May 20, 2017

"President Trump has said he believes Twitter put him in the White House. Recently, Mr. Williams heard the claim for the first time. He mulled it over for a bit..."

"... sitting in his Medium office, which is noteworthy only for not having a desk. 'It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that,' he said finally. 'If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.' The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Williams’s remarks."

From a NYT Magazine article on Evan Williams — one of the founders of Twitter and a co-creator of Blogger (where we are right now) — who currently runs Medium. The article is called "'The Internet Is Broken': @ev Is Trying to Salvage It."

I had forgotten about Medium, but now I remember it was supposed to solve some kind of problem. Why the long article about it now? It came out in 2012, but what's happening? We're told Medium is "a new model for media in a world struggling under the weight of fake or worthless content" and "social and collaborative without rewarding the smash-ups" and "a force for good."

According to the NYT article — which is by David Streitfield — "Medium is not afraid to be dull." Is it just failing (or not trying to succeed)?
Mr. Williams is deliberate to a fault, and his stint as Twitter’s chief executive in 2008 was not a managerial success. “He’s not C.E.O. material,” his former girlfriend and the co-developer of Blogger, Meg Hourihan, said in 2010 when the Twitter board pushed him out....

In a commencement speech at the University of Nebraska this month, Mr. Williams noted that Silicon Valley has a tendency to see itself as a Prometheus, stealing fire from selfish gatekeeper gods and bestowing it on mere mortals. “What we tend to forget is that Zeus was so pissed at Prometheus that he chained him to a rock so eagles could peck out his guts for eternity,” Mr. Williams told the crowd. “Some would say that’s what we deserve for giving the power of tweets to Donald Trump.”

Mr. Williams’s mistake was expecting the internet to resemble the person he saw in the mirror: serious, high-minded....

75 comments:

MayBee said...

Hahahahaha! Yeah, Medium is the solution to fake news!

They published this:
https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba

Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.

The story that set off the great recount frenzy, and has managed to convince Democrats that Russia hacked the election.

Sydney said...

They really aren't much for free speech, these technology gurus, are they? Free speech for me, but not for thee.

St. George said...

As Roosevelt and Churchill were to radio and Reagan and Kennedy were to television, so, too, is Trump to the latest, hottest media form. It's the mark of a winner.

Jupiter said...

How long did he mull this over?

"Could water-powered cars be real? Are electrical outlaws really using Nikola Tesla's alternative energy theory to defy our laws of physics?"

Michael K said...

Kushner sure figured out how to use alternative media and do it on the cheap.

So much for "war rooms" and Hillary's big time data crunchers.

MayBee said...

Kushner sure figured out how to use alternative media and do it on the cheap.

Perhaps that is the real reason Trump must be destroyed. Both the media and the Republican consultant class have a lot of money to make on campaigns. Running a campaign on the cheap doesn't help any of them.

Krumhorn said...

Our hostess is entirely correct. Lefties do not look in the mirror and see a nasty little shit looking back at them as reality would have it. However, they do see someone with a complete monopoly on virtue....which is odd because sneering down their snouts like that, one would think that they would see the same smug, superior, elitist sneering back at them that the rest of us see.

Well, that's the libruls for ya', bless their hearts.

- Krumhorn

Inga said...

Sounds like he's trying to promote his product.

Big Mike said...

Something that a good mentor explains to every freshly-minted new manager is that what got you into this job isn't what you need to do to be successful in that job. Trump has forgotten this (or perhaps never learned it).

AReasonableMan said...

“He’s not C.E.O. material,” his former girlfriend and the co-developer of Blogger, Meg Hourihan, said

Who doesn't wish they had an ex-girlfriend like this?

J. Farmer said...

The Saudis are well aware of Trump's fondness for Twitter, so much so that Tweeps Forum 2017 was scheduled to coincide with his visit, and he will be a featured attendee.

