May 24, 2004

Troll Spray

I apologize for bringing this up again on the main page for those of you who don’t care about this, but I want everyone who has decided to avoid my comments section to know I’m in the process of cleaning it up now. I also want to issue a warning that no one will miss.

I’m ramping up my anti-troll counter measures. A few days ago I said “unserious, scurrilous, and idiotic commentary” will get the offender shown the door. No one who wasn’t already guilty of this complained much in the comments about the new policy.

Today Robert McClelland wrote in my comments “Writing ‘Fuck Jews’ is not anti-semitic” and then later said Jews who get offended by swastikas (in Berkeley) are “whining” about liberals. (!) (Earth to Robert: Liberals do not brandish swastikas.)

This is the sort of self-evidently idiotic nonsense I’m talking about. It drives reasonable people out of the comments and makes intelligent discussion impossible. No more. Act like that and you’re out with no warning on the grounds of abject stupidity alone. I’m going to hose down the walls if I have to.

As for the rest of you who are tired of trolls, please rejoin the discussion. I am not going to choose them over you any longer.

Your regularly scheduled opinionated blather now resumes if you scroll down to next post.


UPDATE: Meryl Yourish is cracking down, too, in her own way and for her own completely understandable and justified reasons.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 24, 2004 10:29 PM
Comments

Good on you Michael. I've been a big fan of your comments section for a long time. A very high level of discussion and debate takes place and you should be proud to keep it from degenerating into a shouting match.

Posted by: Jono at May 24, 2004 11:31 PM

Michael - why are you giving him any traffic? His comments were more than enough to convince me to avoid him like a plague.

Posted by: marek at May 25, 2004 05:14 AM

The posting rules below are a good template for the kind of civil discussion you're looking for, as follows:
- Be reasonably civil.
- No profanity.
- Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.
- Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.
Violating these can get you banned. Tacitus is the judge of what does and does not constitute a violation. Rest assured he will not ban for mere disagreement or ideological proclivity (well, unless you lean Nazi).

Posted by: Bird Dog at May 25, 2004 05:16 AM

Hear, hear!

Posted by: steve at May 25, 2004 05:18 AM

Bravo, Michael!

Am I the only one who is not going to miss caliber?

Posted by: chris at May 25, 2004 06:55 AM

Michael, I'm sure you took this step reluctantly. I contemplated these issues when we had a troll over at centerfield and decided to let him post but to try not to engage him. (I'm as reluctant to stifle dissent as I am to leave idiocy unchallenged. It's a problem.)

At the same time I realized that such a policy would be untenable if the troll volume got too high and loud. The problem with the new policy is that the skilled trolls are good at giving the appearance of transient rationality, which makes a desire to apply the policy in only extreme instances very difficult to judge.

Anyway, I agree with you. Good luck.

Posted by: bk at May 25, 2004 07:00 AM

Troll Spray, what a novel idea. Please send me one gross for application to my university classes when students get out of hand for making dumb comments (both radical left and radical right varieties).

OTOH, free interchange of ideas is the basis for university. I used to have a sign in my office "To Err Is Human ~ But, Must You Be So Human?" Would that serve the same purpose as your amazing new spray?

Cheers

Posted by: gmroper at May 25, 2004 07:07 AM

While agreeing entirely with your efforts Michael I'd hasten to point out that your comment -

"Earth to Robert: Liberals do not brandish swastikas"

is unfortunately easily refutable at almost any anti-war/anti-Bush rally. Of course one could claim that these people are not really liberals, but unfortunately today's liberal leaders rarely take the opportunity to do so.

Posted by: Hacksaw at May 25, 2004 07:27 AM

For what it's worth, Slashdot has a neat system where the members themselves moderate the discussion. I wonder if that would be useful here. If nothing else, it could reduce the likelyhood that someone would claim bias.

Posted by: joekm at May 25, 2004 07:33 AM

Good for you, Michael.

I am tired of hearing bigots whine about "free speech" -- I will oppose any government attempt to silence them, but on private blogs and forums, I say kick their asses and make them hurt!

Posted by: Mike Silverman at May 25, 2004 07:45 AM

qmroper,

"OTOH, free interchange of ideas is the basis for university. "

This definition does not stand the test of evil intent, or even selfish behavior. Michael and I change each others minds, sometimes slightly, somtimes significantly, by accepting a basis of civility. The only reason this happens, though, is because we are not trying to harm each other by our exchange of views. Trolls define themselves by not having any such constraints.

