TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS: We wish Judge Jackson had answered the question!

MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2022

The question was quite straightforward: A headline in Sunday's New York Times took us where the rubber meets the road.

The headline appeared in the Book Review section. The headline in question said this:

Can We Empathize With Our Enemies? One Author Wants Us to Try.

In our view, the best way to achieve that empathy would be to drop the concept of "enemies." For the record, this is the book in question:

I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT THAT WAY
How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times
By Mónica Guzmán

For better or worse, our contemporary political discourse, to the extent that anything like a discourse exists, is built around a potent "enemies" construct. 

In the past two weeks, we've watched as our own blue tribe reacted to Judge Jackson's confirmation hearings. As we did, we were stuck by the way we built our standard "frightened child" fairy tale about the ways our tribe's enemies had behaved.

In this standard fairy tale construct, a band of angels—Us—confronts a band of demons—Them. We confront them through our recitation of standard group talking points.

Within our tribe, we all knew the talking points with respect to Judge Jackson, who has of course had a highly impressive legal / judicial career. 

We knew that we were supposed to say that she was the most qualified nominee ever. We were supposed to position her nomination as an hidtorical breakthrough.

We were encouraged to say that her confirmation would make the Court "look more like America," a bit of a statistical absurdity. Above all else, we were supposed to say that the behavior of The Others was racist, and that, in their opposition to Jackson's nomination, they were appealing to the QAnon crowd. 

We were supposed to say that their conduct was The Worst Ever, but also The Worst Yet. 

Here at this site, we watched large chunks of the confirmation hearings. Those frameworks didn't strike us as helpful, or as being especially accurate.

As we noted last Friday, we loved what Judge Jackson said about the way the nation's children should be treated in school. She won our allegiance right there, with that brief statement. 

On balance, though, it didn't seem to us, in any obvious way, that she was the greatest nominee ever. In fairness, we can't imagine a reason why she should have to reach such heights. On balance, though, we were a bit disappointed by the flaws in her performance.

Given the way our discourse now works, no one was going to give voice to any such point of view. Within the realm of our own frightened tribe, the conduct of The Others had to be "shocking"—and Jushe Jackson had to be the greatest nominee yet.

Like you, we have no way of knowing where Judge Jackson stands compared to past nominees, almost all of whom were in fact highly accomplished. Today, we'll close our discussion with the part of her performance we were must disappointed by:

We refer to her refusal to answer the senator's question.

We refer to Senator Hawley (R-Mo.), who is very poorly regarded within our liberal tribe. Was he sincere in asking his question—in pushing a certain line of inquiry?

We have no way of knowing such a thing. We do know that Judge Jackson kept refusing to answer his question.

Hawley's question was quite straightforward; it should have been easy to answer. It concerned one in roughly a half dozen cases in which Judge Jackson had given relatively lenient sentences to child pornography offenders.

Among those cases, the one which stood out most involved an 18-year offender named Wesley Hawkins. By the time he was sentenced by Judge Jackson, Hawkins was 19 years old. 

Prosecutors had asked for two years in prison. The probation department had recommended a sentence of 18 months. 

Judge Jackson had sentenced him to three months in prison. Why had she issued that sentence? 

On its face, the question shouldn't be hard to answer. Hawley began his discussion as shown:

HAWLEY (3/22/22): I listed the seven cases in which you had discretion and you did not follow the prosecutor's recommendation or the sentencing guidelines. But let's just talk about one of them because we've talked about some of them as a group.

Let's talk about United States versus Hawkins. I think that's when you probably remember from 2013, the defendant there was Wesley Hawkins. He was 18 years old at the time, he uploaded five video files of child pornography from his computer to YouTube. This is how the police got onto him. He then uploaded another 36 depictions of child porn and other lewd photos of children to his iCloud account.

When the police executed a search on his apartment on the premises, they found 17 videos on his laptop and 16 images of child pornography. All of them very graphic. Some of them involving very young children.

That's the way the discussion began. A long discussion by Hawley ensued, during which Hawley quoted various parts of Judge Jackson's statement at the time of sentencing.

Hawley noted that the prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison sentence, but Jackson had sentenced Hawkins to three months. When the enemy asked his question for the first time, here's what the enemy said:

HAWLEY: I just want to ask you about that because I just have to tell you I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it. We're talking about eight-year-olds, and nine-year-olds and 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds. He's got images of these, the government said added up to over 600 images, gobs of video footage of these children, that you say this does not signal a heinous or egregious child pornography offense.

Help me understand that. What word would you use if it's not heinous or egregious? How would you describe it?

"Help me understand that," the enemy politely said. It didn't strike us as a crazy request, but the nominee ducked the question.

If you want to review the way the nominee ducked, you can peruse the transcript. Or you can instead rely on the scripting gifted to you by the corporate stooges who tell our tribe what we should think about any such questions from any of The Others.

