Campaign watch: Concerning today's events in Brussels!


The souls of the dead and of Us:
The gruesome events in Brussels today brought a question to our minds.

We'll wait a day or three to explore it. The question involves the way we liberals are inclined to deploy our bombs when we discuss Those People, the nation's appalling Trump voters.

Eventually, our question will go something like this:

We won't be asking you a question about Candidate Trump. We won't be asking you to agree with one of his widely-discussed proposals, to the extent that the proposal in question is a proposal at all.

We'll be asking a different question. We'll be asking if you can imagine someone agreeing with that proposal without assuming that the person in question is a racist, bigot, xenophobe, nativist and of course an Islamophobe.

In short, can you imagine someone disagreeing with you about that proposal without assuming that the person is therefore evil, The Other?

Dating back into prehistory, we the humans are strongly inclined to loathe The Others. This ancient loathing started out as a survival skill.

Today, the impulse is much less helpful. That said, it seems to us that we modern "liberals" are equipped with a healthy dose of this ancient instinct.

That said:

In accord with pre-human laws of loathing, we liberals are often unable to see the fact that we do in fact loathe. According to those pre-human laws, it's always The Others who loathe.

By ancient, pre-human rule of law, there can be no loathing by Us. It seems to us that we modern liberals are possibly maybe caught in this trap and perhaps sometimes like it there.


  1. The gruesome events in Burssels today did not bring me to think anything about Donald Trump or liberals or others until I read this piece.

    In accord with the pre-human laws of loathing, after attacking Rachel Maddow and Daniel Okrent, Bob Somerby stumbled over the events in Brussels with barely a mention of the hundreds of dead and wounded. Instead he tells us the events will spark him to question how liberals regard supporters of a candidate for President of the US. At some point.

    1. So Bob is going to find a way to squeeze Brussels into his "narrative" about "we" loathsome liberals.

      How pathetic.

    2. He explicitly said he would not be talking about Brussels. I prefer to believe it was out of respect for those involved. YOU seem to be the ones claiming that Somerby has misused the event, thereby using it yourselves to attack a vanity blogger. That is about as pathetic as it gets.

    3. Classic Bobblehead logic. You win the Rose Mary Woods Award.

    4. Yep, Bob's going to take a few days, then use Brussels to advance his own narrative.

      Well, Bob. Both Ted and Donald have beat you to it.

  2. I disagree that the instinct to loathe Others is less helpful today than in the past. I believe it motivates action to oppose those who are a threat to us in important ways. Without the loathing, the motivation to take action would be decreased. Those we loathe are as capable of harming us today as they were in the past.

    Trump supporters might be well-intentioned with blameless reasons for supporting Trump. It doesn't make Trump any less dangerous or their mistaken support him any less of a threat to things I value in this country. I will keep my loathing, thank you.

    1. Let's see.

      Last fall, Trump called for the U.S. government to "register" all Muslims in the country so we can keep tabs on them, whether they are natural born citizens or not. Then he said we should shut our borders to any Muslim, including and especially the humanitarian refugees.

      Now we have Ted Cruz called for increase police presence and surveillance in "Muslim neighborhoods" -- wherever they are -- to prevent them from "radicalizing."

      And Bob's thoughts turn to those poor, poor supporters of Trump and Cruz who support such "ideas" that can only be described as "loathsome."

    2. Somehow current morality tends to favor inaction. If I accused AnonymousMarch 22, 2016 at 7:46 PM of supporting the murder of Americans by Islamic terrorists, s/he would deny the accusation. Yet, that quite possibly will be the result of inaction.

      Anyone can be made to seem absurd by looking at only a piece of the problem. I think if we looked at the pro's and con's of various actions and the pro's and con's of inaction, we'd be more sympathetic to people who disagree with us. We'd discover that problems aren't as cut and dried as we like to imagine.

    3. "Anyone can be made to seem absurd by looking at only a piece of the problem."

      Your lack of of self-awareness is startling.

