History Shows Free Speech Is The Loser In Mob Action

Below is my column in The Hill on the ongoing destruction of memorials and statues. After this column ran, I learned that one of the iconic busts of George Washington University had been toppled on my own campus. I did not learn that from our university, which was conspicuously silent about this destructive act at the very center of our campus.  There is something eerily familiar in the scenes of bonfires with police watching passively as public art is destroyed.  Such acts are akin to book burning as mobs unilaterally destroyed images that they do not want others to see.  There are valid issues to address on the removal of some public art but there is no room or time for debate in the midst of this spreading destruction.  Even when there is merit to objections to literally or artistic or historical works, mob action threatens more than the individual work destroyed by such action. The media has largely downplayed this violence, including little comparative coverage of an attack on the Democratic state senator who simply tried to videotape the destruction of a statue to a man who actually gave his life fighting against slavery in the Civil War.  As discussed earlier, history has shown that yielding to such mob rule will do little to satiate the demand for unilateral and at times violent action. People of good faith must step forward to demand a return to the rule of law and civility in our ongoing discourse over racism and reform.

Here is the column:

The scenes have played out nightly on our television screens. In Portland, a flag was wrapped around the head of a statue of George Washington and burned. As the statue was pulled down, a mob cheered. Across the country, statues of Christopher Columbus, Francis Scott Key, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses Grant have been toppled down as the police and the public watch from the edges. We have seen scenes like this through history, including the form of mob expression through book burning.

Alarmingly, this destruction of public art coincides with a crackdown on academics and writers who criticize any aspects of the protests today. We are experiencing one of the greatest threats to free speech in our history and it is coming, not from the government, but from the public. For free speech advocates, there is an eerie candescence in these scenes, flames illuminating faces of utter rage and even ecstasy in destroying public art. Protesters are tearing down history that is no longer acceptable to them. Some of this anger is understandable, even if the destruction is not. There are statues still standing to figures best known for their racist legacies.

Two decades ago, I wrote a column calling for the Georgia legislature to take down its statue of Tom Watson, a white supremacist publisher and politician who fueled racist and antisemitic movements. Watson was best known for his hateful writings, including his opposition to save Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a girl. Frank was taken from a jail and lynched by a mob enraged by such writings, including the declaration of Watson that “Frank belongs to the Jewish aristocracy, and it was determined by the rich Jews that no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working class Gentile.”

Yet today there is no room or time for such reasoned discourse, just destruction that often transcends any rationalization of history. Rioters defaced the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and a statue of Abraham Lincoln in London. Besides attacking those monuments to the man who ended slavery, rioters attacked statues of military figures who defeated the Confederacy, like Grant and David Farragut, who refused to follow Tennessee and stayed loyal to the Union. In Boston, rioters defaced the monument to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the all black volunteer regiment of the Union Army. In Philadelphia, the statute of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin was attacked, despite his fight for black voting rights and his financial support for the education of black children.

This systematic destruction of public art is now often rationalized as the natural release of anger by those who have been silenced or marginalized. Even rioting and looting has been defended by some as an expression of power. However, a far more extensive movement is unfolding across the country, as people are fired for writing in opposition to these protests. In Vermont, Windsor School principal Tiffany Riley was placed on leave for questioning protest rhetoric on Facebook, where she posted, “While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement?” She was denounced on social media as “insanely tone deaf” and is being forced to retire.

At the University of Chicago, there is an effort to fire Harald Uhlig, who is a professor and senior editor of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy. His offense was questioning the logic of defunding the police and other messaging from the protests. Writers like Paul Krugman of the New York Times denounced him, and he was accused of the unpardonable sin of “trivializing” the Black Lives Matter movement. Professors across the country are being targeted because they object to aspects of these protests or specific factual claims. Students also face punishment.

Syracuse University student journalists at the Daily Orange have fired a columnist for writing a piece in another publication that questioned the statistical basis for claims of “institutional racism” in police departments. Adrianna San Marco discussed a study published last year by the National Academy of Sciences that had found “no evidence” of disparities against Blacks or Hispanics in police shootings. Such a view could be challenged on many levels. Indeed, this once was the type of debate that colleges welcomed. Yet San Marco was accused of “reinforcing stereotypes.”

