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Observations on the Covington High School incident, Part I

There are many story threads about the Covington incident. Part I of this series focuses on how out of control the public reaction became.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The weekend of January 18-20 was a watershed moment in American history. In only about 24-30 hours, we watched two stories unfold that were treated with an insane level of angst by the news media: The “leak” that Donald Trump told fixer and attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about something, and the Covington High School students’ altercation with “minority” groups that went viral in social media.

Both stories caught fire in the news media, and both were rather quickly proven to be false. There has been a great deal of reporting on this matter so we will not dive into that too much again here.

However, the ferocity displayed by Americans’ reactions, mostly through social media, to the Covington incident was frightening. This is not alarmist language at all to say this. Look at the text in these posts. We have removed the foul language and replaced it with *s:

“I am thinking of finding every one of this ****** kids and giving them a very large piece of my mind.” – Kara Swisher, Op-Ed writer for The New York Times

“Nobody is born racist. Bigotry is learned from parents, teachers, society and leaders. So yes, I sure as hell think Trump’s racist comments and constant dog whistles have contributed to Making A**wipes Great Again. It is why we must condemn racism everywhere and every time we see it.” – CNN Personality Ana Navarro, apparently the token Republican on that network

Actor Ron Perlman, Golden Globe winner for his work in Beauty and the Beast, referred to Covington student Nick Sandmann as a “little (female dog)”, but after the story was revealed to be false, he did not delete his initial tweet saying this but then sent out another one saying “What we need of less in this country are the deep divisions that rip apart our emotions.”

Viewed critically, this is hardly an apology; it appears to be more a rather polite way of saying that those who are different are the problem rather than our emotions.

A Los Angeles DJ named Michael Buchanan, tweeting under the name “Uncle Shoes” had this creative idea:

“LOCK THE KIDS IN THE SCHOOL AND BURN THAT ***** TO THE GROUND.”

Twitter at first did not remove this message, saying Buchanan had not violated Twitter’s rules.

Reza Aslan, religious studies scholar, producer and guest on numerous television shows, responded,

“Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”

Comedian (if anyone thinks she is actually funny anymore) Kathy Griffin (yes the one who held an effigy of President Trump’s decapitated head) wrote,

“Covington’s finest throwing up the new nazi sign,”

not realizing that the sign was actually the standard celebration of a successful three-point shot in basketball, which was the game that was in progress when the photo was taken.

Although there are many far more vile and profanity laced tweets and comments throughout social media that happened, this one was among the most dangerous.

GQ writer Nathaniel Friedman wrote this:

Although this was swiftly responded to by many people who still had their sanity, this writer’s anger continued to be on display for quite some time. Later Mr. Friedman acknowledged that he was wrong but still blamed Trump supporters in a claim that appears unbelievable, as Trump supporters have never been proven to show anything remotely as bizarre in their behavior as the claim here:

It was an irresponsible and stupid tweet that happened in the heat of the moment because I was upset. It partly came from having been doxxed by MAGA people myself but that’s no excuse and no one should wish that on anybody else. It’s counterproductive to say anything along those lines and if you make yourself look like an irrational, mean idiot you’re playing right into their hands.

The results of this sort of action were evident in very short order. The parents of the Covington students found themselves receiving death threats from strangers. “Doxxing”, the practice of finding out how to orchestrate a hit on someone by using all available information from the targeted person’s social media pages, is as stated before, potentially deadly.

Such doxxing nearly resulted in the death of one young man whose name we will not publicize for fear of an attack against him happening again. This young man, a Christian who is simply rather outspoken about his beliefs, but not hostile to anyone for any reason, was doxxed in a Colorado city by members of Black Lives Matter that was operating in that area. These people identified the youth in a bar during a concert, attacked him and nearly killed him.

He had to fight so hard that he told us that he also almost killed one of the BLM attackers, though he was fighting in self-defense. He suffered broken bones and was in very bad shape, and so far there is no word that the BLM perpetrators have yet been found.

To have a prominent writer call for doxxing against a group of kids whose images were billboarded across the entire nation, when echoed sentiments by so many Americans is the same… this is a very grave threat. Some people reacted to this tweet and pointed out that Mr. Friedman was perpetrating a felony, but he defended his anger for quite a while.

