Behold the Legacy of Your Beloved Sowell: Part IV

To claim that Iraq WMD wasn’t a lie should be like saying we didn’t land on the moon. In denying that reality, you helped create a culture where denying reality is now the norm.

From the fountains in the mountains
Comes the water runnin’ cool and clear and blue
And it flows down from the hills
And it goes down to the towns and passes through

When it gets down to the cities
Then the water turns into a dirty gray
It’s poisoned and polluted
By the people as it goes along its way

Don’t go near the water children
See the fish all dead upon the shore
Don’t go near the water
Water isn’t water anymore

A passionate observer shares his way of preserving one of our most cherished freedoms — to pursue the truth, no matter how tough the issue, through honest, open, and unflinching discussion.”

— Parade

“Parade” — how fitting!

[The O’Reilly Factor is a] one-hour program that runs 5 days a week — and yet in its entire history, O’Reilly has never even uttered the words “aluminum tubes.”

It just doesn’t register with the likes of O’Reilly that what Clinton and Cohen thought is entirely irrelevant to the tubes — but smugly circulating invalid arguments is the way of the world now.

And how I do know that about O’Reilly?

I had access — to everything

This isn’t guesswork, shooting from the hip, or hyperbole: I know, for an absolute fact — that O’Reilly never even uttered the words “aluminum tubes” on his show.

In another lifetime, we could at least agree on those things (or at least operate somewhere in the realm of sanity).

Or at least agree on math — and I know the numbers . . .

Matching Scarborough’s record, the only time Hannity ever uttered the words “aluminum tubes” was in defense of Condoleezza Rice over the cartoon of her nursing the tubes.

Clearly the image was racist, but I would think that her record of titanic deception would be of more concern. Hannity’s co-host Alan Colmes brought up the tubes 9 times between January 29th, 2003 and December 12th, 2005 (8 of which were in Hannity’s presence).

In each instance Hannity ignored the inquiry or deflected attention elsewhere. But what did Colmes expect with generic statements like: “We were misled about aluminum tubes.”?

Hardball — Give me a break!

And Chris Matthews wasn’t any better. While the tubes were casually mentioned on HARDBALL over 40 times, not once were the dimensions discussed in any detail.

Equaling disturbing is how Matthews absolved Colin Powell because he liked him:

DAVID CORN: Blame Colin Powell for believing that and still giving that speech. And now he’s seen as a wise man and the president courts him, networks court him, and we pay a lot of attention. But he knew when he took the job that he was there to be a front for these guys — and he served dutifully as that front.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think he knew that? . . . I still think he. . . I’m gonna defend him because I like him. He was a military guy thinking his job was to salute.

— Talking HUBRIS: March 22, 2013

The Good Soldier

Mr. Matthews, with that attitude you have no business hosting a show called HARDBALL. The Secretary is essential to the entire charade, and yet you give Powell a pass because of your fondness for him?

Coddling Colin Powell is precisely the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act III

But Lawrence O’Donnell takes the cake in his 2011 interview of Condoleezza Rice — where he just fired off empty rhetoric that made for another pointless interview.

Mr. O’Donnell, you had NINE years of exhaustively-detailed material to work from — and the media’s history of failed interviews from which to recognize what doesn’t deliver answers.

And yet you didn’t ask a single question of substance.

Citing outdated and generic claims from Democrats is an emotional response to outright reject opposing arguments in a wholesale manner.

THAT . . . is the epitome of spin — to engineer an illusion — to make you believe that something meaningless has substance.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act IV

Just what would it take for “O’Reilly never even uttered the words ‘aluminum tubes‘” to register as something worthy of consideration?

If I ran across America and told everyone I was running because O’Reilly’s omission is of monumental importance:

What would it be then?

My “crazed and disjointed” running style? My unkempt appearance?

There was a time the air was clean
And you could see forever ‘cross the plains
The wind was sweet as honey
And no one had ever heard of acid rain

We’re torturin’ the earth
And pourin’ every kind of evil in the sea
We violated nature
And our children have to pay the penalty . . .

Red Light District

“But there was a time” . . .

There is no skimming over the surface of a subject with [Hamilton]. He must sink to the bottom to see what foundation it rests on.

— Major William Pierce

In America, a celebrity who skimmed the surface on WMD, carries more weight than the word of a nobody who wrote and produced the most exhaustive documentary ever done on the subject.

Nobody got to the bottom of Iraq WMD more than I did.

Don’t you wish we lived in a world where people said, “Prove it!” — and would actually care if you did?

But we created a culture that endlessly defends myth over merit.

And the incalculable costs are all around us

That flat-Earth image is especially fitting for the times — since it’s a myth popularized by Washington Irving and others.

According to The Flat Earth Myth: The real myth is the idea that anyone ever believed in a flat earth:

Essentially no one during the Middle Ages believed the world was flat. Of the many myths about the Middle Ages this one is perhaps the most widespread, and yet at the same time the most roundly and authoritatively debunked.

In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming that refuting this myth is like refuting the idea that the moon is made of cheese.

So how could it be that Columbus set sail against contemporaries who believed the Earth was flat — an idea that’s still in some textbooks today?

