147 Comments

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Putin: "We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilization in every nation for thousands of years . . . "

How can that be?

Those kinds of people keep dying, new ones are NOT being born, and no one is converting

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Apr 24, 2022·edited Apr 24, 2022

"anthropologists, psychologists, and historians alike can testify, the male need for validation is universal." Wow, makes them sound like big babies. That's why we have so many wars. I wish we could banish all violence to one part of the world , maybe in the mide of te Sahara or the Russian steppes or Ourer Mongolia. All the pseudo GI Joes could go their guns and bombs, break up into teams and fight each other. The rest of us can live in peace.

Of course the reslity is that Carlson would wet himself if anyone physically threatened him.

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Putin a Christian? Was this miracle conversion when he realized that being a Communist KGB agent wasn't getting him rich and powerful fast enough.

It's good thing America's National Socialist Party is willing to use anyone to get what they want.

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founding
Apr 21, 2022·edited Apr 21, 2022Liked by Charlie Sykes

I think this is part of a deeply embedded myth-idea of Hero morality in our culture. The Hero is not only allowed to act in ways not permitted to ordinary mortals, he is under a positive obligation to do so. For this purpose he is granted extraordinary traits, powers and privileges, including (and especially) powers to create, to destroy, and to decide who lives and who dies. Not only is he free from the jurisdiction of rules and limits which apply to lesser mortals, he is under a positive obligation to evade them.

[Insert here a couple of books detailing examples of this mythos in art and literature and film and philosophy, from Homer through Plato and the Bible and Westerns and Rambo movies and so on.]

The essence of being a hero is being free from mundane laws and rules. A hero who never strays outside those boundaries is by definition not being heroic, because he receives these privileges for the explicit purpose of breaking them. If he never violates them, he never acts heroically, leaving open the question of (a) whether he is a hero in the first place, and (b) whether he is avoiding his duty. It follows then that if the hero does violate laws and rules, and gets away with it, his success validates his heroic status, proving his anointed right to act as he pleases.

It is advisable therefore for the hero to publish proof of his rights by defying law and custom. One of the best ways to do this is to strike down those who try to constrain him. Not only does this prove he is one of the elect, it also exposes his enemies as enemies of the right and true.

If this seems like a moral self-licking ice cream cone, it is.

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One of the major problems with our country right now, wholly the fault of conservatives, and part or most of the reason the Bulwark even exists, is that conservatives, and principally DJT, have made it toxic to hold conservatives accountable for anything. They can just retreat to their own news ecosystem and then the argument changes to who's playing politics? It's the reason we're losing democracy and why we'll ultimately turn into Hungary. What galls me is that the conservatives allowing this to happen think they'll be spared the devilish constraints on speech, media, and daily life, because they "won," but that's because they're also not good at history.

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These are just superficial leftist hit pieces no different than what I can get on WaPo and NYT. I read substack newsletters for the independent views with more objective and in-depth analysis.

I have a related question. Since DeSantis is now the evil Republican actor behind Trump, is there a Republican politician anywhere that we should all get behind as being worthy, if not fully supporting our left-leaning agenda?

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Haven't seen more than a couple of Republicans actually committed to preserving the democratic order... aren't giving credence to Trump's "Big Lie"... aren't tolerating Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert acting like spoiled brats... aren't punishing those stalwarts of "left-wing" ideology Liz Cheney and Adam Kissinger--- find ONE who isn't doing one of those and could survive a Republican primary and I would consider them.

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And so, might as well be Trump and Trump-like candidates as all of them will elicit the same rejection response from those on the left and left of center.

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Meanwhile Mitt Romney Tweets that Tulsi Gabbard should be tried for treason for questioning the US involvement in the war in Ukraine. I am guessing that Romney makes you warm an fuzzy with that comment?

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Nah, I lived through Vietnam--- people were called much worse. Shouldn't Romney attend to the Pro-Putin plants in his own Congress anyway and less attention to someone who is a private citizen? Is she really any worse (to Romney) than all the flacks at FOXNews for leading the Pro-Russia movement?

PS. Friends don't let friends use Twitter.

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founding

"Our" left-leaning agenda?

You know we know who you are, right?