Admonishing trolls serves as much purpose as discouraging the tide. Sometimes the only way to control a situation is by walling it off.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at May 25, 2004 08:36 AM

The linked posting to Meryl's comment ruling is right on the nose. I think what a lot of people fail to realize about these blogs is that they're NOT a free speech zone, they're people's pet projects (some say people's primal scream therapy, but that's another issue). If we read their blogs, enjoy them, but consistently make the blogger feel like crap because of our commentary, then we're doing everybody a disservice.

I spend as much time on right-wing blogs as I do left-wing ones (my political leaning) because I like the interchange of ideas, I like debate, and I like having my own preconceptions challenged. I try to keep my comments civil, and in tune with the general mood of the commentariate. That being said, I've been turfed from a couple of right-wing boards because of comments that I've written. Which is fine, the bloggers in question hated my guts, and I had misread the style of comments they would tolerate.

So I think Meryl's posting is excellent - she's stated her sensitivities out front, clearly explained the policy, and more power to her. And to MJT as well for taking what's probably a difficult step, but a positive one in the long run.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 25, 2004 08:44 AM

Good luck with the Troll-B-Gone program. They're a pernicious breed, though, and seem to reproduce rapidly, so you may need to re-spray frequently, especially at first.

However, all things considered, your noise-to-signal ratio is still very good for a political blog, where Godwin's Law seems absolute at times.

Keep fighting the good fight, Michael. Decent, on-topic political discourse is an increasingly rare and precious commodity.

Posted by: donna at May 25, 2004 08:45 AM

Good luck with the Troll-B-Gone program. They're a pernicious breed, though, and seem to reproduce rapidly, so you may need to re-spray frequently, especially at first.

However, all things considered, your noise-to-signal ratio is still very good for a political blog, where Godwin's Law seems absolute at times.

Keep fighting the good fight, Michael. Decent, on-topic political discourse is an increasingly rare and precious commodity.

Posted by: donna at May 25, 2004 08:45 AM

Hi Michael,

You gotta do what you gotta do. I learned early on that I wanted my comments section to be an area for reasonable debate. I warned trolls several times, then just banned them. I am a very low traffic site, so the trolls died off quickly. Commenting has suffered a bit, but at least I do not waste time cleaning up and deleting comments, and can focus more energy on writing. And my readership has slowly increased, so you take the good with the bad. I do not need obscene, abusive and disrespectful comments on my site, and there is a plethora of sites out there that cater to trolls. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Bill Roggio at May 25, 2004 09:53 AM

Of course you are right Michael but I see the same problem Meryl Y apparently had: if you simply neglect the insults and outright stupidity 'trolls' can sometimes shed some light on lines of thinking.
The biggest problem in my view is that some people can be 'educated'. I myself would like to reach person with limited social skills too and so I am ready to take a number of comments that are rather insulting.
But then again a real problem of course is that a not very frequent visitor can be scared off.

@joekm: a commenter is not a member is (s)he ?

@Bill "I am a very low traffic site": then what happened on 20th may?

Posted by: Frans Groenendijk at May 25, 2004 11:20 AM

Just remember - according to the Monstrous Compendium, trolls regenerate 3 HP per round unless burned by fire or acid...

Posted by: Independent George at May 25, 2004 12:00 PM

Here's where all the groupies tell Michael "good for you Michael", and "you go Michael" and "You're too good for them Michael," etc. blah blah blah. Predictable and booooring.

Posted by: David at May 25, 2004 12:08 PM

Well, I hope you don't consider me a troll, I may be a geurrilla ontologist, but tis a far cry from troll.. I hope (cause I probably whon't change my posting style much... though I will refrain from labels which are demeaning).

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at May 25, 2004 12:15 PM

Tosk,

You are not a troll. The fact that you are concerned that you might be considered one is part of what prevents you from actually being one.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 25, 2004 12:28 PM

David,

It may be boring for you to read "good on you, Michael" but I am grateful and find it necessary. If everyone jumped on my case and defended the old system of keeping the trolls I would be a lot more lenient.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 25, 2004 12:29 PM

I'm with David. Nothing is more annoying than a comment (or part of a comment) to the effect of "wow, that's great, rock on dude," with no substance whatsoever. It's goddamn rude, is what. Proposed Rule: if you agree with the writer, and you have nothing to add, and you can't express your heartfelt approval in the form of a sonnet, just bite your typing fingers until the urge passes.