Woods explains this by quoting the good book above:

Uncritical acceptance of the myth was too tempting for many scholars, since it fit in so well with the caricature of Christianity they were already inclined to draw. “If Christians had for centuries insisted that the earth was flat against clear and available evidence,” explains Russell, “they must be not only enemies of scientific truth, but contemptible and pitiful enemies.”

Ulterior motives at work once again.

Just like this . . .

The opening line in my documentary is “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” The rest of Orwell’s quote goes as follows:

When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

America has gone totally off the rails in its worship of the wildly undeserving.

I wrote those words in 2014 — in my doc that was prompted by the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict. I had just returned from interviewing a world-renowned nuclear scientist as research for my book — when I saw this scene below.

Hannity perfectly framed his “profile” inquiry.

It was so good that it gave me the idea for how I was gonna nail him to the wall with it — applying that profile principle to Dr. Houston Wood (the gold-standard scientist I just mentioned):

HANNITY: Does this fit the profile of a person with racial animus — a guy that took a black woman to his prom? He mentored black children and after the program concluded he continued mentoring them, brought minority children into his home, and then stood up for a black homeless man against the Sanford police. Does that fit the profile of a man that’s racist?

TAMARA HOLDER: It may or may not. It may or may not.

Keep the Faith

The only logical answer to Hannity’s question is ‘”NO!”

Due to the confines of the question, the answer would still be “no” — even if he were a racist.

That seems counterintuitive, but the parameters of the probe were restricted to the domain of specific behavioral patterns.

Tamara Holder contaminated the discussion by refusing to separate her support for even a second — to simply answer a question with integrity . . .

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity

Trayvon apologists remain glued to conclusions that begin and end with “armed only with Skittles and a can of iced tea.”

This is life — and things go wrong

Any fair-minded person is going to consider what transpired in the situation — not simply frame who’s guilty because of their role in creating the conditions.

In a post-9/11 world, any honest person would acknowledge that seeing suspicious behavior by a Middle Eastern Muslim on a plane will register differently than anyone else.

It’s not fair — but human nature dictates that reality in our time.

But if anyone acted on their suspicions and the Muslim took offense to what turned out to be nothing — would the misunderstood Muslim have the right to pummel the passenger for the perceived harassment?

— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue

Back to the profile principle:

Even if Zimmerman had gunned him down as the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the only logical answer to Hannity’s question would still be “No!”

You can say, “No, but . . .” — and that’s legitimate.

And by doing that alone, you’ve done your part by answering with some integrity. Then you can proceed to make your argument (without poisoning the debate in the process).

It may or may not” — is against the rules.

Percentage of Republicans who would agree with every word I just wrote on that incident. Let’s see how long they stick to that principle when they have to apply it to themselves . . .

The Right ripped Bill Clinton to shreds and seemingly lives to assail democrats — and yet Sowell cites their word below as gospel.

That is a magician’s maneuver

Well, if they “said so” — it must be true.

So when the people you despise ostensibly agree with you — it’s gotta be true, because they’d never do such a thing if it weren’t. That’s it?

Who cares about mathematical certainties in centrifuges physics when you’ve got the word of people who lie for a living?

It couldn’t possibly be that your enemy has ulterior motives themselves?

Hide and Seek

The question comes down to whether or not you’re basing your belief on something in the realm of reason — not some fail-safe fantasy that allows you to believe whatever you want.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act III

RICHARD W. MEMMER: After they came up empty on finding any W.M.Ds, former U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay was brought in to take over in June 2003. Kay had a whole new approach in mind, but even the most perfected methods are no match for the futility of looking for something that isn’t there.

Six months later Kay resigned in January 2004 — concluding that there were no W.M.D. stockpiles. The Bush Administration had no intention of conceding that point in an election year.

MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE (January 15th, 2004): Six months after the end of major combat in Iraq, the United States had spent $300 million trying to find banned weapons in Iraq, and President Bush was seeking $600 million more to extend the search.

RICHARD W. MEMMER: I predicted that they would call off the search soon after the 2004 election, and I even wrote a poem about it. Two months after Bush was re-elected, the search was terminated.

I wrote Hide and Seek on October 29, 2003 — over 5 years before weapons inspector Charles Duelfer published a book of the same name (he replaced David Kay as leader of the Iraq Survey Group on  January 23, 2004).

Hide and Seek

So long the search continues
So long the illusion pre-veils
Weapons buried deep within
Foundation of lies
Cloaked mesh of black
Gleaming hollow eyes
Mirrors of no reflection

It’s not my best work, but it bears on my insight into the WMD debacle (and my precise prediction that President Bush would terminate the weapons search soon after the 2004 election). 

I thought it was a pretty cool book cover too — especially since it fit right in with “Cloaked mesh of black” and the three-pronged play on words with “pre-veils” (one of which alludes to preemptive war).

It was never just Bush’s war

Red Light District

Behold the height of conservative argument around Iraq WMD — and their childish behavior when challenged . . .

Though I doubt I’d see such infantile language from Sowell.

All that jazz about responsibility and accountability goes right out the window when it’s about protecting their own — on a matter of world-altering magnitude, no less.

