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An Observation: Jumping Into Comment Threads Early, or a Troll’s Business


A commenter to an article about Al Gore in the Guardian set me to thinking about something I’d noticed but hadn’t fully realized: when an article about a subject like Al Gore or climate change appears, the first comments are always from trolls who do things like making personal attacks against the subject or recycling fake anti-climate change myths.

Yes, there is a huge troll army out there, both American and Eastern European, that watches tirelessly for articles to comment on, and puts up pre-written screeds that are borderline offensive or just plain lies.  Surely someone is getting paid– but not well– to try to saturate every comment thread, especially in liberal online media, with lies and misdirection.

The Russian’s primary motivation in the US presidential election of 2016 was not to elect Don the Con.  It was to disrupt, delegitimize, and denigrate American democracy to weaken our country.  Why?  Because the Russian government is a smaller, weaker, and less well-financed organization than the US government by a country mile– and it is smart enough to use “cyberwarfare” to try to make up for this disadvantage.  These are not the tactics of a legitimate government that is trying to better its citizens’ standing and well-being.  They are the tactics of a totalitarian-minded organization that feels threatened by transparency and the voice of the people.

Remember that the US has spent more money on its military than the next six or seven largest countries by GDP combined.  We are the unquestioned militarily dominant country of the world.  Countries that have illegitimate governments, especially those who are actively engaged in trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their citizenry– I’m looking at you, China, and you, Russia, and so many others– feel threatened by the US and react defensively to attempts to spread the concept of the legitimate primacy of an informed electorate.

Sure, the US has– especially in the past– done similar bad things to other countries and other cultures.  But we are different because every four years we elect a leader who may decide to go in another direction entirely.  Back in 1960, with the narrow election (some say put over by the dead voters of Chicago) of JFK, the country took a slight turn to the left and scared the bejesus out of all the racists in the South.  Not that we backed down from our mortal enemy, the Soviet Union– far from it, we threatened to bomb Cuba back into the Stone Age– but we did negotiate with the Soviets and remove our threatening short-range nuclear missiles from Turkey, which were functionally equivalent to the nuclear missiles Krushchev was trying to install in Cuba.  That was worse for the militarists because their choice would have been to use the Bay of Pigs to invade and over-run a country that had just survived a revolution run by a grass-roots Marxist named Castro.

For that sin, the US laid a lifetime embargo on Cuba that was only loosened after fifty years and Castro’s death– and is going to be tightened again under Don the Con.  The failed attempts to pass a health-care denial bill in the Senate are just a side-show.  Don’s administration is quietly going about reversing all the policies that, under Eisenhower and Kennedy, were widely considered even by the Republican Party to be progressive, conservative, and in the best interests of all Americans, rich and poor.  A democratic country is only as good as its current leadership, which can change every two years in our House of Representatives.  Everyone should go out and vote for a Democratic Congress in November 2018 so that our kakistocrat and kleptocrat in chief, Don the Con, can be impeached and removed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

It is clear that the Republican Party, despite the animadversions of Jeff Flake, will never support impeachment– to its lasting shame and, we’re hoping, its destruction.

To avoid posting another whole column, I will here note the publication of Jeff Flake’s deathbed statement (just kidding) that he has always hated Trump because he is a con-man and has played Pied Piper to the rest of the Republican establishment.  Jeff Flake is a Republican senator from Arizona who is under threat of being primaried because of his Never-Trump stance last fall.  He has nothing to lose by exposing the reasons he refused to vote for Don the Con.  He still doesn’t explain or justify his votes in favor of health-care repeal– he is still a flint-hearted conservative– but at least he is still a principled, honorable man.  Just like the paranoid Goldwater, he is against “handouts” but at least he doesn’t play dirty, which is why Don threatened to primary him.  He will not be on the Republican ballot for Senate next time, and a write-in vote for him appears impossible based on his low popularity, so he is politically a dead man walking.  Those are the consequences of opposing Don the Con: he will insult and degrade you on Twitter, and if threats don’t work, he will unleash the full fury of the Tea Party movement (fully funded by Koch).  Look for more early comments from “people” who claim that Jeff Flake is a child-molester or worse.

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