Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2021…

It will be interesting to see if the news media discusses the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 any more this May 31 than it has in the past. Discussing this horrible mass murder of blacks in Oklahoma over Memorial Day weekend has always been seen as sufficiently tasteless that the story has suffered the equivalent of a historical airbrushing. When did you first learn about it? I didn’t encounter the episode in elementary school, high school, college or law school. I was 50, and furiously researching the life of Clarence Darrow so I could churn out a one man show (that was already in rehearsal) after Leslie Nielsen pulled the rights we had paid for on the Darrow show performed on Broadway by Henry Fonda. I was looking for the context of Darrow’s epic closing argument in the Sweet case (1925), in which he referenced examples of white mob violence against blacks. That was my introduction to the tragedy. How was this possible? I was and am a voracious consumer of American history, movies, and television. Yet the facts of the Tulsa Race Massacre never entered my consciousness.

Here’s one useful resource…there are many others available online. A brief summary: After World War I, Tulsa’s African American community was notable for its affluence. The Greenwood District was known as “Black Wall Street.” But on May 30, 1921, an incident between a white woman and a black man on an elevator—nobody knows exactly what happened—was reported in the Tulsa newspapers as an attempted rape. The young African-American, Dick Rowland, had been arrested, and members of the community believed that he might be lynched. When an angry white mob gathered in front of the courthouse, a group of over 70 back men, some of them World War I veterans with weapons, confronted them. A gun went off in a struggled, and chaos descended on Greenwood. A white mob of thousands overran the Greenwood District, shooting unarmed black citizens in the streets. It burned an area of some 35 city blocks, and more than 1,200 houses, numerous businesses, a school, a hospital and a dozen churches. It is estimated that 300 people were killed in the rampage, though official counts at the time were much lower. 300 is the same death toll as the 1871 Chicago fire. I knew about that tragedy by the time I was 8.

1. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB! That’s short for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”, introduced here. The current example: during a speech at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Langley,Virginia two days ago, President Biden began spontaneously complimenting a pre-teen girl who had joined her parents and two older brothers on the stage after her mother had introduced Biden to the crowd. Biden said, inappropriately and creepily, “ I love those barrettes in your hair, man. I tell you what, look at her. She looks like she’s 19 years old sitting there like a little lady with her legs crossed.” Republicans pounced, as the MSM cliche goes whenever Democrats are legitimately criticized. The episode was barely mentioned by the media dedicated to propping up Biden—that is, almost all of it—at all. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB…and President Trump didn’t even have a photographically preserved series of encounters like this:

Creepy-Joe-Biden-President

2. AHHHH! It’s a virus ! Get a gun!!! The headline on the front page of the NYT website yesterday read, “Pandemic Fuels Surge in U.S. Gun Sales ‘Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen.'” Incredible. People bought guns for the first time because rioting was going on all over the country, and in many places the police were doing little or nothing to stop it. Buildings were burning and being looted; citizens were being threatened. Who gets a gun to fight a pandemic? (There was never any threat of the kind of civic breakdown from the virus like that portrayed in the movie “Contagion.” Toilet paper riots?)

The degree to which the Times—the “paper of record’!—continues to distort reality to mislead the public and warp public opinion is astounding. Later in the same article, the Times said, “While gun sales have been climbing for decades — they often spike in election years and after high-profile crimes — Americans have been on an unusual, prolonged buying spree fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, the protests last summer and the fears they both stoked.”

Nice. The protests didn’t stoke fears, the rioting and violence did, and they were real, as well as being encouraged by some high elected officials. Americans bought guns to protect themselves against ideas they may have disagreed with? Baloney. They bought guns because they didn’t want their businesses and homes to be attacked. It is also astounding that so many can see and hear this kind of deliberate disinformation every day and still claim that the mainstream news media hasn’t become a propaganda organ and little else. Crazy hysterical right wingers bought guns to protect themselves from a virus and peaceful, harmless people carrying signs! Sure, that’s what was going on.

3. Back about 50 years, when people cared about tennis, this would have been a big story. Three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka announced that she would not speak with reporters during the French Open. In a long statement (ending with the mysterious hanging sentence, “However, if the organizations think that they can just keep…”), Osaka explained her decision in part this way:

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes [sic] mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

Thus she will deliberately violate the 2021 official Grand Slam rulebook, which explicitly requires a player or team to participate in post-match news conferences organized within 30 minutes of the end of a match, unless physically unable to appear. Violations result in fines of up to $20,000. But since Osaka made an estimated $55.2 million last year, $20,000 is pocket change to her. This is literally an example of a star announcing that rules are for lesser mortals.

Verdict: Ethics Dunce. The reason Osaka makes so much money is that athletes are paid heroes and entertainers, and submitting to the idiocy of reporters is part of their job. Fines obviously aren’t enough: a tennis player who refuses to fulfill her obligations to the sport should be banned from competing until she does.

