Consortium News’ Comments Policy

As some readers have objected to their comments being blocked or removed we republish here our updated Comments Policy.

At Consortium News, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid ad hominem attacks, abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, sexist, homophobic, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts, as well as gross or misleading factual errors.

If we notice violations of this Comments Policy, we will either edit or take down such comments. If readers spot such violations, they can bring them to our attention at info@consortiumnews.com. Repeat offenders will be placed on a watch list requiring case-by-case approval of their comments.

Obviously, our preference is for commenters to show self-restraint and to make their observations in a respectful, thoughtful and factual way that is on-topic. We have plenty of work to do without having to police the comment section.

Also, because of annoying SPAM, we have installed a SPAM filter that uses algorithms to detect SPAM. The filter does a good job at this, but sometimes catches legitimate comments by accident. During the day, we try to recover these comments, but please do not be upset if one of your comments suffers this fate.

In addition, we use an automated system that pulls out questionable comments for manual review. Those comments that do not violate our Comments Policy will be restored. Do not be dismayed if there is a delay before your comment is approved or permanently removed.

We also strongly encourage commenters to use their real names and avoid pseudonyms unless there is a legitimate reason to do so.

If you have any questions about this policy please contact us at info@consortiumnews.com

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162 comments for “Consortium News’ Comments Policy

  1. Curious
    May 12, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Dear Joe Laurie at CN,
    I know you are tremendously busy and policing the comment section is the furthest desire in your new job. But let me make just one suggestion. Pull up all the posts from this thread and the names involved and you will see that Abe is the highest abuser of any on this site. It won’t take long to see the math involved, and his intellectual addition to the article are nearly non-existent as he wades through tangents and calls people names without hesitation. If you need an example of those who take up most of the time in the wonderful comment section of CN, Abe will be right up there with the highest abuser of people and any of their ideas which are not his own. Only this one page alone will prove my point. He is a loose cannon with very little powder left in his arsenal except the fact that everyone is a troll. Please take a moment to scan the comment section and I think you will agree with me. There are many people who won’t make a comment due to his belligerence.
    Thank you Joe!

    • Abe
      May 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      No, not “everyone” is a troll.

      But trolls there be, and they’re tremendously busy on the internet these days.

      For example, last October in the comment section of CN, comrades “Curious” and “WC” were gettin’ busy.

      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/18/blaming-russia-for-the-internet-sewer/

      “Curious” and “WC” are still gettin’ busy. Multiple pages prove the point.

      So it’s not “name calling” to point out the facts and identify obvious troll behavior.

      Trolls emit plaintive cries of “abuse” when their past and present shenanigans are pointed out.

      The latest troll shenanigan is to loudly play the victim, emitting plaintive cries that they and their pals have been “beaten up”, and that somehow “everyone” is in danger.

      Hilarity ensues.

      • Abe
        May 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

        Pull up the posts, see the names involved, do the math:

        Abe (32)

        versus Team Hasbara (31)

        – “Curious” (10)

        – “backwardsevolution” (9)

        – “Evangelista” (5)

        – “WC” (4+1) – extra point for deleted hilarious comment unsupported by reality

        – Misc “Leftists ate my homework” (2)

      • Abe
        May 14, 2018 at 5:38 pm

        Correction – Must add the rookie to the tally:

        Abe (32)

        versus Team Hasbara (39)

        – “Curious” (10)

        – “backwardsevolution” (9)

        – “Oakland Pete” (8)

        – “Evangelista” (5)

        – “WC” (4+1) – extra point for deleted hilarious comment unsupported by reality

        – Misc “Leftists ate my homework” (2)

        Comrade “Curious” proves the adage that “Scoreboards don’t lie, but liars lie about the scoreboard”.

        Just ask comrade “WC”, aka “Winning Charlie”.

        For all the delusional trolls that populate Team Hasbara, “it’s how you perceive it”
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0zzaiXn3Cc

      • Abe
        May 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm

        Comrade “Curious” is a passionate stickler for facts as long as they “agree” with his “different opinion”. Math is clearly no exception.

        So let’s modify the score with an additional 3 points for some inconvenient math excursions.

        That stills leaves Team Hasbara “over the top” with a solid 4 point lead, at least according what is generally accepted as math.

        But comrade “Curious” still has a “different opinion”.

        And “Oakland Pete” firmly believes that “Curious” is “exactly right”.

        Speaking of “dishonest” facts, check out the score over at “Delusions”
        https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/04/trotskyist-delusions-obsessed-with-stalin-they-see-betrayed-revolutions-everywhere/

        Scoreboards don’t lie:

        Abe (18) versus waaay “over the top” rookie, “Oakland Pete” (42).

        Sure, Team Hasbara veterans “WC”, “Curious” and “Evangelista” stayed on the bench.

        Comrade “backwardsevolution” generously took over for “Curious” in pushing the Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel”) propaganda canard about the “U.S. being run by U.S./Israeli dual-citizens”.

        No need to count the occasional “Stalinists at my homework” players like Louis Proyect

        But the rookie – adoring Proyect fanboy “Oakland Pete” – definitely won the Team Hasbara most valuable player award.

        • Kelebek etkisi
          May 15, 2018 at 3:59 am

          Predictive analytics indicate that Team Abe will soon take the lead due to his skillful reasoning ability and his unwavering commitment to reporting the facts.

          As for “inconvenient math excursions”, sometimes statistics can be misleading. Scores alone do not make data meaningful. It may be important to emphasize quality over quantity in comments because the user experience fits into a finite space and timeframe, where readers will have to make the choice to read some comments, and “Skip Scott” over others. People will continue to read Abe’s comments, even if trolls try to distract them, because of the attributes detected by the algorithm. ^^^

    • Oakland Pete
      May 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      Curious: You are exactly right, but sadly Consortium’s editors are squarely in Abe’s corner.

      • Curious
        May 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        Oakland Pete,

        We don’t have to agree on everything as people seldom do, but discussion is valuable. How does Abe manufacture a “troll” over what I have written? Insanity is just a few steps away, and Abe has “half-heimers” apparently. I’ve never witnessed someone so possessed with wrong information, and I think you are right as Mr Laurie seems to baby Abe. Abe is still kvetching about a thread half a year ago. He seems to be like a pit bull that has locking jaws and can’t let go once the bite has started. He is amazingly ‘over the top’

        As an example, if you can take this one column as an example, how many postings has Abe made trying to diminish other comments? If this comment section is any indication, who is the real troll here? Certainly not us. Apparently I have a “puddle” to clean up, whatever that means. I’m glad he has his “hilarity” which is as bad as a comic laughing at his own jokes when no one else thinks they are funny.

        Abe is simply out of his gourd, to put it as politely as I can, since his fixation knows no bounds.

        Thanks Oakland

      • Abe
        May 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        “Curious” has quite a history on Consortium News of repeatedly pushing Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Zionist”) propaganda canards about “dual citizens of Israel” and “Jews are not Semites”

        And that wasn’t just six months ago.

        Just two days ago, “Curious” once again attempted to peddle that long-ago debunked “Israeli dual citizens” list.

        The comment by “Curious” appears below on this page (May 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm).

        The Hasbara propaganda list pushed by “Curious” even includes rabidly pro-Israel – but non-Jewish and non-“Israeli dual citizen” – war hawk John “Bolton (God help us)”, who Trump appointed as the National Security Advisor.

        In fact, fellow troll “WC”, absent pal of “Curious”, popped back up out of the Hasbara hole the very day after Trump announced the Bolton appointment.

        Serial Hasbara troll “Curious” is predictably anxious about “providing links” to his numerous previous posts at Consortium News because – he insists – “links” may “infect” and “corrupt” their computers.

        “Curious” is all about protecting CN readers from “wrong information”. That’s the reason for all the puddles.

        Hilarious.

        Of course, “Curious” and pals loudly complain about “fixation” whenever someone mentions “Israel” or “trolls”, or happens to point out the propaganda embedded in their entertaining li’l “discussions”.

        Comrade “Curious” and company keep piddling propaganda while pleading for a “pass”.

    • Abe
      May 12, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Our li’l coterie of trolls is not squarely in reality’s corner, to say the least.

      They certainly feel “no obligation” to agree with what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument.

      In fact, they find reality downright “dishonest” and “offensive”.

      These post-truth trolls cry “abuse” when simple statements of fact “bash” their fact-free “different opinion”.

      For example, see how delusional trolls feel “beat down” by reality in the CN comments at
      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/04/trotskyist-delusions-obsessed-with-stalin-they-see-betrayed-revolutions-everywhere/

  2. Jan
    May 10, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    I?m just glad comments are allowed, however imperfect the filtering / moderation. Truthout recently shut down comments entirely and when I emailed them and asked why, I was told that it had become too bothersome. Too bad. I often learn more from the comments than the articles themselves. I used to donate to Truthout, but stopped. They publish too much borderline neocon stuff in any case – I like the politics of CN way more. I am shifting my donation to this site.

    Regarding trolls, it?s been my experience that these are often sophisticated, organized efforts. On other sites with comments on anti-GMO articles, it was obvious that biotech had paid stables of prostitutes with folksy names like “Farmer John.” One of them even admitted he was getting $.75 per comment. Zionist entities certainly do the same, and I suspect that more recently Koch money goes to create fake comments as well. Hey, sounds like a great CN article.

  3. KenH
    May 8, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Why was my comment deleted? It met the policy. It just proves that leftists and progressives are extremely intolerant and don’t have the courage of their convictions so must censor thoughts they don’t like.

    • Abe
      May 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Hilarious.

      Latest troll whine: Haters ate my “conservative views” homework. It just proves yada yada.

      • Jake G
        May 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        Since when does someone need to be a conservative when calling out leftist BS?

      • Abe
        May 9, 2018 at 3:38 pm

        EXACTLY hilarious.

        It’s interesting how quickly you exposed your BS: “Leftists” ate my “very unproblematic comments”.

        • Jake G
          May 9, 2018 at 9:29 pm

          Thanks for confirming that youre just a troll… and a hypocrite.
          How very left of you.

      • Kelebek etkisi
        May 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        Very funny, professor. :) You almost made me spill my coffee.

  4. Nop
    May 8, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I would just remark that there is always a legitimate reason to use a pseudonym on public internet fora.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Including when people hide behind anonymity to attack people? In the sprit of the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution one is given the right to know who one’s accusers are. Of course someone who’s livelihood might be at risk for speaking out would have a legitimate reason to use a pseudonym, therefore we are only strongly encouraging commenters that if your employment is not in jeopardy, to use their real names.

      • Mathew Neville
        May 9, 2018 at 9:39 am

        I have used my real name & met the policies set out &so why are comments deleted?

  5. Abby
    May 8, 2018 at 2:38 am

    Thank you for moderating your comment section. I have seen too many great articles being discussed only to have commenters ruin it because of their fighting with other commenters.

    I enjoy reading people’s perspectives on topics being discussed only to see them ruined by small minded people. I also appreciate that there is no rating system here.

  6. Joe
    May 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Off topic, but speaking of ‘antiSemitism’, the big news today (Monday 5/7) is the headline “Millions of Tweets Spread Antisemitic Messages”. As always, the ADL, and it’s attendant histrionics, extrapolates the “millions” figure thusly: “In the new report, the group estimated that about 3 million Twitter users posted or re-posted at least 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets in English over a 12-month period ending Jan. 28. THE FINDING IS BASED ON A REVIEWED SAMPLE OF 55,000 TWEETS (caps added) and had a 3 percent margin of error, the report said.