The merging of journalism and advocacy is evident in academia, where intellectual pursuit is now viewed as reactionary or dangerous. Many opposed a recent recognition given by the American Association of University Professors to an academic viewed by many as antisemitic. I disagreed with the campaign against the professor as a matter of free speech. However, I was struck by the statement that she “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.” That “encumbrance” was once the distinction between intellectual and political expression. As academics, we once celebrated intellectual pluralism and fiercely defended free speech everywhere.

However, we now increasingly join the mob in demanding the termination or “retraining” of academics who utter opposing views. In my 30 years of teaching, I never imagined I would see such intolerance and orthodoxy on campuses. Indeed, I have spoken with many professors who are simply appalled by what they are seeing but too scared to speak up. They have seen other academics put on leave or condemned by their fellow faculty members. Two professors are not only under investigation for criticizing the protests but received police protection at home due to death threats. The chilling effect on speech is as intentional as it is successful.

Such cases are mounting across the country as academics and students enforce this new orthodoxy on college campuses. What will be left when objectionable public art and academics are scrubbed from view? The silence that follows may be comforting to those who want to remove images or ideas that cause unease. History has shown, however, that orthodoxy is never satisfied with silence. It demands speech.

Once all the offending statues are down, and all the offending professors are culled, the appetite for collective suppression will become a demand for collective expression. It is a future that is foreshadowed not in loud cries around the bonfires we see every night on the news. It is a future guaranteed by the silence of those watching from the edges.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

225 thoughts on “History Shows Free Speech Is The Loser In Mob Action”

  1. If They take away your 1st Amendment Rights – Strike Back HARD with your 2nd Amendment Right until They Submit or You DIE!

  2. Racism is a “front” for what is going on. These students have been trained by professors to use race and gender as weapons in the marxist/maoist revolution being waged by mostly students. All the “issues” presented as grievances are false issues being exploited as wedge issues to fracture society in preparation for the “new society” of communism. They are players in a communist revolution.

  3. honestlawyermostly — Thank you for the information. Yes, such interventions ought not to be police matters.

  4. Young, I suppose that I am a Democrat. I am not in favor of “defund” police. I am in favor of additional forms of social intervention.

    1. David–Not all Democrats are going nuts. I used to be a Democrat. Social intervention might work but not with the people and ideas behind it now. A good example is the homeless problem. I don’t know if you have been down to LA recently, but if you go there visit the Fashion District. Get shots first. The sidewalks are covered with ‘homeless’ tents and knocked up shelters. Hepatitis and typhus have emerged and are infecting even people in nearby government offices. The city spends millions for ‘interventions’ and they keep getting more homeless. I imagine a lot of the money is going into the pockets of ‘experts’ and ‘committees’ and ‘studies’ and the rest of the things that are quicksand for wealth.

      What I haven’t seen [though it might be happening] is anyone going into those areas and finding out just who these people are and why they are there. For some it is a choice. In Miami I knew someone who worked with medical staff to help the homeless and had clean safe shelters for them. To their great exasperation the homeless wouldn’t remain in the shelters. They headed back to their places under the freeways and wherever they wanted to curl up.

      Some of the people are genuinely mentally ill and should not be abandoned. There is a legal doctrine, parens patriae, that sees society as the ultimate guardian of the people and with the power to intervene and help those unable to take care of themselves when they are mentally impaired. We used to take care of these folks, but that began to end with the publication of ‘The Myth of Mental Illness’ and the thrust to deinstitutionalize these unfortunates. Abandoning these people is scandalous and a tragedy.

      Others are addicts and criminals who are smart enough to exploit the ‘compassion’ and ‘understanding’ of local government. In San Francisco the homeless that were moved into motels because of the Wuhan virus have been given drugs by the city to keep them in place. So now the city is a drug dealer. There are other ways to deal with those problems.

