Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Republicans vs. the USA



In the latest G.O.P. effort to chip away at our representative democracy, courtesy of the William and Reba Johnson Foundation of Tennessee

The governor of South Dakota announced Tuesday her intent to deploy state National Guard troops to Texas to assist in securing the U.S.-Mexico border from illegal entrants, according to a press release.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said her decision is in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's request for more assistance to help police the border. A private donation will fund an initial deployment of up to 50 troops to Texas for between 30-60 days, the press release said.

“The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide," Noem said. "We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve. My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”

Earlier this month, Abbott and Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona sent a joint letter to governors of the remaining states to ask for supplemental law enforcement to help arrest those illegally crossing the border. The Biden administration "has proven unwilling or unable to do the job," the Republican governors wrote.



Sending National Guard soldiers from one state to another for ideological aims raises tremendous concerns, among them the supremacy of the federal government, which we tangled with, oh, some 160 years ago.  One tweeter asks "Now that corporations can rent the National Guard, will private companies now be able to fund the National Guard to be used as strike breakers against unions?"

I'm guessing he realizes the answer is "yes."  In a larger sense:


File that under Robert Zimmerman's "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."




Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Enough Said


Almost perfect. To be precise, I would have substituted "defund police" for "defund the police" at the end because "the" means "all." However, the GOP demonizes "defund the police," so Jen Psaki, a better strtegist than I, went for it. She was asked

Is there a thought there that basically somebody, some criminal who has been committing crimes with limited interruption or interference from police for the last couple of weeks or months is going to stop this easy lfe of crime if they have a summer job?

The President's press secretary responded

Well, I think the President believes that we shouldn't allow access to guns for those criminals who are currently illegally buying them from some dealers  across the country. Part of his announcement is taking steps to do exactly that.  Part of his announcement is also ensuring there's specific guidance to communities across the country to ensure they have funding to get more community police around the country, something that was supported by the American Jobs Plan, uh, that was voted into law by Democrats just a couple of months ago. Some might saythat  the other party was for defunding the police. I'll let others say that....

If your passion is for getting more and more guns into the hands of more and more people, among them individuals who shouldn't have the deadly weapons, do not feign outrage when some of those individuals use their guns to blow a few people away. Cause meets effect..

And summer jobs?  As someone, possibly King Solomon, once put it, "idle hands are the devil's workshop." which would put the GOP in the devil's camp, thus helping confirm ancient wisdom.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Racial Prejudice In Its Ranks


In a different context, on Sunday night John Oliver (here at 1:15) quoted his wise, albeit probably mythical, barber as remarking  "we can't change history, we can only prevent it from happening again."

Unfortunately, MSNBC will heed the first point and ignore the second. Breitbart reports that on Saturday morning

“Bill Maher, you do not get to tell people of color what they should or should not be offended by. Stay in your lane, slim,” (Tiffany) Cross stated. “Maybe instead of trying to invoke sympathy for Sharon Osbourne or making sure Tomi Lahren has a space to souse her BS, you should have more diverse panels of people who can explain colorism to you and systemic racism and how these things still devastate people’s lives and livelihoods today. Try that instead of standing on your alabaster perch every week to crap on other people’s lived experience while providing a safe haven for well-established white supremacists because I’ve got to tell you — this old angry white man act is so played.”

“The country, like it or not, is changing in real-time. And sadly, ‘Fake Time with Bill Maher’ is not,” she added.

(Below, these "well-established white racists" the evening before the commentary above.)

Give Tiffany Cross, host of "Cross Connection" on MSNBC, a point for the clever renaming of "Real Time with Bill Maher." Take ten away from her for racial bias, and not of the subtle variety.

Maher certainly could book African-Americans on his  show, albeit not immediately because it is on hiatus for five weeks.  It might blunt the invective from Cross and cronies if it were black faces explaining why she is plainly wrong. He could, for example, interview Adolph Reed or John McWhorter. (Oh wait, he has.)

It's unlikely, though, that they'll even know what "colorism" is. It sounds like the individual is validated by the color of her skin, but it probably means whatever Cross wants it to mean at whatever time. Bigots are like that.

Similarly, the reference to "a safe haven for well-established white supremacists" is odd- nay, ignorant- because Real Time is consistently bereft of white supremacists. Maher clearly prefers the company of moderates and liberals, all the more so to emphasize that there are people on the left dedicated to democratic values and opposed to bigotry of the right or left.

It shouldn't be necessary to tell anyone not on the far right that credibility should not be measured by color of the skin heredity has assigned. Alas, "stay in your lane" Cross needs to be told. 

Cross intends some issues to be off-limits to whites. By the same principle, comment on others could be reserved for whites. This would include the stock market, given that whites are more invested in the stock market than are blacks. This framework would be bad for open debate and democracy itself but would create a  bear market for apartheid. It's unlikely that would deter cross.