We're sorry to tell you that Judge Jackson ducked that fairly straightforward question. As a result, Hawley asked it again:

HAWLEY: ...You also told the defendant, you said this, this seems to be a case where you were fascinated by sexual images involving what were essentially your peers. And then you went on to say, the defendant was merely trying to satisfy his curiosity. 

"Curiosity" is your word. One more thing on this, same idea, you said you were viewing—this as you spoke to the defendant—you were viewing sex acts between children who were not much younger than you. And this whole discussion is about why you're only giving him three months.

Judge, he was 18. These kids are eight. I don't see in what sense they're peers. 

I've got a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old and a 16- month-old at home, and I live in fear that they will be exposed to, let alone exploited in this kind of material. I don't understand you saying to him that they're peers and that therefore, you are viewing sex acts between children who are not much younger than you. And that that's somehow a reason to only give him three months. Help me understand this.

"Help me understand this," the enemy once again politely said. This was the start of the nominee's response:

JACKSON (continuing directly): Senator, I don't have the record of that entire case in front of me. What I recall with respect to that case, is that unlike the many other child pornography offenders that I'd seen as a judge, and that I was aware of in my work on the Sentencing Commission, this particular defendant had just graduated from high school. And some of perhaps not all when you were looking at the records, but some of the materials that he was looking at were older teenagers, were older victims.

The nominee said that she didn't have the entire court record before her. At this point, she returned to the approach she took throughout. 

She explained the fact that, as a judge, she'd had discretion in such sentencing matters. As se explained this obvious point, she failed to explain the way in which she had exercised that discretion. This was a fairly obvious dodge, so the enemy struck again:

HAWLEY: I just have to tell you, I can't quite figure this out. You said to him, this is a truly difficult situation. I appreciate that your family's in the audience. I feel so sorry for them. And for you. And for the anguish this has caused all of you. I feel terrible about the collateral consequences of this conviction. And then you go on to say sex offenders are truly shunned in our society.

I'm just trying to figure out, Judge, is he the victim here? Are the victims, the victims? You're saying that you are—you're apologizing to him. You're saying you're sorry for the anguish this has caused him? 

There was a victim impact statement in this case. It didn't get read into the record, but it was there. I've described the videos that we have. You say, earlier in the case, you talk about how heinous these crimes are and you describe them, to your credit.

You describe how heinous it is, to your credit. And yet, here you are giving him three months, and apologizing to him and saying you feel sorry for the anguish it's caused him, and also saying you think that sex offenders are truly shunned in our society? 

So just talk about that. Help me understand. I mean, is he a victim? Is that your view here? Is that what you said this? Is that what you meant by—

JACKSON: Senator I, again, don't have the entire record. I remember, in that particular case, I considered it to be unusual, in part for the reasons that I described. 

I remember in that case, that defense counsel was arguing for probation, in part, because he argued that here we had a very young man just graduated from high school, he presented all of his diplomas and certificates and the things that he had done, and argued, consistent with what I was seeing in the record, that this particular defendant had gotten into this in a way that was I thought inconsistent with some of the other cases that I had seen.

"Help me understand," the enemy said once again. With that, the nominee returned to her "process" presentation. She explained that, as a judge, she was required to exercise discretion in her sentencing, without ever quite explaining why she had exercised her discretion in the way she did.

Was Judge Jackson the greatest nominee ever? As we watched, we were disappointed (and annoyed) by the way she kept responding to these straightforward questions. 

To our ear, her responses to these questions were consistent evasive. Arguably, one reason why the questions kept getting asked was because of the fact that she kept failing to give forthright answers. 

Eventually, the enemy even politely said this:

HAWLEY: But Judge, with all due respect, and I'm—I tell you what, I'll be direct with you. 

I am questioning your discretion, your judgment. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm not questioning you as a person. I'm not questioning your excellence as a judge, frankly. 

But you said it—you had discretion. And I that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm questioning how you used your discretion in these cases.

"With respect to Mr. Hawkins," the nominee now said "I was doing what judges do, which is look at the statute 18 USC 3553, exercise discretion, as Congress has required us to do take into account all of the various aspects of a particular case and make a determination consistent with my authority, my judgment, and understanding fully be egregious nature of the crime."

To our ear, that was the same old rambling dodge all over again. 

During Hawley's second round of questioning, the nominee was asked about what happened in 2019, when Hawkins was brought before her again.

At that time, she sentenced him to an additional six months of confinement. Why had that happened, the enemy now asked.

When the nominee said she couldn't remember what had occurred att at time, the enemy suggested that he pretty much didn't believe her.

Our stooges have expressed widespread shock that Hawley could have said such a thing. 

Stooges, please! Hawley's reaction was the world's most obvious reaction. In real time, we had the exact same reaction, even bore the enemy spoke.

Fellow citizens, please! Presumably, Judge Jackson underwent a great deal of preparation for her confirmation hearings. For reasons which are perfectly sensible, nominees always do.

Hawley had reported, the week before, that he planned to explore these child pornography cases. It's very, very hard to believe that Jackson hadn't reviewed both parts of the Hawkins case. It's very, very hard to believe that she couldn't remember what had happened, less than three years before, when Hawkins appeared before her again and was sentenced to further confinement.

