Late Night BS Open Thread: Are the Trolls Winning?

online pseudo friends pett

(Joel Pett via GoComics.com)

Farhad Manjoo, in the NYTimes:

The Internet may be losing the war against trolls. At the very least, it isn’t winning. And unless social networks, media sites and governments come up with some innovative way of defeating online troublemakers, the digital world will never be free of the trolls’ collective sway.

That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.

“As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”…

“As more high-profile cases come to light, particularly of celebrities and high-profile figures being chased off of social media, more people will view trolling as a way of having an effect on these otherwise apparently untouchable figures from the safety of their own smartphones and homes,” Claire Hardaker, a lecturer in linguistics at Lancaster University in England who has studied trolling, said in an email…

I’m grateful BJ is still small select enough that hand-approving new addresses and Cole’s extremely restrictive use of the ban-hammer has kept us, so far, mostly free of this particularly vile subspecies of the troll plague, at least.

141 replies
  1. 1
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I’m grateful BJ is still small select enough that hand-approving new addresses and Cole’s extremely restrictive use of the ban-hammer has kept us, so far, mostly free of this particularly vile subspecies of the troll plague, at least.

    Selective banning is on the wrong side of the equation. That’s a symptom, not a cause.

  2. 2
    mclaren says:

    Trolls, of course, are the pejorative name by which people who dissent from the common unwisdom are known online.

    Martin Luther King was a troll. Gandhi was a gigantic troll. The founders of America were trolls deluxe. And of course, the single greatest troll in history remains the Buddha.

  3. 3
    🚸 Martin says:

    Geez, two comments in and we get trolled…

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    I tend to be pretty restrictive in who I consider to be a troll. T&H and UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH, I would call trolls. m_c and mclaren are not.

  5. 5
    Yatsuno says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): m_c was definitely her own creature. She was not shown the door for trolling, which she never did. She got booted because she pretty much refused to learn.

  6. 6
    max says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH

    So…what happened? Did the UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH turn out to be somewhat limited?

    No, wait, I know! He was buried under an avalanche of Koch Brothers-provided Cheetos & juice boxes! Where he is undoubtably still trapped to this very day. Poor bastard is probably still trying to unskew his basement.

    max
    [‘You watch, he’s gonna show up one day and ask how the Romney administration is going.’]

  7. 7
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I miss Brick Oven Bill. Now there was a troll worth fighting.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Yatsuno: And she chose not to come back. IMO she was racist, religiously bigoted, and manichean in thought (Fifty Shades of Grey was definitely not her book). OTOH both she and mclaren attempt/ed to participate in the discourse of the blog. Often antagonistically. Often incorrectly. But that is different than trolling.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Perhaps better than a discussion of trolls is a pudgy white boy in a bow tie trying to channel Otis singing Sam. Or not.

    ETA: The pudgy white boy seems to be sincere.

  10. 10
    Walker says:

    In the early years, this blog had a major troll. He stopped when he became a front pager.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    T&H and UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH, I would call trolls.

    UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH was funny.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: In a point and laugh way, yes. I mean, were we laughing with or at him/her/it?

  13. 13
    🚸 Martin says:

    Don Pardo died.

  14. 14
    Anoniminous says:

    Listening to KING-FM o’er the Internets. No trolls there. Just Vivaldi’s violin Concerto in D.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anoniminous: That was my audition piece back when I was a violinist.

  16. 16
    Goblue72 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): their KEXP recording has a much better sound quality. They seem a bit of gimmick – why go for a carbon copy when touring artists like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings or Charles Bradley are around. But similar to Allen Stone, they ain’t half bad.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I was laughing at the absurdity of the posts. ALL CAPS! Showing up after debates or some new poll came out to crow excitedly. Just comical.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    @🚸 Martin: End of an era. RIP.

  19. 19
    Goblue72 says:

    @Violet: I wondered if it was just DougJ trolling.

  20. 20
    KG says:

    The biggest mistake in the history of the Internet was when mainstream media outlets allowed comments on their articles.

  21. 21
    Rex Everything says:

    Come on, T&H was witty. I wish he was still around.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Goblue72: They have done their own stuff as well. It isn’t bad. I see what I posted as a sincere homage. There is nothing wrong with recognizing the gods of the past. I think they are celebrating the Stax sound and they are in their early 20s, so let’s let them be and see if that can do something really good. this kids are alright.

    Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are fantastic.

    ETA: White Soul-wise – Hozier deserves a mention.

  23. 23
    Anoniminous says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Not the Beethoven in D? (evil grin)

    Interesting how many of the top Violin concertos are in D.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    @Goblue72: yeah me too.

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Greatest troll I ever saw was MERKIN PATRIOT from Eschaton, and on one memorable occasion a Joe Klein thread at Swampland.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Yes, it was very witty of him to fantasize about my mother performing oral sex on Jodie Foster. Worthy of the Algonquin Round Table, that.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anoniminous: Vivaldi was a violinist. He wrote for us. He put in every chance to demonstrate technique and have a shit load of fun while playing. I love his stuff like only a violinist could – even the cliched stuff. Fuck all the haterz!

  28. 28
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    For pudgy white boys channeling Sam Cooke, my go-to has always been Eric Burdon.

    Bonus cultural note: bass player (Chas Chandler) thinking about how he will be managing Jimi Hendrix in a few years.

  29. 29
    Steeplejack says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Vivaldi was a well-known troll.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: MERKIN was a work of art. Just perfect. I could never respond to him (I assume (?)) because I was always laughing my ass off.*

    *Are you another Eschaton refugee?

  31. 31
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Perhaps better than a discussion of trolls is a pudgy white boy in a bow tie trying to channel Otis singing Sam.

    I was afraid Tucker Carlson had gotten his frat brothers back together for a fund-raiser for the Daily Caller

  32. 32
    Anoniminous says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Vivaldi was a virtuoso violinist. He was the first guy to play and compose sixteenth notes.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Steeplejack: Burdon chose a better song. OTOH this all will send me to listen to Sam. There are few things for which I would go back to the crossroads in Clarksdale, but Sam’s voice might be it.