Oh, you’re concerned about propaganda — me too:

Propaganda . . . must always be essentially simple and repetitious. In the long run, only he will achieve basic results in influencing public opinion who is able to reduce problems to the simplest terms and who has the courage to keep forever repeating them in this simplified form despite the objections of the intellectuals.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

— Joseph Goebbels’ diary, 1/29/42 (Third Reich Minister of Propaganda)

The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

It works the same way in any country.

— Hermann Goering. (Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler’s designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich)

All this was inspired by the principle — which is quite true in itself — that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, page 134)

“It works the same way in any country”:

Got that about right?

First off

The smugness, certitude, and laziness in his empty assertions is just sickening. On a matter of world-altering magnitude, to slap down a few talking points to excuse the previous ones is appalling.

I’m a bit old-school on the seriousness of war:

This is the “thank you for service” crowd

Who congratulate themselves by buying a Big Mac for someone in uniform — or go all out and give up their first-class seat or something.

Just don’t ask ’em to account for their behavior below that caused more death and destruction than they could possibly imagine.

And “Never Forget” — till next time, because you didn’t learn a damn thing from the last time . . .

Or the time before that

then there’s this

America obsessively concerns itself with symbols — fixating over a missing flag pin on a politician’s lapel, for instance.

So — these people can . . .

  1. Incessantly lie
  2. Manipulate the hell out of you
  3. Start dumb wars and never finish them
  4. Drag their feet forever
  5. Obstruct as if not doing your job were a virtue
  6. Take off all kinds of time after accomplishing nothing
  7. Spend enormous amounts of time & energy defending the indefensible and bitching about the opposition (riling you up to join right in)
  8. And the list goes on and on . . .

And you’re concerned with whether or not they’re wearing the proper flair?!?

Secondly — Once again . . .

Everything that guy just said is bullshit [by definition] . . .

Bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant.

Colin Powell’s case to the UN revolved around 3 WMD claims:

  1. Chemical
  2. Biological
  3. Nuclear

Defenders of the Indefensible invariably ignore #2 and #3 and distort the hell out of #1:

Nearly two decades into it, countless hours of research & writing, a documentary, multiple sites — and one little gif of La La La (Not Listening) is what this is all about.

It’s what it’s always about

I defy you to find a single instance of anyone on the Right ever addressing the aluminum tubes at even at a cursory level . . .

And you’ll barely find them mentioned at all.

That — all by itself

Should tell you something — and this should tell you a helluva lot more:

As I said before: That you even think that something so complex and convoluted could be explained away so easily — is a monumental problem all by itself . . .

Does this sound like an arsenal of chemical weapons from an active WMD program to you?

  • Remnants from Iraq’s arms program in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war
  • All had been manufactured before 1991
  • Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all
  • Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin
  • Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area
  • Many chemical weapons incidents clustered around the ruins of the Muthanna State Establishment, the center of Iraqi chemical agent production in the 1980s

The administration had its hands on 60,000 tubes — and yet not one of them was presented by Powell at the U.N. According to HUBRIS:

There was even talk of Powell holding up one of the tubes for dramatic effect. But a veteran communications strategist in the room balked. “If you do that, it will be on the front page of every paper the next day,” noted Anna Perez, Condoleezza Rice’s chief of communications. “Do you really want to do that?” Perez had a feel for these things; she had worked for Walt Disney, Chevron, and a top Hollywood talent agency.

This would, she thought, be an awkward visual. Powell would be holding up the one piece of evidence that was most in dispute. Everybody would focus on that. The idea was scrapped.

Think about that

You’ve got 60,000 of ’em — but rather that put a single sample of your hard evidence on display for all the world to see . . .

You put it a PowerPoint?!?

And it just makes me laugh that they tossed that tape measure in there for effect. The sheer sloppiness of it all — it’s just pathetic. I’ll put my presentations in COM 101 against this crap any day.

But strictly speaking

Purely on the principles of persuasive speech: Since their goal was to manipulate the masses — she was spot-on by concealing what they displayed.

You should be insulted by the fact that they’re not trying to convince me — they’re trying to convince you . . .

And lo and behold, the inspectors found 13,000 complete rockets at Iraq’s Nasser 81mm rocket production facility — all made from the same type of tubes that the administration had been pushing as centrifuges.

Undeterred by the patently obvious, they refused to alter their position even in the slightest.

And according to David Albright, “Senior I.A.E.A. officials personally briefed Powell about many of their findings in December 2002. Powell told them that the tubes were giving him a headache.” That’s your conscience talking to you, Mr. Secretary — because your intellect and instincts are way too sharp for you to be so oblivious.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act II

Lo and Behold

If the current charge that President George W. Bush deliberately deceived Congress about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were to be taken seriously, it would be grounds for impeachment, if only as a warning to future presidents.

— Thomas Sowell: Weapons of Political Destruction

Anybody can offer a token nod to accountability. It doesn’t count unless you follow through — as in following the facts and taking the trail no matter what it leads.

This guy is a master at engineering illusion . . .

[I]t would be grounds for impeachment, if only as a warning to future presidents.

In his lofty language, he’s floating the impression that he’s a serious and fair-minded person on the issue. And the icing on the cake is how framed it within the reference to Vietnam.