    “Of course, 4.2 million tweets is a very small number out of the trillions of tweets sent on the platform each year,” the report said. “But that does not negate the lived experience of Jews who have found Twitter to be a toxic environment.” (Fox News, et al)

    • backwardsevolution
      May 8, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Joe – I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on these numbers. Some people might have multiple accounts and post hundreds of nasty tweets during a year. And then you can get people such as the Jewish teenager who threatened bomb attacks against Jewish institutions worldwide in order to garner sympathy for Jews. He was trying to create the impression that Jews were being attacked. How much is real and how much is trumped up? We’ll never know.

  7. James R Coyle
    May 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Will my critical view of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed civilians through the fence around the Gaza concentration camp be considered as “Antisemitism”?

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      In April we published six articles extremely critical of what Israel has been doing at the Gaza border fence. That should answer your question.

  8. backwardsevolution
    May 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I’ve been moderated before. It’s maddening, but I just thought that maybe the moderation was automatic, maybe the moderator knew better and was saving me from saying something stupid, or maybe he was trying to placate the people he knew would complain about my comment. Sometimes my comments stay in moderation for days, only to be set free when nobody would still be reading that particular article.

    But I have never – ever – emailed the moderator to complain about being moderated or, worse, to complain about what somebody else said. I mean, who does that, except people who really want to influence and “run” the site from the sidelines, a parallel policeman. I can either refute what someone says or I can’t. Simple. Sometimes it’s just not worth the effort.

    Even though I have never complained via email, I could have predicted the ones who have. They stand out like a sore thumb, and I knew they’d be the type to run to the teacher. Can’t fight you out in the open; they have to stab you in the back behind the scenes. These are the people who profess to be for free speech – their own – but somehow your voice needs to be shut down. These are the same people who lobby and lobby government to further shut down dissenting voices and will be the undoing of the U.S.

    I’m with Joe Tedesky – let people speak! Whenever I’ve been called “insane” or a “troll”, I just laugh. I know who I am, and I don’t really give a sh*t what anyone else thinks.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      The moderation is automated and sometimes it takes time to review it. We ask for your patience. If you look at some other sites on the web with unmoderated or under-moderated comments sections you very likely will see a hate fest. Having a comments policy is unfortunately a necessity. We believe we have one of the best comments sections around mostly because of the high quality of the vast majority of comments made, but also because we enforce our comments policy. Sometimes the automated system misses comments that clearly violate our policy. But in more cases violations would remain online a long-time before they were seen and removed without automation. The idea of inviting people to contact us if they think a comment may be in violation is to help us out in this process, not to create snitches. Suggestions to remove a comment of course are not always accepted.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 6, 2018 at 9:13 pm

        Consortium – “The idea of inviting people to contact us if they think a comment may be in violation is to help us out in this process, not to create snitches.”

        No, YOU are not creating the snitches. Snitches just are. They’re the same people who snitched in school. They’re the same squeaky wheels changing the laws to limit free speech.

        If you go over to Zero Hedge, the comments are unbelievably rude and coarse (I’ve never commented there), but if you go over to Naked Capitalism and you disagree with the hosts, you’re gone. I don’t know what’s worse – the Wild West or Stifled Silence. I know there’s no way the commenters here would ever stoop to the insults hurled at Zero Hedge (they’re too intelligent for that), but I hope they won’t allow others to dictate the parameters of a conversation. How are you ever going to arrive at the truth if you are always stopped just before you approach it?

        I’m actually in sympathy with you. I know it’s a hard job. That’s why I don’t complain.

        • Consortiumnews.com
          May 6, 2018 at 9:57 pm

          As we said earlier, a reader who contacts us about a comment won’t necessarily have the objection agree with. Do you really think there would be automatic acceptance of anyone who complains about a comment?

          • backwardsevolution
            May 6, 2018 at 10:47 pm

            Consortium – I never said that there’d be automatic acceptance of a complainant’s criticism. Where did I say that? I was really addressing the snitches. They know who they are.

        • Consortiumnews.com
          May 6, 2018 at 11:55 pm

          “I hope they won’t allow others to dictate the parameters of a conversation.”

          • backwardsevolution
            May 7, 2018 at 1:01 am

            Consortium – “I hope” is a wish, not an accusation.

        • mike
          May 7, 2018 at 12:33 pm

          Snitches. Really? What is this, fourth grade? I like Consortium News very much, but I have to say some of the comments on here are conspiracy theory and hurts the CN reputation.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 7, 2018 at 3:54 pm

            mike – call them whatever you like – snitches, complainers. Yes, for some people it really is fourth grade. In their politically-correct world, they don’t think twice about complaining whenever a conversation even touches on a taboo subject. These are the people I’m talking about, the PC police.

            I am not talking about the people who are rightfully upset over being moderated over and over again for no reason. They have every right to complain.

        • Abby
          May 8, 2018 at 2:42 am

          The Hill’s comment section is unreadable because of their infighting. After the first comment is posted no one even addresses the topic. I have contacted the website, but have never received a response. And for some reason I’m banned from commenting there.

    • James R Coyle
      May 6, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Joe,
      Amen

    • Abe
      May 7, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      Many of us have been moderated before. We all understand how frustrating it can be.

      But information about the CN Comment Policy and the automated comment system has been readily available.

      Trolls keep on loudly promoting their conspiracy theories about shadowy “overseers” seeking to “shut down” their so-called “dissenting voices” at CN.

      Hilarious hypocrisy ensues:

      In April 2018, here we have comrade “backwardsevolution” loudly ranting:
      “I have never – ever – emailed the moderator to complain about being moderated or, worse, to complain about what somebody else said. I mean, who does that, except people who really want to influence and ‘run’ the site from the sidelines, a parallel policeman.”

      Never. Ever. Buuut…

      In January 2018, comrade “backwardsevolution” was loudly ranting (not via email):
      “in my mind I have thought that mike k was an Israeli troll”
      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/01/the-still-missing-evidence-of-russia-gate/

      Comrade “backwardsevolution” was perfectly fine calling a person a “troll” during that li’l diversionary melodrama with “mike k” back in January.

      Then as now, “backwardsevolution” based declarations on “strong belief”.

      Back then, “backwardsevolution” declared, “That’s what I thought and, goddammit, I’m sticking to it. I don’t care whether you think”.

      And now, “backwardsevolution” still declares, “I don’t really give a sh*t what anyone else thinks”.

      So we all can clearly recognize the multiple diversions foisted by “backwardsevolution” and pals, “WC” and “Curious”, based on their shared “belief”, and simply shift our attention to the facts.

      Identifying online propaganda has nothing to do with ridiculous name calling or inaccurate terms (like “Israeli troll” tossed out by “backwardsevolution” back in January).

      Fact-based analysis shows that many Hasbara posters are not Israelis, but Americans (very often but not always with “conservative views”) and other nationalities, actively recruited to spread propaganda online for Israel. The Hasbara troll army is multi-national but thanks to the “special relationship”, Americans and Israelis are the majority of Hasbara propaganda trolls.

      Identifying online propaganda has nothing to do with personally “taking exception”, or fact-free subjective sentiments like “in my mind I have thought”, “goddammit, I’m sticking to it”, “I believe” or I don’t really give a sh*t what anyone else thinks”.

      Identifying propaganda deception has nothing to do with fact-free “accusations”, “personal attacks”, “rejecting people who disagree”, or “McCarthyism”.

      Trolls manipulate the psychological tendency to presume identity.

      The challenge is that it’s nearly impossible to determine the actual identity of any poster on the internet.

      However, troll deception can be identified through fact-based examination of their behavior.

      Pay attention to what is posted and whether it aligns with facts.

      Trolls avoid verifiable facts, and typically spew mere opinion and conjecture, wrapped in logical fallacy and crude emotional appeals.

      This pattern of ignoring verifiable facts has been repeatedly (and hilariously) demonstrated in the posts of “WC”, Curious”, “backwardsevolution” and others (see the link above and multiple links below).

      • Curious
        May 12, 2018 at 12:09 am

        Abe, Do you run an algorithm to detect your version of a troll? Let’s be clear here, You have a singular focus and bash anyone who may appear to have a different opinion from you. When it comes to ‘name calling’ you are one of the worst on this very fine site, without exception.

        You don’t know me (obviously) and for you to use my name in the above post is not only offensive, it is personal, it is ad hominem, and it is an offense. The above mentioned names are not “pals” nor have we agreed on many subjects. To combine our names is an offense.

        As I said, you are of singular focus, and even then you are most likely incorrect and then you become abusive. My advise to you is to give up your trite theme, and grow some synapses to the point were you can add a cogent, and intelligent reply to the thread, or better yet, to the article presented on CN instead of taking everyone’s time with your tangents and juvenile postulates which are your own way of tearing someone down.

        Most times the only positive additions you make on this site you put in quotes as you are copying someon, ot=r some article since you don’t have the chops to actually add to the discussion at hand. You tend to be the most abusive commentator on this site and because of your presuppositions you are blind to most every other comment, unless it fits your grey matter algorithm you’ve created to abuse people. The previous post is an example of your belligerence.

        Yes, I know, your “hilarity ensues”. How clever. You are one of the worst commentators on this site when it comes to caring about another persons opinion or even a question. You are taking this site down with you, and I hope that is not your intent, but it is a result of your actions.

      • Abe
        May 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        “Curious” makes a big puddle on the floor when “trolls” are mentioned.
        https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/27/reverberations-from-trumps-jerusalem-move/

        Still piddling profusely, comrade “Curious” proves the point with his signature focus on fact-free “different opinion”.

    • Draxx
      May 9, 2018 at 12:55 am

      Oh, hello. I’m Backwardsevolution and in spite of the fact that I’m a notorious conspiracy theorist (seriously, don’t deny it bro…Building 7?) I’m still going to pretend that I’m some sort of snowflake victim of censorship. Just man up and admit that you’re a full-blown nut, Backwardsevolution. Trust me, you’ll be happier that way.

  9. CitizenOne
    May 6, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I am surprised by the amount of negativity related to the re-posting of the policy especially since nothing has changed. Re-publishing the policy has apparently innervated a nerve in people to complain. I suppose the post has provided a forum and has caused people to vent. But I disagree with the critics and have largely good things to say about the website design, format and moderation. Perhaps I am missing something. There are plenty of examples of websites that place the newest posts first. The effect of placing newest posts last means creating sticky group discussions which occupy the first responses with subsequently later original responses being stuck at the bottom of the thread where they might not be noticed. I am sure that the posters with time to spare and the ability to respond quickly 24/7 ensuring their rightful place atop a mountain of responses and new posts must seem like a reward for being the early bird and no doubt the change has frustrated these posters who are the vocal minority but it seems common enough and fair enough that it should not warrant such opposition. To me the change seems like it will make the threads constantly up to date. As far as the moderation is concerned I can understand the algorithm based strategy of automatically flagging posts with certain key features to be decided on during normal business hours. For a small operation without a 24/7 real time moderator this makes sense. I doubt the visitors would pony up for 4 additional headcount to cover the site 24/7 including weekends and the middle of the night. As for the background color and the aesthetic and technological problems it presents to viewers who are either offended by the background color or hesitate to print anything which wastes ink, I say “really”? If this truly causes folks anxiety then they should be so lucky to have such minor grievances at the top of their list of website offenses.