    4. @8:28

      FDR interned 120,000 Japanese Americans with the blessing of the SCOTUS. He is considered a liberal icon. Trump and Cruz have only spouted election year controversial talk. When has talk trumped actual deeds? When the talk is from Republicans?


  3. Bob, as others have noted, is talking about the Muslim ban (only temporary!) of Trump. Well, since he makes it as personal as possible, no, I don't have a big problem not condemning the low information voter who goes along with Trump on this as racist.

    Which brings us to the low information issue, which Bob seems to have no credible interest in. The press is trying to make this latest slaughter a matter of the U.S., and democrats especially, not being tough enough and thus bringing these things about. This is a holdover from cold war reporting of many moons ago.

    Thing is, what we have now is probably WORSE than cold war times. Media critics like the Daily Howler don't even seem to have an opinion on the Military and how the Military is covered, when the embedded era began, you didn't hear a peep out of him.
    What Bob is suggesting here, I think, is that these incidents overseas suggested that the Muslim ban is actually a credible way to feel because of this violence. Considering that Bob seems to have, for instance, no interest in how our decade long disaster in Afghanistan is reported, weather or not it's important the public knows how much we have spent on said, that is a little sickening.
    Does Bob really think the defense budget is less important than whatever MSNBC is paying Rachel Maddow? It would certainly seem so.

    1. Chris Matthews almost got somebody killed. Liberals were silent. Bush won the election. Dead Iraqi's stare up at liberals because they caused this.

      Rachel Maddow called Chrois Matthews "my friend." And you don't understand why we will ask you if you are a pre-human other loather?

    2. Matthews gets a bum rap concerning the Kathleen Willey story. He merely reported the fact that the Clintons were stalking and threatening one of their vicitms in order to silence her. They even had the poor woman's dog killed to send her the message that she was next. It is not Chris' fault that a God fearing patriot would stand up to confront the Clintons' lead henchman and dog killer.

      If anything, by publicizing what was going on, Matthews may have saved Ms. Willey's life, preventing her from becoming just another name on the Clintons Death List.

    3. Friend of Bathtub RingsMarch 24, 2016 at 10:41 AM

      After failing to get this first person killed, Matthews worked to trigger death threats against a nuclear physicist. And over the course of two years, he worked hard to send George Bush to the White House, trumpeting endless sets of absurd accusations against Candidate Gore, AKA “the bathtub ring.”

      In the end, this heinous conduct led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people worldwide.

  4. BS, stop lying by pretending to be a liberal.

    1. @7:12

      B.S. is indeed an unusual lib blogger. He allows conservatives to post on his board. The majority of liberal ideologues are petrified to post dissenting opinions. Unlike the college Millennials, B.S. champions the 1st Amendment.

    2. Somerby is neither "unusual" nor a "lib." He's just another vanity blogger writing off the top of his head and struggling to find an audience.

      Ad from from being a champion of the First Amendment, Somerby can't understand the Information Age that allows him to blog in the first place, and decries the proliferation of ways that information can reach the public, while he years for the "good ol' days" of corporate gatekeepers who chose what "news" we were to receive.

    3. @12:35

      Whom other than a lib would support Bernie the way B.S. does? MSNC and CNN are comprised of liberal hosts spouting off at the top of the voices struggling to find an audience.

      Media Matters, dailykos, Think Progress, understand the information age, but banish any voices from their blogs that do not parrot liberal talking points. B.S. leaves these folks in the dust when it comes to allowing dissent of opinion. That in itself makes him a 1st Amendment champion. The others prefer the Cuban approach to dissent.

    4. Bob supports Bernie? News to me.

      You might also be surprised to learn that not everybody who supports Bernie is necessarily a "lib." He's also tapped into the same "anti-establishment" anger that Trump has tapped into.

    5. Cicero, there are a lot of right-wing blogs that also brook no dissent. And there are blogs who allow plenty of dissent but draw the line at hate speech.

      And none of that has anything to do with the First Amendment.

      Then there is Bob. Too damned lazy to even delete the "spellcaster" span he gets routinely. You see, far from being a champion of free speech, Bob doesn't moderate his combox because that would take time and effort.

