Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/18: Ethics Observations As The Snowflakes Fall

Good Morning!

1 Moral luck.  In Great Mills, Maryland, a student with a handgun entered a high school and began shooting. He was brought down by a lone, armed and trained officer before anyone was killed. In the Parkland shooting, the equivalent officer chose to avoid a confrontation. There were other material differences: yesterday’s student shooter seems to have had a specific target in mind (his ex-girl friend) whereas the Parkland shooter was juts out to kill as many kids as possible. One student carried a hand-gun (which is very difficult for anyone to acquire legally in Maryland, which has among the toughest gun laws in the country), while the Florida shooter had a semi-automatic rifle. However, the primary difference was moral luck: if a competent and courageous officer had entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and shot Nikolas Cruz before he could inflict carnage, and Deputy Blaine Gaskill, instead of almost immediately entering the school and shooting 17-year-pld Austin Wyatt Rollins dead, had done a Scot Peterson impression and remained outside, the results in Parkland and Great Mills might have been reversed. In any case, the results would not have been changed by different gun laws or demonizing the NRA and lawful gun owners, only by different responses by human beings, and the vicissitudes of moral luck.

I think Marjory Stoneman Douglas High has serious cultural and management problems that played a larger role in the massacre than gun policies. Today’s news certainly suggest that…

2. This is how puppies end up dead in airplane luggage bins…The headline that caught my eye was “Pit bull goes on rampage in elementary school.” What actually happened was that a pit bull -mix puppy got out of the yard and ran onto a nearby elementary school playground where small children were playing, they started screaming and running because their parents had either taught them to be terrified of dogs or never instructed them how to interact with them, the puppy chased the kids into the school, and began jumping and nipping, as puppies tend to do. I was taught not to run from dogs at about the age of four. The consensus later was that the dog was not aggressive, but was just stimulated by all the commotion and playing. A teacher calmed the dog. You know, dogs are a feature of our neighborhoods and communities, and failing to teach children basic dog-interaction skills is as irresponsible as not teaching them how to cross the street. Anti-pit bull hysteria doesn’t help either. “Rampage.”

Then, this morning, I watched an episode of “My Cat From Hell” on the Animal Planet cable channel. In the first segment, one of a family’s two cats was behaving aggressively, biting and scratching in response to any human contact. The reason became apparent to the cat therapist quickly: the family’s two little girls were abusing both cats, treating the more passive of the pets like a stuffed animal as the  parents laughed and took photos. The second segment was even worse. A couple had bought a Munchkin cat—which is an ethics issue itself, since these are deformed cats bred to have such short legs that they can’t climb or jump—

and apparently thought of the creature as a cute animated decoration. They had no toys or comforts for the cat, just a bare room and a litter box. “Have you ever played with your cat?” the therapist asked. “Play? Well, no, we’re both really busy,” came the response.  And the couple wanted to know why was the cat was behaving so neurotically…

3. Dull baseball ethics. Major League baseball is trying to speed up games, which are about 30 minutes longer, or 33%, than they were a couple of decades ago. Of course, the biggest reason is obvious, but MLB won’t admit it: TV commercials have added more than a minute to every half inning. Never mind: last year the game allowed intentional walks to take place by simply waving the batter to first, and umpires were instructed to stop allowing batters to step out and contemplate the universe after every pitch. A pitch clock may be on the way next season; for this year, manager time outs to talk to the pitcher are being limited for the first time. None of these measures materially affect the game itself. However, MLB has directed the minor leagues to implement a truly horrible innovation as an experiment: in extra-inning games, teams will start each inning with a runner on second base. This is a text-book example of alienating the people who admire a product in order to attract those who don’t–the New Coke phenomenon.

Millennials have the attention span of mayflies, you see, so they have a problem with baseball: not enough action, not enough concussions, not enough zombies to shoot. So the fact that an extra-inning game can require the same amount of time to watch as it takes to drive to the Delaware beaches from Northern Virginia needs to be dealt with by spoiling one of baseball unique joys—to those who understand the sport and its virtues.  Good thinking MLB! Destroy the integrity of your product to appeal to those who will never understand it anyway.

“Baseball is dull to dull minds”Red Smith. But how did the dull minds end up in charge, Red?

4. More double standards. The big story, according to the number of headlines and links, is that President Trump, against the admonishments of his advisors, congratulated Putin for his automatic victory in the recent Russian elections, which, as we all know, are rigged. Trump phoned Putin yesterday to congratulate him for winning a fourth term and to discuss a possible summit meeting.

Quickly, Sen. John McCain, who is apparently only remaining in the Senate to exact his revenge against Trump for gratuitously minimizing his heroism as a prisoner of war, said the President “insulted” the people of Russia by congratulating Putin for winning an election whose result was never in question. “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain said.

After his last electoral victory, Putin was duly congratulated by President Obama without any outcry from the mainstream news media, Democrats, pundits, or as far as my research has revealed, McCain.

I’m not certain what is the best diplomatic treatment of such things by adversarial world leaders. A legitimate argument can be made that a simple polite gesture in the midst of a tense international relationship is a cheap way to keep lines of communications open. We have another case of something being treated as unconscionable because Trump did it. So those who already detest him will nod vigorously, and those who support Trump, or who comprehend the concepts of objectivity and fairness, will lose more of whatever remains of their trust in the news media.

5. It’s Nazi THUGS, not Nazi PUGS, you idiot! Finally, this, showing what we have to look forward to if the anti-free speech attitudes being promoted on our college campuses take over the mainstream U.S. culture. We can tell where the cyber-giants are pushing us. The story involves a dog trained to raise his paw in a canine approximation of a Nazi salute. Before you can view the silly video on YouTube, you have to face this message, and click on a button consenting to continue.

The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences. In response to user reports, we have disabled some features, such as comments, sharing, and suggested videos, because this video contains content that may be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.

Oh, YouTube? The audiences who are offended by a Heil Hitler! salute by a pug are known as morons. I hope you have blocked any videos related to “The Producers.”

 

109 Comments

Filed under Animals, Around the World, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Rights, Sports

109 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/18: Ethics Observations As The Snowflakes Fall

  1. 3. A record never to be broken: A nine-inning MLB game played in 51 minutes.
    4. What’s the big deal? All of a sudden the left/progressives/democrats are now uber anti-Russia? Oh…that Trump thing. I guess reaching out and attempting to mend fences is now the next RFI (Reason For Impeachment). I actually think Trump is doing a decent job on foreign policy.

    • Would that be RFI (and I am stealing your acronym) plan L? M? What are we up to these days?

      • Ah….I think they are now off lettering and into numerals for plans. Of course, the Trump Towers are also good mining material such as the recent one in Panama and the one that Trump had some exotic deal to build in Moscow. I imagine that 100+ story and unless monstrosity in North Korea will have Trump emblazoned upon it after Trump and Rocket Man cuddle together. I think that is – and I use CNN – plan 2,345.

    • Chris

      All of a sudden the left/progressives/democrats are now uber anti-Russia? Oh…that Trump thing

      Pretending that there are no valid reasons for people who weren’t worried about Russia a few years ago to be worried about Russia now is a pretty bad look. Why do this?

      • Simply stating what I see from the left of center. Some of those I know on FB are in a tizzy over it as further “proof” of a Trump-Russia connection. As someone said in another post Obama did the same. To me, it is a non-issue.

        • Chris

          As someone said in another post Obama did the same.

          What are you talking about? That was said in this post, and as I pointed out, that stance omits crucial context.

          I am aware that Trump’s constant coddling up to the country that meddled in our election to get him elected is a non-issue to you and many others here. I’m also aware there’s little I can say to make you see that it is an issue. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue.

          • My bad on the first part regarding post.

            Congratulating Putin is not high on my watch list. If Trump did it or Obama I could care less. So far I have not seen much meat on that Russian story. I may consider Trump a narcissistic fool incapable of any consistency, but I actually want something instead of wishful thinking. Today’s “Big Story” on Yahoo was Trump is a poor speller. This is how bad it has gotten.

            • Chris

              Today’s “Big Story” on Yahoo was Trump is a poor speller. This is how bad it has gotten.

              Who said this was a “Big Story?” There were stories about Obama using a teleprompter and Bush misstating words all the time. This proves nothing. But it is a strange tactic by the anti-anti-Trump right: blow up anything the media does and minimize anything Trump does.