Why did Juge Jackson sentence Hawkins to three months? The prosecutors had asked for two years. The probation department had recommended 18 months. (We aren't discussing the guidelines.)

Why did Juge Jackson give that substantially lighter sentence? It should have been easy to explain. We'll guess the answer is this:

To her credit, Judge Jackson didn't want to sentence a teenager to a long stint in prison. She also may have felt, based on the evidence before her, that Hawkins wasn't a hard-core pedophile.

She hoped that he could get himself straightened out without recourse to a prison sentence which might have made it less likely, not more, that he could go on to lead a productive life. We'll guess that this explains the three-month sentence he received—and we'll guess that Jackson had been advised that she mustn't come out and say such things as that.

We'll guess that Jackson had bene advised that she mustn't say anything that would make her sound like "a bleeding-heart liberal," like someone excessively "woke." We'll guess that explains why she hemmed and hawed and kept avoiding a straightforward explanation concerning that three-month prison term.

We found it very, very annoying to see her hem and haw and avoid again and again. We found it disappointing.

We thought it made her look evasive. We didn't believe her when she said that she couldn't remember why Hawkins had ended up before her again in 2019.

We think Judge Jackson is better than that. We'll guess she got some bad advice during her preparation—but Judge Jackson is someone who has always tended to play by the rules and defer to the wisdom of elites.

At any rate, we saw nothing "shocking" or ridiculous in the question Hawley kept asking. One reason why it kept getting asked was fairly simple:

Politely asked again and again, the nominee kept refusing to answer.

These things were true except in the realm where our blue tribe's corporate stooges describe what the enemy did and tell us what we should think. With respect to the enemy's shocking conduct, our world is built around that construct now.

Our tribe loves that unhelpful construct, just like the other tribe does. We currently live in Two Different Worlds, and members of each of these warring tribes currently seem to enjoy it. 

Final thought:

We think most people would understand the desire to keep a teen out of prison. We think the views of us the American people have evolved to that point.

Based on what we know, we're somewhat sorry that Hawkins got sentenced to prison at all. We think if Jackson had spoken forthrightly about this case, the public would have understood and might have liked her even more.

Hawley was asking a sensible question Jackson kept failing to answer.

Hawley even may have come to believe that Jackson really is "soft on" this particular crime. We have no way to know what he thinks. Neither do the corporate stooges who performed on CNN, rejecting his claims as "very, very untrue" before he had even advanced them.

We currently live in Two Different World. Each of these worlds is currently crawling with unimpressive stooges.

Full disclosure: Due to MSNBC corporate policy, we can't show you the various things Lawrence excitedly said.

"Empathize with our enemies," one writer has said. Could it be that the enemy has turned out to be Us?


61 comments:

  1. "In the past two weeks, we've watched as our own blue tribe reacted to Judge Jackson's confirmation hearings. As we did, we were stuck by the way we built our standard "frightened child" fairy tale about the ways our tribe's enemies had behaved."

    What liberal watches a judicial nominee hearing with this mental stance? None.

    Somerby fearlessly describes his mindset as he watches a congressional hearing. He is seeking the fairy tale, not simply noticing that one appears. It is no surprise when he thinks he finds what he reports that he expects to find.

    This is the way schizophrenics see patterns in unrelated events in the world. It is the way people superimpose religious meaning on burnt toast. It is the way we see patterns where they don't exist. It is the essence of confirmation bias. And Somerby freely admits to doing this, then tries to foist his pattern on others by writing an essay proclaiming his discovery.

    This is ridiculous nonsense in service of conservative memes. Don't be fooled by this tripe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Was Judge Jackson the greatest nominee ever?"

    Who cares, dear Bob. One dembot is the same as another dembot; not much daylight between them.

    That is, dear Bob, the nature of dembottery, because, as you said, it's a manichaean theology.

    ...'nuff said.

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  3. "She won our allegiance right there, with that brief statement.

    On balance, though, it didn't seem to us, in any obvious way, that she was the greatest nominee ever. In fairness, we can't imagine a reason why she should have to reach such heights. On balance, though, we were a bit disappointed by the flaws in her performance."

    Somerby says Jackson "won his allegiance" and then he trashes her. Is that how someone behaves toward someone who has won their allegiance? Is that any kind of allegiance at all? No.

    Somerby claims Jackson has his allegiance so that when he says negative things about her, he will seem to be unbiased or reluctantly admitting flaws in someone he supports. Is that what is really happening here? Or is Somerby doing a continuing hit job on a liberal nominee in service of the conservatives again.

    If this candidate does not seem highly qualified to Somerby, it may be because he is not qualified to judge for himself. In the absence of knowledge about what makes a judge qualified, he seems to revert to his own biases, which are that a black woman cannot possibly be as well qualified as everyone (except conservatives) is saying. He judges her by gender and skin color, not taking the word of any authority or Democrats, or even the Republicans who supported her for the Appeals Court last year. She must be mediocre because she looks mediocre to him. And if she is mediocre, then the media must be falsely hyping her when they describe her as highly qualified.