Perhaps one of Cross' colleagues on MSNBC can remind her that viewers include individuals who are white, old, and male. Stereotyping such a person as an "old, angry, white male" strikes a discordant note on the airwaves of a cable news network continually asserting its commitment to diversity. Nevertheless, this probably is of no concern to MSNBC, which clearly is trending toward women, blacks and Latinos, and gays.   

Given the increasing polarization of politics on the basis of ethnicity (and education), this is probably wise marketing. Still, a legitimate cable news network should not be unaware of bigotry in its own ranks.  

A consistent application of cancel culture would prompt the firing of Cross. However, that is a toxic culture, one with which the host appears to be too comfortable.  Nonetheless, a network appalled by racial bias on the left must not (though it will) let this moment pass unnoticed. Consistent with the values it claims to espouse, MSNBC could issue a statement with a reference, merely vague if necessary, to the comment of Saturday morning and add

We decry bigotry in all its forms, especially in a month in which our organization has celebrated the diversity represented by individuals given the opportunity to love and marry anyone of their choice.  We welcome their voices and voices of all Americans, and those who have come to our shores seeking to be Americans, whatever their religion, gender, or national origin.

That would the values of MSNBC claims, or once claimed, for itself.  The network's silence will indicate that the second part of the recommended statement is no longer operable.



 



Sunday, June 27, 2021

Uncharacteristically Keeping It Unreal


Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher included a lively discussion between the proudly politically incorrect Maher and Max Brooks, senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point.  (A second guest also participated.) The two were apparently very much in agreement, in which "apparently" does a lot of work. 

At 22:30 Brooks, with a notable reference to "the extreme wokesters on our side," stated "And this should be a lesson to the extreme wokesters on our side who want to do waway with prisons-right- because what do you give Chauvin-  art therapy?"

Then Maher, at 22:56 maintained

Look, people throw around the term "systemic racism" a lot nowadays for everythiing. But the criminal justice system has been full of racism and it has been systemic. I mean, that's the epicenter of the problem.

No, no, it's not. That's the epicenter of the controversy, not of the problem. Systemic racism is only one of many problems in the criminal justice system, though it is the one upon which 98% of the attention is focused. However, don't blame Brooks, while seemingly agreeing with Maher, later (at 25:59) noted

We can admit now that the Democratic Party has a department of self-sabotage. They meet at Oberlin over a cup of Kombucha and white guilit and they think how are we lose Florida on a Jewish communist named Bernie Sanders who's anti-Israel but pro-Fidel Castro.

Unbeknownst to Maher and possibly even to Brooks, the relevant word in that otherwise demagogic remark is, accurately, "department."  By contrast, beginning at 24:03, Maher had maintained

.... you know, I mean the people  (who) want to abolish the police- these must be fans of the Purge movie series, right, because you're not going to like it and I see that the Democrats have finally caught on to this idea because you're not going to like it that because crime is going to be the big issue in that because it's way up and I see Biden now was saying "Defund the police? I said refund"- refund, he's literally doing that old bit. Refund the police because you don't want to be on a place on this issue where you look lie a johnny come lately. I'm talking about all the Democrats and people don't trust you on this issue- oh now, they get the message, now they're coming over to crime is an important issue.....

The Democrats (and) I'm talking about all the Democrats.  Yet, Democratic politicians, officials, and strategists, notwithstanding their praise of the George Floyd protests, that "defund the police" is a polically damanging slogan and generally avoided the phrase. When it has been invoked, it has been to explain, honestly or dishonestly (I've maintained the latter), that it refers to transferring some of the enormous sums spent on police departments to social services in order to address the severe needs of the public, especially of black communities.

Moreover, a quick Google search I made turned up one national Democratic politiican who has called for elimination of police. Similarly, once Maher ended at 25:03, Brooks remarked

And this is the onus is on us because we're in powr now so it's put up or shut up so when someone like Rashida Tlaib tweets out no more police and mo more incarceration, right? The system is unreformable, okay, well, ththen, come up with an alternative aidea and try it out in your district and give us a working model or shut up before you lose us another election.



Tlaib, yes, but as Maher is unaware, it's practically only Tlaib. Two weeks after Floyd's murder, one Democrat tweeted "The 'defund the police' movement, is one of reimagining the current police system to build an entity that does not violate us, while relocating funds to invest in community services."

That was Representative Ilhan Omar, with Tlaib one of the original four members of "The Squad," and considered (aside from Tlaib) the most radical. And she was defining, or redefining, "defund the police" as relocating funds to community services. Even Omar recognized the toxicity of the expression, and recognized it almost immediately. It was largely a rallying cry, and one in a moment of time.

Unknown is the genesis of Maher's determination to stereotype Democrats as initially calling for defunding police, or wanting to strip them of funds, or to exhibit a disinterest in crime.