              • You actually think the media is unbiased in dealing with Trump?

                • Chris

                  No. Where did I say anything like that?

                  • Rick McNair

                    Did you miss the question mark? I asked you I didn’t State anywhere that you said that!

                    • Chris

                      The implication was that there was something in my comment that would lead an objective person to consider that the answer is “yes.” There wasn’t. Your question was stupid.

                    • I’ll be clear on this Chris – very clear. I have not said one derogatory comment regarding any of your posts or exchanges, but now you toss out “stupid.” Am I supposed to take you seriously? Frankly, it was a very simple question and you simply seem to be avoiding an answer. Hint, Chris – try yes or no and with some civility.

                    • Chris

                      I’m not being derogatory, I’m being snarky. And it’s deserved, as you can’t even follow the conversation–now you are claiming I “avoided the question” and that I should try a “yes or no,” when I clearly answered “No” immediately after you asked the question. That earns snark. Do better.

                    • Rick McNair

                      You have an amazing way of having people distance themselves from you. You have just made another I guess I will have to join zoltar and Slick Willy on your no-show list. I am used to dealing with people that are a bit more civil obviously that leaves you off the grid on that one.

            • Rusty Rebar

              Don’t forget that sometimes he used both hands to pick up a water bottle.

      • The reason you *hate* Russia, Chris, is in my opinion because you have been prodded and cued to do so. It is likely that you know very little about Russia but ignorance is no obstacle to opinion, is it? (Perhaps I am wrong in my assessment and I am after all ‘shooting in the dark’ like so many people nowadays).

        If Russia is some sort of danger I doubt you have any idea why or what it is. As I said to someone else here recently: it is the US that has a proven record of being a terrifying and tangible danger: it literally attacked and destroyed a nation recently. The largest crime of the last 50 years. Amazing destruction, amazing human pain.

        What has Russia done?

        In a culture which is now driven to respond to its Maoist overlords and spinners in Pavlovian reaction, there is an entire class that has been developed and cultivated over time who will ‘chime in’ when the image is flashed before them. *Ding* = hate

        Specific knowledge, even ‘real concern’, is no part of it. In this popular-hysteric mood of the day it is the ‘emotion that is the message’. (Apologies to McLuhan).

        Jonathan Bowden pointed out that Russia and the Central European countries were preserved as if in ‘aspic’. The Communist regime froze ‘the body’ but somehow the ‘soul’ held to unique life. The West on the other hand has ‘rotted’ in its liberal disease.

        Russia and the Eastern Bloc countries were spared a good deal of the rotting influence and now they are emerging with what seems to be a more intact identity. They are naturally conservative, not very friendly with your beloved LGBT freakies, and attempting to define ways to resist the rotting influence of the West (imperfectly and with difficulty).

        There is actually a sound reason to build bridges of solidarity with Russia if only as part of European restoration.

        There are many many good reasons to resist the emotional drive to pour hate and fear out when the TeeVee prmompts you to.

        Tomorrow I will share a wonderful recipe from borscht that you can make in your own politically correct kitchen!

      • Isaac

        I actually can’t think of any reasons to worry about Russia NOW that weren’t equally glaring a few years ago.

        • Chris

          Good thing I just gave you a big-ass list of them so that you don’t actually have to strain yourself thinking of one.

          • You missed the point of Isaac’s sarcasm.

            • Chris

              I certainly did, and I still don’t see it.

              • His comment is about the notion that all the good reasons to be concerned about Russia were present at a time when the Left didn’t seem to be concerned about Russia, but now are.

                • Chris

                  Cool. That’s a point that’s been made again and again. I’ve also given additional reasons to be concerned about Russia that are new.

                  Continuing to make the left the issue here does absolutely nothing constructive except from deflect from these concerns. That’s the whole point of this post: to deflect.

                  • Humble did a good take down of those points. They’re all oddly tied to hating Trump

                    • Chris

                      No, he didn’t. I went through and debunked each and every objection of his thoroughly. His only defense was “You’re wrong.” Maybe you can do better.

                      “They’re all oddly tied to hating Trump” is your way of emotionalizing and therefore discrediting my argument without actually engaging with any of the facts therein. Maybe you should consider the possibility that if all those disturbing facts about Russia involve Trump somehow, that’s because the relationship between Trump and Russia is disturbing.

                      But you probably won’t consider that, because you aren’t actually concerned about Russia.

      • The problem isn’t the concern about Russia. Objective observers have ALWAYS been concerned about Russia – Romney was even mocked for displaying a concern when he ran for President. Russia has been a competitor nation bordering on “enemy” status since the early 1900s (with a brief uneasy alliance to combat Germany for less than a decade).

        The problem is no one believes the Left when they say anything anymore. Shifting an attitude or stance as conditions change IS a valid reason for having different comments on particular subjects. The problem with the Left is, there was NO reason NOT to have a concern for Russia before, yet the Left pretended like there was NO concern *then*.

        This is why no one believes the Left’s concern now has anything to do with anything else other than opposition to Donald Trump.

        • Chris

          Who is “no one?”

          • Hyperbole.

            Without further elucidation, read that “no one” as “no one who hasn’t already surrendered their reasoning abilities to the slam-Trump-for-everything-narrative”.

            I don’t think a reasoning person can make a solid argument that Russia has ever had a phase where they weren’t an active competitor nation for the better part of a century, with two meager exceptions: the early-40s when they were only allies by a common enemy and the mid-90s when they were readjusting from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

            Again, there was no rational basis to consider Russia anything other than a threat and competitor nation during Obama’s 8 years in the White House. The problem here is not that the Left has suddenly woken up to a Russian threat. The problem is why the Left didn’t consider Russia a threat before.

            It’s strangely coincidental that the attitude switched at the end of the election.

            I mean, maybe…there’s a remote justification in arguing that the re-consolidation after the mid-90s took up to the early 2010s…but I think it really wrapped up +/- 2005. Even if it did take to the mid 2010s…there were still plenty of people (that were mocked) who recognized the resurgent threat at that time.

            Again, anyone who generally scoffed at those who called the Russian threat before don’t get any relevance to the discussion until they admit their error. Otherwise, it really just looks a lot like “let’s slam Trump”.

            • Chris

              I don’t think a reasoning person can make a solid argument that Russia has ever had a phase where they weren’t an active competitor nation for the better part of a century

              I don’t think anyone has made that argument.

              Again, there was no rational basis to consider Russia anything other than a threat and competitor nation during Obama’s 8 years in the White House. The problem here is not that the Left has suddenly woken up to a Russian threat. The problem is why the Left didn’t consider Russia a threat before.

              Again, I have given you many reasons why a reasonable person would see Russia as more of a threat now than they were in 2012. I don’t even think the argument from Obama or the left than was even that Russia wasn’t a threat at all, though if it was, they were wrong.

              It’s strangely coincidental that the attitude switched at the end of the election.

              No, it isn’t. I provided a lengthy list of reasons why the attitude switched.

              Again, anyone who generally scoffed at those who called the Russian threat before don’t get any relevance to the discussion until they admit their error. Otherwise, it really just looks a lot like “let’s slam Trump”.

              Need I remind you that the target of Jack’s post isn’t even “the left,” but John McCain? This is why “The left didn’t have a problem with Russia before Trump” is changing the subject, and classic whataboutism. Whether McCain’s critique was valid hasn’t even been addressed by you, Jack, or any one else critical of his position here. All you’ve all given is deflection in an effort to once again argue “Well, Trump’s not that bad…it’s his critics who are the problem.”

              • What is the alternative? Rapprochement or disengagement? Just what to do? The responses are quite limited. I wonder if Trump would ever consider a mutual defense obligation with China? I find the entire cyber approach interesting since that is the way we supposedly destabilized nuclear activities in Iran? The assumption is the United States is merely a group of technical dolts. That may be accurate in an assessment of the Trump and Clinton campaigns that apparently left open doors a ten-year-old could rifle through. But what about our own cyber activities? Just what are we engaged in within Russia? China? Elsewhere? And just how much were we aware of during the campaign on the security level?

                I find it disheartening that McCain has become a focal point. McCain has spoken with honesty and I find it difficult to disagree on most of what he says.

              • The lengthy list of reasons all seem to tie quite nicely with hating Trump.