    This is how bigotry works. What possible hoop could Jackson jump through to convince Somerby of her worthiness? He doesn't say because he doesn't know. He just knows that she looks mediocre to him. Just like Kavanaugh looked highly competent to Somerby, despite having worse credentials than Jackson's.

    Let me remind everyone of how this works. A man is assumed competent until he proves otherwise. A woman is assumed mediocre at best until she proves otherwise. No benefit of the doubt for women. Every benefit of the doubt for white men.

    There is no journalistic nitpick to this statement. Somerby is going out of his way to trash this black female nominee, without any stated reasons. This is what bias looks like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He didn't "trash" her. He criticized her answer to specific questions. Whether his criticism is valid is a matter of opinion. He is all for her being a member of SCOTUS. Her race or gender has nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    2. Somerby's assessment of the interaction between Republican senators and Jackson assumes everyone is dumb and only Somerby can see what is going on.

      Somerby makes it clear HE understands why Jackson ruled the way she did, but assumes that no ones else can see the same.

      Somerby does not really believe this, he is just pretending in order to con suckers like AC/MA.

      But AC/MA plays the same game. He lies in an attempt to win arguments, in order to push a conservative agenda.

      AC/MA you have no credibility here.

      Somerby claims Jackson "won his allegiance", based on a platitude. Whatever.

      Then Somerby describes likely why Jackson ruled the way she did, which could be paraphrased like this "the defendant had gotten into this in a way that was inconsistent with some of the other hardcore cases". Surprise surprise, this is what Jackson told Sen Hawley. Yet Somerby whines that she "evaded". Brother, please.

      Jackson knew what was up with their disingenuous questioning and was clever about blocking their agenda. Boohoo. It was effective against their right wing agenda, so Somerby whines.

      This issue was widely reported in the press, here is what we all know because it was reported extensively, yet Somerby leaves out:

      _In 7 out of 10 cases of these type of convictions, the sentence is BELOW federal guidelines, so what Jackson did is the norm.

      _the psychological report on Hawkins concluded that there was no reason to believe that he was a pedophile or that he posed any risk to children.

      Furthermore, Somerby makes no mention of the fact that Hawkins is gay and faced terrible oppression in his youth, which he says led him to seek out peers online, which then led him to people that sent him those images.

      The important takeaway from this case is how horrible right wing homophobic oppression is, yet Somerby sees it differently. This is because Somerby has no integrity, his moral compass is broken.

      Delete
    3. anon 1:34 - you are incapable of reasoning like an educated adult.

      Delete
    4. You lost the argument when you lied in trying to win an argument, and then worse, you failed to even offer a counterargument.

      You may be an adult, who is to say, but you act like a wounded child.

      Delete
  4. "Like you, we have no way of knowing where Judge Jackson stands compared to past nominees, almost all of whom were in fact highly accomplished. "

    The ABA rates nominees using a classification system from well qualified (highest rating) to not qualified (lowest rating). It does this by a panel vote. Judge Jackson is the first and only candidate to have been unanimously rated well qualified since these ratings have been given. In contrast, Judge Coney Barrett received mixed Well Qualified and Qualified ratings. Judge Souter received mixed ratings too. Judge Kavanaugh received mixed ratings that included a Not Qualified rating if allegations were investigated and shown to be true. Other nominees (not confirmed) have received Not Qualified ratings. These ratings are made by judges and attorneys, not politicians or journalists. I posted the criteria for the ratings last week. Somerby, of course, pretends that these evaluations do not exist and that there is no objective way to evaluate prospective nominees.

    Criticisms of Judge Jackson have also been evaluated by comparing her rulings and judgments to those of similar sitting judges. That was done to show that she is not soft on particular crimes or criminals -- she appears solidly in the middle among other judges on such criteria.

    This idea that there is no way to know anything, so why shouldn't Somerby go with his gut, is ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, stop. You’re saying in the highly politicized atmosphere of a SCOTUS confirmation, the ABA “objectively” evaluates items such as a nominee’s “character”, “judicial temperament” and “judgment”?

      I hereby evaluate your posting temperament and judgment as not so smart. And don’t worry, I’m being objective

      Delete
    2. Oh look, a TDH fanboy baselessly calling a commenter dumb, via a rather odd and nonsensical sputtering word salad.

      Where did they learn such bad behavior?



      Delete
  5. ""With respect to Mr. Hawkins," the nominee now said "I was doing what judges do, which is look at the statute 18 USC 3553, exercise discretion, as Congress has required us to do take into account all of the various aspects of a particular case and make a determination consistent with my authority, my judgment, and understanding fully be egregious nature of the crime."

    To our ear, that was the same old rambling dodge all over again. "

    Judge Jackson describes what her job consists of and Somerby calls it a "rambling dodge". Whatta guy our Somerby is!

    It would be massively inappropriate for Judge Jackson to go into the specifics of that case during this hearing. Any nominee would refuse to do it.