4.Today’s baseball ethics note: The word out of Major League Baseball is that a electronically-called balls and strikes will be implemented no later than three years from now. Good. I’ve already seen at least two games where the winner was determined by an obviously mistaken strike call by the umpire. How anyone can say that’s a “part of the game” that should be preserved is beyond my comprehension. Wouldn’t it be more fun if police were required to estimate the speed cars were traveling? Botched calls were “part of the game” when there was no way to do better. The sooner baseball has “robocalls,” the more ethical the game will be.

5. Also “Good”: Senate Republicans blocking a “January 6 Insurrection Commission.” Democrats and Trump-haters have warped American elections with partisan investigations and hysterical characterizations too often already. There is nothing inherently wrong with any Congressional inquiry, of course: Congress investigates the grand and the trivial as a matter of course. This proposed commission, however, was obviously a ploy to keep banging the “insurrection” tom-toms and repeating the false “attack on democracy” theme in the hopes that they could help the Democrats survive the 2022 elections and keep Donald Trump at bay. Democrats and the Trump Deranged have lied about the January 6 riot so often and so outrageously. that they are estopped from claiming they are capable of a fair investigation. It wasn’t an insurrection; the government was never endangered or interrupted; and no police officers were killed. President Trump did not “incite” anything. The 2017 protests and riots during the 2017 Trump inauguration were more violent and more consequential. This was a cynical proposal designed to benefit the Democratic Party at the expense of civic discourse. The Republicans who voted for it are incompetent and irresponsible.

38 thoughts on “Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2021…

  1. and no police officers were killed.

    Idle pondering, but if someone died of a heart attack during a bank robbery, would felony murder apply?

    • “Idle pondering, but if someone died of a heart attack during a bank robbery, would felony murder apply?”

      It should come as no surprise that there exists precedent from The 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality:

      Man Sentenced To 25 Years For Heart Attack Death During Robbery At Culvers

      “Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky sentenced (Nicholas) Ivy to 25 years in prison for felony murder, for the heart attack death of 56-year-old Christ Kneubuehl that happened during an armed robbery Ivy committed last year at a Culver’s restaurant.” (bolds mine)

      • Sicknick died long after the most nefarious and EVIL attempt at thwarting our nascent democracy. There was not causal nexus betwixt the heavily armed insurrection and his death from being teargassed, clubbed with a fire extinguisher and impaled by Viking Man.

        jvb

        • “his death from being teargassed” (bolds/italics mine)

          Wasn’t he BEARgassed?

          As someone who spends ~ 4 weeks each year in Bear Country (one every 1.5 square miles, Iron County, WI has one of the highest bear concentrations in the known Universe), I’m comfortable suggesting there exists a difference.

  2. 1. Well she was just 17, and you know what I mean, and the way she looked was way beyond compare… Er, 14. Er, actually 12… C’mon, man, they’re all double digits!

    2. …fuel by the coronavirus pandemic… I think there’s plenty of truth to this. The pandemic spurred all kinds of totalitarian measures, which then spurred people to prepare to resist the totalitarian measures. Especially when many of those measures were revealed to be power grabs meant only to spread control over the hoi polloi, thanks to ignoring those measures in favor of the riots.

    Frankly, I think the riots, for all the damage they did, were less important for violence and damage, and more important for turning the spotlight on the actual motives of our nation’s leaders.

    3. I personally can’t stand the post-game interviews. The questions are dumb and the responses are canned.

    4. I’m still in favor of having human umpires and referees. Maybe someday I’ll actually craft into coherent thought why I dislike the idea of robocalls. In general it has to do with baseball generally being low tech, with lots of human touch.

    On a tangential note, I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, entitled “If Wishes were Horses”, and in it there was a reference to baseball having died out a couple hundred of years before. A hologram of a professional baseball player from that earlier era was talking about winning the final World Series before a crowd of a mere 300. It made me think of you, Jack, and how you might have reacted, either to the story of the sport having died out, or were that ever to become reality. What do you think? Will baseball be around for quite some time to come?

    5. Keep the focus on the January 6th event. Milk that cow until it is utterly dry. Maybe even let attention drift to the increasing reports that consensus is building that the pandemic did indeed start from a lab experiment gone wrong. Anything to divert attention away from… Nordstream 2? Hunter? The election audits proceeding in multiple states?

    Or are they actually that convinced they were in danger? Perhaps they really think January 6th was the 21st Century equivalence of the Boston Tea Party.

    • 1. The girl was apparently NINE…
      3. Of course the post-game interviews are stupid, but then so are most of the answers. Still, fans want to hear the athletes say how X made them “feel.” Go figure.
      4. Baseball is more embedded in the culture than any other sport or game; it is growing in popularity worldwide, and is the most diverse sport other than soccer. It’s also a uniquely individual team sport, while the other are all army games. Soccer, hockey, basketball and football are all basically the same game with different “balls” and different ways to score a goal. Football is more in danger of fading out than baseball….except that the dumber one is, the less appeal baseball has. THAT is the major danger to the sport right now.