    ETA: Sam’s version of Bring It On Home To Me.

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yup. I’ve been getting ready for Hillary cause I wanted to watch the PUMA/Naderite coalition turn on each other, but I skimmed a few threads last week and it seems like the most combative posters have drifted away.

  35. 35
    Anoniminous says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I believe you are thinking of Wagner. TAH-DAH-TA-TA-DAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH TAH!

    & etc., etc., and so intermittently so forth. ( bleech)

  36. 36
    bad Jim says:

    There was once a violist who could play 64th notes. People would come from all over the world to hear him play one.

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    How would you classify Bob in Portland: sincere pro-Russian, albeit full of blind spots, or something else? UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH seemed just laughably dumb to me. T&H was a particularly vicious troll, the nastiest I’ve seen here or anywhere else. Is he infesting some other blog(s) nowadays, or has he retired to concentrate on his portrait “art”?

    @mclaren:

    Trolls, of course, are the pejorative name by which people who dissent from the common unwisdom are known online.

    There’s more to it, I think, than just being a minority of one. You at least bring some form of reasoned argument which others respond to. So did m_c. Both of you can frequently be disagreeable as well as contrary, but few here would consider either of you a troll.You at least bring something to the conversation which for me is the dividing line between not-troll and troll.

    On the other hand, T&H liked to abuse other commentors in the threads, while bragging about his special friendship with John Cole and touting his shitty portraits. UCC hasn’t been seen at all since 2012. Derf shows up only to mock John Cole; jurassicpork, only to hold out his begging bowl. Cornet Stone gets his jollies provoking other commentors.

  38. 38

    The lowest common denominator will always “win”.

    Check out graffiti in ancient Greece, and Socrates re: literacy:

    this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

    It has happened before, and it will happen again.

    The trolls will never win.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think BIP is a Larouchie. I also don’t think Corner Stone is a troll. He is often an asshole. He is also capable of good conversation. He will also hate anything that he sees as my defense of him.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Generally agree strongly with your comment, except about Corner Stone. He can (too often) be a colossal dick, but he does contribute something often enough to avoid troll status, at least for me. YMMV, of course.

  41. 41

    @Steeplejack:@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Corner Stone’s found his way on and off of my pie filter. Currently off.

  42. 42
    bad Jim says:

    Mozart and Dvorak were also fiddle players. Paganini was pretty fierce on the guitar, I’ve heard. Most other composers were keyboard jockeys at best and needed to consult experts on string works. No one from the winds or brass, that I recall. Piazzolla’s not an exception; an accordion is still a keyboard instrument.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anoniminous: Bach is loved by a lot of keyboard guys. Vivaldi is a violinist’s composer. As far as an audition piece, Vivaldi is obvious. If I could do his shit, I could play the relatively less technical stuff of other composers.

  44. 44

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is without question the best thing I ever learned how to play. You can plop yourself down in front of a piano and do a dumbed-down version for a few minutes and just wow people.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @bad Jim: Mozart could pick up a Moog synthesizer and master it within minutes. Or a Gibson Les Paul. Few can do that.

  46. 46
    srv says:

    @mclaren: You forgot Rand Paul – while the wisdom of democrats sends troops into our own cities.

    It’s 3am Hillary, your phone is ringing.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Meyer Hawthorne is kind of good for white neo soul.

    Blanked on his name for the longest time and had to do some Google diving. His first (and maybe only) CD is pretty good.

    ETA: A Strange Arrangement (2009).

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty):

    He is the sole occupant of my pie filter. Just not worth it at all, IMO.

  49. 49
    amk says:

    talk about navel gazing.

  50. 50

    @Mnemosyne: My old computer would agree with you but with this new one I decided to give everybody a chance again.

    I think my new computer still agrees with you, but I just wanted some evidence that I’d made the right decisions.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Steeplejack: Hawthorne ain’t bad. Once you get past the idea that Soul is in the past, some of the new guys are alright. Otis didn’t start out as Otis. He became him. Let’s see if these kids can become something.

  52. 52
    goblue72 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah, caught the error right after I posted. I think maybe Daptones is the record label. Or I’m just old.

  53. 53
    ruemara says:

    To certain media types, I am definitely a troll but there’s a particularly nasty streak of human that gets off on trying their best to wound people online. It’s one thing to describe Chuck Toddlers as a face merkin wearer now running a show for douches, but another thing to bring ing up family issues or personal struggles. And that sort of person takes all the fun out of trolling.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @srv: Speaking of subtle trolling….

  55. 55
    goblue72 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): And yes, I generally agree with your assessment. Although for me, there’s also a bit of the “if they were black, would anyone pay them any attention?”

    And part of me goes, “Nope.” And the sad part is, is it because we live in an effed up racist world where black folks get ignored for doing the same things white folks do unless they do it twice as well? Or is it because of the novelty (which these days isn’t quite as novel) of white boys singing soul (which novelty is itself a function of our effed up racist world)? Or both and then some?

    That’s the point when I put on some Chuck D and start drinking.

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    ,

  57. 57
    goblue72 says:

    @amk: If you stare into the navel long enough, the belly button lint stares back.

  58. 58

    @bad Jim: Carl Nielsen studied violin, and played both bugle and trombone. Georges Enescu, the composer of “Oedipe”, was also a violinist. John Adams grew up playing the clarinet. Philip Glass, I believe, studied the flute.

  59. 59
    goblue72 says:

    @ruemara: I’m never gonna look at Chuck Todd’s face again the same way. Thanks. (I mean it – thanks.)

  60. 60
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I think I saw T&H chime in at the tail end of some overnight thread within the last week.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    I sorta miss B.O.B.. He brings out the inner correspondent-to-Penthouse-Forum in me.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @goblue72: The first several times I heard the band, I had no clue of the race of the band members. I heard the songs and liked what I heard. Also, I am the guy who would consider going to Clarksdale and making a deal to get Sam Cooke’s voice.

