Leveling the Playing Field and the Retreat into Stupidity: george on Peretz on Goldstone

Marty Peretz has a short post at The Spine on how dangerous the Goldstone Commission’s Report is for the ability of democracies to defend themselves against enemies who attack from the midst of civilian populations. It elicited a hostile comment from a reader who signs as george walton, which, I think, offers a fine insight into the workings of a peculiar kind of mindset that I’d like to label according to the meme “their side right or wrong.”

george starts by quoting Peretz:

MP:The fact is that the Taliban do not fight by the rules of modern warfare which try to limit the exposure of non-combatants.

george:
Here’s what the Taliban should do. They should strike a deal with the coalition forces. If the coalition forces will agree to scale back on military hardware that is at least a thousand times more sophisticated and lethal than the terrorist’s arsenal, the Taliban will agree to back off from the civilians.

At first read, it’s hard to know if this is an Onion imitation, or serious sarcasm. The reader will forgive me for interpreting it as the latter (evidence below). Essentially, if I understand the sarcasm here, the Taliban has the right to hide among civilians because it’s the only way to fight against an oppressive external invader (who happens to be the allied forces).

Now I don’t know if george has any criteria for what constitutes legitimate resistance that is then allowed to sacrifice its own civilians for the cause, and what the chances that resistance movements that adapt such tactics might turn into “occupiers” of their own “liberated” populations, were they to succeed. Certainly the Taliban before the alliied invasion, with their policies towards women — acid in the face for not wearing the veil in public, a practice they continue even as “insurgents” — could hardly be called a liberating force. But that “sin,” however oppressive seems to be washed away as a result of the Taliban’s war against the US: their side right or wrong.

george continues:


This is the same bullshit argument that Marty sprinted out to rationalize all the civilians [including hundreds of children] the IDF mowed down in Gaza. We’re civilized so any collateral damage we inflict is soley as a result of an enemy that marches its civilians out into the minefields and paints targets all over them. Besides, the IDF investigated itself and dropped all the charges. Think the defense department investigating itself [and dropping all the charges] with regard to Abu Ghraib. Just a few low life rotten apples is all.

This passage, I submit, confirms the reading I suggested above. Israel, in george’s mind, is guilty of the most revolting behavior — “mowing down civilians [including hundreds of civilians]” — and Hamas’ strategy of human shields means nothing.

george has no confidence in the ability of democratic governments to self-investigate — the Israelis are a bad as the Americans on Abu Ghraib. Apparently george has little exposure to the history of self-regulation, how rare (virtually non-existent) it is throughout the history of mankind, and now, and how, within the context not of some utopian ideal, but practice, the Israelis and the Americans constitute the two most highly self-regulating countries in the history of mankind.

Unhappy with anything short of vigorous prosecution that condemns not the perps — the few rotten apples — but the institutions themselves when it comes to the West, he implicitly treats the notion that the other side should adhere to even rudimentary decency as absurd. Abu Ghraib, howevermuch it offends our sensibiliities, is Club Med to anyone who’s been in the custody of Muslim forces, whether “official” (like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Hafez al Assad’s Syria, or the Mullahs’ Iran) or “insurgent.” But apparentlly, that’s not the issue for george: their side right or wrong.

MartyWorld meets BushWorld.

Now, neither the coalition forces in Afghanistan nor the IDF in Gaza can be reduced down to its worst elements, of course. Especially not all the way down to the fierce gung ho chickenhawk division in BushWorld. Besides, as Osama bin Laden once intimated, the Islamic terrorists are in love with death, not life. So no one is trying to play down either their brutality or their despicable jihad mentality. They TARGET the civilians of their enemy, for christ sakes.

This is one of the most interesting aspects of george’s comment. All of a sudden, he drops the sarcasm, makes a major concession which all of his earlier comments had systematically ignored, and admits that some of these folks on the other side are pretty bad, and maybe not everyone on our side is necessarily bad. Here he’s hit the “even-handed” chord: “I can criticize both sides. Who do you think I am, some kind of nut who thinks the enemy can do no wrong, for christ sakes [sic].”

But the comments are only here as a fig leaf. They play no part in the analysis. The fact that Hamas systematically — proudly — used their civilians as shields, willing or unwilling, does not excuse the Israelis whose efforts to minimize civilian casualties registers on george’s consciousness as “mowing down” civilians. So despite making the apparent concession of recognizing the problem, george will not allow that concession to influence his harsh analysis of the sins of the Israelis and BushAmerica.

Lest one think that this is just the loopy rantings of some cantabridgean caviar radical, it’s precisely the formal procedure of the Goldstone Commission. Asked why he didn’t hear the testimony of Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an adviser to the UK cabinet, who has expert knowledge of warfare in conditions similar to that in Gaza, in whose view, “the IDF did more to safeguard civilians than any other army”, Goldstone responded:

    I would also mention that there was no reliance on Col. Kemp mainly because in our Report we did not deal with the issues he raised regarding the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas and second-guessing decisions made by soldiers and their commanding officers “in the fog of war”. We avoided having to do so in the incidents we decided to investigate.

And yet, it is precisely the claim that Israel was reckless to the point of crimes against humanity, that animates the Goldstone report.

george continues, building up his credentials as a complex and even-handed analysts.

But it’s never as simple as the denizens of MartyWorld seek to portray it. And why would it be when so many of the details used to fill in the cracks of their rants are assembled by a factory of Glenn Beck automatons somewhere in Dick Cheney’s sweatshop at Fox News.
george walton

Now there’s subtle analysis for you… Peretz’ argument in favor of sanity, self-preservation, and reality-testing, reduced to a smear invoking the accepted “demons” of the left — Beck and Cheney. Nice rhetoric.

Reminds one of so many examples of ad hominem, like the Israeli professor dismissing revelations that HRW operative Marc Garlasco, with a track record of bias against Israel, is a Nazi memorabilia fetishist as merely

    arm[ing] the right-wing fanatics [who] work day and night to demonize any individual or organization that raises questions about the military practices of Israel when they end up even with unintended civilian casualties.