    Somerby used to complain about cherry-picking, but when Hawley does so, cherry-picking a case in order to elicit some statement from Jackson that he can use to portray her as soft on pedophiles, Somerby is mute. She said what was appropriate for her to say. The purpose of this hearing is not to re-litigate cases for political gain. She explained her thinking and that should have been sufficient for Hawley and Somerby. Somerby calls it a dodge and that reveals his conservative sympathies and his bias. If she had answered by talking about the specifics, whatever she said would have becone the fodder for a smear against her, claiming that she was soft on pedophiles or even part of a dark state conspiracy to groom children so that adrenochrome can be harvested from their downy little bodies. Judge Jackson knows better than Somerby what she is required to answer and not answer during a hearing. But Somerby wants to condemn her in some way, but she didn't give him any basis to do so -- so that becomes her fatal flaw. She said nothing damaging to disqualify herself, so that becomes her disqualification -- she is too dodgy during attempts to entrap her into an unwary statement!

    The full extent of Somerby's assholery should be obvious in today's essay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would it have been inappropriate to go into the public details of that case? She probably could've elucidated her thinking on the sentencing, but I am guessing her handlers told her to avoid, avoid, avoid giving straight answers.

      Delete
    2. And why didn't she mention the "massive inappropriateness" as part of her answer?

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    3. duh, because it was more effective to answer the way she did, which did her no harm, but made the senators look foolish.

      The details were covered in the press, and were certainly known by the questioning senators, they were obviously asking their questions in bad faith. Hmmm sounds familiar.

      Delete
    4. She said she didn't have the details of the case in front of her. She said that twice.

      Delete
    5. And after saying that, Hawley pointedly avoiding going over the pertinent details.

      Republicans live and breathe bad faith.

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    6. Curses! Unmasked again by the Diviners of Bad Faith!

      Delete
    7. KK, the bad faith is obvious in Hawley's behavior. No divination necessary. Just read the words and think a little bit.

      Delete
    8. No false modesty now. Your talent towers above us less gifted ones.

      Take me for instance. I’ve been told several times on this site that I’ve argued in bad faith. When that would happen I would sit quietly in a chair and press my hands in my cheeks and furrow my brow and introspect and search my soul, but I just couldn’t come to the realization that my faith was bad. But I know it must have been, because an Anonymous commenter told me so.

      Delete
    9. Why are you making this about you?

      Delete
    10. Why did you ask this question in bad faith?

      Delete
  6. We know you wish Judge Jackson had answered the question, Bob. Because then Hawley would have been
    all the more successful in tying the Judge to child
    molestation, a key element in our new Republican
    Politics, not just for her but for all Democrats.
    This week seven "traditional Southern Gentleman"
    (doesn't matter where they are from) will vote not
    to send the nomination to the full Senate, the best
    they can do since they can't Merick Garland her.

    Did Bob find it strange that this was the single
    issue Hawley centered his questions on? Hawley, who
    voted against confirming the results of the 2020
    Election, and waved to a crowd to rush the Capitol
    and terrorize our elected Congresspeople? Is it
    strange Bob is not interested in these issues at
    all?

    We wish Bob would stop pretending he is anything
    but a traditional Man of the South.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bob: We need to listen to the others, in order to understand what they care about.

    Person who listened to Republicans: Republicans are bigots, who only care about white supremacy.

    Bob: Not like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, there's not one Republican voter that cares about anything other than white supremacy.

      They care more about it than their health, their family, their income, their friends...

      So thanks to this person who listened to Republicans for bravely venturing out into the unknown and dangerous world inhabited by one quarter of the country's population and confirming this truth for us.

      Delete
    2. "They care more about it than their health, their family, their income, their friends..."

      Truth!

      Delete
    3. Yep and just remember that "they" means all Republicans, regardless of what other characteristics they have, we know that they are filthy racists solely based on them being Republicans!

      Because we're prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group!

      Wait that sounds familiar, isn't that the definition of something?

      Thinking...

      Delete
    4. Anyone who isn't a bigot, or isn't perfectly fine with bigotry, left the Republican Party more than two decades ago.

      Delete
  8. "Was Judge Jackson the greatest nominee ever? As we watched, we were disappointed (and annoyed) by the way she kept responding to these straightforward questions. "

    Calling this a straightforward question with a different answer than that given by the Judge implies that Somerby knows what the answer should be, and didn't hear what he expected. On what basis can Somerby, who repeatedly said that he cannot evaluate this judge, claim that she gave an evasive or wrong answer when Somerby doesn't know what the answer is? This reason of Somerby's makes no sense at all.

    Somerby seems to have bought the Republican contention that a process answer is an evasion. This is a confirmation of a judge, not an evaluation of how much time a pedophile should get. The judge engages in a process to determine a sentence. She described that process. That strikes me as an appropriate answer.