  64. 64
    Steeplejack says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty):

    Whenever I hear the Toccata and Fugue I am always involuntarily reminded of Fever Tree’s eponymous album from 1968, which turned out to be a towering pillar of psychedelia. It’s got a bit of it at the front of the album.

    Their one big hit, “San Francisco Girls,” is at 4:04. Also kick-ass covers of “Ninety-Nine and a Half” (at 8:04) and Buffalo Springfield’s “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” (at 23:37).

    I can smell the patchouli from here.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @goblue72: Vicious comment deleted because you made a reasonable comment that I thought deserved a response. I would say more but Sam just started Twisting the Night Away. My brain stopped.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Steeplejack: I just refuse to be old and assume that everything good has been done. The kids might be alright, so let’s see what they can do.

    ETA: Here is something new.

  68. 68
    goblue72 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Sure. But I don’t think one can deny with a straight face that part of the reason they get the attention they do is because they are white boys singing soul. Doesn’t mean they aren’t good – or not. But they certainly get more attention than their pure talents would allow by virtue of being white soul singers. Its just part of the package. Arguing otherwise to me is right up there with “I’m color-blind. I don’t see race.”

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): we should stop chanting it’s name. Curse invocations are so easy to start, so hard to clean up after.

  70. 70
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I’m still trying to wrap myself around the Teddybears. They have a lot of good songs.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @goblue72: I can’t ague that. You are probably right.

    So how do we fix it? Shooting cops won’t work. Kids are less conscious of race than my generation was. I think the problem will eventually go away. I may be naive, but I think it will happen. I also think that the next two or three generations will have a very tough time.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Look, people. Of course the trolls will win. After all, the spammers have won, despite all efforts to make the early ‘net civilized, the way it was when only the military and academia had access. Once AOL got on it, well, that was all she wrote. Now there is no limit to mainsleaze spam. My yahoo account gets about 80 emails a day. 89 of them are spam. Nancy Pelosi will NOT leave me alone! We’re triple matching! Send us some money!

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @goblue72: @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Fixing it is always a bitch. Right? OTOH some people have indicated an interest in the dialogue.

  74. 74
    Mike J says:

    @goblue72: Living Color was always judged as a black rock band. And of course Ice-T was explicitly trying to pick up a white audience when he formed Body Count.

    It is stupid that people still associate color with different musical styles, but I’m afraid you are correct.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🚸 Martin: That sucks.

  76. 76
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @ruemara:

    To quote a great man:

    I can’t ague that. You are probably right.

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike J: Back in the 60s, it was quite possible to hear rock, country, motown, soul, and pop all on the same AM station. Then in the 70s things got to be stratified, and it’s only gotten worse over the years. But back in the 60s, The Supremes would be followed by Johnny Cash would be followed by the Rolling Stones would be followed by the Monkees.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J:

    Living Color was always judged as a black rock band.

    Nope. I liked a bit of Vernon Reid’s stuff. OTOH I liked some of Axl Rose’s stuff.

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    @Steeplejack

    Though some pooh-poohed him for bringing a more theatrical touch to the classics, Virgil Fox knocks out one heck of a Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

  80. 80
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    …would be followed by Andy Williams and/or Herb Alpert.

    Blame the marketing insights of assholes like Lee Abrams.

  81. 81
    iami says:

    Most dedicated trolls are sociopaths according to some recent studies.

    The malignant subset of the 1% of the population that are sociopathic is a big reason why we can’t have nice things. Our technological and cultural evolution (to paraphrase spiderman) is furthering the power of individuals without demanding any sort of increase in responsibility–in many cases actually reducing the level of expected responsibility. Without developing methods of keeping elements of our population in check, the future ideal of the super-empowered human using all the fancy new technologies and knowledge that are in the pipeline for the not too distant future is going to result in some bleak outcomes where there was once huge promise.

  82. 82
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I was huge fan of theirs, but when I spoke about how they were received I meant by the culture at large and more specifically by the music press. I didn’t mean to impugn your fanitude.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @iami: I sometimes wonder if the availability of online platforms gives sociopaths a relatively harmless way to get their sadistic jollies, thus deflecting their attention from people in their real lives whom they would otherwise persecute.

  84. 84
    NotMax says:

    @Betty Cracker

    It’s not a finite resource. Rather the internet reinforces the behavior and expands its scope, IMHO.

  85. 85
    Nicole says:

    @Betty Cracker: In my more charitable moods, I would agree, but these days I think it’s given people who would never have the nerve to say things to someone’s face an outlet for behavior that otherwise might have gone unexpressed. The article concludes:

    “It’s not a question of whether or not we’re winning the war on trolling, but whether we’re winning the war on misogyny, or racism, and ableism and all this other stuff,” Dr. Phillips said. “Trolling is just a symptom of those bigger problems.”

    And that’s the nut of it. A lot, probably the vast majority, of the really bad trolling is male against female. Jezebel, mentioned in the article, had oodles of threads hijacked by anonymous commenters posting pornographic images. The Times article calls it “a few” but it was hundreds- it reached a point where it felt like every article would get attacked. And it was the staff that finally raised a stink about it in a public open post to their bosses- Gawker permits comments from anonymous burner accounts, in the hopes that celebrities or politicians will send them tips. I don’t know that they’ve ever gotten one (I don’t think most celebrities or politicians are that tech savvy) but it made for open season from trolls.

    balloon-juice has had some posters say things to rile up commenters, but none of them, I think, have ever really been that level of aggressive. And yeah, I sometimes also miss BOB. Railroads!

    The horse racing board I like to frequent had a regular poster who was incredibly aggressive against women- he drove several off the board. He finally got himself banned when his prejudice expanded from misogyny to anti-Semitism. Which, I mean, great, he needed to go, and bigotry of any kind is not cool, dude, but I found it interesting that his profanity-laden tirades against female posters (including sexually explicit private messages, as I know from personal unpleasant experience) were AOK for a long, long time. And Gawker was content to let comment threads get taken over by porn, no matter how upsetting it was to the female audience (and staff), until the public post about it made the company look bad.