What we have here, I submit, is what George Orwell in 1941 called “the escape into stupidity” of both the British ruling class and their carping critics, the left-wing intelligentsia:

    It is clear that the special position of the English intellectuals during the past ten years, as purely NEGATIVE creatures, mere anti-Blimps, was a by-product of ruling-class stupidity. Society could not use them, and they had not got it in them to see that devotion to one’s country implies ‘for better, for worse’. Both Blimps and highbrows took for granted, as though it were a law of nature, the divorce between patriotism and intelligence. If you were a patriot you read BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE and publicly thanked God that you were ‘not brainy’. If you were an intellectual you sniggered at the Union Jack and regarded physical courage as barbarous…

In the terminology of cognitive warfare, these folks are carriers of the meme their side right or wrong or, my side is never right and as a result, they become carriers of the other side’s messages no matter how much that side’s values make a mockery of the very values they invoke to criticize “us.” They do this not necessarily out of malice (although at times it’s hard not to suspect it), but certainly out of folly.

In Orwell’s day they were called, using Lenin’s phrase, “useful idiots.” Today they’re useful infidels. And they only make sense when you attend to their emotion-based memes — human life is sacred, civilians are innocent, the powerful oppress, resistance is noble, the underdog right or wrong — and not the weird inversions that characterize their self-destructive thinking.

Notes Orwell:

    It is important not to misunderstand their motives, or one cannot predict their actions. What is to be expected of them is not treachery, or physical cowardice, but stupidity, unconscious sabotage, an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing. They are not wicked, or not altogether wicked; they are merely unteachable.

Hey george, want to prove Orwell wrong? Any chance you can wake up from your pleasant nighmare?

43 Responses to Leveling the Playing Field and the Retreat into Stupidity: george on Peretz on Goldstone

  1. michal says:

    The Human Rights Council has dealt a blow to all governments seeking to defend their citizens from terrorist attacks.

    The Human Rights Council has annulled centuries of international law – it has announced: “Terrorism Pays!”

    In its zeal to attack Israel, the Human Rights Council has undermined the basic right of all states to self defense.

  2. Diane says:

    Interesting fisk, RL. I’ve been averting my eyes from george walton’s nonsense for quite some time now. A lot of the time, it’s hard to follow what he’s railing for or against, so dripping with sarcasm and saintliness is his prose. Regulars on The Spine have taken to completely ignoring him. It doesn’t deter him in the least. He reliably posts ridiculously long non sequiturs challenging every word Marty Peretz says.

    You probably already know this. Nevertheless, it’s a valuable exercise to deconstruct george, because in doing so, you uncover a kinship to the far more respectable, bien-pensant Left that people DO take seroiusly.

    It’s no coincidence, I suspect, that you commented on the NYT op-ed by David Landau (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20landau.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y) two days ago. At bottom, Landau makes an argument similar to george’s.

    Landau writes: “Judge Goldstone’s real mandate was, or should have been, to bring Israel to confront this fundamental question, a question inherent in the waging of war by all civilized societies against irregular armed groups. Are widespread civilian casualties inevitable when a modern army pounds terrorist targets in a heavily populated area with purportedly smart ordnance? Are they acceptable? Does the enemy’s deployment in the heart of the civilian area shift the line between right and wrong, in morality and in law?”

    This is a call for unilateral disarmament of all civilized nations in the name of some abstract, utopian ideal. As if the consequences of one’s actions don’t matter, only their unbending virtue. A recipe for civilizational suicide!

    Landau spells it out even more clearly towards the end of his piece:

    “… just as Israeli leaders themselves have frequently called off pinpoint assassinations of terrorists because civilians were in the line of fire, so too they should have refrained from bombing and shelling Hamas targets in Gaza when that bombing and shelling was bound to exact a large civilian toll.”

    Orwellian escape into stupidity, indeed! I’m beginning to suspect, incidentally, that Obama shares this utopianism. How else to explain his reflexive, Jesus-like cheek-turning toward every ruthless tyrant he meets? (Putin, Chavez, King Abdullah, Ahmedinjad, etc.)

    You do well to shine a spotlight on such errant nonsense.

  3. Ray in Seattle says:

    I regret sometimes that when I read an analysis like this I always see in it other than what was intended. The overarching problem that I find is always the same. It’s the implication that such events can be analyzed and reduced to intellectual error. To wit:

    What is to be expected of them is not treachery, or physical cowardice, but stupidity, unconscious sabotage, an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing. They are not wicked, or not altogether wicked; they are merely unteachable.

    I would propose that there is nothing stupid about George or his opinions. In fact it takes a more competent intellect to construct such arguments in the face of contrary and obvious evidence – and defend them – than if it was a close call. It is simply a matter of the force of strong beliefs acting in his mind. and the emotions of mortal conflict are certainly among the strongest that human minds can produce. I know this is difficult to accept – because then one must then accept that logical dissection can not counter such arguments. Also, one can not fairly derive the satisfaction of appearing to win some intellectual contest in refuting it – one must forgo the full pleasure of a good fisking.

    But, George is simply in thrall to the strong emotions of conflict and war; he has taken sides against Israel and therefore experiences the Arab/Israeli conflict at the personal level. The human mind is designed by evolution to become a simple survival tool when in this mode. Hating one’s enemy as much as necessary and being able to take extreme risks to defeat him, even at the risk of one’s own life, is built-in. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

    If our brains can guide us to carelessly kill enemy civilians with hugely powerful guided munitions (as we did in the opening days of the Iraq war) or throw ourselves on a hand grenade to save our comrades – certainly they can induce us to use our reason, not to objectively analyze events surrounding a conflict, but instead to rationalize our own actions and desires as being completely honorable and our enemy’s as despicable as we could ever imagine. As a side benefit – while we do these things our minds assure us that we are completely rational, objective and fair in our actions while our enemies are stupid and unteachable – intellectually depraved.

    In short, with such powerful mental survival mechanisms at work there is no possibility that an appeal to reason and objectivity – no matter how well grounded – will sway George’s opinion on this. George is a participant in the conflict not an observer. George therefore knows intuitively and in his gut that the Palestinians can do no wrong – that whatever they do that by any otherwise impartial measure is immoral or unethical – is actually the only option that the vile Israelis have left them. And likewise, Israel can do no right. Whatever Israel does that can be judged moral or ethical by more reasonable minds will be seen as based on corrupted evidence or as some treachery to gain political advantage. Reason poses no threat to George’s conclusions because that’s the way his (and our) brains are wired. Just like Goldstone and Carter, George’s mind is in a state of war with the Jews of Israel and the judgments his mind renders are weapons in that war that his mind has no ability to direct against himself or the Palestinians.