    • Curious
      May 6, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Well Citizen One, I imagine you don’t print out articles to hand to people to get them more informed as many are so Foxified they wouldn’t touch this site, but I can get them to read an article and think about it. Some have even opened up their wallets to help this site stay alive.
      Think about it first without just reacting. I am not the only one who prints out article germaine to issues of the day and for people struggling with disinformation. These articles often are a breath of fresh air. Since you don’t print many pages, or may from your place of work on the companies’ nickel the cost of ink goes ever higher and I was just talking to those who also print articles for their friends. Some older people actually enjoy the feeling still of turning a page and not staring into a blue ray screen.

      Because you don’t do it doesn’t invalidate the point raised.

    • Annie
      May 7, 2018 at 12:13 am

      CitizenOne, perhaps if your comments were moderated, comments that were innocuous, reinstated with no modification, you might feel differently, especially if it happened one time after another. It feels like censorship. Big Brother is watching you, and that’s the way I felt. it’s uncomfortable, aggravating, and who needs it. I’m writing now and addressing this issue, but I will never return to write any commentary on this site again. I had no other complaints about this site, or the comments made here by others.

  10. rick sterling
    May 6, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I support this policy and its enforcement. Good comments and debate add to the general knowledge. Name calling and personal feuds do not. I suspect that our enemies, esp Washington and Tel Aviv, use stupid anti-semitic comments to undermine the credibility and push people away. The US and Israel have been aggressively doing this for many years. They, NOT Russia, are the real troll and disinformation factories. Thus comments require monitoring.

    • Anon
      May 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Certainly name-calling and personal feuds should be discarded.
      Also “nemesis” exchanges pursuing a commenter.

      The anti-semitism vs. anti-zionism call is a tough one, complicated by excessive use of the “inverse troll” concept.
      I have seen apparently reasonable anti-zionist commenters pursued as “hasbara trolls” without enough cause.
      That too could be a form of zionism, presuming that sufficient anti-zionism is intended to discredit anti-zionism.
      So we may invite accusations of hasbara-troll-trolls or anti-anti-anti-zionists.

  11. Abe
    May 6, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    The May 5, 2018 “updated” comments policy appears to be the same 7 paragraph 268 word policy published by Robert Parry on January 20, 2012.

    In an email I received from Robert Parry in January 2017, the late Consortium News Editor-in Chief noted that it “does get tiresome dealing with so much nonsense over so many years, but that is the nature of these things at this stage in our history, I suppose. I appreciate your efforts to combat some of the trolls who try to disrupt the commentary section. I have put some on watch lists and therefore can delete some of their propaganda before it appears, but that does take time.”

    In a November 2017 email exchange, Parry noted, ” By the way, thanks for your advice regarding trolls that have tried infiltrate the comment section. With our very limited resources, it’s hard to keep track of these things.”

    In an April 2018 email to new Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria and Assistant Editor Chelsea Gilmour, I stated the following:

    “In Internet discourse, trolling is posting inflammatory, extraneous, off-topic, deceptive or propagandist messages in an online community (newsgroup, forum, chat room, blog, etc) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response, sowing discord, redirecting discussion from certain topics, or otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion.

    “In recent weeks, since the announcement of John Bolton’s appointment as Trump’s National Security Council advisor, I have observed a significant increase in what I describe as Hasbara propaganda troll activity in support of Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby.

    “I became an active contributor in comments section at CN after the 2014 U.S.-backed coup d’etat in Kiev. Since then I have contributed numerous comments on a broad range of topics, including several responses to what I identify as Hasbara propaganda trolls.

    “These Hasbara posters fall into two categories:

    “Conventional Hasbara (overt, at times extreme pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) propaganda

    “Inverted Hasbara (false flag ‘anti-Israel’ / ‘anti-Zionist’ and sometimes fake ‘anti-Jewish’ / ‘anti-Semitic’) propaganda

    “Conventional Hasbara posters and Inverted Hasbara propaganda posters frequently operate in tandem, fueling the deception with scripted propaganda tête-à-têtes.”

    My email to the editors at addressed concerns about “Hasbara propaganda posters who appear rather intent on falsely impugning CN as some sort of hotbed of irrational ‘hate’ and intolerance of ‘dissident voices'”.

    I further noted:

    “Admittedly, my tendency has been to not ‘ignore the trolls’, but to identify the Hasbara posts and respond directly to the propagandist remarks.

    “Previously, the Hasbara trolls would either go silent or plead innocent when their deceptive Hasbara posts were exposed.

    “The new ‘directive’ appears to be a tactic of doubling down and aggressively pushing forward whatever nonsense du jour they’re peddling.

    “The Hasbara trolls have obviously learned from their numerous failures to steer clear of profanity and outright racist provocations.

    “The tendency now is to accuse any and all critics of ‘narrow-mindedness’ and ‘intolerance’, and to champion themselves as ‘out of the box’ thinkers and ‘radical’ visionaries.

    “As I have frequently remarked, hilarity ensues.

    “But the Hasbara hilarity has turned into a non-stop propaganda firehose.

    “With a solid Trump appointed cabinet of pro-Israel warhawks, and Israeli provocations escalating by the day, the Hasbara trolls online (at CN and numerous other sites) have adopted a surge strategy.

    “I suspect the next PropOrNot-style gambit will be to get CN and other investigative journalism sites banned as ‘hate’ sites.

    “In other words, I do not believe its wise to ignore this emerging trend in the troll comments.”

    Near the end of the lengthy email to Lauria, I acknowledged Parry’s 2012 Comment Policy post that CN staff have plenty of work to do without having to police the comment section.

    I suggested that the new Editor-in-Chief re-state the Comment Policy to support a more collaborative relationship with readers to preserve the open discourse, intelligent discussion, and critical debate that has been a hallmark of the comments section at CN.

    I trust that we will hear more from Joe Lauria on this important matter.

    • Abe
      May 6, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Poster “WC” alleges: “There are no trolls on the Consortium News comments section!!!”

      The allegation is unsupported by facts.

      Will CN take down the comment?

      • Consortiumnews.com
        May 6, 2018 at 8:13 pm

        Yes. There are unfortunately too many that indeed visit Consortium News.

        • WC
          May 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm

          Talk about an allegation unsupported by facts. What facts do either one of you have to support such a belief?

          Ol’ Abe believes I am a Hasbara propaganda troll based on what?? Because my conservative views do not agree with his La La Land idealism.

          All of this is getting stupider by the minute. :)

          • Consortiumnews.com
            May 6, 2018 at 9:59 pm

            When I was just a contributor to this site I was harassed by trolls, so I know from personal experience they exist on this site. — Joe Lauria

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 6, 2018 at 10:41 pm

            Mr Lauria, I must say you show a great amount of concern, and your conscientiousness along with your sincere effort to make this site continue it’s mission of truth telling is truly worthy of my support. I honestly can’t think of another site quite like the Consortium, and by your words and actions Joe you are the real deal.

            About the comment section, I can only hope you may improve upon what is apparently aggravating to some commenters, while you see to it that honest commenters are respected. I would be against linking our comments through Facebook or some other social media site, but after my voicing that concern of mine I have nothing more to add.

            Keep up the good journalistic work Joe, and let the rest fall where it may. I’m with you Joe. Joe

          • backwardsevolution
            May 6, 2018 at 11:15 pm

            WC – Abe calls lots of people “trolls”. I never read his comments (except for one yesterday, but that was only because someone I actually admire recommended it). Just ignore him.

          • Abe
            May 6, 2018 at 11:29 pm

            Poster “backwardsevolution” alleges: “Abe calls lots of people ‘trolls’. I never read his comments”

            Ignoring the obvious logical contradiction, the allegation is unsupported by facts.

            Will CN take down the comment?

          • backwardsevolution
            May 7, 2018 at 12:42 am

            Abe – “Will CN take down the comment?”

            I hope not. I meant every word of it. Leave it up for all to see. People can decide for themselves where the “hilarity” resides.

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 1:13 am

            We all hope you meant every word of it, “backwardsevolution”.

            Post your list of “lots of people” with a link to each comment you “never read”.

            Leave it up for all to see. It won’t be hard for us to decide.

            Hurry now. We’re all waiting.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 7, 2018 at 2:17 am

            Abe – “Post your list of “lots of people” with a link to each comment you “never read”.”

            I believe you accused Curious of being a troll, along with WC, myself, Skip Scott, and there may have been others. It was absolutely ridiculous. Since that time I skip over your comments and don’t respond to them (except for yesterday when Bob Van Noy recommended a video you posted). I will now resume skipping over your posts. Thank you.

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 9:36 am

            “I believe” falls in the realm of allegations that are unsupported by facts, “backwardsevolution”.

            And “there may have been others” is, as you say, absolutely ridiculous.

            So let me help you, comrade:

            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/18/blaming-russia-for-the-internet-sewer/

            As I noted in November 2017, “Curious” repeatedly posted Hasbara propaganda canards about “dual citizens of Israel” and “Jews are not Semites”.

            Knowingly or not, “Curious” spouted Inverted Hasbara (false flag ‘anti-Israel’ / ‘anti-Zionist’ and fake ‘anti-Jewish’ / ‘anti-Semitic’) propaganda.

            “Curious” never retracted the statements.

            There are, in fact, lots of others besides “WC” and “Curious” trolling CN.

            But the matter has nothing to do with what you or I or anyone “believes”.

            You are welcome to resume skipping over my posts”backwardsevolution”. Thank you.

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 9:56 am

            And surely “lots of people” must include “Michael Kenny” the “resident troll”

            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/07/a-new-hole-in-syria-sarin-certainty/

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 10:13 am

            Poster “backwardsevoution” definitely “meant every word of it.”

            And “It was absolutely ridiculous.”

            ———

            Skip Scott
            September 8, 2017 at 9:26 am

            “Thank you Abe! You are one of our best weapons against the trolls.”

            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/07/a-new-hole-in-syria-sarin-certainty/

        • WC
          May 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm

          And these “trolls” that “harassed” Joe Lauria told you they were Hasbara propaganda trolls?? Perhaps they just had a different point of view that you didn’t like. Liberal writers can be touchy when their opinions are challenged, particularly when they are preaching from their moral high ground. :)

          This tripe from Abe is unsupported by facts and the comment should be removed according to the rules. Same as the comment from CN.

          Let’s see the proof and the facts, apart from the self-aggrandizement that comes from this fanciful belief.

          • Abe
            May 6, 2018 at 10:32 pm
          • Curious
            May 6, 2018 at 10:41 pm

            Abes’ prescription glasses are set to focus on a very shallow set of presuppositions and scans for mostly where he can tell a commentator their inerds are upside down and should be in the body, not inverted and leeching organs and thoughts outside the body. It’s an easy formula, but it doesn’t make him right. If he changed “Inverted Hasbara Troll” to a pro-life anti abortion agenda prescription for his reading glasses it would sound very similar and equally dogmatic. One needs to just understand that and ignore the dogmatic responses and feel sorry for him any time he repeats “hilarity ensues” over and over again as his office is based in the basement of the Department of Redundancy Department. So ignore the taunts and move on would be suggestion.