But we can speculate, and so I will.  Week after week, Maher hits on the same themes, among them political correctness, cancel culture, or "wokeness," which are not synonymous yet obviously intertwined.  And week after week, published, liked and retweeted are tweets which imply that he is racist, call him racist, or even demand that he be vanished from the media.

Maher is no idiot and realizes that far too few moderates or even conservatives watch his show for it to remain on air. He depends on viewership of the left and if he continues to antagonize the race left, he is vulnerable not only to declining viewer numbers but also to a boycott, of his show and/or his stand-up tours.

He probably realizes (as I've emphasized) what happened in national politics, and especially the Democratic Party, in 2020.  Supporters of an octogenarian, ideologically out-of-step with his party and saddled with a history of failing miserably in Democratic primary contests, stayed alive only by winning the primary in South Carolina. He did so only by gaining the endorsement of James Clyburn, and rallying to his side African-Americans, the voters who matter in South Carolina primaries.

And almost automatically, the endorsements came rolling in and white primary voters in state after state decided that Joe Biden, after decades of lulling Democrats to sleep, was the man.

George Floyd was brutally murdered by a white police officer and Black Lives Matter, which popularity had been limited to supporters of eradicating either the police or the nuclear family, quickly became leaders of the black lives matter movement and darlings of CNN and MSNBC.   While hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of whites flocked to the streets, there never was a doubt that the movement was of Black Lives Matter and led by African-Americans determined to end police brutality against their commmunity.

Make no mistake about it: Maher does not say "I mean, that's the epicenter of the problem" lightly. The brutality, he suggests inaccurately, is applied exclusively to the black community. Crime is exploding, he claims, without noting that the increase has been occurring disproportionately in the black community and cannot primarily be attributed to police reform. Nonetheless, he argues, it has been ignored by (nameless) "Democrats."

Most white and black police reform activists may be registered Democrats but Democratic politicians are, with very few exceptions, not among individuals demanding police be defunded.  Moreover, the white activists are motivated by the injustice toward the black community and inspired primarily by the black lives movement and secondarily by Black Lives Matter.

The other guest, author Dave Carlin, remarked "defund the police is the worst marketing political slogan I've ever heard. I heard somebody else say 'why can't you just say 'improve policing'? The answer must not be uttered in polite company. The protests were held in the name of  "black lives matter" and promoted most notably by BLM, whose website at the time demanded defunding of the police.

Black Lives Matter, though, cannot be held responsible, whether by Democratic partisans or by Bill Maher,who has been denounced repeatedly (unjustifiably) for being racially biased.  Thus, ubiquitous "Democrats" are slammed for allegedly propagating "defund the police," whether by Republicans angling for strategic advanage or an otherewise politically incorrect talks how host whose wings have been clipped.




Friday, June 25, 2021

Reid's Faith In A Fair And Just System



If you were this stupid (or naive or dishonest) you, too, could make $1 million to $1.5 million annually hosting a show on MSNBC (maybe). 

"Defiance" can be defined as "bold resistance against an opposing force or authority" or, as is more applicable to this case, "contemptuous disrespect for the authority of another."  That is utterly contrary to the "cold look" Reid also observed on Chauvin as today's sentencing hearing took place. 

"Utterly cold look" is a realistic judgement.  However, Chauvin displayed no defiance as he took on a stoic demeanor.

Perhaps Reid understood that she was contradicting herself and merely Reid wanted to condemn the defendant as much as possible by slamming him for both being defiant and utterly cold.  The intellectually dishonest remark would be self-satisfying.

This, though, suggests either either extreme naivete about the justice system or an interest in justice which is highly selective:


Fortunately, Chauvin received a sentence greater than 12-and-a-half years. He is expected to serve 15 years because he was sentenced to 22 and-a-half years.  Though a relatively light sentence, it is greater than the other by 30 months.

If Chauvin gets less or even equal to that, it will prove that we just don't ever have equal justice under law in this country. Derek Chauvin received a longer sentence than Mohamed Noor, and we nevertheless live in a nation without equal justice under law. Reid must be living in another world, or at least another country, than we are.

Some of us recognized injustice before the brutal murder of George Floyd. During the protests which followed, most other people learned of racial disparities in policing; of the unwillingess to prosecute, or inability of convicting, police accused of illegal behavior; and of harsh punsihment of blacks for minor violations of law.  

It all added up to unequal justice of law in this country. However, her own words indicate that Joy Ann-Reid was blithely unaware that we lack equal justice and, with the sentence handed down to George Chauvin, now should be expected to argue that equal justice is the norm.

Instead Reid, despite believing equal justice is the norm, may instead complain that Chauvin's sentence was insufficient and indicative of a lack of justice. If so, she should be called upon to explain her journey from faith in the system to outrage at the permissive sentence handed down upon George Chauvin.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Meghan McCain, Theologian


Meghan McCain makes a few easily rebuttable claims in this excerpt about abortion in one of the episodes of The View. At the outset, she maintains

.... spiritual journey and relationship with God in their church is their own personal journey and I don't try to proselytize my spirituality on other people but if you are a devout Catholic as Presidenty Biden claims to be, abortion is a cardinal sin that can do deep spiritual harm to you."