Sowell didn’t budge one bit in the interest of truth and accountability on Iraq.

But hey, he’s The Godfather of Follow the Facts, he’s a “great man” for his “brilliant” books, he’s got some fancy quotes for slinging virtue — and loves to rip on the Left for failing to follow ’em:

That’ll do

And I find it interesting that with Sowell — one reason some people today would find it hard to go with him is that he doesn’t write with that tribalist sense.

Weapons of Crass Obstruction?!?

Weapons of Political Destruction?!?

He’s trying to be purely objective and there’s nothing in him of — here’s what we down here think. Here’s what we’ve been through. It’s not seasoned with any of that — he’s just trying to have a white lab coat on and look at the facts.

— John McWhorter

Unlike his Weapons of Crass Obstruction piece from July 10, 2004 — only 2 of the sources below were available by his 2003 article above. So he could be forgiven for this fair statement at that time:

Intelligence gathering has seldom been an exact science. 

— Thomas Sowell

Just one problem

Centrifuge physics is an exact science.

And since all the information in this clip was available by the time of his 2004 article, how do you reconcile Sowell never uttering one word on the tubes?

All the sarin gas shells in the world would have no bearing on the aluminum tubes and other intel, but loyalists to logical fallacies are not burdened by the inconvenience of FACT.

They will nitpick over pebbles while refusing to even glance at the mountain of evidence that crushes their convictions.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act V

For the sake of argument

Let’s say Saddam had full-blown active WMD programs on chemical & biological weapons worthy of an invasion.

The tubes would still be a lie.

I’ll go one further: Let’s say Saddam had a full-blown enrichment program as well, but the centrifuges were carbon fiber — not aluminum.

Getting lucky in finding something you didn’t know about — does not absolve you from a case that was woven out of whole cloth.

It’s literally impossible for any rational person to get around that reality.

But you wanna . . .

And this is how you get away with it:

You conflate justification with truth — as if two things can’t be true at the same time: That a war could be justified on one component and an absolute lie on all the rest.

To conflate matters of this magnitude is colossally irresponsible — not to mention you’re using your brain as a blunt instrument.

And — it’s against the rules.

Ya know, the ones you implicitly agreed to earlier.

When I wrote “literally” above — I’m talkin’ the old-fashioned standard, not this newfangled nonsense that no longer has meaning.

Like “we’re building a house”

No, you’re having a house built.

In and of itself, the distortion is harmless. The problem is that it embodies the trend of casually misusing language by altering the meaning of time-honored convention.

What about the people who actually build their own houses?

Should I just guess which category people fall into? Am I putting someone on the spot by asking about their involvement?

What if they really are building a house to fulfill a lifelong dream, and I don’t inquire so I can play it on the safe side? I just think it would be respectful had we left “we’re building a house” to those who actually earn it.

But that’s me.

So it stands to reason why I’ve never pulled that “agree to disagree” stunt on anyone. It would think unthinkable for me not to abide by the true spirit of that saying.

Why did people feel the need to modify something that was so clearly correct in its original meaning, and how was the alteration so easily adopted?

If we’re so willing to redefine the obvious, what about all the areas far more open to interpretation? If we had no problem abusing the former, what do you think we’re doing with the latter?

Look around

Outside of Iraq, I’m not qualified to speak with any authority on these other issues below . . .

I just love the box

See the source image

I happily belong to an infinitesimal minority that feels we’re not informed enough to have all the answers to every controversial issue in America. We don’t have a monopoly on virtue — and don’t want one.

We’re not only willing to change our minds, we welcome it — and appreciate those who correct us.

The doubt-free have no such notion.

Everything they think is held with the same calcified conviction. Even in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence — they peddle poppycock without an atom of courage, concept of conscience, or inclination of courtesy.

You can’t fix that with policy — and since that poisons the possibility of sound policy, I suggest you rethink your approach to problem solving.

Birds of a Feather

By late summer of 1756 Adams had made up his mind about the future. . . . Beholding the night sky, “the amazing concave of Heaven sprinkled and glittering with stars,” he was “thrown into a kind of transport” and knew such wonders to be the gifts of God, expressions of God’s love. But greatest of all, he wrote, was the gift of an inquiring mind.

“But all the provisions that He has [made] for the gratification of our senses . . . are much inferior to the provision, the wonderful provision that He has made for the gratification of our nobler powers of intelligence and reason. He has given us reason to find out the truth, and the real design and true end of our existence.”

To a friend Adams wrote, “It will be hard work, but the more difficult and dangerous the enterprise, a higher crown of laurel is bestowed on the conqueror. . . . But the point is now determined, and I shall have the liberty to think for myself.”

— John Adams

Not even Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama has accused Bush of “lying.” But Bush haters do?!?

— Larry Elder

Anyone who understands politics — knows that these empty assertions do not factor for how politicians operate.

they all know that

And the idea that “bi-partisan” means it’s aboveboard — is equally asinine.

For one thing, Democrats can’t expose the lie without exposing themselves.

Secondly, D.C. should stand for Deception Central — as Eric Alterman beautifully brought to light when he referred to our nation’s capital as:

A town where it’s worse to call someone a liar than it is to be one

I’m only providing this clip as an example of how rare it is that a president is explicitly accused of lying (especially in this setting).