                And in Jack’s post, 1 paragraph was about the problem, 1 paragraph was about McCain’s contribution to the problem, 1 paragraph was about how his contribution fits in with the general meltdown as personified by the Left, 1 paragraph was musing about the ethics of acknowledging unethical leaders of competitor nations.

                My discussion about the Left is NOT misplaced.

                • Chris

                  The lengthy list of reasons all seem to tie quite nicely with hating Trump.

                  Well, yes.

                  Because McCain was right.

                  You don’t even know what “the problem” is. The problem is Trump’s cozy treatment of Russia. Neither Jack nor you have acknowledged this problem. Instead, you constantly try and make critics of Trump’s cozy treatment of Russia the problem. This is absurd.

                  • Except for all the times our previous Chief Executives have said positive things about the leaders of competitor nations with horrifying political systems, yeah, McCain was right.

                    Cozy treatment of Russia…

                    like the proxy war with Russia in Syria right now…

                    like acknowledging before the UN the administrations’ possession of intel that Russia was behind the London attack

                    like belated enacting a series of sanctions (however useless)

                    like a $47 million arms deal with Ukrainians fighting against Russian interests there

                    like an expected opposition from the administration overall that is antithetical to Russia

                    But heaven save us that Trump hasn’t made a comment.

                    Have you ever worked in a hierarchy?

                    His tactics may not be your preferred tactics, but I think it’s less than thought out to say Trump leadership is “cozy” towards Russia.

                    I mean really, what does “tough” look like to you? Because if it’s the standard set of milquetoast Democrat “tough actions”, nothing is better than a wet-blanket attempt, and actual toughness is better than nothing.

                    • Chris

                      Except for all the times our previous Chief Executives have said positive things about the leaders of competitor nations with horrifying political systems, yeah, McCain was right.

                      You are once again implying hypocrisy on McCain’s part here with zero evidence. Can you show me any time where McCain has taken a position that would indicate he doesn’t have a problem with Chief Executives saying positive things about the leaders of competitor nations with horrifying political systems?

                      And that summary, “leaders of competitor nations with horrifying political systems,” actually understates what Russia is to us right now…a nation that recently led a cyber-attack on our entire political system and a chemical attack on our closest ally. So really, to prove hypocrisy, you’d have to find me an example of McCain indicating he was OK with complimenting and congratulating a leader of a competitor nation who did that. I doubt any such examples exist.

                      Cozy treatment of Russia…

                      like the proxy war with Russia in Syria right now…

                      Eh, this is the one thing that really does stand out as a somewhat persuasive rebuttal against the idea that Trump is too cozy with Russia…it doesn’t invalidate everything else, but it does make me at least stop and question how it fits in with the rest of Trump’s pro-Russia stance.

                      like acknowledging before the UN the administrations’ possession of intel that Russia was behind the London attack

                      Trump did that personally?

                      like belated enacting a series of sanctions (however useless)

                      Why was it “belated?” Do you know? Do you care?

                      like a $47 million arms deal with Ukrainians fighting against Russian interests there

                      Good. Doesn’t invalidate everything I brought up, but it’s a sign that Trump’s stance on Russia may be getting stronger. I’m all for that.

                      like an expected opposition from the administration overall that is antithetical to Russia

                      Not sure what you mean here. Can you clarify?

                    • 1) My commentary isn’t about John McCain, and if it was, in no way can my comment be read as accusing him of hypocrisy. My commentary has clearly leaned towards the likelihood that Trump calling Putin about his ‘election’ is a realpolitik non-issue.

                      Trump doesn’t HAVE to acknowledge anything *personally*. Again, this falls into you don’t like his tactics. His administration takes a negative stance towards Russia. We’ll see how his delegating methods work out soon enough. I recall a prior President who jumped on TOO many occasions to make personal statements about problems and more often than not, was flat out wrong or even made matters worse.

                      Time will tell what specific tactics are best for what geopolitical situation.

                      Trump approved the Ukrainian arms deal LAST YEAR. This isn’t a “may be getting stronger”. Trump approved sanctions LAST YEAR, he implemented them this year for no *apparent* reason, but from what I understand he had been consulting his departments to determine the effects of the sanctions. I think you are one who is decrying Trump for not gathering expert advice on topics. He may not do so consistently, but he still seems to do so.

                      And yes, ramping up two proxy wars that we know about (Syria & Ukraine), while pursuing the Bush/Obama planned and initiated beefing up of our presence in the former Buffer states of the old USSR ARE maneuvers AGAINST Russia.

                      There is NO rational argument that Trump is “Pro-Russia”. That’s an overreach on your part. He may be “soft” on Russia, but your arguments aren’t convincing in light of everything else. He certainly isn’t Pro-Russia.

                    • Chris

                      Thanks for the correction on the Ukrainian arms deal, Michael.

                      As I said, that and the Syria thing do complicate the analysis, but I still think it is fair to call him “pro-Russia” based on the reasons I listed the other day.

                      Trump is not a quiet guy, and he plays nothing close to the vest. If he cared about Russia, we’d know about it, because he’d tweet about it. Instead he tweets attacks on Americans, including our intelligence agencies that concluded that Russia meddled in the election. He attacked those criticizing him for congratulating Putin more than he’s ever attacked Putin. According to insiders Trump has not done anything to address the breaches during the 2016 election or prevent them from happening again. I find it highly likely that a lot of the decisions regarding Syria and the Ukriane are being made by others on his staff, and Trump is approving them reluctantly, as he did with the sanctions. In his rhetoric and many of his actions, he is pro-Russia.

                    • Pro-Russia Trump presidency will kick 60 Russian intel officers and diplomats out of the US and close the Seattle consulate.

          • I’ll be willing to believe their concern for Russia is anything other than vicarious Trump-hate when they admit their error in assessing Russia during Obama’s term. Until then, I’m stuck with analyzing this sudden concern as only a tiny component of the post election meltdown…which miraculously hasn’t come to an end.

            • Chris

              Why not, instead of analyzing the left’s concern, actually analyze whether there’s something for you to be concerned about? The facts show that there is.

              • My level of concern about Russia has not changed.

                I will analyze the Left’s concern, because if they ever want to get back on board trying to govern America and stop feeding the Russian need for American chaos, they’re going to need to stop this meltdown of theirs.

                • Chris

                  My level of concern about Russia has not changed.

                  If you’re concerned about Russia at all, then you must acknowledge that McCain is right.

                  If you’re not concerned about Trump’s treatment of Russia, then you’re not concerned about Russia, period.

                  So stop pretending to be. Trump is enabling Russia. To ignore that while claiming the left is enabling Russia is grade A deflection, bordering on gaslighting.

                  • Someone claimed the Left is enabling (a very active and intentional verb) Russia? I think the Left is being used by Russia, but that’s nothing new, and I don’t think the Left is intentional about it.

                    And this: “If you’re not concerned about Trump’s treatment of Russia, then you’re not concerned about Russia, period.” is a classic example of a false dichotomy.

                    Not going to work here. My concern for Russia is not altered by *your* assessment of Trump’s ‘treatment’ of Russia.

                    • Chris

                      Ok. Let’s take a different tack here then:

                      What, exactly, are you concerned about vis-a-vis Russia? What do you think the president should do about these concerns? How would you judge our current president’s policies vis-a-vis Russia?

                    • My concerns with Russia?

                      1) They should NOT have access to a deep warm water port with quick access to the Atlantic (which they now have in the Crimea)

                      2) They should NOT be given an edge in any PSYOPS in their former buffer states like Ukraine, Poland, Belarus or the Baltics. We are losing that in Belarus, not doing so great in Ukraine (where it’s more than PSYOPS), and sort of trying in the Baltics. We are winning in Poland.

                      3) They should not be permitted a solid physical presence in any nation that dramatically outflanks nations that are our allies or are at least nations we need “friendly” because of their strategic positioning around the globe. This is playing out in Syria, which outflanks Turkey (our 1st bulwark against a Russian warm water port facing the Atlantic).

                      I think Obama AND Trump have taken ho-hum to decent level of action regarding these.

                      Obama initiated much of the friendly relations with Eastern European nations of Russia’s buffer zone. Trump is continuing this.

                      Obama initiated ground action in Syria…but it was weak…and probably would not have been necessary if he hadn’t let Iraq go to hell. Trump has actually beefed up the Syria action. But even still it won’t be decisive.