    • Funny you should mention Deep Space Nine. I was just thinking about this scene:

      I’m not a sports geek per se, but being a geek in other areas I can understand the appeal of delving into how things work and how they can work better, whether it be sports, entertainment, politics, engineering, etc. Baseball seems to play into this especially well, with it’s emphasis on statistics and individual performance. Take away human umps, and you have one less thing for fans to debate over.

      That being said, while it may be entertaining for fans to argue about ump calls (and watch coaches and players do the same), I can see how it would be devastating for players to have their hard work and sacrifice in getting to the championship undone by an ump’s bad call.

  3. 4. “Good”

    Questions that should be answered before the robo-ump is implemented:

    1. How will the height and depth of the strike zone be determined, and what impact will those changes have on today’s game; and,
    2. Because the instant replay system was gamed to fuel the biggest cheat-to-win scandal in the history, what are the weak spots of the robo-ump system and what measures will be taken to assure that cheating will be unproductive?

    • 1. There was a discussion of that by MLB sources. One reason the robocalls are coming is that the strike zone is one way to adjust offense and defense, but umpires are not reliable: they use their own strike zones, adjusting slowly if ever. With robocalls, you tweak the program and the strike zone is changed.

      2. That’s not quite fair: the camera feeds were used, and those would be there with or without replay. My imagination isn’ good enough to imagine how one could use electronic calls to cheat, other than hacking. And remember, the key feature of the Astros cheating schemed was banging on trash cans.

      • Automated calling of strikes and balls, given current technology, requires yet one more change to the definition of the strike zone. Whether this is good or bad for the game is, of course, subjective. There are other issues as well.
        Since 1887, when batters could no longer demand a high, low, or fair pitch, the strike zone has varied in some respects but has consistently been defined to include the area over home plate. The shape of home plate is an irregular pentagon, and thus the strike zone is a 3-dimensional pentagonal prism, not a 2-dimensional rectangle as it often is portrayed on TV.
        That 2-dimensional rectangle can and does mislead TV spectators and sports commentators about the umpire’s accuracy in calling balls and strikes. With the current strike zone, and given the fact that pitches do not follow a straight line from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s glove, a pitch which is outside that 2-dimensional rectangle at the front of the plate might well pass through the pentagonal prism and be a strike.
        Technology exists to keep the strike zone a pentagonal prism, but, the plans are to change the strike zone instead. According to MLB, the new strike zone will be a 2-dimensional rectangle at the front of the plate. The width of that rectangle will be the width of the current plate. The height will be based on a measurement of each batter, with the top of that rectangle being 58% of the batter’s height and the bottom being 28% of the batter’s height. So, the batter’s stance as he prepares to hit the ball will not matter.
        Changing to a 2-dimensional rectangle and ignoring the batter’s stance changes the nature of the game for batters and pitchers. But, worse, there will be technological glitches.
        There will be a very slight delay as the home plate umpire waits for the signal from the booth as to what to call. There might be hesitation as the pitch is ruled a strike but the umpire noticed that it nicked the batter’s sleeve as he leaned in over the plate and the ball curved inside after passing the front of the plate. Hearing “strike” and thinking “hit by pitch” could be disconcerting.
        There also will be the occasional glitch where the home plate umpire will cup his hand over the earbud, look at the booth, signal for a repeat of the call, or raise both hands with a questioning look and hope for a hand signal (as we’ve seen quarterbacks do when the speaker in their helmet doesn’t speak clearly enough or at all).
        Worst of all will be those games where Alex Cora has learned how to hack into the system and adjust the calls to favor his team.

        • 1. The advantage of an electronically executed strike zone is that it will always be the same. Live umpires made a fetish of having their “own” strike zone, regardless of the rule book and any amendments. The rationalization you heard from ex-ballplayers in the booth was—still is—“as long as the strike zone is consistent throughout the game, it’s fine.” No, it ISN’T “fine.” A strike in one game has to be a strike in another, or the game has no integrity.

          2. I don’t see how the eccentric shape of the back of home plate is an issue at all. What pitch would miss the plane of the square part of the plate and still pass through the area above the small triangle at the bottom? Pitches don’t break that sharply—in fact, with the exception of a knuckleball, they don’t “break” at all. A curve is a continuous arc, not a straight pitch that suddenly swerves. A ball that missed the body of the plate but passed through the part than makes in an oblong would be unhittable, and the idea of a strike is that it’s a hittable pitch.