    6. @2:27

      I hate to have to enlighten you, but the 1st Amendment of course protects hate speech. It wouldn't have much value if it only protected speech one faction or another deemed acceptable.

      Yes. Patrolling the campus in search of speech not in tune with liberal ideology requires time and effort. What are the benefits for the bloggers who are obsessed with thought control? Name the conservative blogs that have in their posting rules a zero tolerance for dissenting opinions?

    7. I hate to have to enlighten you, cicero (as if that were possible) but the First Amendment has nothing to do with how any blogger moderates his/her combox.

      Yes, I know that in one of the final landmark decisions of the Warren Court (which I am certain you are a great fan!) the court ruled that a KKK leader could not be prosecuted for inciting violence when there was no violence. Just a bunch of blowhards.

      And how many times has Somerby, your great champion, called for people to be fired because they wrote things he didn't agree with?

      Some champion.

      Name the conservative blogs that don't tolerate dissent? Oh, good GAWD! Where would I begin? Try the granddaddy of 'em all -- Free Republic.

      Oh, I see your little trick. It's not "in their posting rules". They just do it.

      And I see you won't touch my point that Somerby is too damned lazy even to take the spam out of his own comboxes. Figures.

    8. @7:29
      Are you being deliberately obtuse? Without the 1st Amendment there wouldn't be any U.S. blogs for people like you to post unintentionally ironic musings such as:

      "First Amendment has nothing to do with how any blogger moderates his/her combox."

      If you were previously aware of SCOTUS rulings why did you believe hate speech was not protected?

      Has anyone ever been fired due to a B.S. rant calling for their jobs?

      Just because you hate SPAM doesn't mean everybody does. Hawaiians love it.

    9. I can't believe anybody can be this stupid, so I'll be kind and call you deliberately and willfully ignorant.

      The First Amendment restricts only what GOVERNMENT can do to restrict speech, and even then, it's not absolute, anything goes. We still have laws against libel, slander, and inciting violence.

      The First Amendment does NOT tell bloggers how to run their comboxes, nor does it offer protection for any speech within blogs or their comboxes. In fact, it would a gross violation of the First Amendment if government did that, wouldn't it?

      Thus bloggers are free to delete anything they want without touching the First Amendment rights of combox commenters one bit.

      It might also behoove you to remember that your "champion of the First Amendment" had NO combox at all for the first 13 years of the 18 years of his blogging. The only reason he switched to a host with a combox is to make his dying blog more "interactive" hoping it would attract traffic and to encourage his few readers to spend more time on his blog.

      No, nobody has been fired because of B.S.'s BS rants calling for the jobs of people who disagree with him. But it is quite illustrative of his contempt for the "free speech" rights of others, isn't it?

    10. @9:18
      You have been one of B.S.'s few readers since the inception of the daily howler 18 years ago. Your loyalty to the moribund blog you detest is commendable if not compulsive.

  5. I only loathe conservatives who are loathsome. Bob only loathes liberals who loathe the loathsome. How loathsome.

    1. Note: The above comment may seem contradictory since I do not loathe Bob, but it is sanctioned by Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. (Godel, BTW, was Einstein's close friend and reportedly understood Relativity.)

    2. Here is what it takes to complete your comment at Bob's vanity venue.

    3. I know conservatives who are decent, honorable people ... I also know liberals who are self righteous jerks. As a liberal I believe in not prejudging people. That seems fair?

  6. @8:57

    GOP had a women, a black, and two Latins running for POTUS. So much for racism and sexism. While Kasich, Walker, Christie, Paul, Bush, are personally against gay marriage, they accept the SCOTUS ruling on the subject.

    HRC was against gay marriage in 2008, not 1968. She only said she supports it since 2013.

    Perhaps you should become more familiar with wingnuts from your own political party before setting yourself up for an epic fail.

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  8. I see where Cruz has named Phil Gramm his chief economic advisor. He also wants to bring back the neocons. And he's supposed to be a special kind of geniu?!?

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