    Buried in Jackson's answer as given, is the idea that this person didn't fit the profile of a pedophile because there were elements of the case that were inconsistent with the pattern of behaviors observed with other pedophiles. She said that affected her decision. Is that an appropriate observation? Should a judge give the same sentence to every convicted person, regardless of context and circumstances? Somerby doesn't say. I suspect he doesn't say because he isn't really interested in sentencing of pedophiles. He is interested in partisan politics and wants to see this judge voted down by Republicans. The point of Hawley's questions is to dig up dirt to tar Democrats with and to keep a Democratic appointment off the Supreme Court. Jackson didn't play into Hawley's hands. Somerby says she didn't answer the question properly (as if he knows what the answer should be). It is ridiculous to claim that there is any substance to this discussion beyond the political aims. And it is ridiculous to claim that Somerby is not involved in the political infighting himself, as he pretends that Jackson is just not good enough for the highest court.

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  9. "Empathize with our enemies," one writer has said. Could it be that the enemy has turned out to be Us?"

    No.

    First, Somerby once again grabs a famous quote and rips it from its context to use for his own purposes.

    This phrase, from Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip, was used to complain that people are polluting our own environment. It appeared in an Earth Day comic strip and then a poster celebrating Earth Day. It is a play on a War of 1812 military quote, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

    It has nothing to do with empathizing with the enemy. It has to do with getting out of our own way and not doing self-destructive things. And in that sense, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Judge Jackson either. Everyone but Somerby thinks she did a good job during her hearing and she is not sabotaging her own nomination -- the Republicans are attacking her for partisan political purposes having nothing to do with her qualifications or performance.

    Somerby is part of the Republican attack on Jackson. That should be obvious. His criticisms are specious. Walt Kelly would not agree with anything Somerby has said today (being deceased) and neither would Pogo, who was a much nicer possum than Somerby is a human being.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And of course, empathy in Bob's world, is a one way street that must only run left to right.

      Delete
    2. ""Empathize with our enemies," one writer has said. Could it be that the enemy has turned out to be Us?"

      It is deceptive the way Somerby strings "Empathize with our enemies" together with "Could it be that the enemy has turned out to be us" as if these two phrases were both said by the same person. Somerby links them with "one writer has said" but two authors are involved. Somerby said the first part and the second part is a corruption of Walt Kelly's famous Pogo remark: We have met the enemy and he is us.

      The way Somerby has linked these two, he implies that the author is Walt Kelly and that he was talking about empathizing with enemies, when he clearly was not. Kelly was talking about empathizing with our planet and stopping pollution.

      Somerby is sneaky this way. Don't trust anything he says without verifying. Just because someone pretends to be a media watchdog, doesn't mean that he himself is clean when it comes to distortion, misquoting, disinformation, statistical error (motivated and accidental) and other journalistic misbehavior. Somerby is often dirtier than his targets, in large and small ways.

      Delete
  10. "Based on what we know, we're somewhat sorry that Hawkins got sentenced to prison at all. We think if Jackson had spoken forthrightly about this case, the public would have understood and might have liked her even more."

    If Jackson made her decisions based on the same warm-hearted leniency Somerby attributes to her here, she would be shredded by Hawley and the Republicans. First, they are not the party of empathy of any kind. Second, the role of the judge is not to be warm-hearted and roll over for any kid with a sob story. It is to fairly apply the law guided by the facts of the case and recommendations of key parties and according to the law. Jackson explained all of that to Hawley and Somerby presumably read her explanation. Yet he persists in suggesting that she was just being soft-hearted, exactly the accusation of Hawley that she was soft on a pedophile. Somerby ignores what Judge Jackson actually said, to presume that she was being soft, exactly as Hawley accused her of being. That shows an acute lack of listening on Somerby's part, as he accepts instead his own narrative of why she answered as she did.

    He thinks he knows best was in Jackson's heart and mind, attributing his own unwillingness to incarcerate a teen to her, when she said nothing resembling that at all. In fact, it is Somerby's complaint that she didn't say what he knows is in her heart. But how can he know what she was thinking or feeling? He projects his own response onto her and claims it is hers but she didn't tell the truth about it.

    There is no fairness or even reality in Somerby's claims about Jackson. And this is certainly what bias looks like, setting aside that Somerby is actively working as part of a Republican campaign to stop Jackson's nomination.

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    Replies
    1. You hit on the critical point here.
      At the risk of being redundant on your well
      made points (this is the Daily Howler, after
      all)
      Is it possible Bob really believes that showing
      (logical, but whatever) mercy to a someone
      caught with child pornography would play well
      with Trump/Ginny Thomas Party? Does Bob
      seriously doubt we would not see the
      illustration of Ginny's dictum "in war,
      their are no rules?"
      Bob probably does not believe that at all,
      but let's give him the even more damning
      benefit of the doubt: is he, like Trump,
      to be excused for believing obviously
      preposterous things?
      What makes it possible for Bob, once again,
      to have faith in such nonsense? Well,
      if you ignore the Fox News/ Trump/
      Ginny Thomas right (as even his defenders
      in the comments have no conceded his
      does), it it obviously going to make
      it easy to believe whatever you want
      about them.

