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Old November 4th, 2008 #1
Alex Linder
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[Rather biased review of NR's history of purges.]

The Closing of the Conservative Mind: The Triumph of Mediocrity at NR
Posted by Austin Bramwell on November 03, 2008

In Christopher Buckley’s now-famous account of his “firing” at the hands of Rich Lowry at National Review, Buckley implicitly belittled not just the conservative movement in general but National Review in particular. After revealing the circumstances of his NR column’s cancellation, Buckley summed up his father’s career as follows:

My point, simply, is that William F. Buckley held to rigorous standards, and if those were met by members of the other side rather than by his own camp, he said as much. My father was also unpredictable, which tends to keep things fresh and lively and on-their-feet. He came out for legalization of drugs once he decided that the war on drugs was largely counterproductive. Hardly a conservative position. Finally, and hardly least, he was fun. God, he was fun. He liked to mix it up.

With the apostrophe, “God, he was fun,” Buckley turns away from his audience to express his private exasperation. Exasperation with whom? Buckley mentions only NR editor Rich Lowry by name, together with publisher Jack Fowler, whom Buckley singles out for praise. One can only presume that Buckley sees Lowry and the other NR editors as the antithesis of “fun"—that is, they are tedious partisans unworthy of their predecessors. That someone as close to NR as Buckley should express such a blunt judgment is striking, to say the least.

And yet the media report that Buckley remains an NR trustee. My honest guess is that when Buckley submitted his Daily Beast column, he had simply forgotten that he was still serving on NR‘s board.

In 2004, WFB transferred his NR voting shares to an independent board of trustees (of which I was originally one of five). Within two years, the one quasi-insider on the board successfully contrived to stack it with Rich Lowry and other insiders, thereby neutering it. Rich Lowry is today as much the editor-owner of NR as WFB ever was. Depend upon it: Lowry will stay on as editor for the next 30 years or more, perhaps longer than WFB himself did. One could do worse than be editor-for-life of a prominent, financially stable magazine with a large and loyal following. Lowry himself—though an able journalist and a decent writer—could do much worse.

Despite Chris Buckley’s public rebuke, NR‘s position as America’s pre-eminent conservative magazine remains unassailable. Just because NR may embrace bad ideas, betray its founders’ legacy or decline in quality does not mean that it will ever lose readers or influence. Consumers of political opinion do not have a natural tendency to come to their senses; if anything, they tend to believe whatever their favorite sources tell them to believe. Uniquely among political magazines, NR does not need angel investors to stay afloat. Instead it gets by on contributions from dedicated readers—the Buckley patrimony. So long as NR gives readers the ideological stimulation they crave, they will return the favor in the form of money contributions, and so on in perpetuity.

Though opinions may vary, Buckley has good reason to complain of NR‘s mediocrity. About a decade ago, NR decided (largely unbeknownst, as far as I could tell, to WFB) to jettison its fortnightly magazine and transform itself into a website. To be sure, a journal called National Review still gets printed every other week. But nobody within or without the magazine actually cares about it. Take a poll of leading journalists and opinion-mongers and ask them how many articles of the past decade they remember reading in various outlets: NR, I am sure, would perform dismally. It rarely if ever publishes anything of lasting significance and I would be surprised to meet anyone of any persuasion who disagreed.

As for the website, it is the exclusive bailiwick of Kathryn Lopez, a young woman whose work ethic and party faith make Stakhanov look lazy and disloyal. Every day she publishes an astonishing volume of material. Is any of it any good? Some of it, yes. Still, the ratio of original reporting and insight to reiterations of the party line is depressingly small. Meanwhile, NRO publishes every article on foreign policy under the heading “At War.” Thus, we get not just “At War: Iraq,” but also such head-scratchers as “At War: Syria,” “At War: Russia,” “At War: Somalia,” and so on—even if the United States is not in even the most remote sense “at war.” Some enterprising blogger should keep a list of all of the places where NRO says we are “at war.” It would be an amusing, if disturbing, record of the website’s mindset.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online Editor