    There have been studies about how we read incredibly subtle facial language off each other that serves to dispel aggression, and that we lose that when we communicate via writing. I believe it. I have many times (including tonight) stopped myself from sending an email because I realize it says things I’d never, ever say in person. But I don’t like conflict and I generally like most people I meet. Take away the body and facial language reading from a more aggressive personality, especially one who’s lonely, and you get a recipe for really awful, hurtful online behavior. Usually directed at females.

  86. 86
    JPL says:

    I woke early and put on the local news. They just had a segment on how to deal with the police if you are stopped.
    Be polite, Do not run, and ask if you are free to go. Are we to assume now, that there are good cops and bad cops and we have to treat them the same? The segment was Know Your Rights, not how to stay alive.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I bring this up whenever her memory comes up, but gloating at the murder of Christian missionaries or the deaths of American soldiers isn’t “engaging” people. It’s not trolling, either, it goes beyond that into “thank God for dead fags” level sociopathy, whatever you call that.

    Derailing every third or fourth thread onto whatever topic she wanted to discuss might not have been technically trolling either, but it was something related to it.

  88. 88
    Hobbes says:

    The solution to trolling is the same as the solution to spam: complete loss of online anonymity. I can see it gradually coming as governments and corporations have no interest in maintaining your privacy.

  89. 89
    Cermet says:

    If it was just trolls on the internet that caused the vast number of deaths created by our war of choice or enabled our country to torture, than I’d understand the critical need to study this – otherwise, who cares?

  90. 90
    satby says:

    @Cermet: I think it’s a good thing to study, both because of how frustrating it is to deal with and because I think sociopathic behavior builds on itself.

  91. 91
    cleek says:

    the problem with troll is that people respond. if people ignored them, they would go away.

    every article over on Drum’s blog gets turned into A Shooter242 Insult Hour. i wish the pie worked on new Disqus… but it don’t.

  92. 92
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @JPL: Growing up in Detroit, I was taught to put my hands on top of the steering wheel so the cop stopping me could see them.

  93. 93
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Nicole: All great points. And yeah, I’ve also noticed that misogyny sometimes gets ignored where any other shade of bigotry would result in mass outrage.

  94. 94
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Betty Cracker: Open misogyny is still acceptable in comedy, both TV and standup. If you don’t laugh, you “have no sense of humor.” I test to see if I’m oversensitive by substituting a racial slur and seeing how I react.

  95. 95

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty):

    It has happened before, and it will happen again.

    Fucking Cylon trolls and their hybrid chauffeurs.

  96. 96
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I tells ya, just like MLK and Gandhi.

  97. 97
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Hobbes: I’ve seen people using their real names act every bit as badly as anonymous/pseudonymous people. It may be a disincentive, but I wonder if it’s a very effective one.

    And, though telling them to hide their identities is no solution to sexist attacks, pseudonymity does allow women to not be visibly female if they so choose.

    Though it’s obviously not the whole explanation, I suspect that posting while +n is a significant driver of horrible behavior. The Internet doesn’t just remove facial expressions and body language; it removes some of the visible markers of drunkenness as well, and we all know that some people get belligerent and abusive when they’ve had several.

  98. 98

    @Betty Cracker: That’s a corollary to the “Septic Tank” paradigm, where comment forums are not only a place to store the shit whiles it is processed, but also keeps the shit away from everything else. If I’m hardwired as a sociopath, bearing a nasty avatar and being anonymously atrocious can provide an outlet to keep the demons at bay during the daytime … or, conversely, allow me to hone my nastiness to be particularly vicious to people in real-life. It would take a helluva study to break down the stats, and would likely scare some folks.

  99. 99
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @cleek: There are trolls who are energized by getting visible reactions, and there are trolls who just get off on “I can poop all over this comment thread and nobody can do anything about it.” Ignoring the second type causes them to escalate.

    When a forum gets polluted by these people, the only thing for it is moderation and banning, and the mods need the tools to do it correctly. It sounds like Gawker is just broken.

  100. 100
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cermet: One of the major functions of online trolling is to drive women away from any sort of visible public participation. That probably has political effects as well.

  101. 101
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Hobbes: …though, to expand on what I said earlier, there’s a big difference that is often lost between pseudonymity and anonymity. I think it’s valuable to let people use pseudonyms that have some persistence; that’s an identity that ideally gains some accountability of its own. Allow people to be completely anonymous or create hundreds of disposable accounts, and you enable all manner of sock-puppetry and harassment.

  102. 102
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    All of the fun, none of the consequences.

  103. 103
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @cleek:
    @Matt McIrvin:

    And lets not be naive: in a lot of venues, but especially when it has come to politics, trolls and their venomous crazy aren’t far exaggerated from real life opinions, just emboldened via anonymity to actually let their freak flag fly. If you think trolling is an online phenomenon, look at the reflexive contrarianism from the GOP. Look at the bullshit double standard ‘Obama can do no right, lets shit on him for not doing something, then shit on him for doing exactly what we told him he should be doing’ crap peddled in the media and in Washington.

    Politics as a whole has been taken over by trolls, and they’re winning because what they represent is already too big to ignore. That’s sometimes the problem with online trolls: at some point, they just simply can’t be ignored, especially when you can get genuine idiots who will chime in to dittohead because they agree with the crazy. At some point, you have to confront them. And at least in online venues, if trolls get truly abysmal, they can get the banhammer (though the reverse is true as well: admin sympathetic to the troll’s views might decide to banhammer the detractors instead, but at that point, that tells you the site is not one you should frequent).

    And at least online trolls, you can just close the page usually and ignore the specific ones. What has me despondent is the ideas and attitudes the trolls I see on political places online are basically the GOP platform writ large, and it’s fucking winning, all fucking over. They dominate the conversation wholesale, and online political trolls are just a symptom of that. You still get horrible people echoing the most rancid shit, not because they’re trolls, but because they believe it, and they’re rewarded for believing it by their leaders, who are in turn rewarded with the most fervent and unassailable of political support.