          3.They won’t ignore the batter’s stance (or size) because the strike zone is defined by kness and shoulders. Aaron Judge has to have a strike zone that is larger than Jose Altuve. There’s no way around it. A assume perfceting a program that can be pre-adjusted for each batter is one reason the technology will take three years to be implemented.

          4. Many umpires already hesitate, some a ridiculously long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the calls were no longer left to the umpires, but signaled by an automatic light or sound.

          5.As for your last sentence, you owe me a new keyboard.

          • With regard to #1, they might just as well go ahead and standardize all MLB fields, so they are to exactly the same specifications, same turf, same infield dirt, same height of fences, same dome enclosure, same lighting, and so on. No reason athletes should have to adapt to somewhat different circumstances between or even during games. Heck, if they can’t adjust to even small differences among umpires, they shouldn’t consider themselves athletes.
            While we’re at it, let’s make the football round; that thing they use now bounces funny.
            #2 – cutting off that triangle at the back of the plate would leave a cube for the strike zone, not a plane as will be the case with computerized balls and strikes. It should be obvious that a pitched ball, even following a continuously curving path, can be outside that cube at the front edge and at least partly in the cube before it passes by the back. I tried without luck to find some video of pitches viewed from directly overhead to see if curveballs curve differently. The difference between a roundhouse curve and a ‘late-breaking’ curve may be just an optical illusion because of the way a batter looks at the pitch as it arrives, but, if so, it’s a darn good one.

            • That’s nuts, HJ. The strike zone is a rule, and a core foundation of how the game is played. Having the strike zone vary game to game, sometimes batter to batter, is insane; it was tolerated when there was no choice. Park variations are known exactly by both teams. They effect both teams the same way; teams prepare for them, and base strategy on them. Ball park quirks do effect results, but it is never random or arbitrary. A Pesky Pole homer in Fenway has been a cheap home run for more than a century. What you’re talking about is like Charley Finley’s scheme of having a moving right field fence in KC that he could change ever game. That was illegal.

              • Many, many years ago, I had a college prof, math teacher I believe, present the argument that I used in #1 with the rationale that baseball players then could be judged on their athletic skills unaffected by variation in playing fields. Being a smart-ass then (as now), I opined that adaptability was a valuable skill in an athlete, such as learning how to play caroms off that monstrosity in Boston or, for a number of years, off the monuments in Yankee Stadium’s centerfield. He may have been just trying to provoke a response; I definitely was. 🙂

                • Modern metrics now allow the statistics to be adjusted taking the fields into consideration. A home run now comes with the measure of how many other parks the same ball would have left, for example. Baseball’s casual observers don’t know that a .300 hitter in Houston would not be one in Citi Field, but the clubs do at contract negotiation time.

  4. I think I was in my 40s when I heard of the Tulsa massacre. I kinda just shrugged it aside as another event similar to the one portrayed in the movie “Rosewood,” which was 2 years later, also prompted by allegations of an improper encounter between a black man and a white woman. Actually Tulsa was worse in terms of body count, but frankly, once mass violence based on anger or hate takes one life, the rest is just keeping score. I also knew about the Great Chicago Fire early on in life, and all kinds of other disasters before I was 12, although partly because I got a hold of one of those doorstop-sized books of information, that had a section devoted to disasters, with short, easily digestible writeups on the Thera eruption, the Lisbon earthquake, the Peshtigo forest fire, the Chicago fire, the collision of the Mont-Blanc and the Halifax, and so on. If Colbert Smith’s article today in the Washington Post about commandeering Memorial Day to commemorate black victims of police violence is anything to go by, I think we’ll be hearing a LOT more about it on Memorial Day Weekend going forward, as the left tries to turn another celebration into a time of shame.

    1. The media are masters of magic, for what is magic but misdirection and supposedly making things disappear? I’m sure the girl was adorable, but I think compliments on children’s appearances are best left to female partners. It looks and sounds cute if a woman compliments a young girl on her dress and tells her to turn around and show the entire dress, but a man doing the same just looks and sounds creepy, however benign his intentions. What Biden did was poles beyond that.

    2. There was a bit of a spike in March and April, as people thought shortages could lead to riots and just due to general uncertainty. However, the real spike came after the death of George Floyd set off the riots and it became clear the authorities would not protect ordinary people. You still can barely find a pistol or pistol ammo in Stroudsburg, PA these days.

    3. Maybe so, but, given the current state of the press, I can see her deciding to take the $20,000 hit rather than talk to the current idiots in sports coverage.

    4. It’s about time. And, yes, I remember the DS9 epi in which they brought back “Buck Bokai” to talk about the collapse of baseball as a spectator sport. I sometimes wonder where the Star Trek writers came up with this speculative pseudohistory and why the editors didn’t catch it. That ranks right up there with Data’s remark in the TGN episode “The High Ground” that terrorism sometimes does work, given the Irish reunification of 2025 (harsher in hindsight, given where terrorism went later, although the episode aired in 1990). The sport would have ended way before World Series games were only drawing audiences of 300 because it would have ceased to be profitable LONG before that time.