NR does not have a tradition of purging dissidents. All opinion-mongers risk being infected by strange or malignant ideas. Consequently, political magazines must now and then decide what to do with their errant contributors. Purges, in other words, are a fact of movement life and each must be judged on its merits. NR has had several purges in its history, some justified and some not. Let’s review:

• Revilo Oliver An early contributor to NR, the palindromic polymath Oliver basically came to believe that Hitler was too kind to the Jews. Oliver is an obvious test case: If all purging is bad, then NR should have continued to publish Revilo Oliver. Since Oliver, as I would modestly suggest, should not have been published, it follows that not all NR‘s purges have been unwarranted.

• Ayn Rand NR never actually purged Rand, as she never contributed to NR in the first place. Whitaker Chambers wrote a hostile review of Atlas Shrugged that the authoress—I should say that I admire Rand very much—deserved. By that time, Rand had recruited a cult following whose members she herself purged or humiliated at the slightest hint of lesé majesté. Neither National Review nor any other magazine could have ever reached a modus vivendi with a megalomaniac such as Rand had become by the time she wrote Atlas.

• The John Birch Society Richard Spencer correctly observes that rank and file Birchers were nothing more than frustrated anti-communists looking for a voice. That does not mean that by the early 1960s the John Birch Society didn’t need discrediting. Robert Welch had made himself an embarrassment to the anti-communist cause and the mainstream movement wisely thwarted his hopes for further influence.

• Murray Rothbard Rothbard was a prolific economist, political theorist, historian, polemist and pamphleteer. Still, NR‘s unifying passion was anti-communism, whereas Rothbard, already a prickly personality, was fierce anti-anti-communist. Rothbard was oil to NR‘s water. Their mutual hostilities are regrettable but could not have been avoided.

• Joe Sobran The rancor over Sobran’s dismissal still festers. The question is complicated by Sobran’s decision to vindicate his critics by becoming openly anti-semitic. (I know, I know: the term “anti-semite” can and often is abused. Still, there’s got to be a line somewhere. To the exterminationist, everyone who uses the term “anti-semitic” is a sellout.) As for the circumstances leading to the Sobran purge, one can only read the parties’ accounts. All agree that over a period of several years, Sobran inveighed in a very provocative fashion against Israel and Israeli influence. As Sobran’s attacks at the very least seemed calculated to raise questions as to his motives, Buckley repeatedly tried to get him cut it out. Finally Buckley decided to distance NR from Sobran and then terminate his NR career.

In his apology, “How I was fired by Bill Buckley,” Sobran notes that Buckley never actually came out called him an anti-Semite. But Buckley’s elliptical account is fully consistent with a friend trying to do everything he can to save another friend. Buckley intended to leave Sobran at least with the argument that the man who fired him never actually called him an anti-semite. The Sobran affair may have since contributed to an exaggerated reluctance among movement conservatives to criticize America’s special relationship with Israel—a reluctance that WFB himself regretted and took some ineffective steps to counter. That doesn’t mean that Buckley’s actions at the time were unjustified.

• John O’Sullivan O’Sullivan continues to write for NR and was never actually purged. Nonetheless, here the critics have a point. With the ascent of Rich Lowry, NR went from challenging and interesting to boring and derivative. Still, nobody knows the real circumstances of O’Sullivan’s abdication. Possibly WFB didn’t want to be bothered with controversies anymore. Possibly he had tired of O’Sullivan’s erratic management. In any case, NR‘s decline was caused as much by Lowry’s rise as by O’Sullivan’s fall.

I don’t know why, exactly, O’Sullivan went on to become “editor at large” but I do know that the elevation of Rich Lowry to editor-owner for life was in no way intended by WFB. Without knowing whether the “purge” of O’Sullivan was ideologically driven or not, independent observers must withhold judgment.