I don't try to proselytize my spirituality on other people. Translated into English, that may mean "I don't impose my religious beliefs onto others," after which McCain does precisely that. She asserts "abortion is a cardinal sin that can do deep spiritual harm to you." Uh, no. According to Wikipedia

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices, or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings, although they are not mentioned in the Bible. Behaviours or habits are classified under this category if they directly give rise to other immoralities. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth, which are contrary to the seven heavenly virtues.

These are not "deadly" sins and do not cause one to drop dead. Rather, they are traits or emotions, along with innumerable others worthy of avoiding. None is characterized in Scripture as a "cardinal sin" nor is anything there labeled a "deadly sin." Instead, "we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God," which suggests a wider range of sin, without a specific claim of "spiritual harm," whose definition is elusive.

In her sloppy and rambling way, McCain may be inferring that commission of a "cardinal sin" blocks admission to heaven. Given the universal inability to avoid all sin, that would enable none of us to be saved. rendering irrelevant the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  And without the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice as outlined in the Bible, it is unclear where McCain derives a Christian concept of God at all.The concept of seven sins as a unit is not a divine construct but a creation of human beings.

These sins also have nothing to do with abortion, whether of the intentional or the spontaneous sort. Ironically, Ms. McCain has herself had an abortion, known alternately as "spontaneous abortion" or "miscarriage,"  That was reportedly a traumatic event for McCain, memory of which should have prompted her to clarify what abortion, which is mentioned in the Bible exactly zero (0) times, God has expressly forbidden.

But that is Meghan McCain's choice- which is what this is all about. 

 


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Situational Ethics



It shouldn't be enough to say "but Trump."

Walter Shaub, ethics advisor to President Obama, issed a challenge to Jen Psaki, President Biden's press secretary:

Steve Richetti, the patriarch of the clan, has long been a confidante of Biden and is now a White House counselor. Sons T.J. and Daniel and daughter Shannon all have been given jobs in the Administration. Good work if you can get it.

 

Conveniently, someone then proved his point:

 

Her self-description suggests that she is no Trump supporter- but may as well be. Aside from the (inaccurate) personalized cheap shot  toward Ball and Shaub, she chose not to criticize anything in particular Shaub has stated. Instead, she was exorcised because ethics are things "nobody really cares about."

There is much that is significant which fails to arouse more than a passing interest of the public. Four-and-a-half years ago, a tape surfaced in which presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, an underdog to Hillary Clinton, bragged about assaulting women. Fortunes reversed, he won the election, in part because nobody really cared that that a presidential candidate believed women exist for his sexual pleasure. Trump proved that was something "nobody really cares about," aside from individuals who already found him distasteful, of whom there obviously was an insufficient number.

Fortunately, there are individuals who recognize that criticizing the ethics of the Trump Administration does not relinquish one from the responsibility of objectively considering the current Administration's ethics.



It's insufficient not to mimic the most corrupt President in American history. President Biden needs to establish a more ethical regime than he appears to be doing, and for his supporters to demand nothing less.  Share |

Monday, June 21, 2021

Man In The Gutter



On June 8, 2021, I wrote lthat Eric Adams, former NYPD captain and current Brooklyn Borough President and leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, understood one important issue better than did any other candidate.

"Stop and frisk," Adams explained, was originally implemented to remove illegal firearms from the streets of New York, but went awry when police used it increasingly to arrest individuals for illegal possession of drugs, which usually was marijuana.

The GOP likes firearms in as many hands as possible. The Democratic Party lives in the fear that it will have to admit that much crime is not mass shootings committed by mentally ill or bigoted whites but ordinary street crime committed by whites, blacks, and all manner of bad individuals. Therefore, a Democrat or a Republican prioritizing confiscation of illegal handguns is all to rare, and worthy of consideration for the most difficult governmental job in the nation. Usually.

Some say the presidency is the most hardest job. However, Donald Trump somehow served four years as President (Ronald Reagan eight years). And speaking of the Chosen One:

During an Easter Sunday visit to the Church of God of East Flatbush, Mr. Adams cited a biblical passage that describes a test of courage under duress.

“I believe in all my heart that this is an Esther 4:14 moment,” Mr. Adams, 60, told the parishioners. “God made me for such a time as this.”

Imagine questioning a policy or statement of a Mayor Adams, and being accused of criticizing God. By contrast, two of the other candidates, Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia, in what has shaped up as a four-person race

joined forces this weekend to urge voters to list Ms. Garcia second on their ranked-choice ballots and to say that Mr. Adams should not be mayor. Ms. Garcia did not suggest that her supporters rank Mr. Yang second.