    5. Of course it is. This is just one more facet of the left wanting a monopoly on everything. That includes the moral high ground, the decision of what to call what events, and the decision as to what events are significant and how. Henceforth January 6th will be called Insurrection Day, and will have the same significance as 9/11 and 12/7.

    • The sport would have ended way before World Series games were only drawing audiences of 300 because it would have ceased to be profitable LONG before that time.

      Profit is irrelevant in the future, where the unlimited resources that make warp speed possible also made currency irrelevant.

      It is therefore a rediculous notion that baseball would die out. Small boys will always play catch with their fathers, whether in the backyard in 1920, or the halodeck in 2420. Some of those boys will always want to go on to play professionally. The idea that athletes who no longer need to worry about gainful employment to support their families would not play before empty stadiums for the joy of is nonsense (the idea that fans who don’t necessarily need to work either wouldn’t flock to free baseball games either is also nonsense). Baseball would thrive in the Star Trek future. That they include a throwaway line that it died is Hollywood anti-american bias at work even in 1990.

  5. On 5… I might be in favor of a congressional investigation if I thought there was actually a reason to do one. My understanding might be flawed, so if anyone wants to chirp in and explain if/what I’ve gotten wrong, I’ll welcome it.

    But my understanding is that congressional investigations are mostly designed to look at things that congress might want to legislate on, to see if there are any gaps in the law that they need to act on. They aren’t supposed to be on-the-ground factfinding missions, because those are already done by the police, and if the 400+ individuals charged with various crimes are any measure, the legislation surrounding the riot seems to have sufficed.

    These hyper partisan political fishing expeditions done on taxpayer dollars have got to stop. This isn’t a fact finding mission, they aren’t looking to expand the laws, they aren’t looking to uncover new facts, they’re looking to drag January 6th out in the public consciousness for as long as they can because they’ve got nothing else. We’re on month six of the new administration, and the Democrat’s platform is in freefall, and instead of addressing the elephants in the room like how #Defund efforts have failed abysmally, they’re going to gong on about “insurrections”.

    What is monumentally stupid about that is that the left creates their own boogeymen. I wouldn’t know Richard Spencer’s name if CNN and MSNBC hadn’t given him and his cause so much oxygen. They created the alt right by giving them a megaphone orders of magnitude larger than they’d ever have naturally and normalizing them. Then we had to deal with this bloat of shitty, stupid ideas for a political cycle or two. If the left starts to give oxygen to right extremism all the while making excuses for political violence (so long as the right people are violent) they’re going to drive a generation of stupid people to violence.

    But maybe that isn’t stupid. What do they care? MSNBC anchors and the political upper class don’t care if poor to middle class neighborhoods burn down, they don’t live there. The minute, the second, that a mob shows up and throws novelty sized Q-tips at Chris Cuomo’s house and threaten his family is the moment that people like him might take this seriously, because right now it’s all academic for them. The reason, more than anything else, that Jan 6th lives in these mental midgets minds is because for the first time in their life they were within earshot of the consequences of their actions. And instead of digging deep and building some empathy with the people they’re supposed to represent, they’re using it as cannon fodder for more.

  6. 3. I have a lot of sympathy with any sportsman who wants to do their talking on the field of play only. I guess if they take the money that TV brings to the table, they have to play their part in the press-conference charade, but it remains a charade. Incidently, the interviews with Sumo wrestlers during the big tournaments are very stilted. Almost always the answer to any question is either “I tried to do my own brand of Sumo” or “I will do my best tomorrow”. Perhaps Naomi Osaka’s background also makes her uncomfortable in these interviews.

  7. I was so angered at a column written today by Juan Williams that I decided to take him down.

    More and more fights breaking out on airplanes. Why? The short answer is that wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 remains a politically divisive statement.

    *The longer answer is that folks like you politicized it and made it required proof of good citizenship, like red scarves in the USSR for kids showing the proper attitude toward the “superstition” that religion was regarded as.*

    Nine killed by gunfire in another mass shooting.

    *No, nine killed in workplace violence by yet another dissatisfied kook who didn’t get the help he needed. But hey, none were black, so this is of limited utility, right?*

    Hateful attacks on Jews and Asians rising.

    *And who is responsible for the former? Hmmm, could it be all those peaceful lefties who hate Israel with a passion and don’t really distinguish between Israelis and Jews? The same lefties doing those “mostly peaceful” protests last summer? And don’t give me that. Until now you and yours were QUITE contempt to lump Asians in with whites, because they were successful. You are only concerned now because you smell another group of victims to use as pawns.*

    All of that happened in the last week.