• Steve Sailer, Andrew Bacevich Intellectually, these two men are (or were) perhaps two leading lights of the conservative movement. They wrote for NR until it went war-wacky in 2003. Now they’re personae non gratae. The obvious reason: Each has written devastatingly on the foreign policy advocated by NR. If NR‘s editors had any courage, they would sponsor a symposium on Bacevich’s work. That will never happen, of course, as NR has lamely chosen to avoid criticism rather than confront it.

NR‘s institutional strength destroys any hope for an “alternative Right.” NR may be mediocre but, as argued, it will be the leading conservative magazine in America for the foreseeable future. “Conservatism,” as far as the media are concerned, is whatever NR says it is. Just as Trotsky could never overcome Stalin’s ability to define communism for communists, so rump coalitions of right-wingers will never overcome NR‘s ability to define conservatism for conservatives. Alternative right-wing coalitions appeal only to dyspeptic ideological systematizers.

Chris Buckley may never have really cared much about politics to begin with, but he is nonetheless correct to question whether there is anything more to be gained from a conservative movement.

http://www.takimag.com/site/article/...When:16:22:00Z
 
Old November 5th, 2008 #2
Alex Linder
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38Joseph Salemi

Robert [email protected]

Mr. Bruce, National Review has not been a conservative magazine since the mid-1980s, and perhaps even earlier. William F. Buckley made a conscious decision to direct the magazine into total subservience to neocon ideology, and the result is the vampiric shell that goes under the old name.

The most obvious signpost of this change was the firing of the very articulate, perceptive, and popular Joseph Sobran, at the behest of Buckley’s new neocon allies in the other journals of opinion. This was a very sordid and underhanded move, Sobran being dismissed solely because some of his opinions didn’t please the AIPAC lobby and the Podhoretzes. The second was the quiet blackballing of Pat Buchanan, after he too began to question some of received notions of “centrist” conservatism.

Murray Rothbard claims that this process had an even longer gestation period, going right back to the magazine’s founding in 1955. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it is certainly true that there always was an imperialist, Save-The-World tone in much of NR’s rhetoric during the Cold War. Such rhetoric easily morphed into the neocon nightmare of Mandatory Enlightenment Liberalism and Secularism for Everybody.

But the larger issue is this: Buckley always arrogated to himself the right to police the conservative movement, and to discipline or excommunicate anyone whom he felt was a little too threatening to his personal ideals of aristocratic politesse. Revilo P. Oliver was eased out, the Birchers were declared anathema, James Jackson Kilpatrick was compelled to abjure his segregationist convictions, and even Frank Meyer got flak from Buckley because he once dared to question our national apotheosis of Abraham Lincoln. How many times did the loathsome Harry V. Jaffa appear in NR’s pages, hurling invective against any conservatives who dared question the ideology of equality?

Today, the magazine is a sick joke. I say this as someone who subscribed to NR from 1964 until the early 1990s, and as someone who worked with intense conviction in Buckley’s mayoral campaign of 1965, and in his brother’s senatorial campaign of 1970. There was a time when NR was a real voice for real conservatism.

That time is long, long gone.

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/?p=771#comments
 
Old November 5th, 2008 #3
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The National Review is as irrelevant as George Will.
 
Old November 18th, 2008 #4
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At National Review, a Threat to Its Reputation for Erudition

By TIM ARANGO

Published: November 16, 2008

In a span of 252 days, the National Review lost two Buckleys — one to death, another to resignation — and an election.

Now, thanks to the coarsening effect of the Internet on political discourse, the magazine may have lost something else: its reputation as the cradle for conservative intellectuals and home for erudite and well-mannered debate prized by its founder, the late William F. Buckley Jr.

In the general conservative blogosphere and in The Corner, National Review’s popular blog, the tenor of debate — particularly as it related to the fitness of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to be vice president — devolved into open nastiness during the campaign season, laying bare debates among conservatives that in a pre-Internet age may have been kept behind closed doors.

National Review, as the most pedigreed voice of conservatives, has often been tainted — unfairly and by association, some argue — by the tone of blogs, reader comments and e-mail messages. “Bill was always very concerned about having a high-minded and thoughtful discourse,” Rich Lowry, the magazine’s editor, said. “If you read the magazine, that’s what it was and that’s what it is.”

