- Ethics movie alert. Its heart is true blue—this is an Aaron Sorkin film, after all—but “The Trial of the Chicago Seven,” now on Netflix, is excellent, as well as must-watching for the astounding number of Americans under 40—50? 60?—who know almost nothing about the previous period of liberal arrogance, political incompetence and institutional failure, the late Sixties. The cast is excellent and star-studded; whoever came up with the idea of casting Sasha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman should win a casting Oscar, for example. For me, the movie brought back memories sharp and grim: what a shitstorm that trial was. Frank Langella, whom I just watched in his remarkable performance as Richard Nixon more more than a decade ago in “Frost/Nixon,” is a memorable if unsympathetic Judge Julian Hoffman. Hoffman, I think, deserves better: like Judge Ito, Hoffman never had a chance to avoid judicial infamy once that trial became a circus, and that bwas something no judge on Earth could have stopped.
Then there is the frightening reality that the Chicago Seven (and Bobby Seale made Eight), who seemed like fringe-y, juvenile extremists at the time, look moderate and reasonable in comparison to today’s antifa, Black Lives Matter followers, and…dare I say it? … a nearly critical mass of Democrats.
2. Speaking of which…Senator Diane Feinstein is under attack from that nearly critical mass for indulging in traditional professional civility and bi-partisan responsibility by not pushing the recently completed hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett nomination to turn into a hyper-partisan fiasco, like the Kavanaugh hearings. She even praised her Republican counterpart, Senator Graham, for doing a good job (it wasn’t that good a job) in chairing the hearings, unlike, to just pick an example out of the murky past, the job Senator Joe Biden did during the infamous Clarence Thomas hearings. Feinstein is nearly 90, and should not be in the Senate at that age just as the unjustly sainted Justice Ginsburg should not have been on the Supreme Court long enough to die in office. Nonetheless, she is trying to hold the line against forces in her own party that would make peaceful and functioning Democracy impossible.
3. From “The Ends Justify The Means” files: Critics are favorably reviewing “Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy” by Talia Lavin, who used a series of online false identities to interact with white supremacists and incels on their websites. The Times review (linked above) says approvingly,
“She refuses to soft-pedal the monstrous views she encounters, and she clearly takes pleasure in cutting them down to size. She is aided in her mission by the fact that the language of extremists tends to occupy the space between risible and profoundly dumb. Contemporary white supremacy is a mishmash of old anti-Semitic tropes, racist pseudoscience and bizarre fantasia — what Lavin calls a “bigot’s pastiche.” The people who promulgate it often toggle between cruel, inane jokes and a fastidious humorlessness. “Anything,” Lavin writes, “an errant wind, a dumb tweet, a conspiracy theory invented from whole cloth — can drum up the forces of white grievance.”
All true, and also all true (well, substitute “black” for “white”) of the smug radical blatherings I can read on Facebook among my supposedly sane and respectable lawyer and actor friends, without secretly surveilling and egging them on under false pretenses, and while having the courage and integrity to confront them and challenge their Borg logic directly under my own name and identity rather than sniping from afar.
- I’ll have a full post later today (if today goes better than yesterday, that is) on the media efforts to bury, discredit and minimize the emerging Biden/Biden scandal, but for perspective, conservative writer Matt Margolis was kind enough to point out five times Twitter and Facebook saw no problem with users widely circulating dubious new stories. Oddly, all were directed against Republicans and President Trump. Margolis begins,
“Social media’s attempts to suppress and censor the New York Post’s bombshell report about Hunter Biden, as well as other damning stories about the Biden family’s corruption, have conservatives crying foul, and rightfully so. Big Tech censorship has become a huge problem, and when social media is actively trying to decide what the public should know about, it raises many questions.
But perhaps the first question that must be asked is: what stories were not suppressed or censored by social media despite being complete bunk? If social media companies think they have an obligation to prevent the public from seeing a story because of questionable or unverified sources or for being misleading, then is there any evidence that this standard is being equally applied across the political spectrum?”
His answer, not surprisingly, is ‘Of course not!”’ Here are his five examples and, as we know, there were many others:
- “The Charlottesville lie”….”How many times does President Trump have to condemn white supremacy for the media to stop reporting that he hasn’t? The media has repeatedly claimed that, in reference to the infamous Charlottesville protests in 2017, that there were “very fine people” on “both sides,” while refusing to point out that he said immediately afterward that he wasn’t talking about “the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.” Meanwhile, Twitter has never suppressed or censored tweets or links alleging that Trump hasn’t condemned white supremacy. Joe Biden, for example, has repeatedly made the false claim that President Trump has refused to condemn white supremacy.”
- The fake Russian bounties story….”In June, the New York Times published a report claiming that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops,” and that President Trump had been briefed on this in March and yet did nothing about it….”
- The bogus Atlantic smear. “Last month, The Atlantic published a story citing anonymous sources claiming that President Donald Trump didn’t want to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because the troops there who died in battle were “losers” and “suckers.”Over a dozen witnesses who were with President Trump on that trip to Paris disputed the story. Each of them went on the record. Despite bipartisan calls for the anonymous sources to come forward, it has been over a month since that story broke and no one has gone on the record to publicly make the accusation….”
- Trump’s tax returns…“may not have been acquired via hacking, but they were indisputably leaked illegally. But the story wasn’t suppressed or censored by social media. The story was allowed to spread like wildfire, largely due to the false claim that Trump had only paid $750 in taxes in 2017….this allegation was false, and the New York Times story itself acknowledged that Trump had pre-paid millions in taxes in 2016 and 2017But the false bombshell, based on illegally obtained tax returns, became a huge story, and was shared on social media without any suppression.”
- Trump/Russia collusion: “If you attempted to share the New York Post’s bombshell about Hunter Biden’s emails, you were blocked from doing so. If you tried to share any of the follow-up stories, like the story about Hunter Biden’s lucrative business dealings with China, you were warned by Twitter that the link “may not be safe.” According to Twitter, the New York Post story was identified as being “potentially spammy or unsafe that could “mislead people.” So where were all the warnings about the countless stories alleging President Trump colluded with Russia? There was never any evidence of this…”
I’d guess 90% of my Trump deranged Facebook friend still believe all of those stories, and will reflexively accuse my of repeating “Fox News talking points” if I try to enlighten them. Do I pity them or hold them in contempt?