed out, you moved the argument from "weak condemnation" to "endorsement" when you asked for other examples. That's moving the goalposts.

    I was talking about weak condemnation of serious violence, my goalposts remain firm. I've not seen serious violence from Antifa.

    Also, look up Ellison and Antifa - it's trivially easy to find, and claiming ignorance AND laziness doesn't advance your position.

    Did you expect me to start typing in permutations of topics? I'm sorry for not recalling a minor news item from January.

    I don't know if Ellison actually knows what Antifa is (maybe he just thought he was calling Trump a fascist) but he definitely should have responded with a clear denunciation.

    But Ellison is actually a relatively minor, and somewhat fringey, figure in the DNC. To my knowledge he's never talked about antifa again, nor has any other major DNC figure.

    Trump condemned the Nazis, and made plain, unambiguous statements against these violent actors. How strong a condemnation does it need to be?

    Remember how long he waited? Remember his "good people on both sides"? People can tell the difference between reading a script and saying something because you believe it.

    Take a look at Bernstein's article for some more.

    I've never read a Bernstein article that didn't turn out to be severely misleading once I took a closer look.

  • Toranth||

    You switched your argument from "weak condemnation" when blaming Trump to "endorsement" when defending Antifa. If that's not moving goalposts, what is it?

    Ellison is not a "minor figure". He's the runner up for Chairman of the DNC, who then took the seat of Deputy Chair. In case you don't quite understand, that's the #2 position in the DNC. How can you possibly claim the #2 person in the national Democrat party organization is minor?!

    As for Trump, again, what *exactly* could he have said to satisfy you? You've claimed he was "weak" and "took to long". Here's the actual quote of his first statement about it on Aug 12 - the SAME DAY as the violence:

    We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides... It has no place in America.

    How could he have spoken sooner than the same day? What should he have said other than "we condemn in the strongest possible terms"?

    Instead, you're focusing on an out of context response to a question where Trump answered that not all of the marchers were neo-Nazis and not all counter-protesters were innocent pacifists. This is true, and widely known by anyone who isn't delusional or an apologist for political terrorism. The mere fact you obsess over a partial misquote rather than use his actual full statements is revealing about your own biases.

  • KHB||

    Thank you for confirming my claims. Nothing you cite is remotely like evidence that Trump endorse violence or that it was anything Trump said that set this loon off. That your best case fails completely is vindication.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why can't you understand that congratulating a guy who was convicted of assault constitutes endorsement of violence?

    Are you dumb? Uneducated? Were you homeschooled by a stupid mother? Subjected to backwater religious schools? Blinded by bigotry? Is your judgment affected by a handful of street pills?

  • iowantwo||

    And Obama never hired thugs to incite violence?
    www.cnn.com/2016/10/18/politic.....index.html

  • Sarcastr0||

    You do like to post that, but as I noted above, it doesn't mean what you think it means.

    It's almost as though the President of the United States has different responsibilities from a protester.

  • Careless||

    Trump never retweeted an meme of him beating up a wrestler with the CNN logo for a head?

    you have to be deeply stupid to think that a meme like that is a call to violence. Like "never been on the internet and also have an IQ under 80" stupid. when you see a "this chick is toast!" gif, are you terrified that someone is going to burn someone to death?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    KHB, you miss the point. Trump's rhetoric of anger, betrayal, division, and violence is self-evidently dangerous to democracy. And it is unprecedented from any President of the United States.

    Trump cannot even seem to denounce a nut like Sayoc, no matter what Trump says, because Trump can't get through 24 hours without turning around and saying stuff which encourages nuts like Sayoc. Because there is no trouble reading Trump's political intent on this point, there is no trouble separating Trump from every political figure on the left. None of those think it will cost them their base if they denounce all politically-motivated violence by leftists.

    Trump does think like that, so he won't convincingly denounce right-wing violence, and stick with it. If he did, he would lose his base, and all chance for re-election. Everybody in this discussion knows that. That is why Trump supporters have to own the blame for Trump's destructive rhetoric. You can see what he is, and what he does. If you don't denounce it, that makes you part of his mob.

  • Andy M.||

    It is just Trump's style of communication. You should know it and get over it by now. There is no law that says there is only one way to respond to a news matter and Trump is the only one that stands for a vote on whether he is doing a good job -- all the reporters/commentators sure don't.

  • Sarcastr0||

    No law doesn't mean free from criticism.

  • KHB||

    Amongst your falsehoods is the claim that Trump's words for the press are somehow unprecedented. Truman and Jefferson and Adams I are obvious counter examples. As for presidents expressing anger ... how boy.
    None of what you claim, even assuming it is true, would show Trump endorsed violence. This is not how factual claims work. A false claim was made. I refuted it. Substituting a new claim, true or false, doesn't help.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You do not understand the meaning of refute.

    I am convinced you were homeschooled by a stupid mother.

    That still doesn't explain or excuse your bigotry.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Trump has not endorsed violence against journalists.

    That assertion is a falsehood, you bigoted rube.

  • y81||

    Total TDS. The last paragraph is like the proverbial 13th stroke of the clock, which is not only itself dubious but casts doubt on all that went before. Does someone know whether this iteration of the Conspiracy has a feature that permits the elimination of posts by a particular conspirator?