    *That doesn’t have anything to do with deflecting attention from the fact that the senile puppet and the cackler-in-chief just had the worst week any administration had that early, does it? Nah, couldn’t be.*

    Americans should be coming together in celebration of declining coronavirus infections this Memorial Day.

    *They should be coming together in commemoration of those who gave their lives for this country, which is what this holiday is about, you idiot. And if infections are declining a good part of the credit is due to President Trump pushing getting the vaccine within less than a year. Know why they aren’t coming together as much? Because you and the press and the bureaucracy have been fearmongering and moving the goalposts for over a year now, so some will NEVER stop being afraid.*

    Instead, the bursts of public violence and hate reflect deep political division.

    *You don’t say. And just WHO has been stoking that division for FIVE YEARS? If you fish for salmon, you shouldn’t be surprised it you catch salmon. If you mine for gold, you shouldn’t be surprised if you hit a seam. If you spend your time taking sides and focusing on every little thing that divides us and none of the things that unite us, and you spend all your time JUSTIFYING anger and rage and violence instead of trying to tamp it down, you shouldn’t be surprised when deep division is what you get.*

    Sixty-four percent of voters now see political divisions as a major threat to the “stability” of the nation, according to a Fox News poll released last week. It is the highest-ranked major threat to the nation in the poll.

    *Of course, a lot of voters see it that way. Who has been feeding them precisely that line for over a year?*

    The depth of the division can also be seen in recent Ipsos/Reuters polling that shows most Republicans continue to believe former President Trump is the “true president,” and 56 percent believe the 2020 election was stolen from him.

    *It WAS stolen, Juan. When you have Big Tech “fact checking” and hiding and embargoing stories that would help the president and pushing stories that hurt him, when you have the media putting its thumb on the scales against him, when his opposition is using twin crises as opportunities to hurt the president instead of treating them as everyone’s problem, when you have battleground states pushing unsecure mail-in voting, you have an unfair, aka stolen election.*

    How can so many Republicans still believe the “Big Lie,” almost five months after President Biden was inaugurated following Congress certifying Biden’s national victory by 74 electoral college votes and more than seven million popular votes?

    *I dunno. It couldn’t be the fact that the election itself looked fishy with states flipping after a halt to voting in the middle of the night. It couldn’t be the fact that the courts tossed case after case that challenged the results on procedural grounds, before a record could be developed. It couldn’t be the fact that Big Tech tried to silence those who dared to discuss it. Certification is meaningless if the results you’re certifying look fishy and you act like you have something to hide.*

    And why do 57 percent of Republicans think of Democrats, their fellow Americans, as their “enemies,” according to a February CBS/YouGov poll?

    *Because they acted like their enemies last year, and when someone shows you who he really is, you should believe him.*

    This extremism among Republicans is paralyzing Congress.

    *No. The fact that Congress is almost evenly divided and two of your folks aren’t stupid enough to take another step down the path that Harry Reid took you down in 2013 that came back in a year and bit you in the ass, HARD, is what’s preventing Congress from moving anything.*

    It can’t find the votes to better regulate guns. It can’t fix a broken immigration system.

    *It couldn’t do either last year either. You only care because now it’s your guy in the White House whose agenda isn’t getting very far.*

    Similarly, Republicans can’t compromise enough to reach a bipartisan deal to repair the nation’s decrepit infrastructure. Incredibly, Congress can’t even agree on a bill to protect the right to vote.

    *Zzzzzt! Wrong! They aren’t going to compromise themselves into writing a check that’s 10% infrastructure, 90% special favors. And H.R. 1 isn’t about “protecting the vote,” don’t try to gaslight us. It’s about Federalizing voting procedures and maximizing the vote for your side.*

    Last week, Congress hit a new low. It blocked a commission to investigate the attempted overthrow of the U.S. government. Now that is dysfunction.

    *No, it decided it wasn’t going to let YOUR party keep beating that drum into the next election, in the hopes that drumbeat could prevent the inevitable midterm losses that can and likely will flip Congress back to the GOP, taking the chance of any major bills passing down to zero. It’s just business as usual. *

    Jan. 6 saw the worst violent domestic insurrection since the Civil War. But it won’t be the last – unless we as a country face the truth about how much trouble we are in.

    *I guess you forgot last summer and the 1960s. No, you didn’t forget, you just don’t count those, because you thought they were justified and this wasn’t.*

    This begs the question: What are the Republicans so afraid of?

    *Hmmm, that you are going to try to greatly curtail personal freedoms and turn this nation into a de facto one-party state, maybe? Now why would they think that? It couldn’t be that you’ve been pushing limitations on every right except the right to an abortion for a decade, could it? It couldn’t be that you want to flood this country with new citizens that will all be beholden to you, could it? It couldn’t be that your politicians have acted like tyrants while making exceptions for themselves and their favored minions during this crisis, could it? It couldn’t be your utter failure to keep order and protect the lives and property of ordinary citizens in every blue city and state last summer, could it? Nah, couldn’t be.*

    Why did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) ask his caucus for a “personal favor,” according to CNN, to vote to stop creation of the commission?