    So, what’s to be gained from this dismal perspective, if anything? It’s only that for Israel and its supporters to appeal to reason and good will from the enlightened world, much less the Arabs, is futile. For 60 years Israel has tried to appeal to such better instincts and the world has increasingly and inexorably turned against Israel. Many in civilized societies now see Israel as a force of evil and would be pleased to see some form of Arab victory over it.

    Israel has only one chance to survive; the same chance that any nation has that is engaged in war to the death (which Israel has been since 1937 actually). That is to wage violent and cruel war until the Palestinians (or the Israelis) no longer have the will to carry on and accept unconditional defeat. It is not possible to change the Palestinians’ minds any other way – nor the minds of the Western democracies who should be Israel’s firm allies but are not. Israel must finally decide whether it wants to be loved and defeated or hated and alive. George, like Goldstone, Carter and so many others who are so obviously beyond the simplest ability to reason objectively about the conflict are the perfect testament to this.

    For good or bad human minds also have an ability over time to love victors and hate the defeated. That’s why it is said that victors get to write the history. Israel has never really allowed itself to exact the kind of victory that would yield such beneficial results – not just for Israel but for millions of Arabs in the ME who could have lived far better, happier, healthier and prosperous lives over the last 70 years, but have not. For whatever psychological / historic reasons the Jews of Israel have a need to be loved and they need to love themselves according to standards to which no other civilized nation has ever held themselves. That’s the problem that a thousand perceptive fiskings will never solve.

  4. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    In a manner of speaking your expose of george is what I was trying to do regarding the media. They are not naive, stupid or misinformed but malicious in that they have become “participants”, as you put it, hiding behind a fog of disinterested innocence who just happened to observe:

    George is a participant in the conflict not an observer. George therefore knows intuitively and in his gut that the Palestinians can do no wrong – that whatever they do that by any otherwise impartial measure is immoral or unethical – is actually the only option that the vile Israelis have left them.

    and many a “journalist/intellectual has made that charge that the Palestinians had no option.

  5. Barry Meislin says:

    I refer to the phenomenon as the “Perversity Quotient” (PQ).

    The PQ has nothing to do with intelligence, per se; but intelligent, and in fact, super-intelligent, people often have PQs that go right off the charts.

    (One may refer to the latter phenomenon as, “The limits of intelligence”….)

  6. sshender says:

    Richard, glad to see you’re back! Keep it up. Any chance for feedback on ““In Honor of Fadime”?

    Ray, thank you for another brilliant analysis. I can’t help but agree with you, and be concerned about the ramifications. I don’t mean to be paranoid, but the more I see and hear the deteriorating attitude towards Israel and the erosion of western ideals, the bleaker Israel’s future seems to be. History has shown us that people remained oblivious to or willfully ignorant of the impending calamities, up until it was already too late.

    Most historians and anticipatory anthropologists agree that the post WWII era, and with it US hegemony, is nearing its end. The West as we know it is drawing its final breaths, and will come tumbling down like a house of cards, bringing everything that Western democracy stands for along with it. With regards to Israel, the ground is being steadily prepared for the next holocaust through the campaign of demonization, delegitimation and slander towards the Jewish state. I would even go further in suggesting that the modern anti-Israel campaign is worse than the Nazi propaganda of the 30s, because while it took little intelligence to see through their message of hate, its modern incarantion has adorned a very sophisticated appearance that is as appealing as it is sinister. Slowly but surely Israel has been castigated as a pariah state, and the implication is that not too many tears are going to be shed if anything were to happen to it. After all – many people would say in hindsight – you know, the Jews have for the most part brought this on themselves. And while I don’t expect much from the Muslim or the 3rd world, it pains me to see all the astonishing achievements of the West go down the drain. Could it be that a free society is unsustainable because human nature is ultimately self-defeating? If it is, the ontological implications are pretty terrifying.

    BTW, how’s Shapira’s book getting along?

  7. nelson says:

    “indeed! I’m beginning to suspect, incidentally, that Obama shares this utopianism”

    Maybe the only reason to begin suspecting (instead of knowing) things about Obama is that, as far as my memory goes, no democracy in this planet has in the last 50/60 years elected (and so enthusiastically) a guy about whom so little was publicly known.

    The US elected a president about whom the voters knew less than I can get to know about any stranger after talking to him for 10 minutes in a bar. No sane person would marry someone about whom he/she knew even ten times more than the majority of voters knew about Obama when he was elected. No responsible housewife would hire a housemaid ignoring so much about her, with so little information about her.

    I’d call his election kind of a real blind date with the future or with history. The only scenario I can think of where someone could rationally vote for Obama would be if the other candidate were so bad that it would be better to risk the unknown rather than the known evil. Thus, if the other candidate were, say, Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader, then, maybe, it would make sense to give Obama a try. But that’s it: Obama could be elected as the (hopefully) lesser evil. He was, however, enthroned almost as the very incarnation of what’s good. But perhaps more electors than I imagine have voted for him out of deep disillusion and mistrust for the known politicians and both parties establishment. There might have been an element of protest, not against Bush, but against Washinton DC, in the mind of many voters.

    All that can be hoped by now is that next year the voters confiscate his majority in Congress and, when the presidential election comes, that they’ll be cautious and search for better and more reliable information than that provided by the propaganda machine into which the MSM willingly transformed itself.

    For the time being, I find it difficult even to discern whether Obama is really an extremist ideologue or just an empty suit: both possibilities are open — or maybe he actually is both. Anyway, he surely looks and behaves like a cross between a NGO and a teleprompter. He probably doesn’t have any foreign policy, any idea of it, of his own, and the vacuum he left is being filled almost entirely by the activists at the State Dept. Any foreign policy decision he himself makes has nothing to do with the country’s interests, but rather with local/national pressures put on him mainly by his electoral base.