High-Profile Personalities to Attend Tweeps 2017

Perhaps he could use the opportunity to point out the Saudi regimes appalling record of jailing and punishing people for criticizing the government on Twitter. I really cannot fathom why Trump is so eager to reassure a costly client-state relationship like the US-Saudi one. Between their incessant meddling in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, the Saudis have done more than any other regional country to contributing to the chaos and destabilization in the area.

Michael K said...

Perhaps that is the real reason Trump must be destroyed. Both the media and the Republican consultant class have a lot of money to make on campaigns.

Interesting point.

An interesting book review by Theodore Dalrymple on why intellectuals like dictators so much.

They only like the ones with utopian fantasies. Like Obama.

Lewis Wetzel said...

My problem with the silicon valley types is that they seem to believe that the technology we use can profoundly change us. Technology can certainly change how we do things, but people themselves haven't changed much in millennia. No new emotions have been invented. None have gone away. In Homage to Catalonia, Orwell explained that The reason the extremist propaganda posters of his era used bright colors, striking, exaggerated imagery, and simple slogans was because their target was often the illiterate and the barely literate. Now we have twitter and other social media. Tech of the 1930s versus tech of the 2010s. The medium changes, but not the message or the audience.

tim maguire said...

Is there any organization that set out to be a force for good that actually is?

He can't be proud of his role in creating a service that acts as a force for empowerment in politics, instead he has to apologize for not controlling who gets to use it. Yeah, that's what Prometheus was about--controlling who got to use fire.

Lewis Wetzel said...

J. Farmer wrote:
"I really cannot fathom why Trump is so eager to reassure a costly client-state relationship like the US-Saudi one."
ISIS.

buwaya said...

Entirely true, Orwells observation.

Study Spanish Civil War Republican propaganda posters. They are a gold mine of design and artistry.
Interestingly the posters of the winning Nationalist side were in comparison rather stodgy and perfunctory.

The overall propaganda campaigns of that war followed that pattern. If propaganda campaigns alone decided wars Franco would have failed.

J. Farmer said...

An interesting book review by Theodore Dalrymple on why intellectuals like dictators so much.

Interesting indeed. And I am a huge fan of Theodore Dalrymple. I absolutely love his gloomy British pessimism. And like Dalrymple, I too had a road to Damascus moment thanks to my career in juvenile justice.

J. Farmer said...

J. Farmer wrote:
"I really cannot fathom why Trump is so eager to reassure a costly client-state relationship like the US-Saudi one."
ISIS.

Huh? Saudi Arabia is a tacit supporter of ISIS. They are funding radical salafist movements in Syria because they want the Assad regime to fall. To be fair, US ally Turkey is doing quite a bit to contribute to the chaos as well thanks to its fears of an independent Kurdistan. Hell, we are helping to fund and train ISIS, too. We're just calling them "moderate rebels." The best antidote to ISIS is a strong central Syrian the government, something we're working hard to prevent from existing.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

He's right.

Our problem isn't that the costal elites don't listen to the concerns of DJT voters who don't better themselves and who choose to be stuck in parts of the country that have been irreversibly left behind.

Our problem is that we gave them too much of a voice w/ the internet. The solution is not capitulating and honoring their failed ideas of the past. That's the bigotry of low expectations. It's better to be stern but polite: Stop being losers, in loser areas, doing loser stuff--you're welcome.

buwaya said...

PB&J,

It is possible to reform character. If there is the will. I recommend a deliberate exercise in humility. Meditation also helps. Prayer is best though, the formulas get burned into your brain.

Look up the prayer of St. Francis, and try it daily for a week.

Lewis Wetzel said...

" . . . their failed ideas of the past."
We need to move on to the failed ideas of the future!

AReasonableMan said...

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...
The solution is not capitulating and honoring their failed ideas of the past. That's the bigotry of low expectations. It's better to be stern but polite: Stop being losers, in loser areas, doing loser stuff


This has been the Republican message to inner city blacks for the last four decades.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

"This has been the Republican message to inner city blacks for the last four decades."