      Bob today is so determined to put
      lipstick on Hawley he returns to rewrite
      a post about him again. And, this time,
      it has nothing to do with the media coverage
      of his exploits, it's all about him.

      Delete
    2. "and, this time, it has nothing to do with the media coverage of his exploits, it's all about him."

      Actually, that is not true.

      Delete
    3. Both Greg and the original commenter here have utterly misunderstood what was written here. A commenter this weekend described the exact logical error both have made - mistaking criticism of journalistic coverage of an issue with advocacy of the issue itself.

      There's no point in arguing with people who can't read a simple blog post.

      Delete
    4. Here is what they have "utterly misunderstood", the fools!:

      -------

      On balance, though, it didn't seem to us, in any obvious way, that she was the greatest nominee ever.

      we were a bit disappointed by the flaws in her performance.

      the part of her performance we were must disappointed by

      We refer to her refusal to answer the senator's question.

      We do know that Judge Jackson kept refusing to answer his question.

      Why had she issued that sentence?

      It didn't strike us as a crazy request, but the nominee ducked the question.

      This was a fairly obvious dodge

      we were disappointed (and annoyed) by the way she kept responding

      To our ear, her responses to these questions were consistent evasive.

      To our ear, that was the same old rambling dodge all over again.

      we had the exact same reaction, even bore the enemy spoke.

      It's very, very hard to believe that she couldn't remember what had happened

      We found it very, very annoying to see her hem and haw and avoid again and again.

      We found it disappointing.

      We thought it made her look evasive.

      We didn't believe her when she said

      We think Judge Jackson is better than that.

      we saw nothing "shocking" or ridiculous in the question Hawley kept asking

      -----

      Only an idiot would think Somerby does media criticism instead of right wing propaganda. Hilariously, Somerby says he thinks Jackson got bad advice to avoid seeming "woke", when this is the main thrust of nearly every post of his. His thinking is so twisted, it has folded in on itself, like some goofy scifi plot. It'd be great if we could just look at his nonsense as clownish, but this is what this kind of propagandizing does:

      https://theintercept.com/2022/02/23/portland-protest-shooting/

      https://www.workers.org/2022/02/62081/

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    5. 6:11 Yes, you have utterly and foolishly I'm sorry to say misread and misunderstood this post. Criticizing the judge's performance is not right wing propaganda - they would not be disappointed by it for one - but it is a basis for his claim of overpraise by the corporate liberals. I'm very sorry you don't know how to read or understand these simple posts. But I guess you are doing the best you can with what you've been given so more power to you.

      Delete
    6. Why would an ostensible liberal complain about "overpraise by the corporate liberals" when a Democratic party nominee to the supreme court is being questioned? That just makes no sense at all. That's why your suggestion about this so-called simple post is so off base, so utterly wrong, @8:06 pm.

      It is almost as if you don't read your own words as you type them. Do you imagine that there are any liberals seriously criticizing Jackson, anywhere in the media or lefty blogs? Of course not. We all want to see Jackson voted onto the court. But not Somerby. Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why?

      You don't have the understanding of a pea, since not only have you failed to address this conundrum, but the irrationality of Somerby's position doesn't even bother you. You are the last person who should try to condescend to the people here who do grasp what is happening.

      Delete
    7. "Why would an ostensible liberal complain about "overpraise by the corporate liberals" when a Democratic party nominee to the supreme court is being questioned?"

      Firstly because the praise is false. Second because the overpraise contributes to an unhelpful us vs. them construct that ultimately is very bad for liberalism and liberal values.

      It's all there in the essay - again, very sorry you don't know how to read or comprehend simple essays and concepts.

      Delete
    8. The conundrum is borne out of your unfortunate ignorance and unfortunate ignorance only.

      Delete
    9. 8:12 Maybe you should stick to cooking and cleaning - just stay in the kitchen where you belong scrubbing potatoes and carrots. You're not really cut out for political thought.

      Delete
    10. 9:29 I appreciate you at least trying to offer a counterargument, instead of your usual childish insults; having said that, your two claims are offered without evidence and so are unsubstantiated, and frankly, utter nonsense. (not to mention, you clearly do not have a clue what liberalism is)

      Somerby's post is mostly just about how he personally feels about Jackson - bad, and how he personally feels about the Republican senators - good. It is a vanity blog, more power to him, but it is easily debunked nonsense from someone who used to champion issues of substance.

      Delete
  11. Notice how today's essay is not about journalism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to tell you but it is.

      Delete
    2. (but I agree that Somerby is a racist.)

      Delete
    3. "I agree that Somerby is a racist."

      Yeah this is like the phrase you had to say to get into one of those speakeasies during prohibition.

      Except here it's the secret handshake amongst anonymous morons so they don't step on each others toes during their daily rants against Bob.

      Delete
    4. at 3:06... Easier to insult us than defend Bob, that's for sure!

      Delete
    5. Defending Bob against spurious, illogical charges would be a waste of time, and far less fun.