          • Abe
            May 6, 2018 at 11:17 pm
        • Abe
          May 6, 2018 at 10:22 pm

          “Repeat offenders will be placed on a watch list requiring case-by-case approval of their comments.”

          How many “visits” does one troll get?

          “la la land”
          https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/13/trumps-illegal-syrian-mission-creep/

          • Curious
            May 6, 2018 at 10:42 pm

            Ask the Stasi Abe.

          • WC
            May 6, 2018 at 11:39 pm

            SOOOOO stupid All of this. I ask Joe Lauria to delete this entire conversation.

            I’m far more interested if Zachary is coming back.

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 12:39 am

            On April 3, 2018 at 1:51 am, “WC” alleged
            “the overseers at the Consortiumnews are scrutinizing every word I write”
            https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/31/trump-finds-fellow-bully-in-bolton/

            The allegation, and obvious logical contradiction, was unsupported by facts.

            “WC” never retracted the statement.

            How many “visits” does one troll get?

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 12:40 am

            On April 10, 2018 at 1:17 am, “WC” alleged
            “I have posted an answer to this but it has yet to clear through the CN censors”
            https://consortiumnews.com/2018/04/08/after-gaza-massacre-israeli-leaders-should-be-prosecuted-for-war-crimes/

            The allegation was unsupported by facts.

            “WC” never retracted the statement.

            How many “visits” does one troll get?

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 12:51 am

            After repeatedly impugning “this site”, and the loud complaints about “censors” and “overseers”, poster “WC” now asks to “delete this entire conversation”.

            Hilarity ensues.

          • Evangelista
            May 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm

            There are obviously lots of ways to troll:

            What poster “Abe” is doing in his serial bang, bang, bang, “response” attacks against posters and the styles of posters, a form of argumentation not significantly different from ad hominem, only more sort of or pseudo cerebral, is a form of trolling. It is obvious trolling, and baiting, of the targeted posters. It is also a form of site trolling, too, in that its accumulate clutter of nothing but snippy and snipey chatter makes the comment section it dominates pointless and tedious, not worth forking through in hope for posts that are not compost.

          • Abe
            May 7, 2018 at 8:56 pm

            The posts of “WC”, “Curious” and “backwardsevolution”, and now “Evangelista” display a remarkably similar “style”.

            Indeed, how many “visits” does one troll get?

          • Evangelista
            May 9, 2018 at 6:50 pm

            For a rough number to answer your question, Hasbara Troll Abe,count the number of your ‘visits’ .

            Or, for a conservative number, count the number of your visits where you add nothing to the comment thread except an attack against another, or other, commenters.

            It is the beating up of other site users, calling them names and disparaging them, instead of adding anything that reveals you a Troll, Abe. It is your polished style in doing so, along with your pretense of being ‘anti-Hasbara’, and a sort of pattern in some of the obvious Hasbara Troll posts you ‘call out’ (do you write those posts, yourself, or have a confederate do them? They tend to have a pattern…) that evidences your Trolling professional, and so probably Hasbara, or Hasbara trained.

          • Abe
            May 9, 2018 at 10:01 pm

            The Hasbara troll army surge hits bottom with the devastating critique of comrade “Evangelista”:

            “snippy and snipey” (May 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm)

            “snippy and snipey” (May 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm)

            At this point, the most Team Hasbara can come up with is that outing their trolls buddies isn’t “adding anything”.

            Hilarious.

        • Oakland Pete
          May 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

          But just as unfortunately, Consortium consorts with a false accuser by backing his style of personal insults and sarcasm. Reading the letter Robert Parry wrote to Abe, and now Joe Lauria’s support of Abe, has shown me that my initial admiration of Consortium was misplaced. My question regarding Consortium’s motives in the comments section on the Johnstone article that Lauria chose to publish has been answered: Consortium has a perspective to advance, and it’s the one championed by Johnstone. It’s to bash sections of the left to advance the cause of the “red-brown alliance” that seems to be a logical outgrowth of the remnants of stalinism. Johnstone is the intellectual godmother of it, with her support of European fascist parties and support of “free speech” for fascists here in the U.S. Now Consortium has grabbed the status of public forum for these monsters with its running of the Johnstone article while supporting those who dishonestly bash its critics.

    • Abe
      May 11, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Oh dear! Now comrade “Oakland Pete” firmly maintains his “honest” belief that “monsters” have “grabbed” CN.

      For more on the peculiar delusions of “Trot” and company, see the detailed discussion by Abe (May 11, 2018 at 1:18 pm) at
      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/04/trotskyist-delusions-obsessed-with-stalin-they-see-betrayed-revolutions-everywhere/

      In my December 2017 email exchange with Robert Parry, I observed that the “surge in the comments sections of investigative journalism and independent media sites is designed not to convince, but to sow doubt, distraction and general chaos.”

      Parry replied. “There seems to be a pick-up in troll comments, which often are phrased as someone who once supported our work but is now disappointed or as someone who once supported us but is tired of our comments on some specific topic. While I’m sure there are real people who feel this way, it is often an effective way for trolls to distract from the content and turn some other readers against us.”

      That’s important to remember when some troll starts muttering about his “initial admiration”.

      And it’s important to remember when some delusional person suddenly declares that what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument is somehow “dishonest”.

  12. May 6, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Just speculation, but many of the most outspoken and informed comments who use their real names might come from people who are out of the line of fire. I don’t know how I would react to what is going on if I were still working for the Federal Government, I suspect I would be more circumspect, even to being silent. Someone else who is still in the workforce and using pseudonyms might think this way.

  13. Jake
    May 6, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    What’s with this vomit-colored background? It’s horrendous! :(

    • Bart Hansen
      May 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      I’d rather call it clotted cream.

  14. Zachary Smith
    May 6, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Key part:

    At Consortium News, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid ad hominem attacks, abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, sexist, homophobic, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts, as well as gross or misleading factual errors.

    Whose facts? What support? The GW deniers have thousands of pages of their BS, all properly documented with made-up “facts” and “research”. Ditto for the folks who love the Good Old Days when the darkies knew their place. The Old South was wonderful in every way, and the songs of Stephen Foster as well as thousands of books and articles “prove” this beyond any doubt.

    A recent piece had comments where posters parading around Holocaust Revision had already rubbed me raw. Then my three attempts to make a post about the Hasbara work by an Israeli actress all went into “moderation” and never emerged. My post inquiring about this got no reply. From that point I never expected to post here again – until I saw this title about Comments.

    My present take: a stubborn editor decided a noble-looking statement by the very beautiful Natalie Portman ought not be seen as an integral part of Israel’s propaganda in justifying the murders and thefts in that part of the world.

    The simultaneous toleration of Good Hitler and rejection of Bad Natalie Portman is one I can’t handle, so I suppose it’s time to really depart. Best wishes to most folks I’ve encountered here.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      You falsely put words in Ms. Portman’s mouth. She did not say she had no problem with previous atrocities. That is why your comment was blocked.

      • WC
        May 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm

        This is a none issue between the Consortium News and Zachary Smith and not one worth arguing over, let alone warrant leaving the comments section for. And let me tell you why!

        No one on this site is going to be influenced by what Natalie Portman says or does. Zachary obviously feels strongly about this, but he is forgetting his audience to make such a big deal out of some Hollywood stuff. :)

        I think you should both kiss and make up. I don’t want Zachary to leave – particularly over some stupid shit like this!

      • Deniz
        May 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        My suggestion: What I have experienced in this site, was that If you eliminate the sharp minds from debate through censorship, CN will see the beginning of its demise.

        Your response: “Consortium News does not block comments based on a political viewpoint thus we have no intention of eliminating the “sharp minds from debate.””

        Nothing to worry about, I guess?

        • Oakland Pete
          May 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

          Unfortunately, CN actually does censor on point comments that are rebuttals to personal insults with reasoned arguments. Case in point: Today I was blocked when responding to multiple insults and ridicule (Abe is particularly guilty of this) with explanations of the historical background of the issue. That was in response to the provocative article by Diana Johnstone. One aspect of this moderation policy that I would recommend to the editors is to apply it to the articles themselves. DJ’s piece was a broadside attack on a significant section of the left, citing false arguments, and should have elicited a more careful editorial policy. Knowing the division and controversy this article would elicit, they should have given latitude to those who commented with clarification of the historical background of the issue; but this was not the case. Instead they chose to block a comment that was specifically made in response to ridicule of anyone who would provide such clarification. In other words, CN has not followed its own principles in its blocking of comments. This is not a free website. I have contributed a good share because of its openness and fairness. Sadly, I’ve chosen to discontinue that because that noble stance has been compromised.

        • Abe
          May 8, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          “Oakland Pete” has failed to engage in reasoned argument by any stretch of the imagination,

          The poster merely parroted false arguments against Johnstone siphoned from a screed by Louis Proyect.

          Proyect’s “historical background” fails the most cursory examination.

          Readers of CN do their homework, and ridiculous “Trot” slurs like “reactionary [fill in the blank]” aren’t going to fly here.

          Got that clarification, comrade?

          • Oakland Pete
            May 8, 2018 at 3:58 pm

            No, Proyect’s article is full of links to back up what he claims. A few months back DJ wrote an article for Counterpunch defending the “free speech” rights of nazis and the klan. They had come to Berkeley specifically to deny the free speech rights of Marxists. In Charlottesville they chanted nazi slogans and murdered a counterdemonstrator. So Johnstone characterizes all this as “free speech”, and claims European parties that originated with holocaust deniers are “progressive”. This does not fail any examination, and yes, it’s reactionary. Don’t take Abe’s word for any of this. Read the article, follow the links, and make up your own mind. BTW, I’m not your comrade; and if you want to ridicule those who use that term, you stand exposed for being a reactionary yourself.

          • Oakland Pete
            May 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm

            As far as my claim that Abe uses ridicule rather than any reasoned rebuttal, just examine what he wrote above. I don’t have to make my case against Abe. He just can’t help himself, and resorts to this every time.

        • Abe
          May 8, 2018 at 6:08 pm

          Comrade “Oakland Pete” wants us to take his word for it that “Proyect’s article is full of links to back up what he claims.”

          OK. Let’s do some homework, read the article and follow the links.

          (Don’t worry, this won’t take long.)

          In fact, Proyect’s June 29, 2016 article has exactly three links.

          The first two links are to Counterpunch articles by Johnstone: “Disillusion With the Euro and Europe” (April 24, 2012) and “European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart” (June 29, 2016)

          The third link is to an essay by V.I. Lenin: “Capitalism and Workers’ Immigration”, that appeared in Russian communist party broadsheet Za Pravdu (For Truth) in 1913.

          “Oakland Pete” says “full of links” the way “backwardsevolution” says “lots of people”.

          But that impressive claim by our “Trot” definitely failed examination.

          Like so many “dissident voices”, they just can’t help themselves, and resort to this all too often.

          But I digress.

          In his second sentence, “Oakland Pete” makes a quick trot from Proyect’s “full of links” article to a “an article from Counterpunch” (no link provided) written a “few months back” by Johnstone.