Maybe I coulda been a bit more subtle. The "bigotry/expectation" thing was a major tell.

buwaya said...

Saudi Arabia is a great customer for US armaments and the recently announced $100 Billion tranche of contracts is a very big deal for US industries. Lots of foreign money for weapons makers keeps their production capacity up, finances R&D, and expands national military potential at no cost to the US.

It also amounts to a form of hidden tribute to the US. They are paying the US protection money.

Saudi (and its allies like Qatar) also pays off major US political players. Many Republicans especially are R-Riyadh or R-Doha, notably the Bushes.

They also pay off the other side, being major funders of US environmental organizations. An idea of the scale of this can be glimpsed in the blatant payoff to Al Gore and his partners, when Qatar-Al Jazeera paid $500 million for Current TV, an absurd sum. To cover the deal they then ran it perfunctorily for 2 years.

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

This has been the Republican message to inner city blacks for the last four decades.

One of the most irritating components of the race debate is its nearly totalizing focus on black Americans. Where on the planet are blacks, as a group, doing particularly well? Latin America? Haiti? Jamaica? Sub-Saharan Africa?

Lewis Wetzel said...

PB&J, the people you disparage are as much Americans as you are. Your job is not to tell them what to do. Their job is not to make you happy (and vice versa).

Amadeus 48 said...

"Mr. Williams’s mistake was expecting the internet to resemble the person he saw in the mirror: [a] serious, high-minded...." effete, bearded wanker with a messiah complex.

AReasonableMan said...

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...
Maybe I coulda been a bit more subtle.


Not sure subtlety really falls into your set of core competencies, maybe you should stick with what you do best. I find your comments the most consistently funny of anyone posting here, excluding Michael K of course.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
An interesting book review by Theodore Dalrymple on why intellectuals like dictators so much.


Similar: Is Intersectionality a Religion?
By Andrew Sullivan
...
"Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue — and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It’s Marx without the final total liberation."

AReasonableMan said...

J. Farmer said...
Where on the planet are blacks, as a group, doing particularly well?


View Park-Windsor Hills, California.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

ARM,

By subtle, I mean it's fun to pick a boilerplate con talking point, but shuffle the cast of characters so it's focused on an non-con situation.

Then sit back and watch the folks here complain about how awful my stated POV is.

Funny.

David Begley said...

Ev Williams is from a county in central Nebraska. His net worth today is such that he could buy all of the real estate located in the county and still have money left over. Stop bitching.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Traditionally it has been wicked to view your fellow human beings as instruments to achieve your wants. What those wants are really isn't important. The point is (or was) that other people are the same as you are. They aren't here to make your dreams come true by abandoning their dreams, even if you are smarter, richer, and have more social status than they do. Even if they can't stop you from using them.

David said...

Which is precisely why the lefties want to control the internet, have the power to create categories of impermissible speech and regulate media and access to communication. This overhyped clown would love to have the power to deny his "invention" to people he disagrees with or does not like. Free speech for me but not for thee.

And while you are at it, endorse a bloody fate and everlasting pain for your opponents. Who knows? You might get luck and some nutcase will do your dirty work for you.

David Begley said...

I actually know a woman from Ev's hometown of Clarks. They are about the same age.

David Begley said...

Hillary had Twitter and all of the smartest people in the universe were on her staff. She still lost. The medium was not the message. The message was the message. Make America Great Again. Build that Wall. Drain the Swamp. Better Together failed. Bigly.

Ev shouldn't feel sorry as he counts his money.

Carol said...

Ha ha. Back in 2008 I remember how the pundits breathlessly raved over how Obama had used social media,..like Twitter!1!! to reach young voters. I was active in the local GOP and there was all this soul-searching and browbeating going on, come down from the RNC on high, about how we had to learn how to do this stuff stat!

It was such a canard by 2009 that I just tuned it out. The browbeaters were people who never used the internet themselves but just knew we had to master this stuff PDQ because Frank Luntz or someone sez. (Oh by the way have you checked out our own web site or Facebook page? Not a chance.)