    *You’re the journalist, why don’t you ask him?*

    The Republicans’ talking point on opposition to the commission is that they want to move on from the insurrection and shift the nation’s focus to debates over Biden’s policies.

    *Yup. The so-called insurrection is over. Those policies are just beginning.*

    But Biden and his policies – ranging from his plan to spend big on infrastructure to his spending on Covid relief – are all popular in a range of polls.

    *Mmmhmm, and we all know how reliable polls are. Forgive me if I believe the results are cooked to shore him up.*

    What Senate Republicans are really avoiding is the truth that Trump’s lies and slash-and-burn, truth-be-damned politics drove some of them to play along with him. They are implicated in the insurrection – not in a criminal sense, but in a moral sense.

    *Oh please. That’s just a rant. If I listed all the things YOUR party is morally implicated in, starting with 60,000,000 of this nation’s citizens murdered in the womb, we’d be here all day.*

    Think back to Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) power salute to the people rushing the Capitol. Think back to the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn the election.

    *Think back to your party voting in lockstep on two impeachments, one of which you knew was going nowhere, the other of which you knew was grandstanding. Think back to wasting how much tax money on the Mueller investigation, which turned up nothing.*

    So, McConnell is convincing Senate Republicans it is in their best interest to cover up the truth and let the country balkanize further rather than stand up to Trump and his followers.

    *The country has been balkanized for the better part of a decade, since you became the party of “X lives matter,” but never “white lives matter,” or “blue lives matter,” or, God forbid, “all lives matter.”*

    As Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) noted in her speech before being voted out of her leadership position: “Ignoring the lie emboldens the liar.”

    *Liz Cheney should have left that position before they HAD to vote her out. As a partly leader she had an obligation to support her party’s president, not undermine him.*

    The ongoing power of the ‘Big Lie’ is fed daily with conspiracy talk and misinformation by social media, talk radio and cable opinion shows.

    *Like the mainstream media fed the Big Lies about a Russian conspiracy, about Trump being insane, about all these other supposed improprieties that turned out to be nothing?*

    “We are in an era of endemic misinformation – and outright disinformation,” Max Fisher wrote in the New York Times earlier this month.
    “Plenty of bad actors are helping the trend along.”

    *Yup, plenty are, and the Times is right at the forefront, just not the trend you think.*

    Those bad actors produce divisive content because they see a ripe market for stories, memes and videos that make political opponents look bad – particularly when they mock Democrats for the entertainment of Republicans.

    *And your side hasn’t done just the same thing with the parties reversed? My God, man, don’t be so ridiculous.*

    In the last year, the whole country has been storm-tossed.

    *No one ever said navigating the seas of liberty and national existence would be easy.*

    There is the rollercoaster ride of living through a pandemic that has killed almost 600,000 Americans.

    *Yup. But for the vaccine which Trump oversaw the production of, we’d be looking at a lot more, I think.*

    Then there is the cultural and racial change taking place.
    The fast changing realities of American life are particularly threatening for the Trump base of white, non-college educated, rural voters. It makes them open to what social scientists call “ingrouping.”

    *Oh boy, here we go with the nonsense about how America is becoming blacker, browner, gayer, more secular and you old fogey white guys better get with the program. *

    In other words, people seek the company of people like themselves in terms of economic class, race, and political ideology.

    *Maybe people don’t want to hear that they are outmoded and about to be superseded?*

    And they turn against people outside their club, blaming them for their problems.

    *Oh yeah, like you say white people are all systemic racists and all that.*

    A prime example comes from an in-depth look at the people who took part in the attack on the Capitol that Republicans don’t want to review.
    Of the almost 400 people arrested or charged, most are white males and they typically come from cities and towns “where the non-White populations are growing fastest,” Robert Pape, the director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, wrote in an April column in The Washington Post.

    *Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall.*

    Are those rioters upset about loss of jobs?
    No, according to Pape. The primary factor, he wrote, is “fear of the ‘Great Replacement.'”
    “Great Replacement theory has achieved iconic status with white nationalists and holds that minorities are progressively replacing White populations due to mass immigration policies and low birthrates,” according to Pape.

    *Projection much?*

    Happy Memorial Day, indeed.

    *So why don’t you make it into Floyd Day or some other thing?*

    • I think I first met the term ‘whataboutism’ in this blog and your post Steve is full of it. Hope it helps calm your anger. I can’t see anything to help towards resolution.

      • How is pointing out obvious hypocrisy whataboutism? How is pointing out that the other side is trying to put the blame for all the problems it caused on the one side whataboutism? I’m doing just fine with anger management, but thanks for your interest. I really don’t see how your post helps toward a resolution either. I don’t think it is whataboutism to say “physician, heal thyself.”