Mr. Adams and some of his supporters have characterized the alliance as a bid to disenfranchise Black voters. On Sunday, Mr. Adams said that it was disrespectful for the candidates to unveil their alliance on Juneteenth.

“While we were celebrating liberation and freedom from enslavement, they sent a message and I thought it was the wrong message to send,” Mr. Adams said Sunday.

Speaking on CNN’s “New Day” and Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” Mr. Adams continued to talk about the joint campaigning as disrespectful to efforts to elect Black and Latino leaders.

“What message were you sending during this time that we’re talking about how do you empower various ethnic groups in politics?” Mr. Adams asked on CNN.

Another Black candidate for mayor, Maya Wiley, said she did not see any problem with the alliance between Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia, acknowledging that such coordination often happens in ranked-choice elections.

On Fox, Mr. Adams argued that the alliance “feeds into the signals of America.”

“We know America’s dark past,” he said. “Everything from poll taxes to how we stop the vote, what we are seeing across the country.”

 However, another black primary candidate, Maya Wiley

said she did not see any problem with the alliance between Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia, acknowledging that such coordination often happens in ranked-choice elections. “I’m not calling this racism,” she said Monday morning.

Wiley's statement was classy. The quasi-coalition between Garcia and Yang also is classy, at least on the part of Yang, who evidently expressed a generosity of spirit uncommon in politicians. Then there is Adams, who is little more than an egomaniacal, race-baiting bigot.

 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

One Is The Loneliest Number


Here we go again. In April, I quoted a newscaster in Buffalo, NY who had reported

Tonight 75-year-od Martin Gugino has now filed a civil lawsuit against the city, the mayor, and the two officers caught on video shoving him to the ground during a protest on the steps of city hall. Gugino's story and this video you see here made international headlines last June.

 Moving 2,640 miles west

About 50 officers assigned to the Portland police department's crowd control team resigned one day after one of the team's officers was indicted for allegedly using his department-issued baton to assault a protester last summer.

The wholesale resignation of the police department's Rapid Response Team (RRT) took place after a Multnomah County grand jury handed down an indictment Wednesday charging Officer Corey Budworth with fourth-degree battery. All the officers who resigned their positions on the team returned to their regular assignments.

Budworth is accused of shoving photographer Teri Jacobs to the ground and using a baton to strike her during a protest last August -- an incident that was caught on video and posted to social media....

Jacobs filed a lawsuit against the city that contains screen-captured images from a Twitter user named "John the Lefty," and the video that person posted to Twitter shows an officer pushing Jacobs with his baton, first while she's standing and then again while she's sitting on the ground.

Budworth isn't named in the lawsuit, which alleges two officers assaulted Jacobs: a John Doe 1 who "swung his (baton) like a baseball bat" and an Officer 37 who pushed Jacobs with his baton, first while standing and again once she was on the ground. A law enforcement source said Budworth is the officer who is identified as "officer 37" in the video, which was posted to Twitter and later cited in Jacobs' lawsuit.

"In this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth's deployment of force, and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances," Schmidt said.


The similarity between the Jacobs incident and the Gugino incident is not only- as with pregnant Nicole Harper of Arkansas- that the victims are white. Although Gugino allegedly had violated a curfew, there is another similarity.

Jacobs and Gugino weren't assaulted because they presented a risk to the health and safety of individual citizens, police, or the community. They were attacked because they presented no danger or menace.

Police knew instinctively that if the person were part of a large group, there would have been retaliation. Members of the group would have turned against the police or against buildings in the immediate area. Instead, each was a defenseless individual, hence vulnerable. They were easy targets.

In sports and elsewhere, it's sometimes referred to as low-hanging fruit.  It was easy- no mess, no fuss; officer 1, civilian 0. There will be sporadic criticism- in Portland's case, from a black member of the City Commission. However, if the victim happily turns out to be white, there will likely be no mass protests nor a peep from any organization a politician is beholden to.

Portland Police Chief Chis Davis, presumably fearful of further tumult in his department, stated

Our entire organization, and not even just our sworn staff but also our professional staff in the last 14 months has been put through something, none of us have ever seen in our careers and at a level, and an intensity that I don't think any other city in the United States has experienced.

Nearly rationalizing the brutal action of a professional under his command on the basis of generalized, ongoing stress, Davis would have been derided if there had been several victims, even if they were participating in illegal activities thretening the community.

Instead, Jacobs was surrounded by few if any supporters, was in no position to respond to her attackers, and thus there was relatively little immediate or continuing backlash. Indictment of one police officer is inconsequential compared to what might have ensued if present were more individuals, especially ones who could have retaliated.

But as with Gugino and Nicole Harper, there were not. There was little to spark outrage on traditional or social media. Teri Jacobs, Martin Gugino, and Nicole Harper, like George Floyd, were alone. Moreover, there were few witnesses. They drew the short straw.