Who wants to sit still for five seconds, for nothing? And who, when he has something to say, wants to be number 119 in a mile-long thread of mind-numbing concurrence? I'd rather delve into Scott McClelland's "reasoning", myself.

Posted by: dipnut at May 25, 2004 12:30 PM

Hey Michael, just so you know, I was responding to David, not to you. You kinda slipped in there. It bugs me when the commenters sing your praises, but maybe I'm just jealous.

Posted by: dipnut at May 25, 2004 12:39 PM

. Nothing is more annoying than a comment (or part of a comment) to the effect of "wow, that's great, rock on dude," with no substance whatsoever.

Not even a troll? :-)

Personally, I like posts that say "I 2nd that motion, " especially when I'm the original poster gettting commented upon at the blog I post at. A comments visitor might find them boring, but surely the original poster apreciates positive feedback. Under the "no rock on dude comments" policy, if your post was perfectly on point, you'd have no way to distinguish it from a total lack of response.

Posted by: bk at May 25, 2004 12:40 PM

Dipnut,

I agree with your reasons too, but for me it's people's need to fall in as groupies that annoys me. Groupies are almost as annoying as trolls, if not more.

Posted by: David at May 25, 2004 12:47 PM

I don't really agree with your tough stance,(except in extreme cases) but then I'm probably borderline troll. Not really on purpose, but because Im not as articulate as most.
I often have to refrain myself from simple replys like "thats bullshit".
Anyway, your blog,your rules, I respect that.

Posted by: mnm at May 25, 2004 01:03 PM

bk: Under the "no rock on dude comments" policy, if your post was perfectly on point, you'd have no way to distinguish it from a total lack of response.

I second that motion.

I rarely get "rock on dude" commentary. The subject of troll-busting seems to bring it on, and like I said that's a good thing because I don't want to sit here and wonder if I'm being an asshole. I don't think I am, but I really wouldn't know if my anti-troll posts got no reponse except from the trolls.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 25, 2004 01:25 PM

Like many of you, I'm exhausted from fighting off the groupies. Who has energy for trolls, when there are so many groupies to deal with?
Why not start a business of hunting down trolls where they live, scaring them to within an inch of their lives, then leave them with post-hypnotic suggestions that make them vomit if they get anywhere near a keyboard? Works for me.

Posted by: Franck at May 25, 2004 01:30 PM

Groupies are nothing more than trolls with official state sanction (you know who you are). If blogs were concentration camps, they would be the kapos.

Posted by: David at May 25, 2004 01:53 PM

(Sigh) This is a false dichotomy. The choice is not "groupies vs. trolls." I don't see Michael banning people for disagreeing with him, and everyone is free to do that. He's banning trolls, which is something different, to wit:

Troll: "1. To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. 2.An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that the have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait."

Posted by: jeremy at May 25, 2004 01:58 PM

Sometimes cowflop needs to be called cowflop. The trick is then to explain exactly why its cowflop without a) resorting to insults, b) appealing to (questioable) authority (FeeRepublic or AlterNet, anyone?), or c) highjacking the thread so badly that a good discussion slips and falls into new and more-or-less exciting cowflop.

Can I say "Rock On!" now?

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 25, 2004 02:01 PM

I don't want to sit here and wonder if I'm being an asshole

Okay, my two cents is that you've been a little too lenient and easygoing. I said your judgment was good, and it is. But it's slightly too biased in favor of open forum and against quality forum. There is no way that you've erred on the side of being too hard-nosed.

Posted by: Jim at May 25, 2004 02:02 PM

David, Great posts! Woo-hoo, you nailed it, dude! Spot on!

Heh. A little humor. Okay, very little.

Posted by: Jim at May 25, 2004 02:04 PM

Heh. Okay. Thanks, Jim.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 25, 2004 02:08 PM

No, no. I think David is on to something here, with the "kapos" thing. I think he just didn't take his metaphor far enough.

Groupies are more like mass-murdering Mongol hordes, sweeping down accross the Steppes....no, wait....Groupies aremore like Jeffrey Dahmer, killing people and eating their...no, no, I've got it! Groupies are like the Khmer Rouge.... Wait - groupies are like the bubonic plague!

OK, I've figured it out: Groupies are the single greatest source of evil in the last 200 years! Thanks for helping me put it all in perspective, David!

[sarcasm=off]

Please don't ban me, Michael; I just couldn't take the fact the fact that I have to invoke Godwin's law in a discussion of blog groupies.