    And god help me, I really don’t know what to do about that at all. It feels like a goddamn monolith that mocks everyone beneath them because no matter how hard you attack it, it will forever stand tall and all it takes is a single flick and all your good work is gone in a breath because “fuck you, I win always, this is my goddamn country you fucking dirty libby lib commie traitor'”

  104. 104
    Citizen_X says:

    @mclaren:

    of course, the single greatest troll in history remains the Buddha

    Chuang Tse would like a word.

    Or maybe it’s just a butterfly.

  105. 105
    Citizen_X says:

    @Citizen_X: For that matter, I think I just heard Socrates clearing his throat.

  106. 106
    BobS says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You’d hear country, but not much — they tended to be the novelty type of country song, like “A Boy Named Sue”, or “King of the Road”. AM Top 40 in the 60’s even got into world music a bit, with artists like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. Then underground FM happened (like WABX in Detroit) and playlists or genres limiting what you heard were pretty much forgotten for awhile.
    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I saw Vernon Reid playing guitar with the Roots a few years ago — one of the half-dozen best concerts of the hundreds I’ve been to in the past (nearly) 50 years. Living Colour is going to be touring late this summer and fall.
    @Iowa Old Lady: I was taught the same thing — still do it. Funny, I find that I receive more consideration from the police as an old guy with short hair driving a late-model car than I did as an 18 year old with hair to the middle of the back driving an old VW.

  107. 107
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    It’s easy to eliminate trolls: eliminate comment sections.

    What, nobody’s brave enough to give up the ad revenue that the constant clicking on comment sections produces? Well, the internet will just have to die, then.

    Can’t happen soon enough for me.

    Also, DougJ for the win in this particular category.

  108. 108

    Forget the internet, trolls are in charge of the Republican party. The ones on talk radio and the ones in Congress. They set the agenda and they drive the discourse and the MSM meekly follows and as consumers of political news, so do we.

  109. 109
    RSR says:

    Atrios was talking about this subject a week or two ago. He’s a proponent of the ‘hell-ban’ where people are banned but don’t know they’re banned. (They can still post the trollish comments, but no one else sees them.)

    https://twitter.com/Atrios/status/498875962667581440

    https://twitter.com/Atrios/status/498878962349928448

    @Atrios
    the howls of “why aren’t you paying attention to me???” from hellbanned trolls is high comedy.they are in their personal hell

  110. 110
    MBunge says:

    Trolls require the community as a whole to respond. If a troll posts and the forum as a whole responds with an avalanche of pushback, the troll either leaves or is largely neutered. Who gets that upset at a troll when you see that 5 or 10 other folks have already thoroughly slagged them?

    The problem is that requires constant effort. I stopped frequenting one message board when it became clear that other regular posters had essentially ceded control of the place to this one idiot.

    Mike

  111. 111

    Seems like there could be a better taxonomy of “trolling”. But it’s tough to instantly determine the intent behind who I reflexively determine to be a troll.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MBunge:

    Matt McIrvin has a point, though — there are some trolls who get off on dominating a comment section and making it virtually impossible for anyone to have a conversation even if the trolls never get a response. The non-response strategy that works for one kind of troll doesn’t work for that second kind.

  113. 113
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): If mclaren isn’t a troll, that says some pretty sad things about the world in general.

  114. 114
    iami says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, they certainly pay the opportunity cost of harrassing someone online instead of in real life. However, the internet also allows them to connect to other sociopaths (or at least witness their behavior) whereas in the past, they were generally isolated individuals with a limited ability to learn from others who shared their world-views. They’re able to much more effectively share knowledge, hone techniques, and recognize better targets with their expanded knowledge-base than they ever were in the past.

    The old social tricks of religion and social conformity don’t work as well at keeping malicious sociopaths in check when they can easily seek out a support base for any odious behavior at will.

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @MBunge:

    I stopped frequenting one message board when it became clear that other regular posters had essentially ceded control of the place to this one idiot.

    Which is kind of what’s happening on the GOP side of Congress. The Bachmann/Cruz/Issa/Palin/Etc. strategy is to flood the “forum” with so much crap that everyone else just gives up trying to push back.

  116. 116
    Sloegin says:

    Dissenters aren’t trolls. Artists aren’t trolls. Trolls don’t change the world for the better. Trolls would destroy everything they touch, even if there isn’t money involved.

    Some of us remember CB radio. Once a useful thing, absolutely destroyed by trolls.

  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @iami:

    Well, they certainly pay the opportunity cost of harrassing someone online instead of in real life. However, the internet also allows them to connect to other sociopaths (or at least witness their behavior) whereas in the past, they were generally isolated individuals with a limited ability to learn from others who shared their world-views. They’re able to much more effectively share knowledge, hone techniques, and recognize better targets with their expanded knowledge-base than they ever were in the past.

    Is it just me… or is this entire thread exactly what political observers would have been saying back in the nineteenth century when the whole concept of mass politics went mainstream? It was a liberalizing, democratizing process, but since it involved human beings, it came with both bad and good. People who wanted liberty and justice for all could band together into political parties and agitate for their platform. Unfortunately, so could the people who thought the Jews controlled society. Ditto the Internet, blogs, chatrooms and whatnot.

  118. 118
    iami says:

    @BruceFromOhio: Here’s a NYT article with some data points on how the “septic tank-ish” approach to treating sociopaths resulted in exactly the opposite of what was intended.

  119. 119
    iami says:

    @Chris: Yup, most of the points about being able to connect with folks beyond your own immediate circle results in the ability to re-inforce fringe beliefs and behaviors despite the social norms that surround a given individual. This is true for both loons and pyschopaths. It’s just that one of those groups has a subset that’s specifically focused on destroying others and doing damage just for the sake of doing so.

  120. 120
    Nicole says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I’ve seen people using their real names act every bit as badly as anonymous/pseudonymous people. It may be a disincentive, but I wonder if it’s a very effective one.

    The difference is that when your real name is out there it becomes easier for someone to announce your habit to your place of employment or to your family. Gawker again (I think it was Gawker) tracked down the real identity of a particularly notorious troll, called him at his job and, if I remember the story correctly, he ended up getting fired.