          A little more homework at https://www.counterpunch.org/author/dj/ turns up two October 2017 articles by Johnstone concerning the escapades of American Antifa: “The Harmful Effects of Antifa” (October 25, 2017) and “Antifa in Theory and in Practice” (October 9, 2017)

          Comrade “Oakland Pete” attempts to performs the signature Proyect two-step shuffle: presenting one caricature of an author’s work juxtaposed with a second caricature in order to produce an amplified distortion.

          But we don’t have to take the “Trot” word for it. CN readers are encouraged to read, using the CounterPunch links to Johnstone’s actual articles, and decide for themselves.

          While your at it, you may want to read “Thank You, Ed Herman” (November 15, 2017), Johnstone’s tribute to Edward S. Herman, “the godfather of antiwar media critique”, known for his careful factual analysis.

          You may find yourself agreeing with Johnstone that many of today’s so-called “anti-fascists” embrace the same interventionist presumptions as the U.S. War Party.

          • Oakland Pete
            May 8, 2018 at 6:47 pm

            Dishonest Abe thinks I have some obligation to provide the link that was obviously easily obtained, and shows that I was writing truthfully when I said Johnstone attacked anti-fascist activists in a Counterpunch article. Notice the dates of October 2017 in Johnstone’s smear pieces on antifa. They came shortly after antifa was similarly smeared in the local media here in the bay area and Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville. Those of us who actually attend these demonstrations and see what antifa does know that they defend us against those who openly declare their admiration for fascism. These are not just Trump-hat wearers. These are thugs who club, stab, and beat unarmed demonstrators, with the help of the police, and shout racist and anti-semitic slogans. They give nazi salutes, wear swastikas, and commit murder. And right after they do so, Johnstone speaks up for their free speech rights. Notice dishonest Abe doesn’t rebut my claim that Johnstone supports European fascist parties. I don’t have the time to do the research necessary to provide links to that support, but it’s there. The whole point of that line of argument is that it speaks to her motive for writing an attack on the left, and shows a pattern of doing so that includes writing support for fascism. So her ostensible logic, that sectarian Trotskyists give backhanded support to imperialism, is not false due to ignorance. It’s part of a contrived narrative that slanders and divides the left. Abe has put himself in that camp.

            The second point I would make is that like Johnstone, Abe argues disingenuously. Someone as concerned with this and me as he is has surely read the comments thread for the Johnstone article, and knows full well that I have stated sympathy with, but not necessarily adherence to, the basic concepts of Trotskyism. We don’t have to be fully in agreement with any current of thought to find validity in much of it; and we should always show respect for those who sincerely devote themselves to positive organizing. I also made clear that I am in agreement with Johnstone’s final position on Syria, and do not have much tolerance for those who Abe mentions in his last sentence. I oppose western intervention everywhere, including in Syria, without reservation. Abe tries to pull a polemical slight-of-hand to imply otherwise – hence his “dishonest Abe” moniker.

          • Abe
            May 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

            The text of Johnstone’s articles rebuts every claim of Louis Proyect and “Oakland Pete”.

            “Trot” merely repeats his comedic performance of the Proyect two-step shuffle, a shrill smear effort aimed at the dupes who won’t bother to read Johnstone’s original text.

            For example, in the two articles about Antifa, Johnstone mentions Nazis exactly once:

            “The events of Charlottesville resembled a multiple provocation, with pro- and anti-statue sides provoking each other, providing a stage for Antifa to gain national prominence as saviors. Significantly, Charlottesville riots provoked Trump into making comments which were seized upon by all his enemies to brand him definitively as ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’. This gave the disoriented ‘left’ a clear cause: fight ‘fascist Trump’ and domestic ‘fascists’. This is more immediate than organizing to demand that the United States end its threats against Iran and North Korea, its open and covert project to reshape the Middle East to ensure Israel’s regional dominance, or its nuclear buildup targeting Russia. Not to mention its support for genuine Nazis in Ukraine. Yet that trillion dollar policy of global militarization contributes more to violence and injustice even in the United States than the remnants of thoroughly discredited lost causes.”

            “Oakland Pete” insists that Johnstone is writing “attack on the left” and “support for fascism” when nothing of the sort appears in Johnstone’s actual writings, only in the caricatures of “Trot” and his adoring Bellingcat fanboy role-model. Louis Proyect.

            What we have with Proyect’s article and now with “Oakland Pete” is the Bellingcat Method applied to Johnstone’s writings.

            Like fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins, all these guys can do in the end is hurl insults.

            Hilarity ensues.

            In short, the claims of both Proyect and “Oakland Pete” are unsupported by facts.

            Sorry, comrade “Trot”. You had your li’l shot and blew it spectacularly.

      • Evangelista
        May 7, 2018 at 8:17 pm

        “You falsely put words in Ms. Portman’s mouth. She did not say she had no problem with previous atrocities.”

        Is it better to block such a comment from appearing than to allow another another poster, better informed, to post a refutation, or, in case none does within a specific time, post the refutation, yourself?

        Blocking erroneous interpretations leaves the errors in the wild, where they may grow and fester. Providing legitimate documented refutation is educating. And it provides a posted refutation others may cite, or copy and paste, to spread the education.

        Consider also the interesting case of the ‘GW’ that Zachary Smith ascribes “documented with made-up “facts” and “research””. In scientific fact, while planet Terra is warming, the causes are not those ascribed by the proselytizers of the GW Religion, and the “cures” propounded by the GW Religion’s crusaders exacerbate the planet’s problems, rather than ameliorate any [e.g., you do not resolve a carbon over-production problem by refusing to burn dead stuff (called ‘fossil’) and killing to burn live stuff (vegetal matter) that is the planet’s primary carbon-converting and oxygen freeing mechanism]. If you make “trolls” of, and censor, the voices that speak against the current “True Belief and Currently Undeniable conviction” you silence dissenting voices and become part of the propaganda dissemination system.

        I would suggest putting the informatgion out there and encouraging discussion, requiring only that it be cogent and to topic and not deliberately inflamatory

        • Abe
          May 7, 2018 at 11:41 pm

          Allegations that are unsupported by facts violate the CN comment policy. It’s pretty straightforward.

          “Evangelista” (May 7, 2018 at 8:17 pm) averred that “Providing legitimate documented refutation is educating. And it provides a posted refutation others may cite, or copy and paste, to spread the education”.

          “Evangelista” (May 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm) found actual posted fact-based refutation “pointless and tedious”.

          A propaganda dissemination system masquerading as group of “dissenting voices” can make use of such cognitive dissonance.

          • Curious
            May 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm

            Abe, stuck in a rut:
            I’m sure you’ve heard the adage that ‘facts don’t lie, but liars use facts’

            Your argument is trivial, and to include me again in your deluded troll list from last Nov ‘17 means you don’t read well. In that thread I said specifically that you could just post a simple note that you consider my ‘facts’ wrong about the dual citizens. That clarification would have taken all of a minute, but you had to drone on and on, which is your abusing style. I was actually thinking of people like Wolfowitz, Chertoff, Bolton (God help us), Scooter Libby, Frum, Faith, Schlesinger, Fleisher, Grossman, Abrams, Adelina, Lieberman, Haas, and Richard Perle to name just a few.

            If you had all of your oars in the water, this correction by you could have been a simple post and yet you carried it beyond the weeds and into your tedious, fixated brain. You are still going back to Nov when I made it clear that a correction was warranted. I didn’t need to apologize for the question I asked, just a correction was warented. That you are still steaming from last Nov also means you are way to fixated in proving some point that has been ‘peated and repeated’ over and over again on this site. The fact that Joe Laurie answered you came at a great surprise, as you should just be ignored.

            Many people offer information from their wide range of life experiences and there are people posting in their 80s. Would you pretend they have no empirical evidence to support their thoughts? They should provide a link to talk about an experience in the Korean War? You seem to think so. And lastly, you don’t seem to be aware of the fact that there are many, many false links out there which can deliberately corrupt a computer. If you don’t know this please take a computer course at a very elementary level, most likely taught by a 10 year old. By providing links, if they are close to bogus, will infect the other commentators computers and you will be to blame. Fortunately most of the people on this site are hip to these issues and are careful, but not all. For this reason, and this reason alone I don’t provide links by rule. In todays world it’s safer and less sorrowful in general.

            If you study up on Vault 7 and the Snowden docs you may not provide multiple links either. Providing a link is not a great way to prove the facts of an argument unless one is very careful, and often times or not it is just another persons opinion. Do I need to provide a link to prove I worked the Olympics and have intimate knowledge with WADA and the IOC? Or the many other events I’ve had close to the power players just to prove to you some of things I say are true?

            Of course not, but you would label me a “troll” because I didn’t link my experiences or thoughts. Get over this ridiculous phase in your life. If you consider one a troll, just pass over their post, as I will be doing with yours in the future.

          • Abe
            May 13, 2018 at 11:23 pm

            The Hasbara troll team posting under the user name “Curious” keeps spewing these incoherent posts.

            “Curious” is still fumbling with that “dual citizens” Hasbara propaganda canard so generously spewed in multiple October 2017 comments for “Blaming Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’” and “How Netanyahu Pulls Trump’s Strings”.

            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/18/blaming-russia-for-the-internet-sewer/

            Trolls typically use propaganda statements masquerading as questions.

            “Curious” and pals clearly do not like having their repeated shenanigans exposed.

            They’d much prefer a li’l “note” or “one line”, or better yet a “pass”, instead of the complete debunking of their BS.

            And trolls definitely don’t want CN readers viewing their previous history of shenanigans.

            That’s why hilarious comrade “Curious” wants to discourage us all from clicking any links.

        • Abe
          May 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

          Propaganda dissemination system:

          “WC” (May 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm)
          “Let’s see the proof and the facts”

          “WC” (May 6, 2018 at 11:39 pm)
          “delete this entire conversation”

          The coterie of “dissenting voices” obviously can’t decide about “putting the informatgion [sic] out there and encouraging discussion” or not.

          Hilarity (“conservative views” trolling) ensues.

          • Evangelista
            May 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

            These, your comments here, Hasbara Troll Abe, are excellent examples of snippy and snipey argumentative attack Troll posts.

          • Curious
            May 15, 2018 at 3:10 am

            Of the names posted above, which ones are not dual Israel citizens Abe. Clear it up once and for all. Start with Wolfowitz and move on from there.

            You cal it “fumbling”. Please clarify that I am wrong in my list above without generalizations which ignor the question, as you us usually do.

          • Abe
            May 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

            Team Hasbara troll “Curious” – still pushing the debunked “Israeli dual citizens” propaganda canard – is the one obliged to “clear it up”.

            But “Curious” has already been proven wrong.

            In a comment (May 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm) on this page, the “Curious” specifically names rabidly pro-Israel – but non-Jewish and non-“Israeli dual citizen” – war hawk John “Bolton (God help us)”, who Trump appointed as the National Security Advisor.

            “Curious” made the claim.

            “Curious” is the one who needs to “clarify” exactly “which ones” are “Israeli dual citizens”.

            In typical troll fashion, “Curious” makes allegations unsupported by facts, and then loudly demands others do the work.

            “Curious” started spewing back in October 2017
            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/18/blaming-russia-for-the-internet-sewer/

            As detailed in October, the “Israeli dual citizens” canard is a stellar example of Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel”, “anti-Zionist” and fake “anti-Jewish” or “anti-Semitic”) propaganda that gets ramped up whenever Israel needs additional propaganda diversions.