                      The international community FAILED in Ukraine and Obama was in no position to push unilateral action there, so the US was stuck with that.

                      Should both Presidents have been and still should be tougher in those key strategic areas…YES.

                      Is it existentially necessary for them to be so?

                      Not right now. But we’re merely kicking the can down the road for future generations.

                      Now, there are real reasons to be concerned about Russia with real evaluations of the severity and real analysis of what both Presidents did.

                      But keep letting me know how serious it is about Trump not commenting on the assassination of an ex-spy in London or about finally putting in place some toothless sanctions regarding Russian meddling in an election which made no difference to the outcome.

                      Like I said, my concern about Russia has not changed. The Left’s has, on really odd premises.

                    • If you’re not concerned about Russia’s manipulation of the Left-wing mob, then you’re not concerned about Russia, period.

                    • Chris

                      (Also, minor quibble: it’s totally possible to be an enabler without meaning to be. Most enablers are.)

      • Look, that’s fair and true, except that history didn’t start in 2016. Mitt Romney was openly mocked for calling Russia our biggest Geopolitical Enemy in the 2012 election cycle by the same Democrats who are now ready to atomically vibrate through the floor at the mere mention of Russia. Forgive me my cynicism, but if you want to talk about horrible optics, I’m game.

        • Chris

          Thanks for bringing that up, since that’s not a point I’ve already addressed several times in this thread or anything.

          • These threads are hard to follow. My point being that Democrats went from “Russia? Who cares lol” to “IF YOU DON’T CARE EXACTLY AS DEEPLY AS ME ABOUT RUSSIA YOU ARE A KREMLIN PUPPET. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” in the same space of time that Republicans went from “Russia is a Geopolitical foe, and we should be concerned” to “Russia is a Geopolitical foe, and we should be concerned”.

            Some hyperbole might be in play there, but not much, and suggesting that it’s irrational for people like me who are observing this from the outside to think that there might be some modicum of say… selective partisan outrage on the topic is… Just really tonedeaf. I don’t know what else to say.

            It’s refreshing to have Democrats catch up to 80’s Republican thinking on the relative danger of Russia, but perhaps a more tempered response is reasonable?

            • Chris

              Again, I have listed several reasons why it is rational for people who weren’t that worried about Russia a few years ago to be worried about Russia today.

              These reasons have not been addressed.

              And the Republican position could better be characterized as “Russia is a geopolitical foe, and we should be concerned, but not too concerned, and the fact that the President of the United States isn’t even a little bit concerned isn’t concerning in the slightest.” That’s also the position of the conservatives on this blog.

              • Help a brother out? Because I don’t see this list. Although right on the top of it has to be:

                “We ignored the Russian threat all throughout the Obama years, where it grew and festered until it bit us in the ass and now we’re embarrassed, but instead of learning a lesson from that, we’re going to throw ourselves into fits of apoplexy until we get our way.”

                You want to know what I really think? I think that Putin’s goal was to destabilize America. A world where America is busy alternatively cannibalizing itself and getting high huffing it’s own farts is a world where Russia thrives. and the way Putin thought to best destabilize America was an America where Donald Trump was president, or at least came close. So he put his thumb on the scale. Donald Trump probably never knew why this was happening, but wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and while he might have had every inclination to collude with Russia, he most probably never had to.

                And now? Now the #resistance puts that shit eating smirk on Putin’s face every morning, because that thumb he put on the scale is still, more than a year later, destabilizing America. Trump is an idiot, but he’s not Putin’s favorite toy.

  2. One student carried a hand-gun (which is very difficult for anyone to acquire legally in Maryland, which has among the toughest gun laws in the country), while the Florida shooter had a semi-automatic rifle.

    Should not these tough gun laws prevented him from having a handgun, just like how tough drug laws stopped Kaylee Jean Muthart from having drugs?

    • Isaac

      It’s a head-scratcher, for sure. Prohibition stopped everyone from getting drunk, forever, too. Bans always work!

  3. Jack Houghton

    Regarding “congratulating Putin”… for better or worse, Vladimir Putin appears to be the guy in charge in the Russian Federation for a while to come. Isn’t Trump’s behavior just a case of Realpolitik seeing the world as it is not as we might wish it to be. Of course words do matter, but isn’t it perhaps better and cheaper to throw a bone to Putin on this matter and maybe keep dialogue open, rather than poking him in the eye with a stick.

    Russian politics are historically quite vicious and different from what we like to see here in the U.S. … but they are Russian politics. This is what they are accustomed to. Whether we like it or not, Putin still seems to enjoy strong public approval amongst large segments of the Russian people who take pride in seeing a strong Russian Federation emerge from the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

    Going back to the Obama years, the U.S. involvement in Ukrainian politics and the encouragement of Ukraine to join with NATO was in retrospect a very provocative gambit that did not turn out so well for Western interests. I am not saying Trump will accomplish anything good in Russian relations but, if we look at Obama’s track record, maybe we should wait and see.

    Talking is a first step to communication. Maybe we should try that rather than trying to put NATO forces only a stone’s throw from Moscow.

    • Chris

      Isn’t Trump’s behavior just a case of Realpolitik seeing the world as it is not as we might wish it to be.

      Yes, this is what Trump is good at: having an accurate perception of the world around him, more so than experts who have studied the issues for years.

      This is a very smart thing to believe.

  4. Alex

    3. FIFA tried the golden goal and silver goal for extra time tie breakers in elimination matches. Went as well as you’d have expected.

    5. I don’t think the joke is particularly funny (good for a chuckle, but that’s it), but the response has made it totally worth it. Anti-speechers are crawling from the woodwork everywhere.

  5. 1. Nevertheless, a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. The bad guy had that gun despite all of the gun control laws progressives could wish for. No one knows if the kid would have walked out, his girlfriend dead, or just found other victims until he ran out of bullets

    2. Afraid of a pop tart that ‘looks’ like a gun, afraid of a dog… this is what progressives are teaching our kids.

    Many parents treat their kids as a ‘cute animated decoration,’ so why are we surprised that they treat pets the same?

    3. “The New Coke phenomenon” The NFL is suffering form the same malady, and have not yet really seen the down side headed their way. The dull minds who do not understand baseball (or baseball fans) had better ask questions before stunts like starting a runner at second.

    4. ““An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain said.

    Like Obama did when Hillary won the 2016 Democrat Primary race? (Anyone who thinks Hillary is not a dictator should do a little research on her public service, or her presidential campaign from those who worked it.)

    Those who support the Presidency, regardless of who sits in the seat, have lost all trust in the media already.

    5. YouTube is a progressive social media platform (but I repeat myself: ALL major social media platforms seem to be rabid progressives) that is restricting any views they do not agree with, as well as any they do not understand (just to be safe)

  6. Errol

    3. Why not do what cricket does and fine the players for slow play? Article 2.5.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Players Support Personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 percent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.”

  7. Phil

    5. Jack you missed the most important part of the story of that 2 year old video. That video is a hate crime according to Scotland. The uploader has already been convicted and awaits sentencing. http://www.newsweek.com/youtuber-count-dankula-who-taught-dog-nazi-salute-faces-jail-hate-crime-853470

  8. Chris

    4. McCain has been nothing but consistent here. Here’s him in 2012 linking to a piece critical of Obama’s soft stance on Russia, including a critique of Obama calling to congratulate Putin on his win then:

    Other Republicans also criticized Obama for this at the time; more Democrats should have, as well.

    But you omit crucial context. Did Obama’s national security advisers warn him to not congratulate Russia at the time? We don’t know, since Obama actually managed his staff well enough that they did not leak like a sieve. Trump thinks he knows better then the national security advisers, and may not have even read their warnings; that shows him to be incompetent, as he doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know.

    And of course, Russia has gotten more aggressive in recent years. They meddled in our elections in 2016–a fact Trump tried to downplay or outright deny for a very long time–and launched a poison attack in Britain only a few weeks ago, something that Trump did not even see fit to mention in the call to Putin (which was way more troubling to me then the congratulations, and another part you left out of this post), nor has he made any public statement personally about that attack on one of our allies.

    To sum up, even people who did not criticize Obama’s handling of Russia have the right to criticize Trump for the same now, as the circumstances have changed. You can’t call something a double standard when the two situations are totally different.