  • Andy M.||

    At least death and violence threats are content neutral standards that can be easily and evenly applied. Much of the time people are just trying to say "hate times ten" and you can make them say the same thing without the literal threat.

  • ||

    The left stoked the flames of racial hatred after Traythug and Michael "the gentle giant" Brown were killed. Several innocent whites were attacked. Did the left apologize in those cases?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/.....story.html

  • Drewski||

    You're a primary contributor to a blog that enourages, but does not moderate, comments, so it seems unusual to see you write that others should be moderating the comments on their sites more strictly. Indeed, calls for political violence are not unheard of in the comments here. Although I don't recall ever seeing personal threats, each article proudly announces that such would be tolerated.

    I'm not unsympathetic - you don't deserve to be threatened. But it's hard to see how you can hold the view that violent rhetoric should be deplatformed while putting your name via byline on a platform that does not do so.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You're a primary contributor to a blog that enourages, but does not moderate, comments

    The Volokh Conspiracy censors comments and commenters.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Only given extreme provocation. Seriously extreme, you can disagree with the Conspirators all day, and in fairly unpleasant terms, and not get the ax.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The term "cop succor" was "extreme provocation?"

    The faux conservative stylings of Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland constituted "extreme provocation?"

    Quit the obsequious figurative fellating of Prof. Volokh and get back to researching former Pres. Obama's birth certificate, Brett Bellmore.

    The Conspiracy censors along partisan lines, not consequent to degree of provocation.

  • Careless||

    They were a lot quicker to ban pre-WaPo

  • Careless||

    AK's stopped clock moment

  • Jerry B.||

    Reason commentators prove that TDS is contagious.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. People who attempt to link the actions of a crazy person to their political opponents, as Prof. Somin and many commentaters are doing here, are engaging in the very type of deplorable rhetoric that they claim to decry.

  • M.L.||

    That's terrible. I'm sorry you had to experience that.

    That said, it's amazing how biased the mainstream media conversation is on all of this. Here's a partial list of other events.

    July 27, 2016: OH: Black Trump Supporter Shot at Cleveland Bar During Heated Political Debate
    July 11, 2016: Brooklyn: Vandal attacks Gowanus Trump-fan's home
    July 7, 2016: FL: Trump Supporter Ambushed, Hit in the Face, Stomped on the Ground, Broke his Arm
    July 1, 2016: Black Teenage Trump supporter in Atlanta receives death threats For Supporting Trump
    June 29, 2016: VA: Virginia Family 'Enraged' After Trump Sign Vandalized. Five American flags they placed on the sign broken and tossed on the ground. Signs were spray painted and eggs were thrown.

  • M.L.||

    June 23, 2016: Camera captures woman ripping Donald Trump flag off New Jersey porch
    June 18, 2016: Man attempts to assassinate Trump in Nevada
    June 18, 2016: Female Trump supporters harassed, refused service at restaurant
    June 16, 2016: Legally Armed business owner confronts anti-Trump vandals
    June 7, 2016: Vandals Hit 'Trump Truck' in Scranton, PA
    June 4, 2016: Vandals destroy Donald Trump signs in Whatcom County
    June 2, 2016: Angry Mob Attacked Gay Latino Trump Supporter & Log Cabin Republican
    June 2, 2016: San Jose Woman is Stalked, Spat On, Shoved, Pushed and Hit For Being a Trump Supporter
    June 2, 2016: Left-wing thugs violently attack Trump supporters. One women was surrounded by a mob and pelted with raw eggs.

  • M.L.||

    May 25, 2016: Brad Thor on Glenn Beck: 'If Congress Won't Remove' Trump from White House, 'What Patriot Will Step Up'
    May 24, 2016: NM: Trump Rally Protesters Attack Trump Supporters, Burst Through Police Barricades, Throw Rocks, and Set Fires in the Streets.
    May 24, 2016: Milo Yiannopoulos Assaulted by BLM 'Protesters' at Chicago's DePaul University (Video)
    May 24, 2016: NM: Disabled Trump Supporter Gets Water & Water Bottles Thrown At Him By Protester
    May 20, 2016: FL: Trump Supporters' Home Vandalized, Lawn Burned
    May 16, 2016: CA: Vandals Egg Home of Trump Supporter, Destroy Trump Flag, & Throw Paint on his Truck
    May 9, 2016: Left-wing arsonists torch Trump campaign sign in Hollis, NH
    May 9, 2016: Man says he was called a 'Trump supporter' before Bellingham beating
    April 29, 2016: WATCH: Women, Children, Elderly Trump Supporters Pepper Sprayed in CA