    But of course, that goes both ways, as the absence of DougJ from political posting because of his work shows us. Bullies getting punished for threatening people = good. Perfectly nice people getting punished for voicing an opinion = bad. But employers won’t often bother to make the distinction.

  121. 121
    Nicole says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ve gotten so numb to it online that I didn’t even comprehend what the porn pictures showing up in every Jezebel comment thread were until the women who write for the site were like, “Uh, we’re getting harassed here.”

    What’s a bummer about it now is that they’ve gone back to “approved” and “unapproved” comments, with the unapproved ones not being visible unless you choose them to be. Which means you miss a lot of good stuff that the moderators haven’t gotten around to approving yet. Thanks, trolls! Good work, there. You’re all fired.

  122. 122
    Jay C says:

    @bad Jim:

    There was once a violist who could play 64th notes. People would come from all over the world to hear him play one.

    I hope he didn’t charge a lot: that sounds like it would make a VERY short concert!
    ;)

  123. 123
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    LaRouchite? I am a member of the local Democratic Party and the district party committee here in Portland, and am probably farther to the left of anywhere either of you have ever dreamed about. I’ve never attended anything LaRouche, and while I’m not a big fan of the Queen of England I don’t devolve into thinking she’s running the heroin routes into the US. But over the decades we’ve seen plenty of evidence of US law enforcement’s involvement in drug importation. The creation of the DEA essentially codified it.

    Also, I’m not an unfailing believer of Russia, but in most cases their coverage of events in Ukraine are more accurate than what we get from the NY Times. The daily transcriptions of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior by Kramer and Hershenhorn are telling, because the two of them used to cowrite articles with Judith Miller on the ramp up to Shock and Awe.

    If I were to define myself I’d say I’m very far to the left. I give weight to some conspiracies because conspiracies exist. To be an adult American and not think that there is something hinky about the JFK assassination suggests an inability for intellectual curiosity, even an intellectual cowardice. In fact, the purpose of propaganda is to steer people away from thinking outside the box about criminal conspiracies of those who feed you the propaganda. Was Iran-contra a criminal conspiracy? How about the Savings and Loan debacle? How about Nugan Hand? How about BCCI?

    Having read Russ Bellant 25 years ago, I am not surprised by the fascist undercurrent in the Kiev regime. It dovetails nicely with the US’s involvement with fascist regimes around the world post-WWII. You may not have noticed the US’s support of the apartheid government in South Africa and the former Rhodesia, or the death squads in Latin America, Pinochet, the mass murder in Indonesia, the Phoenix Program. I did.

    The MH17 downing struck me as a false flag operation much like the many others our military and intelligence services have offered the public over my lifetime. It’s over a month later and no black box information, no Ukrainian civil or military radar of the day of the attack. The Ministry of the Interior seized the air traffic controller recordings immediately after MH17 went down and still haven’t released them. No sign of any contrail that a BUK SAM would have created. No intel satellite photos from the US. But there were eyewitnesses to the Ukrainian jet fighters in the area moments before the crash, and Russia offered its radar days after the crash showing the jet fighters.

    Now maybe the eyewitnesses were lying. Maybe Russia fabricated its radar. It would a simple thing to disprove, but the easiest ways to disprove the Russian version of events are still being held close to the vest in Kiev and Washington.

    Likewise, last week Kiev announced the destruction of an armored Russian column, but offered no photos of the wreckage, no location of where it happened, no IDs of captured or dead Russians. Nothing.

    Over the weekend Kiev announced that their forces have thrust into the center of Lugansk. Again, no pictures, no proof.

    Then on Monday Kiev announced that rebels had attacked a column of women and children fleeing to Russia. Again, no proof.

    The way propaganda works, it doesn’t matter that these stories are unproven or turn out to be untrue. Most Americans are sufficiently trained to accept anti-Russian propaganda. As the stories and claims fade the poisonous residue remains.

    Finally, no one here at Balloon Juice has taken on my challenge of defining what the hell America’s interests are in Ukraine. It’s as if thinking that there is no other reason we invade countries but democracy and freedom. We know that Russia wants to sell its natural gas to Europe and it’s become apparent the the US wants to stop their flow of natural gas to Europe. Several of the US sanctions seem to be directed at businesses building the South Stream. And yet I don’t recall anyone here commenting on the South Stream in relation to Ukraine.

    If that makes me a troll, then there seems to be more light under the bridge than above.

    I also am not generally a one-issue person. The okeydoke being played in Ukraine has focused me, but having been a “race relations” instructor in the army in the early 70s, I am certainly aware of the racism in America. The militarization of local police and the rise in racism fits how fascism works. I think sometimes that people here don’t actually understand how fascism works.

  124. 124
    louc says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: there’s at least one radio station that still does that, although in a limited manner: The University of New Mexico station, which features a “Freeform’ show. When we were traveling around New Mexico, we tuned in. You could hear James Brown, followed by Black Frank, followed by a flamenco artist.

    In fact, I just googled and here’s an excerpt from afternoon Freeform: Kronos, Waterboys, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Sleater Kearney, Somi, Chuck D, La Santa Cecilia, and…James Brown.

  125. 125
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Also, I’m not an unfailing believer of Russia, but in most cases their coverage of events in Ukraine are more accurate than what we get from the NY Times.

    How would someone know that?

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Finally, no one here at Balloon Juice has taken on my challenge of defining what the hell America’s interests are in Ukraine.

    Dude. I have told you multiple times. The US and Europe feel that they have an interest in preventing Putin from essentially re-forming the Soviet Union by drawing the former Soviet republics into close alliances with Russia. You can agree or disagree with their assessment that it’s a bad idea to have Russia wielding outsize power in the region, but that’s what the assessment is.

    Jaysus, it’s like you’ve never even heard of NATO or the European Union.

  127. 127
    BobS says:

    @Bob In Portland: Good comment.