    • 1. Glad you found that: I knew JM had criticized Obama for being soft on Russia,
      2. He did not characterize Obama’s congratulations in anything like the disparaging and insulting way he characterized Trump’s.
      3. Yes, in this case, the GOP is consistent. But most of the harshest criticism is coming from the news media and Democrats: double standard.
      4. You will recall that Mitt Romney said that Russia was the most dangerous US adversary and was mocked for it, by Obama.
      5. Cheap shot on leaking: Obama tried to stop leaks, and was not successful. The mainstream media is seeking anything to make Trump look bad; it refused to report a lot that reflected badly on Obama.
      6. The President doesn’t have to follow advisors, ever, and especially on something like this, its his call 100%.
      7. The post was about a congratulations call. Period. And there is no non-hearsay information about what was discussed. Nor is it wise for leaders to just acll up each other to bitch.
      8. “To sum up, even people who did not criticize Obama’s handling of Russia have the right to criticize Trump for the same now, as the circumstances have changed.”: pure and dishonest rationalization. McCain’s complaint is 100% applicable to both: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.” If that’s true now, it was true then. THAT has not changed.

      • Chris

        1. Glad you found that: I knew JM had criticized Obama for being soft on Russia,
        2. He did not characterize Obama’s congratulations in anything like the disparaging and insulting way he characterized Trump’s.

        So now the problem isn’t consistency of a stance, but consistency of tone? Nothing ethically requires that. Trump’s congratulations of Russia is part of a pattern of consistently coddling the nation and its dictator, and is thus deserving of a harsher rebuke.

        And there’s nothing even insulting or disparaging in McCain’s tweet to Trump at all! It’s a fair critique, expressed eloquently and with civility. I can’t believe you’re trying to make him the bad guy here.

        3. Yes, in this case, the GOP is consistent. But most of the harshest criticism is coming from the news media and Democrats: double standard.

        Again, no. The situation between Russia and America now is not identical to the situation between Russia and America then. It isn’t a double standard if circumstances have changed, as they unarguably have.

        4. You will recall that Mitt Romney said that Russia was the most dangerous US adversary and was mocked for it, by Obama.

        Yes, I do. Romney was right, and Obama was wrong. How is that relevant?

        5. Cheap shot on leaking: Obama tried to stop leaks, and was not successful. The mainstream media is seeking anything to make Trump look bad; it refused to report a lot that reflected badly on Obama.

        Wha? How does that address the issue of Trump’s administration leaking like a sieve? Obama was “not successful” at stopping some leaks, but there is no comparison between the amount of leaking on his watch and the amount of leaking on Trump’s. Yes, part of that is that the media is far more hostile to Trump than they were to Obama, but they cannot bear all the culpability. They can’t get leaks without leakers. I’ve yet to see you criticize the leaks as a failure of leadership by Trump, which they clearly are.

        6. The President doesn’t have to follow advisors, ever, and especially on something like this, its his call 100%.

        Strawman. No one has made the claim that he “has to” follow advisers. The claim was about the wisdom of doing so, and the lack thereof of refusing their advice or even refusing to read it. Trump is not in a position to wisely or ethically do either.

        7. The post was about a congratulations call. Period. And there is no non-hearsay information about what was discussed. Nor is it wise for leaders to just acll up each other to bitch.

        Huh? Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t “hearsay.” She speaks for the president, and she said the poison attack did not come up.

        For you to characterize a condemnation of an attack on one of our allies as “bitching” is absurd. Again, Trump has made no statement on the attack at all. There is no rational conclusion from his silence on the matter other than he doesn’t care. Trump is very vocal about the things he cares about. He bitches about pretty much everything. But he won’t bitch about anything Putin does, ever. Not in public, not in private. This doesn’t concern you in the slightest?

        8. “To sum up, even people who did not criticize Obama’s handling of Russia have the right to criticize Trump for the same now, as the circumstances have changed.”: pure and dishonest rationalization. McCain’s complaint is 100% applicable to both: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.” If that’s true now, it was true then. THAT has not changed.

        It is true now, and it was true then, and nothing McCain has said has indicated otherwise. In fact, he indicated that this was his belief at the time Obama did the same thing. Again, I can’t believe you’re trying to make him the bad guy here.

    • JutGory

      Arguably thing have not changed. Romney saw this. Putin was an unknown quantity when Bush examined his soul. By 2012, the GOP candidate knew what he was dealing with. And was mocked for it by Democrats who have certainly changed their tune in 4 short years.

      The way I look at it: diplomacy is an art. Dictator or not, if you have to deal with them, you have to decide how to do that. Obama was criticized for saying he would meet certain leaders “without preconditions.” Trump is now criticized for considering talks with North Korea, after beating up on Kim jung Un.

      I don’t think either approach is right or wrong. They are just different tools. Neither works in every situation.

      -Jut

      • Chris

        • Other Bill

          Clearly, Trump being soft on Russia is a genuine, authentic, Lefty/Democrat talking point of the first magnitude. Unfortunately, there’s never anything behind talking points other than a piece of paper or a three by five index card.

          Is Trump cuddling up with Putin or coddling him? Must have been a typo in the talking point memo.

          • Chris

            Tom Nichols is not a lefty or a Democrat. And Trump being soft on Russia is a fact. It isn’t even debatable, which is why you did not try and debate it.

            • What should Trump do? I see that his administration has sanctions in place on companies and individuals. I believe that recently they imposed sanctions – probably fruitless – on some small fry involved in election interference. So what should he do? A line in the sand? Maybe cancel my scheduled summer river cruise? And does anyone really care in this country?

              • Chris

                The sanctions were delayed multiple times, as you know. Trump should have met the first deadline agreed to by Congress. He should not have publicly expressed doubts about the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russia. He should not have publicly encouraged their hacking of Clinton’s e-mails–no, not even as a “joke.” He should make a public statement condemning the attack on Britain. He should stop praising Putin.

                • The sanctions are now in place and they mean little. Trump is a very loose cannon, but that has zero chance of change as will his shoot from the hip criticism. This is not a person who thinks and acts. As far as praise? I assume you mean congratulatory messages? And you know my position. The emails clearly showed what the Clinton campaign was capable of. As a Bernie supporter, it gave credence to what I suspected.

                  Essentially, Chris, there is nothing stated that would have any impact. None. Do you think Putin would suddenly cower? Personally, I am glad Trump is reaching out to meet Putin and “Rocket Man.” Maybe it will have positive results? Maybe not. In fact, I am rather pleased with his foreign policy. Somewhat surprised actually.

                  • Chris

                    This is not a person who thinks and acts.

                    Oh, well then that’s OK, then.

                    People who do think, and who have studied the issues enough to become…you know, national security advisers, think he needs to be tougher on Russia. But I’m sure the non-thinking walking id knows better.

                    As far as praise? I assume you mean congratulatory messages?

                    I mean…the last three years of Trump praising Putin constantly.

                    You…do know what I’m talking about, right? If not, how are you qualified to have this conversation?

                    And you know my position. The emails clearly showed what the Clinton campaign was capable of. As a Bernie supporter, it gave credence to what I suspected.

                    Therefore it doesn’t matter that Russia hacked in an effort to undermine our election and get a pro-Russia know-nothing elected? Which rationalization is that?

          • Other Bill

            Until Trump!, young people and the left couldn’t have cared less about Russia. Actually, they thought Russia was kind of cool because Russia always had a way of annoying old, straight, conservative Americans, you know, the hipster’s parents? Plus it was Communist, sort of, so it had that going for it as well because, you know, Che Guevara and Karl Marx and all. But now? Russia Bad! Should be interesting to see how China fares. Will China be good for poking the US in the eye in the South China Sea? Good because Trump will try to use trade policy to counter China’s awful trade practices? Good because Trump will wean North Korea away from China’s iron grip? Good because it’s an expert run top down run country and economy? Maybe bad because, who knows, Trump might talk to them?
            Hard to tell.

            • Other Bill

              I have no idea who the fuck Tom Nicholls is and could care less who he is, but anybody who says Russia “hacked our political system” or thinks Eastern Ukraine is “in the middle of Europe” is an idiot.

              It really is fun gigging you, Chris.

              • Chris

                He’s a prominent NeverTrump conservative often linked to by Popehat. “Hacked our political system” means they hacked the DNC to influence our political system. There is nothing idiotic about that. The “middle of Europe” thing is just a geographic quibble, completely irrelevant to the actual point.