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I forget what name he started under and got banned under, this is a later iteration, IIRC.

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Typical Conservatroll behavior... doing their own "research"... connecting the dots...

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I know who you are. I don't think you know who you are. Or else you are just role playing for politics.

I can read all the comments. I can connect the ideological dots.

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founding

When I was almost old enough to vote, I voted in spirit for William Milliken and his successor Brinkley.

I voted for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Twice. Four times if you count the primary elections. He got f--d by his own team when they treated the Flint water crisis as made up fake news by Democrats who were out to get the Governor.

I voted for Kasich in the 2016 republican primary. Trump killed him.

There is no point voting in Democratic primaries any more because even if the Democrat wins in the general election, they can't affect legislation, because it's a one-party state legislature.

I try always to vote in the Republican primary because they are the only candidates with any chance of mattering. So far I can't find anyone who is not either a sincere MAGA or a corrupt insincere MAGA fellow-traveller.

Maybe I could vote absentee in Maryland?

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founding
Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

Just from a messaging standpoint I wouldn't call DeSantis's actions "authoritarian socialism", but rather "Soviet style rule". It sounds more accurate and rings truer.

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Slightly off topic, but in Tennessee, Trump's pick was tossed by the Rep Party from the upcoming primary. Beginning to think Trump may be getting to his "best buy" date.

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The reason MBS went to Jared's and didn't cause a scandal is that no one believes that the DoJ, Congress or anyone else will pursue it. It's clearly bribery, almost certainly a violation of lobbying and foreign agency regulations and most likely an illegal campaign donation in a different uniform but, if someone can foment an insurrection, call for the illegal voiding of a demonstrably valid election and perform in office such that 1,000,000 Americans die from contracting a substantially preventable disease and not just get off Scott free but be lionized for it what's a little bribery among friends. The "Rule of Law" has become a joke, at least if one is wealthy and therefore powerful.

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Just a few short thoughts:

1. Important issues like Jared's 2 billion haul and Mike Lee's texts get no coverage because the "zone" has not just been flooded, it undergoes a tsunami on a daily basis. And the media fears the backlash from the highly coordinated GOP attack machine.

2. I certainly hope that everyone from the owners of small businesses to the boards and stockholders of major corporations are paying close attention to the multiple ways the GOP wants to control their operations unless they toe the line. And I hope they radically change their political donations accordingly. ASAP.

3. As far as improving and possibly even perfecting Dem messaging for 2022 and 2024 RE Republican tactics and goals, you must see this from MI State Senator Mallory McMorrow. THIS is the way.

https://youtu.be/0-dhbYHw-Jw

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I think it also didn't get covered because a lot of news/opinion shows are all war all the time.

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founding
Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

I wonder.   McMorrow's speech probably helped her target out of a tight spot.

Mallory McMorrow called out another Michigan state senator (Lana Theis) who  sent out fundraising emails calumniating the former by name as a pedophile and groomer.   While the speech is all over Youtube, the fundraising email and other deeper context material is harder to find.  

The fundraising email is an echo of the suddenly ubiquitous meme child predator meme being used by Republicans everywhere.   It's unique only in specifically naming a particular member of the Michigan legislature as being a "social media troll" who is "outraged" that she can't "groom and sexualize kindergartners."  

I am sorry (and disgusted) to say it turns out this Lana Theis is actually the state senator from my district!   It also happens she is extremely vulnerable to a primary challenge from an even more execrable piece of work, Mike Detmer, endorsed by Trump no less, and who has liked (and possibly wrote) attacks on Lana Theis by name accusing her of:

--being "fine with public indoctrination/prison camps for her constituents [sic] children but not her own";  and

--having "helped with legislation to allow CRT into MSU [probably Michigan State University]";  and

-- having "attended an [sic] Social Emotional Learning adoption in to the Pinckney school district.... SEL promotes GROOMING and the sexualization of our Youth!"

If you want to see what degree of ordure this is -- and it's just a mere taste -- take a look at 

https://liberatelivingston.wixsite.com/liberatelivingston/post/hey-22nd-district-what-do-you-think-about-this-endorsement-from-a-local-resident  

These are the voters who turn up at her campaign functions!    I daresay of every 100 constituents she has to deal with, maybe enough for a 1-on-1 basketball game are not clinically insane.   The more time you spend underground in rabbit holes, the more the darkness seems like normal illumination.