So without even getting into the evidence — the notion that you can conclude that “nobody lied” — simply by virtue of politicians not saying so, is so preposterous that we need a new word for it.

Compare Silberman’s words below to mine. Which ones strike you as sincere and compelling?

By the way, I noticed “You can’t believe everything you read” only applies to words you don’t like.

As with investigations — if the headlines tell you what you wanna hear, it’s solid gold. If not, it’s all made up. Either way, you don’t burden yourselves by looking into it on your own.

And deride anyone who did

Trillion Dollar Tube

The only way someone can maintain with a straight face that George W. Bush lied into the Iraq war is to immerse himself in ignorance, refuse to listen to clear, obvious facts and/or retain a pathological hatred of George W. Bush because it provides psychological satisfaction.

— Larry Elder


They could immerse themselves in evidence and cite “clear, obvious facts” that these professional know-it-alls flagrantly ignored.

And since my documentary nails Democrats to the wall for their role in the war as well — how do you square that with a “pathological hatred of George W. Bush”?

Mount Everest of the Obvious

There’s a lot of “Obama haters” who told the truth at times. Whether you actually hate him or not — that doesn’t change irrefutable facts.

How did you feel about being summarily dismissed because of your hate — and people playing the race card to rig their own reality?

But if you’re gonna play that game — why shouldn’t they?

Not for one second do I think that Obama wanted to involve himself in race-related incidents — which hijacked his presidency and poisoned the atmosphere of race relations.

But he has only himself to blame — as he caved into his party’s playbook on pandering.

It might surprise you that I voted for Obama in 2008. I gave Romney a shot in the second round. I just have this old-fashioned idea about not rewarding people who are dishonest and don’t do a good job.

— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue

You don’t have to be Nostradamus to know where this is going:

An honorable leader would have withheld commentary until after the trial. And in the event of unrest, the President would educate the nation instead of pandering to it.

How I would love to look upon a leader who has the guts to inspire intellectual inquiry when it comes at a price.

THAT– would be some change to believe in.

— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue

In the year 3535
Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today

Sooner than you think

Past is Prologue

Though I gave Obama a chance, I said in 2008 that he wouldn’t be the “change” candidate he claimed.

How did I know that?

Because he had no record of risk — and past is prologue.

For most GitHub users, this is probably old news — but it was news to me. I came across an article that mentioned it and at first I thought it was a joke.

I should have known better, but really . . .

this nation should know better

In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.

Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015 — far too difficult, far too intimidating — we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something. It shows our hearts are in the right places.

Elaine’s exasperation x 100 =

How impossibly stupid it is that they banned The Dukes of Hazzard

But the high five is just so stupid!

From as far back as I can remember, I loved the Land O Lakes Indian. And then they butchered the spirit of it for the sake of sensitivity.

If such measures had any chance of actually making an impact that matters — I’d gladly sacrifice my precious branding of beauty.

For those who would try to educate me by saying I don’t understand the feelings involved in the removal of monuments and wiping Indians off boxes of butter:

No, you don’t understand . . .

There’s a lot to be said for the spirit of something’s true intention — or things that were just baked into society because they were historically male-oriented.

When I took Business Law in the early 90s, it was the Reasonable Man standard. It’s not a big deal to change to “reasonable person” — and there are others I’m open to as well.

But like everything else along these lines, where does it end? What problems does it solve?

And at what cost?

[C]onduct is measured against a community-wide standard of reasonableness rather than turn on the subjective mental state of the defendant.

That is what matters. Just as the right to vote and who can go into a manhole is what counts — not what you call it.

When you water things down to be politically correct, our nation’s ability to discern decreases right along with it.

Ironically creating a culture that’s increasingly more easily offended and radically unreasonable.

This just in

I saw the writing on the wall about rigging new words for “reasonable man” and “mankind” long ago — but I never imagined it becoming so silly.

It wasn’t enough to pursue equality — you want the window dressing too (never once considering how this over-the-top engineering of sensitivity is colossally counterproductive).

Some efforts in sensitivity are certainly called for — but taking it to extremes has been disastrous.

And the evidence is all around you.

Once again, the Right controls the narrative — as Democrats and others unwittingly hand it to them on a silver platter. Never mind that Republicans play the same games with their own rules:

As in — there are none

And they sail Scot-Free — because you built them the boat.

  • Conservatives act like they’re being attacked when correcting them even on matters that could not be more patently obvious — but light into liberals as “snowflakes” for any form of complaint.
  • They rightly rail on the race card, but shamelessly play the Christian card, Patriot card, or any kind of card with reckless abandon.
  • You can spend your life in unwavering commitment to truth and fair-mindedness, but you’re instantly assailed as a “Bush hater” for asking questions even on matters of mathematical certainty.

  • They assault your character for telling the truth — and call you a “character assassin” out of blind loyalty to liars.
  • They’re gutless in the face of facts they don’t like — disguised by their goosestepping glory in the Facts Over Feelings Parade.
  • They whined about being called “Obama haters” and “racists” — then turned right around and cried “TDS” against anyone who had the nerve to criticize Trump.