        • ‘Whataboutism’ as used by Jack is the deflection of pointing out that one’s critic (say ‘C’) has similarly sinned. ‘C’ may well be hypocritical in accusing you of cheating, but you should address the issue as raised (your alleged cheating). Whether or not ‘C’ cheats is irrelevant.

          In my view Jack sometimes sidesteps his own rule using the excuse of ‘estoppel’, again a new term for me. This is apparently a concept in law (I am not a lawyer) that requires an accuser to be consistent.

          An extract of’ ‘signature significance’ from your recent post is: “ *And your side hasn’t done just the same thing with the parties reversed?”

          I can’t offer any route to resolution either.

          • I am a lawyer, and estoppel is just a fancy way of saying you can’t make one argument today and make the exact opposite later in the same case. I’m not arguing that the left has similarly sinned here, I am saying it is trying to put all the blame for the problems this country now faces on the right, when it is just as responsible if not more so for those same problems. It’s lying, gaslighting, and burden shifting. To say I can’t point that out is just silly.

            • You can of course point out whatever you like. If, as you seem to concede above, you accept that both sides bear some responsibility, then in search of peace and compromise I suggest you could usefully say as much. I won’t reread every word of your long post, but I didn’t pick up any acknowledgment that Juan Williams (who I don’t know) had any shred of justification for what he said. I picked up that he made you angry. I suppose as a lawyer in the anglo tradition you naturally swing into advocate mode, keeping the ‘attack button’ permanently engaged? Haven’t both sides been ‘lying, burden shifting and gas lighting’?

    • Citing McConnell is cheating. He’s dead wrong that Trump bears responsibility for a riot that gre out of a legitimate protest. Yes, Mitch’s opposition to the commission is hypocritical. That doesn’t mean it make sense to have one, or that Democrats are seeking one in good faith. The fact that the Sicknick family was lobbying the Hill to have the commission tells me all I need to know. The House managers in the impeachment,and Biden, AND the media have lied repeatedly that Sicknick was killed in the riot–he wasn’t.Why would anyone trust these people to do a fair investigation?

      • We should remember that actually the only recent killings involving capitol police officers were:

        A) One where an officer shot an unarmed (white) woman trespasser, and details of the the incident have been kept under a complete blackout.

        B) One where a Nation Of Islam follower (a black nationalist?) killed one officer and injured another by ramming them with a car.

        What would you want to bet that those two would be included in any democrat-driven investigation?

  8. Too much. Break these up, will you?

    Re Tulsa 1921: I haven’t heard or read of this either. Only supports my decision years ago that one can’t trust history or historians (they are all politicized), or documentary TV programs (setting out to prove a particular point of view). Here’s a question: Why hasn’t this been brought to light by anyone else — including the BLM crowd?

    And now science proves (again) to be politicized: the CDC sits down with reps of teachers’ unions as it decides whether and when schools should be reopened…

  9. Of course the Tulsa race riot celebration has been a disaster. First, the survivors and children of the survivors refused to attend. They had been offered $100,000 each, but they demanded $1 million each and an additional $50 million. Then, the march to the site had to be halted because it was a ‘no firearms zone’ and many in the march were armed.

    The coverage has been rather inflamatory. The coverage has continually stated that this was the “Worst race-related massacre in US history”. I’m sure all the Indian tribes will be comforted to find out their history was wrong. They are claiming that it was racism that kept people from knowing about it, but I would bet as many people know about this event as the Battle of Blair Mountain, which was an order of magnitude worse than this.

    https://kfor.com/news/tulsa-race-massacre/tulsa-race-massacre-centennial-commission-official-explains-sudden-cancelation-of-remember-rise-event/

    The article said $1 million for each of the survivors, but the TV coverage stated $1 million for each survivor and each of their children. Most media has said this event was cancelled by Homeland Security because of ‘racist threats’.

  10. The protests didn’t stoke fears, the rioting and violence did, and they were real, as well as being encouraged by some high elected officials.

    This is realted to the below.

    This proposed commission, however, was obviously a ploy to keep banging the “insurrection” tom-toms and repeating the false “attack on democracy” theme in the hopes that they could help the Democrats survive the 2022 elections and keep Donald Trump at bay. Democrats and the Trump Deranged have lied about the January 6 riot so often and so outrageously. that they are estopped from claiming they are capable of a fair investigation. It wasn’t an insurrection; the government was never endangered or interrupted; and no police officers were killed. President Trump did not “incite” anything. The 2017 protests and riots during the 2017 Trump inauguration were more violent and more consequential. This was a cynical proposal designed to benefit the Democratic Party at the expense of civic discourse. The Republicans who voted for it are incompetent and irresponsible.

    They had no problems with the insurrections®™ in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and Kenosha, nor with those who incite them.

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