Compared to this crap, what Ms Theis uttered in her fundraising letter was a mild criticism on the order of "it is a pity the honorable lady from the other side of the aisle can't tell her axe from a hole in the ground".

This is just the first thing that came up when I googled Theis.   She is the target of much, much worse.   Not from Ms. Morrow or Democrats, from Republicans.

It would be wrong perhaps to say Ms. Theis is more sinned against than sinning. She richly deserved the rebuke from Senator Morrow, and more.

But until this speech hit Youtube, and I followed up on the characters involved, I had the sense the R's were all on the same side--certainly a pit of vipers, but merely writhing together, not biting one another.   Wrong.   They are biting EVERYBODY.   

There it is... sticks and stones break bones, but words destroy utterly.   (Tell us again that speech cannot be violence?)

Unquestionably Theis's fundraising appeal, and her earlier "prayer" on the Senate floor for God to protect children from evil pedophiles which Ms. Morrow chose to not waste her time listening to, are contemptible and cynical descents into dishonest rabble-rousing.

But for what motivation? Lana Theis has her back to the wall with a Dragon breathing down her neck.   Being called out for disgraceful pandering can only help shore up her bona fides with those who elevated her to office.

So is this lusting after power or love of grift?   Or just a panicking legislator deploying protective coloration to keep from being devoured by her MAGA-addled constituency?   Probably both, maybe more the latter. You may be surprised to learn that Ms. Theis was one of the Republican senators who issued the report that found the 2020 election in Michigan was not fraudulent and that claims to the contrary were horse malarkey. For that sin she was awarded a scarlet letter by her tribe.

I did not vote for her but obviously a number of my neighbors must have done. I'm both sick of her and sick at heart for her.   She claims to be a Christian.   What it must be like for her in the morning to look at the face in the mirror and reflect how little it profiteth a person to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?   And how much less still to gain, not the world, but merely the 22nd Michigan State Senate District?    

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Saw that. And saw it again. The best and only fight back I've seen. Articulate, loud and clear. Should be everywhere.

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On your point #1: Conservatives complained about "scandal fatigue" in the Clinton era, saying that Bill Clinton got away with things just because there was always a new scandal, and if Republicans talked about it, Democrats would huff about "Clinton haters" who were always attacking the poor guy for no good reason.

Now Republicans have been complaining: "They're always attacking Trump! Can't the guy get a break?" The more bad stuff he or his allies do, the more they feel their indignation is justified. To a Trumper, it's inconceivable that there might be legitimate reasons to disapprove of him. And they've long imbibed the notion that the MSM don''t just lean to the left but constantly lie about things to serve a political agenda. So anything unflattering reported about Trump or his loyalists must be a smear.

People in the MSM are surely aware of that dynamic.

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Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

Mona Charen’s article is written from such a Western Chauvinist perspective. There have been MANY types of societies in our collective world history where gender roles were very different than what we see today. There were/are matriarchal societies, societies with female warriors, and societies where male shamans dressed as women and were considered to be both genders. Recess being shortened isn’t just bad for boys, it’s bad for everyone. Also, as much as I like Theodore Roosevelt, he and others like him promoted eugenics. So maybe not the role model we need right now… especially when the right is getting so very Hitlerish.

Gender identity is a social construct, and while we are now evolving to what is a more fair and just society, Charen still believes in the Western Chauvinist idealism of masculinity. The problem is too many men are unemployed. If you go back to all those moments in history Charen refers to, I guarantee disgruntled, unemployed men are usually the problem. They just need stuff to do, but it could be baking or sewing or chopping down trees. It’s okay for men to not be “manly” and it’s fine if they are. It’s just an adjustment, but I for one don’t need to be told that my “march” towards equal civil rights needs to be put on pause because insecure men feel left behind. The younger generation gets it, and thank goodness for that.