Some of us consider it our duty to demand better — no matter who’s in office.

I do not subscribe to the lesser-of-two-evils doctrine — so I will never be party to any politician’s base. I’ve always had something else in mind:

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.

Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else.

— Theodore Roosevelt: The Kansas City Star, May 7th, 1918 / Richard W. Memmer: Act V

The people who consider themselves to be the saviors of black people — are hurting black people, because what they’re committed to is more virtue signaling than actually doing something in the world.

— John McWhorter

“Enslaved People”

I don’t know why I’m ever surprised to find a new contorted twist in terminology on this front. But I was stunned when I noticed the new lingo for “slaves.”

It’s not the change in terms that bothers me so much:

It’s the complete absence of intellectually honest discussion by people preoccupied with victories in vocabulary.

When I am making my edits, “John’s slave” becomes “a person enslaved by John.” “John owned Sally” becomes “John enslaved Sally.” . . .

Consider this sentence: “George Washington owned slaves at Mount Vernon.” It doesn’t agitate our sense of morality as much as the sentence “George Washington enslaved people at Mount Vernon,” does it? To most people, it seems much worse to say, read, or hear that someone “enslaved” other people than that they “owned” other people.

That’s partially because ownership is one of the primary rights and most cherished ideas in the American system — and most Western systems — of government.

I’m not among the “most”

And on what basis is she making the claim that “most people” see it that way?

“Owned” has an ugliness that “enslaved” does not — precisely because we know it’s not a “primary right” to own people. Such efforts are really reaching to re-engineer what cannot be undone.

On that note . . .

At the core of our country’s decline — is the unrelenting refusal to get to the bottom of anything.

Like this 1619 business: You wanna draw correlations from the past — while flagrantly ignoring crystal-clear connections in the present.

Black Lives Matter, monuments, kneeling, and now this:

You’re all over the place

And you’ve got company:

So here’s the deal

I’ll listen to a conversation or two on the topic and weigh in from there. But whatever I think on the matter, I seriously doubt it’ll change my mind on my initial impression of its predictable effect.

In the caricature of the clip below, I’m not disrespecting work I haven’t seen — I’m simply illustrating the efficacy of it based on what I have witnessed in this territory.

As with squirrels like Kaepernick’s kneeling, Black Lives Matter, and the removal of monuments — what are you really gonna gain out of 1619? Even if you could miraculously get what you want . . .

And you have a better chance of walking on water:

What’s it gonna take for you to see the unintended consequences that come with it?

Therein lies the folly of it all. This consortium of causes has no chance of achieving anything remotely in the realm of your loosely defined aims — and you’re doing catastrophic damage to the very thing you’re trying to remedy.

To be fair . . .

That’s an informative and intelligent response (minus the unnecessary insults). Unfortunately, narrative dominates the day in America — so whatever good BLM does, will be drowned out by the bad.

So how do you avoid that? You gotta be smart — and starting something like “Black Lives Matter” with the first black president in the White House, was not smart. . . .

— Richard W. Memmer

Has it ever occurred to anyone in that organization — that simply calling it something else would have served their interests far better?

Nobody nailed Obama better than Matt Damon:

A one-term president with some balls . . . [would have been] much better

He had an opportunity to take race relations to new heights, but took it to new lows — playing the same tried and untrue games that get you nowhere.

No amount of unconscionable obstruction on the Right changes the fact that you blew it all by yourselves.

And worse than that — is your refusal to recognize that reality (allowing you to conveniently ignore other realities).

As I’ve said many times: Black Lives Matter, the removal of monuments, and Kaepernick’s kneeling — rolled out the red carpet for Trump.

That — was not smart

What if Kaepernick kneeled and acknowledged that they need to do their part while asking the police to do theirs?

“Hold the phone — you want us to share some responsibility?”

You wanna solve the problem or protest about it?

I object to the indiscriminate outrage rigged by Black Lives Matter — as I object to all-things indiscriminate. But those emotions are deeply woven into the fabric of America’s long history of brutality and disgrace . . .

Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, murder, decades of civil rights violations, questionable shootings, and so on . . .

While the Right won’t even look at the material properties of a tube. What’s wrong with that picture — and this one?

Hmm, so the dimensions exactly match the tubes used in Iraq’s history of manufacturing the Nasser-81mm artillery rocket (a reverse-engineered version of the Italian Medusa)

Be quite a coincidence if they weren’t . . .

Ya know, connected

If you won’t even acknowledge the purist form of fact, what makes you think you’ve got it right on things that aren’t so crystal clear?

So you wanna ignore the word of nuclear scientists — in favor of professional know-it-alls who won’t go anywhere near this topic and never have?

Explain to me how that fits into following the facts . . .

Speaking of worshipping the wildly unworthy . . .

It boggles the mind that people who put their faith as paramount — would permit politicians to exploit their beliefs and betray their trust time after time.

Nobody captures that better than David Kuo in his book Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction. As a Special Assistant to President Bush and Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Kuo was connected to the top.

For two years I had bitten my tongue and toed the line. We in the faith-based office didn’t speak too loudly or thunder too much. We were nice. I wasn’t angry now, but I was no longer willing to lie.