            • Chris

              Until Trump!, young people and the left couldn’t have cared less about Russia.

              You’re just determined to keep repeating the same dumb talking point forever, aren’t you?

              Until Trump, Russia had not meddled in our election in order to get a specific candidate elected. Until Trump, no president publicly encouraged this behavior. Until Trump, no president ignored Russia’s attacks on us or our allies. Until Trump, no president had refused to implement sanctions passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority in Congress that only five (five!) Republicans voted against. Until Trump, no president’s son had been caught trying to get dirt on their opponent from the Russian government. Until Trump, no members of any president’s staff were caught lying about their contacts with the Russian government. Until Trump, no candidate’s staff members were recruited by Russian spies. Until Trump, no FISA court had found justification to allow a wiretap on a member of a candidate’s campaign because they had reason to believe said member was working for Russian spies. Until Trump, no other president continually praised Russia while refusing to publicly condemn any of their bad actions and attacking those who did condemn Russia.

              Continuing to pretend there are no valid reasons for people who did not previously worry about Russia to be worried about them now is sheer idiocy.

              • “Until Trump, Russia had not meddled in our election in order to get a specific candidate elected.”

                I mean… that’s almost facially absurd. Unless by “our election” you’re talking specifically about 2016. I’d be surprised if there was an election in the last 1000 years without SOME level of Russian interest in play. I mean… 2012, Obama literally told Putin to give him breathing room until after he was elected, and then Obama backed off on the NATO missile defense program.

                “Until Trump, no president publicly encouraged this behavior.”

                You’re probably talking about the “And if you have those missing Emails, release them” comment. On some level, I grant you that this is the kind of thing that a president should not say… But I have this impression that you actually believe he was being serious, and so I have a hard time taking you seriously.

                “Until Trump, no president ignored Russia’s attacks on us or our allies.”

                I mean…. That’s all kinds of historically ignorant. Russia is still in The Ukraine, and he didn’t get there under Trump’s watch.

                “Until Trump, no president had refused to implement sanctions passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority in Congress that only five (five!) Republicans voted against.”

                I mean, until 2017, no government on Earth had even attempted to impose sanctions on alleged espionage. I don’t even think Trump was wrong to veto that, and pretending that Trump moved first here is revisionist.

                “Until Trump, no president’s son had been caught trying to get dirt on their opponent from the Russian government.”

                I’m not sure even this is true, it might be only because it was so specific, but I’d be really surprised if no family member of a presidential candidate has ever lied about attempting to gather dirt on opposing candidates.

                “Until Trump, no members of any president’s staff were caught lying about their contacts with the Russian government.”

                100% Absolutely Fake News. During the first Red Scare, McCarthy ended all kinds of political careers over Russian connections, and then, like now, denying those connections is a survival mechanism.

                “Until Trump, no candidate’s staff members were recruited by Russian spies.”

                I mean… This is a ridiculous spin on what actually happened. But even at face value, it’s not true…. Flora Wovschin worked at the state department, off the top of my head.

                “Until Trump, no FISA court had found justification to allow a wiretap on a member of a candidate’s campaign because they had reason to believe said member was working for Russian spies.”

                Probably not a good idea to bring up the FISA warrant since the…. heh… process in which it was approved has slowly come to light, and it is not flattering to your argument.

                “Until Trump, no other president continually praised Russia while refusing to publicly condemn any of their bad actions and attacking those who did condemn Russia.”

                You mean…. since Obama?

                Seriously… Were you hatched from a vat in 2016? Even if most of your points weren’t not only untrue, but facially absurd, all of those are reasons you’d have for not liking Trump, not a single point on your list even hints that Russia has changed in the way it acts. You’re making my point for me: Russia is just as Russian as they’ve ever been, you just hate Trump a lot more than you liked Obama.

                • 100, not 1000…. Honestly, probably even further back than 1918, but at least since then.

                • Chris

                  Wow, was that response full of inaccuracies and bad arguments.

                  I mean… that’s almost facially absurd. Unless by “our election” you’re talking specifically about 2016. I’d be surprised if there was an election in the last 1000 years without SOME level of Russian interest in play.

                  So your response to “Russia has never meddled in our elections before” is “They probably have, I just have zero evidence of it?” OK.

                  I mean… 2012, Obama literally told Putin to give him breathing room until after he was elected, and then Obama backed off on the NATO missile defense program.

                  Obama backed off on the NATO missile defense program in 2009, long before he made those comments to Medvedev, not Putin (man, you even get the small stuff wrong).

                  And no, Obama telling Medvedev he’d have more flexibility after the election does not constitute “Russia meddling in our election.” Do I really have to explain why not?

                  You’re probably talking about the “And if you have those missing Emails, release them” comment. On some level, I grant you that this is the kind of thing that a president should not say… But I have this impression that you actually believe he was being serious, and so I have a hard time taking you seriously.

                  I’m well aware that the conservative position on this is that it was “just a joke,” but I maintain that it is one of the dumbest things you guys believe.

                  To believe that, you’d have to believe that Trump did not mean that he wished Russia would release the missing e-mails, and would in fact retaliate against Russia if they did so. There is literally zero reason to believe that, and plenty of reason to believe that he truly wished Russia would release those missing e-mails, as he is a craven, unethical person.

                  You see, when a person says exactly what they truly believe, they aren’t just joking. Trump’s comments were a clear signal to Russia that he would not retaliate against them for hacking his opponent. You know this, which is why you know that he shouldn’t have said it.

                  I mean…. That’s all kinds of historically ignorant. Russia is still in The Ukraine, and he didn’t get there under Trump’s watch.

                  Obama verbally condemned Russian aggression in the Ukraine and implemented sanctions in March of 2014. That isn’t “ignoring” Russian attacks on our allies. You’re proving my point for me.

                  I mean, until 2017, no government on Earth had even attempted to impose sanctions on alleged espionage. I don’t even think Trump was wrong to veto that, and pretending that Trump moved first here is revisionist.

                  Sure, Trump is right on the sanctions and virtually every member of Congress, nearly all his national security experts, and his Republican ambassador to the UN are all wrong. You really think that’s likely?

                  “Until Trump, no president’s son had been caught trying to get dirt on their opponent from the Russian government.”

                  I’m not sure even this is true, it might be only because it was so specific, but I’d be really surprised if no family member of a presidential candidate has ever lied about attempting to gather dirt on opposing candidates.

                  What part of “been caught” do you not understand? People can’t be concerned about something if they don’t know it’s happening, Humble. “Well, maybe this happened before, you don’t know” is not a valid argument in this discussion over whether it’s rational for people to be more concerned over Russia now than they were in the past.

                  I mean, Jesus–they launched a poison attack in Britain a few weeks ago. When was the last time Russia was that bold? What other president wouldn’t have condemned that immediately?

                  “Until Trump, no members of any president’s staff were caught lying about their contacts with the Russian government.”

                  100% Absolutely Fake News. During the first Red Scare, McCarthy ended all kinds of political careers over Russian connections, and then, like now, denying those connections is a survival mechanism.

                  That’s not even a response to what I said. Read better. I said no members of any president’s staff were caught lying about their contacts with the Russian government. Do you see how your response doesn’t rebut that at all?

                  “Until Trump, no candidate’s staff members were recruited by Russian spies.”

                  I mean… This is a ridiculous spin on what actually happened.

                  No, it’s exactly what happened.

                  But even at face value, it’s not true…. Flora Wovschin worked at the state department, off the top of my head.

                  You got me. We should have definitely been more concerned about Russia in…*Googles Flora Wovschin* 1945, when the Soviet Union was still around. What a devastating rejoinder to my position that it’s rational to see Russia as more of a threat now than they in 2012. I’m devastated right now.

                  “Until Trump, no FISA court had found justification to allow a wiretap on a member of a candidate’s campaign because they had reason to believe said member was working for Russian spies.”

                  Probably not a good idea to bring up the FISA warrant since the…. heh… process in which it was approved has slowly come to light, and it is not flattering to your argument.

                  I have rebutted the FISA spin on numerous occasions on this website. Sorry you missed it. The process was fine, and none of the claims against it have held up to any scrutiny.

                  “Until Trump, no other president continually praised Russia while refusing to publicly condemn any of their bad actions and attacking those who did condemn Russia.”

                  You mean…. since Obama?