      One legal issue I have toyed with but haven’t researched might be addressed by some of the other lawyers on this site. Usually the city does not own the sidewalks. The property owner adjacent to the sidewalk has underlying title subject to an easement to the city for a sidewalk. The easement is not for homeless storage. In fact, allowing the homeless to take over the sidewalk destroys its intended use under the easement. By expanding city presence for purposes other than use as a sidewalk I wonder if that is a taking of property for which the city can be sued. Just a thought. If it were my concern or a client’s concern I would put more work into researching it, but maybe somebody here knows.

      1. David and Young– For five years some time ago, I worked in a soup kitchen on Sundays instead of going to church. Since I was a lawyer, they made me the trash man cleaning up after people finished eating. I got to know our clientele pretty well. I saw and dealt with the same types of people described by Young’s friend with one addition: we had a small but significant group who acted crazy but as we later learned were messed up because of the interactions of medications they were on. Nobody had bothered to audit their drugs. This is one additional type of social intervention that is cheap but can be very effective in getting this small group of homeless people off the street.

        1. Honest– Thanks for that first-hand information. It fits with everything I have heard at one remove. I used to teach on subjects like this and the class were astonished when I told them that in default of a well managed mental health care system the mentally ill became the responsibility of the police and jail. Not faulting the police, of course, but noting that among other difficult problems society had dumped management of these people onto their laps.

          I am curious what you think about the easement issue and homeless taking over sidewalks. I don’t know of anyone besides myself who has considered it from that angle. I don’t know if it would pan out after detailed research.

          1. Young– I don’t pretend to be an expert but I have handled some easement cases. First, take the government out of the picture. If I grant an easement to my neighbor to allow him to get into and out of his property I could stop him from grazing his cattle in the easement because that would be beyond the scope of the grant. Now with the government back in the picture, I am always concerned that the involvement of the government will change things but in this case, I’m not sure it does. What you say is logical. Turning an easement for a sidewalk or street into a campground, especially with all of the public health concerns, is beyond the scope of any easement I’ve seen for city streets and alleys. If that case came into my office, I’d take it. One other problem I’ve run into may or may not be present here. In the old days when towns were platted before any lots were sold, the streets and alleys generally remained with the municipality and were not conveyed to the buyers of adjoining property. In modern subdivisions that also is the case because the platted streets are dedicated and remain with the grantor. I do like your theory though. I hope someone will test it because if it works, business owners would have the power to deal with the problem rather than wait for the city to do something.

            1. Honest– Thanks so much for your input. I truly appreciate hearing it. I agree that a lot would depend on how the original plat was laid down, property of the owner or property of the city. If it could be established that the sidewalk in question was an easement on property owned by the adjacent property owner it does seem like there might be a case. If that is so, I hope some property owner uses the idea to try to relieve the problem that the city doesn’t have the will or even intention of mitigating.

          2. Young– I remember when the Supreme Court declared that mentally ill people could not be confined unless they were a danger to themselves or to others. This meant not only that St. Elizabeth’s in DC and other such institutions across the country opened their doors and turned out thousands of people but it also prevented the police from taking a mentally ill person into custody unless they met the danger test. There were no facilities where they could be taken. The result was if we had to pick up a mentally ill person we would simply transport that person quietly to an area controlled by Park Police or Metro. They would do the same to us. A hell of a way to run a railroad. I hope things are a lot different now.

            1. Yes, I remember that. I can’t quite remember the name of the case, started with a ‘C’ or ‘M’? Don’t know. Not going to look it up. I think it was a Florida case. Didn’t he get out on a Habeas Corpus Writ?

              Unfortunately, the system was being abused and people who truly could function on their own were being detained basically as slave labor in the institution. The Court was outraged and I think for good reason. The remedy has proven at least as disastrous as the ill. I don’t think it has improved. One would think that someone among all the virtue signalling, mouthy ‘do gooders’ who do nothing, there would be someone who would recognize that this problem is in their brief and try to find a way to deal with it applying a sense of humanity.

      2. “The easement is not for homeless storage.”

        Young fabulous way of looking at things.