    Thus, to understand current US foreign policy, I think one has to consider what the State Dept. would do if given an absolutely free hand and, occasionally, what (in general symbolic) decisions are needed to keep a constituency of leftists and ultraliberals happy for a while.

  8. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, I am not too far into Shapira’s book, maybe 75 pages acquired in starts and stops. I find it heavier reading than usual on this typically heavy topic and so I decided to wait for winter when I’m not so busy with other things so I can start over and savor it in longer sessions. My tired brain needs more than bits and pieces for books like this. From what I’ve read so far I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. I’m currently re-reading Benedict’s “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” and for the first time “Why Are Jews Liberals” by N. Podhoretz. The latter is turning out to be excellent despite the title which possibly suggests a simplistic treatment. It’s full of some very good history.

    You raise some interesting questions. I’m trying to figure out what I really think about those things rather than just respond with what comes immediately to mind. Those higher level issues are the most fascinating. I’ll be getting back soon. And thanks for your kind words.

  9. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, I generally agree with you. However, I think I attribute them more a malicious effect and results than malicious intentions. I may be wrong but I think that most MSM journalists do not see their role as supporting the destruction of Israel and its Jews. I think they see themselves first as writing what will bring approval from their readership and therefore revenue from their advertising clients. I trust that our capitalist system generally ensures that behavior; that successful managers in media make it in their interest over their long career to spot those who have that instinct and hire them.

    Another side of that coin is that any significant sized group that represents an identifiable market segment will attract media to it – and that media will hire writers who have worldviews or who can adapt their worldviews to write articles to make that readership feel good. This means articles that provide a sense of security by affirming the prejudices of that group – prejudices that may be under attack by other segments of society and that cause insecurity in that group. People will pay well for that – having their prejudices affirmed and their insecurities assuaged. And that’s often the most potent (emotionally driven) product that media has to offer to attract readership.

    I don’t think this is a conscious thing but writers for hire have a way of adapting and seeing the world through the eyes of those who sign their paychecks. I think it is part of being a journalist and they learn how to do this in school. If they want to write about their own views and have them published then they’ll choose another path such as freelancing or will work for more partisan publication on the right or left. But those have less general credibility with the public, being admittedly tainted by ideology.

    Capitalism has many effects. One is to magnify the force of money and project it into the media and to the affairs of government to favor the interests of those who are willing to spend it to that end. It’s a form of monetary rule and an unfortunate part of our economic system it seems to me. I agree that the effect can be malicious to the interests of those it disfavors but a better word might be harmful.

  10. Robbins says:

    Oh please, George Walton is the Spin’es joke.

    No one pays him any mind.

    The man is an old shut in who does nothgin but post on every article at TNR website.

    People mostly laught at him or ignore him.

  11. Ray in Seattle says:

    Robbins, I don’t think he was chosen for his notoriety as much as for how well his toxic opinions represent a growing and dangerous trend that should be confronted wherever it appears. It’s the idea not the personality.

  12. noah says:

    http://www.vimeo.com/3937982 (posted by Aliza on facebook)

    28 seconds in, Question about Palestinian self-determination. Bibi answers how its not the issue because for 20 years (1948-1967) Palestinians did not care about self-determination.

    The host responds with the same narrow response George would surely say “Well the issue didn’t arise till 1967″

  13. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I may be wrong but I think that most MSM journalists do not see their role as supporting the destruction of Israel and its Jews. I think they see themselves first as writing what will bring approval from their readership and therefore revenue from their advertising clients.

    If I may use the analogy of the MSM and their “reporting” of Van Jones, Acorn and a host of other stories then to me it was not so much to bring approval from their readership but to cover their agenda’s backside.

    The MSM started with an agenda and built up a certain “fanclub”. Had they used another bent they would have attracted a different group but either way when they ignore actual news all they end up doing in the end is damaging that approval and revenue.

    Not all the fans are that stupid that they will not feel slighted at discovering that they were lied to, that they were not considered important enough to be clued in.
    Is the MSM capable of saying that they had to do it in the interests of the party and the majority swallowing it for the “good”?

  14. Lorenz Gude says:

    I found the quotes from Orwell illuminating. It is a difficult phenomena to understand, but emotional commitment seems key. I am also reminded of a passage by Toynbee (yes, I am aware of his anti Semitism) saying how the youths in Rome so identified with the barbarians that they adopted their fashion of hairstyle and dress. For me, the phenomena is connected to the place where things turn into their opposites – and apparently hardwired as Ray says. That is, the usual innate tendency to support one’s own side and see noting good in the other side is inverted. Hence, ‘Their side right or wrong’. I think at least some of that arises because – like the British ruling classes of Orwell’s time – we have been on top too long and had it too easy.

  15. Rich Rostrom says:

    Ray in Seattle: “there is nothing stupid about George…”

    As Orwell wrote:

    “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

  16. Ray in Seattle says:

    Rich, IMO there’s a lot of truth in that. It takes a clever brain to propose and defend such beliefs. Often the less educated mind is quicker to smell the BS. I’d bet the great majority of progressives have had more formal education than the average American.

  17. Ray in Seattle says:

    Lorenz says, “That is, the usual innate tendency to support one’s own side and see noting good in the other side is inverted.”

    It seems to me that in the West where we staunchly defend anyone’s right to hold whatever deluded beliefs they wish, even teenagers. I think that youth has a built-in need to establish a unique social identity. So, each generation we see youth splitting away from the traditional beliefs of their elders and establishing their own sub-culture. Only when society is cohesive and under extreme threat – such as during WWII – does youth accept the identity of our larger culture and express their identity through it.

    But, in most Western generations youth will oppose whatever ideology their parents encourage. So, I’d say their sense of identity is not so much inverted – as it has diverged and they fully identify with their subculture – as my generation did w/respect to the Viet Nam War. Looking back I could almost say we were drunk on the thrill of establishing our different social identity. The emotions of the late 60′s were some of the most intense I have ever experienced. It was violence and sex and everything a young man could want.

    In autocratic ME societies youth is held in check by the iron fist of patriarchy. They hate it but have no choice and eventually learn to accept it and live with it. One reason Muslims generally hate us is because in places like Iran, they are losing their grip on their youth and blame Western influence.