            Like Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel or pro-Zionist) propaganda, the primary purpose of Inverted Hasbara false flag propaganda is to divert attention from Israeli military actions, and to provide cover for pro-Israel Lobby activities.

            The Hasbara propaganda canard inserted by “Curious” came into prominence after the Israel-initiated war Lebanon in 2006. Israel’s shaky military performance, flooding of south Lebanon cluster munitions, use of white phosphorus in civilian areas brought censure. Further Israeli attacks on Gaza brought increasing pressure on the neocon-infested Bush administration for its backing of Israel.

            A Facebook post titled, “List of Politicians with Israeli Dual Citizenship,” started circulating. The post mentioned “U.S. government appointees who hold powerful positions and who are dual American-Israeli citizens.”

            With the change of US administration in 2008, new versions of the post appeared with headlines such as “Israeli Dual Citizens in the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration.” Common versions included 22 officials currently or previously with the Obama administration, 27 House members and 13 senators.

            The posts were false for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the misrepresentation of Israeli nationality law.

            The details are presented in the link above. That’s why “Curious” – who is allergic to facts like the rest of his pals at Team Hasbara – is so frightened by links.

    • Anon
      May 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Zachary, you are a valuable commenter and should stay with us.
      The occasional troll attack or deletion of a comment is irritating, but tolerable.
      There is sometimes no viewpoint censoring involved as I have found.

      The basis for moderation or removal should be stated if the website code permits.
      This would be a great relief to those unsure whether they said said too much, used a certain word, etc.
      I have made several moderate comments that were deleted despite containing no naughty words, etc., and would have been far less troubled about that if the status and reason had been stated before it disappeared.

    • Abe
      May 8, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      A very active Hasbara propaganda dissemination system takes a definite interest in independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News, notwithstanding the efforts of trolls who insist that it and they do not exist here at CN.

      So what do we have here?

      A comment concerning the Hasbara work by an Israeli actress was blocked.

      Why?

      Because it falsely put words in Ms. Portman’s mouth.

      OK. Reasonable comment moderation.

      Portman most definitely is engaged in Hasbara work, and the factual basis for that allegation is her actual statements.

      However, the point is: Do not make allegations that are unsupported by facts.

      Of course, some non-existing troll will complain in three separate posts that it’s all “stupid” (“stupid” is not a fact, by the way – apparently it’s a “conservative view”, aka an opinion, like most of what spews from non-existing trolls).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8alQkH9Cto

  15. Eddie
    May 6, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    As a frequent ‘Comments’ reader, but an infrequent commenter, I’ll just throw my two cents (with ‘inflation’?) in here regarding the ‘Comments Policy’ :

    1.) Even disregarding the ‘slippery-slope’ argument, the filtering of “… ad hominem attacks, abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, sexist, homophobic, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts, as well as gross or misleading factual errors” would seem to be a tough task to execute in a TIMELY manner. Although there isn’t a large group of regular commenters, the ones that do comment have a knack for that (and I’m always amazed at how lengthy and yet erudite & knowledgeable MANY of them are) and can be prolific and engender numerous responses from other regulars but also trolls, which can/could be very time-consuming to patrol and moderate. While I personally feel that use of vulgar language in a ‘formal’ argument is counterproductive (and a logic error, being a subtle ‘appeal to emotion’), I don’t have a big problem with another individual telling me or someone else to ‘get fucked’ or similar epithet (though I’ve never done that myself, and would see it as a de facto admission that I’ve lost the debate and can’t think of anything rational to say), as long as it doesn’t turn into hectoring situation where the angry individual follows myself or others around on this website (or other websites). However, when the ‘comment’/argument turns to physical threats against other commenters (unlikely though they are to ever be carried-out), I for one think that they should be censored and removed since it’s getting to illegal territory (ie; I can’t go down the street to a neighborhood bar and tell someone “I’m going to kill you!” without some potential legal sanction, which law I agree with.)
    2.) I agree with the ‘spam’ filter — I don’t think any of us come to this website to learn how someone purportedly ‘made thousands of dollars a week working at home with no training!’ or a ‘vacation time-share that’s just incredible!’, etc, etc, and if left unfiltered, those sort of ‘offers’ could quickly render this comments section (and any other website’s) unreadable.
    3.) I agree with the use of pseudonyms. I actually use one in all my comments on this and other websites because I have a relatively unusual name and when I’ve Googled it, it turns up as the ONLY one in the country/world. A number of years ago, after the RE-election of W, in frustration and in a moment of ‘authenticity’, for the first time I posted an angry lament using my real name to a comments section on another website. A year or so later some co-workers who had Googled my name started kidding me about reading my ‘angry rant’. Now I’m not ashamed of what I wrote, but I work in a company in one of the ‘red-est’ counties of one of the ‘red-est’ states in the mid-west, and from everything I’ve been able to discern, I probably have the most ‘Left’ viewpoints in the whole ~150 person office. I have a job in logistics that requires a significant amount of concentration and is often frustrating enough, so I DON’T need the distraction of getting into daily arguments with co-workers just to hear them repeat hackneyed right-wing arguments at me (even when those arguments obviously conflict with their OWN economic well-being), where’s there’s NO realistic hope of changing their opinions in any significant degree AND then I have to work with them 15 minutes later on some problem where I need their help. IF we could all rationally exchange viewpoints and come up with policies based on a humanistic ethos, then we wouldn’t have ever evolved to the political state that we’re currently in (and pretty much have-been in since the inception of this country). I suspect many other commenters have similar situations and beliefs.
    4.) I’m neutral on the ‘background color’ display discussion, but I don’t like the recent ‘sorting’ change to the comments. As I’ve noted previously, I think this could be resolved by just have a minor modification to the software whereby the USER could define the sequence of the sort of the comments by a setting that he/she could change on the comments section. That way if I wanted to see oldest comments first, I could, but if John Smith wanted to see newest comments first, he could. I’ve seen this on another website and programmatically speaking, this isn’t a tough request (well, maybe IF this is run on SAP it would be!) — find some 13 yr old techie to do it for you…

  16. alley cat
    May 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    “. . . comments should avoid . . . racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia) . . .“

    I hope CN editors will keep their anti-isms straight. Anti-Semitism is racism, as is Zionism. So, anti-Zionism is anti-racism, not anti-Semitism. But I suppose I’m preaching to the choir, because everyone on CN figured out this ploy a long time ago. Right? I’m not so sure, because there is a literal army of paid hasbara propaganda trolls that infiltrate and disrupt internet forums, and they are expert at tarring anti-Zionists with the anti-Semitic smear. Zionists want to be unreconstructed racist supremacists and at the same time play the role of victims of racism. (Goys are racists, but Zionists are . . . God’s chosen people!)

    If they get their way, they’ll legislate their doubletalk and doublethink into our criminal code, and when they do, we’ll not only get banned from websites for attacking Zionist racism, we’ll get sent to Gitmo to boot. But Putin is the real threat to U.S. democracy!

  17. Deniz
    May 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

    This is a troublesome comment; however, I appreciate the difficult situation CN is in and give my two cents because I care about the site.

    Firstly, I belonged to a different, but similar website with brilliant political commentators from all over the world. Whenever there is serious political discussions in place, there will always be a certain number of people who see the world in a very myopic way and resort to distortions to win political arguments. These people are often in greatest conflict with the people on the other side of the spectrum, those on top of the political discourse, with the sharpest minds often comes the sharpest elbows; one commentor here on CN in particular, with almost an encylopedic knowledge of history of the middle east comes into mind. What I have experienced in this site, was that If you eliminate the sharp minds from debate through censorship, CN will see the beginning of its demise.

    Secondly, you mentioned anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I will leave anti-Semitism for others to address, and will speak of Islamophobia. As a Turkish American with a great deal of relatives, direct contact with Turkey, I believe I have this right. While I appreciate that many less erudite bloggers on other websites may look at the billion plus Muslims as one monolithic cyborg beast, I have not seen any of that nonsense on CN. What is clear on discussions on Islam on this site, is that the disparagement of Muslims is not about the majority of Muslims, who have been treated with great sympathy by the bloggers on this site, but instead about the Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia and the Radical influences of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Turkey; and in that, the secular Turks that I know live in constant fear of their menacing presence. The greatly needed education system in Turkey is being slowly eroded through an Islamist agenda. The possibility of Sharia law in Turkey, which until the past few years was considered pure fantasy, is now a very realistic possibility. The question then, is who are these Muslim Brotherhood invaders? Where did they come from, Who sponsors them? Is there source and their operations through violence an indigenous phenomenon or are they the paid mercenaries of outside actors? The answer to these questions are something that very few people have the insights, historical background and interest to answer. Where can I go, but a few websites, to have frank discussions on this subject? I have a right to know the truth as does the rest of the world.

    Finally, lets be honest, undoubtedly, a public site such as CN has a vast amount of political pressure to crack down on “anti-semitism”. Best of luck in fighting that battle, I hope you can sustain the open policies, but I personally understand and appreciate the pressure you and the board must be under in regards to this issue.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Consortium News does not block comments based on a political viewpoint thus we have no intention of eliminating the “sharp minds from debate.” We are under no pressure from any quarter.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    May 6, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I say, why censor anybody? I’ll admit that although this isn’t my site that I will agree to play by the rules, but why even have rules when we are talking about freedom of expression. The intelligent will rise to the surface, as sure as the ignorant will be ignored. A troll is a troll, so what. I mean what’s the difference between an agitating troll and a commenter with a diverse opinion? People get offended by off colored language, but seriously as adults can’t we just ignore the back alley lingo?

    There is nothing better than a congenial conversation, but when it’s less than congenial I say deal with it. We Americans are at each other’s throats, so I take this to mean that all of our conversations can not necessarily be warm and cuddly. People need to express themselves. Not all people are polite, as not all people are rude, so let people be who they are.

    The moderation is frustrating especially when you don’t know why you have been moderated. This aspect of comment function is annoying. Maybe post a disclaimer to why your comment got moderated. If not, then wait for it to appear.

    In any regard please keep the comment section open for comments.

    Personally I have enjoyed commenting amongst this herd of intellects on the Consortium so I hope this function will be continued to be offered. Joe

    • May 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      I agree with Joe T. Perhaps as a matter of practicality, however, perhaps CN should consider allowing all comments, no matter how offensive, up to say 250 words. Then cut it off. I also read Truthdig, and sometimes comment there. I think I know a fair amount of history, but sometimes get into disputes with other commenters who haven’t read or don’t agree with what I’ve read, or in some cases, actually experienced. Censorship is a very trick business.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Joe, these rules have been in place since 2012.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 6, 2018 at 4:31 pm

        I knew that, I’m not upset with anything you are doing. I’m only stating my opinion. I’m on board with ya Joe, no problem here. Joe

    • Oakland Pete
      May 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      I fully agree. If CN is going to block someone, at least have the courtesy to inform them about the reason. That gives the commenter the option of cleaning up the offending aspect. Otherwise, the blocking smacks of censorship. This is especially true when the article itself is provocative with a broad brush of insult, as is the case with the Johnstone article on Trotskyism.

  19. May 6, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Thank you for this.

    • May 6, 2018 at 10:19 am

      And I would like to second the motion for ‘oldest’ comments first. It is easier to follow a conversion or the progress of thoughts from the top down.