                  As I pointed out with regard to your ludicrous argument about the Ukraine, Obama did not continually praise Russia while refusing to publicly condemn any of their bad actions and attacking those who did condemn Russia. That is simply a lie.

                  not a single point on your list even hints that Russia has changed in the way it acts.

                  That isn’t even necessary to do to believe that Russia is more of a threat now than in 2012; as I demonstrated, we now have a president who enables and even encourages Russia’s bad behavior, which automatically enhances their threat level.

                  You’re making my point for me: Russia is just as Russian as they’ve ever been, you just hate Trump a lot more than you liked Obama.

                  Despite your demonstrably feeble attempts at false equivalence, Trump has enabled and encouraged Russia’s bad actions far more than Obama ever did–and Obama was too soft on Russia. So my hate for Trump is justified, and also irrelevant to the argument.

                  But to be frank, most of this shit has been irrelevant to the argument put forth by McCain, which was valid and ethical. As usual, the first instinct of Jack and the other conservatives here when presented with a valid and ethical critique of Trump is to think, “How can I redirect the conversation so that instead of talking about the legitimacy of the critique, we can instead talk about how much the Left sucks?” It’s particularly egregious in this case, since–duh–McCain isn’t on the Left. I regret even engaging in this transparent misdirection.

                  The fact is that you don’t care about the threat of Russia now, otherwise you wouldn’t have participated in this misdirection.

                  • I don’t know what to do with this. It’s exhausting, you’re wrong. I even think on some level you know you’re wrong… I mean, one of my themes this past year has been the progressive tendency to mischaracterise, exaggerate and lie in order to smear Trump, and how if his awfulness were so self evident and true, you wouldn’t have to do that. I could go line by line through this and explain with impeccably cited references all the times that you were historically ignorant over the course of these comments…. But my giveashit is broken. I think you skipped off the tracks of reasonable, rational, honest conversation at some point, and I don’t have the wherewithal to go further. I’m out.

                    • Chris

                      I give a shit. I pointed out several inaccuracies in your comment; you could at least point out which of those you think I’m wrong about.

        • crella

          ‘Whatabout’ is just a cheap conversation stopper like ‘ check your privilege ‘ and ‘mansplaining’, used by those who are unable to consider others’ opinions. I really hate it. It is useful, though, in identifying those who have no ability to rationally analyze issues when there’s a risk of their ‘side’ being in the wrong. It’s the same as lalalala with your fingers in your ears.

          • Chris

            I disagree. Jack wrote a good post about whataboutism earlier this year—long story short, it is sometimes used wrong, but has legitimate application. (Jack and I part ways on the specifics of this; several times he’s said the use of the term was illegitimate when I thought it fit perfectly.)

            In this case, bringing up Obama in the first place is the “cheap conversation stopper”—it’s designed to deflect from legitimate criticism of Trump by pointing out that “Obama did the same thing,” thus changing the subject completely away from whether or not this criticism of Trump is justified and placing it onto the moral character of the critics itself. It’s spin, especially because, as previously established, the circumstances were *not* the same.

  9. 3.: “Major League baseball is trying to speed up games, which are about 30 minutes longer, or 33%, than they were a couple of decades ago.”

    Something wrong there: 30 minutes maybe was 33% of a game ten decades ago.

    A year ago I was dismissive of the extra inning change ever reaching the majors. Now I’m not so sure. It really isn’t intended to impact length of games, though, because long extra inning games are relatively rare. What they’re really trying to cope with is managers – who routinely use half their bullpens in every game – blowing their whole bullpens in extra innings, thus “requiring” them to swap guys to the minors just to have someone available to pitch the next night.

    Compared to 30 years or so ago, it seems like less time is slipping away to commercials than to guys just standing around more than they used to. Players seem to recognize this, and are justifying it by saying they’re processing a lot more information than they used to, and also that the stakes are a lot higher (I’m not sure what that means) nowadays than they used to be.

  10. JutGory

    On the cat issue, I don’t understand how they could not know they need to play with the cat. And, if you are not going to play with it, move into a mouse-infested house, so the cat has something to do.

    I had a friend who ran a horse farm. So she had barn cats. She told me one day that the cat was having a litter and I was getting one. (That is usually a bad idea, giving someone an unsolicited pet, but I grew up with dogs and cats (father was a veterinarian), so it was fine with me.). I objected and demanded two, because “I ‘m not playing with them.” The litter was exactly 2 kittens, the pick and the runt (and they knew which was which). It all worked out great.

    I did end up playing with them once in a while.

    -Jut

  11. Chris E. Boy

    “…Sen. John McCain, who is apparently only remaining in the Senate to exact his revenge against Trump for gratuitously minimizing his heroism as a prisoner of war…”

    Wow. What a presumptious — and insupportable — calumny against a patriot who has suffered more for our liberties than many other living Americans. I can’t imagine how you can defend this statement, and this audacious explication of, not his position, but rather of his motives! It strikes me as not fair, objective, or, dare I say, ethical.

    • Chris, McCain should have resigned once his cancer was discovered. He’s essentially incapacitated, and his sicking around at 80+ and ailing is irresponsible. The fact that he has delighted in interfering with President Trump’s agenda and taken pot shots, cheap shots and every other kind of shot imaginable since Trump’s slur against him is a matter of record, and the fact that before this he seldom attacked Republican Presidents, and never ins such insulting terms, is also in the books. He’s angry, which I don’t blame him for, and he’s being vindictive and personal, which he should be blamed for. It’s unprofessional. It’s also obvious.

      • Chris

        And yet none of McCain’s critiques against Trump have actually been *wrong.*

        Saying he’s never criticized a Republican president before isn’t evidence of crippling bias when Trump has not governed like any other Republican president.

        So he’s sticking around to be a thorn in Trump’s side? Good. And as long as he continues to stand against the more awful and destructive parts of Trump’s agenda, completely ethical.

        • Chris E. Boy

          Actually, Jack, it’s not obvious. I’ve read your bill of particulars against Sen McCain and it has not convinced me that his motives for releasing the statement were dishonorable or disingenuous, nor has it persuaded me that he should be second-guessed about the decision of when to conclude his service. It may be that he takes some satisfaction in calling out Trump when he has a principled objection to Trump’s behavior; your post seems to imply that his objection isn’t principled, but is rather motivated only by pettiness, and that is a severe accusation to make against someone who has served so long, so honorably, and at much sacrifice — an accusation that I don’t believe is deserved. If you were to continue to want to make this case, you may be better advised to find an example where the criticism is not shared by so many other vocal Republicans in and out of Congress, and, indeed, by the President’s own staff. It’s a sad fact of life that, in these bleak times, so many, on all sides of many arguments, spend so much time and energy addressing not the substance of another’s position, but the motivations. “It’s also obvious,” you conclude. Your response to my post is an excellent example of what I find frustrating about your posts. It seems as if your presumption is often that your conclusion is the only ethical, honest, or even obvious position; you tend to presume that anyone arguing against you is stupid, corrupt, or dishonest, and this isn’t the first time I’ve read you presuming and impugning motivations. I believe doing that is presumptuous (you can only speculate, not speak with authority, on the motivation of others), disrespectful, and divisive (we’re really not going to move easily beyond this societal impasse if we can’t even understand that those who engage us from a different point-of-view may actually be doing so out of conviction).

          • Chris

            If you were to continue to want to make this case, you may be better advised to find an example where the criticism is not shared by so many other vocal Republicans in and out of Congress, and, indeed, by the President’s own staff. It’s a sad fact of life that, in these bleak times, so many, on all sides of many arguments, spend so much time and energy addressing not the substance of another’s position, but the motivations.

            This.

            It’s especially egregious because Jack often suggests that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with Trump’s motives at all when analyzing his actions–in this case and others, the argument is “Well, other presidents have done the same thing, so no one should criticize Trump for it,” when the context and motives are entirely different. But the motives of Trump’s critics are always fair game for critique. Ironically, in attempting to point out a double standard, Jack has committed one.

            • Chrissy-Boy

              Yes, Chris!

              And, btw, Jim Messina, who was in the room when the call happened, said that BO called VP after the election, but made a point of not congratulating him, and of pushing him on contentious issues, so the whole premise of hypocrisy for not calling out Obama for the same behavior Trump displayed falls apart, even outside the newly current context of accelerating aggressive Russian behavior: attacks on US troops in Syria, election interference, assassination attempts in UK, etc.