  128. 128
    Bob In Portland says:

    @A Humble Lurker: You might read comments in the NY Times regarding their coverage of Ukraine and you’ll find out I’m not the only one who doubts what’s coming out of Kiev and Washington.

    I am concerned about America’s drift into fascism. While I observe what happens around the world, I don’t, for example, have a rooting interest in France, Germany or Britain as far as world domination. I’ve also noticed over the last half century that American military adventures do not enrich me.

    So Ukraine to me is more about the US continuing to destroy people around the world for the benefit of US corporate interests, generally energy interests. Do I like Russia reeling back freedom of expression on the internet? No, but I’m a lot more concerned about the NSA.

    Now, because I don’t root for Exxon’s stockholders does not mean I’m anti-American. Do I care about the civilian deaths in eastern Ukraine? Yes, like I care about people dying in other wars and dislocations around the world.n I’m logical pacifist. I don’t think wars settle things very well, but if I had to defend myself there’s no doubt in my mind what I would do.

    How would someone know that I’m not an unfailing believer in Russia? I guess you’d have to read more closely.

  129. 129
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, I agree in a sense, and maybe we’re talking about the same thing. But probably not.

    Russia needs Crimea. It is where their southern fleet is parked. I would presume at some point Russian strategists realized that their lease there was in jeopardy with the pro-west fascist government that took power after the coup (just assume we’ll disagree with our characterizations of the current Kiev regime). They made a move that wasn’t wholly within international law. But the majority of people in Crimea are Russian and Crimea has a long history of being a part of Russia. It made no difference when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

    The other reason why Russia doesn’t want to lose Crimea is because they don’t want the US to take over that base and project its power into Central Asia (as they tried in Afghanistan).

    If you think that the US wants to cut Russian gas from Europe (and thus weaken an energy competitor by closing a market to them and taking it over) then we’re on the same page. If you think that Russia wants to expand to the borders of the former USSR, I think you’re not following events very closely.

    As things have unfolded it’s pretty clear that Russia is supplying aid to the rebels, but how much is still a question. You would be naive to think that the US isn’t providing aid to Ukraine. What’s clear is that if Russia really wanted to seize the Ukrainian territory in the east it could do so in a day. If it wanted to sink the regime it could finish the job in a week. It doesn’t. It wants friendly neighbors, and the ethnic Russians in east Ukraine are friendly neighbors. The fascists in Kiev and Lviv aren’t.

    Probably much of your problem with understanding my position is that you don’t have any understanding of the US working with fascist movements for its national interests (which have more to do with corporate interests than your welfare). While I pointed to the interview of Russ Bellant in The Nation to not only give you the US’s intimate relations with the Banderistas over the past seventy years, it was also an explanation of what I’ve known for 25 years. If you read that interview and it didn’t change your view of what is happening in Ukraine, then you don’t understand the fear and loathing that many Ukrainians hold for the current regime.

    I’ve also mentioned BLOWBACK by Christopher Simpson, which documents the US importation of fascists, Nazis and war criminals after WWII as a means of shifting the US electorate to the right. I’ve mentioned Simpson’s THE SCIENCE OF COERCION, which shows the roots of American post-WWII propaganda. It’s now available online as a PDF, and is certainly necessary if anyone wants to get a handle on how the propaganda you are fed is created. I’ve mentioned Carl Oglesby’s THE TREATY OF FORT HUNT, which many of you dismiss because you just know something has changed since then regarding the US’s use of fascists (you don’t).

    So if you believe that Russia is ready to reconquer eastern Europe, I think you ought to ask yourself why it’s taking them so long.

    However, Russia doesn’t have the military strength to sit on eastern Europe like the Soviet Union once did. At the end of the Cold War NATO/US promised to stay out of eastern Europe, a promise they have broken frequently. Germany and the US dug up the residua of the Ustachi and the Bosnian Handshar SS Division just like they used the Banderistas in Ukraine and now the former Yugoslavia looks pretty much like it did in 1942. The way that NATO cut Kosovo off of Serbia does not go by the same rules it holds Russia to in Crimea. Why is peacefully taking Crimea back worse than bombing Serbia into agreeing to surrender Kosovo?

    I presume that Russia would like to see a federated Ukraine where ethnic Russians in the east and south have some autonomy from Kiev. This was Russia’s negotiating point last spring. However, I think that Kiev is on the verge of collapse economically and won’t be able to wage its war into the fall. Whether Donbas does that or eventually becomes independent is a matter of semantics and how quickly the current Kiev regime falls apart.

    The bigger question is whether Europe will go along with US guidance at its own peril. Russia now supplies relatively cheap natural gas for Europe. The US is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. There are LNG facilities to export gas being built as we speak. If Russia completes its South Stream then Ukraine’s threat to cut Russian gas off to Europe means nothing.

    That’s why the US wants to use the fascists in Ukraine as a cork in the Russian pipeline.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Right, so we agree about what Russia’s aims are — to re-establish political dominance over Eastern Europe without the bother of re-conquering it. The only difference between us seems to be that you think Russia’s aims are Right and Good and the US and Europe shouldn’t oppose them, even when Russia’s aims are bad for the US and Europe. In your world, Russia is allowed to act in its own self-interest, but the US and Europe are not allowed to do the same thing.

  131. 131
    BobS says:

    @Mnemosyne: You don’t read so well — nowhere was it written that Russia wants “to re-establish political dominance over Eastern Europe” nor that “Russia’s aims are Right and Good”. On the other hand, you do build a helluva strawman.
    There’s little evidence that Russia has any interest in “re-forming the Soviet Union”. They are however (along with the other BRIC countries) using their energy resources to mount a threat to US/NATO (really the same thing) political, economic, and military hegemony. Hence Ukraine, and Russia’s entirely understandable & predictable concern about the US-enabled coup and subsequent civil war — involving ethnic Russians — on their western border (the same border where they’ve suffered multiple invasions in the not-so-distant past and where NATO has steadily encroached — despite assurances to the contrary — since the demise of the Soviet bloc).