  • M.L.||

    May 8, 2016: Trump Supporter Christopher Conway Attacked By AntiFa terrorists
    April 29, 2016: CA: Trump Protesters Beat Up Trump Supporter & Threw His Phone
    April 28, 2016: Trump Supporter Gets Beaten Up. Rocks are Thrown at Trump Supporters, Police, and Police Horse at Costa Mesa Rally.
    April 27, 2016: CA: Girls, 8 and 11, Hit with Anti-Trump Thug's Pepper Spray
    April 24, 2016: Man Arrested, Charged With Threatening To Bomb Trump Rally
    April 16, 2016: OR: Masked Anti-Trump Protester Spits In Trump Supporters' Face
    April 16, 2016: NY: Trump Supporter with 2nd Amendment Banner Grabbed, Pushed By Anti-Trump Thugs
    April 13, 2016: PA: Trump Supporter Attacked Outside Pittsburgh Rally
    April 10, 2016: WA: Trump Supporter's Tire Slashed; Vandal Claims "Act Of Community Service"
    April 8, 2016: OR: Protesters Crash Pro-Trump Student Event, Make Threats
    April 7, 2016: Actor Mickey Rourke challenges Donald Trump to a fight – with a baseball bat

  • M.L.||

    April 6, 2016: NC: Trump Supporter Shocked After Vehicle Vandalized Because of His Trump Support
    April 6, 2016: RI: Vandals Key Coventry Man's Car Bearing Trump Bumper Sticker
    April 4, 2016: Teen Arrested After Throwing Egg at Donald and Melania Trump at Milwaukee Rally
    March 29, 2016: AntiTrump thug punches Trump supporter
    March 21, 2016: Man's homemade Trump billboard vandalized and destroyed in Michigan.
    March 19, 2016: Florida Man shatters door at Donald Trump Jacksonville headquarters
    March 18, 2016: Trump stickers' vandalized, Republican students harassed at Saint Mary's College
    March 18, 2016: Donald Trump supporter's billboard burned in Egg Harbor Township
    March 17, 2016: Woman records herself running over Trump signs in NC
    March 17, 2016: Trump campaign signs stolen from a Naples home, home vandalized
    March 17, 2016: Violent protesters attack Trump supporters in Chicago.
    March 15, 2016: Vandals deface Trump signs in Dayton Ohio.
    March 14, 2016: 70 Year-Old Virginia Trump Supporter Faces Threats, Harassment, and has Home Vandalized
    March 14, 2016: Vandals target Trump supporters in College Park. "Fuck Trump … Nazi scum"

  • M.L.||

    March 14, 2016: CNN treats man who tried to tackle Trump as folk hero.
    March 12, 2016: Man tries to tackle Trump at campaign rally.
    March 11, 2016: Riots After Trump Chicago Rally Cancelled. Police Officer Attacked by Anti-Trump Protesters. Blocking Ambulance.
    March 9, 2016: Trump billboard removed due to repeated vandalism in West Town IL.
    March 8, 2016: 3 arrested for pulling gun on Trump supporter
    March 1, 2016: Former Daily Show contributor Larry Wilmore "jokes" about killing Trump.
    February 29, 2016: FL: Trump Volunteers Brutally Assaulted & Body Slammed While Campaigning
    February 24, 2016: NYT columnist Ross Douthat "jokes" about assassination attempt on Trump
    January 26, 2016: Protesters Threw Two Tomatoes at Donald Trump at a Rally in Iowa City
    January 25, 2016: NH: Trump Supporter's Large Sign Vandalized with Graffiti Islamic Symbol
    January 9, 2016: Donald Trump's campaign headquarters in Mass. vandalized
    January 5, 2016: Jewish Trump supporter's Trump sign vandalized with Nazi images.
    December 28, 2015: Bridgewater, MA, Man Catches Neighbor Stealing Trump Signs
    November 19, 2015: 'Black Lives Matter' Activist Calls for Donald Trump's Assassination
    September 1, 2015: Texas teen says Donald Trump is the reason he was attacked at bus stop

  • M.L.||

    August 10, 2016: Suspects Caught On Camera Stealing Trump Signs From Front Lawns In Hillsdale, NJ
    August 9, 2016: FL: Trump signs in Arlington vandalized with 'KKK'
    August 9, 2016: Woman charged with Trump sign vandalism in Lawrence, MA
    August 9, 2016: Man's Trump T-shirt sparked crowbar attack, cops say
    August 8, 2016: NH: Trump Campaign Sign Torched Near Nashua
    August 7, 2016: Pro-Trump 'installation' torched on Staten Island
    August 7, 2016: TX: Woman's Home Vandalized Because Of Trump Signs
    August 6, 2016: Massachusetts woman vandalizes Trump sign, tries to run down owner.
    August 5, 2016: Big Trump sign vandalized in Haverhill
    August 3, 2016: New Jersey woman faces months-long campaign of terror over Trump support
    August 1, 2016: Video: Leftist Mob Violently Ejects Trump Supporter From New York City Park
    August 1, 2016: CA: Trump Supporters Pushed Out of San Francisco Bar Zeitgeist & Stalked Down the Block
    August 1, 2016: Kalamazoo man finds Trump campaign sign burned on lawn
    July 31, 2016: WATCH: Clinton Supporter Lights Flag On Fire, Attacks Trump Supporter