        Honest, Young pointed out a very significant problem. One segment of the homeless return to the streets and refuse medication. They even pretend they take their medications but they don’t. I seem to remember that in the past we had TB hospitals and if I remember correctly patients that didn’t take their medications were forcibly kept in the TB hospital to make sure the medications were taken. I don’t know about other states but NYState had something called the ‘theraputic milieu” or something similar. Many years ago they ordered all mental institutions to open their doors so that all the mentally ill could leave at will. I don’t know what happened to the laws involved but I do know that at one institution the doors forcefully opened by the state were closed on the same day by the hospital after 3 deaths and multiple injuries.

        1. Allan– I wondered looking at those bums on the sidewalk whether the property owners had any enforceable rights. I still don’t know for sure, but if the sidewalk is an easement then the city would not hold the ultimate title. You can’t have an easement on your own property; the estates merge. If I had an easement for a path to the beach on my neighbor’s property and then subsequently bought that property the easement would vanish, merged with the general title. The presence of an easement suggests that the adjacent property owner has some estate in the land the sidewalk is on. The city’s easement should not be unilaterally expanded to allow uses other than as a sidewalk. Honest gave a good example above of someone trying to expand an easement unilaterally without right. The point is that if the sidewalk is only an easement to the city the city has violated part of the property owners’ reserved estates by using it for a purpose not originally intended. It might be an opening for businesses to compel the removal of squatters on what is part of their property subject to an easement for a limited purpose. Just a thought. It doesn’t seem right for these businesses to be destroyed in this way. Currently the city seems to think they would have more rights to the stretch in front of their businesses if they were drug addicts squatting [sometimes literally] on the sidewalk.

          1. Young, it’s hard to say one thing or another about sidewalks and vagrancy since the laws are different in different states and even cities. In Manhattan owners of Brownstones are fined if snow is left on the sidewalk in front of their homes but I note some vagrants sleeping in front of stores at night. I think the police have the power to move them but frequently leave them alone.

            In other words the leftist world says that the taxpayer will be fined for obstuctions of the sidewalk (dirt as well) in front of his home but the City will do nothing to remove vagrants from the sidewalks.

        2. Allan– I never did a scientific survey but my guess is that about 25% of our clientele preferred living outside. A good number grouped together and created “camps” that were scattered around Austin out of sight in some of the heavily wooded areas. One man whom I got to be pretty good friends with lived alone in the woods about two miles from our house. He was an artist and his medium was wood… beautiful carvings. He always wore a heavy army field jacket, even in the summer, and someone told me that out of season, heavy clothing can be a sign of paranoia. Occasionally he would go nuts which was a problem because he always had a sharp knife. He was very intelligent and he was surprisingly well read. A large percentage of our clientele were convicted felons and another significant percentage were drug addicts although I don’t remember anyone coming in high on a Sunday morning. I usually had to break up a fight every few weeks but for the most part, it was an appreciative and peaceful group.

          1. Honest–Thanks for that account. That’s the type of interaction and involvement that is probably needed for someone to sort out these problems in a humane way. Know who they are and why they are where they are. The grants and other funds poured into committees and other programs seem completely wasted for the most part. Off the top of my head, I think we need to start putting the seriously mentally ill back in institutions. They won’t like it, but it is worse to abandon them to survive in the gutter. ‘Outreach’ programs that support a gutter existence, barely, are inhumane. The criminals and drug addicts could probably be handled with traditional law enforcement provided judges cooperated. It has discouraged but not stopped their behavior in the past. The ones who are tricky are the in-betweens who have moderately severe mental problems or who swing into very severe problems. Possibly some sort of assisted living program could work with them combined with law enforcement when they break and run. Just guessing. It seems nothing is being done in places like LA, San Francisco and parts of Seattle these days. In those places they seem to have lost the will even to enforce basic laws promoting the safety of the citizens and their homes and their businesses.

          2. ” my guess is that about 25% of our clientele preferred living outside.”

            Honest, That sounds right and becomes problematic because one doesn’t want to incarcerate people even for their own good compounded by the NIMBY problem. Not everyone on the street is there for the usual reasons.

            I not infrequently talk to strangers anywhere anytime. One so-called “bum” on the street was talking and when I heard it realized he was well educated ond spoke beautifully. I started a conversation with him and it turned out that he ran a large company earning a high salary, but when his wife got cancer he quit everything to take care of her. When she died he went to the Bowery. There are many people that have interesting stories much like you have seen. How to handle that type of problem is something we need to work on.