Before your knee jerks to impugn his motives in coming clean:

Hearing the words “brain tumor” in proximity to the words “you have a” clarifies things. . . . My wife, my daughters, how I treat others, and how I live before God concern me greatly. That’s why I decided to write this book.

Kuo lost his fight to brain cancer 10 years later.

He was a Christian who was the genuine article — a tried-and-true believer with a willingness to reflect. He was committed to the compassionate-conservative cause, and in so doing he struggled between his loyalty to Bush and honoring his Administration’s claims.

Try to keep that in mind as you read the following:

National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as “ridiculous,” “out of control,” and just plain “goofy.”

The leaders spent much time lauding the president, but they were never shrewd enough to do what Billy Graham had done three decades before, to wonder whether they were just being used.

Kuo was a man of conscience who wrote his book with sincerity.

His attitude was far closer to what Christ had in mind than anything else I’ve seen out of conservative Christians in the political arena.

As Kuo wrote in his Afterword — in 2004 he was asked to speak at the St. Louis Family Church (his “spiritual home” he called it). He relayed how after the service someone came up to him and said,

“You tell President Bush to get that Supreme Court right!”

He had heard it all many times before and always responded in a “pat” and polite manner to put the person’s mind at ease, but not this time:

That night . . . I threw out the old script. Instead, I said, “Maybe the problem isn’t the courts, maybe the problem is us. Maybe things are so screwy because we’ve spent more time thinking about how to advance politically than we have about just changing our own lives.”

On top of being incredibly informative, his book is an enjoyable read.

Everything he advocates comes back to the concern he quoted from a “prominent pastor”:

What we’ve done is turn a mission field into a battlefield

Same goes for the other side — always at the ready with disingenuous dialogue to rile up the base.

I have thrown golf clubs with Ralph Reed and speared fish with John Ashcroft. I have eaten epic meals with Bill Bennett. George W. Bush whipped me silly in a private running race.

From 1989 until I joined the Bush White House in 2001, I longed for the day the right political leaders would arrive, govern morally, eloquently profess their Christian faith, and return America to greatness.

Most of our problems could be solved politically, I believed. Now I know better.

I have seen what happens when well-meaning Christians are seduced into thinking deliverance can come from the Oval Office, a Supreme Court chamber, or the floor of the United States Congress.

They are easily manipulated by politicians who use them for their votes, seduced by trinkets of power, and tempted to turn a mission field (politics) into a battlefield, leaving the impression Jesus’ main goal was advancing a particular policy agenda.

I know: I’ve seen it, I’ve done it, I’ve lived it, and I’ve learned from it.

Now I know better.” Imagine!

This nation has no such notion

“You gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.” A commenter perfectly captured the essence of the idea:

The term was invented by Shakespeare in his tragedy Hamlet. To be ‘cruel to be kind’ is to cause someone pain for his or her own good. Telling someone something that will hurt them because it’s better for them in the long run. It appears like you’re trying to hurt them when in fact, you’re looking out for their best interest.

Race relations do not exist in a vacuum any more than mass shootings or anything else. The mental health of America is central to the story of all that surrounds us.

What I have illustrated throughout this site and my documentary — is not the mark of a healthy nation:

It’s the mentality of a mob

If an entire nation of “normal” people refuse to work together to solve problems — and delight in rapid-fire ridicule against any challenge to their beliefs (baseless or otherwise):

How do you think that impacts those who are already inclined to mow people down?

Speaking of shootings — you wanna put trigger-happy cops in prison (and rightly so when warranted).

I’m interested in how they became trigger-happy.

That behavior often factors into it does not necessarily mean that race wasn’t involved as well. But you don’t allow for anything outside of what you instantly perceive.

If race is part of the story, you make it the entire story.

Keyboard commandos are on edge across the country.

So what makes you think that people who live their lives in danger every day — aren’t overreacting partly as a reflection of a country that overreacts on everything?

My aim is not to absolve the police, it’s to paint the possibility that race may not be as much of a factor as you think it is.

The gentleman who inspired me to read that MLK book — took issue with my suggestion on “shared responsibility” in Part 3. He objected with clear-cut incidents like Philando Castile.

That example is not in dispute.

That behavior was not a problem in that instance — is not a valid argument for the times when it was. Once again, to argue in good faith, you must answer within the confines of the question.

“Good faith” is a gray area — but only for a grace period.

You may have honest intentions in an intellectually dishonest argument. But you can’t forever ignore facts and still be operating in good faith.

And it’s an irrefutable fact that the behavior that Chris Rock hilariously highlights below — is part of the problem.

You don’t wanna acknowledge it for the same reason Tamara Holder disingenuously replied, “It may or may not” to the profile question.

She didn’t want to give any ground — and neither do you. You think you’re serving your cause that way.

You’re not — it’s the opposite

Look around!

The Right has repeatedly screwed you, seemingly has no concept of conscience, buys more bullshit than I thought was humanly possible, and is the Mariana Trench of Mendacity . . .

But . . .

When it comes the homeless, race relations, woke and whatnot — they make a helluva lot more sense than you do.

An intellectual is not closed-minded by any means on any subject

A highly intelligent guy in technology blocked me on Twitter for a single Tweet that politely suggested that BLM is a counterproductive cause.