  • M.L.||

    October 3, 2016: Hillary supporters attack Trump-supporting woman and steal Trump signs in Hanford/Lemoore, CA area
    October 3, 2016: Trump billboard defaced with swastikas.
    September 28, 2016: IL: Anti-Trump Vandalism Outside Polish Center Ahead of Appearance
    September 28, 2016: Donald Trump signs stolen by ex-college VP in NY
    September 27, 2016: Trump supporter threatened if he wars MAGA hat: "I'll shit on your face."
    September 26, 2016: Trump-supporting Minnesota co-ed says she was 'assaulted' on debate night
    September 25, 2016: Man urinates on Naples mailbox, steals Trump sign
    September 18, 2016: Trump supporter beaten in El Cajon.
    August 20, 2016: Trump supporters harassed and spit on in Minneapolis
    August 20, 2016: Hillary Supporters Attack Old Woman Trump Supporter Minneapolis
    August 20, 2016: Leftist Activists Crash Trump Fundraiser, Attack Motorcade, Assault Trump Supporters in Violent 'Gauntlet
    August 19, 2016: Left-wing thugs attack Trump's motorcade and his supporters.
    August 19, 2016: Walpole, MA,, Veteran Upset About Four Stolen 'Trump 2016' Signs
    August 18, 2016: 68-year-old Cancer Survivor Attacked at Garage Sale Over Support for Trump
    August 18, 2016: Trump yard sign-stealing epidemic has gotten seriously out-of-hand in Massachusetts
    August 12, 2016: Twitter Video Purports to Show Trump Supporter Assaulted After Being Refused Service
    August 10, 2016: Marblehead, MA, Trump Supporter's Sign Stolen 7 Times: Video

  • M.L.||

    Well, that's about 20% of the list. You get the idea.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Quit whining, you bigoted, half-educated rube.

  • SimonP||

    Well, that's about 20% of the list. You get the idea.

    I'm sure you'll be happy to provide a link to the site where you copy-pasted that list from, allowing us (1) to verify that the items on the list are accurate descriptions of the events they purport to represent and (2) to confirm that the compilation isn't an extremely cherry-picked list, declining to include any data describing comparable right-wing violence.

  • ||

    Most of these things are going to be unprovable. Just like many of the ones the other side purports to show

  • DWB||

    Something -- something -- clinger! -- something

    That's all I got ...

  • James Pollock||

    How many yard signs stolen or defaced equal three men attacked, two fatally, for objecting to a dude's harassment of women on a transit train in Portland, OR?

    Not to excuse stealing yard signs... it's childish and petty... but it's a different kind of political crime than death threats and murder, and shouldn't be treated as equivalent.

  • Toranth||

    A racist in far-left Portland gets kicked out of a right-wing rally for being racist, and you want to blame it on the right-wing. Got it.
    That makes as much sense as blaming the assassination of Kennedy by a Communist traitor who lived in a left-wing controlled city on the political right.

    Also, did you just equate "death-threats" and "murder"? Because those are no where close to the same thing. Equating them would be "childish and petty", wouldn't it?

  • BrotherMovesOn||

    For a compilation like that I'd expect to be paid.
    Maybe substitute a hobby that you can enjoy on a Saturday
    Instead?

  • BrotherMovesOn||

    For a compilation like that I'd expect to be paid.
    Maybe substitute a hobby that you can enjoy on a Saturday
    Instead?

  • BrotherMovesOn||

    For a compilation like that I'd expect to be paid.
    Maybe substitute a hobby that you can enjoy on a Saturday
    Instead?

  • AmosArch||

    Now gab.ai is being targeted because the shooter happened to have an account there. Given how deranged he's gotten for open borders and big government imposition of political correctness I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. big libertarian somin was for this too.

  • Sarcastr0||

    gab is a hotbed of antisemitism and racism. If they get deplatformed by public pressure, how is that not capitalism working as intended?

  • Sarcastr0||

  • Sarcastr0||

  • Brett Bellmore||

    There are two problems with saying they're a hotbed of anti-semitism and racism.

    The first is that the left characterizes any dissent from their views as racist, so you need particulars on each case to distinguish between racist racists, and not left wing "racists".

    The second is, Skokie march, anyone? The ACLU didn't defend marching Nazis because they thought Nazis were nice people. They did it, (Purportedly, anyway.) out of a principled concern for freedom of speech and association.

    So here you are suggesting that any social media outlet that has a principled concern for freedom of speech should be deplatformed by denial of basic services. Kicked off all hosting serviced, banking cut off, you name it.

    Maybe banks should have stopped processing donations to the ACLU after Skokie? No? Then why should gab have suffered that fate?

    Just because the bad people they though had rights aren't YOUR bad people?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    There is no problem with describing Gab as 'twitter for bigots,' largely because it is true.

    Please identify the "rights" that would be violated should private companies decline to associate with a hive of violence-promoting right-wing bigots, Brett Bellmore. You may consult your discount, backwater homeschooling outline before responding if you wish.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's more like "twitter for people who don't want to be censored by the left"

    Sure, some bigots will go there, because they don't want to be censored by the left.

    Other bigots will stick with twitter, because the left has no interest in censoring them. (Bigots are not an exclusively right-wing thing.)

    It's true that this sort of censorship doesn't technically violate the 1st amendment. Any more than lunch counters refusing to serve blacks actually violated the 14th amendment... But it's oppression none the less.

  • ||

    Except that Facebook, Paypal, Twitter, Amazon, etc. are basically monopolies. They should be regulated as common carriers and forced to serve everyone and carry everyone's products.

  • James Pollock||

    "They should be regulated as common carriers and forced to serve everyone and carry everyone's products."

    Even if they want a cake for a gay wedding?