Posted by: jeremy at May 25, 2004 04:52 PM

No one who makes me laugh three times in one post gets banned. And hey, come on, I'm not running a police state here. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 25, 2004 05:11 PM

Patrick Lasswell quotes and writes:
"OTOH, free interchange of ideas is the basis for university. " Quoting me

This definition does not stand the test of evil intent, or even selfish behavior.

Patrick, it was a bit of levity, a joke, a dollop of jocularity... sheesh

Posted by: gmroper at May 25, 2004 05:18 PM

Maybe LGF will follow suit. I stopped reading his blog after seeing some of his worst trolls crying for blood.

Posted by: Susan at May 25, 2004 08:18 PM

I hope so, I avoid LGF altogether because of the comments there.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 25, 2004 09:32 PM

Ah ha. I found you Sortelli. Think you are safe. Bahahaha.

But on a serious note. Did he just say F Jews, or was it in the context of presenting an arguement?

For me I have noticed something. Maybe others have as well. In America there was often a black issue thing going on. There were always those who would abuse that issue as well.

In blog land and on the internet I have noticed everyone seem to treat Jews and Israel with care. Like questioning actions or motivations of Jews or Israel is not allowed.

This strikes me as funny. I mean the internet the free place that it is shows no reverence to any race, creed, or nationality, or religion. Somewhere you'll find parodies of everyone. With the exception of Jews. Very few sites exist that parody Israel or Jews, and I find that unusual. The ones that do are met with severe flack. Emails, reports to Google, ect.

Which leads me to the question of why?

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 26, 2004 03:14 PM

IXLNXS, someone should lead you to the clue door. It's the one marked exit.

Posted by: Lee at May 26, 2004 08:17 PM

I'll be glad to exit if I'm not wanted. No where in my comment was I offensive nor rascist. I have friends of all nationalities and races. All religions and walks of life. I ask the question I ask because it does seem to be based on some fact. All I asked was if anyone had ever noticed it as well.

And from your curt answer you demonstrate my point rather well. All I did was ask if there is another standard, and mentioned if one got near it one would get blasted for it.

While telling me the exit is marked exit isn't near as slammed as some things it's still slamming. Thanks for illustrating so well, but this time try and answer the question, thanks.

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 27, 2004 01:31 PM

In blog land and on the internet I have noticed everyone seem to treat Jews and Israel with care. Like questioning actions or motivations of Jews or Israel is not allowed.

and

With the exception of Jews. Very few sites exist that parody Israel or Jews, and I find that unusual. The ones that do are met with severe flack.

IXLNXS, I am going to try and answer your point seriously, but I have to admit that it is difficult. Why is it difficult? Because in my view, it is not really a serious point, being based on, well, nothing real.

More to the point: what the heck are you talking about? Where on earth do you get that Jews and Israel aren't discussed, dissected, attacked and parodied on the web? How are those sites attacked in any manner different from any other political site (e.g., Kos' recent flap, or the constant attacks on the pro-Israel Little Green Footballs)?

You want to see the sites you're looking for?

Here's a parody.

Here's another.

Here's a site attacking Israel constantly.

Here's another.

That took me all of 30 seconds to find via Google. And you know what? There are thousands more, ranging from wacko hatesites like Radio Islam and Stormfront, to more serious sites like WRMEA.

So to me your post was completely begging the question ("when did you stop beating your wife?") and thus hard to answer; but my answer is, your premises are completely false.

Posted by: jeremy at May 27, 2004 07:45 PM

I feel my premises bear witness to themselves.

The one links parody shows Baptist in a negative light. Being a parody of possible Baptist doctrine.

The second link belittles the Egyptians and makes fun of them, not Jews.

The third site contains an article that backs my premise. Jews speaking out against Israel. How no one can call them anti semite for it since they are Jews. Meaning others besides myself have noticed anyone speaking "improperly" against Israel or Jews is automatically labeled an anti semite.

The fourth? Well it is about time someone started questioning, shame they are as biased as FOX which detracts from any real message they might have.

As to, "when did you stop beating your wife?"

I've never beat my wife. Why on Earth would that question be hard for anyone to answer?

I'm truly sorry you don't see my point where anyone questioning Jews or Israel is automatically labelled antisemite unless they are Jewsih, then they are labeled traitor.

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 27, 2004 09:47 PM

Perhaps what has been noticed by you, exists.

At the very least, it exists perceptually in YOU, and you had the courage to bare your perceptions here, where we graciously pointed out that these are YOUR perceptions.