    I thought of this while eating a Polish dog at Costco yesterday.(What a deal, $1.49 including soft drink.) The young man nearby was having great difficulty leaving his table because he could not lift his leg over the bench seat. This was the result of the belt of his pants sitting about where his legs joined his butt.

  18. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic said, “Not all the fans are that stupid that they will not feel slighted at discovering that they were lied to, that they were not considered important enough to be clued in.”

    Little more than ten years ago the MSM were abuzz with stories of how HRC killed Vince Foster (or had him killed), about how Bill Clinton was running an international drug smuggling operation out of Mena Arkansas, about how Bill Clinton’s bad investment in his Whitewater property was a skillful con operation, about his supposed 12 year illicit affair w/ Jennifer Flowers, about how Al Gore said he single-handedly invented the Internet and uncovered the pollution in Love Canal, said he was the inspiration for Eric Segal’s “Love Story”, about how Hillary Clinton was a viscous lesbian who had people killed who threatened to disclose her sexual inclinations, etc, etc.

    All those fables were carried, many for months at a time, by the MSM icluding the WaPo and NYT and all networks. I haven’t heard many (any?) prominent conservative voices say that they “feel slighted at discovering that they were lied to, that they were not considered important enough to be clued in” to the truth about any of those or the dozens of other fables that were making headlines in the MSM every day at the time.

    Do you really thank that their agenda was to destroy the Clintons and Gore although it helped achieve that outcome. Or, don’t you think it was just to ride the wave – to plug into the heady emotions that were coursing through our toxic politics – to sell more papers and ads because if they didn’t ride the wave their competitors certainly would and their own ad revenues would drop correspondingly?

    Although ideology provides the emotional charge I just don’t see the MSM driven by any particular ideology as much as eager to adjust their programming to make money off of it. Also, eager to accept skillful emotional programming such as was being done at the time by Regnery Publishing and a few other RW groups who had the money to spend to get it done.

    Right now the MSM is riding what’s left of the emotional charge of America having its first black president. That’s gotta be worth at least a few more billions in ad revenue before it loses its luster.

  19. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around some of the cogent ideas you presented in #6.

  20. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, I do think that specific publications or networks can effectively adopt an “agenda”.

    In some cases like Fox, it is to reach a particular market where they see untapped revenue. Of course, the owners are more likely to be attracted to that market if they identify with it personally – so in that sense I agree with you. But I still think they are mostly motivated to make money and are happy to do it expressing their politics if they can.

    For the traditional networks and PBS I think their agenda is to see and represent the world through the eyes of the average American, however they discern that. I think they each want very much to be seen within the mainstream of American man-on-the-street opinion.

    What we saw in the 90′s was a successful and brilliant effort by the RW, led by Gingrich, to plant and spread the memes I mentioned in #18. Once they were able to convince the MSM that those memes already existed in the minds of average Americans – and they used several sophisticated marketing techniques to achieve this – then the MSM above had no choice but to climb aboard and start riding that wave in order to protect their revenues from each other.

    When the MSM does that then the wave starts building its own energy. It makes no difference whether its all a pack of lies or it’s the complete unvarnished truth. The MSM will be more than happy to spread it either way if their jobs, promotions and stock options depend on it. It’s memetic ju-jitsu and the Republicans in the 90′s had it wired.

    IMO Obama’s election is at least partially due to Republican hubris at that decade’s success capped off with the ugly personal attacks against and defeat of Al Gore. As I recall the neo-cons were predicting decades of Republican rule in America. This created great resentment even with Democrats who were not that ideological. Many of these Dems came to enjoy Clinton’s (and Gore’s) humiliation, and still do, as a sort of tabloid politics. But the ideological hubris of the Bush II admin – and the financial disasters that followed including the stock market crash where millions lost their retirements leaves a very bitter taste. I think if the Repubs had adopted some humility and caution as they went about turning the economy over to big finance and other corporate interests they might have pulled it off.

    Caveat: Note that I’m pretty dumb about politics and so these are just guesses about Republican politics on my part and probably not very good ones. I probably should not have added it – but what the hell.

  21. Eliyahu says:

    Ray, Michael Totten supports your argument about the force of belief over reason. See link:

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/totten/104901

  22. Lorenz Gude says:

    Thanks for the response Ray. I must say I wasn’t thinking of teenagers and although I don’t know who Orwell was referring to for sure it doesn’t sound like he was talking about youthful rebellion. So I am talking about people who are biologically – at least – grown up and it would include large swaths of the intelligentsia. I agree with you about teenagers and their rebellion. It is indeed different in a society under threat. I experienced this difference in Zimbabwe where the white teenagers are simply younger adults. You can talk to them and they will talk to you about their hopes and dreams and what they really think. And really are interested in what adults think. Amazing. I too went through the sixties – mostly in NYC – and am amused to see those times living on in Berkeley where I am visiting friends. One fellow with gray hair came in and proudly announced how his son wants to be lawyer so he can defend ‘people like those at Gitmo.’ I guess it is the unquestioning attitude that makes me think there is a reversal of polarity of a fairly hardwired aspect of human nature. Another way to look at it is that we are not talking rationally arrived at positions but deeply held values. But even seen as values they have a reversed polarity because they are against the interest of the holder. Defending diversity of opinion as in ‘I disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.’ is very different from ‘their side right or wrong.’

  23. Lorenz Gude says:

    Ray (again) re the Clinton myths. I didn’t know that the NY Times and WaPo got into the Vince Foster ‘murder’ and the drugs in the cow pasture stuff. It reminds me of Fox news being unable to resist leaving images of a smoking burned out US tank on the screen for several minutes in 2004. Just like CNN. Both the nature of the medium (TV being drama first and news medium second) and the realities of what holds an audience and therefore advertising revenue are clearly at work. Likewise I heard KCBS on the car radio yesterday doing a doom and gloom report about temporary Xmas jobs that was as defeatist as the war reporting during the Bush years. A contrary example would be the steadfast refusal of the MSM to report the John Edwards scandal despite the blogs and the acute embarrassment of being scooped for months by the Enquirer. Perhaps they did it precisely because they are losing control and perversely tried to show that they still ‘owned the narrative.’

  24. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I haven’t heard many (any?) prominent conservative voices say that they “feel slighted at discovering that they were lied to, ..