 


Friday, June 18, 2021

Anti-Helpful


From a Columbia University professor, journalist, and MSNBC contributor:

 

Imagine, too, if people with all the opinions about racism were actually required at an academic forum to have a clue of what racism is:

 

Ibram X. Kendi is not a top Critical Race Theory theorist, yet is the inventor of anti-racism, which is linked to CRT. And in the video to which McWhorter links, Kendi states "racism, I would define it, as a collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity that are substantiated by racist ideas."

After members of the audience understandably laugh nervously, Kendi continues

Sure- a collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity that are substantiated by racist ideas. And anti-racism is pretty simple using the same terms. Anti-racism is a collection of anti-racist policies leading to racial- anyone want to take a guess?- equity that are substantiated by anti-racist ideas.

Such splendid double-talk from the author of "How to be an Antiracist" should not go unnoticed.  In a mere 22 words- four of them "I would define it"- Kendi uses racism, racial, or racist four times. He might as well have been a second grade English/language arts teacher giving his students an example of how not to define a word.

No one is more closely identified with "anti-racism" than the former Ibram Henry Rogers- and he cannot define racism. However, the problem is not him, but rather the propensity to describe concepts in whatever ways are most advantageous at the time, devaluing the language while elevating race to an undeserved status.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Discrimination Upheld


In the video below, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin notes "this is a big legal cause of conservatives in America, which is telling religious instittuions and religios people that they don't hve to follow the laws that everyone else has to follow."  In a case which was decided unanimously, and which Toobin and  CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic thus caution was probably narrowly tailored

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously condemned Philadelphia’s decision to terminate a long-standing contract with a Catholic social services agency over its refusal to consider same-sex married couples as potential foster parents.

The justices agreed that that the city’s 2018 move to end its relationship with Catholic Social Services, which had cited its religious beliefs about marriage in refusing to work with LGBTQ couples, violated its constitutional rights to free religious expression.

The city may have been hoisted by its own petard because the Chief Justice, who wrote the opinion, contended

that because the city allowed some exceptions to the non-discrimination clause standard in all of its contracts, it must provide one in this case.

But the court’s majority sidestepped those larger questions by deciding the case on specific language in Philadelphia’s contracts with foster screening agencies that grants the city’s Commissioner of Human Services discretion to grant exceptions to the non-discrimination rules.

The city maintained that the matter was moot because, despite the language in the contract, no exemptions had ever been made.

The decision had not yet been read by the CNN panelists as of the airing of the segment. However, Biskupic recognizes "it's another step, and I'm sure it's another step no matter what the legal reasoning is, because we've seen this pattern over time, to allowing more exemptions for religious groups from general laws." Toobin explains

You know, you can write these things as narrowly as you want. But the message that it sends by cases like this and by the results in this case, no matter what the words the Chief Justice used are, is that religious organizations- and it's almost always Christian and it's usually Catholic organziations- do not have to follow the laws that everybody else has to follow. They can excuse themselves when they have religious objections and that is a message that is being sent loud and clear, whether it's holding religious services during Covid, whether it is fulfilling the requirements to pay for contraception for employees, whether it is baking a cake for a same-sex wedding, that you can get out of obligations that are imposed on everyone else if you have a religious objection.... We should expect lots more cases in this direction.



Tradition and common sense be damned, "religious liberty," it appears, no longer applies primarily to worshipping as one chooses.  It's now about a claim of religious privilege, a sort of "get out of jail card" for religious organizations, or for any organization or person who claims that a requirement violates his (or its) its religious principle.  When "religious liberty" is stretched beyond its original meaning, judges increasingly infer that equal justice under the law is an un-Christian value. Christianity deserves better.



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Wages


From an economics professor and chairperson of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers:

 

The Economic Policy Institute has found "from 1979 to 2019, net productivity rose 72.2 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated—increasing only 17.2 percent over 40 years (after adjusting for inflation)."  Dean Baker calculates that if the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as prodcutivity from 1968 to 2020, it would currently be more than $24 an hour

Low wage employees often are called upon to perform duties, sometimes even dangerous ones, which should be the responsibility of management. That came to mind with an incident in Georgia, in which the perpetrator and the Deputy Sheriff now are hospitalized in stable condition. However

DeKalb County police said Laquitta Willis, 41, was the victim in Monday's shooting at Big Bear grocery store in Decatur, just outside of Atlanta.

Willis was killed after an argument over a face mask, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

The GBI said Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, Georgia, entered the store shortly after 1 p.m. and "got into an argument with a cashier about his face mask" during checkout.

Tucker left the store without making a purchase but immediately returned, the GBI said. He walked directly up to the cashier, later identified as Willis, pulled out a handgun and shot her, authorities said.

Tucker then exchanged gunfire with a DeKalb County sheriff's deputy who was working security at the store, the GBI said.

DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said the reserve deputy was a 30-year veteran of the force prior to retiring and joining the reserve unit.