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Hmm, did you read the same article I did? Mona was hardly using Theodore Roosevelt as a role model to be emulated or indicating that Western society/gender roles are ubiquitous. Where did she imply the march toward equal rights for women needs to be put on pause for the sake of insecure men? It's obvious to me from her article that she would agree with you that men need rewarding things to do and that it is okay for them not to be "manly" in a stereotypical traditional way. I don't see where she states a belief in a western ideal of masculinity or denigrates the evolution of gender roles. Maybe I'm missing something but I believe you are misreading the point she is trying to make, which is that there are a lot of toxic right wing role models out there (i.e. the ones that are defending "traditional" masculine values) that are doing more harm than good to men in today's society.

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I find it interesting one of the most insecure men around is wealthy Tucker Carlson. Now he's producing videos of oiled men who apparently tan their testicles. I'm sure this poor excuse for a human had many avenues to increase his manliness. It's all just an excuse to be an asshole.

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I remember reading something about heat being bad for men, like suppressing the sperm count and causing infertility. Not to mention possible skin cancer!

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"Gender identity is a social construct" -- Do you mean gender roles? Almost every animal species has recognizable, definable male and female forms. Did all those species socially construct male vs. female? Human societies around the world, throughout history and prehistory, have recognized a distinction between male and female. Warfare has overwhelmingly been the province of men. Childbearing has always, necessarily, been the province of women, and early childhood nurturing has also been the province of women, partly for obvious reasons. Many women are happy in that role (to a point).

As for "male shamans dressed as women and ... considered to be both genders": What makes you say they were actually "male"? What does it mean to dress "as a woman"? What is the basis for describing a particular way of dressing in those terms? Does a "male shaman" who "dresses as a woman" actually become a woman, or "both genders" at the same time? For decades now, Western women have often worn clothing not much different from what men typically wear.. Does that turn those women into men, or "both genders"? (Do Middle Eastern men become women because they wear robes and not trousers?)

How can one even speak of "both genders," i.e. two different genders, if it's all a social construct? Why have those social constructs, in fact, been a lot more similar than different in human societies around the world?

It's entirely valid to discuss changing perspectives on gender roles, but that whole discussion is made unserious by claims that gender itself is merely a social construct.

As for "Western Chauvinism," well, there's a whole lot more chauvinism -- and more "toxic masculinity," I might say -- in many a non-Western society.

"It’s okay for men to not be 'manly' ...” -- I fully agree that individuals should be free to express personality traits and pursue interests that aren't stereotypical for their gender. In fact, such acceptance of individual differences can go a long way to dispelling the belief that any male who isn't stereotypically manly must really be female inside and therefore needs to change his body drastically.

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Society decides gender roles, not nature. Spartan women were warriors, certain North American Native tribes had people of “two spirits” who were considered both genders. Then there are also the Taureg who are Muslim, but the men wear the veils. I agree there are many societies- not just Western- that have toxic masculinity, but the world is more diverse than Mona’s article allows.

Mona’s article used examples from a European/Patriarchal perspective. What I’m trying to say is “masculinity” as she defines is, is just one construct (and one that harkens to a 1950’s idealized machismo), but there are been many different societies who view gender identities and gender roles differently. I’m basically saying, why can’t a stay at home dad who likes to knit be a role model? Why must we defend an older ideal of masculinity when the past also gives us so many other examples of what it means to be masculine. We have women in combat and men doing art projects. I’m all for it. Only people who hold up the past as some golden era of manhood feel like something is slipping away. In Eastern cultures, they use the non-gendered Yin/Yang to describe what we often to refer to as “feminine” and “masculine.” Some of us are more Yin, some of us are more Yang 🤷🏻‍♀️ That’s all I’m saying.

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g28565280/matriarchal-societies-list/

https://www.firstpeople.us/articles/the-two-spirit-people-of-indigenous-north-americans.html

https://mysteries24.com/n3-82353-The_Tuareg_Clans:_a_Complete_Matriarchy_and_Men_in_Burkas

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Gender is different from sex. Physically you are of a particular sex. Gender is an issue of psychology and identity/culture:

Sex refers to “the different biological and physiological characteristics of males and females, such as reproductive organs, chromosomes, hormones, etc.” Gender refers to "the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/gender-matters/sex-and-gender#:~:text=Sex%20refers%20to%20%E2%80%9Cthe%20different,groups%20of%20women%20and%20men.