    :-) You mean conservatives were reading the NYT and WaPo?

    Seriously though, ordinary folk have protested “financially”.
    I for one just refused a month’s free International Herald & Tribune + Haaretz for a year long subscription of misleading reporting going by current results.
    I know several people who have also made the same decision with the common denominator expression “they think I’m a freier?” the Hebrew slang word “freier,” which means sucker, or chump

    From what i have gleaned a lot of the US MSM (NYT, LaTimes etc.) are on hard times – no pun intended – and that is certainly because many of their former clients are objecting to what they are advertising.

  25. sshender says:

    A great read by Michael Totten. Thanx!

  26. sshender says:

    This is an interesting topic, and I enjoy reading this debate, however, how come noone has suggested that the underlying reason for the bias of the MSM is a combination of ideology and ignorance. Let’s face it, most people who grow to become journalists are socially conscieous and involved individuals who feel that they can make a difference in the world. Thus objectivity is out the window and what we get is the western bleeding hearts narrative, where the underdog is always right and it is up to us to show his suffering with as much drama as possible. These people usually have no grudges towards Israel in the beginning, but with time become enveloped in their own show enogh to take sides. But the key word is ignorance, because instead of a well-thought complex and nuances analysis of why people are dying and whose fault it is, you get the knee-jerk reaction of whoever suffers more is in the right. This is a typical case of good intentions gone terribly bad.

    Unfortunately, I feel that this is already too late to change anything with respect to Israel because the Palestinian narrative has become sophisticated enough that its proponents can shift any debate towards the speculative grey areas of hitory and its interpretation as a cop out from any cognitive dissonance. Because the Zionists had their share of misdeeds, they will forever be taken out of proportion and used as pretext to justify anything the Arabs did.

    I have just watched a brilliant documentary about the Jenin Massacre myth called “Jenin – Massacring the Truth”. It’s a must watch for anyone who has not seen it yet, and the most troubling part is the ending which touches directy on the subject of this discussion:

    http://kitmantv.blogspot.com/2009/08/jenin-massacring-truth.html

    Please watch it! This deals with most of the issues this blog deals with and supplements Pierre Rehov’s film with some needed insights into the journalistic mindset.

  27. Eliyahu says:

    cynic, living in Jerusalem, I probably get hit on more than you do by HaArets sales reps. All sorts of public events that might be considered middle-middle brow and upwards are infested with HaAretz sales reps, the Jerusalem Int’l Book Fair, Hebrew Book Week, the Film Festival at the Cinematheque, etc., not to mention the main Jerusalem shopping mall and so forth. I proudly state that I did what you did. My wife likewise. We don’t want HaArets in our house, whether in Hebrew or English, nor the Int’l Herald Tribune, which is simply a partisan rag for the obama crowd, as far as I’m concerned. We don’t even want it for a free one-month trial.

  28. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, those creeps make an absurd claim that they have to defend the allegedly weaker party, whatever the empirical truth may be. But consider what they would do in specific concrete cases other than Israel-Arabs. Why don’t you ask them, and see what they answer? How about Nazi Germany vs Britain? USSR vs Nazi Germany? Nazi Germany vs. USA? Imperial Japan vs USA? The USA and UK and USSR proved to be stronger than Nazi Germany and Japan. Did that make Germany or Japan right in WW2??

  29. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, Eliyahu: I’m not sure how much newspapers are appreciated in Israel but here they are on the decline because of the internet. I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper. Between TV news channels and the web I get all I need and usually know what’s happening before most of my friends or my wife. My wife is nostalgic for the papers as they’ve always been an important part of her day but I notice that even for her they have been piling up unread periodically over the last few months. They do make great fuel for starting fires in the BBQ or in the fireplace on cold evenings. I don’t think I’ve ever run into salespeople on the street or at public events pushing subscriptions.

  30. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, re: #26, You say,

    . . how come noone has suggested that the underlying reason for the bias of the MSM is a combination of ideology and ignorance. Let’s face it, most people who grow to become journalists are socially conscious and involved individuals who feel that they can make a difference in the world.

    I’m curious about the ignorance part. Don’t you also think that anyone who makes a living from writing articles about world affairs or politics that will be read and scrutinized by many thousands of readers would make it their job to be more informed than the average person? I would think so just so they could defend themselves if challenged – and on these topics they know they will be. I suspect they work hard to find or conjure credible angles and justifications for their anti-Israel pro-Arab beliefs and that their bosses expect them to maintain that aura of credibility without making the publication seem truly “ignorant”. Also, I’m sure they get challenged continuously in social situations like dinner parties where they need to hold their own.

    But if you think they are indeed ignorant to some extent, do you think it is only the ideologically anti-Israel side that is ignorant? And if so, why would that be in your opinion? These are not trick questions ;-) I’m just trying to understand your views on this.

  31. Cynic says:

    sshender,

    Let’s face it, most people who grow to become journalists are socially conscieous and involved individuals who feel that they can make a difference in the world.

    Forgive the cynicism :-) but most journalists just channel the buzz words which in reality have become the arsenal in their jingoism – hurrah the agenda.

    Human rights being one such bomb – Darfur, Rwanda, etc.

    Oh those socially conscious people, among them those morally presumptuous journalists, who protested the check-points against the rights of bomb carrying humans and turned a blind eye to their own being blown up be it an 18 year soldier at the barrier or an 8 year old at the pizza bar.
    One thing I just like about those socially conscious journalists is that they absolve current day Germans of Nazi crimes and guilt but current day Israeli Jews are as guilty as hell of past alleged crimes that form the excuses for extroverted psychopathic behaviour of the other. Just so discriminatory and hypocritical as they bleed their humanitarian concerns into the cesspool.

  32. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, re: #28,

    I think the justification is based on more obvious factors. The Nazis, the USSR, the USA and Japan all had formidable conventional armies and waged conventional war for the most part. I think part of the strategy of modern Jihad is to wage war just enough so that they can still claim to be the poor underdogs – speaking truth to power, as we used to say. The occasional subway bombing in London or rocket into Ashkelon allows their apologists in the West to still whine, “What else can they do against a superpower like England or Israel?”.