Tucker was arrested by two responding DeKalb County police officers "as he was attempting to crawl out the front door of the supermarket," according to the GBI.



With Democrats holding only a very slim majority in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, prospects for an increase in the minimum wage are slim. I don't know how much Laquitta Willis was paid, but, with the minimum wage in Georgia of $7.25 an hour, it probably wasn't a whole lot. Perhaps something dubbed the "Laquitta Willis Fair Wage Act" would change that. Coming out (presumably) of a pandemic, it's the least we could do.



An Apology, Whatever The Circumstances



The Hall of Fame New York Yankee shortstop and terrible Yankee broadcaster Phil Rizzuto was known in his latter career for a signature phrase. Were he still alive, he wouldn't- but should- be shouting "holy cow!"
Not the fake apology. Declaring that one is issuing an "apology" does not constitute an apology. "I regret the statement I made" may have been prompted by the realization that the remark harmed the reputation of the speaker.  "I apologize for" or "I regret" the "hurt this has caused" suggests that the problem lies not with the statement or the speaker, but with the target, who was overly sensitive.

Instead, Representative Greene can be seen in the embedded video below saying

One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was when you make a mistake, you should own it. And I have made a mistake and it's reallly bothered me for a couple of weeks now and I want to own it.

And I have made a mistake is the essence of an apology. It means "I should not have said what I said" and is unequivocal. Further, "I want to own it" implies that it was her mistake and her mistake alone.

In that same vein, at the conclusion of this portion of her remarks, Greene added "I believe that if we're going to lead, we need to be able to lead in a way where if we've messed up, it's very important to say we're sorry." That was a mere cherry on top of already having admitted a mistake, one which was her responsibility alone.

Greene, already removed from the committees on which she served and facing possible censure, may not have been sincere. Neither do we know in any instance whether someone who has given what the media rushes to call an "apology"- and is usually not one- is sincere.

We know only that Marjorie Taylor Greene has done what too few individuals in the arena do- she apologized. She is still a dangerous, extreme right-winger and someone who puts the reprehensible in "reprehensible." But she at least has issued an actual apology for a religiously inappopriate remark, something Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and a few other figures have failed to do.



Monday, June 14, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Sacrificing


Many Republican governors have taken SARS-CoV-2 lightly and tried to keep businesses "open," public health be damned. In Democratic states, supplemented by the two reasonable cable news networks, individuals were vigorously encouraged to maintain a six-foot distance from persons not of their household, to be outdoors when possible, and (above all) to wear masks. Notwithstanding some concern over a few extreme instances, there was little emphasis on not socializing- rather, the message was "socialize, but take precautions." 

 

At 1:18 of the embedded video,  Slavitt can be seen noting

There are a couple of different things. One is that the people who for so long lived so close to the edge that don't have a great safety net, that don't have great health insurance, but they're forced to work day in, day out to serve us. They're growing crops, they're delivering food to our warehousese. They're working in grocery stores, they're delivering food to our door. All of these people are at risk all of the time....

They were working in home improvement stores, Walgreen's, CVS, Rite-Aid and other chain drugstores, and even in small pharmacies and the other "mom 'n pop" stores which stayed open.  They worked in banks, in doctor's offices, in meat packing plants, and elsewhere.  Some were handymen who had to keep working. They kept the country from falling apart, and a sizeable minority even now are making less than the $15 per hour (mostly) GOP legislators want to deny them.

And in public conveyances, lest we forget the people such as

 Jason Hargrove (who) was behind the wheel of a bus in Detroit when he said a passenger began to cough. The middle-aged woman let loose four or five times without covering her mouth, he said, and watching her do this — at the same time Michigan was under a state of emergency for the coronavirus — got him so upset, he felt compelled to vent his frustrations in a video afterward.

 "I'm mad right about now because that s*** was uncalled for. I'm trying to be the professional that they want me to be, and I kept my mouth closed," he said, voice breaking with emotion. "I kept my mouth closed, but it's at some point in time we've got to draw the line and say enough is enough."

 Now, nearly two weeks after he recorded the video, which viewers shared widely on Facebook Live, Hargrove himself has died of COVID-19. The Amalgamated Transit Union confirmed his death in a tweet posted Thursday.

There are tens of thousands of people such as Jason Hargrove who should still be alive. Some among us, however, would not make the small sacrifices necessary.

 


The Answers Are "Yes" And "No"


Did she or didn't she? And does it matter?

After the Vice President of the USA was interviewed on June 8, news reports typically emphasized one particular exchange with Lester Holt (seen beginning at 3:57 of the video below). Administration officials

acknowledged it was a sound bite that would likely stick with Harris as she continues to confront the issue at the southern border.

The response came during an interview with NBC's Lester Holt that aired Tuesday in which Harris was pressed about the fact that she hasn't yet visited the US-Mexico border.

"At some point, you know, we are going to the border," Harris said in the interview. "We've been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border."