In October came the resignation of Mr. Buckley’s son, the writer and satirist Christopher Buckley, after he endorsed Barack Obama for president. He did so on Tina Brown’s blog, The Daily Beast, to avoid any backlash on The Corner.

Now David Frum, a prominent conservative writer who enmeshed himself in a minor dustup during the campaign by turning negative on Governor Palin, is leaving, too. In an interview, he said he planned to leave the magazine, where he writes a popular blog, to strike out on his own on the Web.

“The answers to the Republican dilemma are not obvious and we need a vibrant discussion,” he said. “I think a little more distance can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper.”

Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor at National Review and probably has a bigger store of institutional knowledge than anyone, having written his first article, in 1970. “I think the tone of what we do, I’m certainly proud of,” he said. “You can’t be responsible for the world.”

The magazine faces the twin challenges of re-energizing the conservative movement while trying to stay relevant itself amid a shifting media landscape that is challenging the authority of all old-line media institutions.

“There’s a lot of thinking to be done,” said Mr. Lowry, in the magazine’s mostly empty New York offices two days after Mr. Obama won the presidency. Nearly all the staff was getting ready to go to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a postelection fund-raising cruise in which readers, editors and guest speakers mix for a week of conservative conversation, but Mr. Lowry stayed behind to put out the new issue.

“We’ve always had rigorous internal debates,” he said. “But the advent of the blogosphere and e-mail and the rest of it have made it easier to blast out their impassioned instant reactions.

“It’s discomfiting, but it’s the world we live in, unless someone — Al Gore? — can uninvent the Internet.”

A frequent criticism is that the magazine has become a megaphone for Republican Party orthodoxy — and in these appraisals is a longing for the intellectual firepower of Mr. Buckley, and the surprise twists in his views.

The magazine was founded during the Eisenhower administration, a Republican one, of which it was often critical. Mr. Buckley was also a critic of the war on drugs and supported legalization; in 1969 he said it was time for America to elect a black president. Of course, this came after he opposed the civil rights movement; he later said his position was wrong.

Wick Allison, publisher of the magazine from 1990 to 1993, believes that over the last several years the magazine became “the intellectual defender of the Bush administration” and said it had “run out of ideas.”

Jacob Weisberg, editor in chief of the Slate Group and a longtime observer of and participant in the political magazine sphere, said, “I think Frum is the most interesting writer they have. You can’t assume he’ll come down on the side of the party line.”

“I think the problem of conservative magazines is they often follow the party line more than liberal magazines,” he said.

Mr. Lowry said the magazine had never been a partisan cheerleader, and the role of the magazine during an Obama presidency would be to provide “intelligent, disciplined opposition.”

They will do that, for the first time, without a Buckley on staff. Christopher Buckley declined to comment beyond writing via e-mail that “I have nothing but the warmest feelings for NR and everyone there, and look forward eagerly to its coverage of a new Democratic administration.”

Mr. Frum said deciding to leave was amicable, but distancing himself from the magazine founded by his idol, Mr. Buckley, was not a hard decision. He said the controversy over Governor Palin’s nomination for vice president was “symbolic of a lot of differences” between his views and those of National Review’s.

“I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated,” he said.

Mr. Frum witnessed the upbraiding his fellow conservative, the columnist Kathleen Parker, received when she wrote in her syndicated column on the National Review’s Web site arguing that Governor Palin was unfit to be vice president. Ms. Parker received nearly 11,000 e-mail messages, one of which lamented that her mother did not abort her.

“Who says public discourse hasn’t deteriorated?” she wrote in a followup column that ran on the Web site. (National Review, as Mr. Lowry pointed out, can hardly be held responsible for a reader’s nasty e-mail messages.)

William F. Buckley — and this will probably always be the case — still towers over the magazine. As Mr. Lowry sat down in a conference room to be interviewed, a former assistant to the founder was scouring archives for material for a forthcoming article in Vanity Fair about him and his wife, Pat, also deceased, who was a Manhattan socialite.