  • ||

    Yes, even then. I'd say the same thing if there was only one place to buy a wedding cake.

  • AmosArch||

    Gab itself has no political affiliation. You start an account there as a leftwinger or far leftwinger as much as a rightwinger can. You can be a racist or antiracist. Gab's only ideology is freedom of speech. Direct threats should and are still being reported to the police. Its absurd saying that a monopoly of Sillycon valley companies acting in concert to stamp out a company for ideological reasons is the freemarket and okay but one cake shop not baking a cake is wrong.

    I guess progs are starting to hate the spirit of the 1st amendment as much as they hate the 2nd.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Form versus function, sir. It bans some stuff (porny stuff) and lets other stuff through. I love free speech, as in the government has to keep it's thumb off the scale.

    But just because I think hate speech laws are bad, I am not fooled into thinking there is a false choice between (a) defending free speech and (b) fighting hate speech. If you actually care about freedom, you have to be for both. Gab isn't, and I hope it fails in the private market.

  • AmosArch||

    To be clear I disagree with gabs ban on certain porn and I think a self described free speech site should allow all the speech that is within law and that Torba should take an ironic lesson in being deplatformed right after certain changes in his own policies.

    I don't get your point in how deplatforming 'hate speech' helps freedom.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I suspect it's the latest, "Freedom to do as the left disapproves of isn't real freedom." line.

    In general terms, it's been a longstanding theme on the left. "False consciousness" denies that people really want what the left says they oughtn't. The idea that you can increase "freedom" by taking choices away. (You don't really need that many choices of deodorant!). Defense of "positive" rights that increase one person's choices by denying choice to others, on the basis that "positive" rights are just as important as negative rights.

    The left doesn't want freedom in the wild. They want a carefully curated "freedom", a topiary garden society, not a jungle.

    And they get to wield the hedge clippers.

  • James Pollock||

    "I don't get your point in how deplatforming 'hate speech' helps freedom."

    It hurts freedom of SAYING hateful things. It helps freedom from HEARING hurtful things.

    Some people value one of these freedoms more than the other.

    It's similar in nature to the freedom of playing highly amplified music, compared against the freedom of quiet enjoyment of property. Or another favorite, the freedom to responsibly possess and use firearms, and the freedom to not be shot by someone who fails to handle their firearm(s) safely and responsibly.

    The fact that you value one of these freedoms more than its opposed freedom doesn't make the people who like the other one less interested in "freedom".

  • Rock Lobster||

    "Gab's only ideology is freedom of speech."

    And that alone is enough to make them targets of the "tolerant" left.

  • Sarcastr0||

    To be clear, the Pittsburgh temple shooter, not the guy on the OP.

  • ||

    It's reported that Rush Limbaugh and a couple of Fox guys are sticking with the story that this is a false flag operation......that the left organized this to make it appear that it was one of Trumps base who attempted to kill a handful of the enemies of the U.S.

    Your experience just may provide further evidence that this isn't true.

  • iowantwo||

    Care to actual back up your accusations? I know that Rush has transcripts of every show he has done on his web site, so that should be easy. FOX, that too is archived.
    My bet is you're repeating someones talking points emailed to you, or better yet, you saw it on facebook.

  • Sarcastr0||

    "They have thrown every trick at Republicans. Their media acolytes are doing their tough lifting for them — and none of it, none of it, none of it has worked. So what would you do? Democrat operative, best way to turn all of that around? How about a day like this? How about a day like this where you create a scenario where it looks like the mobs are on both sides.

    It looks like the Republicans have a mob, too, or at least an "insaniac." There's some Republican out there sending bombs to decent, good Democrats and media people — former Democrat presidents and the harmless people at CNN. Wouldn't it serve your up here if you're a Democrat operative to make it look like the Republicans are a bunch of insane lunatics and have some mobsters on their side as well? The very same people the media says Republicans hate the most! Isn't this interesting?"

    You could look it up yourself.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You've established that he floated the idea. Now establish that he's stuck with it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    That was his Wed show. From his Friday show:

    "Do you realize how…? There are a lot of Democrats down in south Florida. There are a lot of people that hate Donald Trump down here. This guy driving that van? That van would have tomatoes all over it and rotten eggs. Swastikas would have been painted on it. Any number of things would have been done to deface this. There is no way that you could hide in that van. There is no way that you could remain obscure, invisible. It's just the exact opposite!"

    "RUSH: Now, looking at another close-up of one of the big windows of the van, guess what's on the sticker on this van? Hillary Clinton in the crosshairs and a Michael Moore in the crosshairs. They are evenly… I mean, they're not just slapped on there. These things look like they have artistically aligned, professional… (interruption) Okay, whatever. I'm just saying that they look like they are proportionately placed so that every sticker fits the space. There's no overlap, none of 'em are just slapped on there at haphazard angles. It all fits on every window."

  • Sarcastr0||

    On the upside, this shows Brett doesn't listen to Rush.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Maybe he listens but is too dumb to remember much?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That's true, I catch maybe a half hour a month, on the rare occasions when I hit a restaurant for lunch instead of brown bagging it.

    Don't watch FOX either.