            1. How to handle that type of problem is something we need to work on.

              *******

              And yet the current approach is simply to hire more platoons of bureaucrats.

  5. It would be very helpful if your website had a “print” format. Many sites such as TheFederalist.com and amgreatness.com use services to provide a PDF of their articles. Don’t you think your comments are also worth saving ?

  6. Off topic. Federal expenses. My medical care and perhaps need for hospice or assisted living home is important. How much federal money is spent on the military bases and troops in Germany? We have been there to keep the Russians out since 1945. How much do we spend on all our bases, ships, planes, troops, around the world?
    If Merkel won’t pay the German pledge of percentage of their GDP into NATO, then we should pull out now like our fathers should have. Let Afghanistan go to hell.

    We need social medical care and hospice and assisted living.

    1. When Merkel met Trump in the Whitehouse, she did most of the talking and Trump mostly sat there and listened. When she was done Donald escorted her to the front door. As she was leaving, Trump gave her an envelope. She said what’s this? He said, this is a bill for everything that the United States has done for Germany since 1945. Angela really doesn’t care too much for Donald.

    2. With Socialist medical care people won’t be able to get into certain facilities or receive certain treatments. I’ve seen this happen a few times.

      A bunch of Insur Co offering group policies seems more the solution.

  7. Minneapolis Police Hang Low As Violent Crime Surges

    113 Shot Since May 25

    Minneapolis officials have described an unprecedented burst of violence following George Floyd’s Memorial Day death. At least 113 people have been shot since May 25, eight fatally, according to Minneapolis police, with hundreds of reports of gunfire across the city, including several shootings in broad daylight.
    The spike in violence has come amid a raging debate over the role the Minneapolis Police Department should play in addressing crime in this city. Public confidence has so deteriorated that a majority of the City Council has pledged to dismantle the agency. Some residents have accused officers of purposefully curbing response to crime, which police deny. Others have decided to stop using the agency’s services altogether.

    On Monday, nine people were shot in a four-hour span across the city, starting around 2:30 p.m. That came a day after gunfire struck 11 people during an early-morning gun battle along a busy stretch of bars and restaurants in Uptown Minneapolis, in what officials called one of the worst mass shootings in the city’s history.

    Three other people have been killed, according to police, including one in a fatal stabbing Monday afternoon in downtown Minneapolis, just blocks from city hall. The police scanner has been jammed with reports of robberies, carjackings and other violent incidents across the city.
    Mayor Jacob Frey has asked for additional law enforcement assistance from several regional and federal agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Secret Service, to help investigate and stem the bloodshed. A more robust law enforcement operation featuring the additional agencies was to begin Friday.

    “The violence and lawlessness that we’ve seen the last few days is not acceptable in any form,” Frey told reporters this week. “We’re going to restore order. We’re going to make sure that people throughout our city feel safe.”

    The council voted Friday to advance a measure that would ask voters in November to approve a change to the city charter allowing Minneapolis to replace its police department with a new agency focused on safety and violence prevention. The proposed agency would employ some officers, though it’s unclear how many and how they would operate.

    Adding to the tensions are claims from some in the community that police officers have stepped back from the job amid the anti-police sentiment — a claim strongly denied by Minneapolis police officials, who say officers are working as hard as ever to protect the city amid sometimes “hostile” conditions.
    Both Frey and John Elder, a police spokesperson, have described incidents in recent days in which police officers were pelted with bottles and rocks while responding to scenes, including a shooting last Friday near 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the site where Floyd was killed.

    On Monday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo pointedly praised community members and bar and restaurant employees working near the site of Sunday’s shooting for “protecting officers and shielding them” as they responded to the scene. Officers have been working in “unbelievable conditions,” Arradondo said, but they “continue to show up and continue to serve.”

    But many residents have said in recent days that they have noticed a less robust presence from the police department, including in South Minneapolis, where they have seen fewer patrol cars in the past four weeks, even as there have been more sounds of gunshots and reports of crime.
    One South Minneapolis resident, who declined to be named out of fear of retribution, said after past police killings in the region, officers often tried to ease tensions within the community, by driving around with their windows down to encourage more interaction. “But all you see now is them with their windows up,” the person said.