“With the bailout, I’ve been wondering what he would have thought, because conservatives were so divided,” he said. “I’ve been wondering what he would have thought about Palin.

“I’m sure he would have admired Obama’s rhetorical ability and his stage presence. But like for all of us, it’s about ideas,” Mr. Lowry said.

Mr. Frum added, “William F. Buckley was an inspiration, not just in how to think but in how to conduct a discussion. He was just a pre-eminently civilized human being.”

The magazine, like some others devoted to ideas and politics, has the luxury of not needing to make money. It is judged by how fervently it can incubate ideas — not as a going business concern. This year, there has been a small increase in circulation. At the start of the year, its circulation was 169,000, which has grown to about 185,000 for its latest postelection issue, which will arrive this week in mailboxes. The magazine’s Web site has also been successful. In October, it had 788,000 unique visitors, up almost 200 percent from the previous year, according to comScore. By comparison, The Weekly Standard had 490,000 unique visitors in October.

It is not that National Review, founded in 1955, has not endured political adversity. There was Barry Goldwater’s thumping in 1964. Then Watergate and the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976. And Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, which helped energize the magazine.

The Republicans took over Congress in 1994, and along the way National Review enjoyed a big uptick in circulation and its first-ever — and still only — profit. As 1992 began, the magazine’s circulation was 150,000; by 1994, it had jumped to 250,000.

After Mr. Clinton was elected, “there was this burst of energy throughout the right,” Mr. Lowry said. “There is a countercyclical nature to this business.”

“I’m excited about going forward,” Mr. Lowry said. “There’s a lot of gallows humor. Every conservative I talk to is saying: ‘This is going to be great for you guys. Circulation is going to go up.’ ”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/bu...view.html?_r=1
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #5
Alex Linder
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People interested in political writing don't care about the writer's politics as long as he offers something - humor, knowledge, entertainment - something. NR no longer has interesting writers. This is the natural result of the jewish takeover and the institution of the reign of Semitical Correctness. For every big question, there's a pat, false answer. The 'conservative' media are now as 'responsible' as yesterday's Pravda.
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #6
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"Today, the magazine is a sick joke. I say this as someone who subscribed to NR from 1964 until the early 1990s, and as someone who worked with intense conviction in Buckley’s mayoral campaign of 1965, and in his brother’s senatorial campaign of 1970. There was a time when NR was a real voice for real conservatism."

If real Conservatism as well as Liberalism for that matter continued as they were 25 years ago the US would not have 10% of the problems it experiences today.

What passes for Con and Lib today are sanitized Globalism for traitors. Proof is the difference between McCain and Obama. Both Globalists. Any real Conservative or Liberal would be mortified to vote for either one.
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #7
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[Good post from Takimag]



The Republican party is doomed as anything resembling its former self until is becomes a party explicitly for the interests of Whites. If it does not, we will form our own, and that will become one of the two major parties.

Then, the polarization we observe will have been made explicit: one party for non-Whites and “white” race-traitors and one party for White people loyal to blood and soil.

Let us speed the day.

The other option to resisting our slow-motion genocide and dispossesion is much less ‘respectable’.
Posted by Captainchaos on Nov 19, 2008.
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #8
John in Woodbridge
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Both the Nation Review and the Weekly Standard are useless. I can't stand Bill Kristol.

One conservative mag that's good is the American Conservative.

http://www.amconmag.com/
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Old November 20th, 2008 #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
[Good post from Takimag]



The Republican party is doomed as anything resembling its former self until is becomes a party explicitly for the interests of Whites. If it does not, we will form our own, and that will become one of the two major parties.

Then, the polarization we observe will have been made explicit: one party for non-Whites and “white” race-traitors and one party for White people loyal to blood and soil.

Let us speed the day.

The other option to resisting our slow-motion genocide and dispossesion is much less ‘respectable’.
Posted by Captainchaos on Nov 19, 2008.
At first glance I was going to note this post as "superb and succinct", but on second thought I can only go with "succinct".