              The big story was that Trump’s team and he couldn’t manage anything close to a coherent, same-page approach to the call. Every WH has its turmoil, but it’s hard to argue that any have been this confused and chaotic; not surprising, as he rhetorically embraces chaos.

              And there’s a lot of double standards: anger at Trump critics for not respecting the office, when his behavior frequently disrespects the office; anger that he’s not treated with due deference, when he offers no deference to anyone else; anger at “Trump hatred” which is usually accompanied by a bizarre, obsessive fixation on viciously attacking Obama and/or HRC; and, my favorite, Jack’s “I told you before the election he was unfit, but how dare anyone else now say he is unfit!”

              Of course, I say this while looking back to when it felt to me that a win by McCain or Romney would be a catastrophe; now, we look at those two and think, “If only!”

              Nobody is perfect, nobody is completely consistent — the world sees to that.

              • Nice post.
                Do bad behaviors become a justification for reciprocation of bad behaviors? Trump has brought a level of personal dysfunction that a battalion of Dr. Phil’s could not formulate an intervention plan. That is a given. List as many negative adjectives as possible and you will still descriptively fall short.

                There are several items I note. When Trump has disrespected it is also a reflection – at least to me – of previous office holders and future ones. Much comes down to my own often tested personal dilemma: Can I support the message and not the messenger? With Trump, it is a test of will to support both.

                I also noted that the day after the election the anti-Trump process started, became magnified and has since intensified. That first portion (the day after) set a standard that will be repeated ten-fold when Trump is whisked out of office in 2020. I fully expect his more militant supports to take to the streets in force. A pattern has been set.

                But back to a core issue – manners. Despite Trump’s outrageous behaviors does he still deserve respect? In my view, it is the office that I respect and not the man or woman. And with manners is my own approach. On a trip to Cuba a few years ago I was in two situations where I was tested. Do I respect “La Bayamesa?” Yes – I am a guest. At the Che memorial do I respect an honor taking place? Yes – I am a guest.

                As an atheist, I have been occasionally being placed in a somewhat compromising situation regarding religious custom. I am fully capable of showing the proper respect not to offend their customs. It is simply manners.

                Regarding McCain, I believe the only thing missing for Trump is his Preston Brooks cane.

                • But back to a core issue – manners. Despite Trump’s outrageous behaviors does he still deserve respect? In my view, it is the office that I respect and not the man or woman. And with manners is my own approach. On a trip to Cuba a few years ago I was in two situations where I was tested. Do I respect “La Bayamesa?” Yes – I am a guest. At the Che memorial do I respect an honor taking place? Yes – I am a guest.

                  Exactly.

                • Chrissy-Boy

                  Rick M.: I very much appreciate and respect your thoughtful post. It’s a pleasure to cyber-meet you.

                  I loved your example concerning respect for the religious customs of others. Much of the anger I’m processing against Trump involves his disrespectful and demeaning attitude toward the office. At what point, if the priest is calling names from the pulpit and demeaning the faith of others, does he surrender his claim to our respect? It’s a hard question for a lot of us. But it seems as if, at some point, we must be allowed to move away from this behavior, appalled, and leave this man alone, as the other jurors do to Ed Begly. (If you can cite Preston Brooks, I can cite Reginald Rose.)

                  I share your fear that a precedent of divisiveness has been set. We can only wait and see, and hope that our republic is as resilient as it has been in the past. Roosevelt was hated — “That man in the White House!” My mother sat devasted in a medical office as others reacted with glee to the killing of Kennedy; I was chilled when I overheard a liberal colleague, after Reagan was shot, saying, “He had a good life,” as if implicitly condoning that violence because of his opposition to the man.

                  But, as Reagan, whatever you think of him policy-wise, brought to the country a stability that many felt, after the preceding years of tumult, was impossible, so we must hope that enlightened and respectful leaders will emerge to appeal to our higher instincts and navigate us out of this morass.

                  • Could not agree more. The key issue is what you bring out – resilience. I like to think of the current unraveling as a cleansing of the hive. I saw the lurid beginnings when Obama was elected and followed it through eight years. Now? Even more so. A political Tit for Tat? I am also concerned in that I see no one rising from the verbal (and sometimes physical) rubble to bind together. I thought I had seen the low, but the recent testosterone-fueled Biden vs. Trump certainly set a standard that will be difficult to match.

                    • Chrissy-Boy

                      Oh, I know! I was so disappointed by my Joe! Remember, Joe: we go high when they go low. (I did that WaPo policy quiz in ’08 that was supposed to determine which candidate shared your views most closely, and Biden was my boy!)

                    • I respected Joe but never was a diehard. I have been involved in consumer issues in the past and Biden was in my political wheelhouse on that. Since I am from Massachusetts I wished him well against “Duke” in 1988. Biden would have been a far better choice. Now? I think that ship has sailed.

  12. I’ve been watching item five basically since it started, YouTube drama is one of my guilty pleasures.

    I hadn’t heard of Meecham before the incident, but actually being arrested for electronic communications violations in a country that had just come off the Rotheram scandal hit me as just a beautiful absurdity: You won’t stop rape gangs from grooming and abusing hundreds of teenage girls on the auspices that local administrators didn’t want to be labelled racist, but you’ll pull a 28 year old out of his basement for making a Nazi joke, charge him with, and I quote, “making grossly offensive content” and probably throw him in the clink for a couple months. Well played, UK, well played.

    There’s a couple of really unique items that I think we have to look at.

    First off… Has anyone watched American History X? Some of Edward Norton’s best work, where he plays Derek Vinyard, a skinhead who undergoes a transformation to a better person, and confronts his past? There’s this painfully jarring scene in the movie… Derek’s mother brings home a guest, who happens to be Jewish, and they get into an argument regarding a very public and well known cop-abuse story. At the end of the confrontation, Derek Rips off his shirt, and points to an absolutely MASSIVE swastika tattooed on his chest and screams at the guy, “You know what this means? It means ‘not welcome’.” Right… Well, There is no doubt in my mind that Meecham, just like Edward Norton, is not a Nazi, and doesn’t think very highly of them, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the image of a man pointing to a massive swastika tattoo on his person and screaming at a Jew, “You aren’t welcome” is probably offensive, and was probably meant to be, so I’m left wondering what the difference is. Is the difference that even though it’s obvious that neither really meant what they did, even though it’s obvious that this was not meant to be a serious statement of ideas or intent, even though the context of the works spoke for themselves… One was a million dollar movie and one was a YouTube poop that went viral? That one was a story of redemption, and one was a shitty joke on a girlfriend? Size, Scope, Aim?

    If all one needs to break the law in England is to create something that is “grossly offensive” and post it to the internet, then what is the natural, legal, stopgap that prevents politicians from going after Hollywood? What if instead of how in American History X, Inglorious Basterds, or Schindler’s List, someone made a movie where the Nazis were less than completely vile? Hell, what ABOUT American History X, Inglorious Basterds, or Schindler’s List? Context obviously didn’t save Meecham, why should it save them? What if we go off the topic of Nazis? What stops this from being applied to Milo Yiannopolous’s new book? Can Trump ever visit the country and open his mouth? Can Nigel Farage ever run for office again?

    “Free Speech” is not for pleasant discussion, like bitching about the weather around the water cooler, it’s for when you need… not even need, want, to discuss something uncomfortable, it reinforces not only your right to speak, but other people’s right to hear, while denying the existence of a right not to be “grossly offended”.

    And how utterly ass backwards does your country have to be to pass that law, and how incompetent does your judiciary have to be to enforce it? Do you know why the video is still up on YouTube? Because at least for the time being, the rest of the world hasn’t gone as utterly batshit as the UK did this last week.

    Chris poked at me last week for bringing up the feminist bake sale, and pointed out that feminists in government don’t have bake sales. This is what a progressive bake sale looks like, this is why progressive retardation needs to be called out, dragged kicking and screaming into the disinfecting light of day, and blasted with the full weight of our scorn. This is what a generation of smug, deep breath, shallow thinking, echo chambered progressive activism does when given a modicum of real power.

  13. Chris and Michael had a very interesting exchange once the hate Trump curtain was removed. Maybe they – especially Michael – can work on the “Trump Doctrine” since apparently, it does not exist.

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