    Edited from: “Violence Rises In Minneapolis As Debate Over Role Of Police Rages”

    This Evening’s Washington Post

    1. Seth– what did they expect? I’m surprised the police are responding at all but that shows the courage and commitment they have to the oath they took. It’s too bad the city leadership doesn’t have that same integrity.

      1. Honest, a very similar situation occurred in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray incident and subsequent riots. It’s sad when cops have to hang low.

        1. Why are you complaining? This is what all of the Democrat paradises are trending to. It is the realization of policy. Not much difference between defunding the police and terrifying them with threats of prosecution so they spend every watch locked in patrol cars munching donuts. It must he getting scary near you for a Democrat shill to worry that the police aren’t doing their jobs.

      1. I think the Democrats are beginning to realize that allowing insane mobs to loot and burn isn’t playing as well with voters as they hoped so they are inching toward blaming it on Bernie; pin the tail on that donkey, as it were. Seth’s temperate comment may be a signal of that change of direction.

    1. Yet Democrats are unwilling to protect us. VP Biden enriched his family in his deals with China while selling the US down the drain.

    2. And the powers that be had us all worried about North Korea and his stomp rockets…

      Clinton and Gingrich got that [China] monster rolling with the WTO…

  8. I just want to comment here on just how outraged I and my family are feeling watching all this Antifa domestic terror destruction and intimidation. We will be out in full force campaigning for Trump, wtih every ounce of our energy, doing everything we can, to re-elect President Donald J. Trump to continue doing the outstanding job he has been doing on behalf of the American people. If anyone believes that electing creepy, corrupt, demented Joe Biden, who has been a creature of Washington for his entire life – his entire adult working life!!!….if anyone belives Biden will lead to change, you are insane. Donald J. Trump is the outsider who will lead the country for the benefit of all Americans.

    1. Actually, Joe Biden WILL lead to change…but not the kind of change this country wants….the radical Left’s agenda will be rammed down the throats of the American people.while Joe Biden sits in the basement allowing the Left to pull ALL the strings of their agenda. Wake up America! Trump 2020 – as if your life depends on it. Because it does.

      1. “Wake up America! Trump 2020 – as if your life depends on it. Because it does.”

        lol

        Trump: #Not Presidential

        1. Biden would make Neville Chamberlain look like Teddy Roosevelt. To say that I could carve a better man out of a banana would be an insult to bananas.

    2. REGARDING ABOVE:

      Here we have an ‘outraged’ family man stewing because not enough Americans appreciate the ‘great’ job Trump is doing. Apparently the surging rate of virus infections is muddying the narrative that Trump deserves reelection.

      1. Seth– I have no doubt that a man with early signs of senility whose career is marked by corruption could have done much better. Let me rephrase that. If he had been in power, his swamp dwellers could have gotten much richer. As Americans we should all be working together to combat what appears to be an attempt by China to cripple us economically. Instead, democrats like you have done all you can to turn it to your political advantage, regardless of the damage it is doing to our country.

        1. Honest, the Trump / Kushner business concerns were dealing with Chinese investors in the run up to Trump’s presidential campaign. What’s more, John Bolten’s book reveals that Trump was seeking assistance from the current Chinese leader for his reelection. So don’t think for a moment that ‘Trump is tough on China’.

          1. Trump showed tremendous strength against China and tried to reverse the trade deals. The Republicans love the US less than they hate losing power to Trump so they tried to stymie everything Trump was doing helping China in the process.

            The biggest stock holders in our large multinational high tech corporations love money so they are willing to sell America down the drain to China. They will make big money providing China with our IP while outsourcing so that our American citizens become unemployed. That is not a problem as long as they can team with the Democrats to permit this to continue, The Democrats will make sure there is money to pay unemployment to the new unemployed. The only one not to benefit will be the American taxpayer and eventually the unemployed especially minorities. To keep the ball rolling the companies will donate heavily to the Democratic Party and support domestic terrorism as seen today.

            The big owners of high tech companies get richer, China gets richer, the Democrats get richer, the Domestic terrorists get richer etc. The only ones to suffer is America and its hard working citizens.