One of the rhetorical sleights of hand that occurs in these discussions is that most people don't understand the difference between the two things and confuse gender with sex... and then this lack of understanding is used by the rhetor to generate the desired anger/fear.

This has been done with a number of terms over the years--like socialism and CRT, for example. Socialism has kind of become a word that is almost without meaning any more--other than something that a particular group doesn't like.

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We're practically at full employment now (per record lows). Looks to me like those unemployed "he-men" are to blame - like all those truckers circling around wasting gas when companies are begging for truckers to haul their goods. Seem to be a lot of "welfare queens" among those "masculine" babies. BTW, have those truckers made it to CA yet? I haven't seen any of them in my area.

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Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

Yes. They are here. They were in SoCal but maybe they hate the traffic. They have been hanging out in the high desert lately. So Sacramento is next up. Their numbers are way down, thankfully.

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P.S. The "left wing" LA Times hasn't had a word about them, as far as I can tell. If they want to find followers, they should hang out in Nunes' old district or McCarthy's.

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They didn't make it to the Coachella Valley where I am. Of course, the music festivals are now on. Wonder if they'll dare to show up at Stagecoach in a few weeks, which is supposedly conservative. Given how bad the traffic is in the Valley during the festivals, they'll find themselves stuck in traffic again. LOL.

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I studiously avoid anything Jordan Peterson has to say. I am certainly not going to read a knock-off Peterson take from Mona.

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Do family values include the mass murder of people, including children, the disabled and the elderly? Does it include torture, rape, thievery, vandalism? Professing Christian leaders like Franklin Graham have a lot of explaining to do.

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"Christian" nationalists who've lionized Putin seem to be fixated on two things: 1) Russia's anti-gay policies., along with rhetoric about the traditional family; 2) State patronage of a particular church, in the interest of "unity." i.e. Christianity as a more or less enforced cultural identity.

What's striking by its absence is the value of charity and compassion.

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Yes, they do include those--if you are mass murdering, torturing, and stealing from the right people.

Take a look at history.

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I was gonna say, seems like exactly a Crusading army would do (and many, many, many others of every denominational stripe throughout history)

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During the Albigensian Crusade (one of those Crusades that do not usually rise to the level of public historical awareness--as it actually occurred in France, not the Middle East/Anatolia) the Papal legate to the crusade reportedly said (after a city had been taken and they were deciding what to do with the captives (who were both Catholics and Cathars):

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

Kill them. The Lord will know his own.

Very compassionate and merciful :P

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There seem to be some people who doubt that Trump will be running in 2024. But would the Saudis be giving Trump's son-in-law $2 billion if they didn't think Trump was running? And what are the Saudis willing to do in 2024 to ensure a return on their investment? And if Trump is elected, how will he handle being beholden to both Putin (let's hope he's dead by then. Hell, Trump, too) and MBS? How will that effect America and the world?

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Charlie-

Wanted to call your attention to an upcoming event in my state of Nebraska. Trump will be holding a rally for a candidate for governor, Charles W. Herbster. This week we learned that Herbster is a serial ass-grabber. (One of his victims is a mid-20's state senator and his other victims ranged in age from late teens to mid-20's. Herbster is 67.) Thought the ass-grabber sharing the stage with the pussy-grabber during a time of discussion about masculinity would make a good story.

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As to the why isn't the Jared story a bigger deal.......maybe the media isn't as liberal as the R's have shouted that it is for the last 40 f'ing years.

Maybe the MSM is concerned with making money and returning to shareholders?

Maybe the MSM is concerned with maintaining access to power?

Maybe the MSM is concerned with telling "stories" that don't inform as much as entertain?

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founding

I honestly think it's the access part that is the biggest problem. Access journalism is a failure.

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Tom Nichols in today's 'Peacefield” Atlantic newsletter has much to say about the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill's bloodlust and Putin's Messianic vision of his war. This is Nichols' most highly personal/professional attempt to deconstruct the 'whys of Putin's War:

--For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will. (Nichols)

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Paywalled, but a fantastic piece well worth the subscription.

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