Last year some AFP interns here ran a class for our old farts on how to use Twitter, yet their own Twitter output was laughably pathetic. Yeah we really want to read your Koch Brothers shilling day after day.

David said...

"It also amounts to a form of hidden tribute to the US. [The Saudis] are paying the US protection money."

Interesting case, given that the Saudis have been building up their military power in the Middle East while we Americans have been reducing ours. Who is protecting whom? Put another way, where would we be in that area without alliance with the Saudis?

David said...

J. Farmer said . . . The best antidote to ISIS is a strong central Syrian the government, something we're working hard to prevent from existing.

So you think there are good Nazis after all? Strengthen Assad, a genocidal dictator. Just what the world needs.

n.n said...

Trump reached out to people directly, over the wires, and delivered an empathetic message that in part and whole resonated with Americans. He bypassed the press, and establishment organelles, and they are, expectedly, anxious.

The People, and our Posterity, are reasonably cautious and optimistic. Perhaps he can reconcile moral, natural, and personal imperatives. Perhaps he can end Obama's elective wars, deprecation of native peoples, and promote emigration reform.

J. Farmer said...

@David:

So you think there are good Nazis after all? Strengthen Assad, a genocidal dictator. Just what the world needs.

What genocide has Assad ever attempted or completed? What makes Assad a qualitatively different dictator than the Gulf Arab monarchies or the Egyptian dictator installed by an Army could d'etat who are our best buddies?

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

J. Farmer said...
Where on the planet are blacks, as a group, doing particularly well?

View Park-Windsor Hills, California.


Yes, there are enclaves of wealthy African-American neighborhoods. Some of the suburbs around Atlanta or Washington, DC are similar. But that's true of anywhere blacks live. That's why I said "as a group." If we agree that "blacks" as a group are not doing well in America, then I ask, where are they doing well as a group?

AReasonableMan said...

J. Farmer said...
That's why I said "as a group."


Using "as a group" to talk about people of African origin seems somewhat flawed. Africa contains a large fraction of all human diversity. It is a bit like saying europeans, arabs and asians all like stinky cheese "as a group."

Clearly some groups of African Americans are doing very well, much better than some groups of white Americans.

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

Using "as a group" to talk about people of African origin seems somewhat flawed. Using "as a group" to talk about people of African origin seems somewhat flawed. Africa contains a large fraction of all human diversity. It is a bit like saying europeans, arabs and asians all like stinky cheese "as a group."

I disagree. There is a difference between talking about individuals and talking about groups. Europeans, as a group, are doing better than sub-Saharan Africans, yet you could find some people in sub-Saharan Africa doing better than some Europeans. That doesn't make the former statement false.

Clearly some groups of African Americans are doing very well, much better than some groups of white Americans.

Undoubtedly. The fact that African-Americans have lower mean IQ scores than European-Americans still means that there are many blacks who are much smarter than many whites. But again, groups versus individuals.

Lewis Wetzel said...


Gabbard, as her own office has disclosed, took her “fact-finding” trip with a delegation of two men who are affiliated with an anti-Semitic political party accused of using female suicide bombers; of beating up Western and Arab journalists; helping U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah and the U.S.-sanctioned Syrian regime wage war in the Levant.
And did we mention the party’s ideology and flag take their inspiration from Nazism?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/26/democratic-congresswoman-used-affiliates-of-a-violent-anti-semitic-political-party-to-take-tea-with-assad

J. Farmer said...

@Lewis Wetzel:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/26/democratic-congresswoman-used-affiliates-of-a-violent-anti-semitic-political-party-to-take-tea-with-assad

Who cares? That's nothing more than guilt by association. The SSNP is pretty much a nothing of an organization with goals that are not going to be fulfilled. Their vision would require expanding the Syrian state to include territories of Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Turkey. The Syrian government and most Syrians don't want this. With a population of nearly 20 million, Syria's SSNP membership is about 100,000, or about 1/2 a percent.