  • SaraB96||

    We've had violent video game addicts (some with liberal backgrounds) go on shooting sprees (Columbine, Sandy Hook, Santa Barbara, Aurora, Virginia Tech etc)...and then we have never-ending gratuitous violence, blood, and gore from very lefty Hollywood..yet these industries are defended and absolved from any blame (rightly so first amendment-wise) as studies repeatedly show that IF there is ANY cause/effect relationship between violence in movies/video gaming...it's a very minimal risk factor in the make-up of the perpetrator. Suddenly, all that psychological defense of violence exposure (whether spoken, viewed, or first-person gaming interaction) goes out the window if we have the opportunity to lay it at Trump's feet! YAY to us.

  • ||

    Time for David Kopel's next article on how the Nazis instituted un control.

  • Michael Cook||

    Limbaugh never "stuck with" the theory that the letter bombs were a false flag operation. It was floated in passing for a brief moment as a possible theory but not touted or emphasized. Of course the false flag theory was immediately abandoned when more facts became known. Claiming that right wing pundits are "sticking with" a remark like that is spinning the news in true CNN or MSNBC fashion.

    And by the way, who can claim that the people working in those organizations or the rest of the mainstream media are even journalists in the ideal constitutional fourth estate ideal meaning of the word? A job title doesn't make you something. If they reported ALL the significant news of the day in anything remotely resembling an impartial, objective fashion they might qualify as neophyte reporters, but for years now this crowd has operated openly in full P.R. mode as the nasty propagandists for the Democrat Party.

    Why should any Republican be under any obligation to not point that reality out as frequently as we like?

  • Mr. Hook||

    Good to see the rules are still in effect: Violence by the other side is indicative of that group's character and if not repudiated by its members it means endorsement or lack of accountability; violence by my side is a set-up by the other side and/or has nothing to do with me—also, have you seen what your side does to victimize my side?!—so how dare you suggest I engage in any kind of self-reflection or condemnation. In short, my side is with the angels, theirs with the demons. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You guys have the President, and he's not very good on this issue. Sorry if you can't handle the responsibility of where the buck stops.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Sarcastro, it would be impossible for the President to be good on the issue from our perspective, without YOU thinking he wasn't. Because what we want out of him is too different.

    Starting with wanting him to not grovel and go into mea culpa mode every time the left accuses him, vs demanding it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    There is a lot of middle ground between groveling and chortling about political violence.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Not in the view of half-educated, anti-social right-wing malcontents.

  • James Pollock||

    "Starting with wanting him to not grovel and go into mea culpa mode every time the left accuses him, vs demanding it."

    How about, as a middle ground, groveling and mea-culpa-ing when he's guilty, and not doing so when he's accused but not guilty.

    When I say "guilty", I mean that he did it, not that he felt guilty about it.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Guilty" implies not just that you did it, but that what you did has to be something wrong. I give to charity, you wouldn't normally demand that I confess that I'm guilty of doing it.

    Trump does a lot that's obnoxious. He does far less that's actually bad.

  • James Pollock||

    "'Guilty' implies not just that you did it, but that what you did has to be something wrong."

    Not sure of the relevance of this tidbit. Our current President has shown no inkling that he's capable of feeling guilty when he's done something wrong.

    "Trump does a lot that's obnoxious. He does far less that's actually bad."

    That's an interesting measurement/comparison. You have every grain of sand on every beach in the world, every drop of water in the ocean, and every time the President has done something obnoxious.
    I will concede that the number of time he's done something actually wrong is, objectively, at least slightly smaller than the larger quantity of times he's done something obnoxious.

  • ||

    What would he have to do to be "good on this issue?" Please give specifics.

  • Jeff_Kleppe||

    It's disappointing Ilya chose to refer to Sayoc as a "far-right Trump supporter" instead of a "obvious crazy person". Anything to advance his agenda, I guess.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Those two things are orthogonal.

  • Toranth||

    Ah, the excellent logic of the Left at work.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Crazy and political valence are independent variables. Do you disagree?

  • R Brian||

    I just went to the Everglades, and on one of the tours, the guide talked about old-time Miami mobsters feeding enemies to the alligators, as well as the story of the unconquered Seminole indians living down there. I didn't know any of this stuff before my trip.

    This dude is clearly not from an Indian background, although he has some "Native Americans for Trump" crap on his van, as well as being listed as the "Manager for" an American Indian catering service.

    It looks like he is the poster boy for "cultural appropriation" but in a bipolar way.

  • R Brian||

    "What ever happened to crazy?!?!"
    -- Chris Rock

  • ragebot||

    I am reminded by the meme "you got upset about something posted on the internet; you must be new around here".

    In addition to following VC I am a college football fan. One thing I have noticed not just on sports web sites but other places as well is the massive number of spam posts originating from facebook accounts. Things like 'you can make $US1,000 a week doing ….' or 'watch this game at this url' abound and facebook has a some what convoluted way to hide and report such posts. The same is true for any death thread. facebook does seem to delete accounts once they are deemed to violate the TOS. Yet that does not seem to stop, or even slow the spam.

    If the truth be known going on the internet is like going into a VR world where things are different; including things like threats. Not trying to minimize what happens in politics but what IS is complaining about is trivial compared to what I have seen sports fans post about fans of opposing teams. You guys just thing politics is a blood sport. And American football is not even close to being the worst; try looking at what happens at some soccer games in South America; which is even worse than Europe, something that I did not think was possible.