            Does Paint Chips get richer? We don’t know but we do know from history that after ‘the revolution’ desired by people like Paint Chips they are generally among the first to enter the wood chopper feet first.

                1. No, you got it right, Young. Alan is the little man screaming foul. And you’re the little creep rushing to back him up.

                  1. With comments like this one it is obvious that you are the one that is Stupid. You cannot argue a point to prove intelligence exists in your head. That you are able to put words on the blog is amazing to most, but keep at it and maybe your insults will become more biting.

              1. Paint Chips that is what one says if they can’t rebut another’s argument. We don’t even know if you understood the argument based by such a dumb response.

            1. “….Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19. The chief reason? A belief that the benefit of the erosion of America’s postwar alliance network would outweigh any damage to China from continued trade disputes and geopolitical instability.

              While the officials shared concerns that U.S.-China tensions would rise regardless of who was in the White House, they broke largely into camps of those who emphasized geopolitical gains and those who were concerned about trade ties. Biden, the former vice president, was viewed as a traditional Democrat who would seek to shore up the U.S.’s tattered multilateral relationships and tamp down trade frictions.

              “If Biden is elected, I think this could be more dangerous for China, because he will work with allies to target China, whereas Trump is destroying U.S. alliances,” said Zhou Xiaoming, a former Chinese trade negotiator and former deputy representative in Geneva. Four current officials echoed that sentiment, saying many in the Chinese government believed a Trump victory could help Beijing by weakening what they saw as Washington’s greatest asset for checking China’s widening influence.

              The general assumption underlying their views was that little could be done to halt the slide in relations between the world’s two biggest economies. Thus, China needed to accelerate efforts to develop high-end indigenous industries, expand into developing markets and look for opportunities to work with nations in Europe and Asia to counter any U.S. isolation efforts….

              Even Biden, who had long backed an “engagement” strategy with China, adopted a harsher tone as the Democratic presidential primaries heated up. In recent months, Biden has described President Xi Jinping as a “thug,” lauded the “extraordinary bravery” of democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and accused China of “predatory” trade practices. He labeled the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in the far Western region of Xinjiang “unconscionable.”…

              Trump’s “America First” policies have created similar frictions in capitals that have traditionally been friendlier to the U.S., as he levies tariffs on key trading partners, presses allies for greater spending on collective defense, withdraws from multilateral agreements and supports the U.K.’s break from the Europe Union. Chinese officials privately acknowledge that a Democratic administration might prove more formidable if it worked with allies to present a united front….”

              https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-15/china-warms-to-idea-of-four-more-years-of-trump-presidency

              1. “.Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19.”

                Don’t assume all the Chinese agree with Xi. Some recognize that they have to change or the word will react in such a way as to endanger the CCP. Probably more would agree with them and we would have more of our way if the Democrats didn’t create so much uncertainty and weren’t fighting against our country and our economy. If you think that the Chinese think all things are going well then one has to look at why so many of richest have been moving their fortunes out of China something that the CCP has attempted to stop.

                I won’ t go onto the other points because you are neither able nor willing to discuss various opinions. You only come up fro air when an agreeable article of dubious quality appears in support of your ideas. Even then the full article might disagree with you but you don’t notice.

          2. Bolton’s book has been mostly debunked by many people in the WH who were present at the discussions where Bolton claims these things happened. Bolton pulled the same thing on Bush. Though I didn’t like Bolton’s desired military advances I liked his bluntness in seeing the enemy for what the enemy is. I am quite disappointed that he turns out not to be the man I thought he was and instead is a man who cannot accept the fact that he wasn’t President and couldn’t force this one to engage in endless wars.

            The President chose to fight our enemies economically instead of with missiles and soldier’s lives. That pis-sed a lot of people off in the military and people like Bolton because when the decisions were made those people became onlookers and therefore very unhappy.

            Based on things you said long ago you should be cheering Trump for moving the miltitary industrial complex away from the center of government . But instead you now support war mongering. Paint Chips, you are too crazy for anyone to follow closely.