  20. Joe
    May 6, 2018 at 9:16 am

    A very timely article. In recent weeks, there has been a rash of what I would characterize as radical, intransigent posts. Any thinking person would conclude that, after repeating your logical, critical viewpoint, and to be continually barraged with ad hominem epithets, for the apparent reason that your countervailing viewpoint is not acceptable (a hallmark liberal/New Left tactic) to the ‘troll’ (let’s call them that), that there is a concerted effort at CENSORSHIP and BIAS across the entire electronic medium. Conservative views, especially, seem to be targeted. Personally, I have no issue with being ‘harassed’, as my points are not rubbish, and as a disciple of J.S. Mill, and his salient points explained in “On Liberty”, I feel that nothing should be suppressed. It is a curious observation that “antisemitism” is always mentioned in any and all disclaimers and policies. Specifically. That can be, and usually is, a huge umbrella, as is what now comes under the umbrella of ‘racist’. There is a whole new paradigm where, as in criticism of israel, or Jewish policies, any criticism of certain ethnicities (White denunciation is fair game, however) is not allowed, no matter how based in fact it is. I feel that we are over the edge of that slippery slope at this point, as rational, critical discussion, outside of the mass media’s position, is essentially taboo. Facebook, Youtube, etc. are all finished for critical discussion. Period. There is probably a golden opportunity for an avenue of totally free speech right now, but the way things are going, there will be outright, legal bans (as there already are in places) on open dialectic outside of sanctioned ‘viewpoints’ very soon. We are now living Orwell. Very sad.

    • Abe
      May 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks for mentioning John Stuart Mill’s philosophy, Joe.

      In Chapter II On Liberty, Mill stated;

      “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

      Mill aimed to show that there should be no attempt “to control the expression of opinion” (On Liberty, Chapter XVIII).

      However, in Chapter XVIII of On Liberty, Mill emphasized not only liberty but a character-focused ethic, stating that it “really is of importance, not only what men do, but also what manner of men they are that do it”.

      Mill’s concern, throughout On Liberty, is to preserve the individual’s freedom not only in the face of the threat of legislative or state coercion, but from the threat of more insidious forms of social coercion.

      Mill understood that political propaganda specifically aims to control the freedom of expression.

      Mill recognized that propaganda campaigns can be more dangerously controlling than formal acts of tyranny, “penetrating much more deeply […] and enslaving the soul itself” (On Liberty, Chapter XVIII).

      Mill held that individuals are themselves free to form unfavorable opinions about the character of others. We are free to remonstrate with an individual, to avoid him, and to encourage others to avoid the person – that is our right.

      Half-readings of Mill’s utilitarian philosophy have been invoked to support the “freedom” to indulge in racist and ethnic discriminatory “viewpoints”. This sort of Inept philosophizing and outright intellectual dishonesty is all too common in Right Wing attacks on Liberals/the Left.

      There is no freedom without responsibility, and there is no free speech without responsible rational discourse.

      Therefore, we definitely are free (in Mill’s thought, at least) to identify a propaganda troll as a troll, and to point out the illogic of a propagandist so-called “argument”.

      • Joe
        May 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm

        Abe- you are very welcome, sir. On Liberty is a lofty read, and after perhaps three rereads, it all falls into place. My high regard for CN is reaffirmed by your comment, and your general input here. I do not comment much, but I hope to contribute more, as I have just been banned from commenting on youtube for reasons unknown, save for a countervailing opinion to the leftist/radical rubbish proffered to be divisive and antagonistic. I posted here a week ago favoring inviting the ‘trolls’, for if they are identified, and blocked, we suppress free speech, number one, and, secondarily, we quash the opportunity to expose them. I, personally, find them entertaining.

  21. Al Pinto
    May 6, 2018 at 9:16 am

    “We also strongly encourage commenters to use their real names and avoid pseudonyms unless there is a legitimate reason to do so.”

    That does not sound like that this “encouragement” is enforced in any way. If that’s the case, why put it in the policy? It maybe CN that had “legitimate reason” to do so…

    In today’s polarized world, opinions are at the extreme on both sides. As long as the comments are not spam and/or personal attack, what difference does it make? CN in itself full with articles that are anti-Zionist, anti-establishment, anti-MSM, anti-MIC, anti-ETC. Some of these anti-whatev articles could be viewed as attacks against politicians, LEOs, oligarchs, etc. What do you expect from your readers?

    PS: I do agree with most of the CN articles, even if they are on the opposite end of the MSM articles…

  22. H.Trickler
    May 6, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Imho this new comment policy looks too slippery and not worthy of the late founders intent.

    Example: Ad hominem should only be censured when it is litigable.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      This is the exact comments policy of Mr. Parry with the additions of the words “homophobic” and “sexist.” His policy against abusive language against other commentators or writers was refined with the addition of the term “ad hominem” attacks, which is what he was referring to.

      • H.Trickler
        May 6, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Thank you for confirming that_ you_ added “ad hominem”.

        • Consortiumnews.com
          May 6, 2018 at 2:20 pm

          The comments policy is the same as Bob Parry’s, which has been on the site for years.

          • Evangelista
            May 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm

            Differing policies of application produce difference of policy.

            Current Consortium News comment content clearly evidences a difference in “comments policy”, even if you have preserved the words.

            It is the same as is found with the United States Constitution, where “interpretings” have rendered support for, and to, a Police State the words of the Constitution were carefully vetted to not provide support.

  23. Annie
    May 6, 2018 at 8:21 am

    My comments were too often put under moderation only to be reinstated unaltered, and for none of the reasons indicated above. None! I think you should acknowledge you have made mistakes, and it felt more like censorship which is what you rightly so complain about in mainstream media on this site.. It was a real turnoff, and no apologies were made, or reasons given. I think you owed your readership and contributors that much. None of this to my recollection happened when Mr. Parry was running this site. Why the demand that real names be used? I never saw such demands made by other sites I’ve been on. I no longer comment on this site and that is the main reason. Even the suggestion that you may question a writers perspective, which was not the case with me, was put under moderation. Free speech?

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Annie, as explained above, some comments are automatically pulled out for moderation. If they are found not to be in violation of the comments policy they are restored, exactly as indicated above. The “mistake” is made by the automated system, not a human editor. This is the exact comments policy of Mr. Parry with the additions of the words “homophobic” and “sexist.” His policy against abusive language against other commentators or writers was refined with the addition of the term “ad hominem” attacks. There is no “demand” that real names be used, only encouragement. And there are sites on the web that indeed require real names to be used.

      • Annie
        May 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        “….some comments are automatically pulled out for moderation.” Automatically? Why? In comments I made there was no reason that they should automatically be pulled out which seems quite arbitrary indeed. All my comments were restored as posted, because there was no reason to place them under moderation. All very arbitrary, and the reason I found it offensive. In one comment I disagreed with something someone said, but in no way was impolite, or attacking, yet it went under moderation then restored, as were the others. I never made a racist, ethnic, anti-Semitic, or homophobic comment. In one comment I suspected it went under moderation because it was thought that I was in disagreement with the author of the article, and I wasn’t, but even if I were there is no reason to moderate that. I have every right to disagree with the views of any published author. You don’t acknowledge in your comment policies that at one point this site acknowledged it was having problems in moderating posts, and no doubt was a response to Mike’s comment on this issue. Zackary also requested that you have his e-mail address, and asked you to explain to him why too many of his comments were put under moderation. That would be nice. It’s extremely off putting, to say the least, when a news website dedicated to freedom of speech and ideas no longer found in the main stream media does this to you so repeatedly, and for what appears to be no reason.

        • Consortiumnews.com
          May 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm

          The automated moderation system is clearly imperfect. We do not have the staff to moderate every comment in real time and must rely on this system.

          • Annie
            May 6, 2018 at 5:31 pm

            Get it fixed, and I’m not being mean. You acknowledged it was not running as it should when Mike commented. It did get worse. Sorry.

  24. May 6, 2018 at 7:22 am

    All the suggestions are reasonable, it is troubling for example when someone attacks another using name calling or motivation as weapons. The concern is moderation creep, the rush to purity hiding behind an agenda. Of course, so often it is about anti-Semitism and Zionism and the deliberate attempt to discredit commenters and writers by placing the anti-Semitism label on those who criticize Zionist behavior.Targeted sites have a very difficult time dealing with this subject, and like so many others of our society, they simply give in. It requires, understandably, a higher standard of truth when criticizing Israel or Jewish influence in America. I think CN has done that in its articles and commenters. Trying to be objective about the Middle East is a very lonely place to be. I hope that does not continue and CN has helped. So have many prominent Jewish scholars troubled by the history and current situation in the Middle East, America and Europe and write to distance themselves from the prevailing narrative. Again, I put in a plug for Jews For Peace who offer hope to a troubled region.

  25. May 6, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Re: print problems with the current theme settings described above. There are options other than reverting the page background to white. There are many WordPress plugins offering print options that strip the .CSS theming. E.g., https://wordpress.org/plugins/print-post-and-page/

    Personally, I like the current background. It’s not nearly as hard on the eyes as a white background, which forces me to dim the screen’s contrast. See https://alternativeto.net/software/xcalib/

  26. May 6, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Despite being a free speech advocate in most contexts, I support limited censorship of comments along the lines of this site’s comment policy. Nothing would drive me away from reading the comments faster than an overdose of SPAM, ad hominem attacks, or racist b******t. This site, being operated by folk outside government, is not subject to First Amendment restrictions. Maintaining a polite conversation is not an unworthy goal. And for people who want to spew garbage, there are plenty of sites on the Web that tolerate it.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you Paul for your comments. The new background is indeed intended to make it easier on the eyes, especially when reading at night. We will look into the plugin you mention, thank you for suggesting it. And thanks for understanding the intent of the comments policy.

  27. Jim
    May 6, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Please return to the policy of printing oldest comments FIRST. The current method (newest comments first) makes participating in, or following, a discussion on an article extremely difficult. If there are more than a handful of comments, one has to scroll all the way to the bottom, and then read them in a manner opposite to everything else we read!

    • mike k
      May 6, 2018 at 7:10 am

      I second your motion Jim. Reading from the bottom up is awkward and confusing.

    • alley cat
      May 6, 2018 at 8:41 am

      I agree. Posting oldest comments first makes threads much easier to follow.

    • jose
      May 6, 2018 at 10:43 am

      I could not agree with you more.

    • Eddie
      May 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Although I’ve noted it previously, I just want to add to this comment string (in the hope that the website operators are ‘tallying’ this, informally if not otherwise) that I think this could be resolved by just have a minor modification to the software whereby the USER could define the sequence of the sort of the comments by a setting that he/she could change on the comments section. That way if I wanted to see oldest comments first, I could, but if John Smith wanted to see newest comments first, he could. I’ve seen this on another website and programmatically speaking, this isn’t a tough request.

      • Consortiumnews.com
        May 6, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Unfortunately it is not a minor modification. We do not currently have that option but are looking into a plug-in that would allow readers to choose the order of comments.

        • Nancy
          May 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

          I am looking forward to that day as it’s difficult to follow the often-illuminating discussions from the bottom up.