    I think they brought a lot of pain on themselves with 9/11 and they realize now they don’t have to wage such high level atrocities like that to make progress against us. I think that’s why we haven’t seen another major attack in the US – or Europe for that matter. I think they are being more pragmatic.

    When we do see another major attack, I’ll bet it will be because they have hidden their tracks very well. I’m sure they realize that if and when we are hit hard by a known organization they will lose many nominal fans in the West and will become special targets.

    Much of their support in the West is very shallow IMO. Students support them because it’s exciting and it’s a fad that earns them creds with the social side of the progressive movement. It feels sexy to be young and revolutionary and wear T-shirts that make older folks uneasy or angry – especially if there’s very little chance you can personally be hurt by doing it. I saw this first-hand as a major part of the Viet Nam War resistance.

    I think major terrorist orgs want to keep the frog pot at a mild simmer from several different flames so that we frogs don’t get angry enough to demand that our leaders seriously come after any of them specifically.

  33. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic said, One thing I just like about those socially conscious journalists is that they absolve current day Germans of Nazi crimes and guilt but current day Israeli Jews are as guilty as hell of past alleged crimes that form the excuses for extroverted psychopathic behaviour of the other. Just so discriminatory and hypocritical as they bleed their humanitarian concerns into the cesspool.

    Hmmm. I wonder what they would say if Netanyahu said that after consulting with his advisers and opposition leadership they have decided to tacitly support the waging of clandestine war by sympathetic non-state (non-Israeli) terrorists against the German state and German civilians, anywhere in the world they can be attacked . . . and that because of their past actions against Jews that Germany has no moral right to exist. Also, perhaps that they could avoid this ugly destabilizing war certain to last decades if all Germans left Germany immediately and turned it over to Israel who might let a few of the “good Germans” remain.

    As Germany shrieked “injustice” and “immoral” to the UN do you think there might be a lesson the West would learn from that?

  34. Daniel Bielak says:

    Ray,

    As Germany shrieked “injustice” and “immoral” to the UN do you think there might be a lesson the West would learn from that?

    The situation of those of us who are Jewish is Kafkaesque.

    Almost all Jewish people are suffering (and have suffered, for centuries) to varing degrees, from deep, profound, debilitating Stockholm-Syndrome.

    Jewish people are incapable of verbally defending themselves – It has perpetuated and perpetuates the anti-Jewish ignorance/wrong views/antipathy.

    It would be so easy to verbally defend ourselves and dispel anti-Jewish bigotry.

    All it would take would be for an articulate Jewish person to give a comprehensive honest, accurate, clear talk (and even more effectively – a film) about the situation of Jewish people throughout history, our feelings, our current situation, the factual history of the situation in the Middle-East, in the world …

    There are so many factors involved, but it could but presented.

    If it is not done, the situation in the world is going to become horrible.

    Such a presentation must be done.

    (I am maddened by the situation.

    Thank you for your understanding, though.

    It is a comfort to me.)

  35. Lorenz Gude says:

    I like the simmering frog analogy. The question is are the jihadis smart enough to not attack more spectacularly. The West is certainly dumb enough to be lulled by the lack of major attacks for now. I think our leadership and press ae preparing us for withdrawal from Afghanistan or perhaps it is public opinion that is leading in that direction. My money is on jihadi hubris winning out sooner or later.

  36. Ray in Seattle says:

    Lorenz said, “My money is on jihadi hubris winning out sooner or later.”

    In that case I vote for sooner. Let’s get it on and over with. If there’s anything to learn from the Twentieth Century it’s the terrible cost in peaceful nations’ lives and wealth squandered by pretending that through friendly appeasement the world’s deranged despots will see the folly of aggression rather its benefits.

    For that reason I am in favor of a zero-tolerance policy re: international aggression. Any nation or group that even threatens another such as N. Korea, Iran, Hamas and Hizb’allah does to Israel – or supports those who issue such threats – should suffer very severe and immediate sanctions by a UN (or better, a new coalition of democracies) that means it. All of their shipping should be subject to inspection by maritime patrols and any materials that could be possibly used for war should be confiscated including oil imports or exports.

  37. sshender says:

    Ray, I think I did not make myself clear enough and I apologize for that. What I mean by ignorance is the lack of evidence based critical thinking that leads people to act on emotional impulses rather than on cool-headed objective analysis of the facts. This is not a phenomenon unique to journalism, but in a perfect world one of the first requirements for that job should be a fine-tuned bulshit detection kit, like the one Carl Sagan and Michael Shermer mean. This of course requires certain sophistication, which most people obviously lack. I guess that’s what I meant by ignorance.

    Historical and contextual ignorance also weigh in, because you can’t cover a conflict professionally without understanding the history, motives and nurances of it. And that is exactly what’s happening with the coverage of the Middle East conflict.

    I guess I lean heavily on their naivete and good intention because I once was in those shoes and had the same one dimentional perspective of the conflict. I let my emotions distort any logical analysis, because my (misguided) heart cried out at the (fictitious) injustices I saw before me and demanded immidiate action. Fortunately for me, I gradually replaced thes knee-jerk emotional reactions with knowledge and a nuanced undertanding, but looks like most people are not capable of letting go of their cherished comfort zones.

  38. sshender says:

    Ray, I think I did not make myself clear enough and I apologize for that. What I mean by ignorance is the lack of evidence based critical thinking that leads people to act on emotional impulses rather than on cool-headed objective analysis of the facts. This is not a phenomenon unique to journalism, but in a perfect world one of the first requirements for that job should be a fine-tuned bull detection kit, like the one Carl Sagan and Michael Shermer talk about. This of course requires certain sophistication, which most people obviously lack. I guess that’s what I meant by ignorance.

    Historical and contextual ignorance also weigh in, because you can’t cover a conflict professionally without understanding the history, motives and nurances of it. And that is exactly what’s happening with the coverage of the Middle East conflict.

    I guess I lean heavily on their naivete and good intention because I once was in those shoes and had the same one dimentional perspective of the conflict. I let my emotions distort any logical analysis, because my (misguided) heart cried out at the (fictitious) injustices I saw before me and demanded immidiate action. Fortunately for me, I gradually replaced thes knee-jerk emotional reactions with knowledge and a nuanced undertanding, but looks like most people are not capable of letting go of their cherished comfort zones.