      Oh I know you need an example because you're a bit slow...

      "Notice how today's essay is not about journalism."

      Scrolls up to read the post again, literally the first sentence:

      "The question was quite straightforward: A headline in Sunday's New York Times took us where the rubber meets the road."

      But yeah it's so hard to defend Bob, that's for sure! LOL

      Delete
    6. Is Somerby really smart enough to know he's defending racism, when he repeats the Right-wing grievance of the day?
      I'd say the jury is still out.

      Delete
    7. Yeah Cheeseball, glad he got that one sentence in (which has nothing to do with the Hawley questioning) because the rest of the post is all about your boy Josh.

      Delete
    8. Couldn't anyone outta the first grade see the idiot here is actually you? Definitely a yes!

      Delete
    9. Greg, actually he mentions "discourse", "scripting", "corporate stooges" and "stooges" over and over and over again repeatedly in the piece. These all refer to journalism. To claim this piece is not about journalism or that this piece is all about Hawley would be without question a complete misreading. It's plainly and obviously about journalism from boot bottom to hatband.

      But I do agree with you that Somerby is racist.

      Delete
    10. Greg should start his own blog about his interpretations of what he reads here. He could call it the "Daily Misreading".

      Delete
    11. "he got that one sentence in (which has nothing to do with the Hawley questioning)"

      Greg - actually, it does. You misread the entire piece apparently.

      Delete
    12. he only mentions "scripting" once and only uses "discourse" and "stooge" a few times in a broad way, not specifically attacking an article or report, but attacking "Us" for viewing right wingers as enemies.

      Somerby only mentions the book review, he neither praises it or criticizes it, or even discusses it. the bulk of his post is about his disappointment in Judge Jackson! this is as plain as your face.

      to be fair, the press does not report much on how rampant Republican oppression is and the harm it does to society, yet in Somerby's twisted view, it is "Us" that is doing the harm, supposedly motivated by the press to view Republican right wing oppressors as enemies.

      but even this framing is just grievance narrative from Somerby. "We" do not see right wingers as "the enemy", we see the harm they do to society and fight to combat that harm.

      to make matters worse, take a minute to look into where Americans get their news, it is not primarily CNN and MSNBC, the Washington Post and the NY Times - and none of those sources are "Us", they generally support a neoliberal agenda that "we" fight against.

      Somerby stopped caring about media criticism years ago. He, or his paymaster.

      Delete
    13. Well I'm very sorry you don't know how to read.

      Delete
    14. says the very triggered person whose argument was so easily debunked

      Delete
    15. When Somerby spends most of his essay talking about how disappointed he is that Jackson didn't answer Hawley's question, it is hard to claim that the essay is about the media or journalists.

      Somerby throws the same boilerplate about scripts and narratives and people being unable to reason and no one listening to The Others into every day's effort, regardless of its actual topic.

      I have repeatedly posted links to actual media criticism from liberal blogs in comments. There were a few over the weekend. What Somerby does here bears no resemblance to actual media criticism. He uses what some person has said as a springboard to talk about conservative talking points of the day, pretending to be interested in journalistic technique or malfeasance, when his 'hooks' are either trivial or wrong.

      For example, it is not journalistic malpractice to be praising Jackson as highly qualified, when official organizations dedicated to law have done so, including the ABA which specifically evaluates nominees to courts. Those journalists are not misreporting anything.

      Then Somerby devotes nearly his entire space to his own misperceptions of Jackson, as if he had any standing to criticize her qualifications and merit, but he uses the same ammo as Fox and the right wing are using, not any progressive or uniquely liberal concerns.

      Only a fool would consider this any kind of media criticism. How could anyone be a liberal media critic and never mention Murdoch? Somerby's focus is plainly on the topics examined by the media, not on the media itself, except when he is calling folks names (again, without any evidence of wrongdoing).

      How could anyone consider a rant against Maddow that ends with a remark about her "stuffing cash down her pants" (when she has never done that on camera to anyone's knowledge) for any form of media criticism. Hating Rachel is not the same as being a media critic.

      For those of you who are confused, stop taking Somerby literally and look at what he actually writes about. Use a highlighter and cross out anything repetitive and redundant in each day's essay and see what is left. The remainder is Somerby's actual purpose for writing. It won't be pretty.

      Delete
    16. I'm very sorry you don't know how to read and comprehend simple posts like these. It would be more interesting if you understood them and disagreed with them but unfortunately you can't even understand them. But thank you for taking the time to detail your misreadings and inability to understand what was written.

      Delete
    17. In the same way, saying that all Republican voters are bigots who only care about white supremacy IS media criticism, because the media never mentions this obvious fact.

      Delete
  12. "Neither do the corporate stooges who performed on CNN, rejecting his claims as "very, very untrue" before he had even advanced them."

    This is called connecting the dots. It is a legitimate part of reasoning. Somerby's attempt to limit discussion to only the excessively literal surface meanings, helps him in his nit-picks, but it just isn't the way anyone human thinks.

    ReplyDelete