            1. Though Paint Chips doesn’t realize it today capital comes from all over the world. Financial institutions spread their risks. The interest rate is based on the risk the financial institution is willing to take while it attempts to spread its risk amoung various sectors and subsectors of the world’s economy. Both have opposite desires with the borrower wants the lowest interest rate and best terms. The insitution wants a higher interest rate with best terms for itself.

              Large corporations will explore the world for the best deal.

              These are things Paint Chips doesn’t undertand and go over his head. He would look smarter if he didn’t make stupid comments.

              1. Alan, that’s precisely WHY we dont want businessmen in the White House.

                4 years ago anyone could have predicted that Trump had too many conflicts. So it’s hardly surprising that Trump fights tooth and nail to keep from showing his tax returns. He most likely has business partnerships with Russian, Chinese and Saudi investors.

                1. I know Paint Chips you prefer the quiet unaudited deals of the Bidens and Clintons. Trump’s conflicts are miniscule if they exist at all because he doesn’t owe any DC group. That is the real reason they hate him. He might show where all of them are skimming and self dealing wiht our enemies.

  9. Meanwhile, US intelligence learned that Russia put bounties on US troops in Afghanistan, Trump was briefed on it and has done nothing.

    “WASHINGTON — American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

    The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

    Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.

    The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said…..”

    Today’s NYTs

    1. I guess you’re just here to debate…not to slam Trump with another Russia related story attached to a post about free speech and the ridiculous tearing down of statues. It’s not like you’re here for anything other than good intentions. That’s why we treat you with the respect you deserve.

    2. Thank goodness the Democrats nominated yet another pro-war interventionist corporatist.

      He’ll show those Russians there’s nobody better at getting into a quagmire than America.

      1. Mespo’s article is from 2018. This Russian bounty reward on American military was begun in 2019.Trump learned of it 3 months ago, has not retaliated or confronted Putin over it and actually lobbied again for their entry into the G7 in that 3 months. 20 Americans were liked Afghanistan in 2019. It is not known if any died as a result of this program.

        1. Book, we can add that Trump is demanding the withdrawal of one third of U.S. troops from Germany to punish Angela Merkel for thinking a G 7 summit was appropriate during the pandemic. Most analysts view Trump’s demands as yet another favor to Putin. Our generals are pleading with Trump to reconsider.

          1. As I understand it, Merkel also felt that Trump was going to use the G7 summit as another photo op — or series of photo ops.

            He’s a bully. Hopefully, he’ll be gone by next January.

        2. bythebook– “has not retaliated”– one thing that is striking about people who suffer from TDS (unless you are one of the paid trolls who gladly sells out his country for a few bucks)– is their complete lack of embarrassment at their blatant hypocrisy. If Trump retaliates by taking out a terrorist leader he is condemned by democrats; if he does not take out the Russians he is condemned by democrats. Meanwhile democrats care so little about this country they actually want an obviously early stages senile, demonstrably corrupt person to be President, just so they can be done with Trump. I don’t doubt that Biden is the best you can do. The democrat party lost its soul many years ago. I was a loyal, hard working, sound truck driving, money contributing democrat for more than 30 years until I no longer could stomach it. If anyone doubts the depths to which the party has sunk, look at its leaders: Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler, Schiff, Waters, AOC and so on. If anyone wonders what the democrats will do when they achieve power, look at what they have done in the major cities that have been under their control for decades. Look at how democrats have responded to the American Taliban tearing down our monuments, even monuments who were heroes to the cause they supposedly care so much about. I honestly don’t think democrats care about anything other than getting rid of Trump, and not for any high minded purpose but simply for the sake of power so they can rebuild and repopulate the swamp. How sickening and how sad for our country.

          1. Honest, if the report is accurate, you’re supporting the guy selling out his country, Trump has any number of responses available to him, but business as usual and helping Russia get in the G7 or removing troops from Germany without explanation and in line with Russian goals should not be one of them. I won’t comment on what that says about your patriotism. You figure it out.

    3. I’m sure they’d never make up anything out of whole cloth, that they have impeccable sources in the agency that hired and promoted John Brennan and Aldrich Ames, and that there is no one in there wishing to engage in gamesmanship by foolling reporters or misappropriating state secrets.

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