    Bottom line is we are in a new reality; or maybe a new virtual reality. As Spicoli said in "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" "Learn it, know it , live it".

  • Leo Marvin||

    You're belittling Ilya (a Jew)'s concern over death threats from a man who just murdered 12 people for being Jewish.

    smh

  • Naaman Brown||

    Florida mail "bomber" Cesar Sayoc is not Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers.

    ("bomber" in quotes because the devices lacked detonators or triggering devices.)

  • James Pollock||

    "('bomber' in quotes because the devices lacked detonators or triggering devices.)"

    The Air Force has "bombers" that remain bombers even when they don't have any bombs on them, which is most of the time.

  • Leo Marvin||

    "Florida mail "bomber" Cesar Sayoc is not Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers."

    Oops! Mea culpa. Thanks for the correction.

    Updated: You're belittling Ilya (a JewTrump critic)'s concern over death threats from a man who just murderedsent pipe bombs to at least 12 people for being Jewish mean to Trump.

    smh

  • ||

    It's time to split America into two countries. Liberals are clearly not capable of living with anyone else. Let them wreck their half, and the rest of us can have a traditional Western society.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Instead, the liberal-libertarian alliance will continue to improve America against the wishes and efforts of right-wingers.

    Conservatives can whine as much as they want about it.

  • ||

    Only if you consider turning America into a balkanized third-world country with no common culture or language to be an "improvement." It is not.

  • Jeff_Kleppe||

    "The liberal-libertarian alliance will continue to improve America"

    Continue? When did they start?

  • AmosArch||

    If that was possible the progs would be doing everything they could to infiltrate back in and disrupt the place. You see it over and over again even in the most desolate primitive places that don't want their help. To be a prog is to crave control over everybody else. They cannot live without us.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Look at any county-level breakdown of the 2016 election.

    You want to split the country in half? Unless your intent is to immediately start two additional civil wars, you have to create a discontinuous "blue/liberal" country that includes damn-near every city, and a largely unpopulated "red/conservative" country that goes coast-to-coast but has few major population centers.

    Put simply, in 1864 people really were split along geographical lines. In 2018, we are not. The reddest state has blue cities, and the bluest state has red rural communities.

  • James Pollock||

    Even if you DO manage to successfully isolate the "blue" parts of the country into one country, and the "red" parts of the country into another, the next civil war will be brewing within a generation, because children don't always grow up to share the opinions of their parents. So the smart, capable kids from RealAmerica are going to want to migrate to the cities to find education and work, and the folks in Blueville who want to flee the cities because they're diverse and have criminals and homeless (oh my!) will try to emigrate to get out of the city.

    Then the population of RealAmerica will start to drop, because they'll have no immigration and the child mortality numbers start to grow because all the good medical care is in the cities, and getting through the border checkpoints while in difficult labor starts to cost lives of mothers and children.

    RealAmerica starts to lay out its revenge, as the power generation facilities are largely in its territories... the BPA and TVA, and all the transmission equipment. The coal-fired plants, and the natural-gas fields are theirs to frack away to their hearts' content... but Blueville buys its power from cheaper alternative sources in Canada. Canada allies itself with Blueville, and fortifies its borders with RealAmerica because of increasing incidents of raiding over the border.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Chris Farrell (head of Judicial Watch) says Caravan is being funded/directed by the "Soros-occupied State Department".

    Wow.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Well, it's possible, (The Senate hasn't exactly been rushing through Trump's cabinet nominations, so large swaths of the Executive branch ARE still run by Obama holdovers.) but I'd have to see some evidence.

    This prompted me to visit Judicial Watch, to see what they were actually saying.

    "Elaborately Planned" Caravan Brings Human Traffickers & Violent Gangbangers to Guatemala

    Guatemalan Authorities Rescue Group of Minors from Human Smugglers in Caravan

    Sounds to me like they're actually doing feet on the ground investigative reporting. What an outrage!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And, 100 ISIS Terrorists Caught in Guatemala as Central American Caravan Heads to U.S.

    I've learned over the years that, if you just rely on mainstream US journalism, you can get a really incomplete picture of what's going on in the world, even what's going on in the US. I hope you're not stupid enough to think the fact that Trump says something CNN isn't reporting must mean Trump is lying.

    You aren't that stupid, are you?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Brett, I come to this blog, do you really think I'm a big fan of echo chambers?
    I had a blog for eight years where I read Free Republic and commented on it. I am well aware of conservative media.

    Your links don't really erase the fact that from this quote the head of Judicial Watch is deeply antisemitic. FOX has removed the piece, it's so bad.

    Did you click on you stories? I did. Judicial Watch has an EXCLUSIVE video where they talk to Guatemalan conservatives not in the Caravan about who is in the Caravan and what's going on. That's not reporting, that's just seeking out an repackaging propaganda.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's at least as much reporting as anything that normally passes for reporting in the MSM.

    And there's nothing anti-Semitic about that quote, unless you're going to claim that any attack on a guy who happens to be a Jew automatically becomes an anti-Semitic attack. Soros isn't hated on the right because he's a Jew, he's hated on the right because he funds things the right-wing disapproves of.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Come on, Brett. Look up Zionist Occupied Government. That's a well known antisemetic meme just cut-and-pasted with Soros.