A better question for the Daily Beast to answer is why arming and training radical salafists to overthrow the government of Syria is a good idea or serves American interests.

buwaya said...

On enclaves of successful blacks, ref the late John Ogbu, "Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb", 2003

Essential reading.

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

I have not read that one, but it sounds interesting, and I'll add it to the list. I am aware of Ogbu's voluntary versus involuntary minority, and I think that's a useful paradigm.

Michael K said...

buwaya, he was an Igbo who are a unique tribe.

Ebonyi is a state in south-east Nigeria. It is inhabited and populated primarily by the Igbo.

Many are in the New York financial world.

When the Biafra war was going on one of my students was an Ibo, which became Igbo, and was very worried about his family in Nigeria.

tim maguire said...

Blogger J. Farmer said... Where on the planet are blacks, as a group, doing particularly well?

Granted, he is a group of one, but blacks do quite well on the Supreme Court.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Who cares? That's nothing more than guilt by association. The SSNP is pretty much a nothing of an organization with goals that are not going to be fulfilled.
They are national socialists who use Nazi symbols and endorse thuggery and violence. A comparison between the SSNP and Nazis could hardly be more appropriate.
Until the outbreak of WW2, the Nazi's killed a relatively small number of people. Were they good Nazis until Sept. 1939?

tim maguire said...

I believe blacks do well in Kenya, they used to do well in Egypt, though that was some time ago. I'm sure there are others, Africa is not uniformly a hell-hole. And it's not all their fault considering how we forced borders on them that they would not have chosen themselves if they had been allowed to sort naturally (and by naturally, I mean human nature--wars and stuff).

Michael K said...

Tim, I think Kenya is pretty much a corrupt sh** hole.

One of my medical students a couple of years ago was from Kenya. Both of her parents were MDs and the place was so corrupt that they finally gave up any medical practice, which requires government cooperation (graft) and moved to their coffee farm in the highlands.

tim maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

ok, maybe not Kenya. (They did birth a US president!)

J. Farmer said...

@Lewis Wetzel:

They are national socialists who use Nazi symbols and endorse thuggery and violence. A comparison between the SSNP and Nazis could hardly be more appropriate.

Even if we accept the Nazi/SSNP connection, my question still stands...so what?

Until the outbreak of WW2, the Nazi's killed a relatively small number of people. Were they good Nazis until Sept. 1939?

For starters, the Nazis were controlling one of the most industrialized powerful nations on the planet. The SSNP controls nothing. Second, Nazi Germany had already engaged in quite a bit of aggressive behavior prior to September 1939, such as annexing Austria and the Sudetenland and was getting territorial concessions from Lithuania on threat of invasion.

J. Farmer said...

@Tim in Vermont:

I believe blacks do well in Kenya, they used to do well in Egypt, though that was some time ago. I'm sure there are others, Africa is not uniformly a hell-hole. And it's not all their fault considering how we forced borders on them that they would not have chosen themselves if they had been allowed to sort naturally (and by naturally, I mean human nature--wars and stuff).

Kenya is ranked 147th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. The highest ranking sub-Saharan African country is Botswana, which ranked 108th out of 188. As for Egypt, if you're talking about Ancient Egypt, the racial makeup of was most likely not uniformly sub-saharan African. As for "forced borders" in Africa, I certainly think it's a contributory factor, but I don't think it's as important as often claimed. African geography and environment are probably more determinate than borders, but it is of note that the borders are a problem because they enclose competing nationalities. That is, groups of people who don't want to live in the same political unit as each other. I guess no one has informed them that "diversity is a strength."

ok, maybe not Kenya. (They did birth a US president!)

Half a US president.

Bad Lieutenant said...

J. Farmer said...
@David:

So you think there are good Nazis after all? Strengthen Assad, a genocidal dictator. Just what the world needs.