Sadly, the idea that the Republican Party has ever been or can ever be "a party explicitly for the interests of whites [needs to be Whites]" is a worn out and hackneyed red herring. Not only has the Republican Party never been such a thing, it can and will never be such a thing. Instead, the Republican Party will be a monkey wrench and a stumbling block to any and every and all efforts to actually advance and represent the interests of Whites.

In every measure the Republican Party has quite as effectively as the Democratic Party denied, denigrated, and thwarted every effort to protect the position of the core population. Worse, the Republicans - unlike the Democrats - have mendaciously pretended, in ever-so-subtle tones, to be about furthering a "White agenda" when in fact all they have ever furthered was a completely non-White Zionist agenda.

The problem for Whites is that the Republican Party, flush with its latest defeat, will emerge all the stronger as a once and future Trojan Horse: co-opting at every turn true proponents of White interests and falsely insinuating itself as holding true (a lie!) to its "conservative" roots - roots that implicitly respect (hah!) "family Values", etc. [Lying]Code words for "White Interests".

The Republican Party should do as the elephants do and go off to the mysterious and unknown elephant graveyard: there to die a quiet and unremarked death. Should it find the honor in itself to do this (hardly likely, since the Party has never found any honor in anything), then it might at least be able to be said that its greatest contribution was in its leaving.

But that will never happen. The Republican Party is entirely a property of Zion: every bit as much as its erstwhile counterpart. It will survive to once again undercut any chance for Whites to gain representation in "their" government.
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Old November 20th, 2008 #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notmenomore View Post
Sadly, the idea that the Republican Party has ever been or can ever be "a party explicitly for the interests of whites [needs to be Whites]" is a worn out and hackneyed red herring. Not only has the Republican Party never been such a thing, it can and will never be such a thing.
Although he wasn't perfect, I didn't think it was too bad under Reagan. From what I remember, Reagan just ignored blacks (and their whining) all together. But there has been quite a demographic shift since the '80's. As said before, we are probably beyond accomplishing anything via the voting booth.
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Old November 20th, 2008 #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Woodbridge View Post
Although he wasn't perfect, I didn't think it was too bad under Reagan. From what I remember, Reagan just ignored blacks (and their whining) all together. But there has been quite a demographic shift since the '80's. As said before, we are probably beyond accomplishing anything via the voting booth.
Reagan put on his tough-guy grimace and whites were lulled to sleep, thinking they had won. He was a Trojan horse.
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notmenomore View Post
Worse, the Republicans - unlike the Democrats - have mendaciously pretended, in ever-so-subtle tones, to be about furthering a "White agenda" when in fact all they have ever furthered was a completely non-White Zionist agenda.

The problem for Whites is that the Republican Party, flush with its latest defeat, will emerge all the stronger as a once and future Trojan Horse: co-opting at every turn true proponents of White interests and falsely insinuating itself as holding true (a lie!) to its "conservative" roots - roots that implicitly respect (hah!) "family Values", etc. [Lying]Code words for "White Interests".
Exactly. The faileocons and even racialists like TOQ are drama queens. What leads them astray is they actually buy the exoteric neocon propaganda that something went dramatically wrong in this election, hence the need for big changes. In fact, apart from the matter of jobs and other "spoils," it was a non-event. And the GOP confirmed that it can get white votes by winking. So if they change at all, they will redouble their efforts with spics, who seem to be much more demanding than dittohead whites.
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Parker View Post
Exactly. .......even racialists like TOQ are drama queens. What leads them astray is they actually buy the exoteric neocon propaganda that something went dramatically wrong in this election, hence the need for big changes. .........
what the hell are you talking about? You think anybody associated with TOQ/TOO doesnt know a Jew? Maybe you dont know TOQ-TOO.

Dont assume that just because somebody isnt speaking in the most strident and offensive terms possible that they are duped by some propaganda. Maybe they're contriving their own approach. "let a thousand flowers bloom" said one successful revolutionary
 
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