    Just like Soros as an octopus, Soros as a Globalist Banker, Soros paying the lesser races to inveigle Real Americans.

    Quite a coincidence that disliking this particular rich liberal has so much overlap with that space that, say, Jeff Bezos doesn't!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I must admit that my sheltered upbringing has left me out of touch with "well known antisemitic memes". It has not left me sheltered from the fact that Soros funds a lot of things people on the right have every reason to dislike.

    Given that a rational explanation which doesn't involve antisemitism is available, I see no reason to assume that this is evidence of antisemitism.

  • Sarcastr0||

    All of the quotes and memes overlap with antisemitism far too much to be coincidence, it's a lot more than just negativity.

  • JRuss||

    Ah, the Trump era of the naive, gullible, ignorant, and profoundly intolerant Trumpster's. All unwilling or too ignorantly unskilled to do even simple research, especially computer research, to find the TRUTH. And that 99% percent of the main stream media's reporting is true and correct, a FACT. Truth is not negated by ignorance, ignorant OPINION, or denial only rebutting FACTS. Think something may or may not be true do some simple research, then cite and post the rebuttal, or are you too stupid?

  • ||

    Can you please translate this drivel into English?

  • James Pollock||

    He says Trump fans are suckers, who get what they deserve for believing a word he says.

  • captcrisis||

    Trump may well now insult and ridicule you, Professor, as he does with other death threat targets -- often within a day or two of them being targeted. Unfortunately that will have no effect on most of your commenters, who see nothing wrong with him.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Oh, I see plenty wrong with him. Which makes the exaggerated attacks on him more annoying. Apparently the reality isn't bad enough?

  • Michael Cook||

    Most of my career was spent as a jail guard in Seattle's very large downtown high rise jail. As such, I was threatened by experts almost daily as well as having body wastes thrown on me and always having to beware of unexpected physical assaults. I learned to be pretty thick skinned about it because I would have these confrontations with people and the next day they would bail out and I would be standing at the bus stop next to them. Or sitting on the bus behind them listening to their chit chat with their pals.

    Once I drove to work on a hot summer day with my windows down and became mired in a traffic standstill on I-405 when I hear a lot of hooting and hollering from the car immediately next to mine. It is four gang bangers of my acquaintance all having a ball flashing signs at me and making ominous gestures while yukking it up.

    That was a little unsettling, but not as bad as ordering a gourmet hamburger and beer while out with my wife and having the chef come out after I had bit into it and saying, "Hey, Officer Cook, remember me?" with a wicked smile on his face.

    The moral is, stand on your principles when you must, but be ready for anything out in public.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I suppose what it comes down to is that we have this bizzare notion that "death threats" are just "free speech" if someone (anyone) in the chain of events thinks it "wasn't serious".

    You get a death threat, but think "whatever, anonymous internet death threat. deleted". No justice.

    You report a death threat to the police, but the officer on the other side of the phone thinks "whatever, anonymous internet death threat. Say whatever I need to get this whiner off the phone." No justice.

    Police file the death threat, but the prosecutor thinks "whatever, anonymous internet death threat. Not worth the time to prosecute."

    Prosecutor actually files charges, but the jury thinks "whatever, anonymous internet death threat. Not credible, not guilty".

    Put simply, for a death threat to be treated seriously it has to cross a lot of lines and be bad enough to convince a lot of people. The end result is that few death threats are taken seriously, which makes it so much harder to pick up on the ones that are serious.

  • James Pollock||

    For a death threat to be taken seriously by the American justice system, it has to fall into one of two categories.

    1) a threat was made, and then an attempt followed.

    2) a threat was made, and these two conditions are true: A) the maker intended it to be threatening, and B) the receiver perceived it as threatening. A failure of either one makes the "threat" not a threat, legally speaking.

    Part of the analysis of whether a threat is a "real" threat has to do with whether or not the maker of the threat has any actual or perceived capability to carry it out. So a threat to park on the street, wait for you to come out of your house, and then drive over you, would be treated differently than a threat to have you abducted by aliens and thrown into the Bigfoot cage at the alien zoo.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes, that's the lawyer speak for what I said.

  • James Pollock||

    More or less. IANAL.

  • Rеv. Arthur I. Kirkland||

    Bull Cow, with your deranged hatred for the President, who lives rent free in your head, I am surprised that you would actually believe that anyone would take your claims at face value here. You have no actual evidence to support your pity party, and your word is worth as much as a udder on a Bull.

    You are a deranged liar, and anything that you write concerning the President should be discarded out of hand.

    Your pathetic attempt to try to smear the President here with the actions of a lunatic is quite telling of your lack of integrity and intellectual honesty.

  • Yogis_dad||

    This so-called avid Trump supporter was a Democrat for many years. He is plainly a few fries short of a Happy Meal. No organization has more spokesmen inciting violence against their opponents than the Democrats. Your column is just nonsense.

  • James Pollock||

    "This so-called avid Trump supporter was a Democrat for many years."

    So was Donald J Trump, and he's inarguably THE MOST AVID Trump supporter.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online