What genocide has Assad ever attempted or completed? What makes Assad a qualitatively different dictator than the Gulf Arab monarchies or the Egyptian dictator installed by an Army could d'etat who are our best buddies?
5/20/17, 2:10 PM

That's downright lacking in insight from you, J.

His father murdered 20,000 at Hama, from which we get the Phrase, Hama Rules. So far in this episode of the Syrian Civil War I believe a half-million are dead. Syrian tactics include barrel bombings and death squads and other terror tactics.

The people come and go, but the Assads stay. In Egypt, the governments come and go, but the people stay.

Mubarak was couped by the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi, and then they were couped by Gen. Sisi and Company. In both cases the populace was largely quiescent. Well there was the Arab Spring/Tahrir Square thing but Lara Logan aside, unseating Mubarak wasn't this sort of epic bloodbath. The Egyptian people didn't resist the counter-revolution very hard either, did they?

So Egypt is fundamentally stable. Syria is fundamentally unstable. Saudi Arabia is fundamentally stable. Libya is fundamentally unstable. Iran is, I think, a borderline case. It's not just the Middle East. China is stable, North Korea is unstable. Russia is by this rubric partially stable at the core but unstable at the margins, at its borders.

Saying "what difference" is imperceptive. It just makes them all out to be wogs who don't matter. Besides being insulting, it is not objectively useful to see them that way.

J. Farmer said...

@Bad Lieutenant:

Let's recap the post I was responding to...

"So you think there are good Nazis after all? Strengthen Assad, a genocidal dictator. Just what the world needs."

I don't believe Assad is genocidal and nothing you have said supports calling him genocidal.

And for "dictator," my point was that the US has no problem supporting dictators. That's not an argument against my belief that a strong Syrian central government is preferable to a violence-ridden anarchy. The entire premise of the US strategic relationship in the middle east is that authoritarian governments in Egypt and the Gulf States keep a lid on populist pressures. When the Bahrain monarchy used violence to put down protest movements back in 2011, nobody cared. The reason the civil war in Syria has raged on for so many years is because outside powers, such as the US, Turkey, and the Gulf Arabs are funding, equipping, and training mercenary fighters. I think this is a very stupid idea.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Well, FDR had his Fireside Chats. Who is to deny the man his Backyard BBQ & Beer Tweets?

His own raucous emissions, gleefully bandied about and repeated in the press, are about the only charitable words we see or hear regarding DRT. I am willing to cut him a little slack.

Mark O said...

If video killed the radio star, Twitter killed the MSM stars.
In an unanticipated benefit, Twitter has become the ultimate fact checker. If one is interested, one can find answers on Twitter.

Can anyone argue that Bill Clinton, the architect of the politics of personal destruction, would have weaponized Twitter?

Trump is simply bypassing the adversary media and going directly to the voters. Media credibility did not survive Twitter.

Michael K said...

The reason the civil war in Syria has raged on for so many years is because outside powers, such as the US,

I think we got dragged in because the Sunni resistance in Iraq was based in Syria and Assad facilitated the transport of fighters into Iraq.

That of course brings up Iraq and that is another topic. I would have preferred that Bush install a general in Iraq and leave the army in control. Bremer made that impossible. Bush was also in love with Arab democracies, which is an oxymoron.

I thought at the time that Iraq might be a worthwhile experiment to see if Arabs could rule themselves without tyrants,

They can't. It is a mystery why the political left here wants to import these primitives.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

That of course brings up Iraq and that is another topic. I would have preferred that Bush install a general in Iraq and leave the army in control. Bremer made that impossible. Bush was also in love with Arab democracies, which is an oxymoron.

I don't believe Bush was ever "in love with Arab democracies." The war-to-bring-democracy-to-Iraq only became the go to rationale for the invasion after the WMD case completely collapsed. A few internationalists like Hitchens and George Pakcer may have been making the argument before, but it was hardly the case with the government until facts on the ground necessitated it.

That said, it is ridiculous how much the US emphasizes "democracy" in this day and age. The founders were terrified by democracy and attempted to craft a government that would largely be insulated from democracy. The challenge confronting them was how do you reconcile consensual government with individual liberty. I think the experiment has failed.