  39. Ray in Seattle says:

    Daniel said,

    Almost all Jewish people are suffering (and have suffered, for centuries) to varying degrees, from deep, profound, debilitating Stockholm-Syndrome.

    I think your description is accurate. I’ve been trying to better understand this for some time now. It is a problem of human nature that perhaps shows the limits of our human ability to design and enforce a more peaceful world order. That was the intention of the UN body when it was formed but now it’s been twisted into an obscene force for the exact opposite. The whole world is in grave danger from this perversion. Another contributor here, sshender, has commented on the dismal outlook for the values of the Enlightenment in world affairs going forward and he’s right to be concerned.

    Netanyahu’s recent address to the UN and his interview immediately after in the hall at the UN were encouraging. Israel doesn’t need to apologize for or justify its actions. IMO Israel’s moral behavior since 1947 has been far more careful and lawful than any Western nation including the USA has ever done when defending itself from armed aggression. Israel only needs to tell the truth – forcefully, clearly and at every opportunity as Netanyahu did there – and as you have recommended in your comment.

    Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLCpJTchK8Q&feature=player_embedded

  40. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, I’m finally attempting a useful response to the difficult questions you posed in #6. You’re right. Things look dismal for the West and the values of the Enlightenment. Totalitarian, fundamentalist – religious regimes have a big advantage in their forced cohesiveness and ability to wage insidious wars against us and they seem to have the bit in their teeth right now. We are complacent and slow to recognize the danger.

    But we have some advantages too. When we finally wake up and realize we are at war we will probably win it because of our deep infrastructure and our tremendously greater efficiency and capacity to create and produce. I think that what has happened is that Muslims (or at least Islamists) and the West have formed a cultural relaxation oscillator – a classic response of the natural world that can be observed in events as disparate as the Old Faithful geyser or the population dynamics of antelope herds on the African plains. It occurs when a force in nature becomes a trend that creates its own counter force that grows to eventually overcome the first and induce a swing in the opposite direction.

    In that sense, perhaps the strong cultural forces of freedom are only able to move forward against the equally strong forces of tyranny by these cyclic fits and starts. Maybe what we are doing here by participating in this forum is (hopefully) pushing against the oscillator a bit so that the next swing in a more positive direction will begin as soon as possible; so that less suffering and destruction will result from the current negative swing of the cycle.

    The world seems to have entered this negative swing shortly after the first act of the UN which was the creation of the state of Israel. I think the prophetic failure of major UN members such as the US, England and France to staunchly defend the new state of Israel against the Arab League in 1947 and 1948 was the main cause of this. I think this missed opportunity sent a clear message to despotic regimes that the UN had failed in its first major test of the clear principles of its Charter and would never be a serious problem for them in the future. The several genocides that have occurred since then were no doubt encouraged by that failure.

    But stepping back and despite dismal setbacks like those, human civilization seems to have slowly progressed toward more freedom and happiness for the last several thousand years. It will probably continue to improve despite more setbacks that are sure to come.

    What to do? Whatever happens while we ride this big oscillator during our short lifetimes on earth at least we can be responsible for our own behavior. I think Netanyahu said it pretty well – keep telling the simple clear truth every chance you get.

  41. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, thanks for your explanation (#38). This is a tough medium for these topics. One of the first books I ever read that discussed the power of emotion over reason was Michael Shermer’s “Why People Believe Weird Things”. It’s still on the shelf closest to my desk.

    As you must know by now I am very skeptical of the notion that we humans spend much time thinking our way through life. I believe that we follow emotional signals for almost all behavior decisions . . that we call upon our reasoning capacity for assistance occasionally and even then, mostly for mundane behavior such as how to fix the toaster, seldom for important decisions like who to marry or whether to go to war against an enemy. And even when we do use reason, which is a behavior, we do it in response to emotion signals. Most often we use our reason less honorably to justify our actions and beliefs to ourselves and others – and we call that “reasoning”.

    You said, “Fortunately for me, I gradually replaced these knee-jerk emotional reactions with knowledge and a nuanced understanding, but looks like most people are not capable of letting go of their cherished comfort zones.”

    With time and effort and usually some bonks on the head from reality crashing in repeatedly we can sometimes use reason effectively to overcome our prejudices. But this requires an emotional commitment, an internalization of the idea that when we feel very strongly about something then we could be wrong about it. That’s scary because “knowing” or actually the “feeling of knowing” is what makes that comfort zone you mention.

    Not many people ever get past that need to remain in that zone and become angry even at the suggestion that they might be ideologically wrong about something. They feel it (they don’t think it) as an attack on the security they have spent so much time cementing in place. I commend you as one of the few who got past that need.

  42. Ray in Seattle says:

    Along with my premise re: ideology and emotion vs. reason and objectivity, I note this recent Supreme Court Exchange:

    Start quote *************

    “The cross doesn’t honor non-Christians who fought in the war?” Scalia asks, stunned.

    “A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins,” replies Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.

    “It’s erected as a war memorial!” replies Scalia. “I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The cross is the most common symbol of … of … of the resting place of the dead.”

    Eliasberg dares to correct him: “The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christians. I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.”

    “I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead the cross honors are the Christian war dead,” thunders Scalia. “I think that’s an outrageous conclusion!”

    Far less outrageous is the conclusion that religious symbols are not religious.

    End quote ************ from

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/10/supreme_court_justice_scalia_i.php

    Even in the mind of a supreme court judge of such things such obvious logical contradictions have no real competition from reason and objectivity. As long as one’s emotional held identity beliefs are at stake the mind can perform amazing and breathtaking transformations.

    Here Scalia, a Christian put on the court by a Republican administration, can’t imagine that a Jew (or the family of a Jew) would have any problem with having their deaths in service to their country branded with Christian symbolism.

  43. [...] Leveling the Playing Field and the Retreat into Stupidity: Filed under: Arab-Israeli Conflict, Cognitive Warfare (SG’s Thesis), Demopaths and Dupes, Fisking, Goldstone Report, Most Valuable Idiot of the Day, black hearts — Richard Landes @ 5:02 am — Print This Post [...]

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