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BobS:

    nowhere was it written that Russia wants “to re-establish political dominance over Eastern Europe”

    Dude, what the hell do you think Russia is doing when they complain about NATO having too much influence over Eastern Europe? They’re not complaining because they think Eastern Europe wants to be free. They’re complaining because they want Eastern Europe to be under Russian influence.

    Again, you seem to be completely incapable of recognizing that Russia has regional interests and influences that it wants to maintain and is not acting altruistically. It’s acting in its own interests.

    You recognize that the US and Europe are acting in their own interests, but you have this weird naive view of Russia where they never, ever act in their own self-interest. It’s bizarre, frankly.

  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Also, too, I do love how the totally non-fascist Crimeans formed a swastika during their recent celebrations of being freed from the yoke of totally fascist Ukraine. Because nothing says “we’re against fascism” like goose-stepping with torches in the shape of a swastika.

  134. 134
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BobS:

    Sorry, got my Bobs mixed up and only just realized it. But you don’t seem to realize that you’re coming into an ongoing argument with Bob in Portland that’s been going on since February. You’re about 6 months behind.

  135. 135
    BobS says:

    @Mnemosyne: No problem. But dude, do you think Russia might have a legitimate concern about a US/NATO military presence on their western border?
    I may be six months late to you pretending to lecture Bob in Portland, but frankly dude, his understanding of Russian regional interests seem to be somewhat deeper than yours.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BobS:

    But dude, do you think Russia might have a legitimate concern about a US/NATO military presence on their western border?

    That’s Ms. Dude, thank you. :-) Dudette is fine, too.

    As far as I know, there are no US or NATO bases in Ukraine, so I’m not sure what you mean by “military presence.” If you mean that Russia wouldn’t want a NATO ally bordering their country, I can see why they might not like it, but I don’t know that it’s really their call to decide what alliances their neighbors are or are not allowed to have if those neighbors are supposed to be sovereign nations. If they want to steer Ukraine away from allying with the West, perhaps Russia should try not being assholes to Ukraine.

    his understanding of Russian regional interests seem to be somewhat deeper than yours.

    No, I’m pretty sure we both understand Russian regional interests pretty well. The difference between us is that he thinks that Russia should be allowed to have its own way in everything, and I think that Ukraine should be allowed to decide for itself where it wants to be allied without Russian interference. If Ukraine thinks its interests would be better served by joining the European Union, Russia doesn’t get to foment rebellion inside Ukraine’s borders to prevent that. Russia is basically using the abusive spouse’s method of negotiation: Do what I want or I’ll fucking kill you.

  137. 137
    BobS says:

    @Mnemosyne: No, your simplistic representation of both past and current history in Ukraine and Russia make it pretty clear that your understanding is not on a par with Bob in Portland. But continue to flatter yourself.

  138. 138
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: Does the US get to foment a coup in Ukraine? How about the disintegration of Yugoslavia? Okay, you won’t admit that the seventy-year relationship with the fascists in the coup government in Kiev has nothing to do with Poroshenko who was elected in an election where half the country did not vote. Just like Pinochet was reelected even though he came to power in a coup.

    With the exception of Crimea, which has been part of Russia for several hundred years and only became part of Ukraine via a bureaucratic error by Krushchev back in the fifties, the Russians have no ambitions for reestablishing the old Soviet territory.

    But the West does have a problem. If the US continues to promote the fascist presence in Ukraine expect the Russian minorities in the Baltics to begin causing problems for those countries. And why not? Isn’t turnabout fair play?

    And if the US succeeds in blocking Russian gas from Europe, expect another worldwide depression as factories across Europe have to shut down. Or do you think that the US will be able to instantly replace Russian natural gas?

    I guess as long as you are under the delusion that Russia plans on conquering Europe then you won’t understand that what is going on is an American squeeze play to shut Russia out of Europe and eventually control that huge pool of oil and gas in Central Asia. I will ask you again: Did you think that the US invaded Iraq because of WMDs? Or oil? Do you think that the US has stayed in Afghanistan for a decade and a half because Osama bin Laden once lived in a cave there, or do you go with America being there to make sure women in Afghanistan have equal rights? Or did they stay there because of TAPI? How about our hostility towards Venezuela? How about that old coup in Indonesia in 1965? What were all those investments in American blood and money for?

    I guess you supported the war in Vietnam because of the Domino Theory. That was because if we didn’t stop the Commies (USSR) in Vietnam they would be landing in Long Beach. You are essentially replaying the same tape that’s been played throughout the Cold War, except it’s now “Russian” instead of “Soviet”. And you probably don’t even realize it. That’s the sad thing about so many BJers. You don’t even realize your knee-jerk reactions are repeats of the fear mongering Cold War myths.

  139. 139
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: I believe that Russia should have its way with everything? If you are referring to Crimea, what are your plans? Nuclear war? Maybe a land war across Eurasia? What are you going to do to stop Russia?

    Now, most people in Crimea want to be in Russia. Did all of Ukraine vote on whether or not it should cede it to Russia? Roll back to Kosovo. No one voted to allow it to secede. NATO bombed the crap out of Serbia for two months until they surrendered Kosovo. Not really a shining moment in the annals of international law, but, hey, if you have no concerns about the US destabilizing or invading countries around the world, I think your panic and fear over Crimea being reunited with Russia is strange. Unless you are a fascist.

    Or do you mean Russia selling its natural gas to Europe? Because that’s what it’s all about. Controlling the worldwide petroleum market. That’s what Iraq was all about. That’s what Iran is all about. That’s what Libya was about. That’s what Afghanistan is about. That’s what Venezuela is about. That’s what Indonesia was about.

  140. 140
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: You don’t understand fascism, Mnem. You don’t understand the history of fascism. If you think that a display of bikers in a half-assed swastika in whatever that was is more fascist than the folks of Lviv celebrating their heroes of WWII who butchered Jews and Russians for the purity of the Ukrainian race, then you are hopeless. Quite simply hopeless. Embrace your inner Mussolini.

  141. 141
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: Russia is doing a rather more restrained version of what the US did during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Remember that?

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