Michael K said...

I don't believe Bush was ever "in love with Arab democracies."

Well there were none so he could hardly have been in love with them. He was in love with the idea.

He was wrong, Even Margaret Thatcher, who I idolize in many ways, was wrong about the poor buying council housing. She thought you could create middle class mores by making the poor look middle class.

That was behind a lot of the real estate bubble that ended in 2008. I don't know how it turned out in England but the photos I see in British newspapers suggest not well.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Even Margaret Thatcher, who I idolize in many ways, was wrong about the poor buying council housing.
I remember seeing something about this on television some time ago. A woman with a perfect BBC accent was interviewing an older, poor woman. The Beeb-woman asked the poor woman why she wouldn't take what was essentially free money by paying a pittance for her council housing. The poor woman took the long way around explaining to the Beeb-woman that she thought it was a trick. It was job of society and the well-off to take care of her, and buying her little flat would absolve them of that responsibility. She was having none of it. Very different from an American attitude.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Bad Lieutenant:
. . .

I don't believe Assad is genocidal and nothing you have said supports calling him genocidal.


Gassing civilians? Or do you believe that this was a false flag op? Or something else?

J. Farmer said...

@Lewis Wetzel:

Gassing civilians? Or do you believe that this was a false flag op? Or something else?

Well, I don't think it has been conclusively demonstrated that the Assad regime was necessarily responsible. But let's put that aside and just assume it is. That does not constitute genocide, which is defined by ends not means. Dozens of people died in the gas attack. Tens of thousands have died from conventional munitions. Is dying from gas poisoning that much different from being burnt alive by an explosion or suffocating to death under a pile of rubble?

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

p.s. Over 10,000 civilians have been killed by Saudi bombing in Yemen, and the entire country is on the brink of a famine. Do you believe the Saudi monarch is genocidal? I don't.

Etienne said...

"I thought at the time that Iraq might be a worthwhile experiment to see if Arabs could rule themselves without tyrants,"

The only thing that works in the middle east, is a monarchy.

I don't consider Israel part of the middle east. I see it as a US Possession/Territory. Sort of like Guam. Due to the complexities, we use the UN as a proxy.

J. Farmer said...

@Etienne:

The only thing that works in the middle east, is a monarchy.

How are you defining "works?"

I don't consider Israel part of the middle east. I see it as a US Possession/Territory. Sort of like Guam. Due to the complexities, we use the UN as a proxy.

I think the Israelis would take an exception to that characterization, but I do do agree with your overall assessment that Israel was not the creation of people living in the area but the creation of European and American Jewry moved there in the first half of the 20th century.

AReasonableMan said...

Etienne said...
I don't consider Israel part of the middle east. I see it as a US Possession/Territory. Sort of like Guam.


Same here. Additionally complicated by the relationship of fundamentalist christians to the holy land.

Lewis Wetzel said...

That does not constitute genocide, which is defined by ends not means. Dozens of people died in the gas attack. Tens of thousands have died from conventional munitions.
Gas is WMD, because it does not discriminate. The UN has special rules for gas and other chemical weapons. The reason the US pushed the WMD angle against Saddam is because it is one of the few reasons the UN finds it acceptable to send armies across borders.

J. Farmer said...

@Lewis Wetzel:

Gas is WMD, because it does not discriminate. The UN has special rules for gas and other chemical weapons. The reason the US pushed the WMD angle against Saddam is because it is one of the few reasons the UN finds it acceptable to send armies across borders.

Look up any definition of "genocidal." You won't find "use of chemical weapons" among the definitions. You are simply wrong to call Assad "genocidal."

Peter said...

Twitter? At the end, what put Trump in the White House was none other than Hillary Clinton, as former NeverTrumpers, gazing in horror at the probability of a Clinton presidency, returned to the fold and, however reluctantly, picked themselves up and voted for Trump.