Then, too, the 'anti-Semite!' charge is wielded with perhaps too much gusto, at times, paralleled by charges of 'homophobe!' if one questions homo events, actions or values.

Have Jews and homosexuals been unfairly abused in recent history? YES. Does that make my questioning of their motives, efforts or actions a 'phobic' (extreme, fear-based, crippling) response? NO.

And for the record, I'm frequently gay, but I'm never homosexual. I have no respect for using a euphemism to cover up homosexuality. Phobic? No, again. My pulse is normal, no sweaty palms or clammy skin and my breathing is level and calm.

Over to you... (and Michael: Concur yr analysis, re Trolls and other anti-social feces-flingers. Right arm, Dewd!)

Posted by: Sharps Shooter at May 28, 2004 02:00 AM

I like the fact you stated these thoughts may be my own. Each of us struck with different ideas stemming from the same instance depending on where we are at the given instance.

As a game player. Silly as it sounds, there is the "gay" mafia so to speak, where you reject an individual for their silly advances within a game, and they in turn label you homophobic which causes grief due to others flocking to defend their poor abused bretheren.

As in anything there are those that will abuse their circumstances for gain. Seeing it displayed like this realize it is nothing more than the same BS some blacks, and some homosexuals have done in life, or on the internet. Say anything abusive one wishes, and when someone argues with the assuptions, or disagrees call them a hateful name that is sure to attract pity to the stater.

A much better response than showing me the door. More of you around and we may have a chance to agree to disagree. And after all thats what Darwin meant when he suggested those most agreeable to change.,

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 28, 2004 02:41 PM

IXL, I think you misunderstand your reputation. No one is scared of you. Those of us that have had to wade through your bizarre posts about oil pipelines and cannibalism tend to expect that you'd be the kind of guy to defend Robert McClelland.

Oh, and look, you've managed to turn a complaint about blatant, full-out, undeniable anti-semitism, and people like Robert McClelland who would deny it to score political points, into a discussion about how anti-semitism is used to chill criticism of Jews.

When someone hears the words "Fuck the Jews" and immediately begins to think of ways to apologize for the statement or explore how the Jews are at fault for provoking it, well... fuck you.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 28, 2004 06:21 PM

IXLNXS, the first is a parody of Jews and Christians. I didn't see you say it had to be exclusively Jews.

The second isn't a parody of Egyptians - it's a parody of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Yeesh!

Th third contains Jews speaking out against Israel, so somehow it backs the premise that people can't speak out against Israel? Explain, please.

The fourth - well the fourth you admit is exactly what you said doesn't exist.

And again: this was 30 seconds of Googling. There are tons of parody and anti-Israel sites out there (antiwar.com, whatreallyhappened.com, Palestine Chronicle) - if you can't find them, either you are deliberately ignoring them, or you don't know how to use a search engine. If i'ts the latter, let me know and I'll post some more.

YOur original post didn't say "anyone questioning Jews or Israel is automatically labelled antisemite unless they are Jewsih, then they are labeled traitor." It said the sites don't exist; if you want to retract that, go ahead, but otherwise, that's the point you made and the point I'm arguing at the moment.

As for the "wife beating," I didn't say you beat your wife. See the quotes? "When did you stop beating your wife" is the sterotypical example often given for the logical fallacy of begging the question - it assumes and proceeds based upon an incorrect factual assumption without providing a means of assertion otherwise (e.g., as compared to "do you beat your wife?"). It's the classic example used in most studies on the same.

And that's what you did, by asking why there aren't any sites parodying or attacking Jews or Israel. Again - the answer is "I can't answer 'why' because your factual assumption is incorrect to begin with."

I'm truly sorry you don't see my point where anyone questioning Jews or Israel is automatically labelled antisemite unless they are Jewsih, then they are labeled traitor.

Posted by: jeremy at May 28, 2004 07:01 PM

Old Sortelli of there is no pipeline, and no one ever profits off of war. Shame you choose to attack instead of comprehend, again.

Yes I must be totally off the mark once again. No one ever bashes people or calls them antisemetic for questioning Jews of Israel. Again I must be off the mark. That kind of thing just doesn't happen.

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 29, 2004 01:32 PM

IXLNXS, you're displaying the same sort of reading comprehension that McClelland is famous for.

To repeat what I just wrote above, "Your original post didn't say "anyone questioning Jews or Israel is automatically labelled antisemite unless they are Jewish, then they are labeled traitor." It said the sites don't exist; if you want to retract that, go ahead, but otherwise, that's the point you made and the point I'm arguing at the moment."