        • Eddie
          May 7, 2018 at 10:24 pm

          Oh, it’s unfortunate that your software isn’t flexible that way. But at least you can take solace in knowing that your sorting sequence is much easier to follow than the Comments section over at CommonDreams…

    • Dave P.
      May 7, 2018 at 3:46 am

      Yes, I agree.

  28. john landis
    May 6, 2018 at 6:10 am

    any kind of censorship or blocking of comments is unacceptable. you pretend to be free speech advocates? who’s censoring you?

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      No one. Every reputable website has a comments policy.

  29. alley cat
    May 6, 2018 at 5:58 am

    “We also strongly encourage commenters to use their real names and avoid pseudonyms unless there is a legitimate reason to do so.”

    I’m glad you didn’t proscribe pseudonyms because (in my opinion) there’s always a legitimate reason to use one.

    I support this website because it prints the truth, without regard to political correctness.

    My opinions, like the journalism I seek out, tend to be politically incorrect, and in our current political climate of government- and news media-orchestrated hysteria, I prefer not to needlessly expose myself or my family to possible abuse, harassment, or even violence.

    Of course, using a pseudonym doesn’t protect us from government surveillance, but it does put a barrier between us and garden-variety haters and cranks.

    • Radical Pragmatist
      May 6, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Agree. Moreover, many (most?) people do not want to co-mingle their political and professional lives.

      PC run amok now invites Stalinist reprisals for engaging in lawful activities protected by the First Amendment that do not comport with corporate, university and MSM dogma. Note: see Brendan Eich and Mozilla.

      People should be able to express their opinions without the fear of retribution from their employers or customers.

    • Broompilot
      May 6, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      I agree as well. And some are well known in here, and elsewhere, by their alias.

  30. Jason Kennedy
    May 6, 2018 at 5:55 am

    The comments don’t display well when viewing the site on a smartphone. The issue is the repeated indenting of replies. Perhaps any reply after the first could just keep with being indented once, rather than +1 each time. Would not take a developer any trouble to fix.

  31. Blake.
    May 6, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Hello, this is the number one best site for unbiased news, in my opinion. This has nothing to do with comments, but as Curious note above, above, I dislike the new colored background format. Please go back to white. CM also has the best layout and is the easiest to read of all the other sites, in my opinion. Thanks!

    • mike k
      May 6, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Agreed. White background is better. Why make these unnecessary changes??

  32. john wilson
    May 6, 2018 at 4:35 am

    The problem with censorship, which is in effect any deletion of comments, is that it takes on a life of its own until even the most benign comment or observation is somehow seen as a threat. The MSM has become so devoid of challenging, or even mild questioning, that its no longer worth even the time to look at it. I no longer give even a cursory glance at the BBC and other main news channels in the UK, because I can see a total lack of, or even a pretense at objectivity. The reason consortium news and other similar sites are so successful is because THEY ARE objective, questioning and presenting another side of the story. Even so, if it weren’t for the comments I probably wouldn’t spend so much time reading these sites. Oh how I wish there was an entirely free section for comments for the MSM, if there was I suggest we would have an entirely different MSM than we do currently. Our MSM is no longer a news outlet, its a tyranny of lies and views foisted upon the people with no challenge or redress. If consortium news goes the same way the future of objective information is grim indeed!

    • john wilson
      May 6, 2018 at 4:49 am

      PS. to my post. Its worth bearing in mind that a state in the US (I forget which one for the moment) has just passed a law which states that it is a criminal offence for anyone to criticize Israel in any shape or form. When a so called democratic state says you can’t accuse a country of killing unarmed protesters (the Palestinians in this case) we have a police sate and a tyranny. Ironically, some of the US soldiers in Syria may well come from this state and are there because (as the US says) to protect civilians against their own government.

      • May 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm

        The US state in question is South Carolina.

    • Coleen Rowley
      May 6, 2018 at 5:51 am

      Democracy is always going to be messy and there are no perfect rules of the road. The trick is to encourage the widest range of comments but like all free speech protected by the First Amendment, there must be some limits at its outer edges like the proverbial “crying fire in a crowded theater.” This is especially difficult in our increasingly polarized, uncivil wider environment, conditioned by 17 years of perpetual war, where people often think of or threaten violence as their answer to problems or things they don’t like or agree with.

      I saw this happen at Huffington as it morphed into a mainstream-lamestream outfit and long before it sold out to Big Media. The Huffington Post after it was founded by Arianna Huffington got more and more popular and this was especially due to what was then its novel encouragement of ordinary, volunteer (but many of them celebrity) blog writers and its novel allowing of posting of comments. But after a while of coming in for criticism due to some bad comments, it eventually had to hire “editors” to read and monitor all comments. Paid Huffington writers/reporter professionals also gradually took over most of the content on the site. Of course this eventually ended some of its populist appeal and reduced reader interest, turning it into just another mainstream site.

      I think Facebook has the same problems but the ability of individuals to “defriend” and block probably works as a safety valve to some extent. The only real solution is to somehow get back to a more civil society but that’s going to be hard.

      • Jake G
        May 7, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        There are very good rules. Unlike in some not so free countries, in the USA youre allowed to even give the finger to a policeman, if you dont like what hes doing or saying. In Germany you would have to pay 4000 Euro, if you did that (yes, its actually listed).

        Free speech doesnt only regulate a democracy in terms of political views, its also regulating hate and violence. Who do you think is more likely to act violently at some point? The one who can always say his opinion out loud and thus can vent, or the one who never is allowed to say what he thinks and has to swallow everything?
        Thats actually proved very well in psychology.

  33. Curious
    May 6, 2018 at 4:16 am

    CN,

    I understand the policy and agree with most of your thinking, but the use of real names may defeat the purpose of sharing ideas, even in a ‘no ad hominem’ world. I don’t believe people are deliberately masking themselves for nefarious purposes (well, most people, that is) but if one were to read the morphing over the past year or so there are a lot of ‘beat downs’ going on in the comment section. Most of the people on this site could intellectually tear any idea to shreds if they wanted to. The question is whether they want to or not.

    I had an uncomfortable ‘beat down’ last year from those who think everyone is a troll, and/or somehow are agenda driven. As unpleasant as it was for me to experience it would be worse if people are taking names and numbers.

    I saw a thread at the early parts of this year where Joe Tedesky, who is the epitome of gentle comments, got hammered by an individual who became all hot and bothered, because Joe must be a Russian troll for some reason, and the commenter ‘mouth-spitted’ out a rant with a comment along the lines of ‘if I ever meet any of you people I will turn you into hamburger’ or something of equal phrasing (I deliberately forgot it) and it reminded me of the anger and Angst currently running amuck in the US.

    I enjoyed the return of Sanford, and his wide ranging word lexicon, and suddenly he became a fascist somehow. He was also asked if he lived in the Bay Area. The comment wasn’t a threat I don’t think, except for the ‘I’ll see you across the barricades ‘ etc etc. Most of the commenters come from a wide range of experiences and they contribute a lot to the articles. And they can contribute some wisdom and/or knowledge to those of us who are less informed

    I hope these two contributors don’t mind if I mentioned their names. My point is, with the use of the internet today, people can be found and harassed in their place of work, home or vehicle for simply sharing an idea. I think CN should consider the environment we have today and how ‘privacy’ seems to be forgotten and outright quaint. I also know it was only a suggestion on the part of CN.

    Finally, by adding a colored background to the articles, will make it harder to print and share with the people who won’t take the time to hop on this site. It’s harder because their printer ink will run dry.

    Thank you CN.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 6, 2018 at 11:02 am

      I think that person who accused me of being a Russian troll was my wife.

      Sorry, when I read this comment to my wife, she laughed saying that was her. It wasn’t but it’s funny ….. Dave P are you reading this?

      Curious it’s okay you used my name, as you referenced it.

      Keep the comment section as it is….. just control that moderation algorithm better.

      • Dave P.
        May 7, 2018 at 4:31 am

        Joe, I have made some compromises for the sake of family peace. So I am not punctual as I used to be in following up on comments. I read quite a bit of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writings about Stalinist times – censorship, neighbor informing against neighbor, all forms of suppression and all that. We are not there yet. But with all what is going on for some time now in Media, especially on MSNBC, CNN, and PBS, it is beginning to have some similar type of effect.

        I agree with you comments. We must use this freedom as long as we have it – you never know what is future going to bring.

      • Mathew Neville
        May 8, 2018 at 11:05 pm

        Joe Tedesky says this ” I honestly can’t think of another site quite like the Consortium”in one of his comments to day & I would like to respectfully recomend Information Clearing House.com

        Also my comment yesterday was not posted & the comment I was respectfully replying to has now been removed.

    • Abe
      May 6, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      The poster claims there are “a lot of ‘beat downs’ going on” at CN.

      The poster claims to have had “an uncomfortable ‘beat down’ last year from those who think everyone is a troll”.

      The poster assures us that the “experience” was “unpleasant”.

      The poster makes a peculiar reference to “taking names”, but it’s not the first time the poster has reference the phrase:

      See the curious comments by this poster at
      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/23/the-israel-gate-side-of-russia-gate/

      One need not mention names to recognize that identifying a “poster’s” trolling behavior is not argumentum ad hominem.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      May 6, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      In the print functions of both Chrome and Safari there is an option to eliminate the background color before printing.

      • Curious
        May 6, 2018 at 11:26 pm

        Yes CN, That is correct, or many printers can be switched to B&W only. I was defending some of the elderly people I know who enjoy sharing articles with their friends who like the feel of paper, and they don’t have that option. Do what you want, I was just weighing in for some of my elderly friends. It just seemed unnecessary, as if someone wanted to just ‘jazz up the site somehow’ using their BeeGees disco influences earlier in life, minus the spinning ball of course.

        Thanks for the reply.

        I didn’t see any reply though to the thought that real names may put people in an awkward, or even in a violent encounter with the hate mongers out roaming the US just looking to pick a fight with any humans who have ideas they can’t intellectually challenge, so anger and violence sometimes becomes in play. A few ‘alt-right’ types wanting to prove a point for example. This has to be a concern with todays tracking and face recognition software available to most everyone, and therefore I am against using real names.

    • Oakland Pete
      May 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Unfortunately, Sanford is not the “epitome of gentle comments”, as Joe is. So he got the invitation, which was not a threat. However, it sometimes is interesting to see if those like Sanford, who practice personal insults in what you think is “wide ranging word lexicon”, are as abrasive in person as they are when hidden by the internet. As for the barricades statement, it was meant to say that the logic of his comments put him on the other side of them from me. I look to CN for a progressive perspective, but sometimes it slides toward what we see on RT. If commenters, or anyone in life for that matter, do not want a cryptic response to what they write, they should debate on topic rather than through sarcasm or insults. This particular article of Johnstone was a broad insult to a lot of us who follow CN. You, and the editors, should understand that we bristle at that and will defend ourselves, or in my case those with whom I sympathize, with vigor.

  34. Drew Hunkins
    May 6, 2018 at 2:05 am

    About two years ago Commondreams.org kicked me off their website’s comments section because I had the temerity to point out Zionist power in Washington. I would often fuse this critique with a denunciation of the Dem Party’s eschewing of class politics in favor of transexual bathrooms and upper middle class professional women’s career promotions. I always use my real name on all of the sites I post on: Consortiumnews, YouTube, Amazon, and informationclearinghouse

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