It must be noted that almost everyone mentioned above is relatively to highly prominent in the United States. Kathy Griffin was a well known comedienne. Nathaniel Friedman writes for a popular men’s magazine. Reza Aslan is a common sight on many television programs and networks.

The phenomenon of great rage and anger was not confined to media celebrities; it was manifest by ‘regular Americans’ as well.

Colorado teacher Michelle Grissom, of Mountain Ridge Middle School in Douglas County, went on record saying ““His name is Jay Jackson,” according to Twitter screenshots shared in the Douglas County School District Watch Facebook page.

“His twitter account is closed to non followers so we won’t interfere with his training #HitlerYouth.”

She got placed on leave over this, and may lose her job over it. While this seems justified in light of what she did, it is also reflective of the very tragic pattern that more and more Americans have succumbed to.

Even the Bishop of the Diocese in Kentucky that the oversees Covington High School condemned the students, at least initially.

The circumstances surrounding this are bizarre. Consider that the Roman Catholic Church has long been held to be one of those organizations that stands objectively to the world… or at least it is supposed to be. But Bishop Roger Foys told a different, and shocking story:

In a letter to Covington Catholic parents, Foys wrote the diocese felt harangued into reacting as quickly as possible to a viral clip of the incident — and then, when additional clips filmed from other perspectives began to circulate, to issuing a just-as-quick retraction of its earlier condemnation.

“We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it,” he wrote. “I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal. Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips.

“This is not fair. It is not just.”

The bishop is correct in assessing his and the Diocese’ actions, but it was after the fact.

Even the methodical reputation of the Roman Catholic Church seems to have been replaced by a hair-trigger tendency to wild and unrestrained emotional outbursts.

This tendency is on the increase across the nation, parallel to what appears to be an increasing lack of objectivity, of sanity.

Of all social media services, Twitter is one of the places that seems to most often attract cesspool-level comments, because the format is perfect for the incendiary, snarky, or outraged statement (the “tweet”).

This does not make Twitter inherently evil; that network can be used for effective purposes. President Trump is a master of Twitter and has successfully used it to keep in touch with his voter base because most media outlets like to try to just show what they want people to see, which is often very different than what Mr. Trump actually does.

But when Twitter, Facebook or YouTube or any other social media network is used by people who think it is okay to use this stuff to vent their anger “into the ether”, it appears that it is causing problems. It appears that the more anger shows, the more anger results – a chain reaction of outrage that, last weekend, extended to a pitch never seen before.

It placed the lives of students, faculty and parents of a Roman Catholic boy’s high school at risk.

We need to let this sink in. How many school shootings have resulted in massive deaths from far less provocation? Thank God, this was so blatant that the school could at least see the threat and close in advance to give the situation a chance to defuse, especially since the story had been proven false.

The hope was that the correction would result in two things: vindication of the falsely accused students, and an honest bit of self-assessment on the part of the media (and hopefully all of us by extension) to look at how dangerous this mob reaction almost became.

However, after only a day or so of some people apologizing for what they said in hyper-reaction to the video clips of the students, many prominent sources reversed their course again, and continued to blame President Trump, conservatives, Christians, MAGA hats and other things, and the outrage is now ramping up again.

And, as the news cycle moved on Friday into its pattern of attempting a major hit against President Trump just in time for the weekend, the outrage flared anew about other issues.

It does not appear that much has been learned. However, here, in Part I of this report, we have gone so far as to note one fact – that emotions on rampage seems to have become the norm in America, at least so far as social media is concerned.

Part II of this series will examine the patterns of media reporting and their contribution to this phenomenon.

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Ironically, whenever the crowds go off on tangents of outrage against one imperfection or another, the ultimate blame is pushed on Trump. But who really brought about the divisiveness? Not Trumo. The Democrats do with their complete unwillingness to accept the outcome of a democratic election. For two years they have produced nothing but spite and hatred of Trump. Surely, had they acted in support of Trump where his policies are reasonable, opposition to policies that are not reasonable would have carried importance. As it is, the discussion of any actions by Trump result in nothing but racism against Trump.… Read more »

john vieira
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What you are witnessing is the angst of the bottom feeding mainstream corrupt fake media. They have tried everything in their cesspool of an arsenal to “defrock” Trump and apparently there is no “bottom” limit to the despicable loathsome depths they are prepared to descend in their endeavours….

Regula
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Unfortunately, racism has become the new omnibus card of the Dems. But it only hides a party that has nothing to offer people.

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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