You're continuing to argue a point that no one made, rather than the rebuttal to the point you did make. Care to try again?

Posted by: jeremy at May 29, 2004 02:57 PM

Oh, and one other thing: your protestations that you 're not looking to be shown the door (you're just here for discussion) are a little, oh, disingenuous, given your history and intent, based on these statements from your blog:

Been awhile since I taunted right wingers and got banned as well.

Banned list thus far. Little Green Footballs. Daily Pundit. Usefull Fools. Arkham Review. Grouchy Old Cripple.

Posted by: jeremy at May 29, 2004 03:34 PM

I am very flattered you visited the troll lounge. My point possibly worded wrongly is that "I" too often see accusations of Anti Semitism, Homophobia, if "I" speak badly of those in question. Perhaps my thoughts went beyond that. As to trying to just get banned, I am sure I could have entered here and said something so vile as to be shown the door from the very first post. Instead I sought discourse, thanks for supplying. I'll be heading to the post up top to see what's said there. Please feel free to argue with me any time. I may not be right, but I sure like playing along.

And a thanks to Michael Totten for not showing me the door from the first, unlike LGF, Old Grouchy Cripple, Daily Pundit, ect, tho Daily Pundit didn't ban me till I questioned the heroism of Tillman. In retrospect we now see he was most likely killed by friendly fire, and no enemy were anywhere near the scene. So possibly my assertion at the time that the only reason he was honored as a hero was because he turned down cash unlike the other dead and dying who come from working back grounds.

See you up top.

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 30, 2004 01:06 PM

You sought discourse? Bullshit. You went in to ask what the context of "Fuck Jews" was. If you read the post below, it was in the context of vadalism and bricks through windows. Yet you wanted to float the idea that saying "Fuck Jews" could somehow possibly be a valid point to make in an argument.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 30, 2004 05:20 PM

Sortelli. I hate everyone equally. Its that easy. From self loathing to world loathing. I can also "try" and see most issues from many sides.

From a Christian aspect. Hating Jews, and the world as a whole starting to question them is a sign of the end times. If anything as a Chritian, should I seek to defend them and put off the inevitable, or should I seek to denegrate them and hasten the second coming?

From a logical standpoint that removes religion from the equation I question Americas assistance to Israel. Why American tax dollars are wasted there, and why we turn a blind eye to Israels flouting of UN sanctions.

I have visited sites that showed pictures of vandalism of a Jewish graveyard in France. The thought there was to blame all France for the action of one group of vandals. Unlike blaming all of America for the vandalization of synagogues done by neo nazis in this country.

And that brings me to a curious play in time. Two Israelis were found driving around an American nuclear power plant recently. What would Americas reaction be should an explosion occur in America in the coming months? Who would we blame? Who would stand to gain from something like this?

See Sortelli, I keep open all possibilities. Including ones that others dare not utter. Perhaps Robert in his own little way expresses a feeling some people in the world agree with. Yes it was rather short, rather profane, but I back his right to say it. The same right I'll back you having when you decide to say something similar to me.

I also find it humorous because he could have said "Fuck Muslims", of "Fuck Islam" and got no bannings because they, Muslims, are the enemy and Israel is not. But I suspect everyone and everything. I feel Israel may be just as much my enemy as many other groups. But alas, Robert decided to denegrate the wrong group.

Again my point is displayed. How easily it is to ban someone for words against Jews or Israel, and how easy to ignore those same words denegrating Islam or Muslims.

As a Christian tho I'm guessing we should just stone them all. Return to that old time religion we are so proud of ey? The non fanatic religions of Judaism and the Christians. And there lies a sticky point. Jews and Christains have chose to change their religion to work for the world, while Muslims have not. Who honors their religion then?

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 31, 2004 11:39 AM

Michael, doing something about keeping comments courteous and adhering to basic civility is an excellent thing, as you know I think, since I called for you do do something before.

May I further add that it is necessary, if one has comment rules -- and I think it is necessary, myself -- to post the rules. On your sidebar. Reasonably prominently. I'd suggest under you "Contact Me" Rules, or thereabouts, but that's up to you. But if they're not posted prominently, permanently, on your main blog page, they might as well not exist; you can't expect trolls and twits to read your archives to find out.

Posted by: Gary Farber at June 1, 2004 07:40 AM

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Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
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Looking the World in the Eye
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