Holt responded: "You haven't been to the border."

"I, and I haven't been to Europe. And I mean, I don't -- I don't understand the point that you're making," Harris said with a laugh. She added: "I'm not discounting the importance of the border."

Of course, Harris assignment is not Europe but rather, NBC News learned, from "a senior Administration official, " "both curbing the current flow of migrants and implementing a long-term strategy that addresses the root causes of migration." Nor has she been at the border, which she acknowledged when confronted by Holt after the V.P.had twice maintained "we've been to the border."

However, the more telling remark in the long run may prove to be one which Harris made earlier in the interview. At 1:26, Holt can be seen asking "And so the question has come up and you've heard it here and you'll hear it again, I'm sure, is why not visit the border? Why not see what Americans are seeing in this crisis?"

Listen very closely because Harris actually responded (without the emphasis below)

Well, we aren't going to the border. We have to deal with what's happening at the border. There's no question about that. That's not a debatable point. But we have to understand that there's a reason that people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.



The more substantive takeaway is that Harris is narrowing her mission, from addressing both the short-term problem (or crisis) and the long-term problem, to merely the latter. While she may have meant "we are going to the border," the Vice President maintained "we aren't going to the border."

No one knows for sure what Kamala Harris means by we. Perhaps she said we aren't going to the border and maybe not. It doesn't matter because remarking "we are going to the border" or we aren't going to the border" bears no relation to whether there will be a trip to the border.

In the presidential debate in late June, 2020, Harris  self-righteously excoriated Joe Biden for having  joined "forces and individuals and supposed leaders in our country who actively worked against the integration of schools based on race." She maintained "there is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not been the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination."Following the debate, Jill Biden strongly implied that her husband had been accused of being a "racist."

A few days later, Harris declared "Busing is a tool among many that should be considered" but not  mandated, which was Biden's position all along.

Nonetheless, Harris never acknowledged that she was- ahem- disingenous when she kicked Joe Biden in the rear end. Instead, she was nominated by that same fellow to be Vice-President, in line to being the Democratic presidential nominee four or eight years hence.

She has learned well.  She has learned that whatever price dishonesty bears, it may prove of even greater benefit. Ultimately, then, it matters not at all whether Kamala Harris says she will, or will not, visit the USA-Mexico border.

 


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Unnecessarily Inflammatory


It was a shoddy bit of bothsiderism. However, it still would have been a fairly innocuous, even forgettable question of a Secretary of State about domestic courts and the International Criminal Court.

.
Instead of passing harmlessly into history

Tensions among Democrats over Israel grew Thursday after a group of 12 Jewish Democratic lawmakers criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) over a tweet she wrote that seemed to equate the actions of the United States and Israel with those of Hamas and the Taliban, calling it “offensive” and demanding she “clarify” her words.

Omar said her comments were misconstrued and that she was not suggesting a moral equivalency. She and other Democratic women of color in the House accused their colleagues of advancing Islamophobia and, in one case, “anti-blackness” in their public chastising of the lawmaker.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and her Democratic leadership team addressed Omar’s comments in a joint statement, saying that equating the United States and Israel and terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Taliban “foments prejudice.” They said they welcomed Omar’s clarification.....

"Clarification" seems to have replaced "walk back" in instances in  such instances, though Omar's statement was no clarification. Prior to Omar amending her original statement

The Jewish Democrats, led by Rep. Bradley Schneider of Illinois, released a joint statement late Wednesday denouncing Omar’s tweet.

“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” they wrote. “Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice.

“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”

Later, Omar did offer a clarification, saying she was not making “a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.”

If Wikipedia is accurate, there actually are 21 Jewish members of the House of Representatives, which suggests that there are several who curiously believe the USA and Israel act in a similar fashion to Hamas and the Taliban. Or they feared criticizing a colleague.

The questioning of the Secretary Blinken by Representative Omar probably would have gone unnoticed and not become an incident if the congresswoman had not unwisely issued the tweet. It was there, and only there, that she reprehensibly stated "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. " Notwithstanding Omar's claim, that is making "a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel." Failure to substantiate a comparison does not obviate the effort.

Ilhan Omar isn't the first politician to express on Twitter something stupid, bigoted, or untethered to reality. Some public figures evidently think that Twitter is a platform upon which their most unacceptable thoughts can be harmlessly disclosed.

Presumably, most politicians have a social media director responsible for posting tweets. However, they need to realize that  what's posted there is there, and is there until and unless it's deleted, which will not be before a critic(s) takes a screenshot. Individuals are accountable for their use of social media.and ultimately their remarks may expose they themselves as loathsome. Of this, someone as acquainted with anti-Semitism as Ilhan Omar should be keenly aware.



Score One For Maher

Beginning at 34:32 of the video below, Bill Maher discusses Pete Buttigieg's presidential prospects with journalist Matt Taibbi and Lis...