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Category: Politics

Should Russia abet Syria and Iran in the acquisition of nuclear weapons?

There’s been another white phosphorus attack by the United States or allies in Syria, yesterday, on the town of Hajin. This was closely preceded by John Bolton’s announcement that the USA and its armed forces are immune to international law. An interesting co-incidence. Alas, it’s not the first or only US deployment of the illegal white phosphorus munition in Syria.

Given the lack of American respect for the rule of law, Thom Paine asks why Russia has not aided and abbeted Syria and/or Iran in the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

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The Trouble with Comments (on alternative media)

If you are short of time, just skip to the Six Battle-tested Rules to Help Publishers Nurture an Intelligent Comments Section.

I’ve been participating very actively in political conversations on various alternative sites for the last six months and recently over at MoonOfAlabama.org. I’ve also been involved in a very involved internal comments-or-not debate for a high profile and widely read international political site recently. Professionally at Foliovision, we develop what is the most powerful freestanding (software, not a service) comment moderation software, Thoughtful Comments1. Commenting has been on my mind would be an understatement.

MoonOfAlabama is not the only anti-Empire alternative media site who suffers from comment issues. Here’s a short list of some sites with whose comment sections I’m very familiar.

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How to defang machine enhanced human trolls

Over at MoonofAlabama.org, the publisher b faces an ongoing battle with ever more sophisticated professional posters. These posters appear to be part of the (dis)information services of one government or another (US DoD, MI5 among others have openly advertised such vacancies over at least the last two years.

The rules over at MoA are fairly strict. Simple name calling or out and out falsehood or MSM appeals to authority (i.e. NY Times) won’t fly there. So visiting would-be trolls are always experimenting with new techniques.

The latest tactic is early thread jacking. There’s a character by the name of Paul who always posts an anti-Russia or anti-Putin diatribe, whatever the post subject. Defanging his venom always grabs the attention of a few of the keenest mind and any thread quickly goes off track. If the deliberate derailing wasn’t bad enough, “Paul” now posts first on a regular basis, killing every thread dead in his tracks. Whoever is posting as Paul is clearly using software to get new post alerts.

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What does China’s Silk Road really offer Central Asia and Europe?

Over at MoonofAlabama, b (would-be heir to billmon, probably the best socio-political blogger to ever put finger to keyboard) recently penned an engaging editorial, "The West is Past". The headline is creative hyperbole but does make the solid point that the USA and Britain by driving Russia and China together have created for themselves a difficult situation which could result in losing Europe. Not soon as it appears that either the funds to bribe Euro politicians are bottomless or that our politicians are very inexpensive wholesale by the bushel.

What surprised me was not b’s editorial but the reaction of veteran MoonofAlabama commenters. It appears they are died in the wool anarchists. A main thrust of comments on this article ostensibly about the infighting and decadence of the G7 was to cast stones at the Silk Road.

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Letter to a friend about the environment, leadership

The funny thing about those people favouring fracking and who don’t care about the plastic pollution in the oceans or the disappearing potable water is that the environment affects us all. More and more people die from cancer from our toxic environment and food. If we don’t wake up as a species, we will literally destroy our own habitat. There will be very little worth fighting over.

And none of it has to be this way if we were to reshape capitalism to make preservation and improvement of the environment our highest goal. Nothing to prevent us making health care and education a secondary priority. Particularly the second is very environmentally friendly. Young people reading books and improving their minds has very little carbon effect.

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2018 Oscar for Best Documentary Film: Things that Go Bump in the Night

Things that Go Bump in the Night has just won the 91st Oscar for Best Documentary Film, following in the glorious tradition of Winter on Fire (2015) The White Helmets (2016) and Icarus (2017) of uncovering Russian crimes across the planet.

While doping, fomenting civil war and foreign intervention are serious human transgressions, they are only the symptoms of Russian rancour not the source of Russia’s malevolence. The producers of Things that Go Bump in the Night have gone further into the darkness of Russian depravity and uncovered its source.

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