Stirring Defense

It’s pure fantasy to think that you can ignore key dimensions of a problem and solve it with slogans, monuments, and movements.

If you don’t want to get shot . . . just do what I tell you. . . . Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

But no, you wanna debate that too

Even a multi-millionaire like Don Lemon’s got a chip on his shoulder.

I am one who always says that should comply with police officers — especially as a man of color. When I’m stopped by a police officer: “Officer, why are you stopping me?” Yes, officer or whatever. Now, I’m an American — I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to be “Yes, sir” to anybody. I’m a grown, ‘you know what’ man.” But I do it because I want to stay alive. That’s why I do it. I shouldn’t have to.

How about just doing it out of courtesy and respect?

How hard is it to just put yourself in their shoes — and consider the crap that cops deal with day in and day out?

Yeah, they signed up for it — but you can do your part to make the situation go as smoothly as possible.

And Don — they blew right by your bit about complying and seized on “I shouldn’t have to.”

Nice work

All that aside, I’m glad that guy brought up Castile, as it reminded me of what I wrote in 2017:

My view of police officers these days: They’re overly protective of their own safety — in a job that by definition, comes with a certain degree of danger.

If you’re unwilling to take that extra split-second to ascertain the threat, then you have no business being in that job.

That aside, we all have a responsibility when dealing with the police. If you cop an attitude (especially in today’s climate) — you are radically increasing your chances of getting gunned down).

Yes, you can find examples where blacks did everything right and got killed anyway. But that number pales in comparison to the times where they didn’t follow instructions.

In many cases, they didn’t deserve to be shot, but they played a role in what happened. Properly following instructions would have most likely produced a different outcome.

This officer in Castile’s case was clearly out of control. Even if Philando didn’t do something exactly as the officer expected — the slightest misunderstanding is not grounds for shooting someone (not to mention the absurd number of shots).

By that standard, you could justify anything — like invading a Middle Eastern country because you feel like.

Imagining a threat is not enough.

And it’s all the more outrageous given that the guy acknowledged he had a weapon. This person’s comment nailed it:

If someone is trying to get the drop on you, I don’t think they would calmly say “I just want to let you know that I have a gun”

Yanez stated that his justification for the shooting was based on fear for his own life because he believed that Castile’s behavior was abusive toward a young girl passenger (Reynolds’ daughter) in the car.[43] 

Yanez said: “I thought, I was gonna die, and I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing, then what, what care does he give about me?”[43]

That’s an awful lot of analysis for something that happened so fast. His argument is absolutely ridiculous — and has legalese written all over it.

I don’t buy it for a second.

You cannot make sweeping assumptions like that in ascertaining a threat. And it’s absurd that an officer would fear for his life over the perception of a person’s character regarding secondhand smoke.

I’d rather go to prison than come up with such a stupid excuse.

Speaking of excuses.

This notion that compliance and respectability can save someone’s life in an encounter with police is not the reality for black men in this country

— Charles Coleman, Jr.

“Compliance and respectability” worked out well for this guy:

“Well, you can’t take that example in isolation.”

You’re right — so why are you doing it?

What if Kaepernick kneeled and acknowledged that they need to do their part while asking the police to do theirs?

— Richard W. Memmer: Part 3

That would be the catalyst for a real conversation — the recognition that there’s plenty of blame to go around.

When you act like the one on the right below, you’re not only endangering yourself — you’re helping to create the atmosphere of confrontation for others by putting the police on edge.

The attitude on the left would do no such thing. Charles Coleman, Jr. is flat-out wrong, as the importance of attitude cannot be overstated.

Man is at least as much a problem-creating as a problem-solving animal. Better a crisis than the permanent boredom of meaninglessness.

— Life at the Bottom

I don’t do slogans, so to me, “Black Lives Matter” is just as empty as its comeback cousin.

Blunt instruments for change are just too ham-handed for my taste.

Rather than endlessly debate catch phrases, monuments, and movements — I’m far more interested in considering the underlying merit in a point of view.

While everyone else spins their wheels on who’s right, I define what I see by factoring for what’s true (isolating and correlating along the way).

When it comes to ascertaining the truth, I don’t care what your cause is, who’s in the White House, who controls Congress or the courts.

I learned early on in life that what you want gets in the way of what you see.

Zimmerman’s brother was right when he said, “He had the greater hand in his own demise.”

That’s an assertion — not an argument.

It’s high time we appreciate the difference — perfectly defined on a blog I stumbled across years ago:

An assertion is just a point of view, an opinion. An argument goes further. An argument is a point of view supported by reasons that demonstrate the view is a good one.

I can make the case on the “greater hand,” but that’s not my aim.

I’m more interested in the certitude that swiftly cements your perception —on this topic or any other.

Trayvon apologists are dead certain about what happened that night . . .

I’m not

Most of America seemingly lives to fume over one topic to the next. We have no chance of ever solving problems that way.

My quest for clarity in a nation that’s having none of it.

All day I’ve faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water, cool water
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water
Cool, clear, water

The nights are cool and I’m a fool
Each star’s a pool of water
Cool water
And with the dawn I’ll wake and yawn
And carry on to water
Cool, clear, water

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